Reported by my mom

Tornado E was watching TV on my parents’ bed as my mom read.

Tornado E: Grandma, why do I have gravel here?

Grandma: (looking up from her book) What, hun?

Tornado E: Why do I have gravel here?

Grandma: (Looking where he has his hands) Babe, that’s not gravel.  That’s your testes.

Tornado E: Oh.  So what are they for?

Grandma: Um.  Ask your mom.

Thanks, Mom.

My dad said they’re to keep a man balanced.

What would you answer?


A Change in the Count

1 sick preschooler, who’s upset about missing his preschool graduation, + 1 sick, potty-training toddler + 1 breast-feeding infant

Mama’s sleeping 1hr – 2hr of dropping a 105 fever and breastfeeding + 3hrs

I need a nap.  And caffeine.  And chocolate.

Hopefully I can write a real post tomorrow.

Pumpkin Aversions

The Husband has food issues.  He hates using his hands to eat if there is any possible way to spill.  Hamburgers must always been on plates.  Pizza is always cut.  Chili is eaten at luke warm temperature.  Just to watch someone eat something messy (like those old Carl’s Jr. commercials), gives him the creeps.  We were at a restaurant once where they served him still boiling soup, and he threw his chair about a yard back.  It’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  And I, I love to eat with my hands; I love to get messy.  While doing a sociology experiment, I had to eat a utensil dinner without utensils.  I adored eating my rice bowl that way so much that I did it for years.  The Husband and I both agree that this weird trait of his shouldn’t be passed to the boys as long as I also taught them to eat with utensils as needed.

Today we carved the pumpkin.  And yes, I love digging my hands into the pumpkin and pulling out the innards.  (Can you guess that I mix my meatball mixture by hand?)  The Husband wanted to carve, but he was more than willing to let me clean the pumpkin.  In my mind, I pictured the boys and I ewwing and squealing as we pulled out piles of slimy pumpkin vines.

Instead.  As I pulled out the innards, the boys shied away.  I couldn’t convince them to touch them at all.

Tornado E: Mommy!  They’re the icky!

Me: (to The Husband) I wonder where they get this from.

The Husband: Your side.

Me: (short laugh) Right.  No one in my family is grossed out by food.

The Husband: So all the looks come from your side and all the weird food aversions come from mine?

Me: Apparently.

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No party and no costumes make Fae a very sad mom

I’m envious of a lot of you today.   I know why the internet was silent this morning, why my Storm wasn’t binging at outrageously early hour (since AZ is still on Western time), why so many haven’t been by.  Today the schools are celebrating Halloween, and you all spent the morning running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  Tornado E’s school has a no Halloween costume policy, which I should have asked about when I was looking for a school.

I love Halloween.  But I wonder if my mom began to hate it.  The day the school celebrated Halloween (usually on Halloween if it wasn’t on some glorious weekend) was the day we ran close to being late.  My mom hates being late or even on time; she likes to be early.  We were always early to school.  But Halloween morning found our house in seven kinds of chaos.  Mom!  Where’s my hat?!  Mom! I need your help with my make-up!  Mom!  I need you to do my hair!  Mom! Where’s my bow?  Mom!  I can’t go without my dress and hair sprayed with glitter!  Mom!  Where are my shoes?!  After a few years of chaos, my mom set down the law that if you wanted to dress up, you had to be up a half an hour earlier.  It didn’t help matters at all.  Since my mom was a super stay-at-home mom, I assume this scene is somewhat playing at your houses this morning.

But alas we didn’t have such moments.  Tornado E didn’t get to torture me by changing his mind.  I didn’t get to forbid him bring any weapon props.  We didn’t scramble to get treats ready for a class Halloween party.  I didn’t get to yell at Tornado S for sneaking the treats.  (Oh, wait I did because the little stinker was eating the Rice Krispie Treat ghosts before I iced them.)  I feel rather depressed by this.  Not that I blame the school . . . much.

