Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Tips from Bad Mommy

This is what I love about Halloween. It has, from a freak perspective, purity of intent. There's no dallying about with God, or that contrived brand of devotion used to justify our other seasonal pageants of gluttony. There's something incredibly liberating about a holiday that encourages children to take candy from strangers." -- Steve Almond, Candyfreak

1. When Trick or Treating, remember- go early and go often. Don't be stingy with your time this Halloween. Your children need you to guide them on this magical night and they need you with them to create those beautiful childhood memories. Plus, your kid's candy haul this Halloween will become your candy stash to raid once they go to sleep. If you go out late and just hit a few meager houses, don't blame me when you're sitting on the couch in November eating crappy Dots and double Bubble Gum.

2. If you are sitting there thinking "oh, but I would never take candy away from my precious child", I am publicly calling you out for being full of shit.

3. Please be certain to inspect your children's candy for any suspicious looking items. And by 'suspicious looking' I mean Snickiers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Send them to me and I will dispose of them properly. Also Heath bars. Heath bars can be toxic to children. I'm doing this for their own good.

4. No matter what you do, do not take any M&Ms from your kid's treat bag. M&Ms are sacro-sanct to any child under the age of eight and they will have calatogued in their mind the exact number of M&M packages received while Trick or Treating. If you eat any of them, the kid will know it in the fiber of their soul. Plus stealing M&Ms from a kid is just fucking cruel, you heartless bastard. Go get a fucking Snickers.

5. When you buy your 4 year old a Halloween costume, make sure it comes with a whistle. A really loud whistle.

6. The number of times you can ignore the plainitive wails from your children begging to "Go Trick or Treating NOW, Mommy!" before your husband prys your fingers offf the keyboard: 5

7. There is no shame in taking a glass of 'Mommy juice' with you when you Trick or Treat. I'm just sayin'....

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


There are some things I will never understand. Actually, there are many things I will never understand, chief among them nonparametric statistics and who the fuck are the Kardashians, but I digress. This is the thing I don't understand right now....

So one day my darling son was spending a wee bit too much time alone in the bathroom. I know what you're thinking- 'oh crap, we've been down this road before. I really hope she doesn't start talking about nutsacks again'. Fear not. So as I said, E was in the bathroom for quite some time and while I knew he was pinching one off, it's not like he went in there with the sports page or anything (because, hello, he's 4... it's not like he can read) so he should have been able to finish up his business in a timely manner and get out. But that didn't happen. So because I am a concerned mother- once I finished updating my Facebook status and checking to see if the cheesecake I had for breakfast had found its way to my ass yet- I went in to check on my favorite boy child. This is where things get weird.

My darling son had dropped the kids off at the pool, so to speak, but then (for reasons that are completely unclear to me) decided that instead of wiping his ass, it would be better to put the toilet lid down and sit cross-legged upon it (while still wearing his socks).


Seriously? Seriously. I was stunned. The kid has been shitting for 4 years and has had his ass wiped for 4 years. The kid has been potty trained for 2 years and has been wiping his OWN ass for most of those 2 years. Ass wiping is not a new concept. Shitting is not a new concept. Why all of a sudden are we shitting and not wiping? And why the socks?

Did you notice the mommy use of the collective 'we' above? I hate it when I do that. I would like to state for the record that I have never dropped a deuce, not wiped, and then sat cross-legged bare assed on the toilet lid. Not that you needed to know that, but I wanted to be clear on this important distinction. Also, I hate socks. Again, for the sake of clarity I mention this.

At this point, I have a psychotic break from reality and develop a split personality: chill momma vs. psycho freak out momma. Chill momma attempts to get to the bottom of this in a mellow, non-confrontational way by sticking her head in the bathroom and saying, "Um, so E man... did you forget to do something, sweetie?" Meanwhile, psycho freak out momma's head spins around 180 degrees and she violently whispers to her husband in the hallway through clenched teeth: "Holy shit! He forgot to wipe his fucking ass! He's sitting on the goddamned toilet lid on his bare, shit covered ass! Who the fuck does that? Holy crap, he's got shit everywhere! He shit on his socks! I don't understand this! How do you not wipe your ass? How do you sit on a big shit smear and not realize that you didn't wipe your ass? Is this a man thing? You're a man- tell me! How does this happen? Get in there- explain to him again that he needs to wipe his ass. Help him wipe his ass. Hell no, I'm not going in there. You have a penis, he has a penis, so clearly this is your job. What? No. Fuck you, I'm not doing it. It's your turn. I've wiped plenty of ass over the last 4 years. You go. No. NO. Okay fine. Rock, paper, scissors. Goddamnit! At least you could go get me a washcloth".

