I Herd It Through the Grapevine


Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, we’re having some unusually cold weather down here.  It’s so unusual that it’s causing parents of young children to do the otherwise unthinkable: dress very very warmly.  We’re talking the whole shebang: coats (duh), long-sleeves, hats, and even gloves/mittens.  It’s just a bit foreign to us.  This past Friday was the first big test; we had our first hard freeze of the night, and the kids’ school had emailed all of us to remind us to send hats and hand protection to school.  Yes, this is necessary for some of us.  It’s just  not something we have piled up ready to go as a rule.

Mornings when I go to the office are always a bit more hectic.  We’re under a much tighter timeline, and I pretty much have everything planned to the minute.  Gloves and hats really F’ed my plan up.  As I struggled to get both of my children properly clothed, I got so bloody irritated and flustered.  Felix wasn’t too bad.  He wears mittens and is generally pretty patient if not wiggly.  Stella wants everything NOW.  She freaks out if I’m helping Felix on with his coat before HERS IS ZIPPED.  AND HER GLOVES NEED TO BE ON NOW, made more frantic and obnoxious since she can’t seem to slow down enough to put one finger in each hole.  She looked like a blasted industrial accident victim.  I was relieved to drop them off that day and am still amazed I wasn’t late for work.

Later that afternoon when I picked them up, I had a moment of sheer admiration towards the staff of their school: every little kid had on coats (zipped or otherwise fastened properly), hats, and mittens or gloves.  The odds are not in their favor.  I don’t know how they do it. There are so many of the little people, so few of them, and so many tiny gloves, hats, and zippers.

The term “herding cats” comes to mind a lot these days.  Whether I’m trying to feed the kids breakfast or dinner and making sure Felix gets one of his endless antibiotics or trying to get them ready to go somewhere, that phrase is appropriate.  But “herding cats” doesn’t even come close to the agony and struggle involved with getting little people dressed for winter.

Gotta loooooove antibiotics!

Gotta loooooove antibiotics!

Stella is unaffected.

Stella is unaffected.

I think this phrase ought to be adjusted.  It’s more “herding cats while preparing a chocolate souffle and riding a unicycle and simultaneously herding a separate herd of cats.”  Bravo, school ladies.  Bravo.  You are stronger, wilier, and more patient than I am!!

 

Put the Peddle to the Metal


Just when you think Facebook can’t become more annoying, it does1.  The political garbage from both sides of the lunatic fringe, the “repost this or this tiny innocent girl will be devoured by bears” nonsense, the Ink Master spoilers (and I’m still so damn furious about that – the spoilers and the outcome.  Come on, Joshua Hibbard!  You had it in the bag!!  And who kicks out a tattoo artist for pot?!  Sex, drugs, and rock and roll….and tattoos.  They’re 4 peas in a pod.  Bad call, SpikeTV.  Bad call.  Sorry.  Got off on a rant there.) – all of that was obnoxious enough.  But now?  Now it’s like an online Tupperware party.

You talented bastard (Thanks, Google, for the photo)

You talented bastard (Thanks, Google, for the photo)

I remember hearing about those as a kid.  Tupperware was the rage, and the neighborhood ladies would all be dragged to these parties to listen to that patented burp, drink some punch, and feel obligated to buy a $10 plastic bowl.

Now with Facebook (and Instagram, to a smaller extent), you can be added – against your will, by your “friends” – to groups that sell things that you don’t want or need.  As if the damn ads weren’t bad enough, your “friends” are now hustling you.

Note: This is very different from the friends, businesses, or groups that I have chosen of my own free will or because of my interest in what they’re selling.  I follow some people that are talented artists in many different fields, and I enjoy seeing what they’re doing.  It’s like Pinterest in real life.  I also know that some people occasionally sell things for extra income or for their kids’ school.  I overlook that as well, since those are both useful endeavors.

If I want eyelashes, picture frames, cheap stackable jewelry, or spray tans, I’ll research it and buy it myself, damn it.  I will not succumb to virtual peer pressure and feel obligated to buy some piece of crap I don’t want or can’t use.  You could at least burp for me.  Geez.

1 And I know.  If it sucks so bad, commit Facebook suicide, right?  It’s tempting.  And one day I just might.

Income Taxi


I had a glimpse of my future last night.  In my mind’s eye, I was thrust into a future where one of my main purposes in life is that of a child conveyance – to school, to karate, to swimming, to dahnce.

