Friday, November 5, 2010

Dear Super Nanny

Dear Super Nanny,

Your show fascinates me for so many reasons.  First of all, I used to wonder (that is before I had 3 boys), where do you ever find these people??  Now I realize, I am one of those people.  I could actually use you all the time, you seem to handle little boys pretty well.   Perhaps you'd like a new full time gig?  You came to the Chicagoland area last year and I even had some humorous emails from great friends suggesting that perhaps my family should go to the auditions.  But I'm not much of a reality TV gal, and certainly don't want to show off all our wonderful behaviors for all the world to see.  So instead, every once in a while I catch a glimpse of your show, and it makes me feel SO much better..... because what's usually going on over doesn't involve spitting or cursing in my face thank goodness.  Not that I'm judging, because I'm not.  No one ever warns you how hard raising kids is actually going to be. 

Here's the things Super Nanny... you swoop in with your English accent and pretty much change everything in a matter of a few days.  Now I know this makes for great TV, and I'm assuming your accent and expertise has helped you in the financial department.  I don't mean to be rude or disrespectful to your talents, but your show just doesn't seem REAL to me.  You see Super Nanny, on your show, you are always there to change things up a bit.  But here's the is the mom, and the dad, {who has somehow managed to take a paid leave from work to stay home and work on his parenting skills (every man's dream vacation I'm sure).}   The camera people are also there, and often other family members are there.  There's usually at least one or two adults there for every child present.   I've never seen you try to manage 3-4 unruly children on camera without anyone else present. I'm not saying you can't do it, your accent alone can probably move mountains.  I'm just saying that you make it look easy because it is much easier when you aren't OUTNUMBERED.

Now before you start getting defensive, please know that I've planted many little bodies safely back in their beds without looking at or speaking to them. Most of the time, when they were still in cribs, this was a complete failure. My boys can probably climb Mount Everest, and  they could certainly scale their cribs by 18 months. (Have you ever heard of a crib tent Super Nanny??? Best 75$ you will ever spend, just thought you may want my advice).   I've also used your "naughty chair or naughty step" more times than I can count.  Now since my boys are can't stay still longer than 1 minute and 32 seconds, the naughty chair turned out to be impossible to pull off.  What was I supposed to do with the other two while the accused was in the naughty chair? My children are quite bright I must say, and they certainly know how to take advantage of a busy mommy trying to get their brother to sit in the naughty chair for his allotted time.  When I am manning the chair, the other two are running around the house like wild Indians, doing things they know they shouldn't be doing.  All the while I keep putting the accused back in the chair, trying very hard to sound stern and English.  This ends up being a very vicious cycle, and usually ends with one very cranky mommy, two children running completely unsupervised around the house, and one accused brother laughing because he has realized that his mommy can't possibly keep him in the chair without worrying about the damage the other two are causing. 

And you know what else Super Nanny?  I have NEVER seen a parent on your show do a load of laundry, mow the grass, scrub the toilet, unload the dishwasher, pack lunches, or even do so much as check the mail. Perhaps the personal staff you bring for the week takes care of all that while the parents are just brushing up on their parenting strategies?  So you see, I do love your show for entertainment purposes, and I even learn a thing or two sometimes.   But it's not real.  I'm just saying.  Next time you are in town, come to my house ALONE.  I will leave you here for a few days and go off on a wonderful vacation like on Extreme Makeover, Home Addition.  When I come back, I want a pristine house, laundry done, and 3 perfectly polite behaved little boys.  Thank you very much.


Mom of Captain Competitive, Good Time Charlie, and SirWhineAlot

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Never Say Never

Before I was a house mom to Alpha Gamma McVey, I was a kindergarten teacher.  My all time favorite job in the world.  There is no way to have a bad day with 20 five year olds. It's just not possible.  They are so funny without meaning to be.  They have absolutely NO filter.  If you have a kindergartner in your house, rest assured there are no secrets safe within your home.  The kindergarten teacher knows all.  I knew who slept in what bed and where for about every family in my class.  I was told who was voting for who, what everyone's parents thought of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George Bush during the election year of 2000.  One little boy in particular told me that his dad thought Bill Clinton was a big fat liar, "What do you think Mrs. McVey?  Is he really a big fat liar?"  I had to agree.

