Middle Schoolers Seeking Dating Advice From Crazy Parents: A True Story

My oldest son is now in middle school.

We have entered the big leagues, my friends.

The thought of String Bean walking through the doors of middle school sent me into a panic. All I could think about were my uncomfortable days of junior high.  I never wanted to relive those moments of hell again.

Fortunately, all my worrying was for nothing. String Bean has had a good run thus far.

Lately, he has been asking me some unique questions.  Questions that he has decided I am the best resource to ask.  Questions about dating.

Yes, dating.  Apparently something resembling this happens in sixth grade.

Sadly, I don’t want to share my middle school dating experiences which only consisted of one slow dance, a note that had the words, “Will you go out with me? Circle one: yes, no or maybe,” and being dumped by the said note-writer because I wasn’t allowed to go with he and his older brother to an amusement park.

Obviously, I was not the best person to ask.  I didn’t become a good person to ask until later in high school and in college.  Oh yes.  Good times.

So sorry – I digress. Back to String Bean.

“Mom.  Can I talk to you?” he said as he is working on his math homework.

“Sure thing, dude,” I said as I stared blankly at his math homework.  It looks more advanced than my college Algebra class.

“How do you know if a girl likes you?” he said, not making eye contact with me.

“Do you talk to the girl at school?”

“Yes. We sit near each other in Social Studies.”

“Have you talked to her about anything in particular like movies or Legos or anything?”

“Mom. Seriously? You think I am that dorky that I would talk to a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrlllll about Legos?”

“No, not at all. Probably not a good idea to talk about Legos.  I was just thinking about Legos for a second. My bad,” I said while looking at the Lego Shakepeare figure he gave me last week.

“How do I know if she likes me?” he said, starting to lose patience with me.

“Has she given you any hints that she likes you, such as giggles or whispers to her friends or smiles really big when you are around?” Yes, I am grasping here.  Failing like I failed many a math test.

“Yeah, kind of.  So, how do I ask her on a date?”

Wait a second.  A date? Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt???

“Umm. You could ask her if she likes Thor, and if she has seen any of the movies,” I said.  I am not sure where my response came from except for the fact I really like Thor.  Really like him.  And I want to see Thor, so I would take anyone to see it with me!

“OK.  Maybe I will talk to her about movies then,” he says and goes back to his homework.

Successful dodging of topic!  Hooray!

Later in the evening, as we are doing the bedtime ritual, I go to tuck String Bean in.

“Mom.  So how do I ask a girl on a date again?”

“Starting talking to her and then see where it goes,” I said, and, knowing full well The Captain was nearby, I added, “Maybe you should ask your dad because he is a guy also.”  Ha.

“Dad, how do I ask a girl out on a date?” he said.

The Captain appeared in the doorway looking completely baffled at the question, but without missing a beat, he replied, “You are too young to go on dates.  Now go to bed.”

String Bean looks at me and whispers, “See, Mom, this is why I asked you. Dad must not have had any dates in middle school.  He probably talked to girls about Legos.  Poor guy.”

They grow up too fast...

They grow up too fast…

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Hey, Santa!

Yes, you, Santa, the man in red with the belly bursting out of your suit, the laughter that is practically trademarked and the rosy cheeks from too much exertion after eating junk food.  You.  I have a bone to pick with you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

Look, jolly dude, I am getting tired of not being on your payroll.  You owe me big time.  I am so busy doing things for you, and I am getting sick of not getting any of the accolades.

You need to cough up some dough for this job I am doing for you, Santa.

Let me start with the search for the perfect gifts that I can’t even put my name on.  Yeah, I spent three hours hunting down an obscure Lego set, yet you get the smiles and the thanks.  Really?  Is this fair, Santa baby?  I don’t think so.  And now, both of my dudes want iPods.  These are not cheap, Kris Kringle, and, yet, your name will go on them.  That stinks, bearded man, it really does.  Will you set them up for the dudes?  No?  Oh, so add this to the list of another one of my grievances.

