WHEREVER THERE’S ONE KID THERE’S ALWAYS TWO MORE

Photo by kelsey e.

I gave birth to only one son, but he has two friends who are permanent fixtures in our house, so it’s like I have three sons. One of the boys is our next-door neighbor (I’ll call him Butthead), and he seems to never want to go home. Ever. And since his mom is a bit lax in the supervision department, there are times I literally have to kick him out—like at almost ten on a school night.

Either my house has a laxative effect or this kid has a bowel problem, because he comes over directly from his house and goes into my bathroom. And stays in there for like an hour. I’m not kidding. Usually, he has a video game he’s playing at the time, but still. Since there’s ten people living in his home, a cat, a puppy, some noisy parakeets, and a parrot that curses in Spanish, my guess is he comes over to my bathroom for some peace and quiet.

My son’s other friend (I’ll call him Beavis) may have a small crush on me. He never used to talk to me; whenever I would ask him questions, he’d stare at his feet and give me one-word answers. Now he’s like Chatty Cathy having coffee with me. Sometimes Beavis comes over and hangs out with me more than my son. He’s almost twelve, so I imagine hormones are starting to kick in. I need to watch what I wear to bed now though. No more prancing around in tight tanks or flimsy tops that gap at the neckline. God knows, I have no desire to be a MILF.

These boys were in my house the entire weekend. Usually, when they spend almost 24/7 together, they start getting physical with one another, somebody gets hurt, and then they need time away. This weekend the three of them were stuck together like Velcro. They went to each other’s soccer match, they played with Legos, the Wii, and my personal favorite: pelting one another with small objects so Mom can step on them later with bare feet.

I’ve trained myself to write through all these distractions. It’s a Catch-22. If my son’s not playing with anyone, he’s in my face asking, “What can I do? I’m bored.” When he is playing with his friends, I have to force myself to work through the realistic sounds of war (Thank you “Call of Duty-Modern Warfare”) and the pet names they have for one another, like “Dick” and “Ass.”

Part of me wants them here so I know what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. The other part wants to be at Club Med. Even when I get a break I don’t get a break. My son went to sleep over Butthead’s house Saturday night, but he didn’t decide to do that until 9:30 p.m. My twenty-six-year old neighbor hits the clubs once her kids are asleep. Me? I walked the diva and went to bed.

7:30 the next morning I awoke to pounding on the door. I staggered over and open it, my eyes still half-closed. In march Butthead and son. I stumble back into bed. Seconds later, Butthead’s puppy gets plopped on my head. I kick them all out of my bedroom and try to go back to sleep. Beavis arrives, and soon they’re all yelling and carrying on like a bunch of drunken frat boys. Sleep ain’t happening, because son ends up bursting in, jumping on me, and demanding to be fed.

Of course I have to cook for all three of them; they get to my house so damn early, neither of them has eaten yet. Once they have energy they start jumping all over each other, which causes the diva to bark, which causes the parakeets to screech. Right about that time is when I banish them to the outdoors.

But kids are like ants; even when you think you’ve taken care of the problem, they find a way back into the house. Before I had kids, I used to dread Mondays. Now I welcome them with a margarita in one hand, bleach wipes in the other.

Advertisements

BEWARE OF NON-BARKING DIVAS

Chihuahua

Lola aka the Diva

I’m a cat person. I’ve had cats my entire life. I even think of myself as part feline—independent, moody, and only liking to be touched when I feel like being touched, much like a cat. Cats are low-maintenance pets, imo. You can leave a few bowls filled with food, access to water, and take off for a week without having to worry about Monsieur Chat. They’re like a great wash-and-go haircut.

I’m living proof of what happens when you don’t listen to your intuition. For a year, my son bugged me for a dog. Not just any dog—a Chihuahua. “Absolutely not!” I told him. “Chihuahuas aren’t kid dogs; they’re mean, yappy, and not even considered real dogs. A real dog is a Lab or a Collie. Chihuahuas are simply accessories for rich folks to dress up in tutus and carry under their arm like a football.”

The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua must have made an indelible impression upon him, because his stubborn mind was set on a Chihuahua. Every week we visited the animal shelter, which was filled with nothing but Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas. On the rare occasion there happened to be a Lab mix, I had the volunteers pull the poor dog out and weigh him. (My complex only allows dogs 40 lbs. and under.) “Nope, this one’s 45,” they’d say. “Sorry, he weighed in at 48.”

Then one bright, sunny day in August, my son and I went to the shelter and stepped into the section for large dogs. There in a cage, all by her lonesome was the prettiest little Chestnut-brown Chihuahua, with fur so shiny it looked like it had been polished with lemon Pledge. And she wasn’t barking. A Chihuahua that wasn’t barking? Unbelievable! While all the dogs around her were furiously barking their heads off at us, this one simply strolled over and started licking our fingers through the bars.

