Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Abby With a Belly Button Ring

My boy got a birthday party invitation, and if he wants to go to the party I have to sign the invitation agreeing that I don't mind if he dies. Right there on the invitation, ON the card it says, "This release and waiver covers risks of death, serious injury and property loss..."

What do you do with a birthday party invitation like that? Call the mom and say, "Y'know, I'm okay with property loss, but if I'm going to let my kid go to this thing, you're going to have to promise to keep the death to an absolute minimum, okay?"?

The party is at one of those places with the bouncy air filled slides and stuff. Both my kids have had those things collapse on them before, so I know it's not an abstract danger, but still...a birthday party invitation that includes "death"?!? Couldn't they just have face painting or something?

I just bought this t-shirt for my gal:In other news, at work there is a new rule that we can't sing about frogs. Please just don't even ask, because if I'm going to be fired I would rather it not be because I went on an angry internet tirade about amphibians.

I just thought it would enough for everyone to know that in addition to jobs where workers are given electric shocks as part of their work day, there are places of employment where there is a rule against singing about frogs. I thought singing about frogs was a basic human right. Who'd'a thunk?!?!

Last but not least (or maybe least) The-guy recently called me "Dear Abby with a belly button ring." It's true that I have totally awesome parenting skills.

So then I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to turn Twipply Skwood into Dear Abby with a belly button ring? And then my friend Jeff could make fun of my advice, because he's hilarious when he makes fun of that Dear Abby without (presumably) a belly button ring.

But then I remembered that for it to work, people would have to ask questions. And some of the people who read don't even have kids. And I'm not actually all that great at handling rejection. So then I would have to make questions up. And really, how many different ways can I find to say, "Your child is manipulating you."?

I am TOTALLY, TOTALLY kidding on that last part! I don’t think kids are manipulative in the least. It’s just that they normally have very different goals than those taller people around them.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It turns out that I'm not actually a "team player"

But I am number ONE on google if you search "how many ways can you be decapitated," And that is such an honor in and of itself that I barely have to worry about not being a team player.

My parenting advice has always included moisturizing really well, 'cause who the heck can be a good parent if their face looks like a bundle of stress? And those kids DO cause a lot of stress. Notice that I'm using the term "stress" interchangeably with the term, "school activities".

My boy and my gal have both been required to complete science fair projects each and every year. If you're unfamiliar with science fair, it's like this: take your basic eighth grade science lab and include a research paper on the subject. Then instead of just writing down the information on a sheet of notebook paper and handing it to the teacher, require a display board with a bunch of fancy graphics and photos. Then pit the projects against each other in a competition.

The only saving grace is that they only have to complete one a year instead of a certain number a week like I used to.

The other difference is that science fair offers an option to work as a group. It sounds like fun, but it always ends up excruciating. So here's more very important parenting advice: don't EVER, EVER get involved in a group project if you can at all help it.

Up until earlier this week (when The Guy told me that it's not actually a requirement for life), I was under the impression that being a "team player" was a positive thing. This was a result of being interviewed by a principal for a teaching position.

The principal asked me if I liked working alone or in a group. It was a tough question. On the one hand, what I enjoy most in a job is when the boss will stay out of my hair and let me get done whatever the heck I was hired to do. On the other hand, I've disliked jobs where I felt isolated.

I floundered around for awhile until the principal gently lead me to declare that I was a "team player".

I did learn from that job interview that just because you share a sense of humor with a boss and can follow her leading interview questions does NOT mean she will be fun to work for. But I forgot to learn that I'm not a team player. And so I have, on more that one occasion, consented to my children doing group school projects.

Here's the thing: even if your goals are aligned with the other people in the group (pass science fair, or win science fair) AND the children get along well AND you agree on how much adult help is permissible AND you work at more or less the same speed, your schedules will never, ever match up. No mater what, it's torturous.

And since I'm never going to learn my lesson, maybe one of you folks with younger children can learn it for me.

To turn to less agonizing subjects, here's one of the roses The-Guy is growing. I just wish I had a scratch and sniff blog, because it smells that yummy:

And here's a ladybug release party, otherwise known as a particularly expensive and cruel way to feed the birds:Notice how much better my boy's eyeball looks without the scratch on the cornea:The Guy and my boy and gal released all the ladybugs, and the birds had a nice snack, but presumably not before the ladybugs ate all the pesky aphids.

And so just to recap: group projects will make your life miserable and you should avoid them whenever possible. And kids look cute releasing doomed insects from captivity. Oh and also, apparently I am some sort of expert on decapitation because I mentioned it once.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Where's the Chocolate Covered Matzoh When You Need It?

You know life's gotten a little out of control when you're sitting in the minor emergency room thinking, "At least I get a chance to sit down."

The problem is, we've been celebrating Passover these past couple weeks. Except, we didn't really get the matzoh ball soup or the macaroon cookies. We just got the plagues.