Yes, we had our first dahnce lesson last night.  Our girl loved it, of course.  I’m not going to say she’s Ginger Rogers.  She’s not very good at all, at least not yet.  Of course she did swell when she actually paid attention and watched/listened to the instructor.  Mainly, however, last night – to Stella – was about looking like a beautiful ballerina.

Dahncer

Dahncer

Dahncing at home

Dahncing at home

It started rough, as we are having this ridiculous cold spell right now.  (Those of you up north will scoff, but we actually hit freezing last night and yesterday’s temp didn’t clear 50˚. When that happens down here, we start checking for permafrost.)  She was pissed that she couldn’t wear her sleeveless leotard and had to wear the long-sleeved one.  Then, she had to put sweat pants on over her leotard and chiffon skirt.  The final blow was having to wear boots instead of her ballet shoes on the way to class.  Once we actually made it into the room, however, and the pants and boots were off, all was right with the world.  With each little girl that entered, Stella had to enthusiastically admire her garb and loudly point out that they all matched her own.  Basically, the “lesson” was more fashion commentary and tickling than actual dance.  I think the group only danced about 15 minutes.

Recovered from the indignity of sweatpants and boots

Recovered from the indignity of sweatpants and boots

Action shot

Action shot

At the conclusion of the lesson, my daughter and I walked to the car in the cold dark.  She was already asking when she could go back.  It felt like it was 9:00 PM.  It was only 5:20.  I drove home like a granny, hunched over the wheel, cursing rush-hour drivers, and squinting.  I don’t go out at night.  I don’t drive well at night.  Oh man.  I am old.

But we’ll be back next week, and probably for a long time to come.  Because I think she likes it.  And she’ll like other things.  And then Felix will like stuff.

Santa needs to bring me a chauffeur for Xmas.  Or some night-vision glasses.

Time Heels All Wounds


Will and I had a nice date on Tuesday.  We were both off of work, Stella’s school was in session, and Oui Oui offered to watch Felix for us.  It was great. We hadn’t had a big block of time to just ourselves in a while.  Being practical, however, we did have a couple of errands to run – errands that are a ginormous pain in the ass if you’re toting a kid or two around.  One of these errands was buying Will a new pair of shoes.  He’s almost as petulant while shoe shopping as Felix is with one of his  900 ear infections.  Almost.

Anyway, I don’t get to go out shopping much at all.  Even if I do have some money to spare, A) getting out without the aforementioned wiggly ballast in tow, and B) while avoiding most people because I dislike most people, is difficult.  Ergo, I typically use the magic of internet shopping.  But some things – such as my husband’s shoes – simply must be done the old-fashioned way.

The plan was that Will was supposed to start looking at shoes, pulling some to try on.  I wanted to look at kids’ shoes.  Why?  Because Stella is about to start taking dance lessons, and I’ve already learned that little ballet slippers and tap shoes aren’t cheap.  Aren’t cheap at all.  Oops.  And I meant “dahnce” lessons.  For whatever reason, Stella channels her inner British princess when she discusses dahnce.  Well, Will can’t be trusted in a shoe store, and he ended up just following me around to scout potential dahnce shoes instead of finding boring men’s shoes.  Not that I can blame him there.

As I scanned the wall of cute little pink sparkly tennis shoes and Mary Janes, my blood started to boil.  In one section alone, there were no fewer than 6 different pairs of HEELS.  HEELS FOR TODDLERS.  To clarify: these were toddler sizes – not girls’.  Not that that’s much better.  I started to rant.  Will started to look bored at first, in that “sure honey whatever you say” kind of way, until he picked one up and asked how old of a girl would fit the sparkly silver pump in his hand.  He got it, when I flipped it over and showed him it was Stella’s current size.  Why in the world are they selling heels for 4 year olds?!

I’m cool with dress up.  Stella flounces around the house in wings, tutus, dahnce slippers, tiaras, cowboy boots, mustaches, and kitty masks on a daily basis.  I’m even tolerant and slightly amused when she drags my shoes out and clomps around the house – even my heels.  Because they’re mine and they’re ridiculously big on her little foot.  She could never ever in a million years wear mine out of the house because it simply wouldn’t function.  She couldn’t walk, run, skip, or dahnce.  It’s just fun for her to clomp around in mommy’s shoes.  But heels designed for little feet is just a sick abomination to me.

