Thursday, September 21, 2017

Zoe vs. the Pinterest Fail. Or, My Second-Ever Recipe Post

First, apologies for being gone from the blog so long. I imagine you were all pining away. It's weird all those search parties you guys must've sent out weren't able to find me. (Just let me have this!)
Not only was I on an official vacation for one of those weeks, but I was lazy the other weeks, and I'm afraid that took all my focus and strength.
And, as it turns out, I needed as much strength as I could get, because last week I decided to make Dragon Fire Cupcakes for Zoe's 7th birthday party.

Pinterest Fail! Recipe post

Zoe loves dragons. She has all the Lego Elves dragon sets, tons of books about dragons, zillions of stuffed dragons, and even a dragon figurine I bought in Epcot's English Pavilion that has a gem for its perch. Zoe swooned when she saw it as gems are her second favorite thing.
Maybe she actually is a dragon.
In any case, I am not a Pinteresty/arts-and-crafty/cake-from-scratchy kind of mom/person. But I came across Dragon Fire Cupcakes on the Internet and thought, These don't look like they'd be too hard to make!
Plus, hey, you only live once, so you might as well torture yourself to please a seven-year-old who hasn't learned empathy yet!
This was my first time using a pastry bag to apply icing. Previously I'd only ever used the tried-and-true dull-knife method.
And I needed to apply three different colors of icing: red, orange, and yellow, the main three colors comprising "dragon fire"---as every pastry chef and seven-year-old knows.
I'll share the recipe below but for now I'll just jump ahead to the tragic display of humanity that was me loading a pastry bag with three separate colors and trying to keep them separate and then trying to pump them through the icing-delivery-system nozzle thing that was supposed to create swirls of yummy-tasting, amazing-looking, verisimilitudinous dragon fire.
First of all: Ow.
I now respect pastry chefs a lot more than I did before. Did you know how much hand strength it takes to squeeze buttercream frosting through those icing nozzles? I wouldn't want to make a pastry chef angry is all I'm saying. They could probably crush your throat with one hand. While icing your funeral cupcake with the other.
The second thing I learned, albeit too late to avoid the day's drama, is how to have faith in myself. And by that I mean faith in my estimation of myself, and my skills, including where they fall short. As my inner motivational speaker often says, "Liz, you can't do this, but, sweetie, that's okay, you've got that gum-chewing while walking thing DOWN!" She is supportive but pragmatic.
So after I sloppily loaded the frosting in the pastry bag, getting most of it on my fingers, and pressed the bag down so the colors would feed relatively evenly (spoiler alert: they wouldn't!) I had a feeling, a presentiment really, that the pastry bag would explode, shooting frosting everywhere.
I was half right.
The pastry bag did indeed explode, but the frosting shot out in only one direction, onto my shirt, my dirty, tasty shirt.
I should've noticed that I'd been losing bag integrity, but I'd been so focused on the icing struggle itself. Varying pressure, placement, and wrist flicks be damned, I could not make the cupcakes look like they had on Pinterest.

My Second-Ever Recipe Post
The dream. The mirage. The picture that tempted me,
like flying too close to the sun tempted Icarus.
I couldn't even replicate these cupcakes' lighting. So pretty!

I'd watched five damn YouTube tutorials on icing cupcakes. How did they make it look so easy? Why didn't they warn me it was harder than it looked? How did that one lady ice cupcakes while wearing trumpet sleeves? Trumpet. Sleeves.
So the result was not what I'd hoped, and it took me so long I was unable to finish before Zoe came back from an outing with the Husband.
When she came in, she saw the sugary crime scene, and looked at me like, Explain.
I told her I was making Dragon Fire Cupcakes for her birthday and she looked at the cupcakes for a few moments before turning back to me, and patting my frosting-covered hand, she said, "You can't be good at everything, Mommy. At least you tried."
Empathy, after all.

