Let's (Not) Talk About Sex, Baby

You think it's all going okay. Everything is normal. The kids are eating breakfast before school and watching Spongebob. And then ...

"Mommy? Do you have to try to make a baby or does it just happen?"

I was minding my own business, innocently making sandwiches for lunchboxes, when Colin dropped the bomb on me. My hand tightened around the peanut butter knife, gripping as though it were the only thing holding me up. My stomach decided it would be a great time to get all nervous. But despite my body's instinctive reactions, my brain kicked in with some rational thought (right after it screamed, Please don't ask me this right now!).

Try NOT to look like a deer in the headlights, it instructed me. How you react to this situation is going to set the tone for how comfortable he feels coming to you for sensitive information. Make your voice steady. Sound like it's no big deal, no different than any other question. Give him facts. And for Lord's sake, wipe that stupid look off your face.

I admit it: I should have been more prepared. He's going to be nine years old in a few days - I should have known this discussion was imminent. Especially with Colin, who asks more questions than a professional interrogator. I should have had a thoughtful answer all planned out.

Yet here I was, momentarily frozen, inwardly panicking.

I'm no prude, and I've always felt comfortable talking openly about sex ... with people who are not my kid. But that's where it gets difficult. It's a whole different ballgame when your child is the one who wants to talk about it. I want to see my babies as babies for as long as I can, not as sexually maturing individuals who will someday (oh my gawd I can hardly even type it) want to (gahhhhhh!), you know, do things with other sexually maturing individuals. And, you know .................... themselves.

*runs screaming down the hall*

Anyway, there I was. And since there's really no way to answer that question without addressing sex, I decided just to go for it. "Well - you have to have sex to make a baby. Do you know what sex is?"

Colin nodded, but I knew the information hadn't come from me - so I figured I might as well elaborate so I was sure he had the right idea. "It's where the penis goes into the vagina," I told him as nonchalantly as possible, even though my throat was threatening to choke me. And then - then - I showed him with my hands, in the universal finger-in-the-hole gesture.

I can't believe you just did that, said the logical part of my brain.

Shut up, I'm winging it here, said the motherly part.

"And then the sperm and egg get together," Colin chimed in, blessedly skipping the really awkward part. Thank goodness I'd already told him a little bit about that when he asked a few years ago, and that he's really into science so he's at least scanned the reproductive anatomy chapter in The Big Book of Knowledge.

"Yes," I said, relieved. "Sometimes you can try to make that happen, and it does. Other times, it happens when people don't mean for it to. That's why you should wait until you're a grownup to have sex - because when teenagers do it they risk having babies that they're not able to take care of."

"I'm never having sex," said Colin.

"Well, if you ever want to, make sure it's with someone you love. Because it's a very intimate thing," I told him. "And Colin? You're getting older, and soon your friends are going to start talking about sex. They might have their facts wrong, so when you have questions, I never want you to be afraid to ask Daddy or me. We will always tell you the truth about it. Okay?"

He nodded and resumed eating his cereal. Whew.

My stomach un-knotted itself. And I felt proud of my parenting, which usually doesn't happen when I'm, like, inadvertently teaching my kids curse words or letting them walk around with broken bones. I had calmly presented him with all the information he needed, without letting him know that I was like OMGWTFBBQ! on the inside.

Parenting win. For once.

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Birthday-Party Pooper

Is it just me or is there a birthday party, like, every week?

I guess it's inevitable when you have multiple school-aged kids. But I swear every time I turn around, one of my sons is bringing home some sort of invitation. I should probably be happy that they're invited to stuff ... not like some kids who didn't get invited to the birthday party of the most popular boy in the 4th grade even though every single other person in the class got an invitation.*

*I may be referring to myself. But I'm not bitter or anything.

Anyway, even though I should be thrilled that my kids are being included in events and developing active social lives, my first thought is always, "Damn. Another present to buy." Because y'all? I'm currently wearing a tattered bra that I bought on clearance at Walmart ... like two years ago. I use my lip balm until I literally have to scrape the last remnants of it out of the tube with a toothpick. I consider chewing gum a luxury. But every time there's a party, I have to fork over $20 (from my decade-old, held-together-by-threads billfold, no less) to buy a shiny new whatzit for Suzy or Billy. And with three kids in school, it seems like I spend at least sixty bucks a month on other people's children. That's far more than I spend on toys for my own kids, who really only get things on their birthdays or Christmas.

