Category Archives: Humor

We Will Always Have Ohio

We Will Always Have Ohio

This one time I got on a plane all by myself and left my family behind for 3 whole days. It was just the one time because this has never happened in my entire parenting life. For the first time in about 6 years, my siblings and I got together in Columbus, Ohio for our sister’s wedding without any of our husband/wife/kid appendages, and it turns out I am actually still a person. I got to pack my own little suitcase, assess my own snack desires/need for the bathroom in the next hour, and act like a civilized human on a plane with other adults that felt like shit was really supposed to be going their way. In case you didn’t catch the pure heaven of this situation, consider this: when was the last time you only had to deal with YOUR OWN issues? I mean no excuses for husbands, no playing whose discipline “plan” is working best, whose kid hit who, who needs to say or do, or not say or not do something to whom, no explaining your family’s dynamics to aliens to your home, etc. Just you and the regular old comfortable bullshit your siblings and parents drag out of you every time, which you can predictable react to exactly like you always have: defensively, and with no desire to change. Beautiful.

The first glorious change I noticed was in the airport. I was actually able to shut down the cortisol-drenched survival part of my brain that takes over for family travel and focus on something awesome, like a latte with whipped cream. When you are in an airport with kids you only see the things you need: bathrooms, frozen yogurt shops, older couples that miss their grandchildren, trash cans, napkins, soft-hearted people traveling alone, empty seats against a wall, sympathy. You actually never really look at the other families. They can’t help you because you are both drowning people nobody feels like saving. The sad desperation is contagious and it’s best to keep your distance. Turns out families look exactly as haggard as they feel. Even the ones I know are crushing it- they have full snack bags, plus diversion activities, the division of labor seems fair, the kids are at least an hour away from a complete breakdown, the parents are dressed in out of the house clothes- even they have the zoo animal look: “Get me out of this hell.”

But when you’re alone! I had a 2-hour layover in Atlanta and I went to the bar and had a Manhattan because I saw it in a movie once. I’m sure I’m late to the game on this, but drinking in airports makes everything 300% more tolerable. I only had one and this helped me imagine my whole experience as a really fun game. Like, “Where is my gate? Let’s go find it!” Basically, after that point, it was me and the super together businessmen just high-fiving and being like, “ I always get the upgrade” and “I need to talk with this client” and “Let’s just get another drink that is just like a super dynamic alcohol with an ice ball and nothing a mom would drink in the Caribbean.” I was totally in disguise. I completely didn’t out myself when I said “Look at that sweetie weetie bear?!” to the fat baby while boarding the plane.

While we were in Columbus, we got to pretend we could still rally by going to a bar that advertised and delivered FREE BEER (??? it was a college town???) and no one had to put their kids to bed or answer texts from passive aggressive spouses about who wouldn’t go to sleep without who. And I’m pretty sure we got to sleep in until at least 8:45. It was profoundly awesome. Recently, we were all together again on the brink of going out and it looked like one of our kids was going to scam us out of fun. To stave off the disappointment, we had to just look at each other and say, “We gotta let this go, because we’ll always have Ohio. We’ll always have Ohio.”

This is What a Toddler Bender Looks Like

This is What a Toddler Bender Looks Like

Mostly because I read all the right books, my son is coping beautifully with the new baby. To fairly give credit where credit is due, it probably also has to do with my flawless discipline routine, my unique ability to share my energy evenly despite the birth of a new child, and my generous and patient heart that allows me to calmly and diplomatically convey my concerns and wishes to my children. What I mean is, it’s really bad.

After my daughter and husband leave, my son and I basically dive into the high stakes live video game that is now my life that involves protecting baby from death/injury while nursing/recovering, as well as cleaning up elaborate I’m-bored-plus-everything-in-my-life-sucks messes. Some of these games include: Don’t look I am Burying Tacks in a Place We Go Barefoot, Let’s Use $25 Face Cream as Glue to Stick 50 Cotton Pads to the Changing Table, Break a Bunch of Crayons for No Reason and Throw At Baby, and Toss Pins From Pin Cushion Around House in Random Locations Because That is How Much I Hate My Life. The nursing is done mostly with him crawling on my back or dodging objects he throws at us. Also, his head injury count, which was already at a healthy boy-child level, has tripled, because, why not? It makes the video game more challenging.

