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Let's Sit Down & Throw Some Words at the Screen For Awhile

And This Was BEFORE They Handed Out the Vibrating Pens

I just got back from a parents' workshop thing at Noah's school. And it was a very useful workshop, really, about how to encourage fine and gross motor development through toys and play at home. I was especially pleased to learn that I can totally do all of Noah's Christmas shopping at the $5-and-under store, along with like, some bubble wrap. The problem started when one of the therapists demonstrated a toy hanging from a doorway, designed to turn a regular balloon into a sturdier punching bag. Another parent requested the brand name, which was Balzac.

"I guess they mean like, ballsack," she said, kindly providing us with a handy mnemonic device, while jiggling the thing idly in the palm of her hand. I choked on the inside of my lung, briefly, before clearing my throat and muttering apologies for startling the grown-ups.

Then we moved on to wheelbarrow walking. A very helpful handout was provided.



I mean, COME ON.

 (I will have you know that I behaved BEAUTIFULLY, other than a discreet snort into the edge of my sleeve, AND two whole other mothers actually talked to me afterward, voluntarily and everything. It's working! I am totally blending in! I have them all fooled! Mwa ha ha.)

(Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go collect some textured items and hide them in a shoebox. And cut a the box...and...)



I can't believe you managed to snort discreetly when faced with that "instruction." I would have lost my damn mind in front of all the moms/authority-type-figures. God save me when my child starts school...



That is the best thing I have seen all day. You have a will of steel to have kept the snorting discreet! Love it.

Amie SImmons

Balzac! are you kidding me? How could no on else have laughed at either of those things. Why would you want to be friends with anyone who didn't find that humorous? I'm still laughing.


Hi. Loyal lurker here. (I know I'm an arsehole. Bygones.)

This - is almost hard to believe. Way too funny!!!!!

You are to be commended on your discreet snorting. I can't believe no one stood up and actually said "OH COME ON! SERIOUSLY? THIS PICTURE?"


dude. never in my LIFE have I seen someone walking/crawling on their knees behind the person that is the wheelbarrow. are the folks at Noah's school all from Heywoodjablomestan?

Kristen McD

Why... why are there no pants??


Oh, that's great. Pretending to be a real grown-up gets harder when comments like that get brought up. The first ever business meeting I was a part of included someone saying, "We all touch clients in different ways."
And I had to bite my lip.


Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, that's friggin hysterical! Yeah, count me in the "Would Have Laughed Until My Face Turned Blue" category. You have stronger willpower than I do, that's for sure.


Ummm...yeah. I am reading at work and hoping no one is looking over my shoulder at that obscene drawing.

( Kristen's comment...)

Megan@Blueberry Scones

I bet the other parents would have ordinarily burst out laughing, too, but maybe they were just too stunned to really react. I could totally see myself sitting there, trying to process what she just said, and thinking "Did she JUST say that?!"

Jen L.

Haaaaaaaaaaa! My boss was guest lecturing in one of my classes the other day and said "take it from behind" twice and I almost peed.


I am very impressed with your non-snorting, distinctly adult behavior. I could not have done it.


They had time to draw the individual fingers but not putting any clothes on these cartoons? I would have snorted so loudly it would have disturbed people. Come to think of it, maybe that's why my kids never get invited to playdates.


Ah, discretion. But this was all PARENTS, right? Imported from the Victorian era, perhaps?


I bet they totally planned the whole thing just to see who would crack!


Um ... have to agree with Kristen McD, pants would have been nice. I'm sure this is a good school and all but ... wow.


HOW did you keep it together, Amy? I would have been a giggling mess.

Related: I'm 12.


There is absolutely no way I could have made eye contact with anybody without totally losing it. I am, in fact, a 14-year-old boy. Heck, "Balzac" is already cause for laughter around our house, the helpful mnemonic would have sent me over the edge.

Sprite's Keeper

I guess they really do sell everything at the Dollar Store, huh?


I"m so proud of you. There's no way I could have limited my comments to a simple snort. no. way.

bingo woman

Hilarious! I could just walk out and express my laughter without feeling ashamed


I, too, would like to know why the person kneeling does not appear to be wearing any clothes.

I think you should ask the teachers for clarification i.e. "Should we be wearing pants when we do this?"


Another question for the teacher...

"Should stimulation include the balzac and the wheelbarrow on the same day?"

Twenty Four At Heart

Exactly WHAT kind of school is it you're sending him too? *snort*


Balzac is actually the name of a town just outside of Calgary, Alberta, Canada where I grew up (Calgary, not Balzac). The whole town used to consist of a grain elevator and a couple of houses, but just this year they built the biggest mall in Canada (or the Universe or whatever) and now they think they're famous because they got a Forever 21 store...something like that.

