School Days, School Days

And just like that, I’m down to one kid for the bulk of my mornings and afternoons. Little Man went back to school today — he’s now a fourth grader.

I could talk about how I can’t believe that my baby boy is close to being in middle school, but then I’d get all teary-eyed. Not that you could see me, but just know that I would. Any milestone or event that thrills my husband manages to leave me feeling bittersweet, with a strong lean towards bitter.

Before I have to wipe something out of my eye, let’s talk about what Little Man going back to school really means for us.

Tardies

We are late people. Doesn’t matter where we’re going, you can guarantee that we’re going to be the last ones rolling up. It kills me not being wherever I’m going five minutes early, but no matter how much we plan to leave on time, things happen and we’re late. This drives me nuts, but this is how it’s been since we added on a second kid.

I don’t know if there are records for tardies at school, but if there are, we’re definitely contenders for the trophy. (Or maybe it’d be a stern look and a lecture about how we’re being detrimental to his education.) We rarely manage to get out the door on time, and it’s not for lack of trying. Little Man is one of the slowest kids on earth. I’m pretty sure that Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth was written about him. He gets out of bed slowly. He uses the bathroom slowly. He gets distracted by a dozen things on the way to the table, and when he does manage to make it to the table, he chews very slowly. Even when we get him out of bed 20 minutes earlier, he still thwarts that.

On top of the slowness, there’s always something — the lunch box, the belt, glasses, etc. that gets left behind. Or maybe Baby Girl has to poop the second she gets strapped in her car seat. Despite our best efforts, we’re still often the ones driving like maniacs to shove him out of the car before the tardy sign is put out.

Pokemon

Pokemon cards make me want to cry more than watching my babies grow up. Every kid has an obsession that their parents can just barely tolerate, and Pokemon is it for me. Little Man tends to develop tunnel vision with his hobbies or interests, and every so often his focus lands on Pokemon cards. When that happens, I listen to nonstop chatter about which Pokemon is best, which one has the least points, what each Pokemon evolves into, etc. I try my best to seem interested, but every time he starts on about Pokemon, a part of me dies a little.


PB&J

In the remaining few weeks of the past school year, most parents were complaining about all of the projects due or having to pay for lost books. Not my husband and me. Instead, we were griping about having to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Let’s put it like this — if Little Man stopped eating PB&Js, Jif and Smucker’s would feel the impact. The kid would eat PB&J for every single meal if you let him. He’s mostly a great eater and will try just about any non-spicy food, but when it’s up to him, it’s PB&J.

You wouldn’t think that making one type of sandwich for 100+ days would wear on you so much, but somehow it does. And it’s not just me — when we’d pack Little Man’s lunchbox at night, my husband and I would race to be the one to get the snacks just so we wouldn’t have to make the godforsaken PB&J. That might sound a bit dramatic, but I swear, the fart noise the squeeze jelly makes gets to you, somehow, after hundreds of times. One day we’ll see that as an enhanced interrogation technique.

(I was going to do a doodle of someone being tortured with jelly here, but then I thought it might be in poor taste.)

We could just let LM pack his own lunch, but it’s one of those parent things we mostly want to do just because. We could also insist on different sandwiches, but the boy is rail thin, and lord knows I don’t want him going on a hunger strike. So welcome back, PB&Js.

2017-2018 school year, here we come.

What’s something you don’t look forward to about school starting back?

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IRS vs. PTO

This is one of the first posts on this blog and an edited repost seemed appropriate since school starts back for kids in our area this week. 

Parents of kids who have been in school — would you rather deal with the IRS or with the PTO?

Hmm?

You probably had to take a second to think about that. Answering questions related to purchases made years ago, deductions made, and other boring nonsense sounds pretty bad. But then you realize that you’re not comparing the IRS to car shopping or signing a million pages in a house closing — you’re comparing it to the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). At best, that realization gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach. At worst, you might be having some flashbacks and screaming, “No, God, no!” in your head.

The PTO is kind of life the mafia, but without the threat of violence. They’re constantly trying to shake you down for money, do favors for their top earners, and are masters at extortion. If your family doesn’t pay the protection membership fee, then watch out.

