We Both Like to Roll in the Mud and Neither of Us Enjoy Bacon, Thus We Are Just the Same

When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents incessantly to play board games with me. If I nagged and whined enough, or got sick, they would give in for a game or two. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t excited about board games. Were they just too busy?

Now I am the parent. I have two kids who whine and nag me to play board games. Something odd happened on the day my firstborn arrived: I now loathe board games. I hate them. I despise them. Even the quick, easy ones make me cringe. “Just one more game of Sneaky Squirrel, Mom? Please? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?”

Dumples’ favorite game is Super Why. If you’ve never heard of Super Why, then you certainly have never owned a toddler in recent history. Super Why is a PBS show about reading, superheroes, and fairytales. Dumples wants to BE Super Why. Whose real name is Whyatt. Just so you know.

“Please please please please PLEASE, Mom, will you play Super Why with me?”

I cracked. Just one time, I said. Because, you know, I’m super BUSY. Just like my parents were when I was four.

Dumples set up the game board, the spinner, the playing cards, the game pieces. She grabbed the Whyatt token. “I’m going to be Super Why!” she said. Of course she was. “And Mom, you are most like Alpha Pig so you can be Alpha Pig.”

Alpha Pig: my brother from another mother.

Alpha Pig: my brother from another mother.

I think I’ve figured out why I no longer enjoy board games.

Oink.

Things You Can’t Sell on Etsy

Today’s lesson: you do not have to join, read, or “pin” Pinterest to fail at it. I can create my own Pinterest fails WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE FROM PINTEREST.

Saturday Night Art Project: Homemade Barrettes

Materials:

  • Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Single prong alligator clips
  • Crocheted headbands bought from actual crafty people on Etsy
  • Hot glue

It was my first time using the hot glue gun on a project since our popsicle picture frame mishap. Am I the only one who cannot control the thin trail of hot gun glue in spiderweb patterns that links all of the projects together?

Dumples dons a chicken-diaper barrette (Chicken says it’s not a chicken-diaper but a robin orange-breast) and Chickie sports a lamp barrette. For reasons I cannot explain here in order to maintain our internet anonymity, this is her seven-year-old idea of the ultimate meta.

Now I’m not a really big gun advocate. I don’t keep squirt guns in my house, for instance. But the glue gun seems to really make things stick together, and I have a feeling these barrettes are going to be passed down to my children’s children’s children. So from now on, when our pediatrician asks me if we keep guns in the house, I will proudly inform her that yes, we do, and we use it all the time for our best Pinterest fails ever.

Bang.

Happy Fools Day from Dumples

Chickie wrote a (non-fiction) story called “My Tooth.” We transferred it to Shutterfly and yesterday we received our book in the mail.

Chicken and Dumples had a glorious time pawing through it, and then making up new stories within the theme of gory tooth loss.

Dumples’ storylines target the “gross-out” factor. The louder she could make her seven-year-old big sister scream, “EW,” the bigger the triumph of storytelling.

“And the tooth came out and there was BLOOD everywhere,” I heard Dumples proclaim while I flipped the pages of a magazine from the sofa.

“EW!” Chicken replied, egging her on.

“And the BLOOD was so much that it was covering her and she was all RED with BLOOD.”

“EWWW! That’s gross!”

Sensing her sister’s genuine disgust, Dumples changed her plot line. “But it wasn’t really blood.” In an ominous, hushed tone, she said: “It was actually red marker. And…it wasn’t washable.”

The horrors! The horrors…

It Was Such a Cute Little Tushie

Chickie turned seven years old today, which means I’ve been a mother for seven years. I think I’m totally getting this parenting thing now. Upon heading out for a small celebration with a few of her friends, she warned me in her most stern seven-year-old voice:

“Now remember, Mom. You can talk to my friends about anything EXCEPT for my teeny tiny baby tushie.”

Mom? I have become you.

Little Sister: taking notes on tushie talk.

