Once there was a tired mom who groggily dragged herself downstairs. All poor mom wanted was a cup of coffee. She could almost taste it.
But instead of a hot cup of joe, this mom was greeted by devastation.
A giant watermelon that was awaiting consumption decided nighttime would be the right time to give up all hope. This depressed watermelon sprung a leak and all its insides had oozed out onto the table.
The carnage was not limited to the table. One of the mom’s sons had created pottery with air-dry clay. The fish and bowl were the first victims, reduced to soggy bits of sadness.
Next in line was the chair and wall. Although watermelons are mostly water, there is a high sugar component. Sticky watermelon intestine juice removal is not a simple task. And it stinks.
Poor mom was heckled with unnecessary observations from her offspring about the “grossness” and the condition of the pottery. But no one offered to hold the garbage bag for her. Weird.
The final victim of this culinary savagery was mom’s sanity. Because coffee.
Production has already begun on the sequel, “Mango Mayhem”.
Never trust a preschooler with a reputation for peeing his pants. Even if he did use the facilities only ten minutes earlier. Against my better judgement, I didn’t force the issue and we took off to Mom Mecca: Target.
As we pulled into the parking lot, Little says in a tiny voice, “I wet.”
So many feelings! I was irritated that he peed his pants when he is capable of staying dry. I was peeved at myself for being irritated because I don’t tend to get upset with toilet training mishaps. I felt bad for his older brother who had brought his Lightning McQueen, velcro-closure wallet with him to buy a toy.
After checking the diaper bag and discovering no spare clothes (now I had to add Bearded Husband to my list of irritants) I had a plan of action.
Well, we’re going to buy you a pair shorts and you’ll wear those. AND YOU WILL LIKE THEM.
Now it was time for the big brother to jump into older and wiser sibling mode:
Little, you are going to have to wear whatever we buy, that’s what happens when you pee your pants.
Now, Little, when you pee your pants, Mommy isn’t angry, but you won’t be getting a toy.
Little, I will get a toy because she didn’t have to spend money buying me new shorts because my shorts are dry. I never pee myself.
You know, you peed your pants.
Our shopping trip was mostly uneventful after that. The boys got into a slight altercation in the sock aisle, but it was nothing a threat issued through clenched teeth couldn’t diffuse.
We chatted and giggled while we finished up our shopping. As we wheeled towards the till, my youngest piped up:
Mommy? I get a toy?
No, Little, I spent that money on new shorts since you peed your pants.
I so sorry. Please? You buy me a toy? I not always pee my pants anymore.
It might take me a while and several seasons of preschool life, but eventually I learn: Never trust an almost 3-year-old. Especially one who has perfected using his cuteness for evil.
Don’t feel bad for him, though. He did get to ride home in a “big boy booster” instead of his car seat. Oh, that’s because – wait, did I mention this already? He peed his pants.
Unfortunate shopping experience? Share. Bodily functions involved? Even better.
Don’t jump on the bed. Remember Aaron across the street who broke his arm doing that?
If you race up the front steps, you might puncture your knee just like Daddy did that time. We spent hours in Urgent Care that day. With a newborn.
Donkey-kicking your brother is a bad idea. Just ask Auntie – she broke her arm when she was flung across the basement when we were kids. I may or may not have been involved in that.
Sliding down the stairs on your belly will end badly. Did I ever tell you about the time Uncle Rob got carpet burn doing that?
Don’t ride your bike with your eyes closed. Just trust me on that – I have first hand experience.
Do I really need to remind you why you shouldn’t run around naked?
Chasing your brothers around the bedrooms – guys, I had to call our nurse neighbour last time you did that.
Go ahead and name a questionable activity and I can give you a real life cautionary tale outlining the dangers.
Care to lean really far on the kitchen table while standing on your chair? I recently witnessed a son scrape his belly doing that. I thought he had broken a rib or done some serious internal damage.
Feel like putting some coins in your mouth? My cousin once swallowed a dollar’s worth of quarters and had to go to the hospital.
Think it’s fun to stick your leg through the spindles on the stairwell? A kindergarten student once got her knee stuck in the bars at the playground. It took a whole team of us and a bottle of Palmolive to get her out.
Want to pour yourself a nice, tall glass of milk after a sleep over at your friend’s house? Sit back and let me tell you about Gary.
Gary* spent the night at his good friend, Kevin’s house. He woke up, and as any young kid does, he headed down to find himself some breakfast. Several members of Kevin’s family were gathered around the kitchen table enjoying a selection of cold cereal.
Gary surveyed the options and made his choice (probably Corn Flakes, Gary wasn’t much of a risk-taker). He topped it off with a splash of milk and dug in. Partway through his most important meal of the day, Gary realized he was thirsty so he poured himself a refreshing glass of milk. He took a swig and thought, “Hmmm, tastes kind of sweet.” Ate some cereal, took another sip, “Yes,” he thought, “Their milk tastes like they put sugar in it.”
Being the polite young man that he was, Gary finished up his cereal without mentioning the sugar-infused milk. As he brought his bowl to the sink, Kevin asked him, “did you drink that whole glass of milk?”
As Gary turned to answer his former best friend, he saw the remaining family members pour the leftover milk from their cereal bowls into the glass pitcher on the table. The very same pitcher Gary had chugged from.
My son, never, ever, drink the sweet milk.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent and easily duped.
This post is dedicated to the real “Gary” and to frugal parents everywhere.
They can bring a top negotiator to their knees with stubborn persistence alone. They can hold adults hostage merely by refusing to pee on the potty. They can bring a grown woman to tears by simply insisting that their socks feel “funny”.
