Tampons are not toys

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Because not everyone enjoys impromptu discussions about poop, our local coffee shop features a not-so-secret upstairs room where mothers of toddlers congregate to have conversations punctuated by phrases like, “What happened to your other shoe?”, "How long has that worm been in your pocket?" and "Can you please take that dolphin out of your brother's ear?" without disturbing the street-level caffeine imbibers below.

The other day, after a chance meeting on the sidewalk, my friend Sharon and I made tracks to “the room” to swig copious amounts of coffee while our kids ate giant ginger cookies.

Two seconds in, our children asked if we had any toys. You think they would know us better by now. The only remotely kid-friendly items in my purse were a marble, two Band-Aids, a hotel pen and a miniature Spirograph toy that can only be operated by someone with Barbie doll sized hands. So, you know, I’ve given up on any aspirations of becoming Mother of the Year.

Sharon on the other hand was slightly more prepared and was able to produce four crayons, a tiny pack of playing cards and a handful of magnetic sticks. These items, along with a couple of pages ripped from my journal, kept everyone happy for at least as long as it took to drink two medium French Roasts. I won't lie though - there was a brief moment in time when we both contemplated handing each kid a mini rocket (they might have been tampons) in order to buy ourselves just a few more minutes of cafe culture - mom style.  But, we refrained.

Later on, Sharon reminded me of why she and I get along so well, when she started the following email exchange.

Sharon: I Googled it. Tampons are not toys. Whatever. Maybe one day I'll be in a restaurant and really desperate for a distraction. Glass of water, tampon… how is that different from those other toys that grow in water!?

Me: I think you may have just unlocked the secret of the Sea Monkeys! Tampons + googly eyes + a glass of water... voila --- purse puffers.

Sharon: Nevermind toys. I've done a lot of camping and I can't believe I didn't know this. Using Cheezies to start a fire I knew... but tampons?! Brilliant.

Me: First of all -- whoa! And second of all -- I feel like I've just lost the last bit of innocence I still had. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm about to write a blog post about snot.

And then I did.

Sharon: I know blows your mind eh? And I just realized, as ex-smokers we should be grateful that a stray spark didn't set our crotches ablaze. Who do I talk to get this warning on cigarette packs!!? Forget about your teeth people -- a CROTCH could start on FIRE!  And before you think I'm off my rocker let's just remember who is carrying snot in her purse.

Me: You just made me laugh so hard I cried. For a really, really long time. Now my tummy hurts. If we're not related, we must have been in a past life. You know, before we both spontaneously combusted. See you tomorrow. I'll be the one with the snot.

And that's what stay at home moms discuss after a visit to the not-so-secret upstairs room at the local coffee shop. I suggest booking your time in advance.

No, really.


  1. just found your blog... so glad I did!

    tampons as fire-starters... that's amazing. I need to remember this.


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