Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Randomommy: Sharp

It's been quite a sharp week. Sometimes I have a fuzzy week. Other times, it may be pointy. Like so:

1. Chicks, don't you hate those girls who complain of scratchy leg hair when theirs is but a downy birdfuzz of legfloss after months of cultivation? While shaving my legs this week I realized the following: my own leg hair is so sharp that when confronted with a razor blade, the stubble shaves it right back. Anyhoo. On Wednesday I went to the drugstore in search of fresh razor blades, but in the face of all the blade options, I forgot what kind of razor I have. There are also these quite massive triple-quadruple hot-pink lady-blades and then the minty green ones and the ones shaped all weird and thick and complete with suction cup, like an octopus's tentacle. I am convinced there is a razor industry conspiracy to dazzle people into confusion regarding their razor model, so that this way they start with a new razor every time they go to the blades. It's just too overwhelming otherwise, too much effort to remember what you're actually looking for.

2. Took Crabtot for new family treat: bus into downtown, to meet Dad for lunch. Dad took us to a swell place, where we were served by a friendly mannish lady with those weird round metal discs people wear inside their earlobe these days, on this side of the country in particular. More to the pointy, she had an artichoke tattooed on her chest, flesh spikes coming out of her collar. Crabtot got mad because she wanted clinky ice in her water then didn't want clinky ice in her water. Mom's voice turned sharp. The event went sideways and turned everyone prickly. We left with a wailing, flailing tot gnashing her teeth and making as if to bite me.

3. On our regular walk around the neighborhood Crabtot and I came to a small tree that we quite enjoy. Sort of like a mini-cypress. Uptight, upright. We decided to name it. I wanted to call it Shampiqua, which is the name I for no reason assign to most everything these days that needs a name. Crabtot decided to call it Shot instead, on account of its perfect spikiness.

4. Crabtot has an actual shot tomorrow. This caps a spiky week. I saved the worst for last, though: a few days ago the wee lass decided to sharpen her finger with my pencil sharpener, no doubt tantalized by my dire hypermommy warnings of what might ensue, should she ever choose to do something so freaky and destructive. She ferreted the pencil sharpener out of its hiding place and gave her finger a tentative little tweak down that dark mysterious corridor that until now, only her pencils had known. The damage wasn't bad. A bit of blood is always a thrill to a small person anyway. And the incident reminded me of my friend, Natasha, and her little brother who saw her shaving in the bath and asked her why she was sharpening her legs.

What kind of week are you having? Is it round? Flat? Sharp? Is it pinkish?

And may I direct those who feel so inclined to my latest bloglet post, focusing on A Nation of Wimps, the brilliant excoriation of ubermommy culture by psychologist Hara Estroff Marano.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mem Day Swagiliciousness: Freebie of Note!

[This giveaway is now closed. And the winner is Wren. Wren, please contact me at crabmommy [at] gmail [dot] com for your blankie. Yay!]

Some of you are ticked off with me, yes.

You have come to this site Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday, looking for the promised weekend giveaway. And you have found nothing. You think the Crabmommy is a loser. Or maybe something serious has come to pass to derail her from flinging freebies your way. This is when I give you the excuse. Here it is. I'm so sorry I haven't posted but my child has had a terrible cold and my husband was hungover all weekend. I had my hands full, people. Forgive me.

Except only a weentsy bit of that is true. My husband is ever-so-slightly hungover, as am I and that has absolutely nothing to do with my laxness on this here site. I just sorta didn't quite feel like going online these past few days. That's all. My blogging finger required a weekend off. I never learned to type properly so this writing business has taken quite a toll on my right index finger. It too needs some time to rest occasionally. And it did. I laid* it on a tiny blankie and let it sleep all weekend long.

Speaking of blankies...I offer to a lucky reader a most bloody gorgeous freebie today. This one is also very close to my heart as its maker is a native of Souf-Effrica like me. And also, like me, she lives in the rainy northern and western region of our adopted homeland, the USA. Or as Borat calls it, "U, S, and A."

Chicks, check out these fierce, rip-stop weatherproof and adorable blankies from Rugged Idea:
Okay, so not only are they ridiculously byoo-ti-ful and very much byoo-ti-ful and all, but they rock bad weather conditions in a most utilitarian way. Seattle-based creator Ali discovered she needed a badass blankie like this one when she had her first tot. And this one can and does do everything: it's rain resistant, wind resistant, sun resistant; it's a changing surface, is attachable to anything, is carpet protector, baby protector, picnic blankie; it's machine washable; and uberswanky to boot. In short, a multitasking blankie for the multitasking mommy that you are. Can you say swagtastic? I can.

