It Was Such a Cute Little Tushie

Chickie turned seven years old today, which means I’ve been a mother for seven years. I think I’m totally getting this parenting thing now. Upon heading out for a small celebration with a few of her friends, she warned me in her most stern seven-year-old voice:

“Now remember, Mom. You can talk to my friends about anything EXCEPT for my teeny tiny baby tushie.”

Mom? I have become you.

Little Sister: taking notes on tushie talk.

Big News

Dumples, offering to retrieve a fallen jigsaw puzzle piece from under the table: “I’ll get it because I’m the littlest!”

“Thanks!” I told her. “I would have a tough time getting under the table because I’m a big lady.”

“Mom!” she scolded me, hands on her hips, “You are NOT a lady.”

ZING!

Majesty, Monsters, and Mexico

At the dinner table, Dumples is without her favorite condiment. She says to her father, “Could I please have some more ketchup, Your Majesty?”

“Excuse me,” I interjected. “Did you just call him Your Majesty?” She nods. “So what does that make me?”

Without missing a beat, my favorite four-year-old replies, “You’re The Boss.”

Can’t argue with that logic.


Ketchup makes the rounds and Chicken tells a story from first grade land. A classmate is moving away. “She had to move,” Chicken tells us, jabbing her fork in the air for emphasis.

“Do you know where she moved?” Your Majesty asked.

“Ummm. Yeah. She moved to Mexico,” Chicken replied, almost stabbing herself in the face with her fork.

“Mexico?!?” I said. “Really? Why did she move to Mexico?” Because when you live in Minnesota and you’re fleeing the country, you go to Canada. It’s right there.

Chicken shrugged and applied six-going-on-seven-year-old logic. “Probably there were no houses to buy in Minnesota.”


Dumples and I are attending a parent-child class every Monday night in March. She receives undivided attention from me while she does (mostly) the same stuff she does at home — paints, builds, puzzles, asks a lot of questions, sings, points at other kids who are doing interesting things, etc.

The last fifteen minutes of the class is separation time. That means she eats Scooby Snacks while the grown-ups go into another room and talk about love, logic, and chore charts.

I came to collect her afterward. We were the last to leave, and her teacher said, “Did you tell your Mom what kind of cookie you want her to make you?”

Apparently, the snack time convo fell under the topic of “What’s your favorite kind of cookie?” and the teacher’s answer of “monster cookie” was making Dumples drool.

The teacher told me, “I guess you’ll be making monster cookies now.”

We walked out the door but not out of earshot when Dumples announced, “I know you won’t make monster cookies, Mom. Because you can’t cook!”

I heard the giggles behind me. But it’s true. The Boss can’t cook. Your Majesty is in charge of the monster cookies, the ketchup allotments, eye injuries, and any plans for our future exile. In other words, he’s King of the Castle.

Strangest Thing Said to Me by a Grown-Up Today

“I know it’s liberals who are known for being whiny and wanting everything to be fair and equal, but you know, sometimes conservatives can be assholes, too.”

Shake It Off

A lot of things have changed since I was in elementary school. My Chicken is teaching me all kinds of new things.

The first thing she is teaching me is bus music. We didn’t have bus music when I was a kid. The combustible engine hadn’t been invented yet. And neither had the wheel. Or at least, the bus drivers were these super strict old ladies who stopped the bus and started screaming at us in Southern accents that we needed to “quit it” whatever “it” was or the bus would not be taking us home that day. That was the melody of our bus rides.

Chickie’s bus rides are totally different. The kids are sharing snacks, they’re licking the walls, they’re listening to bus music.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re imagining a gaggle of kids in harmony, striking up tunes like, “The Wheels on the Bus,” or — more risque — “Hail to the Bus Driver.”

But what they are actually listening to is Beyonce and Big Sean and someone whose name cannot be said aloud because it is comprised entirely of punctuation marks. When she started singing “Mother Vase” out of the blue one day, I decided it was time to see what these songs are about — and ensuring that little Chick does NOT know what these songs are about.

We made a list of her favorite bus songs and youtubed them.

