The reason I don’t eat them

The children, if you must know, are driving me slightly insane right now. Chickadee’s propensity for opposition borders on OCD, and I have resorted to all sorts of bizarre methods in last-ditch attempts to modify her behavior. (This is where the people who were JUST WAITING for evidence of my crappy mothering skills hit the jackpot.) In the last month, I have been: charging her a quarter for every time she tells me “okay” and doesn’t do what she just agreed to do, banning her from her brother’s room (due to her habit of running in there and making a huge mess), throwing away her dirty socks left in any location other than her room or the hamper (this would include but is not limited to: the shoe cubbies by the door, the kitchen table, the couch, MY BED, the stairs, and by the pool) and then making her purchase new ones with her own money, tasking her with cleaning the bathrooms pretty much any time she breaks a rule that doesn’t already have a set consequence.

And it’s not as though Monkey’s off the hook, either.

What Monkey lacks in refinement or, frankly, common sense, he tends to make up for with raw love. But cuddling can only go so far with a child who appears to be missing a volume switch and instead possesses an overblown sense of paranoia. Anything that goes wrong is a GRIEVOUS AFFRONT to him, a DELIBERATE SABOTAGE on his fragile psyche, and woe to your eardrums if you are in the vicinity whenever such a transgression is perpetrated. Furthermore, he is currently the gold medal winner two years running in the Tattletale Olympics, which is completely unnecessary because his sister is in trouble all the time ALREADY. All the tattling accomplishes is making her REALLY ANGRY at him, which increases the chances of her doing something mean, which results in him being aggrieved at the injustice that is his burdened life.

Both of them make my childhood melodramatics look like amateur hour, whether it be the agony of a broken pencil lead (“I have been doing my homework FOREVER and now I’ll NEVER FINISH IT!”) or the horror of what’s served for dinner (“You know I don’t like it when MY FOOD IS TOUCHING!”) or the regular slave labor I demand of them (“WHY do I always have to MAKE MY BED??”).

So.

That’s sort of how it’s been going, in the grand scope of things. Oh yes, I rest easy in the knowledge that they are both being lovely and personable and hard-working at school and the fact that they save all of this SPECIAL BEHAVIOR for me means they are normal and secure and yeah, whatever; I may still be spending a lot of time these days taking a deep breath and quietly saying, “You are invading my personal space. Please move. Thank you.”

The OVERALL is a bit… trying, is what I’m saying.

The way to get through the OVERALL is to focus on the MOMENTS, I am finding. It is certain moments that are saving my children’s hides.

Like, the other day we four were all in the kitchen and Monkey was rambling on about something, and I was mmhmming and filling up my water glass and hoping he was actually talking to Chickadee or Otto, because I wasn’t paying much attention.

After a brief silence, Monkey pointed at me and said, “Girls only think about their husbands and girl stuff.”

“Girls only think about their husbands and GIRL SCOUTS?” I asked through my guffaws, because I’d misheard him and for some reason that struck me as completely hilarious.

Chickadee and Otto—who’d heard him correctly—laughed at my mistake while Monkey tried to correct me.

“Blah blah blah blah husband,” said Otto, thoughtfully. “Blah blah blah blah thin mints!”

“I like thin mints!” joined in Chickadee. “But I do not have a husband. Maybe I can just spend that time thinking about more cookies!”

We all giggled and kept it up (“Hmmm, I think I… oh, Samoas!”) until Monkey decided he was offended and needed to make his affront as clear as possible.

This was achieved by emitting a sound that approximated sheet metal rubbing on gravel.

“Oh!” I declared, “I think you should let us know you’re upset by making a REALLY HORRIBLE NOISE! Good idea!”

A giggle burst through the screeching noise, but he was otherwise unwavering. The rest of us had now stopped our cookie talk to observe him.

“Wow,” said Otto, “that sort of sounds like a cat in a blender. On low.”

Chickadee thrust her arm into the air, pointer finger extended in the international symbol of “I have an important scientific point to raise,” and intoned, “Will it blend?

They’re pretty good entertainment, my family.

40 Responses to “The reason I don’t eat them”

  1. 1
    Ariel October 2, 2007 at 10:31 am #

    I’m glad its not only me…
    bring on the vodka!

  2. 2
    Katie October 2, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    I think Chickadee may be my twin’s long lost triplet. Socks everywhere, check, “okay” meaning nothing, check. Seriously not sure how I’m going to make it through the next 10 years.

  3. 3
    Melisa October 2, 2007 at 10:44 am #

    Same here. Only my kids are on “Fall break” for the next two weeks. (Year-round school schedule…we started school at the end of July and just finished our first quarter.) Lucky me!

  4. 4
    All Adither October 2, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    I liked the sheet metal on gravel description.

    Myself, I’m going to start interacting with my kids and generally moving about the house wearing a pillow rubberbanded around my skull.

