The Mom-ual

There's nothing like writing a three-page list of instructions to make you feel like a total control freak.

How to Keep the Kids Alive and the House Relatively Un-destroyed by Rita Templeton

In all fairness, Curtis asked me to write him out "a detailed schedule" to follow while I'm in Mexico. He took a week off work to, essentially, do my job for a week. (Sweet? Very. Brave? Definitely.) And since I'm the one who's here all the time, I have the boys' daily routine down to a science. So when he asked me to give him details, I did. Can I help it if my details are down-to-the-minute?

"I'm not saying you have to do exactly what I do," I said. "I'm just saying that this is what they're used to, and it'll be a whole lot easier on you if you stick to it as much as you can."*

*What I meant: "Do exactly what I do."

I've gotta admit, there's an ulterior motive. Because the more he follows the regular routine, the less I have to do to get them back into it. Y'all know how it is after, say, an extended stay with the grandparents. The kid comes home and all of a sudden he's miraculously forgotten that there are rules and bedtimes and no, you cannot have cake for breakfast.*

*Unless you are me, in which case, have cake whenever you want.

Once your kids are out of the routine, it can take days - weeks - to get them back into it, and you feel like an absolute tyrant trying to steer them back on course.

Curtis is a fabulous dad. An outstanding father. I couldn't have asked for better. But ... he's the fun one. And when the fun one is left in charge, well, the outcome isn't always good.

Like the time I came home to find a hole in our barbecue grill from a science experiment gone wrong.

Like the time I came home to find a then-two-year-old Coby with a loose front tooth. Because he had fallen on the floor. Which was wet due to a water gun fight, with Daddy, in the house. (One of Coby's front teeth has been gray for almost two years now because of this.)

Like the time this happened.

Or this.

Or like last night, when I came home to find the boys up half an hour past their bedtime, shoveling chocolate chips into their mouths by the handful. (And yes, if you want to know: I was probably more upset about them eating my chocolate chips than anything else.)

Point is, I think the three-page instruction manual I presented Curtis with was warranted. It has helpful tidbits such as, "If you make pancakes or waffles, follow this guide: Colin likes his with honey only, Cameron likes his with syrup only, and Coby likes his with butter only," and, "If you give the baby any cup besides the one that says 'Dr. Brown's,' make sure he's wearing a bib." I mean - these seemingly nitpicky tips will save him a ton of time, I guarantee. Time that he could use to do laundry or plan dinner or clean something up.*

*Or that he could use to do what he'll most likely do, which is eat Doritos and watch shows about fishing.

My fabulous instructions even included a recipe for the dudes' favorite after-school snack: Chocolate Chip Mug-Muffins. What's that you say? You'd like to know more? Well basically, it's a single-serving dessert in a mug. One minute in the microwave and bam! Deliciousness.

In a microwave-safe mug, mix together:
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
A few sprinkles of salt

To that, add:
2 Tablespoons of milk (I guess you could also use water)
1/2 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
A dash of vanilla
About twelve chocolate chips

Microwave for one minute.

It's super-easy and the boys love it. Plus, "mug-muffins" is fun to say.

You just said it to yourself, didn't you? :)

Anyway, I may have composed a three-page manifesto on the care and feeding of the boys, but it's for Daddy's own good. Now I just have to trust him to follow my advice and keep things in line while I'm gone.

What's the worst that could happen?

... Don't answer that.

Rita's Last-Minute Primp-stravaganza

Don't forget to check out the latest giveaway - you've got two more days to enter, so click on over to the "Giveaways and Reviews" tab!

Did I mention I go to Mexico in just under a week? For seven days, my friend Denni and I will be hitting up the buffets blissfully lounging on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. I still can't believe it's actually happening - and y'all know how much I need a vacation. (If you're not sure I'm deserving, just read a few past blog posts.)

But there are two things about going to Mexico. One is that I will be wearing items of clothing that bare certain parts of my body that haven't seen the light of day in months. And two is that I will be seen, for the first time since 2008, in my bathing suit in public. I'm in such avoidance of my bathing suit that I don't even know where it is, and I only have a few days left to find it. (It's probably buried somewhere in my festering abyss of a closet.) I wasn't all that comfortable with it in 2008 ... and that was five years and two pregnancies ago.

Rita: Now With Extra Skin and Further Deflated Boobs! Bonus NEW Purple Stretchmarks!

