July 29, 2010


Today is another tough-to-get-going day. I spent last night dreaming I was unhappily dating my high school boyfriend and living in an apartment that was under siege by, like, cannons. And, like, flaming logs and stuff. While it was a relief to wake up and find the the girl my high school boyfriend cheated on me with was no longer jumping out at me (and that flaming logs were no longer a problem), I still don't feel particularly PERKY this morning.

The kids watched Kung Fu Panda yesterday, so today I have this stuck in my head: "Yesterday is history; tomorrow's a mystery; today is a gift, that's why they call it the present." Um. Thanks. (Though---I mean, are we all clear that that's NOT why "they" call it the present? And why does "what sounds good" so often trump "what's true"?) (See? This is the kind of day it is.)

Anyway, I made a pot of coffee and took an iron supplement, and we'll see if those two things together can give me the energy and strength to lift a single drop into the bucket.

And actually, although I'm draggy, I'm CHEERY-draggy. If you know what I mean. Like cheery-melancholy, where you feel blue but you kind of LIKE it and enjoy wallowing in it a bit, as opposed to regular melancholy where you feel like crap? This is cheery-draggy, where I'm kind of enjoying the groaning and the making of coffee and the flopping in a recliner and the crabby remarks.

July 26, 2010

In the Bucket. IN!

Today feels like a day of insurmountable obstacles: everywhere I look, another problem I can't stand to deal with. Laundry, obviously. Fruit flies. The stuff I bought yesterday and didn't put away. Consumerism in general. The minimum number of servings of fruits and vegetables that should be eaten by our family per day (thirty-five) (PER DAY). The spilled Pixos all over the dining room floor. The way so many things seem to migrate to the floor. The difficulty of continually training children to pick it all up again.

The way caffeine and alcohol and shopping and food do/don't help. The inevitable, looming problems of aging. The difficulty of spelling words such as "aging" and "eying," especially when I was so sure the difficult part was that they DID have the E before the ING. The messiness of my purse. The three phone calls I need to make. The decision about whether to let all the children go to a birthday party they were all invited to, and what to do about presents. The first empty jam jar from the homemade jam, and the question it raises of where to store it until next year. A work deadline so tight it's likely a matter of someone else's lack of planning constituting an emergency on my part.

So far I'm handling it by surmounting small things. It feels TOTALLY POINTLESS to pick up and put away Elizabeth's headband when it is only one item of hundreds on the playroom floor, but I have LONG SAID that "all or nothing" is one of the WORST mental downfalls for me. All or nothing is the attitude that makes people say that if you eat a cheeseburger it's dumb to drink diet Coke, or that if you cheat on your diet you might as well write off the whole day/week and start over tomorrow/Monday. It's the attitude that makes people think that if you're not going to be totally ripped, you're an idiot to bother taking the stairs. It's the attitude that makes people think there's no sense donating to charity if they can only give $5, or $1. And it's the attitude that makes me sink into despair as I contemplate all there is to do and the futility of doing any of it.

But no! We resist it! It is NOT all or nothing! All or nothing is not an appropriate attitude for a person who owns a math medal! Picking up the headband may be a drop in the bucket, but it IS A DROP, and the drop is IN THE BUCKET. That is better than having it out of the bucket with all the other drops! One drop > zero drops, just as cheeseburger calories < cheeseburger calories plus Coke calories. MATH. IT IS ABOUT MATH.

So that is what I'm doing today. I'm moving like a zombie, a zombie killed by despair and reanimated by children fighting over NOTHING, as USUAL, but I'm doing little things one after another. I emptied the dish-drying rack. I took one thing out of the Target bag and I put it away. I put in a load of towels. I put away Elizabeth's headband. Those drops are IN THE BUCKET, people! IN THE BUCKET!

July 24, 2010

Kitten Shower

Today I took the four older kids to a "kitten shower." It's an annual fundraising event thrown by our local animal shelter. It's like a baby shower, except you bring presents for...um, the kittens.

