Monday, January 31, 2011

License to Breed

Like most of my posts, I debate sharing this one with you. I say that to essentially cover my behind in the off-chance that the person I'm talking about contacts me. I'm all about playing nice (when I'm confronted).

Saturday night, my phone rings. I look at the caller ID and see it's a call from the next town over, but I didn't recognize the name. I answer the phone.

The lady on the other end of the phone asked for me, and when we confirmed I was who she was looking for, she said she was Beth (names changed to protect the moronic) from MOPS and asked me if I could watch TJ (assumably her son) Monday night so she could go to a Mary Kay party.


I can try on as much lip gloss as I like! I left little Billy at the first address in the phone book.

Actually first, she asked me what I was doing Monday night. When I said "I don't know," she said "That's great!" I assumed she was going to invite me to a MOPS event. Then, I thought she was inviting me to a Mary Kay party, and I started to get annoyed. It wasn't either, and I was really confused.


I don't know anyone named Beth who has a son named TJ.  In fact, I've regrettably only been able to attend one MOPS meeting this year.

(MOPS is a great organization where moms on the verge of a nervous breakdown looking for some adult time meet up for a couple hours and chit chat, have guest speakers, and eat food. I'd link to the main MOPS page, but if they ever figured out I sent people to them, I'd probably be kicked out.)

Um yeah...hey Beth, you might want to ask people you actually know.

After I hung up, the guilt left and the stupidity meter was ringing off the charts.

So you're going to ask someone you've never met to watch your kid so you can attend an at-home party? What if I was a psychopath who just liked to be included on mom-based phone trees? Are you really that desperate to buy cosmetics at some one's house that you'd leave your son with me? Because I was planning a Chardonnay bender Monday night, and though your son is welcome to come along, he has to bring his own box of wine. Not to mention, I live a town away from you.

Some people need to have DCFS on speed dial.

Friday, January 28, 2011

If Mama ain't happy...

I'm going to admit something that may change how you all think of me.

Last night, while drifting off to sleep, I was watching an episode of "What Not To Wear" and the lady they were making over was a mom. Like most moms on the show, she said she didn't care what she wore because she was too busy taking care of her family. And then it was an emotional scene with Stacy about the importance of taking time out for ourselves.

(And that wasn't the part that will change how you think of me. Come on. It's "What Not to Wear." You've all seen it. It's when I start admitting to Tivo-ing the Duggars that you all can act shocked.)

(PS...I totally do. Judge away.)

Ahem.

I don't know when it became trendy or popular to sacrifice yourself for your family, but that's just not one bandwagon I've jumped on. Or even understand.

Maybe I'm just that selfish.

When I was a teenager, I told my mom I didn't want kids because "they break your heart." Maybe it was because I saw what we put our mom through (which hey, we didn't end up on a talk show or in the police reports or anything, but still, things weren't the Waltons all the time) that made me come to this decision. But I was 16 or 17. Kids weren't exactly on the radar at that point.

Now, I have three kids, as you all know. I love them. Of COURSE I love them. Does that mean that they are my whole world? Nope. A good-sized portion of the pie, but not the whole thing.

So it's when I read or hear about moms that feel guilty about spending a night away from their kids or those that use their kids as an excuse for not nurturing themselves, it makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong, because I don't have these feelings.


Did you hear about Jessica? She actually sleeps through the night! And does things without her kids. What a horrible mom.

I'm not sure where the unwritten code is published, but I'm sure it is. Mom's are supposed to give up themselves for their kids, end up feeling depleted and have to be talked into taking time for themselves. What if you're already at Step Three? Am I not as good of a mom as you because I got to the conclusion first?

Do my kids keep me busy? Sure. Do they keep me from being me, absolutely not.

(Now, to be clear, I am not out everynight partying it up. I'm not wearing inappropriate clothes for my age . I'm not the mom that lets her kids get away with everything. You all know that mom. Some of you are that mom, and hey, if it works for you, great. It will never work for me.)

A good example for me is sleep. I will sell vital organs or family members for an uninterrupted 9 hours. It's one of the highest things on my priority list. And sure, I've stayed up with the occasional sick kid, but when Disgruntled Husband is home afterwards, I tell him about my evening awake and head to bed. I'm not sure I even apologize.

When my kids were babies, sleep was still as important. My first child, Larry Potter, came home from the hospital at 2 days old. And slept through the night. I joke when I say Because he had to. It amazes people still and my in-laws insist it isn't fair that he was such a good baby like that.

(Don't worry, my other two did not do this. Hoover and Mini Me slept through the night at 5 months.)

I know Martha Stewart's crabby self-centered child is all grown up, but why on earth does she only get 4 hours of sleep a night? Four hours? I call that a nap, and not a very good one at that.

