kids

The Envelope Please- Awards for my Family, Friends, & Co-Workers

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My kids recently got a bunch of year-end awards at school. I'm proud to say that among the three of them, they amassed a whopping twelve awards. When I was a kid, the awards they gave in school were based mostly on academic achievement. If you did the best on a standardized test or had the highest grades, or were the best athlete, you got an award. If you didn't, screw you. But things are different nowadays. Even the older kids are given awards for being the friendliest or the most helpful or most respectful. Why can't life be like that? We should get a certificate of achievement for everything. And I have a few I'd like to give out myself: 

Co-Workers:

The Practice Makes Imperfect Award- For the coworker who started out okay and as time goes on, actually, somehow, inexplicably, seems to get worse at their job. 

The Consistency Award- For the coworker who made a lot of mistakes at the beginning and five years later, is still making the exact same mistakes. 

The Selfish Bastard Award: For the coworker who regularly shows up late, leaves early, and does nothing in between, totally unconcerned if they're lousing up everyone else's schedule or doubles their workload.

The Selfish, Annoying, Bastard Award: For the coworker who meets all of the requirements of the previous award recipient plus, when they finally do show up to work, they sit there and talk to you the whole time. So not only are they giving you more work because they're not doing their job, they won't leave you alone long enough to do yours,

Friends & Family:

The "I Couldn't Be On Time If My Life Depended On It" Award: Pretty self-explanatory. For that person who makes plans to meet you at 2 pm and while you're still standing on the corner waiting for them like a dumb-ass at 3, finally answers your text: "Sorry I'm running late. I'm just going to jump into the shower."   

The Worst Timing / Pervert Award: For the person who only calls or knocks on your door when you're, for whatever reason, naked.

The "I Can Wear Anything." "No You Can't" Award: For the person who wears clothing whose shape, size, and / or color were never ever intended to be worn by them.   

The Promise But Don't Mean It Award: For that person who will always be there for you, any day, any time to_________ (babysit, help you move, help you pick out your wedding dress, plan a birthday party, return your library book) just not that Thursday, Friday or Tuesday that you________ (need a babysitter, are going to pick out your wedding dress, are planning the birthday party or your library book is due.)    

The "Most Likely" Awards:

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To The Teacher Most Likely to get pregnant and quit before the end of the semester.

To The Family Member Most Likely to hold a grudge for more than a decade.

To The Coworker Most Likely to flip out on a client.

To: The Child Most Likely to interrupt a private urination with a very important story involving a TV episode.   

To: The Cashier Most Likely to go on break and be replaced by the "Trainee" when it's my turn.   

To: The Friend Most Likely to interrupt my story so they can top it with their story. 

To: The Neighbor Most Likely to mow the lawn at 5 a.m.   

To: The Relative Most Likely to say multiple times that they'll come visit next time they have time off but never does. (And with this award comes my heartfelt thanks.)

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at life's expense- please consider heading over to my home page and signing up to my not-overly-frequent newsletter or purchasing one of my little books.   

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Fair Food-Part 2- Gotta Be NC Fair: The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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Food Glorious, Disgusting, Absurdly Over-Priced Food

Last time I talked about my family going to the Gotta Be NC Fair and how wonderfully I dealt with 11 year old triplets, inclement weather, ride wristbands and every parent's gift from Gd-- bumper cars.  But there was one aspect of fair life that I didn't mention: The fair food. (Feel free to take that as a pun.) Last time, I omitted it intentionally. I thought that the fair food required and deserved a blog post all its own. And this is it.

As I explained in the first post, "Gotta Be NC" held every May, is a smaller version of the state fair held every October. This way, we North Carolina residents get two opportunities a year to pay homage to local farmers and eat our body weight in saturated fat. I've always considered that having the two events in spring and fall respectively, serves a dual purpose: The weather is most likely going to be pleasant, and our digestive systems will have several months between events to successfully complete the five stages of gastronomic grief:

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Denial: "I didn't eat that much fair food. Last year I ate way more. And that deep-fried butter should be no big deal. Last year I had three of those."

Anger:  "I can't believe I wasted an hour and a half at Planet Fitness that morning. If I was going to eat all that fair food, why oh why did I go to the gym when I could have been sleeping? Oh right. They had bagels.

Bargaining: (Day of the Fair) "Please don't let me get sick! Please don't let me get sick! I swear if I don't get sick, I won't eat another thing all day." (Day after the Fair) "Please let this pain be an 'antacid' blockage situation and not a 'surgical' blockage situation. If this ache can be cured by TUMS, I swear I'll only eat organic, unprocessed, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleontological vegan food from now on."

Depression: "Oh... the Thanksgiving feast in an egg roll... I can't believe I missed that booth. I saw it advertised on TV the week before and stupid me I didn't even notice it at the fair... And those chocolate covered knee caps. I forgot about those too! I mean, I don't think they're actual knee caps but I never got the chance to find out!"

Acceptance:  "Well, the next fair is coming up in just a couple of months. I'll get them then."

50% of all fair attendees never go on any rides or play any games. We just eat our way from one end of the festival to the other. Basically, the rides, the games, the blue ribbons, the bands, and all of the other attractions are just something to occupy yourself with in those brief bouts of eating downtime between: "I'm so full I never want to see fair food again" and "Hey, that smells good, let me go ask her where she got it."

Many of us fair-goers convince ourselves that we will "walk it off" during the sprawling event, failing to realize that it's difficult to do so when you're strolling with a turkey leg in one hand and a deep-fried Snicker's bar on a stick in the other. (If you never thought you could actually feel your BMI rising, you've never been to a state fair.)

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And gluttony doesn't come cheaply. I always prefer to get my fair food from a local business or charity that has a stand there. This way I know that it's likely to be decent food at a somewhat reasonable price because they either want your business again next week at their restaurant or the money's going to a good cause.

However, my son always wants chicken tenders and fries from one of those: "Have a good day. Scam you next fair!" tents.

I always think to myself as I order: "$7 for frozen chicken and potatoes they throw into a deep fryer. I'm surprised they call them 'french fries' instead of 'pommes frites.'" This year was different. This year the same meal was $10. I knew what was going on. It was lousy weather all weekend and attendance was way down... While the executive chef stood over the fryer tending to our order, I said to the person at the front of the tent, as politely as I could... and as quietly as I could so as not to upset the person actually touching and within spitting distance of my son's fair food:

"How come the price went up from $7 to $10 this year? The people who showed up have to make up for the people who didn't?" I knew I wasn't going to get any satisfactory answer, especially since it was more or less a rhetorical question.  But the young lady was friendly and said she didn't know because the owner usually kept the prices the same at a particular fair from one year to the next. When we got our fair food and left, my son looked at me:

"Why did you have to say that?"

I said: "Because I'm me. And no matter where I live, I'm a New Yorker. New Yorkers don't mind paying more for something that's worth it, but there's nothing a New Yorker hates more than feeling like they're getting ripped off." He still stared at me. So I  continued: "And... like I said...I'm me."

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I really appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my buffoonery. If you'd like to check out Part 1 of this post (which is largely about mean punishing my kids with bumper cars for a year of misdeeds): "Gotta Be NC: The Triplets, My Husband, and Me" immediately follows this post.. Also, please consider subscribing to my not-so-frequent-you'll-want-to shoot-your-inbox newsletter or check out one of my Laughing IS Conceivable books, all on the home page... or you can do both. I won't fight you on it. 

 

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Gotta Be NC- The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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And how many family outings have you regretted while still in the middle of them?

Fit To Be Tied... with a wristband

Every year my husband and I and our triplets (now 11 1/2) head over to "Gotta Be NC" which is a smaller version of the state fair. If you buy a $20 wristband per child instead of tickets, they can go on unlimited rides. The people selling them are very particular. They have to wrap the wristband tightly around each child's right wrist. Not the left.  Not over a sleeve. Not dangling. (Gd forbid the kid has no right arm. "Sorry, those are the rules.") If the ticket booth people worked for the criminal justice system, people on house arrest wouldn't be slipping out of their tracking bracelets every other day. This past weekend when the fair was held, the weather was a little iffy. But there are no refunds for inclement weather. If you factor in the cost of tickets and how many tickets are required for each ride, we figured each child would have to ride 5 rides for us to break even.

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So we got the wristbands and I looked up at the clouds and my kids were standing around deciding what they should go on first while my husband started off the day's festivities by yelling at them:

"What are you standing around for? I just spent $60! Go on something before it starts pouring!"

Finally they all agreed on a tween-approved helicopter ride. The girls went together. My son disassociated himself altogether and went on by himself. They got off the ride. They're sauntering through the exit while we're looking up at the clouds:

"Come on! Come on! What do you want to go on next? How about this one?" My husband shoved them through the gate of the adjoining ride as I called after them: "You're doing great. Another four rides and we'll break even. After that you can go on whatever you want."

Triplet C yelled back: "I'm starving! I want to eat!"

"There will be plenty of time to eat once we break even! The sooner we break even, the sooner we can eat!" Not that I had a one track mind or anything.

My Two 11 Year Old Daughters and Their Geriatric Triplet Brother 

Triplet B knew what rides she wanted to go on. Triplet C looked at Triplet B to tell her whether she too wanted to go on the ride or not. Triplet A, my son, looked up at most rides and commented thusly:

"I can't go on that. It would upset my equilibrium."

I looked at him: "Upset your equilibrium? How old are you?"

He prefers to take the can-never-be-too-careful approach to amusement park rides. He likes the rides that never leave the ground and look like an eighty year old church lady is driving them. You know how kids are always crying at carnivals because they're too short to go on the rides? My son is the opposite. He laments that all the rides he would feel safe on have a height limit of 3 feet tall. The only other would-be riders who are ever turned away are those who haven't yet mastered sitting up by themselves.

If I hadn't been a somewhat crucial part of their birth, I would swear that my daughters were born two minutes apart and half a century after my son.

Fasten Your Seat Belts... It's Going To Be a Bumpy 4 Minutes

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Bumper cars are something we can all agree on. Although, the second time my son went to get on them the other day he said:

"I'm not sure if I should go again. I think I pulled something." I said:

"Get in the seat. Your Medicare will cover it." I was adamant. Nobody will stop me from sitting behind the wheel of my own bumper car with all three of my children driving around the pit. Bumper cars with your kids. What a wonderful idea and legal in all 50 states. I'm never prouder of having passed my road test 37 years ago than during a round of bumper car derby with my kids. I like to personalize my hits as I gun it towards each child: "This is for crying during Final Jeopardy!" "This is for finishing my Mother's Day cake before I even got any!" "This is for handing me your report card to sign Monday morning as the bus is coming!"

