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Tag: Parenting

Who Wears the Bossy Pants in the Family?

Bossy Pants

As I was walking my four-year-old son to pre-school one morning, he started telling me about Natalie, his girlfriend, whom he described as beautiful with hair that shined “lellow” in the sun.

“Natalie says I can’t have Adam come to my birthday party,” he said as he dropped little black berries on the sidewalk, Hansel and Gretel style.

Oh really?!” I replied in the over-acted manner preferred by four out of five preschoolers.

He stopped at a bush, finding more berries to pick. “She says I can’t because I have to make her happy.”

BAM! Like a pack of dogs through a just-opened screen door, the next words bolted out of my mouth. I whistled helplessly for them to come back, but fast as the speed of sound, each word gonged themselves in succession against his tiny eardrums: Man. She. Sure. Is. Bossy.  Realizing this was the first time he’d heard his mother talk bad about one of his friends, he turned and looked up at me, his eyes widening.

Only one day earlier, a mother reminded me that kids blab to their friends and teachers everything their parents say to them. I was aware of this when dealing with older children but I hadn’t quite grasped that my own boys were at that age. Meaning, I had yet to be shamed.

Truthfully I felt pretty confident that my kids never listen to me. I had tried to peer deep into their eyes a few times to see if my words where getting through to them. All I saw was the swift glimmer of their brain as it galloped past on its way to the forest where the wild things are. Their complete lack of comprehension was the only way I could explain why I found myself repeating the most basic of instructions. Like: “You don’t need an entire roll of toilet paper every time you use the toilet.”

Or, “I know you are trying to help clean but don’t keep putting old bowls of spaghetti back into the cabinet.”

And, “I’ve told you before if you’re going to inspect mummified lizards with magnifying glasses in my bed, please remember to take them back outside when you’re done.”

Oh, and, “Stop coming up to me and wiping your nose on my sleeve.”

Knowing that I was about to learn my gossip lesson, I quickly back-tracked. I knelt down to my son’s level and spoke to him of mutual respect, the dynamics of a male/female relationships. I brought up Martians and Venusians, King Solomon and his tasty gossip morsels. I used fast speech to jab at his pre-frontal cortex. I dropped four syllable boulders in front of his neural pathways. To overload his optical nerve, I gesticulated like a juggler with Parkinson’s. Anything to distract the arrival of those first five words to his hippocampus. Like a UPS central processing center, it’s the part of the brain where items get sorted and some are sent off to become long-term memories. I even said hippocampus a few times, just in case it is the hidden lair of the id.

I talked the rest of the way to school. I talked until his eyes crossed and birds flew around his head. I talked so much I was confident that I had rendered his brain incapable of remembering that I had said: she sure is bossy.

I kissed him off to school.

Three short hours later I walked back to pick him up.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“Mama, you were right. Natalie is bossy,” he said. My heart became an anvil and clanked on the floor. Blind-sided, I realized that my babbling had succeeded only in confusing my hippocampus.

“You didn’t call her that, did you?” I asked.

His eyes got big. “No, Mama.”

I sighed with relief.

“No, Mama, I told her that you said she was bossy.”

Curse You, Grocery Store Checkout Line!

grocerySo you’re at the grocery store and you’ve made it.

You’ve been down ever aisle. You’ve completed your list.

Your kids screamed only a couple of times and at glass shattering decibels rather than earth shattering. You are rounding the final aisle and heading toward the checkout.

The dreaded checkout.

The Sirens’ Pass in your Odyssey.

Can your children resist their calls? Will the whole family be lured into crashing or will you pass through unharmed?

Like Ulysses himself, you clip your children down into the cart, hoping they won’t be driven crazy by the sweet Siren song:

M&M’s, and Snickers, cookies too.

Put us in your belly. We’re so good for you.  

Grab onto your mommy, tell her true:

‘Give me all that candy, or I’ll cry boo-hoo.’  

Put us in your pocket, mommy’s out of view.

You want us in your belly. We’re good for you. 

At this very moment:

  • How many kids are throwing themselves on the dirty floor of a supermarket over a candy bar?
  • Or how many children are committing their first crime by stealing a pack of gum in the chaos of the checkout?
  • How many parents are taking the Lord’s name in vain while envisioning strangling their kids as they slide their credit card through the machine?

