Category Archives: Snags

School Daze

I love playing school with my son.  I’m good at it.  After all, I learned how to be a good student at the hands of my niece.  When Alyssa was three or four years old, she’d grab my hand the very second I walked in her front door and she’d lead me down the hall to her bedroom.  Once there she’d tell me where to sit and what to do, and so for the most part, playing school involved nothing more than sitting and listening.  Occasionally I’d have to trouble myself to raise my hand to ask permission to use the bathroom, and once in a rare while Alyssa would line the class up — the class being me and about a dozen invisible classmates — and she would march us down the hallway, single file, on a field trip to the kitchen.  There was this one kid, his name was Grumpy Boy, who was always in trouble for one thing or another.  Stepping out of line, not raising his hand, not taking turns, etc… He was sent to the principal’s office quite often.  Me? Well, I was the teacher’s pet.

Eventually Alyssa started school for real, and somewhere between Kindergarten and 1st grade she lost interest in playing school.  I guess the reality of attending school on a daily basis diminished her desire to think about it on the weekends.  Probably not unlike my unwillingness to drive downtown to visit the museums on weekends.  I work in the city so choosing to go all the way back there on a Saturday or Sunday seems unwise, almost like I never left the office at all.

But now that my son has half a year of real Kindergarten under his belt, he’s taken a sudden interest in playing school at home.  I admit that I absolutely love this.  Not only is this a game I understand, but it means that for once, the kid is not talking about Star Wars!  My husband isn’t as enchanted by this game as I am.  But that is probably because it’s obvious that once again, I am the teacher’s pet.  And for whatever reason, my husband is the real life version of my niece’s Grumpy Boy. 

“That’s it,” Snags, ahem, Mr. Scott, says, “I am flipping your card.”

“For what?”  My husband asks, incredulous.  “I didn’t do anything!”

“Well, now you have to go to the principal’s office for back talking me.  Actually, you’re expelled,” says Mr. Scott.  “Leave.  Leave now,” he insists as he points the way.

And then Mr. Scott sits down next to me and says very quietly, “Belle, you are being very good today.  Thank you for being such a good listener.”  And I just smile and sit there.  That’s all I have to do.  It’s the easiest game in the world, just sitting.  The only game that might be better is dead fish, where you lie on the floor and remain as still as possible.  That’s great because you get to lay down, and if I’m lucky and lie still long enough, someone is bound to fall asleep.  And naps are good for everyone.

A minute later Mr. Scott is calling my husband back to school.  His expulsion is over.  His card is flipped back to green.  He gets another chance.

The good will doesn’t last long, however.  Once Mr. Scott starts reading the lunch menu and we place our orders, my husband is in trouble yet again.  Even though Mr. Scott says we are in night school (because we are tired children who like to sleep during the day), we still have lunch (because, naturally, we are asleep when real lunch time would roll around).  I choose fried steak and macaroni and cheese from the menu because the sardine sandwich on white bread makes me gag just thinking about it.  My husband chooses the steak too, but that gets him in trouble.

“You can’t order the same food as Belle,” Mr. Scott says.

“Why not?” My husband asks, beginning to sound defensive because he knows where this is going. 

“Because, I talked to your parents and they said you do this all the time. They asked me not to let you do that so you have to order something else.” 

And sure enough, my husband is expelled again.



Filed under humor, play, school, Snags


I’m just finishing up my breakfast when my son says: “So mom, the first people on the earth, how did they spread?” 

“What do mean ‘how did they spread?’” I ask, feeling a bit defensive as I shovel the last bite of french toast, the last bite of bacon, into my mouth.  Is he setting me up for a fat joke, I wonder? 

“Well, how did they spread around?  Did God send down more or were some of them girls and they had babies?”

Ah!  It’s not a fat joke after all.  In my mind I picture people floating down from the heavens in a tunnel like band of light. The opposite direction of how you might imagine people being sucked up by an alien space ship hovering in the clouds.

