(A) or (B)?

Your kid texts you shortly after leaving for middle school in the morning, “Mom I left my project on the bus what can I do?”

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Do you (A) give him some tough love and reinforce his independence by telling him to go to the front office and ask for help, and when they are not able to offer anything other than “you’ll just have to wait until you ride the bus home after school” you explain that he has to be responsible for his mistakes (although everybody is human and everybody makes them); or

(B) call the county school bus company, get transferred to dispatch, explain the situation, hold while he radios the bus driver on the walkie-talkie, says she looked but found nothing, text your kid back with the bad news, talk your kid off the ledge because he worked on the project for days and will get a late grade if he doesn’t turn it in today, continue periodically trying to calm him down via text, an hour later decide to call the county school bus company again (wonder should you disguise your voice this time… but decide no, that’s weird and not believable because your British accent tends to fall off mid-sentence) and ask if you can personally locate and search the bus because the kid knows down to the row, seat, and exact coordinates where he left it, profess your undying love for the understanding dispatcher who goes out to the bus, looks for and locates the project himself, drive to the bus depot two towns over (thus missing the last group workout of the morning and you know you’re not going to the afternoon one now) to pick up the project, drive it to your kid’s school, and text him to let him know it is there for pick up, then come home and take a nap?

Yeah, me too.  I went with (A).  I definitely went with that one.  Oh, who am I kidding?  That nap was awesome.

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And he had a quiz in the middle of all of this!  You know it’s serious when juvenile humor doesn’t get a smile out of him.  Try saying ‘Boobie Washington’ a few times without giggling.  You can’t.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

This Is Just Not Funny

Yesterday was the first day of April, or as I would rather call it, March 32nd.  I am not really a big fan of the pranks and jokes and general tomfoolery that accompany this particular calendar day.  I never remember that it is April Fool’s until it is too late and by then I have fallen for a handful of pranks completely, thus becoming a literal fool (archaica person who is duped).  Or, I see right through people’s trickeration and have to pretend.  So, nope.  I’m not really a fan.

But my kids are a whole different story.

A few years ago Kid B contributed to this blog by posting about her favorite pastime… pranking her siblings (Kid B Uses Her Powers For Evil).  Kid C, Kid D, and Kid E seem to have gone the way of Wazaah, so they spent a good part of yesterday afternoon hiding each other’s shoes and pillows.  It was all very annoying, especially at bedtime harmless and funny and made everybody giggle.  Even I couldn’t keep my icy heart from melting each and every time I heard Kid D yell out “APRIL FOOL’S!” followed by a giant guffaw.  He was on a roll by dinnertime.

Sheepdog had ridden his bike to work yesterday, so he came in through the basement workshop and not the kitchen door when he got home last night.  He showered first and then joined us for dinner.  When he came upstairs, he had the remnants of panic smeared across his face.  Then he greeted us with, “Are you TRYING to kill me?”

Apparently, the pranksters got to him too.

This shit is not funny.

This shit is just not funny.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

No Tooth, No Money

Last Friday afternoon the boys bounded off the school bus, all limbs and backpacks and sweaty buzz cuts.  It was the start of a four-day weekend, and everybody was bursting with excitement.

“AbunchofmyfriendsaregoingtoplayfootballrightnowintheHall’syardCanIgotooCanIplayCanIgonow HuhCanImomCanImomplease?” Kid D asked before we even reached the house.

“We are going to movie night on the lawn at your aunt’s house right after dinner, but you can go play for a while.  Promise me you’ll call when you get there.  And be home by 5:45.”  I guarantee he didn’t hear anything after “go play,” but he is eight and I’m learning that’s just how eight-year-old boys work/ don’t work.

About and hour or so later, there was a knock-knock-knock at my side door.  In came Kid D, along with Football House Mom II (not to be confused with FHM I – If You Have to Poop, Go Home), and her son.  She led with, “Um, the boys had a little accident…”

I stayed very calm.  Kid D was being brave, but as soon as he saw me the dam broke and the tears started flowing.  FHM II explained that Kid D had collided with another friend and he had apparently lost a tooth as a result.  The blood was flowing generously from his mouth, so I really couldn’t see much of anything.  I asked if they knew where the missing tooth went.  Did it jam up into his gums?  Was it somewhere on the lawn?  Did he swallow it?

“We’re not sure.  It might very well be in the other kid’s head.”  Awesome.

FHM II and her son left to check on the status of the other kid.  I gave Kid D some salt water and told him to start swishing and spitting.  After he cleared away some of the bloody mess, I was able to determine that most if not all of the tooth was indeed gone from his mouth.  The rest should fall out on its own because, luckily, it was a baby tooth.  His permanent front tooth next to the new hole was a slight bit wiggly, but I wasn’t too worried.  And conveniently, we had dentist appointments scheduled for first thing Monday morning so I would have the experts confirm that he was fine in a few days.

I texted with the other kid’s mom and she confirmed that he was hard-headed and doing just fine.  He was worried that he might have a “discussion” from the bump on his head, but there was just a red mark.  No broken skin and no “discussion.”  Whew.

