Category Archives: Parenting

A review of my 6-year-old’s hair salon

Located in the vibrant heart of downtown Living Room, My Daughter’s Hair Salon is a small, female-owned business that recently opened 20 minutes ago. The owner’s name is “Stacy,” spelled with just a “y.” Wait. No, yeah. Not “ey.” 

Although I wasn’t looking to get my hair done, the salon’s convenient location and “Stacy’s” rather persistent attitude convinced me otherwise. As it turns out, I was lucky she was even able to squeeze me in.

“Everyone wants to look nice after the holidays so I’ve been SO busy,” “Stacy” told me as she assessed my admittedly neglected locks. “I’ve had 50 clients so far. You’re my 51st client today.”

“Wow,” I responded. “You must be really tired.”

“Oh, I am. Especially because I also have all my kids.”

At only the young age of 6, “Stacy” already has 10 children. Five boys and five girls. In fact, just that morning she gave birth, she told me, much to my astonishment.

“Wow,” I responded again. “Should you even be working?”

It’s alright, she said. Her husband is taking care of the baby now and all the other 10 children. 

“How do you do it all?” I asked her, as she enthusiastically attacked my curls. 

“I honestly don’t know,” she sighed. “It’s very loud at my house.”

As she continued to brush my hair, only getting the brush stuck twice, I asked “Stacy”…

Wait, it is “ey” on second thought…

…I asked “Stacey” where she learned hair styling. She studied in high school AND college, she informed me before, ever the professional, switching the subject back to my hair. 

“Do you normally have curly hair?”

“Yes.” 

“It’s really tangled.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m gonna straighten it.”

“That’s probably not a good idea.”

“OK, well, then look through this magazine and let me know what hairstyle you want,” she said, handing me a Fancy Nancy book.

“Um…how about this one?” I said, pointing to a random illustration.

“I call that one The Teasey.”

“Perfect.”

“Except I think I’m just going to straighten your hair.”

The straightening process at My Daughter’s Hair Salon consists of vigorous brush work and an arsenal of rather pointy hair accessories. If there is one thing you can say about “Stacey” it’s that she is highly dedicated to the ideal of “beauty is pain.” At one point, I winced and let out a little cry. 

“Does that hurt?” “Stacey” asked me with something approaching a hint of possible sympathy.

“Oh, just a wee bit,” I answered as I looked for my chunk of missing scalp on the floor.

Luckily, like many of the best in the business, “Stacey” has mastered the art of Client Small Talk as a means of distraction. 

“So, how about you? You got kids?” she asked as she shoved a bobby pin deep into my cerebral cortex.

“I do,” I grunted. “A boy and a girl.”

“The girl sounds lovely.”

“She is.”

“She sounds really smart and pretty too.”

“She’s definitely strong!” I screamed as another bobby pin pushed into a hopefully not vital section of my brain.

“Hang on, I’m working really hard, I need a sip of my coffee,” she said, pausing to pick up her mug as I sobbed in relief. 

“Absolutely. Take your time,” I replied while wiping blood out of my eyes. 

“It’s definitely coffee in here. Not water.”

“I definitely believe you.”

During her coffee break, she confided to me that she was going on vacation to Florida soon. In fact, right after my appointment.

“What will you do in Florida?” I asked.

“Oh, all the Florida things,” Stacey answered. “Although my husband won’t let me go back to Johnny’s Store *whispers* it’s a pizza place because they put sauce on his pizza but I love the place but he was like we are NEVER coming back even though I love their pizza with mushroom *whispers* pretend I like mushrooms and last time I was in Florida I went to a salon and they messed up my hair like it wasn’t even in the magazine and I was like no way, never again.”

Fortunately, “Stacey” could never be accused of messing up someone’s hair. At least not while she has three more dozen weaponized bobby pins within arm’s reach. Her professionalism was rivaled only by her freakishly strong upper body strength. 

I was a bit surprised (albeit relieved), however, when she told me halfway through that she had to stop and finish my hair the next day. 

“Wait, what?” I asked, confused. 

“Yeah. My brother is playing on his tablet and now I want to play on mine,” she told me cheerily before scampering off. But she only charged me fifty-two-hundred-eleven, which I was informed was quite the deal. 

So all in all, I would rate My Daughter’s Hair Salon 13/10. Highly recommend. 