  • Animals – Maroon 5
  • Stay with Me – Sam Smith
  • Don’t – Ed Sheeran
  • One More Night – Maroon 5
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  • Daylight – Maroon 5
  • Firework – Katy Perry
  • Maps – Maroon 5
  • Stay High – Tove Lo

We even made a CD of bus songs so we could listen to bus songs in the car. (The fact that I am still burning CDs may have proven my senior status.)

I did not teach them to pose like that.

A few days go by and my Chickadee thinks I’m some kind of miracle worker who can youtube any song she has on her mind. She asks me if I can find the name of a song she has stuck in her head. I say, sure. (I’m kind of a big deal.) (That’s the slogan of the zoo crew on the Bus station, BIG 98.7 FM.)

So she says, “It goes NA NA NA — NA NA NA.” She looks at me.  “Can you find it?”

Riiiiiight.

Here’s what we know: It’s not Roxette, which, in my realm is the only good NA NA song.

Now I turn to the People of the Internet. Can you tell me the name of the NA NA NA song? Can you tell me the name of any NA NA NA song? You could win lunch with Pike, Jesse, and Amanda in the morning. But only if you’re caller 10.

Proof the Chicken Is Smarter Than Me

At dinner, Chicken was making those “ew gross” noises at the idea of people kissing: namely, the idea of her parents kissing.

“Hey!” I told her, opening my mouth without thinking (per usual), “if your parents didn’t kiss, you wouldn’t even be here right now.”

But instead of opening a Pandora’s Box of exciting! new! awkward! questions, she chose to become defensive. “Mom! That’s not what I meant! It’s just gross if you kiss in public.”

“That’s right,” Flathead said supportively. “Chicken doesn’t like PDA.”

“PDA?” asked Chicken. “What’s PDA?”

Flathead, much quicker than I, offered up: “Pizza…delivery…um…”

“System!” I declared proudly.

“Um, Mom? System doesn’t even begin with an ‘A.'”

Okay, so she’s six years old and smarter than her mom. But let’s just say I didn’t set the bar all that high.

It’s probably the glasses that are making her smarter than me. Oh wait. I wear glasses, too. And my vision is much, much worse than hers. Doh!

The Merry Christmas Dilemma

Every year, I find myself in the same Christmas quandary. No, not the secular versus religious quandary: it’s bigger and less significant than that. It’s the Merry Christmas response quandary.

It goes a little something like this. I interact with a person at the grocery store, the office, or even at my house when someone delivers a package, and they greet me with a bit of Christmas cheer.

“Merry Christmas!” they say, merrily.

“You, too!” I say back, which is the easy part.

The hard part is if the conversation continues. “Are you all ready for Christmas?” “Are your kids looking forward to Christmas?” and after Christmas, for at least a couple of weeks, “So, did you have a nice Christmas?”

I usually go with a vague response such as, “Pretty much,” or “Sure” or “It was pretty quiet,” which are not lies, and usually carries the conversation to a finishing point pretty fast with most acquaintances, because then I can say, “And you?”

However, there’s the 5%. The 5% who keep the conversation going until we get to the point of no return, where I have run out of vague responses and am forced to out myself as a non-Christmas celebrator.

Which leads to the person acting humbled or embarrassed or dumbstruck and me feeling ridiculous.

I am white. I live in the rural(ish) Midwest. And I don’t celebrate Christmas. It blows people’s mind, I know that. But I don’t know how to break it to them gently.

Christmassers, this is my plea to you: at what point do you want me to tell you that I don’t celebrate Christmas? What response would make us all feel super happy wonderful?

A. “Merry Christmas!” “Thanks, but I’m Jewish.”

B. “Merry Christmas!” “You too!” “So are your kids excited about Christmas?” “No, they hate Christmas, because we don’t celebrate it and they think the world has duped them with their set of circumstances.”

