Thursday, September 29, 2011


Maybe you penned a piece about assuming the best, considering the good-heartedness of family members, measuring your responses.

Maybe you meant every word you wrote.

Maybe a short time after you hit "post," one of your darling offspring blatantly and somewhat brazenly defied a clear and simple instruction.

Maybe you offered a calm, reasonable response.

Maybe in the midst of your calm, reasonable response, you moved a bike which then fell and slammed into your foot.

Maybe you uttered something best left unsaid.

Maybe you briefly reflected on the fact that you routinely ride the kids for saying idiot, hate, stupid, and a few others words far tamer than the one you just let fly.

Maybe you remembered what a priest once said about the members of his order: I'd be really holy is it weren't for you people.

Maybe you moved past this thought, made amends and decided to try, try again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Intentions Matter

Note to John: If you're going to abscond with a couple of cookies, don't hide them in your underwear.

I was going to start this off with It's been one of those days. By the end of the day, I had to conclude that we had had a great day with just a few of those moments nestled in. Ainsley dumped my coffee on the nice couch (which is looking increasingly like the ugly couch). I looked down at John's toes and saw Elmer's glue in between them. Yes, Elmer's glue. He fingered Ainsley for the crime, and, oddly enough, I believed him if only for a minute. I later heard some suspicious noises and saw John walking slowly and with an awkward gait. That's when I found the cache of cookies in his whitey tighties.

If you should drop by my house for a bite to eat, remember your mother's adage: You don't know where that thing's been!  Think: teapot.

Given all this and other issues that have brought minor bedlam, I decided an all out re-boot was necessary. Hit control alt delete on every element of family life, beginning with my beloved offspring.  I called my friend up the street for a pep talk. Laurie and I go way back. She's been my dear friend and marriage counsellor, my unpaid psych nurse and quilting instructor. She's talked me down off many a metaphorical ledge.

She listened; she comforted me; she assured me with a graphic anecdote or two that I am not alone. She brought me to the heart of the issue. They don't have bad hearts, she told me. The thirteen cups on the counter, the wet towel on the bed, the open bag of bread growing stale on the counter, the forgotten lunch -- they don't stem from bad hearts.

Yes, there is an aspect of obliviousness, a need for training and agreements, an element even of laziness. But Laurie is right: Their intentions are not bad. A cleaner floor and an empty dishwasher are not, as she gently pointed out, worth my sanity. They are certainly not worth my relationships with my children.

I read an anecdote about a mother going ape over cat vomit. Seems the family cat had upchucked at the top of the stairs. Every member of the family managed to hurdle the mess, but no one felt compelled to do anything about it. Sometimes it's hard being the mom. Sometimes it's hard being home most of the day. I would like one or two of my fellow residents to care about the glob of syrup on the table, to notice the twelve dirty socks under the bed, to consider pushing the piano bench back every once in a while.

It's easy to react over this or that.

I am in the middle of reading the Harry Potter books. My favorite characters are Mr. and Mrs.Weasley who, despite their oddities, are such quintessential parents. When their son Ron swipes the family car, flies it off to school,and then crashes it into a tree, Mum sends an exploding letter called a Howler:

Stealing the car, I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd expelled you, you wait till I get hold of you, I don't suppose you stopped to think what your father and I went through when we saw it was gone -- we didn't bring you up to behave like this -- it's entirely your fault and if you put another toe out of line we'll bring you straight back home.

If I find this more humorous than most, it's because I've dispatched a Howler or two over the past fourteen years of parenting. Like Mrs. Weasley's, mine tend to burst into flames at the end.

I loved Karen Edmisten's piece on what she's learned in seventeen years of motherhood. She starts off with a gem:

When something is really irritating you, ask yourself this: "When they are grown up and gone, am I going to care that they _____________? Or will I look back and wonder why I made such a big deal out of that?" Then decide if it's really a big deal or not. Answers will vary.

In ten years, will my children be thinking about the state of my baseboards or the status of the laundry hamper? Not likely. I hope they'll remember a mother who listened to Weird Al and laughed right along with them. I hope they'll remember a mom who encouraged their interests, including the messy ones. I hope they'll remember a mother who occasionally fed them frozen waffles for dinner, but also baked lots of chocolate chip cookies and let them eat a ton of batter. I hope they'll remember a mother who really, really wanted her house to look better, but worked very, very hard at lightening up so that the place was livable for both mom and kids.

