I love that teenage boys think parents have no idea on how to beat the system.

T.Puzzle was in a world of hurt.  He did not like what was served for dinner (trust us, no one in our house found this shocking) and he tried to slyly dump its remainders from his bowl.  Mad Dog called him out but Lil’ T.P. took it even further.  He lied about it.  Said he had finished everything.

Um. No.

He was almost sent straight to bed.  Instead, Mad Dog determined the best course of action was to let him stay up but he would allow T.Puzzle zero snacks.  While zero snacks does not seem that extreme, to a growing boy who barely touched his dinner, this felt rather catastrophic (which is kind of the point if we are being honest).

The boys went back to their game room.  It is set in the furthest reach of our home, tucked away but still a few steps from the kitchen.

Always the kitchen with these guys!  In and out, snacks upon snacks.  I sometimes marvel they both haven’t turned into potato chips by the sheer volume of snack foods they consume.

So, when Full Speed comes meandering into the kitchen, he decides for the first time in ages he is going to have Oatmeal Squares.  While this seems like a normal, teenagery snack, and it is, it also happens to be one of T.Puzzle’s regular favorites.

“You’re planning to give your brother some aren’t you?” said Mad Dog.

“Maybe.” said Full Speed.

Boy, you can’t beat the system when your Mom and Dad invented the system.

I dedicate this post to all the siblings out there fighting parental oppression.  It is real and causes so many problems like learning, growing and developing into normal, human adults.

Fight on, my friends.

Fight on!

T.Puzzle doing his best to ‘tower’ over me.  Nice try!



Clean Up in Aisle Crazy

As I gather my boys near me and look at their sweet, unassuming faces, a part of me is in disbelief I am having to spout this same, tired monologue:

“I am only going to say this once and after that, I will not speak of this again.  I will simply observe your behavior at lunch and the grocery store.  If at any point I notice nonsense, when we return home you will lose all electronic and tv privileges for the rest of the day.”

At least there has been an evolution.  Oh, I still get frustrated as all get out when they act crazy at the grocery store, but now I have a solid course of action if things go off the rails.  This planning phase allows me to take a step back from attempting to control their behavior and puts the outcome of the day squarely on their shoulders.

It helps.

They really are gifted at finding things to nitpick about and causing mayhem in general.  Who drives the cart?  Who runs over their brother?  Who can’t find the hawaiian rolls even though their mom explicitly outlines their location?  Who narrowly misses the darling, elderly woman perusing the dairy isle?

Who? Who? Who?

Despite all this, we made it.  At times, dare I say, my boys were helpful.

As we meandered to our car post-shopping, an argument ensued concerning the return of our grocery cart.

“You take it back,” said Full Speed.

“You take it back.  I was in charge of pushing it in the store so you have to take it back,” said T.Puzzle.

“No, no.  It’s the law of cart-a-nomics.  Those that take it must give it back.”

Hey, while you’re at it T.Puzzle, take your brother with you.

Mommy out.

T.Puzzle looks gleeful here because he is squatting down to make himself look short.  His subtle rebellion against posing for photos.



children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting


I was lulled into a false sense of security.  I believed my boys would sustain normal, public behavior at length.  Ha!  I had a total of three errands to run with them before Full Speed’s flag football game.  Not ideal to do so much at once, but sometimes, that’s just how the cards fall.  The first errand went beautifully. Glasses were adjusted and manners were used.  At the next stop, that’s when it began to go off the rails.

It started with Full Speed cracking a joke.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love jokes.  I love humor.  It makes life bearable and often times, really, really fun.  We were at a sporting goods store when he picked up a tiny, flowery pink pair of baby girl sport-sandals and said, “Mom, I think these would be a great gift for Dad for his birthday.”  I chuckled and joined in.  We were there to purchase some Under Armour for T.Puzzle.  I picked up a neon-pink, leopard-printed pair of pants and said, “Hey, T.Puzzle, these are perfect for football.”  This was my fatal mistake.  They took Mom cracking a joke to mean that they could run wild.

First, it started with wrestling which then turned into a heated foot race which then led to them picking up teeny, tiny lavender one-pound weights and declaring, “These are the heaviest weights ever!”, as they pumped them furiously up and down.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so I did a little of both.  The sales kid, oh, how he judged me!  By this time he was helping us size shoes and the boys were continuing their spectacular display of silliness.  I said, “Makes you want to have lots of kids, doesn’t it?”

Not wanting to lose the sale, the sales kid said nothing and sheepishly smiled.

When we returned to the car I had to give the boys my ‘you-better-hold-it-together-at-the-pediatrician’s-or-you-will-regret-it-dearly’ speech.  It worked.  We got through Full Speed’s ten-year wellness check virtually unscathed.

When do I get to run errands and not have to make threatening speeches?  Does it ever happen?  Or, will I always have to scare these boys straight?

Guess I better go back to the store and get some teeny, tiny lavender one-pound weights to build up my endurance because clearly, I am not there yet.

ry=400-14 ry=400-15

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Meaning of Joy



As a parent, I have a two basic ground rules that I hold near and dear to me.  The first is that when I ask my boys to do something, they are required to do it the first time I ask them.  The second is that good manners and respect are the foundation for everything.  So, as our Spring Break wore on, so did my patience.  The boys weren’t really understanding that they were getting a lot of fun privileges and they were getting rather snarky with me.  Of course, I don’t expect them to be perfect, but when the latest round of rudeness crept onto the scene, I decided to intervene.  For their rainy day Saturday, all electronic privileges were suspended.  I told the boys they had to entertain themselves and they weren’t allowed to ask me how to do so.   Also, they had an early bedtime and had to read actual books, no e-readers allowed until lights out.

I got right up on my soapbox and explained all the ways they had shown ingratitude for the week.  I went play-by-play over the ways they talked back and disrespected me.  As I was finishing up my impassioned argument as to why they were being grounded, T.Puzzle started to crack a little.  Tears rimmed his eyes but never spilled over.  Full Speed, well, he had a different approach.  He decided an electronics-free day sounded AMAZING.  He went on to have the most joy-filled day of his life.  I could tell he was really trying to stick it to me when he patiently played a board game with his brother and didn’t try to choke him out when he lost.  Not on this day, the most joyful day ever.

It got to be almost comical as Full Speed theatrically and vocally expounded on his joy throughout the day.

I have to admit, I admire his creativity.

Full Speed=1



children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

So Proud!

Every parent has moments when they are proud of their children.  It might be an ‘A’ on a test they worked really hard for or holding the door open for someone without being told.

This was not one of those times.

T.Puzzle decided he didn’t feel like listening to his teachers all day long (what a shocker!).  They told him since he couldn’t listen he was going to have to sit by the wall for afternoon recess and not be able to play.  They told me that he looked at them and announced that it didn’t matter because his Mom was picking him up early.  He wasn’t even going to be here for recess.

What’s the opposite of pride?  How I felt right then.

Guess who lost all their privileges and had to sit out recess the next morning?

T.Puzzle and Mad Dog. Both handsome and both don't like to be told what to do.