Several years ago, before the boys, I was a teacher assistant at a private school.  The moms were ultra-competitive.  The first birthday rolled around, and the child brought delicious cupcakes.  The next birthday hit, and the cupcakes had sprinkles.  The next birthday came, and the cupcakes had candy.  The next birthday, it was cupcakes with rings on top.  The next birthday, toys on top of the cupcakes.  At the end of the year, a mom brought pizza, cake, and ice cream for the class.  A little ridiculous, even if I got to snag a piece of pizza.  The parties were worse as each mom brought something to outdo the other.  Instead of regular cookies and punch, it was gourmet cookies, sparkling punch, toys, full sized candy bars, and so on.

At the time I was pulling a second job with the Girl Scouts trying to start new troops in schools around OC.  We were at a school for three months, and at the end of the session, we would throw a party and induct each girl into the Girl Scouts.  We had a handle on the parties because we were working in middle class and lower neighborhoods, knowing moms worked or there wasn’t much money in the families.  We asked the girls to volunteer to bring chips/pretzels, punch/soda, and cookies/cupcakes.  If it was a huge session, we would add candy and break up the subcategories.  We insisted on economy bags of chips and liters of drink.  The girls were told to tell their parents that day and not the night before the party.

Even with us monitoring the discussion, it was funny to have girls volunteer to bring cakes, pies, and even try to bring more than one thing.  We would gently persuade the girls to go along with our plans, trying to convince them that they didn’t sell Fire Cheetohs in big enough bags.  Of course, some crazy mother sent her daughter with a huge pack of Pixy Stix which we confiscated before the girls opened it.  Though I was evil enough, to send all the girls home with some and twice as many to the girl who brought it.

So if the school is trying to keep things low-key, I get it.  If they’re trying to protect the kids with food allergies, I’m on their side.  We wouldn’t want to a parent to mistakenly give a kid something he or she couldn’t eat.  But really, I wish we could throw a class party.   Or at least see the creative choices of the class.

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Homeschooling is not for me

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” ~Edgar W. Howe

I don’t know how other moms do homeschooling.  I don’t.  I would murder my children.  I was thinking last night that centuries ago mothers did teach everything to their children at home, and then it dawned on me.  That was the reason so few of the children reached to adulthood.  It wasn’t the plague; it was moms being frustrated by ungrateful, whinny, temper-tantrum-throwing, not-listening, willful, disobedient children.  Or maybe it’s just my child.  Or maybe it’s me.  I’m fine with it being me.

Reasons I can’t homeschool my children:

  1. I don’t have the patience to deal with a child who doesn’t want to learn.
  2. If I can’t teach them one way, I can’t figure out any other way.
  3. I find myself using stupid threats, like feeding him to the wolves.
  4. I can’t make my child understand that the sooner he does it, the sooner he gets to play.
  5. Did I mention I don’t have the patience?
  6. I want to throw temper tantrums with him.
  7. It turns out I have a violent side that only rises after fifteen minutes of trying to get a child to hold a crayon the correct way.  (Don’t worry; I only wish to hurl the crayon across the house.)
  8. I would have to get on some serious medication.  Or start drinking.  And I’m pregnant.
  9. I have mood swings.
  10. I don’t have the patience!

I guess this is the part where I admit I had to force Tornado E to do a school project that he decided not to do at school.  (Point for it being my son’s issue.)  As the teacher knew I’m a concerned parent, due to the weekly meetings I have with her and the time I asked for all his work when he was out for a week, she gave me the project.  It was cut out a man shape to glue into a folded paper to be a jack-in-the-box.  Simple enough, right?  Insert hysteric laughter.

A half an hour of Tornado E saying he can’t, Tornado E going to a whining room, Tornado E going to a crying room, my dad walking out of the house, my mom trying her hand at it, my mom telling me to send him to time out, my threats that he’ll be there until he is done or until he dies whichever comes first, Tornado E FINALLY cut out the damn man figure.  Then it was twenty minutes over how he couldn’t make a face, he couldn’t make a smile, he couldn’t make eyes, the markers weren’t working, it’s just not right, I don’t want to do it.  I finally was able to let him glue it in the “box.”  Then I forced him to finish his “J” paper.  The horrors of being a four-year-old preschooler.  After an hour, he was free to run around, and I had the desperate desire for a shot of vodka.

I will happily PAY someone to teach my child.

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On Fresh Beats and Jump Arounds and the parenting in between

Some of you might remember a little post I did back at the end of May about how annoying The Jump Arounds, aka The Fresh Beat Band, are.  Since then I’ve received several endorsements and complaints.  Today I laugh because I got another complaint on the post just this weekend. 

