puppy or toddler

It’s time for everyone’s favorite game show… Puppy or Toddler!

Puppy or Toddler?

Hello, folks, I’m your host, Alan Finchmore, and this is Puppy or Toddler, the game show where you try to guess whether the named behavior is that of a puppy or a toddler. It’s harder than you’d think!

Our three contestants are ready to go, so let’s get started with our first question…

Host: Who ripped up tissues and spread them all over the house while I took a shower this morning? Contestant #2?

Contestant #2: The puppy!

Host: Sorry, you are incorrect — that was the toddler, though I’m sure the puppy would have helped if he could. Next question! Who regularly picks up random stuff off the ground and chews on it — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #3: Uh, the puppy?

Host: I’m sorry, that is incorrect — the answer we were looking for was, “the toddler”. Good thing she’s had her tetanus shot, am I right folks? Hah-hah! Moving on! Last night, who woke up at 11 p.m. and howled in her bed, loud enough to wake up the neighborhood — puppy or toddler? Contestant #1?

Contestant #1: What is “the puppy”, Alan!

Host: Relax, Contestant #1, this isn’t Jeopardy. And I’m sorry, that is wrong. The correct answer is “both of them, at the same time.” Wow, you guys really suck at this – hah-hah! OK, next question: Who ate a piece of three-day-old cheddar found underneath the couch — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #1: Oh, gross. It’s gotta be the puppy, right?

Host: Sorry, no, that was actually the preschooler. Trick question, hah-hah! She should know better, amirite? Oh well. Let’s play again: Who regularly gets tangled in her leash during her morning walk — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #2: Umm… I hope it’s the puppy.

Host: I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. Hah-hah, just kidding! Who would put a leash on a toddler? That’s crazytalk! Yes, Contestant #2, you’re correct! Next question: Who is most likely to play with the Ms. Princess Wets-her-Pants doll — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #1: The toddler?

Host: Oooh, so close, it’s actually the puppy… the toddler’s favorite toy is a Kong full of peanut butter. Sorry. On to our next question: Who peed on the kitchen floor and tracked it through the house — puppy or toddler?

Contestant #2: Uhh… the toddler?

Host: Correct! You’re catching on! Alas, it seems we’ve run out of time. Looking at the final score, congratulations, Contestant #2 — you’ve won Puppy or Toddler! What’s her prize, Jim?
Announcer: Congratulations, Contestant #2! You’ve won your choice of… a puppy or a toddler!

Contestant #2: Umm, I think I’ll take the puppy, Alan.

Host: Excellent choice, excellent! Well, that’s all for today, folks! We’ll see you next time on Puppy or Toddler, the game show that doubles as birth control!

Don’t forget to read to your puppies, and have your toddlers spayed or neutered. Have a good night!

how to make a cupcake costume the lazy way (aka no-sew)

(If you’re looking for actual instructions, you may want to click this link.)

Ellie's cupcake costume (licking the spoon)I have this annoying aversion to buying Halloween costumes.

Annoying, because that puts the burden of effort on me to make something, since the kids are too young to make their own.

Annoying, because I will spend just as much (if not more) on supplies to make said costumes than I would on a mass-manufactured, made-in-China number.

Annoying, because the kids could care less about the costume as long as they get candy.

In other words, this is a neurosis of my own making, and I know it.

Unfortunately for this neurosis, I don’t sew. I don’t even craft, when it comes down to it. Last year I basically glued some felt onto plain-color clothes and that worked.

Side note: Ellie kept telling everyone I was going to crochet a Halloween costume this year — not only for her, but for Gwen, myself, and Tim. I’ve never crocheted in my life, but I’m glad she still has that kind of faith in me.

Originally, Ellie wanted to go as Rapunzel from Tangled, and I was thisclose to buying the costume dress and calling it good. But then she asked if Gwen could go as Pascal, which started a frustrating chain of events that led to a new plan: Ellie and Gwen would both go as cupcakes, and I would make the costumes.

I have a tendency to approach these things full speed, head-on, with little planning and big expectations. Anyone remember my infamous gingerbread house experiment?

So, here’s how you, too, can make an adorable cupcake costume the lazy way, no sewing required. I can’t promise your kid will still talk to you when this is done, though.

