Meet Fred

Hello.

This is Fred.

Eat a sandwich, man! 

Fred is a skeleton.

Fred lives with us now.

Fred is a friend of the family.

He used to live at Target, where I took Quinn to buy (more) Halloween decorations. Halloween, as it turns out, is the new Christmas when it comes to decorating our house which means Christmas is the new “holy-shit-its-balls-out-bananas-up-in-this-illuminated-like-Vegas-on-acid-gingerbread-abode.” I can’t wait!

Anyway, we saw Fred, who at the time was just an unknown plastic skeleton heaped in a pile of other unknowns. He was meant to be an outside decoration. Maybe sitting on chair, bony hand raised in salutation, or maybe crouched on a tree ready to lunge at the school kids who walk by. (Which will do wonders for our newly minted kindergartener’s social game. “You want to play with the kid whose mom dropped a plastic skeleton on your ass? Umm, no.”)

But, nope. That was not to be Fred’s fate. Quinn yanked him off the shelf and no sooner was a friendship borne.

“I love him,” Quinn said.

“That’s fine,” I said. “Love is love. Put him in the cart.”

“He’s almost the same size as me.”

“Eh, your body types are similar, but you’ve got a good four inches on him.”

“I’m going to carry him,” Quinn said, putting Fred’s arms around his neck. “Let’s go Fred!”

Yes, beat feet, Beetlejuice! I had purple lights and giant plushy spiders and maybe a pair of upended Frankenstein boots buy. Let’s go, kids!

Quinn carried his skeletal friend around Target. They held hands, put their arms around each other’s shoulders, pushed all of our groceries, Halloween decorations, and $582 worth of subliminally selected merchandise I didn’t know I needed, but now can’t live with out, aside so I could push them in the cart like they were two-bit councilmen up for re-election in small town Forth of July parade.

“What’s this guy’s name?” I asked.

“Fred,” Quinn said. “Definitely Fred.”

While I loaded the bags into the trunk Quinn buckled Fred into the backseat.

Do you meet the weight requirements to use a lap belt, Fred?

“Fred wants McDonald’s,” Quinn said. “He’s never had it before.”

“Oh, unfortunately Fred doesn’t have a stomach so I’m afraid it would just fall out.” Which, come to think of it, is what happens to people with stomachs who eat  McDonald’s.

Chill out, funny animal. That was barely a burn. Unlike the feeling your butt gets after you eat– okay, okay.

When we got home, Quinn brought Fred inside, straight past the porch chair I imagined him sitting on, past his acquaintance whose body parts we planted on the lawn, past the Happy Meal Bart must have picked up for his lunch while he was out running errands.

“This is my room,” I heard him say. “This is your room too. This is my box of action figures. This is where we keep the Legos. You can sleep right…here.”

They hung out together the rest of the day. They Face-timed my parents, watched three episodes of Peppa Pig, even took a bath together. Fred hit the 25% off mass market Halloween decoration lottery with this kid. That floppy mess of plastic was practically beaming when he got out of the bath more likely because Quinn washed him with my luxury, salon-grade, for color-treated hair mask. But whatever.

Oh yes, Fred may have been dead but he was living the life.

Until the incident.

“MOMMMMMMMMMY!”

Never good. Nope. Never. That’s when my fight or flight instinct takes over and I run for the front door.

“You have to help Fred!!!”

Oh, it’s Fred! Fred I can handle. No offense, Fred, but at least there won’t be blood.

Quinn ran down the hall with Fred in one hand and Fred’s right arm in his other hand.

“It just came off!” Quinn said, handing me Fred’s appendage.

Well, now it’s a back scratcher!

“I can fix it!”

First rule of parenting 101: Never say “I can fix it” before you’ve properly assessed this damage. Fred’s arm was toast. It was a clean break ripped right out of the socket. I saw my future and it involved another trip to the seasonal section of Target. And maybe a chevron throw pillow. And an acacia wood server. And an artificial succulent in a brass pot. And a bed for Puppy. And new booties for me. And a bathing suit for Quinn in case Bart ever enrolls him in swimming lessons. Goddamnit, Fred! Couldn’t you keep your hands to yourself?

Before I could say “get your shoes on” Quinn had Fred propped up on a kitchen chair.

“Know what’s scarier than a skeleton?” he asked. “A ONE ARMED SKELETON! Fred’s the coolest!”

