Warm Biscuits, Warm Hearts: A Things That Must Go Winner!

Great entries this weekend. I don’t know why I’m so entertained by reading what irks people. Although I had to disagree with a couple of them.

Azucar, for example. I can’t agree that flip-flops (even with wedding dresses) must go. Even though we’re now Twitter-BFFs, I have to stand on my own on this one.

Loved Marie‘s “family reunions. . . . That’s what email is for, people!” I enjoy family reunions, mostly because there’s lots of people to help take care of my kids, BUT email was a big improvement over actually having to talk on the phone to people.

Carolina‘s “lemonade and otter pop stands” was great; I can almost taste the sickly-sweet, too-warm lemonade. And, uh, no thanks on the leftovers you’ve got in your freezer.

Beth and Karin, with “People who are already fit and at the gym” and “woodticks,” respectively, made me laugh and grimace, respectively. Amen. Karen — hope the woodticks stick to your dog from now on!

And Suzie, thank you for the TMI (wink, Mary J!) on “saggy nursing boobs and the sweat underneath them!” Could not agree more.

But the winner is: Gladis. Because it sounds like she would understand my deep and abiding hatred of shoe shopping. Let’s hear it for Things That Must Go: “Inordinately narrow shoes.” Although, with my poor appendages that Dick has called “spatula” and “Flintstone” feet, I probably need the “regularly narrow” shoes to go too. Email me your IRL address, and we’ll get that $50 gift certificate out to you.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks to Warm Biscuit for sponsoring Things That Must Go!

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I’m looking for a sponsor for this coming weekend. It has to be a product or service that I would actually use myself, so that kind of narrows things down, but I know there are tons of cool Mom-trepreneur and big corporations out there just dying to do giveaways.

Actually, it would be cool if there were a website where people/companies looking to sponsor giveaways could match up with bloggers who want to host giveaways. Like a GiveawayMatch.com. Anyone know of something like that?

In the meantime, I’ve posted a (very incomplete) wish list of stuff I’d like to giveaway (It’s heavy on brand names, but only because that’s what’s on the top of my head). If you have any other ideas, please let me know; I’d like to add to my list.

I’m not above contacting companies myself, but I’m interested to see if any of them have Google Alerts set up for their company names, or check their incoming links. If you’re interested in sponsoring a Things That Must Go giveaway, email me at whataboutmom (at) gmail (dot) com. I can supply you with all my reader/traffic statistics.


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I don’t know how that feels

I’ve been telling my sister to get over the Prince of Darkness (PoD) since March. Except for the days when I agreed with her that “Sure, he might get an accidental lobotomy and a heart, and everything will be fine.”

Then last week he threatened to sue for custody of the kids if she asks for the financial records the judge needs to determine allocation of assets, alimony, child support.

And she realized, after all the things that he has done, What He Is. I think this is common in battered women. They’ll take anything a PoD dishes out, but when he threatens to treat the children as his chattel, they’ll finally, PRAISE EVERYTHING HOLY, see him for What He Is.

My sister started house-hunting, even talked about opening her own checking account. She and I ran a 5K race (her first) on Saturday.

Today I got a voicemail from her asking if I knew anything about a boy I went to school with. He’s a dentist now, divorced or widowed, with three kids. A friend wants to set them up.

I told her last week, when she called, sobbing, overwrought over the PoD’s blackmail, that I promise her: In two years we’re going to sit down, and you’re going to tell me that you are transcendantly, radiantly happy now. Now that you know what marriage is supposed to be like, you’re going to tell me that the only thing bothering you is that you stayed for so long, and would have stayed forever if he’d let you.

Today I listened to her almost-normal voice on the phone, asking about someone new, and all I could think was, If Dick ever left I would be in my cave of devastation for years and not thinking about dating.

Maybe because I would also be mourning his death, as not many would survive what I can do with my Pampered Chef paring knife.

Or maybe because Dick is someone I cannot imagine ever being shallow, selfish, dishonest, narcissistic, or without honor. Or because he keeps his promises.

Or because: I do not know how that feels.

