Being and doing

As has been well documented, I’m not a crafty person. I can bake really pretty things, but give me a pair of scissors, and injuries ensue. I can’t count the number of times I’ve glued my fingers together or burned myself with a glue gun. I’m still vacuuming up from two years ago, when I thought, “How hard can this be?” and tried to spray greenpainting! glitter on a styrofoam cone.

However…I’ve discovered that I like to paint. By “paint,” I mean move paint around on a surface, not actually create something that looks like something else. Stick figures are about as accurate as I ever got (very cute stick figures, mind you).

But paint is very forgiving. You can do abstracts…smears and globs, swishes and dots. Just about anything blue can be passed off as sky or ocean. Shades of red, orange and pink? It’s a sunset. The joy is really in colors. Recently, I smeared some purples and blues on a piece of paper. The Princess, being a faithful, kind and lovely person, gasped and said, “That’s beautiful! Can I have it?” She framed it and hung it in her apartment. (Dearest Son has not yet requested one of my pieces, which I’m chalking up to the fact that he lives in a dorm room. His day will come.)

smears
The Princess’s joy gave me the idea of making paintings for Christmas presents. When I told this to my mother, she said, “Are you sure that’s a good idea? Everyone’s tastes are so different. You’d feel bad if you saw them in the trash.” (This is the same woman who told me I was too much of a klutz to take ballet lessons when I was five. But I digress.) Hey. I could be an artistic genius. They laughed at Van Gogh, too.

Undeterred by a lack of maternal enthusiasm, I’ve been painting. Since I know nothing about art, I don’t have a style, so I’ve been experimenting. Does that look like a boat, or an elephant? A lighthouse, or a phallus? Would a smear of red improve it? (Not unless I was painting a bris.)

heartThe best part of this painting-their-gift thing is this. The whole time I’m doing it, I’m happy. It’s fun to do something different. I think about the intended recipient and how much they mean to me. I’m not binge-eating Christmas cookies (yet), and I’m not on a device or watching TV. I’m just…being. Being and doing, with a heart full of love.

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Prayer for Thanksgiving

pieDear God, thank you for my family.

Guideth my hand, Lord, as I roll out the dough to make some sexy-ass pies, and forgiveth me for using the term sexy-ass in this prayer.

Please, dear Lord, use thy divine powers to keep the kids from bickering in the car. Granteth me deafness so that I do not leap from my seat onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Maketh my husband remember that he driveth his entire family in the car, and letteth him not tailgate or speed.

Help me remember, Father God, to wear stretchy pants and a bulky sweater so that I may partake of all the stuffing.

juice cleanseHeavenly Father, I implore you keep relatives from detailing their health deficits, procedures and bowel habits while we eat. Let my father-in-law refrain from lecturing my children about any subject but most especially about healthcare and cleanses. Indeed, sweet, blessed Lord, let the word cleanse falleth from no one’s lips. Ever.

Grant us strength, oh God, to not discuss politics, since rage and frustration is antithetical to all that Charlie Brown hath taught me about Thanksgiving.

Lord my God, giveth me self-control to say no to a fourth slice of pie. Alloweth my sister-in-law to accept my offer to clean up after dinner so I am not a lazy, four-slices-of-pie kind of person and guilty of the sin of gluttony (and then cut me some slack when I am).

hedgiePlease, Lord, let there be babies at this dinner, wherein I can commandeer them and snuggleth with them, giving their parents a chance to eat and me a chance to sniffeth their little heads. If thou canst giveth me a baby, Lord, please granteth me a hedgehog instead (as long as I’m here, dear Lord, I figured I’d ask).

Grant me happy conversation with elders, pleasantries with strangers and the fortitude not to eat all the stuffing myself.

And Lord, please accept my sincerest gratitude at the bounty thee hath granteth me.

 

 

 

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Stupid things ex-husbands say

 

wedding ringIn the past three years, sixteen couples in my friend group have gotten a divorce. Sixteen! Granted, I know many people, but that does seem like a lot. Statistics say 50% of marriages end in divorce, and sometimes, it’s the absolute right choice.

But this blog is for my friends who’ve been betrayed by the spouses they loved and supported. It’s for the women and men who have been blindsided, whose lives have been ripped to shreds because their partners sucker-punched them in the heart. Hint: there might be a bit of this in my upcoming book, so I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

In the case of the couples I know, the cheating spouses have been male, but of course, women can cheat, too. Substitute pronouns as fits.

