The Inner Poet.

My daughter is the epitome of a cheerful optimist.

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She is nearly always happy, always pointing out the beautiful and amazing things around her, and is constantly looking to thank me for something or state how much she enjoys whatever it is we’re doing right then.

“Thanks for taking us on this run, Mom. I love running!”

“Doing laundry is the best, Mom. Thanks for letting me do it!”

“Thank you for allowing me to clean this toilet, mom. It’s so fantastic!”

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Although I appreciate her enthusiasm, because I’m a cynic at heart, I sometimes suspect that her cheery disposition is actually rooted deeply in her people-pleasing-oldest-child-personality and then multiplied by opportunism to capitalize on her little brother’s general lack of cheery disposition (and his being told to quit whining and/or arguing approximately once a second) in order to differentiate herself as The Favorite Child.

I believe this because the whinier he is, the cheerier she is. The more he says he hates something, the more she says she loves it.

It’s as if he left his lunch money in her room and she’s perfectly happy to collect interest on it.

But maybe I’m reading too much into her personality. Maybe she somehow missed all of my genetics and is genuinely the nicest person that ever lived.

Or maybe, deep down, she’s as cynical as I am. And is just WERKING it.

“Thanks for this English assignment, Mom. I LOVE writing acrostic poetry!”

Those are words that Ali spoke last week. Those words definitely never came out of my mouth, as I despise all forced attempts at rhyming or rhythm, mainly because I’m absolutely horrible at it. Like seriously – cannot write a rhyming verse to save my life. Additionally, I hated every English book and class that I ever knew. One time I loathed my English book so badly that I asked my Mom if I could finish the entire book that day and not do English for the rest of the year. She said yes, and I happily obliged.

(I didn’t learn much English that year, but I’ve managed to figure out the basics of the language in spite of my self-administered mini-term.)

But Chris is an excellent song-writer, so I thought that perhaps Ali has her father’s talent and love for the art.

She handed me her poem with excitement and glow.

“I wrote my acrostic poem about winter! Don’t you love it? It was fun to try and start all the lines with the letters W-I-N-T-E-R.”

I read her poem.

I giggled.

I read it again.

I giggled some more.

“It’s amazing, honey. Simply. Amazing.”

And at that moment I knew, deep down, in the places she doesn’t like to talk about, Ali had a hidden dark side, just like her mother.

Because Ali’s poem sounded just like April Ludgate had written it, and is best read with her fantastic monotone delivery.

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You go, Ali.

Keep being sunshiny and positive on the outside, but enjoy your Inner Evil Poet as well.

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Qixels are for Mommies.

There are certain things we buy our children for Christmas only because we love them. With dread and self-loathing, we purchase those sets that we know will lose two pieces on the first day and never work again, those million-tiny-parts that we are quite confident will be scattered throughout our house in 23 minutes flat, and those toys we KNOW they won’t play with but they’re just sure they neeeeed.

But every now and then, we buy something for our kids out of love for ourselves. Something we know we will enjoy as much – and sometimes more even – than they will.

Thus was the case this year.

Noah had a very thorough list of things he wanted for Christmas, but I bought him something I wanted. And not one set of that something, but four. Because I wanted it that badly.

Qixels.

Qixels are the modern version of perler beads (except you use water instead of the oven to fuse them together) and the “boy” version of Beados or Aquabeads, which Ali has been enjoying for quite some time. But Beados roll away, the templates are boring, and I personally do not find them satisfying to work with. Qixels are sturdy, square plastic blocks that fit onto a frame and you create objects, usually with a template underneath, that end up looking like they’d fit perfectly into the Minecraft universe.

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The minute I beheld Qixels for the first time I knew this is what had been missing from my life. It reminded me of my childhood beading days long gone – I was beyond into the beading scene in my wild junior high days. So much so that my parents would drive out of their way on family vacation when I knew there was a bead shop nearby.

(I don’t know how I knew this. There was no internet. How did one attain such knowledge back then?)

Qixels offer that same delightful pleasure of multi-colored creation, but are a much quicker experience, which is needed in my time-conscious state of adulthood. And as a bonus, I knew my son would enjoy them, so how could it be bad to buy something that we could do together?

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The kids do Lego with Daddy (I suck at Lego), they do Minecraft with each other (I cannot get into Minecraft), but there’s nothing that Noah and I do together. But Qixels could provide.

