Tag Archives: kids

Proof That Kids are Clueless

As kids, we’re pretty much clueless (a state most of us maintain through adulthood, but whatever.) Anyway, I thought you could get pregnant by just kissing someone and that everyone could pretty much use their grandma’s bra as a hammock.

In other words, until we’re told the actual facts–and in the case of the birds and the bees, wishing we never knew–we just operate on assumptions.

Where am I going with this? I have to peruse Reddit for work, and there was a thread about misconceptions people had as kids. It’s funny, so I’m sharing some of the gems below.

Your mission–should you choose to accept it–is to add your own in the comments. Entertain me, people.

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I thought new words came about by important people in suits sitting in some kind of board room adding new words to the dictionary everyday, much like people pitching product ideas to a board.

I thought that signs that said “End Construction” were placed there by a group of people who were generally opposed to road construction.

I believed that maps only showed half of the Earth- the “front half”- and that there was an entirely different “back half” that you weren’t taught until you were older. I thought that’s where places like Oz and Neverland were located.

I used to think that “up yours” was a compliment, in much the same way as “upvote” or “thumbs up” is.

I thought that there were gnomes living in every single traffic light that were in charge of controlling it. Logically, one gnome wore a red hat, the other wore a yellow hat, and the last one wore a green hat. They had a little stepladder for the red gnome because he wasn’t tall enough to reach.

I didn’t discover that Alaska was not adjacent to Hawaii until I was twenty four. I thought you could practically swim from one to the other, and I couldn’t understand why their temperatures were so different.

I thought dogs and cats were the same species, just that dogs were male and cats were female.

I use to think my mom could “stop the rain”. When she was driving and it was raining, she would say “Rain, stop in 3..2..1.. NOW.” (Now would be right when we would go under a bridge in the freeway) and then say “GO!” when we were coming out from under the bridge.

Milk came from the white cows and chocolate milk came from the brown/darker cows.

I thought the signs that said “Do Not Pass” meant that you can’t go any further. I always got scared that we’d get pulled over whenever we went past one of those.

I was told moths ate clothing. I took this at its most literal meaning—that if a moth landed on me it would eat the clothes right off of my back. For years, I would run out of the room in fear if I saw a moth anywhere near me.

Thanks to the Alphabet Song, I thought “elemeno” was a letter.

The advertisements for pads and tampons confused me till I was 13. I thought they made you better at sports or helped woman be better at sports.

I was convinced because of black and white films that the “olden days” had no color in them and it was a 20th century thing. I often wondered who the first person was to make colored clothes.

I thought a mustache was created by growing long nose hairs and carefully combing them outward, away from the nose and above the lips.

I thought there was a black Michael Jackson and a white Michael Jackson.

When I heard people say, “I don’t drink,” I thought they meant they literally didn’t drink anything. When I saw a special on koalas and heard they rarely needed to drink because they ate leaves, I also just figured these people must eat lots of leaves and that’s how they never got thirsty.

I thought that each person only had a certain number of words they got to say in a life time and that if you talked a lot you’d use up all your words and run out.

I thought the “Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign incorporated all drinking, so I would spaz out when my dad drank water during long road trips.

In movies where they show a kid, and then flashed forward to him as an adult, I thought they waited all those years for the kid to grow up to film the rest of the movie.

I thought that prostitute was another word for businesswoman. My parents got called in after career day.

Because I heard, “Elvis is the king” so often I thought he was king of the world. I was just like, “Yeah, sure. Someone has got to be, right?”

I thought ‘potty training’ was an actual train.

I thought that you could only have one child per state. I was born in Illinois, my first sister in Ohio, and my next sister in Michigan. I wanted a brother so I started bugging my parents to move again. I just kept bringing up other states and it took my months to figure out why I wanted to move.

I used to think that a doctor determined whether a baby was a boy or girl by whether or not he cut the umbilical cord all the way off.

That the bank allowed adults access to unlimited amounts of money. So when my mom would say she couldn’t afford something, I’d chime in and tell her to just go to bank.

I thought clowns were a race of people just like any other.

I thought that going to a baby shower meant going to a literal shower and just washing babies. I was always very confused why other women would go to watch a baby take a shower.

I thought God had a wife named Gosh.

