A Pain in the Math

Before the 8th grade, math had made sense. Life made sense.

Please don’t call on me, I kept thinking. Please don’t call on me.
Before the 8th grade, math had made sense. Math problems involved numbers that were either added, subtracted, divided, or multiplied. Oftentimes, you would perform a few of those functions in a logical order to come up with an answer. Life made sense.
Somewhere along the line, though, some jerk decided to throw letters into these math problems. What had once made sense now became a confusing jumble of frustration. Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (PEMDAS) became some warped anti-rallying cry for angst ridden pre-teens. What did Aunt Sally even do, anyway? It was at this point that my hand, once grasping confidently to the cliff of Mt. Math, began to slip.
 
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By the time the 8th grade and Mrs. Federline had rolled around, I was falling off Mt. Math at a rather alarming rate.
None of this was Mrs. Federline’s fault, of course. Her overhead projector and short hair style were just reminders of how far I’d fallen.
It was 1990. At that time, there were varying theories on how to avoid being called on by your math teacher. One side of the argument stated that you must unequivocally avoid eye contact with the teacher. Looking elsewhere had the potential to give off the appearance that you were blending in. This was called the Wallflower Theory.
Detractors of that argument, however, stated that you must look the teacher confidently in the eye, acting as if you wanted to be called on. This showed the instructor that you knew the answer and that it wouldn’t provide them with a valuable teaching moment if they called on you. This was called the Bluffing Theory. Now, I’m not a gambler, so I was partial to the Wallflower Theory.
Much to my consternation, however, my 8th grade math teacher was an enigma. Five months into that course, I still didn’t know how to avoid being called on. I had tried both approaches, but unsuccessfully. I was now convinced that she was simply out to get me. She’d probably call on me if I was absent. That’s how bad it was.
“Josh,” exclaimed Mrs. Federline. “What answer did you get?”
I didn’t have the right answer. I didn’t have any answer.
Mrs. Federline stared at me like an apparition, the light of the overhead projector casting an aura of superiority around her. She awaited my response. My classmates did the same – the goodie two shoes expecting me to answer incorrectly, the others just relieved that it wasn’t their names that they’d heard.
I reasoned that it was better to guess than to say I didn’t know. At least throwing out a number gave me a minuscule chance of guessing correctly and,  more importantly, it created the possibility in Mrs. Federline’s mind that a simple subtraction error had thrown off what otherwise would’ve been a correct answer by me.
“17,” I said.
“We are discussing the 4th problem of your homework,” she said. “Not the 5th question.”
“Oh,” I said, clearly stalling for time. “29.”
“Very good, Josh,” responded my surprised teacher.
I was dumbfounded. Not only had I guessed correctly on my math problem, but on the next one too. The goodie two shoes next to me knew I’d gotten lucky, but it didn’t stop me from giving her a look of brazen confidence. Feeling overly confident, I asked her to the school dance.
She responded, with an air of disgust, “As if?”
“How in the hell did you get that answer?” asked my best friend, Jim, after class. He was clearly impressed with my last minute guess.
“I don’t know, dude,” I responded, still confused by it all.
***
A few weeks ago, I found Mrs. Federline on Facebook. We had a very nice discussion, and she was pleased to discover that I had survived my fall off Mt. Math, and had gone on to live a fulfilling, math-less life. I was pleased to discover that she didn’t remember me. It confirmed that perhaps the wallflower approach had, in fact, been the best approach. I was relieved to have made my peace with her. I’ll never completely find peace with that overhead projector though.

All of the Non-Tragic Reasons Those Hemingway Baby Shoes Were Never Worn

Literary lore says that Hemingway once won a bet by writing a story that contained only six words. But how tragic is it really?

Literary lore says that Hemingway once won a bet by writing a story that contained only six words:

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For sale, baby shoes.
Never worn.


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This very, very short story is often viewed from an ominous, tragic perspective. [su_highlight background=”#7ec3ea”]However, any mother of a young child can think of many, many reasons why those shoes were never worn:[/su_highlight]

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The shoes in question were lime green Crocs. A late shower gift from “quirky” (stoner) Aunt Sandy.

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The soles smelled like a cross between Walmart and burning tires.

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The little fucker kicked you right square in the teeth when you tried to put them on him. So guess what Tyler, I agree! No shoes! No shoes for you! Hope you enjoy tetanus shots, buddy.

