If you’re going to surf in toilet water, make sure you’re naked.

We live with one of the roughest, toughest  five-year-old guys you could ever hope to meet. Since the day he could walk, he’s been tearing apart everything he comes in contact with. It isn’t uncommon for him to enter a room and 3.2 minutes later leave that same room with nothing but a light fixture barely hanging on by its electrical wires and a trail of devastation looming behind. He’s one Tough Guy.

This kid is built like a Mack truck and charged with enough energy to light up half the houses on the Eastern seaboard. We frequently yell his middle name in conjunction with his first name, and I’m not sure that’s ever a good sign. Tough Guy makes us all laugh. Hysterically. Usually right as punishment needs to be doled out.

“Look at me,” I say, in a stern voice. And he looks. Then opens his eyes as wide as they can go before bugging-out and popping out of his face. We have a stare down. I see his fuzzy brown head and his dark chocolate eyes jump out of their sockets while the rest of his face remains perfectly still. I force myself to keep a straight face. I speak slowly.

“Listen to me, you canno-

“Whooooooooooooooooooooooooo!,” he tips his head back and howls loudly at the ceiling. I bite my lips to keep from smiling.

His head lowers back down into the stare-down.

“I’m…a…train,” he enunciates in a soft, low, serious voice. He stares back again with a poker face. He sees me breaking. He knows I’m going to lose it, and he wields his power over me. It comes down to a battle of wills. I’m the loser.

In case you are the one person on this planet who has never held a conversation with a five year old boy, let me tell you something: five-year-old boys have no concept of reality, which is why they are so amusing. They also seem to lack any concept of time, which is why they have zero inhibitions about parading into your bedroom at the crack of 0:dark-30 to announce that someone has unjustly mistreated them in some various way. Tough Guy recently entered our room before dawn and woke us from a deep, glorious sleep to offer such information.

“Mom” he whined loudly from the foot of my bed, “[Humdinger] punched me in the faaaaaaace.  Can I have cereal?”

Tough Guy never fails to catch us off guard. The other day he came downstairs after bedtime and said from the stairway, “My lamp broke.”

“Oh?” I asked. “You mean the light bulb?”

“Glass can break.” He said with a defensive, informative tone, as if I had never heard such a thing. I walked upstairs and found the broken bulb and all it’s pieces piled neatly right outside my bedroom door.

Now, pause here and insert into your memory the scene from “Home Alone” where the burglar walks barefooted across broken glass bulbs. That was nearly me- howling, hopping and holding back a string of expletives as foam spewed forth from my mouth. There’s a pretty picture.

Mr. Diaz and I have these moments; moments when we are blissfully unaware of the catastrophe that Tough Guy is involved in just several yards away. Moments where we are sitting happily on the sofa in a cocoon of lovely ignorance, knocking back dark chocolate and peanut butter and pretending, that for a moment, the kids are accounted for and nobody is sneaking outside to burn a petrified raccoon carcass in the backyard.

We had one of those moments not long ago.

There we were, watching television after a long hard day. We were tired. We were happy. We were oblivious.

Tough Guy casually strolled into the living room without a single stitch of clothing, looked straight at us, and announced sincerely “I’d rather use a clean bathroom.” He padded off up the stairs. A second later we heard toilet water rushing down the hallway at light speed right toward us. Tough Guy had stuffed an entire roll of toilet paper down the pot, flushed multiple times, then tried to clean up on his own by throwing all the clean laundry he could find onto the rushing river of pee water. He even took off his own clothes and body surfed.

I’ve lamented to my friends over these short years about Tough Guy’s brilliance, his antics and his ability to escape from any locked area. “How will I survive?” I’ve cried, “I can’t keep him anywhere! He always escapes!”
“Don’t worry,” my friends have comforted, “God can use his abilities one day for something positive…like escaping from an overseas prison.” Fabulous. Good to know the lock-picking and computer hacking may pay off for all of us one day.

I sure don’t love the wreckage Tough Guy makes. I don’t love doing CPR on a squirrel after he’s pelted it with a football. I don’t love finding my favorite book floating like a raft in the bathroom sink.  I don’t love learning that there’s a ham sandwich and yesterday’s underpants shoved down the air-vent hole.

