23

Elf on the Shelf – why I hate that creepy jerk.

If you’re a huge fan of the Elf on the Shelf, let me stop you right now and tell you that you shouldn’t read any further in this post. I might make you angry when I start talking about all the reasons why that creepy little f*&%er will not ever be stepping foot into my home.

I don’t know how to say this nicely, so I’ll just have to say it. I hate that stupid friggin’ Elf on the Shelf. Hate, hate, hate! To say he is creepy is the understatement of the year. I mean look at the guy – I just can’t look at any picture of it and think it’s cute. It’s not cute. It’s a creepy Elf sent to spy on you. What the hell is cute about that?
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Hell no. Never in my house.

Whatever happened to those good old traditions where we are taught that Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good regardless of some lame-ass Elf who does nothing except create more work for Mom and Dad. That’s right, more work! Because in the month leading up to Christmas that’s exactly what I need – one more thing to stress about every night. God forbid I forget one night and don’t move the creepster to a new location and my kid thinks the Elf is dead or lost it’s magic, etc. I don’t need the added stress of somehow messing up this Elf tradition and having my kid think the Elf is no longer magical. No way. I will not be an Elf murderer, no matter how terrifying the little guy is.

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I mean I get it. Some people love it and think it’s a cute little Christmas tradition that makes memories for their kids. That’s wonderful. But it’s the overachieving Mom’s who have completely exploited this Elf into being nothing more than an overpriced commercialized piece of garbage that make me mad. “Oh my Elf decided to make cookies last night and left baking mess everywhere”, or “Oh my goodness, look the elves must have had a marshmallow fight last night. Look the marshmallows are everywhere”, or “Look at that, did you know Elves bathe in glitter? Look at him in the glitter bath!” – these are prime examples of why I hate this thing. That’s not creating a Christmas memory – it is creating a damn mess. I can pretty much guarantee you that this little creepy Elf doesn’t clean up after himself, so you can add cleaning up stupid Elf shit every day to the list of things Mommy doesn’t have time for.

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It is called “The Elf on the Shelf” – not “The Elf drinking beer” or “The Elf taking Barbie for a joy ride” or “The Elf who leaves peanut butter hand prints all over the counter top”. THE ELF ON THE SHELF! Why the hell can’t he stay on the shelf where he belongs? Why do we have to overdo everything. Why do we constantly have to “out-do” every other mother out there?

Speaking of that, thanks a lot overachieving Mom’s for making your elves do such stupid stuff all the time. So now when my kid gets older and realizes there’s no elf in my house, I’ll have to try and tactfully explain that Santa knows whether she’s good or bad without an overpriced creepy elf watching her every move. That Mommy doesn’t think the spirit of Christmas involves spending nearly $40 on a toy which is purely marketed towards parents who want to use Elf spying as a parenting clutch for good behaviour. But all she’ll know is that magic elves visit all of her friends houses, and not hers. Crap.

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So when December 26th rolls around and the Elf goes away, then what happens? The parenting clutch is gone and your kid won’t have the fear of lack of presents from Santa to stop them from behaving poorly. They haven’t REALLY learned anything about behaving better throughout the year, only during that short stint up until Christmas so they can ensure they get a crap load of gifts. Sounds like the right kind of Christmas spirit, doesn’t it?

So when you’re removing all of the Christmas ornaments from your tree tonight, all for the sake of “Oh my goodness, look what mischief the little elf did? He took the ornaments away!”, ask yourself if it’s really worth it or are there other, much less commercialized ways you could be making holiday memories with your kids.

So I’m taking the stance now, that the only Elves in my house will be Buddy the Elf and the little Elf from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
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11

Random thoughts on parenting a toddler.

There’s no real rhyme or reason for this post, it’s just a bunch of random thoughts that have been floating around in my head. Scattered thoughts are all I can amount to lately as my brain feels fried and my motivation seems unusually low. Perhaps it is because all things Christmas have taken over my brain. But nonetheless, I have a few thoughts on being a parent to a toddler that I’d like to share with you.

