Anyway, this is how everything turned out.

After obsessively checking for views re-reading old blog entries last week, I came to realize that a lot happened during my unplanned anxiety hiatus that I probably would have told you about if I hadn’t been so busy lying on my couch watching TV shows about people with botched plastic surgery. So before I jump right back in with well-spun tales of my exotic life (TODAY I FOUND A CUP FILLED WITH MILK SO SPOILED THAT IT HAD BASICALLY BECOME SENTIENT CHEESE), I thought I’d take a moment to catch you up on a few things.

  • After months of complaining about it, we finally did something about the lack of tumbleweeds of fur against our baseboards and got ourselves a dog. Her name is Penny and her hobbies include eating and subsequently pooping out socks, cat wrestling, and aggro-snuggling.

    Penny Coco

    Okay, so this is not exactly the best picture of her? But I feel it is an accurate representation of her daily life, and also a tender depiction of cross-species love.

  • In the time it took me to scrape myself back together, Addie finished kindergarten and first grade, and this year will be submitting her thesis on the rise of the novel in 18th century literature (I think that’s what you do in the second grade, right?). She is also still a Girl Scout, and has even camped out overnight, while I still have a panic attack every time I have to turn on the iron.

    Rosie, meanwhile, has not aged at all, nor hit any major milestones other than becoming super obsessed with the concept of growing boobies, so she’s got a lot going on right now, too.

    Rosie Bbs

    Rosie has been freeing the nipple since before freeing the nipple was cool.

  • Spoiler alert – I never lost any weight, and I forgot all the Spanish I learned, and my skin is worse than ever, but I did finally break down and start getting my hair professionally colored, so at least now I look like a complete mess with highlights.

    Stupid Arty Selfie

    This is supposed to be a super art-y selfie? But honestly I just sort of look like an elderly relative is talking to me about the importance of flood insurance. There is an alternate version with my mouth slightly ajar, like you see sexy ladies doing on Instagram, but on me it’s less flirty and more mentally unhinged.

  • Wow, okay, is this really all that has happened to me in the course of like 16 months? I really thought there would be more than this. I was counting on a whole big list of like awesome accomplishments and shit, but I cannot think of a single other thing. BASICALLY TWO BABIES COULD HAVE BEEN BORN IN THIS TIME AND ALL I DID WAS GET A DOG AND WATCH MY KID PROGRESS NATURALLY THROUGH GRADE LEVELS OH MY GOD ADULTHOOD IS A DEATH TRAP.
  • The other night I had a dream that I was riding the bus with President Obama, and he had full sleeve tattoos on both forearms, and one of the forearms just said OBAMA in really big ornate letters, and I was like, wow, one would not have guessed that he had these sleeve tattoos.
  • Oh! I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! That’s a thing that is definitely cool that you probably didn’t get to do! So there! I’m still relevant!

Okay, so it turns out that you basically missed nothing. Now that we’re all caught up, I can move on to all of my latest and greatest exploits.  For the rest of 2017, it’s nothing but life-changing middle-aged-lady magic! I’m gonna climb some stuff! Maybe symbolically…burn something, I don’t know. I’m gonna impress the shit out of you with all my amazing life events!

I’m gonna start with some sleeve tattoos. Or maybe a nap.

The Sleep Summit

While Ben was out of town last week, the girls evidently held a secret conference. I don’t know where I was—maybe on my 100th milk run of the evening, waylaid in the kitchen by an over-affectionate Coconut, who, unbeknownst to me, was acting under orders. The conference took place in Addie’s room. In attendance: Addie, Rosie, Chris and Martin Kratt, and seven thousand Shopkins.

Addie: I feel like maybe Mom has gotten a little too comfortable around here.

Rosie: I don’t know, I mean, I feel like we’ve done a good job slowly eroding her spirit, right, Chris?

Chris Kratt: TO THE CREATURE RESCUE!

Addie: Yeah, during waking hours. But then there are all those sweet, sweet hours after we go to bed when she has control of the house.

Rosie: I thought Mommy was a robot that turned off after we went to bed.

Addie: I used to think so, too, but then, one night, when I thought I could come to the kitchen and help myself to some mini-muffins, guess who was standing there, completely not a robot, and took the muffins from me?

Rosie: [Gasps audibly.]

