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Category Archives: Parenting FAIL

Parenting FAIL Friday: Too many cooks in the kitchen.

I love to cook. Usually. It gets old with minions whining about the little green things (herbs) or how the pasta tastes funny (because it isn’t elbow macaroni), but I generally like cooking. I love being adventurous. And not to brag or anything, but I’ve gotten pretty good over the years. This year’s culinary adventure was into the world of Asian food, and I’m now obsessed with Thai coconut curry.

That is irrelevant to this post, I just super love curry. Anyway. Yesterday was like New England summer (read: 50 degrees) so the girls felt that riding bikes in sun dresses and flip-flops was appropriate. Though I made them wear actual clothes, I DID wholeheartedly shoo them out the door. This left me with a rare window to prepare dinner without chaos. No one shoving me into the hot stove because it’s their turn to stir. No one sliding their finger  under my chef’s knife to steal a piece of pepper. Because that’s happened. Just uninterrupted cooking. Glorious.

The whole house was clean, and I REALLY didn’t want to make a mess, so the Nerd offered to help me in the kitchen because he loves me. This could be fun, I thought.

Side note: The night before, Make-A-Wish volunteers delivered our wish package, along with pizza for dinner. You’ll see why that’s important in a bit.

We started prepping the ingredients. I asked him to chop the garlic. I use LOTS of garlic. I pulled out other things, only to look over and see that he was individually peeling each clove – with his fingers. I do the smack down – literally. I smack the garlic with the flat side of my chef’s knife, and the peel virtually falls off. It’s fast. I need everything to be fast at dinner time. But he didn’t want to try that technique, so I let it go and let him peel.

Next was the onion. I showed him how to dice an onion while I prepped a pot of water on the other burner for the pasta. He did pretty well, for a first timer. Thinking he had the onions under control, I turned on the oven to pre-heat and got out the rest of the ingredients from the fridge. A few minutes later, I realize he hasn’t stirred the onions. I give them a toss just in time – caramelized, but not burned. Thank heaven. He’s now asking about slicing green onions. I give him instructions. Smush walks in and asks what’s burning.

Wait, what? Cue this scene:

Smush: Uh, what’s burning?

Nerd: Nothing.

Smush: Yes it is. I see smoke.

Me: Oh my gosh. There is smoke. Where is it coming from?

Nerd: What?

Me: The oven! The oven is on fire!

Nerd: But there’s nothing in there yet!

Me: I know! Oh God, wait. I left the pizza box in there. The pizza box is on fire! *rapidly turns off oven*

Nerd: Okay, I’m gonna open the door to let it cool off.

Me: NO!! You’ll feed it by giving the flames oxygen. It’s better to let the flames die out first, THEN open the door.

Nerd: Oh, right. Okay.

Me: *grabs fire extinguisher*

Nerd: What are you doing?

Me: Getting ready.

Nerd: Don’t use that. You won’t be able to use the oven if you spray that stuff in there.

Me: Okay, fine. But I’m ready. Just in case.

Nerd: *cracks oven door open when flames die out*

FUN FACT: The amount of smoke produced by a burning pizza box is UNREAL. Instantly the kitchen is full of smoke, and it is spreading through other rooms. The girls ran in to see the commotion.

Nerd and I: *coughing* Get out of the room! The fire is out but the smoke is dangerous! Get out of the room!

*Girls exit*

Nerd and I: *frantically opening every door and window we can find. Running around blindly because my eyes feel like someone poured acid on them and my lungs are crying.*

Nerd: I can’t see!

Me: Me either!

Nerd: Okay, I’m gonna grab the box and get it out of here. Clear a path.

Me: *moves things out of the way* Done!

Me: Thank God.

Both of us are still rubbing our eyes. I’m still coughing sporadically. We get outside to deeply inhale some fresh air. The house begins to clear up. Fans are on, windows are open, and most importantly, nothing is on fire.

Me: Where are the girls?

Nerd: Outside?

Me: They ran all the way to the church parking lot. *giggle*

In the beginning of the school year, Goo did a packet on fire safety. Part of that packet was making a fire escape plan and practicing with the family. Our plan was to meet in the church parking lot next door if, for some reason, we got separated. So at the sight of smoke, Goo made everybody run to the parking lot. At least we know she’s got a clear head in the face of emergency.

The house almost went up in flames. Again. But dinner wasn’t ruined. And I found out my kids actually remember the fire escape plan. So, umm, yay for being prepared?