But I really do love my very Tough Guy. He’s my favorite.

Tough Guy provides this household with bountiful amounts of comedic relief, which almost makes up for the catastrophes he unwittingly creates. Plus, he’s simply off the charts on the adorable-o-meter.

And that is why he’s still allowed to live here.

 

I might take the Vodka.

It’s been with absolute dismay that I peer into the mirror and see small silvery hairs growing out of barren places on my scalp. These minuscule hairs are growing in where strong, vibrant, dark hair used to be, but is no longer. My luscious, thick hair began falling out by the handful a few months ago after hormone fluctuations from being postpartum.

Gray hair is now growing on my very sparse head in small batches of light colored fuzz.

I should be happy about the gray fuzz, because the alternative is complete baldness, and nobody wants that. Unless it’s baldness on my legs, and if that’s an option, show me where to sign up.

See this?!” I whine to Mr. Diaz as I part my bangs back and lean my head down toward him. “You can see my scalp! I’m BALDING! My beauty is ending and I’m in agony, because I’m far too young to have a head like a buzzard!”

My husband spends a whole half-of-a nanosecond looking me over and says he has no idea what I’m talking about. He declares I’m not bald(ish), nor do I have a small army of grays invading my head. Well, I don’t believe him for a second. I’ve seen the evidence. I know that he’s lying so I’ll shut up and he can go back to watching football.

You never can tell how you’ll react to certain situations until you’re in them. I admit that the thought of losing my hair has me desiring to hide in a closet and eat even more dark chocolate than normal.

Every night, with as much hope as NASA has of discovering life on Mars, I investigate my head using an extra-zoom mirror, super-slow motion, and gently comb through the existing hair in search of new growth. Honestly, I never thought I’d be in a position where I would suddenly care immensely about hair follicles. I’ve even found myself praying, of all the ridiculous things; actually pleading, “Please God, PULEEZEE help my hair grow back up here…” As if God doesn’t have far more important things to do than pay attention to my vanity and my glabrous buzzard head.

I’ve been searching out solutions on my own. It never ceases to amaze me what I can learn from Google. Just yesterday I Googled, “How to treat a bald spot,” and I was overwhelmed by the amount of recommended information:

Waxes. Scalp massages. Egg concoctions that soak into the scalp. Hanging upside down. Slapping the head. Essential oils. Olive oils. Coconut oils. Enough oils and grease to incite the permanent look of a vagrant. Salt scrubs. Sugar scrubs. Even Vodka. Though, I’m not sure Vodka is for a rub as much as it’s for drinking ahead of time to gain the courage to slap a dozen eggs across your head and wear a plastic bag around for 48 hours.

You wouldn’t believe the “recommended treatment” lists I’ve sorted through of absurd growth-stimulating suggestions. It has been the education I never wanted. I read through editorials with snickers, sighs and even outright bewilderment. “Where’s the punch line?” I ask as I scroll down through preposterous yet detailed instructions.

My mind flashes back to Ricky Ricardo with tinfoil on his scalp. Rob Petrie with his oil and vinegar salad-dressing-soaked head. Suddenly every character I’ve ever seen on TV, trying to cure baldness, sails through my memory.

But my personal favorite was the Googled suggestion of a cayenne pepper scalp concoction that I promise will indeed solve anyone’s baldness complex. Because it’s guaranteed to blind you after it drips into your eyes and you’ll never have to see your own balding head again. Problem solved. The End.

All this to say, I’m cutting off a large amount of (what’s left of) my hair this coming Monday. Hopefully the little grey baby hairs won’t be so intimidated and will work to catch up to the rest of their comrades. I’m not entirely certain of the road I will take to stimulate hair growth and resuscitate the hibernating follicles that are sitting up-top sneering at me. The harsh reality is that I may end up hoping for Rogaine in my stocking. If I really get desperate enough, I may try some oils and even a sugar scrub.

Or, I could just end up getting the Vodka. At least that one serves a dual purpose.

It just might be worth a shot.

The Emperor has no airplanes!

So here’s how it went down:

It was my Mother-in-law’s idea. “Let’s sit at the airfield and watch all the airplanes.”