I’ve been meaning to write a post addressing all the people that are upset with me not enjoying a children’s show.  Lighten up.

At first I was excited that The Jump Arounds went off the air because I noticed a lot of people felt the same way I did.  The show was engineered around four non-sings, non-dancers.  The songs were so very annoying.  But then Nickelodeon made a name change to deal with all the negative responses.  The Fresh Beat Band was born, but it was the Exact. Same. Thing.  Nothing changed.  I bowed my head in defeat, realizing that there must be lots of other parents who allowed their kids to watch the show.  My main problem is still that the advertise ALL THE F-ING TIME!  They advertise more than Olivia or Ni Hao Kai-Lan, more than any other show in the Nick Jr.  line.  I wonder if they actually believe that we would start watching it if they played it enough.  If you play it, they will come.  Maybe it’s more sinister, and this is a plot to hold us ransom.  I’m sure I can raise a million to get them to stop advertising, but I would rather that money go to somewhere important like autism research or making sure no child goes hungry again.

The Husband is begging me to make this post into an anti-capitalism speech.  He believes that The Fresh Beat Band is a symptom of a much larger problem, the desire to hook children in a pop culture that demands their money, starves their soul.  You’ll have to forgive The Husband; he recently watched Michael Moore’s new movie so he’s a bit obsessed with anti-capitalism theme, which is ironic because he’s a small business owner and I remember when he read Ayn Rand.  Don’t worry.  He’ll swing back in the middle in a month or two.

While I agree with my husband, I’m totally fine with other parents letting their kids watch it.  I just won’t let my kids watch it.  That’s my choice.  I’m the parent.

I’m upset because so many people think they have the right to judge me on my parenting over one little post, over one little opinion about some silly kid show.  And yes, it is silly because it’s only about entertainment.  Just like The Office is a silly show.  Just like The Simpsons is a silly show.  Just like Desperate Housewives is a silly show.

It frustrates me that parents out there don’t think it’s their place to monitor their children’s television shows.  Are you kidding me?  We’re talking about preschoolers and toddlers, not teenagers.  We’re talking about the most impressionable years of a person’s life.  Are they going to tell me I’m a bad parent because I won’t let my son pick out his own sugar-filled cereal that was advertised to him?  Am I a bad parent because I didn’t buy the toy my son wanted in the store?  It’s my job to monitor him!

I’m sure we’re going to have talks over the video games, movies, music, clothes he likes and wants.  I’m sure I’m not going to like everything he likes. But you know what.  That battle is years away.  I’d like to keep it there.

I like having a place where parents can complain about random kid stuff that we don’t like because we parents are subjected to a lot of stuff we don’t like.  If you’re like me, you have quite a few toys loving relatives and friends gave your children, toys that make you want to roll your car over or, at the very least, make disappear one night, but we don’t because the kids LOVE them.  We subject ourselves to a lot of shows that have annoying characters.  I’m not a big fan of Elmo, but I deal because it’s Sesame Street.  I think Donald is a loser, but the boys love The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Some days I wish Dora would just go away and not have such silly adventures (though I totally want a chocolate tree), but the boys are actually using Spanish that I obviously didn’t teach them.  I’m willing to eat a lot more vegetables because I’m setting a good example.  I’m willing to eat a lot more “kid food” if that means they’ll eat, especially if they eat the vegetable side dishes.  We’re willing to give up our television programming so that our kids watch something age-appropriate, and we’re willing to watch shows we don’t like because we don’t want our kids sold to by advertisers.  We do these things because we love our kids and want to be the best parents we can be.

But in the end, my opinion doesn’t matter.  I’m just a mom, living in Arizona, doing the best I can.  I get to be the loving, imperfect mom to two boys, and they are the ones who should care how I parent.  My opinion shouldn’t affect any you because you are the parents of other kids.  If I mess up, then I’ll just pull money out of the therapy fund for my kids.  And if you mess up, then hopefully you have a therapy fund.  Because I’ve learned one thing about this parenting business, we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got.  So don’t judge.

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The end of a vacation deserves a vacation

The Husband and I wanted to visit Boston.  We only had one day without any obligations to the wedding.  One day to squeeze in a week of vacation.  Boston was our first choice.

