Things You *Really* Shouldn’t Say To Your Kids

I just read this blog post over at Abandoning Pretense in which Kristen Mae gives the thumbs down to all those “Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids” lists floating about, and I was like, “Whew! Thank God someone is letting me off the hook.” I’m all for people pursuing positive parenting with patience and aplomb (sorry, got a little carried away with the alliteration there), but never? NEVER?

“Never” reinforces this sort of oops-you-did-this-BUZZ!-now-you’re-a-terrible-parent vibe that I’m basically totally sick of. Like, I’m barfing guilt already, people. Let’s take it easy. Kristen sums up my feelings at the end:

Most of us are working really hard at being the best parents we can be, and we’re doing a pretty bang-up job of it, too. We are good parents.

Yeah. So take that, internet jerks.

That said, there really ARE some things you probably shouldn’t say to your kids. I’ll list them out, in case you’re just about to say any of this. It takes a village, after all.

Word Graphic - Things You Really Shouldn't Say to Your Kids

Things You *Really* Shouldn’t Say to Your Kids

1. Finish your cocaine or I’ll feed you to my shark.

2. I regret letting the aliens drink your blood every night. Tuesdays? Yes. Every night? Too much.

3. Sometimes I watch you sleeping at night and just cry. Oh, no…not in the good way.

4. Heads up: I’m gonna be real drunk at this parent/teacher conference.

5. Wanna take the cinnamon challenge?

6. Take the cinnamon challenge or I’ll feed you to my shark.

7. Hold this land mine real quick.

8. I wish you were more like your sister, if your sister was like someone else’s kid.

9. Hey! That stove is hot! Ehhh…go ahead. We have insurance.

10. Feed my shark or I’ll feed you to my shark.

If you’re saying any of those things, you probably are a terrible parent. Take your internet shame, you! Take it and like it!

p.s. you’re subscribed to Abandoning Pretense, right? Because you should NEVER tell your kid not to subscribe to Abandoning Pretense.

The Parent Olympics Storified (& Stanley Broke the Internet)

First things first; The Parent Olympics were awesome. I think most of you were out having Pho and planning your gubernatorial campaigns, so live viewing was a touch on the skim side. Not to worry though, folks; I storified it. Now that you have a full belly and a clear campaign strategy, hop over to Storify.com and check it out.

ParentOlympicsStorifiedScreenCap

My favorite moment? This one:

FavoritePOMoment

Plus all of this awesome stuff:

Seriously, go see the whole shebang. Good times. Jerrod was an amazing co-host, and made the event that much better. Really that’s a compliment for me—I make awesome decisions. High five, me.

Less awesome were the antics of Stanley, the horribly obnoxious internet drunk. Oh, Stanley, I could just punch you in the mouth.

See, what happened readers—and you may have noticed this last night—is that Stanley hopped on my computer while I was participating in my own Parent Olympics. And wow—can that dumb guy screw stuff up. In the process of posting and unposting the Storify version, posts were pushed to the blog, and then pushed to Facebook, AND Twitter, AND LinkedIn, AND (I assume) Barack Obama got copies of them. Because the internet is tricky, drunken Stanley published a couple of posts with just a link, some with some jibberish-looking code, and one with a selfie of him after he abandoned his pants. (Gross, Stanley.)

The lesson? Don’t let a drunk/angry/possibly imaginary old man get his hands on the internet. You know he’s just gonna break it.

So sorry for that, you all. Stanley is terrible and we should ALL punch him in the mouth. I may have bore the tiniest bit of responsibility in the whole debacle, so please accept my apologies as well. But mostly let’s get really angry at Stanley.

p.s. When I was all stressed about the social media cacophony emanating from my blog, I did what any reasonable person would do: watched internet videos of cats. It was almost worth the stress and frustration to come across these gems. (ht Cute Overload)

The Parent Olympics

Two weeks ago the winter Olympics opened with great fanfare, and athletes from all over the globe gathered to have their skills tested and their hard work put on display. They squinted their eyes as their grit and determination pushed them toward medal podium. They held their breath, wondering if it was worth sacrificing so much for the love of the games.