Not only that, but the parties themselves present their own set of problems. First of all, there's the dreaded question of whether you can drop your kid off or whether you actually have to stay for the whole thing. I say that because in terms of things I don't like to do, staying for a kid's birthday party that I'm not personally hosting ranks right up there with, say, running a marathon ... in ninety degree heat ... wearing stilettos ... with a wedgie. I think parents staying at parties is kind of a new phenomenon because I don't ever remember my parents being at any of the birthday shindigs I attended as a kid.

Then there's the question of what to do with the remaining siblings who aren't at a birthday party and are whining, "But I want to go! It's not fair! We never get to do anything fun!" Which means we usually end up forking over even more money for ice cream or a movie or some kind of special thing.

And then when the party-goer does get home, he is hopped up on sugar and bearing a goody bag full of things that he and his brothers will fight over because there's not enough fill-in-the-blank (candy, toy dinosaurs, pencil erasers, googly-eye glasses) for all of them. So then I've got to moderate squabbles and oversee negotiations and say things like, "Sorry, but those are your brother's googly glasses," and "Please don't tease your brother with the googly glasses" and "Let's put the googly glasses up on the top shelf of your closet if you don't want anyone to bother them" when the whole time I'm really just wanting to stomp on the googly glasses and throw them the hell away so nobody has any googly glasses any more.


The good part is, it's almost summer and the party invitations will be diminishing. For the next few months all I'll have to worry about is an onslaught of kids knocking down my door: "Can so-and-so come out to play?"

At least that doesn't cost anything. Maybe I'll buy some gum.

Hello, My Name is Frumpy

Because nothing says "welcome to my blog" like a dog in a wig.

I don't know about you guys, but my house is never tidier than it is five minutes before company comes. I find out someone is on their way and I start barking out orders like a drill sergeant. "GRAB THE VACUUM! CLEAN UP THOSE TOYS! PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!" I want my company to step through the front door and marvel at how spectacularly I manage to keep my home, even with four boys running through it like a herd of muddy, incontinent elephants. Wow, that Rita, I want them to think. She must be some kind of Supermom. I don't want them to know that two minutes ago, I was scrubbing dried yogurt off the wall, sweeping up crumbs from last night's dinner, and desperately trying to Febreze the boy-funk out of the air. All while saying things like, "I don't know where your clean underwear is - just put on some of your brother's."

Anyway, a few days ago, I had a blog post go viral. And let me tell you: I was completely unprepared. It feels like suddenly a million people showed up at my door, and I had to answer it braless, in cat-hair-covered pajama pants, while my half-naked children ran around like heathens stirring up dust bunnies. (You know, like real life.) No time to get my "house" in order, so to speak, before the company came a-knockin'.

It's been crazy, is what I'm saying.

So now that I've had a moment to collect myself, I want to say hi to my new readers - hey, y'all! - and introduce you to Fighting off Frumpy properly by showcasing a few of my favorite posts.

First, if you've ever tried to get anything done with kids around (and you like crudely-drawn cartoons because that's how I roll), you might appreciate this one: WAHM Bam

If you drive a minivan and feel less cool because of it: Minivanity

If you've ever wondered why you just can't seem to get it together, here's your answer: Whatcha So Frumpy For?

If you came here because you're a boy mom (or the mom of a bull-in-a-china-closet type of either gender), you're gonna LOVE this poem - complete with actual photos: Dudes are Destructive

And finally, if you just want to hear a funny story about the time my kid pooped in a plunger, check this one out: The Nasty Plunge

Thanks for stopping by - welcome to my place. Maybe next time I'll be ready with a plate of cookies.

... Or not.

Bedtime: But First ...

My eyes don't exactly pop open in the morning. It's more like one kind of opens and the other tries to but it's sorta stuck shut and my eyeballs roll around trying to focus and then I just say "screw it" and close them for like five extra minutes.*

*Or, you know, fifteen.

I swear I wouldn't be so tired if I would actually go to bed at the exact moment I intend to. But my "intended bedtime" is perpetually much, MUCH earlier than my actual bedtime. Because I just can't keep myself from doing a bunch of extra stuff on the way there.

So I decided to be proactive and do something about it.