Deep breath.... Inhale. Exhale. Om mani padme hum....

Okay buddy, lets get you all cleaned up. Maybe you can explain something to mommy....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When you are engulfed in flames...

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? It starts off when you step in a pile of dog puke on the floor at three am and then the nasty neighbor calls the police because oh my god your dog barked and then the homeowner's association wants to put a lein on your house because you haven't paid association fees even though you aren't IN the association and the IRS sends you a letter (wrongly) saying you owe $15,000 in taxes for income that you didn't even earn and then a worker at your children's daycare is arrested and charged with felony sodomy and then your grandfather dies and you can't sleep and you can't think straight and sometimes you can't even breathe because holy shit fucking sodomy and you never made your grandfather that cake for his 85th birthday and you are completely convinced that you are losing your fucking mind because you accidentally set the stove on fire and you go to bed and leave the door wide open- not just unlocked, but hanging wide open- and you put the children in the car and forget to buckle their seatbelts and sometimes you drive and have no idea how you got there and then you realize that THIS is what stress really is, THIS is what grief is like and this is how it can completely fuck up your world and you can't write because the words just won't come and so you. just. stop.

But if you are very lucky, you have friends who will send you to the spa and a family that understands lemon pies and chocolate chip cookies instead of words. And then you wake up one day six months later and think you can do this once again... you can find the funny, the sarcastic, the absurd. You think...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Best Buy

Dear Best Buy Management and Employees:

I am writing this letter in an attempt to provide a rational explanation for the odd behavior that was recently exhibited in your fine establishment, and to thank you for the many ways in which you aim to make the shopping experience in your stores as pleasant as possible for mothers and their small children.

I am the mother of 2 lovely and active children, ages 2 and 4. On rare occasions (and with much regret) I sometimes must take them with me on shopping trips. This last Saturday was one such occasion. In order to make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible for all involved (which, admittedly, is only slightly more pleasant than a Brazilian waxing on even the best of days) I brief the children in the car beforehand as to the nature of the shopping trip and what is to be expected in regard to behavior and the purpose of the trip. The children are then told the transportation options available to them in the store, namely stroller or shopping cart. The expectations are clearly outlined before entering the store.

On our most recent visit, the children wanted to wear their backpack leashes in the store. I did not make them wear them. I would have been more than happy to push M in a cart and hold E’s hand while we were in the store, but they decided instead that they would both rather wear their backpacks and walk. Considering the average dollar amount of merchandise per square foot of retail space, combined with the knowledge that the average 2 and 4 year old can destroy approximately 5 square feet per second, I thought it was prudent to restrict the range of access the children would have to merchandise in your store as the best practice for controlling collateral damage.

The fact that the children, once in the store, started barking and panting and loudly proclaiming to all within earshot ‘We’re doggies!!! Arf! Arf!!’ was as great a surprise to me as it was to the many employees and shoppers in your store at 10 am on a Saturday. Likewise, I was also surprised when the children licked one of your employees. I do apologize and I assure you that I do not promote or endorse the licking of complete strangers (at least, not until college). I ask that you look at the positive aspects of this situation: 1.) the children were socially engaged and actively using their imaginations and 2.) no one got peed on.

I would now like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing excellent customer service, or at least, for stationing an acne-riddled teenager at the end of each aisle. I found it especially helpful when they would stare at me and ask with no sarcasm whatsoever if I needed any help. After all, I was walking around the store with two barking children on fucking leashes. What on earth could I possibly need help with?

In addition, I would like to thank your marketing and merchandising departments for their clever placement of children’s DVDs on each end cap and along the shelves most accessible to 2 and 4 year old children. I would consider it a personal failure if I were to leave one of your stores without purchasing $87 worth of Dora and Diego videos, so thank you for ensuring that that will never happen.

