Monday, October 31, 2011

What I'm Laughing About This Halloween: Part 3

Here's a round-up of my fave Halloween stuff on the Interwebz today:

via Pregnant Chicken
1. Pregnant Chicken's "Pumpkin Birth" postOh. Mah. Gah.  When I got this one on Facebook, the tag line was "I'm sure you were JUST thinking, It might be nice to see some pumpkins giving birth."  My friend Rebekah at Mom-In-A-Million responded with "I'm blind now.  Laughing ... but blind."



2. Illustration of How Costume Companies Devise Their Ideas, by Kablooey on Funny Not Slutty. (I can't offer you a glimpse of the graphic, because that will give it away.)



via Runt of the Web
3. Ten Ridiculously Awesome Jack o' Lanterns on Runt of the Web. These are the pumpkin droids you're looking for.



4. Tips for helping Special Needs kids handle Halloween.   Some clear and simple suggestions from a mom of a 13-year-old on the spectrum.  Need more?  Check out more detailed ideas on having a sensory-friendly Halloween from my friend Hartley Steiner at the SPD Blogger Network.




5. Biggest Debbie Downer of the Day: The FDA, warning us that it's entirely possible to literally overdose on black licorice. Congestive heart failure overdose.  On a more positive note, I'm going to take this information as the FDA's tacit approval for me to go ahead and overdose on Reece's cups instead.



Don't you wish you worked with this ThinkGeek fan? 
Also, don't you wish you worked in an office with a pants-optional dress code?
6. ThinkGeek Halloween awesomeness.  Pics of geektastic costumes and pumpkins sent in by ThinkGeek fans.  Also, don't forget to check out their  Geek o' Lantern templates

I'm off to power through the rest of my Halloween with some afternoon coffee and a few Reese's cups.  Best wishes for a meltdown-free Halloween!

What I'm Laughing About This Halloween: Part 2

In general, Bratz dolls freak me the hell out, not in the least because the makers of Bratz are constantly devising new and disturbing ways to freak me the hell out.

First there were Bratz dolls:
::Shudder::

Then there were Bratz Halloween costumes:


Despite looking like a pint-sized French maid costume, it's "Little Bo Peep."
Then, because apparently the makers of Bratz have tremendous capacity for irony (although no capacity for dignity), there were Bratz "Masquerade" dolls:

Um. Yeah.
Wait.  They look eerily familiar, don't they?
Voulez-vous go to Toys R Us avec moi ce soir?
As incredible as this may seem, the makers of Bratz did not launch matching Masquerade costumes for little girls this year.  I can only assume there was some sort of production foul-up in which the eight-year-old girls sewing the costumes in China were so horrified by American girls' lack of modesty that they slowed to a 19-hour workday.  Presumably, those costumes will be available next year and the circle of crap will be complete.

What I'm Laughing About This Halloween: Part 1

Pants, you need.
Meh.  You guys already know how I feel about Halloween.  I adore it.  I adore the candy, the creative costumes, the meeting of neighbors.  The only thing I don't adore is the dressing of children in costumes that used to be reserved for Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs.

If you aren't sure how I feel about those costumes, you can check out my rants from last year (complete with illustrations) here: Ten Halloween Costumes I Hate, 11 Halloween Costume FAILS, and 10 Halloween Costume WINS.

There's really no point in adding to those, right?.

Or maybe there is.  The Halloween Industry continues to come up with new and exciting ways to make Halloween pants-optional for our daughters.  Let me reiterate that I believe that if you're a grown adult and you want to dress like a naughty nurse, sassy zombie kitten, sexy social worker, or whatever, you go for yours.  You're hot and you own it, girlfriend.  All I know is, my daughters are going to have to wait until they're living not in my house (college? apartment? juvie?) before they ever put on a get-up like this.

Here's a few new "career" costumes marketed to girls for 2011:
Source: Skank it up at Party City.

Source: More Party City skankarama.

