The Elf On The Shelf

     

     For the past few years in our house, we’ve looked forward to a visit from none other than the “elf on the shelf”.  Are you familiar with these little dudes?  They are the cash-flowing creation of a freaking genius of a woman, and for $29.95 (plus shipping & handling) these little dolls will fly all the way from the North Pole to your humble abode for the whole month of December.  They’re like Santa’s shrimp-sized spies, reporting back to the head honcho each and every night about who’s being good & who’s being a little shit.  They are also known as B-R-I-B-E-R-Y for parents at this very stressful time of year.

     Our little pointed toe fairy first came to us back in December of 2007.  My kids decided to name him Clyde, and for the past two years, old Clyde’s been racking up the frequent flier miles between our house & Santa’s pad.  Each morning my kids practically pee their pants with excitement to find out just where Clyde is hiding.  You see, night after night, it’s up to the parents to find a new hiding spot for Clyde. And if you forget, you better think fast on your feet, or best believe, you are screwed. Your kids will surely notice that the elf is in the exact same spot as the day before.  How do I know this?  It’s because I can’t tell you how many times we’ve dropped the ball and have had to suddenly send the short people upstairs so that one of us can scramble around and move the damn elf doll.  Luckily, our kids are young enough that we can still pull this whole smoke and mirror tactic on them.  We could say, “Look kids, there’s a spaceship on the lawn,” and haul ass to move that little sucker before they would even turn their heads back from the window.

     I must say that Clyde and his magical bad ass have more than earned their keep around here.  On many occasions, all I’ve had to do is point to his tiny perch, and my kids instantly think twice about what they’re doing. They know that he’s taking mental notes all day long to give the boss all the dirt on them.  You gotta love that kind of power. He’s like the eyes and ears for the Don Corleone of all gifts.  I can’t decide if I have a crush on him or if I wanna rip his throat out cause I’m jealous of him. Maybe we’ll sort it all out when we go out for drinks next weekend.  I hear he’s a lightweight, so maybe I can get him to spill some of his secrets after a few cocktails.

     For now, all I know is that that pint-sized pixie better hurry up and get his spy on cause I’m losing my marbles trying to keep these kids of mine in line.  All the excitement over the holidays has them bouncing off the freaking walls.  My daughter even openly admitted to me last night that “it’s really hard to be good every day.”  So, I’m not ashamed to admit that I need all the help I can get throughout these next twenty-five days of craziness.  I wish I could talk Clyde into just staying the whole year through, but I don’t think I can really compete with the eleven month vacation the fat man promises him in return for all his hard work.

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

     This Thanksgiving was a very non-traditional one for us.  It was the first year that I’ve ever been without my parents, since my dad’s immune system’s too weak to be around the kids.  Luckily, our good friends came to the rescue and invited us to their house.  Our kids were super pumped to hang out all day with kids their own age, and we were grateful not to have to do all the cooking!  

     We no sooner than got in the door before our kids were off and running with our friends’ kids.  They completely disappeared for a good two hours before we even saw a glimpse of them.  We took advantage of that kid-free time by snacking and chatting and drinking cocktails, while keeping an eye on the ginormous bird in the oven. However, it’s always been my experience that when kids are out of sight for too long, there’s most likely something fishy going on.  I decided to try and track them down before someone lost an eye or set the house on fire.

     I finally found them down in the basement all the way back in the storage room.  When I walked into the room, I first saw my friends’ little boy sitting in his baby brother’s swing all wrapped up in a blanket  (oh, and did I mention that he’s FOUR YEARS OLD?!) I then saw my son walk across the room wearing only his pants, since the top part of him was completely naked.  And when I asked why on earth he was going topless, I was simply told by my daughter that the boys were being cavemen.  Well, that made perfect sense, then.  All prehistoric dudes strut their stuff in Gap corduroy pants and chill out in infant swings.  Since nobody was bleeding and nobody was crying, I left the naked caveman and went back to join the rest of the adults.

