Another small step (backward) for parent-kind

There are plenty of model parents in this world. I see their Instagram posts, their Pinterest boards, their just general fucking smugness about how they have this all figured out. Meanwhile I’m over here like, how many days ago did they take showers?

So in order to understand what I’m about to share with you, you need to be familiar with this video. I don’t quite get the humor, but if you are a fifth grader, this is like the most hilarious thing to quote.

My friends, I’ve always said that when opportunity knocks, you answer. And opportunity knocked for me a few days ago.

I had ordered some raw almonds online from Trader Joe’s because there’s not one close to me, I like their almonds, and I JUST DID, OK? I got it through Amazon Prime, so, free shipping. Bonus for me. I checked the mail after I got home. I had my box from Amazon, which I opened when I got inside the house. Both my kids were sitting on the couch, using their electronic apparati, when I walked into the room.

“Hey guys, guess what came in the mail today?” I said, barely even able to say this with a straight face.

“What?” they both asked, probably hoping it was a video game for them or something.

Triumphantly holding up the bag of almonds, I replied, “DEEZ NUTS! GOTTEM!” and then I cracked myself up laughing. The six year old laughed, and the 10 year old basically just gave me a SMH face.

I call that a win. I don’t know what you call it. Immature, probably.

 

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Nerd Alert

My husband said that I shouldn’t tell this story because it’s embarrassing. But honestly, if anyone’s going to embarrass me, it’s going to be me. So here we go.

I took my kids to Game Stop to sell back a bunch of games. My older kid picked the new UFC game for PS4. We brought it up to the counter and the (female) Game Stop worker asked us if we watched WWE.

“We used to,” I said, which is the truth. It’s been probably two years since my older son was hard core into WWE. And by “my older son,” I mean, my husband and I.

“Do you know who Shane McMahon is?” she asked.

“Yeah, he’s Vince’s son,” I answered. Already showing my WWE chops.

“Well, he gets to fight Undertaker at Wrestlemania and if he wins, Vince is going to give him WWE,” she informed me.

“Oh, ok,” I said, losing interest. Like, just ring me out, weirdo.

“Of course,” she continued, “He’s going to lose because Undertaker has never lost at Wrestlemania.”

FALSE. And I cannot believe I am having this conversation, but here it goes, because the next thing I say is, “Well, he did lose the one time. To …” and then amazingly, no joke, I can’t remember who it was he lost to. Fortunately my child filled in the name: Brock Lesnar.

“Oh, that’s right,” Game Stop Chick said. “Well, that was just the one time. He probably won’t lose again.”

“No, probably not,” I said, swiping my card through the reader thing and wishing none of this had happened.

 

#ParentingFails

Most days I am an ok parent. I’d give myself like a B minus. I’m not knocking it out of the park, but I’m not Child Services material either.

My kids are growing up way too fast. With YouTube and Instagram and basically anything they can find on an iPad, they know stuff that I didn’t know until I was a little bit older. My 10 year old was looking up songs he liked and watching the videos on YouTube. I wasn’t comfortable with some of the things he was seeing – mainly gratuitous instances of the Twerk. So I thought, ok, he just wants to listen to the song … I’ll turn him on to Spotify. I installed the app on his iPad, helped him set up a playlist of his faves, and that problem was solved. Well, except for the occasional f-bomb and questionable lyric in some of the songs he chose.

Then the 6 year old wanted Spotify on HIS iPad. I let him access my account rather than set one up for him. I helped him pick songs and created a special playlist just for his stuff. He was satisfied, and I went into the kitchen to do something domestic, while the boys remained in the adjacent living room.

Maybe 30 seconds later, the following song BLASTS from the living room, off my 6 year old’s iPad:

“THIS SUMMER’S GONNA HURT LIKE A MOTHA FUCKA”

“FUCKA”

#ParentingFail

And by the way, I’m STILL mad at Maroon 5 for even producing that piece of garbage. You’re better than that, Adam Levine. And … other band members also in Maroon 5…

Watch Me

I try to stay hip to the music they’re listening to. So I thought it would be hilarious one evening when I retrieved a container of Cool Whip from the fridge if I put on a little performance.

My boys were watching TV or, more likely, something inappropriate on their iPads, when I leapt into the living room holding said container of whipped dessert topping. I thrust the container out with my left hand. “Now watch me WHIP,” I said. “Now watch me Nae Nae!” And did the requisite Nae Nae move.

