Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parent of the Year

The award for awesome parenting at our house this week definitely goes to Ren. And given how spacey I am and how often I blow it, this is saying something. Ren earned this esteemed award because in one brief instant, he brought the reality of the epipen to life for all three kids. And for that, I will be eternally grateful. And, by "eternally grateful," I mean "WTH, Ren?!?"

We've had an epipen for awhile, and, peripherally anyway, Pink P knows we might have to use it if she ingests any peanuts. But, until yesterday, she didn't really grasp how an epipen works. This was intentional, of course. The last thing I want if Pink P experiences anaphylaxis is for her to panic about getting a shot. You try explaining to a five-year old that the shot will be a lot better than, oh, I don't know, DEATH.

We've always talked about it in only the vaguest terms: "If you accidentally eat a peanut and can't breathe, we'll use this to make you feel better while we take you to the hospital." Or, "We have to take this with us everywhere we go so we can to keep you safe." And I have to say, the whole peanut allergy/epipen thing was going pretty well. Pink P was aware of the need to avoid peanuts at all cost, but she wasn't scared about anything.

That is until Ren inadvertently injected himself.

And then screamed.

To his credit, he tried to regain control of the situation by a) claiming it didn't hurt (really, Pink P, it didn't hurt, not at all) and b) by being super silly and enacting an overly dramatic death.

But, neither kid was fooled. Not one bit. Probably because it clearly hurt. And also because before he claimed it didn't hurt and before he enacted his dramatic death he called out to me in a slightly panicked voice (see what happens when I leave the room to go to the bathroom?). And, we all know I'm not the calm, rational one in this relationship.

In case you're wondering, accidental epipen injections into fingers and toes are more common that you might expect. Ren "shot himself" (as Pink P puts it) when he was throwing away an old one and trying to properly dispose of the medicine inside. (I suppose that's one way to get rid of it). In 3% of the cases, the injection can cause blood vessels to constrict and stop blood flow to the digit (Thanks interwebs, I didn't have enough to worry about, what with the back and the shoulder--have I told you guys about Ren's shoulder? It will probably need to be replaced in the next year, so, yeah, I'd prefer Ren didn't also lose a finger).

My initial internet search indicated we needed to go to the ER ASAP. But, a certain Japanese man I know is not going to the ER no way, no how. Of course, it was a holiday, and no doctor was in, so I called the pharmacy. Fortunately, the pharmacist didn't say anything about lost fingers, but he did point out the risk of soft tissue infection and suggest we go to the ER to get a strong antibiotic. Awesome (see earlier sentence about Ren and ERs).

In the end, we did nothing.*** Ren spent most of the day staring at/feeling his thumb, mesmerized by how it felt. And, after about 24 hours, it seems back to normal.

Pink P, on the other hand, is traumatized for life.

***We do not, however, condone you doing nothing. You should probably make better choices than we do. If this isn't evident to you by now, you obviously haven't been reading my blog posts very closely.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Life in Pictures

Sometimes I just need to share the visual history of my day.

First, there's this:

Sky drew a comic for you. It was about a guy who had a dream that he was stuck in a maze and needed TNT to blow himself out. I could have posted that comic, but it isn't nearly as interesting as the "The Pocket 2000." In Sky's words, this nifty doodad has "two pockets with a hole that you put things into so they can fall out. It has jokes, pictures, and tells you what age it's good for. It's the perfect gift for just about everyone."

I'll let you decide for yourself.

This is pretty self-explanatory. You put in the coin and it slides through. You shouldn't use non-coins or the second hole. If your coin gets stuck, you tip left. Duh.
This side has the games. There is a knock-knock joke, a lift flap, an illustrated guide to making paper airplanes, and even a place for you to practice spelling Sky's name.
Lift the flap and find another joke. I mean, who wouldn't want one of these? Maybe we can mass produce them.
Sky has really been into making these pockets lately, so mass production is a definite possibility. In fact, if you'd like one (or thirty), let me know, and I'll hook you up. I'm wondering, though, should I be concerned that some of Sky's best creations, like this one, are made while he's at school?

Then, there are these:

We've started cleaning out and reorganizing in preparation for our upcoming move (la, la, la, if I cover my ears and sing loud, can I just pretend it's not true?). In the process, I discovered some stationery I bought in Japan several years ago. I still have it because I can't bear to mail it to anyone. It's just too awesome.

