My brother is the original pant pooping hipster.

October 19, 2012 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I told my friends and family this week that I’d be super cool about the whole hanging-out-at-Crappy-Pictures / byline-in-Huffington-Post-Parents thing as soon as I finished pooping my pants.

Then my brother was jealous of me.

You know what? It’s OK, friends. It’s natural. I’m his older sister, and it’s hard being a baby brother sometimes especially when the big kid gets to go do big-kid stuff. I get it.

Except Jeff ruined jealousy because, in typical little-brother fashion, he was jealous about all the wrong things. The writing stuff? He was only congratulatory and awesome and supportive and blah-blah-blah-my-sister’s-a-writer-whatever which was all part of his jerky little baby plan. No, it wasn’t the writing fun that bothered him. Jeff was jealous about the pants-pooping.

So, fine. There you have it. For the record, and in the interest of sibling harmony, I’ve got nothing on Jeff when it comes to pooping pants:

My brother is the original pant pooping hipster.

And our parents wondered if we’d ever get along. Pfft. Parents, you guys.


My brother and I never didn’t bicker.

June 25, 2012 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Today is my little brother’s birthday. Jeff is 35. Woohoo!

Here’s what I need for you to know about Jeff:

Jeff pooped his pants a lot when he was younger.

Like, Jeff pooped his pants ’til he was 17. Or maybe just ’til he was 6. It’s hard to say for sure; time was all wonky when I was a kid.

My mom told me not to make fun of my brother for pooping his pants. She also told me to be nice to him and to share my stuff with him and to include him in games with my friends, so she was pretty much irrational all the way around.

My mom said Jeff’s pants pooping problem was caused by food allergies which made his poops impacted or loose or loosely impacted so it just fell out of his po-po and that it wasn’t his fault.

(It’s important to note here that “po-po” is what we called butts in my house growing up because only people with poor manners said the word butt.)

(Also, I still have an almost irresistible urge to apologize to my mother and to Jesus when I say butt even though I’m a grown-up.)

(Sorry, Mom and Jesus.)


When my brother was young and had that poop-popping-out-of-the-po-po problem, my mom fed him buckets of Metamucil and giant vitamins from a plastic, seven-day vitamin dispenser, and she said I should have compassion for Jeff. I thought Jeff should stop pooping his pants all the time. We lived with that impasse for years.

In addition to the poop, there was the pee. (Isn’t that always the way?)

From 1977 until Forever, Jeff had a queen-sized dark green blankie made out of slippery nylon fabric. All of its cotton batting came loose in 1977-½ and gathered in one spectacular, fused lump in the corner, so the blanket was just two pieces of slick nylon with a nice, hard sphere which was especially good for whacking irritating big sisters. Jeff’s blankie smelled of rancid urine. I know the smell existed ’round-the-clock because I regularly snuck into his room after bedtime to ask him to forgive me for being so rotten to him all the time. I knelt by his bed night after night, smelling the pee as penance while I told Sleeping Jeff that I was sorry.

It was a complicated relationship.

There was poo. There was pee. There was crying. And there was fighting.

Oh my word, the FIGHTING.

Jeff and I bickered all growing up. All. Growing. Up.

In other words, Jeff and I never didn’t bicker.

The other mommies and daddies in our friend group used us as the penultimate example of How Not To Behave. When the other kids got bickery, their folks whispered in their ears that they were acting like Beth and Jeff. “You’re acting just like Beth and Jeff!” they said. And the kids’ eyes went round with horror and they shaped right up.

True story.

When my dad speaks of Jeff’s and my childhood, he uses the word despair.

Heh heh.

My mom told Jeff and me that someday we’d be best friends. “Someday,” she said, “you’ll be best friends.” It was like Chinese water torture. I think she said it half to brainwash us into believing it was true and half because my mom is an unreasonable optimist when it comes to her children.

In conclusion, never underestimate a mom with mad brainwashing skillz and unreasonable optimism.

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

I love you love you love you.

on not pooping your pants or smelling like rancid urine anymore.

You rock.


