A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.


The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles tagged with: Humor

War of annoying words
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:55 | Comments Off

I love parenting lists. I seldom find useful advice, mainly because they’re not keyed to kids as intractably stubborn as my two. But they’re a great pick-me-up in a “misery loves company” sort of way.

So when I ran across parenting.com’s “The Six Most Annoying Things Kids Say” while suffering from a bout of Google-induced attention deficit disorder, I couldn’t resist clicking, just to see how my guys stack up.

The Top 6:

Mine: This one’s easy to deal with. They’ll outgrow it, and more quickly than you think while in the throes of it. It’s Little Guy’s current favorite word other than “Thomas,” though Big Guy never said it much. He prefered to clinch his little fists skyward and plead, Have it!

It’s not fair : We haven’t made it to this stage, though I’m sure with two kids, it’s inevitable.

Dessert detente
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:50 | Comments Off

There are a few keys in a relationship: good communication, trust, shared interests and brownie compatibility.

Except in the last area, in order to be compatible, you have to be at odds. If you like the same thing, you’re doomed.

I’m an edge person, and I’m fanatical about it. I would pass on brownies before I’d eat a gooey interior piece. Give me a crusty corner, and I’m euphoric. I was the only edgy one in the family, so it wasn’t an issue growing up. It did irritate the snot out of my mom, though, to see my surgical work around the outside of a pan. “Why can’t you just eat them in order?” she’d ask.

My husband doesn’t care for brownies, so it’s never been an issue for us either. I had a roommate once, though, who also was an edge person, and it got competitive at times. We probably were the only household in town where the outside of bar cookies would go first.

So in addition to all the other worries a mother has – Will he love me? Will he get into a good college? Will he grow up to be an ax murderer? – I fretted about brownies. What if one of the kids turns out to be an edge person? I’d already given up my bread heels to Little Guy. I didn’t want to lose my edges, too.

Terror in the skies
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:37 | Comments Off

To the gentleman sitting in 20C on Delta Flight 1006 April 18, I apologize. If you’ll drop me a note, I’ll gladly cover any expense related to permanent ear damage.

Little Guy was having a bad day. A really bad day. Which meant most of the passengers on a Boeing 757 got to enjoy his misery for roughly four hours and 24 minutes between Sacramento and Atlanta. Mr. 20C, who was directly in front of Little Guy, bore the brunt of it. And there was nothing I could do.

Worst of all, I hadn’t even seen it coming.

My kids are veteran fliers – we usually go back east twice a year to visit family – so I wasn’t concerned. I remembered the first trip with Big Guy, a mere eight months old at the time, and got cocky. The man seated next to us tried every trick short of bribery to get the flight attendant to move him, but the plane was full and he was stuck. Big Guy was angelic, he congratulated us, and I wondered why people get so uptight about flying with kids.

A cut above
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:34 | Comments Off

I am all about encouraging diversity of options with my boys. Just as I would tell a daughter she can be anything she wants to be, so I tell my sons.

I don’t even blink when Big Guy twirls around the living room singing, “I’m a ballerina! I’m a ballerina!” His dad does, however, raise an eyebrow. The other day, when Big Guy announced he wanted to be a nurse, I was fine with that, though I suspect the new career path had more to do with a sadistic pleasure in the possibility of giving people shots than it did a desire to heal the sick.

I have to draw the line for the time being at hair dresser. As Lost My Place so accurately pointed out a few weeks ago in her blog, “people actually go to school to learn how to correctly use scissors to cut hair.”

Guess Big Guy thought he knew all he needed to know. A cousin on his father’s side is a hair dresser, and Big Guy’s seen him give many a cut in our kitchen.

So today, Big Guy opened up shop. One second he’s sitting at the table cutting paper into confetti – annoying to clean up, but acceptable. The next he’s leaving Little Guy a few ringlets short of Goldilocks.

And this year’s Oscar goes to …
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:33 | Comments Off

We had a dog when I was a kid named Missy, the greatest little terrier-traveling salesman mix ever born. She also was quite an actress.

One night, our neighbor’s much-bigger dog decided Missy would be his Scooby snack. He took what appeared to be a hunk out of her hip before she escaped. She crawled home, scratched the door, then collapsed, spent and bleeding.

Mom wrapped her quivering, whimpering body in a blanket, and she and Dad rushed to the vet, while three kids nervously paced.

When they returned an hour or so later, Mom carried the blanket, but no Missy. My heart stopped.

Then Missy bounced through door, wagging her little stub of a tail, walking in a C-shape, like she always did when she was busted.

