What Google Thinks I Wrote About This Year

Well, here we are at the end of the year. I was trying to think of a way to wrap up the year in a poignant yet hilarious way. Naturally that didn’t happen. So I decided that I’d just let Google do it for me. (Google search terms in bold.)

Because I started blogging in March, lets just assume that January and February didn’t happen. You can ignore March as well, because it was mostly a festival of stories about Quinn’s poop. And we’ll see more of that later. Oh, you bet we will.

Perhaps my most common Google search term is for wonder pets cape. I blogged about that early on, and have continued to do so pretty much on a weekly basis since. (My kids really like to dress up like the Wonder Pets.) I did like the evil wonder pets variation. There are also people looking for gerbil wearing a cape. And for the person concerned about Wonder Pet Gerbil type? His name is Linny, and he’s a guinea pig.

I am also apparently the reigning internet expert on autism and constipation, which is unfortunate, because although I did write about autism and constipation, I was referring to two different people at the time. And I haven’t figured out any answers for either of those people (Jack and Quinn, respectively) anyway.

Thankfully, not many people come to me with searches for autism, because I don’t really know what I’m doing. I do, however, know all about ass burger syndrome.

As for constipation? Well, let’s see what answers I can find for the lost searchers out there:
enemas and suppositories fun. Not so much.
diaper change after enema It’s generally a good idea.
quinn poop Yes. Yes he does. Occasionally.
glycerin suppository “go out” Actually quite an apt description of the result of such a suppository.
happy birthday cow poop I wouldn’t consider cow poop to have a birthday, but feel free to celebrate it anyway, you crazy Googlers.
suppository diaper doodle Hmmmm. Is it like a cheese doodle?
poop poop a doop Who else is singing this song?
pooping regularly Rub it in, why don’t you?

During caterpillar season I wrote a post about caterpillaracide. This spawned a couple of excellent searches: zombie caterpillar and my caterpillar is not moving, but it is alive. To the second searcher, I offer this information: animals sleep.

I also end up with a lot of people looking for purple plastic elephant-shaped pools. Which is ironic, because I also Googled this very same thing before this post. And apparently Scoobas break a lot, and in the exact same way mine broke. I can only hope I’ve helped. There is also a surprising number of people looking for orange apples.

And there are a lot of people interested in children who burp. And who want to know the rules for burp thumb forehead. (It’s simple: someone burps, everyone puts their thumbs on their foreheads, and the last person who does it… Hmmm. Maybe I’m going to need to Google the rules.) People also want to know how to burp on demand. I’ll ask Jack.

I wrote about my love affair with Diet Coke and its various formats and costs. You’d be amazed how many people are looking for cheap diet coke and its inferior cousin, cheap diet pepsi. Sorry, guy who was looking for jack and diet coke. I don’t think I was what you were looking for. But I’m not sure why you’d need to look up how to make that drink on the internet. And for the person looking for cheap diets for moms? I have the cheapest diet of all: don’t buy food. (I’m still working on that one myself.)

If you follow Jack and his interests, you are probably aware that the kid really likes to spell. Apparently now Google thinks I might be able to help some of these people:
how do you spell quinn Q-U-I-N-N
how do you spell pretty Just like that.
how do you spell girbil? Not like that.
spell the cat noise M-E-O-W?
words that spell with abcdefg None that I know of.
and my personal favorite: how much words can I spell with letter smiles There is no emoticon for what I am feeling.

I was happy that people found my obituary for Kurt Vonnegut. There seem to be a lot of people out there who want to find out more about the unwavering band of light, who see the beauty in art a child could create (the painting did not exist until I made it), and who believe everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. Oh, Kurt Vonnegut, how I loved you.

And just for your amusement, here are some of my favorites:
brilient idea If you’re looking for a brilliant idea on Google, at least you should spell it correctly.
what if cat eats polyurethane + poison Dude, don’t Google me—go to the vet! Or the pet store for a new cat.
what time of the year are jelly fish bad on the gulf coast I don’t know, but I can tell you when they’re bad in the Patuxent River.
economical stuffed toy spiders Sorry, I only know where to find the expensive stuffed spiders.
pee locker I don’t want one.
fireworks-good or bad Um. Good.
my puppy ate a piece of Styrofoam I don’t think it’s as bad as polyurethane and poison, but I don’t think it’s good.
the giant horse on the today show I missed that one, but I wish I’d seen it.
funny missing cat posters Ah, that bastion of humor: lost pets.
bastard children behavioral issues Yeah, those bastard kids. They’re trouble.
vomit cakes Ick.
witch hat cooking activity for preschoolers Do you think the preschoolers are cooking the witches or the other way around?
how to get perfect children, moms of perfect kids, they have a “perfect” child You probably shouldn’t be looking here.

who was stimey? Please ignore the Urban Dictionary on this one. And note that the Little Rascal spells his name differently. You’ve found Stimey right here.

Thank you for indulging me in my Google search term post.

Happy New Year!

