Pooping in Private: Gross Reasons Why I Homeschool

CORRECTION Mens Room TourismI was in second grade. I felt really sick to my stomach… and so did a bunch of other kids in my class. We were all instructed to lay down on the rug during story time. I laid there for a while, writhing in pain. I knew that it wasn’t long before my entire lunch came back out. After making eye contact with my teacher and telepathically communicating that I was about to barf, she said, “Go.” I ran for the door and I made it just up the hall a bit to the water fountain. And that was where I blew chunks. Everywhere. I remember feeling so guilty that our strange quiet janitor, Thurman, would have to clean up my mess. But mostly, I remember feeling the most humiliated that I’d ever felt in my entire life.

That is, until fifth grade. Fifth grade was a year of humiliation. I was pretty embarrassed the day that my teacher announced that everyone in the class had failed the history test. Everyone except for me. And not only had I passed it but I had make a 100. As my reward I could go and sit in the gym or have computer time while everyone else did their make up work. I wanted to climb under my desk. This was bad. But not nearly as bad as the two things that happened to me in the bathroom that school year.

I vividly remember the day that I stopped pooping in public. I didn’t often need to poo at school. I kept that for home most of the time. But at least back then, if I needed to, I could and would. Until one dreaded day when I had taken the hall pass to the restroom for an unusually timed afternoon movement of my bowels. As I was doing my business someone else in the bathroom said, rather rudely and loudly, “Eeeeew, what is that awful smell?” I was mortified. Someone was smelling my poop and talking about it. What on earth was wrong with me? Why would I even dream of letting myself go to the bathroom right there where someone else might… gasp… smell it? From that day on, I didn’t poop in public again. Well, at least not for a very long time. Sometime near college maybe I got over that because when you live in a dorm, pooping in public is your only option. But I blame school for some of my digestive issues that I am currently still trying to overcome.

Believe it or not, there was something else that happened to me during the fifth grade that was even more traumatizing than the pooping incident. Only this time, it involved… well… blood. When I was 11 and 4 months, I started my period. Thankfully I started it for the first time in the safety of my own home, with my mom right by my side. I was cramping and miserable and so she let me stay at home “sick” to rest and deal with this new journey I was about to take from the comfort of my couch. But after two days, I had to go back to school. And I was bleeding. A lot. It was terrible and awful and I hated it. I was so nervous that someone would be able to tell. Turned out, I was right to be so paranoid. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I remember not wanting to take a purse or backpack to the bathroom when I went or else someone, everyone would know that I needed to… change… my pad? So instead I just didn’t change it. And by about ten o’clock that morning, I was in trouble. No one had bothered to tell me that I should not wear light colored knit clothing when I was experiencing the heavy flow days of my period. I had this peach and lime green outfit… cotton stretch pants and a long tunic type top. I think I wore it with knock off Keds (Thanks “Dirty Dancing”). I wish I had been told that jeans or black pants and a dark top would be a better ensemble on such days. Well, I took yet another trip to the bathroom and came to the realization that I was going to have to go home. I was in bad shape. Thankfully, I had a denim jacket on that day and I was able to wrap that thing around my waist. It was going to save me until my mom came to get me.

Everyone else was at PE. I went back to my classroom to tell my teacher that I had to go home. My “stomach” issue was back from the previous two days and I was going to need to call my mom. All the while I’m feeling so gross. More gross than I had ever felt before or have ever felt since. Then there is the added factor that I didn’t exactly like my teacher. I was actually quite scared of her, despite the fact that I was teacher’s pet. So imagine my misery when she started to question me. “Why do you have that jacket around your waist?” “What is going on with you?” “Are you throwing up?” Ahhhhhh!!! I just wanted my mama.

At this point, my dad had started working this new schedule where he worked on weekends and was off two days during the week. When he was off, he and my mom would often drive to the mall for a little shopping and a lunch date if you will. This, it seemed, was one of those days. This was before cell phones so when a parent didn’t answer the phone back then, they called the emergency contact number in your records. For me, that was my neighbor. The same neighbor with whom I’d been left the night my dad was having a heart attack…. who put me in bed with her, hugged me tightly in my sleeplessness and assured me that it couldn’t be my dad’s heart because he didn’t have one. That neighbor.

That neighbor and the little preschoolers she was baby-sitting drove across town to pick me up from school. And in the backseat, in tears I had to tell her that I had bled all over my clothes and I needed to go home and change.

Thankfully she was sympathetic and thankfully I knew where the extra key was hidden. I spent the next half hour washing myself up, putting on new clothes (jeans and a red sweat shirt, thankyouverymuch) and then I walked back over to the neighbor’s house, exhausted, relieved, and traumatized for life.