At one point, he had two goose eggs on his head, plus a wasp sting that made his face swell on one side, and a bloody toe that he refused to let me touch so he ran around leaving blood dot art around the whole house. At the same time, he also chose to wear his favorite Disney princess velvet dress and refused to take it off day or night for 4 days. During this time I had to limit his outdoor sidewalk time on account of our neighbors out walking their designer show dogs being judgy. Obviously he was doing fine! He just looked like a 3-year-old on the worst bender of his life! Everyone is over-reacting! EVERYTHING IS FINE!

We did have a breakthrough though. After my sister came to visit and gave him some vocabulary to describe his behavior, he found a small dead lizard outside and decided to name him Happy Choice. He wanted to try this parenting thing out and completely threw himself into taking care of Happy Choice. He made him a taped pillow and a blankie out of Kleenex and he took him everywhere, to the complete horror of strangers he introduced him to, but it was a real game changer for me. He did try to show the baby Happy Choice a few times by shoving it in her face, but he was really busy taking care of him for a least 3 days. And that meant it was kinda relaxing for a second in our house. So this is around the time when I learned having 3 kids is about giving up. On pretty much all the things you thought you would hold firm on and basically all your good parent fantasies. The real reason nobody has a lot of pictures of their 2nd or 3rd kids is because they were doing a bunch of shit they said “I would never…” for their first. And who wants a bunch of pictures of their kid eating Cheetos as their first food, riding a bike without a helmet, and napping with a tiny dead lizard on a Kleenex blankie? Then we could never pretend we didn’t mess up when our kids become parents.

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How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

One of the sexier things I’ve ever done is gone shopping for post-birth adult diapers. I really hope I got the good ones because it almost wasn’t worth trying to pretend I was totally cool with it while intensely browsing every type, and then trying to get even bulkier items to buy, like cat food and a broom, so the clerk would be so overwhelmed by my purchases she wouldn’t look at the diapers long enough for me to start rambling awkwardly while my chip card extended the wait at the counter. It was a big trip to the store. I had to arrange it a week ahead of time so I could do it alone and my children wouldn’t be like “WHY ARE WE GETTING DIAPERS FOR YOU!!!?? ARE YOU PEEING YOUR PANTS??!! in the super subtle voice they always use in the grocery store. I was a little horrified that someone who had clearly never been/met/thought about a woman who might have to wear diapers had designed a pair with a tiny pink bow on the front. Seriously. With that amount of situation around your situation, the pink color and the sad bow are really just adding insult to injury. But maybe I’m just not appreciating the effort to spice up the design. When I had my first child, our friends stopped by for a surprise visit the next day, and since my ability to judge what might be weird/inappropriate had been completely flattened by birthing a human, I had them come in to talk to me in the bed while I was only wearing a diaper. When they left I was like, “ Why was her husband so uptight?” and “Why wouldn’t he look me in the eyes?” and my husband had to say “Um babe you were only wearing a diaper…. and sometimes people feel weird about that.” And now I think, if I only had the diapers with the nice bow, that one detail could have really turned the whole situation around.

Luckily, getting diapers was easier to do this pregnancy because I transitioned more quickly into embracing the low standards people have for pregnant women. I think it really helped that I overheard my 3 year-old son telling someone at the playground that he was with me when I weighed myself and I was “40 a MILLION pounds.” On the plus side, he also admitted to the boy that he wished he had a “beard” like me. Because there is a serious shortage of extremely pregnant women out in the wild, to go to the gym 8 ½ months pregnant is to truly experience what it means when people have zero expectations for you. Even when I walk on the treadmill at 2.5 for 20 min. they say “you made it!” in a relieved/amazed way. Relieved, I believe genuinely, because they think I might deliver the baby on the gym floor if I overexert myself. More than once I’ve considered putting a Ziploc of water in my pants to pop and pretend my water broke, because everyone would be like, “I knew this was going to happen when I asked her if she was sure she wasn’t having twins.” Which people apparently never get tired of asking. It’s only slightly more awkward when they start asking you at 28 weeks and then you have to keep seeing them till the end of the pregnancy. There is a lady in the gym kid’s playroom who wants to say every time she’s surprised I haven’t had twin babies. I tried to give her fair warning and explain that I go late and I go big, but instead we have to talk about how enormously fat I am every time. It hasn’t been weird at all.

