Archives for February 2011

I Heart Freebies. Or do I?

Every once in awhile I remember to check Narragansett No. 7’s in-box. Recently, most of the messages have been from people who want me to post a link to their company or provide me with free products in exchange for a blog post about how wonderful said product is. I have politely declined all offers and explained that I just don’t do giveaways or product reviews. Why? Well, I’m too honest. What if I got the product, tried it out and hated it? 

Mostly, the freebies are for things I’d never in a million years use. I have no need to lock my children’s chairs to the table and then rave about how well the shackling worked out at meal time. Sure, they fall off a chair once per year or so, but you know what? So did I and I’m (relatively) normal. We all bump our noggins at some stage of the game and frankly, a tumble from the kitchen chair to the floor isn’t high on my list of worries when things like this are going on…

Recently, Chili’s offered me a $20 gift card to go gorge on some new menu items and then snap some photos of us all stuffing our faces. I was further instructed to declare whether or not we preferred our food to be “Wild or Mild”. This winter’s incessant blogging has chunked me up enough without adding a deep fried feast from Chili’s to the mix. Though, if that e-mail’s arrival had coincided with rampant PMS cravings, this post could have gone in a completely different direction. I’d be blathering on about how much we simply adored those ‘wild’ jalapeno poppers and look at how deeeeee-lish this food is! Now run, run all of you and eat at Chili’s!

In reality our fake photos would have shown me feigning delight, but if you had looked closely you would have seen crying children in the background. Or maybe a child standing in the middle of the table while the other two engaged in a corn dog sword fight complete with french fry bombs. Thanks for the offer Chili’s, but no thanks.

I lost one of my diamond earrings a few months ago, so when a company offering me a pair of pearl earrings in exchange for a review of their pearls I was very tempted. Honestly, unless they melted or something, I don’t think I could have written anything but raves. Plus, the woman who contacted me was really nice. Then someone asked if I’d review a CD by a children’s artist covering Wilco and Bob Dylan. Again, I was intrigued. Yet, I held onto my personal rule that dictates that I won’t do giveaways and drafted a few more politely worded e-mails declining participation. *sigh*

On the other hand, my twisted sense of humor wonders what would happen if I accepted various offers and then told the truth. I mean, how funny would it be to show my children screaming to be released from their ‘chair lock’ prisons. The whole post could center around me holding them hostage and,”look! I got this thing for free! You too can shackle your child to the table, just leave a comment about how much you love me and why you’d like to lock your child to the chair and you’ll be entered in my giveaway.”

What if we accepted the Chili’s promotion then put on ragged, dirty clothes, stringy wigs and blacked out our front teeth? We could snap photos of us pretending to do shots of Wild Turkey and eating baby back ribs while our dirty children sit in the background wailing. That would be an interesting endorsement, wouldn’t it? “Boy howdy! We sure liked those jalapeno poppers, but when Buford got home he sure did get a bad case of the runs! I think from now on we’re going to stick to the’Mild’ menu!” or, “DANG! When we seen those wild wings we just about fell on the floor. First off, for twenty bucks, you think they’d give us more than 12 wings. We got a family of 5 to feed! This picture is when Buford Jr. choked on his popper. We’re real lucky that the waitress knew how to do the Heimlich.”

Call me strange, but I think that would be fun.

This morning the mother of all e-mails sat in the Narragansett No. 7 in-box. It was from a casting agency seeking female writers, storytellers and bloggers for a documentary series. I’m sure several of my blogging friends received this “media alert”, but I’m not biting. I can only imagine that a television show starring me and my family would be the biggest snooze-fest ever. Besides, I think I’m exploiting my children enough right here at Narragansett No. 7.

Well, I’d love to stay and chat for a while longer but there are some giveaways I want to go enter. In the meantime, I love beer, fine wine, Manolo Blahnik shoes, designer clothing, luxury automobiles, tropical vacations and private schools. Contact me if you need a product review of any of those items and are willing to hand out freebies.

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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That Little So and So!

I grew up in a family that got into a whole lot of tussles. Most of those tussles were handled on a individual basis but some were a group effort. Sometimes we even tried to kill each other, but if anyone who was not a card-carrying member of the family picked a fight with one of us…they picked a fight with all of us. At home and on the school bus, on the train tracks behind the school, in a restaurant parking lot in Fort Myers, at an outdoor concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center…we were more apt to fight than we were to run. Generally, flight was never even an option.
It’s somewhat shameful to admit, but in at least part of our family you learned to fight back when someone got aggressive. If you were small, like me, you stood behind your big brother’s back and hurled a slew of filthy insults mixed with a lot of scratching, kicking and flailing punches. For the most part, any fight I was involved in was one where I felt the need to stick up for my brother, who didn’t require my assistance at all.