I understand that grocery stores and Super-Cheap-But-Actually-More-Expensive-Because-You-Buy-Lots-Of-Unnecessary-Crap-Mega Marts sell more items because they put bunches and bunches of cheap plastic toys and yummy gummy sweets right at the height of little arms sticking out of grocery carts.

I understand that it is my choice to not buy this crap for my kids. And I don’t EVER EVER give in to my kids’ requests for treats and toys (except sometimes). Yet they are still tempted by everything whenever we go to the store.

I can deal with all the junk hanging from aisles — just asking for kids to pull them down — while I try to choose the healthiest jelly from my 900 options. Hmmm … do I want no corn syrup, sugar or artificial sweetener but with MSG, or do I want no MSG but some sugar and red Dye #666? Decisions, decisions.

I can deal with it because I am standing behind the cart, and I can whisper into my kids’ tiny ears, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it; so you better sit down right now, pull that candied sushi out from under your shirt and behave!”

But, come on grocery mart, please don’t tease them with goodies the whole store, and then right when I really need the kids to behave put a gazillion candy bars next to them while I attempt to check out. I’m lugging around a 15-pound book here with 1,973,472 expired coupons in it. I don’t have time to monitor if my kids are committing petty theft.

I want to throw all that stuff in the dumpster and blow it up.

Last week, my kids screamed (at earth shattering decibels) the entire way home because they did not get any cookies at the checkout line. When I opened the car door to get out it was like I was blasting a horror flick inside. (Of course my neighbors and their whole extended family were outside.)

Curse you grocery store!

And just today I saw a 6-year-old boy running around the checkout area, football clutching a large bag of candy, while dodging his grandmother who was whisper-shouting to him, “She has already checked out. She’s leaving. You need to put that down.”

*****

I want a kid-friendly checkout line. No cookies. No candies. No balloons. No toys begging to be bought. The only thing to grab would be baby carrots and apples.

I want mirrors so my little narcissistic kids can make funny faces at themselves while I unload the cart. I want propaganda photos of Elmo enjoying his broccoli. I want evil looking elves with red eyes chanting, “We’re watching you.” (OK, maybe not the last few.)

The checkout line feels like a big old F-U to parents. We like our profits over your health.

I’m mostly a libertarian, so I don’t want a stupid law saying you can’t try to lure kids into diabetes with brightly colored sugar, but I would like for the groceries stores to do it on their own — for the happiness of their customers and for the sanity and health of the kids.

Stop trying to impulse sell candy to little people who do not yet have impulse control.

But I know we are a nation of greed, so even with the obesity epidemic I bet no grocery store would ever look past the bottom line in order to make their customers happier.

Unless … it made them more money.

I would switch stores if they had a kid-friendly checkout line. Maybe you would too.

Eat, Thank, Sleep

thank

When my boys were little — they are little now, but I mean littler — they would frequently wake me up in the middle of the night.

After I would get them settled back down, I found myself struggling to get back asleep. I was already exhausted from the day and I needed every minute of sleep I could get. Why the #*%# was my brain keeping me up?

A friend suggested that the next time it happened I should try listing all the things I was thankful for.

The next night I tried it and I was back asleep in two seconds.

At first I thought I fell asleep so quickly because listing things relaxed me, like counting sheep. But it felt more like when I was in college and my physics textbook was so dull, it was more powerful than any sleeping pill. There is no adrenaline rush from thinking about all your blessings.

I wondered: Am I really so bored by my own gratefulness? 

So when I was trying to decide what to write for my Thanksgiving column I worried if thankfulness was too boring of a subject. Nobody needs a sleep aid over Thanksgiving; everyone is already so pumped full of turkey and wine.

And truthfully I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving. I don’t eat turkey. I don’t like cranberry sauce. I’m allergic to sweet potatoes. But as I age, I do think there is a big place for a day of giving thanks. It’s important to feast, to savor and to enjoy family and friends.  It is important to have a day where we put away our desires and focus on all that we have, even if it seems like very little.

I don’t have any new perspectives on thankfulness, but I do want to encourage you to take the time to be thankful.

So this Thursday, after you are stuffed with tryptophan from the turkey and melatonin from all the red wine, if you are still awake list all that you are grateful for (like that someone invented TUMS). It’ll put you right to sleep.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

The Polygamists Clean House

clean

“You’re so thrifty,” she says, and I feel both pride and shame.

“You mean cheap,” I say.

“No, thrifty,” she says.

