Friday, December 23, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Twas the Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the flat
not a creature was stirring, except for the frickin' cat.

The stockings weren't hung, because boxes weren't marked,
and "I can't find them," I occasionally barked

at Ryan as he dug through the closet without care,
throwing Halloween knickknacks here and then there.

We came up with a candle and a string of purple lights
purchased by my colorblind husband on a solo-shopping night.

Stock photo eerily similar to Mongo
Then we put up Tree 2 with apathy and glum,
as the lightbulbs on Tree 1 proved too tempting for some.

And while the cheap ornaments were getting some batting and chewing,
we ignored it and listed what still needed doing.

Shopping and baking and mailing and wrapping.
Cleaning and laundry and organizing and napping.

Fixing the light that was broke in the yard.
Avoiding Mall Santa so Norah won't be scarred.

And when we finally nestled all snug in our bed,
with visions of road rage in parking lots dancing in our heads,

Little Norah started singing, through the monitor we heard.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, she sang out each word.

And before we could groan that she wasn't asleep
we smiled and hoped this Christmas memory would keep.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toddler Conversations III

What Else is Dangerous?

Who: Norah, Ryan, Me
Where: In the car

N: I want out of my seat!
H: No, Honey, that's dangerous.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Huh?
N: What else is dangerous?
H: I don't know... running with a sucker in your mouth.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Um. Jumping off the bed.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Ah... crossing the street without Mommy or Daddy.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Playing with cleaning stuff.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: I don't know. Ask Daddy.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Playing with knives.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Being in the bathtub alone.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Uhh... swimming too soon after eating.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Driving too fast.
N: What else is dangerous?

40 minutes later

N: What else is dangerous?
H: Punching tigers.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Swimming with sharks and having an open wound.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Roxette.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Bungee jumping with no bungee.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Chuck Norris.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Messing around with Jim.
N: What else is dangerous?
H: Bad, bad Leroy Brown.
N: What else is dangerous?
R: Oh my God, we're home.


Who: Norah and Me
Where: My room

N: Look! A tennis racket!
H: That's a badminton racket.
N: It's not a bad mitten. It's a good mitten.


Who: Norah, Susan, Papa, Nana, Me
Where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

H: Look at that puma statue. What's it eating?
N: A rabbit! We don't eat rabbits.

Norah gets in it's face and holds out a finger.

N: Naughty!


Who: Norah and me
Where: In the car

N: Look! Look! A Coke truck!
H: Yeah, look at that.
N: You love Coke!
H: That's right.
N: But Daddy doesn't like Coke.
H: What kind of truck would Daddy like?
N: Beer truck.

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Story Time: The Potty Chair

This story is original. I wrote it last night. I will publish it in its entirety here, on this site, for all of you.

The pros of using a potty chair.

The cons.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Food Pyramid Be Gone!

If you haven't heard, the government bid adieu to the food pyramid and created the sexy new food plate.

Finally, that pesky pyramid was put in its place. I couldn't make headnertails of that confounded structure.

Better get started...

But I thought I'd take this opportunity to compare my normal food plate to that of Michelle Obama's.

Oh. That explains a lot.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Santa Comes to MN

Last Friday, Santa came to Sauk Rapids, MN. This is where my friend Sara lives with her husband and two kids, one of which is Norah's BFF, Samantha, aka Minta. A few other kids came, too.

The kids were playing in the toy room downstairs when they heard jingle bells and a hearty "Ho ho ho!" The older kids thundered up the stairs immediately. Norah and Samantha froze.

"Ho ho ho!"

Norah looked at me with terror in her eyes. Samantha started to cry.

Some of the adults called from upstairs, "Santa's here!" and "Come meet Santa!" Norah looked at me, and backed away slowly, back into the toy room. Samantha clung to her dad. "Me scared."

"Norah," I said gently, "You can go tell Santa what you want for Christmas."

She hesitated. Then she walked to the stairs and screamed, "I want a drum!" Then retreated back to the toy room.

Now, I wasn't shocked or anything. Neither of the girls wanted anything to do with Santa last year either. As far as they knew, he was the personification of Stranger Danger decked out in red. Even though they both revere Santa in cartoons and books, and understand that this underemployed recluse is the giver of toys and presents, in person, he's terrifying for some reason.

