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Archive for August, 2008

More Naptime Nagging…

This is an excerpt from an entire chapter (from Naptime is the New Happy Hour) devoted to TV. But I just chose to show you guys the snarky part.

As a parent it’s our responsibility to know what our kids are watching and which shows may have adverse affects on our children’s still forming brains. So to help you out and save you a little time I’ve compiled a list of must avoids!

Wonder Pets – And in the category of “Theme Song Most Likely to Drive a Pregnant Woman to Drink” the Academy award goes to Wonder Pets! Oh, if only it were just that the theme song is annoying. The show centers around three friends with major issues who have deluded themselves into thinking that the world’s problems can be solved through teamwork – pretty naïve fellas. First there’s Linny, the bulimic Guinea Pig, who blurts out “This calls for some celery!” no matter how inappropriate the occasion. Then there’s Turtle Tuck, a needy little guy who’s constantly asking for hugs from any random stranger who will oblige him – abandonment issues anyone? And finally, rounding out the dysfunctional trio is Ming Ming Duckling who, despite the disclaimer at the start of each episode that the show is designed to build vocabulary in preschoolers, has an obvious speech impediment. You only need to hear her catchphrase “this is sewious” just the once to want to deep fry her ass.

Doodlebops – If you want your child exposed to their first menage-a-trois, this is the show for you. Three very jauntily-dressed musicians (1 female, 2 male) hang out, play games and wear a lot of make-up. There’s Rooney, the grossly effeminate guitarist; DeeDee, the raunchy little go-go girl with the big voice; and Moe, the “cool” drummer who is always hiding in the Doodlebops Central “closet.” The supporting cast includes Jazz and Bus Driver Bob, two alternates in the on-going tryst between the main characters. Sure the sexual messages may be subliminal but if you freeze frame the episode where DeeDee gets her dancing shoes, you’ll see what looks a little too much like a bondage mask fall out of the prank closet. And I swear Roonie and Moe once made a rhyme about the time they “crossed swords.” Kids may find it endlessly entertaining but, I’m sorry, it’s just too high a price to pay for thirty minutes of peace and quiet.

Wiggles – You’ll know you’ve been home with the kids too long when you start having sexual fantasies about Anthony, the cutest Wiggle, and by far the most charismatic. But he will frequently dash your hopes when he trots out his lovely Italian wife and his kids. Bastard! He doesn’t love her! Who needs that kind of disappointment in an already trying day? Plus the other characters aren’t exactly setting a good example for the kids: Jeff, I think, has a developmental delay. He is always just a little off rhythmically and Captain Feathersword is obviously a failed porn star, most likely still using the name because it’s already monogrammed onto his regular clothes, or initialed onto the side of his Camaro.

Blue’s Clues –Luckily for me, my daughter doesn’t seem to like this half-hour bore-fest anymore than I do. The trouble with this show is all the drama surrounding the original host, Steve Burns. First there were a slew of rumors that the guy died of a heroin overdose – which turned out to false although, if they were true, who could’ve blamed him really? If I was forced to wear a green striped rugby shirt and beige chinos everyday of my life, I’d be snorting a little shmackedy shmack myself. Then, two seasons later, he pulls a David Caruso and leaves the show at the height of its popularity to pursue his dream of playing in a nameless rock band. Now the only publicity this guy’s getting is through his My Space page. Good thinking, Steve! Looks like we figured out who really needs to get a clue. But when Joe, Steve’s replacement, appears in random episodes, and your innocent baby asks “momma, where’s Steve?” you try explaining all the sordid details without causing nightmares. Confusing and disturbing.

Dragon Tales – So there you are minding your own business, eating a piece of toast with peanut butter on it and checking your emails while your little sweetie kicks back for the PBS Kids’ morning line-up when suddenly you sense something’s wrong. You come out of your office to find your heretofore engaged toddler scraping a quarter along your coffee table leaving welts as deep as tire tracks while simultaneously using your cell phone to call Japan. What went so terribly wrong? You glance up at the television only to see a two-headed dragon named Zak and Wheezie (and no, not the Wheezie from The Jeffersons). Dragon Tales is what went wrong. Dragon Tales is the wrench thrown right between Clifford and Big Big World. It mainly involves Max and Emmy, the most earnest kids on the planet, and not a half a personality between them. Every episode these two go off to Dragon Land to have fun and adventures plus learn a lesson which would be well and good if it held a child’s attention longer than an NPR radio show. A program that can’t keep your toddler occupied gets rated a “D” for downright dangerous.