Shiny Happy Grumpy People

We went to the Brookside Gardens “Garden of Lights” display tonight. This display is basically a bajillion lights put together to make these incredible designs. Designs like that dragon to the left there.

This is the third year we’ve been aware of this display. The first year we went, we had a great time (except that year the dragon blew smoke and scared the crap out of Sam). We went a few days before Christmas, we drank hot chocolate, we took a pizza picnic; it was a delight.

Last year we planned to go on Christmas Eve. All ten (!) of us that were at my house that year bundled into two cars and headed out with cars full of cameras and excited children. But guess who wants to spend Christmas Eve with their families? The people who work at the Garden of Lights, because they were closed.

We gave up and never made it back that year.

This year we were going to go before Christmas, but just never got around to it. I think it may have rained the day we planned to go. Then we were going to go the day after Christmas with my mom and stepfather. I think it rained that day too. So we were going to bag the whole thing. But then Sam remembered all about it and asked to go. Sam remembered the hot chocolate. Sam remembered that they weren’t open the day before Christmas. Sam remembers everything. I’ve got to do something about that little punk’s incredible memory or I’m never going to live anything down.

So we decided to go. I was sure the place would be deserted. After all, what losers go to see a Christmas light show three days after Christmas? Turns out there are a lot of us. The place was packed. It was so packed, in fact, that our car had to wait in line for other people to leave so we could get a parking space. And while we waited, both Quinn and Jack fell asleep.

Grumpy Gus 1 and Grumpy Gus 2 were a little slow to come around to the joy of all the lights, but they did eventually decide the place was pretty cool. I think the giant rainbow of lights with falling rain and flashing-light lightning had something to do with it.

For Quinn, these flowers were also a big mood-booster:


Jack came alive when he got to pretend he was a snowman:


After Jack and Quinn got happy, it was up to Sam, who was originally our happy dude, to turn into our sourpuss. I don’t know if it’s a developmental thing, human nature, or it’s just Sam, but he is in this phase where he’s never happy with what’s in front of him. Instead, he’s always looking to the next thing.

In this case, the half a million tiny lights formed into the shapes of flowers, pigs, and praying mantises wasn’t enough for him. He was “bored” and wanted hot chocolate. We took a series of photos of me with the three kids on a bench in which you can see our transition from happy family enjoying the light show to two happy kids, an angry mom, and a devastated child who has been told he’s not getting hot chocolate because of his attitude.

If anyone else out there has a six-year-old, it would really help me out if you told me that it’s not just Sam who can’t see the bird in his hand because of the two in the bush. Even if it’s a shiny, sparkly bird made out of Christmas lights that he’s holding.

To his credit, after I had a little talk with him and engaged in some forced joviality, he was able to pull himself around and hit a reset button of some sort that put him back in happy land.

Or so it seemed. I swear to God, that kid goes up and down more than I do, and that’s saying something. Happy, sad, angry, dejected, patient, ecstatic, sobbing, tolerable… And that’s just in the space of 25 minutes. It takes me at least an hour to go through all those emotions.

Kin

My mother and father divorced when I was 4 or so. We lived in Utah and he moved to Texas. My sister and I would go to visit him there until he was killed in a car accident when I was seven. (Don’t quote me on any of these dates, because I was, you know, four and seven—maybe—and don’t have the best recall.)

Anyway, my dad’s father, stepmother, half-brother, and half-sister lived in Texas as well. When we would go visit my dad, we would visit them before or after. After he died, we mostly lost contact with them. But their address remained the same, so we always knew where they were.

When I was pregnant with Sam I wanted to know more about my father’s childhood. My grandfather had also died by this time, but my grandmother—″Oma”—was still there, by this time living with her daughter and her daughter’s two sons. (Are you still with me?)

I wrote a letter to Oma and she responded with an enthusiastic phone call. She was thrilled to hear about my pregnancy and touched that we were going to name him Sam, which was also my father’s name, and his father’s name, and the name of about 10 other men on that side of the family.

Since then she has kept up with us and made an effort to stay in contact, which is something I appreciate a great deal. Her daughter, whom I will refer to as L, because it is easier than referring to her as my half-stepaunt, or whatever she is, has also made an effort. We have a lot of differences, but they seem to be wonderful people.

When I sent out my Christmas letter this year (which was awesome, partly because of all the snowman clip art I used to accent it—if you got a copy, be aware that I had to Photoshop that 5th snowman into the snowman family because apparently snowman families only come in fours… But I digress. Let me start that sentence over.)

When I sent out my Christmas letter this year, I mentioned that we were pursuing an autism diagnosis for Jack. Most people know, but not everyone. So when the phone rang today and L said, “We got your Christmas letter and wanted to talk to you about Jack,” I got ready to extol his wonderful qualities and tell them that, for us, it’s not as scary as the word implies.

I was so happily surprised when L sort of interrupted me and said, “The reason I’m calling is because my youngest has Asperger’s.”