The voices in my head start up.  They gasp, and wonder why he is thinking about this.  The voices rise as they start to panic in my brain, Why?  Why are you asking me this?  You are SIX, just go watch some cartoons already.  Be a couch potato for half an hour.  Quit playing ‘inquiring minds want to know.’  Let your mother get back to thinking about piercing her nose…

“I think some were girls and they had babies,” I tell him.

To which he replies, “Oh.  So when the babies grew up if they were girls they had more babies.”  And I agree that sounds about right.

Then he says, “Well, the first people, they were all family right?  So then if they were family, then everyone in the world today is really family to each other.”  In my mind I sigh, and out loud I agree that at some level, he is probably right.  I wait for him to go on, to take it to the next level and tell me that if everyone in the world is family and people get married, then that means they are marrying family, so it should be okay for him to marry his cousin Emma after all.  But luck is on my side, and he doesn’t go there.

I don’t feel like playing religious education teacher this morning.  I don’t have the strength of will to explain the Catholic’s concept of God as the one and only father because I know it will lead to more questions.  And probably defiance.  I can picture it clearly, Snags arguing with his father: “Mom said you aren’t my REAL dad, so you can’t tell me what to do.  I don’t have to pick up my LEGOs unless God tells me to!” 

And then, “How did you have a baby with God anyway, Mom?” I know if I try to explain he will ask me that next.  So yes, I think, best to let this one sit there for now.  Maybe the Scooby Doo cartoon on TV will capture his interest.

At dinner time, just as I get a mouthful of turkey Snags asks, “So who invented Disney World, anyway?  And how did they invent Disney World?”

“A man named Walt Disney had a dream,” I offered.

“A dream about what?” Snags asks.

“A dream to build the happiest place on earth,” my husband helpfully chimes in.

“But how did Mickey Mouse come to life?” Snags wonders.

This one, I’m confident, I can handle.  I sit up a little straighter.

“Well,” I say, “a cartoonist was drawing cartoons on a piece of paper, and there was this strange little bottle sitting on his desk.  He had never seen the bottle before and he didn’t know what it was, but he didn’t give it much thought.  While he was drawing, he accidentally knocked the bottle over and the cork popped out and the liquid inside spilled all over his drawing.  It turned out that the liquid was growth serum and when it hit the drawing of Mickey Mouse, the paper started to bubble and Mickey Mouse grew right out of the drawing!  He popped right out and was actually standing ON the desk.  Then he waved at the man who drew him, and he said “Hiya!” and the man fainted from shock right there.

I imitate what I think a man fainting from shock right where he is sitting might look like.  Snags giggles.  I’m proud of my explanation, it sounds good.


“What color was the growth serum?  Was it blue?  Was it green?  Was it red?  Can we get some? Where did it come from? Let’s get some! Can we make some?  Where do they sell growth serum?  Tell me again what happened…”

And the questions continue until Snags decides that maybe we can get some growth serum and use it to bring the dead back to life!  I shudder at the thought, wondering who he would use this on, if he could.  With visions from W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw in my mind, I gently explain how that might not be such a good idea.  With Easter around the corner I consider telling him that only God can bring the dead back to life, but decide to leave it alone, for now.  I stick with a watered down explanation of zombies and the decaying dead, and how if he used the growth serum he’d be bring back nothing but skeleton bones.  It sounds plausible enough.  But later, my husband asks me why I didn’t just tell him that Mickey came to life from Disney Magic.  Damn! Why didn’t I think of that? I wonder.  But it’s okay.  I can use the Disney Magic explanation the next time Snags asks about how people came to earth and started spreading around. 

The only problem, as I see it, is how to explain things once Snags realizes that Mickey Mouse isn’t real.  That Mickey Mouse at Disney World is really just a person inside a costume.  I guess I’ll have to teach him about cannibalism then. 


Filed under death, Disney, God, humor, life, Magic, Snags

Fair Weather Friends

Woe is the life of a six year old.  I mean, who knew kids could be so… fickle?  Snags has decided to start a club.  But only kids who are nice to him can join.  This leaves Trevor and Zane out, that’s for sure. Because they aren’t nice.  In fact, they aren’t even Snags’ friends anymore.  Especially Trevor, he’s downright mean. 

