Category Archives: humor

Three Mysteries of Fame

We are Roman Catholic.  There was a long period of time in my life where I went to church every Sunday, most notably, when I was a child and had no control over my Sunday mornings.  In my college years I didn’t attend church very regularly, but started going again when I met my husband and continued to do so for several years after we were married.

After Snags was born, our attendance at church lessened, and by the time he was a toddler, we all but stopped going and turned into C&E Catholics, those folks who only cross the threshold of the building on Christmas and Easter.  The main reason for this wasn’t a lack of faith, but rather a lack of ability to keep a young boy from misbehaving out of boredom for one single hour on Sunday mornings.  Snacks and books and toys failed to help much in that environment, and I was tired of “attending” mass out in the foyer, chasing Snags around and trying to keep him quiet while counting the minutes until we could leave, because really, this wasn’t what church was supposed to be about.

Now that Snags is older and better behaved, we started going to church again.  He is interested in attending CCD (Sunday School for those who aren’t Catholic), and making his First Holy Communion.  I’ve told him those things are only possible if he behaves like a Saint during Mass.  He wants to sit right up front, in the very first pew, so he can see everything that goes on at the alter, but I tell him he has to be really, really, really good in order to sit there, and I am reserving that, like a prize, for the day he can sit quietly through an entire mass and stand and sit at the appropriate times along with the congregation.  We can not sit up front if he refuses to stand when everyone else stands.  We cannot sit up front if he continues to play with the kneeler, opening it so it crashes down on top of my foot like he did a few weeks ago.  The sudden eye watering pain of that made me nearly curse out loud, and cursing in the very front pew of a Roman Catholic Church is certain to get us excommunicated or struck by lightning.

We didn’t make it to church this Sunday, and that’s, if not a sin, at least a shame.  Because over the past few weeks, Snags has been singing the hymns he hears at church as he does things around the house.  You can hear him singing church songs while he builds with his LEGOs or as he’s playing with the hose in the backyard, or most recently, while taking his bath.

The only problem is, he doesn’t always get the words to the songs right.  Last week my husband found Snags singing the memorial acclamation, the words of which go: “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith…”  Only, Snags was singing, “Let us proclaim three mysteries of fame…”

The three mysteries of fame that I cannot grasp are as follows: 

1. How did Keanu Reeves become a star?  He is the worst actor I’ve ever seen, and his monotone proclamation of “Sir, I love your daughter…” in the movie A Walk in the Clouds, is certainly proof of this.

2. How did the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon become a hit? Why did it win an Academy Award?  It was terrible.  People flying through the air, fighting with swords.  That’s totally impossible, not realistic at all.

and

3. Why does Madonna, who was born and raised in Michigan, affect a fake British accent when she feels like it?  And why don’t the talk show hosts call her on it?

Bringing up the name Madonna reminds me of the real Madonna, Mary, the Mother of God.  And how, when I was a child, and for many years into my teens, I thought the beginning words to the Hail Mary were as follows: “Hell Mary, full of grace…” For the life of me I couldn’t understand why there would be curse words in a prayer.  It didn’t make any sense to me, and I knew deep down, it was just wrong.

My misunderstanding of the beginning of the Hail Mary is perhaps proof that Snags comes by his misunderstanding of the memorial acclamation naturally. You can have faith that he inherited his inability to hear the words correctly from me.  Or maybe he simply misheard the song because I was muttering curse words after he dropped the kneeler on my foot. 

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Filed under church, fame, humor, life, Snags

Beauty School Dropout

“PLEASE mom,” my six year old son Snags begged.  “Please let me give you a make over. Please?”

I tried to convince him to do something else, clean up his toys, get ready for bed, read a book, even sit idly and watch TV, but he wasn’t interested.  He only wanted to give me a makeover.

“I don’t think that’s a very good idea,” my husband said. 

“Why not?” Snags asked. 

“Because,” my husband intoned. “Boys don’t give makeovers.”

But we all know that’s not true.  There are plenty of male stylists out there.  All you have to do is watch TLC and you’ll see Damone Roberts, the makeup artist on 10 Years Younger. Or Nick Arrojo cutting hair on What Not To Wear. Other’s come to mind as well.  Vidal Sassoon, Toni and Guy, Ken Paves, and surely more I’ve never even heard of (which, incidentally, is why I am not listing them here).

