My HIV Child Is Playing With Your Child

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My HIV child is playing with your child, and you don’t know it.

She has played with your child at a local private preschool, been dunked next to yours during swim lessons, and stands in line behind your kid in gymnastics class. My HIV-positive child has legal protections that mean we don’t have to tell you —schools, camps, parents, or anyone except doctors and dentists—about her HIV-positive status.

Because of the ignorance and stigma that’s been associated with HIV, brave people have fought hard for the legal right to lie by omission about HIV status. Our social worker pre-adoption advised us: “Tell no one. There is so much stigma and ignorance out there. Already your Chinese child will stick out in your community. Do you really want to give people another reason not to accept her?”

At kindergarten this year, my sweet girl tried to tell your child. “Natalie, guess what? I have a dragon in my blood. I was born with it and my China mommy had it, too. When I take medicine the dragon stays asleep.” Natalie, and five other friends, did not believe my daughter. In fact, one told her, “Well, I was born in China and I have a dragon, too!” I guess he felt left out. I explained to her they just didn’t know the whole story and couldn’t understand. Yet.

So why don’t I have to tell schools, churches, and day cares? Because HIV has never been transmitted in these situations, period. Modern medications render the virus powerless. Every four months my child has her blood checked, and every time the results are the same: the sensitive lab tests detect no virus in her bloodstream. She is healthy, happy, and hilarious. I bandage her scraped knees; mop up bloody noses; share food, water, and kisses; and deal with boogies—all with no risk and no worries about contracting HIV.

Look, she just happened to be born with it. If her birth mother had been able to take life-changing antiretroviral drugs while she was pregnant, my daughter would be HIV free. It’s possible that she wouldn’t even have been relinquished for adoption. Just so you know, those expensive medications that my daughter and other HIV-positive people take every day? They’re free in China. Free! The government pays for them. But most Chinese HIV-positive people don’t take them, because admitting you are HIV positive means to die to everyone you love. You will be disowned, kicked out. Shunned.

My daughter might date your son when she’s a teenager, and she’ll marry and have HIV-negative babies one day—if she wants to. Please, fellow mommies, know that HIV is nothing to be afraid of. Please look online, google it, and talk with your pediatrician. Learn and research so that you know the truth, too. You don’t have to take my word for it. But just so you know, my HIV-positive kid is playing with your kid, and you have no idea which one she is. And that’s okay.

HIV isn’t scary, but ignorance and stigma are.

The Top 10 Reasons We’re Not Having Sex Tonight

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A little while ago, some assclown made the news for keeping an Excel spreadsheet of his wife’s excuses for not having sex with him, and sharing it with the world. I can only imagine that makes her want him that much more. In case my beloved husband is keeping track, I would like to preemptively get my own list out there…

10. I am not clean. I am never clean, it seems, as I am always covered in the food, vomit, or feces of our offspring. I even bathed today! But I started sweating the minute I stepped out of the shower, and now it’s been a three tee-shirt day.

9. Remember that fight we had 20 minutes ago about nipples for the baby’s bottle, after which you stormed out of the room like a fucking child? I do.

8. Honey, somebody shrunk my libido. Or simply replaced it with bone-crushing fatigue.

7. Let’s not and say we did. No one will ever know. We could lie and tell people we can’t stop doing it.

6. Maybe bringing in a third party would spice up our sex life? Don’t tell me you haven’t thought of this. I have. I am thinking: a cleaning lady! She can do the dishes, the laundry, light cleaning, maybe even some cooking. And I can do, well, you know.

5. Sure, we can have sex. Or we could sleep an extra 19 minutes. I know which one I’d– zzzzz.

4. Believe it or not, micromanaging and second-guessing aren’t huge turn-ons for me.

3. I’ve had kids hanging on me all day. I am a human jungle gym. All I want to do is read a magazine (even a novel is too much commitment) and have a big gulp size o’ straight vodka. Cheers.

2. Know what gets my motor running? Admitting you were wrong even ONCE in your damn life.

1. Can’t stress this enough: I really need to take another shower. I smell like a Sbarro’s.

Even though we’ve been married for ten years now, I still find you sexy as hell. Sure, having two toddlers can be a nightmare at times, but we’re in this together, and there’s no one I would rather be with.

Maybe tomorrow night? Until then, I’ll see you in my dreams.