Although that could be the brain damage talking. 

The Soccer Ball

We somehow manage to stuff it in there. Among all his other stuff. The snack bag, the homework folder, the stack of books he’s forever reading, the endless pages of comics he’s forever writing. 

It fits. Just barely. He’s excited. He brought it yesterday, the old somewhat deflated soccer ball. They all played at recess. Him and the other boys. It was fun, he told me. One of them kicked it over the fence on purpose at one point but a teacher went to retrieve it. 

“I think we’re friends now, mom.”

I’m happy. It’s been a tough year. That was clear when the questions started. 

“Am I a weirdo, mom?”

“Do you think I’m normal?

“He pushed me down. Why did he do that?”

“Mom, did you ever feel like you didn’t fit in?”

Last night before bed, his dad got out the ball pump and made the soccer ball like new again. I drop him off at school, waving and watching him run to line up with his class. He won’t let me hug him anymore when we say goodbye but it’s nothing personal, he assures me. 

“How was your day?” I ask, all smiles, when I pick him up. “Did you play soccer again?”

No. One of the other boys brought a soccer ball today. They told him he couldn’t play with them. He says it so matter-of-factly. Then he runs off ahead, like he always does. 

As we walk home, I can feel my brain ripping itself apart trying to listen to his little sister, who is chittering away beside me all about her day, while it’s also screaming at me not to cry. Don’t you dare let them see you cry. 

He’s far ahead of us now. He looks so small from that far away, lost in his own little world. 

I hope it’s a happy place. 

At one point he turns around and runs back to us. 

“Mom, having the soccer ball in here makes it really hard to carry on my back.”

“Do you want me to carry it for a while?”

His eyes light up. 

“Yes! Thank you.”

He throws it off. He runs ahead again.

I pick it up and put it on my back. He’s right. It is hard to carry. It’s heavy and awkward and uncomfortable. 

I can’t do much. I know that. He’s growing up. But I can carry this burden for him for a bit.

For as long as he needs.  

That night I finally let myself cry. 

The next morning, he wants a donut. We compromise. A donut and a banana. Later, as he’s brushing his teeth, I go to put his snack bag into his backpack. It won’t fit. I move the endless papers around and there it is. 

The soccer ball. 

I feel my heart flutter. Hope, as another misunderstood soul once wrote, is the thing with feathers. I hold lightly onto it with one hand and grab his sister’s hand in the other. 

“Everybody ready?” I ask. 

I open the door and the wintry air hits our faces. We head out into the cold morning, him running ahead, forever ahead, despite the weight on his thin shoulders. 

(Flu) Season’s Greetings

My daughter has a fever. A runny nose. A headache.  

And she’s never been happier. 

See, it finally happened. After suffering endless medical maladies with vague symptoms she couldn’t prove, my 6-year-old, at long last, is Officially Sick. 

Sick and staying home from school today. 

It might seem an odd thing to say, but no one deserves it more than her. She has worked so hard for this day, striving single-mindedly to hit this goal since school started way back at the end of August. 

Every morning before school, we go through the same routine. 

“Mama, do I look pale?” she asks. 

“Nope, you look fine to me,” I reply. 

“Can you take my temperature?” she asks.

“98.6,” I read off the thermometer. 

“That sounds bad.” 

“It’s exactly what it should be.”

“Are you sure? Maybe we should call the doctor.”

“You’re fine.”

“My tongue feels weird. It feels pretty serious.”

When none of her efforts work and she’s forced (on the brink of death no less) to go to school, she turns to the only one who can help her now. The school nurse. A lovely woman whom I hope never to run into because my daughter manages to go to her office DAILY. 

Thus far in her first grade career she has had: 

Stomach ache.

Tummy troubles (it’s DIFFERENT, I’m informed).

Ear infection.

No, WAIT. Double ear infection. 

Almost broken arm.

A nearly fatal papercut.

Diabetes. Lots of it. 

Almost broken leg. 

Asthma. It can be deadly, you know. 

Poked eye. But like, a really bad poke. 

Allergy to carrots. Even if she’s not the one eating them, just someone in the world is. 

And after watching a version of “A Christmas Carol,” she was certain she had come down with tuberculosis. Once I explained to her what tuberculosis was. 

