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Dad’s Rules

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Yesterday I mentioned that my Dad charged us for waste when we were kids. I’ve gotten oodles of comments asking about the system. Ok, maybe I only got one question, don’t judge me.

Before I go into the factoids you should know a few things about my Dad. For starters, he has never thrown out anything in his entire life. This includes the swim trunks he wore in high school. He’s 64. He still wears those trunks. I’m not kidding.

He never, ever wastes food. He says that he grew up on a farm and they were poor and blah, blah, blah…I think he is just trying to prove something. I remember him throwing away some salsa once because it tasted like plastic. That was ten years ago.

He is a cardshark. Pinochle and Euchre. He can beat anyone. He will talk more smack about cards than anyone you have ever met in your life.

He drinks Milwaukee’s Best Light and Riunite.

He can fix anything. ANYTHING.

He’s awesome.

So back to the waste thing. I don’t remember why we started doing it, other than him getting mad at us for throwing away “good food” and “leaving the goddamn lights on day and night.” We started doing it when I was in the 6th grade. I still get nervous about throwing food away or leaving lights on. He is visiting now (playing Euchre with his wife and the twins as I type). They went away this weekend and I took the opportunity to throw away all the leftovers in the fridge. I’m 36 and still nervous about pitching food in front of him.

Anywho.

The charges for waste were relatively small. A few sips of milk left in a glass were 5 or 10 cents. If you left food on your plate it might be 25 cents. We did get to serve ourselves, so we took what we wanted. The only rule was we had to try at least a tablespoon full of everything on the table. So really, if you took more than you could eat it was your own fault.

Wasting electricity was a similar situation. Leave the light on in the bathroom it was 10 or 15 cents. If you left a light on and actually left the house or (God forbid) went to school, it was more like 75 cents or a dollar. My sister used to leave her curling iron plugged in (before auto-shut off existed) and that was an automatic loss of the curling iron. In the 80’s that really hurt.

We tracked the waste on a sheet on the refrigerator. Everyone in the household could, and did, get charged for waste. Including my Dad and Mom. At the end of the week we had to pay up. I think we got a $2 allowance, our waste was taken out of that $2. Whomever had the least amount of waste got all the money.

It paid off to not waste, that was key.

Most of the time my Dad won. However, we got him once in a while. He used to reheat his coffee in a saucer on the stove. (I AM SO OLD!!) Occasionally he would leave the burner on and ruin the pan. BIG MONEY!

So, that’s the system. It totally worked. When I went away to college my roommates used to get annoyed with me for shutting off the lights when I left the room, because they were still in it! No, I have never done it with my own kids.

I’m not so into the sensible parenting thing.

8th Grade Graduation

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Tomorrow is the last day of the 8th grade for the twins. This is an exciting time. I’m really looking forward to their farewell dance and graduation ceremony.

Oh wait, they’re not having one.

I’m angry.

Apparently last year some OTHER PARENTS caused a problem, so this year they aren’t having a graduation ceremony. there are a lot of Samoans in Anchorage (maybe I’m supposed to call them Pacific Islanders? I don’t know). One of their traditions is to make leis for special events. They make them out of colored cellophane and candy. They’re kind of pretty, I guess. I don’t think it is a big deal.

Of course, I’m a white chick from Florida, I don’t have any culture.

The story the twins tell me (Which they heard from a friend whose mother went to the school to get the no-graduation low down. We live in the telephone game.) that some of the parents got upset about the leis because they thought it was not fair for the Samoans to wear them when the other kids did not have them.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

It is unbelievable to me that adults still talk in terms of fair. Life is not fair. These kids are going into high school, they should understand that. The days of everyone getting a trophy ‘just for trying’ are over.

It doesn’t get any easier. My sister only got stretch marks on her hips and I got them all the way up to my ribcage. Life’s not fair.

On the other hand I get to sleep with this every night.

I know all my friends are jealous. But hey, life’s not fair.

So, no graduation. John had some thing with his ‘academic team’ at school tonight, but he doesn’t want to go. He’s almost 15, I’m not going to force him. Taryn’s ‘team’ thing is at 7:30 IN THE MORNING tomorrow. That should be a riot.

I keep seeing the pictures of my niece and my friends kids’ on Facebook in their graduation outfits or going to their farewell dances. I’m jealous. I feel robbed of an important event in their lives.

All because some stupid parents decided to behave like 4-year-olds. Scratch that, my 4-year-olds behave better. They would have just wanted some of the candy.