Despite knowing I would run into her every time, I made an honest effort to keep going to my gym classes until my groin gave out, and then I admitted it would never feel better and finally found my true people. I joined my 70 + peers that also attend the gym in the middle of the day for the 20/40/40 routine: 20 percent to “exercising,” 40 % steam room, and 40% socializing while getting dressed slowly sitting down. And it turns out we all have a lot in common: we all like to have a friend put lotion on our back, our swimsuits all have an ungodly amount of floral fabric, we share the same genuine interest in cats and gardening, and we’ve all had to choose between pale lavender and light pink diapers to wear under our huge white underwear. It’s good to be among friends.

Soccer Moms 4 Eva

Soccer Moms 4 Eva

Every once in a while I feel like, yeah, I could actually nail this mom stereotype. I feel strongly about it for about 39 seconds because of my solid 100% zero success rate and because my optimism for fitting in with “anyone” runs deep. That’s why when my 3 year-old started playing soccer, I rolled up on those soccer moms already pretending we were all part of some awesome sexy book club that sometimes got “so crazy”. From the beginning, I sat to the side of what was clearly the “main” blanket, so I could eavesdrop on the dynamics of the mom crew. The one that gossips loudly the most without ever being contradicted is the leader. She identified herself right away. After dishing on all the drama going down at the Montessori, she “listened” to the mom she liked least and responded to everything with “That’s hilarious,” but didn’t laugh or smile. By this I mean she revealed the single most deal breaker trait for not becoming my friend.  I wanted to be sure to drive it right into the ground though, so I asked her about the soccer league I heard her bragging about. Mistaking my interest for interest, she assured me the team wasn’t just for anyone, assessing my apparently not so fit-ness and saying, “I’ve been playing for like 15 years.” Ok buddy. Based on my well-hidden competitiveness, I am positive I will crush you, but also based on my playing once on my brother’s adult club team, um, I basically know only like 1 player is good and the rest alternate breaking their ankles doing embarrassingly un-athletic things. And obviously, I was just trying to trick praise you into believing more you are the leader of the moms and you are better than us because you double tie your son’s shoes and never forget snack. It’s always a relief when you don’t have to try anymore.

The next practice my husband and I brought champagne in the water bottle and it was going substantially better until my son outed us by saying, “ Is that wine in there?! I like wine.” So, now we are the worst. But, the best is the full time comedy of the “soccer games.” The range is 3-5 year olds, which are all super similar developmental ages. It is in no way equivalent to pairing kindergarteners with college level athletes. Every game there is some 5 year-old who kills it, usually number 8, who is only limited from scoring 25 goals by the 3 year-olds that fall down in front of them or get stuck in the net. The games are 32 minutes, so there is always someone finding a really good leaf to stare at or lying down and completely giving up. My son, who is a prodigy, concentrates on touching the ball with his hands, taking the ball from his own teammates, dribbling as far out of bounds as possible, and asking for the snack they get at the end of the game. I think it’s fair to say the World Cup is in our future. When that time comes, leader mom is going to have to completely take back when she said, “He has no idea what’s going on.”

Children’s Authors Just Might Have Your Back

Children’s Authors Just Might Have Your Back

During the 106th reading of “Dora the Explorer, Starcatcher” it has likely crossed your mind that children’s authors might not actually have your best interests at heart, they might not truly be on your team, and they may just be a teeny tiny bit sadistic. In the case of this particular book, you are 100 percent correct. This was one of the only books I actually threw out (or maybe I burned it?) instead of sending it to the thrift store. If you never see this book, you should know I did my part to keep it that way. But some authors were thinking of you. And they left some adult humor sprinkled throughout their books to keep your attention from straying to the 3 hr bedtime battle you are about to go into. As anyone who has watched Shrek knows, the line between inappropriate content and making this entertainment mutually worthwhile is thin. But necessary to hold your audience!

Take this early Curious George book:


Yep. That is just a monkey having a good pipe. It looks really enjoyable. It looks exactly like you think smoking will be like before you ever try it. It turns out it is also not this fun to tie a napkin around your neck, but I always appreciate a smoking endorsement in a children’s book.

