Thursday, July 28, 2016

Your Anniversary: Before & After Kids


Next Saturday is our tenth wedding anniversary.  Considering we live in LA, where people trade spouses like baseball cards, that's a pretty impressive number.  This kind of longevity calls for some serious celebration, so naturally, we have not planned a thing.

I've put together a handy little chart so we can compare and contrast the stark difference in celebrating your wedding anniversary before, and after, kids. 

Before Children:
After Children:
In the weeks leading up to your anniversary you talk about what you should do to properly celebrate your marriage.
You have no idea what day or month it is, and so neither of you realize that your anniversary is coming up within the next week.  The day before your anniversary, one of you opens iCal in order to record a dentist appointment for your offspring, only to realize that your wedding anniversary is tomorrow.
You look at your wedding album together, and talk about how amazing your special day was and you relive all the moments that made you laugh or cry.
You don't know where your wedding album is, because you haven't seen it since you had to turn your home office into a nursery for your surprise second child.  It's entirely possible that you inadvertently donated your wedding album to the Goodwill and that some stranger purchased it for 50 cents.  If you could find your wedding album, and did try to look at it together, that would last about 20 seconds before one of your offspring spilled an applesauce crusher on the photo of your first kiss as Husband and Wife.
You plan a romantic night out, probably involving cocktails and expensive wine and a fancy nine course tasting menu at the hottest restaurant in town.  You make a reservation several weeks in advance, and request the most romantic table in the restaurant.
Since you realized only 24 hours ago that your anniversary is, in fact, tomorrow, you madly scramble to book a babysitter for your offspring.  After six tries, you find someone who is available, but only until 9pm.  You have no idea what the hottest restaurant in town is these days because you haven't been out without a child for going on three years, so you just try to find any restaurant that looks halfway decent, serves alcohol, and has space for you and your spouse during the time you will be paroled.  Screw the most romantic table, you'll take any table.
You take pains getting ready.  You buy a new dress, have your nails done, get your hair blown out, and book your bikini wax appointment a week in advance to ensure there won't be any chafing.
If you're lucky, your kids will nap at the same time and you'll get a chance to shower.  Hopefully, they'll sleep long enough for you to shave your legs, but that's a long shot.  You haven't had a pedicure in several months, and your hands look like they belong to the witch from Hansel and Gretel  You haven't gone shopping since before you had a kid, so you'll be sporting something (anything) that looks halfway decent on your postpartum figure and that is marginally clean.  Forget about that bikini wax.  If your spouse can still get it up after watching you push a baby out of your lady parts then he can certainly navigate the rainforest you've got happening down there.
You have a four hour meal, with wine pairings, and get just tipsy enough that you go home and have mind-blowing sex with your spouse.  You might even decide it would be "fun" to have kids and go really wild.  You have sex more than once, and stay up late talking about how amazing your life is, how happy you are together, and how wonderful it would be to welcome a child into your family.

You scarf down some mediocre food so that you can get home in time for the babysitter to get to her bartending job.  You have two glasses of wine and get so hammered that you actually think you might pass out on the Uber ride home.  You stumble into the house, try to figure out how much you owe the babysitter (a lot, it's always a lot), and then try to sneak into your bedroom without waking up the kids.  You have some quick sex, during which you hope neither of you falls asleep from sheer exhaustion, and then you play rock paper scissors to see who has the "pleasure" of getting up with the kids in the morning.  You fall asleep midway through telling your spouse you love him, and without taking off your makeup or brushing your teeth.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Your Birth Story, in Cocktail Form

Given birth?  Have a cocktail!
If you give a Mom a cocktail, she'll probably tell you her birth story.

No matter what kind of gathering one attends - book club, dinner party, Soulcycle class - if a group of Mothers are involved, the conversation will inevitably lead to graphic stories about labor and delivery.  Once you have given birth to a human, it is practically impossible to not discuss all the gory details of just how, exactly, your children made their exits from your body. 

Personally, I love hearing other women's birth stories.  Mainly because it's nice to know that I'm not the only woman who has pooped on the delivery room table. 
 