You know, minus leaving the cardboard pizza box in the oven.




Parenting FAIL Friday: I blame myself.

A lot of people would say I’m a bit of a health nut when it comes to how I feed my kids. I cook almost everything from scratch. We buy as many organic foods as I can squeeze into the grocery budget, and my girls regularly devour things like kale chips and almond meal muffins.

That being said, I am no stranger to “the treat.” Birthday, holidays, mommy-daughter dates – we splurge. I once read a post from a mom who was crazy strict about eating only whole foods for the whole family. They were allowed ONE TREAT PER YEAR. As in, you can have a donut, and then nothing else until next year. I would lose my mind, because chocolate. Anyway, she found out one of her daughter’s lunch accounts had been depleted, and upon asking for an itemized purchase history, found that her little organic angel had been buying cheese puffs and ring dings at lunch time. She was livid. I laughed. Because of course she’s gonna sneak stuff if her big birthday treat is literally one, solitary donut.

My approach to parenting is generally about balance: 90 % of the time, this is the rule. The other 10 % is for totally ignoring the rules and loving the moment. It’s the same way with what we eat.

Except that I may have undone my years of healthy-foods training.

Remember how yesterday I mentioned that I am a secret eater of dark chocolate? I think Smush may have caught on. And I think she may have thought that deep within the darkest recesses of our bedrooms is where we eat treats.


See that? Smush sleeps on the bottom bunk. Those are the slats that are over her head that support the top bunk. When I was making their beds, I felt something. Something soft, but lumpy, stuck in the covers between the bunk slats.

And there I found, stuffed inside, a cupcake wrapper. A cupcake wrapper that had gone missing and once held a vanilla cupcake with strawberry buttercream. I have no one to blame but myself.

Am I worried that she’s hiding sugary treats in her bed? No. Am I worried that something might start growing if said treats are left there too long? Not really.

Am I worried that she might know about my secret dark chocolate? Terrified is more like it.

Time to move my stash.



Parenting FAIL Friday: I give up.

There are days when you nail the parenting thing. And by nail I mean you avoid physical injuries and everyone is fed and loved. They may not be clean. If they were fed and loved, there’s a REALLY good chance your house won’t be clean. But whatevs. We nailed it.

The day I am writing about was not one of those days.

There is an unwritten, but deeply understood, law of parenting that says you may have any two of the following, but never all at the same time:

  • Sleep
  • A clean house
  • Happy children who aren’t whining
  • Three balanced, healthy meals
  • Children who are generally free from filth and other messiness
  • Your sanity

You may only pick two.

Then there are days where you get none. Just none. This was one of those days.

My house was (almost) clean, and I was feeling good about the whole place looking nice. Smush decides to “play a game” in her room, and I’m all, “Yes! Finish all the cleaning!”

Smush played happily for a little while.

I AM SO DUMB. Smush does not play quietly. Not unless she’s plotting how to dismantle my bedroom furniture when I’m not looking.

That game she was playing? This:



Anyway. I cleaned her up.

Side note: That hot mess was made with play makeup. Do you know what’s interesting about play makeup? IT WAS MADE BY THE DEVIL HIMSELF. It doesn’t come off. With anything. Ever. I full-on bathed her and scrubbed her face with 4 different types of soap/cream/cleanser, and she still looked like she got punched in the face. Sigh.

I dried her off, got her dressed, and told her to get ready for nap time and hop into bed while I got her a drink.

I came back to find a small, sticky puddle on her dresser. And then I saw the children’s Benadryl bottle, opened, next to the medicine cup, lined with pink residue.


“Smush, did you drink that?”

“Umm, no?”

“You need to tell me the truth. Now. DID. YOU. DRINK. THIS?”

“Well, yeah, a little.”

“Can you show me how much? Did you pour it into the cup before you drank it?”

“Yeah. It was a little bit. Like you give Goo.”

(Benadryl is given to cancer patients as an anti-nausea medicine.)

I immediately called Poison Control, estimating that she probably didn’t swallow more than a tablespoon because she used the cup it came with for measuring out the right dosage. Thank God in heaven.

Just in case, I had to monitor her. Her heart rate could be affected, and since I’m good at finding pulses on little people thanks to Goo’s heart condition at birth, I monitor her heart rate.

Every ten minutes.

For two hours.

Oh, and the whole time I’m checking the pulse of my precocious and slightly rainbow-colored child? She’s sleeping peacefully. Because Benadryl.