And then there is the Advent calendar.  Each night (or early in the morning when I wake up startled by the fact that I forgot the night before), I run and put little gifts in the Advent calendar.  Gifts that are “supposedly” from one of your minions.  Yeah, the elf that sneaks into our house, i.e. me, is getting ticked, Santa.  So are the dogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they get blamed when there is nothing left in the calendar.  Poor dogs, Santa.  Poor, poor dogs.  They sit, hearing the blame, and tuck their tales between their legs.  Is that fair, Kringle?  Shouldn’t you be sending a reliable elf each night that doesn’t have to swear through piles of essays to grade?  Yes, Santa, you should.  And you owe my sweet, innocent dogs.  Big time.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

And then the creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Do you know where he was one of the mornings?  Why he was sitting next to Mary and Joseph in our manger scene.  He actually moved Mary and the baby Jesus in order to fit in there.  Creepy?  Heck yes, Santa.  He also has these spooky, hollow eyes – I almost feel like he is following me (and even undressing me) with them.  It is a strange feeling, Santa, and one you both should be aware of.  The last thing that looked at me like that, the chocolate Easter bunny, met an untimely demise.  IMG_2889 The dogs are mad at him, too, because they were also blamed for his failure to relocate one evening. I am sure they would like to have him as a chew toy, Kringle, so you need to tell the Elf, who the dudes named Henry, to keep himself out of the dog’s reach.  And stay away from my martini glasses.  Seriously, Papa Noel, those are not for children.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

Oh, and Santa?  I just want you to know that I am leaving you carrots and celery this year.  They are for you so don’t try and pass them off to the reindeer.  Maybe it is time you join Cookie Monster in demonstrating a healthy lifestyle.  You need to be careful, Santa dear.  Plus, I have discontinued the candy tradition in the Advent calendar.  Why, you ask?  Have you ever witnessed an eight-year-old who has candy for breakfast?  No?  It is not pretty, St. Nick, but you wouldn’t know anything about that because you haven’t been there to talk a small child down from swinging on the chandelier.

Checking my list.  Twice.

Checking my list. Twice.

Your present this year is a lump of coal.  You are on my naughty list, Santa dude, yes indeed.  You may make it to my good list if, and only if, you can turn that coal into a diamond for me next year.

I need to go, Santa, I am bidding on eBay for a present that is completely sold out at Toys-R-Us.  You owe me.  Big time.  Ho, ho, ho.

To Give is Human, To Bribe is Divine

String Bean is enjoying fifth grade.  Thank goodness.

The Captain and I were more than ready for the continued horror of the fourth grade to be over.

At the beginning of the String Bean’s fourth grade school year, he was happy, enjoyed going, and was excited to share what he learned.

After a month in, we learned that the rules for fourth grade were quite different from third grade.  One of the biggest rules we learned right from the get go was it’s every man for himself.  I wrote about our struggles here.

If the district really knew what I thought about fourth grade, they might not be too happy.

Being high school teachers, The Captain and I have some strong mild philosophies on education. We believe that our duty as teachers is to teach and empower students, not to tear them down.  For some reason, the fourth grade philosophy is different.  It adds an excited dose of humiliation and public embarrassment into the mix.  Fourth grade for my son this past year beheld a different theory.  It specialized in Darwin’s survival of the fittest.  Not a good thing.

By the last nine weeks, it got to the point where my husband, The Captain, started bribing String Bean.

Let me rewind for a moment.  The Captain does not believe in giving monetary rewards for grades.  He does not believe in giving gifts for grades.  He does not believe in any tangible rewards for grades.  Until now.

In the car this past spring, the dudes were talking about the upcoming state mandated tests.

“My class gets to have a movie day Friday after our tests are over,” Squishy said, happily.

“Well, we get a cool pizza party when our tests are over,” added String Bean.

The Captain is seething. “We let kids graduate when they pass our tests.”

Squishy interjects, “Your butt is going to graduate.”

“Dad’s butt already graduated,” I said.  (Side note: I have boys.  Butt jokes and fart jokes are imperative ways to get everyone’s attention.  It works.  Ask any mom of boys.)

“I don’t think these parties are necessary,” stated The Captain, or, Captain Obvious because it was obvious how he felt about the matter.

“It is a nice motivator for the kids, don’t you think?” I said.  I am the awesome peacemaker/cheerleader/glass half full/uber positive one in the family.