The Natural Birther
Organic, small-batch vodka with pure cranberry juice and a splash of artisanal unfiltered honey 
You had a natural birth using self-hypnosis.  You enjoy telling people that it was a truly transformative experience.  You think that everyone should have the birth they want and you claim to be totally supportive of other birth choices, but you carry around DVD copies of The Business of Being Born and hand them out to unsuspecting pregnant women.  You may have given birth at home in your backyard under a lemon tree while flower petals rained down on you in your blow-up birthing tub.  The soundtrack to your birth featured a Buddhist monk that your partner recorded  in Tibet.  You are thinking of possibly becoming a doula, but not until you wean your child at around age five.

The Epidural Encourager
Double Knob Creek, with one (very small) ice cube
You were all about the drugs.  In fact, you asked your OB to give you an epidural when your child was still technically a zygote.  You think it is some bullshit to want to feel the pain of childbirth and that only some crazy person who eats bark and doesn't shave would opt for a natural birth.  You drove straight to the hospital the minute you felt even a twinge of pain and you refused to leave until they gave you some mother f*cking drugs and sent you home with a baby.  You didn't want to feel anything until at least a month after giving birth and you tell every woman you know to get the drugs.  Also, you brought some drugs tonight if anyone is interested in really getting this party book club started. 

The C-section Pusher
A crisp Pinot Grigio with a smooth finish
You've had three cesareans and you can't fathom why anyone would want to push a child out of her vagina.  You don't pee yourself when you laugh/cough/sneeze and you remind your friends who had vaginal births of this fact.  You don't understand why someone would wait for their child to decide when she arrives when you can schedule a c-section so that it doesn't interfere with your busy social life.  You get slightly hysterical after two rounds and start screaming "cesarean birth is real birth!" despite the fact that no one claimed otherwise. 

The Double Dipper
A rum and coke followed by a glass of sulfate free red wine
You've done it both ways and you don't understand what the big deal is.  Natural, epidural, c-section, the point is to just get the kid out so that you can go back to living your best life.  You're chill and you're up for anything and think that everyone should just do what's best for them.  You'd be fine squatting down and giving birth in a field, but you also really enjoyed the drugs they gave you at the hospital.  You step in to referee the crazy natural birth lady who is currently trying to strangle the epidural lady with some sort of hemp rope, because you came to this book club to actually talk about the book. 

Cheers to however your birth story ends.  I can't wait to hear all about it the next time we run into each other at the dry cleaners. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Toddler Fashion, Delivered

We tried Kidbox
Kidbox: the fashion subscription service for your kiddos.
I think it's pretty well established that I have almost everything delivered to my house.  Dinner? One Potato Box.  Clothes?  Stitch Fix or Bungalow.  Everything else? Amazon.  The one thing that I haven't outsourced to the interwebs and my UPS man has been my children's wardrobes.  Part of the reason for this is that I am insanely cheap when it comes to well, everything, but I also really enjoy shopping for clothes for my littles.  This mainly has to do with the fact that I live within walking distance to the best children's resale shop in town which means that it's easy to keep my children dressed in designer duds without a whole lot of effort or expense.

There's only one problem with the 100% resale approach, and it's that you often end up with a lot of random pieces, none of which match or even blend.  A few weeks ago, after my Mother complained for the four millionth time about how my children are constantly dressed in clashing clothing, I decided that it was time to find an alternate source for duds for my offspring.  Naturally, I turned to my old friend, the interwebs.  Thanks to Facebook's targeted marketing wherein I'm only shown ads for companies who deliver to my home, I learned about Kidbox.