If you’ve divorced with kindness and grace—as one couple in my friend group has—God bless, and good for you.

And now, on with the show.

“I haven’t been happy for years.” Translation: I’m bored and tired of myself, so I’ll have an affair, rather than admit that I need to get off my ass. Mister, if you really haven’t been happy for years (and that’s not true, is it?), why didn’t you say something? Do something? Get counseling? Nope. Instead you chose an affair, Monsieur Cliché. How unoriginal.

musician“You have stifled my dreams.” Translation: I want to be irresponsible, ignore the kids, become an Artist with a capital A because yes, I am that talented. Also, I will create an Empire, now that I am rid of you, thou killer of my awesome potential. Yeah, sure, buddy. She supported you through grad school. She moved six times for your career. She signed a mortgage on the house to finance your “dreams.” She worked two jobs. She raised your children. She put your career before hers. She helped you every step of the way. Stifled, my ass.

smiley face“I can’t talk to you anymore.” Translation: I’ve found a woman who kisses my ass and agrees with every word out of my mouth. She thinks you’re rich, doesn’t she? And hey! You might be! Prepare to lose everything when she divorces you a couple years from now. Hint: She has at least one ex-husband in her rear-view window.

“We can stay friends, because I wish you well.” Translation: I’m not going to take any responsibility for your heartbreak, fear, financial struggles, loneliness because I am a Good Guy, and you can tell this because I just said we can stay friends. Sorry, bub. You’re not going to be friends. You are not worthy of her friendship.

sad kid“I deserve to be happy.” Translation: Everyone else can suffer—our kids, grandkids and certainly you, former wife of mine, because I am the most important person in the world, and my happiness is all that matters. If our kid is sobbing into her pillow, I don’t want to hear it. She’ll get over it because I am happy and this will make her happy, because the world rotates based on my happiness. Jeez louise. The hubris. You want to think every parent would put his or her kids’ happiness first, and of course, we’re wrong. It’s amazing how people can justify the worst behavior because of what they think they’re owed. 

yoga teacher“The kids will love her.” Translation: Lalalala! I don’t want to hear anything that will interfere with my New Self and This Exciting Time because I am a New Man! My piece on the side and/or new wife is super nice, so the fact that I was cheating on my children’s mother doesn’t matter. She is a yoga instructor/rides horses/surfs/is an Artist and/or Great Thinker, like me, and everyone will get along just fine. Dude. You are pathetic. A cliché. Also, your kids hate her. No, they do. If they pretend not to, it’s because they still love the person they thought you were and are clinging to the shred of hope that their father isn’t an ass. But you are an ass, and they will find out.

lonelinessSomeday, Cheating Spouse Wrapped in Your Own Selfishness, this will all come back to bite you. You’ll be alone, divorced again. Your kids and grandkids will merely tolerate you, and your former spouse is truly happy now, having built a full life on the ashes you left her. You’ll remember the time when you threw everything away because you were lazy and bored, entitled and self-involved. You’ll shake your head at your stupidity for leaving a good woman because you thought there was something shinier out there. You’ll call your kids, but they’re very busy and can’t talk, let alone visit.

So you’ll have plenty of time to remember the life you tossed out the window. That life was pretty damn good, wasn’t it? Too bad, idiot. You don’t get to go back.

To everyone suffering from a betrayal, who’s struggling to get back on their feet after a divorce or separation, hang in there. Better days are ahead.

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The lies of HGTV

 

Good at buying stuff: check.

Good at buying stuff: check.

McIrish, my sister and I have spent a lot of time at our little house on Cape Cod this past month, doing something Joss Dey calls zhoozhing. I was totally into it…at first. HomeGoods and I are well acquainted and in fact, deeply in love. I bought throw pillows and soft blankets, a shelf with hooks, a new bedspread. I could be an interior decorator, probably! This would be easy-peasy. I loved zhoozhing!

Then came the lies of the DIY world, of HGTV, of talented, coordinated people.

 

  1. “A new coat of paint will make that look gorgeous!” Lie. Painting is way harder than it looks. The drips, blobs, dog hair that ends up on what previously seemed like a pristine blanket of snow. The splotches on the ceiling from when your roller slipped. You missed a spot. No matter what you think, smarty-pants, you missed a spot. And it takes three coats. And you still missed a spot.
  2. "You know what would be so helpful, hon? If you put these tissue boxes on the shelf. Good girl!"

    “You know what would be so helpful, hon? If you put these tissue boxes on the shelf. Good girl!”

