Sometimes A Little Gas Is A Good Thing

Yep. That’s a nitrous perma-grin all right.

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. I went to the dentist with my boys, and I didn’t leave the office crying, yelling, or crusted in vomit. This is a miraculous first. When my boys were very young, I feared they might have difficulty at the dentist, Joe because of his heightened level of fears and Luke because of his obnoxiously enhanced gag reflex. So, they had their first dental visits when they were 2 1/2. I figured better to start them young with innocent visits to prepare them for teeth cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and extractions later in their youth.

It turns out that my best intentions were for naught. Oh. It was all fine and cute when all they were doing in the office was getting their teeth “counted”. But, once the real cleanings and flossings began, the deepest chasm of hell opened. Joe, with his then undiagnosed ADHD, could not sit still. He would flip around in the chair, pull his legs into his chest, and knock the tools out of the hygienist’s hands. Luke could sit still, but when the implements came out he would gag before they even touched his mouth. On more than one occasion, he threw up on the hygienist and me. They even assigned him a specific hygienist, presumably the one with the greatest patience and tolerance for vomit but probably the one who drew the shortest straw. Luke has seen Kristy for every single visit since he was 4. I probably should add her to our Christmas card list and make sure I include a spa gift card.

So, what made yesterday’s visit different? For starters, Joe has a much better handle on his ADHD and after having suffered through three extractions and a year and a half of braces already he’s become a much improved dental patient. And, Luke? Well….they finally had exhausted all their other options with him, so they decided to bring out the big guns. They asked me if it was okay to try him on nitrous oxide for his appointment. Considering that I had researched acupuncture and therapy (for him and possibly for me, as well) to help with these appointments, I was ready to try anything. Desperate, I acquiesced. Just thirty seconds into a little breathing of a bubble-gum scented gas, Luke was visibly relaxed. In fact, he was so relaxed I was wondering if he had fallen asleep. His usual nervous twitching was gone.

“Luke…are you all right?” I asked.

“Uh huh,” he responded after a little pause.

“Do you feel relaxed?”

“Uh huh,” he responded again with his lips in a permanent grin. Then, he hit me with this. “Mom, can we get one of these machines at home?”

Wow. Okay. So I guess we now know what kind of an addictive personality Luke has. Between his competitive nature and his apparent fondness for substance-induced altered states of consciousness, I was afforded a momentary glimpse into what college might be like for him. Beer Pong Championship here we come.

“Luke…if these machines were commercially available, we would already own one and I’d be hooked up every single afternoon,” I replied.

He didn’t respond. He just continued to grin.

Is it right to drug my child at the dentist? I’m positive there are those who would emphatically tell me no. Then, I would tell them to take a flying leap because until you’ve parented a kid like my Luke, you have no clue. Yesterday, on his fourteenth dental visit, Luke finally had his first real cleaning, flossing, and fluoride treatment. Kristy was also able to use the ultrasonic tartar cleaning tool on him simply by telling him that some squeaky little mice were going to clean his teeth. Seriously? Then, the most amazing thing happened. The orthodontist was able to take photos of his teeth, inserting a huge metal spatula in his mouth to capture both the front and the back of his teeth simultaneously on film. I almost fell over. I don’t care what anyone says. That nitrous oxide yesterday was worth the $40 out-of-pocket expense, and I most definitely would drug my kid for a dental appointment again. Sometimes a little gas can be a good thing.

 

 

Our Kids Are Just Kids

My boys decked out for battle this morning

Yesterday was our sons’ annual well check at the pediatrician’s office. I never know exactly what to expect at these check ups because my kids are loose canons. When the doctor asks them questions, I’m never sure how they’ll respond. When Joe was five, he told the doctor that I fed him only bread and water and that he had no bed time. While the no bed time comment was true because he would never follow an actual schedule, I was in fact feeding him decent foods on a regular basis. Luckily for me, pediatricians are used to all sorts of weird answers from children, so the doctor lets my boys’ weirdness slide. I’m sure he goes home at the end of our visit, however, and tells his wife the crazy things I say immediately after my children make some random declaration of child abuse: “I do feed him. I swear I do. Bread and water are his favorite foods.”

