Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mom Tip #42

Naps are wonderful but time them with care!

Here at Zoo Suburbia things tend to hit critical mass from time to time. Our options when this happens are to either tolerate the incomprehensible screaming and wailing and gnash our own teeth or put some people in crash mode (full blown nap).

Yesterday we picked Mo up from school, ran by the grocery store and headed for home. I thought all was well until The Boy hit the door between the garage and the house. I don’t know what happened or who started it but it was ugly. There was serious screaming from Tuck and Munch and to this moment I have no idea what it was all about. Off to bed. Now here’s the problem. Critical mass didn’t hit until 4. With Munch that’s no big deal; she can take a nap at 4 and still go down for bed at the normal time. She plays pretty hard.

Tuck? Not so much! He went down for his nap and try as I might there was no waking him before 5. The rest of the evening was delightful with minimal fighting but then it was time to go to bed. Talking, talking, books, more talking. There was no end in sight. At 9:30 he came to tell me that Mo hit him. Could that be because she wanted to sleep and you were in her face? “Well, yeah.” Come help me pack lunches.

He talked me through packing lunches. Let’s go brush teeth and get Mom ready for bed. He talked me through that including a discussion on why Mommy has to take her “no baby medicine.” “Yeah we don’t want another Meghan!” Let’s go make the coffee. He talked me through that. Do you need to go potty? This is where I learned that when “the peeps” don’t want to come out it means they aren’t home. They went to the grocery store. I was exhausted so I asked. What do peeps buy at the grocery store? “Food, you silly goose!” What do peeps eat? (I was REALLY tired) “More peeps!” Please son! Can we go to bed?

So I let him snuggle with me in my bed but no snuggles were to be had until we sang The Little Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Then I tried to “pretend” I was asleep to encourage him to do the same. Next thing I knew there were toes up my nose. “Smell my feet Mom!” I don’t know what time he finally fell asleep. He was still talking about feet and peeps and coffee when I lost it for the night.

I do know that the peeps got back from the grocery store somewhere around 2:30 this morning. It happened on Daddy’s side of the bed which I heard about pretty promptly but since it wasn’t my side I made a mental note to just sleep really still.

Go ahead. Get those naps in – just make sure you time them early enough in the day. Or take a nap with them!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zoo Randomness

How to ride out a Tornado Warning/Watch cycle.

So the storm finally reached us. I have to say I'm very glad. We are in such a drought that 2 days of rain like this is a real blessing. I could do without the wind and the tornado warnings but I'll survive. So today when the EAS went off on the TV we decided that the best way to distract ourselves was to get out the good old playdough. This way we weren't watching the storm outside but we were close enough to the stairs that we could get down to the playroom if things got ugly. So I share with you a rare and random glimpse inside the Zoo.

I promise! He's not a violent Rhino! He just takes his playdough seriously!

This was Marmoset's first playdough experience. It got pretty interesting!

Moooom! I'm not done yet!

Doesn't it look like a leaf to you?! Really?! I saw it right off!

Ahhh! Now we have some fun! Ummm, baby, you don't want to eat that!

Yeah, kiddo. Not yummy at all! Let's not do that again huh?

And what was the Zookeeper doing during all this? Other than taking pictures?

Imagining how quiet it would be if the Zoo looked like this!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Zookeeper Goes Seussical

{For those that are part of my CafeMom world - sorry it needed to make the trip over here!}
This is not good. This is not right.
The children have gone to bed for the night.
It's way to early for this state.
Maybe someone can relate.

All day the battles raged and roared.
Zoom went the toys and slam went the door.
Best of friends they used to be.
What has changed I cannot see!

"But it's MY turn!" she hollered out.
"No, it's NOT." I heard him shout.
"No, No! Mum, Mum!" the baby chimed.
As the dog stared at me and whined.

And then the crying with a high pitched screech
She didn't make it out of his reach.
Teapot to the head, a hand full of hair
I'll never take them anywhere!

But tomorrow morn the sun will rise
My little terrors will open eyes
"It's church day!" she'll beam and spring from bed
"Mornin' Mom!" from my little tow head.

"Hi Mum Mum!" the babe will say.
And so we'll start a brand new day.
"Dear Lord," I pray with all my heart
"Please don't let more rukus start!"

"My head of glass no more can bear
The clawing, scratching and pulling hair.
Wash my home with peace and love

Or I'll be forced to send them to you above!!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mom Tip #41

NEVER deep clean on low mom esteem or during PMS.

*This Tip is rated WS (Weak Stomach). Not appropriate for readers with sensitive gag reflexes.*

You know what I’m talking about, right? There are just days when you question your fitness as a mother and you actually think about calling Child Protective Services and reporting yourself!! And don’t let that day fall during PMS because then you actually pick up the phone and start to dial!