...Like write a poem. (Related poem/explanation of my insane tiredness: Stay the F**k in Your Own Bed)


I'm gonna go to bed, she thought.
It's getting pretty late.
But first I'll run the dishwasher.
She started loading plates.

Once that was done she made her way
To her bedroom down the hall;
But then she was distracted
By some crayon marks on the wall.

I'll clean this up real quick, she thought
And went to get a sponge;
But then, stray socks diverted her
From cleaning up the grunge.

I need to get these in the wash.
She carried them downstairs;
And while I'm here, she told herself,
I'll sort the rest in pairs.

And while she sorted little socks,
She spied a paperclip;
It reminded her she hadn't signed
Her son's permission slip.

She went to get his backpack
And there she found a note:
"Food drive for the homeless -
please donate!" the teacher wrote.

So she headed to the pantry
To fetch a can for that
Which then made her remember
She forgot to feed the cat.

Once she finished all her stuff
And got the kitty fed:
Seriously, she thought, for real -
I've got to get to bed.

Finally she settled in -
And then she heard the tone:
The enticing, urgent sound ...

... Of Facebook on her phone.


And then she checked her email and tomorrow's forecast and kept nodding off and finally dropped the phone on her face the end.

That's how it'd work out for me, anyway.


Ten Boy-Mom "Musts"

This baby factory only makes boys, apparently: if you could see my uterus, it's probably blue. And has a beard.

This fact was a little bit of a cosmic joke, because prior to birthing a domain full of dudes (four, to be exact), I was a total girl's girl. Makeup, exfoliation, perfume, cute shoes. Fruity drinks instead of whiskey shots. Risk breaking a nail? No thank you. Bugs and worms: eww.

But being the mother of a male - whether one or many - changes you. It doesn't mean you have to give up your girly ways (in fact, it's probably more necessary than ever to preserve at least some of them), but parenting someone of the opposite sex can bring challenges that you've just got to adapt to.

So if you're pregnant with a baby boy, or know someone who is, or have a very young boy that's still more babyish than boyish, I've compiled a list of helpful prerequisites to being a boy's mom. You're welcome.

#1: You must love bath time.

And by "bath time" I don't mean you yourself sitting there in a candle-lit bathroom with an inflatable pillow and a tub full of luxurious rose-scented suds. I mean you must love giving baths, because boys require a lot of them. You must be prepared for drenching splashes, a wet-dog smell, a soaked floor, and tons of dirty towels. Same when they get old enough to take a shower by themselves - except then, there's the added "bonus" of the wet-dog smell lingering after they're done, even though the body wash is disappearing like they're eating it. Unless you stand at the door and remind them twenty times to use soap ... everywhere!

(PS - don't buy expensive body wash.)

#2: You must think farts are funny. By the grace of God, I was born with this toilet-humor-loving trait, so I have had a pretty easy time dealing with this aspect. Boys think farts are funny: period. And the way you handle that can determine your stress level. If you laugh with them, you'll all benefit. If you try to get them to stop laughing about it, it will only make things worse. Just stress that there are appropriate times and places to let one rip (i.e., not during the silent part of church or while eating at a restaurant) and you'll be good to go. Even if you personally don't find farts humorous (in which case I'm wondering why you're on my blog), you have to learn to tolerate those who do. Because there'll be a lot of that going on.

#3: You must be prepared for constant - CONSTANT - battle with the toilet. From the time I found out I was expecting my first boy, I was dead-set on one thing: teaching him to use the toilet properly. You know, putting the seat down and stuff. Common courtesy. I have always been a straight-up dictator diligent with my sons when it comes to that, because one of my fears is that they grow up to be men who don't put the seat down. Ick. But despite my best efforts, there's always something. One remembers to put the seat down but not to flush. One remembers to flush but doesn't close the lid. One leaves toilet paper in weird places, like hanging out of the bowl or on the floor (WTF?). And they all sprinkle when they tinkle. I am forever reminding them to aim! Flush! Put the seat down! Close the lid! And then to add insult to injury, I have to clean it. It's seriously exhausting to keep a clean toilet when there's a boy (or a few) using it.

#4: You must rethink your standards of "safety." 

