Thursday, May 30, 2013

Go Big Pants!

My kid is smart and I'm proud of him. There I said it.  My Big Pants Boy came home yesterday with two medals he had won in a national math contest. He was tied for first place in not only his class at school, but also his state.  Nationally there are 28 kids who tied for 1st with 100%, and his score - 95% earns second place. Not to shabby for a kid that hates math, and a kid who was so intimidated by math tests that last year he refused to participate in the contest. (This year he was given no choice.)

So why do I feel like it's bragging to say so?  Why is it that we feel free to post the number of soccer goals Little Johnny had, or the musical prowess of Suzie, but academic success feels inappropriate to brag about, like people will think that I think I am superior? Yes, it is all about what we think other people think we are thinking that matters most.

Moms judge you. Dads probably do, too, but Dads seem to do it at home alone with their wives as opposed to at the playground when you aren't looking.

We start judging each other the moment our bellies rise and don't stop until we probably die.  We judge the number of children we have, the food we feed them, the amount of rules we do or don't have for them, the activities we enroll them in.

We judge the mom for being single: I could never do that to my children. I put my children first. I don't see how any mother could give up seeing her children even one night a week. There is nothing sadder than a child from a broken home.

We judge the mom for staying married: I can't believe she stays with that pig. If she put her children first she'd leave him before they are irreparably damaged. Exposing children to that sort of behavior will ensure it continues on in the next generation. 

 We judge the clothing moms wear and their children wear as well as the hairstyles they allow. He has a mohawk? Can you believe she let him pierce his ear(s)?
She gave her daughter a boy's haircut! Does she want her ostracized?!

And God forbid your child has a tantrum in public, because then you'll be judged on giving in to the little monster, or not giving in to them and irritating everyone else. And yes, every other mother is feeling smug that it is not their child acting out, at least not today.

Hey, guys, if we are being judged on our worst moments, why not let them see the times we got it right?  If you are like me, you aren't bragging because you think you are better than everyone else, you are saying, "Look how well my kid is turning out in spite of all the things I have screwed up! I wasn't all bad!!!" 

Let's be honest, we all need those victories.  The more moms I talk to the more I learn how universally we feel like failures.  And we have to stop looking at other people's successes as an attack against our our choices.  As moms, why don't stop keeping score and just say to each other, "Good job!  You aren't the screw up you think you are - here's proof!"

And just for today, here's mine.  I didn't screw everything up by being a single mother, or being a lenient mother, or being a low-energy mother. My genetic hand-me-downs may leave a lot to be desired, but there's some good I passed down, too.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why I am not DTF Zombies

Why I Hate Zombies

I know, I know. I'm intolerant.  Zombies are cool, yo. EVERYONE loves zombies.  Except for me.  Know why? They are scary and eat people and dogs and children. I don't care if they need love too, they ain't getting' it from me.

I don't know why everyone else loves zombies, but smart people have actually done a study about it. read it here. Apparently they have put thought into whether zombies are a comment on a decaying economy or whether zombies are the new proletariat. Either way, they eat your brain.

I just watched I am Legend with Will Smith, who plays a bad-ass Blood-Eating-Mutant killing scientist.  Good movie, except for the vividly depicted angry blood-eating-mutant part.   Yes, I know they are not zombies, but they are like cousins to zombies, so I'm lumping them in together.  Stereotyping.  Whatevah. They all want to eat me so pardon my lack of precision.

My dear friend E has this shirt (OK, not exactly this shirt, but a very similar one):

Which you can get here for either gender - Zombies ain't homophobic.  Look - I have just said "ain't" twice in one blog. Zombies are eating my brain.

Now, if you don't know whatZILF means, it's the zombie version of MILF, and if you don't know what DTF or MILF means, don't google it, as it will probably offend you.  For the rest of you, though, here's some hard truth:

There is no Zombie ILF.  Do you know why? They smell bad and eat people.

Do you know who ILF?  Scientists developing a cure to un-zombie zombies.  I would ILF them regardless of they were men, women, fat, thin….you cure zombies or blood-eating mutants, you are so going on my ILF list.  

