Just The Notes

Parenting Notes #300 – 310

parenting tip #308

There’s a not-so-silent war going on in my house these days and it involves the position of the toilet seat.

She wants it down at all times.

My 6-year-old is incredibly adept at remembering this simple request.

My daughter still “makes” in a bucket next to the sink. One day we’ll break down and actually buy her a training potty.

I can’t remember to put the seat down.

Occasionally I’ll remember. I’ll always think about it while peeing but can’t hold that thought in my head for as long as it takes to finish my business.

You could say I just piss the thought away. You could also say I write for a CBS sitcom with that joke.

Parenting Tip #300 – Flushing Your Life Down The Toilet

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I'm thinking about just removing all the toilets #kids

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In an effort to remember to put the seat down when I’m done I’m going to attempt the following and see which works out best:

…pee with the seat down but cover-up

…pee with the cover down, through the opening between the bowl and the seat. If you think that’s impossible you’re not a guy. Ask any guy if they’ve ever golden showered their own underwear while sitting on the throne. If he says “no”, he’s a liar.

…pee in the backyard

…pee in the neighbor’s yard (if you happen to be my neighbor, I mean THE OTHER neighbor)

…use my daughter’s bucket

…use the litter box

…get my own litter box after the cat attacks in the middle of a midnight visit

..never pee in my house again and use the gas station down the street

So far, only the last bullet point has been successful. I’ve been holding in the urine for the entire job interview at the gas station. I figured I’m here so much…

Parenting Note #301

 

The kid and I are counting down to the end of the school year for very different reasons.

Parents will understand both sides.

Now it’s time to figure out how to pass the hours until September.

Parenting Note #302

parenting note #302

I’ve been cooking more recently. I’m more than competent in the kitchen.

I’ve learned that cooking is just following directions.

If you can read, you can cook.

If you can’t read, order takeout.

I’m getting better in the kitchen.

Parenting Note #303

parenting note #303

“Where’s your jacket?” my father would ask constantly. It was his favorite question. He never asked about school, girls or why my eyes were always bloodshot (its a condition) just the geographic location of my coat.

In my bag.
I left it in my locker.
Ummm, I think it’s in my closet because I forgot it.

Most of my friends experimented with drugs around seventh grade. Experimenting on each other sexually around the same time, maybe sooner. I was accessory to more than a few stolen packs of cigarettes, cigars or bottle of booze lifted from unlocked liquor cabinets.

  • I didn’t smoke anything until my sophomore year.
  • Liquor didn’t touch my lips until junior year.
  • I didn’t touch a female until last Monday.

Going without a jacket was my only real show of rebellion. It felt like the most mother-fucking badass act of revolution in a house where I was honestly scared shitless of my mom. Dad, not so much, laid back guy but my mom could rage. I’d bear arms with bare arms no matter the temp or wind chill. Take your drugs, smoke your weed, touch your vaginas but this kid isn’t wearing fleece on a winter’s morn.

Every morning now involves a war of attrition. Maybe its a war of exhaustion. Who’ll get tired of fighting first?

I’m a parent. I’m in a constant state of tiredness.

Its an argument over a fucking jacket. A jacket, a sweatshirt, any outer layer to provide warmth.

First, its a battle to get a jacket then which jacket then whys a certain jacket in the wash or gone or in a pile of toys.

Then in the afternoon, it’s “where is your jacket? why aren’t you wearing it? Where did you leave it? Why is that other kid wearing it?”

He’s fast but I’m faster. His pumping arms make it impossible to slip on the sweatshirt that looks like the monster from Where The Wild Things Are while both in mid-sprint. Eventually, I win, because I’m the parent. Eventually, I’ll lose, because I’m the parent.

If going coatless is his lone rebellion Ill accept defeat with every battle. Just so long as he stays away from the things that will cause a war. Or worse.

Parenting Note #304

I told him there are absolutely no monsters under his bed. It’s too obvious of a hiding spot.

We both checked. Nothing but dust and toys.

Honestly, the noise was me jumping for joy because it was bedtime.

The things that go bump in the night are the sounds of parents finishing all the things they couldn’t during the day.

Parenting Note #305

parenting note #305

I snapped the photo above of the lost stuffed toy during a morning run. I thought about the kid who lost it and the parent probably looking for it and then thought how I felt bad for both but felt worse for the parent.

Then yesterday here comes karma with a big old kick to the crotch.

Both kids have a stuffed friend that means more to them than the Permanent Roommate, and I do. The Kid has a bear, and The Girl has a bunny. Both stuffed friends have body doubles but who the hell are any of us kidding children know the difference between their most prized possession and a cheap imitator.

