Friday, August 31, 2007

the demise of patience

A Theatrical Debut, By: Jen

Child 1
Child 2
Child 3
Child 4

Scene is at the kitchen table. It is breakfast time. Children 1, 2, 3 are sitting before bowls containing a new organic cereal that the mother bought at the new "health" food store down the street. When they were at the store and the representative was handing out samples, Children 1, 2 and 3 loved it. They couldn't get enough of it. They all cried for "MORE! MORE! MORE!!"

Mother was happy to be buying a new organic cereal that was healthy for her children. Mother was not so happy to be spending $3.00 on a box, when she could spend $6.00 on a box of Honey Nut Cheerios that contains eight times as much, at Costco.

But mother loves her children, so mother bought it.

Twelve hours later, Children 1, 2 and 3 take one taste of their new, expensive organic cereal and spit it out all over the table, while rubbing their hands across their tongues and yelling "ICKY!!" Suddenly, the cereal that they loved the day before, now tastes worse than dung, because Mother pried rabbit dung out of Child 1, 2 and 3's mouth less than two weeks prior.

Because Mother has taken a load off and is nursing Child 4, while Father is scheduling a doctor appointment, Mother sits helplessly while Child 1, 2 and 3 IGNORE their mother's please of "No, No, NO!!!" and dump their bowls of expensive organic cereal all over the table and floor.

They then take their Parmesan bagels that their Father had drizzled honey across - and rub them atop their heads.

Father returns. He rolls his eyes and says "What are we gonna do with these children??" Mother replies "I don't know what YOU are going to do, but I'm going to finish feeding Child 4 and then, I'm going to do a load of laundry."

Father grabs a towel and a mop and cleans up the expensive organic cereal from the table and floor. Father then asks Child 1, 2 and 3 if they would like a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. They all scream "YES!!!" until he pours the cereal in to three clean bowls, adds milk and sets it before them. Then, they all scream "NO CEWEAL!!" and simultaneously, flip the bowls of cereal over on to the clean table and floor.

Father grabs his head in his hands - tugs at his hair - and bites his tongue to stop from screaming. Mother sits in her rocker with Child 4 and gives a big sigh and then, a chuckle. Father asks Mother what the children should eat for breakfast since they haven't consumed anything. Mother tells Father that she wouldn't feed them anything more ... they are obviously not hungry and lost their chance.

Father disagrees and opens the refrigerator looking for the next batch of food to be wasted. He spies the squeezable expensive organic yogurt that was purchased at the health food store. He inquires aloud "I wonder if they'd like some yogurt?" and the children delightedly squeal "YOGUT! YOGUT!! Me want YOGUT!!"

Father removes the box containing two varieties of yogurt - strawberry in a pink wrapper; boysenberry in a purple. Child 2 demands "I WANT PINK ONE. I WANT PINK ONE!" Father opens yogurt and hands in to the child.

Child 1 demands "I WANT PINK ONE, TOO!" Father opens yogurt and hands it to the child, when the child changes their mind and screams "NOOOO PINK ONE. I WANT PUPLE ONE!!!" Father goes to hand the open pink yogurt to Child 3 when the child screams "NOOOO PINK ONE!! I WANT PUPLE ONE!!!!"

Father turns the pink yogurt on himself, eating the entire tube.

Father then reaches in to the box, removing a purple yogurt, opens it up and hands it to Child 3, who has again changed their mind and now declares, "NO PUPLE ONE. I WANT PINK ONE!!" Father hands the open purple yogurt to Child 1, who promptly squeezes the tube so hard, yogurt shoots out all over their hands, face and table. Child 1 then screams "OH NO!! MESS!!! I NEED TOWAL!!!"

Father breathes a deep sigh, hands Child 1 a wet towel and opens a packet of pink yogurt for Child 3, who has again, changed their mind. Father bellows "NO PURPLE YOGURT. ALL GONE. Here is PINK yogurt. YUMMY YUMMY PINK YOGURT!!!"

Tears spring from Child 3's eyes, drip on to the table, and screaming ensues.