We did manage to replace boils and frogs with more modern plagues, but this is the type of fun we've been having at my house:
two fever viruses


battles with totally unreasonable science teachers (refusing to allow make up work from the fever virus)

back surgery (this was my dad's plague, actually, but I'm on a roll)

Two sessions of camp (Okay! Camp is WONDERFUL and not actually a plague, but it still produces a TON of laundry. And laundry is totally a plague in my book)

various sore throats, coughs, and colds

parent teacher conferences (preparation for those will be the death of me)

And last but not least my boy scratched his cornea.
A scratched cornea looks really gross under a black light, in case you were wondering:Anyhow, so that's how I come to be late (and anticlimactic I'm sure) on answering the final questions for A Free Man's Interview Thing. Here's the second set of questions Arizaphle asked me.
3. As a kindergarten (preschool) teacher, how do you feel about the next generation? Is there any hope for the world?
Hope’s really the best we’ve got, isn’t it? So yeah. In fact, make mine a double.
4. What's the one piece of advice you'd give to parents today?
Egads, who the heck knows?!?!?! Parenting is wonderful and horrible and complicated and simple but not always all at the exact same time. So just make sure you use a really good moisturizer at night, because if you’re like me, the stress shows all over your face…

No wait! That’s not it. My advice is: Just when you think you can’t possibly take one more thing, that’s when your kid gets lice. So just make sure you use a really good moisturizer at night, because if you’re like me, the stress shows all over your face…

Oh no wait…maybe it’s…aw never mind. A good moisturizer IS essential. I’m fairly certain about that. Take care of yourself at any rate, 'cause young children have absolutely no mercy.
5. If Obama is 'Hope' and Bush is 'History', what is Hilary?
A scapegoat?

At least that’s what Roy Zimmerman’s song “Burn Goody Clinton” seems to imply. But in all honesty, politics is not my strong point.
6. Who would you have awarded the Best Actor/Supporting Oscars to this year?
I don’t really believe in Oscars. But if I am only granted the power to award them and not to cancel the show outright, I’d have to give best actress to my gal for being Lady Merle & best actor to my boy for being Rabbi Tuckstein in Robin Hood.And that's it - better late than never. Happy Passover! Or no wait...that's next month. Happy "Jill survived until Spring Break." That's a major holiday at my house. me it is.

Monday, March 02, 2009

That Interview Thing - Part I

I did A Free Man’s Interview thing, which means that Arizaphale of Now Where Did I Put That Flaming Sword? interviewed me, & I interviewed Father Muskrat.

Except, I think Father Muskrat decided to concentrate his efforts of late on evenly distributing his bodily functions into inappropriate receptacles instead of being interviewed, but...y'know...either way...

I've been getting kind of totally slammed by what I like to call "life spackle" lately, so I've broken up the interview into two parts to make posting (and reading, I imagine) more manageable:
1. You've got to admit, your blog has an unusual name. What does it mean (if anything) and what was your motivation in choosing it?
I overheard the name for my blog during Thanksgiving dinner maybe three years ago, uttered by my nephew. “But I was twipply skwood, because I did it at Mama’s house!”

I knew immediately that I had to adopt this new phrase…whatever it meant. As it turned out, my nephew had discovered the joys of superstitions and was entertaining his side of the table with the wishful thinking of a just turned six year old.

I don’t know if superstitions are the same the world over, but here in the United States, in addition to being somewhat reckless, walking under a ladder is also bad luck.

“I was skwood (screwed)” he explained, “because I walked undew a laddew (under a ladder)!”

He continued, “But then I was doubly skwood, because I did it at midnight.”

Finally he concluded that he was “twipply skwood” because he walked under a ladder at midnight at mama’s house.

So: skwood = screwed, twipply skwood = triply screwed
2. Why the signs? What's the attraction?
My dad has two theories about signs. One is "the brother in law theory." Someone has a brother in law in the sign making business and so a lot of stupid signs get made just to give the brother in law some business.

Dad’s other theory is that any sign means there’s a problem that, for whatever reason, no one feels like solving. I’m not sure if those two theories are mutually exclusive, or work together somehow. But either way, there are just so many entertaining signs out there.

Of course, it’s not always a sign. Sometimes it’s a fish with a tattoo:Sometimes there’s a sale at Target on movies featuring men with angry expressions on their faces:

And sometimes I see a truck that says “Fish” and I wonder, “Is that a noun or an imperative verb?”
And then I take a picture. Because why not? I mean, surely there are other people who wonder how hard it was to get the fish an appointment at the tattoo parlor and whether or not the sign on the truck is really ordering all who read it to go fishing.

Anyhow, that's two out of six. The other four are shorter and I'll post them as soon as life gives me a break here and/or some excess computer time.


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