I did a lot of reading back in the day. Most of what I read in college (besides my assignments - hello English major) was non-fiction Christian books on how to land a man. Isn't that horrible? And they all pretty much said the same thing - don't buy into what you see on television or movies. No one will "complete you." You have to be a whole self before you can even think about loving someone else. And we all know how that story ends.

It's the same for parenting. I know my kids see me on my worst days, and those are the days that I haven't done what I need to for myself. Our best days are the days that I've taken care of me, are feeling good about myself, and able to properly care for my family. There's a reason the airlines tell you to put on your emergency mask first before you put it on any one else. (Because you're going to be of no help to anyone if you're slumped over in your seat. Take the illustration to everyday life.)

Why did I think "kids break your heart" as a teenager? I'm still formulating a theory, but I know it has something to do with being so important to my mom that we couldn't possibly be held to every standard she had. (I'm sure this is the way it is in most families during those years.)

So while I'm in the thick of the big Momming years, I want my kids to see that there's something else to me besides them. I'm a mom, but I'm also a realist - if I do nothing but focus on my kids for the next 15 years, by the time MM leaves for college I'll have nothing left of me.

And that must never happen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Staying In Date suggestion

Thanks to On Demand, Disgruntled Husband and I got to watch a movie together last weekend. (We haven't been to a movie together since January 2005 and I was pregnant with Hoover. And it was Meet the Fockers.)

We decided on Grown Ups because we like comedies and Adam Sandler movies remind us of college days. Well, at least for me it does. I had read the reviews of this movie, and while not exactly glowing, they weren't horrible either. Okay, I can handle that.

It was such a cute movie. (Okay, I realize my Snarky title is up for grabs with a statement like that, but you can't be snarky all the time. It wouldn't provide a litmus test for all things that need to be snarked about.)

I loved this movie, and not just for all the laughs. If you haven't heard of it, here's The Snarky Mom's movie summarization:

Yeah right. I'm not going re-invent the wheel. Here's the summary on IMDB. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Welcome back. What I like about this movie is Adam Sandler's character's observation about his kids. They were so plugged in and spoiled, they didn't know how to go outside and play.

I worry about this on a daily basis, so yeah, I was hooked.

Plus, there are some great married dynamics shown in this movie. Chris Rock's character is a stay-at-home dad and is married to Maya Rudolf. Without mincing words here's the lowdown on their relationship: she busts his balls. Daily. Hourly. And at one point in the movie, she accuses her husband of flirting with a younger woman. He basically says no I wasn't, but it's good to talk to a woman that doesn't constantly criticize.

Ouch.

To DH's credit, he didn't point out the similarities. But I knew they were there. Note to self: be nicer to DH.

Something else in the way of marital dynamics - the relationship between Adam Sandler's character and his wife, played by Salma Hayek. They were both on the same team. Team Family.

And yes, I know it was pretend. And scripted. And there's no way that experience would happen in real life without some prescriptions and family therapists on hand. But still, it was nice to see.

(Not that you should think this movie is for the kiddies. Nope. Not at all. Nice dynamics and all, it's still an Adam Sandler and Chris Rock movie. Lots of body part and bodily function jokes. Though the ones about the bunion were particularly funny.)

It was also good to see Adam Sandler play, well, a grown up for once. (Okay, twice. Spanglish was awesome and one of my favorite movies. Pretty much the same character though.)

God, this sounds like an 8th grade movie review.

But you know, I can't always get out to the movies, so much of what I watch is from On Demand or Netflix. And very rarely do DH and I sit down to watch a movie together.

Willingly, anyway.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's the Tooth

Dear children:

As happy as I am that you are now brushing your teeth on a regular basis, I feel I need to address a few problem areas in your oral hygiene.

1.) It is not okay to share toothbrushes. I know, I've always tried to make you share, and you look at me like I just told you to run outside naked and roll in the snow. Which is why it perplexes me that you suddenly insist on sharing one of your most personal items. Sometimes, I come in after bedtime and though I know all of you have brushed your teeth, only one toothbrush is wet. This is not okay. I buy toothbrushes like the Kardashians buy hair extensions; there are plenty up there. Which brings me to the next item:

2.) Toothbrushes are to stay in the bathroom. They are not toys, props, Lego's, cat-related items, or weapons. Why I am finding toothbrushes in the toy box or on the floor in the basement really makes me use my imagination. I do not want to use my imagination when it comes to this. Really. And Mini-Me, Clark does not need his teeth brushed. If that gash on your finger doesn't convince you, maybe the fact that he's now scared of Crest will.

