Friday, December 28, 2012

BoyMommy Resolutions I Can Keep

It’s almost 2013, and I have finally figured out that I am setting my expectations too high.  So this year, I’m keepin’ it real.  This year, I will

  • Not lose any weight.  In fact, I might gain a little or I might stay the same, but I certainly will not lose any.

  • Ignore “that smell” coming from the general direction of the boys’ bathroom.

  • Continue to be the only woman in my social circle who wears a skirted swimsuit.

  • Celebrate my annual 39th birthday, for the 2nd year in a row.

  • Visit Target at least once a week, if not more.

  • Wear my bus stop sweat pants whenever I damn well please, and I will ignore the rolling eyes and the suggestion that I burn them.

  • Allow my children to wear holey jeans and mismatched sweatpants to school.  If they don’t care, why should I?

  • Not volunteer for anything else, thus freeing up more time for me to finish watching all 9 seasons of Greys Anatomy.

  • Cultivate a relationship with my dust bunnies, whereby I give them names, attribute personalities to them, and treat them as houseguests instead of feeling guilty about their existence.

  • Take afternoon snoozers and rationalize my habit by reminding myself and anyone who criticizes me that my children get home from school at 3, so technically I’m workin’ swing shift.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Set the Elf on Fire.

I set the elf on fire.

It was an accident, I swear.

I’m sure, by now, you’re aware that there are OVERACHIEVING moms, some of my girlfriends included, who keep making the rest of us look bad by posing their elves in clever positions to the delight of their young offspring.  I’m not that mom.  I am the mom who jolts awake after being in bed for an hour because I realize f*ck, I forgot to move that damn elf.

Neeny has been with us for several years and he is THE most effective bad behavior deterrent in the history of bad behavior.  He magically appears when we return from our Thanksgiving travels and he doesn’t leave until he returns to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve.  Last year, when the boys’ behavior was bordering on Naughty, Neeny didn’t return one morning, but he left a note that explained that he had returned to Santa and had reported on their Naughtiness . . . and perhaps Santa would give them another chance if their attitudes improved and they listened to their mama.

Can you picture me doing my best Dr. Doofenshmirtz laugh and wringing my hands like an evil cartoon villain?

Sunday night, I actually remembered to move Neeny.  I put him in the playroom inside a lamp, figuring he’d be safe since we rarely use the light in that room.

Lo and behold, Medium decided he wanted to use his easel so I turned the light on for him, forgetting that Neeny was sitting directly ON the lightbulb.  I walked in about an hour later to turn off the lamp after Medium had cleaned up, and I smelled something odd.  Sniff, sniff.  Hmmmm.  Sniff, sniff.  It smells almost like plastic burning. 

Insert audible gasp here.

I rushed over to the lamp to grab Neeny without anyone under 10 seeing me do it, but he was fused TO the hot lightbulb.

I turned off the light and peeled him off the bulb, but alas, he had a giant, charred, steaming black hole where his little plastic tummy should have been.  I almost burned a hole all the way through his felt, cotton-stuffed body.  I blew on him like I was trying to cool down microwaved mac and cheese.  Once he stopped steaming, I threw him behind a picture frame and prayed the boys wouldn’t notice he was missing.

Hubby arrived home from work and I announced that I had to go to Target.  “Neeny caught on fire.  Explain later,” I called as I headed out the door.  No worries, I thought.  I’ll buy a replacement at Target, put him in the same spot and the boys will be none the wiser.

Target was sold out.  

Not time to panic yet, but I will admit that my armpits were feeling a little persweaty, I could feel my face getting red, and I lost all ability to take a deep breath.  I asked the salesperson if there were any more in stock “in the back.”  You know, the magic “in the back” where they store all the hot items so they can feel like heroes of The Right Stuff proportions when they burst through the swinging doors with whatever product you can’t live without?  No luck. 

I knew I had seen them in other stores, but I needed one, like, yesterday.  I sent out a mass email to all the moms in my neighborhood via Google groups.  I headed to another store to look, and when I asked the sales representative if they sold the Elf on the Shelf, he answered me with a confused look as if I had just asked him if I could borrow a kidney, and said, and I quote, “a wha?”

Has this guy been living under a rock?  Does he not have his own Pinterest account?  Is his self-esteem not reliant on his creativity and his ability to Edward-Scissorhands several craft projects at once?  

