Parenting Fail #324

I know what I’m supposed to do. A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for a local parenting magazine reminding other people to do it. I didn’t take my own advice, and I won’t even pretend that I’m sorry.

All the experts advise getting kids on their school schedule a week or two before school actually starts – goodbye, late nights; hello, early mornings. Yeah. I didn’t do it. I did cut out the late nights. Everyone’s in bed nice and early. Because that’s a hardship for me. I did that part. It’s the waking up early I didn’t do. I have a good reason. Meet my reason:

I know. He looks like a baby Nosferatu. He was eating bing cherries.

I know. Squish looks like a baby Nosferatu. He was eating Bing cherries, not feasting on the flesh of villagers. I swear.

Rousing the Padawan early involves waking his little roommate, as well, something I’m not quite willing to do. Because the kid doesn’t sleep. Naps are for pansies, bedtime is for losers. If he deigns to sleep, I am loathe to wake him because once his tootsies hit the floor, he is all up in my bizness awake for the next fifteen hours, about four of which are pleasant. Apparently not wanting sleep and not needing it are two different things.

Logic would tell you that taking a kid out and letting him burn off all his energy would help said child to sleep like a dream. Logic would be a big, fat liar wrong. I took the Padawan and his buddy on an overnighter to another city recently, knowing that if Squish can fight sleep for two hours all alone in his room, sharing a hotel room with four other people would make bedtime extra fun. But I had a plan.

That plan started with swimming. I chose a hotel with a pool so we could do a little splishy-splash. If I let Squish go for a nice, long swim, I reasoned, he’d be more amenable to catching some Z’s. Right? You know how it ends.

We swam until 9pm, then we went upstairs. He was tired. Very tired. But tired is only a kissing cousin to sleepy, so the next part of my plan involved a little television. Give me fifteen minutes in front of the TV, and I’m snoring like an asthmatic bulldog. Like mother, like spawn, right? After two-and-a-half hours of House Hunters, Squish finally fell asleep

Sleep may be too strong a word, really. He’s a bit of a flopper. He never hit a deep sleep, alternating between  bludgeoning me about the head, and dragging his claws toenails up my shin.

I never studied physics in college, but I did not expect that a body with such little mass could displace so much space. He put down roots in prime mattress real estate – dead center – and I couldn’t budge him for love nor money. At about 2am, desperate for some sleep, I scooped him up and slid him eight inches west and tried to tie him in place tuck him in. My efforts backfired, and I suddenly had a Squish clinging to my head like a baby octopus. It would have been easier to sleep in the floor. With a tiger.

At 7am, the kid was awake. Perhaps you are thinking that eight hours is all Squish’s body requires to function at top capacity. Does this look like top capacity to you?

Yeah, I'm all set.

“Yeah, I’m all set.”


We had two melt-downs and a Come-to-Jesus meeting before we even left the hotel. Tired = wired. Isn’t that fun? But I’m not one to give up. Because of my plan and all.

My plan told me that a long day spent running around out of doors would lead to a quiet car ride and pleasant night. You see where this is going, right? We enjoyed six hours at a zoo, two of which were spent playing hard on the enormous playground. Then we popped in the car for the three-hour ride home. I waited for him to fall asleep. And waited. And waited. Yeah. He was awake the whole time, refusing to punch his ticket for the dreamland express until after 9pm, three hours after we got home, and two hours after I began to seriously consider selling him to the circus. I love plans.

So I hope the experts will excuse me for enjoying a few minutes of solitude. If they judge me, I hope they do so quietly. Squish is still asleep.

Dear Haters

Dear Hater,

I read this post yesterday about Stephen King’s latest book release, and at first the quotes contained in it made me mad. And then it broke my heart. Because some of you are really mean, but also because you may find 10 years down the road that you’ve changed your mind, and you’re really putting your foot in it. Like I did.

I used to be like you. I thought I was open-minded, too. But at the same time, I thought my way was the only way, that anyone who thought differently was a loser wrong. And then I met sj, and my eyes were opened.

It didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been pals for over three years now, and it took almost that long before I would even hear her out, and even longer for me to admit that she was right. But she is. I am here to confess. I’ve gone over to the dark side. I love my e-reader.

I should have trusted her sooner. She had, after all, brought such delights as Firefly and Ready Player One into my life and changed my heart forever. But I am nothing if not stubborn.

When we first started talking, she’d mention her e-reader and how awesome it was. I did the smile-and-nod that you do when you’re pretty convinced that people are idiots misguided, but you’re too polite to say. We had discussions about reading pretty often because she and I spend a large number of our free time with our noses in a book. Well, my nose was in a book, hers was in a stupid electronic device. Not a book.

God help me, I felt like I was somehow superior. Because I read actual, physical books. I used to be you, hater.  I was better. I loved books more than those people tied to electronic devices. I loved the smell of books, the feel of books, the blah-blah-blah.

And then somehow it happened. Talking to sj one day, I actually experienced a moment of envy. Through NetGalley, she had access to all kinds of advance reader copies of incredible books. What? Books I couldn’t have? NO! I made it a goal to acquire a device of my own. Two hours later, I came home from the used bookstore with a Kobo I had purchased with trade credit.

I wasn’t hooked immediately. I read a few things, did a review for sj’s blog on something she hadn’t gotten around to reading yet. But over time, I’ve come to depend on my little Kobo. It’s nothing fancy. I can’t play Angry Birds or surf the net on it. It’s just for reading. And here’s a secret. In some ways, it’s better than a regular book. 

When I was ill recently, I lost some of the use in my hands. Whenever I went out for a walk, I’d return home to find my arms were too weak to even hold my e-reader, much less a hefty book. But I could prop that Kobo on a pillow and use one finger to poke the page-turner. When my eyes get wonky, I can actually change the font. So I can still read. And I currently carry 200 books with me at a time. In my purse. Need to disappear into Avonlea? I’m all set. Want to get cracking on the latest book for review? It’s right there.