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Your doula Cherri said you shouldn’t bind a baby’s appendages because feeling grass on their feet is a wonderful sensory experience that aids gross motor development, and, yes, Dan, I know we live in Brooklyn and there’s a broken Heinekin bottle RIGHT THERE, I have eyes, okay???

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You just want to make a quick buck on Craigslist. I mean people sell all kinds of shit on there. Did see that post selling like four old Pampers and a spatula? WTF?

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The shoes were dropped into the toilet. Because what isn’t dropped into the toilet these days.

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You were just about to put the baby’s shoes on him but then sat down to rest for one goddamn minute and then started thumbing through “The Sun Also Rises” to see if your brain still even worked anymore but then you ended up getting so annoyed by the novel’s blatant blowhard sexism you launched both the shoes and book out the window in a rage.

→ 

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→ → → → Fat baby. Really fat feet.

 
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An Exhaustive Guide to the Subtle Art of Newborn Burps

In an effort to help make it easier to know what to expect with burping, I’ve created the following guide to ten of the most common newborn burping types.

After three babies, I’ve learned little tricks to burping that work for us, like:

  • Sitting baby upright on our lap. Not the “slouchy-lazy baby upright” method my grandma uses. The “ready to ride a bull for eight seconds” method my husband uses.
  • Burping every one to two ounces. Because if spit up is coming up that throat like a freight train, I want to clean things up in small amounts.
  • Wearing a hazmat suit.
  • Not worrying about the carpet for somewhere between four more months to nine more years.

I honestly have no idea how cave people did it. How did they know to burp a baby? Or did they? Was it an era of free burping? Like the sixties were an era of free love. Were there babies being toted around in wooly mammoth baby carriers, projectile vomiting all over the uni-continent that was home?
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In an effort to help make it easier to know what to expect with burping, I’ve created the following guide to ten of the most common newborn burping types:

1 | The burp that never was

This is when baby simply doesn’t burp. Your denial is so strong that you continue to burp baby until he decides he simply doesn’t want to eat anymore if it means you’ll leave him alone.

2 | The cough burp

When baby coughs and burps at the same time creating seismic activity so strong it registers all the way in Finland

3 | The frat house special burp

A burp so loud it wins a belching trophy in four different fraternities. 

4 | The silent burp

The one that skips out but you don’t notice it, so you keep burping baby until he’s nine.

5 | The dry burp

This burp is so loud and coarse baby sounds like a goat.

6 | The after burp

This one almost always comes up after the dry burp. It carries with it an ounce of spit up that’s one part milk, two parts actual spit, and a cup of slime. 

7 | The liquid burp

The burp that’s so watery you’ll think baby coughed up an entire glass of water, but nothing’s there when you check.

8 | The return on investment burp

When you feed baby the entire bottle and baby, in turn, regurgitates a percentage of that bottle onto your lap and the floor.

9 | The wrong burp

When you pat baby’s back, and they fart instead. Then look around like they have no idea what just happened.

10 | The forever burp

When you pat baby’s back for four hours waiting for the burp you know is in there. You’re ultimately forced to choose between continuing this nonsense for twenty more minutes or, hoping for the best and putting baby back to bed in a rain jacket.

In the end, burping is an art you master right around the time your baby doesn’t need to be burped anymore. Even the best burping baby eventually learns to sit up and their stomach flappy-thing develops. They then move on to slobbering on everything and putting the cat’s tail in their mouth. While you congratulate yourself on getting through another insane milestone, your child introduces you to stomach illnesses and the real meaning of projectile vomit. There isn’t a wooly mammoth baby carrier that can help with this.

Raising Twins: Say Hello to Cuteness and Goodbye to a Whole Lot of Other Stuff

The twin experience is unlike any other. Being a mom to twins I can tell you first hand that there is nothing cuter, more rewarding and interesting than watching your little genetic mutations evolve into people.
Yep. Nothing better.
And nothing harder.
I’m probably not supposed to say that or admit that, but it really is bloody hard. I am sure there will be readers judging, considering me ungrateful to even think of complaining about my darling blessings. If that is you, please know that I am rolling my eyes right now. Of course, I am thankful for my healthy girls.  I’m not stupid and I know that things could have taken a million different turns for the worse carrying and birthing identical twins. I pride myself on revealing the ugly truths in life, though, so I must tell you that aside from being two of life’s greatest treasures, the twins are also twenty-pound pains in the ass.
And that is the honest truth.
When you give birth to twin you simultaneously give birth to a long ass list of things that suck like they have never sucked before. This is going to sound as if I am complaining, and that is because I am. I have been carting these kids around like their personal sherpa for three years, my arms hurt and my back is royally messed up, so just let me rant.
Here are some of the things that you can no longer easily do once you have twins:

