March 30, 2014

The Tooth Fairy

Losing a tooth is like a childhood rite of passage - it shows you're graduating to "big kid" status, thus earning the right to brag about it at the lunch table while holding straws between your teeth like voodoo magic.  It also means a visit from a certain tutu-ed night caller with a rather impressive bankroll.

If you believe, as I do of course, in Santa Claus, Sasquatch, and the Tooth Fairy, I just wanted to give you some virtual fist bumps!  If only we could have an AMAZING New Year's party with these guys, AMIRIGHT?!  That's all, you can toddle along to another blog about rainbows and marshmallows and if you find any rad unicorn photos, please pass them along!


For everyone else, this is a tale of parenting failure in it's greatest form.  Our daughter, Lainey, has been losing teeth faster than an outmatched MMA fighter.  She currently has three gaping holes in her mouth, the most recent which occured last week.  For the 5th time, while I was at work, I received a text from my husband about another tooth biting the dust (because apparently Lainey can only lose teeth from 5-8pm), and so I assumed that he would "take care" of notifying the proper tooth authorities.  I came home from work later that evening, tiptoed into her room to give her a goodnight kiss, and went to bed.

"Mom, the tooth fairy didn't come..."  This is what I woke up to the next morning, along with a face so sad you would think that her favorite My Little Pony had accidentally fallen into the garbage disposal.  I'm not used to thinking much that early in the morning, so the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "Are you sure?"  Duh, mom, of course she's sure - The Tooth Fairy paid out $5 last time she lost a tooth, that's the equivalent of a million in adult money.  I'm pretty sure she can tell the difference between a gross bloody tooth and a million dollars.

"Yes, I'm sure..." my heartbroken child uttered as she started to walk out of the room.  OK mom, think of something, QUICK!

"Sweetie, The Tooth Fairy is very busy, do you know how many kids loose teeth every single night?  I'm sure she's on her way, just leave your tooth there so she doesn't have to hunt for it."  My daughter smiled and said ok, and I mentally gave myself a pat on the back.  Saving the day, and it wasn't even 7:30am yet!  I RULE!

About an hour later I found myself in my bedroom directly adjacent to hers while the kids were engrossed in a game on the Kindle.  Here's my chance, I thought.  I dug through the spiderwebs in my wallet and pulled out a was a sad little dollar, compared to the five before, but the economy is tough on fairies too and it WAS a bill, whereas last time she got it in coins, so would she really know the difference anyway?  Besides, whatever, I AM SUPERMOM!  So I snuck into her room and made the great exchange, taking care to haphazardly open the blinds/curtains and knock a couple things over near her bed for "proof" as well as leaving behind a glittery note (that was scrawled on a notecard while hiding in the bathroom).  The note read:  "Thank you Alaina for your tooth!  I'm sorry that I was late, bad weather in Canada!  Love, The Tooth Fairy".

Smiling, I went back to folding laundry, purposefully not drawing any attention so she could just happen upon the scene later the day and be utterly amazed.  Yes, the plan was fullproof now!  About ten minutes later Lainey walked into my bedroom right as I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket.  Much to my dismay, it also happened to be the very same pocket I had stashed the baggie with the tooth.  My reflexes, while very cat-like at that moment, could not compare to the questioning glance of a suspicious kindergartner when she saw the bag fall onto the bed, and she immediately went into interrogation mode.

Lainey, with the eyes of a thousand red hot pokers:  "Mom, why do you have my tooth in your pocket?"

Me, with the eyes of a confused and anxious rabbit:  "No I don't."  (I'm not a very quick thinker, what can I say...)

Lainey:  "Yes you do!  It just fell out of your pocket!  It's in that baggie you're holding!"

Me, CRAP! (that part I said only mentally...).  I picked up the bag upside down and at just the right angle for the tiny tooth to slide out of  the baggie and onto the floor before attempting to sell the Biggest Lie in All of Parenthood.  "NO I DON'T!  SEE?!  This bag is EMPTY!"  And then I shook the bag a rather excessive number of times to prove my innocence, the whole time praying that she didn't look down into the carpet.  Thankfully, she didn't.  But I did get a suspicious sideways glance as she slowly backed out of the room to confirm that her tooth was where it was supposed to be.