P.S. Jeff and I continue to speak Mockery as our primary Love Language. Jeff’s gorgeous and kind wife, Kim, has only a sister and no brothers and despairs of ever understanding this brother/sister dynamic. Jeff and Kim are raising a girl and two boys. If you can help assuage Kim’s bro/sis confusion with your own sibling stories, do share.


P.P.S. This chat just happened:

Me: Dude.
Jeff: What’s up?
Me: It’s June 25th. Today’s the day Michael Jackson died.
Jeff: I know.
Jeff: We should have a moment of silence for MJ.
Me: His musical legacy is really important.
Jeff: Seems like just yesterday.
Me: I had posters. And Billy Jean Is Not My Lover is SO TRUE.
Jeff: Not black, not white? A message for this, and really, every generation.
Me: YES.
Me: Also, it’s your birthday.
Me: So I’ve written some reminiscences of our childhood. The blog post starts, “Jeff pooped his pants a lot when he was younger.” K? K. Glad we had this talk. Love you. Bye.
Jeff: WAIT! It’s also the birthday of Ricky Gervais.
Jeff: Love you, too.

And that is what I’m talkin’ about, folks.


Backward is the New Forward: Thoughts on Poo

June 11, 2012 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

“Uuhhh, Jeff?” I asked my brother pointedly, “Do you know that your kid’s got his pajamas on backward?”

I dunno; it didn’t seem like a completely stupid question at the time even though my kids wear crap backward all the time. Like hats. And pants. And pajamas. And attitudes. And actual crap. 

And it’s not that I care that stuff’s on backward. Anyone who’s spent 25 minutes with my family knows that.

It’s just that my brother and his wife are more fastidious than me. More organized. More disciplined. More apt to, you know, have kids who stay in their chairs while they eat and pick up their toys and keep their boogers to themselves. They’re just… nice, polite kids, and Jeff and Kim are… consistent, disciplined parents. Which is annoying, but what can you do?

In short, I have certain expectations of Jeff and Kim, and kids wearing pajamas backward isn’t one of them. (Psst… let this be a lesson to those of you who teach your kids manners and good behavior more often than just remedially; people will expect you to keep it up.)

Kim, though, had foot surgery a few days ago, and she’s been laid up in bed with waves of pain and narcotics ever since, leaving Jeff to manage the household on his own. “The household” equals three kids aged three and under, which neatly explains Jeff’s pilfering of her narcotics and washing them down with smuggled moonshine. (I KID. Everyone knows that stolen narcotics should never be taken at the same time as contraband liquor. Sheesh.) When I saw the backward jammies, I thought that, maybe, without the mama there to ensure the following of the rules, Jeff had become a tad lax. A bit lazy. A touch less like his wife and more like his sister.


And, in true Big Sister fashion, I thought it my duty to point out my brother’s shortcomings. Some like to call this Rubbing It In. I like to call it Gettin’ My Judgy On.

“Uuhhh, Jeff?” I asked my brother pointedly and maybe a little smugly, “Do you know that your kid’s got his pajamas on backward?”

And Jeff replied that, yes, in fact, he did know, and also that the pajamas were backward on purpose, and also that the zipper could hardly zip itself up the kid’s back so, um, doy, and also lots of stuff about “POOP, Beth. It’s because of all the POOP and the smearing of the POOP and the playing in the POOP and the general affinity of a two-year-old boy for his super cool POOP.

OH! Whoops; I really shoulda known. I mean, come on. Have five kids taught me nothing? Did I forget the toddler years so quickly? I really should have known.

In the writing of this, I couldn’t remember exactly what Jeff said (although all of the “POOP, Beth” moments were sweetly reminiscent of our myriad childhood heart-to-heart conversations if you add “you’re a” before the word “POOP,” and the word “head” right after it), so I asked for Jeff’s help with the remainder of this blog post. I thought it might be instructive.

So, without further ado, here’s the part of the post where Jeff explains the method behind the backward madness and also makes his sister proud by intuitively understanding that there are times when POOP simply must be capitalized (that’s right, Jeffy – that’s right) :

Our middle child (faithful to his gender) insists on getting his hands down his pants at any opportunity possible. He doesn’t allow minor nuisances to dissuade him, such as, oh I don’t know… the presence of POOP. In fact, if anything, the poop seems to remind him that there are happenings down there. There’s stuff going on. Stuff I WANT MY HANDS ON. Poop has taught him how to undo clasps, unbutton buttons and unzip zippers.

