Tag Archives: kids

For St. Patty’s, Let’s Make the Kindergartners Cry!


I get too involved. It’s a fact. In the midst of everything but the kitchen sink coming at me personally and at work, I decided I should plan Sally’s kindergarten class St. Patrick’s Day activity. This was a busy week for their class, too, so I kept it simple–for them. I, however, spent three hours creating the perfect leprechaun shenanigan!

Which brings us to 1:30 p.m. in a room filled with shorty chairs. First, I very craftily showed the kids my decoy cupcake:

decoy plain cupcake

Don’t those look boring? Exactly! But I played them up: “Oh Thanks GOODNESS, the cupcakes are okay. I was checking on them ALL DAY hoping the leprechauns wouldn’t play any tricks on me. Let’s read a story and then we’ll eat.”

The kids sit in their spots on the rug, and I take the stool in the center, which I highly recommend if you ever need a power trip. Sally, as practiced, tells everyone the title of the book: Clever Tom and the Leprechaun. (It should be pointed out that I paid $23 for a used copy of this out-of-print floppy little book because it’s supposed to be the greatest leprechaun tale of all time or something. It IS cute. It also basically ruined my day.)

My first clue was the child who whimpered, “But I don’t like leper-cons.” I patted his head (Figuratively. I don’t know where those kids have been.) and assured him this story was not at all scary. I read the book, complete with terrible Irish accent that the teacher kindly pretended not to notice. Then it was time for our boring old cupcakes.

But wait! Did anyone see a Leper or a Con come in here while we were reading? Because . . . our cupcakes have turned . . . RAINBOW! I am the BEST MOM EVER! Let the elation commence!

awesome rainbow cupcakesEleven children appear amused if not ecstatic, and begin crafting their leprechaun sneakiness theories.

And two. Two burst into tears. It seems leprechauns are terrifying creatures who might destroy all of humanity with their hanky panky.  So I declare the obvious: “No, no, you don’t need to be worried, it’s FUN! THE LEPRECHAUNS TURNED OUR CUPCAKES RAINBOW FOR PETE’S SAKE!”

The Two set off several more who decide they, too, are scared. But these kids are quick to accept sugary treats that have clearly been tampered with by someone with questionable ethics. They calm down and eat. The Two, however, are still crying. I pat them on the backs (literally this time, risking lice) and reassure them that the cupcakes are harmless. When they cry harder, I give up. Empathy is not my thing. Besides, now I’m worried their parents are going to egg my house for introducing their kids to some heathen character. Maybe I’ve really done something wrong! At our house the leprechauns attack with vengeance every year, turning the milk green, messing stuff up. It never occurred to me this might be scary. Oh wait — because IT’S NOT. What is wrong with these kids?

Deflated, I cleaned up rainbow crumbs and took Sally home. “Hey Mommy, you know B, who was crying? His dad is a minister!”

Awh, crap.

What Not To Do: A back-to-school list


As the first week of kindergarten came to a close, I realized it was not just Sally learning valuable lessons from school. I, too, was being educated–mostly on how to live with a fire-breathing dragon. To help other parents who may be facing the overtired, extra-exhausted, ‘I’m adjusting to a whole new school year and cannot deal with anything else in this god-forsaken world’ child, I am providing a list of things to avoid during your sponge-brained angel’s first weeks of school:

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:
*Ask what she did at school today.
If you do… sobbing, claiming to not remember, declaring you must not love her anymore. Oh, also, they did circle time.

*Feed her anything but mac and cheese.
If you do… sobbing, declaring you do not love her and that she will never eat anything again, and she’ll move out and get her own apartment and eat mac and cheese every day. Oh you’re making tacos? Okay.

*Explain, define, or suggest anything, even if she asks.
If you do… You will be wrong.

*Wake her up. This often happens in the morning hours because she must return to school.
If you do… Sobbing, claiming school is an awful hell hole that is only slightly better than San Quentin Prison and why can’t you quit your job and stay home with her, don’t you LOVE her?! [Note: Later today you will go to school and find her skipping rope with her new friend and she’ll tell you they made play-doh with sparkles in it! Totally like prison.]

