Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stupid Corporate Messages


I don't mind flying on small planes. I don't really get why they freak some people out.  What I do mind is flying on poorly designed planes.

I have no window in my row. I have no idea why, but it is the only row without  a window. I thought I had made a good seat choice, 3A, but a window seat without a window isn't quite as nice as you might think.  I can. however, look over my right shoulder at the seat behind me's window.  This affords me the stellar view of the engine on the wing, which is painted the exact pink of Bubblicious raspberry flavor bubble gum. 

Now, I don't object to the weirdly colored paint job, but what I do object to is the stupid company promotion painted on the side:


Our aircraft makes it 10 dB quieter where you are sitting.

Well, duh. Sitting inside an aircraft is a lot quieter than sitting on the wing, I'd imagine. I recognize that they are trying to make me feel better about how incredibly loud it is in my seat (small planes generally offer lots of engine noise to accompany the cramped seating) but this is not the best way to do it, in my opinion.  I know it is louder outside the aircraft.  

Perhaps they meant the aircraft's design aids in noise reduction, or the soundproofing material does, but they didn't say that, and I think, probably, the only honest thing they could say was "Sitting inside an aircraft is quieter than sitting on the wing," which they basically did.  I think what they wanted to say was, "it's loud, we're sorry, but we want you to feel like we care without actually listening to your complaints to our flight crew," or something like that.

Now, the engine on the other side of the plane had an even stupider message, "This aircraft uses 60% less fuel than a jet seating 70 passengers."  Well, good.  Aren't we all touchy-feely-environmentalist today? Except for one thing; this aircraft seats 36 passengers. If you were transporting 70 passengers, you would have to make two trips, which would use 20% more fuel than a plane that seated 70 passengers.  It's a good thing I'm taking Math for the Humanites right now, or I might have been fooled.  I do understand that a half-full jet seating 70 passengers would be wasting fuel, however, I have never flown on a plane from the snow belt to Florida in January that had any seats available, let alone 36. 

If they are going to give us feel good messages, I'd prefer they give us accurate ones.

"By flying this aircraft, you will have more spending money on your vacation!" Isn't that the only reason I booked this flight? Because it was the cheapest?

"We won't give you any beverages because we have no working bathroom" would make you grateful for their foresight.

"It's loud, we get it, but it's only 50 minutes so suck it up."

"Let's be honest, as long as you make it there alive and with your luggage, do you really care what we paint on the engine?"

If you want to be more professional, I'd even go with "90% on-time flights" or something like that. Actually, I'd pick one day when they had a phenomenal performance rate, like 98% on-time, then paint that on the side.  It would have been true on the day it was painted, so it's not lying that much. Then never paint it again. It's like weighing yourself; once you get a good weight, avoid all scales  so you can think about yourself as being your target weight.

Now I like to fly JetBlue (I think that's the one) that has cute animals on their planes.  If you are going to paint things to pacify your flying public, make it a cute animal.    

Monday, January 28, 2013

Plane Friends


I fly a lot.  Not, perhaps, as much as a flight attendant or member of congress, but probably more than a lot of people.

Today, I am sitting next to a big man. It's not his belly that's a problem, it's his shoulders which intrude into my space.  His belly sticks out in front, which doesn't bother me at all.  I just wish he'd lean to the right a little. And wear less cologne.  Luckily he is sleeping with his head back and mouth open, so I can talk about him without fear of him reading over my shoulder.

Anyway, they first thing he asks me is what I do for a living.  I never like this question.  It's a boring conversation starter, and it pegs you into their idea of who you are.  Besides, that's not what he's really asking anyway.   Really, he wants to know, "How  can you afford to being flying to Florida on a Monday if it is not work related?"  In my opinion, that's the question broad-shouldered middle aged attorneys always really want to know.

It occurred to me --too late-- that I could tell him anything I wanted.  I could tell I was a free-diver, or a writer, or a professional roller derby player. A high priced call girl. A drug mule.  Ok, probably not a drug mule.  He'd never know I wasn't who I presented to be.  It could be fun; I could look at it as character developing for my next book. I could then tell my next seat mate on the ride home that I was an actor, and it would be true.

