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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You say va-jay-jay, I say...???

So while we're on the subject of children's genitalia (this sentence is guaranteed to get me on a federal surveillance list somewhere), let's talk about the girl parts; specifically, what to call the girl parts. I will admit that this issue of what to call the 'lady bits' has thus far been one of the greatest philosophical parenting conundrums I have encountered. I know many of you are probably wondering if I am, in fact, competent enough to actually raise children after reading this declaration, but it's true. Stitches, splinters, explosive diarrhea... no problem. Gynecology/urology for preschoolers... not so much.

Things were so much easier just two short years ago when E was potty training. He has boy parts and boy parts are so much more straightforward. Mommy, I have a weenie. Yes honey, you do. Look Mommy- the pee pee is coming out of my weenie. Well golly gee son, it sure is! Isn't that special. See? Simple and straightforward.

Now fast-forward to the present and it's M's turn to get potty trained. What's her first question? Mommy, where's my weenie?

Oh fuck.

Clearly this is a question that needs an answer. And adding a sense of urgency to the matter is Professor E, master of all things potty, standing in the bathroom asking “where does M's pee pee come out of” because she doesn't have a weenie. So the record must be set straight.

Now in general, my parenting philosophy when dealing with issues of a sensitive matter is two fold: first, to provide information that is anatomically and biologically correct; and second, to do so in a manner that is open, non-threatening, and comforting. And in this particular situation, if I could manage to provide that information using terminology that won't embarrass the crap out of me when the kids repeat it for the entire daycare (because you know they will) that would just be a bonus.

So M is a girl and she doesn't have a weenie... where does her pee pee come from?
Answer- from her urethra. Yep, that's exactly what I said.

I admit it... I pussied out. Pun intended.

I know, I know, I KNOW... you think I'm a total crackhead. You'll get no argument from me on that one. Any normal person would have just said 'E has a penis and M has a vagina' and moved on. I'm not a prude. I can say vagina. I have a vagina. I can say vagina in public and with a straight face. My mom was a hippie. She can say vagina. I am totally okay with using the word vagina. So why didn't I?

Because pee pee doesn't come from a vagina. So maybe I am hiding behind a technicality, but as pertaining to the discussion of pee pee and weenies and the matter of eliminating said pee pee when one is lacking a weenie, the correct vehicle for elimination of said pee pee is the urethra. So there! I am like totally right and you know it and you can just suck it you big poo-poo heads because I am like so mature.

Yet like the proverbial bad penny, the va-jay-jay issue kept returning to me. My daughter was beginning to identify herself as a separate entity, independent from her mother, father and brother. She had recognized the obvious physical differences between herself and her brother (during communal bath time which has abruptly ENDED) and she needed the vocabulary to express those differences. As her mother it is my responsibility to give her those words and begin teaching her to have a sense of pride and respect in her body. So I told her she had a vagina. Not a va-jay-jay, not a tushie, but a vagina. And I tell her that it is hers alone and no one should touch it and if they do she should tell mommy and daddy. It's been very liberating. I am pro-vagina and I want my daughter to be that way as well. And I mean pro-vagina in a 'Vagina Monologues/Women's Lib/Gloria Steinem Would be So Proud' kind of way and not in a 'Wear Ugly Shoes and Coach Softball' kind of way. Not that there's anything wrong with that- whatever works for you.

Vagina- say it loud and say it proud!