Overheard at my dinner table

Bucket, to the children about something I missed because I was in the kitchen: Yeah, but you guys would have to pay for it and you have no money.

Peeta: I do have money, and besides, when I grow up, I’m going to be a robber.

Me and Bucket: Really? That seems like a very bad idea.

Peeta mumbles something about “white”

Me: You’re going to steal from white people?

Peeta: NO! I’m going to steal from the White House!

Bucket: That is a VERY bad idea. That’s the most secure place in the whole world.

Me: Peeta, you better hope our house isn’t bugged or the FBI is going to bust in here in about five seconds.

[Pause as we all wait for the FBI to bust in]

Noodle: I tooted.



Adventures in ESL, part 4872517385937

Tonight, Peeta was telling me a story about a conversation he had with his teacher.

Peeta: So, I told Mrs C about the apple cinnamon and she asked where I saw Jacob (her son).

Me: What?

Peeta: I asked her if she knew apple cinnamon. She said yes, and I asked if Jacob was there because I saw him when we went to see Mr Peabody and Sherman.

Me (trying to figure how Peeta’s favorite snack is related to the movies): I don’t get it.

Peeta (speaking very slowly and in short sentences so as not to further confuse his moronic mother): I asked Mrs C if she knows apple cinnamon. She said yes. I told her I saw Jacob there when I went to see Mr Peabody and Sherman. He was seeing something else. I think it was called The Dark of Violence (dramatic raised eyebrows).



Sex: not just naked kissing

Despite the fact that Peeta is 8 1/2 and has a baby sister, he has never shown a great interest in how babies are made. He is, however, very interested in science and anatomy and disease and all that crap. So I really should have seen it coming when, last night, after the kids and I got our flu shots and we took them out to dinner to celebrate their supreme bravery (neither one made a peep) and I had two beers to celebrate my supreme bravery (that sucker hurt, yo!), Peeta pulled out his My Body book (which, incidentally, says nothing about sex or babies).

I read it, and at the end, he asked me something about babies coming from a seed. No, Bud, I said. Remember? The sperm swims up to the egg and fertilizes the egg and that makes the baby. Yes, but Mama, how does the sperm get into the mom?

Oh, shit. Really, kid? Right now, when I am sleepy from my two beers and my arm hurts and it’s already too late for you to be going to bed? Okay. Here we go.

Me: Okay, I can tell you, but you might think it’s gross. Remember how we talked about sex and how it’s naked kissing?

Him: Fine, fine. Yeah, yeah. But how does it happen? Do the sperms just jump out of the dad’s mouth or something?

Me: (collapsing into hysterical laughter for five minutes and then recovering and blah blah penis vagina)

Him: (horrified) Ew!! You and Abbat did THAT!?

Me: Uh, yeah. It’s how we got Noodle.


Me: Yes.

Him: Does Sissy [my mother] know?

Me: (hoping that he’s not asking if my mother knows how to have sex) Does Sissy know what?

Him: Does Sissy know you did The Sex?

Me: I’m pretty sure she does, Bud. After all, I did have a baby.

Him: That is SO GROSS. I can’t believe you did that.

Me: Bud, all mammals have sex. It’s something that people do when they’re in love, but all mammals do it to make babies.

Him: Wait a minute. YOU DID THIS MORE THAN ONCE?

Me: Yeah, buddy. You don’t believe it now, but one day even you will want to have sex.

Him: (rolling around on the bed in horror and disgust) THAT IS DEE-SGUSTING! I can’t believe you did sex a million times! I thought it was just once!

Me: (thinking that Bucket wishes we did it a million times) I know, Bud. It’s horrifying. You’ll get over it, though. And you know you can ask me or Abbat anything you want about it, but you shouldn’t talk to your friends about it right now because I don’t know what they’re supposed to know.

Him: GROSS, MAMA! I don’t ever want to talk to my friends about that, ever!

Him: Okay, you can go now. Please don’t talk about this ever again.

Me: No problem, kiddo.

Who’s the dumbass now?

On Monday, we were all driving home from New York, and Bucket was giving me a hard time about my rate of speed (which was impressive, I might add. 3 1/2 hours from West New York, NJ to Cambridge? The only way I could have been faster would have been with wings). I told him quietly (I thought), “If you were driving, we’d still be in New Jersey, dumbass.”