And that's all we did. Yep. We just brought our gift, which was kitten food and some cat toys, and we dropped them off, and we looked at the kittens. And that's all.

Really. We looked at the kittens, maybe we bought some raffle tickets or something, but that's all.

We won one of the raffles, too! It was a cat basket, full of cat toys and cat food! Pretty awesome.

Okay, we also had a snack. We had a snack at the kitten shower, and we also learned a lot about cats from an informational video about cat adoption.

Oh, and we used their bathroom. Yes, we also did that.

Oh, and we took home a party favor.

It's a kitten! She's three months old, and we don't know what to name her! And if she keeps purring so loud she's going to SPRAIN something!

July 22, 2010

How to Decide if We Want a Second Child

Samantha posted this question on Twitter about a second child: "How do you KNOW when you want another? I'M SO CONFUSED."

Note that she was not asking ME at all. She was asking Jonniker. Did this stop me from mulling the question? Er, no. And is it stopping me from answering it JUST AS IF IT HAD BEEN ASKED OF ME? Why, no! (Hi, Sam! I'm in ur Twitter, eavesdropping on ur conversations!)

So, second child! PART of it, I think, is very similar to deciding to have the first child: there is a leap involved. A feeling of, "We CAN'T KNOW if this is a good decision for us or not. It COULD be the best decision ever, or the worst, or anywhere in between. Given that we CAN'T KNOW, we will have to make a GUESS. And looking around us at other people who have had a first/second child and been glad they did, at least eventually, we're going to gamble that we too will be glad, at least eventually."

And part of it was an "on paper" kind of decision: what do we want Our Family to BE? A family with one child? A family with two children? What do we theoretically WANT?

And part of it is the same as ANY experience we're considering repeating: we answer the question, "Did the GOOD of this experience balance the BAD in a way that made it WORTH IT and make us want to REPEAT IT?"

If you've had a second child, how did you decide? Was it the same for you as it was for me---i.e., a combination of leap/gamble and theoretical want and worth-repeating-ness?

If you're considering a second child now, how are you working through the decision?

July 19, 2010

Three Updates: UTI, Morning Exercise Plan, and Jam Seediness

I have a UTI. For some reason this doesn't strike me as being at all TMI, possibly because a UTI takes up THE ENTIRE WORLD, and can't you just TELL from the way EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS WRONG that I have a UTI? I'm not telling you anything you don't know, is my point. I bought cranberry juice at Target while my prescription was being filled, so that I could take my first dose of antibiotic before even leaving the parking lot. I had also already taken Azo (pain relief for this very problem), and that DOES help but NOT NEARLY ENOUGH, and also the nurses are so exasperated with me for taking it because it messes up the pee test. A nurse today actually THREW HER HANDS UP IN THE AIR upon hearing that I had not chosen to spend all night wide awake and weeping with misery, unable to sleep because of feeling as if I desperately needed to pee. Has she never had a UTI? I wish her one, on a weekend after Urgent Care has closed for the afternoon, as a gift to improve her understanding of modern medicine.

The morning exercise plan was a total fail. I did it for about a week and then...didn't anymore. BUT, it was also a success, because trying to exercise in the morning dramatically improved my attitude about exercising in the evening. If I'm even tempted to flop and whine, I just imagine getting out of bed to put on workout shoes, and I suddenly feel cheerier.

The jam I made is very delicious, but is SO FULL OF SEEDS. And this is AFTER I removed many MANY seeds: for 4 cups of mashed fruit, I got about 3/4ths cup seeds. Paul and William took a random sample of berries and COUNTED THE SEEDS IN EACH ONE, so I can now say that based on a sample from our black raspberry bushes, black raspberries have an average of 49 seeds each. Well, this does explain why the jam is still jam-packed with seeds despite my efforts. How do the jam makers do it? Brute force, I'm guessing. A total lack of regard for the berries' feelings.

July 17, 2010


OMG I think I made jam. Real JAM. I would have taken more pictures except I was too in awe of my own self (and/or too busy comparing self favorably to Caroline Ingalls) to operate a camera.