Wow. Good attitude, kid. Not today, acacia wood platter. (But definitely another day. You’re gorgeous.)

The next day Quinn introduced his buddy Maddex to Fred. I heard “Cool” and then “MOMMMMMMMMMMMMY!”

Both boys ran down the hall brandishing one of Fred’s arms.

“Now we each get a skeleton hand!”

Then they ran off to slap each other with their new hands.

Hello.

Meet Fred.

Know what’s scarier than a one armed skeleton? Waaaaaaay freakin’ scarier.

He’s had a rough 24 hours.

Fred can’t itch his nose or eat a bowl of cereal.

Fred needs rest.

Also, someone should have told Mommy that Fred was resting on the couch before she sat down.

Excuse me, is that your severed femur in my butt?

Uh oh, Fred.

Know what’s scarier than a skeleton with no arms?

Hello, Diabetes!

The child and I have arrived in upstate NY for a little Grandparent action. If you are the only grandchild to the World’s Most Adoring Grandparents in the History of Grandparents you are in for the BEST VACATION EVER because you get to:

  • Swear on all things holy that you will NEVER eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich your mother offered to pack for you only to DEMAND a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the super expensive vegetarian kiosk at SeaTac airport.
  • NOT eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich from the overpriced vegetarian kiosk at SeaTac airport because there is one person on board with a peanut allergy and they happen to be sitting next to US.
  • Spend 3 hours and 34 minutes of the 3 hour and 51 minute flight to Detroit telling your already anxious mother how much you want to GET OFF THE PLANE AND JUST BE THERE ALREADY!
  • Refuse to put your shoes on to use the airplane bathroom because clearly a LAVATORY isn’t covered in pee and feces.
Apologies for the future traveler in Seat 32A. We couldn’t take these with us. I’m sure you understand.
  • Insist on killing time in Detroit by riding up and down a random escalator but wholeheartedly REFUSE to pee.
  • Forget that cool Storm Trooper roller bag you love so much and laboriously packed a purple marker, Peppa Pig keychain, 4 Goldfish crackers, and a fart (or so you claim) in 6 times before making your mother just f*$#ing carry it.
  • Refuse all the food options presented to you because YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY.
  • Definitely NOT eat the chicken tenders and fries from Popeye’s we waited 16 minutes for because YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY. Ask for chicken tenders and fries from Wendy’s as you board your connection.
  • Double over in pain on the jetway because your stomach hurts so bad DEFINITELY NOT because you are hungry.
  • Cry on the connecting flight because you are in fact SO HUNGRY. Make your mom unfasten her seatbelt and stand up before reaching a comfortable cruising altitude–in turbulence–to get the 4 Goldfish crackers from your stupid, G*#D@&%M Storm Trooper roller bag.
  • Spill your water all over your mom’s Us Weekly.
  • Complain because you are thirsty and have no water.
  • Get off the plane, ditch your mom and all the bags you promised to help carry, and run down the hallway into the arms of your beloved grandpa. Make 2 TSA agents and another grandpa cry in the process.
  • Eat 4 cookies before we even get our luggage.
  • Negotiate a trip to your favorite toy store (Five Below) before we’ve even paid for parking.
  • Bring 6 more cookies into Grandma Juju’s bed and make her buy 3 episodes of Peppa Pig from Amazon.
  • Discover “Gekky’s Magical Vending Machine” (a.k.a. “the “Snack Closet”) and consume 3 packs of M&Ms, a Kinder egg, 74 cheese puffs, 4 mini blueberry muffins, a pack of Butterscotch Krimpets (or rather, just peel the delicious frosting off their heads and leave the spongy carcasses for your mother), and a bag of Raisinetes. Because fruit.
Behind Door #3–Type 2 Diabetes!
  • Make your grandparents blast We Will Rock You at 12:30AM so you can show them what you learned in drum class.
  • Download one more episode of Peppa Pig.
  • Finally agree to go to bed with the promise of early pool time tomorrow.
  • Fall asleep watching SpongeBob cartoons and whatever inappropriate show probably came of after because your mom fell asleep an hour before you.
  • NOT stay on your side of the bed in favor of shoving your mom so far over she woke up with her forehead on the nightstand.
  • Get up at 8:15 EST (that’s 5:15 your time, dear child), say, “Bye, Mom” as you head downstairs to get in bed with the Grands, place an order for a waffle and glass of chocolate milk, and watch Peppa Pig.