So....put your name in the comments below. No need to be clever, just tell me you want in. And I will pick a random winner sometime in the next day or two. That winner shall receive the following gorgeous medium-sized blankie in the scheme "Kenya Sunset," which retails at $67:Can you stand how cute this bangie is, to use the favored parlance of Crabtot? For God's sake people, it's got ric-rac on the edges! HOW MUCH DO WE LOVE RIC-RAC? LAWD, I wish Crabtot were still in a stroller so I could have come up with an excuse to make the gals of RuggedIdea give me one of these. But I am too kind and honest. I eschewed the free bangie in favor of giving it up to one of you. I am sort of a bit of a Brangelina in my own way—promoting Africa, selflessly. Or at least, promoting a blanket called "Kenya Sunset." Same difference.

So drop your name in the hat. And while you're about it feel free to spell-check "ric-rac" for me. And for anyone who expects 2 freebies at this site as per last week, blog off! It doesn't get awesomer than this, you spoiled tart.

Might I add that whether you win or lose, these blankies make a swell purchase should you ever find yourself, like Crabmommy, living in freezing/rainy temps and lugging your tot around in a stroller. Might I add that when I last called Maclaren to get a replacement rain-thing for her stroller the Maclaren customer service department were so incredibly frosty and British and snotty to me that I came mightily close to letting the tot get rainsoaked rather than have to endure insufferable crispness and annoyance from the Maclaren-peeps who found me mighty tedious for some reason. Maclaren. Who knew they were British? Very British. All their sales-peeps are Brits and are extremely fond of talking down to one. Really quite odd! I thought I had mistakenly dialed Vogue head office or something. Or that maybe I'd reached the booking agent for Camilla Parker-Bowles, rather than a bunch of tele-sales tosses flogging a stupid bloody rain bonnet. GMAB. Seriously, anyone else ever called Maclaren and received a spot of Brit-snittiness?


Okay. Enough. Enter below to win that blankie! Winner to be announced when I bloody well feel like it. And come back too this week for a post about artichokes and pencil sharpeners, to be swiftly followed by another on feminism and children. At the bloglet, sassy inventions and some dirt on this CRAZY-SMART book I am reading called Nation of Wimps, which is all about how we ubermommies are ruining not only our kids but the future of our global economy by hovering over the tots at the playground. Makes sense when you read it. Way-scary, mon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When Crabtot Grows Up She Wants to Be...

..a pregnant teenager.

That's what she told me. It was my fault. I was watching Juno on Netflix. In the middle of the day. Like a good mother. And Crabtot was meant to be having quiet time in her room, but she came to my room and I was too lazy to send her away. So she watched. And when that preggers Juno became visibly more rounded, she asked me how old the girl was. I tried to tell her that Juno was actually almost a grownup. But Crabtot knows a teen when she sees one.

"Is she having a baby?" she asked me.

I stumbled my way through that conversation. And the next day, while I was driving (which is when she tells me her most pressing pieces of info, knowing just how well I can NOT properly listen when driving), my three-year-old tells me she wants to be a knocked-up teen.

"That's a shame," I say (not knowing quite why I'm saying any of this to someone who believes that having a baby happens when you 'eat a baby seed'..but I feel somehow compelled to begin the don't-get-knocked-up speech anyway). "When you have a baby you can't do lots of fun things! Like go to school. And take vacations. And play with your friends."

To which she replied: "But when I have my baby I'm going to leave it with Mom and Dad and then go on vacation!"

Now that's what you call "planned parenthood."

Freebie, this weekend, of note: the most delicious and amazing weatherproof baby blanket so cute you will definitely murder your own self with joy if you win it. Also today at the bloglet a story about me and bottles and why Crabtot still has one and probably will until she's 25, SO COME AND GET ME, PERFECT URBAN MOMMIES!

Any good birds and bees stories from you lot? Are you full-on biological correctness at your crib or more euphemistically inclined?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

FREE STUFF: Friday's Schwaggggggilicious!

[And the winner is Jennifer. Now, I know there were several Jennifers in the comments. The winning Jen is the one who said "Shorts?!? Me?? Are you kidding?!? That skirt is too cute for words! I need that kind of waistband to cover my darling's tushie..." That Jennifer, please email me your stats at crabmommy at gmail dot com and I will send you your labels and skirt. Everyone else, stick around if you want to read more musings of a randomommy and crabacious nature to come this week. Or if you are one of those mom-vultures purely trolling for gratis goods, they happen on weekends, 'kay?]

Gals, it's that time of the week. Some of you are still nursing wounds over having missed out on the hedgehog paraphernalia offered in my last giveaway, but never mind; now's your chance to enter once again for 2 utterly delectable freebies proffered on this here site for your delectation and enjoyment.