FIRST, I picked black raspberries until my poor arms and legs were scratched/bitten to the dickens.

THEN, I froze those berries in single layers on cookie sheets before transferring them to freezer ziploc bags.

THEN, I thawed MORE BERRIES THAN I COULD POSSIBLY NEED: 7.5 cups, for a recipe that called for 4 cups of mashed berries.

THEN, I used my late mother-in-law's applesauce-straining system (it is a metal sieve thing, plus a stand for the sieve thing, and a wooden thing to squoosh the fruit through the sieve thing) to remove some of the seeds from the berries.

THEN, I discovered that 7.5 cups berries made 3.5 cups berry mash plus .5 cups seeds.

THEN, I thawed another salad-plateful of berries, which made up the other .5 cup of mashed (without any seed-removal measures taken).

THEN, I stirred some freezer-jam fruit pectin into 1.5 cups of sugar, and then added my finally-4-cups of mashed berries.

THEN, I stirred for 3 minutes.

THEN, I put that stuff into 5 plastic 8-ounce freezer-jam containers.

THEN, I waited 30 minutes.

THEN, I transferred the containers to the freezer, and put the remaining stuff in another container for the fridge.

THEN: JAM, BABY, OH YEAH. And it only took $4.50 of containers plus $3.00 of pectin plus $scratches plus $time, and you know what? Jam is only like $2-$3 jar at the store.

(But still! JAM!! From BERRIES that GROW in my YARD!)

(Plus, I can reuse the containers.)

July 13, 2010

Token it Up a Notch

I would like to KISS ON THE LIPS whichever commenter mentioned the plan of making children earn video game minutes with reading. ...Wait, I'd give a kiss on the lips but I won't take a few seconds to look it up? Hang on, BRB. Okay, so on the post where I asked for input on how much time children should be allowed to play video games, it was in fact SEVERAL commenters who get kisses on the lips (cash substitution available) (kisses have no cash value): Sara Hammond, my friend Mairzy, Andrea Unplugged, js, Donna, and Beyond ALL mentioned the concept of letting kids EARN video game time.

Looking through to find which commenters those were, I was reminded of how GOOD that comments section was (really, go look if you haven't already---a great assortment of viewpoints). It showed me what I thought about video games, as I found myself identifying with certain comments. It turns out I'm on the side of not setting a particular number of minutes (for one thing because my kids, like some commenters' kids, would then make SURE they played ALL the minutes, rather than some days playing less or none), and on the side of basing daily video game decisions on what else has been done that day, and whether video game playing seems to be leading to poor-quality moods, and whether we have a brand new game to play, and what type of game is being played, and so forth.

Several commenters also pointed out a problem I'd noticed but hadn't NOTICED-noticed, which is that the trouble with a lot of kids is that if one kid is playing and the others are watching that kid play, then having a certain number of minutes doesn't really work: even if each kid were allowed 30 minutes, they could theoretically watch another TWO HOURS of someone else's video game time. This is a problem with TV time, too, as you might imagine.

ANYWAY, I was most inspired by the concept of letting kids BUY video game time. I was worried this might lead to increased playing (because they'd have EARNED the right to play, rather than it being up to my whim), or to them feeling like books = chores, or SOMETHING, so I broached the idea tentatively to the two older kids for discussion. They were RIVETED by the idea, and we talked for a long time about what would count toward earning minutes, and also I said I would change the rules if things weren't working out.

Here are the things they can do to earn minutes: read, write (journal or creative), do workbook pages, do Sudoku or crossword puzzles. It's one minute of those things to buy one minute of video games, and they don't start with any free minutes.

Well, and then the twins wanted in on it too. So here's what they can do to earn minutes: read, practice writing their names/letters, do workbook pages, do flashcards. So we modified the older kids' list: if they help a younger sibling with flashcards, they earn minutes too.

