Cussin’, Cursin’, and Swearin’ – Oh My!

Intriguing, isn’t it?  Especially for those handful of you who read this (Thank You!)  and know me well enough, in-real-life, to know that I only do any of the three under extreme circumstances.  Like, say, stubbing my toe.  Or breaking my favorite pancake batter bowl.  Or indulging in One Too Many on Girls Night Out (which happens hardly never).  Oh heck, I am Captain Ahab’s daughter, after all…

Anyhoo… My SweetBoy and I were headed home after dropping off a friend of his that had spent the last day of April vacation week with us. As a last ‘hurrah’, we’d stopped by one of our favorite ice cream establishments and picked up a little treat for ourselves.  His treat was a sad ode to the end to vacation week.  My treat was a hearty celebration for the end of vacation week.  We were happily driving along, and SweetBoy informs me that his friend told him what the “S” word and the “F” word meant.  I spat out my mouthful of mini-blizzard all over the front windshield and said “What, now?”!  (This last action upset me greatly.  It was a MINI-blizzard, for-cryin’-out-loud!  I barely had ten bites of the dern thing in the first place.  Now, I only had nine…)

All joking aside, I do my level best not to cuss, curse, or swear. Especially in front of my children. So, I found it a bit disturbing that my SweetBoy, who works so stinkin’ hard to understand the meaning behind everyday phrases and words, as it is, now knew what two of my least favorites were.

You can bet your bippy, that when SweetBoy informed me that the “S” word is for “Stupid” and “F” is for “Failure”, I was so relieved.  And, I’d never been happier to hear those two words in my entire life.  Never. I drew in a deep breath, along with a prayer of Thanks, and exhaled loudly.  SweetBoy has been picking up on some new subtleties lately.  It’s been a very exciting development!  He heard that exhale and said, “They’re really really bad, aren’t they Mama?”.  I’d like to note here that I instantly decided that I really liked this other child’s family. A lot. Those two words can be emotional weapons when used towards another human being.  And after this conversation, I’ve started being mighty careful with how often I throw those words around and under which circumstances.

I replied, “Oh, yes indeedy!  They are bad words that can make people feel sad.”

And he said, “Well, then, I’ll NEVER use them again.”  I just love how black and white his beautiful brain is.  Yes please!

Thanks for Not Eating Your Poop

File that under “Things You NEVER Thought You’d Say”.  Gross, right?  You have no idea.  Sweetdog has taken to doing some of the very things that we always beamed with pride that “our dog” didn’t do.  That’s parenthood in a nutshell, right there, folks.  Yes indeedy.  Aside from making sure that the bathroom trash cans are off the floor now, so that chewed up bits and pieces of ‘things that shouldn’t be mentioned’ aren’t found strewn across the floor, I’ve also had the new pleasure of making sure to get my keester downstairs at the crack of dawn to help Sweetdog outside to relieve herself.  Or she most certainly will. Only, all over the rug.  Or floor.  Or, in the interest of full disclosure for those Sweetfriends that visit me from time to time, also on the couch.  (Please, don’t stop visiting!  I’ll turn the cushions over just for you!)  Sigh…

It didn’t surprise me, then, not even one iota, that I awoke recently one morning to hear a chorus of “EWWWWW, Sweetdog!!!!  NOOOO!!! Don’t eat your poop! EWWWWW!!!”.  Followed very shortly by “MAMAAAAA, Sweetdog just ATE HER POOOOOOP!!!”. As if I hadn’t heard them the first time.  It’s the stuff every mama dreams of waking up to, right?  Sweet Moses…  Couple that new development with Sweetman going to sit on the couch last week and finding his keester wet from a freshly-peed-upon spot on the couch cushion, and I do believe that *Miracle Floor Cleaner* and I can formally sign a binding agreement.  Wherein, I can honestly say that I will, single-handedly, be keeping them in business for at least the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, I came down in the nick of time folks. You see, sweet dog had just “deposited” and was circling back around for the ole’ snifferooney. Because, you know, she wasn’t sure what that new, interesting looking thing could possibly be over there on the floor!  And I swooped in and picked that nasty thing up with help from our leftover stash of “diaper stink containment bags”. And as I tied that bag up as tightly as I could, I patted Sweetdog’s head and said “Thanks for not eating your poop, ole’ girl.”  Oh. Yes. I. Did.  Indeed.

