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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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20 Things You Never Want To Hear From Your Kids

Of course you want your kids to hit developmental speech and hearing milestones and openly communicate with you, but let’s face it—you don’t want them to communicate EVERYTHING, lol. Here’s a funny list of things you don’t ever want to hear your kids say, as well as some valuable information and resources for parents to help recognize signs of hearing loss in children and find ways to potentially help them hear better. | Cochlear | ad | IWantYouToHear

There are few things as important to parents as communication with our kids. From the time they’re born we can’t wait to hear what they’re thinking—like what’s going on in their heads when they spend 20 minutes laughing crazily at a beam of sunshine, and why do they insist on eating random things they find on the sidewalk?!? We want them to understand us when we say, “Don’t put your gum on the dinner table—this is why we can’t have nice things!” and for them to be able to just tell us what’s bothering them instead of screaming inconsolable toddler-babble about it for two hours straight.

Of course I’m kidding (sort of); what we’re really waiting for are the I-love-yous and the bedtime songs, we’re listening for coos and babbles to evolve into mama and dada. Eventually we hope to be lucky enough for them to grow into tweens and teens who continue to tell us what’s bothering them, and who understand us when we say, “Seriously, stop putting your gum on the table—this is why we STILL can’t have nice things!”

But with the good comes the not-so-good, and all too quickly we learn that every conversation isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows. As much as we love the idea of communicating with our kids, there are some things we just never want to hear.

20 THINGS YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR FROM YOUR KIDS:

45-minute recaps of their favorite cartoons.
A request for you not to look in the toilet for...uh...no particular reason.
“My sock is lumpy.”
“I can’t find my shoe.”
“I don’t need to go potty, I just peed in the pool!”
A reminder it was your turn to bring a class snack...as you’re dropping them off at school.
Four-letter words they weren’t supposed to overhear.
In-depth descriptions of bodily functions.
Any confession involving permanent marker and a sibling’s face.
An honest opinion about your new haircut.
One of those knock knock jokes that never seem to end.
Racy lyrics to a song that, in your defense, they really should have edited for radio.
Any indication they’ve noticed that the store you’re in has a toy aisle.
News that the class pet is coming home with them over spring break.
“Mommy, I dropped my toy again” coming from the backseat, 372 times in a row.
An unsolicited reassurance that the cat is fine.
“Look, I cut my own hair!”
“Uh oh, I don’t feel so good…”
“...BRING ME THE PUKE BUCKET!”
Unexplained silence.

The silence can be especially terrifying, since it tends to signal that your kid is off somewhere painting the dog purple or unloading the Tupperware drawer into the toilet. But it can be scary for another reason, too.

When my now 14-year-old was about six, he gradually stopped responding to me when I called his name. He was always a pretty studious kid, so at first I assumed he was so absorbed in what he was doing that he’d blocked everything else out. Okay, maybe I also wondered if he was just plain old ignoring my pleas to get him to eat dinner or get ready for bed.

Eventually I started to realize something was really wrong...and that’s when the unexplained silence that had become his usual response started getting scary. He didn’t seem to hear me at all if he wasn’t looking straight at me, and when I did get his attention he’d lean in closely and study my lips when I talked. I was afraid his hearing had been impacted by the fact that he was born three months premature; he’d already outgrown the few developmental delays he’d dealt with after birth, but occasionally some other complication would arise. What if hearing loss was one of them?

So I took him to the doctor, and (luckily) discovered the issue was caused by fluid trapped in his ears; after surgery and the insertion of tubes, his hearing returned to normal. His speech development was still impacted though, and he needed speech therapy for a few years in school. The influence hearing has on hitting communication milestones is no joke, people.



If you find yourself in a similar situation, notice language delays, or see any signs your kid might have trouble hearing, get to a doctor or hearing specialist (you can easily find one on Cochlear’s IWantYouToHear.com website) right away for a diagnosis. Even if you don’t have a relatively simple fix like ours, cochlear implants might be able to help improve your child’s hearing.