SOLD! I named her Lola after the song by The Kinks, because she was sexually ambiguous. Her female part looked suspiciously like a male part, and she humped the cat, so I thought they had made a mistake about her sex. I also discovered she wasn’t potty-trained. And that she didn’t particularly like children, and she really didn’t like men, and she barked. A lot. And she chased cats, and kids on bikes, and kids on skateboards. And she’d grab your bacon when you weren’t looking.  Or your sandwich. Or chicken leg. Oh, and did I mention she barks? A lot.

As soon as my son realized Lola didn’t appreciate when he tried to wrestle with her, it became his purpose in life to try and wrestle with her every chance he got. Which further served to reinforce my reasoning to only give birth to one child.

No matter how many speeches I gave my son beforehand about how the dog was to be HIS responsibility, including feeding and walking it, they got filed away in the folder entitled, “Worthless Mom speeches to wholeheartedly agree with, and then promptly forget.”

Having a dog is like having another toddler all over again. Privacy? Forget it. Remember when your kids were that age and you tried to get a minute alone in the bathroom, only to see tiny fingers creep under the door three seconds later? This dog follows me like paparazzi trying to get a picture of Suri doing normal kid things. She HAS to be in the same room as me or she’ll have an anxiety attack. If I leave for a moment to take out the trash, you’d think I’d been gone for several weeks.

It’s been three years since Lola joined our family. She sleeps with me every night, curled up by my side. I call her the Diva because she doesn’t like to go out in the rain, or when it’s too hot, or too cold. But I’ve bought her a raincoat, and a pink fuzzy sweater, and a red velour dress that she wears every Christmas. I even dress her in Halloween costumes. I love her to death, which is a good thing considering I’m probably stuck with her for the next twenty years.

For the record, I’m still a cat person.

SODAS FOR THE KIDS AND MARGARITAS FOR THE MOMS

My son turned 10 on Friday. I threw him an Angry Birds theme pool party. If I never see another one of those little fuckers again, that’d be all right with me. An angry bird, that is. The kids were fine—unruly and demanding, in that way kids can get when they’re jacked-up on lots of sugar and the pizza delivery guy arrives an hour later than he’s supposed to.

Being that I couldn’t afford to have a petting zoo at the party, and jumpers are no fun when it’s almost a hundred degrees outside (I kept envisioning a turkey roasting inside one of those cooking bags), I thought it’d be kinda fun to organize games where the kids could win prizes. I might not be crafty like Martha Stewart, but I may be able to give Julie McCoy, Cruise Director if she were on Valium, a run for her money.

Problem was, when it came time to give the winners their prizes, they’d already all been scoured over by the losers. And when it came time for the treasure hunt where each kid was supposed to have a turn, all bets were off if you couldn’t find the angry bird eraser fast enough. I cajoled, I pleaded, I threatened—

It went from:

(In my best Julie Andrews voice from The Sound of Music) “Now, now, Children, everyone must get a turn, it’s only fair. You want to be good boys and girls, don’t you?” to:

“Please, if you don’t settle down quickly, I’ll have to double my dosage of meds tonight.” And, finally:

“If you don’t knock it off, all you little demons are going to Hell!” (Imagine this being screamed using the voice of the crazy bus driver in the South Park cartoons)

It didn’t matter what I said to these kids. It was “to each his own,” “live or let die,” “the weakest will have his body eaten if we’re stranded on a deserted island for weeks after a plane crash.” A friend said to me after, “I definitely can’t see you as a school teacher responsible for 30 children,” which goes to show you how well my hunt turned out.

At the end of the day, my feet hurt, I hadn’t eaten, I was sunburned, and I didn’t even get to have a piece of cake. Two days later, I still feel like I’m hung over from the preparation, execution, and clean-up of it all. Now I know why parents spend $500 bucks to have John’s Incredible Pizza host their party.

I think the sheer joy and excitement seen in my son’s eyes was worth it, although it’s debatable. I got him everything he wanted for his birthday—a habit of mine that I seriously questioned this year. I thought about giving him one present only— a soccer ball, and a used one at that. Considered the fact that I was probably creating a spoiled, self-centered kid; that he should learn sooner rather than later what disappointment truly means, since life is full of it. But I couldn’t do it. As a mother, I’m admittedly too soft.

Before we went to sleep that night, I realized for the first time in 9 years, my son’s father didn’t call for his birthday. Didn’t send a card, or gift. I’m not sure whether or not my son noticed. If he had, he didn’t mention it. He thanked me again for throwing him his party, and for getting him the best presents ever.

“I know you worked really hard, Mom, so I’m going to give you a massage,” he told me. As he worked his little magic for 15 seconds, with his “two-finger massage” on my shoulders, I knew it wasn’t up to me to teach him what disappointment was. That honor has already been bestowed upon his father.

THINGS THAT MAKE ME GO HMMM

Budget Cuts. My son has no school for two days due to budget cuts. I’m ready to write a check to the school district just to make everything go back to normal. Finding out you’re going to have a couple of budget cut days is like finding out you have to go to traffic school—it sucks and you just want it over and done with.