Never deep clean when you are in this “happy” place. It’s just bad for business all around.

I was feeling pretty good about things this morning. I got up and got moving early so the basic maintenance housework was done quickly. That’s when I decided today was the day to REALLY clean the kids’ room. This entails completely clearing the closet and starting from scratch; getting the broom and pulling everything out from under the beds; and eliminating everything from the top of the dresser.

As I dug in the closet a strange sweet smell kept wafting by my nose. I went through every toy until I came to the laundry basket. This is never a good place to sniff closely but I was left with no choice. Oh yeah! There it is! But the basket is empty?! So I took out the liner. The remains of what I think was a banana. I take the liner out every other week on Sheets Thursday and last week was the week so this thing has pretty much been in there since last Friday. Urk.

Then it was time for the broom under the bed. Clank, Thunk, Thud. And Squish?! That’s not supposed to happen. Seventeen books, 2 shoes (not the same pair), four sippy cups with questionable contents, and an apple impaled on the end of the broom?! Do you know how hard it SHOULD be to impale an apple with a broomstick? Urk!

I turned toward the dresser with dread but I had come this far so there was no turning back. Dress up clothes to go back to the playroom, the 8 outlet covers that have been missing for 3 months, the Lawgiver 3000 (they think they’re sneaky!), and a snack bag of moldy Cheeze-its. People, Cheeze-its will be the food of the cockroaches after the nuclear holocaust. They don’t go stale; they don’t ever run out: and they certainly don’t mold! Unless of course they are put in the ultimate Petri dish known as my children’s room. Double Urk!

You would think that that would have been enough for me wouldn’t you?! Oh no! I’m a glutton! I went for the laundry closet after that. This is where I found 238 hair bows (that have been replaced 5 times), 7 socks (whose mates have probably gone to the happy dryer in the sky months ago!), and a pair of underpants that over shot the top of the washer and would probably test even the most highly trained carbon dater’s skills!

If I had been doubting my skills as a mom and housekeeper this would have done me in. I would be sitting in that nice clean closet hugging my knees, rocking and petting my own hair. But it’s a good day. Maybe I’ll adjust the straps on my gas mask and go for the bathroom closet next! That should be fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mom Tip #40

Shoo all significant others from the room! This is for Mom’s Eyes Only!

We’re not always right!

Insert collective gasp here! And that is why I noted this tip as MEO.

Yesterday Lord of the Manor was given his first day off in over 8 weeks. He was “ordered” by the boss to take the day off and spend it with the family. So it was time to decide what to do. Through a friend it looked like we were going to the Aquarium for free but Mo was at school. Daddy begged, pleaded, cajoled and even pulled the “It’s Pre-K! It’s not like she’s studying for her SAT’s!” I folded. I didn’t want to pull her out of school on her 7th day but I folded and let Daddy pull her.

We had a fabulous family day! I was wrong. If she hadn’t been with us, it wouldn’t have been as much fun because we would have been rushed to get back to pick her up. She would have missed out on a really great visit to an incredible place. I can’t even imagine the tears I would have been dealing with! So I was wrong.

How many times have I told Tuck not to play with his food? Today he and I were having lunch together. Just us. Kind of like a date. Guess what we did? We played with our food. Have you ever seen a child peeking through the hole he just made in the middle of his PB&J? Have you ever seen the smile that comes out from behind the sandwich as he gets ready to make the hole “REALLY BIG!! Chomp!!”? Or the smile that happens when both of us play monkey and share a banana?

That was one of the best lunch dates I’ve had in a really long time! So I was wrong.

Now. Everyone reading. Right hand over your heart and repeat after me. I, (insert your name), pledge and promise to never breathe a word to the Zookeeper’s family that she can be wrong from time to time.

Hey! I’d do it for you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mom Tip #15

Yes, Motherhood changes everything!

(Yes, zoo members I went back to the archives today. This one was just too good not to share!)

Remember? How many of your friends who were already mothers told you that when you first found out you were pregnant? Yeah, me too! But I thought they were talking about the lifestyle thing. And yeah, that has changed but there's more they didn't warn me about. For example.....

My butt.
Maybe it's because I had my 3 very close together. Maybe it's because I had a sit down job while I was pregnant (hey, I know I'm reaching!). Here's the point. I could work out until the sun goes dark. I could live on celery and vitamin water for the rest of my life. But I am NEVER getting my butt back. There isn't a crowbar, roll of duct tape or bungee cord that is ever going to make my immoveable force get back into a size 6 pair of jeans. I have to face the facts.

