July 17, 2014
WRITER'S BLOCK. DAMN IT.
I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING INTERESTING TO WRITE ABOUT.
BUT NOT WRITING MEANS I SHOULD FIND SOMETHING TO CLEAN AND/OR TAKE A SHOWER AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.
WHY AM I YELLING.
HEY LET'S LOOK AT SOME RANDOM PHOTOS FROM MY PHONE.
One of the many blurry photos that still fail to fully capture the spirit of the boys' favorite game, "Everybody Jump Off The Arm Of The Couch And Pile Up On Mom." Play it today with your own 140+ pounds' worth of boy-children!
Ike diagnosed me with a bad case of falling down and getting hurt (CHILD GETS ME, RIGHT?) and bandaged me up with a few dozen Ninjago stickers. It was cute at first but then every last one of these stickers ended up sticky-side down on the floor, where they demonstrated remarkable sticking power for a bunch of years' old novelty stickers. There's been a lot of scraping and cursing ever since.
(But at least my leg is all better now, according to Ike.)
This is how I felt about going back to blonde:
This is me now:
I'm ridiculous, I'm aware. But happy enough to actually smile in a damn picture!
Then this one time? They all sat still, next to each other, for almost an entire minute. It was glorious.
Finally, I misplaced my phone for awhile. When I found it, it was full of foreheads and eyeballs. One day someone is going to figure out how to take a picture of their butt and it will all be over, THE END.
July 15, 2014
Here's a tricky bit of pregnancy math: Of all three pregnancies, I gained the least weight with Ike. Mostly thanks to the fact that I spent at least six months of the pregnancy actively barfing, and felt nauseous for all nine. I think the final weigh-in clocked my total gain at like, 10 or 12 pounds. Seven pounds of which were the actual baby, so I felt pretty confident that I'd be back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time.
Three years later, I'm still not there.
Those 10 or 12 pounds just...stayed, even after the baby and all his baby-related accessories had vacated. And then those 10 or 12 pounds became 15. This past winter, it was more like 20. I stopped weighing myself after that. And if we were talking about my weight pre-Noah, well. OMG.
Three years later, it finally occurred to me that oh. This is going to keep on...going up, like that, if I don't...do something? About it? I guess?
Well, okay. It had technically occurred to me that I needed to do something before now, but the whole actually doing something never quite got off the ground too successfully. I'd make some big grand pledge to a diet or fitness routine and last a week or two. The number on the scale wouldn't budge, or would move such a tiny bit that it was simply too easy to completely derail that tiny bit with one nice weekend meal of french fried abandon. Anytime I did make a decent enough dent in the number, I'd immediately "reward" myself by going back to how things were before and gain it all back in no time.
Jason was trapped in the same cycle, albeit always on a different schedule than me. One of us would look in the mirror or at the waistband of another pair of pants that were now too small, freak out, make our big grand pledge...while the other one eyed them warily from the couch, because I Really Really Wanted To Order A Pizza Tonight, Man. C'mon.
Inevitably, one of us would slack off, skip workouts, open a bag of chips, and completely demotivate the other. And then we'd both wind up right back where we started. Lazy, out of shape, and out of pants that fit. An unfortunate by-product of being completely in love and comfortable with your partner, I guess. I thought he looked just fine, he thought I did, then someone would snap a cute little candid of us at a dinner party and we'd be like...oh. OH. Can u delete that plz?
And even more important than awkward chin angles and hating my upper arms, both of us had officially crossed into unhealthy weights for our heights/frames by just about every scale out there, Jason's blood sugar levels weren't looking all that hot, and our completely sedentary, couch-centric lifestyles weren't the best example we could set for the boys.
Finally, Jason had enough and came up with a new plan: We'd have a behavior chart, just like the boys.
A chart that Ike likes to scribble on and mess up with the eraser all the time. It's not pretty, but point is, it's working.
Each goal has a dollar amount assigned to it — $2 for eating healthy, $3 for strength training and cardio, a buck for resisting late night snacking, etc. (And yeah: lololololol at the $1 "no alcohol" one. That one gets ignored a lot.) At the end of the week, we tally it all up and put that amount of money in a jar, with the goal of going on a grown-ups-only getaway when it's sufficiently funded. No IOUs, cash only, so you better watch your spending. Rethink that Starbucks run or impulse vending machine purchase.