  5. 5
    Aimee October 2, 2007 at 10:48 am #

    Well, if you change your mind and decide to eat them, I recommend stuffing them with both Thin Mints and Samoas first. They’ll taste better.

  6. 6
    Kimberly October 2, 2007 at 10:51 am #

    Oh, the socks! I hear you about the socks! For us it’s food wrappers though. So, stinky, and crumby, and buggy! Fabulous!

    I may be meaner, though. Every wrapper or juice box I pick up gets chucked into her room, not the garbage. I hand over the allowance on Friday, and if I have to clean the room on Sunday because it didn’t get done, I make her pay me for being her maid. She got over not getting allowance at all fairly quickly, but the indignity of having to give money back seems to be making an impression.

    So, would a vague sense of paranoia be more or less irritating do you think? Still thinking that people are out to get him, but less sure of the affrontery….

  7. 7
    Ani October 2, 2007 at 11:04 am #

    On some days, you just hit the nail right on the head. Thanks for reminding me I’m not the only one who occasionally knows exactly why some animals eat their young.

  8. 8
    becky October 2, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    i have never seen that site, but now that i have, i must say: it is awesome. i will be sharing it with people… especially the glow stick episode. cool!

  9. 9
    Jenni October 2, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    The sock thing is a biggie over here, too. Unfortunately, it’s the husband commiting the crime. I’ve just stopped washing anything that doesn’t make it into the hamper. When he doesn’t have clean socks, maybe he will have learned his lesson?

  10. 10
    pam October 2, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    and don’t foget the bacon salt. Yummmm salty bacony cookie stuffed kiddies…

  11. 11
    Kristi October 2, 2007 at 11:23 am #

    Do you think the Blendtec would work on the kids?

    Thanks for the time I just wasted watching miscellaneous objects being destroyed by that machine! Why do I want one now?!

  12. 12
    cce October 2, 2007 at 11:32 am #

    I, too, have resorted to charging my children for manners and housekeeping infractions. A dime an offense. We have quite a monetary stash going and I keep hinting that I will soon have enough money to run off to the Bahamas and leave them to their elbows-on-the-table, dirty-clothes-scattering selves. They are not even remotely distressed by this possibility.

  13. 13
    Megan October 2, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    Socks…. ergh. Our culprit is the Male Child who not only takes off its nasty, smelly, DAMP socks, he drapes them artistically over the furniture. I have also now thrown his p.e. kit at his head three times in as many days and am now hoping he will find himself in gym class naked, wondering what went wrong.

    The tattle thing I actually do have some assvice for. When the Children were quite young one of them came wailing up with that particularly shrill whine that blocks out all the words and its father looked it seriously in the face and said “Hmmm… I don’t hear my name in that.” Totally floored me with the genius; within a few months the tattling had dried up almost entirely.

  14. 14
    Cele October 2, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    Oh I am so glad to be past all this.

  15. 15
    Sheila October 2, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    I have just spent twenty minutes watching a blender destroy objects. I need a life. Or a BlendTec and twelve glow sticks.

  16. 16
    Beth October 2, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    You… ok, *I*… just diverted an entire department with that Will it Blend? site! Wild!

    Not having had siblings, I don’t know what to tell you, other than we’re here for you!

  17. 17
    Flea October 2, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    I LOVE Will It Blend? The pureed turkey dinner is what we’re having for Thanksgiving this year … if I can get my hands on one of those babies.

    I also love the idea of charging for socks, but mine all wear the same size and type (I hate matching socks), making it tough to determine whose they are. And they’re all guilty. And the cleaning of the bathroom … good one.

    We’ve implemented one here (our first two story home), that I give my sis-in-law credit for. Infractions get a kid ten laps up and down the stairs. Work off the Nintendo roll.

  18. 18
    jennielynn October 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm #

    I hae found that children are delicious roasted with potatoes and onions. Just sayin’.

    And thank you for the link to Will it Blend?

  19. 19
    daisy October 2, 2007 at 12:47 pm #

    My MIL was appalled when I kept most of my daughter’s clothes in a trash bag in the trunk of my car and she only had 3 outfits to wear for almost a month…even to CHURCH. That was the part she couldn’t understand….why I would send her in horrible clothes for CHURCH.

    Although…with my daughter I have to admit she really never did learn to keep her room clean….until she bought her own house as an adult.

  20. 20
    Sara October 2, 2007 at 12:58 pm #

    I think that rather than simply throwing Chickadee’s socks away, for your own entertainment you could do “will it blend” with them. That way, she still has to pay for socks, but you get the entertainment value of blended footwear. In fact, I think I might employ this strategy for my son, who can’t seem to figure out that if socks aren’t on your feet or in your drawer, they should be in the laundry basket.

  21. 21
    ScottsdaleGirl October 2, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    We have resorted to really hitting him where it hurts…

    Everytime I find a soda can/Capri Sun shell laying anywhere in the house – it’s a 15 minute deduction on his bed time. At this rate he will be going to bed before he gets home from school.