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When you’re a parent to a toddler, life changes. For one, I can’t pee alone. Ever. It’s like the second I close the bathroom door, a little alarm goes off in her ear and she’s alerted to my desire for privacy. Privacy? What’s that? Definitely not something that makes sense to a toddler! It’s almost as if they remember living inside your body for a year and as a result feel as though mommy’s body is like common-law property – they own 50% and therefore can have access to it whenever they please. Privacy be damned. Besides, she came out of that hoo-ha, so why does Mommy think she needs to hide it? I’m sure in her head she’s thinking “Hey, you get to hover over me while I try sitting on this thing you call a potty. Isn’t it fun when the tables are turned?” Sigh. I just want to pee alone sometimes.

I’ve also learned to lower my standard of “clean”. Clean before kids and clean after kids, are two VERY different kinds of clean. It always looks as though some form of atomic bomb has gone off in my place. It’s a constant battle. Every time I try to put a toy away, she cries, grabs it out of the toy box and throws it back onto precisely the same section of floor I retrieved it from. It’s pointless to pick up unless she’s in bed and can’t physically bear witness to us sacrificing her doll’s life by throwing it in the “toy box of death”. Heaven forbid I put her in a cute outfit, or she’s doing something hilarious I’d like to take a picture of – I have to search for a clean section of the house to take the picture from so that I can post the pic on Facebook without people thinking we live in a home that exploded toddler paraphernalia.

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I’ve also caught myself talking to my child as if she is a parrot. You know how you tell a parrot “Say Hello!”, “Say, Polly wanna cracker”, etc. That’s how my day goes. “Say thank you!”, “Say Bye Gramma!”, “Say Please”, blah blah blah. Sometimes I wonder if it’d be easier if our toddler’s were little ventriloquist dummies, and we could get them to just move their mouths while we do the talking for them. That’s essentially what I feel like I’m doing all damn day. Living life on repeat, trying to get my kid to say the right things at the right times, and to be courteous. They’re at the cusp of language development, and as a result, Mommy’s sentences have turned into a newfangled toddler language I like to refer to as “Toddlerish” (Toddler + English = Toddlerish).

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I resort to bribery. A lot. Especially at dinner time. When L won’t eat, I find myself saying “Will you eat supper if I put on Pingu?”. I’m always (ALWAYS) greeted with an emphatic “yes!”. So Pingu goes on, and L eats. It’s almost magical. It’s amazing how she’s learned to control Mommy and Daddy already into getting to watch cartoons at dinner time. Sigh. L = 1, Mommy =0. Then there’s me being a parrot and repeating the same thing over and over again at the dinner table. “L, please eat your dinner. One bite please. Just one more bite”. Almost every single time I say that I’m greeted with either “No!” or by her grinning at me and drinking water instead. L = 2, Mommy = 0.

There are probably a million more I’m missing, but like I said, my brain is fried and my thoughts are scattered. That’ll get better in 16 years, right?

Sigh. She’s lucky she’s cute.

1

Love takes time…or does it? Bonding with your baby.

The lovely Mummy at Mummy Flying Solo posted a wonderful proposal about putting together the stories of many Mama’s who had trouble bonding with their baby. It is something that people don’t talk about often, either due to shame, embarrassment, or the incumbent “don’t you love your kid?” comments which are incredibly out of line.

I think it’s so brave of her to venture into this project, and am sharing the post for her in the hopes that it will reach more Mama’s who may like to contribute to her project. It isn’t abnormal to go through an initial period of difficulty bonding with your baby. Some people just take more time to get to know.

xoxo

Love takes time…or does it? Bonding with your baby..

17

“Mommy didn’t poop sweetie….”

As you may have read in my last post, this past week has been rough on me. From mourning, to funeral planning, to attending the service, I’ve been kind of wrapped up in all things sad lately.THANKFULLY I have a little one who is determined to see everyone around her be happy. I thought I’d share a few things that happened this week that brightened up my life, made me laugh, embarrassed me, and make me realize that she’s more than just my little L – she’s my world.

– On Friday, when I was all sad and depressed, I had moments where I just sat on the couch and cried. I couldn’t snap out of it. At one point, L looked at me from across the room and said “Mommy?”. She came over, climed up onto my lap, placed her little hands on either side of my face, smiled and said “Mommy, happy please?”. Remember that scene from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” where his heart grew three sizes that day? That’s pretty much what happened to me right then and there. I was bursting with love for this little human being – a little human being that I still look at from time to time and think to myself “I can’t believe she used to be inside me and popped out of my vagina”. How weird is that!?

