Progress report

By Mir
June 29, 2006

I really thought that by now, the kids and I would be well into our Summer Routine. We are, indeed, if our routine is no routine whatsoever, and one or both of the following things may or may not have happened recently only I am totally not admitting anything:

A) We are lolling about at the library one afternoon, nary a care in the world, when my cell phone rings. It’s my ex, wanting to know where we are. I’m about to explain in detail why his question and his tone are unnecessary, when I realize why he’s calling. It’s his afternoon with the kids, Chickadee has Tae Kwon Do class to get to, and WE’RE NOT HOME. Because I’d spent the entire day thinking it was… some other day. (Bonus points if I then instructed my ex on how to BREAK INTO THE HOUSE to pick up Chickadee’s uniform!)

B) We are lolling about at home one morning, kids in their pajamas, me working at my computer and occasionally stopping to change the channel (oh marvelous magical babysitter television, how I do love you and your evil lure), when I look up and realize that it’s 1:00. And the kids are still in their jammies. “Does anyone want some lunch?” I try to stay casual, but my cover is blown when Chickadee confesses she never had any BREAKFAST.

Where is my Mother of the Year Award??

On the flip side, despite the more-than-ample proportion of dreary, rainy days, there are whole MINUTES at a time when the children do a splendid job of staying busy and out of trouble. I mean, yes, there was the day I came home and discovered that the sitter had allowed them to use an entire roll of tape. And did you know that GOO (yes, that’s what it’s called) really just doesn’t work all that well in the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop? GO FIGURE. But on the whole, they’ve been okay. I haven’t heard “I’m booo-ooored” yet.

Things I HAVE heard:
“She punched me.”
“He’s lying.”
“I didn’t do it.”
“I don’t know what happened.”
“Yes, I DO think the maid will clean it up for me. YOU BE THE MAID, MAMA!”
“Want me to fart on you?”
“Give it or I’m telling.”

… and my absolute all-time favorite…

“MAMA! I have SNOPE in my nose!”

This was quickly corrected to what Monkey was TRYING to say, which was “some soap” concatenated down to “snope,” somehow, but hearing this shouted out to me from the other side of the shower curtain was somehow the highlight of my week. We started giggling and haven’t really stopped, since.

For him, I suppose the hilarity lies in the effect the word has on me. For me, I just got this crystal-clear mental image of my skinny son dispensing little paper scrolls from his nose like those horoscope machines you still sometimes see at low-budget stores. Each scroll could be unrolled to reveal a fantastical tale of someone else’s horror. Perhaps he could tell you—between bites of pop-tart—about how some kid was dragged into the bathroom at Walmart and her head was shaved and the kidnapper got her out of the store in a wig and it’s RILLY RILLY TRUE because he knows someone whose aunt’s cousin’s uncle’s best friend’s boyfriend’s sister knows the person that it happened to! Also, do not blink your headlights at gang members, because they will follow you home and kill you!

How do I know? I found out from the boy with SNOPE IN HIS NOSE!

(Also, seriously: What is with this child and his nose, anyway? Sheesh.)

Anyway, that has now become a cheerful greeting of sorts, as well as a great way to pass the time. When Monkey climbed into my bed this morning at 6:30, I asked him if he had any snope in his nose, and he giggled and insisted that I had snope in my nose, and I said that he shouldn’t be silly, because I obviously have MINCEMEAT in my nose, and by the way, I’m pretty sure I can see some snope in your ear, there, Kid.

Chickadee is not so on board with the Snope Revolution, but at least she’s having the sort of growth spurt that renders a child gangly and unsteady like a baby deer, coupled with the mild temperment of an hungry bear. Yeah. (If this is any indication of what PMS is going to be like for her, you can find me in my nice, dry basement… HANGING MYSELF.) She is mouthy and surly and determined to attach herself to me, leech-like, while I try to decide whether it would be best to twist her head off clockwise or counter.

We are both alarmed by how she is suddenly all knees and elbows and elongated feet that fit into her new boat-sized sneakers. After some transgression or another, she tries to curl up in my lap, and has to fold herself tightly to avoid dangling off the edge of the chair. My sense is that a lot of this recent defiance springs from a definite opinion on this whole growing up thing (Resolved: fight it with all her might), and she makes it clear that she needs me not a whit until AFTER punishment is meted out, and then she’s all apologies and leech behavior.

This held true even after I’d plucked the last juice box out of her hands (and the straw out of her mouth) and handed them to Monkey and left her juiceless (I’d okayed juice boxes as long as there were TWO, and she ran for the last one and tried to suck it down while Monkey stood there pointing and sputtering), and also after I’d taken away her Library Treasure Map (used to keep track of summer reading, and redeemable at various points for prizes) for locking Monkey in her room while he pummelled the door and cried to leave.

[Yes, I just confessed to taking away my child’s reading list as a punishment. When she’s really bad, I institute a total ban on learning of any kind and instead plug her directly into Nintendogs and tell her to stay there until she forgets how to wipe herself.]

So each event went through the predictable cycle of denial, rage, contrition, and ending with her attached to my body in some way. At one point she’d clambered onto my desk chair and was hanging over my shoulder while Karen and I instant-messaged about shoe shopping. Karen was kind enough to show me a pair of shoes with an outrageous price tag, followed up by an all-caps statement of her opinion of said shoes.

I quickly scrolled her comment off the screen, away from alert little reading eyes, by typing periods and carriage returns until not a trace of this commentary remained.