“Alright,” I sighed.  “Let’s go.  But makeup only.  No nail polish, no hair gel, and NO SCISSORS,” I warned as Snags took my hand to lead me up the steps.  When we got to my bedroom I saw that he had already pulled out my makeup case.  Dust from powder and blush tinted the bed sheets from where he had sat opening the various containers he had found.

I washed my face, dried it, and sat down.  The first thing Snags applied was blush.  All over my face.  I looked like I had gotten a dirty sunburn.  He put dark purple eye shadow on my eyebrows.  Then two shades of lipstick on my lips.  One color on my top lip, a different color on my bottom lip. Brown eye pencil was next, followed by even more blush.

Hair barrettes held my bangs back so he could apply the finishing touches.  Close your eyes, mom, he said, pressing something (a tattoo?!) to my forehead and laughing.

“Oooh! You are looking pretty,” he said.  “Dad is going to be so jealous!”

When he was all finished he ran to grab a mirror.  He showed me his artistry with glee.  “Do you like it?” he asked.

“Wow! I said, as I looked in the mirror.  “Wow,” I said, again, nearly speechless.  “I look nice,” I lied. 

I heard my husbands words in my head again, “Boys don’t give makeovers.”  I think what he really meant to say is “Six year old boys don’t give makeovers, very well.”

Here, take a look for yourself.  You be the judge…

Later, when I said I was going to wash my face, Snags didn’t complain.  “Well, okay,” he agreed.  “And, mom, you can take off that snake tattoo on your forehead. I don’t want people to think you are weird.”

Which is good, because I don’t really want people to think that either. Although I realize, it might be too late for that.

 

 

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Filed under humor, life, makeover, parenting, Snags

Field Day

Field Day.  Did you have this when you were in school?  A day, or maybe only half of a day, dedicated to being outside, on the playing fields around the school, participating in track and field events?

God, how I hated field day when I was a kid.  I remember elementary school and the annual field day.  It would be blistering hot outside and we were forced to participate in competitive sports: relay races, the 50-meter dash, the long jump, broad jump, an obstacle course, and then for fun, a tug-o-war.  But the teachers kept score.  They had stop watches and clip boards. The fastest runners, the best jumpers, they won medals and the praise of the teachers around them.  The rest of us?  Me?  The loser(s).  I wasn’t fast enough to win a race, couldn’t jump far enough to win a medal.  So I’d trudge from event to event in the hot, hot sun with the added burn of shame on my shoulders, not good enough, not good enough.  No medal.  Not a winner.  Not good enough.

And then, like to rub it in, I got to stand there as they built the teams for tug-o-war.  Not fat, but somewhat chubby. Chubby enough to wait and wait and wait until they were running out of students and were looking for the anchors of the team.  Here’s a hint.  Just because a girl can pinch an inch, doesn’t mean she’s a hulk.  It doesn’t mean she can pull your entire team of skinny high jumping fast kids from the brink of the mud puddle.  So you shouldn’t all turn on her when she doesn’t whip out bionic arm powers and fling you all across the fields to the parking lot, away from the puddle.  Get over it already.

No, I haven’t.

That was 1976… perhaps. 

And now, it’s 2008.  And my son’s elementary school does field day.  “Oh, no!” I think.  Not that. Anything, but that.  All the old feelings of inadequacy come storming back.  I don’t want my son to feel that way.  I don’t want field day to be a bad memory for him too.  I keep my mouth shut, but I shudder at the thought.

Parents are invited to watch the field day events.  If participating in them isn’t bad enough, I think watching from the sidelines will be even worse. I can feel like a loser all over again even when I’m merely a spectator.

But I go anyway. 

And who knew there were 20 different ways to hold a relay race?  Field Day.  It would be more apt to call it 20 Ways to Relay Day.  There is the 911 Frog Relay where you pick up a large rubber frog wrapped in white bandages, and you run across the grass to drop him inside the hula hoop with the red tape in the shape of a hospital cross. And the Hamburger Relay where you run over to a desk masquerading as a grill, pick up a spatula, and slip over bean bags pretending to be hamburgers before you run back and tag your team mate.  Then there is the Water Relay where you dip an overturned Frisbee into a bucket of water to fill it up like a platter, move as quickly as you can across an expanse of grass (with minimal spillage) to an empty bucket where you dump the Frisbee full of water.  The team with the most water in the bucket wins, uh, nothing.  But the kids get wet and they have fun anyway.  Nobody is keeping score.  Not the teachers. Not the 5th graders manning the stations. Not at the beach relay or the water sprinkler relay or the obstacle course.  Not the kids who are covered in mud and don’t care.  And not me.  I’m just watching.  And not feeling like a loser.