Truth, though, really can be more compelling than fiction.  I'm easy to talk to.  I'm pretty enough to have that attractive-bias working for me, but not so gorgeous to be intimidating.  People like to tell me their life stories.  I don't think I do anything to prompt them, it's just the anonymity and proximity of airline travel.  When you are shoulder to shoulder with someone, it breaks down the 3-foot bubble. Combine that with thinking they will never see you again, and people get chatty.  I've had people tell me about job interview hopes, failed marriages, wives with psychological disorders, raging affairs.  I have perfected the smile and nod. Most people are dying to be listened to, and they don't notice that you aren't over-sharing equally.  

There was one guy on a flight to Texas once, who took the cake, though.  Please note that no alcohol was consumed through out this lengthy flight.  

It started out normally enough. He was married. He said he owned a private jet but was choosing to fly commercial (and economy I might add). I doubted this. 
He told me how on his birthday he caught his wife cheating on him with a friend of his.  The friend was big and tough, so he wasn't going to beat him up.  Plane guy explained that he pretended to be devastated, but secretly he was jumping up and down because now he had a "get out of jail free" card for cheating on her back. He said it was the best birthday present ever.

Plane guy said he was a racist.  He defended his racist views by explaining his troubled youth and foster homes or detention centers, or something.  The point was that he always cheated on his wife with older black women, so that way his wife would never believe it, even if she was shown a picture.   He travelled often for business and cheated every time he was out of town.  He knew how to find the bars in every city frequented by older black women who were attracted to out of shape rednecks.

The flight went on.  He told me about his job, which had something to do with officially helping people with their tax problems but really not helping them.  His company would take their money then quit on them for breach of contract when they were late on their payments. He did say that he did occasionally actually help people with their tax problems, but most of the time after making a few payments people quit the program.

He told me how before he got into the screwing people with tax problems racket, he was "trouble."  He stole things and ran black mail schemes.  His favorite way to make money was to get a girl to go into a hotel bar, flirt with and eventually get physical with an old married rich guy while he secretly took pictures.  He said this was generally good for $5,000.  I think he may have been trying to recruit me.

We wound up on the same shuttle bus to the rental car center, and he looked down at my luggage and said my full name aloud, reading off my baggage.  He promised to Facebook stalk me to "keep in touch."  He actually said stalk, I'm not exaggerating.  When I got to my hotel I turned my luggage ID over, so that all that you see through the window is "Turn Over for ID,"  then I double checked my Facebook privacy settings.

SInce then, I have perfected the polite avoiding of all eye contact.  I like to wear my white ipod headphones even when I am not listening to anything, so they feel like they are bothering me if they start to talk. But next time, I think I'm going to be the talker.  I'll pick out my persona and spend hours chatting about a completely made up existence, and give someone else a plane-friend story to rival the guy from Texas.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Six Words


Facebook sucks a lot of funny stories out of me by turning them into six or ten word memoirs.  A six-word memoir is a story told in 6 words. The most famous example was done by Hemingway:
"For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

I have a whole book of  6 word memoirs on the topic of love and heartbreak.  It was given to me by a guy I had my first date with after I separated from my husband.  I went to the mailbox  my first Valentine's Day after the divorce and there it was. It totally made my day, which was only slightly lessened by learning through Facebook that he gave the same book to at least one other woman. I don't care, I will always be grateful for that small act of kindness in sending it to me on a day I needed a gift from a single guy very badly.  I still think he's tops, though I have never seen him again. (We live in different states.) And I still paw through that book on occasion.

Facebook statuses are like that -- we take the most pertinent part of a story and post it then no longer have the burning desire to write the story.  In an effort to not kill off my potential blog material, I took a Facebook hiatus yesterday.  Not that I wasn't on Facebook constantly, but I tried to hold back my own status updates. You can thank me later.

Things said at my house Saturday:

"Mama, I've been waiting to meet a paleontologist since I was in your tummy."

"Do not wipe your snot on Mama's sweater!"

"Hold the blanket down! Your brother farted!"

And the best of all:

"If you didn't get enough toilet paper, and now it is stuck with poo to your finger, DO NOT use the wall to scrape it off!"

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nannies Vs. Husbands


Whenever I bring up having another kid, everyone looks at me like I am crazy. (Well, we know that I am crazy, so why are they surprised?)  The comment is that I should have a husband first. 

