To Kegel, or not to Kegel?

I was totally going to start this post with some kind of reflection or explanation for my lack of blogging these past two months — something funny and clever about my failure to keep a non-resolution resolution just a few days after the new year.

YawnThen I was like, *yawn.* People reading this are mostly parents too, who know all about work and bills and kids and illnesses and clutter and injuries and errands and conferences and all the blahbidy blahs that come with life. I don’t have to write about that today.

Nope, today I’m going to blog about the one thing that concerns Moms everywhere — incontinence.

I mean, we’re still in the cough and cold season. Which makes for a lot of knee crossing.

I gave birth to four good-sized babies in five years. And, with all due respect to Dr. Kegel, that’s a whole lot of stretching out. Given that I’m not made of elastic, well, let’s just say it’s not all snapped back yet.

This is all on my mind today because, in the middle of de-cluttering my computer files, I came across this bit of writing from the end of January, when I was still in the throes of an awful, lingering, hacking-up-my-lungs cold:

Note to Dr. Kegel:

Your “exercises” are a BIG FREAKIN SCAM.

You go ahead and push out multiple kids from your girl parts and see how well those parts rebound even after YEARS of doing all those squeezes (and yes, I mean doing those exercises watermelonwith all the peace and serenity and focus and commitment of the good and powerful mom who did that birthing and the pushing with complete joy and purpose and without any medication at all, which is to say all the joyous and blessed pain that comes with squeezing a watermelon out of your vagina).

Dr. Kegel, after all that pushing and tearing and widening and re-sizing, YOU sneeze without crossing your legs and see what happens. YOU get bronchitis and then you’ll know what constant coughing and mucous-expelling and re-applying sanitary napkins have in common.

YOU get yourself a female pelvic floor, and then we’ll talk.


Mothers everywhere

So, what say you, ladies? To Kegel, or not to Kegel?


Non-swear swearing, or, how I farkle and shazam myself into laughter

Not so long ago, I decided to stop swearing. Not that I was the type to curse like a sailor on shore leave — in fact, a friend once told me that I sounded like a librarian when I was upset (which, cover mouthknowing a few librarians, is actually a great compliment). So I wasn’t whirling up a shit storm of swears in my daily life, but, when no one was around, I was not above the occasional F-bomb. Still, it got the point where I was worried that I’d let something slip in front of the kids, something harder than the occasional “crap” or even a “damn it” that was already leaking out.

So I decided to stop.

Or, at least, alter my language. Instead of the usual expletives, however mild, I started saying “Shazam!” and “Shenanigans!” The thing is, when you really need to curse, what you really need to do is say something loud and fast and BIG to release the intensity of what you’re feeling at the moment, whether it’s because you stubbed your toe or closed the car door on your finger or remembered that you were supposed to be at a parent-teacher conference 15 minutes ago. I mean, there are certain occasions when you just need to shout at the sky, “WELL, FUCK!”

shazamSince that’s not always appropriate, substituting a SHAZAM works just as well. You get the benefit of the big release that comes with yelling, and it’s bound to make you giggle a little. I mean, at the very least, the goofiness of the word causes some priceless reactions by the people around you. SHAZAM makes you laugh. SHAZAM diffuses the pain or the frustration because SHAZAM is just silly, and how can you be truly pissed off or wounded when you’re being silly? SHAZAM turns you into a comic book hero who can tackle anything, including the disaster of dropping an armload of freshly washed glasses onto the wood floor while trying to unload the dishwasher.


The other day, Cooper found a new game in his Christmas stocking at Muggy and Pop’s, a dice game called “Farkle.” We played yesterday and all agreed that FARKLE would be an excellent thing to say if you’re upset.

  • (dropping the freshly trimmed beef into the garbage can) WELL, FARKLE!
  • (getting an email about an overdue bill) HOLY FARKLE!
  • (when kids don’t listen) WOULD YOU FARKLE-ING DO WHAT I ASK YOU TO DO?

