Things I Never Thought I’d Have to Teach Another Person

When you become a parent, you know that one of the biggest parts of your job is going to be teaching your child.  You imagine singing the alphabet song, chatting about colors, sorting shapes; all those fun things that Gymboree charges you $700 per minute for.  Of course you imagine teaching life lessons too.  Talking to them about kindness, generosity and how to smile and nod at whatever asinine crap their boss says.  But there are some things I never thought I’d be teaching my kids.  You don’t realize just how many rules there are to follow in life until you have to teach ALL OF THEM to someone.  Rules like:

  1. You can’t just send all foods you don’t like hurtling to the ground at dinner.  You are not Andy Samberg.  Throwing stuff on the ground is totally NOT funny when you do it.
  2. Speaking of dinner, standing on your chair in order to bang on the light fixture with your fork?  Generally frowned upon in polite society.  And here at home too.  Cut it out.
  3. People don’t want you to lick their face.  Usually.  Err on the side of caution.  Don’t lick people.
  4. Nobody likes it when you put peas in their wine.  This is a universal truth.
  5. The same rule applies to golf balls and sangria.
  6. Actually, just stop putting shit in my drinks.  I hate it.
  7. It is not necessary to lock everyone out of your bathroom just because you’d like to use a different one for a change.  If you want to use another bathroom in this house please, feel free.  You don’t need to test our lock-picking skills in order to validate your choice of toilets.
  8. Speaking of toilets, rocks do not belong in toilets.  Ever.
  9. For the most part, people don’t like it when you “roar like a dragon” two inches from their face.  This is especially true of three year old girls.  Well, all girls really.
  10. It’s truly not necessary to hip-check everyone that you walk past in the hall.  I promise.
  11. The cat does like to play fetch.  The cat does not like to play sit-still-while-I practice-spitting-on-you.
  12. While we’re discussing the pets, I can assure you that you do not need to throw everything within a 50 yard radius into the koi pond.  The fish do not want: sippy cups, golf balls, water guns, baseball bats, sidewalk chalk, tree branches or that large spatula from the grill.  A handful of their food will make them quite happy.
  13. Swiping the cheese off someone’s pizza is a total douchebag move.  Seriously.  That shit will not fly.  People with less self-restraint than your mother will punch you in the face for that.  

The Big Reveal!

Our third baby is due in June.  We were looking for a fun way to celebrate this new little person and really liked the idea of a gender reveal party.  With two boys in the family already there was a lot of speculation about whether or not baby #3 might be a girl.  Suspense, opinionated friends and family and cute baby stuff; it seemed like the perfect recipe for a fun party.  And it was. While it was incredibly difficult to keep the baby’s gender a secret once we found out, it was so much fun surprising our friends and family with the exciting news.

I had planned to take tons of great pictures of the party.  I even remembered to charge the battery for my camera!  So of course I completely forgot to take pictures until the party was nearly over.  Luckily a sweet friend snapped some photos on her phone for me and I did manage to snap a few of the decor a little later in the evening.

The party was a blast.  We feel so lucky to have people in our lives who are as excited about our baby as we are.

Our “Baby Betting” table.  Guests could buy into a baby pool and fill out ballots with all their predictions.

Once the baby is born, the guest who predicted most accurately will win the pot!

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A little data to help guests make their predictions.

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This was one of the most creative ballots, submitted by a friend’s daughter.

Not sure which part is most intimidating, 14 pounds or 1 yard long!  Eek! Too funny!

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The Super Secret Cupcakes.

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Junebug wine.  Because I couldn’t resist the idea of coordinating the wine with the baby’s due date.  That’s normal, right?

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Pink icing inside the cupcakes = GIRL!!!!

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First Official baby girl outfit!

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Although, I may or may not have picked this up at Target as soon as humanly possible after our sonogram.  Pink!!

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Homemade taco seasoning as party favors.  Because TACOS.

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That bump is what nearly 22 weeks of baby + a LOT of artichoke dip looks like.