How to make a cupcake costume, sanity not included

Gwen's costume from the front1) Don’t use a pattern — that would make too much sense. No, just take rough measurements of your kids while they’re squirming around — even better if they’re naked and coated in Crisco — and follow the detailed instructions that sound so simple in your head.

2) Buy fleece fabric at the store. Eyeball it, because you’re not using a pattern, so you don’t know how much you actually need. You have the money, why not waste it?

2a) Buy fancy, $9-a-tube fabric glue at the store, after being assured by the saleslady it will work. Get it home, realize it takes 24 hours to dry — screw that. Plug in the trusty glue gun.

2b) Also buy scissors, since you don’t have any that are sharp enough to cut through tissue paper, let alone fleece.

3) Attempt the hat design first, because it’s simple, in theory. Overcomplicate it by cutting out a series of isosceles triangles and spend an hour and a half gluing them together. Realize later you could have Googled “no-sew fleece hat” and been done in ten minutes. You barely have enough fabric for the second hat now. Feck.

4) Move on to the frosting part. Don’t make the smaller, easier infant costume first — that would be silly! Go big! So big, in fact, that you size the costume for a ten-year-old instead of a three-year-old!

5) Experiment with sizing. Bully your three-year-old into trying on multiple variations of the frosting to get the measurements right. If you have difficulty with this, bribe her with TV and candy.

Gwen's cupcake costume from the back6) Using a large needle, thread yarn through the outer edge of the cupcake frosting to gather it. Yarn will break and fray after you’ve spent half an hour with this. At this point, your significant other may want to bring the children upstairs, “until it’s safe to be around Mama again.”

7) Brilliance ensues. Substitute the frayed yarn for a spare shoelace! You are a crafting genius! Children are allowed to return to the room, Mama no longer a threat.

8) Cut out sprinkle shapes from colored pieces of felt and hot-glue them to the surface of the cupcake. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE YOUR CHILD IS WEARING THE COSTUME. Especially if she’s still coated in Crisco. Ahem.

9) Realize the frosting piece is stupidly huge. Cut it back to a manageable size, re-thread the shoelace for the third time.

10) Cut out a rectangle from the brown fleece, and poke holes along the top. Realize you have to re-thread the shoelace for the fourth time to connect the frosting and the base. Cry.

11) Put it all together. Force your child to try it on “just one more time.” (You may have to promise her a pony.) Put $20 in the therapy jar for good measure.

12) Step back. OMFG it looks like a cupcake! You did it! Now, where is the awards committee? What do you mean there isn’t an awards committee?!? Disappointed.

13) Realize this took five hours and you still need to make another costume. Cry.

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a gwen update

Someone turned two months old a few days ago, and wow, where did the time go? I thought it moved fast with Ellie, but with Gwen we appear to have created a full-fledged rip in the space/time continuum. Sorry if anyone’s stuff got sucked into a black hole as a result–but just look at this face! Totally worth it, right?!?

Happy baby

Seriously, I would have ten more kids if I didn’t have to carry them for nine months and if it was guaranteed they’d be as easy-going as our Guinevere. We’ve been lucky with both our girls (good sleepers!) but Gwen’s temperament reaches a whole new level of cool.

She’s growing like a weed. At her last appointment she measured 25 inches long–in case you’re not familiar with average infant measurements, that translates to really freakin’ long. This explains why her 3-6 month sleepers are getting snug at the feet. Obviously it’s too early to tell if this will have any impact on her full-grown height, but I think someone has a future in basketball.

Many people say she’s starting to look like me, but I don’t see it. What I do see is Ellie–lots and lots of her. It’s almost like we have twins, but three years apart:

Ellie, two months oldGwen, two months

What they share in similarity they make up for in different personalities–Gwen is more mellow, Ellie, more active; Gwen is talkative, Ellie, cuddly; Ellie hammed it up for the camera (even as a baby!) but Gwen doesn’t quite know what to make of it. I have to remind myself not to compare them too much, because doing so serves no useful purpose (and could get me in trouble when they’re old enough to call me out on it.)

Ellie adores “her baby” (as she calls her) and it’s becoming apparent that Gwen adores her “big sissa” just as much. She watches Ellie dance and sing and bounce around, taking it all in with rapt attention, rewarding Ellie’s antics with big grins and coos. I can only imagine the trouble we’ll be in when Gwen can keep up with her…

… yeah, we’re screwed. But at least she’s cute. ;)