This morning was pirate dress-up day at preschool.? And water play day.? I suppose the two are compatible—after all, pirates did live on ships most of their lives.? Still, I felt a little strange having my son don striped pirate breeches over his blue and orange plaid bathing suit.? I mean, what would Stacey and Clinton think?

We picked up his friend on the way, which always makes for an interesting experience.? Here are just a few scintillating snippets of conversation? from the seemingly never-ending car ride (Note:? preschool is about two minutes from my house).

“Ahoy there, you scarfy dogs!”? (These being the? scurvy dogs’ more fashionable cousins, presumably.)

“Baby sister, quit being so full of happiness!”? (Ah, a budding Morrissey.)

“Go faster, mommy, go faster!”? (He won’t be allowed to drive until he’s thirty.)

“Yeah, Miss Debra, go fast!”? (Ditto his friend.)

Son:? “We’re going faster than a walking piece of nothing!”? (I wasn’t sure if I should take offense, or? if this was some sort of preschooler existentialism.? And how exactly does this relate to pirates?)

Friend:? “We’re going faster than poop plopping down from the sky!”? (Now, that’s an analogy I haven’t heard before, but I suppose plopping sky poop would be quite speedy.? ? Though I’m still not sure what any of this has to do with pirates.? Or Gordon Lightfoot, for that matter.)

Then of course, the inevitable round of “Quit touching me!”? “No, you QUIT touching ME!”? And so on, until my head? demanded? an IV of Extra Strength Tylenol.

You know, Wordless Thursday really has a nice ring to it……

And here’s the pirate swag my son created and brought home.? I’m? thinking less swashbuckler, and more, I dunno, Liberace meets Dead or Alive, maybe?? And the apple stickers are throwing me off a little.? ?

Unless? the? pirates ate them to fight off “scarfy”:


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Target dollar-bins redux

Posted by houndrat on Monday Jun 30, 2008 Under family life, random stuff, Uncategorized

At 1:30 pm on Saturday, I? am hauling? my? butt to Target at warp speed (which,? thanks? to the vast array and? disgustingly numerous? amounts of yummies I’ve been consuming lately, is no small task).? My son has a birthday party to? get to by? 3:00, and of course, we don’t have a present yet.? I don’t know how many preschooler parties you’ve attended lately, but here’s a tip—it’s generally considered a faux pas to come empty-handed.? Even by four year-olds.

Not that this last-ditch effort to grab a gift is any big news around here.? In fact, an hour and a half lead time is something of a blessing–we’re usually talking minutes.? But it’s okay.? I’ve recently come to terms with the simple truth that procrastination is a valid life-choice in our home.?

So, I? fly? into the Target parking lot, and lo and behold, I have to slam on my brakes, because some dude in a Lexus is just sitting there picking his butt, without a care in the world.? Hello–doesn’t he know that I’m on an emergency gift-getting expedition?? Apparently not, because he’s just chilling, lolly gagging even, and refusing to turn left.? Which would be fine, except for the fact that we have NO STOP SIGN.? And I need a birthday present–NOW!? ? And unless the moron in the Lexus? suddenly whips up a dinosaur or soccer ball and tosses it into my window, I need to get into that store.? Fast.?

The other driver facing us in the straight lane does have a brain, along with a stop sign,? and is trying to wave him on.? But? Lexus man? is oblivious.? ? It really? shouldn’t be shocking,? since there’s obviously some kind of crappy-driver pre-requisite one must meet before being allowed to purchase a Lexus in the first place. I mean, when’s the last time you’ve seen? anyone drive a Lexus in? a style that didn’t resemble that of a 100 yr-old blind woman?

So I beep my horn.? Of course, Lexus man doesn’t deign to notice.? We’re still sitting there.? And, last time I checked, ? we still have NO STOP. I mean, come on—even my 4 yr-old can decipher what the letters S-T-O-P mean, especially? when found on a red octagonal-shaped street sign.? Which is completely beside the point, since there WAS NO STOP SIGN.

At any rate, finally the driver in the opposite lane gives up and goes.? Of course, at exactly the same time it dawns on Lexus man that, hey, there’s no? stop sign here, and he goes, too.? Then I have to wait through the inevitable almost-crash and its aftermath before finally turning left and getting to park.