I breathed a long, deep, hard breath and wondered why in the world we do things like this?  Why do I subject myself to such an intricate web of lies instead of just saying, "Hey kid, nice job on knocking your tooth out, here's a buck."?  Where is my manual for these sorts of situations?  WHY MUST PARENTING BE SO HARD?

A few moments later Lainey comes running out of her room with her dollar and the note that looked like it had been written by a hobo, joy radiating from her face.  "Look mom!  I got a DOLLAR!  And a note!  Did you know my curtain is messed up?  I can't wait to show Owen!" and then she ran down the hallway.

I guess that's why we do this.  I'm still not positive which story Lainey believes, and I guess it doesn't matter at this point.  Next time though, I sure hope The Tooth Fairy beats that Canadian storm...

February 11, 2014

Pleasant Funny Stuff

I love this blog for it's therapeutic benefits and ability to make me feel somewhat productive, despite the fact that it only garners a readership of about 5 (love you mom!).  It's sort of like talking to yourself - it makes your ideas more exciting when you hear them out loud.  So most of the things I write here, I write regardless of whether or not anyone reads them.  But I recently discovered a folder of "unmoderated" comments that I never knew existed.  And boy, have I been missing out!  There is a wealth of insightful and supportive comments by a tremendously loyal follower who goes only by "Anonymous" that I've been missing out on...

On my blog where I presented Lainey's first book, my mystery fan left this wise little gem: "You cannot judge a tree by its bark."  I'm not exactly sure how it pertains to a random assortment of preschool drawings, to be honest.  And also, I'm pretty sure you can, in fact, judge a tree by it's bark - it's species, it's age, if a bear has peed on it recently.  Lots of info.

On another post, there was this: "each time i uѕeԁ tо rеаd smaller poѕts which aѕ well сlear theіr mοtіve, and that is also hapрening with this ρost which I am reading at this place."  And if anyone knows about clarity and motives, it would be THIS person!

This compliment was found on my post about Owen and the strange underwear: "fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this."  I'm trying to figure out just who, exactly, would be considered the opposite experts of the sector - people who advocate for clean underwear with a very specific location of origin?

"Every weekend i used to visit this web site, for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this site conations in fact pleasant funny stuff too."  Pleasant funny stuff, get your pleasant funny stuff here!  All that you wish for enjoyment!

"What i do not realize is in truth how you are not actually much more well-favored than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You already know thus considerably with regards to this topic, produced me in my view believe it from a lot of various angles.Its like men and women don't seem to be fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent. At all times deal with it up!"  I was really warming up to this person, with their obvious good taste in finding me well-favored and intelligent, but then they started talking about my girl gaga and my personal stuffs and it got. really. awkward.  I guess I will try to deal with it up, though.

"A role-playing game (RPG) is a game by which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. This is mainly because you may be playing in a level, doing very well, convinced you will be conquering the video game, you can all at once obtain a combination of Tetris pieces that will not work well collectively. The gameplay other than the ghost piece is basic with two modes in the marathon and 40 lines timed for single player. If the blocks reach the top of the screen, then the game will be over."  Um.....what?  I saw the word Tetris and, being a child of the 80s, thought perhaps if I read it again I might be able to comprehend.  Turns out...still no.

"These are genuinely enormous ideas in about blogging. You have touched some pleasant factors here. Any way keep up wrinting."  First my personal stuffs and now I'm touching pleasant factors?  I sure hope this isn't the gamer nerd from the last comment, because I saw a Lifetime movie like that once and it was *super* creepy.  Also, for the record, the genuinely enormous idea in blogging that they were referring to was my photo of Owen's string of drool.  I guess baby spit has the power to change the internet.

I'm glad that Anonymous enjoys my "wrinting", but unfortunately I have no desire to follow the link to their websites about pet insurance and miracle pills, so I have declined to publish their helpful comments.  Plus I feel like I need to be more diligent about safeguarding my girl gaga from here on out.  But everyone else is welcome to continue enjoying my pleasant funny stuff - maybe you have some enormous ideas of your own to share that I wish for enjoyment?

February 3, 2014

Blame the Groundhog

I was already over winter way back in November, before Mother Nature went all "Day After Tomorrow" on, I have a snow drift that looks like the Swiss Alps in my backyard and my kids have used up all of their days off school on account of it being -245 degrees outside.  And we aren't even halfway through yet...  Sometimes, when I hear the weather forecast, I feel like I'm Bill Murray and I keep waking up to the same thing over and over and over again.  "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties because it's COOOLD out there..."

