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Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Dear Folks Who Are Wondering What It’s Like To Go To A Theme Park That Just Reopened:

It’s weird. Every bit of it is weird.

As indicated in my last post, we took Eddie to Six Flags for Father’s Day. “We” meaning “Gideon and I” because Dominic didn’t get off work.

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Anyway, I had to make a reservation for us to go. That’s new.

Also new:

路 Hand-washing stations outside the entrance

路 Temperature scans on the way in (not sure that helps if people are asymptomatic, but ok)

路 The requirement for everyone to wear a mask at all times

路 Social distancing in the queue

路 Social distancing on the rides themselves

路 Having to scream/laugh through a mask (but that might just be my problem)

路 Hand sanitizer everywhere

So yeah, plenty of changes.

There are some things that haven’t changed:

路 Crappy attitudes of the teenaged staff

路 Skin-boiling heat with no shade in sight

路 Unappetizing food such as a burger with the bun literally dripping butter

路 The potential for ride malfunction

Here are the mechanics working on the ride we just exited — the one we were stuck on for 15 minutes.

So it was different, but not so much so that I would stay away. We have to get our membership money’s worth!

Yours in thrills,
Beth

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Dear Eddie,

Happy Father’s Day! Yeah, you aren’t my daddy (gross), but you are my baby daddy.

You helped me make these two:

But let me tell you: They challenge me. Regularly.

You know my favorite Christmas special? Let me help you: It’s “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”

I feel like Mother Nature with Heat Miser and Snow Miser.

I’ll explain.

They are old enough to handle Father’s Day on their own, but ignorant enough that I felt they needed reminders. And it had to be over text so you wouldn’t know.

But, as you know, they fought Friday night. As you also know, Gideon holds a grudge.

So this was the exchange yesterday:

Not only am I bothered by the unfortunate and consistent lack of punctuation and correct capitalization, I’m outraged at the fighting over text.

I know today ultimately will be a good day for you (I’ve got some things in reserve to make sure), but I wanted you to know what happened behind the scenes.

We still made it snow in Southtown.

Love,
Mother Nature (aka Yo’ Baby Mama)

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America is a dumpster fire at the moment.

(Oh wait: Sorry, I’m wrong. Trump promised to “make America great again,” so this must be great. Silly me.)

As a palate cleanser, here are 10 things I learned about my kids over the past two weeks, told in photos with captions.

1. Dominic is more responsible and interested in hanging out with the family now that he is “on a break” from his latest high-maintenance girlfriend.

2. He can be very charming, personable and helpful — even going as far as rowing me around a lake.

3. A boat in a lake is a good place to have serious conversations about life.

4. He won’t go hungry. He can at least make restaurant-quality breakfast sandwiches.

5. He can’t help himself: He is compelled to harass his brother.

6. His brother is a big fat ham.

7. Gideon doesn’t really like cake. He wanted a flan for his birthday. I’d never made a flan before, but it turned out so well (Behold the Birthday Flan!) that I think it’s going to be my signature dessert.

8. Gideon likes to help me make anything in the kitchen. He enjoys cooking as much as I do.

9. He and I feel the same way about hiking unmarked trails in the rain to get to an anticlimactic lookout.

10. We like the same shows.

There’s my dose of positivity today. I’ll reread as necessary to keep my spirits up.
What are your bright spots? Please share!

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Dear Schoolhouse Rock creators/artists/writers/musicians:

I grew up with your catchy songs that aid learning. (For Millennials and GenZ, it’s like the 1970s version of “Hamilton.”)

It should be no surprise that I’m partial to the grammar ones:

I mean, just TRY to get those out of your head.

I’ve been thinking about one in specific lately: The Great American Melting Pot.

And, even more specifically, these lyrics:

It doesn’t matter what your skin.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from,
Or your religion, you jump right in
To the great American melting pot.

Yeah. A bit idealistic, no?

People are actively protesting because skin color DOES matter. (When people say, “I don’t see color,” my eyes nearly roll out of my head. Of course you see skin color just like you notice if someone has brown hair. The key is not attaching JUDGMENT.)

And immigration … well. It’s like people want to say, “That’s it: America is closed.”

Don’t even get me started on religious bias.

