Need a drink?

The other night I asked my six-year-old to please put both feet under the table when he eats.

I say it perhaps four times a meal, every meal of the day. And have for at least two years. The kid can’t sit still, and since he realized he can plant his feet off to the side of the chair and wiggle around while technically being seated, he’s unstoppable.

He usually rolls his eyes and whines, “Mooooooom,” then puts one of the legs temporarily under the table. But this time he grimaced and muttered, “Mean-ie, mean-ie, poo-poo-tini.”

Yes, of course I told him that we don’t call names. Right after I shot sparkling water through my nose and stifled the most painfully needed laugh of 2013. But between the two-year-old’s peals of infectious laughter and my undisguised mirth when I asked, “Did you just call me a Poopootini?” I’m pretty sure this name will stick.

So, like it or not, I’ve found my signature drink. I’m not sure how one makes a poopootini, but I’m pretty sure it involves kahlua and chocolate.

It had better involve Kahlua and chocolate. And not much else.

At least, that’s what I hope when my children run past me, partners-in-crime at last, grinning as though they’ve found the secret to eternal happiness, calling me Meanie Meanie Poopootini before carrying on with whatever plot they’ve devised for either seeking or hiding.

Is it terribly wrong that I find this behavior hilarious? Be honest. I won’t call you a meanie, for now I can’t say that without wanting an adult beverage.

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Stop supporting slave labor

There have been numerous articles on the use of slave labor, particularly forced child labor, in the production of chocolate. And I’m glad there are alternatives so we don’t have to choose between abstaining (NO!) or feeding our families the product of slave labor (HELL NO!)

When I buy food, I try to balance the important issues: maximizing nutrition while minimizing toxins, cost, and labor abuses.

Didn’t think you had to worry about slavery anymore? I wish that were true.

We buy locally grown organic tomatoes to avoid the pesticides and chemical fertilizers of conventional farms, and also to stay as far away from supporting the obscene work practices of some tomato farmers. I refuse to buy or eat products that are the product of slavery or of child labor. In the case of tomatoes, though, I had no idea I was supporting both until I read Tomatoland, the tomato’s version of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

We also buy fair trade coffee to vote for a world where local cooperatives grow and harvest coffee in conditions safe for the workers and the planet, where workers are paid a fair price for their products, and where crops are not grown in harmony with, rather than at the expense of rain forest.

As we prepare for Halloween, I was thrilled to find Kristen Howerton’s guide to an ethical Halloween because I think Americans spend a lot of time and money ensuring their own kids’ safety, and should learn how the holiday is harmful to other people’s children. Major chocolate companies often get their chocolate from farms that use child labor, child slavery, unsafe working conditions, and grotesque chemicals.

Go read more about the truth behind fun sized chocolate. Then check out one of the alternatives: fair trade chocolate (yum) or treats without any chocolate (also yum). Heck, give out toothbrushes or pencils like I always threaten to do.

Just make sure all children have a chance to be as safe as yours will be on Halloween.

I bow to you

Ladies and Gentlemen: let me begin with a nod to all humans who do their best—child-free or parental, gainfully employed or working your bum off for free—I acknowledge your hard work. I know life’s not easy. But I have a special something to say to a few of you…

Dear Mothers with Three Children:
I bow to you. I have recently gone from just-barely-hanging-in-there Mother of Two to no-way-I’m-going-to-make-it Mother of Two plus an immobile Spouse who eats WAY more than a child, but uses his words and can be trusted not to damage any of the stuff in his room if left alone for extended periods of time. Which he isn’t, with the ice and the food and the meds and the requests for a change of Netflix streaming to “I don’t know…what is there?” Three children must be more work, but I don’t know how it’s possible to actually do all that work without losing a limb or a child or your sanity or something. And I therefore bow to you. Namaste.

Dear 24-hour-a-day Mothers of Three Children:
[I reject the stay-at-home designation because it’s code for “easy job” amongst the uninitiated, and because you don’t actually stay at home.] I bow to you and fall over with exhaustion now that I’ve glimpsed one iota of what you do. But three inept people 24-hours with no break and I would. Break. Especially if they were all under 7 or so. Email for a quote of how far back into my head my eyes roll thinking about how you can possibly still stand at the end of the day if your Three are either very young or teenagers.

Dear 24-hour-a-day Single Mothers of Three Children:
I hereby elect you President of the United States. Because being the sole source of everything for three inept creatures with no other adult support IS HANDS DOWN harder than being the leader of the free world. [If you have a chef and a housekeeper and a Cabinet like POTUS does, I disqualify you from this election. Cuz you know nothing about anything and I resent that you tricked me into bowing and then voting for you.]

So I suppose that this is my way of telling the rest of the world that there is a Bermuda Triangle whose delineating points are:
Three Dependent Dependents
plus
No Breaks
plus
No After-Bedtime Partner
that equals the trifecta of Everyone Should Repeatedly Bow to You and Give You Their Spare Chocolate.

And if you live in that Triangle for more than a week, your local bottler and brewer should sponsor your evenings right here, right now. I know the first three drinks are on me.