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In the Spirit of the Grammys

The Grammys are tonight and I’m really looking forward to getting upset about all the completely awful music that somehow manages to win awards.  Or more accurately, I’m looking forward to feeling superior to pretty much everyone in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences because I clearly have much better taste in music.  So in honor of this misguided pageantry, I’d like to submit a list of my current favorite songs.  It’s a pretty random list.  In fact, its a bit of a mess.  It has no rhyme or reason because VH1 is not the boss of me. I do what I want.  I’m kind of a rockstar like that.  A rebel, you might say.  Some people call me the space cowboy…unless that dates me, in which case they do not.

Without any proper theme, you may be wondering what exactly my criteria is for putting a song on this list.  I have a few simple guidelines that I followed to help me narrow things down:

1. I really like the song.

2. I listened to it within the past year.

3. It does not involve Taylor Swift, Nickelback or Nicki Minaj in any way, shape or form.

As you can see, I’m really quite discriminating.

So, please join me as we delve into my psyche iPod and find out what songs speak to the soul of this particular suburban SAHM.

  • Most Cathartic Song of the Year – Shake it Out by Florence & the Machine

This song is, of course, incredibly popular and gets tons of well-deserved airplay on the radio.  Honestly, Flo + the Machine is easily one of my favorite new bands.  However this song in particular really speaks to me and I’m totally guilty of putting it on repeat when I’m in the car alone.  I can’t exactly pinpoint the reason why but something about this song is truly like therapy for me.  You know, one of those songs that just gets in your gut and stirs things around.  I can – and have – sobbed like a little girl while listening to this song and come away from the experience feeling lighter and steadier.  I guess it’s really just about finding peace with yourself.  Not letting things bog you down.  Stripping down your ego and just Being without that relentless inner monologue that so often just leaves you feeling beat up. Bottom line, pay iTunes the $1.29 and indulge in some cheap therapy.

  • Just Because I Think its Beautiful – Thistle & Weeds by Mumford and Sons

I’m fairly certain this is my favorite Mumford song.  It’s not played on the radio and it is sans banjo.  Which, depending on your feelings about banjos, is either a good thing or a bad thing.  I happen to like Mumford’s riotous banjo riffs but this is a wonderful departure from them.  This song is haunting but has a little thread of hope running through it.  Listening to it feels like being in a lonely cottage in the middle of the desolate English countryside and its pouring rain outside, but there is a fire in the fireplace and maybe, just maybe, you’re in love.  Really, it’s just beautiful.  The strong drums and the feeling of sweeping drama…*sigh*  Gorgeous.

  •  Favorite New Booty-Shaking Song – Thrift Shop by Macklemore

Groovy.  Funky.  Silly.  Catchy.  What more could you want from a song about shopping at thrift stores?

  • My Inner Pop Star Needs Love Too – Oops…I did it Again by Britney Spears

I had totally and completely forgotten about this song until a few weeks ago.  I don’t think I’d even heard it in years.  It came on the radio one day and suddenly the sun was shining a little brighter and I needed knee socks and a frappuccino. Stat.  I immediately felt a little perkier and sassier.  Now, this next part is a little embarrassing but I think I should just come out and say it: I seriously think that I could hold my own in a sing-off against Britney Spears.  I wish I could say I was joking but I’m not. I actually believe this.  In a dance-off, I’d be totally fucked.  That bitch could take me down even if she had a peg-leg and a serious case of vertigo.  She also has WAY more charisma than me.  But if I’m singing her songs, rest assured, I am owning that shit.

  • Cutest Unrequited Love Song – Ho Hey by The Lumineers

This little ditty is just sounds so happy you kind of forget that the guy seems to be singing to someone who doesn’t return his feelings.  Also, if you want, you can just tune out the verses and sing the chorus gleefully to the love of your life.  He/She will love it.  Especially if you’re the kind of person who could beat Britney Spears in a sing-off.

  • Most Nostalgic – Sail Away by David Grey

This song is 10+ years old and it is one of my all-time favorites.  I’ve loved it for a long time but listening to it while in labor with my youngest son has given it an incredibly special place in my heart.  My iPod played this song on repeat for literally almost my entire labor.  I had my earbuds in and I tuned the world out.  It reminds me of the crazy journey that is giving birth: The excitement. The unbelievably hard work.  The creeping doubt that maybe you aren’t going to be able to do this followed by the spectacular triumph of realizing that you did it and oh my god it was so worth it.  The staggering amount of love that you never knew existed until that moment.  I’ve had this song on my mind a lot lately as I think about having our baby this summer.  I’m not sure what this baby’s song will be but I know I can’t wait to meet her and that life is going to be absolutely beautiful when I do.