Which leads to me what is wrong with this world.  Too many people ILF zombies and not enough people ILF smart people who may have a long-range solution to zombies.  Many people ILF zombie-fighters, but zombie-fighters can only have a limited impact on the world, and will eventually get eaten.  Scientists could kill/cure all  zombies, and live to eat your meatloaf and pretend to like it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Unsolicited and Unpaid Product Review of Colgate Optic White Toothpaste

Because I love my readers so much, I decided to do you a favor.  I bought Optic White Toothpaste - the one that promises whiter teeth in just one week- and I decided to document my teeth every day for a week for you.  Or close to a week. Whatever.  I have a problem with commitment. We'll see how this works out. 

I figure if you are like me you are really curious about this product but don't trust advertisements at all.  Seeing as I am not getting paid for this, you can trust me.  Technically, I paid them to do this, because I bought the damn toothpaste without a coupon even.

I took pictures of myself every morning after brushing my teeth in approximately the same lighting/position.  I did not alter my brushing routine, which means if I had a glass of wine after brushing my teeth before bed, I didn't run in and brush extra.  If I brushed more than twice a day I used an alternate tooth polish. I did not use mouthwash in case it might have harbored secret whitening properties.  I also did not color correct any of the photographs even though my skin looks really yellow and I'm not really yellow.  I wanted consistent results and something to blame my teeth on if they didn't whiten.  Yellow light is good for that.

Here are my results:
  Teeth Day One:
Wow, my smile is crooked. My skin is yellow.

Teeth Day Two:
I wonder if I have facial weakness causing my uneven smile. But my teeth are whiter. Then again, my skin is less yellow.

Teeth Day Three:
Trying my hardest to raise my cheek to even out smile.  Now I am obsessing about my lips. My top lip seem inverted.

Teeth Day Four:
Ahh, I am yellow again.  My teeth look slightly like I ate classroom chalk. but so does my skin.  I definitely need lipliner.  Looking at my mouth is getting kind of creepy.  Do I really want everyone on the internet to look this closely at my smile? What about people I've never met? What about the size and shape of my teeth? Are they appropriate? 

Devise cheek exercise:

Realize I am much wrinklier on one side of face than the other.  Feel reassured that my intent to crop all teeth photos will cut out wrinkles as well.  Wonder about facial weakness/possibility of undetected stroke. Try to assess if the side I can't raise up as high is less wrinkly than the side that smiles easily. Wonder if things in life were funnier if I would have smiled more often with both sides of face (instead of one)  and therefore developed a more even smile.  Debate if I should be doing exercises to lift smile evenly or should concentrate on facial paralysis to defeat wrinkles.  This leads to thoughts on Botox.  No, Botox sounds gross.  Maybe Botox not as crazy as I once thought. Maybe it's fun to look perpetually surprised. 

Day Five:

Wow, I think my teeth actually are whiter and my smile more even.  I must remember to note that there is no increased tooth sensitivity. My readers might want to know. I certainly would.  Realize I am getting way creeped out looking at my teeth this closely. Realize I would have sucked as a dental hygienist. Then again I never actually contemplated becoming a dental hygienist anyway so it's no great loss.  Wonder if everyone looking at these pictures are judging my tooth size,  tooth spacing, smile symmetry and obvious need for lip liner. Try multiple versions of the spelling the word symmetry to get close enough for spell check to figure out what I am saying.

 Remember an America's Next Top Model episode that talks about the correlation between beauty and symmetry. Wonder if that whole symmetry = beautiful thing is why I am only an "8" and not a "10" or if it has to do with confidence. Realize I just admitted to the internet that I watch ANTM and they already know I am almost 40 because I mention my age at least once a week.Feel somewhat reassured that not many people know my blog exists and therefore mostly people I know will be judging me.  Feel less reassured that people who know me in real life will now look more closely at my teeth the next time they see me.  Decide to go to bed.

Day 6:
I'm not sure I can take another day looking at my teeth.  I'm not sure they are whiter.  I am starting to think this is bullshit.  Definitely need to do more cheek exercises.  Wonder if everyone on the internet will find my lopsided smile charming.  Wonder why my orthodontist never put braces on my bottom teeth back in high school. Have blinding realization that if everyone is staring at my mouth as a result of this they won't notice the wrinkles around my eyes.  Decide this blog idea was brilliant. Decide teeth are definitely whiter.

Day 7:
Oh look, I'm pink!  But my teeth are whiter.  See, the stuff works, and I made it an entire week.  I am glad of many things :
1. Toothpaste worked.
2. Cropping of photo hides large pimple on my cheek.  I remember when I thought acne magically cleared up when you went to college.  How naive I once was.
3. I am done with this blog! I never have to scrutinize my teeth daily, except for lingering broccoli.

