She Doesn't Dare

Sometimes marketing totally annoys me. If you're surprised at that, you must not have read this post. (Or this one, this one, this one, or this one.)

And the latest commercial for Pantene shampoo is no exception.

I don't see many commercials any more unless they air during children's programming. I sometimes watch a little bit of TV while the kids nap, but it's always Jerry Springer (er, I mean, documentaries) and the commercials during that are always for lawyers or online universities. But last night I was flipping through the channels after the boys went to bed, when I caught this Pantene anti-breakage shampoo commercial featuring Eva Mendes.

Now, Eva Mendes is a glamorous actress and spokesmodel. A famous chick. We all know she be makin' some bank. So it irritated the ever-living piss out of me when I heard her say something along the lines of this:

"They dared me to try this shampoo."

Seriously, Eva Mendes? You want us to believe that we're seeing you onscreen, hawking the Pantene shampoo that you'd probably turn your nose up at actually buying, because they dared you to try it? What, did the Pantene peeps just contact you like, "Hey Eva, we've got a new shampoo, and we dare you to use it and then be on a commercial about it!"

That's the kind of stuff that happens to people like me, an underpaid blogger who gets emails like, "Please blog about how awesome our product is and include five pictures and ten links to our website. On your main page. And we'll give you THREE WHOLE DOLLARS!"

I don't go for that crap, and neither would Eva-freaking-Mendes.

Nothing else about the commercial stood out to me. Not the amazing anti-breakage properties of the shampoo. Not how glorious and thick and luscious her hair looked. But the fact that she was saying she was "dared" to use this product. I think I'd have been more inclined to buy it if she was like, "Hey, they paid me thousands of dollars to say how awesome this shampoo is! I wouldn't know, because nothing but salon products touch my gorgeous tresses, but it's only like five bucks so if you don't like it at least you didn't spend that much."

Maybe I should chalk it up to pregnancy hormones and general all-around irritability, but Eva Mendes saying she used the shampoo "on a dare" is like Bill Gates saying he has "a few dollars" or the Octomom saying "my methods of conception/boobs/lips are natural": a complete exaggeration.

I think I need a nap.

Sweaty Pits, Trails of Turds, and Mama Bears

You know how sometimes you've just got random stuff to say and none of it will fit neatly into a cohesive and well-formatted blog post or you're just too lazy to think that hard? Well, that's why today's post is kinda all over the place. Bullet-pointed for your reading pleasure.

- It was 80 degrees here in Iowa yesterday. I walked (okay, waddled) around perpetually pit-stained and sweating in places where only somebody's fat grandpa should sweat. Yet by Saturday? It's supposed to be like 49 degrees. What the eff, Midwestern weather? I should be used to these ridiculous temperature fluctuations, having been born and predominantly raised in this general region, but holy crapola. Don't mess around with me like that, Mother Nature, especially while I'm pregnant.

- Speaking of pregnant. I went to the doctor yesterday. I'm 35 weeks with a GARGANTUAN belly (seriously, y'all) and I was sincerely hoping the doctor would be like, "Oh my goodness! Let's just get that baby on out of there because obviously he weighs like nineteen pounds by now."

See what I mean? I took this one two weeks ago. And believe it or not, there's been significant belly gain just in those two weeks. Ugh!

Anyway, so I went to the doctor. First I saw an intern, who measured me and then got all frowny and checked my chart and measured me again and was like, "Wow, you have big babies, don't you? Oh, and they get bigger each time?! Har har har." And then I saw my actual doctor who measured me yet again - for good measure, I guess (insert laugh track here) - and he literally said, "Whoa, that's a huge baby. Well, see you in two weeks!"

Meanwhile, I feel like I'm about to split in half and everywhere I go, people think I'm either a.) about to give birth on the floor or b.) shoplifting. How the hell am I supposed to last another month? The baby is gaining like a pound a week. Where am I going to put another four pounds of baby?! If you read a news story about an expectant mother just exploding, you can be all, "Hey, I know that girl!"