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How Being a Writer is Like Being a Parent

It’s no secret that the extent of my maternal skills is having a garden, and seeing as how I’m already tired of taking care of it after two months, I know that I’ll never have kids.

But most people I know do have kids, so it’s not like I’m a stranger to the toils and troubles that most parents face. Given what they say on a regular basis, I realized that being a writer isn’t all that different from being a parent at times.

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Deadlines are Seen as Suggestions

Writer: I send out an email that the deadline for copy is Sept. 1, and more often than not I’ll get an email Sept. 1 that says, “When is the deadline? Can I send it to you next week?”

Parent: Stating that bedtime is at 8 p.m. more often than not means negotiations start at 7:59 with, “What time is it? Can I just go to bed when I’m tired…three hours from now?”

Going Viral

Writer: This can be a good thing because something you wrote was seen by thousands of people on the Internet. On the other hand, it can also mean some of those people make it their mission to be crappy and (try to) make your life miserable.

Parent: Going “viral” means someone is sick and things literally get crappy, making your life miserable.

Everyone Gives You Advice

Writer: One “expert” says the best way to write is to research and plan it all out, while another “expert” says to just start writing and let inspiration guide you.

Parent: One “expert” says to plan out your child’s every movement, while another “expert” says to just let them be kids and make sure that they don’t maim themselves.

Note: Either way, someone will tell you you’re doing it wrong.

You Brag

Writer: After working hard on something you’re proud of, it’s natural to want to share it will ALL the land because everyone should love it as much as you do. However, everyone will not love it as much as you do, and at times you’re rather annoying.

Parent: After your kid does something no one has EVER done before—like started school, ate a snack or said something cute—it’s natural to want to share it with ALL the land because everyone should love your kid as much as you do. However, everyone will not love your child as much as you do, and at times you’re rather annoying.

Sleep is Never the Same

Writer: You lie awake in the middle of the night, worried that you will NEVER be creative again, or conversely, because you had a great idea that you absolutely had to write down.

Parent: You lie awake in the middle of the night, either worried about your offspring or because of your offspring waking you up to get them a glass of water they will forget that wanted a mere two minutes later.

Grammar Police

Writer: While you hate to perpetuate a stereotype, you at least mentally correct the grammar of those you’re around and people who know “there,” “their” and “they’re” get metaphorical gold stars every day.

Parent: No sweetheart, every time someone says, “I could care less” when they mean, “I couldn’t care less,” Santa Claus steals from cute kittens.

You Need Thick Skin

Writer: You’re rejected more often than not, and thick skin is required (as are soft pillows for when you bang your head on your desk in despair, hypothetically speaking.)

Parent: Kids hold nothing back. If you’re ugly or smell, they’ll tell you you’re ugly and smell. There’s nowhere to hide.


In both instances, there is often whining and wine, a sense that you’re usually underappreciated and that what you say is completely ignored most of the time.

But at the end of the day, you would do it all over again because the joys infinitely outweigh the pains. And if even one person loves what you create—even if that one person is only you—it makes it all worthwhile.

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Ice Cream Trucks and Wino Wheels

Ahh…summer.

The sound of birds chirping, lawnmowers buzzing and music like “The Entertainer” coming from a janky 1980s model white van driven by a creepy older male trying to lure children to his vehicle in order to sell them sugar-laden treats.

Oh yes, the ice cream truck.

As a kid I can remember the siren song of summer and how we would run outside and try to chase after a moving vehicle in order to procure many of the same frozen treats found in our freezers.

But when you think about it, ice cream trucks were  “trendy” ahead of their time. It’s like some marketing genius thought, “Hey! Just thinking out loud here, but how about a food truck marketed only towards kids! Instead of food, it sells nothing but ice cream!”

Running with the idea, they decided to play kid-friendly music on repeat—including completely nonsensical songs like “La Cucaracha”—and drive by the houses right about the time harried parents are trying to convince their kids that eating the spinach on their plate will make them strong like Popeye.

(Popeye. Another theme song they used. Well-played, Ice Cream Man. Well-played.)

Because kids love anything related to sugar and instant gratification, the ice cream men decided to see just how much they could charge before the BBB got wind of their sleek operation.