Finally, I would also like to compliment you on your exemplary security personnel. I am sure in their many hours of highly specialized training they learned to follow shifty people who don’t look employees in the eye when greeted; however, I would like to make you aware that some people are not, in fact, stealing things as they try to slink through the store unnoticed. Sometimes they just need to run in and get one little thing and in the course of being in the store purchase $87 worth of Nickelodeon DVDs which have security tags in them that are never deactivated by the cash registers and cause the security alarms to go off as they are trying to calmly exit the store all while they have TWO BARKING CHILDREN ON FUCKING LEASHES with them.

Again, thank you Best Buy for all that you have done to make my shopping experience such a pleasant one. I am sure that I will return again many times to bask in the glow of public humiliation.

Bad Mommy

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Marvelous Toy(s)- Part 2

So let's continue the discussion of the Nonna and Papa toy insanity. Today I present to you (drumroll please...)

Exhibit B: M's Present- The Calico Critters Fancy-Ass House and Play Table!

We continue with the photo-essay format because if I tried to explain this to you by just using my big-girl words, you would think I was full of shit.

Here we have the house and play table pictured fully assembled. Yes, you read that right- FULLY ASSEMBLED. Already this toy is kicking the shit out of the Playmobil Hospital .

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that while the house came assembled, I did have to put the play table together. But that's okay because I got to use my Makita Cordless Impact Driver to assemble it.

If I was a man, this thing would give me so much wood. Forget the vibrators, ladies- get yourself a REAL power tool!

Um... yeah. Instead of inserting an awkward segue, let's just move on, shall we? Thanks.

Here we have our new little friends, the Calico Critters, as seen in their natural suburban, molded plastic, PCB generating, environmentally poisoning, gonad shrinking habitat. But they're so fucking cute!

Let's meet the families, shall we? First we have the Norwood Mouse Family with Father Chester-Cheddar, Mother Brie, Brother Colby and Sister Nibbles.

And then we have the Buttercup Cat family. The Buttercup family owns the Ice Cream Shop in Cloverleaf Corners. Father Ben likes to experiment with different recipes, and he can certainly count on his kids Cliff and Caramel to try any new flavor he creates. Mother Sherry, on the other hand, makes sure her family does not subsist on ice cream alone and insists that the kids always eat their dinner first.

You totally think I am making this shit up, don't you? That I am sitting here just fucking with you because I have nothing better to do? That I have spent the last few months taking bong hits and hanging out at Toys R Us?

Ummm...no. Blame the people at International Playthings. While it sounds like a very high-end, James Bond-esque escort service, International Playthings is the distributor of Calico Critters. But maybe they distribute other toys as well- it does say that Father Ben likes to 'experiment'. Hey, I'm not here to judge.

So now that we've met the inhabitants, let's check out the Calico Critter's digs. Again, I employ the use of the quarter for scale.

The book shelf- with removable books. Who knew cats could read?

And a few little knicknacks to make the place feel more like home. Shit, now the cats are fucking interior designers?

And they come with accessories too...

I just know that I am going to end up picking these things out of poop some day soon.

Its like the baby kitties are taunting me...'You know you want to hate us, but we're so fucking cute you can't stand it. Love us. Worship us. Keep track of all our tiny pieces of plastic shit'.

And of course the critters have furniture too. Hell, I pay a mortgage for a house that's not nearly this nice (and only marginally bigger). It makes sense that the tiny play critters have nicer shit than me too.

Oh yeah, they're really sticking it to me now. Bastards.

So the construction and decorating are completed and we are well versed in the history of our new tiny friends. What to do now?

Well, I did what any mature adult 13 year old boy would do when given the opportunity to play with tiny little critters... I arranged them into various pornographic tableaux.

Giggle... giggle...snort... heheheh.

Sorry. I know that was wrong. I know you can never un-see that.

Let's just go to the final statistics:

Number of power tools needed for assembly: 0

Number of power tools used for assembly: 1 (awesome)

Number of different species living under the same roof in Calico Critters House: 4

Possibility that Calico Critters is some bizzare polygamist sect with headquarters in Waco Texas: Fairly likely

Cuteness of Calico Critters on a scale of 1-10: 11

Sex acts portrayed by critters that are illegal in 13 states: At least 2. More if you reside in the state of Georgia.

Number of times I have knocked M out of the way so I could play with the critters: Not telling

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Marvelous Toy(s)- Part 1

So I have finally finished assembling the kids' Christmas toys.... Yes, I am aware it is now March. Allow me to explain.

