Thursday, September 30, 2010

Demonstration: Classic Kid Maneuvers

FYI All Kids!
Methods for getting out of trouble:
(As demonstrated by GG)

The Instant Deflect:
Mom: Where are my white-handled chopsticks?
GG: I saw ET with them!

The Quick Distract:
Mom: The cat needs to be fed.
GG: I think Baby Boy has a poopy diaper.

The Indirect Tattle:
(to be shrieked from another room)
GG: Boo! Stop hitting me with that shoe!

The Love Parry:
Mom: Why haven’t you brushed your teeth yet?
GG: Mommy I LOVE you!

We hope this information will be instructive to children everywhere.
Thank you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plus-Sized Living?

Today I got a catalog in the mail for “The Plus-Sized Home.”

I had no idea what that term meant. I get catalogs for plus-sized clothes, and I know what THAT means: clothing for fat chicks. (By the way, I’m allowed to say “fat chicks” with impunity because I AM one. It’s in the rules.)

I find it interesting that clothing for overweight MEN is not called plus-sized, incidentally. It's called “Big and Tall.” Which sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?

Although I guess they’re both a step up from that horrible term from when I was a kid: “husky.” I shudder at that one. It sounds like a giant black bear.

But in any case, I opened the catalog, to see if the title referred to the oversized quality of the home itself or the people in it.

Apparently it was the latter.

On page one there was an office chair marked cheerfully: “XL Computer Chair! 25 in. wide seat! 500 lb. capacity!”

Well, mystery solved. The catalog sold FURNITURE for fat chicks.

I couldn’t believe this was a whole genre, to be honest, so I kept looking.

I found oversized bedding, an “extra-sturdy” airbed, and a giant Snuggie.

Are Snuggies not over yet? Really?

I thought the invention of the Pet Snuggie would have kiled them for sure...

And why are all these models in the fat-people furniture catalog NOT FAT?

(This is a pet peeve of mine for the plus-sized clothing catalogs too. Would it KILL you people to put that dress on a fat chick for me? How does it help me want to buy it if you’ve got it draped over Kate Moss there?)

That’s when the catalog turned weirder, and a little scarier. The Big John Toilet Seat. (1200 lb capacity. I am NOT making that up!)

I kept turning the pages, fascinated and horrified. And then we move into the giant canes, walkers, wheelchairs that I guess are going to be inevitable as we fat people age.

It was like a “Scared Straight” program for the overweight!

Watch out kids, or YOU’LL be sitting in this 400 lb capacity wheelchair before long! Pretty scary.

Although truthfully, I DON’T think all fat people are destined for disability and an early grave, despite what the news media would apparently like us to believe.

I mean, seriously. This just ties in to the fact that all you are hearing about these days is the “obesity epidemic.” It seems like lately fat people have turned into the new EVIL of the world.

We’ve already demonized the smokers, condemning them to a tiny corner of the parking lot far from the office door, huddled in the rain trying to light their Marlboros. Now it’s perfectly acceptable to sneer at them, or cough pointedly as we pass to give them some message about the evils of their secondhand smoke. And no, I don’t think that smoking is a good idea. DUH! I just think we don’t have to be so MEAN about it!

Contrary to popular opinion, smoking cigarettes is NOT, in fact, illegal.

Criminal Smoker cartoon courtesy of

And now that the smokers have been well and truly beaten down, the eye of Big Brother has turned to the overweight. “Hey you! Yes you! Drop that burger! Drop it I say!”

Okay, I admit many of us could stand to lose a few, myself definitely included. But could we possibly acknowledge that people do come in all shapes and sizes, and some of us are perfectly healthy without being rail-thin? (And some thin folks are less than healthy as well.)

And I’d like to point out: Everyone acknowledges that alcoholism is a disease. Drug addiction is often categorized as a disease as well. But overeating (and smoking I might add!) is seen as a character flaw. Just a lack of willpower.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, Hey! Could we just lay off with vilifying the obese? Everybody struggles with something. Some us just wear it on the outside.

And also that I thought this "Plus-Sized Living" catalog was REALLY funny. I mean, the "Big John?" Come ON! That's some funny stuff there. I don't care who you are.

I will say that I personally am working on exercising more and eating less. It’s difficult.

I won’t go into the details of all that, because, let's face it, is ANYTHING more boring than someone else’s diet and exercise program? I mean, who would have read “The FOOD Diary of Anne Frank?” (Friday: Lentil soup, again. What a snoozer!)

