Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here

By Mir
February 15, 2006

I feel I’m in a holding pattern, and it goes like this:

Get up. Get kids off to school. Walk. Shower. Work. Run errands. Get kids from school. Do chores and/or make kids do their chores. Supervise kids. Cook. Eat. Do the evening thing. Get kids tucked in. Watch television. Sleep.

Lather, rinse and repeat.

You’ll notice that nowhere on that list is anything like “worry about my boob,” “take a nap,” “misread various commercials in potentially confusing ways” (Aveeno lotion has soothing OAT essence, by the way… I would never recommend a lotion containing soothing CAT essence, but to each her own), or “get multiple Schoolhouse Rock earworms imbedded in my head.” But I’m a multitasker, so I often go above and beyond the approved schedule that way.

The girl child is working on a project, and it is going to make my brain explode.

Our school district does this thing called the Invention Convention, every year. In theory, it’s designed to get elementary-school kids interested in creative problem-solving and thinking outside the box. In actuality, it’s a Sisyphean parental exercise in trying to lead your offspring through a critical thinking process or at least CHRIST, SIT DOWN A MINUTE and PRETEND you’re working on this. Also, every time anyone says “Invention Convention,” it is your solemn duty to belt out a verse of “Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?”

Look; I don’t believe in parents doing their kids’ homework. Chickadee professed her intentions to participate in the Invention Convention last year, but greeted each of my queries about her project with a blank stare, and thus ended up not entering. It is not my job to do her project. If she can’t do it, there will be no project.

On the other hand, I’m not going to feed her to the sharks, either. When I first asked her what she wanted to do for her project? She answered, “I think it’d be cool if I could come up with a cure for cancer!”

How do you argue with that, really? I mean, it WOULD be cool.

But, ah, yes; I felt the need to perhaps just steer her a little in this process, sure. I (gently) pointed out that yes, a cure for cancer would be FABULOUS. But that such things are rarely whipped up by second graders, although IF a second grader was going to shatter that convention I was CERTAIN it would be HER, just as soon as she could master getting BOTH dirty socks into the hamper at once. But in the meantime, maybe we could just brainstorm some “problems” with current objects/tasks and some potential solutions.

The problems she wanted to tackle? She doesn’t like that she has to get up so early for school. Or that sometimes her brother looks at her. Or that she gets in trouble for mouthing off.

Okay, so, five hundred redirections later, we’d narrowed the field down to two different ideas. One that would’ve had a pretty easy solution (easy to conceptualize, easy to build) and one that would be fairly tricky. GUESS which one she decided she wanted to do? Go on, GUESS!

So, we went on an expedition to the craft store for supplies. And came home with our loot, and tried to figure out how to build what she needed to build. Most of her ideas require physics available only in the 5th dimension, or–alternately–body flexibility on the part of the user generally only found in members of Cirque du Soleil.

I spend a lot of my time trying to walk the fine line between “not doing the project for her” and “not wanting her to have multiple breakdowns when she discovers that what she wants to do can’t be done that way.” So we’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of trying to predict outcomes, and a lot of me saying “measure twice, cut once” which is totally lost on her but I can’t seem to stop saying it (and it seems a preferrable alternative to “I’m not spending another $20 on supplies so don’t waste these”).

Aaaaand a lot of her trying to wander off and watch television while “we” are working on her project. I then call for her and jab myself in the eye repeatedly until she comes back. We’re just having THE MOST FUN EVER.

But I am still looking forward to the Invention Convention (Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?) being over. Also? I’m just a bill, yeah I’m only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….

But WAIT! There’s MORE! Extra special bonus Monkey footage, just for you!

The Big Project is taking up quite a bit of time, and while I TRY to give Monkey an equal amount of attention, the sad truth is that his sister is getting the lion’s share of my brainpower these days. All too often I am nodding and smiling and saying “Okay, honey” when I honestly have NO idea what he just said. (Oh, hush. Like you’ve never done that.)

Tonight, I was getting the water adjusted in the shower for him, and the fan was running in the bathroom (it’s sort of noisy), and Monkey’s MOUTH was running and mostly I was hearing “blah blah blah blah blah BLAH.” I leaned into the shower one more time to test the water, and pulled out from behind the curtain in time to hear Monkey say,

“blah blah BLAH blah blah your VAGINA!”