“Excuse ME!!! RUDE!!!” piped up The One Who Hears Everything from the back seat.

“Hey, how do you know that was rude?” I asked Peeta.

“First, you said ‘Dumb’ and ‘Ass’!” he yelled. “Dumb donkey?! Not nice, Mama. Second, I know it was rude because YOU said it.”

Ah, shit. Kid has a point.

Sometimes they do listen

In the car with Noodle, on the way to a birthday party.

“I don’t want to be stuck! I don’t want a seat belt!” she shrieks as I strap her in.

“Too bad, kid. You know the rules,” I say as I get into the front seat and start to drive away.

“Why? Why do I have to wear a seat belt?”

“You know why. If I crash, then you will go flying through the windshield and then the police will come and I will go to jail,” I tell her, wondering why I have to repeat it every time we get in the car.

“I don’t want you to go to jail! You’re too pretty for jail!” she yells.


Mama: 1. Noodle: 74398572349587249857253.

Who wants a lollipop?

I know, I know. I haven’t written in a million years. I am trying to summon the energy to write about our trip to South Africa. I will do it, really.

But in the meantime, here’s a little update from the Half-Assed household.

Children are being super bad. Children are making my brain bleed.

I say to said children, “You guys, cut it out. I only bought one bottle of wine.”

Bucket adds, “Yeah. Don’t make me go to the liquor store tonight.”

If you are a regular reader, you already know that the children love few places more than the liquor store, and as such, they begin to chant, “LIQUOR STORE! LIQUOR STORE!”

After a few chants, Peeta looks at Noodle and says, “We should call it the Lick It Store. Because they give us lollipops.”


I think I am going to need more wine.

Out the window

There are days when your child behaves beautifully in public. When people compliment you on your child’s behavior and you nod, bashfully, as if you don’t already know your child is frigging awesome. When the child acts his or her age or even older. When they look waitresses in the eye and ask for food saying, “May I please have…” and thanking them profusely. When you’re walking down the street and he or she yells to the guys shoveling the street, “Good job, guys!” and the guys are delighted.

And then there are days when your daughter’s teacher calls you the night before school to say that school is cancelled because all the other kids are sick (F you, flu!) and you have an appointment with a pulmonologist to discuss your ongoing hacking cough. It’s too late to cancel, so you bring her to the appointment, praying that she will behave.

And she does, at first. She is sweet and charming and so articulate that the doctor doesn’t believe you that she is only two. And you start to become the bashful proud parent,when the doctor curses you. You are talking about how huge she was at birth, and how she’s only 8th percentile for weight now, and the doctor says, “She’s not eighth percentile where it counts.”

And then (of course),  she starts to misbehave. Small things, at first. She is squirming around in your lap and she refuses to sit in the chair and play with the iPod like a good 21st century child. Then she takes off her socks and boots. Then she wriggles down to the ground and starts to run around barefoot. Then she gets into the trash can. Then she climbs back up and when you try to get her to put her boots back on, she throws them across the room instead. And you are simultaneously sad and glad that you are in a windowless room, because you would have thrown her out without a second thought.

Through it all, the doctor remains gracious and kind, which almost makes it worse. You make a joke about how your other child is adopted and much better behaved because he didn’t inherit these bad genes (which obviously come from your husband). He laughs. She opens the top of the trash can again and tries to climb in. You are unable to scream at her, because you don’t want to seem like an abusive parent and be reported to DSS. And so instead, you just look incompetent and kind of stupid, like one of those obnoxious free range parents who lets their kid do whatever the hell they want with no repercussions at all. And you just keep saying, “Noodle, no! No treats for you after this!” and hoping that the doctor doesn’t pity you. Which, of course, he does.

And then it’s time for him to leave (thankfully), and he says to you with a wink, “I’m going to close the door for you,” and without thinking, you say, “So I can beat her in private?” And fortunately, he laughs. And when the door is closed, you tell your evil, monstrous child that she is not getting her treat for good behavior because that was very bad behavior. And then, the screaming begins and you are eternally grateful that the doctor closed the door. She screams for a few minutes, but you do not cave, mostly because you are so pissed that she was such a turd and there are no rewards for bad behavior.

The nurse has fled her desk outside the door when you leave the room with your child (who is now exclaiming loudly that “I’m good now!” in a last ditch effort for treats, because she clearly sees you as an idiot), but you see her on the way out. She looks at your daughter and says, “You had a lot going on in there, didn’t you?”