Kidbox is basically just like all the other clothing subscription services I loved, but this one is just for kids!  Here's how it works: you set up an account online, fill out a size profile for your kiddos, and then they put together a curated box of clothes for your kid to try on.  Your kid has seven days to try on the clothes and then you keep what your tiny fashion plate likes and send back whatever doesn't work.  What I love the most about Kidbox is that if you keep all of the pieces in the box, the total cost is $100 or less.  That sounds like a lot, but you'd be surprised how much kids clothing costs these days.  In case you're thinking that the stuff is junk because it's reasonably priced, I assure you that it's not; it's nice quality brands that are normally out of my price range (hence the reason I almost always purchase things second hand).

kidbox kids clothing service
The box came addressed to the Muffin Man, which is always fun for kids.
kidbox review
There are cute little toys and activities included in each box.  This one had a prize ball thingy - where you keep unwrapping different ribbons until you get to the stuff inside - that contained a teeny tiny pack of playing cards, one of those parachute jumper toys, and a stick-on mustache.  The kids loved this part.
kidbox review
The pricing and info about the clothing comes inside a nice plastic pouch that also includes crayons, a coloring/activity book, and several sheets of stickers.

Here's what came in the box:
kidbox review
U.S. Polo Assn. Stripe Polo, $16
This is totally not my style or Noah's style, and it totally reminded my Hubs of his traumatic childhood years spent in Connecticut, so this was a definite "no" for us.  RETURNED
kidbox review
7 For All Mankind raglan tee, $18
This was just okay, and the fabric was really thick, which is not ideal considering that the heat wave in Los Angeles probably won't be over until sometime in December.  RETURNED
kidbox review
Weatherproof vintage henley tee, $9 and Penguin oxford shorts, $24
The t-shirt was really soft and I thought it was cute, but Noah was not a fan.  The shorts were adorable, but ginormous; they literally fell off of Noah.  I was actually kind of annoyed that they sent size 4T bottoms when I specifically told them that Noah is tall and slender and usually wears a 2T pants.  I could have asked for a smaller size, but I thought the shorts were kind of expensive, so these were both RETURNED.
kidbox review
7 For All Mankind V-neck mineral wash tee, $14
Red is Noah's favorite color, and this t-shirt is soft and fits really well, so this was a definite yes.  He's literally worn this shirt everyday since it arrived in his box, so even though it's more than I usually spend on a shirt, I think I'll get my money worth.  Plus I'll be able to re-sell it to my local consignment store when he grows out of it, so it's a double win.  KEPT.

The other item in our box was a pair of these beige twill shorts that were so hideous I didn't even have Noah try them on.  I was almost offended that Kidbox thought I would dress my kid in something that looked more appropriate for an 87 year old man, but there's no accounting for taste.

Overall, I like what Kidbox is doing.  It's convenient, and the way it's executed is really cute.  I'm going to see if what we get in our next box better suits Noah's style now that they've received my feedback on these pieces, and I'm going to order up a box for Rose to see what they send for their more feminine customers.

It's pretty amazing what you can have delivered these days.  Now I just have to try out one of those wine delivery services and I'll really never have a reason to leave my house.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Traveling with Kids

by Allyson Haas
traveling with toddlers
World traveler, right here.
If you've read this blog before you know two things:


2. Having no family within a 2000 mile radius makes that nightmare a reality at least four times a year if you want said toddler to recognize their kin.  

What I've finally figured out, now that I'm almost four years into this whole parenting thing, is that you can use the latter fact to make the former less of an arduous task. 

Ladies (and possibly one gent) I present to you The Lazy Mom's Guide to Traveling:

Step 1. Tell your family that you plan to brave being stuck in a flying tin can for more than five hours in order to see them. 

Step 2. Let them do the rest.

I realize at first blush this may seem like a rather bitchy and presumptuous way to make a trip take form, but here is why it's not: if your family is more than 2000 miles away, they escape from any last minute calls to babysit, run to the store, pick someone up from school, help with the laundry, feed children, or do anything else that might require a reorganization of their day/week/life.  Essentially, they get to enjoy the cuteness of your little (via Facetime) and they get to hang up when the whining starts, leaving you to deal with the fall out.  So, since you don't call in the small favors on the daily, this allows you to call in a big one a couple of times a year, guilt free. 

To make this as easy as possible on yourself (and on the hosting family member), I send a list:

  • What needs to be installed (a car seat)
  • Where that can be done (the local fire station or CHP usually help out here)
  • What your little one might actually eat (basically any food that's white)
Then simply pack your bags, toss in your trusty CARES restraint system and pretend like you're once again footloose and child free.  Granted, you'll still have to entertain your child, which means you won't have uninterrupted reading or movie viewing time, but beggars can't be choosers.  It actually makes traveling (somewhat) enjoyable again and you feel as if you've taken a break from your usual routine. 