    “Let’s pull out this cabinet and put in a new—” Nope. Not gonna happen, because that old cabinet? It covered a pipe, and the new cabinet won’t fit, and you have to cut the wall, then patch it, then patch it again, then let it dry, then smooth it out, but it won’t be smooth, you naïve fool, you. But you won’t be able to tell till you paint it. Also, you missed a spot.

  3. “Don’t throw away that old table! You can repurpose it with some lace and crap!” It took three days for the super glue to wear off my fingertips. Enough said.
  4. “If you measure twice, you only have to cut once.” Said who? Huh? Because I measured FOUR times, and I had to cut five. Old furniture is not straight.

 

"Here, honey! You like to peel stuff! This is a great job for you!"

“Here, honey! You like to peel stuff! This is a great job for you!”

We soon discovered that I was really best at the “step and fetch” kind of jobs as Hilary and McIrish did the harder work that required…you know…skill. I bought pretty things and organized cupboards. I scuttled back and forth to Ace Hardware so often that the resident dog would leap to greet me and the guys would say, “We missed you! It’s been, what? Three hours?”

I tore out and screwed in small things that didn’t require too much accuracy…the idiot jobs, as my sister fondly called them (or me). I whipped out my credit card, soothed McIrish as he cursed when something didn’t go right and insisted that we go out for a nice dinner. I bought wine. When all was done, I sent my husband and sister home and cleaned that house till it glowed.

We all have our strengths.

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Country roads, take me home!

shenandoahMcIrish and I went away for the weekend. It was his birthday (happy birthday, honey!), and I had a lovely reader event in Maryland at the warm and beautiful Inn Boonsboro, so I figured, hey! Let’s make this into a road trip! We love our national parks, and we’d never been to Shenandoah, so off we went.

But this little story isn’t about the wonderful weekend we had. It’s about the 12 hours in the car and the seven states we drove through: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. 563 miles in a day. My car, which I named Derek Jeter, since we got it the day of Derek’s last home game (and because I like to say the words Derek Jeter as often as possible), is quite comfy, so there was that. We had podcasts booted up. We were ready. We were determined to see a bear; Shenandoah and the area is famous for them, but we had seen only two squirrels in the park as far as wildlife was concerned.

streamThe hotel where we stayed was in the Middle of Nowhere. Seriously. Country roads, take me home…yes. Winding roads through forests and farmland and forests and, er, farmland. The occasional house. Beautiful black Angus cattle. No bears. Hours till we reached a major highway. I was in heaven.

We found it rather hilarious that the speed limit was 55 on roads that were gravel and about as wide as our driveway. Because I still get carsick, I had to drive. It was rainy and cool, and the drive was placid and pretty. We stopped along a river so McIrish could pick up a rock or two, his hobby. I got three mosquito bites, as is my way.

After a couple of hours, we hit a freeway, and by then, I was getting hungry. I hadn’t eaten what I consider Southern food yet, so I was determined to find something I couldn’t get in shaffersNew England. Ah ha! We saw a sign for this little charmer—a former gas station turned restaurant. Lots of trucks in the parking lot, clusters of workmen in overalls and Carhartt, so we knew it would be good. And it was! I had fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and brussels sprouts in some kind of thick white liquid that I believe Southerners call gravy. In New England, gravy is brown. It was delicious! The manager was so nice and even came into the parking lot to wish us safe travels. Our accents and fascination with their hominy selection marked us as Yankees, I think.

mennonitesIt’s our habit to raise our feet across every state line, for luck. We did this religiously. I texted our kids funny pictures, and McIrish and I talked about how great both kids are. talked about where to stop next. At some point in the afternoon, we pulled off to check out a shearling shop, but left after seeing too many much fur. We went to a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty shop and learned about hex signs but didn’t buy any (this time).

We happened upon a fabulous antique store staffed by extraordinarily friendly cats. Seriously. There was no human, and I was just starting to wonder if the shop operated on the honor system when a very nice lady pulled up. She had been at the market and apologized, but we said we’d been loving up the cats and didn’t mind a bit. Her store was a wonder…clean and organized and full of amazing treasures. I bought a turquoise ceramic fish and three antique Santas for my collection. We wanted to take a cat, but the shopkeeper was rather attached to them.