But I admit that as a teacher, I was a bit judgemental.  I, like every other teacher in the world, had those select little boys who just couldn't sit still.  They couldn't help themselves when they laughed themselves silly over farting noises, or did ridiculous things to make their friends laugh during "silent reading" time.  I swore I was NEVER going to have a boy that acted like that.  I remember thinking to myself, "My child will never behave like this.  What are these parents doing at home?" I was going to have sweet little children who followed all the rules.   I TAKE IT ALL BACK.   EVERY SINGLE JUDGEMENT I HAD AND WORD I SAID.

 Here I am, 7 years later, with two perfectly delightful little boys, Good Time Charlie and Sir WhineAlot, who have taught me to never say never.  They are THOSE boys.  The ones who can't sit still.  The ones who whisper "chocolate penis" in their friends' ear at lunch. The ones who drown goldfish crackers in their juice.  The ones who wrestle during story time and just can't seem to keep it together.   But now I'm not the teacher, I'm the parent who receives the phone call from the teacher.   The one on the end of the line explaining, "I'm so sorry, I will make sure it never happens again."  Easier said than done.  And then I think to myself, my boys are the ones the other parents warn their children about, probably even my own friends.  I can just hear it now, "When Good Time Charlie and Sir WhineAlot are misbehaving, you IGNORE them." 

Last week, I decided that we needed some sort of positive reinforcement system.  Since the boys are very motivated by a pack of gum at their favorite 7 Eleven, I decided quarters would be the reward.  No time- outs at school equals one quarter.  And five quarters (which means 5 days with no time-outs) means a trip to the beloved 7 Eleven.  Now our 7 Eleven is like any other 7 Eleven in the US, except that my children are very well known here.  I'm not sure I take it as a compliment, but the owner and his brother call them "the tornado's".  In their very thick Indian accents, they tell me "they are like tornado's, swirling around my store touching everything".   Like I said, they are THOSE boys, even in a convenience store. 

I was hoping that a little competition would entice them to earn the quarters.  The first one to five quarters got the first trip to the store.  Captain Competitive would be ALL over this if he needed a system, but he is my only rule follower and therefore isn't part of the game.  Sir WhineAlot definitely has some fight in him, and he was the first to 5 quarters.  Good Time Charlie was too busy wrestling on the rug to earn his last quarter last week.  So here comes the lesson............... we go to 7 Eleven and Sir WhineAlot picks out his pack of gum.  I wait for Good Time Charlie's tantrum.  I watch his face as he studies all the packs of gum on the shelf.  He doesn't even flash a frown.  Just looks at me and says, "That's OK mommy, I can wait until next week when I earn another quarter".  WHAT??? No sense of urgency, no remorse, NOTHING.  The kid has more patience than anyone I've ever known.  Enough to make me crazy.   He figures he'll get his pack of gum when he gets around to it, in his own sweet time, when he feels like behaving. 

They drive me to insanity, THOSE boys.  But I love them like crazy and they make us all laugh.  Life is definitely not boring around here and I never know what surprises (good and bad) they will bring daily.  They are known as the tornado's, the neighborhood pirates, the dynamic duo, the wonder twins. They have taught me that kids aren't perfect, and parents aren't either.  And no matter how hard I try, I can't change them.  I can try to mold them into responsible members of society (please pray very hard, we need all the help we can get over here), but I can't squelch their creative spirits. I just wish they'd stop wrestling on the rug. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Alternative Engineering

 A good friend of mine always tells me that she loves my boys' "creative energy".  I'm pretty sure that's code for something else, but she has a good point.  If I had to bet on what their college majors would be, I would put a lot of money on the engineering field for Captain Competitive and SirWhineAlot.  I'm a little concerned that Good Time Charlie will either not make it into college, or will flunk out after having way too much fun at his fraternity mixers.  He has recently been asking if he can skip preschool and just go to hockey class everyday, which is a bit disturbing coming from a five year old.  Unfortunately, not surprising though. 

Alternative Engineering is what my boys are really all about.  I'm pretty sure it's not a true form of engineering, but my boys have mastered it nonetheless.  My inventive definition of alternative engineering is: when a person takes an object or objects and consistently finds an alternative use, other than what it was intended for.  My boys are genius' at this. Toilet paper becomes home decor, anything that resembles a long cylindrical object is a sword, pasta can suddenly be transformed into a gun at the dinner table, mail is for making animal habitats, hoses are for cleaning windows that were just professionally washed, balusters are for climbing onto built in bookshelves, transformers and legos are for plugging the toilet..... I could go on forever.  You get the idea right?