Addie: So I’m telling you, we’ve gotta hit her where it hurts.

Rosie: The boobies?

Addie: No, her bed, moron. But also her boobies.

Shopkins: [Lay on floor, saying nothing, preparing to stab Mommy in the foot as soon as she dares enter the room after dark.]

And so it came to pass that every night for the past week, Addie and Rosie have come to sleep in bed with me at some point during the evening. Addie will generally wake me up to inform me that she has arrived; when questioned, she makes up an elaborate story about a bad dream involving a spider and glowing green eyes out her window and sometimes killer unicorns, which is pretty badass, because those guys would make amazing impaling machines. Rosie, on the other hand, sneaks in using ninja-like skills, wedging herself between Addie and me until we form a capital H.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to undo this—I assume there is some parenting book about how to get your children to sleep in their own beds, but I’ve gotta believe that their method involves me waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night, and I would really rather just end up relegated to eight inches of mattress at the very edge of the bed than deal with that noise. I just keep telling myself that eventually they would be caught dead than spend their evenings snuggled up with their mama.

Even if their idea of “snuggling” is really just “sleep-punching me in my boobies.”

Inside Edition: Bathtime

You know those adorable photos that every parent takes of their child or children in the bathtub, sporting a bubble beard and Cindy-Lou Who pointed hairdo? They give you the impression that bathtime is a time of great joy in any household, all golden light and laughter and cleanliness. But you know what? Those pictures perpetuate a pack of lies.

What the pictures don’t tell you is that immediately beforehand, the children in question spent ten minutes doing cannonballs into the cramped tub, threatening life, limb, and the integrity of your tile floor. They also fail to mention that one or both children will almost immediately pee into the bathwater as soon as they get in, a fact that they will proudly announce, and you will wish they hadn’t, because if you hadn’t physically known the pee was there, you wouldn’t have had any qualms about washing them with it. But instead, you have to drain the tub, leaving you with cold, angry, soapy, urine-dipped children who exact their revenge in the form of liberal pants-soakings as soon as you try to wash them.

I have tried everything to cut these things off at the pass. I have even gone so far as to bathe my children while basically naked, just to avoid the disgusting feeling of wet leggings and socks after my fifth consecutive tsunami of soapy bathtub cannonball water. But somehow, they always get me. Whether it’s a run-of-the-mill splashing, or the unceremonious dumping of an entire bottle of conditioner into the bathwater, or, once, a piece of installation art that required the use of every single one of my clean washcloths, pasted to the shower wall with toothpaste, bathtime never fails to serve as a harrowing reminder of my mortality.

Even the mere act of coercing my children into the bathtub must be on par with the talents of some of our nation’s top hostage negotiators. There is much begging, pleading, bargaining and threatening required to get them into the tub, and even more to get them out again. Generally, by the end of bath night, I find myself with a soaked bathroom floor, no towels to spare, and the enviable task of needing to arrange for Justin Bieber to play a concert in my backyard. With ponies.

Now, it’s true that when they finally emerge from the bathtub, smelling all good and looking so clean, they are basically at peak cuddliness, particularly when wrapped in their hooded owl or dinosaur towels. I love making little comb lines in their hair, and wrapping them up all tight in their towels and hustling them into their little pajamas. Maybe that’s the moment you’re trying to capture when you take that bathtime pic– that little bit of peace and comfort that comes with a clean kid. Which lasts exactly as long as it takes for you to slip on the giant puddle they leave on the bathroom floor, cursing society for requiring cleanliness and reminding yourself to invest in dry shampoo and baby wipes.

To the creature adventure!

After weeks of waiting (and repeatedly and increasingly hostilely asking if it was time yet), we finally got our chance to see the Wild Kratts live and in person on Sunday, and it was basically everything I’d hoped it be. Except that I had really hoped that they might have a sloth with them, and that they would call Addie onstage to hold it, and I would hip-check her out of the way and grab the sloth and run until my legs gave out. But other than that—perfection.

I will say that the big reveal of the fact that Addie was going to actually get to meet the Wild Kratts after the show was rather underwhelming, because it turns out five-year-olds always naturally assume that they will be meeting the stars of any show they see, so this just reaffirmed that belief. This is going to be problematic when she gets older and I start taking her to concerts and she doesn’t understand why we’re not just sauntering up to unabashedly kiss Justin Timberlake all over his face, but for now, it worked out fine.