Mother, sitting in her rocker gently suggests that perhaps the children aren't hungry and they should go outside to play. She makes this recommendation in a sing song voice because Mother never gets angry. She is wonderful and looks beautiful, all the time.

Mother finishes feeding Child 4, sits them in bouncy chair, and gets up to clean the kitchen.

Father wipes Child 1, 2 and 3's faces and hands and takes them out of their booster chairs. He goes to get their clothing for the day, but then decides, instead to put everyone in cotton underwear, since they'll be playing in the yard.

Father picks up Child 3, sets them on the changing table, removes their pajamas and diaper and begins applying sunscreen. When Father bends down to fetch a pair of cotton underwear from beneath the changing table, Child 3 gets a hold of the sunscreen container and dispenses sunscreen all over the table and Father's head.

Child 3 is reprimanded and placed on the floor, wearing cotton underwear.

Father runs after and finally grabs Child 2 when Mother trips blocks the Child from sprinting out the back door. Father lifts the Child on to the changing table and removes the pajamas and diaper and begins to apply sunscreen. Child 2 has a toy in their hand that accompanied them to the changing table, which they stick in their mouth and begin to gag on. Father removes the toy and makes an underarm, blind throw behind him, where it smacks Child 1 on the head.

Child 1 begins to scream.

Child 3 wet their cotton underwear and is standing above a puddle that they begin to stomp in.

Child 2 is crying because their toy is gone but then spots the sunscreen stick and flash-quick grabs it and smears it all over the wall.

Child 4 begins to stir from their slumber and starts rooting for their hand. Mother feels the tingly sensation that lets her know Child 4 needs to eat. Again.

Father removes Child 2 from the changing table, while Mother replaces the cotton underwear on Child 3. Father then grabs Child 1 and repeats the process of pajama and diaper removal, sunscreen application.

When Mother notices that Child 2 is not visible, she sets off looking and finds Child 2 in Father and Mother's bedroom with a magic marker, drawing all over the wall. When Mother grabs the magic marker and starts to move Child 2 out of the room, Child 2 says "NEED POTTY" a millisecond before springing a leak all over the floor.

Mother cleans up the puddle while wondering how Child 2 got the door open, replaces the underwear and with a big smile drags walks Child 2 back to join their siblings.

Father then herds Child 1, 2 and 3 outside while Mother makes the beds, starts a load of laundry and takes a moment to feed Child 4, while updating her blog.

Mother hears screaming coming from the back yard. For a moment, she hesitates, feeling guilty that Father is outside by himself in the blazing sun with Child 1, 2 and 3 who are fighting over the garden hose. But then, she remembers that Father is returning to work, full-time, in less than two weeks and Mother will be home, all by herself.

Father opens the door and informs her that Child 1, 2 and 3 have made a HUGE mud puddle in the back yard, have filled their wading pool up with dirt and are driving him crazy. Father tells Mother that he wants to come in side and let Child 1, 2 and 3 watch a movie. But alas, Father is reminded that Child 1, 2 and 3 have pushed so many buttons on his brand new entertainment system, that a picture is no longer visible on the television screen.

When Father says he still wants Child 1, 2 and 3 to come inside, Mother asks "WHY? So that they can drive us BOTH crazy??" Father gives an exasperated sigh and turns back to the yard.

Mother is annoyed by all the noise. She checks the thermostat and when she sees it is 80 degrees in the house, she turns on the air conditioning, closes all the doors and windows and sits down, gazing lovingly at Child 4 while eating a chocolate dipped biscotti and blocking out the muffled screams that suggest her presence is needed, elsewhere.

Mother doesn't have pictures of the breakfast fiasco for this production - but includes pictures of the dinner fiasco, from last night. Also shown are pictures of Mother and Father's new wine glasses. They wonder if it wouldn't be more effective to put a straw directly in to the bottle....


  1. Now THAT's what I expect in a family full of Toddlers! You are normal!Yeahhh Nooo just kidding .. it's so nice to see that everything is not ALWAYS roses and romance... just a typical family living the vida loca! You guys are GREAT!