Unfortunately for me, my parents didn’t seem to be phased by the bloody horror show that was my experience that day. They didn’t really see school as an option and frankly, my dad found the challenges in my life to be wonderful little nuggets of life learning. I was a steel workers daughter, the daughter of an airborne ranger after all. I could handle anything. I would go on to have plenty of other embarrassing school moments… such as dirty dancing at the one and only school dance my high school ever held (yes, you can blame me for there never being another one, GHS class of 96), making out with my boyfriend in the bandroom, having boys lift my way-too-short skirts with a broom stick while I was on stage rehearsing for shows, and even in college when I fell on my way to English class, flat of my face, scraping my chin because my bell bottoms were too wide and my platforms were too tall. But never again would I experience anything quite as horrifying as what happened to me in the 5th grade. While there are many many reasons that I have chosen to homeschool, I have to admit that the power to help my children avoid this type of ridiculous humiliation over normal bodily functions tops the list. My kids can puke, poop, and eventually bleed in the privacy of their own bathroom. And I like it that way. Perhaps they will be a little less screwed up than I am as a result.

A Gluten Free Holiday: Minty Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Cookies (ie. The Best Cookie EVAH)

People, I have eaten a lot of cookies in my time.  You might find that hard to believe, but I used to get all pumped for the free cookies at the grocery store.  The classic chocolate chip has always been my favorite.  To me, there was no way to improve upon this simple, perfect confection.  That is, until I learned about the masterful ingenious combination of chocolate with peppermint.  It’s no secret that my favorite flavor of Ridiculous Chocolate is peppermint.  And I might also occasionally snag the mint flavoring that belongs to the business to add to my avocado chocolate pudding.  And, confession time…  I might totally be looking forward to Santa’s visit Monday night because I happen to know that he has this cool tradition here at our house.  He hangs all natural organic candy canes on our tree during his visit.  And, well, I kinda look forward to snagging one of those bad boys and putting it right smack dab into a steaming cup of Ridiculous Chocolate hot cocoa  Christmas morning.

Last week my husband came home from his Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s shopping trips with a couple of new items.  A bag of all natural peppermint candies (think Starlight mints) and a canister of peppermint sprinkles.  You KNOW I just had to come up with a way to use these little tasty treats.  So, I read a couple dozen recipes and decided to make up my own.  And, folks, the result was the best. cookie. ever.  At least according to me.  And my children.  And our opinions count!

Peppermint and Chocolate, oh MY!

Peppermint and Chocolate, oh MY!

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This boy thinks my cookies are the best cookies ever.

Without further ado, I give you my very own

Minty Chocolate Chip Gluten Free Cookies!

2 1/2 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking and Pancake Mix

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks of organic butter (be sure you set the sticks out for a while so that they are nice and soft…. you might even melt them a little on the stove.  not the microwave.  you know I don’t approve of microwaves.)

1 cup coconut sap sugar

2 TB organic pure stevia powder ( I buy this giant container and it ends up being a bargain since we use the stuff so very much.)

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 tsp all natural organic peppermint extract (This brand works nicely.)

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chips (I used a combination of Trader Joe’s semi sweet and Enjoy Life’s Allergen Free mini chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand and already opened.)

1/2-3/4 cup of chopped up peppermint (We used a combination of the sprinkles from the canister and the candy mints.  I had the kids use our nut chopper to crush up the candies which was great fun for them all.)

Mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the sugar, stevia, butter, vanilla, and mint extracts.  Once those ingredients are creamed well together, add in your eggs, one at a time.  Continue to beat the mixture with a hand mixer and try to refrain from tasting it.  There are raw eggs in there, yo.

Now you will need to add the dry ingredients from earlier.  Beat all of that until it looks nice and smooth.  At this point, remove your hand jewelry, coat your hands with some kind of oil (coconut works nicely) and start to fold in the candy and the chocolate chips.  Once you have mixed in everything evenly, divide the cookie dough mixture in half.  You will either need to wash your hands at this point or ask for assistance.  In either a ziplock bag or plastic wrap, place each half of dough that you have shaped into something resembling prepacked rolls of cookie dough.

Store them in the fridge overnight.

Slice them up. Put them on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 14 minutes if you can wait until the next day.

I’d love to hear from you if you try this recipe!  Pass it on.  Spread the minty holiday cheer.

Happy Holidays!