Things That Must Go (and a Warm Biscuit Giveaway!)

warm biscuit bedding companyThe good news is that Warm Biscuit is sponsoring this weekend’s Things That Must Go Giveaway by offering a $50 gift certificate.

It’s a good thing I don’t like to shop or sigh over cute stuff when I’m already over-budget for the month year, because I haven’t had this much fun browsing through an online store since I discovered Pottery Barn Kids. Warm Biscuit is just as fun and homey-elegant as PBK, and, well, their prices are more reasonable.

Warm Biscuit’s got lots of fun summer gadgets to entertain the kids, in addition to their regular cute, vintage bedding, curtains, furniture, jewelry, and more. They are all about encouraging kids to use their imaginations rather than rely on the demon electronics.

Here in Utah we’ve got “ox elder” bugs, as Susan calls them. Sally and Susan walk through the living room at least once a day with their hands cupped tightly over a glass, to release some insect outside our apartment. (Maybe if they stopped snacking in their room there wouldn’t be so much wildlife indoors?) Think how much more fun their mission of mercy would be with this stylish bug catcher

                  

If you’re really brave, or want to get back at a friend with kids, consider the drum set.

And if your husband happened to get you, say, a carpet steam cleaner for Mother’s Day (again, and I love it! Honey!), Warm Biscuit has gifts just for mom, like this beautiful personalized bracelet (do I sound like Vanna White, or is it just me?) But really? I would totally wear this:

 
To be eligible to win the $50 gift certificate, simply leave a comment about your Things That Must Go. Deadline is Sunday at 10 pm, and I’ll announce a winner (and any other spectacular entries) on Monday. Warm Biscuit also has free shipping on any order over $45 right now (enter the code: wbblogging4148). 

things that must goMy Things That Must Go

The bad news is I can think of about seven Things That Must Go. But a few of them are rather unmentionable. I’d say this period that is worse than any period I’ve had in thirteen years must go, but I don’t want to alienate my three male readers (Hi guys! Sorry!).

cow tongueI’d also say that men with tongue piercings must go, but really, if I can’t see yours, then it’s fine. It’s when you’re walking across the street and sticking your tongue out to play with it that I have a problem.

 

My real Things That Must Go are:

1) People who say things like, “I’m really not happy unless I’m always learning something new.” Right. If I’m not studyin’ up on them esoteric Chinese horticultures, I’m just sick. Sick.

2) Taking life too seriously. A friend sent me a link to the hilarious blog Seriously, So Blessed. The best satire is that which almost sounds like it’s for real, like Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Seriously, So Blessed isn’t quite believable (although some of the commenters have been fooled), but if you’ve got a couple minutes to kill, head over for some laughs. Only, don’t forget to come back and share your Things That Must Go!


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Did You Hear the One About the Sworn Virgins in Albania?

ingrid bergman bells of st maryOnce upon a time in northern Albania, there was a custom of women becoming men. They dressed like men, moved about in society as men, and were content to relinquish traditional female experiences like pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and childrearing, and simple, normal human experiences like sex and the companionship of marriage, with its soaring joys, petty resentments, and sometimes-tragic disappointments.

The alternative was to watch their large extended families wither without male leadership in a society that recognized women as worth only 6 oxen to a man’s 12. Sworn Virgins were worth 12. In exchange for their sexuality, they gained freedom from the severe restrictions women faced.

By taking an oath of virginity, women could take on the role of men as head of the family, carry a weapon, own property and move freely.

Both Muslims and Christians adhered to this 500-year old oral code of conduct. The last of the Sworn Virgins (about 40 of them) are in their 80s.

I know, I know, one doesn’t have to experience pregnancy or childbirth or breastfeed or raise children or have sex to be a woman, but CAN YOU IMAGINE?

I don’t know which would be worse — being a woman and thus unable to do anything but keep hearth and home (as sublime as that is), or to become a man in everything but biology and have every opportunity but those which are most instinctual. Except you would still be denied the human experience of sex and marriage, which, last time I checked, most men are interested in.