3.) Your father and I do not have dental insurance. We also don't have baby teeth. That means we somehow need to keep the teeth we have in good condition. I bought $4 toothpaste and floss at my last trip to Wally World to ensure that your dad and I have enough chompers left to chew our food. Remember when Daddy spit out part of a molar last year? We don't want that happening any more. The Tooth Fairy not only doesn't leave money for adult teeth, she takes about $500 a pop when it happens. The $4 toothpaste is the most expensive toothpaste I've ever bought and I keep it up high for a reason. Whomever keeps climbing up to the top of the cabinet to use the Diamond Encrusted Crest needs to knock it off. See the globby, capless tube of twisted Colgate? That's yours. In the same vein, dental floss is not to make necklaces with.

4.) And while we're talking about toothpaste, let me take this opportunity to clear something up. Toothpaste is not finger paint, lotion, soap, or ointment. It will not cure what ails you, nor make you a famous artist. And I've caught on to the requests for the flavored toothpastes. I will no longer buy any more colored toothpastes in order for you to expand your palate away from blues and whites.


This is not an art medium. It is also not snake oil.

5.) When you spit and rinse, let's not only aim for the sink, but give a courtesy whoosh of water. I don't need to see the evidence of your dental habits when I go in to practice mine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Micro-managing

Well, it's been a good 5 years.

You've had years of loyal service. Be at peace now.


What song does one play to bury a microwave?
Yes, Old Trusty has gone on to the big appliance score in the sky.

Wednesday night, Disgruntled Husband  was defrosting chicken breasts, when he asked if he'd blown a fuse. He came down, checked the fuse box...nothing. I checked the fuse box, and though I didn't see anything, I switched the corresponding fuse back and forth. Nothing.

Powerless, Old Trusty lain useless, with a plate of raw chicken inside.

(I think my cat intends on leaving us the same way.)

It was quick. No signs of illness. Just a sudden, painless death.

At least it didn't suffer.

I was going to call Whirlpool to ask about a autopsy. When I opened the door, I saw this:

This could be the problem.
Old Trusty died of old age. And though we only knew him the last five years of his life, he was a part of the family. He heated bottles, baby food, many sticks of butter for baked good, countless bags of microwave popcorn, and more raw meat than the FDA allows a family.

And now, a new cycle of life begins. We head to Home Depot tomorrow to pick out a new friend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is there a game on right now?


Sorry, folks. I'm not a football fan. But I am from Chicago, living in Wisconsin, married to the world's biggest armchair quarter-back. And he's got two volumes: loud and louder.

This may be my last moments without hearing loss.

I can't tell which team I want to win...if the Bears win, my husband will probably end up in the emergency room from the injury of his first ever back flip. Plus, he's a sore winner. Someone WILL probably beat the snot of out him. But on the other hand, if the Packers win, he will mope around here, being too scared to leave the house or answer the phone. And he's a worse loser than he is a winner.

So my ultimate fantasy for today's game? I believe it involves a sinkhole in the middle of Soldier Field. No one wins, no one loses, and my life can go on tomorrow without having to explain my husband's behavior.

PS...It's not even kick-off yet, and Disgruntled Husband has already yelled "You suck!" four times. And that was just to the commentators.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Take it outside

Does anyone remember that poem by Shel Silverstein "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout?"

She lives at my house.

For those that don't remember (or never knew), Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout refused to take the garbage out. It piled so high, it touched the sky.

A little back story here. Disgruntled Husband and I have a difference of opinion. I say that the garbage can is the portal to a clean house, and if the garbage isn't taken out, the house can't be cleaned effectively. He maintains that I'm full of crap.

We agree to disagree.

However, when I start nagging him about what he's done (or not done, ahem), drags out the golden task, the trump card to all house cleaning and other responsibilities (in his mind, that is):

"I took the trash out this morning!"

We call this the "Royal Proclamation" because he says it in such a way that he thinks one should ask no more of him. He's Sir Gawain the Green Knight and has just slayed the trash dragon, how dare I ask more of him?

And, I should mention, that though Sir Trashiness proclaims this, it rarely means I don't ask him to pick up.

The trash is put in the unattached garage, waiting for Thursday morning, when it's trash day.

The other day, I needed to get into the garage to get something. It was -2 out (yay Wisconsin) and I fumbled with my keys only to be met with (the equivalent of) this:

Imagine this in a Wisconsin garage, with only enough space for a door to open.
Yeah. The other knights called. You're on probation.

And yesterday, Thursday, was our garbage day. I did see some bags out by the alley. But I knew more were in the garage.

Meanwhile, inside, a small coup was happening. Generally, I nag and nag remind DH to grab the trash.

And so it piled up to the ceilings:



Coffee grounds, potato peelings,

Brown bananas, rotten peas,

Chunks of sour cottage cheese.

It filled the can, it covered the floor,

It cracked the window and blocked the door
(Excerpt from Shel's poem)

And I know what you're all going to say: Why not just suck it up and take it out yourself?

Exhibit A:

Please don't call the authorities. Somewhere, my mother is crying.

