Other important lessons

By Mir
August 4, 2005

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave feedback on the last post. I know that most folks stop by here for The Funny, and sometimes when I post on more serious topics, the crickets chirp loudly and I do my Elephant Man impersonation here, alone in my bedroom at night (“I am not an animal! I am a person!”) while wondering if I always have to balance a ball on my nose while juggling two live chainsaws and a baby.

Anyway. I’m glad that I had more than crickets to keep me company on that last bit o’ rambling. So, thanks.

As a reward for indulging me while I stared, mesmerized, into my navel, I now present a few other important skills I hope that my offspring will attain at some point in my lifetime. (Yes, mine. Not theirs. It doesn’t count if I don’t live to see it. Because I’m a selfish bitch that way. Also other ways, but let’s try to stay on topic for right now.)

In no particular order, Things I Very Much Wish The Children Can Attain In The Near Future If Not Sooner:

The ability to puke into a target receptacle. I mean really, now. I accept that parenting is messy. I accept that toddlers and even slightly older children sometimes just cannot recognize the impending hurl and/or coordinate themselves to get where they need to be. The kids are now seven and five-and-a-half. This is your head; this is a bucket larger than your head. THAT is my FLOOR and/or YOUR BED. You are sick to your stomach, not PARALYZED. Figure. It. Out.

Acceptance of the fact that I am smarter than you. It never fails to amuse me, how shocked and horrified the children are to discover that I am on to them. Maybe someday they’ll be able to fool me, but today is not someday. For example: If I walk into your room and you quickly pull your arms out of the stuffed animal bin while leaping ten feet in the air and looking like the cat that ate the canary, it is inadvisable to later lie to me when I ask what happened to that borrowed book. Try rubbing together any two available brain cells and you will realize that as soon as you left the room, I found the book underneath the stuffed giraffe. You’re not keeping it. And now you’re in trouble for 1) hiding it and 2) lying about it. Give it up.

Willingness to carry out everyday tasks without making it a competition. I don’t care who buckled their seatbelt first. I care that the loser emits ear-piercing wails. Running to the mailbox while trying to elbow each other out of the way ends in someone falling. I have trouble being sympathetic when I want to kill you both. Being FIRST at tooth-brushing just means I’ll make you brush again because I doubt that your molars even smelled the toothpaste in your rush to declare yourself the winner.

Knowledge that accidents happen; hiding them gets sticky. Literally. Are my kids the only ones who spill food or drinks and wave a paper towel in the general direction and call it good? I’m happy to help clean up. I am NOT so happy to pick up a sofa cushion and find a week-old glob of applesauce.

The comprehension that correctness doesn’t increase with greater volume. I am right here. I can hear you just fine. Repeating yourself and/or interrupting with progressively louder declarations doesn’t somehow make your behavior more acceptable. I am not telling you no or asking you to be quiet because I can’t hear you, but because I can.

Recognition of this strange object near my head and what it implies. For some period of time, harmony has prevailed (more or less) and no one has needed me for anything. And yet, as soon as I put this thing near my head and start talking to someone who ISN’T YOU, you have a dire emergency or three. And these emergencies are things that, oddly enough, I do not consider catastrophes. A hair on your tongue; congratulations! A need to discuss your toe; wonderful! A sudden urge to antagonize your sibling; GO TO YOUR ROOM AND LET ME TALK ON THE PHONE FOR JUST FIVE MINUTES YOU LITTLE INGRATE! Sheesh.

The grace to partake of a meal without leaving a trail of crumbs. Listen, I don’t remember naming you two Hansel and Gretel. It’s not like you’ll need clues later to find your way back to the kitchen table. I’m not even sure how one manages to create a perfect ring of debris around the chair AND still have enough left over to get up afterwards and mark your passage through the house. Times like these… I really miss the dog.

The understanding that two wrongs make both of you in trouble. If I had a nickel for every time I said “I don’t CARE that he/she did it FIRST,” we could go to Disneyworld. Every year. Maybe twice every year. I have explained repeatedly that if your sibling does it first and you do it second, all that means is that one of you gets in trouble for disobeying, and one of you gets in trouble for both disobeying and being DUMB.

I’m sure I’m overlooking some key topics. Feel free to enlighten me with your own.


  1. Tracy

    I found your blog a little while back and just wanted to let you know that I love to read it! You really hit the nail on the head with today’s post.

    Also, about the puking, I totally know what you mean. My youngest (8) is finally getting that one down. My friend’s daughter is a senior in high school and still can’t/won’t get out of bed to puke…isn’t that disgusting? She says she can’t feel it coming on but if my two kids (10 and 8) can, then I’m sure a 17yo can.

  2. buffi

    How about: Slamming your door twice when sent up there will only increase your grounding exponentially. The screaming while in there doesn’t help your case at all.

  3. Nic

    It all seems so very basic and simple doesn’t it? More power to you Mir, not just for being able to put up with all those things without selling the kids to your local gypsies but also for being able to articulate each point. It does kinda worry me about my own future though…

  4. Jennifer

    Re: your item #2. Between the ages of 0-5 and the ages 23-99, they will acknowledge this. The rest of the time, they become so self-stupid as to delude themselves into believing they are smarter than everyone. You especially. You just have to deal with the gap as best you can.

  5. Petunia

    Your kids wave a paper towel in the general direction of a mess that they made??? Wow. How’d you get them to do that?
    The only person in our house who makes messes is “Not-me”. And he doesn’t clean up at all!

  6. Jessica

    LOL! Well put. I’m lucky – my kids have never been pukers. However, the thing about the breadcrumbs (and everything else) – dead on! Here’s what I did about the crumbs on the floor. I bought a small broom that comes with a dustpan with a long handle (the kind you see street sweepers use only smaller). It sits in the kitchen and they both know how to use it. They actually like to sweep because it’s easy for them to handle. The girls are good about not eating anywhere but the kitchen, their father on the other hand . . .

  7. justdawn

    OMG-I just spit Chinese food all over my computer screen while laughing. You are so dead on!
    Sad part is that we may never live to see these lessons learned..we can only hope. My oldest would still benefit from reading these.

  8. shannon

    And this is why we have two cats and a dog… :)

    Although the dog isn’t very good about keeping her water off the floor as she drinks. She’s a slurper and sloshes it everywhere. Maybe I could train her to use one of the cats to clean it up? Nah…

  9. La Pix

    Ah… it takes a long time to grow up. I think the things on this list come naturally to about 1% of all kids. But they do come in time to many adults…

    My brother only learned not to spill and how to clean up spills after college. Even though we had done a million chores at home growing up.

    The puking and aiming thing I mastered at an early age. I got one of the whippings of my life for throwing up in my bed when I was 8.

    The other stuff is tough. I think values are learned by trial and error for most humans. It will take time.

    I’ve been thinking of you. Totally overwhelmed and almost out of internet commission, but hoping you’re doing ok.

  10. Evelyn


    I’ve been lurking in the background for a while, and I love reading your blog! I’ve been using livejournal for a while, but recently (ie, today) set up a blog that I’d like to get going…

    anywho, point is, I experimented with the blogroll thing and ended up adding yours, if that’s alright! :)

  11. Carol

    Aww, it’s so sweet to see that you are living vicariously through me. At least you can articulate it. I am just left fuming mad and all I can seem to do is sound exactly like my 5 year old.

  12. MamaPajama

    I was a single parent with an only child for many years. My daughter could never comprehend that I KNEW who took the bag of chips, who broke the good teacup and who left the towels on the floor. Simple process of elimination.

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