After my article Polygamy Ain’t Lookin’ So Bad, my friend Heather suggested we clean our houses together. She proposed that once a week we switch off going to one of our houses, and while the kids play, the two of us clean.

Her standards are too high. Her kids always have clean fingernails. She changes their sheets on a weekly basis rather than a have-been-peed-on basis. She doesn’t even let her kids eat honey sandwiches on the couch.

She owns a beautiful, comfortable home that looks tidy even if there are kids’ toys on the floor. The dishes are done. The counters are wiped, as are the noses.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a very good housekeeper. I have always kept a “messy but not dirty” house. This policy quickly became out of control with kids because they keep a “messy and dirty” house. Two messys and one dirty, plus some sticky, creates mayhem.

My dream cleaning partner is someone with very low standards for her own house, but a very good work ethic, which (as it turns out) is an accurate description of myself. (I am a narcissist, so I turn all cons into pros.)

But who can say “no” to having someone help them clean? Not me.

We cleaned my house first.

Everyone I tell this story to asks me: Did I clean before she came to clean? Yes. Frantically. For a week.

That first cleaning day, we started in my kitchen. We cleaned for two hours straight and only got half the kitchen done. We wiped five years of grimy fingerprints, dog drool, science experiment splatters and UFOs (Unidentified Fetid Objects) off my cabinets.

And then she decided we should clean behind my stove. I tried to dissuade her. She persisted. So we pulled out the stove. Behind it was a Mount Everest of food, utensils, and crayons — all matted together with dog hair and jelly. Exposed to the light, the mountain seemed to puff up, full of pride. That is until it caught sight of the broom. Sensing that its time had come, it turned and saluted us with a boney spaghetti noodle arm, and then proceeded to sing a hauntingly mournful version of “On Top of Spaghetti,” slowly fading until we had swept up the very last of its crumbs.

I was humiliated. I wanted to cry. Watching a mountain of debris come to life from under my stove made me want to run and hide under the bed. Then I stopped only because I was too scared to find out what is under there.

Heather could see the panic in my eyes. “STOP!” she grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me like a ragdoll. “If you apologize for one more thing, I am leaving,” she said. “It is OK. We are just cleaning. Stop worrying.”

It is hard letting someone (who is not required by law to love you) into your house. There are secrets in your house that are usually masked to the casual guest, like the one that caused Heather to comment on how thrifty I am, because I use shower liners instead of waterproof pads on my sons’ beds — a fact that no one would ever know unless they helped me change the kids’ sheets (forget I ever revealed that).

It can be awkward at first to let people into your life, but ultimately hugely rewarding. I’m so glad Heather suffered through the first week. Now we can clean my whole house in two hours.

We work. We chat. We sweat. The kids play. We feel accomplished.

And I think you would enjoy it if you tried it too.

The Herbivore vs. the Carnivore

veg

My 4-year-old is a very good eater but he does not like vegetables … so I tried something new.

Recently I read an article on how to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

The article suggests having your children pick vegetables out at the grocery store and then cook them with you. It concludes that this process will magically convince your kid to eat the vegetables they have cooked.

I liked the idea of cooking with my 4-year-old. It would be good for him to knowingly eat better, and it would make me less annoying because, like a parrot, I am constantly saying, “You need to eat your veggies to grow big and strong.”

His one and only vegetable.

So I go to the store, by myself, very enthused to add some new vegetables to our palate. If you’ll notice, I have already broken the first rule of the article. I picked out our new vegetable myself.

So what do I choose, for our first try?

Before I tell you, let me give you some excuses. I have recently been eating the heck out of some vegetables I never liked before just because they are roasted. Roasted rutabaga, roasted carrots, roasted broccoli. (And roasted garlic with a whole loaf of French bread. Does that count?). So a friend kept mentioning that she could eat this vegetable every night, it is so good. And this is what led me to believe that maybe if I roast it, this vegetable will be super yummy too.

So I choose … Brussels sprouts.

What? You are probably saying to yourself. What a fool! Why would she pick such a vegetable?

I am asking myself the same question.

But our culinary adventure begins very positive. I get my son to wash the Brussels sprouts and help me cut the tough ends off. We smash garlic cloves. He stirs in the olive oil. He adds the kosher salt and pinch of pepper. He is giddy and saying we are making vegetable cake.

“I will like it,” he says. “I will like it.”

Score, I think while noting a small voice in the back of my head that is still questioning: Why start with Brussels sprouts?

