Posts Tagged ‘Parental Absence of Mind’

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

Conversations With Jake: Gag Me With a Thermometer

Conversations With Jake Logo, (c) 2008 Mama Needs a Cosmo All Rights Reserved DO NOT COPYI told this story to a few of my co-workers today, and they were all, “Oh my GOD Kathleen!! You need to put that on your blog! Have you put it on your blog? Have you?!” And I was like, “Hell NO!” because I’m totally convinced that Child Protective Services reads my blog and is just itching for a reason to take my boys away.

Then I realized that what I did (in this particular instance) wasn’t all that bad. I mean, it’s not like I left Jake and Benny in a car for six hours while I gambled at a casino or something. This type of “parental absence of mind” is much more acceptable. Or at least “confessionable.”

So, here’s the story:

A couple of weeks ago (the evening of Easter Sunday), Jake came to me and quite dramatically stated,

“Ohhh MOMMMMM, I don’t feel so good. My tummy hurts and I think I have a feverrrr.”

Seriously. This kid has more drama packed into his being than Charlton Heston.

And I was all, “Uh, of COURSE you don’t ‘feel so good.’ You spent all day eating candy.”

But the 5% left of “caring mom” in me chose to feel his forehead, and it WAS kinda warm, so I went to the bathroom and retrieved our newly purchased thermometer. Complete with sample cover for trial use.

I opened the box, and then decided to use the trial thermometer cover. It was one of those “peel here, insert thermometer, then peel off other side” kind of covers, so I didn’t really have to touch it, which made me feel like I was being all super-sanitary and worthy of a gold star.

“Here,” I said, “keep it under your tongue for ten seconds.”

Now, before I go further, I have to explain that Jake has always had a really (REALLY) bad gag reflex. This kid has issues with just getting his teeth brushed in the morning, so I was quite worried that this temperature taking thing would turn into an adventure.

And, true to form, Jake coughed and gagged and spit it out onto the bathroom counter.

“Jake!! What is your problem?! It’s just a thermometer!”

“But MOMMM!”

“Seriously, Jacob . . . I’ve got no other way to do this so put it back under your tongue for ten seconds. It’ll be over before you know it.”

“No mom! It tastes weird.”


“It’s kinda slippery and it tastes awwfull. YOU DO IT!”

I stopped short of asking him, “What’s your damage, HEATHER?” because I’m also thoroughly convinced that my six-year-old has a teenage girl trapped inside his body and is driving force behind his Charlton Heston dramatics.

Anyway, I decided that YES, I WOULD TAKE MY OWN TEMPERATURE AND SHOW THIS KID THAT HE’S BEING A TOTAL NUTJOB, and then reached for the thermometer without looking at it because for some reason I wanted to stare him down to make a point. And in doing so, I inadvertently picked it up by the “wrong” end (the temperature-taking end) and felt it.

And . . . it WAS kinda slippery.

And for one brief second I had a minor out of body experience, having realized what I just did to my own son.

I cringed, slowly turned around, reached for the bathroom wastebasket, and retrieved the thermometer cover wrapper.

And there it was. All spelled out for moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and babysitters WHO CAN READ GOOD:

“Pre-lubricated for rectal comfort.”

[Insert gag noise here.]

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

Just Because Things Are Sold On the Same Aisle and In the Same Geographical Area as Said Aisle Doesn’t Mean They Go Together

So I was all happy and pleased with myself because I’d actually purchased the boys’ valentines AND some goodies for gift bags a whole TWO DAYS before they were due. Which is highly unusual for me because I really do love to stay up until 1:00am the night before a Valentine’s Party putting together valentines and baking pink heart-shaped cookies. REALLY.

Anyhoo, after the boys went to bed, I started to assemble the gift bags for Benny’s day care play mates, which consisted of some really cute die-cut cellophane bags, mini frisbees, suction cup ball thingys, some candy hearts, and Spiderman valentines.

Then I realized there was a problem.

The mini frisbees were too big to get into the bag. And NO, I did NOT think to look at the width of the bag at its narrowest point and determine if the frisbees would fit.

I made the LOML pose with the accessories in exchange for some . . . thing.

That's not "Mala-chee," but "Mala-kai." Because apparently Benny has a day care playmate who is one of the children of the corn.

Seriously. Am I SUPPOSED to get out the measuring tape before I buy this stuff? Can I just get some credit for starting a day early?

So, we’ve now clarified that my toddler can read but his mother cannot.


02 2010