The next store was the same story as I encountered a young sales associate who obviously has not been inducted into the secret sorority whose mascot is a creepy plastic doll dressed in non-flame-retardant clothing.

At this point I had visions of myself in my basement at 2 in the morning, sewing a tiny little coat for Neeny so that I could hide his GIANT GAPING HOLE.  At the 4th store I started to panic as I mentally documented how my colossal failure as a parent was going to scar my children for life, robbing them of their innocence, their belief in magic, their faith in humanity, and essentially ruin their very childhood. 

And then it happened.  A mommy in my ‘hood emailed that the elf freaked her kids out and that I could have theirs, for free, and that it was sitting on their front step just waiting for a new home.  I double-checked that it was the older, skinnier, scarier elf and not the newer, chubbier, more cherubic-looking elf, which simply would not do. 

The BoyMommy family is again in ownership of an Elf on the Shelf.  Apparently he got his hair did last time he went to the North Pole as he now has reddish hair.  You know what he does NOT have?  That charcoal smell.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Official 2012 BoyMommy Toy Guide

It’s that time of year . . . the time when annoying commercial ditties get stuck in your head and replay themselves in a loop until you want to shoot yourself in the eye with a Nerf gun just so you can fortheloveo'pete make it stop. 

No?  Just me?

I have decided that I was destined to be a Boy Mommy.  I get Diabetes just thinking about the saccharin-sweet Tinkerbell/Barbie genre of cinema.  I’d sit through 10 Monster Jams before I’d watch a My Little Pony dvd.  The colors alone . . . the purples and pinks and fuchsias . . . it’s like the animator  vomited a bag of Skittles.

Not that there’s anything wrong with girls and all things girly.  It’s just that I was clearly not cut out for the job of being a mommy to girls. 

That being said, I made a list of 10 annoying toys that I will NOT be purchasing, AND they’re gender neutral so they are equally offensive to both boy mommies and girl mommies!  (I’m all-inclusive here at the BoyMommy blog site.)

In no particular order:
1.  An antique doll
When Hubby and I were dating, my mother would make him sleep on the couch in the living room when he visited for the weekend.  Apparently she thought I was as pure as the driven snow. . .  Aaaaanyhoo, she’d be dusting in the living room later and be confused because her antique doll, which was perched on top of a book case, was always facing the wall.  Turns out Hubby was a little freaked out by the thought of glass eyes peering through his soul while he slept, so he’d face her the other way when he visited. 

I mean, she's holding her hand under his
nether-regions in order to CATCH the poop . . . 

2.  Doggie Doo
Germans love David Hasslehoff.  Apparently they also love picking up dog feces.  This is the notion perpetuated by the Doggie Doo commercial, which portrays children having so!  much!  fun! By picking up fake (let's hope) poop that excretes itself from a toy dog.  If my children find picking dog sh*t up so exciting, they are welcome to walk our real dog and trail behind him with a plastic bag.

3.  Sling Shot  
Like I need a toy that will turn simple household items into projectiles. . .

It's okay Pig.  It's just food.
It's not Love.
4.  Pop the Pig
No surprise, but it’s manufactured by the same warped minds that brought us Doggie Doo.  I just feel bad for the pig, you know?  He stuffs his craw and then he eventually eats so much that he pops.  Maybe he’s an emotional eater.  Or a recovering anorexic.  It’s not my place to judge. . . .

5.   Dreamlight
I will not give this company my money for one reason: their theme song is so nails-down-a-chalkboard, grating-on-my-nerves annoying!  The product is a stuffed toy with a plastic back that lights up and projects shapes onto the ceiling.  The funny thing is, my niece has one and Small loves to play with it, but only during the day.  There’s no way in h-e-doublehockeysticks he’s going to sleep with that thing in the room.

Look kids!  A SnowGlobe!
Shake it.  See what happens . . . 

6.  Ecosphere
My brother-in-law, the Cluer, bought us one of these as a family gift about 10 years ago.  It’s a glass ball with water in it that contains a little shrimp thing and algae and other science stuff.  And it sits on a shelf.  And you look at it.  And it collects dust.  UNLESS, you shake that b*tch up like it’s a snow globe and then stuff it in a moving box that’s headed for a storage facility in New Jersey for 3 years.  Hypothetically.

7.  Kids Boxing Gloves  
Seriously?  There’s no way this would end well.

8.  Bottle Cap Jewelry Kit  
Children can make jewelry out of bottle caps.  I just can’t see the point of purchasing this kit, simply because if my children look on the counter on Sunday morning they’ll have plenty of bottle caps to suit their little jewelry-making desires.