Simultaneously, another Olympics carried on, the opening ceremonies for which are held daily as tiny feet march down the hall, ready to break even the strongest competitor. The competitions are held in living rooms, bedrooms, family vans, and playgrounds. These games have no end, and no real winner—only survivors. They are…

The Parent Olympics

Tonight at 5 PST/7 Central, Jerrod from Never Had One Lesson (@jerrodkc) and I (@HelloMelanieC) will bring you live coverage of the games on Twitter. So stay tuned for such events as:

• The Bedtime Sneak-and-Crawl

• The Get Anywhere on Time, and

• The 30-minute Clean Shirt Event

Are you a parent warming up for your next event? A relative watching a brutal tumble? An innocent bystander now covered in ice cream after a mini mall meltdown? Join us: #ParentOlympics

See you in the arena.

background image in graphic by John Keogn via Flickr licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

Five and a Half Tips for Surviving Your New Baby

So you’re having a baby! Huzzah! Soon you will have the minor task of being solely responsible for the health and well-being of an entirely helpless, dependent human. Don’t freak! I’ve got five and a half top-shelf tips to get you on your way. Like so:

Clean That Thing Off

If you’ve grown your baby in your very own uterus, have someone clean it off before they thrust it on you for the first time. Newly minted babies are gross (truth), and your affection for them is what keeps you from abandoning them in the forest like a spooked mama fox. Don’t let your first remark about your little rascal be, “Ick.” Give yourself the upper hand and have someone give that kid a good once-over with a towel.

The Puke Luge™

Baby Puke on the Couch

The night before this happened we were like, “Hey, should we scotch guard the couch?” and then we were like, “Nah, that’s a lot of work and the can says we’ll probably blow up our house.” Then I didn’t use the Puke Luge™.

Babies like to puke up a lot of the food you so carefully funnel into their little gullets. Prime targets for said puke are the third shirt you’ve put on that day, and your newly cleaned couch.

To avoid both scenarios, use my patented 2-step Puke Luge™ solution. First, don’t burp the baby over your shoulder rather, hold the baby upright on your lap, holding a burp cloth beneath her little chinny-chin-chin (fig. A). Then, place the other end of the burp cloth on a pillow next to you (fig. B). This creates the luge track on which your baby’s puke will be safely corralled, shirts and furniture left unsoiled.Puke Luge

The Baby Straightjacket

Babies like to claw the crap out of their faces, making you look like the Freddy Kruger of parents. Not great. Your options for resolving this are: those baby mittens that stay on for roughly the amount of time it takes a mouse to sneeze; cutting your baby’s nails, which will definitely result in lopping off some of your baby’s finger; or the baby straightjacket (also known as swaddling).

The baby straightjacket is the clear winner, in my opinion. If you can get a nurse to teach you, that’s best (those people do not mess), if not, the Mayo Clinic has some pretty pictures to show you.

Hold on to Those Maternity Clothes

Again, if your baby is grown in your very own body, immediately following birth you’ll be like, “Ohmigosh I’m so skinny!” Then you’ll see a mirror and you’ll be like, “Sixth month of pregnancy redux? What the heck?”

Yes, that’s the dill, Pickle. You’re just gonna have to be okay with it.

If It Seems Weird, Maybe it IS Weird

Babies do all kinds of weird crap, but some of it is normal weird, and some is weird weird. As a new parent, you totally won’t know the difference. (Awesome!)

If something seems weird, check it out. Don’t worry about seeming like an ignorant, overprotective wacko of a parent. You probably are, but don’t worry about it. Most doctor’s offices have a nurse that you can talk to on the phone before racing to the emergency room. Also, Google is pretty good at giving you a little pre-info.