     When the food was finally ready to go, the boys put their clothes back on so we could all chow down on a G-rated turkey dinner.  All in all, it was a fun Thanksgiving spent with some of our favorite friends.  The kids clearly enjoyed using their wild imaginations, while the big people enjoyed throwing back a few too many drinks. Although it wasn’t quite the same as spending time with my family, I suppose it was the second best thing. Sometimes traditions have to be tweaked in order to roll with the punches that life throws your way. And I’m thankful that I’ve got such amazing people in my life who protect me from those nasty left hooks.

I’m Thankful For…

     Since I figure that most people will be too busy stuffing their faces with turkey to read my little old blog tomorrow, I decided to do my appreciation post today and take the day off to gorge myself alongside the rest of the country manana.  So, without further ado, here are some things for which I am grateful:

  • I’m thankful for any shower I can take where a short person doesn’t come in and ask me about my boobs.
  • I’m thankful for wine and its magical abilities to calm my very last nerve at the end of the day.
  • I’m thankful for thongs that stay in their intended place.
  • I’m thankful for the inventor of the dog crate.
  • I’m thankful for makeup so I can hide the dark circles under my eyes on those rare days that I have the energy to put it on.
  • I’m thankful for any time I can sit down to pee without all hell breaking loose outside the bathroom door.
  • I’m thankful for copious amounts of caffeine that get me through my day.
  • I’m thankful for duct tape…I have twins — enough said.
  • I’m thankful for car trips where I can finally listen to something other than Kidz Bop.
  • I’m thankful for stupid, mindless reality t.v. shows that make me feel so much better about my own lot in life.
  • I’m thankful for individually packaged bags of Goldfish.
  • I’m thankful for people who remember to flush the toilet in our house (the shit-eating dog isn’t so thankful for this).
  • I’m thankful for wine…oh, whoops!  I already said that, didn’t I?!  (It’s obviously really important to me.)
  • I’m thankful for Twitter where I can go to bitch and moan 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • I’m thankful for that 8:50 a.m. bell at my kids’ school, bless its little heart.
  • I’m thankful for the ass massager lady who knows just how to loosen up my kadunkadunk.
  • I’m thankful that my true friends overlook the dust on my blinds.
  • I’m thankful for pavement and being able to pound the shit out of it when I need to relieve stress.
  • I’m thankful for candles that camouflage the putrid smell of dog farts in the air.
  • I’m thankful that my kids believe pretty much everything I tell them.
  • I’m thankful for my closet where I go to hide when I need to make an important phone call.
  • I’m thankful for silence, even though I’ve completely forgotten what it sounds like.
  • But most importantly, I’m thankful for my friends, for my health, and especially for my family who I love with all my heart.

Give A Little Bit

    

     Every year at the holidays, we’ve tried to make it a tradition to help a family in need by providing some of the items on their wishlist. I especially think it’s important to introduce this concept to my own kids, because I want them to know how incredibly lucky they are to have all the things that they do.  So, this year, we are participating in a program through their elementary school.  We were assigned a family that has a ten year old little boy named Nicholas,  and because I really wanted my kids to be involved in every step of this process, I had them go with me to help pick out the gifts yesterday.  I thought it would be a such a meaningful holiday memory for all of us.  Little did I know, though, that I’d be throwing out the Santa card and threatening time outs on this “fun-filled” family excursion.

     Since the gift recipient had only listed clothes on his wishlist, the kids and I headed over to The Children’s Place at the mall.  (I was actually kind of glad that the boy didn’t list any toys because I knew my kids would be asking me for anything and everything if we went to a toystore.  They could generally care less about clothes, so I was sure it would be nothing short of a pleasant shopping trip.  Heh!) I planned to buy two outfits and told them they could help pick them out.  Naturally, they immediately started arguing about which color of pants to buy.  They were pushing and shoving and damn near knocking over an entire display of track pants, so I jumped in with my referee whistle and said that my daughter could pick out one of the outfits and my son could pick out the other.  My daughter was finally about to make her selection on a color, when my son suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs for everyone within a five-mile radius to hear that he needed to pee.  