This is a child who was never so sad as when her brother got COVID last year and got to stay home for seven days. SEVEN. She never even got COVID. Which led to fun conversations such as “stop wishing for COVID” and “don’t you dare ask Santa for COVID.”

But now, OH! Finally! She is legitimately sick. With a respectable 102.4 fever. As she’s lounging on the couch daintily eating goldfish crackers and watching her seventeenth episode of “Bluey,” she proclaims this is the best day ever. Later, once she comes to her senses and out of her fever-induced fog, she amends it to “well, technically the holidays are my favorite day but today is my second favorite.”

When the medicine kicks in and I tell her she seems to be feeling better as she is bouncing (quite literally) on top of my head, suddenly a bout of terrible coughing engulfs her. The tuberculosis is back, she regretfully tells me. 

“I might *cough* have to stay home *cough cough* another day,” she says, unable to hide her smile. “Maybe even *cough hack cough* all week. …can you make me some mac and cheese, mama? And get me my stuffie? And my blankie? Oh! And I need more tissues! A juice box would be awesome right now…*cough*

Yes, ‘tis truly the most wonderful time of the year. 

For some of us. 

An update from your favorite mediocre mom

So it’s been a minute. Sorry I haven’t written in awhile (to the few of you who still read these). But I have two very good reasons. 

The first was that my husband and I went to Ireland for two weeks in October. We even managed to go without our children after somehow convincing my mom to watch our feral brood (and we’re hoping to be back on speaking terms with Memaw any day now). 

The entire experience was straight out of a fairy tale. But instead of having a meet-cute and falling in love on the windswept Cliffs of Moher, we’ve been together for 15 years and privately mocked all the giddy, lovestruck idiots who went right up to the cliff edge to get the perfect selfie despite many signs stating emphatically that that was a very good way to die. We even got caught in a downpour after touring a castle and ran to the nearest pub soaking wet, where we ordered some beers, looked lovingly into each other’s eyes and complained about how loud the music was. 

It was a dream come true. 

Which led to another dream come true. 

Perhaps it was because I had my full brain power for two weeks, or maybe having this big adventure reminded me that before children I was an actual human being with hopes and dreams and a decently working bladder, but last week I finally finished the first draft of a novel I’ve been working on all year. 

It’s terrible. 

But it’s out of my head. All 90,000 words are out of my head and written down and existing in the world, complete with The End in giant font on the last page because I am nothing if not dramatic. 

It exists and someday (hopefully soon) it might even be, dare I dream, above average. I’ve always wanted to be an author and figured it was time to actually make it happen. 

Besides, I’ve also always wanted to read a fantasy novel where the heroine is a busy, tired mom who doesn’t have time for all this hero crap but someone has to do it so everybody move aside and somebody hand her a sword. Added bonus if the book also depicts children in all their blood-thirsty, weapon wielding, fearless, psychopathic glory. 

Because moms are strong and children are brave (and terrifying).

I want to read that book. So I wrote it. 

And I hope someday (hopefully soon) you get to read it. 

But lest you think I have transformed into a fully functional and complex person now, I can assure you I am still the lovable grumpy hot mess of a mom you all know and love. And so, until I can get around to writing my next post about my children showering with their socks on (WHY!?), I’ll leave you with these recent poignant moments of motherhood. 

This morning while getting ready for school, no one was listening and when they did, everything was met with irrational counter-demands and complaining. 

“Sometimes I just feel like I’m failing on all fronts as a mother,” I finally exclaimed in desperation. 

My 8-year-old son, my beautiful baby boy, stopped mid-whine and looked at me with concern on his face. He pulled me down to his level, put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and looked me dead in the eye with his soulful brown eyes. 

“Oh mama,” he said “You’re…I mean, listen, you’re doing okay as a mom.”

That’s right. So sorry, other mothers. The title of World’s Okayest Mom is officially mine. 

And then last night at dinner, my 6-year-old daughter whispered to me “hey, mom, look” and pulled down her sock to reveal a small Lego sword hidden in there. “It’s in case someone does something I don’t like, I can stab them.”

World’s Okayest Mom, indeed. 

