Friday, November 3, 2017

Awkward Conversations. On Halloween. Out Loud. Because It's Scarier. And They Promised Me A Cupcake.

It's three days after October 31st. Which means, if you have elementary sized children, you either successfully ignored all pleas for help at the classroom Halloween party* OR you were tricked into volunteering through an onslaught of email guilt. And the promise of cupcakes.

Guess which one I felt forced to chose the other day?

(Class Halloween Party Edition)



Conversation #1
Scene: Arriving at the school office. In costume. To eat cupcakes volunteer at the classroom party.
School Employee: (coming face to face with me as they are exiting the office) Your highness! (holds door open, does one of those European courtly bow and scrape things)
Me: (in my, "I didn't think before I opened my mouth" tone) Uh. Noooo. Not a queen. (gestures in turn to Brownie sash and birthday crown) Juliette. Gordon. Low.
School Employee: Um?.?. I...
Me: (walks through door. Thinks. Turns back around. ) Oh! But, you know, thanks for holding the door for me anyway, even if I'm not a queen!

Conversation #2
Scene: In the classroom, next to the q-tip skeleton craft
Other Mom, probably here for the cupcakes too/OM,PHFTCT: And you are...a birthday queen?
Me: Oh, no! I'm Juliette Gordon Low. She was born on October 31, 1860, so today is my birthday, or (chuckle) really her birthday because I'm just dressed as Daisy. (smile)
OM,PHFTCT: (pausing) I don't think I know who that is.
Me: (In my "I learned from the previous conversation not to think everyone will know who I am but that's ok, I can explain it to them" tone) Ohhh! She founded Girl Scouts in 1912, but, one of the things she was know for, was, after going to fancy parties (swirl skirt) she would typically be found fishing (hold up fishing rod) late at night in her ball gown. She was a very interesting woman! In fact, there was this-
OM, PHFTCT: (quickly) Oh! I forgot! I was, I was, supposed to help organize the, um, mummy yarn craft. So, sorry.

Conversation #3
Scene: Near the cupcake table, waiting for the children to fill their plates and leave. So I can eat a cupcake.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, with a smile) Hi! I'm Sally.
Me: (barely glancing up from cupcakes, mentally trying to figure out the cupcake to student ratio) Hi! I'm Martha.
Some Other Mom: (friendly, smiling) How are you?
Me: (quick glance from the cupcakes, so I don't look rude) Good. How are you?
Some Other Mom:  (friendly, smiling) Good.
Me: (caught up in mental cupcake math) Nice. Good to hear. And how are you?
Some Other Mom:  (silence)
Me: (REALLY looking away from cupcakes this time) Ummm. (pause) We already did that part of the conversation, didn't we? 

Eventually I did make it to the snack table.

But, as I looked forlornly and predictably at an empty cupcake platter scattered with crumbs, I thought to myself, "WWDD**?"

And that's when I went fishing.

For cupcakes.

Off of Katie's plate.

Which, in my defense, I offered to give back if I could tell her just one more of my Juliette Gordon Low stories.


she refused.

So I ate it.

*High Five, by the way! Ignore all the glares from all those teacher type readers over there.
**What Would Daisy Do?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween Costumes For Kids. You're Trying Too Hard.

Halloween is like, three days away, people. Do you have your kid's costumes all ready?

Hahahahahahaha! Yeah...... Me too.

But, in my case, the Halloween unpreparedness?  That's all on the children. Because since the age of two my kids have insisted on making their own costumes. Now, I'm sure you're sitting there, thinking, "*pish* Someone's a big ol' liar with fiery pants hangin' up there on that telephone wire." But, listen, it's true. See, I realize that, in society's eyes, good moms make their kid's Halloween costumes. They plan, they paint, they sew, or at the very least they go to a store and buy them a costume. In August. And I tried to do that! Once. When Katie was all small and such. But she was having NONE of it! She insisted she was going to wear her pink bandanna like a cape and be Super Senorita or nothing! And, well, parenting is all about raising independent autonomous people, right? So I let her. Because that's also what good moms do. (Who might also be a touch lazy.)