Now can someone tell me how I can get paid for this?  Because I rock as a product tester.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why My Life Choices Don't Actually Suck

When I first left my ex --note I said I left, meaning it it was my choice, not something thrust on me against my will -- I was resentful of being a single parent.  When my mother --who had been a single parent of young children herself -- warned me that it was really a lot harder than I imagined, I blew her off.  "Yeah," I said, "But I don't plan on being single for long."  And I didn't.  I figured 4-6 months and I'd find my next true love/replacement Daddy and move on.  Except I didn't, and Thank God for that.

When I was freshly single I attended a preschool party for my oldest child who was then three and his brother barely 6 months old.  A mother came up to chit-chat with me and told me a "funny" story about a friend of hers. The friend and her husband got sick at the same time and just had to let the kids run wild eating cereal all day, which was all the kids could get for  themselves.  But what could they do? They got sick at the same time!!  Hahahahaha.  I just looked at her and let the silence speak for itself -- yes, when I get sick, that is how it always is.  Now imagine having hemorrhoid surgery while you are home alone with two kids, neither of which can go to the bathroom unassisted.  Not so funny now, is it????

In other words, I was resentful of the station I chose for myself.  I was expecting a white knight to come sweep me away, except they didn't come.  Now, it's not that I didn't date, I just didn't move in with any of them.  I might not believe in divine intervention as a rule, but the fact that I didn't commit to someone right away is proof that someone up there looks out for drunks, fools, and single moms on occasion.  

The truth is that I am so much better off because I didn't meet someone right away.  I had never lived alone.  In my adult life, when I was single I had roommates by choice.  I hated being alone and wanted no part in it.  Then I became a single mother and had to live alone.  Shared parenting is a mixed blessing, because you miss your kids like crazy when they are gone, but you also need a break from the intensity of being a single parent occasionally, too, especially if (like me) you have no family in town to spell you.  Those little lilliputians will take you down if you lose your edge.  I had to learn to live with the loneliness that crashed in when the kids were at Daddy's, as well as how to survive being alone with the boys as the only parent.  I didn't want to. I wanted desperately for someone to fix everything for me, but in reality that was the last thing I needed.

What I have learned from being a single parent the past four years or so is that I have no desire to compromise.  I have learned to like who I am without being half of a couple.  I have learned the benefits of having the freedom to make plans to go out with a girlfriend or just to order take out without consulting anyone else first. I like not sharing the remote just as much as I like knowing that I am capable and strong.  It took me a really long time to realize that and to stop resenting the fact that I was single.

Now, I'm not saying that every person out there should run out and get divorced, not by a long shot.  I realize this is not the ideal situation.  But I also realize that I don't need to be Mrs. Somebody to complete me.  I don't need a man to take care of me.  I can jump a car battery, do all my own lawn care (badly) and keep everyone mostly gruntled and dressed and fed. Companionship and adult conversation is necessary and vital, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to go to someone out of want for them, not need for them.  It's nice to know I can stand on my own two feet. 

I knew exactly what I wanted, and thank God I didn't get it.  If I had gotten my way and met the next Mr. Right within my 4-6 month time frame, I would be miserable now, and my kids would be whack jobs. (for those of you who didn't study psychology in college, that's a technical term.  It means whack job.) I would be miserable because at that time in my life I was just looking for someone who approximated my idea of husband material.  I figured almost anyone would fit the bill.  My kids would be whack jobs because it's one thing to have a string of serially monogamous relationships as an adult, but it wounds your children to create and destroy family units they are a part of.  "Living together" is a fine test of a relationship before marriage if you don't have kids, but kids are emotionally committed once you bring someone around often enough. 

I am not saying that single parents shouldn't date for their children's sake.  That's straight up bullshit. Everyone deserves to find the person that can hold them at their weakest.  I'm just saying that for me, my family unit is better off if I have a separation of my dating life and my family life.  Not a total exclusion - I feel an overlap is okay - but the last things my kids or I need is a live-in boyfriend, no matter how much I have thought I needed it at particular moments in the past.

