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My Selfish Grown-Up Christmas List

Well, I did it! I told myself I would be completely finished my Christmas shopping by the end of November this year, and I’ve almost started!

The truth is: life is hard enough without adding Christmas shopping to the mix. I realize that there are two types of people in this world; the type who are finished their Christmas shopping in August, and can spend the Christmas season drinking hot buttered rum and laughing at the rest of us, those poor souls out in the snow, looking for Christmas gifts on Dec. 24th, or waiting fruitlessly for the gifts that we only just ordered the week before Christmas to arrive in the mail in time.

I love Christmas, I do, but I really hate shopping in any form, and time-pressure shopping in stores full of other frantic, last-minute shoppers really sucks the Christmas spirit right out of me, like hot chocolate being sucked right out of the couch cushion by the child who spilled it there. And speaking of kids, have you ever tried to shop for them when they are with you? Because if you have ever tried to, say by sneaking their presents into the shopping cart without them noticing, you will already know that this is a bad idea. Firstly, your children are highly attuned “Christmas Present Detectives” who will stop at nothing to determine when they are getting presents and what those presents might be, and WHY you have hidden presents in the cart and WHO those presents might be for and HOW they can get their hands on those presents as soon as possible, please mom? Mommy? Mama? Mom? Mommommommommom mama? MAMA? MA??? And secondly, because then you might end up making some quick and terrible decisions so you can get the heck out of the store with at least one thing for them, like buying your children the game Twister (see why this is a terrible decision by clicking here).

But perhaps the worst thing of all for me, speaking of Christmas shopping, is trying to determine what I, myself, might like for Christmas, so that I can generate a list of potential items for the poor sucker who had the misfortune of drawing my name in the family “Secret Santa” draw. I always try to think of a list for myself, but it is always very difficult, perhaps because I am a mother and am so used to only keeping track of the needs of my small people, but also probably because I am getting so very particular at this fine old age I have reached. For example, I really need a pair of slippers. Even as I type this, my feet are freezing cold and I hate having cold feet, but I also kind of hate socks, and how you have to find a pair and make sure they are clean. I like how slippers just sit there by the door, ready for use, not needing to be washed like socks do. They are just always filthy and ready for action, and I like that.

However, with my larger-than-average lady feet, the slippers that are gifted to me are usually too small, or don’t fit right, or don’t have the support that I need, so I kind of just need to go shopping for slippers myself. But slippers would be the perfect, affordable, gifty-type thing to put on a Christmas list, wouldn’t they? Yes. Yes they would. So I usually put them on the list, and then come Christmas morning I get to make some lovely, well-meaning family member feel terrible that the slippers they kindly bought me for Christmas are too small, despite the fact that they bought size “Very Large.”

So because I am terrible at thinking of things, here is what my typical Christmas list usually looks like (to the great annoyance of my family):

1) Hugs!
2) Slippers?
3) A scarf, maybe?
4) Chocolate?
5) Wine?
6) Gift cards that I will put in my wallet and forget I have.
7) An expensive dream gift that is not within the budget, I just wanted you to know that I want it.
8) Really, you don’t have to get me anything. I’m sorry.

See? Aren’t I the most annoying? Now you can understand why my family hates me! (Just kidding … I hope.)

Here's a good example of a pair of slippers that I would not like to own. Obviously I am sensitive enough about my feet already.

Here’s a good example of a pair of slippers that I would NOT like to own. Obviously I am sensitive enough about my feet already.

But if I were to make a very honest Christmas list, for what I truly want this Christmas … and I’m talking a Christmas DREAM list … it just might go something like this:

1) Some guilt-free peace and quiet.
2) For my children to stop peeing on the floor, or the carpet, or the couch, or on ANY surface or receptacle that is not the toilet itself (and the inside of it, specifically), because I’m getting a little tired of this. Just a tad.
3) Hawaii. All of it. Clear out the islands for just me, please, and ready the Mai Tais. Okay … I guess my husband can come too.
4) Something that you saw that made you think of me, that I really secretly also wanted but never said out loud, but that you knew I would like because you know me SO well. Thanks Santa!
5) That perfect scarf that I saw one time a few years ago that I wish I had just bought for myself. Alternatively, please just invent a time machine so you can go back in time and convince me to buy that scarf.
6) The perfect pair of slippers, for a generous-footed gal like myself who appreciates slippers that stay on and have a back, and also have just the perfect amount of support, but aren’t too stiff. You know, just read my mind. Thanks again, Santy!
7) For nobody to be embarrassed at Christmas because the slippers they bought for me are too small. Now, buying slippers that are embarrassingly too LARGE is fine. That would be a refreshing change, actually.
8) All the stuff that I need, but I forget about until the moment I need it. That stuff.
9) Hugs.
10) For you to just do all of my Christmas shopping for me.

