Saturday, January 28, 2012

Life, Raw and Real

It's January.  It's cold.  We're all sick.  Michael says his nose hurts from so many "bless yous."  David's voice has dropped about three octaves, which simultaneously makes me want to laugh at him and make out with him.  If only we could stop blowing our noses.

All of this is preferable to last week's barf-o-rama, mind you.  I'm just saying, a three-month reprieve from all illnesses would be nice.  Also a three-month reprieve from presidential debates and political commercials.  I'm thinking it would be less painful to stick an ice pick in my brain than to endure nine more months of candidates fighting over who does the best version of Liar, Liar Pants on Fire.

So, in the midst of all this I'm decided to start potty training the twins.  (Completely unrelated, but did you know you can buy a straight jacket on Amazon for $28.99?)  They turn two years old tomorrow.  Two two-year-olds.  Yipes!  I'm shaking in my furry snow boots.  In celebration I emptied all of my drawers in the bathroom and decided to deadbolt the pantry after Matthew peed in there and I had to throw out half a bag of basmati rice and about six cups of sugar.  Don't ask for details.  You don't want them.  Also, may I suggest not coming over for dinner?  We still haven't been cleared by the health department.

Yesterday David came home from work and I must have been exuding an aura of "completely and totally frazzled" because the first thing he said was, "Do we need to go out to dinner today?"  Between that observant comment and last week's mid-shower "If you hand me the bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles and a sponge, I'll clean the shower while I'm in here," I'm practically swooning.  He is so awesome.  Sometimes I'm not sure why he puts up with me, especially after yesterday's spectacular Mom of the Year performance wherein I threw a tantrum because I was so tired of my kids throwing tantrums.

Yep.  I am just that awesome.

Now where did I put that straight jacket?

A Nugget of Parenting Advice

For fun, a pop quiz:

Who pays for the food in your house?
A. Parent
B. Child
C. Family dog

Who makes the meals in your house or decides where to take the family out to eat (and how often)?
A.  Parent
B.  Child
C.  Family dog

Therefore, who is responsible for the diets of any minor children living in your house?
A.  Parent
B.  Child
C.  Family dog

You answered B, right?  Because if a child has spent the last the last 15 years eating nothing but Chicken McNuggets, surely her parents had nothing to do with it...

Now, I'm not saying it's always easy to get a kid to try new things (and I'm only talking about normal, generally healthy kids here, not kids with mental delays or other problems that can interfere with eating), especially when it comes to food items that look suspiciously like vegetables, but it can be done.  Last night Michael sat at the table for half an hour trying to whine his way out of eating a tiny strip of red bell pepper (which, it turns out, he actually liked).  A few nights ago it was brussel sprouts.  And tomorrow it will probably be cauliflower.  But he's going to try them whether he likes it or not, because frankly, we should all have to eat things we don't like now and then and learn to be polite while doing so.  It builds character.

Unfortunately, no one told this to the mother of the nugget-addicted teenager.  Mrs. Irvine claims she is "exasperated" by her daughter's unwillingness to try anything besides the over processed chicken dippers and their joined-at-the-hip side of french fries.  Yes, parenting can be sooo frustrating, can't it?  It's ever so difficult when money just keeps leaping out of her wallet and finding its way into a Mickey D's cash register.

I mean, really, who has been paying for these chicken nuggets all of these years?  It's not like any three-year-old can waltz into McDonald's and hand over a few bucks for a five-piece whenever he feels like it.  Mom would have to be right there coughing up the cash.  Which begs the question, what sort of mother would take her daughter to McDonald's day after day after day and let her subsist solely on a diet of this?

Yep, according to this facebook-photo-gone-viral, that is in-process Chicken McNuggets.  I can't believe I actually like the revolting things.  And I can't believe I just took my kids out to eat them.

Mrs. Irvine says she even resorted to starving her daughter to try to get her to eat something else (I'm hoping by "starve" she meant "offer her plates of regular food") to no avail.  Well, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, she didn't try hard enough.  Memo to the mom:  No normal kid is going to starve herself to death in the absence of a Happy Meal.  Offer a plate of healthy options and wait long enough and she will eventually eat something else.  Really. 

