U is for…

Undivided. In it’s entirety. Whole. As parents it’s easy to understand why our children may not receive our undivided attention. Laundry. Cooking. Assembling trampolines (that what we did after school today). A phone call. We’re sitting on the toilet. However, when our children finally have our undivided attention, there’s no telling what might happen. Perhaps they’ll want to play a board game. Perhaps they’ll tell us what they did in school. Perhaps they’ll just want to tell us a story. Usually, they’ll have some piece of useless information they found out about whatever video game, or Pokemon they’re obsessing over. We’ll feign interest so they know that what they have to say is important to us no matter how mundane. When a kid hands you a toy phone you answer it. It’s the same with their stories. Sometimes the best thing we can give them is our time. After all, it’s the one thing that once we give we never get back.

Unconditional. Our children’s love comes with no strings attached. Our love for our children is nonnegotiable. From the time we find out we’re expecting to the first moment we hold them in our arms, our love grows exponentially.

Of course we’re going to have tough days, tough weeks. Perhaps some tough years, too. We don’t love them less. They are our children. Learning. Growing. There’s bound to be mistakes by child and parent alike. We pick each other up, dust each other off, apologize and move on. We continue to feed them, shelter them, love them. No matter how much we’d like to hang them from the clothesline for a few hours.

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R and S are for Go Ask Your Father…

There’s a twofer going on tonight. However, it’s only one post.

is for research. I can answer the boys questions without Google. What I can’t do is answer them thoroughly. If you can’t explain it simply enough for a 6 year old to understand you don’t understand it well enough. So I turn to Google to refine and finish my explanations. I know that’s not official research, but it’s good enough for now. As long as I use trustworthy sites.

Since I love their questions, I pray they continue to ask questions their entire life. Learning is essential and questions are proof they are trying. S is for students. Students of education. Students of life. Students for life.

 

1. What is cholesterol?

I had to admit defeat on this one. All I could them them is that it’s stuff in our blood and there two kinds, a good kind and a bad kind. Now I know the bad kind is LDL – low density lipoprotein. It’s sticky and is the stuff that clings to artery walls, reducing blood flow to the heart, and causes heart attacks. The only thing that can stop a bad cholesterol with a gun is a good cholesterol with gun. HDL – high density lipoprotein strolls the blood stream looking for LDLs. Once it finds it, it latches on and delivers the baddie to the liver (the judge who sentences the baddie to jail). The liver then filters it as a waste product and removes it from your body all together.

2. What is it when shadows combine without touching?

That’s kind of a confusing question, isn’t it? How can two things combine without touching? That’s like putting your clothes in the washing machine and they never get wet. You can do this experiment and see it for yourself. Just hold your hands up to a wall to cast two shadows. Bring your hands together slowly and the two shadows will touch just before your hands do. The shadows will be connected yet your hands are not. Thanks to Vsauce on YouTube, we know this is called The Shadow Blister Effect. I highly recommend the video. It has to do with the anatomy of a shadow. The umbra is the part of the shadow where the light is fully blocked. The prenumbra is a partial blocking (like twilight, the sun has set, but it’s still a bit light). When the two prenumbras overlap it creates a significantly greater darkness which we perceive as the combination of shadows even though the two objects aren’t touching.

3. Why do we get blisters?

You got a blister because you wore your rainboots with no socks. Put socks on before it gets worse. There are several causes of blisters. Heat, friction, and chemicals are just three of the main culprits. A blister is our skin’s way of defending itself. A layer of liquid forms between the top layers of skin to protect the tissue below it. It is best to keep the blister as long as you can. But if you’re like me and love bubble wrap, it’ll be too tempting to pop your skin bubble. That bubble is allowing the tissue to heal without the risk of infection. So if you do pop your bubble, clean it and wrap it up.

4. Can I get Facebook?

Hold on… I’ll go ask Zuckerburg. Sorry. He said awe hell no. Sure, it’s a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends. It’s also a great tool to kill some time, whether it be a few minutes or a few days. It’s also a great place to get #FakeNews and other things unimportant to our daily lives. Though, if he did get the FB he would just have a few family members on so it would probably be safe until he went exploring for more. So, no. The 10 year old will not be on Facebook for a while, yet.

