Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Tooth Fairy Suffers from Short Term Memory Loss

When your children start losing teeth like a rabbit leaves droppings, you’re bound to forget every now and again. But the one time I forgot, my child gave me the sad doe eyes and I immediately felt like I had thrown all of his favorite action figures straight into the garbage disposal to meet their untimely deaths. So what did I do? Admit that Mommy plays a lot of roles in the house and it’s hard to juggle it all? Or lie through my nice set of pearly whites (thank you, Lord for the wonders of orthodontia)? Well, if you’ve read anything I have posted thus far, you know the answer to that one. Think fast. Spin a tale. Lie like your life depended on it.

Here is how the scene played out:
Me (perfectly dressed with all hairs in place ala June Cleaver, enters my son’s room): Gray, it’s time to get up, buddy. School time!

Gray (bleary-eyed, hair looking like squirrels made camp during the night, drool all over the just-washed sheets reaches for the bird that holds his tooth): Mom, the tooth fairy didn’t come. (Insert super sad eyes here)

Me (thinking I should’ve had more coffee before I tried to wake this overly-observant child): Really? Are you sure? (Think woman, THINK.) Well, did she leave a note or anything? Maybe she is on vacation.

Gray (skeptical look, certain that his Mom is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, certainly thinking that little people like the Tooth Fairy don’t get vacations): Does the tooth fairy go on vacation? Where would she go? Doesn’t she have a back-up?

Me (Seriously. A back up plan? Who are you? Bill Gates? Colin Powell?): Yeah, that might be it. I bet she is on vacation. Let’s get to school and I will see if I can find an email address for her. Maybe she just had too many houses to visit last night and didn’t make it to ours.

I dropped my sweet, overly curious child off at school (must find a way to kill that questioning nonsense). And then I spent the rest of my commute contemplating how to change the world for the better; how I could start my own non-profit to give back to the less fortunate; and what sort of straight from scratch, gourmet meal I’d be whipping up after a long day at work. Of course I did all that. NOT. I spent the rest of the drive conniving and scheming on how I could get out of the big mess I had made. Vacation?? Did I really just suggest the tooth fairy was on vacation? Geez, not my best work.

Fast forward a few hours. Forget the meetings I halfway listened to and the assignments I’m not sure I ever wrote down – I figured out my plan. I wrote two letters. I made plans on where to hide and deliver them. Then I left work EARLY to get home before my kids to put my plan in play.
First, our lovely tooth fairy DID indeed go on vacation. And she sent George, our other imaginary friend and loving Christmas elf, to do the dirty work. Well, apparently George only really likes making mischief, throwing toilet paper all over the house, and relaxing in marshmallow hot tubs. He left Gray a note in the shape of an airplane hidden behind his bed. But in order to find the hidden note (silly elf), Jesse, the tooth fairy had to send Gray a note from her vacation. And it had to come a long way so I had to wrinkle it up, put a real stamp on it, step on it a few times, and put it in the mail. Sounds elaborate, right? Well, I don’t call myself Mom of the Year for nothing. Though I do keep hearing the cha-ching of counselor bills in my head.

Here is the letter from Jesse, the Tooth Fairy:

I found the letter in the mail and promptly delivered it to Gray. He read it, looked at me and replied, “Wow.” Yep, I’m just that good. Here is the letter he found with $5 (I had to pay extra for being such a liar) from George:

It’s a Christmas miracle, people! Gray was floored that his Mom actually knew that tooth fairies take vacation and that George, our elf, plays some part in the whole tooth fairy madness. I’ll accept that Mother of the Year trophy anytime now. I already have a speech prepared. Trust me. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elf on the Shelf & Other Scare Tactics

People either love or hate the whole Elf on the Shelf madness. You buy the elf, read the book, and then spend the entire month of December trying to remember to move that annoying elf before your kids wake up. How many of the crazies (myself included) have jumped out of bed at 3am with the sudden reminder that your elf is still sitting in the same place as the night before. The horror! Parents can use and abuse it to scare their kids into behaving. “Hey kids, the elf is watching. Stop hitting your brother with that fork and get your finger out of your nose at the dinner table or I will tell George to take a note to Santa to take some gifts off of your list.” 