A little voice in my head was telling me to be a good mom. Don't force her. It's not a big deal. A larger voice was telling me to haul her butt upstairs and plop her down on Santa's lap. She'll love it once she gets over the initial fear. Uncle Dan is doing us a huge solid. Don't make him feel bad. I scooped her up.

Once we made it upstairs, her tiny nails digging into my shoulders, she saw Santa sitting at the kitchen table with his big red bag. The bag was important. We play Santa at home, and always have a bag of toys. Norah pretends to be asleep in her bed, and I haul the cat's little cave/bed thing in her room (that's Santa's bag) and deliver the toys she stuffed inside under her bed. Then she "wakes up" and screams with joy that Santa came.

Suddenly, the fear dissolved. She went to Santa and he lifted her up on his lap.

"I want a drum and a horse with a gate."

"Now wait a second," Santa said. "Have you been a good girl?"


"Do you listen to your mom and dad?"


Little bullshitter. 

"And what do you want?"

"A drum and a horse with a gate."

She slid off his lap and he gave her a little gift bag. She ran to me and we opened it happily. The other kids took their turns. Samantha had a look on her face that said Hell no. Neither Samantha or Norah would go near him again, even for the group photo, unfortunately.

We thanked Santa and off he went.

The next morning, I asked Norah about Santa. "Did you have fun meeting Santa?"

"I didn't get what I want," she said sadly, and looked down at her oatmeal.

Then I went into the elaborate explanation of the North Pole's toy factory and the elves and all that and that we had to wait until Christmas.

"I didn't get what I want."

Oh, I have a feeling you will, Kiddo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Dislike this Cat

So, it's been about six weeks since we got the frickin' cat. (No, autocorrect, I did not mean "friction." Stop trying to tell me what to type.) And I dislike it.

This probably isn't shocking to some people, but it's actually a little shocking to me. I love animals. I've had pets before and loved them like tiny, furry children. One cat had diabetes, and we gave him insulin shots twice a day for four years. I used to volunteer at the Humane Society. We catch and release spiders. I'm even a vegetarian (I know, I know. But I'm not a jerk about it.)

But this cat is an asshole.

1. He is obsessed with paper towels and toilet paper. Shreds an entire roll in one minute.

2. He awakes at 5 am. And he yowls and fiddles with noisy things, like mini blinds and Norah's toys. He even turned the Shopvac on at 5:30 am once.

3. He's incredibly needy. He has to be touching someone constantly. That person is always me.

4. He attacks for no reason.

5. He begs for people food.

6. He knocks shit over all the time. Anything that can fall to the floor, will eventually end up being on the floor.

7. He farts. And I swear I've heard him belch.

8. He has a death wish. He's jumped in the dryer, the microwave, and has tried to steal Ryan's Chipotle steak burrito.

9. He, like the honey badger, doesn't give a shit. You can squirt him with a water bottle, clap your hands, yell, shove him (Norah: "We don't push!"), pick him up and move him to the other side of the house. Honey badger don't care. He'll come back and keep doing the annoying/destructive thing you want him to stop doing.

10. You can't even walk a few steps without him trying to topple you. He'll bob and weave through your legs and step on your feet.

We took him to the vet, and asked about these two lumps under his skin. Ryan thought he was given two microchips. Nope. One's a BB. Most people would say, "Aw! Poor kitty!" I say, "Hmm. I can totally see shooting him."

This is coming from me, whom at one point relentlessly mocked my friend, Sara, for wanting to get rid of her two cats once her first child was born. "How could you think of such a thing?" I'd ask. Now her plan of overfeeding them in order to shorten their lifespan seems reasonable, if not genius.

So why is he still allowed here?

Stuck like glue

They're best friends.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Post

An awesomely funny blogger from Yeah. Good Times featured one of my cartoons today! Check it out here:

It's Story Time: The Tortoise and the Hare

Thanks, Jillsmo!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank you!

A fellow bloggist (Daily Dose of Dahl) honored me with an award! Hot damn!

