The How (Not) To of Childcare Instructions

susannekerns.com

I was digging through an old bookcase today when this old, folded-up note fell out.  I unfolded it to discover the six-page list of ‘guidelines and explanations’ (my own obnoxious choice of words) that I had written years ago for my mother and father-in-law when they came to care for our daughter while I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy with my mom.

This was eight years ago.  My daughter had just turned one, plus we had moved into a new house the week prior.  There were boxes everywhere, not to mention the general craziness of living with a one year old.  Even with all that, my in-laws were kind enough to volunteer to fly from Arizona to Seattle to watch her for ten days, while my husband was at work, so that my mom and I could go on a food and wine tour across Italy.

I am still grateful that they gave us this gift of their time and in hindsight, am even more grateful that they didn’t either bolt for the door or laugh in my face when they saw what follows.
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“When I Was Your Age!” Halloween Edition

“When I Was Your Age!” Halloween Edition

Gather around, children, while I tell you a little story about Halloweens back when I was your age, waaaayyyy back in the 1970s.

Ah, those were the days! Children wore costumes their mothers made from scratch, and store-bought costumes were much less slutty, (and much more flammable.) This period also marked the final years when it was acceptable, nay, encouraged, to raise awareness to the plight of the homeless by dressing your child up as a Hobo for the night.

Which brings me to Exhibit A, featuring my brother, the Hobo and me as Raggedy Anne. My mom made the hat and the apron and of course there’s the cute little red dress underneath. Look how sweet we are posing out in front of our house in Idaho.

Happy 70's Halloween - TheDustyParachute.com
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Beware of Unsolicited Pumpkin Texts

Halloween Pumpkin Text Fail

There’s a good chance my in-laws think I’m crazy.

I miss 85% of their correspondence because I only check emails once a month.

It takes me approximately four months to cash the kids’ birthday checks.

There’s the time I left them SIX PAGES of crazy baby-care instructions while they were babysitting our (then) one year old daughter.

And then there’s the Pumpkin-Text-Fiasco of 2013.

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The Birds & the Bees & Hard Candies – Why Sex Ed Is Important

Photo by Casey Chapman Ross

I originally performed this piece live as part of the Listen to Your Mother Austin 2016 Show. I’m sharing it here again as just one example of why I believe that science-based, comprehensive sex-ed is important for all children.

 

When I was 8 years old, I became a walking after school special when I showed a neighbor boy my underpants in exchange for a fun-size pack of Life Savers.

I should have known he was bad news when he suggested we take his riding mower out for a joyride around the back pasture (not a euphemism).  Our ride ended with the lawnmower stuck in an irrigation ditch and me in his grandpa’s basement trading a peek at my underwear in exchange for his hard candies (also not a euphemism.)
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My REVISED Amazon Squishy Product Review

susannekerns.com

If you haven’t read the original Squishy Penis Post, you can find it here.

Dear Amazon –

It is with a heavy heart that I must remove one star , or eggplant 🍆, from my previous review of my Mochi Squishies Squishy Toys Squeeze Random Animals Stress Toy Kawaii Squishies by Shovan, 30 Pieces.

Once it was confirmed by several hundred people that one of the MSSTSRASTKSbS30Ps I ordered was definitely not an Animal, and was, in fact, a Penis, it started to generate some tension in our household.

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My Amazon Squishy Product Review

SusanneKerns.com

My Amazon Review for “Mochi Squishies Squishy Toys Squeeze Random Animals Stress Toy Kawaii Squishies by Shovan, 30 Pieces”

Dear Amazon –

I recently purchased your MSSTSRASTKSbS30P (aka Mochi Squishy Animal Stress Toys) for my son’s 2nd Grade “End of School” Treasure Box

As always, I relied purely on all of your completely legitimate product reviews to make my final purchase decision. Sure, I was a little suspicious that all of the reviews were 5 stars, in broken English, and submitted within the past month, but I was sold by Sunny’s critique about being “worried that the smell would be too heavy” but discovering that her “worry were superfluous” after receiving them.

If they pass Sunny’s sniff test, then that’s good enough for me!
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America Needs a Little NEMO in our Sex Ed

SusanneKerns.com

When I was in grade school, I spent a year of my life distressed over the possibility that I could be pregnant, all because a boy saw my underpants and a friend of mine told me that that’s how babies were made.

My psychosomatic pregnancy scare has influenced the approach I take when teaching my own kids about sex. Since preschool, my kids have known that boys have penises, not “wee-wees,” and that girls have vaginas, not “front-butts.” They also learned that babies are made when penises enter vaginas, not when 10-year-old boys sneak a peek at your underwear.
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5 Reasons I’m Having School Photo Rage

susannekerns.com

Even on a good day, there are quite a few reasons to be annoyed by school photo day.

  • You have to remember that it’s school photo day.
  • You have to fight with your kid about why for ONE DAY you would like them to consider wearing a shirt that doesn’t have a picture on the front of it.
  • You have to have them practice a smile that doesn’t look like they’re plotting the photographer’s death and/or hitting the peak of an acid trip.

But the absolute worst part of photo day is dealing with the purchase procedure of said photos.

  1. Choose from backgrounds. This year’s selections included, “Barbara Walters 1984 Interview,” “Between Two Ferns,” “A River Runs Through It,” “That Scene From Gravity When Sandra Bullock Floats Away,” or “Underage Camp Counselor.”
  2. Select from packages A-Q, ranging in price from a minimum of $20 to a maximum of infinity dollars, because of all the mind-boggling add-ons like puzzles of your face, and note pads of your face, and pillows of your face so you can put your face on your face.
  3. Use the convenient “pay online feature” so your kid can keep saying, “there’s no money with the order form…they won’t let me get my picture taken if you don’t pay….I don’t think that code counts, I think they only take real money….”
  4. Pay with a check, if you can find your checkbook, because, do they even make checks anymore?
  5. Forget to put the order form in your kid’s backpack.
  6. Deliver order form to school office and add to a 3″ pile of other forgotten order forms.
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Dear Moms: It’s Okay To Skip The Class Field Trip

susannekerns.com

Today I am filled with mom-guilt. Since there are more types of mom-guilt than there are Eskimo words for snow, I should probably be more specific.

Today’s guilt (or at least this hour’s guilt) is Guilt Type #26: When you have to tell your child that you won’t be chaperoning their class field trip today even though you never missed any of his big sister’s field trips. Even worse, the aggrieved child reminds you about how you used to drop him off at a daycare for the express purpose of being able to attend his big sister’s field trips (Guilt Type #37.) To top it off, you may have kind of, a little bit, fibbed (or at least exaggerated) about the excuses for missing the filed trip (Guilt Type #26.B)
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The 10 Stages of Grief of Being Reported to the HOA Yard Police

SusanneKerns.com

I was recently subjected to the lowest of the low in Suburbia-shaming: I was reported to the neighborhood HOA Yard Police.

In case you ever find yourself in the deep pit of despair associated with being yard-shamed by one of your friendly neighbors, who is waving, “howdy neighbor!” at you one moment, only to duck into their car and shoot off a report to the HOA about you the next, here’s my experience to help guide you through your stages of grief.


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