A Penny Saved

The other day, Younger and my husband joined me in the cleaning of the house. Because Younger wanted a video game and the only way I agreed to take him to buy a video game was in a trade — his effort for my driver’s license.

His dad, on the other hand, is just an easy mark.

But as I rushed down the stairs in one of my many trips between floors, I stumbled to an awkward halt on the bottom stop.

My husband, one hand automatically and rhythmically and blindly pushing a mop over the hardwood floor, glanced up from the video he was watching on the phone in his other hand. “What?” As I blinked at him, trying to find my words, he added, a bit defensively, “I’m mopping.”

“Yes, you are,” I agreed, nodding my head. “You are mopping. Yes, you are.”

And I turned into the hallway without finding any additional words. Because help is, well, help, even if it is cheap help.

And I guess I can’t say he wasn’t worth the money.

Well, I could say it.

But I  won’t.

The Golden Years

A new video game was released on Tuesday. The same day Younger had to return to school after a short spring break.

He started coughing last Friday. “I think I will be sick on Tuesday, Mom.” Hack, hack. “I can feel it.”

“You’re going to school on Tuesday, Younger.”

All weekend, he kept trying. “I can feel it, Mom. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sick on Tuesday.”

He went to school on Tuesday.

And Wednesday.

Because I am a good parent.

Today, as I was packing my lunch (I also returned to classes this week after spring break), I mumbled, “Not sure I feel great today.”

“Me, neither, Mom,” Younger immediately responded. “I think we should stay home today.”

Because Younger is a bad influence.

Maybe one of these days he will be the good parent.

And I can be the bad influence.

Ah, yes, the “Golden Years.”

Because feeding our children what they once dished to us is golden.

What Does Tomorrow Matter

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2006. Younger would have been seven years old . . .

Younger does not like chicken.  Not even a little.  And mashed potatoes are only a little higher on his list.  So, yesterday, at school, for lunch, he ate grapes.  Then he wanted Pop Tarts immediately upon his arrival at home.  Instead, I fixed him a plate of leftovers – meatloaf and corn.  And, later, when he was still hungry, he consumed a corn muffin.

I thought he had been appeased.  But, apparently, I was temporarily insane, from which I was cured at bedtime when Younger’s caterwauling echoed through the house.

“Younger.”  My husband stuck his head in the boy’s bedroom.  “What is wrong now?”

“I’m hungry,” he wailed.

“I’m sorry,” my husband responded, leaving the child to persevere in his attempt at pitiful moaning.

But after a few more minutes of his racket, I climbed the stairs.  “Younger, I want you to stop.  Now.  Or you won’t be able to play Nintendo tomorrow.”

“What does tomorrow matter,” he cried dramatically,  “when I’ll starve to death tonight?”

And it was at that point that even I started to doubt he would live until morning.

The Questions

I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Of course, Elder and Younger were home for the week, so I found myself asking all kinds of interesting questions —

How did you fit all those clothes and your sheets into one small basket?

Why can’t you guys hook your two game systems into different televisions instead of arguing over one?

Are we really having this argument . . . in my bedroom . . . at midnight?

What if I hadn’t noticed the Cheetos that were mixed in with your clothes and washed them?

Why is my sofa turned backwards and shoved against the door?

How many pairs of socks do you think you have lost beneath your sink?

How is asking you for a bagel insulting?

Do you not see the laundry basket? Is that the problem?

How old are the two of you?

Why would you throw the cat onto the dog?

Did you know you can drink from the same glass more than once?

Twenty and seventeen? And you’re still arguing over video games?

How am I supposed to fit all these clothes and sheets back into one small basket?

Why is one week so short?

And now, alone in my silent house, I only have one question —

How long until Christmas?






Deader than Dead

Elder decided to show his grandma the complexities of one of his video games, one built on the concept of the undead.

“Ah,” he interrupted his own stream of explanations to complain. “I died.”

“I thought you were already dead?” I questioned.

“Yeah,” he agreed.

“But they killed you.”


“So, you’re just still dead, right?”

“No, I came back to life.”

“So . . . you are alive.”

“No, I’m dead.”

“So, you were dead, they killed you, you died, but you came back to life, but you’re still dead.”


Younger, recognizing my increasing frustration at the Abbott and Costello routine, offered, “Don’t worry, Mom. It’s all canon.”

I love my boys.

I don’t understand them.

But I love them.


Elder is home for the summer.

How do I know?

Let’s see . . .

By the sofa that is now positioned four feet from the television and littered with video game controllers.

By the glasses marred with chocolate milk rings and scattered throughout my house.

By my tripping over boxes and books as I try to navigate my hallway.

By my doubled laundry pile.

And, most importantly, by the nightly ritual of him appearing at my bedside for a hug, accompanied by a dip of his head so I can drop a kiss on his blonde curls.

Elder is home.

Where he belongs.

Until August.



A Losing Argument

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2001 when Elder was not quite five…

Last night, my husband was playing a video game, while Elder watched, constantly asking questions. Eventually, my husband tried to rely on one standard answer — “I don’t know, Elder.”

But Elder was having nothing of it and continued to pepper Daddy with questions.

“Daddy, what is that?” Elder asked.

“I don’t know, Elder,” my husband replied.

“No, but, Daddy, that thing right by the ball. What is it?”

“I don’t know, Elder.”

“Daddy, did you see the ball?”


“Well, what is the thing right beside it?”

“I don’t know, Elder.”

“Daddy,” Elder cried in frustration. “It’s a fence. Right? It’s fence, isn’t it, Daddy?”

“I guess,” my husband responded, exasperated. “If it’s a fence, it’s a fence.”

Elder paused. “No, it’s not, Daddy.”

We always knew that any argument with a four-year-old was a losing one.

We just didn’t realize that we would still be wrong, even when they supplied the answer.