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Q is for…

QI would love to say Q is for quiet. It’s a rare occurrence around here.  A lit match lasts longer the quiet in our house. Unless it’s after bedtime. Those 2 hours after the kids are asleep is Mommy and Daddy time. We’re not playing referee. We’re not cooking or cleaning. The kids think we always stay up late and drink wine when in fact we stay up a bit, watch adult shows and eat snacks.

But Q won’t be for quiet today. Just like last year for Q, it falls on a Thursday. Anyone familiar with this space knows that Thursday for Questions. These questions are from April 20th of last year. Lets see how their answers differ…

1. What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Crash: Go to the beach
Bang: Use the sprinkler with all my friends!

2. What do sharks eat?

Crash: Fish, people sometimes if they think you are a seal, and seals
Bang: Fish and krill and shark food

3. What animal would it be fun to be?

Crash: An eagle
Bang: A mouse

4. Why would it be fun to be that animal?

Crash: a) because eagles are cool and b) because you can you fly with your wings
Bang: because you get to dig in people’s walls and live in there

5. What would you like to learn more about?

Crash: How to draw
Bang: Tigers

6. What’s the best thing about you?

Crash: I make friends easily
Bang: That I know stuff past grade 1

7. What’s the best thing about Dad?

Crash: He’s bald and you do most of the chores around the house
Bang: Not much, just one thing. You let me play on your phone because I know your password to play Candy Crush

8. What’s the best thing about Mom?

Crash: She’s losing weight and volunteers for a lot of stuff
Bang: She snuggles me

9. What do you want to be famous for doing?

Crash: Writing books or taking photographs
Bang: Running because I’m really fast

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: Author or photographer or the good looking pop start that everyone loves
Bang: Dog washer!

 

P is for…

As parents of 2 boys, as were my parents before me, P can be for two things. Both of which refer to bathroom duties. The toilet. I think that’s my least favorite chore, even if it does take the least amount of time to clean. I’d rather do laundry all weekend than clean the toilet. Much to my dismay, life with boys requires the toilet to be cleaned on a daily basis.

Pee.

I’m considering registering them both for the fire department. The way they spray, no blaze couldn’t be stopped. And no matter how many times they get fussed at to aim IN the toilet not ON the toilet they just can’t hit the mark. I’ve seen drunks make less of a mess. Urine is on toilet seat, under the seat, behind the seat, around the base of the toilet, on the floor. What are they doing in there? Zumba?

Before we sit on the throne we have to give it wipe or else we come back up with a wet arse. It’s like the Game of Thrones, except no one dies a horrific death. They just get pee on them. Perhaps if I put a target on the bottom of the toilet they’ll make less of a mess. Give them something to aim at while they’re dancing in there.

I suppose DW has it one worse than I do. Except I never miss.

P is also for poop. That shit is gross (except mine. Mine smells like roses). Cleaning it is grosser than gross. Fortunately, they have yet to miss the target with number two. But they do forget to flush. Do you know how excited I get when I go to drain the main vain only find the toilet full of toilet paper and Mr. Hanky? C’mon guys. Flush and wash your hands. It should be routine now. You’ve been trained for 8 years now.

It must be easier with girls. Girls don’t have toilet trouble, do they? Or is it a different kind of trouble?

O is for…

OOrnery.

It’s the only thing it can be for when you have anything from a toddler to a tween and even beyond.

Bad tempered.

If that doesn’t describe terrible twos, threenagers, fournados, tweens, and teens and every other label and nickname we’ve given our offspring. What is up with that temper? Growing up I was so mellow and even tempered. I was easy to please. My offspring?

They’re ornery.

One of these days I’m going to jot down every time they’re ornery. What are they cranking about now? Time to turn the electronics off. Time for bed. Time for school. Time to clean. They’re hungry. Can’t find the right lego piece. The bike ride sucks because there’s an uphill. A brother is taking too long pooping. This was just this week and it’s only Tuesday.