I also want my kids to get along, and be adorable and hug each other, but not as much as I want that other stuff.

I also want my kids to get along, and be adorable and hug each other and stuff. But if they are just getting along, I’ll take it.

Obviously I won’t be expecting any of that stuff under the tree this Christmas. And I will still enjoy Christmas, because when all is said and done, I love the part where I get to see the faces of the family members when they open the gifts that I hated buying. I know it’s cliché to say, but it makes it all worth it. I also can’t wait to see my husband’s face when I open that coupon book he made me, full of coupons for guilt-free peace and quiet. Okay, I made it for him to give to me, but I think I forged his signature well enough that he will likely never know. And don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read the blog, so it’s all good.

My Kid Made Me Say It … Part Two!


A few weeks ago we posted a list of “My Kid Made Me Say Its”—phrases that we can’t believe came out of our mouths in the chaotic midst of dealing with our kiddos. We loved the way that you all responded in the comments with your own HI-larious “My Kid Made Me Say Its”—so much so that we thought we’d do another one, in hopes that you will continue to comment with your own great contributions, and that we might be able to choose our favourites from all of those lists and compile a “My Kid Made Me Say It: Fan Edition”!

So comment away—your contribution may make it on the blog, and then you’ll basically be famous!

Another reason that we are posting this is because our kids keep making us say this stuff—and it is too hilarious and ridiculous not to share!

Please enjoy:

“You can’t eat that muffin without pants!”

“It’s a hair in your mouth, not the end of the world.”

“Please, no penises at the dinner table.”

“Yes, she’s sucking on my toe. Don’t worry, it’s pretty clean.”

“It’s your sister’s turn to be on the beanbag—please don’t sit on her face!”

“Okay—let’s have NO bum monsters tonight, please!”

“What are they doing in there? Are they playing in the toilet?”

“You’re not a puppy today. You’re a kid today.”

“Guys! Stop touching each others’ bums!”

“Nope! We don’t eat things out of the garbage can!”

“You’re a big girl now; you’re not scared of toilets anymore.”

“Stay in the bathroom to wipe your bum!!!”

“Just because something is in front of your mouth doesn’t mean you should LICK it!”

“Stop growling at everyone!”

“Stop fighting, guys. One of you can massage my hands, while the other massages my feet. You’re welcome.”

“Please don’t sit with your naked bum on Mommy’s book from Grandma!”


If you liked, please share!

If you share, we like!

5 Helpful Suggestions for Dealing with Your Children’s Craft Crap

We parents have a common problem, and I think it’s time to address it. Our kids all go to their respective schools or preschools or daycares or grandparents’ houses, and they make crafts and pictures and dough balls and glittery-gluey-popsicle sticks, or just plain paper cut up into a million tiny jagged pieces. Then they bring these things home, into OUR homes, and we are expected to love these items and cherish them as much as our children do. These are their CREATIONS, and they are just SO very proud of them and eager to show them off to us, which is very sweet and adorable until we actually have to figure out where the bleepidy-bleep in our already craft-saturated homes we are supposed to put them. I’ve got to admit, it’s hard to love and cherish a construction-paper ladybug that was mostly made by the teacher, except for a single, thick, wet blob of red paint on its wing, which was my child’s contribution.

If you ever watched Ducktales, back in the nineties, you will remember Scrooge McDuck, a very wealthy and cantankerous old quack* with a giant vault full of gold coins that he would swim around in. Well, if I had kept all of my children’s crappy craft creations over the years, I’m quite sure I would now have enough to fill a Scrooge McDuck-sized vault, and could easily swim around in them until I was simply covered in glitter and paper cuts. But we would not be able to truly enjoy our children’s artwork if it was just laying, crumpled up in a giant vault, would we? Besides, we need our Scrooge McDuck vaults for the MONEY that we all have just lyin’ around. And speaking of wastefulness, how many more trees must we kill, make into paper, and allow our children to scribble crazily on with a single brown felt pen, making a precious artwork that we will then be forced to agonize over whether or not to keep? We have to stop the madness, people!