If only poop could teach him something productive. Like doing the dishes. Or mowing the lawn. (Come on, Poop. Help me out!)

And so, after the 3rd morning IN A ROW of having to clean up a nice, even coating of poop spread all over the child and his room, desperation set in. We thought about safety pins, but once poop teaches him to open them, there will be nothing “safe” about them.

My solution was going to involve a system of strategically interlaced zip ties (…oh, it would have worked…), but luckily, my wife is smarter than I am.  She asked a simple question: “Can he reach a zipper running down his back?” 

No. No he can’t.

Take that, POOP.

And that, friends, is how Backward became the new Forward.

Which seems like an appropriate development in parenting where Night is the new Day.

And Dirty is the new Clean.

And “Dear God, what happened to my life?” is the new Five Year Plan.

In conclusion,

Take that, POOP.

Beth (and Jeff)

The End.


Jeff’s Gigantic Face

April 24, 2012 in Funny by Beth Woolsey

Just for fun, because it’s Tuesday morning (and Tuesday morning should be fun), this is my brother’s Facebook banner and profile picture:

Although I didn’t ask permission before sharing it with you which was unspeakably rude of me, I DID block out his last name which makes it all OK.

Honestly, though, when all of your Facebook posts come with this profile shot?

(Oh, look! It’s Jeff and his gigantic face.)

With no explanation about its freaky-deaky application on the banner? You know, ever? Leaving people to wonder why – oh dear Heaven, why?? – you would electronically parade yourself about in this manner?

Well, it’s brilliant.

Brilliant, Jeff.


And also brilliant.

The End


P.S. Real post soon.

P.P.S. Maybe even today.

P.P.P.S. Feel free to leave comments for Jeff. They’ll make his day.

My Niece, My Prodigy

April 20, 2012 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

My niece: I want french fries.

Her dad: Well, I want good listeners.

My niece: But Daddy, we HAVE french fries.


My little brother, Jeff, is a daddy.

Jeff and Kim have three kids.

Their kids are aged 3, 2 and almost 1.

That’s three kids aged 3 and under.

Three kids aged 3 and under is slightly less overwhelming than three kids aged 2 and under, which is what they had a few months ago.

FYI, “slightly less overwhelming” in this context is like how drowning in a lake is slightly less overwhelming than drowning in an ocean.

Or maybe I’m projecting.


Three kids! In less than three years!

Jeff and Kim did not have trouble with fertility like Greg and I did.

Jeff doesn’t like it when I talk about fertility.

Talking about fertility is kind of like talking about sex.

And, if I understand my brother’s position correctly from our last one hundred thousand conversations about sex, “OH MY WORD, Beth, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN FRONT OF ME?”


I spent years – years, you guys – getting my Ph. D. in driving my brother insane. I conducted research. I ran thousands of experiments. I devised daily strategies for mental torture.

All of which was Jeff’s fault. For, you know, being born. And especially for always putting his finger just barely on my side of the boundary line in the car which I think we can all agree was heartless, and, well, crossing a line. Say what you like about peaceful resolutions and respecting others and choosing mercy, sometimes brothers must be punished. And if the parents aren’t going to do it, well, what’s a righteous sister to do?

Now, I admit, sometimes I took my teasing just a touch too far and I had to sneak into his room in the middle of the night and wake him up and beg him to forgive me because if I died in my sleep I was for sure going straight to Hell with all of the other Meany McMeanpants big sisters.

But whatever. I’m totally a grown-up now, so I’ve put my childish ways behind me. I have turned over a new sibling leaf. I am, officially, an adult. And adults are mature.

I no longer condone teasing of any kind, because teasing is mean and destructive. And never hilarious.

And that’s exactly why, when my brother posted this exchange with his 3-year-old daughter on his Facebook page…

My niece: I want french fries.

My little brother, her father: Well, I want good listeners.

My niece: But Daddy, we HAVE french fries.

…I did not wet myself laughing.

And I did not say to my computer, “Go, Niece!”

