Monthly Archives: June 2012

It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer

It’s entirely possible that I need to have my head examined. Even my jackwagon-of-a-dog thinks so. I can tell because of the disapproving glare he shoots me each morning as I pass his crate, failing to pick up his leash and take him on the long, leisurely walk we’ve enjoyed pretty much forever. The walk during which he routinely sniffs wildflowers, eats carrion and engages in completely unprovoked bouts of maniacal barking involving people, big trucks and inanimate objects he deems inherently evil.

Or at least I assume he deems them inherently evil—judging by the way he franticly claws the pavement, straining and gasping for breath as he tries in vain to reach the aforementioned entities—rendering the entirety of his 14-pound stupid-self spent. Sadly, I have yet to make sense of such moronic behavior and can only guess that it has something to do with the disproportionate number of tree faces located in our neighborhood. They are sort of creepy after all—much like the keening melodies that emanate from ice cream trucks. And clowns. Let us not forget the creepy clowns that populate the planet.

At any rate, my neurotic little dog is still highly displeased with me. More specifically, our daily constitutional of late has been replaced with ferrying my brood to tennis lessons, and shortly thereafter, to the pool for swim team practice and then on to eleventy-seven errands of one kind or another. By the time I return, the asphalt on our street has fairly replicated the surface of the sun, which precludes any and all jaunts with said dog. Hence, the disapproving glare.

Aside from finding my actions generally irksome and largely inconvenient, my tail-wagging companion also believes that I am a profound idiot (i.e. he wears the celebrated YOU’RE AN IDIOT dog face I have come to know and loathe). All things considered, I would tend to agree with his assertion. Roughly three nanoseconds after the school year came to a close, I enrolled my children in activities that I KNEW would entail setting a cussed alarm clock and transporting the wily beasts (and their embarrassment of paraphernalia) hither and yon, preferably with matching socks and clean underwear. Never mind the grousing, nay, THE BELLIGERENCE I would encounter as the official sunscreen slatherer (aka The Evil One Who Seeks to Rid the World of Joy). Of course, it is the very same brand of belligerence I endure upon handing my charges their math workbooks each day or dropping not-so-subtle hints that their music instruments are in danger of gathering dust, making me ever so popular with the crowd.

But I digress.

The swim team sign-up alone has earned me Satan status in my children’s eyes. Case in point: “The water is frighteningly deep, intolerably cold and I’m probably going to die.”

Okay, only the latter part of that sentence was in fact uttered, but the lips from whence the words fell were disturbingly blue and the water is, indeed, frighteningly deep. Furthermore, I’ve been privy to countless tirades involving the horribleness of waves generated by great throngs of swimmers and the dreadful deluge of water that has the audacity to become lodged in one’s nose and ears forevermore.

“It’s like the water hates me, Mom, and wants me to die. Why did you ever sign us up for this?!”

I honestly have no fucking idea. But, of course, I remind Thing One and Thing Two of their ceaseless petitions to join the team and extoll the many virtues of said organization, banking on the notion that in time they will adjust to that which is nothing short of a tsunami at present. Pun intended. Likewise, I try to dismiss the little voice inside my head that whispers something about being a monster—and a particularly daft one at that.

Then again, my dog may be right.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (embracing my inner idiot). Visit me there at

Copyright 2012 Melinda L. Wentzel


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Filed under Endless Summer, I Pretty Much Suck at Parenting


I love this time of the school year, as we straddle the delectable months of May and June—quite literally on the cusp of summer. Translation: The celebrated death of structure is nigh and I can almost taste the deliverance from order and obligation—especially as it relates to parenting a pair of wily fifth graders. Far and away, it’s my favorite wedge of weeks on the academic calendar; although September’s nice, too, with its bustling fleets of bright, yellow school buses, towers of textbooks and freshly sharpened pencils. Trendy backpacks and lunchboxes abound, too. Everything, it seems, is awash with newness come September, just as it was so very long ago when I headed back to grade school with the swarming masses (and a newfangled Scooby-Doo thermos).

But the present chunk of time is downright edible—a delicious string of days that meld together like the final pages of a good book. Needless to say, the sundrenched afternoons and scrumptious evenings filled with Frisbees and the ever-present thrum of crickets woo me into thinking that nothing on earth could possibly be better—except maybe a moratorium on homework, which is pretty much what we’ve been granted of late. That said, there is no substitute for this season’s splendor—and the fireflies we are eager to chase at dusk. Nor is there any match for the grand finale my kids revere more than life itself (i.e. the culmination of school, with its patented swirl of delirium-inducing celebrations and jammed-to-capacity schedule of events). Indeed, it is a frenzied cluster of weeks that threatens to claim my sanity, but it passes all too quickly and I find myself pining for more.

If I had my druthers, another 30-day chunk of time would be sandwiched between the fifth and sixth months, infusing the school calendar with that which is righteous and good (namely, science projects that don’t necessitate the summoning of a marriage counselor, sports schedules that are very nearly practicable and weather forecasts that typically include blue skies and balmy temperatures). Juneuary, I’d call it. Of course, it would contain a perfectly frivolous holiday during which people would pause for three consecutive days to pay homage to squirt guns. Or toads. Possibly both. You’re welcome, said the maniacal visionary and curator of whimsy.

Alas, there is no Juneuary, and a mere handful of days remain in my children’s school calendar—a woeful reality that is, of course, punctuated by the fact that this week will officially end their grade school years. That said, my brood is poised to enter middle school in the fall—where the likelihood of being trampled by a herd of 8th graders is nearly equivalent to that of being stuffed inside a locker (incidentally, a locker that no one will figure out how to reliably lock and unlock without divine intervention and/or the acquisition of at least one superpower).

Never mind the inevitability that I will fail to locate their classrooms on Back to School Night, at which time I will surely forego the opportunity to meet their new teachers because I’ll be too busy wandering aimlessly through the labyrinth of hallways that appear disturbingly similar. Make that COMPLETELY INDISTINGUISHABLE, except for the smallish numbers printed near the doors that I may or may not fully discern, given the addled state I expect to be in at that time.

Maybe I should just stow my kids somewhere in the bowels of the elementary school for the summer, so they might stay a bit longer, tethered to the people and things they know best. A place where an embarrassment of items were lost and subsequently found (read: library books, lunch money, a certain someone’s clarinet, eleventy-seven sweatshirts, a beloved Pokémon card and an errantly placed baby tooth). A place where scrapes were tended to, psyches were nurtured and curiosities were fed since the early days of kindergarten. A soft spot to land these past six years—a refuge that has made all the difference this June.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (searching desperately for the pause button). Visit me there at

Copyright 2012 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Growing Pains, Love and Other Drugs, School Schmool