I did this for our last minute spring break jaunt to see the in-laws, wherein I braved the not-so-friendly skies alone with my kiddo.  Without a stroller to push, a giant bag to lug, or toys to carry, the trip was a dream. C and I watched airplanes take off, we talked about the geography of the United States, and we laughed. I genuinely enjoyed my son's company, which almost made me think we didn't need the vacation in the first place.  Of course, only a fool would turn down free grandparent childcare and the chance to take a yoga class with actual adults.  

Happy travels!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Don't Want to Go to There (with my kids)

shopping with kids
Looks fun...for them.
I've learned a lot over the past three and a half years of motherhood, such as not to take life too seriously, that having a Mom tribe matters, and that there are certain places I just will not go with my kids. 

The DMV.  This bastion of bureaucratic waste is bad enough when you're an adult, but add two kids  into the mix and the experience of renewing your drivers license might be more painful than natural birth.  As if the hours-long wait times weren't bad enough, add in the people talking to themselves, the guy with the TB cough, and the questionable brown stain on the floor, and you've got a recipe for some real heart-to-heart talks with your toddlers about why you've failed at life chosen to live in a diverse urban environment.  Be sure to bring the iPad, coloring books, and a pantry full of snacks, because it's possible you'll be there until your kid's next birthday.  Plan to take a bath in sanitizer once you get home, because that place is a petri dish of nasty.

The Grocery.  I've reached the point in my life where I consider a trip to the grocery alone to be a pleasurable experience.  Until you have children you will not understand what a luxury it is to leisurely stroll the aisles reading ingredient labels and comparing prices.  I've never run an actual marathon, but I suspect that it's not much different than taking a trip to the local supermarket with my children.  First of all, you're pushing a cart filled with 50 pounds of toddler and groceries, but you're also running as fast as possible up and down the aisles throwing anything resembling a health food into your cart.  It's very possible your toddler might lose an eye from a badly aimed box of Cheddar Bunnies, but the only thing that matters is getting your groceries before your kids launch into their simultaneous tantrums.  You'd love to read labels and plan gourmet meals but the only thing you've got time for is buying the same 20 things you buy every week and that you know your kids will eat: white food, cucumbers, and wine, lots of wine (for Mom, obvs.)

Target.  I love Target.  What I don't love is taking my children with me to Target.  If you think it's hard to spend less than $100 when shopping alone at the mecca of affordable lifestyle brands, then you better make sure you have plenty of room on your credit cards if you're planning to shop with your offspring in tow.  You know why?  Because your kid will find something he wants down every single aisle of that store.  From pj's to pompoms, Target carries it all and I guarantee that your child will want a piece of the action.  Clothes, toys, shoes, home decor, candy... it's just a massive tantrum waiting to happen, and you have two choices: risk the ire of all the other Target shoppers while your kid writhes in anger on the floor of the Barbie aisle, or go against all of your parenting instincts and give in to their demands, thereby setting you back in the neighborhood of $400 dollars.  You have to ask yourself, what's more important to me in this moment: my sanity or being able to afford my rent?

The mall.  I hate clothing shopping under the best of circumstances, but I especially hate taking my children with me for this most loathsome of outings.  I find it impossible to decide whether a piece of clothing looks good on me when one of my children is pulling on me and I'm attempting to dodge the other one's sticky fingers.  The attention span of a toddler - somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 minutes - is not exactly conducive to making well thought out decisions about which apparel pieces best round out your wardrobe.  Save yourself the hassle and just order a Bungalow or Stitch Fix box.

Work.  If you're a working parent you've had it happen: your babysitter cancels or your kid is too sick to go to school on the day that you have a work thing you cannot miss.  I'm lucky in that my work revolves around kids and Moms, but that doesn't mean that every work event is kid friendly.  I've had to take my kids to stuff that was decidedly not for kids, and it sucked.  It's hard to feel professional when you're trying to carry on a serious conversation with a colleague and your kid runs up and screams "I need to poop!" or when you're following your children around trying to keep them from breaking anything.  I've never felt a bigger sense of relief than when I've managed to survive a work event with my kids without leaving a wave of destruction in our wake.