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– Ok so I don’t know about your kids, but my little L can fart – a lot! Sometimes it is hard to tell if she farted or pooped, so I usually follow up with a phrase that goes something like “Hey L, did you poop or did you fart?”. And she’ll answer me “poop” or “fart”. Well mid week, when the stress of planning things had kind of culminated, I threw my back out – badly! I was fairly crippled, and when I woke up one morning I was lying on the couch on an ice pack with L at the other end watching Pingu (her new obsession!). Well at the sake of embarassing myself fully, I can’t leave this part of the story out. I farted. Rather loudly. It was actually pretty epic. Well L turned to me and giggled. Then I heard it – “Mommmmmy…… Mommy poop?”. I just about died with laughter, but could you blame her? My fart was really big, and if I had to draw it, it would likely resemble the fart in that Robert Munsch book “Good Families Don’t”.

In case you can't tell, the fart is the green guy on the left.

In case you can’t tell, the fart is the green guy on the left.

– L came with me the day of the visitation, service and reception. I was really glad to have her there, because I knew having my little love around would help to stave off some of the sadness and awkwardness of the day. Boy was I right! There were a few key moments that day that I loved. My Dad gave a beautiful eulogy – he really did an amazing job and was stronger than I could have ever been. You know how when people give eulogy’s, they often speak of memories they have? Some of those memories are funny, but nobody laughs really loudly – just an under the breath soft chuckle. Well my Dad had a moment like that. There was a quiet hum of muffled chuckles, when my L stood up in the pew and did a huge belly laugh – “HAHAHAHAHA ohhhhh Pop!”. The place broke out into laughter, my Dad turned to her (at the microphone) and said “Thank you for getting my joke L” with a smile. He later told me she was the reason he was able to get through his speech.

– There was another emotional moment when people around were fighting stifled tears. L again, stood up in the pew (leaning into me), looked at me and whispered “Mommy, happy?”. I told her I was very happy that she was there beside me. So she turned to everyone, put on her big girl voice and proclaimed “Hey! Happy, happy, happy please!!!”. Tears turned to smiles, and sadness turned to giggles. My little L hates seeing a world of sadness, and has proclaimed to everyone in the room that we should all be happy. That is what funerals should be really about anyway – to celebrate a life. A time to look back on happy memories. She reminded me just that.

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Life with a toddler can be hard as hell. It is tiring, emotional, and you can feel like someone has you set on ‘repeat’ every single day because you say the same damn things 75 times in a row before they finally clue in that you’re even speaking. It is challenging, confusing, chaotic and mind-numbing when you have to watch Pingu 37 times in a row.

But weeks like these make you realize they are smarter than you give them credit for. They are intuitive little buggers, and can sense when you need a hug, a smile, or to be asked if you pooped your pants.

I’ve never been happier to say “No, Mommy didn’t poop…she farted”.

I’ve never been happier to be her Mommy.

21

On Mourning and Santa Claus

I apologize in advance if this post seems to have no direction. Actually, it is kind of fitting as it feels as though nothing has any direction right now. I can’t seem to pull myself together, and life (or more appropriately, death) is taking its toll on me.

I am mourning the loss of a very special man. This man was a Veteran of the Merchant Navy. He was proud, stoic, gentle, kind, and giving. He was my Grandfather – the last surviving Grandparent I had.
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He and my Grandmother both treated my sister and I like we were more precious than anything in their lives. Having had two sons, we were quite literally the daughters they never had. I have many fond memories of them from my childhood. My Grandfather was the one who taught me to ice skate. He’d clear the snow off of the pond around the corner, hold my hands, and we’d skate and skate for hours while my Grandmother sat and cheered us on. When we got home, Grandpa took my hands in his to warm them up, while my Grandmother got the hot cocoa ready – with just the right number of marshmallows floating on top.
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One winter he piled the snow into a hill that seemed to reach the top of the trees, carved a ladder onto one side with a shovel, and smoothed the other side out into a slide which landed me on the other side of the yard. I spent hours out there that day, climbing the snow slide, and flying down. He stayed by my side the whole time quietly smiling and chuckling at my screams of laughter.