My favorite story of the boys is really about alternative engineering at its finest.  Two years ago, some very good friends let us borrow a moon jump for our basement for the winter.  We thought it would be a great idea to let them burn their energy off in the moon jump, rather than running around the house like crazy people.  One particular day around Christmas time, the boys were downstairs in the moon jump (or so we thought).  We noticed that their was a ton of laughter.  I have learned that laughter can either be very very good or very very bad.  Since I thought they were just jumping, I just worked upstairs and enjoyed the laughter..... who doesn't love to listen to their kids laugh?  Since I had music playing upstairs, I couldn't really hear what was REALLY going on.  About 5 minutes later, Captain Competitive runs upstairs to tell CC Senior and I, "Hurry, hurry, you have to come down and see how cool this is."   At this point, I'm still thinking I'm going to see some jumping moves or something of the like.   But what CC Senior and I really saw was something that resembled a Christmas war zone.  The moon jump was deflated, and the 3 boys, (all 5 and under at this point), had figured out how to take the blower off the jumper and use it to project my Christmas ornaments across the room and into the wall.  I'M NOT KIDDING.  They were using the blower as a launcher, and had launched ALL the ornaments from the basement Christmas tree across the room, into the wall, and then onto the floor (in many many broken pieces).  The scary thing is that they were SO proud of their engineering capabilities.  They weren't even worried that they might be in trouble, that maybe this wasn't such a great idea.  They couldn't have been more excited to show us how they had just mastered the laws of physics.  I can't even remember how we reacted.  I mean, who thinks their kids are going to dismantle a moon jump and use it as an ornament launcher?  All I can hope is that they are so creatively brilliant that someday they will put their "creative energy" to good use.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there, it only gets better.  Shocking, but better.  A few weeks later, after many, many conversations about the appropriate uses of toys, we bring the moon jump and the blower out of time out for the boys to use again. I hear the usual jumping and noises from upstairs, and then the dreaded LAUGHING.  Now Christmas was over at this point, and the ornaments were all smashed to pieces.  There wasn't much else in the basement to launch across the room, so I couldn't figure out what could be so funny.  I walk down to the basement to a very unnerving sight.  Three little boys were watching their privates move up and down from the force of the air coming out of the blower.  "Watch this mommy, it's SO COOL."  I was absolutely speechless.  I still am just thinking about it.

At that moment, the blower went away, FOREVER.  I also realized that these little surprises (or incidents) were what life was going to be like for many many years to come.  I guess it just comes from having a house full of boys. Hopefully by the time they all get to college, Alternative Engineering will actually BE a major.  Because they are all going to ace it. Maybe even Good Time Charlie. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Me, Myself, and I

Starting tomorrow morning, Captain Competitive Senior (a.k.a. my husband), is in charge.  That's right, for 60 hours, I'm going somewhere BY MYSELF.  For the first time in probably 11 years.  I'm pretty sure the last time I went somewhere by myself is when I flew home to get ready for our wedding.  Since then, I've gone plenty of places.  First accompanied by Captain Competitive Senior himself, or girlfriends (mine, not his of course).  Then with Captain Competitive Junior as a baby, and finally with the whole kitten caboodle of Alpha Gamma McVey.  I am usually the crazy lady in the airport with the 3 kids and sometimes a husband if it's a family trip.  I often do travel alone with them and have been doing so since the twins were 2 and still in diapers and CC Junior was 4. Crazy I know, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Sitting here with 3 kids under four on a long winter day always seemed worse than hopping on a plane and constantly diverting disaster for a few hours until my parents picked us up at the Orlando airport.  To anyone who has ever had to sit next to us on an airplane, I am truly sorry.  Really I am.  I'm sure it was unpleasant, especially when Good Time Charlie had a major blowout as a 2 year old that leaked onto the airplane seat.  I hope all the good samaritans who have had to endure a few hours of us have long forgotten about me and my boys.