Alarming, isn’t it? Just wait, there’s more.

What, I inquired, did Trevor do that was so mean?

“I don’t remember,” Snags said.

Okaaaay then, I thought.  “Well, if you can’t remember what he did that was so mean, how do you know he was actually being mean?” I asked.

“Well, everyone knows you can’t break a pinky swear, but Trevor did.  There’s a fiddle diddle that you can break a promise but you can’t break a pinky swear.  Or maybe it’s you can break a swear but you can’t break a pinky swear…  Or maybe it’s you can break a pinky promise but not a pinky swear.  I can’t remember, but I think it’s you can break a promise but definitely not a pinky swear.”

Yes. Right. Of course. Clearly! I thought. “But wait!” I nearly shouted, as I held up my hand in the classic “Stop! Talk to the hand!” position.     “A fiddle diddle?”  I asked.

He rolled his eyes.  “It’s like a rhyme, mom.  Geez.” And in his mind I could hear him thinking, My mom is so uncool. She doesn’t even know what a fiddle diddle is and, God, what were you thinking? Why did you give me HER as a mom? She doesn’t even like Star Wars!

It took a little while, but three hours later I had managed to drag part of the story out of Snags.  He and Trevor had made a pinky swear to not be mean to each other ever again.  But now Trevor has gone and broken the pinky swear (which everyone knows you CAN’T DO!).  And this all has something to do with Zane who won’t stay in his spot and gets up and tickles Nicholas under his chin at rest time, but he shouldn’t do that and even though Snags might have done that before it’s okay because Snags sits right beside Nicholas, but now Trevor and Zane and Snags can’t sit together and Zane has to sit in the red row but he doesn’t stay where he is supposed to and by God I don’t know what any of this has to do with a broken pinky swear except to say that six hours after the story began I learned that Trevor and Zane were covering their ears at lunch so they didn’t have to listen to Snags (talking about Star Wars again?) and everyone knows THAT’S not good.  Because if you want to be part of the club and you cover your ears then you can’t hear what anyone in the club is saying!

Snags asked me to write this all down so as he gets more clues he can try to solve this mystery and figure out why Trevor and Zane aren’t his friends anymore and also this one:  Why does Bryne change her mind?

“What does she change her mind about?”  I asked.

“I love you, I don’t love you, I love you, I don’t love you…” he said, sounding exasperated.

See?  Fair weather friends.  And girlfriends.  Or not.


Filed under friends, humor, life, Snags

The Trap at the Bottom of My Staircase

What does my son, Snags, do in the mornings while he’s waiting for me to take my shower and get dressed so I can drop him at school and get myself off to work?

Well, he does stuff like you see in this photo. That is the “trap” he made to trap me upstairs one morning. And no, I haven’t left my Christmas decorations up for the last 2 months; I leave them up all the time.  I never take them down.  Okay, not really.  But I had you there for a moment, didn’t I?

Actually, Snags set up THAT trap back in December, but I don’t have any recent trap photos to share because I’ve forbidden the child from setting any new traps.  Anyway, he used approximately 1 entire JUMBO roll of Quilted Northern toilet paper, ran it up and down the hallway from our kitchen to near the front door, (and while I don’t live in a mansion by any means, it is a pretty long hallway) then wrapped it around the banister at the bottom of the stairs to trap me.

If it’s not toilet paper, it’s the yarn from my knitting bin.  If it’s not yarn, then it’s my old beading supplies (huh, I have a lot of old crafting hobbies I seem to have abandoned).  Or the Halloween decorations.  Or the Easter baskets.  Or the wrapping paper, the ribbons.  Often, it’s water.  Poured into cups, bowls, candle holders, vases, and carried around the house, dripping a trail behind him, down the hallway, up the stairs, onto his bed.  Or mixed with stuff – bits of thread, cotton balls, crumbs of food, and stuck in the freezer as a “science experiment”.