Little girls are supposed to be cute, sweet, wild, free, curious, precocious, sparkly, magical, and innocent.  They are not supposed to look like, dress like, act like grown ass women.  Toddlers should not be wearing heels and mascara.  They should not be wearing shorts or pants with shit like “Diva” or “Cutie” stamped across their innocent little butts.  No one ought to be reading anything on their innocent little butts.  No one ought to even be looking that hard.

Stella selfie

Stella selfie

Maybe I’m just over the bend – old fart, square, has-been – whatever.  I sound like one of those old people: “Back in my day, we didn’t have high heels when we were in preschool.”  You’re damn right, we didn’t.  I can remember chafing against my own mother when she said 12 is too young for eye-liner, that skirt is too short, that bathing suit is cut too high.  But SHE WAS RIGHT.  She was trying to help me be what I was: a girl.

I said "innocent."  That doesn't necessarily rule out mischievous.

I said “innocent.” That doesn’t necessarily rule out mischievous.

I don’t know what the answer is.  If I were wealthy and crazier, I’d buy every pair of these things and burn them in a heap in front of the stores that sell them.  I could write the manufacturers that make them, chastising them for over-sexualizing girls.  But the sad truth is, there’s a market for this abominable shit.  Some parents – I guess – must think it’s ok to dress their little girls up like teenagers.  But I don’t think it’s ok.  And my kid isn’t wearing this trampy mess.

Free, sweet, swinging.  AND NO HEELS.

Free, sweet, swinging. AND NO HEELS.

The ADD Hatter


A recent morning conversation:

Me:  Stella, we’re going to run late.  Please put on your shoes.

Stella: Wow!  It’s a firetruck!  (on TV)

Me:  Stella, we’re going to run late.  Put on your shoes. (turning off TV).

Stella: I want stinky chips.

Me:  Stella, put on your shoes!  Now.

Stella:  Chocolate milk?

Me (to Will):  Am I speaking f’ing Mandarin this morning?

Will: What did you say?  (Staring off into space)

(And people wonder why I just adore red wine.)

In Blume


Any parent of little children understands the fundamental loss of any type of privacy or personal space. It starts when they’re infants and you have got to take a pee but dear god you just got the kid to fall asleep and if I put him/her down now the screaming will resume so I’m just going to hold him/her while I tinkle and you only need one hand to wipe, right? Before you know it, they’re walking and they’re your shadows and they just kind of follow you anywhere and everywhere.  Then they’re talking, and everything is deserving of commentary.  That’s when it gets….uncomfortable.  But they’re little so you can’t just lock them out, particularly when they’ve really started throwing down with their baby brother over the tea set.  An almost-20 lb weight advantage is huge when you’re not quite 4 feet tall.

Mommy, why do you have hair on your butt?  (Butt in this instance is actually my hoo-ha, but it’s all in the butt-type-region so who cares when you’re talking about it?)

Mommy, you’re tee-teeing!  I can hear it!

You have long boobies.

You’re pooping.  I have to poop, too.

It’s stupid and annoying but it’s all natural, right?  So you just roll with it.  There is no alternative other than to hold your urine and bowels until they go to sleep (in 16 hours) or revert back to junior high gym class clothing changing techniques, whereby you manage to put a shirt on underneath another shirt without exposing skin.  But you were 13 then, and much more flexible…

Just when you reach acceptance of this kind of thing (although you dream of the day in the next 3 years when you can mandate bathroom privacy, damn it, because girls and boys and mommies and daddies need private time to attend to personal matters), there’s a new wrinkle:  periods.

I just can’t handle that kind of discussion or running monologue.  I can just hear it now:

Mommy, you have a giant bo-bo!  You need a band aid!

Mommy, why is your butt bleeding?

Mommy, is that a diaper?

Mommy, you need to cut that string.

Already, she’s been reading the box on the back of the commode: Mommy?  What’s a “tame-pone?”  I usually ignore her or quickly mumble something about grown-up stuff.

When I got my first period, my mom took me out for dinner.  We had Chinese.  It was a special “coming of age” kind of moment.  I loved it, particularly after reading all of those Judy Blume books.  I’ve already told Will I’ll be doing something like that with Stella.  But y’all: I am not prepared for a Judy Blume moment with a 4 year old.

It’s that delicate dance of not wanting to create weird body issues/ hang-ups and GETOUTOFMYFACESOICANCHANGEMYSANITARYPROTECTIONDAMNIT.  Other moms?  Input?  Advice?

There’s a Tear In My Year


Time moves differently for children than it does for us boring grown-up types.  If there is a fun, highly-anticipated event in their future, time is endless.  It will take forever until their birthday or until it’s their turn to watch The Wiggles’ Halloween Special again (don’t f*&$ing ask).  This is a notion that is really starting to cement itself at our house right now.