Do you have a favorite non-curse curse word? I’m on the lookout for some new things to mutter or shout when things go amiss.

And if you don’t, give SHAZAM or FARKLE a try. I guarantee results.

  • (when someone totally steals the cab you just hailed) FARKLE YOU!
  • (after your boss has just laid you off) That is total SHAZAM!

Seriously. Try it! Why the Farkle not?

Why I Should Clean More, Reason #72

Found this bad boy in a box, in a wicker trunk that was covered in piles of other crap. SCORE! Also, I found two shoeboxes of cassette tapes. No joke. And, yes, it still works!

I wonder what other treasures I might find if I do some more cleaning? Scrunchies? Parachute pants? Acid-washed denim jacket?


Maybe this cleaning thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some things might be left…lost forever.


Lessons from One-Armed Baby

A lot of Moms I know have nice houses. Fancy houses. The kind where you walk into a foyer and it smells like pot-pourri and there’s this glass-fronted cabinet with all the wedding crystal and silver-framed photos of honeymoons and children, and even though you know for a fact that they have all these kids (because you’re there to pick up or drop off one or more of your own), there’s no evidence of them anywhere as far as you can see.

My house is not like that.

When you walk through my front door, you’ll probably be knocked back by the sports-smell of the half-dozen pairs of cleats stored within an arm’s reach due to lack of closet space, and, because we have no mud room, as many of my peers do, and, because of the aforementioned lack of closet space, you’ll probably trip over a backpack or two. After you regain your footing and rub your bruised elbows from the fall you took when tripping, you’ll catch a glimpse of our living room, with books strewn over every possible surface and drawings and projects too (because we have no library or craft room, either). You’ll see a small house where six people live, four of them children who, despite all our best efforts, haven’t yet mastered the idea of putting stuff away. Frankly, neither have some of the adults.

If you walk into the kitchen, about the size of a shoebox, complete with about 10 inches of usable counter space for food preparation and a dishwasher that can’t open more than 3/4 of the way because it butts into a floorboard radiator, you might see this:

This is One-Armed Baby. OAB was, I think, originally Mitzi’s doll, received as a gift probably 7 years ago. OAB’s the kind of doll that eats and poops. You know the kind? You feed it some reconstituted powder pack of fake baby food, fit her tush over a plastic potty, push down on her shoulders until all the crap comes out. Child claps! Amazing! Then Mom is left to — I kid you not — clean out the inside by repeatedly swishing it with soapy water and then letting it dry to ensure no bacteria will grow. You’re supposed to do that every time you feed the doll.

We fed her once.

Ever since that singular poopy day, OAB joined the troupe of 67 other baby dolls that inhabit our house, spending her time being dressed up and pushed around in rickety toy strollers and dragged endlessly over the hardwood floors (hence, her current One Arm status). But never has she been fed. I saw to that.

Until the other day when Ellie and Joanna figured out what she was capable of. They loaded her up with water and made her use the potty. Again and again. And again. When they grew bored, they left her on their bedroom floor, where I found her some days later. I picked her up and saw the puddle that remained where her vajajay had been sitting. I shook her. Filled up with water. To her boobies.

So I put her by the kitchen sink, hoping she’d drain. Every once in a while I squash her shoulders or pull her head up and shake her upside down, trying to get the water out.

It’s been two weeks.

If you’ve ever had a bath toy, you know what must be growing inside her right now. I fear that OAB is destined for the dump, but, having seen all three Toy Story movies, not to mention Child’s Play, I am reluctant to toss her aside.

But throw her away I will, I’m sure, and I’ve warned the girls.

Till then, OAB keeps me company while I was dishes, her one arm raised in a silent plea — Look at me! Play with me! FEED ME! I hate her and she scares me a little, but I’ve sort of become used to her presence.

It’s hard to let go, even when it’s the smallest piece of your world, even when you know you should, even when you know it’s right.

Even when it’s just a plastic one-armed baby, even when you know it’s time, it’s hard to let go.

The WTF? Parent of the Day winner!

