Archives for January 2011

Eggs…What Are They?

Gwen has most definitely inherited that family trait (my side) that causes one to purposely mess with the minds of family members. You know, just for a private laugh at the expense of someone else’s frustration. Initially I was worried. I thought that she might actually be some kind of idiot, but in the midst of one of her very Gwen-like mind f*&# sessions, I realized that the kid is just messing with me!

Lately, she’s really into “cooking” her own breakfast. In reality this simply entails standing on a stool at the counter and cracking eggs into a bowl. It was during a recent egg cracking session in the midst of the morning rush that Gwen embarked on her plan to toy with me. She saw my preoccupation with the siblings and realized I wasn’t on top of my mental game. She moved in for the kill. Well played, grasshopper. Well played.

“Mom, is an egg an egg?”

I stopped struggling with Joe’s zipper for a moment and looked at her. My head said, what the #$^% is this kid blathering about now? My mouth said, “What?”

“I said….Is…An…Egg…An…Egg-ah?” Notice the emphasis on the snotty ‘ah’ at the end of the word egg, as if it now contains two syllables.

I attempted to ignore her snotty attitude and decipher her train of thought. Without making eye contact, she continued cracking away and picking shells from the egg mixture while not so patiently awaiting my response. Okay, so I just threw this out there… “An egg is a chicken embryo…kind of a baby chicken before it turns into a baby chicken.”

“No. What is an egg? Is it an egg?”
Alright, what the eff is going on here? “It has a shell, that’s kind of like a bone to protect the inside of the egg…the embryo…er, baby chicken part.”

“But what is an egg, really?”

“It’s an oval?” I said, but it somehow turned into a hopeful question. Oh, please let that have been the answer to her deeply philosophical question so we can move on with the day.

“But is it an egg?!” she was nearly shouting at this point and holding out her hands, either mocking me or demonstrating her frustration at my sheer stupidity.

Joe stopped writhing around on the floor for a moment and shouted, “Gwen, eggs are baby chickens that the mom chicken poops out!” Well, thank God someone else is becoming as exacerbated with this line of questioning as I am.

Looking slightly freaked out, Gwen shreiked, “You mean eggs are chicken poop?!”

Not wanting to open the whole reproduction can of worms, I rubbed my eyes and entered that stage where I was about to lose my mind.

“No. Eggs are not chicken poop.”

“So…is an egg an egg?”

Mind lost.

“Yes, Gwen. An egg is an egg. It’s an egg when it’s an oval, it’s an egg when the mom-chicken poops it out, and it’s an egg when you crack it. It’s an egg when you scramble, fry, poach or hard boil it. It’s an egg when you eat it. It’s an egg if you drop it. IT’S ALWAYS A STINKIN’ EGG!”

I walked into the pantry in a huff and attempted to deep breathe myself into a state of relaxation. Mid-breath, I heard Gwen whispering to Joe. “Joe…hey, Joe! I’m teasing mommy”, she said in a voice that was dripping with delight. I peeked around the corner and saw her standing next to Joe, triumphantly giggling with her hand covering her mouth. ZING! She got me.

Pssst, see that flashing brown box down below? Well, by clicking it you help keep No. 7 in the top 10 at Top Mommy Blogs. I don’t get any kind of compensation from Top Mommy Blogs, just more exposure for the ol’ bloggedy blog. More exposure means more readers and more readers makes me feel good. It’s a trickle down effect. If I’m happy, everyone is happy here at Chez Nutbag. So help a girl out and cast your vote. One click does the trick! xoxoxoxoxo
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The Case of the Orange Crayon

Freshly painted walls. What can I say, they excite me. I’m not sure what the expiration date is on “fresh” when it comes to paint and walls, but clearly Gwen is under the impression that fresh paint has a shelf life of approximately 6 months. My pint-sized Picasso has taken it upon herself to tackle the redesign of her room with a series of tiny, disfigured beings that may or may not represent people.

What I find fascinating is that she revamped her room with mixed media in the form of crayons, pencil, red pen and one orange magic marker. Genius, sheer genius. However, she needs a bit of work in the area of hatching diabolical plans.

Considering Joe’s penchant for all things orange, her use of the orange marker was utterly brilliant. I’ll give her that. Already, her four-year-old brain is fully capable of plotting an attempt to outwit her mother. Well-played my young friend, but not good enough! My powers of deduction and investigative skills are nearly impossible to overcome. Take notes and perhaps one day, you will outwit me. (Good luck. I seriously doubt that will ever happen – I’m the Queen of Diabolical.)