"Seeking a Little Dream: I wish to sing a duet with transparent time. A dream makes evolution. Dreams come before I know.  I wish to grow my small dream. Play with dreams!" It's like this stationery can read my mind. I
want to sing a duet with transparent time, and I totally think dreams should make evolution! 
"Toilet*Panda: If only I have this." I know the disembodied panda faces are pretty cool, but do you know what's the coolest about this stationery? It includes memo paper that dissolves in water. Stationery that doubles as toilet paper? Priceless.
Lest you think that the odd stationery is limited to English-language products, here are a couple of Japanese sets I bought.

Because nothing says, "Hi, how are you?" Like two middle school kids awkwardly eating school lunch.
In case you need to practice reading your signs. I could translate them, but it's more fun to let you guys try to figure it out.

It turns out I have a drawer full of gems like these. I feel pretty silly moving them from house to house. I suppose I should write some letters just to spread the joy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What the News Teaches Me About Being a Parent

I planned to post something humorous today, but the news out of Oklahoma makes pretty much anything I might write in this post absolutely pointless. All I can think about is another group of young kids who went off to school and never came home. I know it's selfish of me, but I try not to dwell on the horrors the kids at Plaza Towers, and Sandy Hook, and Okawa Elementary School in Tohoku Japan must have faced. My heart breaks for all of the families affected by these tragedies, but when I let myself think about all of the horrible things that could happen to my kids (and that have happened to other people's kids), it's hard to keep moving forward.

It's bad enough to have a kid with a severe peanut allergy who could easily die if someone forgets to be careful or if she decides to sneak food without asking.  It's bad enough to have a kid whose ability to understand what is happening around him and communicate those things to others is impaired. Sending Sky and Pink P to school has always required me to suppress my anxieties and to believe that everything will be okay.  Stories like what happened yesterday make it hard for me to keep believing the lies I tell myself.

They make it hard to even breathe.

Of course, I don't tell my children any of this. Instead, we pray for the families who have been affected and thank God for keeping us safe. We make sure they know where the epipen is and how to call 911 and what to do if someone threatens them or makes them feel uncomfortable. We talk about our emergency plans in case of tornado or fire.

But, on days like today, it all kind of reminds me of the bousai cushion I had to make for Sky when he attended Japanese preschool.** The idea is that the cushion should be worn on the head in case of an earthquake.

And, I'm sure having a cushion is better than not having one, but I'm also pretty sure that in the case of a major earthquake and/or tsunami, the bousai cushion is totally useless. In fact, in my opinion, the only thing bousai cushions are good for is making parents feel a little less anxious about sending their children off to school. And, to be honest, I'm kinda glad the school tried to ease my worries, even if only a little.

Because, in the end, my only choice is to act like today is like any other. Of course, this morning, I prayed a little harder and held my kids a little closer. But, I also took a deep breath and dropped them off at school like I do every morning. After all, all we can do is love them fully and teach them what we know, and then we have to remind ourselves to let them go.

** This is not that cushion. It's one you can buy on the internet at I'm not suggesting you do this, by the way.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dear Comcast and TOMS, You Suck (Can I Say That or Do I Need to Say "Stink"?)

Dear Comast,

This afternoon, I spent 40 minutes (no, I am not exaggerating--I timed it) on the phone with one of your "customer service" representatives. Initially, I called because one of our "premium" channels had been removed, and I hoped to get it back. Over the course of the conversation, I decided to try to resolve my repeated bill increases. Four months ago, a representative promise me, cross his heart, that my monthly fees would absolutely not, I repeat NOT, go up. That promise lasted for an entire month. Three months ago, it went up $5. I waited to pay until I could call and haggle over the bill, and in the end, my payment was late and $5 more than I wanted to spend. The same thing happened two months ago. As a result of my inability to find the time to call and convince your "customer service" folks to lower my bill, it keeps going up. You're stressing me out, and it needs to stop. The result of today's 40 minutes? Three crying children and a promise that my bill should be lower next time. Actually, the person told me it would stay low for 12 months, but they've told me that before. Incidentally, in order to get the promise of a bill the amount that I was promised four months ago, I had to agree to give up the premium channel I'd called about. In other words, Comcast 1, MOE 0.