Back to tomorrow............. CC Senior is in charge for 2 and a half days.  He has been in charge plenty of times before, but usually enlists the help of his parents who live a couple of hours away.  This time he's flying solo.  I have pumped up the boys in my absence with promises of an exciting "Boys Only Weekend".  I have told them that this is very special to have this time alone with daddy (while mommy is sipping refreshing beverages with old friends in sunny California acting like she is 20 again).  Not that I don't think that the weekend will be a success, I honestly do. CC Senior is more than capable and may actually find himself having a great time.   But I have to admit I'm letting him off easy this time. 

To all the ladies out there... whether you work or stay home, don't you love it when the husband asks, "What did you do all day?"  CC Senior honestly asks me this because he is being nice.  And because he's a good listener and I told him that he needs to be more curious about my everyday life, however mundane it may seem (although insane is more of a correct term for everyday life here).  For these 60 hours, all I am asking him to do is feed, bathe, read to, and put the kids to bed on Friday evening. Wake them all up at 6:30am,  feed them breakfast, and have them all dressed and at the football field by 8am Saturday morning for CC Junior's football game. (Oh, and Sir WhineAlot is NOT a morning person, so listen to lots of whining, and watch carefully because Good Time Charlie likes to see how far he can throw his cheerios.)  Come home, feed them lunch, play, give them a snack, play referee, make sure they don't kill each other or flood the basement, and please please stay out of the emergency room this weekend.  After that, please feed them dinner, make sure they are clean (and wiping them down with a washcloth DOES NOT count as clean), brush their teeth, and put them to bed at a reasonable time.   Oh, and do that all over again on Sunday, except instead of the football game, make sure to drop CC Junior at the birthday party, and don't forget the gift.   I won't be home until Sunday evening, definitely after bedtime, and hope the house is clean.

Here's the thing........... here are all the things I'm NOT asking CC Senior to do this weekend (with 3 boys in tow):  grocery shop, pick up the dry cleaning, go to the post office, pay the bills, wrap the birthday presents, host a playdate, do the laundry, drive carpool with people flinging things out the window, plan a birthday party, wait for the cable guy, design a Halloween costume, make cookies, make play dough, make dinner (I'm pretty sure frozen pizza is the food of choice for the weekend), and hold on Line 1 to speak to the next customer service representative while Sir WhineAlot and Good Time Charlie toilet paper the house. 

Now I'm not saying I could do his job, because I know that I can't.  I have absolutely NO idea how to do his job and all the stress that comes with it, so I don't expect him to know how to do mine, especially with things flying around the house all day.  I appreciate that our relationship works this way. He manages the daily stress of supporting a family of 5, and I manage the daily stress of boys who are full of creative energy (that's the politically correct way of putting it).   All I'm saying is that he will probably have a much greater appreciation for me when I arrive home on Sunday. (He says that's not possible, but I'm going to leave that up to this weekend).  Just like I would of him if we switched roles for 60 hours. 

Until then, I'm going by myself.  Just me, myself, and I to watch an old friend engage in holy matrimony.  To ride on an airplane without a millions snacks and juice boxes, and to get reacquainted with the old me, before Alpha Gamma McVey became my life.  I wouldn't trade it for anything,  and it's nice to know it will be right here when I get back, probably with new nerf bullets adorning my windows.  Have fun boys.  CC Senior, love you, and please don't call before noon cental time, I'll be sleeping.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Top 10 most ridiculous things I've said to my children

Before having children, I admit I was very judgemental of other people's parenting, especially in public places.  Now I see a mom about to lose her cool, and I silently wish her a better day tomorrow and a cold margarita.  As parents, we instinctively try to always do and say the right thing.  But certain circumstances that my boys put me in make this impossible. I find myself saying ridiculous things  to Alpha Gamma McVey on an almost daily basis, things I can't believe actually NEED to be said.   Things I am so embarrassed to say, especially in public, but are absolutely necessary.   My top 10 favorites:

1.  Please don't pee in the trash can when it's sitting right next to the toilet  (most recently to Good Time Charlie at a highway rest stop).

2.  Please don't submerge the neighbors mail that you stole into the puddle to make paper pulp.  Despite what you think, it does not make a good habitat for your roly poly (very sorry Gigi and John), plus it's a federal offense. 

3.  No, you may not ask the lady with 6 kids across the street if she'd like to play with you. I'm pretty sure her answer will be "NO".

4. Captain Competitive,  please do not dismantle the moon jump blower and use it  to project my Xmas ornaments across the room (subject for a later blog, please stay tuned!)