We went out and bought a timer and a package of poker chips (which we call "tokens"), and some workbooks and flashcards (Target has a bunch in their dollar section). We labeled disposable plastic cups with the kids' names (except Henry, who is too young for this), and we made a code for poker chip colors: blue is 10 minutes, green is 30 minutes, etc. When they do a token-earning activity, they put a token in their cup; when they play a video game, they pay a token first, then set a timer for the number of minutes of the token. (They can do computer research for free, assuming it doesn't get out of hand.)

We left some things undecided for now, such as what if two kids both have tokens and both want to play, how long can one kid play before having to give the other kid a turn? And I'm hoping no one will notice that when one kid spends a token, the other kids can watch without having to spend tokens. We'll see if those issues come up or not.

And do you know what all this has led to, at least this first week? TOKEN HOARDING. Almost ZERO video-game playing, and LOTS of token-earning. COMPETITIVE token-earning. Children saying things such as, "Hey, how many tokens do you have? WHAT!! I'm going to go read RIGHT NOW." Children saying things such as, "I'm tempted to spend a token---but I'm not sure it would be worth it." Children saying things such as, "Wow, half an hour goes by a lot faster than I thought!" We have AWARENESS OF VIDEO GAME TIME FLOW developing! We have AWARENESS OF SPENDING PRIORITIES developing! PARDON MY ENTHUSIASTIC USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS.

And--AND--now we have an EXCELLENT punishment: we can TAKE AWAY TOKENS. We don't have any system set up for that yet, but if something comes up later I can say, "From now on, whenever you do that, you lose a 10-minute token." This is easier than saying, "That's it, no more video games today!" which, first of all, punishes ME too, and secondly can lead to the child saying, "Fine, I didn't want to play any more games ANYWAY!" and then I'd have to bang my head against the wall for awhile, so really this is to everyone's benefit. This lets me take away video game time from whenever they WOULD have wanted to play it, nyah nyah.

July 11, 2010

Elves and Vents

When I drink, I get cheery and productive. This leads to pleasant surprises in the morning. "What is my brownie pan doing on the stove? Did Paul 'unload the dishrack'? OH! There are BROWNIES in it!" "OMG, did Paul actually SCRUB THE TOILET??? ....Oh, wait! That was ME!" "Shoot, we don't have any muffins. OH WAIT WE DO!!" "Wow, CLEAN SHEETS!!" "Wow, CLEAN LITTER BOX!" "Hey, what's all this neatly folded laundry??" I am a homemaker's elf!

Now you all totally want to invite me over and ply me with liquor, don't you? Sadly, this productivity works only in my own house: I have to be able to do the work on auto-pilot. At other people's houses, I get progressively more useless, eventually unable to figure out how to get more ice without dropping it so it skitters under the fridge.

Two little vents:

1. In the last two days, I have been cut off FOUR TIMES by someone turning in front of me so close I had to put the brakes on HARD to avoid hitting them. The first three times it was close enough that I couldn't even honk, because I was concentrating too hard on AVOIDING FIERY DEATHS---not only ours, but of the idient (that's how Henry says "idiot," usually right before he bites the toy he's angry at) who turned right in front of us. Yesterday, though, I had time to brake AND honk, and I may have overdone the honk a bit. It wasn't "Honk, hi, you probably didn't see me here! Maybe be more careful next time, 'kay?," it was "HONNNNNNNNNNK, YOU IDIENNNNNNNNT!!!!!!!!!!" I think I put all four honkportunities into one.

2. Not TOO often, but periodically, I get a Postcrossing card that is NOT A POSTCARD. A notecard, for example, or an index card. I wish for a button that would let me register that I'd received the postcard but that it was NOT A POSTCARD: I don't want to just not register it, since they DID send me something, but isn't this like sending a stamp collector a sheet of stickers? Grr. No big deal in the universal scheme of things, but still kind of ANNOYING.

July 8, 2010

Therapeutic PHALE

Last night after the kids went to bed I went to Target by myself. At first it was LOVELY AND PERFECT: driving there in the pretty sunshine all by myself, listening to music; browsing at length in a complicated sale section where decisions had to be made, without having to say, "Could you LET MOMMY CONCENTRATE for JUST A MINUTE??!?"; not having to get snacks or drinks of water for anyone; etc.

