timeout 

Using the Jolly Elf to Your Advantage

Every year during that first week of December, neighbors down the street set up their 14 different inflatable yard sculptures (smooshtures? What is the term for those-huge-when-inflated-but-flaccid-when-unplugged holiday doodads everyone seems to be...

P. A. K. S. A. (Parent Against Kids Seeking Amy)

In 1984, Madonna's "Like a Virgin" was banned from many a young girl's home, including my own. Even though none of my parochial school peers were quite sure what a virgin was (and if Jesus' mother was one, how could it be so bad?!) we got the messag...

The Boy Who Ate Christmas

There are certain events that become a part of family lore passed on for generations. Every year when I pull out the Christmas lights, I am reminded of one of ours: the time my youngest attempted to eat the Christmas tree. When Dirtmonkey was only f...

A Thankful Heart (and Clean Laundry!)

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday with only three requirements: a) eat a lot, b) be grateful for what's good in your life, and c) get to bed early so you have the strength to knock down the other shoppers at the butt-crack of dawn on Black Friday....

When it Comes to Bullies, Don't Get Mad ... Get Volunteering!

Mark is a bully. At only nine years old, his harassment has already inspired one child to drop out of an after-school drama club by skillfully applying the favored and invisible weapons of bullies: ridicule and harassment. With one main competitor o...

Secrets of a Leftover Lover

As if working full time and trying to keep the monthly household food budget at Depression Era-esque levels wasn't challenging enough, I'm also learning how best to deal with a husband suffering an extreme case of leftover aversion, an apparently he...

Ice, Ice Baby!

When Thomas Paine wrote, "These are the time times that try men's souls" he was talking about the beginning of the American Revolution. However, Mr. Paine could have just as easily been describing what the upcoming week has in store for parents liv...

Don't put Baby in Corner (or a dirty onesie)

A pregnant friend recently asked whether the layette suggestions from stores and baby books were actually necessary or just another way for companies to squeeze every last dollar from inexperienced and anxious parents. I was happy to do a little res...

Technology Overload

Through both necessary replacement and holiday gifts, our household was swamped with new technology last year. Over the course of a few weeks we amassed: a washer and dryer, a printer/copier/scanner, Wii system, HD television, and for the first tim...

Lost in translation

Children's firsts are frequently a bittersweet time for parents. Wobbly steps are not just a sign that your baby is growing up, they also make it possible for him to move AWAY from you, sometimes rather quickly. When you're in a mall. Using the bath...

All crouped up

Last night I was awakened by a sound that strikes fear in the heart of parents. It wasn't the screams of a child being murdered in their bed, or the terrifying silence that accompanies an injury (like the classic battle: Gravity vs Toddler-Stairc...

In praise of the illiterate child

My baby (also fondly referred to as "the last of the litter") has officially crossed over the border of Little Kidville and marched directly through the gates of Big Guy City. Actually, signs of this metamorphosis have been apparent for quite some t...

Mom tattoos

When I was growing up in the 70's, the only people I ever saw with tattoos were on older men who had been in the military and carnival workers. Even in 1994, when my 1 year old son barged in on my sister, who was taking a shower, and saw her undiscl...

A Rose by any other name ... would probably annoy Grandma

Baby name books like to say that one of the first gifts you give your child is their name, totally overlooking genetic gifts like a mathematic deficiency, inability to draw a straight line even when using a ruler, and an aversion to the texture of r...

Things that go bump in the night

There is a point in life when horror movies make a person feel that there is nothing as frightening as what might be lurking in the dark. However, once you get pregnant, attend birthing classes, and learn what is about to happen to your ladybits,...

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