My stomach.
I'm not talking about my abs - about a million more crunches and I might get those back. I'm talking about the organ inside. It will no longer accept hot food. It will only receive half eaten stone cold hot dogs from toddler plates or thoroughly cold, never touched food from my own plate but only if there is no one else left at the table and it’s eaten over the sink. My stomach has also converted from organ to steel. Sights and smells that would have once upon a time had me praying to the porcelain god now barely manage to make my eyes tear up.

My wardrobe.
I'm pretty sure there isn't a single article of clothing in my closet that doesn't have some very faint trace of spit up, jelly, juice, or unmentionable/unidentifiable stuff on it. And I know for certain that there isn't anything "just for pretty" in there. All my clothes have a very utilitarian air to them that make them very friendly with the washing machine. Oh wait! Back there?! Is that a dress? Nope, never mind. It's a six.

My car.
I can deal with giving up my pick up for a sedan. I have even come to grips with the fact that I had to give up my sedan for a minivan. I just want to have one day - just one! - when we get in the van and I don't step on a cheerio, cheeze it, or piece of....what IS that?! And what is that SMELL?!?!

My heart.
Someday I know I won't get my cardio workout from watching my son in an Easter basket at the top of the living room stairs. Or watching my toddler climb on top of the coffee table and grin in triumph while I'm up to my elbows in a raw turkey.

I also know that my heart will never be the size 1 that it once was. But I kind of like the size 5 that I have. It has just enough room for all the love that my hubby and children have brought into my life. Yeah. Motherhood changes everything alright. Just not exactly what you expect.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mom Tip #39

Supervise your child’s education.

And you may say, “Well, DUH!!” But I’m not talking about your child’s formal education. No, not the great halls of learning. Yes, you should supervise that but since when have you known this mom to be talking about the mainstream version of things?

No, I’m talking about the things one child learns from another – namely what the younger sibling learns from the older.

As is our standard operating procedure here at Zoo Suburbia, I made the kids dinner and set them up at their table in the kitchen. Then I left them to enjoy their meal in peace and harmony (ok. Now I’m laughing at myself!). They thought I had gone downstairs apparently because I came out of the bedroom where I had been folding laundry to hear the following conversation.

T: But I don yike dis stuff (referencing the sauce I had put on his spaghetti).

Big M: It’s okay Tuck. Just do what I do. Eat what you want and then throw your plate at the hole in the sink. The yucky stuff will go down the hole and Mom will never know.

T: Good idea Mo! Thanks!

Big M: Sure! It’s what I always do with my peas!

Please note that “the hole” is the garbage disposal. I’ve been wondering why I’ve been hearing 4 or 5 plates hit the sink every night when they are done with dinner – there’s only 3 of them and Munch isn’t clearing her own plate yet. That leaves 2 plates to make 5 noises? After hearing the above conversation I put it together.

Mo is tall enough now to see into the sink. If her “undesirables” don’t go down the disposal the first time she pulls the old “try, try again!” And now The Boy has picked up the tip so if she reports that his “undesirables” haven’t hit their mark he has her pull his plate back out so he can “try, try again.”

Looks like I’ll be eating a lot of chicken nuggets and corn dogs while I’m on pea patrol from now on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mom Tip #38

You may feel cut off from the non-Mom world sometimes but you are never alone.

Since Mo has gone to school things have quieted significantly here at the Zoo. I was actually wondering where I was going to get the inspiration for more Mom Tips! Then my alter ego (the Zookeeper) received the following communication from one of the Zookeeper Sisterhood.

“Dear Zookeeper,

Greetings from a fellow zookeeper! I am writing you to see if you would be willing to accept a zoo transfer. I am preparing to take a leave of absence to attend Zookeeper Sanity Camp. I have a small female chimpanzee who needs placement. As I have noticed that your Orangutan has managed to keep her coat in pristine condition, I thought your zoo would be ideal. My Chimp has a bit of a grooming issue of late and needs some serious rehabilitation. There was a bit of an incident with my large male Baboon that has left her looking a bit rough. Please think over the offer carefully. I will contact you upon release from the ZSC to arrange her transfer back to my facility.

Oh, and if you also have room for a Hyena and a very small Hippo, please let me know!”

Now a word of explanation. The Chimpanzee in question met a Hyena with scissor operating skills yesterday. While the Baboon (who was supposed to be on duty while the Zookeeper was at her other place of employment) dozed, the Hyena played hairstylist. My sister Zookeeper put it as “Billy Ray Cyrus’s love child had a run in with a weed wacker.”

The Baboon – thinking he was being funny and charming and “helpful” – decided today that he could fix the problem and now the Chimp has a bald spot above her right ear where she was not a fan of the Baboon’s clippers.