Related post: 5 Ways to Please Your Man! (Or, Not)

I’m So Sorry My Large Family Offends You

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When you have four boys under the age of six, you have to come up with creative ways for them to burn energy. We found the perfect opportunity and signed up for our first family 5K. Children of all ages were encouraged to walk and participants were supposed to dress like superheroes in the fight against cancer. My boys had a great time—they were dressed like (what else) ninja turtles. Everyone got a shiny red cape, the weather was beyond beautiful, and the boys loved being cheered on as the runners ahead of us looped back and passed us on their way to the finish line. It was a great day. Almost perfect.

But, alas, it seems every day we are reminded what a huge inconvenience my large family is to the general public. Let me explain. As we were nearing the finish line, we heard someone behind us yell, “Thanks for taking up the whole lane. I appreciate it!” We turned only out of curiosity, because we were nowhere near taking up the entire lane. I was walking to the farthest right of the lane, wearing the baby, and my husband was a few feet in front of me, pulling two boys in the wagon, and one boy rode his bike a few yards directly ahead of us. There was plenty of room to our left as we were really only “two-wide”.

When we turned, this guy was quite a bit back, and he repeated his statement, clearly directed at us. We thought he might be joking. My husband said, “You mean, like we’re in your way?” The guy ran past us on the left. “Yeah, thanks a lot,” he barked as he passed. I yelled after him, “This is a children’s walk for cancer!” but he kept running and finished a few yards ahead of us. (My husband approached him afterward, man-to-whatever he was, but he just ignored us and walked away, making us both irate.) We spent the whole ride home rehashing the incident.

This is a recurring theme for us. Like the time we got fussed at by a guy on his cell phone for taking too much time selecting canned crab with our huge cart full of kids. Or the time I got yelled at for taking too long strapping all four kids into their car seats by a guy waiting for my parking space. I now understand what a threat we are to the public at large. So I want to take this time to apologize.

I’m sorry I did not consider you, the total stranger, when planning my family.

I’m sorry your needs weren’t my top priority.

I am sorry that my car safety practices do not enhance your parking experience.

I am sorry that the multiple-child carts at Walmart are so large they are akin to riding a Zamboni through the isles, therefore infringing upon your aisle space.

And to that dedicated runner, I am truly sorry if my audacity and inconsideration to bring my children to a family 5K added precious seconds to your awesome 59 minute finish time. Shame on me!

I obviously must learn a lesson. If you would like to keep me and my tribe off of the streets and out of your neighborhood grocery store, please sign the petition at www.gokickrocks.com, or send a message to at icouldntcareless@getalife.com.

Thank you.

With your help, we can keep large, happy families of adorable children at home where they belong. Then we can direct our efforts on the elderly and disabled.

Related post: 10 Questions Not To Ask a Large Family

12 Kid Venues That Need Open Bars

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Chuck-E.-Cheese

Let’s face it, as parents we spend a lot of time in places we would rather not be: Pediatrician’s offices, playgrounds, porta-potties, waterparks, etc. (those last two are interchangeable, by the way).

In fact, according to a study, (ok, my husband), 88.6% of our time is spent in places where the question… “what the hell am I doing here?” is not rhetorical. We hear a lot about adult venues striving to make their environment more “kid-friendly”… but really, shouldn’t kid-oriented spots return the favor by attempting to be more adult-friendly? Enough with Despicable Me, would it kill the pediatrician’s office to air an episode of “Orange is the New Black” in the waiting room every once in a while? Clearly this evolution would take time… but the obvious, and quickest solution to this injustice would be to add an open bar to some of the most brutal wonderful kid-oriented venues.

Let’s start with these:

1. Chuck E. Cheese’s. When you think about it, Chuck E. Cheese’s is just a casino for shorties. There are no clocks, you have no idea how long you’ve been there, and by the time you leave you’ve blown through all your coin. Obsessed gamblers mindlessly hover over machines in hopes of hitting the jackpot, only to discover that nobody ever really leaves there a winner. The disappointment is so great that everyone ends up stuffing their faces with pizza before stumbling back out into daylight. Hey C Diddy – what does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?

2. Justice. A visit to justice is an out-of-body experience that involves sequins, glitter, neon, and girls wearing shirts with sayings like “I go nuts for donuts”. Five feet into the store and you feel like you’ve dropped acid. You want to leave but the next thing you know you’re holding a giant panda with googly eyes and standing next to someone in a rainbow glow-in-the-dark crop top and zebra print hightop sneakers. Eventually you find yourself asking, “where am I and how will I get home?” Alcohol in this setting would merely help dull the pain.