First, a word from our sponsors.

No, wait. First, a word from me. My week began with a nice round of free daycare at IKEA, then swung into a desultory, lazy almost-summery mode here in Crabcity. Blossoms are dropping off trees, and unfortunately, people are wearing shorts. I have never been a fan of shorts.

There is never really a very good excuse for shorts when one not engaged in sporting activities. For example, there I am, out in the world and I see a beautiful man on the subway, perhaps, and then I see that he is wearing shorts. And fresh spring legs shouldn't really be seen in shorts. Those pale legs. The flossy leg hair. Not really my thing.

Board shorts in Hawaii, maybe. But otherwise, let's leave the shorts to the kids, shall we? And so I ask you: Please join with me in protest by sharing in a NO SHORTS FRIDAY. It's meant to be 90 degrees here and I promise I won't be wearing shorts. Will you stand in solidarity with me? Will you NOT WEAR SHORTS tomorrow?

But skirts. Skirts are a different story. We all like skirts. Especially sweet little skirts for wee lasses.

And, lucky you, I have a peachy skirt-inclusive giveaway for you this week. It consists of 2 items, both of which one lucky winner will receive. The first is too darling for words and comes from JI Skirts. They're sort of boho-fairy-chic layered cotton skirts with felt waistbands, kind of a tutu-meets-tennis-skirt- meets-sprite-in-the-woods look. Okay, if that's impossible to picture, just look at a dang picture, then:
California mom and designer Carla Duharte said when her twin daughters were little they always complained about itchy elastic around the tummy, so Mom devised these skirts without elastic or zippers, just soft felt in a snug band at the waist. And now a lucky Crabmommy winner will receive a custom designed number for her lucky tot. And if you don't win it, ladies, check out the JI Skirts site regardless. Prices range from $35-50, for a supremely fetching one-of-a-kind skirt so screamingly sassy you might need to crack out some greenbacks and just get one already.

Now let's say you buy this skirt and you want to send little Destiny off to camp in it, because little Destiny really wants to learn how to horse-ride and you really want to get rid of little Destiny for a while. That makes you lucky. But what would make you very lucky is a free pack of off-to-camp clothing labels, perfectly designed so that Destiny''s new skirt will not go missing. Enter our second vendor, Mabel's Labels. These gals are very dang smart because not only do they flog excellent iron-in labels, but they also have these ingenious stick-on labels called Tag-Mates that you can simply stick onto your kiddo's clothes when you shove her off to camp.

Now, as you all know, while Crabmommy often dreams of such things as camp and preschool boarding school, Crabtot isn't at camp-going age yet. Mind you, I got mighty tired of using a Sharpie on Crabtot's water bottle and lunch box last year during preschool (only for it to wash off in the dishwasher). Enter Mabel's most excellent famous sticky labels! They withstand the dishwasher, microwave, and last yonks and yonks. And now I am not going to lie to you: while I do not request free samples from the people whose stuff I use in my giveaways, I don't exactly refuse delivery when they insist on flogging me with their wares. Thus must I come clean: I got my hot little paws on Mabel's Labels and dang it do they ever stick. I can't testify to years of stickiness yet but they look promising. And they are cute. And you can pick colors and a cute little icon to go with the name.

It should be noted that Mabel has labels for basically everything under the sun. If you've got something that needs naming, Mabel will stick it to you.

And thus concludes the promotional part of today's proceedings. Enter by adding a "Me! Me!" or something similarly vacuous into the comments below by Monday noon or thereabouts, PST, or sooner, or later, depending on how I feel. I will select one name randomly and that winner will then have 5 days to contact me and claim her prize. Don't be slack, winner. If you don't get to me, I will give it away.

So that's one person who gets both A custom JI Skirt and a combo pack of Mabels Labels perfect for camp or school. The label pack consists of 15 Sticky Labels, 40 Iron-Ons or 50 Tag-Mates (your choice), 8 Shoe Labels and 2 Bag Tags. Heck, with all those labels, who gives a rip whether the kid enjoys her camp time or not? At least she won't lose her JI Skirt. And that's what counts right here, right now, at Crabmommy.

Have at it. And once again, please remember that anyone can enter, from any country. Unless you are wearing shorts. Or are a Mormon. And especially if you are a Mormon in shorts. If you are wearing shorts while typing your name into the comments, I will be able to tell. So don't chance it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Socialist Euro-Style Free Daycare in America: Just go to IKEA!

There are days when you go shopping in a strip mall near an airport, buy absolutely nothing, and call it time well spent.

