Just sit tight. I’m having trouble breathing and I need to figure out how to get some oxygen to my brain and a bit of blood to my appendages.
Your book report will have to wait.
I understand it’s due tomorrow.
Practice saying these words: I didn’t get to finish my (board game, mobile, newspaper, papier mache, main character sculpture, big scene diorama) book report.
Because my mom says she can’t breathe right now and the teacher is going to have to take a fucking number if he wants something from her.
Yes, you have permission to curse. It’s in context.
If you get sent to the principal’s office, tell her to fuck off, too.
Barbie can wait one more day to have her head put back on.
No, she won’t die.
Because she has no soul.
Now go brush your teeth.
No, I haven’t paid you your allowance this week.
Because I had to use the money to buy wine. And an oxygen mask. And some more wine.
Now go brush your teeth.
The field trip permission slip can be signed tomorrow.
I know it says due Wednesday.
Tell that teacher she can kiss my late, brown ass.
When she tries to send you to the principal’s office, tell her you are grieving for our deceased chocolate-colored donkey and that she should be more compassionate.
No, I haven’t signed you up for (soccer, baseball, tennis, basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, the Pokemon Tournament, futsal, the Minecraft convention, the SAT, school tours, therapy).
Yes, you’re right, it’s because I don’t love you as much as I love your siblings.
Get over it – favoritism is a thing.
Now go brush your teeth.
No, I haven’t made your lunch yet.
Because I like watching your mood degenerate from low blood-sugar.
Add it to my To-Do List for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and the day after that, and the following day, and the next day…oh, sorry, yes, you can go brush your teeth.
I hear your frustration about the delay in processing your order for new tennis shoes.
Please enjoy the music while I transfer your call to the Department of Fucks Not Given.
The hold time is excruciating, but someone will definitely answer your phone call, and promptly disconnect you.
In the meantime, I will be putting on my own oxygen mask and trying to take deep breaths.
Now go brush your teeth.
Raisins in between the pads of the dogs’ paws. Stickers on their fur, in places they can’t reach. Dried bubble-blowing solution, somehow, behind their ears – like doggie perfume, perhaps?
Water surrounding the water bowl, splashed over the edge by an errant soccer ball, kicked around in the house against my entreaties not to. Please don’t. Please don’t. Please don’t. Please. Don’t. Pleeeeeeeeaaaaase.
Socks. Towels. Pajamas. Soccer shorts. Shin guards. Many, many, many shin guards. Flung. Fucking. Everywhere.
Dried toothpaste on the sink. Like, Superglue dried. No, cement. Or better yet, oatmeal, yes, oatmeal. I had to use the edge of the nail clipper and a crowbar to get it off.
Mud from the local soccer pitch. On the tile floor. And ground into the grout. And AROUND the door mat. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! The door mat!!! Purchased in a haze of optimism and delusion at Target. So pretty, so shiny, so sparkly, and a symbol of a household filled with people who carefully wipe their feet at the door. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Beds unmade, pillows scrunched and kicked into corners, sheets hanging over the sides of the bunks, stuffies with stunned looks on their faces, waiting for their people to come home and snuggle and breathe unbrushed breath on them again.
Science experiments in backpacks – formerly lovingly-prepared, yet uneaten, lunches. Now a cool lump of living, gelatinous mold, oozing out of the side pocket.
Tiny little crumbs of everything on all the things all the time in all the places all over the house all over the car all over the world and the universe and the galaxy and…oh, sorry.
Crusty…something…on the kitchen counter. Jam? Maple syrup? Snot? Your guess is as good as mine.
Toys. Holy shit. The toys.
Legos stepped on in the middle of the night, prompting silent screams and promises to get revenge in the afterlife on Ole Kirk Christiansen, that sadistic SOB who invented hard-cornered, small as fuck, plastic building blocks. Followed by sincere apologies, since he is an actual and revered god in our house.
Nerf gun foam bullets. All of them. Every single motherfucking one the company made, I’m sure of it. In the planters, in the dogs’ water bowl, behind the refrigerator, on the dogs, stuck to the crusty…something…on the kitchen counter, in between the windows and the window sills, under the couch, on top of the cabinets.
Pokemon cards. Pokemon figures. Pokemon video games. Pokemon stuffies. Pokemon books. Pokemon. Pokemon. Pokefuckingmon.
More skidmarked underwear.
Body wash, conditioner, and, inexplicably, glitter glue. Smeared. Everywhere. In my shower.
Powdered sugar. Sprinkled like fairy dust. Or anthrax.
Was it the dogs? Always on the hunt for something, anything, absofuckinglutely anything, to tear into and spread in chunks and bits and pieces all over the house, then shitting out, on the cowhide rug, what couldn’t be digested?
Or was it the spawn? Always on the hunt for something, anything, absofuckinglutely anything, to tear into and spread in chunks and bits and pieces all over the house, then shitting out, in the low-flow, water-saving, can’t-flush-fuck-all toilet, what couldn’t be digested?
Ooh, look, even more skidmarked underwear! Stuck to the pants of the skidmarker, who didn’t bother to disentangle them from the garment before throwing the tangled ball of clothes near the hamper.
Not in. Near.
Lunchboxes backpacks umbrellas old field trip forms spoons with crusty…something yogurt containers Clif Bar wrappers magic wands There’s My Lip Balm! laces to shoes no longer worn “scratchy” socks tossed back at me with derisive looks of disgust like can’t you even buy the right fucking socks mom? Barbie shoe Ken shirt baby doll stroller wheel Play-Doh Play-Doh Play-Doh.
And over there, in the corner, my former life as a Person With a Clean House. Waving clean hands at me from afar, snickering cleanly to itself, and making unmessy, snide remarks about how it told me so, didn’t it, oh yes it did.
You know what?
Fuck off, life of a Person With a Clean House.
I have spawned, and I have adopted unruly, neurotic dogs, and I do Sunday Family Dinners, and hikes in the woods, and I invite siblings and their friends with no homes to stay with us while you look for another place to live; and I take (sometimes forced, get off the goddamn screens) walks with my spawn, and I agree to dinner and a movie in Mom’s bed, and I am a Person With a Messy But Full of Love House now.
So I say yes to the mess. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” — Kay Redfield Jamison
“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with [parents].” ~Edgar W. Howe
“If there were no summer vacations to take the children away from school for a few months, the insane asylums would be filled with teachers.” ~Tatiana Guerreiro Ramos
- Go to the beach – even if it’s overcast and you have to bundle up just to sit by the shore – the family that shivers together stays together!
- Volunteer – find something your child is interested in and do something as a family
- Play in the rain
- Reconnect with nature – go ahead, be a treehugger!
- Have a family game night, once a week – just not with Cards Against Humanity
- Do a family movie night – check out commonsensemedia.org to make sure you aren’t about to screen anything inappropriate
- Build a fort indoors or out – even if the kids protest!
- Bake cookies and have a lemonade stand
- Stage a scavenger hunt
- Make a photo album or a Family Summer journal
- Have a tricycle race at the park – include yourself!
- Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes
- Visit a fire station
- Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks
- Go roller skating / roller blading – be safe!
- Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals
- Run through the sprinklers – naked!
Have fun and read read read read read!!!
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