Dumb Children

My children are dumb. You heard me. I am tired of mincing words, softening the blow. Dumb! That’s what they are.
Caring, diligent, patient, faithful. These are the types of traits I want for my children. Give me a little while and I can come up with many more. I bet you can do the same for your children.
However, my children are dumb. And I am guessing your children are dumb too. Don’t huff away or curse me. Hear me out.
Let me provide you with a sample conversation that proves my point.
“BR, come here.”
“Shh, quietly. I got to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
“I said quietly.”
“Come here.”
“There’s only one chocolate left. Eat it now before SJ comes down.”
“Ok. Thanks.”
A minute later the chocolate is gone. BR goes upstairs and finds SJ happily watching cartoons in my room (SJ spends time in there than my and I but that’s another story).
“SJ. I just had the last chocolate. Daddy gave it to me.” (Best if read in a mocking voice).
“What? That’s not fair! Daddy!”
I come up the stairs. “What is it? What’s up SJ?”
“Why did you give BR a chocolate and not me? That’s not fair.”
If looks could wound, BR would be on the ground in some pain. “Why did you tell him that after I told you not to?”
“I don’t know.” He is not contrite in the least.
“SJ – I gave you one yesterday. Don’t you remember?” This does not soothe him. Now BR is upset because he did not get one the day before. He conveniently forgets the other treat he got.
Don’t think this is a one kid show.
“Yes, SJ you can stay up a little late to watch the end of your show. Just don’t go downstairs and mention it to BR.”
A couple of minutes pass and SJ is making one of his thunderous trips to the bathroom. BR hears the trip and comes running up the steps.
“Why is he still awake?”
“Daddy said I can stay up late and watch the end of Doc McStuffins.” (Best if read in a mocking voice).
The argument ensues.
One more example.
“Okay guys. We can start homework later. Let’s not advertise.”
SJ is unclear of my instructions. “What’s advertise mean?”
“Don’t tell mommy. It’s just between us. Both of you put a hand on top of mine. Remember, we’re a team. We’re a team. We’re aaaaaahhhh team.” Our hands going flying in the hair. “Now, remember don’t tell momny.”
My wife arrives home. Fifteen maybe 20 seconds pass before both children are spilling the beans. “Daddy said we could start homework late. Yeah, we just started a little while ago.”
I get a look from my wife. Uggh.

See, I told you my children are dumb. Sure, they read early, they are articulate, and they are inquisitive. However, they are dumb.
Can you imagine them being spies? Protecting state secrets, gathering information from a potential enemy? Remember the movie, Spies Like Us? They would make Ackroyd and Chase look like the best of the best.
See, I told you my children are dumb. Sure, they read early, they are articulate, and they are inquisitive. However, they are dumb.

Can you imagine them being spies? Protecting state secrets, gathering information from a potential enemy? Remember Spies like us? They would make Ackroyd and Chase look like the best of the best.

I think I know what the problem is. Why the heck do I keep telling them secrets expecting them to keep it? I know why. The apple doesn’t fall from the tree. I’m dumb too.

Reject Me!!!

Sometimes in life we face rejection. I know positive-thinking types might say something like, “Well, you learn as much as or more from your failures as you do from your successes.” They may have a point. However, rejection still sucks. Yet, I crave rejection.

A few years ago, I initiated the YOC. YOC stands for year of communication. I was tired of the irony that–despite the incredible ease and multiple outlets for communication–people seem worse at communicating. One of my very few type A personality traits is returning calls/emails/texts etc. expediently. I don’t accept someone saying I was too busy to get back to you. Do you know anyone who is not busy these days? Okay, there may be a couple, but you know what I mean. There is always time for a two-line email or an 8-word text. “Crazy busy over here. Talk to you soon.” I am perfectly content with that type of rejection. So, go ahead friends/family – reject me.

There was a point that I was considering switching schools. Fortunately, I was able to get some interviews. Unfortunately, none of the interviews materialized into jobs. It’s okay. That’s life. I can move on. Really, I can. But something about the process pissed me off. I took time out of my schedule to prepare myself, come to you, answer your questions, and send you a thank you. Is it too much to expect a rejection letter? Tell me no thanks, good luck, and see you never. Yeah, I can easily get over the lack of communication, but it’s not cool dude. Not cool. Just reject me.

