When your 3-year-old asks if you want to go for a bike ride...

oh
you wanted to go
past
the driveway

fuck that noise
imma get
my juice


So before I left on my first road trip with the boys (6 hours, Seattle to Bend) I was all...

Of course it could be a disaster but if you just buy enough things you can guarantee success. Leave nothing to chance. 

Just slather peanut butter on bread and slice the sandwiches into bite-sized nuggets. Pre-wash and slice grapes in single-serve baggies. Stock up on apple chips, cheese sticks, and fruit snacks, and spend an ecstatic 2 minutes poring over the cookie selection at the bakery counter of whole foods, your index finger floating back and forth over the fat, chewy cookies as if about to name The Chosen One. Well, The Chosen Six. Teen. Sixteen. 

Oh, and don't forget a crate of new books and toys! 

Chicken is going to work his ass off on this ball maze shaped like a train with a magnetic pen to guide the balls from one end to the other. Seriously, he will probably do that for like at least two hours.

Buster will giggle with delight when you break out the translucent rain stick full of brightly colored pebbles that rattle, shimmer, and dance on their descent. The soundtrack of your trip shall be the symphony of cascading pebbles, and pure giggling glee.

You shall play I Spy! 

You shall DISCUSS GEOGRAPHY!

You shall sing all the camp songs from your Girl Scouthood! 

You shall eat snacks that are not normally part of your life. Juice boxes for everybody! Why? Because AMERICA and ROAD TRIP

And when both the boys take a 2-hour nap in the afternoon, you will roll on down the road, listen to your frothy beachy scandal audiobook, pop the cap on an icy sparkling water from the cooler in the passenger seat, and enjoy one of your favorite things in the world: alone. 

This can all be yours. Just purchase and pre-package. Just anticipate anything your children could possibly need and be ready to throw it back at the speed of light, in the instant it's needed. 

You CAN manufacture the magic. 

You CAN, through sheer will, engineer success.

YOU CAN CONTROL TRAFFIC WITH YOUR MIND IF YOU WANT IT BAD ENOUGH.

Now get out there and fucking own this road trip, mama!

TRUTH BOMB.

You silly rabbit. Have you learned nothing about children in the last three years?

You didn't... No... You didn't actually think you could, like, handle this, did you? You thought you had control? Oh honey. 

So you packed cheese and peanut butter for car seat snacks? And you were, like, drunk, right? Like 3 Chardonnays deep? When you picked gooey and greasy? For the car? In the seats? With the straps that can't really be washed? 

Oh sweetie, that was so cute, the way you bought toys for the trip. The way you spent $100 at the toy store for a total of 18 minutes of in-car entertainment. That train ball maze was awesome though. Until Chicken insisted you give him detailed verbal instructions.

HOW DOES IT WORK
Well, you take the little pen, and you drag it across the maze.
IT'S NOT WORKIN 
Wait, no, first touch it to the ball. 
IT'S NOT WORKIN
Wait, don't just bang the pen on the... 
MOMMY HOW DOES THIS WORK
Wait... No... Just... 

You should have started getting nervous when Buster plowed through 75% of his new toy bucket before you left the Seattle city limits. 

Nope.
Nope. 
Nope. 
Nope. 
Oooh! 
Wait, nope.

No, but you totally played I Spy!

And not only did you talk about geography, but you also even explained a 10-second elementary version of the water cycle! For an hour! 

Water starts in the air, as vapor in the clouds. When it gets cold it condenses and falls to the ground as a liquid, in rain or a solid, in snow. The rain and snow becomes lakes and rivers and oceans, and then the sun warms the water and it evaporates, which means it turns into vapor again and floats up into clouds.
AGAIN
... Water starts in the air, as vapor in the clouds...

Now that's what I call parenting, sister. 

But you had to know there would be no 2-hour double nap/parent's road trip version of a spa day. You had to know that as soon as Buster nodded off, Chicken would locate this little beauty from the bottom of the toy crate. 