Ahh, but today IS Groundhog Day!  Maybe that squirrel-looking pillow pet will bring us some relief, right?
Sigh.  Groundhog Day.  Of all of the holidays - and I'm using the term "holiday" VERY loosely here - Groundhog Day has to be one of the most pointless.  International Waffle Day?  That just makes sense.  But I don't generally rely on rodents to predict anything except the likelyhood that the crackers in my pantry have been eaten.  Come on, the thing is scared of it's own shadow, how smart can he possibly be?  But regardless, today, in front of a crowd of around 20,000 people who have absolutely nothing else going on in their lives, "Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous (and, I would argue, the only...) groundhog in history, emerged from his burrow early Sunday morning and with the help of his handlers declared that he saw his shadow."  Yes, you read that right - he declared he saw his shadow.  If you imagined that declaration being spoken in a chipmunk voice, you aren't alone.  But how, exactly, do we know if he saw it?  Did they teach him a secret squeal or growl or whatever the heck noise groundhogs make?  Does he push a "YES" or "NO" button?  He probably just came out, saw the giant piles of snow and the swirling polar vortex of coldness and said "To hell with this, I'm going back to bed!"  That's exactly what I did this morning, except my audience consisted of a 4 year old who had his pants on backwards.  And unlike P Phil, I have to work more than one day per year so I had to get up regardless of the winter-that-never-ends.  I read somewhere that in the 128 years that they have been holding this groundhog ceremony, only 17 times has the critter ever not seen his shadow.  That's like...some really small percentage, which only proves that the groundhog doesn't really know the secret squeal after all and just wants to be left alone for another 364 days.  Obviously, the fame has gone to his head.

So, six more weeks it is.  We will continue driving our cars on an ice skating rink and trying to find our mailboxes while Phil sits in his nice warm luxury burrow with toasted chestnuts and lettuce.  Yes, such a great holiday indeed... 

January 8, 2014

And this is why...

Anyone who knows me should know by now that I'm not a cook.  To me, walking in to the kitchen with a recipe is like trying to navigate a chaotic airport in Berlin with no knowledge of the language, no concept of where anything is, and no idea what that electronic thing on the wall is supposed to do.  And you have to find your terminal in an hour, or else you will miss your flight and then your family will be mad at you and will have to eat Cheerios.  Also, the Germans hate you.

Take, for instance, this angry German, aka kitchen appliance, that attacked me yesterday:

I mean, Crock Pots aren't supposed to do that, right?  I'm pretty sure that my recipe did not call for a tablespoon of shattered Crock Pot lid...  And all I did was turn it on low, put my food in, and put the lid on.  I was following directions, directions that even a kitchen moron like myself can handle, and yet still I failed.  It's like the mere idea of me trying to make a decent dinner from scratch made the Earth rotate on it's axis and my Crock Pot implode on itself.  That, or the kitchen Gods are having a good chuckle at me over a glass of Chardonnay and a Williams-Sonoma catalog.

As if I didn't hate cooking enough, turning it into some new daredevil sport of dodging flying glass shards makes it five times more likely that I won't engage in it.  Well, that, and I have no Crock Pot lid now.  In retaliation, I went out and got Chipotle today.  A delicious, safe, and (hopefully) glass-free burrito that I did not have to pick up a single utensil to enjoy.  Take THAT, kitchen Gods. 

January 2, 2014

The Ubiquitous Resolution Post

Well, it's officially 2014 now.  New Year's and I aren't exactly bosom buddies, having been blessed with such fond memories such as pulling someone out of a freezing river, having my heat go out with no one to fix it, and children with projectile vomiting.  I figure it's the Universe's way of saying, "Welp, it can only go up from here, right?"  So when I woke up the morning of New Year's Eve, I was not surprised to find my throat sore and my nose stuffed up.  The pressure in my head continued to build throughout the day until the ball finally dropped, my eyes watering and my head pounding as I suffered through commentary by Carson Daly (truth be told, it's possible that his horrifically dull personality had brought on those...hard to tell, really).  Happy New Year's, y'all!  Pass the Zicam...