Dragon Fire Cupcakes (as made by me)
Step 1: Buy a cake mix from the store and make the damn cupcakes. I did Devil's Food because that's the alias chocolate uses when it wants to seem "street." 
Step 2: Buy pre-made buttercream frosting, icing-delivery nozzles, pastry bags (I bought ten; I'm not going to tell you how many I went through icing 23* cupcakes because I like to keep a little mystery alive), food dye in red, orange, and yellow.
Step 3: Go back to store because you mistakenly bought two oranges and zero yellow.
Step 4: Watch online tutorials on how to add color to your buttercream frosting. Then do that part, after washing your cereal bowl from breakfast because you only had two clean bowls and you'll need three (which later turns out to be four).
Step 5: Watch online tutorials for how to load a pastry bag in general and how to load a pastry bag with three different colors. Try doing that. Get frosting all over your hands. Clean hands and watch another tutorial. Try again. Same result. Sigh. Press on. Literally. Clean up after bag explodes. Wonder why only the red's coming out. Make some red cupcakes. Why do the cupcakes look like they lost a silly-string fight instead of like they are made of dragon fire? Try a different nozzle. Not getting any better. Try different wrist movements. Visualize the word "finesse." Scoop frosting off cupcakes and get another bowl and then load that mixed-color frosting into a new pastry bag.
Step 6: Remember perfect is the enemy of good and decide that perfect cupcakes are as mythical as dragons. AKA, you're done.
Step 7: Load the cupcakes in an aluminum foil tray figuring that if they get messed up in transport you can blame how they look on that.**

Multiple choice. This cupcake feels:
a) underdressed, b) left out, or c) spared a weird fate?

* 23 because I left the 24th plain, or so I claimed; really I forgot to take it out of the pan.
**Probably my best baking tip.

You guys! Are you a lady who lives in the NY/NJ area? Need a night out? This Saturday night me and some friends are celebrating the release of Jen Mann of People I Want to Punch in the Throat's new book: Working with People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Cantankerous Clients, Micromanaging Minions, and Other Supercilious ScourgesJen Mann will be there and wants to see all of you! 

So please find some pants---whether jeans, sweats, or a tasteful pair of slacks---and join us for a fun night of tons of laughs. Tickets are $20 bucks and that gets you a signed copy of WWPIWTPITT (it's just too long to type again), food and drinks, and a raffle entry. Join us for a night of hilarious readings, a little shopping, and more! 

Saturday, September 23rd, 6 - 9 pm at the Madison Community House in Madison, NJ. 

(If you end up in Madison, Wisconsin, you went too far!)

Hosted by: Kim Bongiorno

Yours truly will be speaking along with other local authors who have contributed to Jen's 5-book New York Times bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone humor anthology series, including:

Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying
https://www.facebook.com/LetMeStartBySayingBlog/
http://letmestartbysayingblog.com/

Stacey Gill of One Funny Motha
https://www.facebook.com/StaceyGillInk/
http://onefunnymotha.com/

Jennifer Lizza of Outsmarted Mommy
https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLizzaWriter/
http://www.outsmartedmommy.com/

Elly Lonon of Buggin’ Word
https://www.facebook.com/EllyLononWriter/
http://bugginword.com/

Jen Simon
https://www.facebook.com/jensimonwriter
http://jensimonwriter.com/

Shya Gibbons of Vintage Dreams With A Modern Twist
www.facebook.com/VintageDreamsWithAModernTwist
https://vintagedreamswithamoderntwist.wordpress.com/

Zoe: 170; Universe: 0

If you enjoyed this post, you may like my first-ever recipe post,
creatively named Zoe vs. the Recipe Post.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

I promise that even if this blog someday explodes in your face, it will taste like ruined Dragon Fire Cupcakes, which actually tasted pretty good, considering.
 Click here to subscribe. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Zoe vs. the Non-Canonical Miss Mary Mack

The other night when I picked Zoe up from camp, she said she was going to teach me a song called "Miss Mary Mack." I told her I knew that song and had myself sung it on the playground when I was a child.
So we started to sing it together. When we got to the part about the boys pulling down their pants, I thought, "Here's where things get awkward," but they didn't. And you probably know why. Because instead of Miss Mary Mack borrowing fifty cents from her mother to see "the boys pull down their pants," the real line was "see the elephants jump over a fence." Hmmm.
"Is that how they told you it goes?" I asked her. She looked at me like, how else would it go?