See that bag laying down on the right? That's the bag I took out. I'm not going to A.) Venture out in -18 degrees to throw this is Wisconsin's newest private landfill and B.) One bag in the house is my limit. I'm not going to make it two.

Oh, and for the record, the paper bag is full of newspapers to be recycled. And blissfully unaware DH put a styrofoam box on top. One of these things is not like the others...

To combat this, I have a plan. This Sunday is the Bears-Packers game. A game so big, it's the reason DH bought a big screen television. If this isn't gone by tomorrow, the remote to the television will be hidden in the garage altar to Oscar the Grouch.

Game on, dude. Game on.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Snarky Mom: Now in 6 continents

Thanks to my visitor tracking device (the CIA has nothing on me), I have discovered something truly awesome.

I had my first African visitor today.

And now, thanks to that fun and obviously bright person in Ghana, I have achieved a small goal...to be read in 6 continents.

(My faithful reader in Brazil, I also thank you for taking on the South American task for me. You've been here a few times...and yes, I'm delusional enough to think it's the same person coming here over and over again.)


Just another step in my goal of world Snarky domination.

I feel like I need a tour of the UN or to get an invite to a State Dinner now or something. At least a proclamation from the President.

(Okay, truth be told, this person came from Googling the term "notes on morning sickness." So I don't think my blog helped her much. But maybe she was able to laugh while gagging?)

Are you all a little freaked out I can tell where you're from? It's not an exact science. I don't have addresses or anything. But that would be fun if I did!

Oh, and if anyone knows anyone going or in Antarctica right now, send them my link. I'd love to be read on all 7 continents.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And on a lighter note

I mentioned earlier in the month that I was trying to lose weight. Well, I was doing well until ESM's baby shower. Oh the cake. R., if you read this, you are a bad, bad girl.

Anywho, the night after Christmas I made an impulse purchase from ediets.com. It was a 7 day meal plan. All meals, and one snack a day. It came the week my kids went back to school. In a giant non-eco-friendly cooler.

Who says our generation is wasteful?
And for the most part, the food was good. Oh, there were questionable items, and because of another e-site I'm on, I had to supplement my meals with other things to get up to the calorie count I needed.

None were as disgusting though as this one.


Seriously, this is how it looked when I peeled back the wrapper. I didn't touch it. The official description is : Apple cinnamon oatmeal with sausage and applesauce.

To me, it looked like something I cleaned off the carpet earlier when one of my cats had a hairball.

Or was feeling sick and couldn't quite make it to the litter box.

(I thought about taking a picture of both, as a compare/contrast to this horrid meal. But I want to keep this blog classy.)

I threw it in the trash and left for the baby shower.

Now, that should be the end of the story. However, Clark, the dumb kitten, likes to get into the trash. He ate this meal...the whole thing, minus a few licks of applesauce.

And got horribly, horribly sick. And if you think this is gross as a beginning shot, you do not want to see what it looked like 24 hours later.

I think it's poetic...it starts as cat yak/sick cat poop, and ends the same way.

And oh yeah, stay away from the ediets meal plan...or at least this option for breakfast.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Braces, passing notes, and morning sickness

It's the kind of thing you never want in the newspaper.

As a parent, daughter, friend, and former 8th grader, the first entry in my local paper's police report this weekend was about an unnamed 13 year-old girl, impregnated by her unnamed 15 year-old boyfriend. The boyfriend is charged with some sort of statutory rape.

First of all, the fact that this is in the paper, with their hometowns listed but not their names, is just irresponsible. I worked for this newspaper in the past. I like the staff and generally agree with their decisions. But this one crosses the line. I know the police reports are public record, but this should not have been included in the paper. Sure, the newspaper has a responsibility to its public, but are they going to accept responsibility for this girl being embarrassed out of school and ridiculed? Because, though people would find out soon enough, putting it in the paper, even unnamed, at a small school will certainly start the Mean Girls' wheels-a-turning.

However, I admit that I was no better than a catty 8th grader when I read it. I immediately told another friend about it. We wondered who it could be. And as a parent, though none of my business, I became concerned.

Thirteen. What were you doing at thirteen? I'll tell you what I was doing. I was in 8th grade at Carl Sandburg Junior High School. Boys were on my mind, but thankfully, not on my body. I was coordinating trips to the mall and rides to the movies.

Not figuring out where I was going to deliver.


I know! Howabout in a couple of years, I have a REAL baby!

I live in a small town. The school my boys attend is in the same building as the middle school. Which essentially means my kindergartner and third-grader attend the same physical building with a student that's pregnant. I can't quite wrap my head around it.

If she keeps the pregnancy (because at this point, we have no idea where she is at in her head or her parents' in theirs), that means that when this child is in kindergarten, she will be 18 or 19. When this child is 13, she will be around 26. When this child is 18, the young mother will be my age...31.