I stared at him, and he–unbothered at my reaction, and wiggling his naked tush in my general direction–continued putting his discarded clothing into the hamper.

“EXCUSE ME?” He turned around and met my gaze, eyes glinting and lips twitching. “WHAT did you just say about MY VAGINA??” His lips gave up the fight and his mouth spread into an angelic smile.

“I said, uh, your vagina IS PRETTY!” Ohhhh, butter wouldn’t have melted in the kid’s mouth. He was SO PLEASED with his fabrication in the face of imminent danger.

“You don’t… it’s not… you haven’t seen… GET IN THE SHOWER!” His cackles bounced off the tiles and muffled my own snorts and giggles. He’s going to make some nice girl very aggravated one day. I’m so proud.


  1. DebR

    If someone (like Chickadee maybe!) invented a lotion that made a soothing purring sound as you rub it in, that would be like “soothing CAT essence”, right? See…not so bad!

    Are you going to start putting “Pretty Vagina” tshirts on your Cafe Press site? Just wondering.

  2. joan

    aargh!! having just tonight helped complete one “bridge project” (yes, pick a local bridge, and “construct” it! and then write a report, and a speech!) with a 3rd grade child, and one “SOSS” (“show our special science stuff,” I think?) with a 1st grade child which involved a lot of last-minute ideas – “but, I want to make a real sloth habitat!,” and I am definitely ready to run off into the sunset in search of that elusive conjunction junction …

  3. buffi

    Yep, this is why SugarPlum skipped the science fair this year. All the good SchoolHouse Rock songs were taken. (thanks for those bedtime earworms, Mir)

    I’m with Deb. I want a “Pretty Vagina” t-shirt. Monkey is my hero. But that’s probably because he’s your kid, not mine. Talk to me next year when I’ve been doing the single parent thing for a few months. I won’t be nearly so smug.

  4. Mr. Fabulous

    I agree. The idea is very marketable LOL

  5. Jim

    girlchild: paper mache, paint, vinegar, and baking soda

    boychild: soap and mouth

    mommy: valium and vodka

  6. Contrary

    Am I the only one who still wants to know what he really said?

  7. diane

    Oh my god Mir, this post brought back memories. When I was in 5th grade the “EDGE” classes (Enrichment & Development through Gifted Education–does anyone even have gifted programs anymore??) did an Invention Convention. Oh yes, with that very name. Just be grateful Chickadee hasn’t been encouraged to dress up like a mad scientist like we were. At least…not yet.

  8. dad

    I love those kids.
    Nice recovery Monkey.

  9. Aimee

    …hookin’ up words, and phrases and clauses.


  10. Jessie

    Ah…from the mouths of babes. Between this and taking a card from someone else’s “dick” sounds like his vocabularly is expanding nicely. :)

  11. lilymane

    I had one son who wanted to do “paper machete” for his science fair project. “He was a hairy bear. He was a scary bear.”
    Good Luck to Chickadee!
    PS – I’d buy the t-shirt. Go Monkey!

  12. ishouldbeworking

    Thanks for the ear worm, Mir. I’ll be humming those the rest of the day.

  13. Mysh

    Oh great! Now I’m Schoolhouse-Rock-morphing “Pretty Vegas” by INXS into “Pretty Vagina”!!!

    Thanks a lot.


  14. Peek

    LOL at Monkey. I love that kid!!!

    I HATE projects. My sympathies.

  15. Heather

    I too am terribly curious to know what Monkey actually said. Kids are so…special sometimes. heh. Monkey especially! What a pistol.

  16. poopie

    I notice there’s no time scheduled for wild sex in there. Could that be an oversight?

  17. Zuska

    …Monkey’s comment reminded me of my friend’s young niece, who in the same week not only learned the proper names for her body parts, but in religion class also learned that “God is everywhere.” At the dinner table one night, she told her family that “Jesus Christ is in my vagina.”

    Good luck on Chickadee’s project!!

  18. Kris

    Mother Necessity, where would we be?

  19. Krisco

    Sometimes it’s nice to have the routine days like that.

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