I started to write about the time I wanted a pony but then this post completely took on a life of it's own and that's ok because we all have to listen to our inner muse, right?

When I was 6, I desperately wanted a shetland pony, because it would be small enough to keep in the yard and when it got cold outside Mom would probably let it come in the trailer because she sometimes let the stray cat we fed come inside and really, was a shetland pony much bigger than a dog?

I'd only seen pictures but I was pretty sure it would fit nicely on the rag rug in the kitchen, all curled up. I would name it Tiffany and we could have our pictures taken together at Easter. I would ride her to school and she could eat grass while she waited for me and during recess when the other girls all played on the swings together, Tiffany and I would play tag, or hide and seek. Screw those a-hole girls who wouldn't play with me, I would have Tiffany. At the end of the day when the other kids were getting onto the buses to go home, I would ride Tiffany home and tell her about my day. It would be awesome.

Here's a picture of Tiffany and me:

Ok, not really, but that's how we looked in my imagination. Only Tiffany would have bows in her mane and I would braid her tail with ribbons and I would be dressed as Tinkerbell. Because you can't ride a horse in a long princess dress, everybody knows that. And plus? I could fly. That's right. I had magic fairy dust and I could fly, and all the other mean girls totally were jealous because I had a pony and I could fly and they begged me to let them ride Tiffany and one time I let that bitch Cari Nessler ride her but ha! Tiffany bit Cari on the leg and then threw her off because she was a one-girl pony, and I was the only girl at Neil A. Armstrong-Oakview Grade School who could ride Tiffany.

Then all the girls wanted to be my friend but I knew it was only because of Tiffany, but then one day Tiffany got strep throat and she had to stay in bed (because I now had a bunk bed and Tiffany slept on the lower bunk but I got the top bunk) and Claudia and Nancy still wanted to play with me and that's how I knew they were the only nice girls in my class and so we played ring-around-the-rosy and tag and then Claudia let me braid her hair with ribbons and Nancy asked me to be her best friend but then Claudia said no, she's my best friend and before they could start fighting over me I said it's ok, I'm both of your best friends and even though that was completely improper grammar they totally knew what I meant.

Then when I got off the bus that day my parents were waiting for me along with Tiffany, because the antibiotics had worked and she was feeling much better. Then Mom told me that she was pregnant with twins and they were both girls so I would get to be an older sister and Dad said that he'd been digging a hole and found a pirate's treasure so he'd bought us a mansion on Grandview Drive that had a basement and an attic and stairs and a dining room plus a swimming pool and we were going to move in today and I would get my own bathroom. Oh, and I had an older brother too, his name was Greg and he always teased me and he taught me how to fight and all of his guy friends thought I was cute.

Plus? I was psychic.

Dead Unicorns And Spaghetti Monsters

My 11-year-old daughter has a cell phone with a limited number of minutes each month. When they're gone, they're gone. Unfortunately, she also has a fierce addiction to texting, and 3 texts=1 minute. When you only get 100 minutes a month, they go pretty fast. I have tried to tell her not to waste her minutes on unnecessary texts, but my advice seems to fall on deaf ears. How do I know? Well, here's an example of how she chooses to use her text minutes:

Julia: Where are you?
Yesterday, 8:15pm

Me: Just got done @ kroger. Getting my salad and coming home. Love u.
Yesterday, 8:18pm

Julia: I love you.
Yesterday, 8:18pm

Me: <3
Yesterday, 8:19pm

Julia: Kiss
Yesterday, 8:20pm

Julia: *sends cute photo of 8 week old puppy she found on the internet*
Yesterday, 8:30pm

Julia: Where are you?
Yesterday, 8:33pm

Me: On my way now. Stop wasting ur minutes! <3. And yes i know u love me so dont waste minutes, k?
Yesterday, 8:34pm

Julia: K
Yesterday, 8:35pm


Julia: Where are you?

Julia: Where are you? answer

Julia: U all most here

Me: Yes

Julia: Good with food (wtf?)

