Stories from October 2010

Bitter Thumbs Down

Kate Chretien

My kids are still in that naïve, blissful state of being where a visit to the Dentist means a date with Mr. Tooth Tickle Head, a sticker, and a treat from the toy treasure chest. They know not of novocaine harpoons, fat, numb lips, and bloody drool. Even though I occasionally dangle threats of The Drill in front of them to make them comply with tooth brushing, this really means nothing to them. They are impervious.  So, it is always kind of sad-amusing for me to hear their cheers of “Dentist! Dentist!” whenever 6 months rolls around. They have no idea. (I, on the other hand, had probably 10 cavities by age 6 and let’s just say that my relationship with the Dentist was a tad cool.)

Our most recent visit was much of the same. Luke and Elise were psyched.  Too psyched.

When the dentist came around to do the cavity search, I braced myself for the end of all things happy and jolly. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, just keeping it real, folks.

But, score! No cavities! Neither child! I was just about ready to pat myself on the back when the dentist brought over a piece of paper to me. (Read more…)

Trick or Trick

Sarah Logan

Before we had kids, we had a dog. Before we had kids, I bought the dog clothes. I justified this by reasoning that we lived in Idaho at the time, and it was cold, and so obviously the dog was cold and “needed” to wear a sweater, or a yellow rain slicker, or once, in a moment that probably emasculated him more than being neutered, pink sparkly high-top tennis shoes.

I also bought him Halloween costumes. One year he was Elvis, and another year he was a lobster. He was not a fan of any of this.

Then we had kids, and the dog stopped being “the baby” and turned into just the dog. And, much to his delight, instead of dressing him up, I could dress up my kids.

The Princess, while being princess-obsessed, has never actually been a princess in a big fluffy dress for Halloween. The first year, she was a goldfish. Next she was a witch. Then she developed opinions of her own. While I was in the hospital giving birth to Caveman, her grandma was buying her an Ariel mermaid costume (the actual real $40 costume, and not even used!!). Between then and Halloween, I found Caveman an awesome sock monkey costume, so at least I still got to dress him up.

Having a preschooler with opinions on clothes and Halloween costumes is tricky. Last year, not only did Princess choose her own costume, Dorothy, but the entire rest of the family as well: Caveman was the Cowardly Lion, I was the Scarecrow, and Hubby was the Tin Man (although Princess, for whatever reason, actually wanted him to be the Wicked Witch-he refused). On the one hand, I want to encourage her to express herself and be creative, and what better time to do that than Halloween? On the other hand, right now she changes her mind every two minutes and comes up with really weird costume ideas. Frankly, I was hoping she’d finally want to be a regular princess and wear one of the zillion princess dresses she already owns.

At first, she said that’s what she wanted. Then she wanted to be Alice, and I had visions of how ADORABLE Caveman would be as the Mad Hatter or the White Rabbit. Then she changed her mind.

“I want to be Mary had a Little Lamb.”

Um, ok. Costumes online (yes, they do exist) ranged from $35-$150. I put in some bids on eBay. Fortunately I didn’t win any of them, because a few days later she wanted to be Wendy from Peter Pan. Score! I only need a nightgown!

Then yesterday she casually mentioned this: “I’m going to be a Wendy CAT for Halloween!”

What?!? When I asked her to elaborate, she told me, “Yeah, I’ll have a Wendy nightgown and ears and a face like a cat, and curly hair with a ribbon, and cat ears, and a blue ribbon on my nightgown, and a long tail!”


I’m sure tomorrow this will morph into a Wendy BALLERINA cat, and then PRINCESS Wendy ballerina cat. Before you know it, I’ll be up all night on the 30th hot gluing a mermaid tail to a nightgown with a tutu, long fuzzy tail, and turtle flipper arms.

At least Caveman doesn’t care what costume I put on him, and I’m not dressing up the dog.

Mini Me

Linda Kennard

Of my three children, Tanner is most like me. It’s not that he looks like me (although he does), or that he inherited my bad teeth (as they all did), or that he (like me) sings the same small portions of songs that get stuck in his head. No, it’s aspects of Tanner’s nature that I recognize as reflections of me.

Tanner, like me, is a hard worker. If I want something done—the dishes washed, the bathroom cleaned—Tanner’s my man. Ask him to put the dishes in the dishwasher, and he’ll do that and scrub the cutting board. Ask him to wipe out the sink, and he breaks out the gloves and disinfectant and washes the mirror while he’s at it. Tanner works tirelessly to do not only what’s been asked but to go beyond what’s expected. It’s in his nature, as it is in mine.

This might seem a lovely trait, but I know something that Tanner doesn’t yet understand: his bent toward perfection is fueled by his need for external approval. Tanner lives for pats on the head, big smiles that say, “Good job! You’re amazing!” Whatever pride he feels fades if the person from whom he was expecting that big smile gives him only a nod. So if he shows me his perfectly drawn copy of a Picasso self portrait or greets BigG on the landing with the A+ on his science exam and we don’t respond with the level of praise he envisioned, he doubts his success. I recognize this sad trait; it’s mine. (Read more…)

An Open Letter to My Son, Who Needs to Get a Few Things Straight

Angie McCullagh

Dear oldest child,

You are seven-and-a-half now. You have just started second grade. You’re developing empathy and a good sense of humor and I’m humbled to be a part of that.


We have issues that need addressing.

1. Homework. I don’t like it any more than you do. In fact, trying to motivate you to sit down and complete 10 minutes worth of math gives me heartburn for six hours before the tussle even begins. You need to just do it. Your whining and moaning only make the endeavor more stressful for everyone involved.

2. Buttface. Please stop saying this. I know it’s your version of a curse word, but I don’t like living with Beavis.

3. Tormenting your little sister. It’s fun. I get that. Scoring a hysterical scream in return for your efforts is more satisfying than someone giving you a metric ton of bubblegum. (I was an older sibling, too.) But it’s mean and annoying and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like it if I started feinting kicking you in the face every time you turned around or smashed your artistic creations when you brought them home from school.

4. The food I cook you. Eat it. End of story.

5. Chores. Yes, they apply to you. My attempts at charts and stickers have failed. But I expect a made bed, a packed backpack, brushed teeth, and a decent attitude. (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)