It’s NEVER his toys. In fact, I once took ALL his toys away as punishment for making just such a mess, and I locked them up.  Snags didn’t care.  His toys stayed in bins locked in the basement for a good 6 months before he seemed to notice they were gone.

He does all this steadily, quietly, and deliberately.  And he’s always so surprised to find out I’m not happy over his creation.

You know the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  At my house, it’s more like a little destroyer boy at the tail end of the mess.  At least I always know where to find him. 


Filed under humor, life, messes, Snags, traps

Because I’ve Got Nothing Else

It’s been a bad couple of weeks.  Our household has been plagued with strep, then pneumonia, then nasty head colds, and bad tempers.  The roads outside are covered in ice.  There are accidents everywhere, roads are closed, but work is still open (lace up the skates?).  Schools start late today, but the powers that be may change their minds and close them altogether.

I think Snags is turning into the bad seed.  I am going to download Aretha Franklin’s song Respect off of iTunes and play it on a loop while he sleeps.  Subliminal messages.  I hope it works.

In need of something humorous to lift my spirits I took a look at the google searches that have lead people here.  My most recent visitors came looking for answers to the following:

what does wendy wear from peter pan 
what kind of hat goes with pajamas 
niece in latin 
loose tooth new tooth behind 
sled building science project 
how to address an overdue account envelope 
blistex crack 
invitation rsvp alternative 
jon and kate plus eight payment

And since I’m in a helpful kind of mood I will try to answer.

Wendy wears a blue dress. Like the devil.

Read Clement Clark Moore’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and you’ll know, women wear a ‘kerchief, men, a cap.

I don’t speak Latin, sorry.

Don’t worry, the loose tooth will eventually fall out and the new tooth will move in to take it’s place.

Two words: Robotic Wolves

Add the overdue account envelope to the place or company that you owe the money to.  You know, so it gets there.

I agree, blistex is crack.  If you’re addicted, seek help.  I suggest Burt’s Beeswax as your methadone while you wean.

There is no such thing as an RSVP alternative.  Pick up the phone and RSVP already.  It’s the correct thing to do.

Do jon and kate owe YOU money?  Or do you owe them money?  If it’s the latter, see my answer to “how to address an overdue account envelope”.


Filed under google searches, life, Respect, Snags

The Boy Who Knew

If I am honest with myself, I have to admit that sometimes my child scares me.  There is something about him, something I can’t put my finger on, exactly, that isn’t right.  Or maybe it’s just that something is too right.  How I might be if instead of needing contact lenses, I got LASIK and ended up with something better than 20/20 vision.

Snags is pretty smart, that much I know.  His teacher tells me this, and his recent report card reflects it as well.

He uses big words.  Words you might not expect a kid in Kindergarten to know.

He’s good at math.  He can do simple addition and subtraction, even some basic multiplication.  I just about had a heart attack when he started talking about square roots the other day. I don’t remember much about math beyond plus, minus, multiply, and divide.  And mostly, I use a calculator for those.

And then there is the “other worldliness” about him.  How once, when he was three and we were on our way to preschool we passed an ambulance heading in the opposite direction, and Snags said “I am going to ride in an ambulance today!” I shuddered at the thought, and insisted that he wouldn’t be riding in an ambulance that day or anytime soon.  I might have said never.  But Snags insisted he would.  And hours later, he did.  His preschool called me to say he’d had an allergic reaction and they’d given him a shot of epinephrine and the ambulance was on its way.

Tuesday night Snags drew a picture of a tornado.  Wednesday morning I woke to the news that dozens of tornados had ripped through several states, tearing down homes and businesses and schools, and leaving people dead in its wake. 

I’m not saying Snags caused the tornado, but still, I think I’m taking all of his crayons away tonight…  after I make him draw me a picture of a winning MEGA MILLIONS lottery ticket, that is.


