Stories from September 2010

Rules Are Made to Be Followed. Obsessively.

Angie McCullagh

Let’s assume most of you have seen the movie Election, with Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick. If you haven’t, I think it’s safe to postulate that you’ve heard of Ms. Flick. She is an over-achieving, ruthlessly ambitious girl running for class president.

I saw the film back in the late nineties. I laughed along with everyone else. And then I promptly forgot about it.

Then, in 2005 I had a baby girl, who is now five-year-old Belle. She just started Kindergarten last week. I’ve always known Belle to be a chronic rule-follower. And enforcer. Which is great. To an extent.

I never have to worry that she’ll be sent to the principal’s office for bad behavior or that anyone in her general vicinity will be unaware of what classroom or playground rules apply to them. Because Belle will (loudly) make them known to any potential wrongdoers.

What I didn’t foresee is how this quirk may set her apart from other kids. Or how much she’d remind me of Tracy Flick.

Now, I know we’re just barely into the school year. I know Belle will most likely unclench some and refrain from sprinting to the slide and barking warnings any time another child decides running up it is a good idea. (Read more…)

The Laundry Dance

Lisa Douglas

You put your color load in.
You take your color load out.
You put your white load in,
and you agitate it around.

You do the laundry dance until all your dirty clothes are done and out.
That’s what it’s all about!

(Sung pretty horribly to the tune of “Hokey Pokey” if you couldn’t already tell.)

I seriously feel like my life is one big dirty pile of clothing. It never ends. I believe it’s got Gremlins-like tendencies, that by my application of water to clean them, immediately they multiply. And I swear I don’t feed them after midnight, but I think the leftover food on the clothes might be doing it for me. Crap!

Having children wear uniforms to school is tough—especially the ‘khaki and white polo’ aspects of it. They want kids to wear light pants and white shirts? Are they serious? Do they not know kids get filthy?

Needless to say, having children in uniform means double the laundry. They take their “school clothes” off to come home and get into “regular clothes” so, by end of day, I have twice as many dirty clothes. For each kid. Remember, I have SIX kids. So, pardon my french, but that’s an assload of laundry to do e-v-e-r-y day, let alone to have to chase after when it doesn’t get brought down appropriately.

We finally tasked my oldest with bringing down the laundry each morning, figuring that she, of all the children, would be able to accurately make sure it all gets to where it needs to be. (Read more…)

DIY Expletives Instead of Turkey Turds

Karrie McAllister

I really thought I was doing the right thing when my first child was born, because normally as soon as the key hits the ignition I turn from the coupon-clipping PTO mom into a disgruntled sailor.  There are no boundaries when it comes to what comes flying out of my mouth.  So when the little ears in the backseat got just big enough to be connected to her mouth, I funneled every bad word I knew into two tiny ones: turkey turd.

It worked well until my toddler and I stepped into the post office where she spent the entire mile-long chanting “tuwkey tewds, tuwkey tuwkey tuwds tuwds tuwds.”  My plan had failed, miserably, in a turkey turdish sort of way.

And now, these seven years and two children later, I have finally developed a surefire method of getting the verbal frustrations out without damaging the children or having to deal with other parents at the playground when they ask you why your kid is talking about poultry excrement.  I like to call it the FILL IN THE BLANK AND CONFUSE YOUR KIDS expletive, and I am so proud to introduce it to the world!

It is as simple as the Mad Lib games we used to play as kids and it goes like this:

“Great __(famous person)__ in the morning with ___(obscure food)___ for breakfast!” (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

For a creative way to limit your kids time in front of the TV… give them a small sum of money each week (over and above their allowance, if they get one). Each time they watch a television show, charge them a dime. They’ll begin editing their own TV watching!