Everything My Kids Need to Know About Life They Can Learn From the Claw Machine at Denny’s

Everything My Kids Need to Know About Life They Can Learn From the Claw Machine at Denny’s

I don’t think we need all those self-congratulatory parenting books and earnest ninnies who say everybody should get a participation ribbon. Life doesn’t give a crap about your kid. Some day you will no longer wipe their backsides for them, so you will have to get them ready for the thunder. This life hack is such simple genius, I can already see you palming your sweaty forehead wondering why you didn’t think of it yourself. It is easy. Take the $147 you would have spent on parenting books to the bank and get it in rolls of quarters. Then drop your kid at the local Denny’s, the one with the claw machine full of toys in the lobby. Here is what your child will learn by spending $147 on a game that is loaded with toys and stuffed animals, or otherwise known as “claw crack” for kids. 1. Sometimes all you can do is look at things you desire through a glass wall. It is up to you to figure out how to accept that, or you can decide to take action to get the things you want. 2. When you try to get that lovely thing you want, think about it first. Plan and have a strategy or like that Bugs Bunny doll, success will elude you. 3. When you divert your attention and get distracted, some other kid will step ahead of you and take your stuff. Stay focused or learn karate. 4. When you think you have the precious in your grasp, it will almost inevitably crash down before your eyes, even if you worked like a trooper to obtain it. 5. When you have experienced failure, you must try again, even if the minion stuffy landed ass-side-up and mocks you and your sad claw. 6. When you have spent almost all your money for a losing proposition, either walk away or go all bad ass on it and fully commit your last five bucks. You have to be prepared for abject failure and be ok with that outcome, otherwise take what you have left of your money and dignity and live to fight another day. 7.  If you do get that premium teddy bear with your first pass of the claw, at least have the decency to acknowledge luck or privilege and don’t be an asshole about it. In fact if you are the lucky one with the bear, help the next kid to get one too. 8. If there is a chance that you will risk a great deal to get that special soft thing that makes you all squishy inside, choose carefully as it may take all you have and give you no reward....
Daddy Issues

Daddy Issues

Some of us marry our Fathers. We find that guy who makes us feel like our Dad did. This is where it gets complicated. If our Dad was warm, supportive, loving and steadfast, we get a good marriage because we seek that out. If Dearest Father was a hot mess of damage in our lives, we probably shouldn’t marry that kind of guy. Yet often we are drawn to that very same thing, or we spend a good deal of time test driving bad boyfriends. A lucky few become self aware enough to actively and deliberately partner with men who are good and solid regardless of lingering Daddy issues. Surely this is something women shouldn’t have to figure out the hard way though is it? Being a self aware female is a long road, and often doesn’t happen until we have made a series of blunders. Most of them aren’t life threatening, but sometimes they are. We have lots of young women looking for their Daddy, and find a pimp, or an abuser. What if there was a deep reaching and mandatory psychological assessment in the school system at age 13? What if the girls were able to get some supportive and professional guidance around their  instincts with regards to boys? What if we intervened right at that critical time to see if this girl had her head on straight or if she is dealing with some terrible crap from home? Probably a can of worms nobody wants to open, much less pay for, but what if we could help early? The time to deal with the issue of selecting partners is right before girls start to engage with boys, not when they are in a shelter at age 22 with toddlers and a broken nose. How do we teach girls and young women to live deliberately and consciously without being at the whim of old damage and skewed instincts? And what about the Dads? Daughters look to them for safety, protection, and above all, adoration. If we could ask of our men one thing, it should be this: your daughter should feel that she has you completely enamoured, and that in your eyes, she is perfection. She should know that you are helpless in the face of your love for her and treat her that way. A little Daddy spoiling helps her sort through the men who will come into her life. We could go on for many pages about preparing girls for life but we should also talk about raising our sons to be good men. How do you teach a young male the complexities of relationships when they spend so much time thinking with the secondary control unit that lives in their pants? How...
9 Essential Items for the Over 45 Set