Considering Wild Kratts is a cartoon, I really didn’t know what to expect from the live show. Would there be actual animals? Would the other characters from the show be there? Would Addie freak the fuck out and yell at me if I even attempted to sing along with the show’s theme song when it started playing? It turns out the answers, in order, were no, sort of, and unequivocally yes.

The stage show, it turns out, features live-action Martin and Chris demonstrating the awesome abilities they gain from donning their creature power suits. At this point, I have no choice but to point out that Martin seems to have gotten sorta fat since this tour began, as Chris’ power suit fit like one would assume a power suit would fit (I’m thinking everyone has an idea how a creature power suit fits, right? No? Just me?), while Martin’s fit very much like a piece of highly uncomfortable scuba gear.

“Your boyfriend got fat,” Addie told me.

Once their power suits were on, they were able to assume the powers of any animal for whom they had a creature power disc. Chris went first, demonstrating caracal powers (a caracal, for those not in the know, is a badass looking wild cat whose overall tough guy look is completely ruined by a pair of comically oversized novelty ears), while Martin followed up as a rhino:

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Everything was grand, until Zach Varmitech showed up with his evil Zachbots and stole the brothers’ miniaturizer (trust me, this would all make sense if you would just go watch the show). After that, the race was on to find and defeat the Zachbots and regain control of the miniaturizer.

And what better way to do that than with more creature powers? Because it’s not like they were going to be like, “eff this, let’s leave behind all this creature power stuff and just go kill them with baseball bats.” It might have made a little more sense, logically, but it would have made the whole thing take a pretty dark turn, and besides, I paid for creature powers, god dammit.

Whenever a Zachbot would show up on stage, Addie would lose her mind, standing up in her seat and screaming “THERE! HE’S RIGHT THERE! HURRY! HE’S GETTING AWAY!” Which was both really cute, and also sort of annoying, because she inevitably fails to tell me when her sister is about to do something life-threatening, but she’s right on top of it when a Zachbot shows up on the scene.

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Finally the bros overcame the Zachbots (I am pleased to report that Chris failed in his endeavor as a woodpecker, but Martin totally saved the day as an orangutan), the miniaturizer was saved, and the show was over. Having never seen a live show for little kids before, I have to say, this one was honestly pretty fun– there were a few times I laughed out loud, and I think Addie would have rushed the stage and wrestled the Zachbot on her own if she could have, so she was definitely interested the whole time.

After everyone cleared out, it came time for us to meet the Kratt brothers, and tensions were high. Addie, having refused to pee during intermission, suddenly now had to go urgently, even if it meant sacrificing our place in line. Luckily, I forgot that all things involving small children move frighteningly slowly, so we were back in plenty of time to take our turn.

When she met Chris, who is her favorite, she was full of questions, mostly about Zoboomafoo, a live-action show the brothers had before Wild Kratts that Addie also loves and watches on Netflix. Did the brothers really live at Animal Junction? Was Zoboomafoo really their pet? Chris was super sweet and answered all of her questions– yes, they really lived there, no, Zoboomafoo was just their friend who happened to come visit them there, because all creatures should be living free and in the wild (way to stay on brand there, man!). You can see that Addie is absolutely besotted in her picture:

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While we were waiting in line to meet Martin, she asked me, “What should I ask him?” I suggested finding out his favorite animal, or his favorite episode of the show, but she shooed me off, saying, “I got it.” When she got to him, he asked “Do you have any questions for me?”

“Nope!” she said with a satisfied grin. Defeated, Martin asked her to at least pose for a picture, which he got, grudgingly:

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Poor Martin. You will always have the creature power disc to my heart, at least.