Big News

Dumples, offering to retrieve a fallen jigsaw puzzle piece from under the table: “I’ll get it because I’m the littlest!”

“Thanks!” I told her. “I would have a tough time getting under the table because I’m a big lady.”

“Mom!” she scolded me, hands on her hips, “You are NOT a lady.”

ZING!

Majesty, Monsters, and Mexico

At the dinner table, Dumples is without her favorite condiment. She says to her father, “Could I please have some more ketchup, Your Majesty?”

“Excuse me,” I interjected. “Did you just call him Your Majesty?” She nods. “So what does that make me?”

Without missing a beat, my favorite four-year-old replies, “You’re The Boss.”

Can’t argue with that logic.


Ketchup makes the rounds and Chicken tells a story from first grade land. A classmate is moving away. “She had to move,” Chicken tells us, jabbing her fork in the air for emphasis.

“Do you know where she moved?” Your Majesty asked.

“Ummm. Yeah. She moved to Mexico,” Chicken replied, almost stabbing herself in the face with her fork.

“Mexico?!?” I said. “Really? Why did she move to Mexico?” Because when you live in Minnesota and you’re fleeing the country, you go to Canada. It’s right there.

Chicken shrugged and applied six-going-on-seven-year-old logic. “Probably there were no houses to buy in Minnesota.”


Dumples and I are attending a parent-child class every Monday night in March. She receives undivided attention from me while she does (mostly) the same stuff she does at home — paints, builds, puzzles, asks a lot of questions, sings, points at other kids who are doing interesting things, etc.

The last fifteen minutes of the class is separation time. That means she eats Scooby Snacks while the grown-ups go into another room and talk about love, logic, and chore charts.

I came to collect her afterward. We were the last to leave, and her teacher said, “Did you tell your Mom what kind of cookie you want her to make you?”

Apparently, the snack time convo fell under the topic of “What’s your favorite kind of cookie?” and the teacher’s answer of “monster cookie” was making Dumples drool.

The teacher told me, “I guess you’ll be making monster cookies now.”

We walked out the door but not out of earshot when Dumples announced, “I know you won’t make monster cookies, Mom. Because you can’t cook!”

I heard the giggles behind me. But it’s true. The Boss can’t cook. Your Majesty is in charge of the monster cookies, the ketchup allotments, eye injuries, and any plans for our future exile. In other words, he’s King of the Castle.

Strangest Thing Said to Me by a Grown-Up Today

“I know it’s liberals who are known for being whiny and wanting everything to be fair and equal, but you know, sometimes conservatives can be assholes, too.”

Shake It Off

A lot of things have changed since I was in elementary school. My Chicken is teaching me all kinds of new things.

The first thing she is teaching me is bus music. We didn’t have bus music when I was a kid. The combustible engine hadn’t been invented yet. And neither had the wheel. Or at least, the bus drivers were these super strict old ladies who stopped the bus and started screaming at us in Southern accents that we needed to “quit it” whatever “it” was or the bus would not be taking us home that day. That was the melody of our bus rides.

Chickie’s bus rides are totally different. The kids are sharing snacks, they’re licking the walls, they’re listening to bus music.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re imagining a gaggle of kids in harmony, striking up tunes like, “The Wheels on the Bus,” or — more risque — “Hail to the Bus Driver.”

But what they are actually listening to is Beyonce and Big Sean and someone whose name cannot be said aloud because it is comprised entirely of punctuation marks. When she started singing “Mother Vase” out of the blue one day, I decided it was time to see what these songs are about — and ensuring that little Chick does NOT know what these songs are about.

We made a list of her favorite bus songs and youtubed them.

  • Animals – Maroon 5
  • Stay with Me – Sam Smith
  • Don’t – Ed Sheeran
  • One More Night – Maroon 5
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  • Daylight – Maroon 5
  • Firework – Katy Perry
  • Maps – Maroon 5
  • Stay High – Tove Lo

We even made a CD of bus songs so we could listen to bus songs in the car. (The fact that I am still burning CDs may have proven my senior status.)