I catch the gym teacher and casually mention how much better this is than when I was a kid.  “Competition,” she says, “Who needs it?  This is just for fun.” 

“Besides,” another teacher chimes in.  “These kids,” she says, tilting her head at the running kindergarteners, “They can’t really follow rules.  They cheat.  It wouldn’t do any good to keep score.  This is just for fun.”

Just for fun.

For fun.

FUN! 

Later in the evening, when my son is home and the mud from the field has been washed off, we’re talking.

“Mom,” he says.  “There is a game called Dodge Ball.”

“Yes,” I say.  “I know.  We used to play that in gym class when I was a kid.  Why?  Is your class playing Dodge Ball?”

“No,” He says, sounding relieved.

“Do you know how to play it?” I ask.

“I think people throw things at your head!” he says, alarmed.

“Well, they throw balls at you, but they aren’t supposed to throw them at your head,” I say. “Maybe at your chest or your legs.  Definitely not at your head,” I say, and he audibly sighs.

He sounds relieved.

But then he offers a new twist on the old game: “I know what would be fun,” he says. “Dodge Cinderblocks!”

My eyes widen in alarm.

“You,” I say, pointing at him for emphasis, “Will NEVER be in charge of field day!”

And that, I think, is one game I won’t ever play.  Even if it is for fun.

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Filed under humor, kids, Kindergarten, life, parenting, Snags

Defective Parts

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to request an exchange on my son’s olfactory parts.  It seems that when you supplied all the parts for this child of mine, you accidentally inserted a vulture’s sense of smell into him in lieu of a human’s sense of smell.

I submit the following as evidence:

Most human beings like the smell of such things as:
Flowers
Chocolate
Perfume
The ocean
A good steak

My son likes the smells of such things as:
Anything burning
Gasoline
Used model rocket engines
Boxes in the freezers at the grocery store
Farts

Used model rocket engines smell very much like sulphur, which smells like rotten eggs.  And rotten eggs smell like something dead.  And vultures like the smell of dead things.  And my son, as I indicated above, likes the smell of used model rocket engines.

Thus, the following equation must be true:
My son’s nose =  vulture nose

A vulture, as you know, is a bird.  My son is, for all other intents and purposes, human.

So I respectfully request an exchange of parts.

I understand my request may be outside the limits of your normal service agreement, as my child is approaching the age of seven.  However, it took this long for me to really notice the problem.  Yes, I suspected something was off when he was three and would open the freezers at the grocery store and deeply sniff the frozen pizza boxes.  I thought it strange as well when he asked me to leave the car door open while I filled up the car’s gas tank  because he liked the fumes emitted from the pump.  But honestly, it wasn’t until he said he was going to start collecting used model rocket engines because they “smelled so good” (with deep sniffing inhale) that I really became suspicious.

When some toast burnt recently, he was very excited when he asked “What smells so GOOD?” 

And the clincher, what prompted me to write, was the day he was home from school because he was sick and he proudly announced “my farts smell like burnt rocket engines! Doesn’t that smell GREAT?!”

If you would kindly mail the replacement olfactory parts to me I will insert them myself.

Thank you,
Belle

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Filed under boys, death, humor, kids, life, parenting, rotten food, sick, Snags, steak, things kids do

Pants Recommended

Call me lazy, but I am sick and tired of having to make decisions.  Things that used to be simple have gotten crazily complicated.  And I don’t like it.

Take… school picture day, for example.  When I was a kid, you showed up at school and they took your picture.  And that was it.  Well, maybe the photographer insisted on combing your hair some stupid way you never wore it, but really, that was about it.  Later, the pictures would come in, and you’d grimace at the way your hair looked in the photos, but there was nothing you could do about it except hope your mom didn’t choose that year’s school photo for her new silver frame sitting on the mantel.

That was then.

NOW you get a warning notice sent home from school about a week ahead of time, telling you that picture day is coming up. But that’s odd, because they just took school photos back in the fall.  And the school year is only 180 days long… and you’re only a few weeks past the 100 day mark…  Ah, but then, the children were dressed in FALL clothes then.  And now it’s SPRING.  Right?  Or maybe, even though you are holding the flier in your hands, your husband is right, maybe it’s a flier for school picture “make up day”.  For the kids who were sick or otherwise absent back in the fall. And they just forgot to put “make up day” on the flier.  Yeah, that’s probably what it is.  NOT.