You had to know that as soon as Chicken finally stopped screaming and started to surrender to the world's heaviest eyelids, Buster would wake up with a start and poke himself in the eye and for the next ten miles the soundtrack of the trip would be a duet of screaming and hiccups. 

You thought you wouldn't hit traffic? Because... You're special? And you, like, really didn't want to? Sugarplum. You left Seattle at 7:45 am. You drove through Portland at lunch. And you crawled into Bend at 5 on the nose. You could not have engineered a less efficient schedule. Unless you coordinated with POTUS. You had to know. You are an adult human. You can tell time. Right? 

Oh lord, honey. You had to know that no matter how many delicious treats you pre-packaged, no matter how many shiny new toys you squirreled away so you could fulfill all of your babies' deepest desires, you had to know that the one thing they hungered for most of all was to NOT BE STRAPPED DOWN IN A 5-POINT HARNESS FOR SIX STRAIGHT HOURS. And that, sweetie, was the one thing you couldn't give them.

You had to know. 

Oh... You didn't? 

Well. 

Well bless your heart.

I think I ask too much of my husband sometimes.

I'm not talking about the little household tasks, or even the bigger challenges I lay at his feet - help me reinforce the necessity of Chicken keeping his butt on a chair while eating tomato soup, for example.

I think I ask him to be wiser than I am, about me. And I think that's too much. 

I want two relationships, simultaneously. 

I want a partner who sees only my virtues. I want a partner who thinks I'm a brilliant woman with flawless judgment, a woman whose choice to stay at home and raise children reveals her creativity and work ethic. I want a partner who looks at the work I do and thinks, "she is amazing. No other woman could have folded all that laundry." I want a partner who sees my foul mood and thinks, "something must have really hurt her feelings or frustrated her. She must really be hurting right now." I want a partner who loves me exactly the way I am, no matter how I am, forever and always. He thinks I'm perfect.

But I'm not perfect.

Oh shit, I forgot to say "spoiler alert."

Most of the time I don't feel brilliant or flawless or creative or hard working. Most of the time I feel messy and slapdash, and uncomfortable with it - a tidy soul who has been colored outside my lines. And most of the time I also feel like I'm not doing enough. Not just in the piles-of-laundry sense, but in the life-flashing-before-your-eyes sense. There are things I want to do with these days, and if I want to do those things I will have to be uncomfortably busy, pushing a little too hard, a willing participant in a march up a hill. Mr. You're Perfect Guy doesn't help me keep that fire lit. He doesn't help me stay a little uncomfortable while I'm stretching out, trying to grow. Ugh, that's so annoying that I just wrote that.

So I also want a partner who recognizes my flaws. I want a partner who thinks I'm a competent writer who could be better if she dug in and did some boooooooring workshopping on structure and voice. I want a partner who thinks that my choice to stay at home and raise children is worth questioning - won't you be bored? Can't you do more? I want a partner who thinks I can do more than I do right now, who wants to help me get there. I want a partner who loves my potential as much as my current state, who challenges me to be better, forever and always. 

But my life can be exhausting - all of our lives can be completely draining. And Mr. You've Got More Than This Guy, sorry, he can kind of take what's left of the wind out of my sails. "You can do more," comes into my mind as, "but you haven't because you're lazy and willing to accept half-living the only life you're given." 

Let's take a made-up example.

I say, "I'm thinking about training for a triathlon."

To Mr. You've Got More Than This:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! What a great idea! I think you should totally do it.
Are you excited about this because I'm fat?
What? No! I'm excited because it'll be great for you to get out of the house!
I get out of the house. What, do you think I just fucking sit around all day? Do you think my life is so small that it fits within these walls from sunup to sundown? Do you think I'm that boring?