Thankfully, I’ve outgrown the need to engage in retaliatory violence. Sure, sometimes I get mad at people for their rude and inconsiderate behavior, but there are better ways to approach aggressive situations. Mostly, it involves the use of one’s brain.

I am thrilled that my little boy has not yet exhibited the trait that leads to violent retaliation. He has inherited his father’s peaceful, above-it-all demeanor. He’s a lover, not a fighter. He’s smart and pretty darn cute if I do say so. I’m proud of him, but at the same time saddened that he has quietly endured the confusion, anxiety and stress that comes with daily exposure to a bully.

Yeah, yeah..I know. Bully has become the buzzword of the moment. Yet, there really is  a dyed-in-the-wool bully in my son’s first grade class. It first came to our attention on the day before Thanksgiving break. It was a Thursday afternoon when the school called to inform me that Joe had been punched in the stomach (read here). Over the past few months, my little guy has grown increasingly anxious and emotional before bed. He unwillingly drags himself out of bed each morning and goes to school where he has (mostly) silently suffered more punching, pushing, kicking, poking, slapping, intimidation, being tripped and striking his head on the floor and most recently, a hold that I can only describe as one that law enforcement uses to subdue people.

How do I know this happened? Well, my kind, polite, smart little boy came home last week and dissolved into tears. For the first time in ages, he crawled into my lap and just wanted to be hugged. Though he was afraid, he finally spilled the beans about his bully. Later, when he had calmed down he said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you… so-and-so also grabbed my wrist like this and twisted up and then pulled my shoulder back really super far…like this.” I was horrified. My father is a retired New York State Trooper. I’ve seen the move before. (Specifically, in our Fort Myers parking lot tussle.) I shudder to think that a seven-year-old child would know how to do this and practice on my six-year-old boy. On some level, I am sorry for the bully. I hate to jump to conclusions, but I can’t help but wonder what is going on at this boy’s house.

Another far less evolved part of me fantasizes about having a Freaky Friday. One that would enable me to spend just one day in my son’s body. Oh, the revenge I could deliver! Yes, I know it’s wrong, but I can fantasize, right?

I want to get off the school bus with my Batman backpack slung over my shoulder and enter the school with  Darth Vader’s music loudly announcing my arrival. The Imperial March would follow me down the hall, causing a sea of K-3 children to part in shock and awe. I’d mess with that bully’s head so bad, he’d have no idea what hit him. Of course I wouldn’t use violence. Instead, I would come prepared with an arsenal of advanced weaponry in my backpack. Some Super Glue, cayenne pepper, Ex lax, various booby-traps, dog poo, fake vomit. I could go on and on here. Gradually, my imagination conjures scenes that resemble hilarious Disney-type pranks. There might even be a fake studio audience emitting gasping ‘oohs‘ and laughter when the bully’s pants get stuck to his seat with that Super Glue. Alas, reality doesn’t provide Disney-esque Freaky Friday body exchanges and, since they remain physically impossible, I am limited to my fantasy acts of innocent, G-rated revenge.

I once had a big ol’ bully. His name was Billy Madison. Really, it was.

He would chase me down on the playground and kick me or throw me to the ground. He had a list of swear words that would make a sailor blush. I tried to avoid him, but he was inexplicably drawn to my long braids. I came to dread morning when my mother braided my hair. Braids guaranteed that I’d suffer some good, sharp hair pulling at the hands of Billy Madison.

I don’t recall how it was that Billy Madison happened to be at the end of my driveway, but he was. I couldn’t have been more than eight of nine years old when Billy stood at the end of my driveway doing the dance of a bully. His dance came complete with tongue gestures and name calling. With my feet firmly planted at the bottom of the porch and my German Shepard, Sasha at my side I watched his ridiculous chubby undulations. His belly kept moving even after he had stopped.
“Just leave me alone!” I yelled. He continued writhing around and laughing at me. I heard a low growl rise from Sasha as she stood at attention. Billy made the mistake of hurling a mean insult back in my direction. “YOU BETTER LEAVE ME ALONE, BILLY MADISON!” He took my demand as his cue to turn and shake his considerable rear-end at me. Unfortunately, his timing was rather poor as Sasha sprang to the end of the driveway and sank her teeth into Billy’s meaty rump. Billy never bothered me again. Not ever. To this day I owe Sasha a debt of gratitude, but she’s long gone and buried in a meadow at our old farm.