Exactly 17 hours before picture day you get another reminder, complete with a small form that proudly states there is “No charge for picture day!”  Your child will get their picture taken regardless, and you don’t have to pay a thing until the photos come home and you decide whether or not to buy them.

But nothing’s ever free.  In lieu of parting with your hard earned cash on picture day, you have to choose which one of five poses is more ‘you’, or you know, more ‘your child’.  And then you mark that box and send in the form so the photographer knows which way to position the kid before he snaps the photo. You can write any special instructions you want to the photographer on the form too.  Like, “LEAVE THE HAIR ALONE!”

But this is where I fall apart.  I can’t make decisions like this.  Take the picture and send it to me.  If I like, it I will fork over a kajillion dollars for a small package of two 5×7’s and eight wallet size photos.  If I don’t like it, well, I’ve got a digital camera and I know how to use it.

But this, this…  Pose 1 shows the child sitting in a chair.  Pose 2 shows the child with chin in hand, bored like, but still smiling. Pose 3 shows the child lounging somewhat precariously across two bean bag chairs.  Pose 4 has the child leaning on a bean bag chair with arms crossed, all defensive like, but still smiling.  You lookin’ at me?  And Pose 5 is simply the child’s face. 

I think what threw me the most was Pose 3, where the child is sprawled across the bean bag chairs.  A handy suggestion next to it says “Pants recommended!” And so I wonder if this has really been a problem.  Do parents really send their children to school without any pants? Certainly that’s in violation of school dress codes, is it not?  Or did the photo company do one too many photo shoots at an elementary school smack in the middle of a nudist camp? Or, perhaps, it’s a reminder to the photographers.  Maybe some of them used to work for that magazine with the bunny ears.

I’m torn.  Not one of the five poses is “Snags”.  If they had a pose that said “Snags” it would be my child before bedtime, protesting my comment that he looks tired, all the while sucking on two fingers and holding his old tag blanket up to his nose so he can sniff one of his favorite tags.  Only, the form doesn’t say, “favorite blankets recommended,” and I, having gone through school myself, have personal experience with school photographers.  If they don’t want your hair parted on the left, they sure as hell aren’t going to let you shove a couple of fingers in your mouth and sniff on the tag of a blanket for your school photo.  Not even if you have pants on.

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Filed under humor, Kindergarten, life, parenting, Snags

Rochambeau

It started off as a game of “rock-paper-scissors”, otherwise known as “rochambeau” for you fancy types.  It ended as a spa retreat with messily painted nails, globs of hair gel on my head, and enough perfume sprayed on me to supply a French Whorehouse for a lifetime.  But the story’s in the in-between.

Snags was bored and wanted to play rock-paper-scissors.  It was easy enough, so I obliged him.  One turn into the game and he stopped to get a piece of paper so he could keep score.  “You have to win eight first,” he said as he drew a dividing line down the page and wrote “Snags” on one side, and Mom Belle, on the other.

The game continued only after I swore I’d stop playing if he didn’t stop cheating.  He was slow on the throw down, waiting to see what I did with my own fist before deciding which way to put his hand.

“Stop cheating!” I demanded.

Eventually he got into the game correctly and soon enough, he won.

The score card looked something like:

Snags
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Belle
1, 2, 3, 5, 4

According to Snags, the winner got to choose between a special luncheon or a spa treatment.  Only, it turns out the winner was actually the giver of the special luncheon or the spa treatment.  The loser was the recipient of said prize. Having been to Snags’ “spa” before, once where he took scissors to my hair when my eyes were closed, I chose the luncheon.

“Um, you might not want to choose the luncheon,” he helpfully advised.  “You don’t get to choose the menu,” he warned.

Feeling trapped, I reluctantly chose the spa treatment. I vowed to keep my eyes open no matter what.

I was ordered to remove my nail polish and my shirt. I obliged on the nail polish, but I refused on the shirt.  “Shirt stays on,” I intoned with my most “this is not up for negotiating” voice.

Snags filled the bath tub with water.  He kneeled in the tub and instructed me to sit on the edge of the toilet and soak my feet in the tub.  He should have said “burn your feet in the tub” because that is how hot he had the water. 

