Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Working Theories

Lots on my mind after attending Kidlitcon 09 this weekend in Crystal City. While that all gels into what may become a blog post, I just wanted to invoke, for a moment, my lunch, purchased from perhaps the most generic deli ever built. I have two new food-related theories and they are as follows.
1. If it doesn't smell like salami, it's not a real deli.
2. If you visit a bagel shop that has a New York reference in the title (Manhattan Bagels, Brooklyn Bagels, Borough Bagels, etc.) and the bagel shop is NOT IN NEW YORK, chances are they're protesting way too much. Simply put: Your bagel is going to suck.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Five-minute Hedwig

My kids are all about immediate gratification. So when my son put on his Harry Potter robe last week in preparation for Halloween, he asked, right away, for a Hedwig.
"I didn't buy a Hedwig," I told him.
"Could we make one?"
"Sure," I said. "But it would take a while."
"We could make one now," he said. "We could use one of Daddy's socks, put some stuffing in it, then I could use marker for eyes, you could sew felt on for wings."
He paused.
"And talons."
I had all of the stuff he mentioned. He had the pattern in his head, so we tried it. In FIVE MINUTES we had Hedwig.
Not perfect, perhaps, and I may make a fluffier owl for Halloween (I'm not an expert sewer, but I'm competitive enough to want my kid to have more than a sock on his shoulder, especially if my friend Vicki goes trick-or-treating with us this year.) On the other hand, he's happy with it. And we have another use for mismatched socks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Five Minute Phone Call and Another Use for Play-Doh

You know those friends you want to talk to, but you put off talking to because you know the conversation will be long and you just don't have time for long because it's late and you have to make dinner and your kids are screaming and even if they weren't screaming your brain is mush? A few years ago my husband instituted The Five Minute Phone Call. This is where you call a friend but you keep it short and just say: "AAACK. I can't believe the #&#& sox are out of the playoffs!" (him) or "So did you watch Glee?" (me). We don't do it nearly enough, but it's a fine way to make you feel like you're in real touch -- beyond a superficial Facebook update or a group e-mail, I mean.

I've been thinking that I should approach my blog the same way. Instead of not posting because I haven't formulated what I want to say in thoughtful, polished prose, I should just go for the five-minute post. So here's a stab at that, because I wanted to offer a bit of parenting advice, just in case you have to take your kids to a nursing home to see a relative. It's one of the best bits of parenting advice I figured out on my own, so, as the clock ticks, here's the grand advice:

Bring Play-Doh. Seriously.

I've always loved Play-Doh. When I was a kid I played with it and, okay, maybe tasted it once or twice. As an adult I kept it on my desk at work as a de-stresser. And over the past few years, I've packed it with me when I've had to make nursing home visits. It's great because it gives the kids something to do and it could even give the ailing adult something to do. But the main reason I bring it is because it's great for blocking the SMELLS that go along with nursing homes. Especially if you have a kid with a sensitive nose. Which I do. (Note that this works for parents as well as kids.) I usually go armed with three of those small, purse-sized containers. Okay, that's it. End of advice. End of post. Viva la Play Doh!

That is all.