Open Letter to My 4 1/2-Year-Old


Dear Son,

I am sorry that you are sick.  If I had the power to experience the ickiness and unpleasant feelings on your behalf, I would do so in a heartbeat, if only because I’m confident I’d remember and unquestioningly obey the age-old aphorism, “If you’re gonna spew, spew into this.”

Yes, I realize how difficult it can be to direct one’s vomit when our little tummies aren’t feeling very well, and not everyone can make it to the bathroom every single time.  But when I’m holding a fucking bucket in front of your face, wouldn’t it be so much easier to just go with it instead of turning away and yelling “NO!” ?

After being forced to throw away my mattress this holiday season because you peed in my bed one morning and didn’t say anything until after 10 pm that evening (when I’d finally noticed the smell), I would appreciate a little consideration.  Seeing that I have yet to purchase a replacement mattress and am thus forced to sleep on the floor, I’d have expected you to show a bit more discretion as to where you choose to unload the contents of your stomach.

And while I applaud your instinct to get up and run to the bathroom, the fact that you changed course to vomit in my bedroom doorway suggests you should further explore these instincts.  In the future, if you are standing in my doorway as you begin to barf, please do not continue on into my bedroom — at least not so long as I am sleeping on the floor.

At one point (shortly before dawn), you did manage to make it over to the toilet.  Perhaps it was simply a lapse in communication which caused to you to aim directly in front of the toilet, spraying undigested grains of Uncle Ben’s Spanish Rice all over the side and base of the bowl and soiling approximately forty percent of my bathroom floor.  If so, I apologize for the confusion and would like to clarify that the purpose of running to the commode when one has to puke is so we may puke into the toilet, not all over it it.

Bottom line: Throwing up on the floor?  Bad.  Throwing up all over Mommy’s blankets and pillows?  Worse.  Spewing into the potty, bucket, trash can, or bathtub?  YES!!!

Thank you for your cooperation,


Hambeast Walks Away from Tub to Raid Kitchen


We all know that you’re not supposed to walk away with the baby still in the tub, even if you just want to perform a quick little task like throwing an empty bottle into the dishwasher.  I tend to be sympathetic with exhausted parents who make honest-to-god mistakes, such as ducking out into the bedroom when an older child begins throwing up all over the bed, or when the clothes dryer suddenly becomes imbalanced and starts banging up a storm.  (In the case of the first baby, the mom forgot he was in the bath.  In the case of the second, it slipped out of the positioner and drowned in the tiniest bit of water.)  People do make mistakes, and it’s unfortunate when they have to pay for them with a baby’s life.

That being said, this woman’s first mistake was ever having a second child.  No grieving parent is going to lie to investigators about how long the baby was left alone.  A half hour is an incredibly long time to leave a non-sleeping infant alone (not to mention a four-year-old) without at least checking in on them, so I’m willing to bet this was a practice she’d grown comfortable with.  It also wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the baby had been regularly left “in the care” of the autistic four-year-old.

What is it with people utilizing toddlers and preschoolers as babysitters?!  I am equally horrified by the prospect of leaving an autistic, non-verbal four-year-old alone in the tub.

Specifications for Packing My Child’s Lunch

My son’s grandmother did me the favor packing his lunch the other day.  (In a nutshell, I’m sick.)  All she required of me was his Monsters University lunch bag/box/whatever you want to call it (it’s one of those insulated softies), and I ended up throwing in a box of V8 Fusion.  My mother was doing me a favor, so I wasn’t about to lecture her on the specifications of packing my preschooler’s lunch.

I go all out with my kid’s lunches.  I like to be creative and make things fun.  Bagged lunches can be boring, so I like to include variety.  I also like to zazz things up with fun character or holiday-themed paper products (plate and napkin), colorful zip-lock bags (available at Target), and character-themed tupperware containers.  I’ll periodically rotate in special food themes –– “China food” or “Mexico food,” or even “spooky food,” and on the rare occasions that I throw it a dessert, I’ll find some way to make it literacy based.  (This used to be a major hobby of mine.)

I also make a point of including “love notes” in his lunches.   Even on the day that Grandma packed it for me, I made a point of slipping a little heart-shaped sticky note into his lunch box with an excuse explanation as to why everything looked so dull different.  (Wasn’t it NICE of Grandma to pack your lunch today?)

I’ll scribble down a few sentences worth of well-wishes, interesting facts, useful information, or suggest social prompts.  Some notes will have it all.  And every note contains an integrated “sight word”, which I also make a point of S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G O-U-T. It sounds crazy, but the kid loves it, and his teachers find it adorable.  (There are only six other kids in his classroom, so they can afford to give him a little extra attention.)

So this got me thinking… what if I had left my mother an exacting set of instructions on how to prepare and pack my child’s lunch?  There are plenty of parents out there who obsess over what they feed their kids, and god help you if you accidentally feed them inorganic produce.  Some insist artificial dyes were responsible for their children’s behavior problems; others seek to “cure” their kids of autism Jenny McCarthy style (which evidently involves removing gluten and casein from their diets).  More still have taken it upon themselves to “diagnose” their poor kids with multiple food allergies and intolerances before subjecting them to rigorous dietary restrictions.  I can only imagine the enormity of the written instructions these parents must leave their child care providers, who may not even be able to make the distinction between quinoa and couscous.

Grandma ended up sending the boy in with beans, spaghetti, and the V8 juice I’d given her.  Not quite the lunch I would have packed, but certainly delicious and nutritious enough to keep my child satiated and content.

But if I had left her a list of specifications for packing my kid’s lunch, here’s what it would have looked like:

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My Reactions to Common Dental Problems


Me last year, getting stung by a bee at the dentist’s office.

Earlier this year, upon learning my preschooler may have a cavity.
(Facepalm looks even better in HD)

Said preschooler refuses to cooperate with routine cleaning. Referred to a special dentist’s office for disturbed children.
(Didn’t even know they had those)

Last week, upon realizing that the red dental floss I’d
purchased from Target was in fact a shitty mint flavor
instead of the desired cinnamon — and it wasn’t even WAXED.

Late last night, upon getting Arm & Hammer’s Advanced Whitening Toothpaste (with baking soda & peroxide) IN MY FUCKING EYE.