She may be a bit bitchy, but she’s going to be a kick-ass woman

I know I have complained/laughed about my daughter being a little bitchy a few times already.  And it’s true.  She won’t do anything you want her to do when you want her to do it, you have to wait until she’s ready (usually seconds later, after she yells NO several times and asserts her authority).  She is not the best sharer and she is not what anyone would call easy-going.

BUT lately, her favorite game has been playing mommy to her many baby dolls and her brother (if he’s willing to play baby).  And I have to say she is fantastic at it.  My stubborn, yelling girl turns into a big mush around her babies.  She talks softly and uses a gentle hand as she cradles them in her arms, hugs them and feeds them.  She sings songs to them and always keeps them close.  If her brother-baby misbehaves she talks to him patiently and disciplines him like the books say she should (no idea where she got that from).

And you know how the kids push all my buttons about working/traveling so much?  Lately, she has been “working” a lot too on her play laptop.  But instead of making me feel guilty, she is making me feel proud.  She deftly balances the “work” and her babies without missing a beat.  She makes sure to give her babies lots of attention and explains to them kindly “I working, you can’t sit on my lap, but sit here, right next to me, kay baby?”

I may worry about surviving her teen years, but I do not have to worry about her.  She can clearly be tough and bitchy when she needs to be but she also has this kind, gentle side.

She is going to be a fantastic woman – smart and beautiful and funny – and I am feeling pretty excited about watching her grow up.  Just wish I could skip those teen years.

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Clover cookies, crafts, cupcakes and condemnation

I have been sick all week and yesterday I could not talk at all, so I canceled the 2-for-1 play date I had planned for this morning (that means that two siblings are friends with my son and daughter respectively, so I can check both kids off my to-do list at once). I felt bad about canceling the play date, so I planned a day of baking and crafts for the kids.

But first we had to go outside for a little while to enjoy the unseasonably gorgeous weather we have been having. And I felt super lucky, because somehow the dog miraculously decided not to poop in front of and behind the swings or at the foot of the slide, so no clean-up was required!20120317-183026.jpg

When we came back in we made shamrock sugar cookies from scratch. I have been lusting after several recipes people have been posting on Pinterest, but when I think about really good sugar cookies, I think of the ones my friend, Karen, makes every Christmas, so I requested the recipe. She immediately responded with a picture of it.  She learned it at a library cooking class for kids 25 years ago and has been making it ever since. So it was kid friendly.

We added green food coloring to make it more festive and off we went. I gave each of the kids a big lump of dough and they shared the roller and the shamrock cookie cutters and they went to work, with me playing sous chef.

After about a sheet and a half of cookies, the kids took handfuls of baked cookies and deserted me. As I was listening to them laugh in the living room while I finished cutting out shamrock shapes, I realized that my son was pretending to be a baby and my daughter was pretending to be the mommy. Of course, I start to listen closer only to hear this conversation:

Mommy/Samantha says “Baby, I have to go to work.”

Baby/Danny immediately starts bawling and says “No, don’t go.”

Mommy/Samantha comes running back to the kitchen and says “My baby wants me to stay home.”

I thought, great, I bust my ass trying to make a fun day for them and they are giving me guilt?. I say “Well, what are you going to do about it?” She didn’t respond but ran back to her baby. I am not sure what she said or did, but within seconds, everyone was laughing again. I like to think that Mommy/Samantha came home from work and they decided to make shamrock sugar cookies or the four leaf clover hand print art I had planned for us next.

20120317-183111.jpgOf course, plans are fruitless when it comes to little kids, so they basically mashed their green-paint covered hands all over the paper in patterns only known in their head, because they did not all resemble the very simple clover pattern I had laid out, but whatever, they had fun. And I got a little taste of why Samantha comes home from school every day absolutely covered in paint.

20120317-183149.jpgThen because I wasn’t dead yet, we decided to make rainbow cupcakes next. These guys were entirely inspired by pinterest. It is pretty self-explanatory so you don’t need to use all the tutorials that are everywhere. Make the batter, split it up, color each portion a color of the rainbow and pile them in. However, I recommend not using all of the colors of rainbow, (skip purple and orange), or you will have a hard time trying to make sure your toddlers are using the batter judiciously.

But the kids took turns very nicely and the cupcakes looked pretty cool. By the time they were cool enough to ice I was pretty much shot, so they looked kind of ugly, but oh well, icing is not my forte. I usually make Chris do that part.  (Come to think of it, that’s kind of a sucky picture of the rainbow part.  I think that was one Sam stirred when I wasn’t looking, but I am too tired to take a new one.  So you get the idea.)

Now that I have done everything on my list for the day and some stuff I didn’t have planned, I can collapse guilt-free, except for the whole leaving them to go to work on Monday thing.  At least now I have photographic and written evidence of all the really cool stuff we do when I am not working!

Ladies, listen up and SIT DOWN!

Public restrooms do not have to be a place to fear.  Irrational fear of the toilet seat has created a vicious cycle in public bathrooms across the country:

We are not meant to pee standing up!  We weren’t built that way and we’re just not good at it.

In order to stop the insanity and needless peeing on the floor, I suggest we all agree to a few simple guidelines:

  1. Let’s all start by assuming that all the other women who use public restrooms are decent, germ-fearing people like ourselves.
  2. Next sit down to pee.  If we all agree to do that, the seat will remain dry and relatively clean.  If you are still afraid, read this article that says “Experts say our fear of sitting on the average toilet seat (one that isn’t visibly soiled) is overblown.”
  3. Trust your skin to act as the barrier it is.  Assuming your butt cheeks and upper thighs do not have open sores (I know mine don’t so I will trust that yours don’t either), sitting on pee may be gross, but it’s not unsafe.

If we all follow these simple guidelines and stop pretending we have any sense of aim when it comes to our pee, we can keep the toilet seats and the floor around the toilets from becoming soiled with our excrement and the public bathroom will be a better place.

While we’re at it, let’s all agree to wash our hands with soap after using the restroom.  That way we can all push down on the lever that releases the paper towels with our hands, without doing any sort of gymnastic high-kicks, we can throw our used paper towels in the garbage (and not just gingerly place them on top) and we can open the doors, using our hands.  Imagine that!

Stop for a moment and imagine a world where we can trust other women to behave like normal human beings with at least a minimal sense of hygiene.  This dream can be a reality, but we need to band together!  Trust me, this is not a one-woman job.  I’ve tried.  All I get is a wet ass for my trouble!