Anyways, I amuse my tween and teens by spontaneously shouting "BALZAC!!" when I'm chopping food in the kitchen or in the middle of them doing homework. Cracks them up every time.


I lost it, in that embarrassing, trying-to-hold-back-the-laughter elaborate snort that is worse than just laughing, when in our childbirth and newborn education class the instructor had us turn over our fake babies to insert thermometers rectally. I thought we would mime the action, but no. The dolls had tiny, plastic, fake baby assholes. And there was just the right amount of...resistance...when inserting the thermometer. I couldn't hold it in, my partner labeled me immature, everyone pretending they didn't hear my snort.

But whatever, he laughed during the postpartum depression video (because of it's totally inappropriate use of the star wipe).


Congratulations on the discreet snort! Because I can guarantee I wouldn't have been able to stifle my laughter at that hand out. OH MY GOD. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Aunt Becky

I would have had to bite my hand until it bled. Seriously. You deserve a medal.

College At Thirty

Does anyone else really, REALLY want some Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra right now? (And I almost put BJ's Karamel Sutra, but I stopped myself, but have you noticed? Um...vibrating pen?)




I'm guessing that, with the shoebox, step 2 is to put your junk in that box. Heh.


I thought you held the other person's feet in a wheelbarrow! And who drew that? Cro-Magnons on a cave wall?
HAHAHAHAHA. I would have peed in my pants.
And like erica said, "Can you play with the balzac while performing the wheelbarrow?"
The worst is when you try to hold in the laughter for so long and then when you have to breathe, "Snnnnnnnnnnnoooort." And everyone turns and stares.

Marmite Breath

And now you're making him a Dick in the Box for Christmas?

PS) Send me a vibrating pen. My old man's about to go on a six month deployment.


glad to know I'm not the only one with the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy. I don't think I would have been able to hold it together.

whenever my husband and I laugh over a random use of the use of the word unit ("he said unit, heh, heh, heh"), we both wonder who allowed us to have children.

Inner Fat Girl

Oh I would have died. I once had to do the special intentions in church in grammar school and someone named Harry Bush was sick. I laughed out loud for a good minute after saying his name. Awkward.

Lisa V

Someone at work the other day gave me a thing to wet envelopes. It looks like deodorant, only the ball part is pink and textured. The woman who gave it to me said, "Look, it's like a tongue in a bottle!" I answered, "It must be the companion piece to Dick in a Box." She just stared at me. Blink. Blink. Come on, it was great line!


I would not have snorted discreetly into my elbow, I would have had a full on belly laugh! I impressed that you stayed so calm, but then again I still giggle when anyone says fart.


I would have been snorting too, and then I would have been trying to figure out who else had snorted so that I could make friends with them. Count me in with the Secretly 12 crowd.


Really? I don't understand how the whole room didn't drop on the floor in laughter!

And, also, I'll have you know a co-worker of mine passed by my computer just as I was scrolling to the picture. I am so embarassed. THANK YOU FOR THAT.


Why aren't they wearing any pants?? Hilarious. Seriously.


Just... um. Awesome.




HAHAHAHA. Just fell off my kitchen stool. Well, halfway.

You know what stinks? You're expected not to snort b/c you're a mom. But if it was a room full of dads, the instructor would have naturally paused to allow a 30-second guffaw break after announcing "Balzac."


Really? Not one teacher, administrator, et al, looked at these handouts and though, "Hmmm...maybe we should make it look less porny."

Kristin J

That is awesome! My eyes are all teary from laughing so hard. I'm so glad you have them fooled - soon you be invited to, like, Mom's Night Out or something!


i just have no words. none. i am seriously laughing my ass off.


This whole post---narrative, illustration, comments and all--made me insanely happy.
And I just read intentions at Mass for dear, departed Dick Johnson. My teenage son actually passed gas trying not to laugh out loud.


Let me put it this way. A colleague said something similar at work a couple of weeks ago, and I totally lost it!. I laughed till tears were streaming down my face, could barely stand & every time he looked at me & repeated the same damn word, I would collapse in fits of laughter. Again.


The post had me laughing, and then the comments are making me laugh so hard there are tears rolling down my cheeks. Good thing I have an office at the end of the are a hero for holding it together. I would have lost it for sure.

Katie Kat

OH HOLY HELL NO! That's just damn funny. I mean... REALLY? R.E.A.L.L.Y??????????

I could NOT have contained myself. I'd have TOTALLY guffawed (love that word).



You have MADE my day with that drawing!