How to have the perfect apple picking experience

The sky is a perfect cerulean blue, there is a hint of chilliness in the air and if you listen hard enough you can almost hear the screeching death wail of summer. It’s finally time. Time to go apple picking! Because you promised yourself you would give the kids less stuff and more experiences. Which you didn’t actually mean but then made the mistake of mentioning it to them after your second glass of wine last night and they have NOT forgotten. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is get an early start. Because everyone else has also decided today is the perfect day for apple picking. And no, it doesn’t matter what day you pick. It’s always that day. 

Of course, this means gently herding everyone out of the house. And when that fails three times, screaming at everyone to hurry the hell up and get into the goddamn van. Which they will absolutely do after three trips to the bathroom, a meltdown over a weird sock bump and a fruitless argument about how many stuffies everyone is allowed to bring (in theory none, in practice three each). 

Now, no family-friendly fun-filled trip to the apple orchard is complete without a scenic drive down some picturesque roads. Try to remember this beauty and wholesome moment together as you finally arrive and immediately get into the Parental Parking Lot Fight. Because the driveway is right there. Right THER…well, you passed it. No, that’s the exit. Turn LEFT! Right THERE. See the sign! No, to the LEFT. Not that parking lot, it clearly says birthday party parking, the OTHER one. 

Don’t worry though. Any lingering anger over parking (and then getting out and then getting back in and parking again because you were wrong, it WAS the birthday party parking lot you were supposed to go to, not that you’ll ever admit you were wrong, the signs are stupid and confusing), will eventually dissipate when you head to the cashier and the Sticker Shock sets in. Because it IS that much. And no, it doesn’t include that. Or that. Those are separate tickets. 

But hey, you made it! It’s important to note here that the first ten minutes of apple picking is the Actual Genuine Fun Window. Savor this. Even when something in a hay bale bites your butt, ignore it because the kids are literally full of joy right now and running around in nature, squealing with delight in the fresh air. It’s downright magical. This is the time to take 600 almost identical photos. 

Soon however, you’ll notice how hot it is. It’s really hot. Stupid hot. Because every year you think September will feel like fall but it never does. Why did you wear a sweater? And why is this orchard so big? Oh, and look, somehow your youngest pulled off an entire branch of an apple tree even though she is the size of a pixie and you could yeet her over to the pear tree section if so inclined. And you don’t even know where your other kid is. 

This is when you’ll remember you saw a hard cider tent on the brochure. 

In total, there will be no less than five sibling fights, three tantrums and one dramatic storming off (before said stormer realizes there is nowhere to storm off to in this godforsaken Land of Endless Apples). Feel free to get creative with your hissed threats. As in “I swear to god if you little gobshites don’t knock it off we will sell you to the farmer and he will use you as scarecrows.” And don’t worry if anyone else hears you. They will be too busy threatening their own kids. 

After lugging a gigantic bag of apples around (one bushel being the equivalent of 780 apples) there is nothing you’ll want to do more than rest and have a hard cider. Which is why next on your agenda is going through the mazes! All three of them! None of which are anywhere close to you or close to each other.  

The first maze will take forever, which is why when you end up coming out the entrance you accept victory because at one point you did have a fairly legitimate fear you would die in there. 

Luckily the second maze is kids-only. Make sure to stand in the hot sun next to the super chill parents that use phrases like “it’s such luxury garbage” so that you and your partner can bond over how much you hate these other parents while you wait. 

Time for an apple cider donut break! Which you’ll awkwardly eat standing up on exhausted legs after standing in a 20 minute line because one of the kids saw a bee over by the picnic tables and refuses to get within ten feet of them now. But the good news is the hard cider tent is also nowhere near the apple cider donut stand. 

After fighting over caramel apples (because you are NOT getting back in that line) and pulling the youngest out of the goat pen that she somehow managed to get inside of, you will be ready to pack it up and call it a day. Once you find your other kid. 

Oop, but you forgot about the third maze and you PROMISED. And yes, the third maze is in the complete opposite direction of the parking lot. On the plus side, you will be only the second loudest arguing family in the maze, the first being the one led by Nate, as in “Dammit Nate, how do you keep finding every single dead end!?” If you make it out alive, you’ll hope to befriend these people who are just as miserable as you. 

It goes without saying but the hard cider tent is also not inside this maze. 

Finally it’s time to head home. After buying two gigantic pumpkins PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE that you’ll have to lug all the away across the parking lot because you just don’t have any fight left in you. 

