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Love’s Labour a Liability?

Aunt FattieNow, regular readers will know several things about this blog. They’ll know about Listmania. They’ll know about the Friday Caption Contest. They’ll know, if they’ve got the right hormones, about the Celebrity Dad Face-Off.

And they will also know that if you’re looking for practical parenting advice, you go to Glinda. If you’re looking for attitude with or without a side of tentacles, you come to me.

But today Glinda has her hands full making fun of neurasthenic Desperate Housewives, so we must look elsewhere in the blogosphere for a good, stiff dose of sense. Where do we find it?Mary Martini

Ask Aunt Fattie! Seriously, this may be my second favorite advice column, right after Ask Sister Mary Martha (She had me at “Home Depot.” The only way to make Home Depot more awesome is to add nuns). The question o’ the day is, how to look for a job when you’re quite obviously pregnant, even if you’re not actually pregnant. A fraught question indeed. Let’s see what she’s got to say:

Dear Aunt Fatty,

I’m a college senior, about to enter the big wide job market, and I’m looking for some advice on how to handle my Ultra Super Special Body Shape.

You see, I look like I’m about 5-6 months pregnant, despite a complete and total lack of fetuses in my stomach…

Response:

Dear Imaginary Fetus,

Aunt Fattie’s first suggestion would be a T-shirt reading “No, I’m Not Pregnant.”

Her first serious suggestion would be “no empire waists.”

In truth, this is a poser. It is reprehensible but undeniable that firms and companies are reluctant to hire pregnant women because they don’t want to immediately pay for an extended leave of absence. Due to both social and legal restrictions, you can’t solve this with words — they can’t ask, and it’s awkward to answer unbidden. And so, you must solve it with clothes…

Finally, please remember: the “problem” in this case is not your belly, but widespread discriminatory hiring practices. Unfortunately, changing the latter is a huge project, and you shouldn’t have to go unemployed while it’s being undertaken. But even though Aunt Fattie’s advice involves hiding your belly, your belly is NOT the problem here.

And so it goes, with practical advice, witty phrasing, and motivational delivery, and with many amusing and several actually very useful suggestions in the comments. Did you know what happens to your ladyparts when you wear a spandex bodysquasher when you’re actually pregnant?

YOU. DON’T. WANT. TO. KNOW.

Note that the recommended outfits would not include this:

Maternity dress from HELL

Ask Glinda: What the Heck to do With Old Car Seats Edition

The lovely and superfantastic Mindy asks:

I’ve been knocking around the Internet over the past week or so, trying to find information about recycling car seats.  I found that the two seats left from my older kids were on the cusp of expiration. I registered for a new one, but was stuck wondering if I had to pitch the old ones into a landfill.  I would much rather do something less environmentally destructive with them, if possible.

If the car seat doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it, the best directions I received were to strip them of their straps and padding, then chop them up and throw them in the regular trash.  (The more destroyed they are, the better, in order to prevent Dumpster divers from reusing an unsafe seat.)  Really?  There’s nothing better than that, considering the number of car seats which expire or are involved in crashes every year?

Does anyone at Teeny Manolo know anything to do? 

An excellent question, Mindy! It practically boggles the mind to think of how many car seats are out there. They are so big and bulky, it seems like it wouldn’t take all that many of them to pile up to the top of a landfill in no time flat. There has to be something that can be done with them, right?

Well, sort of.

Because all child car seats have an expiration date, like those eggs you just bought, the options are fairly limited. It irritates me to think that something that looks perfectly functional is not, but we have to take the word of the manufacturers that over time, the plastics and materials in the car seats degrade. We have Space Shuttles making multiple trips into outer space and back, but can’t seem to make a car seat that works past six years. OK, a little side rant there.  Back to the question at hand.

How can we dispose of our expired car seat and still give ourselves the environmental warm fuzzies?

To find out the answer…

(more…)

Ask Glinda- Christmas Edition

Santa reacts in shock! PVC pipe?

Longtime reader Cherry asks:

Dear Glinda,
Just because it is the season and I’m curious how parents handle things with their kids at this time of year:
How you do deal with the pressures from the Munchkin for Christmas presents? Or has he hit that stage yet?