A gluten free holiday: Eggnog Cookies

This past week I found some dairy free eggnog on mark down at the store.  Hunter loves loves loves this stuff so I bought several containers for him to enjoy this week of Christmas.  I decided that I should use some of it for baking!  Of course!  After scouring the internet and reading about ten different recipes for eggnog cookies, I came up with this little gem that I used to make some supertasty treats for our family.  Everyone seemed to like them, including the dog.

So Delicious Coconut Egg Nog and Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix made these really tasty cookies a fabulous treat for the holidays!

So Delicious Coconut Egg Nog and Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix made these really tasty cookies a fabulous treat for the holidays!

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Don’t they look scrumptious?

Gluten Free Eggnog Cookies

3 cups Pamela’s Baking and Pancake mix (you can use a different mix or a combination of your own gluten free flours in order to make this cookie dairy free)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (I used pink salt)

2 TB almond meal

1/2 cup coconut sap sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup apple sauce (I use unsweetened organic from Trader Joe’s)

1/3 cup coconut oil (softened would be good)

3/4 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Egg Nog (or any egg nog of your choice)

15-20 drops of liquid stevia

In a large bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until you have a sticky batter.  Let it sit on the counter for a little while.  You can put a load of laundry in the machine or wash up some dishes.  Or, if you are like me, make sure the kids aren’t wrecking the house.  When you remember that you are making cookies,  head back to the kitchen, turn the oven on to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet (I like to just use my fingers with some coconut oil… I had to put oil on my hands for the next step anyway so…).  Make sure you have put your rings in a safe place.  Now, scoop up little balls of cookie batter, roll them up until they are nicely roundish, place them on the cookie sheet with a little space between them (look, you know how to do this.  you are no idiot) and let them back from about 10-12 minutes and remove them promptly.  Enjoy!  And don’t forget to save a cookie for Santa!

Have a very Merry gluten free Christmas.

Our Christmas Vacation: Saratoga Springs at Walt Disney World

We had the pleasure of staying at Saratoga Springs at Walt Disney World for our Disney Vacation.  It’s a lovely place with lots of fun things going on!

The resort has nightly marshmallow roasts.

The resort has nightly marshmallow roasts.

We got our own healthIER marshmallows at Whole Foods.

We got our own healthIER marshmallows at Whole Foods.

Everyone enjoyed their marshmallows.  Some more than others ;)

Everyone enjoyed their marshmallows. Some more than others 😉

Night swimming in the heated pool.

Night swimming in the heated pool.

There were lots of good photo ops around the resort.

There were lots of good photo ops around the resort.

The resort had an equestrian theme which my girl loved very much.

The resort had an equestrian theme which my girl loved very much.

The colorful funky decor in the food court area made us smile.

The colorful funky decor in the food court area made us smile.

The Food Court area at the resort is called "The Artist's Palette".  You can create some art while you eat...

The Food Court area at the resort is called “The Artist’s Palette”. You can create some art while you eat…

And then have it displayed for all resort guests to enjoy!

And then have it displayed for all resort guests to enjoy!

Wish we could have stayed a tad bit longer but we are so glad to have been able to go at all!

You can see a little bit of footage inside the hotel and the resort in this episode of our webseries.

Our Christmas Vacation: Walt Disney World!

Captain Jack Sparrow's illegitimate son, Jackie Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow’s illegitimate son, Jackie Sparrow.

Ronin chose a Mulan doll as her souvenir.

Ronin chose a Mulan doll as her souvenir.

Duffy!

Duffy!

Our "Christmas" picture.

Our “Christmas” picture.

A cutie eating breakfast.

A cutie eating breakfast.

Waiting for the bus to take us to the Magic Kingdom.

Waiting for the bus to take us to the Magic Kingdom.

Surreal decorations

Surreal decorations

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I’m loving my new camera.

Hunter recognized this scene from "A Christmas Carol".

Hunter recognized this scene from “A Christmas Carol”.

Sigh

Sigh

eeeek!  It's the Beast's castle!

eeeek! It’s the Beast’s castle!

"Beauty and the Beast" gift shop.

“Beauty and the Beast” gift shop.

I wish I could have bought one of each item.

I wish I could have bought one of each item.

Oh you Gaston.

Oh you Gaston.

Gaston has his own fountain.  Sweet!

Gaston has his own fountain. Sweet!

Three little prisoners.

Three little prisoners.

Ronin meeting Belle after she played Chip in the show!

Ronin meeting Belle after she played Chip in the show!

Ronin, Hunter and I took on EPCOT by ourselves.

Ronin, Hunter and I took on EPCOT by ourselves.

And a Christmas Duffy!

And a Christmas Duffy!

Inspector Space time!

Inspector Space time!