*Suggest she sleep. You know, because all the sobbing just maybe indicates she’s tired.
If you do… sobbing, declaring she’s not tired and maybe she could sleep if you’d fed her mac and cheese but HOW can she sleep at a time like this. Just read a fourth book tonight and then maybe she’ll be able to sleep. Now you’ve upset her so you’ll need to sleep with her, because that’s super comfortable, and it would be best if she could wrap her arms around your neck so that you can only breath at about half your lung capacity.

*Stop pushing her on the swing. Even though she can swing herself.
If you do… Sobbing, loudly whining that she can’t do it, it’s impossible, just push her higher. HIGHER. HIGHER!!!!

*Say that we need to leave the park because her behavior is ridiculous.
If you do… Actually I have no idea what happens, I was too afraid to find out.

Emergency Doctors Here: Barbie Hospital


Lately, we play Barbies. Then we eat. Then we play Barbies. So you might see something of a Barbie “series” on this blog.

I am sorry.

But sometimes, Sally’s Barbies do some interesting things. This week, Mr. Embee and I had to purchase a new microwave. It came in a huge box, so naturally: BARBIE HOSPITAL!  It’s a little bit ER, a little bit Grey’s Anatomy. And a little bit like a mental ward. It’s fabulous.

Things you should know before your visit to Barbie Hospital:

Doctors must stay with their patients at all times.

You will come to the hospital with broken bones. Otherwise, slap a Band-aid on it and go home, wuss.

Your boyfriend may visit you naked.

As the sign clearly notes, visitors will bring their own chairs.

Medicine will be provided. Lots of it.

Please do not be concerned that your neurosurgeon is Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

Our dentistry department (Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog) and pediatric physician (Astronaut Barbie) are often without patients. They are facing lay-offs.

Our doctors have a 100 percent success rate of finding illnesses you didn’t come in for. Broken arm? Holy cow, you also have a potentially fatal sneezing disease!

Any artistic contributions to hospital design by Mommy will go unappreciated. Dude, OBSERVE the awesome first aid selection and lollipop jar. How can you not acknowledge my talent?

Our pediatrician may need to leave during your appointment to travel to the moon.

We are the leading hospital in treatment of Barbie roof-jumping injuries and Chronic Villain’s Disease, in which one’s bad guy-induced illness shifts to various body parts and is utterly incurable. CVD claims hundreds of Barbies every year. Be the cure. Donate to Barbie Hospital.

In accordance with hospital policy, your naked boyfriend should walk you home. Because he doesn’t have a license. …I just print the rules, I don’t make ’em.

Quickie: My Little Firecracker


*Quickies are a thing I started last summer and then did once. Classic. Let’s try it again.

Photo: Sunsurfr/Flickr

Since no city in a two-mile radius is having fireworks on the Fourth, and that’s how far we’re willing to travel, we took a trip last night, the 2nd, to a nearby soccer field. From there we could see the patriotic firework show from the Oakland A’s game. As we waited in the growing darkness, Sally kept trying to convince us to move outside the field onto some rocks she liked. We explained that then we’d be watching the show through a chain-link fence, and if we stayed here, IN the soccer area, we’d have a perfect view.

“I want to sit on the rocks. I’M GOING.”

“Fine. We’re sitting here. You can join us if you’d like.”

“I don’t want to. The rocks are my FAVORITE. I LOVE them.”

“Sally, we have a perfect little porch to sit on right here. We can all sit together and we can see perfectly! I think this is a better idea tonight than the rocks tonight.”

“Uh, Mommy, you are sitting in front of a girls’ bathroom.”

At which point I cracked up. Even if she did have the tone of a hormonally imbalanced pre-teen, the girl’s got a sense of humor. We cuddled up in front of a glorified outhouse and had a great time.

Nine Kid Show Lines I Can’t Fricking Get Out of My Head


Kid shows are melting my brain. Some are definitely better than others: I love Sesame Street (which Sally knows, so she claims it is boring) and I enjoy Olivia. But most have these incredibly annoying repeated lines, or just types of lines that make me want to back over the flat screen with my car.