I'm definitely not the most out of shape I've ever been - I've been teaching Zumba for nearly two years, after all - but let's just say that of the fifty pounds I gained from Corbin, at least twenty-five or thirty are still hanging rudely around. Mostly in the hip and thigh area. And in that weird  flap of my lower abdomen that just appeared since my emergency C-section. *shakes fist at baby* I don't exactly have time to drop said baby weight. So body flaws be damned, I'ma have to work with what I've got.

First up: my hair. I tried to dye it over the weekend. When I was in high school and college I wasn't even sure what my natural hair color was, but this time around, I hadn't dyed it in like five years. (Though I'm pretty sure I've threatened to do it more than once.) My hair is naturally a dark boring brown, but I was blonde until like first grade - so I thought I'd go lighter for the trip. I bought a box of dye called "Crystal Brown" (coincidentally, also the name of one of my very best friends in elementary school - so how could I go wrong, right?). It was supposed to look like this:


Unfortunately, even though I deliberately chose a neutral shade, it turned out with a huge reddish cast that I hate. Nothing against redheads, I just don't look like I'm supposed to be one. I'm not posting a picture because they don't do it justice - but trust me - it's more ginger than I care to go.

So I have an appointment at an actual salon on Friday to get that shit fixed. As someone who was cringing at the thought of paying $11 for a box of hair dye, you can imagine how that feels.

Ugh.

And speaking of ugh, there's the other end of me: my feet. Seeing as they're going to spend a week in flip-flops, I'm thinking I need to whip them into shape as well.

Now if I weren't so cheap frugal, I would have been treating myself to regular pedicures and they'd look great. But. I am cheap thrifty and I think the last (and only) time I got a professional pedi was in 2007 or so. Yes, I could have done something at home, but it's winter, y'all. I barely have time to shave my legs in the winter, let alone pay attention to feet that nobody's going to see for months. Therefore, they are a hard, crusty, callused mess. Leathery enough to make Fred Flintstone jealous.

So I have this little egg-shaped foot-filer-thingy. And a few days ago I was sawing on my feet like I was trying to cut down a redwood tree. But what I didn't think about was that after you file off your calluses, there's, like, new skin underneath there. And it hurts when it rubs up against your shoes and stuff. So I've been hobbling around, teaching Zumba with sore feet, and by the time I go to Mexico they'll probably be all toughened up again.

I'm also exfoliating in the shower. Slathering lotion on so my skin looks decent. Deep-conditioning. Waxing. Tweezing. Using my awesome homemade aspirin mask. Basically scrambling to make up for all the beauty regimens I so often neglect in favor of, you know, cleaning up messes and cooking and doing laundry.

All to make myself look like I do this stuff all the time (kind of like the mad dash right before a visit to the gynecologist). Like I just look effortlessly gorgeous.

Ironic, no?

Urine Trouble, Mister ...


Wonder if anyone would clean my litter box for pancakes?


Anybody know where I can get a good maid's uniform?

No, not the kind with the booty-baring ruffly skirt and the low-cut top. Don't nobody wanna see all that (trust me. I think I'd have issues with my boobs hanging lower than the skirt). I mean the kind that actual housekeepers wear.*

*At least on TV because I have never seen a housekeeper up close in my entire life which is why my house kind of looks like a tornado picked up a Toys 'R' Us and a pet store and then dropped all that crap in my living room.

I'm just a servant lately. A cleaning, cooking, fetching-and-delivering, butt-wiping, sanitizing, laundry-doing, yelling and cranky servant. It's spring break, so I've got all four of my dudes home with me all day, every day. And since they've been sick, we haven't been anywhere. Like, nowhere. Needless to say, everybody is a little stir-crazy, and that's a recipe for bickering and overreacting and tantrums and shenanigans.

The sickness has pretty much meant I'm at everybody's beck and call. I don't agree with waiting on my kids hand and foot, but y'all? When there's the threat of vomitus in the house - or more precisely, on the sheets you just washed - unless you direct someone to the toilet pronto, you kinda tend to "snap to it" every time someone yells, "Mommy!" from the other room.

(As an aside, why do kids feel like they need to tell you before they barf? It's like ... just go do it. Don't waste precious puke-free seconds alerting me and then risk ralphing on the carpet on the way to the bathroom.)

Anyway, now that the threat has passed (knock on wood), I am beyond tired of jumping up and running to whoever bellows for me. The boys have gotten used to it and now they're yelling for      
things they could damn well get up off their butts and ask me for to my face. And that is not happening!