(I hope they'll forget every Howler I ever sent. Barring that, I hope they'll remember that I always apologized and really meant it.)

Cleaning up the dining room one evening, I found a tidy pile of lima beans under a chair.

"Why didn't you just say, 'Mom, I don't like lima beans,'" I asked the stockpiling son.

"Well," he said, somewhat confused, "that would be bad manners."

In his own way, he was thinking of me. His heart was in the right place. His intentions were good. For right now, for this moment, that works for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweater by Auntie Kate.  Photo by Barry Koenig. Total preciousness by God.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Holiness Is Not a Pose

A while back I was chatting with several kids about the sacraments and asked them how many sacraments there are in the Catholic Church. Their answers ranged from four to five. Survey says? Buzzzzz! Baltimore Catechism, here we come!

Here's a question recently posed by a visiting priest: Which two sacraments can be received again and again and again? The answer, of course, is the Eucharist and confession. Anointing of the sick can be received more than once, but not over and over and over again. I'm a bit fuzzy about Holy Orders. I believe it's a one time sacrament. If a priest becomes bishop or cardinal (a bishop with a vote) or pope (the Bishop of Rome), I think there's an anointing, but not an additional sacrament.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong!

Long digression ... I just loved Betty Duffy's piece about confession. I love the sacrament of confession. So many people find it intimidating or see it as a liturgical rap on the knuckles, but, gosh, it's just pure grace. That being said, I totally understand Betty's thoughts on long lines and frustration and a desire to confess some really crazy sin somewhere in suburban Melbourne (Australia, that is, not Florida).

I flash back to a trip to Lourdes about seventeen years ago. So many people have deep spiritual awakenings on pilgrimages. I, as a rule, do not. Lourdes is a fascinating city. For a place teeming with visitors, it's supernaturally quiet. It's a place of prayer.

On my last afternoon there, I sat in a chapel and prepared for the sacrament of reconciliation. I recall four of five confessionals in an oddly shaped chapel. Each confessional had a sign listing the languages understood by the priest. There was no rhyme or reason as to how one got out of a pew and into the confessional. I waited a l-o-n-g time for confession. One person after another cut in front of me and trotted into the confessional with the English speaking priest. As this went on and on, I gradually progressed from slightly put out to just plain livid.

Jockeying for position in the confessional line, you pious pilgrim, you! My list of sins is growing faster than the line! Thanks ever so much!

I eventually made it in and shared an ironic laugh with a kind and oh-so-patient priest.

My family attended a parish mission a few weeks back. The visiting priest left me with a dozen gems to ponder and chew on. Holiness is not a pose, he shared, folding his hands just so, donning a beatific facial expression and gazing off into space. You could almost hear the organ hit a reverent chord. The mother with nine kids shouldn't spend her days like this, he assured us. Her nine kids aren't gathered around her striking a similar pose.

The mission was inspiring, so inspiring our thirteen-year-old asked to keep going back.

The priest was offering confessions before and after the mission. One night I rounded up my youngest children and headed over to church. The line wasn't too long, but it was moving s-l-o-w-l-y. I sank into the pew and immediately noticed that pew was the word -- Ainsley needed a new diaper and fast. I left John and Kolbe and ducked into the narthex to take care of her. Five minutes later I returned with a much sweeter-smelling baby and found that my middle children had stopped just short of an all out brawl during my brief absence. I've written before about Church Ladies and Men and how you really can't get a clear reading on their reaction to children, at least the kind of children who may have a pesky tendency to be both seen and heard. 

I avoided all eye contact.

The line continued to move at a snail's pace. The little folks were restless. I can do this; it's worth the wait, I told myself. Clearly, this priest was spending quite a while with each person. I was up next. Kolbe had gone over to a different priest for confession and hadn't made it back when my turn came. What to do with a two-year-old and a four-year-old? I told John to sit in the pew, and I brought Ainsley into the confessional.

My experience was ... odd. And hurried. Almost abrupt. The priest who had spent fifteen or twenty minutes with each person couldn't get me out of there fast enough, or so it seemed to me. I asked for his opinion on something. His answer was somewhat superficial.

