Tuesday, November 14, 2017


We're readers in our house. Biblophiles. Book enthusiasts.

So, when it comes to gifts- particularly gifts for kids - we usually give books. It's usually the favorite book du jour. 

(I can't tell you how many copies of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Back I've bought.) 


I also am terrible about cards. Because, honestly, I just forget to buy them. Or, on the off chance that I actually remember to *buy* them,  I forget to give them.

I figured I could get ahead of the curve by buying black cards (and envelopes to match) and just doing my own cards (sort of along the lines of the #lunchboxlovenotes), while SuperAndrew, King of All Wrapping, wraps the gifts. That way, the card gets done and I have someone to remind me to grab it (or just attach it to the gift).

I usually try to make the card something that the recipient is into (I did a Kaiju for one of Genevieve's friends this summer, for example).

But, when it comes to Do Not Open this Book! and Please, Open this Book!, I have a soft spot for the characters. So, I may have been swept away by the simians, and well...

Me: I may have gone a little overboard on this one.
Andrew: A *little* overboard?

I can't help it. Overboard is totally my brand. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

'M' is for 'Medicine'

I'm finally coming out from under the oppressive, depressive fog, and, for the first time in a long time, I'm feeling really, really good.

Wins are really, really, really important for me these days. They remind me that I'm good at this mothering, parenting thing. (This is why I blog [HAHAHAHAHAHA, sometimes] about the good days. Because I can go back and read about them on the bad days, and I remember. The bad days are seared into my memory forever. I don't need to write about those.)

So here's a win.

When Mom was growing up in Germany, if someone got hurt, an adult would give them a sugar cube, and once the offending "owwie" stopped hurting, the kiddo could eat the sugar cube.

I've talked about Genevieve's sugar-induced transformation from adorable Mogwai to terrifying Gremlin. But extreme times call for extreme measures.

Genevieve - like many kids - was terrified of shots. The mere mention of them would make her practically apoplectic with fear.

[Before I continue any further: This is not an open forum for debating vaccines, or vaccine efficacy. Thank you.]

But I cracked it, courtesy of some inspiration from Halloween.

Last year, Genevieve cut her finger on a cheese knife [while my most excellent and very capable mother was supervising, because even supervised, accidents can and will happen] - which was the first time we tried the 'M' Method(TM) to get her to calm down and put a band-aid on. Up to that point, she told me she was just planning on keeping the paper towel on her finger forever.


"Okay," I said, fetching one tiny M&M** (which is just an "M"), like the stingy, joyless, sugar miser/ Tsugar Tsarina I am, "When it stops hurting, you can eat the M."

Well, wouldn't you know it. The paper towel came off, and nobody needed stitches. Phew.

We used M&Ms for a while (in fun sized bags, applied like an ice pack after vaccinations), until Genevieve discovered better chocolate. Swiss chocolate. (Lindt, to be specific.)

Fast forward to last month, when we needed to get our flu shots. Genevieve packed two special pieces of Easter chocolate (YES, we still have Easter chocolate in the freezer, see "Tsugar Tsarina" above) in each ziploc bag so that each kiddo would have their own, and off to Kaiser we went.

"YAY, flu shots!" Genevieve said, because in addition to the chocolate, YES, we were going to get ice cream afterward. (The sugar binge post vaccinations is based on science, study linked below.)

"Flu shots, YAY!" Rex chanted, all the way there. In the minivan. In the waiting room. In the injection room.

He was so enthusiastic that a doctor (who was updating her charts when we came in) walked over to see our own young vaccine enthusiast for herself. Rex was all smiles and excited.

Genevieve wanted to go first, so if Rex screamed, she wouldn't have to stay and listen (two adults meant that they could wait out of earshot).

[I could talk about kids and compassion, but really, it just makes the experience that much more stressful for her, and THEN she has to get the shot.]

Genevieve was brave, right up until the needle was prepped. Then came the anxiety.

"I'll hold you. Sit on my lap, put your face against my shoulder," I said, "And here, hold your chocolate in your other hand."

Genevieve, who is terrified of needles, gave no more than a slight gasp when she got her flu shot.

That's it. No screaming. No tears. A small, quiet, gasp. And then she was done and eating her chocolate.

Rex went next, due for two shots that day, so he was on my lap. The first poke came, and in the most *offended* voice he said, "OUCH." [If he was older, the tone would have matched "Thanks, JERK. THAT HURT."]

... And then he saw the nurse getting the SECOND one prepped, and when she poked him, he started up like a siren---

-- and abruptly stopped when I handed him his baggie of chocolate.

"Here's your chocolate, buddy," I said, deftly handing him to his father (because two year olds and chocolate are a sticky mess).

Everybody was happy, everybody got vaccinated, and then everybody went together to get ice cream.

Genevieve, not throwing away her shot! (Old picture, but the sentiment is the same)

... And it's totally legit, per this study. (I would still do it, even if it wasn't backed by science.)

** If you're not thrilled about the ingredients of M&Ms, I highly recommend the Unreal Candy Coated Milk Chocolates. They. Are. Delicious. They don't come in "fun sized" bags, that I've been able to find, so you'll have to DIY that business.

Friday, November 10, 2017


There is a lot of value in letting kids be bored. It's in all of the parenting books I recommend when asked (especially Positive Discipline, It's Ok to Go Up the Slide/It's Ok Not to Share, for those of you asking), and a popular subject in loads, and loads, and loads of parenting articles.

Mainly, it teaches kids to make their own fun. Which they will. (I also absolutely acknowledge that letting kids manage their own entertainment is easier said than done.)

Given an empty hallway, a bag of balloons, an agreement that I would tie any balloons that the kids inflated, and maybe two hours of work on their part (mostly Genevieve's, though Rex did his best), I give you:


The party hallway.

(No party in progress, obviously, because I didn't want to ruin the fun by pulling out my phone/camera.)