So today after the very first caterwauling "Moooo-ooooooooooom!" I heard from elsewhere in the house, I put my foot down.

"Okay!" I announced in my most authoritative voice. "I'm no longer answering to anyone who yells at me from another room. If you need me, come and get me."

They acted like they understood, so I took the baby and some crackers and went into Colin's room (it's the only place with a desk) to write ...

... only to be interrupted like ten thousand times. Seriously. For every time they would've normally yelled, they bothered me in person at least twice. And the conversations typically went like this:

Cameron (wailing): Moooommm-myyyyyy! Colin says I can never play the Wii again!

Me: And? Does Colin have the authority to tell you that?

Cameron: ... *sniff* No ...

Me: Okay then.

So yeah. My grand idea backfired in a big way. I mean, I might've gotten a decrease in yelling, but the tattling seemed to multiply.

After the fourth tattle in, like, two minutes - this time because Colin was "making scary noises" at Coby - I called them all in front of me for a lecture. Which I ended with, "And Colin, stop provoking your brothers."

Everybody nodded and ran out of the room ... except for Cameron. "Mommy, what does provoking mean?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "it means bothering someone until they do something they probably shouldn't do." What I meant by "something they probably shouldn't do" was lose their temper. But Cameron took it a different way.

"Ohhh, so Colin was provoking me to pee in the litter box?"

... cricket, cricket ...

I thought there was something odd when I scooped it out this morning. I thought one of the cats must have been seriously thirsty at one point.

Okay, so my plan may have failed at bringing me any peace, but it did bring me some new-found knowledge.

Not that it's anything I wanted to know.




PS - It's time for another giveaway! Click the "Giveaways and Reviews" tab at the top to check out what goodies are in store!

Bright-Side Babbling

If I were a phone, my low battery light would be flashing. Because y'all? I am one worn-out mama.

Where do I even begin? First of all, we said goodbye to Thurman yesterday. He's no longer in pain. I can't say the same for myself, however, because I loved the hell out of that cat ... grumpiness, weak stomach and all.


Thurman getting pissed at Meeko. Which is pretty much what he did best.

As soon as I got out of bed this morning, I thought I saw Thurman on my way to the bathroom. And so it begins.

I just can't wait for it to end.

Then there's the issue of the illness. So far, by some divine miracle, no one else has gotten it - but Coby, poor little thing, is still sick. His fever is gone, and he didn't throw up at all yesterday, until Curtis wisely fed him some ham steak while I was at Zumba. Then he barfed on the kitchen floor. And in the middle of the night last night, he went into the bathroom to pee and ended up splattering the floor with diarrhea. Again. And he has thrown up twice since then: only once in the toilet. Oh, the vomiting habits of the three-year-old.

Sigh.

Did I mention it's spring break for my kids? That means they're all home, all day, ALL THE TIME. I can't pretend I don't love the break from shuttling everybody back and forth to and from school, but my days consist of any combination of the following:

Me saying, "No, you can't have Doritos."

Me saying, "That's enough popsicles."

Me saying, "That's enough Wii/computer/tablet."

Me saying, "Leave your brother alone!"

Me threatening.

Kids whining.

Kids bickering.

Kids asking to go places I don't want to take kids. Constantly.

Kids raiding the kitchen cabinets incessantly.

Kids dragging out every toy in their toybox and then complaining when it's time to put them back.

Kids making forts and tents with every available blanket in the house.


That's in addition to the normal duties. The baby, the laundry, the dishes, the pets, the sick child. And then? I have a work deadline looming. It's hard to write with all this going on.

But.

Dirty dishes mean that I have food. Laundry means we're all clothed (well. You know. Some of us) and that I have the means to wash it at home. A work deadline means that I'm employed. Curtis being gone all the time means that he's employed. And there may be sickness in this house, but at least it's a silly virus that my kids will get over and it's not, like, chemotherapy making them throw up.

So I'm looking on the bright side.

Plus: there's Mexico. Did I mention I'm going to Mexico? One of my very best besties, Denni, invited me to go with her to Puerto Vallarta, and we leave in less than two weeks. And I need a vacation in the very worst way. It was kind of a short-notice trip and therefore my hips and thighs aren't exactly in swimsuit condition, but hey - that's what maxi dresses are for.