3. Dance Recitals. In theory, these are lovely. You can’t help but smile when the tutu-clad 4 year olds wearing bright red lipstick step out on stage, twirl, and then shimmy back off stage. You are in awe of the talented teens who manage to pull off a jazz number that is just one hitchkick short of a pole dance. … but somewhere between the 3rd and 4th hour of these endless shows the magic wears off. Suddenly parents in the audience begin to shift nervously in their seats and check their programs obsessively… “Only 16 more acts to go…only 15 more…” we whisper frantically to each other. By the time the show ends even non-drinkers are craving a martini and a cigarette.

4. Girl Scout Campsites. The Best. Weekend. Ever! Any time you hear a group of moms say “I remember coming here as a kid!” you know your weekend is going to suck. 4 foot cots that have stains from the 70s? No hair dryer or running water for miles? Humidity and bugs? Moldy pillows? Pass the flask.

5. Music Time at the Bookstore. This is a solid hour of awkwardness for everyone involved, and truthfully, alcohol would only help mildly here. The audience inevitably suffers second-hand embarrassment for the guy reading the book in silly voices and it only gets worse once he grabs his guitar and begins to sing. A few drinks in and moms might turn to each other with that “wow – this guy is GOOD!” nod… a few more and we might even find ourselves buying one of his “Stan the Singing Man” CDs.

6. Hollister.  The teen equivalent of a swanky club that everyone wants to get into but nobody really knows why. It’s dark, the music is blaring, it reeks of cheap cologne, and you are surrounded by people who are much cooler than you. All that’s missing is a bouncer at the door. Within two minutes of entering, you lose the people you came with and are roaming around by yourself. Without a doubt you are going to make bad decisions here and the next day you’re bound to regret what you brought home. Who wants to do a shot?

7. Mini Golf. This is the family activity that looks good from afar but is far from good. Inevitably you will find yourself behind a family of 10 who thinks they are on the PGA tour. As Uncle Tim works on his perfect form, your 8 and 6 year old are using their clubs as swords and wading in the toxic river near the windmill. You manage to muster up optimism as you tee off at each hole, but without fail your child launches the ball like a rocket and then follows up with 55 futile whacks before picking up the ball and dropping it in the hole while your other child berates him for simultaneously sucking AND cheating. Repeat 18 times. Mini golf would benefit from mini bar.

8. Boy Birthday parties. “Happy birthday Luke… I mean, Sam! Here’s the heartfelt $25 gift card I snatched up 5 minutes before the party started. Enjoy your special day with 24 of your closest friends, none of whom will form a complete sentence during the next 2 hours of insanity!” Let’s face it, these are really just amateur frat parties – a room full of boys running around screaming, jumping, and breaking things (without knowing why) until they pass out. Where’s the keg?

9. 8:30 am Pee Wee Soccer Games. Sure it’s early, but that’s really the point. After rolling out of bed at 7am, arguing with a 4 year old about why shin guards are important (after explaining what a “shin” is in the first place), stuffing their chubby little feet into cleats that are as narrow as Barbie shoes and racing off to an all important 3-4 year old co-ed soccer “game”, most parents look stressed and exhausted by their 8:29 arrival. How amazing would it be to sip a mimosa or bloody mary while watching little Grace and Hannah pick dandelions run their little hearts out on the field? It might even lead to some fun adult drinking games where parents drink every time a child runs off the field crying or scores on their own team.

10. Disney World. Any place where people end up crying in the bathroom automatically deserves an open bar.

11. Gymboree. This is not really a store as much as a slap-in-the-face reminder of how you thought your life would be when you first had kids, and how miserably you’ve failed at achieving any of that. Remember when you thought your children would be perfectly coordinated from head to toe and would hold hands as they skipped to the playground? A glass of Pinot would help you forget you’ve completely screwed as a mom, on every level. Oh, and by the way, you’ll never be able to master a dumb ass French braid. Even better, an open bar would increase the chances that the mom shopping with mini Kate Upton might get buzzed and trip on an alligator themed rain boot. Not that I would want that…

12. The Please Touch Museum. Let’s be honest, these should really be called the “Please Pass the Purell” museum. In the span of 30 minutes your child will morph from a doctor to an airline pilot to a construction worker. Eventually you will find yourself in the “grocery store” where your child will grab the fake apple that the kid picking his nose just put down. Where is the pretend bar so mom can order a pretend mojito?