“Get out there with 50 packs of overpriced M&Ms and don’t come back until they’re gone.”

“Little Peter can only sell 10 tins of popcorn? Get his butt back out in front of the Walmart ’til they’re gone.”

“Each child was supposed to raise $300 for this fundraiser. Your child raised $298.12. You think that’s acceptable?! Hit. The. Streets. Find that money or else!”

Or something like that.

Some people like to believe that making kids stand on the corner or go house to house peddling whatever the item of the month is teaches them how to succeed in life. They’ll be great businessmen or women, become entrepreneurs, learn something about persistence. It also prepares them for a future in drug dealing, but making such a comment is a surefire way to get a dirty look or two cast in your direction.

Here’s a little visual comparison of the two organizations. I think we can all agree that the PTO is the worst (assuming you are honest on your taxes, anyway).

(You can zoom in to read the smallish handwriting. Laziness prevented me from redoing it.)

What would you add to the list of crappy things about the PTO?

I should mention that this isn’t representative of the PTO at Little Man’s current school…I plead the fifth on other experiences.

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Return Of The Label Maker

A couple months ago, I made a post about being a Bad Mommy (Blogger). At the end of the post, I made a comment about getting a Mom of the Year award and included the following image:

The boy saw this image while scrolling through a folder on my iPad that contains all of my doodles and loved it. I’m not sure if he just liked the doodle or if he vehemently agreed with the sentiment expressed on the cup. I didn’t ask, since I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. At any rate, a few days later, Little Man told me that he had a present for me and gave me this:

The label maker returns! Whenever I buy tape for my label maker, Little Man goes through it at lightning speed, labeling the hell out of everything. (Seriously, the chair is labeled “Chair” and he has a box containing pieces to his human anatomy doll labeled “Body Parts.”) It totally cracked me up that he thought to do this. This will be holding my pens and pencils on my desk, since I a) don’t drink coffee and b) don’t want the labels to fall off.

Happy Friday!

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A Shirtless Cowboy

A couple weeks ago, I took the kids to the library for the summer reading program party. I’m sometimes hesitant to take Baby Girl to events that require her to sit still and be quiet for a length of time, because I never know how that’s going to go. Toddlers are basically ticking time bombs — except for there is no digital clock showing you how much time you’ve got until they go off. They just do at random, which complicates outings.

Fortunately, Baby Girl did very well at the party until the very end, when she got super antsy and fussy. We had a few other places to go afterwards, so I called my husband to meet us to pick Baby girl up and take her home so she could play. We met at a gas station that was halfway from town and our house. My husband arrived first, so when I got there, I pulled up beside him and waited for him to come around to get Baby Girl. A few moments later, I spied a shirtless man in my side mirror.

Yep, it was my husband.

“Oh my god, he doesn’t have a shirt on!” Little Man yelled.

I opened the door. “Where on earth is your shirt?” I asked.

“At home.” He grinned.

“Oh my god, Dad, you are so embarrassing! You’ve gotta put clothes on when you come out!”

He explained that he didn’t want us to have to wait on him; since he wasn’t going in anywhere, he didn’t bother putting on a shirt. For the record, my husband works from home for a certain mammoth financial institution. This is how Mr. Corporate America goes to work most days — often shirtless and sometimes in boxers. Thank goodness they don’t have video conferences!

After teasing him a little more, we parted ways. Little Man continued talking about his dad’s lack of a shirt.

“Man, that was SUPER embarrassing. Can you believe he didn’t put a shirt on?! Who does that? I hope he doesn’t do that again,” he said.

I snickered. “Are you finally getting to that age where you’re embarrassed by your parents?”

“No. I’m not embarrassed by my parents, but I am embarrassed by not wearing clothes!”

What he said after that was absolute gold.

That’s a lovely mental image. And now let’s make it more than a mental image, shall we?

My husband has been put on notice — no more leaving without being fully clothed, unless we’re going directly to the pool or beach. And even then, I’d prefer that he wear a shirt along the way to spare anyone we meet from being intimidated by his chest ‘fro.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done to your kids or that your parents did?

