Archive for April, 2015

Are You Your Parent’s Favorite Kid? ( G-uno)

This is a subject that I suspect all families talk about maybe even argue about. It’s something my family does a lot! I know your not suppose to have favorites, especially when it comes to your kids, but I can guarantee you most of us do! I remember watching a movie once where the Mom had taken each of her kids aside, and made them promise her not to tell their siblings that they were her “Favorite” child. In the movie the Mom passes away, and one by one each child reveals that Mom made them promise not to tell, but they were her “Favorite” kid.

If you ask me it was a pretty stellar idea! It was hilarious to see the reactions of each kid when they realized what Mom had done. It kind of makes you wonder if she thought each one would keep her special secret going through life proudly knowing they were the chosen one, or did she have an epic sense of humor relishing the thought that her little angels would not keep her secret, amused by the idea of the self humbling moment when they realized Mom was quite the character.

Either way I have to say I like it! It drives our Mom crazy when we all fight over who is the favorite with each parent. My vote still lies with the “Grill Cheese Brother.” This would anger our baby brother, but he gets the title of being our Dad’s favorite. I of course proclaim that I am both of their favorites just because I’m the oldest, and I know that it makes them all second guess the situation. This amuses me! My husband is both of his parent’s “Favorite” child, and this does not amuse my sister or brother-in-law at all! His parent’s are not good at hiding the one thing a parent should hide from their kids. This also amuses me!

Now before you all form some serious judgments out there about this “Favorite” kid thing let me just say as a parent the truth is we don’t actually favor one child over another (go ahead breathe a secret sigh of relief), but we do favor certain characteristics in each child. Yes, I know all the only children out there who have never had to share the wealth between your parents affections are feeling a little smug, so here’s a little something to keep your ego in check. Your parents have things they dislike about your personality. Yep, that’s right being the only child does not exclude you from that club.

As for all the skeptics out there who think I’m about to pander to my kids egos please keep in mind my blog is a secret that g2, and I decided to keep from our families & friends so I can dish all the truth I want. I will tell you both one my favorite things about each of my kids, and one my not so favorite things about them.

Let’s start with my oldest my Daughter.One my favorite things about her is that she ALWAYS tells the truth! I know you think no one always tells the truth, but this kid is really different. Example- once a neighbor called to tell me she had refused to follow her request, and proceeded to issue some rather choice profanities. I always ask my children their side of any issue before I decide to deal with them, so I asked her if she had done this. She said yes I did, and I also said this to her… She knew she would be punished, but simply refused to back down on her stance! I had such a hard time punishing someone who would always straight-up tell you what they had done wrong in spite of the consequences. She is one of those rare souls who lives her life on her own terms. One of my least favorite things about her is that she can be relentless once she has made up her mind about something. I’m talking about being immovable like a mountain!

My Son is my baby. One of my favorite things about him is openness to experiencing new things with incredible tenacity! We are talking super-sized tenacity. Example- once he decided he was going to run a full marathon (Century Marathon, in New York), we are talking about 26.2 miles. The thing you need to know is that he had never run a marathon before in his entire 21 years of life! No training, and had never ran more that 5 miles distance collectively. He goes to New York, and takes 2nd place in his age category! He has always been the kind of person who sets his mind to do something, and then he does it. He lives his life wide open, with no fear of failure. One of my least favorite things about him is procrastination towards the details in his life that bore him. He will put those details off to the very last second!

I could bore you with endless lists of my favorite, and not-so- favorite things that make each of my kids my “Favorite” the lists are endless. The one detail I want you to know is that being their Mom has absolutely been my “Favorite.” 😉

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The Thing About Daughters… (G-uno)

I was looking around on my FB page, and I saw this quote posted on my page from my daughter. “You are my best friend, my human diary, and my other half. You mean the world to me, and I love you.” You have to love that about life. One moment you’re sitting in front of your computer, coffee in hand thinking it’s just an ordinary day then the unexpected pops up reminding you that every day has the potential to be anything but ordinary.

I immediately thought of g2, and Gratuitous Rex! If you haven’t had a chance to check out his blog you are missing out. G2 wrote a post (Together In Silence) where g2 very openly discussed somethings that were perplexing with Spawn. I know that it is not  an issue to worry about, but I could see that it was something that weighed heavily on g2’s mind. I was thinking about that when I saw what my daughter had posted on my FB page.