No matter how wild or insane or out of Mom’s control things get, remember there are more of us out there probably having the day you’re having. And if you have learned nothing else from this tip…..

Never leave 2 monkeys and a hyena in a hair salon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Note from the Zoo

{from the Orangutan}

Dear Zookeeper,

Well, it appears that O.A.T. is going to be a lot of fun. So far I am enjoying my tour immensely even though it's only been a few days. However, I do have a few concerns.

I am having a small issue with the tour hours. It seems to me that tour preparation really should not start until the sun is actually up. The notion of rousing from my comfortable sleeping arrangement before the sun has even started to appear in the sky is very disagreeable. Marmoset and Rhino may continue to begin their days at that hour if they would like but I would prefer a delay in the tour.

Along the same lines, I am finding my closing hours to be inconvenient as well. It is simply not right that my exhibit should be closed before the sun has gone down as well. I will continue to make enough ruckus to keep Rhino and Marmoset awake if I am forced to close my exhibit at these early hours.

I greatly appreciate the dietary supplements you have been sending with me to O.A.T. I think you will find that bringing additional supplements with you when you come to retrieve me will also aid in a smooth transition back to the zoo. I find it completely unfair if the Rhino and Marmoset have supplements in the livestock trailer and I do not. Thank you for your particular attention to this detail.

In regards to O.A.T. in particular. It would be wonderful if you would cease the incessant interviewing. I think you may have noticed that I disengage my memory as soon as I arrive at the livestock trailer so it is pointless for you to continue to interrogate me every afternoon. Eventually I will remember what you would like to know and will volunteer the information at that time. But I think we can all agree that the interview is pointless at this time.

And finally, I would like to share a little about the Male Orangutan I have befriended at O.A.T. I understand that it doesn't make very much sense to you why I would befriend such a character. After all he HAS disrupted my resting period once and pushed me down on the exercise yard the second day. However as I explained, he did express sincere remorse at his behavior and I felt it only appropriate to give him the benefit of my friendship. Please accept my decision.

Thank you for my touring opportunity. So far it has been a delightful and enlightening experience.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mom Tip #37

Examine your child occasionally for new and “improved” features.

Apparently while everyone was asleep emergency triggers were installed in my children. They are sensitive to sleep levels and can go off at anytime anywhere.

Magoo’s first day of “big school” was yesterday. It was a very exciting time for everyone. We took great precautions to plan ahead and make sure we had everything we needed. We laid out clothes and packed lunches the night before. We set 2 alarm clocks to make sure everyone got up and Super Mom even planned a family breakfast of blueberry pancakes as a special treat.

Everything went off like clockwork. We got Mo to class, said our farewells and got back to the house just in time for Daddy to go to work. The two small people played together like best friends all day with only a small moratorium for Munch to nap around 9. After lunch it was time for a quick trip to the grocery store and gas station before we had to pick up Mo.

Then the sleep sensitive emergency triggers went off. I didn’t even know they existed. I’ve never seen them and in tonight’s bath I was unable to locate them. I sincerely pray that not only will I be able to locate them but also deactivate them IMMEDIATELY!!

These triggers tripped and Munch started the squeal from…well…you know. Simultaneously Tuck started hollering as loud as he could that his belly hurt and he was just positive if I didn’t get him home NOW the pain was going to make his head fall off. There I was sitting in the carpool line in my own little torture chamber. School was out at 2:20 but it took the longest 20 minutes in history to get the children together for departure.

Just when I thought my head was going to join Tuck’s, it all went stone silent. I pried my now numb fingers from the steering wheel and slowly cracked one eyelid in the general direction of the rearview mirror. There were two passed out cherubs in the backseat where just moments before were the minions of the Dark Lord himself. And what do you know, there’s Mrs. F bringing Mo down the sidewalk. The last thing I wanted to do was hit the button to open that automatic door and sure enough as soon as I did I saw eyelids flutter. As we pulled away from the curb, the triggers tripped a second time and this time Mo felt like she should shout over them to tell me about her day.

I know when I gave birth to these children I counted fingers, toes, ears, eyes – well, everything. I do not remember seeing a red button or a switch that said “Warning: This switch will be activated when sleep levels reach critically low levels leading to failure of volume controls and extreme temper tantrums.”

I don’t know who installed these triggers but it had to have been a male and when I find him he had better hope I don’t have a trigger of my own!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mom Tip #36

Read every book written on parenting but you’ll still be surprised.

Go to any Barnes and Noble and you can find a whole line up of books about pregnancy, parenting and child psychology. Go ahead and spend a fortune and then countless hours reading them. You’re still going to have days that make your jaw drop.

Daddy was helping Tuck get ready for church this morning and they were making one of the last passes by the bathroom before we walked out the door. I don’t know what inspired it but Tuck told Daddy what he’s been telling me all week.