I know my blog readers are wondering why I still have Comcast given how crappy you are when it comes to billing and customer service. I don't have a good explanation. Some of it has to do with limited options for cable and internet where we live (way to take advantage of your monopoly). Some of it has to do with trying to minimize complications--switching would require me to take multiple steps that I don't have time to take right now. Mostly, I think it's because I am never one to back away from a fight. That, and I might be just a tad insane. Isn't that the definition of insanity--to keep doing something the same way and expecting a different result? Please don't persist in making my life crazier than it already is.


Mom on the Edge

My first rant (link).
My second rant (link).

Reposting the picture of Pink's shoes, so you can see what my next rant's about....


You never did reply to my letter and phone calls. I'd almost let it go, figuring that a company run as poorly as yours with such shoddy product would soon exhaust its fifteen minutes of fame. But then I saw it--a TOMS display at Whole Foods, touting the One-for-One program, playing on the heartstrings of the environmentally- and socially-conscious Whole Foods customer. Thing is, Whole Foods is not one of your so-called authorized retailers. I checked. That means all those folks buying TOMS at Whole Foods are not participating in the One for One program. No, they're not giving shoes to less-fortunate kids unless they are handing them the pair they just bought. Those unsuspecting well-intentioned folks also don't realize they're out of luck if their TOMS fall apart like ours did. After all, your company won't replace or exchange shoes that aren't purchased at an official retailer.

You, know, whatever. If you want to send mixed messages and take advantage of the good will of people, go right ahead. It'd be awesome, though, if you felt just a tad guilty about it.


Mom on the Edge

Here's my first post about TOMS (link).
And the second one (link).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Open Sesame--Or--The Lamely-titled Post About Nothing Terribly Earth-shattering

After months of wondering, waiting, and worrying, waiting and worrying and testing poop, and, after a traumatic (for me, not for him) combined colonoscopy, endoscopy, and cystoscopy, the results are in. We finally have a better idea of what's going on with Stow.

The good news? Actually we have quite a bit of good news. Stow's gut issues don't appear to be Crohn's or Celiacs. It's also not C-diff. Other good news? He's finally gaining weight--4 pounds in 6 weeks after gaining zero pounds over the previous five months--and he's catching up in other ways, too. He's starting to talk (finally) and even putting together some simple sentences. His gross motor delay is hardly noticeable, especially when he's scaling furniture and wrestling his older siblings. He's still got some delays and sensory issues, but compared to a year ago, he's a totally different kid. Of course, there's that whole winter-failure-to-thrive thing that seems to happen for Stow from late October to early March each year when he stops gaining weight and fails to develop (we're still trying to figure this out), but where we are now, in mid-May, is a pretty good place to be.

The bad news? We may have figured out the source of Stow's malabsorption and generally crazy diapers: He has a sesame allergy. "So what?" you ask,  "How many toddlers eat sesame anyway?" And, in a way, you're right. Most toddlers don't eat a lot of sesame. Our toddler is not like most, though. He loves Japanese food, and more of it has sesame in it than you might think. Ironically, avoiding sesame may prove to be more difficult than removing milk and gluten and staying away from peanuts. The only thing that would be harder (and I KNOW I'm jiinxing myself here) would be a soy allergy. While sesame hides in a lot of Japanese dishes as seasoning, soy is everywhere. Miso soup, soy sauce, edamame, tofu, and soy milk are soy regulars in our Japanese repetoire. It's also the substitute of choice for most dairy free products. When a soy allergy shows up, we're screwed.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think sesame is the answer to all of our problems. I'm not totally convinced there isn't something else going on somewhere between Stow's gut and his brain. We have enough clues to support the paranoia that rattles around in the back of my head. And, we still need to figure out the winter lull that seems to happen every year. So I have every intention of proceeding with caution, keeping an eagle's eye on Stow's development (and on his poop). But, for now, at least we have a place to start fiddling. And, you know what? His poop looks better already!

So that's what's up with Stow. Let our experience serve as your PSA: Allergies often don't look like we think they should. We think we will see swollen eyes, itching, runny noses, and tummy aches. But, sometimes what we see are behavioral issues, developmental delays, general poor health, and funny poop. By the third kid, I should know to suspect allergies. Funny how I never learn.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Being a Mom, Part 2

So, my Mother's Day post the other day only felt half finished, half finished and totally self-indulgent. Because on every Mother's Day, I'm aware of how lucky I am to be a mom, even though I feel like I do a crappy job most of the time. I'm also aware of how lucky my kids are that, despite the health issues and various crises that seem to come our way, our family is generally in tact. I know so many people who are not nearly as lucky--people who want kids but can't have them, people whose kids have died leaving behind gaping holes in their lives, people who've been abandoned by their moms, people whose moms died way too young. And, so I've always struggled a bit with Mother's Day, for in many ways it feels excessive, exclusionary, and completely unnecessary.