Pair budget cut days with pouring rain and you get a recipe for a nervous breakdown. Don’t get me wrong. I love my son. But in small doses. A little boy goes a long way. Multiply my little boy with five other little boys, playing video games and running around my house carrying chocolate-covered granola bars in their grubby little hands, and you get a prescription for Xanax.

In order to keep what scarce sanity I have left, I had to find what little humor I could in this hellish four-day weekend. Here are some questions that amuse me and make me go Hmmm.

Why do we call it a hamburger when it’s made from beef?

How come there aren’t any B batteries?

Why do black olives come in cans and green olives come in jars?

If a word in the dictionary was misspelled, how would we know?

Why does your gynecologist leave the room when you get undressed?

Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

If you mated a bulldog and a shih tzu, would it be called a bullshiht?

Why is it called Alcoholics Anonymous when the first thing you do is stand up and say, “My name is Bob, and I’m an alcoholic”?

Can blind people see in their dreams?

Why are they called apartments when they’re all stuck together?

Why does mineral water that “has trickled through mountains for centuries” have an expiration date?

Ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride he sticks his head out the window?

Why is there ever only one shoe on the side of the road?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

 

Oh boy, I cannot wait for summer vacation.

UNTIL NEXT YEAR

Funny Merry Christmas Card Disfunctional Family Humor Greeting Nick Downes

I hope everyone’s holiday went smashingly well, and no one wound up with a DUI or an Elephant gag gift. Since I celebrated Christmas with friends, I experienced a dysfunctional-free day. Except for getting the finger from another driver, the day was completely void of animosity.

My son and I went to bed way too late the night before. I had to drink a cup of coffee at 8 p.m. to ensure I didn’t fall asleep before he did. He still believes in Santa, despite his two friends telling him Santa’s a fake.

“Do your friends receive a lot of presents for Christmas?” I asked my son. He shook his head no.

“That’s why,” I told him. “Because they don’t believe.” He accepted this explanation as gospel.

It’ll be the last year he buys into it, I’m sure. Which will work out better for me financially, since I have to buy him double the gifts. Boring gifts such as clothes = Mommy; Fun gifts such as DSI games = Santa. Santa comes off every year looking like the good guy, while Mom’s the dud.

Son popped out of bed like a piece of toast early Christmas morning. I tried to remember what it was like to be a kid, excited to open presents, but the old lady in me desperately wanted more sleep. It didn’t happen, and what followed next was like a starving pigeon feeding frenzy. All the presents were spread out like birdseed, and there was my son: the lone starving pigeon that descended on the gifts like he hadn’t eaten in a year. Torn wrapping paper (feathers) flying everywhere; screams of delight (coos) filled the air, and finally, much-needed silence (when I shooed him away to go and try out his new games).

I stared at the leftover mess (pigeon poop everywhere) and sighed. It could wait. We had places to be, and I needed to find the one sweater and pair of pants my son owned and convince him that even though Santa’s job is over for the year, he still doesn’t approve of wearing sweats and a tee on Christmas.

The three of us piled in the car – me, son, dog – and set off to the boondocks about an hour away. My friend’s husband’s family has adopted my son and I. They know we have nowhere to spend the holidays, and so they graciously open their home to us.

As soon as we arrived, the most well-mannered, mellow dog came ambling over to meet us. My friend, who is NOT a dog person, finally agreed to adopt a dog, much to her sons’ joy. After all, every boy should have a dog growing up, right? I leaned down and pet this most precious of dogs, who hadn’t yet uttered one bark and thought, THIS is the dog that should have been mine! Where was THIS dog when I went to the shelter twelve times before adopting a Chihuahua who didn’t bark once in the shelter and yet, barks ALL the time at home?

This most quintessential dog, who has forty pounds on mine went to sniff Evil Diva Chihuahua, and what did she do? Growled and snapped at him. All through dinner the uber-dog stayed on his pillow, while mine begged like some poor gypsy kid in Rome. And when the man of the house put his jacket on to go outside, Demon Chihuahua Dog started barking at him like a rabid beast. Apparently, she doesn’t like men with jackets.

For them, it’s probably similar to being friends with someone who has an unruly toddler. You like your friend; her kid, not so much, and you always breathe a sigh of relief when they’re gone.

On the way home, I went left when I should have gone right, and since it was a dark, two-lane highway, it took me forty minutes to realize we were lost.

My son started bawling. “We’re never gonna make it home! We’ll have to sleep in a ditch on the side of the road!”

“No,” I told him, “We’ll sleep in the car.”

“But what will we eat?” he cried. “I’ll be hungry by tomorrow.”

“We’ll eat the dog. She’s fat enough.”

He considered this. “How will we cook her?”

I smiled at him. “We won’t. We’ll eat her raw. Trust me, when you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat your own arm if you have to.”

“What do you think she’ll taste like?”

“Chicken. Definitely chicken,” I assured him.

He laughed, wiped at his tears, and we resumed singing Christmas carols for the extra hour it took us to drive home.