Stories from August 2011

What Will It Be Next?

Sarah Logan

I was talking to our neighbor/lawn maintenance guy this morning about whether or not our flowers need more water when Caveman came outside in his socks with his toothbrush and something white in his hair.  I assumed it was toothpaste.  About 3 seconds later Princess arrived on the scene (also in her socks—I suspect this is cosmic payback for the 12 billion times my mother told me not to go outside in my socks) and revealed that it was not in fact toothpaste, but fabric glue.  (As I type this I have to wonder if he tried to brush his teeth with fabric glue.  Is fabric glue non-toxic?  Whew, yes, ours is.)  Fortunately, if you wash fabric glue out of your hair before it dries, it comes out.

Why would you put fabric glue in your hair?  I have no idea.  Children are not confined by the rules of logic.  This is why being a parent is such a difficult job.  You can’t possibly anticipate everything they will attempt to do.  This also makes parenting a terrifying job.  You can childproof the heck out of your house, but your kids can still stack up kitchen chairs to reach the garage-door opener while you’re changing the baby’s diaper, letting themselves outside without your knowledge.  (True story.  Our garage door opener is now up so high I can only reach it by standing on tiptoe.)  As parents, we try to keep our children safe, some even going so far as to pay professional childproofing services.  Unfortunately, kids see all that childproofing as less of a safety measure and more of a challenge.

When you mix imagination into the innate fearlessness of some kids, you get boys jumping off houses in attempts to fly or girls jumping into deep swimming pools because they are just sure they can swim (my uncle and me, respectively).   Forget it being a miracle any of us survives childhood—it’s a miracle any PARENTS survive childhood.  Think about it—how many times in the past year has your heart literally stopped as you discovered your child doing something dangerous?  Ever temporarily lose your child in a public place?  Your brain goes straight to the worst-case scenario, and you experience pure terror until your child is back, safe in your arms, and it turns out they were just stuck in the corner of a jump house, or locked outside on a balcony, or wedged between bolts of fabric in the craft store, or hiding behind a tree giggling as you slowly lost it (all true, but fortunately not all my kids). (Read more…)

A Room of Our Own

Becca Sanders

This month husband J. and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. On the big date, he was out of town at a conference – in fact, out of town for the entire week, leaving me to monoparent for seven days. Perhaps absence does make the heart grow fonder, or at least more appreciative. I held it together for the week, but it was exhausting.

I missed his help with the kids, I missed his easy-going, play-it-as-it-lays approach to life (which nicely balances my more anxiety-ridden, when-is-the-other-shoe-going-to-drop approach), and most of all I missed him: that tall handsome guy I fell in love with almost twenty years ago.

My gift to him was a redecoration of our bedroom, including a new wall color of deep, warm brown (it’s like being inside a chocolate bar), luxurious bedding (downside: neither of us want to get up in the morning), and lighting by which you can actually read. I wanted a romantic room that wasn’t too girly, a room that suited both my taste and his, and – perhaps most of all – a haven to which we can retreat when the kids go to bed at night.

You know – an ADULT room. No sand in the bed. No toys on the floor. No crayons or markers allowed, and no sticky hands with attendant handprints on the walls. I resisted the urge to put a “No Kids Allowed” sign on the door. That seems a little mean-spirited, no? A little petty? So – no sign. But in my mind I’m thinking, “No way can the kids come in here.” (Read more…)

School Supply List for the Whole Family

Karrie McAllister


24-count crayons (new)

3 folders (no Trapper Keepers)

1 pair of scissors (pointed)

2 glue sticks (school approved)

1 ruler (plastic or metal)

10-count markers (standard colors only)

2 highlighters (yellow)



1 camera (for send-off photos but it probably won’t have batteries in it so there’s a good chance your kid will miss the bus because you’re searching through the junk drawer in the kitchen)

1 set of batteries (see above)

1 box of tissues, small (for tears of joy or sentimentality, also for digging the last-minute snot out of your kid’s nose so he/she doesn’t get pegged as the booger kid by his/her classmates)

1 cell phone (to call your friends and decide whose house you’re going to celebrate your new found freedom)

1 bottle of merlot (and plastic cups—I ain’t doing any dishes today)

1 bottle of pinot grigio (OK, maybe two or three)

1 wheel of brie (no mac with this cheese…hallelujah!)

1 package party hats, streamers, noise-makers, confetti (optional and slightly over the top, but really, ladies, let the celebrations begin)

1 box of tissues, large (for tears of joy or sentimentality—those little booger kids are actually growing up)

Warning: Denim Can Cause Laryngitis

Karrie McAllister

I would be lying if I said that my hoarse voice was caused by allergies or partying too hard.  Instead, it stems from a certain three-year old and a pair of jean shorts.

Jean shorts.  Racking fracking flipping flapping jean shorts.

There is nothing special about them, other than that my daughter has to wear them every day or she breaks down and morphs into baby Hyde with sprouted horns and a spiked tail.  Crying, screaming, hitting, all the while naked from the waist down, because she simply MUST sport her denim shorts or else, for certain, the world will end.

This being my third child, I’m no stranger to the phase that is the one-item-or-else years.  For my oldest daughter, it had to be a dress, and nothing else.  My son wore tall black rubber boots and a Brazilian soccer outfit until at the age of four, we packed away the 2T clothes in a special ceremony.  (The boots had met their odorous destiny in the trash.)

So I am well aware of the phrase I am considering tattooing across my forehead:

This too shall pass.

But in the meantime, I dread getting dressed in the morning because really, one mom can only do so many loads of laundry and that one pair of jean shorts has seen the wear of the summer.  Daily bubble soap, mud, dirt, popsicle, ketchup, etc. is just too much to keep up with, and some days she might just have to skip her favorite item and wear—how dare I even offer such a horrid piece of clothing—a jean skort.

Which is where this whole story started, (Read more…)

Lazy Kids are Born, Not Made

Linda Kennard

Before I had Clyde and Tanner, I accepted that all Jay’s positive traits were inborn and any negatives were products of my poor parenting. C&T, my little test rats (hereafter referred to as Thing 1 and Thing 2 to protect the guilty), have led me to believe otherwise. These boys look alike, were born on the same day, raised in the same house, subjected to the same crises, and attended the same schools (frequently with the same teacher). Their environment has been as identical as their faces. Yet, their positive and negative qualities are not the same.

For example (albeit a trivial one), consider how Thing 1 and Thing 2 managed this week’s cleaning chores. Each kid selected and completed three chores in addition to cleaning their own bedroom. Thing 1 chose these chores: “Dust and vacuum laundry room,” “Vacuum downstairs,” “Clean kids’ bathroom.” Thing 2 chose these chores: “Clean guest bathroom,” “Clean sliding glass doors in kitchen and dining room,” “Dust downstairs.” How did my test subjects fair?

Roughly two hours after he’d started his chores, Thing 2 dropped by while I was scrubbing the tub in the kids’ bathroom to report, “Whew! These chores take forever!” At the end of the day, I examined Thing 2’s bedroom. All surfaces were dusted, even the blinds. Every square inch of the floor was visible and vacuumed. The guest bathroom was clean. The windows were clean. The entire downstairs—every surface that I could think to check—was dusted. (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.