So. I’m writing this because I’d really love a revival where you tackle thorny issues such as redlining, Jim Crow laws, Operation Mockingbird, First Amendment rights, white privilege, etc.

I feel like storytelling via music could come in handy here.

I remember when I first truly understood the concept of white privilege. I had walked a couple of blocks in downtown Atlanta and overheard three separate conversations among black people where the subject was race.

I went home that night and asked Eddie if he thinks about being Hispanic on a regular basis. He said he did. He’s been pulled over and asked to prove he’s legal, for example. He’s Puerto Rican, FFS.

And that’s when it clicked: I rarely thought about being white. And that’s a privilege. Now, of course, I’m hyperaware.

Not everyone has that moment of clarity. So I think it’s time for some lessons in your trademark accessible way.

Can you help?

Thank you for your consideration,
Beth

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Dear Vogel State Park Employees:

My son and I needed to get some fresh air, so we booked one of your efficiency cabins for two nights.

The reservation process was easy.

Getting into the actual cabin was not.

We stopped at the visitors center to check in. It was locked, but there were two signs on the door.

I called both numbers and had to leave messages. Messages!

I opened the app. Checked my reservation. Yep: Everything was in order.

We went to the cabin. Saw this:

Great idea, if only the code came with the confirmation email.

It did not.

Me to Gideon: Well, it’s 3:30, and check in is at 4. Maybe I’ll get the code when I check in on the app then.
Gideon (skeptically): Maybe.

We went to the store to buy supplies. At 4, I checked in on the app.

Checked in — great! No door code — not great.

The beleaguered old man at the front gate when we returned was no help.

Just keep calling! You’re not the only one trying to check in.

We went back to the visitors center. Called the numbers. Left two more messages.

I was about to go FULL KAREN.

Suddenly, I see a Georgia State Parks official truck whizz by.

Gideon: Mama! Look!
Me: I see it!

I take off in hot pursuit. And by “hot pursuit,” I mean 20 mph. The speed limit is 15.

The truck stops at the boathouse. A harassed woman gets out. Looks at me in surprise as I pull up behind her.

Me: We’re trying to get into our cottage and have been calling the numbers.
Her: No one has time to answer the phone.
Me: So how do we get in?
Her: Knock on the back door of the visitors center.
Me (gaping in shock): Ok. Thanks.
Her: And slow down!

Back at the visitors center, we go around back. It’s clear that members of the public are not supposed to be back there.

Gideon knocks. We hear scuffling. The door opens a crack. A youngish blonde woman peers out like this is a damn speakeasy!

Center dweller: Yes?
Me: We would like to check into our cabin.
Her: One moment. (Shuts door.)

In a couple of minutes, she returns with a code written on a sticky note.

Me: Thank you. We’ve been trying to call.
Her: Yeah, we’re not answering the phone. We’re doing inventory.

Inventory! WHY? When people are trying to check in?!

FFS.

Anyway.

The code works. The cottage is great. All is well.

The lake and grounds are beautiful. But your check-in process sucks.

Please get it together.

Thank you,
Beth, a Georgia resident and state park consumer

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Dear Judging Community:

My son (15) has few responsibilities around the place he shares with me, his father and brother (13):

  1. Keep up with schoolwork.
  2. Take out the trash and recycling.
  3. Keep his room clean.

In return, we don’t harass him, and we give him an allowance.

As he is a 15-year-old boy, you can imagine he is not holding up his end of the bargain.

It’s No. 3 that’s really bothering me at the moment.

Y’all, look:

Those are clean clothes that have been on the floor for more than two weeks.

Well, they aren’t clean anymore, of course.

I know they WERE clean because I dried and folded them.

Lest you thing I regularly do his laundry, let me explain: He put his clothes in the wash, then “forgot” about them. I needed to do laundry, so I finished them up.

I see now I should have just put them in the trash.

We’ve had numerous arguments about this.

He says it’s his room, and he will clean it up when he’s ready.

I say it’s slovenly behavior, and he never should have let it get like this. But as he did, he should clean it up. Now.

So Community, AITA for expecting him to keep his room clean?

Before you answer, one more thing I need to tell you.

He asked for a few of my Oreos, then ate the entire package without a word to me. I found the empty package in the trash.

So. AITA?