The grandparents say, “He’s better than advertised.” The child claims to want to stay here for “100 days and forever.” The mother got to be alone in a T.J. Maxx for 42 minutes. It was been quoted by multiple sources that this is fact the world’s greatest vacation.

Jesus and the Mean Mommy

I’m disciplining my child!

This may not seem like news, or rather something that should be implemented 4 and 3/4 years after said child’s birth, but it’s happening. It is swift and merciless  and makes me feel like a fantastic mother!

But why now, you ask? Great question.

The other day in the heat of some old-school disciplinary action, I was looming over the child, threatening to suspend our weekly Saturday Target outings unless he put on some pants and stopped trying to feed the dog Legos, when the child looked up, shook his head, and said, “Jesus, you’re mean.”

I’m sorry, wha?

Seriously, kid. I was mean, but where’d you hear about Jesus?

“Repeat that?” I asked him calmly.

Jeeee-zuuuuu–sssss, yeeeeerrrrrr meaaaaaaan,” he said real slow because his mom was deep in middle age and kind of slow herself.

“Wait. You think I’m mean?” I asked. “Or Jesus is mean?”

So much to unpack here.

You are.”

“Well, that’s fine. You can call me mean, but you can’t just go around saying Jesus, okay? Great. Good chat, kid.”

“Why?”

“It’s not appropriate.”

“Why?”

“Because it could offend people.”

“But why?” Quinn asked again. “What’s a Jesus?”

I totally got this, Duck. Back off.

“Well,  let’s see,” I started. “Jesus was…uh…a guy who some people believe was a really good person who did some really good things and saying his name like that is disrespectful.”

Nailed it! (You can totally crib that for your own kids.)

This might come as a shock given my very articulate and educated description of Jesus, but I’m not religious. I believe I’m what an online dating site would call spiritual but not religious. Religion to me should be crafted like an la carte menu. Believe in something from column A, dabble is something from column B, and dessert. Just try to do the right thing, don’t suck, watch out for karma, earn good juju, put it out to the Universe, come back as a friendly ghost, learn from past lives…that kind of thing.

My parents made my brother and I go to church, Sunday school, get confirmed, have a first communion, cash a bunch of checks from relatives, and eventually only go to church on major holidays like Easter and Christmas Eve. Neither my mom or my dad goes to church now and while they definitely have their beliefs, they’re not what I would call religious. That is until something seemingly innocuous like not getting married in a church or having the cleric from your D&D  game act as your officiant or NOT BAPTIZING THEIR GRANDCHILD causes them to burst into spontaneous religion.

The baptism…good lord.

This is how it was apparently supposed to go down:

  • Quinn exits my body
  • We immediately rush him to the shores of the holy river and cleanse that helpless child of all that icky original sin (And here I thought it was cradle cap.)

I guess we were just too selfish and preoccupied with all those trips to see lactation consultants and occupational therapists and car seat experts to grant our poor son guaranteed admission inside the pearly gates. I mean, what a life, right? Who wants to give that up? But whatever. When we went home to visit eleven months later, my parents got a friendly priest to do a baptism on a Thursday afternoon and I got Quinn a lovely blue seersucker suit. RITUAL COMPLETE!

After he called me mean (which I admit, I found hysterical), I told my own mom (whom was called much, much worse by her own offspring. Sorry, Mommy) the story.

“YOU TOLD HIM JESUS WAS SOME GUY?” she yelled.

“I’m not sure exactly what I said. But that’s not the funny part. It was the context–”

“Jesus wasn’t just some guy! TEACH HIM ABOUT JESUS!”

“Uhh, okay? But he’s four and just starting to wipe his own butt so maybe I’ll hold off on the Things to Know About Jesus talk.”

“He needs to start learning now! He needs a basis! Can I send him books?”

I already knew how this ended. There would be books. So. Many. Books. But I reminded her again of his age. Sometimes Peppa Pig goes over his head so I’m pretty sure the Old Testament might be a titch advanced, but okay. I’ll try to get her books into the rotation. We read to him every night before bed. Were these stories that much different than Thomas the Tank Engine getting schooled in responsibility or Wonder Woman putting some tiger thieves behind bars?

God bless Amazon Prime. Two days later The Miracles of Jesus and The Big Book of Bible Stories were on the porch.

“Juju got you some new books,” I said, trying to build up the excitement. “About Jesus. That…uh, guy I was telling you about. Shall we read them?

