Hard To Impress

As I look around at life and at my kids, I wonder, when did that moment come when you could no longer impress a kid with the little things in life. All of these deep Monday morning thoughts were brought on by a simple reading project at my sons school. Not sure if anyone else has had experience with “book it”. It’s a voluntary reading program where kids read so much per month and are then entitled to a free personal pan pizza at the local pizza place. I loved this program as a kid. I read and read and read, in hopes of filling that list as quickly as possible so I could score the coveted personal pan pizza. When the time came, I was so excited, I would nag and beg my mom until we could go cash in my hard earned prize. My son on the other hand? Not impressed whatsoever. Nothing I could say or do could get him pumped up at the thought of earning a pizza prize. He informed me that he’s just too busy to put forth the time of filling that reading list up. Between basketball, homework, band, writing his State of the Union Address, conference calls with the Secretary of State, and campaigning for office, I guess there’s just not enough time to read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” with so many other pressing issues to attend to. How can one focus on wimpy kids when the American people need his full attention right now? Looking back on the “book it” program, it honestly was a load of crap. You read for hours on end, only to score a pizza that’s so small, it leaves you unsatisfied. You can’t have more pizza until you read 100 more books. As a kid, I didn’t realize I was being railroaded at the time. That was the perks of being a kid. The ignorance. The delight in the small things because we were none the wiser. Kids these days are too smart. Why read 100 books and get a pizza that’s smaller than my fist, when I can just wait for one of mom’s lazy days to hit and she will order a whole pizza?


Upstanding Citizen

It’s so funny to see your kids in grade school, and to remember what was socially acceptable at that age, versus high school aged kids. My son E, being the upstanding citizen that he is, volunteered to do safety patrol at school. He stops the cars when someone needs to use the crosswalk, making sure all the little ones make it safely across and into the school. I will stalk him on occasion (our school is at the end of the street) to get a glimpse of this fine young man, putting his life on the line so kids can cross the street. Ok maybe I went a little overboard-it’s a one way street, teachers are outside helping, and the police patrol the block. I got caught up in the excitement. Yesterday when he got home, he also informed me he is the bathroom monitor. If you engage in any type of bathroom horseplay, E will put you in your place by going and telling on you. You want to start a bathroom brawl? Oh no. Not on E’s watch. That will also get you told on. It’s funny because grade school children take these jobs so seriously. And the funniest part is that they are all still friends at the end of the day, even if E told on you for smoking a cigarette in the bathroom stall that morning.


Which brings me to the difference between grade school kids and high school kids. The tattling that’s acceptable in grade school will get your ass kicked in high school. Trying to stop a fight in the bathroom? They will turn on you, and before you know it, you’re being strung up by your feet, and the top of your head is making contact with the toilet water.


I remember an episode of Spongebob where he was the hall monitor. The job went to his head, and at the weeks end, not only did he have no friends left, but also managed to piss off the entire faculty. Poor little E. So many unwritten rules to learn. No easy way to learn them. My guess is I will be called up to the high school for one of two things, should E’s upstanding citizenship spill over to the high school years. I will be called to come pick him up in the nurses office, while the nurse apologetically hands me his teeth in a cup of ice. Or it could go the other way, and the school needs me to come up and talk E off of his pedestal.

Dirty Secrets

After reading the title of this post, I’m sure I’ve grabbed your attention. Your heart is slamming against the walls of your chest, wondering, is this dirty secret about you? Am I about to divulge something you’ve told me in confidence? Toss all of your skeletons out into the Internet, where people can google your 7 deadly sins? No silly. I’m talking about those little secret “moments of relief when we shouldn’t feel relief, but feel disappointment and guilt and remorse instead, like a sane parent” feelings. Those moments where you can honestly say that you feel bad for not feeling bad? I will enlighten you. Picture this. Your kid is so excited for the upcoming birthday party at Chuck E Cheese Pizza. The fake animals singing. The bottomless ball pit with god knows what lurking at the bottom (is there a bottom?). The salad bar, brimming full of salmonella, hepatitis, and other diseases you need shots in order to cure. This child’s play place is the 7th realm of hell in your book, but you suck it up, plaster that fake “there’s nowhere I’d rather be on a Sunday” smile on your face, and you start getting ready to leave soon. But wait….why is little E on the couch still, not looking so hot? An hour ago, he was so excited. The time to leave for the party couldn’t come fast enough. But now? He’s passed out on the couch, bright red burning up cheeks, but still pale underneath. The alarmed parent within you takes over, rouses the sick child from his sleep to confirm that he has a fever and therefore will be home the rest of the day re cooperating. After the Tylenol is doled out and the cool washcloth placed on the forehead, the dirty secret within reveals itself in the form of relief. You really didn’t want to go to that party. And now, through no fault of your own, you don’t have to!!! Clever clever. You commiserate with your child, and tell him how disappointing it is to get sick like that, therefore missing the mind-numbing 3 hours of dancing animals, poorly thawed out birthday cake, and salmonella buffet really fun party. Of course I never like to see my child suffer, and I do feel bad if he has to miss out on something he was looking forward to because of it. But being a parent, we all know those moments where we attend parties, watch back to back episodes of Family Guy, hang out all day at Lego Land, play endless rounds of the card game War….and sometimes you need a little respite. We hold back our thoughts and dislikes because hey, if the kid is happy, then we are happy. But sometimes, I want to throw a tantrum like E used to when he was younger and didn’t approve of the days itinerary, and scream and cry that I don’t want to go. I don’t feel like it. But I suck it up, put on my big girl mom panties, load up the car, and off we go. And E will remember when he was older-the places he went, the things he got to experience. And I’d like to think that maybe when he’s older and his child wants him to accompany him to Lego Land or sit through yet another movie he has seen so many times, he can spout it off word for word, that he will suck it up and put on his big boy panties and remember that they are only little for so long.

