July 13, 2012
June 20, 2012
Pine-Sol asked me to submit my best household-y tip — you know, like putting clear nail polish on panty hose runs or vinegar in milk when you're like, seven steps into a recipe before you realize you don't have any buttermilk — so I thought I'd go vacation-themed and share one that has been near and dear to my heart (and my kids' butts) quite a bit in the past month.
Baby powder, y'all. Buy it, pack it, use it. Do NOT try to de-sand your sweet, gritty little hermit crabs without it. Sand will cling to wet, sunblock-y kids like...um. Like sand clings to wet, sunblock-y kids. It will multiply and hide in every possible crevice and thigh-fold, waiting for the perfect moment to come tumbling out in buckets from between their toes. Like...in the car, or your bed. Or on your in-law's couch.
Powder them up before coming inside and the sand will wipe off with a dry towel or relatively sand-free t-shirt. They may look like ghostly, powder-y refugees from a flour fight when you're done, but it's way easier to get baby powder off the floor or bathtub drain than sand.
(I also highly recommend putting a generous dusting on the inside of swim diapers for reasons that I will not go into because this is a sponsored post, which means there is an expectation of maintaining a shred of basic dignity.)
Oh, and also 1) buy boys' bathing suits that DON'T have the little useless back pocket on them (like what is Ezra supposed to keep in an itty bitty scaled-for-size-2T pants pocket? lip balm? his fake ID?), or 2) sew them shut lest they fill up with sand and you forget to turn it inside out until you shake the suit out inside and HOLY PHYSICS-DEFYING SAND MONSOON all over the bathroom floor.
You can submit your own favorite tip or trick at Pine-Sol's website. And also here in the comments, for no other reason than because I am a sucker for a good shortcut or reading about 101 different uses for bobby pins.
This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol® Cleaners. The Powerful Scent of Clean, with Everything You Need, and Nothing You Don’t.
June 13, 2012
At the airport:
On the plane:
At the dinner table, night #1:
At the lunch table, day #2:
At the beach:
At the beach:
At the beach:
(Not pictured: Ezra, Ike and Mama similarly tanked out in the back row.)
At the dinner table, night #3:
In the crib:
In the bed:
May 31, 2012
1) On Friday night, Jason slammed the car door on Noah's fingers. When I tweeted about it later, while the two of them were off having a Great Emergency Room Adventure Involving All The M&Ms, I felt compelled to include all 12 characters of the word "accidentally." You know, just in case anyone might think he did it on purpose, or for fun. You don't get to be thousandaires on America's Funniest Home Videos without the occasional grievous bodily injury, son. Now hold still. KASLAM!
An x-ray revealed that his fingers were fine. Just bruised. He had to wear a metal splint on his pinkie for a day or two, which mildly cramped his Lego building abilities but gave us all ample opportunity to point at his hand in horror and exclaim that oh my God, Noah, you're turning into a robot!
Noah: You're just kidding, right?
Asshole Parents: No, we're totally being serious.
Noah: (deep, weary sigh) Stop.
Asshole Parents: Oh my God, Noah, you're turning into a ro-
Noah: I'll be in my room.
2) Yesterday Ezra woke up with a swollen face and jaw. At first we thought it was another mosquito bite but on closer inspection turned out to be...huh. Not a mosquito bite. What the hell? The lump was hot and he squealed in pain when we touched it, and within 10 seconds I was like, HE HAS THE MUMPS. GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH SAYS SO.
Of course, Ezra has been vaccinated against the mumps, but I was certainly not going to let that detail stop me, especially if you Google "mumps after MMR vaccine" and start reading about an 80% effective rate and the fact that Ezra is still a few months away from getting the booster shot and and and...
Not the mumps. A clogged/irritated salivary gland. That had all but cleared up on its own by the time we got to the pediatrician's office. They told us to give him hard lemon candy to suck on for a couple days.
Asshole Parents: Yes! Prescription candy!
Ezra: I LOVE GOING TO THE DOCTOR YAAAAYYYYY!
Asshole Parents: So hey, can I make his four-year visit appointment while I'm here? And please put him down for every damn shot you've got back there, mwa ha ha.
