Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pooping up the Wrong Tree

I KNOW I made clear that I am not a lavatorial humorist. But this is not funny. Yet definitely newsworthy.

Spring has sprung here in the mountains and yesterday I was enjoying the sun on my shoulders, having a rare moment of peace outside on my front steps with a muffin and a cup of tea. Admiring my surroundings. Until...what do I glimpse? A strange shape nested within the leaves of this shrub-thing in front of my house...C'est quoi?

Well, here in dog-loving central, there is only one answer to that question. Spring springs forth, snow melts, and a veritable carpet of doggy-do reveals itself, aroma mingling with the gentle alpine breezes -- a subtle, disconcerting tang to the air while all about you, dreaded dark deposits materialize on every bloody square inch of grass.

And even up trees. And again, I am not the sort of person who usually photographs this stuff but you have to see this. The turd is ELEVATED:
if you can't see properly and have the stomach for it, click on the pic. Behold, suspended turd of spring!

How did it get up there? Did a dog kick it there? Did snow melt leaving the bizness lodged in my shrubby branches?

Not the kind of thing you enjoy contemplating when eating a bran muffin; in fact, a revolting moment when it should have been just plain nice. I am so sick of dog-loving, dog-permissive peeps.

From now on, dogophiles of Crabtown, watch out. I'm watching you even more closely than before. Stay away from my shrubs. I know I am a crappy gardener but let's not be literal. Wankers.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Much Ado about Daycare

In a stupid piece in the New York Times today
we learn that children who go to daycare are most likely to become fiends later on. Or to be precise:

A much-anticipated report from the largest and longest-running study of American child care has found that keeping a preschooler in a day care center for a year or more increased the likelihood that the child would become disruptive in class — and that the effect persisted through the sixth grade.
What a crock. I mean, come on, man. Do we really need this sort of study? I should add that the above quote was followed immediately by the following:
The effect was slight, and well within the normal range for healthy children, the researchers found. And as expected, parents’ guidance and their genes had by far the strongest influence on how children behaved.
Okay. I don't even know where to begin. For the first time in the history of my blog, Crabmommy is stunned into seriousness by this absolute ridiculosity.

So first they hit us with this alarmist headline and opener about daycare. Then they, ahem, mention that within their negative results, they noted the "disruptive" effect is "slight" and in fact "well within the normal range." All this after making preposterous and highly specific claims about daycare "effects" lasting through the sixth grade.

One of the many questions I ask: how d'ya PROVE that bratty bully's attitude has to with the daycare of his young years? And if all this disruption is "well within normal range" then why bother drawing abnormal attention to it by disseminating the info so that the New York Bloody Times runs a big piece on it?

Also, love this sentence: "And as expected, parents’ guidance and their genes had by far the strongest influence on how children behaved." I see. Parents...had BY FAR the strongest influence. But this is discreetly tucked at the end of the second paragraph. (I would, by the way, LOVE to see the tests and stats that match a kid's picking his nose and wiping it on the blackboard with a GENETIC imperative. Show the me the DNA!!)

You know, I could crab on forever with this one but this study really doesn't deserve it. I mean, yes, there are bad daycares from whose care-less care neglected kids learn to be nasty little WANKERS in class. But there are also good daycares, where patient saints calmly instruct your disruptive Crabtot to sit on the Time-Out Grizzly bear, whereas back home, Crabmommy just yells and then feels bad about it. Now if Crabtot becomes a naughty disruptive badtot through the SIXTH grade, can we really blame her daycare?

What gets me most peppery about this sort of thing is the overall alarmist and futile vibe of it. Even if were 100% provable that daycare makes kids disruptive, what the dilly is a working, non-nanny-affording mom meant to do about it?

Equally stupid: the piece goes on to say exactly how all the mitigating factors mitigate the findings of the study. A study that I might add costs $200 million and is financed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. And now they're going to track these disruptive sixth graders through high school, apparently. I see. No doubt at another 200 mill.

Here's another suggestion: take the money you would have spent tracking those kids and give it to their parents. Maybe they can all take a nice vacation together and GET AWAY from studies negatively reinforcing something that working parents already have to feel guilty about.

Nice work, National Institute of Child Health. I'm just glad that daycare is tax-deductible -- i.e., less money for the NICH-whatever to conduct research. Honestly. What a lot of bloody hoo-ha.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Miss Clavel is Gay!

