Tuesday, December 10, 2013

She's Makin' a List . . . Checkin it twice . . .

. . . . gotta make sure some things are naughty, while most things are nice!

It’s that time of year again, and mommy has a whole new list for her holiday wishes (these, of course, are wishes she’s already fulfilled herself, but she loves them so much she thought she would share them with you too!) And, of course, mommy includes her latest naughty book!

And, today, a bonus, a guest post by BFF Molly’s very funny real life (yes, she actually gets up on stage in front of people) comedienne sister Jessie who shares her lessons learned the hard way about one of the items on my list!!

Here are mommy’s top picks for makin it through the holidays and everyday!

Favorite new Alcohol (where else would I start???)
      1)   Kambucha!  This drink has alcohol naturally (who knew that Kambucha could do that?!), but it also has cleansing properties and you can drink it while you are on a cleanse!!  Now, lets not kid ourselves, this will never come close to Skinnygirl, but when you just need a little something to keep you from losing your mind while losing your toxins, this will do the trick!

Favorite App(s)
      1)   iAllowance – sorry, this has to make a repeat performance.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this app.     
      2)   Food onthe table  - not only will this keep track of your grocery lists, it will keep track of which stores you get what from, whether the store has coupons on items you need, which store has the best deal that day, and it even will give you recipes if you tell it what you have in your pantry!  If only I cooked!!!!  J

Favorite Website 
     1)   www.everythingessential.me - to go along with my essential oils obsession!!

     1)   WomanCode – Will change the way you look at food and how it impacts your overall health and hormones!
      2)    The China StudyWill change the way you look at food and particularly how we are feeding our kids and how to solve many chronic health issues and change your life simply by changing your diet.
      3)   Take MeNovella by J. Kenner that concludes the Stark Trilogy.  Definitely not the best in the series, but closes it out nicely.

Bath Product
     1)   FairyTales Rosemary Repel Leave in Conditioner – See Jessie’s post below!  Plus, it can prevent lice!

Gluten Free Food Product
      1)   Cup 4 CupFlour – People often ask me what flour they can use or how they can make their favorite holiday treats and still be gluten free.  This flour is magic and it will be torture for your waistline (just ask mine that scarfed down 5 mexican wedding cakes and about 4 tablespoons of batter over the weekend)!  D@MNIT!  (you didn’t think I’d make it through the list without at least one swear word, did you??!!

And now, before I get to Jessie’s post, I just found out that she has been selected as a finalist in an essay contest sponsored by Oroweat Bread!!  She needs us to help her get more online votes than the other two California b!tches, I mean finalists.  If she wins, she gets a big chunk of dough (and not the bread kind), and she says she’ll share half with me!  Oh, wait, maybe that wasn’t part of the deal.
At any rate, Jessie deserves our support (that means you Nana), so please vote for her at www.feedyourbetter.com.  Hers is Essay #4, a letter that begins “Dear Diabetes."  The contest goes from December 9 – January 3 and you can vote up to once a day.  So, vote early and often.
And now, as we enter the season of family gatherings and family photos, Jessie’s post that beautifully encapsulates the f*&#ing nightmare that every parent encounters when they try to prevent their children’s hair from becoming fodder for Ellen’s ugliest family photos contest!  Bonus – you may find some stuff to add to your wish list!!

Parenting and Hair-enting
Jessica Westcott
Locked somewhere in the family photo archives is my school picture from the third grade.  Putting aside for a moment the bizarre Laura Ingalls-inspired prairie dress, and the pre-orthodontia canine teeth, what truly stands out in the photo is my hair.  It’s the kind of hair styling that can’t be attributed to a goofy eighties fad, or even to a bad hair day.  It is the matted, deeply neglected, afghan-sheep dog hair of a little girl who refused to let anyone brush, cut, condition, or style her hair.  If you look closer, you can see something that looks like a paperclip in my hair.  What is it?  Why, it’s a paperclip in my hair.  It was put there, under protest, by a volunteer mother, who could not bear to allow me to be photographed with my hair “looking like that.”  Although one might question the woman’s unilateral decision to use an office supply as a fashion accessory, at least the paperclip successfully moved my hair out of my face, which was more than my poor mother could ever persuade me to do.