Now that the boys are school age, the questions are a bit different. The doctor yesterday asked them what grades they were going into, what school they attended, and how they were doing in their studies. He then asked them the question I dread the most.

“So, what sports do you guys do?”

“Ummm…we don’t do any sports,” Joe replied.

“I don’t like sports,” was Luke’s immediate response.

“Well, what do you do when you’re outside then?” the doctor tried again.

“Nothing,” Joe said.

“Play with friends,” Luke said.

“I think he means what kind of exercise do you do,” I prompted.

“We don’t like exercise,” Joe replied.

“But, they do get exercise,” I back pedaled. “They hike, ride bikes, and swim in the summer. We snowshoe and hike in the winter.”

“What do you boys want to be when you grow up?” he tried again.

“I’m not telling you,” said Luke, too embarrassed to reveal that his dream is to be an Ironman-like superhero who designs sets for the Lego company.

“I don’t know,” Joe answered honestly.

“That’s okay,” the doctor told him. “Lots of grown ups don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.”

True enough. The doctor breezed through the rest of the well check, clearly unconcerned about Luke’s refusal to eat vegetables (“He’s gaining weight and his blood tests look good”) and Joe’s split lip (“Throw some Aquaphor on there and give it time”).

While we were on our trip, many of the kids the boys played with asked them about sports. Most of our friends’ sons participate in multiple sports and play in all kinds of leagues. We know soccer players, baseball players, football players, hockey players, and lacrosse players. They have friends who do tae kwon do, swim team, and triathlons. They regularly watch sports on television and have favorite teams. Our boys, on a good day, can maybe tell you the names of the four pro sports teams in Denver. Maybe.

Steve and I were discussing the other day the fact that our kids have shown no interest in activities and sports. We’ve registered them for soccer, baseball, swimming, and sports camps and they’ve whined about having to go. They just can’t bring themselves to care. Honestly, I’m relieved they don’t. Our nights are not hurried to get to and through practices and my weekends aren’t spent sitting on a wet, grassy sideline as it snows on my sons’ games. I don’t miss it.

Prompted by the comments of friends, though, about how our boys need activities to get into college and how by the time they decide they’re interested in sports the other kids will be far better than they are and they will not make the team, I have wondered if we’re doing our sons a great disservice by letting them skip out on sports when they’re young. Then, the other day, hubby said something that made me feel much better about it all.

“You know, they may not be great at sports. But, you know what they are great at? Being kids.”

He’s right. They’re 9 and 11. They have their whole lives to decide what their interests are and what they enjoy. For now, it’s good enough that they like to dress up in crazy costumes and run around carrying plungers and being superheroes. Our boys might be short on discipline, but they’re long on imagination. And, that may serve them just as well if not better in the long run.

I Can Handle Anything Except Blood…And Aliens…And Spiders

Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

My boys returned from the Galapagos not just with wonderful memories of a relatively unspoiled corner of earth where sea lions and birds have no fear of humans, not just with cool souvenirs like stuffed blue footed boobies, but also with wretched colds. This is what happens when you’re stuck in close proximity to other germy, nose-picking children on a ship for seven days. No amount of antibacterial gel or housecleaning can ameliorate that situation. C’est la vie. (By the way, this is why I will never take a Disney Cruise. How is it vacation when there are at least a thousand sniffling children belonging to other people there? No. Thank. You.)

In addition to his sore throat, raspy voice, and stuffy nose, today Luke made some new discoveries about what can happen when you’re sick. He got his second nose bleed in two days.

“Mom…my nose is bleeding again,” he called down.

“Okay, Luke. I’ll be up in a second.”