To Mr. You're Perfect Just The Way You Are:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! Are you sure that now's the right time? It seems like you're already doing so much.
Am I fucking something up?
What? No! I'm just wondering if, you know, with your volunteering and the kids and the house and the blog, now is the right time to add I don't know how many hours to your schedule. Won't you be exhausted?
So you don't think I can do it. OK. Message received. Loud and clear.

In fact, there is only one way for him to respond perfectly, and it is made up of all of the words:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! I am so impressed with your willingness to put yourself in unfamiliar and challenging situations. I also fully support you taking time to care for yourself and get out of the house, because I know that while your work here is incredibly hard, important, and fulfilling, you also have unplumbed depths of strength and grit, and the wild spirit of a gypsy who just wants to run sometimes. How can I support you in making this dream a reality?

Am I crazy? Yes.

Am I contrarian? Just ask my mother.

Am I just the worst? Oh, no doubt.

And orange you glad I'm not your wife? 

it's ok
you can come out now
i'm done writing the post
now
read it

Chicken and I are in the middle of Dinosaur Week. 

Tonight, our bedtime book was an illustrated dinosaur encyclopedia. 

It's pretty awesome. 

Not as awesome as Chicken's comments on the illustrations. Nothing is that awesome.

he looks like he forgot somethin
like
his snack
so
probly
he should stop
at starbucks
for a coffee
and sumpin
sumpin
sweet

he's got some owies
but
but
I don't know
if band-aids will work

oh no
his food
was too spicy

he's swimmin
but
he's not havin any fun
because
the black fish are eatin him

meat's harder
because
meat
tries to get away

they look like they're throwin dirt
their mommy is gonna say
no thank you
dirt is not for throwin
but
they like it
so
...

he's so mad
yeah
he's mad
because that bug
is fartin

where's his mommy
where's his mommy and daddy
or
actually
i think he just wants to be alone
because he's
he's thinkin
about his fingers
and
also
trees

she
didn't
take a nap
today

there's the mommy
and she's sayin
it's lunch time
and the
the other guys
are sayin
no
it's runnin time
and the mommy says
ONE
TWO
and then
everybody eats lunch
but
there's only one lizard
so
some guys are hungry
so mommy
gets some crackers
for those guys


Memo to Chicken
The List of Shit I Need You To Not Fuck With While You're Supposed To Be Asleep:
(Current as of July 20, 2015)


1. Your brother.

Yes, that time there was chocolate on his face.
It was ONE TIME.
Stop licking him.
His face smells
like unflossed teeth.
I'm going to start licking you
in the middle of the night.
See how you like it.
Ya wierdo.

2. Your diaper.

Oh you're upset now
because you peed on the floor?
Well
Huh
That's funny
I could have sworn there was 
a diaper 
between your pee hole
and the floor
when I left.
Oh it came off?
Could that possibly be
because you pulled on the tabs
until the diaper fell off
and then you peed 
on your diaper
on the floor
turning your diaper into a fluffy little canoe
in a lake of human waste?
Could that 
possibly
be what happened?

3. The arrangement of the furniture in your bedroom.

THE CHAIR DOES NOT GO IN FRONT OF THE DOOR.
CHICKEN?
CHICKEN?
PLEASE MOVE THE CHAIR.

4. The curtains.

what
pray tell
is so fucking funny
about sunlight
during naptime
also
why are you in buster's crib
also
why is buster's crib
3 feet away from the wall
also
you know what
actually
never mind

5. Light switches.

You know what?
I'll give you this one.
Fine.
Flip away.
Flip like a politician.
Flip like a pancake.
Flip your flipping heart out.

6. Outlets.

People would ask questions if something happened. 
I can't have people asking questions.

7. The place in the wall where, on the night you started climbing furniture, we panicked and drilled to find a stud so we could anchor the changing table to the wall. 

I told you we were panicking.
Also
we were drilling
in the dark
so
yeah
it was a bad night

8. Your brother's binkies.

But seriously.
Where
are
they.