Even though I spent the entirety of Saturday by myself (I did Mom's Day a day early), Sunday proved that I needed more time out from Crabtot. We'd gone out en famille in search of a washer-dryer. Crabtot had half-spun and half-sobbed in her car-seat for the duration of the car trip out to the delightful strip mall that houses Best Buy. I'd thought that, unlike her parents, she'd quite enjoy an examination of front and top-loading washer-dryers for her Sunday outing; after all, these are the things that kids get sort of tickled over, right? But she grew quickly bored and threw herself up and down the aisles, complaining and demanding strawberries and such.

After a spell, Crabhubby and I looked at each other over the Maytags and Whirlpools. "IKEA," I said. "It's a good day for IKEA."

And he said, "Let's go."

Some of you may be confused. Why add a cavernous self-serve homewares depot to an already overburdened family shopping trip? But you are merely the uninitiated or foreigners in an inhumane country that does not offer the splendor of a Scando-warehouse called IKEA. Which is oh so very much more than merely half-cooked cheap furnishings made by people with names like Gunnar Bjirkelund (no doubt the pseudonym of one Jeffrey Weiner of Brooklyn? ...Does IKEA give you Swedish avatars when they hire you, I wonder?) Back to the point, Until moving to Crabcity I had lived a half-life, without IKEA. But Crabcity is more civilized. And the chief sign of that is the presence of IKEA. With its free childcare. That's right, Crabtown friends: free.

When we first spotted IKEA's free childcare room, "Småland," we thought we might be seeing things. Crabtot smashed her nose to the glass in wonder, as children frolicked inside a giant clog. Yes, a giant clog. Which sounds a tad absurd now, but when you are at IKEA it just makes sense, like lingonberries with Swedish meatballs.

For those sadly in the dark, Småland is a "magical forest" where children play like bunny rabbits while their parents argue over whether to get the Malm series of bureau or the Snordgegrone (okay, I made up the last). Småland is where forest fairies bewitch each other inside IKEA children's room products while Mom tries to convince Dad that there's nothing wrong with a $1 towel, and Dad tries to convince Mom that there's nothing wrong with a bedroom that consists entirely of birch-veneered furniture. When did Småland come to be? I don't recall ever seeing it in other IKEAs that I have visited. Mind you, I haven't been to an IKEA in years and back when I last trotted through a Nordic habitat in search of a futon cover or lava lamp or whatever-all I bought in those carefree days, I wasn't even thinking about having children, much less thinking about how to palm them off on others.

"Yay, Small Land!" Crabtot said when we dropped her off, signing a perfunctory info sheet, and attaching an ID sticker to her back. Then we thrust her through a trapdoor that led to that Magic Forest and we bailed...past the Marketplace (where you get big furnishings), through the habitats (where tranquil modern living is simulated in an otherwise tense environment of beleaguered families making what appear to be major life decisions), and made straight for the restaurant. Which basically just rocks. Except that the strudel is frozen. "What time is it?" I asked Crabhub. "Check your phone." You see, at Småland you get only one hour of childcare. Then they buzz you with a pager.

The first time Crabhubby and I did the IKEA date, we felt very pleased with ourselves. Drinking $1 coffee out of china cups, stashed in a pleasing booth beside paper screens stretched with Marimekko-ripoff fabric, we looked out the windows and sipped on freedom. The view was gorgeous. Okay, so the view is basically just the back of the strip mall with the airport parking lot nearby but when you've got one hour of child-free time on the weekend, all childless views are good views.

Our most recent IKEA date was a touch more fraught. We'd just prior to the outing drunk fifty barrels of coffee and so decided to nix sitting and sipping for some random shopping. Except there was nothing we could think of buying. "Napkins," I said firmly to Crabhubby when he expressed reservations over the whole thing and posited that we nix IKEA altogether and go home to clean the house. "I need napkins. And a small white frame."

"Pity they don't let you leave for an hour," Crabhub said. We peered across the strip mall wondering if we'd get caught if we made a break for it and hit the grass island strips adjacent to the cars, to loll upon the lawn and take a nap. Yes, unfortunately there is one major rule of Småland and it's for parents: no leaving the premises. I wondered if my pager would work if we spent the hour upon the grassy knoll near the edge of the IKEA parking lot. But in the end, I'm not a rebel. I can't break laws. The closest I've ever been to law-breaking was an attempt at bathroom graffiti in grad school. With a Pilot Varsity fountain pen that wrote in turquoise ink. (I was getting my Master's in Writing people. Leave me alone.) So it was napkins over naps on strip-mall lawns. We really did need napkins.

But napkin-shopping just isn't the whale of a time it should be when your bloody Småland pager keeps vibrating in your pocket.