Note: I was going to include a pic of Katie in her Super Senorita costume in this post, but, my computer somehow deleted, like, all the pictures from 2009. Which is, like, really bad. I mean, if I had been responsible for those photos, I'd totally wouldn't have lost them. Related Note: This is why computers shouldn't have babies.

But! You?! You are ready to dress your sweet little one in a costume. One made with love, and time, and maybe a wee small dusting of societal pressure. So, this morning, while my children were out into the backyard with cardboard, a couple cans of spray paint and some yarn making their own costumes, I sat down with a cup of coffee and  five four three a decreasing pile of peanut butter cups stolen from the Halloween candy bowl. To search the Internets. For the worst baby and toddler costumes out there. So you can avoid them.

Bad Costume #1:
The Mandrake

This may seem all cute, with that sign saying
"screams not yet lethal,
but may cause extended periods of unconsciousness".
Dudes, you've read the books, right?
What happens to them at the end of The Chamber of Secrets?
They kill them.
Maybe we should examine the whole story line before dressing our babies in this costume. Hmmm?
Bad Costume #2:
The Pinata

Do you really want to spend the whole night yelling,
"Quit hitting your sister! There is no candy in the baby!"
Because, you know at least one of your kids will try it. 

Bad Costume #3:
The Bun In The Oven
This costume really should be avoided if you already have children.
Unless human overpopulation is a cause you care about.
A lot.

Bad Costume #4: 

Ok, yes, it's cute. But,
unless that's real spaghetti,
you know that costume is going to be hanging out
in places you don't want it hanging out from
for a loooong time.
Because babies put everything in their mouths.
And then swallow them.
And they have digestive systems.
That terminate in their diapers.
I may have strung that explanation out a bit too much.
Bad Costume #5:

The Thanksgiving Turkey

What do we do with Thanksgiving turkeys?
Put them in the oven.
What do we not want to do with babies?


Bad Costume #6:
The Candy Machine

Just who is giving candy to whom here?
This costume is way too confusing.
Skip it.

Bad Costume #7:
Two Headed Baby

The emotional imprint alone people...
Bad Costume #8:

The Cannibal

Your kid has a peanut allergy. We get it.
and I say this as a friend,
this is taking that protective parent thing
just a little too far.

You know what being a lazy parent who lets their kids plan and make their own costumes means? 

It means, your kids are way too happily crafting to notice you eating each and every peanut butter cup from the Halloween candy bowl. 

If you hide from them. 

In the basement. 

What's the worst kid Halloween costume you've found?

Friday, October 20, 2017

October And Anne Shirley Can Stuff It

September, that sirenous month full of the first few weeks of school and parental freedom, has lured me in once again, smelling of quiet cups of coffee in the kitchen, sunshine and secret boxes of Chez-Its hidden from the children. Gets me every year. (read next bit in a high pitched stupid whiny voice) I have time! Look! I can go for a run, prep dinner, do laundry, Photoshop pictures of "vomit" from my front yard, cure cancer, end world hunger, cut the children's hair! Whoo! Hoo! There is no end to my productivity!! I have super powers! (insert one of those rude fart noise people make with their lips here) Stupid 1/12th of a Gregorian calendar seductress.

But then comes October, making it's asinine pew pew noises as it shoots down hour after hour of my free time, like one of those duck galleries at the state fair. "Mom, we have some school forms for you to fill out!" "Six pages? For each of you?" pew pew "Would you be interested in volunteering in Ellie's classroom each week?" pew pew "We need weekly volunteer's at Katie's school, anyone available?" pew pew "Hey! How about our Girl Scout troop meets every week!" pew pew "We're looking for a few parents to volunteer at tonight's school..." pew pew  "Mom, are you going to lead my Girl Scout troop this year, too?" pew pew "I can schedule Katie at 10 am on Wednesday with the dentist, but can't get Ellie in until 2:15 on Friday. Will that be a problem?" pew pew

Dudes? Do you know what this means? It means I have to make a schedule now. For my time. Because it's not mine any longer. (I can see all you working parents you know, through the computer screen, with your eye rolls and judgey attitude. Shut up.) My days have been stolen and it's stinky! I mean, no longer do I usher the little children onto the bus in the mornings, go back home and drink coffee, eat secret cheese flavored crackers while finishing up my book from the library, knowing all things that need doing will be done in good time. NooooOOOOoooo. I have to be all efficient. Making a schedule. And other stupid stuff.