Joe is a great collector of all things orange. Joe loves to eat oranges. Joe digs the Oompa Loompas and declares them “awesome” in spite of their slightly freakish and off-putting appearance. He believes that they are the perfect shade of orange. So when I spied that enormous but indistinguishable orange blob on the wainscoting beneath your desk, I immediately thought, “&;#$%, JOE!”

What you failed to consider, young grasshopper, was Kate’s new ability to speak and she sang like a bird! You failed to silence the one and only witness to your evil orange blob-drawing deed! So when I inquired in a slightly high-pitched and piercing manner, “WHO DID THAT?” the witness clearly identified you as the perpetrator by toddling over to said blob, touching it and shouting, “Cookie!”…except that it sounded more like, “GOOGI!”

The final nail in your coffin? The orange crayon in the dryer.

Let’s just say that opening a dryer full of clean clothes coated in orange wax does not induce a Zen-like state of bliss. Sadly, when I spied that semi-melted stick of orange wax, my brain automatically assumed that it was poor Joe who left the crayon in his pocket.

After 20 minutes with OxiClean and a brush, I had calmed down a skosh. I scrubbed the hell out of those waxy-orange stained clothes and sent them back through the washing machine. Lucky for you, Applebee’s hands out cheap crayons that don’t stand up to the power of OxiClean! (Ahem…you’re welcome for the free product endorsement, OxiClean.)

As I scrubbed and sprayed and swore under my breath, it dawned on me. Wait…that crayon was from Applebee’s? Lest we forget, our last girl’s day out included lunch at that very establishment followed by a viewing of Tangled. If my memory is correct, you filched precisely one orange crayon. You staunchly denied ownership of the offending orange stain-inducer whilst batting your eyes in my direction, but you weren’t fooling me, missy! Your lame attempt to frame your brother was evil, pure EVIL!

Now, here’s a paint brush and some Sherwin Williams-Innocent Pink. Start painting, sister!

Pssst, see that flashing brown box down below? Well, by clicking it you help keep No. 7 in the top 10 at Top Mommy Blogs. I don’t get any kind of compensation from Top Mommy Blogs, just more exposure for the ol’ bloggedy blog. More exposure means more readers and more readers makes me feel good. It’s a trickle down effect. If I’m happy, everyone is happy here at Chez Nutbag. So help a girl out and cast your vote. One click does the trick! xoxoxoxoxo

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It’s in the Bag

Ah, winter in Maine…If you happen to be a faithful reader, you know of my borderline-deranged attachment to the beach and all things summer. If you are just joining me, welcome! My name is Kelli and I love summer and the ocean, preferably at the same time.
Late January has rolled around and I have just about had it up to here (that’s somewhere around the middle of my forehead) with 10 degree weather and blizzards. Why, just yesterday I shook my fist at the Gods of Snow and cursed them for causing yet another snow day. Perhaps sensing that I was teetering upon the brink of utter insanity, David arranged for a babysitter this afternoon. We had five – yes, you read that right, FIVE hours sans children. Come on…say it with me:
Bliss.
Today was supposed to be spent reading yet another memoir and wrapping up loose ends on my MFA application due in..jeez, one week and three days. Instead of hunkering down and being a hermit all day, I skipped. I ditched… played hooky and you know what? It was fun. I can’t tell you the last time that Dave and I spent five hours alone. We took advantage of our temporary freedom with a trip to Freeport.
If you aren’t from Maine, or haven’t been lucky enough to visit yet, Freeport is home of the LL Bean flagship store. It is also filled with outlet shopping and a Starbucks. Don’t forget the venti non-fat latte! Mostly, Freeport is home to one of my favorite stores. Until today, I have only ever gone in and wistfully stared. It’s hard to rationalize a purchase when you have three children to feed, clothe and entertain. Today we almost walked by. My heart wasn’t into shopping. It’s been so darn long since I’ve actually gone shopping unfettered, that I think I’ve forgotten how to do it. Dave, sensing that the world was off-kilter, grabbed my hand and led me into my favorite Freeport haunt. Sea Bags.
Weird, I know…just this past week I was raving about Sea Bags on the Narragansett No. 7 Facebook page. Having grown up on a beautiful lake in the Adirondack Mountains, I had the good fortune of learning to sail at a young age. To me, there is nothing quite as beautiful as watching a sail unfurl and fill with the wind. The crisp snap of the sail as the boat comes about and rides the wind across the lake is nearly magical. I miss sailing.
I discovered Sea Bags a few years ago. I was drawn to the window by the nautical colors. What I saw when I peered through the glass took my breath away. Totes made from recycled sails? Sheer genius. Alas, I admired them and their nautical glory from afar, wistfully sighing whenever I spotted a lady about town with that fantastic anchor tote slung over her shoulder. Like I said…three kids puts a damper on my purchasing power.
Well, the stars must have been aligning this week because Dave spied a bin of Sea Bags that were being offered at a steep discount. He bought me my first Sea Bag for the bargain basement price of $45! (Usually somewhere around $150.)
Hannah Kubiak, Sea Bags (who graciously allowed me to take her picture)
We also had the good fortune of meeting Hannah Kubiak, one of the co-owners of Sea Bags, who gave us a quick run down on the history of this Maine-based company. She gives credit to her dad, who founded Port Canvas, Co. in Kennebunkport, for coming up with the original Sea Bag…back when it was just a cool bag…made out of a sail. The bags are constructed from recycled sails right at 24-25 Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine. I love that the company is staying true to it’s Maine heritage.