I know something about husbands. I have had two of them. I know something about babies. I have had two of them, too.

Aside: When people find out I have been married twice and have two kids, they always ask if they have the same father. This irritates me.  They do, for the record, but why is this the burning question? So what if they didn't? Does that make me a whore? If I was married to two guys, we can assume I had sex with two men. Children could result from having sex.  If I adopted two kids it would be safe to assume they had different fathers, given all probability, and that would be fine.  I don't think they are just curious about logistics and parenting schedules; I think they are looking for a way to feel superior. But then, it has been said that I am too sensitive.  

Back to the topic. Having a husband is not a guarantee of having help or support in raising kids.  Know what is?  A nanny.

You pick out a nanny based on how they treat your kids, and how well they follow instruction. If you tell the nanny to go wash the baby, they go wash the baby.  They don't piss and moan. If you tell the nanny to do the dishes when the baby naps, they wash the dishes. The nanny does what you tell them to do and doesn't back talk. If the nanny doesn't like your parenting style, the nanny leaves.  This is sad, but there is no nanny divorce court you have to go through.

I have had the good fortune to have had an excellent nanny. (Not the live-in kind. That would have been Heaven.) I found her on www.care.com. In our interview, I noted she had a nose piercing, a cat with a crumpled ear, and lots and lots of toys nicely put away in her living room.

A normal person would have interviewed a nanny at their own house, seeing as that is where the person would be watching your kids, and they might need to know how to find your house, where to park, and where you keep the toilet paper. Oh, and they might meet your kids first. 

For some reason, I felt I would learn more about her if I saw her house and met her kid. (Her kid was sleeping during the interview, so that was a fail.)  I don't think I asked particularly brilliant questions. I remember some discussion about religion (She's Hindu, I'm Unitarian, at least on paper) and about why we didn't plan to homeschool but admired people who did.  

You know why I hired her? 

She had a cat with a crumpled ear.  A mean cat with a crumpled ear.  Anyone that could go to the pound and decide the crumpled-ear cat was the one they couldn't live without was the person for me.

I did call her references, and I did run a background check. I am not entirely stupid.  Basically, though, I went on instinct.

She was amazing.  She parented my kids the way I would have.  For example, on the first day she took them to a playground, but she selected a fenced in playground so they couldn't escape.  Not knowing my kids, this was wise. Tiny Pants, just two at the time, came home with a red mark on his eye from walking around with a stick. (The white part of his eye, not the lid, for your visual reference.)

We had some sort of conversation like this:

Nanny:  "I just wanted to let you know that Tiny Pants has a red mark on his eye because he was walking around the play ground with a stick."

Me: "OK, well, I would totally let him walk around with a stick. Explore nature and all that."

Some might think this was a bad start, but it wasn't. I do want my kids to climb trees and experience the world with their hands.  If they are going to get injured, I'd rather it be the kind of injury they'd get with me.  Not like chemical burn from washing the floor on their bare knees or something bizarre but well-intentioned. If you read my blog, you know that a cleaning-induced injury is highly unlikely to occur on my watch. Poking eyeballs with a stick is.

Nanny became like family. She saw me on the days I could barely pull it together to go to work, and she'd do nice things like the dishes. Once she cleaned my microwave as a surprise.  My kids love her.  She is still the only one they don't hissy-ize about if I leave them while they are awake.

Sidenote: I normally sneak out and leave them with a sitter only after they are asleep. It reduces the stress level for the whole family.

Beloved Nanny moved away, so I found a college girl. She did not own a cat with any deformations. She seemed nice.  She was willing to drive all over hell's half acre to pick up the kids from various schools.  She asked me big-sister type advice questions.  I caught her rummaging through my dresser drawers. 

After that, Nanny moved back (thank God) and stayed back for a very long time. A few years of blissful co-parenting one or two days a week.  Sometimes I'd come home and she'd have that same crazy-eyed look I get, but she'd always smile.  She never threw things at my head when I came home, even though some days I'm sure she'd have liked to.  Once I went to a hockey game, and my son got a bloody nose, then her son puked on the bed.  She came back.  I don't think I could have been that strong.