I understand the Liebster is meant for newer blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Its intent is to give exposure to interesting up and coming bloggers, and there are rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

MY FIVE BLOG PICKS, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER (Disclaimer: I don't know if these blogs are "new," since that is a fairly relative term, but I picked ones with under 200 followers, according to my admittedly weak research):

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things I Say and Things a Toddler Listens To

Wash your hands. Backs, too. Brush your teeth. Your way-backs, too. Don't forget to say thank you. What are your magic words? You are funny. It's important to say you're sorry if you hurt someone. Eat your dinner. We don't eat floor food. No. Five more minutes. Because that's the way it is. Don't pull the cat's tail. Hug your grandma. Keep your socks on. Keep your hat on. Say bless you. Be careful! Don't jump off the couch. We don't spit. Please eat more dinner. Get that out of your mouth. That's Mama's juice. You are smart. It's bath time! Washing your hair is a big part of bath time. You're so silly. Parking lot rules! Say excuse me. Tell Papa you love him. Don't touch the computer screen. Use your inside voice. Don't run with that sucker in your mouth! Nuks are for nighttime. Please be careful! Wave goodbye to Daddy. No fingers in your cup. Cats don't like stickers. Put your blocks away. You can do it! Tell Mama if you have to go potty. How do you ask nicely? It's good to share with your friends. Good job! I love you! You'll have to ask Santa. Go to sleep. Stop! What do you say when you meet someone new? Play nice! Let's settle down. Try again. You can't have a cookie unless you eat more dinner. Wait your turn. Use your patience. Holy shitballs-- spider! Don't jump in the tub. I missed you today! Listen to your auntie. We are lucky. Be thankful. Pick out some books. You are beautiful. Get your hand away from the cat's butt. Cover your cough. Use a tissue, not your hand. Don't throw things at the driver. Use your words. It's okay. Mama loves you. No. Try to play by yourself for a few minutes. Play with Daddy. What do you say? Stay with Mama. You have to wear clothes before you go outside. Go potty before we leave. Just please eat a few more bites. You've got to cover your cough! No thank you. Say goodbye. Mama loves you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Few of Her Favorite Things

I was at the office the other day when a co-worker asked me if I'm taking lots of videos of Norah. He told me he's so happy he did, and how his family loves looking at the videos just to see how much their children have grown. I can't stop thinking about that.

I do take some video, and a ton of photos. And this blog is meant to be a chronicle of her life as well. But I was thinking of making Norah a Favorites List.

How cool would it be to look at your own Favorites List from when you were a kid? Granted, I don't remember anything from age 2, but if I were to look back on some imaginary list from my childhood, I'd probably laugh at what I thought were the greatest things on earth.

Me as a Kid

Favorite movie: Annie, Goonies
Favorite song: "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston
Favorite color: Pink
Favorite books: Goodnight Moon, Little Women
Favorite stuffed animal: Princess the dolphin and Snoopy
Favorite food: Fun Dip
Favorite shows: Scooby Do, Thunder Cats 

Ryan says he doesn't remember that stuff. I was going to ask his mom what his favorites were, but she'd give me some bullshit answers (Oh, he was really into Dussek and String Theory documentaries.) when in reality, he probably liked He-Man and Bubble Tape just like the rest of us.

Anyway, here are some of Norah's favorites:

Movies: Ponyo, Wall-E
Shows: Scooby Do, Blue's Clues, Dora
Songs: "Twinkle Twinkle," "Stuck Like Glue," "A Dream is a Wish"
Books: Pajama Time, What Do Smurfs Do All Day, Terrible Kangaroos
Toys: Tow truck, balls (which she pretends are eggs or babies and puts them in Mongo's bed as a nest. She named them House, Kitty Ear, and Cogee.), kitchen.
Games: Pretend, Don't Break the Ice, Go Fish
Stuffed animals: Bear Bear
Food: Noodles and peas.
Spirit animal (yeah, I asked): Unicorn
Adventure: Visiting farms
App: Blue Birds (aka, Angry Birds)
Blanket: Yo Gabba Gabba
Doll: Go Go

What are some of your kids' favorites, or your favorites as a kid?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Santa has no business trick-or-treating

Norah had her first neighborhood trick-or-treating experience. It went really well, despite a rough start.

She had been grumpy all day. The grumpiness compounded when The Stupid Fucking Cat attacked her like a starving puma and went for her jugular. While I was at the office (actual office, not my home cave), and didn't see the attack, Ryan recounted that TSFC was torn from Norah and chucked across the room, which made Norah even more hysterical. Luckily, the bite wasn't really that bad-- it just scared the hell out of her. He'd never attacked her before. (I guess they're best friends again, however.)