They both gave me a blank, horrified stare and definitely didn’t appreciate the mom humor.

#ParentingFail

This just makes sense

Finally, trying to keep these kids clean is a chore. Especially when evening sports activities suck up some of our at-home time. This week we had a tournament that was a half-hour drive away. We basically had time to get home around 6, everyone change clothes, and run back out the door.

They didn’t get a chance to shower Wednesday night because of this. Then during the day Thursday we found out we were playing again that evening. They go to my in-laws after school so I called in a favor and asked if they could shower over there before the game. The only problem was they didn’t have a change of clothes so they would have to put their dirty clothes back on. I figured they could change when we got home … but when we got home that evening, we were in such a rush,  I forgot.

Therefore, they had on dirty underwear on Friday. It was basically going on three days old at that point. So I told my 10 year old to put on a clean pair. His response? “I’m about to fart, so …”

To which I said: “Well fart in the dirty ones and then put the clean ones on!”

I thought that was solid advice. #ParentingWin

Just like animals, animals, like animals, mals.

School starts on Wednesday. Can I get an amen??? No, really. They are starting a week earlier than they did last year, and about a month ago, I was all, “what? That’s so stupid!” But now I am like, I NEED TO KISS THE PERSON ON THE LIPS WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS. Call it cabin fever, call it summertime blues, call it my kids are total assholes, but their behavior has been off the charts all week. I literally cannot wait for them to go back to school. Even though I work and I’m not with them during the day, I feel like the return to their school routine will somehow iron out the kinks in their brains that are making them act like complete douchebags.

Cases in point:

I came home from work one night this week, pulled into our one-car garage, and said hello to my six-year-old, who was riding his bike. I went inside and had a two minute conversation with my husband only to realize that we had both assumed, via a misscommunication over text, that the other of us was going to pick up cat food on our way home. I regrouped for maybe five minutes and went back outside. The six year old was acting like the cat that swallowed the canary, but I just thought “ain’t nobody got time fo’ that” and continued to my car.

When I got in, I realized that there was this white sploogy stuff all over my windshield which DEFINITELY wasn’t there five minutes ago when I had come home. I may have uttered an f-bomb before getting back out and asking my six year old if he knew anything about it. The acting job was commendable, but I could tell that he definitely did know what had happened, and just was not telling me. I told him to go turn the hose on, because I was going to need to spray down the car before going to get the cat food.

Once I backed the car out, I noticed that the white substance was also all over my hood and dripping down the front of the car. And, there was a white puddle on the floor of the garage. But nothing obvious to tell me what the source of the spillage was. I noticed it had an odor to it, something unpleasant, but nothing I could identify as, for instance, paint or weed killer or anything like that.

Through some serious Scooby Doo mystery work, my husband and I were able to finally deduce that the six year old got it in his head to spray deer repellant in our garden. Why, you might ask? We are still trying to figure that one out. So, he did that, which is weird in and of itself, and then tried to put the bottle of Deer-B-Gon on the shelf in the garage, which happens to be above my car. He must not have closed the top all the way, and he must not have gotten it on the shelf all the way, and thus, coyote urine and other fine blends of things deer don’t like was dumped all over my (black? did I mention my car is black?) vehicle. Then he must have picked up the bottle, capped it and put it back like nothing happened.

EXHIBIT B:

Last night, we went out to eat. There are very few restaurants we can go to that all four of us like, and that don’t have a huge wait on Saturday nights. Basically your hole in the wall local spots are our only choices. We went to an Italian place that 3/4 of us were ok with going to. (The older child was just not into going out at all last night. Major attitude from the get-go.) We got seated right away, and the hostess brought us some water while we waited for our server.

We waited. And waited some more.

While we waited, my six year old dumped a few sugar packets into his water and stirred it around with his fork. As we perused the menu, I didn’t notice that he grabbed 3 or 4 more packets and dumped those in there, too. By the time we did, it was too late. So, whatever, I let it go. But then, for some reason, he decided to drop the paper packets themselves into his glass. WHY????????? We took it from him, and then he refused to order a drink when the server finally came to take our drink order. Then he was mad when she came back and didn’t have anything for him.