But I’m working on it.

By the way, I threw the catalog away.

I don’t plan on needing that XL walker anytime soon. And I can still sit in regular chairs, thank you very much!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pet vs. Pet, or What Has the Cat Been Up To?

You may have been wondering about our cat.

Remember the injured kitten ET rescued and saddled with the improbable name of “Bunny” back in May?

(By the way, I discovered that she chose the name because the car that she saw hit the kitten was covered in bunny bumper stickers. That’s just a LITTLE sick, don’t you think?)

Click here to read Bunny's rescue story, if desired

Anyways, Bunny is doing fine now, after his unfortunate tail amputation, and he’s growing bigger every day.

At first he spent most of his time hiding from us, and even now he’s definitely more skittish than the average cat. It’s like he really wants to be petted, but he’s also terrified of it. He’s a very conflicted animal.

We usually just call him “Kitty” now, as I think almost every cat owner ends up doing. In my experience, most cats refuse to learn their names but can always be summoned with a call of, “Here kitty, kitty!”

However, Kitty is not our only pet. Last January, at the end of a way-too-long Christmas break, a bunch of whining and begging kids hit me when my resistance was low and we ended up with some pet mice.

Just to show you how beaten-down I was at that point, I actually let them buy a mother and father mouse along with their litter of three babies.

As my husband said at the time, “What was Mommy smoking?”

Let the record show he didn’t say anything until AFTER the mouse purchase had gone through, even though I asked him repeatedly what he thought about the Mouse Acquisition Plan.

But anyways, the day after we bought the mice, we held a Mouse Inspection and Forcible Segregation of the Sexes, putting the two girl mice in one cage and the three boy mice in the other.

All seemed well in the Ladies’ Cage, but apparently the Men’s Cage was a tougher environment. My daughters reported that Daddy Mouse was forcing his offspring (Cinnamon and Ginger by name) into a subservient role, making them wait in the corner when the food dish was filled until he’d eaten his fill. Only when Daddy Mouse had gone into his little tube home were the boys allowed to come out and eat. There were also some unconfirmed reports of defecation abuse. Rodents can be so cruel.

I guess this was difficult for any red-blooded mouse to tolerate. So one day, Cinnamon decided to make a break for it, squeezing through the bars and heading for freedom.

That’s right, our mouse escaped from his cage. (I know this is a shocker here; whoever hears about pet rodents escaping confinement? That’s sarcasm if you weren’t aware.)

He didn’t come back. We can only hope Cinnamon found his own mouse group to dominate outside somewhere.

In any case, now that we knew the mice could get out, some cage adjustments were necessary. We purchased glass aquariums with locking plastic lids, and all was well in the mouse kingdoms.

And then we added a cat to the house.

I think maybe you can see where this story is going.

Kitty was fascinated by the mouse cages. He’d sit on the desk next to the glass box in GG and Boo’s room for hours, just watching the mice.

And finally, last week, his moment came. SOMEONE forgot to lock the lid onto the cage after feeding the mice.

We woke up one morning to scene that looked like “Stuart Little” meets “The Godfather:” There was half a mouse artfully arranged in the center of the couch.

I know. EW!!!!

Actually though, I think Kitty was pretty proud of himself, and he just wanted to show us how clever he was. He’s a natural predator; you can’t really blame him.

But now, Ginger is gone. Daddy Mouse lives alone. All the food is his own, but there’s no one to push around anymore either. It’s sad. I guess.

An uneasy truce exists between the pets of the house.

And a heavy object sits on top of the mouse cage, holding down the lid.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jamie Lee Curtis, Woman Extraordinaire!

So, according to Good Housekeeping magazine, Jamie Lee Curtis is now the Queen of Clean.

As you can see, “She dusts, mops and declutters like a pro!” They claim she is The Most Organized Person in the World.

So it’s not enough that she’s gorgeous, rich and THIN! And she’s a great actress, author, and (gasp!) blogger, plus she’s an actual Lady of the British Empire (since her husband was KNIGHTED!). Oh no! Now she’s a better HOUSEKEEPER than the rest of us? Like we didn’t feel bad enough about ourselves already…

Now don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Jamie Lee! I’ve though she was hysterically funny ever since “A Fish Called Wanda.” And her children’s books really are good too.

And it’s great that she’s taking time out from her busy schedule to teach us all about the yogurt that makes you poop.

Oh, excuse me. I meant, the yogurt that “improves your regularity.”

But come on! Do I have to see her cheerfully cleaning her floor?