In operation for over 30 years, Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, providing products (cochlear implants and bone conduction), and helping over 450,000 people worldwide have access to sound. They’re passionate about connecting parents to resources, support, and information on hearing loss—and if you decide cochlear implants are right for you and your child, they become a lifelong partner in finding and updating solutions that work for you.

As I experienced after my son’s surgery, there’s nothing on earth like the wide-eyed look you get from your child when they clearly hear your voice again for the first time in a long time (or for the first time ever). Just prepare yourself for the fact that opening up the lines of communication can mean I-love-yous and bedtime songs, but it also means opening yourself up to lengthy conversations about Pokemon.

It’s totally worth it, though.


Of course you want your kids to hit developmental speech and hearing milestones and openly communicate with you, but let’s face it—you don’t want them to communicate EVERYTHING, lol. Here’s a funny list of things you don’t ever want to hear your kids say, as well as some valuable information and resources for parents to help recognize signs of hearing loss in children and find ways to potentially help them hear better. | Cochlear | ad | IWantYouToHear




This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions and toilet-water-soaked Tupperware are my own.


I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


37 Ways To Fail At Perfection


If you've spent much time on this planet, at some point or another you've felt pressure to be perfect. Maybe that pressure was coming from someone else, and maybe it was coming from within yourself—a little teenage-you voice inside your head telling you that a pimple on the end of your nose was the end of the world, or a mom-you voice saying that you should do more baking or crafting or that you should actually be able to remember all your kid's friends' moms' names, which frankly I don't even think is scientifically possible—but one way or another we've all felt the pressure to be more. Be better. Be perfect.

But nobody is perfect, so at some point we've also all failed miserably at trying.

Here are just a few examples of ways I might be failing at perfection on any given day of the week (most of them on days during this particular current week):
  1. Brought a class snack to school on the wrong day.
  2. Couldn't fight my way back out of my Spanx.
  3. Hemmed my daughter's pants, but somehow managed to sew the legs together instead.
  4. Asked my kid how to use Snapchat, which apparently is about as lame as you can possibly be while attempting to be cool.
  5. Then was reminded by my kid that he's not allowed to use Snapchat.
  6. Wore the perfect shade of lipstick...on my teeth.
  7. Made a beautiful, Pinterest-inspired dinner that tasted disgusting.
  8. Took 857 attempts to get one decent holiday family photo.
  9. Wore some sexy new jeans—then got home and realized there's a sparkly My Little Pony sticker on my butt.
  10. Told my husband a really funny story because I knew it would make him laugh. Which it did. The day before, when he'd told the story to me.
Okay, so if you're counting (and still remember the title of this post), you'll notice that I didn't actually list 37 ways to fail at perfection.

But I have a good reason for that.

YOU GUYS. If you've been here for a while, you're not going to believe this.

Remember how, a million years ago, I used to be a writer?

Well brace yourselves, because...I still am.

I KNOW. Based on the fact that I only put up a new post here once every eighteenth blue moon and I suck on ice about linking to articles I write on other sites, you probably thought I forgot how to computer.

But I do still write, and in fact, I'm in a new book that's being released today!!!

It's all about people's attempts to be perfect—and their hilariously spectacular failures.

Thirty seven of them, to be exact.

My essay in the book goes all the way back to when I was in my early twenties. It starts off like this:


We all feel pressure to be perfect from time to time—and we can all agree that our inevitable failure is hilarious. I Just Want to Be Perfect (the 4th book in the New York Times Bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series) is the funny book about learning to embrace our perfect imperfections. It's a PERFECT choice for your book club, LOL escape, or summer beach read!

And then it goes downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on how much you like stories about people who lose their eyebrows thanks to questionable dating choices.

I realize now that makes it sound like I ended up dating the nymphomaniac. Let me be very clear that I DID NOT DATE THE NYMPHOMANIAC. The nymphomaniac did, however, give me a very heartfelt and oddly religious Christmas card as I was moving out of that apartment, even though we had never spoken to each other before that moment and I'm pretty sure it wasn't near Christmas.

But that's a different story for another time. Back to the book!