One of my goals this summer was to send off some of my work in the hopes of getting it published. I did have a touch of success and a couple of misses (including one where the publication simply publishes the winners without letting the rest of us know we were not chosen). The rest of my submissions – to quote the band Genesis – “No Reply at All.” Now, some (hopefully all) will be contacting me shortly to let me know that they received my submission. The editors will tell me my work blew them way. Ok, maybe not. I can handle it. A writer with thick skin (well, at least not reed thin) – can you believe it? Anyway, reject me.

I feel better now that I have gotten this off of my chest. In fact, I am ready to scream reject me. Just don’t ignore me.

Gross: Read with Caution

I’ve said this before. My boys have bad aim. I don’t mean in darts. I don’t mean at a shooting range. I don’t mean at bowling. I think you know what I mean. My wife blames me. The woman who takes responsibility for everything refuses to touch this one. “They’re boys – you’re supposed to teach them,” she lectures me.

“It’s not my fault,” I try to plead.

But she ain’t hearing any of that. “Well, you need to figure something out, because I am sick of this.” “This” is a smelly, soggy bathroom. Seriously, when one of my boys has to pee in the middle of the night, it is ugly. I imagine turning on the light when they are going and it being like rookie firemen trying to control a hose for the first time. Seriously. Anyway, walking into the bathroom the next morning – I can understand what Washington went through when he forged the Delaware.

I’ve tried yelling at them. “This is disgusting. It smells in here. Don’t you smell it?”

I’ve tried cajoling them through reason. “This is our house. You have to care about our house. Don’t you want you our house to smell nice?”

I’ve tried forcing them to do all the clean up. “Bend down and wipe this up!”

Nothing has worked!

Maybe, it is time to be evil. They love Apple Juice. This could be a mixer. Naah, who am I kidding? That is too disgusting. Besides, I’m not that evil.

Truth is I got nothing. I guess at this point I am putting it in the category of they will do better as they get older.

However, I look to you dear reader. Can you please help me with your suggestions? In the meantime, I will keep buying Renuzit in bulk.

Sort of Green

It’s been nearly 5 years since my family and I have moved to the land of mini-vans, back yards, and large supermarkets. Another more common name used for this piece of Earth is suburbia. Before we moved to this family filled location, my wife and I talked about what we were most excited for.  I don’t remember our top five, but I do recall that mine included a drive way and hers included a garden.  Yes, I was happy to escape the monotonous tortured search for parking, and my wife was looking to develop a green thumb.

We settled on our house in April and moved in at the beginning of July. Within that time, the lawn went from green to brown, and we have been fighting, unsuccessfully, to revive it ever since.  The lawn has settled into a mix of green, brown, and bare patches of Earth. We’ve tried planting grass to fill in the patches, and we’ve planted flowers to beautify the lawn but nothing has sprouted. It has become clear that if we had to rely on our farming skills to eat, we would be mistaken for skeletons. I figure at some point the neighbors will crack and chip in to buy us a sprinkler system.

People really our serious about their lawns in suburbia. If one were to take a drive around our neighborhood during a spring or summer day, one would notice automatic sprinklers going off (usually first thing in the morning – supposed to be the best time to water the lawn. I have learned something) and landscapers performing their duties. However, at our house we have taken a different and clearly unsuccessful approach.  In addition to praying for rain, I move our, $9.99 Home Depot, sprinkler around the lawn to try and get the most coverage. Secondly, I am the landscaper (to save money and so the children will take note of self-reliance.  Not quite Walden, I know.).  This is ironic as mowing the lawn has always been one of my least favorite chores. When I was growing up, I engaged in hand to cord battles with an old lawn mower pull cord that left me with a couple of calluses on my hand. I cursed that machine many times over. I begged my parents to replace the lawn with pavement (not very Earth Day of me). I told them we could put in a basketball court, and I would play all the time.  Ultimately, I would earn a scholarship to college, and the paving would pay for itself. Nothing doing.

Last fall, we had a professional come and do a Fall clean-up.  Afterwards, the lawn looked so great that I wished it could have just stayed in that state (kind of like I wish the bed would stay made and my face would stay shaven).   Alas, no miracle occurred and the grass has been growing. I guess I will have to keep mowing the lawn – at least what’s left of it.  So much for a green thumb.