Posts Tagged ‘Crazy Children’

Conversations With Ben: Continuing the Tradition of Embarrassing the Hell Out of Me In Public

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my very first installment of “Conversations with Ben.”

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I used to (and will still, from time to time) maintain a segment called “Conversations With Jake.” Most of the posts were dedicated to how my oldest son, now eight years old, could take an embarrassing situation and make it worse by screaming something out loud in public about it.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, Benny (now almost four) has begun to rise to the occasion when I have been faced with these unfortunate circumstances.

Which, lately, usually has something to do with his total lack of desire to fully potty train.

Yes, I know. Benny is four. He’s taking his sweet time getting his shit together (no pun intended) because he’d rather crap in his brand new Spiderman underwear than actually STOP PLAYING AND USE A TOILET. But he’s coming along . . . albeit at a pace that will have him toilet trained just prior to his wedding rehearsal dinner.

The other day, we were at a very busy Costco. (I know. I know. These things always happen to me when I’m at Costco. You think I’d learn . . .)

It was Fourth of July weekend, and on top of it, we were having a late birthday party for Jacob, so we needed to pick up his birthday cake.

With Benny in tow, I proceeded toward the entrance and asked, “Do you have to pee or poop?” and he replied, “No.”

I checked his pants to be sure he didn’t decide to take matter into his own hands on the way over. When I saw that things were clear, we made our way in.

And about every ten minutes or so, I would ask him, “Do you have to pee or poop?” And he would always answer, “No.” And then I would repeat the looking-into-the-underwear thing, because I have no sense of smell and I certainly didn’t want anyone thinking it was ME who’d stunk up the joint. Not that I’ve never let one fly myself and then totally blamed him and said out loud, “Oh my GOD Benny! What did Daddy feed you?!” Kids are good for that kind of stuff but don’t go having kids solely for the purpose of BEING ABLE TO BLAME THEM FOR YOUR FARTS.

Anyway, just when we had found an awesomely short line for checkout, Benny decided that he needed to go.



07 2011

Conversations With Jake: The “Nay Kit” Flash (Or, Why You Should REALLY Make Sure Your Kid is Asleep Before Listening to Podcasts in Your Car)

Earlier this year, I wrote about a photographer named James Beltz (who I now refer to as “Professor Jimmy” around the house, because, as it turns out, he really DID feel uncomfortable with my calling him “The Jimmy Lama”).

To know him (through his podcasts) is to love him. He’s southern and charming and hilariously funny in his A.D.D./silly ranting kind of way and frankly, the LOML is starting to get jealous of my constant bringing up of his name. But the fact of the matter is that Jimmy is the only photography instructor that I know that totally gets “it.” He doesn’t take himself too seriously, gets his audience/students to relax, and teaches in a way that is both fun and challenging. And I honestly have NO IDEA where I’d be without his classes or podcasts.

ANYWAY, most of you know that I do quite a bit of my podcast listening while driving. And sometimes even while the kids are in the car. (Usually while they are sleeping, or else I get pelted with Cheerios or Cheetos until I tune the dial to Radio Disney. ACK.)

A few weeks ago, I had picked up Jake from day camp and didn’t even get out of the parking lot when noticed that his eyes were getting heavy and he had leaned the seat back a little bit in order to settle in for a nap on the way home. So I decided that as soon as he was “out,” I would plug in my iTouch and listen to one of Professor Jimmy’s podcasts.

And wouldn’t you know, it would be one where Jimmy uses the phrase “Nekkid” flash about 678 times. (“Nekkid” is southern for “Naked.” And a “Nekkid Flash” is what you would call one of those big long flashes you see on professional cameras WITHOUT what you would call “a white thingy” on the end. A “white thingy” is a flash diffuser, which helps soften and spread light evenly.).

And I remember thinking, Holy CRAP it’s a good thing that Jake is asleep or he’d be asking me what the word “nekkid” meant. BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW INQUISITIVE THIS KID CAN BE.