Sadly, Nanny the Beloved got a full time job.  I have gotten to watch her kid a few times, in a role reversal.  This actually causes me a little stress.  I am not sure I can nanny as well as she did, but the kids miss each other, and I do enjoy it.  I would totally be a nanny if I could choose the kids and the parents. 

Now husbands?  Haven't had so much luck there.  Here's a secret I'll share with all the internet who might happen to randomly stumble on my blog and is miraculously still reading:  I suck at compromise.  I have really zero interest in it.

The father of my boys and I had a few major parenting disagreements.  One was on letting the baby cry, and one was on how to diaper the baby. I had one way to solve all parenting debates; you don't bitch, and I will do all the work.  I went to my ex and said, "Here's my plan. I will do every single night feeding/comforting.  You don't argue with my parenting choices."  He agreed.  Who wouldn't?  But that attitude- the my way is the only way attitude - is not fine co-parenting.  Apparently it's not so great as a relationship strategy either.

I don't regret that decision, I just realize that if you are going to refuse to compromise a nanny is a better option than a husband.

So that leads us back to babies.  I'd totally have another baby, like yesterday.  Babies are sweet and snuggly. I don't mind their poop. I don't mind their crying. I'm not a baby person per se…in general I'm not down with OPC (Other People's Children) but I do really like my own.

But….babies become toddlers. Toddlers become teenagers. That cute snuggly baby is another person you are responsible for for life.  I'd totally have another baby if they went to college at 3, but the long haul is…well, long.  (Eloquent, aren't I?)  I'm not sure I have that in me.

If I decide I do, I will beg borrow and steal to get Beloved Nanny back!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Big Fat Truth about Cleaning and Being Single


I try to keep my blog fun and upbeat, but the truth is there are a lot of sucky parts of being a single parent. Of great sucktitude is having to be the one to do everything. 

I may have bitched once or twice about my ex not doing "enough" but he did contribute; he worked, I stayed home. I cleaned the house, he mowed and shoveled. We once lived for 10 months in an apartment building where I managed to never learn where the dumpster was, so therefore never had to take out the trash. 

Here is today's sample: pick up kids, make dinner for kids, stop making dinner to plunge toilet, continue making dinner after sanitizing hands thoroughly, wash dishes, play with kids, shovel snow, do homework, bath kids, play with kids, make kid do homework, put kids to bed. Cleaning doesn't happen very often, yet I feel guilty about the state of my house. If I get a free hour I nap, I don't clean.


I decided not to do any more laundry until all of the existing laundry is folded and put away.  We are now nearly naked. 

Oh, and I backed into a telephone pole this week, with the youngest in the car. Thankfully he was not hurt, and not traumatized, either.  I was slightly traumatized I have to admit.  I swear, that pole came out of nowhere. The fact that I had no idea it was there disturbed me greatly, so I did the only sensible thing; I blamed the car.  It really does have crappy visibility, but in general, inanimate objects are not at fault. Well, that's what they tell me.

I tend to get really pissed off about the state of my workload, but I also know I am far better off than most single mothers.  I don't work three jobs to make ends meet.  I get to actually spend time with the kids when I have them.  I also don't have an asshole boyfriend that lives with us and makes my kids' life a living hell. I also don't have a nice, sweet live-in boyfriend they have to compete with and therefore act out and induce feelings of maternal guilt. There is much to be thankful for, really.

But self-pity is so much more fun than gratitude!!!!!!!

Here's my poor-me list:
I have to do all the shopping/cleaning/cooking/home repair/mowing/shoveling/laundry/oh I can't go on, it's too much to list. I can't bear it.

But here's some truth:

Husbands, in my experience, seem to have different cleaning schedules than I do.  For example, they want me to clean the most on days I have absolutely no interest in cleaning.  If I don't want to clean, I don't, and there's no one to criticize. I can let the dishes sit for a week, ignore mountains of laundry and take the kids to McDonald's playland instead of dealing with it, and no one can stop me.

Husbands also tend to have a different view on where the dirty laundry goes.  I vote laundry basket, not floor.  I used to have four laundry baskets in the bedroom in strategically located places to make laundry throwing easier, but it still didn't work.  My ex looked at me one day and explained that it wasn't his fault; his laundry feared the baskets and he didn't want to traumatize it.

