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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dysfunctional Mom

Okay maybe I need to go on and begin writing my first novel. It would be appropriately titled, Diary of a Dysfunctional Mom.
Here's just one of many reasons why. And believe me... I ain't makin' this stuff up.
With our daughter's little note a few days ago, that she wrote in class, her slackness with Math and her brother's mouth and frowning when we make him read- I came up with an idea: NO TV during the week at all!
"Until you two can get it together you will only see Sponge Bob and Disney Channel on the weekends!" I told them.
They were silent of course. I guess it would have been loud if our over-the-top daughter could have made noise stretching her eyes. Can Disney sign her? She is really good.
"What if Daddy or you are watching it and we walk by," our son asked.
I just stared at him.
"Well (seriously pondering) we could just walk by with our eyes closed if we hear that the TV is on," his sister suggested, as she stood up to demonstrate- bumping into the sofa.
"Sit down!" I told her with my teeth clinched.
"Can we just watch the commercials?" he tried again.
Again, I stared at him.
"What about the TVs in our wooms?" he asked with his hand raised.
I was losing it.
"How 'bout I just take them out your Rooms (emphasizing the R)?" I answered.
He was quiet for all of five seconds then he asked, "Are you gonna sell them Mama?"
Here we go again.
Ever since I had a yard sale and put out some of their old toys, they act like I am "Crack-head Carla" or someone.
"Well you know she did sell some of your dinosaurs and Barney tapes," our daughter said.
"No I didn't. I don't know where your dinosaurs are nor your little Barney tapes!" I told them.
"Well I'll take that back- I gave your Barney tapes to Goodwill because you and your sister are too big for them now," I added.
His sister attempted to smother her laugh.
In a baby voice she pointed to her brother and said, "Well someone still likes Barney and BJ!"
"Okay that is enough!" I shouted.
So for the past few days I had been shocked that they had not complained about not being able to watch television after they finished their homework.
Well today I found out why. I mean I feel completely dysfunctional.
I didn't think about the computer.
I walked into the room to grab a notebook. On the way out I backed up to look at the screen. They were watching True Jackson VP (a Nickelodeon show) on YouTube!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Dude went back to his home town this weekend for his 20-year, high school reunion.
I picked the kids up a little early from school Friday since I was feeling a lot better as I am still in recovery from my surgery two weeks ago.
My plans were to go home for a few minutes then take them to the Dollar store to get two items. It's wonderful having kids who aren't yet "hipped" to many of the things of the world. (Wasn't that a cute little way to put it?) For allowance they earn half of the age: our son is six so he gets three bucks and our daughter is eight so she gets four, and they are content with that. Besides they don't have a lot to do around the house.
So I routinely check their folders to see what they did for the week in school. Before I could open our son's he said, "I didn't pull any dollars (their first grade behavior/reward system) Mama. I always have a good week!"
And he was right.
Well his sister was acting a little peculiar. She was quiet. We normally can't get her to stop talking.
She did poorly on a Math quiz one day- making careless errors. That's what gets me- when she missed simple stuff because she didn't check over her work. I'd rather for her to miss the hard ones and tell me she didn't understand.
Earlier this week I had to get Dude to stop being Jo Jackson during a homework session. He was getting upset about Micheal's- I mean our daughter's lack of attention when he was explaining a problem. He almost falls trying to stand up over her and pull his belt off all in one movement. This was a sight. I think he planned to pull it through easily but as he pulled it through it got stuck and caused him to do a 180 degree turn. Then looked at me to make sure I was not laughing. I pressed my lips together.
Maybe it's just me but what do you expect when you are trying to talk to a child and the television is on. Ten times out of ten the child will find what's on that tube just a little bit more appealing. I'm just sayin'.
So we discuss the quiz. I reiterate how important academics are. Then find a note from her teacher. There is a piece of notebook paper attached to it. She was caught writing a note during instructional time.
I was nervous about opening the note. For a minute my mind drifted back to my days of writing notes. And I knew a lot more than our kids do, back then, so I relaxed.
The note was about a party she and her brother were having on Halloween. She advised the friend to bring her parents since we had not met them yet, so we could "disgust" what we needed to "disgust". The note had a time to come and activities as well.
There was one problem with that note, other than the fact that she shouldn't have been writing it; Dude and I had no clue she and her brother were having a party.
"Hey! How are you gonna have a party without asking the people in charge? The people who pay the mortgage and other bills here?" I asked her.
Our son raised his hand and asked, "Who pay the what?"
"Don't worry about it! You are missing the point!" I yelled. "You have to get permission to have a party," I added.
His hand went up again.
"Put your hand down! Tryin' to be funny! You don't ever raise your hand around here for anything else!"
She looked so sad. Someone else may have felt sorry for her. But I know her and I'd seen this look myriad times. I didn't feel sorry at all.
Later, last night, after dozing for a few minutes, I woke to the sounds of a show on Nickelodeon. As I stretched and sat up our son asked, "Mama. Can you bend down yet?"
Not thinking about the last time he stayed home from church to supposedly, help me out after my surgery, I told him no. "It's still a little hard for me to do that right now."
Without a word he pushed the remote under the sofa chair. He then sat back on the chair with his hands behind his head and watched one of their shows.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mamas Ain't Responsible for Everything

