Tuesday, June 24, 2014


"Did you know that many people die from hot dog eating contests?" little kid asked today, completely out of nowhere with nary a hot dog in sight.

"I don't know if that's true. I don't think you can say that many people die," I answered.

"Yes! Yes, they do! It's the number one risk of hot dog eating contests!"

"Right, but even as the number one risk, I don't know that you could say that a significant number of people have died due to hot dog eating contests. It's the worst that could happen, but doesn't happen often."

"What do you even know about hot dog eating contests?" he insisted.

"Not a lot, I guess." I conceded.

"Right. It's extremely dangerous. A lot of people die."


Let that be a lesson to you all. No hot dog eating contests.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mind Blown

Big Kid, who is 10 years old, has almost finished reading the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, a book he found two weeks ago in a box of books that mostly just looked good on my bookshelves and made the occasional appearance as a prop around Halloween.

His chosen reading list this year would make an English teacher swoon and his understanding of what he's read is impressive.

But, I just had to go into the kitchen to help him figure out what was going on with the cereal, after he spent several minutes unable to make it pour despite an honest effort. Lo and behold, it was a new box of cereal and the bag was sealed shut.

That was it. That was the whole problem. The bag was shut.

I hope his future wife is patient.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Tooth Fairy is an Asshole and other True Tales

I hate the tooth fairy.

I'm typically the parent who loves the magic of childhood. Well, by "loves" I mean "indulges extravagantly and creatively while bitching about it most of the time" (fucking Elf on the Shelf). That's the stuff that lights me up as a parent, the fun and imagination and silliness and the complaints about the resultant mess and effort.

But the tooth fairy can kiss my ass. For real, I am counting the molars until I can officially end that relationship. She's unpredictable, frequently forgets to show up, made that stupid ass rule about putting the tooth under the pillow instead of somewhere more convenient to access and there is absolutely no consistency with pay rate. What does she do with the teeth? No one really knows, there's not even much of a story there. What does she look like? Not a clue. Teeth are gross. Wiggly teeth, loose teeth, absent teeth, lost teeth -- all absolutely revolting and not to be celebrated! This is seriously the weirdest tradition ever.

When little kid was preparing for getting his two teeth pulled, he mentioned that he was going to hit the tooth fairy jackpot with two teeth at once.

"Preston got $20 from the tooth fairy for losing ONE tooth! I never got $20!" he said.

"Preston's parents are assholes," I thought. I gave a noncommittal hmmm.

"Can you imagine if I got 20 bucks? It would be $40 for two!"

"Maybe Preston's was a gold tooth. I can't imagine getting $20 from the tooth fairy. It's usually like a dollar, or whatever. You might get a little bit more since the dentist is pulling them out but I don't really know. The tooth fairy just kind of does whatever, it seems."

He nodded; her history of unprofessionalism has served me well. 

Before he went to bed that night, I told him I read on the internet that a lot of kids were leaving their teeth on their nightstand so they are easier for her to find. She's getting old, you know. He left his on the nightstand.

After some parental conferencing, alarm setting, and wallet digging, Mr. Ashley assured me the tooth fairy would get the job done this time.

I woke up in a panic as he awoke for work. "Did it happen?" He nodded. I felt tremendous relief.

Moments later little kid straggled in, hair messy, face lit up with joy, "The tooth fairy came!"


"She left me TWENTY DOLLARS!!"

"She left you TWENTY dollars?" Mr. Ashley and I looked at each other and then back at him with forced smiles.

"What the hell?!?" I hissed as little kid left the room, happily waving his $20 bill.

He shrugged apologetically. "It was dark! I didn't know!"

Sure enough, the intended $5 bill sat on our nightstand, minus the $20 bill for lunch money.

Sorry I called you assholes, Preston's parents. It's obviously the tooth fairy who is the asshole.

I hate the tooth fairy.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Today my little mutant becomes less mutant-ish.

little kid is a dentist's dream come true -- one of 2% of people in the world with an extra tooth, part of a smaller percentage that has both the baby and adult extra tooth, and two of his teeth have "dimples" which is far less adorable than it sounds since it's a genetic anomaly that requires filling.