3) Later, I walked into a toddler bed that's been cluttering up our narrow upstairs hallway for...oh, I don't know, about two months now? We put it there because we intended to move it to the attic, but it won't fit unless we take it apart, and despite being from Ikea and owning approximately eleven thousand other things from Ikea, we have been completely unable to locate a hex key that fits into the screws. So we can't unassemble it and fit it into the attic. So...we've just left it in the hallway and been sort of scooting carefully around it ever since. Good plan.
Anyway, that's how I broke my pinkie toe for about the fifth or sixth time in my life. I've lost track. The first time I broke it was on a beach trip with my church youth group and I stubbed it on the back of my friend's heel while we were walking. We were both barefoot, and of course no one believed me that my toe bone had just literally cracked in half right then and there because it wasn't like I stubbed it on steel-heeled combat boots or anything. Sack up and keep walking. The church van couldn't find any free parking so we've gotta meet it on the other side of the bridge.
Later that night, the ER doctor held up an x-ray of my foot and asked, "What was your friend wearing? Steel-heeled combat boots? Good God."
But there's not really much to be done about a broken pinkie toe, no matter how bad the break, beyond taping it to the next toe and trying to stay off of it. Because my bone really had broken all the way through (and because it was a slow night in the ER and I had good insurance), they gave me crutches and a special shoe. But then the first time someone asked me what happened and I had to answer, "I BROKE MY PINKIE TOE," I decided I really didn't want to use the crutches or the special shoe. Apparently even I had a limit to how big of a drama queen I was comfortable being.
POINT IS. My pinkie toe never healed right and basically cracks under the lightest pressure. If I stub it, I break it. It swells up and turns a variety of interesting colors and I hobble around for awhile, cursing mildly under my breath the whole time.
So I broke it again last night, no x-ray or doctor's visit required, because my toe-taping skills are quite practiced and excellent. Plus, it's a PINKIE TOE. We only care about pinkie fingers and rogue salivary glands in this house, these days. I need to up my injury game, man.
Oh God, now everyone knows that I am a total klutz who lives with a random toddler bed in the hallway AND that I paint my nails with sparkly polish from the Kardashian Kolors Kollection and I AM SO EMBARASSED.
May 23, 2012
...OH DEAR GOD.
(And also: ADDDDDDDRIAAAAAANNNNNN!)
Ugh! This again. The dreaded I-swear-I-am-not-making-this-up Skeeter Syndrome. Still hasn't outgrown it, though I was hopeful this would be the year. Alas, it looks like we're in for another long summer with a perpetually disfigured (and/or coked-up-on-Benadryl) child.
The worst part is that the mosquitoes just fucking LOVE Ezra so much. They swarm to him, especially his poor, sweet little face. (Though he also has about five gigantic welts on his legs, all hot and angry with oozy blistering centers.) If you send 10 kids outside to play for five minutes, Ezra will come inside with more bites than the rest of them combined. Sometimes he's the ONLY one bit, probably because he's a literal mosquito magnet. And then BOOM. Quasimodo realness.
He's like reverse citronella: Want to drive mosquitos out of your backyard? Here's Ezra. Just toss him over the fence. Problem solved, Pied Piper style.
"Don't worry, Mommy," he told me this morning, right after my initial real-life OH MY GOD reaction to the swelling, "My mosquito bites will get better on Friday."
(Also happening on Friday, according to Ezra: cooking camp [it's over, actually], swimming lessons [no], watching Star Trek [what?], washing his hands, eating his carrots, and putting on pajamas. He's got a jam-packed schedule, all right.)
May 17, 2012
Meanwhile, not long after I wrote yesterday's post and tried (again) (and failed) (again) to coax Baby Ike into a nap, I realized Ezra was being AWFULLY nice and quiet downstairs. Suspiciously quiet. Like, now-is-the-time-I-realize-he's-decided-to-dump-a-bag-of-flour-down-the-toilet-for-fun quiet.
Nope. He was just really very tired.
Even Ceiba was like, uh, is you dead?
Nah, he's fine. Just drunk, probably.