We all know our wee ones can become ornery over the most mundane things. Wrong color sippy cup, not enough chocolate chips in the pancake, can’t find the socks they want, to name a few. Teens might lose it if there is no wifi, no charger, or “too much” homework. I’m sure there are others which I’ll learn about later. Feel free to warn me now what I should look out for later.

If you’re feeling ornery, just look up some parenting memes. You’ll find that you’re not alone. Others understand and they’ve created some truthfully, hilarious stuff. Funnier than a toddler trying to explain why there’s a slice of cheese in the DVD player…

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N is for…

NIt is for so many things. Especially things that deal with kids and parenting.

Normal. What the hell is that, anyway? Once you have kids, the definition of normal is significantly changed. Before having kids and we wanted to go out to eat, normally we would just go out to eat wherever we wanted. Now? Now, we fight with kids who can’t find their other shoe, herd them to the vehicle and attempt to have a civilized meal at a restaurant that has food we know our heathens will eat. Before having kids we normally got to sleep all night. After, normal became waking every 2 hours (at best) for feedings and changings, waking for a sick kid, or one who was scared of the monster under the bed, or was thirsty. Or just wanted to ask what you were doing.

Nosy much? Who are you talking to on the phone? Who are texting? Whatcha eating? Where are you going? Why are you sitting on the toilet? Maybe it’s curiosity. They ask a million other questions, too. It’s probably not curiosity. They’re just nosy. All up in my business. Do your kids watch you on your phone from over your shoulder? That my cue to shut it off until they’re either preoccupied entertaining themselves or in bed asleep.

Night night love you. The last words we hear before enjoy a couple hours of blissful quiet while we watch Mom and Dad shows. No Teen Titans Go. No Beyblade Burst cartoons. No Pokemon anime. Just The Voice, The Good Doctor, This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, Blindspot. We get to eat food without having to share it.

Noisy much? Oh the noises we hear. Crash! Bang! Boom! Clunk thunk kachunk. Beeps and boops. Thunderfeet. Temper tantrums. Screams, whining, questions. Laughter. We’re bombarded with noise all day. As they age, though, they often quiet down (most of the time) as their noise making faces become more and more engrossed in electronics. There will come a day when we realize our life is unusually quiet. So for now, all we need to do is learn to breathe, embrace the chaos, and enjoy the noise that is our life. This is what normal is now.

Half mad is normal

L is for…

L

When you have two teachers for parents, L can only mean one thing.

Lots and lots and lots of Learning.

Fortunately, the boys are so full of questions there’s more learning happening around here than… than… well, lets just say there’s lots of learning.

1. Why are scabs itchy?

Boys are hard on their bodies. It’s the only one they get so they need to get as much use out of it as they can. Crash fell at school earlier this week. Apparently there was some invisible ice and he slipped and fell on it while playing tag with his friends. Now he has a nice little-ish scab healing on his knee and it’s itchy. Why? Because when the cells covering the wound meet in the middle they start pulling on each other to close the wound. This frat house like tug-o-war causes mechanical stress and activated the itch nerves. Your spinal cord, which in control of your nervous system, sends the signal to scratch that itch. But if we scratch that itch we rip the scab off and we’re right back to where we started when we got the banged up knee in the first place. So now a war rages between our spinal cord wanting scratch and our brain telling us our spinal cord is a liar.

2. Can you die from drinking too much alcohol?

The boys know DW and I enjoy a drink of wine now and then. Sometimes we’ll have friends over for boardgame night and have a few drinks. We always drink responsibly. But, yes, you can die from too much of it. It’s called Alcohol poisoning. Except the 6 year old insisted that that wasn’t the right term for it. He said it was an “itis” (eye-tiss) word. After a minute of thinking he informed us that the correct word was drunkitis. Alcohol poisoning can happen when any substance containing alcohol is consumed intentionally or not. It occurs most frequently in binge drinkers. This is the consumption of 5 serving of alcohol in two hours for men or four for women. Symptoms include…

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Passing out

Please, please, drink responsibly. Another way drinking too much can kill you is if you get behind the wheel and drive. PSA – Don’t drink and drive.