Source: Halloween Express, for all your fetishwear costume needs.
There's also the Monster High costumes, which for some reason look like tiny little drag queen outfits.  This one looks kind of like Cher went Dumpster-diving:

Source: Costume SuperCenter, or possibly a Dumpster behind a drag show bar.
This next one isn't a new costume; it's one I had seen last year during my Halloween "research."  However, this year I met a mom who happily told me that last year, she and her seven-year-old daughter were both Eskimo Cuties.  I knew exactly which costume she was talking about, because I'd almost included it in one of my posts. At the time, I decided it wasn't quite offensive enough.  But adding the matchy-matchy aspect really brings it up a notch.

If any little girls show up trick-or-treating at my door in one of these costumes, they're getting pants and a lecture about self-respect the dangers of frostbite, not candy.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Warning: Swears A-Plenty

WARNING: The following post has swears a-plenty.  If you're not a fan of the f-bomb, just close it now.

Are they gone?  Okay then.

I don't usually swear (at least not in print), but when I do, let's just say I do it with gusto.  (Thanks, Little Dude, for my new favorite word.)  I did have one popular swear-filled rant a year ago on Pajamas & Coffee, but until now, I've hesitated to swear here.

But I can't not share this with you.

Sometimes, swearing is called for.  And not just one little word, but a motherfucking blue streak.  Like in the case of a teacher straying from agreed-upon accommodations without discussing it with me.

Before you all go nuts, know that the problem has already been resolved.  I put on my boots, talked to the principal and the teacher, and all is well again at Little Dude's school.  His teachers are great; this was just an instance of pushing for (in my opinion) too much change, too soon.  But in the heat of the moment, what made me feel better was getting the following published on UrbanDictionary.com.


Thank you to the Pregnant Chicken for being the first one to give it the "thumbs up."  You can vote it up, and look up other hilariously filthy words, on Urban Dictionary by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Day, in Four Acts

Four little slices of my day.

ACT I
Setting: Our living room.  The Absent-Minded Professor has just gotten Little Dude dressed.  Little Dude is flailing around on the floor, kicking his legs.

Absent-Minded Professor: "What's wrong?"
Little Dude: [Incoherent screaming.]
Absent-Minded Professor: "What?"
Little Dude: "The jeans!  I can't handle the jeans!"
Cookie: "I wonder if they make Pajama Jeans for 5-year-old boys."

.............................
ACT II
Setting: Outside the therapist's office.  The kids are hopping for one stepping stone to another.  Little Dude, now in sweat pants, is especially enthusiastic.

Little Dude: [Incoherent mumbling.]
stark. raving. mad. mommy.: "You're what now?"
Little Dude: "I'm hopping.  With gusto."

.............................

ACT III
Setting: Waiting room at therapist's office.

SRMM: "What are you guys doing?"
Peanut Butter Kid: "Pretending to be normal."
SRMM: [Dies laughing.]

.............................

ACT IV
Setting: Our living room. It appears the rest of the day is going to be "pants-optional."

Pork Lo Maniac: "Pants.  They're our kryptonite."

Damn you, Lex Luthor.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Who Has the Cheese Touch?

The winner of a copy of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch board game is ... Elizabeth Johnson!


That's right, Elizabeth.  YOU have the cheese touch.  Or at least The Cheese Touch game.  Email me at Mommy@starkravingmadmommy.com with your contact info so I can hook you up!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Give-Away! Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch Game

Note: Comments and contest are now closed!
Who has the cheese touch?

So I really almost never respond to pitches from PR people.  Mostly that's because PR people tend to pitch me stuff like the cat potty training system.  (If you go back and read that one, please note that it means that I have been banging my head against a brick wall attempting to potty-train Little Dude for well over a year now.) 