- Coby is potty training like a CHAMP. I could not be more thrilled. Since I wrote about it last (oh my exciting life!) he is pretty much using the toilet 95% of the time ... on his own. Meaning I don't have to take him and manually place him on the throne 9,855 times a day. This is working out beautifully as long as he isn't wearing pants. I know that eventually I will have to get the child dressed from the waist down, but I'm hoping that by the time we need to go anywhere for more than an hour at a time, he'll be enough in the habit to stay dry.

Just a minute ago, I heard him messing with the toilet, so I went to see what he was doing. There was a turd trail from the boys' bedroom, a huge smear on the toilet seat, and his tiny little rear-end was covered with poo - but there was some in the actual toilet, so I count that as a success! Woohooo! I've just got to keep a positive attitude about it: while I'm cleaning up the kid with baby wipes and the mess with Clorox wipes, I keep repeating to myself two kids in diapers. Two kids in diapers. Two kids in diapers. It could be worse!

- Remember the other day when I blogged about Colin's suspiciously changed behavior at school (read it here)? Well, Curtis and I have an appointment to meet with his teacher on Friday. But yesterday, even though Colin had nothing but a smiley face in his daily report, he came out of school telling us that he'd been sent to the office at lunchtime for something that another kid did. He was pretty upset about it, so Curtis called the school to clarify what had happened. Long story short, the lunchroom monitor straight-up admitted to my husband that she had sent Colin to the office instead of the other boy because the other boy is confrontational and Colin is not.*

*bolded and italicized so the ridiculousness of that statement can truly sink in

EXCUSE ME?? You dumped my kid's lunch tray in the trash and sent him to sit out the rest of lunch in the office because you didn't want to deal with a confrontation from the kid who caused the problem??

I'm furious about this. And the school hasn't heard the last of it. Tell me, before I make an utter ass of myself: am I overreacting, Mama-bear style, or is this actually as infuriating as I think it is?

- Curtis went to the store for peanut butter and brought home Peter Pan All-Natural. Normally I love me some Peter Pan (I guess I'm not such a "choosy mom" since I don't choose JIF), but this variety is DRY as a BONE. OMG. I took a bite off a spoon and it took me like fifteen minutes to swallow.

Okay. I think that's all. Random enough for ya?

Bribery is a Dirty Business

My boys are decently-behaved when we go to the store ... most of the time. But once in a while, due to a delayed dinner or a put-off naptime, someone is a little extra cranky. And that's when bribery comes in handy.

Which is why I'm all about the Target "Dollar Spot," y'all. No, this is not a sponsored post. Target did not contact me like, "Hey Rita, why don't you give our cheap items a little plug on your super-awesome blog?" (Although Target people, if you're reading this ... haaaaaay.) I just like that particular section of their store because, hello, cheap items? They should have just named it the "Perfect-for-Behavioral-Bribery" section because I'm sure I'm not the only parent out there who uses it for such purposes.

The dudes know that this doesn't happen every time, and that they'd better keep their ever-yapping mouths shut and be good whether they're getting anything or not. But I figure sometimes it's okay to preface a shopping trip with, "If you use your best manners and best behavior the whole time, you may each have a dollar to spend when we're finished."

It's amazing how much kids adore even the most ridiculous of little trinkets. Case in point: the stuff that the boys chose after our Target shopping excursion yesterday. Colin picked out a Sesame Street coloring and activity book, so he could use it to play school and pass out "worksheets" to his little brothers (he's kind of in perpetual nerd-mode, which is fine with me). Coby picked out a big watergun, which actually rang up at $2.50 (grrr). He calls it his "shotgun" and stalks around the house with it "shooting deers." (I swear, I didn't know "redneck" was an inborn trait until I birthed this child.) And Cameron? Well, he picked this:

I'm not sure what it is, exactly. A dog? A hedgehog? A hippopotamus with back hair? All I know is that it didn't even have a price tag. It's squishy and kind of sticky and filthy. And as hard as I tried to get Cameron to pick something else out ("Look! Your brother's getting a watergun! Look! There's a Scooby Doo book!"), he stubbornly clung to this pitiful, grungy hippo-dog-a-mus as if it was some sort of priceless treasure.