“I don’t want Mo anymore.”
You don’t? Well what do you think we should do with her?
“I don’t know but I don’t want her!”
Well, should we ship her off somewhere? Mail her to someone?
“Yeah!!” He reached into his pocket and pulled out an imaginary letter which he proceeded to unroll like a scroll. “Dear Mo, Go Away!”

You can’t prepare for that.

This evening (as if one off the wall surprise a day would ever be enough in the Zoo!), I did everyone’s baths and one by one they left the bathroom with towels on their heads. I know you all will be shocked and amazed when I tell you that the Nudist and his Apprentice took this as an engraved invitation to stay au natural.

Mo took a separate shower after the other two so when she got out of the tub with her towel she headed for her room for her pajamas. I’m going about my business rinsing out the tub and restoring order when she comes flying (her towel as a cape of course) into the bathroom.

“Mom!! I just found poop in the middle of our bedroom floor!”

You can’t prepare for that.

Off to the bedroom to clean up the poop. Nudist is hiding in the closet and Apprentice is dancing in the hallway. Who would you think was the culprit? Nudist of course and he claimed the handiwork to avoid interrogation and punishment. Fine. I clean it up and pass out pajamas. No more naked butts!

On my way back out the hallway I scoop up Apprentice and carry her out to get her dressed. As I flip her up to diaper her I make a horrible discovery. She was the culprit. Please don’t ask me how I came to this discovery. It’s just not pretty.

You can’t prepare for that.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A letter to the Zoo

Dear Zoo,

I would like to take a moment to address a small issue. There are some big changes coming our way and if yesterday was any indication, these changes will not go smoothly.

Large Male Lion, if you continue to insist that your hunting is more important than my zoo keeping you may find yourself as hunter and zookeeper. Please understand that this would mean all cleaning, feeding and grooming would become your responsibility on top of your already demanding hunting. May I suggest that you stick to your hunting and at least offer to help with the zoo keeping to prevent my resignation.

To my Orangutan. I understand that you are delighted about your upcoming tour. Please keep your celebratory climbing and other antics to a low din. Your recent burst of enthusiasm has created quite a stir with Rhino and Marmoset and has led to very loud and precarious situations in which exhibits are damaged.

::sigh:: S.M. Rhino. There are so many issues that I would like to cover with you but perhaps I should address the most detrimental behaviors. It would be a tremendous help to me if you would refrain from any more public exhibitionism. Marmoset has started to follow your lead and she is very challenging to re groom. She has also taken up your hobby of streaking which is really just embarrassing to all the residents.

I would also like to request that you curtail your very vocal demands for refreshments. The high pitched squeals and loud roars (especially when in a confined space) are beginning to cause your zookeeper physical pain which we all agree never leads to a happy zoo.

And finally Marmoset. The zoo has operating hours for a reason. When the zoo is closed it allows me (your zookeeper) to rest and prepare for our next day. Your recent desire to open the zoo around the clock is simply not feasible. I should also point out that you are the ONLY resident who would like to be open 24 hours. Even your security guard gets testy when the zoo is not closed for an adequate period.

I sincerely hope that all of you will take my suggestions and directives to heart. It is not my desire to resign from the zoo. However, if we have another day like yesterday I will be left with no choice but to take a leave of absence until further notice.

Thank you and have a lovely weekend!
The Zookeeper

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mom Tip #35

Prepare for Armageddon and be delighted with a Cat 3 hurricane!

We have all taken our children to a doctor’s visit or the dentist or the hair salon right? I try not to take all three if only one is being seen. That should go without saying! Why would you take a rainstorm with you on a picnic right?!

Magoo had her first dentist appointment this morning. I was anxious to begin with but I thought that since it would be just the two of us all would go well. And that was holding until Daddy came home from work last night.

A. No med form that I was supposed to have completed before I got to the office.
B. He was going to have to be at the office at 8 and the appointment was at 8:30. This means I’m taking all three with me. Anybody else’s blood pressure rising just thinking about it?

My hair voluntarily fell out in clumps to spare me the pain and energy it would have required to pull it out.

So I started preparing last night. Do Mo’s hair right out of the tub so I don’t have to do it in the morning. Pack Daddy’s lunch tonight so I don’t have to pack it in the morning. Prep the coffee tonight so I can just flip a switch in the morning. Have a mental picture of all the clothes that everyone is going to wear so that I can just grab them and go. Pack juice cups and tuck them in the fridge. Bag up animal crackers and drop them in the diaper bag. Make sure we have the school form for the dentist to sign.

You would have thought I was taking an all day trip to the zoo not a 2 hour trip WITH the zoo.