9. The pillowcases.

Do not stuff them with anything. Especially anything mentioned on this list. Especially your diaper. Really especially that.

10. The location and cellular structure of book pages.

So
let me just make sure I'm hearing you.
You'd prefer
that we never read this book again.
Is that what you're saying.
Because
I just want to make sure I'm understanding
that you ripping pages out of the book
means
no
to that book.
Is that
about
it?
No?
Not it?
You'd like me to tape this book together
and read it to you
again
before you tear it apart
tomorrow?
Do we have the tale
of Sisyphus
in board book format?
I feel like
that's a good one for you
right now.


I just wanted to let you know...


 ... it doesn't make you a bad mom if you don't want a hug from your kid after dessert.


Love,
Katie
What are you going to dream about, baby?

Puppies!

You've been dreaming about puppies a lot! How many puppies tonight?

5!

What color are your puppies?

Yellow. And orange.

Do they have short sticking-up ears, or soft floppy ears?

They have short ears. Except some are floppy.

Are they friendly?

Yeah! (giggles) They like to play with me.

What kind of games do they play?

Like they're running away from me but I catch them!

That sounds like such a nice--

And they're yummy.

What?

The puppies. They're soooo yummy.

Like... to eat?

Yeah. 
They're yummy, yummy puppies. 
I like them with ketchup. 
Not ranch.
Yeah. 
5 puppies. 
I've just had this conversation one too many times:

Stranger at the Park: I just feel like he's so wild, you know? Like people are judging me and him because he can't sit still at a restaurant.

Me: I totally know exactly what you mean. I actually write a blog, and I have a post about that.

SatP: What's your blog called?

Me: KatyKatiKate.

SatP: Wait, what?

Me: KatyKatiKate. You know, like TonyToniTone?

SatP: Oh! Yeah... (clear from her vacant smile that she does not know.)

Me: It's Katie, three times, only spelled, like, K-A-T-Y, K-A-T-I, K-A-T-E.

SatP: So, it's Kati--

Me: No, it goes Y, I, E. Just E. Not I-E.

SatP: OK, I'll just google it.

mommy
No, listen, it's K-A-T-Y--
mommy help
HOLD ON A MINUTE CHICKEN
It's really simple, honestly, let me just...
mommy i'm stuck
OK, well you stay stuck.
I'm going to run over to Starbucks and borrow a pen, ok?
mommy
Two secs, baby
mommy pweese

You guys, until like a week ago, RYAN thought that last Kate was a Katie. After we all had a good laugh I sent him out for cake and when he got back I ate it very slowly while I made him read all of my posts from the last month and tell me everything that was funny.

So it's time. It's time for a new name.

I should go with something the includes the word "mom." I am one, and that's what I write about.

But I don't want to. Is that self-loathing? Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of fucking amazing mom blogs. There just happen to be more crappy ones. No matter how thoughtful, interesting, or genuinely funny the blog is, as a reader I immediately take my expectations down like four notches if the title includes the word "mom" or any of its myriad derivations.

I like to think that there are two ways to write about being a parent in this world - you can examine the world through the lens of parenthood, or you can examine parenthood through the lens of the world.

I prefer to read blogs that do the latter. Because I was a person in the world before I was a parent here, and because if I fix my parent glasses in place, then everything I see gets filtered through that one, narrow lens, and we're all a lot more interesting than that.

I've been working on new titles for a few days now, and I think I've come up with some pretty fucking stellar options. I mean, I don't want to toot my own horn, but aa-OOOO-gah, am I right?

