Friday, August 7, 2009

Why You Should Never Let a Woman on Her Period Do the Grocery Shopping

A few nights ago we got a sudden and unexpected influx of money. Not thousands but enough to get excited. We were in dire need of everything: food, shampoo, deodorant and, most importantly, Kotex. Where does a family go when they need everything? Target, of course.

Since there are six people in my family, all with different interests, we tend to scatter the second we’re in the store. That day Noah and Ruby headed to electronics. The hubbs decided to take Violet to the toy section for some pre-birthday present scouting. So that left Hank and I to complete the meat of the errand.

Normally I’m a pretty level headed person when it comes to shopping for food. Still, I avoid the evil sugar and fat laden aisles like recovering alcoholics detour around the wine aisle. (Oh yes, Target carries wine.) There’s no point in tempting fate, level headed or not when everyone loses their resolve occasionally. The smartest of those people employ the resources at hand to shore up themselves. My resource is The Hubbs.

He keeps me honest and helps me to suss out my true needs from frivolous wants. He understands that my line has the potential to be easily blurred. Unfortunately none of the family was mentally prepared for this unexpected Target trip. We were all blinded by the shiny surprise money, even the hubbs. Because of it he made a grave miscalculation. He let me do the shopping while on my period. To this day I still don’t remember putting half of the crap in the cart. I think I must have blacked out.

Nobody was prepared for checkout, especially me. I stood there and watched in horror (along with my entire family, the cashier and the “guests” waiting in line behind us) as my hormone fueled shopping spree was displayed on the rolling conveyor belt of shame. Below is an excerpt from the 16 inch long Target receipt that I took home with me that day:


TOOTSIE ROLLS......................................................2.49
LINDOR CHOC TRUFFLES.....................................2.99
REESES TRUFFLES..................................................2.99
GOLDEN OREO CAKESTERS.................................4.08
TEDDY GRAHAMS MINIS......................................1.99
WHEAT THINS.........................................................2.99
SCOOBY DOO FRUIT SNACKS..............................1.75
HORMEL PEPPERONI............................................2.99
CHICKEN FUN NUGGETS......................................4.99
CHEESE HOT DOGS.................................................2.54
MEAT WIENERS.......................................................3.04
KRAFT MAC CHEESE..............................................4.56
DIET PEPSI MAX.....................................................4.99
CHERRY 7UP.............................................................4.59
CHERRY DR PEPPER...............................................4.99
YOPLAIT GOGURT.................................................4.98
RED BARON CHEESE PIZZA.................................9.99


I spent a total of $81.35 on shit. I don’t need judgment from you. I saw plenty of it in the eyes of the cashier. I don’t think I fooled her when, with slumped shoulders and shifty eyes, I nervously giggled and squeaked, “Uh, we’re having a party!”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Call Me Baby Batman"

At the tender age of two my youngest son became a suave billionaire vigilante who dressed in all black and rid the city of criminal clowns and arctic fowl. Though emotionally, financially and physically taxing, we, as his family, have supported his decision.

It all began when my husband decided the boy was old enough to partake in some ritual male bonding.

*Fictional account my memory has accepted as true for personal amusement*

Hubbs: Son?

Hank: Yes, father?

Hubbs: You’re two years old now. It’s time to throw off the shackles of your youth and join the men! To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time for SpongeBob, a time for big boy cartoons. So sayeth the Lord, Amen.

Hank: Wow, that was quite a speech Dad! Did you make that up yourself?

Hubbs: Yes I did.

Hank: So what did you have in mind, Pops?

Hubbs: Superheroes, son. Superheroes.

My son’s education in “real” cartoons began with Spiderman. I’m not sure why my husband chose Spiderman but I secretly believe it’s because he wishes he were Spiderman. (He did get a spider tattooed on his neck on our first date. Interesting story best saved for another time.)

Regardless Hank was amused but could take or leave Spidey. My hubbs was chagrined while I was inwardly smug. I never cared for Spiderman. He’s a pussy and I had my own agenda. My loyalties were firmly placed in another camp.

With an air of carefully practiced indifference I casually suggested we expose our little progeny to Batman. My hubbs’ dismissive reaction was akin to the sound a balloon makes when it’s blown up and released. That was his first mistake. His second was in forgetting that I was at home all day with the boy while he was at work. That Spiderman bitch was going down.

Turns out it took little persuasion to turn my son to the dark knight side. The first time he saw the yellow and black Bat symbol flash across the screen, he was hooked. Staring transfixed his only reaction was, “Wow.” My husband came home that night to a whole new world.