The plan was no fad diets, no unsustainable deprivation, no eliminating any particular food or thing as "bad." We didn't download any fancy phone apps or join a gym. We focused on portion control, mindful food choices and daily exercise. 30 minutes a day, hopefully, with the treadmill and weights we've had gathering dust in the basement for ages. Basically nothing that I hadn't tried and failed at a million times before, because OBVIOUSVILLE. Moderation and exercise! MADNESS! ALERT THE MEDIA!
The only difference was that we were going to do it together, with little messy chalk Xs in the kitchen to hold us accountable.
I set my initial target weight at what I weighed before getting pregnant with Ike. Not the thinnest I've ever been, but still a healthy weight for my height, nothing too crazy. etc. And yet a weight that I've been struggling to come even CLOSE to for three years now. When Jason drew up this chart, I was about 15 pounds away from it. Hardly the daunting amount that other people have successfully conquered, but when you let yourself sink into a fog of complacency, I imagine any number can seem hopeless and pointless.
As of this morning, I have five more pounds to go. I don't even care anymore. Even if I don't lose another pound, I feel good. I feel better. I feel strong! I've lost some flab, gained some muscle, gotten back into some pants. Jason's accomplished the same, plus his blood sugar is back to normal.
I never took an official "before" picture and don't really care about taking any "afters," either. I have no interest in being obsessive about trying to look younger cuter thinner hotter — I'm 36 years old and I had three kids. There's a limit to what a chalkboard behavior chart can accomplish and that's okay. I guess just by even writing about this I've probably crossed some line into "braggy," and I really don't want it to read that way. (I mean, I've still got weight to lose and a LONG way to go on the treadmill before my endurance level gets anywhere north of "embarassing.") I just...whew, man. And finally. You know?
July 10, 2014
Jason's away this week, off upstate in the middle of nowhere, doing work-related fly fishing. Which is a thing, I guess. Business fishing. A River Runs Through IT Consulting. I don't know. But it means the kids and I have had an extra heaping dose of togetherness this week.
And it's all been fine! Jason gave the boys a SERIOUS TALK about helping Mom around the house before he left, which I then supplemented with straight-up bribery. I WILL GIVE YOU MONEY FOR DOING THINGS THAT ARE NOT FIGHTING.
Also you can watch a movie every night, as long as Mom Has Not Had It and Does Not Need It To Be Bedtime Right This Second. I taught Noah how to vacuum and make macaroni & cheese, Ezra's watering the garden and putting silverware away, and Ike...
Well, Ike's been here! That's for sure.
Although last night, on the other hand...
I put everybody to bed after their movie — it was late so both Noah and Ezra were practically asleep by the time I closed the door, while Ike didn't even wait for me to leave before attempt Bed Escape #1 of the night.
I scooted him back into bed and went downstairs to find some girly indie love story movie to watch — THE TELEVISION IS MINE! IT'S GONNA BE ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE GIVING EACH OTHER KNOWING LONGING LOOKS THROUGH THEIR PAIN ALL UP IN THIS BITCH — and tried to ignore the repeated sounds of the door opening, the multiple drinks of water at the bathroom sink, the fetching of yet another super important book or Lego figure or God knows what.
"BACK TO BED, IKE," I probably hollered up once or twice, because I am super involved and effective like that.
Finally, all was silent. So I went up to check on everybody — my usual ritual of making sure no one's hanging off the edge of the bed or asleep in the laundry basket, plus collecting covers and pillows from the floor, removing excess books or Lego figures or God knows what from under their bodies.
Noah, check. Ezra, check. Ike...
Well, Ike was not there.
Okay. I guess he didn't return after one of those excursions after all. I peeked in his old room, then my room, then my office. The bathrooms, maybe? I checked my bed again, then their bed again. I went downstairs, then to the basement.
I did another lap around the house, calling for him this time, both irritated and vaguely alarmed. Who loses a kid in a townhouse? Who gets so into feeling sad about the loss of James Gandolfini and baffled by the reverse hotness aging process of Julia Louis-Dreyfus that she doesn't realize her child has wandered off, and apparently wandered off FOR SERIOUS, because I was now on my third frantic search of the house and there was still no sign of him. The front and back doors were still locked, so. Okay.