And…you could say it totally did.

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This collection doesn’t even count the Qixel village he’s already given away in Sunday School.

(If your kid is in Noah’s class and came home with a cute little monster, chances are, I made it.)

I was immediately and unapologetically hooked.

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I found the most efficient ways to sort my Qixels and get them onto the frames. I found the exact amount of water that should be spritzed to make sure all the Qixels permanently stuck together, but still minimize dry time. I even began branching out on the templates, adding my own touches, like the awesomely funky purple belt and shoes on this cop,

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Creating commissioned Items for Noah, like a ninja,

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making twists on blank templates, like this tacky LSU fan,

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(I didn’t set out to make a tacky LSU fan – the blocks decided that),

And, my Sistine Chapel, taking a picture of a race car off a box,

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and slowly and methodically using it to help me create Lightning McQueen.

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I am not artistic in the least but in that moment I felt like the love child of Michelangelo and Pixar.

I wasn’t the only one being creative, though. Noah created an army of “Old Men” – this same character over and over, a delightfully jolly big-eared fellow.

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I lined the old men up in front of our creations and began thinking of them as pawns. Ooooh – a Qixel chess set. We could totally make that happen.

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Only later did I realize that Noah was making a tiny army of Jeff Sessionses.

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Chris took note of our obsession and bought Noah a tackle box in which to keep our his Qixels. The delight of the organization of our craft scored Chris many kisses. From me.

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But the thing about Qixels is, you always need more. When you’re creating tacky football fans and tiny Attorney Generals at our pace, they quickly deplete. And since I might have been creating at a slightly quicker clip than Noah, I might have also felt guilty about my over-Qixel usage (at his insistence and glee, but still…), so I also might have began to buy refill sets at an alarming pace. (Thankfully, they’re fairly inexpensive.) My Google search history is full of things like “bulk qixels” and my eBay and Amazon searches are full of attempts to get Qixels at a discount price. Noah basked in the benefits of his mother’s obsession, excitedly cheering when I’d open another refill pack.

This past Tuesday was when I knew it had gone too far.

Noah heard me open the door to get a package off the porch. Or rather, Noah heard me open the door and, from his position upstairs, assumed I was getting a package off the porch.

“Mom! Is that more Qixel Refills?”

“NO…Why would you think that??”

(But it totally was. And I hid them before he came downstairs.)

Guys, I might need a detox.

November 10: National Day of Rainbows and Unicorns.

“You know what the world needs more of today? Rainbows and Unicorns.”

These were my thoughts when I opened up Facebook.

Two minutes into my feed…

“Unicorns. Rainbows. Stat.”

Five minutes in…

“I NEED A UNICORN CRAPPING A RAINBOW THIS INSTANT.”

I opened up my Bitmoji app to try and find the picture of my cartoon self doing just that,

 

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…Only to discover that my Bitmoji front page looked just like my Facebook feed.

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And then I remembered.

I had just the thing that I needed. Nay, perhaps what all of America needed. Or all of the world.

This summer, we discovered something quite accidentally. Noah was playing with the hose in the bright summer sunshine, and I noticed the effect.

I ran in and got my camera and pleaded, begged, and bribed him to let me take pictures.

“PLEASE let me take a picture of a rainbow coming out of your butt. I’ll buy you THREE pieces of candy if you’ll let me take a picture of a rainbow coming out of your butt!!!!”

The pictures weren’t perfect, so I never shared them (except with a friend who has an especially strange penchant for unicorns pooping rainbows.)

My plan was to recreate it again and try to get the arc just right and make sure the end of the rainbow connected from where it was supposed to come just so.

But alas, the summer got away from us and I never worked on my photography project.

But that’s okay.

Because America just needs rainbows today. Not perfect rainbows – just any old rainbow will do.

Therefore, I hereby declare it National Day of Rainbows and Unicorns.

So here you go.

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He’s no unicorn, but he can poop a rainbow. So basically, he’s a unicorn.

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And if you still need more Unicorns Pooping Rainbows, then by all means watch this:

So go out there and spread some rainbow and unicorn love. Send me your cute kids, your puppies, your funny videos, and for sure share if you have someone or something pooping a rainbow.

That’s all I got, America.