Going out the door this morning everyone got to grab one quiet toy to go with the extra books Mom grabbed for entertainment. I left with plenty of time (since now I have to try to fill out a medical form with 3 dancing children around). I even wore my khaki green shorts because I just knew I was headed into war!

And it went off without a hitch! Mo was a trooper and was cooperative the whole time. The hygienist and the doctor were incredibly impressed with her. {We’ll see if they keep that opinion when we start fixing all the work they found!} Tuck and Munch played and watched the fish without incident. They got a little cranky right before we left but they were easily bribed with animal crackers. I even gave a bag away to another mom who forgot hers.

Now imagine if I hadn’t been that prepared? Oh yeah!! Then you KNOW that things would have gotten ugly in a hurry. But instead of the end of the world (or at least my children) I got a small hurricane.

And get this! I wasn’t even a Girl Scout!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mom Tip #34

How to decide if you want more children.

My beloved works outside of the home about 12-14 hours a day. I don’t. I’m here. All day. Every day. 7 days a week. I am here.

He keeps asking me for another baby. I keep laughing in his face!

If you are trying to decide if you should have another child, I suggest that you go through the Mom Tip Decision Maker.

Step 1 Give your children 2 peanut butter sandwiches and a bag of M&M’s. Allow them to eat until they are full. Then top them off with 2 gallons each of red koolaid.

Step 2 Call the children’s best friends and invite their mothers to drop them off for anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day. The length of time should be proportional to how badly you want a baby. Really REALLY want a baby? Have a sleepover complete with ice cream.

Step 3 Get the dog a new toy that he really loves to play with and toss him into the playroom with the children.

Then you test. If you can keep the house clean, refrain from snatching yourself bald, avoid the call from your local home owners association for violating the noise standard, and keep the neighbors from calling Child Protective Services, WITHOUT DRINKING, you are cleared for another child.

You are fine with the child count but your beloved keeps asking for more? Easy Peasy! Repeat Step 1, turn off your cell phone and head to Barnes and Noble for 2 hours. Problem solved!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A letter from the Zookeeper

Dear Frequent Visitors,

As you may have gathered from my recent communications with Marmoset, there are some changes afoot at the Zoo. Orangutan is on her way to O.A.T (Orangutan Academic Training) and will become a touring exhibit beginning next week. Due to this adjustment at the Zoo, there may be a period of erratic communication. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause but assure you whole heartedly that as soon as the new hours are well established we will be back to full operation.

Orangutan's O.A.T will lead to significantly increased time in our livestock trailer so you may also rest assured that many more letters and tips from the Mom who shares this page are sure to arise. It will be interesting to observe Lion's behavior during this transistion as he can be a very demanding Zoo resident.

Thank you for your dedication to our Zoo. Without visitors like you, we really just talk to the walls. (And the toucans next door don't really like that!)

The Zookeeper

Mom Tip Mini's (hey they make mini muffins! I can make Mini Tips!)

Some quick lessons I learned all in one day!

Children give great fashion advice – if you don’t take it!
We were going out to get Mo’s new sneakers for school when Tuck gave me a lecture on comfortable shoes.
“Mom, you need to get your shoes too!”
I have my sneaks already Tuck. I don’t need any shoes.
“But they’re not COMFY Mom! You need some REALLY comfy shoes.”
I happen to think these are plenty comfy. Thank you very much.
“Nooo Mom! You need some polka dot sandals because they’re the biggest comfy.”

You have to be really careful with old things.
I was wearing a pair of old boxers (I got them my junior year in high school.)for jammies this morning. Molly noted that they were a bit faded.
“Mom, are those jammies old?”
They sure are Molly.
“So you have to be really careful with them right?”
Well, I guess so. I’d hate to blow the butt out!
“Kind of like Poppie, right?”
Yep, Mo! Kind of like Poppie.

I’m so glad I have my dad on speed dial!

Normal is completely relative.
My sister called me on her way home from work to chat. Bizarre things kept happening and at one point I was afraid she would get into an accident or hyperventilate because she was laughing so hard. I was straight faced and just rolling with each bizarre twist. When she finally caught her breath she said, “So how was your day?”
Just a normal day at the Zoo- if you call Raid before 8 am, boxer conversations, polka dot sandals, random nudity and wormy apples normal.
“For your house? Completely normal!”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mom Tip #33

Like anything taken on a regular basis, you will build up a tolerance to insanity.

I envy the moms who have a “normal” life. Their children get up and have breakfast, play together, have a snack, play with mom or (gasp!) take a nap?...I think you get my point.

