Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What Do You Do with So Much Awesome?

Recently, I've started to suspect that I am losing my mind. And, if not, that I have less patience than I should. At a certain point each evening (usually about 3 hours after I've gotten home from a long, busy day at work), I find myself yelling at someone or the other. And, I can't figure out if I am just tired and grumpy, or if something has driven me to it. So, yesterday, I decided to keep an informal and completely unscientific list of the conversations I was engaged in between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. Note: this list is not comprehensive but it IS true (in that these conversations ALL happened). Looking at it, I've decided that maybe there is just a little too much awesome happening at my house, and I clearly don't have what it takes to keep up with all of these conversations.

(Just for fun, see if you can guess who said what.)

1. "Mom, look at this book I got from the library. (Holds up The Essential Research: A Complete. Up-to-Date, One-Volume Sourcebook for Journalists, Writers, Students and Everyone Who Needs Facts Fast).  Do you want to know how many people died in traffic accidents in 1990 in Vermont? It's a surprisingly low number. Can you believe I am the first person to ever check this book out of the school library?"

2. "Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you that my left leg went numb this afternoon, and I couldn't walk. It's a like a tingling shock, but it's so strong and unexpected that I can't move my leg." 
3. "Mom, look. When I shriek loud enough, the Anpanman Christmas toy turns on all by itself." (Shriek followed by Anpanman rocking and playing Jingle Bells in a slightly flat electronic frenzy. Followed by another kid testing his shriek to see if it has the same effect. It does)."
4. "I'm going to shake this tree hard enough that all of the ornaments fall off." 
5. "Tomorrow I am going to try to hook up the DJGKESM. If it doesn't work, you need to call and tell them SKEWMG AKTJES and KGWJETASDGO. Ok? Are you listening?" 
6. "Brennan sits at the allergy table everyday because he likes Annabelle. He likes girls who are smart and pretty because he wants them to do his homework for him. I think he's stupid and should leave us alone. I like playing with Annabelle because she is nice and smart and doesn't care how she looks just like me." 
7. "I think there is something wrong with the nerve here (points vaguely to lower back). It feels really funny. (Me: Shoudn't I call the doctor?) Not, yet. Maybe it will get better besides they can't do anything about it." 
8.  "I think Momo really likes it when I _____________ (insert ridiculously cat-unfriendly behavior here). All of my friends think I am saying Mom when I say Momo, but I don't think Momo and Mama sound alike at all. Isn't that weird?" 
9. "Why don't you make the kind of gratin that Big Sissy makes with the macaroni in it? I don't like this rice one. I think you put in too much rice." 
10. "How come you never watch ______________ (insert TV program title) anymore?" 
11. "Oops. I forgot to put on underwear again." 
12. "I think the surgery failed. That's the only explanation for _____________ (insert pain description)."
13. "I'm going back upstairs. It's too loud down here. I can't eat when it's this loud and you told me to not to yell at everyone." 
14. "Can I turn on the outside lights and ride my bike in the dark?"

15. "Are you sure you love me?" 
16. "Can I use your computer to look up KGMTKSEMKG?" 
17. "Mom, why don't you exercise like Jimmy's mom. She exercises all the time." (Me: Because I use up all my free time asking you guys to do the same thing over and over again.) "That's probably better, anyway. If you had time to exercise, you'd probably start drinking Diet Coke again and watch too much TV." 
18. "Do you want to smell my bottom?" 
19. "Mom, the dinosaur's head fell off again."

20. "Why does he have more ornaments than me?" (Me: Because he's older than you). "I knew it. You don't love me. You wish I was never born."
21. "Can I use your computer to look up FLEKWGSJP?" 
22.  "It's not true that 9 year-olds are supposed to go to bed by 8:30. You're just using that stupid chart to prove that you're right."  
23. "I think I have figured out why that video game is so expensive. It's new and it's popular so lots of people want to buy it, so that's why it's expensive. That or maybe the graphics are some kind of special new technology."
24. "Can I use your computer to check my homework?"
25. "Can I play Wii?" (Me: No. It's a school night.)
26. (20 minutes later) "Why can't I play Wii?"  