Julia: U here me (she was singing at her master choir recital. With 371 other kids. And she wanted to know if I could hear her)

Julia: *unintelligible voice text asking if I videotaped her recital*

Julia: Where are you?

Me: Popeyes

Me: Everytime you waste your cell minutes saying things like "k" or "where are u" or "u there?" God kills a beautiful unicorn. Do you want that on your conscience?

Julia: K

Oh, and today Zach got a D in Conduct. Why? Because he called his art teacher "A Spaghetti Monster". And she was offended by this. Why? I happen to know that he enjoys a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs every once in a while. Perhaps it was a compliment, no matter how backhanded. Maybe he meant it like this:

But she took it like this:

Know why I don't want my son to pee standing up? Because somebody, probably ME, is gonna sit in it. THAT'S why.

Last night, I watched The Hot Chick with my 8-year-old son. I wasn't too worried, there was some minor language but he knows better than to repeat it, and any sexual innuendoes flew right over his head, so it was the perfect movie for us.

There was one scene in particular that caught his attention. It's the scene of the movie where "Jessica" has to go pee at the club. In earlier scenes we saw that she just peed sitting down, but she has to use the trough in the men's room at the club, and apparently she's never peed standing up.

Ok, I just realized that if you've never seen the movie, this probably makes no sense to you. Basically, a cheerleader (Rachel McAdams) and a thief (Rob Schneider) accidentally switch bodies. Here's the movie poster:

Now you want to see it, right? I know. So anyway there's this scene where the cheerleader has to go standing up. Zach sat straight up and got that look in his eye, the look that says I have an interest in this, a desire to see it play out in real life and with enough time I'll have a plan. Wait...there. Now I have a plan.

Because I potty-trained both of my children, I taught both of them to go pee sitting down. Julia had no issues with this, but Zach insisted on standing up. The problems with this were that I had never seen a guy actually go pee, because my ex-husband would never let me watch. And I asked A LOT. So I didn't know if I was supposed to tell Zach to just point and shoot, or was there a special way to do it? And I've heard rumors about something called "shaking it", but I wasn't sure about that either, and I knew that if I just told him, "shake it", I'd get a call from the school telling me that my son was shaking his penis at the other kids on the playground. Because he would totally do that. He has done that. Both in Kindergarten AND in first grade.

So he sat. But he didn't like it.

Then he saw THIS SCENE last night, and I knew that someday, somehow, I was going to regret letting my incredibly impulsive, creative and curious son watch this movie:

I just didn't know I would regret it so soon.

This morning I sat on the toilet seat and it was wet!!! Ewww!

So I yelled downstairs, "Zach! Did you pee standing up this morning?"

Zach: "...No!"

Me: "Zach!! Did you pee standing up this morning!!"

Zach: "...No!!"


Zach: "...yes."

Me: "Well I SAT IN IT!!!"

Zach: ".....Ewwww!!"

And THAT is why he pees sitting down. His future spouse will thank me. School janitors and grade school teachers will thank me. And if he ever becomes friends with your son, or ever dates your daughter, you will thank me.

Just Give Me A Sibling And Nobody Gets Hurt

When I was little, and even when I was not-so-little, my dream was to have a brother or sister, because being an only child sucks. I wanted that built-in playmate that all of my friends seemed to have. The person who might try to kill me in my sleep, but would always have my back in times of need. So I waited expectantly for my parents to tell me that a little brother or sister would be coming our way. And I waited some more.

When I was 5, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

For several years now I had seen my mom take these cute little pills in this cute round plastic container. She took one every night, without fail. That round little plastic circle was way too much like a pez dispenser to be ignored. Was it candy? I had to find out.

"Mommy? What are those pills in that round thingie?"

"Oh, those are Mommy's special pills. They keep me from having a baby."

wrong answer.

*cagily* "Sooo, if you didn't take those pills you'd have a baby?"

"That's right, if it wasn't for those little pills, you'd have a little brother or sister! That's why I have to take one every single night."

