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Welcome to Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

Therapy and sanity for ordinary parents of special kids.

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Parenting a Daughter Can Be Fun and Games

We thought it was poor parenting that made our daughters talk back to us and keep messy rooms, then we discover this article. Apparently the key to raising better behaved kids is to play Video Games with them, something neither of us have the patience or time to do. Yes, we have more pressing things to occupy our time — like updating our status lines on Facebook 35,000 times a day.

For awhile, we tried doing WII Fit with our kids. Gina in particular, was spending a lot of time teaching her youngest daughter, Emmy, the importance of exercise until she discovered Em beating the system by lying on the coach and just flicking the WII controller with her wrist.

“Mom, I just ran a marathon.’

“Wow, and you did it with a bowl of Cheetos!”

But maybe this article is on to something, maybe we should try to find games that interest us.  But before we shop, does anyone have any great games to recommend? How about that really popular one? What’s it called?  C.O.L. Call of Laundry.

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Put Your Money Where Your Potty Mouth Is

swearing in cartoon

Image via Wikipedia

Is it us or do kids today all have potty mouths? We mean when we were kids, we used to come home from school and greet our mother with a nice warm, “Hi Mom. How are you?”

Gina’s daughter Katie, in contrast, comes home from school and greets her mother and  sister with the greeting, “Hey bitches, what’s up?”

Patty’s daughter Jules is the same way, although in the eyes of the law, she’s no kid (we beg to differ).

“Jules, what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, Mom. I just feel like as%!”

When  we came across this article about how one school has implemented fines for swearing students, we couldn’t help but smile. The money raised could fund a school district alone. And maybe kids will finally learn their lesson cause swearing is a bad habit that’s easy to pick up.

So go ahead school districts,fine away! Sounds like a bitchin’ idea to us. (Oops.)

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Terrible Towels Not So Terrible for the Disabled

Original commercially marketed Terrible Towel, sold exclusively by Gimbel's Department Store, circa. 1976.

Image via Wikipedia

Finally some positive football news. (Note: We’re still upset about the Patriots loss and not talking to Tom Brady). Check out the article below about how gear for Sunday’s “Big Game That Shall Not Be Named”  is actually made by those with developmental disabilities. We can’t help but wave a Terrible Towel in support of that.

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Hot Debate Topic of the Day: Should You Let Your Tween Wear Makeup and Bring Home Jesse James?

At 12 years old, the last thing either one of us wanted to do was wear makeup. In fact, to us, makeup was that black paint we put under our eyes when playing tag football in the neighborhood. Our “girly girl” daughters, however, felt differently. Gina’s 12-year-old daughter Emily, for example, is constantly asking to wear makeup and Gina refuses to allow it. “Look, you’re too young, Em. Today, it’s makeup. Tomorrow it will be tattoos and piercing. Next thing, you know you’ll be be bringing home Jesse James.”

Whether we like to admit it or not, mothers of daughters have to be able to take a hard stance on makeup. Our mother is still heavily involved in our makeup decisions.

“Gina, you need more blush. You look malnourished.”

“Patty, you’ve got too much. You look like a clown.”

What do you think? Is 12 an appropriate age for makeup? How about 44? Or 51? Just askin…

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The Smoke and No Mirrors Approach to Aging

Would you believe that two of the women in this photo are not college students? It's all about dressing smartly..

Today, you can’t turn on the television without seeing an infommercial for some revolutionary product that’s supposed to slow down aging. We just don’t get it. Sure, we don’t like the fact that we’re constantly plucking gray hairs out of our heads, despite our mother’s warnings (“Saint Anthony! That’s the worse thing you can do.”) or that Gina can no longer  bend over when she plays basketball (though she’s found a solution — velcro). We’ve just accepted that physical aging is a part of life. We’ll never understand those people who stare at pictures of themselves in their younger days and point out how much they’ve aged.

“Look at my skin, Gina. It used to be so taut.”

“True, but look at your hair. I’m not sure you could pull off that shag today.”

We’re not saying that we don’t try to make ourselves look better. We both have been known to use products that de-emphasize some of our flaws (all 97,000 of them).

“Pat, can you tell I put on a little weight around my mid section?”

“Not at all. I can barely even see you. Buying that camaflauge Snuggie was a smart move.”

I guess we’re just two people who really don’t have the time or energy to count our wrinkles or look for other signs of aging. Of course, it helps that we spend a good portion of our lives avoiding  mirrors. Even our  husbands are surprised by the measures we take to avoid them.

“Mike, I kinda backed into the garage door again!”

“How many times do I have to tell you to use the rear view mirror, Gene.”

We realize that we’re probably in the minority. A lot of people really struggle with aging, including the author of this great blog below.

What about you? Do you hate to look at your wrinkles?  Tell us about it.

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Little Man on the Prescription Bottle Totem Pole

The Promotions Department of Shut Up Industries is pleased to announce the winner of our first-ever prescription bottle art project, Bottled Up. Please join us in congratulating creative genius, Karl, who walked away with the prize — a Shut Up imperfect basket (which we have yet to make since we’re imperfect). Karl won over the judges with his prescription totem pole. Congratulations Karl and a big round of applause for the other entrants who amazed us with their creativity. Who ever thought of creating Mt. Rushmore with prescription bottles? Truly amazing. Stay tuned for some exciting news on this week’s contest — Find the Imperfections in Patty’s Checkbook.

Please leave a positive comment for Karl for all his hard work.

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You Gotta Have Friends (or at least a good swimming pool)

A boy in a children's swimming pool.

Image via Wikipedia

From the time we were young girls, neither of us had any difficulty making friends (Note: This may or may not have to do with the fact that we were the only kids on our street with a swimming pool). Even as adults, we make friends wherever we go.

“Hey Gene, are you free Saturday? I made plans with Sandy, the toll booth woman.”

“Oh, the one at exit 55 with the three kids with autism? Sure Pat, I’d love to spend more time with her. The Fast Pass just doesn’t give us enough time.”

And now that we have a Facebook page and website and are quasi-famous, friends come right to us. Well, at least those who aren’t afraid to approach us.

“Gina, I’d like to meet you and Patty, but I’m kinda nervous because you’re celebrities.”

“Nonsense. We put our Spanx on one leg at a time, just like everyone else.”

While making friends comes easy to us, it doesn’t come that way for others, particularly children with social issues. Many simply don’t know what to say or how to initiate or maintain friendships. And if you’re a parent of a child like this, there’s nothing that breaks your heart more. I think most of us mothers would pretty much do anything to find friends for our lonely children. “Mommy, I really like Emily, but her mother, Gina, kinda creeps me out. She’s always hugging me and giving me candy. And she said she wants to pay for my college.”

So how do you find friends for your special children, short of putting an ad on Craig’s List or posting a Friends Vacancy sign on your driveway?  The article (see link below), provides some insights.

What are some of the measures you’ve taken to find friends for your special child?

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Shut Up Kid Earns A+

At the risk of sounding like braggers, we wanted to share this great story, written about Patty’s 17-year-old daughter, Jennifer. Actually, Gina is the one posting this, so feel free to tell her to “Shut up about her perfect niece.” Gina can’t help it; she’s just so proud of her niece and the young woman she’s become. “I remember when she was little. She always put her own money in the church basket. At that age, I tried to take out change,” confessed Gina.