Pun Options:

KatersGonnaKate.com (I mean, right? I mean, is this meeting over? I think it is.)
AhoyKatie.com
MasterKate.com
DrKateQuincyMcGillicuttySharkScientist.com (less of a pun, more of an alias)

Mom-Blog Options:

MommySalami.com (I think this one might be taken but my parental controls wouldn't display it. Since when are salted meats risque? THANKS MICHELLE OBAMA.)
KatieIsAMom.com (You know how you buy lemon juice and it's not called like Whemmo-Lemo-Shlemmo Got Ya Juice Right Heeeeere? It's just called Lemon Juice. Like that. Like just let it be what it is.)
BombSquadIThinkYouMeanMomSquad.com

Quirky, Offbeat Options:

NapShmap.com (I love the way you can say a word and then say the same word except with SHM in front of it, and it sounds so CHEEKY)
FalafelShmalafel.com (See? DELIGHTFUL)
ChokingHazard.com (because first my blog is sweet and then it murders you, or attempts to, and if you survive it then it makes you gag on mozzarella sticks for the rest of your life. See also: Mommy Salami.)

"I Want People To Love to Hate Me" Options:

SunshineAndLollipopsRainbowsEverywhereWonderfulJoyFunLand.com 
IAmZooeyDeschanel.com
FirstWorldMom.com


Truth Bomb Options:

YouCanCryHere.It'sOkay.com

TedJonesIUsedYourBedBath&BeyondCouponYouShouldProbablySetUpMailForwardingThroughUSPS.com

NamingShitIsTheWorst.com

Right now I'm leaning toward that last one. Because truth.

Chicken is on a campaign to be sleeping on a bare cot in a cement room.

He takes advantage of unsupervised time in his room to adapt his furniture and toys into weapons of evil. And we have no choice but to remove the torn-up books, makeshift scaffolds, and toddler litterboxes from the room.

For example.

We used to have a basket of stuffed animals attractively displayed at the foot of his bed.

Ah. We were so innocent, back then...

One night Chicken realized that the secret key to the garden of delight lay just under his nose. At 2:30 am we awoke to the sound of Buster screaming. The overhead lamp blazed the light of a thousand suns. Chicken sat in his bed, reading.

The stuffed animals lay like so many peanut shells on the honkeytonk floor, and the basket sat upturned beneath the light switch.

So tonight I attempted to come up with another way to attractively display stuffed animals, sans basket.

This is what I came up with.

And as I sat back, all I could think was:

You don't put guys like that into a room together.

especially that one
down at the end
he
he ain't right




Unfortunately, Chicken loves it. 

After I threw ours away, he asked for it constantly. (Side note: thanks for putting a photograph of Too Much Junk Food on the back of every single other Berenstain Bears book. For reals. So grateful.)

Every time I put him off with a vague, "huh, you're right, where is that book? Oh look! It's time for a Larabar!"

Fast-forward to 6 months later, when we went to Barnes & Noble and I told him he could pick one small book to buy. 

Guess which one he picked.

Chicken: JUNK FOOD!!! (hugs the book)

Me: Oh. Um...

Chicken: Dis one, Mommy! (opens it up to page 1)

Me: Well, Chicken...

Chicken: We needed this one! Ours is gone!

Me: Listen, I don't care for this book, baby.

Chicken: But... but... but... but it's for me.

Dammit.

$5 later, we're the proud owners of a brand-new Junk Food book. He was right. The book wasn't for me.

So okay.

We are keeping the book.

But I redacted that shit.

I kept all the stuff about healthy food and good habits. But I redacted every word of Mama Bear's snarky bullshit, and I redacted references to Papa Bear's fatness and greed, and I redacted the shit out of anything to do with how the shapes of Brother and Sister Bear's bodies signified something negative about their character or health.

"This is a mean part, baby," I said as I inked out Mama Bear's bitter barbs about the bears growing side to side as much as up and down. I know childhood obesity is a serious problem.

But I also know that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. New York Road Runners taught me that. My ass got schooled by people who looked like they had no business on a 10K course: 300-pound dudebros with handlebar moustachios, 80-pound "my body is made of joints and sinew" octogenerians, 14-year-old string beans with feet like U-boats, and yes, the occasional lean, wiry, Sports Illustrated athlete. 

I'm not about to let a children's book published in 1985 restrict my sons' ideas of what "health" has to look like. 