Other stupid pitches I have gotten were for a phone app for "the definitive luxury lifestyle brand" (whatever that means) and more recently, for a damn toilet cleaning product.  That last one just proves that the PR chick didn't read my blog at all, because on the tab that says "Contact / PR / Ads" there is this picture:


Even more disturbing was that the Toilet Cleaning PR Chick expected me to video myself doing a dance while cleaning my toilet.  Um, no.  I spend enough time in there trying to potty-train Little Dude without adding to the weirdness.  However, if and when Little Dude actually does become potty-trained, I will video myself doing a victory dance to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and post it on YouTube for all to see.  How about that?

Any way, you'd probably like me to shut the hell up now and get to the part where you could win something free.  I got a pitch to review the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch Game and was all, giddyup.  Because first of all, my kids freaking love those books, and second of all, it's an actual, non-digital, non-electronic, old school board game.  Remember those?  From back in the Stone Ages when we were kids?

Also, we've been trying to make Sunday night into Family Game Night, and we've played Headbandz so many times, we've all gotten a little too good at it.


I love board games.  I especially love board games that our entire family can play without anyone having a meltdown, and those, my friends, are hard to come by.

First of all, you don't have to have read any of Jeff Kinney's awesome Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (or seen the movies, or listened to the audio books in the car, like we have) to play this game.  It's actually a game designed to get to know people in your family better.  There's also some goofy acting and movement involved, all the better for those of us whose attention spans aren't so focused on weekends when we're off our Adderall.

Wait, what was I talking about?  Right.  The game.

The Cheese Touch Game is for ages 8 and up, so we did make a few modifications for our 5- and 7-year-olds.  One of the activities is acting out some adverbs, and they didn't know all the words, so when that happened, they just picked a new card.  We also ignored some of the rules about how many you had to get "right" to move on.

Another thing we liked about this game is that it's quick.  Seriously, my kids can't sit still long enough to play a long game like Monopoly.  This game was quick and interesting enough that we got through one game and the kids immediately wanted to play it again.

So ... who wants to win a free copy of their very own Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Cheese Touch Game? 

Instructions:
To enter to win, leave a comment at the end of this post and answer this question: What's the last NON-VIDEO game you played with your kid(s)?

And dude ... I can't give the game away to "Anonymous," so leave some kind of name or something, mmkay?

I'll pick one winner at random tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eczema, You Scaly Bastard

"Mommy, what is that
caterpillar doing?"
"Uhh ... using his nebulizer."
I've gotten two emails and a phone call in the last couple of days from friends whose kids have eczema.  Basically, when the temperature drops below 70, it's suddenly time for our kids' skin to go from baby-butt-smooth to sandpaper.  Although it's gotten better as my kids have gotten older, it's still a constant nagfest here with me reminding the girls to moisturize after their showers.

As for Little Dude, forget it.  The precise moment I'm done chasing him around with sunblock is when I have to start chasing him around with the moisturizer.

(Likewise, exactly when their seasonal allergies start to drop off, their asthma picks up and then we're sucking on the nebulizer like a damn hookah.)

Keep in mind that we can't just use any old moisturizer.  Any bottle labeled "greaseless feel" or "absorbs instantly" is useless for us.  We need "extra gooey" or "sticks worse than generic Vaseline."  We must slather on a thick coating of Eucerin Creme, which is the exact same consistency as that goo BP spilled into the ocean in 2006.  Ever seen those photos of seagulls with crude oil stuck to their feathers?  Like that. 

Actual photo of one of my kids after
Aquaphor application.
Then, when the weather gets cold enough for me to turn on the heat, it means we have to switch over to Aquaphor.  Not only does Aquaphor protect their skin, it actually makes my kids water-repellent, like some kind of kid-seal hybrid. 

When my kids were really little, I would have to put Aquaphor on their faces every time we went outside in the winter. Every. Single. Time. Or else the skin on their cheeks would crack and bleed. Every. Single. Time.