I’m not one to think that any of us are totally free from cultural absurdities or insane religious, ethnic, or traditional practices, but I just cannot even fathom having to make a choice like that. Give me the modern Mommy Wars any day!

Nowadays women in Albania have more freedom, more choices. They can “go out half naked to the disco” if they want. One Albania man said that “Women and men are now almost the same,” and that it’s “no longer a stigma not to have a man of the house.”

I think it’s a bit ironic that women no longer have to become men to get the freedoms that men enjoy, because “Women and men are now almost the same.” Only now those women can bear children, which, you know, is just one more way those uppity women want to be like the men.


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This weekend’s Things That Must Go Giveaway is for a $50 gift certificate to a cool online store.

Visit Fussypants for more reasons to be glad we’re not living in Albania 100 years ago.

The Finer Things in Life: Air-Conditioning, Leather Seats in the Minivan, Pediatric Dentistry

There are a few things in life that make me feel as privileged as Ivana Marie Zelníčková Syrovatka Trump Mazzucchelli Rubicondi. Things that make me grateful to live in this century, to have been born in a developed, prosperous country, and to have a husband who slaves daily to keep us in Mountain Dew and whole milk.

These things include listening to classical music, buying a new hardbound book (the kind with the thick, carefully-but-unevenly-cut pages), and sharing a Happy Meal with my kids as we grocery shop. Like a pedicure for the soul, these things make me feel pampered and indulged.

Another thing that makes me feel spectacularly spoiled, especially after having lived in Egypt, is taking my kids to the pediatric dentist. That all this equipment and education and attention is lavished on the teeth of my little ones overwhelms me.

Sally has been going regularly to the dentist since she was four. The ADA is recommending kids go as early as two-years old, but I think they just want to make more money. As long as everything looks good to the pediatrician, and you are a conscientious mom, serving the flouridated tap water and ensuring brushing and flossing on a monthly basis (kidding — at least weekly!), I think four is a good age to visit the dentist for the first time.

We started this summer off right — with a 6-month 9-month cleaning and checkup for Sally, and a first-ever visit for Susan. I made a couple of mistakes, and did a few things right, and naturally, as I sat in the waiting room, I thought, This would be a great Works-for-Me Wednesday topic, plus, hopefully I’ll remember to re-read it when it’s time for Spot’s first visit.

Tips For Making a First Dental Visit a Success

1) Start the Brainwashing Early. If you can train your three-year old to cry “Mommy, I’m not safe!” when you forget to buckle her seatbelt, you can convince her that going to the dentist is better than Disneyland, and that it will help her to be “just like Sally.”

2) Write Down the Appointment. On a calendar in case your computer breaks, and on the computer in case your calendar gets drowned in the kitchen sink. If you somehow manage to forget entirely the day, time, or in fact the name or phone number of the dentist, start calling possible dentists early on the first day of Summer. You might get lucky and call the right one exactly one hour before the appointment.

3) Practice Some Useful Phrases. For example: “I like to brush my teeth in the morning, but Mommy helps me at night.” “Daddy lets me use his flossers if I’m a good girl.” “We never eat suckers or fruit snack or sugar of any kind at home, Mr. Dentist.”

4) Do Not Let Your Daughter Wear A Dress That Comes To Her Knees. When she lies on the dentist chair, it will ride up and show her panties no matter what you do. I guess there are worse things in life, but I spend way too much of my time fretting over panties showing.

5) Brush Your Kids’ Teeth Right Before the Appointment. Right.

Actually, considering how cavalier I am about teeth hygiene, it’s a miracle the kids are still cavity-free. Right before I got married (when I was still on my parent’s insurance), I had 16 cavities. Had to go back twice to get each side of my mouth done. I’m still a flossing-slacker. Dick must have some good teeth genes.

I love a good pediatric dentist. The best part is having the dentist tell your kids they need to brush and floss. Somehow it sounds a lot more serious coming from someone who wields instruments of oral torture. But there are a few other things to look for in a pediatric dental practice:

Things to Look for in a Pediatric Dental Practice

1) TV Screens on the Ceiling, with a good selection of movies.

2) Goody bags to take home. Probably not with actual candy in them.