*Disclaimer*  Miracle Floor Cleaner was NOT the actual name of what I used.  I have no formal agreement with any pet stain remover company. But would certainly LOVE to, if any of them felt so inclined.  Because, you know, I use a ton of the stuff. Often. I’m just putting that out there…

Fish Out Of Water (And Breathing Just Fine)

Moving to New England was a brave endeavor for a Floridian. Yes indeedy! Especially given that the pace of life is vastly different.  It’s FAST.  And I don’t mean, road-rage if you don’t keep out of the left lane, kind of fast.  I mean busy, busy, busy, kind-of-fast.  And I like it like that.  In South Florida, things move at a much slower pace. (Mostly because it’s 85 degrees in the shade.  In the dead of winter!)

With age comes wisdom. (I know, right? Even for me!)  I now see the folly in moving so far away from the people who have to help you in times of crisis simply because they share the same blood lines, (family is great that way, isn’t it?). Moving practically across the pond, as The Nana would have you know,  makes it awfully hard to find help and support.  Basically, I am the epitome of ‘Miss Independence’ because I have to be.  I’ve learned the necessity of a well-developed network.  Neighbors become lifelines, as do friends, when you need to race a dog to the ER because she’s ingested 5 red grapes and needs to have her stomach pumped immediately just to survive.  Just, you  know, for example…

And so it is that I get by with a little help from my friends. And neighbors. And church family. And, truth be told, I’ve done more than get by; I’ve thrived!  You could even say, this fish out of water is breathing just fine! Yes indeedy!

Why, Certainly!

One of the best things about growing up as a child of Captain Ahab was our sense of certainty.  We were certain that plans could, indeed, be set in stone.  We were certain that if we sassed back, we’d get it. We were certain that one day a week was reserved for church, yard work, and soup and sandwich (in that order, mind you).  And whenever we dared question whether one of those things were really going to come to pass, he’d reply, “Why, certainly!”.

Captain Ahab and I sometimes butted heads in the worst possible way. I now know that it was because we are so alike.  And I totally empathize now.  I see, in my Sweetgirl, the same characteristics and personality traits that surely made him shake his head in consternation at me.  And I find myself saying the same things to Sweetboy and Sweetgirl that he said to me and my sibling.  I can also see, now, that those things were imparted as certainties so as to instill a sense of certainty to life during uncertain times.  And although some of Captain Ahab’s “certainties” were outdated, to my mind, I can see the “why” behind almost every one of them now. Perspective is funny that way.  Parenthood, too.

And with that, I recently heard myself uttering one of the Captain’s favorite phrases.  Sweetboy had just asked if he absolutely had to take at least three bites of the new food on his plate? To that I said, “Why, certainly!”.  Yes, indeed.

Cardboard Happens

Most people who know me well know that I don’t do clutter.  At all.  It makes me feel …cuckoo.  And that there, folks, is the actual medical terminology, too.  So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I feel a great joke is being played on me. You see, my Sweetboy was born with a very special brain.  He gets great comfort from certain repetitive behaviors.  And his latest one?  Shredding.  Nope, not cheese, (we wish!).  No again, not documents, (now THAT would be handy!).  Cardboard. ” What’s that now?”, you may be tempted to ask.  Cardboard, as in, from the latest UPS delivery or cereal demise or newly bought sheet set.  Yes, Sweetboy’s latest perseveration is to shred, incessantly, cardboard. And the cardboard!  Oh. My. Word!  I’ve tried to contain the bits and pieces that seem to find their way into every crack and crevice in the house.  But the cardboard is starting to drive me out of my ever-lovin’ mind. Truly.  I vacuum and pick up and pick up and vacuum and those stinkin’ shreds still turn up.  In my shoes, in the dog’s fur, in the bathtub…

A friend stopped by the other day, unannounced, completely innocent to the goings on around here, and witnessed  one of the cardboard massacres before I was able to get to it.  She was in shock and awe.  True story.  And she said, “What in the sam hill happened here?”.  And I said something along the lines of “Well, you know, cardboard happens sometimes.”.  Oh, ya’ll, it was ugly.  It was one of those moments where my Sweetboy’s perseveration and his mama’s need for order collided in the perfect storm to create Complete Frustration.