Take a look at the link and share your thoughts.

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Girl Next Door Has Some ‘Splaining To Do

Hugh Hefner with his two girlfriends Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt at his birthday party in Munich (2006).

Image via Wikipedia

Playboy mogul, Hugh, with two of  the “Girls Next Door”

including Kendra (pictured left).

My husband wants to live in his neighborhood.

We just don’t get it. Why do our special children always tell us we’re “bad parents” for making them go to the dentist (“Mom, I’ll never forgive you) or wearing tags in their clothes (“Emily Rose don’t you dare remove that horse from the front of your shirt. Do you know how much I overpaid for that?”) when other mothers do worse things than that. Take Kendra Wilkinson, the former Playboy bunny and reality TV star. You may know her as one of Hugh Hefner’s three beautiful  live-in Playboy Bunny girlfriends and star of the reality show, The Girls Next Door. (While we’re on the subject of that, we never quite understood that show title.  I mean the girl who lives next door to me is a lovely older woman, Agnes, who walks around in a housecoat watering flower beds.)

This week, breaking news came out  that this particular “Girl Next Door” is now the star of two sex tapes, the latest of which will release soon. In her single days, this might have been easier for her to take. But now that she’s a mother, she’ll have some ‘splaining to do to her young son Hank, Jr., when he grows up. At least she won’t need to go to the measures some of us special mothers do to bring kids to our homes (“I’ll give you some candy if you play with my daughter.”) No sir, her son will have  boys knocking down his door. (“Mom, can you not wear the bunny tail when my friends come over?”)

Anyway, it’s all just so awkward. What mother wants their children to see them in this way?  I felt bad when my teen daughter caught me in my Spanx. “Mother Ewww! Don’t tell me you’ve taken up biking? Please don’t wear those in public.”

Kendra’s even got it worse than all that; she’s put this out there for the whole world to see. I just can’t imagine millions of perverted strangers watching her perform for the cameras. Heck, I  get nervous just knowing people are watching me peruse the medicine aisle on the Walmart cameras. (“Check it out Boss. This one’s buying Metamucil.”) I also feel really bad for Kendra’s nice, professional-football-star husband, Hank Baskett. That poor guy must go  into cardiac arrest when the coach calls the team in on  Mondays to “break down” film. It must cause him a near breakdown. “Dear God in Heaven, please let it just be the video of our humiliating loss and my six fumbles.”

I’m sure Hank never expected this type of past from a “Girl Next Door.” It’s certainly going to make me take a closer look at Agnes. Who knows what’s under that housecoat?

So if Kendra can admit she has a sex tape, you can admit you’re not always a perfect mother. So go ahead, give us one of your imperfect mother confessions. Or better yet, send them to us on film.

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Sister Double Dating with Oprah and Patty

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 11:  Oprah Winfrey arrives at The Royal Botanic Gardens for a garden party on December 11, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Oprah Winfrey is in Australia with 302 audience members from the US, Canada and Jamaica and will tape episodes of the 25th and final season of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' from the Sydney Opera house next week. The shows will air in the US and Australia in January 2011.

Oprah is all smiles after discovering her long-lost sister.

Gina’s sister has been lost a long time too.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Well, it appears that Oprah Winfrey and Gina Gallagher have something else in common besides struggling with diets and hosting talk shows (though Oprah’s might be a tad better known):  we both have sisters named Patricia. That’s right, last week, Oprah made a startling announcement that she has discovered her long lost sister, Patricia, who she didn’t even know existed. What’s remarkable is that my sister Patty has been lost for a long time, too. (“Gene, what am I doing with my life?”)

This is truly fabulous news for us, as we’re always looking for fascinating sisters to double with (Mary Kate and Ashley just don’t talk enough for us). And of course, we’re very happy for Oprah and Oprah’s sister. Those of us who have sisters know that a sister is the greatest gift you can receive, though Patty didn’t see it that way when Gina was born. (“Mommy, please give her back!”). And well, if your new sister happens to be the richest woman in the world, that’s an added bonus (one of course, neither of  us can relate to). “Hey Gene, do you think the toll booth attendant will take a few sticks of gum instead? I seem to be out of cash.”

So congratulations Oprah! With your sister, you now have everything. We look forward to seeing you at the next Sister Mixer.

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How Far Would You Go to Give Your Kids a Decent Education?

We’re often amazed at the steps special parents will take to ensure their children get the education and services they need. As the video below shows, one mother went so far as to falsifying her address so her children could get in a better school district. We can’t help but feel sympathy for this mother who was just trying to help her children. In fact, we’d share a cell with her any day of the week (provided she could put up with all our imperfections).

What do you think? Would you have done the same thing?

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If you loved me, you’d steal a baby!

Our mother lied to us. All those friendly reminders that the best way to hold on to a man was” to keep yourself looking good and cook your way to his heart”, lies, lies, lies Not that we even attempted to do any of that with our husbands

“Mike, it’s time for dinner. Get in the car.”

“Gene, wait! Don’t you want to comb your hair first?”

No something far much more real  than that keeps them with us:  they can’t afford to divorce us.  We kid of course. It’s just that some of the measures some women will take to hold on to their men really surprise us. The article below, for example, indicates that some women actually steal babies just to hold on to their men. Quite startling isn’t? What happened to a nice bottle of perfume? Or a good pair of Spanx?

Do you agree with the article? Gina’s husband certainly doesn’t. “Are you kiddin’? If you brought home another kid, I’d run away!”

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New Team Meeting Spyware

Worried about your next Team Meeting? Be smart as in Maxwell Smart and take along the Looxcie Wearable Camcorder. This innovative mini camera,  looks like a bluetooth, but is actually a tiny video camera. Of course, you need permission to tape Team Meetings, so be sure to ask the members of the Team if they mind before submitting the footage to America’s Unfunniest Team Meeting Videos. “Well, Looxcie here, the teachers are passing notes under the table.”

If you do purchase one, make sure to carefully read the directions and to remove it before entering the shower. You just could end up in a Imperfect Parents Gone Wild Video.

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Loving the Small Stuff

There are many parents today living with multiple children with disabilities. We’re willing to bet, however, that there aren’t too many who have as many as 5 or more (though we think the Brady Bunch kids had some issues that were not talked about. For example, they’d like us to believe that Jan drove her bike into the family portrait because she needed glasses. We think she had a bilateral motor integration problem and a budding mood disorder.)

The thought of advocating for and meeting the needs of five special children would drive many of us to the brink of insanity (if we weren’t there already). The IEP paperwork alone would make the home a fire hazard. Not to mention the fact that we’d probably have to hire a full-time operator to answer all the school calls or at least get a great automated system. “If you’re calling for Johnny, press 1.. For Susie, press 5… If you’re my pharmacist and have my prescription ready, you will go straight to the head of the queue.”  Heck that would make our cable TV company’s phone system look like a walk in the park. (“Are you sure I just can’t come to India to pick up my new cable box? It might be faster than going through your automated system.”)