Basically, I never leave my house and my children are probably going to have lingering psychological issues about the fact that I never take them anywhere.  I figure that a lifetime of therapy for them is far better than my ending up in the psych ward from too many Target trips gone wrong.  Anyway, I like to think that the reason that Al Gore invented the internet was so that Moms could shop online.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Party Fit for a Princess

sofia the first party
Princess Rose
Once your kid starts preschool, much of your weekend social life revolves around attending children's birthday parties.  While this may initially sound fun, I can tell you from experience that all of the parties are pretty much the same, and mostly involve sugared-up children running around and screaming at the top of their lungs.  This is bad enough under the best of circumstances, but add to that a 9:30am start time and the requisite hangover, and you've got the recipe for every parent's worst nightmare.  I'm beginning to wish that parents would offer ibuprofen as party favors.

In an effort to spare my friends from having to give up yet another Saturday morning, I had planned to forgo throwing the Little Lady a birthday party.  I'm still recovering from that bubble shindig I threw for Noah back in January and I figured that Rose wouldn't really care if we hosted a party. Then I got an email from Princess and Me Parties offering to give me a free party.  I'm sold on anything with the word "free" in the title, but it also happened that the timing was perfect, so I decided to throw caution (and my friends' social calendars) to the wind, and throw a Princess Sofia themed bash.

Rose is obsessed with Sofia the First.  Go ahead and judge me on the whole "no screen time before age two" issue, because plucky Sofia the First is the best thing that's happened to my life since Rose started waking up before 6am.  Anything that occupies my child so that I can doze on the couch has my vote.  When I found out that Sofia was one of the many princess choices offered by Princess and Me Parties, I was thrilled.  I booked the date, whipped up an evite, and set about madly pinning party ideas to my Princess Party Pinterest Board.

I'm not one of those crafty moms, and I like to stick with a formula that works, so we did the usual bagels, lox and mimosas menu again.  Hey, if it's not broke (and it tastes good), don't fix it.

sofia the first party
Of course, we had to have lilac colored tableware because, Sofia.
sofia the first party
I found a great batch of free Sofia the First printables on Pinterest, and used the cupcake toppers in my flower arrangements.  
sofia the first party
I hate party favors, so instead of wasting money on more crap that's just going to end up in a landfill, I put together a Decorate Your Own Crown table.  I bought packages of cardboard crowns at the craft store and put out buckets full of crayons, paints, stickers and pompoms.  It was inexpensive, fun, and made for a great thing for the kids to take home.
sofia the first party
Bonus points for the fact that our friends have been cruising around the neighborhood for the past week wearing their crowns!

I scheduled Princess Sofia's arrival for half an hour after the party started.  I figured that would give people a chance to settle in and grab a nosh, and would allow for any latecomers who might otherwise miss the entertainment.
sofia the first party
Princess Sofia was incredible.  Not only did she look and sound exactly like the cartoon, she stayed in character the whole time.  She was so sweet and beautiful and really gentle with the little kids.  Rose was a little bit scared at first, but she quickly warmed up and by the end of the party they were walking around holding hands.  It was the cutest thing ever.

We got the princess party package, which was a full hour of Princess Sofia.
princess sofia party
 She read a story with the kids,
princess sofia party
led a Princess dance party, 
princess sofia party
did some awesome face (or arm) painting
princess sofia party
and helped Rose blow out her birthday candles. 
It kept all the kids occupied (yes, even the boys who like Batman and tools) and involved minimal parental involvement, thereby freeing up parents to drink mimosas or mainline coffee.  Overall, having Princess Sofia made for a really easy party, and I think that even the adults had fun.
a princess sofia party
 Rose had such a good time that she didn't want Princess Sofia to leave!
princess sofia party
We even got a decent family photo, so I would say it was a VERY successful party. 

The only problem I can foresee is that I've now set the bar way too high for future parties; Noah is already requesting Batman, Super Man and Spider Man for his fourth birthday.  I better start planning (and saving up) for January now.