Now that little teeth are falling out and bigger teeth are growing in, that little mouth is running out of room...particularly since the front and center adult tooth is gigantic.

His dentist is like the Willy Wonka of dentistry, but only in the fun-kind-of-creepy sort of way and not in a might-give-you-a-candy-factory kind of way. When he informed me about the extra teeth, it was with a glassy-eyed excitement and with a slight enthusiastic tremor to his voice. Dude was psyched. It was presented as a great honor. I think we were both seeing dollar signs, his coming and mine going, and our levels of excitement were not in alignment.

The dimple announcement was similar -- full of delight and wonder and met with bored questions from me on how insurance feels about tooth mutants.

As we peered into his tiny mouth, I asked, "Doesn't that adult tooth seem big?"

"Oh, it's huge!" he answered, simply with a smile, not a care in the world. I don't know, homeboy must get kickbacks from whatever orthodontist will eventually make us poor. 

When I told little kid his appointment was approaching, his face fell. "I don't want my teeth out!"

"It won't hurt," I lied, because moms do that.

"I won't be special anymore!! I love my monster tooths!"

It has been a fixture in our family since its discovery -- his monster tooth, his sweet tooth, his shark tooth, depending on our mood and his behavior.

"But your mouth can't fit all of those teeth. Your teeth will grow in crooked."


"It won't look as nice as straight teeth."

"But it makes me special!! No one has extra teeth and now I'll be just like all of them. I don't even care if my smile is crooked. I'm one of 2% in the whole world!"

Man, I envy that kind of confidence and positive self-esteem. I don't care about my jacked-up grill, I just want to be different! Secretly, in a hidden little corner of my heart, I'll miss that monster tooth. I love that little mutant face.

He has asked a few more times if it will hurt and I vaguely promise that drugs will be involved, but I'm worried sick about the hurting part. The last time this dentist gave him nitrous, he kept repeating in a bizarre, sing-song voice, "little kid, it's going to feel like you're on a roller coaster ride, but you are right here with me and your mommy so even if it feels like you're in a magical place or if there are lots of colors or you feel like you are flying, you are just here in this room with your mother and dentist. You may feel like you're on a roller coaster, but you are really right here...safe with me...safe with your mother..." over and over and over again in a hypnotist-type voice.

I wanted to scream, "DUDE, you're making me have a bad trip and I'm not on drugs!! Quit being a freaking weirdo about it!"

As soon as we left the building, little kid said, "I didn't feel like I was on a rollercoaster, I just felt like he was talking and acting weird," and I answered, "He was."

So, I'm both looking forward to, and not looking forward to, that.

Wish us luck--little kid for joining us average-mouthed folks, me for the cost and anxiety of dealing with all of this weirdness, and the dentist in acting like a normal person who isn't hosting an acid trip.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slow Learner

If this summer was a rap song, it would be called:

"Moooooooooom! The Dog Peed in The House Again!"

because that's how we roll.

I love Max. I really do. I don't even think it's possible not to love a face this cute. He completes our family.

We can never pee in the house? Really?
 (Because our family is full of stubborn assholes.)

However, friends, I would like to propose a new rule where we don't allow anyone who is going through a major life change,  including but not limited to: pregnancy, grieving, moving, job loss or haircut remorse, to make any other major life change, such as: any of the above and/or GETTING A NEW DOG.

You all know me better, you should have said, "Ashley!! You are looking to fill a hole that won't be filled with chewed up shoes and pee puddles on your floor."

And I would've been all, "You're not the boss of me! It will be different this time! I NEED a dog!!" but you would at least have had the satisfaction of being right.

I don't know if he's got that thing that Dory or that Memento guy had going on but he has absolutely zero concept that a rule would last longer than the one second we're discussing it. Not allowed on the bed? How about now? How about now? How about now? Now? How about if I sneak up from the side? No? Really? I'm not allowed on your bed? It's brand new information every single morning.

Potty training is going the same way. He thinks peeing near the cat box is probably okay but it's not. He also likes to mark his territory even though I've promised that no dog will ever (EVER EVER EVER, for the love of God, EVER) come through that door and challenge his only dog status. Ever. He will look me in the eye, with that sweet, sweet little face and pee right on my antique trunk and he will be genuinely shocked and confused when I object.