WHICH WAS MAMA BEAR'S FAULT ANYWAY

"You're growing, all right," said Mama.
"Into kind, thoughtful bears
who would never shame two children
for liking candy
or being a bit round."

Take that, Stan & Jan.


That's how I like my irony served, my friend. 


books

Flying books we actually read:
(Should I just say book? There was only one.)


Pros:
- About an awesome female pioneer.
- Fun illustrations.
- I love that this book depicts Amelia Earhart as a child throughout. She never really grows up in the illustrations, so the kids can visually identify with her accomplishments. It's not like, oh she's a kid doing stupid shit, and then she's a grown up doing awesome shit. Sometimes kids can do awesome shit too.

Cons:
- I can't be the only person on earth who hates speech bubbles in their kids' books, right? It's like, when do I say this? Now I have to come up with like a voice for Amelia Earhart's flying teacher? SIIIIIGH.

Books we read this week that featured birds but were mostly about things other than flying:




Flying books I heard were really good and put on hold at the library but (full disclosure) never actually picked up because sometimes taking 2 toddlers to the library sounds like just the wrong side of the River Styx:





outings

Museum of Flight




Pros: 
- Really cool airplanes, including Nixon's Air Force One, a Concord, and a B-11 bomber. You can go inside some of the planes, and there are a couple of fighter jets inside the museum where your kids can climb in the cockpit.

- Usually there is a kid's play area with fun planes and games.

- Membership is actually pretty reasonable, and you get a bunch of free guest passes.

- They have short 20-minute movies about space flight and whatnot.

- You're right next to a real-life runway, so you can watch small planes taking off and landing.

Cons:

- Not that much to interact with for kids who really need hands-on stimulation. There will be many, many, many versions of the "you can't touch that but you can touch your nose" conversation.

- The barricades to the planes on display are not that impressive, actually... they are low walls, which make them psychological barriers rather than physical ones. It can be wildly frustrating for children like Buster and Chicken. 

Woodland Park Zoo
Willawong Station Bird Feeding



For $1 you get a popsicle stick with birdseed glued on one end, and you can feed budgies and cockatiels to your heart's content. 

Pros:
- so fucking hands-on I can barely stand it

- The face Chicken made when a bird landed on his popsicle stick... it was more than terrorjoy. It was ecstatopanic.

- We ate a picnic lunch in a big field and then pretended to be birds in a nest. I was the Mommy bird who ran out to get food for the baby bird. Chicken would hop out and run around and then say "I'm hungry, Mommy, bring me some pizza and worms!" Buster... well... he was just psyched to be there. Kid's 1. 

my birdies in the nest

Cons:
- THE BIRDS ARE COMING FOR US THEIR EYES ARE SO EMPTY

Golden Gardens Beach Park
Flying kites


Pros:
- You're at the motherfucking beach.

- It's almost always windy enough to get a kite up at the beach.

Cons:
- You have to both pack and clean up after a trip to the motherfucking beach.



- If it's a busy day at the beach you will scream JESUS GOD RUN I CAN'T CONTROL IT when the kite goes plummeting pointy-end-first toward a mother breastfeeding her newborn babe in a lounge chair.

Much like spotting rainbows at the spray park, once you get to the beach, the kite becomes kind of a formality. 


Yeah, yeah, hold onto yer shorts Mom. 
We'll fly the kite, but first I need to crust up my shit
eat this charcoal
and throw some rocks at strangers 
having a grown-up picnic 
with chablis 
and cloth-wrapped cheeses.

food



Astronaut Ice Cream
Conveniently for sale in the Museum of Flight gift shoppe after Eleanor royally fucked us. Whatever, so worth $3.


arts, crafts, activities

Blue sky collage of things that fly




1. Paint a lot of blue on a big piece of paper.
2. As you explore things that fly throughout the week, cut out a silhouette and let your kid paint that silhouette.
3. Once it's dry, glue the painted silhouette on the blue sky.
4. Add stickers at your discretion. Remember, more is more.