I love the notion that each bag possibly carried boats and the people who loved sailing them around the world. Someone struggled, waited, laughed, cursed at and then lovingly recycled their sail. My tote has a history. It has been filled with mysterious breezes, but I’ll never know it’s story. I can only imagine. Number 25 will accompany me to the beach this summer. In the meantime, it will be my reminder that there are only 60 more days until spring. Maybe this summer I’ll get one with a big ol’ No. 7 sewed on.

If you are interested in owning a Sea Bag, or just reading about this cool, Maine-based business head over to http://www.seabags.com/ and check them out. If you plan on visiting Maine, stop in and check out one or both of their locations.

P.S. I am in no way compensated for my post, I just like to share good stuff!

Have you noticed the big, flashy brown box below? It’s there because I need your help to vote me into the top 10 at Top Mommy Blogs. I don’t get any compensation from Top Mommy Blogs, just more exposure for the old bloggedy blog. Exposure means more readers and more readers makes me feel good. It’s a trickle-down effect. If I’m happy, everyone is happy here at Chez Nutbag. So please, help a girl out and throw me a vote by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs vote button right down below. xoxoxoxox


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Reflection

I lifted my gaze from the face of my daughter who lay swaddled in my arms, still under the spell of sleepy newborn slumber. In the distance, I watched the pinpoint of a shadowy figure emerge from the light at the end of the darkened corridor. The darkness didn’t bother me. I was content with the weight of the new life in my arms. My eyes struggled to focus on the approaching form. As the space between us began to close, it was my grandmother whose form finally obscured the bright light. Her shuffling approach slowed and I recognized the familiar glint of mischievousness in her eyes. Her mouth turned up slightly in one of her trademark sarcastic smiles as our eyes met. Her expression dared me to ask how she had gotten here.
She stopped before me and tore her gaze from mine. I saw the anticipation in the slight bend of her head as she stooped over Gwen and pulled the swaddle aside. A minute inhale could be heard when her eyes met my new baby. A moment of quiet reflection followed. She looked up at me, her white hair casting shimmering glints reflected from the light behind her. Our eyes met. “Well, ain’t she cunnin’, doll…” Her smile told me she was proud. Without speaking, she told me she loved me. I wanted to reach out and touch her face, but my arms were filled with my baby. Slowly she turned and shuffled back down the corridor while I stood watching. Without turning back, she became a slight pinpoint of shadow. Then she was gone. The light closed upon itself with a discernable pop.

My eyelids fluttered open. My vision was filled with my sleeping daughter, still held under the spell of sleepy newborn slumber. I rolled over to the warmth of David’s arm and kissed him awake. “I just had a dream. Mema was there. She came to meet Gwen.”

