Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stellar Parenting Going on Over Here

My kids are pantless.  Well, only two of them.  But it's 25 degrees outside, and I strongly feel that they should be wearing pants.  "But mom!  We don't have any!"  Ugh.  That's right. It's time for a Stellar Parenting Post.

Technically, I'm only responsible for one of the pantless kids' pantless predicament.  Technically, Jules (who is 13 and thankfully wearing pants) is supposed to wash the clothing of Jasper (who is not wearing pants).  But Jules tends to wash clothes very rarely, a result of the fact that he changes clothes very rarely (I know - more stellar parenting on my part!) and so Jasper runs out of clothes all the time.

Officially, I am responsible for Camille's laundry.  Officially, I have not been home very much.  Officially, I have done laundry, and it has ended up in baskets, on the folding counter, in piles on beds and couches, and unfortunately, occasionally right back in the laundry after ending up on the floor from a basket, counter, bed, or couch, and then being made into a nest by the dog.  So officially, Camille might actually have clean pants.  Somewhere.

I am feeling less than stellar about this.  I am feeling less than stellar about a lot of things.  My house is a mess.  And last night, after returning home from a full day in the city that involved jazz, piano, and ballet classes for Not Me....I discovered a pile of dishes and was told, "Hey Mom.  The sink won't drain."  Again.

This is a bummer.  I've had a busy week and it is not even officially half over.  My busy week included taking my dad in for surgery, only to discover, as I waited in the crowded waiting room, that I wasn't feeling too good.  After he was in recovery, I left him in my sister's care and headed home, where I made it as far as the parking lot of a Hyatt Regency Hotel before pulling over to puke.  Since I was in my dad's car, I actually vacated the vehicle to do so - seeing as how his car, unlike my own, had never been puked in and I didn't want to be the one to christen it.  I couldn't believe it was happening to me.  Believe me, folks, it has been a very long time since I've puked in a parking lot....last time was a Stray Cats concert, if I am correct, and it was in the early '80's.  I tried to be delicate and ladylike and discreet, but all I could think of was the tourists looking out their windows and seeing my unpleasant, "Welcome to San Antonio, Folks!"   I made it almost all the way home before I realized I had my dad's stuff with me, and he was spending the night in the hospital.  I had to turn around and drive all the way back to the hospital before I could finally head home to deposit myself in my bed, at which point, the laundry had sex and multiplied by the thousands and the plumbing went on strike. 

Luckily, my 24-hour bug didn't even last the full 24 - although I did milk a couple of extra hours out of it (don't tell anybody). 

Anyway, I am feeling less than stellar about the pantless kids, because they don't have any clean pants and because, in general, they aren't getting as much attention as I feel they should.  My homeschool group that I don't really have time to participate in had a query about unit studies posted to it's discussion board.  Unit studies! I thought.  I freaking love unit studies.  Let's see....Joel did a unit study on Native Americans, Ellie did a Unit Study based on Laura Ingalls, Ellie did a Unit Study based on Harry Potter, Joel and Ellie did a Unit Study on Czech History, there was Ellie's study on Presidential Elections....there was.....ABSOLUTELY NO UNIT STUDY BUSINESS GOING ON WITH THE OTHER THREE KIDS. 

Okay, so Jules hasn't fared too terribly.  He participated in Readers Theater (I have pictures to prove it!) and he's done some....other stuff....that will come to me later....I'm sure.   But Camille and Jasper?  Not so much.  I am
a) Tired and occasionally puking
b) Busy with the original unit studies pupils, one of whom is attempting to do high school level work (real work) for the first time in his life, and the other of whom is busy getting into college (and yes! she's getting scholarships!). 

So, to recap, no clean unit studies....dirty dishes.  Is that all the stellar parenting going on?  Nope.  Not by a long shot.  It also seems that my morals are sinking.  That's right.  Totally sinking.

Last weekend we faced the Texas Arctic Blast!! (that's what the news programs call it - every single time it happens....I love it) to head to the University of North Texas for Ellie's audition to the Music School. We had only Ellie and Camille with us (Camille likes to tell people she has separation anxiety, and Camille is 9, by the way) but the boys were home with a babysitter.  Joel found this to be completely humiliating, but the last time I left them alone, he broke his brother's hand. 

Anyway, everyone kept telling us they would surely cancel the auditions due to the Texas Arctic Blast!! but they didn't, because they had over 300 kids flying in from every continent, many of whom surely found the Texas Arctic Blast!! to be monumentally unimpressive and underwhelming.  But no matter how whimpy the Texas Arctic Blast!! was compared to other parts of the nation's regular winter weather, the truth is that Texas is completely unprepared to handle such weather, and so, we tend to shut her down, folks.  Roads close, schools close, businesses close....the last thing you want is a herd-o-Texans trying to drive on icy streets....'taint a pretty sight.  But we did it, because the auditions were not cancelled. 

UNT is a 7-hour drive for us (Texas is a big place) under the best of circumstances.  It is a longer drive under worse.  But we made it there in one piece, seeing very little death and destruction along the way.  Seeing none, in fact.  Most Texans were shivering inside their homes in their shorts and flip-flops while watching the Texas Arctic Blast!! 24-hour news coverage on their televisions. 

But I was talking about slipping morals, wasn't I? I'm sure it happened somewhere about the time we quit going to church....but seriously....that is just a coincidence.  But the bottom line is, a person can only stand so many hours of Raffi or Barney in the car.  Now Ellie and Joel, Unit Study Children Extraordinaire, never heard a dang thing but Barney or Raffi in the car.  They had delicate virginal ears and I felt dedicated to protecting them.  Until I couldn't take it anymore.  And that happened around the birth of the third kid.