Our dinner for the night consists of Caesar salad, roasted Brussels sprouts and sautéed chicken. My 2-year-old eats only the Brussels sprouts and the salad. My 4-year-old eats only the chicken.

Finally the moment we have all anticipated. I get myself a heaping plate of Brussels sprouts. I cut a small piece for my 4-year-old. “OK. Ready?” I ask like we are about to jump out of a plane together.

We put the Brussels sprouts in our mouths. In slow motion, I see him gag but he keeps chewing. He gags again, and ahhhhhh, he throws up his whole dinner.

I jump up. Grab his plate. Rinse it off. So much for that.

In hindsight his dramatic response shouldn’t have been a shock. I vividly remember a similar incident when my father demanded that I try a chicken gizzard. I can still taste the musty, crunchy organ … and well, you know the ending. Of course, I was 13, not 4 when it happened.

I became a vegetarian the next day.

But still, it caught me by surprise this morning when I saw my son’s Facebook Jr. status. It simply read: CARNIVORE.

How Buschie the Rally Squirrel Made Me Love George W. Bush

sports

Sports fans are born in October.

I’m not into sports. I have even been made fun of for my lack of sports knowledge, just because one time I accidentally called the Stanley Cup the Big Trophy.

My friend, who was presumably trying to help, told me to learn a few good sports words like nickel defense and special teams. She told me to confidently say those words and then quickly change the subject. That way, she said, no one will ever know that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

The problem is sports vernacular is complicated, intricate and masculine. And I think men don’t want women to understand it, or else they wouldn’t make it so obscure. But this fall I became determined to become a legitimate sports enthusiast.

I believe it is important for me to show my sons that women can participate in an intelligent, fast-paced, sports commentary. So I have been studying hard, and I think I have infiltrated the secret male club.

The catalyst for my big change was that my husband’s favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, made it to the World Cup in batball.

The winning started when a simple carpenter threw a three-hit lockout to win the game against the Philadelphia Mares. It is great that the owners and players agreed to have the championship games because I thought they were in the middle of a shutout.

Like any good sports aficionado, I am diligently practicing my superstitions; I spit into my hand before I pick up my children, I’m growing my rally mustache, I wear the same outfit every night for the game (freshly laundered), and I do not talk about fight club.

What I do talk about is the great history of the Cardinals’ longtime mascot, Buschie the Rally Squirrel, who was named after former president George W. Bush because he used to own the team.

It was a pretty hard to figure out how the World Cup works. At first I thought we had won, but then we lost, and then we won, but then we lost again twice. So I’m not really sure about that, but apparently it is played seven times and then they add up the total score of each team. Next they divide it by pi and they get the Arby Eye of each player. They then subtract any mistakes made and get the ERA. Well you know how it is … there is a lot of math.

All in all, I am feeling pretty good about the Cardinals winning, especially since in 2002 Babe Ruth put a curse on the Texas Strangers because they wouldn’t let him bring his pet, Billy the Goat, to a game, even though he had spent $100,000 on the goat’s ticket.

Once the World Cup is over, I am venturing into soccer (Fun Fact: That is what sophisticated Europeans call our football) and I will be rooting for our local team, the Tampa Bay Bucks. (If you are not from here, you may not know that a Bay Buck is the nickname for an endangered mammal that lives in our waterways, also known as a manatee.) Go, Bay Bucks!

There you have it! I, the loyal wife, the once sports ignoramus, have turned into a witty and informed sports fanatical. (Watch out ESP!)

Good Luck, Cardinals!

Oops. I mean break a leg.

Candy, Candy, Candy, Candeeeeey!


A few empty calories for your brain.candy

Candy is the Currency of Childhood

The other day I was worrying about money, being greedy, wanting more, and I looked over at my happy children and thought, “Ahh, to be like that again. Not greedy.”

Oh, but then I realized they are greedy.

Greedy for candy.

And once a year, the whole nation obliges them. All they have to do is wear anything — something strange, wild, fantastical — ring the door bell and loads of candy comes flowing into the streets.

Social Contract

When my husband and I lived in Savannah, GA, none of the kids dressed up for Halloween. All night I opened the door for just plain old kids begging for candy.

“And what are you dressed up as?” I asked every one of them.

“Just give us your candy, lady,” they said.

“I put razor blades in it!” I would scream after them as they left my house.