Back in business

You may have noticed that I’ve been away for the past three days. I mean, you probably didn’t, but there’s a small chance that you did. But fear not– I’m ready to get back in the saddle. A perfect storm of craziness hit here that sidelined me, including:

  • We went to see the Wild Kratts live, which deserves a post of its own, so I won’t elaborate much here, except to say that we didn’t get home until 10, and I was full of McDonald’s and the thrill of meeting Martin Kratt in person, and just couldn’t get it together enough to write anything.
  • My husband is out of town for the week, and I swear to God, my children have sensors inside them that detect the very second he leaves the Cleveland area for more than five minutes. Before he even would have been home from work that day normally, Addie and Rosie had entered MAXIMUM NEEDINESS MODE. After an evening in the park, two overly wrought bedtime routines, and Rosie’s furtive 3 a.m. visit to Netflix and Chill (which to her means “watch Daniel Tiger for three hours and eat gummies”), I was just spent.
  • Somehow, I ended up with food poisoning yesterday evening, leading to one of the most epic barfathons I have ever had the displeasure of participating in. Luckily, Addie and Rosie were able to suspend their utter disregard for my happiness or well-being for the night, but at the moment I still haven’t eaten anything in nearly 20 hours and am maintaining the absolute lowest limit of Gatorade in my stomach to keep me alive until this passes. I mean, I wanted a way to stay home and watch the new episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but this wasn’t really what I was going for.
  • Quite frankly, I was starting to burn out. It turns out that after 90 days of blogging, it becomes really difficult to come up with new things to say that are still funny. By now, you probably get that my kids are both evil and hilarious, and that I am concerned about my weight, and that I was a giant dork until I turned 25 (at which point I remained a giant dork, but finally put some effort into my appearance and managed to shed my dork-like exterior). There are only so many times I can tell you that Rosie woke up in the middle of the night to get her Daniel Tiger fix (I’m referring to it as the DT’s), or that I don’t like sandwiches (although I’m probably never going to shut up about that, because you guys, sandwiches are an affront to humanity).

So as a result, I’m going to amend my original blog project as follows: I will blog every day no matter what, unless:

  1. I meet a celebrity, children’s or otherwise
  2. My children or my work prevent me from doing so
  3. I am hardcore barfing
  4. I just really, really don’t want to.

I’m hopeful that, having taken this little forced hiatus, you won’t see many more further interruptions, but going forward, I’m giving myself a little wiggle room, because no one wants to read a blog where every article is entitled “Time to write in this stupid fucking blog again”.

Cold germs are my kryptonite

Before I had children, I prided myself on my iron-clad immune system. For nearly two decades, I enjoyed years with only one, maybe two colds, looking on with disdain at my sneezing, sniveling friends and co-workers. “Foolish mortals!” I would proclaim as they reached for their hundredth Kleenex of the day. “Why must you be so weak? Surely you are unclean, to be so sick so often!” And then I would usually laugh a maniacal laugh as I savored the joy of breathing through my nose.

But then I had kids.

Foolishly, I thought my track record of health would protect me. Surely I wouldn’t fall prey to Addie’s runny nose, or Rosie’s raging case of pinkeye. I had done my time in the trenches of ear infections and barking coughs in my youth! But apparently, today’s illnesses are different, stronger, more wily. Or maybe it’s just that my kids have a penchant for sneezing directly into my open mouth, but whatever the reason, I am powerless against their germy wiles.

When Addie was a toddler, she once had a cold that lasted from August until April. Rosie has been a little more hardy than that, but even she tends to have a permanent dried snot mustache most of the time. As for me, I have a low-level cold about 70% of the time, which I mostly manage to keep under control with Airborne and coffee.

It does come with a handy side effect, though– I have grown so used to having a cold that when it finally abates, I feel like a god-damned superhero. When your baseline is a foggy head and achy muscles, the dissipation of a cold means you can smell colors and lift cars off babies (maybe, I’m assuming, I have yet to have the chance to try, but it seems like it would definitely be a thing). I’m in the midst of a cold right now, but I’m expecting to come out of this one with the ability to fly.

Which might come in handy, because once you get to 10,000 feet, there’s no one around to sneeze into your mouth.

The god damned Halloween Fun Fair

Addie, nefarious genius that she is, has figured out the golden ticket for getting out of school– all she has to do is so much as mouth the word “diarrhea”, and the whole school goes into lockdown until the offending party has been removed. Never mind that she didn’t actually have diarrhea– no one will check. The threat of it is enough to get her booted from school for 24 hours.

Never a big believer in dignity, Addie pulled this move earlier today, getting herself banned from school until Monday, and I think she thought she was pretty smart. Until, that is, I pointed out with no small amount of glee that this meant she would miss the Tropical Fun Fair.