Filed under ESP, humor, life, Snags

Ode to Mr. Fish

When I walked in the door he was crying so hard you would have thought someone had died. Then I found out someone had died. Only, that wasn’t why he was crying.  He wasn’t crying because someone he loved had died.  He was crying because “DADDY FLUSHED HIM DOWN THE TOILET BEFORE I COULD DRAW HIM!” 

And that’s how I found out that Mr. Fish had bit the dust.

Mr. Fish, we got you at a school carnival back when Snags was three.  You were small, no longer than half an inch, I think.  And orange, that typical goldfish orange color.  You were swimming around in a plastic cup, hoping not to get bonked on the head by a ping pong ball tossed by little hands.  But you were. Snags landed a ball in your cup, and you were knocked on the head and likely a little stunned.  Some of the water in your cup sloshed out, but you were his. Someone manning the “Win a Fish” game dumped you into a baggie and you came home with us, glub-glubbing along, eyes bulging, but ever the strong one.  I imagine that you were still in a daze from that ping pong ball. We set you up in a fish tank all by yourself and with all that space and no other fish to fight with over food, you grew and grew into the size of a small Mrs. Paul’s filet.  And yet, we didn’t eat you. We kept you. We fed you. We loved you.  Eventually we moved you into a larger tank and got you some friends.  Snags insisted on that, he didn’t want you to be lonely.

But tonight my husband found you floating listlessly at the top of the tank.  If all the fish were playing a game where they were imitating letters of the alphabet, I understand that you were pretending to be the letter “U”, folded floppily in half, bobbing ever so slightly by the miniature current made by the tank’s air bubbles.  So my husband scooped you out.  He didn’t want your rotting remains to bump into the other fish, so he scooped you out and flushed you down the toilet.

You should know that Snags cried.  And cried and cried and cried and cried.  Then he sobbed incoherently for an hour more.  I thought, at first, that he was overcome with sadness at your death.  But it turns out that he was furious with his father for flushing you down the toilet. He wanted to draw a picture of you.  A picture of your sad and lifeless body floating in the toilet…

I’m glad he couldn’t find his camera. I fear that he will grow up to take photos of the dead in their caskets. Photos of me, perhaps.  He’ll print them out on his home printer and take them to work to share with his co-workers.  He’ll say, “Doesn’t Belle look so peaceful?” and his co-workers will think, “FREAK!”

Or maybe he will grow up to be a crime scene artist…  I am not sure why it was so important that he capture you all bent in half and floating like that. Something in a six-year old’s mind…

He is still barely talking to his father.  He claims that he is so mad he won’t buy his father a birthday present. I tried to reason with him through the tears. “Maybe Daddy didn’t hear you say that you wanted to draw him,” I suggested. Snags responded by deciding that if he does decide to buy his father a birthday present, he will buy him a hearing aid so he can hear him scream “STOP! I WANT TO DRAW HIM!” the next time a fish bites the dust.  His father’s birthday is in November.  It’s January right now.  I hope he forgets this whole ordeal, forgives his father, by then. I suppose I ought to raise his allowance a bit so he can save more money between now and then.  If he does decide on the hearing aid, well I think those things are pretty expensive.

Good bye Mr. Fish.  I hope you made it through the pipes okay.


Filed under death, fish, life, Mr. Fish, Snags

Those Pearly Whites

The tooth is leaning forward, a tiny spear pointing directly at his bottom lip.  Push against the outside of his lip and the little tooth might pierce it, poke all the way through like a drill. If it weren’t loose it would be standing up, in its socket, like the rest of his teeth.  But it won’t go back into formation.  It leans forward, a miniature drawbridge across the moat that is the space between his lip and gums.  He can twist it side to side, make the bridge swing to and fro, but it won’t stand back up.  A new tooth is creeping up behind it, blocking the path, a pebble in the gears.  The drawbridge cannot be closed.

It’s been like this for weeks.  Every morning and every evening I ask Snags to wiggle the tooth.  “Harder,” I say.  “Can you twist it?  Try twisting it all the way around.”  It twists some, but it won’t spin. I won’t touch it because loose teeth make me shiver in an uncomfortable kind of way, remind me of the various failed efforts to extract my own loose teeth so many years ago. Snags won’t wiggle or twist too hard because he doesn’t want to hurt himself.