So now, thanks to the German automotive industry, I have zero time to spare.? I fly out of my car and run into the store, grabbing a cart along the way.? I have absolutely no intention of stopping anywhere other than the toy aisle, and I even tell my cart, for good measure.? My cart, it seems, has other ideas.? Or else the listening skills of my 4 yr-old, because it starts steering me right towards the dollar bins, which the diabolical Target-minds place in the very front of the store.? Bastards.? I struggle with my cart,? gasping for air,? desperately? yanking it away from? the? dollar section? with all my might, but it’s got superhuman strength.? It? drags me, kicking and screaming, right to those lovely, lovely bins, the 4th of July section no less, and I have to concede defeat.? Man, those toxins from China must have some kind of magnetic superpowers.

Okay, so maybe the kicking and screaming part was all in my brain.? But its the thought that counts.

Somehow, I manage to get my kid to the party, right on time.? But, because of my renegade cart, not only does a little boy have a new science kit, but my dog Skye has these.? It’s kind of strange, though—who would’ve thought they’d sell hound dog ear warmers in California in the middle of July?

Dog With Ear Warmers

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kids and questions

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Jan 13, 2008 Under kids

Once upon a time, my husband and I worried.? We worried that our son, who was almost two, had yet to say more than five words.

Now?? Well, he just turned four, and our worries have grown exponentially.? Not because he still doesn’t talk.? Not even close.? Rather, because he never stops talking.? Ever.? In fact, we have uncovered the disturbing truth behind what? was going on in that over-sized toddler head (hey, I can say this—the kid? was wearing a size 3T hat at age 6 months) during all that time.? He was plotting.? And planning.? See, apparently, our little blue-eyed pumpkin? nugget was? gearing up? for the big day when he could start stumping mommy and daddy with an endless array of? unanswerable questions.

I know what you’re thinking.? No big deal—all kids ask questions.? We should’ve been prepared for that.? Right?

Oh, how I envy you in your ignorance and pity me for my lack thereof.

You see, these aren’t normal questions, the types you read about in all the “What to Expect” books.? No, those types of questions are all a big, fat lie, aimed at ensuring that people continue to procreate.? I prepared myself for those types of questions, waiting with something akin to excitement for the day when I could begin imparting little? kernels of wisdom to my? pint-sized apprentice.? Ha.? Instead, not only has my son single-handedly? pulverized? any confidence in my? own intelligence (not to mention sanity), but he’s also forced me to cry out for? the revamping of every single one of my institutions of higher learning.? Obviously, they taught me nothing.? Am I smarter than a 5th grader?? Puh-lease.? Apparently, I’m not even smarter than a preschooler.

Here is a small sampling of the types of questions my husband and I are subjected to on a daily basis:

“Are people going to become extinct like dinosaurs?”? (not only do I not know the answer, but I am not prepared to get into a philosophical and ecological discussion of this nature with a 4 yr old.)

“How do the spark plugs in the car work?”? (Okay, so maybe some of you know the answer to this one, but alas, I did not take auto shop in high school.? Besides, this is one of those questions that feeds upon itself–if you get one answer right, it just generates another question.? i.e. “Okay, so then how does the engine work?? The starter?? The brake pads?” and on and on, until you are tempted to throw the car manual at him.)

“Why doesn’t cotton candy have antioxidants?” (I wish I knew the answer to that one.)

“Why do dogs lick their private parts so much?” (Okay, so I? could actually answer this with something approaching confidence, but really—is this a topic? you would take on with a preschooler?? I think not.)

“If both girls and boys had wee-wees, would there be only boys?” (HUH?)

And my recent favorite:

“Is there something else besides ‘on purpose’ and ‘on accident’?” (My head hurts.? Is “just don’t do it” a cop-out?)

? Oh, how I long for a simple “Why is the sky blue?”

So, tell me, what types of questions do your kids ask?? And by all means, if you have a creative response to one of the questions above, feel free to impart your wisdom.

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Whining, anyone?

