Category Archives: #3

Go Play With Yourself. And Don’t Lick the Minivan.

One of my favorite writers has a new book out. She’s Canadian, eh?* The book’s been out for a week or so up there and is totally smoking Calgary as we speak. Today is the US release date, so to celebrate I’m giving away a copy. And I’m listening to Rush while I’m writing this. That’s like, Canadian squared.

You’re welcome.

Leanne Shirtliffe’s new book is Don’t Lick the Minivan- and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids.

That’s a change from the original working title, which was Get That Train Off Your Penis. (Man, if I had a dollar for every time I said that. . . ) Fret not, there is still a chapter with that title.

Leanne rocks because:

  • She writes with the unique perspective that only a parent of twins who gave birth to them in Thailand could have.
  • There is a complete absence of mean-spirited snark in this book.
  • There is an abundance of ironic, tongue-in-cheek, smart humor that comes from a genuine love for her family.
  • It’s hilarious.

Did you know the rule stating that subjects of passport photos must have their eyes open also applies to newborns? She can tell you all about that.

Here are some other gems I learned from Leanne’s book:

  • If you maim your child, your spouse will help you out more.
  • If you need assistance while changing a baby’s diaper in an airplane bathroom, light a cigarette.
  • Lazy parenting creates kids who are self-starters.
  • Never tell your child that the ice cream truck sells ice cream. Tell them it sells vegetables.

Leanne also writes about depression. The post-partum kind that shows up late, and then returns again even later. How real it is, and how she deals with it. It’s more prevalent than people are owning up to, and you don’t have to just be a bio parent to experience it. Most importantly, it’s not the end of the world. Leanne’s book is as full of hope as it is humor.

Oh right. The giveaway!

In a fit of total unoriginality, I have decided that to enter the giveaway you should leave a comment in the comments section about something you have once said to a kid, or heard someone else say to a kid, that you never thought anyone would–or perhaps should– say to a kid.

Here’s mine:

When we first got custody of our kids, within six weeks I was out of town on an extended trip to open a show booked long before all this happened.

I was standing downstage center with the rest of my crew, rigging up the center cluster to hang when I got a call from #3.

She was having a rough day for an eight-year-old. She was being forced to do chores along with everyone else when she didn’t want to. She was sure she was the most oppressed little girl in the world, that her life was completely unfair. She said CC had told her to finish cleaning her room and then – of all the nerve!– was forcing her to go to the park with the family.

#3: Nobody understands what it’s like to be me!

I’ve been there. Sometimes you just need to be alone. In my mind I was picturing her at the park and activities she could do by herself while still keeping her father off her case by going with the family. Swings, maybe, or hobby horse.

And in a lull in the activity around me, downstage center surrounded by stagehands, I said to my new step-daugher:

Maybe you should just go play with yourself.

Damn prepositions.

no lick

What have you said or heard that you never thought would be said to a kid?

Leave a comment in the comments section through Friday, May 24 at midnight EST and I will pick a winner purely on whatever the hell I feel like doing. If you don’t have a funny story and you’re just a desperate mom who needs a laugh, put that in there. If the winner lives in the US, they have a choice of hardcover or electronic version; if they’re outside the US, it’s electronic.

Go buy Don’t Lick the Minivan!

*not to be alarmed, they took all the errant u‘s out in the book. That’s why I can still say she’s my “favorite” and not my “favourite”.

WINNERS UPDATE: I decided to award two books, because I felt like it. One goes to Alexandra-who-needs-to-start-her-own-blog-because-she’s-funny and one goes to Misty from Misty’s Laws because I was afraid she was going to sue me  she really needs this book. If you didn’t win, please go buy the book because it’s truly fantastic.

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Peep Dioramas

Kids are funny about holiday traditions. They’ll cling mightily to some while not remembering others; actively resist certain new ideas but welcome others without question.

Easter is where all holiday traditions have broken down in this family. We’ve done something different every year, to new levels of failure every time. I posted about a couple of them here and here.

Last year after so many Easter ideas that didn’t fly, I gave up trying to find something that would work. I dumped some chocolate in a pile on the table and slept in while CC took the kids to church. The older kids hid eggs for the younger kids, and I felt guilty for a whole year. I believe they considered that the best Easter ever. . .

But you never know what kids will latch onto. They’re always watching you, even when you think they aren’t paying attention. Turns out I did start a tradition: The five-dollar egg, and the dog poop egg.

#5 started asking about this year’s egg hunt shortly after Christmas.

The other kids would chime in that they just weren’t into egg hunts, didn’t want to color eggs, had no interest in doing anything like that- they were way too old for that stuff. They stopped short, however, of giving up their Easter baskets.

Spurred by last year’s guilt I decided that I would do an egg hunt this year, by God, because #5 kept asking about it. True to their word, his sisters all bailed on coloring eggs. All except for #4, who was forced into it by the babysitter after #5 had waited for her all day to do the eggs.

Sometimes it sucks being the youngest. I remember that.

The astute among you will notice that I am not the colorer of eggs. If you dig through the archives, you will also discover I don’t carve pumpkins, either.

