Tag Archives: parenthood

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:

*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.

What I Did This Summer

Now that schools are starting, I’d like to give you the report every fifth grader must present: What I Did This Summer.

Sally had her first ballet performance: I was terrified she’d never get on stage. Or that she’d get on stage and then lose her breakfast all over it. Or that they’d lose her backstage in a pile of tutus. Or that somehow I’d end up needing to run up there in front of 500 parents. Instead, the only thing I didn’t prepare for happened. She was perfect and I cried a gallon of happy tears, starting the moment she came on stage. It was the most moving performance I’ve ever seen. I’m that mom.

I bought three cute pieces of wall art for my kitchen: They look like country fruit-stand signs. And I got them on quadruple clearance, which made me feel like the bargain hunter of the century even though I came across them by accident. Then they arrived and I held them up to the wall. They blended in like oatmeal does when it gets splattered on the kitchen wall. (I know. That has happened.) So I boldly announced that I would be painting the kitchen. The Mr. was not fond of the idea that my $8 wall plaques were going to now cost $50 in paint and several days of my time. He declared he would not be participating in this fiasco. That was fine. I painted the kitchen yellow! Now the wall art looked great! Oooh, but the light switch and outlet covers looked terrible. So we replaced those. [Insert cha-ching of cash register.] Yay—ooh, look how bad the cabinets look. Wow. This fall I’ll be painting those.

I got a sewing machine: This means you can expect many more craptastic crafts from me. My first project was a tea towel that went tragically wrong and became a weekend bag for Barbie. That’s the kind of thing that happens around here.

Sally finished preschool: This involved 38 end-of-year parties. I am sick of end-of-year parties. However, I am incredibly grateful that our school does not have a preschool graduation. I’m sure if they did, I’d be bawling proudly at that, too, but since they don’t, I can be a jerk and say “What is with the toddler-sized caps and gowns? Are you savoring the moment because you’re worried he might not graduate from junior high?” I don’t get it.

Our microwave pooped out: So for two weeks while we awaited our new one, we had no microwave. That went surprisingly okay. Then the new one arrived. It goes over the stove (ooh, la la). And Mr. Embee would be installing that. . . . which is TOTALLY FINE with me. Yep. So that took about a week because naturally no home the Embee family lives in has anything STANDARD about it. After sawing and drilling and essentially remodeling the kitchen, the microwave was installed! We are all very proud of Mr. Embee. And the microwave works perfectly. Unless you run it longer than a minute. Then it blows a circuit and everything in the kitchen goes out.

I kinda took a break from blogging: Yeeeah, sorry about that. Even blabbermouths like me get writers’ block sometimes.

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….

We Should Bring Sally’s Music to the World

Remember when they had those CD commercials on TV where you could buy the Greatest Hits from the ’80s, or ’70s, or punk, or funk, or whatever? Sally’s songwriting has been so prolific over the past four years, I think we could put out her own record. Buy it now and you can enjoy The Best of Sally over and over! Hits including…

One Hundred


My Carrots are Growing [Sun, Water and Love]


You Can Do It

Oh Yeah

The Mac and Cheese Song

The Theme to: A Prince and Princess Get Married

I Am Gonna Win

Teddy Bear

The Party is Starting

Bubbles are Great

I’m the Dragon King

I’m the Dragon King (reprise): I’m Still a Hula Dancer But I Have a Sword

Today is a Great Day to Touch Your Toes

Give Mom the Gift of Time. Hard Time.

When I think of what I’d like for Mother’s Day, I often come to “My God, a stint in rehab sounds fantastic.” But Betty Ford and Sunset Malibu are really the only ones I’m interested in — Private beach access! Encouragement to walk around the lake every morning! Spa treatments, people! Rehab sounds AWESOME. But I’d have to pawn my child to come close to affording these facilities, and since that would make me NOT a mother, we find ourselves in an unfortunate Catch 22. Also I’m not addicted to anything that’s detrimental to my health. Unless you count Grey’s Anatomy. Sooo, I think the next best option is clear:

For Mother’s Day, I’d like to go to a white-collar, minimum-security prison.

Well of course I specify “white collar.” When you are prescribing a present for yourself, you need to be precise. Otherwise I’m going to end up kickin’ it for a week with a guy called “Issues” in cell block D. And that, my friends, is not a vacation.

Austrian prison private balcony

In Austria, you can meditate on your private patio. Sign me up!

In a comfy minimum-security facility, you get to go to sleep at regular times and stay all night in your own bed. They cook for you, three times per day! I can read books all morning, or have long discussions about embezzlement. Plus I’d get an hour a day to work out. An HOUR. I will be so buff. At a place in Kentucky I can attend wellness workshops that focus on stress reduction. At other places I can check out an instrument and join an inmate band. Or become a dental assistant! Leatherworking classes sound fun. And think how useful I’ll be after my vacation if I take the vocational programs in baking and landscaping.

Prison sounds great. No more wondering what to wear in the morning. I could get one of those cute soap-on-a-ropes. I wouldn’t be responsible for anyone. Heck, I wouldn’t even be responsible for myself! What mom wouldn’t be thrilled with such a gift?

You might ask, “But Summer, how do I get my mother such a luxurious vacation? After all, one can’t just call a jail and make reservations.” To that I say, why not?! We should be able to call up the justice system and declare ourselves a threat to society. “Hello, correctional facility? If I don’t go to jail to get away from these kids RIGHT NOW, I’m going to commit a crime. Like mail fraud.” If that won’t work, and I’m told it won’t, then you’re going to need to frame mom. But you know what, it’s Mother’s Day–This is your job. I’m not going to plan it all out for you.

A Royal(ish) Wedding

Sally dug the royal wedding. What wasn’t to love? Beautiful people, military uniforms, designer dresses, hats that should have toppled several women over. Naturally, Sally then spent a good chunk of wedding day executing her own version of the royal nuptials.

Throngs of onlookers awaited a glimpse of the happy prince and princess.

The bride wore a Kleenex veil and a dress by Mattel. Her necklace is genuine China-made plastic. The groom wore a look of vague detachment.

The pool party reception (hmmm, the queen in a bikini…) ended with an exuberant–and naked–bride scaling the castle’s tallest tower. Her new husband climbed up to rescue her.

The newlyweds retired to a furnished castle built by the prince himself, where they promptly began planning a family. They are expecting their first daughter tomorrow. She will have bunk beds in her room. . . . As all princesses should.