Sometimes It’s Better Not to Know…

Having raised a girl first – and then raising a boy now – I can honestly say that I was in no way prepared for little boy issues.  I never imagined I’d find myself as the mom having to teach a child to “lift the seat” or “hit the target,”among other things.  I never imagined having to explain a variety of different boy-issues, and I certainly never expected to have a need for things to be explained to me!

941310_10201276129769093_714146396_nThough it’s early May, my part of the country has been hit with some extremely unusual weather these last few days.  Just Thursday, in fact, we got hit with nearly a foot and a half of snow…On May 2nd!  Now, instead of enjoying the balmy warmth of what should be Spring, we were huddled up in our winter coats and snow boots once again.  I certainly have a bone to pick with Mother Nature!

The high temperature for yesterday hit around 33 degrees and, of course – thinking that May should be a warm month – I’d packed away winter coats.  As a result, when it became necessary to trek out to Target for groceries, little Mister Braden just about froze his rear end off.

As we unloaded the car and I prepared to put our purchases away, Braden began to alternate crossing his legs with a jumping up and down motion.  “I gotta go to the bathroom!” he exclaimed.

“Well then, go!” I told him.

“I will…just give me a minute,” he responded.

A minute passed, and then another, and then a full five minutes had passed and Braden was still doing his little dance in the kitchen.  “Braden, what in the world are you doing?” I asked.

“I have to pee,” he responded.  “I have to pee real bad!”

“Don’t say ‘pee,’ Braden…it’s not polite,” I responded.  “Now, go to the bathroom.”

“I will.  Just a minute!” he whined.

By this point, I began to get frustrated.  “What are you waiting for?  Just go!” I responded.

With a huge sigh, Braden practically whined “I’m waiting for my hands to warm up…” and he continued to hop from one foot to the other while simultaneously trying to cross his legs.

I had now lost the battle and was officially irritated.  “Braden, what in the world do your hands have to do with going to the bathroom?!  Get in there right now and go before you pee on my floor!” I said with barely-contained irritation.

il_fullxfull.326623038“Mom…first of all, don’t say ‘pee.’  It isn’t polite,” he responded with a smart-alec smirk.  He continued by saying, “I can’t go to the bathroom right now because my hands are too cold!  You try touching your private parts with cold hands and see how you like it!”

I should’ve just left it at that, but those of you who know me also know that there’s no way I could leave it at that.  “What in the world?  Why do you have to touch your private parts when you use the bathroom?  That’s just gross!”

Finally losing his patience with my ignorance, Braden growled “Do you want me to pee in the toilet or on it?  If you want me to pee in the toilet, then I have to use my hands to guide my pee to its target!  Okay?!”

For once I was speechless.  As a woman, this was not an issue I’d ever had to deal with.  How in the world do you respond to that logic?

“Fine,” I replied.  “Just don’t forget to wash your hands.”  And then as an afterthought I added, “And don’t say ‘pee.’  It isn’t polite.”

Are you smarter than a caveman?

526609_10200985780237455_785096382_nTeenagers know absolutely everything!  It doesn’t matter what the topic, if there is an expert on that topic you can be sure that there’s a teenager – probably every teenager – that is the most knowledgeable.  It’s for this reason that I’ve recently decided to quit giving my own teenager more information than she absolutely has to have.  After all, if she knows as much or more than I, then there’s no point in my wasting my breath.

Several days ago, my 17 year old daughter drove her car into the garage to park and – in the process – happened to knock a garden hose rack and hose off of the wall.  Completely.  The rack came out of the wall entirely.  My husband told her to be sure to pick everything up because she didn’t want to run over anything that would cause damage to her tires or vehicle,  Unfortunately – though quite predictably – Amber didn’t need play-by-play instructions of the items she should be certain to pick up and – as a result – she left a screw on the floor of the garage.  Two days later, she ran over that same screw and put a hole in her tire.

My husband is much more patient – and devious – than I am.  He decided that it was time for Amber to learn how to change her own tire, so he took her out to the garage to instruct her in the process.  He showed her how to put the car up on the lifter-thingy (no laughing – I don’t need to know what it’s called!  That’s what I have him for!) and had removed the bad tired and was ready to put the full-size spare on in its place.

“Amber, will you please bring me that other tire that’s leaning against the wall over there?” he said pointing to the tire they’d leaned against the wall some distance away.

Amber walked over to the tire, squatted down, wrapped her arms around the tire and, with a loud groan, lifted the tire off the grown and haltingly carried the tire across the room to her dad and set it down in front of him.

547858_10200985778997424_389451329_n“Wow!”  she exclaimed.  “That’s really heavy!”

“Of course it is,” he responded.  “Why didn’t you just roll it over here instead of picking it up?”