If we are to blame anyone (because, hey, that's what we do in America), I'll start with her parents. YOUR KID IS IN EIGHTH FRICKING GRADE. What are you doing exactly? If your child is having sex, or at least having a boyfriend in high school, you better be damn sure where your kid is at all times. Ever meet a 15 year-old boy? Do you KNOW which head they think with?

There are those that will say, "How could have the parents known?" Sure, I get it. Kids are sneaky. Kids can be deceptive. But if there's one thing I know about sexually active teenagers is that they're rarely think to hide the evidence. Look at your daughter's neck, Grandma-at-35. See any hickeys? Does your daughter have no alibi for her whereabouts? Double check with the boyfriend to see what his story is.

I know teen pregnancy happens. But in 8th grade? I hope someone calls DCFS on your not-watching-your-middle-school-daughter ass.

My daughter is 3. I know, I know. Wait until it happens to me, right? Wrong. I know what a sneaky kid I was, and I lived in a much bigger place. I'll be on her like white on rice. There are reasons parents are to know where their kids are, whom they are with, what they will be doing, and what time they will be home.

If I had make assumptions about the parents of the girl who probably still plays with American Girl dolls, I would bet they are the type that want to be her friend. At a birthday party this weekend, my friend's 13 year-old niece was there and my friend asked her if she knew who this girl was. The niece said she did know of a 13 year-old girl in her grade with a 15 year-old boyfriend, and the parents allowed the boyfriend to sleep over.

If this is true, why not just give them some candles, silk sheets, and Barry White CD, too?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Don't be Pediculosis

Do you know what I'm scared of?

I mean, sure there's the normal death/bad things happening to my kids/horribleness I can't imagine stuff. But putting that all aside, there's one thing that scares me like an arachnophobic is scared of spiders.

Lice.

And if you've never experienced lice, count yourself lucky. Or just accept the fact that you will experience it on day in some form.

They can send a man to the moon and invent the iPhone, but they can't find a cure for lice.

I had to wait 2+ years to even take my experience to written form. I don't have it now (knock on wood), my kids don't either (knock on wood), and the cats are even all caught up on Frontline. Plus, now that it's been over two years, if I admit it to my friends and family, they may be okay with coming into my home. But who knows.

Here's the thing about lice: once you have had it, you are forever paranoid. Just ask my kids. I conduct hair and scalp checks once a week. If one of my kids announces they are itchy, my head whips around faster than Linda Blair's to see where it is they are scratching. Scratching their head means an extra super-duper long hair check. By follicle.

I share my story only to alleviate the fears of those moms who are going through it right now. Google, be kind to me, because when someone's looking up lice, I want them to take a deep breath and see that there's life after a louse.

In 2008, I quit my job to focus on my at-home business. (That's a whole 'nother post.) It was August and Hoover had just come from out of the bathtub. He was sitting on my lap, getting drowsy and watching a show. I was looking through his hair because (and this sounds so, so dumb, but it's the truth) he has one single red hair in his hair swirl and I was trying to find it. (He was a redhead at birth, then strawberry blond, then just blond.) I noticed he still had some dirt left on his scalp even after his bath. He had been playing outside everyday at the babysitter's all summer until I left work a week earlier. It looked like sand.

I took my nail and scratched at it. Picked it up some how and examined it. It wasn't until I held it up to the light to figure out what it was that I actually bought a clue. I saw legs.

Back to the tub he went with a box of lice shampoo. And when he was done, I sat him on the couch to nit pick. Literally. Poor boy was so tired, but he did what he needed to do, and an hour later - maybe about 10 p.m., he was lice free. He went to bed on new sheets and I started to breathe again.

Three weeks later, it was the first week of school. Larry Potter was in first grade and I was home with two kids all day long. I was getting them out of bed when I noticed my head itched a little. I pulled something out of my hair. Guess what.

I ran LP to school and then to Walgreens to buy more lice shampoo. I did myself and checked Hoover and Mini-Me to assess what they had. Hoover had it again, so he went through it again.

Every 4 days, I'd start itching, panicking, and then, lice-shampooing. For three weeks. By this time, the kids had it all out of their system, but it was me, the MOM that couldn't shake it. And I knew why.

Who was going to nit pick Mom?

I tried to do it myself, and if you've every tried,  you know you have a better success rate at shooting 100 free-throws in a row.

The weekend of our anniversary, DH and I took the kids to Mall of America. Only, I packed something a little strange. Frustrated at my lack of ability to rid my scalp of my new little pets, I went online and ordered some all natural lice removal. I wish I could remember the name. It was $60.

We did Mall of America. We did dinner. And then we went back to the hotel for a little family delousing.