I did not teach them to pose like that.

A few days go by and my Chickadee thinks I’m some kind of miracle worker who can youtube any song she has on her mind. She asks me if I can find the name of a song she has stuck in her head. I say, sure. (I’m kind of a big deal.) (That’s the slogan of the zoo crew on the Bus station, BIG 98.7 FM.)

So she says, “It goes NA NA NA — NA NA NA.” She looks at me.  “Can you find it?”

Riiiiiight.

Here’s what we know: It’s not Roxette, which, in my realm is the only good NA NA song.

Now I turn to the People of the Internet. Can you tell me the name of the NA NA NA song? Can you tell me the name of any NA NA NA song? You could win lunch with Pike, Jesse, and Amanda in the morning. But only if you’re caller 10.

Proof the Chicken Is Smarter Than Me

At dinner, Chicken was making those “ew gross” noises at the idea of people kissing: namely, the idea of her parents kissing.

“Hey!” I told her, opening my mouth without thinking (per usual), “if your parents didn’t kiss, you wouldn’t even be here right now.”

But instead of opening a Pandora’s Box of exciting! new! awkward! questions, she chose to become defensive. “Mom! That’s not what I meant! It’s just gross if you kiss in public.”

“That’s right,” Flathead said supportively. “Chicken doesn’t like PDA.”

“PDA?” asked Chicken. “What’s PDA?”

Flathead, much quicker than I, offered up: “Pizza…delivery…um…”

“System!” I declared proudly.

“Um, Mom? System doesn’t even begin with an ‘A.'”

Okay, so she’s six years old and smarter than her mom. But let’s just say I didn’t set the bar all that high.

It’s probably the glasses that are making her smarter than me. Oh wait. I wear glasses, too. And my vision is much, much worse than hers. Doh!

The Merry Christmas Dilemma

Every year, I find myself in the same Christmas quandary. No, not the secular versus religious quandary: it’s bigger and less significant than that. It’s the Merry Christmas response quandary.

It goes a little something like this. I interact with a person at the grocery store, the office, or even at my house when someone delivers a package, and they greet me with a bit of Christmas cheer.

“Merry Christmas!” they say, merrily.

“You, too!” I say back, which is the easy part.

The hard part is if the conversation continues. “Are you all ready for Christmas?” “Are your kids looking forward to Christmas?” and after Christmas, for at least a couple of weeks, “So, did you have a nice Christmas?”

I usually go with a vague response such as, “Pretty much,” or “Sure” or “It was pretty quiet,” which are not lies, and usually carries the conversation to a finishing point pretty fast with most acquaintances, because then I can say, “And you?”

However, there’s the 5%. The 5% who keep the conversation going until we get to the point of no return, where I have run out of vague responses and am forced to out myself as a non-Christmas celebrator.

Which leads to the person acting humbled or embarrassed or dumbstruck and me feeling ridiculous.

I am white. I live in the rural(ish) Midwest. And I don’t celebrate Christmas. It blows people’s mind, I know that. But I don’t know how to break it to them gently.

Christmassers, this is my plea to you: at what point do you want me to tell you that I don’t celebrate Christmas? What response would make us all feel super happy wonderful?

A. “Merry Christmas!” “Thanks, but I’m Jewish.”

B. “Merry Christmas!” “You too!” “So are your kids excited about Christmas?” “No, they hate Christmas, because we don’t celebrate it and they think the world has duped them with their set of circumstances.”

C. “Merry Christmas!” “You too!” “Do you have big plans for Christmas?” “Nope.” “It’s a wonderful time of year, isn’t it?” “Sure is.” “Have you finished your shopping yet?” “I don’t really do any shopping.” “Wow, that is so refreshing to hear. You know the real meaning of the season.” “…”

D. “Merry Christmas!” …

Give me a response D. Give me your best Merry Christmas response. And in return, I will wish you a merry Christmas, a happy yule, a delightful solstice, and a safe New Year.