I was out of ideas, so I figured I'd go back upstairs and start over.
As I neared the top of the stairs, I suddenly noticed something...
Something I could just barely make out in the shadows...
(If life was a J-horror movie, this is when he would've woken up and looked at me with the light reflecting in his eyes, causing me to fall down the stairs and die. My death would be ruled an accident, until some unlucky investigator would come around asking too many questions, awaking the ancient curse of the demonic dustbunnies who live under the crib.)
He didn't wake up. I assume he went under there to retrieve his pencil and then decided he was actually kinda sleepy.
I understand — I had to lie down on the stairs for a few minutes there myself until my heart started up again. I hadn't even noticed it had stopped. DEAR GOD, CHILD.
(Cat-owners. You feel me. It's like when your cat goes missing and you run around looking for him and calling for him and shaking treat containers and trying to remember when you last opened the front door oh God do you think that's possible? Do you think he got outside? And then you find him just chilling on a pile of towels on the top shelf of the linen closet, all, "What?" Yeah. Like that.)
July 07, 2014
Age three. Not exactly my jam, historically speaking. And just over a month in to Age Three, Round Three, I am hereby declaring Ike the undisputed champion of Being Three.
Everywhere, it's destruction. Innocent, well-meaning, utter destruction. An entire spice container of mustard seeds, rolling across the kitchen floor. A roll of plastic wrap, unspooled. An important piece of mail, snipped up with the safety scissors. Crayon scribbles on his bedroom door, an uncapped marker in his bed, eyeliner masterpieces on my good pillow shams.
And every time, an wide-eyed, innocent face. "What?" he asks.
In between the destruction, there are little piles of discarded clothing all around the house and a naked child streaking past. It started because I used to insist on putting his underwear on the right way, with the design on his butt, and he'd get so furious at not being about to see the Hulk or Iron Man or whatever that he'd strip as soon as I got distracted to turn it around. (Dear Toddler Underpants Makers: STOP PUTTING THE PICTURES ON THE BUTTS.) I finally gave up and let him wear his underwear backwards, but the habit stuck, I guess.
"I'm not naked," he says, right before running away. "YOU'RE NAKED."
(I'm totally not, BTW.)
And in between the destruction and the nonsensical nudity, there is no no no no no no no no no no no. Whatever it is, it is NO. It's time to go. Please put that down. Would you like a snack? The default response to any question, request or simple declarative sentence. The sky is blue. Your name is Ike.
"No!" he'll wail, frustration oozing out of every pore, "I'm NOT Ike. I'm IKE!"
("DON'T TAKE MY PICTURE.")
He asks for milk and then changes his mind and sobs for juice, then freaks out if you put the milk back in the fridge. He doesn't want a banana until someone else gets a banana. The cup is the wrong cup, oh God, it's still aways the wrong goddamn cup. He holds out his arms at the top of the stairs and begs "TAKE ME, TAKE MEEEEE" whenever my hands are full, then pouts and refuses to come down on his own. But if I try to hold his hand on the cement steps outside (steps he has tripped and fallen on more than once), he'll yank it away in annoyance.
"I do it myself!" he announces about everything that he technically can't do by himself yet. Buckling the carseat, for example, and yet when I intervene (because, you know, we are most likely in a giant hurry and late to drive somewhere whenever he decides to attempt it), I am trampling his rights and crushing his spirit.
But then, ask him to do something he's able to do independently, like put his underwear back on for God's sake we have company coming, he points his finger at me. "You do it," he says, before collapsing to the floor like a helpless lasagna noodle.
He's heavy (there's only a seven-pound difference between him and Ezra) and solid and wriggly and comes in for cuddles like a swinging bag of bricks. A well-meaning hug and kiss routinely end with a headbutt and me protectively clutching my chest. He wakes me up in the morning by forcing my eyelids open with his fingers before crawling on top of me and begging for a pillow fight.
"STOP IT!" he says a million times a day, usually after someone has done the precise form of roughhousing/tickling he was begging them for, "That's ENOUGH."