Every scientific site I found about lice said that the old ways of lice paranoia were unnecessary. Lice could only live without it's host for 48 hours. Which meant while we were away in Minnesota, any lice left on clothes, sheets, toys, or carpets at home were calling hospice.


Yes, we'll take the Family Delousing package for five, please.

So, with that in mind, we did our delousing. Since it was all natural, I could use it on people that I couldn't see any lice on. Like DH. And LP. So, we did it. It was a hell of a way to spend a Saturday night. And since we were in a hotel, we didn't have to worry about washing the sheets...they did that for us.

We came back, did laundry (yes, our sheets and blankets because I was taking no chances, but I did not tie up all the stuffed animals in a garbage back for two weeks), and that Monday night, our wedding anniversary, I came at DH with the sexiest thing known to man: a lice comb.

I made him nit pick me. And he did a good job, even through the complaints that it wasn't the romantic evening he imagined.

And that's how I beat lice.

I wish I could say it was like chicken pox, and once you get it, you'll never get it again. It's not. But here's a few things I didn't know about lice until it happened to me and my family:

- it knows no class system...rich and poor get it all the same
- it's not because your hair is dirty...lice actually like clean, shampooed hair.
- lice can't live without it's host for more than 48 hours (I imagine a lot of overly dramatic lice clutching their chests in a death scene).
- lice shampoo only takes care of the live lice. The eggs (or nits) have to be picked out, or they will hatch and start it all over again.
- once you see a nit, you will never forget what it looks like
- you can tell the difference between a nit and anything else (like dandruff) by blowing on it. Everything else will blow out of the way, but a nit is glued to your hair strand.
- you can't get it from cats and dogs. The lice humans get is different than the biting lice animals get.
- lice can't jump or fly, they can only run, walk, and crawl.


(I was going to include a picture of lice or nits for you, but they all grossed me out intensely. You got to this blog; you can navigate Google.)

What a horrible subject to be an expert on. When my kids had it, I felt like taking them around to various mom's groups to let them all see what it looked like as a service. But I wanted to still have friends and an in-tact social standing, so I didn't do that.

(Does anyone else's heads itch right now? Gotta love psycho-somatic symptoms.)

But here's my best piece of advice: when someone not in your family has lice, RUN the other direction. It's nothing against that person or their family. Really. I've been there, and it sucks, and I'll walk you through it over Facebook or e-mail, but there's no way in God's green earth I'm going to your house for a month. I'll send you a lice care package if need be, but I'm dropping off at your neighbor's house or throwing it from my car on to your lawn.

It's nothing personal. I just really, really hate lice. And I'm pretty sure DH doesn't want to spend another anniversary with a bottle of Nix.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A moment with the perfect mom

I would like to announce that I met the perfect mom today. In everyway, she was superior to me. Except for maybe she was shopping at a chain store on Monroe Street instead of her local co-op. What nerve.

I was in Madison, Wis. this morning because Larry Potter had a doctor's appointment. I had to bring Mini-Me, because, well, the county frowns upon her being left alone for long periods of time. It was a long appointment. The kind that you meet with the doc, do some stuff, go back to the waiting room, and then go back into the exam room. We've had to do this every year since LP was 18 months old. Luckily, it gets easier as he gets older. And they keep a constant stream of Disney and Pixar films on a mounted television.

So, by the time we were done, we were done. Hungry, cranky, you name it. I asked the kids if they wanted to hit Trader Joe's since we were down the street, and the answer was yes.

(I love me some Trader Joe's. I like getting in touch with my inner hipster-wannabe hippie.)

(And while I'm at it, I love Madison. It's truly hippie-dippie and I wouldn't have it any other way. Someday when I'm old, I'm going to move to an eco-condo there and wear long skirts and puffy down vests I get from a dumpster. For real. I LOVE it there.)

My kids love that I have total wallet non-dependency in there. If you want it, throw it in. After all, it's Trader Joe's. There was some Mochi involved. And it didn't make it home.

Anyway.

We get in the store and head to the ready-made food fridge. It's a little crowded, but thins out enough so I can grab what I want. The kids find a turkey and cheese sandwich on a pretzel roll, so we throw two of those in the cart. I like sushi, and seeing as I live in landlocked Wisconsin, I don't get it very often. I start reading labels because I'm also trying to lose weight.


I pick up a wrap, just to see what the calorie count is. Well...460 calories. Servings per container: 2. I gasp out loud.

And then...I met her.

"What's wrong?" The blond stranger asks me.

I tell her about the calorie count and serving size.

"Oh that doesn't phase me a bit, because I burn so many calories, I need all that I can get!"

Still trying to be polite, I don't sock her in the face.

"I'm a masseuse and I specialize in deep tissue. I get quite a workout."

Code: you're the size of my Prius and obviously, you don't burn any calories.