I don't have the resentment of expecting someone else to do something, nor can I angrily blame someone else when I can't find something. I may get frustrated with the chaos, but I know it is my fault/responsibility. This actually makes me happier in the day to day moments.

There's also no yelling at kids because they will make someone unhappy with their mess. No frantic cleaning before Daddy comes home. No turning down the television and tiptoeing around a boyfriend.

If we choose to have a blow up boat in the living room for a week, no one complains. (look to the left) Or a potty chair in the living room e.g. "Mama, I made a poo-poo, and Dog disappeared it."




It is MY mess! I shall revel in it! And if I choose to go eat cookies in bed and leave it there till morning, I can and I will.  And what do hear when I do so? Pretty birds singing in my head. No yelling. No evil looks. 

Pretty soon the boys will start cleaning up.  They love to shovel, and soon they will be big enough to mow.  I will get to to do all the gleeful yelling at the children to clean up, something I have been looking forward to for years.  I will get to skip gleefully around the living room barking out instructions. I may even make myself a drill sergeant hat and buy a whistle.  And I won't have to share my whistle.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ode to Michelle Obama: the Fashionista Edition


In honor of Michelle Obama's fabulous red Inaugural ball gown, I thought I'd bring you the Fashionista addition. (I don't care if you don't like the president or his politics, you have to appreciate a First Lady who knows how to dress herself this well.)



I am by no means a fashionista. I've never particularly cared that much what was in style; I just always wanted to look hot/gorgeous/stunning/choose you favorite adjective.  I realized at a certain point that I have a "look" and it works for me, and I'd rather look good and like me than "in style" and slightly-not-quite-right.

I am at my pre-pregnancy weight. I am not, however, at my pre-pregnancy size. Everything is a little softer and looser.  When I lie on my side, my stomach curls up next to me like a little puppy.* Thanks to the Divorce Diet I actually got down to my pre-high school weight, but I've given up on trying to maintain it.  here's why; at 115 pounds I looked damn fine in clothes, but I looked like I was 60 without them.  My body wrinkled and sagged in inappropriate ways.  And I still had a tummy.  When I am at 130, my skin is filled in and although I am softer and slightly rounder, my wrinkles are only age appropriate. And I still have a tummy, but with some meat on my hips it looks less like a tumor.  I think.

Also, I have always had big boobs. I started wearing a bra at 9.  Actually, I wanted to wear a bra sooner, but my mother insisted I couldn't wear a bra until I had a reason to wear a bra, defined as "you can wear a bra when they jiggle when you walk."  That lucky day came in fourth grade.  When I got down to 115, they deflated. They inverted when I lied down.  They did all sorts of things that you never want to see your boobs do.  Putting that 15 pounds back on re-inflated them.

One benefit of single-motherdom is having great arms. In this way Michelle Obama and I are alike. Lugging kids around is awesome for toning muscles as well as throwing out backs. Sadly, now that my boys are getting too big to lug, I shall probably be relegated to the bye-bye arms crowd, unless I exercise.

I hope that gives you the proper mental image of me for our Fashionista Edition. Oh, I left out my hair's personality. I often suspect it of going out binge drinking or sky-diving when I am not looking. It truly has a mind of its own, and the rules of gravity don't seem to affect it.

When I was first divorced, my wardrobe needed a de-frump-ification. It wasn't that I had let myself go, exactly, it was more that my ex had let me go.  I didn't work, he controlled the money, and my outfit budget was nonexistent, as well as my budget for regular haircuts.  A normal woman would have used her Power of Insist to occasionally get a beauty tune-up, but I merely used my Insist to occasionally shower. If you think this is bad, imagine having a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old baby and a husband who wouldn't watch them both at the same time so you could shower. You will see that showering becomes a luxury and can really make you feel very lovely and special instead of old and greasy.  I digress.

When I was newly single, I had the good fortune of having a friend with much better budget and sense of fashion donate a bunch of clothes to my cause.  She also opened her closet to me for borrowing privileges when I went on an ill-fated trip to California.  The trip was a disaster but damn, I looked good!