The silence was thick as his words slowly seeped into her teenage brain.  “Oh.  I thought the tire had to be attached to the car to roll it,” she responded with complete sincerity.

Seriously, Amber?  Even the cavemen had this one figured out!

Help Us Decide – Cast Your Vote!

Help Us Decide!  Cast Your Vote Today!

Hi folks!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I don’t have anything humorous to post today, but I’m hoping that y’all will help me out with a little project I’m working on with my daughter.

Amber has decided to audition for America’s Got Talent.  She’s having a hard time deciding which song she wants to do and is  hoping that y’all would watch this short video to help her decide.  It’ll literally take less than 3 minutes of your life, and you can feel good about helping a kid out.  Watch the video and then place your vote below.  And thanks!

Here goes:

Not My Braden!

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It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Life has been so busy – crazy busy! – and I’ve been hanging on by my toenails, hoping that life doesn’t fling me in circles too hard!  Things are finally slowing down and – though I still don’t have the time to write a daily blog – I’m hoping to find the time to come back and write as time allows.

Which leads me to today’s blog.

Some days I feel like a character in a sit-com.  Bizarre things – unimaginably silly things – seem to happen to me and mine.  It happens so often that I sometimes feel like I’m being featured on Ahston Kutcher’s Punk’d.

On Friday morning, I said goodbye to my kids as they went off to their respective schools and I settled in for a busy day ahead.  I’d barely begun to get organized when the phone rang.  The Caller ID identified it as belonging to my son’s school, so my mind began to spin with all sorts of awful scenarios.  Breathless, I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

No reply – just some background noise and what sounded like an adult in the distance saying, “Go ahead.  You can talk.”

“Hello?” I repeated.

Silence.

“Hello?  Braden?” I said just a little louder.

“Mom,” came a barely audible voice.  “Mom…(hiccup)…I left my (barely concealed sob) lunch at home.”

Braden - Age 7

It was my Braden.  Sweet, sensitive, 8-year old Braden.  He doesn’t normally take his lunch to school, but he’d been talking about doing so for the last several days.  I hadn’t realized that he’d intended to take it on this particular day – and I hadn’t pack anything for him – so he must’ve taken the initiative to make it for himself.

“That’s okay, Baby,” I said.  “You don’t need to cry.  I can bring it to you.  Where’d you leave it?”

“I don’t know!” the child wailed.

By this point he was trying so hard not to cry that his voice was barely above a whisper.  My heart just ached!  My poor boy was so sad!  Was taking his lunch to school that important to him?  Didn’t he know I’d bring it to him?

“Hey Buddy,” I said.  “Stop crying…it’s okay.  I’ll bring it to you, okay?  I’ll find it and bring it to you in time for lunch. Okay?”

“Okay,” he said a bit lighter.  “Thanks, Mom.”

“You bet.  Now go to class and I’ll bring it to the office for you to pick up.  I love you, sweetheart.”

“Love you, too,” he said and then handed the phone over to the school’s secretary who confirmed for me what time the 2nd graders took lunch.

I hung up the phone and then went in search of the lunch that Braden had packed.  Sure enough, there it was – on the bar in the kitchen.  Inside was a sloppily made peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and 2 cups of mandarin oranges.  Not much of a lunch, but he’d packed it himself and it was obviously important to him.  I was determined to get it to him in time – and add to it to brighten his day a little bit.

As the morning hours ticked down to the time I needed to drop Braden’s lunch off, I began to brainstorm on what I could add to his lunch.  I soon realized I had nothing in the house and would need to make a quick run to Target.  As I passed the local McDonald’s on route to Target, I had a great idea:  Braden’s lunch was so pathetic that I’d surprise him with a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal.  I’d keep his packed lunch in there in case he really wanted it, but I’d get him some Chicken McNuggets to surprise him…and through the drive-thru I went.

At 11:25, I arrived at school with 5 minutes to spare before the 2nd graders headed to lunch.  I stopped in the office to sign the visitor’s register and say hello to the secretaries.

As I greeted the secretaries, Sally said to me “That poor by was so upset this morning!  I’m so glad he was able to talk to you.  He just brightened up when he heard your voice and you said you’d bring his lunch.”   This sparked a short conversation about how upset (and then relieved) he was, and how surprised I was to hear that he’d even planned to take his lunch.

A few moments later as I finished signing the register, Sally said (pointing to the lunch I’d brought in), “Now whose lunch is this?”

“That’s Braden’s,” I responded.

Sally looked at me in confusion.  “Braden already came to pick up his lunch.  His grandmother dropped it off shortly after he talked to you on the phone.”

“My Braden?” I asked.

“Well…I think so,” Sally said.  “It was the same child who called you crying this morning.  His grandmother dropped it off only about a half hour after he talked to you.”

“Can’t be my Braden,” I said. “My Braden’s grandmother lives in Oklahoma.”