To our dog, Elvis, with love….

Our family dog passed away this evening. It’s been a sad night for all of us, and you can’t help but wonder, do our pets understand what we say? Do they understand how we feel about them, and how important they are to us?

Dear Elvis,
Thank you for being a part of our family. Thank you for putting up with rambunctious kids running in and out, startling you out of your daily napping marathons. Thank you for letting us tease you occasionally and playing along with our stupid human tricks. E thought it was really funny to stuff bacon treats inside of your collar, and watch you go mad trying to figure out where the treat was. Thank you for your patience with him, and for having a sense of humor. Thank you for your patience with the cats of the household, who stalked you day in and day out, and frequently stole your dog bed from you. Thank you for always being excited when we walked in the door. Whether we were gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours, you greeted us like long lost friends that you haven’t seen in years. Thank you for your humor. Nothing is more comical than when you did something naughty, and jumped onto the couch and hid your head under the pillows. Thank you for nudging our arms or any body part you could reach with your nose, reminding us to slow down a bit, and give you a pat or two. Thank you for your loyalty. You have probably saved the kids from an ass whoopin on a few occasions, warned us if something wasn’t quite right in our neighborhood, and saved us from gaining a few pounds by snatching that last bite off of our plate when we weren’t looking. Thank you for your love. In our darkest hours, when our hearts hurt so much from what we have lost, you sat next to each of us silently, letting us cry it out, and looked at us through those wise dog eyes-you knew that the hurting would pass, and the world would be right once again. My last hope is that I hope you have enjoyed having us as your humans, as we have enjoyed having you as our family dog.


One Hit Wonder

Shuffling furiously through the parenting book of rules. Trying to find the rule that states “If I did something once, I don’t have to do it again”. What? There’s no such rule? Pardon? There’s no such book? My son is a one hit wonder-like the band Haddaway? Their claim to fame was one song “Baby Don’t Hurt Me”. I don’t think it even had any other words. So I’m guessing one hit wonders do it so good the first time, they don’t have to do it again. Or at least in my son’s case. Apparently if you take a bath once, you never have to again. That maiden voyage in the bathtub is powerful enough to keep away any future dirt that may creep onto your body. And that one time you put away your dishes created a force field to draw in future dirty dishes to the sink. True story right there. This morning I asked my son to put his dirty breakfast fork in the sink. He sighs and said he already had to do it yesterday. Oh ok E. I will handle it from here on out. You’ve overdone yourself. I can only hope that when it comes to toilet hygiene, that since you’ve wiped before, you feel that you don’t have to anymore. I haven’t noticed my son walking like a duck or a trail of flies behind him yet, so I think we’re good.


Picky pickerson

The following story is not only a bit gross, but it’s another story where I come out looking like an a-hole. You’ve been warned.
I will get the owning up to it part out of the way first. It’s partly my fault that my son is on a ten day round of antibiotics. It’s partly my fault that he has to soak his foot in warm water and Epsom salts once a day. It’s partly my fault that his toe is so sore that he has decided to walk like a penguin. You are probably now wondering what in the world did I do to this poor child. Well…..it started innocently enough. E had an ingrown toenail on his big toe, which was soooo not my fault. It wasn’t until I began to mess with it, where it became my fault. I trimmed the toenail in order to get to the ingrown part so it could be pulled. Didn’t work. I used a little tool for ingrown nails to be able to dig a little deeper to get a new piece started so I could pull it. Didn’t work. I clipped a little sliver of nail next to it in order to get closer to the ingrown so I could pull it. Didn’t work. You want to know what I did achieve? An angry, swollen, pus oozing, big toe. And I don’t know what I was thinking in my psychotic mind, that I was going to save the day and actually get it out? It almost became a vendetta between myself and the ingrown toenail. I could mentally hear it taunting me from the depths of my sons socks and shoes. Here I am. Come pull me out. It looks like you can pull me right out, but really I’m hiding under all of this skin, giving you a false illusion. Finally common sense (or maybe my sons hollering) told me that I’m going to lose this battle, and digging into someone’s toe is not the kosher way to rid the infection, but boy does it spread the infection!!! So I really meant well, I promise. When I get ingrowns, I know how bad they hurt, and the hurt is relieved if you can pull it out-that was my intention when I started messing with it. I had no idea we would be on the toe donor list. I called the doctor and lied told him about my sons infected ingrown toenail. He called in meds and we have been soaking it properly as well. It seems to be healing nicely, and I have not put my grubby little hands or tools on it in over a week. I’ve found other things to keep me busy as idle hands are the devils playground.