That's what Google thinks. Why else are they running this new ad, "Are You Gay? 20 Questions to Find Out"?

Google, you people are so prejudiced. You see a nun (cf. my last post) and you think "lesbian." Stereotyping people with regard to sexual orientation is so five years ago. You can't tell by looking. Except if they have hairy moles and dangly woman-symbol earrings and they are your midwife. Then you can make an educated guess.

Back to the point, Google, maybe YOU'RE gay.

Okay, now I'd really better stop this. I have already ruined my Adsense forever. Quick, let's get some relevant words in here: toddler toddler toddler mommy blog mommy blog coool hip urban rural mommy. Google you guys are totally wrong about miss clav she is so not gay. But, Pepito, the boy next door... I think he's going to be gay when he grows up. Or anorexic. He's already anorexic in that Madeline Goes to London..."soon he grew thin, then thinner and thinner." And he has that girly haircut and lavish Spanish parents. And he's way into his mom.

Toddler toddler toddler mom mom mom sleeping napping daycare...banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker. When are you going to advertise the mighty banana bunker?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cover Girl Clavel

I made fun of a Christian mom in my last post and now my numbers have dropped. Oh dear. Godmoms, please come back! I promise not to insult you anymore. Some of my best friends are Christians. In fact, in this here post I celebrate a woman of God -- namely, the nun, Miss Clavel, in the Madeline stories. Yesterday, while Crabtot was watching me put on makeup, she pointed at the tube of mascara on the counter and said, "There's Miss Clavel!"

I didn't put up this blog to brag about Crabtot, but let's be frank, the girl knows her shapes and colors. And her nuns. To see as the Crabtot sees, I photographed Miss Clav on the book here:

Then, I took my pathetic camera skills (sorry, still no Photoshop and still no figuring out of the manual functions on my camera) to Cover Girl mascara tube itself. The result is not great, but I think the message comes through: God is in the details.

Yes, even Crabmom, heathen that she is, is humbled. Evidently a divine presence can occur where you least expect it. Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich. Miss Clavel next to my toothbrush.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Carping at the Godmommies

Beating up on Christian moms and their blogs is surely shooting fish in a barrel.

But allow me one fishy. I never intended this blog to be petty or meanspirited. But allow me one moment of petty meanspiritedness, please. Let's blame it on Google Adsense again. I found my blog listed on a site called CleanChristianhumor.com. But Google, if I were a Christianmommy I would find Joy in the Morning, like this one: http://joyinthemorning.clubmom.com/

People, she has 10+ children. And she homsechools them. And finds joy. In the morning. Good God. God is good. He endows us with the myriad fruits of our loins. And then makes us homeschool them.

A good god to me is one that gives you one child and then taketh away the ability for you to get all moony over newborns again. Seriously, one is the new seven. I'm sure of it.

Crabmommy has never found religion. And for that I feel eternally grateful. If I found joy in the morning, or, for that matter, at 11 pm Wyomingian time, I wouldn't be here in my robe, blogging. And without my complaining and whining and otherwise trucking in the negative, I would be a sadmommy. Joy in the moaning. That's me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

See the Sleeping Gummi

Behold the Crabtot's daily gummi bear, this one taking a "little tiny resti-pops," as we call it in our house. (Sorry the image is a bit pathetic -- camera is one problem and then to take it further, I can't crop cause I aint got Photoshop [or any sort of image program]...the saga of Crabmom's computer-nonsense continues but hold on, friends, hold on, for my new Mac arrives next week if the idiots at Apple will stop phoning me and just get on with the sending...will soon be awash in swell new equipment.)
Back to the point, sadly Crabtot's own little tiny resti-pops is a thing of the distant past; you may recall that we have moved from naptime to so-called quiet time. Occasionally there is a brief spell of silence when she falls asleep in the closet, but mostly quiet time is a loud affair involving constantly banging doors and threats of denying the gummi bear that makes life worth living. Make that "an orange one." And only an orange one.

Here's an irony Crabgrandmommy pointed out: when they are small all you want is for them to sleep, but they don't want to. Then when they are teenagers all they want to do is sleep, but now you don't want them to. And there you are, loudly rapping on the door or bustling into the room and whipping open the curtains, demanding Crabteen get up and face the day. But for God's sake, Mom, it's not yet noon...what's your problem? I had a late night making out with my Ralph Macchio poster and trying to give myself a tattoo with my math compass and some fountain pen ink.