("ARE YOU STILL TAKING MY PICTURE?")
And in between the destruction and the nonsensical nudity and the NO NO NO and the contradictions and the chaos, there is calm. He curls up in my lap and snuggles and strokes my face.
"I'm the baby?" he asks, as if looking for reassurance. Being three seems kind of hard, after all.
"Yes, you're still my baby," I tell him, every time. "You'll always be my Baby Ike."
("OKAY TAKE MY PICTURE.")
July 03, 2014
I got my hair done last weekend. I'd gotten it into my head that I wanted to go back to blonde, and so I did. I don't want to talk about it.
(I don't liiiiiike iiiiiit. It's just not me anymore. I'm no more a natural blonde than I am a natural redhead — at least any shade of blonde anyone would actually want, unless you dig a blonde so ashy and washed out you look like you've gone gray. "Dishwater blonde," I believe it would be called if it came in a box. But of course it doesn't come in a box, because it's a terrible color. So I got blonde highlights over it and tried to give it a few days to grow on me and I think it looks fake and try-hard and wait, I said I don't want to talk about it.)
ANYWAY. Moving on. This is not a story about my hair, but rather a super-funny thing I saw on the way back from the salon one time. But not this past time. A time a few months ago, and I don't know why I didn't write about it when it happened. Because it definitely was the sort of story I used to race back to my computer to tell, years and years ago, back when things were wild and free and you could tell stories about impaled seagulls with no ending.
(Then again, I also probably would have written five or six obsessive entries in a row about my hair back then, instead of one paragraph and a couple Instagram photos that don't even accurately capture the new color, because I put a filter on them, because I am ridiculous and completely Miss The Point sometimes.)
So I'm driving home, I'm in the city, and there's a SUV in front of me with a mattress on the roof. An unwrapped, used mattress that is just...sitting on the roof. No ropes, no ties, no restraints of any kind.
A big queen mattress, just hangin' out on the roof of a car.
We were stopped at a red light and man, I had SO MANY QUESTIONS about that mattress, and the circumstances and thought processes that led to someone hoisting a big queen mattress on top of their SUV and then driving off.
"Whelp, I forgot to bring some string but dammit, I AM TAKING THIS MATTRESS. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is NOT going to pass me by while I run to the corner hardware store* for some rope. Someone else will take this mattress and this is my goddamn mattress. I'll just drive real slow and in a straight line and balanced-like. I'll be FINE."
*Seriously, we passed one. We passed RIGHT BY ONE.
I've done some truly bone-headed things, of course. Common sense has escaped me on multiple occasions. I've followed misguided courses of action to their logical conclusions and then been like, "Oh. Duh. Of course that was going to happen" I've written about those times, probably over-extensively.
But in that moment, contemplating that unrestrained mattress, I felt smugly superior. Probably like a lot of blog readers feel about me sometimes, because Dude, That Is A Bad Idea. What Are You Thinking, Get It Together, etc.
I changed lanes at the first opportunity, as I'd rather not have his Bad Idea come crashing through my windshield.
I'd honestly forgotten all about the mattress by the time I saw it again.
In the middle of Connecticut Avenue, sprawled across two lanes of traffic. A big queen mattress, just hangin' out on the ground.
The car had (I guess?) tried to make a left turn and the mattress went merrily sliding off the roof. The SUV was now also blocking traffic and a sheepish-looking figure was walking towards his mattress. His big queen mattress that he was (I guess?) solely responsible for getting out of the road and back onto the roof of his car.
I saw it as I was turning left off Connecticut, so I don't know what happened next, if he had super-human Hulk strength or if someone else took pity on him and pitched in. I can only assume he eventually got it off the street and home somehow, but oh God, can you imagine how filthy it was? Can you imagine crawling into bed every night on top of your very own Mattress of Humiliation? Would you tell people? Use it as a cautionary tale about inertia and momentum and the importance of owning some decent cargo straps? Blog about it? Use it on dates? Hey baby, I've got a great story about how I got this mattress.
I drove by and yeah, I laughed really, really hard.
I hope the mattress was okay, though. I kind of love that mattress.