C. “Merry Christmas!” “You too!” “Do you have big plans for Christmas?” “Nope.” “It’s a wonderful time of year, isn’t it?” “Sure is.” “Have you finished your shopping yet?” “I don’t really do any shopping.” “Wow, that is so refreshing to hear. You know the real meaning of the season.” “…”

D. “Merry Christmas!” …

Give me a response D. Give me your best Merry Christmas response. And in return, I will wish you a merry Christmas, a happy yule, a delightful solstice, and a safe New Year.

Adventures of the Night Owl and the Hibernating Bear

3:30 a.m.

“Mom, can I sweep in your bed?”

“Fine, go to sleep.”

3:45 a.m.

“Mom, can I ask you a question?”

“Shhh. Go to sleep.”

“How do stickers get so sticky?”

3:55 a.m.

“Mom? Mom? Mama? Mom!?”

“Shhh. What?”

“How come you are always making that snoring sound?”

4:05 a.m.

“Mom?”

“Shh. Go to sleep.”

“These pants are going up my legs.”

“Go to sleep.”

“I hate these pants!!! They are going up my legs!” *starts kicking and flailing and crying*

“Shhh.”

4:20 a.m.

“Mama?”

“Shh. Go to sleep.”

“But Mama!”

“Shh.”

“Mama, my back is itchy.”

*scratch scratch* “Now go to sleep.”

4:45 a.m.

“Mom? Mama?”

“Shh. Go to sleep.”

“Just one more thing.”

“What?”

“I really don’t like it when you say SHH to me.”

“Go to sleep!”

Chicken and Dumples’ Very Important Full House Viewing Rules

1. There is no talking while watching Full House. If you talk while watching Full House, we will watch it again. Until you don’t talk. Which means we will watch it again. And again. And again.

mercy

2. When the sappy lesson-learning music comes on, nobody say “aw.”

How-Rude-Stephanie-Full-House

3. No laughing. It’s not funny and I don’t get the joke.

cut-it-out-o

4. You sit on your side of the couch, I sit on my side of the couch, and never the twain shall meet.

geekburger

5. Remember that one time when Michelle did that cute thing?

duh

6. Be quiet. It’s starting. Quick. Get up and dance on your side of the sofa! Shout the names! DJ! Stephanie! Uncle Jesse! Joey! Danny! Aw Michelle!

danny

7. See #1.

bigtrouble

Happy Record Retention Day!

As an XTREME SECRETARY, I am more than just a pile of sticky notes and five knuckles pounding electricity out of file cabinets. I am also — prepare yourself — the unit record retention coordinator for my area. This might sound like a highfalutin’ title, and rest assured: it is.

I attended a meeting with the other unit record retention coordinators. We watched a PowerPoint presentation that covered the basics, so we could go back to our areas and, well, retain records.

What is a record? That is an interesting question, and one that takes about an hour to answer, give or take a few cookies or so. (I had snickerdoodle and caramel chew.)

What is a record? Anyone? … Anyone? … Bueller?

Now, the end all of Record Retention is knowing what is a record and when a record can be delightfully shredded. Then, you simply record the volume of destroyed records in inches and voila, fill out the retention form in triplicate so it can be examined and…wait for it…filed away.

Imagine the number of “records” or files a university has. Imagine looking at all the files to decide whether or not the file should be kept or tossed, based on its value, its date, its confidential information. Then imagine measuring — with a ruler — the volume of to-be-destroyed records. Ain’t nobody got no time for that.

This is why we have created Record Retention Day, which occurs annually on the first Thursday of November.

Record Retention Day is like any other day at work, except on this day, you don’t do any regular work. You can only look at files and decide what to keep, toss, and measure.

The next day also will be a holiday, for rejuvenation of mind and spirit. It will be called Post-Record Retention Day. It will be a federal holiday, so everyone and the banks will be closed for the day, except for furniture stores and car lots, at which you will get some great holiday-inspired deals, like a GMC Sonoma extended cab with central port injection and an under-body shield package at 0% financing.

You get your sales slip from your holiday sale, you bring it to work on Post-Post-Record Retention Day. File it for three years as proof of mental rejuvenation under newly labeled file #568ACYEARXX RECORD RETENTION SALES SLIPS.

Happy Record Retention Day!