But I am tired of looking at the hanging tooth. It looks painful, although I know it’s not. I am beginning to wonder if I will have to haul him to the dentist and have her pull it.  How many weeks can a tooth hang on?  How can he eat with such a wiggly tooth?  How can he talk with the tiny white spear scraping against his lip with each syllable he utters?  Thinking about it too much leaves me covered in goose bumps.

I’m desperate for the tooth to fall out.  It disturbs me. I want him to yank it out. “Snags,” I say, “Did you know that if you loose a tooth on the night before a holiday that the Tooth Fairy will give you FIVE dollars for the tooth?” Surely, this, the promise of bonus money, will be enough to get him to tug a little harder.

“Really? Wow,” he says, and he reaches into his mouth to wiggle the tooth some more.  But at bedtime the tooth is still hanging on and Snags is upset.  He really wants to earn that five dollars, but he just can’t bring himself to snap that hanging tooth free of the vine that holds it.  He worries over it and wants to know if it’s only the night before a holiday or if the promise of five dollars extends into the day of the holiday and the day after.  I hedge, saying I’m not sure, but that I think it probably extends to those days as well.  The tooth’s remaining days of hanging out in Snags’ mouth are numbered. So is the five in my wallet. 

Morning comes and the holiday, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. is official.  And the tooth remains.

Schools are closed so we visit a neighbor.  Snags and his friend go down to the basement to build with LEGOs.  I’m in the kitchen, talking to my friend when Snags comes up the stairs, a look of utter horror on his face.  His mouth is agape, his hand extends toward me. “Mom!,” he whispers.  I am taking stock, trying to figure out what the problem is, why he looks so ill.  I start to reach for the EpiPen in my pocket.  Maybe he is having an allergic reaction to food found in my neighbor’s basement.  I ask what is wrong, but Snags isn’t talking.  He looks like he’s hardly breathing.  A frightened ghost shuffling towards me.

My friend figures it out first.  “You lost a tooth!” she exclaims. 

“My mouth is bleeding,” he replies.

I begin to relax.  It’s not an allergic reaction.  He can talk.  He looks stunned and ill and pale because his mouth is bleeding.  This is nothing.  I uncurl my fingers from the Epi Pen in my pocket.

The Tooth Fairy comes that night as expected.  Snags calls to me in the middle of the night.  I glance at the clock as soon as I hear him yell, “MOM!”  I go to him.  “What is it?  What’s wrong?”  In the dark he shows me the five dollar bill that he found under his pillow.

“The Tooth Fairy came? That’s nice,” I mumble.  “Now go back to sleep.  It’s 3:00 a.m.!”  I cannot believe he woke me up for this.

He is six years old. I have a small collection of his baby teeth hidden away. Teeth he lost, teeth the Tooth Fairy left me. 

The first tooth was a great event, and of course, you always keep the very first tooth.  It marks something special, the official beginning of growing up, the loss of the baby teeth, the appearance of the adult teeth.  The second tooth, I have that one too.  And now, I have this third tooth, and I realize it’s a collection.  Of teeth.  Not unlike Kevin the mail clerks’ collection of owl beaks from the television show Just Shoot Me!
So I search the internet.  I am looking for wisdom and advice from other mothers.  What do they do with all of these baby teeth?  Many, it appears, keep them.  They say their children, once they were past the tooth fairy stage, enjoyed looking at all of their lost baby teeth.  Other people, I read, keep the teeth on the hope that scientists might one day extract stem cells from them.  They might one day use them to cure age related diseases.  But in order to do that, the parents have to specially prepare the teeth and send them off to a tooth bank for safe keeping.  All I have are three dried out little teeth, sitting in the back of a dresser drawer.

I just finished reading Alice Sebold’s book, The Lovely Bones, and I can’t stop picturing Mr. Harvey sitting in his basement amongst the bones as I realize that I sleep in my room at night, amongst the teeth.  And I get chills all over again.


