I think if nothing else, this blog has established me as Not the Greatest Parent in the World. My first impulse is to use sarcasm when my kid is sassy, I have a tendency to resort to childish retorts, I hate baby showers, playgroups, and parenting magazines... this list goes on.

But I think recently I've hit upon one of the great child activity tips of all time.

Get yourself on the
Oriental Trading Company catalog mailing list. Not because you need a single thing in there (and... seriously... you don't) but because you will get about eleventy-hundred catalogs a year and each time one comes in the mail, you'll hear this:

"My magazine! My magazine is here! I LOooOooVE this magazine!" *runs around the room, prancing and jumping up and down, triumphantly holding catalog above head*

Then, she will pour over the pages like a day trader reading the Wall Street Journal:

"Look at this!"


"Momma check
this out!!"
this... Is.... AWESOME!!" (Oh and by the way, thanks, Monica, for teaching her that phrase.)

She'll bring it to read in the car. It will keep her quiet in line at the bank. She'll actually sit still while reading it. And then, just about the time that you've exhausted your clear tape supply putting the pages back together after they've ripped and you're ready to throw it out in the neighbor's garbage can when she's not looking, another one will come in the mail, with all new things to look at. All, I might add, free of charge.

It's a gift from the gods, right up there with Achilles' armor and