Stories from April 2011

An Open Letter to Producers of Energy Drinks

Karrie McAllister

Dear Producers of Energy Drinks,

For years you have catered to the youth of today, promising outrageous energy to carry on through long nights of studying and partying. You’ve convinced us all that even one serving of your magic potion will transform us into wild twenty-somethings and whisk us away to a dance club where strobe lights and smoke fills the air. Essentially, you claim the idea that an energy drink is a tonic of youth.

So why is it then, that you market it to youth? Those are the people with more energy in one sleepy morning than I have in an entire week.

I may be no marketing guru, but if I may make a suggestion, there’s a large target audience out there that is grossly underserved in the energy drink business: moms.

We are the ones who crave energy, who need it to survive and to outlast our children at any age. We are the ones who watch the wee hours of the morning tick by as we rock babies, soothe children, and wait for teenagers to come home safely, all the while having to wake up early to turn into a PBJ factory for packed lunches.

We are the ones who kiss everyone goodnight after an evening of chauffeuring to scouts and sports and dinner and homework and baths and books and then slink off to a pile of our own work. And as much as sorting socks is engaging and exciting, I for one have been known to lay my head in a basket of freshly dried laundry and say to myself, “just a five minute nap.”

And so I plead with you, oh masters of the magic medicine, would it be too much to make energy drinks that are mom-friendly? Perhaps put a flower on the can, show some flashy commercials with some mid-30’s ladies with stretch marks and bags under our eyes sipping one of your beverages? Can you please make it more kosher for us maternal-type to drink without feeling like we’re sneaking something illegal?

I recently chugged an energy drink in the school parking lot on my way to a Girl Scout meeting only to realize that there was actually someone in the car next to me. The look she shot me was anything but understanding and I instantly felt as if I should forego the scout meeting and head straight to the principal’s office. It’s just not fair.

So please, oh please, make this right. (Read more…)

Reasons #238497 and # 238498 Why I’m Gray-Haired

Lisa Douglas

In turning the corner into the dining room, I saw my daughters bag ‘o hair-pretties, splattered about the dining room like a spilled ice cream cone. “Baby, come here for a second, please!” I called out in a very authoritative, Mom-means-business kind-of tone.

“Yes, mommy?” She responded, hair all over the place.

It was clear she’d been playing hair-do with her brother. I could hear his groans from the other room from her pulling his hair too tightly. “Baby, can you pick up your hair-pretties, please?”

“What hair pretties?” She asks.

“Those hair pretties!” I say, even more authoritatively, as I nudge her into the right direction.

Before she can ask again, I reiterate, “THERE!” pointing now, frustrated from repeating myself several times.

“Can you hang them up?”

“What?” she asks.

“Can you hang them up? Y’know, where they’re supposed to be hung?”

“Hung?” she asks.

“Yes, hung!” I repeat.


“Hung?” she repeats again.

By this time, my face is reddening, and my patience are gone. “Oh my gosh, baby, YES! HUNG! As in, go HANG them UP where they get HUNG. OVER THERE!” I motion, again, pointing to her dress-up area.

“Oh! Hang it up!” she responds.

And I sigh, grateful she finally seems to get what I’m freakin’ saying.

“Where?” she asks.

As if she doesn’t play with these all the time, and they’re always found in the same freakin’ spot, but no, she needs to put them away, and suddenly she forgets where to put them? ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!?

And then, I die inside. Or maybe I fainted, I don’t know.


Knock, knock

I ignore it, figuring it’s one of my children who can open the door. I continue to write.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

Getting louder. I still ignore it.


“OHMYFRIGGINLORD, WHAT!?” I mumble under my breath as I see a teenager with God-awful make-up like a vampire on my porch. (Read more…)

Officer, Take Cover

Kate Chretien

While my parents were visiting us and helping with newborn insanity, their car got broken into. Nice, huh? The thief(ves) took their GPS system. I called the police to file a report, and they said they would send an officer to the house to get all the information.