“I don’t think they should be rewarded.  I hate bribes,”  said The Captain.

“Dad, if I do well on the tests, will you get me an XBox 360?” String Bean asks.

I looked over at The Captain.  His ears turned red, a vein pulsated on his neck and he is in a low growl.  The car teetered on silence that seems to stretch on for miles.  No one breathes.  The air is frozen. All are awaiting the response that is surely going to include the word “no” in it.

“Maybe. Well, yes,” he finally said.

What the heck?!

“Yes, I will get you an Xbox 360 if you do well on the tests,” he stated.

I almost steered off of the road.

“Do you realize how expensive those things are?” I quietly asked him.

“No. Fifty bucks or something?” he asked.

“Uh, try two fifty, dude,” I said.  “Plus, we have a Wii already. We really don’t need one.”

Meanwhile, the back seat of the car is all abuzz with the amazing news.  I heard snippets about how awesome Dad was, and the games they were going to get, and how much they needed to get it with two controllers, and that they needed Kinect so even Mom can play games like Just Dance.

The Captain looked pained.

“A deals a deal, dude,” I said to him as we pulled into our destination.

The tests were taken. May ended.  Summer began with the anxiety of when THE RESULTS would come.

It took a while.

Finally, in late July, it arrived.  Believe me when I say that there were many heartbreaking trips to the mailbox – back and forth, back and forth – from May until then.  What happens when kids have time to kill in the summer?  Stalk the mail lady, of course!

On the day of THE LETTER’s miraculous arrival, String Bean grabbed it and raced up the driveway to have me open it on the spot.  To this day I am still unsure of how he knew it was THE LETTER.  All the envelope said was the district name (which is also where The Captain teaches – that letter could’ve been anything.) But it was certainly the one the dudes had been waiting for.

I opened it in a truly dramatic fashion, slowly and meticulously peeling it out of the envelope.  It was “the one.”

The results were there in black and white. String Bean did fine on the tests.  The Captain had to get an XBox 360.

A happy dude!

To give is human, to bribe (only this one time, I promise) was divine.

So excuse me while I go and play Just Dance.  After all, the dudes insisted on it.  So sweet of them!

The Red Plate

In 2007, my mom, Crazy Pat, bought me one single set of red dishes.  It contained a red plate, red bowl, red teacup and red side plate.  As strange as this sounds, she had a reason for the purchase.

Before I get into the story, I need to fill in a little background on Crazy Pat.  Crazy Pat is very happy 99.999% of the time.  She is someone who, if given the opportunity, would dot each “i” with a heart, and doodle grapes and puppies on any paper within reach.   She is rainbows and roses, and always looks at the bright side of life.

The red plate. A must-have for every household.

She read somewhere about a tradition where for every celebration, the birthday girl, the graduate, the promotion, uses the red plate.  It is the celebration plate.

And she bought me a set.

The red plate has graced our table for different occasions ever since.

When I received Teacher of the Year in 2008 and 2010, the red plate was out and ready to celebrate (and even the subject of the acceptance speech for the 2010 win).

When The Captain celebrated his 45th birthday, the red plate graced the table.  He has requested it to not come out for any more of his birthdays.

When String Bean brought home all As, the red plate revealed itself.

Even when Squishy got his tree on Arbor Day, the red plate came to dinner.

In the summer, the red plate really hasn’t made an entrance onto the sacred kitchen table.  So, in honor of it being Friday, I am going to make a fun plate of appetizers and serve them to everyone on the celebratory red plate.

Red wine. A must-have for Fridays.

Happy Friday.  Time to get out the red plate, grab a glass of red wine and celebrate the arrival of the weekend.  TGIF and cheers to red plates!

Tales of the No Good, Very Bad Fourth Grade

String Bean is reaching the end of fourth grade. I must admit that it has been a no good, very bad school year for him.

He liked school in the third grade. He liked school in the second grade. He liked school in the first grade. He liked kindergarten and preschool.

He hates fourth grade.

The homework menace.

Each day after school is a struggle. He has more homework than I assign high school Language Arts students. Some days, we sit for over two hours while he works on his homework. This is not only torture for String Bean, but torture for The Captain and me.