The reason I thought about Gratuitious Rex was that I had just read another one of his posts that talked about coincidences. This is one of my favorite things he likes to post about on his blog. I had just left him a comment saying that I loved his references to coincidences, and that I refer to this kind of thing as signs from the Universe. The Universe’s way of keeping us on track through our journey in life. Still with me here?

I was trying to think of something to share with g2 to give some support regarding the situation with Spawn. When I saw the quote from my daughter it instantly pointed out what I could share with g2. This is the part where Gratuitous Rex would ask “Coincidence?”

What I wanted to share with g2 is the fact that when my daughter was about the same age as Spawn, I often felt perplexed about how she interpreted my reactions towards her, and vice versa. There were many times when our line of thinking was so far apart I wondered if things I had said, or done were causing her harm in some way that I was oblivious to. The truth is that no matter how we interpret our little interactions/moods, our bond was based on some incredible love. Our children know we love them.

They learn from our interactions who we are. We learn about who they are. Then comes this amazing moment when they become adults, and everything falls beautifully into place. Just when you think you couldn’t possibly love them more you do! Coincidence? 😉

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together in silence (g2)

It will be one of “those” evenings, where my kid and I are just too much on edge to not get on each other’s nerves. Because of work, I’m up to a 2 pepcid, 1 alka seltzer and a few tums a day kind of habit. Ulcers are lovely things, you’re never completely free of them even when they heal.

Spawn is still not happy with school and ready to see the end of the year. I would attribute some of the emotional flux to be with hormones, Spawn is a bit ahead of the game for their age… I am hoping this will mean a quicker return to normalcy/sanity at the end.

I have noticed over the years that my kid also tends to have a few very distorted views of their past. I have been accused of being a butcher when it has come to splinters or loose teeth or just about anything you normally run to your parent to help with. The thing is… I’ve always had this theory about this kind of stuff.

Whenever there were shots, whenever there was a point where my kid hurting was just a fact of whatever had to go on, I let the nurses take my kid. I was the hero at the end, I was to be the rescuer, no way was I going to hold them down so my kid could get four shots in their little legs at once. Hell no.

I have always been so nervous about hurting my kid that I only once allowed a cousin to treat a rather large series of splinters in the bottom of Spawn’s foot. It was already painful. Sadly, this particular cousin apparently had the touch and technique of Woody Woodpecker on an 8-ball of coke with garden shears.

However, the prospect of me fixing their splinters seemed to just make it worse, so I had to go so far as to hold down their foot to pull them all out…then I when i was done, I just continued to hold them… and Spawn flailed, and screamed, and flailed. It took a good three minutes until they realized I hadn’t moved for a while and was staring at them wondering when they would notice I’d long finished.

Same with teeth. My best friend and Spawn’s godparent, BFH, is probably the only person who has ever managed to get Spawn to allow them to wiggle their teeth. They have a technique where they take those long fingers and wrap around the tooth and twist, lightning fast. Sadly, Spawn was quicker. They realized what was going on and jerked out of their grip, but BFH made a bigger success than I ever did. Only once has Spawn allowed me to touch one tooth, I very lightly moved it forward and backward once, just to see how far it was coming. That was it.

Even now, we had two big teeth that Spawn won’t wiggle and I have threatened with a hammer before I will pay a dentist to do it. But if anyone asked Spawn… I have done nothing but caused them pain when they have had loose teeth or splinters, I have ripped out half the hair on their head when I’ve combed it… I’m nothing but mean, all the time. Just ask.

This was the subject of the argument on the way home today. I was short fused, hungry and fed up. Spawn thankfully offered to cook, and then spent the next hour playing with the cat, so that didn’t help either. I have resigned to watching Constantine while its still free on Hulu and letting the awesome punk music they keep playing soothe my soul so I don’t have to interact. Spawn has this method of being an absolute shit until I’m in a crap mood and had enough, then they lay it on thick trying to be nice and whining that I’m ignoring them….I’m the bad guy.

But it does make me wonder… how fallible are our memories? Why does Spawn remember me in such negative ways and how much of my own memories are altered either due to an emotion, perception or my imagination rewriting things? Were things as bad/good as I remember? Did I completely rewrite something or did I just give it a tweak?