But something. . . dare we say miraculous? . .  happened on Easter Sunday. Three of the girls decided to join in the egg hunt. Probably it was the promise of the $5 egg. Now, I may have hidden that egg in a place where it was more likely to be discovered by a ten-year-old boy than a teenage girl. Maybe. I may or may not have given him a word of encouragement/direction before the egg hunt began. I did not, however, tell him where it was.

Regardless, #5 did find the $5 egg (which was an egg with five bucks rubber-banded to it because I didn’t get plastic eggs this year).

#3 found the dog poop egg- which was a poop-colored egg hidden near a pile of dog poop (not in it). The best part is that she didn’t notice the poop when she found the egg, and was more than a little grossed out when I pointed it out to her. Win-win.

Peep Dioramas were next on the agenda, the prize up for grabs being a bag of Robin’s Eggs and some Silly Putty. The only rules were that Peeps had to be involved, and so did their Easter baskets. I guess I was envisioning  small Peep scenes contained within the Easter baskets. But the term “diorama” became. . .expanded. And suddenly three teenage girls and one ten-year-old boy were madly scrambling for anything remotely resembling blocks, dolls, or action figures.

All with showtunes blasting on Pandora.

My living room was epic.

And twisted. Most of the Peeps died. Including one that was puggle-napped.

#5’s scene involved a roller coaster, military vehicles, and towers. I called it Peep Inferno, even though nothing was technically on fire. Yet.

DSCF7453

It included a botched helicopter rescue:

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GRAB THE ROPE! THE ROPE!

MY ROPE BROKE! OH NOOO!

MY ROPE BROKE! OH NOOO!

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I seriously debated whether or not to include #4’s for fear of my door being broken down by DYFS. Then I figured, what the hell. If it’s the Peep diorama that sends DYFS over the edge, they haven’t been paying attention.

I dubbed this Rock Show of Doom because she claimed it all started at a concert:

When Mosh pits go bad

When Mosh pits go bad

And yes, I am intentionally avoiding close-ups of all of the creepily posed dolls. Please don’t scrutinize it.

While it was never clear who started off performing in the concert, it was very clear who the victor was:

Last Peep standing.

Last Peep standing.

#3’s started off as a volcano sacrifice (with tomato and Craisin lava). . .

Who to save?

Who to save?

DSCF7476But the availability of extra Army dudes changed it up a little and she opted for a “make your own story line” motif.

And who won?

#2.

With her Peep depiction of Les Misérables:

DSCF7462

Cosette. . .*cough*. .  mais non. . .

Cosette. . .*cough*. . mais non. . .

I have thrown Peeps, stuck Peeps to the wall to have Peep races (last Peep standing wins), tried to blow up Peeps in the microwave, eaten Peeps (not recommended), and cleaned up dog-vomited semi-digested Peeps (also not recommended). Hands down, the Peeps “dioramas” were the best Peep experience I’ve ever had. Maybe this tradition will stick (like a Peep, to the bottom of your shoe…)

What’s the most fun you’ve had with Peeps?

The Best Idea He Ever Had

Monday is pizza lunch day at the elementary school, the only school without a cafeteria where one could buy lunch in a pinch. . . if, say, one overslept or forgot to get lunch meat, or just couldn’t fricking deal with the prospect of making that many goddamn sandwiches again. Therefore, Monday has long been our throw-money-at-the-kids-and-let-them eat-crap-at-school day.

When school started up again after the holidays, CC issued a mandate: each of the four kids who have not yet graduated will be responsible for making school lunches one day each week.

Monday plus 4 kids making lunches each one day a week translates into both of us getting a whole extra thirty minutes’ sleep in the morning. That’s almost better than sex.

Almost.

It had to be a rule laid down by him. I never would have been able to make it stick. First off, they wouldn’t have believed me. Then, when they realized that I meant business, they would have been stuffing fistfuls of dry cereal (if there was any left) into sandwich bags and hurling them at each other on the way out the door going, “Here’s your lunch!”.

But now, the night before their allotted day, they make the sandwiches. They gather the snacks. They label the bags and put the cold things in the fridge. There have been some interesting but predictable occurrences. Like the lunchmaker gets the most coveted snacks. And how the day that we were nearly out of bread, #4 equally dispersed the hateful heels from two loaves of bread so that everyone got only one, and no one got stuck with two. Except for herself; she was exempted from heels and got the last two regular pieces of bread. She left one heel for CC and I to share for toast.

The bread hates you too.

The bread hates you too.

Last night #2 came into the living room full of angst.

#2: I would like to state for the record that I HATE that wheat bread for sandwiches!

Me: That’s what you said when I bought white bread! What do you want?

#2: Well, I like that OTHER white bread!

CC: I bought a loaf of that- it’s on the counter!

#2: I KNOW! That’s why I used it for my sandwich.

Me: And you used the hateful wheat bread for everyone else’s sandwich?

#2: Well, yeah. That way there will be more of the good white bread for my sandwiches later.

Me: When has that concept ever worked at any time for anything in this family?

#2: We’re out of goldfish.

My favorite part of this whole thing, maybe even better than the extra sleep, is what they’re writing on each other’s lunch bags.

In retrospect, it should have been obvious but we didn’t see it coming: My darling baby brother, Fart Face, Booger.

But #5, having Friday as his lunch-making day, has the entire week to think up retaliations for what his sisters write on his bag.

The girls underestimated him. My favorite last week was Don’t forget your ointment!