My Little Pretty

This morning, Jane entered the bathroom while I was showering and began to sort her laundry into our laundry hampers. We have three that are sorted according to how the articles need to be washed. The boys have a sorted hamper system as well. Jane has one hamper and periodically brings it to ours for sorting.

The hampers are near the door so as she opened it, she left it open (with her rear actually poking out of the room). She then began to pull her clothes out of her hamper and toss them into ours. I felt the cold air drift down from above the shower wall and yelped. “Shut the door!!”

She scooted in and quickly closed it. Unfortunately for her, it is a pocket door, one that still lacks a handle due to the never ending remodeling job. So if you close it too completely, it is difficult to open. She turned to leave and couldn’t grab the edge of the door. She reached toward the top and then to the side before asking, “How do I get out of here?”

Her wording grabbed my fancy. I opened the shower door to poke my head out. I smiled deviously at her and in my best witch’s voice, said, “You don’t! You are trapped in here my little pretty! HEE, hee, hee, hee, hee!”

She smiled faintly at me as she gained a hold on the door edge and left the room. I wondered if she had found it funny. It’s been only recently that I’ve been willing to let go of my own fear of embarrassment and act silly with my family. I still won’t do it around most anyone else.

I had a sudden chilling thought. My kids think I’m cool. Well, for the most part, they do. How terrible would it be if they found me embarrassing? I mean, like truly, “get away from me, mom” embarrassing? How would I handle that?

Rockin’ Grammar

There is a Rolling Stone magazine sitting on my bathroom counter. It is partially obscured by other stuff that has stacked up there. The edge near the spine, however, where the titles for the various articles are printed, is still visible. One morning, I noticed that one of them said “Imagine Dragons Take Flight”.

Shouldn’t that be ‘Imagine Dragons Takes Flight’? I thought. I continued to ponder it as I climbed into the shower. The band takes flight I thought. The name is a title for a single object: a band. It’s singular. Pink Floyd takes flight. U2 takes flight. See? The Eagles… take flight. Hmm. But ‘The Eagles’ is plural, so yeah, that makes sense. ‘Imagine Dragons’ isn’t really plural.

Ah, I thought. It’s because the name has a verb in it. Tricky. I wonder which way it should be.

With that thought, I finished my shower and went about my day. The next day, the magazine cover was still staring back at me and I still thought it “read” wrong. The analysis continued in that morning’s shower.

Okay, what are some other non-standard band names? They Might Be Giants… take flight? Oh! That sounds awful. It should be ‘They Might Be Giants takes flight’. Well, what good is my opinion? I think it should be ‘Imagine Dragons takes flight’ too.

I considered the possibility that the copy editor for Rolling Stone might be wrong. It’s possible. Of course, they surely have more experience than I do in ensuring proper noun/verb agreement with unusual band names. The problem, I thought, is probably relatively new. Bands used to name themselves with nouns or with an adjective/noun combo, not verbs or complete sentences.

I turned off the water and decided to employ Wikipedia to help me out. Not that they are perfect at grammar themselves. Just a bunch of everybodies like me. But any article on a band will start with “band name is/are blah blah blah”. I suspected I would find support for my position.

First I looked up They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants (sometimes abbreviated as TMBG) is an American alternative band formed in 1982…

A-ha! Success. The band is, therefore the band takes flight. Time to check out Imagine Dragons:

Imagine Dragons is an American alternative rock band from…

Yes! Agreement! The anonymous editors at Wikipedia agree with me! Woo-hoo!

Checking The Eagles showed: The Eagles are an American rock band formed in…

Logical consistency, at least according to my view of the grammatical world.

Another Morning In Paradise

First we watched Jane braid her hair in our room in front of our mirror while dressed in only her underwear and sports bra.

Then I saw Daryl sitting on the couch playing games on his Nintendo DS. When I asked him to take care of the dishes, he suddenly remembered he needed to use the bathroom. Not to mention brush his hair and teeth.