One day left and I will have two children in high school. I’m not even sure I should call them children anymore. I would have liked one more special night with them.

Thanks for nothing other parents.

It all goes by too fast. I don’t know how they went from this…

To this.

It’s not fair.

The Silent Treatment

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Before I get into this post I want to give a shout out to everyone who visited my blog yesterday. Being on Freshly Pressed is kind of awesome. Lots of you commented and subscribed, which is also awesome. I am going to visit your blogs too and attempt to reply to everyone. I’m overwhelmed so give me a day or two. Thank you…yes, you!

Anywho.

For about 24 hours now my eldest son, John, has given me the silent treatment. I have no idea where he learned this counter-productive and immature behavior. Not from me, I assure you. I’m a talker. A yeller. A stay up all night and cry and fight until it is figured out kind of person.

It’s a really delightful personality trait.

Yesterday, my son got into trouble at school not once, but twice. As a parent I am actually ok with an occasional slip up. He’s 14, not capable of making the right decision all the time. I totally get that. But there still has to be a punishment, even if you know they are being normal.

Also, normal for a teenager is completely stupid and devoid of any reason or consequences.

He came home and told me about one of the incidents, a little scuffle with another puberty-stricken teenage boy. They got sent to the principal for it. He neglected to mention that he also got into trouble for chattering in math class. Luckily, the teacher had already emailed me.

I talked to him about the problems. I felt like he understood that he needed to make better choices and take responsibility for his actions.

Ten minutes later he asked if he could meet his buddy at the soccer field. I said no.

He looked at me like a had a wiener on my forehead.

“Ummm…. you got into a fight at school and got kicked out of math class today! So, no. No, you cannot go hang out with your friend at the soccer field.”

He said, “But, soccer is going to help me!”

I said, “Yeah, so is math. So is learning to control yourself so you don’t get sent to the principals’ office.”

Apparently that was a completely foreign concept to him.

He sulked most of the evening.

Finally, I asked him if he was just not going to talk to me anymore.

He said, “Yeah.”

Fine. Two can play at that game.

This morning I figured it would be over. He never follows through on anything else, why would this be any different?

Silence again.

So again I asked (not very nicely), “Are you just not going to talk to me?”

“Yep.”

It is now 10:00 PM and he has barely said three words to me.

It was my night to drive the soccer car pool.

Not one word.

He even rode in the backseat.

If this is what I have to look forward to for the next 4 years, I’m going to need a new liver.

They’re Out To Get Us

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Toy makers. Seriously, they are out to get us. I think that most of the people in the business of making toys must hate parents. I have decided that they are all probably smug single people. They must enjoy watching us get in fights with our spouse, cry, scream at our children, or pull are hair out trying to deal with their little inventions.

Their day will come. I hope.

Our most hated toy right now are the Lego’s. I know they are educational and improve dexterity and hand-eye coordination. I also know that the current lot my children are playing with are way above the “suggested age.” But they like them and it gives me a few minutes of quiet.

It also means that my living room winds up looking like this.

It takes two 4-year-olds and average of 68.3 minutes and 749 instructions to clean up that mess.

They hate parents.

Here in no particular order are some other toys made by people who hate parents.

1. Play-Doh – This is one of the worst offenders because not only does it make a big mess, but kids eat it. How many parents have had panic attacks over purple or red poop, only to realize their dumb child ate Play-Doh?

2. Moon Sand – Like the previous item this stuff makes a huge mess. We tried it once for Christmas, not one we intended to spend at the beach. It does not stick together. Not even a little. Instead it slowly degrades and winds up in every inch of your house.

3. Crayons – I know crayons themselves aren’t bad, as long as kids don’t use them to write on walls or furniture or dogs. (Not that mine would EVER do that.) I just don’t understand why there is paper around every single crayon. We can see what color the crayon is, we don’t need a wrapper around it to tell us. The wrapper is just one more thing children will peel off (starting with their teeth) and throw on the floor.

4. Lincoln Logs – Lincoln Logs suck. I thought it would be cool to buy them for the twinkies this year. Bad idea. Yes, you can build a log cabin – which most children only recognize from the syrup bottle – but if you tap it, just tap it a teeny tiney bit, it falls over. Then the kids start crying and you have to build the stupid thing all over again.

5. Bouncy Balls – “Don’t bounce that ball in the house!” Those were my last words right before Reese bounced one on the floor. It popped up, bounced off the table and knocked over a glass of water. The water went directly into the back of my MacBook Pro. That was a $1,500 hit.