We had the slowest service I have ever had in this restaurant. We saw tables around us get seated, order, get their food, pay and leave while we had still only had an appetizer. And the kids were just relentless. Fighting, pushing their chairs back into the people at the table behind us, going to the bathroom umpteenthousand times. I am a type two diabetic and my blood sugar was low when we walked in. So, waiting for the food felt like the life was just slowly draining out of me. And the lower my blood sugar, the worse my kids were acting. I told my husband that this was what hell on earth felt like. It felt like we were there for four hours. I think it was closer to two.

EXHIBIT C:

All the damn fighting. My boys wrestle and play rough, and as an only child and a female, this is strange territory for me. I don’t know when it crosses the line into really hurting each other, and all the screaming just sets me on edge. They’ve been doing it more and more, and the more I tell them to stop, the more they do it. And then someone always ends up getting hurt – usually the little one. I can’t stand it.

So I am glad school starts this week. I have their school supplies organized and packed in their backpacks, ready to roll for Wednesday morning. Please, teachers, knock some sense back into these boys!

Dating, Explained

My kids watched some TeenNick program last night on TV. I was marginally paying attention. It’s such drivel that I can barely stand to be in the room, but I want to maintain some semblance of being interested in what they’re watching. The gist of the show we watched was that a girl’s parents thought she was too young to date, but she liked a guy and he asked her to be his girlfriend, so she hid it from her parents (spoiler alert: not well).

Of course in the end, the parents end up loving the boyfriend and give her the thumbs up to date him, so it’s all good.

I completely forgot about it, and I thought my kids did, too. Until today, when I foolishly allowed my kids to help me paint the trim in my bedroom with primer. I know. Mistake. Anyway, we’re all painting, and my 9-year-old says, “Mom, do you care if I date?”

Come again?

“You’re WAYYYYYY too young to date,” I said. “Who do you even want to date?” I am constantly asking him if he likes anyone in his class. He always acts like I have just asked him if he’d like to get a tooth extraction.

“No one,” he responded. “I just wanted to see if you were ok with it.”

“I don’t think anyone in the fourth grade is allowed to date,” I told him.

“On a date?” my 5-year-old began. “Girls do all the talking and boys do all the farting.”

We dissolved into giggles and the subject was dropped. I don’t know if that was a line from the show, or if he made that up. I have a feeling it’s the latter. That’s pretty insightful, coming from a kindergartener. He basically broke down the dynamic of male/female relationships. I’m so proud.

The Five Parents You’ll Meet at a Fourth Grade Basketball Game

My son’s basketball season comes to an end this weekend, and I can’t say I’m too sad about it. Although he enjoys it, and that’s really what this is about (I had to say that), it’s extremely stressful to be a parent in the stands these days.

It’s not because I’m so worried my son isn’t going to do his best or that he’s going to get hurt. I know he’ll be fine no matter what. It’s because these goddamn parents around me are making me nuts!

If you don’t have children, or yours are older and you haven’t been to a game in a while, let me give you an idea of who is sitting around me in the stands.

The “My Kid Should Be Starting” Parent

This is typically a mom with little to no knowledge of the game of basketball. But she is firm in her belief that her second string kid is being singled out for no reason by the coach, and being kept from his shot at being the next LeBron James, because clearly as everyone can see, he should be starting. Usually this kid is of marginal talent, but mom’s got the blinders on.

The “That’s My Boy!” Parent

Armed with a video camera and an adult-sized shirt with their kid’s number and name on it (there is actually a mom on my son’s team who owns a shirt that says “Jimmy’s Mom” [name changed to protect the innocent – in this case, being me] on the back where the name usually goes), this parent is overly enthusiastic about everything their kid does, films every game, and is often good friends with the “My Kid Should be Starting” parent. They might even be the same person.

If a gaggle of these parents get together, they might come up with schemes such as holding up signs, waving pom-poms and face painting.

These parents want you to know how good of a player their kid is, and usually know the high school coach personally (Jimmy’s Mom is on a texting basis with him – and keep in mind, her fourth grader is her oldest kid).

The “Are You Fucking Blind, Ref?” Parent

You’d think at a 4th grade level, all the parents would realize this isn’t the NBA. The refs are likely being paid very little to enforce the rules of basketball at our games, but these parents hound the refs like it’s game 7 of the NBA championship. Forget decorum – there are ample amounts of F-bombs being yelled onto the court. They will do helpful things such as yell “TRAVEL!” to make sure the ref is on top of things.