If I had to do it again...
Absolutely! No regrets here. It was easy, laid-back, took 5-10 minutes a day. I just left the blue sky paper taped to my kitchen table between painting sessions, but then we have already established that my family cares more about crafts than a civilized dinner.


flight week recap

Highlight of Flight Week was definitely the bird feeding at the Woodland Park Zoo. 

Low point? Other than Eleanor the well-meaning docent, we really didn't have one. It was a fun week.

rainbow week

books


Pros:
- Awesomely teaches kids what happens when you mix colors, and seamlessly leads into a paint-mixing activity, if you're strong enough that day.
- Short and sweet. God bless children’s authors who understand the value of word economy.

Cons: 
- Those mice have red eyes and they are creepy as fuck. But I have a rodent thing. 



Pros: 
- Inspired Chicken to request Rainbow Stew for lunch

Cons: 
- Vegetable soup is not, in fact, rainbow colored.

DIS IS JUST BROWN.



Pros: 
- Rhythmic and fun to read
- Color photographs
- Covers a lot of veggies you don’t usually see in kid's books – kohlrabi, anyone?

Cons:
- None.


outings

Whole Foods
Taste the rainbow







Pros: 
Your kid is not going to be constipated tomorrow.

- Most Whole Foods markets have a little café where you can sit and taste your rainbow.

- You can buy groceries here.

Cons: 
- Hella cash money at Whole Foods.

- Any time you eat out with a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old, or both, you run the risk of having to apologize after your kid pelts a diner with a hunk of pineapple.

Pro Tips: 
- Bring something rainbow-colored to the grocery store to keep you both focused. "We've got something red and something orange. What else do we need?" I just drew lines on a paper.

- At Whole Foods, they have free fruit by customer service for the kids. So at least you don't have to buy a banana.

- Those little white condiment cups I snagged from a free sample spot in the store. I probably should have brought some Dixie cups from home.

Spray Park
Find a rainbow in the sprinkler spray


Pros: 
It’s really amazing when the kids spot an ACTUAL rainbow shimmering in the mist.

- You're at a motherfucking spray park. This is why summer was invented. Or maybe it's the other way around. Who can say. It's a chicken-and-the-egg thing.

Cons: 
The chances of them spotting an actual rainbow shimmering in the mist hover around 4%. The rainbows fade in and out. But to be honest, kids don’t care about rainbows when they’re at a motherfucking spray park.

You have to leave a motherfucking spray park. No child wants to leave a spray park, ever. So you will have to strip a soggy, pee-soaked swim diaper off of a cold, wet baby with the iron-clad defiance of a Kurdish freedom fighter and the jointless elasticity of a sea otter. Twice.


Car Wash 
Watch the rainbow soap help the car get nice and clean


Pros: 
- The children are strapped down.

- You get some actual grown-up shit done.

Cons: 
- You better pray there’s rainbow soap, or just don’t bring up the possibility of rainbow soap. Trust me, you don’t want to be locked in a steel box, having sold rainbow soap hard for the last hour, only to discover they’re just doing white soap today.

- I guess car washes can be terrifying for children? I don't get it. It’s just a loud, giant, whipping, rubber-strap-beating-wheel descending on the window right by their faces. Kids are dumb.


Cupcake Royale
We happened to be doing our Rainbow Week during Pride, 
so they had a rainbow cupcake called "The Gay." 
You could also hit an ice cream shop for rainbow sherbet.


Pros:
- You're at a motherfucking cupcake shop. 

Cons: 
- You better find somewhere to take cover once that sugar gets metabolized.

food

Rainbow cheerios
aka Fruit Loops
aka, if you bought them at Whole Foods during Taste the Rainbow Challenge, Cascadian Farm Organic Fruit Loops that cost $6 a box.