9.  The Love and Grow Baby Doll  
This is *awesome* because once they grow out of the doll phase, they can use all their baby-raisin’ expertise when their poor decision-making skills are rewarded with their own reality show on MTV.

Yours for the low-low price of $19.99
(Plus shipping and handling.)

10.   Stompeez  
They’re advertised as “slippers with personality.”  Um, I’m okay with my slippers being non-personality-having.  They’re slippers.  You can WALK in them.  You can JUMP in them.  You can even STOMP in them!  How do I know all this?  It says so in the commercial.  I'd like to meet the marketing genius who thought a good selling point would be that you could walk in them.  What’s next?  Socks?  I think this is the gift for the kid who was really bad this year . . . 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disney, part 2

We arrived in Orlando and boarded our Disney bus to the resort.  I was a little worried about the hotel because it was listed as a "Value Resort." 

I will admit it.  I have become a hotel snob.  I think it comes from watching too many exposé episodes of Dateline . . . you know the ones with the undercover hotel guest who is armed with a black light and the ability to find peep holes (because apparently all current hotel employees were once cast members in the 1980’s movie Meatballs.)  I travel with my own blanket because I can’t stand the thought of hotel blankets touching my face, and I pack socks because I don’t like my bare feet touching the floor.

We decided, since our visit to Disney World would be short, that in order to max out our time, we would stay on a Disney property.  Hubby, the money-conscious CPA, chose a hotel listed in the Value category. 

I'm thinking something along the lines of an Econo Lodge.  Um, hello! . . . it's not prom night circa 1990!  

Personally, I would have gone with the Luxury level, but I wasn’t paying the bill.

I am happy to report that the Value resort was perfect . . . every child had his own bed (be it sofa bed or cot,) we had a kitchenette with a fridge, and there were two bathrooms (one for Mommy and one for, well, everyone else.)  Girls only.  Keep out.

And the restaurant served beer.  You know what takes the edge off after a long day at the Most Magical Place on Earth? 

A six-pack o’ Miller Lite.

We had pre-purchased our tickets to the park, and Hubby was determined that we were going to get our money’s worth.  This can be translated as follows: we are going to arrive at the park so that we are the first people in line and we aren’t leaving until Mickey himself kicks us out.  Day one was great . . . no major meltdowns.  None of the kids melted down either.  Mommy only got mad at Daddy one time, and that was when he left us at the lunch table so he could set up a chair near an outlet elsewhere, ostensibly so that he could charge his phone though what he was really doing was watching the play-by-play of the baseball game.  Everyone had a great time and we were all ready to go back for another day of overpriced magic. 

Here we are!!!
We misread the schedule on day two, however.  After spending all day at the park the day before, we woke at 6 am so that we could catch the shuttle bus over to the park.  We were TOTALLY first in line!  . . . because the park didn’t open at 8 am; it opened at 9.  We spent two coffeeless hours waiting for the turnstiles to open.  By 10 pm when the boys were dragging their feet, my legs were sore, and I was cranky could barely keep my eyes open, Hubby decided we were going to ride just a few more rides . . . you know, to max out our time.  We caught the shuttle back to the hotel after midnight.  

We were all exhausted and irritable the next day, which was when the boys and I were scheduled to fly home.  We made our way to the airport with all our luggage and our souvenirs.  After a leisurely lunch, we settled into a sitting area in the Orlando airport to wait the remaining 2 hours until our flight.  Hubby booted up his computer while the boys played on the iPad. 

Demons must have possessed his body for a moment, because no one who is married to me would have asked the following:

“Do you need me for anything?  Do you mind if I head back to the hotel so I can get started on some work?”

I could have responded with a sweet but-I-like-spending-time-with-you or honey-I-could-really-use-your-help or something equally as saccharine.  But, you see, his innocent question was about to make me batsh*t crazy.  “YES.  I.  mind.  Would YOU sit with three exhausted children in a strange airport for two hours by yourself?”

So no, he did not go back to the hotel to get started on work.

Misery loves company, motherf*cker.

When the time finally arrived for Hubby to gain his freedom us to head to our flight, we were sent through a family-friendly security line.  This is gonna be a breeze, I thought. 