In any case, raising multiple children with disabilities definitely can’t be easy. Yet, the author of the blog below, a mother of five such children, is making the most of it by enjoying, not sweating, the small stuff. This inspirational blog is a lesson for all of us who get caught up in the little things, such as battling dust bunnies, storing our kids artwork projects, etc. She even has time to write heartwarming blogs and offer the rest of us hope and inspiration. What’s most amazing,  she doesn’t appear to be passing wine. How could she find the time?

How would you handle having five children with disabilities? Would you be as positive as the author?

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Playing Games Not Just for Children

Kids play skiprope on Morro Strand State Beach

Image by mikebaird via Flickr

Today, we came across this great blog from 5minutesforspecialneeds.com. It made Gina feel better because at the age of 44 and 7/16,  she’s  just a big goofy kid at heart who loves to play games. It’s probably why she’s still playing basketball  with two knees that are practically held together with bubblegum and tape. And why she actively tunes into the Price is Right every morning. “The Pasta Roni is $2.99, you idiot.” And why the neighborhood boys often come to her door looking for her to play street hockey with them — something her wise-cracking husband finds humorous.

“Hey Scooter, your friends want you to play. Be home before the street lights go on.”

Gina definitely loves her games. She especially loves to play the game of “I’m Goin’ on  a Picnic” when we travel, though Patty doesn’t seem to share the same interest. “Instead of Goin’ on a Picnic, why can’t you go for a nap like you usually do?”).  And like the author of the Blog (link below), Gina is a sucker for a good old fashioned game of tag, though given her advanced age and frequent need to rest,she prefers  Freeze Tag. (“Mommy, you’re not supposed to try and get tagged.”)

So is Gina just immature (rhetorical question; we know the answer)? Or do you too, share her love of games? Tell us what your favorite game is.

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He Ain’t Heavy; He’s Our Brother

The Shut Up Brother pictured center with the Shut Up Family.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably learned a lot about our imperfect family. You’ve met our imperfect children, parents, spouses, dogs (one of whom chews expensive electronic appliances), imaginary friends, etc. But you haven’t met one important family member — our brother Bob. Bob is the middle child (though clearly not the disturbed one as Patty has cornered that title), sandwiched between his two imperfect sisters. Bob is  unique from us in that he has many talents, including playing the guitar, drawing, and keeping his hair well maintained (something that has alluded us since birth). He is also the smartest child in the family though we really haven’t given him much competition.  Since you know more about the two of us than you’d ever hoped to know (including what we’re doing every minute of every day), we thought it would be appropriate to let you get to know Bob, as well. So we decided to conduct an imperfect interview with the man we call Bro.

Bob, what do you think is your biggest imperfection besides the fact that you have us for sisters?

Well, I’ve been known to talk too much when I’m nervous. (Obviously Bob was very comfortable with us because he didn’t expand on that answer.)

Bob, we really want our readers to get a sense for you. Tell us (if it’s not too personal), what is your favorite color?

I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’d have to say, it’s blue. (Clearly, our brother is a man of excellent taste.)

Yo Bro, if you could be stranded on a desert island with one thing, what would it be?

It would be my acoustic guitar with a set of unbreakable strings. (We would have said a box of wine and Facebook, but hey, who are we to judge?”)

Bob, our inquiring readers are dying to know, which Shut Up Sister is your favorite?

I love both my sisters for their wonderful qualities AND their many imperfections. (What a great answer! We told you he was smart. We think he’d make a fine politician.)

Bob, speaking of imperfections, when did you first realize we were imperfect?

Well, Patty, I noticed in the sandbox. She could yack your ear off and spare no small detail. (Hmm, maybe this explains why the other children always dumped sand on her head.)

And Gina at times has to really focus on listening to someone, especially without losing concentration because she has a question she wants to ask.” (Gina has a question. What did Bob just say? She wasn’t listening.)

Bob, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to share your thoughts with us. Imperfect fans feel free to post a question for Bob. You can ask weight and math-related questions to him. Just don’t ask us.


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Ash Wipes and Other Imperfect Company Names

It appears that imperfection is not just limited to parents. On our Facebook page today, Gina posted a funny slogan from a dry wall company and received some funny posts about companies with questionable slogans and names. For example:

Dry wall company — “Nobody screws it up like us.”

Handyman  Company — “We repair what your husband fixed.”

Air conditioning company — Your wife is hot! It’s time you got a new air conditioner!”

A septic company slogan — “We’re #1 in the #2 business” (One of our personal favorites)

Ash Wipes — a chimney cleaning service.

Tow Jam — a towing company.

Happy Hooker — another towing company.

Curl Up and Dye — hair salon.

Lassy Legs — a hair removal leg buffing product. I think Lassie the Dog is the spokesperson.

Do you have any imperfect company names or slogans you’d like to share?

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You Need a License to Drive, But Any Shoplifter Can Have A Baby

Cropped screenshot of Joan Crawford from the film Mildred Pierce

Image via Wikipedia

Has your angry, frustrated teen every told you that you were “The Worst Mother of the Year?”  Well, before you accept your black crown and sash, you have to check out this article. Apparently, some mother in Michigan has run away with the title (and a pork tenderloin). Yes, this maternal masterpiece left her 4-month-old in the car for 20 minutes while she went into the supermarket to shoplift. As imperfect moms, we’re the first to admit that we may not always make the best parental decisions (“Gina, you know you left your baby on the car roof, right?), but we just find this senseless act difficult to defend. Couldn’t she have found a better solution – such as bringing the kid and stuffing Stove Top in her baby’s diaper?” Anything would have been better than leaving her in the freezing car.  We at least hope she stole the baby a treat for the inconvenience.

This lady makes Joan Crawford (“I TOLD YOU! NO WIRE HANGERS EVER”) look like June Cleaver.

Has your child ever told you you were the Worst Mother of the Year? Go ahead tell us about.

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It Could Be Worse…OctoMom Could Be On Your Knott’s Landing

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Octomum Nadya Suleman and her large family plus helpers launch their signature Milkshake at 'Millions of Milkshakes' on November 10, 2010 in West Hollywood, California.

It could be worse…

You could behind OctoMom and her kids

at the ice cream parlor.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

As you probably know by now, we like to use humor as a coping technique on those rare (OK, frequent) occasions when life is stressful. (“Gina, do you think that whoopie cushion is appropriate to bring to Aunt Millie’s wake?”). Yes,  when things are particularly trying with our special children (i.e., when report cards show up in the mail, or the Pharmacy is closed), we like to play a humorous game called, “It Could Be Worse…” Today, after a stressful day of listening to our children fight, we came across the  video below from TMZ.com, which reminded us that it really could be worse…

…we could be neighbors with OctoMom.

Think about it? Who would want to live across the street from her and her brood of children.  She’d probably show up at your door. “Hi, can I borrow 35 cups of sugar?”

It would be very frightening  for Gina, an imperfect driver,  who struggles with the reverse gear (she’s hit two family members’ cars, and backed out into her garage door). “Oh sorry OctoMom. I seemed to have run over another one of your children. Oh, well good thing you have extras.”

