Monday, December 19, 2011

The cost of doing business.

One recent afternoon I left the twins downstairs with some markers, ink stamps, and paper. They're old enough to trust not to color on the walls. Their brother, who is not old enough to trust with air, was snoozing in his room. I had a few dozen cookies to bake. Win-win . . . whoops.

Currency conversion: One hour with markers is worth two dozen gingerbread men.

I keep the dangerous contraband—like paints and Neil Diamond CDs—hidden in a locked cabinet. Naturally something as destructive as glitter resides there, too. Naturally I forgot I'd stashed it at the bottom of the bin the twins were plunging their idle hands into. Idle hands are the Devil's workshop and glitter is the Devil's spittle.

Currency conversion: Two scalps worth of glitter is worth one anti-depresseant.

Did you know? It takes two hair washings and an extensive blow dry to remove most of the glitter from my twins' scalps. I'm using that as a new standard of measurement for frustrating clean-ups. "I'll have this done in the time it takes to perform a glitter eradication. Can you get me a protein drink? I didn't carb-load."

Currency conversion: A four years of bathing funky little people is worth a ladies weekend in Vegas.

But that's the cost of doing business. And things are pricey on the home front.

Pricey, and disproportionately disgusting, dirty, or drudgery-making. I'll manage to scrub one toilet while the kids clog another with army men on a dirty dive for WMDs. Maybe I'll pick up in the playroom, but at the same time a child racks up my library debts shredding a Suess book. I've even paid in flesh; my abdomen has been stretched until it resembles a Glad Force Flex garbage bag in both texture and pallor, but it's an investment in nursemaids for my Golden Years. I'll let you know how those dividends pay out.

Currency conversion: One blown out mommy belly is worth a lifetime of guilt trips.

Ah, but this is life in a capitalist society. Like any living economy, the value of household currency fluctuates on the free market. At the opening bell, peace and quiet trade fast, but at a steady exchange. A few minutes of unsupervised breakfast time for the kids buys a few minutes of Facebook checking. The residual expense of scraping a few Cocoa Puffs off the kitchen wall is practically painless. By lunch, trading has slowed and there's some equilibrium in the market. Children barter 30 minutes of relative quiet for 30 minutes of The Fresh Beat Band. As the day comes to a close, parents are wildly gesticulating to secure a few shares of Get Out of the Kitchen with inflated promises of Yes You Can Have More Cookies.

Currency conversion: A box of Oreos is worth twenty minutes of me time alone with a bottle of red.

There was a time when I wouldn't have traded my valuable time blogging, or online shopping, or Googling "Biggest Belly Lint Ball" for a living room strewn with toys and snack wrappers. I wouldn't have abided wanton destruction of the family creche ("Wolverine does not battle the Wise Men!"). I wouldn't have considered Kidz Bop Vol. 2,324,923 fair trade for an hour filing bills. But let's be honest with ourselves about the current economic climate, these are lean times and my statuses will not update themselves.


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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Character Assassination Carousel: Sleeping Beauty and James from Hitting the Crossbar.

Supercalifragilistic, it's expialidocious! It's time to ride the Character Assassination Carousel! If you're new to the Carousel here are the Cliffs Notes. Each month a participating assassin will roast a beloved children's book. Click on the pretty pony above and get full the scoop. Anyone 36" or taller who has a blog can ride this ride.

Today's assassin is: James at Hitting the Crossbar. Click to read about the never before discovered interview with Maleficent, the evil sorceress from "Sleeping Beauty." Is she evil or just misunderstood? How's Broadway treating her these days? Would you like to grow up to be an accountant?

Previous assassin: Leah at Chapter Four.
Next assassin: Cathy at very VERY busy mom.


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Friday, December 9, 2011

Fat dude acts like a lady.

Santa is an international man of myth and mystery who was born during a time when women were not mistresses of the universe like they are today. At 80 cents for every dollar men make. So, underpaid mistresses.