As you drive away, you will finally see the hard cider tent. You give it a sad little wave and head off into the sunset, on your way back home where you will look up apple pie recipes that you never actually intend to make. 

So, how was school today?

Well, the first week of school is officially over. And what an amazing week it was!

I think.

I actually have no idea what is going on, because small humans are awful at communicating (albeit very good at communicating awfully loudly). So far, this is the information I’ve managed to glean from our chaotic post-school conversations:

No one noticed the first grader’s very new, very super cool LOL doll-thing snack bag. 

Third grader: Zombies!

OR HER NEW LIGHT UP SHOES!

Third grader: Zombie blood! 

Someone did mention her dress pockets though.

Lunch on Wednesdays is pizza. Duh. Everyone knows that. 

First grader is pissed they haven’t learned science yet. 

I did not pack them nearly enough snacks. 

So many more graphic details about zombies for some reason. Random reference to Minecraft. 

THEY’RE STARVING. 

First grader got a lollipop from someone. She thinks their name might be Fuchsia. 

Third grader’s teacher’s name is pronounced Frlskjfkshfkjsh (98 percent sure this is incorrect).

First grader LOVES her teacher. Teachers. First grader has three teachers this year ??? One is Mrs. Theolien. One has blonde hair. One is *indecipherable murmuring*

Zombie blood coming out of all kinds of eyeballs! And butts! And penises! 

First grader can take out TWO library books this year. 

I bought the wrong cartoon-shaped graham crackers. 

Apparently all zombie content is related to playground game and/or unsanctioned LARPing during class time. Or video game ???

Third grader can TOO wear a hat all day in the building, MOM.

Yasmin has better snacks. 

ON CHICKEN PATTY DAY THIRD GRADER DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO EAT ENTIRE CHICKEN PATTY. THIS WAS NOT OK. 

There are anywhere from two to five third grade teachers. They all wear glasses. One is a man. Although he might teach fourth grade. 

Once again, the first grader did not do any science experiments involving goggles and dangerous chemicals that go BOOM. 

Third grader may have illegally drawn a few new pages in his comic book during class time but the POINT IS he didn’t get caught. 

Comic book is about zombies. 

Wait, maybe Fuchsia isn’t her name. It might be Sparkle Shine. 

Third grader has a locker! His very own! 

First grader is devastated that she has a mere cubby. 

Third grader’s locker doesn’t have an actual lock, if that makes her feel better. 

It weirdly does. 

Can first grader spend the night at Lollipop Girl’s house, whose name is definitely Jessamalyn, this weekend? Or maybe her name is Fuchsia? Yeah, definitely Fuchsia. PLEASE?

Third grader’s socks felt weird but he didn’t have a tantrum because he was at school. Also he is going to be a zombie for Halloween. 

MOM! PERIWINKLE IS MY BEST FRIEND! WHY CAN’T I SPEND THE NIGHT AT HER HOUSE?

There’s no place like home alone

So…here we are.

Hey. 

Hi, I guess. 

Sorry. This just feels so awkward. It’s been so long since we’ve been…alone. As I’m sure you’ve heard (or actually not heard by the silence that has blissfully descended), the family is gone. Off visiting the in-laws. It’s just you and me, house. 

You and me for an entire week. 

I know, I can’t quite believe it either. You can thank the airlines and their ridiculous ticket prices. 

Wow, I can’t even remember the last time it was simply us. It’s been, what, years? Between having small children and then the pandemic with all its remote work and school. You look good, by the way. Although you’ve changed a bit. Though I suppose I have too. We both look older. And after the pregnancies, we both have things that were never put back the way they were. We definitely both creak and groan more. Now if only I could pass mine off as “it’s just my body settling,” eh?

Again, I apologize. I tend to make bad jokes when I’m nervous (and also pretty much during every other emotion, but I digress). 

This is silly though. Back in the day, we spent plenty of time alone together. You’ve seen me naked, for god’s sake. Like A LOT. And you’re still the only one who knows about the weird thing I do in the shower. 

Speaking of bathrooms, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that whenever I go in there it will still be in the same state I left it in. No towels on the floor. No giant mystery mounds of toothpaste in the sink that everyone SWEARS they didn’t do. And, oh my god, this week all pee will actually end up in the toilet where it’s supposed to be! 

We’re LIVING THE DREAM, dear house. 