And, it’s all good .  I may question my worth as a mama, now and then, based on my child’s uniqueness.  But, I try to remind myself as often as I can that my child is, well… a child.  And he is special and quirky and extraordinary in lots of ways.  And, really?  My need for order does not trump his need for peace. And, with that, I can fall asleep pretty happily.  Only to wake up the next morning to approximately two pounds of shredded cardboard scattered here, there, and everywhere. And as I make my way to the closet to harness the vacuum that practically jumped out and ran for the door all on its own, I remind myself that Cardboard happens in this house.  Oh, yes indeedy, it does!

Smart Phones For Better Marriages

Sweetman proposed the title.  I thought credit should go where credit is due.  Now that I’ve dispensed with the niceties, let me explain how we arrived at this catchy little title.  It was a team effort, you see; us being the two people in the marriage in question and all…

I kindly asked Sweetman to do something-or-other, as I usually do at one time or another. The something or other was of utmost urgency, I’m sure. So urgent, in fact, that he plumb forgot.  I was surprised. It was, after all, a fairly important thing.  Employing all graciousness, I had another go at it.  You know, asking him to remember something and all.  He forgot again.  I was perplexed. “This man is brilliant!”, I thought.  So how in the name of all that’s important could he forget something so, so… important?!  However, having infinite patience, (get OFF the floor and stop that laughing!), I tried again.  Oh, I waited a few days.  The necessity of the prior request was negated by, well… time and all.  This time, Sweetman insisted he absolutely would, he definitely COULD, remember.  In fact, said he, not only would he remember, he’d remember on time!  Oh- this, friends? This, I just HAD to see to believe.

And, I am here to tell you that he DID remember!  On time!  Well, his iphone remembered, anyway.  His oh-so-smart phone reminded him not once, not twice, but five times.  Yes.  I did, indeed, say five times.  He further admitted to me that his phone had to remind him five times in just two short hours for him to be able to “remember” to do the vitally important thing I had asked him to remember.  If my phone dinged at me five times in two hours to remind me of a “thing to do”, I’d huck that thing into the closest pond.  It’s a good thing I’m not married to a smart phone.  Although, I have heard there are some that will ask Siri if she would like to.  You know, get married.   And that’s just weird. No? I digress…

It would seem that smart phones do indeed make for better marriages.  You see, Sweetman now has a fail-proof system for remembering all of those oh-so-important things that I ask him to.  And that IS smart! Yes indeedy.

Gettin’ a Feel for the Place

We have a long-standing tradition, in this family, of driving aimlessly around a new town, state, or area and “gettin’ a feel for the place”.  Now that we (and by “we”, I mean everyone who was ever in the car with us) are adults, of course, we call that phrase out for what it truly is.  It’s another version of “We’re lost.”.  But, since we resided with Captain Ahab, let’s just say that implying that we might possibly be lost wasn’t an option.

Driving around a new place as an adult, with children of my own, I now understand the wisdom in using that phrase.  It seems brilliant really.  Little voices piping up from the back 40 of the car to declare that surely we’re “really really close, soon”, make using that phrase seem even more wise.   Especially when we potentially have another four hours to go because we don’t know where in the blue blazes we are.  And while I don’t condone lying to children, this certainly seems more in line with giving them what they can handle.  As opposed to say, declaring that, “No Sweetchildren, we are LOST!  So inconceivably lost that we may not make it to where we are going until AFTER Christmas. And you know what that means Sweetchildren, don’t you? NO PRESENTS!”.  Just sayin’. It seems a tad kinder to just say, “We’re gettin’ a feel for the place.”. Don’t ya think?

And, I’ll have you know that we’ve taken to using this phrase whenever we find ourselves in a new or difficult-to-navigate situation.  Take, for instance, the times we are stuck in an airport for a delayed take-off.  This, friends, is NOT a fun way to kill a few hours when you have a cranky preschooler and an antsy eight year old.  However, by employing this simple phrase, we turn the whole ordeal into an adventure!  Or, take the times we are headed to see an old friend at a new house and our 20 minute drive turns into an hour-long trauma, sans emergency snacks, because I thought we’d only be in the car for 20 minutes – all of a sudden, pointing out new trees and cool sounding roads as we “get a feel for the place” takes the edge off.

Pretty stinkin’ brilliant Captain Ahab…  Once again, you’ve shown us how to stave off the mutiny for a while longer. And we shall. Yes indeedy!