Thanks for weighing in,
Beth

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Dear Boys of Mine (all three),

Thank you for making this Mother’s Day the best ever. For real.

You know last year I wasn’t happy at all. It was not because you didn’t do the “right” thing. It was because you didn’t do anything on the day at all.

But this year, you made it right, and then some.

First, breakfast in bed with a side of “Hoarders” on the TV (you know how I feel about that show).

Then a treasure hunt with gifts, including my new food obsession: Flamin’ hot popcorn. (No surprise there, I’m sure.)

The hunt culminated in a homemade movie that made me cry. Twice.

Finally? Lunch based on a tomato soup commercial I saw yesterday. (You know the one: It features grilled cheese.)

So thank you for making me feel loved.

I love you too.
Mama

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Dear Readers,
Julia and I have been friends since we were kids. We had a shared interest in harassing our other friends. (Like the time we wore togas down a busy road to bother visit Taft, Cindy and Carleton.) Our mothers’ curses came true: We ended up with children just like us. Here are some stories about her middle child, Ainsley.
Enjoy!
Beth

Happy times for Julia and Ainsley

Dear Beth,
As one of your oldest and dearest friends, I have thoroughly enjoyed your stories about parenting your two amazing and handsome boys. But having two boys myself, I would like to introduce you to the unique joys of parenting a girl – particularly my girl – Ainsley Nora.
After coming into the world with severe colic (which I had no idea could fully re-emerge from age 11 -17!), she has kept us on our toes. I am not half the writer you are (sorry, Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Wise) so I’ve decided to offer you the best Ainsley Nora stories in Top 10 format.
  1. The time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 2 or 3, my dear friend Diane came to visit from San Diego. While Diane and I were enjoying a glass of wine and a chat, Ainsley came over and in her best stage (aka “Irish”) whisper announced, “I don’t like that girl!” She then proceeded to fly upstairs and rifle through Diane’s luggage. Diane subsequently discovered that her book was missing. We went into Ainsley’s room and discovered her lounging in bed, legs crossed, immersed in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” even though it was upside down.
  2. The second time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 3 or 4, I invited over Jennifer, my new friend from work. Ainsley had recently received a large makeup case as a gift. She proceeded to wander by Jennifer multiple times with her makeup case as if she were a “Price is Right” model showcasing her wares. At the point Jennifer expressed interest, Ainsley snapped the case shut practically amputating Jennifer’s hand in the process and then stormed off in a huff.
  3. The third time she insulted a friend. When Ainsley was 5 or 6, my friend brought her daughter Mia over. Mia, who was around 2, was playing on the front porch, while Ann and I enjoyed a cocktail (seeing a theme here) while watching her from the front window. Ainsley came in the house from playing with friends, and, nodding her head toward the front porch, said “Hello! Stolen???” as if we were the most inept adults in the world.
  4. ONE of the times she insulted her brothers. The first time I let my youngest son Elias (our favorite per Ainsley) take a shower, I was downstairs and heard a huge clu-clunk and crying. I rushed upstairs to find him lying face down on the shower floor with Ainsley (and Cullen, my oldest) observing, “Look how hairy his back is – so gross.” Note that she also had a history of yelling, “Bring it on freckle face!” when she is the most freckled of the three.
  5. The time she got in a fight with her cousin. Ainsley and her cousin Mairead are the same age. One day after preschool, I had them at a little play table eating lunch. I don’t know what Mairead said to Ains, but I see Ainsley get up, walk around the play table and say, “You don’t want to be my best friend, Mairead? You don’t want to be my best cousin? YOU’RE GOING DOWN, MAIREAD!”
  6. The time she insulted a civic group. This is partly my husband’s fault as his family’s motto is “Nobody standing still is up to any good.” My kids are not allowed to loiter anywhere. On the way home from school, Ainsley sees a gang of no-gooders and screams, “Look at that bunch of vagrants!” It was a group of Boy Scouts standing on the church lawn.
  7. The time she insulted the elderly. OK, this one is actually funny. One time we were driving past an old-folks home, and Ainsley announced to her friends, “Look, that’s where they keep all the grandmas!”
  8. The time Ainsley threw me under the bus. As a working mom, I never felt like I did my share but I always tried to volunteer for at least one or two events a year to keep the guilt at bay. After several sucky assignments, they were looking for yoga teachers for fitness day. Sign me up! Unfortunately all the other moms had signed up for yoga, so I was asked to do the neighborhood walk with Ainsley’s class, a bunch of dads and the teacher, Mrs. Marshalka. Unfortunately the walk went right by our house, so Mrs. Marshalka paused and said, “And this is Ainsley Nora’s house!” With the entire crowd looking at her, Ainsley decided to deflect with, “My mom cries when she doesn’t get her way.” Those who know me know I DO NOT CRY!
  9. The time she “accidentally” swallowed a quarter. The school nurse called to tell me that Ainsley swallowed a quarter during class. “Mom, I really had to cough, and I was trying to be polite and cover my mouth and forgot I had a quarter in my hand,” she told me. After my husband took her to the ER, our babysitter, Danielle, told us that Ainsley had been asking her for weeks what would happen if she swallowed a quarter and would she get an X-ray (she did). (She and Mairead were also known to crank call 911. Why Danielle stayed with us all those years is beyond me!)
  10. The time she said she would rather have Coronavirus than be stuck “in this house with you people!” Also, “Mom, can I take a gap year if I get on ‘Survivor?'” Yes, yes you can, Ainsley.