Have you noticed the big, flashy brown box below? It’s there because I need your help to vote me into the top 10 at Top Mommy Blogs. I don’t get any compensation from Top Mommy Blogs, just more exposure for the old bloggedy blog. Exposure means more readers and more readers makes me feel good. It’s a trickle-down effect. If I’m happy, everyone is happy here at Chez Nutbag. So please, help a girl out and throw me a vote by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs vote button right down below. xoxoxoxox
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Snow Fort Time Machine

If 30 years ago, someone had told me that one day I would be able to lay inside of a snow fort, play video games and talk to my friends on a tiny computer, I would have thought that person had watched one too many episodes of the Jetson’s. Yet, just the other day Gwen and I spent an hour digging a snow fort into the ginormous pile of snow next to the driveway and I found myself doing each of those things for some time before realizing how ridiculously odd it was.

When I began the fort, I simply made it large enough to hold my little Gwennie. She climbed in and curled up to wave at the camera. As I snapped a few shots, I got jealous. I remembered being small enough to crawl inside many snow forts. Suddenly, I was overcome with the need to expand the fort. After all, there are no rules stating that snow fort inhabitants must be under five feet tall. Gwen and I dug for a while longer until, finally, we both fit inside at the same time. We shared juice boxes and took pictures of each other. I must say, Gwen didn’t necessarily capture me at my best, but we certainly had a lovely time.

At some point, Gwen got bored and bailed on the fort, leaving me alone in the silence of my freshly dug snow cave. I had forgotten how silent the world becomes when encapsulated in snow. I simply laid back and enjoyed the peace of the moment. At my feet, the circular view of the world outside told me that it would wait, alongside all of the responsibilities that come with being a mother and wife. My applications and essays beckoned, yet, I found myself shirking my duties to travel back in time. I hid inside my snow fort and became 10 again.

I pulled out my phone and snapped a few more photos. I Facebooked. I played Angry Birds. I marveled at what one can do these days, from the inside of a modern snow fort. I was wondering what the interiors of snow forts would hold when Gwen reaches the ripe old age of 40. Would she still build snow forts with her children? Would she remember the magic? Suddenly, Gwen’s round little face filled the entrance and interrupted my thoughts. “Um…Mommy? Are you going to come out of there now?”

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Snow Day!

There was a time when the words “snow day” elicited such joy in my little heart. Don’t you remember the thrill and anticipation of climbing into bed on the eve of a big snowstorm? Your eyes would close to magical visions of freshly fallen mounds of snow, perfect sled runs and piping hot cocoa. A mid-week gift from Mother Nature, she’d provide children everywhere with an undisputed day off.

On waking, we’d lay in our beds wrapped in the warmth of our blankets with fingers crossed, listening to the radio and waiting for the name of our school to be called. Other than the endless drone of the bored DJ reading closures, the house was silent. We were all doing the same thing – waiting for the DJ to round the alphabet and reach the right letter. I would hold my breath and silently pray as he neared the spot that should rightfully hold our school district’s name. As soon as it was read, the silence would be broken with a collective whoop of joy and the sound of feet hitting the floor as covers were thrown back and we ran to congratulate each other on our good fortune.

Those days were wonderful. Those days were the ones where my family was forced to stay home together and play in the snow. We were blissfully clueless to the effect of the snow day on the adults in the household. 

Here in Maine on this Tuesday evening past, we all drifted to sleep with the thrill and anticipation of a snow day in our future. It’s true. Even the grownups sensed that Mother Nature was going to provide us with the rare gift of a mid-week day off. Dave and I woke at 6:45 a.m. and turned on the local news to determine whether or not school attendance would be required. In reality, one look out the window told me that we had a freebie. My heart skipped a beat and with great joy, I envisioned a perfect snowy fun-filled family day.

7:30 a.m.
Gwen insists that breakfast must be bacon and eggs. Evidently, anything less than bacon and eggs (for example, oatmeal) isn’t at all appropriate for snow day breakfast. Ooooookay.

7:50 a.m.

Gwen cries because she doesn’t want to eat the bacon and eggs. Despite eating absolutely none of the food she demanded just 20 minutes earlier, she’s “stuffed”.

8:30 a.m.
Kate, operating under the assumption that the Wii remote is also a nunchuck, swings it and delivers a loud and deadly blow to Joe’s right eye.
8:31 a.m.
Joe sits with a frozen bag of peas on his eye and tries to stifle his sobbing while telling Kate that she’s an “A.S.S. ‘cuz if you spell it, it isn’t a swear.”
9:00 a.m.
Dave finally determines that he’s not going to make it down the driveway, let alone the unplowed road in his Saab (Uh, duh?). He makes the grand and unheard of announcement that he’ll be staying home from work today. (Oh really? What a shocker.)
10:00 a.m.
Gwen locates a new Netflix envelope on the kitchen counter and announces that she is dying to watch “Avatard”. I spend the next five minutes slowly pronouncing the word Avatar for my four year old. “Say it with me Gwen, Avah-TAR.” No dice. I switch tactics and start calling it the ‘Blue Alien Movie’ and hope she bites.
10:05 a.m.
Gwen requests a snack. She’s starving.

