Nobody puts baby (and baby’s family) in a corner!

homeAlmost 7 years into this whole ‘parenthood’ thing, and I’m sad to say, the trash still goes out more than I do. I think after a year of not seeing any other human beings except for the one you pushed out of your vagina, you become a homebody. My idea of a fun Friday night is planting my ass on the couch, watching Netflix or whatever I have left on my DVR, and indulging in a few alcoholic beverages. I’m boring! I CAN’T HELP IT! IT JUST HAPPENED!

Really, it’s okay. I’m not bitter about it. It means anything stupid I do is done at home and the only person who can make fun of me is my husband, and he fears for his life, so that isn’t going to happen.

I’ve made friends with people who have kids over these 7 years, but they’re homebodies, too. The thought of getting everything ready to go out when kids are involved is generally too exhausting in and of itself. Maybe next time, we say. How about next week? Next week turns into next month turns into next year and before you know it, you’re me, and your couch has the perfect butt-hole for you to never want to leave it.

The one exception is when someone comes into town that you haven’t seen in a long time, and may not have a chance to see again for even longer.
That is what happened last night.

Them, us, their two kids, our two kids. It’s a family night out!
We picked a new (to us) restaurant that was definitely on the pricier side, but kids 6 and under ate free. If kids 6 and under are free, they must be family friendly! They wouldn’t mention it if they weren’t, right?

We walked in and immediately you could tell the place was upper-crusty, but it was loud. Lots of talking, laughing… I’d dare even call it jovial. Perfect setting for loud kids who might get antsy trying to sit down at a restaurant without booths (meaning we couldn’t trap them in their seats). There were a TON of open tables and we had a reservation, so I expected that we’d get seated almost immediately. Maybe we could even sit by a window so the kids could watch the rain and the cars go by. Distraction is a close friend of mine.

I’ve been given dirty looks in restaurants when my kids act up. I’ve been stared at, whispered about, and who knows how many people mumbled that they wish we would leave. Shit happens. Kids act assholish at times. NEVER before, have I been walked through a half empty dining room and put into a completely separate dining room. Alone.

I’m never one to make a scene, so I just enjoyed the dinner with friends and our WELL-BEHAVED children, but deep down, I was annoyed. We parents spend most of our waking hours tending to someone else and all of their (endless) needs, and the one time we want to go out to be around humans that didn’t go barreling down our birth canals, people whose asses we’ve never wiped, and we get shoved into the back away from everyone, because GOD FORBID we bring children into an establishment that welcomes children.

Not only did our social time suffer, but so did our service. Without going into too many details, I can tell you that we absolutely got the shaft, and not just based upon where we were sitting.

This isn’t the first blog I’ve written about the dirty looks parents get in restaurants if their babychild makes any noise above a whisper, and I’m not going to go on some rant about how parents and kids get treated unfairly these days, because it would fall on deaf ears. All I’m saying is before you stick baby in the corner, along with baby’s family, remember that you were once baby, too- and Patrick Swayze didn’t pop out of the kitchen to stand up for you, and no one will for us either. No one should have to. Don’t put ANYONE in the corner.

 

*writer’s note: I have worked as a waitress many times in the past, and I can assure you this was not a part of regular rotation, etc. I did not mention the restaurant because I don’t believe in blasting an entire company for a few peoples’ actions.

The New Kid

The following story is true only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Even at forty one years old, I still cringe a little each time I walk into a school building for the first time. You see, we moved around quite a bit when I was younger. I wasn’t any Army brat or anything like that. My folks were a bit like “The City Mouse and The Country Mouse” my Dad is from Massachusetts, a Viet Nam vet. and a biker; my Mom is from Vermont, a farm girl who had married and divorced her high school sweetheart, and lived with her parents. I think that they both struggled to find a place they could be happynewkid raising their family. As a result of that struggle, I found myself as “the new kid” more often than I really cared to. 


