My Poopy Beast

Most people, when they hear the word “beast,” think of a large, dangerous, four-legged animal.  For me, though, the word “beast” brings to mind a small, loud, two-legged animal.  It brings to mind the horrifying noise that a certain small beast makes from her crib at 6:00 a.m.—“I need a go pee-pee in da potty!!!”  The beast howls relentlessly until I stumble through the dark to help her.

This beast stands naked in the bathtub assaulting my ears while I hang her jammies upside down over the toilet to shake the feces out of the left footy, hollers while I wipe feces off the tile with a disinfectant wipe, wails while I scrub feces of the toilet seat with more disinfectant wipes, shrieks while I wash feces off the toilet bowl’s exterior with yet more disinfectant wipes, and yelps while I scrape feces off the step stool under the bathtub faucet.

Yes, the word “beast” does not remind me of cattle or lions.  It reminds me of a much noisier, smaller, more irksome two-legged beast that roars while I sluice down her poopy legs, that bellows while I scrub her poopy bottom, that growls while I carefully clean the poop off her face, that moans while I rinse her curls (just in case).

I think of a beast that, as I towel her dry and slather her with lotion, finally stops whimpering.  Suddenly she squeals with excitement, “I need a go pee-pee in da potty!!!!”  I start scrubbing the bathtub, and she climbs onto her potty seat.  She tinkles on the toilet, wearing an enormous grin.  For a moment she is blessedly quiet, and then the beast starts shrieking again:  “I need a potty tweat!  I need a potty tweat!”

My two-legged beast



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Darn those homeschool moms!

We moms who send our children to public school sometimes don’t like homeschool moms, not because they smell like chickens, but because they make us look so very lazy and uncaring.  Whenever I feel tired of children’s voices and children’s messes, when I feel like crying because my to-do list is too long, I like to imagine my pillow is a homeschooler mom’s angelic face and rough it up a little.  “Darn those homeschoolers!” I wail.  “They’ve robbed me of my right to complain!”   

If you’re the type of person who gets carried away by fantasies, please don’t try this at home.  It’s not a good idea to actually rough up homeschool moms.  Yes, compared to a homeschool mom you are an indifferent sloth, but who’s comparing?   And anyway, their intention is not to make you look pathetic—probably.  At least it’s not their first intention—probably.  So, you ask, what is their motive?  Why are you always trying to stereotype!  Homeschool moms are individual people with individual motivations that defy your desire to box them up in rude labels! 

That being said, I have observed several common motivations for choosing to homeschool.  For example, when I was a child, I saw that homeschool moms were trying to protect their children from the evil influence of cool kids like me, the kind who curl their hair on the first day of school and sometimes shop at the mall.  When I was a junior high student, I discovered that other homeschool moms were trying to protect their children from hearing the F-bomb 200 times each day.  When I was a high schooler, I attended an orchestra camp where homeschool kids were the majority and found out that many homeschool moms are protecting their children from the unnatural challenge of learning to converse with their peers.  While in high school, I also learned that a few homeschoolers are high-class snobs who want to be in the Olympics.  Upon further investigation, though, I found that most homeschool families do not have a deep craving for fame or prestige.  Many, though, have an insatiable craving for raw milk and fresh eggs.

Another sort of homeschool mom is the kind who has too fragile a psyche to endure the daily trauma of getting a six-year-old to the bus stop by 7:40 am.  And there are some homeschool moms—and I can sympathize with these ones—who are concerned that public schools are not preparing our children to be Nobel laureates.  I even considered (just briefly, don’t tell anyone!) joining the ranks of these goatherding geeks in order to raise my own Nobel laureates. 

That moment of motivation passed, though, and I returned to my slothful ways only to discover yet another reason to homeschool: school stench.  When my daughter comes home from a long day at school, she wants to give me a hug.  Because I want people to think I’m angelic, like a homeschool mom, I usually give her one.  I don’t actually enjoy it, though, because she smells like cinderblock and cheap tile, like unwashed coats with stains all around the ends of the sleeves, like paper with grimy eraser smudges, like uncovered coughs and sneezes, like school lunch corn dogs and industrial dishwash detergent, like green vinyl bus seats, like steamy windows with an anonymous hair stuck in the condensation.  And then I’m left with a ponderous question:  which is worse, to smell like chickens or reek like a school?

