Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stinky Feet

There is just no nice way to say it: my babies have stinky feet.

My older kid, the 3 1/2-year old Juban Princeling, has grown out of it, but I remember how bad his feet smelled as a baby. And now my younger kid, the 5-month old Duke of Juban, has the same stinky feet.

I don't understand it. It's not like the baby puts on his old sneakers and goes for a jog. He doesn't play in mud, and as far as I know he isn't friends with any skunks. I don't let him play in garbage. He doesn't even sit up yet, much less stand, much less walk, much less walk around all day in stinky shoes.

The irony is that the Princeling does wear shoes all day, sometimes old sneakers with no socks, but his feet smell fine. Well, maybe not fine, but they certainly don't smell like cat diarrhea anymore.

And yet.

The Juban Princeling's dirty feet, circa July 2009. At least
these feet had a reason for being stinky.

When I give him a bath - which he has finally come to terms with (Mommy-1, Baby-0) - I wash between his toes and scrub his little feet. Then, without putting lotion or socks or ANYthing on his feet, a few minutes later they stink like a homeless person stuffed Camembert cheese in his armpits.

How is this even possible?

My theories:

  • If babies' heads smell so good, then the law of balance dictates they have stinky feet
  • The Duke is making cheese with his feet in his crib (unlikely, since I have a video monitor and can see him when he's sleeping) (unless we're talking about a "Speed"-like trick here?)
  • Ghost Mommy is soaking his feet in turpentine and sour milk during his naps
  • The MTA has found a way to bottle that special New York subway station smell and has filled invisible baby shoes with it and put those shoes on my baby the last time we were on the subway
  • That one time we took him to New Jersey stuck to him, but only his feet
  • He's found a way to vomit via his toes
  • It's a defense mechanism to keep me from eating up his yummy chubby little baby feets and toesies

Ideas? Advice? Commiseration?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Real O'Clock: Politics

Every now and then here at the Grey Skies World Headquarters, we like to take it down a notch, from our usual wine-guzzling, Walking Dead-watching, geek con-going ways and get Real. If this were a rock concert, now would be the part where I sit atop a stool, mic in hand, spotlight on, and croon "Every Rose Has A Thorn" while swaying gently, like my depth and emotion are far too sincere to be contained by sitting still.

Get out your lighters (or cell phone screens), because it's about to get Real O'Clock all up in here.

Now that the Olympics are over but "Downton Abbey" hasn't started back up yet, we Americans are left with little else to do but talk politics. I've heard there's one of these "elections" coming up that the KidsTheseDays are all a-twitter about. 


Kidding, of course. I can't turn on my TV, open my laptop, or feed my baby without hearing about it. (My 5-month old baby, the Duke of Juban, has some rather strong opinions about campaign finance reform.) And aside from admitting that I think Ryan Paul is kinda hot in a weird white-boy sort of way, or reiterating my invite to the Obamas to come to my house for pasta and Tasti-D-Lite, I don't like to talk about politics.

I never have liked it, but lately I refuse to engage in political discussion. What's the point? Most of my friends, on both sides of any given issue, just like to repeat one-liners and soundbites, or post sad little FB memes with quotes taken out of context. 

From what I've seen, few people actually like to engage in an actual conversation about actual politics. Most people like to spew their opinions. You can either agree with them or not, but they really don't care. They say their piece and then shut their ears. Even people who consider themselves open-minded, or claim to listen to "both sides" before making up their minds, already have their minds made up. Having political discussions with most people I know is a pretty useless exercise in futility and frustration. I will never get my Conservative friends to admit that Obama is anything but a Socialist, secret Muslim, elitist tyrant who wants to take away their guns and force their daughters to have abortions, just like I will never hear my Liberal friends admit that Romney is anything but a Bible-beating, civil liberties-hating, gun-crazy pig who wants to turn American women into The Handmaid's Tale.