I'm also not saying other people can't hack mixing new families with old.  Hell, I watched, "The Brady Bunch," I know it can be done. I just know me, and I know that right now my life is about all I can handle without the complications of being considerate to other people.  You know, those major issues like what they want for dinner and if they have clean socks.

I needed to learn how to be a complete family with just myself and my boys before I brought someone else in to complete us. Instead of being defensive of my single status, I needed to feel complete as a flight of three. That took time. There is no shortcut to learning to be ok with yourself and your lot in life, you just have to do it until it becomes habit, then do it more until it becomes life.  My life might not look like what my mother had dreamed for me when I was a child, but it doesn't suck either. Once you have come to terms with who you are as a single parent, you are able to appreciate the joys that come with it.  And there are a lot of joys, one of which is not sharing the remote, ever.  And once you have embraced your family as it is, only then can you look at adding to it.  When you don't need someone to complete you, you can find someone to complement you.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Evil Lurks Down the Hall

"Look at me, Mama!  I'm surfing!" Big Pants proudly exclaimed while doing what I think more accurately should be described as a 'tail stand' as performed on a  skateboard -- except he was doing it on my digital scale.

This was followed by, "Look, Mama! The scale is stuck on 54.2!"

Awesome! I didn't pay any attention as I was trying to coerce two boys to brush their teeth and go to bed. About an hour later I happened to notice said scale was rapidly scrolling through every number it could count.  When it got back to zero I stepped on it out of curiosity. 

It went back up again, and hovered at two pounds below what I weighed in at this morning. Score!  But then it rose. And rose.  And stopped at 30 pounds more than my current weight.  While I know it is possessed by the devil, it was interesting that the exact number it stopped at was my highest non-pregnant weight ever - a number a scale has not reported in over 8 years.  It was taunting me.

I decided that the only possible way to make this right was to sacrifice it with a sledgehammer in the front yard, seeing as there was no handy volcano to throw it into.  However, there is currently a thunderstorm brewing complete with lots of lightning. I'm suspicious enough of the evil scale's motives to realize this was probably a ploy to get me out in the rain so it could electrocute me, so I will have to plot its demise more stealthily. 

The nagging question is how am I supposed to go to bed tonight knowing a sinister scale with impure motives is right down the hall from me? Do I encircle it in a ring of salt? Cover it with garlic powder?  I did remove one battery - one is permanently stuck - but I am not sure that is enough to contain the evil lurking inside it.

Feel free to post suggestions on how to deal with the sinister scale. If I survive the night perhaps I will organize a mass scale destruction.  You can bring yours and join me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mama On The Ropes

I am a big huge wuss.  I attempted to do a ropes course and failed.  It wasn't even a real ropes course, in my opinion; it was a $5 add-on (per person) at an indoor water park.  And I still couldn't do it. 

In my defense, I might have been able to complete a real ropes course out in the woods with trained professionals.  Here's what happened:

I was sick of the water park because I am really a low-energy person and I had a long day at the park already, but it wasn't bedtime yet and there was nothing on TV and I had spent enough money in the arcade teaching them to play slots - err, win tickets. So we did the ropes course.

The first problem was attire.  They boys were allowed to wear crocs (good, because that's all they had) but I only had flip flops and a sundress - not proper ropes course attire.  I wore my pajamas proudly in college girl (+ 20 years) style and my mother's sandals which had the requisite heel strap.  They were only a little too big, but I figured I had the skill to keep them from falling off onto a swimmer below.  I might not have ropes skills, but I totally have sandals skills.

There I am in my Sofia Vergara K-Mart PJ bottoms (so awesome and affordable) with a coordinating tank top.  The pants are really super long so I tucked them into my sandals so they wouldn't get wet. I am stylin'.   My outfit is so fabulous that I embarrassed my 5 year old.  Yes, really.

I try to pay, only to be told I have to go to the food place to buy my tickets, which means we have to eat dinner first in order to save $2 off a person. Don't ask - that's just how water parks work.  They prefer you to be full to maximum capacity on greasy, salty food when you are strapped into a body harness suspended above their other guests.

We walk all the way to the food court  and all the way back so I can next  fill out all the "I understand I may die and I promise not to sue you forms."  These are generally not a huge deal to me, except I was signing them for my children…my precious, sweet, fragile little children, one of which isn't even four feet tall.

But I am sure these people totally know what they are doing and totally follow all the safety rules, right?  Oh wait, these are the same people who did not have a life guard at the bottom of the water slide where my mother nearly drowned that morning.