The bear never leaves the house, but the bunny goes everywhere. She’s incredibly well-traveled. She goes to preschool and grocery shopping and on vacations and playdates and even to pick up The Kid from school. After school always involves hanging out at the playground and then a walk home and hanging out until PR gets home.

Bunny made the walk to school and the walk home but right around the time we all cruised up to the house…something happened. No one had bunny, and no one was looking for the bunny.

So PR gets home and dinner is over and we’re off to the mall to raid the local Stride Rite because they’re going out of business and will only be online and we got five pairs of shoes and a couple of pairs of socks for $99 and you’re all leaving right now and DAMN IT I NEED TO SAVE SHIT LIKE THAT UNTIL THE END OF THE STORY.

Ugh.

For those that stuck around….

And The Kid and the girl both look at me and I look back and we all give that face like when everyone realizes a friend they went to the bar with has been MIA for three hours and suddenly everyone is all “where’s George?” and so everyone starts looking for George and replaying the last place they saw him.

“Well he was over by the shuffleboard table talking to the girl with one eye” but now she’s talking to some LAX bro and damn, George, you couldn’t seal the deal with a girl missing her eyeball?!? George isgone and now the entire bar is looking for him except the one friend who’s miming looking for him but just trying to get another beer. Yeah, that was my son, giving the old “bunny isn’t over here” while he’s face deep in a bin of LEGO and making laser noises.

And now I’m starting to panic because not only is the favorite bunny gone but I was the last responsible adult around before bunny went AWOL and yes it’s her fault for misplacing it, but I’ve got to watch her AT ALL TIMES, so it’s my partially my fault according to the look the Permanent Roommate is shooting me every time we pass one another while looking for the fucking bunny. “HE’S NOT IN HERE EITHER!” the kid shouts from the freezer with his hand in a box of ice cream cones.

And the next thought that pops into my mind is the photo of the lost stuffed animal and about karma and how karma isn’t what people think. Karma is about payback for a life lived and payback comes in the next life.

So, in this case, my sin was laughing about the lost toy and my karma would come in my next life when I become a lost toy or possibly a stripper named Karma. Whatever the case, I’m convinced taking the photo brought about this unfortunate turn of events.

We all jump in the truck to retrace our steps from the afternoon and I pull out of the spot in front of the house and PR yells “there it is!” and bunny is laying face down on the sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s house and ironically that’s the same way we’d always find George.

The Girl starts crying a happy cry because bunny is back but she knows she kinda screwed up and the PR is relieved because we’ve avoided a lifetime of crying and pain.

“Bunny isn’t in here either!” the kid yells from a crawl space under the house and the PR and my daughter and I all look at one another then out the car window realizing OH SHIT we almost left the house without The Kid and finally we’re at the mall getting new shoes with laces that will all be tied to one another so we’ll never lose anything, or anyone, ever again.

Parenting Note #306

parenting note #306

The Kid had a playdate over and the 3-year-old thought “you know what…now would be a perfect time to completely lose my shit.”

So she cried for an hour because the boys wouldn’t play with her and because she missed her mom and because she still can’t believe they tried to reboot MacGyver and for a hundred different reasons. Eventually, she calmed down when she thought she was locked in her room. The door to her room doesn’t have a lock. If it did, I’d find reasons to lock myself inside.

“I’M PLAYING DOLLS! GET LOST!”

She slammed the door in anger, and it jammed into place, and she’s too small to push it open on her own.

I tell her all the time when we’re at the gym “work your upper body, it’s not all about squats!” but fucking 3-year-olds think they know everything about everything!

She cried until she calmed down and laid on the floor with a few stuffed animals.

I joined her on the carpet because I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to get horizontal. We stared into each other’s eyes for five minutes and then she asked to watch YouTube Kids.

It feels as though I blinked and The Kid turned 7 and it feels as though she’s been three for about 20 years.

Parenting Note #307

parenting note #307

A day at an indoor mall playground.

“Welcome to organized chaos,” said an older gentleman who probably served in at least one major war.

He was definitely a veteran of this type of exercise. In his year’s he’s probably seen much worse.

The look on my face must have reminded him of a soldier in his own platoon, knee-deep in the battle for the first time, shell-shocked, overwhelmed and ready to go AWOL as soon as the General turned his back.

“Is it always this bad?” I hoped this was the worst it would get.

“This is nothing. Wait until you see the food court.”

The mall on a rainy Sunday. Events too graphic even for the History channel.

He grabbed his grandson by his arm and yelled him for jumping onto his brothers back for the fourth time.

While the other kids sprinted, climbed, skipped, punched and screamed at the indoor playground, my son sat by himself just a few feet away from the Permanent Roommate.