When we got to the checkout, the lady looked at it and was all, "Umm, was this something you brought into the store?"

Nope. It's just a dirty bribe. Literally.

Cameron calls it his "Adventure Pug." (WTF?) He loves the stupid thing so much that he slept with it last night. I feel like dousing his entire body with hand sanitizer and burning his sheets. I mean, who knows what ickiness lurks on Adventure Pug's slightly-tacky rubber surface? Ewww.

Adventure Pug: $1
Hand sanitizer: $1.50
A child's (inexplicable) love for his dirty Dollar-Spot treasure: priceless

I Put the "Pro" in "Procrastination"

I'd usually be teaching Zumba on a Friday morning, but I've taken my official leave until this mammoth infant vacates my uterus (five weeks - if that - in case anyone besides me is counting). And honestly, it's nice to have a break from teaching. Nobody would ever tell me this to my face, but I'm pretty sure I was looking like Humpty Dumpty up there. And instructing Zumba requires a certain swivel that my increasingly-immobile midsection just won't allow. Darned baby. I'm pretty proud of myself though - I mean, I managed to teach six classes a week until I was eight months pregnant. (Eight classes a week throughout my entire yucky first trimester!) So I think it's a pretty well-earned break.

If I could, I would probably lay in bed all day surrounded by a fort of pillows and watch horrible TV while wearing nothing but a Snuggie. But. I can't do anything close to that, because there's still the matter of these three boys I have to take care of, and oh yeah, a household to keep working like a well-oiled machine.

So while I'm on break, I'm going to do a few things that really need to be done. Namely:

#1: Clean out my closets and cabinets so that when my mother comes she thinks I'm always this tidy.
Here's the thing about my mother: she's a neat freak. Go to her house on any given day - do a surprise drop-by, even - and I guarantee you'll find nary a dust bunny under the bed or crumb on the countertop. Open her linen closet and you'll see stacks of neatly folded towels and sheets. Her drawers? Not a single thing left unfolded or crumpled and stuffed in. And though she would never say a word about it, I know she'd be secretly horrified at the state of my closets and stuff. Here's why:

Yeah. And this is after I organized it like two months ago - but the kids play in there (apparently vacuum attachments make great guns). I'm not even going to show you my bedroom closet because every time I open the door, I risk a crap-avalanche. Just picture my linen closet, but like ten (okay, twenty) times worse. It's because I don't have a dresser, and everything that gets folded and stacked on the closet shelf ends up toppling over and we just sift through it. (Also: I'm lazy.)

Mom, I know you're probably going to read this, and I know you're going to graciously say, "Don't worry about it! You've got more important things to do!" But I can't help thinking about the horror that would creep through you upon seeing the behind-the-doors messes. It would be traumatic, and I love you too much to subject your delicate, tidy sensibilities to that kind of torture.

#2: Potty train Coby so that I won't have two kids in diapers ... again.
For those of you who've been reading The Frump in the nearly three years since Coby was born (sniff, sniff ... where did my baby go?!), you may remember that I over-eagerly tried to potty train Cameron before his baby brother came along, resulting in this. And then, regrettably, this.

The thing was, I was sooooo scared of having two children simultaneously in diapers that I overlooked the fact that Cameron was one and a half, and just not ready to be potty trained. And it totally freaking backfired. And I ended up with two children simultaneously in diapers ... for like a year. Blah!

But I think we can do it with Coby. He'll be three in September, and he seems to be aware of his bodily functions. Although he's at that frustrating point where he'll only pee and poop in the big boy potty if a.) he is physically taken there and plopped onto the toilet, and b.) he's naked from the waist down. But we went through this same phase with Cameron at one point, and as I recall, it wasn't too long before he had it down. So. I've got a month to do this. Surely I can get it done in a month, right?

... Right??


