Category Archives: Ode to Embarrassment

Dear Mirena

Firstly, as a mother of three, I’d like to thank you for sprinkling a little amusement atop my harried-with-children sort of world. The television commercial for the birth control product you market is hilarious, depicting with remarkable accuracy the inexorable chaos that is parenting. That said, the grocery store scene was classic, wherein you nailed the idea that kids are kids are kids, and inherent within each smallish being is the irrepressible desire to poke and prod fresh produce until it topples to the floor. The watermelon was a superb choice, incidentally.

However, your writers crossed some sort of line between that which is refreshingly funny and that which has led to a profusion of child-generated questions for which I have no answers. Shame on you for that, my dear Mirena.

__________________________________________________

Imagine, if you will, my husband, our twin daughters (Seek and Destroy, who are soon-to-be fourth graders) and myself plunked upon our couch watching television one afternoon while an ad for your lovely product aired. Of course, we were greatly amused by the aforementioned supermarket circus as well as the other just-shoot-me-if-I-so-much-as-THINK-about-getting-pregnant-again portrayals.However a seemingly innocuous snippet of speech (i.e. “…you can try to get pregnant right away…or not…”) apparently piqued the interest of a certain nine-year-old, causing her to launch one of the most feared inquiries known to the parenting world.

“So how do you try to have a baby anyway?”

Stupidly, my husband and I sat there in stunned silence, slack mouthed and pitifully unprepared to respond with any semblance of coherent thought.

Again with the question–only louder and more insistent this time, “SO HOW DO YOU TRY TO HAVE A BABY?”

 

We glanced at each other with a look that shouted, “It’s your turn to field this one,” shifting uncomfortably in our seats and wishing like crazy the awkwardness would dissolve into our less-than-pristine-looking cushions. But it didn’t. If anything, it intensified. Like fools, we simply sat there and waited for a nugget of wisdom to fall from the sky–much like the time we expected the Difficult Question Fairy to swoop down from the clouds and address our child’s very real concerns (i.e. the much-heralded demand to know if daddy’s vasectomy involved removing all or part of his brain). Seriously. One of our dear charges actually asked this.

“Hey, guys!” I shouted, tripping over my pitiful inability to change the subject, “Look at the cardboard boxes! They’re MOVING! Doesn’t that look like fun?! Maybe we should scrounge around in the garage for some big boxes, and then we could cut windows and doors in them like we used to!”

Our less-than-delighted progenies promptly rolled their eyes and attempted to redirect the discussion, “Did you guys try to have us?”

“Yes, yes we did, in fact,” my husband offered, hoping to steer the conversation into the realm of that which was answerable. “We even went to a special group of doctors (Translation: we trekked to a faraway fertility clinic each and every time your mother so much as whispered the words, “Honey, I might be ovulating…”) and they were enormously helpful–those doctors–enormously helpful. So yes, yes, we DID try to have you and we couldn’t be happier about it!”

“Why’d you do that? Were you guys bored or something?”

Needless to say, the Difficult Question Fairy was nowhere to be found and nothing seemed to be falling from the sky–least of all wisdom. Ugh.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under Ode to Embarrassment, The Natives are Decidedly Restless

It’s Likely I’m an Ass

For whatever reason, I sometimes forget that I am an ass. Not to worry, subtle (and not-so-subtle) reminders abound. This morning was no exception.

Firstly, we missed the school bus…a not-so-ordinary occurence with my wily brood, although we seriously flirt with the possibility nearly every morning. Of course, we missed the bus because I am a sorry example of a mother (i.e. I failed to see to it that my children finish their homework the NIGHT BEFORE, so they were forced to complete it as they shoveled Lucky Charms into their faces and slurped orange juice ad nauseam). Ergo, my two dandies became “car riders” on this less-than-stellar morning which, apparently, was a good thing since “all the cool kids are car riders, Mom.”

Who knew.

Secondly, my ineptitude as a dropper-offer-of-kids-at-the-elementary-school is unrivaled in the Northern Hemisphere. Translation: I suck as a chauffeur of smallish creatures that are known to wield backpacks and lunch boxes. Further, my brain simply cannot fathom the driving-on-the-left-side-of-the-road thing whilst traffic whizzes past me ON THE RIGHT, winding in and around an exceedingly large parking lot and buzzing up to the double doors for the celebrated and markedly expeditious deposit of children-ish entities. Everyone but me, it seems, grasps the inherent logic behind said circus-like pattern.