So, what should we do? Do we reenact “Home Alone” or “Risky Business” first? Or eat? On the couch? While binge watching all the old “Sex in the City” episodes so I can say “wow, this has not held up well” every seven minutes? Or NAP! Oooo…should we nap? Just a nice little 14-hour nap? Or maybe light a bunch of candles and write all my very deep emo thoughts in a journal, straight up college style?

Even better, I could work on the truly terrible first draft of my novel without stopping mid-sentence to scream “turn off the kitchen light!” or “stop murdering each other, you’ll get blood on the floor!” 

Or…do you want to maybe get a bit naughty? Perhaps break open a bottle of wine, turn on some music and FINALLY go through the kids’ toy boxes? We can actually throw crap away! Without tiny humans wailing their keening songs on your floor. (And maybe then I’ll stop having that nightmare where I die under an avalanche of dismembered Mr. Potato Head body parts and what I hope are chocolate-stained stuffies). 

Or, even naughtier, let’s order an irresponsible amount of Chinese food even though we have a fridge full of healthy groceries and spend two hours complaining to my mom on the phone about my ungrateful children. Oof, I got goosebumps just thinking about that one. 

Man, I tell you what, house, I am so happy right now. 

Oh, don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I don’t love my family. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me. Truly. 

The best thing that happens day after day after day after middle of the night after before dawn after day to me. 

I can’t wait to miss them.

Geez, why is mom so angry?

A Poem

Stop

Please stop 

I said stop it

Oh, come on!

Why would you do that?

No

Knock it off

Are you listening to me?

Why? 

Get that out of your mouth

I’ve asked you three times

You need to apologize 

Are you listening? 

No. 

Seriously, WHY? 

Not there!

No, you go get it

That’s why we don’t do that

No! 

WHY?

Do NOT talk to me like that

Go get a towel please

What were you thinking? 

Absolutely not

Don’t make me say it again

Gross 

Stop!

What did I just say? 

Nope

NOOOOOOOOOO

Did you hear me?

STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP

Do that again and you’re grounded until you die

Yes, I am a big meanie

Go to bed

Did. You. Hear. What. I. Said?

Please

Seriously

Come on

I feel like you’re not listening

GO TO BED

I used to be fun, you know. 

One more time or so help me…

Yes, I love you too 

GET YOUR LITTLE ASS TO BED BEFORE I…

The Tell-Tale Candle

(Based on an Actual True Story)

(With only Minimal Exaggeration)

(…And Mild Plagiarism)

You’ll fancy me a madwoman. But the event in question I am about to relay has sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. 

Above all was the sense of acute hearing. Even prior to this dark episode, my ears have long been able to detect a baby’s snuffle during the darkest parts of night, suss out a dog preparing to vomit on the only carpeted room in the house, and predict the utter destruction that is about to occur in the sudden space of a toddler’s silence. 

Alas, it was upon the happy occasion of my youngest child’s 6th birthday that this ability of mine took a nightmarish turn. My beloved, in the throes of a celebratory whimsy, purchased a musical flower candle to place atop our daughter’s traditional confectionery treat. One small flame, and the candle burst into abundant light and song, mesmerizing us all with its electronic birthday tune. 

A short while later, our faces besmirched by frosting, we went our separate ways, mine to the kitchen to confront the towering heaps of dishes that were in dire need of a soapy hand. I had yet to even roll up my sleeves when I first heard it. The familiar song sung by the unfamiliar electromechanical voice. It was the candle, now darkened, now purposeless, waiting for me while still robustly wishing many more upon a child who was now absent. 

My blood ran cold. I searched, searched again, oh how I pursued the button that would end this tedious melody sung by no one. Swallowing my panic, I brought the accursed object to my good husband, who had no better luck than I turning it off. On and on it sang.

Cautiously, oh so cautiously I carried it back into the kitchen. 

What to do? 

You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what foresight–with what dissimulation–I went to work. Oh, you would have laughed at how cunningly I hid that candle inside the fridge. Behind the milk, to the left of the spicy pickles. Ha! Would a madwoman have been so wise as this? 

That night, however, the devil’s hour itself and none other, there came to my ears a high-pitched cheery sound, such as a haunted candle would make when enveloped by refrigerator staples. Slowly, the sound became more distinct. ‘Ere long I felt myself getting pale. It continued and gained definiteness. I gasped for breath yet my family heard it not.