Fast forward a few days.

I had hopped on to the computer before going to work to check out some recipes I was thinking about trying for dinner. And without remembering to bookmark the page that I’d found, I shut the browser down and turned the computer off.

When I returned home later that evening, I fired up the browser and decided to go to my internet history in order to find the site I’d been on earlier that morning. And this is what I found:



Yes, you read that right.

There were searches for “NEY KIT FLASH,” “NAY KIT FLASH,” and “Professor Jimmy,” among other things.

Now, if you are slow to get this, bear with me. BECAUSE THIS IS A DAMN FUNNY STORY. (The LOML had me add, “Damn funny to photographers, maybe . . .”)

After discovering the search queries I laughed. HARD. For, like, TWENTY MINUTES.

Then I picked up the phone and called the LOML.



“Uh, can I ask you a question?”

“Oh . . . ‘kay. What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Nothing. Just wondering if you happened to be on the computer at lunch, looking for something to buy me for my birthday.”


And then I was all, REALLY? Have you NOT ever heard of the INTERNET HISTORY BUTTON?

“You’re joking, right? I KNOW EVERYTHING.”

“[Loud silence, and then a long sigh.] Fine. YES, I was looking up stuff I wanted to buy you for your birthday. But I couldn’t find what I was looking for.”

“And what exactly, dear, were you looking for?”

“Well, this morning on the way to drop Jake off at summer camp, I asked him what he thought we should buy you for your birthday next month, and he said, ‘The man on mama’s radio says that you can do just about anything with a nay kit flash, so maybe we should get her one of those.’”

A Clockwork Benny

This is a Mother’s Day post about noise. Or lack thereof.

And if you’re a mom, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Experienced mothers understand that there’s one noise that they never, EVER want to hear in their house (or even worse, SOMEONE ELSES” house). We call that noise “The Eerie Silence.”

It’s the silence that lasts a few minutes longer than it should. It’s the long, freaky silence that makes you pop your head up and tilt your ear and move your eyeballs around the room because you KNOW that there’s something going down and it can’t be good because it probably involves the dirty clothes basket and your toilet.

Yes, THAT kind of silence.

Busy, tired, and overworked moms love a moment’s peace when they can get it. But there’s a difference between what we know as “a moment’s peace” and “the eerie silence”: about 90 seconds.

A lot can happen in 90 seconds.

Walls can get drawn on. Jewelry can get broken. And even iPods can get flushed down the toilet. (I’ve experienced all three.)

This past Friday, however, Benny decided to stir it up a bit:


"Dude! Your mascara's on my toddler." "No! Your toddler's in my mascara!"

LOML: “What the hell is on his FACE?!”

ME: “Calm down. I think I know what happened. Don’t spook him . . . I need to get my camera first.”

Because only a mother with a blog would reach for her camera instead of a washcloth after discovering her toddler has been experimenting with mascara.


"I getting into mama's stuff."

It’s hard to see because I went all willy nilly in PhotoShop, but there’s mascara all over his blanket and hands . . .

Little boy playing with makeup; Toddler; Boy; Makeup

"How'd I look mama? I look handsome?"

There’s also a big clump in his hair.

Little boy playing with makeup; Toddler; Boy; Makeup

"Like this, mama?"

He’s concentrating so hard that there’s drool coming out of his mouth . . .

Little boy playing with makeup; Toddler; Boy; Makeup

"I doing it, mama! I doing it!"

Here’s to having an “Eerie Silence”-free Mother’s Day . . .


05 2010

This is What Happens When I Leave the Boys Alone With My Husband

When the LOML and I first bought our house, we were all young and in love and pregnant with Jake and most things worked but there were also things that needed fixing.