“It’s like the (fucking) Autobahn! With ONCOMING TRAFFIC!” I shriek to my charges, as if they could offer a modicum of support as third graders.

“A) This is COMPLETELY INSANE! B) You’re LATE for school! And C) This is COMPLETELY INSANE!”

A pregnant pause ensues, followed shortly thereafter by Thing One’s expressly pointed commentary from the back seat, “You’re not doing it right, Mom…but I still like being a car rider.”

Joy. Glad someone can see the bright side of my disaster-in-the-making.

“Mom, just follow the arrows and go where that man in the orange vest is pointing………then we won’t crash into Kevin’s mom,” Thing Two instructs, ever the practical child.

Lovely. Crashing into Kevin’s mom sounds like something I’d like to avoid at all costs. I shall heed the orange-vested gentleman’s signals.

Crash or no crash, it’s still entirely likely I’m an ass.

Thirdly, somehow I’ve fallen down on the job of imparting crucial tidbits of information to the impressionable youth in my charge. More specifically, I neglected to inform my kids of the protocol for disembarking during the drop-off period. That said, Thing One tried (and thankfully failed!) to leap from my vehicle as I slowed down to take my place in the endless procession ahead (aka the Escalade Parade).

“No, no, no! You can’t get out HERE, doofus! Wait till I get all the way around to the sidewalk. Then you can hop out, Hon.”

She then fumbled around with her stuff and inadvertently shut the door on her backpack, beside herself with glee over the delicious reality of being a bona fide CAR RIDER instead of a lowly bus goer. “Terrific,” I thought. “She’ll miss the bus INTENTIONALLY tomorrow morning.” As I wended my way through the line (trying like crazy not to rear-end anyone in the process), I quizzed each kid as if they were preparing to parachute into a war zone.

“Homework?”

“Check.”

“Lunch?”

“Check.”

“Agenda?”

“Check.”

“Library books?”

“I don’t have library today, Mom.”

“Oh. Hey, it’s time to get out! GO! GO! GO! There’s a gazillion people behind me! Have a great day!” I shouted after them as they piled out of my Jeep and raced to the school, jackets flapping in the breeze.

“Whoa! Wait a minute!” I rolled down the window and hollered to Thing One, holding up the precious line in the process. “YOU FORGOT TO SHUT THE DOOOOOOOR!” Naturally, she forgot to shut the door because I forgot to quiz her on this all-important sequence of the drop-off event. To make matters worse, I couldn’t shut the stupid door myself (though I tried like mad), nor could I GET OUT and shut it. I feared such action would be viewed as unforgivable by the vast majority of those waiting in line. Further, I assumed the Drop-off Police would then cart me away to be flogged or something equally horrible.

There would be no exiting the vehicle.

So, like a fool, I continued to yell. And in a moment of sheer panic entwined with supreme idiocy, I laid on my horn. Again. And again, not once thinking about the ramifications of my infinitely obtuse actions. I’m certain the people ahead of me in line pegged me for an ass. And rightly so.

“Who honks their horn in the drop-off line?!” they likely bellowed. “My kids are moving as fast as they can, you idiot!”

Needless to say, I wouldn’t blame them for chiding me. I deserved it.

Finally, Thing One realized the mad honker woman was, in fact, me. She then returned to close my door. “Whoops,” she said with a smile. “See you at the bus stop, Mom!”

Indeed, it’s where I belong, ass that I am.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, Ode to Embarrassment

The Purple of Penance

Lisa Belkin, of NYTimes Motherlode fame, suffered unmercifully this past weekend, breaking an ankle in numerous places while wreaking havoc upon a handful of ligaments and bones in the other. Her sons rushed to her aid and used a cell phone to hail an ambulance for her, as one might expect. However the irony with which the aforementioned debacle unfolded (and was subsequently documented and shared in all its digital wonder via text messaging and eventually the Motherlode Blog) might not have been expected.