I have to be honest when I say that the homework routine gets really draining. Who knew that 4th grade would be so hard? There are some days when I have come to be the peace maker during homework time. If String Bean gets frustrated, The Captain gets frustrated. The cycle is endless. It usually ends with tears (from the 4th grader) and me calming both parties down. I should have been in politics.

As a teacher, I want both String Bean and Squishy to love school. I want them to enjoy learning and become passionate about subjects that interest them.

But I do not have patience with a grade that is killing my child’s love of school.

The Salt Map of Ohio. I am not even going on record to say how long it took us to make this.

In fourth grade, String Bean had to make a salt map of the state of Ohio. I do not know what the point of this was besides seeing whose parents make the coolest project.

In fourth grade, String Bean had to create a brown bag book report. Now, I am all for book reports, but apparently the brown bag I sent along was not the correct brown bag. Minus 10 points for String Bean because I wasn’t correctly informed.

In fourth grade, String Bean has been sent home with four behavior slips. This is my quiet, Lego building child. Turns out, the behavior slips are not for what one would think are traditional “behavior” issues. One was for neglecting to put his name on his paper. One was for leaving his folder (which was empty) at home. One was for not have eight lines in a poem (he had seven). And the last one, the one that The Captain almost rocketed through the roof about, was when a girl tossed a swing that hit him on the back at recess, he told the teacher about it and the girl said it was his fault and he got into trouble. What a democracy!

As I look toward the light at the end of the tunnel, I hope I can salvage String Bean’s zest for learning. I hope I can remind him of what he liked about school before this year. I hope I can re-engage his curiosity in the world around him. I hope.

But, for now, I will hold my breath, hold my frustration and keep smiling to help him make it to the end of the fourth grade road.

Wish me luck.

I am ready for this sweet smile.

Open House and the Big Fart

I rushed into open house at Squishy’s elementary school last spring with a sense of trepidation.  It was the middle of our March Madness. First, The Captain was one week from the opening of Thoroughly Modern Millie at his high school (he directed, I choreographed).  Also, spring baseball had started for both boys, and finally, all three of the dudes I live with were in rehearsal for the Wizard of Oz.  Needless to say, I was a human taxi cab and the Open House became one of four stops that evening.

After finding a place to park (because this is not easy on Open House evening), I finally had the chance to get a good look at Squishy.  He had chocolate ice cream all down the front of his white Life is Good t-shirt.  Awesome.

“Squishy, did Grandma really have to give you ice cream the second before I picked you up?” I asked as I took his incredibly sticky hand in mine.

“Mom, I wanted it and she gave it to me. Geez.  I was hungry, but now I want a Star Wars book from the book fair and a brownie,” he replied, quite sure of his goals for the Open House.

“I don’t think so,” I said as we continued through the door.

Squishy dropped my hand and ran down the hall like lightening.  I was hustling behind him, bumping into the massive herd of parents in the hallway.

“Wait up,” I called to him, as I tried to put on a very fake “I have everything under control and my life is really a dream” smile for the parents who turned their heads to look at me.

“I am trying to catch up with you, sweetheart!” I stated to him in an as pleasant as I could get, sing-song voice.

“Mom, you are so slow,” he hollered down the hallway, “Oh, and I farted.  Safety!”

Awesome.  Now my kindergartener has yelled “fart” across a crowed hallway.

But it gets better.  It always does.  A guy I dated for a long while BC – Before Captain, Before Children – was standing nearby with his absolutely beautiful, poster-like family.  And he was smirking.  Did I mention it always gets better?

My fake smile turned into gritted teeth.  My posture changed to that of a wild animal.  My hair turned into the snakes of Medusa.  I smirked back while briskly walking by and said, “Hi there.  Gotta catch up with my little man!”

Secretly, I kind of hoped that the fart would linger and bring the idyllic family to its knees.  That would be awesome.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. This photo was taken at the open house.

Chewbacca and the Love of Dogs

Chewbacca was a Wookie.  I think of this every time I think of my dogs.  They remind me of Chewie – brave, loving, loyal and smarter than others give them credit for.

Me circa 1980 with my sister, Perky.

During my entire childhood, we always had dogs.  When I was born, there was a child before me.  Her name was Perky and she was a Shetland Sheepdog.  She was beautiful, and I had the pleasure of having a wise, kind, older dog sibling.