I left confused. Was he miffed I had brought the baby into the confessional? Had he heard the kerfuffle between my boys? I ran through a variety of thoughts he might have had. Maybe he had suddenly looked at his watch and realized he was running late? And then I made a conscious decision to dwell on the words he had actually spoken: I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The truth is that I have no idea why he seemed rushed. The truth is that these sacraments confer God's grace. That grace is present if the priest is thoughtful and compassionate and insightful; it's present if he's annoyed or rushed or distracted. It's present if we're annoyed or rushed or distracted (and I was all of the above!). Our faith is in God, not in a seamless liturgy, as uplifting as it might be. It's not in the priest, as holy as he might be. It's not in our own demeanor or comportment of even preparedness, as important as these are.

Grace is not dependant on a one of them. As the visiting priest shared, Holiness is not a pose. Not for the laity, not for the priest.

My brother-in-law is a practicing Jew who enjoys attending Catholic Mass from time to time. Occasionally he complains about lackluster homilies. Check out the Baptist Church, I once told him. The center of their service is the sermon. The center of  Catholic Mass is the Eucharist. I understand my brother-in-law's point. I love an inspiring homily. As I enter our church, I usually glance to the left to see which priest is celebrating the Mass. Over the years we've had many, many gifted homilists. We've had a few who could lull you to sleep no matter how well-caffeinated you were upon arrival.

But we are a sacramental church. The focus of the Mass is the elevation of the Eucharist and the words of the priest acting in persona Christi, in the person of Christ: This is my body; this is my blood.

It's not a pose.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Passing the Buck

John: Someone peed all over my shirt, and I think it was Ainsley!

John: Mom, someone ate your brownie, and I think it was a bug!

John: Someone drew all over my tummy with a marker, and I think it was Ainsley.

On My Heart Today

1 Corinthians 2:9 ...

But as it is written, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who him.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Haircuts and Hems - A New Low

I'm gunning for some award for Superior Parenting. Last week I truly outdid myself. Examples abound, but I'll limit myself to just two:

1. During Mass I glanced over at Kolbe's pants and noted that one leg was noticeably longer than the other.

2. I cut John's hair and left his sideburns looking like a cross between Harry Potter's scar and Mr. Spock's stylish coif.

On the issue of the hem, let me confess that minor mending and repair jobs are not my strong suit. I enjoy sewing. Years ago my dear friend Laurie introduced me to the world of quilting. Let me tell you, I can produce a twin-sized step ladder quilt -- pieced, quilted, and bound -- in less time than it takes me to replace a button on a pair of shorts. Think I jest? Just ask my husband.

Mending. Ugh. When it comes to mending, my track record is nothing short of gruesome. I just don't do it. In this regard, I can rejoice that I was born in the late 20th century when things like darning are no longer required. I mean, if I had been Ma Ingalls, poor Pa would have lost his toes while riding out that three day blizzard in a hay bale.

No, we don't have to darn these days, but a small sewing job occasionally rears its pesky head.

Enter the nice lady down the road who charges a reasonable fee for most minor jobs. For reasons I can't fully explain, she charges an arm and a leg for things like Boy Scout patches. I can justify shelling out $4.00-10.00 for hems of varying difficulty, but $4.00 for that Patrol Leader patch? Hard to swallow. If Tim should one day make Eagle Scout, I will have invested well over $100 bucks adhering all those merit badges to a sash he'll probably wear twice. Tim just became pack historian. I think that means he's expected to tote my camera along to meetings and camping trips. I'm hoping it doesn't mean a new patch.

Customarily, Kolbe's school pants go straight down the street for a hem. Last year, however, I found the sewing lady's hem was just a little too permanent. My homespun hem was loose enough to pull out in a jiffy. I managed to buy myself another inch of school pants and eek our way to the end of the year without replacing them.

A few weeks back, I plopped in a movie, grabbed Kolbes' chinos, and began to hem. Pathetic though it may be, I finished one leg and put off the second leg for a more auspicious moment.

So we're sitting in church, and I notice that Kolbe is not wearing the chinos I had set out for him. Oh no. He's wearing the pair with one hemmed leg. One hemmed leg. One leg clearly -- glaringly! -- shorter than the other. I should have been embarrassed, chagrined, and mortified. In actuality, I really found the whole thing hilarious.

The haircut debacle wasn't quite so funny. In theory, I know a little bit about cutting hair. I've had lessons. The problem is that I also have this troublesome eye condition called I'm Nearing Fifty. I am horribly far-sighted. Bad eyesight and hair cutting do not a good combination make.

