Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Theories on Kids" Giveaway

Who are all these kids and why are they calling me mom?

I used to be this woman: young, formerly cute, with a bad attitude and a mean face. I started out with great theories on raising kids. Then one day I found a 25-pound bag of sugar spread evenly on the storage room floor. The kids and their friends were ice-skating in their socks over the slippery crystals.

Chalking it up to bad outside influences, I kept them isolated from naughty neighbor children. The next thing they designed was a swimming pool. They covered the shower drain with a towel and let the water overflow onto the bathroom floor. The plan was to fill up the bathroom and swim like fish in an aquarium. The resulting flood ruined the floor, and the carpet in the next room.

Experts on child-rearing never have children. If they did, they'd know nothing works. My theories toppled like blocks in a playroom.

When the corner of the boys bedroom started attracting flies, I investigated. Hmmm...what was the stinky, sticky liquid that had stiffened the carpet and eaten away the carpet pad...oh, even the floor boards were dissolving...Could it be that animals lived in this room and had marked their spot with urine? These could NOT be my children! My children were obediently doing their extra reading at bedtime, not filling their toy box with bodily fluids!

Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids.

There were emotional issues, too. One kid had a conniption fit when the tub drain was released, convinced that he and all of his loved ones would be sucked down pipes and live in the sewer muck forever. He could hear the plug being released from any room in the house and broke into screams of terror. Another kid refused to take baths. He sat, fully clothed, and stirred the bathwater so it would sound like he was washing. Fears of wind, car washes, and vacuums ran rampant. Two kids "rolled" their heads in a rhythmic effort to sooth themselves to sleep...for hours every night! I sat in darkened bedrooms to scare away bad dreams, and laid in darkened doorways to rescue sleepwalkers.

My bad dreams involved taking them out in public. Mom rearranged the furniture one year for Thanksgiving. She hauled the ping-pong table upstairs to the dining room, and set it with her lovely silver and china. The meal got underway, with instructions on where to sit, when the fresh rolls would appear, and thanks to great-grandma for her homemade watermelon pickles. "Everybody sit up! It's time for the prayer."

I scanned the room for my cute little boys while my sister searched for hers. Suddenly the metal, decorative room divider lurched towards the table. As we all looked up in horror we saw four little monkeys clutching the aluminum scroll-work as it fell from it's place between the ceiling and the half-wall. In the nick of time, our husbands caught it before our sons became the centerpiece.

I'm not telling these stories to brag. I'm explaining why I have a collection of dozens of books on raising kids. If you can top these stories with one of your own, you will become eligible for a book on how to keep your sanity while living in an insane asylum. If you have such a story, but are not currently in mommy circumstances, please contribute your comment, and if you win you'll get a different kind of book.

I childproofed the house but they keep getting back in.

This new giveaway requires a comment on this post by Monday at midnight.

(All illustrations here are from the darling book Jillian Jiggs, by Phoebe Gilman.)


mama jo said...

i loved this...because we all have the same! and the pictures a darling...
i don't know if i can top you...but, my older son (and i will not name names) who was always known as the sweetest child who would NEVER do anything wrong, shared a bedroom with his younger all of the sudden that younger brother did not want to sleep in his room...we couldn't figure it was a great room..after many nights of this...i finally found out that his sweet older brother was threatening to cut his throat, every single, that's brotherly love....

Anonymous said...

The night we left our kids with our favorite baby sitter and her brother. When we came home, we were met at the door, with "Abby swallowed a ring", that was the least of the worries. Downstairs, Nick had been placed in a big box and Jamey and Ty, along with the "older" brother/sitter had been throwing some sharpened object at the box and had totally sliced up the newly painted wall...and could have killed nick if they had hit him. James and Tyler were well concealed under bathroom cupboards. It was a lovely evening.

kenju said...

I'm sure that I could tell hundreds of stories, but not one comes to mind at the moment. Yours are stunning!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I can't top yours, so far, but one side of my house is a giant mud puddle. Why? "Because my animals need a watering hole." Sounds logical when you're 7. The "watering hole" sits next to the house, under the spigot. There are assorted rocks and big mud splatters on the side of the house now. My husband just discovered a second watering hole with a RIVER connecting the two. Did I mention we rent? The spigot now has a locked cover on it...

Kay Dennison said...

I can actually say that the Dynamic Duo were pretty good kids. I can't think of anything really outlandish that they did. Selective memory? I don't think so.

Jenibelle said...

Oh, I have a myriad of stories! Here's a couple of my favorites:

When my 4th was very small my husband and I went on a cruise and left our children with a cute couple named CeliaFae and Carl. During that time my children made plaster of paris handprints in the bathroom sink, (had to have it chipped out with a drill), poured an entire bottle of baby shampoo in the fish tank (the fish lived, that's how gentle Johnson's is!), learned how to shimmy down the drain pipes and sneak out of the house AND convinced this new parenting couple that they couldn't drink milk and that their mom only gave them rootbeer to drink.

Another time son #1 was supposed to be watching his disabled sister downstairs. Instead he went upstairs and became enthralled with Donkey Kong. 3 HOURS later he came downstairs only to find that his sister had gotten into her sister's art supplies being used for poster making for an election. There was black sharpie pen on the brand new furniture and the walls, glitter glue also on the furniture and walls, but the best part? Silver and gold glitter EVERYWHERE. She had taken off the lids and carried them to other rooms with no lids, the ceiling fans did a great job dispersing it from one end of the house to the other.

The difference between a disaster and a good story is about a month.

Unknown said...