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Raising Glamour Girls

If you’re hoping your daughter will grow up to be a glamour girl, and you’re wondering how to make that happen, you are in luck because I’ve decided to share my secrets. 

My daughter is glamorous and she knows it!


As with any quality or skill, it’s best to start learning at a young age from a competent teacher.  The most effective teachers provide both modeling and direct instruction.  So, if you are a mother, the first step in teaching glamour is to be vain yourself, always worrying about the flatness of your belly and what’s new in the fashion world.  Second, you must smile and toss your hair every time you see yourself in the mirror.  Third, you must constantly tell your baby how gorgeous she is.  For example, while changing diapers, you can admire her cute bottom.  While getting her dressed, you tell her she’s the most darling baby in the town.  While preparing meals, you might sing songs about her unmatched beauty.  And finally, you must show her that glamour requires sacrifice and sometimes pain.  This can be done by removing her from an enjoyable play activity in order to comb her hair into an elegant whale-spout ponytail.  Firmly trap her body between your knees and coerce that hair into place no matter how loud she screams or hard she cries.

This elegant whale spout required sacrfice and pain.


If you’re a particularly talented teacher (like I am) and have a particularly gifted child (I have several), you might be surprised at how quickly she picks up on being glamorous.  Below is the link to a video of my one-year-old daughter who already has learned to flirt and finds it very satisfying to sit in front of a mirror.  Notice how I skillfully coach her in the art of thinking vain thoughts:

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My Sexy Business Plan

It’s such a shame that erotic entertainment for men is so commonplace and practically non-existent for women.  The reason always given for this discrepancy is that women won’t pay for desire, but that’s just a lame excuse invented by the male chauvinists who own strip joints.  The truth is, women are fully capable of objectifying men and are willing to pay for the privilege.  If someone with a little understanding of what gets women excited also had some business sense, he or she could make a killing.

I talked this over with my mom and sister-in-law, and we started fantasizing about a lady chauvinists’ night out.  First, instead of booze, we’d like our erotic entertainment served up with diet sodas and lettuce wraps like they have at P.F. Chang’s.  As we entered the bar, exotic dancers would be on stage, relaxing on a couch, one watching football, the other gaming.  Both would be in their underwear because great theater begins with a problem.    

Of course, P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps are so good that at first we’d hardly notice the entertainers.  But when the men started getting dressed, even the hungriest customers would be completely distracted.  The football man would stand up from the couch, slide on some slacks, and button up a shirt.  Oh yeah!  Then he’d seductively tuck in his shirttails and buckle his belt.  Mm. Mmm.  Next he’d pull out a tie—crimson and navy diagonal plaid!  The audience would go wild watching him tie that baby! 

By this time the gamer would have on some corduroys and an argyle sweater, and the patrons would watch with helpless desire as he trimmed his beard and slid on his dark, square glasses.

The evening’s climax would begin when the exotic dancers were neatly dressed.  Assuming the joint’s owner could get around child labor laws, each dancer would run backstage and return with an infant and a Hoover Windtunnel.  Then, with babies tucked beneath their arms, they’d move smoothly about the stage to the sultry purr of their vacuum cleaners.

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Thanksgiving Gratitude

Lest anyone think I have a lame life, I must post about gratitude.  Here are the top five things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving Weekend:

1.  My Mountain Man Martyr:  My husband loves the mountains almost as much as he loves me and our children.  Fortunately, he loves us a sliver more and he’s a martyr.  Whenever I allow him to step foot in the wilderness, upon returning home, he commits himself to slavery as reparations for having enjoyed himself.  Yesterday, when I was too tired to live, my slave even helped take out my contacts and brushed my teeth for me.  I’ve always wanted a slave, and I’m so thankful this dream has finally come true!

2.  Sibling Rivalry:  Normally, sibling rivalry doesn’t make for enjoyable living conditions, but when I found a note this week addressed from my seven-year-old to my six-year-old, I knew I had stumbled upon some high entertainment.  Along with apt illustrations, the note contained useful information and instructions for my middle daughter.  The central message was “You are one skreamy girl,” and the conclusion was “Say sorry–You didet say sorry!”  