1. Pink
2. Ren
3. Sky (and then Stow)
4. Stow
5. Ren
6. Pink
7. Ren
8. Pink
9. Sky
10. Sky
11. Stow
12. Ren
13. Sky
14. Stow
15. Pink
16. Sky
17. Pink
18. Stow
19. All three.
10. Stow
21. Sky
22. Pink
23. Sky
24. Sky
25. Sky
26. Sky

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dear Parents of Kids who Didn't Come to My Kid's Birthday Party

Dear Parents of Kids who Didn't Come to My Kid's Birthday Party,

I've got a problem. It's been bugging me for awhile (for the past 9 or so years since I started hosting the occasional kids birthday party), and I just can't seem to solve it. So, I thought maybe it would help to create a guide to how to RSVP to an invitation.

Before we go any further, did you RSVP that your kid couldn't make it? Yes?  In that case, you don't need to read beyond this paragraph. We appreciate that you RSVP-ed in a timely fashion. It helped with planning to know you wouldn't be able to come. We were sorry to miss you but know people are busy.

What? What's that you say? You forgot to RSVP? I'd like to tell you that's ok. I really would. But, see, your kid told my kid he was coming to the party, and without your RSVP, there is no way for me to know if that's true or not. Sure, I can tell my kid to remind your kid to remind you to RSVP, but really, do you think that's going to happen? If you're someone who forgets to RSVP, somehow I imagine your kid might also have a hard time keeping on top of that kind of thing. And, even if your kid didn't tell my kid they were coming, my kid still believes everyone is coming unless the RSVP tells him otherwise. So, please, just send me a text or an email. It's fine if you can't come. Hell, it's fine if your kid hates my kid. What's not fine is not RSVP-ing. How are we supposed to plan or manage our kid's anticipation if we don't have any idea how many people are coming?

You RSVP-ed "yes" but then found out you couldn't come? That's no big deal. Schedules change all the time. Just let us know; we can adjust. But, you know what's not easy to change? It's not easy to change the fact that my kid's feelings got hurt when you said your kid was coming and she didn't actually come. Sure, I can make excuses about the weather or about people being busy or about people not being good with email, but she saw your kid at her friend's party, so she doesn't buy it. Instead, she believes it's because your kid doesn't like her. And, maybe your kid DOESN'T like her. It happens. Most of us have people we don't like. But, it seems extreme to say yes to an elementary school birthday party invite and then no-show just because your kid doesn't like mine. What? Your kid doesn't hate my kid? Then, why in the world would you break her heart like that? That doesn't make any sense at all!

Look, here's how this works. Someone plans a party, and as part of the planning, they decide who they want to invite and send an invitation to that person. The invitation has a lot of useful information like the date and time of the party and the location. It also has contact information so you can let the person throwing the party know whether or not you can come. If you don't quite know your schedule, you can wait a bit to respond, but really, you should let people know at least a week or so before the party so they can plan. It's okay if you can't come, it happens all the time. Just say so when you RSVP. And, if you RSVP "yes" but then learn you can't come, it is MUCH better to let the host know things have changed. I mean, they will notice that you're not there anyway, so what does it hurt to give them the head's up?

And, of course, if all of this is happening in the context of a child's birthday party, please think about how you would like to have your own child treated (honestly, I can't believe I even have to write that last sentence). Kids LOVE their birthday parties. They talk about who they will and won't invite for months before the party. Sometimes they tell each other these things at school. Sometimes they can be pretty childish about the whole thing. But, you? You're not a child; you're an adult. You have access to a phone, a computer, and a car. If your kid doesn't RSVP or if your kid says they're going to come and then doesn't, it's on you, at least until they're old enough to text/email and/or to drive themselves to the party.

I know you probably think I am overreacting here, but we have thrown many parties over the last 9 years, and elementary school parents are by far the worst at RSVP-ing. I've sent Evites, emails, paper invites, and texts, and I routinely only receive RSVPs from about 50% of the people we invite. And, every party (Every. Single. Party.) we have at least one, and sometimes more than one kid who says they are coming and then doesn't come (and doesn't let us know they're not coming). Have you tried to explain to your kid why only 1 of the 4 people (or 2 of the 6) people who said they were coming didn't come? Because, no matter what you say, all they believe is that the other kids don't like them. And, then, when the go back to school the Monday after the party, they see those kids and they worry about whether they're friends anymore. Even when my kids tell me they don't care about this, they are lying--usually to try to make me feel better since they know how much time and energy we put into getting ready for the party (which is really, really sweet but also heartbreaking in its own way).

So, I don't know. You guys tell me what I'm missing here because in the world I live in, it's proper etiquette to RSVP and standing up a child on his/her birthday is just a shitty thing to do.