Lest you dismiss the e-reader as a device for the disabled, I’ll tell you why I don’t have my e-reader all the time. My 10 year old steals it so he can use a flashlight and read under the covers at night. To him, it’s technology. It’s the future, and it’s exciting.

I think the quote contained in that post that gets under my skin the most is this:

“To those complaining about the fact that King didn’t release it on e-book, quit your whining. Reading an actual book (not a screen) is FUN. As an adult now with kids of my own who love to read, ebook are strictly for school or literary emergencies (only real book lovers know what I mean) in our house. Holding a book in your hand, cracking the spine, creasing the corners, getting water wrinkles on the pages from falling asleep with it on your chest while you float around the pool… It’s all part of the charm. If you have to have it explained, you wouldn’t understand anyway.”

It bugs me because, while I was never quite that sanctimonious, I once had similar views, and I’m embarrassed. Hater, let me dissuade you of the notion that only people who read paper books exclusively love books more, that it has to be either/or.

So don’t go there. It makes you sound narrow-minded. And elitist. And more than a little silly. I know. Because I was you.

Fortunately, books are not as judgmental as the people who read them. Harry Potter doesn’t care if I am turning a page or pressing a button. He welcomes me. So does Anne of Green Gables. And Tom Sawyer. And all my other friends. They’re happy to see me no matter how I got there.

And as for e-readers just being for literary emergencies, I don’t know about you, but my whole life is one big literary emergency. Waiting in line to pick up my kids, riding in the car when my husband is driving, all those times when I am dying of boredom. I no longer have to hope my husband hasn’t cleared out all my car-books. Because I have an entire library with me.

So hater, I invite you to open your mind a little bit, to see that your way isn’t the only way. I don’t expect you to believe me right now because you’ve just made a horse’s patoot our of yourself and are pretty much wed to your opinion. For now. But maybe one day you’ll decide to dabble on the electronic side. And we’ll be here to welcome you.

This post is much longer than I intended for it to be,  so I’ll end it here. With an apology. I’m sorry for ever doubting you, sj. You were the rightest. You always are.


The Convertedest Convert in the History of Conversion

Post-Apocalyptic Confessions

It’s Saturday. Turns out the Mayans were wrong. The world did not end yesterday. Stupid Mayans. Now I have to wrap all these Christmas gifts.

At least I think the Mayans were wrong. I had a disturbing experience this morning. I went to a shopping mall, and we found the place nearly deserted. Only one small section of the parking lot actually had any cars in it. We wondered if perhaps the Rapture had occurred and we were left behind. I’m still not totally sure. My Twitter feed is kind of quiet. Anybody left out there?

I really meant to post my confessions for the End of Times before the world was scheduled to end, but what with one thing and another, I never actually got around to it. So here goes:

1) I have lost the ability to wrap gifts. Blame it on age, cheap wrapping paper, whatever. They appear to have been wrapped by a drunken elf. Here’s the actual confession part. With the worst ones, I’m telling people that Squish helped.

2) I went to Trader Joe’s and bought sea salt caramels. And I have subsequently hidden them.

3) In the fall, bears need to consume about 20,000 calories a day to prepare for winter. After yesterday, you can go ahead and call me Winnie the Pooh.

4) I ate a McRibAnd I liked it. I don’t actually need the Mayans. I’m pretty sure the trans-fat and preservatives will bring about my demise on their own.

5) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer confused me. Until I was an adult, I thought the misfit elf yanked the Abominable Snowman’s teeth through his behind. As a result, I have refused to visit an elf dentist all my life.

6) I saw Breaking Dawn 2 at the 10pm showing on opening night. Here’s part of the reason. I owe my sister big. Explained here.

7) I liked Breaking Dawn 2  the movie better than Peter Jackson’s The HobbitLike, way better. That’s not as much confession as saddest thing ever. One of these movies realized the potential of a book whose ideas were creative but whose execution was poor. The other  took a well-written book and squandered its potential.

8) I could live a happy, full life wearing pants with elastic waistbands. See number 3.

9) Christmas is about carbs and corn syrup. Not solely, of course. But all those unhealthy Good Housekeeping recipes from the 1950’s will find their way to my table on Tuesday. Which brings us back to number 3. 

I should aim for 10 things, I know. But I’m afraid that I’ve already shocked my readership beyond recovery as it is.

Anybody want to share their post-apocalyptic confessions?

Maybe this is what Christmas is about?

Maybe this is what Christmas is about?


My daily joy: My kids worked together to clean my house last night while I was out finishing my shopping. I am blessed.

A Truth To Tell

When I go to the library, sometimes I pretend I am a criminal. I look around very carefully to make sure no one is watching, and then I grab a book and shove it in my library bag all sneaky-like. Just for the thrill. And then I check them out. It’s quite the rush.

Know what else is fun to pretend? That all of my books are overdue, and I’m all “Honey badger don’t pay fines.” The endorphins leave me a little shaky here. Play this game in moderation.

Know what’s not cool? Actual overdue books. Dude, some high school student may be waiting for that copy of To Kill A Mockingbird for schoolNot funny. Not funny at all.

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: The Truth About Us

I hate socks. Wearing them is great. Matching them is a pain. Someone gave Squish twelve pairs of precious little construction socks. And every pair is different. Why do they hate me? Don’t answer that.

Here’s what the kid is wearing today. And please ignore the dog hair. We’re hoping to clone Phoebe, and she is obliging by providing DNA. Lots and lots of it.

In my defense, these two vehicles are going to the same work-site. This is a matched pair in my book.