At first the hubbs was annoyed by my scheming and sabotage but Hank’s enthusiasm was contagious. It was for all of us. Batman movies, Batman t.v. shows, Batman action figures, Batman home d├ęcor. Obsession was fully realized when, at Hank’s 3rd Batman birthday party, he received his official cape and cowl: a costume I ordered online from Costume Express.

I guess I shouldn’t have ordered the cheap $20 costume. Of course cheap may be a little harsh. I’m sure they didn’t intend on it being worn day and night. Hank wore it so often that, within the first week, the seams began to rip. Not to worry, the dirt and food crust held it together. You see, I wasn’t allowed to wash it either.

Everyone continued to take it all in stride, even when Hank found bad guys to fight. The girls were Catwoman and Poison Ivy, Dad was the Joker and I was the Penguin because I “was short and fat”. (I was starting to lose my sense of humor and this kid was going to get my foot up his ass.) Noah was the only one spared the daily beatings but he paid in his own way. He was delegated to the role of 13 year old Robin to Hank’s 3 year old Batman.

Yep, we took it all in stride. “Normal childhood development,” I constantly reminded myself through gritted teeth. Even the day that Hank made his transition from obsession to full personality transformation with one proclamation…

Me: Hank, do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Hank: Call me…(pause for effect)…Baby Batman.

Me: Umm, ok. Is that a yes or no on the pb&j?

From that day forward God save us if we forgot and called him Hank. You’d have thought we called him late to dinner. And anything and everything Hank did, or said, or wanted was instantly justified because he was…Baby Batman.

Chastising him for beating the neighbor’s cat with a stick:
“I had to. It was the Joker and I…am Baby Batman.

Asking him why he was screaming at his sisters:
“They said I wasn’t Baby Batman and I told them I was Baby Batman and then I had to hit them!”

Wrestling him into his crib every night:
“Let me out of here! You can’t do this to me! I’m Baby Batman!”

Remember the old adage “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” I’m considering getting that made into a wooden sign by one of those wooden sign maker guys outside of Home Depot.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Subliminal Scheming

I remember being a little girl riding in a car with my chain smoking Grandma, all of the windows rolled up. Correction, not all of the windows were up. She had kids in the car after all. Her window was cracked...about a quarter of an inch. A hug from her wouldn’t have been complete without nose burn and watering eyes. All of my childhood memories of her are cigarette scented.

My grandmother wasn’t a religious woman but she would take anything she read as gospel, provided it made no real sense, promised impossible results and cost a lot of money. If you were smart you never, ever, disagreed with one of her plans. Confronting her was like sitting on a leather couch in summer while wearing shorts: you don’t realize the danger until it’s too late, it’s extremely painful to extract yourself from it and you learn your lesson quickly and never do it again.

So no one tried to talk her out of it when my grandma decided that she was going to quit smoking after reading about the amazing benefits of hypnosis. She tracked down a local “therapist” who promised (without an actual guarantee) that, for the low, low price of $300, she would receive one office visit, five subliminal cassette tapes and a cure to all her woes. Having met all of my grandmother’s criteria for what makes something credible, she signed right up.

My reverie was interrupted, once again, by a screaming child upstairs. Thundering down the stairs Violet came, giant tears squeezed out and accusations flying. After simultaneous sighs from both me and the hubbs, he asked the inevitable question…again…

Him: What happened this time?

Vi: Ruby bit me on the cheek!

(Enter Ruby)

Ruby: Well, she told me to do it!

Me: She TOLD you to do it? Can’t you come up with something better than that? Really, Ruby, I’m disappointed.

Ruby: No, really. She said we should have a Fighting Contest!

Him: Violet, did you really say that?

Vi: (sniff and mumble) Yes.

Me: Well, shit, dumbass. Who won the contest?

Vi: Umm, Ruby?

Me: Ya think?

I started to wonder if I shouldn’t record some of my own subliminal tapes for the kids. Set over the top of Jack Johnson singing some Curious George songs, my directives would be simple:


I don’t think I’m asking a lot, just the basics. And it’ll work too. Hell, it worked for grandma. She quit smoking five days after she started listening to her tapes. Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all. Of course there was that chelation pyramid scheme…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little Beggars

It doesn’t matter what store we go into, what we’re buying or how long of a lecture I give them before we go in, my children can’t help but beg. Begging is encoded in their genes. They beg for anything and everything they see, even if it doesn’t make sense…especially if it doesn’t make sense.

Aisle A1
Them: Mom, I think we need to buy some cat food.
Me: Honey…we don’t have a cat.
Them: We might someday!