Embracing the I-don’t-know-but-it-seems-weird mantra probably saved my kid’s life, so I’m a fan. (All the credit for that goes to my husband. He’s a better person than I am. (Why am I left alone with the kids again?))

Sub-point: Watch out for Internet Weirdos

Google is great for doing a quick WTF check on lots of stuff. The Mayo Clinic and WebMD are pretty solid resources. However, the internet is chock-full of weirdos because there’s no test you have to pass to spew opinions all over our shared info web. So when you search for “gassy baby,” you’ll inevitably find the person that says, “I gave my baby an enema with a straw and a diet coke.” No thanks, moonbeamdaddy43. We’re gonna pass on that.

Have I left something unaddressed? Well ask away! I’m an internet weirdo with an entire website all to myself, so clearly I’m qualified.

Happy Motherhood Survival Day!

someecards.com - Hey Mama, Sorry this cute little thing will smack you in the face one day. Next round's on me.

I just got hit in the face. Hard. Happy Mother’s Day?

Okay, so it’s technically the day before Mother’s Day and I’m being a bit dramatic. But I got hit in the face by my kid real hard, so I kinda think I get a pass.

Now I need to say this: by all accounts, my daughter is a kind, thoughtful, well-behaved child. She’s smart and funny and awesome. I say that not to brag about my kid, but rather just to point out that the best case scenario as a parent is that your kid will be kind, thoughtful, and well-behaved before and after she smacks you in the face.

That’s just parenting. That’s the gig. It’s some kind of insane, child-rearing blood sport. Lord help us.

So let’s buy dumb crap and alienate people!

I read this Salon article by Anne Lamott the other day called, “Why I hate Mother’s Day.” And while I usually just smile too much, nod, and hug my computer screen when I read her work, I sadly have to disagree with this one—at least a little.*

I think Mother’s Day can be kind of stupid and obligatory, but only because we’ve framed it wrong. Mother’s Day isn’t about claiming that mothers are better than other people, or somehow more valuable. They’re not. There are zero requirements to becoming a mother. Stupid people become mothers all the time. Big deal.

I don’t think you somehow become more of a person when you become a mother. Your value is there from day 1. You’re valuable just because, and there’s no amount of marrying or procreation or anything else makes you more legitimate as a person. So we can stop mother worship as a holiday. It creeps me out.

But I kinda need Mother’s Day, okay?

I don’t need pink cards, or flowers, or certainly one of those swoopy necklaces or whatever. It’s not about that to me. You know what it’s about? Survival. I need a day when people that are important to me say, “Hey, I see you over there, and I know you’re just barely making it. Good job and I’m sorry and here’s a beer.”

It should be called “Motherhood Survival Day,” where all mothers are acknowledged not for doing it all right, or being magically worth treasuring, but just for making it through another year. Just for making it through an unending torrent of questions and comments about your daily activities, objections to whatever plans you’ve laid, several-times-daily accidental injuries to your person or property, unbridled emotions and—yes—the occasional southpaw smack to the face.

I come into and out of too many days feeling battered and bruised, not knowing if I can stitch together enough scraps of my remaining sanity to hold myself together. And I’m guessing a lot of mothers feel that way, too.

I’m sorry. I see you. Hang in there.

So, following last year’s tradition, I’ve whipped up a few Mother’s Day greetings for you to use if you wanna keep it real this year. Send and receive them with high fives and snuggles from me, okay? Happy Mother’s Day, mamas.

someecards.com - Hey Mama, Let's call it a win that you haven't pulled out all your hair yet.

someecards.com - Hey Mama, You're makin' exhausted desperation look goooood.

someecards.com - Hey Mama, Thanks for not abandoning me, even though I'm being a little a-hole.

*it should be noted that I love Anne Lamott to freaking bits and if you haven’t read her work you absolutely should. Bird by Bird is an all-time fav of mine (thanks Matt!). Go check her out.