I've considered renting out the whole bumper car pit for an hour or two so I can "reconnect" with my family without any innocent people getting hurt. It gets tiresome yelling at strangers: "Get out of my way! She's the one I want! You're blocking my shot!"

I suspect I'm not the only parent who feels this way. In fact, I know it. Lots of times while I'm driving around on my mission, a parent will call out to me from the other side of the gate: "Over there! Blond hair, blue shirt! Hurry! He's getting away!"

If you'd like more laughs at the triplets' expense, please subscribe to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and check out my eBook written especially for parents at this time of year: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!!).. Both doable from the home page.

 

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Haircut Time- Nothing But the Best for the Foxes

When we first started taking the kids for haircuts, it was a harrowing experience.  We specifically picked a salon that had videos for them to watch and fun chairs like horseys and police cars for them to sit in during the deed. We traveled miles over mountains and prairies to get to this salon that catered to little kids. And the way it turned out, at least one of those kids owes me some gas money.

Every time we went, we plunked my son on the horsey or jammed him into the fire engine as he started in hysteria-mode then tired himself out and withdrew into catatonia. Good thing. Because the hair cutters in this place keep cutting, no matter what shape your kid is in. If he'd remained in hysteria-mode for the duration of the haircut, he would have ended up looking like he was in a slasher movie. But you can't ask for a more model customer than one who doesn't exhale, blink, or move a muscle. True, the emotional toll may have been irreversibly traumatic, but at least I always got my money's worth on the haircut. My one daughter wanted no part of the horsey, police car etc. She clung to daddy. The stylist proceeded to do his job. Half the hair on the salon floor was from my husband's arm. My other daughter just sat there and admired herself in the mirror waiting for someone on E! to walk in and offer her her own reality show. All things considered, I think I'd work at a place like that for about five minutes before I'd plunge my shears into my neck.

Now my triplets are 11 and haircuts are still horrible but a different kind of horrible. The following is an excerpt from my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (Available on all Amazons. Free @Kindle Library. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07261ST2P)

The Haircut of Choice is Whichever One Won’t Grow Out Before School Starts.

When it comes to haircuts for the kids, we go to the shopping center down the block where they have one of those haircut chains. Practically every shopping center down every block in the US has one of those places: Super Clips, Great Clips, Paper Clips whatever the hell it’s called. For twelve bucks a kid, it’s much better than I can do at the kitchen table. (You’d think they’d take a dollar off because I’m giving them three heads to cut, but no, never. Not without an almighty coupon.)

The women who work there are always pleasant enough sort of. Most of them give off the same vibe as the customers: “I’ve got better things to do. Can we get this over with already?” Some of them are very professional and some of them get you into the chair and bark out: “What you want?” like they’re going to yell your request to the guy at the grill behind them. And I’ve stopped trying to remember the names of the women I like. There’s no point. She won’t be there next time. I don’t know if they all quit or go into the witness protection program, but I’ve never seen the same woman working there twice.

They started taking reservations online recently. In an effort to capture the posh market, no doubt. Can a customer dress code be far behind? We’ve done the online reservation many times and someday we might even figure out how to do it for the actual location we go to. Now we just go through the routine of booking it online and showing up ten minutes later to a blank stare behind the counter telling us she has no idea who we are or why we’re there. There’s probably a hairdresser thousands of miles away in Idaho who every two months says: “The Fox family didn’t show up again. Those pranking bastards!” Then again, like I said, I can never remember which “Clips” is the one down the block: Mega Clips, Chip Clips. For all I know, I’ve been using the wrong app for six months. Nothing but the best for the Foxes.

First Day of School Blues in the Fifth Week of School

First day of school: It's so hard for any kid. Monday morning was a very hard morning for all of us... The only thing I don't get-- Yes, it was the first day of school, but not for my kids. Their school started a month ago.

So why then, this Monday morning of all mornings, did one child sit on the steps for a half hour crying and making that repetitive droning sound like he's doing an impression of my vacuum cleaner (and a very good impression, I might add) because he didn't know what to wear, while another refused to brush her hair saying she had no idea where her brush was? Of course, the third child was well-behaved. There always has to be a well-behaved child if only to show-up the others. It's never the same child by-the-way. Just like a pitcher can't pitch two days in a row. Each child needs a day or two off to rest from being well-behaved. It's a rotation. They take turns being "Kiss-ass for a day".

On this particular Monday, however, I did have a third misbehaved child played beautifully by my husband who chased the brushless girl around the living room with scissors threatening to give her a haircut should her brush not magically appear in the next thirty seconds. And I sensed by the venom in his eyes that he wasn't planning to deep-condition or blow dry like the salon does... or even let her sit in a chair. Even Great Clips lets you sit in a chair. No, he clearly was fantasizing about hoisting this eleven year old off the floor by her raggedy locks and dangling her over the couch so she and her new bob would have a soft place to land.

I still can't figure out why my kids were so miserable on other kids' first day of school. Wait. I got it. You know how guys sometimes have sympathy pains when their spouse is pregnant? They start craving things and get heart burn? Maybe it's like that. Maybe my kids (and husband) are so compassionate and sensitive towards others... okay, forget it. I can't even type the whole thing in good conscience.

In fact, come to think of it, everyone didn't turn back into their normal jovial selves until we'd arrived at the bus stop and my husband proposed a new game:

"Of all the kids you know who are starting middle school today, who do you think will get their ass kicked first?

"Sammy The-Know-It-All" got voted number one unanimously. What this kid lacks in intelligence he makes up for in obnoxiousness.

Teacher: "Who can name all 7 continents?"

Sammy: "Asia, North America, Europe... oh and Fun Fact!: Mrs. Stern, I bet you didn't know that Antarctica was originally...."

Let's face it: Any 11 year old who readily blurts out: "Fun Fact!" is a prime candidate for an ass-whoopin'. And you can almost guarantee that when they have Meet-the-Teachers, Sammy's parent will be the first to correct the teacher, typically on something that couldn't possibly matter less.

Teacher: "And when the kids finish lunch at 1:25..."

Parent: "Don't they have lunch only until 1:23? I believe they're already lined up by 1:25."

In my experience: The apple usually doesn't fall far from the know-it-all tree.

 

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Thanks a lot for hanging out for a bit! Please sign up for my monthly newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (top) & come have more laughs at your/my children's expense with my latest little eBook designed to de-stress parents right now:  Available on all Amazons & Free at the Kindle Library. https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07261ST2P

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!")

 

 

School Bus-ted Yet Again... (Part 2)

If you read part 1, you know that school started for my kids three weeks ago and that thus far their "regular"school bus driver was present and accounted for precisely five of those fifteen school days, having taken a smattering of days off, culminating in a full blown week-long scheduled vacation. This leaves me wondering whether announcing that she was our "regular" school bus driver wasn't referring to her bowel habits and not her work habits.

So today she was back from her vacation. Well, maybe she was. She didn't come back to work though. Is she coming back or isn't she? Did she flee to destinations unknown? I have no idea if school bus drivers have many advancement opportunities but I didn't think they had any embezzlement opportunities.

Meanwhile in her absence, my kids' bus route has had various revolving school bus drivers.

Since I stand like a tree stump blocking the roadway while my children cross over to the door side, I can't really describe the different school bus drivers, but I know they're different. It's not that I can see their faces or anything. I'm both quite short and quite near-sighted. But I know that there have been at least four different drivers. Call it my intense Murder She Wrote  and Columbo training, but I've become quite adept at discerning which left arm I see dangling out of that little school bus driver's window. In those scant three weeks, I have already assessed skin tone, tautness... These are my findings:

All of the arms are female. Two are in their mid-thirties. One is in its late forties. Three appear to be Caucasian limbs. One seems to be African American. One has a tattoo of a rose. One does bicep curls. The others do not. And if any of these women injects Heroin, it's not into her left arm.

Hopefully it will never come to that, but I feel I'd be a competent witness in a police line-up: "Could you have #3 roll up her sleeve please? The other one."

All of the school bus drivers do hand signals to my kids designed to tell them when it's safe to cross. I can do the alphabet in American Sign Language. I know all of the official baseball signs; I know all of the official football signs; and I had a bad case of road rage in NYC that lasted thirty years. But I have no idea what the hell these bus shadow puppet signs are supposed to mean. And more important... neither do my kids.

My kids have been instructed that despite the flashing red lights, the flung out stop sign and their mother barricading the roadway with her body, they are to look up to the school bus driver, awaiting her signs that it is safe to cross. So every day, they step off the bus and look up. Okay, she gave the "stop" sign. Okay, that one's clear. Now it gets sketchy. "Thumbs up". Okay, they're good to go. They start to move forward. Wait. No. The stop sign hand goes up again. (Is this woman even directing them or is she just singing along to a Supremes song on the radio?)

"Thumbs up" apparently wasn't the "Okay to move" sign after all. So my kids rock back into their original positions. This is lovely. Traffic is backed-up three blocks deep. I'm standing in the middle of the street facing oncoming traffic- my headlights playing chicken with their headlights- and there are my kids stutter-stepping and rocking back and forth. One looks like he's doing the cha-cha, one looks like a hobby horse, and the other ran up the back of both of them like it's a Three Stooges routine.

***

Join me next week for more on the Bus STOP! saga. If you've enjoyed this post, I know you'll really like my latest little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End  of School to Back-to-School (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!). Available on all Amazons & Free at the Kindle Library.

Also, please join my monthly newsletter.

newsletter: http://laughingisconceivable.com (quick signup at top)

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School Bus-ted Yet Again (Part 1)

In my newest little  eBook, I have a chapter called: "The School Bus Situation: Because every year there is indeed 'a school bus situation'." This is no exaggeration. My triplets are just starting sixth grade.  The first week of school is always that adjustment period. Teachers are getting to know the kids. Kids are getting to know the teachers. Where do we sit? What time is lunch? Now that they're in middle school there's even more to get used to: Where's my locker? How do I get to my next class? What time does the bell ring? And this period of adjustment extends to the bus drivers. Where's the stop? Who's at the bus stop? What's the bus route? The only difference is: By the end of the first two weeks, teachers and kids have pretty much settled in... and "the school bus situation" is just getting revved up.

Before I get into my bus woes, one might question why we don't just do carpool.  At the moment, it's  just not an option for us and even if it were, this is one of the few things we and our kids can agree on: They have no interest in seeing us pull up to the school and we have no interest in picking them up at the school. (In all fairness to my kids, this is not the time in their lives when mother's unpredictable nature is appreciated... or should I say "predictable nature": We can all guarantee that I would frequently humiliate them with my childlike behavior by waving them over to the car with a hand puppet or putting Flat Stanley in the window or arriving early so I can set up my Peppa Pig play set on the hood.)

As for why we don't want to pick them up: Let me sum it up this way: My kids can't keep from killing each other in a 2-story, 9 room house. How do you think it's going to go on a twenty minute ride in a compact car? And knowing my kids, they wouldn't be deterred from slamming doors just because they'd have to jump out of a moving vehicle first to do it.

Not that the back seat brawl is a bad experience for my husband and me. The radio volume goes up just high enough to drown them out.

Now that you see things my way.... back to "the school bus situation".

This year the kids have to cross over a pretty busy road during rush hour to board their bus. Most parents either let their kids walk to the bus stop alone or they drive to the bus stop a block away and never leave the vehicle. It seems a tad lazy to me, but I'm used to walking miles around NYC so what do I know? I, on the other hand, not only stand there with my kids, but when the bus starts blinking its lights, I inch myself into the intersection so that any vehicle attempting to ignore the lights will have to mow down the little Jewess blocking the roadway to get past. If a vehicle somehow whisks by me, I squint to read the license plate as well as the bumper stickers so I can fully appreciate their intentions.

The first week, we had different bus drivers arriving at different times. The second week, one woman, Kim, proclaimed that she would be our regular driver. On Friday of the second week, my kids stated that Kim had announced that she would be on vacation next week. Vacation? What the hell? Does she need a rest? She's only driven the bus 6 times. The route is one big loop. Did she get dizzy spells from going in a circle and have to lie down for a week? In my illustrious 35 year career of day jobs, I never remember taking a vacation on the third week. Just like when you hear on the news that someone is accused of doing something heinous and they get "suspended with pay". What? You get paid for staying home and watching Monk reruns? How's that a punishment? And more important... Where do I apply?

***Tune in Next Week for Part 2 of "The School Bus Situation". In the meantime: If you'd like to have more laughs at every kid's expense, sign on to my monthly newsletter / take a look at my latest eBook tailor-made for parents at this very time of year:

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!)

It's available on all Amazons + Free download @ Kindle Library.

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eBook: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07261ST2P/

 

The "Triplets" Situation at a New School

The first day of middle school, the triplets were asked to stand up and tell a little about themselves. My daughter got up there: "My name is Carly Fox. I'm a triplet. I hate being a triplet." She was heading back to her seat when she turned around. "Oh, and I also hate my last name." Way to go on the positive self-talk, Carly. I looked up the number for the school psychologist and added it to my phone contacts so I'd know it when it came up.

Maybe I should have been one of those mothers who verbally assaults their kid by yelling:"Good Job!" every three seconds from birth through masters degree.

I told Carly-- I guess I can still call her "Carly". She didn't publicly denounce her first name. Maybe she just ran out of time. She does give me wrinkled nose face when I mention that my first name choice for her was "Samantha" but apparently Samantha Fox was a porno star and so daddy voted it down. (Funny how none of the women I tell that to ever heard of her but all the men smile knowingly like I just sent them down some smut-filled memory lane.)

So, I told Carly to feel free to revert "Fox" back to my husband's original family name: "Fuchs". And being from New York, I had no trouble giving her several specific examples of how that could go terribly awry at every middle school in the nation.

I also enumerated for her several of my girlfriends with whom I'd grown up, who lamented their last names for years and then married into far worse ones. (I don't dare get into them here. They might be reading. And you know who you are.)

As for the triplet thing, I told her that we hadn't really entertained the thought of reducing the number of embryos, and that now it was kind of late: The cut-off to make that decision was third grade.

While I dislike what she said up there for twenty-two or three reasons, I totally understand. When triplets attend a new camp or school or anything, it's different than one child. When you introduce triplets, it's like the circus side show has come to town. Everybody's staring and trying not to look shocked.

It's funny how students and campers seem to get over the novelty and forget all about it a lot faster than teachers and counselors. The girls don't look thaaat much alike: They have different colored eyes and one wears glasses. And not only don't they dress alike, you can tell just by looking at them that they're whole dressing methodology couldn't be more different: One tries on six different outfits in her room, running into the bathroom each time to look in the bathroom mirror, then runs downstairs to get the whole effect in the full-length mirror. She's practicing for the track team, without even knowing it. The other daughter puts on a t-shirt and leggings at night and calls it pajamas. Then in the morning: "Hayley! It's time to get up and get dressed! She rolls over in bed, eyes still closed: "I am dressed!"

And yet at least one teacher will ask all year: "Are you Carly or are you Hayley?" But okay. Teachers have a lot of kids to remember. Much worse, the last thing tweens want every time they're coming down the hallway is to be announced:

"Here come the Fox triplets!" like they're one big kid.

Then- and this is where her hatred for our last name comes into play- one teacher last year used to yell out:

"What does the Fox say?!" Yeah it was hilarious the first, second, thirty-fourth, fifty-second... okay it was never hilarious.

They also get: "Who let the Foxes out? Who? Whooo?!"

I keep trying to remind the kids that these people mean no harm. Still, as mother of this skulk of Foxes, I'm always tempted to get nose to nose with the wiseacre and say: "Who let the idiot out? Who? Whooo?"

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you were able to add a few laughs to your day. If you'd like more laughs at my/your kids' expense, please sign onto my monthly newsletter and/or check-out my eBook, specifically  for parents at this time of year. Available on all Amazons-- Now available at the Kindle Library too.

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Middle School Prep- Triplets Style

My triplets already started middle school this week. I know every parent would be tempted to follow that statement with: "My babies are getting so big!" Or... "Where does the time go?" but I'm not surprised that my kids just turned eleven or already graduated from elementary school. This middle school thing is just another blur to me which is a small part of a much bigger blur that began somewhere around 2005 when I first got pregnant. The night before school started-- middle school eve, erev middle school-- each of my kids prepped for the big first day in his or her own inimitable style:

Carly called all her friends whom she knew were going to be attending that school to find out what they would be wearing and to compare schedules. A half hour-long conversation with each ensued as follows: "Who do you have for home room? 1st period? 2nd period? 3rd period? 4th period? 5th period? 6th period? Are you taking the bus home? What bus are you on? Which stop?"

Jacob called his friend Michael. I walked into the room about a minute after he'd asked permission to call him. As he put the phone down, I inquired:

"He wasn't home?"

"He was home. We're done."

"Is he in any of your classes?"

"I don't know. I forgot to ask."

Hayley's middle school eve prep consisted of studying human behavior in the technology age, aka watching a Catfish marathon on MTV.

They each then packed their backpack. The teachers were very good about providing us with a list of supplies to be brought in the first day. Nobody offered any suggestions however on how a sixty pound child was going to hoist a seventy pound backpack up on their shoulders and schlep it around all day. Apparently every year when sixth graders are faced with the challenge of mastering a combination lock, they collectively go catatonic and stroke out in the first week of school. So this year, the school decided to avoid the overwhelm of the locker trauma the first week and save the whole debacle for a future week. So in the meantime, I have my three Quasimodos stalking the hallways looking like they've been sentenced to a week of hard labor.

All of my kids were very concerned about getting lost in this new, cavernous school. The school provided a map of the floor plan. Jacob's excellent with maps so he happily grabbed one and followed it meticulously on the first day like he was on a treasure hunt.

Carly wasn't leaving anything to chance. She practiced over and over in our house. "I go out here, then I make a left, then another left, then I cross the hallway..." creating landmarks to remember along the way. (Hopefully the school has a hall closet and a stain on their living room carpet. Otherwise, I fear she's screwed.)  Once she mastered the actual locations of everything necessary on the map, she practiced walking around to get the pace of her gait just right to ensure that her hair would rhythmically move to and fro in the breeze she'd created behind her. I didn't dare mention that it would be harder to get her speedometer up to 12 miles per hour with 200 other kids in the hallway.

The only chance Hayley had of knowing her way around was if the principal was cyber-dating someone on Tinder and MTV had a camera crew inside the school to interview him.

A few weeks ago, before school started, the school had a boot camp to show the kids what to expect and to meet the teachers. Then the week before school started, they had an open house to get them even more acquainted. Then they gave them maps of the floor plan and they'll do a locker clinic. I don't know. When I was in Junior High, there was no prep. The front doors opened the first day and everyone poured through them and tried to get to their classes without getting trampled. I do remember getting some support. I didn't know which way to go to get to my locker. The guy mopping the floor pointed it out.

***

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Back-to- Year Round What? When? Now?

Back-to-School time always sneaks up on me. If you've read previous posts, you'll know that I'm typically between two weeks and eight years behind on everything. And this "policy" of mine, for lack of a better term, doesn't discriminate: It applies equally to doing the laundry as it does to filling out camp registration forms to putting sunscreen on my children. But this year, turning around and finding that back-to-school time has sneaked up on me and smacked me in the ass isn't really just because of my "policy".  Do they have year-round schools where you live? I've never quite gotten the hang of those. And I'd better get the hang soon... because my kids will be starting one in two weeks.

I've been avoiding this whole year-round school thing like the plague. If you're totally unfamiliar with it, you probably still understand it twice as well as I do. Basically, the kids go to school for about nine weeks, then have three weeks off... all year long. So if you want to go to Maui in the off-season, you're great. If you take an annual trip to your grandmother's in Cleveland in the summer, you're screwed. It took us a good three years to find a summer camp for our kids that would be for all of them, all three of them, all at the same time, for the whole summer... all of it. Now, we're going to have to figure out what to do with them every nine weeks. What can I do with them that doesn't cost a fortune? Let's see. How many card games do I know? Maybe I could learn magic. Naaaa... I don't have to entertain them every minute. That's what the tablets and TV are for.

As if the whole year-round calendar idea wasn't confusing enough, there are four different tracks. So you could have one kid in elementary school who's on track 1 and gets out of school next week and doesn't start again until September. Then you have a kid in middle school on track 3, who goes back tomorrow and one in high school who went back two weeks ago.

I heard on the local news that there are some kids here who graduated last Friday and then started their new school this Monday. I'm not kidding. So you're like an elementary school kid on Friday and a middle schooler on Monday. Hurry up. There's not much time. Better get that puberty thing over-with on the weekend. That and learning to open a combination lock. It's like the school system is run by a soap opera writer. Monday the woman's pregnant; Wednesday she has the baby; Friday it's in third grade.

Back when my kids started elementary school, we switched them to a traditional calendar school because there was no guarantee that even all three kids-- triplets mind you-- all in the same school mind you--all in the same grade (at the moment anyway) mind you-- would be on the same track. I could see me dealing with that.

"Look, Ms. Principal, I know one of my kids is supposed to come back to school today. I just don't remember which one. Here, this one's been the most annoying the past couple of days. Just take her."

****

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Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!)

 

It's all about that 4th season of the year that only parents of school-aged children have: When one school year ends and the other is about to begin... Camps vs keeping them busy all summer loooooong with lame local festivals or bowling or pools. And then, before we know it, we're thrown into the whole back-to-school melee of back-to-school lists, supplies, shoe shopping, clothes shopping, doctor appointments, haircuts.... & then carpool vs bus & new teachers with that new teacher smell.

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(available on all Amazons & Nook)

 

 

My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover #2

Last week I discussed how slow-moving we are in this house when it comes to getting things done.  I mentioned that when we picked this 4+ bedroom house ten years ago,  we had specifically done so, so that each of my triplets could eventually have his or her own room, I could have my own office, and that would leave a total of zero rooms available for anyone to ever even consider coming to live with us. My husband Lloyd and I don't really care what relatives think of us as long as they don't think of us as the couple with the spare bedroom.

I say 4+ bedrooms because there are four indisputable bedrooms with walls and floors and everything. Then you know how nowadays they give you this unfinished room that you can do whatever you want with like you can put up walls and finish the floor or you can leave it for ten years as a dark, sweltering, stifling sawdust mess? Well, we've toyed with making it into a man cave or office but so far we're still  going with the sweltering sawdust mess motif.

This is of no consequence to my daughter. She's been kvetching for her own room for years, and just like contractions, her kvetches have been coming closer together: Right now they're about 2 minutes apart. So while that sawdust museum upstairs will someday likely maybe probably who knows? be my office, she is done waiting. Her sister must move out of their room and into my current office. So next time I write a post, it will likely take me twice as long as I will be holding my PC with one hand and typing with the other while standing in the hallway between the bedrooms. (Yes, I have heard of lap tops. I told you I'm behind with everything.) With the minor task of disposing of her mother and sister out of the way, it's time to decorate. (I've concluded that the abbreviation for "interior decorating" is "deteriorating".)

The first thing she's picked out of a catalog is a $2200 swing chair. That's certainly a fair price for something that's eventually going to make my roof buckle. Do we have the dimensions on that swing? Perhaps we can sell the house and all live in the swing chair. Next is the bed which is up in the air. No I mean literally. She wants to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed-- preferably with a canopy. but she's willing to forgo the canopy if it's not possible, because as she stated: "I'm not totally unreasonable." And no, her sister can't sleep in the free bunk. Are you crazy? This isn't about saving space or money or accommodating anyone else you know. The bunk bed just looks cool. Speaking of looking cool, there's going to be an ice cream sandwich bench at the foot of the bed.... and a corner desk because she's going to middle school and she needs that corner desk to do her homework. I agree a middle schooler should have her own desk. I'm not sure why a normal rectangular desk wouldn't promote homework focus as well as a corner one, but apparently it won't. And the room will be painted light turquoise except for the window frames and edges which will be dark turquoise and can we get someone to paint her name on the ceiling? A quick calculation brings this room to about $20,000.

I knew I was probably wasting my time, but one day mid-bedroom designing hallucination when she was showing me where she would put her revolving shoe display, I had to finally confront her: "Not to interrupt but: Do you have a top ten hit on the charts that I'm unaware of? Have you been signed to an NBA team? Do you have any idea who your parents are? Haven't you seen me wearing the same pair of jeans your whole life and driving a vehicle that only starts every third try?"

To which she responded, predictably: "I've noticed. I just always figured you were saving up for my room."

***

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My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover (Part 1)

 

When many couples buy their first house, they get something with a bedroom or two not knowing exactly how many children they might end up with and go from there. But since I had just, eight months before, given birth to triplets and told the doctor during the c-section: "So, while you're in there, you might want to tie those up. In fact, make it a double knot just to be sure " and then at my six week check-up: "So, how's it going down there, Doc? Everything still tied nice and tight?", my husband and I had a pretty good idea of the maximum number of bedrooms we were going to need for at least the next decade or two in our new North Carolina home.

"Four" seemed like a good round, even number of bedrooms. This way each child could have his or her own bedroom, my husband and I could be left alone downstairs and all of our relatives whose eyes got wide at the prospect of using us as a Motel 6 on their journey to and from New York and Florida could be met with: "Of course you're welcome! If you don't mind sleeping on the floor of the laundry room."