  22. 22
    Florinda October 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    Delurking to thank you for sharing about Monkey – “…a child who appears to be missing a volume switch and instead possesses an overblown sense of paranoia. Anything that goes wrong is a GRIEVOUS AFFRONT to him, a DELIBERATE SABOTAGE on his fragile psyche, and woe to your eardrums if you are in the vicinity whenever such a transgression is perpetrated. Furthermore, he is currently the gold medal winner two years running in the Tattletale Olympics, which is completely unnecessary because his sister is in trouble all the time ALREADY.” Sounds a lot like The Boy who lives at my house. I’m just glad to have company.

  23. 23
    Rhonda October 2, 2007 at 2:00 pm #

    Mir, visit your want not every day but just noticed a post you had left with Joshilyn Jackson. Can you email me? I want to ask you about the ipod you listen to books on. Want to purchase one but don’t know what kind.

  24. 24
    Susan October 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm #

    You know they behave that way because they know you won’t eat them. You might try biting off a finger or two so they know you’re serious. :-)

  25. 25
    Andrea October 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm #

    I just laughed out loud. Oh man.

    Incidentally, I always think of samoas. And never, ever trefoils.

  26. 26
    Megan October 2, 2007 at 4:30 pm #

    What? Don’t you scream and shake your body and beat your fists against the wall if someone brings you a pomegranate martini instead of a vodka-n-cranberry?
    I know I do. We have to keep these things like being ignored, laughed at and getting the wrong drink in perspective. All three things mean it’s time for a genuine freak out. (Don’t forget the “my meat is touching my potatoes.” This also necessitates a freak out.)

  27. 27
    angelfeet October 2, 2007 at 4:34 pm #

    I definitely lack your strategies. I want you to be my Mom (only, I’m older than you so that won’t work). Parent my children instead.

  28. 28
    Momof3Boys October 2, 2007 at 4:54 pm #

    Will it Blend? Oh, I am never going to show that site to my nine year old. He will try every single one of the “Don’t Try This at Home” experiments. ESPECIALLY the Bic lighters.

    Yep, your house is entertaining. I ‘nary know a home with children under ten that isn’t. Then they enter the teenage years and we all duck and cover. Maybe run screaming for the hills.

  29. 29
    dynamitt October 2, 2007 at 4:55 pm #

    I like to see that you are actually raising your kids to be responsible. I meet so many parents through my work which think they should do everything for their kids so the kids still like them.

  30. 30
    Matty the Stranger October 2, 2007 at 5:00 pm #

    Shelia wrote “I have just spent twenty minutes watching a blender destroy objects. I need a life. Or a BlendTec and twelve glow sticks.”

    I now hang my head in shame b/c I, too, have lost the last 20 min.

    Thanks, Mir, for letting us laugh with you. I promise, we’re not laughing at you!

    SDG,
    Matty

  31. 31
    kate setzer kamphausen October 2, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    Pretty Mir, you *do* visit Go Fug Yourself and Cute Overload every day at some point, don’t you?

    I find they help a lot. As distractions, mostly.

  32. 32
    Denise October 2, 2007 at 6:26 pm #

    Gosh. That’s a lot of capital letters, I’ve never seen you type so many caps all at one time. Weird. Scary. I’m tempted to go speak to my kids all in caps. Cause it was also inspiring. Cool. Thanks.

    And actually, I have some experience as a girl who spent a lot of time thinking about her husband – and about Girl Scouts LEADERS – but that’s another story, isn’t it?

    Heh.

  33. 33
    Colleen October 2, 2007 at 8:26 pm #

    My kids love the Will It Blend site. We bought a blendtec a few weeks ago and it gets used daily — but I do not let them put socks or glowsticks in it. They do love carrots in it, though.

  34. 34
    Susan October 2, 2007 at 8:52 pm #

    Sometimes I read your posts and it’s like you live inside my head.

    But you knew that already.

  35. 35
    Angel October 2, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    Just wait til she’s 12 LOL.

    And um, I don’t like my food to touch either. But I just push it apart. A little. (I’m so OCD).

  36. 36
    FENICLE October 2, 2007 at 11:21 pm #

    Trust me you make my parenting skills look like Britney Spears.

  37. 37
    MyStarbucks October 3, 2007 at 8:26 am #

    I’m new here. I came over from the In Full Bloom Blog and you definitely made me laugh so I will be back. The other day I overheard my 5 year old daughter telling her 10 year old sister that she better get out of town. I laughed and finally realized she’s probably been watching too much tv. Kids, the laughter makes up for the irritation…..I think.

  38. 38
    patty October 7, 2007 at 5:16 pm #

    Hey! How about having her buy back her own dirty socks, and then have to wash them herself?…Just following your lead.

  39. 39
    kimblahg October 9, 2007 at 9:45 am #

    “propensity for oppostition” what a great phrase!

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