Cherry, any doubts you have about my son hitting the “all about the presents” stage would be allayed by the very long list of items dictated to me by said five year old in a surprisingly detailed letter to Santa.  We’ll see if Santa can deliver some PVC pipe for him to make his own marble run, as well as some building material for a treehouse.  That should be a challenge.

The interesting part of it is that my son doesn’t watch network television, so he has little exposure to the mighty media forces on display every Saturday morning.

But still, like any kid, he has things in mind that he wants and since his wants are so far very simple, we can handle it.

However, to take some of the emphasis off of himself and what he will be getting, I have tried this year to include him in some philanthropic pursuits which include going with me to the store to pick out toys for some underprivileged children, as well as going through his current set of toys together and picking some to donate to another charity. 

Which is much harder than it sounds, actually, because every toy suddenly becomes a favorite that is unable to be parted with.  Even though it hasn’t been so much as looked at in the past three months, it immediately becomes his most favorite toy that he has loved always. I stand over him and say, too bad dude, you’ve got to pick.  The accompanying dramatics should really get him nominated for an Oscar, but after the tough decisions are made, he feels proud of himself.

I’m not sure how much worse it will get in the coming years, but I hope to balance any sense of entitlement with making sure that we do charitable works and deeds.  And not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. Then, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that the message that it’s not all about him manages to penetrate that bubble of self-importance that childen often carry themselves around in.

Got a question for us here at Teeny Manolo? Email to theglinda @ gmaildotcom or raincoaster @ gmaildotcom

Good, Old-Fashioned Advice

railway tracks

Sometimes it’s really hard to argue with those old sayings.

From Operation Lifesaver, via Black is the New Black.

Teeny Manolo’s Dating Advice for Single Men

Say it with me, “Awwww”

Single men, forget all the things you hear from Maxim and Stuff about how to pick up a chick.  Teeny Manolo is here to help.  We gaurantee that this method will work.  We won’t demand any payment, we do this as a public service.   So men, save the lame lines, ditch the fresh produce aisle, and leave the puppies at home.  There’s a new game in town.

Teeny Manolo’s Guide to Picking Up Chicks in Six Easy Steps:

1. Legally procure someone else’s child.  A young child is good, but it can be of almost any age.  

2. Request that the child be dressed nicely, but in an outfit that doesn’t quite match. 

3. Take the child anywhere there will be women around.  A park is good, a mall is better.

4. Begin interacting with the child.  Silly faces, peek-a-boo, and tag are all time-tested winners. 

5.  Prepare yourself for the onslaught of women who will approach you, completely of their own volition.

6.  Pick and choose from the many members of the opposite sex who are practically throwing themselves at you.

There is something so compelling about seeing a man with child.  I don’t know if it is something subliminal, or biological, or what, but watching a man having a good time with children is a surefire way to melt the hearts of all women within a hundred foot radius.  

Women will think you are a caring, kind individual.  They will think you are a responsible individual.  In the back of their minds, they will think that you are prime daddy material, because you obviously like kids. 

These things will make you nigh upon irresistible to almost any woman.

Because if it can make even Jack Black look adorable, just think of what it can do for you

Ask Glinda: Mad Hot Ballroom Edition

The lovely reader eilish asks:

Glinda, what do you think of a covert movement to make all boys take proper ballroom dance courses? I think my son might thank me in the long run, but I’m curious what your thoughts are.

Glinda is of the opinion that Culture, with a capital C, is one of the most valuable things that we as parents can help our children become aware of.  Notice the Glinda did not say “like,” but at least some type of exposure is necessary.   Lack of  exposure may or may not lead to a dedication to NASCAR, the fondness for the bonging of the beer, a penchant for greasy trucker hats, or any number of unfortunate things.   Dance, along with art, writing, and music, are some of humanity’s expressions at their finest.   It is important that our children grow up to at least appreciate Culture and recognize its place in our society.

Ahhh, the Glinda can see it now, the handsome son dressed in the classic tuxedo, gliding across the mirror-like dance floor, leading his beautiful partner.  What mother would not love to see her son exuding such grace and elegance as he executes the perfect foxtrot?  “Dancing With the Stars” is the ratings phenomenon for good reason, is it not?