She reminds me of you in all the best ways.
Julia

 

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Dear ‘Rona:

One of the things you have forced us all to do is to spend more time with the people in our house — for better or worse. I like to look on the bright side, so I’m trying to focus on the things I’ve enjoyed.

1. Playing board games with the family. Even the arguments have been fun.

We played Payday. The miser (aka Gideon) climbed to the top of the paper-money ladder.

Dominic played Monopoly for the first time and landed on Park Place his first trip around the board. Then he rolled snake eyes. Before long I was out on a corner with a cardboard sign (virtually, of course).

2. Playing video games with the family.

Mortal Kombat 10 doesn’t have Sindel? I’m out.

3. Playing games with friends via Houseparty.

This is (supposedly) a jaguar. Look: I know. Take it up with Royce. He drew it.

4. Harassing Dominic regularly.

“Lord, MAN! Please sit up straight. You are KILLING me.”

“Stop guzzling the orange juice. And shut the refrigerator door!”

5. Watching trashy reality shows with Gideon. (He’s my regular TV buddy.)

I like Jersey Shore Family Vacation this time of yee-ah!

6. Recreating trashy reality shows in the privacy of our own home.

Eddie set up “Love is Blind” in the garage as a fun treat for me.

7. Taking a road trip with Gideon, as he also is going crazy.

We went to Athens to visit the tree that owns itself. That’s right.

Look how happy we are to be outside!

8. Riding our bikes to the store.

My thighs were BURNING. That’s why we are walking the bikes. Y’all: I miss my Biddy Boot Camp at the Y.

9. Having time to color hair if asked.

Gideon wanted red hair.

So he got red hair.

10. Being ecstatic when someone else shaves his.

Doesn’t he look great?

11. Obeying social distancing rules with friend-who-is-nearly-family Kalen.

We are both rule followers.

12. Taking up new hobbies.

Hand knitting with chunky blanket yarn!

Two different blankets, two different stitches. When I take on a hobby, I TAKE ON A HOBBY!

See! I’m trying to stay positive in these trying times you caused.

But I can’t remain optimistic forever.

So please go away.

Thanks!
Beth

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Dear Reckitt Benckiser:

I really wish I had Loefflered up and bought your stock before Coronavirus came calling.

But I never felt the need to bathe in Lysol before.

Look. Listen. You can’t be too careful.

I’ve created an airlock downstairs. Everything coming into the house gets wiped down or sprayed.

The mail too.

Everything.

Even people.

Dominic came in after work. (Yes, he has a job at Publix. No, I’m not thrilled he is going. He informed me he needs the money to hang out “wit da boys.” He means online via Doom.)

Me (from the couch): Did you spray yourself?
Him (sighing): Yes.
Me: Even your back?
(Sound of a little baby spray)

So we are going through plenty of your product. And there is a shortage. You are aware. We all are aware.

I’m waiting patiently, but my supply can’t last forever, even though it seems like this pandemic will.

Wishing you a speedy resupplying process.

Your sanitizing sentry,
Beth

 

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