Fu-nny - seriously thats hilarious! hahaha


I'm sitting at work and I can NOT stop cracking up. Maybe it's the 12 year old in me - but that picture - seriously? They saw nothing wrong with that? Come On!


Finally, some comic relief from SPD.

In school (grade school, high school, undergrad) and even today, I am the one who totally loses it in public, laughing LOUDLY over inappropriate things. Congrats on keeping it together. I look forward to seeing more 'handouts' from these *educational* workshops.


Too hilarious! I'm a priest and read this while at the hysterical laughter caused my boss to stop in and see what was so all of the above are definitely on the list of "things not often discussed in a church office" I opted to not share. :)

P.S. Totally excited for you and the @amalah I saw from LeVar Burton earlier!


I might, MIGHT, have been able to make it through the meeting without laughing as long as I didn't make eye contact with anyone, but if my husband had been with me there would have been no way. I wouldn't have been able NOT to look at him because I know that he is physically incapable of not laughing at "ballsack" (and muttering "that's what she said"). The illustration on top of that would have put us both into hysterics.

We were that couple that kept cracking up during childbirth classes while everyone else looked serious and took notes.

Parsing Nonsense

How can they NOT realize how that looks?!

Steph the WonderWorrier

Your life experiences never fail to bring the lulz. I love this -- I would have started giggling awkwardly and probably would have made an ass of myself had I of been handed a pamphlet such as that and been told to make my child a ball sack to play with.


Is this for real?

No way.


HAAAAAAAAA! Classic Amalah, THANK YOU! :) I always end up crying, one way or the other.

I suppose the vibrating pen was to accustom the hand to a vibrating sensation??

I keep seeing that vibrating dumbbell from Jon Stewart in my mind:

Aka Alice

I have nowhere near your self-control.

Amber H.

What the eff?!!? Seriously?! Are they trying to make you go insane from suppressed laughter? That illustration wasn't very well thought out AT All!


Just thought you should know that after we read this entry, my husband and I were driving around and we heard an interview about mammography on NPR with a women's health specialist names Dr. Beavers.


I think I would have snickered at Balzac/Ballsack. And, once that handout was distributed? I wouldn't have even tried to contain myself - that's just too... really?

Karen Chatters

That's awesome! They clearly need a R&D department or something.

Bachelor Girl

Dude, I am going to be the worst mother EVER. Not only will my kids go on their inaugural trick-or-treating trips dressed as paranoid schizophrenics (complete with straight jacket and tinfoil hat), that shit would've made me have a damn SEIZURE.

I have a feeling the Montessori Mommies won't be asking me to join any of their organic, fair-trade kaffeeklatsches.

another Amy

I make homemade balzacs, and also think it is hilarious that they are called that. If you look for balloon balls on Etsy you'll find a bunch of much prettier ones. They are so fun. You'd never expect a cloth ball sack to be so entertaining.


Two kids later and I am still not mature enough to be an adult. This is HYSTERICAL! I would have to excuse myself from the room BUT not before I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my husband at work!


Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Was it a test for the parents? I would have have fallen right off that itty bitty kiddy chair, and probably peed my pants to boot.


Well, just remember that every Christmas day needs a Christmas night...


Your post was funny, don't get me wrong, but it was another Amy's comment "You'd never expect a cloth ball sack to be so entertaining." that sent me over the edge. OF COURSE I would expect a cloth ball sack to be so entertaining... and I'm clicking over to Etsy RIGHT NOW.

One of the items we got donated for a fancypants silent auction I'm running is an Italian White Fox Muff. I giggle EVERY DAMN TIME. It's also a handbag... so you can keep your tampons in your muff.


Reality is stranger than fiction, non? I commend your self-control. But really, what a bunch of humorless tight-asses, no one even furtively giggling...?!

Here's a good story: One of my husband's co-workers said, in a meeting, and I quote, that they "needed someone to do the blow jobs around here". What she meant to say was "joe jobs", but, er, it came out wrong...Needless to say, uproarious laughter ensued, and she was teased mercilessly for a long, long time.


People that don't laugh at BALZAC?!? Lame-os.


I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. Tears are streaming down my face right now. Truly, I think my emotional maturity may have peaked at 13. Fabulous post. And kudos for not falling on the floor and laughing hysterically as I obviously would have done.


Clearly the world is divided between people who can see the drawing and not laugh out loud like a twelve year old and those of us that read your blog. Ballsack, indeed.

Jill G

long time reader, first time commenter.


Maybe it's because I teach middle school, but my mind is always in the gutter. We have this little old librarian at our school and she sometimes eats lunch with us. One day she said something (innocently) about a threesome and we all practiced self control except for one teacher who was like, "THREESOME!" and then she didn't come back for like a month.