I am now juggling a myriad of emotions:

I am irritated that she smeared play makeup all over herself and I can’t get it off. But she’s super cute.

I am LIVID that she got into the medicine cabinet and opened a “child-proof” cap. Oh, and “child-proof?” HA! Both my littles figured out how to open them by the time they were 3.

I am terrified that she swallowed too much and praying that she’ll be okay.

I am SUPER HAPPY that the side effect of Benadryl is drowsiness. Let’s just be honest. It was a day. And my little terror was napping. Once I knew she was safe, I was all, “Well, if you’re going to take a medicine you’re not supposed to, it might as well be the one that lets me get a few minutes of peace and quiet after you NEARLY MADE ME LOSE MY MIND.”

But really. Rainbow skin and a potential overdose in the same afternoon?

I give up.

Parenting FAIL Friday: I’m moving to Australia.

I hate today and I’m moving to Australia.

I texted that to the Nerd the other day. It’s a reference to the (fantastic) children’s book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

There is a conspiracy in the world to prevent me from sleeping. I am sure of this. After night, after night, after night, of broken, horrific sleep, I decided to hit the hay early and try to actually wake up rested.

Silly me.

I was awakened by the sound of the most obnoxious pounding I have ever heard in my life. I’m surprised we still have a door. The police were here, notifying us that the church’s alarm had been tripped when the wind blew the door open.

Super. Dead sleep, the loud pounding of police officers outside my door. I picked my heart up off the floor, and waited for the adrenaline to subside.

That took a while. I watched stupid videos of people lip syncing to songs from Frozen on YouTube.

The dog woke me up (we’re dog sitting – which has confirmed that I do, in fact, hate dogs). He barked and whined. The Nerd walked him (at 2 AM). He did nothing. He woke us up again. The Nerd walked  him (3 AM). He did nothing.

He barked and whined at the girls and woke them up at 5 AM. He then immediately peed on their floor.


After not a lot of sleep, I hit the coffee hard and prepared to rush everyone out the door early, to drop Punkin off at a school on the opposite side of town, for a special field trip. It is a universal fact that the more important an early departure time is, the slower your children will move.

After incessant nagging, running around with three sleepy children (THANKS DOG), and not even finishing my coffee, we walk out to the van. We need to leave 5 minutes ago to get to the bus on time for the field trip.

My van doors are frozen shut. I can’t open them.

After begging and pleading, and maybe punching and cursing the winter, I get the driver’s door open. The girls climb through to the back. I cannot reach Smush to buckle her, and because her door won’t open, Punkin has to do it. Smush is super cooperative about getting buckled.

That was a bold-faced lie.

Anyway. Everyone is finally buckled. I throw it in reverse, and as soon as I move, things are beeping. Lights are flashing inside, and I’m immediately assaulted by frigid air as my door flies open, BECAUSE NOW THE HANDLE IS FROZEN IN THE OPEN POSITION AND THE DOOR WON’T SHUT.

I’m moving to Australia.

I give the old, “C’mon!” and smack the handle, breaking the icy grip and finally getting everyone in the van, the doors closed, and the vehicle in motion. Amen. We are now 10 minutes late.

My GPS lies. The school is not 10  minutes away. It is more like 20 minutes away because it’s snowing and EVEN THOUGH WE LIVE IN NEW ENGLAND WHERE IT SNOWS 6 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR, people freak out and can’t drive more than 10 mph. I’m not bitter.

I find the school and pull in as the field trip bus is leaving the parking lot. Punkin tears up. I smile and wave like I just escaped the psych ward, and the teacher recognizes me. The bus pulls over, and they let Punkin get on. I LOVE THAT TEACHER.

OK, Punkin made it. This day sucks, I hate dogs, but Punkin made it. I can drop Goo off, and this day will be fine. The van is warming up and I can feel my fingers again. See? It’s not so bad.


Lights flashing on and off. My van is tripping on LSD.

Now that the van warmed up, the doors have thawed enough to trip the sensor and send the car into panic mode BECAUSE OMG YOU’RE DRIVING WITH THE DOORS OPEN.

But because it’s me, the doors haven’t thawed enough to actually open. So I can’t budge them enough to shut them. So now I’m driving around a minivan that is perpetually beeping and flashing interior lights like a freaking rave on wheels.

We made it home. I surrendered to the chaos and opted to finish my coffee and snuggle Smush by the fire.

But I’m still moving to Australia.