She then went on to share all sorts of encouraging things about her son, who was diagnosed in 6th or 7th grade and is now finishing up high school. She told me that elementary school was tough, but things got better once he got to middle school and was able to find friends who were interested in the same things he was.

We talked about a lot of things, including the similarities between her son and mine. She told me some of the things she and her son have done to work with his Asperger’s. She told me about how well her son has done academically, and how successful he’s been in finding friends with shared interests. She told me to expect the possibility that he may be a nerd.

Hey, I love nerds! Some of my best friends are nerds. Hell, I married a nerd. (Some might even call ME a nerd.)

Anyway, every kid is different, and I have no idea what the future holds for Jack. But after talking to L, who has been traveling these waters for years and had an older child’s perspective on it was encouraging. She offered her advice, should I ever need it, and her support. She was a school psychologist for a long time too, so she has a school-side perspective as well.

All of this is to say that you just never know where you’re going to find a buttress or a connection. And you never know when a family relationship may reveal a new facet.

Over

Christmas was good.


The reindeer dust worked and Santa came.

Everyone got lots of fun presents.

Everyone played together nicely.

No one said, “I don’t have anything to do,” for the whole day.

Although Alex did say, “I’m going to murder your mother,” regarding the voice changer/amplifier she sent to Sam.

Yummy turkey was cooked and consumed.

As were four pies.

Well, we didn’t eat all of the pie yet. Or, for that matter, the turkey. (But we got a good start.)

A green plastic cup melted around the heating coil on the dishwasher and had to be chopped out.

One set of grandparents arrived late in the day to hep the kids up to heretofore undreamed of heights. (Happy.)

Still no weather-trapped grandma. (Sad.)

There was a lot of love and cuddling and happy moments.

In a fit of being so over Christmas, I took down the tree and dragged it outside all by myself today.

The tree stayed up for an entire 24 hours longer than it did last year.

Stimey will be all ready to be super excited for Christmas in eleven and a half months.

And not a second before.

DCMM: Internet, I’m Bored! What is There To Do?

There are so many things to do in the DC area. There are museums, farms, gardens, playgrounds, theaters, and pretty much anything else you can think of. So why is it that when I’m stuck for something to do on a Sunday morning, I turn into my six-year-old and can’t find a single thing I’m interested in?

We were all set to go to Applewood Farm this morning to look at some reindeer and ride a train. But then it started to rain, we weren’t sure if we wanted to slog around outside in a farm-y swamp, and then we found out the farm had closed because of rain anyway.

So I went to my friend the Internet. But my friend the Internet totally had other plans.

I used to live in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Need something to do there? Go to SF Gate or Calendar Live. It is a piece of cake to find a family activity to do there any day of the week.

I got really frustrated when I couldn’t find any such similar site listing family-friendly events for the DC area. Not even in the Washington Post. There are definitely listings of theatres, movies, restaurants and concerts, but what about seasonal family entertainment and fairs, for example?  Where can I take three young boys who need to be distracted from running in circles and yelling, “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” Where’s my events listing? Heeeelp!

I did eventually find just what I was looking for: the City Guide, which I know I will use again, but I didn’t find it until much later in the day after we got back from our outing. We ended up at the National Building Museum, which was awesome, but I came up with that all by myself without any help from my ex-friend the Internet.

So my question to you is this: Where do you go to find out what’s happening in the area? Do you have any resources that help you find fun stuff to do? If you are looking forward to a day symbolized by an entirely blank square on your calendar and nothing to do, what is your best secret?

You can read all about Jean and her family’s trip to the building museum, as well as her other DC-area explorations at Stimeyland.

Tradition

The Christmas Eve pajama tradition has been resurrected by Team Stimey, and the young men are thrilled, if slightly too short for their pants. Dancing ensues.



However, not all of Team Stimey is pleased with the new pajamas. Quinn would prefer his old pajamas. You know, the ones he wore all day long, thank you very much.


Distracted from his jammie tantrum by the more fun tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve, Quinn is placated. The children are so distracted by these gifts, however, that they are not very cooperative during the traditional jammies and tree photo shoot. An acceptable frame is shot.


While you may notice that there is a baby gate crammed into the fireplace opening, Santa is magic, people. It shouldn’t be a problem.

A little later we adjourn outside for the 3rd Annual Throwing of the Reindeer Dust. (Oatmeal, so the reindeer have something to eat while Santa fills stockings, and glitter, so Santa knows where to land.) So much glitter is thrown that our grass appears downright luminescent once we’re done.


Back inside for the placing out of cookies, milk, and a picture (drawn by Sam) for Santa. After hearing that Santa doesn’t come until everyone in the house is asleep, Sam badgers Jack to go to sleep. Ironically, Sam is not asleep either.

“Santa Claws”, aka, the dog, eats one of the cookies, which then have to be moved to a higher location. I just hope Santa can find them. Although I don’t think she he will have a problem.

Alex disappears upstairs to do his annual Christmas present wrapping. He reappears, finished, 15 minutes later.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house every creature was stirring, including the mouse.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate; Happy Tuesday to those of you who don’t!