And now, Karma, that ironic bitch, has come back to haunt me in the form of my children. 

Just washing my four year-old daughter’s hair requires the conviction of a steely-eyed soldier heading into combat.  She loves baths, but when it comes time to shampoo her hair, and especially to rinse her hair, she screams and thrashes like she is being water-boarded.  Sometimes, just for fun, while I rinse her hair I yell, “Where is Osama Bin Laden?!”

Her hair is thick and buoyant and wavy.  It’s a soft honey color with the kind of perfect sunshine highlights that children effortlessly achieve and salon stylists charge thousands to approximate.  Truly, her hair would look like spun gold, if she would only let me BRUSH IT.  Instead, she goes to bed with her hair wet and uncombed, and we wrestle several minutes every morning while I cajole, threaten, and overpraise her for the 2-3 minutes she will tolerate me brushing out her hair. 
Here are photos of my husband brushing my daughter’s hair.  This was a good day.

After the battle royale has quieted some, I lamely shove in a barrette.  I use a barrette because Scotch tape, staples, and rope are not sturdy enough.  The barrette provides little aesthetic improvement, but it does show that I TRIED to comb her hair, in the event someone reports me to Child Protective Services.  During the rest of her day, my daughter’s hair serves as a receptacle for little souvenirs – a little paint from school, some yogurt from lunch, sometimes even a stick or some grass from the yard.  I’m pretty sure she hides spare change in there.

At the end of the day my daughter’s head looks something like this:

Rockin the Medusa Hairstyle
My two year-old son presents a different kind of challenge.  Mercifully, his hair is short.  But, the millisecond he sees me whip out the comb, he turns into the Roadrunner, and I become Wile E. Coyote.  He looks at me with an impish, mischievous smile as if to say, “Ok, Lady.  Let’s get ready to rumble.  Meep.  Meep.”   Then, he takes off running down the hall, full sprint, giggling maniacally.  What is it about two year-old boys that enables them to run so fast?  His little legs are a blur of running speed; he leaves skid marks on the carpet.  It usually takes me five minutes, and several laps around the kitchen counter just to catch him.  When I finally do catch up to him, I have to harness him in a half-nelson with my left arm, while I frantically brush with the right, all while he flails his head in every direction like a hysterical chicken.  Oh, and did I mention the screaming?

Lest you think that he is the easy one because of the short hair, let me share the story of his most recent haircut.  He flat-out refused to wear a salon cape, so the child was COVERED in hair by the end of the cut.  I’ve known middle-aged Mediterranean men with less hair on their back.  He was so wiggly and uncooperative while she trimmed his hair, I was certain he was going to get his ear snipped off.  Next haircut, I might actually bring a cooler in case I need to transport any detached body parts to the emergency room.  Because he continued to raise holy hell while the stylist trimmed his bangs, the end result looked something like this:

Moreover, my poor little flaxen-haired guy has the Mt. Everest of cowlicks.  Most days he has some of this going on:

We affectionately call this the "cowlick from Hell!"
I know it’s possible to get my kids’ hair to look nice.  I know it because I see them all the time at parks and schools – well-groomed children with perfectly combed, neatly-styled hair.  Sometimes I see little girls with elaborate, elegant braids and twists, and I’m nothing short of astonished.   The hair parts alone on some of these girls are beautiful enough to make you weep!  The lines are so perfect it looks like the hair was parted by Moses himself.  Seriously -- how do the parents do it? Do they use some sort of special protractor?  Perhaps they use one of the tools I see at Home Depot and have no idea how to use – a “belt sander” or a “plumb bob,” for example.

For a long time, I simply assumed that children with beautiful hairdos had been given some kind of sedative.  As far as I know, since the time of their birth, my children have never --not once -- sat still enough for that kind of hair art. 