Why You Should Always Give a Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Next time you see a pregnant lady, you really need to stop and give her five bucks. Why? Well, the short answer is that pregnancy is the freaking worst. THE WORST.

Okay, having your leg chewed off by a bengal tiger is probably pretty bad, too. But pregnancy is freaking awful, and no one comes right out and says that because, well, I think it makes you look like a bad parent or something. But I totally don’t care about that. Let me endure the judgement and describe the terrible catastrophe that is pregnancy. You’re welcome.

Why You Should Always Give A Pregnant Lady Five Bucks

Morning Sickness is a Lie

The term “morning sickness” is about as accurate as “occasional breathing” or “optional heartbeat.” For many, the nausea that comes with your precious bundle of joy happens whenever the crap it wants to, and—blissfully for some—all the live long day. I’ll let you guess which of those things happened to me.

It’s also not some adorable, dainty little queasiness. It’s as if food is now the enemy, and your body will do anything to keep it out of your mouth/stomach/necessary locations for life. I’ve read of women puking 20 times a day. Twenty. Times. Uh, give that lady five bucks.

My nausea was so bad that my doctors gave me a drug that they also give to chemo patients. Because apparently being on chemo and being pregnant have certain similarities. I don’t know why they don’t put that on Hallmark cards. Even that prescription-strength solution didn’t keep this pleasant little conversation from happening in my head several times a day:

I’m going to die. I can’t believe this is how it’s going to end for me. A shriveled, starved mess that can’t get out of bed. Wait, no, you live in California, Melanie. CALIFORNIA. I’m pretty sure there are a few steps between this and death. Right? Of course! They’ll hook you up to IVs and give you nutrients that way! All you need is hospitalization! No. big. deal.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that, though I did ask my husband several times to check into a medically induced coma. I’m still a little mad that he didn’t at least Google it. Right? Right.

“Cravings”? Not Exactly

You always hear those adorable stories of women wanting to eat pickles and ice cream, like that’s the cutest thing ever. The reality? Pickles and ice cream—and other equally absurd food choices—may be the only thing your body will accept. So, if the choice is between the aforementioned hospitalization and, say, shrimp-flavored Cup O’ Noodle and instant mashed potatoes, you kinda choose the Cup O’ Noodle. Turns out, the desire to not die in your bed is pretty strong.

There once was a time when I favored braised beef cheek and chilled grape soup with basil foam—pregnancy reduced my palate to that of a still-drunk frat boy. Thanks for that. Give me five bucks, please. I have no self respect.

I told my doctor about this terrible starvation/inability to eat anything that can reasonably be called food and her was response was, “Luckily, the baby doesn’t need nutrition right now.” Yeah, luckily. And it’s not like need it, right? And where is the baby getting her nutrients? She’s stealing them from your body. Like a parasite. Where’s the greeting card for that?
someecards.com - Congratulations on your acquisition of a small parasite that will steal your essential nutrients.
(Sadly, that analogy doesn’t quite end at birth. Not that I hate my kid. I don’t. I promise. Look, I can prove it.)

“Luckily,” Lots of Terrible Stuff is Normal

If you’ve never been pregnant before, all this crazy stuff will start happening to you and you’ll be like, “Holy shitballs, this can’t be right. This is how humans are made?” and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say as much to your doctor. And she will say, “Yeaaaaaaaah. I’m sorry.” Because it totally IS right. It’s normal. For your entertainment/education/horrification, here’s a bunch of bizarro stuff that’s just par for the course with pregnancy.