“Snags! This is HOT!  It’s burning my feet.  Isn’t it burning your knees?” I cried.

He swore he was fine as his knees turned bright red and he washed my feet and sprayed me with a plant mister from the dollar store.

Next he polished my nails.  Just so you know, little boys polish nails from left to right and back again.  Or in a circular pattern.  Nails and finger tips alike receive this treatment.  It’s quite a different look from what you’d normally expect. Good thing this treatment was free.

After the polish dried on my fingers and toes I had to soak my feet again while he sprayed my hair with the plant mister, followed by squirts of perfume to my face, my neck, my hair, my shirt, my arms, my ears, well, in short, everywhere.  I could hardly breath for the smell.  And because I was afraid that Snags scissors-hands would make an appearance, I kept my eyes open.  Perfume burns your retinas…

Snags put globs of hair gel in my hair and sprayed me with hairspray.  “Wow, you have a lot of tangles,” he marveled as he yanked a comb through the globby mess he’d wrought. 

“Oh look!” he said. “One of your hairs, came out.  It’s very nice.  I think I’ll keep this,” he said as he stuck the lone hair into a Dixie cup on his bathroom counter.

I shuddered and thought about Hannibal Lector.  Was this how he started off?  Giving his mom a spa treatment and keeping hairs he ripped from her head?  I vowed to read Silence of the Lambs again to find out.  Disturbing tendencies, these.

Next, Snags lathered lotion on my face and arms.  He sprayed on more perfume before leading me to the basement for a “massage”. 

Note: The term massage is used here in the loosest sense of all.  Unless you enjoy having little hands pinch you and pound on your back, that is.  Luckily, the massage was short.  Thirty seconds of pinching and pounding and it was finished.

“All done!” Snags, announced, satisfied.

“Oh, is that it, then?” I asked, relieved.

He confirmed we were done.  Then he went upstairs to watch Nickelodean.  I went upstairs to wash the mess out of my hair and the perfume off of the rest of me.  Including my eyes.

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Filed under humor, kids, life, parenting, Snags

Just This Side of Believing. Or Not.

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I thought I should warn you.  I think your days are numbered.  My six year old son, Snags, doesn’t seem to believe in you anymore.  I don’t know why the sudden turn of events.  Perhaps you didn’t leave him enough money last week when he lost his fourth tooth?

Or maybe it’s not really a turn of events at all.  For a good year or two before he ever lost his first tooth he would argue with me, claiming there was no such thing as a tooth fairy.  I wanted him to be a kid and benefit from the lie that there is such a thing, so I insisted he was wrong, that there was a tooth fairy.  His dentist backed me up.  She’s into lies like that.  But looking back, maybe I should have caved then, admitted the truth, and saved myself some money.

Witness this conversation a few nights ago:

Snags: Mom, tell me the truth.  Is there really a tooth fairy?

Me: (Indignant tone) Of course there is! (thinking, SHIT!  Where is your father, now?) Why would you ask that?

Snags: Well, I think it’s really you and dad leaving me money.

Me: (Bewildered tone) Why would we do that?

Snags: Because you want to give me money? I think you get up in the middle of the night and give me money.

Me: Snags! Think about it.  I don’t like to get up in the MORNING.  I’m certainly not going to get up in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT to give you money!

Snags: Maybe dad does it.

Me: No, I’m sure he doesn’t.  And besides, your friends Zane and Nicholas and Megan all lost teeth recently and they said the tooth fairy left them money too.

Snags: Maybe it was their parents leaving the money.

Me: (trying to confuse the issue) Well I certainly wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night to let their parents into our house!

Snags: I know there isn’t a tooth fairy because Mrs. V. told us when the tooth fairy leaves you money it’s really your parents doing it.

Me: (thinking “his Kindergarten teacher said WHAT?!”) Why would she say that?  She LIED to you.

Snags: Well… she didn’t say that.  I just said that to get you to admit there isn’t a tooth fairy.  That’s okay.  I believe in the tooth fairy anyway.

So anyway, as you can see, Snags is just on this side of belief.  Or disbelief.  I’m not sure.  But it’s a knife-edge, and he’s wobbling.  He wants the money, that much is obvious.  But it’s also obvious that he doesn’t care who gives it to him.  So long as he gets it. 

 

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Filed under childhood, humor, kids, Kindergarten, life, loose tooth, lost tooth, parenting, Snags, teeth, The Tooth Fairy