Then, though, I started feeling panicky. This has happened the last few times I've gone out by myself during the evenings, and what I'd like to know is WTH? I'm strolling along having a perfectly nice time, loading the cart without having to wedge things in around the complaining children, and the next thing is that I start feeling edgy and nervous, and like maybe I should just ditch my cart and go home. The lighting in the store seems all off because it's getting dark outside, and the employees are doing cleaning-up routines, and WHY AM I EVEN HERE?? I DON'T NEED THIS STUFF! WE CAN DO WITHOUT TOILET PAPER, SURELY!

I had several things I was allegedly panicking "about," but I think it was like when you're sleeping and there's a weird sound and your brain tries to justify it by altering your dream to make it fit. Your brain is all, "Wait, we're in school, why is an alarm clock going off? That makes no sense," and so then in your dream you're still trying to take the test but now the school's smoke detector is malfunctioning and the teacher is making you keep working on the test anyway.

Anyway, I felt like in Target my brain was thinking, "Wait, we're just shopping at Target, a store we LOVE, why are we panicking? That makes no sense," and so then it searched around in the archives for Panicky Subjects I must be trying to access since otherwise why all the complicated emotions over cans of lime-flavored sparkling water? It can't be the sparkling water, so it must be panic about Rob's impending trip through adolescence, or about how I'm spending too much money and probably Paul will lose his job and THEN I'll rue the day I spent $1.24 on a clearanced flower pot!!!

Well, so, I managed not to ditch the cart, but I cut the trip short and went home with my cereal and toilet paper and $1.24 flower pot. The whole way home I still felt all weird and skitty, and my poor brain had to continue scrambling to find some sort of sensible explanation ("Aaaaack, other people's cars are scary and contain scary people! The young man in that car has Alarming Hair!!").

I felt better once I got home and made Paul listen to the whole story, complete with vigorous arm movements and rising-pitch/volume voice, but I think perhaps these evening Outings By Myself are not working as therapeutic relaxation.

July 7, 2010

Cheerful. Relentless. Destructive. THREE.

I went out to hang a load of laundry on the line. I am sort of relishing saying that. Like saying "I went out to pick black raspberries for breakfast." It has elements of both idyll and righteousness: I am Mother, and I am serene and lovely as I go about my simple and lovely daily household tasks. Perhaps I am wearing a calico dress, and little wisps of hair are escaping prettily from my bun to curl near my healthy rosy cheeks. It was particularly satisfying this morning since what I was clipping to the line included HANDKERCHIEFS and REUSABLE PADS. Could I BE any greener? (You: "Perhaps if you were doing this on purpose, rather than only because your dryer broke.")

ANYWAY, I pinned up a load of laundry, so that's how long I was gone. Ten minutes? When I came back in, I found:
  • door locked, both doorknob lock and deadbolt
  • empty candy wrappers on dining room floor
  • kitchen towel and soap dispenser in sink
  • Henry's underpants and pants in the trash
  • Henry wearing only shirt and socks
  • chocolate on Henry's face and shirt
  • cushions off couch
  • diapers removed from package and strewn about room

That doesn't look like much, I guess, now that I see it in a tidy little list. Perhaps it's more the cumulative effect of having these things happen ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

The ONLY TIME Henry is not on a path of relentless, cheerful destruction

July 6, 2010

All Day I'm Going to be Thinking It's Monday

It has only just come to my attention that Paul, when he doesn't know where an item goes, just leaves it in the dishwasher. Now, I know we've all been THOROUGHLY SCHOOLED in how we are never, ever, EVER to criticize our spouse's Alternate and Equally Legitimate Way of Doing Things. But surely this only applies when the spouse's way is not WRONG. There are many ways to legitimately unload a dishwasher, but I submit that ALL those ways result in an UNLOADED DISHWASHER. Plus, it has been a long time since there was anything to tease Paul about.