With my upbringing and Grand’s ability to alter reality to their own will, I was always intensely sensitive about being as accurate as possible, only claim what you absolutely know for sure, admit what you don’t. But I was a kid too, with the same type of rational as my kid to some degree… why would they remember something being in a way that I know to be untrue?

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Mornings With My Guys (G-uno)

Yes that crazy lady in her pajamas, uncombed hair, and socked feet, wildly waving her arms out the lowered drivers window this morning was me! I am by nature a morning person. I always have been, but some mornings can really deviate off their usually likable flow. Today happened to be one of those kind of  mornings. It’s about 8:10 in the morning right now, in my world that’s when my working part of my day begins.

The part of the morning that I usually love starts at about 5:00. I know some of you are like g2, and are creatures of the night, but for some reason I am at my best when the rooster crows. The thing I love about my current job is that it starts later in the day so I get a chance to see my guys off in the morning, hang out in my yard cup of with my coffee in hand while I start a load of laundry. Then grab a shower clean- up our house a bit, prep what I plan to make for dinner, so when I get home I can just start cooking. In between that time I read your posts, and try to write one of my own.

This morning did not quite flow in its usual way. As soon as the alarm goes off I roll over, and try to persuade my husband to stay home an abandon all responsibilities. He gives me a list of all the things that need to be done at his job tries to climb out of the bed to get dressed. This is the part where I latch onto him like a Lemur monkey dragging him back into our cozy bed, this time I try to persuade him with some morning groping or cuddling. Occasionally I pretend to be a lady wrestler, and I pin him down. Depending on how early his morning meetings are a lot of times I can convince him to stay with me a while longer.

I am like a child this way, but this has been our routine for 30 plus years. Then I get up make us some breakfast while he gets dressed for work. periodically in between making breakfast, and lunches I run back and forth to where he is to continue my plea for why he should stay home, and play. We eat, and talk about our day while the news plays in the background. Then he heads for the door, I of course grab him for one final crack at trying to convince him not to go. Next I run through the checklist of everything  he might possibly forget be for making his long commute to work.

This morning I was a little more rushed because he had an early meeting out-of-town, and I forgot to go over the checklist. I kiss my guy goodbye, and he left. I then realize he has left his phone behind, so I frantically try to catch him, but he is already on his way. I know this blunder will ruin his day in more than one way so I grab my keys, run to my car to try to head him off before he gets to the high-way. I am in my pajamas, hair standing up, in my socked feet!

I manage to catch him right before he’s about to get on the highway. I roll down my window (I am at the adjacent stoplight) leaning out the window, beeping my horn, waving my arms to get his attention to pull over. We live in a large city so at that moment I have a lot of people’s attention. He see’s this display of madness, and pulls over. I circle around the traffic filled intersection, and he jumps out of his truck to come to me. I hand his phone out the window to him, and he’s grinning at me, and says ” You forgot to ask me if I had my phone, and I told you I can’t stay home and play today.” 😉

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So The Grill Cheese Sandwich Brother Came Home Today (G-uno)

Try to imagine our tiny incredibly adorable Mom who has been told by my sister, other brother, and myself that our “Grill Cheese Brother” (who lives overseas with his wife, and 2  children, & hasn’t been stateside since 2008 for our Dad’s funeral) has contacted us, requesting that only she answer the door to sign for her Mother’s Day gift. Then she hears the knock at her front door. I am standing in front of the window as she looks out to see who is knocking, blocking her view of “The Grill Cheese Brother.” She opens the door to greet me, and she see’s him standing there in front of her instead of me!

There wasn’t a dry eye in the whole group. She was just so happy, there were no words as he reached his arms out to embrace her tiny little frame. She reached back for him, cradling him in the soft way that only a mother could embrace her child. I was completely overwhelmed by my own emotions, we all were. They looked like one of the illustrations from the book “Love You Forever” written by Robert Munsch, when the grown-up son cradles his now older mother.

Sadly this visit was only for one precious day, and one night. Our brother was sent to Chicago as part of his training for his first job as a civilian after 20 years of military service. He flew all the way across the U.S. on his one day off from his training to surprise Mom, and be with us. We did not waste a single second lamenting over the shortness of our time together. We cooked, we ate, we laughed, we talked, we held onto each other emotionally the way our Mom, and our brother had held onto one another when she first opened the door, and saw her oldest son standing there before her very eyes.