“Mama, what are you DOING?” Chickadee quizzed me.

“I’m, uh, just clearing the screen. Do you think you could get down, now?” Her arms tightened around my waist, while her chin dug into my shoulder.

“No. But WHY did you do that?”

I sighed. “Because there’s a SPYING LITTLE LEECH attached to me who doesn’t need to be reading my conversations, that’s why.” She released one arm from my waist and slung it around my shoulders, instead. Then she pushed up a bit, to get closer to the screen.

“Did she say something BAD?” If the force of her will alone could’ve scrolled the conversation back into view, I think she could’ve done it.

“Well, she said something you don’t need to read,” I conceded.

“Oh!” She crowed, bouncing slightly on the chair, “Does it rhyme with DUCK?”

I tried to squelch the giggles that threatened to spill out. “No,” I told her, turning around and gathering up all of her limbs and removing her from the chair and dropping her onto the nearby couch, “It rhymes with SNOPE.”

That was totally a justifiable white lie, even if only because she’s still trying to figure it out.


  1. Susan

    Oh, I think I need to see those shoes . . .

  2. carolyn

    We do the same thing at my house. I actually forgot to go to church last Sunday because I forgot what day it was. I try to keep important stuff written on the calendar or in the daytimer, but I have taken to writing myself notes and taping them important places, like the coffee pot, in order to remember. It is sad…

  3. Cele

    I am still trying to figure it out…

    I remember having to take Psam’s books away from her just to get her to clean her room. Not reading to her was a fate worse than death…she learned to hide her books by her tweens.

    A great place for post it notes…on your rearview mirror. Which helps you not in the least at one in the afternoon when you’re still in your jammies.

  4. danelle

    I totally forgot what day the trash truck comes. I still don’t know and am dreading it, but I have to call them and ask them what day I am. I’m a tool.

  5. Elleoz

    Oooo what a pretty site if I do say so myself. Definately worth the wait!

    Even though I work full time, we have those days too. I am sure that this weekend will be one of them since I will be alone with the kids all weekend with no help in site. I think we will eat ice cream for breakfast and have a slumber party in my bed! Weeee!

    My kids are still too young to read, but DD has already started the leech behavior. And as soon as I try to do something without DD knowing about it (like going to the bathroom by myself) she is right behind me asking “whatya doin mama”?. It can only get worse I am afraid.

  6. Randi

    You do realize, Mir, that you’re giving those of us with two children an view of what will happen later in life, and it leads me to one question.

    Do I kill myself now, or later…

  7. Beachgal

    I only have one little leachy boy, at 2 1/2 but I know how much of a handful he’s going to be when he gets bigger. And I forget EVERYTHING lately. Lately? Who am I kidding, since having the kid, my memory is horrible! I hope it comes back soon.

  8. Lesley

    Heh, I believe people are suggesting that you post yourself reminders of WHAT DAY IT IS. Again, heh. Sounds to me like an excellent summer!

  9. Aimee

    Heh…snopes in the nose! I’m adopting that. And I second what Susan said. If you’re going to tell a story like that, you must LINK TO THE SHOES.

  10. Daisy

    Leech behavior? I’ve tried to talk my youngest into accepting that HE IS NOW BIGGER THAN I AM, but he refuses. I think the Peter Pan song (“I Won’t Grow Up”) is flowing through his mind.

    And yes — by all means, show us the shoes!

  11. InterstellarLass

    I have a girl age seven and one half that likes to imitate leech behavior as well when she has been punished. But she also likes to snuggle other times as well. We’ve recently discovered she’s not the angel she appears to be when we caught her pushing her brother down when we called him. “I was trying to help him up!” she insisted. Yeah, and I was born yesterday. Her brother is eleven. Instead of fighting back, he gets all wussy and yells for me.

  12. Carmen

    Mir, I often forget the breakfast thing.

    Happens to all of us.

    But, you MUST show the shoes!

  13. Lessa

    hahahahah! I am slightly worse off – as it is now 1pm, and not only are we still in our jammies? but the two oldest are STILL ASLEEP! Breakfast? HA! I used to worry that I was the only bad momma who did this, until my youngest finally discovered a friend close to her age down the street, and when she spent the night over there for the first time their momma was all “um, we stay up really late – is that a problem?” and I was all “heck no!” and then she was all “…and we’ll be up somewhere round the crack of noon..” and I was all SCREW THE KIDS! I’ve found my new MommySoulMate!!!

    Ahem. So um yes. It is perfectly ok to have breakfast at 1pm. Honest. Specially if it involved s’getti’o’s (on sale for 50 cents a can this week at the local store… hahaha!)

  14. Dawn

    Yes! We must see the duck shoes.

  15. Jenn2

    Wheeeee! Oh, I’m so looking forward to your first PMS post. Here’s the thing. It’s not so bad, really. You can always send her to her room. And mostly, she’ll just mope and want to cuddle with you and complain while you stroke her hair and say, “I know, baby. I know.” It’s a bonding experience.

  16. onetallmomma

    Breakfast is such an over-rated meal! And if worst comes to worst they can send you the bill for their psychotherapy in 20 years.

    That was so funny because it is soooo my house in the summer. Calender, what calender?

  17. Wacky Mommy

    Why is that so funny, about “snope”???? LOL here. I just asked my kids, “Do you have soap up your nose?” (we’re playing in the yard, not the tub, so this is apropos of nothing) and they can’t stop giggling.

    Oh, wait — we’re supposed to be in a routine of some sort? Please explain.

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