3. Can I go play outside?

YES! YES! YES! GO! GO! GO! We still have snow on the ground. Actually, it snow a bit this morning. This winter is bullshit and needs to go. Put on your boots and get going. Of course, once he was out there he started digging a hole in the muddy yard. Dude, go up in the back field and dig a hole. Unless you were planning on filling it with ash and kicking your little brother in the ash hole. That wouldn’t be cool either. Today was a screen free video game free day so going outside was really the only other option. Best. App. Ever!

4. Can boys have babies?

No. And no, babies don’t come out of our penis… well, not infant babies like the ones that come of mommies. Bang asked this one this evening and we explained that only girls can have babies. DW took it one step further and told him that half comes from daddies and half comes from mommies. I sat back and listened, laughing my ass off because I knew what was coming next.

“So half comes from dad and half come from mom and what? You kiss and put the baby together?”

DW opened this can of worms so I had full intention of letting her get the lid back on it.

Yes. That’s exactly what happens. Then he asked about the babies coming out and asked about babies coming out of penises. No. That’s not what happens because girls don’t have penises. “Oh, yeah. They have innie penises.”

Then I told him about chromosomes and that if daddies give mommies an X then they’ll have a baby girl and if daddy gives mommy a Y, they’ll have a boy. This effectively ended the possibly too indepth sex ed conversation.

Have you had to explain babies to your little ones? How did you handle it? The whole truth or just enough to satisfy their curiosity?

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K is for… #AtoZChallenge

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Karma… the boys have already had the mom curse sworn upon them. One day they will have kids who behave just like them. Of course, this means I get grandkids who behave just like my kids are right now. Guess who’s not babysitting!

Kidding… I’ll teach them all kinds of fun Grampa stuff. Chocolate cake for breakfast. Flipping their parents the bird behind their back. Good practical jokes.

But this is Thursday and Thursdays are for questions. We haven’t answered any questions for a couple weeks. The boys were asking about them last night, too.

Today, K is for the knowledge we obtain by questioning our wee ones. Click here if you want to read their original answers. Some are strangely similar.

1. What might aliens from outer space look like?

Crash: Bald with big green eyes, anywhere from 2 to 7 feet tall
Bang: LORL they look like the Toy Story aliens
DW: I’m sure they look nothing like TV makes them out to be

2. If you could build anything in the backyard, what would you build?

Crash: Treehouse that has electricity so we can play video games and have lights because it’s a huge treehouse
Bang: A big box with speakers in it so you can play Temperature by Sean Paul
DW: A pool

3. If you had to leave the house in an emergency, what 3 things would you take?

Crash: Monkey, Alexa, and all my clothes
Bang: Penguin, obviously my bed, and food
DW: My pendant, the external hard drive, and nevermind the rest because I don’t like this question

4. What’s the best thing about growing up?

Crash: You get to live in your own house and you get unlimited screen time
Bang: You get paid for your job!
DW: Staying up late

5. What word makes you laugh?

Crash: supercalifragilisticexialidocious
Bang: *insert eye roll* Things make me laugh, not words
DW: You make me laugh

6. We just bought a droid. What should we name it?

Crash: RECT (it’s all of our initials)
Bang: Elticoe
DW: Jeeves

7. What would you do if you were Dad?

Crash: Play on my tablet all day and make mom do the chores
Bang: Eat all my kids candy
DW: I’d nap on the couch and play with myself

8. What would you do if you were mom?

Crash: Get an awesome job that would make us rich
Bang: Snuggle with my kids and have a belly fart (blow raspberries on bellies) contest to see who could make the loudest fart
DW: Same thing I do everyday! Can I be a rich mom, instead and go on vacation?