Recently I decided to test some of their better known tactics out for myself. After all, despite repeated redirection, our toddler keeps trying. There must be some sort of payoff.
Our Little regularly flops to the floor in a sad heap if he’s been told not to dip his cheese in his juice cup. When he insists he can put his boot on himself and you comply by backing off, he’ll toss himself to the ground because you listened to him.
What if grown-ups handled their frustration that way?
Our toddler has many super powers – check out his other tactics here.
Your turn – what frustrates you most? Have you tried the toddler approach yet? It doesn’t solve anything, but surprisingly does make you feel better.
Our staff decided to celebrate the last day of school with an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. As unbelievable as it might sound, I do not own one. When I asked around, my friend suggested an idea from Pinterest. I’m not very handy with sewing or stitching, but I can hold my own with a glue gun. So I eagerly gathered up my supplies, popped in a movie for the boys and got started on what was sure to be the winning sweater.
Things were going relatively well, but I considered other options. The glue gunning was replaced with my stapler – made sense.
I soon discovered that I couldn’t accomplish this on my own. The clear choice was to use the four-year-old as my stand in. It would have worked better if he had stood still.
Staples, a glue gun, and a four year old. There was no way this sweater would be anything less than spectacular.
The big day was approaching when disaster struck in the form of the stomach flu. At the time of publishing, four out of six family members had been hit. This meant I could not participate in the contest! Or did it?
Turns out, you can wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater anywhere, any time. It’s true. IT IS.
I now present to you: The Ugly Christmas Sweater Pinterest Fail – Home Edition.
This is what it was supposed to look like:
I was quite pleased with my version and it’s versatility.
Enough time has finally passed that I can share this experience. It’s taken about thirty years, but I’m over it.
I was home sick (or sick-ish, it’s possible I embellished the severity of my symptoms as a child). I was camped out on the couch in the family room and in between cups of tea and reruns of “Facts of Life” I came across this popper toy I had gotten from some machine somewhere at some point. Those details are fuzzy and irrelevant. I also can’t recall why I had it at that particular moment. What I do remember is inverting it on the table beside me and watching it fly high in the air. That was fun for a few minutes. Then I discovered that if I just pushed it, it had suction cup-like properties. I could stick it on my hand, my foot, and, hey, why not try the old forehead.
I put a popper on my forehead.
This poorly planned experiment was followed by a nap. I was awakened a short time later by one of my sisters shaking me and frantically asking, “what happened to you?! Are you okay? Look at your head!”
I stumbled up and over to the main floor washroom to discover two overlapping circles on my forehead. Like two loonie-sized hickeys. Right in the middle of my forehead.
Unfortunately, I was nearing the end of my stay at home and there was no way my mom was going to let me wait it out for the few days it would take for the marks to fade. Thus began, Operation Cover Up.
Mom, my sisters, and I tried various make-up and hairstyling techniques, but at best we muted the red. There was no way those circles would be hidden. It was the eighties, so I had big bangs, but even those couldn’t cover the damage I’d inflicted. And so we launched the second part of the operation – Cover Story.
It’s not easy to create a plausible back story to explain why you have two perfectly round bruises on your forehead, but I did it:
“I was heading downstairs and at the same time my sister rushed up and opened the basement door and slammed it open and I whacked my head on the door.”
I rehearsed this story several times, making sure to include just the right amount of detail. I added a smidge of righteous indignation at my sister’s thoughtless door-opening with a hint of surprise that it would leave such perfectly circular injuries. It was a glorious cover story. I almost started to believe it myself.
The following evening I was at church for our girls’ group. I told my story and everyone bought it. I was home free. I was going to get out of this disaster a little wiser, but with my reputation intact. THESE FOREHEAD HICKEYS WOULD NOT DEFINE ME.
We were waiting for our rides home when my friend turned to me and said, “yeah, your sister told us. You stuck a popper on your head. Twice. There was no door. See you tomorrow.”
The real lesson here is: you can have the best cover story for why you have a hickey Venn Diagram of Stupidity on your forehead, but it’s only as strong as your weakest link. Or sister with the biggest mouth.
I’m not much of a risk-taker. You won’t catch me bungee jumping or hopping out of a plane. That’s just crazy. Appropriate risks include trying a new flavoured latte or buying the generic version of my preferred soap. However, once in a while, inspiration hits and I will tell that nay-saying voice inside my head to pipe down.
One evening I finished up my grocery shopping and went to the Tim Hortons in the same plaza to grab a coffee (just my usual black decaf, wasn’t feeling daring). As I got back into my car I noticed a man crouched near a pillar in a darkened corner between the drugstore and First Choice Haircutters. Most shops had closed down for the evening.
I heard a little voice say to me, “you should help him.”
Me: You know, I’m almost in the car, going over now is a little obvious. I’m sure someone else will be by soon.
Voice: Nope. You. Go.
Me: I walked by earlier and he didn’t ask for anything. We’re good.
Me: Look, he appears to have had enough cash to buy some smokes. Heading home, my coffee is getting cold.
I grabbed a five out of my wallet and nervously headed over to the stranger. I took a deep breath and boldly held out my hand.
“Here, this is for you.”
He seemed a bit startled and took his earbuds out. He paused, looked at me, looked at the money in my hand, back at me, and said:
“I’m not homeless, I’m just on my break.”
Your turn – any embarrassing incidents to share? Perhaps one that required you to never wear your favourite red jacket to a certain plaza again for fear of recognition?