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    A few years ago I went to visit my sister around Christmas and her kids told me that they had to be very good because "the elf on the shelf is watching us." It sounded like the beginning of a bad Stephen King novel, but turns out it was just a tiny stuffed elf that parents hide around the house so that the elf can report back to Santa. Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like intentionally bringing in a spy to hide in your house, eavesdrop on your family, and then report all questionable activity back to the authorities. 

    I told my sister that I thought the whole thing smacked of McCarthyism and she pointed out that it was more accurately a manifestation of Freud’s Super-ego in elf form.

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  • Lesson 27: Terrible Pets for Children

    posted by Jenny Lawson December 16, 2011 at 10:12 AM in Toddler
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    The other day a friend asked me what the best pet is to have around small children and my answer is “None” because small children are very dangerous. My friend thought I was joking and so I made up a list of why pets suck when you have little kids.

    Terrible pets for children:

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    Yesterday I read about a provocative ad made by the Milwaukee Health Department, which warns parents about the dangers of sleeping with babies. I didn’t actually read the article myself, but I saw the ad, and so I can understand some why people would be so upset about these ads.

    First of all, Milwaukee, babies aren't as dangerous as cleavers. I’m not even sure why I’m having to clarify this. I’ve almost never cut myself on a sleeping baby. No one murders co-eds with sleeping babies. Sleeping babies aren't even sharp. This is just ridiculous and it’s ludicrous to imply otherwise. If I was a baby, I would probably sue.

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    If you’re anything like me, you spend most of your day suspecting that you’re pregnant. I blame too many years of watching unsuspecting women on Oprah tell of having a stomachache that ended minutes later with an unexpected baby laying on the grocery store floor. That’s why I’ve devised these simple guidelines to help you figure out if you’re pregnant or just paranoid.

    Let’s get started:

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    This week is Banned Book Week so I thought to myself, What better week to write about dinosaurs? Then I remembered that I don’t get paid to write about dinosaurs and so I turned my attention back to banned books.

    As parents, it is our duty to protect our children from questionable, controversial, and uncomfortable ideas at all costs. Book burning seems strangely out-of-fashion lately (probably because of all the wildfires) but there’s something to be said for shoving your children’s hands into a bonfire of books and then telling them that their pain was caused by J.D. Salinger, who should probably have just focused on drawing pictures of happy kittens. 

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  • Lesson 23: Let's Cut Your Penis Off. Or Not. Whatever.

    posted by Jenny Lawson September 15, 2011 at 10:12 AM in Baby
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    To circumcise, or not to circumcise? It’s one of the most debated and controversial questions a parent will ever be confronted with, and regardless of what you decide, you’ll probably be judged harshly. It sucks, but it’s good practice for the rest of your life as a parent, because strangers will forever be giving you shit for things that are none of their damn business, and this is a good practice for ignoring them. 

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  • Lesson 22: Body Acceptance for Kids

    posted by Jenny Lawson August 25, 2011 at 10:28 AM in Big Kid
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    I recently read that many girls start dieting when they are 8 years old. This pissed me off for two reasons ... one, because 8-year-olds should not be thinking about their figures, and two, that skinny 8-year-olds are probably judging me at the pool. Both of these are unsettling, and as parents, we need to put a stop to it. I get judged enough from grown-ups, thankyouverymuch.

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  • Lesson 21: Religion -- Never Write About It

    posted by Jenny Lawson July 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM in Big Kid
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    Hi. If you are very religious and/or easily offended, you should skip this post. Unless you get off on being offended and righteously indignant about ridiculous things. Then, you should totally stick around. Welcome. You totally owe me.

    Today we’re going to talk about kids and religion. Personally, I’m not that into organized religion, but I do believe in letting your children find spirituality themselves. That’s why in our house we talk about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster objectively, so that our 6-year-old can one day make a decision for herself.  

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    This week CNN ran a story called "9 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Child." Personally, I was surprised that they could only think of nine, but I assumed that I could guess them all without even reading their post. So I wrote down my list of things that I thought you should never say to your kid and turns out their list of prohibited things included stuff like “Don’t be sad” and “Great job!

    My list included things like, “Of course you can go play with those bears” and “But how will you know you don’t like meth unless you try it?”  

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    Being a responsible parent means being prepared for all sorts of natural disasters, but what about the unnatural ones? Sure, you might know how to survive on melted ice-cream during a two-hour brown-out, but have you considered the importance of keeping your flame-throwers well-oiled in case of chupacabra attacks? Have you begun stockpiling water-proof tasers for the impending giant squid invasion? Have you decided how you will welcome our new alien overlords? 

    Of course you have. Because that’s what responsible parents do. But what you might not have done is consider who in your family is most likely to survive in the event of an unnatural disaster. Which is fine, because I’ve done that for you. Because that's my job.

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About This Column
Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess, is here at The Stir to dole out parenting advice on some of moms' most annoying problems. But beware, Jenny doesn't mince her words, is not qualified in any way to give advice, and has the ability to make you laugh so hard that any liquid you might be consuming is in danger of shooting out through your nose. 

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