For seven long nights this continued, keeping me awake, frantic. It grew louder and louder! Every night, louder than the last! And yet my children would not let me throw the demon torch out for they had grown attached to the unnatural artifact. I even began to hear its sinister song during the day, my children’s endless foraging for snacks (as is the custom during the summer season) bringing fresh sound waves of horror to my senses. 

Upon the eighth night, I discovered what I must do. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. That it would all end soon. That I could MAKE it end. To think that there I was, slowly lowering the knife, no one in the house even dreaming of my secret thoughts or deeds. I fairly chuckled manically at the idea, which is perhaps how my husband heard me and upon seeing my form bent over the still singing candle, and knowing my personality intimately, immediately figured out what was going on and grabbed the knife from my hand. 

“What the hell are you doing?” quoth the husband. 

“Making it stop,” quoth I. 

“How do you even stab a candle?” 

“You can stab anything if you’re sleep deprived enough.”

“I’m getting worried about you.”

“Nevermore!” 

The husband led me gentle back to the bedchamber, assuring me the battery would run out soon. By morning he proved correct, the unholy candle making sound no more. I heard it not that day.

But as darkness fell, there it was again. Plain as day. (But at night.) How the candle mocked me. Have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but an over-acuteness of the senses? It grew louder, I say, louder every moment. Oh god, what could I do? I foamed, I raved, I swore! A LOT. Still my family continued living as though nothing was amiss. Was it possible they still heard not? 

Now a new anxiety seized me. It would never end. Thus, I dug out the waxy corpse from the trash, removing it, examining it. Yes, it was stone, stone dead. And yet…

“Nevermore…” I whispered to myself. 

“Where the hell did you get a crowbar!?” quoth the husband when he found me with the crowbar.

“NEVERMORE!” I shouted gleefully, still hunched over, trying to figure out how a crowbar actually worked. Because anything was better than this agony. Anything more tolerable. I must bury it beneath the floorboards!

“Here, honey, have some wine,” quoth the very handsome, smart husband. 

Swiftly I gave in, dropped the crowbar and had a glass (two). For what else could I do? 

Alas, I can still hear it. That cursed thing. That melodic device from the bowels of Hell itself. Even now, three (four) wine glasses in, I hear it. 

Perhaps I am a madwoman afterall. 

But at least now I hum along. 

Happy birthday to you. 

Happy birthday to YOU ALL.

*laughs in demonic voice*

Welcome to summer school, kiddos

Well friends, we almost made it. Just a few more days left of school! Who is ready for summer!?

Summer school, that is! Yay! Oh yes, I know you kids were looking forward to a carefree summer full of sun and fun but learning never stops. Especially when you will be home for the next three months, wreaking havoc on my home and sanity. So welcome to Mama’s Summer School for Wayward (and Slightly Feral) Children! Get ready for exciting learning opportunities, such as: 

Are These Socks Dirty or Clean? A Symposium On Hampers

When Pants Attack! A Lecture Series On When Pants Are Optional & When They Are Mandatory

This Is Called A Dishwasher 

Proper Aluminum Foil Application On Leftovers

There Is Pee All Over The Floor: Who Should Do Something About It (YOU!) & When (IMMEDIATELY!)

Nutrition 101: If You Were Really Hungry, You’d Eat The Apple I Already Offered

Nutrition 102: No, You Cannot Have Another Snack

The Planet Is Boiling Alive & You Have Irish Peasant DNA: Sunscreen Basics For Genetic RedHeads

This Is Called A Broom 

Wet Towel Math: How To Calculate How Many More Times I Need To Yell At You To Pick Up Your Wet Towel Before You Are Grounded

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream About Screen Time: A Seminar On How To Earn Back Your Tablet

And later this summer, we’re going to take some refresher courses before you head back to actual school, such as:

Why We Don’t Wait Until The Second-To-Last Day Of School To Tell Mom About All The Missing Library Books

Where Is Your Snack Bag From Last Year: Fun With Hazardous Materials

You Need How Many Cupcakes!? When!? Son Of A…: School Fundraiser FUNdamentals 

Curse Words Belong In The Home, Not In The Classroom

Please Learn To Tie Your Shoes, People Are Going To Start Judging Me