The Tropical Fun Fair has been looming large in my late-night anxiety sessions since the first flyer came home a few weeks ago. Of course I would have to take her– what kind of monster doesn’t take their child to a world of bounce houses, inflatable slides and unlimited candy? But the specter of the Halloween Fun Fair was always there, just beyond the edges of my Instagram-worthy photo ops at the obstacle course and the treat walk.

The god damned Halloween Fun Fair.

It started out so promisingly– I loaded Rosie into her stroller and slapped Addie’s Minion costume on her, and we were on our way. I had envisioned something sort of lame and amateurish, but the whole thing was actually sort of awesome– games with prizes, a haunted classroom, a pumpkin decorating contest, and inflatables as far as the eye could see.

It was in front of one of these bounce houses that another parent cornered me and began talking about Addie– I was prepared for a lecture about Addie’s introduction of the word “fartknocker” into her son’s lexicon, but instead, she surprised me, telling me how sweet Addie had been to her son, and how she had really helped him get acclimated to school and was taking really good care of him.

“You’re doing a good job raising her,” she said to me with a smile. “You’re a good mom.”

And it was at that exact moment that I realized that Rosie had gone missing. My good mom cred! Destroyed before my very eyes! I hadn’t even gotten her to put it in writing!

I spotted Rosie inside the inflatable obstacle course, guarding the entrance like some sort of sugar-crazed Cerberus. There was a crowd gathered around, gawking, and I trotted up, shouting “that’s my daughter! I’ll get her out, I’m sorry!”

But before I could do anything, the teenage volunteers working the obstacle course decided that the best way to extricate her from the situation was to force her to go all the way through the obstacle course, rather than just pull her the eight inches she was from the entrance. So now, everyone is staring, Rosie is screaming, and I’m sprinting to the end of the obstacle course to rescue her. As soon as I reached the mouth of the obstacle course, my foot caught on a wrestling mat, and I fell to my knee, hard enough to elicit immediate tears.

“FUCK!” I screamed, just as my baby emerged from the course, plopping happily to the ground and giggling as if nothing had happened.

So now I am crying, and have just screamed a swear word in an auditorium jammed with children, and a gaggle of eighth-grade girls materializes as if from nowhere and begins laughing at me, and suddenly I am back in middle school.

“It’s time to go,” I told the girls, still crying, but Addie begged me to stay just a little longer. It wasn’t their fault that I was experiencing intense sixth-grade gym flashbacks, so I relented, retreating to a bathroom to wipe my face with toilet paper and reassemble myself into the confident, 36-year-old woman I was. I am a motherfucking manager, you little shits. Your laughter cannot hurt me!

The rest of the Halloween Fun Fair passed without incident, the other mothers politely ignoring my tear-swollen face. Addie won her eight billionth bouncy ball, Rosie scored a plastic spider, and they were finally appeased.

When I got home, ready to spin the story into something hilarious for Ben, he cut me off before I could even start.

“You’ve got some shit on your face,” he said.

And sure enough, it turns out that elementary school toilet paper is powerless against grown woman tears, and dried shreds of it clung to my cheeks, my eyelashes, the tip of my nose. I looked like a failed papier mache project, and I frantically combed my memory banks to think of everyone I had interacted with after the obstacle course incident.

Everyone. I had basically interacted with everyone. With toilet paper stuck to my face.

So I am perfectly willing to use Addie’s diarrhea incident to put the kibosh on the Tropical Fun Fair. It really has no downside– I get to teach her a valuable lesson about lying to get out of school, and I can avoid making a spectacle of myself in front of every mother in the tri-state area.

I’ll never get out of the Fun Fair business entirely. But you can bet that next time, I’m bringing a leash and my own box of Kleenex.

Scout’s Honor

Addie came home from school recently and announced that she would be joining the Girl Scouts. There was really no discussion– she had seen her friends in their uniforms and sashes, and was driven mad with jealousy. This isn’t the first time she’s come home from school announcing her intent to join an organization– there was a brief but torturous two-week period in which she was officially a member of the elementary school wrestling team– but it’s the first time I have seriously entertained the notion of her joining a club, mainly because this one doesn’t end with her getting cauliflower ear.

This is uncharted territory for me, as I myself was never a Girl Scout. Or, that is to say, I was one for exactly one day. The Day of the Sit-Upon.