Thomas & Friends – Here’s the run down of this British snooze-a-thon. Thomas the Train (wreck) and a bunch of other tank engines with stuffy names like Percy, James, Edward, Gordon…I’m sorry, I drifted off for a minute while I was typing this… live on the fictional island of Sodor. If your child was literally born yesterday they might not notice how old school this is – but the real problem for me lies with the upper crust British narration. Do you really want your toddler imitating this speech pattern? It can only lead to schoolyard beatings for walking around with a pathetic fake British accent. Just look at Madonna.

Nip/Tuck – At first glance this doesn’t even seem like a kids show at all. Call me old fashioned but I’m not sure gory boob jobs and tummy tucks are appropriate subjects for babies. But even more disturbing, the plot lines are not challenging enough for even the youngest of viewers. My daughter was completely over it by season two.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 31, 2008 6:27 pmUncategorized25 comments  

It Smiles

I know what you’re thinking – what a fattie! She may be small but she’s getting some pudge!

In case you thought Sadie never smiled. That’s actually not a smile, she’s laughing sarcastically at the fact that I’m still in my robe at noon. “Hey, Sadie, I’m a writer. I have little or no need to leave the house. Also, there are very few clothes I feel cute in these days. You, on the other hand, are a BABY. People love nothing more than to put silly dresses on you and wheel your ass to the park to show you off. Just don’t let Jaguar get your ears pierced. I know she wants to.”

Go ahead, click on the picture. You need a close of up all that cuteness. Do it. You know you want to.

BTW, David Duchovny checking himself into a sex addiction rehab? Raise your hand if you did not see that coming. Mulder is a manslut. I just hope that when he vehemently denying everying to Tea his acting was better than on his shows.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 29, 2008 7:24 pmUncategorized24 comments  

Supermom Or Super-Liar?

Seeing as there are quite a few people left in this world who have yet to purchase a copy of Naptime is the New Happy Hour – a book I neglected my child to write – here is another chapter (for free) in the hopes that you will fall even more deeply in love with me and want to shower me with praise…or write a horrible review on Amazon.

SUPERMOM OR SUPER-LIAR?

So there my daughter sits, sprawled out on a leather chair, eyes glazed over, fingers running OCD style over her purple blanket, watching her fourth episode of Wonderpets. I glace her way wondering silently if I’m the worst mother on the planet for needing to get my bills paid (and read the latest on Paris Hilton) while not having my daughter interfere. Just a half hour I tell myself which inevitably turns into “One more episode mommy! Please!”

“No. I’m sorry, sweetie, but it’s time to turn the television off and play outside for awhile.”

“I just want to watch a little more TV,” she answers simply, quietly.

And I just want to read the Internet a little bit longer. It seems like a win-win situation, except for those pesky warnings about too much TV giving her ADD and liquefying her little still forming brain. I imagine all the other moms who are at this moment coming up with some great project to do with their child or children, a project that involves gluing and glitter, cutting shapes out of construction paper, tracing the outline of a leaf or even worse, cavorting with nature.
Maybe I should just stick a huge pile of cookies in front of her and a gallon of chocolate milk to wash down the Happy Meal she just ate I silently berate myself, while switching the TiVo to Wonderpets: Save the Pandas. I glance back at my comatose toddler; is that drool coming off her chin? I want to slit my wrists out of guilt right now. But I don’t. I finish paying my bills and try to find out why the latest celebrity coupling just broke up. Never far from my mind though is my daughter, who although happier than a gay man at a Cher concert, is obviously not getting the best of her mother.