At Rundlett Junior High I was sure things were going to be different. This time I was going to have lots of friends, and there wasn’t going to be a bully to push me down the stairs after third period, like that horrible Bertram Hickman did every day. Did you know that if you close your eyes and take a deep breath, one school smells and sounds just the same as the last? It’s true. The shuffle of books and papers being transferred from backpack to locker, the distinct clang of locker doors being slammed shut, and the “snick” of combination locks being locked, mingle with the sounds hundreds of sneakers squeaking across polished linoleum as kids scramble in, trying to make it on time for first period. You can even catch snippets of the same conversations. “Did you finish that homework?” “Can you believe she wore that dress?” ” I know: he is sooo cute!” The cacophony is steeped in the aroma of locker-room and whatever it is they poured out of a can and are planning on calling lunch in the cafeteria. This time I thought maybe, just maybe, when I open my eyes, Derek Steele will be standing there asking me if I’m coming over after school. Derek was my best friend at Hood Memorial Junior High. He was one of the few people who didn’t ignore me completely or actively humiliate me.


But this wasn’t Hood Memorial and that blond haired freight train barreling down the hall towards me wasn’t Derek. His name I would learn later; what he had in mind I already knew. I had learned two schools ago that it didn’t matter how you carried your books because one of two things was going to happen. You were going to be called a fag, fairy, sissy, or something very much like that, for clasping your books to your chest like the girls did, or you were going to get your books swatted out of your hands by some brute trying to impress the baseball team. It turns out this brute’s name was Curt Campbell, and he wasn’t trying to impress the baseball team. Curt was just a bully, from a long line of bullies. His older brothers Chris and Corey were legendary. Corey had gotten into an actual fist fight with the assistant principal and had been expelled. Chris still held the school record for consecutive days spent in detention. This meant Curt had some big shoes to fill. I wasn’t Curt’s only target, but at Rundlett Junior High we had classes according to a team assignment, and I was on Curt’s team. This meant that I was at hand for Curt to humiliate for most of the day. Curt didn’t have much imagination and relied on the old standbys of stuffing me into which ever was more convenient: a locker or trashcan, pulling my chair out as I sat down, the book slapping game and his incessant name calling. God forbid you should end up in the bathroom at the same time as he did. I can tell you that having your head stuffed into a toilet is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds.


Curt Campbell wasn’t my first bully. I was kind of a shy, little guy, who didn’t make friends all that easy. Combined, these traits didn’t exactly scream winner and made me a pretty good mark for the Curts of the world. I have already mentioned Bert Hickman, who would wait after math class every day so he could shove me down each of the three flights of stairs to the café for lunch. There was also Scott O’Brien. Scott would wait for me each day after school so he could kick my “geeky little ass”. My new friend Curt, however, was the largest bully I had encountered. I don’t know what Mrs. Campbell was feeding the kids at her house, but Corey had not been expelled for losing a fight to the assistant principal. I expect that if Curt had wanted to try, the results would have been the same. Curt had a nickname for me. He called me “slick”. There was something nearly wicked about the way he said it, hissed it really. He pronounced it with a lowercase s like it was a descriptor not a name and it felt as if he were physically beating me with the word. All together it had the effect of making even me think less of me. This result was, I assumed, just fine by Curt.
It was sixth period on a Friday, which meant I was in Art class. I loved Art class, not because of an interest in Art but because it was the only class I did not have with Curt. Curt had taken Art last quarter and now had to take Home Ec.. He was none too happy about it, but it usually meant that I did not have to see him from after fifth period science until Monday morning. Most Fridays Ms. Hynes, the Art teacher, would let me hang out a few minutes after class while everyone else made the Friday afternoon dash to the door. Then I could just stroll out and off to my Curt free weekend. It had been a tough week. I had been stuffed into two lockers and a trashcan. I had had my lunch stepped on twice, all in addition to the daily verbal abuse that I had just come to expect. We were finishing a still life, the classic bowl of fruit in water-colors and pastels. I was done. It would never hang in the Louvre, but I was pleased, and I was sure Mom was going to love it. While I was at the sink cleaning up my brushes, Scott Hathaway walked up in line behind me. Why did you have to bring your work to the sink, Scott? Why? Scott had never actually been nice to me, but he had never been mean either, which was about as close to a friend as I had. Before I had time to react, the high water pressure at the sink was spraying water from my brushes all over Scott’s painting. He was positively enraged and shoved me into the sink, causing me to jam both of the paint brushes I was holding into my stomach. He screamed at me, “What the hell, slick! Watch what you are doing!” The paint brushes in the gut hurt, but hearing anyone else call me “slick” with the same contempt as Curt Campbell was more than I could take. I barely held back the tears as I asked Ms. Hynes if I could go to the bathroom.