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Jan 13, 2008 Under kids

Welcome to my house.? Today, we are experiencing a little something I like to call Whinefest #1, 2008.? ? The 2008 is to distinguish this Whinefest from all the other Whinefests that occured in 2007.? The #1?? Well, that’s to distinguish it from the inevitable Whinefest #2, #5, and so on, up to about Whinefest #357.? Of course, that’s only if it’s a good year.

It’s on days like these that I feel like a really bad mom.? A terrible, evil mom, ala Joan Crawford.? It’s not that I have a thing about wire hangers.? It’s just that I have a thing about whining.

Even legit whining.? For example, today, my 4 yr old has the flu.? Do I think he is entitled to whine?? Sure.? Provided that he does it somewhere at least two county lines away from me.? Besides, this is not? your garden-variety whining.? This is whining as enhanced as the typical breast in Orange County.

In all honesty, I can tolerate a bit of whining when he’s sick.? Maybe even more than a bit.? But the whining that emanated from? that? cherubic little blue-eyed? boy today?? Fran Drescher on speed’s got nothing on him.

He whined if he was on the couch. He whined if he was on the floor.? If the TV was on, he whined to turn it off.? Once it was off, he whined even louder to turn it back on.? He whined to take a bath with my husband and our infant daughter, and then he whined that he didn’t want anyone touching him in the bathtub (okay, that sounded way more Michael Jackson-esque than it actually was—the point being, since we don’t run a bathhouse, our bathtub is not really large enough to accomodate a preschooler, a baby, and my husband without people making contact).? He? whined again? when my husband got out in a futile? attempt to stop the whining.

He whined and whined to get a Jamba Juice, of which he promptly took one sip and whined that it “tasted yucky.”? He then whined to taste everyone else’s Jamba Juice, which had to be promptly? discarded when he whined that they also “tasty yucky” and refused to drink them.

I even caught him whining in his sleep.? Something to do with smoke alarms, his striped blankie, and Thomas the train.? It doesn’t matter that I have absolutely no clue what? this means—it still gave me that feeling you get when your dog lifts his leg and pees on your brand spankin’ new Manolos (as if I ever had a pair, but I’ve got a great imagination), right after you let him out to his business.

So, basically, my husband and I spent all day trying to figure out ways to escape this hellish assault on our ears.? We actually argued over who got to run errands.? For dedicated procrastinators, there were some awfully strange conversations going on in our home.? Such as, “I’m going to run and get toilet paper.? I’ll only be gone about five hours or so.? What do you mean, you just got some?? Well, then, I’m going to run and get Thanksgiving supplies.”? My husband even tried to tell me he had to go into work.? On a Saturday?? Nice try, buddy.? I wish I had that option on the? seemingly endless stream? of weekdays when I am the sole? audience for? the Whinefesting.

From where did this Super-Whine originate?? Come and visit my husband sometime when he’s sick, and you won’t have to ask.

My son is now asleep (aha, so God is finally making his presence known), and all there is left to do is pray some more.? What am I praying for?? ? That tomorrow is not the start of Whinefest #2.

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Yo ho, Yo ho, I must have been smoking crack

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Dec 5, 2007 Under kids, Uncategorized

I think somebody laced my water.? With crack.? I mean, what else could reasonably explain why I decided to have another birthday party at my home?? I said I would never do it again after last year, after my son’s third birthday party.? Do you have any idea the damage 5 or 6 screaming toddlers can do to your home in under five minutes?? And this year, I really did it.? I invited double that number, thinking surely some couldn’t come because of the proximity to the holidays.? Of course, every single one of them are planning to attend.? ? ? Just my luck–we? managed to invite? the only other families in San Diego County besides ourselves without lives.? Let’s just call it an experiment—how many four-year olds can you have in one house before it explodes? (and this is actually a real possiblity–ask me about my husband’s stash of illegal fireworks in the garage).