Parenting FAIL Friday: Look, Mommy! Gloves!

There are certain phrases every parent hates hearing. The ones that make you cringe, and steal just a little piece of your soul. Phrases like, “(CRASH) Sorry mom!” Or, “Mommy! Come see what’s in the toilet!” Or “(CRASH) I’m okay!”

We cringe because we know – we know that somewhere, deep within the bowels of the earth the kitchen, something has been destroyed. Your cell phone just took a swim in the porcelain pool. Grandma’s bread dish just served its last family dinner. Your good necklace isn’t your good necklace anymore.

At this point, I should just know. I should know that, “Look, Mommy!” generally precedes them showing me something I very much do not want to see.

But I don’t know. I haven’t learned yet. Which is why when Smush called for me asking me to look at her gloves, I didn’t worry.

I should have worried.

IMG_20130911_075128 IMG_20130911_075117 20130911_075154


You know what that is? Fluff. Sticky, messy, good-luck-getting-that-off-anything, marshmallow fluff. I’ve purchased this exactly twice in 9 years because it’s basically sugary chemicals. So what happens when I get the kids a treat? This.


And this. That’s the play kitchen in the toy room.

No treats for you.

Parenting FAIL Friday: Manners are so important.

One day last week, my Dad-in-law came over for a last-minute dinner. He had spent the morning deep-sea fishing, and supplied the freshest sea bass I have ever tasted. That has no significance to this post, but it was *that* yummy.

At one point during dinner, we were talking about his candy stash that he keeps in his office at the church (he’s the head pastor). He has a little jar that he keeps full of sweet treats, for when pint-sized visitors (aka, his granddaughters) come calling. The problem is, they’re not that great at keeping candy a secret, and before he knew it, random kids were poking their heads into his office and swiping the goods without even saying hello or asking.

I actually think, on one hand, that this is kind of adorable. He’s the kind of pastor who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Literally. He’s done nursery duty before. And the kids pick up on that, which makes them feel loved and accepted. And comfortable enough to just waltz into his office unannounced.

He caught one little tyke red-handed, and simply told him that before he takes candy, he should ask politely.

And there I sat, nodding in agreement, noting how manners really are important, and children should know the importance of them.

And then I walked into the dining area and found this:

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That would be Smush, diving face first into a stick of butter.

Manners are so important.

Parenting FAIL Friday: A destructive, yet photographic, journey.

If you’ve read my about page, you know that Smush is basically joy and life balled up into an adorable package of wonderfulness.

That, and she breaks things. All the things. My family now lovingly refers to her as Wreck-It-Ralph because she so passionately enjoys breaking things. Yesterday I tried to have coloring time with my littles. Smush waited for Goo and I to color, then scribbled on our pictures. She doesn’t want to scribble on her own paper. We’ve tried that. She wants to ruin ours. Every. single. time.  This is all she wants to do. We build towers, she knocks them down. We paint pictures, she leaves hand prints all over them. She likes to destroy things.

Side note: Are there toys or activities that embrace this? Because most “girl” toys seem to think they all want to cover the world in glitter and rainbows, and I’m pretty sure Smush would rather, you know, blow it up.

She’s had multiple episodes of this mass destruction over the past few weeks. Some of which I forgot to photograph because I was so blinded by rage. Like the time she proudly announced, “Mommy, come look at your new rug! It’s blue and sparkly!” She dumped an entire tube of glitter glue on my new shag area rug. So you know, there’s that. And all of these:


This is the opening to the old central vacuum line in the house we rent. Shoved inside is an old pizza crust. I’m not sure what else we would find in there, but I’m really glad it doesn’t turn on.


This is Goo’s most beloved sweatshirt of all time. In my grandmother’s toilet. Nice, Smush. Real nice.


This is a bathtub full of water. In it are a few of Punkin’s books. The ones she reads over and over again. Or at least used to.


If your car is making weird noises, make sure the mechanic checks for sparkly pink headbands shoved in the grill. You’ll thank me later.


These are my most favorite wooden spatulas. The ones I splurged on and ordered from Pampered Chef because they’re bamboo and wonderful. I couldn’t find them for 3 weeks. Probably because I forgot to look under the leaf pile in that weird tunnel thing in the backyard. Silly me.


This is a toy phone. It was purchased in Mexico nearly 30 years ago, when I was a little minion. It survived play and abuse from me, Punkin, and Goo. Smush’s first encounter with it? This happened.

What can I say? She has a gift.