In case you were wondering there were no “Boy Cheese Sandwiches” this visit. 😉

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my hero (g2)

I think if most people were asked “who’s your hero?,” the responses would vary from the bizarre to the humorous to the touching. For all the superhero underoos I went through as child, I would never consider any of them my hero. For me, the person who most comes to mind when I say the word “hero,” is my best friend, BFH.

I met my best friend when I was fifteen in high school. I was somewhat standoffish and had few friends, having come through the years dealing with mostly the superficially and perpetually popular wannabes. I had a very disgruntled view of most people and didn’t really think they had anything going for them beneath a very shallow surface. After getting burned one too many times, I was ready to write off the masses. I was the kid with dyed hair and combat boots… in the South. Not many people wanted to deal with me either.

BFH and I had homeroom together as our last names were in the same portion of the alphabet. We also had a common classmate, Steve, also in our homeroom. For the most part, BFH and I did not interact with one another, but we did interact with Steve. BFH was metal, I was indie. We just didn’t have a lot to talk about. We came to find out later that both of us were well aware that Steve was gay and was having a hard time admitting it to even himself. So we both politely ignored it and let him pretend all he needed.

At first, conversations with BFH were mostly about Steve (when he was absent… which was often) and speculating when he would finally accept himself, hoping that he didn’t become suicidal because of it and wondering if his family would be supportive. BFH has known Steve longer than I, and had better insight on it. Over time, our conversations morphed about people, life, relationships, love, existentialism, extrasensory, the future of the universe, drugs, the seen and unseen, music, past hurts, current irritations, current crushes and all the things most important to a teenager. I still amazes me today that either one of us could shoot out three pages of front and back written material to one another, but those are the days of the written word and we only had homeroom as a common class.

The moment I would say BFH moved from acquaintance to best friend would be the moment when one of us told Steve to move out of the way because we wanted to talk to the other. At this point, I’m not entirely sure who said it. BFH thinks it was them, I think it was me. It matters little at this point.

BFH was going through the aftermath of the ending of a close friendship that had been betrayed, so it was a gradual sussing of one another. Kind of “you seem like you’re on my page, but I’m a pessimist, so I’m doubtful.” I didn’t find out until later what happened in BFH’s case, but ironically felt empathy for the lost friend over time. Why? Well…

Over the years, I came to notice it. Many times my invites to hang out or go somewhere were refused. I was very emphatically told I was never to call BFH except for a specific set of hours and only those hours, it was preferred that BFH call me. There was more than once when BFH would come to school with very distinguishable fingermarks around their neck. There would be distinct impressions of where the nails had been buried. Tender places on the back of the head, the shoulders, etc that were only noticed when something, anything, brushed against them. I came to understand it was their dad behind it.

I also came to understand the fierce love and defensiveness BFH had for their father, at the same time marbled with anger towards him. The friend who had betrayed BFH had done what every single afterschool special tells a person to do when they see abuse… tell an authority figure, report it, drag it out in the open… they will thank you… right. It had created a big fat mess, BFH denied anything ever happened and it finally went away. BFH cast their friend out of their life and I’m sure, to this day, probably harbors some anger toward them still.

The problem being is that no one ever asks… what happens after? Kids love their parents, and this parent was the sole support of his family. What the hell did that benefit? Yes, it royally sucked and I wanted it to stop too, but how can anyone not see that this would be tearing a family apart from bad thing to a different series of other bad things.

Meeting him and being around him, I wanted to hate him. Many times I wanted to come across the table and choke the shit out of him. I would look at him and wonder, what do you hate or fear about BFH so much that they are your target and their two siblings are not? Do you really not notice they get good grades, they don’t do drugs, they actually love and respect you quite a lot and you treat them like this? I have never forgiven the pain he inflicted on those he proclaimed to love. I don’t see how I ever will. I am still in awe of the fact BFH has, but sometimes I worry there might be self-blame and worry there too.

I will also never forgive myself for one of the rare times when BFH was allowed to hang out with me and I ran out of gas heading back to their house to drop them off. We were broke teenagers, so $5 a stop was the norm and the gauge was a bit iffy on that old car. A cop stopped to help us out, and I hysterically begged him to take my friend home and explain because I would have no credibility if I did. I was belligerent about getting them home, I didn’t give a shit about the car, I’d deal with it later. They were due home in three minutes.