3.  Baby and baby dolls:  My Halloween doll has discovered dolls.  She chooses one from her sister’s toy basket and carries it around, hugging it.  Speaking of hugs, my Halloween doll has an unquenchable appetite for hugs; yesterday she even wrapped her arms around an unfamiliar uncle’s neck and gave him a tight squeeze.  Ahhhh . . .

4.  Excuse to eat pie:  Every American had a good reason to eat one slice of pie for breakfast this morning, but I had a good reason to eat many slices.  The aforementioned Halloween doll has a wonderful appetite for pie, and every time we finished a slice together, she extended her arm toward the pie settlement on our counter and made a sound like a moose call.  It wasn’t actually a moose call; it was a pie call, which is an excellent reason to eat–ahem, feed the baby—three or four or five or six pieces of pie.

5.  Fat legs:  No!  Not my fat legs!  These fat legs:

So grateful for fat legs!

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My No-Fail Recipe for Bliss

 This blog is all about spreading joy, and so I must share that I have discovered a fail-proof recipe for bliss.   

Fail-proof Recipe for Bliss


Good-looking Husband

Fertile Womb

Foofy Orange Dress (Target – $15)

Black Cardigan (Target – $12)

Striped Leggings (St. Vincent De Paul’s Thrift Store – $2)

Black Headband (Target – $5)


1. Conceive a female child in mid-January.

2. Give birth to an exceptionally adorable baby on October 31st.

3. Love and nurture her (try not to worship her). 

4.  Buy her a foofy orange dress and striped leggings for her first birthday.

5. (Optional serving suggestion) Take her to a capable photographer and publish the pics on your blog.

Author’s Note:  While carrying your baby around in her foofy orange dress, you will feel the weight of her cute, warm body underneath the foof, and you’ll get a little thrill.  “When have I had this feeling before,” you’ll ask yourself.  Then you’ll remember.  You were six or seven years old and it was Christmas morning.  You were holding your gorgeous new doll and thinking, “I can’t believe she’s really mine!”

Photos by Royal S. Cardon.

Hello world!

I'm happy to be alive!

Really, really, really happy!


You want to take me home?

Naaa. Thanks for the offer, though.

Look! Here comes my mom! The apple of my eye!

See, I'm practically royalty here, so I'm cool with things the way they are.

But you might try my mom's recipe and make a Halloween doll of your own. Great recipe mom! You deserve a thumbs up!

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If you follow this blog because you are afraid of me, the time has come for you to let go of your fear.  I can’t promise that I’ll never say something to you such as “Ya know that post I wrote about blah-blah-blah?”  But if you answer, “No, I don’t read your blah-blah-blah,” well, we can still be friends.  Maybe not eBFFs, but rwBFFs.

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Crazy Moms

The more mothers I become acquainted with, the more I believe we’re all crazy.  Almost every mommy friend of mine has depression or anxiety or panic attacks or worse.  I’m coming to understand why my midwife looks suspicious when I hand her my post-partum questionaire.  I’m cute and bubbly while she silently reads my answers.  Occasionally she looks up at me, and I squirm under her searching gaze.  “I promise it’s true!” I want to shout.  “I don’t burst into tears over nothing, and I don’t want to stab my baby!”  Apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t have post-partum depression.  Or maybe I just call it something else, which is take-this-baby-right-now-so-I-can-take-a-nap-or-else-I’m-going-to-divorce-you.

Well, anyway, don’t get all defensive, Mommy Friends.  I have my moments of craziness too.  Apparently my condition is extremely rare.  Or maybe almost everyone has it, but no one admits it, and so healthcare workers don’t know to ask about it. 

You tell me.  Is this normal?:

A few days after my first child’s birth, at about 2:00 am, I suffered from take-this-baby-right-now-so-I-can-take-a-nap-or-else-I’m-going-to-divorce-you.  My husband, being a wise man, took the baby and handed me his earplugs.  I went to our room, shut the door and laid down on the bed.  I was exhausted, and I didn’t care what happened in the living room, so long as it didn’t involve me.  I closed my eyes and waited to fall asleep–wonderful sleep!  The problem was, the earplugs weren’t doing their job.  I could still hear the baby crying.  I waited for my husband to calm her down.  I waited some more.  And some more.  And some more.  Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore!  My husband was incompetent, and I was going to have to take over again!  I sat up and ripped my earplugs out of my ears.