See? Bright side.

Okay, gotta go. The kids just ran in here excitedly telling me they made a "science putty" consisting of vinegar, bread, ice cubes, and red food coloring.

Brightsidebrightsidebrightside .........


PS - If you've got computer-loving kids like mine, look for a JumpStart review and giveaway later today!! Woohoooo!!

Suckimus Maximus


My kids have a stomach virus. Again. And my cat is dying.

Thurman is my favorite cat of the three we've got roaming around. You know, Thurman, the weak-stomached food stealer, the one I named after Thurman Merman from the movie Bad Santa? He's old. The shelter we adopted him from estimated him to be one age and the vet estimated him to be another, but he's anywhere from eleven to fifteen. Recently he started losing a ton of weight despite eating and pooping normally (because I'm intimately familiar with the contents of that litter box, y'all). So we took him to the vet, who proclaimed that everything looked normal and that he was just really old and dropping weight because that's what old animals do. That was a few weeks ago, but he's gone downhill quickly. He's having trouble getting around on his thin, rickety legs now, and he's barely eating or drinking even when we try and feed it to him. He just walks a few feet and then painfully resettles his jutting bones for a nap before he walks any further. And yesterday, he peed while he was laying on the kitchen floor. I can't watch him go through this any more, so if he lives through tonight, we're having him put to sleep tomorrow. At this point it's the humane thing to do. But it sucks major ass because I love that cat like a lot, and he follows me around like a dog and is almost always in my line of vision. It's going to hurt when he's not there any more. I remember that feeling from the awfulness we went through with our dog Andy - I was so keenly aware of his absence. The space he left followed me, just like he had, and I dread feeling that way about Thurman.

I love him, though, and I don't want him to just suffer like this until he finally dies. Because either way, the same result is inevitable, and I'd rather speed it along for his sake.

On top of that, Curtis has had to work aaaaaaallllll weekend. The night shift. And at about two o'clock this morning, Coby - who had fallen asleep on the couch - came into my bedroom whispering, "Mom? I barfed on the couch."

I jerked awake. Which of course jerked the baby awake. He started crying.

"I have to pooooop!" Coby whined.

"Then go! Go! Go!" I said, frantically ushering him toward the bathroom. At which point Corbin crawled straight off the edge of the bed. I scooped him up, but then remembered the barf in the living room, so I put him back down which really pissed him off. I dashed into the living room, cleaned up the couch, hurriedly threw the blankets and pillow into the washing machine, washed my hands, and picked up Corbin again.

Running into the bathroom, I find Coby, standing in a puddle of liquid crap. And before I can even say anything, I feel a hot cascade down my back and realize the baby has thrown up on me. And the wall. And the floor.

"Seriously?!" I shrieked into the cosmos, because OMGWTF!!!!

So I had to clean everybody up. Everybody cried. All the ruckus woke Colin and Cameron, who whined because, well, it was the middle of the night.

And then, after I foolishly tucked Coby into my bed so I could keep an eye on him, he puked on my pillow. And then after that, a fart turned out to be more, so there went the sheets. For the rest of the night, I lay on a scratchy towel, in a state of half-wakefulness between Coby and Corbin, ready to leap to action at any noise that sounded remotely juicy.

Despite my best efforts, we've had enough blowouts (from both ends!) to keep my washer and dryer running constantly since I first started laundry at 2 a.m. Thank the Lord I'm lucky enough to have this modern convenience right here in my own home. And no, I promise that's not sarcasm - I'm just trying to look at the bright side, to realize that despite everything, I have a lot to be grateful for in this situation.

So that brings us to now. Two of my household down. I'm hoping, praying, begging that none of the rest of us fall victim to it like last time, but I'm thinking that's pretty naive. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that always spreads like wildfire no matter how many antibacterial products you slather everybody and every surface with. I can smell my own pits and I think I may have a teeny patch of someone's vomit crusted in my hair. My sink is full of dirty dishes. I have a headache and sick children to deal with - including a sick baby who cries if I'm not holding him. And Curtis is still sleeping.

And then Thurman.

And because all that isn't enough, Colin has learned to whistle, and he's just so proud of himself that he goes around whistling in.cess.ant.ly. Someone may need to commit me to a mental institution.

Only don't do it until after nine o'clock tonight because The Walking Dead is going to be on. Thank goodness.

Savings, Schmavings


Shh ... hear that?

