Disclaimer: The accounts you are about to read are tongue-in-cheek. They have more to do with my foibles than my children’s misadventures. I took real-life events and ran with them (Sometimes running them into the ground!). I have a sneaky suspicion if you have reared children or are rearing them now, you will see yourself or them in Raising Kids and Teens. Enjoy!
“HONEY. I’M SORRY THERE’S NOTHING FOR SUPPER. THE KIDS ATE EVERYTHING”! (by Janine Mick Wills)
When Jeff and I tied the knot, his father sent me a beautiful thank-you note. Not because he particularly wanted Jeff to leave home, but because he could no longer afford to feed Jeff and continue paying the electric bill. Clark told me when Jeff left, the grocery bill was cut in half. I smiled and thought, Yeah right. You’re also the one who told me Jeff was a perfect teenager. But no way on earth I was going to argue with my new father-in-law.
I hate to admit it, but Clark was right. Every week I trudge to the bank and borrow more money before heading to the grocery store. At this rate, by the time the kids leave home, we’ll owe more to the bank for food than the mortgage on our house.
I don’t know how Jason eats so much. Where does he put it? He’s so thin that when I hug him, I feel like I’m embracing a warm piece of plywood. I thought he might be selling our food on the side to make extra money, so I searched his room looking for his stash. I thought I’d found something when I smelled a rotting odor coming from under his bed. Surely, that horrid smell was a carton of eggs gone bad. I triumphantly pulled out the odoriferous item. It was only his dirty gym socks from fourth grade.
Jason keeps bugging me to buy him weight-gain products. “Mom, all the guys at school are taking them. Alan’s gained fifteen pounds and can hit the ball out of the park now.” I tell Jason to be grateful he’s thin. When he gets to be forty years old, he’ll have to worry about losing, not gaining weight. Course, I never say that around his father. Men sure can get sensitive when you mention the tire’s around their middle and not on the car.
Jason’s built just like his father. When I first met Jeff, he was a junior in high school. At 6’3” tall, the poor kid only weighed 175 pounds. Now he’s 6’4” tall and weighs… Whoops. I better keep that one a secret. Let’s just say no one gives Jeff a hard time when he cuts in line at the bank.
Jennifer loves animals. She eats like them too. She’s either a dainty little bird or a Clydesdale. It depends on whether or not it’s a school day and if her makeup and hair are done. If a single tress is out of place or a lip not glossed, she runs by the dining room table, licks her fork, and runs back to the bedroom for more primping. Later, after school, she sits down and eats a week’s worth of groceries.
Jennifer adores onions. She piles them so high on her food, I have to guess the food’s origin. She told me the first thing she’s looking for in a husband is whether or not he likes onions. I’m sure this is wise. If the poor fellow doesn’t, he’ll have to sleep down wind of her.
Jared is our picky eater. If he were a cat, Morris would be in the unemployment line. Jared is the original, junk food poster boy. The Pepsi and Frio Lay Companies sent us a fruit basket each Christmas. When Jared was a baby, he spit his strained peas so far, I had to apologize to the neighbors before cleaning up the mess.
I have Jeff to thank for Jared’s dislike of most foods. Jeff told me when his parents made him eat food he didn’t like, the offensive food returned back onto the plate. After it went down. I thought Jeff was pulling my leg until I tried making Jared eat mixed vegetables. Much to my fascination and absolute horror, the vegetables reappeared looking more colorful than when I first put the spoonful in his mouth. Yes, this is a little gross (Okay, a lot gross.), but I share this, so you won’t deem me an awful mother for not making my child eat his vegetables. It’s either that or feed him in the barn. And then I’d have to stand over him with a pitchfork to make him eat and the garden hose to spray the place down afterward.
Yes, mealtime at our house is always interesting. But where else in town can we get a dinner and a show?
“OH, KEN. BARBIE. WHERE ARE YOU?” (by Janine Mick Wills)
- If “clothes make the man,” my kids are made in the shade. I’m not sure what is more important to them, their friends or their clothes. In Jennifer’s case, it’s her friends who have clothes.
At any given moment, only a third of her clothes are in her closet. The other two-thirds are on the floor or in a friend’s closet. Now-a-days, teenage girls share clothes like women share recipes at a Christmas cookie exchange. I don’t remember sharing my clothes with my friends. Of course, I wore bell-bottoms and double polyester jackets. None of my friends wanted my clothes.
Jennifer doesn’t know the function of a hanger. If she needs a shirt to match a skirt, she shovels her way through the layers of clothing on the floor. This is usually done five minutes before we need to leave the house. I’ll give her credit, she can get a shirt washed, dried, and ironed before the car is out of the driveway. That girl should start her own dry cleaning business.
Jason’s closet is so full of clothes it takes a shoehorn to get an item in or out. He only wears name brand clothes from the mall. If I buy him T-shirts at Wal-Mart, I have to sneak the package into the house in a Gap bag.
I must admit he is a sharp dresser. At six foot tall with dark hair and eyes, I’m surprised Ralph Lauren hasn’t knocked on the door wanting him to model. Jason would do it in a heartbeat, especially if Ralph let him keep the clothes. I don’t know why Jason thinks he needs more clothes. The value of his wardrobe is higher than the daily interest on our National Debt.
Jason is also very particular when it comes to his clothes. He hangs them carefully and checks each piece for loose threads and buttons. He nearly comes unglued if he finds a stain on a garment. I personally like it when he does. It’s the only time he comes looking for me. He runs through the house with a wild desperate look in his eyes.
“Mom, I’ve got a stain on my shirt. How do I get it out?”
And being the good mother I am, I milk the situation like a farmer with a herd of Holsteins. I can drag the stain removal process out for forty-five minutes, enjoying Jason’s company as he nervously hovers over my shoulder. It’s the closest he’s gotten to me since I burped him as a baby.
If Jason is a clotheshorse, Jared is a clothes pony. He loves to wear name brand clothes like his brother, but the bad thing is, he wants the clothes to be the size of his brother’s. His shirts look like dresses.
He’ll come to the breakfast table with a shirt down to his knees. My church dresses aren’t that long. I’ll tell him he looks like a girl in hopes of shaming him into changing. I might as well say “Jared, when I become a world-famous author and appear on Oprah…” Jared smiles, holds two thumbs up and says, “Ain’t I cool?”
I’m going to bring Ken and Barbie down from the attic and show him the difference between a boy and a girl. Maybe I’ll have better luck with him than I did with Jennifer!