If you've ever tried to be perfect and failed, you're not alone. In this humorous collection of stories, 37 women detail their misguided quest for perfection and the epic failures that result. Get your copy of I Just Want to Be Perfect (the fourth book in the best-selling series) today, and laugh along with us at the silly and impossible pursuit of perfection.

Yes, it's available RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, so go pick up a copy (or several) right now! It'll probably be the most perfect thing you do all day.

AWESOME CONTRIBUTORS:

Jen Mann - People I Want to Punch in the Throat / I Just Want to Pee Alone

Bethany Kriger Thies - Bad Parenting Moments

Deva Nicole Dalporto - MyLifeSuckers

Julianna Wesby Miner - Rants From Mommyland

Lola Lolita - SammichesPsychMeds / MockMom

Kim Bongiorno - Let Me Start By Saying

Alyson Herzig - The Shitastrophy

Kathryn Leehane - Foxy Wine Pocket

Harmony Hobbs - Modern Mommy Madness

Erin Dwyer Dymowski - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Tara Wood - Love Morning Wood

Kelcey Kintner - The Mama Bird Diaries

Lisa René LeClair - Sassypiehole

Joelle Wisler - Joelle Wisler, Writer

Christine McDevitt Burke - Keeper of The Fruit Loops

Meredith Spidel - The Mom of the Year

Meredith Gordon - Bad Sandy

Nicole Leigh Shaw - NicoleLeighShaw.com

Allison Hart - Motherhood, WTF?

Jennifer Lizza - Outsmarted Mommy

Suzanne Fleet - Toulouse and Tonic

AK Turner - Vagabonding with Kids

Robyn Welling - Hollow Tree Ventures

Ashley Fuchs - The Malleable Mom

Kim Forde - The Fordeville Diaries

E.R. Catalano - Zoe vs. the Universe

Chrissy Woj - Quirky Chrissy

Stacey Gill - One Funny Motha

Wendi Aarons - wendiaarons.com

Jen Simon – jensimonwriter.com

Janel Mills - 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of.

Jessica Azar - Herd Management

Susanne Kerns -The Dusty Parachute

Audrey Hayworth - Sass Mouth

Hedia Anvar - Gunmetal Geisha

Christine Organ - christineorgan.com

Shya Gibbons - ShyaGibbons

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


The Ultimate Automated Dial-In Menu For Moms

Motherhood can be hard, but this hilarious dial-in menu for moms can help you deal with all those kids' pesky problems and crazy complaints. Too funny—you'll LOL at number 6!


As much as I hate getting stuck on the phone with a robotic voice every time I try to call the cable company, I understand why it’s a necessary evil. I mean, they can’t possibly have a real person field millions of random requests and complaints 24 hours a day!

Hmmm…. who else does that? Oh right! Moms.

Wouldn’t it be nice if moms could set up our own automated menu to sort through the constant demands from our kids? To decide which ones are legitimate requests in need of real live help and which ones can be answered just as easily by a robot?

HERE’S WHAT IT WOULD SOUND LIKE:

Ring, ring, ring…

Thank you for calling your mother. Your call is very important to me…unless I haven’t had coffee yet, in which case back away slowly and try your call again later. I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone right now, but considering I’m probably busy cleaning your pee off the bathroom floor or washing the laundry you crammed between your bed and the wall, I’m doing the best I can. Please listen carefully to the following menu; your issue will be resolved in the order in which it was received, provided no one drops the phone in the toilet before then.

If you want mac and cheese, press 1.

If you want mac and cheese but I’ve basically ruined your life by serving it to you in the wrong bowl, please press 1 really hard and hold it down until I get you a new bowl or go insane, whichever comes first.

Check out the rest on Mommy Shorts!

Motherhood can be hard, but this hilarious dial-in menu for moms can help you deal with all those kids' pesky problems and crazy complaints. Too funny—you'll LOL at number 6!



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


My Kid Is Doing Honesty Wrong

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

I swear, I try my best to raise my kids right.

Well, maybe "try" and "my best" are a bit too strong. And "right" isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, either. But I am usually nearby while they're growing up, so they can't help but soak up some of my parenting, even if it is mostly accidental.

And like most parents, I thought I should teach my children that honesty is the best policy. Because they should always tell the truth, no matter what. Right?