After my brother was born, my parents got another Sheltie.  Her name was Little Bit.  She had a little bit of an under bite, which Crazy Pat (my mom) said disqualified her from being shown around Houston, but she was the sprightliest dog around.  I would dress her up and call her Bitsy, Itsy Bitsy or Nugget.  She was hilarious.

Bitsy (closest to camera) and Perky.

She would follow my brother and I all over the neighborhood as we rode our impressive Big Wheels.  Bitsy would chase us when we moved to bikes and sit longingly on the porch watching us when we left with friends.  We were never without Little Bit.

Growing up with dogs was a must.  Unfortunately, humans usually end up outliving these amazing animals.  Perky passed away when I was 14, and Little Bit soon followed – less than a month later.

We were without dogs for two years.  It was miserable.

CJ, or Cajun. The best dog ever.

Luckily, my grandfather, who was a dog guy himself, sent us the perfect gift.  He put a little Sheltie puppy on a plane from New Orleans to Cleveland.  This was the sweetest little dog – who we fondly named Cajun, or CJ for short.  CJ was, like most Shelties, full of personality, spunk and herding skills.  He was the best dog, and continuously herded me away from some crappy boyfriends. By the time I graduated from high school, CJ was not only a sibling to me, he was my protector.  He was just as smart as most of my guy friends and much more empathetic.  He was a peach.

Romy, post Christmas lights.

At the end of my time in college, my best friend Callie gave me a golden retriever puppy.  We named him Romeo because he was such a love.  He showed us how much he cared by eating an entire strand of Christmas lights, and pooping on certain people’s shoes (including one dude I had a huge crush on – had being the operative word here).  After graduation, it was me and Romy (I shorted his name a touch) against the world.  Once, when a boyfriend broke up with me, Romy lifted his leg on the guy’s spanking-new car’s tire.  Ahhh, the good old days.

As Roman (this is what The Captain called him) aged, The Captain gave me an anniversary present – another golden.  We named her Lucy, although secretly I called her (and still do) Lucifer.  She was a maniac.  Of course, by this time, Romy was up in age – almost 9 – and all of his insane youth was well forgotten.

Lucy, aka Lucifer. She is a sweetie. Most days.

Lucy and I would go rounds.  She didn’t want to go to the bathroom outside, she didn’t want to sleep in the crate, she didn’t want to be alone for one minute.  It was quite a nightmare training her.  And she was strong, so taking her to dog training class was a complete and utter horror.  I gained a lot of upper body strength training Lucy.  Finally, Lucy settled down, and Roman, sadly, did not make it past age 11.  Lucy was alone for three years.

My daughter, Maisy.

And then came Maisy.  Here is a link to how I persuaded The Captain to go for another dog.  Maisy is a Havanese.  She is a fluffy, prissy little thing and oh, so charming.  She is my alter-ego.  If I was a dog, I would be Maisy – fuzzy, vocal and right next to whoever would give me a special snack or attention.  She is a doll, as am I.  😉

My dad still has dogs.  Two rescue dogs that are vivacious little critters.  We Facetime and get to speak to the dogs.  It is quite a treat.

The Captain’s family was also a dog family.  They always had a pooch, but usually not by design.  They didn’t visit the breeder or check the newspaper for certain dogs.  They were given dogs that were older or couldn’t be placed in a normal home.  One interesting story is of a toy poodle they were given named Jacques.  Apparently, The Captain and his brother, Coach, were fond of making Jacques crazy.  They would taunt this poor dog, who would growl at them and snap at them.  But the dog closest to the in-laws’ hearts was named Mabel.  The in-laws, let’s call them The Legend and Salt, lost this special dog last year.  Mabel, who we fondly referred to as The Captain’s sister, lived a long life.  The Legend took it hard.  He became the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld) about dogs.  I would ask him, “Hey, how about looking at a new dog?”  His reply, “Grrr, no dogs for you!”

My father believes in getting back on the horse, and this is not just because he lives in Texas.  He has loved and lost animals that were close to his heart, but he always finds room in his heart to accept a new dog – not as a replacement, but as a new companion.  I, too, feel this is important.   So I pushed the issue with my in-laws.