The “Keep it Classy” Parent

This is the parent who yells at their own kid from the stands. Forget about the coach; this parent is the one calling the shots. Constantly yelling to get their kid’s attention to offer such helpful hints as “hands up,” this parent is a nuisance both to the coaching staff and to their own kid. The child of these types of parents are also typically the kids who burst into tears when they are pulled out of the game. Probably because their parent has them frightened to death of failure.

These are also parents who instigate fights with the “Keep it Classy” Parents from the other team, as well as the coaches. They were probably also the parents who stuffed nerds in lockers and gave atomic wedgies to freshmen when they were ruling their high school.

The “Where’s My Xanax?” Parent

That’d be me. In order to deal with all of the above, I usually have to take some kind of anti-anxiety medication, and/or spend an hour meditating prior to the game. I try to cheer for everyone on the team, yell supportive things to my son but not too many because it embarrasses him, and generally stay out of the drama. If I can, I try to sit away from the other parents on my team because we have at least one of each of the above.

So there’s your comprehensive guide to who’s who in the stands at the fourth grade basketball game. If you see any of these people, avoid at all costs.

Fear the Momitron

Fear It.
Fear It.

I love books. If you follow my book blog, you know that. I love literary fiction, contemporary stuff, experimental stuff, classics, crime novels, Norwegian crime novels, Swedish crime novels, horror novels, and vampire and witch shit. So it’s not uncommon for me to be reading 2-3 books at a time, plus one on my Kindle app. I read constantly. My house is a cesspool of books read and unread, and I have tried to instill that love of reading in my children. Well, they’d rather read the dialogue in a video game than flip through a copy of Huck Finn.

My youngest loves the idea of books, and he loves the library. Mostly because they have a train table, and stuff you can climb on. We always get a pile of books about trains and trucks and street sweepers and backhoes. He’s seventeen, by the way. Kidding. He’s 5.

I always throw in a couple books for my 9-year-old that I hope he’ll like. I try to get the most disgusting looking books, or sports stuff. That’s what I figure might have the highest potential that he will even glance at it. Usually they’re a no-go, or he will read the first couple pages when he is forced to.

So it’s surprising when, after the two weeks are up (four if I’m lazy and just renew them all) and I need to return them, any of the books are missing from the original place they are dumped when we get home from the library.

Last night, the rest of the fam was at basketball practice. I was on my own for the evening, so I decided to run out, return the library books that were overdue and pick up some takeout. Easy peasy. I pulled up the email from the library just to cross-check the books and make sure I had everything. Trains by Liz Smith? Check. Trains by Ian Jones? Check. Trains: Super Machines by R.W. Whitley? Check. And so on.

Except one was missing.

The library had it marked as “Fear the Barfitron.” Judging by the gross title, I figured it to be one of the books I’d picked for the older child. But where the F was it? It’s not like he actually READ it … it should be in the pile! And of all the books we had taken out, THAT one was on reserve. Some other kid is eagerly awaiting the return of the Barfitron to the library. Great. So now that’s on my conscience.

And that is pretty much when I lost my mind.

In the empty house, I felt free to sprinkle my search with F-bombs. After a cursory sweep of the living room, I moved to the kids’ bedroom. Not a book to be found in there. I went back to the living room for a deeper dive. I looked under the couch. I didn’t find the book, but I found FOUR plastic bowls. Blood? A-boilin’.

I called my husband and told him to ask my son where the book was. He asked what the title was, and I told him. I had to tell him a second time. And even then, he kind of laughed, like, are you setting me up for something? He relayed the message and my son said he had no clue what I was talking about.

Great. Back to my frenzy of looking for the book. I take a trip to the basement/rec room where the boys’ video games are. I find yet another plastic bowl, but no Barfitron. At this point, I’ve completely thrown my neck out of whack due to searching high and low (literally) for the book. I decide to suspend the search for the night, go return the rest, get my food, and lay down with an ice pack.

Today was a snow day, which was a hellish day wrought with breaking up fights, tears (theirs and mine by the time it was done), the kids eating every bit of food in the house, and amidst all this, me trying to “work from home.” Around mid-day, I thought I would inflict some mom-type punishment on them for driving me nuts, and told them to read for 15 minutes. And I remembered the Barfitron. I asked my 9-year-old if he had any library books laying around that he’d forgotten about. Kept it generic, just to see what he came up with. Voila! He immediately goes to his backpack and whips out the Barfitron! He was actually reading it!

I felt my blood pressure rise and then recede back to normal. It was found, and my kid was actually reading.

Small victories.