We went back to singing it her way, and when I got home I ran straight to the Source of All Knowledge, aka Google, and found out the song I'd sung as a child was wrong. The official, canonical, version across the Internets had elephants. I even asked a friend to see what she remembered, elephants or pants-dropping boys. Also elephants.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I went to a Catholic grade school  in 1980s Queen and changing a playground song to include slightly scandalous body humor was of a piece with that.
Besides, there is no "canon" when it comes to childhood songs. As long as children sing in playgrounds their songs will vary according to time and place.
One thing I know for sure, though, is I now have to use the word "canon" or "canonical" in regard to these songs because someone on a website did, and since that's absurd, it's my favorite. "Goddammit, Martha, it's Diggy Diggy Diamond, STEP right in. Diggy Diggy Diamond, STEP right out. Not hop, not slide, not place your foot, STEP!---for it is canon!"
You're probably aware that the histories of many of these childhood songs are steeped in horror and violence. "London Bridge"---Anne Boleyn, "Ring Around the Rosy"---the plague. And then there are the ones rooted in racism (I'd point the finger at you, "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo," but you'd just think I was playing).
According to one source, "Miss Mary Mack" is a reference to a Civil War ironclad warship on the Union side called the Merrimack (black with silver rivets). And so elephants were a reference to Republican Northerners and the fence stood for the Mason-Dixon line. Certainly sounds plausible.
Still, I was curious if that was the whole story, and if Miss Mary Mack was also a person.
In my research I'd come across many images of a little girl dressed in black and realized another of my childhood misconceptions was that Miss Mary Mack was a widow, a widow who needed to borrow pocket change from her mother. I can't use the excuse of my 1980s Catholic school for this interpretation because I think it was solely mine.
In any case, having reached the limits of space-time and Google, I decided to do what anyone in my position would have done. Summon the spirit of Miss Mary Mack from another dimension.
The following encounter I describe is 100 percent true. (Give or take 100 percent.)(It's "take.")
That night I waited till late, after the Husband and Zoe were asleep, and then I went in the bathroom, closed the door, and locked it. Then, looking into the mirror, I recited: "Miss Mary Mack all dressed in black" three times. Then I spun around, also three times, and for good measure finished up with the Hokey Pokey.
Almost instantaneously a woman appeared in the mirror. She looked either like an old woman with a child's face or a child with an old woman's face. She was not in black but appeared to be wearing a floral muumuu.
"Miss Mary Mack?" I asked.
"I go by Ms. now," she replied. "And as you can see, I don't wear black anymore. And the silver buttons have been replaced with zippers and sometimes Velcro, cause who's got time for that?"
"True."
"Quacka dilly oh so what do you want?"
"Well, I wanted to know if you started off as a real person or a ship."
"Eeny, Meeny, lemon squeezey."
"That . . . doesn't make sense."
She shrugged, fluttering her muumuu. "Fudge, fudge, call a judge."
"Do you only speak in childhood rhymes?"
"Skidamarinka dinky dink, skidamarinka I don't. I also do stand-up. Here's one I heard from Little Bunny Foo Foo: What time is it when an elephant sits on a fence?"
I stared.
"Time to get a new fence!"
She disappeared from the mirror and I realized she was bent double in silent heaving laughter. Eventually she straightened and wiped her eyes.
"This isn't going like I thought it would," I said.
She pouted sarcastically, "Aw, poor thing wasn't expecting Mary, Mary, quite contrary?"
As I turned to go, she got the parting shot:
"Waddely achee waddeley achee, doodley don't let the door hit you on the way out."
Childhood songs, I had learned, were best left to childhood.