I’m not really sure where I got the idea that I would enjoy joining a group that combined salesmanship and outdoorsy-ness, two things I hated more than almost anything. Maybe it was just the pressure to fit in with all the other girls in my class, or maybe I did it because an American Girl doll catalog told me to (I took a lot of life advice from the American Girl doll catalog, like always being myself and wearing a crown of ivy with flaming candles sticking out of it).

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Seems legit

But for whatever reason, I begged my mom to let me join the Brownies, and, thrilled that I was actually opting to do something even remotely normal, she happily obliged.

When I got there, the room was already full of girls, most of whom I knew from school. They all looked so cool in their Brownie uniforms, like they were badass bitches who got things done and had the patches to prove it. I can do this, I thought to myself, already planning on which patch I would go for first (I hoped they had one for Endlessly Throwing a Pink Rubber Ball at a Brick Wall For Hours, because I already had that in the bag).

But then the troop leader announced that we would be going on a camp out in a few weeks, and because I was an expert at controlling my emotions, I immediately burst into tears. I had known there was an outdoor component to this, but I was hoping I’d be able to skirt it somehow, like maybe I could always be the one who stayed behind and guarded the patch closet against marauders while everyone else went outside and got covered in bugs and mud. And now this woman wanted me to camp out? Overnight? Away from my parents? Outside? Whoa, whoa, lady. I didn’t realize I had signed up for Army Ranger training.

Trying her hardest to ignore my barking walrus sobs, the troop leader raised her voice and explained that we would all be making sit-upons for the camping trip. In case you’re unfamiliar with this graceful piece of outdoor furniture, a sit-upon is a piece of vinyl fabric stuffed with packing peanuts and sewn shut. When fully assembled, one can sit upon it, keeping one’s butt marginally elevated from the ground. Out of pity, she gave me the materials needed to create a sit-upon, as well, even though I’m sure she knew it would never be sat upon.

Unaware, at the tender age of eight, that I was allowed to simply get up and leave situations that were unpleasant or uncomfortable, possibly flipping a table or two on my way out the door, I soldiered on and made my sit-upon, which for some reason I remember in great detail– it was neon orange, with thick twine holding it shut, and I wrote my name on it in black permanent marker. As soon as I was able, I booked it out of there and never returned.

For some reason, though, I held on to my sit-upon for far longer than was necessary. It’s lost to the ages now, but I distinctly remember still having it in high school, where it lived in my closet, awaiting the day I could finally man up and get my Outdoor Camping patch. Considering I couldn’t even attend band camp without displaying histrionics usually only seen in families torn apart by war, I am sad to say that my sit-upon went un-sat-upon for the duration of its sad life.

I hope Addie will fare a little bit better than me. At the age of five, she has already camped out more times than I have in my entire life (once), and is generally much more brave and badass than I could ever hope to be. But when it comes time to make that sit-upon, I’ll be ready to help. Through my instinctive, terrified tears.

I almost had it all

Today, I almost managed to pull off a fully successful day of parenting.

I was totally killing it, too. I took the girls to the mall, thinking we would just hit the play place and maybe ride the train. There turned out to be a kids’ festival going on, but instead of panicking and screaming “MALL’S CLOSED!” while covering Addie’s eyes and backing slowly out through the men’s section of Dillard’s, I decided to be brave and face the whole thing head on.

The girls had their nails done at a spa’s booth, made masquerade masks at the library’s booth, and spent five minutes vigorously kicking each other in the backs of their knees at the karate booth. And somehow, when I told the girls we had to move on, they listened to me. It was as if I had been imbued with the magical power that I thought only superior mothers possessed, mothers whose children didn’t tend to fall to the ground, writhing in agony, whenever they’re told they can no longer linger in front of the prize wheel for the local minor league baseball team.

We even got shanghaied into an impromptu photo shoot with a professional photographer, for which my children decided to dress like Christina Aguilera circa the Dirrrty years:

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They looked like tiny pimps, but they were adorable tiny pimps, so I decided to buy the photo. In order to do so, I had to go to the photographer’s studio, which was located in that shitty corridor of the mall that only has, like, an eyebrow threading place and a hippie store with the word Jakarta in its name. I got there, and the photographer had live bunnies on site for photo shoots, and I almost left right then and there, knowing my children would be unable to resist the allure of live bunnies and would likely squeeze them to death like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. But lo, somehow, my new motherhood magic persisted, and when I told them to leave the bunnies alone, they simply walked away from the bunnies without convulsing with rage at my terrible abuse.

