Tag Archives: kids

The Mysterious Landscape of the 10-year-old Mind

Good morning Everyone!

80% of the time Kayla makes perfect sense, but then there’s the other 20% of the time…

Exhibit One

On Thursday, Kayla tells me that her (huge, bright green, state of the art) Nike backpack that we bought this year is too small.  I suggest that she go through and trim down what seems to permanently reside in said  book bag.  For some reason, that solution is not acceptable.

On Friday, when we are already running about 15 minutes late from the time we normally leave, and after I have been waiting in the car for her for five minutes, she comes out of the garage door carrying her purple and white backpack from last year, announcing that she has switched over to it because it is bigger.

On Monday, she exits the house after me with a small red and white backpack that is smaller than anything she has ever carried to school.  The reason?  Her other backpacks were too big!

Kayla has emphatically refused to take gymnastics for the past two years, and has decided this year to give up dance, so of course, Sunday afternoon, when I hear strange thumps and bangs in her room and go to check, she has set up a kind of gymnastics routine/obstacle course in her room with pillows that she wants me to watch!

Yesterday, we had a soccer game at 5:30, which means that the kids are supposed to be at the field by 5:00.  That time-table is fairly difficult for us to  meet but we managed to have just a minute or two where I could stop at a nearby convenience store and buy her a Gatorade and myself a soft drink.  When I got back in the car, she wanted me to open her Gatorade and I told her no, she needed to finish getting on her shin guards, socks and cleats before I would do so.  (Experience has taught me that I need to get what I want first, or I never will get it.)

She fussed mildly, but then announced as we were pulling into the parks and recreation area that she “ought to give me a break because she would be a mother some day.”

I glanced sideways at her, and then said, “There’s more to it than that.  Has anyone told you about the curse yet?”

She was curious.  “What curse?”

I answered, “They call it the parent’s curse.  When you have a child, she will be exactly like you.”

Kayla was silent for a minute, then asked, “Exactly like me?”

I answered, “Yes.”

She thought about it a minute more, and then said, “I need to change some things!”

The Daily Homework Dialogue:

Me:  Kayla, do you have any homework.

Kayla:  No.

Me:  Really?

At this point I get one of three answers.

Kayla Answer 1 (Angry):   Really, Mom, why don’t you believe me?

Kayla Answer 2:  Well, yes, but I’ve already done it.

Kayla Answer 3:  Well, yes, but I’m almost done.

Have a good day everyone!


Random Thoughts, III

Good morning Everyone!


1) No matter what you do, your dog will never chew your least favorite pair of socks.


2) The dryer won’t eat one, either.


3) So you think you see the end of the line at Disneyworld?  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

rain, umbrella

4) Best ways to make it rain:

a) Pay to get your car washed;

b) Plan an outdoor workday for yard work and painting;

c) Plan an extravagant outdoor event with no alternative indoor venue.

5) Children and dogs have a built-in parent romance interference sensor.

6) I find it hard to believe that Publisher’s Clearing House is really going to give away all of that money to someone who didn’t buy something from them.

7) Light bulbs always blow in threes.

8) Robotic vacuums rock!

9) Why is it that a person will wait patiently at a drive-thru for 10  minutes for someone else to get their food through the window, but honk at the car in front of them if it fails to move within 10 seconds of the line moving forward?

10) Your dog is programmed to wake you up at least 30 minutes before you are ready and then will sleep for hours after he or she has been fed and walked and you are up for good.

11) Should you worry if someone less mechanically inclined than yourself in your family calls to ask you where the hammer and screwdriver are?

12) If a child tells you he or she is doing nothing, be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Have a great day everyone!


A Funny Short Short – The Ultimate Consumer Complaint of the Future!