Run into the store

No more throwing a baby on your hip and running in the Rite Aid to grab Tampons. Every trip out the door is equal to a mission to Mars. For years you will have to drag your four hundred pound stroller out of the trunk as well as your squirming bundles of angry just to purchase sanitary products. The way I deal with this is Target. If I have to torture myself like this, I might as well get some cute shoes and an armful of clearance items out of it. Will I forget the tampons? Probably.

Getting into the car

You now run an assembly line of humans. I wonder if my neighbors sit at their window every morning around 8:30 and just laugh at me making forty trips back and forth to the car, sweat dripping down my face, toddlers wiggling and screaming, backpacks dragging on the ground, crazed mom screeching, “GET IN THE CAR!” All of this just to drop the big kids off at school thirty seconds away. At least you get your exercise, right?  Yes, I am grabbing at straws on this one. This part of the day blows. Period.

Walk… anywhere

Go ahead and try to walk into any building holding two reluctant hands. You will be dragging them within ten seconds. Your arms will be burning, people will be staring and the twins will be limp, screaming noodles destroying your will to live. This, here, is why we twin moms suffer through the heavy, beastly strollers. This is way worse.

Sleep  

You will never sleep again. Someone always needs something and they never need it at the same time. Invest in coffee. Ask for boxes of it at your baby shower. My twins currently crawl into bed with me every single night. One kicks me in the face and the other pummels me in the groin. Both cry if I so much as move a finger. Most nights I end up sleeping at the foot of the bed, like the dog.

Stay healthy 

There is no way to combat germs between twins. They share everything, including the flu. Just plan on wiping snot for exactly half of your life.

Sit 

Don’t even try it anymore. Just stand in the center of your home from six a.m. to 9 p.m. and wait for the multiples to interchangeably request and demand things from you. They will never approach you at the same time so just put this possibility outside of your brain.. forever. You are officially their snack b*tch.

Be private

You are now officially an open book to all strangers and their queries. People find multiples incredibly fascinating and will ask you just about anything and everything. You could be standing in the drugstore browsing the feminine hygiene products and just when you think you have achieved obscurity it happens. Some loud, curious stranger approaches, coos and gushes over with multiples… and asks if they were vaginal babies! True story, this happened to me, only I was at the zoo.
So yes, twins are a blast. They are an achievement and a gift. You will be in awe of them everyday. That said, you will also find yourself cowering in corners, standing in the kitchen throwing fruit snacks at them and praying for three straight hours of sleep.
 

20 Funny Quotes About Parenting From People More Famous Than You

Twenty hilariously honest quotes that perfectly capture the ridiculousness of being a parent.

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“Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet canreach the pedals. Use the right size diapers… for yourself. And, when in doubt, makefunny faces.”

Amy Poehler

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“I really love my kids for about six minutes a day.”

Michael Ian Black

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“Ah, babies! They’re more than just adorable little creatures on whom you can blame your farts.” 

Tina Fey

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“You have two babies! Your sperm worked twice!”

Chris Rock

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“Becoming a mom to me means you have accepted that for the next 16 years of your life, you will have a sticky purse.”

Nia Vardalos

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“You never know when you’re gonna get crapped on or when you’re gonna get a big smile or when that smile immediately turns into hysterics. It might be like living with adrug addict.”

Blake Lively

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“When you’re having dinner with your kids and husband and someone says something funny or you’re dying laughing because your three-year-old make a fart joke, it doesn’t matter what else is going on. That’s real happiness.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

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“Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.”

Jon Stewart

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“Anything else that woke you up every 45 minutes, you’d kill it. But when it’s a baby, it’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Ryan Reynolds

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“Parenthood is f***ing hard. I thought it would be easy. Everyone f***ing does it, how hard can it be? Ohhhh… it’s hard, but it’s phenomenal.”

Adele

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“Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, and hold our breath, and hope we’ve set aside enough money to pay for our kids’ therapy.”