You see, Belkin had made a solemn vow to “unplug” for 24 hours, to resist the urge to check e-mail or the status of anyone’s Facebook, to text or tweet to excess, to Google the bejesus out of anything and everything from sundown to sundown. Impressive, no?

Needless to say, her efforts were valiant as she attempted to reconnect with her family and to do so in a manner completely devoid of electronic devices. Lo and behold, the gods of technology laughed at such foolishness, perhaps causing said vat of horribleness to befall her and, hence, her reliance upon cell phones to surface. She’s scheduled for surgery to repair her ankle et al. on Tuesday. Be sure to visit Motherlode to wish her well now and during the sure-to-be memorable recovery phase.

I, myself, only ever broke a knuckle (in a shameful fit of rage) and a toe (in a deep chasm of stupidity), so I can’t wholly relate to the profusion of pain Belkin must have felt and is likely still feeling. In honor of that, I’ve re-posted “The Purple of Penance” for your (and hopefully for her) amusement…

It’s time to decorate Easter eggs—an age-old tradition symbolizing new life. An activity infused with color, the pungent aroma of vinegar and great swells of kid-inspired, eggshell-adorning creativity, all in the name of celebrating the long-awaited rebirth of the land. By contrast, I’ve been celebrating the rebirth of my stupidity.

More specifically, one of my toes—henceforth known as THE TOE—stupidly embraced this glorious festival of dyes and dippings, having adopted a whole host of hues this past week ranging from a lovely pool of blue/black at its base to the deepest and most profound infusion of magenta at its northern most tip—perfectly suited for the Lenten season, I’m told. The purple of penance.

My heathens, as expected, were beside themselves with glee upon learning of my unfortunate and infinitely obtuse shower-related toe incident (i.e. the whacking of said digit on the chair-like entity contained within, followed almost instantaneously by a profusion of swelling and an imbuement of color). “Kewl, Mom! It’s purplish and shiny and it has a really interesting texture!”

Yes, my third-grader used the word texture in a disturbingly appropriate manner. She also touched my toe. They both touched it. Again and again—compelled to poke and prod the bulbous head of my pitiful toe, thoroughly mesmerized by its curious and ever-changing medley of colors and reveling in its freakishly smooth feel. That said, it is perhaps the most repulsive-looking appendage on the planet. But it’s colorful. I’ll give it that. Just in time for Easter and its feast of pigmentation.

Barring divine intervention, however, I’ll likely be skipping Maundy Thursday’s foot-washing ceremony at my church, a spiritually stirring event I had planned to attend during Holy Week, that is, until THE TOE became such a huge and hideous issue. Indeed, it is a shameful spectacle and likely symbolic of the many and varied flaws present in my character. Besides, the mere thought of allowing someone to touch it—even someone who would exert the utmost of care and sensitivity given my sorrowful situation—makes me writhe in pain. Then again, my kids’ relentless pawing has been no picnic and somehow I’ve tolerated that.

I’ve also tolerated a vat of their foolishness.

Needless to say, Frick and Frack have been consumed with all that relates to my wretched toe of late, demanding comprehensive updates on its status the very instant they step off the school bus, insisting that I shed my sock and wave the horrible thing around like a flag. “Show Daddy!” they joyfully instruct. “It’ll gross him out!” Of course, I fear that one day soon THE TOE will surface in someone’s creative writing assignment, much to my chagrin and to their teachers’ collective horror. My weirdish children have even gone so far as to compose a song about my unsightly appendage. Tchaikovsky would be proud.

But not me so much. I’m embarrassed. And ungainly. And in agony (or some semblance thereof) much of the time. However, it can’t compare to what I felt at the moment of impact. And the sound—the UNSPEAKABLY HORRIBLE SOUND that reverberated all around when the bone actually snapped—made me slightly sickish within that tiny window of time sandwiched between the realization of what a stupid, stupid thing I had done and the onset (read: the MONUMENTAL EXPLOSION) of excruciating pain. Even still, I’m not quite sure which made me feel worse—knowing of my stupidity or suffering its ill effects.