And I did not mentally bow my head in a moment of respectful silence and then pass the Torture Torch to her with much fanfare and pride and a gigantic bowl of imaginary candy.

My niece is 3 years old.

She’s going to live at home for AT LEAST the next 15 years.

With her father.

Who is my brother.



Egg Hunting: The Hunger Games Edition

April 9, 2012 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Every year I’m a mom, I’m certain the Easter egg hunt can’t get any better.

From that very first time trying to convince my toddling Abby girl in her pristine, pressed Baby Gap dress, matchy-matchy bloomers and ruffle socks to amble toward the eggs that were littering the grass… to last year with myriad grubby kids (many of them mine) blithely elbowing siblings and cousins outta their way with nary a thought to the little people who could get hurt while they amassed personal billions in discount candy… every mental snapshot ups the ante.

You’d think after all these Easters, though, I’d learn that they can get better. Or, if not better, exactly (I mean, the way toddler Abby filled my heart up, up, up to overflowing is hard to beat), then certainly more relaxed, less stressful and one thousand times more hilarious.

But apparently I haven’t learned. Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and I am already worried about next year because it cannot get any better.

And it cannot get any better because of the diligent and dedicated work of the men in our family – my cousin Nayfan, my brother Jeff, and my husband Greg – who are single-minded in their determination to use egg hunting as a thinly disguised vehicle to deliver mental anguish to our oldest children.

Yesterday, after we shepherded the big kids into the house and threatened them with eternal dishwasher duty if we caught them peeking, the men started hiding eggs. And, by “hiding eggs,” I mean they spent half their time strategizing together about how to maximize big-kid torture and the other half of their time perfecting their egg-hiding one-upmanship.

Suspending golden eggs 20 feet high in a tree using only the egg, some string and a bolt?

This is the legacy MacGyver has on our entire generation. (And our parents said watching so much TV would rot our brains. Looks like you were WRONG, Mom and Dad! We were learning LIFE SKILLS.)

Outstanding egg placement, guys.

But when Nayfan and Jeff, in one of their joint planning sessions, uttered the words “Easter Egg Cornucopia,” I started to giggle. And then I laughed. And then I guffawed. Because visions of the Hunger Games danced in my head, and, let’s be honest: nothing’s better than pitting our children against each other in plastic, pastel egg fights to the death. Amirite? And Easter egg hunting is pretty much The Hunger Games anyway except with higher stakes, because – hello! – CANDY!

Clustering a group of eggs all together instead of spreading them out, just so we could watch the fallout? So, so brilliant.

And so, so mean.

The kids actually screamed with joy when they saw the pile.

And when we said, “Go!,” well, we could tell immediately which of our children we might want to let into our commune when the apocalypse occurs.

My wee, two-year-old nephew, for example? The one who was so distracted with the contents of his first egg that he couldn’t be bothered to grab the one right behind his head?

Yeah. Dude, we’re gonna have to have a talk. You’re, like, on probation for entrance to the future commune. I don’t want to have to come down on you that hard, buddy, but we’ve got family competition standards, ya know? And you were just, well, equal parts adorable and pathetic.

And to be perfectly honest with you, K-man, we’ve already got adorable and pathetic pretty well covered.

See? (Psst… I’m going to scoop these boys up and eat them for dinner.)

Now, a few kids put on a good show yesterday. Like my Aden girl who scaled the playhouse roof to bring down some eggs.

You’ve got some real potential, lady. Keep playing like you mean it.

But the kids who were the biggest players? Oh, man.

The twelve year olds brought it, y’all. My Ian boy and his same-age, girl cousin were the real contenders.

Right out of the gate, they were on that cornucopia faster than we could say, “May the odds ever be in your favor.”

They were scrappy. And focused. And determined. And brutal. And totally worth watching.

As was my Abby girl, who, at age 13, still ambled away from the eggs littering the grass, but this time with a clear strategy, collecting the easy pickings elsewhere while the others were distracted. Heh heh; that’s my girl!