So I got home and made dinner. Scratch that. Ryan made dinner first. Norah was tired of being with Ryan all day, I guess, and shunned him and his dinner. Granted, his dinner was oatmeal, but still. He sat on the couch like a defeated lump and Norah howled, "I want my Mommy."

I couldn't see letting her trick-or-treat without eating any dinner, so I made backup dinner. Bow-tie pasta. She'd never had it before. Brilliant move, Heather.

"I don't like that."
"Eat it."
"I don't like that."
"Eat it."
"I don't like that."
"Eat it."

I started my persuasive tactics, telling her we couldn't go trick-or-treating until we eat at least some of our dinner. She said she didn't want to go trick-or-treating.

"Don't you want to wear your Scooby costume?"

Shit. After all this build-up? The constant Halloween discussions? The excitement? The preparation? The costume decisions? The photo ops?? Hell no. We were going, and we were going to like it.

I sat right next to her and loaded a spoon of pasta and corn and chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-ed it to her mouth. Some might say I force-fed my child. Others would call it the Yum-Yum Choo-Choo. Whatevs. It worked.

She went potty and I tried to shove her into her costume. She went all dead-weight on me. She was sprawled half on my lap and half on the floor, not one muscle flexed. She was like a giant slab of meat. I crammed her rag doll limbs in the sleeves and legs of Scooby.

"Let's go!" she cheerfully regained control of her body and trotted to the door.

Okay. Of course, I did what I swore never to do as a child-- I put a warm coat over her costume. Luckily, she didn't seem to mind.

We started walking. Norah was dancing and walking and singing, which lightened our moods, too. The first house that was lit up had people costumed and sitting on the porch. Santa and a fairy or butterfly dressed in black. Norah froze.

"Look, honey! They have candy for you. Let's go trick-or-treat!" I encouraged.

Santa called to us, "Come on over!"

Norah hid behind Ryan's legs.

I awkwardly laughed and called back, "She's new at this!"

The black fairy trotted over to us and handed Norah some candy. She smiled a little and whispered "Thank you."

I waved to Santa and we kept walking.

"I don't like Santa," Norah said, after we were a safe distance.

"But he brings us Christmas gifts!" Ryan said.

"I don't like him!" She practically screamed. Okay. Sheesh.

After that, the rest of the evening went really well. She knocked on doors, said trick-or-treat, only needed a few "What do you say?" prompts upon receiving candy, and she had a blast. Ryan and I did, too. She loved the other kids roaming around. She'd announce herself by yelling, "Scooby dooby do!" And if a house had decorations, she'd let the other trick-or-treaters know that "It's not so scary after all," which is a line from her favorite Halloween book at Nana's.

We went to the Halloween Street, which was a few houses that banded together to decorate really elaborately. We had already walked by it a number of times before Halloween to make sure Norah wasn't scared of it. She bravely walked by, waved to the mummy, and laughed at the silly skeleton.

Oh, but of course they had an added effect. A real person in a cage that jumps out at you. I saw the real person ahead. Please notice her age, please notice her age, please notice her age, I silently begged. No such luck.


Norah froze in fear again. Went behind Ryan's legs again.

"It's okay, Baby," I said, crouching down to her. "It's just pretend!"

The monster realized he was a dickhead and lifted his mask. "Happy Halloween! Go inside and get some candy!"

"I need up." Ryan lifted her up and held her tight.

After we walked away, she asked who was naughty to him. She though someone had trapped him in the cage. She's asked me this now 20 times a day since. At least she's forgotten about the stupid space alien.

After we canvassed the neighborhood, we drove to the grandparents. Norah didn't really want any candy from Papa, though, just stories. So he read her a few books, then we stopped by Ryan's mom's, and then we finally went home and passed out.

Not so scary after all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Do-do-do-do-do Dora!

Norah is back on Dora, after a long hiatus. Which is fine-- I don't get the hate. Well, I get it...

But I like Dora. In fact, I think I'd like to apply for a freelance job at Nick Jr. and help improve the show. Here are a few ideas.

1. Incorporate some public service announcements.

"Oh, no! My cigarettes!"

2. Teach about current issues, such as bullying, and sticking up for yourself.

"I have a riddle for you, motherfucker."

3. Foster a sense of self-empowerment.

"Find your own mommy. Maybe that'll teach you to listen to her."

I'll patiently wait by my email for a job offer from Nick Jr. execs.

Until then, check out this awesome video of Dora grown up:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bowling Highlights

My mom, sister, Norah, and I went bowling. You may be asking yourself, "Can a toddler bowl?" Why, yes.