The first time my stepdaughter met my friends, one of them asked Big Sissy, "So, what's it like to have Moe as a mom? Is she more like your sister or is she more like your mom?"

At the time, Big Sissy was probably 13, and she gave the perfect answer to an incredibly insensitive question by a too-curious friend. She said, "I don't know. I've never really had either."

The first few years of our marriage, we lived in Japan. Poor Big Sissy, who was in junior high at the time, had to deal with someone who was obviously not her birth mom, tagging along to various school events. And, while the novelty of her dad's American friend might have been fun when we were just dating, the reality of a non-Japanese stepmom was something else altogether. It marked Big Sissy as different in ways she'd never had to deal with before.  It couldn't have been easy, though she never said as much.

When Ren and I dated, if Big Sissy called me anything, she called me by my first name. But our marriage necessitated the need to call me something else. After all, I was part of the family. And, I was always there. Problem is that there really isn't a good word for stepmom. I mean, there are formal terms for such a person, but nothing that works well in daily conversation. I was her father's wife and she was the daughter from another marriage. I suppose the issues are similar in the US, but in our case, it led to a complete inability for Big Sissy to address me as anything but "ne, ne," which translates something like "Hey, you."

For the longest time, I was simply "ne, ne."

Then we moved to the US. At the time, Ren and I'd been married for nearly three years and were still very much struggling to figure out how to be a family. Briefly, Big Sissy considered staying behind to live with her grandmother and finish school in Japan. I may not have done many things right those first few years, but I will always be glad that I managed to convince her she belonged with us.

One of the many unintended consequences of that move was Big Sissy's ability to finally give me a name. Mom. I was never Mama or Okaasan or even Mother or Mommy, but I did finally become Mom. It's not a name either of us use lightly, but it is the name we use.

2013 Mother's Day card from Big Sissy, edited ever-so-slightly
I've written a little in the past about being a stepmom. In my experience, there's nothing that's easy about it. There were days, months, and even years with Big Sissy that felt like a total slog. And yet. And, yet. I know that being a stepmom is probably one of the most important things I've ever done (and maybe will ever do). I also know I can never really be Big Sissy's mom. I mean, I try to fill those holes that the early loss of her birth mom left, but I also know there are some things that just can't quite be fixed.

And, I guess, in a way, that's why I may never wear the title of mom comfortably, not from Big Sissy, not from Sky, Pink P, or Stow. Being a mom is major.  None of us deserve the weight of it, nor are most of us prepared for its challenges.  I can only always be grateful for the chance to mom these four kids--that and to pray with all my might that I don't totally screw it up.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Being a Mom

Some days, no, most days, I don't feel like I'm a great mom. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one is because I'm not a terribly emotional or touchy-feely person. I'm rational to a fault. I hate sappy. Beaches? Steel Magnolias? Not a tear. Sure, I cry but not at culturally manufactured emotional manipulation. 

The  image of the mom in American culture is saddled with sappiness (the P&G Olympics commercial comes to mind). And it's not just the hyper-emotionalism surrounding the American love of Mom as ideal, it's also all the pressure on us to do everything right. We should work, but we shouldn't put our kids in daycare. We should breast feed, but we should never, ever nurse in public. We should put our kids in sport, music, and art activities, feed them organic food, and use green household products, but we shouldn't be helicopters. Moms are bound by impossibly contradictory standards. It's all a bit much. And most days,  it leaves me feeling ambivalent about being a mom.

But, today, everything seemed just kind of perfect.

Before you get too excited and think I had some sort of Hallmark moment, I didn't. I DID get to sleep until 7:15 and was awakened by neither fighting siblings nor a toddler with a massively leaky diaper. I DIDN'T, however, go to the bathroom without three interruptions or make it through my shower without someone crying. Nor did I get breakfast in bed or out of the house for church without yelling. But I did get these:

This one's from Ren. It's a promise note for an exceedingly expensive diamond ring. 