Hal started off the morning playing with a toy airplane. He moved on to stealing his brother’s plastic recorder because Daryl obviously intended to relinquish ownership when he left it sitting on Hal’s bed. Once I broke up that fight, Hal finally managed to change his underwear and then proceeded to parade around the house announcing to me how comfortable the new pair was.

We had conversations with the still-not-fully-dressed Jane about volleyball, cell phones, work schedules, and more until she got frustrated, noticed the time, and loudly pronounced it time to leave.

With a serious case of bed head, Daryl seemed confused as to why I wouldn’t return his DS to him.

After the caravan left without him because he was not ready to go, Hal got upset that I refused to let him wear long sleeves with his long pants when it’s going to be ninety degrees outside. His teachers already think he’s strange for refusing to wear shorts most days.

And all of this before I managed to complete a shower.

One of Those Days

You ever have one of those days? You know… the one where you put your toothpaste on your toothbrush and then rinse it off even though you didn’t brush your teeth? Your brain goes out to lunch and leaves you hanging? Sure you have. Ever had a dozen of those days all at once?

I got in the shower after my morning run one recent morning. Like everyone else, I have a routine. First I shave my legs (if that’s on the agenda), then I wash my body, ending with my face, then I shave my armpits (if needed), then wash my hair.

This particular morning was to see the entire order of operations, but for some reason, after washing the rest of my body, I opted to shave my pits before washing my face. I don’t know why. When I then washed my face, I congratulated myself on a quick and efficient shower and turned off the water.

I stood there dripping while my mind went blank. When it returned, I realized that I had not washed my hair.

Before I go into the shower, I bring my clothes into the bathroom. Then I dress before leaving the room. On this day, however, after donning only my undergarments, I chose to return to the bedroom to make a phone call.

After hanging up the phone, I sat blankly on my bed. What should I do next? Ah, yes, I thought, looking down at myself, I should get dressed. With that thought, I stood and returned to the bathroom, where I put on my pants and picked up my shirt.

Something didn’t feel right. I don’t wear this shirt with a bra on. Why not? I looked at the shirt in my hands and then the pants I was wearing. I was putting my pajamas on! Oh, sheesh! What is going on?!

I finally succeeded in getting dressed in the appropriate clothing. Returning to the bedroom, I put on my makeup and applied deodorant. With a confident nod that I was almost ready to head to work, I walked down the hall to brush my teeth. (Still no sink in our bathroom). I’d almost reached the hall bathroom when I realized that my hair was still wet and unbrushed.

The fun continued at work. When I unlocked my screen, I was reminded that I needed to change my password. Fine. I’ll take care of that now.

I thought up a new one and entered it twice. It told me they didn’t match. Puzzled, I tried again. Same result. I studied the screen closer and realized I had entered it in the “old password” box and the first “new password” box.

With a sigh, I filled out all the boxes correctly. I was then informed that I did not have the authority to change my password. I had to call the help desk and by the time she was ready for me to enter my new password, I had forgotten it.

Needless to say, I bought a Mountain Dew that day. And warned my coworkers I wasn’t in the sharpest mental state. And eagerly awaited the end of the day.

Working Hard at Not Working

Children are born with the innate desire to avoid responsibility. Just think about it. How many years do we spend changing their diapers before they decide to get up off their tushes and take care of business?!

Seriously, though. I remember doing this as a kid. I can remember getting my hair wet under the faucet, wetting the bar of soap, sprinkling water on my towel, all so it would look like I had taken a shower.

My brother and I would come up with the most elaborate explanations about why we couldn’t complete our chores while mom was at work. Thing is, I often felt the reasons were legitimate. Truly. We did this so often that when my brother called to tell her that he wouldn’t be finishing mowing the lawn (because the mower had caught fire in the garage), she was already reacting before he cut in with “but the Fire Chief says it’s going to be ok!”

Despite having plenty of experience on the “other team”, I’m still amazed at what my children come up with. Daryl is a true master of work avoidance. Getting him to unload the dishwasher is more work than just doing it yourself. Every. Single. Time.