We would have been five minutes early had nothing happened, they were five minutes late when the cop finally got to their house. I had stayed with the car and sent my friend with the officer. The cop was immediately told to shut up and get the fuck out. Every single bruise BFH tried to hide the next day weighs on my conscious even now.

I had a long conversation with Grand that night as well. I didn’t give any details, but my seriousness at least came across. I would never report it, I would never do anything to tear that family up, but I could provide an escape route and Grand gave me the permission to do that. I don’t know if that gave BFH any relief to know the option was there, I hope it did, even if they never used it. I think Grand even once told BFH directly that even if I wasn’t there, they were still welcome anytime for as long as they wanted. If you can’t tell, our families liked one another maybe as much as we liked one another’s families.

As we got older, things with Grand were escalating to a point where being in the same house just was not good so I went to college in the bigger city just down the road and moved into the dorms. BFH stayed in our hometown and went to the local college to save some money by living at home. At the time, BFH was in a relationship with someone who used to trawl my old neighborhood with the area scum and generally sold drugs, did drugs, slept with anything and everything and was basically a 24k piece of shit.

I… am so not good about keeping my mouth shut about what I think. BFH and I butted heads a lot about the Walking VD. I made one last effort to really try to get along with it, but I just couldn’t. All I could see is BFH catching something at best or dead at worst, if they continued to stay with this person. Our conversations started becoming very edited during this time.

I ran off to Europe for a month, came back and within a few months got engaged. BFH was of course my bestie and I remember enjoying the night before my wedding better than any day after it, we just let it all flow out pretty much the entire night. Over the course of the next five years, my contact with the outside world became minimal, then after moving out west… nonexistent.

When I finally broke out of the cage and left my ex, BFH was the first person I contacted. They weren’t surprised I left my ex… actually, nothing I’ve ever done has ever surprised BFH really, even when it surprises me. They predicted I would be the first to marry… when we were sophomores, back when I was adamant that I would never marry or have kids because people suck.

BFH had moved… really moved, like way the fuck out of our home state moved. Apparently, not long after I moved out west, BFH had simply had their breaking point with the Walking VD and their dad and said fuck it, fuck you, I’m out.

With nothing more than car and clothes and a little help from our other common element G-uno, they had rebuilt their life, bought a house, finished college, paid it off, traveled overseas… multiple times and just washed their hands of all the bullshit. I was so in awe, I couldn’t help but tear up as they filled in the gaps of missed time with their doings. I was so happy for and proud of them for being able to do everything they did after all the shit they’d been through.

As humble as BFH was trying to make their accomplishments, I only saw their immense strength. Their love and anger towards their father, their knowledge of their similarities to their father, their fear of being anything like that and their absolute zero tolerance in putting up with it again all contribute to this immense person who has always been an old soul, could see through most people’s bullshit, has an eerily predictive nature, secret hopes for the happily ever after no matter how much proclaim otherwise, sports a mean fucking right hook, has stellar skills in the kitchen, loved to dirt-bike in spite of their personal OCD and aversion to outdoors, has an immense openness about the world veiled behind a curtain of cynicism and who has protective devotion and love for those important in their lives that would rival the mountains themselves in their unyielding nature when pressured.

There isn’t a superhero yet that measures up to my hero.

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I’d Rather Drink From The Toilet! (G-uno)

“Little Man’s” Mom is a high-ranking manager for our very large city. Yesterday was take your kids to work day. It’s her job to organize this event for her fellow employees, and her children’s participation in this huge event is not optional! “Little Man” & “Big Brother” who are highly intelligent are equally lacking in their social graces. Yesterday was an absolute freaking nightmare!

For those of you who are not familiar with our Blog, “Little Man” is a nine-year old boy whose superpower is Autism, and I have been his superhero activity assistant for almost three years. I also care for his older brother who is ten, and their baby brother who is three. “The Baby” otherwise known as the “King” is exhibiting some Autistic behavior, but has not been officially diagnosed. “The Baby” was given a pass on today’s events because of his age. Thank goodness for small blessings.

I adore all three of the brother’s, but their public behavior can be much less than desirable. Mom is painfully aware of this. She asked me to be there to help out with the boys who are notorious for wandering off in large crowds, and prone to some “Dennis The Menace” like antics. “Little Man’s Autism plays a huge factor in his awkward social behavior. He does much better in small crowds, and with a scheduled routine. “Big Brother’s” crotchety by nature, and can be quite rude when things do not go according to his expectations.