And, you know what? I think I deserve a little pity.
Or empathy.
Or compassion.
Or maybe just some commiseration??

(collapses over keyboard) 


*angry sigh*

I'll be an adult this school year.

But, I'm not changing out of my yoga pants.


each Friday I'm still going to go to the zoo for the penguin's live trout feeding.

Because those penguins are hilarious!

Me and all the preschooler zoo regulars think so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Kids Know More About Jigsaw Jones Than Sherlock Holmes.

My kids loose things. All. The. Time. Shoes, lunch boxes, library books, hairbrush, pajamas, special stuffed animals they simply can't sleep without, water bottles, backpacks.... I'm literally talking everything that they can physically pick up with their own two hands, set down again in a slightly different place, walk away from for like 20 seconds-Poof! *gasp* It's gone!

And, people, there are days, I look them dead in the eyes, when they have asked me to find something for them, and think, "Dude. Are you, kidding me with this? Because, I can't-I can't even-you know what? I'm gonna-I'm gonna-I'm just gonna goooo...pour myself another cup of addiction caffeine coffee and, just, take a beat." And then, I turn to my dealer coffee pot, and pour that cup full to the brim and say, in my best Snow White voice, "Oh, sweetie. It sounds like it's time to put on that detective cap and break out your mad Jigsaw Jones Skillz."

Because parenting through the exploitation of popular children's literature is kinda my thing.

And, yesterday, when I was on my third Jigsaw Jones poured cup of coffee of the morning, I realized that, last week, when I asked you all to play the

Is it Vomit 
Is It Diarrhea? 

I asked you all to play without providing any Jigsaw Jones clues. Which someone pointed out to me on Facebook. Anonymously. *cough*Ginger*cough*

A List of Jigsaw Jones Clues 
About This Picture:

That I Took Of A Mystery Substance
That Showed Up In My Yard
A Week Ago

1. Smell
There was no smell, really, to speak of. Which, could be a red flag for most people, but, see, unlike at least 51.09% of the world's population, I've been pregnant. Twice. And that lack of smell? All it did was bring back, in vivid recollection, the time my friend invited me over for dinner and made bean soup. Not 10 minutes after eating a whole bowl full, up it came. Into the toilet. And guys? It totally smelled the same, and, a detail you didn't need to know, but, must be shared to keep the spirit of every pregnancy story ever told alive, it full on tasted just the same. (I'm telling you it was a really good soup, Edna! Both times!)

2. Visual
Really, this one was pretty much covered in the Snap-Chatted pic above. And, anyone that's parented a child with diarrhea will tell you that, sometimes? You can see aaaallll the bits. (Especially corn.) Yes, even after their food has ridden that twisty roller coaster called the large intestine.
Like looking in a mirror, people.

A scary butt mirror. 
3. Taste.

4. Previous Knowledge
This would not be the first time I'd found weird things in my yard. I mean, sure, it's not a weekly occurrence, but, it happens! I mean, these items can range from an answer to prayer to, well, kinda creepy, really.

  • a cute little kitten who shows up when I enjoy my morning cup of coffee outside
  • a pair of glasses
  • a car radiator 
  • a pair of pants with $250 in the pocket

5. The Lay of the Land (aka) The Inside Straight (aka) The Skinny (aka) All The Cluez Jon Pointed Out When He Got Home After I Yelled, "Come Look At This! It's Gross!" And Dragged Him Back Outside
  • An opened bag of kelp fertilizer
  • A watering can, three feet away, dregs of mystery substance inside
  • Drying water(?) rivulets coming out from main... deposit
  • Jon and the girls planted carrots at the beginning of the summer next to the fence just outside the picture

So, after writing down all these clues in pixels and Javascript, I realize that the world can't really be broken up into two camps: vomit and diarrhea. I mean, there are probably many different Sherlockian deductions one could come to with all this info. 