#3: Make my children totally independent so that I don't have as much to do when the baby comes.
I'm only sort of kidding here. I know that at six, four, and two, they're not quite old enough to like completely take care of themselves ... but I have this case of cold feet when it comes to taking care of four kids. Specifically: OMG how the hell am I going to do this? So I've been taking steps to get them in the habit of doing things for themselves. I'm letting Colin pour his own milk sometimes (cringe). I'm letting Cameron and Coby walk into the grocery store together, holding hands so nobody makes a break for it, instead of carrying Coby which is far easier at this point. I'm making them put their own plates in the dishwasher after every meal. Sometimes things like this aren't always easy, and they lead to more messes for now - but the way I figure it, I'd rather have an extra mess to clean up now than when I have an infant vying for my attention.

So anyway. That's my plan for my Zumba hiatus. Anybody wanna take bets on how much of it will actually be accomplished?

Oh, Behave!

I just don't flipping get it.

Do you ever feel like your oldest kid is a glorified guinea pig? Like the poor child is subjected to all your mistakes and missteps and poor parenting judgments, all your moments of "duh, what do I do now?" and all the things you do before you realize hey, that was a terrible idea? I hate that feeling. I figured it would get easier with time ... that, since Curtis and I have been parenting Colin for nearly seven years now, we'd feel more confident. More secure in the decisions we make on his behalf.

But, uh ... we don't. Or at least, I don't.

Y'all remember this post? In a nutshell, I was griping about the seemingly-endless stream of negative notes Colin was bringing home from school in his daily planner. Seriously, almost every day there was something different from someone different: the art teacher. The gym teacher. The music teacher. The classroom teacher. The recess monitors. The lunchroom monitors. Colin wasn't following procedures. Colin was bothering other students. Colin was using inappropriate language (seriously, they called us in for an emergency middle-of-the-day parent-teacher meeting because he said "chicken poop." WTF!). I dreaded opening his planner, like, "Who's hating on my kid today?" I felt like a horrible parent because they obviously felt that my son was the "bad seed." I felt deeply sad because I know he isn't a bad seed, and they just didn't know the Colin that we know. I felt confused, because we'd tried everything from punishments to positive reinforcements.

And still nothing changed. Note after note.

And then Curtis went to the school and talked with several of Colin's teachers, and the principal. He told them what we've been telling them for eons - that if they'd give Colin more of a challenge, he'd likely fall into line. He told them we were frustrated with his behavior and with the bad reports, and mentioned that we were seriously considering homeschooling him.

He said their response was surprising. Like, "Oh no, we'd hate to see Colin leave, we love him so much, he's just a little sweetheart, he's so interesting to talk to!"

My response when he told me that was, "Huh?" I mean, if he's such a sweetheart, if they love him so dearly, then why the negative notes home every day? I just didn't get it.

And now there's something else I don't get.

Since that meeting? There have been NO NOTES. None. It's been almost a month. Colin gets a smiley face in his planner every day. He has been bringing home small prizes, like a mini-Slinky and a curly straw, for good behavior. The art teacher, the music teacher, the gym teacher, the lunchroom ladies ... they're all silent. No "Colin was doing this" or "Colin wasn't doing that" or "Please remind Colin of blah blah blah."

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I'm not sure I get it. Nothing has changed at home as far as the way we deal with Colin. He is the same kid here that he's always been. He's bringing home the same homework and still complaining that it's too easy (and it is). Yet he's done a total 180 at school and gone from the kid they loved to gripe about d-a-i-l-y to the kid whose behavior is so good it merits a prize?

Why? What's going on?

Any theories? Because I have no idea. Were they seriously that afraid of losing him (and if so, why in the heck?) that they stopped the notes because they don't want us to pull him out of school next year? Are they keeping his bad behaviors to themselves because they thought we were complaining about the volume of notes? Did they realize that things like saying "chicken poop" aren't really that big of a deal and back off? Or has he really made this miraculous transformation? And if so, what the heck happened?!

We thought we had come up with a good solution for next year. There's a school here in our district that they're making into multi-age classrooms, where the kids advance at their own pace - which we feel would be perfect for Colin. But now that he seems to have renewed enthusiasm for his school - and they seem to have renewed enthusiasm for him - is it a good idea to transfer him?

It's all so effing confusing. I think he left his instruction manual inside my uterus when he came out.