The next day, an officer arrived at our door. I let him in and tended to baby Emile nearby while my dad explained what happened.

After the novelty of having a uniformed officer in our house wore off on me, and I realized that this would be nothing like an episode of COPS (I’m home with a newborn; I’m sleep-deprived and sensory-deprived), I decided it was a fine time to change baby’s diaper.

I padded over to the pack and play set up in the room, with a changing table insert on top, and proceeded to change his diaper. As soon as I took the diaper down and while I was grabbing a wipe, a vicious pee stream came shooting out. I mean, we’re talking fire hose vicious. (It took me by surprise to say the least. This was the first time I had ever seen his stream, and it frightened me, frankly.) It arced up and back towards the wall the pack and play was set against. By reflex (read: not thinking) I stuck out my hand (an ungloved hand, mind you) to barricade the stream from soaking everything in a 3 feet radius. I have a terrible habit of screaming in such moments but I held it in, in part because of the officer’s presence and fear that he might taser me.

Just when I thought it was safe to remove my now-so-unclean hand from the field, his stream resumed, shooting back into the pack and play proper (ew), soaking his clothes (ew), and PEE WAS ON HIS FACE. He peed on his own face.

EMERGENCY CLEAN-UP. I frantically grabbed burp clothes, wipes, anything, to start cleaning him off. I called over to my dad to hold my now-stripped down naked son while I grabbed clean clothes and got an impromptu bath going.

Officer Stoic stood nearby, not saying a word, but appeared to have frozen in place. Perhaps he didn’t have kids. Maybe he never will.

I raced back to my dad and was about to take Emile when I noticed something yellow on my dad’s lower leg of his jeans. (Read more…)

Spring’s Hope Eternal

Becca Sanders

Spring is late this year. There’s still snow on the ground, the trees are bare, and as soon as the temperature rises above forty, people turn up at the grocery store wearing shorts. It’s the midwesterner’s characteristically polite way of giving Old Man Winter the finger.

My way is to pour over seed catalogues and landscaping books. I’ve got spring fever in a bad way and “fever” is an apt word. My brain can’t stop humming with ideas for turning our rather ordinary yard into an oasis of cultivated beauty. Sleep, when it comes, is fitful: I once broke the dark silence of our house by shouting out “Pergola!”

The library with its huge home improvement section feeds this fever. There are several volumes of books just about tree houses, incredible structures with bedrooms and showers, ladders and slides and sky-high perches with telescopes for midnight star-gazing, all of it suspended in canopies of green. These are places of wonder that make my heart race – but not in a good way. Unfortunately, I’m a kid at heart. Read that to mean: unrealistic and naive. Even as my conscious mind is saying, “There’s no way you are going spend your life reading works of great literature in a hammock with a cooling drink at your side,” my fever-brain is thinking, “I wonder if that elm at the back is strong enough to support all that lumber…” (Read more…)

Big Boys Do Cry

Linda Kennard

Let’s face it: culturally, it’s not cool for men to cry, and I’m supposed to be raising men here, right? So every time C&T shed a tear, should I tell them to dry up as part of their manhood training? I mean, my boys’ tears have tapered over the years, but at age 12, their waterworks are still flowing.

Sometimes their tears make me go “aw” and other times they just irritate me. When Clyde lost it because he dropped his last (tiny) bite of Popsicle on the garage floor, my response—which I would say was the right response—was instinctive: “Suck it up, big boy!” Likewise, when Tanner teared up at school because he got a C- on his science quiz, I told my little man to “Keep it together,” adding that he’d better be careful at school. “You’re a boy,” I told him, “and, wrong or right, the fact is, crying isn’t cool.”

But in some situations, I think crying is cool. Last summer, I was exploring Santa Fe with C&T on a windy day. The dust in the air was stinging my eyes, so when we left Lorenzo Chapel, and I saw Clyde’s watery eyes, I asked if his eyes were stinging, like mine. He said, “Uh, ya,” but later confessed that his eyes weren’t watering because of the dust. (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.