All I know is whomever invented this must be laughing all the way to the Creepy Elf bank. My kids love it. And I have to admit – finding ways to freak them out gives me some sort of sick pleasure. However, I have a few suggestions to the Elf on the Shelf creators and resellers….
·         First, if you want this to actually work, how about you make this an online purchase only? Having to drive my cart at warp speed past the display in Target and then lie my way out of what those elves are doing in the store is a pain. If you want the kids to buy into this fake elf who watches us like a stalker, try not making him so easily accessible in the store.
·         Second, try diversifying the look of your elf. It has been hard to explain why 15 other kids in my son’s class have an elf that looks EXACTLY like our George. This is not Kentucky and I am guessing the family tree for elves extends a bit past a single branch. Let’s change it up a bit. How about a wild elf with pink hair and a tie-dyed suit? Or maybe a red-headed elf? Don’t discriminate against the gingers of the world. They need elf love too.
·         Lastly, how about mass manufacturing an elf without a product tag on the butt. Having to explain why a “real” elf comes with a Made in China tag was a tough one. Thankfully I am an exceptional liar.  

Tips for Parents – Lying to your kids to keep the Elf sham alive…..

My children, as I am sure all kids do, ask some tough questions. And stretching the truth has become some sort of sport for me. I am waiting for my Heisman Award for Lying to be delivered. I even have the pose worked out so they can cast me into a fabulous trophy for all eternity. I’ll let you take a moment to get the visual in your head. Ok, carrying on…..

So what did I say when Gray saw the elf on the shelf boxes in Target? “Mom, why does that look like George?” As I steered them quickly away from that aisle, I thought hard. I will give some kudos to the creators – at least the packaging isn’t clear where you can see the poor fella suffocating in that plastic box. That would be traumatizing. So I said, “I think that is just the book. You know, in case your elf forgets to bring back your first one or you lose it. And I think it has some extra magic dust in it in case some little kid touches their elf you can revive it.” The kids bought it. I then made mental notes to avoid all feminine hygiene and birth control aisles. I think my lying meter is done for the day.

What happens when your elf “forgets” to move overnight? A few glasses of wine and a sleepy parent sometimes lead to George hanging out in the same spot for a night or two. I have several excuses for this one. Feel free to borrow them as needed.
·         I am guessing that George saw you holding your brother down so you could fart on his head. He probably stayed to make sure your brother was still breathing in the morning.
·         He fell asleep. Elves need sleep too you know.
·         Maybe he left and just came back to the same spot because it was a comfy one. Look, his arm moved.
·         Buzz and Woody hog-tied him last night and wouldn’t let him leave until he paid them the money he lost playing poker.

"What is that tag on George’s butt?" Great. Mom forgot to cut the tag off of our REAL elf. Huh. Well, thankfully my kids were being holy terrors that day and George was far enough away so they couldn’t see the actual tag detail. So my response was simple – that is George’s notepad so he can take notes of the bad behaviors and report them back to Santa. I can’t see it really clearly right now (because he was hanging from the air vent in the ceiling) but it looks like he has a lot of notes. You guys better shape up!

Ideas for planting your elf….
Finding a new spot for George is tough after a week or so. Here are a few of my favorites. Yes, for my friends with no children or those that think the Elf on the Shelf is a big scam, this is a bit much. But it cracks me up.

1.      George used a whole bag of marshmallows to take a nice hot tub bath. Beware of sticky marshmallows and the funk they leave on the elf later.
2.      While I am not into making a huge mess that I will later have to clean up (the kids insist they don’t because GEORGE is responsible for cleaning up after himself), taking all of their socks and underwear and throwing them on the floor is a big hit. The kids are almost scared I am going to start yelling at them to pick up their stuff (like I ever do that, please! J) so they run to tell me that George made a mess, not them. This time, George stole our stockings and replaced them with our socks. Eli was seriously concerned about enough candy fitting into his little sock.

3.      Nothing says good times like a little gambling amongst friends. That Lotso was taking all the coin from Buzz and George. Mean Bear!

Do you have some good elf tricks? Or do you think the parents that buy into this $30 nonsense are totally nuts? Give me your thoughts and share those ideas! Happy holidays to everyone!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fairy Tales, Fables & Myths

Once upon a time, I dreamed of having lots of beautiful babies who would grow to be beautiful children, well mannered and dressed like you see on TV. They would become President or CEOs or doctors. Then I went to college and thought, "Kids??! Oh hell no."