Saturday morning, I had a rare moment of peace.  Felix was napping, and after the whirlwind of Friday activities (school party and trick or treating), we were having some down-time.  Stella was happily vegging out in her pajamas watching The Wiggles.  I figured I’d tidy up the house and take down our Halloween decorations.

Felix and I at the school party.  Good stuff.

Felix and I at the school party. Good stuff.

This party is also where I made these "easy" deviled eggs I saw on Pinterest.  F'ing Pinterest.  They  neglected to mention you needed the hands of a surgeon and food tweezers to make them look really cute.  I had neither.

This party is also where I made these “easy” deviled eggs I saw on Pinterest. F’ing Pinterest. They neglected to mention you needed the hands of a surgeon and food tweezers to make them look really cute. I had neither.

Trying to either decorate or put decorations away in the presence of my son sucks.  He’s just not helpful.  Shocking, I know.

Stella ignored me for the most part until I went outside to yank down the lights and inflatable ghoul.  Then she got pretty pissed.

Stella, we’ll see these all again next year when it’s time for Halloween once more.

When is Halloween?

October.

But it’s my birthday!!

Stella, your birthday was in September.  You’ll have another one next year when it’s September again.

Aaaaaaand cue hysterics.

Also owing to some of the drama was this: apparently her father bought her cheese cake during an outing.  You gotta love shared photostreams.  Busted.

Also owing to some of the drama was this: apparently her father bought her cheese cake during an outing. You gotta love shared photostreams. Busted.

I can empathize.  I really can.  I can remember as a kid being depressed after my birthday/Xmas/Halloween knowing that it would be an eternity before they rolled around again.  Kids don’t know how quickly time really does fly.

So what do you do as a parent?  Bait and switch, of course.

Stella, don’t be upset.  We have a parade to go to today and a birthday party tomorrow.  And the party will have jumpy things!!

Yeah?

And guess what?  Then it will be Thanksgiving.

(blank stare)

Then it will be XMAS!!

YEAH?!

Yeah.  So what do you want to dress up as for the parade today?  It’s too cold to be a mermaid.  Your tail will fall off.

Cold-weather parade garb:  A butterfly fairy princess...thing.

Cold-weather parade garb: A butterfly fairy princess…thing.

The Franken-dude was nice and warm. No worries there.

The Franken-dude was nice and warm. No worries there.

I figured I’d be pretty bummed about the Halloween season wrapping up.  It’s really one of my favorites.  And we did it all this year.  It was great.  But it was a lot.  I’m kind of relieved it’s over and that we get a break (Tgiving.  Who gives a merde about Tgiving?) before the wonder that is Xmas.

 

Eat, Drink, and Be Varied


As you’d guess, this is just a random bit of stuff that’s happened lately.

  1. I’m an aunt!! My kid brother and his wife just had a baby girl.  I’m so excited and happy for them I could burst.  Now if only I could see the little girl….  We live so far from each other, they’ve never even met Felix.

    Matching eyes.  Makes me happy.

    Matching eyes. Makes me happy.

  2. My hatred of balloons continues. On Monday evening, we had a 4 hour power outage.  Why?  Some asshat decided that letting go a bunch of Mylar balloons was cool. What happened?  They collided with the junction box (or whatever this thing is in the picture) on the pole in my backyard and au revoir juice.  For 4 freaking hours.  Worst of all, it collided with bedtime.  I nearly had Felix to sleep when it hit, causing Stella to whine and yell.  This in turn woke the boy.  See?  I told you these damn things were trouble.  This also totally absolves me for any residual guilt I might have had for stabbing the Lightning McQueen and Mater balloons on our way out the door to go to the beach.  They clearly had it coming.  There would have been trouble had they been left unattended in the house for a week.

    My hatred for balloons grows strong.

    My hatred for balloons grows strong.

  3. I know this time of year everyone wants pumpkin everything. You know who I’m talking about, you Starbucks sluts.  I have found a pumpkin-flavored abomination: yogurt.   DON’T DO IT.  It tastes like fermented pumpkin pie.  I took one to work for lunch and about gagged.  To make matters worse, when I chucked it in my wastebasket, it hit the bottom and erupted like a sour, milky volcano.  It slung yogurt about 3 ½ feet up, where it hosed my cube wall, the carpet, and my Ramones poster (shakes fist).  This is clearly an evil product.