I'm emailing his teacher today to set up a meeting. We've got to go down there and find out what in the h-e-double-hockeysticks is the deal with this abrupt (and unnerving, and weird) change. I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but it seems fishy.

One, Two, Punch!

My friends from Zumba are throwing me a baby shower this Sunday (awww!), and I'm not gonna lie - I am super stoked. Because everybody assumes that since I already have three boys, and am expecting a fourth, I've already got everything I need. But, y'all? Nothing could be further from the truth. Once your stuff goes through three kids - three destructive, hole-ripping, stainy boys at that - it's pretty much toast. In fact, I haven't needed this much new baby stuff since, well, the first time I had a baby nearly seven years ago. So I'm definitely excited.

I know the concept of a shower is that the mother-to-be is supposed to just sit back and be the guest of honor, but I can't. I've never been comfortable with having much of a fuss made over me. Like at my wedding, when "The Wedding March" started playing and I began my trek down the aisle and everybody stood up, I wasn't thinking of my handsome groom at the altar ... I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, please sit down, it's just me."

Anyway, because I felt I had to do something for my shower, I volunteered to supply the punch. Because, you see, I am directly descended from a master punch-maker. My grandma Sibyl made punch for every wedding reception, shower, birthday party, Bible school, and random festive occasion that took place in our small town. Seriously, the woman kept supplies on hand, because at least once a month she was asked to contribute some of the delicious slushy punch she was famous for. I had it at my wedding shower, my reception, my baby shower, and my children's birthday parties.

So I figured it was only fitting that I just, you know, whip up a quick batch for this shower.

I thought it would be easy. I have the recipe. I can follow a recipe.

But if your grandma is anything like mine was, you know that grandmas tend to just know things, and they don't always write them down because they just assume you'll know them too. Like, for example, whether the "two boxes of Jell-O" the recipe calls for are the little boxes or the big boxes. And, uh, what flavor they're supposed to be.

At times like these, I desperately wish I could call Grandma and be like, "Old woman, what the heck do you mean by 'two boxes of Jell-O?' Be more specific!" But she went to heaven three years ago next month, and I can't phone her up with my silly questions any more.

So I forged ahead with the small boxes. The recipe instructed me to boil them with some water and sugar, so that's what I did. Only, oh noooo ... what was this pink scummy-looking stuff crusting along the edges of the pot? Was that supposed to be there? I whisked it. The scum disappeared. All was safe.

A half-cup of lemon juice, the recipe said. Only I didn't have bottled lemon juice. So I had to squeeze fresh lemons. Dang, it takes a lot of lemons to produce a half-cup of juice. And ouch, I didn't realize I had so many hangnails until I got all this lemon juice in them. And then once I got the juice squeezed, I had to strain out the seeds and most of the pulp and make sure it was - OMFG the pot is boiling over!!!

Boiled-over Jell-O and sugar splashed across the stovetop is not my friend.

But at least the gelatin was dissolved.

I stirred in the hard-earned half-cup of lemon juice, and then consulted the recipe again. Four cups of cold water - I could do that. Two 46-ounce cans of pineapple juice ... got 'em.

But oh, crap. My pot wasn't big enough. I don't have a pot in this house that was big enough.

So I divided the boiled Jell-O mixture in half between two pots, and put a can of pineapple juice in each. Crisis averted. But then? I had to figure out how to get it into the empty juice bottles I planned to freeze it in. So I dipped in a measuring cup and used it to pour the punch mix into the narrow bottle openings, making a HUGE mess in the process. There was more punch on the stove. Punch dripping down the sides of the measuring cup. Punch dripping down the sides of the juice bottle. A big red ring of punch on the recipe card. Several big red rings of punch staining my kitchen counter. I said some words I'm certain my grandma never used while she was making punch. And then?

I realized with dismay that my two little juice bottles weren't going to hold it all. Well, piss.

Grandma, she had some plastic gallon-sized ice cream buckets that she always used to freeze her concentrated punch. I had no such thing. Luckily, all I needed was one extra juice bottle, and I had a nearly-full one in my fridge. I poured the juice into a pitcher, washed the bottle out, and filled it with the remainder of the punch. Success!