As with everything in life, we must start with the parents. Specifically my parents. Actually, they no longer consider themselves my parents- I am just the vessel from which the grandchildren spring forth. And the Nazi who takes away the cookies and drives the minivan.

The two 'Artists Formerly Known as Mom and Dad' are now the proud, loving, doting, over-indulgent Nonna and Papa. They are both retired and are realizing the financial goals they worked for over 45 years to achieve- piss away all their retirement income buying insane amounts of elaborate crap for their grandkids. My mother's specific aims for retirement are actually a little more involved- her plan is to spend her free time researching various toy-like paraphernalia that will enrich and expand young minds while simultaneously driving their parents crazy. The more exotic and rare the object, the better. Did I mention that she is a former teacher with 2 Masters degrees? Yeah. Clearly I'm in trouble. My dad's sole aim is to piss away the money. This is the man who has a total panic attack if he has less than $300 cash in his wallet (please don't mug him). I imagine that most of the conversations at my parents' house go something like this:

Mom (aka Nonna): So I found this really great thing to buy for the grandkids... it's a toy train they can ride on that's powered by rocket fuel and pixie sticks. It's manufactured in Djibouti by a relocated colony of Trappist monks, but they can ship it to the US disassembled in 4 unmarked crates with instructions in Aramaic. Fully assembled the toy is roughly the size of a city bus and it only costs $9,000. I want to buy it.

What my dad (aka Papa) hears: Blah, blah, blah.... buy something for grandkids... blah, blah, blah....need money... blah.

Dad's (Papa's) response: There's money in my wallet. If there's not enough in there, check the mattress. And make me a sandwich while you're up.

So you can only imagine what I am up against dealing with these 2 people. It is worth noting that they are only interested in the acquisition and distribution of toys, not the assembly and maintenance of toys; for that they have me, their toy bitch. Mere words cannot explain the depth and breadth of the Nonna and Papa toy insanity, so I will now present the rest of my argument in a photo-essay.

Exhibit A: E's present- The Playmobil Hospital. It's from Germany. It's effin cool.

The packaging looks innocuous enough.

Please note the beer in the above photo. It is included for scale and because we will need it later.

This is an award winning toy. The award: Most Likely to Induce Parental Alcoholism.

I open the box and am confronted with this:

I didn't read the warning on the box (which was in 14 different languages, none of which was English) that stated 'This box contains 90 billion fucking pieces'.

In order to start assembly, I decide to lay out all the pieces on the counter.

There's more...

And a few more pieces. Hey, I wonder what's in that blue box?

It's more incredibly tiny pieces of plastic crap! I never would have expected that.

So let's take a look at how all this crap is supposed to be assembled. The approximately 9,000 small plastic pieces need to be assembled using the approximately 14,000 microscopic plastic pieces and the special assembly tool (included). Pay special attention to the size of the tool and the connection pieces. Yes, that is a quarter.

This is the craziest shit the Germans have come up with since invading Poland.

I also had to insert the little white plastic circle in the upper right hand corner of the plastic piece below (and 4,927 other pieces) - without the use of a special tool. Do you see the part I am referring to? Of course you don't- it's so fucking tiny it only exists on a molecular level and you need an electron microscope to see it.

Here we are in mid-assembly. Any guesses as to what component I am putting together?

It's the world's tiniest defibrillator. I'm not shitting you. Look closer.

Yes, that's an oxygen tank next to the defibrillator. Let me state for the record that all of the parts for both components were packaged in different bags with other random pieces that didn't go together. Not that I'm bitter about that at all.

An aerial view of the nursery. I will point out the minute details you will be apt to overlook, such as the bottle warmer with 3 separate bottles, the tiny chart on the shelf, and the fact that the baby bassinet required 13 separate pieces to assemble it.

The Playmobil Hospital also comes fully equipped with a trauma department. This is useful for staging the 'aftermath' portion of the 7 state killing spree fantasy you will undoubtedly indulge in after assembling this toy.

Playmobil Hospital Final Assembly Statistics:

Number of pieces: 23, 942
Time for assembly: 4 hours (+ 3 months)
Number of pieces that fell off when moving toy from kitchen to living room: 17
Distance toy moved: 10 feet
New words learned by children during assembly: 3 (fuck, motherfucker, stupidgoddamnpieceofshit)
Number of violent fantasies involving German toy company executives: too many to count
Likelihood that this toy is my parents' retribution for when I dyed my hair purple in high school: high

Final commentary from E on his new toy:
'I really like my new hospital. It's the toy I always wanted.'