Okay, nobody call child protective services on me - I'm not talking about letting your kids ride without a car seat or letting them play with a lighter. But think about the mom you know (and we all know at least one) who sterilizes her kid's pacifiers and bottles religiously. The mom who hovers endlessly and gasps loudly when her precious snowflake takes a teensy-weensy tumble. You know that mom? Yeah. You can't be that mom when you have a boy, because boys are just rough. They jump off of things and slide down things and climb up things and roll and tumble and tackle and leap and pounce and run. ALL THE TIME. They taste dirt and kitty litter and glue and hardened gum from beneath park benches and restaurant tables just out of curiosity (I mean, one of my boys ate candy that had been peed on). They try to ride their bikes, scooters, and skateboards faster than everyone else ... and try to out-jump everyone else on trampolines. And if you've got multiple boys? Fuhgeddaboutit. They do all that plus wrestle, and occasionally get into full-blown knock-down drag-out fights.

Just stock up on Band-Aids and look the other way for a little bit. For your own sanity.

#5: You must not be surprised at drama. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me, "Oh, you're so lucky - boys are way less dramatic than girls." ... Really? Because my boys are as dramatic as they come. There is plenty of stomping, eye rolling, sobbing, shouting, door slamming, and general sassiness going on around this piece. I don't know why everybody thinks boys are naturally easy-going, respectful, agreeable creatures. It must be because my sons' dramatic outbursts are over "legit" things ... like me not letting them use my good earphones, or getting relegated to "Player 2" on the XBox. Right? Recently, my eight-year-old "hated this house and all his brothers" after a burping contest escalated. And after tripping over his shoelace, my Kindergartner flattened himself out on the floor and wailed, complete with tears, "This world is too dangerous for someone like meeeeeee!"

Don't ever let someone tell you that you're lucky because boys aren't dramatic. Seriously. They have no idea.

#6: You must be prepared for messes. 

Sometimes I go slightly insane at the condition of my house. But unless you can afford to hire a full-time housekeeper, messes are just something you'll have to deal with. And I'm not talking about just clutter from toys. No matter how often you yell and threaten tell them, boys are just not that conscientious about tracking in mud, or grass clippings, or getting toothpaste all over the place, or spilling milk and then maaaaybe half-assed wiping it up with, say, the corner of the tablecloth. (And the boys' toilet? See #3.) Boys will also wipe boogers on walls and carpets and slop food all over the place like pigs at a trough. This isn't due to lack of coaching; trust me, I feel like I spend 75% of my waking moments preaching about keeping things neat and tidy. (I spend the other 25% cleaning up the messes that result when my preaching goes in one ear and out the other.) All of this intensifies with multiple boys and/or a visit from multiple friends. Which brings us to the next prerequisite ...

#7: You must have a lot of food on hand at all times. I was so fooled by this one. Because when your kids are really little they eat virtually nothing, and you think, "I sure am glad my kids aren't big eaters!" And then they get to this stage where - holy crap - did he just inhale those scrambled eggs? My tiny, twiglike eight-year-old will annihilate a man-sized portion of breakfast and complain that he's still hungry. And they always. Want. To snack. My refrigerator opens every five minutes when the kids are home. (And in between those five-minute spans, they're raiding the cabinets.) We spend enough at the grocery store every month to make me feel faint in the checkout line, and we still run out. These little eating machines are like a pack of hungry locusts - and when one has something, they ALL want their own. I can't wait until they're all teenagers!*

*Note the sarcasm. I can totally wait. I need time to find a few more jobs and take out a second mortgage so we can almost afford the grocery bill.

#8: You must be prepared to go through LOTS. And LOTS. Of JEANS. I have written several blog posts about this very subject because seriously? Four boys later and I am still utterly astonished at how fast they can ruin a seemingly-sturdy pair. Denim is supposed to be this rugged fabric, and it may work for lumberjacks, but it's no match for the crawling, scraping, staining, and scooting of little boys. I find this ironic, though, because ...

#9: You must be cool with nudity.

I don't know how my boys go through so many pairs of jeans because, hell, it isn't like they wear them at home. In fact, it isn't like they wear anything at home. In my experience, from the time they are physically able to remove their own clothing, they will. My boys start stripping down the instant they get home from school. Sometimes they lounge around in their underwear, and sometimes they forego the underwear altogether. Which brings us to my very last piece of advice ...