Naturally, the original role of Santa would have to have been cast as a man. But it's 2011! Women are the equals of men (except in the job market and politics and hot dog eating contests). Chances are we will soon elect a person who is at least 80% woman. Surely we are ready to accept that Santa has always been a woman in man drag.

To prove my point, let me compare the Jolliest Elf to my man, The Hubster.

FACT: When I had my first birthday as a married woman, my loving husband, in a move proving the honeymoon was indeed over, held two unwrapped DVDs behind his back and said, "Do you want your gifts now, or after we share a value meal at Mickey D's?"

A woman knows better. A woman like Santa, who wraps presents rather than presenting them in a plastic grocery bag.

FACT: When we adopted our mutts ten years ago, the Hubster wanted to name them BoSox and Fenway. A moving canine tribute to his beloved Boston Red Sox. These are decidedly manly names for pets (that I vetoed and we named them Bonnie and Clyde instead).

Now consider Santa's reindeer names. A man might pick Vixen, but Prancer? Hey lady!

FACT: When asked to hold my purse while I wrestle with our children at the mall food court, my husband holds it like it's an estrogen bomb.

Not Santa. He carries a giant, red velvet bag and works it, honey.

FACT: The only gloves the Hubster wears are for snow shoveling.

Santa sports the same pair of gloves I wore to my junior prom. Name the last guy you met wearing white gloves that weren't latex.

FACT: Ask my husband his age and he'll tell you.

Like any proud woman, no one knows Santa's real age.

FACT: I've never seen my husband make a list. I make lots of lists. The Hubster is a man; I am a woman.

Santa makes a list and checks it twice.

FACT: Fat dude acts like a lady.


I had a mani/pedi with Santa. She wants you to click this banner to cast a vote for Ninja Mom Blog at Top Mommy Blogs.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Murphy's Mom's Law.

Murphy is that famous fellow who decreed that life will always be a disaster, even more so if you really want things to go smoothly. Or, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." It's a sure bet he had few friends.

I've been wondering, who nurtured his philosophy? Could it have been his mother?

I've tweeted a few times about a little corollary to Murphy's Law that I like to think of as Murphy's Mom's Law. Here's what I imagine Junior learned at Mother's knee.

- Parental stress can be eased with a soak in a jetted tub. Having children means they are the only ones that will use it.

- There's a gift Junior really, really wants from Santa. You'll first hear of it when you tuck him in on Christmas Eve.

- As soon as you figure out which foods your child likes your child will stop liking them.

- Successful potty training only happens when no one's looking.

- Any weather you experience while out with your kids will be proportional to the number of coats, gloves, or umbrellas you forgot to bring with you.

- Early talkers are early tattletales. Be careful what you wish for.

- The bus will save you time driving your grade-schooler to class. You'll need that time explaining all the bad words, inappropriate TV shows, and the birds and the bees talk she's heard on the bus.

- The more peanut allergies in your child's class, the more likely he'll refuse to eat anything but peanut butter for lunch.

- The stricter your diet, the more class parties you'll need to prepare cupcakes for.

- There's no toy or game you can buy for your child that she won't like much better at a friend's house.

- No matter which bike you get it will never be the right size for your child.

- Children's shoes shrink immediately after purchase.

- Your desire to leave early enough to stop for coffee is equal to your children's desire to make you late.

- Bad parenting is easy. Good parenting is miserable.

- The more prestigious the accolades, the less likely your child will remember to thank his mother during the acceptance speech.

- A child's interest in a sporting activity increases relative to the amount of time and equipment required to play it.


Have a few Murphy's Mon's Laws of your own? Add them in the comments or Tweet them my way on Twitter (@ninjamomblog).

If we are talking about Twitter, let's talk about the Twitter party Ilana from Mommy Shorts is co-hosting with Kate and Lydia at Rants from Mommyland. This Wednesday at 10 PM you can come and Tweet with us for the chance to win prizes from Alex Toys. I'll be there moderating along with Brenna from Suburban Snapshots and Jen from Buried with Children. We'll have some help from The Culture Mom, too.

Want to party on? Sign up at Mommy Shorts.


