IMG_0305“I sure hope there aren’t any spiders. There probably are. I sure hope they don’t bite me…but they probably will. When they bite me I hope it’s the Spider-Man spider and it turns me into Spider-Man.”

-my son, dreaming big on a nature walk

Dear Darling Children: Don’t Swim in the Ocean

IMG_8227Dear Darling Children,

You have asked me 7 times now since we moved to Florida if we could go to the beach.  I fear you are too young for me to give you the true answer as to why I don’t enjoy going, but I feel comfortable writing the reasons here since by the time you’re able to figure out how to navigate the internet you’ll be at least…7…8…when are children learning how to navigate the internet these days?

Hm. If you aren’t yet 7 years old, don’t read this post.

One day, about 6 years ago, in response to a question about accompanying me to the beach, a friend of mine said:

“Um…I NEVER swim in the ocean.  Think of all the dead bodies in there from all the shipwrecks and shark attacks and stuff.  Gross.  No way, not gonna do it.”

While her response was a bit tackily phrased, it changed my entire world, not to mention my views on The Discovery Channel.  This was something I had never even thought of before, something so obvious and yet…not.  Because who likes thinking about death?  Obviously not a classy lady like me.  I’m no undertaker or a sullen teenager or a politically crazed voter who so wanted Jeb Bush to be president but now has to come to terms with the fact that it will never happen and posts angrily about it on Twitter with the hashtags “whygodwhy” “movingtocanada” and “byebyeamerica”.

No, Darling Children, I don’t constantly think about death.

But after my friend shared her views on human decomposition in bodies of water, I do think about it whenever I’m near the ocean.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future lives is:

***Don’t Go in the Ocean***

*Swim in highly chlorinated pools: I realize that horrifying creatures like sharks and alligators do occasionally meander into a random pool, but the chances of you being eaten alive in a pool are still significantly slimmer than if you were swimming in the ocean.  Or a lake.  The chorine will kill off any bacteria that could have otherwise festered itself into an open wound.  While your eyes may burn due to all the chemicals, it will be far less aggravating in the long term than losing a leg to a Great White or accidentally snorting dead fish & human particles up your nose.


*Always swim with a buddy:  This isn’t something you should only do as a child. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know who have been seriously injured or killed because they went swimming alone in the ocean.  At least 2, but I’m terrible at keeping in touch with old friends so it could potentially be 500. 95% of the ocean is unexplored territory.  If a mutant alien type shark/care bear hybrid creature rose from the deep spitting tiny puppies at us, we shouldn’t be surprised because NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT IS REALLY DOWN THERE!  Don’t be arrogant and assume you know all there is to know. Swim with a buddy, so when you make the inevitable decision to frolic in the ocean that buddy can come and let me know that you were carried away by pirates and I shouldn’t wait on you for dinner.

…and lastly…

*Don’t ever go skinny dipping: You’ll die. Watch Jaws or any other ocean centric C- or below movie to brush up on the statistics.

Have fun with your life, Darling Children. Live it to the fullest.

Be adventurous! Be brave! Be daring! Be fearless!

But don’t be a fool.

Stay out of the ocean.

I love you, my little darlings.





Dear Darling Children: Learn to Cook


Dear Darling Children,


Today you woke me up at 5:45 am and asked me to make you cinnamon toast.  I said no and you started sobbing uncontrollably, not so much because of the toast situation but because YOU REFUSE TO SLEEP UNTIL A NORMAL HOUR AND ARE EXHAUSTED SO YOU CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING!

Stop it.

Stop waking me up and immediately asking me to make you GOURMET MEALS!

You ran back to your room, slamming your door in righteous anger and waking up your sister in the process.  Thus, my day started off badly and I was unable to get myself out of the darkest of places and into a mood appropriate for the promised park excursion.

So we didn’t go to the park.  Partly because of my mood, partly because it started storming and I didn’t want to ruin my shoes or risk either of you getting pneumonia. Instead we went to Target to get cleaning products.

I let you con me into getting the humongous cart you deem “super fun” so you and your sister could sit next to one another.


While your sister hit you in your left eye repeatedly for no reason other than the fact that she is an angry little toddler, I stared longingly at the Starbucks conveniently located at the front entrance of Target, wishing that it was instead a wine bar with an attached daycare.

Everyone left Target frustrated and a little twitchy.

All of this could have been avoided if you only knew how to cook for yourself.  Unfortunately, at 4 years old you are a little bit on the short side and your common sense skills haven’t quite kicked in yet, which would make figuring out the proper sugar to cinnamon ratio a bit difficult.

One day you’ll learn.  Hopefully soon.  Or perhaps you’ll learn to like cereal.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future life, is…


*Have at least one meal you do well.  This is all you need and is more than enough to fool a potential life partner into thinking you’re far more talented in the kitchen than you really are.  I speak from experience.


*Always keep fresh fruit in the house.  This not only gives visitors the assumption that you live a healthy lifestyle, it also helps you actually live a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t keep frosting filled chips a’hoy cookies in the house, you can’t eat them.  I tell myself this on a daily basis and have so far been mildly successful at not purchasing those delicious cookies.  There is absolutely no proof that people who live a healthy lifestyle always outlive those that live a grossly unhealthy lifestyle, so still err on the side of caution when dared to sky dive or swim in the ocean. Eating fruit doesn’t make you a superhero, no matter what numerous random marketing ploys may suggest.

…and lastly…

*Don’t eat fruit chews or gummy candies.  These will kill you.

I did eventually make you cinnamon toast.  I’m not a total monster.  At first there was instantaneous regret when the sugar seeped into your brain and turned you into a psychotic hyped up crazy person.  Then you ran up to me with wild hair and socks on your hands in the middle of your sugar & cinnamon induced puppet show and sweetly said…

“Thumbs up for stinky socks, Mother.  Thanks for the cinnamon toast, and MAYBE you should buy me some gloves or puppets so I don’t have to wear old stinky socks on my hands anymore…”

…why does my heart just melt with you?

At what age will cuteness no longer be a factor in how long I remain irritated?

I hope the age is 97, but common sense tells me it’s probably going to be 12 or 13.

Such is life.

Learn to cook. It will make you a more accomplished person and of great use to me when I’m old & feeble and can no longer drive myself to McDonalds.

I love you, my little darlings.