Now, first, a word about the IKEA childminders. If you want me to tell you they look perfectly wonderful and beautifully trained and wildly knowledgeable about children, I will. Because to me any warm body looks to be that way of a Sunday afternoon when one's preschooler is preschooling all over you. That said, the grownups in the Magic Forest have more of a desultory look, more of a teenage look, more of a low-slung pants, dyed hair, ipod's-on-shuffle sort of look. They say only two things to you when you drop your child off. "Is she potty trained?" and "Is she over 34" tall?" And you say yes and yes and then stuff her through a trapdoor and Bob's your uncle. Which is why you might actually get a tad nervous when the pager goes off prematurely. Maybe the tot got hurt?! Maybe some bloody bruiser of a boy mashed her delicate leg in the clog?

So Crabmommy sprinted for that Magic Forest. Not so easy to find at IKEA. You're going against the stream, working backwards through habitats: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, office, patio...When I get to the Forest my eyes roam frantically for a small creature with a puff of uncombed hair and unmatching socks, quite possibly crying or injured near a giant clog. But Crabtot's happy, up a magical woodland climbing wall, oblivious. "Sorry," one of the teens says. 'The pager's just malfunctioning." She gives me a new one.

I race back to Crabhubby. Patio, office, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. Mostly we've been wandering without purpose or enjoyment. And now I can't find him. And now I have only forty minutes left.

"What about this for the living room?" he asks when I capture him beneath a pallet of wool rugs designed by Sigrid Olafsen and made by children in Guam. We discuss the rug. For about thirty minutes. Oh, how we can discuss a rug! And just when we've reached an agreement on the tone and weave and quality of rug, the pager jiggles again. Off I go. Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, office, patio. Småland. And I see Crabtot, or rather just her hair. She is DROWNING IN A SEA OF PLASTIC BALLS. "Excuse me!" I say to the teen up front as I point wildly at the ball pit from behind glass (parents can't go into Småland). "I don't think my child can breathe!!" But the teen just smiles as Crabtot stands up and I see the ocean of plastic balls is only about twelve inches deep. To be sure, my child was quite fine, but my pager was not.

"Again?" The teen rolls her eyes. "Sor-ree!" she says to me and hands me another, snapping her gum.

"I can't get much shopping done this way," I say, all huffy, as though I'd come to IKEA to actually shop.

"I'll give you another half-hour then," she says. Score!

Patio, office, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. Rugs. Crabhusband and I discuss and rationalize the rug for the remainder of the Småland time. This activity is perhaps not quite as peachy-fun as some things (especially since we ended up not buying the rug, or napkins for that matter). Then again, there are other Sunday experiences that make arguing over a rug at a mall on an off-ramp near the airport as bloody fantastic as sharing a pot of Beluga caviar with Javier Bardem.
And so after coming all the way out to a strip mall near the airport of a Sunday, we left Best Buy with no washer/dryer and then we left IKEA empty-handed too. But at IKEA at least, we'd got what we came for. To be empty-handed: that's what we'd really wanted.

Anyone else been to Småland? I think we might go back this weekend. It really is a total all around family win-win-win activity. Or win-times-18 if you're those fundamentalist idiots who are about to have an eighteenth baby.

More giveaways of smashing toddler loveliness right here this Thursday. And Cookie sees new posts twice this week as ever, something about donuts and then Astromommy returns (plug, plug, what-eva, mon)...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mom's Day Out

[For the winner of the weekend hedgehog paraphernalia giveaway, scroll down to the competition post and all will be revealed...]

Once you have a child, you can't imagine what life would be like without them!

That's the kind of line one often hears from parents. And it infuriates me.

Taken literally, yes of course once you’ve had a kid you could never conceive of life going on without them. I mean, really. Duh. Unless you're completely whacked out in some way, the notion of not having your child around is too awful to even contemplate and is something a parent tries never to think about at all.

But when the line is used—as it often is—to explain a "now that I've had kids my life is only just beginning" mindset or a "now that I have children, roses smell sweeter and my life has meaning" mindset, then I feel quite peppery indeed.

When parents say these kinds of things they seem like aliens to me, or culties who have joined some strange new society of pin-headed people, or converts who have suddenly found religion and now everything that existed prior to this event is totally forgotten by dint of the amazing new life they are living. In short, this line makes it sound like everything that came before is simply not worth remembering.

And since I can COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY remember what my life was like prior to having Crabtot and much of it is ABSOLUTELY worth remembering, I'd like to tell the non-breeders (all three of you who come here) that we parents aren't all so completely far gone in Parentland as to not have a clue what we're missing. We don't all suck 100% of the time (just 90% of the time, when we're talking to our kids in goofy voices, telling you things about school districts, and asking you to hold on when you call so we can lecture a small person beside us on why they shouldn't lick their feet).