Filed under life, loose tooth, Snags, teeth

A Science Experiment Yields Cake

This morning, over breakfast, Snags comes up with an idea for a science experiment.  My husband thinks it’s an awful idea. Snags thinks it’s a wonderful idea. I am stuck somewhere in the middle, like the narrator in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, thinking it’s both: a wonderful, awful idea. Snags wants to take Gobstopper and Dum Dum brand fruit flavored candy canes that we have left over from Christmas and put them in a bowl with hot water and baking powder and bake it to see if it will turn into a cake. He wants to see what will happen to the Gobstopper candy canes when they hit the water because they are layered with different colors and flavors throughout.  He figures the water will have some interesting effect on them, and the baking powder might make them bubble.  My husband announces that this will never work. I am reminded of Sharon’s secret recipe for freckle juice and I decide that no matter what happens, I am not eating this concoction.

I haven’t even swallowed the last of my toast and already Snags is yanking mixing bowls from the cabinets.  He’s breaking brightly colored candy canes up into pieces and placing them in the largest mixing bowl we own.  He adds a ½ cup of flour on top of the candy canes, then dumps in two ½ cup measures of hot water.  He stirs the lot and comments that it “doesn’t look like batter yet.”  I suggest that we add some more flour to thicken it up, so we add scoops of the stuff until he decides the mixture is thick enough to be called a batter.  Snags is ready to bake it at this point, but I suggest that if he wants it to turn into a cake, that we might want to add some sugar and some egg replacer (since he’s allergic to eggs). At the last second we decide to melt a chunk of margarine and I help Snags stir it into the mix for good measure. 

Only then does it occur to me to ask Snags if he actually peeled the plastic wrapper off each candy cane before putting it in the bowl.  He doesn’t sound certain as he says, “I think I did…”  I decide that I better check, and luckily so, because as I fish through the odd pale purple-brown colored batter I find several pieces of broken candy cane still encased in clear plastic shrink wrap. 

Snags pulls out a cake pan and we grease it, flour it, and dump the batter in. I set the timer on 350 degrees for 25 minutes and Snags watches the action through the little window in the oven door.  He announces at least once a minute that he can see it rising.  And yes, for those of you keeping score, that would be 25 renditions of “it’s rising!”

When the timer goes off, I stick a toothpick into the middle of the pan and it comes out clean.  I figure whatever we have cooked up is most likely finished, so I remove the cake pan from the oven and set it on the stove top to cool.  Snags looks at it and decides it isn’t complete until he dumps a half cup of cake sprinkles on top. 

After the “cake” cools, Snags wants a piece.  I cut into it.  It looks like a cake.  It smells like a cake, albeit a VERY fruity one.  It cuts like a cake.  At least the top does.  The bottom is a hardened mass of melted candy canes that have to be chiseled from the cake pan.  I put a piece of the cake onto a plate, a chiseled melted candy mass beside it. 

Snags eats it, declares it “Yummy!” and notes that “Daddy said this wouldn’t work!” 

“Yeah, well what does HE know?” I reply.

My husband wanders into the kitchen. “You cooked that?” he asks.  “I thought you were going to dump it in the trash.” 

“We had to bake it, it was an experiment, we had to see what would happen,” I say.

Snags’ science experiment is a success…

My husband eats one piece, then asks for another.  I’m still thinking about Freckle Juice.  And I’m still not eating any of it.


Filed under cake, life, science experiment, Snags

His Idea of a New Year’s Eve Party

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve spent the day watching a marathon of episodes of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.  At some point it occurs to me that I can’t take the crying and the whining anymore.  It’s something I can’t stand in my own house, from one child, so why am I watching eight children do this on television?  Why is the film crew placing boom microphones right above the crying children?  As if their crying wasn’t already loud enough.  It also occurs to me that this family on the screen in front of me goes to a lot more places than we do. The dad has a job but the mother isn’t paid for staying at home with the kids.  How do they manage these trips to New York, and Florida, and California?  Then I remember, oh yes, they are being filmed.  The TV people probably have something to do with it all… 