9 Essential Items for the Over 45 Set

Listen up folks, I have had just about enough of every damned product on the market being aimed at people in their twenties. The entire retail world wants people under the age of thirty to buy their shit. Every freakin’ store is stocked to the tits with belly shirts and skater hats. It’s an ok look if you are 19, but a crashing failure to wear later in life. This youth bias makes no sense when the average 23-year-old is either in school or making my $6 coffee at the drive thru for minimum wage. They don’t have money. Neither do the people with young kids. Us vintage humans have the cash, so maybe start making stuff we want to buy? Clever inventors who want to own the 45 and over market, here’s your To Do List: Devise a solution for reader glasses that makes us look cool. Include a reminder beep in the frame that discretely lets me know the glasses I am hunting for are on my head. Sell me a full body compression garment with built-in pee holder. So when I’m in my party frock and drinking with my friends, I don’t have to think about leaky bits. Yo engineers, you invented 3D printers right? How about an automatic make up application machine? I am so damned tired of doing my whole face every morning for work. While you are at it, make a deluxe model that erases wrinkles. We would give you our firstborn for one of those. Make jeans that are flattering on Dad bods. We ladies like to bump uglies with the men in our demographic, so at least find a way to make their asses look like we might want to see those jeans on the floor. Because we don’t all have Michelle Obama-level guns, many of us who are “of an age” don’t want sleeveless clothing. So walking into a clothing store becomes all about finding something that isn’t a flowered mu-mu but also has sleeves. Even little ones… because buying a beautiful sleeveless dress and then the mandatory cover up “cute jacket” has become the peri-menopausal uniform. Shoes! For shit’s sake not all of us want to wear Birkenstocks and socks. If one more barely out-of-training-bras store clerk takes me over to the “sensible shoes” rack I may commit violence. I like to wear high heels, so do many of us. You know why we are sometimes forced to move to comfortable nurse shoes? It is because you assholes who make shoes don’t think we need arch support. A 110 pound 20-year-old can wear tippy shoes with rocks for insteps for her morning walk of shame, but I want to...
Can we Talk About Men’s Socks and Underwear?

Can we Talk About Men’s Socks and Underwear?

When we live with a man it takes some time to get used to the not-woman stuff that comes with him. Beard scrapings in the sink, toilet seat wrongness, incorrect dishwasher loading and farts. So many farts. This piece is life advice for young women who choose the path of a domestic arrangement with a male human. Your mother may have had “the talk” with you, but I bet she didn’t tell you about the socks and underwear thing. She never mentioned how much real estate his socks and underwear would take up in your marriage. This goes way beyond drawer space allocation. There is the “socks on the floor” drama. I find them everywhere. Random sock removal from feet happens at our house, and now, following his example, my children do it too. Some days it looks like an evil trickster put a bunch of socks in the hands of a poltergeist who then used them to do the dance of 1000 socks in my house. The flung socks blanket every damned surface and are stuffed in every nook and cranny. I mean really – is there some legitimate reason there is a dirty sock hanging on the living room lampshade? Are you all just a bunch of sock monkeys climbing on shit and dropping them everywhere? (My family laughed at my tears, then offered me a sock to blow my nose.) Then there is the underwear and sock audit. Like most husbands, mine will wear a pair of gonch until they are more holes than fabric. The elastic droopily hangs around his Dad bod waistline, with a few frayed bits of fabric holding up what is left of the briefs. So not attractive, and frankly hardly up for the job of being underwear anymore. His socks are the same – no elasticity, big gnarly toes sticking out, and often the dog has had a go at them to boot. Some of them don’t technically qualify as socks anymore. They would be more identifiable as a sea anemone washed up rotting on the beach. The drama comes when I toss old underpants out while he is present for the funeral. He looks alarmed like I am killing his favourite hamster or something. “Those are still perfectly good and soft and I finally have them broken in!” he whines. And by “broken in” if he means ripped, stretched, stained and malformed, then yes, they are broken in. I now just throw them out when he isn’t around, and put other acceptable garbage over top so he doesn’t see them and pull them back out (Yes, that has happened… ) Then there is the whole fashion issue around socks. When...
Little Boys and Hammers