One time, at my daughter’s ballet class, I noticed one of these beautifully coiffed children.  The little girl’s hair was long, lustrous, and tightly braided in a complicated, multi-tiered crown.  It looked something like this:

Aghast, I asked the child’s mother, “How do you get her to sit still while you do her hair?” Perhaps the Mom was slightly creeped out that I was staring at her child’s head like it was some sort of carnival side show oddity, but the lady was not particularly polite.  In fact, she gave me a disdainful, slightly concerned look, clearly pondering whether I was too mentally deficient to safely parent a child.   Then she said, coolly, “I just give her a book to read.”

Oh.  Well.  That makes perfect sense.

Are you kidding me?!  There is no book on earth entertaining enough to quiet the screams if I attempted a hairdo like that on my kids.  Disney princesses could spoon-feed my daughter ice cream while puppies cartwheeled in front of her, and she would still wail like I was beating her with the hairbrush instead of running it through her hair.

I know I shouldn’t care what other people think, least of all what other people think about my children.  But, I can’t help it.  When they look like ragamuffin feral children with hair tha looks like an animal has nested there, it reflects badly on me.  More to the point, I don’t want them to look back at pictures of themselves and think, “I know I had a mother -- what in God’s name was that woman thinking when she let us out of the house with that hair?”

I do take comfort in knowing that I am not alone.  There are many of us out there -- Mommy and Daddy hair warriors --- my sisters and brothers in the struggle.   Every morning before school, we fight the good fight, desperately trying to keep our children from sporting a head of unkempt mange.  For my wary compatriots out there, I list for you here some products and tools that I’ve found helpful in the daily battle to tame my children’s tresses:

The Arsenal
      1.     Fuzzy Duck products, especially the conditioner.  Conditioner?  Hell yes, conditioner.  For the love of God, conditioner.  It’s a pain to do the second rinse, and I’ve often succumbed to the temptation of the all-in-one shampoo and conditioner.  Don’t do it.  My daughter will rarely let me comb her hair after a wash, and the next day, the lack of conditioning combined with the slight wave makes for a complete matted disaster.  Fuzzy Duck products are specifically made for kids with difficult hair, and they forgo a lot of the yucky chemicals.  
2.     Mason Pearson Childs Sensitive BristleBrush.  This is the only brush my daughter will allow near her hair.  It’s pink, small, and has course, soft bristles.  This is the only brush she will accept, and she calls it “the soft brush.”  Any other brush in the universe (and believe me, I’ve tried many) she disdainfully calls “the hurt brush.”  This is also the most obscenely expensive hairbrush I’ve ever encountered.  We only own it because it was gifted to us by a wealthy family friend.  Notwithstanding that the thing is priced as if its handcrafted by leprechauns from rare unicorn tuft, it works wonders on tangles, makes hair shiny, and is really worth the investment for a picky senso-head.

3.     A squirt bottle.  This one may be obvious to many of you, but I didn’t know this trick until someone shared it with me.  I fill the bottle with a solution of 1 part detangling spray and 3 parts water.  I spray it generously on my kids’ hair, and sometimes even let my daughter spray her own hair, which makes her feel like a fancy lady.  It’s great for taming weird bumps and cowlicks and allows for easy dispersion of nasty tangles.  It also works wonders as a prep for ponytails or braids, if you’re brave enough to attempt such things.

      4.     Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Shampoo.  The idea of lice makes me want to run for the hills, throw up, and then run some more.  We use this shampoo regularly as a prophylactic measure, and I swear by it.  My daughter was one of the few scalps spared when her old preschool had a really nasty infestation of lice – I attribute it to this stuff.  Also, I tell my children that sharing hairbrushes and hats with other children is tantamount to throwing poop at Santa.  They may be scarred for life, but at least I won’t have to burn the house down because it’s infested with nasty scalp-chewing vermin.  

One last word:  You can buy some overly-priced detangling brushes that boast magical tear-free detangling.  Save your money.  They look and feel like the kind of brush you would use to comb flies out of a horse tail.  Once, I let my daughter brush my hair with our special detangling brush and I yelped out in pain.  With a slightly smug look on her face, she told me to sit still and act like a big girl.

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