Zoe: 169; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one where I take on T. S. Eliot and the Urban Wasteland that is a playground in Brooklyn.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Zoe vs. The Day of (No) Judgment

Shame has gotten a bad reputation. Which has been good. Mostly. But maybe it's time for the pendulum to swing back the other way a bit. I'm not just saying that because of the Kardashians.
And before you get all finger-wagging at me and say, "You should be ashamed wanting to bring back shame," let me explain. I think there's a lot of shame that's a complete waste of time---self-inflicted or subsidized by the self-righteous---and should be dispensed with, mainly about things that can't be helped, like the body or mind a person was born with, or complicated choices in parenting (breast vs. bottle is my prime example), and I think calling out the judgmental people who want other people to carry shame over these things is good.
In fact, dispelling shame is in its heyday. A sign of this is how it's slipped over into comedy. Anyone who's ever scarfed down an entire chocolate cake in one sitting knows that they'll get a laugh if, after wiping the last crumb from their mouth, they say, "Don't judge me." And it's funny!
But now there's a "don't judge me" epidemic. I know this is true because Zoe's started saying it.
The other morning Zoe put her sneakers on backwards, and when I called her on it, she put up her hand and said, "Don't judge me."

Shame

Zoe is my bellwether for when something's wrong. She's my pint-size glitch in the matrix. So I thought about "don't judge me" and then applied Kant's Categorical Imperative, if it was in first grade. Basically the Categorical Imperative (first grade version) says: If you think you're right to do something, would you still think so if Zoe's entire first grade class did it too?
(My college philosophy professor just beat himself to death with a copy of Kant's Metaphysics of Morals just so he could have a grave to roll over in. Philosophy was not my subject. I preferred literature. I was always interested in why a character did what they did, not what they should've done. After all, if all the characters in a novel did what they should, you'd have a very boring story. Take that, Kant!)
Back to "don't judge me," the next generation's "whatever." Maybe Zoe got it from the older kids at her aftercare. Or maybe it's more recent, from the teenage counselors at her summer camp. But she's been saying it willy-nilly and out of context for a couple of weeks now.
Anything from dropping her Go-Gurt on the rug to tripping over a toy to turning on Paw Patrol, she'll tack on a "Don't judge me."
I find the whole thing especially amusing because I consider myself judgmental---how do I say this without sounding obnoxious? (Can't do it)---on a higher plane than most people. My judgment is better than your judgment. Try to judge me but I'm right.
Lately, I've noticed a misplaced "sensitivity" sweeping the internets and sometimes in real life where we give standing ovations to those who say, Look, I didn't judge today! High-five me!
Well, I can stand by no longer with my hands in either clap or high-five mode. I think people are suffering from a misunderstanding, but don't worry, I'm here to set everyone straight.
We've already covered the obvious wrong of judging people for things they can't help. And if "wrong" is unpersuasive, it's also cheap, classless, and lacks subtlety.
Where people can and, oftentimes, should be judged I classify into two areas:
1. Actions, especially when they affect other people.
And
2. If they don't read AND are proud of it. 
I've met a few people in my life who are proud non-readers. I was thinking of starting a crowdfunding page to make little hoods with zippers that I can slip over non-reader people's heads and then slowly zip them up up up so the world never has to look at their "I don't like to read" faces again. They probably don't even know what the serial comma is. Don't get me started.
Judgment is healthy. It's natural. It can be useful as a corrective for awful behavior. Humans are social beings, and what's more social than getting together and judging people like Adele and Matt Allen, who do shameless things like starting a gofundme so they can be "self-sufficient." Have you heard about them?
You may recall Ms. Allen as the woman who wrote about having a lotus birth, which is basically, well . . . you know how Ben Franklin said guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days? That, but with placentas.
I thought the post-natal placenta pal was the most disgusting thing ever. Until I wrote this.
Anyway, the Allens perfected irony by asking strangers to give them money so they could be self-sufficient. They want to buy some land in Costa Rica, take their offspring (I assume sans placentas), and live off the grid, though they still somehow plan to blog---perhaps by harnessing the energy caused by everyone on the planet rolling their eyes at the same time.
And don't tell me, Well, they have the right to ask, it doesn't mean you have to give them your money. Because we both know I'm not talking about stepping on rights or freedoms, I'm talking about the greatest right there is: the right to roll your eyes when confronted with idiocy. DO YOU HEAR THE "STAR-SPANGLED BANNER" IN YOUR HEAD YET? No? Maybe it's because I'm yelling.
Similarly, the new kid in the IT department has the right to wear a man-bun, but I reserve the right to shake my head and mutter, "That's a damn shame right there," when he walks by.
It's okay, he can't hear me. He's wearing headphones bigger than his head. And one time he wore a romper. But did I report him to HR? No!