This is Jac's kids' crafty-crap pile, courtesy of Jac. This is what she has to say about it, and I quote: "My strategy is to collect it all in the "art bucket" and then we will sort it "later""

This is Jac’s kids’ crafty-crap pile, picture provided courtesy of Jac. This is what she had to say about it, and I quote:
“My strategy is to collect it all in the ‘art bucket’ and then we will sort it ‘later.'”

But seriously, we all know that this will never stop, because our children are too cute and we are too soft when it comes to the adorable things they “make,” and getting them craft supplies is way better than getting them more toys, and so we will ask for those for them for Christmas and their Birthdays (that and clothes, if Nana and Papa are reading this. Sizes 5 and 7).

And so, I have come up with several helpful solutions to this problem, that I will present to you now. My hope is that these might help reduce YOUR Scrooge McDuck’s vault-sized stack, if you have one, and increase your sanity. It is also my hope that I will begin to follow these instructions, too.

This box, which I pulled out of my Everything Cupboard", represents approximately 1/100th of the stuff I have kept. So... do as I say, not as I do.

This box, which I pulled out of my “Everything Cupboard”, represents approximately 1/100th of the stuff I have kept. So … do as I say, not as I do.

Here we go:

1) Save ONLY the special things. And don’t be afraid to cut a “special piece” off, if there is a cute PART of it, but not ALL of it is cute. Then, put that special piece in one of your Everything Bins (I suggest your Everything Drawer), and keep it there until a day that you are feeling nostalgic and crafty, and will have time to, I don’t know, put it in a scrapbook or some such nonsense. That day will probably never come until after your children are grown up and gone, but maybe by then you will want to make a scrapbook, because it will give you something sweet to do to remember these “precious” days.

2) When presented with the item, congratulate your child on how hard they must have worked to make such an INTERESTING item, and comment on it, but not in a judgmental way. Just in a way that indicates that you are really noticing that they put that blob of paint there, and that they tore a hole in it there, and put a single googly eye in that pile of glue there. Then, after they are ASLEEP, bury it in the trash, the recycling bin, or the back yard. Your child will DEFINITELY forget it ever existed, as will you. However, DO NOT PUT IT ON THE TOP OF THE TRASH/RECYCLING BIN, or just leave it laying in the back yard, hoping that the raccoons will make off with it. This is very important, because then your children WILL find it, and it will break their tiny hearts that you didn’t immediately frame it and put it on display. Another option is to quietly dispose of it at a neighbour’s house. You might even want to work out a system with your neighbour, where you dispose of their children’s crafts, and they dispose of yours. Because it is much less emotional throwing out someone else’s child’s craft crap, is it not?


This one, on the other hand, is a keeper. I'm talking about the child of course. That picture is going in the garbage can.

This one, on the other hand, is a keeper.
(I’m talking about the child of course. That picture is eventually going into the garbage can.)

3) Decide that you will screw over your future self by simply leaving the craft crap in a pile on the kitchen counter with some other stuff that you intend to go through, one day. Because what has your future self done for you lately, anyway? NOTHING, that’s what. However, make SURE you look through that pile to find your child’s notice for hot dog day so you can fill it out and submit it ON TIME, because if you don’t, hot dog day WILL COME, and your child will receive NO hot dog, and that will break your child’s tiny heart. Also, if you come across the school photo order form in there, you should order some of those before the deadline (which was last week, btw).

4) Insist that it be up to your spouse to decide which crafts and pictures should be axed and which should be kept, because you work SO hard, and you deserve a break from such emotional decision-making. Also, remind them that they need to clean up the pee on the bathroom floor.

5) Look up ideas on Pinterest about how to adorably display such things, such as hanging them from clothespins, or taking pictures of them all and making an album, or making and framing a cute collage of everything. Then put the Pinterest ideas you want to do on your list of “things to do one day when I have time,” alongside such things as finally making a baby book for your 7-year-old, or learning to play the Banjo.

So there you have it, friends! I hope that this helpful guide will give you some good ideas and/or permission around how to deal with your children’s crafty crap. And, if you happen to be looking for someone to organize a “craft crap disposal exchange” with, let’s be in touch. I have a one-eyed sock puppet with YOUR garbage can’s name on it.