Tiny Bowling Shoes
They surprisingly had tiny bowling shoes for tiny bowlers. And an 8-pound ball, which of course was still too heavy for Muscles McGee, but the neon orange-ness of it made up for that.

Bumpers and Ramps
Nowadays, these new-fangled, fancy-pants bowling computers not only keep score (In your face, third-grade teacher Mrs. Krueger. I new I didn't need to learn that bullshit.), but you can program them such that when the tiny bowler is up, bumpers rise out of the floor, making gutter balls a nonissue.

They also have ramps. Noon and I heaved the big 8-pounder over to the ramp, and she gleefully pushed it with all her might.

Norah and I
Knocking Over Pins
The actual knocking over of pins was not the height of excitement. Pushing the ball, dancing in between turns, and being cheerleader was more entertaining for Norah. Which was just as well, because even with the ramp pointed directly at the center pin and bumpers preventing an open frame (yeah, I know a little bowling lingo), Norah had a pretty shitty score. I couldn't believe the ball actually made it down to the pins a couple times. From the time she pushed it down the ramp to the contact of a pin, we could do a little dance, have a sip of lemonade, go to the bathroom, play songs on the jukebox, steal other people's street shoes, play four games of pinball, spray disinfectant in every rental shoe in the place, wax two lanes, and finish a medium-sized pizza. Then watch to see if the ball would knock over the pin, or if it would bounce back.

Mom and Sarah are Bowling Machines
Now these two are actually pretty good. I can't remember who won, but they kicked our asses. Mom even got a turkey, which upon recounting the evening, Norah excitedly called a chicken.

Cosmic Bowling
Eventually, after we had retreated to the restaurant for pizza and cake, which Sarah had brought for her BFF who manages the bowling alley for her birthday, and cosmic bowling came on. At first, Norah peered out to the alley and declared she didn't like it. I thought she was just confused, so I took her by the hand to investigate.

We couldn't leave after that. It was dark. There was a disco ball. Colored lights danced across the floor. The black light made our shoelaces and t-shirts glow. Guns and Roses' Paradise City boomed out of the speakers. Norah found a spotlight and started dancing.

After a few more 80's metal tunes, we tore her away, a little teary, but not a complete meltdown.

We may have to think about bowling for her birthday. It was a good time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Story Time: Clifford the Big Red Dog

"Your dog shit in my yard again, Lance."
"Did you actually
see Clifford do it? There are a lot of dogs in this neighborhood."


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Cats and Toddlers are Alike

I help you, Mama.
They won't let me go to the bathroom alone.

They constantly need to be touching me or on top of me.

They are mesmerized by mini blinds and can't go 10 minutes without touching them.

They are destroyers of mini blinds.

They don't want the food I give them. Only treats.

They don't want the toys I buy them. Only stupid things, like crumpled pieces of paper and empty boxes.

They are loud when I'm on the phone.

They feel like they need to sleep in my bed every night when they have perfectly fine beds specifically designed for them.

They both love chicken nuggets and think I'm an asshole for not letting them share.

I have to take care of their poop.

They are scared of the vacuum.

They do not listen to me when I say "no" or "please come here."

They have both tried to eat crayons.

They both want to climb in the dryer.

They always have something to say.

They are amazingly good at finding spiders.

They're both dumbfounded by laser toys.

And they're lucky they're both cute. Or they'd both me in a cage.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Story Time: Rumplestiltskin

"Hey lady, we had a deal. Hand him over."

"Pluh... please. Take him. So... tired. So very tired."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween: Candy, Costumes, and Raging Sexism

It's almost Halloween, and I'm having mixed feelings again. I love Halloween-- the decorations, the dressing up, the events, the candy, the pumpkin carving, yadda yadda yadda.

But I loathe-- and I mean loathe-- the bullshit sexism that goes along with it. Sexism is often institutionalized in today's world, but for Halloween it is just flagrantly twirling its nipple tassels at us.

Really? A sexy skunk?
This is Alice in Wonderland.
And while I could go on and on and on and on and on about the expectation of women dressing like hookers on this hallowed holiday, turning helpless animals and storybook characters into sex-crazed, lingerie-wearing, fetish-enabling, pedophilia/zoophilia-inflicted misogynist perv-tantalizing creatures, what I'm going to focus on is the perpetuation of gender stereotypes in toddler costumes. Sound awesomely interesting? Read on!