The apartment was dead silent.

That was my first hallucination.  I didn’t experience it again for a long time.  But after baby number four, I hallucinated again.  This time, though, instead of hearing a baby crying, I heard children fighting.  I was cooking dinner and the sound of my vegetables frying and the stove fan blowing was already pretty hard on my ears.  But the sound of my older girls quarreling was pushing me past my breaking point.  Finally I snapped.  I was going to give those girls a tongue lashing!  I twisted the stove knob to off and I turned off the fan! 

The only sound was happy children playing quietly.  

 Now Mommy Friends, tell me.  Do you hallucinate too?

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The Secret to Parenting

Now that my two oldest children are in school, I have the luxury of doing my shopping with just a toddler boy and baby girl.  This is a relief not only because kids are super annoying in stores but also because walking around with four children under the age of eight attracts undue attention in these parts.  For example, the week before school restarted, I was waiting in line at Costco with my four offspring (who were, amazingly enough, standing quietly next to my cart), when a passerby was shocked by the sight of us. 

“Four?!  Four?!” he exclaimed incredulously.

“Four,” I affirmed.

“Whoooooaaaaaaa!” he exclaimed before disappearing into the crowd.

“Whoa,” I said to myself.

The next day, my four lovely children and I were walking down the street when a man leaned out his window to shout at me.

“Are those all your children?!”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Oh, my gosh!  I can’t even handle one child.  How do you handle four?”

I would have told him the answer, but he drove away before I had the chance.  Maybe he was afraid he’d get a lecture. He probably didn’t want to hear that he should read a book on time-outs or love or logic.

He needn’t have worried.  I wouldn’t have wasted his time with such juvenile philosophies.  In fact, in less than twenty seconds I could have told him the secret to parenting, which most people don’t discover until they’re on child number four.  For some reason, most women have to go through childbirth four times before they discover the secret, which is this: Parenthood is composed of two essential parts.  The first part is grocery shopping.  The second is laundry.


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Clay Hand Number One

When I was a college student, I heard my journalism professors complain that journalists earn awards instead of money.  I feel for journalists!  Of course, we moms don’t earn awards or money, but that only makes sense considering that every single year we get Mother’s Day, on which day we hit the big time!

This year for Mother’s Day I was presented with some extremely valuable art.  First, I receieved “Butterfly,” a brilliant watercolor by Nikoline Updike.  Updike was giddy with excitement for several days before the initial showing; this is the most beautiful piece she has ever rendered.  Ever.

Updike’s glory was shortlived, though, because her older sister, who is also an artist, presented me with something even more valuable, a piece titled “Clay Hand Number One.”  Yes, those firstborns seem to specialize in making the rest of us look bad.




















Now I know that some of you are looking at these pieces and thinking, “I would much rather hang ‘Butterfly’ in my kitchen than  ‘Clay Hand Number One.'”  If I am describing your thought process, don’t worry; I was art illiterate once too, and I will explain.  “Clay Hand Number One” was created with clay, a scarce artistic medium.  Almost anything created with clay easily outvalues paper pieces.  Also, “Clay Hand Number One” is first edition.  No doubt, this piece will be copied by other rising artists in our school, and someday I may even have an extensive collection of clay hands, but there can only be one original.

Now there’s one more thing to consider, which even some art experts might be thrown off by.  “Clay Hand Number One” appears to have a blemish in the bottom left corner, which would make it less valuable, of course.  But as the world’s leading Anastasia Updike authentication expert, I can tell you this is not a blemish at all, but a mark of authenticity–it’s the artist’s wart print, which adds a personal touch that both art enthusiasts and authentication experts go wild over.

So all things considered, “Butterfly” would look absolutely gorgeous hanging on anyone’s fridge, but “Clay Hand Number One” is an instant collector’s item and is almost worth it’s weight in antimatter.

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