This self loathing moment has been brought to you by your local Smug-mamma; those moms who will look you straight in the eye and say, “Oh, my child doesn’t watch TV.” We’re surrounded by them –moms who are busy trying to outdo each others’ parenting on every level. Obviously not every woman is like this. Most are mere mortals. But when faced with a self proclaimed Supermom, you may not be able to help feeling like your parenting style is more on par with Andrea Yates when reflected in their glow. But the thing to remember, the thing that will save you, is these women lie often. At the very least their insecurities make them prone to major exaggeration.

When a man has the nerve to ask a woman how many sexual partners she’s had, no matter what the woman says, the man tacks on at least five more, right? I actually think men are onto something. Hey, who among us hasn’t shaved a one-night stand or four from our spotty sexual past? Guess what, women can utilize this trick in a different arena: the competitive, cutthroat mom sport of “I do everything better than you.” I call this New Mommy Math and you don’t have to have passed algebra to master it; it’s all about easy addition.
When Smug-mamma tells you straight to your face that she absolutely allows only one hour of mind-enriching, educational TV a day, just go ahead and add two hours. If she tells you ‘no TV ever!’ – add six. It’s that simple.

With this trick up your sleeve, you can decipher devious lying about: Sugar consumption, discipline, how much “household help” they utilize, cleaning, yelling, sex (not) having…and more! If you think you don’t need my help, think again. Smug-mamas are everywhere and they can strike at any time. You’ll be at the park having a perfectly great conversation with a real mom about breakfast cereal.

“God, remember Count Chocula? I used to live on that stuff.”

“Oh yeah, but what ever happened to Boo Berry? The one with the ghost on the cover and the blue marshmallows? I haven’t seen it since I was a kid!”

Suddenly, Smug-mama will burst out from behind a see-saw and blurt out, Tourettes style, “Oh we would never let Dakota-Ryder eat sugary cereal. We’re a sugar-free household. Dakota-Ryder-Banjo only eats All Bran No-Trace-Of-Anything-That-Tastes-Remotely-Edible Flakes from Whole Foods. It’s only eighty-five dollars a box.” Sounds good. Really. Gee, you got a coupon for that?

Your first reaction will possibly be to recall with horror that your son ate a fruit roll-up and half a muffin (FINE cupcake) for breakfast and you’ll feel terrible and less-than. But wait – stop – use your New Mommy Math. Bran Flakes my ass. Sure, Smug-mama may have offered that up, but no toddler who has working gums would let that soggy crap past his lips. She’s lying. Go ahead and switch Bran Flakes to Corn Pops and you may be getting closer to the truth. Now, add a few tablespoons of sugar sprinkled liberally on top and you’re probably somewhere in the actual vicinity. Feeling better?

Similarly if Smug-mama tells you her child is only allowed two small cookies after dinner, feel safe adding five more. If she tells you no cookies, only fruit, go with eight. See? Now you’re starting to get it. The formula is using the inverse – the more super the mom, the more super the liar.

My husband and I once went out of obligation to a function at a pseudo friend’s house for “adults” only. The host, a woman I never liked that much, was the mom of three rambunctious boys. There was expensive wine served and delightful canapés. It wasn’t all bad. But the first thing I noticed was that the house was immaculate – not a Hot Wheel in sight. Of course, you know me; I couldn’t keep my trap shut for a second.

“How do you do it? How can your house be this clean with three boys around? You actually have clean guest towels and no hair in your sink. I don’t think my sink’s been hairless since the early 90’s. What’s your secret?”

“I actually love cleaning. I clean everyday anyway so when a party comes up I’m already halfway there,” Smug momma responded with a fake smile.

I practically had an aneurism on the spot. By the way, I should also tell you this woman actually claims to enjoy making soups from scratch and loves to email recipes and humorous chain mail with subject lines like Why I Love My Girlfriends! “I normally wouldn’t send this kind of email but this one’s really funny you guys!!” She’s the reason spam blocking was invented.

Out of necessity, I turned heel and headed for the bar to procure a much needed flavored Martini. Once the alcohol helped cleared my head, I was ready to do some slightly more advanced Mommy Math. Loves to clean? Either she’s been pilfering her son’s Ritalin or she has a worse relationship with the truth than Dick Cheney. I mentally added a housekeeper two days a week minimum, decided that the word “cleaning” could loosely be translated to getting out of the way to a day spa for a mani/pedi/seaweed wrap so the housekeeper can do her job and tacked on some round the clock daycare. I felt so much better I celebrated with a couple more martinis.

