Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Drink and Drive; Drink After Teaching Your Teen to Drive

Dear Ann Abler,
I want to help my daughter achieve independence, but I'm also worried for her safety. Most importantly, I'm kind of tired of driving her to dance classes three times a week. Should I let her drive?
- Stuck in Overdrive

Dear Overdrive,

As always, I'm your Ann Abler, primarily looking out for your sanity. In my opinion, teen drivers are equally if not more dangerous than teen wolves. But a real teen wolf, not a Michael J. Fox kind. Though my kids are small, I have done some pre-panicking on this issue. So, here are a few tips off the top of my head:

Photo from
  • Wait for those self-driving cars. A recent Wired article says in 20-ish years most vehicles will be driving themselves. Tell your daughter to dance around the house for the next couple decades, and save up for one of these robot cars. Ditching the dance classes will also save you money on sequins and sparkles.

  • Let her drive, but only 2 miles per hour. Tell her she can get a Mini Cooper...but it has to be this exact one:
Driving Miss Baby

  • Bubble wrap her. Sometimes you have to nudge the little birdies out of the nest, but no one says you can't provide some cushion.
Photo from Jay P. Morgan of

  • Pick your poison. There are now several states where you can legally obtain a certain substance that can mellow you out after an outing with your teen driver. If you're in one of those lucky locations...ask your doctor if marijuana is right for you. You deserve to relax after reeling from the fear and anxiety that driving with a teenager can cause. I mean there's always Ujjayi breathing, but sometimes you need to "speed relax" like my friend Lori says. Just remember, at no time do I actually expect my advice to be heeded. I take no responsibility for your future habits, and I will not pay for your Ziggy Marley tickets. Let's just not pretend we're all Puritans. That's so 1600. So, do what you're going to do and don't judge yourself too harshly. As a wise woman once tweeted:

If you do decide to teach your daughter to drive, make sure you instill in her the value of good driving music. You can start with The Top 25 Songs About Cars, Driving and Roadtrips. Now that you have one of those songs stuck in your head, read my last post about how to get rid of earworms.

Hope that helps and doesn't send you on a downward spiral with drugs.

Your Ann Abler

Sunday, July 27, 2014

WINNER of The 'Help a Child Mourn the Death of a Fish' Caption Contest

And the winner of The 'Help a Child Mourn the Death of a Fish' Caption Contest is MY MOM, with:
"A Fish Called Gone. Duh."

That's right. My mom. Totally no bias here.

A Fish Called Gone. Duh.
Thanks to all of you who played along with me in the comments section, on Twitter, or on Facebook. Feel free to keep playing. I will never be one to put a stop to puns.


Your Ann Abler

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Too Sexy for this Earworm

Dear Ann,

My kids are killing me with their non-stop Fresh Beat Band and Yo Gabba Gabba music loop. I’m considering cutting them off cold turkey and only listening to classical music. Is that cruel? I can’t get The Fresh Beat Band's “Bananas” song out of my head!

Nah nah nah nah nah nah…
I’ve gone,

Dear Bananas,

If you start listening exclusively to classical music, you will only be hurting yourself. And on a side note, I’m pretty sure listening to The Beatles works just as well as those Baby Einstein CDs

When the entire world was weirded out
The earworm epidemic is a cause that is close to my heart. You are not alone. I am here with you. Though we’re far apart, you’re always in my heart. Damn it, Michael Jackson! See what I mean? This is a very serious condition. It sounds like you’re stuck…and I’m…stuck in the middle with you. Scheisse! Okay, the first step is for both of us to breathe. Belly breath right through it. All better? Good.

Being semi-sadistic myself, I like to fight earworms with earworms. Sometimes this has worked wonderfully. I have weened children from the Fresh Beat Band to a more advanced addiction of The Go-Go’s. This is a step in the right direction. What you need to do is simply match the overall feeling and rhythm of a kid’s song with something more acceptable to you. Until that becomes unacceptable. Rinse and repeat. If you get stuck in a Go-Go’s loop and your kids only want more of the same, this may be the time to introduce Belinda Carlisle, solo artist. If you tell them, “this is the Go-Go’s” you sort of aren’t lying to them. If that works, you can diversify further with some Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles. Maybe hand them a snack during this diversification project.

So don’t be cruel and cut them off cold turkey. If they’re stuck on Yo Gabba Gabba, I’d suggest transitioning to Talking Heads. Both have just a bit of space-age-y-infused funk. If it’s a generic kid song with clapping, whistles or bells, try taking baby steps to Toni Basil or the The Ting Tings. When in doubt, use Michael Jackson as musical methadone for almost any earworm. Kids love it because it is awesome. Other random recommendations that rock and/or roll: John Mayer’s Queen of California, The Black Crowes’ Garden Gate, and anything by Fleetwood Mac.