He seemed just as shell-shocked at the scene as his father. After getting his bearings he happily crawled into the middle of the battlefield.

I know I wanted to grab him and throw him back in the stroller before he was run over by grade school tanks or belly crawled onto a landmine disguised as a toddler that hadn’t napped.

I could imagine what was going through the Roommates head considering she is way more protective.

Instead, we both let him wander around the indoor playground in front of the JC Penny.

This is good for him. Interacting with other kids. Learning how to assert himself into social situations and HOLY SHIT THAT KID ALMOST KICKED HIM IN THE FACE.

Breathe. Breathe. He’ll be fine.

A kick to the face never hurt anyone. Unless you count Johnny Lawrence from The Karate Kid and that KID JUST PUSHED HIM RIGHT OFF THE FAKE PIG!

Which one of you people hatched this little miscreant? I’m going to shove a stroller down your ear canal for raising such a mongrel. Just got to watch to see who the little snot runs over to and mmkkk that guy is the size of an Escalade.

No harm done. There is enough room on the faux pig for everyone to get a turn.

The little guy crawled back to safety.

Those two kids are running right towards one another. Don’t they see one other?

Pull out Maverick! Pull out! Maverick! Goose can you hear me?!?!

[Mid-air collision]

The Permanent Roommate lifted the kid from the ground, away from the limp bodies of the fallen (and now hysterically crying) pilots.

“Let’s go get some food,” she said, buckling him into the stroller.

Indoor playgrounds, like war, are hell.

The chicken nuggets afterward, however, are delicious.

Parenting Note #308

parenting tip #308

An actual conversation that happened in the house.

Her: “He’s having a playdate tomorrow. His room is a mess. You should clean it.”

Me: “HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAH.”

(5-minute stare down)

Me: “Oh you were being for real?”

Cleaning before a playdate is like brushing and flossing before letting an MMA fighter knock your teeth out.

It’s pointless!

It’s a waste of time!

No one notices!

These are all things I yelled in my mind.

“Fine, I’ll clean it.”

Parenting Note #309

parenting note #310

I’m on lunch duty.

Every day.

Every day I either make The Kid lunch or read the menu and ask him “do you want waffle sticks for lunch today?” and if he says know I search his room for drugs because he’s high on something if he doesn’t want sugar for a meal.

Some mornings he’s either too tired to understand the question or has second thoughts about his lunch choice while not getting dressed and not moving any level above “barely f*cking standing upright.”

We’re in the car about to pull out for school, and I tell him “Remember you’re having grilled cheese for lunch today, ” and he goes “you made me grilled cheese?” and I said “no, you’re buying it” and he almost jumped out of his chair and into the front seat to choke me.

So he’s back in his seat and the girl is in her seat eating her like 8th breakfast of the day (really just a bite of her 8th breakfast) and I’m inside the house slapping together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the world record people won’t respond to my emails but I know it didn’t take longer than thirty seconds to make, toss in his lunchbox, and hit the road.

He’s at school, and she’s at her preschool in time for her 9th breakfast, and I’m home turning over his mattress, searching frantically for those drugs so I can take them before he gets home.

Parenting Note #310

 

Every grocery shopping trip feels like a glimpse of hell.

Our grocery store has been under renovation for what feels like eight years but might be closer to 8 months.

Every visit involves a new flow of cart traffic; another section moved to temporary locations, food items stocked in an entirely new area, and no more fancy cheese section.

I’ve never purchased a morsel from the uppity cheese vendor, but it felt good to know he was there just in case people ever visited our house again.

“Hi cheese man! We’re having people over tonight! I know, right! Real f*cking people, over the age of 35, want to hang out with us! What kind of cheese will make them want to come back? Great. I’ll take the wheel.”

The biggest clusterfuck happens in the produce area. After ten minutes of cart bumping, I want to break an organic eggplant over the heads of some crunchy dads and soccer mamas.

Last week, we entered the store from a side entrance, in the liquor section. This made the shopping trip so much easier because we got the kids super drunk and they passed out before we hit the cereal aisle.

Instead of bagging produce first and getting super pissed off for the rest of the trip, we grinned and bared it, muttering to one another “this is almost over. We can do it!”

If your grocery store has a liquor section, I recommend starting from that end. Or just staying on that end and blowing all your grocery money on wine.

“Attention Cheese Man! Please join us by the Australian reds. Bring two wheels.”

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Chris Illuminati is a freelance writer and published author. Follow him on Twitter (@chrisilluminati), Instagram (@messagewithabottle) or email him at cilluminati@gmail.com.

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