Sitting there on a toilet, in an open stall, sobbing into my hands, I never heard the door open. As I looked up and focused through the tears, I realized my worst fears had come true. Curt Campbell had just found me alone, crying in the bathroom. When I stood up and pushed past him, I was amazed. Was I just walking away from this? Was he really just going to let me go? There really is a God! He’s just going to let me walk out the door! Wrong! I could feel the strength in his grip as he grabbed one of my shoulders and spun me around to face him. The look on his face was terrifying. He pinned me there in his gaze, like some feral beast that had just found its first meal in weeks. “What’s the matter, slick? Are ya crying?” he asked, poking me in the chest to punctuate each word. I ‘m not sure if Curt heard it or not, but I did. Something inside me snapped. That was it. That was all I could take. After so many years and so many bullies, that was absolutely all I could take. I can’t tell you what happened next. All I can tell you is that by the time Mr. Vesirus, our gruff and grumbly science teacher came into the bathroom, Curt was in the corner holding a bloodied nose and I was standing over him panting like the very same beast I had been face to face with just moments ago. Mr. V. was a Judo instructor. The man was one tough cookie, and he tolerated no funny stuff in his classroom. He was a “grab you by the back of the shirt and haul you out of the room kind of guy”, and I knew I was in for it now. You see, no matter what had happened, my folks were not going to be O.K. with my being suspended for fighting. Mr. V. took one look at the situation and told Curt to get to his feet, get himself to the nurse and then to the Principal’s office. As Curt shuffled by us still holding onto his nose, Mr. V. gave me the once over and told me to get myself together and get back to class. With that said, he just followed Curt out the door. I was stunned. I wasn’t going to be suspended? I wasn’t even going to go to the office? I had in all likelihood just broken someone’s nose, and I could just go back to class? Maybe Mr. V. wasn’t so bad after all.

Something changed that day. Curt left me alone for the rest of the year, and Scott Hathaway apologized for yelling at me. He said he was sorry for calling me “slick”. He hadn’t realized it was hurtful. He even admitted that it was his fault for bringing his painting near the sink. Something inside me changed that day, too. I still got more chances to play “the new kid”, and kids still tried to pick on me. But their words carried no weight; they didn’t cause me the same pain. Anyone who shoved me got shoved right back. I wasn’t going to be anybody’s target anymore. It would be years before I would meet another Derek Steele, and making friends still didn’t come easy, but I would never again suffer at the hands of another Curt Campbell.

Today, I am a father two school aged boys and bullying is a regular topic at our house. My personal experience with bullies has, without a doubt, affected my view of it as a parent. My wife and I try very hard to give our boys the tools to deal with witnessing bullying as well as the distinct possibility of being bullied. I think the reality is that there are most likely always going to be bullies and always going be those who present as a desirable target for them, it is up to us parents, teachers, society in general to shed light on it when it happens and to stop it from being acceptable through our indifference. My struggles have made it so that there is a scared little boy inside of me who just screams at the injustice when I see it and I can no longer just pass it by. I want for everyone to have a little of that anger and feel just as keenly as I do the injustice, in the hopes that the bullies are the ones who are afraid and maybe just maybe in someone’s lifetime a Bully will be a thing that used to be.

By: Kyle Burditt

Kyle is a 42 year old devoted husband and father currently residing in small town Vermont. He doesn’t have a lot of spare time to devote to a blog, but look for his work of fiction “The Rift Walker” on a bookshelf near you soon(ish)!

Don’t be a lobster- SunScreen Bands review and giveaway!

 

Even though it’s the middle of July, summer is just getting into full swing here in the south, and the days are only getting longer and HOTTER. Longer and hotter days don’t just mean more time for playing outside and splashing in pools- they mean more chances to get the CRAP burnt out of your skin by the sun. It’s all fun and games until someone gets scorchedburn so badly they can hardly move out of a full bath tub praying for the itching to cease for the next week.

