Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm not really into politics. I should be, because I care deeply about my community and nation. But the way I see it, my husband is politically active enough for both of us. Considering how wound up [i.e. - LOUD] he gets after watching the first five minutes of The O'Reilly Factor each night, I just don't think our house can handle another vocal activist.

I'm not completely out of the loop, though. We obviously have Internet access, so I get a good 30-45 seconds a day to skim the Yahoo! headlines while waiting for my e-mail account to pop up. This seems to be all the time I need, because I know enough to give you the name of our new president, and tell you that yes, we are still involved in a war on terror. I also picked up something the other day about shutting down Gitmo, but I didn't catch all the details. Ann Taylor Loft was having a sale.

I wish I had read up on the story, though, because it occurred to me later that I might actually have a solution to that whole Guantanamo Bay situation: draft the mothers of small children. Only we mothers of small children know how to torture people without leaving a mark. We do it every time we take our small children out in public. The military could refer to us as MSC's and let us wear uniforms of... oh, I don't know... Army-issued camo sweat pants and baggy, over sized t-shirts. The MSC's could handle torturing - er, soliciting information from - suspected terrorists. I'm betting that with our interrogation tactics, the war would be over in no time.

Personally, I'm surprised that I haven't been called into duty yet. After all, I not only take my children out in public regularly, but I'm apparently quite effective at torturing my own four pre-schoolers. My children are constantly shrieking about the various methods I use. After observing their reactions during the past few days, I've actually come up with a list of five particularly effective techniques that I'm thinking the military may want to consider implementing:

1. Turn the water on

No, I'm not talking about water boarding. I'm talking about running water somewhere in the vicinity of hydro-phobic children. This makes the greatest impression on my youngest daughter Evie, who is terrified of running water. Not standing water, mind you. Bath tubs, swimming pools, muddy puddles, and murky ponds are all great fun. But put her in the bathroom while actually filling the tub? Better have your ear plugs ready. These days, in the interest of her security and my ear drums, I pre-fill the bathtub while she is tucked safely away in her bedroom.

2. Use "germy juice"

I didn't realize before last week that the use antibacterial gel (otherwise known as "germy juice") could produce such a catastrophic response in small children. It can. And it did. I won't be able to show my face at the park again for a long, long time.

3. Play the wrong CD

Nothing freaks my kids out more than when they ask me to play a CD, and I inadvertently play the wrong one. Granted, their requests are specific: "Play the blue one." "Play Emily's CD." "Put the Veggie Tales music on." I suppose I should be able to get it right, but it's confusing for a distracted MSC like me, considering we now own 6 Veggie Tales CD's. But trust me - unless you're trying to get the kids' attention, listen carefully and get it right the first time.

4. Let them ride on the carousel and then say "no" to ice cream

OK, this probably seems pretty specific. I'm not really sure how it would translate for a group of suspected terrorists, but I can assure you that it works on my kids. Yesterday, I took all four to the mall in cruel attempt to have fun. After devouring a lunch of all french fries and no chicken or fruit, the girls took turns alternately begging to ride on the merry-go-round and stop by the cookie stand. It seemed like a good idea at the time: I asked them to choose one or the other. The carousel won out. Six dollars and 25 dizzying turns later, we stumbled our way out of the Food Court only to pass a cleverly located ice cream stand. My girls are smart. They had agreed to surrender their cookies in exchange for a ride. But I never said they couldn't have ice cream. It took 20 minutes and two adults to drag four screaming children out to the car. Yes, it was torture. I'm just not sure who suffered more...

5. Leave the room

It's the classic method that all MSC's learn early in training: Walk out of the room - whether for 5 seconds or 5 hours - and your child will scream loud and long. Pure torture for them and for any unfortunate soul stuck in the room with your screaming kid. But not for you, because you're not in the room. I like this method best.

In fact, it occurs to me that #5 is the only technique in which the MSC actually comes out of the interrogation unscathed. I should remember this in the event I ever get called into service by my country: Bring the kids. Leave the room. The Army will get its information in no time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Highlights From a Preschool Valentine Party

"Just a reminder that our preschool party is coming up on Friday, February 13th! Emily and Evie's mom is our coordinator for this event, and will be contacting you shortly."