10:06 a.m.

Joe requests a snack.
10:06:45 a.m.

Kate points at Joe and Gwen’s snack, screams and wildly gestures to her mouth.

11:30 a.m.
Joe locks himself in the dog crate and won’t come out unless we leave the house RIGHT NOW and buy him a Pillow Pet. I spend the next five minutes fruitlessly attempting to point out that, even if we wanted to go randomly purchase a Pillow Pet for no good reason, we couldn’t because we were snowed in. He refuses to come out of the crate.

11:35 a.m.
It dawns on me that Joe is LOCKED IN THE DOG CRATE. I walk away and let him sulk in the cage.

11:38 a.m.
Vague cries of, “Can I get out now?” are heard coming from the direction of the kitchen.

1:30 p.m.
Joe enters the room and informs us of the following observation, “Did you know that when I touch Kate in the fist form, she cries?” You don’t say! How very interesting.

And on it went for the better part of the day. No one wanted to go sledding and to tell the truth, when the snow is coming down sideways and the wind is howling at 40 miles per hour, I can’t say that I blame them. We simply settled in and attempted to hear Avatar over the howling.

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I Think Not, Sir!

I wanted to pretend that the addition of a new astrological sign was not a big deal. Despite my attempt to ignore the change, I was finally compelled to search the web for my “new” sign. I was confident that my beloved scales were still mine. Not so. According to Parke Kunkle of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College I am a Virgo. A Virgo? I think not, Mr. Kunkle.

Perhaps a bit of East Coast snobbery comes into play here. I like to think I’m not a East Coast university snob. I’m not, really…I’m not. But I’m not going to take Parke Kunkle of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s word for it. Exactly who gave Parke Kunkle permission to create this new and unpronounceable sign? 

When the news first came down that I am now a Virgo I balked. I huffed and walked away from the computer with sneer and snort. Of course, I initially listened to the change as if God himself delivered Ophiuchus, the serpent holder unto us. As 2012 approaches, I thought that perhaps Ophiuchus was predicted by the ancient Mayans as well. Perhaps one of Nostradamus’s quatrains hold this long and previously undetected sign of the serpent. That’s what I thought yesterday…back when I (momentarily) believed everything that the (junk) news told me.
I didn’t think I was so attached, but I guess I really identify with my old Libran sign. So first I began to mourn its loss. Then I got pissed. I mean, how dare someone throw this monkey wrench in my path. I pictured spending my remaining years reading my newly assigned Virgo horoscope and jealously looking back at what those new and unappreciative Librans are up to. Then I got pissed and my old Libran self rose from the ashes. My scales tipped back to center and the need to investigate and research the origins of this astrological shift took over. My years of legal research skills made quick work of the task at hand.

So I say this to you, Mr. Parke Kunkle. Bullshit. I am Libran, so hear me roar. Now, GOOD DAY SIR!

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Bob Barker and My Busy Tuesday

I have found myself completely over-scheduled on this random Tuesday in January. Let’s face it, I’m a total homebody so I have been dreading this day for the last two weeks.I’m that weird person who likes to do one outing a day and then hunker down with the fireplace crackling, some delicious food cooking and the kids playing. It’s just too cold outside to go in and out all day long!
Today’s big rush began at 6:30 a.m….okay, no it didn’t. I’m totally lying. Truth is, David wanted it to start at 6:30 a.m., but trying to separate me from the squishy warmth of both a feather bed and down comforter on a cold January morning is next to impossible. So, the big rush really started at 6:45 a.m. It didn’t include a shower. I rushed to pull on a pair of jeans, my cozy Uggs and several layers of t-shirts. After splashing some water on my face and a lame attempt to make my hair appear stylishly bedhead-ish – think Winona Ryder back before she got busted for her sticky fingers. Anyway, the hair was a big failure because ultimately, I just ended up looking like a mommy who rolled out of bed. Go figure.