The same irony might well apply to shopping for clothes. Yesterday I had to beg Crabtot to let me buy her expensive snowboots and promising the almighty orange gummi pictured here if we can just try on the shoes nicely. So you beg them to let you buy the boots. And the day will come, no doubt, when she will want to buy expensive snowboots and I, Cheapmommy that I am, will be none too pleased. Perhaps she will bribe me by proffering the treats of which I am fond and lately trying to deny myself, since my cheerful dentist has scheduled me for a fleet of costly appointments. The treats being licorice allsorts, or Maynard's fruit pastilles, a sublime English candy that we import from the World Market in Utah. (Google, please advertise that one. It is well worth a click.)

I can't resist the lure. Of a sugar-coated blackberry pastille. Even the word "pastille" makes me salivate. And now it is worse in my house because there are so many gummi bears around (since tot only eats the orange ones) that I end up frequently stuffing clots of green and red gummi bears into my mouth...

If only I had Crabtot's willpower and played with my single pastille for several hours a day, giving it a little tiny resti-pops and so on, then I would not have to spend many greenbacks at the cheerful dentist. And I would have more greenbacks for buying my own expensive snowboots, or perhaps a new robe for blogging in -- goodbye purple chenille number, soon I shall have a fetching silk kimono...Make that an orange one.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I always Swore I would Never Have a Post with the Word "Poop" in it

Much less "poop" in the title header.
But in the interests of giving great advice to you all, as I always do, I thought to pass on the following toilet training video link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFVoLz88hiU
Trust the Japanese to make a cute animated poop.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Sorry We Can't Make it to Your Child's Party

But we will be in Utah.


This is what I say every time Crabtot is invited to a children's birthday party (i.e., a large festival, charitably involving everyone and their parents).

As pictured here, Crabtot is enraged because the birthday kid had received a present, and Crabtot, hopped up on cake and juice, does not understand why she couldn't snatch the present -- a lovely little doll -- and have a really long "turn" with it. (I wish I were a better techiemom and could have cropped this photo and enlarged just Tot's face and mine, but I no longer have even so much as Photoshop on my barely-hanging-on-by-a-thread computer, so...but click on pic and I think it will get bigger, the better to appreciate the facial expressions in it).

Here's an open question to people who hold large b’day parties for small people: why don’t you put Benadryl in the cake icing? Come on, it’s a special occasion. Once a year. And they would enjoy themselves so much more if they were…asleep.

My policy is not to let Crabtot attend gigs where there will be more than a scant handful of tots. This was one of the most appalling Saturdays of my momlife. After the moment pictured above, she ran out of the living room and into the hallway, then sank to her knees, and bashed her head on the (concrete) floor. Not pictured. I was not smiling.
More posting to come, when I am not sick in bed. I don’t know what is worse, being sick or trying to open the Dayquil blister-pack. (Oh, bloody hell. Now Google is going to put Dayquil ads on my blog. Got to get my meta-tagging going....)

Do post your thoughts on tot b'day extravaganzas. I haven't added my strongest opinion: no presents. Seriously, I am not trying to be Cheapmommy here (though you know I am). I am talking about the crap, the extra stuff they don't need, deserve or -- and this is the big one for me -- want, much less know how to ask for. Don't bring presents to those who don't yet know to expect them. This is obvious, no? But apparently not so obvious to all.
My policy is to bring a used book to those seeking the b'day presents for the 2-yr-old. I always buy a cool vintage book and then sort of write an explanatory note "as" Crabtot (cringe) about her mommy loving to collect used books -- and "hoping you will like this one too, even though your mommy obviously doesn't respect the environment and wants you to be a spoiled consumer receiving birthday presents from near strangers although you are only 2."
Used Curious George edition from local bookstore, hardcover, $3, so much better than new. And so much better than the Dreamlove Care Bear. Right? Did I mention $3?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Google Thinks I am Bulimic

Dear Google, Host of My Blog,

I’m writing to inquire why you think I’m bulimic. Judging by the ads you are running (to the right of my blog posts), you clearly think I am bulimic and/or anorexic. Every day there is a steady stream of eating disorder related advertising on my blog.