Can’t I just imagine that she has a MAID to do all this stuff, and that’s why her kitchen looks perfect like that and mine looks like… Well, let’s just say less than perfect, shall we?

And don’t get me started on her fabulous CLOSET!

I mean, I can’t even make a comparison with my closet. It’s like they’re not even the same species, like hers is a gorgeous Persian cat…

….and mine is a horrid verminous RAT!

(And apparently, verminous isn’t a word, according to my spell-check. But I’m using it anyways, because it SHOULD be!)

Oh well, I guess that’s the point of celebrities, to make us feel inferior.

Oh, excuse me, I meant, to entertain us.

And at least Jamie Lee’s not splashed all over People Magazine with a tattooed paramour, right? Or getting kicked off SESAME STREET for wearing a low-cut top!
Watch the rather innocuous video of Katy Perry booted from Sesame Street

It definitely could be worse…

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Girl Loves the Teletubbies

Teletubbies - Time to PlayRecently I've broken out my old VHS tapes to show the twins.

I have quite a collection of kids' VHS tapes. I actually started gathering all the Disney videos when I was in college in the (very) early nineties. (Don't judge me! "The Little Mermaid" was awesome! Admit it!)

Also when my older children were small I had a few Barney videos I played over and over, along with one Wiggles video and one Teletubbies video, most of which I bought used at a garage sale.

I was incredibly irritated when VHS tapes were replaced by DVD's, by the way. The cool thing about VHS tapes is, your child can touch them! Amazing, huh? Even a two-year-old can be allowed to take the video off the shelf and pop it into the VCR.

Not so with DVD's. They're SO tempermental!

"Oh, I'm a DVD! I'm so delicate! Don't touch me! I might get a scratch and then I'll NEVER PLAY RIGHT AGAIN!"

Such divas, really.

CD's are the same way. I remember when I was in high school we would listen to cassette tapes in the car.

Remember cassette tapes? Pause for a nostalgic sigh.

We could just listen to a tape, eject it, toss it into the backseat, and put in another one. Not like CD's. You've got to get out the case and carefully return it inside, or put it in one of those sleevy things, so it won't get scratched. And THIS is progress?!

Okay I'm sounding like a crotchety old man here. "In MY day we played our music with bones and rocks! And we LIKED it!"

Moving along to the present.

So the twins like to watch the Teletubbies. They call it "Baby Sun," after the little sun with the baby face that laughs at the beginning.

It's really cute. They bring me the tape (which they are allowed to TOUCH!) and say, "Baby Sun! Baby Sun!" when they want to watch it. Which is pretty much all the time.

Okay, so it can be a little annoying. But it's also cute. Really.

So the other day Baby Girl was watching the Teletubbies, and just as the Baby Sun was coming up over the horizon, she smacked him with a plastic bat!

Seriously! It was like she was lying in wait for Baby Sun, just so she could beat his head in!

You should have seen my husband's face as the bat hit the flatscreen TV, by the way. After all, he's already seen what happend to his beloved display table. (Which is fixed now, by the way. With unbreakable plexiglass.)

So obviously we took the bat away and put it up. Who gave this kid a BAT anyways? In what universe is THAT a good idea?

But my question is, why did she turn against Baby Sun? I thought she LOVED him!

Two-year olds can be fickle I suppose.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Libraries Are For Everyone?

So…I got kicked out of the library today.

That’s right; you heard me. I got KICKED OUT of the LIBRARY today. Can you believe it?

(image from

The elementary school was out today, for a teacher workday or something, and I thought it would be nice to take Boo and GG to the library so they could choose some books to read. (The middle school was still in session, so ET wasn’t with us.)

That’s a GOOD Mommy thing to do, right? Visit the library?

The problem was…can you guess it?…THE TWINS! Double trouble--TODDLER STYLE!

At the library they have one of those sensor things to walk through just as you come into the door (you know, to keep you from stealing books), and it’s just a smidge too narrow to fit my double stroller through. So visiting the library with the twins is always a real challenge.

My choices for library visitation are:

A. Go when someone else is watching the twins.

B. While twins are strapped in, turn stroller sideways, lift it up and carry it through the sensor opening, while avoiding tripping over the floormat covering the cables that run the sensor.

C. Hold twins by the hand and walk them inside.

Obviously, A is the preferred method, B is extremely hazardous, and C is nearly out of the question.

But today, foolishly, I decided to try Method C. After all, we’d be going directly to the children’s section, where the twins could look at books themselves. Plus I’d have two of the older kids to help me with them.