The problem here is not a stubborn daughter, it's a stupid parent.  And that's more damaging than any chicken nugget ever could be.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Royally "Green"

Last year was the Year of the Royals.  Everywhere you turned there was a magazine cover with Kate's dress or Pippa's butt or Beatrice's hat.  (At least I think it was a hat and not a deer who got her antlers tangled up in Barbie's dream house).  But, even in the world of high fashion, there are certain headlines that I find strange:

"Kate Recycles Her Wardrobe - Again!"

"Kate Wears the Same Jeans - Three Times!"

"Kate Recycles Her Wardrobe for Zara Phillips's Wedding - Again!"

Yes, how odd that someone would buy something they look good in and wear it again.  The wonders never cease.  I'm even planning to "recycle" my purple cowl neck sweater in spite of the fact that Michael recently took his runny nose and wiped it up the length of my sleeve.  Yuck.  But that's why God invented washing machines. 

Honestly, wedding dresses excepted, how many people in the world only wear something once?  I understand that in the bubble of celebrity and money, clothing is a different animal (with faux fur, of course), but the idea that someone would spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes and only wear them one time makes me want to grab any person sporting the latest Manolo Blahniks and ship them to a Romanian orphanage to do service for a day.  Wearing an outfit more than once is not "recycling", it's common sense.

I'm glad the Duchess of Cambridge appears to have some. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Bone to Pick With Murphy

Inconvenient times for stomach-related illnesses (an abbreviated history):

Bonnie, right after giving birth to twins by c-section
Bonnie, the night before a cross-country flight with two nursing babies and an overtired three-year-old
David, the day before a major tax deadline.
David, in the crunch time right before we moved to New York City.

Of course, none of these illnesses is as inconvenient as my brother's, who wins the grand prize for Most Horrific Time to Get the Barfs for having to take the Bar Exam with a trash can next to his desk for mid-question vomiting.  That said, I still feel that we have paid our dues when it comes to stomach-related illnesses.  Therefore, Murphy, you owe my husband and me one romantic getaway.  P.S.  I hate you and your stupid law.

Sigh.  The first night away from our kids in two years and David is forced to spend it bonding with the toilet.  I want a do-over.

Alas, it is back to regular life, which so far has involved poop in the bathtub, a call to poison control after Leah somehow managed to get the childproof cap off of a bottle of allergy medication and start tasting (she's fine), and the discovery that Michael had used the bathroom garbage can as his personal urinal.

It turns out that garbage cans and Mount Everest have something in common - they both generate interest "because they are there."

To top it off, in the midst of this Super Fun Happy Week I found myself glued to the toilet with a bowl on my lap.  By Friday morning I wasn't good for anything but playing dead on the couch.  When I made the mistake of dozing off for a few minutes, Leah and Matthew pulled two bar stools into the pantry and helped themselves to marshmallows and chow mein noodles, pausing only to dump sugar, taco seasoning, cereal, and half a box of pasta on the floor.  Leah also broke my beloved lighted kindle cover (the second one she's damaged beyond repair) and deleted several things off my phone.  It's like a horror story.  Twins:  While You Were Sleeping.

The weather has not really helped my put-upon mood, what with the freezing rain/snow slush fest going on outside.  Nor has the fact that all of my kids are now working on the 75th illness of the season.  In the words of my sister, "I'd trade January for a piece of used gum."

And that's being generous.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Death of Comedy

Sunday night was the Golden Globes, one of 76 annual We-Love-Ourselves fests from our dear friends in Hollywood.  If you didn't watch, don't worry --  If you have a child who takes delight in saying "poophead" at the dinner table or giving regular reports on his private parts in the middle of the grocery store, you didn't miss out on anything.  Seriously.

Even though I watched the spectacle on DVR (read: fast forwarded through 90% of it) I did still manage to catch enough locker room jokes to fill any 12-year-old boy's gross-out arsenal.  At one point Jane Lynch and Tina Fey literally high-fived each other over their success in delivering a male-anatomy joke on national television.  "Yeah!  Penis joke!" they congratulated themselves.  Hilarious. 

Let's hear it for equality in this modern age -- two genuinely funny women reduced to making jokes about penises in an effort to show they can be just as dirty as the men.

R.I.P., Comedy.  We hardly knew ye.

Friday, January 6, 2012

There's a Reason God Invented Trees. And Disposable Diapers.

While walking along a row of cute little shops on Bainbridge Island as part of our Thanksgiving Adventures with Oliver and Kristin, my eyes were drawn to a sign that had been suction-cupped to a store window:

"Poo sold here!"