I put my failed beauty attempt behind me and wrangled the three kids into their clothes. Overall, the whole ordeal took about a 1/2 hour. Not too shabby considering… We rushed through breakfast and then ran out the door with Stella packed into her crate.

“Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Bye-bye.”
Poor Stella. Today is the day that we’re taking Bob Barker’s advice and having her spayed. Yes, that’s right, her budding womanhood will be nipped in the bud. Gwen was inconsolable as we walked through the door of the vet’s office. Between her gasps for air and the piercing wail that emanated from the depths of her little body, she pointed an accusatory finger at the receptionist and declared, “She’s gonna shoot Stella in the stomach!” Of course, the receptionist simply sat there looking aghast while the other pet owners watched in amused silence.

Kate made her way around the waiting room, squatting before each crate in her quest to locate and chat with kitty cats. The silence that had become my stand-off with Gwen was peppered with a series of tiny “Meows” as Kate personally introduced herself to each of the cats. One woman, who looked like she might be in line for the next filming of Pet Hoarders, protectively pulled her brood closer and refused to make eye-contact with my mewing toddler. Kate offered her a Cheez-It.


Gwen continued staring at me with tears flowing and then dramatically threw herself over Stella’s crate in a last ditch effort to save her pal’s life. Stella’s tail beat against the side of the crate and she danced on her front paws. Gwen’s hair dragged through a puddle on the sandy, pet hair-littered clinic floor as she pressed her face against the door of Stella’s crate. She pursed her lips and attempted to kiss Stella goodbye through the metal grates. Stella’s tongue unfurled, made its way through the bars and made contact with Gwen’s teeth. Gwen began giggling, stood up and said “See ya later doggie!” then skipped off to meow at the kitties.

We’ll be going back up to Freeport to pick up Stella (and her cone of shame) late this afternoon. We’ll rush to be back in time to get Joe off the bus, make dinner, and then run out the door once again to attend the parent meeting at Gwen’s pre-school. So what in the world am I doing wasting today’s precious time on this blog entry? I’m not sure, but I’m thinking I might go grab a shower and make a quiet place for Stella to rest when she comes home.

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Public Humilation and Other Horrors

This weekend I spent a lot of time compiling essays and filling out transcript requests. I’m in the process of applying for my MFA in Creative Writing. By this afternoon, I was looking for a mindless task. I needed to zone out. I finished painting the family room a lovely shade of Fairview Taupe (brown-ish/grey-ish). Perhaps it was the paint fumes that got me thinking…We have been changing diapers almost non-stop since July, 2004. That’s a lot of hiney wiping. Yet, in exchange for the care and feeding of our three lovely children, we routinely suffer grave humiliation. There are a few that I’d like to address. I don’t expect they’ll be able to provide me with a proper response or change their behavior immediately. No one can accuse me of being unrealistic however, its time to call these kids out on a few things.

In the play space kitchen you were whipping up some “treats” when you loudly announced that you were serving me a glass of wine. Delivering the wine in an enormous and “fancy” ice cream sundae glass was the icing on the cake. You gave all the other mommy’s a nice warm cup of tea. What gives?
If I hold your hand in the mall and you’re pissed because I wouldn’t buy you one of those giant cookies, please don’t scream, “OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! YOU’RE HURTING ME MOMMY!” People think I’m abusing you.
Don’t yell, “I’m going to kick your ass!” Ever. You’re four. Not cool.
I know you’re my son but that doesn’t mean that I relish the act of cleaning your “pee pee” from the outside of the toilet, the floor or on occasion, the wall. What’s with that? There’s a big round hole. Point and shoot, dude. It’s not like your junk is separated from the toilet by several feet.

Yelling, “Look Mom, they even have booby traps here!” in Target was funny. I’ll give you that. But standing in the cart and squeezing each of the booby traps while saying, “Nope, too big for mommy!” wasn’t. Besides, they look like this because of you, you little stinker.

When Daddy quietly mutters, “Where the hell is the fucking bus?” to himself, don’t turn around and say, “I don’t know, maybe we fucking missed it.” Daddy doesn’t understand that you have the super-human ability to hear things from yards away. Skip the F-bombs. Especially at school. Please.

Stuffing things in your nose is never a good idea. We were lucky that your sneeze dislodged the twig. Plus, I have booger issues. Stop it.

