A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: bad parenting

Turtle Recall

The following correspondence was inspired by real events. The names have not been changed.

—– Original Message —–

From: Iris Beard
To: higganse@bellsouth.net
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 1:26 PM
turtle bite

Dear Phillip,

My kids and I found a giant snapping turtle on the side of the road today. It looked exactly like the photo on your website… huge and prehistoric looking! Just incredible! We were truly in awe. I’ve only seen little box turtles in person before… never anything this big.

Close up photo of a Snapping Turtle.

Photo used with permission from Phillip Higgins.

Well, I am so embarrassed to admit it, but we were trying to “pet” the turtle. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this, but I learned the hard way why they are called “snapping turtles.” He got my thumb and sliced it wide open with his pointy beak. I had no idea a turtle could move so fast! I feel like such an idiot! I promise, that is the last time I try to pet a wild animal (at least without a first aid kit and a child psychologist on hand).  I used it as a teachable moment so that my kids will learn from my mistake and not try to handle wild creatures, and hopefully my 6 year old daughter won’t be too traumatized and be afraid of turtles for the rest of her life… but it was pretty scary.

So, I’m writing to ask two things…

1.) may I please have permission to use the picture of a snapping turtle on your website for a blog post about my harrowing and idiotic experience?


2.) my husband told me I should be grateful he didn’t bite my thumb clean off. Is it true that these turtles can cause that kind of damage? And should I have a doctor look at my wound? It is a pretty deep slice… looks like a kitchen knife made it… not a puncture wound… but I don’t think I need stitches and I cleaned it out really well. Do turtles carry any diseases I should be concerned about???

Moments after it happened, this is what the turtle bite looked like.

Please be kind… I already feel like such a moron!



—– Reply —–

From: higganse@bellsouth.net
To: Iris Beard
Monday, June 1, 2009 3:32 PM
RE: turtle bite

1) Yes you can use my pictures.

2) Snapping turtles have been known to take off fingers if not almost entire hands. Down in Louisianna if you talk to any snapping turtle hunters, who make stew out of the animals, many of them have missing fingers and so forth. Really the only thing you would have to worry about your bite is infection. There are no other diseases to be concerned about. I wouldn’t go to the doctor unless you need stitches or get a severe infection. I have been bitten by many turtles and never had any true long-term effects from it.


—– Moral of the story —–

Do not pet a snapping turtle. Those mo-fos are extremely aggressive and dangerous, particularly on land.

Even if your youngest child is completely obsessed with turtles and cannot sleep without his trusty stuffed turtle in his arms. Never pet a snapping turtle.

Even if you think you have a special way of communicating with animals and have recently rescued two trapped baby birds from your garage and your friend Christel calls you the Dog Whisperer. Beware of snapping turtles.

Even if it is the first day of summer vacation and you are in a flat out panic about having to spend the next 75 days with your three children, all day, every day. Petting a snapping turtle is not okay.

Even if you are practically incapacitated with guilt from having missed signing up your kids for any decent day camps. Stay the fuck away from snapping turtles.

Just because you didn’t realize that all the local swim teams fill up by late February and you are stuck having to teach your own children how to swim does not give you the right to create an impromptu roadside petting zoo with a creature whose bite force is 1004 psi (pounds per square inch). For your reference, a lion has a bite force of 691 psi, a great white shark has a bite force of 600 psi, and a Rottweiler: 328 psi. In other words, it’s probably safer to pet a Rottweiler who is being gang raped by a pride of hungry lions in a chum filled shark tank than it is to pet a snapping turtle. Or for my bilingual readers: tortuga mordedora esta muy peligroso.

So, never pet a snapping turtle. That’s my Just the Tip Tuesday tip for you, friends.

Special thanks to MerrilyMaryLee for inspiring me with this delightful post to finally share some of the embarrassing details about my snapping turtle encounter.  Apparently, yesterday was World Turtle Day. Good to know. Maybe I’ll celebrate it with some store bought turtle soup.

licensed to drive, but not to parent,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Parental Torture, I mean, Teacher Appreciation Week

Well it’s Teacher Appreciation Week here in the good ol’ US of A.

Yes, you heard me. I said WEEK.

Oh hold yer fire, beeyatches.

For the record, I think every week should be Teacher Appreciation Week. There is not a single more important job in the world than teaching children, especially MY children who are not getting a ton of academic enrichment at home between the SpongeBob marathons and the fake turd “Pootorials.” But I’m talking about real appreciation in the form of sincere thanks, praise, and parental support. Not shit like this:

"I'd really like a World's Best Teacher mug!" said no teacher ever. Folks, there is a reason I found that little gem on the shelf at my local Goodwill. Teachers do not want that kind of appreciation. Please think twice before you buy anything with an apple or school house theme.

No, at my kids’ school, Teacher Appreciation Week should just be renamed “Parental Torture Week.”

You see, the overachieving, cracked-out on their kids’ Ritalin Room Moms at my children’s school seem to take an obscene amount of pleasure in sending out email mandates with two days’ notice informing us of “the schedule” they’ve created for gift giving during the upcoming week. The idea is that all the children bring in a different themed little treat each day for their teacher to create lavish class bouquets and gift baskets from the group. You know, like making Stone Soup: if everyone contributes a little, you end up with a fabulous feast.

In theory, it’s a nice idea, isn’t it? And it probably protects our teachers from receiving 19 more “A+ Teacher” coffee mugs that they’ll have to make a special trip to the thrift store to purge.

But do the Room Moms coordinate this gift fest with other classrooms to make it easy for the maxi-breeders like me? Noooooo. No they do not. It’s every Room Mom for herself and thus every classroom seems to have it’s own list of gifts and unique schedule of when to send them.