Michelle Pfeiffer

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“It’s amazing how you can be so happy and then so exhausted in the same moment. It’s like cocaine without the dark alleys of shame.”

Ryan Reynolds

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“Usually the triumph of my day is, you know, everybody making it to the potty.”

Julia Roberts

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“Having Children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything is broken,and there’s a lot of throwing up.”

Ray Romano

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“There should be a children’s song: ‘If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep.’”

Jim Gaffigan

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“My  kids don’t give a s*** if I’m in the Foo Fighters. They’re like ‘Daddy, I need a smoothie. Now.’ I’m like, ‘Okaaaaaaay.’”

Dave Grohl

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“There’s a lot of peeing.”

Amy Poehler

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“Every night before I get my one hour of sleep, I have the same thought: ‘Well, that’s a wrap on another day of acting like I know what I’m doing.’ I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Most of the time, I feel entirely unqualified to be a parent. I call these times being awake.”

Jim Gaffigan

 

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“You’re just like a human napkin for kids, like, they just wipe their face on you and stuff.”

Tina Fey

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“I know how to do anything; I’m a mom.”

Roseanne Barr

11 Items Parents Need to Have Delivered to the Front Door

We have all said it: Man, I wish someone delivered…[insert any item you’re too flipping lazy to go out and get].

I’m not talking about ordering some stuff online and getting a delivery in a day or two. I’m talking about: I must have it this instant or I might die.

Could someone please, finally, for the love of American laziness (that’s an epidemic, look it up) create a delivery business that distributes the items listed below – right to my door.

Great. Thanks. I’ll be waiting in my jammies.

1 | Diapers and all baby products. I just don’t understand it. Why is this not already a thing? My baby pooped. I’m out of diapers. I need one RIGHT NOW. Like Uber, but for diapers. 

2 | Ice cream. Okay, so we do have delivery for ice cream. The truck version. I’m talking about ice cream, on demand.

3 | All types of sweets, really. Brownies, chocolate bars, cookies, cake, crumpets, and at a bare minimum — a large selection of candy. I don’t care if you use fake sugar, real sugar, or sweeten the stuff with applesauce; I need it to come to my house, without me getting out of my yoga pants.

4 | Movie theatre popcorn. Sorry Orville Redenbacher! I need me some popcorn fresh from one of those machines…it just tastes better. I’m not a detective; I don’t need to solve the mystery.

5 | Tampons or Pads. This one is super absorbent- er, I mean important. I can’t count how many times I’ve run out of tampons. The last thing I want to do when I’ve got my period is squeeze my bloated belly into actual clothes to go buy feminine hygiene products. On a side note, #3 should always be free with purchase of #5.

6 | Makeup. Yes please! I don’t want to have to apply makeup in order to go to the store and buy it. Bring it to me.

7 | Cigarettes. Preferably delivered with pizza. I don’t even smoke anymore and I still understand the urgency of needing a damn cig when you’re all out. 

8 | Do I really need to list beer, liquor, and wine? This should have happened a LONG time ago, America. Not to mention it would put a stop to the beer runs. Much safer for the streets! Win. Win.

9| Come on Starbucks! You already have a drive thru. Bring me that caramel macchiato! Better yet, bring it at three in the morning, when baby is teething. My tip might have a little slobber on it, but money is money, right?

10 | Pain reliever and other medications. I’m not talking about hard drugs here. Just something to take the edge off. That empty bottle of Advil just made me sad. I think a real tear escaped because I’d rather suffer through a headache than get up and put on pants and leave the house.

11 | Fast food. We all know it’s bad for us. We’ve always known. But it is still so good. And don’t we owe it to the ozone to cut down on those fumes? Instead of carpooling to work, my fast food can carpool to my house. That’s a great idea!

Listen, if you want to take these ideas and run, let me know. I’m ready to invest.

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7 Just Right Wines to Pair With Your Kid’s Leftovers

Choose a wine like the sommelier you are. Just because your meals consist of shoving leftover scraps into your face, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer fancy.

Being a mother of two young children and one teen, I find myself needing quite a bit of wine.

Call me a lush if you will, but a few sips of something alcoholic can do wonders for my coping skills, in the midst of the fifth toddler meltdown of the day, or having to listen to yet another door being slammed.