I was sitting on the couch this evening just taking a little breather with my favorite friends from Food Network when out of the blue the nudist was on the coffee table. I really believe that he has built a little teleporter under his bed and he just pops in and out of it to freak me out. But yes, he was (as usual these days) naked. I glanced up and proceeded to conduct the regular interview. Why are you naked again? “Because I was tired of those other clothes. They weren’t fun anymore.” Please put your clothes back on.

He put his shirt on – backwards of course; why would we do it the easy way? And then still naked from the waist down, proceeded to try to look at the fire truck on his back. You’ve seen a dog chase his tail right? Have you ever seen a half naked dog chasing his tail on a coffee table?

The worst part? I didn’t even blink; I just went back to watching 4 normal people build Candy Castles.

I was on the phone with my sister later and swiveled my chair around to have a 3 pound bag of apples dropped on my lap. So I take it you guys want an apple for snack? “Well, yeah!” So I handed them out. Not five minutes later the big one is spitting peels in the garbage can beside my desk. I really wish you would just swallow those. “I’m not a peel person, Mom.”

I used to call my folks or my sister every time they did something off the wall, out there, space cadet bizarre. Now I just wait for the weekend and share the “really good ones.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mom Tip #32

Pregnancy brain is just training for Mom brain.

Remember pregnancy brain? Of course you don’t! You’ve already moved to Mom brain.

You would be sitting on the couch staring at your belly and suddenly you would think of something you needed to do. Let’s say, plug in your cell phone and the charger is in the kitchen. As you walk to the kitchen a cute baby commercial suddenly comes on TV and since you are pregnant you automatically stop and watch. 60 seconds later you walk into the kitchen (with cell phone in hand, mind you!) and you have no idea why you were there. Oh well. As long as you are in the kitchen you grab 2 slices of pepper jack cheese, a glass of chocolate milk (the baby need the calcium!), the bag of pretzels from the top of the fridge and the caramel apple dip. On your way back to the couch, you wonder what it was that you were getting up to do. Oh well. You’ll take care of it when you remember. It couldn't have been too important.

Then there’s Mom brain. You sat down after dinner for a quick sitcom before you tackle the task of cleaning up the kitchen and packing tomorrow’s lunches. As your sitcom wraps up you get up to head to the kitchen. On the way there the nudist shows up looking for a bedtime snack and drink. The older child starts making fun of the nudist for being well, naked. A naked fight isn’t what you are looking for right now so you make a deal. If the nudist will go get jammies back on, you will get everyone a snack. Now that you have restored peace you take a deep breath and….WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!?!

The smallest member of your tribe looks up at you with a huge grin and big shiny eyes. “Mum, Mum! Ahh tink tink!” No kidding!! Off to the nursery you go for the sake of anyone who still has a nasal lining. Of course the diaper pail is full so you tuck the wee one into bed and head for the garbage can in the garage. Then it’s back to the kitchen. You know you’re supposed to be doing something in here but can’t for the life of you remember what. So you grab a chocolate bar – if you knew how to hook up a chocolate IV you would – a glass of sweet tea and you head back to the couch. This time though you don’t wonder what you were getting up to do.

You’re too tired to care.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Zookeeper's Response

Dear Marmoset,

I have given serious consideration to your predicament. I feel I should tell you that you will be observing a change in Orangutan and S.M. Rhino's exhibit hours in the immediate future.

You see, Orangutan is about to begin a tour unlike any our zoo has seen before. She will be leaving the zoo very early each morning to attend Orangutan academic training. It is quite possible that she will be leaving on tour before your exhibit opens each day. Therefore it will be necessary for her exhibit to close earlier than it has been. Due to the proximity of S.M. Rhino's exhibit to Orangutan's, his exhibit will be closing earlier by default.

This will possibly have a positive and negative impact on you personally. The negative will be that you will find your socialization time with Orangutan significantly shortened. The positive effect will be that you will find exhibit hours to be more fairly enforced. You will also be afforded more socialization time with Rhino and myself.

In regards to the additional "dessert" rations, I believe we can come to an agreement on this matter since dessert time will be moved up in the schedule allowing you to be included.

I appreciate your candor and understanding as the above adjustments are made.

The Zookeeper

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Note from the Zoo

{Specifically the Pygmy Marmoset}

Dear Zookeeper,

Some very disturbing information has recently come to my attention. In speaking with Orangutan and S.M. Rhino, I have learned that mine is the only exhibit that is shut down to visitors at 8 PM. I currently have the understanding that not only are Orangutan and Rhino's exhibits open much later than mine, but they are also given additional rations after my exhibit is closed.