This post was sponsored by Princess and Me Parties but all opinions about how amazing Princess Sofia was are completely my own.  Thank you, also, to Amelia Borella for photographing all of the fun! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Second Time's the Charm


Remember how I wasn't sure I wanted to have another child?  The thing no one told me was how much easier it is the second time around.  It's harder in some ways, especially in the beginning when you're so exhausted, but mostly it's just so. much. easier.

The beauty of having a second child is that you're just too damn overwhelmed to give a crap.  I don't mean emotionally - your love is just as intense, though different, the second time around - but I'm referring rather to all those parenting standards you set for yourself.  When you've been there, done that, and you're completely and utterly exhausted, your threshold for caring about things that aren't really important is lowered significantly. 

Therein lies the charm of second time parenthood.

Birth.  You've done it once, and whether it worked out the way you planned (or not), you basically know what you're getting yourself into.  Sure, you could do a bunch of reading and studying and self-hypnosis, but when you're nine months pregnant and chasing a toddler around, the only thing you want to do with your free time is sleep.  You know that your baby is coming out one way or another, and the how and the why don't matter as much.  Besides, those drugs they have at the hospital that keep you from feeling anything sound a-mazing.  Any chance you could take some right now to dull the pain of parenting?

Nursing. Look, we all know that breast is best, but having a kid attached to your boob for 12-14 months pretty much sucks (pun intended).  Once you've exclusively breastfed your first child you understand the unique Hell that is never being able to leave your kid alone for more than an hour at a time or, worse, having to pump every two hours.  There's a freedom to repeat motherhood in that one understands that feeding your child however you choose to is what's important.  Breast milk?  You go girl!  Formula?  Sounds delicious!  You also lose any modesty you may have experienced while nursing the first time around - heck I whipped a boob out at the DMV - because no one can keep one of those stupid nursing capes in place while trying to discipline a biting two year old.

Classes.  There are any number of classes aimed at guilting new Mothers into wasting time and money supposedly stimulating their infant's brains.  If you've done one Mommy and Me class, you've done them all, and exhausted second time Mommas can't be bothered.  Second children get plenty of stimulation watching their older siblings run around the house screaming and terrorizing people.  Need some adult interaction?  Take your kids to the local park and befriend another sleep deprived momma; it's free and requires a lot less parental participation than that Mommy and Baby painting class.

Judgement.  No matter what you do, people are going to judge your parenting.  Standing too close to your kid on the playground?  You're a helicopter mom!  Texting while your kid does a head dive off the swing set?  You're an inattentive parent!  Perhaps the best thing to arise from my journey into second time motherhood is that I simply don't care what other people think about my parenting anymore.  I'm doing the best I can - my kids are fed and loved and somewhat clean - and they are happy.  That's enough for me, and I won't be taking any "suggestions" about my parenting from anyone other than my kid's therapist.


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make myself a happy hour cocktail; because the other thing that second time parenting has taught me is the value of a strong drink. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

So Much Stuff. For Preschool?!

what you need for preschool
He's been labeled (with personalized stickers, natch)
The Muffin Man started preschool (again) on Tuesday.

I know, I can't believe it either.  Excuse me while I take a moment to cry a little.  

After all the time and stress that's gone into finding the right school for him, you'd think I would be more prepared for this day, but, true to form, here we are with the first day of school behind us and I'm still scrambling to get everything organized.

Remember back in the 70's, when the only thing you had to bring with you for the first day of school was a box of Kleenex and some powdered TANG? 

Oh, how the times have changed, my friends.