Then a friend of The Husband, who was born and raised in Boston, told him that the boys would be completely bored with any of the historic stuff in Boston and we would spend the time trying to keep the boys occupied.  He suggested Salem.  Remembering the weeks of studying Salem’s history when I was a teen, I agreed.  My parents and baby brother were staying longer in Boston and decided to join us.

I tried to pump up the boys telling them about the pirate museum.  Tornado S ran around the hotel room, yelling “Yo-ho!”  Tornado E wasn’t convinced.  I mentioned the witch museum, grasping at straws.  I had forgotten that Tornado E was a witch last Halloween, and he jumped around, talking about witches and wizards.

We ended going to a pirate museum and two witch museums that were run by the same company.  The Husband had looked at the reviews the night before, worried about the negative reviews.  The negative reviews were right; I wouldn’t call these museums.  They were more like walking through a wax museum as each museum had rooms filled with manikins positioned to act out scenes.  We were walked through the tour by different guides who were knowledgeable and entertaining.  In the end, we were entertained and learned something.  Though I decided after watching a scene form “a trail” (which looked and sounded a whole lot like a scene from “The Crucible” to the point I swear it was from the play word for word) and hearing what the scenes were in the museum, I decided the boys did not need to have a look through the witch dungeon.  At the end, we spent a couple more hours there than we had planned, since we were hoping to catch a glimpse of Boston history that day.

We ended up not getting to Boston, staying at a hotel just outside the city.  After dinner, where Tornado S learned to say “Appabee’s,” charming the wait-staff, we found a park on the map.  We took the boys, letting them run off their energy.  My mom spied an ice cream shop just passed the park, and we went to satisfy our curiosity and sweet tooth.  The Husband, being a generous father, let Tornado E pick his own ice cream out, which was bubblegum.  In his defense, The Husband had no idea that there was real bubblegum in the ice cream.

When we got to the hotel room, The Husband fell asleep immediately; while, I tried to get the boys to sleep without much fuss, fighting, or giggling.  Nothing like sharing a double bed.  In desperation, I rolled a towel up, length wise, and placed it between them, commanding not to stray over the towel with dire consequences.

About two-thirty in the morning, I was awoken by a strange sound that I couldn’t place.  The Husband sprung from the bed, yelling for me to grab something because Tornado S was vomiting.  Apparently Tornado S doesn’t cry when he throws up but makes a gentle heaving sound that barely pierces my deep sleep.  I ran to the bathroom, grabbing a towel because we didn’t have anything else.  We held Tornado S over the towel until he was finished.  Then I cleaned him up, putting on a new shirt, and he fell asleep.  I washed out the towel as best I could and returned to bed.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard the heaving noise.  I sprang across the bed, grabbing the towel that laid in between the boys.  I held Tornado S over it, noticing that Tornado S was still sleeping as he emptied more of his stomach.  When Tornado S was finished, I went back to bed, leaving the towel folded up near Tornado S, ready for more.

The Husband: What do you think is wrong with Tornado S?

Me: Dessert to close to bedtime.  Two nights before we left, Tornado S threw up because my dad fed him three cookies, a piece of pie, and some Papi candy.  Tornado S will be fine.  He doesn’t even have a fever.

The Husband was content and was snoring to wake the dead within seconds.  The Husband is notorious for his snoring.  His friends believe I’m a saint.  His snoring usually doesn’t bother me because I’m a heavy sleeper.  Not this night.  I lay awake for twenty minutes wondering if I put a pillow over him if it would quiet him enough for me to get some sleep or would that be murder and if he did accidentally die could I claim lack of sleep and frustration over vacation as an insanity plea or would this be manslaughter.

I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to a thump and crying.  It was four-thirty, and Tornado E had rolled out of bed, hitting his head on the night stand.  The Husband swore and picked Tornado E up, depositing him into our bed so I could soothe him.  Unlike the last hotel, this one didn’t have cheap chairs I could have moved around to make a gate to keep Tornado E from rolling out.  I had hoped my son had grown out of thrashing so much.  I was wrong.

A half an hour later, I was woken up by the screaming of the alarm as well as The Husband trying to fight it.  I hate beeping of alarms.  The Husband hates alarms.  I got up, went around the other side, removed the alarm from the monster paw, trying to bat it to death.  I shut off the alarm.