Okay, so we’ve invited a few too many guests, but that’s okay, right?? We have a large backyard and we’ve rented a jumpy, bouncy, moonwalk, kid crusher, whatever the heck it is those things are called these days.? We should be fine, right?? Not if you’ve checked the forecast for San Diego for this Saturday.? It’s supposed to rain.? Hard.? I suppose I should have expected that it might rain—I mean, it does rain about three and a half days a year here.? So that gave us a probability of, what, about 1 in 100 that it would rain on our party day?? Life is just not fair.? Now, I have to plan activities to entertain 12 screaming four-year olds inside our not-big-enough-to-accomdate-them-without-something-exploding house.? And we have to put the parents somewhere, too.? ? I’m thinking? the laundry room.? If I have enough booze, maybe they won’t notice.? And let’s face it, all the adults are going to NEED booze to get through this one.

And it’s not enough that I invited too many people. Or that I decided to have the party at our home again (perhaps explained by a sudden temporary brain aneurysm?)? No, somehow I think I’m Martha freakin Stewart when my son’s birthday rolls around.? That means I choose a theme (pirates this year), hand-make all the invitations, bake the cake from scratch, and make my own decorations, posters, party favors, etc.? If I were a crafty person, this might make some kind of sense.? Unfortunately, I am about as crafty as Homer Simpson.

It should be a hoot.? Want to come?? Look for the exploding house.

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oh, music to my ears

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Dec 2, 2007 Under kids

My three-year old’s constant whining makes me want to kill something.? Seriously.? Why is that?? You would think that parents would be programmed to at least tolerate whining.? I mean, how much easier would life be as a parent if your kid’s whining didn’t bother you?? Or better yet, if your kid’s whining sounded just like baby cooing to your ears.? “Oh, how sweet, little Johnny is whining about not getting another Thomas the train again.? How adorable!”? What? a killer biological adaptation that would be.? Of course, if that were the case, I think people would have a lot more kids, which would? lead to more planetary over-crowding.? Hmmm….so maybe that’s why the sound of my son’s whining makes me want to drop kick him to Cambodia.? That Darwin sure is a sneaky bastard.

? Seriously, though, have you ever noticed how whining can drive even the most calm and rational parent into a crazed frenzy?? ? I swear I have heard even the most laid-back of moms say things like “Jamie, if I hear you whine one more time, I will take? every single toy you own? and? one by one throw? them into? a huge bonfire and make you watch them burn!? until they die!? What’s more, I will flush your fish down the toilet, lock you in the closet until daddy comes home, and then daddy and I are going to take you to the used toddler store and trade you in for a non-whining variety (as if such a thing exists).? Oh yeah, and I’m going to take away your FRUIT SNACKS (gasp)!

Which leads me to the lies we tell each other as parents.? Really, wouldn’t things be easier on all of us if we could just be honest?? Instead, we? all feel compelled? to try to be super-mom.? Which basically means we lie.? A lot.? For example, if I had a quarter for every time I heard “Oh, I’m just feeding little Susie this because I’m afraid she wouldn’t eat anything otherwise”, I sure as hell wouldn’t be worried about the mortgage man coming to take my house at any minute.? I mean, do we really think our kids are going to starve to death if we don’t feed them goldfish, m & m’s, chips, or fruit snacks??

The straight answer is no.? It all goes back to the whining thing.? What we are really afraid of is more whining.? Little Susie wouldn’t starve, but she would probably whine enough to send her mom back to rehab.? And since none of us are hard-wired to deal with whining. we lie.? We also don’t want other parents to know our kids whine.? Which is ridiculous.? All kids whine.? But it seriously turns into some type of competition at the park or gym class.? We think, “Oh, look at little Tommy—he sure is having a bad day.? Of course, my little man is being an angel.”? Of course, the little man in question probably has his mouth stuffed? full of? Fruit Snacks.? If we could all just admit that we use food as a bribe to stop whining, I think life would be so much easier.?

I’ll admit it—we used to use Fruit Snacks as a bribe for our little guy to sleep good at night.? Did they work?? You bet.? Unfortunately, they had the added effect of making him act like a crack addict all morning long.? I don’t know if it was the artificial colors, the sugar, or the….what the heck else is in a Fruit Snack, exactly?? ? Anyway, we’re on to something much more nutritious—-cookies (hey, the box says organic).

So, anyway, I think there’s some money to be made in this whining thing.? Hypnotists should forget about? all that stop smoking and over-eating crap.? It’s so passe.? Why not offer sessions to parents that will make them enjoy whining instead?? I know I would be there in a heartbeat.

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