Aisle A2
Them: Mom! We should totally buy this hat!
Me: Why?
Them: Because, mother, it has a bird on it.
Me: Of course it does.

Aisle A3
Them: Ooo! Mom, Mom! You should buy this magazine for you!
Me: Why would I buy that?
Them: Because Oprah is on it and she’s your favorite!
Me: No, she’s not, dear. I don’t even watch her show.

By Aisle B2 I’d already backtracked to Food Avenue and bought everyone “shut the hell up” popcorn. By Aisle D4 the popcorn was gone and by Aisle E3 we were leaving. To hell with what we came for. Toothpaste? The kids still had their baby teeth so those could rot. Diapers? Let them pee down their legs. Mommy’s Tylenol? OK, we’d go get that then we’re definitely leaving.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

They’re My Boobs, Not Yours!

An unexpected side effect has occurred from breastfeeding my children: the total and complete loss of ownership over my breasts. It’s something the parenting books don’t warn you about and nothing your mom friends talk about. The moment that tiny, precious, little leech first latches on you’ve officially handed over the deed.

You might be thinking, “This news isn’t surprising. When you choose to breastfeed of course you’re losing some control over your body”. I don’t mean while your breastfeeding. I mean afterwards…and for years.

My oldest son Noah’s favorite way to breastfeed was to wrap both arms around and hug the breast he was nursing on. He got used to associating cleavage with love and comfort. Anytime myself, or another woman, would pick him up his hand would automatically slide down the shirt and rest between the boobs. My sister was so surprised the first time he did this she almost dropped him. That’s when he was four. Thank God he’s outgrown it. He’s 13 now and we don’t have any collateral that a bail bondsman would find interesting.

My daughter Ruby’s violation of my boobs is less physical and more artistic. Anytime she draws a picture of Mom, usually for a school project, she draws me with two of the biggest hooters outside of, well, Hooters. They are also, typically, bigger than my head. I have to wonder if this is how she perceives me or if they truly are my most dominant feature. After visiting Young Artist Night at Ruby’s school, seeing a family portrait drawn by my little angel, and watching a Dad look back and forth from the picture to me and then chuckle, I think her skill at drawing to scale is more accurate than I’d like to admit.

I breastfed Violet for the least amount of time so she has the least amount of interest. I did pay for it with five months of the longest, loudest and most soul crushing colic, so I count that debt paid.

My youngest, Hank, is the worst offender. Maybe it’s because I nursed him the longest. Maybe it’s because he’s the least removed from nursing. Maybe he’s just a breast man.
Like any other man he loves to pinch, squeeze, punch, bite and honk them. He likes to talk to them, talk about them and use them as pillows, punching bags, stress balls and best friends. For a boy of three who hasn’t nursed for two years, that’s a lot dependency.

He takes a lot of generous liberty with these parts of MY body. Even still, I wouldn’t mind as much if he kept it behind closed doors. It’s when we’re in Costco and, after spotting his favorite snack, he screams out, “I want some Pirate Boobies!”, then reaches out and honks my boobs in front of a couple dozen fellow shoppers. That’s when I start to wonder if my husband has been giving the boy a few lessons.

We all know that little kids have no filters on their mouths, restraint over their actions or any sense of public shame. My youngest son has honed these attributes into real talents. He could use these gifts for good instead of evil but that would be too easy…on me and my boobs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

Things I Never Thought I’d Say

You tried to flush it, you fish it out!

So, take turns biting your brother!

I guess you’ll just have to pee your pants! I’m not pulling over again!

Ruby! Run and get me a knife from the kitchen. Hurry! Run!

If you have to kill each other, could you please take it outside?

Why? Why would you paint your walls with poop?

You want to run away? Great! Hope you like Foster Care! They beat kids in Foster Care!

Sorry, you can’t have a drink of my soda. It’s full of alcohol, drugs, and prostitution so it’s only for mommies and daddies.

Things I Never Thought I’d Hear

Mom, what’s erectile dysfunction?

Mom! Why are you peeing blood? Are you going to die?

Someone come wipe my butt!

Why do you have hair growing there?

Why does Dad pee standing up?

You’ve got a lot of white hair. Are you a grandma now?

I think my boobs are growing in.

Mom, come help me! I’ve got juicy poo!

I like the skin under your arms, Mom. It’s soft and looks like wings.

You make one helluva casserole woman!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Riding In Cars With Kids

Waiting for long periods of time in the car with all of the kids is like a visit to the 7th circle of hell. After a minute and a half the whining begins. Such was the afternoon that we had to sit in the car for two hours waiting on a cop.