This weekend for an entire day, as a Mother's Day present that I requested, I had a nostalgic whiff of what it felt like to be myself prior to having a child. I asked Crabhubby for a day to myself: a day in which I did not feel like a mother. Now lest I be struck down by horrified new readers who stumbled upon me in search of freebies and are now being treated —or mistreated—to some appalling and freakily unhealthy-sounding thoughts, here's a message for you. First of all, HI! And welcome! And don't be scared. I'm one of you. I'm a reg'lar loving mother. I do crafts even. Like this tampon wiener. And I adore my spawn to distraction the disclaimer to your right, scrolling down. (I mean, really, when will the obvious just go without saying?) BUT notwithstanding the all-consuming nature of the motherly role, I have not forgotten myself in the quest to take care of someone else. And for better or worse I'm here to talk about it and wallow in my many tiny miseries, expanding and exaggerating them with the grandeur of someone who has never had to till frozen soil for turnips, run through forests for weeks to escape marauding bands of evildoers, or otherwise live through real hard times.

And so I make extraordinarily hard times out of normal slightly tricky experiences, like raising a child. If you don't like this sort of thing, please feel free to visit one of the many blogs out there that traffic in more traditional motherly thoughts and will post pictures of Casey's second-ever Ben & Jerry's double cone, complete with a full 5-paragraph analysis and chronology of the momentous day itself.

So, back to Mother's Day. I walked and walked for hours down the streets of my new home, Crabcity. I shopped in vintage stores without fearing a small person related to me might break some ancient toothpick holder in the shape of a clog. I drank coffee sitting down, for as long as I liked. It was utterly divine. And throughout, I remembered every dang bit of doing this before I had my first and only child. It's been 3.5 years since I had this kind of freedom. And I felt a bit like an East Berliner after they pulled the wall down and people were like, "Hey, Berliner, run off and buy an iPod!" In short, I felt a sense of wonder and amazement. I stopped and smelled the roses. Or rather the mothballs surrounding rose-patterned vintage tea towels. And it was heavenly.

This is the moment in the story where I'm meant to say that the best part of my day was coming home to see my lovely child and husband. But I won't. Because that's not true. Lovely as it was to come home to those sweet faces and the delightful dinner already on the table, the best part of my day was the day itself.

So, just to be clear to the crackpots who like to send angry comments my way from time to time, the point is that no, Dumb-Dumb, I wouldn't rewind my life and be single and lonely and wishing I would meet someone to love and reproduce with and all. I'm not that high on my own company 24-7. To me it's obvious that once one becomes a mother, nothing comes close to that experience in terms of love and human experience. But, being obvious, the joy is extremely dull to write about and utterly irrelevant to any stranger who is my reader.

All of which is a long-winded way of bringing me back to the question of life before spawning: I'm not going to lie to you and tell you all that I can’t remember what life was like when I was without child or that I don't have an inkling what life would be like for those who decide not to have kids. I do remember life sans-enfant and I would like it back. For one day, at least.

Or two. Or seven. Or...

What do you think? Do you ask for time away from your kids? How was your MD? What went down at your crib?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Swagilicious! FREE STUFF

[And the winner of the giveaway is Rachel. Rachel who had an African hedgehog named Sonic and who didn't think she'd ever win anything, lady, you just won! Email me at crabmommy at gmail dot com and I will fwd your address to the sellers so they can ship your goods to you. Well done! And to the rest of you, Thursday sees more swag]

So there's been all kinds of crazy going on in the comments over at my Cookiemag bloglet. I thank all of you who came so readily to my defense and told the ticked-off poster that just because I beat my child with a stick and smoke crack all day does not mean I'm not a good person and a great mom.

Some people really are so quick to judge. (Judge? Who does that? No one in this room, I'll tell ya.)

So: reward time. From today through end of Sunday I will be taking names in the hat for some sweet prizes. For those of you who saw my hedgehog series over at my friend Gabfab's,* the vendors of that sweet homemade, original, one-of-a-kind loveliness have ponied up some freebies for your delectation.

Rules: Comment on this post (a simple, "ME! ME!" will do, as I am too worn out to pose any intriguing questions) and the randomly picked winner shall receive the all three of the following lovely loot:

  1. a pair of custom-made craftastic hedgehog booties courtesy of mayaeliseboutique. Now if you don't love these you're need medication:(The winner gets to pick color too and even a different fabric if preferred! Score!)
  2. a pair of hedgehog ponytail holders too divine for speech from cutecumber: If you don't love these then for God's sake, get yourself checked up):
  3. This isn't hedgie-themed but is equally scrumptious: Jules Goldin offers you, our winner, a custom Smushies blankie for your weeny one to snuggle with. These are just divine. They almost make we want another baby. Almost, but not quite. And even if you don't win a Smushie, check out Jules's shop for her fantastic deals. If that's not thriftiness, utility, and beauty combined then by all means slag me off in public.