Boy oh boy, I would love to win this giveaway. I have two little boys, and as of right now they are still small and obedient. Unfortunatly they will get bigger. That is when my "fun" will start.

Here is a link to my best story:


Anonymous said...

When I was having my fourth child my sister in law offered to keep the other three at her house for me.

She had 3 boys who were pre teens and proud members of the Boy Scouts. They were getting ready for a jamboree and were making Indian beads out of popcorn.

They spent all day popping the corn then dying some yellow, some blue and some green. Then they spent all of the next day carefully threading the pop corn beads on the string to make the necklaces that they would wear as Indians.

As they finished each necklace they hung them on a dish towel rack that had three long arms so you could dry your towels.

When they were done and the necklaces hung up the 3 boys went to bed.

When they woke up in the morning all that was left of the necklaces was the STRING. Chris 4,and Steve 3, had gotten up very early and come downstairs and had eaten every piece of popcorn.

The three boys who were the Scouts are now in their late 60's and Chris and Steve are in their mid 50's and whenever we all get together ,which is often, it never fails that one of them will bring up what they now call :

"The Great Popcorn Caper"

It's very funny now,but then, Not so much!

HDMac said...

You are quite the story teller! Oh yes, my kids are gone now and I miss those days, but oh.. they can be difficult to go thru... what am I talking about? I have 3 of my grandchildren here with me for the weekend!!!! I am living it ALL over again! lol

thanks for the opportunity to win!


Bev said...

One of the things I learned early on was to eliminate a phrase from my vocabulary -- "My child would never"

Probably the one thing that stands out in my mind the most was when she was about 2 -- for the most part she was a pretty "easy" child, but this particular day was just not going well for either of us.

I remember quite clearly standing in the kitchen of our little apartment holding a BIG glass of ice water in my hand and her screaming at the top of her lungs about something -- I just lost it (so to speak) and totally doused her in ice water.

I wouldn't recommend it as an ongoing solution, but she never had another tantrum like that, she helped me mop the floor and she laughs about it today (Yes, she remembers it!)

This is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday, and she's now 25! I suppose before too long she'll be asking me how to deal with her own children.

Keri said...

I think I might need an entire library of parenting books. The sad part is - we only have one (child - not book).
And yet at grocery stores, church, school, and virtually every public place where live humans linger, we are able to create the most unimaginable spectacles.

I'm thrilled.

I suppose I could enter any of the posts below as possible examples. Just know that they are highly edited and contain a somewhat conservative version of actual transpired events.

Susan said...

lol! I so needed to read this post! My oldest is only six, but already I can relate to nearly every story here. Pee in the heater vents, mooning his kindergarten class, bugs in the freezer, cleaning yogurt off of the walls and the dog, sharpie marker on every reachable surface including the piano, leather jackets and antiques. I love the comment that "the only difference between a disaster and a good story is a month" I think I need to have a plaque made out of it. I certainly can't top anybody here, but I REALLY enjoy knowing that I'm not alone! Thanks everyone!

Ink Poison said...

Our favorite family story took place about 50 years ago when my mom and her more mischievous older sister planned on scaring the socks off their mother. My mom was carefully positioned in the hallway where the phone was usually answered, where she lay on the floor with ketchup poured over her forehead and the iron laying next to her. Just as grandma walked in the door from a Relief Society meeting my aunt dialed the home phone from the other phone to make it ring. When she flipped on the light and saw her precious daughter on the floor covered with blood, she shrieked in horror and nearly fainted. My mom, the "victim" quickly jumped up and started consoling her while my aunt hid behind the bedroom door.

This has carried on into the next generation where my brothers and sisters have became experts at making my mom shriek. (It comes back to haunt you.)

Once while the bathroom was being remoldeled and the doorknob was missing, we passed a live frog through the hole while mom was sitting on the toilet. That was a pretty good scream.

Another time we tossed a fake snake onto her shoulders and made a pretty convincing snake sound, which produced the famous shriek and an unusual dance.

Today I try to pass it on and scare my kids. We like to play hide n' seek in the dark with flashlights. Someone always ends up crying though, so I'm still waiting for them to catch on and get me good.

Nora Mair said...

Yesterday my harmless 2yrold girl: drew pen all over the leather couch and baby brother 10 min. before church. After church she threw knives on the the floor and spit in the pudding when I wouldn't let her mash the reese peanut butter cups. Later in the evening she bit the baby, and tore apart a pop up book.... All in one day....She's always been an angel...what happened?

Moon said...

The smaller they are the smaller the disasters, the bigger they are, ...u get the drift lol. and aint it the truth!!
I can think of a few stories but a silly one came to mind when u mentioned the neighbours kids...when I was small, we actually did have some of THOSE bad neighbour kids lol..they were older then me, I was aprox 4yrs old, and u could hear them swear all the way down the street..they were very unruly and had mouths like truck drivers, needless to say , mom never allowed me to play with them...but I could hear them when I was outside. One day as mom was ironing she saw me go stand right in a corner of the room, cup my hands to my face and against the wall, say in a loud clear voice the word "FUCK"... well, she ofcourse told me never to say that bad word again...but to herself she thought it was funny, she figured I knew it was a bad word, hense my behavior but that I just needed to go try it out in the corner anyway lol!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Thank You! I'm so excited. I have loved reading everyone's experiences, too.

kelly said...

i love reading everyone's stories... children definitely unite us all!

Jenibelle said...

Fun! Thank you! My kids are an adventure in parenting, that's for sure and we have seven more years until they all "grow up" if that ever happens!

Amy said...

I loved:I Childproofed The House But They Keep Getting Back In!