“It’s not stopping,” he whined.

Too much information for me, but I headed upstairs anyway. There he was in their bathroom, blood smeared along his cheek where he had first wiped his nose with the back of his hand before discovering it was blood and not snot. There was blood actively dripping out of his nose and a clot hung there like a dangling, goopy stalactite. He had managed to use several tissues to sop up the dripping blood. Those, of course, were resting on the counter. I’m not great about blood or most other bodily excretions. There’s a reason I didn’t go into nursing. When one of our kids has the stomach flu, I abstain from clean up duty…unless hubby wants to be cleaning up two messes. So, I checked on Luke briefly and then quickly headed back downstairs once I was satisfied that he was not going to bleed to death…at least not at that exact moment. A few minutes later he called down to me again.

“Mom?”

“Yes, Luke?”

“My nose is STILL bleeding,” he informed me.

“It will stop, honey. Just hang in there,” came my from-a-safe-distance reply.

“I learned something about bloody noses too,” he said.

“Yeah, sweetie? What’s that?” I stupidly inquired.

“It’s not a good idea to sneeze when you have one. The blood goes EVERYWHERE!”

Oh holy hell. For a split second it occurred to me that I should head back upstairs for damage control. Then I returned to my senses. I sent Joe in my stead and coached him from my downstairs perch about how best to mitigate the bloody mess in their bathroom. It was kind of like being the 911 operator who guides a soon-to-be-father as to how to deliver his own child in the backseat of the family sedan. Every once in a while, Luke would interject comments such as “This is very unpleasant” and “Our white sink looks pink now.” And, that was how I knew I had made the right decision in staying downstairs. After all, if I had gone up there I might have passed out. You know…the strong know how to handle a tough situation. The smart, however, know to avoid one in the first place.

 

What Not To Do At Customs

Today is our seventeenth wedding anniversary. We woke up at 3 a.m. to fly out of Ecuador. Arrived in Miami for a five hour layover. Had lunch with our boys at TGI Fridays in the airport. Will soon leave for a 4.5 hour flight back to Denver. Then, with any luck, we will arrive home around 10 p.m. and collapse. Yep. We still know how to keep the romance alive.

The best part of being married for so long is knowing the other person so well. As we were getting ready to land, Steve told me he would fill out our Customs form. Now, I know my husband well enough to know this was a bad idea, but I let him do it anyway. I don’t know why. You see, three years ago we were returning from Norway and Steve, honest and literal guy that he is, told the Customs official we’d been in contact with livestock while abroad. Why? Because we petted two sheep on the head for less than a minute. Try explaining that weirdness to a guy who just needed to make sure we weren’t bringing Mad Cow disease into the U.S. Today, Steve decided to give me a repeat of that insanity for our anniversary.

“I marked on the form that we were on a farm,” he informed me as we approached the immigration desk.

“What? Why would you do that?” I whined.

“Well, we visited that sugar cane place,” came his reply.

“That was NOT a farm.”

“Yes it was. They were growing sugar cane.”

“Farm implies livestock. There was no livestock,” I answered.

“There were chickens,” he said.

“Those were wild chickens,” I replied.

When we handed our form to the Customs official, the poor man looked annoyed. It was obvious he was already sizing Steve up to be the paperwork nightmare he is.

“You were on a farm?” he asked with great disgust.

“Well, it was sort of a farm. They were raising sugar cane,” Steve answered.

I rolled my eyes. The agent rolled his eyes too.

He could see the paperwork mounting because of this dope who was being absurdly candid about his vacation. He decided to cut to the quick.

“Did you STEP in anything?” he inquired.

At this point, I began praying Steve would not ask what kind of thing was he referring to. I stared at him, sending him telepathic “shut the hell up” messages.

“No. I don’t think so,” he wisely answered.

“You’re cleared,” he said, dying to get rid of us.

I got about five feet past the customs guy and busted up laughing. Seventeen years ago I married the guy who made me laugh the most. We’re still laughing.