I never thought I would make any actual money off this blog but I did want to get people to read it so I signed up with your Google Adsense and Adwords and all that. I thought I understood it: you key in words you think your blog is all about and then Google places it on websites, which in turn gets content-appropriate ads placed on Crabmommy’s site. But how do you guys get from me to an eating disorder? If I were you and I were trying to target things to some momhood-related blog, surely weight loss clinics would be more appropriate than weight gain ones? And a few ab-toner ads. I am quite sure that would get me more clicks from my readership. My seven readers are mostly new moms, and as a group I think it is safe to say we aren’t stinting ourselves foodwise.

In fact, right this very minute I am eating banana bread and I promise you I will not be barfing it up.

Google-people, I am starting to think this ad campaign you run for me isn’t going to change my financial future, notwithstanding the $2.38 I have made in the month since this has been up. And I am blaming you. Since your team is in charge of placing said ads on the site -- and I assume you are all clever and hot like the people in your training videos for Google Reader and whatnot -- how come you are so far off target? How do you match content and ads? I did read that answer in the FAQ, that apparently you do something called “crawling” my site, that your crawler reads what I have to say and then synchs the crawl-report up with advertisers. But where in my past posts have I mentioned denying myself any sort of foodstuff?

Yes indeedy, the ads you’re matching with me are weird. When not advertising anorexia or bulimia, you at Google have me pegged for one suffering from mental problems, or perhaps you think that my audience is likely to suffer from mental problems, because well, who else would read my blog? I am grasping here, but how else am I to understand why bipolarhappens.com is the second-most blog-appropriate ad you can run on my site – after all the eating-disorder-related stuff? Do I seem bipolar to you? What are the signs in my posts? Where do I veer from one pole to another? I thought I was consistently whiny on here. Show me the happy, jiggy parts, the big tonal shifts. Or maybe the magic word here is “disorder”? Has Google crawled my site and divined that I have some sort of disorder and then you just sort of guess from there? If this is so, then your crawling engine must be very sophisticated. Maybe you can pitch your crawler as a sort of cyber-shrink: it reads a person’s blog and then divines the tone of it and makes a diagnosis as to the nature of the writer. In my case, treatment of some sort is evidently in order for me and/or my readers, according to you. But even if that were true, I can't take it from you. I mean, you put Mandarin characters into my navbar (to help me, I assume?) -- so I think it's fair to say you haven't entirely got my number.

Before I sign off, I also want to mention Denver since you mention it so often on my site. Indeed, when not advertising the various disorders you find appropriate to Crabmommy, you fill the ad space with things that have to do with Denver. Is this because I live in Wyoming? Is Wyoming considered sort of the same as Colorado in your book? If so, thanks! I am flattered – on behalf of Wyoming. Seriously. And actually I have to admit, you are not in fact so far from the truth when you advertise the denverschoolofdriving.com. I am just creeped out that you KNOW what a bad driver I am. Apparently you (and some others around here) think I should sign up for some sort of fancy winterized driving maneuvers. But HOW DID YOU KNOW? How can your crawler divine my crap driving? I haven't said anything about it on here.

So anyway, I know you will likely be crawling this VERY post for ad-relevant content. And on your FAQ it says that segues can confuse the crawler so I mustn’t switch subjects a whole lot. Okay. I can do that if it helps. I can stay on subject. Sort of. Um. What was I saying? Something about banana bread. Banana condoms. Yes. Did you see the banana bunker in my Feb archive, Google ad-team? I want you to get that guy who designed the banana Tupperware thing to advertise on my site. I would get so many clicks – he would get so many – that maybe I could quit Crabmommy’s day job, which, when not with Crabtot, is presently comprised of teaching a punctuation class to the high school, a grammar class called Dude Where’s My Comma? -- a gig that pays me only slightly more than the $2.38 I have made through your Google Ads since I started running them.

Anyway I hope you G-peeps can help me figure out how to find Crabmommy's place in the market. I hope at the very least to see more Stokke high chairs and banana bunkers on here in the next days, products I can really get behind and which I have written about extensively in the brief life of my blog. Possibly it will help if I do the following: Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke Stokke banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker banana bunker.

Did that help with the crawling? I do hope so. Let’s get these banners relevant!!!

Best regards,
Crabmommy. (seriously, anyone know what the heck is up with those ads, man? Techmommies, what am i doing wrong?)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Bring in the Doulo

That's male for "doula."