So off we go to UNT, braving the blast and listening to all sorts of Non-Child-Friendly music.  The Pixies, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Jane's Addiction and more....while Camille bounced her sad little head except for when she complained, "No!  Not John Frusciante!!  Please!!"  Okay, Ellie also complained, "This music is lame and OLD!!"  That's right....she's the kid who mostly listens to the music of Dead People....and I'm not talking about dead because they OD'ed on recreational drugs....I'm talking dead because nobody lives to be 300 or 400 years old kind of dead.  Sheesh - she doesn't even see the humor in it.

Where was I?  Oh yeah...., my standards dropped so low that, by the end of the trip, we were only skipping songs that had the F-Word or the M-F-Word.  And occasionally, we wouldn't skip soon enough, and Ellie would say, "Stellar Parenting...."  And then there is what is now known as the Famous Nimrod's Son line (the Pixies) although technically, that one happened a couple of years ago....

Me:  Jeff, is the next song okay?  Any profanity?

Jeff:  Nah, it's okay.

Me:  You're not really a lyric guy, you sure?

Jeff:  Yeah...

The Pixies: He is the son of a mother-(fill in the blank)

Jeff:  Oops.

Me:  That's a profound statement when you think about it....

Ellie:  Stellar Parenting

Little People:  Can we stop for candy?

Parents:  Sure!! You can have anything you want! Just name it! (because maybe that would help???)

Ahhh...the memories....Ellie pleasantly recalled how she and Joel were so protected but that by the time Jules came along, his favorite toddler song had the lines, "Skeeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash, up all night selling cocaine and hash...."  God he loved that song.  And here we had little Camille in the backseat on the way to UNT dodging F-bombs for 7 hours. We really shouldn't reproduce anymore.


We can only assume, that if the current trajectory holds up, Jasper will be sitting in front of the television in a couple of years, consuming a six-pack while a cigarette smolders in the ashtray and Cheaters plays on TV. 

Okay, I'm off to search for pants.  Because really, it's the least I can do.
Sardine Mama (aka Mother of the Year)


  1. I am reading this sitting at The Foundry. I laughed out loud complete with a snort. People turned to look. Too bad. This is some funny stuff! The Jasper visual is killing me! Glad you are feeling better. :)

  2. You make me feel better about myself.

  3. Jules favorite song as a toddler cracked me up. And I enjoyed the TEXAS ARTIC BLAST!! font technique you have going on there that I cannot duplicate, sadly, in the comments.

  4. You poor, cold Texans and your "Arctic" Blast. That really was just South Dakota farting in your general direction.

  5. Loved the post. We were also highly entertained by the Texas Arctic Blast, you know, being from PA and all. So we watched the 24 hour coverage while laughing . . . before we watched Cheaters.

    @ Kari, we almost saw you, again, at the Foundry, (wanted to do a little homeschooling between coffee and hot chocolate) but headed to Central Library instead because the parking lot was VERY full, as well as street parking.

  6. I hear that women puke a lot when they're pregnant. Am I right? Huh?
    You know what? I think that you need yourself a Sister-Wife. Aren't you in that crazy state that does that sort of thing? If not, you seem to live so far away from anything that no one would even notice. I would suggest one from Vietnam but once they become Americanized, they get all upity. You don't want that! So just go pick up a young one that has been locked down her entire life inside a house cleaning clothes and doing the dishes. She'll never leave you. Plus, Jeff will stop making advances on you and you can get some stuff down around there. See! It's perfect! Now I'm thinking that I should get one. Fred would never touch her either.
    Congrats on your Mother of the Year Award! I didn't see that one coming...
    Love ya!
    Your Friend, m.

  7. Mark - a sista wife wouldn't work. I don't care who she was or where she was from, Asian, Asian the end of a week she'd be glued to the X-Box wearing a Slash t-shirt while surrounded by a fog of dirty dishes and socks. It's why we've never taken in a foreign exchange student..I mean...what could I possibly say to his parents country of origin upon his (or her) return? Oops? Also - I'm totally not pregnant. Jules is also now throwing up. I fully expect Jasper to begin throwing up (he's in my bed) any minute now.

  8. Sorry to hear that there is no little Sardine coming along to replace Ellie.
    Okay, so no SisterWife, huh? Well, I'm sure if you ask the kids, nicely, to help around the house, they would just love it! You can make it into a fun game!
    I'm sorry, I have to stop there because I'm laughing too hard thinking about the kids actually happy that you would ask them such a thing.
    Your Friend, m.

  9. It's the 3rd child syndrome. Really after 2 kids, it's all just down hill. :-D

    My first child knew all the songs on the Wee-Sing tapes. The oldest is now old enough to want to pick the driving music. He says "Oingo Boingo!" and the 3rd child says "No One Lives Forever!"

  10. As long as it's true confessions time for Stellar Parenting award-winners ... my two teenage boys just watched "The Shining" with us, their parents. I must have forgotten about that lovely nude lady, who was on scene (full frontal) for what seemed like forever kissing Jack Nicholson's character, until she turned into a dead hag with mold all over her body. Hey, at least there was Parental Supervision, though maybe Dwaine was snoring by then.

    Carol, I wish you didn't have to have so many misfortunes (your dad's surgery etc. etc.), but the way you describe them makes your blog priceless.