"Oh wow. Those sandwiches in your cart for your kids are $4.99."

This is where I tried to appeal to her mom-side. (She had a 4 year old in her cart, next to the patchouli.)


Mommy? What's McDonald's? And why is that lady rolling her eyes at you?


"Yeah, but if you think about it, it would be the same for a happy meal," I explain.

"Oh, my kids have never had McDonalds," she tells me. In a whisper, no less, as to not shame me.

I may have explained that I don't live in hippy-dippy town and quickly walked away.

I'm sure her tale back at the commune was how she met some high-fructose whale at Trader Joe's.

Now, not to give you all the wrong idea about my family, we're not exactly fast food people. There are two times I will buy fast food:

1.) When we're on the road and need to grab something and eat it in the car. (Both my family and Disgruntled Husband's family live out of state. And God knows they don't know how to visit us.) 
 2.) Every other Thursday, I buy it for MM and bring it to my manicure place. (I have priorities and I'm not about to give up my noon-time standing appointment.)

And I'd like to point out that everytime my kids ask for or talk about a "Happy Meal," I make them say that true happiness does not come from a Happy Meal. And it's all about the toy for them anyway...none of my kids likes fries, I buy them the milk, and the only one that will actually eat a whole cheeseburger is Hoover.

(What? A little sensitive about this? Not me.)

But you know, I bet I could buy off that kid in the cart for my kids' uneaten fries.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

SIM-ply the best

My friend JDub called me last night and only my husband heard the phone. He brought it to me, saying he couldn't get to it in time. I called her back and her first words to me were, "Were you playing The Sims?"

It should probably embarrass me more than it does, but yes. I was.

For those that don't know what The Sims are (and need a new addiction) it's this game that has no point but to essentially play God with fake people's lives. I received The Sims 3 two days ago, and let's just say that my fake people have more of a life than I do.

(But I think even before this game was purchased, that statement was true.)

I designed a few people, a few different games'-worth, and at one point had Sarah Palin living with Anderson Cooper and Weird Al. It was a fun house. I send people to work, out to flirt, to logic and cooking classes, and out tanning. All while not moving many muscles in my freezing basement. And before I know it, four hours have passed. But that's 8 days is Sim world.

At least the virtual kids are being taken care of.

Every few years when a new game comes out, I take 3-4 days, play it non-stop, and then go back to the real world. So when this edition appeared in our home, Disgruntled Husband took one look at it and said "Have fun." Is he looking out for my happiness or patronizing me? Either way, I'll take it.

One thing about The Sims is that they're not exactly family-friendly. Larry Potter was downstairs with me last night as I was playing, and everytime my character started to "hook-up" with another Sim (oh that's a whole 'nother post...how the Sims get more action than my entire floor Freshman year in college), I had to put an end to it. Oh, and in Sim World, it's called "WooHoo." Awesome. And on that same vein, you can make an entirely evil Sim. Or do bad things to them, like have them experience bladder failure in public or think they live in a nudest colony. (Don't worry, more modest of my readers, there are blur squares in place to make sure you don't see anything.)

My production and calorie counts for the last two days are way, way down. Which definitely sucks for losing weight. But on the upside, I've lost weight each day, so at least I'm too distracted to eat while I'm controlling other people's lives.

Which gives me another idea...I'm totally off to make a Snarky Mom sim. Who says I'm not productive?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Call me SpongeRobert

Dear Makers of Chia Spongebob:

I am a little disturbed with your product. My son received Chia Spongebob for Christmas this year, as a gift from my other son. He did specifically ask for it, which is why I didn't point out that Chia Spongebob didn't make any sense, nor does the Scooby Doo Chia, because neither actually have hair. But I kept my thoughts to myself and my child was happy with his present.

We followed the directions very closely on the package. We made the sticky chia seed paste and soaked our terra cotta Spongebob for the appropriate length of time. Followed all the directions as written. One week later, I have this in my home:

Now, do you see what I see? If not, let me go in for a closer shot.
There. While no actual chia seeds have sprouted on Spongebob's head, he seems to have, um, hit puberty below the belt.

Is this your intention? To have 8 year old boys wonder why their Chia Spongebob suddenly prefers girls to dodgeball and talks differently? My son has not had the sex talk yet, but once he does, I'm sure the preceding image will have a place in his mind forever.

Please alter your product so the "hair" actually grows on the top of whatever-it-is-you're-marketing's head.

Sincerely,
The Snarky Mom

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Horrible Warning

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I was the first of my friends to get married and have kids. I got married in September 2001 and Larry Potter was born September 2002. I know, I don't waste much time, do I?