    This is fucking disgusting.  Don't buy it.

    This is fucking disgusting. Don’t buy it.

 

Glengarry Glen Gloss


I had one of those epiphanies the other day.  I was with Felix waiting for Stella to finish up with OT.  I don’t talk much about OT anymore as there’s not much to say.  Most of the time, I feel like we don’t need it, that she’s improving all the time and getting so much better at self-regulation.  Then we have a day like yesterday, where we get a dreaded behavior report from school due to her choice to behave like a soccer hooligan and bash some kid in the head (after screaming, pushing, refusing to share….).  I know.  We all have bad days.  I just still live in terror that her bad days – loud and extreme as they are infrequent – will be enough to cause us a mountain of trouble as she transitions to kindergarten.

Anyway.  I shouldn’t fuss.  All in all, things are good and getting better.

I’d say at least 75% of the kids and parents that go in and out of the therapy center have pretty big problems: the kind of problems that unlike ours (fingers crossed, knocking on wood, salt over the shoulder) won’t go away one day.  You get to know some of these kids as you see them and their parents every week.

One of these moms is the kind of mom you want to hate, or at least envy the bejeezus out of.  She’s always – and I mean always – impeccably dressed, and she’s so cute.  We’re talking designer, high dollar stuff.  Her kids are the same.  Her older boy is the one in therapy, but she had her younger son with her that seems to be around Felix’s age – maybe a bit younger.  He’s always in those darling hand-smocked onesies and overalls that cost about $50 a pair.  This woman also is gregarious, either chatting away at other folks around her or on her phone.  She doesn’t seem to have a career other than her kids.

So snarky.  Sorry.

So snarky. Sorry.

Like I said.  You want to hate her.

But she’s so nice and positive and perky and obviously adores her boys.  This past week, I could tell she felt horrible.  She probably had that demon germ that took out my household.  But her positive happy mom façade didn’t crack.  She still was dressed well, even if her hair was a bit disheveled.  I was in awe.

My awe grew when another regular mom had a bad moment with one of her twin daughters.  These girls – about 6 years old – both have autism.  One little girl was having a really hard time.  You could see how hard this mom tried to keep it together – to stay patient and calm and get her child back into the therapy room.  It’s one of those moments when I do feel grateful, seeing how much worse things could be, and then turn around and feel guilty for having those thoughts.  That mom doesn’t love her girls any less than I love my kids.

But that wasn’t the source of my awe.  It was this woman’s appearance.  She had on a reasonably casual outfit, but it matched.  It wasn’t wrinkled.  And even if she was in “mom jeans,” her toenails were painted (no chips) and she had on lip gloss.  She and I probably have the same BMI, but she looks like she hasn’t given up.  I felt like a lummox in my oversized shirt with the neck stretched out from nursing and floppy wrinkled shorts.  I might as well be in freaking sweat pants every single day of my life.

One should always have goals.

One should always have goals.

This has to stop.  This goes way above and beyond wanting to lose X number of pounds.  This goes to the basic matter of asking for and taking just a few moments extra just for myself, to put on cute underwear or lip gloss.  The gross underwear is in the same drawer as the cuter stuff, why not actually look for it and put that on?  Better yet, let’s throw the old shit out and gradually replace it?  Ditto for my now-ill-fitting nursing bras or pre-2-baby bras that are way too small?  I can put on lip gloss in the same amount of time I can chap stick.  So why not?  Why not wear heels to work at least once a week? It’s just as easy to slip on a pair of pumps as it is a pair of utilitarian flats or sandals.   I just have to choose to do it – to decide I want to do it.

I don’t have the financial resources to get all new stuff.  Too bad, because I saw the most darling pair of pajamas at Dillard’s the other day.  They were $100.  WTF?  Anyway, what I can do is let Will know that I need this, want this, deserve this.  He seemed pretty receptive during the brief discussion we had.  Now it’s up to both of us to follow through.

I will say, today I have on saucy red boots and my underwear and bra match.

There is truth to this!!

There is truth to this!!

Vanderpumpkin Rules


Our weekend was bursting with Halloween splendor, and we still have a full week to go.  I love it.  We are certainly making up for lost time.  That being said, I’m learning some things about this holiday and am left with more questions.  For instance:

  • When your children are very young, it’s not necessary for everyone to carve a pumpkin. We’ve had one small pumpkin for the house and that’s plenty.  Stella and her daddy drew and carved it together, Felix played with the guts, and I took pictures and watched.  Fun for all, and less pumpkin waste.  Hell, we’re not even going to be home Halloween night to light it – we’ll be out trick or treating.
    Our teeny-tiny pumpkin

    Our teeny-tiny pumpkin

    Pumpkin guts!