Now, Norah changed her mind every day for the last two months about the costume she'd have for Halloween. Princess, fairy, shark, Big Bad Wolf, butterfly... every day it was something new. So when she said she wanted to be a dog three days in a row, we figured it was semi-safe to commit and procure a costume. Aunt Sarah, Norah, and I looked online and Norah decided Scooby Do was the winner. Great. I personally love Scooby and those gang of meddling kids.

But did you know that Scooby is in the boy section of the costume places? So are dinosaurs, superheroes, humorous costumes, police and firefighter costumes, and all spooky costumes. Guess what's in the girl category? Never mind. I'll show you.


TV/Movie (Includes Yo Gabba, video game characters, characters from Cars and Thomas the Train, Scooby, Spongebob, Toy Story costumes, etc.)

Superheroes (Includes Superman, Green Lantern, etc.)

Sports (Includes football players, baseball, etc.)

Dinosaur (Duh)

Classic (Includes pirates, ninjas, monsters, devils, etc.)

Career (cops, firefighters, astronauts, military, cowboys, etc.)

Animal (Dogs, assorted zoo creatures, etc.)


TV/Movie (Princesses, Strawberry Shortcake, Lalaloopsy (whatever the hell that is), Minnie Mouse, storybook characters, Dora, etc.)

Bugs (Bees, butterflies, ladybugs)

Classic (Cute witches (not spooky), ballerinas, angels and devils, mermaids, clowns, etc.)

Career (Cheerleader, genie, dancer, referee, etc.)

Disney Princesses (Duh)

Princess, Fairy Costumes (Duh)

Storybook (Alice, Red Riding Hood, cute witches, rag dolls, etc.)

Superheroes (Spidergirl, Supergirl, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, etc.)

Let me point out some obvious stuff.

1. There are no angel costumes for boys; just devils. Because boys should be mischievous and devilish.

2. Girls have no scary costumes. Girls should be pretty.

3. Girls have no funny costumes. Boys are funny. Girls should be pretty.

4. Athletic goals are vastly different. Girls can be cheerleaders, referees, even soccer players, as long as they're cute. Boys are tough and strong and... whatevs.

5. The career aspirations of girls vs. the aspirations of boys are also wildly different. Each-end-of-the-spectrum different.


6. Look at this shit.



If there were a Spidergirl, she wouldn't wear this.


Come on.

7. God forbid a little boy want to be a Care Bear or a unicorn or something. THE SHAME. (This is heavily sarcastic, for the literal.)

Now, I know, I know-- boys can just buy "girl" costumes and vice versa. But the point is, we keep clutching on to these stereotypes and it's stifling us. It's crippling our imagination. It's limiting our vision. And it's even hurting some. It's not just stupid Halloween costumes. It's the message behind them. Girls SHOULD be one way, boys SHOULD be another. If you are "other," you are different. And guess what? Even in 2011, different = bad.

And that sucks.

So, while I love Halloween, I hate it, too. Because on Halloween, gender expectations seem exaggerated. An in-your-face reminder of how we judge and crate people in to what "we" believe they should be. We need to remember that every day kids, teens, and adults face these ridiculous expectations. We see it in bullying, discrimination, and exile. When are we going to just mind our own damn business and let people be who they are meant to be?

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Story Time: Rapunzel

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down thy hair, so that I may climb thy golden stair."

"Sorry. My stylist recommends that people's hair should only be one sixth of their height."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Open Letter to Space Aliens

Dear Space Aliens,

I'd like to discuss your mascot. Your seven-foot tall mascot. The one that towers over children with its giant corpse head and spindly tentacle fingers. The one that silently and ominously glides from table to table. Yeah, that one.

Yes, this was totally worth ten dollars.
We went to a birthday party at Space Aliens, a seemingly happy place filled with pizza, unnaturally large baked potatoes, and pointless games that require annoying tokens and produce tickets which then yield landfill-occupying plastic crap masked as fabulous prizes.

The point of this place is to spend upwards of $50,000 in alien tokens in order for your child to win a prize that was made in some sweatshop in Thailand and was purchased in bulk from a franchise for about two cents per unit.