Chewie, the newest dog addition.

The Captain warned me not to do this, but I had to.  They had to have a new dog.  They both could use a special buddy.  They needed a pal to wag their tale and welcome them every morning.  So, I went on a quest to find them a great friend.  And I succeeded.  A male Havanese who looks like Chewbacca.  He could be a miniature Wookie. It was time to get back on the horse, so to speak.  And the best part?  They named him Chewie.  Oh yes.  Han Solo would be proud.

Chewbacca was a Wookie, and the in-laws are happy.  Love those dogs, and may the force be with you.  With dogs, that is.

When Children Learn to Read

Or, what really happens now that my children are reading.

My seven-year-old, Squishy, loves to read.  He is at the point where he reads everything. He will read over my shoulder.  He will read labels.  He will read t-shirts.  He will read basically anything.

There is a fun print my sister-in-law gave The Captain for his birthday.  He likes to make (and drink) martinis.  Squishy now knows how to: 1.  Say martini and 2. Spell martini.

Squishy has become a reading machine.

He also likes to read over my shoulder while I am on my Kindle.

“Mom, what the crap is wrong with this lady?”

“What lady?” I ask, “and don’t say crap.”

“The lady in your book named Anne.  She is a freak.”

I am reading about Anne Boleyn.  “She is not a freak, Squishy, she just had some issues.”

“Like what?” he asks as I wonder briefly how far to take this.

“She was married to a famous king of England and it didn’t end well for her,” I strategically answered.

“Why?  Is his name Henry?”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“I read it over your shoulder,” he grinned triumphantly, “See ya, I am going outside, OK Mom?”

“Sounds like a plan,” I answered.

Yesterday, heading for a quick grocery store stop, Squishy said, “Mom, the truck next to us has a bad word on a sticker.”

“What does it say?” I asked, trying to navigate through the zillion traffic lights in our small town.

“Will I get in trouble if I say it?” he asked.

“Just read it to me,” I said, with the patience and kindness of a women with mild road rage.

“Bad ass,” he said, “It says bad ass.  Why is he a bad ass, Mom?  He doesn’t look like a bad ass.”

“OK,” I said, using the mom voice, “You can stop saying it now.”

“Well, he doesn’t look like one anyway…Hey, Mom, the sign over there says not to text and drive.  And that one says the service begins at 10, and that one says…”  And so on, and so on.

I think I may need that martini.  Stat.

Mild Mannered

One of the goals for parents is to instill and model good manners.  I am from New Orleans, so this is relatively easy for me. I say thank you to people who hold the door for me, serve me food, call me, say kind things, basically, anytime a thank you is warranted, I say it.

A simple way to appreciate.

Using good manners is second nature.  And important.  The power of saying thank you is amazing.  And, by an event that happened recently, I hope my dudes know and understand the incredible value of a simple thank you.

String Bean has a friend who was in Seussical with him.  Each night, The Captain would drop Bean’s friend off at home so his parents didn’t have to stay at the theater through all of the rehearsals and every performance.  Not once did the kid say thanks.  Every evening during dress rehearsals and performances, The Captain would help this child with is costume, wig and even finding the elusive DS game that had fallen out of the holder.  Not one time did this kid say thank you.  He is now known as Mr. Thankless.

One night, I had the thrill of picking all the dudes, including Mr. Thankless, and taking them home, and, once again, not a peep, not a thanks, not even a screw you from Mr. Thankless.  I, being oh so subtle, said, “You are welcome.”  Crickets chirped.  Leaves dropped.  Birds chirped. Still, no thank you came from his mouth.

Squishy was completely irked by this.  He began saying things to Mr. Thankless such as, “It would be nice if you would thank my dad for helping you with your costume each night,”  and, “Why don’t you say thanks when my mom drops you off at your house?”  Squishy is very intuitive for a seven-year-old.

This stream of thanklessness did not see to phase String Bean, which, honestly, worried me a little since Mr. Thankless is his so-called best buddy.  So, I polled String Bean about his own manners:

“When someone brings you home, do you say thank you?” I asked, searching for information.

“Yeah,” he said, barely looking up from his 3DS.