I find this to be completely unacceptable. Please be aware that you may continue to close my exhibit early. However, I am very capable of using my high pitched squeal for purposes other than the EHAS (Emergency Hunger Alert System) and it has been known to rouse not only Orangutan and S.M. Rhino but the security dog as well. If you prefer to deal with 3 cranky exhibits and a security system on high alert, by all means continue your discriminatory practices. Should you choose a more peaceful resolution, you will extend my exhibit hours and provide me with this "dessert" that O and S.M have been issued.

I am confident that we can come to a mutually acceptable solution. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

P. Marmoset

Mom Tip #31

You are a Master of Marketing.

There isn’t a salesman in the world who can sell a more diverse selection of products. And not just products but ideas too. You can sell it all!

Molly loves the sugary snacks of course and has entered the “green vegetables are evil incarnate” phase of life. Daddy got in touch with his inner politician and started a smear campaign against the sugars. “Look at this Mo! (as he lifted his shirt) Do you know what happened here?” She of course had no idea what had happened there. “This is what happens when you eat too much sugar and sugary stuff. You get a big hairy belly!” Periodically he’ll “check” her belly for new hairs. With the smear campaign in full swing it was time to launch alternative marketing.

“Hey Mo! Did you know that green vegetables make those sugary belly hairs go away?” Sold! To the fastest green bean eater! And about green beans – they may be just green beans to the rest of the world but in this house they are (insert super hero music here) Super Beans!! They make you fast! They make you smart! They make you better than your little brother/big sister! You have to tailor to your audience sometimes.

Munch is in the “strap a diaper on a greased eel” phase. As soon as she even thinks I’m lying her down on the changing table the squirming, flailing, and squealing mechanisms are activated and the race is on. How do you sell diapering to a 16 mo old? “Hey Munch! As soon as we get this diaper on you can put your shoes on!” I don’t know people! It works for her. If shoes are involved this child will do anything faster than greased lightning.

Now if I just had the magic bullet for Tuck and his potty training I would promote myself from Master to Ph. D.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mom Tip #30

There is a nudist in every family.

I really hate to be the one to break this news. But there is!

The nudist is the child who hears the word bath and his clothes vaporize. He doesn’t beeline for the tub though. All he really wanted was a reason. Now he will begin to wildly sprint laps around the house waving his arms above his head shouting a combination of “You can’t catch me!” and “I’m FREEEEEEE!”

The nudist child is the one who you sent to the bathroom and when you went to check on the progress all you found was a set of clothes on the floor. Child is now MIA. When you finally find him after a neighborhood search he will scream like Death is after him when you suggest he put clothes back on.

The nudist is the child who will suddenly, randomly (and usually in front of dinner guests) walk up to you – naked of course – and ask for a snack and a drink. Nudist Child finds it perfectly acceptable to be himself regardless of who might be in the house.

May I make a suggestion? Don’t ask why. I did once and the answer I got was so matter of fact and obvious that I was left speechless for an hour.

Son, why won’t you keep your clothes on?!

“You don’t make the dog wear clothes!”

I guess if the dog’s naked, we should all be naked!

Mom Tip #24

Sometimes you have to use kid logic to figure life out.

I have trained my children to scrape their plates into the trash and put them in the kitchen sink when they are done with a meal. Yesterday the fish sticks were a little hot when I put them on the plates so Mo asked if she could put hers in the freezer for a minute to cool them down. Sure, no problem! The meal went on like normal and I went to the bedroom to fold some laundry.

When I came back to the kitchen to load the dishwasher Mo’s plate was nowhere to be found! I asked her about it and she assured me repeatedly that she had put it on the counter beside the sink. I searched every possible nook and cranny of our kitchen and couldn’t find the plate. Well, it’ll turn up or start stinking. Either way I’ll find it.

About an hour later I was dealing out some fruit for dessert and I casually asked Tuck if he had seen Mo’s plate.

“Well, sure Mom! It’s in the fidge-ator!” and he opened the freezer door. There was Mo’s plate with 2 fish sticks and some almost frozen ketchup. Ummm, why son?

“Well if they were still hot she could come back and eat them later when they cooled down! See, Mom!” I was a complete and utter dingbat for not knowing it naturally.

Tuck cleans his plate at every meal. And by “cleans” I mean “licks it down to the paint!” So in his head the only possible reason she had left food on her plate – because who does that?! – was because it was still too hot; not because she was full. It made perfect sense that the plate was in the freezer.

This has cleared up so many things for me. Of course the dog leash should be under the couch because that’s where the dog also stores his ball, collar, and the cover for the dog door. Of course Daddy’s good shoes should be out on the deck in a rainstorm because they’re going to get wet when he goes to work anyway right? And why shouldn’t the baby have a pull up on her head? She’s the next one to potty train. She should keep that where she’ll be able to find it!

Life makes so much more sense when kid logic is applied.