Follow My Sorry Ass

Friday, March 4, 2022

Incorrect Responses to Correspondendence From Your Child's Teacher

What Not to Say When Your Child's Teacher Reports That They're Having Behavioral Challenges at School

Scenario #531

Teacher: Today, [Child's name] rolled around on the floor for kind of a long while and ignored whatever I said to him during instruction time.

Me: [prolonged, wry laughter]; Sounds about right

All I Need to Know: Brother Edition

Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned From Having a Brother

Love is biting your popsicle in half and sharing it with someone who just rollerbladed over your bare toes by mistake.

You can be mad as hell at someone and still want to sleep in the same bed.

Bathroom humor is the glue that binds us all.

Ownership is a relative and fleeting thing.

There can be such a thing as "community" underwear.

Brotherly goodwill is more important than avoiding backwash in your Sprite.

There's a special place in hell for he who purposely occupies your favorite chair at the dinner table.

Peace on Earth begins in the home.

Existential FOMO takes root when someone close to you uses the red swing, the top bunk, and that one coveted pair of socks with the avocados on them.

Some people get away with everything.

The more older brothers you have, the greater the chances that your first spoken phrase will be, "the snake bited the man's penis!"

The only sanctioned type of bullying is of the (mild) sibling-on-sibling kind.

Leading by example means teaching someone all of your favorite swears.

An eye for an eye; a punch in the solar plexus for a balltap.

To err is human; to forgive is for the sister in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

A brother is a first friend, a best friend, and one of the few people who will take the time to wake up early with you to watch the trash truck.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

All I Need To Know: Tween Girl Edition

All I Need To Know in Life I Learned From My Tween Daughter

When life gives you lemons, make lemon-zest slime.

Dance parties with friends should be a weekly affair.

It's okay to be sad that your friend voted for somebody gross, and that the two of you might never see eye-to-eye regarding politics.

If a boy is messing with you, ignore him. If that doesn't work, an elbow to the ribs may be called for.

Mean girls stink. Be compassionate and inclusive.

Climb every mountain; ride every roller coaster.

The sweetest Girl Scout cookie is the last one in the sleeve, the one you outran your brother for.

A girl with five brothers doesn't necessarily like being called a princess.

Jealousy and comparisons are a waste of everyone's energy; the time to love you for you is right now.

Smart is beautiful.

No matter how grown she gets, a girl needs her mom (or mom-figure) to be there for her.

Friday, January 19, 2018

All I Need to Know: Toddlers

All I Need to Know in Life I Learned From Parenting my Toddler Son

Ask before giving someone a wet, sloppy kiss.

Happiness is a toy train in each hand.

When life gets intense, close your eyes, drop to the floor, and roll around like a log to confuse the offending party.

Being older doesn’t always mean that somebody is wiser or more mature.

Sharing is the most crucial social skill.

A sibling is a friend for life, but there is nothing worse than being chased by one.

Moms who pretend not to need naps are either lying about it or taking stimulants.

Everything is worse when you’re tired.

Everything is better when you're in a Batman costume and a pair of rain boots.

No matter how good the soap smells, it still tastes like soap.

You can never really make anyone do anything. (Well, you might be able to, but it probably won’t be pretty.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Unbreakable George B

The Unbreakable George Brennan

I once wrote a short post called “Will of Will”—this was back when I was using Facebook to blog. In any case, it was about our strong-willed son Will and how he would, in equal parts amazing and painful, throw himself on the floor as a young child whensoever injustice prevailed in his world.

I think Will (even his toddler self) may have met his match in his little brother.

We flew home from Michigan yesterday with George (along with the rest of our overtired cherubim) and I can honestly say I have never seen such a tantrum in all my momming days.

As is the case with many of the great epic tantrums, most of the fault was my own. In the interest of saving on airfare we’d made a deal with the devil: non-stop from LAX to Detroit on the way there, but DTW—>Philadelphia—>LAX on the way home. And hot damn if we didn’t get delayed by two hours before we could even start the first leg (Thanks, Obama). By the time we reached Philly and hustled straight to boarding, the connecting plane had already pushed back from the gate, but by some divine meddling from the SPIRIT crew, they stretched the jetway back out to the door and came back!

The crew and everyone else on the flight verrrry quickly came to regret their generous decision to include us, though. George was acutely slumbering, Thank Jesus, after having screamed his way through the first flight. And so it was that no one knew what was coming, as Joe herded our other four kids aboard and I carried my open-mouthed little angel to my seat, all swaddled in his favorite bee, surrounded by benevolent travelers bearing parcels from the airport Sbarro, and kissed on the brow by a twinkling star.

The other passengers had already been waiting awhile. Mechanical issues, they’d said. Then, more waiting for us, followed by more waiting in a line that was more than twelve planes deep. We waited and waited for there to be room enough on the runway to take off or whatever the hell it is that one always seems to need to wait for out there on the tarmac. Right as I’d sat down and buckled, George’s cornflower blue eyes unlidded themselves in a manner most unholy and he began to scream.