I felt like Mr. Wilson, Dennis the Menace’s grouchy neighbor. This is the social contract. I did my job. You do your job. You don’t have to spend any money. Just cut two holes in your mother’s best sheet, put it over your head and you’re done. (IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to draw a big ghost mouth on the sheet, or else you’ll resemble a lower ranking member of the KKK.)

For three years I opened my door expecting a costume. Why wasn’t my annoyance persuading them to dress up?  

Finally on the fourth year, I sat on my neighbor’s front porch with a glass of wine and laughed at all the regular kids walking around (while praying they wouldn’t egg my empty house).

Costume = The Candy

When my husband was 4 years old, he woke up in the middle of the night (say 11 p.m. in November) and thought, “I know, if I put on a costume, then I can go get candy from the neighbors.”

“Costume? Costume?” He searched his 4-year-old mind.

He decided on chimney sweep, took off his pajamas and rolled himself around in the fireplace ashes.

Imagine opening your door at 11 p.m. to a small naked child covered in soot. The neighbors screamed and called 911 to report a house on fire.

Poor kid got a whooping instead of the CANDY.

Where is the Household Goods Section in this Candy Store?

“Where stool?” my 2-year-old son asks me while he searches for the step stool. (So he could get into something that he was not supposed to, I’m sure.)

I told him I didn’t know where it was, and he should go look for it. He comes back 30 seconds later.

“I know,” he says in a sing-songy voice, jumping up and down smiling. “Buy new one at CANDY STORE!” (Throwing his hands above his head when he says candy store.)

Like he could trick me: Oh well, there are no stools in here but since we are already here I guess I should buy you some CANDY.

Just Call Me Judge Mommy

judge mommy

There’s no one right way to raise a child — so why am I passing judgment on anyone’s parenting choices?

According to my 11th-grade history paper, Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, was an English minster who came to Plymouth in 1631. Upon arrival, he immediately began expelling congregants from the church for not being “godly” enough. After a sufficient number people were removed, they turned around and kicked him out of town. He moved to a new church in Salem and started the process all over again.

After he was ousted from Salem, he colonized a new area named Providence. He decided that church would be between him and God, and he wouldn’t concern himself with anyone else’s choices; therefore persons of any religion could settle in Rhode Island, making it the first colony with religious freedom.

I’m not sure if this is the truth or a 17-year-old’s simplified revision, but either way the story has stayed with me. Williams’ lesson was mind your own business, or judge not, lest ye be judged. He found freedom for himself by not caring what others did around him.

Help, I’ve Got a Log in My Eye

Recently, a friend — who works full time, goes to school and has two toddlers (one who is still nursing) — told me her oldest falls asleep on the couch each night in front of the TV.

“Oh my,” I thought self-righteously. “These people need to get a schedule, get some regularity.” I spent the rest of the night imagining a plan of action to help her get her life on track.

It wasn’t until the next afternoon at nap time when I laid my youngest son down in bed and turned on a DVD that I realized I was a huge, possibly demented, hypocrite.

Even still, upon my realization, I started rationalizing why it was OK for me to do it and not her.

“But he watches just five minutes of the same show every day and falls asleep while we cuddle,” I think. “It’s different.”

“You’re not different,” I reply.

“But it is an educational DVD,” I demand.

“It’s the same,” I say.

“But I’m just doing it in the day, not at night,” I beg.

“It’s the same,” I say.

“But I’m better!” I scream back.

“A better mother? Is that what this is all about?” I ask.

“Maybe,” I reply sheepishly.

“Well, I bet she doesn’t write about talking to herself,” I say.

Paradox of Choice

I always imagine that if I lived in a little tribe, I would go to the old wise matriarch and I would ask her what to do when a kid screams and screams at nap time for so long that you, just for a second, wonder if you put your hands around his little neck and squeeze he might magically fall asleep. And she would tell me what she did when she had little ones and what her mother did and her mother’s mother, and I would do the same. (Whilst being annoyed that I had to follow her decision.) Then if that didn’t work I would go to the medicine man, and he would ask the gods what to do, and they would tell him, and I would do that. No other choices.

But instead, when deciding the best way to raise our kids, there is no definitive place to turn. We have a huge parenting section at the bookstore. We have a million blogs to read. We have advice from every other parent and grandparent. And everyone is saying something different.

But what is the right way? I find myself unable to accept that there could be two right ways to do the same thing. I find myself in a battle of “Mommying Right.” Instead of accepting other moms’ different choices, I feel like I am in a mometition … errr, I mean competition.