Rainbow fruit salad
Just regular fruit salad that has been brilliantly re-branded to be on-message for Rainbow Week. You're welcome.

Rainbow pasta with veggies
We bought this one from Amazon. It was not cheap. You can also make your own rainbow pasta with food coloring, if you're more ambitious than I am.

arts, crafts, activities

Basically your old baking-soda-vinegar-volcano, except it uses powdered citric acid rather than vinegar. Result? A slower but longer-lasting eruption. OMG, so fun. We drove plastic cars through the foam and called it a car wash. It was awesome.



Until the children started to say "ouch," and "Mommy it burns."



Yeah, if your kids have tiny cuts on their hands (and whose kid doesn't have dinged-up digits?) then this is basically like telling them to play in a cup of lemon juice.

EVERYBODY INTO THE BATH! NOW!

If I had to do it again... 
I wouldn't do it with other people's kids. When you're hosting a fun craft day at your house, "Mommy, it burns" is like #3 on the list of shit you really don't want to hear. And I'd check to see if my kid had open paper cuts first.


Rainbow Bouquet



1. Buy white flowers - we used carnations but roses are also popular on the internet.
2. Drop a few drops of food coloring into different vessels - we did 5. Chicken picked 4 good colors and then brown. Brown. OK. Whatever.
3. Put a white flower into each of the vessels that now has colored water in it.
4. Wait. Check the flowers periodically over the next few days - you'll start to see veins of color in the white petals. 



If I had to do it again...
Meh. It was cool for a second. And then I just had dead carnations on the windowsill for like 2 weeks. "Throw away dead flowers" ranks just above "make a dentist appointment" on my priority list. Which is to say, it is second from the very, very bottom of my priority list, until something starts to smell dead.

This looked really fun and easy.
We added way, way too much food coloring.
We made black glue discs of death.



If I had to do it again...
I wouldn't, until my kids were old enough to really just do one drop of food coloring. The key to crafts with this age (1 and 3) is you have to find things where more is more. The toddler years aren't known for being a time of restraint and subtlety.


Mixing paint colors

Definitely the big winner of the arts and crafts this week.
1. Make a "palette" of the three primary colors (red, yellow, blue)
2. Rolled out a big piece of paper. (We have one of the $5 rolls from IKEA)
3. Take a glob of one color and a glob of another color, and mix them together on the big piece of paper, to see what color you can make.



Chicken squealed "ooooh what's it gonna be???" as we stirred paints together. And once we were done mixing colors, we traded in our paintbrush for a cork and stamped circles all over the paper.

If I had to do it again...
I totally would, no changes, this was so fun. Chicken loved it because there were no real rules. We had no agenda. This was pure exploration.

Rainbow collage

OMG it was such a good idea.

What if we painted a rainbow at the beginning of the week, and found objects throughout the week that we could glue onto the different colors of the rainbow, as a reminder that the rainbow is all around us if we slow down and look around?



THIS RAINBOW COLLAGE IS A LIE.

I did 90% of it myself. Chicken painted the green. And I think he glued on one of those squeezy pouch caps. And then he ripped it off. And then I glued it back on.

It was me. I made it. I painted it. I collected the shit. I glued it on.

I made it all.

If I had to do it again...
I would do it with a different child. My kid doesn't seem to give a shit about cumulative long-form installation art. Clearly he needs more kale.


rainbow week recap

- Rainbow week is kind of a nice gimme week because you can talk about colors everywhere you go, and you don't have to do as many arts & crafts projects as we attempted.

In the car, you can play "I Spy Colors." Every book you read has a rainbow of colors in it somewhere.


Chicken made this rainbow car out of Mega Bloks for like 2 days straight.

- Gotta say, the best part of rainbow week was Friday morning's tremendous, about-damn-time, heart-busting, God-bless-America-ing decision by SCOTUS to recognize gay marriage in every state in our union.

Hell yes we made rainbow one love onesies


I'll drink to that.