“It’s 10pm, do you know where your children are?”
Bitch, yes. My kids are still young, but let me tell you something, I can already see myself as that evil parent who always knows where they are at all times because I’m GPSing tracking their phones. Of course, I won’t know for sure until I get there, but for now, I am comforted by the fact that my kids don’t go anywhere without me taking them there first.
The problem is what they do when they’re home. They’re in my house, I can hear, and see them at almost all hours they are awake… but I’ve lost them. It’s almost like I don’t even know them anymore, and I used to brag that I know them better than they know themselves. They are complete strangers. They’ve been stolen away from me.
It’s Minecraft, y’all. Minecraft stole my children from me. Minecraft is the true evil of their generation. It’s like pixelated crack. If they could snort it, I am positive they would.
They come home from school, ask what chore/s they can do to earn screen time, and I basically never see them again until their shit has shut off, or they have decided it they do not nourish their bodies they will die.
It’s all they talk about. It’s all they want to do. It’s all they think about. They have full conversations about Minecraft (and Roblox, don’t get me started on that shit) that sound like a completely different language to me. They probably dream about Minecraft. I no longer have to look at their shit unless it’s clogging the toilet, but I’m pretty sure it comes out in blocks.
I’m confused. My brain does not compute. I game quite a bit. Hell, I live stream games, but Minecraft is a weird little world I don’t understand.
They keep trying to pull me in. I want to talk to them about their school days and they want to talk to me about blocky bullshit.
I just want to hold a normal conversation, and they want to talk about some random youtube video they watched about some random Minecraft crap I don’t understand. I would rather talk about the molecular content of farts than talk about Minecraft. I would rather discuss what might have been trapped in Abraham Lincoln’s beard hair than discuss Minecraft. I would rather eat fossilized cat turds than talk about Minecraft.
This must be how my mom felt when I wouldn’t peel my ass off the floor and stop playing Nintendo/Sega, and that makes me uncomfortable. This is it. This is really it. I have become my mother. Thanks a lot, Minecraft.
It’s official. I’ve done it. Eight years and some change into parenting my second child, and I’m done. It’s complete. I have reached the pinnacle of parenting.
The first one I kinda fucked up, but he was my practice kid, right? I nailed the second one, and in record time. I can retire my parental finger wag and scowl I have honed over the past decade. He can go off to college now. I have nothing left to offer him, for he has everything he needs to be a productive human already. The older one is still going to require a little more work, but I am signing off on the eight year old. He is ready to go off and make his own way now.
I know what you’re thinking: How? How did you accomplish such a miraculous feat in such a short amount of time?Should we be calling the Guinness Book of World Records? Putting your name in the ballot box to win a Nobel Peace Prize? And let me say, while I appreciate the multitude of praise for a job spectacularly done, there is no need for parades, accolades, or awards. Instead, I am going to share with you the secret of my success, so that you, too, might be done parenting your children before they hit the double-digits.
It all started with Sunday chore-time. This is nothing unusual. We do it every. single. week. One week one will clean a bathroom and the kitchen table, and the other will clean the big bathroom (which is “their” bathroom) and the other small bathroom. The next week, they switch. They can try to argue, but it’s no use, because this is how it is. As long as they complete these chores and don’t half-ass them, all is right with the world. They’ve been doing a decent job for so long now that I didn’t even think to check every nook and cranny behind them to make sure they hadn’t half-assed. I may have never even noticed had the toilet in the master bathroom not been out of commission, and had I not needed to go pee before bed time on Sunday night, and had I NOT noticed, while going to sit on that toilet, that it wasn’t really clean. That is what brought my attention to the base of the toilet, and around to the back, and WHAT, pray-tell, did my eyes behold?
Pee. But not just any pee, crusty pee. Lots of crusty ol’ pee. Probably weeks worth of crusty pee because maybe the boys decided they didn’t need to actually aim into the toilet and it’d be fine flying all over the place like a fucking water hose- I’m not really sure. All I know is I was horrified.