Good morning Everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you a short, short story that I wrote last year.  Enjoy!
Robot from Print Shop Professional 2.0
Customer Service
Interspace Robotic Corporation
800 New England Way
Venusian Colony #5 
Dear Sirs: 
Thank you for accepting the return of your Model 3300 Robotic Clone. I am writing to provide you, as you requested, a more specific description of the problems we encountered with the robot.
 As promised, the Model 3300, whom we named Gertrude, was a hard worker with detailed knowledge of nutrition, household chores, home repair, and yard work, looked human, and contained an additional logic booster chip which allowed her to make decisions in the best interest of our family without constantly being given specific orders. The problem was that Gertrude was incapable of understanding that, on occasion, the less logical choice was better.
For example, while Gertrude was correct that vacuuming at non-peak hours was good for the environment, placing less strain on the electrical grid, no-one in our family got any sleep on Tuesday and Friday nights during her 2:00 a.m. house-cleaning sessions. And while shaving the dogs certainly cut down on the amount of dog hair floating around various rooms, I am not sure the dogs have yet gotten over the trauma of being shaved bald in 2.0 seconds flat.
In addition, although I have often fantasized about placing my children under house arrest when they fail to clean their rooms and do their homework, and the electronic monitoring bracelets Gertrude designed were quite clever, we found that the Department of Human Resources, Child Welfare Division, had problems both with house arrest and the electric shock the bracelets delivered when one of the children would violate the terms of her confinement. 
As another example, the research on nutrition Gertrude performed, and her presentation to the family, was flawless, but after seven days of tofu, fruit and berries for meals, the entire family began to sneak out to stuff ourselves with cheese fries and chocolate sundaes, at least until the location bracelets were placed on the children.
My husband has been threatening for years to place Astroturf instead of grass on our yard, but the Covenant Enforcement Committee objected strongly both to it, and the plastic flowers and bushes in front of the house. The members also were singularly unimpressed with Gertrude’s dissertation on individual liberties under the United States Constitution when they came to discuss the issue. 
The final straw came the day we returned home from a week’s vacation to find that the wooden floors and carpet throughout the house had been replaced with industrial strength concrete and drains strategically located throughout the house so that the floors could simply be hosed down instead of vacuumed or mopped. The floor and carpet installers both admit that Gertrude did an excellent job, as did the locksmith we called in to bypass the lockout system she placed on our air conditioning system to prevent the thermostat from being set below 82 degrees, but we are not looking forward to the payments on the second mortgage we now need to fix everything back the way it should be. 
Accordingly, we returned Gertrude to you. 
Jane Smith
P.S. The Covenant Enforcement Committee has asked me to remind you that the restraining order will stay in effect for 10 years.
Have a great day, everyone!

You Might Be A Working Parent If…

Good morning Everyone!

You might be a working parent if:

You ever took the day off from work just to clean your house.

You end up working third shift to complete a work project because you promised your child you would go on the zoo field trip with her.

The people at the drive-thru at McDonald’s have your order ready for you when you get there.

You consider Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to be one of the essential food groups.

Your blood pressure automatically skyrockets when you hear the words, “Mom, I forgot to tell you…..”

Menu planning for the week includes deciding which day you will be serving spaghetti, which day you will be serving fish sticks, which night is TV Dinner night and the other two week nights are reserved for take out.

You have ever wondered irritably why on earth schools can’t have their award ceremonies at 6 in the evening instead of 9 in the morning.

You look longingly at parents who do not work outside the home and think how nice their life must be.  (Trust me, it’s just as hard for them as it is for us.)

You have ever chosen a doctor, dentist, vet or carpet cleaner based solely on the fact that he or she has evening hours.

The HazMat team is on speed dial for those rare days when you finally are able to clean out the refrigerator.

They also are on stand by when you clean out your car.

They have your pantry on their watch list, also.

And, finally,

You might be a working parent if you know with certainty that insanity is hereditary – you can get it from your kids!

Have a great day everyone!


Observations Regarding The Ten Year Old Girl

Good morning everyone!

Today, I reflect upon the unique characteristics of the ten year old girl.

The ten year old girl dresses in sleeveless dresses in the wintertime for church, but when it is 80+ degrees outside, runs into the den, turns on the gas fireplace and huddles in front of it like a child out of a Dickens novel.  She is willing to go swimming at the beach when the water temperature is somewhere around “Arctic” and tell you that the water “isn’t so bad.”  She sees no inconsistencies in any of this.