For the most part, this has worked out just dandy. We have them pretty convinced that lying will always make a situation worse, so when they're in trouble or we even suspect they might be up to no good, they'll almost always admit who's at fault. This has cut way back on the Parenting Effort I have to put forth.
Me (tucking Zoe into bed): Uh, it looks like your DS is still on.
Zoe: Yeah, Jake and I had it all planned out. We were gonna stay up all night playing PictoChat through the wall. You'd better tell him we got caught when you tuck him in.
See? She immediately cracked like an egg—no need for threats or an interrogation. Easy peasy.

Except sometimes (often) it backfires. Not that I don't want them to be honest, but let's face facts—I'm pretty lazy. And there's certain information that I just don't want to know, because then maybe I'm supposed to do something about it.
Husband: I noticed some hand prints on the bathroom mirror.
Zoe (arm shooting up in the air like we asked for volunteers to swim in a vat of chocolate pudding): I climb up on the toilet and lean way over onto the sink to look at my hair in the mirror and get stuff out of the medicine cabinet.
Now, see? There may be issues with hygiene and safety there that I just wasn't interested in dealing with at that particular moment. Do you at least close the toilet lid before you use it as a ladder? And what exactly are you getting out of the medicine cabinet? Do I need to boil my toothbrush? These aren't things a lazy mom wants to think about.

And while we're on the subject of laziness, I also don't want your confession to give me yet ANOTHER thing to discipline you for.
Me (yelling at two rambunctious children): Quit chasing each other through the kitchen while I'm trying to cook!
(Four seconds elapse. Zoe comes shooting through the kitchen again.)
Zoe: Mommy!  Mommy!
Me: What???
Zoe (now in the living room): Nothing, I just wanted to distract you while I cut through the kitchen again.
Really? Now I have to do some complicated trigonometry-based Discipline Equation in my head.
Three demerits for coming in the kitchen, plus two points for being honest about trying to distract me, carry the four, multiplied by two demerits for being SO honest about trying to distract me that it dances dangerously on the edge of sass, divided by the fact that I'm up to my elbows in salmonella-tainted raw chicken juice so I can't chase you around the house with a wooden spoon or whatever good disciplinarians do with their kids when they misbehave.
I never was very good at math. By the time I finish my calculations, the smoke alarm is going off and I have to figure out how much butter it's going to take to pass off some charred lumps of coal as dinner rolls.

What's worse is that she can't really differentiate between "good honesty" and "a little too true."
Zoe (to Gran): I'm almost taller than you!
Gran: Someday you really will be taller than me.
Zoe: Of course I will. Because when I get taller you'll be dead, and then you'll be lying down.
Luckily Gran has a sense of humor about these things.

So sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie?

I guess I have to accept that there's some gray area; as much as I want to teach my kids to always tell the truth, there's a little wiggle room in there to allow for little white lies, the ones that save someone's feelings, or avoid spoiling their good time, or at least don't remind them that they'll be dead someday. Or like when your kid finds a four-leaf clover—they get so excited, why ruin it by pointing out that it isn't even clover?

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

Besides, nobody wants real honesty, not the 100% All The Time kind. In real life, we live in the gray area. If people really wanted the whole truth, nobody would ever ask, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" We'd read all the ingredients in our candy bars before we ate them, and Google the stuff that sounded like it might be an industrial solvent. Every time you greeted someone with "How's it going?" you'd be asking for a two hour conversation about back pain and lanced boils. Every shower in every bathroom on Earth would be tiled in mirrors.

Nobody wants that kind of full disclosure.

So kids, listen up. I love your honesty. But sometimes it's okay to keep things to yourselves. Sometimes you can just say, "Okay, Mom" without giving me a bunch of information I didn't ask for; I definitely don't need you to point out certain truths, like when the lady next to us at the grocery store is REALLY, REALLY OLD, and I especially don't want to hear that kind of honesty at top volume.

I'm not telling you to lie. Just embrace the gray area within honesty.

Because sometimes people want to believe they found a four-leaf clover. Even when it's a weed.