Bubble Guppies – “What time is it? It’s time for lunch!”
These weird little mermaidy kids live in a world without physics, one of my pet kid show peeves. Though annoying, their lunch line has become embedded in the Embee family arsenal of quasi-witty comebacks.

Dora the Explorer – “Say MAP! LOUDER! SAY MAP!”
If ever given the chance, I will kill Dora.

Berenstain Bears – “Gosh, I didn’t think of it that way.”
The Berenstain kids are super-duper wholesome, yet somehow manage to spend 20 of the 22 minutes available to them teaching your kid how NOT to act. But you know what bothers me most about this show? Mama Bear’s muumuu and shower-cap hat. Who decided that was the picture of a good mom? Also her treehouse is immaculate, which is annoying. Yes, I’m jealous of a two-dimensional bear.

Yo Gabba Gabba! – “There’s a Party in my Tummy!”
I haven’t even seen this show and the song is in my brain.

Angelina Ballerina – “Uh. huh–uh. Ah.” [grunts] “But that’s not FAIR, Mum!”
Angelina is a flat out brat. This has not stopped us from owning no fewer than six Angelina Ballerina books and Tivoing episodes.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – “Oh, Toodles!”
Another land without consistent gravitational pull. I don’t know why I expect more from a show where half-dressed, talking mice and ducks come to a clubhouse every day to learn their colors, but I do.

Team Umizoomi – “You’re really good at math, Umi-friend!”
Okay, actually, this show has shown me yet again how good at math my kid is. She can add! I still can’t add. And therein lies my frustration with the program.

Handy Manny – [in monotone] “that-is-right-it-is-a-screwdriver.”
Wilmer Valderrama is phoning this baby in. Then he hangs up and turns back to the supermodels partying in his pool. Jerk.

Caillou – “Caillou though that was silly.” “AHA! AHA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE! HA HA AHA!”
You do realize he’s Canadian, right? After I kill Dora, I’ll hunt down Caillou, eh? Then I’ll turn myself in, and be put in jail for life, but then they’ll give me the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ll pretty much be our generation’s Nelson Mandela.

You know what’s scary? The tween shows look way worse….

On Father’s Day, We Aim to Impress


What more could a dad want? At a Father’s Day party, his 4-year-old chews pretzels into letters and spells . . . BEER. This one’s for you, Mr. Embee (who, it should be noted, is not even a big beer drinker. She should have spelled Russian Standard.)

"beer" in pretzels

Weinergate: Preschool Edition


As far as I know, there have been no pictures of teensy private parts Tweeted from Sally’s preschool bathroom. However, the bathroom is coed (sooooo Bay Area Elitist, I know) and we have our own little Weinergate issues going on in our household.

Sally has, on multiple occasions, chit-chatted with me about how boys go to the bathroom. They do it STANDING UP. Mind-blowing, right? I don’t think I knew that until college. But recently, Sally moved past simply marveling. She’d caught penis envy and wanted full equality:

Sally: “I’m gonna try it.” [Standing up, turning toward toilet]

Me: “What? WHAT, NO! Sit DOWN. Look, girls can do everything boys can do–and you and I know we usually do it better–but we cannot pee standing up. I’m sorry, our bodies are just different.”

Sally: “. . . . No I’m pretty sure I can do it.” [Stands up again] “Look, they go like this [pinches two fingers together like she’s saying ‘a-okay’ to her crotch] and then they pee! It’s SOOOO much better than sitting down.”

Me: “You can’t. It’ll go everywhere. Do you know how boys’ bodies are different than girls?”

Sally: “YES. They have a . . . um, it’s a penis?”

Me: “Yes.”

Sally: “And girls have . . . is it called a Velvet?”

Me: [You know, “Velvet” sounds kind of nice, actually. Better than “Down There” or when I make shooing motions while telling her to wash herself up in the bath. But I go through the parts, scientifically. Again. Damn child-rearing duties.]

Sally: “And when you are a grown up your baby comes out of THAT. Right. And we can’t pee standing up.” [plops down on stairs, resigned.] “I wish I had a penis.”

Me: “Me too sometimes.”