P.S. Full-time Mothers of Four or More Children: I just passed out from trying to imagine. I’d like to give you all a cyber-nap because without one I’m guessing you’re all dead right now.

P.P.S. Full-time care givers of both small children and an aging parent: I did not forget you, but your situation is not at all funny, and no matter how I wrote this I couldn’t make it funny and I’m sorry that all I can offer you is deep empathy and wishes for all the best. And chocolate. I wish you chocolate, too. But keep it quiet because the Moms of Three think they’re all deserving and whatnot, and who am I to burst their bubble at how easy their lives are, relatively, since I just told them they have me glimpsing how easy my normal life really is, relatively. “Really” and “relatively.” I’ll bet your life doesn’t even allow for words of that many syllables, simple thought they are.

P.P.P.S. I must now go weep that the best modifiers I can conjure are “really” and “relatively.” Seriously.

An anonymous note

Look, all I’m saying is that, if you leave your favorite chocolate out in plain view, where anyone cleaning out the closets in a end-of-the-year fit of “I have to have something to show for my year besides half finished articles, unpublished novels, a couple of conference badges, and a temporarily delightful three-year-old” productivity in which he or she moves the furniture around [again] and reorganizes the closets, why then I think said chocolate is fair game.

It was only tucked into the pocket of a jacket you rarely use, probably in a vain attempt to foil my chocolate radar. Unfortunately, you should know me well enough to know I’m more of a candy hoarder than a candy eater (if that’s possible) and that I’m always checking closet pockets for cash, anyway.

So, really, it’s your fault. For the obvious hiding place and for the general ignorance of the rules of chocolate engagement.

That’s all. Not my fault. Totally your fault.

Also, not the best chocolate, either. You have poor taste in chocolate and hiding places. Wipe off that sourpuss and go get some Guittard. I left you some of your stuff. Now get me a substitute before I finish your stash. The other hiding spots are dry.

Pizza and chocolate

You want to know what my problem is? (Yeah, I know. ha ha. How funny. She made it sound as though she only has one. Ha ha. That’s funny because I have a list this—————– long and she thinks she only has one…Shut up. You’re funny, you’re right, but you’re missing the point. Now hush and listen.)

My problem is twofold. First part–we have no chocolate in the house. Haven’t for a while. No cookies, no ice cream. Nothing with nougat or marshmallow or fudge. We have nothing fun in this house. Second part? Nobody delivers chocolate. Want pizza? Someone will bring it to your house. Want flowers? We can bring those right over. Want some Thai food, Chinese food, Indian food? No problem, we deliver. Fruit? Someone’s now delivering fruit, too, in little skewered topiaries. But there is no take-out industry based around my need for sugar-laced theobromine.

So here’s my idea. Thai place? Add chocolate to your menu. Pizza joint? You, too. Chinese restaurant? This stuff is pretty shelf stable and anyone willing to have it delived can’t be too picky. Offer it next to the lychee gel and the sweet wontons.

And now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve never seen a take-out Mexican place. What gives? I’ll tip well on a burrito that you bring straight to my place while I’m working at home. Or while my kid is coughing up regurgitated green snot. Or while my newborn (hypothetical newborn—don’t slam me with emails) goes through a growth spurt and sucks me dry, chained to the rocking chair with no break between nursing sessions, even to pee. I could totally use Mexican food delivered then.

But only if you’ll bring it with chocolate. Hell, I’ll buy a vacuum from a door-to-door salesman if you show up with chocolate when I call. Those m—f—ing Girl Scouts wrote down my deepest desires and then said they might deliver by the end of the month. What the f–k kind of customer service is that? Two month turnaround on chocolate? I could get my ass out the door and to the store if given two months.

Take-out chocolate. Desserts delivered on demand. Ice cream if you need it, when you need it. Please, someone steal this idea and make it reality. Please.  Because if you don’t, I have to do that, too. And I can’t even get off my ass to go get some chocolate, so how am I gonna get off my ass to deliver your chocolate, too?

Whatever you do…

…do NOT cave in when they ask, after opening stockings Christmas eve, for just one piece of chocolate.

Grandma, you’ll rue the day you put candy in our kid’s Christmakkah sock.

That toddler had a small chocolate Santa (sure, enormous considering his size, but, still, after a full dinner and the whole confection he asked for more, which is a sign it was less than the one ounce of chocolate he gets each Friday). And he has been singing to himself in his bed, at full volume, in a tykebuddy-in-full-winter-garb-lit room, for 78 minutes. And counting. Invented songs, y’all. Not Christmas classics or Summer Lovin’ or something. Total improv genius he is, btw.

I know that theobromine is not caffeine. But I’ve seen the structure and I’ve seen the effects. And that shit is identical in a three year old body. I’ve drugged my child with mass marketed toxic substances. I’m totally gonna be the cool parent in high school. (For those who know me, ba ha hahahahaha ha. That’ll be the day.)

New rule. No chocolate within eight hours of bed. Unless you’re mommy. Then chocolate only if accompanied by liquor. Mmmmm. Hot chocolate with liquor.

Gotta go so I can be loaded while listening to the toddler carolling.