Don’t Play “Telephone” With My Daughter

“Is Panini Pizza tan?”

I glanced up from my plate. So did my husband. Our daughter looked at us expectantly.

“Excuse me?” I finally asked.

“Is Panini Pizza tan?” she repeated.

I looked at my husband. He shrugged. “Is Panini Pizza… tan?” I asked hesitantly.

“That’s not what I said!”

“That’s what I heard,” my husband said.

“Uggh! Is Panini Pizza a chain?”

” Panini Pizza? I don’t know what that is,” I said.

“No!” She slowed way down and clearly enunciated each word, “Is Panini Pete’s a chain?”

“Oh. I have no idea. I’ve never heard of them.”

“They are in Fairhope, Alabama.”

“Oh, ok. Maybe you should ask Siri or Google.”

So she did, “Ok, Google. Is Panini Pete’s a chain?”

She frowned at her phone.

“You don’t have to ask a question. Just try ‘Panini Pete’s’,” I suggested.

“Ok, Google. Panini Pete’s…What? Mini Peach? How did you get that?! Seriously! Google, how did you get that?!”

“That’s what I heard,” I said, turning to my husband. “Isn’t that what you heard?”

Bagel Burger

On our way home via a familiar route, my husband noticed that a new eating joint that he had been wanting to try was now open. At the last minute, he quickly turned. “Let’s eat here! I’ve been wanting to try it! I want a bagel burger.”


I glanced at the windows as I put on my shoes. I saw a picture of a hamburger on a regular bun. I saw pictures of donuts, bagels with cream cheese, a salad. No bagel burgers. I began to get suspicious, but the sign did seem to imply the kind of place he was hoping for, so I swallowed my reservations and headed to the door.

Upon entering, I found myself standing in a very typical donut shop, complete with the friendly Asian woman behind the counter. I scanned the menu quickly and saw that there were no bagel burgers. I began to ponder the merits of a croissant sandwich vs. a standard burger, when my husband entered the store.

“I’d like a bagel burger,” he announced to the woman behind the counter.

She stammered, “A bagel? Wait, I think we might be out. Hold on.”

I could tell she hadn’t understood what he asked for but before I could speak up, she returned. “We have a few bagels left. Only plain, blueberry, sesame seed, and wheat.”

“Ok,” he said, undaunted. “I’ll take one on a blueberry bagel.”

“You want a blueberry bagel?”

I started trying to get his attention. My frustration was rising. They were misunderstanding each other and the three children who had spent most of the morning and all of the previous day in the car were beginning to ratchet up the noise.

“Yes, I’d like a bagel burger on a blueberry bagel.”

“Ok. Do you want cream cheese?”

“Honey!” I whispered urgently, “They don’t have bagel burgers. She doesn’t understand what you are ordering.”

“They don’t?”

“No! Do you see bagel burgers anywhere on the menu?!”

“Oh.” He turned to the woman. “Can I get a hamburger but on a bagel?”

After some confusion, she agreed. During all of this, Hal was loudly calling “Daddy! Daddy!” and pulling on the front of his shirt. Daryl was repeatedly asking if he could get a fountain drink. Jane was moaning about how much she didn’t feel good. The woman was having trouble keeping track of everything that was being ordered and communication was sketchy.

I finally walked away and tried to calm down. When I get frustrated, I need things to be input to my brain one at a time. This isn’t possible with three children. Eventually, however, I had my croissant pig-in-a-blanket and bagel with cream cheese, although it took a couple of tries to get the right cream cheese. Jane had her hamburger and fries, while my husband had his on a blueberry bagel. Daryl got a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a root beer. Hal rejoiced over his breakfast burrito and star-shaped donut with star sprinkles and an Iron Man ring on top.

“We don’t have to come back,” my husband said. “I take it you saw what kind of place it was before we came in.”

“I wasn’t sure or I would have said something but I definitely had my suspicions.”

And that was how we ended up having lunch at a donut shop. Before we left, I had managed to find my smile. But just barely.


With the kids away, it’s pretty quiet around here. Just me and my husband and the dog. So you can understand why I was a bit surprised to hear my husband suddenly shout “BOO!” and burst out laughing at the other end of the house.