We arrived at our gate and I once again discovered that we would be boarding with Group 7.  Super.  There were literally 3 people who boarded after us.  Heaven forbid they take pity on the haggard-looking mom with the three hyper children.  Sure enough, just as they called for Group 7, Small took off running.  I dropped the stroller, which I was carrying over my shoulder, my purse, and a carry-on and told Medium and Large to stay right where they were.  I went running after Small, and of course, Medium and Large ran with me, running in circles and giggling at the sight of Mommy, all persweaty and bouncing through the airport after a wayward toddler. 

Thanks for spending $7 so I could nap the entire flight!

We finally boarded the plane.  I noticed this plane was equipped with televisions on the back of every seat, and for the low, low price of $7 each, all three of my boys could watch tv.  Hubby would never allow that.  Seven dollars each?  That’s a rip off! 

Guess what?  I swiped my credit card.  Three times. 

Swipe.  Swipe.  Swipe.  Best $21 bucks I ever spent.   

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's the Most Magical Place on Earth, Dammit.

A few weeks ago we took the boys to Disney World.  Hubby was teaching a training session the next week, so we decided to take the boys to Orlando for a long weekend. 

We had a great time, and it was so fun to take Small for his first time at Disney.

But . . . .

You know how the commercials show energetic, excited children chasing balloons gleefully and lovingly holding their parents’ hands?  I want THAT family.

We picked the boys up at school early on Friday so that we could catch our flight to Orlando.  Hubby complained about what he apparently considers my worst character flaw: slow packing.  Keep in mind he throws some clean undies and some t-shirts in a bag and he’s done.  I pack for the 3 boys and myself.  They require many accoutrements, including special stuffed friends and blankets, entertainment for the plane, matching swimsuits, etc., and I require many accoutrements because, well, it takes a lot of work to be a natural beauty.
"Apparently Her Majesty
 doesn't want to carry on."

So Hubby was already annoyed that we had several pieces of luggage for which we would have to pay a $25 fee.  He suggested that we pack everything for our family of 5 in carry-on bags that we could easily take with us onto the plane, but I gently reminded him areyououtofyourever-lovin'mind? that I would be making the return leg of the trip by myself with 3 active, exhausted male children, a stroller, and, according to him, plastic grocery bags that were supposed to double as inconspicuous luggage. 

$25 bucks it is.  It's a small price to pay to keep Her Majesty happy.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, which was good, because the line to get through security held more people than Rockefeller Plaza during a Beiber appearance.  Luckily my children are super patient and well-behaved so waiting in line for something as exciting as getting to take your shoes off and walk through a metal detector towards a menacing-looking stranger in a TSA uniform was no biggie.


And also, Hubby is super patient and well-behaved and is not the type to complain for the duration of our wait about how long the line is . . . we’re going to miss our flight . . . this is ridiculous . . . is this the first time these people have ever been to an airport? . . . who wears lace up boots through security? . . . no I’m not wearing any metal, etc.

We got to our gate with 3 children, all of whom were ours, so that was a bonus, and our stroller and our carry-ons full of schnacky-schnacks and in-flight entertainment for the under 10 crowd.  OF COURSE it was a packed flight, so we were relieved when the flight attendant announced that service members, special people who sit in first class and look down their monocles at the riff-raff who are assigned to seats three rows behind them, and people with special needs could board.

Special needs.  That’s us.

But nope.  The flight attendant gently reminded us that this was a flight to Orlando, that most people flying were families with young children, and that we would have to wait our turn. 

Now I’m just one person and I have no desire to take on a huge corporation so I won’t name them outright, but the airline starts with a U.  (and ends with a “nited.”)

Hubby uttered a few choice words that were inappropriate for young ears and made sarcastic comments under his breath really loudly while we waited for our group to be called.  In keeping with the rest of this adventure, we were to board as Group 7, so we would be boarding last, and because said airline felt the most logical way to board the aircraft was from front to back, our family of five would be climbing over monocle-wearing, brandy-sipping, Wall Street Journal-reading first class passengers as well as six other groups of passengers.

Once we were seated and buckled, the captain made an announcement that we would be delayed at least an hour so the ground crew could fix some maintenance issues.  This put Hubby over the edge.  He was sitting two rows ahead of the rest of the family because he had booked his flight through work and booked ours online.  I gently tapped the gentleman sitting next to him and told him not to engage my Hubby in conversation because “it only encourages him,” and then instructed Hubby that he had between now and when this plane lands to improve his attitude.

Because we’re going to the Most Magical Place on Earth, dammit.