And you say, “She’s lucky she didn’t get thrown out the window.” And everybody in the waiting room laughs.

Except that you weren’t joking.

Mother of the year

Great parenting is when you are making your son’s lunch and go to get his new fancy water bottle and you can’t find it in his bag. You give him a hard time about Being Responsible and How He Has To Take Better Care Of His Things. He insists it was in his backback, an idea that you immediately dismiss. You tell him he has to ask his teacher and check the cafeteria and go to the lost and found at school. You agree to look at home, even though you tell him (in a highly patronizing tone) it’s not at home because he didn’t drink it yesterday after he came home from school, so how would it have gotten out of his backpack?

You take him to school, and he’s almost in tears about losing it. You tell him you’re not angry, but he has to Be More Careful.

You get home, open the fridge, and see that your husband has put the water bottle in there so your son could have cold water for school.


That’s a bad word

This summer, there were many conversations about bad words. We heard bad words (shut up, not always from me), repeated bad words, and asked about the bad words.

It all started because of LMFAO. Peeta asked me what sexy is. I told him it’s when you think someone is cute and want to kiss them. A few days later, he asked me what sex is. I told him it was naked kissing (shut up, I know I should have expanded, but we were about to get out of the car and naked kissing was enough of an explanation to gross him out and stop asking for a while). So a few days after that, after playing with his token Badass Friend, he comes in the house and announces, Girl Sex.

Um, what? Where did you hear that?

Suddenly, he is overcome with amnesia. What? Nowhere! What is girl sex?

Well, I guess it’s when girls have sex.

And we talk a little bit about how it’s probably not a great idea to talk about girl sex–or sex at all–with his friends (especially his best friend at school, who is a devout Muslim) and the subject is dropped.

Until yesterday, when we’re in the car and we hear someone say sexy on the radio. Oooooo! And then the questions start. Do people really have sex? Yes. Who has sex? Grownups. Ew! What about girl sex? And so on and so forth. I reiterate that he can ask us anything he wants, but it’s probably not a great idea to discuss sex with people outside our family, and he should probably especially refrain from this girl sex talk.

Peeta nods seriously and says he won’t mention it to Mohammed or his teachers.


And then it happens. Noodle starts chanting, GIRL SEX! GIRL SEX! GIRL SEX! and then cackling, That’s a bad word!


So today I am changing Noodle. She’s sitting on her changing table totally naked when she looks at me and says, My peeing right now.

I turn from getting her new diaper and yell, Noodle! NO! Are you really peeing?

Of course she isn’t. She’s just fucking with me, as usual. But she looks at me and asks, You say damn it?

No, I say. I didn’t say damn it (I really didn’t, you jerks).

She nods and then starts chanting, DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT!

I tell her no, that’s a bad word. Kids shouldn’t say damn it.


She looks me right in the eye and yells, GIRL SEX! GIRL SEX! GIRL SEX!

The perils of fame

The other day, I took Noodle to the local library for our weekly toddler time (during which she makes the poor librarian sing Old McDonald with warthogs, but I digress). When I brought some of my 589374 books to return them, the librarian called me by my name for the first time without being prompted by the library card. As a huge nerd, this was the pinnacle of fame for me. THE LIBRARIAN KNOWS MY NAME. That’s right, peeps–I’m basically Angelina Jolie, but you know, shorter and fatter, with glasses and a shitload of books.

I can’t decide whether it was better or worse than my fame at the Subway in Manhattan, where I used to go daily for lunch. The dudes there memorized my sandwich order, and when I came to the door, they immediately started making it and waved me past the dozens of glaring New Yorkers, and I was all, “Out of the way, bitches! I need my six-inch turkey and ham on wheat!” And then I quit that stinking job and never went back and no one has ever memorized my sandwich order again. And I’m sad. Again, digression.

I came home and told Bucket. I’M FAMOUS AT THE LIBRARY, BUCKET!

He looked ashamed and told me his story of fame. That day, he had been waiting at the bus stop when the lady from the liquor store came over. Oh hey, she cried. How are Peeta and Noodle?

Help me out here: does the fact that I’m famous at the library balance out the fact that Bucket (and the children, which is obviously much, much worse) is famous at the liquor store? Probably not, right?

Shit. At least one of you is calling DSS right now.