From Wikimedia Commons, author Cpl. Megan L. Stiner, 2004

Which brings me to my next point: political shorthand. To say that I am tired of people using this as a way to define anyone who doesn't agree with them is a woeful understatement. For the record, here are some terms, as well as things they are NOT synonyms for:

  • Liberal (or Progressive)
    • NOT a synonym for:
      • Tolerant
      • Open-minded
      • Non-racist
      • Gun-hating
      • Baby killing
      • Godless
      • Hippie
      • Elitist
      • Unpatriotic

  • Conservative
    • NOT a synonym for:
      • Ignorant
      • Gun toting
      • Racist
      • Misogynist
      • Religious
      • Rich
      • Patriot
      • Xenophobic

I'm a Liberal and I have Conservative friends. I know, but it's true! And sure, sometimes they post things on FB that make me roll my eyes, or sigh, or just scroll through. But here's the thing: they are people. They are my friends.

I still talk politics with people close to me. Sometimes the husband and I talk about things that are going on. But I refuse to engage in political discussion with others, especially on FB. I don't see this as irresponsible or unpatriotic or ignorant. I see it as saving my sanity. This doesn't mean I don't care about issues: I still give money to the charities and organizations I believe in, I still read, I still watch the news. I just don't want to talk about it much except with a few people I trust - including my Conservative best friend, Tia. I'm not sticking my head in the sand, I'm being selective.

What about you? Do you discuss politics, and if so, have you ever changed your mind or admitted you were wrong about a politician or an issue?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Costume Fails

The 2012 New York Comic Con is coming up, and by "coming up" I of course mean in two months. That may not seem around the corner-ish to you Muggles, but for we geeks that's practically tomorrow.

Thing is, October is generally a busy month for me. I've got my son the Juban Princeling's birthday on the 8th, my husband's birthday on the 17th, my brother Mr. Funny's birthday on the 22nd, and Halloween on the 31st. (I guess technically we all have Halloween on the 31st. But I like it more than you do, probably.)

That's two things I need costumes for: NYCC and Halloween. 

Halloween is easy. My friend NoLa does a theme party, and even if she craps out on the party I still make us dress up for it. Last year she used the excuse of having "foot surgery" and "not being able to walk" for "10 weeks" as her excuse not to create a space alien theme party, but I still made the Princeling dress up as a spooky alien, because do you know how hard it is to find a space alien costume for a 3-year old? Surprisingly hard. But it paid dividends in cuteness:

"I'm a spooooooky alien!"

This year her theme is Classic Haunted House, though she's threatened to crap out on me again. Doesn't matter. I already have our costumes: we're going as the ghosts of a family who drowned in the Gowanus Canal. Body glow paint will be employed, as well as our masks from Sleep No More:

"MacBeth hath murdered sleep!"

So, Halloween is covered.

My problem is what to wear for NYCC.

NYCC does a Family Day, and I want to take the Princeling for his first ever geek con. One year they had the New York Jedi Academy - yes, that's a thing - train younglings on how to use light sabers. If they do that this year I may actually drop dead of happiness. But I've been racking my brain for good mother-son costumes for us. The problem is that most mothers in fantasy and sci-fi are either dead or bat-shit crazy. Some ideas I've had for us, but had to dismiss:

  • Joffrey and Cersei (My son will be 4, and I know I'll end up having to schlep around the head on a pike when he gets tired of it.)
  • Superman and his Kryptonian mother, blown to smithereens (too depressing for a 4-year old)
  • Spiderman and whatever happen to his mother (ditto)
  • Harry Potter and Ghost Lily Potter (super ditto)
  • Spock and Winona Ryder (seeing a pattern, yet?)
  • Luke Skywalker and Padme Amidala (I cannot pull off a white bodysuit) (no, not even a little bit)
Maybe we can do Wesley Crusher and Dr. Crusher? I already have the red hair. All I'd need is the blue ST: TNG body suit (still more flattering than Padme Amidala's), a tricorder, and a poorly hidden lust for Jean-Luc Picard. Like that would be so hard.