As time goes on (and in my less-than-expert medical opinion), I presume THE TOE will not only heal, but undergo an impressive transformation of color, progressing from its current purplish state to various (and no doubt, vile) shades of green, yellow and, eventually, to the suggestion of ecru. With any luck, the nuance of crookedness it has adopted in the interim will abate as well. Otherwise it’s likely my kids will feel compelled to sing (and write!) about THE CROOKED TOE, serving as yet another reminder of my idiocy.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (with THE TOE).

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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In the Eye of the Beholder

Contrary to what I’ve alluded to in the past, my kids are not monsters. And although I might have actually used that term on occasion to describe them, they’re not the unruly beasts I’ve made them out to be. They don’t howl at the moon, froth at the mouth or frantically paw the refrigerator when I forget to feed them.

Nor do they growl, unless provoked.

But apparently I know not of which I speak. Evidently some high and mighty prude who has seen my act begs to differ regarding the matter of my having or not having fiendish little children. Further, she’d likely argue the point if given the opportunity. Vehemently, I might add. All I’d have to do is invite Her Haughtiness to return to that happy place where she witnessed (i.e. heard, but could only imagine the scene that unfolded behind the flimsy partition that separated us) the mayhem with which I had to deal just four days before Christmas, crammed and jammed impossibly inside a restroom stall which was clearly ill-equipped to accommodate a mom and two cranky six-year-olds itching for Happy Meals.

I have no doubt the woman in question would be more than willing to sprinkle me with her wealth of sagacity, to dazzle me with her bells and whistles regarding behavior management and child rearing, to enlighten me with a report of everything I’ve done wrong as a parent thus far in my thankless journey—to spell it out for me on the terracotta tiles with French fries: YOUR PARENTING SKILLS SUCK AND YOU’D BE BETTER OFF RAISING CHICKENS, YOU DUMB CLUCK!

She might have a legitimate point. But probably not enough fries to say so.

Everyone knows that McDonald’s isn’t the ideal place to change clothes. Nor is it wise to instruct ungainly children to do so there—demanding from them a degree of perfection that is at best, unachievable. But there I was—parading my little waifs through the joint like some transient-sorry-excuse-for-a-mother, en route to the bathroom to supervise (oh-so-incompetently) the changing-out-of-pajamas-and-into-real-clothes gig. Make that abundantly muddied PJs. “I fell down on the playground today, but I didn’t get hurt, Mom—the mud was FUN!”

“Lovely. Just lovely,” I thought. “We now appear even MORE pathetic than I previously considered conceivable.”

Granted, it had been Pajama Day at school and it made perfect sense for my kids to be dressed as such (as well as still jacked from all the sugar they had consumed during the pre-holiday festivities). But no one else knew that. Most of the patrons I passed probably pegged me as someone who lives in squalor and who makes a habit of hauling her brood there to wash up and whatnot. In reality, however, we were simply using the loo as a staging area for a meltdown, which qualified as a performance of a lifetime as I recall. Prude Lady could testify to that at least.

Incessantly, it seemed, we bickered about who would get to stand where, who would go first, who would hold coats and bags and sneakers, who would get to flush (and when said flushing would take place), what did or didn’t happen during the Polar Express movie and whether or not a certain someone blew a kiss to a boy earlier in the day (“…because that’s not allowed, Mom; only hugs are okay!”).

Ostensibly, this meddlesome witch witnessed the entire routine, likely pressing her ear to the wall so as not to miss a single syllable. As expected, the debate continued within that tiny theater and escalated until it became a pushing and shoving match, spiraling out of control with each combatant furiously shrieking “YOU!!” while shoving a finger in the other’s face.

“She LICKED my finger, Mom!”

“She called me ‘YOU’ first!”

And so the battle raged. Throughout the ordeal, I was painfully aware of a disapproving audience hovering just inches away, and I felt the familiar sting of humiliation and frustration. All the while I snapped and snarled through clenched teeth, “Get your sleeve off the stinking floor!” “Don’t drop that into the toilet!” “Stop hitting your sister!” “Hurry up already with those pajamas and keep your socks ON YOUR FEET!” “Your father’s waiting, you know!”

How could I possibly explain myself, justify my children’s behavior or even show my face once I stepped outside the stall that had become my personal shield from the world? Miss Holier-Than-Thou would be waiting there for me, wagging her finger. Demanding answers. Chiding. Judging.