     I asked if he could wait, but judging from the crossed legs, hand on the crotch and the jumping up and down, I realized that this was clearly not an option.  And because the store didn’t have a restroom, I had to drag my crew all the way down to Starbuck’s.  We conducted our business as quickly as possible and were making our way back to the store when what to our wandering eyes should appear but Santa strolling down the mall and confusing the living hell out of my kids. Honestly, why must that man show up so damn early?  How does he expect me to explain to my kids why he’s all the way down here when he’s supposed to be working his ass off back at the North Pole?  He smiled and waved to my bewildered kids and then disappeared into the Picture People, which just so happened to be right next door to The Children’s Place.  

     So, after giving a half-ass explanation about Santa having assistants for little things like mall visits, I rushed my kids back into The Children’s Place to try and distract them and to avoid having to answer any more difficult questions.  We were finally back to the task at hand, and my daughter quickly picked out a presentable outfit for Nicholas.  My son, on the other hand, decided to go in a completely different fashion direction.  He became fixated on what I’m quite sure was the ugliest sweater to have ever been manufactured.  He was insistent that we buy this fugly-looking thing, and when I refused, he bust into an all-out fit.  I tried to remain calm and show him other selections that weren’t quite as damaging to the eyes, but nothing would do.  He was infatuated with that pitiful waste of yarn. When the whining grew to an even higher pitch, I dug deep into my back pocket and whipped out the old Santa card.  It definitely worked to my advantage that the fat man was conveniently chilling out right next door to us.  After careful consideration of the idea that the red-suited wonder could see and hear everything, my son eventually conceded, and we agreed on a much more appealing red and black fleece.

     We were finally ready to check out, but unfortunately, the line was ridiculously long, giving my children a chance to peruse the store. And even though they typically aren’t the least bit interested in any type of clothing whatsoever, they suddenly decided look around and find things that they just HAD to have.  I gently reminded them that this shopping expedition was for Nicholas, NOT for them; however, my daughter was attached to a pink robe and my son to a pair of blue slippers that they claimed they’d just die if they didn’t have.  I was absolutely appalled at all the moaning and groaning that was spewing out of my selfish little offspring, especially with the bearded dude right next door.  I was resorting to time out threats, when finally it was our turn to check out.  On the ride home, we had a nice long chat about the importance of giving, and even though I’m not sure how much of it their six year old little minds actually comprehended, I hope that at least a portion of it stuck.

     So, yeah, maybe my precious holiday memory wasn’t quite all that I thought it would be.  Leave it to kids to take a big old dump on a good intention.  Regardless of how frustrating it may have been, though, I’m still glad that I included them in the process.  After all, ’tis the season for giving, even if all I was “given” was a big, fat headache and a pain in the ass.

The Holiday Parade

     This weekend was our town’s big annual holiday parade.  Now, why on earth a town would choose to have a “holiday” parade before we’ve even carved the flippin’ turkey is beyond me, but apparently, that’s how they roll in these here parts.  Normally we are out of town and miss it, but this year we got to experience all of the <ahem> “excitement” (ok, I can’t even use that word without laughing — hahahaha!).   We really didn’t have very high expectations since the only thing we had to compare it to was the Memorial Day parade, where we accidentally blinked and missed the whole damn thing.  Nevertheless, we had to put on our proud parent party hats cause our daughter’s Girl Scouts troop would be marching their little hearts out in it.

     When we pulled up, I honestly expected there to be five trucks, a police car, and maybe a fire truck or two zipping down a street staggered with a few onlookers, but surprisingly, there were floats and balloons and everything.  It was actually gonna be a real, live parade!  Who knew? And because the crowd was so large, I decided I would walk with my daughter and the other moms, so I wouldn’t lose her in all the chaos. I was truly amazed at the amount of people gathered at the starting point.  I have no earthly idea where they all even came from.  They must’ve recruited people from the surrounding towns to fill in the cracks or something.  We searched through the sea of Girl Scouts uniforms to locate my daughter’s troop and had just enough time to snap a quick photo or two before we were told to head on out.