Yes, you read that right, my mother got trapped at the bottom of a water slide, and with no lifeguard in the vicinity had to be rescued by me and a strange man who thankfully was walking by.  When I asked why there wasn't a lifeguard there, they said they didn't think it was necessary.  Apparently they were wrong about that.

So I am contemplating how much I trust their safety protocol while ascending the course with the kids which is not really the proper time to contemplate such things.  We get to the top, where I assume Tiny Pants will do what he always does and refuse to go any farther.  He is scared of heights, and my ticket off this ride. Except he likes it. 

That brave little tiger goes across the bridge, so I have to follow him.  I cross three evil, horrible obstacles behind my two kids before I realize there is no way I am going to go any farther. They keep going with out me.  They leave me clinging to the pole on the tiny platform which is high-but-not-really-that-high above the concrete and is swaying slightly.  

They climb to the next level. My seven and five year olds are now a full story above my head and two full stories above the water park. I think I should probably not have a hysterical fit as it will scar/embarrass my children for life.  I also probably should not puke on the people milling around below me.  Probably.

I look at that kind teenage boy with the harelip who has taken my tiny precious sons up far away to traverse rickety bridges and balance beams without me and I demand that he bring them back.  He tells me they are fine and that I should close my eyes.

There is no way some teenage punk is taking my children up on rickety bridges to fall to their deaths while I am not looking. If they die, they die with me watching.  And why did I let them wear last year's crocs? They look slippery!  And let's not forget how my own mother nearly drowned this morning! And who tests the carabiners?

And they lived.  They did their little monkey thing and I had to follow them back across the three bridges to get to the stairs. They didn't even think it was that big of a deal. They weren't even that proud of themselves.  I resolved NEVER to go on a ropes course again.  EVER.  

**I was going to insert a picture of the actual ropes course, but didn't want to give them free publicity.  I was going to try and do a better drawing, but thought the stick figures and wiggly lines exuded more terror. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Childish Assholishness

My kids are assholes.  Ok, generally they are sweet, adorable, well behaved children.  Except when they are being assholes.

If you have just started reading my blog, I have two boys, almost exactly 2.5 years apart.  Both are academically gifted, and neither of them can speak coherently.  Listening to them talk is like listening to twin-speak.

Big Pants has finally mastered L, C, and J, leaving him with only a nagging R difficulty.

Tiny Pants can't say L, C, J, and R and has developed a slight lisp -- I think just so he can top his brother in something.

My kids are mega-bonded to each other, probably because in the back and forth world of having two houses, they are the only people they see every single day no matter what.  They are best friends and play together mostly without incident.

Except when they are being assholes to each other.  Their favorite thing to do is to tease each other about their inability to speak clearly.

Big Pants: Mama, what did he say??? I can't understand him!

Tiny Pants: Say R. rrrrrrrr.  Say R!  Go look in a mirror and practice so I can understand you!

Now, part of me is glad to see them bicker, because I often worry that they are too close, and aren't developing separate identities. But do they have to do it in the area that both of them struggle with? If they could speak coherently, they would, and they both should know that.  (I, of course, always had the clearest elocution imaginable as a child.  Really.)

How do you deal with your children when they are being assholes?  Because it turns out that you aren't supposed to call them assholes.  God help me if they ever find my blog.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Marital Status Update

I opened my mail today -- ok, yesterday's mail, seeing as it is Sunday -- to find a solicitation to join my school's alumni association.  Fine, seeing as we are going with accuracy today I will correct that to say my previous school, or my most recent school's alumni association. I'm not joining, regardless.  I'm not a joiner by nature, and they already gave me a free window sticker for my car so what other possible reason would entice me to join?

After finding the free window sticker - score! - I opened the letter to look for more cool stuff. (My mama didn't raise no fool.)  I found an unusually thick business card which seems to serve no purpose whatsoever, and a questionnaire.  As I was about to toss it in the trash, this line caught my eye:

Apparently "Unknown" is my current status, not an option, as there is no box next to it to check.  Bummer, because I think "unknown" is a totally awesome answer to the question.

I have always had a problem with single statuses.  What does it matter to the alumni association if I am: single (never married), divorced, or widowed? Which is worse? No one has ever found you appealing enough to commit to, you failed at love, or your love died? Don't they all have the same net result? I think it should read - single - none of your freaking business why.