“Nah. I want to read The Duck Who Played Kazoo.”

“Okay,” I said. “Another time.” It is really hard to compete with a kazoo playing duck.

The next night I brought up the Jesus books again.

“Hey, want to hear about a super cool miracle?”

“Nope,” he said matter of factly. “Not reading those. I want to read Teen Titans.”

“You know,” I said, unsure of why I was working this so hard, “Jesus was kind of a super hero. I mean, he apparently had some pretty rad powers. He could walk on water. Turn water into wine. Communicate with animals.” (Actually I don’t know if that last one is true. I might be getting him confused with the druid in my D&D game.)

But this kid wasn’t buying the loaves or the fishes.

“Nope.”

Oh well. I tried.

While Bart read Teen Titans, I cozied up with one of the Jesus books and read about Noah and the great flood. It was one of the stories I actually remembered because it was about animals boarding a giant boat by way of a rainbow gangplank. Pretty much the stuff all my favorite stories were made of.

Or so I thought.

Jesus god.

What in the actual hell?

Here’s a slightly paraphrased version of Noah’s Ark from Quinn’s new Jesus book:

God said, “I hate all the people and they must be eliminated. I can totally do better next time! People are  stupid and violent. I’m over it, ‘k?”

Noah said, “Sure God. I get it. What can I do to help? I also hate people.”

God said, “Get 2 of each animal (male and female because duh. Hubba hubba), your family, all the food you can store, and get on your boat. I’ll, uh, let you know when things are finished here.”

Then God wipes out ALL THE PEOPLE AND ANIMALS! NOT A BIRD OR A BUNNY OR LITTLE BOY WAS LEFT! Goodbye stupid, violent people! The slate has been wiped clean! Good riddance! Noah sat on his ark for 601 million years before God remembered him out there and finally told him–by way of a bird holding a stick in its beak– that it was safe to come home. Order was restored. People got stupid again.

The end.

That one’s gonna be a hard no. Definitely not right before bed.

Where was the peace and love and animal procreation? THERE WAS NO RAINBOW! How did I not know God was eliminating every stupid, violent living thing? Who is reading these books to children?!

Well, it’s a good thing my parents had us both baptized because neither of us was getting into heaven on our test scores.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Shove Your Elf Hatred Right Up Yer Bah Humbug

The holidays are my jam.

I love you long time, Holidays.

You will never find a happier, more hospitable, more generous me. I make gingerbread from scratch every year, each time forgetting how gross it is and deck my halls before the Thanksgiving turkey has even been ordered. Give me fake snow, LED curtain lights, and all the Candace Cameron Bure holiday vehicles. I am so in.

I come from holiday-loving stock. My parents only desire was to make sure my brother and I had a better Christmas than the previous one. Oh yes, they brought us to church where we learned all about the real “reason for the season” too, but even a magical pregnant virgin couldn’t compete with flying reindeer, misfit toys, and little elves who could build the exact same Lite Bright that was in the Toys R Us catalog. Every December 25th, my brother and I woke up to a living room filled with Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Legos, and Barbie’s Dream Gated Community. Didn’t matter that some of the toys had Kmart price tags on them or that Santa had the exact same chicken scratch as our mom. What mattered was the cookies left on the mantle had been eaten and the tuft of stuffing near the front door indicated Rudolph was almost positively definitely inside our house.

It was pure magic.

Now I am the parent of a four year-old who is just beginning to understand the magic of holiday fallacies. And because I’m me, we totally bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf deal last year. If you’re familiar, the Elf comes to stay with your family sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas and returns home to the North Pole every night to give Santa a rundown on the day’s activities. The next morning the child delights in finding their elf residing in a new spot around your home.

Pure magic, right?

Well, sort of.

As it turns out the little imp is rather contentious. A lot of people despise this thing. Like hate it’s stupid, stuffed, little guts.

Santa doesn’t hate you, little elf. Everyone else does.

I of course am not one of those people. I revere our elf almost as much as our son does. When she made her return trip Thanksgiving morning, my son could barely hold it together. He woke us up, nearly in tears, and dragged us to the living room where I was certain he’d point out our dead cat (she’s been tormenting the dog for years) or the ol’ bearded one himself ass up in the fireplace. But nope. He pointed to the dining room table where the rosy cheeked “Elfalina” sat perched on a Mason jar.

“She came back,” he whispered.

Do you not see thePURE MAGIC here???