Going into the library was not too much of a problem; we did go directly to the children’s section and the twins were happy to look at book for a few minutes while their sisters browsed the shelves.

And although they were a little more vocal than the average library patron, I tried really hard to keep them quiet for the ten minutes or so we were there.

The real trouble came when it was time to leave. Neither one of the twins was in favor of the Library Exit Plan.

So I was trying to grab them and make them walk out, and they kept running off, or turning their legs to Jell-O and collapsing on the floor, or flinging off their shoes in protest.

At this point the noise level got a little high, I’ll admit.

And that’s when SECURITY showed up.

I’m totally serious here. An actual security guard (an intimidating-looking woman in uniform) came to the children’s section to tell me to leave.

I was like, What exactly do you think I’m TRYING to do here?

So I scooped up one screaming squirming twin in each arm, asked the older girls to retrieve the flying shoes and carry the books, and headed for the checkout counter.

But this was not good enough for the security guard. She followed me, and when I paused at the counter to put the twins down in a chair and hand GG my library card so we could check out our books, she disapproved.

She said, “You’re going to have to take those kids outside.”

I said, exasperated, “They’re two years old. We’re on our way out. Can’t you cut me some slack here?”

She said, “No. You have to get out.”

I’m not making this up. I promise. She did not even want to allow me to spend one minute checking out my books. I was being BOUNCED from the LIBRARY! Because I have KIDS!

Pardon me, but hasn’t this woman ever watched PBS? Aren’t we supposed to be encouraging kids to visit the library? Shouldn’t we be showing them that reading is fun and that the library is a nice place to go?

Like this actual library poster says, Aren't libraries for everyone?
Apparently not.

People were passing by this lovely little scene (Headline: SECURITY EJECTS DANGEROUS MOMMY FROM LIBRARY!) with their eyes averted like I was a bad train wreck or a criminal under arrest. Or maybe they were afraid of getting on Ms. Guard’s bad side too.

So I scooped the twins back up, asked Boo to get my purse, and walked out the door.

At which point the twins immediately stopped crying and began to run in circles on the porch.

GG was still inside the library at the checkout counter, so at least we were allowed to take our books with us after all.

Library MouseBut this whole thing was very upsetting for me. To put it mildly.

Watch out there, Library Mouse! Better settle down!

You don't want me to have to call SECURITY!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

This morning as I was in the bedroom dressing Baby Boy, my older kids yelled to me, "Baby Girl just smashed the glass table!"

I assumed they were exaggerating. After all, how could a toddler smash a glass-topped display table that has survived SEVEN moves, two of them overseas?

A table that, by the way, her father actually MADE with his own hands when we lived in Germany!

Here's a photo of it in our last house at Christmastime. Nice, huh?

Sigh. That's how my house USED to look before we had twin toddlers.

Here's our Christmas tree from last year.

That's right. We had to CAGE IT UP! For its own protection, of course.

But back to the display table.

I thought surely Baby Girl wouldn't DARE break our nice table, even if she were able to do such a thing.

Well, obviously I was wrong. I came out to check and the table was well and truly smashed.

Baby Boy couldn't believe it either. Here he is shaking his head over the destruction his sister caused:

Of course, Baby Girl relied on her old standby for a defense: "I'm too sweet and cute to have done that!"

We're on to you Baby Girl!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Keep Your Pants On, Kid!

We've been having some trouble with getting Baby Boy to keep his clothes on.

Especially during his naptime. I guess he doesn't have anything else to do when he's stuck in his crib.

Why is he stuck in his crib? See my earlier post on this subject: "Crib Tents, I Love Thee"

I don't know why he doesn't try SLEEPING when he's bored in his bed!

Anyways, the past few days he's been taking off his clothes AND his diaper while he's in his crib.

Luvs Premium Stretch Diapers, Size 3 (16-28 Lbs), 204 DiapersThe good thing is, at least he's not one of those kids who enjoys poop art. You've heard of this, right? Kids who "paint" with the contents of their diaper after removing it?

Actually, Baby Boy seems as grossed out by the contents of his diaper as the rest of us. He actually took his sheet off his bed and folded it around the poop to get it away from himself.

In the morning I came in and found him naked again, and I decided to put a stop to this.

Here's my idea: DUCT TAPE!

Before his nap I wrapped his diaper in duct tape.

Let's see you get out of THIS one, kid!

He was very interested in the process, too.