Little Boys and Hammers

There have been many little boys in the storyline of my life. They have been a mixed bag of babies, toddlers, kids, young men and full grown (but not grown up) ones. They all, from time to time, pick up a hammer, and wield it. No matter what age, they all do the same thing. They weigh it in their hand, look at it for a long moment, savouring the potential. I can still picture my little brother wearing nothing but a diaper stumbling around the house with our Father’s hammer, like a little drunken avenging angel. The hammer was too heavy for him, but he was going to find a nail to hit,  and hard. My son has built a lemonade stand and learned the hard way that a hammer requires a measure of accuracy to operate. Although power tools are likely the preferred implement these days, the hammer is one of the most basic tools since man used rocks to hang skins on cave walls. Generations of men and boys have felt the satisfying smack of a perfect delivery when the hard metal head connects with the head of a nail, or a cat. Hammers are integral in the acquisition of hand eye coordination and visual accuracy. They are also a great motivator for emergency response systems. Nothing can cause a mother to move faster than seeing her son careening along behind his sister, wielding a hammer. Setting aside the murderous potential of a five year old and his Dad’s hammer, the male and hammer construct is important. The role of modern males is so fraught with contradictory messages. They must be strong, and gentle, and fatherly and warriors. Men must be everything. To this I say, let them have a hammer. Let them learn to put up pictures, scare their siblings and drop it on their own toes. These are all critical life lessons. Nothing teaches planning and caution like a blackened impact wrecked thumbnail. And ladies, the next time you see a hammer just lying around, pick it up and feel the power of potential mass construction. It is exhilarating. This post ran originally on BluntMoms.com  ...
Locker Room Nudity Does Not Belong in Cyberspace

Locker Room Nudity Does Not Belong in Cyberspace

OK, this shit must stop. Selfies are stupid enough, and I know there are entire websites for girls and guys gone wild. They get naked and hope the internet loves them.  I get that our lives are online and the younger you are, the more likely you have an entire portfolio of body parts on Instagram. However, this story  (Global News) is a whole other animal. A team of young Canadian men, boy really, had just won the big hockey prize. The entire country was on their feet freaking out about the big win of their players. The smiling lads completed their victory cruise around the ice with the trophy. Then they went back to their locker room to celebrate, shower and get dressed. There was an unfortunate photo snapped by another member Canada’s list of pride, a gold medal Olympian who was fan boying in the locker room. He posed for a shot with some players and in his excitement he posted the photo on social media and hadn’t seen that it was photo-bummed. The player in the background was nude, and when the mistake was discovered the Olympian took the photo down. But this is social media, it is out there. It is now locked in forever so the team and that boy can’t do a damned thing about it. The public has shared and shared, chuckling a little, creating a tsunami of cyber schadenfreude. People thought it was funny, or cute, or at worst unfortunate. It isn’t cute. That boy didn’t choose to show his ass to the world. He was in a locker room on what was probably the happiest day of his young life. His team had just handed the Russians their asses in a world championship game, and yet somehow this became about his ass. Players spend years on the ice and in locker rooms; it is their place. They expect to be able to shower and change, and they expect not have their photos snapped and watch their backsides dragged through every single social media site on the internet. The legit news sites had the decency to blur out most of the cheeks, but it is making the rounds nevertheless. What it comes down to is not one kid’s bum, it is about no longer having control of what happens to your image and what people say about it. The moment somebody clicks on “post” with an ill advised picture, some troll out there takes a screen shot. Then it’s on. The online world flocks around people who have been made to feel the fool, and it laughs at them. The targets of the pointing fingers may not send them direct cyber bullying messages,...
You Too Will Speak These Words to Your Husband