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Why You Don’t Mess With English Majors

About to board for our Norway trip.

So, we’re leaving on this big expedition to the Galapagos tomorrow, right? I’ve spent my day packing and cleaning and writing out luggage tags and running errands. I have to get up at 4 a.m. to start this journey, but I have so much to do to finish getting ready that I am already acknowledging that tomorrow is going to be a triple shot latte followed by two Cokes kind of day. Still, I am excited. I love travel. Love it. Once we get to the airport, I will be in my happy place.

Anyway, yesterday I was at a party for a friend and someone asked me if I was excited about our upcoming vacation. Clearly this particular friend hasn’t known me for very long.

“It’s a trip,” I corrected him.

He stared at me blankly.

“Oh. Steve said you guys were going on a family vacation,” he said, puzzled by my distinction.

“Oh. It’s a family vacation for Steve. For me, it’s a family trip.”

He furrowed his eyebrows.

“You see, my kids are coming with me. Since my career is as a full-time, stay-at-home parent, any traveling I do with my children is not technically a vacation for me. According to the dictionary definition, a vacation is a freedom or release from work. If my work is there, it’s a trip. You know, just like if you traveled for your job it would be a trip and not a vacation,” I explained.

“But, you’re going to the Galapagos Islands,” he said. “I think most people would call that a vacation.”

“I’m sure most people would. I would not. If you went to London for work, would you call it a vacation?” I asked.

“No.”

“If you went to London to see the Olympics, would you have to file for vacation time from work?”

“Of course,” he replied.

“See….that’s just it. I don’t file for vacation time because it’s not a vacation,” I continued. “It’s a trip. I’m bringing my work along.”

“But it’s the same thing,” he said.

“It’s not the same thing. For me, a vacation is when I’m away from my children. For you, a vacation is when you’re away from work,” I tried again.

“But, when you’re away from home doesn’t it feel like vacation?” he pressed.

“Not really because it’s actually easier to parent my kids at home than it is when we travel. When we travel there are all sorts of distractions and new issues. There’s no routine. Things are more chaotic, which sometimes makes work more difficult.”

At this point, I sensed his eyes starting to roll to the back of his head, so I dropped the subject and moved on. Clearly, he was not going to understand where I was coming from. I’m not entirely sure, in fact, that anyone but a fellow stay-at-home parent could understand my distinction between the two words at this point in my life. It’s an issue of semantics. I get that. Someday, when my boys are grown and I am without them more than with them, I’m sure my terminology will go back to the more standard and readily acceptable. Someday, when I vacation with my sons (and maybe even their families), the journeys will truly be vacations because I will have more freedom to enjoy myself and fewer responsibilities. For now, though, I’m sticking with calling this a “trip.” Don’t misunderstand me. It’s going to be an amazing, incredible, once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it’s still a trip…even if my work doesn’t fit into my laptop case.

 

Toy Guns Don’t Kill People, Crazy People Do

This morning I got a comment on one of my blog posts that made me shake my head. Tricia, a young mom from Western Australia, told me that she had gotten an angry email from another woman when she wrote a blog suggesting that toy guns are a part of growing up. The woman who emailed told Tricia she was encouraging people to raise murderers. I immediately thought Tricia should have told the woman to go sell crazy somewhere else. What the holy hell is wrong with people?

Now, I’m no child development expert, but I did look around a bit today for information on the subject of children and imaginary violent play. There are no studies that link pretend gun fights to an increased likelihood of adult violence. There was one study that actually suggested that boys perform better in school when they’re allowed to engage in this type of imaginary play. Honestly, if every boy I knew as a child became a murderer because he played with toy weaponry, I’m not entirely sure there would be a living soul in the western United States.