 

Stuff and Things

In the past week I have:

  1. Used my neti pot approximately 7.2 MILLION times.
  2. Read a really stupid book.  It was free on Kindle.  You get what you pay for.
  3. Read a good book.
  4. Used at least four boxes of kleenex.
  5. Resolved to plant an entire grove of trees sometime in the near future.  Or at least pay someone to plant them.
  6. Checked out Piglet’s BIG Movie from the library.
  7. Watched Piglet’s BIG Movie 54 times.
  8. Taken out a hit on Piglet.
  9. Overheard Max singing the theme song from Piglet’s BIG Movie.
  10. Resolved to purchase Piglet’s BIG Movie at any cost as soon as possible.
  11. Pretended not to obsess about how I want to decorate the baby’s room if it’s a girl.
  12. Done at least 12 loads of laundry.  I even folded it.
  13. Put off vacuuming the house.
  14. Cooked some pretty random meals; quesadillas and lemon-parmesan roasted broccoli, anyone?
  15. Was told by Max, “Um, I’m going to go to my room now.  I need to lay on my bed and think about some things for a while.”
  16. Died of cuteness.
  17. Found out that “things” is preschooler-speak for “my birthday party”.  He wants cupcakes and 100 red dragons.
  18. Was amazed by how busy my littlest baby is.  Bumps and kicks like crazy.  Absofuckinglutely thrilling each and every time.
  19. Came across a new favorite word: gefiltefuck.
  20. Shook my chubby, pregnant ass to Thrift Shop by Macklemore.
  21. Fondly remembered how much hotter my ass-shaking was back when I could drink booze.
  22. Pretended not to obsess about our sonogram appointment next week.
  23. Bought a cute clutch at Target for $0.50.  Seriously.
  24. Spent a lot more than $0.50 on my new favorite eye shadow palette.  You get what you pay for.
  25. Bought a daring new lipstick.  It’s called Ballet.  Doesn’t sound intimidating but I had to take about 3 deep, cleansing breaths before I bought it.  It’s awesome.
  26. Watched Mason sleep on a mountain of stuffed animals.  Tried to etch the memory of his cute little body into my mind.  One day he’s going to be so big.
  27. Ate way more chocolate than normal.  WAY more.  I think all the chocolate is gone now.
  28. Drank a few green smoothies.  They were pretty good too.
  29. Was irritated that it was sunny and 70 degrees outside in January.  It takes a special talent to pull this off.
  30. Made a Chocolate-Whiskey Cake.  Considered drinking the batter.
  31. Listened to Max talk about a hundred different things and was floored by how smart he is.  Who taught him all these words?!  When did he get so grown up?
  32. Craved Mexican food.
  33. Had nachos brought to me from a specific restaurant three days in a row by my wonderful husband.
  34. Fell in love with my husband over and over again.  And not just because of the nachos.  Although those didn’t hurt.
  35. Wished there were more trees in my yard.  Or town.  Or Texas in general.  Why are there no trees?!  (This has nothing to do with #4)
  36. Cried.  Because.
  37. Thought some more about keeping my hair long when I’m old and totally grey.  I think I’m going to do it.
  38. Kept my nose out of someone else’s business.   It was more difficult than I like to admit.
  39. Had a dream involving beautiful beds hanging from trees.  It was gorgeous.  I wish you all could have seen it.  We could have lived there with my long, grey hair and it would have been amazing.
  40. Wondered and wondered who on earth is growing inside me right now. I hope we get along really well.
  41. Watched my little sister gleefully turn 25 years old.
  42. Watched my big sister do everything in her power to avoid even the slightest acknowledgment of her birthday.  But I’m pretty sure that clip I texted to her totally made her day.   Or at least six seconds of it.
  43. Had every meal I prepared overseen by a tiny, micromanaging wanna-be chef named Mason.  EVERY.  MEAL.
  44. Heard the word “penis” innumerable times.
  45. Disposed of a real spider without having a panic attack.
  46. Nearly destroyed the master bathroom after spotting a spider in the bathtub.  Turns out that one was fake.  Stupid fake fuckface.
  47. Experienced psychological whiplash when my kids took a three-hour nap one day followed by no nap at all the next.  Pretty sure that’s the sole reason Xanex was invented.
  48. Cuddled with my beautiful boys and my wonderful husband many, many times.
  49. Heard the words, “Hey Mom! You wanna see this fight?!” many, many times.
  50. Wondered daily how I got to be so unbelievably lucky in this life.