Since, internally, I don’t know if I’m doing a good job, I strive toward outwardly looking like the perfect, happy, creepy family. I want my kids to eat food that we grow in our own organic garden, and to wear clothes that I hand-sew on my 150-year-old Singer sewing machine, using thread that I spun from the wool of my sheep. Even in my coveralls, composting our sewage, I want to look gorgeous as I walk the perfect line between the Virgin and the Whore. When my family smiles, I want you to believe you heard a traingle ding at the sight of our perfect white teeth.

Wrap all that up and put a bow on it, then present me with a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (Ding!)

But I HATE being around people like that. I loathe the woman who does everything more beautifully than you. I like to see a glimpse of reality, a messy house, an unwashed kid, a used disposable diaper thrown into the wash. I enjoy being with women who will admit that they have yelled at their kid for peeing on the floor two minutes after asking them if they had to go, or confess that they have spanked in anger, or acknowledge that they often imagine running away to the Caribbean. I crave honesty.

No one wants to spend time with perfection, so why am I striving for it? Am I really so insecure? Do I think if the kids turn out rotten, people will say, “Well their mother never let them eat artificial coloring, so it can’t be her fault that they joined the Jonestown Revival Cult.”

Providence, Rhode Island

Parenting isn’t about doing it right. And there is no perfect. There is no One Right Way. There is only different. Just because I think a particular issue is important, doesn’t mean that it is. So why am I passing judgment on anyone’s choices? Like Roger Williams, I need to focus on my own kids and let everyone else choose for themselves.

Easier said than done, but I think from now on whenever I start judging someone’s parenting, I’m going to start thinking, “Rhode Island, Rhode Island.”

Just to put myself back into a state of freedom.

A Mother’s Revenge

but why

“Why do you want revenge, Mom? Why? Why?”

3-YEAR-OLD: Why is the light on?

MOM: (sweetly) So I can see what I am doing.

3-YEAR-OLD: What are you doing?

MOM: Packing for our trip, remember?

3-YEAR-OLD: Are we ready to go?

MOM: (nicely) No, I am still packing.

3-YEAR-OLD: With the light on?

MOM: Uh huh.

3-YEAR-OLD: What is light?

MOM: Ummmm, what do you think?

3-YEAR-OLD: I don’t remember. Are we ready to go?

MOM: No, I’m still packing.

3-YEAR-OLD: But why do you need the light on?

MOM: So I can see my clothes that I want to put into my suitcase.

3-YEAR-OLD: Why do you need them in your suitcase?

MOM: So we can go on our trip.

3-YEAR-OLD: And you need the light on?

MOM: Yes.

3-YEAR-OLD: Can I turn it off?

MOM: Well, I still need it on, so I can see what I am packing.

3-YEAR-OLD: Why?

MOM: (a little agitated) I just told you why. What did I say?

3-YEAR-OLD: I can’t remember. Are we ready to go?

MOM: No, as you can see, I am still packing.

3-YEAR-OLD: And you need the light on?

MOM: Yes, I do.

3-YEAR-OLD: Why?

MOM: Why do you think?

3-YEAR-OLD: I can’t remember. Why do you still need to pack?

MOM: OK, no more “why” questions.

3-YEAR-OLD: Mom?

MOM: Yes?

3-YEAR-OLD: How is the light on?

MOM: ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH (huffs out of the room)

13 Years Later 

MOM: How was your day?

16-YEAR-OLD: Fine.

MOM: What did you do?

16-YEAR-OLD: Nothing.

MOM: Did you learn anything fun in school?

16-YEAR-OLD: No.

MOM: Are you doing anything fun in your art class?

16-YEAR-OLD: No.

MOM: Science class?

16-YEAR-OLD: No.

MOM: Reading anything good in English?

16-YEAR-OLD: I don’t know.

MOM: What about that girl Shelly, have you seen her lately?

16-YEAR-OLD: (a little agitated) No, Mom.

MOM: She was nice. Are you going to see her soon?

16-YEAR-OLD: I don’t know.

MOM: Do you have anything coming up this weekend?

16-YEAR-OLD: No.

MOM: What about next week, are you doing anything exciting in school next week?

16-YEAR-OLD: ARGHHHHHHHHH. (huffs out of the room.)

MOM: (to herself) Hee-hee. (Loudly) What about college? Decided on a college?