Snags has been watching some of these episodes as well, but by 3:00 he’s getting bored.  His eyes are dark and he’s yawning.  “What can I do, Mom?” he asks.  Hmmm, I think… “Well,” I reply, “anyone who takes a nap gets to have a special New Year’s surprise tonight.”  “What?” he asks as he eyes me wearily.  He sees a trick coming on.  A ploy designed solely to get him to take a nap.  “Popcorn,” I tell him.  “If you take a nap, you can have popcorn tonight when you are watching your New Year’s Eve Nick Jr. shows.”  Surprisingly it works.  “Okay,” he yells. “I’m going to take a nap!”  And off he goes.  He runs up the stairs and that’s the last I see of him for two hours.  I lean back on the sofa, settle in to watch more crying and whining, to listen to the mom on TV bark orders to her husband in Toys R Us.  How, I wonder, will this family turn out?  Being filmed on TV was the death of Nick and Jessica.  I’ve got to think that the stress of the show could have some negative impacts for this family down the road.  I don’t know.  I could be wrong. I hope I am.

At 5:00 p.m. Snags comes back downstairs. “I took a nap!” he announces.  “And so did Dad.  He was playing Xbox but he fell asleep.  I wish I could play my video games but you want to watch this show…” he trails off.

“No, you can play your games,” I tell him.  “I’ve seen enough of the show.”

“Really?  Are you sure?” He’s excited.  The television is all his.  He can play Sonic, or Madagascar, or Star Wars LEGOs… And I am sure.  I’ve listened to eight children cry and fuss and have meltdowns over and over and over again for hours.  I listened to them while I ran on the treadmill, while I folded laundry, while I snacked on Ritz crackers.  The sound of explosions and light sabers and beeps and blips of video games might actually be music to my ears now.

After dinner Snags turns the channel to Nick Jr.  SpongeBob SquarePants is starting.  A mini-marathon for New Year’s Eve.  Snags has been talking about this for nearly a week.  This, Nick Jr. and SpongeBob SquarePants, is THE WAY to ring in the new year when you are six.  Snags pulls a pot from the cabinet, a jar of popcorn from the pantry.  “Popcorn. Let’s have popcorn now!” he pleads.

I make the popcorn and Snags dances about the kitchen.  “It’s time to PARTY!” he says.  “Let’s PAR-TAY!” 

Snags eats his popcorn at the kitchen table.  He says we’ll all stay up until midnight and we’ll party.  Only, SpongeBob ends at 10:00 p.m.  I’m tired.  I tell him that I am going to bed, but he can watch a movie on our portable DVD player, the one we take on long car trips.  It’s still set up in his room, left there from when he was sick on Christmas Eve.  Snags thinks this is a grand idea, a way to extend his New Year’s Eve partying.  “You might want to cover your ears,” he says as he stands up.  “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” he screams at the top of his lungs, before turning, heading up the stairs to his room. 

“You have to lie down in your bed to watch the movie,” I tell him.  “And you cannot get out of bed.  Not even once.”  “Okay,” he agrees, pleased.  “But if my movie is over before midnight I will start it over again,” he says.  I agree, that’s fine.  He can do that as long as he stays in bed.  Snags chooses Star Wars, Episode III as the DVD to watch.  He hits the play button as I pull the covers up to his neck and kiss him goodnight.

Fifteen minutes later I go in to check on Snags, and he’s sound asleep, oblivious to the light sabers and storm troopers raging just a few feet away on the DVD player.  He hasn’t made it ‘til midnight.  Not even close.  His “party” of SpongeBob and a bowl of popcorn has knocked him out.  But I won’t wake him.  I hope the sound of firecrackers and car horns honking throughout the neighborhood at midnight don’t wake him, either.  I turn off the DVD player, turn out his bedroom lights, and lean down and whisper “Happy New Year” in his ear, then quietly close the door. 


Filed under life, New Year's Eve, party, popcorn, Snags, SpongeBob