Yes, I’ve been that girl. My skin has two colors and two colors only: Glow in the dark white and lobster lady red. It doesn’t seem to matter HOW strong the SPF, or how popular the brand, whenever I spend a day outside (which is often when it’s warm), I come home red. I KNOW, terrible! Awful for my skin! Awful for ME! Look, I try, people! I don’t know if maybe the time gets away from me and I don’t reapply fast enough, or if it’s just me; if I’m just the burning type. Maybe even a little of both, but I’m not getting any younger, and I’d like to preserve this porcelain skin while I still can so I don’t end up looking like a leather handbag when I’m older.

I haven’t had a lot of time to try products or write reviews lately, but when I got an e-mail about a product called Sunscreen Bands, it was perfect timing and I HAD to try them out!

What the heck IS a sunscreen band? Let me just tell you the facts:

Sunscreen Bands are an innovative new product with a patented color-changing technology that monitors UVA & UVB exposure to remind you not only when to reapply sunscreen, but also when to get the hell out of the sun for the day!

How does it work?

  • Sunscreen is applied TO THE BAND in addition to the skin for accurate monitoring according to your SPF level
  • Band color fades as a reminder to reapply throughout the day
  • If/When Band reaches a creme color, you have reached your maximum recommended exposure for one day & should cover up or get out of the sun
  • There is no time or heat element, solely measures UVA & UVB sun exposure
  • Waterproof (both salt water and chlorine)

DOES it work?
I got a chance to test out a band yesterday while at Busch Gardens. Being outside like that all day in hours of direct sunlight is usually a perfect recipe for sunburned skin for me. Hell, I even get burned if I stay in the shadows like a frickin’ vampire. ‘Tis a curse.

sunbandAfter slapping that puppy on, and listening to the kids complain that they didn’t get one (they didn’t need to since we’d be together all day and all applied at the same time!), I followed the instructions, and went about my way. The band is light weight, and not the annoying kind of wristband that you’re fidgeting with all day long. Once it turned a lighter color, I reapplied sunscreen, and went about my way again. When it was time for us to leave, the band was very light purple, but not so light that it was warning me to get out of the sun if I didn’t want my kids to call me “Mr. Krabs” for the rest of the week. I’m happy to report- NO sunburn! It’s a first! It’s a friggin’ miracle!

Now I want to extend to some of you a chance to try these bands for FREE! That’s right, this is a giveaway! YAY FREE STUFF! Sunscreen Bands is letting me giveaway a 10-pack of Sunscreen Bands to 3 lucky people! Woohoo!

 

To enter- use the widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Entry period ends on Friday 7/25 at 8:45pm EST!

Are we scarring our kids for life by making them go to the bathroom with us??

 

A life without frequent poops is a life I do not know. I can’t believe I just started a blog publicwith that sentence, but there it is.

I poop a lot, okay?? It’s not an intolerance or condition- it’s just me. I am a poopy person. Over the course of my life, this has made for some… awkward moments and quite a few embarrassing situations (hello? crapping myself while walking into work ring a bell??) You don’t really ever get used to random bouts of sting ring, and pooping in a public restroom will NEVER be as desirable as the comfort of your own toilet, but when you gotta go (and I mean turtle-heading GOTTA go) you gotta go.

Kids complicated this.

It’s bad enough to be flipping through a rack of clothes in the middle of the mall and suddenly have that GOTTAGORIGHTNOW feeling suddenly shoot through your gut, but at least if you’re alone, you can just haul ass (pun intended) to the nearest restroom and unleash your bowels in relative peace (sorry other occupants! you don’t matter at a time like this!). When you have a child, not only do you have to get YOUR ass to the bathroom, you have to get their’s to go with you. As fast as humanly possible.

Children do not understand urgency unless it is their own, and even THAT is iffy at best. Many a time it ends with a log in their pants, so why would they care about a potential log in yours?

If it seemed like just GETTING to the bathroom with a child in tow was hard enough, try the actual act of taking a dump with your loud filter-less audience of one. Or two. Or however many you have in the stall with you because people are too fucking weird to leave kids outside of the stall or outside of the bathroom.

The responses over the years have ranged from EW MOMMY, YOU SMELL LIKE DOODOO! to UGH ARE YOU POOPING AGAIN? and everything in between, and it has all made me consider selling my kids on Craigslist. My public restroom adventures went from just something I dreaded having to do (naturally) to something I actually feared. What were they doing to say THIS time? And how many people would be around to hear it? WHY, stomach?? WHY?!