Regardless of whether you’re judging me right now, I have to say that while my appreciation of the function of alcohol in my life has skyrocketed, my ability to discern the quality of said alcohol has diminished considerably.

I used to choose wines based solely on how well they paired with whatever I was eating, but since my meals now consist of the “Mom Diet” (aka leftovers of whatever my kids tossed aside, and maybe a salad), none of that is happening now.

I’d like to change that, for moms everywhere.

Over the years, we’ve seen sommeliers become more relaxed with wine and food pairings. Those stiff rules claiming that you could only pair white wine with fish, or that you needed to avoid wine altogether with fast foods like a burger, are long gone. We live in a new era. 

What I propose is a further evolution of wine pairing, with busy moms in mind. Let’s be honest: Moms are basically drinking wine at the end of the day to ease them away from the brink of insanity where motherhood regularly leads us, not to complement the food they’re eating.

But what if we were able to do both? What if the wine we’d chosen paired perfectly with the tanginess of those Goldfish crackers we’re having for dinner? It’s the best of both worlds, ladies!

Here are seven perfect wine pairings for the busy mom.

Leftover mac & cheese

You’d be surprised how well a nice Portuguese Rosé pairs with mac & cheese, especially if it’s one of the fancier versions that you tried to get your kids to eat in the spirit of eating less crappy crap. In particular, white or aged cheddar are good choices, but the basic Kraft stuff will due too, in a pinch.

Cold chicken nuggets (dinosaur shaped, no ketchup)

Of all the “meals” listed here, this one has perhaps the best potential to stand up to a nice red. However, you may want to stay with the lighter-bodied reds, like a Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Franc. You know, to pretend shit like this actually matters.

Lukewarm chicken nuggets (not dinosaur shaped, but with ketchup)

Clearly, if you’re going hardcore with basic chicken nuggets, you have even more room to spread your wings within the red wine varietals. Personally, I’d go a bit bolder, maybe a Cabernet Sauvignon, or even a Ripasso if you’re feeling fancy.

Goldfish crackers & carrot sticks

Look at you, enjoying your apps as a main, instead! You’re a little bit rock and roll, aren’t you? The perfect wine pairing would be an easygoing Prosecco or Cava, both of which are often served with appetizers in Italy and Spain, respectively. Bonus: the bubbles make the alcohol work faster.

The crusts of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

I’d say that it really depends on the type of bread that’s being used in the sandwich, but who are we kidding here? If your kid is young enough to demand the crusts be cut off, it’s Wonder Bread all the way. For this, you’ll want an off-dry Riesling to complement the nuttiness of the peanut butter residue. If you’re the type who only serves almond butter, then you’ll want to go with a Pinot Grigio. Don’t bother asking me why.

Cold, plain white rice with steamed broccoli

The wine you end up choosing will ultimately depend on how you decide to spice your rice and broccoli. If you’re going for more of an Asian feel, adding some soy sauce, I’d recommend choosing a Gewürztraminer, which is a slightly sweet white wine that will offer a nice contrast to the saltiness of the soy sauce. If adding spice to the rice results in crying children, I still recommend choosing a Gewürztraminer, because it’s wine. 

Raw veggies with ranch dip

I think by now it should be obvious that you need a Chardonnay with this meal. The rich, buttery flavor and notes of citrus will pair well with a vegetable-based meal, while complementing the artificial creaminess of the dip.

I was going to add in a pairing for leftover hot dogs, but just go ahead and crack open a beer. 

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the hell you pair with your kid’s leftovers. Chances are, you’ll be shoveling that food down as quickly as possible between snack requests from your hungry kids.

Because they didn’t finish their dinner, and now they’re hungry. Again. 

Posted on Categories Back TalkTags

How to Potty Train And/Or Lose Your Mind in 3 Days

In just 13 easy steps, you too, could be scraping poop out of a pair of Thomas the Tank Engine underwear in the Target bathroom. Potty training is easy!

Step one:

Upon waking, let the child know he is a “big boy now” who is “all done diapers.”

You can offer a visual demonstration of this by throwing a diaper into a garbage can. Or, for more effect, throw the diapers into a large mound and set them on fire. Watch the flames dance in your child’s big boy eyes.

Step two:

Put the child in underwear.

No! Not the Paw Patrol pair! He doesn’t like that pair. No, not the Mickey Mouse pair either!  No, definitely not Cars! Perhaps the pair with Kung Fu Panda winking upon the derrière?