Silence.  We both stared at each other in complete bewilderment.

“Well,” Sally began, “someone came in and said she was Braden’s grandmother and dropped off his lunch.  Karin (the other secretary) paged him to come down and he picked it up just a little bit ago.”

“My Braden?” I asked, nearly speechless.

“I think so,” she responded.  “Karin,” she said as she turned to the other secretary, “Braden came down to pick up his lunch, right?  After his grandmother came in and dropped it off?”

“Yes,” Karin confirmed.  “I paged his classroom and his teacher sent him down.”

This was getting weirder by the second!  I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I set off for Braden’s classroom.  By this point, nothing could shock me, so it was no surprise to see that Braden was confused by my presence.

“What are you doing here?” Braden asked.

“I brought your lunch.  You called me this morning and said you left it at home, so I brought it but also added a surprise to it for you,” I responded.

“What?  I’m confused.  I didn’t call you.”

“Huh?  You called me and said you forgot your lunch.  You were in tears and asked me to bring it.  I found it on the bar in the kitchen and brought it to you, but it looked so unappetizing that I stopped by McDonalds to surprise you with a Happy Meal instead.”

“You brought me McDonalds?!” he replied with obvious excitement!  “Thanks, Mom!!!  But I didn’t call you…can I still have it?”

What in the world was going on here?  My Braden didn’t call me, but my Braden had packed a lunch.  My head was beginning to spin and I could swear I heard the Twilight Zone music playing in my head.

I left Braden with his lunch and he marched happily off to the cafeteria with his classmates.  But I still didn’t know what was going on!  Who had called me?  Was there a Braden out there upset that his mom had failed him?  I’d told somebody’s Braden that I would bring his lunch to him; was that Braden going to lunch right now without having received it from his mother?

I returned to the office where the secretaries had finally sorted out the confusion.  Braden did call me that morning, but it wasn’t my Braden.  It was another 2nd grade Braden.  When he approached the secretaries and was overwhelmed by what had happened, they had a hard time getting any other information from him than his first name.  In an attempt to get his last name, Sally had asked “Braden A___?”  The little boy (Braden H___) was so upset that he just responded affirmatively, which led the school secretaries – who knew me and knew that I had a son named Braden, but had probably never seen us together – to call me.

From my end, the Braden on the phone was so upset that I just assumed that it was my Braden.  And Braden H___, in his moment of panic, apparently didn’t notice that I didn’t sound like his mother because he was totally convinced that he’d spoken to his mother.  In the meantime, Braden H___’s grandmother realized his lunch was at home and brought it in, and my Braden had packed a lunch the previous night with the intention of bringing it to school but had changed his mind, leaving me to find a half-packed lunch on the bar.

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Sometimes it’s funny how all the planets can align just perfectly and bring around such confusion and chaos!

  • Two Bradens.
  • Two packed lunches, one forgotten intentionally.
  • A phone call where neither side realizes they’re not talking to the person they think they’re talking to.

Thank goodness for the grandmother who realized that her grandson (Braden H___ ) forgot his lunch.

Such is my life.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring…?

Santa is watching you! Really…he is! I promise!

As parents, we’ve all done it.  Most of us, anyway.  We’ve all told that little white lie, with the intention of protecting the imaginations and/or innocence of our children.  You know the ones I’m talking about:  those itty-bitty, tinnnnny white lies about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny…or even about Goldie the Goldfish who has somehow – in just a few short hours – shrunk from 4 inches down to 2 1/2 and isn’t quite as orange as he was when the kids went to school that morning.  Seriously!  Who wants to tell an 8 year old that Goldie the Goldfish went up to the Great Goldfish Bowl in the Sky?  It’s much more humane to run to the local pet store and replace him with another that looks – to you – exactly like him.

Over the years, I’ve told some doozies.

When my daughter was about two, she was afraid of the dark so I filled a spray bottle with water and my favorite perfume and called it “monster repellent.”  Each night at bedtime, I methodically sprayed every inch of her room to keep the monsters away.  It worked!  So long as I didn’t run out of “monster spray,” I could be sure that she’d go to bed fairly easily at night, and she was assured that monsters wouldn’t sneak out from the closet or from under her bed.

When my children were afraid of the thunder and lightening outside, I told them that it was their great grandparents up in Heaven.  The rains were nothing more than the great grandparents taking a shower.  The lightening was Great Granddad flipping the lights off and on to tease Great Gram while she was in the shower; and the thunder was her temper tantrum, letting him know she didn’t appreciate his childish antics.  The idea of two old people behaving like children was enough to give them a giggle and make the booming flashes less intimidating.  Amber is now 16 and still remembers those stories.  She loved them.

Probably the best little white lie I ever told, though, was about Santa and the high-tech gadgets he uses to keep an eye on all of the little children of the world.  It was a great story…until I got caught!