#10: You must get used to "The Grab." I'm talking about the penis. The wiener. The tallywhacker. The wee-wee, the pee-pee, the goods, whatever term you use. They are going to grab it every chance they get (see #9 for an approximate estimation of just how many chances they get). Your adorable infant son will reach down to grab his as soon as you take his diaper off, and in my nine years of experience mothering boys, it doesn't stop after that. They'll pull on it, stretch it, flick it, anywhere, any time they can get access to it. They'll do it in the bathtub and while watching TV. I have literally been forced to utter the phrase "Stop wrapping your penis around your fork." They do it in a way someone might, say, bite their nails or twiddle their thumbs: automatically, absentmindedly, innocently, frequently. After a while, you won't even notice.

... You'll probably be too busy cleaning up messes or shopping for new jeans.

It's Your Fault I'm ...

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and it got me thinking about all the things my kids have made me in their little lifetimes.

I'm not talking about actual things - like necklaces made of Froot Loops and macaroni, or a project comprised of the construction paper/popsicle stick/glue trifecta. (Although Lord knows I have enough pasta and cereal-containing crafts to subsist on for a week if I ever somehow get stranded with nothing but my kids' memory box.)

... Or the special Mother's Day "finger-warmer" my six-year-old fashioned from notebook paper and electrical tape. Clearly he should have considered getting me a manicure instead.

... Because my index finger often gets cold on eighty-degree days.

I'm talking about the ways in which my kids have changed me - and there are tons. They make me happy. They make me proud. They make me want to lock myself in the bathroom with a box of Twinkies. And from the day they were born, they've made me ...

1.) A Big Pile of Mush
This could actually be taken literally, seeing as pregnancy left me with enough residual skin and flab to reupholster my couch (if I were, you know, psychopathic). But. In this case I mean emotional mush. I see my kids in the faces of every starving, hungry-eyed child on the TV commercials for charities. I nearly get sick at reports of pedophiles. I bawl uncontrollably for an hour over blogs by parents of terminally ill children. Where I used to be able to unflinchingly watch doom-and-gloom news reports, I can't see anything anymore without somehow relating it back to my kids - which makes it 100% more ... raw. Pow! Right in the feels.

2.) My Mother
Since I've had kids, I sometimes open my mouth and say things like, "Just look, don't touch!" ... which happens to be the exact same phrase that I utterly despised hearing as a child. I can still hear the way my mom said it - the prim admonition of her voice, lighting in my ear like a mosquito. Yet here I am, not only saying it, but saying it in an identical tone.

I can't say that being like my mother is entirely a bad thing, though. She's a pretty fantastic mom. (Except for that time I almost choked to death on a hard candy and she didn't even notice me frantically trying to get her attention because she was too busy talking to my sister, but hey. I'm not one to hold grudges.)

3.) An Asshole
I spent most of my pre-motherhood life being sweet, even at times when I probably shouldn't have been. I don't know what it is, exactly, but being a mother has triggered some sort of mama-bear instinct - because when somebody messes with my children, they mess with me. It's like PMS times ten. I remember being surprised the first time I stood up for one of my sons: I didn't even mentally re-word my opinion in a sweet and tactful way.

Similarly, I also take less and less of people's crap in general.* Maybe being that way with the kids is giving me lots of practice.

*This also may have a teensy bit to do with my advancing age. I aspire to someday be a crotchety old lady.

4.) A Blogger
I have always liked to write. And I've always written as an emotional outlet. But after becoming a mom, I "went public" with my personal writing. It was an effort to reach out to somebody - anybody - who was familiar with my lifestyle of crumbs, snot smears, Dora, and stretch pants. Thus, a blogger was born.

5.) More Appreciative
I will spend my last dollar on my kids. I will monumentally rearrange my schedule just to accommodate their various appointments and events. I will spend a day at the zoo with a multitude of yapping Kindergartners. I will turn down the opportunity to get drunk during the day. (What?) I will go without, so they don't have to. I do all these things, and more, because I love them like crazy and I want them to be happy. Do they appreciate it? Hell no. They're kids. And having been a kid at one point, I know from personal experience that you have no idea how much your parents do for you until you actually become a parent yourself.

So thanks, Mom, for all the stuff you did for me as a child ... all the things I took for granted.

Except for that one time when you didn't even notice that I was choking on a piece of hard candy.

Didn't. Even. NOTICE.

... But hey. I'm not one to hold grudges.

LEGO Land(mines)

It's a good thing my carpet is as crappy as a freshly-filled diaper, and I don't have one of those "no-shoes" policies in my home - because walking barefoot around here is straight-up hazardous these days.