Clothing suddenly seemed incredibly important, and through the generosity of aforementioned friend, GoodWill, and Target, I soon had a wardrobe to be proud of, including light-up pink flip flops. I kid you not.  They rock.

I colored my hair in interesting, creative colors and got a cute haircut that I could manage in the 10 minutes my children allotted me in the bathroom. And then I was given Christmas money.

Alleluia! Alleluia! (Cue light shining down from above, providing soft, glowly light that hides my wrinkles.)

Christmas money is one of the bestest things ever, because then you have the fun of shopping anywhere you want to.  I was introduced to Etsy.com by a friend who posts things she's drooling over on Facebook, and I spent quite a lot of free hours surfing, devouring, and dreaming of things on Etsy. If you haven't been to www.etsy.com you must. I buy everything there. If you have $10 or less, there's still interesting things to buy, plus you are supporting people working out of their homes.

As I said before, I'm not exactly Twiggy, but I could pull off 1950's pinup pretty well, seeing as women were allowed to have curves and thighs and bellies and things soft and feminine. The creator of the fit-and-flare dress should be showered with kisses, even tongue kisses maybe.

After hours of perusing impractical dresses, I purchased this dress from a woman who primarily sold bridesmaids dresses (I went with the smaller winter beanie for this look, because it covers my crazy hair so nicely.):






I explained that I had no occasion to wear it, so it didn't matter how long it took her to make it. I just wanted one fabulous dress in case I ever had a fabulous occasion.  Let me tell you, it is fabulous.  And a custom made dress doesn't stretch and pucker over your stomach, and your boobs don't fall out the top. Neither does it bag unbecomingly if you, like me, do not have enough derrière to match your top. I actually wore it once, and I felt perfect. I didn't care if I was over dressed or underdressed, because I knew I was perfect.  If you want your own perfect dress, you can get one here: http://www.bombshellbridal.com/Design-Your-Own.php

(I say actually wore it, because although I like to drool over and occasionally purchase dresses, my mom-life doesn't offer up many occasions to wear them.  A Smart Girl would purchase fabulous jeans and practical shirts that make them look like Marilyn Monroe. I never said I was smart.







The other perfect item I own is a perfect bathing suit:
Do you see how  the 1950's  look is brilliant? All flaws are carefully hidden, yet it is not frumpy.
(No, that is not me. I have a daily affirmation: Just For Today, I will not post  a picture of me in a bathing suit, even with a cartoon head.)



Image credit: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/marilyn-swimsuit-in-red.html 

And, by the way, http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/ has many, many fabulous items in sizes extra-small to 2XL. If you have birthday money and want to buy one signature item, I would start there.

My third, drool-worthy site is www.modcloth.com. There's an annoying pop-up when you go there, but you can just X it out. The bonus is that if you buy from them they send you cute buttons for free.


You will notice that both items are red and purchased prior to the First Lady's red dress last night, just for the record. I won't say who is copying whom, but….

OK, OK, I know how ridiculous that sounds. Scrap that. We are fooling no one.


One last note about GoodWill shopping: It is always worth it to try on the clothes first, because often times they have been donated for a reason that is not apparent until you try it on. Conversely, I once heard of someone getting crabs from trying on GoodWill clothing at the store.  I tend to buy, wash, then try on and if it doesn't work, not be too sad.  Hmm, guess I ended that blog on a skeezie bug-related note. Sorry!

Oh, and if you were wondering about the asterisk from above, here is its mate, finally:

*Note: I did not craft this line. I stole it from an old coworker I haven't seen in years and years, and whom I'm sure would not want to be quoted in any way associated with this fashionista blog.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Go Fish War





Some say your children are like you because they live with you and you mold their  little beings from the moment they appear on the planet.  Other people say that your kids are like you because they have the same genetic makeup as you (assuming they are your biological children).  Some people think their kids are nothing like them at all.

Well, in my house, although we didn't solve the nature/nurture debate, we got some pretty serious proof that my kids are just as wonky as I am.

I had started to get a little jealous this week of all the male-bonding football watching and farting on each other that my kids love at Daddy's house. (I have a firm "no farting on people" rule.)  I was feeling left out, because I don't always enjoy the things that my kids love, whereas Daddy seems to. Then we started playing Go Fish War.