Letter from Sky

Plastic bag o' scraps with doodles from Pink P
And they made me realize that my family is just as weird as I am. Plus, they totally get me. I hope yours gets you, too!

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Abstract Art, by Pink P

This is Sky:

This is Pink P:

This is Sky and Pink P:

Do you know who this is?

How about this?

Take a close look, and maybe you will see the resemblance.

Done looking?

Know who it is?


Give up?


You sure?


Okay, okay, I'll just tell you:

It's Grandma and Grandpa.

Problem is, I can't decide whether Grandma and Grandpa will be flattered that Pink thought about them and wanted to draw pictures of them or disturbed by her seeming obsession with their wrinkles. ***

***(In case you don't get it, here, I will spell it out. First she drew the pictures, then she wadded them up. Then she unwadded them and handed them to me. "Wrinkles," she said, "for Grandma and Grandpa.")

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wardrobe Swap

Okay, so I had a chance to swap out the kids' clothes this weekend (which means that the temperature bottomed out and now they have nothing to wear, but that's another story).

Here are a few more shirts. Apologies for the lifeless shots. It's funny, but my kids really don't want to model them for my blog. Trust me, it was a lot easier to spread these out flat and take the pictures.

Straight from the encyclopedia to your shirt. And, nice use of 8th-grade English textbook grammar on the title.

Choco Balls!
Not sure why Pink P doesn't absolutely love this one. Other than the fact that it's not pink, I mean.

This one just kind of speaks for itself.

Qoo -- This is the the one that made Sky no longer want to wear Japanese t-shirts to school. I guess I can see why another first-grade boy might be like WTF?

We don't know why they march. We're just glad they do.

 The original t-shirt post is here.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Things My Kids Eat That Yours Probably Don't

One of the benefits of being a bicultural family is that Sky, Pink, and Stow have been exposed to a wide, some might even say extreme, variety of food. Since Ren is a better cook than I am, and since I basically learned to cook in Japan anyway, nearly all of our dinners and about half of our lunches are Japanese.

I realize may be going out on a limb here, but I am guessing that your kids don't eat some of these Moe Family favorites:


Once we start to introduce table foods, the first favorite foods for all of them was wakame (sea kelp). Ren is convinced it's the perfect food for a growing baby. He may be right. Wakame is  low in calories or fat and high in things like calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, and folate, not to mention several different vitamins. The most common usage of wakame for us is in miso soup.

Dried wakame (before it's reconstituted)
The kids also like good ol' seaweed. It comes in individual packages so they can take it in their lunch and wrap it around their rice balls.
While all of our kids love wakame and seaweed, only Pink P is a "dai-fan" (super fan) of arame. She would eat it every meal if we let her. Between the arame addiction and the princess fetish, I sometimes wonder if she's my kid. But then she stomps her foot and digs her heels in to fight a completely pointless battle about something that's only significant to her, and I realize she's just like me.
Arame--Pink P's Obsession (photo credit:


The kids also all totally dig tofu, which is awesome because then we could avoid that whole pureed meat phase when they started eating solids and needed the protein. Meat should never, ever come in a jar. I don't care what anyone tells you. Tofu is high in protein and low in saturated fat. It has been shown to lower cholesterol. Fortunately, no one has turned up allergic to soy yet, though it may just be a matter of time. Oh, and when you buy tofu, organic is best, but if not organic, at least make sure it's non-GMO certified.

Miso soup with tofu and wakame.


When I first started getting interested in Japan, my mom joked that it'd never last since I absolutely hated fish. Since the Japanese diet is very much fish based, she figured I'd either starve or find another way to spend my time. I hated fish so much, I couldn't even be in the house when it was being cooked.

Fortunately, things have changed. We now eat fish regularly (sorry, Mom!), but not too often (and not when pregnant), just to be on the safe side.  Like tofu, you should be aware of where the fish came from before you eat it.

The kids love salmon, but they also seem to indiscriminately love of all things fishy, including this:

Shirasu -- baby sardines (not one of my faves, not by a long shot)
And most of this:

Though no one, I repeat no one, can convince them to eat mushrooms.