The ten year old girl will inform you that the reason that she is wearing a sleeveless dress in the middle of winter is because she wants to broaden her wardrobe.  When asked about one long-sleeve dress someone gave her, she answers, “I’ve worn that every Sunday for weeks.”  When asked about a second long-sleeve dress that was a gift from someone else, she answers, “I’ve worn that every Sunday for weeks when I haven’t been wearing the other dress.”

The ten year old girl fails to see why her parents find that statement funny.

The ten year old girl is smiling and laughing, then angry, then somber, then smiling, then crying and then back to sunshine and laughter – all in the space of about five minutes.

The ten year old girl is still willing to hold hands with her parents.

The ten year old girl, when asked to clear the table, will get everything but two napkins, one spoon and a drink glass, and then look at you, puzzled, when you ask her to finish the job.

The ten year old girl will decide she wants to help clean the house, and in her eagerness, dash forward to help by choosing to do the one thing that is absolutely useless to what you need to accomplish that day, such as sweeping an already vacuumed floor when the next chore involves dusting furniture.

The ten year old girl is still willing to cuddle with her parents on the couch.

The ten year old girl is aware that items cost money.  She is not aware that all money is not equal, and will eagerly offer to take the whole family to Disneyworld with her copious savings of $12.59.  No, she is not joking.

The ten year old girl, unlike a five year old girl, has a filter in place between what she thinks and what she says.   Unfortunately, the filter is calibrated so that it kicks in about ten seconds after she has already spoken.

The ten year old girl is willing to empty the dishwasher once she is reminded 10 times, but unable to concentrate on the task long enough to finish it.

The ten year old girl has boys she “likes” at school, but is still young enough to tell her parents about them.  The pool of ten year old boys she has to draw from still aren’t really interested in girls.  The ten year old girl’s parents find that satisfactory.

The ten year old girl is trying hard to be nice but sometimes things just come out wrong.  Last night, when a big package came to a house from Omaha Steaks with some frozen dinners, one ten year old girl looked at her mother and asked, “Gee, Mom, are you just going to give up cooking altogether?”  When reminded that the mother had cooked for several days straight, she said, “It’s okay to lay off it for a little while.”

My ten year old girl is the light of my and her father’s life, and we can’t imagine life without her!

Have a great day everyone!


Conversations with My Ten-Year-Old

Good morning everyone!

I thought you would enjoy sharing some conversations we have had at our house lately.

I.  While backing out of the garage to drive Kayla to school:

Kayla:  Mom, don’t hit the basketball goal.

Mom:  Why?  Am I about to?

Kayla, grinning:  No, not yet, but you just backed into the garbage can.


II.   After school, Kayla working on homework looks down at Mandy:

Kayla:  Mandy, why do you chase your tail when you know it’s going to hurt when you catch it?

Mom:  Kayla, why do you leave your stuff all over the house when you know it drives me and Dad crazy?

Kayla:  I don’t know.

Thoughtful silence.

Kayla:  I’m sorry, Mandy.

III.  Driving Kayla to school while she’s slouched in the seat yawning and looking sleepy:

Mom:  Sings “You are sleepy, you are sleepy, you are sleepy right now” to the tune of the immortal “Kill the wabbit, Kill the wabbit, etc.” from one of the great Looney Tunes cartoons starring Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny.

Kayla stays slouched in the seat yawning and looking sleepy, but gives Mom one of her “You’re crazy but you’re mine” looks.

Mom:  How about I sing that song in the hallway at your school while we’re delivering this Valentine stuff.

Kayla immediately sits up straight in her seat, forces her eyes wide open and announces:  I am a bright and happy child.

IV.  Dad, Kayla and Mom are looking for a DVD to watch.

Dad:  How about “The Patriot”?

Kayla, immediately:  No.  I’m not up for football.

Mom, helpfully:  No, Kayla, it’s not about the Patriots but is called The Patriot.

Kayla:  Why would I want to watch a movie about some football guy?

Mom collapses in laughter on the couch, leaving Dad to sort out the historical and sports references properly.

Sunrise at my house, April 28, 2011

Have a great day everyone!