  2. Seriously Jen, don't you think its getting harder some days??? I think I am more exhausted at the end of the day now then I was when we were getting up every 3 hours!!

    mom of triplet girls- 2 3/4 years old

  3. Oh my, I got tired about halfway through the post. Thank goodness I only have 2.

  4. OMG. Really. OMG. Bless you both. These are the kind of stories you couldn't MAKE up.

  5. Mistake number one is ASKING 2 year olds what would you like? How about breakfast in the back yard and hose em down after that? Sounds like a normal day to me.

  6. Jen- I'm catching up on all these posts, but it got really, really, really hard right before the kids turned 3. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD. I mean REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HARD!!!

    But now it's gotten really easy again, so you only have 8 or 9 months of hell. That's it.

  7. You need to start a "naughty album" for each child (or, collectively, if that's too much effort) My brother had so many amusing pictures of when he was small and naughty that my mom created a priceless photo album from them. It's our sole family heirloom. He keeps asking where my naughty album is. As if!

  8. To all you little kids out there, I would like to lend my advice on how to train your Mommies and Daddies. Let me tell you, this is easier than you think.

    Those who have gone before have blazed the trail. Almost without exception kids are winning the war against parental dominance. There is no need to grow up deprived of your rights to unlimited indulgence. We are born into a new age where psychology and TV have taught parents the truth about one’s right to free expression. Kids everywhere are breaking free of the old fashioned restraints of family. No one has a right to tell another human being what is right and wrong. Each one must find one’s own way. Be true to thyself. Get in touch with your own feelings, and do not allow your creativity to be stifled by the older hypocrites. The tide has turned, and we even have the law on our side now. The courts are ruling in our favor. So rise up to your calling and join the masses as we throw off the archaic restraints.

    I know they are big and can be intimidating, but if the truth be known, they are all pushovers. Let me inform you of your advantages. You will soon discover these things on your own, but if you two-month-olds can be forewarned, you can get a head-start while the big dummies are still totally absorbed with how cute you are. Why wait until you are six-months-old to start taking control of these teddy bears? Many kids your age are already establishing dominance. So as one who has been through it, let me give you a few tips.

    First you must understand that your very weakness will be working to your advantage. During the first months, parents, especially mothers—I think it has something to do with hormones—are driven by blind instinct. They have this deep emotional need to meet your every need. While you are still very young and weak, they know that you depend on them for your very survival. In those early months they will give you anything you need. By the time you are four or five months old you will realize that the world is full of stimulating and indulging things to do. You must start now before it is too late, getting your wants met as well as your needs. You see, at that early age, parents don’t know the difference between your needs and your wants, and if you have programmed them properly, they will not question your motives. Their own guilt and sense of duty will cause them to rush to your every whimper.

    By six months you will begin to experience anger when they fail to immediately comply. If you work it right, they will think you are just as cute when mad as when you are smiling, so pour it on and condition them to accept your anger as a normal part of infancy. All too soon they will begin to be frustrated with your dominance, so you must set a pattern before they are personally bothered by your controlling demands. By nine months old they will say you have a strong will and they will even say it with pride, as if it is some kind of virtue. When they are confronted by enemies of child freedom, they will excuse your behavior by saying that you are different and cannot be dealt with as other children. By the time you are two years old, they will be so conditioned that they will dismiss your free expressions as "the terrible twos." They are not willing to face defeat, so they like to think of it as just a stage. And there is some truth to their analysis. As you get three or four, you will have to learn to direct your demands more carefully. You can push them too far too soon, and they explode. Sometimes they strike out in violence and make you retreat to your room. They might even have an emotional breakdown, and you could be put into a government institution. There is more freedom there, but one does not get proper attention in the system.