    Pumpkin guts!

  • Community events are a crap-shoot; you must be prepared to cut your losses at any point, lest someone gets cut. We went to 2 big events this weekend: a haunted hike at a local park/swamp, and a Halloween festival at a local historical museum.  I was more afraid of the former than the latter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The swamp was awesome.  Felix got a bit cantankerous by the end, but the poor dude was up 2+ hours past his bedtime.  Stella and her buddy Sam did great.  It was really a lot of fun.  The historical museum was a disaster – far from the wonderful egg hunt we attended there this spring.
    • (Warning: I’m going to come across as a snarkaluffagus here. Too bad.) While I appreciate that it’s a historical society, this is the age of the internet.  They advertised the event as being on yesterday’s calendar day – 10/26.  No other times were mentioned other than the usual operating hours of the museum.  So we saddled up and hit the parking lot by 10:00, hoping to beat the church rush.  We were only 5.5 hours early.  The Halloween stuff wasn’t starting until 3:30.    Cue a major unraveling by Stella.  I tried to redirect her by a kitchen activity – pizza from scratch – but with limited success.
    • When we arrive again for the actual event, things seemed pretty organized. There were about a dozen different activities and games which you bought with ticket packets you got upon entry, and trick or treat would start at 5:30.  (Here comes the really snarky stuff.) Too bad each and every game/booth was manned by a Precambrian-aged volunteer.  These poor folks had 2 speeds: painfully slow and backwards.  That’s fine if you’re toting around a 6 or 7 year old.  But not a 20 month old and somewhat challenging 4 year old.  The first thing we tried to do was a fail: face-painting.  They had one little old lady doing it.  There were only 3 in line when we got there.  After 15 minutes of waiting, the lady was still on the first kid.  It was a very nice butterfly, but damn it:  This is street-style face-painting.  Not fine art.
      The gang, resting up for the next uber-long line

      The gang, resting up for the next uber-long line

      My silly dude.  No costume required!

      My silly dude. No costume required!

    • After a forced/haphazard meal of 2 hot dogs (one smothered with about a pint of horrendous cheese sauce) purchased at airport prices after a 10 minute wait, we tried to kill enough time to let Stella trick or treat. It was too late.  She was too tired and frustrated and had basically checked out on us.  We had to leave with her crying and screaming.  I don’t blame her.  This even was NOT well organized.  Stella was not set up for success.
  • Waste: Man, there’s been a ton, and I feel pretty bad about it.
    • First the edible stuff. Candy’s no problem.  It has a long shelf life and can always be dumped in my candy bowl at work for the office scavengers to devour.  Those bastards will eat anything.  I could roll rat crap in sugar and wrap it in cellophane and they’d eat it.  I’m talking about our Halloween village.  Oui Oui bought us the best kit which resulted in a fun family project and 5 cute little cookie/candy houses.  You know damn well you can’t let kids eat that much crap.  It would be like the Ghostbusters crossing the streams.  It would be bad.  I let them split one.  The rest got tossed.  I feel bad about it, but don’t know what else I could have done.  No soup kitchen would want a sticky half-stale village which my 4 year old coughed all over.
      This was really such a cute/fun activity

      This was really such a cute/fun activity

      End product, along with teeny-tiny pumpkin

      End product, along with teeny-tiny pumpkin

    • Now the cheap toy crap: I can totally appreciate that folks don’t want to over-sugar kids.  I just don’t know if the solution is buckets of cheap plastic whistles, spiders, rings, bugs, fangs, and I-don’t-know-whatsits.  Sure, kids like it.  For about a millisecond.  Then it gets thrown in the bucket or on the counter and abandoned.  I have already thrown out a huge handful of this stuff and feel terribly guilty about it.  But this isn’t decent product you could donate to a charity.  This is $0.01 per unit Oriental Trading Company garbage.  Stella almost choked on a stupid super ball from this stash of crap.  I may have missed an opportunity, however: maybe there’s a Pinterest search for this?  Like melting this stuff in a cookie cutter/mold in a low-temp oven in order to make coasters/sun catchers?  Anyone?  Anyone?
      Ok, so some fangs are ok.

      Ok, so some fangs are ok.

      A truly useful accessory

      A truly useful accessory