Inappropriate O’Fences

Good morning Everyone!

Kayla is at an age now where one of our joys is listening to her thoughts and vocabulary expand.  Of course, she doesn’t always get every word right the first time, but the things she says can really surprise us.

This weekend, we went to the hospital to visit someone, and on the way into the hospital Mark was roughhousing with Kayla, just a little bit.  She looked up at him and said sternly, “Playing in the hospital like that is inappropriate.”  Both Mark and I had to stifle a laugh.  (Somehow, laughing out loud in the hospital waiting room also seemed inappropriate.)

Sunday night though, I laughed out loud.  While we were eating spaghetti and bread on trays in front of the TV (it was the playoffs, after all!), Mark started teasing Kayla about something.  She informed him that doing so “while I’m eating is O’Fences.”  I started to laugh, and had to calm down enough to explain that the correct word was “offensive.”  Mark thought it was funny, too.

Have a great day everyone!


Sprouty and the Planets

Good morning Everyone!

Sprouty and the Planets is not a rock band, but rather the two topics of discussion today, both of which involve school projects Kayla has done.

Really, “the Planets” should just be “Venus” but putting Venus in the title of anything is not a good idea these days in the wild world of span.  Even searching for Venus on the internet isn’t that great.  The first time Kayla tried on her computer, she just put the word “Venus” in the search bar, and since her computer has very strict parental controls, most of the first results were blocked.  What she ended up having to use was something like “Venus planet NASA space” to get any results at all.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We need to start with Sprouty.

Meet Sprouty!

Sprouty is basically a home-made version of a chia pet, I think, but it was done as a school project.  If you don’t know what a chia pet is, google the phrase.  Then when you come back and ask me why they were such a big deal, my answer will be that I don’t know, but then, this is the same country where the “pet rock” was invented.  What really astounded me was to find out that 500,000 chia pets are sold every year, still!
Anyway, I digress.  (You’re shocked, I know.)  Sprouty was a science project that did not involve a grade – the kids took the foot end of a panty hose, stuffed dirt into the end until the dirt formed a ball, then tied off the panty hose with a sort of a wick still trailing down, sprinkled grass seeds over the dirt ball, then decorated a cup to their heart’s content.  To finish the project, the kids then filled the cup with water, put the ball of dirt on top of the cup where the “wick” would siphon the water up to the dirt.  Then they were to bring the cup home and see what happened.  Kayla was so excited early last week when Sprouty first began to, well, sprout, and is even more excited now that he bears his luxuriant crop of hair.  Even I will admit that he’s rather cute.]
The second science project, which was for a grade,  was to either 1) build a model of the solar system, or 2) build a model of a planet and 3) pick a planet and find out some facts about it.  Kayla chose Venus because it was closest to Earth, and set out to find facts about it.  The computer search didn’t help a lot, so I reminded her of a “Cat in the Hat” book about the solar system we had bought her years ago that was in her bookcase, and pulled a book out of my book case called The Lives of the Planets.  She got her ten facts from them.  Since The Lives of the Planets is written pretty much on a layperson but graduate level, I was proud that she was able to pull any facts out of the text at all.  I do suspect that she might be one of the only fourth graders in her school to have said and written the phrase “plate tectonics.”  Whether she understands what they are is another issue.  I did my best to explain, but without a globe handy it was a little tough, and then she got distracted because my hand gestures made me look like I was an Indian attempting to talk in Indian sign language, so she was laughing too hard to pay a lot of attention.
Then we had to figure out how to do the model.  One good thing about Venus is the fact that it is so thickly covered with clouds, it is impossible to make out individual surface features, so we didn’t have to worry about including large features that you might be able to see from space like you would with the moon or Mars.  We did however have to find a suitable picture to base our model on, and after several internet searches, this is the picture she found:

The Planet Venus, from Nasa.gov

We looked at the photo for a day, then went to local Wal-mart, where Kayla found 2 of the only four round styrofoam balls left in the store and I found some very basic acrylic paints and brushes she could use (no, I was not willing to sacrifice my good acrylics and brushes to her pursuit of an education when I had a choice), and we set off home.  I made her paint the styrofoam ball white for a primer coat, then I selected several of the acrylic colors, put portions of them on a paper plate and let her do the mixing and painting from there.  Here is what she did:

Planet Venus model close up

The Planet Venus on the Study Table

I realize the planets usually do not have toothpicks on which to sit, but at the same time, round objects roll and we needed a way to get the model to sit still!