Have you ever tried to pee with your feet OFF of the ground? It’s like the opposite of a public restroom butt-hover. It’s where the floor is so disgusting, that you plant your ass, lift your feet, and let it go. Once you’re done, you do an Olympic gymnast level leap clear to the other side of the bathroom. It’s dangerous, as your pants are still down, limiting your range of movement, but it can be done if you don’t want a layer of crusty pee on your feet.
I was disappointed, yes. Disgusted, absolutely. Angry, yeah- a little. I trust the kids to fully clean the bathrooms in exchange for being able to live here for free, and screen time, and me making them food, and all that fun stuff. I don’t ask for a lot. Some respect, a few chores here and there, general requirement of not being a major a-hole. EZPZ, right?
Monday rolls along, and I roll out of bed still thinking about the fact that I nearly used the boys’ old pee as a foot exfoliator.
I confront the one responsible for the half-assery and request, calmly, that when he go and finish the job he was supposed to do the day before. He asks if he can get to it a bit later. Sure, I say. It’s early, why not, I say. Let’s relax for a bit– as long as you get it done. I’m not unreasonable.
By the time he gets to it, it’s a bit before lunch. I’m upstairs in my room doing my makeup.
To give you an idea of how far we are apart- I’m at the back corner of my room, about ten feet to my right is my doorway, and a few feet from that doorway is the doorway to his bathroom. I can hear everything crystal clearly.
It starts with him claiming he has no idea what I’m talking about. According to him, the bathroom is spotless. There’s no mess. I inform him that not only did I find poo streaks on the toilet seat itself (which I cleaned off prior to sitting, he can thank me very much) but that I nearly wore his old pee as winter socks.
He is not pleased.
And by not pleased, I mean hysterical once he sees the devastation that has occurred.
This isn’t unusual. The kid always cries when he has to re-do chores. I’m never sure why, because he spends 10 times longer crying about cleaning than it would take to actually get the job done, but whatever. I’m not him. He can waste his time however he sees fit.
I heard something different through the self-pitying sobs this time. I pause doing my eyeliner to get a better listen.
It’s…. what IS that–I wonder to myself.
And then it hits me, much like reality has hit him. He’s gagging.
So I’m sitting there at my vanity, trying to perfect a cat eye, and he’s a few feet away, scrubbing up his OWN CRUSTY OLD PEE like
“THIS IS DISGUSTING” *gag* “I HATE THIS” *gag gag* “THIS IS SO UNFAIR!” *gag* “I DON’T WANT TO-eeeoooohhhehhh-DO THIS ANYMORE!”
And it’s taking everything within me not to laugh hysterically. Never has there been a sound more pitiful than a little boy realizing how fucking disgusting he is and having to clean up the disaster he himself has created.
It’s karma. It’s poetic justice. It’s the peepocalypse. And he’ll never ever half ass cleaning the bottom of the toilet again.
(shhhhhh, just let me live in my delusion for a day or two)
And don’t just read the first line of this blog and think “Oh, okay.”
This is what a sea of bullshit clickbait has done to us. People think they can just read the headline, or the first line, and know the full story- but blogs are more than their opening sentences. Stories are more than their headlines.
We claim to love the back and forth. The uniqueness and eccentricities of life, and people. It’s what makes us, us. It’s what makes people interesting. It’s what keeps us searching and learning- yet so many people are happy with being able to be summed up by a meme, or getting their news from headlines, or passing over an article because it’s “TLDR.”
Case in point: I recently wrote a piece about my boys growing up. I started it with a humorous anecdote about my 8 year old’s newfound body odor. It was one line in a piece of over 800 words. One line that was only intended to bring in readers, while the rest would hopefully relate to how most parents feel when they realize they can’t stop the hands of time. It was a funny blog, but with a moral that hits home for everyone- kids grow up, and we have to let them. They can’t remain children.
But instead of giving the blog a read in its entirety to find that true meaning- someone decided to just read the first line. The preview that shows up with my articles when I post them on Facebook. And that preview just-so-happened to be about body odor. And that resulted in a comment from this person telling me I should bathe my child before bed.