Almost all women are smitten with a man who can comport himself with reasonable aplomb on the dance floor.  And while we as mothers may be aware of this, it is a difficult concept to convey to the young men in our lives. It seems that grace and elegance are shockingly low on the list of priorities for most boys.  Or perhaps grace and elegance while dodging the linebackers, or running the bases, but nothing that includes wearing shiny shoes with heels seems to count. 

The Glinda thinks that firstly, we should remember that dance, while still being Culture, is technically a sport.  Even if our sons do not see it that way, it is the truth. Dancers are athletes, who train and practice as much as any person with a ball of varying size and a playing field.  One cannot shuffle a few steps of the Electric Slide and call themselves a dancer. Getting the young man to see dance from this point of view may help to ease the resistance, although the Glinda is not betting on it. 

That being said, the Glinda thinks that such a thing as ballroom dancing should be treated as a sport.  Any more than you would force your child to play basketball, you should not necessarily force them to take the ballroom dancing classes.  The Glinda would suggest enrolling your child in a class for one particular style of ballroom dance, for example, the waltz.  And for however many courses it takes to master the basics of the waltz, that would be the commitment from the young person.  Just as if your child were to join a sport, you would have them finish out the season once the commitment was given.

But after that, base future attendance upon the enthusiasm, or lack thereof, of the participant.  The young man may begin by hating his dance lessons with the fire of a thousand white-hot suns.  Eventually, he may begin to like it a little, in spite of himself.  Or, depending on the young man, he may not.  This is where parental wisdom and knowledge of the particular child come into play.  At this point, you the parent can congratulate yourself on the exposure, however brief it may have been, to Culture.

However, as well-intentioned as it may be to try and attempt to forestall a lifetime’s worth of awkward chicken-like dances at weddings and parties, the lessons being given will only be as valuable as the one receiving them allows them to be. 

Sundays: Operating Instructions

Car TripSummer weekends are increasingly rare occurrences, and not to be taken lightly. Truly, there are only a couple left before everyone starts wearing pumpkin-adorned Shetland sweaters and olive cords and talking about snowshoes. It is strongly to be hoped that you have prepared adequately for two days in the uninterrupted company of those you love or to whom you are irrevocably related. The scenario is fraught with pitfalls, and as more than one wise man has noted, in such unpredictable situations it’s best to learn from the mistakes of others, for lo, ye shall never live long enough to make them all yourself, right?

Right.

So, what do we here at TeenyManolo recommend for your basic Lazy Sunday?

We suggest going old-skool.

Summer weekends are exactly those periods of time when it’s best to fall back on things your grandparents would have found delightful, when they were about four. This is both cheaper and easier than flying to Paris for a shopping spree, scaling Everest to “show those snotty Scouts,” or renting a theme park for Timmy-Billy-Bob’s birthday party.

Old-skool summer weekend activities include:

  • camping; yes, even in the backyard, but it only counts if you make s’mores and tell at least one ghost story
  • playing pleasantly dopey games like charades, hangman, Life or anything using the Pop-O-Matic
  • making and/or consuming lemonade and sun tea
  • lemonade stands (particularly lucrative if you live near a bike path; raincoaster is generally good for buying five rounds)
  • the zoo
  • pony rides/hay rides
  • making popcorn the old-fashioned way, whether or not you use the magically enchanted brand that poufs into a silvery turban (but come on: why wouldn’t you?)
  • reading to each other, particularly kids to parents, for lo, kids always think you’re reading crap and have better stuff they could show you, if they thought you wanted to know
  • cooking together. NOT reheating together
  • pointless wandering around, either in a car or human-powered (bikes, skates, or pedestrianization).

Things to avoid:

  • anything one of you has done before and knows s/he actively hates
  • anything mildly pleasant that you do in a typical weekday anyway. A weekend is a moderately special occasion, and kids deserve to have fun on special occasions. And so do adults
  • anything demanding batteries or extension cords
  • anything chosen primarily for its photo possibilities. What good are memorable pictures of forgettable experiences?

And now we will leave you with the image that most perfectly sums up the perfect weekend afternoon with the wee ones, stolen from wanderlust, via Bridlepath.

ponies in the park