I did The Shred for the second time. The nice thing about being a late adopter is that I've already read everyone's stories of ouchie knees and not being able to walk up stairs and so forth, so although I might not avoid these problems myself, I can at least alternate The Shred with other kinds of exercise to reduce the injuries. Anyway, I have several comments:

1. THANK YOU to everyone who mentioned I can TURN JILLIAN'S VOICE OFF. I think it is very funny that they included that as a feature on the DVD. Like they knew we'd want that. I turned it off already, because after only one viewing I was already FULL UP of her telling me that if I wanted a workout that was only 20 minutes I wasn't going to get any breaks. Well, DO excuse me, Jillian, if I continue to be the one to make the decisions about that.

2. Also, it doesn't really matter how many times she says it's only 20 minutes, it's closer to 30.

3. And speaking of reading everyone else's reports, I've read "You can do anything for 20 minutes!" a zillion quintillion times, and I think it is safe to say "Nonsense" in a firm, Mary Poppins sort of voice. I failed both the "hand in ice water" test and the "clothespin on finger" test in childbirth preparation class, and neither of those were anywhere near as long as 20 minutes. (And speaking of which, I don't see how either of those prepared us for the sensation of being repeatedly stabbed with a knife in the pelvic region for 27 hours. Though I guess I can see why they would find it difficult to simulate that.) As it turns out, I CAN do the level-one Shred workout, but that's not because I can do anything for 20 minutes, it's because it's a whole bunch of much shorter things. If it were 20 minutes of just push-ups, I wouldn't be able to do it, because (and here we come back to my main point) I can't in fact do anything for 20 minutes. /vent And also, it's more like 30. /vent again

4. I got a yoga mat on Freecycle, and I'm surprised how much comfier that makes the sit-ups and push-ups. The mat is so THIN, I wouldn't think it would help at all. A large part of it is that it keeps me from having to put my hands and knees on the floor crumbs.

5. Even being aware of the knee problems, and even modifying exercises that seem knee-dangerous, I STILL feel it in my knees. Has anyone verified that Jillian knows what she's doing?

July 4, 2010

Blackberry Black Raspberry Riches

I hope it doesn't lower me in your esteem when I tell you that this is the first year in ten that we've harvested our abundant, free, blackberry black raspberry crop, from blackberry black raspberry bushes that grow maintenance-free in our yard. The children kept going out into the yard and coming back full of snack, so I finally ventured out and found that the crop above the 4-foot level was FORMIDABLE.

In my defense, and in the paraphrased words of Jillian Michaels, blackberries black raspberries DON'T COME FOR FREE.

I have thorn scratches and bug bites all over my arms and ankles, and I would not even describe myself as someone who particularly LIKES blackberries black raspberries---though the mosquitoes clearly think I'm ker-razy for feeling ambivalent, since they themselves have strong feelings on the issue and have spelled out those feelings in a dot-to-dot worksheet on my body.

I've given one batch to my parents, and I'm freezing my third batch as we speak. I remembered reading that the right way to freeze berries was to put them single-layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them, and THEN transfer them to a plastic baggie, so that's what I'm doing and I'm hoping I'm right, but I also don't really care because, as I mentioned, I don't particularly like blackberries black raspberries. What I mostly like is feeling like a pioneer as I pick, gather, and, er, freeze in my multi-cubic-foot electric freezer. Just like Caroline Ingalls did, amirite?

And for all you modern-day Mrs. Ingallses, I recommend having a few shots of liquor before you venture out a-pickin', because it makes all the stab-and-PULL assaults of thorns so much less bothersome.

July 3, 2010

Reader Question: Decluttering the Wedding Dress

Christy writes:
I have a decluttering/wedding dress question. I'm in the midst of a huge declutter, and I can't decide what to do with my wedding dress. I've been married for 11 years and haven't once looked at my dress until I embarked on operation get rid of stuff. I need opinions. Keep or donate? I can't decide! What did you and your readers do?