The second they’d put her on the vet’s exam table, she had jumped up, magically healed, Mom said. The hunk out of her hip was a tiny cut.

For months after that, she’d limp every time we asked, “Oh, Missy, does your little leg hurt?” Except she kept switching the limp, confused about which little leg was supposed to hurt.

I think Big Guy has been channeling Missy this week. Tonight’s performance was the best.

Take me out to the bawl game
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:30 | Comments Off

The chance to watch a major leaguer in Modesto sent my fingers racing ahead my good sense. Buyer’s remorse came immediately after I bought tickets for Sunday’s Nuts game, though.

A 1 p.m. start that would disrupt Little Guy’s nap. An Easter Day game with kids jacked on sugar. Endless chasing of small people when I’d rather plop my butt in a seat and enjoy a game.

But I really wanted to see Randy Johnson, so my inner Pollyanna popped up. The last game we’d gone to featured minimal fussing and few hikes around the concourse. Maybe it would work.

I list self-delusion under “other skills” on my resume.

It was a great two innings. Little Guy sat patiently, and Big Guy was mesmerized by just about everything. The grass, the new scoreboard, Wally and Al. Mostly Wally, as long as he kept his distance. If the mascot came close, Big Guy would Velcro himself to me.

But, then: “Daddy, I’m hungry.” Never mind that we’d asked Big Guy 3,986 times before the game if he wanted to eat. Dad trudged off, hoping to buy a few innings’ peace. Meanwhile, storm clouds formed around Little Guy. Squirms turned into kicks, whimpers became wails. A kind couple across the aisle gave us a lollipop, which mollified him until the candy was gone. Dad and Big Guy returned, and I bolted.

That’s when the world decided to hate me.

A toy that had to go
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:28 | Comments Off

I killed a toy tonight, just for the pure pleasure of seeing it die.

It wasn’t my first toyicide, but it’s the first I won’t be able to get out of on an insanity plea.

I don’t advocate senseless violence against toys. As a character witness, I’ll call the drums that two (former) friends bought Big Guy for Christmas. I tolerate the drums, because they have some redeeming value, no matter how high they push my Tylenol tab.

Not so Ready Freddie, a “learning robot” with a chirpy voice, maniacal plastic grin, touchpad belly and cell phone.

“Hi! I’m Ready Freddy! Do you want to (pause as toy brain processes) tie my shoe?”

No, but I would love to tear you limb from plastic limb.

He came to our home a hand-me-down from a parent no doubt eager to rid herself of the problem but lacking the guts to put Freddie out of my misery. His vile nature was quickly apparent.

Falsely accused?
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:26 | Comments Off

It’s always easy to jump to conclusions and assume evil intent when the motive is pure. I was reminded of that recently with Little Guy.

For some reason, I’ve felt from the start that I understood Little Guy pretty well. Maybe it’s because he and I are a lot alike, temperament-wise. We’ll both take a ton of grief from people before we finally break bad on them.

That’s exactly what I thought was happening one morning a few months back.

I was in the kitchen baking cupcakes for a birthday party, while my husband was busy lying on the couch, watching an important 15-year-old basketball game on ESPN Classic. Granted, it was a good game, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned at least a few times over the years that Kentucky lost and that’s why I can’t stand Christian Laettner and Duke. Maybe he wasn’t listening.

Catching both parental units otherwise occupied, Little Guy seized the opening.

I finished the cupcakes just in time to see him walk from Big Guy’s room to his own and stuff an armful of socks in the diaper pail. What on Earth?

Evil lurking in the libraries
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:24 | Comments Off

In a few years, once the horror of what I almost did to my children passes, I’ll laugh at my parenting naïveté. But not now, while I’m shell-shocked at the gravity of my mistake, one that almost permanently damaged my little innocents.

See, I had always thought books were good things, and I believed “Guess How Much I Love You” was one of the best.

It’s a sweet, simple story of love between a father rabbit and his son. The two bounce through meadows and along rivers, each trying to out-bounce and out-love the other as Little Nutbrown Hare pulls out every trick in the little boy book on avoiding bedtime. Finally, he falls asleep and Big Nutbrown Hare nestles beside him and whispers, “I love you right up the moon and back.”

The only criticism I had of the book was my pronunciation problem. Until I got used to reading it aloud, daddy rabbit’s name often came out “Big Buttbrown Hare.” Not exactly the sentiment the author intended.

Or maybe he did. I’m much more enlightened now that I’ve read the truth about the book on amazon.com’s review area.