I just read a HILARIOUS short story by the HILARIOUS Sam Lipsyte. It is about a loser guy who has a bunch of pathetic jobs and then reinvents himself as a male doula -- or doulo -- at which he is also very pathetic. Sam Lipsyte is brilliant. The piece isn't available online I don't think but it is in the November 2006 back issue of Playboy so reach over to your man's side of the bed and borrow it. (Yes, Playboy is a respected venue for fiction and that is why your man is reading it in the first place. Literary man!) Back to the story, in it the doulo works a postpartum role: he fumbles around giving breastfeeding advice ("we've got to get this latch-on on") and tries to be useful in other ways, e.g., as the one whose job it is to "order up some pizza if we all wanted pizza. My mentor, Fanny Hitchens, always stressed the importance of pizza. Pizza, even just the idea of pizza, binds people together in their common love of pizza."

Sam Lipsyte also wrote a hilarious book written as a man's update to his high school alumni newsletter. I am also a little ticked off at Lipsyte because i was hoping to work into my blog a good use of velcro fruit as a funny image or metaphor but his doulo refers to a young child playing with "velcro’d wedges of fake Manchego." That I can't beat.

Other excellent parental reads: do get this March/April issue of Cookie magazine. No they are not paying me to say that (but Cookie, if you want to pay for me saying that, just let me know and we can discuss that option) and I have no real idea of how good or interesting Cookie is with regard to the usual glossy parental mag fare as I haven't perused it yet. But they did run a hilarious and brilliant essay by hilarious and brilliant Heidi Julavits in which she manages to bring llamas and motherhood together into one essay. Not an easy feat.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Goodnight Mosh: Sleeping en Famille Part 2

Okay. So you know I just wanted to use my alternative title, Goodnight Mosh, for those poor peeps moshing in their Manhattan beds.

But I do have something to add. Right when I was posting my advice about removing those poor little Manhattanites from their cavernous rooms and stuffing them into cozy closets instead, my own Crabtot (who refuses to nap but is meant to have quiet time in her room at lunch) fell asleep IN HER CLOSET. I kid you not.

I am telling you, the Crabmommy Sleep Methods work, people.

Goodnight Nobody

Family beds are for ninnies.

I am not talking about the willing co-sleeping arrangement (which is also for ninnies), I am talking about the NY Times piece today about the many reluctant co-sleepers, i.e., exhausted, peeved parents who still can’t get their much-too-old mites to stay in their bloody beds and thus the poor mom and dad sleep in a nest of small-people who spin around and -- as one parent described -- pluck out the chest-hairs of dad. A signature sleep move, indeed.

Yes, sleeping with your kids is apparently a commonplace nightmare:
http://news.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/28/whose-bed-is-it-anyway/

Check it out. It is not only interesting on the sleep side of things but also quite fascinating to learn about the volleys of chicks making money as big-time sleep consultants in NY and LA. Like the director of Soho Parenting (what a name) who is also Pat the Bunny’s granddaughter.

Back to the ninny-point, from which I segued. Why, if only these parents would learn from my blog they might not have to pony up all that cashola to Pat the Bunny's granddaughter. Maybe if I continue blogging about my patented method, Slap Them to Sleep (trademark –dunno how to do the nifty TM sign on this crap keyboard, but picture it), I too can make a mint. And maybe I could actually help some of these families....Slap Them to Sleep TM is cheaper than Soho Parenting’s Pat Them To Sleep in Your Big Family Bed techniques (ok, I haven’t a clue what they do at Soho Parenting, but stay with me). And while Soho Parenting may well have its own array of nifty sleep strategies, at least at Crabmommy’s Wyoming School of Sleep we don’t incorporate something called a “sleeping pallet” into the family bedroom.

When you read the article, zoom in on the kids’ bedrooms in these Manhattan family homes. In particular, check out the giant pink palace with princess bed, larger than most apartments. But kinda scary for a kid to be in such a gigantic room, I say. Maybe that’s why they need the comfort of Mom and Dad. Perhaps the solution is just pop the child into the coat closet and make that the new bedroom, or a bureau-drawer, Kramer-style…

Ahhhh just come to me with your insomniac children, people. CLEARLY I know what I am taking about. Soho, bring me your tired, your weary parents and their spinning, chest-hair-plucking spawn and I shall solve all. Leave your sleep pallet at home. You won’t be needing it.