Fast forward to marriage. Neither of us was certain of the whole kid thing so we got a dog. We figured if we could keep her alive, kids might stand a chance in our house. Well, one unruly dog and two kids later, Welcome to the jungle. And yes, I believe Axel Rose does live here.

Am I a good parent? Well, it depends on the day. I have the patience of a gnat and the idea of cleaning up after two nonstop tornadoes ALL DAY, EVERY DAY is like being that fly who just cannot get out of the window no matter how many times he bangs his head against the glass. But they sure are cute and I've discovered one thing: I'm an excellent liar.  Yep, fairy tales, fables and myths. And not your Princess and the Pea and Goldilocks nonsense. True lies that keep your kids on their toes.

I have always looked for the parenting handbook that addresses the crazy questions and circumstances you get into with kids. Is Santa real? Where does the Easter Bunny live and why does he like chocolate so much? If Granny died in Alabama and wants to visit us as a ghost, does she have to take a special highway? Where do babies come from? Why can’t you stand up to pee, Mommy? The list goes on and on.

Well, here it is. I am going to use this blog to help answer the burning questions you get from your kids, plus share a few stories of how I weaseled out of a few tough situations with my kids. I’m no expert by any means – no counseling credentials, social work degrees, or human behavior studies. But I AM pretty creative and an exceptional liar and storyteller, if I do say so myself. I’m fully expecting lots of counseling and therapy books to be written in the future to deal with the aftermath of the stories I tell my kids. I can hardly wait to be a topic on Maury.

So take all of this with a grain of salt, a few knowing chuckles and a large glass of wine. It’s about 80% truth and 20% vodka. And 100% funny. At least I hope it is. If you haven’t found yourself faced with at least one of these questions or awkward scenarios, I am going to send my kids to come live with you. They can give you a quick intro into “duck and dodge” parenting techniques.

Here are a few samplings of real questions I have gotten from my kids.

Question: Is there a boogie man?
Answer: Why yes, there is, and I'll invite him over if you don't quit picking your nose and putting it into your mouth.

Question: Where does Santa live and what do his elves do when it's not Christmas?
Answer: He lives in the North Pole during Christmas and Florida for the rest of the year. And as for the elves, they are college dropouts who have no other skills. So you'd better get back to studying, mister.

And my defining moment, ready to be submitted for Mother of the Year 2012: Mom, is there really a tooth fairy?? Because she forgot to come get my tooth last night.

OH NO. Yes, the tooth fairy forgets sometimes. And that story, my friends, will get a post all of its own. Because when you start not only lying about the tooth fairy, but leaving work to get home before your children to stage your visual aids in support of this forgetful tooth fairy, that is when you know you have reached new heights of crazy. So stay tuned for that story.

Do you need a good tale to spin for your child? Let me know and I'll start hatching my evil plan. Your kids can enroll in therapy later.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Moment of Clarity

I've been told I am funny. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I think they are just crazy. But I do have a lot of stories to tell - some funny, some sad and some downright unbelievable. I created this blog as an outlet for these stories in January 2012. As soon as I had the site finished, I chickened out. I couldn't find a thing to say and was filled with doubt - who would want to read this anyway, who would have hurt feelings over something I wrote, and is my writing even good enough for a public venue?? I actually kept this blog site to myself for 6 months, telling no one it even existed. Then I confided in a dear friend and she had so many words of encouragement. She made me feel like I could do it, should do it. And so I revisited the site and stared at it for a few more weeks, wondering what to do next.

Then my Dad passed away last week and I had a moment of clarity. I knew what would be my first post - My eulogy to him. These are the words I spoke during the funeral service. The words that took me two years to write. While he got continuously more sick each time I saw him, I began to look for the good stories to remind me of the Dad I knew. I never expected to be able to share them with everyone at the funeral - I fully expected to be a wreck. I've never been afraid of public speaking, but this was very different. However, I still needed to write the words. And then when it came to the day, I was more calm than I have ever been. I did not cry. My voice barely wavered.  I stood up in front of everyone and honored my Dad in the only way I knew how. I could see him, sitting in the crowd, grinning from ear to ear, cheering me on. And I felt at peace.

And while my plans for this blog are to share the funny, irreverent stories of my life as a working, laughing, dictator-like Mommy of two wild boys, this one is a bit different. I hope you enjoy it - maybe it will bring a few tears or a few laughs.