Sometimes the only remedy for an overdose of smug is to get yourself in the company of some real moms for a reality check. Real moms will let you in on the fact that they are sometimes inconsistent with their discipline­­ –that they have at times totally lost it over a minor infraction, like their toddler’s totally normal refusal to take a bath when asked very nicely and promised “no washing of hair.” Real moms will call you in tears because their kid hasn’t stopped barfing since she stupidly let him have three huge pieces of cake at a three-year-old’s birthday party. Real moms know that trying to limit TV watching to a half hour a day is about as realistic as Kelly Pickler trying to maintain that she didn’t get a boob job. Real moms will tell you that their four and a half-year-old is only 80% potty trained. Real moms know that when it comes to being a parent, there is no perfect score card. No matter how many hours you spend sitting on the floor coloring, reading stories, kissing boo-boos and singing songs, there will be times you fall short. And most of us just try to accept that as best we can.

But even real moms aren’t immune to the urge to keep up with the Smug-mama joneses. Sometimes you’ll find yourself shaving the actual hours you have a sitter to your close friends or feigning surprise that your Little Miss Loves To Read knows all the words to every Backyardigan’s song. It’s natural. We live in a competitive world. Like men never lie to other men about their salary, dick size or Lifetime membership to Hair Club for Men?
So okay, fine, my daughter regularly eats cookies, never eats vegetables and watches two full hours of TV a day. There I said it. Whatever, go ahead and judge… and… okay, add two more hours of TV while you’re at it.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 28, 2008 3:37 pmUncategorized37 comments  

Hey, Why Won’t You Stalk Me?

This is the kind of thing I was into doing when I first got AOL. People would IM me and I’d get super excited. Weirdly, I eventually met my husband this way. This, however, is not my husband:

CalSCUf: Hey there, how old are you?
LazloStef: How old are you hot stuff?
CalSCUf: 25
LazloStef: Sounds excellent to me.
CalSCUf: so u?
LazloStef: YOUNG ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER BUT OLD ENOUGH NOT TO CARE!!!!
LazloStef: What are your hobbies?
CalSCUf: baseball, beer, movies
LazloStef: Oh, okay. I thinks we’ve got ourselves a match. I love movies too!
CalSCUf: guess so, u like beer and baseball too?
LazloStef: Mostly I drink Chablis. Chilled.
LazloStef: I used to enjoy a malt liquor or two when I was a bit younger.
CalSCUf: ok, ok, now u gotta tell me, ….how old are you?
LazloStef: I’m 57 years young.
CalSCUf: oh man
LazloStef: If I’m not I’ll eat my hat!
CalSCUf: at least u could be an angels fan
LazloStef: So do you want to come over and bone? KIDDING! But seriously though, would you enjoy viewing some television with me?
CalSCUf: do u have a pic?
LazloStef: what does that mean? pic?
CalSCUf: picture?
LazloStef: I have a picture of my grandkids. Would you like to see it? I’ll show you when you get here.
CalSCUf: no thanks, do u have any pics of Troy Glaus or Darrin Erstad?
LazloStef: I have a picture of Helen of Troy but it’s a reproduction.
LazloStef: would you like to trade?
LazloStef: hello?

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 27, 2008 5:24 pmUncategorized20 comments  

Twin Mom Needs Support

Hey twins moms, I randomly found a blog – let’s just say she was enjoying my Angelina Jolie letter – and when I went back to check it today, I found out she’s having a problem with her pregnancy. Her babies are measuring small and she will probably have to deliver early. I remember how scared and alone I felt when I got my first whiff that something was amiss with my babies. I know she needs support so she won’t go all insane. Won’t you please go give her a little pep talk at http://www.nbjenni.blogspot.com/? Tell her Stef sent you. And no scary stories please!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on August 26, 2008 11:07 pmUncategorized11 comments  


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