Me: Leaving Boston at 9am.  Brilliant.

The Husband muttered something incoherent that I chose to ignore than speculate on the negative reaction to my sarcasm.  He tried to roll over and sleep again.

Tornado E vomited all over my side of the bed.  The Husband thought it was a good time to get up.  We calmed down Tornado E and cleaned him up.  He stopped crying and looked at us.

Tornado E: Daddy’s funny.  Why’d he do that to the alarm?

Me: Because Daddy’s not a morning person.  How do you feel?

I took a quick shower to come out dressed to find that Tornado E was crying because he had pooped his diaper.  (He still wears pull-ups at night.)  The Husband shrugged, still trying to comfort Tornado E.  I checked.  It was a little diarrhea.  I calmed him down and changed him into underwear.  As I turned to finish packing, Tornado E vomited again.  I grabbed the last towel.  This did not bode well for our flight.  I packed the last pull-up into the diaper bag next to the last underwear of Tornado E’s.

The Husband: What are we going to do?

Me: We’re going to buy crackers when we fill up on gas.  I’m going to give him Mylocon drops in hopes that it can help settle his stomach.

We finished getting ready and began our trek to the Boston airport, stopping to get gas and crackers.  Tornado S refused food.  I should have guessed.  As we drove down the last freeway heading towards the airport, GPS being unreasonable helpful, Tornado S throw up, and there was nothing to catch it.  Luckily there wasn’t anything left in his stomach.

When we got to the rental place, I took Tornado S into the bathroom to strip him and dress him.  I also found out that he too had diarrhea.  Awesome.  We came to the unanimous decision to check Tornado S’s car seat and use Tornado E’s as we had learned coming in that air regulations does not allow for a car seat on the aisle.  Siblings should not be trusted next to each other on a long, cranky airplane ride.  We had already decided I would sit in the middle this time and have Tornado E out of his car seat.

I won’t go into the other gory details of the diarrhea.  I’ll just say that poor Tornado E was horrified that he leaked.  In the end, I had to put him into a Tornado S diaper in Dallas.  In the hour we waited during our lay over and boarded the next plane, I had to change Tornado S three times.  He did not leak.  By that time, I dreamt of getting home, filling the baby pool, stripping the boys, and letting them live outside in the back yard for the rest of the day.  Never mind the 109 degrees with no shade.  Never mind this was our thunderstorm season.  I was done.

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Rehashing. Over and over.

Evan has a hard time peeing in public restrooms.  He’s terrified of the flush.  Remember the Disneyland day where he didn’t pee all day because he was so worried about the flush.  Last week’s flushing of the keys did not exactly help.  Now it’s all he’ll talk about, and I worry about our trip to New Hampshire.  The kid will never use the tiolet again.


Evan: Grandma-Great!  Did you hear about Mommy’s keys?  She dropped them in the toilet, and then she flushed them down the toilet.  Do you know why she did that?

Evan: Uncle M!  Mommy dropped her keys in the toilet.  And then she flushed them all the way down.  Did you know that?

Evan: Grandma, why did Mommy flush her keys down the toilet?

Evan: Papi, when we went to the movies, Mommy flushed her keys down the toilet.  We couldn’t get them back.

Evan: Mommy, why did you flush your keys down the toilet?  Why didn’t you mean to do it?  Are you going to flush your phone in the toilet?  Are you going to flush my ninja down the toilet?  You’re not going to flush me down there, are you?


I think my dad’s right.  We need to move onto waterless toilets.


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Father’s Day Crafts!

Father’s Day is coming next Sunday, and I have been wacking my brain to come up with some great craft ideas.  If I had had a muse, I would have had this out last week, like I WANTED to, but my dad is hard to shop for; my husband is hard to shop for; my father-in-law is hard to shop for.  If it wasn’t for this blog, I would have gift carded the whole affair. 

Last year, we made t-shirts that said “You’re the best Dad (Papi) (Papa) hands down.”  I then put the boys’ handprints on the shirt with their names and ages underneath. 