Whether it's the Eucerin Creme or the Aquaphor, when you put a coating of that stuff on the kids after a bath, it seals in the moisture but it also makes them capable of staining and ruining every piece of furniture in your house.  Therefore, they have to run around the house, flapping and flailing, trying to get the goo to "dry."  Although the process of moisturizer being absorbed seems like it would be silent, it's actually very, very loud.

Drying moisturizer sounds like this:

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

When the over-the-counter moisturizers fail you, it's time to break out the hydrocortisone.  You will start to wonder if that much topical steroid is good for a kid.  You will start to call his or her tantrums "'roid rage."

After the hydrocortisone cream comes the crazy foam stuff.  That stuff is so weird that it seems no one uses it except your family.  Happily, that means your pediatrician has cases and cases of samples you can have, because you win the prize for biggest freakshow family in his practice.  (Thanks, pharmaceutical reps!)

The foam makes a different sound while drying.  It sounds like this:

"IT BURNS!  IT BURNS!  MAKE IT STOP!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Eczema, you scaly bastard.  I hate you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Therapy is Our Fall Sport

Here's a little slice of my day for you. 

Special Needs Mom Friend: What sports are your kids doing this fall?

Me: Therapy.  Therapy is our sport.  It's all we have time for, and it's all we can afford.  Our copays equal a damn car payment.

Special Needs Mom Friend: Awesome.  Any time you want, my kids are always up for a pick-up game.

And that is why I love my friends.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's Working for Us: The Potty Progress Report

Recently I wrote a post called "OK, This is Totally Gross, But ..." asking for help getting my five-year-old son with Asperger's to poop on the potty. 

As always, you guys came up with some awesome suggestions.  People sent me emails, left me comments on Facebook, and left comments on the blog.  Tons of them.  Because this is a very, very important subject.  You wouldn't think that poop could be so all-consumingly important, but when your life has revolved around changing diapers for more than a decade, it's kind of a big deal.

I don't want anyone to think that Little Dude is now 100% potty-trained, by any means.  He's not.  But we're making progress.

What's working for us is breaking the whole thing down into smaller steps.  I thought that after he learned to pee on the potty (most of the time), he'd learn to poop on the potty next.  I was so wrong.

It turns out that the next thing he could learn was to poop in his Pull-Up, standing up, in the bathroom.  And then maybe we can think about pooping in a Pull-Up, on the toilet.  And then maybe we can try to pass gas on the toilet.  And maybe some day down the road, he'll poop in the toilet.  A mom can dream.

The thing is, at least now he's becoming aware of when he needs to poop.  And he's running upstairs to the bathroom.  Which is a big huge fat win.  Therefore, he's being rewarded for it.  Yes, he gets a prize for pooping in a Pull-Up in the bathroom.  Or for passing gas in the bathroom.  Basically, the rule is, that if anything comes out of his butt, and he's in the bathroom, he gets a Lego guy.

And now he's starting to feel like he can do this, which is probably the key to the whole thing.  Before, he would just say, "I can't do this."  Now, he's feeling like maybe he can.

Every day, Little Dude comes home from school in a dry, clean Pull-Up.  He is awesome at "holding it."  (Less awesome at letting it go on the potty.)

We've been trying to convince him to wear underwear to school, and today was finally The Big Day.  It was a half-day, and since he's only in half-day Kindergarten, it's really more like a quarter-day.  By the time the kids are in their seats, it's probably time to start zipping up their jackets again.  So it seemed like a good day to try.

He wore them.

He came home in them.  The same pair, still clean and dry.

This doesn't mean that he'll wear underwear to school tomorrow.  It doesn't mean he's potty-trained.

It just means we're making progress.

I'll take it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Contagion Freak-Out Timeline

I went to see Contagion with one of my friends recently.  I realize it played nicely into some of my anxieties, but I bet I'm not the only mom who had the following reaction. 

My Contagion Freak-Out Timeline
What's the last movie you saw in the theater?  If you saw Contagion, did you become a germaphobe for a week after, or was it just me?

I think I need this outfit.
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