Ike also eventually, finally caved to utter exhaustion.
Also in a slightly unorthodox location. My children do have beds, I swear. Horrible, hateful beds, apparently. Whatever, I'm not here to reason with any of you crazy people. You stay there and dent your face up all you want.
(Awwwww. I want to stroke that fluffy head, but I won't, because SHHHHH NOBODY BREATHE WHOEVER WAKES HIM UP GETS THE HOSE, I MEAN IT.)
May 15, 2012
You may have noticed (or...not, probably not, but allow me a moment to wallow in delusional self-importance) that I have not posted a single non-camera-phone photo in a very long time. I think Ike's birth was the last time we pulled out the "real" SLR camera, and even that was a last-minute scramble of BATTERY! CHARGER! MEMORY CARD! LENS CAP!
And then it was still easier for me to grab my phone off the nightstand and snap photos. And in a way, the ease of always having a semi-decent-ish camera in my back pocket (and the forgiving hazy glow of Instragram filters) has probably saved poor Ike from the worst of the third-baby photo fatique. Sure, not every picture of him is a professionally framed shot in high resolution, BUT AT LEAST I TOOK A LOT OF PICTURES. I DESERVE PARTIAL CREDIT.
But probably the biggest reason I abandoned my trusty SLR is that it maybe kind of sort of got accidentally punted down the basement steps by my children and/or one of their friends, I don't know who, I was too busy enjoying wine with my friends to pay attention to the fact that our children were playing soccer with several hundred dollar's worth of camera on the stairs. I mean, come on. It's not like I have eyes on the front of my head, or anything.
The camera was in its protective padded bag, at least — I think someone was using it as a purse or backpack before the game turned destructive — and everything SEEMED to work afterwards, but not ever like it used to. Photos turned out blurry a lot, like the auto-focus thingamabob went semi-kablooey (IF I MAY GET TECHNICAL ON YOUR ASSES FOR A MINUTE). So even when I did make the effort to take "real" photos, the results hardly seemed worth it.
Jason was adamant, however, that we sack up and replace the camera eventually. So I started saving up my Amazon affiliate gift cards (thanks, Ultimate Master Lists! I should do you more often. I should turn this blog into nothing but lists! SEO synergy coupon extreme-Amazoning buzzword Skrillex!) until I had enough to cover a new Canon Rebel camera body and one of those fancy Eye-Fi memory cards that all the Kids Today are using, filling the wifi networks around our skulls with a digital smog of photos and videos and probably giving us all brain cancer or something. Hooray!
The first thing I did was harrass my children with my new toy. And I realized that — like the concept of life without DVRs and touchscreens — they have absolutely no idea what to do when confronted with flash photography:
WHAT THE WHAT WAS THAT.
NOT SO VERY MUCH SURE ABOUT THAT NO THANK YOU.
Baby Ike was not alone in his disdain for my sudden paparazzing.
IT BURRRNS SO ANNNNNNOYINGLYYYYYYY.
Eventually, Ike seemed to warm up to the camera, or at least accept the fact that I wasn't putting it away until I'd messed with every single setting possible:
He's a bit of a hammy clown, yes. Also part shark, apparently.
His first birthday is in just over two weeks. 16 days! I need to take at least seven hundred million more pictures before then. Sorry, eyeballs.
May 07, 2012
Ezra did a little redecorating in the Baby Jail this weekend. First he attempted to turn it into a ball pit, only with a knee-deep hoard of assorted toys and pointy-shaped plastic things instead of balls. When I protested that this maybe wasn't the coziest environment for the still fairly unstable Baby Ike, he helpfully added a layer of bubble wrap.
When I also nixed that idea (SO LAME MOM), he went with option C and tossed in every single throw pillow and blanket he could find, officially turning Baby Jail in a groovy good-time laid-back Conversation Pit.
All we need now is a lava lamp up in this bitch.
(First rule of Conversation Pit is you do not talk about Conversation Pit.)
