Tag Archives: parents

Family Game Night…


Norman Rockwell always makes it look good, doesn’t he? He draws the family eating and, yes, someone’s feeding the dog under the table and, yes, someone’s getting awkwardly squished between a couple of over affectionate great-aunts, but it’s lovely, because it’s … what? Beautiful? Americana? Reality? Well, allow me to play Norman Rockwell for a moment and paint you the picture of our evening.

James and I ran some errands with the kids this afternoon. We hit five stores in an hour and a half so, really, we were doing quite well.

We even managed to get home at the right time to start dinner. Of course, as any mother of small children will tell you, there is no right time to start dinner. In my experience it is impossible to get food in the mouth of a child before they are “starving”. It is actually hopeless because whenever you start cooking, they will still smell the cooking before it is done.

But, I was doing ok. I was cooking. I was cleaning as I went along. To be sure, there was a LOT of screaming going on in the background, a few time-outs were being doled, but it was mostly out of the kitchen if not behind sound proof doors. And then, my eighteen month old has learned how to move the stools around. So now, you turn around and when you turn back there’s a baby trying to stir the pot or pull the knife into his face, for example. Basically I was Shiva in the kitchen this evening trying to have three arms to baby’s two.

And then I snapped. I yelled. My husband got the ol’ “Why aren’t you in here helping me?!?!?!” bit. I honestly can’t remember passing the point where I realized I needed help. I went straight from “I got this” to “I needed your help five minutes ago”, straight there.

So dinner began with Mom delivering a four point apology:

“I’m sorry I snapped.”

“It was wrong because no matter how angry I am I should still speak to you with respect.”

“In the future I will try to recognize my breaking point before I get there and take a deep breath before I speak.”

“Will you forgive me?”

Everyone said yes. It seemed to me that my husband said it rather smugly, but that’s probably just me.

So then we decide to ice the cake, so to speak, and make it a family game night.

My six-year-old picks Blockus, a fantastic game requiring four players and about a zillion tiny pieces.

It was a bit of a disaster. The eighteen month old was continually wedging himself into any portion of empty chair he could find and diving at the board. We were pushing chairs in and passing water glasses across the table in a sort of baby avoidance dance we are rather practiced in at this point of our marriage. After about eight rounds the baby slowly picked up a piece and when I went to take it away he released it, dove for the board and finally succeeded in casting the pieces asunder.

As we pulled him away he yelled something sounding very much like, “Attack!”

We began again. My four-year-old was losing interest fast which was fine because she was basically using a kamikaze strategy that was not doing anyone any favors. My son began to get upset that he was being blocked during a game of BLOCK-US. And I end up playing with the baby sitting on my shoulders. I think he ate the bobby pin out of my hair because I can’t find it anywhere.

The game ended rather abruptly when a moment of frustration from my eldest child sent the pieces asunder for the second time almost an hour after we had first begun our bold strike for family togetherness.

We put the kids to bed after that. That was forty minutes ago. The baby keeps grabbing the blinds and making the most spectacular sound slapping them around, which has the others cracking up. We’ve gone in there three times already.

I was hoping by the end of this blog, they’d be done…

Nope. Here goes Dad. He’s putting an end to my daughter’s singing. Oh, now she’s crying.

“What is she crying about?” I ask when he comes out.

“She wants to go to sleep,” he shakes his head, and smiling a little adds, “At least we’re all going for the same thing.”

The Rusty Nail…


It’s official.  I’m becoming my mother.

My sisters will smile sweetly and exchange glances.  They know.  They’ve known for years.

For one, I am embarrassingly over helpful to strangers looking for items in the grocery store.  Then, last week I tucked my undershirt into my pants.  And the other day in a movie a heroine made a poor decision in her love life and I muttered the words, “Choose wisely.”  I just said it!  I didn’t even have to think about it!

Yes, folks, the evidence seems insurmountable.  Maybe the resemblance became stronger when I had kids.  Maybe I just began noticing when we lived together last year, it was right in front of my face, and things did seem more … comfortable.

Maybe ninety percent of it is my maturity.  That’s right, I said maturity.  Thirty-four is quite old enough to entertain this particular theory without outright rejection, don’t you think?  Old enough to embrace with grace the similarities and draw lessons from the faults as I hope my own daughter will.

And let’s be honest, a lot of my problems with my Mom are rooted in teenage angst.  Most of that has nothing to do with her.  I used to get so frustrated at my parents’ ability to sit on the couch and DO NOTHING.  I’m past that.  In fact, I am on board with that.  Put me on the couch and give me nothing!

Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I can find the value in an evening of fine BBC programming and a rusty nail.  That’s what my Mom drinks, a rusty nail.  It’s scotch and more scotch.  Last night I stopped teasing her about her ridiculously outdated drink long enough to try one.

Last time I tried one I was annoyed with her and it tasted awful.

But yesterday she had just helped me fold ten loads of laundry and put my kids to bed.  It was delicious.

That’s one rusty nail down my gullet and through the heart of an adolescent attitude.

Becoming my Mom has perks.  There is liquor there.