I understand our natural tendency to want to curb violent play in our children. As a new mother of two boys, I decided I would not purchase toy guns for our sons to play with. Round about the time they were 5 and 3, though, they started using their fingers to pretend to shoot each other. Apparently, keeping the guns out of their hands was not going to hinder their notion of gun play. While my sons do not own guns that shoot anything other than Nerf bullets, they do enjoy shooting at each other. We’ve never been parents who wrestle with our boys and our boys do not wrestle with each other, so perhaps this “shooting” helps them act out their natural aggression in a harmless way? I’m not sure. All I do know is that whether or not I had wanted them to talk about gun ships, war, and killing, it seeped its way into their lives. They seem no worse for the wear because of it. They are not violent boys. Joe will cry when the neighbor boys steps on ants in our driveway. (For the record, I don’t think that crying makes him a sissy, either.)

I do understand that we are hypersensitive to guns after the recent killings at the movie theater in Aurora, and I am not entirely comfortable with actual guns myself. But, toy guns are not real guns, and I am clever enough to understand there’s a difference. I’m not handing my boys semi-automatic assault weapons loaded with live ammunition to play with. I’m simply allowing them an outlet that encourages their style of creative, imaginary play. As long as boys have been boys, there has been cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians. It seems to be a rite of passage. Why get worked up over it? I’m not sure purchasing Nerf guns for my sons turns them into murderers any more than handing a young girl an Easy Bake Oven will turn her into the Julia Child. Heck. I played Charlie’s Angels with my sisters when I was growing up. My gun fingers neither turned me into a murderer or Farrah Fawcett.

To the woman who found it necessary to berate my fellow blogger, Tricia, I would simply suggest this: find something else to worry about. Perhaps a new hobby would help relax you? I’d suggest knitting, but that involves needles and I wouldn’t want to turn you into a heroin addict. If the new hobby doesn’t work, then Xanax might. I have no personal knowledge about Xanax, but I’ve heard it works wonders when you’re a bit overwrought. We all need to relax a bit and not become too worked up over things that have no root in day-to-day reality. We do the best we can with our boys. Sometimes their incessant chatter about bullets and battles makes me uncomfortable, but that’s my problem not theirs. I don’t believe that their toy guns will lead them to violence in adulthood. After all, toy guns don’t kill people, crazy people do.

The Most Patient People Are The Ones With Lots Of Practice

Barely hanging in there

I’m on the light rail train waiting for the doors to close so we can travel back to the Mineral Station where we parked before heading downtown to the Rockies baseball game. As I sit here, my ears are being assaulted by the whines and whimpers of two obnoxious kids who apparently don’t understand what it means to wait. They can’t sit still. They keep pestering their parents with inane questions about when the train will leave and how long it will be until they get home. They’re driving me crazy. I’m thinking about going over and asking their parents to quiet them down. I should totally do that. But, wait. I can’t. They’re mine. Dammit. I hate it when that happens.

Patience has never been my strong suit. My mother berated me repeatedly for my inability to wait for something. I remember once I was so annoyed with her for hounding me about my lack of patience that I told her I was going to pray for it. I thought that would placate her and keep her from bothering me about it for a bit. Instead, she told me that when you pray for patience God merely gives you more opportunity to practice it. That’s right about the time I became much more selective with my prayer requests.

But, my mom was right. The only way to learn patience is to practice it. So, as much as the boys are driving me crazy with their antics and questions, this situation is exactly what they need. And, in putting up with their impatience, I am given the opportunity to practice my own. For every minute I go without smacking them, I am becoming a better, more peaceful person. At least, that is what I am telling myself. I 100% believe that I ended up with these two impatient little monkeys because I once was silly enough to pray for patience. Remember, sometimes when God wants to punish you he answers your prayers. The plus side is that at this current rate of practice, I might end up somewhere on the zen scale between Yoda and Gandhi. That would almost make moments like this one worthwhile.

The Great Weenie War

Luke often sleep like this…just like Al Bundy.