I am? I will?

Wait, that's next week. Yikes.

"Hi, everybody. This is Emily and Evie's mom. Thanks for signing up to help with this week's party. Sorry it took me so long to contact you. Here's what I'm thinking we'll do: 1) serve a healthy snack of fruit, cheese, and crackers; 2) let the kids decorate a Valentine cookie during craft time; 3) set up a Valentine beanbag toss for game time."

Wouldn't it be fun to make a beanbag toss? Dad could build it, I could paint it, and then I could make Valentine beanbags for the kids to play with and then take home!

Ty, I know this is the sixth store I've dragged you into on this bitterly cold day, but Mommy needs you to hang in there, buddy. We still have to buy plates, cups, a tablecloth, Valentine fabric, and sprinkles. And I want to make sure that everything coordinates with my candy heart - inspired theme.

Thanks for building that beanbag toss, Dad. It looks awesome. Don't worry about painting it, though. I can totally take care of that.


The red paint I used on the kitchen isn't quite the shade of red I had in mind for the beanbag toss, but can I justify buying a new can of paint?

Never mind, I don't have time anyway.

Hey Nana, thanks for coming over today. Um, I know you need to leave in a few minutes, but before you go, can you help me whip up some bean bags for tomorrow's party?

Did I need to buy 20 lbs. of rice to fill 12 beanbags?

These beanbags don't look the way I thought they would. Maybe I should redo them. What do you think, Nana? Nana??? Nana, are you okay? You look a little pale. Hey by the way, I don't think I like the beanbag toss being just plain red. Don't you think it needs some embellishment?

Okay, bye Nana!

No girls, you may NOT use Mommy's paint right now. Go outside and play. Mommy is painting embellishments on this beanbag toss. I'm doing this for your party, you know.

No, I don't have time to push you on the swings! Leave me alone!!!

Ella, I thought you were going to help me make a gift for your teacher tomorrow. Why aren't you unwrapping those Hershey kisses faster?

Yes, Ella, you may eat the pieces of chocolate that fall off.

Ella, stop breaking chocolate off every piece of candy. Do you think other sweatshop kids get to eat chocolate?

Never mind.

These teacher gifts don't look right. Something funny happened with the chocolate. Maybe I should try making another batch.

It's okay to give the teacher ugly and somewhat suspicious-looking chocolate treats for Valentine's Day, right? I mean, they teach preschoolers. They probably expect ugly and somewhat suspicious gifts. Besides, I've got to get to bed.

Did I forget to set the alarm???

We're late we're late we're late we're late we're late...

You know, after I drop the girls off, I should run by the grocery store for some balloons. I'll have enough time to get there and then back to set up for the party.

Ty, stop pulling on the balloons. Mommy only bought twelve balloons for twelve kids. We don't want one to...



I'm late I'm late I'm late I'm late...

Hi ladies, sorry I'm late! I guess we'll have to set up the party with the kids in the room, since recess is already over.

OK kids, let's eat our healthy, yummy snack before we decorate the cookies!

Never mind kids, you don't have to eat your snack first. Let's just go ahead and decorate the cookies.

Oh wow! Look at that beautiful cookie you decorated. I had no idea you could fit a whole jar of red sprinkles on top of one cookie, but I guess you can.

I should have bought more sprinkles.

Look at me, Evie. I want to get a cute picture of you at your Valentine's party!

Forget it.

Oh, is it time for the game already? OK kids, are you ready to play a game? Everybody get a beanbag and make a line.

Let's get in a line.

Can we get in a line?

Well, that's a good idea. We can just all throw our beanbags at the same time.

This is chaos.

Is that Ty crying? Oh, I didn't realize he was standing up in that chair. Did he hit his head? No, that bruise was already there from when he fell down the stairs yesterday.

The party's over? I guess I need to run down and pick Ella up from class.

Your class had a chocolate fondue!?!

Yes, I see the chocolate all over the front of your new outfit.

Where are my keys?

Where are my KEYS???

Are you girls going to cry the whole way home from school?



Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Darndest Things

In a tribute to my husband's television idol, Bill Cosby, I think I'm going to start periodically posting my funny conversations with the kids ... because they truly do say some of the darndest things. Unfortunately, I can't usually turn one cute comment into an entire blog-worthy article. I can, however, pass along the laughs. Hope you enjoy!

TDT #1:

Ella loves to play with the letters on our refrigerator, and regularly asks me to help her spell out simple words. Yesterday, she was particularly ambitious. After spelling out "box," "kite," and "gift," she turned to me and asked, "Mommy, how do you spell "Main Street?"

Main Street??? We live in Georgia, so if she'd asked me how to spell "Peachtree" it might have made sense. We have 24 roads by that name in Atlanta alone. But Main Street? Looks like I'm going to have to go buy some extra vowels for the fridge!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Left Behind

Do you remember life before technology? Or at least, life before TiVO, Facebook, i-pods, and the Blackberry? I just have to ask, because I'm pretty sure I was in the midst of my childbearing years when those things became popular. That's the only explanation I have for why I'm such a technological idiot. Clearly, my brain cells were too busy being decimated by pregnancy hormones and motherhood to comprehend the complexities of "lol," "playlists," and "pieces of flair."

I wouldn't worry about it so much (since I've managed to survive thirty-some odd years without the technological marvels of "texting") if I weren't so aware of its possible impact on my children. The way I see it, one of two things is going to happen: 1) my children are going to be technological morons like me; or 2) they're going to be smarter than me. To be honest, I'm not sure which scenario frightens me more. Do I want my children to be unemployed and living in my basement until I die? Or do I want them to think their mother is stupid? Tough call.

Which, incidentally, my children have mastered. Calling, that is. Specifically, calling people with my cell phone. Because if you're a mother, and you have a cell phone, you know that it is physically impossible to keep that phone out of a curious child's hands. I've personally lost two cell phones since becoming a mom. Ella destroyed the first one when she was six months old. Apparently, she slobbered on it so much that her drool corroded the battery and fried the SIM card. About a year later, one of the twins lobbed my replacement phone over the second floor banister of our home; technically the phone still worked, but the display unit was shattered. I called a lot of wrong numbers until my husband finally replaced that phone with my current cell: an enormous, military grade phone that can be dropped from 3 stories and immersed in several inches of water. Since the kids have challenged both of these claims and the phone still works, I highly recommend you MOPs out there visit the local Verizon store and buy one for yourself.

But destruction-prevention isn't my only child/cell phone problem. Nope. I also have to worry about Ty - my 1 year old baby - calling China. Or at least calling my dad, which Ty did this past Sunday morning. My phone rang at about 8:00, and when I picked it up, my dad said, "Did you need something?"

"Nice greeting. And, no. Did you think I sent some telepathic message indicating that I did need something?"

"No, you called me."

"I did?"

"That's what my phone says."

"And you trust your phone over your own daughter? Ohhhhh, wait. Yeah, hold on. I'm pretty sure Ty just called you. There's baby slobber on the earpiece." Thank you, Verizon.

Of course toy manufacturers are very savvy when it comes to the whole child/cell phone craze, which is why there are dozens of toy cell phones flooding the market daily. In fact, the twins each got their very own "princess" phones for their birthday this year, and have yet to put them down. One or the other is forever strolling around the house with a phone to her ear saying, "Uh huh. Yeah. Okay. See you then. Bye bye!" If I ask who they're talking to, they place a hand over the mouthpiece and whisper "I'm talking to Aunt Mindy," and then return to their conversation.

Evie is the worst. I had to confiscate her phone a few weeks ago during our family game time, because she kept excusing herself to make a phone call. It wouldn't have been quite so bad if I hadn't walked with her into the mall that morning and seen her stop, whip out her phone, and then continue on as pictured here:

Yep, that's my youngest daughter with her baby, stroller, diaper bag, sunglasses, and cell phone. The technologically savvy girl who's probably going to use my cell phone plan to "lol" with her "bff" behind my back someday. I guess it's time for me to buckle down and start figuring out all of this new technology. Maybe I'll even try texting someone tonight. But first, Ella's going to show be how to put on a video... er, DVD.