Tonight, he started unloading it. Within a minute, he was spotted walking down the hallway with his shirt half off.

“What are you doing, Daryl?” asked my husband.

“I’m taking off my shirt,” replied Daryl as he headed to his room at the other end of the house.

“I don’t think so. Get back in the kitchen and take care of business! All this back and forth just wastes time.”

A few minutes later, we saw him again walking down the hall, this time holding a frying pan. As if anticipating our objections, he quickly said, “I’m thirsty. I need a drink of water.”

“Get back in the kitchen, Daryl.” As he physically turned the boy around and directed him back the way he came, he continued, “There’s this amazing thing about kitchens. There’s a water faucet in there. And drinking vessels. Everything you need to get a drink. You don’t need a trip to the bathroom. And what were you going to do with the pan? Drink out of it?”

There were a couple more intercepts before Daddy deemed the job nearly done and walked to our bedroom to talk to me. As we talked, Daryl came down the hall. Plenty of time had passed so Daddy asked for confirmation, “Have you finished unloading the dishwasher?”

“Oh!” Daryl looked slightly disoriented. “No, I forgot. Let me go finish.”

My husband looked at me and sighed. “That boy gets distracted so easily, it’s not even funny. He doesn’t even get the word ‘squirrel’ out before something else attracts his attention!”

Catnip for Teenagers

I thought I wouldn’t have a blog post tonight. Today did not provide an obvious story and I didn’t feel up to digging through my old Facebook posts or journals to find some hidden nugget of childhood frivolity to share.

Then I took Hal into the bathroom to brush his teeth. His sister was in the shower. I saw the shower curtain, partially obscured by the toilet, move ever so slightly out of the corner of my eye. As it drew my attention, I saw a bit of flesh move slowly down from the curtain to the floor and then return equally slowly out of sight.

At first I assumed a foot, although I couldn’t fathom why she would momentarily step out of the shower nor why she would do it with such stealth. I had noticed a bit of red and I suddenly realized what was happening.


Since I heard no music as I entered the bathroom, I can only assume that she was texting while in the shower. She must have feared that I would look in the shower and catch her with the phone. Ironically, the act of returning the phone to the floor got her caught.

I tried one more time to explain basic common sense. “Jane, you do realize that if that phone gets too wet, it will stop working? We are not making arbitrary rules here. You will not have a phone if you keep doing that.”

Maybe the third time will be the charm. Somehow, I doubt it. Cell phones are like catnip for teenagers. They just can’t stay away.

Common Sense Takes a Hike

There are certain things that seem like common sense to a parent. These are things you don’t think you ever actually need to explain to your child. Especially if your child has been identified as “Gifted and Talented”. And it’s not really like you think, “Well, I don’t need to tell her about this. I’m sure she understands.” It just seems so plainly obvious that you never even think of mentioning it. Like this classic for Jane:

You should never microwave your jacket.

See? That’s just not something I ever thought I needed to say. Nevertheless, it would have saved a jacket and a microwave if I had thought to say it. I thought that maybe the jacket was an isolated incident, but sadly, I was mistaken.

On two separate occasions recently, both Jane’s father and I have had to speak this gem:

Don’t take your cell phone with you in the shower.

Yes, I would have thought that it would be quite evident that water and electronics don’t mix. Apparently, though, the need to listen to her tunes overrode common sense. Twice.

And at the conclusion of Sunday’s volleyball game, my husband found himself saying the following words:

You need to tie your shoes when participating in a sport.

Now, don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a simple matter of a shoe coming untied and a busy child failing to notice or, noticing, failing to stop and tie. No, this is a child that has been insisting she needs new shoes for volleyball because she is getting blisters and having other problems. Turns out, she’s not tying her shoes. She’s merely tucking the laces inside. This is a common teen dressing habit for school. You would think that common sense would clearly indicate, however, that this habit is not appropriate on the volleyball court. But, alas, it does not.

This makes me wonder what words are waiting to be spoken next.