    So you must disguise your dominance and express it more carefully. There are several ways to do this, and it is good to have a variety—it confuses them and keeps them from ever getting a fix on it. For instance, if you are a cute little girl, it is very effective to play the pity role. Pretend to be weak and emotionally hurt. You can get more mileage out of that than the boys can out of their strength. Even fathers are susceptible to this guise. If they tell you no, just look brokenhearted. It helps to just sag in your body like you don’t have the strength to go on with life. If they don’t immediately comply, then you can say you are tired or don’t feel well. Just lay around, and remember to ask in a pitiful voice about every ten minutes. When you ask, be sure to rub your hand along their leg or arm. It you are close enough to touch their faces that works even better. The stimulation of touch breaks down their resistance. Eventually they will say, "Oh all right, I don’t guess it will hurt anything." There, you will have your way, and after all, there is nothing in life more important than getting your own way. It is the greatest source of pleasure.

    Now if you are a boy, or a first born girl, or just a free spirit, then you may find the direct method more to your liking. Anger and hostility will intimidate the biggest of them. If you stand your ground early, especially before they feel you are old enough to be spanked, you can gain the upper hand by convincing them that it is "just your personality" and that "you will grow out of it." Be advised, it just takes one experience. It is best conducted before you are one year old, but it will work at any time. All you have to do is win. That is rule number one; win any contest of wills. Cause them to give up in exasperation. Frustrate their efforts at dominance. Stand your ground, even when you are spanked. Prove to the bullies that when you have your mind made up nothing can change it. Let them know that you will not obey any command you do not think is just. If you ever win just once, then you have broken their wills. Yes, remember, that is the important thing. Break their wills. Take away their confidence. Make them feel helpless. After that, it is easy. If you ever hear her say, "I can’t do a thing with that boy; he just has a strong will," then you know you have won. Keep it up and you will always be free of control.

    Another point to anticipate is that parents go through stages. They may read a book or take advice from a friend and decide to renew their efforts at dominance. Sometimes it can be hard on you for a few days. They will spank more and be impatient, but if you just hold out it will all blow over and things will return to normal. Remember, consistency is the key. If you ever give in just once, it renews their confidence, so if nothing else, seek symbolic victories. If there is no issue, just say "No" for the pleasure of it. If they tell you to remove your hand, and you know that they will explode if you don’t, then for the time being you will have to remove your hand. But just to keep them from feeling cocky, remove your hand slowly. Hesitate; keep their nerves on edge. It is a tricky balance, but they must always be made to feel that your will is intact. Move your hand by increments. Make them tell you six or eight times. Push them to the edge. This is good for your self-image.

    Don’t take it too hard when you are forced to comply. After all, they are bigger than you. No one is going to think you are weak just because you are outgunned. Your day will come. You will not always be the little guy. One day you will be able to stand, look her right in the eye, and cuss the old lady to her face. So for now, go with the flow, maintain your will and wait your turn. Eventually you will have a body that will match your will. Then you can seek your own without anyone telling you what to do.

    If you are lucky you will get modern parents. If you are really lucky you will be in the Federal School system. Then you stand a very good chance of receiving an official title to describe your behavior. They may call you something grand like: HAADDS. This will explain why you can never do what you are told and why you ignore commands that are given you. They treat you like you are born different, like you have no choice in the matter. It takes the monkey off your back. Once you are labeled by an Official, they will put you on drugs. That’s right, the same stuff the big guys buy on the streets. Man what a high! All of life becomes mellow. No responsibility, no struggles; you can just sail through youth feeling good, never having to surrender your will. There are reports that the kids on these medicines don’t function too well when they are grown, but don’t you believe it. I took drugs from the time I was in the second grade, and it didn’t hurt me. In fact, now that I am older, they bring me several drugs every day, and I feel great—that is when I am not sleeping. Sorry about the messy writing, but the pencil they give me to write with can’t be longer than two inches. They are afraid I will try to hurt myself with it, but there is no chance of that—that is, as long as they give me what I want. Well, there is more I could tell you, but this should get you started. Remember our motto: "SELF-EXPRESSION—SELF-FULFILLMENT—SELF REALIZATION—SELF-INDULGENCE—SELF…..SElf….self…self…….i Can’T reMember the ResT of ….. It iS time for mY nappppp."