  • Days long headaches that you can’t do anything about, because you can’t take any pain killers when you’re pregnant. A wet cloth on your head in a dark room may be recommended.
  • Bleeding gums. Like you’re a pirate with scurvy. Sweet.
  • Not pooping ever. Someone I know might have thought she was going to die of not pooping. It wasn’t me, because why would I share that? But no one wants pooping to be mentioned in their obit.
  • Nosebleeds. Wha…? Or a constant stuffy nose. Also wha…?
  • The persistent feeling of being kicked in the crotch. This happens because of a chemical that makes your joints loosen. Sometimes your pelvic joint kinda, you know, comes apart. And that process might make you Google “pregnancy kicked in the crotch.”
  • Extra moles. To make you feel awesome about yourself.
  • Chest pain due to: a baby being where your organs are supposed to go; or heartburn; or maybe a blood clot or heart attack. Hard to know. Not that that’ll freak you out or anything.
  • Dark spots all over your skin. To help with camouflage in the wild?
  • Hot flashes. Because why the heck not at this point, right?

There’s totally more than this but…why? (Oh, wait…diabetes! You can get di-a-be-tes just while you’re pregnant. And middle-of-the-night leg cramps! And anemia!!) I mean, does it need to get any worse for you to spot a lady a fiver? If so, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU HORRID FIEND?

I will take one second to address something that might come up in the comments: some people have lovely pregnancies. They say they’ve never felt better, and that it’s such a blessing and they glow and all that crap. Ladies, you owe other pregnant women fifty bucks. Somehow they caught your share of the crappy part while you rubbed your belly and made cooing noises. Not okay.

So there it is. Go forth and procreate you poor bastards. I’ll give you five bucks if I see you.

Keepin’ It Real for Mother’s Day

As we all know, kids are a little nutty and being a parent is crazy hard. When Mother’s Day rolls around, we thank our mothers for being kind, or for “raising us right” (whatever that means), or for always being there.

The truth is, though, the thing you should be most thankful for is that your mother never threw you in a river, gave you to the mafia, or sent you packing on a hot air balloon never to return. Basically, if you survived your childhood at the hands of an exhausted, tried, worn out mother—she wins. She wins a million points forever.

So, I made a card for all you kids to send out if you wanna keep it real this Mother’s Day.

Wishing all you mothers a happy, insanity-free day.

someecards.com - Dear Mom, Thanks for not feeding me to a shark or selling me to the circus. I know it was a real possibility. Happy Mother's Day!

A Very, Truly, Fantastic Day

Happy birthday!

Today is my daughter’s birthday. Now, not to knock the kids you know and love, but she’s better than those kids. She’s better than all kids. She’s amazing. That might also just be genetics talking, ensuring that I don’t eat my young. I don’t know how all the science works.

Regardless of her ranking on the awesome kid list, I love her to bits and bits. She’s funny and smart and she has these little blue eyes that she will likely use to manipulate her way out of (and into) all kinds of crap. And it’ll work. Yeesh. This little person with unbridled laughter, unrestrained desire, and a growing, She-Ra-like will, is turning 2 today (the big aught-two!) and the last year has been really, really fun.

For any new parents out there, I highly recommend the 1-2 age. Kids are learning all kinds of things, and they say new stuff every day…it’s very entertaining. It’s also a bit infuriating because they start to do things you didn’t think they could do, and thus didn’t safeguard against. Like the time that I learned she could screw tops off by discovering that she had eaten a bunch of mascara. (When this happens to you, the number for poison control in the US is 1-800-222-1222. You’re welcome.)

In celebration of my favorite child ever, I thought I’d re-share my series on kids. I wrote this last year and it all still holds true. Having kids is the best and the worst, all at once. If you didn’t catch it the first time around, I hope you enjoy it.

The Truth About Kids, Part 1: Having Kids Is Not The Best Thing Ever

Some people will tell you all kinds of unbelievably gooey stories about how great kids are, and how they didn’t know the meaning of life until they had kids, and how everything else pales in comparison, et cetera. People say, “I can’t even remember what life was like before we had children!” Oh, really? I do. It was awesome. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 2: Having Kids Is Not The Worst Thing Ever

True, being a parent is a continual gauntlet of shame, confusion, guilt and frustration. But just when you think you should just let yourself get disemboweled by a swinging battle-axe, you get hit with an unexpected bundle of sweet, amazing, adorable love and ridiculousness. That’s how they get you. (Continue reading…)

The Truth About Kids, Part 3: Is It Worth It?