Judgment
When words fail, you can be sure taste failed first.

Because above all I'm charitable, live and let live, I say, until I have a bad ride on the subway and start nursing fantasies of becoming a dictator and ordering forced sterilizations for everyone on my train car.
When I say this, some people laugh and other people raise their eyebrows, and I'm not going to tell you which reaction is appropriate. And that's because I'm a short person with slow-twitch muscles who bruises easily, so my only defense mechanism is making people uneasy, unable to determine my exact level of crazy.
We all work with what we've got. Don't judge me. Or, hey, do what you want.

Zoe: 168; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like this other one where I tried to sound like I wasn't being judgmental but totally was. 

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Win accolades for your superior discernment!
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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Zoe vs. It Takes Two to Make a Blog Go Right: A Blogiversary

When I started writing this blog four years ago, Zoe was just shy of three, and now she's a month away from turning seven. Naturally, she was unaware of my blog when I began it. As she grew, a dim awareness dawned, which soon settled into icy indifference. That trajectory is similar to how the world at large has reacted to my blog.
Like last year, today I'm doing a song parody to celebrate another year of toiling in obscurity, I mean, blogging. I chose notorious ear worm/song "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock. I picked it because it does take two people to write these posts: me, your faithful observer and scribe, and Zoe, whose antics, somewhat exaggerated, are fodder for my stories.
I also chose "It Takes Two" because it's a song that's like most small children in that it hits that sweet spot between annoying and infectious.


"It's All True"-- A Parody
Right about now you are about to be possessed by the sounds of MC Mom Blogger and EZ-Z to the E

Hit it!

It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (okay maybe not quite)
It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (exaggerate I might)

Read it!

Mom's gonna blog right now
She's a mom who blogs to calm down
She's not even locally known
But she's known to be on her smartphone
She writes about me, and I'm infectious
Literally, folks, I mean contagious
When I ate a booger, mom called an Uber
To get far away from me is what would behoove her
But Grandmas love me, aunts adore me
I mean, even readers who never saw me
Like hearing all about me grow
The reason why? I'm cute, don't you know
So let's go, cause

It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (okay maybe not quite)
It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (exaggerate I might)

My name is Zoe, and I gotta long tale to tell
Listen up or I'm just gonna hafta yell
I've got a story
That I wanna share
You're on the toilet? So what, I don't care.
I'm number one, play Uno, don't stop
Play the game my way or I'll call a cop
Bold and blonde and I come correct
When Mom hears a noise why am I always the first suspect?
I'm a queen, and you can't catch me
Or with my icy magic, I'm gonna get free
Cause I'm Zoe, but call me Elsa
To my mom, my mouth is the freshest
So let's start, I don't kick that hard
Don't know why Mommy say she need a bodyguard
I must confess I seldom say yes
Play with Legos, win at chess, yes!

It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (okay maybe not quite)
It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (exaggerate I might)

The situation, that this blog is in
Four-year anniversary, my mom can pretend
That you'll share this post with a good friend
So read it and then you'll comprehend
Cause I'm a reader, my vocab superior
They say don't judge a book by its exterior
I never sit, and talking's something I never quit
I spin in circles, then I'm dizzy a little bit
Take off my clothes, then reach down and touch my toes
I get low then line my toys up in rows
Watch Minecraft how-tos on YouTube
I'm also a dragon cause this is Zoe's world
I'm on a mission, ya better just listen
Hear me growl and I'm all about hissin'!

It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (okay maybe not quite)
It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (don't wanna fight!)