So I had Kid D swish and spit a little while longer so the blood would stop spewing forth.  Then I Motrinned him up and he felt much better.  We even brought FHM II’s kid with us to watch Hotel Transylvania outside at my sister’s house.  It was a beautiful night and the movie was funny and the kids (as well as the grown ups) had a good time.  It was late when we finally got home and put the boys to bed.

The next morning, Kid D was very disappointed.  Apparently, the tooth fairy had failed to make an appearance and he felt gypped.  And surprisingly, he found no solace in my explanation: “I believe the rule is – no tooth, no money.  Sorry, big guy.”

Kid D was having none of that nonsense, so he set out writing a letter to the tooth fairy.  And when I asked how the tooth fairy would know if he was telling the truth or not, he insisted that I sign off on his note as a witness.

Kid D tooth fairy letter

The very next night, the note went on his nightstand, front and center.

And he found this waiting for him in the morning:

Well, I believe that the tooth fairy needs to have more change on hand.

I guess it is “no tooth, no money,” unless you leave a polite, semi-notorized note.

Over the years, our tooth fairy seems to have taken a whole lot of liberties.  Is it just me, or does the tooth fairy seem like she/ he really makes up most stuff up as they go along?  And she/ he really should be better prepared  in the future by having change on hand.  I’m just saying.

P.S.  I also believe that my kids need some more work on spelling.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

His Cup Runneth Over

It’s that time of year again, friends.  School is back in session and the kids are settling in to their classes, adjusting to the homework load, and – if they haven’t already – it’s about time to add a sport or activity to the mix.  Load ’em up!  Yeah!

When playing youth sports now-a-days, there is likely the obligatory shopping trip to your local sporting goods store to stock up on the essentials.  Not only do they suck away all of your time; they also suck away all of your money.  And since both boys are playing baseball this season, we tried on some last-season and hand-me-down clothing and equipment first.  It figures that very little of what we had in stock was transferable, so we headed out to buy what was left on our list… grey pants for both boys, cleats because little feet never stop growing, batting gloves to replace the ones that got gum on them last season for Kid D (don’t even ask), and a helmet with a cage for Kid E (gotta protect that pretty face… that’s his moneymaker!).

All of that stuff was important to them, but what do you think was the number one, non-negotiable thing on their lists?  You guessed it… the boys decided that it was imperative that they go athletic cup shopping.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you may have read about Kid D and his first experience with a protective cup (Protecting the Family Jewels).  I’ve also mentioned his obsession with his junk a time or two before, but Sheepdog assures me that this is standard male behavior.  And Kid E is even more enthusiastic about his, if you can imagine.  So, while we were taking inventory of our baseball gear prior to shopping for more, a very large part of our discussion centered around the balls that are nearest and dearest to their hearts… their own.

Now, the cup that Sheepdog and Kid D settled on last time is likely the smallest size they make.  It is marketed to Age 7 and Under.  And since Kid D is almost 9, he announced that he had outgrown his old cup and needed a bigger one.  Isn’t that always the way?  I did not need Sheepdog’s expertise to recognize that as standard male behavior.  Nevertheless, since we now need two protective cups in the family, it made sense to buy the next size up for Kid D.  And since it was plastic and got washed every time, Kid E could use the old one.

Sheepdog, the boys and I were in the cup aisle at Dick’s (c’mon… where else did you expect we would go?), and they were figuring out sizing.  It turns out the youth cups are all white and then color-coded around the edges (our original one is green).  The one appropriately sized for Kid D came in a standard red color.  Except that the color red on plastic, especially when it is next to a bulge of white, looks a lot more like something you would find in the Barbie aisle.  I steeled myself for a hissy fit in the store because Kid D thought it was bad enough he has to be on the Purple Team (the park is using colors for the first time this season instead of major league team names).  Now he would have to endure sporting a pink cup?

"It's time to protect your nuts, guys!" - Bloodsport (1988)

“It’s time to protect your nuts, guys!” – Bloodsport (1988)

But the fit never came.  Fortunately, Kid D was not fazed in the least by his new pink accessory.  I guess he is more secure in his masculinity than I thought.  He is still beaming about his new cleats, his new gear bag, and the fact that his cup had runneth over in the first place.

Play ball!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

New House Rule

Yesterday morning I dropped Kid B off at the high school for her second-to-last day of Summer Bridge Program.  I swung by my sister’s house on the way home to do a book swap.  We were talking for a bit and I noticed that my nephew was playing video games while his three little sisters were bugging the crap out of him.  Knowing full well what it was like to be a kid stuck at home with three little sisters who bug the crap out of you, I offered to kidnap him and bring him to my house to play with Kid D for the day.  So, off we went.

On the short drive over, I fired up the speakerphone and called my house.  When Kid C answered, I told her to tell Kid D that I was bringing him a very special surprise, and then I hung up.

It took no more than 30 seconds for my phone to ring back.

