Good Parent, Stupid Kids?

We’ve been talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. in our house lately, and it reminded me of this post from 2012 when I tried to teach my kids about race while they were hungry. Always a mistake. In honor of MLK day, I once again give you The Story of the Eggs:

In my house hard-boiled eggs are made by at least the half-dozen. Each kid would eat boiled eggs until explosion or yolk-asphyxiation occurs, so I have to cut them off at three each. This morning I had a mix of white and brown eggs. As I put them in the pot, the fighting started.

“I want just white ones!”

“Me too!”

“Actually, I want brown ones.”

“Me too!”

(I know this sounds like agreement, but trust me, it’s fight seeds.)

I decide this is a good time for a lesson. A friend of mine did this with her kids, and from her story it was a meaningful revelation for all short people involved. I was about to embark on an early morning good parenting moment. Go me!

Once the eggs had boiled and cooled a bit in ice water, I began my fantastic parenting, holding a brown egg in one hand an a white one in the other:

“Are these the same or different?”

“Different!”

“How are they different?”

“They’re different colors.”

“Right. The shells are different colors. This shell is white, and this shell is brown. Are people sometimes different colors too?”

“No!”

“Uh, really? Aren’t they sometimes different colors?”

“No!”

“Um, for this to work, I need you to think about all the people you know. Do they all look the same?”

“No!”

“Right, people come in different colors like these eggs, right?”

“Right!”

“Whew. OK. So, do you think these eggs are the same or different on the inside?”

“Different!”

“The same!”

“I want the brown one!”

“No I want the brown one!”

“Just wait. We’re learning something first! Let’s see if these eggs are different or the same on the inside.”

I crack and peel the eggs. The kids are fighting over which color they want. I hold up two peeled, perfectly white eggs:

“So, are these the same or different on the inside?”

“Different!”

“I want the brown one!”

“Can I have some salt?”

“PAY ATTENTION! We’re learning here! Do these eggs look the same or different?”

The kids have no freaking idea what I want from them. They just want to give me an answer that would make me shut up and hand over the eggs.

“The same?”

“Yes! They are exactly the same on the inside even though one was white and one was brown on the outside. So, what does that tell us? Did we learn anything?”

“Can I have salt, Mama?”

“NO! You won’t get anything until you learn this lesson! Does the fact that this brown egg and this white egg look exactly the same on the inside tell us anything about people?”

“No!”

URG! Remember, one was white?? And one was brown??! And people are different colors too!? But on the inside the eggs are the same??? What do you think different color people are like on the inside?”

“Yucky!”

“Bloody!”

“They have hearts!”

“They have poop!”

The kids are now in hysterics. I’ve lost my audience, which I never really had to begin with. Fuck it. Just eat your eggs, kids. Thanks for the learning moment.

Good Parent, Stupid Kids

 

The 12 Days of Christmas Mom

Here’s my ultimate wish list from my true loves three*:

On the first day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the second day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the third day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the fourth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

four Colin Firths**

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

colin firth

On the fifth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

five golden rings***

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the sixth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the seventh day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the eighth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

eight maids a dusting

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the ninth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

nine nights romancing

eight maids a dusting

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the tenth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

ten hours o’sleeping

nine nights romancing

eight maids a dusting

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

eleven days no griping

ten hours o’sleeping

nine nights romancing

eight maids a dusting

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

On the twelfth day of Christmas

my true loves gave to me

twelve blog posts cunning

eleven days no griping

ten hours o’sleeping

nine nights romancing

eight maids a dusting

seven coffees brimming

six hours o’peaceful playing

five golden rings

four Colin Firths

three French wines

two kids I’m proud of

and a housekeeper who arrives each day at three.

 

* My husband and my kids. Nothing scandalous.

** What? I want four of him.

*** The original got this one right.


Originally published December 2012. 

Trick-or-treat, except no tricks please because my kids are stupid

My kids are still working on becoming funny. At least I hope they’re working on it, and that where they sit right now on the funny spectrum is not where they’ll remain. Funny is important to me. The fact that it’s lost on my children leaves them not getting 62% of what comes out of my mouth. Since the remaining 38% is made up of directives they’re ignoring, we have a major communication problem over here.

When my then 5-year-old son shouted back to me from the door of a stranger’s house on Halloween night, “Mom, she doesn’t have any chocolate, is it OK if I pick something else?” I realized that my kids are too earnest for my tastes.

See, I (jokingly (totally not jokingly)) told my son to make sure he gets lots of chocolate. The for me was implied. He did not pick up on the implication. He took it as a rule or mission of Halloween. He took it as advice from his mother who looks out for him and knows more about Halloween and the world at large than he does.

And nothing I said for the rest of the night could change his mind.

“Honey, I was just joking. Get whatever candy you like,” I said.

“But you said to get as much chocolate as I can. I’ll get chocolate,” he said.

“You are evil. You better blog about this,” husband said.

Every house was the same. My kid shouted back to me, “This one has more than one kind of chocolate, does it matter which I get?” and “This one has chocolate and Skittles. I really like Skittles. Is it OK if I pick the Skittles?” Once he even said to the kind stranger holding the candy bowl, “My mom wants me to get chocolate. Do you have any chocolate, maybe in your pantry?”

He had no idea that I was planning on stealing any candy from him. It would never occur to him that I’d want candy or play such a trick.

I seem to never learn the lesson that my kids don’t pick up on subtlety, irony, sarcasm, and jokes meant for the adults in the room. I made my daughter cry once when she saw me handing out ice cream sandwiches to her brother and to each of the 3 neighbor’s kids and asked “Can I have one too?” I said, “No. I’m giving ice cream sandwiches to all the other children but I’m going to give you onions for dessert.” Even though I assured her I was joking and quickly handed over the ice cream, she cried again a few days later when she asked for dessert and I said, “Onions for dessert!” Kid cannot take a joke.

While other parents anxiously await their children to achieve milestones like tying shoes and learning to read, I’m waiting with baited breath for my kids to grasp sarcasm, trickery, and actually funny jokes.

trick or treat