Okay, so it's crowded and awkward there's a lot more rolling and flailing going on than walking/cruising. But Baby Ike gets a very devoted playmate, Ezra gets his weird on (seriously, a deflated pool toy and smashed boxes of play cereal are among the valued treasures he specifically chose to transfer to the Pit), and Mama gets 18.5 SQUARE FEET OF LEGO-FREE REAL ESTATE.
April 30, 2012
First, it's a good thing three-and-a-half-year-olds aren't that big, because you will probably need to physically pull him out of bed. He will look like an adorable, sleepy cherub, and may even fold himself up into a tiny ball on your lap while he fights the waking-up process.
Take a minute to enjoy it, because it's all downhill from here.
Once the three-and-a-half-year-old is semi-halfway-awake, he will start whining about something: The fact that his Cheerios are not yet in his mouth, that he can't find the book he deliberately kicked under the bed last night, that you are SO GOING to bring him the wrong pair of underpants, HE JUST KNOWS IT ALREADY, etc.
Pro Tip: You will indeed bring him the wrong pair of underpants, this is true. You are a negligent monster and the absolute worst.
Once you have peeled his pajamas off and poured him into his clothes like a blob of limp-yet-resistant pasta — and navigated the treacherous Sock Drawer Of I Don't Like Those Socks, I Want The Imaginary Red Socks That I Do Not Own — it's time to make the first transition of the morning into the bathroom for potty and teeth-brushing. This will go about as well as expected, i.e. migraine-inducing.
"Uppy!" he will wail at the top of the stairs, with arms raised in your direction. What, you expected him to walk down the stairs by himself? Why, that barely puts anyone at risk of falling down the stairs and breaking a hip AT ALL! Why would we do that?
Pro Tip: Some mornings he will happily walk down the stairs unassisted. This step will only be added if you already have something in your arms, like the baby or a laundry basket or a large assortment of books and toys that he absolutely refused to emerge from his room without.
And now, it's the Breakfast Gauntlet. He wants the dark blue bowl, not the green one. But only if there is a dark blue spoon. Otherwise, he'll take the orange. He does not want milk in his Cheerios. If there are pancakes, he'd like a waffle. If there are waffles, he'd like pancakes. If there are pancakes and waffles, he'll take a scrambled egg.
Why did you put the milk away? He wants milk in his Cheerios. He will pronounce it "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerioooooooos," adding an infinite number of syllables.
Noah kicked him. Noah hurt him. Noah took his toy. Noah looked at his dark blue spoon. Etc.
He would like a banana-na. He would like to make a pretend phone call to Grandma and Grandpa on the banana-na. Then he will hang up the banana-na. On the floor.
It's time to put shoes on. Yeah. Like that's happening.
It's time to go to the bus stop. Anyone who doesn't have his shoes on (ahem) right this second needs to stay in the house with Daddy and Baby Ike and finish his goddamn Cheeeeeeeeerioooooos.
He will decide he desperately wants to go to the bus stop. He will attempt to convince you to take him to the bus stop by hurling his body on the floor and kicking in the vague direction of his shoes, which he is still not putting on. You will ignore him and walk out the door anyway, smiling cheerfully at your fellow bus-stoppers walking down the sidewalk who can totally hear your three-and-a-half-year-old screaming in righteous, pissed-off fury just inside your house.
Pro Tip: You are probably going to get reported to CPS someday, unless you bake a lot of cookies and give them tomatoes from your garden. Or both. Do both.
When you return from the bus stop, he will be officially Over It, and pretty much anti-leaving-the-house-ever. His shoes will not be on and he will be happily mid-construction on a Lego creation that nooooooooooooo he can't leeeeeeave he never ever! He just NEVER.
Pro Tip: He will never finish that sentence. "Always" and "never" are a three-and-a-half-year-old's favorite forms of hyperbole, and he sees no reason to supply a verb to his adverbs. You know what he's trying to say, and that it's you are a negligent monster, the absolute worst, and a big fat meanypants.
Because you are still bigger than him, you will get his shoes on, even if it involves shoving them on upside-down and at an angle while he hides under the dining room table. He will show his gratitude for your Tetris-like skills by shifting the focus of his rage to his coat, which he does not want to wear.