That's the sound of Daylight Saving time sucking so hard that it's zapping the brain power I'd usually use to describe how hard it sucks.*

*Or something like that.

Dude. This is the second morning IN A ROW that I have been utterly and unfortunately dragging ass, from the time I peel my reluctant self from between my sheets to the time I crawl back into them, exhausted. Yesterday, my eyes popped open and I felt all rusty and fumbled for my phone and when I looked at the time I was like, "OMG!" because it was seven forty-eight, y'all. A mere twelve minutes before school started. Considering I have a.) my morning routine timed out down to the second (which isn't always to my advantage), and b.) four children to feed, dress, and wipe the crust off of, 7:48 is not an optimal time to wake up on a school morning.

Of course, all of my kids were sleeping, which made it doubly painful because there's something horribly tragic about waking. your. children. when. they. are. still. asleep. at. almost. eight. o'clock. Do you realize how often that doesn't happen?! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten to sleep past eight in the seven-plus years that I've been a mother. The boys are all early birds, even coining the eldest a nickname: Crack-of-Dawn Colin. (Seriously, scroll down and search this site for that phrase and you'll come up with no fewer than seven posts ... such as this gem.)

I ended up getting them to school only about fifteen minutes late. Which sounds impressive until I tell you that they may or may not have eaten still-frozen waffles for breakfast. But hey! They liked them.

This morning, I was only a few minutes later than usual. I would have been back on schedule, but instead was I had to drag myself from the warmth of my bed into the biting frost of the morning in order to take the dogs outside because somebody *coughCurtiscough* is also apparently having trouble adjusting to the time change and has "run out of time" to do his morning-ly dog pee duties for two mornings in a row. And because that happened later than it normally does, I still had to deal with a puddle on the floor this morning.

You just don't realize how much you rely on schedules until yours - and therefore your kids' - gets flicked off-kilter by an hour twice a year! This isn't the first time I've griped about Daylight Saving Time, but I swear it's worse this time around. Like, seriously. I don't recall having this much trouble adjusting to it since ... well, ever. There is no "springing forward" around this piece.

When I'm old, I'm planning on doing what the rest of elderly America does and relocating to someplace warmer. And I'm increasingly leaning toward Arizona or Hawaii because those are the only two states with sense enough to stay out of this time change mess! I mean, a set schedule is pretty important to an old person, right? Why else would prunes be so popular?
 

Cravings be Crazy

I don't even remember how we got on the topic, but the other day, Curtis and I were talking about pregnancy cravings. And he had the audacity - the audacity - to suggest that, during my pregnancies, I overstated the urgency of my need for certain foods.

Clearly the man just doesn't have any idea of what a pregnancy craving feels like.

"Oh yeah?" I snapped. "Remember the turkey sandwich?"

He laughed. "Oh yes. The turkey sandwich."




The turkey sandwich was my very first pregnancy craving ever. It happened before I even knew I was pregnant - in fact, pregnancy was the furthest thing from my mind since we had been battling infertility for the last five years. We were living in Germany at the time, and it was a frigid evening in October. Curtis and I had met our friend Vince at a little pub for some billiards and beer.

I should have known something was weird when I wanted a beer. I don't even like beer, never have. Not the watery American beers and especially not the stout German beers that are all, like, hoppy and wheat-y and whatever else beer is made of. Yet that night, I downed a tall glass like it was water.

But then came the real craving.

A turkey-effing-sandwich, y'all.

It was seriously so overwhelming that I distinctly remember the moment it hit me. I actually gripped the side of the pool table. And it wasn't like, "Hmm, I think I'd fancy a turkey sandwich, la de da." It was like, "MUST! HAVE! TURKEY! SANDWICH! NOOOOOOOOWWWWW!" with a lot of drooling and bugged-out eyes and scary gnashing of teeth.

"Does this place sell food?" I asked Curtis and Vince, trying to be cool.

"They do during the day, but the kitchen is closed," I was told.

Okay, Rita, just relax. It's not important. You can do without a turkey sandwich.

But ... it was important. And for reasons unknown to me, I could not do without a turkey sandwich. It wasn't a question.

"I need a turkey sandwich," I said weakly to my companions.

They laughed.

"No!" I said, a little too forcefully. "I mean seriously, you guys, I need a turkey sandwich."

Curtis and Vince looked at me like I'd grown another head. They saw the desperation in my eyes.