The sideburns were an unmitigated disaster. The back of his head? Well, it reminded me of a comment Dave usually makes during carpentry projects: I've cut it three times, and it's still too short. Naturally I got out the hacksaw and accomplished all this just an hour before John left for pre-school.

By way of penance for my sins of omission and commission, I dutifully pulled out the dusty sewing basket and hemmed the second leg of Kolbe's pants. Even Steven! My deepest thanks go out to my friend Heather who not only redeemed John's hair, but also refused to charge me. Blessings, Heather!

We may ship him off to start boot camp at Parris Island with hair that short. On second thought, Marines probably wear lots of patches.

Friday, September 16, 2011

That Moment

This cool, breezy day reminds me of another cool, breezy day spent watching Ainsley and the brother she loves so much.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two Views of Mom

Tim and Kolbe are in a heated disagreement about whether their mother is a warrier or a wimp.

Tim: Mom was in the Army!

Kolbe: Mom screamed on the Goofy ride!

True statements, both of them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let Our Little Girls Be Little Girls

This piece on the sexualization of pre-school girls is spot on. It is repulsive to me that so many people -- from parents to television producers -- think that dressing three-year-olds like prostitutes is entertaining.

Many years before Ainsley was born, I was shopping in a popular department store and sighted a t-shirt in the girls' department that had a graphic and a line that both clearly referenced losing your virginity.

Who manufactures this garbage, I thought, and what parent would actually purchase it?

These were not marketed to teens earning clothes' money while working the drive through at McDonald's. These were sized for six, eight, and ten year-old children who obviously weren't buying their own wardrobes.

I love having a daughter. I love dressing her up. I wouldn't want to know how much money I've spent on bows and clips in the past 25 months. When she was running around in John's Batman cape the other day, I thought it was time we invested in some girlier dress-up clothes.

Padded bras and plunging necklines, however, will not be on our shopping list.

Shame on TLC. Shame on parents who seem to have no qualms about sexualizing their daughters.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Parenting While Distracted

The beginning of school brought with it the typical To Do List -- uniforms to pull together, shoes to try on, last appointments to schedule. We packed a ton of fun into the final weeks of summer -- trips to the zoo and to a state park, inviting friends for Settlers of Cattan and bowling. But duty eventually called. One morning I faced a host of  mundane and fairly tedious tasks. I promised the kids a trip to the pool once my phone calls were done, and their chores were completed.

And then I reached answering machine after answering machine. And a rather urgent doctor's visit couldn't be scheduled for months. So I tried another doctor and then another and then I called a friend for a second opinion. Suddenly the whole crew was quarreling. Ainsley got into a stack of post-it notes and was standing on the counter. Assigned chores were going nowhere fast.

The kids needed attention and redirection. This was the perfect time to set aside the phone, regroup, get the little people engaged into more productive play -- in short, to invest the few minutes required to get us back on track. Instead, I did just the opposite. I'll get this all done twice as fast! I pressed forward, phone glued to my ear.

I had hoped to get to the pool in the neighborhood of 10:00 - 11:00, but suddenly it was 12:30. The middle boys were going at it, the baby was crying, the chores were holding steady at half-done. My To Do List was progressing no faster than the chores.

I was parenting while distracted, and the results were predictable.

Life, of course, is full of distractions -- both those chosen and those unavoidable.  Sadly, I suspect I am a tad more prone to distraction than the average person. Sometimes I should be doing one thing, but freely choose to turn my attention toward a slew of items that only take a minute:

That splash park just opened. Wouldn't that be fun! Let me Google that ... It will only take a minute.

I meant to print out a few handwriting exercises ... It will only take a minute.

Where's that recipe for blueberry crisp? I'll look it up ... It will only take a minute.

I should upload those photos ... It will only take a minute.

Gosh, this drawer's a mess. I'll just give it a quick straighten ... It will only take minute.

There's not a thing wrong with any of this ... unless I'm doing it chronically and at the expense of more important things. We live in the Age of Distraction. It's a noisy, often blaring world full of  diversions that vie for our attention like Arnold Horshack in a re-run of Welcome Back, Kotter. Ooooh! Ooooh! Ooooh!