And Baby Makes Five

I think it’s about time for a completely pointless pregnancy post.  I haven’t really blogged about this pregnancy yet.  I think that’s largely because I’m not entirely sure what to say.  I mean, one on hand I’m pregnant and that sort of thing does take over your life to a certain extent.  No more self medicating relaxing with a bottle of wine at the end of the day.  No more steaming hot baths.  No more eating raw tuna while sky diving.  It’s really a lot of major lifestyle changes all at once.  On the other hand, I’m so busy with my two funny, crazy boys that it’s easy to forget what my body is doing until all of a sudden I’m ready to pass out at 7pm each night and wondering what the heck my problem is.  Oh right…it’s a fetus!   They really are demanding little creatures sometimes.  Allow me to explain in great detail.  Here’s pretty much how the first half of my pregnancy has gone:

Positive Pregnancy Test: YAY!!!!!!  Little Embryo is all sweetness, cuddles and daydreams.  Or so you think.

5 weeks – 10 weeks Pregnant: Oh, you thought you were going to wait 3 hours between meals?  Not unless you’d like to be slapped with a wave of nausea that would bring a burly Viking sailor to his knees.  Also, you’re only allowed to eat stale goldfish crackers while sitting in an easterly wind.  The crackers are fresh?  Dry Heaves!!  The wind is coming from the west?  You’re a moron for even trying to eat.  You think you might want saltines instead?  Too bad, you’re not in charge of your stomach anymore.  Your organs are traitors.  They’ve sold out to the power of the baby.

10 weeks – 14 weeks Pregnant: You can eat!  Food!  Real food!  But only certain food.  Not all food, of course.  The baby is still flexing his/her influential muscle, just to make sure everyone knows whose boss.  You can’t smell, touch, cook or even look at chicken but you will NEED to eat chicken fajitas with tons of guacamole on them immediately or you might die.  They must appear magically right when you want them or the deal is off.  Babies are thugs.

14 weeks – 18 weeks Pregnant: BOOBS.  Holy freaking boobage.  Go to bed at night as a happy C cup.  Wake up in the morning with painful, throbbing D cups.  Do not be fooled.  This is not a gift.  This is a total mind fuck.  Boobs should not be able to grow that fast but they DO.  Seems like a perk right?  Magic boobs!  Awesome!  Except for a few minor details: 1) They hurt like a sonofabitch.  2) Your boobs might look pretty sexy all on their own but perched up there above your is-that-a-baby-or-does-that-bitch-need-to-lay-off-the-bagels bump they just contribute to the overall awkwardness of your current physique.  3) All your bras are rendered useless.  And it hurts to wear them anyway.  So you stay home and wander around sore and braless – which is exactly as great as it sounds.  Especially when you have two and three year-old boys cannon balling themselves into your body throughout the day.  Yeah…Ouch.  Babies are devious.

18 weeks – 19 weeks Pregnant: Questions, Speculation and Clothes that don’t Freaking Fit.  Have we chosen a name for the baby yet?!  Nope!  We don’t have a clue who this baby is let alone what he/she should be called for his/her entire life.  Also, I’m a Taurus and my husband is a Leo.  To say that we both have strong opinions is putting it mildly.  Seriously.  Go put a bull and a lion in the same room and tell me how it goes.  Bottom line, it’s really a good thing that babies need to gestate for so long otherwise we’d be screwed.