3) Fun prizes to take home. Not to be confused with the oral hygiene goody bag, which should include a toothbrush of their choice and toothpaste/floss samples. The fun prize should be something they can choose out of a good Dollar Store range of toys. Susan chose Trick Gum, and after we finally convinced her it wasn’t real gum, she loved ‘getting’ Mom with the cockroach that snapped out each time.

4) A Bathroom Close to the Exam Rooms. Something about all that swishing and drilling makes kids have to pee. Trust me.

5) Like, um Credentials, or something (you can check the ADA). Oh, and hygienists and dentists who actually know how to talk to kids.

In case it’s going to be awhile before you get to the dentist (and to jog my own memory), here are a few tips the dentist gave us:

Mean Rules That Help Your Teeth

1) Limit the Juice and Chocolate Milk. I ask you: Limit the MILK? Apparently chocolate milk has lots of sugar (NO!) and ruins regular milk for kids. But I asked, and the occasional treat chocolate milk is okay. It’s just bad if you buy it for your refrigerator. Because your refrigerator has feelings, too.

2) Until kids are eight or nine, Mom or Dad should take a turn at the evening brushing/flossing. Kids can handle the morning one on their own.

3) Nah, that’s all I got. How about you?


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This weekend’s Things That Must Go Giveaway is for a $50 gift certificate to a cool online store.

My first guest gig: Afraid to Call Yourself a Writer (Me Too)

So, I’ve gone over to the dark side of bloggy guest posting and such. After carnivals and a giveaway, it was only a matter of time.

Please, for the love of everything holy, go comment on my poor little offering. Thanks! I’ll even close comments here so we can pretend that I’m stopping hordes of you fine people from commenting here instead of there. I already know I have no influence on the children in my life. Let me retain SOME illusions, okay?

I’d offer exotic internet favors in return, but I’ve already pledged my soul to the devil for a DSLR camera via Twitter. Do you think the devil is on Twitter? I guess I hope not. Because I didn’t really mean it about my soul. Maybe a kidney?

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Because I don’t have any wild mustangs handy

And also because my ovaries tell me that these are the cutest kids ever to walk the planet. Of course, my ovaries are not to be trusted, but I think if I had ever been this beautiful, my life would have turned out much different. I would be Queen of Lichtenstein by now, at the very least.

Also, I feel bad that I complain about my kids so much, and I want you to know that if I did not think they were the most gorgeous creatures ever to grace . . . hmm, I already said that, huh? Anyway, if they weren’t beautiful, I would complain that much more. Just call me Shallow Mom. (Hey, is that domain taken?)

First day of swim lessons today. Don’t you just want to take small bites out of all that smooth skin?

Look at those eyes. Dick and I have green eyes. Sally got blue from both grandfathers and Susan got brown from one of her Grandma’s eyes. Not “one of her Grandmas,” but from one Grandma who has one green and one brown eye.

I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but this one was my favorite for three years and eight months. She’s still my favorite whenever I see her reading a book that I loved when I was younger. Right now she’s reading Andrew Lang’s Green Fairy Book. Any nightmares will be referred to Daddy.

We call Sally freckle face, and have forcibly desensitized her to our teasing enough that she takes it as a compliment. Of course it helps that Dick and I each sport a million freckles ourselves. (And that she is still young enough to want to be like Mom and Dad).

This one, I confess, is my favorite stinker of them all. No forgotten middle child in this family.

Seriously, I hear those awful commercials on the radio for kid modelling agencies, where they probably want to charge you thousands of dollars to take a headshot, and I think, if only this kid weren’t the most recalcitrant, uncooperative, recidivist child in the universe, we could be millionaires. MILLIONAIRES!

I gotta go ferbert Susan’s arm right now. Be right back.

This one isn’t indoctrinated into the picture-posing protocol yet. Also, she doesn’t like to smile on cue. But we’ll probably keep her, at least until something better comes along.

Or until we have to start supporting her shoe habit.

Spot gets her extreme self-sacrificing nurturing of her babies at the expense of her own needs from her mom. She’s picking that strawberry FOR the baby.


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