Also — does anyone have a suggestion for a tagline for this blog? I’ve had a couple good suggestions made, but would like some more. Help a dorky girl out! 

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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Cleaning

Everyone knows that kids have an aversion to doing chores. Say the C-word, and you’ll hear the groaning and complaining start. Asking them to help with things around the house instantly brands you an Asshole Parent, one who clearly doesn’t love them. I don’t much like doing chores either, but spending more time dragging one’s feet than the chore actually requires to be completed — and having to do it anyway — baffles me.

Baby Girl likes to help me with my chores sometimes — the more likely it is that something will break, the more she wants to help. (And I’m sure that when she is more capable of doing these chores in a few years, she’ll develop an aversion to them, too.) However, when it comes to picking up her toys, she acts like doing so is torture and often refuses to do it. The threat of taking away a toy does little. When she’s in Stubborn Mode, she’d prefer losing every toy she owns to giving in and doing what she’s told.

Rather than whine, last week Baby Girl got a little creative with her attempt to get out of picking up stuff.

While straightening up the living room, I told Baby Girl to pick up the stuffed animals she had been playing with. She had been doctoring them and had left them strewn across the couch.

“Mommy, I’m just too young to pick up toys,” she told me.

Too young. That’s quite a mouthful for someone who’s too young to pick up her mess. After suppressing a giggle, I informed Baby Girl that if she was too young to pick up her toys, then she was too young to have them and that they’d go in storage. She put them away, and with minimal complaints for a change.

What’s the best excuse you or your kid has given to get out of doing chores?

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Blog Milestone

This blog finally hit 500 WordPress followers a few days ago, so yay! I’m not sure who number 500 was, since my browser keeps freezing up and crashing when I try to view my follower list, but thanks to whoever it was! And thanks to everyone else who is following. It has been a fun six months with this blog, and I appreciate everyone who has been supportive of it.

Since the milestone notification image from WordPress is kind of blah, here’s my own:

I started working on an outline for a book tied to this blog. As slow as I am, it’ll take forever time to create the extra doodles needed to have enough to publish (plus maintaining the blog), but hopefully I’ll finish something for a change! So, here’s to continuing build the blog and hopefully a book in the distant future.

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Slowing Down Roller Coasters

I went to Carowinds with Little Man and my husband last week. I hadn’t planned on going, because I’ve had back troubles recently, but Little Man begged me. It’s hard for me to say “no,” especially where making memory type things are concerned. I figured I’d go enjoy the togetherness and take pictures, but I ended up riding some stuff anyway. Not the best idea, but it was fun. Mostly.

Little Man was talking about some rides that he wanted to ride on the way in and mentioned The Intimidator. I probably don’t need to provide a description thanks to its name, but in case you want the details, it’s over 200 feet tall and about a mile long. (And you can see it here.) It used to be the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the park, but the Carowinds powers that be decided they needed an even bigger and even faster coaster, so they built Fury, which is 325 feet tall. Two of the highest roller coasters in the country are in one park. (While looking up the heights for these, I saw that there are some coasters that top 400 feet, making the Intimidator look like child’s play!)

Back in the day, I loved roller coasters. I lived for them, even. But now, at the ripe age of 33, joint/muscle issues, and anxiety that prompts me to look up death statistics with different rides? Yeah, I’m not so much of a fan. But, once again, Little Man started begging, so I agreed to ride. This is the first summer he was tall enough to ride the real roller coasters, and this was the first one, so it was a big deal for him.

That’s pretty sweet, right? First big kid roller coaster, and it’s important that his mom get on it with him. That’s what I thought, but then he made a comment that let me know that perhaps his insistence on me riding wasn’t a making memories thing that came from his heart. Not completely, anyway.

Thanks, buddy.

I rode it anyway — pretty sure I didn’t slow things down a bit — screamed my head off, and my picture was so bad that we had to purchase it.

The real picture is MUCH better than that. I couldn’t really capture the almost sobbing, close to an anxiety attack, fears for her life look that I had going on. A couple of my friends did laugh so hard they almost cried, though, so that’s how bad it is.

Are you a fan of the big roller coasters or do you like to stick to rides closer to the ground?

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