I’ve spent so long clenching my cheeks over the possibilities of bathroom embarrassment at the hands of my children, that I never stopped to think what effect having to witness all of my poops has had on THEM. Yes, I’m the mom with the embarrassing bathroom kids, but what is it like to be the kid of an embarrassing bathroom mom?

For years, one or both of them have had to accompany me to the bathroom when my stomach decides it won’t take no for an answer. For years they have had to deal with the urgency, the panic, and dear God, the smell! I’ve even used them as cover more times than I can count.
“Didn’t you say you have to go to the bathroom??”
“N-”
“Yep! He has to go! Come on honey! I GUESS I’ll take you, since you really have to go!”

Maybe I’d be a “better” mom to some people if I shielded them from the poopcapades, but instead I decided to be completely open and honest, no matter how humiliating it is. Sorry kids, moms a pooper, and you just have to deal with it, no matter how unpleasant that may be for all of us.
Would that decision scar them for life? Give them poo-phobia? A severe aversion to public restrooms? Make them unable to poo in public for the rest of their lives?!? I have a friend who can’t drop a deuce without being COMPLETELY naked; this includes public restrooms. First of all, ew. Second of all- was this to be the fate of my children? Did my friend get forced into one too many tiny poo-fume filled stalls with his mom, and that was the result??

Disgust and confusion eventually gave way to understanding and acceptance. While the occasional comment is made about the frequency with which I have to use the restroom, there isn’t any complaining or loud announcements about how my crap smells like a turd covered in burnt hair. They GET it. They can’t change it. They know I can’t. They are comfortable enough with me (and I with them) to hang out and have conversations while we’re releasing the demons (doesn’t it just FEEL like that sometimes???) without judging. My Poocapades actually made our relationships STRONGER!

This openness that was created by my frequent poops made for two children who feel no body shame whatsoever. It’s actually kind of amazing. It also means that they fart constantly – including right in the middle of dinner- and see nothing wrong with it, but you gotta take the good with the bad.

Why all parents should take advantage of naps

nap

We parents have busy lives; if it’s not something the kids need, it’s a chore that needs to be done or an errand that needs to be run. We have trouble even finding time to sit down and EAT- and no, eating the left over crust from your kid’s sandwich doesn’t count- so I can understanding how trying to find a chunk of free time for a nap seems like an impossibility. Well, I’m here to tell you that you NEED to!

Do the stupid dishes later! They need to soak anyway! The carpet isn’t going to cuss you out if you don’t vacuum it LIKERIGHTNOW. Cut out one of your endless errands; do you REALLY need to get all the way to the grocery store 6 hours before dinner to pick up a head of lettuce? No. No you don’t. It can ALL wait. What cannot wait is nap time. Stop the frickin’ presses and get it done!

If you haven’t experienced this magical thing called “nap time” in the recent past, you may be aware of just how powerful it truly is. Even if you’re not really all that tired (pssshhhh!), the benefits still tip the scale.

After a nice relaxing nap, the world doesn’t seem so annoying… and by the world, of course, I mean your children. Yay! We like our kids again! Those dishes you didn’t wash aren’t such an obnoxious task to complete. Errands? Yeah, you’re gonna own the shit out of those errands!

Naps can turn a bad day right around, it doesn’t even matter if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed! Dare I say- if there were naps in every parental home around the world, there would be WORLD PEACE!

Try it! I’m pretty sure you will find out that I am 5,000% correct! You walk up to that little human of yours and tell them in no uncertain terms “YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE A NAP TODAY BECAUSE A GOOD NAP EVERY DAY CAN CHANGE MY LIFE AND DAMNIT, I DESERVE IT!”

Oh… I hope you didn’t think I meant for YOU to take a nap. Pfffffffffffft, as if THAT would ever happen! Besides, any time I’ve ever taken a nap as an adult, I wake up with cotton-mouth worse than Snoop Dog or Lion or whatever the hell he is today, a massive mind-altering headache, and having NO idea how long I’ve been asleep or what year it is. I would never recommend that! It’s just AWFUL!
I DO, however, recommend you force your crotchfruit to take one, though! I look forward to nap time every single day, and every day after, I feel like a new person! A new person who actually has PATIENCE! It’s a fucking MIRACLE!

WORLD PEACE!!!