Sunday, April 20, 2014


So I'm 8+ years into this parenting thing, and I still have days that make me wonder when I'm going to get smart about it.

Today was Easter.  A few weeks back, I went out and got a few toys and four types of candy.  I put the candy in little plastic eggs, and hid them in the backyard for the express purpose of having my children find and enjoy said eggs.

But when they found the eggs, they asked, "Can we eat the chocolate?"

And I was all, "No you can't eat chocolate.  That's a terrible idea.  You know you aren't allowed to eat candy.  You are going to be horrible little monsters if you eat candy.  Why would you think you could eat this candy that I just wrapped up and gave to you?"


It happens at Christmas, too.

Every Easter, every Christmas - basically every Jesus-centric holiday, I buy my kids a bunch of candy, give it to them, and am then taken aback when they want to consume the candy.

"No, no.  See, you just get to FIND the candy.  Now you give it back to me and I eat it."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

transform your emotions

There is a song on the radio these days that has a line, "I'm going to be an optimist about this."

Or something like that.

I was driving the boys to school and I asked them if they knew what an optimist was.

"Of course," Owen says, "Optimus Prime."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Double Standards

I'm sitting here with Sam as he reads a book before bed.

We've been having problems making sure that Sam gets to bed at a reasonable hour now that he is in the attic.  Also when he gets obsessive about a book.

Didn't see that one coming.  Had no genetic warning there.  Obsessive?!  Reading?!  Us?!

Anyhow, he said that one way we could solve this would be to get him a watch.

Because the clock next to his bed isn't sufficient?

So he leans over and asks me, "Mom?  Do you wear your watch to while you are sleeping?"

"Yes, Sam."

"Ok.  I wasn't sure if it was a thing you could wear while you are sleeping.  Like your necklace, and how you never wear a necklace to sleep."

Ummm.  ""Sam, I wear my necklace while I sleep."

He turns and stares at me for a minute.

"Mom?  I don't think that is a good idea.  You said we shouldn't sleep with things around our necks in case we strangle ourselves.  And now I'm worried you are going to strangle yourself."

I'm not sure how to explain this to him, except that it seems totally reasonable to simultaneously not allow my children to wrap things around their necks, while wearing a necklace to bed myself.  Hadn't even occurred to me to feel like a hypocrite.

So I went with the standard, rephrase-as-if-it-is-an-explanation strategy.  "It's okay for grown ups to wear necklaces to bed, but not kids, Sam."

He narrows his eyes at me, and considers.  

Finally, he says, "Mom?  I'm still worried about it.  But I have a plan.  I will listen out for noises at night like you are choking.  Then, I will come down here and I will try to wake Dad up.  I may have to dump his water bottle on his head, and that will make him angry, so I will only do it if it is an emergency, like when you are choking on your necklace."

"That's quite a plan, Sam."

"I know.  I had to think about it back when you were gone over night one time.  I was worried about Dad, because he is not as good at waking up."

Okay, two things here.

1) Stop worrying so much, Sam.
2) Hahahahaha.  BURN, Chris.

In the end, I told him that I would refrain from wearing a necklace to bed, despite my proven track record of not dying from a necklace.  I don't think he needs to worry about that.

Moral dilemma: If you tell your child you won't wear a necklace to bed so that he doesn't worry about you strangling yourself, do you actually have to stop wearing a necklace to bed?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I've Never Liked Jack

I saw one of Owen's school papers the other day.  It had a lovely stick figure drawing and the carefully printed sentence, "I like to play chest whis Sam."

See, guys, you all thought he had a lisp, when really it's just that he has a very casual relationship with the English language.  They haven't made a formal commitment yet.  It might not work out, long term.

On that note, and in the spirit of being a better parent, I've made it a personal goal to never say no when one of them asks me to read to them.

So far, I've managed to meet that goal, but JESUS CHRIST I am SO OVER reading this particular version of Jack and the Beanstalk.  It's not a short book.  It's not a well written iteration.  Even the illustration bothers me.  There are more internal inconsistencies than any one children's book has a right to contain.  I'd be HAPPY to discuss all the reasons I don't like this book.  I could write a dissertation about the stupidity of this book.  And my dissertation would be more interesting and better written than this book is.

But every morning, and every night, Owen and Lilly choose this book to read.

It's like nails on a chalkboard.

So our take home lesson?  Self-improvement sucks.

Monday, April 7, 2014


It is evening, and Owen wanders into my room.  He should be in bed, but instead he comes in and plops himself down and asks, "How is it been doing, Mom?"

It's so sweet, the way he is trying to learn the language of the American people instead of relying on his native tongue of . . . Russian?  German?  I'm not really sure.

We chat for a minute, but, honest to god, at the end of the day I only have so much patience for meandering philosophical discussions like, "Do You Think the Kindergarten Concert Will be Fun and Why?" and "Which Superhero do You Like Most and Why?"  Hint: All of these discussions are based on nothing I care about and will always include "And Why?"

Then Sam comes in.  He has started to catch on to these nighttime talks that Owen arranges, and, as ever, if Owen gets it, Sam wants it, even if he doesn't want it.

They both start talking over each other.

It is a nuclear arms race of Things I Don't Care About.

Sam bringt in sports, which is pretty much a trump card, but Owen fires back with something about grass growing and jesus christ, seriously?

I feel myself snapping, even as I know I shouldn't.  Even as I acknowledge how fortunate I am that they are here and healthy and happy.

"GUYS.  I need you to go away now."

No sugar-coating.  They are going to remember that in therapy years from now.

". . . and she just told us we had to go away.  So I started doing crack cocaine."

But the worst thing is that they respond by just kindly, politely, going away.  As if to show me what manners are.

"Let us lead by example, my brother, that she might learn the ways of polite society."

They tromp out of the room.

Owen offers a cheerful wave and an "Okay!"

Then, as they are halfway up the stairs, Owen sneaks back and whispers, "I'll come back later, when you've had a few minutes."

Which is so sweet.

Except, at this point, I kind of just want him to go to bed.