"I stopped by the store before I came here," said Vince. "There might be some turkey in the trunk of my - "

Before he even finished the sentence, I was all, "GIVE ME YOUR KEYS!!!" and when he handed them over, slightly afraid, I dashed down the stairs and out into the night.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up on a German street, ragged breath swirling into the cold air, rummaging like a madwoman through the trunk of Vince's car. And finding a package of turkey. And shoveling the entire thing into my mouth with two fists, feeling completely insane and out of control the entire time.

... But also like, "Yeaaaaaaah. Tuuuuuurrrrkeeeeeeyyyyy."

Out of four pregnancies, I've craved runny eggs on toast and McDonald's cheeseburgers, crab legs and pad Thai, and Asiago bagels from Panera bread with sundried tomato cream cheese. Many times, Curtis has found himself making out of the way trips at all odd hours at knifepoint to fulfill these requests. So I can see how he'd be a little salty about it. BUT. For him to say that I didn't really need those things is like saying that you don't really need a big space to keep an elephant in. How can you make them comprehend that pregnancy cravings are so strong that you can fantasize about them while you are actually puking?

Dudes. They just don't understand.

What was your biggest pregnancy craving?


Ora-Hell

When I teach Zumba every Tuesday and Thursday night, I'm gone for like an hour and a half. Which means Curtis and our four little dudes are left at home.

Now when I'm at home with the boys, I get stuff done. I work at my day job (writing). I keep the kids fed, the house (relatively) picked up, the dishes cycling in and out of the dishwasher, the toilets scrubbed, the cats and dogs cared for. I keep up with the laundry. Okay, so maybe not folding, but at least it's washed.*

*Sometimes more than once if I forget to put it in the dryer before it starts to smell funky.

I can normally get a lot done, even with the boys, even in an hour and a half. So it is completely beyond my comprehension why, every Tuesday and Thursday night, almost without fail ... the house is a disaster when I get home.

Last night was no exception. I walked through the door to find Curtis sitting on the couch, playing an intense game of "Cut the Rope" on my tablet (priorities, right?). There was a pair of pants on the stove. Every comforter from every bed in the house was heaped onto the living room floor. There was cut-up paper everywhere. The kitchen chairs were lined up in a row. The kids were filthy. I'm not saying the house was pristine when I left, but this was kind of ridiculous. The baby came crawling down the hallway missing a sock, his hair sticky.

"Seriously?" I asked Curtis, gesturing at the disaster zone he was apparently oblivious to.

He shrugged. "Colin got his homework done," he said helpfully.

WTF.

As if on cue, Colin came up to me scratching at his leg. "What's this sticky stuff on me?" he asked. I squinted at it; whatever it was, it was faintly pink in color. So I ran my finger along it. It was indeed sticky. And also slightly grainy. And it smelled ... weirdly medicinal, with a hint of cherry. Cough syrup?

"I know what it is!" Colin piped up. "Orajel!"

If you've ever had a teething baby, you've probably heard of Orajel. It's this gel that you put on the baby's gums and it numbs them to dull the teething pain. And right now, with Corbin cutting three teeth at once, it's like liquid gold around here.
Colin licked the finger he'd used to scratch at the crust.* "Yep, it's Orajel," he confirmed. "My tongue is numb."

*Side note: boys are gross.

"And why is there Orajel all over your leg?" I sighed.

"I don't know, but it's on my comforter too."

Indeed, it was on his comforter. And on my pillow. And on the carpet in a couple of spots. And smeared into a clean diaper which was laying on my bedroom floor. It seems like whoever had the Orajel had squirted it all over the house. Yet I was having trouble getting a straight story about who exactly was the culprit.

Then Coby walked by me ...

... bow-legged.

I stopped him in his tracks. "Uh, Coby?" I asked.

"Yes Mommy?" he replied, looking up at me with his big eyes. (Did I mention he was naked?)

"Why are you walking funny?"

"Oh, it was just because my butt was hurting," he said casually. "But I put medicine on it to make it feel better."

Medicine?

"Bend over, please," I said. Obligingly, he did so, only to reveal ...

... Orajel.

Or as I should rename it, Orifice-jel. Because y'all? That's precisely where it was smeared. Under the not-so-watchful eye of his father, my boy had given himself a butthole full of teething medicine.

I still can't find the tube. I'm not sure I want to know where it is.

And if I do find it, I'm pretty sure I won't want to touch it.

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