Your children will be torturing you with their music for years to come, so it's good to develop some strategies now. 

Go forth and rock,
Your Ann Abler

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Toddler Truth: Muffin Tops ARE all That

A Public Service Announcement from your Dear Ann Abler:

This is your toddler

This is your toddler on muffins.

Any questions?

I feel like I should end with this:

The title is a 30 Rock reference, and by the way, did you know you could make just muffin tops? No offense, muffin bottoms, but we're just not that into you.

Follow Dear Ann Abler on Twitter and Facebook

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The 'Help a Child Mourn the Death of a Fish' Caption Contest

Add your caption, tag @DearAnnAbler
Dear Ann Abler,

We came home from a weekend away to find this:
Any thoughts on how to tell our daughter it’s not just playing hide and seek? How would you recommend parents deal with the death of a pet?
Gone Fishin’

Dear Gone Fishin’,

Fish – or practice pets, as I like to call them – tend to die. They often die for any old reason, like not getting fed or living in their own filth. I’m guessing fish are about as excited to be hanging out in tanks as your kid is to have a fish instead of a dog. Still, whether your fishy friend found his final fate by trying to put himself out of his misery or by accident, he is gone, and it is time to mourn the loss.

This may be an excellent opportunity to teach your child about the Circle of Life, or at least sing that song, and maybe watch The Lion King. Maybe this is more of a Hakuna Matata situation. Only you can decide which Disney song or movie is most appropriate to honor the memory of the recently departed Mr. Fish.

I happen to be an expert eulogizer, which is maybe a real word and is maybe why you wrote to me. I think what people really need at a dead fish memorial service is to hear great stories about that fish, and also to participate in a caption contest. Please explain your intriguing idea further, you are probably saying to yourself right now. Okay I will. Laughter is the best medicine, and penicillin is a close second. But since penicillin won’t make you feel better about your dead fish, let’s stick with laughter. 
I would like to call on the Dear Ann Abler community (which consists mostly of my mom and mother in law) to help your family get through this difficult-ish time by contributing their caption for your dead fish photo.

Image from
So please, community, share your caption in the comments section below, via Twitter (tagging @DearAnnAbler), or on Dear Ann Abler’sFacebook page. Puns are not only encouraged, but rewarded. You can like or retweet the ones you find funny, and that’s how we’ll pick a winner. Winner will walk away with bragging rights, the fish photo with your caption, and my favorite fish recipes.
Here are a few to get you started:
  • Red fish, blue fish, nose fish dead fish
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West Nostril
  • Losing Nemo 
Ready, set, help a family heal through laughter! 
Hope that helps, Gone Fishin'.

~Your Ann Abler

Thursday, July 10, 2014

No Television For Toddlers?

Dear Ann, 

I think the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children under 2 have ZERO exposure to television, but I'm not sure because I stopped reading the article so my baby could get back to watching Peppa Pig. They were just kidding, right? 

~ Boob tubin'

Dear Boob,

I too wonder if they imparted that advice on April Fool's Day, or if none of those Pediatrics have children of their own. They probably also think Video killed the radio star, while I feel that Video did not receive a fair trial. I believe it pre-dated DNA testing, and I also just doubt Video is capable of murder.

Anyhoo, lucky for you, I have already published a thoroughly researched response to a similar question (and by research I mean Google, and by publish I mean I hit the orange "Publish" button here on Blogger). In case you didn't click that link, do it now. I don't like repeating myself. I don't like repeating myself. So if you'd like to continue letting your little one get his Yo Gabba Gabba on, then read I love my iChild, and feel instantly okay about your life decisions. 

However, if your child consistently does what Dora says to do while completely ignoring you, then come on, vamonos! Everybody let's go...outside, or at least away from the screen for a second.

Good luck with that,

Your Ann Abler

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Make Breakfast: Put. An. Egg. On. It.

Coming to us from the Twitterverse:
Dear Ann Abler,
My #hubs just rejected my "egg on leftovers" idea for #breakfast. Why doesn't he recognize my #genius?
~ Sunnyside denied

Dear Sunnyside,

Anything + Egg = Breakfast.
Not everyone understands the mathematical equation of eggs + ANYthing = delicious breakfast. Egg on leftovers is a timeless treasure, whether the leftovers be pizza, casserole, fried rice or even chicken strips. While some may find it distasteful to serve chicken with its unfertilized offspring, I’m all for family reunification. So please feel free to tell him he is incorrect. And also, give him a break next time he serves up cereal for dinner.

In summary: put. an. egg. on. it. (Shout out to Portlandia!)

Now go re-read Green Eggs & Ham for some recipe ideas.


Your Ann Abler