Yes, ok, those will do.

Step three:

Set a kitchen timer.

Every thirty minutes, sit the child upon the toilet for five minutes. If the child successfully voids into the toilet, offer a reward in the form of an edible, a preferred toy, or your soul.

Whatever it is he would like, get it, and get it fucking fast.

Step four:

Do this for three days. Yes, you heard me right, THREE.

Do not leave the apartment. Forget what the sun looks like. Forget what it’s like to interact with other human animals.

Do this and at the end of three days, your child will be potty trained. You can do anything in three days! Jesus rose from the dead, for Christ’s sake. Surely you can teach your kid not to shit his pants.

Step five:

Keep it fun!

Make up a little song to sing while he sits upon the toilet. Call it “The Potty Song.” Try to think of a lyric other than, “We’re sittin’ on the potty, oh yeah!”

You can’t can you? That’s okay. Sing Fleetwood Mac instead.

Step six:

Several moms will enthusiastically encourage you to drop a Cheerio into the potty and tell your son to “aim for it.” But your son only looks at you in bafflement upon this suggestion.

Can you blame him? Imagine someone placing your morning breakfast into the toilet and suggesting you direct your urine stream upon it. Sound nice? Didn’t think so.

Flush the Cheerio. Other mothers are idiots.

Step seven:

Keep track of when he successfully voids.

Yes, I know the word void is awful in this context. But it’s awful in every context. Think about it: bad checks, the abyss, etc.

There is no good void, so get over it.

Step eight:

You’ll need to have several indoor activities prepared. Be sure to have lots of stimulating things on hand, like Play-doh and puzzles. Also, Netflix.

Now is a good time to rediscover “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” with your little one. Watch as he giggles over Pee-wee’s goofy antics, then privately marvel at how the show was so blatantly created for marijuana users.

Do you realize you’ve been to the bathroom 24 times today? Marijuana sounds good right about now, doesn’t it? Ha! Too bad. There goes the timer.

Step nine:

Be sure to create a positive, relaxed atmosphere for the child. Try not to become overly anxious.

Yes, I know your friend told you her college psychology class said a bad potty experience can scar a child for life. But don’t worry, you’re totally not doing that. He definitely won’t end up drunk on a reality show covered in tribal tattoos.

I mean, probably not.

Step ten: 

When standing in piss in your living-room, close your eyes and pretend you’re wading into the warm Mediterranean waters off Barcelona.

You went to Spain once, remember? Remember how you lazily drank sangria in the sun?

Now, wipe the piss from your heels. The timer is going off.

Step eleven:

A potty training drinking game? Ha! You think you’re the first parent to think of that, don’t you? That’s cute.

Tell you what: when the child independently requests to use a toilet, you can have a shot of tequila.

Oh hey, look who’s still stone-cold sober.

Should your child urinate on the floor in front of the potty, you may lick a wine cork dipped in Benadryl. You’re welcome.

Step twelve: 

If your child asks to hold the timer upon the potty, go on, let him. It’ll be fine. 

Hey, remember how there was a time when you wouldn’t reach into the toilet with your bare hands to fish things out of the water?

Yeah. That time is called “the past.”

Step thirteen:

At 5:00PM you may reward yourself with a glass of wine. (Alright, fine, 4:52. Jeezuuus.)

When your husband comes home and raises his eyebrows at the dent you’ve already put in the Chardonnay, give him a look that lets him know you’ve spent the bulk of your week kneeling before a toilet discussing the finer points of Conky, Pee-wee Herman’s awkwardly constructed robot.

Congratulations! It’s been three days! Your child is now successfully potty-trained! You’ll never clean up human feces again.

Haha! Just kidding! You definitely will. But now you’ll get to do it in Target, while crouched in a tiny stall, cursing yourself for forgetting an extra pair of underwear.

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7 Tips For Being the Most Natural Parent of Them All

Natural parenting isn’t a game of half measures. If you really want to do it right, you’d better go all the way.

Dear Soon-To-Be Natural Mama,

I heard you were looking into water birth and checking the labels on baby lotion, and thought I’d head over to say, “Hi,” and teach you a thing or two about natural parenting.

When I was pregnant with my son, I ate mostly organic food and took Bradley birth classes. I was proud of the natural environment I was creating for my boy, and couldn’t wait for him to get here so I could keep on being the natural, organic, crunchy mom I fancied myself to be.