* Pun very much intended.

Getting Played

For my very first solo post on this blog, I discussed the game Twister and how purchasing it is, in my humble opinion, a very poor decision for parents to make. As I have been reflecting recently, however, there are actually no games that are really a good idea for one, as an adult, to play with one’s under-five child. I have a six-year-old who is almost seven, and playing games with him, just the two of us, is a dream. He likes to stick to the rules and play the game exactly as it is, and therefore it has a beginning and a climax and a denouement and, even more importantly, an ENDING. When I play games with just my six-year-old and me, these games are enjoyable and straightforward, and then they come to a delightful end, and then I feel less guilty because I have actually played a game with him instead of just putting on movies for him all day and thus we spent some quality time together, and therefore I can feel that I am a fantastic mother.

However. Games with my four-year-old are very different, very different indeed. And when I play a game with the both of them, somehow the four-year-old brings the whole game down to her level. This means that I am all of a sudden being CLIMBED on during Crazy Eights instead of being able to sit still, dignity intact, holding my cards with one hand and drinking my rapidly cooling coffee with the other.

This picture serves to illustrate 2 things: 1) The difference between the older and the younger of my children when we are playing a game together (or in this case, doing a puzzle). 2) A wonderful solution to the problem: just add a patient, loving, Aunt-mazing Auntie and Uncle-mazing Uncle to the mix!

This picture serves to illustrate two things:
1) The difference between the older and the younger of my children when playing a game (or in this case, doing a puzzle).
2) A wonderful solution to the problem: just add a patient, loving, Aunt-mazing Auntie and Wonderfuncle Uncle to the mix! They ENJOY playing with your children!

Also, when my children and I play together, the games have the tendency to morph in ways that (apparently) make them more interesting and appealing to the children. For example, Crazy Eights quickly becomes “Bear Crazy Eights,” which includes the rule that when a person puts down an eight, they have the power not only to transform the suit, but also to transform the person of their choice into a bear, who is then required to eat one player (who then misses a turn), hit another player with an imaginary log (that person also misses a turn, as you might imagine), and offer another player an imaginary tray of “free samples.” That player has received the highest honour a bear can bestow, and is thus not required to miss their turn. Do you follow? Of course you don’t. Me neither. This set of “rules” is just a way to illicit chaos in an ordinarily calm game, and make mommy miss not only several turns, but also the TV show that she was hoping to watch, her sanity, and any warmth that ever existed in her coffee, because she is busy being clubbed with imaginary logs. This is what every, EVERY game becomes, when both of the kids are involved.

Go fish has become, “No, I wanted to get the pair of seahorses, because the seahorses are pink and they are a girl and I am a girrllll!!!!!” Tears, comforting, game postponed indefinitely, facepalm.

Monopoly has become, “No, this is my house that I live in because my baby lives in this house and this house is pink and I like pink because I am a girrrllllll!!!!!!!” Tears, comforting, game postponed indefinitely, facepalm.

And, of course, Sorry has become a game of NOT accepting apologies.

However, all games considered, these games are still preferable to my four-year-old’s favourite games, because there is at least the possibility of some kind of ending happening, eventually. The alternative of course, which anyone who has ever done “free play” with a small child will know all too well, is playing a “game” that the child has made up (or, more accurately, is making up on the spot). These games, of course, are complete nonsense and a trap and designed to halt the passage of time so that bedtime never comes, and you are just caught in a horrible vortex in which you are “Fraggula,” the baby, and your child is “Harumtena,” your mommy, and you live in a house together where the tea parties never end, and what Harumtena says goes, so you’d best drink your bottle and eat your cookie and just shut up about it.*

Sometimes the instructions for these types of games are a tiny bit confusing. “Mommy, I throw Spot on the ground, and you have to get him, but you can’t get him when I say: ‘Mommy, can you please pick up Spot?’ And you can only get him with your feet. But if you do get Spot, you get 60 points, but you can only get him when the game is over.”

Like I said, it’s a trap. And at this point it’s probably best if you give your child your iPhone and go hide in the nearest closet. Because in the “game” of playing games with your under-five-year-old child, trust me, you will never, ever, win.



*I am quite serious that THESE are the kinds of names my children come up with. Remember Greenis? Of course you do.

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