Before bed we play Go Fish with these lovely cards with beautiful photographs on them of random objects: a telephone, a doll, a bee, etc. Go Fish is pretty cool, because all three of us can play it.  Tiny Pants has little respect for board games, and will only play if he can make up his own rules, which frustrates Big Pants and makes him cry. Tiny Pants likes Go Fish; he can play without help, and he mostly tells the truth if you as him if he has a particular card. Mostly.

I recently introduced the beastie boys to the game of War, which they love even more than Go Fish.  The only problem is that it tends to go on longer than Go Fish, and I get sick of it.

The other day, they wanted to play War.  I did not.  I voted for Go Fish.  I lost.  I suggested we play War with the Go Fish cards.

Here's the rules:
1. Bunny beats everything (Ace)
2. Creepy Doll always loses.
3. Living always beats inanimate.

That's it. I figured we would have some interesting conversations about which would win: a pinecone against a helicopter,  for example.  I was going to use this to teach them how to debate, and it would keep me from the mind numbing boredom of playing war.  Except for one interesting thing.

We all agreed on what beat what, all the time.

Bunny beats monkey
monkey beats school bus
shell beats chair
firetruck beats school bus
school bus beats bicycle

There was no argument.  Everyone always instantly agreed, even if that meant they lost.  It was true; my kids' brains worked in the same strange way that mine does. There were also a few rules throw in that had nothing to do with equity.

"(Whatever) wins because I'm losing" is allowed a few times per player, without the sibling objecting.  It is understood that you feel bad when you lose too often.

"Yo-yo wins because it is my favorite card," also works. If Tiny Pants ever loses his precious yo-yo card, everyone suffers. Big Pants is perfectly happy to let him keep it, even if it means he loses the round.  No one knows why the pair of yoyo cards are sacred, but we understand that they are, and somethings are too precious to share.

Yeah, Daddy, you can let them fart on your head, but they are still more like me in ways that matter the most.

image credit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0062TLQH4/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00000IRX0&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=14T2QEZEFGK5WWTBZHED

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Tooth Fairy Fell Asleep


Yesterday Big Pants lost his 3rd tooth. I didn't see it happen (I was in the bathroom) but it involved couch wrestling and a blanket and his brother and then the tooth was out.

Teeth losing is a big deal. Big Pants always writes a note to the tooth fairy asking to keep his tooth, an idea stolen from a classmate.  There is a special box for the tooth. The randomly occurring money-producing event is a special part of childhood. Tiny Pants is so jealous that I thought he might take pliers to his own teeth, so the tooth fairy and I had a little discussion, and now he gets a lollipop under his pillow when his brother loses a tooth. You know, to rot his teeth out faster.

Except when the tooth fairy goes to sleep and forgets to come.

Two little boys in great distress woke me up to tell me that the tooth fairy had forgotten them, and maybe she didn't really exist.

ARRRRRGGGHHHH!

Think, Mama, think!

I knew the tooth fairy was supposed to come. I even made sure to get singles because the tooth fairy cannot ever leave a $20. And then I went to sleep. I was even sober, for those wondering. I was just really tired. I didn't even make it until 10:00pm to see the end of my show. 

Those sweet boys looked at me, and all on their own came up with the idea that  maybe she left clues for a treasure hunt. I looked at the clock. 6:52 am. They are not allowed to wake me before 7:00am, so I sternly sent them back upstairs for 8 minutes.

8 minutes 8 minutes 8 minutes

Ran downstairs to find the purse…which I left in the car, which was parked outside in a detached garage with a loud door. I was never gonna make that happen secretly in 8 minutes. No, six minutes left.

I dug through my change bowl and found 8 quarters, which I put in an envelope and wrote "It was too heavy to carry upstairs" and hid under the couch pillow. Ran to the kitchen, and found a lollipop -- not in a good flavor, but still, a lollipop . That went under the pillow on the other side of the couch.

I ran back upstairs and into my room, just in time.

The boys appeared, telling me of the clues they found in their room. (God only knows what clues, seeing as I hadn't left any.) We decided to start the coffee pot (my idea) then we would all look around downstairs.  They found more clues in the living room (a messy house provides many clues through the random distribution of objects, like pennies on the floor and a stray feather and a hat that hadn't been seen in over a year. If you clean your house regularly, you are missing out on this possible life-saving clue-providing miracle I was afforded this morning). 