I did love, love, love the "life partner" option.  It allows almost us all to answer that question positively. Do I have a life partner? YES! I do!  It is my parrot! They live a really long time! I have children, and I will be partnered with them for life, also!  Best friends are life partners, too, aren't they? Have I experienced great, soul-changing love? Yes I have!

Do I live with an adult someone? Well, no. But that doesn't mean I don't have a life partner.

Maybe instead of trying to give all the possible permutations, they should just ask, "How would you like your mail addressed?" That would actually solve all their issues in a non-judgemental way.

In spite of my harassing, though, it did warm my soul to see the "Life Partner" option. I think it allows people to feel like the choices of who they love is acceptable to the alumni association, regardless of the legal interpretation of said relationship. Something as simple as an extra box to check can go a long ways in terms of people's perception on whether the organization is welcoming or not. I also think it was printed at a time when the school's state was voting on gay marriage, so they were probably hedging their bets.

It almost made me like them enough to fill out their damn questionnaire and send it back.  Not quite, but almost.  Besides, I really, really like my status to remain "unknown."  You can use it for my sex, race, religion, and income as well.  Or perhaps we can change "unknown" to "enigmatic." A university should always strive to use more exact vocabulary.

Friday, May 17, 2013

the Devious Tiny Pants

TINY PANTS:  Mama, can you buy a siren for your car?

MAMA:  Probably.

TINY PANTS:   OK, I'm gonna buy a siren and stickers for my car when I'm older so it looks like I'm police. 

MAMA:  Why don't you just get a job as a police officer when you grow up? Then they will give you a paycheck and a police car.

TINY PANTS: And an outfit?

MAMA:: And an outfit.

TINY PANTS: So then I can look like Police and fool them.

MAMA:  Well, I meant you could just be police, not fool them.

TINY PANTS:  If I quit can I keep the outfit and the car?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Boy Candy

I have been criticized for my invention of "Good Boy Candy" by people who don't understand my shortcomings.  It started when my oldest was about four and refused to sleep in his own bed.  I yelled. I pleaded.  I threatened. You may not know this, but screaming at a child to go to sleep rarely works. It tends to rile them up more.  I was at my wits' end.

Finally, I turned to bribery.  "If you sleep in your bed all night, I will give you a piece of candy as soon as you wake up!"

Worked like a charm.

Three years later, my kids still get "Good Boy Candy" every morning that they sleep in their own beds.  While I recognize that this is no longer necessary, I do personally appreciate "breakfast chocolate" and have since I was a child.  There is nothing better than letting a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth while you are still gathering the gumption to get out of bed and face the day.  We are all happier because of it.  However, I have accidentally turned my boys into little chocolate snobs.

Someone recently looked through my candy bowl and questioned the need for my kids to eat expensive chocolate.  They contended that if I insisted on giving them daily chocolate, it should be the cheapest candy imaginable. Here is my justification.  

1.  If mama has only cheap candy to steal from in her time of extreme need, everyone suffers.  Not just everyone in the house, but possibly everyone in the world.  If valium is no longer chic, they better not take away my chocolate.

2. Because my children detest cheap candy, they have never finished their Halloween candy or Easter basket candy ever.  They eat much less candy than if theyhad a less discriminating palate.  If it's not Dove quality or higher, they will pass.  That's right, my little chocolate snobs will turn up their noses at inferior candy, and seeing as few people offer children good chocolate, they don't get as much as you would think. For example, they will only eat Hershey's kisses in times of extreme chocolate-scarcity.

3. Dove chocolates have little inspirational messages. Now If they were smart, they would say things like, "Don't kill the children," but whomever writes them seems to be of the happy impractical mindset.  Tiny Pants calls them "fortunes" and asks me to read them to him, which generally is amusing for all, and by all I mean me.

For example: 

"Put yourself first," I read.  He very seriously nods. "I can do that."  (Because most of the time he puts everyone else first??)

"Take a mini vacation," reads another.  "I can do that." (Kid, you go to pre-school 3 hours a day. Your life is a vacation.)

"Turn off the world for a while."  Now Tiny Pants is scared.  "What? NO! I reject that fortune! I refuse that! I will not do that!"

(A good parent probably doesn't laugh at  distress caused by chocolate. I don't think I said I was a good parent.)