My husband’s car had been stolen from in front of our house. Three days later our next door neighbor knocked and said that she thought she saw it parked five blocks away. We followed her over and, sure enough, there it was.

The police were called and we were told to not touch the car, look at the car, breathe on the car, blink too close to the car. Just sit and wait for a police officer. One would be with us as soon as possible. Evidently “as soon as possible” in cop speak means “whenever-we-feel-like-dragging-ourselves-over-there-to-deal-with-your-unexciting-lots-of-paperwork-but-no-glory-shit-fest”.

In one of my shining moments of motherhood I thought I’d try something productive with the kids while we waited. I only had a notebook and a pen so I decided we'd do a group story. You know, one person starts a story, the next person adds to it, and on and on. I thought that we might get a funny, interesting story to laugh over. When you have a 13, 7, 4 and 3 year olds, all adding to one story, funny and interesting is an understatement.

I started…

(Mom) Once upon a time in a land named…

(Noah) Giantland the giants were having a rampage.

(Ruby) They saw a dead dinosaur, picked up its bones and beat each other with them.

(Violet) The giants huge feet walked around and squished all the sheep.

(Hank) The dinosaur went into the Batman car, drove it and ate a cat.

(Noah) The giants stepped on the Batman car. When the giants squished the Batman car it opened a portal to the human world. The giants walked through and crushed and ate all the humans.

(Ruby) They walked back to their world, laid down in the grass and took a nap. When the sun came out they turned to stone. A cow had a big huge hammer and crushed all the big stone giants to pieces.

(Violet) The cow found a wagon with a lion inside.

(Hank) The lion ate the cow. Then the dinosaur ate the lion and walked back to drive his Batman car.

I started the story so I figured I’d better end it…quick. In a brilliant move stolen from the old Newhart show I used the classic…

(Mom) THEN I WOKE UP! That was the weirdest dream I ever had. The End!

“YEAH!!!” everybody yelled. I looked at the clock. Four minutes had passed. “Yeah!” Somebody kill me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why Can’t Kids Ever Admit When They’re Wrong?

Ruby: “Mom? Where’s Dad’s car?”

Me: “He drove it to work honey.”

Ruby: “No he didn’t. He rode his bike today. I saw him leave with it.”

Me: “Well I guess not because it’s gone.”

Ruby: “No, really! Dad rode his bike! I saw him!”

Me: “OK, well maybe he put his bike in his car and took it to work to fix it.”


Me: “Ruby! Stop arguing with me! Obviously you’re wrong because his car is gone! Now do you want to get to school on time or argue with me? We’re already late!”

Ruby: (Mumbling) “Maybe it was stolen.”

Me: “Yeah right Ruby. It was stolen.”

I didn’t think about it all day long until 5pm when we pulled up outside the house at the same time as my husband…on his bike. God I hate it when kids are right!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lessons in Toilet Paper

"Check the seat for pee before you sit down! I guarantee nothing!"

This phrase is saved for only the best of guests visiting our home. At least they're allowed to use the bathroom. Most people's visits to our house start and end at the front door.

We're not anti-social or rude. We're actually trying to spare a guest from a disgusting surprise while saving our family's collective face. You see, our children believe that toilet paper use is optional.

It's not for lack of trying on our part. Lessons, lectures, demonstrations, scare tactics, nothing works.

Now, there is occasional paper use. There has to be. It keeps disappearing. It just doesn't appear to be disappearing into the toilet. At least not for anything less than recreation. I have caught the kids testing the time old tradition of putting one end of the roll into the toilet and then flushing. It's SO funny to watch that roll spin wildly on the holder while $12 worth of T.P. disappears uselessly into the watery depths. But to actually put paper to skin and apply some sort of wiping motion? Unthinkable!

The question I have to pose to my children would be this: If you’re not going to use the toilet paper to clean yourself, could you at least throw some of it in to hide your post-potty shame? For evidently the next lesson will be: Flushing 101: What goes, what stays.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Potty: Chair and Mouth

Around the same time that each one of my kids requires a potty chair they gain the gift of profanity. Now the hubbs and I are no saints. We won't feign innocence. We know precisely where they pick up their shiny little obsenity gems. From us.

We are closet cuss connaisseurs. We pepper our daily language with swears words both common and refined. We revel in outdoing one another in abstract uses. A favorite is the combo-curse. Combining two different swear words into one. New, impressive and, possibly, with its own definition.

It's fun and entertaining, until you hear it echoed back to you from the mouth of your 3 year old...on a busy the top of his the middle of Target's Food Court...while shopping with your new, very Christian, friend. Oops.

At least he used it in the correct context. His father will be so proud.