I grew up in a house filled with girls. With me, my two sisters, and my mother to contend with, my father had no chance. He was perpetually surrounded by hair products, dolls, and florals. Oh…he tried to change things up. He bought us softball gloves and played catch with us. We were ordered to “go long” so we could catch “the bomb,” as he launched Denver-Bronco-colored orange and blue Nerf footballs at us. We never really had much interest in sports, but played along because we knew a good spiral-throwing arm might come in handy someday to impress a boy. My dad was the odd man out. His only consolation (if you could call it that) was a brown miniature poodle, which we girls had given the masculine moniker “Coco.” At least with the dog there was another male around, albeit a neutered one.

Now that I am married and the mother of two sons, I am the odd one out. In my house, I am constantly competing against testosterone and penises. This afternoon, my sons were chasing each other around the house with wooden, western-style toy rifles, shooting at each other.

“I just shot Joe’s nose off!” Luke exclaimed from his position against the wall downstairs.

“I can’t believe he got me! I had the higher ground,” Joe complained.

Hubby suggested we get more bullets for their Nerf guns so they could shoot each other “for real.” Eeesh. I was headed to Target anyway, so I picked some up for them. The minute I got home, the guns were loaded up and the battle began. As I walked around putting laundry away, I had to dodge boys and foam bullets. Luckily, I’m fairly stealthy and avoided being caught in the crossfire. Life in this house can be dangerous.

I tried to capture a photo of the boys during their battle so I could share it with a blog I was tentatively entitling Nerf Wars, but in every single shot I took one of the boys had one hand on his gun and the other hand on his penis. Are you kidding me? I had to delete every photo I took. I was trying to get a shot of the actual gunfight. Instead, my iPhone only held shots of hands on crotches. A man’s fixation with his penis starts at birth and never abates.

“What is this? The Great Weenie War?” I yelled over their sound effects.

They stopped and looked at me. Then they both cracked up. I had inadvertently coined the newest, most fun phrase in our house. For the next half hour, they ran around shooting at each other while yelling “Weenie War!” I just rolled my eyes, went to my bedroom for solace, and quietly closed the door. What else could I do? If this house is under siege during the Great Weenie War, I’m clearly outgunned. I looked at the only other female in this house, our border collie Ruby, hunkered down on her dog bed trying to ignore the fighting. For the first time, I truly understood how my father felt while I was growing up and I appreciated his bond with our male family pet. Ruby and I sat there staring at each other as the sounds of imaginary gunfire erupted again in the hallway. I swear she rolled her eyes too. When you’re outnumbered in battle, all you can do is take cover and hope you don’t have to hoist the white flag.

Someday the hormone balance in our home will return. The boys will leave home (hopefully to go to college) and things will level out again. Honestly, though, I don’t mind being being the only female in this house. Sure, I have to put up with farting contests and super heroes and a constant barrage of imaginary gunfire. But, when it’s all said and done, every penis-packing person here knows I carry the biggest gun. And, that’s all that matters.

Don’t Give Me Your Bull Or You’ll See My Horns

Check out the look on his face. Priceless.

Sometimes I think my children don’t know me at all. You would think, given the extraordinary amount of time we spend together, that they would know me quite well. Apparently not. This morning, we were getting ready to leave our mountain house. Because it is literally our home-away-from-home, when we leave it, we need to clean it first. We don’t have a cleaning service because we are the cleaning service. So, as hubby and I were working on getting the place cleaned up, I asked my oldest son if he would kindly take the recycling out to the bin. He looked at me with attitude.

“What are you going to do?” was what he asked with an unbridled audacity I have not yet seen in his young (and now potentially short) life.

“Excuse me?” I replied with a glare.

“I just mean while I’m doing this what are you going to be doing?” he stupidly repeated.

“Well…I was going downstairs to clean. But now, you will be cleaning while I watch.”