A menu of carefully arranged the choices was painted on the side of the truck so that there are the plain popsicles or ice cream sandwiches that cost $2—known as “boring and stupid” by most children—and then, right next to them there are the ones shaped like Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse with candy eyes and sprinkles for $5.

In other words, the price parents would pay for a whole box of the things. Frozen food truck or wizard on wheels? You be the judge.

But I think they’re really missing another gold opportunity with this one. Apparently when you reach a certain age, it’s “inappropriate” to go running out of the house with a five-spot, pushing small children out of your way in an attempt to flag down the ice cream man for a Bomb Pop.

Who makes up these rules?

Anyway, what they need to do is have a second truck creep about 100 yards behind the ice cream truck. Only this time instead of serving ice cream and blasting “The Entertainer,” this truck serves iced adult beverages and streams Bon Jovi through speakers.

Think about it. Parents will LOVE to hear the ice cream man come down the street and happily let their kids spend $4 for a sherbet push-up if they are secure in the knowledge that a drive-by wine tasting is only a few minutes away.

These Wino Wheels could easily expand their reach by parking down the street from ice cream trucks at youth sporting events, making those outdoor soccer tournaments and softball games a little more tolerable after a swig of chardonnay or a beer.

Everyone can enjoy a cold one of choice.

Happy kids. Happy parents.

Cheers to that!

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Hitting the Target

I was in Target the other afternoon for one thing, meaning the second I walked in I suddenly felt like I needed to buy ALL the things.

As I was walking down an aisle silently praising myself for not grabbing a shopping basket—if I only grab what I can carry, it cuts down on the damages—I saw a little girl with sun-bleached blonde hair and a deep summer tan by the toys.

She looked to be about four or five, but then again I’m a horrible judge of age when it comes to kids. She could be 12 with a criminal record for all I know, but she was little.

Anyway, a second later a boy who looked to be her slightly older, tanned blonde brother came and told her that their mom was waiting. She put down the toy and flip-flopped her way through the store.

I ran into the kids again a few minutes later with a woman who was unmistakably their mother. An older daughter and a baby added to the mix, all of them chatting and shopping — mom telling the boy that they had chips at home and the baby babbling happily from her perch in the cart.

For some weird reason I couldn’t stop looking, which wasn’t hard to do considering they ended up being those people that I kept running into every single aisle.

But I was struck.

This will sound weird coming from me, but the beauty of that seemingly average family scene really touched me in some way. Maybe it was the tans and identical blonde hair or the fact that the mom seemed like one of those moms that the neighborhood kids would all like. Maybe it was the way the kids seemed so fun or the fact that they were well-behaved.

I don’t know what it was, but something just drew me back in. So the next time that our paths crossed and we did that polite, “Yes, we’ve just run into each other again and I’ll give that fake smile once more” thing, I let her know.

“I’m not a weirdo or anything,” I said as we passed once again, which is always a good way to start. “But you have a beautiful family—and they’re all so polite, as well!”

With the baby moved to her hip, she looked stunned, as if I’d just told her the little blonde midget walking through all the toys did have a criminal record.

“Oh my gosh,” she said as she smiled a bit shyly. “You don’t know just how much that means. We have our moments, but yes, we truly are blessed. Thank you so much for that. Really, thank you.”

At that the baby began shrieking, the mom made a joke about how we had cursed things and we went our separate ways, the older kids politely not making any comments about the crazy lady with her arms full of ALL THE THINGS who refused to just grab a cart.

But along with unnecessary items, I also had a strong sense of peace. I know I will never walk into Target as a mom, and will probably never walk in as a wife. Those are experiences that will elude me, experiences I’ll never have, but those are the choices I make.

And while I have not one iota of doubt, regret or envy, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of what I don’t want or extend my admiration for those who chose paths that I’ll never walk down.

My path is mine. Her path is hers.

And that is a beautiful thing.

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Dressing Up and Calming Down

There’s about a month left until Halloween, which means there’s about a month left for people to complain and flip their shit about sexy Halloween costumes and how women use the holiday to look like sluts.

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I might or might not have this costume somewhere at my house.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that one of my magazines works with costume companies about five months out of the year. Some are sexy adult costumes done in a classy way, some generally questionable and others are cute costumes for children or pets.