Maybe Joe’s bully bothers me so much because he bears a striking resemblance to Billy Madison. Maybe his bully bothers me because I wish I could tell Joe to fight back. Maybe a small part of me wishes Joe inherited that trait that only allows people to push ‘so far’ before a tussle ensues. Maybe part of me is frustrated that we can’t afford to pay for private school. Maybe our meeting with the school’s administrative staff on Monday afternoon will help…

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Poo

Inhale deeply. What do you smell? I’ll bet your house smells pretty, like flowers and sunshine. Well, I smell poo.

I’m sitting here at my kitchen island with the scent of poo gently wafting to my nose, carried on the slight breeze that follows in Kate’s wake as she trots past with Stella in hot pursuit. I can only assume that to Stella, the contents of that diaper must smell like the ambrosia of the Gods. I’m glad that someone enjoys it, but I’m so tired of walking through my house and smelling poo. If you have children, you probably know what I mean. You’re walking along, maybe skipping down the stairs on your way to the kitchen to raid the fridge and WHAMO! You walk through the cloud of darkness.

July 22, 2004 was the first day that we changed a diaper belonging to our offspring. Technically, it was Dave who did the changing in the first 24 hours. Not by choice. I was busy being immobile and riding a (delicious) morphine high following that picnic called Joe’s birth. I’ll save that tale for another time. Back to today’s delightful subject of poo…

July 22, 2004 was the first day that we embarked on our illustrious diaper-changing career. Having given birth to three children in two year intervals means that we have been wiping someone’s rear-end for roughly 6 years, 6 months and 21 days. That’s a lot of poo.

Kate will be two in exactly ten days. She has begun announcing the evacuation of her bowels by simultaneously squatting, pointing to her bottom and announcing, “Poo poo” in a quiet whisper while the stench of it hovers around her in a noxious cloud. I haven’t figured out what the whispering is about, but her tiny face proudly bears the smile of a child who is thrilled to make the announcement. Maybe on some level she understands that she has passed that milestone on the long road of diapers, the one that says, ‘Sitting in Your Own Poo is Unpleasant’.

Like countless toddlers that have come before her, she has begun hiding when it’s time to go, choosing to a quiet spot in the corner or under a table. Lately, she has begun to find us immediately upon completion and, through a series of complicated maneuvers and nose-wrinkled “eeeews”, demands to be changed RIGHT NOW. She has handed me a diaper and laid herself down in front of me expectantly, while jabbering in some unknown language. If I’m translating her words properly, I think she’s saying something to the effect of, ‘Well, what the devil are you waiting for? Change me, you silly woman!’

She hasn’t quite grasped the purpose of the potty, nor does she understand what the hubbub is about when she sits on it. She simply enjoys the captive audience of happy family members who applaud the fact that she can park her butt on the potty. In fact, whenever she feels that the household is a bit tense, she runs to fetch the potty in an attempt to lighten things up. Maybe those birth order theories are true. Don’t they say that the youngest is the clown of the family and strives to make everyone laugh? Well, Kate uses her potty as a comedic prop.


What’s the point of this poo post? Well, I’ve come to realize that my last baby is almost done being a baby. As thrilled as I am that the end of diapers is on our horizon, I’m sad. I’m going to miss the diapers, the bottle, the crib, the senseless jabber. Joe can read now, Gwen makes her own sandwiches and soon Kate will be using the potty. For the past six years, 6 months and 21 days I’ve had a baby. What’s next? I’m not entirely sure, but I won’t be smelling poo!

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Her Name is Mayhem..

I think we should have named Kate differently. Mayhem would have been a good choice. We could have called her ‘May’ and people would have thought, ‘Oh, well isn’t that sweet? They named their baby after the month she was born or something.’ Only we would know the truth behind the name. Our little toddling ball of mayhem is Hell on wheels.

Why, just yesterday I caught her as she polished off a stick of butter. She was fine. Not even an upset belly. I wish I could say the same for my laptop. True, it was being disagreeable for days and I hate to point fingers, but… I’m guessing that the greasy gobs of butter that were ground into the keyboard might have been the nail that sealed the coffin shut. Our little Mayhem…I mean, Kate. She’s a keeper!

So, until I figure out how to proceed… let’s revisit an older post. You probably haven’t read this one before, so feel free to click on the words down below and enjoy.