July 01, 2014
Jason and the boys are pretty into the World Cup. I am...sometimes in the room while the games are on. I can appreciate the whole thing — especially if we're out viewing it at a family-friendly dining establishment that boasts an excellent beer selection and decent fries, so I can feel like we're all bonding while also stuffing my face for 90+ solid minutes — but my overall enthusiasm for/interest in soccer remains at this level:
But watching the games has definitely sparked the boys' (previously tepid-to-nonexistent) interest in the game, and they've been dragging the soccer goals and ball out regularly for their own World Cup tournament.
This is the World Cup, BTW:
I don't know. But it's a very big deal.
(I also like how Ezra insists on wearing a proper soccer jersey, but neither of them will listen to my suggestion that they wear proper shoes, no matter how many times the stupid Crocs go flying farther than the ball.)
The competition is fierce, yet wildly, unevenly matched.
The concept of letting your little brother score just one measly goal, come on, man, have a heart is not one that Noah is familiar with or interested in, like many big brothers.
But Ezra has definitely picked up some new techniques after watching the pros.
"HIS FOOT TOUCHED MY LEG. MY LEG IS BROKEN."
Unlike some of the World Cup refs, I did not reward his dramatics with a favorable call. So he quit.
Noah promptly took advantage of the abandoned goal.
And Ezra came back out to try again, and again, and again.
June 30, 2014
This post is sponsored by OneDay.com.
My kids’ childhoods are pretty well documented, thus far, obbbbbbviously. I’ve written about them, taken a million photos of them — practically daily, with that cavalier glee that comes with being able to fit thousands of photos on increasingly tiny sticks of memory. NEVER DELETE ANYTHING! WHO CARES! KEEP SNAPPING! Every camera I own shoots video as well, so instead of busting out the camcorder for special events, I have hundreds of tiny clips of tiny slices of their lives: somersaults on the couch, words cutely mangled by toddler tongues, someone slowly dozing off at the dinner table after a big day outside. Perfect.
And yet I’d be hard-pressed to find ANY of it, at any given time. I have both of Jason’s and my baby books stashed in the basement — if either of us want to know what our first word was or see what we looked like on our third birthdays, I could easily drag out the book and flip to the right page in a few minutes.
If my kids were to ever ask for that sort of thing, I’d be more like: Please hold. I have to think where I put that. Also maybe check Google?
It’s all crazy scattered and fragmented, across different sites and devices. There’s a lot of stuff here on the blog, but since I’ve never been really great about keeping things tagged, categorized or keyworded, tracking down specific events and milestones isn’t always that easy. I used Flickr for awhile and then stopped and then started again. I put a bunch of videos on Vimeo but might have also used YouTube once or twice. Creating their birthday montages takes at least two days of file-related preparation every year, since I consistently wait until the last minute to get all the footage off all our devices and onto my computer. There’s the messbomb of my neglected Facebook and a million Instagrams, plus God only knows all the photos on my hard drive and the hard drive I had before this one, and our home back-up server and the cloud and the list goes on and on and on.
It’s never been easier to obsessively document their lives, and it’s never been easier to be a complete half-assed mess about it.
When I was asked to write about OneDay.com — an online service that creates organized, interactive timelines/time capsules for your entire family — I was secretly kind of thinking that oh sure, that sounds great for someone just about to get married or have a baby, but man, it is too late for me. I will never find order in the digital chaos I’ve created.
Luckily, OneDay believed in me. I mean, I’m sure they don’t just give this kind of encouragement to everybody:
In about 20 minutes, I’d imported everything important from just about everywhere, and it was shockingly easy to start segmenting it up — birthdays, vacations, first days of school — assigning events to each kid, overlapping here and there. I now regularly spend a few minutes there each day, and I’ve already got Ike’s timeline almost completely up-to-date, going all the way back to my pregnancy photos.
That right there is some deeply satisfying digital decluttering. Like reorganizing your junk drawer, only without having to vacuum those weird Mystery Crumbs from the corners.
You can also create time capsules for future events, like a note or video for your kid’s high school graduation, and integrate the timelines and contributions of your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc. You know, if you want to go deeply next-level and be a total organized show-off.