9. If you could change anything about school, what would you change?

Crash: I would make math class easier
Bang: No writing, no reading, no music and just gym gym gym and play play play
DW: I’d put the focus back where it belongs… on students and teaching

10. Did you have any dreams?

Crash: As a matter of fact, yeah I did. My teacher asked if we had a dream and my friend and I had the exact same dream. This guy who looked like a vampire with hair down to his chest and trees with creepy faces grabbed us. Piper, our parrot, was in it, too.
Bang: Yeah… it was about flying, pooping ponies that go flap flap flap thsthsths (sound effect)
DW: A couple nights ago I had a dream about an eagle…

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J is for… #atozchallenge

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Who doesn’t love a good dad joke? Or bad one? The term “dad joke” has become synonymous with any joke so bad, so lame, the best reaction you can hope for is an eye roll. Most them are just punny.

I was hoping my 10 jokes would make people laugh, but no pun in ten did.

You need a sense of humor if you’re going to be a parent. How else will you survive your kids? Between the things kids do and the things they say, we’ve got enough ammo to keep us laughing for years to come. So they got their head stuck in a concrete block when they were two. So they covered their little brother with the entire jar of peanut butter. So they loudly compare your anatomy to that of a model in the Body Worlds museum. I an guarantee Parenthood will be full of more laughter than your bladder can hold.

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Me: Doctor, you’ve got to help me. I’m addicted to Twitter.
Doctor: I don’t follow you.

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Q: When does a joke become a dad joke?
A: When the punch line becomes apparent.

The mother of three notoriously unruly youngsters was asked whether or not she’d have children if she had to do over again.
“Sure,” she replied, “but not the same ones.”

The dinner I was cooking for my family was going to be a surprise but the fire trucks ruined it.

Please go play with your brother. That’s basically the reason we had him.

I’ll clean my house when the last kid has moved out.

Q: What part of your family can you see through?
A: A transparent.

Have a good parenting pun/joke? I’d love to hear it! Happy hump day!

For more laughs you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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I is for…

I

It’s easy to be indecisive. Rarely do I know what’s for supper until I start making it. Except tonight. Tonight we’re having pork chops, cauliflower (maybe the cheesy fried kind), green beans, mashed potatoes, corn and carrots. Rarely do I know what I’m going to write about until I start writing. I don’t know how long I stared at a white screen with the blinking cursor mocking me.

One thing we’re rarely indecisive about is raising our kids. We know how we’re going to do it because we know what kind of adults we want hope our children grow to be. We know what kind of parents we’ll be. Parenting comes in as many flavors as Ben and Jerry. Whether we’re goofy or serious or creative or active or hands off, there are different styles for everyone. We all incorporate varying degrees of different traits.

Of course, our children are born with their own personalities. So the indecisiveness in parenting is born in the form of the question,

Am I doing the right thing?

How do we know what the “right thing” is? Like Soren Kierkegaard is quoted as saying,

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

The only thing we know for certain is what we should have done. How can we possibly know the discipline we use, the motivator we employ, even the tone of voice and attitude we adopt will be the right one? When our kids are “bad” they need to face the consequences. However, those consequence are dictated by us, the parents. The punishment needs to fit the crime. Sometimes their actions have their own consequences. This morning, for example, Crash didn’t want to pack his lunch. I let him know that I wasn’t doing it for him and if he wanted lunch it was his responsibility. He growled and moaned and dragged his feet. I was fully prepared to let him go hungry and allow him to understand why he needed to pack his lunch. He wouldn’t have been punished for not making his lunch. I think going hungry would have been his own consequence.

Would have been the right thing to do? Would it have been too harsh? I pack the 6 year old’s lunch. Should I pack the 10 year old’s too? When should they become responsible? Not just about packing lunch, but for everything in life? Does becoming responsible mean they’re more adult than kid? But if they’re not responsible kids how can they become responsible adults? Do any of these questions have just one right answer?

The best we can do is do what is best for our children. Only we know that answer because we know our kids best. We live with them, after all. They are probably more like us than we care to admit. We should know what is best for them. However, sometimes we can be as indecisive as a teen trying to get dressed for school. We doubt ourselves wondering if we are doing the right thing. Should we medicate our ADHD child? Should we register our kids in French or English classes in school? How much screen time is okay? How long do they need to drive me crazy before I sell them on the black market?

Being indecisive is okay, though. It means you have options and options are good. All you have to do is pick one. Or pick the other.

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