I stand alone, unless I need someone
To take me to the bathroom, to do number one
I make friends as much as foes 
Cause I'm Zo-e, the one who chose
Games, that make Mommy weary
Stay near me, feel teary
Pout! That's what I'm about, shout no!
Don't turn the lights out.
I'm not tired, not even a bit, not nearly
I can stay up till all hours of the night or even midnight
Undirected. When I get my dinner, I reject it.
Get me a snack, lest I attack Mommy's back.
She typed this blog up, on a Mac.
If you want humor, let's go,
Click on the links, go for laughs I throw
Mom says I've got to go
You talkin' to me? Oh. No.
Cause I've got to pee again, even though it's past my bedtime
Says what I get away with, it's just a crime
But she lets me go, with a pretty please
Says it's better than having to use Febreze
Rock the blog with the help of Z
All day, I like to play
Mommy only writes the words that I say

It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (okay maybe not quite)
It's all true these blog posts I write
It's all true (exaggerate I might)

As I write right now,
When I count to three, I want you to go to bed
One, two---
Z: Get juice now? (It may take two for me to go to bed.)


But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low, hilarious stories of parenting advice gone wrong, but occasionally right. Available now. In fact, if you just glance over to your right, you'll see it right there in the sidebar. See it? Reward yourself for your smartitudes: click it!

Zoe: 167; Universe: 0
If you enjoyed this post, you may like last's year blogiversary post: my parody of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

Four more years! Four more years!
 Click here to subscribe. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Zoe vs. the Book Review: But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low

Mommy's in another book. I know this because I overheard her begging a friend to give it a "review." So when she was alone and defenseless, i.e., in the shower, I asked her two questions.
1. Why hadn't she asked me for a review?
and
2. What's a review?
Gamely wiping shampoo from her eye, she told me a review is when you tell people what you thought of a book you'd read, good or bad.
So, I said, you asked that lady to give you a good review or a bad review?
She hesitated then said, "I told her to be honest," adding, in her pod-person voice, "Everyone should always be honest." 
Then we played who'll-blink-first and I won.

But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low
Available now! See the sidebar. It's right there!

"I'd like to review your book," I said.
"No," she said, flat-out, just like that. "First of all, you fall down on the floor and have a break down when I ask you to read Hop on Pop so there's no way you're getting through an anthology"---she rushed on when she realized she'd used a ten-dollar word I'd surely ask about---"and second, it has . . . adult words in it."
"You mean bad words. Curse words. Like---"
"Yep. Now scram so Mommy can get soap out of her eyes," and with that she wrested the shower curtain from my hands and snapped it closed. 
So I found a copy on my own, and yes, it was too long, but I skimmed it which means not really reading it, like Mommy does with letters sent home from school. (Ed. note: this is not true! Besides, I am a very good skimmer.) 
Then I wrote my review, in one sentence, using a lot of "ands" because I'm learning about joining words in school.
The overall theme of the book is parenting advice, taken, not taken, and the shenanigans that ensue.
(Ed. note: click the hot-linked phrases to find out who wrote each essay--it's a fun surprise AND you'll find a new hilarious person to follow!)
Ahem! If Mommy will stop interrupting then we can get on with:

