Stress Balls

Sometimes I wonder how much of my personality rubs off on my kids. You know, so I can prepare my apologies for when they go into therapy and realize that I am to blame for all their problems.

My kids are definitely their own people but sometimes I wonder. For instance, they just became obsessed with making stress balls (i.e. balloons filled with some kind of viscous substance).


My longtime readers (all five of you) may remember when I was obsessed with making stress balls, only mine were made out of ceramics.

Stress Bal

Stress Balls

Instead of squeezing them, you would write what was stressing you out on a tiny slip of paper, put it inside the ball and light a candle that sits on top.

I never actually put anything in my stress balls but I found the making of them to be incredibly therapeutic. Now I have about a dozen of them knocking around my house. Let me know if you want one.

So when my kids started making their own stress balls (which is apparently the new craze at school) I wondered if it came from me. Was I stressing my kids out?

You can imagine how relieved I was when Scratchy said, “I’m worry free. I mean, school is good, I just finished my PARC testing (a Colorado standardized test), and my grades are good. The only thing I worry about is you getting mad and yelling.”


Did I mention that we just had a four-day weekend? And it snowed? A lot.


The thing about their stress balls is that they were (note the past tense) filled with Elmer’s glue, food coloring and laundry detergent. I don’t know why except they said the internet told them to. And it only took us going to four stores to gather the seemingly pedestrian- but-not-really ingredients.

I was immediately suspicious of those fucking things. What if they blew up?

“Not going to happen Mom,” said Scratchy just 30 seconds before the fucking thing exploded all over the floor and him. The next one exploded at the park so I only had to get the glue and food coloring out of Itchy’s clothes and GOOD NEWS at least it was partly made of out laundry detergent.

I then discovered why they are called stress ball. They stress me the fuck out.

In addition to that there was the cabin fever and the 4-day weekend. I, unlike everyone else in Boulder, did not go to Mexico or a ski resort because that’s what Boulderites do when they have a few days off.

They immediately spend several thousands of dollars on frivolous travel. I’m not being moralistic or superior here, I’m really just jealous as fuck.

At least I didn’t have to put up with ungrateful kids as a friend of mine very succinctly posted on FB about her family trip to Mexico.

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I saw the pictures from that vacay. I would have put up with a whining teenager.

Blue’s diarrhea was only getting worse and now there was obviously blood in it so I walked him to the vet because he’s getting weird about my car AND it is still full of books that nobody wants.

Fortunately his vet used to have a dane so she understands how quirky they are. She accommodated his fear of floors by examining him on the doormat just inside the threshold because there was no way he was going any farther.


With his head in her lap she stroked him and spoke soothingly while giving him his exam. A blood test ruled out pancreatitis (common for geriatric danes, as being six makes him) and sent us home with a grocery bag of drugs and some doggy Xanax.

He is feeling much better now and I’m glad to have the Xanax on hand should we ever encounter stressful situations for him. I might take a couple myself to help me stop freaking out over how much that vet visit cost. Holy shit.

I talked to his vet at length about Bartleby’s issues and she reinforced what I have already found out by scouring the internet.


He is responding to his training and the kids are taking leadership roles in working with him, Itchy especially. He very patiently works on his sit/stay/come commands which are the cornerstone of obedience training.

I, of course, went to work on making him adorable accessories.

He’s doing so much better with the kids, snapping and growling less, and actually sitting on their laps and sleeping with them when I’m not available.

Tabby told me that Chicky was possessive about her the first few weeks she had him. He even jumped in the back seat of her car to bite her mom. The nerve. But it wasn’t anything that a couple weeks of showing him was in charge didn’t fix.

The potty issue is still there but I suspect he might have a UTI. I’ll bring in a sample tomorrow. I’m hoping that it’s part of the problem because it’s an easy fix. Plus he only ways 4.5 pounds so his meds would be cheap unlike Blue whose meds cost a fucking fortune.

In other news, Loony and I went out during the storm to see Bina’s funk group – Moon Tang – perform at the Lazy Dog. She was really wonderful and we felt kind of hip and young to be out late and seeing a live show.


Bina is quickly becoming a regular fixture around these parts. I adore her.

You know who else I adore?


Anyone who has the patiences to bake with my kids

Myjah came over this afternoon to make gingerbread cookies.

Why gingerbread in April? Because this …


That’s right, it’s a cat flipping you off. Twice. Someone posted this cookie cutter on my FB wall and insisted that I get it. So I did. And now there’s this …


My kids have already chastised me for my mean and inappropriate baked goods but I’m hoping that once they are over being embarrassed by me, they will look back fondly on my eccentric ways and be glad they didn’t have a boring mom … even if I do yell a lot.


11 thoughts on “Stress Balls

  1. As a result of this post, at first I was going to make stress balls for everyone at my husband’s office. They are dealing with a bully boss and exploding stress balls would be SO MUCH BETTER! But then I saw the cookies and realized that they would appreciate those just as much. I think they would be suitable for the upcoming board meeting on Friday. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration and the HUGE laughs!

  2. I think it is much easier to compare children’s behavior with their parents if there are more kids. In my( Jennings) family having 4 sisters it is very clear who has each parent’s temperament. Sure we are our own ppl and all that but we definitely have one of our parents coping mechanisms. Betsy and Theresa are like my dad. They freak out at the drop of a hat, yell and scream, then are fine moments later and expect you to forgive them. My mom, myself, and my other two sisters who are not like them, we all agree that they are just like dad, but not to their faces. ahahah
    I love your bag you made for your new doggie. I love barkcloth.

  3. What child says “I’m worry free!” This must be a first! And I’m glad that little Bartleby doesn’t seem to stressed out by his arduous life (see photos above). He deserves to be stress free. And I’m sure that your kids will be aware that they have the best Mom in the world, because they do!

  4. Seriously, I wish I lived near you. I would come by and get one of your ceramic stress balls! So cool. I love your stories.

    • I’ll ship it. Really. Help me get rid of some of this stuff!

      I’m really glad that you like my stories. People who know me will attest that they actually happen just the way I tell them … except for my fantasy relationship with my yoga instructor. But the fantasy is real!

  5. I loved this! and I am glad Blue is on the upswing. I got a real laugh when you mentioned Chicky and the mom. My mother in law (ex) stayed with us once when there was a hurricane, and knowing what a “pill” she could be I asked KT’s (my Jack Russell Terrior-ist) vet to prescribe something so that KT would act calm during the storm. KT was “smiling” at the ex mum the way a lot of dogs do when they are happy to see someone and the ex mum hit her with her cane! A few minutes after that the sedative kicked in and KT looked like an elephant getting blow darted with a tranquilizer. In terror I rang up the doctor and without missing a beat he said, the sedative was for the mother in law. Gosh I love my dogs vet.

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