“Little monsters,” she’d also likely spit.

Oddly enough though, she had few (albeit barbed) words for me when I finally braved it. “GOOD LUCK!” she huffed condescendingly, as I hoisted my heathens to the sink to wash—their anger all but diffused and differences long since forgotten.

I couldn’t help but think she doesn’t get it. She only saw a tiny slice of my day and a mere shadow of the relationship I share with my children. She thinks my kids hate each other and that I must completely loathe my lot in life as their mom. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s important to take time to view the picture in its entirety. Snapshots don’t always tell the whole story.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2008 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, Holiday Hokum, Kid-Speak, Normal is Relative, Ode to Embarrassment, The Natives are Decidedly Restless, Vat of Complete Irreverence, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Puuuurfect Pancakes

PREPARATION TIME: Significantly longer than it takes to prepare entrée without a feline helper—or without assistance from children drunk with amusement over said feline and his asinine antics.

SERVES: As many poor souls who dare to partake—despite knowing all the facts.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dry Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix

¾ cup milk

1 T oil

1 egg

Dash of saliva, eau de pussycat

Tuft or twenty of black fur (see above)

Trace of cat breath (don’t ask)

INSTRUCTIONS: Combine dry pancake mix and milk in a bowl. Set aside on counter. Instruct children not to blow on flour-like heap or to stir clumps of milky mixture with their fingers—no matter how tempting that might be. Search high and low for oil and fresh egg, employing great care not to trip over children or ravenous cat in the process. Set egg and oil on counter and begin search for measuring spoon. Warn children (hand on hip and finger wagging is optional) not to spin or juggle egg—no matter how tempting that might be.

Become thoroughly engrossed in some inane activity like talking on the phone (with husband who SHOULD be home helping with dinner), checking e-mail or responding to 324th child-generated question of the day. Set table. End activities and return to pancake disaster-in-the-making. Work self into frenzy upon sighting cat on counter with head totally immersed in bowl. Throw both hands up in the air and then on top of head (hair pulling is optional) while giving children patented incredulous how-could-you-NOT-tell-me-he-was-in-the-batter?!! type of look.

Really go ballistic when eye-contact is made with little black bastard, now abundantly bedecked from nose to tip of whiskers with flour/milk mixture. Begin fuming profusely from the ears when cat nonchalantly blinks and licks his lips as if to say, “It’s simply marrrrrrvelous.” Bolt in the direction of furry four-legged miscreant, screaming louder than when he shattered favorite butter dish and shredded children’s school calendar—just because. Chase wily little demon around the house like a madwoman bent on thrashing his sorry patutie, while simultaneously launching a lengthy and colorful tirade, recounting each and every misdeed for which he was responsible and all that could have possibly been WRONG with the decision to ADOPT said cat. Kick and pummel self repeatedly for having caved-in to kids’ begging and whining for cat, for becoming attached to his fuzzy little face in the first place and for ever thinking his ridiculous pranks were cute.

Catch breath and regain composure while dismissing feelings of utter rage and loathing toward cat. Give up on locating him for the time being. Vow to thrash him next time. Accept the fact that THERE WILL BE A NEXT TIME. Return to kitchen. Reassure ashen-faced children that you haven’t killed their pretty new kitty. Instruct them not to repeat the words Mommy shouldn’t have said—no matter how exciting that might be during Show and Tell.

Warm griddle or fry pan to medium-high heat or until a few drops of water sizzle upon contact—with pan or with furrowed brow. Remove tufts of fur from flour/milk mixture. Add remaining ingredients to bowl. Mix well. Convincingly explain that all those silly cat germs—now housed in the batter—will surely be killed once we “…put it on the stove and cook the bejesus out of it.”

Pour batter onto heated surface (in desired shapes and sizes), ignoring children’s persistent requests to “Make him one, Mommy! Make him one!”

SERVE & ENJOY: Resist the urge to noticeably inspect pancakes for traces of fur, etc. and deny all claims that… “Mr. Binks helped us make pancakes, Mommy! I think I can smell his breath in here!”