6. Zhu Zhu Pets – Anything that doesn’t turn off on its own is evil. Evil.

7. Tinker Toys – The tinker toys are actually pretty great for the boys. They can build something and it actually stays together. That’s awesome, until they hit each other, the dog, or my favorite lamp with it and it breaks the object instead of giving way to it.

8. Transformers – You need a PhD in engineering to change these into the transformer and back to the other thing again. They literally make me want to cry.

9. Laser Guns – Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise.

10. Inflatable Ball Pits – One of Dallas’ single friends got this for the boys when they turned one. I told him, “Thanks. I can’t wait until you have kids so I can get them a toy with 50 balls in it.” Jerk.

Which toy do you think is made by people who hate parents?

Happy Mother’s Day?

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If you are expecting a sappy post about my mother, you’ve come to the wrong place. My mom is awesome. That’s all you need to know.

This year Mother’s Day was a series of fails.

Fail #1

It started on Wednesday, when I got around to buying cards. I purchased several for all the moms in our lives. Taryn and John  signed them. Since we were so behind, I was just going to sign for Dal and the twinkies, . I carried them around for days, figuring I would stop and get stamps, sign them, and mail them out. By Saturday I decided it was pointless. I tossed them in a drawer for next year.

Fail #2

Last night, Dallas and I arranged a double date  with some friends. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner. I drank some wine. By some I mean four glasses. I was a little tipsy. Then we decided to go to the local VFW. There were shots involved. I don’t remember the ride home. I like to keep it classy by getting falling down drunk

Dallas took a photo of me laying on our bed with a trash can next to my head. The picture makes my arse look HUGE. He posted it on Facebook.

Fail #3

I woke up to a lovely present from Dallas and one from Taryn. John did not even say Happy Mother’s Day. He is grounded for not being where he was supposed to be on Friday afternoon, and for the subsequent lie he told to cover it. It’s 6 PM and he still has not acknowledged Mother’s Day.

Fail #4

We went to church. I wore a dress because it felt like summer even though it was only 47 degrees. It was a lovely service. They had cake and punch in the social hall after. Jackson got cake all over his face and hands. I weaved through the crowd to the bathroom to clean him up. Everyone was looking at me and smiling. I figured they got a kick out of seeing my cake-faced child.

When we finally got to the potty I realized I had frosting….on my knees.

Fail #5

I went grocery shopping. Mostly, I just wanted an hour without 4-year-olds shooting me in the face with lego guns and getting the stink eye from the teenage boy. I made the weekly menu and the shopping list and headed out. It was pleasant. I even got to chat with a mom friend who was also grocery shopping to escape her family.

It made me feel better about myself.

When I came home I unloaded the groceries and put them away. That’s when I realized I had forgotten to get meat. Any meat, for the entire week. I didn’t even put a meat column on my list. (Yes, I make columns on my grocery list.) We were having burgers tonight. I had to go back to the store to get burgers. I left the store again, got in my car, and drove about half mile before realizing I had also forgotten the fries. I hadn’t made a frozen food column either. U-turn.

I would like a Mother’s Day do-over please.

A Craptastic Day

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Ask any parent about bowel movements and you are sure to get lots of stories. I have been pooped on by all of my children. I have cleaned poop out of car seats, off furniture, off the floor, out of beds. I have carried children with poop covered legs through Target, Wal-Mart, and Kroger. I’ve dragged them, pants half down and poop everywhere from the park. I’ve made the mistake of feeding a baby prunes and then sitting him in the exersaucer so that five minutes later he was slipping and sliding in it with glee.

When the twins were babies they slept in the same crib for a long time. One morning I went in to check on them and found them each covered in poop. They had also painted the rails of the crib and the wall next to it. The next night they slept in separate cribs.

On more than one occasion I remember the distinct scent of poop in the car and looking back to find John eating it. Yes, I said eating it. He would stick his little hands in his diaper and then stick those hands in his mouth. He always looked really disgusted, like after you drink sour milk. But, he kept his fingers in his mouth. He was committed.

He also once ate a whole tube of slut-red lipstick. I worked in a physician’s office at the time and had to wear white pants to work. When that lipstick came out the other end it was a disaster. Not only was it bright red, but it was greasy and slimy. Of course, it came out just as I was leaving to drop them at daycare and head to work. I had to strip down to my underwear to clean it up. (The last thing I wanted was to get slut-red lipstick on my white pants.) Imagine if someone had walked in on me right then? In my underwear, cleaning up bloody-looking poop from the floor and from my 2-year-old son. Hello, child protective services we’ve got on for you! (This was the point in my life when I stopped wearing slut-red lipstick. I’ll let you know when I start again, I’m sure it is right around the corner.)