Then, when the librarian came back to lunch, her inaugural lunch, she was talking about birthdays and she said, "we gals in the media center all do each other." Wide eyes all around the table but we did not budge. I was so proud.

Stuff like this happens all day. I catch myself saying something then looking around at my students to see if anyone else got it. Last year the kids were teaching lessons and one drew the outline of a person and then colored in the throat and lungs. Looked like a dick and balls, leading right to someone's mouth. I was shocked not a single kid noticed. I proceded to take the overhead to every other teacher in the school. Let me know if you want me to email it to you. It's a scream.


Ball sack? And vaguely doggie-style wheelbarrowing? What kind of school is this, lady?! Excuse me, I must close my office door now or my snort-laughing will scare my coworkers...

Cool Whip

Oh. Em. Gee.
You've GOT to be kidding me!
Did you feel like you were in bizzarroworld, or what?
No way could I have done anything short of laugh my ass off, then proceed to look at everyone else like THEY were crazy.
Thx for the laugh! :)


I love that the therapist is just thinking out the name for the first time.

Also, that wheelbarrow picture is just WRONG. You don't hold the wheelbarrow's HIPS. And you don't KNEEL. And you don't do it NAKED. WTF?





And you PAY THEM for this.


No pants but the 'wheelbarrow' is evidently supposed to wear a belt--for safety or a good handhold? Seriously they were not thinking on this one.


I'm just dropping in to let you know that this weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday -


Oh man-I'm trying so hard not to laugh at the post and now the comments (Harry Bush?!! HAHAHA!)that I'm practically imploding at my desk right now. My colleague is giving me weird looks.


Oh good Lord, I would have been rolling on the floor (with laughter that is). NO WAY would I have been able to hold it in. That's friggin' hilarious and well... that drawing is just WRONG!!!

Jamie the weinerdog lady

I work for a title company and we have a guy that deals with the files after they close. Someone actually called him the "Rear end Processor" one day. WE ALL DIED!


Thank you. This totally made my day.


Come on! You come home with all that durty SWAG and speak of ball sacks - you didn't really go to a preschool meeting - you went to a dildo party. Come on. Admit it!


...and that's the way you do it! Great! Now I have to go find that video on Youtube and watch it for, like, the 500th time!


I thought of you at my son's pediatrician's office about an hour ago. A little girl was building a large Lego tower in the lobby and her little brother kept running up to it and yelling what was supposed to be "Castle!", but in every way sounded emphatically like "Ass****!" Oh, the fun. It certainly redeemed Monday when my kiddo puked on me in the lobby. I guess we all take turns, huh?


How did you not die from holding in the laughter? I've heard of Balzaks before, so OK, I could've handled that one. But the diagram? Really? I'm sure I would have asked the "instructor" if this was meant to be a joke or WTF kind of drugs are these people on? And then I would immediately leave, making a scene, and then secretly laugh to myself all the way to the car.


Hahaha, love it.

And incidentally...was just reading a bit of the archives since I am relatively new to your blog and really enjoy it, and there is a post where you talked about getting married at 20 (me too!) had a Siamese cat (me too!) named Max (wtf? me too!) Anyway, freaky.


Um. And my name is Amy.


I couldn't have done it, you are a stronger woman than me! I might have been able to let "Balzac" slide, but that graphic of the wheelbarrow? I would have busted out laughing for sure. SERIOUSLY??!??


When I showed my husband that helpful hand-out, he said "I mean, that is JUST NOT RIGHT."

We realized that in our childhood wheelbarrow walking memories, the person behind is on their FEET, not their knees...maybe that's the problem with the handout?

If I had been there, I too would have been snorting into my sleeve. Definitely.

Not Levar Burton

Nice! Somewhat (completely) off the idea of surpressed teachers' desires, how many hits do you get a week?

Adventures In Babywearing

Oh my gosh.

(you put your junk in that box...)


mrs. q.

No pants? WHY???

Are they serious? I guess the teachers have a wager going on-- trying to see how many parents they can make lose it. *high five*


that's just too freaking funny. it's like the item i saw the other day in the local fred meyer (kroger for all of you not from the west coast). are you ready for this one? an ad in among the coupons for "beaver condiments". my mom and i just laughed our asses off. seriously?


The comedy is necessary after all those months of heartache, crying and frustration. Now, they hand you suggestive photos and bizarre tools for improvement. AH, special education. I really don't know what some of these experts are thinking! We've just discovered a month of gymnastics costs what one session of OT runs us. We're switching. OT...smo-tee. I too can roll a giant yoga ball over my sons arms and legs, thank you!

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