That's great honey. It only cost Mommy the last few shreds of her sanity, but Nonna and Papa will be so happy to hear that you love your new toy.

Up next: Exhibit B- M's Present.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich in 22 Easy Steps

  1. Select the bread. It must be soft and white. Do not attempt to increase the nutritional value of the sandwich by using whole wheat (or god forbid, multigrain) bread. Even the use of the new 'whole wheat' white bread is suspect as the highly cultivated palate of the average 3 year old can detect when the amount of high fructose corn syrup has been reduced to make room for things like vitamins.
  2. Next, select the jelly. Do not ask what kind of jelly the child would like on his sandwich since he will invariably answer 'red'. Red may be his favorite color, but it is not his favorite jelly. You will know this, having made sandwiches with red jelly before, only to have them thrown on the floor because red jelly is 'yucky'. Open the refrigerator door wide enough to sneak out the grape jelly without the 3 year old seeing.
  3. If you are a total novice and are actually stupid enough to let the child see inside of the refrigerator, he will see the red jelly and start loudly demanding that you use the red jelly. He will insist that he likes red jelly. Don't fall for it. Remember that he is 3 and full of shit. You are the mom. Get the grape jelly.
  4. Put the grape jelly back in the fridge and get the red jelly. Then grab the grape jelly using a stealthy behind the back maneuver. Hide the grape jelly under your shirt.
  5. Attempt to stall a full-on ‘I-want-red-jelly’ meltdown by distracting 3 year old with an Oreo while you swap out the red jelly for grape.
  6. Get the peanut butter.
  7. Discover that the only peanut butter in the house is ‘Super Chunky’. Feel vague sense of impending doom.
  8. Go ahead and make sandwich using chunky peanut butter and grape jelly. Try not to feel smug about your clever jelly swap out technique. Karma hates smugness.
  9. Cut sandwiches into dinosaur shapes using dinosaur shaped sandwich cutter, using utmost care to ensure that the dinosaur head and legs stay attached. Contemplate how mothers for millennia got children to eat sandwiches without the use of fancy dinosaur shaped cutters.
  10. If you accidentally decapitate dinosaur while cutting out sandwiches, do not attempt to glue head back on to sandwich with extra peanut butter; it’s a totally amateur move and the kid will see right through your bullshit plan. Make a new sandwich and eat evidence of decapitated dino.
  11. If you have made the sandwich using the last 2 slices of bread in the house… well, you’re fucked.
  12. Carefully arrange dinosaur sandwiches (and heads) on plate. Add several additional Oreos to plate and hope that the 3 year old will not notice that the dinosaur heads are not actually attached to the dinosaur. Call child to table with overabundance of enthusiasm and bravado.
  13. Stand back and watch cautiously as child begins to eat sandwich. Victory is yours!
  14. Remember what I said about karma? Child discovers that sandwich is made with crunchy peanut butter and starts whining, ‘But I don’t liiiiiiiike crunchy peanut butteeeeeer!!!!!’. Come up with a clever response now, you smug motherfucker.
  15. In stroke of genius move, tell child that it’s NOT chunky peanut butter, they’re DINOSAUR BONES. This will surely add to the coolness factor of the dinosaur sandwiches and thus make them so irresistible the child will wolf them down without further questioning of peanut butter texture.
  16. Go to cabinet to get shot of whiskey after child protests for the 17th time, ‘But I don’t liiiiiiiiiiike dinooooosaur boooooooones!!!!!!’
  17. Make new rule that the only peanut butter that can be brought into the house must be smooth. Petition Congress to make the production of crunchy peanut butter a capital offense, punishable by death.
  18. Consider how to make new sandwich with no bread. Peruse cabinets for acceptable bread substitute.
  19. Make note for future reference: tortillas, bagels, English muffins, and pita are not acceptable bread substitutes to a three year old.
  20. Round out Oreo cookie lunch with the addition of M&Ms and bananas. Resolve that dinner will be healthy.
  21. Hide in pantry and scarf down remaining Oreos in package in an attempt to assuage mommy-guilt.
  22. Countdown to nap time. Halleluiah.