Another state later, and we stopped for dinner at a diner we’d seen taking the Princess to college. I had pancakes and they were delicious. McIrish had spaghetti and meatballs, which were mediocre. The poor lad is spoiled, since I make killer spaghetti sauce.

foliage in the rainFinally, we crossed into Connecticut. An hour and a half later, we were on our street, where we saw a deer and a fox—more wildlife than we’d seen in the past four days. We laughed, greeted our dogs and cat, tossed some laundry in and had a drink of water, then went to bed. Good old Huggy Pillow was happy to see me, and vice versa.

Home sweet home. Good doggies. Beautiful foliage. A cozy, chilly rainy day for writing.

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Little Friend

LF 2When I was a wee little kid, I made an imaginary friend for myself and my sister. Little Friend.  Make your index and middle fingers walk on the arm of your chair. Voila. You have met Little Friend.

Little Friend was used mostly to amuse my sister. He—I don’t know why, but Little Friend was always clearly male—would sit on the bridge of my sister’s nose. She would give him elevator rides on the palm of her hand. When she got bored in the car, Little Friend would “run” alongside the car—my skinny white arm extended, index and middle fingers running in the air. Little Friend had to leap over the driveways of the houses we drove past, since he was unable to walk on asphalt. Grass only, that was Little Friend.

Little Friend was also a champion blackmailer. If Hilary didn’t want to play with Little Friend anymore, he would start to curl up and die. If he made it into fist formation, it was lights out for Little Friend. My sister would have to kiss him, or death would ensue. Sometimes she left it to the last minute, and Little Friend might not respond immediately. “You shouldn’t have taken so long,” I’d say. “I’m not sure he made it.”

Inevitably, however, her pleas and love would rouse Little Friend, and they would play again.

IMG_2291When I moved into my house years and years ago, my sister gave me a little metal statue. “This is how I imagined Little Friend would be,” she said. He sits on my bathroom shelf.

Today, when McIrish and I were driving back from New York, Little Friend again began running alongside the car, vaulting effortlessly over the driveways and exit ramps. It was wicked fun. I’m happy to say Little Friend hasn’t lost his touch.

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Book recommendations

 

I’ve been reading a lot this summer, and I thought my recommendations with you…

baby teethBaby Teeth by Zoje Stage. Gah! It’s terrifying in the most wonderful, creepy, believable way! Hanna is a seven-year-old girl who chooses not to speak. Her mother, Suzette, senses something is off about her daughter’s selective mutism…and her daughter’s obsessive love for her father. Suzette loves her kid, even when she fears her. Is the story over the top? Sure! Give me an evil child story any day for escapist chills and thrills. (Waves to Damien, who still terrifies me.

Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert. Two female anti-heroines struggling to shed their pasts, seek revenge and recreate themselves against the backdrop of the obnoxiously rich of New York. Juicy and delicious fun. You really don’t know which woman to pull for, since no character is just one thing.

we were the lucky onesWe Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. An amazing, heart-pounding story of a Jewish family’s struggles to survive in Poland during World War II. Two parents, five grown children, their spouses and babies…the odds are not in their favor. I read it on one day.

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. Everything you love about Sophie Kinsella—the insecure heroine struggling to be heard over the din created by her self-centered siblings, a lovely hero, hilarious shenanigans in the family-run kitchen goods store. It was like visiting with an old friend.

 

meg & joMeg & Jo by Virginia Kantra. Only VK could pull this book off. An homage to Little Women, but told in present day with beautiful characterization and fluid, graceful writing, Meg & Jo filled me with happiness and did something not even the original didn’t do: deliver an ending that made me believe every character was living her best life.

Happy reading, guys!

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Tales from book tour

readers!I just finished up the tour for LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES and thought I’d tell you a little bit about it.

First of all, if you came to see me, thank you! Thank you so much! What an honor and thrill it is that you spent your time listening to me and getting a book. I never, ever take that for granted, and I so appreciate you! Truly. Thank you. I’ll stop now (but thank you!).

yoga roomO’Hare is one of my favorite airports. I wandered around, wondering if I wanted to eat something, and saw a sign for a yoga room. A yoga room? Obviously, I had to investigate, and there it was, a tiny little room with a mirror (no need, O’Hare, okay? We all know how flexible we are or aren’t). I went in, since I had time to spare, parked, my bags, turned off my phone and did a little stretching. Next to me was a young man who had to be part snake, because he was doing all sorts of joint-defying poses. Me, I excel at corpse pose. Still, it was nice to do something different.