But in between Kleenex runs I did have a little time to ponder my resolutions for the new year.  Diets are out, since I have the willpower of our lab mutt when someone drops a piece of bacon on the floor.  I could learn a new language, but I am already fluent in English and toddler, and I know enough Spanish and Italian to ask where the bathroom is and that's probably all I'd retain anyhow.  I should read more, I should paint more, I should exercise more, I should clean more, I should cook more, I should play with the kids more, I should sleep more...there are so many things I need to do more of.  But still, that's not where my resolution lies.

My thoughts went back to the day after Christmas.  I, unfortunately, had to be one of *those* people in the return lines thanks to a shirt miscalculation I had made for my husband.  Upon first glance, the line at Kohl's was like looking up from the base of Mount Everest but to their credit, Kohl's was pushing through those returns at a furious pace.  Everyone, that is, except for a mother-daughter duo who both had their faces contorted into the same hideous scowl and were screeching at the miraculously well-composed customer service rep behind the counter.  Their tone seemed to imply that this Kohl's rep had personally murdered someone in their family, but I arrived at the summit just in time to hear Scowly Mom hiss "Would you just shut up and listen?" followed by Scowly Daughter saying "You need to retrain your employees!".  Turns out, the pair were upset that they were being issued a gift card rather than cash and were livid that the cashier had not informed them of this upon checkout (because, you know, retail employees generally have oodles of free time near Christmas and should somehow anticipate that you don't actually want to keep whatever trinket it is that you purchased...).  I wish I had the power to give out Emmy awards because this rep delivered such a magnificent performance when I know that, inside, she just wanted to high five them in the face.  This scene was such a stark contrast to the week prior, when everyone was full of love and laughter - excited for Christmas, delighting in their gift choices and Rum Chata.  There were stories of strangers helping people out to their cars with their Christmas treasures, of lay aways being paid in full as if Kmart actually had Santa Claus on speed dial, of 5-digit checks landing in the Salvation army kettles, of thousands of people showing up to sing Christmas carols to a little girl with cancer.  And then, bam, the day after Christmas and we are fighting over clearance items and screaming at innocent store employees.  What sort of weird black Christmas void have we created that in a matter of only a couple days we go from wanting to reach out a hand to help our neighbors to wanting to push them into the hole and then fill it with dirt?

My 2014 resolution is this:  I want to spend the entire year as if it were Christmas.  Not just a few weeks, not just after I've eaten turkey, but all 365 days.  I want my year to be filled with that warmth, laughter, goodness and generosity that - for some odd reason - we usually only see around the holidays.  I do not have the money to change someone's life, but I have my words.  I have my actions.  And perhaps most importantly, I have two very impressionable young people watching me and learning from me.  Cheesy?  Yes, Wisconsin-quality I'm sure.  But I would rather be cheesy than be that ugly customonster at Kohl's.  Offering kindness is not a seasonal thing, it should be a daily thing.  Each day I get, each person I interact with, I want to try to see them all as Christmas gifts given to me to fill some need that I may not have even known I had.  Sure, I could just shove them in a closet and forget about them, but I could also smile and interact with them, and enjoy them for whatever unique thing that they are.  It's going to be hard on days like today, when my nose is running like Niagara Falls and it's possible I might get mistaken for an extra on The Walking Dead - but I'm going to try.

Wishing you the happiest, cheesiest, and most Christmas-filled year ever!

UPDATE:  I went to the store the way the other day, armed with my resolution.  Let me tell you, you would be amazed at how differently you are treated when you carry a smile on your face.  But I had an experience that showed me I'm on the right path.  The checkout lines were so long, and the best I could do was to get in behind two giant mounding carts and wait patiently.  Anyone who knows me knows that patience is not one of my strong suits, but I smiled anyway.  A woman got in line behind me with her own giant cart and she let out an exasperated sigh.  I made a joke about how I had hoped to be home before 2015 and she smiled.  We chatted while we waited, friendly small talk.  As I finally got to the check out, someone this woman knew snuck in and started talking to her.  The woman I had been chatting with told her friend that her dad was just admitted to the hospital in Iowa City with a mass in his l lung and she was there stocking up her fridge for her kids so she could spend the weekend with him there (yes, I eavesdropped, hard not to do when you're crammed in a tiny aisle together...).  As I finished checking out, she stopped talking to her friend and turned to me and said "Happy New Year!" and smiled.  I wished her the same.

You never know what struggles people are going through.  Be kind, take in these gifts.  Be the smile that breaks up someone's stressful day.  I can't say I've ever left Walmart feeling happy and encouraged before, but I did that time!