But I'm not sure about that mischievous gleam in his eye...

Friday, September 10, 2010

ET Cooks Dinner

Last night my 14-year old daughter made dinner.

The amazing thing was, it was her idea, not mine!

She wanted to make “Crab and Noodles.” This is a dish she really likes but I rarely make it, because her two younger sisters don’t care for it.

It’s actually imitation crab in garlic-butter sauce. We usually serve it with rotini pasta and broccoli. Unfortunately, I used the last package of frozen broccoli a couple of days ago, so I put out cauliflower instead.

Cauliflower is like broccoli’s cousin who sits indoors and stays pasty-white.

Incidentally, I just googled “imitation crab,” because even though I’ve eaten it plenty of times, I’m not exactly sure what it is.

I discovered it is made of surimi, which is basically a fish paste.

Here’s what it REALLY looks like.

Appetizing, isn't it?

It looks much better here.

And, just for fun, here’s a cartoon about imitation crab from

Cute, huh? He’s pretending to be a pirate.

But I digress….

Anyways, ET was cooking.

I had purchased the ingredients earlier in the week, so all I did was put everything out on the counter with the recipe book open to the correct page and let her go.

She has cooked before; it’s okay.

ET had her friend M over too, so they seemed to be enjoying themselves without any help from me.

There was a lot of giggling and banging of pans in there, but I just ignored it.

Later, while doing the dishes, I would learn she’d used every pan we own. LITERALLY.

But that’s okay, because I DIDN’T HAVE TO COOK!

I got concerned when I heard a giant crash and ET yelled, “Don’t come in here, Mom!”

I knew something had broken, but I didn’t really want to see it. I just called for her to clean it up and worked on keeping the twins out of the kitchen.

A few minutes later she said everything was almost ready so I let the twins free and came in the kitchen.

The floor seemed a little slippery.

ET had a can of tomato sauce in her hand. She said, “Will this work for a vegetable?”

“But the cauliflower was supposed to be the vegetable,” I began. Then I stopped and said, “Oh.”

I looked at the counter. She had already put the crab and the noodles in serving bowls.

That meant one of my serving bowls was history.

“Did you already butter the cauliflower before you dropped it?” I asked.

She nodded. Well, that explained the oil slick on the kitchen floor.

Then I looked around again and asked where M was.

ET said, “She had to go home.”

“Before or after you dropped the cauliflower bowl?” I asked.

ET rolled her eyes. “Right after that. Conveniently.”

Hey, I don’t blame the kid! I was the one hiding in the living room when I heard the crash, so I can’t throw stones here!

In any case, I decided to allow the tomato sauce as a vegetable, and ET and I set the table.

In the end, I thought everything tasted pretty good.

Especially since I hadn’t been the one to cook it.

However, GG refused to eat the crab at all, and Boo complained, “It’s too garlicky.”

ET rolled her eyes again. “Well, thanks for all the APPRECIATION, kids.”

I said, “Welcome to MY world, honey.”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reality Can Be Rough

Klipsch IMAGE S4 In-Ear Enhanced Bass Noise-Isolating HeadphonesTrying to write while the kids are home, I have to block out the sound of their incessant television /video game/ bickering noises, so I put on soft music with headphones.

Sometimes you just want to get away from the clamor of real life.

I was listening to what I consider one of the most romantic songs ever, John Denver’s “Annie’s Song.”

John Denver's Greatest HitsYes, I realize I’ve just branded myself as completely UNcool by admitting this. Guess what? I like Barry Manilow too! I tear up when I hear “Mandy” sometimes! And I’m not ashamed of it! (much) So there! Besides, I dare you to listen to “Annie‘s Song” and not LONG to be the one this song was written for. Even if just for a moment. I DARE you.

And, YES, I know John and Annie had a troubled and tumultuous relationship, and ended up divorced. I’ve seen “The John Denver Story,” and a chilling scene involving a chain saw and an antique bed is burned into my brain.

(It was chilling because of the destruction of a beautiful piece of furniture, by the way. He cut the bed, not his wife. It wasn’t “Friday the 13th” for goodness’ sake!)

I just think it’s a beautiful song, with the way his voice soars up and around: “You fill up my senses like a night in a forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain.” Just gorgeous. Simple but sincerely romantic. I was getting a little choked up.

Anyhow, Mr. Denver was just working up to dying in Annie’s arms, when I was rudely interrupted.

“Mommy, can you make me some ramen noodles?”

Sigh. Back to reality.