stripesPart of LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES is set in Downers Grove, Illinois, because I fell in love with that town in tours past. It was so nice to be back! Snug houses, lots of little bungalows like the type Pop owns in the book. The town is the type of place that seems to welcome people from all walks. Kansas City seems like a lovely place to live. Good trick-or-treating neighborhoods, pretty gardens, lots of barbeque. Michigan looks a lot like Connecticut, strangely…pastoral and calm, at least in the parts I saw. Houston was so humid my glasses steamed up, but the food was amazing, and I got to see my friend Heidi (this book is dedicated to her!) and her lovely daughter, Dylan. As you can see, we all wore stripes that day!

skyOn airplanes, I always look around before sitting and see where the kids are, in case we go down. This is so I can use my body as a human shield and save the little ones. I envision my funeral—it’s beautiful, FYI—and settle in to play solitaire or read before takeoff. I can’t sleep on planes. I might watch a movie or show on the free Wi-Fi. To wit, I’ve never had so much as mild turbulence, but on one recent flight, a bunch of alarms went off, causing me to text my husband with messages of love for him and the kids, as well as some heart and bunny emojis. The captain came on and apologized eventually; someone had hit the wrong button (so he said. I was still ready to save lives.)

talkI like to talk to people on airplanes and in airports, and always make friends with my driver. One young man who drove me from O’Hare to my hotel was shocked when I said I loved airports. “Me too!” he exclaimed. “I want to be a pilot someday!” People love to share their stories to an interested party, and I have a friendly face. It’s part of my job, listening to stories of people’s lives, jobs, marriages, losses. The act of talking to a stranger is becoming more rare, since we all have phones now. I did see a young man walk into a pillar because he was staring at his phone. It was deeply satisfying, I won’t lie. I did ask him if he was okay. I’m a mom, after all.

As I write this, snug in a blanket on my porch, since the weather had turned, book tour seems far off. It’s very quiet here, just the birds and the occasional plane overhead. I’m not wearing makeup, and I’m in my pajamas, my good doggy at my side, McIrish reading the Times. Book tour was fun and fantastic, but there really is no place like home.

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One sunny August afternoon…

IMG_2065

Two of these things are not like the others.

I was asked a question during this last book tour—where do I keep my awards? (I am a three-time winner of the RITA Award, twice for best contemporary, once for best mainstream fiction). I keep them on my bookshelf in my bedroom, alongside the flag that draped my grandfather’s casket…he was a World War II veteran—and McIrish’s Firefighter of the Year statue.

That’s the one I want to talk about today. Don’t get me wrong; I am very proud to have received my RITAs. But there are awards, and then there are awards.

declan

Dearest Son that day.

Once upon a time on a summer day sixteen years ago, I was driving my car, on the hunt for some corn from the local farm stand. Dearest Son, then four, was in his car seat, playing with his little firetruck, while my daughter swam with her cousins and auntie back at my house.

My son and I heard the fire alarm go off, and I said, “Maybe we’ll see Daddy in the firetruck!” It had happened before.

Then I saw the flames. Right there, right in front of us, a house was on fire—the garage side. I saw a man kicking in the front door and pulled over, snatched Dearest from the car seat and ran across the lawn. “Are there people in there?” I called. The man was a friend from around the corner named Tom. “Yes!” he said, and I started running toward the house to help.

Except I had a four-year-old in my arms, and we were close to the road, and I couldn’t leave him there alone. Another man, Ted, came out of the house with an old lady, and a second later, Tom emerged with her husband. “Are you okay?” I asked the lady, who was crying.

“My son is still inside,” she said. “In his bedroom.”

By now the fire had spread with amazing speed, and we could hear the roar and the flames were well past the roof. The sound of glass breaking was terrifying. I took the old lady’s hand. We could hear the sirens shrieking on the quiet August day. Then a fire engine pulled up, and McIrish was driving, dressed in full gear. “There’s someone in there!” I yelled, and he shrugged into his air tank, pulled the mask over his face and…and went inside, another firefighter on his heels. Inside what was now a raging, fully involved fire.

That saying that time stands still…it wasn’t exactly true. Time slowed to heartbeats. I could feel each pump of my heart as I kept my eyes fixed on that door.  Was my son about to watch his father die? Should we leave? Could I help? More fire trucks were on the scene, men swarming everywhere, axes in hand, hoses trained on the flames.

“Where’s my son?” the old lady cried.

“Don’t worry,” I said, not looking away from the door. “That’s my husband in there. He’ll save him.” She started to pray. Me, I couldn’t do anything except stare at that door and wait for my husband to come out.