Well, magic mixed with animosity. For some reason people aren’t digging a stuffed doll that not only airs your dirty laundry, but tells Santa it took you six days to fold it. Perhaps you’ve heard the hateful allegations lobbed against elves. Perhaps you’ve been deterred from inviting your very own shelf-sitter into your home. But wait! These are also holiday fallacies (the bad kind) and hold as much water as a tree stand from a dollar store. (Pro Tip: don’t buy a tree stand from a dollar store.)

Does this look like the face of a psychopath???
DOES THIS????

Fallacy: It’s Too Much Work

Fact: I have a full time job, a demanding kid, and a DVR full of Bravo television that isn’t going to lay on the couch, moderately buzzed, and watch itself! I’m super lazy and yet, I still manage to muster the physical strength to pick up a three ounce doll and move it from a houseplant to behind a canister of coffee.

Yes, I’ve seen the Pinterest pages and Instagram accounts dedicated to the elite elf movers and shakers. There’s one riding away in a bouquet of candy cane colored hot air balloons! Oh look! There’s an elf who was up all night baking and decorating miniature sugar cookies! Oh har har, your neighbor’s elf poops Hershey Kisses. So cute. Hey man, whatever works because your the one setting expectations. Maybe your elf never leaves her perch. Maybe the elf prefers to communicate through Instagram posts. Your elf, your rules.

An elf that poops chocolate? What’s bad about that?!

 

Fallacy: It’s Creepy

Fact: If your elf is creepy, stop right now, get the box it came in, and READ IT! Does it say Chuckie on the Shelf? Little Girl from The Ring on the Shelf? High-Profile Man in Hollywood on the Shelf? Because our elf is a straight up stuffed, side-eye-giving toy with a cute backstory. If you’re worried about the creepiness factor, have your elf debut with a small offering for your child. Works like a charm. Santa’s been pulling that schtick for years.

 

Fallacy: It’s an Invasion of Privacy

Fact: “I don’t want that thing watching us!” They shriek. “What message is it sending to our kids?” I heard those arguments from a mom who constantly shares photos of her toddler daughter in the bath and her son’s potty training progress with her 649 Facebook friends. I’m pretty sure they didn’t sign a release.

First, the elf isn’t really watching you. (SEE: Stuffed toy.) The same can’t be said for the roly poly dude who has built an empire on voyeurism, bribery, and some light home invasion. You know, that guy who sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake? Hello, stalker! They learned it from watching him!

 

Fallacy: It’s Sending the Wrong Message

Fact: Sorry, what message are we talking about? The one where you’re supposed to be good for goodness sake? Again, our boy Santa is already perpetrating that myth. And really, what’s wrong with asking your kids to clean up their mess, eat a vegetable, and maybe not moon their grandparents when you’re Facetiming? Trust me, having a little imp to tag in once in awhile is pretty awesome.

 

Fallacy: They’re Dangerous

Fact: Well, you got me there.

See? The Elf on the Shelf is basically like having a free au pair your kids are sort of afraid of. At least for the month of December. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to figure out how to make a zipline from my son’s bedroom door the Christmas tree. Pure magic.

 

Butt Coin

While visiting family in the Chicago suburbs, Quinn’s Great Uncle Mike handed him a silver dollar. Quinn thought that was super cool. He’s starting to understand money. You get it, you trade it for  cheap plastic toys, repeat.

Later at the hotel, we were all chilling on the king sized bed eating Chex Mix and watching Beach House Bargain, when Quinn started squirming.

“What are you doing, buds?” I asked.

“Trying to get my money out,” he answered.

“Out of where?” I asked like a stupid, dumb, moron mother. I mean, duh, Mom. Out of where do you think an almost 4 year-old stashes his money?

“Out of my butt,” he said.

Oh for f*ck’s sake, I thought. It’s finally happened. Sticks and stones and broken bones and coinage stuck in a pooter. Some kids stick marbles in their noses, some kids swallow magnets, of course mine is going to treat his butt like an ATM.

“What the hell, kid?” I asked, trying to remain calm. We were in the Chicago suburbs. There had to be what? 8? 9? 362 urgent care centers around us? Someone within a 2 mile radius will be way more equipped at digging coinage out of my son’s butt, right? (EDITOR’S NOTE: Jesus, woman, did you just say that?! Your kid will be a teenager one day! THE INTERNET IS FOREVER!)