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We used to have sleep overs at their house, and to this day certain foods and smells remind me of them. My parents never drank coffee, so every morning when I woke up at their house and smelled the coffee pot brewing, I knew where I was. I always had the same breakfast there (shared with my Grandfather) – a bowl of Harvest Crunch cereal and half of a grapefruit eaten with a special grapefruit spoon. We didn’t eat those things at home often either, so I always associate those things with mornings spent with him. Quiet mornings at the table, sharing breakfast. He wasn’t one to talk much, but when he did it was always important – always an observation, or something insightful. I don’t think he ever once raised his voice to me in anger. He was always calm, quiet, and warm. His lap was the best place to sit when he did his crossword puzzles, and his hugs wrapped right around you like a warm blanket.
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He passed away suddenly at 1:45 am Friday morning. I had only been asleep about an hour when my Mother called to tell me. Three days earlier, he was getting a military escort down to a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Veteran’s hospital, and he was fine.

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Now, he’s gone. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. It was quick, sudden, and it’s tearing me apart. Based on what happened, they suspect it was a GI bleed. As much as I want to know what happened, and why it happened, I mostly want to know that he wasn’t in pain. The last thing he deserved was to be in pain, or to be scared. I am crying at the thought of his last moments in the arms of the nurse who found him. I wish more than anything that he didn’t suffer.
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So needless to say, I’ve been a wreck these past few days. My normal sense of humour is lost, and my eyes haven’t stopped being either bloodshot or glassy since the wee hours of Friday morning. I am crying spontaneously without control – it’s like my eyes are faucets that are stuck in the on position.

Today, during another random cry fest, my little L looked at me from across the room and said “Mommy?”. She came over, climbed up onto my lap, placed her little hand on my cheek and said “Mommy…. happy please?”. Well as if my tears weren’t already uncontrollable, that did me in. It got worse…but then it did get better. She doesn’t understand why I’m sad. She doesn’t understand what death is, and she doesn’t understand why Mommy keeps crying. Her little sentence was enough to slap a bit of sense into me – at least temporarily. As much as I want to just lay around in a pile of sadness and self-pity, I have a job to do. I am a Mother to a sweet little girl who needs her Mommy back. I had to pull myself together.

So I got up, put on my big girl pants and took her out to see Santa Claus. He was in town today, on his big red sleigh and had a little train that the kids could ride. Santa was even nice enough to bring along some elves to hand out cake to everyone and they got to make a Christmas craft. I got to stand outdoors, breathe the slightly chilled air and relax. Yes, I realize it is only November 16th and Santa came by really early, but this Mommy didn’t care. She was glad to have a reason to get out of the house and something festive to focus on with my L and my fiance.
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I needed it. I needed to get out of the house and off of my ass. I needed to breathe the cool air, look forward to Christmas with my little family, and focus on all that I still have in life. I needed to be the Mother to my L that my Grandfather was to my Father and Uncle. I needed to continue to make him proud. I needed to pretend to be cheerful, and in turn, feel a bit of cheer.
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It isn’t feeling any easier. I have a viewing at the funeral home tomorrow afternoon (informal), and a formal viewing/service on Thursday. The weekend of the 30th, we will travel to Prince Edward Island to place him with my Grandmother so they can be reunited once more. My Grandfather was never quite as boisterous as he used to be when she was alive. I think secretly, though he’d never voice it out loud, he was longing to be reunited with her. I was in Korea when she passed and was unable to return for her funeral. The weekend of the 30th will be the first time I will see her grave, since she is buried in a different province. I have a feeling that I will fall apart that weekend. I will in a way be saying goodbye to two people that day – my Grandfather, and my Grandmother.
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I hope that the person I have become today is a person they would be proud of. I hope that my little L can develop as many fond memories with her Grandparents as I have of mine. I hope that I can get through this stronger, and a better Mother at the other end. As much as I am skeptical of the idea of an “afterlife”, I can’t help but secretly hope that they are both up there, sitting in their armchairs side by side, drinking a cup of coffee and watching their Great-Granddaughter grow up.

I promise my next post will be more joyful, but I needed to get this off of my chest. It’s almost therapeutic in a way.

To moving forward. To grieving, but never forgetting. To living as our loved ones would have wanted us to live. To life, death, and the joy that happens in the middle. I’ll miss them always.

7

Going Organic? My Skin Says Yes!