You Too Will Speak These Words to Your Husband

This is for all the young ladies out there who are in the early phases of “wifehood” or “shackupness” or whatever. You are in that formative stage where you haven’t gotten your “5 year pin” yet. So for all intents and purposes, you know not much, but you have a man. If this sounds like you, read on. Here are things that may sound appalling right now, but I can assure you, at some point will actually come out of your mouth. You might want to write these down and let me know how long it took you to say them all… go ahead, get a pen, I will wait right here. One day you will say most of these things to your man: What on earth is that smell? Did you shit? No, you are not dying, you have a cold. Get your own fucking coffee. Do you even see socks when they aren’t on your feet?  You could try something new here honey, and deal with the child instead of waiting for me? Did you put gas in my car? I thought you were picking her up at soccer? Jesus Christ how long has she been waiting on the sidewalk? Do something about that fur please. Seriously, I bought you a personal weed whacker, use it. After that epic fart and rather repulsive ball scratch, I just don’t know how I am keeping my pants on right now. Ya, I am awake, but hurry up, I am tired. This is your idea of a date night? Yes I am too drunk to drive, and so are my friends, can you come and get us? (giggle giggle burp) No I don’t know where you left your _____ (insert any object here). You put that baby in there, you will stand here like a man and watch it come out and no you cannot have my drugs. Yes of course I would like breakfast in bed made by toddlers who you clearly were not supervising. Stop crying, it is just waxing for crap’s sake, you should see where I get hair pulled out of. You don’t look nearly stressed enough, why are you not worried about this situation with me?? Can you look at this thing on my back? What is that? I have no idea what you should make for dinner. Try this, think of a meal, get the ingredients for it and make it. Do you need a manual? I couldn’t imagine life without you baby. The men in our lives spend a lot of time trying to figure us gals out. They would love it if on the third date we handed them one of those little Lego...
The Geezerwed Years, The True Story of Marriage           

The Geezerwed Years, The True Story of Marriage           

I knew I would regret coming to this damned wedding. I am the Grandmother of the bride. It was nice of them to invite me, but everybody would have understood if I begged off due to my obvious decrepitude. I didn’t want to miss watching her get married for the second time though, and my husband hates to miss a free meal.  I do love her optimistic and slightly delusional white dress. Despite my reservations, she is family, so here we are. If I had known it was going to be this dull, however, I might have stayed home to watch Days of Our Lives. I look around at all the young guests and can’t help but wonder “How did I end up so bloody old and cranky?” Sitting in this spindly chair for over an hour of speeches and toasts is cruel and unusual punishment. My ass is pressing a stress fracture into my underwear because it refuses to stay in the place where the good lord put it. My bum is crawling down my legs, and my dress is as uncomfortable as shit and my bra has dry rice in it. Ah, weddings. Newlyweds are so cute aren’t they? So much taffeta and enthusiasm spilling all over the place. They can hardly contain their glee at living in a unit of two. Everyone tells them what a lovely couple they are. I have advice for them in my head: Enjoy it while it lasts, sweetheart. Ah crap. I’m looking across the table at the Old Fart I married 50 years ago and wonder if he knows he has mashed potato on his chin. I would tell him, but it is so much funnier to watch it gross out the kids. I observe him chatting with a teenager who can’t look away from the food wreckage on the old man’s face. I consider my husband for a moment and realize we have been married so long that we have now hit the Geezerwed years .  We are in the late-in-life period of marriage that nobody celebrates. They are those less glamourous years where you are simply busy being old together. Nobody buys you a new toaster or throws you a party for making it through your first hip operation– or menopause–without killing each other. Oh lord, the best man is finishing his speech on stage. That was a great story about how the groom got wasted last night after consuming a few Cosmopolitans too many. What sort of a man orders a girl drink like that anyway? Do young men come without nuts these days? It got me to thinking about my own wedding.  It has been many...
Motherhood: Do You Make “Me Time” a Priority?

Motherhood: Do You Make “Me Time” a Priority?