As the video of Octomom’s neighbor shows, OctoMom is not going to win Neighbor of the Year honors in her cul-de-sac, nor will she probably earn an invitation to the next Bunko party. She apparently is disturbing her neighbors by loudly yelling at her children. (Sure, we do it too, but at least we had the good sense not to have so many of them!). She also has been known to have big crowds of people gathered outside of her house, though those crowds of people are probably her 18,000 children just waiting at the bus stop (either that or she’s on the Verizon network)

We can’t entirely fault OctoMom. We’re sure that with some of the things that go on in our imperfect homes, our neighbors probably would prefer we didn’t live here. (“Gina, could you please stop tainting the water supply by dumping your daughter’s Ritalin in the toilet?” or “Patty, do you have to peel out of your driveway so fast? The screeching tires woke us up!”  What troubles us is that people just assume that because our children sometimes tantrum in frustration or only eat one thing (“I swear that mother orders pizza every night. I think she’s sleeping with the delivery man”) that we’re unfit parents.  Or that we’re somehow strange when we ask if the pattened “Tupperware burp” is available with prescription pill organizers.

Sometimes it’s hard to be judged by people who simply don’t know what it’s like to walk in our imperfect shoes.

What do you think? Do you feel your neighbors are judging you?

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I Promise to Love and Honor You All The Dysfunctional Days of My Life (by Gina)

"Mike, I know you love me, but can you hug me a little easier? I can't breathe."

A few years ago, my college friends and I were together for a gathering when one of them shared some exciting news.

“You guys! I think I’m finally in love!  I’m so happy I can’t even eat.  He’s all I think about. I hope this feeling never, ever goes away. It won’t, will it?”

The rest of us (who had been married  for several years and had young children) looked at each other and burst out laughing (not before serving ourselves another piece of cheesecake).

“Oh you’ll still think of him. You’ll think of smothering him with a pillow when he snores and you can’t sleep.”

I joke, but when I came across this article today (see link below), I realized that I sometimes take my husband for granted.  It’s not that I don’t love him; I love him very much. He’s thoughtful, loving, handsome, and fun to be around.  But with the day-to-day stress of raising two special children, I’m too busy counting prescription pills to count the ways I love him. In fact, some days I’m so stressed I barely even notice him.

“Gina your husband is a very handsome man.”

“Thank you. I think so too. I really fell for his brown eyes.”

“Ah, Gene, aren’t his eyes blue?”

Sometimes, I even forget all the wonderful things he does for me — like the fact that in nearly 20 years of marriage, I’ve never had to wash a kitchen floor.

“Mike, let me  wash the floor. I’m perfectly capable of doing it.”

“OK, but you do know that you’re mopping with mouthwash?”

Or that he’s always willing  to rescue me and my neighbor when we get into trouble. “All right Thelma and Louise, stay at the bar. I’ll come pick you up.”

I don’t even appreciate that he’s constantly complimenting me.  “Gene, I really like your hair like that? What did you do?”

“I combed it.”

Yeah, I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that instead of focusing on all the positive things he does for me, I often focus on the negative.”

“You should get home from work sooner!”

“You were the one who wanted kids. I was content playing golf.”

“You have it so easy, getting up and going to work all day in your high pressure job.”

“You don’t know how lucky you have it. You can go to the Men’s room alone.”

And sometimes when he’s actually looking to spend time alone with me, I don’t even pick up the signals.

“Come on Gene, let’s take a walk together  to the mailbox.”

So, in 2011, I’m vowing to spend more time thinking of the man who asked me to marry him because.. well.. he’s wonderful…and…more importantly, he’s the only who asked.

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You know it’s a typical day in your atypical house when…

A neighbor asks you what activities your child is enrolled in and you answer, therapy and social skills workshop.

Your husband tells you he’s thinking about taking a new job and you ask him about the mental health benefits of the  new company.

You tell your teen about the dangers of being on drugs and she tells you, “But Mom, you give them to me every morning.”

Your husband buys you a WalGreen’s gift card for Christmas.

You tell your spouse you’re going to get the mail and he asks if you plan on returning.

You have to Ask Geeves how to do your daughter’s sixth grade math homework.

Quality time is sitting down and taking your medications as a family.

You notice your neighbor’s dog doesn’t make eye contact and diagnose him with an ASD.

You have to play a trumpet to get your teenager out of bed.

90% of the people you spend time with speak in acronyms.

The short bus beeps the horn 1/2 mile before it reaches your house.

Tell us your response.

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Imperfect Photos of the Day

Gina received these for a gift. She’s trying to rearrange her furniture around them. Visit olivesandwiches.com for more funny photos.

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Advocate: $1,000; Good Therapist: $100 per hour; Co-pays: $50; Getting financial help with it all: Priceless

Save Money Vacation

Image by o5com via Flickr

When Gina and her husband were first married, and living in their first home (also know as “The Money Pit”), they talked about having children. “OK Gene, do you want to start a family or to destroy the family of carpenter ants eating our walls? What’s it gonna be?”

The fact was, they simply didn’t think they  had  enough money to have a child, though people convinced them otherwise.

“Kids aren’t that expensive,” they said.

Of course, the people who told them that didn’t have special children.

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest challenges facing families of special needs children are the costs involved with getting the care and support their special children need. (See article below.) Patty reminded Gina of this recently when she proudly displayed her check register. “Look Gene, my last ten transactions are co-pays to therapists and doctors.”

And Patty’s one of the fortunate ones, as her daughter does not have learning issues. Gina, however, who has two daughters with learning disabilities, has even more expenses, including therapists (who don’t take insurance), advocates, tutors, lawyers, medications, social groups, wine boxes, etc.

It’s really changed her view on her financial dreams. “Gina Gallagher you’ve just won one million dollars, what are  you going to now?”

“Well, Ed, I’m going to buy a pharmacy.”

Don’t get us wrong; Gina has been fortunate, too. Her children function at a high enough level that she’s been able to work in her home as a professional freelance writer. But that’s involved Gina making sacrifices and taking work whenever and wherever she can get it.

“Mommy, do you have to take your laptop on Dumbo?”

And even with that, it’s still hard to manage the soaring costs. “Mike, I figured it out. If we play our cards right and our expenses for the girls don’t rise too much, we can retire at the young age of 115.”

The expenses also pretty  much rule out fancy vacations that many of their friends are able to take.

“Gene, do you and Mike want to cruise to the islands with us on school vacation?”

“No thanks. We’re going to go to our own island — the one in the center of our kitchen.”

Though investment advisors might advise us against spending all our money on therapists,  etc., we think the dividend payout is pretty good if we can make our children’s lives easier. Heck, we may even move them toward independence, and live the life we’ve dreamed of.

“Hey Gene, now that the kids are gone, what do you say you and cruise to Home Depot and get those mouse traps you’ve been wanting?”

“Oh Michael, you remembered.”

Imperfect Question

Are the soaring costs of advocating for your special child causing your family great stress? Tell us about. Also, read the article below about an innovate scholarship program in St. Louis designed to help special parents. Sounds like a great idea to us.

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You Know You’re In Trouble When…Kim Kardashian is advising your teen.