"Mama. What did you do to me while I was in your stomach?" our son asked out of the blue.
"What do you mean? I read to you and took care of myself which means I took care of you," I really didn't know what he was getting at.
When folks say kids say the darndest things- they are right.
"You just thought about yourself when you were pregnated?" his voice went up.
"I really don't know how else to answer your question and why you are asking this," I told him as I began to walk to the kitchen.
"You must have done something to me when I was in your stomach to make me afraid of the Chick-fil-A cow," he said.
So this was where this was going.
I was beginning to feel like I was on the stand and he was the prosecutor.
"I didn't make you afraid of the Chick-fil-A cow or Santa or Chuck-E-Cheese- anyone in a costume," I told him.
His sister was laughing hysterically.
He peered over at her- I was hoping his attention would shift to her so I would be off the hook.
"And you musta did something to her (pointing at his sister) to make her mouth-" he began before I cut him off.
"Look! People are just afraid of some things in life but I didn't do anything to you while you were in my stomach."
I realized there was nothing I could really say to convince him that it was not my fault.
"Mama what did you eat when you were pregnated with me then?"
"She ate healthy foods nitwit!" his sister jumped in.
I warned her about the name calling. Then warned him to watch his mouth as I noticed his nostrils flaring at her.
"Well I probably got afraid of the cow because when you were little you were afraid of Scooby Doo," he stated.
Now he and his sister were both laughing hysterically.
I stopped what I was doing. That was hitting below the belt. And how did he know about that?
I noticed Dude trying to smother a smile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Helping Mama

Recently I had outpatient surgery. I can't lift anything for six weeks and need to take it easy. Daddy has been a great help to me- staying home with me for the first week and waiting on me 24/7. The kids are usually a little helpful as well. The know that they can't sit on my lap and I think they are cognizant that I can't do a whole lot temporarily.
Well our little six-year-old little joy offered to stay home with me Sunday and opted out of going to church. We knew that our daughter would open up the flood gate of tears had we suggested she stay home to help me, so we didn't bother.
"I'll take care of mama!" our son gleefully offered.
"Okay Daddy's little man. You gotta make sure you help Mama but we won't be gone long," Daddy told him. "Hold down the fort 'till we get back," Daddy added while patting our son on top of his head.
"What's a fort?" our son asked.
"The house. Take care of the house," I answered. I felt like the two police officers on Sanford and Son.
Daddy made sure I didn't need anything before he and our daughter were in route for church.
I reclined my chair a bit and put the remote on the arm of the chair.
I must have dozed for five seconds when I noticed the remote gone. Next thing I knew the television switched from CNN to "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Squarepants..."
Our son is sitting at the far end of the couch across from me with his legs crossed and the remote on the arm of the couch.
"Now I don't want to watch kids' shows all day- let me get the remote."
"Mama. You know you need to get some rest so I can take care of you," our son suggested.
He didn't seem phased by me struggling to sit up. Keyword being struggling. I guess he knew that I had been in that recliner for the most part, post surgery and was taking full advantage of that.
"Mama. Do you need your medicine?" he asked.
For a minute I thought surely he wouldn't... not over control of the television. Surely not.
"No I don't need any medicine right now. Thanks anyway."
Guess he also picked up on the fact that I usually sleep once I take medicine.
He wasn't planning to help me. He had used me to stay home to watch his shows.
This was just sad.
Yet he forgets that this down time is only temporary. So I will have the last laugh soon enough.
For the next hour I watched this little, yellow sponge talk while glancing over at the little six-year-old with his ankles crossed while stretching his toes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pocketbooks and Willys!