  When did it become ok for Mothers to trade in our life force for our families? Is it just me or are women giving too damned much? Somehow it has become the thing to feel that we can’t possibly step away from our kids for so much as a moment because they need us. Well of course they need us girl, they are small relentless creatures that are 97% made of needs. That doesn’t mean you have to hand over your identity card and lie down to let them run over your sorry ass. Even the youngest of toddlers can deal with a little alone time in their cribs or rooms. Older kids don’t really need you that much. However, if you are still tending to them regardless of their eye rolling, you are becoming a hover Mom. Give yourself a wedgie and walk out the door. If you look like crap, and feel a level below your appearance, the chances are pretty good you are being drained of your life force and have become a husk. A husk in dirty sweatpants. Was this your plan when you decided to produce offspring? I doubt it. You can however stop the insanity, you are the Mom, which makes you Queen Shit of Shit Mountain my love. You decide whose needs get met and when. There has been a lot of chatter in the Mom world about parenting like French women. I am not sure what that actually means, but I picture stylish Mothers sitting in the café Des Saints de Cochon, smoking, drinking coffee with the viscosity of mud, and neglecting their children. It may not actually be that way, but it sure sounds like my kind of afternoon. Those mothers would be much happier than some of the young women I see hauling their three kids into Walmart, hating her life. It doesn’t have to be that way though honey. Here are the three most important things a woman needs in order to hang on to her sanity: Somebody (husband, sister wife, Mother, neighbour anybody) who knows you well enough to tell you to shower and takes your children from you so you can scrape the spit-up off your neck. A safe place in the house where you can keep the little ones entertained while you tend to your needs. Try something crazy like brushing your teeth before 11am. It is a concept. Boundaries. There has got to be a “no go” zone for your children and husband where they dare not tread. If your kids insist on being in the bathroom when you pee, start by axing that abomination. If we are weak with our kids and...
Your Toddler is a Tyrant

Your Toddler is a Tyrant

The mind of a 3 year old child is like the diapered version of Mordor in Lord of the Rings – one does not simply walk in and make him do anything. As a veteran mother, I often amuse myself in public places by watching, with no small amount of glee the younger Moms with their infants and toddlers. Sometimes I laugh so hard my saggy old boobs jiggle in my sensible bra. I think it is so cute when little Caiden or Caylen or Raven or whatever their names are now starts to melt down. Mom gently and patiently pulls out the manual, gets down on one passive knee and starts to talk junior through it. The screaming carries on, and her flipping of pages in the child rearing instruction book gets more frantic. Her carefully coiffed burb-mom hairdo starts to get frizzy like a stress measurement device. As she tries to keep the raging child still, her yoga pants creep down revealing a regrettable tramp stamp and a practical thong, and yet she perseveres. Junior is now screaming at the decibel level of an 80’s hair band and Mom has gone through her entire repertoire of verbal warnings. The rest of us stand around and smirk. Isn’t it so cute in her happy pretend universe where toddlers suddenly become reasonable? Here are some facts for you yoga pants mommy: Three year olds are savages with slowly developing little emotional regulation systems. The only thing they react to is hunger, tiredness or frustration. None of those things can be handled on the spot. Do it later when you no longer feel the rage. Yes, everybody is judging you if you let your child cry and ignore them. Children will test you constantly to see when you draw the line. Public meltdowns need to be that line. Kid starts to get crabby? Do they need a nutritious snack? Then feed them, it might work. If it is an issue of tired or frustrated, you have no hope. Pick up the child, and I mean pick. up. the. child. Take their ground out from under them. It is a bit jarring and sometimes can distract them enough to reset the path they are on. Especially if you do it by their ankle. No just kidding, unless they are wearing overalls, that is what those are for… they have toddler management handles. Don’t actually hurt them of course, but tell them you have had enough, and remove them physically. Once outside or in a new setting, put them down and ask them if they are done. If not, it is time for a nap. Then deliver. It is a dog eat dog...