     The girls were all jazzed up to hand out the candy they’d brought for the crowd, but unfortunately, the amount of spectators at the beginning of the parade route was pretty slim to none.  I’m quite certain it’s because the whole freaking town was marching along right behind us. Luckily, we came upon more bystanders about half-way through, and the girls went balls to the wall with their candy hand-outs.  They were completely out of sugar WAY before the ending, but they continued to smile and wave the rest of the way like they were the mother plucking Queen of England.  

     We scooched onto the curb with all the other town saps after we’d finished our walk of fame, and WOW, were there some interesting sights to see.  The most ironically funny participants were the “go green” promoters who drove a Prius through the crowd and held up pictures of CFL lightbulbs, immediately followed by a pack of Harley’s revving their engines and blowing smoke exhaust fumes all over the green movement message. Awesome timing, people, awesome timing. Santa rounded out the parade as he was the last one to finally float down the street.  And I’m not quite sure what he did to the little elves riding next to him, but they looked absolutely scared shitless for some unknown reason.  Guess they didn’t get the memo that said they were supposed to be out spreading Christmas cheer, because their petrified little faces told a whole different story.  It really put a whole new spin on that whole “Santa is watching” thing.  I suppose you just don’t mess with a man in a red suit.  Yikes!

     When it was all said and done, I had one very happy, very proud little Girl Scout on my hands.  She’s already asked when she gets to march again cause evidently, she’s completely hooked on strutting her stuff.  I’ve always heard people say that everybody loves a parade, and normally I would have to disagree.  This time, however, I gotta admit that I actually did have a lot of fun.  It appears that my town just doesn’t mess around when it comes to a holiday celebration in November cause this parade totally kicked the Memorial Day parade’s ass.

Penis Overload

     I swear, if it’s not all about the poop in my house, then it’s all about the penis.  Even with the gender ratio being split right down the middle, the focus still seems to be primarily on the shlong. Between my husband and my son, it’s a serious toss-up as to whose johnson receives the most human interaction on any given day.  I suppose it’s a real life gear shift for the male species, and they want to hold on to it for dear life.  My son, however, hasn’t had as long of a relationship with his little member, so it’s a whole world of discovery for him. Every day is like an on-going show and tell, and his “peeper” never fails to make multiple appearances throughout a twenty-four hour period of time.  

     Without fail, one such appearance tends to always take place on the crapper.  My son cannot ever seem to sit on the toilet to take a dump without poking and pulling and plucking the pecker.  I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t already had to experience the pain of chafing with all the tugging that poor thing has had to endure.  I have actually cringed on more than one occasion just watching him torture that pitiful little peter. And lately, he’s come up with even newer and even better little “skills” it can perform while sitting on the pot.  For instance, he loves to make it “dance” by flinging it around in a circle like it’s a freaking lump of silly putty or something.  He’s also decided that he can make it look like a “bobblehead” by bouncing up and down on the toilet seat until it begins to wobble.  I gotta say that the kid certainly deserves some credit, though, cause out of all the comparisons I’ve ever heard over the years, I’ve never once heard a penis being associated with a bobblehead figure.  (Why do I have the feeling that some of my male readers have suddenly taken a break from this post to test out their own bobblehead abilities?)

     Another nightly ritual that my son has instituted lately involves stripping down buck naked and running around the family room at full speed. He runs lap after lap after lap around the furniture, all while clutching his johnson as if it’s going to fly right off his body and be eaten by the dog (which, actually, is not a far-off possibility now that I think about it).  My daughter seems to find this naked display of calisthenics highly entertaining cause she laughs and squeals and claps throughout the whole five minute work out.  I don’t know about you, but exercising in the nude is something I’ve never really even thought about doing.  Perhaps it helps your endurance and flexibility to not be confined by such things as clothing?