I looked around my yard yesterday, filled with people I love, both big and little. They showed up wearing everything from flip flops and pajama pants to dresses and heels. My son rocked his 1970’s-style short-shorts. Kids clambered on roofs and wrestled in our patchy, ill-maintained grass and climbed spindly trees. The table wasn’t set for the  Easter dinner that I didn’t get into the oven until after folks arrived. And before the day was done, we were down 5 bandaids, 1 wineglass and innumerable plastic eggs.

It was just lovely.

If I’ve done anything right in my life, it is this: I’ve surrounded myself with people who are more concerned about relationships than appearances. Who are more eager to laugh than to complain. Who live love like it might be our last day on Earth. And who think that messy authenticity is very cleanest kind of air to breathe. And I’ll tell you, that has made all the difference.

At the end of the day, we were all tired and filthy.

And so, so joyful and victorious.

Happy Easter, everyone!



When Momming Pays Off

March 14, 2012 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

WOOHOO! It finally happened! Just when I doubted that my lengthy (but extra fun and engaging) lectures were making a difference, my 12-year-old said this to his 10-year-old sister yesterday:

“You don’t need to play Wii, Aden. It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go ride bikes.”


I just don’t understand why people doubt that miracles still happen. I mean, who needs Grilled Cheesus to point the way to God when there’s a 12-year-old boy child in America who will choose bike riding over video games?

knew that if I just nagged long enough about letting the screens go… and if I forced my children outside repeatedly even when they protested that they were “cold” or “bored” or “you’re the worst mom EVER”… that eventually they would learn that what they thought of as “misery” was actually “refreshing” and “delightful” and “we have the BEST mom who teaches us awesome lessons about healthy living and we’re so lucky that she’s right all the time.”

I should also tell you, just so you understand how truly remarkable Ian’s statement was, that it was freezing outside yesterday. Gray clouds snowed big, globby, gorgeous snowflakes all morning before the rain got jealous of the snow’s adoring audience, drank WAY too much, took off all of his clothes and streaked across the stage. And then, when the rain finally dried up and stopped making a fool of himself (and, by “stopped,” I mean “continued to heckle snow from off-stage while the sun tried to man-handle rain out the back door saying, ‘That’s not cool, man. That’s just not cool.'”), there stood my son, parroting the wise words of his mother and suggesting outside play to his sister.

I was SO PROUD. Just when I least expected it, my Momming: It Pays Off moment arrived.

I was practically glowing with my sense of profound mama rightness.

I pulled out my magic marker and I was writing it all down in the Win Column when I heard Aden say, “No, Ian. I am not going to ride bikes with you. You only want me to do that because you’re grounded from screens all week.”

And that’s when I remembered that Ian is grounded from screens all a week because he kicked a gigantic hole in his bedroom wall. And, well, it turns out that kicking a gigantic hole in the wall – even if you’re really, really, really mad that your parents are making you unload the whole dishwasher all by yourself – isn’t actually allowed at our house.

My helium leaked, and I deflated a teensy tiny bit. Could it be that my preteen was merely wishing to ride bikes because he had no electronic options? Could it be that my epic and powerful lecturing isn’t paying off? Say it isn’t so!

Which is when Ian said, “Nuh uh, Aden. That is not true. It’s not because I’m grounded that I want to ride bikes…”

Oh! I thought, my spirits lifted, He’s gonna pull this out for a win! I can feel it. It’s gonna be a three-pointer at the end-game buzzer. And I clung tightly to my magic marker, eyes on the Mama Score Card, still hoping for a win.

“…I want to ride bikes so I don’t have to unload the dishwasher again. Shhhhh! Don’t tell Mom.”

You guys, Aden had a choice to make. To play the Wii, which she adores, and throw her brother under the bus by tattling to me about his dishwasher deception, or to stand in solidarity against her mother’s silly chores list and the expectation that kid-jobs be done in a timely manner with a stunning lack of wall holes.

Aden said nothing as she silently put away her Wii controller and went outside with her brother to ride bikes.

You guys, Aden chose her brother.

And I raised my pen and magic-marked that up in the Win Column because, truth is, I learned far more about life and love and the pursuit of family happiness from choosing solidarity with my brother than I ever learned while standing at a dishwasher.

Shhhhh! Don’t tell my mom. (Even though she might already know. 😉 )

And especially don’t tell my kids.