"Mama. Do girls have a hiney?" our son asked.
"Yes they do- we all do," I answered.
He seemed so confused. He headed back upstairs, then abruptly turned around.
"But I thought girls had a vagina?"
Dude almost fell to come out of the bedroom now.
"What is all this 'bout hineys and things?" he came in with volume.
He still can't be a big boy about calling body parts their names. He still refers to vaginas as pocket books and penis as privates or Willys. But I don't wanna free Willy!
I motioned with my hand for him (Dude) to bring the volume down.
"It's okay," I told him with a slight smile.
"Girls do have vaginas and boys have a penis," I told our son.
Dude was about to pass out. And he teaches Health!
"I have a penis?" our son asked.
"Yes. You use it every time you go pay your water bill," I giggled. "Every time you pee," I added.
Pointing to his penis, he said, "This is my hiney."
I now understood the confusion.
"No baby that is your penis and your bottom or butt is also called a hiney."
His sister came bopping down.
"I told you!" she laughed.
"Your sister is a female and she does not have a penis like you but she has a hiney."
He laughed so hard, then pointed to his sister.
"Mama called you a female!"
We have some work to do.

Second Week of School

This is the first year our two have had to ride the bus to school. I'll have to admit- I did not want them to ride the bus. And I rode the bus throughout my years of public education. From kindergarten to my junior year of high school. I must not have liked being picked up for daycare though. I got the worst spanking once.
I told the van driver, "My mama said not to pick me up anymore."
Believe it or not I vividly remember smiling in the window, pretending to wait for the van one morning. My mom was pacing, trying to figure out why the driver was so late coming to get me. She was late for work. Poor me. I had to stay home with my grandmother! When my mom found out, I got a spanking but the driver got a lashing for believing a child. I mean come on... he should have gotten the spanking!
Back to our two.
Well the second week there was a problem on the bus. A fifth grader was "not being nice" to them on the bus.
"Mama, he said a bad word," our daughter began to tell me at dinner that evening.
"What did he say," I said between bites.
"He said the S word!" our son answered.
I almost sprayed Dude with my drink. I wasn't prepared for that.
"What in the world did he say?" I asked.
I noticed Dude wasn't getting upset. He'd heard the story when he picked them up from school.
He discretely shook his head.
"He said stupid and the other kids said it was not a bad word," our daughter said.
I had to remember that there are different rules in other households. Besides at their age, when I was growing up, I, unfortunately, probably knew the real S word.
They continued to tell me how the kid was upset about losing his puppy and how he was punching the back of their seat.
"Mama I tried to be nice to him and I told him I was sorry he lost his puppy," our compassionate little girl told us.
We could tell, from her expressions, that she was reliving this experience as she told it to me. Tears were welling up that quick!
"Okay, Hannah NOT Tanna, cut the dramatics!" I quickly told her. You have to with her or she will drag it out. We love her but gee. We say it so much that her younger brother gets in on it.
"Yeah. None of that over-the -top stuff," our son tells her.
"We got it," I stop him. "Let us be the parents okay?
While picking over his food and with great confidence, our little first-grader adds, "I was gonna get that boy Mama."
I heard Dude chuckle a bit.
I just smiled at him.
Our daughter was the first to respond.
"That boy was big and he is a fifth grader!" she said. "You couldn't get him!"
Her brother finished what he was chewing, squinted his eyes and slowly turned to her and said, "You are so naive." Then went back to eating.
I didn't know where he heard the word and was quite shocked that he used it in the right context.
I mean a six-year-old using this word. I had to get him.
"Spell naive since you want to use it!" I told him.
He wiped his mouth and said, "Mama. You don't know how to spell naive?" He seemed so shocked.
We laughed a little then his sister fired back with a good point.
"Well how you gone get that fifth grader when you are afraid of the Chick-fil-a cow?"