We try going out hourly, puppy pads, belly bands, praise, punishment, crate training and threats of abandonment every day and yet every single day, I thank the lord for my all tile house.

I look forward to work at the yoga studio today because there is no pee there. Forget the quiet and that sometimes we have cookies in the back room, there's a 99% chance I won't clean up any puddles of urine and that's really enough for me right now.

I'm now looking to fill another hole in my heart that involves not cleaning up pee, so I guess I've got that going for me.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Time Travel

"Mom? You know Einstein's theories on time?" Big Kid asked.

I stared back blankly, because, embarrassingly (I guess?), I do not know Einstein's theories on time. I know of them. I think. Kind of. Well, I might. I know that he did something like that.

"Yes?" I offered, not really answering. Should I know this?

"I read that book about it," he added. "I can't stop thinking about it and it boggles my mind to think about it. It bothers me sometimes."

"..." I stared at him. I was still trying to figure out exactly what it was we were talking about it.

"I mean, if time relates to where you are does that mean that everything is going to happen anyway? That there is some way your life is going to go because it's already mapped to go that way and that you won't be able to change certain things no matter what you do because they've already happened in the future? And if so, what's the point of life, then?" He stared at me earnestly, waiting for an answer.

I had (and have) only the slightest, slipperiest of grasps on what he even might be talking about. Poor smart kid got the wrongest mom. She even just used wrongest as a word.

"I...I don't think it means that?...I will have to read the book?" I offered. "Just try not to think about it." It's the best I could do. I've been thinking about it since we had that talk and I'm still not sure what I think. Not sure I want to read the book, to be honest, it would be even more embarrassing if I still didn't understand it then. But that was probably the wrong answer -- imagine if Einstein's mom told him to try not to think about it? I don't know. Maybe she should have.

I did watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure with them, since it amounts to the full extent of my time travel knowledge, but, it failed to answer any of life's deeper questions. We're going to have to re-watch the Back to the Future trilogy, pronto.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Day 3

So, we're 3 days into summer.

By hour 2, I was hatching up plans to run away from home. This is not hyperbole either, even though I do love hyperbole; I was literally looking up yoga ashrams that let you exchange work for temporary room and board and classes and was thinking of how I could pitch this as a potential book idea.


It would have been a hard sell.

Also, these places looked kind of strict-ish and our viewpoints on comfortable accommodations vary. They probably didn't even have wi-fi. Most didn't allow coffee. It would've been a disaster -- thus, the book idea. It would've been a hilarious disaster. But anyway, I'm sorry for all of the bad things I ever said about car rider line and homework helping...turns out it was a pretty fair deal after all.

And I know my kids aren't even badly behaved, they're just kids and kids are annoying. We're partying it up anyway, though. We had the annual kick-off party on the last day and everything.

Photo: McCann Bros. Summer edition 

Last night Big Kid had twin friends spend the night.  When their mom arrived to drop them off,  I asked if she'd like to have a glass of wine while we talked for a minute and she said, "Was I actually screaming that out loud as I walked through the door? I mean, I've been thinking about drinking since I woke up, but I didn't know others could hear me." I told her it's summer -- all moms are walking around screaming that in their head.

I took the kids to the water park today so that the lifeguards could help me watch them, which I think is some next level genius slacker parenting right there. Thankfully, my mom bought us an annual pass to the park, and it will probably save them from a future of telling their therapist about that time their mom spent several months with some crazy yoga cult. Again. 

I've also been crazy busy working because I'm now blogging for Shutterfly's Treat.com and ebay, which is awesome but also tricky to schedule around important announcements about Minecraft or some guy's YouTube video. You can see the first of my posts, about photographing siblings, here

The adorable kids pictured there also come from a family with twins, and when I told their mom that  I needed to borrow some or all of her kids in the next day or so, without providing a reason, she simply said, "Take as many of my kids as you want whenever you need them." I'd say that's true friendship, but I suspect people who have twins just really need to get rid of some kids on occasion. It worked out for everyone.

Anyway, that's how summer is starting for me. Slowly and loudly.

Good luck, mom friends, and cheers to us all.