My son Braden is a really sweet boy, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one more ornery.  He’s got a lot of energy and loves to push the envelope on every little thing.  The worst part is that he’s so smart that he will find a workaround for every single thing you ask him to do.  “I’ll make a deal with you,” he might say.  “I’ll do what you ask, if youuuuuuu…” (fill in the blank, but I can assure you that the tradeoff is never reasonable).

Needless to say, there were times when I was ready to pull my hair out in big clumps.  Actually, there still are days when I feel like pulling my hair out in big clumps!

About four years ago – back when Braden was only about 4 – I’d completely lost my patience with his constant negotiating attempts and misbehavior.  So I did what every frustrated parent does:  I threatened him with a little white lie.  I pulled the “Santa is watching you” card.

“Braden,” I said as I pointed to the smoke detectors in the house, “do you see those little round things on the ceiling in most rooms in this house?”

“Yeahhhhh?” he responded.

“Well, those are Santa’s little spy cameras.  That little flashing light tells you that it’s working, and Santa sees absolutely everything you do and say.  So you better behave!  Christmas isn’t that far away and you don’t want Santa to bring you sticks and rocks like he did your Uncle Sam, do you?”

“Uncle Sam got sticks and rocks for Christmas?” he asked in shock and wonder.

“Yup!  Now you don’t want rocks and sticks like Uncle Same got, do you?”

“No way!” he practically shouted.  And from that day forward and for the next four years, all I had to do was to take an obvious glance at the smoke detectors when Braden was misbehaving, and that would bring him back to some semblance of good behavior.

Did my brother – Uncle Sam – really get sticks and rocks for Christmas one year?  Probably not, but I’m sure I heard that somewhere.  Uncle Sam is 10 years older than I am, so our folks probably told me that little white lie when I was Braden’s age for the same reason I’d told my little white lie to him.  And it worked!

Until I got caught…

Four years have passed and Braden is now in 2nd grade.  This week at school, the big topic is all about fires and smoke detectors and how to get out of your house safely.  As part of his homework last night, Braden was assigned to walk through the house and count all of the smoke detectors…er…Santa Cams…in the house.  I’m sure you can imagine how this rolled out.

“Braden,” I asked when he got home from school, “do you have any homework tonight?”

“Not really,” he said.  “I just have to walk around the house and count all of the…the…the…OH MY GOSH!!!!”

Uh oh…I knew what was coming…

“OH MY GOSH!” he shouted again.  “YOU told me those were Santa’s spy cameras!  I learned in school today that they’re SMOKE DETECTORS!  All this time I thought Santa was watching me in every room in the house, and they were smoke detectors!  Mom!”

When you’ve been caught with your pants down in a bad lie, the only sensible thing to do is to play dumb.

“WHAT?” I exclaimed.  “They’re not Santa’s spy cameras?”

“No, they’re not!  And you knew that!  You just thought you’d make me behave by making me think Santa could see me!  No wonder my friends laughed when I told them that they were Santa’s spy cameras and he could see us through those things!”

At this point I quit feeling guilty and just couldn’t stop laughing at the image in my mind of the expressions on the faces of Braden’s friends as they tried to understand what he meant about Santa being able to see them through the smoke detectors.  Eventually my laughter must’ve been contagious because it took only seconds for Braden to join me in my humor.  Thank goodness that child has a sense of humor!

The moral of this story, my friends, is this:  If you’re going to tell one of those little white lies, make sure you come clean before you get caught!  That, or just don’t get caught!

Will the Real Superman Please Fly Forward?

Not the Real Superman!

I love little kids and the unique way they have of taking everything quite literally.  If you say “the sky is falling,” you can be sure that some child will duck for cover.  If you say “it’s raining cats and dogs,” some child somewhere will start to cry.  Their whole world is very literal.

This morning as I was leaving my local library, I entered the elevator at the same time as this adorable little 4 year old boy and his grandmother.  He was absolutely beautiful:  blonde hair, blue eyes, huge smile…and he was wearing a Superman cape.  Apparently, he was also extremely precocious and smart!

“Oh wow! ” I said to him as I stepped on the elevator.  “How cool is it that I get to share an elevator with Superman?!”

The child looked at me with a look of utter disbelief and barely concealed smug irritation.  “I’m not really Superman,” he said.

“Oh gosh…you sure look like him with that great cape you’re wearing.”

“Nope,” he said.  “I’m not Superman.  My mom bought this cape and shirt at JC Penny.”  Then as an afterthought he added, “You grownups are weird!  How can you not know that I’m not really Superman?  I’m only a little kid!”

And then he rolled his eyes.  He rolled his eyes!  At me!  I’d been dissed by a 4 year old!

Grandma and I just looked at each other and shrugged.  What else could we do?