When Jackson and Reese were potty training I got the brilliant idea to let them run around with no pants, to make them aware of their movements. We referred to it as our ‘pants optional’ period. It did not work as I had expected. I thought the boys would feel the poop coming and run to the potty. Instead, they felt it coming and just dropped it off wherever they happened to be at that moment. Including the top of Taryn’s dresser, the living room floor, and in the toy box.

I thought I had seen it all.

Today, I sent Jackson to school. He had not vomited since Saturday and seemed to feel better. He was still a little wimpy, but I figured he just needed to refuel. I big bowl of Life cereal with milk would help that out.

That was probably my first mistake.

I picked them up after school and we decided we would head to the park for the afternoon. We went home to grab a blanket and pack lunch. I told them both to go potty because the park only has a port-a-potty. Port-a-potties are gross.

Jackson said he had to poop.

The smell that wafted out of the bathroom could have killed a cat.

For real.

He has that diarrhea that can only be compared to what happens when you turn on a rusty faucet at full force.

Blech.

I’m the butt wiper around these parts. When the twinkies poop they yell out from the bathroom, “CAN SOMEONE WIPE MY BUTT?!” They yell this even when I am the only other person in the house.

I heard the call, held my breath, and headed into the bathroom. Jackson was standing there with his pants around his ankles.

Like always, I said, “bend over and touch your toes.”

Just as leaned down to wipe him, it happened.

Explosive diarrhea.

Shit happened.

On me.

Excuse me now, I have to go take a Silkwood shower.

Teens And Athletics

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Sports are important for kids, especially girls. That might sound sexist. However, I was a teenage girl at one time and I know that there are few things that can distract from the near-constant thinking about boys other than sports. That is not to say that I like sports. I really don’t. I’ll watch, but I also don’t mind not watching.

I don’t play sports. I suck at them. I am a fairly competitive person. That’s why I don’t play sports, because I suck at them. I want to win, but I can’t.

My lack of athletic ability traces all the way back to seventh grade. To say that I was an awkward kid is an understatement. I was skinny. Nerdy. I had bad hair. I was terrible at sports. I cried easily. It was a bad scene.

In the seventh grade we moved from Ohio to Florida. I also went from going to a small Catholic school with 13 kids in my class to going to a public middle school with a couple of hundred. It was all rather traumatic. To quell my issues I went out for the volleyball team. I think I played 17th string.

Despite my lack of athletic ability and overall goofyness(or maybe because of it) I tried to be the spirit leader of our little team. We were the Port Charlotte Junior High Terriers. Grrr..bark, bark. Anyway, one game I was in the bleachers cheering when I was brutally assaulted. Her name was Janine and she was the meanest girl at PCJH.

She pulled my hair and told me to shut up. I think I cried.

I’m also pretty sure that my older (and much tougher) sister gave her the what for soon after that.

But it didn’t matter, my volleyball career was over. I spent the rest of my junior high and high school years in the Drama Club. I managed to letter by being a wrestling statistician. Lame.

I’m over all of that now.

Really.

Anyway, I encourage the twins to play sports, regardless of their skills. John plays soccer all year round. He’s pretty good. John is also tall, which pays off in spades for him. He also runs track when he feels like it.

Taryn has played volleyball for a couple of years and runs track. She has more confidence in her little finger than I had back then. Maybe more than I do now. She might not be the best player on the team, but she tries the harder than any kid I know.

Tonight she had a tack meet. She did long jump, high jump, and a relay. I didn’t get there in time to see the jumps but her team came in second in the relay. I told her what a great job she did, it was true.

Then she told me she did not do very well on the long jump. But, she jumped about 4 feet on the high jump. That sounded good to me, so I told her good job. Taryn then told me that she came in 3rd place. Yay! I said, go you! She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Mom, there were only four of us in the high jump!”

This is where I put my mothering skills into effect. Sports are important, right?

“Taryn, it doesn’t matter how you do or whether or not you win. The important thing is that you participate and do your best.”

(That sounds good right?)

This was her reply, “Mom…what parenting book did you get that from?”

I told her to shut up. I didn’t pull her hair, but I thought about it.

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