“Are you suuuuuuuuure you say thank you?” I didn’t pause, “Because if you didn’t, you would be in big trouble.”

“I am sure,” String Bean replied with a huff and an hefty roll of the eyes.

“Bean, I am serious. Manners are important and I hope you are using them.  Remember what Thomas the Train says about manners.” I continue by breaking into a Thomas the Tank Engine song.

“Mom, stop! I am too old for Thomas!  I use manners, OK?!” yelled the super-mature (and way over this entire conversation) ten-year-old.

“Whatever,” said the super-mature me, “I am just saying it is important, understand?”

“It is not my fault that Mr. Thankless doesn’t say thank you, Mom,” he said, “I don’t know why he doesn’t say thank you.  Besides, his mom is super nice and always says thank you.”

Squishy interjects, “Maybe it is because his parents put a TV in his bedroom.  That can make him forget his manners.”  Did I mention Squishy is very intuative for a seven-year-old?

“I am sure that is it, Squish, but Bean, make sure you are using your manners – say thank you and please, OK?”  I had to make my point stick for the 100th time.

“OK Mom.  Can I play my 3DS now and have some peace and quiet around here?” and, with that, he was back in Mario land.

Out of the mouths of babes.  I do hope they have learned that manners go a long way.

In conclusion, I would like to extend a hearty thank you to those reading my blog.  Thank you from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the sea.  You rock.

Oh, and thanks for brightening my day.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  And a warning to Mr. Thankless: Next time, I am telling your super nice mom!

Muchas gracias. Merci beaucoup.

Yes, I am the Tooth Fairy

Spoiler alert:  If you still believe in the tooth fairy, stop reading now.  This may come as a shock to you, and I want you to be OK and not to worry your pretty little head about anything.   Go back, visit Freshly Pressed and wait for the Easter Bunny and Santa.  And remember to brush your teeth because the Tooth Fairy really appreciates it. 😉

This is me! Ready for anything to come my way - involving teeth!

Now, let’s begin.  I am the Tooth Fairy.  I provide the almighty cash when teeth are lost in my home.  I collect the teeth and put them in a special “place” in my secret container located in my bathroom.  I could make a glorious necklace of teeth shed from the children, but I am not creepy so I won’t.

I am the Tooth Fairy.  I have made stealth missions under pillows to find the tooth in the porcelain holder.  I plan my missions with ease and expertise.  I begin planning as soon as the tooth becomes visibly loose.  I show many ways the tooth can be wiggled, prodded, twisted and pulled.  After all, the goal is to lose the tooth.  I patiently wait for the tooth to be placed under the pillow.  Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible has nothing on me.  I am ready.  Bring one the tooth!

I am the Tooth Fairy.  I have made mistakes.  Once, hunting for a particularly difficult tooth under a pillow in a bed surrounded by over fifty stuffed animals, I woke up the sleeping darling.  He looked at me and asked if it was morning yet.  I told him no, that I heard him coughing and I was checking on him.  The Tooth Fairy must think quickly on her feet.  Another disaster was when the sleeping angel woke up and asked me why I had the tooth holder in my hands.  I said I was checking to see if the Tooth Fairy had visited because I knew I would not be home to see if she came.  This answer was acceptable, and the little man drifted back to sleep.  As the Tooth Fairy, I am ready for anything.

I am the Tooth Fairy.  For some reason, my sidekick, The Captain, conveniently never has any cash on the precious Tooth Fairy visits.  “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  Being the Tooth Fairy carries a high threshold of organization and duty, and, obviously, The Captain cannot handle the extreme elements of the task.  For some unknown reason, he does not worry if the Tooth Fairy forgets.  This has happened on his watch and, in Tooth Fairy land, is unacceptable. On my watch it won’t ever occur again.  In retrospect, The Captain makes an awful Tooth Fairy.  He is fired from ever being the Tooth Fairy again.  He may have to do double duty as Santa next year.

I am the Tooth Fairy.  It is a hard job.  It is demanding, does not come with rewards or benefits.  But there is one thing it does – it keeps the belief alive.  So, I will stay the faithful Tooth Fairy until my services are no longer required.

After all, I am the Tooth Fairy.

A happy customer.