Because of this, I have both forged my own path in the parenthood trails, and picked up new friends along the way who were also caulking and fording the river of diapers and bottles. (Does all this remind you of that old computer game "The Oregon Trail?" Because that's what I'm going for here. In 5th grade, my family always died via dysentery somewhere near the mountains. Luckily, my real family has been more fortunate.)


Oh crap. It's that really sucky player again. We're all going to die in 15 minutes.

But now, 8 years into parenting (yesterday was the 9 year anniversary of that first positive pregnancy test. Also 9 years ago? Disgruntled Husband's first panic attack.) a few of my childhood/high school/college friends are starting to catch up. And I find myself in a very amusing position...like the old grandma rocking away, waiting for someone to ask for my wisdom.

This weekend is one of my best friend's baby shower. Last year, she got married and I went down for the wedding. I knew she must have been marrying the right guy because she talking about, and planning for, kids. Never before had I heard her comment that she wanted kids, and suddenly, it was on the radar. But I was surprised at just how fast that plane approached, because before I knew it, there was The Announcement.

It's a very strange thing to hear my friend (for now and forever more known as ESM...Even Snarkier Mom) talk about cribs and morning sickness and labor plans. Which it probably was for her 8 years ago to hear me talk about.

Along with ESM, I have friends in varying stages of trying, planning to try, and talking about planning to try. I'm the biggest baby pusher there is, and even when they aren't in any of these stages, I'm the obnoxious mother-in-law, asking when there will be pitter patter and suggesting my own name as a great baby name.

(One friend just told me that she and her husband are going to try very soon. Which put me in full pregnancy website knowledge mode, and I went so far as to tell her what I calculated her last upcoming period to be and what her due date will be. I haven't heard from her in a while.)

Oh yes, I'm quite annoying. But with a purpose. And you'd think it was so my friends could each experience the wonderful and life-changing fabulousness that comes with having a baby. But no. I'm afraid it's way more selfish than that. I just want someone in the boat with me. Because, after all, the world does revolve around me.
It's just something we all have to acknowledge.

And there's also the small matter of the garage. That would be, how I want it back, and someone better be taking these baby clothes off my hands. (A friend has a consignment shop, which helps.) I know why I had/have no money...it all went to clothing my 3 little cherubs.

But I know all of my askings and annoyings and inappropriate questions come with a price. Many of friends read this blog, even the ones without kids. Just like every picture I post on Facebook of my kids making a mess, every time a childless woman reads this blog, another pack of birth control is purchased.

We went out with a friend Christmas Eve. It was her, me, DH, and three hyper, dressed up, hungry kids seated dead center at a round table in the middle of a busy diner. She and her husband don't have kids yet, and I'm thinking that meal means 18 more months of their blissful childless couple state. ::Smacking forehead::: If I just stop talking to her and seeing her for 2 or 3 months, maybe they'll momentarily forget about the time Hoover poured a gallon of milk into the kitty litter and other stories and have a reason to give them all my baby clothes decide it's time to start a family.

I've heard it said you either lead your life as a great example or a horrible warning. I'm pretty sure my childless friends see our family as option 2.

But I'll take being a horrible warning if it means more of my friends will start down the baby train. I calculate a baby boom in 2 years within my group of friends. Just in time for LP to start babysitting. That is, if they're all still speaking to me by then.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New, but perhaps not improved

Notice anything different?

::blink blink::

Why, yes, I did get my hair cut and I have been losing weight, but do you notice anything different about the blog?

A new header! Complete with a new cartoon-y version of myself, thanks to my sister-in-law. Just like New Year's makes people resolve to do things different or better, I have decided to shake things up a bit around here.

Now, I won't say what I'll be doing in the coming days (just in case I totally screw it up or take longer than I think I will), but I will reveal this:

http://www.mamasnarky.com/

I'm my own domain! Of course, you can still reach this site through the same old blogspot address you've been using, as you probably just did. But now, I can think I'm way cooler than I actually am because of this new address. And besides, when Oprah wants me for her finale show, I have to look somewhat professional.

By the way, any constructive suggestions for the blog can be e-mailed to me at The Snarky Mom. And by constructive, I don't mean "You suck," or "My 2nd grader writes better than you." And while we're at it, I'm not looking to enlarge anything, buy printer ink, look for singles in my area, or inherit a fortune from an African prince.

With love and snarkiness,
Me

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our New Years' Eve

It was a quiet night here. I got a new camera for Christmas, so get ready for all my obnoxious and thinks-I'm-way-more-talented-than-I-actually-am pictures.

I tried to post this last night at 11:59 p.m. for my last update of the year, but blogger was being a little B last night and wouldn't upload.

So here it is. It's been a long year. Here's to 2011. And more importantly, here's to school starting again on Monday and Disgruntled Husband fulfilling his promise to help me take down the Christmas tree tomorrow. Christmas is nice, but a New Year means a clean new beginning. One without mistletoe and tinsel!