I yelled at them to fix the pillows on the couch, and get whatever that was under there off the couch.  My house may be chaotic, but I like to have a clean couch, so this wasn't too weird of a request, I think.

Low and behold, the toothfairy's surprise was found.  Phew!

There was some let down, because quarters aren't as cool as dollars, and some confusion about what those confusing signs meant, and why the tooth fairy didn't have dollars.

But, the tooth fairy came.  That's what matters, right?

"At least we have proof that the tooth fairy really exists," I overheard one of the beastie boys say to the other. 

(phew)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lice Prevention Plan # 186. Buzz Cuts


My second grader has lice in his school. Again.

Lice as in bugs that live on your head and creep around in your hair and itch you. That require stuffed animals to be sealed in plastic bags for weeks to kill. That make you boil everything you own.

1. I hate bugs. I fear bugs that crawl on me, in particular.
2. I hate laundry.
3. I hate vacuuming and shampooing carpets as much if not more than I hate laundry.
4. Getting infested with lice would suck, suck, suck.

Here is a Venn Diagram to illustrate my point:





I read online that lice prefer clean hair, so I stopped washing their hair too much. Then, sadly,  I read this is a myth. Bummer, because that fed into lice prevention and laziness justification in one fell swoop.

A friend told me that their hair was too short for lice, so I did further research. It turns out that reading about lice doesn't ease your paranoia.

I just learned these facts:
1. The louse’s mouth is like a very small needle. It sticks this into the scalp and drinks the blood.
2. Most people only realize they have head lice when this itch starts. By then they’ve had lice on their head for two or three months without knowing it.
3. Some people never get the itch, including adults. They may have a few lice on their heads for years without knowing it, and can pass them to other people.
(http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cphl/Practice/lice/hl-myths.htm)

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

I stopped reading and just shaved the kids heads. Literally.  But first I had to talk them into it.

We looked at pictures of athletes and children with buzz cuts. We discussed how fun their head would be to pet. We discussed having to shampoo less often, never having to blow dry, and swimming faster. They bought it.

We went to the salon and I said "they have lice in their school" and she just nodded and took out the clippers.  It may be an urban legend that hair shorter than 1/2 inch is lice proof, but if it is not, I DON'T want to hear it!!  She was a professional and she obviously knew just what to do!

I reassured them of how cute they looked, and how they wouldn't need a haircut for months and months, and Daddy could probably do it at his house.

They got buzzed. They looked in the mirror….

"Mama, this is the Best Haircut of my Life!"

Mama wins!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Great Math Fallacy



Line –big fat belly – hat!


This is how Tiny Pants learned to draw a 5, and it became a car song. As we drive along, we take turns shouting out our respective lines while pounding the armrests in rhythm. (Shouting enthusiastically is what passes for singing in my car.)

Tiny Pants: LINE!
Big Pants: Big fat belly!
Mama: HAT!


I totally stole the best part of the song- yelling hat. I’m like that – they get 99% of the fun, so occasionally I have to steal some back.

I am intentionally trying to encourage math in my house.  I tell Big Pants all the time how great he is at math. He doesn’t care. He still hates it.



One thing I have realized as an adult is that if you like math and science and enjoy them and study them and cuddle up with them and make them your pets you will go a lot farther in life than if you detest them and avoid them.

But….

I hate math. I abhor math. Just last week a math problem made big, fat, girly tears of frustration well up in my eyes, and I am 39 ¼ years old. 

I would rather do the following than do my math homework:
Donate blood/plasma/bone marrow/saliva
Scrub between the cat’s toes with a tiny toothbrush
Lick the dining room floor

I decided to investigate to see if all my Rah! Rah! Yay Math! was influencing their little minds at all, or if my math-hating genes were winning out.  A Nature VS. Nurture  thing.


Hypothesis:  Encouraging kids that math is fun and they are great at it will make them like math.

Interrogatory: Big Pants, would you rather smell Dog’s breath or do one problem of math homework?

 Big Pants:  Smell the dog’s breath. I mean literally, Mama.

Conclusion: Math sucks and they ain’t fooled.