And then, just as you are spacing out on how someone can endlessly make wrong choices without every really regretting it, George gets into this:


Now if that doesn’t look like the ill-fated combo of White Russians and Pina Coladas my sister gave me! And here I thought George and I had nothing in common. That one was clearly for you, parents. There is literally 1000 other shenanigans he could have gotten into at the doctors office and they chose…. passing out on ether. Obvious choice. And they wake him up with a cold shower on the next page! This leads your children to some true real world knowledge though- maybe if they see you taking a cold shower they will understand why.

Even the most unsuspecting, milktoast books have a little for you. For example, check out this SCHOOL Christmas party from Angelina Ballerina:


No, look closer. Everyone is just chatting after the show, listening to people tell stories, enjoying being together. Starting to NOT sound like your memory of the scene after a poorly-acted-forced-participation-on-all-sides Christmas show? You are correct! But why are they having so much fun? Check the straight MARTINI GLASSES the adults are having! Cocktails at a school function! No wonder everyone is so joyful! I don’t want to read too much into this, but I think the author is giving a suggestion for how to get through watching the teacher jiggle and frantically gesture in the front while your child alternates between spacing out hard and waving at you.

And I can’t help leaving you with this image from I Just Forgot by Mercer Mayer:


WHAA?! I do not know what is going on here or what is under that towel, but it looks like he is feeling pretty good about it. See? You just have to look for those little gems. Love those children’s books!

Body Talk With My Toddlers Hasn’t Gotten Weird at All

Body Talk With My Toddlers Hasn’t Gotten Weird at All

One of the most inevitable parts of parenting is that each and every one of you will have to have “the talk” about “private parts” with your child in whatever straightforward or convoluted way you choose. You can tell them how it is, or carefully steer them away from it, but most certainly it will probably not go as well as you’d hoped. It is far more likely you will end up getting more and more awkward while your child says progressively more embarrassing things to try to dig deeper. In regards to this subject, I’m generally a straight shooter. Partially, this is because it pains me a little to hear 5 year-olds tell their friends that babies come out of belly buttons, but it is also because my daughter corners me on about every other subject, so I thought it would be easier just to tell the truth, so I wouldn’t get lost in my own lies. In spite of this, I’ve managed to stumble through the topic all the same.

First off, I taught my kids the actual names for their parts, which they point out regularly, just like any other new vocab word. Which means that we say these words A LOT. Just a daily review, you know, like with my son, “Mommy –gina? Sister- gina? Daddy- enis? Me- enis?” Yeah. And despite feeling super progressive for being straightforward, I get uptight immediately and refuse to elaborate on anything. Everything you said is biologically correct my son, now let’s go eat some lunch.

To know the names really wasn’t enough, though, for my daughter. She is pretty observant and, well, she noticed some things. She’s nailed me to the wall with this one: “Why does daddy have a BACK of the penis?” WHAA??! I didn’t know he had that. “You mean his balls?” I said cautiously.  “No, the BACK OF THE PENIS!” I was super confused at this point but also feeling like I should have noticed this back-of-the-penis situation myself. “Brother doesn’t have it, just Daddy.” Still thinking we were talking about the balls and feeling a little protective of my son, I said, “They just aren’t as big, honey.” “NOOO, THE BACK OF THE PENIS!” Turns out, pubic hair was what we were talking about, but I was sure glad we got to say “back of the penis” so much.

They really began to reach new levels of understanding when we took our body talk outside the home. My daughter started including it in her regular small talk. For example: “How do you know your dog is a girl? Does she have a vagina?” Once she got comfortable with this, she made sure she got straight to the point with our neighbor. During one of their chats, she asked, “So, vaginas. Do you have one?”

Another game changer was when we went to see the horse at the zoo. Yeah. You know what happened. It’s likely you remember that exact event in your life. And she just said what everyone else was thinking: “THAT HORSE HAS A  GIANT PENIS!” Of course, right after this several people came up and patted me on the back and told me what a good decision it was to be so honest and clear with my kids. Based on their feedback I am actually probably going to host a seminar on how to talk about this subject the “right” way. What’s important is that the event really made an impression. We have a bathtub horse that is not so similarly endowed, and my son keeps pointing to the toy horse’s underside and saying “-member?” as in “Do you remember the GIANT one?” Yes, we all do dear. And now every time we see a horse, everyone else will get to relive it too.