THEN
NOW
Every kid got a name tag – nothing fancy, just one of those cheap stick-on ones from the drugstore – and a teacher wrote your first name on it.
Each student has a dossier that includes not only the child’s first name, but pictures of him as a baby, photos of his family, information about what he likes to do and where they prefer to vacation.  These binders full of all the important information about your child are a “wonderful project for parents to complete with their children” which ultimately means attempting to get your hyperactive toddler to decorate his "about me" page, while your spouse yells at the kid to pay attention, and which will culminate in an exhausted, over worked mommy filling in the rest of the thing late at night after everyone has gone to bed. 
Parents in the 1970’s didn’t label anything.  That’s just crazy talk.  They were too busy waiting in gas lines, smoking a Virginia Slim, and drinking TAB to label their child’s stuff.  Besides, isn’t preschool about learning to share? 
Every single item that your kid brings to school must be labeled.  We’re not talking about just writing your child’s name on stuff with a sharpie and calling it a day; that would never do.  Custom labels, in varying colors and designs are a necessity, and include iron-on labels for clothing, and dishwasher safe ones for your child’s lunch supplies.  The cost of the labels alone is more than the yearly tuition of the neighborhood nursery school you attended back in the 1970’s. 
Nobody kept extra clothes at school.  If you peed on yourself because you were too busy to use the toilet, then you were stuck having to wear urine-soaked clothes for the rest of the day.  Of course none of your classmates wanted to sit next to you at snack – you smelled like pee!  I bet that was the last time you didn’t stop playing to use the potty, amiright? 
A bag full of extra clothes is to be kept in your child’s cubby at all times.  It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the bag of clothing remains fully stocked.  Each item must be labeled with your child’s name, and the selection of clothing should include appropriate attire for every single season.  Despite the fact that it only rains in Los Angeles two days a year, it is imperative that your offspring have a waterproof jacket and rain boots in his bag of extra clothing, because children are highly sensitive and it could be damaging to their psyche to be wet for half of a day.
There were no special nap mats or cushy pillows stored at school.  When it was rest time, your kid simply picked out a spot on the dirty rug, lay down, and went to sleep.  If you needed a soft mattress and a sound machine and any other special gear in order to sleep, you were not ready for preschool and you needed to stay home with Mommy because you were a BABY. 
Nap gear is required.  But don’t bother sending some old, ratty sheet and an extra pillow from your sofa.  NO.  Your kid needs a nap mat, which is basically a piece of fleece with some cute designs on it, for which you will end up paying more than you spent on your child’s crib.
Your lunchbox (if you had one) was a rickety metal thing with a picture of Charlie’s Angels or ET or Star Wars on the front.  It came with a thermos, that was supposed to keep your milk cold or your soup hot but which mostly “kept” any food inside of it at the perfect temperature to encourage bacteria growth.  Your sparkly lunchbox was purchased for a few bucks at the local drugstore, and usually looked like it had been run over by a car after a week of use.

The lunch contained within usually included such culinary delights as bologna on Wonder Bread, some cheese doodles, and a bruised apple.  Each of these items were placed inside a plastic sandwich bag.  Anything that wasn’t consumed was tossed in the garbage can along with those plastic baggies that are probably still taking up space in your old neighborhood’s local landfill. 
The lunchbox of 2015 is a fancy bento box type affair, that costs approximately ten times as much as your Barbie lunchbox of yore.  There are carefully portioned compartments for various healthy foodstuffs, none of which is labeled “cheese doodles”.  Parents are expected to prepare lunchtime meals that are healthy, appealing to a three year old, and pretty enough to post on Pinterest. 

This fancy lunchbox needs to be placed inside a temperature controlled lunch bag, which is a separate item also costing ten times more than your Transformers lunchbox.  The lunch bag has handles to make it easy to carry, but it also has a compartment inside to hold an ice pack so that your child’s lunch never reaches a dangerous temperature which could lead to a food-borne illness.  This is especially important since your child’s lunch often contains artisanal raw cheese or yogurt, sushi, and sprouted organic grains. 
Nobody had food allergies.  That’s just crazy talk ginned up by some wacko hippies in Berkeley.  Peanuts are delicious, no one even knew what gluten was, and any kid who didn’t drink milk was an under-nourished freak. 
Don’t even think about sending your kid to school with a nut product.  Peanuts are practically weapons of mass toddler destruction.  You better not put good ol’ wheat bread in your child’s lunch, or everyone will accuse you of pumping your child full of poisonous gluten.  Also, you may want to rethink sending your son to school with milk, because cow's milk is terrible and it is entirely possible Junior will be a social pariah since no one wants to be friends with THE MILK DRINKER.   