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


5 Ways to Preserve a Happy Marriage


If there's one thing I'm great at, prior divorce notwithstanding, it's being married.

I know a lot of people say marriage requires a lot of work, but I'm not one of them. Maintenance, maybe, but "work" makes it sound like an endless stream of constant drudgery, when in fact research suggests that a solid marriage is actually only 5% drudgery and 80% awesomeness, with a 15% margin of error to allow for how I feel about it when I'm PMSing.

So, as a long-awaited public service, I've collected my top Maintenance Tips For A Happy Marriage.  Follow these five guidelines, and chances are at least 50/50 (or some other fraction) that your relationship will never require any of that pesky "work."

1. Marry the right person
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's astonishing how many people skip this step.

2. Communication
It's all too easy to lose touch with our loved ones, especially if they're not on Twitter for some reason or if the kids are making so much noise you can't hear yourself think. If you're feeling distant from your spouse, even after checking their latest Facebook status updates, I encourage you to address the issue right away.

For example, my husband and I were sitting on the couch one day, each silently absorbed in our Smart Phone screens. Suddenly my phone beeped, letting me know he'd added a photo to Facebook, which was news to me even though he was only about two inches from my hip.
Me: I don't like it very much that my phone knows more about you than I do.
Gerry: Like what? What does your phone know?
Me: It knows...what you're doing on your phone.
Then he laughed at me. But the important thing was that I let him know I felt we were drifting apart, and, if someone happened to be watching through the window, it would have appeared that we were engaged in a pleasant conversation. That's half the battle.


3. Body Language and Thoughtful Gestures
On the subject of communication, let's face it—sometimes it can be easy to get your feelings hurt if you listen to the actual words that someone says.  Or you might go through a dry spell where it seems like ages since your spouse last paid you a compliment.

At these times, remember that the love in your relationship is often unspoken. When he comes home with four gallons of ice cream, it's his way of saying, "Baby, I think those extra 20 pounds are super sexy—don't you change a thing." When he plops down on the couch and unceremoniously changes the channel from HGTV to ESPN, he's saying, "Honey, you don't need these decorating tips—the house looks great!" And when she subsequently cuts him the side eyes and leaves the room in an apparent huff, what she's really thinking is, "That's okay, dearest, I'll use this bit of free time to eat some ice cream. And then I'll help you combine your passions for athletics and recycled mulch by tossing all your sports equipment in the chipper shredder."

If you look for it, the love is there.

4. Say Thank You
Also, look for reasons to be grateful for your spouse, and make sure to let them know they're appreciated. This makes them feel good, and inspires them to do more of the things you appreciate, which creates a self-perpetuating cycle of positive vibes.

If your spouse isn't doing anything particularly noteworthy, you might have to dig for things to be grateful for at first. Try these words of praise to get started:
  • Thanks a lot for mouth-breathing less than usual.
  • It's impressive how high you can get the trash to pile up without toppling before you take it outside.
  • Your efforts to get your filthy clothes within a five-foot radius of the hamper make doing your laundry a real treat.
  • I appreciate how you only belched audibly twice while we were out to dinner with my parents.
With encouragement like this, it won't take your spouse long to get an idea of how much you cherish his or her contribution to the partnership.

5. Hygiene
Sadly, it's common for people to let themselves go after the wedding vows are wrapped up, especially once children enter the equation.  I urge you to avoid this if at all possible—being married doesn't give you a free pass to become utterly repulsive. Refrain from clipping your toenails on the couch. Take the time to spritz on some body spray when you hit day four of being too exhausted to take a shower. Shaving is a nice touch, just try not to leave the entire bathroom peppered with your stubble. The extra effort will go a long way toward keeping the spark in your marriage alive, or should at least reduce your spouse's urge to smother you in your sleep.


If you can manage to keep all five of these tips in mind, or at least one or two of them if you're on an long car trip with the children or you're working on a home improvement project together (nobody expects you to be a saint), you have an excellent chance* of still liking each other by the time the kids move out and you eventually get to spend time as a couple again.
*Actual results may vary. Please be advised that I have no idea what I'm talking about.


This article was originally written for Naked Girl in a Dress

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!