It’s true, you know. They do. Some species engage in filial cannibalism, otherwise known as baby eating (I looked that up). In fact, back on the farm we had a rabbit who ate its own babies. It was the male and I can’t attest to what he was thinking, but maybe he was driven over the edge by that year’s 5th litter of fuzzy bunnies. What if he was feeling a lot of pressure from Mrs. Rabbit? The hutch was getting smaller, the family bigger and the paychecks just couldn’t make ends meet anymore. Clearly, I made all of that up..but it sounded good, no?
Pigs are guilty of occasionally noshing on their young as well. Back on the farm, we had a gargantuan pig named Bertha. Bertha had a litter of piglets and had to be separated from her babies lest she feel the sudden urge to inappropriately chow down. (I wonder if pigs can use the post-partum defense?) The problem with mamma pigs is, if there is a piglet that seems different or weak, she’ll eat it. Of course, Bertha happened to have a runt in her litter, so before anyone knew what happened, the runt was named ‘CC’, swathed in a pink doll dress with matching bonnet and plopped into the doll stroller. In case you were wondering, that was also the summer that I read Charlotte’s Web. If Fern could pull it off, so could I! (want to read more? Click here .)
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Perfectly Insane

The monster snowstorm is about to descend upon us. This morning’s news blared that the “biggest snowstorm in 40 years” has begun to lay its deadly blanket across the country. Soooo…Mr. News Anchor? Is this one going to be much worse than the other 30 “Storms of the Century” that have occurred over the past 10 years? Just wondering.

I’ll admit it. I’m kind of excited to hunker down tomorrow because chances are, David will be hunkered down with us. Please God, dump enough snow on us to keep him home tomorrow. I beg of you, have pity on me. Don’t leave me here alone with these children for another snow day. Should that happen, I’m quite sure that I might finally lose my faltering grasp on sanity. Can’t you see that I’m already teetering on the edge of  lunacy? One more single-parent snow day is going to make me crazier than bat shit. Clearly, a few screws have worked their way loose.

Last week I stood outside marveling at the beauty of our freshly fallen snow and wondered if I had finally plunged into the pool of insanity. Normally, I despise anything cold. I was comforted when, an hour later, I was back to cursing the slushy roads.

Yesterday afternoon I realized that I’ve been humming ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ to myself for days. It’s true. In moments of stress, I’ve taken to singing it out loud even though I don’t really know the words. I can only imagine what it sounds like, my off-key and slightly psychotic version of ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ sung over and over and over again. Scary.

Evidently, not scary enough to effect the children because they continue chipping away at my patience and testing the strength of my hold on lucidity. Faithful readers, you know I don’t feign perfection as a parent. I’m far more likely to blog about the latest calamity than what goodie I baked yesterday afternoon. Sure, I bake with the kids. Sometimes I even manage to capture a few photos that provide the illusion of an idyllic afternoon. But that would be lying. I would never attempt to deceive you with contrived photos of squeaky-clean children smiling and filling their bellies with warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. The truth is, one or all were probably picking their noses or sneezing over the bowl while I murmured ‘Sunshine and Lollipops’ over and over and over again and fantasized about showering.


Perfection

I’m sure that there are vast amounts of women for whom life is just perfect. Let’s pause here and take a moment to reflect on their perfection. Their children are angels and they bake cookies together every day while their latest snowman glistens outside in the winter sun. Their macaroni replicas of the Mona Lisa are drying in the craft room and later, they will all hunker for a nap in the family bed. Well, kudos to you perfect women (insert hand-clapping here)! Keep blogging about it, because I am positively riveted. I can’t help but wonder what really goes on at your house. 

Reality


Here’s a snapshot into the reality of our house over the past few days.

Dave carelessly left a poop-filled diaper on the window seat in the kitchen whilst running to the aid of another child. Stella, that cute and fuzzy Jack Russell Terrier ate it. Here she is post-poo consumption. Notice that Gwen seems to take delight in Stella’s choice of gag-inducing snack. Stella looks ashamed. Remind me not to let her lick anyone. Ever.

Kate has decided that breakfast is best eaten in the aforementioned dog’s crate. I don’t know why. Perhaps she’s giving Stella a preview of what’s to come. Maybe she’s waving that half-eaten pancake in the dog’s face and saying, “Hey dog, you can have this later, but not until I’ve digested it.”

On Sunday, Gwen was enjoying a much needed bath in our Jacuzzi tub, and why not? Someone should use the Jacuzzi tub since I rarely have a chance to relax in it. I momentarily left the room to grab some clean towels and re-entered to find that Kate was now flopping around in the bubbles as well. “What’s Kate doing in the tub?” Gwen’s gaze sufficiently expressed her belief that I might be slightly idiotic, “Well,” she said. “She needed a bath because her cooter was stinky.” Oh…my…God. I have nothing else to say about this.

Sunshine and Lollipops. Sunshine and Lollipops. Sunshine and Lollipops.

Please God, give us enough snow to keep David home from work tomorrow.

p.s. Could you please send a bottle of pinot grigio? I don’t think I’ll be able to get to the store.

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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