So instead of cleaning up the piles of TP my children have created in every bathroom from their over-enthusiastic fake turd crafting this week…

…or the fake turds I keep finding and doing double takes over…

… I’m forced to create and regularly reference a spreadsheet to remind me what to buy/make/find and send to school each day with each kid. And by spreadsheet I mean coffee stained hand-written tablet paper:

Tomorrow’s a biggie, eh?

The point is: this is a lot to sustain for a whole week. On top of which, both of my bigger kids had Field Day this week (on two different days) which required before school sunscreen application, tennis shoes, special t-shirts, hats, and water bottles. Can’t forget that!

Oh, and did I mention the 800 count box of round toothpicks that I stupidly volunteered to send in for the fifth grade toothpick project on Tuesday? Shit… I thought signing up to spend $2 on a box of toothpicks was going to be a super easy way to participate. WRONG. It wasn’t. Four. Fucking. Stores. Turns out every mo-frankin’ fifth grade class in the school is simultaneously doing whatever they are doing with the 12,000 round toothpicks they each need, and I was the last mom to get to the store to buy them, of course.

But wait, there’s more…coincidentally, this is also the week that Bucket Head has decided he’s over pull ups and wants to sleep in his “big boy” Spiderman underpants every night. This means that Mommy is washing wet stanky sheets every morning and remaking the bed every afternoon. Weeeee! (Literally)

Clearly I’ve created most of my own excess work here, I do realize that. It’s how I roll. But back to the bigger issue at hand…

Teachers deserve to be appreciated. And teachers are often parents too! So imagine the poor teachers of multiple children who are trying to keep up with these Teacher Appreciation Week schedules! This is simply too much for any of us.

Look, I know teachers, and let me tell you what teachers really want (and this list is in no particular order):

  • a good bottle of wine
  • good quality coffee beans or tea
  • respect
  • gift cards from stores or restaurants they like
  • gratitude
  • hand written notes/cards
  • parents who care
  • recognition for a job well done

What else? Please add your suggestions in the comments below. Especially if you are a teacher. How we can best appreciate you and still maintain (or in my case, obtain) a smidgen of sanity?

You know what else? I don’t think teachers really want a whole week of this crazy making at the end of the year when there is so much else going on at the same time! I’m guessing they’d much rather have a little love on a regular basis to get them through those harder days. Send your teacher a hot biscuit wrapped in foil one random morning to say Hey, I know mornings can be rough sometimes and if you are like me, maybe you didn’t have time for a hot breakfast today, but you are important to me and my family and we care about you. (And please don’t yell at my child today… she gets enough of that at home.)

Now let’s end my little rant on a funny note, shall we? Please, please, please, you simply MUST see what Cake Wrecks has put together in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Not only are the pictures worth a thousand words, but the captions are fabulous. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

with gratitude to my children’s awesome teachers,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

(Did you like this post? Then you’ll love my most popular school-related piece: “And that’s why speech pathologists are such bad mofos.”)

Organized Minutiae, Precocious Puberty, and Mommy Tears

So while I’ve been stringently organizing the minutiae of my life like DS cartridges and Legos, my little girl has been growing up behind my back.

Which brings us to another frightening installment of:

Real Conversations, Really Bad Parenting.

Girl Child: “Mommy, my nipples hurt when I press on them.”

Bad Mommy: “Well don’t press on them.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Two days later, she complained once more about sore nipples, to which I again suggested the obvious, and most likely with the “duh” sound tacked onto the end for effect.

Then yesterday during dinner, she said, “Mom. My boobies still hurt. Are you sure I’m not going through puberty?”

To which I dismissively clucked, “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re only 8 years old.”

Which spurred Nature Boy, her 11 year old brother and official validator, to chime in: “Yeah, sometimes my man-boobs hurt. It could be puberty, Mom.”

Then we all just cackled like hyenas about Nature Boy’s “man-boobs” and someone asked someone else to pass the peas and that was the end of that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cue my daughter’s guardian angel who whispered in my ear later that evening “Pay attention… she needs you.”

And so at bedtime that night, Mini-Me and I sat down on her bed for a heart to heart. She lifted her pink cowgirl nightie, took my hand and placed it on her chest, and said, “See? Do you feel that?” And sure enough… there was a little bump under each nipple. I suddenly remembered her bursting into tears for no reason on two separate occasions the week before, and then all the pieces of the puberty puzzle magically came together, and…




How can this be?

She’s only 8 years old.

She still enjoys playing with Fisher Price Little People and Legos. All she wanted for Christmas was a Penguin Pillow Pet and snow. She’s too young for breasts. And I’m totally not ready for this.

It reminds me of a comedienne I once heard who said “People used to tell me, ‘Don’t blink, or your kids will be grown before you know it.’ And so I’d go home and blink, and blink, and BLINK!” I sooooo get that. I blink A LOT around here. And organize Legos. And drink wine from a box.

But I thought I had more time.

You see, every time I look at her, all I see is this:


and this:



and this:


Dear God, is it too much to ask to keep her just like this a little while longer? I promise I’ll stop with the Lego sorting, if you’ll just give me another chance.

Well I’m off to google things like “puberty” and “normal breast growth” and “does watching iCarly lead to hormonal abnormalities?” Wish me luck. And please tune in tomorrow to see if I’ve invented a legal way to stunt my daughter’s growth.

Oh, and if you happen to hear the sound a grown woman weeping to the tune of Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time, it’s probably coming from my house. Sorry about that.

Dazed and confused,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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