Then I realized that I hadn't actually tasted it, and what if I used the wrong proportions of something and it was nasty? So I frantically tipped the pot up to my lips and drained the last drops of it into my mouth. As soon as the sweetness hit my tongue, I was flooded with both relief, and memories of showers and parties and occasions gone by. It was just like Grandma used to make.

Only, you know, more of a mess.

Now as long as the bottles don't explode in the freezer, we'll be good to go. I hope everybody likes punch ...

I Hate Late

I'm a fairly prompt person. I like to be on time ... and even a little bit early, if possible. Which is why Colin has never been late in his two years of public school education.

... Which is why this morning, I took him to school in my pajamas, with glasses and uncombed hair, and two little brothers who were dressed in jeans and shirts but coatless-and-shoeless-in-under-forty-degree-weather. (Parent of the year right here, y'all.) 

What?? We weren't getting out of the car. At least Colin was seasonally appropriate, with his hair combed and shoes tied and jacket on and stuff. And at least he wasn't late, like he would've been if I had taken time to put on things like shoes and jackets and bras.

I swear, I woke up in time. Six o'clock, I was lying awake in bed. And with my typical morning routine, I can even get out of bed at 7:00 (not that I ever get to, mind you) and still make it out the door by 7:50. But for some reason this morning everything just conspired against me. I walked into the living room and nearly stumbled into a puddle of pee on the carpet. I believe it came from the pug, but who knows? Anything is possible. So I had to remedy that. And then deal with the fact that Coby had managed to keep his Pull-Up dry overnight, but pooped in it immediately upon waking up. Blah. (Yeah, potty training is going phenomenally, thanks.) Changing a poopy Pull-Up is not like changing a poopy diaper. They're not equipped to handle such disasters.

Then Colin wanted his waffles cut up like his brothers, which he never does. In fact, he usually gets mad if I cut them up. But he has a loose tooth, and it's sore, and I should have remembered our exchange from yesterday's breakfast ...

Colin: It's kind of hard to chew on my right side because I have a wiggly tooth.
Me: So chew on your left side.
Colin: ... but I'm right-handed.


So anyway, the extra cutting-up-of-waffles took another chunk out of my time budget this morning. And then Colin's button-up shirt needed a quick ironing.

While I was burning the piss out of myself with the blasted steam setting ironing, I told Colin to go ahead and get his pants and shoes and socks on. Which is what I thought he was doing. I couldn't see him, but I could hear him, and he was asking me a million and one questions about why irons use steam and why steam makes things wet and did I know he saw a real live leech at school? I answered his questions as quickly and dismissively as possible, interspersing them with, "Colin. I hope you're getting dressed while you're doing all this talking."

Guess what? He wasn't. So I had done all this ironing, which took like eight minutes, and he was still standing in the living room pantsless.

And sockless. And shoeless. And with his hair sticking up in ten different directions. And with two naked little brothers, and a braless and pajama-clad mother. And we had, like, four minutes to make it out the door.

I swear, if I'd had access to a cattle prod this morning I probably would have used it. A dawdly child (or three) is the enemy of the morning routine. And no threat of, "You're going to be late for school!" seemed to faze anybody ... at all.

Even when we got to school, Colin lingered incessantly in the car while I "dropped him off." (Pushed him out, is more like it.) He had to give his brothers hugs and kisses. He had to put his backpack on his back instead of carrying it. He had to ask a ton of the random questions Colin is famous (or perhaps infamous?) for. I seriously felt like opening his door, giving him the boot, and speeding away.

But I didn't, because I'd already reached my bad-mom quota for the morning, what with the underdressed children in the back seat. So I patiently but firmly let him know that there would be no more talking, that he had to get out of the car. And he did.

With one minute to spare.

Thank goodness nothing happened on the way back home ... no breakdowns or fender-benders. Because a late slip from school, we could handle. But an accident while braless in public? I shudder to think. (... And probably, so would everybody else.)

To the First-Time Moms ...

I don't usually shell out unsolicited advice. But to anyone reading who's pregnant with her first child?