Kim Kardashian at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of Wonderful World. Photographer's blog post about these photos.

Image via Wikipedia

This morning, we were combing the Internet (ironic since we have yet to comb our hair) when we came across this post (see link below) from Kim Kardashian’s blog. For those of you who don’t know, Kim Kardashian is famous for… OK…we’re not really sure.  Well anyway, her blog speaks out about teen pregnancy. While we have nothing against Kim (except that her butt volume is sexy and ours is not), we’re not sure we like the fact that she’s dispensing advice to impressionable young teens. We can just see it now.

“What do you mean you want to pose for Playboy?”

“But Mom. It’s cool.  Kim Kardashian did it.”

Next thing you know, Gina’s 12-year-old will be catching on. “Mommy if I clean your closet, can I get Botox?”

Yes, we would prefer that our daughters get their advice from someone a tad more conservative, say Mother Theresa, for example.

Because as the parents of special children, the last thing we need is a pregnant teen, particularly when it’s hard enough to care for our kids. “Honey, don’t forget to take your Ritalin and your pre-natal vitamins. Oh and please take off that maternity tube top. It’s a school call waiting to happen.”

What would you do if your special child announced they were pregnant (besides pass out)?

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Coping Technique #275 – Watching the Real Housewives by Gina

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 11:  Cast members Camille Grammer, Adrienne Maloof, Kyle Richards, Kim Richards, Lisa Vanderpump and Taylor Armstrong arrive at Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' series party on October 11, 2010 in West Hollywood, California.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I hate to say it; but I’m not much of a television watcher (or even a Wheel Watcher)   anymore. Maybe it’s because I no longer  share the same tastes in shows as my TV-monopolizing husband and children. (“Dad, hurry up! 1000 Ways to Die is On.“) Or that I’ve grown up and taken on loftier things (“Mommy, are you farming on Facebook again?”). Or simply that my passion for reading has grown since I’ve become a published author and prayed that anyone would read my book). Whatever the reason, there are very few shows that I will watch, with one exception.

I’m addicted to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo TV, Thursday nights).

I’m particularly enthralled by Camille Grammar, soon-to-be-ex wife of actor Kelsey Grammar. It’s not like  Camille and I have anything in common. For example, she has a tennis court and a handsome instructor; while I have my living room and my WII. She plans a party by calling her caterer and chef; I plan mine by calling across the street to my neighbor. (“Hey Juli, don’t forget the Miller Lite and Cheetos.”).We do share a common bond of being stressed out mothers. She (and her three nannies) know how hard it is to take care of children. And like me, she gets stuck planning and packing for vacations (though she just has to pick up the phone and call her house manager in Hawaii to tell him to turn on the hot tub and stock the fridge while I have to call Motel 6 and make sure they have hot water.)

Maybe I’m obsessed with Camille and the others  because they pretty much have everything they could want — beautiful houses,gorgeous wardrobes, fancy cars, French maids, personal assistants, and pets who live even better than we do (I think Lisa’s dog, Jiggy, is on the Forbes’ richest pet list, just behind Leona Helmsley’s). Yet, as I watch the show I can’t help but feel sadness for them. Sadness that they are so caught up in perfection. They can’t even walk across the street without  having a hairstylist flown in. (“Can I borrow a cup of Botox? I’ll be over in 8 hours to pick it up.”) This is in great contrast to me — who visits neighbors in my pajamas. (“Gene, I’m really glad that you feel comfortable enough to come over in your hair rollers.”) I have to say that I’d take my crazy imperfect life (with my messy house, imperfect husband, special children, and poorly trained dogs) over theirs any day. I’ve had the most amazing people choose to be my friends just because of my imperfections. I have children who have given me the gift of acceptance, compassion, and patience (on most days). I have a husband who has stuck by me in the best and worst of times and who appreciates the little things  in life. “You look beautiful today, Gene. Did you comb your hair just for me?” And a sister who wasn’t a child TV star (save for her work on in-store security cameras) and who isn’t jealous of me. “Gene, I love that you’re as dumb as I am now.”

To me, this is living real — and it’s a hell of a lot more interesting. I never know what each day will bring me (though I do know it won’t be a make-up artist or hairstylist).

What do you think of the Real Housewives?

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Imperfect Contest of the Week — Bottled Up.

Gina hard at work on the Taj Mahl. Little does she know Shut Up staff and their affiliates (pharmacists) are ineligible.

The Marketing Department at Shut Up Industries, Inc. (Patty, Gina and their dogs) are pleased to announce their second Imperfection Contest — “Bottled Up, The Prescription Bottle Art Project.” For this exciting  contest, we’re asking imperfect folks to use their creativity by taking unused prescription bottles and turning them into artwork. Entries must be submitted by Friday, January 21 at 5:00 p.m. The winner will receive an imperfect care package with Shut Up merchandise and other fun things. Five finalists will be selected and posted on this website for all to vote.  Winners will be announced during the Super Football Game (just kidding).  They will actually be tallied and announced by Sunday, January 23, since Patty and Gina have boycotted football (see the post below).

Good luck! May the imperfect force be with you!

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Imperfect Math Exercise of the Day: Take out Your Calculator or Abacus.

An abacus from a Danish elementary school. Early 20th century. Size: 40 cm wide, 46 cm high.

Image via Wikipedia

How many IEP Team meetings have  you attended  for your special needs child(ren)?

Gina never really thought about it until she came across this great blog from Terri Mauro at Hopefulparents.org.

If the plethora of paperwork in her spare bedroom (now known as the IEP Lounge) is any indication, it must be a lot.  And that right there is probably the main reason for Gina’s crow’s feet, which are quickly becoming crow’s legs from the stress of these meetings and their accompanying paperwork.

In the 11 years she’s been advocating for her two special needs daughters, Gina has experienced the gamut of Team Meeting triumphs and traumas. She left one Team Meeting jumping for joy (the day one daughter was outplaced) and another in despair, asking teachers how they could ignore the needs of her other child. And she’s pretty much experienced every emotion in between — sadness, fear, hurt, surprise, homicidial (just kidding).

Gina has gotten so used to Team Meetings that they’ve just become a natural, unpleasant part of her life like her annual mammogram or tax filing, which she would prefer over a Team Meeting. (NOTE: In a recent Imperfect Shut Up Survey on Facebook, 100% of the respondents indicated that they would rather have a colonoscopy or have their gums scraped than participate in a Team Meeting)

Yet, as Terri talks about in the blog (link below), there will be a day in the not so distant future when a parent no longer has to attend IEP meetings.

What will Gina do with that extra time? Hmmm. Maybe some renovations to the IEP Lounge?

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Reference: 32 IEP Meetings and Counting by Terri Mauro
Do you know how many Team Meetings you have attended?
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Amended New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Father Time,

Is it possible to go back to January 1 at midnight to re-do our New Year’s resolutions? While our desire to give up skydiving, saving too much money, and cooking dinner every night were excellent ideas (we’ve done surprisingly well with them, too), we have another thing we’d like  to give up — professional football. After watching the New England Patriots devastating playoff loss to the New York Jets (of all teams) last evening, we realized that two “special” mothers have no business taking on additional stress by watching football. We have enough stress  with getting prescriptions filled, remembering therapist appointments,and keeping ourselves from not running away, etc. Plus, being a football fan doesn’t exactly bring out the best in either one of us. Last evening for example, we swore more than Popeye and made death threats toward Gisele, who appears to be Tom Brady’s bad luck charm (he hasn’t won a Big Game since he met her). We’re too embarrassed to tell you what we told Tom he could do with his hair.