Next up is the whole “boy or girl” question.  What’s funny about this one is how everyone has an opinion and NOBODY actually knows.  I can’t tell you how many people have told me the sex of my baby even though that information is yet to be discovered.  My favorite is when people start telling me that “statistically” my baby must be a…whatever.  During my first pregnancy the baby was definitely a girl.  Statistically it had to be a girl because my husband is the only boy in his family so we clearly weren’t going to be having a boy.  Then during my second pregnancy I was statistically guaranteed to have a girl because there was just no way on earth I could have two boys.  Well, two boys later apparently I’m now statistically certain to have another boy. (Are you sick of the word statistically yet?  Do you kind of want to punch me in the face?  Good.  Then I’ve made my point.)  The devilish glee people seem to feel when telling me this is honestly pretty shocking.  They’re so sure I want a girl yet they apparently have no problem dashing those dreams by smirking and saying, “You know it’s going to be a boy, right?”  Actually, no, I don’t.  I don’t know it’s going to be a boy.  I know it’s going to be a baby.  A human baby.  And that’s really all anyone knows at this point.  While I do think it would be fun to have a daughter, in all honesty, I’m a bit nervous about the idea!  I’m so used to life with my boys that the idea of adding a girl to the mix is a little strange.  However I’m sure it’s nothing that decorating a girly nursery and doing some long-awaited baby girl clothes shopping wouldn’t cure.

Finally, the clothing situation. Ugh.  UGH.  I’m still very much in the aforementioned “baby or bagels” phase and I just look…chubby.  It’s pretty depressing and borderline impossible to dress.  My regular clothes still fit, I just look fatter in them.  My maternity clothes are still a little big and maybe this baby IS a girl because suddenly I hate ALL OF THEM and I have NOTHING TO WEAR.  We’ve already seen how this baby can manipulate my opinions on food, maybe opinions on clothing are part of the deal too.  I don’t know.  Babies are crazy and their influence knows no bounds.

As of today we’re two weeks away from finding out the sex of our baby.  (Fingers crossed he/she isn’t shy about showing us the goods on ultrasound.  He/she is more than welcome to be shy about his genitalia afterwards though. In fact that would be ideal.)  We are so excited.  This has been a really great pregnancy so far.  A couple of weeks ago I started feeling the baby move and that is always amazing and reassuring.  Laying down in bed at night, being quiet and still and just waiting for those little bumps and kicks is so fun.  I love how the baby already shows a little spunk by kicking and bumping any time I rest things on my belly.  I deliberately prop my kindle up on my lower belly just to feel those bossy little kicks.  They make my heart happy.

Another thing that makes my heart happy?  This baby’s taste in food.  I told my bff that I think this baby might just be my favorite one yet because he/she has great taste in food – now that I’m allowed to eat.  This baby seems to want either Mexican, Chinese or Thai food at all times.  This works for me.  In a BIG way.  And while we’re on the topic here, can someone please explain to me why there is no tamale delivery service in Texas?  I feel fairly confident that Texans eat just as many tamales as they do pizzas.  We have pizza delivery.  WHERE ARE THE TAMALES?!?!?!

Chocolate Crackles and a Booze-less Holiday

So, uh…hey there.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  And even though I haven’t written in ages I’m pretty much just going to throw a recipe at you and bail.  I see no point in beating around the bush.  That’s exactly what’s going on right now.  You might as well know up front.  I like to think you appreciate my honesty here and that my status in your mind has just been bumped up from “Utterly Amazing” to “Seriously Effing Spectacular”…because who doesn’t love honesty, right?  Right?

No?  Is that not how this works?