This is so swagilicious I almost can't stand it. Entries taken until 10pm, PST, on Sunday night. Or sooner. Or later. Depending on how organized I am and how my mood is on that day. Anyone can enter. Even Mormons. Or those who live in a third-world country (like my native country of South Africa. Hi, SA'ns!). We don't discriminate here at Crabmommy. At least not on the weekends.

As for forthcoming posts, I will muse on feminists in preschool, washing children's mouths out with soap, the sheer impossibility of finding a bath duck that actually floats, abs (or more specifically, a lack thereof), smack, crack, whack, flak, that sort of thing. (No, I don't know what I'm talking about. Why do you ask?) The point is that I aim to post more, and in a frequently peppery tone. Wholesome goodness here at Crabmommy. And if you missed Randomommy #3, owing to the perverse speediness of my new posting habits, please scroll down if you wish to engage in utterly insubstantial musings: Hemp brownie mix awaits (on the shelves of my local grocery store).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Randomommy #3, Observations from the Domestic Frontier

In Which She Ponders the Array of Choices in Crackers:

I can't, CANNOT, seem to buy crackers successfully or with any sort of speed at all. Does anyone else have this problem? I get to that aisle and there is this ridiculous abundance of choice, and I get totally stuck, my eyes racing from brand to brand and subgenre of cracker (thin? thick?) to subgenre (wheat? rice? devoid of trans fat or...?). I stand in a sea of crackers for absurd stretches of time: Late July, Kashi, Tamari Rice, Health Valley, Stoned Wheat…

Sometimes I wish I were in a society where there was less choice. Like in a Communist country. There would be downsides, true. For example, there was probably no tamari rice cracker in East Berlin. So you have no tamari rice cracker and that blows. Then again, on the bright side, there's no tamari rice cracker. Just plain old crackers. You reach out, purchase them, and leave. No agonizing over the myriad cracker-options. No computing of individuated-cracker-to-price ratio. No boggling of the mind by something quite so thin, insubstantial, here-today-gone-tonight as a bloody square of compressed wheat. Or rice. Or puffed soy.

Yes, buying crackers is paralyzingly tricky for me. And now my staggering inefficiency at cracker-choosing has morphed into a newfound blankness at the bread aisle too. I am in a new place and the breads are strangers to me. So much so that after a glacial eon of hesitation had me frozen in the bread section last week, Crabtot leaned toward me from her perch in the cart and said, "For God's sake, Mommy!"

Quite right.

In a related point, I had what I think will turn out to be a typical Crabcity moment. Here in my new west coast world, the local QFC grocery store baking aisle sports an eyecatching mix called "hemp brownies." Now that's a happy toddler for you! They also sell bongs and didgeridoos at this grocery.

Okay, not quite.

In a slightly unrelated segue: I had one of my first truly crunchy-west eavesdropping experiences. At a playground, a dad with Willy Nelson braids was telling some German woman a recipe. "You just sauté the tofu, add some Kashi, then hot sauce, then the flax seed and only AFTER the ginger do you put in the bulgur. You can also use quinoa instead. The kids really love it." And then they headed off for cranio-sacral massages.

But sadly, I love Crabcity so much that it is hard to make fun of. For now. Which is probably good. Because apparently I am not funny anyway: I am still smarting a tad from an incensed reader who commented over at the bloglet on my piece, When Parents Attack! Feel free to tell her off for me if you have oodles of time and can think of nothing better than wading through the pop-ups on my bloody bloglet. Please feel free to lob a zinger at that lady. I have said enough. In fact, I shouldn't have said a thing. I mean, who does she think she is, attacking me like that? I'm the one who gets to talk smack about other moms, not her!

Sheesh. The nerve.

Stay tuned. I have a host of pithier posts coming up. And hold on, hold on until June when the C-tot hits school and my personal website here will get more attention. Plus I will also be doing more giveaways. Which will cause many of you to label me a blog-whore but hey, WHO CARES if I can get me some free swag. And you. Because the truth of it is that if I want to run with the big gals in this here blogging world—and I do (because it's my "work")—I need to offer something to rival the riveting content of fundmentalist Christian homeschooling blogs. No, seriously, I am lining up some good stuff for these freebie festivals. Some of the swagginess is personally gratifying: sweet, cheapo, but beautiful and original things I have found with my own eyes and which benefit the world's natural environment in huge ways, while simultaneously raising money to feed everyone everywhere, all the time. And that can mean only one source here at Crabmommy: the Dollar Store.