And now it’s time for the big question…

Is having kids worth it?

No.

Just kidding. The real answer is…

maybe. (Continue reading…)

Happy Birthday, Miss Crutchfield!

The Flu, Prostitutes and My Childhood Hamsters

Friends, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. I’ve been biting my tongue about it (or biting my fingers? Is that what you do when you don’t type words about something?) while we scraped and clawed our way through YET ANOTHER bout of illness, but now that we’re out I just want to say that it was terrible. Dreadful. I mean, you know how I feel about colds, and this one hit the WHOLE family. Starting with the kid, who vomited on us, tried to catch her internal organs on fire with her rampant fever and kept us on our toes with her swollen airway leading to a trip to the ER. Have I mentioned how super fun parenting is? It’s fun and relaxing, I say. Like a good game of squash.

She scaled back her crazy sickness just enough for us to survive when we got it. Dreadful. There, I’ve whined enough.

And then, because the soul loves irony, my mind devolved into feeling bad about what we do and don’t have (after I wrote about how I’m not going to do that in 2012), and I started feeling really exposed and dumb about my writing/creativity/face/existence/t-cells (after writing about being bravely vulnerable). Life is funny. Ha ha ha. Hilarious.

Luckily, those were two relatively short-lived speed bumps in my mental landscape, and I cruised over them just in time to land myself neck-deep into research on prostitution and johns for a project I’m working on. People…that will bum the crap right out of you. I have far, far too many thoughts and feelings on the subject to share here (plus, for real, it’s a BIG bummer, and I don’t really want to assault you with that right now), but I’ll share one of the more insane tidbits I got from my research. Just one, then we’ll move on, okay? Okay, here it is: a participant in a study of johns in the London area shared this thought about prostitution:

It should be legalised over here. This is the way God created us. It is being human. If you don’t have a partner then you have to go to a prostitute.

Ummm…no, sir. No, that’s totally not…no. Just please shut your face forever. Arg. So frustrating. That’s just one of the mind-blowing things I’ve read in the last 24 hours, and I could go on and on until we’re all crying and gnashing our teeth, but instead I’m going to tell you a story about hamsters. Because it just feels like the right thing to do. Okay? Thanks. You’re the best.

Hamsters!

English: A short-haired hamster (named "E...

Hamsters are rad! Image via Wikipedia

When I was a kid, my brother and I had hamsters. We had a family cat, but my brother and I had our own hamsters to love, care for, feed, and, in my case, watch die varied and interesting deaths. At first, we each got a hamster. I named my Dale, and my brother named his Chip. I have a feeling that was a committee decision of some kind. I have just a few scattered memories about the critters, and as an adult I find them all very, very odd.

The first thing is that somehow they got pregnant (or maybe just Chip got pregnant?) and had babies, then ate them. Hold the phone, people! The cute mama ate her babies?! Yes, animals are freaky weird and sometimes they eat stuff that you’d expect them to love and cuddle. It is not a reality that you should be acquainted with at such a young age and yet…that’s exactly what happened to me and my brother.

Shortly after baby birth/breakfast, my hamster dropped dead. I don’t even know how. So, I think we buried it in a box or something in the yard. But seeing as hamsters were $1.05 at the pet store, my parents bought me another one. I don’t remember what it looked like or what I named it because it dropped dead pretty quick too. Apparently, I had a knack for killing the little guys. I mean, I didn’t kill them with my hands…I would feed them and make sure they had water and cleaned their little cage and then they’d die of, what I assume was an extreme version of the hamster vapors. (“My, my!” they’d exclaim before fanning themselves with tiny paper fans and falling to the ground, dead.)