Oh.  Well…oops!  Let’s just blame all this on my pregnancy, shall we?  Lazy blogging?  Classic pregnancy symptom.  Babies are notorious word filchers and it’s just impossible to write properly if you’ve got one living in your uterus.  Seriously.   Also, blaming crap on your pregnancy is a fundamental right.  There are so many lovely things just yanked from your life the minute you get pregnant: bourbon, clothing that fits, all the best cheeses, vodka, sushi, your previously perfect boobs, wine etc.  Really it’s just fair that you get a fabulous, inarguable scapegoat for the next nine months while you live your newly restricted life.  See, while you fetus-free folk are busy spiking your eggnog to the tune of Aunt Marge’s latest goiter update I’ll be enduring that shit SOBER.  When half the family wanders out to the back patio for a cigar and a scotch, I’ll be stuck inside – SOBER – listening to a million gory birth stories and being reminded of how everyone else only gained 12 pounds with their pregnancies and could fit into their skinny jeans 4 minutes after giving birth.  At which point I will likely smile and nod while eating a plateful of Chocolate Crackles.  Because nothing says “Fuck ALL YA’LL! “  I mean, “Merry Christmas!” like eating your weight in delicious sugar-coated chocolate.

Even if your holiday is going to be happily booze-filled, you should totally make these cookies.  Why?  Because they are EASY and seriously freaking delicious.  You can trust me on this.  I’m pregnant. I may not remember my phone number today but I know a good cookie when I see one.

 

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Chocolate Crackles

Ingredients:

4oz unsweetened chocolate

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup oil (I use coconut oil – works beautifully)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts but use whatever you like)

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat then add oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla and chopped nuts.  Then mix in flour, baking powder and salt.  Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (can be made a day ahead and chilled overnight if needed) then roll dough into 1 inch-ish balls.  Roll balls in powdered sugar and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to line mine with parchment but it’s not necessary)  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before removing them to cooling rack.  They will be too soft to move initially so don’t rush it.  Unless you need a bunch of destroyed cookies so that you have an excuse to eat them all yourself, then by all means, throw those suckers around and have at it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Might Want to Lawyer Up

It’s a perfectly nice summer morning in Texas; a balmy 94 degrees outside at 8am.  The kids are eating breakfast.  I decide to make a pot of foffee.  As I’m filling the carafe with water and scooping the grounds into the filter the questions begin…

Max: Hey Mama, what are you doing?

Me: I’m making some coffee.

Max: Are you making coffee?

Me: Yep!

Mason: You are making foffee, Mama?

Me: Yes, I am.

Max: Are you?

Mason: You are?!

Me: Yes…

Max: Is that coffee?

Me: (deep breath)…Yes…

Mason: What is that?

Me: It’s coffee.

Mason: It is?!

Max: IS it?

Me: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!  I WANT A LAWYER!!!

This little scenario is played out multiple times each day.  In fact, you could easily substitute words like: laundry, toast, vacuum or slightly-dirty-vodka-martini in the dialogue above and you’d have a pretty accurate idea of the conversations I have throughout the day.  This, my friends, is life with the Preschool Gestapo.  You think you’re doing good.  Living a peaceful, if not entirely quiet life.  Just minding your own business when suddenly you find yourself in the middle of an interrogation so expertly executed the CIA should be taking notes.  Hell, maybe they are.  In which case I think I’m owed some sort of monetary compensation.  It takes a lot of organic, free range whatever-the-fuck to fuel genius like this.

You always hear about how kids are so inquisitive, driving their parents crazy with all their questions. I remember babysitting for kids who were going through that “why” phase.

Why is the grass green?  Why do cats sleep so much?  Why the hell do people listen to Nicki Minaj?

 I don’t know kids.  The world is an effed up place.  I’m just here to collect $25 from your parents.  Do you have any chips?

See, nothing to it!  Surely I could field a few questions from my own amazing, beautiful, brilliant children one day.  As it turns out, I can!  I can absolutely answer a few questions.  I can even answer several questions…if they’re spread out over a reasonable amount of time, like oh say…a week or so.  But that’s not really how kids roll.  They’re not really into “subtlety” or “moderation”.  However they are very thorough so bonus points for that, I guess.

I have a theory that you could get a confession out of even the most hardened criminal if you sent preschoolers to conduct the questioning.  I’m pretty sure the ideal set-up would be one 4 year-old and two 3 year-olds.  The four year-old would have a bigger vocabulary and an additional year of question asking experience under their belt while the three year-olds would supply the brutally endless repetition.  It would be really cost-effective too.  I’m thinking it would take about seven minutes -tops- to get the suspects to break and the kids could easily be paid in cupcakes and stickers.

Case closed.

You’re welcome.