Because of this involvement, I actually deal with costumes for the next few months that won’t be released until 2012. In other words, I see a lot of licensed characters and stilettos, and although it can get old fast, I like it more than I don’t.

Insider tip: Whereas fairy tales were trending last year, look for superhero costumes to dominate in 2012.

Anyway, let’s get something straight first—this is not about children’s costumes, as I’m not opening up that can of worms. While there might be some questionable youth costumes in stores, a more modest and “traditional” costume is much easier to find. Any parent that allows their little princess to walk around dressed like a smelly pirate a hooker for Halloween has a screw loose.

Toddlers-and-Tiaras_240

But of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to dress like hookers on a TV show broadcast to millions each week, right? 

I’m much more offended by “Toddlers & Tiaras”  than I am any costume I see in a store for an adult. And while I do think Halloween is much more for the kids to dress up and eat Candy Corn (first ingredient—wax) for breakfast,  I don’t understand why so many women bring out the claws towards other women who use this one night a year to dress up like something they’re not.

You see that outfit in my blog header?

I originally wore it to a Halloween party in Chicago given by the largest party/costume company in the world. I believe it was called, “Disco Diva,” and if I had the opportunity, I would walk the runway—not the neighborhood sidewalks, mind you— at the trade shows I attend in any of the adult costumes out there.

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The shoes are my favorite. Specifically, this “Mardi Gras” model from Ellie Shoes.

These costumes aren’t meant to be worn to the PTA meeting or trick-or-treating with the kids, and with the exception of Halloween night, I doubt you would see a woman wearing one in the grocery store.

Adults who wear these costumes to adult parties are simply playing a part. It’s Halloween. It’s pretend. It’s expected. That’s why I roll my eyes and cringe a little when the stories and blog posts start rolling in about how Halloween is just a time for women to dress like sluts and corrupt the minds of our youth.

6030 Lil' Gobbler

Seriously. I’m not a kid person, but how cute is this?

And while I’ll agree that some women might use Oct. 31 to go for the slut suit, I’m pretty sure those women aren’t pillars of morality for children the other 364 days a year.

So I don’t roll my eyes and cringe when I walk into stores this time of year and see “sexy” adult costumes on a shelf. Just like half the “stylish” clothes you find at the mall that are tasteless and questionable, I don’t have to wear them if I don’t want to and neither do you.

But if an adult finds something that they like and it fits the occasion, I see nothing wrong with continuing the trend of pretend for one night of the year. After all, we all need an escape, if only for a few hours. zebradog

Especially this little guy.

I do prefer the more clever and creative costume images I have sent to me, and there are a bunch out there.

What’s been your most creative and clever costume idea? Are you going to dress up this year?

If you can’t beat them, join them

Because I’m sure you are all wondering how I’m doing, let me put your minds at ease by saying my canker sore has gone away—for now. Thank you for your kind words, as they helped me through a very rough two days. I’ll assume your cash donation is in the mail.

Then again, I might not need your money.

You see, I’m thinking of becoming a “Mommy Blogger.”

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Even though I don’t have children by choice, I sometimes get the feeling that people think I am a card-carrying mom and kid hater. This largely comes from other women’s reactions to my decision to keep my uterus empty, mind you, but I can tell you that I’m not. I just have no interest in reading about children and pregnancy and everything that goes along with it.

To each their own.

But I’m beginning to think that I’m missing out on something in the blog world—the opportunities afforded to those moms who blog, and moms in general.

According to eMarketer, there were 3.9 million moms who were blogging in 2010. Now I have to think there’s a big difference between moms who blog solely about their children and daily potty training attempts and those women who simply have “mom” as one of their roles, and as writers, aim to contribute more to a greater cultural dialogue.

But the term “mommy blog” is as prevalent as the nation’s current obsession with bacon and Target’s Missoni collection, and let me tell you, it looks like moms are getting some perks.

If you write about your children, you are automatically inducted into a club of sorts, as motherhood binds women together via a common experience and therefore represents “womanhood” to a lot of people. So they can talk about anything that happens in a typical day—nursing, discipline, juggling duties, etc.— and have an instant audience and steady material, not to mention advertisers looking to place all their ads.

Don’t get me wrong in that I think it’s great that there’s a support system out there (and sponsors and such.)