He stared at me with all the pre-teen annoyance he could muster. Unabated, I dragged his sorry butt down the stairs and proceeded to direct him while he cleaned our bathroom, dusted our rooms, and vacuumed our floors. All the while, I just kept muttering quietly to myself in utter incredulity. Had this stupid child actually implied that he works harder than I do? Had he lost his frigging mind? I suppose I just sit around while he slaves the day away. I wanted to smack him. Instead, I pointed out helpful things so he could do the job more effectively.

“When you dust you need to clear off the surface first. Then you wipe the entire surface and replace the items.”

He rolled his eyes. I ignored. He whined. I pointed out his next task. Eventually the house was clean, although not as quickly as it would have been if I had done it without my little helper. I think Joe might have figured out that when I ask him to do something his best course of action is simply to do it without lip. I learned something today too. My kids do not do nearly enough housecleaning.

My Three Sons

My sopping wet middle child

After dinner at our favorite local spot in Steamboat, we decided to take a walk down by the Yampa River with our friends. The river is lower than usual this year due to a milder than usual winter, so when the boys decided they wanted to walk down to the bank and inspect it more closely we thought that would be fine. There wouldn’t be any kayakers or rafters going through. They ran around, threw a few rocks in, and then headed across the bridge to view the natural springs on the other side. When we came back to the river, Jessie and I told the boys to stay dry. Wading in a bit was fine but if we wanted to hit Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory on the way home they would need to be dry. With that warning out of the way, Jessie and I decided to run into the library for a couple minutes.

While in the library, we were discussing how the husbands had given us a hard time for suggesting that the boys stay dry. No matter what the situation, we always ended up being the bad guys.

“It’s summer vacation. It won’t hurt if they get wet,” Jeff said.

“I’m fine with them getting a bit wet,” Jessie replied. “I just don’t want them falling in and floating down river.”

“It’s cold,” I said, getting Jessie’s back. “And it’s a long walk back to the car in soaking wet clothes.”

“They’d be fine,” Steve said.

Men. They never think of the little details that go along with the big ones. Yes. The boys would have fun in the river splashing around. No. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if they fell in. We understood that. But, if they got soaked in the river, we would have cold, wet children. The sun was hidden behind rain clouds and the wind was picking up. We had at least a half mile walk back to where we parked the cars before dinner. And then, once we got there, we’d have wet boys, no towels, and therefore wet leather seats. It just wouldn’t be an optimal situation and, as moms, we’ve had our fair share of unpleasant situations so we work to avoid them where possible. Dads? Well, dads usually don’t think that way.

We were in the library for all of maybe 4 minutes total and as we walked back to the banks of the river, I could see Joe full on in the water. I’m not talking standing up and wet to his shins in the water. He was actually under the water up to his neck. The husbands were standing approximately four feet from the river, chatting it up like a couple old ladies. Were they kidding me? Jeff and Jessie’s boys were every bit as wet as Joe. Luke was the only one who had managed to stay dry.

“What happened here?” I asked.

Joe yelled up from the river. “Mom…we decided to get in.”

“So I see,” I replied. I tossed a sideways glare at hubby.

“Seriously? We were in there for less than five minutes. All we asked was that they stay mostly dry.”

“They’re fine,” he said.

“They’re going to get cold,” I said.

“It’s not a big deal,” he replied.

I rolled my eyes.

Now, to keep consistent with what I had said, I had to tell the boys we would not be going to the candy store. Luke was heartbroken because he had actually chosen to listen to us. (Have I mentioned that Luke is my favorite?) We dragged them out of the water and started walking back to the car. The boys tried to persuade us that they were dry enough to go into the candy store, but Jessie and I stayed resolute. Our husbands tried to convince us that since the boys were no longer dripping that it would be fine. It would have been fine, but that was not the point. We did not go into Fuzziwig’s. We walked back to our car and drove home and the boys got no dessert.

Sometimes I swear I don’t have two kids. I have three kids. The oldest one is the hardest to manage. He doesn’t listen. Ever.