Then he was born, and I started spending time with other moms in online natural parenting groups and – wow – I did not know what I was in for.

The way eyebrows were raised at the mention of letting my boy eat cake on his first birthday, or moving him to his own room at 16 months, you’d have thought I was letting him chow-down on lead paint before he could crawl.  

I’ve come to realize that I fail more than I succeed in the natural parenting game. Despite my failings, I’ve learned quite a bit about what it means to be crunchy. Though most of the mamas out there are normal and nice and just looking out for their little ones health and safety, there is a good chunk of the crunchy mama community that can be, well, a little bit competitive.

If you’re ready for a challenge, though, and have a burning desire to out-natural all the other mothers in your circle, I’ve got some tips I think might help: 

Getting Pregnant

Some women use ovulation predictor kits to get pregnant. Or they time their cycle and chart using their temperature.

Don’t do this. Use natural family planning, and learn to feel your eggs drop. If you miss that magical, fertile feeling, know when you’re going to ovulate by syncing your cycles with the lunar calendar, and with the cycles of your ancestors.

During your fertile time of the month fill your bathtub with essential oils and ask your acupuncturist to send positive energy your way. Wonder out loud, and with great frequency, why some women resort to technology when they could just spend time getting to know their bodies.

Prenatal Care

When you get pregnant, don’t take a pregnancy test. Wait until you feel kicks to confirm your baby is there. Eat purely. Avoid unnecessary testing. Trust that your baby is growing as it should.

Find a doctor who can tell everything they need to know by placing both hands lightly on your belly and closing their eyes. Ask for ways to lengthen your pregnancy, don’t give birth before 42 weeks.

Sunbathe every afternoon and visualize your child forming. When you see a misbehaving child in the grocery store, whisper to your partner about how it’s probably because the mother was stressed during pregnancy.

Sex and Gender

Some parents ask the doctor not to share their child’s sex during the 20 week anatomy scan. Be better than that. Don’t find out your baby’s sex, ever. Close your eyes until they’re swaddled after birth and learn to bathe them blindfolded to ensure you don’t raise them with gendered expectation.

When they’re old enough, ask them whether they’d like to share their thoughts on sex and gender with you. If they say no, accept it, it’s their choice. Shake your head in silence anytime you see a bow on a baby girl’s head.

Delivery

Most women have a hospital birth. Some ladies give birth at a birth center. The best mothers give birth at home. But you can be better. Find a stream in a forest near your house. Ask your birth shaman to meet you there, and to purify the water upstream. Light candles. Burn sage. Ask that everyone be silent as your child emerges.

Carry them home still attached to their placenta. Darken your home to liken it to your womb, and spend the first six weeks of your baby’s life shushing to the beat of your heart, so they feel safe and attached. Make sure your birth photographer only posts the most goddess-like images of your labor.

Potty Training

Some “natural” parents use cloth diapers. Don’t. Don’t use any diapers at all. Develop the kind of attachment that gives you the power to know what your child needs before they grimace and grunt.

Spend their first two months of their life looking into their eyes and holding them over an antique chamber pot. Make sure the chamber pot is locally sourced. Make sure it’s handmade. Make sure your child is pooping into something rustic and free of unnatural dyes.

Make sure you share that “training” is a cruel word to apply to children (they’re not animals after all) anytime someone mentions potty-training their own kid.   

Feeding

Some parents breastfeed for a year or two. You should breastfeed longer and make sure your milk is more pure. While you’re breastfeeding, eat a vegan, soy-free, gluten-free diet. Most days you should eat only nuts. Go meet the man who grows your cashews. Make sure he doesn’t snack on processed foods as he harvests your lunch.

When it’s time to add solids to your baby’s diet at two or three years old, make sure you’ve grown a wide variety of vegetables that they can choose from. Make sure your garden has been fertilized by nothing but breast milk. Let your child harvest their first food. Felt a gardening hat and whittle them a trowel for the experience.

Bring your own food to birthday parties and holidays, make sure to slap the fork out of anyone’s hand who dares offer your child cake from a box. Educate them on the dangers of red dye.

Baby Classes

Some mothers take their children to mommy-and-me music. Others put their kids in sports. If you’ve raised them naturally enough, your child will be much wiser and more independent than other babies, so they’ll have different learning needs.