A Sample Deduction, 
For Illustrative Purposes, 

Someone, in the dark of the night, stumbled into our yard, saw the bag of kelp fertilizer left sitting on the deck stairs, and thought, "Kelp. That's seaweed! Duuuuuude! It's free sushi in a bag!" (Did I mention, in my head, this person is, like, really drunk). 

The inebriated person pulls out a spoon (which they keep on their person for obvious ice cream reasons) and begins to shovel the kelp fertilizer directly into their stomachs, through their mouths because this is a believable deduction and doesn't have aliens in it. 

Almost immediately, the inebriated person's stomach yells out, "THIS IS NOT SUSHI!" And projectile vomits into the watering can, sitting just to the left of the not really sushi kelp bag.

And, just like when you were 6 and you vomited into your sister's sand bucket on the family road trip, guilt sets in, and our inebriated friend tries desperately to clean out the watering can using the garden hose. 

It doesn't work, and they scramble off, leaving a big pile of:

in my yard. 

Jon has his own, different deduction, but, let's face it. He left the kelp fertilizer out on the deck. He's cheating. 

Note: In the spirit of fair play and wanting to keep all felony charges off my record, I should probably award all players of the Is It Vomit Or Is It Diarrhea? Game 250 points and send each and every one of you a box of mac and cheese. 

Yes, even if you don't want it, Anonymous. Because them's the rules. And I know where you live! 

Ok. That sounded creepy. Don't worry, Internet, Anonymous knows it's not. 



You can comment on this post! With your own deduction!! And I'll send you TWO boxes of mac and cheese!!!

Or none....


If you insist. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Kids Have Gone To School. I Live In The City. I Can Make A Game Out Of That! (P.S. I'm Sorry)

My kids have gone back to school this last week.

Dudes! The house is so QUIET!

Plus? I can, like, get soooo much done!

For instance, today? I was, like, super efficient and was able to get out in the front yard, do some weeding AND play a round of the game:

Is It Vomit?
Is It Diarrhea?

Which, as everyone knows, can only be played properly

With pictures.


But classy close-ups. 

Wait, Mr. DeMille, 

I can totally make this picture classier. 

Totes better. 

Ok, fine, I know what you're thinking, "Martha, it's 2017, not 1952,  people don't classy things up DeMille style anymore, you need to Snap Chat that.......stuff."




I mean, well... sure. 

I guess I could!

How's that? 

Maybe add a filter?

And a frame!!

Step. Back. Willis.

I have the most 'tim-mate idea! Ev. Er.

1) Snap Chat flower wreath,

2) Filter it with a vintage Polaroid look


3) A funky camera angle to show that the unidentified crap in my yard doesn't take itself too seriously, you know, in the whole "I just woke up like this" Instagram pic style.


No. But, in all seriousness, people. 

Is it vomit or diarrhea? 

Award yourself 250 points (YES A WHOLE 250!!!) if you play the game 
I'll send a box of mac and cheese to the winner!

I'm not kidding. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Just When You Think Your Mailbox Knows You...

Guys? It seems I've turned the corner, age wise. According to my mailbox, no longer am I a strong, virile* woman, mind like a steel trap:

sleeping the night away, confident that in the morning my eye hand coordination will be on point

Oh, no. Instead, it seems I am having problems. In the bathroom. Explosive ones.

Dudes. I didn't even know I had explosions going on all up and down in my bowel.

Unfortunately, it looks like in order to fix my bathroom jam...quagmire...toughie...enigma...stumper... metaphorical Gordian knot (Huh? *wink wink* Huh? *nudge nudge* Get it?)  I need to add peppermint candies and bananas to my diet:

(cue whiny voice) Ah. Maaaaaan. I hate peppermint. And bananas! Can't I just use coffee to set off, like, controlled explosions or something?

Apparently not.

But, yesterday, as I sat down, bowl of sliced bananas and crushed peppermint candies at my elbow, my recently arrived Mind, Mood & Memory crossword puzzle in front of me, and the ghost of my daily crossword completing Grandma in the corner, being all:

the doorbell rang.