(Bonus testimonial aside: While using the site, I was thunderstruck with the realization that I’d finally found the perfect destination for the massive pile of photos, clippings and other mementos of my father’s childhood and early life — a pile that’s been sitting in a box for several years now, waiting for me to organize, scan and preserve…somehow. That last bit always stymied me, because what to DO with all of it, once I’ve turned it all into bits of digital [yet deeply private and personal] ephemera? Put it on another hard drive? Back it up a million places and hope for the best? Burn it to a CD or thumb drive and then give out copies to everybody, like, here’s a bunch of files in no particular order, good luck finding that one wedding photo when they’re all named some variation of DS_SCAN000023897241.jpg and also DON’T EVER LOSE THIS OR LET THIS PARTICULAR TECHNOLOGY GO OBSOLETE? Nope, my next project will be to get everything on OneDay and then share the account with my mom and siblings, so they can add their own photos, videos and memories to the timeline, and then probably hail me as the conquering Internet hero for life.)
Check out OneDay.com and use the code Amalah to lock yourself in a free LIFETIME account (up to 25 GB). Woot!
June 27, 2014
1) Get ready to be wildly impressed, because it's been quite a week.
2) I gave my children over to the cult of Minecraft in exchange for not being bothered for the next 48 solid hours.
Noah played Minecraft for the first time at a friend's house last weekend, and went predictably nuts over it. At least, I assume that's a predictable reaction? Minecraft seems to be one of those things that every kid his age is going nuts over, and another one of those things that pushes me deeper and deeper into Uncool Mom Territory, because Noah goes on and on about it while I nod blankly and glaze over, and my brain is all I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS. DISENGAGE.
So at first I figured, okay, I'll get him the game. It is...a game, right? Like an app? I actually was not entirely sure. I really missed out on even the most basic of information about what we were talking about, and I am now officially basing my parenting/media choices on whether or not 1) other kids' parents seem cool with it, and 2) Target sells kid-sized t-shirts of it. That's the bar now: IT CANNOT BE WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE IF IT'S BEING LICENSED FOR KID-SIZED T-SHIRTS.
But then I looked it up in the app store and it was like, $6.99 and I was like, I am too damn cheap for that. I am all about the crappy free apps that then stymie my children at every turn because I've disabled in-app purchases.
Noah and Ezra were really determined, however. They spent a considerable amount of time shaking coins out of their piggy banks and between the two of them, were able to come up with $7 in quarters and dimes.
I took that $7 (I owe them a penny, I guess) and bought them Minecraft. We have barely spoken to each other since as they have been beyond singularly obsessed with it, like Noah wakes up even earlier now to play it and I have to remind him to eat meals and I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS. Something with blocks and Noah keeps accidentally setting houses on fire.
But hey, they did some math one time. Achievement unlocked. A champion is me.
3) We left the house! We left the motherflipping house! Hell yeah!
We met a friend at a splash playground.
It takes about a half hour to drive there.
Plus the time to get everyone in their suits and sunscreen.
And packing up snacks, drinks, towels and changes of clothes always seems to take longer than it should.
The kids played hard and had fun...
...for like an hour. And then they all started complaining about being hungry/tired/bored.
So we all got back in the car and went home. But hey! At least I had $7 in Minecraft money to treat myself to an overpriced Coke from the vending machines. I am truly living the dream.
4) I got a lot of work done.
No lie, I did! I landed a new long-term writing/research gig and heard back about two other jobs that look like they're close to being a done deal and also had a very productive conference call that got interrupted by a small child walking into the office to loudly announce I WENT POOP ON THE POTTY! COME WIPE MY BUTT.
Did I mention I was on speakerphone? Of course I was on speakerphone.
(Ezra and Ike are going to camp next week, oh yes yes yessssshhhmyprecious. Noah will stay home with me, surely getting hours of excellent enrichment via whatever the fuck is the point of Minecraft.)
5) Ike spent his first full week completely out of the crib.
Oh, man. I was pretending this was just a summertime sleepover treat, but it's a done deal now. No crib, no diapers, no training pants, no containment, no going back.
He and Ezra are sharing opposite ends of the bottom bunk (it's a double, so there's still room for 500 pounds of essential stuffed animal) and Noah is still on the top, and no one seems to have any enthusiasm about changing this arrangement and turning the nursery into a single Big Kid room.