More equipped like perhaps my life parter and baby daddy who was laying 2.6 inches away from his son’s currency-filled crack. But yeah, its hard to be able-bodied when you’re face-down in a dirty hotel pillowcase laughing your ass off. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Ass? Really? Because this is a story about butts? Lame joke, honey! You’re better than that! We’re better than that!)

“What money did you put in your butt, dear child?” I asked. “Or rather, who’s? Because stealing ain’t cool and even less cool is stealing and then hiding the goods in a sacred orifice.” Again, super calm because there was no need to get the child worked up and tense. Tense would be about the worst thing to happen here. Tense is what’s going to happen at the Urgent Care center. We don’t need tense right now.

“The money Uncle Mike gave me,” he answered with all the nonchalance of someone answering the question, “Where do you keep the Vaseline and tweezers?”

Oh, sweet relief! Okay. A silver dollar, you say? I admit, I’m not the most spatially gifted girl. If you ask me the distance between my home and Trader Joe’s, I would tell you 13 miles (EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s .04 miles) or how tall Quinn is I might guess maybe 2 and a half feet (EDITOR’S NOTE: Or 3.6 feet. But what’s an entire foot when talking about your child’s physical appearance.) But even I could ascertain (EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh good lord. How long has it been since you wrote a freakin’ blog post. ASCERTAIN? Because it sounds like “ass?” It’s not even spelled like that!) that a silver dollar could not fit into an almost four year-old’s…well, I don’t need to paint you a picture. But OMG, what if I did? What a horrible picture! (EDITOR’S NOTE: MOVE ON!)

So I helped Quinn out of his PJ’s, shook him a bit (EDITOR’S NOTE: You can’t shake babies, dummy! Use a different word!) Umm…okay so I jostled him a titch? And wouldn’t you know it, there dropped the silver dollar! Jackpotty! (EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, jackpotty is actually pretty funny.)

Sure, you’ve heard of bitcoin, but have you smelled a butt coin? No. No, you haven’t.

“Disgusting!” Bart yelled, muffled because he was still guffawing into his pillow.

“Honey Bear,” I started, again in my calm mommy voice. “Please don’t put money anywhere near your butt. That could have been scary.”

“But why?” He asked.

“Because money is dirty. And if anything gets stuck inside your body, we’d have to go to a doctor to have it removed. And that might not feel too good.”

He looked appropriately repentant which pleased me. Got to grab those teachable moments when they jump in front of you and down your kid’s Thomas the Train pajamas.

And then he said, “Smell it.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Smell my butt coin!”

“OMG, no. This was a TEACHABLE GOD DAMN MOMENT! I’m not smelling your butt coin!

“Pleaaaaaaaaaaaase???”

“No, baby bear I will not. Not ever.”

“SMELL MY BUTT COIN!”

“Please leave me alone, thank you.”

“EAT IT!”

“Jesus Christ on a cracker, GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!”

“Mommy, smell it!!!!”

I jumped from sleeper sofa to bed to desk to shower stall back to bed to hallway to sleeper sofa and back again trying to shake the little loot tooter. But he was buoyed by his love of butts, poop, farts, being disgusting, and his dad’s encouraging hysterics so he was relentless.

“I’M YOUR MOTHER!” I yelled. “YOU DON’T TREAT MOTHERS LIKE THIS!”

In our house we have a saying. “Moms are for snuggles. Dads are for farts.” What was happening here was not normal.

“SMELL IT. SMELL IT NOW!”

“Make your dad smell it!” I shouted. “GIVE DADDY YOUR BUTT COIN!”

I…I…I don’t know what else to say. I can’t explain. I said that– no I yelled that. I know our neighbors must have heard it. Give daddy your butt coin. Go on, sweetie. Give daddy your butt coin so he can get you a Pepsi and some M&Ms. (EDITOR’S NOTE: How much are butt coins worth???? In a hotel vending machine that order is at least $4.75) Or If you can’t take care of your things you need to give Daddy your butt coin right now!

I know you want to know how this situation was resolved. My god you read this far you deserve to know the ending. I didn’t smell the butt coin, but I took possession of it. What choice did I have? I yanked it out of is gross, little hands and ran to the bathroom with it where I scrubbed it down with Marriott branded body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Then I hid it in Bart’s toiletry bag.

“Aw, Mom!” Quinn pleaded. “I need it! Give me back my butt coin.”