George screamed with his whole body. He violently jumped up and down in my lap. He stiff-armed me and tried everything in his power to get away from me. He tried to reverse-headbutt me (I was able to dodge it, having survived Elise’s toddler years). Naturally, this is where I passed him off to Dad, feigning disappointment that he is by far the favorite parent.

Folks were sympathetically staring at first, then turning to more desperate means of pacification. A kind stranger passed me a full bag of skittles (his favorite!). George screamed and threw some on the ground. Someone passed him a lollipop. He screamed and spun his head away from it like a cat who refuses to take a pill. A lady with white-lady dreadlocks gave him a huge, rainbow, twisty lollipop. At last he allowed himself to be consoled…for all of ten seconds. It was like we had caught a feral pig from underneath Uncle Jerry’s barn and tried to snuggle it to death. George used poor Joe’s lap as a springboard, and progressed to a point in his fury that would not stop crying unless Joe carried him to the back of the plane and stood by the restrooms. Daddy was not allowed to sit, use the bathroom, or do anything besides hold George in a perfectly upright position while standing.

George screamed for about half of the five-hour-long flight across the country. He screamed while we waited for our bags to file off the carousel. Then he screamed for the full duration of the shuttle bus ride to WallyPark. Only once he was securely buckled into his own car seat did he stop, and at that point it was nearly midnight P.S.T. (3 A.M. for those who had adjusted to East Coast time over the course of a vacation). Then, he was mysteriously chipper, talkative, and awake, while everyone else moaned with exhaustion. We got home at about 1 A.M./4 A.M, depending on whose time zone you were committed to.

We’ve decided not to fly anywhere with George again for at least a calendar year.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Fun Stage

"In Soviet Russia, trampoline jumps you" -Will, having reached a golden age of meme appreciation

"When I get bigger, I'm going to drive a speed lemon" -Zach, struggling a bit with the concept of speed limits

"Noooo! NO!" -George, constantly


6th Grade Promotion to 7th and other recent moments:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Moms to Whom I'm Especially Grateful

Or, A Nonexhaustive List of Awesome Women I'd Like To Thank Before Any More Time Goes By

Lizzie Gilbertson--you introduced me to LFP Preschool and the then-radical idea that I was fortunate to have been able to conceive fairly easily. I was a self-absorbed little twenty-one-year old twit when we first got to know each other, complaining about how exhausted I was to be "already pregnant again" when our first was so little, but you were nice to me anyway. I know for a fact that my kids benefited tremendously from your influence in bringing us into the community college co-op preschool "network" of parents. I'll always remember looking up to you, and I hope we will meet again someday.

Joanne Montague--Ten years ago you came over to my house and took care of my two toddlers (plus your toddler) so that I could nap with my infant for a few hours--just because. Sometimes I think about that and cry. How did I deserve such an act of friendship from someone I'd known only for six months? I might even still have your copy of "Peek-A-Boo Baby: Look at Me, I can Clap!" which has somehow survived another round of little mouths chewing on its cover. I hope that somehow you read this even if I'm too embarrassed to have Joe track you down on Facebook and send you the link.

Linda Harkness--you helped me realize when I was being kind of insensitive to my firstborn when he was a toddler and fell off the playground bus on one of his first days of co-op. Empathy was not a thing I was all that familiar with until I met you. I am so lucky to have had you in my life, especially during those first few years of James' and Will's.

Lisa C. McDaniel--you're one of the most positive, giving, and inspiring people I've ever met. I'm humbled by you and so blessed to know you.

Lesley Crane--remember the time you came over to my house and sat with me when I was really upset? I still can't believe what an amazing friend you were to me and I'm so sad that I have not kept in touch with you.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Constant Laund'ring

Constant Laund'ring

To the tune of k.d. lang's Constant Craving

Even through the darkest grays
Mom slaves, next of kin
Always someone's Frito-Lays
Here beneath his chin

And constant laund'ring has always been

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All clothes towards puke
Or maybe it is life itself
Smears grass stains on its youth

Constant laund'ring has always been

Laundering, ah, ha
Constant laund'ring has always been
Has always been

Constant laund'ring has always been
Constant laund'ring has always been

Laundering, ah, ha
Constant laund'ring has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been

Friday, March 31, 2017

Names of Future Kardashians

My picks for future Kim-Kardashian spawn:

North, Saint, and...

(Little Brother:)
Viceroy "Vice"

(Little Sister:)
Clarity "Clare"

(TWINS--little sisters:)
Mystery and Clarity (hah)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Kung Poo Panda

How are you spending your winter?

I'm spending mine in front of the TV--watching a certain children's movie (Kung Fu Panda 3!) on an infinite loop on Netflix--and waiting for the poop to be ready to go into the potty.

We're in that awesome phase of the toilet learning life cycle wherein we inexplicably don't want to use any bathroom besides our own.

Not the one at school, with the potties that happen to be just your size. Not at a restaurant. Not when we're dancing and clearly in agony since we are trying to hold it for three hours during an outing.