If I take a picture of you with my phone, don’t loudly ask, “Mommy? Did you just take a picture of my privates?” That’s messed up. Social services visits mommies for statements like that. Please stop.

I overheard you tell your cousin that your “mom goes crazy.” Did you also happen to fill your cousin in on the times that you’ve cried and thrown the controller across the room because a mushroom killed you on Super Mario? No? Well, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Capiche?

While I’m on the subject of video games, It’s disturbing to enter the room and find you in the bean bag chair clad only in your mini-boxer shorts and a t-shirt, the room smelling vaguely of farts while you navigate the perils of Super Mario Land.

It’s not okay to bite the dog. Not ever.

It’s only okay to color on your face with WASHABLE markers. Sharpies are never a good idea. Trust me.

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Beulah…Beulah…Anyone?

This was one of those days when I had the good fortune to run into “that” woman. You know, the older woman who feels it necessary to comment on every aspect of your child’s behavior and calls you out on your lackluster parenting skills. Generally, I find that these women lurk in malls and grocery stores. From now on I’m going to refer to all women with whom I have these run-ins as, “Beulah”. Here’s how it went down with Beulah this afternoon but first, a bit of background. My little Katie-Bird has a nasty rash on her face. Two trips to the doctor and we know what it isn’t, but still have no real conclusive diagnosis. Personally, I think its eczema, but we’ll know for sure after another visit with her pediatrician next week. (No itching/distress/blisters/spreading – just flare-ups in the cold Maine air.) Now back to Beulah.

On the way to pick Gwen up a pre-school, I popped into our local Rite-Aid to pick up a bit of ‘healing ointment’ for Kate’s face. It was particularly red and bumpy today and, despite how adorable I think she is, it didn’t look very good. So I stood in the ‘healing ointment’ section searching the shelves for the right concoction while Kate squirmed around in my arms. She’ll be two in February but she’s so tiny that I still tend to carry her a lot. Today I put her down so that I could reach the jar I needed. As Kate walked toward the sliding doors with me in close pursuit I heard Beulah say, “Where are you going honey?” Kate entirely ignored her and walked straight to the door and proceeded to bang on the glass. “You know” Beulah said when she spotted me, “they can’t get out the second set of doors, but I’ve seen them get caught in there and they can’t get out.” Kate clearly doesn’t weigh enough to open either set of doors, but this went unnoticed by Beulah.

First of all, just let me say the Beulah’s of the world piss me off. Immensely. Despite her annoying statement that dripped with condescension, I responded with a smile and a lame, “Oh, really?” while placing my items on the counter. Kate stood at my feet and fondled the candy. We aren’t candy eaters in our house so, of course, when my children see candy they scramble and beg for a morsel. That’s what Kate began doing in front of Beulah.

Me to Kate: “No, no…you can’t have a candy bar, Kate.”

Beulah to me: “Well, you know…when they get it at home that’s what they want when they go out.”

Ummmm, Beulah? Do I know you? Have you been to my house? Do you have a front row seat to our family mealtimes? Have you personally taken an inventory of my pantry? No? Then suck it. You’re starting to get under my skin. Please just ring me up and stop talking before this gets ugly. (Clearly, Beulah doesn’t follow No. 7 or she’d have read “Dear Rage Filled Stranger,”.)

Some more small talk ensued, but I was operating on high alert. I really just wanted to pay and escape Beulah and her judgment without any casualties. I picked up Kate and held her as Beulah rang up our tub of ‘healing ointment’. I watched with gritted teeth as she zeroed in on Kate’s rash covered face. “What have you done to your face?” she inquired of my 23-month-old as if Kate could respond with a long-winded explanation. Beulah looked at Kate and then to me, as if challenging my silence. Her eyes held all sorts of accusation. They told me that I am a horrible mother that has somehow purposely inflicted a skin disorder on my beautiful baby. Those eyes demanded an explanation. I had had enough at that point. Game on, Beulah.

I pulled a sorrowful grimace onto my face and cast a forlorn gaze upon my girl and sighed, “Yeah…she has herpes.” Beulah’s expression turned from judgmental to uncomfortable as her eyes darted back and forth between Kate’s face and mine. “We think she got it at birth, but since the other two got away without catching it…” I gave a nonchalant shrug of my shoulders and held out my hand expectantly. Beulah handed me my change in dumb-founded, horrified silence. I thanked her very much and told her to have a lovely day.

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