The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: kids (page 1 of 5)

Quit staring at my shuttlecock, ya perv.

Well, it’s Spring Break in these parts, and we’re staycationing this year…again. Spring Break travel requires much more advanced planning than I am ever able to successfully do, so here we are.

Home sweet…holy shit, is there a wasps’ nest in our new screened porch? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of having a screened porch? Awesome.  

But we’ve already made it halfway through the week without major incident, which is pretty good for us. Continue reading

The thing about siblings…

This is the first year all three of my kids have extra-curricular activities and life seems to have gotten a bit more unmanageable all of a sudden.

Bucket Head taking Taekwondo

Tell you what though, as much as I sometimes envy my friends with only one child, there really is something special about the life-lessons and social skills kids with siblings have to endure get to experience.

Recently we had a very interesting situation dropped in our laps. Continue reading

Land of the free, home of the brave…


My kids, in particular.

Sometimes they drive me nuts. Other times they make me laugh until my face aches.

And sometimes they make my heart swell with so much love and pride, I fear my chest will explode.

Today is one of those days.

Placing flags on graves

On a brutally early Saturday morning—the first one of their summer vacation—a day when they could have chosen to sleep in or play with friends, my three children unanimously chose to meet up with their scout troops at Georgia National Cemetery to honor the brave men and women who have served our country.

Scouts honoring fallen soldiers at GA National Cemetery 2013

And they did it with such breathtaking reverence and grace, that they even attracted the attention of an AP photojournalist, David Goldman. My oldest, Vince, had his picture in several major online publications over the weekend, which was a huge thrill for our family. Particularly since he’s our quietest one…the child who usually flies under the radar because he’s too busy following the rules to draw much attention to himself.

Georgia National Cemetery Memorial Day 2013

It didn’t take us long. Many hands really do make for light work, and there were hundreds of scouts and surviving family members there to help. The final result was absolutely awesome, in the truest sense of the word.

Happy Memorial Day from The Bearded Iris

There is nothing like seeing thousands of American flags adorning the tombstones of such brave men and women to remind us that freedom isn’t free.

If you ever get the chance to take your children to a National Cemetery, particularly on a day like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, run—don’t walk. Photos simply cannot do justice to the way you and your children will feel when you see such humbling sacrifice in person.

To all the soldiers and their families who have proudly served our country, we salute you and we thank you.

Happy Memorial Day from The Marinelli Family

Happy Memorial Day from my family to yours.



Welcome to Camp Mom!

It’s the last day of school for my kids, and I’m already crying.

No, no…not just because I’m completely unprepared for summer.

Mini-Me and her teacher

Mini-Me getting loved on by her 4th grade teacher yesterday…while Mrs. J. strategically avoids eye contact with me, per the terms of her restraining order.

I’m crying because my two elementary school-aged kids are sad to say goodbye to their beloved teachers and friends today, and when they are sad, I am sad. 

Seems like just yesterday my little Bucket Head was getting on the school bus for the first time.

And it didn’t take long for Mini-Me’s teacher to figure out that I was not operating on all six cylinders. Ah, memories.

Where does the time go?!

Aaaaand, there I go. Getting all sad and nostalgic again. Oy. Hormones. When in doubt, always blame the hormones. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hey, it’s also my anniversary today, which is a sweet way to end the school year. Sixteen years. Yowza. Feels like sooooo much longer. (Just kidding, Honey…kinda.) We’re going to simultaneously celebrate our marriage and our last day of school-year-freedom by having lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant. Then we’re going to fill up a bunch of water balloons so we can ambush the kids when they get off the school bus and help them forget how sad they are to end the school year. Wish me luck on that one…hopefully it doesn’t backfire and make them even more sad that their parents are such insensitive dicks. (Tune in on Instagram later for an update!)

Read Me In the Powder Room!

But in the meantime, I’ve been brainstorming about some of the things we can do this summer to maintain a modicum of sanity and have a little fun. Spoiler alert: bathroom humor and manual labor! It’s over In The Powder Room today. Join me, won’t you?

Here’s to a great summer!

How I battled head lice and won

When we last left our heroine, she was about to save her helpless child from a repulsive infestation of head lice!

(You can get all caught up with how I discovered the infestation here.)

Say it with me, y’all: “Ewwwwww!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Even though I was as skeeved as could possibly be, there was really no choice but to suit up and duke it out with those beasty blood-sucking bastards.

As a serial do-it-yourselfer, I really wanted to see if I could McGyver a solution out of everyday household items like duct tape, lighter fluid, and a weed whacker, but my inner parenting voice said no.

So instead, I turned to the refrigerator and the box o’ dog grooming supplies.

That’s right, people. Armed with nothing but a large jar of Hellman’s and my dog’s plastic flea comb, I set to work.

(NOTE: I chose the flea comb, which was clean and hadn’t been used in years, because it had very fine teeth. However, if you go that route, take it from me and do not share that detail with your child’s teacher or school nurse. Trust me on this one.)

First I combed out as many bugs and nits as I could find. Then I slathered my child’s head with my least favorite condiment, combed it through, and wrapped my child’s melon with cling wrap…being careful not to cover his/her nose or mouth. (I know – best Mom ever.)

The Google said the mayo would need to be on for 8 hours to properly suffocate the live lice. Unfortunately for us, our dog wouldn’t leave my sandwich-flavored child alone and we only got 3 hours of “mayo time” in before the grease dripping down his/her neck and the constant attention from the dog drove my child to the brink of insanity.