Not in a box. Not with a fox.

Update: But there was big progress today, on this Groundhog Day of all days! The lollipop bribe is working its magic.


Georgie's Favorite Words at Almost 17 Months:

Down! (meaning he wants out of the high chair)
Shoe! (meaning 'put on my shoe, you idiot; I want to go outside')
'Side! ("outside!")
Book! ('read me a book NOW, you insolent woman!')
That ("I want THAT.")


"Is it p*ssing you off?" -Zach, empathically, while I was trying/failing to communicate with the lady who was working the Drive-Thru

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Maya Riviera

We went to Mexico. The in-laws brought us. It was unbelievably fun, riiiight up until we got Hand, Foot & Mouth disease from the resort pool.

And later on, when Joe was putting the GoPro video on his YouTube Channel, we discovered another oldie but goodie [video; not a montage, though] from when we lived in Seattle: [Might actually work now!]


"[A]ny single brain, including yours, is made up of atoms that were forged in the hearts of far-flung stars billions of years ago. These particles drifted for eons and light-years until gravity and chance brought them here, now." -V.S. Ramachandran

"Monkeys throw their poop, Mom." -Zach, in response to someone's idea that we all watch Marky Mark's Planet of the Apes soon

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Celebrity Babies Renamed, Part Four

I think this is the fourth installment of this post; Please forgive me if there were only two previous ones.

(Clears throat) Ok.

Valentina Angelina Angelina Valentine

Dream Renee Jeannie Renee

Dusty Rose Justine Rose

Onyx Solace Odessa Solace

More to come.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Five Little Pumpkins

Deadpool = James
sumo wrestler = Will
zombie cheerleader evil cheerleader = Elise
kitty = Zach
lion = George


"Mommy, you smell like fart!" -Zach, ever earnest

"TRUNK or Treat? Sounds like kidnapping." -Will

"Nope, I got this." -Elise, when I asked her if she wanted me to do her hair for Halloween

"Gugget!" -Georgie, apparently fond of chicken nuggets

Sunday, October 9, 2016


At the pumpkin farm

At the beach


In October,
I'll be host
to witches, goblins,
and a ghost.
I'll serve them
chicken soup on toast.
Whoopy once
Whoopy twice
Whoopy chicken soup
with rice.

-Maurice Sendak

Sunday, September 25, 2016

That Awkward Moment

That awkward moment when...

Will turns 11 and Zach blows out the birthday candles for him, stomping sacred cows. (Will was gracious about it)

You try semi-successfully to french-braid Elise's hair...

...and she schools you, instead.

(more mother-daughter pampering)

And your baaaaaby who came home from the NICU a year ago can pretty much walk all by himself now, and you're kind of sad about it.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Georgie turned one, and a few weeks ago, Zachy turned three. The entire celebration was as follows: we paused a recording of Sharknado 4 to sing and give George the ceremonial single cupcake after dinner.

I can't even keep up with all of these fall birthdays, and we've still got Will's and Joe's to come.

In the middle of it all we celebrated 10 years (!!!) of marriage.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Some Anthropology Definitions, By Will B.

Extinked (adj.)--when an organism no longer exists to stink up the earth

Fartifact (n.)--a man-made, fossilized fart (see also: fossil; artifact)

Homo erectus (n.)--[definition redacted by Mom]


"Oh! There's my friend Lawnmower Guy." -Zach, watching the gardener through the window


Comprehensive List of Georgie's Words So Far:
Gog (a label he applies to everything)
Bahl (ball)
Bahbah (bottle)

Friday, August 5, 2016

We Blinked...

...and James turned twelve.

Fun Fact: Pokemon is cool again. And I have street cred with my sons because I remember the '90's and have the high talent required to sing the Jigglypuff song.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Maybe We're Amazed

"It's amazing!" -Zach, re: the ending of Green Eggs and Ham

Zach's first day of swim lessons, in which he mostly refused to participate

"You know what? Shut up." -Zach, at the dinner table tonight

Georgie in repose, since his little legs don't reach the pedals yet

Summer vacation is quickly coming to a close--the kids go back to school in two weeks. We're perennially amazed by the speed of summer. And the most amazing part about any of it lately is how weird it is to have a threenager in the house again [Zach will be three soon]. One minute he's sweet as can be, and the next he's saying his favorite phrase ("shut up").

At least it's not technically a swear word.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tuanis (Pura Vida)

Some pictures of Malpais & surrounding areas, Costa Rica.

On the ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula

View from the house (front yard)

The kids on the beachfront bench

Me, Zach, and Will, in a rare moment of not being eaten by mosquitoes

Joe and the bigs at the "secret beach" aka Banana Beach

All in all, I was pretty ready to go home. It was a hard trip!

Walking to a restaurant for dinner, via the beach

View of the house from the road

Actual gecko inside the lantern. Not a decoration, as I'd mistakenly thought.

Wild horses would randomly pass through our beachfront.

James drinking from a coconut (split open w/ a machete by the caretaker, Vicente).