Fires are alive. They are born, they grow, they consume, they die. This fire was so loud, so full of terrifying life, whining and roaring, popping and devouring. Dearest Son was quiet. “Daddy will be okay,” I said. I had never lied to my kids before. I hoped to God that afternoon wouldn’t be the first time.

IMG_2055Then McIrish and the other firefighter, John, came out, dragging an unconscious man. They passed him off to the other firefighters, grabbed a hose and went right back in. “He’s alive!” I said to the old lady. “Your son is alive!” We both started crying.

The fire was under control shortly after that, and my husband came back out, took off his helmet and mask, and looked over at our boy and me. He gave a little nod and smile, and I put my hand over my heart, overwhelmed. Then I set our son down and said, “Do you understand what you just saw, honey? Daddy saved a life. He saved that man’s life. Never forget that.”

IMG_2064“I never will, Mommy,” he said solemnly. He hasn’t.

A helicopter was landing in the field across the street to take the man to the hospital, and he did recover. The old couple went to stay with their other son, and no firefighters were hurt. It was a great day for the fire department, and a great day for our town. All the firefighters worked beautifully together; the good Samaritans got their rightful due as heroes, no one was badly hurt, a life was saved…it was a good call, as firefighters say in their modest way.

IMG_2060Our family and town celebrated McIrish and John, and at one event, our daughter, then seven, accepted an award on his behalf, since McIrish was at the fire academy. He got his statue later that year with a proclamation signed by the lieutenant governor.

But what I remember most was when our eyes met, after the man was saved, after the fire was out. That little nod that said, “Yes, IMG_2067I’m okay. I love you. I’m fine.” And my hand over my heart, telling him, “You are everything a man should be.”

So my statues, while I’m so proud of them…well. There are more important things in life. Fighting Nazis. Putting your life on the line for another. A little boy getting to watch his father be the hero he always knew his daddy was.

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Great Moments in Toddlerhood

They trick you with their cuteness.

They trick you with their cuteness.

Tess Finlay is possibly my favorite character in LIFE AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES. She’s three years old and a holy terror, and drawn on some of the wee little friends I’ve met in my life as a cousin, babysitter extraordinaire, mommy, auntie and, as my kids like to call me, Creepy Baby Lady (in that I must say hello to every baby I encounter and compliment the parents on said child’s beauty, charm and intelligence).

The power radiates off of this one.

The power radiates off of this one.

Tess…she would try the patience of a saint. Her poor dad tries so hard to do right by her, but he’s at the point where a call to an exorcist sounds like the most logical course of action. I had to dig deep into my repressed memories for some of her actions, and damn, I had a great time doing it. I asked friends and relatives. I asked folks on social media. Because of course my own children were angels (cough), I had nothing to draw on from personal experience (I’m lying, of course, but they might be reading).

And so, without further ado, I present to you Great Moments in Toddlerhood.

They wouldn't ever…nope! They did.

They wouldn’t ever…nope! They did.

The time my now-adult brothers-in-law hid in the closet with their cat and decided to cut off its tail (my mother-in-law found them before the amputation occurred, so settle down)…

The time my ward retreived his poop from the toilet and smeared it all over the walls as vengeance because I told him he had to wipe his own butt…

The summer when my exceedingly adorable cousin would lure unsuspecting adults to his side with his sweet smile and then say in one breath, “I-know-a-bad-word-shit.”…

They look safe when they're sleeping. Don't be fooled.

They look safe when their eyes are closed.         Don’t be fooled.

 

 

The time a ward climbed on the second story roof of the house during a game of hide-and-seek (he won, and I aged twenty years)…

The time a certain child I may or may not have birthed smooshed a chocolate muffin into the shape of feces and left it in a supermarket aisle “for the old ladies to find, Mommy!”…

Goodbye, sleep!

Goodbye, sleep!

The time a little girl rubbed superglue through her long, silky hair and then had a tantrum because she kept pulling her own hair as she tried to jerk her hands free…

The time a little girl was put in a grocery cart and then bellowed, “Mommy! You hurt my labia!” (so much for teaching them anatomy)…

The time the boys chased the cat with a stick, and then, when told not to chase the cat with the stick, chased it with a rake instead.

Ah, kids! They’re the best, aren’t they? And to all of you who are childless by choice, I hope you enjoyed this post most of all. And hey, if you had or have a toddler who matches Tess’s antics, I would LOVE to hear your stories.

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