parenting

What's Today's Date? 1982?

I cringe when I catch myself sounding like my father. (Somehow, girls turn into women and then begrudgingly, their mother. I’m turning into my father. Should I be concerned?)

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The other day I put a Queen song on the car radio and then heard myself say to my kids: “Hear that? That’s what good music sounds like…Not like the modern stuff you listen to.” When did I start using the word “modern”? Or calling things by the totally wrong words? Like “How many balls of ice cream do you want? What color?” I loved my Dad. I really did. But if I start saying “She drives a Royals Royce”, I’m going to kill myself.

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And of course starting sentences with: “When I was a kid…” Well, I guess it’s better than “In my day…”

My kids were whining the other day (maybe that’s just their voices. They can’t just be making that sound every time they talk by accident can they?) “Why can’t we get Netflix? We’re missing all of the good shows!” To which I naturally replied:

“Be happy you have cable. When I was your age, there wasn’t even cable. We had seven channels.”

“Where did you grow up? The Alaskan frontier?”

“I lived in New York. Shut up.”

I really do try to stay current. And so did my dad. He took a computer class when he was 77. I didn’t even flinch when my daughter suggested I learn Instagram or make a YouTube video. I mean I don’t want to start talking like Maury Povich… He has guests on his show in their teens and twenties and before you know it, he’s telling them: “So, you flipped the script!” and “You wouldn’t do her like that, would you?” I’m a big fan of yours, Maury but come on…You’re 80 years old. Nobody wants to hear that.

My son asked me the other day why I don’t have a flip phone like the old people on the commercials. He didn’t even have the decency to smile when he said it. He just basks in lumping me in with those older actresses who are made to look like senile bitties: “What are the 3 P’s?”… Damn you, Alex Trebek! I have a problem with most insurance ads in fact: “If you’re between the ages of 50 and 85...” Whoa… How did I just get dumped into the same category as my father-in-law?

I have no concept of time anymore. The other day I commented: “That’s a brand new store. They just opened it in 2002.” But my kids are even worse. They have no concept of time or history. If we went on a field trip to the museum to see an exhibit on Ancient Egypt, they wouldn’t notice if somebody put up a Deborah Harry poster by mistake. Actually there’s a little field trip of my own I’m considering. There’s still a working pay phone only a few miles from our house. I’m thinking of dropping those little smart-asses off with a quarter just to see if any of them figure out how to call us to pick them back up before they dehydrate.

*****Speaking of YouTube— I have a brand new channel. Come check out the intro! https://youtu.be/Uedl-eM6H_g

Thanks a lot for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here a little while ago. To peruse my books and / or sign up for my newsletter… go to my home page: http://laughingisconceivable.com - Both books are now available in both eBook & paperback.

Laughing  IS  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing  IS  Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

The Most Devastating 3 Hours in My Tween's Life - According to Her Anyway

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I’ll admit it: My 12 year old daughter has been through some trying times in her life thus far: She got separated from us at a playground at age 4 or 5. (You’d think I’d remember exactly when that was, wouldn’t you?). She fell at school in 3rd grade and had a small skull fracture and concussion. She’s an insect magnet: Her arms and legs are a favorite for wasp and mosquito family brunches. But by far the most traumatic event this child has sustained so far happened this past Sunday night when the Internet was out for an entire 3 hours (FYI: It took the cable TV service along with it.)

I won’t get started on my kids’ ridiculous school schedule that left them out of school from before Christmas until this past Monday. Suffice it to say, it only fueled my daughter’s “victim” status. Less than a minute after the Internet outage began, she came barreling down the stairs like she was on fire or her sister had done something she couldn’t wait to snitch about.

Her: “It’s the last day of our break and I got cut-off from facetiming with Ashley!”

Me: “You’ll see her tomorrow at school. Can you remember her face until then?”

Her: “She was right in the middle of holding up a shirt she just got! She asked me: ‘This is nice, right?’ and then the screen froze!

Me: “So? She’ll wait until tomorrow to find out if you like it.”

Her: “I wonder what Ashley’s doing now.”

Me: “I’m sure by now she’s put the shirt down and gone on with her life. May I suggest you do the same?”

Her: “What am I supposed to do?! It’s the last few hours of my vacation and now there’s nothing to do! Great!”

Me: “Why don’t you clean out your lunch bag that’s been sitting in your backpack for 5 weeks?”

Her: “You want me to spend the last few hours of my break getting ready for school? That makes no sense!”

Me: “Why don’t you guys play a board game?”

Her: “Mom. Really Mom? There’s a reason it has ‘board / bored’ in its name.”

Me: “Read a book. Draw. Paint something.”

Her: “What is this… 1982?”

Two things I should probably mention at this juncture to show you what cruel parents we truly are:: 1) Her phone is an old one of mine which doesn’t have phone service and I wouldn’t let her use mine to call Ashley back and 2) My husband has a Hot Spot which gets his phone onto the Internet no matter what.

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So while she was ranting and raving and criticizing us for trying to force her into pioneer life, my husband sat on the couch in front of her playing baseball on his phone. Clearly, this threw both kerosene and gas onto the fire seeing as he wasn’t only sitting there two feet away totally ignoring her, he was sitting there two feet away, immersed in his own private Internet service. As if that wasn’t sadistic enough, as she began the second stanza of her “Woe Is Me” poem, he turned to me on the couch, put his phone in my face and said: “Do you want to log in on your phone? This is the password.” See? My daughter was wrong. This was not pioneer life. If this were pioneer life, Pa would have been playing the fiddle not electronic baseball.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you feel even just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you would like more laughs at life’s expense, please subscribe to my infrequent newsletter and / or take a look at my books-all happenin’ at the bottom of my Home Page @ http://laughingisconceivable.com - (Books also on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=laughing+is+conceivable&s

Laughing  IS  Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

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Laughing  IS  Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

Laughing IS Conceivable No Matter How Many You’re Carrying: Insanity in its Infancy

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."

***

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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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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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.

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

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Messy Kids: Maybe They're Just Born That Way

Messy kids. I have three of them and I might know why. I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not a tidy person. I don't like to look around and see things in disarray. I don't like an unmade bed or dirt, filth, or grime, but I'm naturally a messy person. People who are messy like to say: "I'm messy, but not dirty. There's a difference." I agree. There is a difference, and I'm both.

I've been married to my husband for 13 1/2 years and I have no idea if he's messy or not. It's because no matter how messy he might be, I'll always out-mess him. He always cracks before I do. If there are dishes in the sink or a pile of newspapers on the counter, he can't take it before I can't take it. My "can't take it anymore" threshold is disturbingly high for mess. So this is the example I'm setting for my triplets.

I've been observing them for eleven years now. What I've witnessed is perfectly natural. I just haven't decided whether they're naturally messy kids or naturally lazy kids.

My daughter will come from playing outside and attempt to lie on my bed. I'll yell the signal: "Dirty clothes!" She'll take them off, drop them onto the floor and step over them en route to getting clean clothes to put on. Did I mention that the clean clothes she gets are usually stacked neatly on the dryer in the laundry room six inches from the dirty clothes basket? So that tank top you just dumped on my floor... was it too heavy to take with you?

Both daughters have a way of leaving things where they lay. If they're playing a board game on the floor now, that's where you'll find it tomorrow. If one day my husband and I simultaneously collapse somewhere in my house, we'd better drag ourselves to somewhere dignified before we die, because that's where the messy kids are going to leave us for all eternity.

My son is the best of the bunch. His messy disasters are confined to two categories: Edible and Wearable. Yeah, he's a lovely child, but everyone agrees you can't look anywhere near him when he eats. He doesn't discriminate. It can be peanut butter, chocolate, tomato sauce... The boy can't eat a Tic-Tac neatly. Clearly this is not a picture of my messy kid above. I couldn't find one of an eleven year old. Every time he eats, he needs a bib for his whole body which still wouldn't save his hands, face, ears or glasses. As for the wearable mess-- He doesn't leave stuff laying around the house like his sisters, he just has a dirty clothes moat surrounding his bed. I'm sure some child psychologist would tell me it makes him feel comforted when he sleeps like he's back in the womb. Or maybe it's a home security tactic. If anyone breaks into his room in the middle of the night, he's hoping they'll either kill themselves tripping over the mounds of t-shirts and underwear or they'll just open his door and the stench will drive them back into the hallway. Screw his sisters in the neighboring bedrooms.

But like I said: This whole messy / laziness messy kids thing might be inherited. I have rows and rows of empty bottles on my sink because I'm too lazy to throw them in a bag to recycle.

 

So when the kids come into my bathroom to grab sunscreen every morning before camp, I have to say my morning mantra to each of them:

"Not that one, it's empty. No, that one's empty too. The one behind it... to the left. Not the right. That one's empty."

****

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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:

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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.

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Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3 (Part 1)

Have you ever planned a kid's birthday party? Or 2? Or 3? At the same time? So next month is my kids' 11th birthday party. Yeah, "kids'". There are three of them. Triplets... and they'd each like to have their own separate birthday party. Why not? How hard can that be? I'm sure David Tutera could pull it off during the commercials. Maybe I'll schedule the parties just like the kids were born: Three minutes apart.

At 8:51 a.m., when my son Jacob was born, we can go to the popular arcade place for his party with his friends. I'm sure he'll invite Jaden- the kid I had to hunt down every five minutes of the museum field trip because he kept running off on his own. But I'm sure he'll be much better behaved at the dark, deafeningly loud arcade with the disco balls. I know Jacob will be much better behaved with his friends at the arcade than he is with his family at the arcade. Every time we go, he has a ritual of showing his dismay for having won fewer tickets than his sisters by throwing a tantrum between the "Subway Surfer" and "Classic Mario Brothers" machines. You might ask: "Then why is Jacob permitted to go every time if that's how he acts?" I ask myself that every single time.

At 8:52 a.m., we can go to the town pool for daughter #1, Carly... (She'll love being called "daughter #1- especially when I tell her that it will psychologically scar her sister for life.) Of course Carly will bring her entire entourage. And quite an entourage it is. Depending on the day and who you ask, it can include up to 12 girls. Would it be wrong for me to start spreading nasty rumors among them now so that Carly will only be friends with half of them when the invitations go out? Otherwise it will be an hour before they even get into the pool. The first sixty minutes will be taken up by every girl telling every other girl how cute her bathing suit is and then, in round two, every girl telling every other girl how cute she looks in it. Then they will splash around and play a diving gave for ten minutes before they plant themselves smack dab in front of the pool steps. For the next hour, they will be totally oblivious to the other fifty pool-goers of various shapes, sizes, and ages, who have to squeeze around them to get in or out of the pool. They will instead be totally focused on their task of comparing the "adorable" levels of the boys in their class with the ones on Teen Nickelodeon. "Logan is soooo adorable! I know, right?!"

Then at 8:54 a.m., we can go to the climbing place for daughter #2, Hayley's party with her own cast of characters: Namely the girl who devoted most of 5th grade math class to coloring her sneakers with marker, and the boy who is way-too-neurotic-to-be-only-eleven who I'm gonna guess is deathly afraid of heights. This is not good. At 5'2", I'm in no position to climb down a fifty foot rope ladder wearing a sixth grader over my shoulder like a shawl. And, I know from experience, it would all be left up to me. I guarantee, the second that kid starts to panic, my nearly six foot husband will yell: "Bad back!" which of course is the adult version of "Not it!"

Join me next week for part 2 of the "Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3" when I tackle the cake, opening the gifts, & more.

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