Remember how I told you guys I got some tickets from ScoreBig.com? They were tickets to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Since we're only a couple of hours' drive from Chicago, we decided to take the kids and make an overnight vacation of it.

Pardon me, but there's a huge giraffe in the way of my photo.

This was seriously the best shot I managed to get of the boys and my mom. Typical. 

The baby was trying to steal the LEGO guy's sandwich. What can I say? He's just like his mama.

The boys adored that place - and, okay, the grownups actually had a good time too. It's pretty fun there to begin with (they have rides! And a 4D theater!), but you know that feeling you get when you see your kids having a blast? Yeah. That kind of adds to the experience.

It also causes a kind of temporary insanity to overtake your common sense (like the time I bought all those fake bugs). Your heart gets all happy when your kids are happy and you're all, "Ohhh! Let's keep up the happiness!" and so you spend $90 in the gift shop on LEGO sets so they can bring the happiness home.

And then you actually get it home and you're like, "Oh. ... Crap."*

*(Or if you're my toddler, you might say "shit.")

Because number one, you realize that like eeeeeverything you bought contains a million little "specialty parts" - without which the original set can never be rebuilt. And you get the sinking feeling that those specialty parts aren't going to stick around for long, because your kids can't even find their shoes in the morning. And lost parts will inevitably lead to much whining. (And then, much wine.)

See all the weird non-standard LEGO parts? The flames ... the eyeballs ... the teeth ... the jointed pieces ... ay yay yay.


I don't know why this picture of my coffee pot is sideways. Just tilt your head, okay? 

Madness, I tell you.

The good thing about all this, though, is that ... you know ...

... Well, the good thing is ...


*cricket, cricket*

Nope. I can't even wrap this post up with a positive.

There are LEGOs all over my floor. No matter how many times they are picked up. Next time, I'm coming at them with the vacuum.

The end.

Roses are Red, Teachers are Saints ...

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. And with the kinds of gifts I have a history of sending, my kids' teachers would probably appreciate it more if I didn't send anything. (Remember last year's used-flower fail?)

I'm trying to step my game up this year. Really. Each day this week, the kids are supposed to do something different to show their teachers their gratitude.

Day one was a handwritten thank-you note: check.
Day two, today, the kids were to "bring their best behavior and a smile for their teacher." That isn't something I can control much except through threats so I'm just hoping for the best. Although I'm not too optimistic since my kindergartner demonstrated his "teacher smile" this morning and it looked kind of like this:

Fake, is what I'm getting at.

Anyway, at the end of the post I linked to above, I promised a poem for this year's Teacher Appreciation Week. And if there's one thing I'm good at, it's eating a whole box of cookies in one sitting. Wait, what? Oh yeah. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's expressing sentiment through flowing, lyrical prose. (Or, you know, peppering my poems with words like "ass.") 
So here we go.

Dear Teacher, the year's almost come to an end
You're more than a mentor: you've become my child's friend.

So to show you we notice your effort and time,
I've written my thanks in the form of a rhyme.

You're tolerant, kind, and you make the day fun
Putting up with kids' crap from the start 'til it's done.

You deal on the daily with stubborn and lazy;
Rambunctious, rebellious - and still don't go crazy.*

*(What's your secret? Seriously.)

You welcome my child warmly into your class
On mornings when even I can't stand his ass.

You still take the time to praise efforts he's made
When you're up to your eyeballs in papers to grade

So thanks for the projects, the pictures, the notes
All the stuff that I'm saving in big plastic totes

You're an integral part of my child's history
Thank goodness you're much MUCH more patient than me!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all the teachers and paraprofessionals in the field! You're awesome!

(And to my sons' teachers ... I know what you deal with, and that's just from MY kids. I'm in awe of you. Really.)

S-H-Why Me?

Candy Crush, man. I blame Candy Crush.

You see, it's a really frustrating game sometimes. And the other day I was playing it and my almost-two-year-old was sitting on my lap, watching. And I maaaaaay have said an exasperated "Shit."

I'm not claiming I never say bad words. But usually when I say a cuss word it's under my breath, out of earshot, whatever. But this. This was just right out in the open. It hung there in the air for a moment, suspended - and then ...

"Shit!" Corbin repeated gleefully. "Shit, shit." Right before my horrified eyes. "Shiiiiiit."