You know what? Let him walk the 20 feet or whatever to the car without his damn coat. You've earned it. Treat yourself.
He will of course be demanding his coat after 10 feet. He will also demand that you drive Daddy's car, because Daddy's car is currently considered "more fun" even though your car has a damn DVD player in it, not that you ever let him watch it. (See: monster, negligent; worst, the absolute.) You will pick him up and put him in your car, once again treating the neighborhood to the sounds of a child being literally skinned alive.
On the way to school, everything will change. He will be his usual, charming self. He will talk to you about trees and cars and ask complicated questions about the United States Postal Service. He will wave to his big brother's school and tell you that Noah is his best friend. And Daddy is his best friend. And you are his best friend.
Once you arrive at school, you will be more than his best friend. You will be his Mommy, his love, his entire life, and leaving your cherished presence is pretty much the worst thing since not getting the dark blue spoon. Note that this is only because there is a full line of cars and witnesses at the curb-side drop-off this morning. His usual bounding enthusiastic skip-hop to the front door has been replaced with a second-act tantrum over wearing his coat, which he has pulled off and thrown on the sidewalk.
Pro Tip: Who cares! You're in a car! You're watching this scene in the rearview mirror! Just keep driving. He'll be fine once he gets inside. Or not! Either way, he's their problem now. Mwa ha ha ha ha oh my god.
(The three-and-a-half-year-old in his natural habitat, scoring free food from easily-charmed vendors at the farmers' market. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE, YOU GUYS.)
April 25, 2012
My child would like a word with you:
Now, you'll be getting that letter personally in a few days, but I figured a heads' up might be helpful to let you know 1) that it was not sent by a serial killer and 2) what on God's green 16 x 32 baseplate it actually says.
PITHOR. AND DLIVR
it For ME. THANC
Yes. So. You heard the boy. Get on that. His allowance is waiting. I think he can currently offer you three dollars for your trouble.
I think I've mentioned that Noah's current all-consuming singular obsession du jour is Ninjago. Which, for the unitiated, is a line of Lego toys and a cartoon featuring...well,Lego toys. It's a carefully market-researched and deliberate mash-up of EVERY SINGLE THING little boys have been known to love over the past three decades.
It's a Beyblade-Magic-the-Gathering-Samurai-Ninja-Star-Wars-Indiana-Jones-Meets-The-Voldemort-Mummy-Chosen-One Mystical Magical Land Powered By Martial Arts And Also Jetpacks. And since the entire universe exists for the express purpose of selling toys, it is completely unencumbered by things like logic, setting or making much sense at all.
The ninjas live on a vaguely Asian-esque flying Viking ship (suggested retail price: $79.99). While the show appears to be set in fuedal Japan, everybody flies around in Storm Fighters (retail price: $24.99) and Rattlecopters ($29.99) and the red ninja drives a motorcycle ($14.99). (I'm sorry: BLADECYCLE.)The bad guys are skeletons and snake armies and there's an Evil Dad who will one day face his Chosen One Son. Oh, and the white ninja is actually a robot. (Spoiler alert! Sorry!) (White ninja minifigure suggested retail price is $9.99, but GOOD FREAKING LUCK YOU GUYS.)
Does it sound stupid? Because it's kind of stupid.
So of course my children LOVE it. LOOOOOOOVE it.
They're clearly not the only ones — the Ninjago shelves are seriously empty at every store, the popular sets are sold out online or have the prices jacked up to nearly double what they should be — and yes, they are anxiously awaiting the next wave of Ninjago sets, due out this summer. Hence Noah's idea to write Lego a letter and put in his formal request that Lego create a Pythor minifigure and deliver it to our house.
Ezra drew a picture of his request. It's either some kind of ground assault vehicle or the Great Devourer from the cartoon's season finale. Or possibly a fried egg on toast.
I have no fucking idea who Pythor is. I don't understand any of this. It all makes me painfully aware that I am a girl. A girl who gave birth to boys.
I promised we'd mail their letters today. I found the stamps and an address on Lego's website. I know it's ridiculous and stupid and pointless, but they don't. Not yet.
And I don't want them to figure that out for a very, very long time.