I thought it was a great model, and Kayla’s teacher must have too – she got 100!

Have a great day everyone!


Antlers! My Kingdom for Some Antlers!

Good morning everyone!

A Working Mother

Picture, if you will, a working mother.  No, that description’s not specific enough.

Picture, if you will, a working mother with a cold.  Well, we’re getting closer, but we’re still not there yet. 

Picture, if you will, a working mother in her mid to upper 40’s with a (bad) cold who has to find some sort of festive holiday hat for her child to wear on the class field trip the next day during her lunch hour, and you will have a pretty good idea of what I looked like yesterday.


Kayla and the other Purple Ambassadors at her school are taking a field trip to the nursing home today (Friday) somewhere to sing Christmas Carols.  She mentioned to me Tuesday night at 8 that they were supposed to wear a Santa hat, reindeer antlers or elf ears as part of their wardrobe for said field trip.  Before you start admiring my child for telling me in advance, bear in mind that Wednesday nights are always filled with church activities and Thursday night this week was blocked off for her new basketball practice, so telling me at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night is the equivalent of telling me at the last minute.


I admit that perhaps I should have looked for it on Wednesday during the day, which I took off, but my cold had started and I was trying to get it beat before I went back to work on Thursday, I had to take Tyra to the vet and get the oil changed in the car and I just didn’t have it in me.

Of course, my cold was worse on Thursday, but having left it until then, there was no choice but for me to venture out into the cold, cruel 50 degree world from my office in search of a holiday hat for my child at lunch.  The biggest problem was that I was anticipating having to go to the Super Wal-mart to find what I needed, and entering the Super Wal-Mart is always an other worldly experience.  No matter how determined you are when you walk in (I am going to go to the battery aisle, pick up one package of double A batteries and walk out) it never happens.  A mental fog gently descends upon you three steps into the store and you start wondering if you might need a toaster, new house linens, a new fishing reel (and I don’t fish!), a new TV, steaks for the next three months or other assorted items.  If you’re lucky, the mental fog breaks just enough for you to remember what you originally came there for – batteries.  This process is not helped by the fact that Wal-mart rearranges everything periodically so that you have to hunt for it.

As you can see, the Super Wal-Mart on a good day takes a great deal of effort and willpower, but the Super Wal-Mart on a day when you feel like you’ve been run over by an 18 wheeler and you’re sporting an attractive cherry red upper lip and nose from all the Kleenex you’ve been using seems like Mount Everest.  I told our receptionist when I left that if I wasn’t back in two hours, to please send help. 

So, to go back to the beginning of my story, I sallied forth into the cold cruel world in search of a holiday head adornment of some kind.  (Oh, I forgot to mention that Kayla had expressed a preference for reindeer antlers – I admit my self-control broke just a tad as I told her that I would look for reindeer antlers but if all I could find was a Santa hat, then a Santa hat it would be.) 

I went to the local Hallmark store first.  (Don’t laugh; you’d be surprised at all the odds and ends those stores have tucked around them in addition to cards.)  They had Santa and Elf hats.  I probably would have bought one, but the hats said “Ho, ho, ho!” and sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” when you pressed a button, and Kayla has at least one hour of regular school today before they leave on the field trip.  My bet was that with a singing hat, she would be on four conduct numbers by 8:15, nixing both the field trip and her future membership in Purple Ambassadors, so I did what was best for her and let them go.  The clerk at Hallmark looked at me rather strangely when I asked if they had any hats that didn’t sing as if that were an odd request.  I guess I missed the fashion switch from non-talking to singing hats.

Winter Hats and Scarves

The same strip mall has a Goody’s that used to be a Peebles, so I went to it next.  That store had a few hats that, strangely enough, were designed to cover your head and keep it and your ears warm, but were not designed as holiday adornments, so that was a wash, too.  At least the hats didn’t sing!