5.  No, Sir WhineAlot,  you may not have any matches to make a "campfire" with the little girl across the street. 

6. Good Time Charlie,  please do not pull your pants down here at Jersey Mike's  or anywhere, no one else thinks you are funny (except your two crazy brothers).

7.  Please do not turn on the neighbor's hose to flood their lawn, spray their windows, or play firefighter.  Daddy will not be happy when he has to pay their water bill.

8.  No, you may not sell beer to the neighbors for dollars.  It's illegal and makes mommy look bad. 

9.  Please stop telling and showing your friends that we have "real guns" in storage..... we have your daddy's old BB gun from when he was 12, without the bee bee's.    Other mommies do not like to hear this. 

10.  Please do not put your private parts in front of anything electrical or battery operated.... this could end very very badly.

You may be horrified, but hopefully you are laughing.  But I've honestly said each and everyone of these things. I even have adult witnesses.   Thank Goodness I have amazing, forgiving neighbors who actually like my boys, even when their lawn is flooded and their American Express bill is floating in the puddle with the roly polys.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mom's wallet is closed for the season

For the love of all things holy, WHY oh WHY does summer need to be 86 days long?  By that I don't mean I need less of the sun and warmth, but 86 days straight with my 3 frat boys to be. I love them dearly, really I do.  But at this rate, I'm going to end up in the loony bin before I'm 40.  That's right... EIGHTY SIX glorious days to spend with Captain Competitive, Good Time Charlie, and SirWhineAlot (try listening to whining for 86 days and you will want some Prozac).  Captain Competitive is driving me CRAZY, he is bouncing off the walls like a crazed lunatic, while Good Time Charlie is pulling his pants down in public and I'm pretty sure will be arrested if he doesn't start preschool TOMORROW.  A family unknown to me apparently complained at the pool last night that he was yelling "chocolate penis" too loudly in the food cabana.......  honestly.... again, like his beer sale, NOT in the parenting manual!

In May, for some reason that I can't remember, I looked forward to this summer............ kids playing in the sprinklers, on the backyard play set, licking popsicles and drinking lemonade.  I envisioned it very Norman Rockwellish.  This lasted for about the first 6 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, and 42 seconds until "MMMMMMOOOOOOMMMMMM.... I'M BORED"  kicked in.  I loved summer when my kids were very little,  especially because they all used to nap, giving me 2-3 glorious hours to myself to recharge my patience and my mental stability (who doesn't need that?).  I could give them a bucket of water and a few cups and they'd be busy for hours.  Now, they are no longer happy to play in the backyard for 3 months, or the free local playground, or the outdoor library story time.  They have moved on to bigger and more expensive places...the waterparks, themeparks, bowling alley's, arcades, funways, just about anything that costs money,  they have either found or heard of (If you are a Cartoon Network or PBS Kids marketing executive, please stop advertising these places on Chicago TV. Thank you very much. Sincerely, a very exhausted, broke mother). 

So I have decided to call this my million dollar summer.  It's so much cheaper to have my kids in school.......... no one is insisting they need 18 snacks a day, or just one more juice box, or another pack of silly bands (don't you wish you were the guy who invented those???), or a 4$ popsicle at the local pool, or a pack of gum at 7 Eleven (where my twins have been nicknamed by the owners "the tornados"), or just one more junky souvenir at the gift shop, or one more happy meal at the golden arches.

Captain Competitive came home the last day of school with a FREE ticket to Six Flags that he earned for reading 300 minutes in 6 weeks or something like that.  He kept telling me we just HAD to go, after all, it was free. This a great marketing gimmick by Six Flags I must admit.  Have you ever been to Six Flags?  It's a concrete jungle off a Chicago expressway, and this particular day happened to feel like a thousand degrees.  I will preface my complaints by admitting that I'm spoiled. I grew up at Disney World, where all your dreams come true and the customer is always right.  So I pull into Six Flags and they want 20$ to park. Yes, 20$ to park my car in a lot big enough for the entire city.  And the parking attendant is NOT smiling.  I knew right away that this was no Magic Kingdom. Then I pay my own 35$ fare, 3$ for a bottle of cold water, 3$ for a sprite for Captain Competitive, 10$ for a kids meal, 11$ for my own lunch,  17$ for a locker (yes, you read that right.. SEVENTEEN dollars), and 6$ for a souvenir on the way out.  And no one smiled at me. 105$ dollars later, Captain Competitive says to me, "Mom, isn't this such a great day?  And Mom, it's free!"  Oh yes I think to myself, it's just exactly how I wanted to spend this ninety degree day, I'm so glad we are here. 