ENJOY IT. Enjoy it like crazy. And then enjoy it some more, for those of us who don't have the luxury.

And trust me, it is a luxury.

Oh sure, you may be sick or swollen like a blimp or feel like you've been kicked in the crotch or are sprouting weird hairs in unfortunate places. I don't mean you have to enjoy that. But, y'all? Savor the fact that you still have the ability to do something about it; this is largely confined to your first pregnancy, unless you have a devoted house-husband to tend to your every need and whim (and if so, I hate you).

If you're swollen, you can sit down and put your feet up for a while without having to worry about someone - or multiple someones - climbing all over you like a jungle gym (or needing help with something in the other room the second your butt touches the couch). Those hairs? You can lock yourself in the bathroom with some wax for as long as it takes, without worrying that someone is sprinkling sugar all over your kitchen or pooping in an unacceptable location. If you're sick? You can get in the bed, alone, or at least hang over the toilet without hearing, "Mommy! Mommy, are you throwing up? Mommy, can I watch?" Perhaps exhaustion is your problem? Then going to bed at 6:30 is your prerogative ... no waiting until baths and homework are complete and Scooby Doo is over or it's "dark enough" outside. Too tired to cook? Then don't! There's no one in your house unable to feed him or herself ... yet! Not one iota of bad-mom guilt to worry about!

I remember being pregnant with Colin, seven long years ago, and doing things like napping on the couch and eating cookies for dinner just because that's what I wanted. Now those things seem like a faraway dream. I've got stuff to do that just can't be neglected unless I want Child Protective Services knocking at my door. Like feeding my kids (relatively) balanced meals and providing them with clean clothes and basic hygiene, since for the most part they're all too young to do any of that themselves. And helping Colin get ready for school and stuff. And refereeing brotherly squabble after brotherly squabble. It doesn't matter if I've had five hours of spotty sleep and feel hung over and look like somebody's grandpa.

So. If you're expecting your first child? SAVOR THE EXPERIENCE. At no other time will you be able to take care of yourself the way you can right now. Each pregnancy will get progressively more tiring, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it.

... Except take to your blog and complain bitterly. Not that I'd know anything about that. ;)

Pre-Easter Feasting

Don't worry, my pretties, you're safe ... it's the chocolate I'm after.

Sometime last week, my husband came home with a bag of Easter candy. "This isn't everything I want to get for the Easter baskets," he said, "but at least we've got a head start." And he put it in the closet, hidden from the boys.

But y'all? When there's a bag of Easter candy in my closet, I totally have to see what's in there.

And oh my word. He got chocolate.

If it had been anything else, I could have stayed out of it. In fact, the marshmallow Peeps are still in there, unopened. So are the fruity little suckers, and a couple of other unappetizing things. But ... there were caramel-filled Cadbury eggs! And mini Cadbury eggs! And Reese's peanut butter eggs! You know how I get when faced with peanut butter and chocolate. And I'm pregnant. With cravings.

You see where this is going, right?

Yesterday when we were doing some grocery shopping, I casually mentioned that we needed to finish the Easter baskets. And Curtis was all, "At least we already have the candy." And I was all, "............"

He swiveled around to face me. "We do have the candy ... right?"

"We have Peeps," I said. "And suckers. And those, like, cheap waxy chocolate coins."

"... But the caramel Cadbury eggs? The mini Cadbury eggs? The Reese's eggs?"

I hesitated.

"You didn't," Curtis said.

".... I did," I replied sheepishly. "I mean, it took a few days ..."

He sighed. Probably thinking about what a fat gluttonous cow his wife has become, what with eating all the Easter candy meant for the children and such.

When we got to the checkout counter, someone had left a six-pack of Reese's eggs randomly laying there. So I said, "Maybe we should get these, you know, to replace the ones that are ... um ... missing?"

Curtis snatched them out of my hands. "Are you kidding?" he asked. "There's still a week until Easter. We'd have to buy two more packs to replace this one by the time it actually rolls around." And then, mumbling to himself: "I need to hide the candy better next time."

He's right. It would take a padlocked safe and a couple of heavily armed guards good hiding place to keep me out of that crap.


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