And instead of fixing the things that were broken, the LOML went on a destruction spree which totally ruined a few of the nice things and has turned our lot into something that renters wouldn’t even want to live in. Like the fact that we have no tree or plants or even a REAL LAWN out front. We have green weeds that are mowed to look like grass. And don’t get me started on the back yard – what was once a nice little place to hang out now has a gaping hole dug out “so that we can have pavers someday.” And whenever it rains a pool of water collects in the gaping hole so that our back yard can become the neighborhood breeding ground for mosquitoes and West Nile Virus. But I digress.

Because this little story is about a door knob. Or lack thereof.

A couple of weeks ago, Jake got stuck in the bathroom. And after employing various methods of trying to get the knob to unlock (bobby pins, small flat head screwdrivers, toy laser guns), the LOML decided to just take the doorknob off. Upon dismantling of the doorknob assembly, he noticed that it was actually not one whole doorknob set, but two different doorknobs (one for each side of the door) paired together to make one set. Seriously.

ANYWAY, a few days later, the LOML went to Home Depot and spared no expense in getting us an $8 replacement doorknob assembly. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Fast forward to last Friday night, when I decided that I wanted to get out of the house for a while and go see a movie alone (we do that sometimes — it allows me to see “girl movies” and it allows the LOML to see “crappy movies” without one having to drag the other along). When I got back at around 10:30, the LOML was still up and quite chatty for someone who just spent three hours alone with my kids.

After I was done brushing my teeth and was climbing into bed, he said, “So, your sister got a pretty interesting phone call tonight.”

And I was all, “Oh SHIT. Who’s in the hospital now? Did someone die? Is everything okay?” because I just KNEW he was talking about Terry, and SHE’S the one who always gets the death/dying/family emergency calls first and WHY IS HE JUST NOW TELLING ME THIS??

And he said, “No, no, it’s not like that. Everything’s fine now.”

And I said, “NOW? Everything’s fine . . . NOW?”

And he was like, “Yeah, we had a little excitement here at the house . . .”


And he lowered his head, started to laugh, and said, “I locked myself in the bathroom.”

Here now, in his own words, is Troy’s recount of what happened:

“Okay, so I was in the bathroom installing the new doorknob and I had only got HALF of it done when Benny comes in and says ‘Bye Daddy! Have a good day!’ and I was all, ‘Okay, have a good day’ but I had my back turned and didn’t realize that as he was saying this he was shutting the door, then all of the sudden in the mirror I see the door shutting and I tried to stop it from shutting but he’s such a quick little shit that I didn’t get to it in time. Then when I tried to open the door it wouldn’t open so I called for Jake and asked him if Benny was okay and he was all, ‘Yeah, Dad, he’s in your room watching Kipper’ so I said to Jake ‘Daddy is stuck in the bathroom and I need your help’ and then it got really quiet. Then Jake said ‘Are you stuck on the toilet Dad and do you need some toilet paper?’ and I laughed and said, ‘No I can’t get OUT of the bathroom because the door won’t open.’ So then Jake asked ‘Whaddaya want ME to do?’ and I said ‘Hang on, let me see what I can do from in here.’ Then I took a screwdriver and I took apart what I could of that fricking cheap-ass doorknob that I paid $8 for – I should have known it would break because it was only $8 stupid bucks . . . stupid lock . . . anyway, I took it apart and then told Jake to pull on the doorknob gently and the other side fell out so I could see him through the hole in the door. Then I said, ‘Jake, go get Daddy’s wallet off the counter,’ and I swear to GOD that kid came back with a CREDIT CARD. How he knew I wanted to get a credit card out I DON’T KNOW, but he slid it through the hole and I tried to get the door to open with it but it didn’t work. Then I said, ‘Okay Champ, go get Daddy’s phone off the counter.’ And when he brought it back it wouldn’t fit through the hole so I had to try and guide him through the calling process and when he finally got the contacts list up I tried to put my finger through the hole to find your name but I couldn’t reach it and see it at the same time so I told Jake, ‘Okay, rub your thumb on the silver button until you see Mommy’s name,’ and he said ‘I don’t see Mommy in here’ because he was looking for the ‘M’s’ for ‘Mommy’ so I told him to hold up the phone so I could see it and it was all the way down at the bottom and I saw your sister’s name and I said ‘OKAY, PRESS THE GREEN PHONE BUTTON!!’ and he pressed the button, put the phone up to his ear AND WALKED AWAY. I could hear him talking on the phone like he was just talking to a friend so I had to yell, ‘JAKE!! TELL AUNTIE TERRY THAT I NEED HER TO CALL YOUR MOM!’ and then he said something into the phone but I couldn’t hear what he was saying so I freaked out and took the screwdriver and just started ramming it into things inside the hole and the door came open and then I said, ‘TELL HER NEVER MIND I GOT OUT OF THE BATHROOM.’ And then he said something into the phone again and then hung up. After that, I threw that piece of shit doorknob away and put the boys to bed.”