So we washed out the mayo, or tried to at least. I haven’t seen hair that greasy since I accidentally left the lid off the Vaseline jar when Mini-Me was a toddler.

Worried the partial mayo treatment wasn’t going to be effective, I looked for another home remedy…preferably one that wouldn’t kill any of my child’s brain cells or turn him/her into an extra large dog treat.

After thoroughly researching the myriad options…

I chose The Cetaphil Treatment to rid my child of lice.

In a nutshell, it requires thoroughly covering the hair with a copious amount of Cetaphil facial cleanser, and thoroughly blow drying it so as to “shrink-wrap” each hair strand therefore suffocating the live lice.

It took three afternoons, evenly spaced three weeks apart, and was a bit labor intensive (takes a lot longer to blow dry hair that is saturated with Cetaphil), but it was safe and it worked. We are officially lice-free.

Supposedly with The Cetaphil Treatment, removing nits is optional because the three weekly treatments completely interrupt the life cycle. But I didn’t want to take any chances, so I ended up buying a professional nit-picking comb called the Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb. The extra-fine stainless steel teeth are much more effective (and less disturbing to others) than my dog’s plastic flea comb.

Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed the nit picking process. This probably comes as no surprise to my husband who has been the brunt of my figurative nit picking for the last 18 years. There was just something remarkably Zen about methodically combing through small sections of coconut scented wet hair in search of buried treasure. Maybe I’m just weird, but I dug it. Perhaps because it was one of the few elements of my life where I could actually see my progress and feel like I was accomplishing something.

How I battled head lice and won by The Bearded Iris

It was also a great opportunity to have uninterrupted conversations with my child. Not that I would recommend a head lice infestation as a way to connect with one of your kids on a deeper level, but seeing the nit comb as half full rather than half empty is one of my finer qualities.

I’ve also learned there are folks who rid people of lice for a living! Apparently they make big bucks too. So I’m thinking I could become a Professional Nit Picker if this blogging thing doesn’t work out. Hey, I already own the comb.

So the moral of this story is this…

1.)  Lice happens.

2.)  Trust your gut and know what to look for.

3.) DON’T PANIC!!!!!!!!!!

4.) Buy a good nit comb. If you have kids, you’re going to need it eventually.

5.) Learn the facts and find the Zen in nit picking.

Or hell, pay me to do it for you—special pricing for readers of The Bearded Iris!

Honestly, the hardest part of this experience was the embarrassment of having to notify the school and my child’s friends. But most of them had been through it before and were very compassionate about the whole thing (the ones who replied, that is). My child was even invited to a slumber party by one of those parents, so I’m relieved to know that we aren’t marked for life…at least for head lice, anyway. {Bless our hearts.}

Triumphantly yours,
Leslie The Lice Lambaster

Bucket Head on board

It was starting to drizzle.

Bucket Head and I would need to run for it.

We counted to three and ran from the store to our car while I pressed the button for the automatic sliding door. He hopped into the back and we both buckled ourselves in while I checked my mirrors.

I put it in reverse and was starting to ease backward out of our angled parking spot when I noticed a gangly teenaged boy walking right behind my minivan. I braked and waited for him to pass. “Kids,” I muttered under my breath and made a mental note to remind my brood to be on the lookout for people reversing in parking lots who might not be able to see them.

Once he passed I checked my mirrors a second time and started to reverse again, slowly.

And again, there was something passing by the back of my van, seemingly inches away from my rear bumper.

It was the teenager’s father.

He wasn’t hustling at all, he wasn’t stopping to let me get out of my parking spot, he was simply glaring at me and shaking his head. I hit the brake as he slowly sauntered by giving me the stink eye.

Obviously he had the right of way. If I had noticed him I never would have tried to back out. But the blind spot on my minivan is huge, especially in the drizzle through the rain-spattered windows, reversing at an angle.

Oh—that look! What the hell, dude! Do you think I’m TRYING to mow you down? I’m just trying to get out of my parking spot. I totally would have waited for you to pass if I had seen you. It’s drizzling and I’m dry in my car—of course I want you to pass by safely and get into the store unscathed.

Ack. I hate that. Why did he have to glare and shake his head in judgment like that? Why couldn’t he just hustle by and wave like “Ooops, sorry—didn’t see your reverse lights.” I like to think that’s what I would have done. I probably would have smiled and waved and hustled by. I hope.

But his nasty face and pissy attitude set me off. Where is the common courtesy? Why couldn’t we have shared a pleasant exchange like an “I’m sorry, you go,” “No, that’s okay, you go,” kind of moment? Why can’t real life be more like that Liberty Mutual commercial that always makes me cry?

I know I shouldn’t have, but I exploded.

“I didn’t see you, JAGOFF!” I shouted at him (from behind the safety of my closed windows and locked doors.) You can take the girl out of Pittsburgh, but you can never take the Pittsburgh out of the girl, I guess.

That’s when 6-year-old Bucket Head, who I momentarily forgot was buckled in right behind me said, “How do you know his name, Mommy?” 

And then my heart exploded from the cuteness and my road rage melted away.

I wish every vehicle came standard with a backseat Bucket Head. I think the world would be a better place.

Now I just need to teach him to stop calling people jagoffs.

Everyone needs a backseat Bucket Head by The Bearded Iris

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