Yesterday’s events involved 31 other employee’s children, 13 other adults besides Mom, and myself. It began at 8:00 in the morning with a light breakfast (Director’s Welcome) at Mom’s workplace, followed by a tour of one of our cities aquatics programs featuring a tour/lecture on their new Geothermal Heat Pump. We were surrounded by huge swimming pools with slides, but that was not included on our to do list. Try to imagine how 31 children felt about that. Next was a tour to our City Hall to meet our Mayor, and Deputy Mayor. Then back on the bus across town to tour a new recreation center, and lunch. Then back on the bus across town to another recreation center that’s focus is on wildlife preservation/environmental studies, and then back on the bus to our final destination yet another new recreation center/gift tree dedication. Then back to Mom’s work place to clean-up before going home at 5:00.

Now if you haven’t fallen asleep from sheer boredom let me tell you about the “Brothers” reactions to this kind of scheduling. The breakfast entailed a game of healthy bingo. Each card had healthy not-so- common foods in the squares rather than numbers. A great way to introduce new choices, that included some pretty great prizes for the winners. Well guess whose two children did not win a single round. It was a huge battle just to keep “little Man” from continuously examining all the prizes prior to giving them out. He is like a “Houdini” at working his way out of a designated seat to go somewhere he has been told is off-limits. Meanwhile “Big Brother’s” face is contorting into the most awful expressions of pouting known to mankind. Mom’s colleagues, are witnessing the whole situation because we are all packed into a conference room like sardines.

Mom is attempting to keep “Little Man” in order as I try to quietly persuade “Big Brother” not to embarrass himself in front everyone else, especially Mom’s boss. Next stop was the aquatics park where our beloved “Houdini” once again ignores directions, and slips off a narrow cement landing almost ending up in a deep pool of very nasty water! I was lucky enough to grab him mid-air by the back of his shirt, and pull him back onto the ledge.

Next stop City Hall for a tour to meet the Mayor. He explains to the children how things work, and he asks the children if they have any questions. “Big Brother” raises his hand and asks “When can we go I’m bored now!” Mom  tries make him apologize to the Mayor, to which he loudly replies “I’d rather drink from the toilet!” Mom takes him into the hall to scold him. Then he begins to cry loudly, wildly waving his arms, stomping his feet.

Next stop new recreation center “Big Brother” openly rolls his eyes at Mom’s co-worker who was very nicely trying to give him directions. When another co-worker steps in to help she also get’s an eye roll accompanied by a smart-ass remark. When he was asked to apologize he replies “I would rather drink from the toilet!”

Next stop animal show at environmental center. All the children had been instructed not to make loud noises or quick movements during the birds of prey show because the falcon, hawk, and owl were very nervous by nature. “Little Man” becomes overly excited by the falcon’s wing fluttering jumps up screaming. This causes all the other birds who are tethered to their caretaker’s arm’s to wildly flap, and do 360’s around their arms in a mad attempt to flee from this chaos. This frightens the other children who are now screaming and running away from these pretty scary looking panicked birds!

After calming the kid stampede, and getting the birds safely back inside their cages the kids are taken to a city program which again involves games, and prizes. “Big Brother” loses again has a complete meltdown. The D.J.  gives “Little Man” a gift for being a good sport to make a point to “Big Brother,” this just causes him to react even more. Now at this point I have had it, I pull “Big Brother” from the floor, and drag him back to the bus.

These are not my children so I had to restrain from my natural desires to deal with them in what I know would have been completely foreign to them, and very much deserved! We finally arrived at our last stop, both boys knew that I was very unhappy with them. They have never seen this side of me so they decided to turn themselves around. At this point I was desperate to bring this day to a close. Mom had tried to bribe the boys that morning with the promise of a great reward if they could be on their best behavior that day. You should know I am not a fan of this idea. My children were required to behave because it was simply the right thing to do.

“Big Brother” looks up at his Mom and says”I know we had a rough start, but we did turn things around in the end. Can we still have our reward?”  Mom looks over at me, and says” What do you think Ms. G-uno?” I am now boiling over with anger, my hands are clenched, “Big Brother’s” attempt to manipulate his mother has me ready to explode! Both boys are searching my face waiting for my response. I’m desperately trying to edit the response that is going on in my head. Then I look them all in the face, and say “I’d rather drink from the toilet than give you a reward!” 😉

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