*Pops sibling-preventing pill into her mouth and swallows it down. Beams brightly at her depressed only child.*

So now that I knew the how, it was up to me to pave the way for my brother-or-sister-to-be. Timing was everything.

Then next day I waited until she went to the bathroom, which was generally when I pulled most of my hijinx. After I heard the door close, I quickly ran to the kitchen and shoved the flat container underneath our 500 pound Amana Radar Range:

It was a big deal to have one of these in 1974. My dad had a friend who owned an Amana dealership and he got it for my mom that Christmas. The dial at the top measured the time in seconds, up to one minute. The bottom dial measured the time in 5 minute incriments, up to an hour. For the two months following that Christmas, my dad went out and bought pounds of bacon and invited all of the men in the trailer court over to watch it cook in the Radar Range. Then they would all stand around and talk about how fast it cooked things, while they ate the bacon.

That night, I heard my mom moving things around on the kitchen counter, her movements becoming more frantic with time. I stared stonily at the t.v., my mind made up. I would not cave. Johnny and/or Annette were counting on me.

The next day.....

"Sweetie? Have you seen my pills?"

Silence. It was the best weapon, as nothing could be used against me.

"Honey? Did you hear me? Where are my pills?"

Slowly, I turned my eyes from the t.v. and looked at her. "Um, I don't know?"

Her eyes narrowed as she came to the realization that her 5-year-old daughter was trying to take charge of her reproductive cycle. Her incredibly stubborn and lonely 5-year-old daughter.

"You little shit! You give me back my pills right this instant!"

"Um...no. I threw them away and now you'll have a baby and then I can blame it when all the sugar cookies go missing from the Christmas tree. You'll never know who peed in the sink and it can sleep in my closet. When it gets older we're going to gang up on you and Daddy so you'll have to buy us a house. The kind without wheels."

She made a kind of choking noise when I told her I'd thrown the pills away, and she quickly checked the garbage. She found no pills and called my bluff.

"If you don't give me back my pills RIGHT NOW I'm going to spank your butt!"

I rolled my eyes.

"I'll...I'll...I'll ground you from your toys!"

I sighed and inspected my nails.

She could see that threats would not sway me. This was war, and she would have to change her plan of attack. Her eyes narrowed and her mouth worked as she tried to figure out what might cause me put her refusal to have another child ahead of my determination to have a sibling.

She stared at me. Hard. I stared back at her coolly from across the Harvest Gold and Avacado Green living room.

Suddenly, all the wind seemed to go out of her sails. Muffling a sob, she sat down and held out her arms.

"Come here sweetie."

I narrowed my eyes at this trick, Clint Eastwood style.

She motioned once again with her outstretched arms, I slowly walked towards her, my eyes darting everywhere for signs of an ambush. Once I traveled the 13 steps from the livingroom to the kitchen table, she sighed once, and then again. She shook her head regretfully and made full eye contact with me. I thought I saw an unshed tear glinting in the kitchen lighting, but she'd tricked me before, so I wasn't buying it.

"Honey, Mommy can't have anymore babies. The doctor said if I had anymore babies I'd die."

I sneered at her pathetic attempt to play upon my 5 year-old sensibilities. I was the one who had made Artie-Fartie my Kindergarten Bitch. She had no idea what she was up against.

She nodded regretfully. But I was always a suspicious child.

"Then why didn't you get fixed like Kitty-Kat? And why do I sometimes hear you telling Daddy, 'You know, I'm not getting any younger so if we want to have another kid, we'd better get on it'? And why do you and Daddy sometimes look at me and shake your heads and say, "Next time....next time we'll get it right'?"

Seriously? While I doubted her story, I also realized that if she died, I would spend the next 13 years eating nothing but the floppy bacon and overly-soft scrambled eggs that were the only foods my dad knew how to make in the Amana Radar Range. I took no chances.

I quickly fished the pills out from under the radar range and handed them to her. They must have been magical pills because she immediately sat up, popped one in her mouth and got that no-consequences-nookie look in her eyes.

I had been tricked.

Well played, Suzanne.

Well played indeed.