After #2 died, my parents bought me yet another hamster, and it was big and white and fluffy and I named him Snowball in a stroke of creative genius. Unlike the first two hamsters that died at my hands, Snowball was in for a slower, more dramatic crawl to the grave. To begin with, he was going to bash one of his eyes out with the door of his cage. My little kiddie brain rationalized that he had learned this from my brother’s (still living) hamster, but was just unsuccessful at the execution of biting the cage door, and lifting it up until he can fit his little nose under it, then nudging his way to freedom. How Snowball would have “learned” this from a hamster in another room (which is like another continent for hamsters) I have no idea. Kid logic isn’t perfect. Regardless of the how, the what was clear: Snowball had poked his eye out.

Weihnachten

I never gave my hamsters cookies or tiny hats. Maybe that's where I went wrong. Image via Wikipedia

My parents, in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of me being a 3-time hamster killer, took Snowball to the vet. $80 later, the thing came out with one beady eye, and one stitched up hole. At the time, that exchange seemed pretty logical to me, but now, looking back, I wonder why they didn’t “accidentally” let Snowball out into the mountains to be eaten, erm…”healed”?…by a mountain lion.

So now I had a fluffy, one-eyed hamster. Snowball wasn’t dead, but he looked at me suspiciously with his one eye. He knew things were looking shady. I could hear him still trying to lift the little cage door with his mouth, and as much as I admonished him not to do so, I knew I couldn’t hold him back. A hamster wants what a hamster wants, you know? One day I arose in the morning to an empty, yet tiny turd-covered cage. Snowball had vanished.

Several weeks later, after I had assumed Snowball was gone forever, my uncle came over. I was retelling him my tales of the hard lives of hamsters, while we were also giving him a tour of our house. For whatever reason we stopped in the garage next to the dryer. “And I haven’t seen him since…” I said, with the fanfare that only a child can muster. He looked down at his foot and said, “Is this him?” and, by golly, it was. Snowball had returned!

I think he died a week later. We got rid of the cage. It was time.

Sad Waffles

Sad Waffle

There’s a very distinct time in life in which you are capable of being sad about waffles. That time ends at about age 11. After you turn 11, you realize that waffles absolutely do not rank among the things you should be sad about. I mean, by 11, you’re aware that there are boatloads of terrible things out there that deserve your sadness (getting grounded, bee stings, world hunger, Weeds, etc.) and that it’s an awful waste to let a golden Belgian delight bum you out.

But not before 11. No, before 11, you’re under the impression that anything that isn’t 100% ideal is worth being sad about. Like the kid that was sitting next to us at Kensington Café the other day. Why were his waffles so sad? Because he wanted pancakes. A horrid reality faced him. This batter, instead of being poured onto a griddle and cooked in a circle shape, was going to be poured into a waffle iron and cooked into a square shape with square depressions. Oh, the humanity. He slumped his little head into his hands and stared wistfully at the table. “But I wanted PANcakes…” *Frown*

“How about we put strawberries on them?” coaxed the amazing server.

*Frown*

I’ll draw on them with chocolate…” she bribed.

“Mmmwohhkay…” the boy mumbled out of his little trout mouth.

The kid somehow finagled a food that is essentially dessert for breakfast and he’s STILL forlorn because it’s not a pancake. Ah, the folly of youth.

But that’s what expectations and desire do to you. They turn the whole world into what you don’t want; what you didn’t have in mind. No longer is a chocolate- and strawberry-covered waffle a delicious sugary treat that no young fawn should hope to consume; it’s reduced to one thing: not-pancake.

Because it’s the beginning of a new year, and the time for sage advice and chin rubbing, I’ll ask you this: is your life full of sad waffles? Of not-pancakes? Or do you see the deliciousness of the world, regardless of what unforeseen shape it comes in?

I’ve got a few things on my to-do list for 2012, but one of them is to, as I’ve heard it said, “Look for the good, and embrace it.” Imma eat those waffles. Happily.

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