We were totally alone as we laid out our bedraggled kept-in-the-trunk-blankets and sat down to observe…uh…whatever we thought was going to happen. When you spontaneously unload seven children out of the van to sit at an airfield, you expect something spectacular. Or at least mildly amusing. I’m sad to inform you that it was neither.

Oh, there were plenty of large jet planes to look at. They just happened to be completely stationary. Unmoving. A grand total of two small planes landed and took off. And if I’m honest, I’m pretty sure it was the exact same plane twice. Nevertheless, the kids waved and yelled and jumped around and clapped their sticky hands, and hollered out their love to the sky. 

Then it happened. 

Because we are a huge (ahem, and loud) group, and because our dear children insist on creating chaotic amounts of fun wherever we go, other people driving by thought something spectacular was happening at the airport. 

And so they pulled over. 

And got out of their cars. 

And walked up the hill and stood eagerly with tripod cameras ready to snap up pictures of something FABULOUS.

Mr. Diaz mumbled “Oh good, we aren’t the only idiots out here.” 

I have to point out that he said this while draped in a blue Aztec patterned towel, which the adults and older children were wearing across their shoulders like shawls because none of us thought to bring coats or jackets. That’s how we roll. We make DO when our spontaneity overrules our common sense.

Several car-loads of expectant onlookers came. 

While our children paraded around laughing and pointing at imaginary flying machines, hopeful observers parked and walked up the hill toward us to watch all the airplanes. “Do you see the emperor’s new clothes?!” they asked one another.

Eventually, someone yelled “The emperor has no clothes!” and half an hour later people clued in that there were NO airplanes either landing or taking off, and with disappointed looks, they sauntered back to their cars with empty cameras and sad hearts. 

As for us, we just kept sitting, (because that’s what you do when you’re old and tired) watching our kids roll down the grassy hills until they smacked face-first into the chain-link fences, and running and jumping and laughing in the fresh air. We stayed until we could safely say all children were exhausted. Then we loaded up the party bus and headed home. 

We brought home all the towels-turned-coats, some memories, and several gnarly grass stains. Thank God for Resolve Stain Remover.

I’m sure we will find ourselves back at the airfield again one day soon. If you ever want to join us, feel free. Just don’t show us up by coming with actual coats. Because if you’re ever in the mood to join our Red-nex-ican ho-down, you’d better arrive as ill-prepared as the rest of us.

I’ll throw several more hideous towels into the back of the van, just for you to wear on such an occasion.

You’re welcome.

Dear glamorous department store e-mailers, I don’t want your “LIMITED TIME OFFER!”

Today’s marketing email came from Nordstrom. Apparently I’m on a list of people they believe would like to buy a $200 handbag the size of a small envelope. This “bag” is designed to only hold my lip gloss, my phone, a debit card and my ID. “Perfect for a night on the town” the ad promised.

They know me so well.

I frequently get out for a night “on the town.” In fact, I often don my high heels, my little black dress and my fancy envelope-sized purse, whose cost could rival the commerce of a small nation. I go to expensive, swanky restaurants with soft music and dim lighting and sip martinis with olives while my lipgloss sparkles in the candlelight. How did they know?

After dark, I waltz through the city streets and laugh with girlfriends as we traipse across the square in faux fur capes and sit in elegant lounges where jazz bands wail out the blues.

Or, those could all be outright lies.

In all honesty, I haven’t left the house with anything smaller than a large suitcase since my first child was born. And, I remain doubtful that tall leather heels would look good with my denim jumpers and bird-house-patterned blouses. (That’s a little homeschool humor for you.)

I’ve tried to unsubscribe from all the upscale department store email campaigns, but for some reason they keep finding me.

They have the wrong girl.

I need to be getting emails from marketers selling blocks of time called “Silence in a lovely, dark room” or “Dark chocolate buffet and a spa tub.”  “A Clean kitchen and nobody else is home.” Where are those emails?

Dear glamorous, sophisticated department store e-mailers,
I’m a mom. And unless your “bag” can hold 32 library books, size 4 diapers, a glue gun, a pair of pliers, underpants and a peanut butter sandwich, I don’t want it. So, a quick word of advice: If you intend to advertise to moms, you ought to consider selling “8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.”  That’s where your money is, folks.  As moms, we need a night of sleep far more than a night on the town.

Stick that idea in your handbag and think it over.