Here, now, is my niece Kristen’s recount of what happened. Because when Jake called “Auntie Terry’s House,” Kristen was the one who answered the phone:

“So last night, the phone rang and I answered it (exciting right?) and I hear “Auntie Terry?? Call grandma!! My dad is locked in the bathroom!!!” I have NO CLUE who it was but it sounded urgent so I didn’t say anything about not being “Auntie Terry”. I kept asking “Who is this? Sweetie, calm down, what’s your name and I’ll call Grandma.” I never got a name but I heard “Never mind, just call Kathleen!” (I’m now assuming that it’s Jake on the phone and Uncle Troy was stuck in the bathroom.) So now I’m thinking I shouldn’t really call Grandma about this…and then I hear Uncle Troy say “It’s ok! I got out!” Phone call ended. It was quite the change of pace for my Tuesday night. I still really have no clue what happened, but you better get that blog up soon ‘cause I have to know Uncle Troy’s side of the story!!”

Here, now, is my sister Terry’s recount of what happened.

“When the phone rang I recognized the number so I told Kristen to answer it, and she got really quiet, and was SO CALM the whole time. I could hear her saying, ‘Okay sweetie . . . tell me your name’ and thought it was weird, but was SO AMAZED at how calm she was! After she got off the phone she said, ‘Uncle Troy locked himself in the bathroom but he’s okay now’ and we laughed about it, and I’ve been dying to hear the other side of the story so we could piece it all together.”

Seriously. It’s like my blog writes itself.

Oh! And by the way — do you want to know what he replaced that “cheap-ass eight dollar lock” with?

He replaced it with a NINE DOLLAR LOCK. I kid you not.


04 2010

It Was Kinda Like ‘Greek Wedding,’ Only More Mexican. With Chinese Food.

The date, everybody, was March 30, 2010.

It was five days before Easter, and the emails began firing.

“Mom’s worried about the weather. Would you guys be okay with postponing ’til next Sunday?”

And I was all, “Hell YEAH let’s do it!” because that meant one less trip on the Lancaster Easter Sunday Tour with the kids.

Then all of the sudden, there was this:

“Let’s have Chinese Food like we did for Dad’s birthday.”

And there was a collective, “Huh?,” followed by a round of “whatever is easiest for Grandma” and “who’s bringing what?”

Chinese Easter Cake

My niece, who works at a supermarket bakery, made this cake for us after finding out we were having Chinese food for Easter dinner.

All in all, it took about 6,479 emails to finalize the plans. Easter Sunday fun and fodder would in fact NOT be on Easter Sunday but would be a week later so the weather could get nicer and everyone would be bringing Chinese Food.

Then the real Easter Sunday came, and the weather really wasn’t all that bad until late in the day. Oh well. Me and the boys had ham and stuffing and bread rolls and all of what Benny would call “Big Easter Bites.” It was the perfect end to the perfect weekend.

Then Mother Nature decided she wanted to pee all over our plans.

The date, everybody, was April 8, 2010.

It was three days before “Chinese Easter Sunday” (or “Gung Hay Fat Bunny,” or “Easter Egg Foo Young Day,” depending on who you talked to), and the weather people were talking storms again.