Murphy's Mom's Law: You must click the banner to vote for Ninja Mom Blog. Don't make me have a frowny face.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Character Assassination Carousel: The Cat in the Hat and Leah from Chapter Four

Supercalifragilistic, it's expialidocious! It's time to ride the Character Assassination Carousel! If you're new to the Carousel here are the Cliffs Notes. Each month a participating assassin will roast a beloved children's book. Click on the pretty pony above and get full the scoop. Anyone 36" or taller who has a blog can ride this ride.

Today's assassin is: Leah at Chapter Four. Click to read about Leah's unmasking of The Cat in the Hat as the passive-aggressive feline wrecking ball he really is. Look at Leah, look at Leah, look at Leah NOW!

Previous assassin: Vinny C at As Vinny C's It.
Next assassin: James at Hitting the Crossbar.


Now who doesn't like a good assassination attempt? Click the banner below to vote yes for literary carnage!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh how I loathe, whoops, love snow!

Today's post is sponsored by Columbia Sportswear, who sent me a free winter jacket.*

Yesterday, winter found us here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the kids and I were tickled. We all wanted to put our mark on nature's whiteboard (pocked and yellowed with the urine of beloved pets and dotted with cast-off mittens that would later explain why my youngest's hands were numb until bed time).

Snow. Winter's fun time bounty, my Gitmo. But, oh!, the joy of frolicking children. Can't you hear their happy voices ringing through the chilly air? And my kids, well, they say the darndest things. Like my first grader, who writhed on the floor yesterday, calling in a tortured voice,

"I have itches! I can't scratch them with all these clothes on!"

The children climbed eagerly into my carefully selected winter gear. They were moved to tears by the mere act of dressing to play out-of-doors. Through sobs Zippy managed to choke out her appreciation for her warm and toasty snow boots,

"Why can't I wear my Crocs!?"

You can only have so much weather-appropriate outerwear for your child to shun before relenting to her whims. Three layers of cheap leggings instead of the pricey---and waterproof---snow pants I bought? Yes, embrace frostbite. In fact, Bee prefers the homespun gear I once used in desperation when I couldn't find her gloves.

"Can you make those plastic bag gloves again, mom?"

Yes, snow is the frosty playmate my kids have been dying to see. For my part, it's mostly satisfying watching the children unleash their creativity while simultaneously cursing snow's intrusion, "Mooooom! It's in my sleeve-uh!" Why, they are so focused on making snow people and snow forts and snow angels that they are barely inconvenienced by the muddy dribble that drools out of their boot treads and soaks into my carpet hours after they've forgotten where they left their shoes.

Snow is tangible, seasonal magic. It's the stuff animated TV specials are made of. It's a great dollop of exhausting physical activity that turns after school's happy hour into dinnertime's ugly scene. Who among us can resist snow's charms? And who among toddlers can resist making "coal" buttons from buried dog poo? Charming!

In the end there may be tears (yours) as you wrestle children out of the jackets they have turned inside-out in an attempt to free themselves. There may be protests (theirs) as you insist they leave slush-caked mittens in the sink. But they will be happier, healthier, better people for having dashed through the snow. So console yourself knowing that they will eventually come to appreciate your Sisyphean efforts to keep them dry and toasty when, one glorious winter day, their own children run out into six inches of powder with only their Dora the Android Space Explorer socks to warm them.


*Tuesday and Wednesday, during our first snow storm of the season, I was one jacket closer to making it through winter. Columbia sent me a free, no strings attached, Triple Trail Shell jacket. I got to put it through its paces. It's light enough to throw on over layers and sturdy enough to keep out the wind and wet. It's sporty. It's loaded with pockets inside and out. The hood actually keeps out weather. It kept me warm, but not sweating to death under fifty geese worth of smothering down while I chased my kids in the yard. However, if I'm standing still, say, at the bus stop, I choose my down jacket. The Triple Trail Shell works a bit like a wet suit. It requires some physical activity to warm up the air between you and its Omni-Heat lining that reflects heat back.

I was not paid to write this post or obligated to review the product. But I like the jacket they sent and I am happy to tell you about it.


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