It's sweet that they can fight and wale on each other all day but still want to be together and pile up like puppies at night. So three kids in one room it is, for now. Zero babies in the other.
(Really smells like feet in there, tho.)
June 24, 2014
I understand the past week or so has been a lot of extra...togetherness for us all. I understand it has been heavy on the "let's kick it around the house while Mommy works and yells a lot" and light on the "let's get the hell out of this house before we kill each other," and believe me, I'm working on it. As God is my witness, there will be camp. Just probably not for all of you, and not at the same time, and regardless, we still gotta focus on not murdering each other anyway, probably, because REASONS.
Again, I take full responsibility for my own failings here — I keep talking big talk about taking you places but then remembering that there are three of you and psyching myself out because being that outnumbered in public still scares the crap out of me — but I do think I have observed a few specific behaviors that I would like y'all to work on, both as a collective herd of wild animals and as individual special snowflakes.
1) Cups. Boys, the cup usage situation is out of control. It is B-A-N-A-N-A-S, as the kids might have said 10 years ago. You may not believe this, but cups are actually reusable. I know! Crazy. Also totally bananas. Maybe G-R-A-P-E-S or P-I-N-E-A-P-P-L-E-S, even.
But it is true. If you get yourself a drink of water, then take one swallow, the water and the cup do not immediately need to be hurled into the sink as UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN. And then a fresh cup is not required 20 minutes later for your next drink of water. Likewise, if your cup has juice in it, and you decide you would like more juice, you can simply refill the cup. The same goes for just about every liquid imaginable! And don't even get me started on the possibility of rinsing a cup out and then refilling it with a completely different beverage of your choice! IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
2) Bowls and plates and utensils. See above, more of the same. I don't even understand what you're putting in and on all these bowls and plates — you appear to mostly be eating things directly out of boxes, snack pouches and other wrappers, given the evidence strewn all over the kitchen counter — but you've GOT to stop dirtying up an entire service for 12 every single day by lunchtime. If I unload the dishwasher and there are already more dishes piled up in the sink than will fit in a single load, you are using too many damn dishes.
Yes, I could buy disposable plates and utensils, but frankly, I don't think the planet can handle that level of garbage. I mean, we've all seen Wall-E. Get it together, guys.
3) Toilet seat. Put it down. Come on. Also, AIMING. Please work on that. It's starting to get full-on public-restroom-in-the-subway up in here, and I really think we can do better. Let's at least shoot for "public restroom, but like, a nice one."
4) Toilet stuff, cont. This technically only applies to one of you, who I shall not call out by name but I think we all know who I'm talking about, but for the love of God, going to the bathroom does NOT require you to fully strip off your shoes, pants and underwear every. Single. Time. Particularly if you then require assistance to get your shoes, pants and underwear back on every. Single. Time. This Bizarro George Costanza stuff needs to stop, immediately.
5) Speaking of pants, cont. While I would very much prefer that you refrain from answering the front door without my presence and okay — it's not just a safety thing, but also we keep getting Jehovah's Witnesses and I'm tired of politely explaining that we're not interested because we're busy worshiping Xenu Satan — at the very, very least, if you DO open the front door, please make sure that you are at least wearing pants. Okay, fine. Please just have underwear on, bare minimum. See? I'm flexible.
6) Stop fighting. Stop fighting. Stop fighting.
7) No, seriously. Stop fighting.
8) Stop...I don't know. Doing whatever you're doing that's making him scream like that. Are you looking at him? Then STOP LOOKING AT HIM.
9) Seriously. I have no idea what happened or who I should punish but SOMEBODY is going to their room, okay?
10) The next person who whines about being bored and/or having nothing to do will get two (2) grade-appropriate math worksheets printed off the Internet to complete as a non-optional activity. So. You know. Maybe go play outside while I stay here, quietly morphing more and more into my own mother, because I said so, because somebody's gonna get hurt, because you were not raised in a barn, because I am not your maid, etc.
P.S. So apparently we also should have discussed why you don't spray people who are inside the house with the garden hose from outside the house. My bad. Clear oversight on my part, OBVIOUSLY. I will amend this list and get you an updated version later. Let me just rinse out my wine glass.