I haven’t always been conscious of things that said “all natural” or “organic”. In fact, being the lazy cheap person I am means I would usually purchase whatever product was on sale for the cheapest price at the store. I have never been loyal to a specific brand. In fact, I would go so far as to label myself a “brand hopper”. I’d go from product to product without ever really feeling like there was one particular thing I couldn’t live without. To me, shampoo was shampoo, face wash was face wash, and they all did relatively the same thing.

Then my little L was born. I got so many products for her at her baby shower, that I hadn’t really had to put much thought into purchasing items. That is until everything changed. L had very sensitive skin. The wrong kind of cream would have her break out in little hives. She got small patches of what I was told “looked like eczema” (by a doctor and a pharmacist) on the top of her shoulder, on one leg, and on her belly. Something wasn’t working for her, so I made some changes.

Johnson & Johnson products were out. They may work for some kiddos, but weren’t working for mine. I switched to Live Clean products for her bath, her lotion, and her bum and her supposed “eczema” went away within two weeks. That’s pretty telling.

That is what started my research into more natural and organic skin products for L and for myself. Yes, myself as well. I have had awful skin ever since I became pregnant. I’m acne prone, have pores that to me seem to be the size of craters, and ankles that are crazy dry and was told by a dermatologist resembled a “knuckle pad”. Gross. L’s changed skin by switching to less chemically-laden product was my motivation. If it worked for her, surely it couldn’t hurt to try for myself!

So after doing research, I came across a local woman who makes natural, organic products from her home. Her company is called “Homemade Organics by Jen“.

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Everything in her product is not just natural, it’s orgnanic. Every single ingredient is organic. It’s so natural, in fact, you could eat it. I figured it couldn’t HURT me to try it out, so I contacted her. I purchased a lip balm and a deodorant, and got samples of the facial scrub, body scrub, toner, whipped shea face and body cream, whipped cooca face and body cream and a hair pomade for my fiance to try.

I have tried organic products in the past, and had so-so results. Lip balms I’ve tried have either been so hard they crumble on contact, or so liquidy that they literally spill everywhere. Same goes with deodorant. These weren’t like that. The lip balm was a tasty lemon scent, and was firm enough to glide on but not liquidy. Kind of right in the middle and perfect. It is also long lasting, so I don’t have to apply a bazillion times a day, which is great! The deodorant was coconut-lemon and smells delicious! Since giving birth two years ago, I’ve become crazy sweaty. Must be the hormones I guess, but I need a good deodorant or else I’m left smelling gross. This scent was very long lasting, non-offensive and effective! It is less firm than a commercial deodorant stick, and somewhat melted into my armpits as I applied it, but it worked and that’s the main thing I was concerned about.

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The next thing I tried was the facial scrub. My face breaks out faster than you can say “Effin’ pimples!” so I was hoping for a miracle here. The ingredients listed are: Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil, Organic Honey Powder, Pure powdered Nahcolite, Vitamin E, and Lavender Essential Oil. She told me I wouldn’t need moisturizer after using this, and I was honestly a little skeptical. So I went home, wet my face, took a small amount into my fingers and got ready to wash. I could instantly feel it almost melt in my fingers, and as I scrubbed it almost felt like a waxy coating. It was much different than any facial scrub I’ve ever used in the past. I took that to be because of the oils in the product. I went to rinse off and it felt like it wouldn’t completely rinse. Again, I think that was the oils in the product, so I just gave up and patted my face dry. That’s when I noticed the difference. My face was glowing. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It was soft and smooth and glowing. I couldn’t believe it! The sample she gave me was enough to last about 5 days and after 5 days of using the facial scrub once a day (at night), and the toner once a day (in the morning), my acne has cleared up about 80%. How crazy is that? It feels really different when I use it, but the results speak for themselves. I think it is tied for my favourite product she makes.

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So what is my other favourite? I think its another combination of the body scrub and whipped cocoa face and body cream. The body scrub smells delicious, and I really focused on using that on my crummy ankles. It is again full of natural oils, and guess what? While it didn’t cure my skin in that area (yet), it did take the crusty look away from them! That is something that expensive creams from dermatologists haven’t been able to manage yet, so I’m hooked. After the shower I hopped out and put on the whipped cocoa cream and I ended up smelling like chocolate chip cookies for the day, with skin as smooth as silk. It was light-weight and soaked right into my skin without feeling heavy or greasy. A co-worker actually asked me what cream I had on, because she said I smelled “delicious and edible”. Seriously, who doesn’t want to smell delicious and edible, while remaining chemical free? I’m sold, and my skin has never felt better.