So what do you think, can we go back? We long for those carefree days when we could just parade around in our Snuggies.

The carefree days of the off-season.

Sincerely,

The Shut Up Sisters

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Brilliant Idea of the Day (not from Gina and Patty of course)

A bag of money, US dollars, spinning in a vortex of color, representing chicanery or misrepresentation of cost or economic information or data, but could represent outright financial fraud.

Image via Wikipedia

We may not be bright, but thanks to the Internet, we can find plenty of bright people who make us look smart (no easy task for sure).  Like the college student in this video clip (click on link below) who brilliantly decided to pay his tuition bill in dollar bills to show the school just how much money he’s paying. Good thing he decided not to pay in pennies.

What do you think of this idea?

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And The Winner Is…

Please join us in congratulating 6-year-old Ryan Kirby, first prize winner in our first Shut Up Imperfect Coloring Contest. Ryan, who doesn’t like coloring, colored so his Mom could win a free copy of the self-published version of Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid! The Movement of Imperfection.

Our runner-up was Robin Walker for  her submission, entitled “Tiny Bubbles,” which featured Pearl the Whale sipping wine. Robin will be awarded second prize — a 100% cotton Shut Up t-shirt.

Thank you all for voting and participating. Check this blog and Facebook to learn more about some upcoming contests, including our Origami IEP paperwork contest.

The winning entry by Ryan Kirby

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Imperfect Coloring Contest Finalists. Help Us Choose a Winner!

Exciting news!  We have six finalists and need you to help us crown the winner in our first ever imperfect coloring contest.  The lucky and imperfect

winner will receive an autographed copy of our original, self-published Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid book  featuring Zippit the parrot. Winners are judged on their creativity. Tell us which one you like best. The winner will be announced at the end of the Patriots/Jets game if Gina and Patty don’t die from stress from watching our Patriots stink.

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Write About Me Please, Mom! I Have All Kinds of Issues

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  (UK TABLOID  Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen pose with their style icon award in front of the winners boards at the Elle Style Awards 2010 held at The Grand Connaught Rooms on February 22, 2010 in London, England.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When people meet the both of us or read our book, they’re  often fascinated by the fact that we are sisters. We’re not sure if it’s the Mary Kate and Ashley obsession or the fact that they think we’re nuns. (“Don’t worry, you can swear in front of us; we won’t hit you with a ruler.”)  They can’t believe how well we get along and are able to share a book and a business, and not let sibling rivalry come between us. (“Gina thinks she’s smart; but the truth is, she’s not that bright either.”). We’re not sure why we’ve never had this rivalry. Maybe it’s because of our age difference (Patty is old enough to be Gina’s mother) or the fact that our parents like Patty better. (“You gotta admit, Gina Frances; Patty’s much nicer.”)

We do know that sibling rivalry happens in most families; Marcia and Jan Brady taught us that (“Marcia, Marcia, Marcia”). It also exists in our own households as our children are often fighting for individual attention and telling us that we have favorites. Naturally, we deny it. “Look, the way you’re acting, I don’t like either of you right now.” Gina is often amazed at how much her young daughter, Emily, competes with her older sister, Katie.” “Mom, she thinks she’s so perfect just cause she has Aperger’s.” And in Patty’s house, her son Michael was upset when she told him she was writing our first book about Jennifer and not him. “Write about me please, Mom! I have all kinds of issues.” One of our favorite stories from our first book was about a jealous brother who was upset his sister got to ride in an ambulance. ” That’s not fair! How come she gets to ride in in ambulance? I want a seizure, too.”

We kid, but many typical children often have to take a backseat to their special siblings. It can cause resentment and pain, and plenty of guilt for parents (as if we didn’t have enough already).  The article below highlights this serious issue. Check it out. Also, be sure to tune in to Family Network TV (premiering in February), which will introduce a new show called Siblinghood that addresses these issues.

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Is it Cool to Friend Your Mother on Facebook?

A few years ago, when Gina’s daughter Katie joined Facebook, she came to Gina with a startling request. “Mother, I’d like to friend you on Facebook.” Gina was shocked having heard that friending one’s mother is the equivalent of committing social suicide. Gina made a point to tell Katie how honored she was.

“Katie, it says so much about our relationship that you want to be my friend. I am so touched.”

“Hey Mom, it’s all about the friend count. Once I get to 101, I’m dropping you.”

Mothers who have been dropped or denied friend requests from their children should not feel bad. It’s a very normal thing as the link below highlights. Patty and Gina have not, for example, friended their mother for some pretty obvious reasons.

“Girls, are you on that Spacebook thing?  I hope you don’t give  out too much information.”

“Not at all,” said Patty, erasing her post that her front door was wide open and no one was home.

Are you friends with your child on Facebook?

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What To Say to A Special Needs Family

Parents of children without disabilities often ask us what they should say to a friend who has a special needs child. While we are very versed in What They Shouldn’t Say, we’re sometimes at a loss about what they should say.  This article we came across in 5minutesforspecialneeds.com provides some insights.

Check it out at:

Reference: What You SHOULD say to a Special Needs Family

Then tell us your suggestions.

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Snooki Writes a Booki

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 12:  (L-R) TV Personalities Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino, Jenni 'J-WOWW' Farley, Nicole 'SNOOKI' Polizzi and Pauly Delvecchio arrive at Spike TV's 7th Annual Video Game Awards at the Nokia Event Deck at LA Live on December 12, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Now that’s more like it. After a busy week marketing our book, we were pleased to come across this article about Pauly D. of MTV’s Jersey Shore fame getting his own t-shirt line. It makes perfect sense to us since Pauly D. knows t-shirts and wears them well, not that his t-shirt style is the same as ours (we prefer ones that cover our stomachs, not show them off). What doesn’t make sense, however, is that his pint-sized, pistol roommate Nicole, aka Snooki, has joined the ranks of the writing community with her new breakthrough book, A Shore Thing. While we’re the first to admit that any idiot can write a book (case in point, we’ve written two), we find it hard to believe Snooki could pull this off. It’s not like we’ve ever seen her in the same room with a piece of paper, except maybe an arrest warrant.

What bothers us more is that Snooki’s book is prominently displayed in bookstores , while we have been know to resort to tactics like parading around in sandwich boards to sell ours.( “Gene, can I take it off now? It’s 98 degrees out.”) We know publishers like authors who have a platform (a following) and Snooki certainly has that with a weekly TV show and a full lineup of platform shoes too. But we just feel compelled to ask if Snooki’s book is making the world better in any way,  except maybe to show young people the effects of drinking too much.

Over the years, we’ve met hundreds of wonderful writers with beautiful stories who simply can’t get their books published traditionally. It’s a shame since many of these books can actually help or educate others. But unless these authors started behaving badly, or take part in hair-raising marketing efforts, such as wearing Bump-Its, their books may never make it in bookstores. It’s s shame.