Ideas? What sort of family/parent-child/group costumes have you all done?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lies My Breakfast Cereal Told Me

You know you're too grown-up when you start choosing a breakfast cereal based on fiber content and not cartoon character. 

Until recently - and by "recently" I mean a few months ago - I saw nothing wrong with being a 36-year old woman and mother of two who ate Lucky Charms for breakfast. I mean, come on, what's not to love? If I believe General Mills' ad campaign, the non-marshmallow part of the cereal is made with "whole grains" or some other healthy-sounding crap like that. Healthy AND magically delicious!

But alas. My husband, who is all, "We need to be healthier so we can live a long time and continue to annoy each other well into our 100s," is into healthy eating, probably just to piss me off.

If this had, like, 15 pounds of sugar on it, I'd totally be into it.

Exercise I have no problem with, when I have the time. I'll walk for miles, I'll do Pilates, I do do yoga every morning. I've even started meditating, so that in those moments when I'm about to lose my shit because all three of my housemates are ganging up on me in what is clearly a well-planned assault on my emotional well-being, I can find my Happy Place, take a deep breath, cultivate inner peace, and not go to prison for stabbing my family. (My matra is, "Pretty fish like me don't do well in prison." *breathe in* "Pretty fish like me don't do well in prison." *breathe out*)

So, you know, exercise is fine with me. 

It's the eating right part of "being healthy" that gets me. 

I grew up in the 80s, when putting cut-up hot dogs in my Kraft Macaroni & Cheese was considered a well-balanced meal because it had 3 of the 4 food groups in it: protein, dairy, and powdered cheese product. Apparently that is not an acceptable lunch for a grown woman.

Other things I grew up eating which I am now supposed to give up so that I don't have a heart attack at age 40 or develop Type II diabetes or have a stroke or some other stupid crap that so-called "doctors" and "scientists" warn us about:

  • Fried chicken
  • Bacon cheeseburgers
  • Pizza
  • Fettucini Alfredo
  • Chocolate ice cream mixed with Double-Stuf Oreos
  • Nutella
  • Potato chips
  • French fries
  • Pretzels
  • Anything delicious

The thing is, if it were up to me those things are ALL I would eat. After pushing 100-pounds of stroller and children uphill in 95-degree heat and humidity for at least a mile, and then doing all my diastasis recti physical therapy so I don't look 6-months pregnant anymore, I think I deserve some fried chicken, French fries, and chocolate ice cream covered in Nutella. I mean, right?

<3 <3 <3

But, oh no, in order not to weigh 900 pounds I have to "snack" on "light cheese" and "fruit," which is not filling at all. I don't like diets, but I don't like the idea of taking up more than one subway seat at a time, either.

And my husband pulls this card on me, which is so unfair but he's a lawyer and uses tricks like this all the time: "I quit smoking to be healthier for you, so you owe it to me and to our children to eat healthy and not die young." He's such a jerk.

So, crappy grown-up cereal it is for breakfast, because apparently Eggs Benedict is not "healthy" in the strictest sense of the term. But here's the thing. The box claims that because the cereal is full of fiber and protein it will help me "Stay Fuller Longer!" Exact words. But an hour later and I'm ready to eat my own arm off from hunger. 


You know what doesn't lie to me? Bagels. Eggs Benedict. When I eat those for breakfast I'm actually full for the next 3-4 hours, not pretend, lying, hippie cereal quote-unquote "full."

When I eat Lucky Charms, I know exactly what I'm getting: a bowl full of delicious, followed by a sugar high, followed by the hangover-like remorse of a sugar crash. At least Lucky doesn't pretend otherwise, HEALTHY GROWN-UP CEREAL THAT DOESN'T EVEN TASTE GOOD. Asshole.


I won't lie to you: I have a Bota Box picnic essay up over at Moms Who Need Wine. Click here to check it out!