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I could go on and on, but I’d end up writing a novel rather than a review, and honestly nothing could explain the results better than trying it for yourself. I know if you’re local to her, she will give you samples to try of her products, and she ships throughout Canada.

I wasn’t asked to review her product, and I wasn’t paid for this review. I just felt so strongly about what it has done for my skin (my facial acne, and gross ankles in particular) that I was compelled to share it with other Moms who may have had hormonal skin changes since pregnancy, and are as desperate as I was to find something that works, is organic and completely chemical free. I know I probably sound more like an infomercial than a Mommy blogger right now, but it’s the truth and I feel like a new, fresh-faced version of myself. If you’ve had bad skin for a while, you know that finding something that actually works can feel life-changing.

Check out her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/homemadeorganicsbyjen

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14

Halloween: The Untold Parental Duties

Tomorrow is Halloween, which means we have some duties as parents. Besides making sure they are warm enough, that they have some sort of reflective gear on since it is dark out, teaching about stranger danger, telling them not to run in the street, etc., there are other duties that might not be talked about so much. Some of them benefit us as parents as well, so pay close attention folks!

1) Teaching our children about taxes. Halloween is the best time to teach our children about tax deductions! Where I live, taxes are at 15%. That means that we, as the parents, automatically earn 15% of the Halloween haul. We’ll call it a “Thanks Mom and Dad” deduction since we were generous enough to walk around with them on a cold night so they could get their sugar fix. This will help mentally prepare them up for their first job, when they see that a significant portion of their paycheque was lost to deductions. Life’s tough kid. Learn early.

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2) Testing for poison. I learned how important this was from my Grandfather. Whenever I had a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, a cookie, or any kind of tasty treat as a child my Grandfather stressed how important it is to check the food for poison. He generously risked his own life by taking my treats from me and eating a bite or two, followed by a long pause for dramatic effect before deeming them safe for me to consume. It felt really great as a kid to know that he loved me enough to eat/test my treats for me to make sure I wouldn’t be poisoned. We all need to eat our kids candy and show them how much we love them. It’s a parental duty!

3) Stranger Danger – the night off! We spend our whole lives telling our kids to never take candy from strangers. I’m not one to preach “stranger danger”, but more or less to preach “stranger awareness” – the difference between a safe stranger and a bad one. (Ex. Police officer is a safe stranger, but a creep in the back of a van with a puppy and a lollipop is a danger stranger). However, this is the one night of the year we get to confuse the shit out of our kids! “Yes, dear child. Go take candy from that stranger. Yes, you can walk up to the scary house that gives you the heebie-jeebies. Yes, you can talk to the man covered in blood on that front porch”. Poor kids – with all that promise of free candy, they don’t stand a chance!

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4) Teaching the value of clever costumes rather than slutty ones. I hope to teach my little L that you garner much more respect from a clever Halloween costume than you do with anything that has the word “sexy” in front of it. They are making everything sexy nowadays. Sexy Ben Franklin. Sexy Bert and Ernie. Even sexy corn on the cob. Yes, corn on the cob. How the hell can you make that sexy you ask? Like this. Scary stupid isn’t it? Can you imagine the pickup lines you’d get? “Mmm baby, I’d love to butter your cob”, or “If things get heated between us, will you pop?”. How about “Come on girl, let me peel away the rest of that husk”. Gag.

5) Halloween candy can evaporate! Remember how we are teaching our kids about tax deductions via the Halloween tax? It’s also a perfect time to teach them about evaporation! You know how if you leave out a glass of water, it will slowly evaporate until it is nearly gone? The same thing happens to Halloween candy over time. It disappears! That explains why when they wake up every morning, there is less than there was when they went to bed the night before. In our house, it’s the chocolate and sour patch kids that seem to “evaporate” the fastest. For this I have no scientific explanation to offer. We just won’t tell my dentist (or my dietitian) that they’ve been disappearing so quickly.

Do you have any other “valuable” lessons for the kids to learn on Halloween? I’d love it if you shared!

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