Y'all? This was like two weeks ago. And he has not stopped saying it since.

It's like he took it and ran with it. It's now his favorite word.

Like the other day he tried to pick up a heavy pack of juice boxes. "Ugh! Shit!" he grunted.

Or when he couldn't figure out where the puzzle piece went. "Help, Mommy!" he pleaded. "Shit."

He says it in response to even the slightest frustration. Can't get his sock on? Shit. Can't reach the bananas? Shit. His favorite cup is in the dishwasher? ...You guessed it. SHIT.

By letting that one little word slip out in front of him in that one teeny incident of Candy Crush madness, I inadvertently created a monster. I guarantee you I could try to teach him any other word - any word at all - and it would go in one ear and out the other. But the one word that will get you harshly judged by horrified onlookers at the grocery store or wherever his loud toddler voice happens to launch an S-bomb? He retained that word like a little sponge.

I kid you not, y'all - as I write this, he's in the other room and I literally just now heard a whiny "shiiiiit" in response to a matching game he's playing on the iPhone. *sigh*

In fact, I just recorded him. See for yourself, as he says it like four times in this gem of a clip.



I try to give him an alternate word to use. But does he want an alternate word? No. Apparently he's perfectly happy with "shit."

The one and only silver lining to this whole situation is that he doesn't say the "S-H" part too clearly - so in a pinch, I can lie explain that he's saying "this" or "it" or something similar. You know, like if he says it in front of his brother's teacher at preschool drop-off. Or anywhere else in public.

Which he inevitably will, because ... kids.

I don't know how long this phase will last. I'm hoping my tiny delinquent will latch onto another, less potentially-offensive word. Like "pish-posh" or "dag nabbit."

In spite of myself, though, I can't help but be a tiny bit impressed that he seems to have it in the correct context.

I mean, if my toddler's going to say "shit" a million times a day ... at least he's using it right.

Hole-y Hell

It's officially May. Which means the kids only have one more month of school before an entire summer of 24-7 togetherness. And bickering. And more bickering. And clearing out the fridge like a plague of locusts. And knock-down, drag-out fights. And still more bickering.

... What was I saying?

Oh yes. May. One more month of school left.

It doesn't seem like all that long, but when you're trying to hold together jeans, shoes, and backpacks, it's like a freaking eternity. All my kids' stuff is wearing out. Like, allllll their stuff. Apparently they spend their school days crawling through gravel on their knees, dragging their backpacks through thorn bushes, and using a belt sander on the toes of their shoes.

I don't want to buy them new stuff because hello, it's going to be summer and they won't need backpacks or jeans and they'll be wearing their shoes outside all the time anyway so I don't care if they're raggedy then.

But for now, I hold my breath every time I get a pair of my boys' jeans out of the dryer (oh, okay, or out of the dirty laundry pile. Don't judge). Will this be the wearing (or the washing) that turns out to be the last straw - the one that transforms worn knees into straight-up holes, rendering them un-wearable for school? Will I be forced to send one of my sons to school in a.) holey jeans, looking like a ragamuffin, b.) his brother's jeans that will be totally high-water, or c.) that weird pair of corduroy pants from the back of the drawer that no one ever wears? And on the lucky mornings when I realize that the boys' jeans will indeed live to see another day, I breathe a sigh of relief.

Of course, that does nothing for the anxiety I feel over the backpacks, which are also falling apart minute by minute. I guess it serves us right for buying cheap backpacks in the first place, but dang. School supplies for multiple kids ain't cheap. So now we're trying to hold them together until the end of the year. Just a few more weeks. The other day Cameron was like, "Mommy! My snack fell out of the hole in my backpack!" and I was all, "So I'll put it in the front pocket next time."

"There's a hole in that pocket too!" he wailed.

"Then I'll put it in that weird mesh water-bottle-holding section here on the side," I said. "Just put your hand over it when you walk so the snack doesn't fall out. Again."

And the shoes. We had to bite the bullet a couple months ago and buy them yet another pair of new school shoes because there were literally gaping holes in the toes. (And my suggestion of "just wear two pairs of socks" was met with total disdain. Even though there were only, like, four inches of snow on the ground at the time. Pssshhh.)

Anyway, now these shoes are starting to look tired. But even if they get holes, they're definitely going to be in use until the end of the school year.

Because c'mon. It's warm enough for holey shoes now, right?


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