Have you thought about writing a book?

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Imperfect Decorating Tip of the Day: Dry Erase Paint

Graffiti by Miss Van and Ciou, Plaça de Sant Josep/Mercat de la Boqueria, Ciutat Vella (Barcelona)

Image via Wikipedia

Finally, a solution for stressed out mothers. Instead of having our children drive us up a wall, we can have them draw us on a wall. That’s thanks to an amazing new invention — dry erase paint. (See article below.) With dry-erase paint, you can actually write on your walls and erase them. We can find so many uses for this in our own imperfect lives, including:

  • Punishing ourselves when we lose patience. We can sentence ourselves to writing, “I am a bad mother” in cursive 50 times.
  • Publishing our “honey do” lists. Nothing motivates a husband more than seeing “close the lid” on his bathroom wall.
  • Reminding ourselves about therapist appointments and pick-ups at the pharmacy. Just think of the money we’d save on missed appointment fees.
  • Implementing a motivational quote of the day to inspire our children, such as “Clean your room!” or “Tell your mother she’s amazing.”
  • Advertising our dinner and luncheon specials (Note: this only works if you cook).
  • Keeping a log of school calls (think of the paper and trees we’d save).

How could you put this valuable paint to use? Tell us.

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Bullied into Plastic Surgery

We all know that bullying is a serious and growing problem. Parents of special needs children know the damage that bullying can do as well as anyone. But, as the story below indicates, bullying isn’t just limited to special children. How sad that that this poor girl had to try and break her her own nose just so she could get it fixed. Why can’t we all just get along and accept each other for our individuality? We come from a long line of big noses and Gina wears hers proudly.

Do you have a bullying story to share? Sound off and tell us about it.

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Puppy Love and Imperfection

When Gina’s daughter, Katie, was in second grade and struggling to find a friend, Katie’s psychologist made a startling suggestion. “Get her a a puppy,” he said.  Gina and her husband were agreeable to the idea. “If you think it will make her happy again.” So they scraped up some money, called a breeder, and brought home a cute little Bichon Frise they named Max. The psychologist was right. Katie loved having Max around her and Gina loved that it brought other children to their home (something she discourages now that Katie and her friends are teenagers).

Because she loved Max so much, Katie and her sister often asked for another dog. “Wouldn’t it be great if Max had a doggie sister or brother?”

“Forget it,” said Gina. “We’re only getting one dog. And when Max is gone some day, there will be no Re-Max.”

Of course that was the plan.  Until a few years later when Gina’s younger daughter, Emily, started experiencing some of her own social difficulties. Gina and her husband  were at a loss of what to do until a neighbor sent an email about a 7-month old cockapoo who needed a home. Realizing that what you do for one child, you must do for the other (Hopefully Octomom doesn’t fall into this trap), Gina ended up getting the puppy, named Candy.  “It will be so easy, Mike,” she rationalized to her husband. “Max is no trouble at all.”

When Gina ran the idea by her neighbors, Juli and Bob, they had a different opinion. “Don’t do it! You’ll regret it. Having a puppy is a lot of work. Trust us we know.”

“Gene, maybe they’re right,” said Mike.

“But this one is mostly trained. She rings a bell when she has to go potty,” Gina argued.

What Gina and Mike failed to realize was that Juli and Bob had a secret bet between them. Bob bet we would stay strong and Juli, who knows Gina like the back of a Miller Lite bottle, bet Gina and Mike would cave.

Naturally, Juli was right. “I knew it,” she said.

Actually, they both have been right.  Though Candy is a wonderful dog, Gina and Mike had forgotten how difficult raising a puppy can be.  These are just some of the things they’ve had to adjust to:

  • Stanley Steemer on speed dial. Candy, who used to ring the bell to indicate when she needs to go out, now chews it, which probably explains why Gina’s rug looks like it belongs in a frat house.
  • Loud barking. They may be small dogs, but they can bark louder than Marmaduke. This is one of the biggest reasons Gina and Mike have regretted their decision, especially when they see the child they got the dog for covering her ears and crying, “Make them stop! Please Mom! I can’t take it!” In addition, the barking has impacted Gina’s work in her home office as her clients now think she has relocated. “Gina, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Did you move your office to a dog pound?”
  • In-fighting and in-breeding. Gina thought they would get along well. Once again, she was wrong.  It seems they’re either trying to rip each other’s throats out or doing inappropriate things to each other. Gina’s formerly, G-rated house, could get its on late-night pay channel on cable with some of the things these dogs are doing to each other. Our mother has been particularly bothered by this (“Saint Anthony! What’s he doing to her!”).
  • Chewing. Having a puppy is like going through labor. You block out all the unpleasant stuff. For example, Gina had forgotten how much puppyies like to chew. There’s pretty much nothing Candy won’t chew — underwear, Barbie dolls, washing machine, toaster oven. It was particularly embarrassing when she got into Emily’s homework. I swear Mrs. Wilson Emily did do her homework. It’s just that the dog ate it.”

Difficulties aside (electrical hazards, Board of Health visits, etc.) Candy has made a nice addition to Gina’s imperfect family. They’re now more imperfect than before, which is hard to believe.

Do you have a puppy in your imperfect home? Tell us about it.

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Toddlers, Tiaras, and Tans by Gina

Has anyone ever watched this show Toddlers and Tiaras, which features pageant moms and their pint-sized princesses? I wish I had the time to, but between my work watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Atlanta and Keeping Up with the Kardashians and all their spinoffs,  I simply don’t have the time (though I did consider hiring an assistant to help me keep up with it all).

Something tells me that this show is like a bad car accident — you know you shouldn’t look, but you just have to.  It kinda of reminds me of an episode of another important show I used to “research” called Sunset Tan. This reality TV show was based on a real-life spray tan studio in California. In one particular episode, a “perfect Mom” brought in her elementary school age daughter for a tan. She said something like, “Look, she came out really pasty in her school picture. She needs color for the next one.”  The cute little girl looked horrified.

I’ve got to be honest, if I judged my kids’ cuteness by their school pictures, I’d be in serious trouble. If we can capture them without looking crosseyed, their hair standing straight up, or their mouths not looking wired shut by a mortician, it’s a great photo. I’ve posted my favorite school picture of my daughter Katie along with my 1st grade photo. Hopefully, my mother didn’t judge her self-worth on my school pictures. Talk about bad hair.

Reference: ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ Mom Talks Dressing Her Child, 3, in Makeup and Cone Bras by

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Not Your Father’s Cheat Sheet

Illustration for Cheating

Image via Wikipedia

Kids today are so spoiled. If if isn’t bad enough that they can watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 365 days a year or go through their entire educational years without spending quality time with Dewey Decimal, we have to discover this disturbing article.

Apparently, Droids and other smart phones are making it easy for children to cheat at school. We just have to ask: what’s this world coming to? What happened to the good old fashioned cheat sheet or  answers written on your wrist? It’s simply not fair.

What other ways has technology spoiled our children?