I of course did not take the dynamic duo with us, because after all, you have to be six to go to Six Flags, that's why it's named that.  And since I am a professional at parenting through falsehood, they believed me.  But they have their own ways of sucking my wallet dry this summer.  Sir WhineAlot has learned this summer that at certain places we belong to, he can "charge" snacks simply by giving the waitresses his cute smile and his last name. He too thinks that charging with your name means everything is free, like the secret credit card I had in college that I hoped would magically pay itself off one day.  One particular day this summer we were at a 4th of July function with my family.  The kids were off at the moon jumps enjoying themselves when we discovered Luke was missing.  My dad and I start frantically looking around all the food booths and moon jumps.  It didn't take long to discover him at the Snow Cone machine, happily licking a red snow cone.  The snow cone lady quickly pointed out on her tab sheet that he had already charged six snow cones on my account.  Thanks snow cone lady.  Three weeks later, his 18$ worth of snow cones arrived on my bill in the mail.  Cha Ching.

Last week, we made our last pilgrimage to the city, it was our last big outing of the summer before mom's wallet is closed for the season.  After a morning at the Shedd Aquarium, I decided to take the kids to Navy Pier.  I told them we could do everything we could find on Navy Pier that was free.  I was thinking what a great trip this was going to be.... we were going to be creative, inventive, make our own fun........  it was going to be wonderful.   It was nothing short of a disaster.... there is only one thing to do on Navy Pier that is free, and that is WALK.  And walking around with 3 tired, crabby, kids who are dying to go on the 10$ fun maze and buy a a 5$ frozen lemonade is NOT enjoyable, even with a cold beer in my hand.  So after much complaining and cajoling, we left for the day, back to the suburbs to play in the sprinkler and drink the lemonade they had left in the fridge from their beer sale.  

My wallet is closed now and tomorrow morning, the glorious sound of the school bell will ring at 9:00am, transporting me and all the other mothers back into the world of sanity.  Next summer, they are all going to boot camp, and hopefully it's free.  I know for me, it will be priceless!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Almighty Dollar

I think it's only appropriate to name the boys for my blog.  There are 3 of them, one 7 year old, and two almost 5 year olds.  My 7 year old, Captain Competitive,  is a spitting image of his father... feisty, self motivated, a rule follower except when it comes to winning. He'll do anything to win.  Twin A, aka Good Time Charlie,  is destined to be president of a frat house one day . He is very concerned about how far he can spit and pee, but not very concerned about following the household rules.  He's all about the moment and not so much about the future.  And then there's Sir WhineALot.  He came out whining and has never stopped. I keep thinking he'll outgrow it, but so far no luck. 

Sometimes, ok most of the time, I feel like I'm living in a frat house.  My home sometimes looks like the frat houses I remember at FSU.... messy, disorganized, but thankfully not smelly.  If you walk in my house, you will find nerf bullets stuck to the second floor cathedral windows (we don't own a 20 ft. ladder, so I decided they make great boy mom decor), a small stuffed dolphin stuck on the 2nd floor family room fan (also which I can not reach), superheros in my kitchen drawers, legos in the toilet,  an old blanket thrown across the entry way chandelier, lovely crayon wall drawings they think I haven't seen.... you get the picture, right?  Lodging things across the house and decorating the walls seem to be favorites over here at Alpha Gamma McVey.

A few Sundays ago, Good Time Charlie and Sir WhineALot took Alpha Gamma McVey to a whole new level.  It started as just another day in paradise.  I was doing what felt like the 50th load of laundry for the weekend while the boys played on the driveway.  Here in the Midwest, we all have refrigerators in the garage to store the usual items... bottles of water, juice boxes, lemonade, beer, wine, etc.  Driveway sitting is one of my favorite past times, so the fridge is usually stocked.  On this particular day, I walked out to check on the boys to find Good Time Charlie neatly arranging glass beer bottles on the edge of the driveway.  Sir WhineALot was the supplier and distributor from the fridge, Good Time Charlie the organizer. I admit they make a great team.  By the time I had gotten there, they had took 7-8 beer bottles out of the fridge and had them neatly aligned near the street.  Without losing my cool, I asked, "Whatcha doing boys?"  They looked at me like I was an idiot, the look that says "what does it look like we are doing mom?"  Sir WhineAlot says with absolute certainty, "We sellin' beers for dollars".  I am now quite horrified that they have skipped over the juice boxes and lemonade and water in the fridge, and gone straight for the beer.  Good Time Charlie must have noticed the look of shock on my face, so he says in a very annoyed voice, "We not DRINKIN' it mom, we just SELLIN' it, you know, for dollars."