Hello Sweetie!

Hello Sweetie!

A gluten free meal.

A gluten free meal.

To see the rest of our visit to Walt Disney World, be sure to check out this episode of our web series.  I saved the best stuff for the video!

Our Christmas Vacation: Visiting Family in Tampa

We all had so much fun visiting with family in Tampa, Florida.  The kids cried when it was time to leave, even though we were going straight to Disney World!

They got to swim... but the pool wasn't heated.  YIKES.

They got to swim… but the pool wasn’t heated. YIKES.

Drayken got to spend time with his little friend Lily.

Drayken got to spend time with his little friend Lily.

Feeding ducks in the lake with Papa was great fun!

Feeding ducks in the lake with Papa was great fun!

There was an adult trike AND a huge driveway which meant Hunter spent a lot of time biking.

There was an adult trike AND a huge driveway which meant Hunter spent a lot of time biking.

After spending so much time watching "Storage Wars" with Papa, they had to come home and get a season pass on TiVo.

After spending so much time watching “Storage Wars” with Papa, they had to come home and get a season pass on TiVo.

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The kids helped their aunts decorate the yard for Christmas.

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Aunt Pat and Aunt Deb MADE this. I think I know where Ronin got all of her creativity.

She spent a lot of time reading this "Dork Diaries" book while on our trip.  I think she has yet another series which has earned her approval.

She spent a lot of time reading this “Dork Diaries” book while on our trip. I think she has yet another series which has earned her approval.

Uncle Bob taught Ronin how to play chopsticks.  She's hoping to take lessons next year.

Uncle Bob taught Ronin how to play chopsticks. She’s hoping to take lessons next year.

And now for the third episode of our web series!

Is there such a thing as too much mom?

I’ve been looking for a job lately.  I know what you’re thinking… “You already have a job.  Or ten.”  True.  I am a homeschool mother of three who tour guides at church and drives kids to karate, clogging, and play practice, who cooks and cleans, who helps run a business, who runs this blog, blah blah blah.  I get that.  But I have been looking for outside employment for the past few months.  First I babysat.  That was disastrous… and unpredictable.  Now I’m looking for part time gainful employment.

I must admit that I’ve had anxiety about working outside of the home.  Didn’t we agree in the beginning that my staying home with the kids was what was best for them?  How would the kids react to this change?  Would they balk at the thought of, gasp, having to be away from their loving, devoted mother a few hours a week?  Would they cry and worry because I wasn’t around to share every little moment with them?

I decided to find out.  I asked Hunter,  the 8 year old, how he would feel if I got a job.  Of course, I was expecting him to tell me how much he’d hate it.  How he’d miss me and needed me around all of the time.  His response?  “It might be good because it would give us a chance to know daddy a little better.”

Whoa.

What a wise little old man he is.  I was (am?) an only child. My mom and I?  Inseparable.  So much so that once, when I was a baby and she left me at home with my dad to do some shopping, I cried the entire time.  Maybe that isn’t so unusual but my dad took it so personally that my mom literally never left me alone with my dad again.  Literally never again.  Don’t get me wrong, I saw him every single day at dinner and the three of us spent a lot of time together.  But me and my dad, just the two of us?  Never. Except for maybe a few awkward trips out to shop for gifts for mama.   It took my mom’s dying for my dad and me to learn to be in a room together without her around.  We are totally cool now but did it have to take so long for us to get there?

I can’t help but often think of what our relationship might have been.  It would have been really nice if he and I had some hobbies that we enjoyed together.  Or maybe a standing lunch date.  Or just something.  Right?

It’s not quite like that around here.  I mean, all three of my children have had ample time with their dad.  Heck, Hunter lived with his dad in the hospital off and on for months.  Drayken spends hours and hours alone in daddy bliss each week.  And recently Ronin even watched a movie with her dad.  Just the two of them.  But the amount of time they spend with me far outweighs the amount of time they spend with their dad.  And maybe that isn’t a good thing.

So I have decided that it won’t kill me to leave for a few hours each week.  I have enough confidence in my relationship with my children to believe that they will totally still love me and be my sweet babies even if they spend a little less time with me.

Update:  Since I first wrote this post, I not only was rejected, yet again, from one of the only jobs I’ve ever actually wanted but I have decided to no longer look for employment outside of the home.  I have, however, started looking for only writing jobs or social media related odd jobs.  And I have started learning how and and where I can start doing stand up.  So while the details of this post no longer apply, the spirit of it does.  I will be more cognizant of opportunities to leave the kids in the care of their dad once in a while.  He needs it.  They need it.  Hey, even I need it.