“Sorry, kid,” I said, pouring hand sanitizer on his arms, neck, torso and face. “Your money is no good here.”

“Mommy, snuggle me.”

And just like that my baby was back. Mommy’s are for snuggles. Wow, I guess butt coin was a short phase. I kind of expected it to last a little longer.  Sugar and spice and butt coins and lice.

I grabbed my soft, gentle, little sweetness and cozied up to him and about 8,945 filthy bedbugs on our king size hotel comforter.

“I love you baby bunny,” I said.

“I farted!” He said. “I farted on your arm!”

That’s my boy.

I Got the Moves, Baby

They say a little boy’s first love is his mother.

Not true in our case. My son fell in love with the blonde nurse in the hospital seconds after he was born. And then he fell for my blonde co-worker. Oh, and then there’s Ingrid, his adorable blonde classmate.

I’m a brunette in case you forgot.

But I’m right up there in his affections.

Or at least parts of me are.

Last night Quinn and I were playing his version of volleyball. He stands on one side of the room, I sit on my ass about 6 feet away. He tells me I’m “the net” and I toss a rubber ball to him. He tries to hit it back. I catch it and “serve” it to him. This goes on until he says he wants to be “the net” and switches sides with me. (I’m still not sure what it means to be “the net” as it appears to be very similar to “not being the net” and also nothing like a real net.)

I don’t suck at this game and it’s one of the few non-violent games he’s into lately so I readily play whenever he asks. Plus I enjoy sitting down.

Last night while tossing the old rubber ball back and forth we had this conversation:

QUINN: You’ve got some moves!

ME: (Grateful he noticed!) You like my moves? Why thank you!

QUINN: No, your boobs! I like your boobs!

ME: Oh. Umm.

QUINN: I’M GOING TO MARRY THOSE BOOBS!

ME: Oh my god… BART!

People, this is a kid who was so breast-feeding challenged he literally cried at the site of my boobs. And now he wants to marry them? Umm, no. They have feelings, kid. They remember. Show some remorse for goodness sake.

I can not take my future. Can’t we go back to the “penis and butthole” days? (Great name for a tavern, no? Or maybe some buddy cops?)

If you’re looking for me I’ll be the one wearing 4 sports bras and a suit of armor.

I feel ya, Mrs. Ebert.
I feel ya, Mrs. Ebert.

Join My Tribe

Toddlers!

Man!

What is with those guys?

One day they’re all Learny McLearnerson and the next they’re like thumb-sucking, bed-wetting nubes. Okay, they’re kind of like that all the time but still.

Having spent considerable time with a toddler, I have discovered 6 things they just don’t understand. Check out my post on Tribe Magazine today and help a toddler reach ultimate enlightenment today.

Also, Tribe Magazine is awesome and I’m super excited to be published there!

Listen to Your Mother (If You Can Stand it)

Phonophobia: Fear of loud sounds, including voices–including your own–especially Shelly Mazzanoble’s.

Does anyone like hearing their voice? I cannot stand it. (True confession: Even though I co-host the Dungeons & Dragons podcast, I can’t listen to a single one, which sucks because we’ve had some really great guests on there. And I tend to do a great imitation of Bert from Sesame Street that I’m pretty sure would blow my own mind.) I also don’t love seeing myself because in my mind I’m waaaaaaaaaaaay better looking than that goofy, wildly gesturing, large-eyed creature with the grating voice before me.

If you also can’t stand my voice or the sight of me perhaps you should stop reading now. If you think you can stomach it, below is the link to my performance as part of this year’s  Listen to your Mother Seattle show.  (And if I had any technical skills I’d be able to change the frozen image below so that it’s not one of me looking like I’m mid cat-call to some poor significant other in the front row who’s covertly watching a MMA fight on his phone throughout the show. Not covert enough, Bucko! LISTEN TO MY GRATING VOICE!)

Here’s what people are saying about my performance!

“Wow. You said pussy and nipple in like the first 7 seconds. Wow.”

“So, I’m still not sure. Do you like being a mom?”

“I love your necklace.”

So, you know. Those are pretty enticing reasons to watch this.

The show was tremendous fun and the cast– wow, oh wow. They were all truly stellar. I encourage you to listen to all of their stories. I think you’ll love their words as well as their voices. My necklace is pretty badass too.

 

How Did We Get Here?

My baby boy is three today! How did this happen? Well, kind of like this (give or take a few momentous occasions.)