But lost in the shuffle is the fact that other women (and men) — without children — do their own juggling act by working to support themselves and dealing with stressful issues of their own—finances, security, dying relatives, health issues, family drama — and they don’t get a special parking space or a Sarah Jessica Parker movie incredulously saying, “I Don’t Know How She Does It!” 

That last one’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, with just about everyone spitting spawn out left and right and getting some perks with the deal, I feel a bit left out. But I have no interest in anything maternal, and even if it provided me daily fodder to write about, I don’t care enough about popularity to even interact with a child on a daily basis.

So I thought about using the “Mommy Blogger” template to create a “Gnome Blogger” format that might just sweep the country.

Uncle June could totally pimp out “Just For Men” or Keebler cookies.

I could talk about his daily adventures and whether or not I should use organic cleaners to wipe off his face, how I feel he’s exponentially smarter than every other gnome on the planet and update you on his bowel movements.

Since I already take him on airplanes and trips, maybe he would like to go to the store or the gym with me some days? Perhaps some play dates?

But again, I feel like he’s a bit too needy for daily interaction. Plus, I want to share more of my identity as a writer outside of my role as a gnome mother, so I guess that we’re back to square one.

I’m stuck aiming to contribute to a greater cultural dialogue about important things that need to be discussed—you know, things like punctuation marks, senior citizen Bingo games and banana clips.

But for the record, Uncle June is exponentially smarter than every other gnome on the planet.

Life’ Suggestion Box: To coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

First seen on Kid Free Living as my guest post.

I know you’ve probably read it over there already, but I figured I should have a copy on my own blog.  A new post will go up tomorrow, if I remember what I was going to write about and then remember to write it.

To: Coworkers who want me to love their children as much as they do

I’m a writer/editor and generally go to work to produce things. In fact, I’m even paid to go to work to produce things. One thing I will never produce is offspring, and no disrespect, but I am not paid to find out exactly what the offspring you produced said that was “so cute” or what they produced while sitting on potty.

I have it written in my contract.

Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy personal interaction with you and other coworkers in minimal doses, and although I would rather have a root canal once a week for the rest of my life than have children, I respect your decision to reproduce. Casual conversation about life outside the office can be lovely, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

What we’re talking about is when you invade my space and force me to hear stories of possible allergies and prolific artistic talents with macaroni and glue, forcing me to concoct ideas on how I can use office supplies to plot your untimely and mysterious disappearance.

I can block you on Facebook, I can choose to “leave discussion” or “delete conversation.” But this option is not available in real life and any attempt to implement these solutions in the office is apparently frowned upon.

So in the interest of keeping the peace in the office—and resentment and homicidal tendencies to a minimum—I thought I might make a few suggestions to help us move past this:

  1. Take off the baby blinders and look for the signs. Perhaps you think I’m interested because I’m looking past your head, pretending to look busy at my computer,  breathing deeply (sighing, not in a creepy panting “What are you wearing?” phone call way) and occasionally nodding my head politely. I’m not. In all actuality, I tuned out the second the words “kidlet” and “breast pump” were dropped into conversation as you dropped off my mail.
  2. Keep pictures to a minimum. If you bring in normal pictures and the situation is casual, I might take a genuine interest in seeing what the little bugger looks like. I do not need them emailed to me from your office account and I do not need to receive a mouse pad with your offspring’s picture on it. No one not related to you does, and even your relatives are just being polite.
  3. NEVER force me to look at an ultrasound picture, as all embryos look like aliens and freak me the heck out.
  4. Understand that when I say I don’t want to have children, I really mean I don’t want to have children. Please do not look at me as if I just declared I don’t want to ever have fun or time to myself again, as for me, having children would amount to never having fun or time to myself again. To put it in parental terms, it would be a permanent “time out” for me.
  5. Finally, if you bring your child into the office to show them off, please do not be offended if I don’t immediately come running out to make conversation in a high-pitched voice, hold them or pet them. I understand that you’re proud of the little mouth breathers, and I’m sure they’re lovely, but kids are not my thing. If you bring in a puppy, it’s a totally different story.

If we can reach a mutual understanding that my office is a kid-free environment, things will go much smoother in the future. If not, the personalized mouse pad will be used as a dartboard.

You’ve been warned.