“Hi, Mom?  Ummm, yeah.  I wanted to know if I could have a treat too.  Because I have been really good and all,” said Kid E in his best, I-am-the-cutest-kid-in-the-universe voice.

“Well, kid, you have been a pain in my ass not so bad lately.  But I am bringing a surprise home for your brother today.  You can maybe share it a little, but it is mostly for him.  And you can tell your sister, ‘None for Gretchen Weiners.  You go, Glen Coco!'”

When we got to the house, I had my nephew climb into the way back of my truck.  Kid D was waiting for me at the kitchen door, so I told him he could open the hatch and find his surprise.  When he found his cousin waiting for him, he was thrilled.  They bounded off together to play whatever it is eight and nine year old boys play in the summertime.

A little while later they were eating a mid-morning snack… bowls of cereal and some fruit.  These boys are big enough and independent enough that I don’t have to help them at snack time.  They were talking and eating and having a good old time, but they weren’t horsing around or being rough.  I was nearby in my office working on the computer.

Next thing I know, I hear my nephew say, “Where is your mom?” and then, “AUNT STACY!”

I ran into the kitchen straight away.  A piece of cantaloupe had become stuck in Kid D’s throat and he was choking.  It dislodged by the time I got to him and he was breathing fine, but both boys were very visibly shaken.

I hugged Kid D and praised his cousin for his quick response.  I think I went on to hug Kid D about 17 more times over the next few minutes.  He was truly alright, so I was just an embarrassment and a nuisance to him at that point.

A short time later my Crazy Mom Thought Train left the station at about ninety-nine miles an hour.  What if his cousin hadn’t been with him to call for me?  What if it had happened when I wasn’t at home?  What if he trips while running down the stairs and breaks his neck?  What if he gets hit by a car while he is riding his bike to his friend’s house down the street?  What if he gets kidnapped at the bus stop?  What if?  What if?  What if?

I calmed myself down and took a few deep breaths.  I was spiraling out of control and needed to reign it back in a little.  I can not control everything.  All I can do is teach these kids to act reasonably, follow practical rules and hope for the best.  It is really all anyone can do.

But I still insisted on implementing one new house rule:  No more eating again.  Ever.

At least it will be helpful for me during bathing suit season.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Oh, wait.  I think this was from another house that I live in during college.  My bad.

Oh, wait. I think this was from another house that I live in during college. My bad.

NIPs and Fudge-inas

Last night at the dinner table it was just Sheepdog, Kid C, Kid D, Kid E, and me.  The Olympics may be over, but… Let the Games Begin!  School, sports and activities are already in full swing.  Kid A was at ballet and Kid B was at soccer.  I was excited because it was the first test of the effectiveness and executability of my New and Improved Plan (NIP) to address school night meals that get all screwed up by the craziness.  Mine and the world’s in general, but mostly mine.

This year I am going to feed them all homemade (well, made in my home), healthy meals during the week!

This year no one will come home from a practice and have to eat a bowl of cereal or a Happy Meal because I forgot to save them dinner!

This year I will plan ahead!  This year I will have all the ingredients I need on hand!  This year I will take things out of the freezer in time for them to thaw!

I get so excited about the lamest things!

Let me explain this NIP… the beauty is in its simplicity.  On Sunday morning I print out a schedule for the upcoming week.  The family collaborated on a list of favorite meals, which I keep pinned to my bulletin board.  On the schedule I write down specific meals from the list for each night, Sunday through Thursday (and maybe even Friday if I’m feeling especially ambitious, but Saturday is my night off, bitches).  From that schedule I then create a grocery list of standard and meal-specific things I will need to prepare meals for the whole week.  Then I go to the store and start checking things off the list.  When I get back from the store, I post the schedule on a bulletin board inside my pantry (because I will most likely forget what I planned to make and when), where I will see it every morning and remember to take out or prepare what I need for that day.

With this kind of organization and service of regular, healthy meals, I can even get away with occasionally (or always) using cheaters and shortcut ingredients like organic frozen vegetables, prepared sauces and marinades, or meatballs not made from scratch.

My Slice-O-Matic sat, unused, in its original box for like 10 years until I finally sold it for 50 cents at a yard sale.

Last night during dinner I was patting myself on the back in reference to my NIP awesomeness.  Then Kid D rained on my parade by announcing that he would not be able to eat the “sweet potatoes” (which he hates) on his stir fry plate.  I clarified that they were actually carrots (which he loves) and he should gobble them right up.  He presumed I was lying to get him to eat something good for him, but I swore a courtroom promise.   Kid D still wasn’t convinced, so Sheepdog explained that their unfamiliar shape was due to the carrots being cut up julienne – style.  And while I embraced the parental back-up and the notion of a man who knows his way around the kitchen (or at least the Food Network), I immediately shot Sheepdog a look that silently implied, “Why do you even know that word and did you have to trade away your man parts when you were given such information?”

Kid D just said, “Well, that puts the fudge in fudge-ina!” as he finished his dinner.  I don’t really know what that means, or even if I should punish you for saying it, but I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…