Another tradition I started last year due to reading a Family Fun issue was to take a picture of the boys every year in the shirt (or outfit) their dad wore on the day of their birth.  Fortunately the husband wore the same shirt for both births.  Unfortunately I found it in a pile of dirty clothes last year.  I wonder where it is now.

This year I plan on making my dad chocolate cookies for Father’s Day.  I’m sure the boys would love to help.  We also did a few crafts.


Picture Frames

(This is a great craft with lots of variety.  The boys and I did this one last year.  They had a blast.  The husband loved it.)

What you need:

  • Unfinished thick picture frame (the thicker the better to give room for toddler creativity)
  • black or white paint
  • finger paints
  • paint brushes
  • sealer or top coat
  • sand paper
  • smock

First sand and prep the picture frame.  Next paint the background color with white or black paint.  Once the background paint is dry, have the child paint the frame.  After the painting is dry, paint the sealer or clear top coat to protect the painting.


For older children, a regular unfinished frame works well too.

The child can stain the frame.

The child can paint it black and the sponge paint it with gold, silver, or any other favorite color.

The child can paint it black and put stickers on it.  Glow-in-the-dark stars look really cool.

The child can paint it a solid color and glue rocks, shells or buttons on the frame.

The child can decoupage the frame with material, color paper, magazine articles.


Craft Foam Picture Frame

(I was trying to find a twist on the picture frame idea because grandparents and parents just love pictures.  The boys really liked decorating the frames.  Evan had a unique twist on the stickers as he used Halloween spiders.)

Things you need:

  • Craft foam
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Markers, stickers, anything you want to decorate with
  • Glue (craft or hot)
  • Picture
  • Magnets

Trace out a square for the picture on the craft foam.  Cut out the square.  (I left an inch and a half around the picture for the frame.)  Have the child decorate the craft foam.  Glue the picture in the frame.  Glue magnets on the back of the frame.  (I picked up decorative magnets for a buck at Michael’s.)


Magnet Artwork

(I have read several places about taking those magnet business cards and doing something with them, like gluing pictures on them.  I decided on art work for the boys to do.  As my b0ys love coloring and stickering, they enjoyed doing this.)

Things you need:

  • Business magnets
  • Craft foam or construction paper
  • Markers, stickers, anything else you want to decorate with
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Glue (craft or hot)

Trace the business magnets on the craft foam or construction paper with the black marker.  Have the child decorate the shape.  Cut the shape out.  Glue to the magnet.  (I have also heard of moms who make a scan of the child’s artwork and print it in business card size.  This would work for the magnets too.)

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Reality Check

Before I was a parent I had all these assumptions of how I was going to raise my children.  Obviously I have none of those assumptions now.  But I have learned that sometimes I have to check the course we’re heading, rather than give an automatic answer of “no” or “yes,” usually “no.” 


Sean is taking his blanket EVERYWHERE, getting it all dirty again this week.

Automatic response: Cringe and take the blanket away.

Reality Check: Hey, I’ve got more delicate clothes to wash plus there’s the stuffed Lightening McQueen who decided to take a dip in a cloudy fountain.


Mommy, I’m going to take my Lego Gooey and his cousin Bob into the bath with us.

Automatic response: No!  Legos do not belong in the bathtub.

Reality check: They are plastic toys that can dry.  Get over it.


Mommy, help me get out my train set.

Automatic response: Sure.

Reality check: Dude, you have the Legos out, all the cars out, AND half the toys all over the family room.  Let’s pick it up the other stuff first.



Automatic response: Whatever.

Reality check: Throw it in your room.  I’m getting too lax about this.  In your room.  Then, whatever.


Cheese!  Cheese!  Mommy, can I have watermelon? Mel!  Mel!  Sean wants that too and cheese!

Automatic response: Dinner’s in an hour.  No.

Reality check: One piece of each.  At least, it’s healthy.


I want cake for breakfast!  Cake! Cake!

Automatic response: How foolish do you think I am?

Reality Check: Right, your grandma gave us cake for breakfast when ever we had some.  It has flour, eggs, and milk.  Fine.  Drink your milk and eat your watermelon.


Can I have another piece, please? Cake!  Cake!

Automatic response: Eat more watermelon.

Reality Check: I have to leave in fifteen minutes to help your grandma, and your father is watching you.  Sure. Have another piece.  How about two?


It’s nice to have some perspective.

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