Honestly, I'm thinking of sending some cheese doodles for snack just to f*ck with them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go get my Xanax prescription refilled. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Motherhood FAIL: Second Birthday Edition

Birthday baby.
Confession: I almost forgot my daughter's birthday.

I know Rose's birthdate - like any woman could possibly forget the day she pushed a child out of her vag without pain medication - but for some reason I didn't compute that her birthday was today.  I kept thinking that I had plenty of time to buy her some birthday gifts, but all of the sudden it was July 3rd at 5:45pm and I realized that every store would be closed on July 4th and that I had nothing to give Rose.

In my defense, I've been talked into throwing her a princess party (Lord help me) and I've been focusing on getting ready for that this past week, so shopping for presents for her to open on the actual day of her birth sort of slipped my mind. 

Epic #momfail moment right there. 

The good news is that there's a really great CVS in our neighborhood.  The bad news is that nothing says "you're a second child" like having all of your birthday gifts come from the 24 hour drug store. 

Here's the funny thing: I'm pretty sure that Rose loves all of the last minute gifts I bought for her at CVS even more than she would have loved a bunch of expensive toys purchased in advance with plenty of forethought.  Toddlers may be a pain the ass overall, but when it comes to gifts they're usually happy with the simplest things. 

Bandaids.  Giving an adult a box of bandaids for a birthday gift will surely result in your being removed from the guest list the following year, but kids love a new box of bandaids almost as much as I love my wine.  I guarantee that your child will be filled with glee when she rips the wrapping off of a box of her favorite Princess or Super Hero bandaids.  Chances are she'll use an entire box of them on the first day despite having no actual owies, but bandaids are considered accessories when one is under the age of five.

Bubbles.  I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love bubbles, and my daughter is no exception.  A giant jug of bubble solution, a few different bubble guns and bubble wands, and you've got the makings for at least 10 minutes of fun.  Throw in a package of pipe cleaners and help the birthday girl (or boy) craft her own bubble wand shapes for extra creative mom cred.

Sand toys.  If your forgotten birthday child happens to have been born in the summertime, you'll be fortunate enough to find a great selection of sand toys in the "seasonal" aisle.  Even if you don't live near a beach or even have plans to go to the beach, buckets and shovels are great for the park or for playing in the water at home.  I scored a bright purple plastic bucket and some giant shovels at my local Rite Aide, which are sure to be the subject of some epic arguments between my two kids.

Cleaning supplies.  I have yet to meet a child who doesn't love to clean; if only they were a bit more thorough I could save a lot of money on my housekeeper.  I cruised the cleaning supplies aisle and picked up a giant cleaning bucket, a broom and pan combo, and a few packages of sponges which, at first glance sounds like a shopping list from my housekeeper but happens to be an incredible gift in my kid's eyes.  Forget all those kid-sized pretend mops and brooms marketed to unsuspecting first time parents, your kid wants the real thing.  Lucky for you the real stuff happens to be about half the price!

Barbie.  Thankfully, my kids are too young to care how much something cost, they just care that it's fun to play with and something they want.  The toy aisle of my local drugstore has a pretty decent selection, including Rose's favorite item: Barbie.  Yes, I know Barbie is bad for girls self esteem or whatever, but tell that to my daughter who screams "I want that!!!" every time we pass by one of these plastic ode to the (impossible) female form.  I did try to subtly push my feminist hippie agenda by purchasing the Doctor Barbie, but she'll most likely take off her scrubs and try to put her in a princess dress.  You have to pick your battles when it comes to parenting. 

Chapstick and nail polish.  Girls will be girls, and despite my best efforts to keep her sheltered from our "beauty culture", Rose wants to put on makeup and have her nails done.  I've caved to her pressure and purchased a bunch of different chapstick flavors as well as some non-toxic nail polish to use when I take her to have her nails done.  Hey, I enjoy a good birthday mani/pedi as much as the next lady, and who am I to deny my daughter a little pampering on her special day? 

Besides, it will help assuage my guilt about having forgotten to order some gifts in time for her birthday, and I could really use a pedicure; my feet are starting to resemble hooves.