So it seems that my ambitions of being a great blogger have been squashed. I am adrift, lost in a sea filled with basketball, homework, running here and there, responding to the constant demands of “make me,take me,drive me,help me,watch me,pick me up,drop me off,wait for me”-leaving me to dream of becoming an alcoholic recluse writer, hunching over my laptop in my drunken haze, and punching out hilarious and sarcastic tales, leaving everyone in awe and googling my name to find out who this amazing writer is. I miss blogging. I miss the free flowing psychotic parental thoughts that came to me hourly, and I had all the time in the world to either jot them down for later, or even be able to log on and blog about it right away. Not that I still don’t have plenty of “less than stellar” thoughts, but by the time I sit down to recall them, I’m so tired, my mind is blank. I log on anyway to see if that will jar my memory-I get bits and scraps of what went through my mind during the day, but not enough to tell the whole story, and have it make any sense. I can’t tell you about some crazy thought I had and just leave it at that without explaining myself and giving the whole story right? It’s almost like making sure you use correct punctuation. There’s a vast difference between your shit and you’re shit. So my question to all of you blogging parents out there. How do you find time to blog (and by blog I mean to actually write something decent and maybe throw in a picture) when your life, as you know it, has been taken hostage by littles?


The Ass Family

I watched a movie today called Couples Retreat. Funny funny movie, and I had seen it before. However, I didn’t pay much attention to the ending until today. At the end of the couples vacation, the marriage therapist/guru hands each couple a statue of an animal that represents them and their relationship. When the therapist got to the last couple, he gave them a statue of an ass (donkey). The ass is stubborn and unmovable. When it sets it’s mind to something, it stops at nothing to see it through. The advice I loved was the “Be an ass for each other. Be an ass for your children. Be an ass for love.” So when anyone in my family decides to be a smart ass, a cheap ass, a dumb ass, a crab ass, or isn’t getting any ass, I will just remember that at the end of everyday, the ass family is stubborn and unmovable. It has stuck together through ups and downs, the highest of highs and the ultimate lows, but is still here, still together, still strong. Stubborn and unmovable.

Sour Notes

I’m patiently awaiting my son to get home from school. Today isn’t just any day. It’s BAND PRACTICE TUESDAY!!! He just started last week. He came home and expertly put his clarinet together like the two of them had shared a space in my uterus together. He blew into the instrument and that low clarinet sound came out. I was so impressed. Only 30 minutes of band practice and he’s already this good? A child prodigy!! A Kenny G in the making!! A few days later, he hauls out the clarinet again to practice. I’m thinking he’s going to bust out Franz Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. Because you know, he’s played the clarinet one other time in his whole life. But wait, there’s a problem. The clarinet pieces aren’t sliding together as smoothly as before. The keys and the holes and the tabs aren’t lining up, and the finished put together product would probably only work if you played it upside down. After more twisting and turning, it appears the clarinet is put together properly. He places his mouth on the end, takes a deep breath, and……..HEEE HAWWWW SQUAWK…. The dog flees to the other room. The cat hisses at him and runs for the safety of underneath the bed. E dampens the reed, re-adjusts, and TOOOOT SQUAWK……By this time, the pets don’t understand what’s going on. They are all hiding, but the sound is still deafening and seems to creep into their hiding spots. The pets look at me with pleading eyes. If they could talk I know they would be begging me to let them out to go play in the traffic. Anything to end this assault on their ears. E is getting more frustrated by the minute. He can’t understand why the rich tones of the clarinet aren’t sounding. I mean, c’mon…After one lesson, one should be able to play solo with The Tabernacle Choir, right? I explained to E that instruments take time to learn, along with lots of practice. Even the best clarinet player has a bad day as well. And it takes more than one session of band practice to master the art of music. My other thought, which I kept to myself, is that after hearing him play, I now know why Schubert’s symphony went unfinished.

Is There An Uncle Flo?

Brace yourselves. My house will soon be on the map as the 7th Wonder of the World. Are you ready for this? I think the boys in this house have been paid a visit from Aunt Flo. I have to whisper it. If I were to speak such a thing out loud, it would cause further drama. And you may be wondering how all of this is possible. I’m wondering myself. The first thing people wonder when there’s a change in someone is maybe you switched laundry detergent or bath soap? Honestly I think that causes more hive like symptoms and doesn’t account for sudden onset of PMS.
My comments and conversation are met with growls. If I ask a question, I better have my duct tape ready so I can tape my head back in place after its bitten off. Whether the laundry is done, house straightened up, dinner cooked, band instruments accounted for, the correct flavor of fruit snacks are packed for school, help offered for homework, or any other good deed, it doesn’t get through to the PMS demon. The demon is not one to be reasoned with and I’m hoping that by the end of the week the demon will pay a visit elsewhere. There’s only one person in this house who Mother Nature has intended to have PMS symptoms. And boys, here’s a hint. It’s none of you.