Just when I was facing the inevitable conclusion that like it or not I was going to have to drive down to Wal-Mart, an angel whispered into my ear that perhaps I should look at the Dollar Tree store at the end of the strip mall that I never enter.  It was two shops away, so I decided to give it a whirl.  You can just imagine my delight when I saw, in a bin out front, headbands with reindeer antlers!  I snatched a pair up, went into the store to buy them and came out having accomplished my mission for the grand total of $1.09 (9 % sales tax here) and no trip to Wal-mart!  (Do I hear applause at this happy ending?)

Of course, the reindeer antlers have bells on them but nothing in this imperfect world is perfect!  (If you do not have children, please consult with the parent next to you as to why the bells are problematic!)

Have a great day everyone!


Rules I Never Thought I’d Need – The Extended Cut

Good morning everyone!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  Back in March, some of you found this blog when I published a post called “Rules I Never Thought I’d Need” but some of you joined me afterwards.  Since March, I’ve been able to add a few more to the list, so I am republishing the list with my additions.  I hope you enjoy it as much as you did the first time!

Just for grins and giggles, I am going to go in reverse order.

1) Do not squirt the ink out of a ballpoint pen in the bathroom and mix it with water in order to make ink “like Harry Potter uses.”  (Age 10).

2) Do not lose control of the ballpoint pen and ink during the squirting process, spraying black ink all over the bathroom.  (Age 10).

3) If you do spray black ink all over the bathroom, do not fail to call in reinforcements immediately.  (Age 10).

4) Do not bring lady bugs, worms, crickets, roly-poly’s, moths, butterflies, lizards or any other type of insect or reptile  into the house as pets.  (Ages 5-10 and counting.)

5) Mom is the spider killing expert, but roaches need to be handled by Dad.

6)  When your mother who is recovering from surgery tells you she has to take a nap, gives you the run of the house and the back yard with the sole restriction being do not go out the front door until she is awake, do not lock the dogs in the back yard, and play with your friends for two hours with the front door open, you on the inside side of the door and your friends on the outside side of the door.  (Age 10).

7) Do not jam your elbow into a plastic hurricane glass until it gets stuck in an effort to keep the infinitesimal scratch on your elbow from getting wet in the bath and stinging.  (Age 9).

8 )  Do not feed paper to the dogs as a treat.  At least two of the three are dumb enough to believe you.  (Age 10).

9)  Soap is required for a bath to really be a bath.  (Age 5).

10)  Do not wash your hair with conditioner only.  (Age 8 through 9).

11) It’s not a good idea to fill the bathroom sink with Dixie cups and then fill it with water.  (Age  6 but she had help from a visiting 4-year-old.)

12)   Do not dump the entire bottle of shampoo in the tub to use as bubble bath.  (Ages 6 through 8).

13) Do not dump the entire bottle of liquid soap from the sink in the tub to use as bubble bath.   (Ages 6 through 8).

14) Do not dump the entire bottle of conditioner in the tub for reasons I have yet to understand.   (Ages 6 through 8).

15)  Do not drag a dog into the bathtub with you.   (Age 6).

16) The controls on the dashboard in the car,  including the radio, are MINE!  Please leave them alone.  (Ages 4 to 10 and counting).

17)  Do not try to pierce your ears with the end of a paper clip, even if it looks like an earring hole is there.  (Age 6 and 7).

18)  Do not cook eggs on the stove without a parent’s presence and permission.   (About age 7:  this one is harder to justify because the one time that she did cook the eggs by herself, she did a good job and remembered to turn the stove off, which is more than I do sometimes!)

19) Do not cut the screen out of its frame in the window.  (Age 5).

20)  Do not put anything in your ear, including rocks, without consulting an adult first.  (Age 4.)

21) Do not put anything in your nose, including wooden sticks, without consulting an adult first.   (Age 4)

22) Which led to:  Do not put anything in any body part for any reason unless a parent says it is okay, with the exception of food or drink in your mouth.

Have a great weekend everyone!