Two out of three of my kids also love natto, which according to my informal research, is statistically impossible. Families are usually evenly divided over the natto question. Every seventh-grade class I taught during my time in Japan was evenly divided as well. I know this because one of the first grammar points I taught each year was "I like ~~." ("Do you like natto?" "Yes, I do." "No, I don't.") Given the number of times I asked or was asked this question, it's obviously a contentious debate. And yet, and yet, in my family 3 (and possibly 4) out of 5 of us, love natto. I am firmly in the "no" camp, and Stow is still too young to vote--mostly because it's hard to find so we haven't had any in the house since he started eating table food.

Photo credit:
What is natto, you ask? It's a sticky mess of fermented soy beans that folks usually eat with breakfast, though goodness knows Ren would eat it three meals a day if he could. Fermented = stinky. But actually, it's not the smell that I don't like. It's not even the sticky. It's the fact that when you chew it up, it expands in your mouth. My like/dislike guidelines for food are pretty simple: First, the food must be dead and no longer moving. Second, it shouldn't be chewy (unless it's candy such as licorice, taffy, or chewing gum). Third, if it is a meat, it should not too closely resemble its living form (so no heads or eyeballs, please), and fourth, it should never, ever multiply or expand once I put it in my mouth.

You'd be surprised the number of times one or more of these guidelines has been tested. There was the time the squid tentacle flopped over the edge of the plate and started moving up and down as it made a last-ditch effort to escape. There was the time a guy plucked out the fish's eye and popped it into his mouth just before I could get to it (darn!--and by "darn" I mean "OMG! Did he really just do that?!!?!!!!"). There was the time my mollusk tried to crawl off the teppan** when it started heating up. There was the raw chicken. And, there was the broth full of tiny swimming fish that was harder to eat than it looked.


And, of course, my kids like sushi. The stuff pictured below is one of Ren's creation. If they had their way, Sky would eat kappa maki (cucumber rolls) every day and Pink P, sweet potato rolls. But if you twist their arms, they will eat some of this stuff, too. Stow? Well, Stow eats just about anything.

In the end, it turns out we're lucky that the kids are adventurous eaters. It lets me pack lunches like this:

And it also makes it a tad bit easier to deal with our newly embraced gluten-free, casein-free diet. Not sure what I would have done if they only liked chicken nuggets, pizza, and mac-n-cheese!

**Teppan -- metal griddle used for cooking

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Should Have Been Taking Pictures All Along

Some people dress their kids to impress, buying expensive name-brand clothes that they quickly outgrow. I tried this with Sky for about six months, and then I realized that my fashion commitments lie elsewhere. Why dress your kid well, when you can dress him ironically? 

This will always and forever be my favorite. 
Multiple trips to Japan have given me ample opportunity to buy some awesome clothes for the kids.  Of course, as soon as I decided to write this post, I realized I can't find half of their cool t-shirts. I'll be switching out the winter and summer clothes soon and promise I'll take more pictures. For now, here's what I've got! (Oh, and apologies in advance for the poor photography skills--my targets are almost always moving...)

Might Soy Los Angeles (Look! A soy bean super hero!!)
Little Pigs BBQ -- This one could be for real, but the question is: Why?
Random Keith Haring art.

An almost-but-not-quite grammatically correct advertising for MIKEPOPCORN.
Sometimes the misplacement of a tiny particle makes all the difference.

Saftey Drive 60 Enjoy Holiday
I Like Banana No. 1. Big Banana was Found. (This shirt is awesome because it's super awkward but also very true. There's nothing Stow loves like a big banana.)

Of course, it's not all about making a statement. Over the years, I've also realized that Japanese clothes wash a heck of a lot better than other stuff. They dry quickly.  They are lighter weight, pack better, and hold up better from kid to kid. Who knew there'd be a bright side to the Japanese habit of hanging clothes on the line to dry?

Now that my kids are older, they don't always appreciate dressing ironically. Fortunately, they've inherited my off-beat sense of humor, so if I explain what's funny about the shirts, they usually still want to wear them. Unfortunately, some of their classmates like to make fun of things that are different. From seaweed to funny pictures on shirts, some kids just aren't cool about it. Pink refused to take onigiri (rice balls) for awhile because one of the boys said to another, "Ooo, look! There's fish poop on that." Telling them to ignore ignorance doesn't always work, so lately I've been teaching my kids a new response that gets more to the point:

"That's rude. You don't know what you're talking about, so you should stop talking now."

I'll let you know how it goes...