So I decided to press my luck and take the girls to the library afterward, knowing they were tired and high on free shit. Rosie fell asleep halfway there, so we stopped at the gas station and CVS to let her sleep a little longer, and Addie did not insist on getting out of the car to “help me pump gas,” which really just means “wander the gas station grounds waiting to be kidnapped”. What is this witchcraft, I thought to myself as Rosie dozed and Addie played quietly and happily in the back seat.

At the library, Rosie awoke happy and smiling, and played by herself while Addie used the computer. She didn’t pull any books off the shelves, or make prolonged eye contact with anyone (a particular habit of hers that tends to freak people out after 30 seconds or so), and I was able to actually sit on the couch in the children’s section and read a book for myself. It was done! I had mastered parenthood!

Until Rosie walked up to me and, not breaking eye contact, stuck her hand into the back of her pants, pulled out a wad of poop, and wiped it right on my pants.

“That’s right, motherfucker,” she seemed to say. “I still own you.”

How to paint pottery: a step by step tutorial

This afternoon, I went pottery painting with my mom and cousin. I am generally leery of anything that involves artistic skill, but I was hopeful, after my recent forays into the art world with the 100 Days project and the Bottle of Fun that my skills would have improved since my last attempt.

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“Shitshow,” paint and glaze on ceramic, Kim Oja, 2012

I decided that an updated family portrait was in order, as Rosie constantly points to this masterpiece and shouts “MEEEE!” (which I guess means that she can at least vaguely recognize that the adults depicted are supposed to be Ben and me, so that’s something?). Things started out so promisingly:

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Look at those heads! So round and perfect! I honestly should have stopped here, called it a minimalist representation, and kicked back and played Best Fiends until my mom and cousin were done. But then I immediately proceeded to fuck it up by attempting to give us bodies:

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I knew even as I was doing it that my sleeves were a huge mistake. I should have just had everyone standing with their hands behind their backs, which is how I have drawn basically every person ever, because arms and hands are hard. Now, I look like a braless woman with huge boobs flopping off in opposite directions. But this is folk art! I will persevere!

Meanwhile, my mom and my cousin Katie were working on their perfectly legitimate pieces of art.

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But instead I pressed on. Since matching clothes were a theme in the original portrait, I proceeded to continue the thread here.

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Okay, I made the puff sleeves work on my outfit. Other than Ben’s massive drop crotch, this was all going very well. But then– DISASTER!

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It turns out glasses are not nearly as easy to paint onto a plate as one might think! So now the rest of us are just chilling out with Batman. At this point, the pottery painting staff confiscated my plate for about 20 minutes to attempt to undo the damage I had inflicted upon my poor, unsuspecting husband. (They were kind of snide about it, too, I wanted to be like, you know, you don’t know for certain that my husband isn’t actually Batman.)

By this point, I was becoming impatient. Katie and my mom had turned in masterpieces:

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And I was waiting for the staff to attempt to salvage the remains of my Batman family portrait. When they brought it back to me with the top half of Ben’s head obliterated, I gritted my teeth and dove back in. Who needs shoes? We will rock bare feet rendered lovingly in the exact shape of baked potatoes! Hair is an abstract concept! Slap some retro typewriter stamps on that baby for added kitsch effect and call it good!

Finally, my masterpiece was complete.

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I feel like I did an excellent job of capturing the true personality and aesthetic of my children.

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Nailed it.

And in my opinion, the piece de resistance here is the cat, which I added only after Katie pointed out that my children would be super pissed if she wasn’t there. I tried using a stamp to just add in a rudimentary cat shape, but it came out as a black blob, and so I had no choice but to attempt to freehand this beauty.

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We had to leave our pottery behind to be glazed and fired, and, in my case, laughed at and mocked incessantly, and probably put up on several Pinterest Fail boards. We won’t see the finished products until Friday, but I’m assuming it’s not really going to help mine any, unless they glaze it so heavily that you can’t actually see the design underneath. But when it comes home, I will still hang it proudly next to our original family portrait, where it can be admired for all eternity until we put our house on the market some day in the future and the realtor demands I take it down because it’s scaring away potential clients.