The Best Book Review Ever 
by Zoe
The first story is about these three little girls whose pet dies, and in my opinion, the Mommy writing it lacked appropriate solemnity, but Mommy said it was "laugh-out-loud" funny, and that story is followed by a different kind of horrifying-but-supposedly-natural thing, which is breastfeeding, and I learned breast is best, or maybe it isn't, or at least not all the time, the conclusion kind of left it up to you, followed by a Daddy who hates baby talk and I concur vehemently, after which we have some plane poop, which is better than the gross body stuff in the next story about that thing Mommys and Daddys have to do to make babies but sometimes do when they don't want to make babies, why I don't know, followed by a Mommy who makes her kids work for her, which seems criminal and I will be reporting her to the proper authorities, then a story about hipsters who like to eat green babies and so the Mommy who has one escapes to Greece, which is where green comes from, maybe, or at least they both start with the same four letters, followed by a Mommy obsessed with putting her kids in the oven, which is just sick, and after that I was ready for unsolicited advice from a lady without kids who sounds fun to hang out with and like she hasn't been beaten by life yet and I refuse to see any correlation with her being childless, followed by scary toys that come to life in the night, then the story I call "good catch, Daddy," and I bet you want to know what he catches, don't you, then a Mommy who doesn't lie but thinks she should have, about the toilet, but it's never good to lie and I'm surprised that this Mommy entertains the idea, then comes Mommy's essay, which was not cleared with my people, then a story about a Mommy obsessed with socks, which I find is a pretty common parental obsession---they're just socks, people---then a story about a Mommy who tries to be a Daddy and be fun and almost dies, which is what happens when Mommys try to be fun, just sayin', then this Mommy who's unheathily obsessed with becoming a cheerleader---let it go, lady, to paraphrase Elsa---followed by a Daddy who's got some issues about his teen daughter driving, which I hope she ignored, cause girls can do anything better than boys, and sometimes Daddys too, circle of life, etc., then this little kid whose style I like is just keepin' it real but the Mommy gets embarrassed---this is a good one cause the kid in it curses---then this other Mommy talks about how she was left alone as a newborn, and I thought, big deal, it wasn't till I had a few months under my belt that I could cause some real trouble, followed by this pottymouth Mommy talking about her teenage son, and she uses so many bad words I was kind of impressed so had to slow my skim so I could write them down, and after that I learned that though I should try not to vomit in a tube park, I will never have to clean it up cause that's a Mommy's job, and next up was a soccer dad, and he is an actual coach of his daughter's team, which I think Daddy didn't know he could do this and I will have to tell him, followed by another forgetful, neglectful Mommy who doesn't read instructions carefully (are all Mommies like this?), and then a Daddy who says if your own Mommy is very careful, you'll be less careful when you get older and I'm not sure if this was supposed to be good or bad, and then the next Mommy had a question: "Urine is sterile, right?" and I wondered why she didn't just google it, unless she was afraid of getting pee on the keyboard, followed by pee's friend, poo, and a story about this kid I really like because she really likes poo, then a story about those stick things Mommy has in the cabinet that she gets annoyed when I take them out and play with them because they're fascinating but I'm glad I don't have to use them and don't get how they even fit in your front butt, and this one was followed by the one that made the most sense because it was about a Mommy who was told don't fall with your hands in your pockets, and when I read that, I slowed my skim again because that really resonated with me and made me so happy, but then I got to the lying Mommy who only pretends to stay nearby---and I won't even tell you how she does this because it's so devious and disgusting---while her poor kid goes to sleep unaware he lives in a world of lies, but then I got over it when I read about this magical place called Port Authority where I've never been to the bathroom, and next time I will drag Mommy there because it's now on my bathroom bucket list, and this was followed by a story about an anthropomorphic candy bar with bad timing, but is there ever a good time for a giant candy bar to be anthropomorphic because then it's not a real giant candy bar, and that's just the worst sort of disappointment, then a funny story I liked about a baby vomiting on a stranger on a plane, which is the height of comedy, get it?, because it's on a plane, then about this lady who keeps having kids and the births never go according to plan and I'm not sure if she keeps doing it till it comes out right or what, then an interesting story about a Mommy telling her child to ignore bullies but it seems there are exceptions, which is good to know because someday I'm going to learn how to kill a man with one finger, then this Daddy who thinks parenthood needs a cure and I wasn't sure what he was getting at and if I should be happy about it because he kept zigging when I expected him to zag, and another story with my favorite subject, a little kid like me cursing and getting away with it, sort of, I mean, the Daddy didn't like it but the Mommy I think was coaching the kid and teaching her all the best curse words so I like this Mommy, and finally we end with a story by the lady who put the whole thing together for her Aunt Ology---whoever she is, and I'm not sure what she's going to do with all this advice---and hers is about how boys stink when they become teenagers, but I think they already do, at least the ones in my class do, and aren't I lucky that I'm a girl and so I'll never stink? The end. 
Oh, and I liked the book fine, I guess. Maybe even the story about me.

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