Uh, uh, uh, someone please pass the unpasteurized cheese.
Yum! Unpasteurized cheese.

10/23/12: Pregnancy test is positive. Stress eat a wheel of brie and 3 pounds of raw cookie dough

10/24/12: Am certain it’s a girl. Settle on a name.

2/19/13: Mom finally concedes and buys little red dress for future granddaughter.

2/20/13: Find out from ultrasound it’s a boy.

2/20/13: Mom returns dress.

7/10/13: Sent to hospital without lunch for induction. Really pissed about missing lunch.

7/10/13: Really pissed no one will give me one of the infamous hospital chocolate milkshakes. What the hell am I paying for here?

7/11/13: Happily trade milkshake for epidural. Really, really love epidural. Ask for a glass of wine.

7/11/13: 9:09 PM. Anesthesiologist says, “Congratulations! You’re not pregnant anymore.” Think that’s a really weird thing to say.

7/11/13: 9:10 PM. Immediately fill with dread and anxiety. OMG, there’s a baby here! We’re really doing this!

7/11/13: 9:12 PM. Miss being pregnant. Still love epidural. Ask for a milkshake.

7/11/13: 9:22 PM. Hold Quinn as he stares at me with big, blue eyes. Both agree to try not to kill each other.

8/11/13: Call boss and ask if I can come back to work early.

8/15/13: Would love to dress Quinn in cute onsies, but scared of actually touching him. Wonder if anyone would notice he only wears ponchos.

9/23/13: Kid is really cute, but wonder when those maternal instincts are supposed to kick in.

10/22/13: Eagerly anticipate returning to work. How relaxing will that be!

10/23/13: Return to work and cry the whole way to daycare.

10/24/13: Wonder why babies get really, really adorable the day after maternity leave ends.

10/25/13-7/10/16: Blur, blur, blur

7/11/16: Wake up to three year-old son jumping through streamers and asking who hung up all the Paw Patrol decorations. Says, “Awwww. That’s nice!” when we tell him the Birthday Fairy came.

7/11/16: Cannot imagine life without this adorable, funny, kind, polite, friendly, smart, entertaining, genius* child in our lives. Would not trade a minute of being his mom—not even for all the chocolate milkshakes and epidurals in the world.

*according to 3 out of 4 grandparents

You all this three?
You call this three? Whatevs.

Parents Say the Darndest Things

My baby boy is about to turn three!

I keep hearing “Oh, that’s the best age!” regardless of what age he is, but this time I’m inclined to believe it. He’s actually quite funny and charming. He loves slapstick humor and stories about monsters and bad guys (who rampage other people’s stuff. Never his.) We have real conversations. He has definite opinions. He tells me he likes my ponytail and hates my cardigans.

Every day I find myself questioning the things he’s learning, as in “Holy cow, who taught him that amazing thing?” (Usually the answer is daycare.)

I try to write down the adorable things that come out of his mouth, but always forget because they’re usually followed by something horrifying and cringeworthy. Those things I always write down.

Lately I’ve been paying attention to the words I find myself stringing together in response to my dear, sweet child. Things I never thought I’d have to say. Things I never thought I would have to explain. Things I never thought would be compared to a bounce house.

Here are just a few of the highlights of the past few days:

  • Because I don’t need a penis, that’s why.
  • Honey, please don’t call that nice family, “butt guys.” We don’t even know them.
  • Don’t say “doody butt.”
  • Don’t say “booty butt.”
  • Don’t say “booger butt.”
  • Don’t say “butty butt butt booger butt guy.”
  • Would you want your name to be,”Toilet Butt?”
  • Yes, GOD DAMMIT is potty talk so stop saying it.
  • No, you can not say GOD DAMMIT when you’re at home. It’s potty talk here too.
  • How did Jacob get a toilet on his head?
  • Honey, please stop licking Princess Leia.
  • I don’t think the dog wants you to rub your butt on him.
  • No, I don’t want to tickle your nipple.
  • Can you tickle your own armpit, please?
  • Is that shaving cream on your penis?
  • No, your penis is not a bounce house.
  • Because people don’t like it when you point at their bodies and say, “I can see your penis.”
  • No, I don’t know what superpower Naked Toddler has. Do tell.
  • Mommy did not say that. You must have imagined it.
  • Don’t tell your dad Mommy said that.
  • If anyone asks, you heard that from your dad.
Oh man, that better be shaving cream.
Oh man, that better be shaving cream.