We also have both the blessing and the curse of living in the Age of Information. There is no tidbit too arcane to find. Want the transcripts of Joan of Arc's trial? They're just a few keystrokes away, and it will only take a minute. The ten-day weather forecast in Tripoli? Not a problem, and it will only take a minute. We live in the Age of Convenience. Except for the DMV, we don't wait for much. Rice, mashed potatoes, Ramen noodles? Only a minute!

I am reminded of comedian Steven Wright who once deadpanned, "I put my instant coffee into a microwave oven and went back in time."

In my life only a minute eventually takes a toll. Constant distraction exacts a heavy price. Parenting while distracted is netiher enjoyable nor efficient in the long run.

Should children learn to entertain themselves, complete assigned chores without a parent hovering, give Mom the space to make needed phone calls or -- now, this one's a stretch -- go to the bathroom uninterrupted? The answer is an unequivocal Yes! But I believe, just as wholeheartedly, that some of the issues with one child in particular crop up when he gets too little attention, not too much. I'm reminded of a line from Rachel Balducci's book How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?. "For our family," she writes, "doing nothing often leads to nothing good."

So true!

The morning I'm describing was chock full of items that truly were unavoidable. I've always loved La Leche League's expression "People before things." But these people really do require things. I hadn't spent the morning dithering on the Internet, alphabetizing my spice cabinet, or doing my nails. Mothers multi-task because we have to. The work is never done.

But you know what? The work is never done. Never done. So, really, why not go the pool?

I accomplished a few essentials and then dropped it all and to the pool we went.  We had a great time, easily the best trip to the pool we've enjoyed all summer. The older boys played games together with a minimal amount of arguing. They fetched John's torpedo again and again without complaint. John tried out his halting swim strokes and did his amazing flips off the side of the pool. Ainsley chortled with delight at the new float I pulled out. When we arrived home, John and Ainsley conked out for naps. I played Uno with the older boys.

No phone calls, no emails, no transcripts of the trial of Joan of Arc.

I eventually hit The Great To Do List once more -- refreshed by our swim, heartened by time fully invested in my favorite people.

Seven Quick Takes

1. We're headed out to the parish mission. Dave is encouraging the boys to prepare themselves for Mass. They are singing "Born to be Wild." They know every word.

2. Tim asks me, "Mom, have you ever played mailbox baseball?" He is both shocked and disappointed by my answer.

3. Ainsley pilfered through Dave's wallet and made off with his credit card.

(Can I just admit here and here alone that a teeny part of me chuckled over this? I mean, this kind of thing happens to me time and again, and it all seems so very preventable to other people. I know, I know -- very small minded of me.)

Well, John was making a fort with every cushion we possess and came running with a shiny piece of plastic. Credit card recovered! If only mine turned up so fast.

4. The broken dryer? The one that has had me putting my head in the sand and pretending it's working just fine thankyouverymuch? Turns out someone had switched it to gentle cycle. Yet another problem solved!

5. Temperatures? Eighties and NO HUMIDITY! No doubt the heat will fire one last shot across the bow, but this has been pure bliss. I was actually cold for a fleeting moment Wednesday night.

6. School started Tuesday. Guess when I inventoried the school supply lists? Monday.

I don't plan to make a habit of this, but I have to point out that The Eleventh Hour has its advantages. First, I panicked because the middle school supply list included a few obscure items. Second, I realized that Hurricane Irene had brought bizarre weather our way and that a shock and awe shopping marathon was not an option while tornadoes were a possibility. Third, I scrounged, scrounged, scrounged.

Turns out we had a veritable cornucopia of school supplies in various nooks and crannies. I think I saved us a fortune.

I had to buy four items -- glue, a sturdy Bible, a water color pad, and a protractor. I actually found a protractor tucked away, but, oddly enough, it's pink. How we ended up with a pink protractor, I'm not sure. I would have sent Tim in with a red one, a striped one, even a yellow one. But pink? Not happening.

7. Alert friend Rachel just pointed out that I have a sticker on my sunglasses. You know, the sticker that comes with the sunglasses. Those would be the sunglasses I bought weeks ago. Why haven't I noticed this? Because how often do you pick up your sunglasses while wearing your reading glasses? I probably have cleaned my sunglasses and never even saw the blooming sticker. Oy.

That's all, folks.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Thinking Ahead

Kolbe, coming home from the first day of school: On the last day of school, can we go out for ice cream?