I had a package!

And it was this:

I kid you not:

And after a quick check-in with my uterus (because, dude, seriously, that wouldn't be cool), I began to realize, my mail box, after years of a relationship full of giving and receiving, full on bonding through rain, wind, snow, sun, heat and even bird poop, doesn't know me. At. All.


At least my Google searches and I are still besties. Well, maybe.

*Anecdote to support my vocabulary choice: A year or two ago some lady walked up to me in the airport restroom as I was standing in front of one of the stalls waiting for Ellie, looked me in the eye and said, "Do you need some help. *deliberate pause* Sir?" So, see, I'm thinking, woman can totally be virile.**

**What I didn't say to the bathroom lady's face but did say in my head: Look, lady, if there is one place you can be sure someone is self identifying.....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Names Changed To Protect The Innocent (Even Though They Aren't)

It probably comes as no surprise that I've spent something like the last 10 years of my life living in a baby proof house, leaping over baby gates I'm too lazy to open when hauling laundry up the stairs. 10 years of living with a combination of babies and toddlers who can't be trusted not to pull the bleach out from under the bathroom sink and drink it. 10 years of feeling comfortable telling all my friends exactly how many times my children put the tut-tut into the potty "like a big girl!" (And then making them high five me. For my own sense of fulfillment.) 10 years of trying to go to the bathroom, quickly, by myself, while yelling things like "What was that crash? What are you doing?" and "Quit banging on the door, mommy will be done in a minute. A second. Ok, ok, I'll...just...well, Ok, I'm done. Close enough. (flings open door) WHAT DO YOU WANT?!" 10 years of trying to entice my children to eat through the clever use of bribes, toys and pleadings. 10 years of pulling weird things they shouldn't eat out of their mouths: grass, sticks, rocks, shoes, books..... 10 years of having to spend 98% of my day with a child attached to my body one way or another, even though both were weaned before they could walk with any confidence. (Note to the breast feeding mafia: Simmer down there, Capone. My children were very late walkers. Which, by the way, I think is totally awesome, because I once read that lack of kinetic skill development in toddlers correlates with higher intelligence. Dudes, my kids are full on geniuses.)

10 years.

It's a long time.  A long time, people.

And then, a year or so ago, I realized those days were behind me and I began to relax. I began to sit down on the couch to drink my coffee out of a real grown up type mug instead of a sippy one. I took all the locks off the bathroom cabinets. I gave away the baby gates and poured the syrup of ipecac into the garbage. I stopped updating my running partner on the number of times Ellie or Katie tut-tut-tutted without having to be told that "big girls take care of their needs."

And then.


Jon began to look at me with those eyes.

And then?

The children.

The children were giving me the same look.

So I caved.

Because I'm a weak, weak womyn, people.

And the next thing you know, my house is the site of a rotating cast of living beings that survive on the strength of their cuteness.

Yes, I am now a puppy sitter.

Hey! Why don't you all check your shoes in case we missed any tut-tut piles in the front yard, hop over my newly purchased baby gate and come on in! I'll introduce you!

Meet Queenie,

who can't tell the difference between real animals and ones on tv, and must be consoled when she sees either. 

And Spot,

who requires me to constantly remove gross things from her mouth. Most recently? Chewed gum she found on the sidewalk.

And this is Fido,

 who must cuddle. At. All. Times. I never get to use the bathroom by myself when he's around.

And then there's Rocky,

who refuses to eat unless Ellie makes a trail of his kibble around the house, Hansel and Gretel style.

We've gotten to know Buddy,

who eats poop. And not just his own. Enough said.

And, then there is this little bundle of energy named Bandit,

who is the reason we don't have nice things anymore.

We all high fived each other this morning too, when Lucky

put his tut-tut outside, in the grass! 
Awwww! He's getting to be such a big boy!
Dudes! You know? I should totally tell Mabel about it on our run this afternoon!

And, guys? Last week? A puppy named Rex totally fell asleep in my lap. I'm pretty sure this

is the definition of a life come full circle.