Congratulations to the anonymous Camden, New Jersey, father on winning my

WTF? Parent of the Day  contest!

WTF Parent of the Day Award

Genius dad thought it would be fun to put his toddler inside a washing machine at his local laundromat. Hey, why not? It’s the perfect place to play peek-a-boo (except for the oven, which kids really love, too, unless you can squeeze them into the microwave, ’cause that’s way better).

It’s all fun and games — until you happen to shut the machine door. Which then locks. Which sets off an automatic wash cycle in which your baby is spun over and over like a dirty sock. Woo-hoo! Bring on the party! Seriously, better than Space Mountain.

Fortunately for dad, workers at the laundromat were able to free the child after a few minutes. The child was not hurt, but police, who say what happened wasn’t criminal, are looking for  the family to make sure. And, why don’t they already know who the family is?

Because the story came to light after a surveillance video was posted on the Internet and garnered over a million views.

Which makes me wonder — did the laundry staff who discovered the video really think it was better post it online instead of, oh, I don’t know,  calling the cops? Maybe they called the cops first, then posted the video while waiting for the cruiser to arrive? “Ha, baby in a washer, a regular laff riot!”

for stupidity above and beyond

For this, the laundry workers earn a Special Medal of Stupidity!

It’s a mystery, what goes on in the minds of people who care more about online guffaws and website hits than they do for other people.

In all seriousness, I’m really glad the child wasn’t injured. And I’m sure the father feels horrible beyond belief about what happened. All parents make mistakes — but when it comes to our kids and major appliances, well, I’m pretty sure that knowing to keep the two separate is a no-brainer. Isn’t it?

Two terrific books reviewed by M & C

Mitzi and Cooper recently read two books by Donna Gephart. Donna is a wonderful writer — her books are filled with humor and heart, and the characters she creates leave lasting impressions long after you’ve reached The End.

Some time ago, I reviewed How to Survive Middle School on this blog, and today I offer Cooper’s opinion:


You should read this book because…..

  1. You’ll know how to avoid swirlies
  2. You’ll learn that being famous doesn’t fix everything
  3. Hammy ROCKS!
  4. It’s beyond funny — it’s hilarious!
  5. You can’t survive middle school without friends
  6. It’s awesome!
(1/2 Tommy Murphy might beat you up if you don’t)
Here is the synopsis from the back of the book:
Eleven-year-old David Greenberg dreams of becoming a TV superstar like his idol, Jon Stewart. But in real life, David is just another kid terrified of starting his first year at Harman Middle School. With a wacky sense of humor and hilarious Top 6½ Lists, David spends his free time making TalkTime videos, which he posts on YouTube.

But when David and his best friend have a fight, David is lucky enough to make a pretty cool new friend, Sophie—who just (gulp) happens to be a girl. Sophie thinks David’s videos are hilarious, and she starts sending out the links to everyone she knows. Sophie’s friends tell their friends, and before David knows it, thousands of people are viewing his videos—including some of the last people he would have expected.
And now for Mitzi’s review!

I read OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN, a novel written by Donna Gephardt.

This book is about a girl named Olivia Bean who loves trivia, and her dream is to be on the kids’ week Jeopardy! show. Here is the synopsis from the back of the book:

Olivia Bean knows trivia. She watches Jeopardy! every night and usually beats at least one of the contestants. If she were better at geography, she would try out for the show’s kids’ week. Not only could she win bundles of money, she’d get to go to the taping in California, where her dad, who left two years ago and who Olivia misses like crazy, lives with his new family.
One day Olivia’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: her almost-stepdad, superannoying Neil; her genius little brother, Charlie; even her stressed-out mom. Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood! But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?

My favorite character is Olivia Bean, because she is funny, and also nice and smart. My favorite part was when Olivia’s mom’s boyfriend did something really special for her, but I won’t tell what it is because it basically took 20 chapters, aka, the whole book. But it was really nice. I’d recommend this book to people who like fiction and Jeopardy!. You should read this book because it’s really funny, and super awesome!

— Mitzi