Anyway, as I was trying to force a child-sized cheeseburger down my daughter's throat, which was impossible due to the lure of skeeball and drop-a-token-on-Spongebob-and-win-some-stupidass-tickets game, we heard an announcement over the loud speaker. Someone was going to visit us. A visitor from Area 51.

I was initially a little excited. Norah loves mascot-type things. She loves the giant bat we see at our local baseball games. She loved the evil-looking easter bunny at the mall. She even loved-- and hugged-- the giant foam urine sample cup.

But when this dark figure entered the room, she clung to me and whimpered. She buried her head in my neck. It wordlessly lurked about, posing for pictures with the other children. Norah clutched my sweatshirt and trembled. It floated past our table. Quit lingering, motherfucker, I tried to message him telepathically. The children in our group weren't even all that interested in the creature, yet he remained. Little Ralphie just looked at it suspiciously. Baby Ella seemed mildly amused at first, and then drew her attention back to her mother. The other kids were busy with their grandparents.

After it finally left, she asked where it was. And kept asking. She needed to know it was far away. She saw it again from across the restaurant and was back on my lap. That night she would randomly ask me about it. Where was it? She seemed to know that it was a person dressed up, but nonetheless, it frightened her.

"It wasn't real, Mommy."

"What wasn't real, Baby?"

"The alien. It was pretend. It was Halloween."

"That's right, Baby. It was just a dude dressed up. Just like we dress up for Halloween. No need to be afraid!"

"I don't like that. I don't like aliens."

And she hasn't slept in her bed for three nights. Even with a nightlight. Even with me in there with her. Even if I put her in her bed while she's already asleep. She'll wake up and scream for me.

So, to the point, Space Aliens, you owe me three nights' sleep. This is what I'm dealing with here, so you know how serious I am.

Sleeping with Norah

1. We fall asleep on the couch in the dark.

2. Gently take her to her room and cover her up.

3. I hear screaming an hour later.

4. Try to soothe; singing, backrubs, etc.

5. Can't take the begging and crying anymore.

6. Bring to Ryan on the couch (he's a night owl.)

7. They fall asleep on the couch.

8. He puts her down to sleep, clumsily.

9. She wakes and screams for Mommy.

10. I bring her to my bed.

Someone kill me.
11. I spend 7-8 hours with my muscles tense, so as to not fall off the bed. I try to switch sleeping positions slightly so that I alternate limbs falling asleep and going numb, without lifting my head off my 1/8 of the pillow, because the second my head is up, Norah's head occupies that space. Then she mumbles, "Scooch over, Mama." Then Ryan starts to snore and Norah mumbles, "Mommy. Daddy snores." Then one tingling or numb hand reaches over to tap Ryan. Then the goddamn cat sees movement and begins to attack, thinking it's happy super fun play time. Then Norah starts giggling and saying, "I like my cat, Mongo." Then Mongo attacks Norah's feet because they're wiggling as she laughs. Then she starts to cry, "Mongo bites me." Then I sit up and throw the cat off the bed. Then Norah wails, "You pushed my cat." Then I lie and say, "No, Honey, Mommy hugs Mongo." Then Ryan murmurs, "What's going on?" Then I lie down, but Norah's head is where my head was. Then I shift down to the bottom quarter of the bed. Then Norah says, "I'm not tired. Let's go to the living room."

12. Ryan benevolently brings Norah to the living room, but leaves the door open, so I can plainly hear her crying about that sonofabitch alien and that she wants chocolate milk. I lie there and eventually fall back asleep.

13. Then I'm awoken by Norah placing rainbow-colored foam letters on my back. She's wearing a colorful t-shirt that does not have a hedgehog on it (Jessica, the t-shirt bestower, says it's an echidna.) Cute. But also multi-colored neon-striped leggings, and ruffly white socks. This is what happens when Mommy oversleeps and Daddy dresses the short one. I didn't even give a shit. Off you go.

14. And I go to work.

So, thank you, space Aliens. Because of your alien mascot, Ryan and I will probably get divorced or one of us will murder the other, due to lack of sleep and irritability. A broken home. Or I'll get fired for falling asleep at my desk and we'll end up in my mother-in-law's basement. More laws will certainly be broken after that. And Norah's budding social life will be quashed prematurely due to her goofy, mismatched outfits. She'll become a loner, start collecting small, dead animal carcasses, and eventually end up trying to sell her outsider art on the street corner for cheap liquor.

Thank you, Space Aliens, for ruining our entire fucking life.