This is How You Move Like a Champ

This is How You Move Like a Champ

So, you choose the biggest pile of suck from the following: January, winter inversion, all your children sick, second-hand watching Frozen for three days, moving , cleaning a crappy house only to get hosed out of your security deposit, driving for 14 hours with kids and a cat. I know, it’s hard to choose. I thought so too, which is why I did all of these things at once. And it did suck mostly as bad as it sounds. My husband got sick at the beginning of the big push week and he took it like a man, lying on the couch for two days and moaning loudly. I know I should be used to it by now, but it is still unbelievable for me to witness someone with relatively similar obligations towards our children ACTUALLY TAKE A SICK DAY, when that has been an option for me exactly ZERO times since I became a mom. I took a sick day for him so the children would be fed and cared for. Luckily, I was able to partially show my disgust for this behavior by packing boxes really loudly near his head. It was a great start and actually not the worst considering the last time we moved I was two days away from my due date and massively helpful myself. Even Steven.

The totally unexpected up side to the experience (besides now being able to quote Anna and Elsa verbatim) was that after the hell of packing and cleaning, the drive was like a vacation to the Bahamas. I was definitely suspicious at first that my husband suggested he drive the car with the cat on sedatives and I take the one with the two kids, but, despite loosing all motor function, the cat managed to meow hysterically for a solid crazy-making amount of the trip. Serious win for me.

I survived by completely surrounding myself with an ungodly amount of snacks and distracting items, which I would periodically throw at them from the front seat. Major winners: the dehydrated strawberry yogurt drops with the unsettling texture, chips, a sticky ball that used to be stickers, a nail brush, a cup of dice with a plastic spoon in it, and chocolate-covered raisins distributed one at a time. Oh, and this song called “Baby Hands Up.” It’s one of those kid songs that makes you incredibly suspicious of the writers and singers because the response from kids is so uncanny. As my sister pointed out, the lyrics “are all over the place” but it is consistently a miracle. My son would abruptly stop crying, and/or fall asleep when this song went on. And the song is SEVEN MINUTES LONG. Who are these people?! What do they know that I don’t?

I was trying to feel optimistic about leaving all my hard-earned friends and dependable family behind as we pulled out at 8pm. I was comforted when I realized that moving in January blows, but not leaving Boise in soul-stealing January also blows quite a bit too. I actually didn’t get super depressed until we crossed the New Mexico state line and I saw that the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign was tagged so much that it really said “_____co__ ew ____ exi” . And then that was followed by large signs every 30 miles that said “Report Drunk Driving”. It was a good start to a super encouraging line-up of billboards that went “1 in 3 Native Women are Sexually Assaulted”, then an intimidating picture of Jesus with “Jesus is Watching YOU”, then, all by itself in the desert,“Every Life is Worth Living.” And that was when I simultaneously realized I had nothing to complain about AND maybe I really didn’t want to move to New Mexico. However, it did begin to improve, at least a little, when we got to Albuquerque. My husband was right about one thing: it’s hard to start over, but it’s not hard to feel better when you are eating a breakfast burrito drowning in green chile.

How to Spot a First-Time Mom

How to Spot a First-Time Mom

I know. Maybe you think this is obvious. She has one baby, right? Easy. But. Sometimes I go out in disguise as a first-time mom and people not so hip to these signs give me first-time-mom looks, and first-time-mom comments, and well, I just play along because its better than someone saying “I hope you’re stopping at two!” I stare at new moms a lot, much like they must look at single women in their twenties and think of the easy life, but any hack can recognize a first timer with these 4 telltale signs.

  1. Her diaper bag is ENORMOUS:

Basically, is it questionably carry-on size? Could she easily hide the baby in it? Could her baby and her survive on the contents for 3 days or more in any weather condition? Yes to all three? First timer to the core. In comparison, our diaper bag has actually been missing for a week (no biggie), and the last time I changed a diaper out in the world it was with a wet paper towel and a lucky diaper I found at the bottom of my purse.