Okay, what was I saying? Dollar Store prizes aside (and there are always more of those to come on this site), I'm working on finding cool and delectable and nifty things to give away. And I have found some good goodies that are good and do good. But that's only some of the loot. Other stuff is sheer utter corporate swagibility that is to be foisted upon this blog readership. My motto: if they bring it, I will fling it! At my readers, that is. Mind you, I have already nixed a wide array of useless and ugly and cheesy stuff, so don't think I'm not discriminating. There will be only quality loot in these giveaways. Ish. So rest assured.

Now, for those who think giveaways are completely lame and wankish: I'm going to do them on weekends so as not to interfere with the HIGH ART and literary-minded parenting pursuits I like to delve into in the week. Fair?

As for you who want to know what I want for Mother's Day (the sixty million dollar question that has been clogging up my inbox [joke]): nothing. I want nothing at all and I mean it literally. And as we moms all know, a day of nothing at all is hard to come by.

Anyone else got a randomoment to share? Or something to tell us about Mother's Day? What's MD all about at your crib?

I wish you all a good one and please God, not breakfast in bed. May you not receive breakfast in bed. (Am I the only one who does not like b in b?)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hedgehogs and Hamsters

I'm not a big animal lover. I have written before about this. That doesn't mean, however, that I am immune to the sweet charms of the occasional if fleeting scrumptiousness that the animal kingdom offers. That is why I have chosen to write about hedgehogs today: as a guest poster on DesignMom. Whaaa? you say. Crabmommy is talking about animals and giving design tips? This from a dog-dissing lady who recently lived in a prefabricated house (and not the Dwell magazine kind)?

Yes. But. Here's my disclaimer to those of you who think I'm going all chic on you. All designy on you. All craftastic on you. All corporate on you. I'm not.

Okay, I am.

Because the future of Crabmommy depends on hocking more than just my mommy complaints and grammar tips (but I'm glad so many of you appeared to enjoy the first installment of Grammarmama). In order to preserve my sanity and earn a few shekels over at the bloglet, I have started widening my beady eye to include the occasional posts on nifty products, such as paper Russian dolls and cherry blossom detangling hair mousse for curly tots. But here's the thang (and no, I don't know why I used "thang" instead of "thing"): nobody has asked me to review the cute things I put forward. They are entirely my own finds. In addition, I strive to keep my coolio picks verrrry cheap and/or in some way ethically harvested. No, I don't either quite know what I mean. But I suspect it will all soon become clear...Anyhoo, back to cheap. Cheapmommy seeks the good appealing designed objets for the modest budget. And for the most part, I succeed. So when I find adorable handcrafted hedgehog-print baby booties, you can be sure the bootie-maker hasn't pushed them booties onto me for a fee. 'kay?

Last, I want to say that while Crabtot's room doesn't contain any of the cuteness I have hitherto written about (too lazy to order, too cheap even for the cheap stuff), I live in a conceptual bedroom of cuteness for her. Meaning, it exists in my mind's eye. And if I can draw your attention to some sassy muffin of a vintage-print pillow for a few measly bucks, then hot damn I will! NOW, THANK ME FOR IT!

Disclaimer over. Do go and see some swell stuff in my hedgehog-related post. Great cheap, original, homemade baby shower presents that entirely defect from someone's registry and show you to be the independent thinker you are.

In other news, my next post will be of a Randomommy nature. Stay tuned. I will also soon be speeding up the postage (okay, wrong word but I like it) on this here personal blog. Crabtot will soon be back at school after our arduous move to Crabcity, and when she goes I will blog my blogging finger off on this here site. There will also be more giveaways. But they will not last all dang week long. And they will involve cool one-of-a-kind sassy lovely freebies for your delectation. And then probably, sprinkled into the mix, some corporate stuff foisted upon me by PRs. I hope. because I am a momocrite. So PRs, if you are listening, take heart! I am still here for you. I want your swag. We all do.

I close out today's post with something I never in my most outrageous whacked out notions thought I'd see coming from me: a link to a video involving animal cuteness. But watch it. You must see this baby hamster eating broccoli. It's so cuuuuute I can barely stand it! Watch through to the end; there is this business in the middle where the hamster rotates its tiny feet and you almost want to eat it. On a roll with mustard. Or at the very least, you want to squish it with love!

Okay, so here is hamster eating broccoli.

Oh, no! I just watched it again! It slays me with sweetness. And that tinny music is just too delectable. I am in a state of virtual catatonia from the sheer adorability of this animal. But no, I don't want one. No animals in this house. I have told Crabtot when she is four she may select a fish. That is all.

Thanks Tamara for the link.