Oh, neat question! My first wedding dress I intended to keep, and I wondered about maybe dyeing it a different color so I could wear it again. It wasn't a wedding dress per se, just a white lacy dress bought off a clearance rack in the Better Dresses department---on clearance because it looked wayyyyy too much like a wedding dress for anyone else to buy it, is my guess. And dyeing it would not have worked, I don't think, but it didn't matter because the marriage ended Embarrassingly Soon, and I donated the dress to Goodwill, or maybe I threw it away, I can't remember. Anyway I got rid of it.

My second wedding dress was even LESS weddingish: Paul and I got married with a justice of the peace and no guests, and our goal was to wear clothes we could then wear to other people's weddings, so he wore nice khaki pants and a white oxford and a tie, and I wore a dark green dress with a floral pattern. We did in fact wear those outfits to a couple of weddings, which was fun and sentimental. I still have the dress even though it's too small for me now. (This is the problem with losing weight for a wedding.)

But neither of these was a Big White Dress situation. I think that if I'd had a BWD, I would have gotten rid of it during one of our moves. They take up so much space, and have so little use. I think I'd do what the decluttering books advise and "Keep the pictures, not the item": that is, since there are lots of photos to remind you of the dress, no need to keep the dress itself.

On the other hand, I am the one holding onto a dress that no longer fits me.

What have you guys done with your wedding dresses, those of you who had wedding dresses?

July 2, 2010

Vodka and Pop-Tarts: Breakfast of Not Running Screaming Into the Sea

By 7:00 this morning my ears were already TOTALLY FULL. The children are narrating their EVERY THOUGHT, and they talk over each other and then one of them tries to ask me a question about why it's windier in daytime than in nighttime and another one asks me to get another cup of milk and a third one tries to tell me a joke, and I feel like I'm going to SCREEEEEEEEEEEAM. Combine that with the endless CRASHES and FIGHTS and TATTLING, and you have mommy putting vodka in her coffee. (You don't actually have mommy putting vodka in her coffee. You just have mommy thinking about how terrible that would taste.)

This is the last chance to enter to win the $100 Visa giftcard by either praising the Fourth of July recipe I came up with or admiring the twins practicing for kindergarten. And really, I think you should praise my recipe, because when I got that assignment I didn't have any idea what I was going to do. A RECIPE using POP-TARTS. And it had to be Fourth of July themed. I....that's not really my....you know? And when I came up with my idea, I just about lost consciousness from the perfection of it (it uses exactly one box of Pop-Tarts!), and I worried that the other bloggers would all come up with the same idea because it was so perfect. But no one else did! And although some of them came up with pretty good ideas, I'm sure they were all jealous of mine. I'm imagining Pop-Tarts executives ("What do you do?" "I'm a Pop-Tarts executive.") sitting around a big table saying, "Did you SEE what she came up with? We had no idea this project would be such a success! We need to bring her onto the Pop-Tarts Executive Team RIGHT AWAY! Tell the Pop-Tarts pilot to warm up the Pop-Tarts jet!"

July 1, 2010

Input Requested: Children and Video Games

Can I ask for your input on something? Three of my kids lovvvvvvvve video games. What do you think is the right amount of time to let children play video games per day when there's no school? I guess I'm looking for RANGES here, since probably none of us are, like, "90 minutes YES, 91 minutes NO WAY." You don't have to HAVE children to give an opinion on this.

It would be useful to know whether you yourself like video games---I think I would have said a much lower number of minutes before getting into playing Sims and being, like, "I AM GOING TO HAVE TO QUIT MY JOB TO PLAY THIS FULL-TIME," which has given me more empathy for the "WHAT?? I JUST started playing!!" children.

I think it's going to be tempting to downplay the amount of time we allow (or would theoretically allow), but I hope you'll say so if the answer is "6 hours" or "however much they want" or anything more than you think is average. Maybe go anonymous if it makes you feel shy to say it---I know I'D feel shy to say how much I let my kids watch/play, especially before someone else said how much THEY allowed.