     I guess I should be grateful that the trouser snake only comes out to play in the privacy of our home.  I suppose it could always be worse.  If I start to get phone calls from school telling me that the genie’s been let out of the bottle on the playground, well then we certainly have a problem, don’t we?  If grown men are any sort of proof at all, then it looks like my son and his penis are on the road to a long and beautiful friendship together.

Hot For Teacher

     

     I’m not sure how many of you know this, but pre-kids, I used to be a teacher.  More specifically, I used to be a junior high teacher. So, if you think back for a couple of minutes to how much of a little punk ass you probably were at that age, you can probably understand how I got REALLY burnt out on this career REALLY fast.  Nevertheless, though, I held my own for a solid six years with those hormonal little bastards, and truth be told, I actually have a lot of fond memories from my time with them.  Sure, it’s a super tough age to teach, but it’s also a very important stage to try to make a connection and hopefully steer them on the right path towards something good.  I was WAY younger than a lot of the other teachers at the school, and I think that the kids really felt like they could relate to me a little more. Sometimes, however, I think they felt a little too comfortable and close to me.    

     Most eighth grade boys are all about seeing how big of an idiot they can make of themselves in order to draw any little bit of attention that they possibly can.  They all think they’re the next freaking Jim Carrey and try their very damnedest to put on a one-man show, never mind if it just so happens to be right in the middle of a lesson on prepositions. And let me just tell you, this type of behavior just completely fueled my fire. I may be petite, but I was known as being a hard ass and not putting up with a whole lot of shit in my classroom.

     Throughout my teaching years, I certainly had my fair share of show-boaters who tried to pull their crap while under my wing.  I recall this one boy, in particular, who drove the absolute bat crazies out of me.  This kid was interested in anything and everything that didn’t relate in any way, shape or form to a single thing that was EVER going on in my class.  I swear you would’ve thought there were talent scouts for Funny Bones sitting in the back of my classroom with the way this kid would perform on a daily basis.  I slapped this kid with about a zillion detentions, but none of them seemed to ever deter him from coming back and pulling the same old stunts day after day.

     I was so excited by the time eighth grade graduation rolled around so that I could finally be rid of this little troublemaker.  I had absolutely no doubt that he would have considered me his very least favorite part of the whole eighth grade experience.  So, you can see then why I about fell over in shock when this very same unruly kid approached me in peace at the big eighth grade dance.  My husband and I had agreed to be chaperones and were standing around chatting when young junior came up and asked me to dance.  I practically choked on my punch and just stood there completely stunned at the very thought of it.  After a couple of seconds of very awkward silence, my husband leaned over and whispered that I HAD to dance with this poor kid if he had the guts to ask me in front of ALL his friends who were standing there gawking.  Trust me, the last thing on earth I wanted to do was to dance with this little thug, but I swallowed my pride and let him guide me out onto the gym floor.  It was by far the most uncomfortable slow dance I’ve ever had in my entire life, but my husband later tried to explain to me that it was probably the highlight of this kid’s whole year.  He said that boys at that age have no idea how to show their feelings for girls, and they often end up being complete a-holes to them instead.  So, I suppose then, that under this theory, I was the object of this moron’s affection or something.

     Actually, if you think about it, the whole eighth grade boy mentality is not really all that different from most grown men.  Don’t they typically all have trouble expressing their feelings and act like complete jackasses when they see something that they want?  And the hormones?  The hormones NEVER EVER stop raging!  Ok, so, maybe the old boners don’t happen all twenty-four hours of the day, but I’d bet my left eyeball that they’re saluting at least a good fifteen to twenty hours a day.  So, it’s no wonder then that my husband practically pushed me into the arms of this little classroom terror.  I think he was secretly fulfilling some “hot for teacher” fantasy that he never quite fulfilled as a fourteen year old boy.  Whatever, though — no harm, no foul.  As long as I didn’t have to take anything to the drycleaners over someone else’s “overly excited reaction”, it’s all good, right?