Enroll them in weaving classes and a monthly foraging seminar. If you don’t know where they get the yarn in weaving class, buy a sheep. Learn animal husbandry. Feed your sheep organic food so her wool will be soft and thick.

Help your child weave her own foraging pouch. Make sure she collects acorns, berries and mushrooms during her monthly seminar. If you can’t eat the bounty of berries she collects, help her mash them into a paint paste. Use the paint paste to write thank you cards to her teachers. Post pictures of her artwork (with a description of how the paint was made) on Facebook.

If all this seems hard, well then, maybe natural parenting just isn’t for you. If that’s the case, please feel free to meet me at the park. I’ll be the one with the kid in the popsicle-stained, non-organic cotton tee-shirt.

 

How to Stick Up For Yourself Like a Toddler

You know who knows what they want and aren’t afraid to get/demand/steam roll you for it? Toddlers. Maybe it’s time we adults took a page from their book.

When I signed up for this parenting gig, I thought my job would be to impart wisdom, and to mold my kids into the people I wanted them to be. I imagined myself as a sage leader, always calm and in control. I imagined that my job was to contain my children, to instruct and socialize them, that by doing so I would allow them to become their best selves.

But it turns out that I need some un-socializing as badly as my kids need socializing. My 39 years on this earth have trained me to make myself smaller than I should, to be polite sometimes at the expense of meeting my own needs, to say “no thanks” when what I mean is “yes please.”

My toddler is changing all that by modeling these daily life lessons:

1 | Run towards the things that you love, even if someone is shouting at you to go in another direction.

The yellow tractor at the end of the road. The blueberries in the neighbor’s yard. The giant mud puddle next to the car.

Sure there’s someone behind you waving her arms wildly and yelling, “STOP!” but she’s pretty easy to tune out. What does she know anyway? Ignore the haters and eat all the blueberries.

2 | Declare what is yours.

“That’s mine.” Say this at least 20 times a day – to friends, family, and strangers. The rules of ownership are pretty simple: if you like it, you own it.

That marble at the bottom of the fountain? Yours. The Frisbee on the beach? Yours. The castle that your older brother painstakingly built out of Legos? Definitely yours.

Say it out loud so that everyone knows. “That’s MINE.”

3 | Don’t overthink your fashion choices. Any items you love always go together if you wear them with the right attitude.

Wear your T-rex shirt three days in a row without washing. When your favorite striped pants get a hole in the knee, have a grown-up cut them off so you can wear them as shorts. That hooded Spiderman tee-shirt goes with everything.

Wear ONLY things you love. Otherwise, it’s preferable to be naked.

4 | Don’t think about how you’re going to say, “NO!” Just say it and mean it.

Do you want a hug? No. A kiss? No. Want to sing Itsy-Bitsy Spider? No. Want to take a bath? NO!

Never hesitate. Never look for other words. The people around you will get used to it. They’ll come to know you as a person who says what you mean.

5 | Ask for comfort whenever you need it.

Cry for the one you love in the middle of the night. When she appears, whisper, “I missed you,” and plant a wet kiss on her cheek. Go back to sleep immediately.

6 | Feel your feelings.

Cry until you are not sad anymore. Pout until you are not angry anymore. If a joke is funny, laugh from your belly and ask the teller to repeat it over and over. 

7 | Fight sleep.

The world is calling you. Run eight more laps around the yard. Become suddenly fascinated by the spinning top you’ve had for months. Insist on sampling all the flavors of toothpaste. 

Suck all the marrow that you can out of every day, before you give in to rest.

8 | When you finally do sleep, relish it. 

Sleep hard and strong with your blanket pulled against your chest. Ignore the noises of footsteps, of coffee grinding, of morning conversation.

If someone comes to wake you, roll over and sink your face into the pillow. Sleep, once achieved, is delicious.

9 | It doesn’t matter how small you are. Your body holds massive strength.

Your muscles were made to enact your will. The world is your playground. Climb trees and jump off steps. Use the counter for pull-ups. Snuggle and wrestle daily.

Motion is life.

10 | It’s possible to live without shame.

Run through the front yard naked. When you fart, announce it and laugh. Decorate your body in magic marker. Carry plastic Jack-o-lanterns to the grocery store in July.

Your joy hurts no one—in fact, it improves the lives of those around you.

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