“Mom’s worried about the weather . . . shall we postpone again? Or how about having it on Saturday instead?”

And I was all, “Oh, HELL no. It didn’t even rain all that bad LAST WEEKEND. And Saturday is out because the LOML and I are going out for our anniversary and that starts at 4:30pm when we drop the boys off at his mom’s house. I love you all, but I’m not missing that deadline. Mama needs a break from the kids. Let’s keep Chinese Easter for this Sunday.”

Everyone else pretty much agreed and the plans were set. It only took 2,136 emails to get that together.

Then came Chinese Easter Sunday Eve.

“Kathy . . . I’m worried about the rain . . .”

“Oh, mom! It won’t be that bad! The rain probably won’t start until after two. We’ll be fine. Everything’s gonna be fiiiine.”

And there it was. I promised my mom good weather and I’m not even certified by the American Meteorologists Society to make that call.

Then, Saturday night after we got home from our date, the LOML and I watched the news.

“This storm system is going to bring a significant amount of rain. And wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour . . . starting around 10am on Sunday . . .”

Well, they were WRONG.

It rained at Noon. Hard. ALL DAY LONG.

But that’s okay. It made for quite the scene in my mom’s 974 square foot house. This brought “party in the old lady’s house that was a shoe” to a whole new level.

"Can we come out now? Can we? Can we come out? NOW?"

Remember in the Charlie Brown cartoons, how the kids would descend upon the food and punch table at the dances and there would be this temporary cloud of dust and a few seconds later the tables would be empty and even the punch bowl would be gone? Yep. It was JUST LIKE THAT.

There were the grown-ups (about 30 of us), the kids (what felt like 627, and DON’T YOU DARE GET WATER ON ONE for fear of them multiplying), and then the Chinese Food. It made for quite the explosion of screaming, crying, and tantrum-throwing. And that was just the guys watching the Laker game.

Then there was, of course, wine. My mom said, “Start drinking now because it’s going to get ugly soon.” Meaning that once all of the kids showed up, they had no place to go but in the next room and ALL HELL WAS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE because it was raining AND THE KIDS HAD NO PLACE TO GO BUT IN THE NEXT ROOM and we didn’t want them to play in the rain because they MULTIPLY LIKE GREMLINS WHEN THEY GET WET. And it was LOUD. Kinda like having a Chuck E. Cheese party in your house, only without Skee-ball and the crappy pizza and all of the random acts of violence.

The Umpteenth Empty Bottle of Wine, (c) 2010 Kathleen Lancaster Imagery All Rights Reserved

"You take one down, pass it around . . . something something bottles of wine on the wall . . ."

Of course, when you add beer and other liquor to the mix, you get pictures like the one below.

Dad's Oldest Grandsons (and a couple-a idiots), (c) 2010 Kathleen Lancaster Imagery All Rights Reserved

I said, "Let's get a picture of Dad with his oldest grandsons," and this is what I got. A picture of Dad and his oldest grandsons. Notice, though, that grandson #1 (left) has photo-crashers growing from his armits. (My brothers Steve and Tom.)

All in all, it was an awesome day, even with all the screaming and crying. I got some fantastic pictures (like the one below), and was able to spend Chinese Easter Sunday with just about all of my family.

Xavier Waits for the Rain to Stop, (c) 2010 Kathleen Lancaster Imagery All Rights Reserved DO NOT COPY

I love LOVE this image. One of two favorites of the day. This is my nephew Xavier, and he's waiting for the rain to stop so he can hunt Easter eggs. Don't you just WANT TO SQUEEZE HIS CHEEKS?!

So after we got into the truck, the LOML was all, “Are you guys tired?”, and they were all, “NOOOO!”, and then this is what they looked like before we reached the end of the block:

Sleepy Boys, (c) 2010 Kathleen Lancaster Imagery All Rights Reserved DO NOT COPY

Oh, STOP IT. They may look cute in this picture but you didn't see them after I told them it was time to take a bath.


04 2010