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A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping

Tandem in freefall over Chicagoland Skydiving Center in Hinckley, IL

Image via Wikipedia

OK, we’ll admit that New Year’s resolutions were made for one purpose and one purpose only — to be broken. Though  we both have maintained all of ours (to give up sky diving, to stop saving too much money, to try and let loose a little).  But when we came across the great article below from Maggie at 5minutesforspecialneeds.com, we thought this is one resolution worth making and keeping — the resolution not to give your power to others, particularly mean spirited, insensitive people who judge our children.

We have to ask, WWIYD? What Would Imperfect You Do if put in this terrible situation. We think Maggie handled it better than we would have (we would have thrown our newly bought eggs at her).

Reference: Resolution: Don’t to Give Your Power to Others by Maggie

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Bitter or Better?

A few years ago, we were in Southern, Illinois (home of the world’s largest catsup bottle, by the way) speaking at a mental health conference when we met a wonderful woman, Darlene. Darlene had a difficult life raising a child with mental health issues, but she had to be one of the most positive people we’ve ever encountered. She told us. “Sisters, I really like your message. I’ve always thought I’ve had two choices when dealing with my daughter’s  issues. I could be bitter or better. I choose to be better.”

When we came across this  blog (see link below) from Hopeful Parents, it made us think of Darlene’s wise words and how many parents simply can’t get beyond the loss of the perfect child. Our book and Movement really helped us get to that point. We’ve found that life is a whole lot better on the better side (that’s why they call it better).  Of course, it was a long and difficult journey.

Yet, as the article explains, there are still a lot of us struggling to see the positive side. What advice do you have for someone still struggling to accept their child’s disability? Sound off and share.

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Reference: Circle of Friends by Janis Marle
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No $%#&! Angelina Jolie Not Perfect

Angelina Jolie at the premiere of Alexander in Cologne.

Image via Wikipedia

Finally, some good news in the world of imperfection. Angelina Jolie, the actress with the killer body, enormous bank account, and perfect husband, isn’t so perfect. Our trusted sources (OK, it’s the National Enquirer) tell us that she apparently has the mouth of a sailor. (See article below.) Kinda makes us wonder where all that money she donates to charity is coming from. We’re thinking it’s from her swear jar.

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The $100,000 is back

Description unavailable

Image by Ricardo (Kadinho) Villela via Flickr

We were so happy to see this, until of course we learned it wasn’t ‘the candy bar, but the actual dollar bill. Nonetheless, it should make our banking easier. We kid of course. Today, Gina had to go through her car seats to find loose change to put gas in her car to get home. And Patty has started watching Extreme Couponing. Which brings us to our point — anyone know the status of the candy bar?

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Time Well Spent

Yesterday, we had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a milestone in our imperfect family. It wasn’t that Patty’s house was clean or Gina’s baseboards were dusted; it was much greater than all that. Yesterday, we celebrated our father’s 80th birthday. It was a simple party to celebrate a man who has led a simple, fulfilling, and honest life.  A man, who unlike us, is so content with everything he has, and who values every dollar.

“How come you had your hair cut so short today, Dad?”

“I like it that way. That means I got my money’s worth.”

“But Dad, you look like a skinhead.”

Each year, we struggle with what to give him. And this year, we were particularly baffled as we wanted to get him something special to mark his 80 years. Our mother warned us. “You kids better not spend too much money on some fancy restaurant. Your father hates that.”

But anything less than that  didn’t seem like enough for a man who’s given so much to us.

We did consider giving him some nice gift, such as a golf trip with our Mom, but we could hear our father’s endless warnings that we’ve listened to for every birthday. “I don’t need anything; I’m a man who has everything.” Our mother, of course, disagreed. “He needs new socks, khacki slacks, a shirt to go with his blue sweater vest, etc. You know your father. He’d wear the same old clothes for 50 years if it weren’t for me.”

In the end, we decided to have a small family party at Patty’s and give him restaurant gift cards — really gifts for our mother. “Ooh, good! Now I won’t have to cook.” And though he gave us his traditional hard time “(You kids shouldn’t have bought me anything. The way you kids blow money.”), he  had a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, as he came to hug each one of us, and tell us how proud he was of us.

We’ve often said that one of the greatest gifts our special children have given us is an appreciation for family. They’ve helped us realize that every year we spend with our elderly parents is a gift.

Now, when we see our parents blow out their candles, we share a teary look. A look that says, “Thank you God for giving us another year with them.” It’s a reminder of how blessed we are, though our complaints about money and battles with the school for services sometimes make us forget that.

Our children feel the same way. They love seeing their grandparents and reminding them of how much they’ve grown.

“Nana, I’m taller than you,” says Gina’s 11-year-old, Emmy.

“I know, Emmy. When you get to be my age, you shrink.”

“That’s OK Nana, cause you’re so cute. Look at her Mom, isn’t she so cute?”

Given their ages, we know our parents time with us is limited. Our goal is to have our children spend as much time with them as they can. Which, if we live in China, would keep us out of trouble, as the article below explains. Don’t worry; I’m sure we’d find some other way to get into trouble.

bReference: In China, Visit Your Elders … Or Else!

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Hey Mean People! Leave our Kids Alone!

Cruella DeVille in Disney Dreams Come True Parade

Image by Reachupforthestars via Flickr

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:  Having special children has helped shape us into kinder, more compassionate people. We can safely say, we like pretty much anyone who shows any kindness toward us.

“Pat, I love that lady. She saw me wiggling in the ladies room line and let me go ahead of her.”

“I saw that, Gene. If only the rest of the world had such bathroom courtesy. Surely, there would be less accidents.”

And if you show kindness toward our special children, there’s no telling how far we will go to show how much we appreciate it. “Mom, don’t you think buying a pony is a little too much for Susie? All she did was invite me to her birthday party.”

Yes, there’s nothing that warms our imperfect hearts more than seeing someone show kindness and compassion to our children.

But the fact is, there are some people that just can’t. People who like to point out our children’s deficiencies and to judge them. (“Why does your daughter keep shooting at the wrong basket?”) People who can only be referred to in one way — mean people.

Unfortunately, if you have a special child, you may run into your share of them. Check out the blog below as a mother of a disabled child shares her encounter with mean people. Then post a comment and tell us how you deal with the Cruella de Ville’s in your world.

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Caution! Imperfection is about to enter your living room.

The Shut Up Sisters on the set of The Imperfection Connection with our mother.

Check out this article on Family Network TV, the new worldwide Web-based channel for the special needs community. The Shut Up Sisters are thrilled to be a part of it with our own show, The Imperfection Connection. We’ve already filmed season 1 and it promises to be as juicy as the The Real Housewives though we do no table flipping or pole dancing. We joke of course. Our first season will focus on ways that special needs caregivers can take care of themselves — with shows on nutrition, exercise, organization, etc, brought to you in our own imperfect style. We’ll feature interesting and knowledgeable experts (a necessity since we’re not that bright), and motherly minutes featuring our mother.

For more information, visit familynetworktv.com.

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Quote of the Day

“Gene, you look really pretty tonight. Did you do anything different?” asked Gina’s husband Mike.

“Well, I showered and brushed my hair. Thanks for noticing.”

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