I was mystified, and annoyed. Not only at the nerve of a stranger telling me to bathe my child, but that, of the entire article- that’s what they took away from it. One line. One line that truly had nothing to do with the rest of the piece. And that’s when I realized- I got the headline treatment. This person didn’t even read the blog. They took what they wanted, assumed what it was about, and left a snide comment based on their false assumptions.
Not only was she wrong (my child is more than capable of bathing himself, and his stinkyness is just… being a boy), but she missed out on something that might have meant something to her had she actually clicked and read. Had she looked beyond a headline and a sentence.
I don’t want to go down the route of being preachy about this. As a writer, of course I want you to read the entirety of what I write, but it’s about more than that. It’s about giving life and experiences a chance before assuming. It’s about taking time out of our days to see where someone else is coming from. It’s about caring that we have all of the facts before responding. It’s realizing that not everything can be summed up in a title, or a sentence, or a single photo.
Stop. Read. THEN if you want to be an asshole…. well, you still shouldn’t, but at least you’ll be an informed one.
My kids make me say a lot of weird things. Over the course of ten(+) years, I’ve heard myself say some things no other human should probably have to say to another human, but as they are just civilized humans in training, weird is often necessary.
Y’all, I’ve told my kids not to sniff the toilet paper after they wipe before.
I’ve instructed them more times than I care to admit that their snot doesn’t count as a snack.
I’ve questioned what they ate because of the remnants of turds the size of Buicks in the toilet.
I’ve had arguments about the importance of showering and clean underwear.
They’ve given me cause in the past to ask almost absolute strangers about the healthy colors and consistencies of shit.
I have actually said, out loud, in full mom-yell voice, “It’s NOT a bloody doodoo, it’s a tampon!”
While putting all of that into a list just makes it sound weird, and disgusting– at the times they were spoken, and with the correct context, every parent knows that they make total sense. But as many times as I’ve said all of the above– and trust me, it’s a lot– there’s still ONE thing I thought I said more than anything else. Over all the weird, random shit, the tried and true go to word for me?
Two letters, so much impact. I would put a sack full of nickles on that I have said it more in my 10 years as a parent than all my years prior to parenting combined.
Truly, I thought that when the sweet angel of mercy finally took me from this earth, “No” would be engraved on my headstone.
But it’s simply not true. As much as I object on a daily basis, I don’t hand out a succinct “NO” as often as I thought. In fact, I have a list of other shit I say far more frequently. Annoyingly. Necessarily.
All of us parents have a list of our “most frequently saids” that extend beyond the realm of “NO” (although, it is old faithful, and I do fall back on it when nothing else works.)
My list, in no particular order, is as follows:
Can you not?
SERIOUSLY. Can you NOT? (oh, a combo!)
Oh, for fuck’s sake
Because I said so.
I’m not gonna say it again (blatant lie. I always say it again. Usually more than once.)
I SAID PUT YOUR SHOES ON/BRUSH YOUR TEETH/EAT YOUR DINNER
I’d say that I was trying to do better about saying all of these things so much, but…… No.
2017 may have ended, but do you know what didn’t? The constant stream of memes that speak to our souls– and thank GOODNESS for that, because without laughing at my life as told through images on the internet, I think I’d have gone nuts here in 2018 already. Not kidding. It’s January 5th as I type this and we’re on snow day #2 already.
I’m not amused.
Or, actually, I am- because of these memes that speak to my frustrated parental soul.
Well, they can… but I don’t care
*flails hand wildly*
Are we having fun yet?
@DianeAuten There is no other way
@DianeAuten I'm so glad you're enjoying it!
Minecraft Stole my Children goo.gl/fb/VG9w3M
I don't know what I want for dinner, but I can guarantee it's not any of the 14 things my husband will suggest.
@ThisIsAstartes Best worst little shits on the planet.
What's that smell? A lot of pants on fire. pic.twitter.com/bVK0FnJgeB
I'm officially done parenting. Here's how I did it: holdinholden.com/2018/01/im-o…
I’m Officially Finished Parenting. Here’s how I did it goo.gl/fb/TBJQPJ
Some people meal prep to be healthy throughout the week. Some people meal prep because they want to be lazy for the rest of the week. I meal prep to prove to my kids that humans CAN eat the same thing day after day without dying.