Um, yay.  Because I certainly don't deal with enough poo already.  I mean, in the last month I've only dealt with poop all over two of my bathrooms (courtesy of a visiting child who didn't quite make it to either potty on time), a week's worth of severe diarrhea on Matthew's part that resulted in many a sanitize cycle in the washing machine and an overdose of clorox on my bathroom floor, and a poop that made it outside the bathtub only because I recognized the telltale signs of imminent catastrophe and yanked Leah out of her sibling-accompanied bath just in time for her to take care of business on the floor.  I'm sure I don't need to mention the dozens of diaper changes I handle on a weekly basis.

So really, what could be better as a mother than, at the end of a long, poop-filled day, to sit down and write on paper that is made out of animal dung?  I know I feel relaxed just thinking about it.

Yes, for the naturalists among us, you can now S.W.A.K your letters with an extra flourish, because nothing says "I love you" like taking your heartfelt words from pen to Poo Poo Paper.  Plus, you get the added benefit of feeling environmentally responsible.  I mean, who wants to hug a tree when there's a poop option available instead?

Ugh.  This violates nearly half of my Rules of Modern Living, first and foremost of which is "Never deal with poop when you don't have to."  This rule is also why I'm vehemently opposed to any diaper which requires me to swish it in a toilet and wash it on my own or to carry it around in my diaper bag all day until I can reach said toilet.  Fill up the landfills, I say.  Just get the stinky things away from me.

Oh, I know, I know.  Poo Poo Paper doesn't actually stink. 

That's because the idea of it stinks enough on its own.

Things Not To Buy at the Dollar Store

Not that I'm in the market for one, but I couldn't help but notice this prominent display in the check-out lane at Dollar Tree.  Pregnancy tests for $1.  One dollar.  Seriously.

No offense to the cheapo chain, but judging by the quality of other merchandise that is sold in dollar stores I think it's safe to say that it is worth the few extra bucks to spring for a more reliable stick.

Besides, I prefer my life-changing discoveries to be accompanied by instructions that are free of typos and grammatical errors.

Call me picky.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Matthew Has Two Daddies (and I Need to Go on a Diet)

It's a new year, which means it's time for a few goals.  I don't want to get overwhelmed, so I've decided to keep things simple with just a few quantifiable and easily achievable resolutions: get in shape, get organized about housework, be a better mother and wife, and be more in tune spiritually.  Then, once I've wrapped up those things, I'll potty train the twins and write a book.   Totally doable, right?  I even started off on the right foot because I ate a salad for lunch!  And it was actually delicious because I smothered it in bacon and Italian salad dressing.

Okay, so I didn't exactly respond well when I stepped on the scale for the first time in six months and the scary number made me turn my head to see which toddler was hanging on my leg.  Unfortunately, (and inexplicably) for once I was alone in the bathroom.  Two minutes later I was standing in the pantry downing leftover Christmas candy in an I-have-to-start-a-diet-tomorrow panic.  (Luckily, Stop Procrastinating is not on my list of resolutions, so I can legitimately delay the healthy-eating thing).

The good thing is I actually lost more than 10% of my body weight last year, so I know I can do it again.  But that means I also have a clear recollection of how miserable it was.  I feel like I still need time to mull over the sad memories of declining a cookie while I work on a big bowl of brownies and ice cream.

The horrible thing about losing weight is that when you're "done", you're not done.  It's not like you can get to your goal weight and put in a standing order at Krispy Kreme.  You have to keep eating well and exercising forever.  And let's face it, however wonderful forever might sound when it's paired with marriage or family, it sounds horrible when it's chained to a treadmill and a green smoothie.

Pass the sugar, please.

It doesn't help that I'm constantly handing out food because Michael is a bottomless pit these days. Five minutes after lunch he is asking for another apple, and some toast, and some carrots. Then, after eating the human equivalent of six bales of hay, he says "Mom, I'm STARVING."  And Matthew is a grazer who would live on crackers alone.  He spends half the day in the pantry saying, "Daddy!  Cracker!" 

"Daddy's at work, Matthew," I say.

"No, that Daddy," he says, pointing to me.  Then he tries to stuff goldfish crackers in my mouth.  I hate it when my kids try to force feed me.  If I'm going to waste calories on goldfish crackers they better taste like the Cheese Fries at Outback.

Mmmm... cheese fries.

Did I say I was going to start that diet tomorrow?  I meant next week.