I always had my own room as a kid. Even one that was teeny weeny was still my own. My husband shared a room with his sisters until they were all teenagers. Creepy-sounding yes... but in a NYC apartment... still creepy... but understandable. So our plan upon move-in day was to keep all three babies in bedroom 2. Bedroom 3 would be a play room and bedroom 4 would be my office. Then, when they got a little older, the shift would be on: My one daughter (I dare not call her "daughter 1" especially since she thinks of herself as "daughter 1+") would keep bedroom 1, my son would move into bedroom 2, my other daughter would move into bedroom 3, and we'd finish the unfinished room and I'd pick up my work belongings and head over there. Well, none of this is happening fast enough for daughter 1+. Her brother did move into the play room as planned. One sibling down, one to go. Then progress came to a screeching halt. The delay is totally my fault. (That's daughter 1+ over there nodding in agreement.) The shift can't proceed because we've still, ten years later, never gotten around to finishing that room. My husband and I are the ones single-handedly holding up the shift. I don't know if normal parents of a normal birth's worth of kids have these issues, but as parents of triplets (or maybe it's just us), we're always way behind. If we have to mail in papers for camp in March, by the time we get it together it's June so we just have a kid hand them in when they get there. "Here. My mother said you might need these." It seems to be a pattern with us. They stopped sleeping in cribs with a Disney mobile at five, we toilet trained them at seven, took off their training wheels at ten. They'll be eleven in a few weeks: Is it too soon to start them on solid foods? Does anybody happen to know?

***

Join me next week for part 2 of: "My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover". In the meantime: If you'd like more laughs at your kids' expense: Consider signing up for my bimonthly newsletter & If you'd like some quick, fun, funny, summer reading that's just right for parents right now, please take a look at the all new edition to my Laughing IS Conceivable eBook series:

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!) ... Come de-stress on my journey with the triplets from camp to local activities to back-to-school haircuts, shoe shopping, clothes shopping & doctor appointments.

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Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3 (part 2)

A week or so ago,  I whined about planning a kid's birthday party or, more specifically, my triplets' birthday party (parties) and how demanding they are and how they each want their own party, in its own location complete with three totally distinct cast of characters that they call "friends". True they walk all over me but I don't think it's my fault. My mother used to tell me that when I was in kindergarten she asked whom I would like to invite to my birthday party to which I responded: "My class."

"Who in your class?"

"The whole class. It wouldn't be nice to leave anybody out."

Before you mistake this for a heartwarming story, you'd have to have known my mother and her wind-up to the story every time she retold it:

"So I, like a moron, invited twenty-three 5 year olds to my house."

This is why I don't take the blame for being my children's doormat. Clearly the problem is genetic. Or maybe my mother started sending me subliminal messages when I was in kindergarten:"Your kids will one day do the same to you. Your kids will one day do the same to you."

Planning A Kid's Birthday Party: The Eats

Back when I made one party for all three, there were still disputes... Over the pizza for instance:

"Can you get Domino's?" That's my favorite.

"I don't like Domino's. Can you get Pizza Hut?"

"I like Papa John's, but Mommy doesn't like Papa Johns' politics."

Since Little Caesar's was the cheapest, I brought a stack home and tossed it onto the counter:"Here's what I got. You wouldn't know the difference if you didn't see the box. If you don't like it, don't look at the box."

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Cake.

Two like chocolate. One doesn't. Does she really not like chocolate or does she just like to be difficult? Everyone agrees on ice cream cake but my husband and me. Sorry, we can't be that precise. If you don't time ice cream cake exactly right you need a chisel to cut it or a straw to drink it. When they were four, my husband gave BJ's bakery a photo of the kids that they "painted" on the cake. It was lovely until my son yelled out at the party:"I want to eat Hayley's eye! Please can I eat Hayley's eye?!!" (Should I be concerned? Maybe it's a common trait among psychopaths and cannibals: When they're little, they all beg to eat their sister's cake eye.)

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Presents.

Then the kids urge us every year to let them open their presents at the party in front of their friends. No way. I'm not getting suckered into that. That's all I need. A child tearing into a gift, holding it up and announcing in front of every invitee and their photo-taking parents: "What the fuck is this supposed to be?'

(The above photo is not us. We have never looked like this. I especially, have never looked like that. Ever.)

So instead, in the privacy of our own home later that evening, we gather in the living room in our jammies where we sing songs in rounds, laugh, and drink hot cocoa with mini marshmallows while the adorable trio gleefully open their gifts on the floor and proclaim:

  1. I already have this. Can we take it back?
  2. Why did she get one in blue? Blue's my favorite color.Who doesn't know that?
  3. Oh no! I broke it when I pulled the paper off!
  4. I don't care that I got 22 presents. I didn't get anything good.
  5. I already opened all of mine and they have one more left. Now I have nothing to open. How's that fair?
  6. Mommy, could you put this together now? Mommy?...Daddy?
  7. Hey! He took my blue one. The blue one was mine!
  8. I'm so bored. Can I go on my tablet?
  9. This was the worst birthday ever.
  10. Oh, my show's on. I promise I'll clean up the wrapping paper in the morning.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at your child's expense, please consider signing up for my newsletter at the top of my home page and checking out the new edition of my little eBook especially for parents at this trying time of year.

http://laughingisconceivable.com (home page)

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And if you missed part 1 of my triplet birthday saga: http://laughingisconceivable.com/planning-a-kids-birthday-party/