Monday, September 05, 2011

On Birthdays and Boy Humor

Birthdays around here begin in late July and continue through early November. Ainsley just turned two, and John hit four. Being so young has one pivotal advantage: Their birthday expectations remain low. Blissfully unaware that birthdays should have themes and that gifts can be expensive, they love the boxes as much as the presents and find joy in the simplest second-hand goodies. This year John wanted a castle cake that proved to be a little too much for my baking skills. The ramparts were crumbling, the walls were cracking, and John thought the whole thing just rocked.

Sweet and so easily pleased.

For the older boys, birthdays can be a little more complex. I blame all of this on a trend that began in the eighties or nineties. When I was a kid -- in the sixties and seventies -- birthdays were almost always simple affairs. You might blow it out for your tenth or your sixteenth, but for the most part, a birthday party meant inviting over the neighborhood kids. The birthday kid picked out the cake. We ran through the sprinkler, opened a few presents, and sang Happy Birthday. My parents snapped a few photos.

No ponies, no clowns, no magicians. There was usually a donkey present. We pinned a tail on it.

I have never embraced the growing trend to host over-the-top parties. I've never hired a pony, a clown or a magician. Since 100% of my kids' extended family lives elsewhere, we do have birthday parties, and parties, I have found, have certain unalterable requirements. Somewhere along the way some well-intentioned but very short-sighted individual introduced an item that has stymied and beset mothers for decades: The Gift Bag. Who dreamt up this infernal complication, I can't say. I doubt she is a mother. I believe she's currently residing in a witness protection program in rural Wyoming.

See, when I was a kid, the "gift" the guest received was participation in the party. Not good enough these days, not by a long shot. Oh, I've tried to buck the system, really I have. Sadly, The Gift Bag is here to stay.  Apparently, you can dispense with this as kids get older, but by then party goers eat a whole lot more. Things are a little simpler, but not necessarily cheaper.

If you're the hosting mother, The Gift Bag is just one more headache and expense. If  you're the mother of a guest, it's just one more collection of sugar and assorted stuff coming in your door. (I use the word "stuff" in its loosest sense. Believe me, I could generate a whole host of nouns far more fitting than "stuff," but I'd really prefer to keep this blog rated G).

Kolbe's birthday is coming soon to a backyard near me. In timely fashion, I brought in the mail and found The Oriental Trading Company catalogue.

Kolbe grabbed the catalogue and began a quick perusal. "Cool stuff for the gift bags, Mom," he shared with unbridled enthusiasm. "Fake vomit! Awesome!'

Yes, among their many products is fake vomit. A fun way to play harmless pranks, they assure me. Made of rubber, five inches long! A dozen for a mere ten bucks. Kolbe was transfixed and spent the next two days leafing through the catalogue until it was dog-eared and full of highlighted treasures.

Their other offerings include:
  1. Alien test tube slime.
  2. Fart whistles. New this year!
  3. Wind-up crawling fingers.
  4. Gummy flesh fries. No, that's not a typo. Great finger food, according to the ad. Watermelon-flavored and fat-free!
  5. Whoopee cushions. Of course.
  6. An item so gross I can't even bring myself to add it to the list.

No mother dreamt up the idea of gift bags, and, I promise, no mother sat around the conference table while forward-thinking product engineers came up with these items. Now boys? This is right up their alley. Of course these are the very boys who desperately wanted The Encyclopedia of Immaturity for Christmas last year and who think any joke or skit that involves underwear is classic humor.

Kolbe's birthday will roll around. The gift bags will be purchased and filled. Since I am close friends with the mothers of Kolbe's classmates, the bags will not include some of the more off-color items. But after contemplating fart whistles and fake vomit, suddenly Whoopee cushions sound rather tame and, strangely, almost wholesome.

The Best Part of Waking Up

John, running into my room to say good morning: Mama, you are lovely!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Life and Laughter

Someone manages to get stranded on the roof of the neighbor's shed. Dave is working late, so I wind up enlisting the help of  our neighbor and his extension ladder to get the someone down.

Dinner conversation revolves around leeches and their many uses throughout the ages.

Tim recalls an elementary science textbook that failed to inspire him. "There was like one random fact about science," he shared. "And then this whole section about manners."

"Would you like a piece of gum; it's sugar-free," Tim recalled a girl asking a boy.

"No, thank you," the boy apparently replied. "It's healthy, but we shouldn't chew gum in the library."

Was it Tim's deadpan delivery or perfect recall that made this unbelievably funny to me?