Look who’s talking!
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:22 | Comments Off

For me, the most exciting stage of development is speech.

Sure, walking is a big thing, but a toddler still seems like a baby, strolling around with that chubby little diaper-butted waddle.

Once they’re talking, though, they stop being your baby and turn into a tiny person. A person who can clearly communicate wants, needs and moods, which can be good and bad.

Little Guy has been a pretty good communicator all along. He was only about eight months old when he started pointing and grunting at the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. Primitive, but he made his point.

But now he’s turning into quite a blabbermouth.

No surprise there. My grandfather was a blabbermouth, my dad is a blabbermouth, my brother is a blabbermouth, Big Guy is a blabbermouth and, while not in their league, I can hold my own.

With that gene pool, no wonder Little Guy chatters incessantly. Problem is, I have no clue what he’s saying 90 percent of the time. When he starts his excited mile-a-minute blabbing, I just nod and reply with an enthusiastic “I know,” praying I haven’t just agreed to buy him a pony.

Male chauvenist piglet
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:21 | Comments Off

Most days, I think I’m raising fairly enlightened males. Both love to help with laundry and dishes – it likely has something to do with getting to play in water, but I’ll take it.

Big Guy always picks up his socks, carries his dishes to the sink after meals and never leaves his underwear on the bathroom floor. Oh, and he remembers to puts down the toilet seat. Loves chick flicks as well.

He went through a recent two weeks when “The Little Mermaid” was his favorite movie, though he’s moved on, to “Mulan.” Even better!

But just as all the self-congratulatory back-patting was about to dislocate my shoulder, lightening struck.

During the drive to work one morning, as we headed into downtown, we were talking about my office and bosses.

“Do you have a boss? Big Guy asked.

“Yes, I have a boss, but I am a boss, too,” I replied.

“You can’t be a boss. You’re a girl.”

Learning to be 4
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:18 | Comments Off

When a preschool teacher heads toward you, she’s usually not coming to tell you your kid played nice and listened all day. With Big Guy, I’ve had plenty of teachers head toward me in the past year.

Not that he’s always a brat – more like Dr. Freckle/ Mr. Make Mommy Wanna Hide.

At times, he can be the most cheerful, cooperative 3-year-old on earth. He also can be an over-the-top, incessantly chatty, whirling dervish. Those are some of the things I love most about him.

They’re also the things that get on my last nerve, particularly when you throw in a side order of stubborn. So I understand the need to rein him in – heck, I’ve been tempted to hogtie and gag him. And

Survivor: Daylight savings time
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:16 | Comments Off

It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play. Like this morning, when Big Guy bounced into my bed at 8:30, according to the cable box. Wow. Ten hours’ sleep. No wonder I’m so refreshed!

Euphoria lasted as far as the kitchen, where it was 7:30. Then I remembered. The cable box adjusts itself for daylight savings time. Microwaves do not. Drat. I didn’t get extra sleep. Where are the coffee filters …

It’s amazing, too, that I could forget something I read a story about early onset daylight savings time.

Boon: I wouldn’t call myself a fanatical environmentalist, but I like to do my part. And if extra weeks of daylight-saving time would help, fine.

That was normal-person thinking. Soon Mommy thinking took over

The reality of reality discipline
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:10 | Comments Off

I started with “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” and quit after “I’m OK, You’re a Brat”.

The premise of “Happiest Toddler:” Kids are cavepeople, without verbal and coping skills needed in our world. I’ll buy that. But then it suggests going caveman back at them, getting as loud and as animated as they do.

It’s supposed to empathetic. Problem: Big Guy wanted to be a bigger and better caveman, amping up the tantrum every time I tried it. Guess he took it as a challenge.

The premise of “I’m OK:” Some children really are difficult, and that’s not your fault. True, and strangely comforting. But then there’s the part about how some people just aren’t cut out to be parents. Oh my God!

The cookie conundrum
Sunday, 1 Jun, 2008 – 19:07 | Comments Off

It was 10 p.m. Valentine’s Day eve, and I was having a stare-down with 48 naked heart-shaped cookies. They needed icing – pink icing to be exact, with pink and purple sprinkles, as per Big Guy’s request – for a preschool party the next day. But the question was, how?

I did some quick calculations. It takes two minutes per cookie to spread frosting with a knife. With a decorating bag, though, I could do five cookies in two minutes. Finish in an hour and a half, or take less than 20 minutes and get an extra hour’s sleep? Not a tough call – I was near brain-dead, but not totally gone. I hunted my kitchen stool (where DID I hide it from the kids?)