  1. Her baby is wearing an “outfit”:

Just think about you shopping for baby clothes while pregnant. Or your young hip friends shopping for your baby shower. That newborn size baseball cap is the cutest! Jeans on babies- The Best! Multiple-piece tiny adult-style outfits? Perfect. Buttons and snaps in unnecessary places? OMG. Buy that NOW. The thing is, even when it doesn’t seem logical to force them to wear all the impractical things you bought, the desire for cuteness is really strong with your first baby. To be fair, there are some particularly motivated 2nd timers out there. That said, my son exclusively wore zippered footie jammies for the first 3 months of his life. Hot tip for later: if you really want to seem like an insider to an experienced mom, you should find some way to work “zippered footie jammies” into your conversation.

  1. She is also wearing an “outfit”:

Since you are seeing her out in public, during the day, with her baby, (I’m going to assume you just didn’t happen to be in the ice cream aisle at 3 am on a Tuesday) she is not the mom who has opted for the disposable t-shirt and yoga pants. Which means she is from the fight-this-looking-like-a-mom-shit-like-crazy camp. She’s optimistic, she’s bouncing back, she has some friends she wants to prove wrong. She’s trying. I was bonding with a 2nd time mom about how having two kids limits your movement in the world. I said, “We didn’t leave the house for 2 months!” hoping if this wasn’t true for her she would think it was a joke, and she said very seriously, “We didn’t either.” Immediately her 3 year old daughter confirmed, “We would wake up in our jammies, we would wear them all day, and we would go to bed in our jammies.” Ditto, girlfriend. This was mainly why no one ever saw any of my sweet trendy outfits.

  1. She has a not-ready-for-kids-yet supportive friend hanging out with her:

This friend probably has a dog with her if they’re on a walk, she is responding well to her stories, and she says, “See ya, Momma!” when they part ways. The reason 2nd time moms don’t have this friend is that by the time they have their second, the friend has either become a mom herself or she has decided she doesn’t want to participate in this madness anymore. Which everyone understands completely.

Redefinitions of Parenthood

Redefinitions of Parenthood

I don’t need to tell you that things have seriously changed since I became a parent, but some changes are a little subtler than my outstanding cleavage and bags under my eyes. I don’t want to alarm you with how deep I can get, but I’ve been thinking about how the meaning of words changes all the time according to your experience with them. I was a pretty serious English major, if you can’t already tell. By that I mean I always arrived late and completely OWNED the text whether I read it or not. I’m pretty sure I taught my 20th Century Women’s Poetry professor a thing or two with my stunning contributions to that class, but she was right when she said that a word can mean something solid to you at one point, and then life can teach you a lesson and it can change its meaning entirely. She must have known some parents because many words have changed for me. Here is the short list of words that will never be the same again:

Sleeping in:

BEFORE: that thing that I did on weekends.

AFTER: the time when I lay in bed listening to my children scream, whine, and fall off of things under my husband’s supervision while I try to sleep with the sound machine turned on high.


BEFORE: something beautiful, loving mothers did with their beautiful, loving, sweet, sleepy babies.

AFTER: husband on the couch using a t-shirt as a pillow case on one of the cushions, baby in the bed alone with pillows as barricades, me in the crib.

Night out:

BEFORE: Oh YEAH! SOMEBODY IS GOING TO GET C-R-A-Z-Y! And the next day sucks.

AFTER: when I go out from 5pm to 7pm with my husband, talk about our children the whole time, text the babysitter a lot, get a serious buzz from one drink, get a hangover immediately afterwards, go to sleep with my children at 8.

Plus-size clothing:

BEFORE: there is a store for this, but I am not familiar with the name.

AFTER: something that Google ads specifically targets me for: “Clothes for EVERY body!”

Missionary position:

BEFORE: something intimate that happens in the bedroom.

AFTER: when I pray by my child’s bed that he/she will not wake me up in the next hour.

Reach around:

BEFORE: also something intimate.

AFTER: when I reach back while driving to find the binky and put it in my child’s mouth.

 Me Time:

BEFORE: Any time I am not working, but especially when I am journaling at a coffee shop.

AFTER: Putting my children to bed at 8, binging on Orange is the New Black until 2am, deeply regretting my decision at 6am.


BEFORE: finding a fulfilling career.

AFTER: Who just put TWO babies to bed? You BETTER believe it, cuz THAT just happened! HOLLA! CHECK ME OUT!