Heaven forbid you give him that kind of satisfaction.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2006 Melinda L. Wentzel

 

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, Cat Chronicles, Daily Chaos, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, Meat & Potatoes, Ode to Embarrassment, Rantings & Ravings

Ode to Embarrassment

It has been said that success as a parent isn’t fully realized unless and until you’ve become an embarrassment to your children. Apparently, my husband and I have been making remarkable progress toward that end—inadvertent though our efforts might have been. We sing in the car. We make snapdragons talk. We hurl wadded socks at one another. We scream at the TV during tennis matches. And we impersonate Jeff Dunham’s puppet people far too often. All of which, evidently, our brood finds fairly disturbing—especially when friends come to call.

I saw flashes of it a few years ago, when Thing One and Thing Two entered the second grade. It was subtle at first—the rumblings of their discontent barely audible amidst the tumult of motherhood. At the time, their muted protests against the many and varied ways we caused them unspeakable embarrassment seemed trivial and unfounded. So I dismissed them, perhaps wrongly. Over time, however, their grumblings have become progressively louder and more insistent, swiftly sliding into the realm of that-which-is-difficult-to-ignore.

“Mom, stop sticking NOTES inside my lunch box. People will SEE them, you know. We talked about this last year, didn’t we? Oh, and don’t pack any more open-faced, peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwiches. So-and-so gets grossed out whenever I take a bite and then THE WHOLE TABLE looks at my stupid sandwich. It’s entirely horrible.”

That said, I’m starting to empathize with the smallish beings in question—who, for whatever reason of late, have adopted the survivalist mentality of Greg Heffley, the middle-schooler of Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame. Translation: DON’T raise your hand. DON’T use the bathroom. DON’T call attention to yourself in any way, shape or form. And most importantly, DON’T let your mother become the primary source of your embarrassment. Needless to say, there are clearly defined parameters within which I must operate so that I might be viewed as something other than the bane of someone’s existence.

Evidently, the rules apply at the bus stop, too, where (Gasp!) veritable throngs of kids might actually witness the unthinkable: handholding, goodbye kisses, a neatly folded Kleenex being stuffed inside someone’s pocket, a Band-Aid being hurriedly applied (with or without a dab of Neosporin), a sock monkey and/or a certain stuffed armadillo being relinquished—lest they become inadvertent stowaways for the duration of the school day.

Apparently, I’m not allowed to wave anymore either—although I’ve recently appealed that decision and my suggestion of “waving with a little less enthusiasm” is somewhat promising. For that, I suppose I should be thankful, and perhaps more understanding.

After all, I remember being completely mortified as a teenager when my dad would—almost inconceivably—traipse around in his underwear while my date and I sat on the couch in stunned silence. Shortly thereafter, he’d emerge from the kitchen with leftovers in hand and a Cheshire cat smile upon his face. Of course, he’d then amble, unabashed, down the hallway from whence he came while I very seriously considered the merits of dissolving into nothingness. It’s entirely likely I make my daughters feel much the same way, although I have yet to traipse anywhere in my underwear.

I have, however, been known to read books aloud at the aforementioned bus stop, the practice of which has been met with a fair degree of resistance even though it’s an ideal time and place to do so. Okay, it’s been met with unequivocal refusals to listen and ardent demands that I cease and desist. “Mom, we’re not babies anymore. Everyone on the bus will make fun of us if they see that book in your hand because they’ll KNOW you’ve been reading it to us. It’s embarrassing, you know.” Woe is me.

It’s not just any old book either. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so miserable. The book in question happens to be The BFG, a drool-worthy classic by Roald Dahl—a gift from a perfectly wonderful third grade teacher who knew I’d find it practically irresistible as a read aloud. Only it won’t be happening at our bus stop—the place where sulkiness periodically rears its ugly head. Nope. Perish the thought.

But lo and behold, I recently learned that another perfectly wonderful individual at that very same school will soon be reading aloud that very same book to my kids in the library—a place where reading of practically every sort is celebrated. As it should be, methinks. With any luck, Thing One and Thing Two will forget themselves and drink in every delicious syllable.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (embarrassing my children on a regular basis).

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

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Filed under "S" is for Shame, Bookish Stuff, Daily Chaos, Home is Where the Weirdness Lives, Kid-Speak, Ode to Embarrassment, School Schmool, Smother May I?, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction