To Clean or Not To Clean Up After Your Kids in Someone Elses’s Home

I am going to backtrack on my life a bit and tell you more about our trip to Slidell before introducing the Topic Of The Day here at Not that we always have one, but this has been on my mind over the holiday break and I’d love to hear your input.

MrZ has a cousin that is just 2 weeks younger than NikkiZ. She is the thing NikkiZ looks forward to when we make the drive down to Louisiana. The first day we were there we went over to her house and played for a bit. Their house is big and clean and I was a little self-conscious about the ginormous mess NikkiZ was making. I did my best to try to pick up after her, and she “cleaned” up after herself some, but you know how that goes. When a four-year old cleans up after themselves? It just means the toys end up NOT in the floor. Who knows if they ever go back to where they came from. I’m not sure if she put stuff back in the right place and I didn’t see where it came from so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we left the place in a much worse state than when we arrived.

The next day we met at a place called The Wiggle Room. MUCH BETTER IDEA. This place was great…It’s like a giant play room in someone else’s house. Kitchen areas, blocks, costumes, all someone else’s responsibility to clean up. Which was my favorite part. We could only stay for about an hour so the admission was a little high, but if you can stay most of the day? 8 dollars isn’t too bad. They even have a real kitchen area to keep snacks for your kids so you can stay awhile if you choose. Both NikkiZ and AndyZ had a ball playing there with their cousin. And I had a ball not stressing out about messing up a family member’s home. Win Win!

That brings me to today’s topic. Cleaning Up After Your Kids In Someone Else’s Home.

For me this is something I make a judgment call about in each situation. I always encourage NikkiZ to pick up and put back toys when she’s playing at someone else’s home. But she’s four, and that doesn’t always go well. Sometimes I try to help but I don’t necessarily know where they go either, so I’m never sure if I’m creating more work for the Mom in question or not. In my home? I just ask that the mess stay in the kid’s room. Beyond that? I don’t care as long as no one gets hurt. But when I go to other people’s homes and let NikkiZ play? I just gauge my behavior based on that of the owner of the home. Are they cleaning up after the kids as they play? Then I get stressed about it and try to do the same. If they don’t even flinch as more and more toys enter then ring? Then I relax more.

What do you do? Do you clean up after your kid? Do you force them to clean up after themselves? I hate to turn a playdate into a chore fest, but I do remind NikkiZ to put stuff up after she’s done with it. Sometimes she does, but a lot of times? Her four-year old brain is too excited to do it. And I don’t necessarily want to be that Mom who’s constantly interrupting play to remind my child to clean up after themselves. What do you encourage in your own home? Does the playdate mess stress you out? Do you only invite children who can clean up after themselves adequately? What about the Mom helping clean up? Does that make you uncomfortable (it really does me) or are you grateful?

It’s a dilemma that I’m fairly certain I never handle right – if there even is a right.

Mirror room

Light Table

Manning the store


With her baby

Textures! TEXTURES!

OuchWhen we were in Slidell we were at MrZ’s Grandfather’s house most of the visit. He’s in the hospital (hence the trip) and the family was congregating at his house. This turned out to be better than I expected as I was concerned about there not being any toys to play with. Turns out? Poppy’s backyard was the best playground a kid could ask for. Because it was grassy, there was no dog poop (like there is at our house) and there were all sorts of treasures on the ground.

See…NikkiZ started out the day with a certain tunnel vision. She rubbed her uncle’s face early that morning, feeling his scruff, and said, “Do you know what that is? That’s a TEXTURE.” They’ve been talking about textures at school and exploring the building and the playgrounds for different textures. Once NikkiZ saw the plethora of different textures in Poppy’s backyard? She was hooked. She spent the day collecting pine cones, Magnolia seed pods and these things:

Poppy told me what these were and I’ve already forgotten. I’m smart.

She collected everything that had any sort of texture, put it all in a baggy and is all set to take it to school on Monday to show her teacher. That’s what makes the money we spend on preschool worth it. I just don’t have the skill set to make NikkiZ so excited about something (TEXTURES!) that she wants to explore her world. There’s a reason why some people are teachers and some are [insert random occupation here] – because it requires talent and skills most of us don’t possess.

Now…if she wants to get excited about Vampires and Werewolves? I’m totally her girl.

Go Back For Seconds For Me

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I’m sorry I crapped out on the whole NaBloPoMo thing. I’ll try to make up for it after Thanksgiving. There’s no point in trying now as the rest of the world country (I guess the world doesn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving does it? My brain hurts.) is doing the proper Thanksgiving thing: Spending time with family. I, on the other hand, am spending the day cleaning a 14-year old’s room. Since LilZ is out of town, it’s the perfect opportunity. I do this about 2 times a year. I scrub it from top to bottom. The rest of the year? It’s his responsibility. These periodic sterilizations make me feel less concerned about the possibility of a new species growing in that closet of his. So, while you’re eating turkey and laughing with loved ones, say a prayer for me as I enter into what could be a threatening environment.

From my family to yours: Happy Thanksgiving.


I Have A Blood Fuzziness Level of .19

(Way above the legal limit…if you should know.)

I made it. I went to the New Moon premiere last night. I go to a lot of midnight premieres and I always judge the movie based on whether or not there’s any regret the next morning. I can say – beyond a shadow of a doubt – there is NO REGRET. This has been a long and busy and exhausting week. Put aside the fact that I have been fighting some sort of hayfever/cold thing – I’ve also been trying to accomplish a lot of prep before my family comes in town for Thanksgiving and before I leave for a few days. I’m glad I’ve thought enough to write my NaBloPoMo entries in advance or every entry this week would have simply said, “Sneezing. Sick. Can’t Breathe. Tired. The End.” On top of that, We’ve also had soccer games, theater rehearsals, and other relatively normal weekly obligations. I’m torn between being exhausted from sneezing nineteen million times in 12 minutes, sleeping only 3 hours last night, and just the general OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS SO BUSY exhaustion that we all feel this time of year.

Needless to say? I’m a little loopy this morning. I was going to take some cold medicine so I can try to fight the symptoms while I work, but I’m afraid the loopy factor will get out of control then. I may change my mind later but for right now? I’d just like exhaustion to be making my head fuzzy…not medication.

Now – what we’ve all been waiting for – My Non-Spoilery Comments On New Moon

  • I love Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black. I mean – I really hoped I’d love him in the role. He worked so hard to keep it and he seems so dedicated to it. But I really loved him. And he and Kristen Steward have great chemistry together. Their scenes just felt so honest.
  • The characters of Mike and Jessica were great for the little screen time they had. They really made the most of their few minutes of the spotlight. I loved them.
  • I liked the score of Twilight better…sometimes the music distracted me from a scene instead of like in Twilight when it just enhanced it.
  • Alice had the most HIDEOUS outfit on during the Italy scenes. All I kept thinking was that if I had grandmother’s still alive? They’d probably be wearing it. And I’m not talking just about the scarf/gloves to hide her from the sun…I’m talking the shirt/smock/dress thing. Man…I hated that.
  • Jasper’s hair. I hated that too. I knew I’d hate it because I’ve hated it since the first viewing of the birthday party scene. It’s like they hot-rolled it. And maybe frosted it. I think it reminds me of the 1980s soccer Mom look. He is such a good looking guy in real life..someone in the costume/hair/makeup department must truly hate him.
  • The Super Fast special effects were much better this time. Actually…relatively speaking? They were all better. I feel like we’re still short a bit on some of the tricks but overall? Much better.

All in all? I loved it. And I’m going to post my SPOILERY comments after the jump –

Continue reading

Bullets Of Random Thoughts That Might Indicate I’m Insane

  • You know what I want? One of those squiggly clear headphone thingies that these law enforcement guys on TV wear. I think Secret Service wears them too. I totally want one just to wear around to make people wonder who’s talking to me in my ear and if I’m someone super awesome and powerful. I think this would be especially awesome as I make funny faces to my son in the grocery cart at Publix. Where can I get one of those things? And if I sometimes put my finger to my ear and spoke to my wrist about “The Target” – would that freak people out?
  • I finally got rid of two pairs of Birkenstocks I’ve had for over 10 years. They finally fell apart beyond the point of repair or rescue. I cried as I disposed of them. They’ve seen me through many phase of my life. They had been with me longer than MrZ has been. Saying goodbye to them was heartbreaking. I become very attached to my shoes.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about chex mix. And wondering…can you make something similar (obviously not called chex mix) but out of yummy unhealthy ingredients and cereals? Like stuff with marshmallows! Or fruit loops! Man. That would be good. I can’t figure out how to make it work, though. So I guess I’ll just go on eating it straight from the box with my hands instead of trying to find a way to make it into a legitimate snack.
  • You know what I love about the holiday season? Snowmen. Snowmen are my favorite holiday icon/symbol. I think that’s because we rarely ever see snow around here. I love snowglobes for the same reason. We used to have snow many moons ago, but not so much any more. Hence my infatuation with anything snow-related iconography. My point? I kinda want one of those giant inflatable snowmen to put in my front yard. Just thought I’d let you know.