Apparently, he had headed down the hall and Rose had decided to follow. She was far enough behind that he was able to slip into the closet before she made it to our bedroom. She walked in, looked around, and walked back out. Then she paused, as if convincing herself that he had to be in the bedroom.

She then returned to the room, checked the bathroom, walked back out into the hallway, and again paused.

A third time, she walked into the room and looked around. This time she actually entered the closet, which is not very big, looked on my side of the closet, then turned and walked out without noticing the fairly large man taking up the other half.

This time, she walked farther down the hall so my husband stepped out of the closet and moved to the bathroom. The dog heard movement and hurried back in to investigate. When she passed in front of the door, he jumped out and yelled “BOO!” The dog reacted as one might predict, which cracked him up.

See, all this time I thought my children were away. But, no. The oldest one, the most childish, the one who will never move out, he’s still here. And I’m very happy about that.

How You Know Your Preteen is Really, Really Tired

There is a myriad of ways that parents can tell that their very young children are tired. They rub their eyes. They yawn. They throw fits and whine about incidental things. They refuse to go to sleep.

Preteens are a bit more difficult to read. Part of this is because when a preteen is tired, she typically doesn’t have the same resistance to taking a nap as a preschooler. If your preteen is tired, you will probably find her passed out.

If forced to function while tired, however, she may make strange cognitive mistakes that she will not remember the next day.

When we arrived at our hotel late Friday night, both the preschooler and the preteen were asleep in the back seat. The preschooler had the good fortune to be carried to the room. Jane was given a shake and told to grab her stuff and come in.

She was thirsty and asked for a drink. Her dad unwrapped one of the paper cups provided by the hotel and handed it to her. After awhile, I noticed that she was spending a lot of time at the sink. She would turn the water on for a brief spurt, then lean down close to the bowl, take a sip, then repeat.

When I got closer, I saw why. She had the cup upside down.


She protested when I took the cup from her and poured out the water. I then turned it right-side up and refilled it. She gave me a confused “Oh. Thank you.” The next morning, she had no recollection of the incident. That is how you know when she is tired.

Shower Conversations

I love our new shower. We spent ten years sharing the one down the hall with the kids. Our bathroom still lacks a sink as the remodeling process stretches on, but I can now happily shower away from the kids. Usually.

Shortly after we installed it, Jane walks in to use the toilet. As she sits there, she watches me take a shower. “Isn’t it kind of weird to take a shower where everyone can see you?”

“Well, honey, most people don’t open closed doors to come into my bathroom so it’s usually not a problem.”

“Oh. Right.”

Sometimes I think a light must go on in the hallway whenever I turn on the water. That light signals to the children that now would be an excellent time to try to talk to me. I can count on Hal opening the door and whining about whatever is going on in the house that he objects to. Daryl has tried to bring me school papers to sign.

Just this morning, Jane pokes her head in. I hear, “Mommy, where is your {words lost in the drone of the water}”

“Jane, you will have to come in here if you want to talk to me. I can’t hear you. And close the door. You are letting in all the cold air.” (The heater is another item still missing in the remodel and I despise being cold.)

She walks right up beside the shower door. “Where is your leg blower?”

I stare back at her. “WHAT?!

“Where is your leg blower?”

I stop moving and ask again. “What?”

Getting frustrated, she moves her hand up and down her leg, almost as if she’s shaving, and repeats herself.

Replaying the words carefully, contemplating her pantomime, and studying her attire (she’s wearing black pants), I figure it out: “Where is your leg roller?”

She wants to know where the lint roller is. I give her some suggestions on where to look (my bathroom is still in disarray, remember?). She heads out and I resume my ablutions.

My husband soon walks in and I repeat the exchange to him. I comment that I don’t know why the kids try to talk to me in the shower. Then I start telling him about how the previous day had gone for me. While talking about a woman in my yoga-at-work class, I say, “We always park next to each other.”

“You park next to each other?” He sounds surprised.

“Yes, every day. It’s kind of funny.”

He begins to laugh.

Encouraged, I continue, “Whichever of us gets there first parks at the very end. The other one then parks…”

I trail off because he is laughing harder now. “You didn’t hear what I said, did you?” he asks.

“You asked if we park next to each other.”

“No, I asked if you FART next to each other and then you said, ‘Yes, every day. It’s kind of funny.'” He laughs some more. “I think maybe you shouldn’t have ANY conversations while in the shower.”