At this moment, all my parenting abilities seemed to come to a halt. There is nothing in the manual that says how to handle your 4 year olds beer stand, or how to explain that "just sellin' it, not drinkin' it" is just wrong in so many ways.  I could have gone into a long discussion about how lemonade would have been a better option, but honestly,  I was secretly pleased that they had figured out that beer sells for DOLLARS, not CENTS like lemonade. They were putting their future economical skills to good use.   So I just put the beer back in the fridge, tried not to let them see me laughing,  and thought that this memory will stay with me forever.  Even when they are  DRINKIN'  the beer, hopefully far in my future, I will look at them and remember their 4 year old little voices telling me they "just SELLIN' " it. 

Cold beer anyone? Cute twins to go with.  See you in the driveway!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Parenting through Falsehood

I admit, I lie to my kids, ALL the time.  I prefer to call it parenting through falsehood.  It sounds more psychologically pleasing that way.  My neighbor with a PHD in philosophy made up that fancy term.

 You see, I have 3 boys.  Boy BoysDirty, mischievous, rambunctious boys.  They play dodge ball in the house, lick the dirty puddles they play in, and make a mess of just about everything.  They are hilarious (if you don't have to live with them), adorable, and did I mention naughty???  I swore I was going to have at least one girl........... I just knew that one of the twins was going to be a girl.  She was going to be quiet and sweet, have brown curly hair, and her name was going to be Cecelia.  That is until the ultrasound tech pointed out that my last hope was another BOY.  Five years later, I'm a great boy mom.  I don't freak out when they are 10 feet up in a tree, or bleeding down their foreheads, or riding their bikes with no helmets or shoes.  But I do spend alot of time lying................ 

It started a few years ago.  When my eldest was 3 and the twins were 1, I'd make my morning trek to McDonalds for a regular coke, extra ice.  What mom of 3 boys under 3 doesn't need a little caffeine and a shot of sugar to start her day?  But one day my 3 year old started realizing he wasn't getting anything at the golden arches this early in the morning.  So I hear his little voice from the backseat, "Mommy, can I get juice box?"  Now a good mommy would just answer "no, you just had juice for breakfast, you can not have a juice box right now", and would then listen to the tantrum ensue in the backseat, along with the screeching of 1 year old twins.  But not I friends.  I simply answered, "today is Tuesday, and they don't sell juice boxes on Tuesday".  I waited for the tantrum with bated breath, but it never came............. I waited and waited, and then I heard, "ok mommy".  And voila, parenting through falsehood was born!  From then on, I find myself lying all the time to get through my day with the fewest amount of tantrums possible.  Ofcourse this all works perfectly until your oldest child learns how to read (which is why I decided he didn't need to learn early, after all, that's what tax dollars are for when they enter kindergarten).   

My friends think I'm crazy, but did you know that Chuckie Cheese is only open in the winter???  This is a horrible lie I know, but who wants to spend a beautiful summer day there?    In my house, it's closed until the first snowfall.  And since we don't pass it on the way to anything, they still believe me 3 years later.  (Thankfully, we have never been invited for a birthday party there on a hot summer day). 

The grocery store with any child is a bear, but take my three and it's a recipe for disaster.  They are constantly whining for the latest sugar and dye filled snack they saw on Cartoon Network, and reminding me that the commercial said it has "real fruit" in it.  Yeah right.  No problem when you parent through falsehood.  See, when they can't read the sign, I just tell them, "that isn't for sale, it's just on display today".  And guess what?? No tantrum, no more whining.  Lots of confused, perplexed faces, but thankfully no poor behavior to show off to all our fellow shoppers.

In my house, things are only for sale on certain days, open during certain seasons, and available during certain months or periods of time. There are rules I make up that are flat out lies, but these little secrets keep me sane.  And with insanity knocking at my door each day, that's all I can ask for.