The Excuse Maker vs the Howler Monkey

Howler MonkeyThere is a certain sound resonating in my household that is akin to fingernails on the chalkboard or a dog howling out of tune in the middle of the night. Without warning, this noise modulates into a higher pitch with each note, getting more frantic if it is left to continue. This annoying clamor, unfortunately, is an epidemic. What starts out as an innocent first becomes a habitual occurrence. They come more frequently as time goes on. And the result of this reverberation to anyone within earshot (mainly those it is directed at), is an elevated heart rate, a clenching of the fists and teeth, an ability to see red, and a sudden burst of mania that comes forth as a string of shrill commands even louder than the original sound.

I am, of course, talking about the “excuse maker”. (more...)

Loving the Bully, part 2

We live in an area where bullies are a part of day to day life. There are kids who have families that are not exactly on the right side of the tracks, and who are destined to go down the same road. Except, in this day and age, that road is a lot rougher. A mom wrote me today regarding an article I wrote about bullying, and relayed her own story of her son being bullied. When the school wouldn’t do anything, her husband finally went down and let the bully know in no uncertain terms that if he bullied his son again, the bully would be dealing with him, the dad, in the same sort of manner. This was years ago, of course. Nowadays something like that could never happen without legal repercussions resulting. But how many of us parents have been tempted to knock the block off of the overgrown kid that is tormenting our child? (more...)

When kids drive you crazy

Yesterday was a busy day of laundry and cleaning. Not only did it need to be done, but I am expecting the landlord to come by today for our annual inspection to make sure that our apartment is still intact and that we aren’t housing any pets like dogs or the regular city sewage rat. Thankfully, we have neither. Children are enough of a necessary hassle to be tended to without adding an animal to the mix. And this was even more apparent when I heard something drop to the floor in the bathroom, and an “oops” out of my daughter. She rushed into the kitchen and grabbed some paper towels, and then disappeared around the corner.

“Everything ok?” I asked her.

“Um, fine,” she said. “Except I might have spilled some nail polish on the floor…” Engrossed in my work, I told her to just use some of the nail polish remover on the linoleum. “Uh, ok,” she said. “But it’s not coming out of the carpet.” (more...)

Taming the Green Eyed Monster

So imagine this. You’re out to eat with your boyfriend. The two of you are enjoying the spring weather at an outside table, sharing the dessert from one bowl as you gaze into each other’s eyes. You’ve just said something witty and start to laugh, when you realize he isn’t laughing with you. His attention is elsewhere for a second before he turns back to you. “Hmm?” he asks, realizing that he’d missed something. He may have missed something, but you sure didn’t. A quick glance over your shoulder and you see exactly what caught his attention – a girl walking by on the street in her little short spring dress, walking her tiny rat of a dog and smiling in the direction of your man. Jealousy. It’s rampant in relationships. From the tiniest twinge over a night out with the boys leaving you at home alone, to the myriad of texts your girl might be receiving and you have no idea who they’re from. Some experts claim that twinges of jealousy might make things a little more exciting in a relationship. I’m not so sure about that, however. But what I do agree with is that jealousy exists in every relationship out there, whether it’s just the little twinges, to something that is way more consuming and causes loss of sleep (or loss of control over resulting actions…) (more...)

Honesty in Relationships

As a comment in my last blog about Jealousy, Chris wrote in to talk about his own problems with a lying girlfriend, and the suffering he endured while knowing she was being dishonest. It definitely is not a good feeling to be lied to. And most of us know when we are being told a fib. “Lies are a slippery slope. If you’re capable of lying just because you can get away with it…where are you going to end up? 4 marriages & 10 male role models later, you’re going to wonder why your kids don’t respect you.” I agreed with just about everything he said, except for the part where I’m a cheerleader for man haters (I’m not, I promise!), or that my friend is someone who can’t be taken at face value because she told a lie. In her defense, and in the defense of all humankind (men and women), we have all been guilty of omitting the truth at some point in our lives. Does that mark us with a Scarlet L for LIAR? Emphatically, no! Does it mean that my friend Jen chose a really immature way to deal with an uncomfortable question? Sure it does. (more...)

Hey, Jealousy

“My boyfriend left the house and I don’t think he’s coming back,” Jenny told me the other day on the phone. I listened sympathetically while she sobbed, relaying the whole story. A year ago she’d had a few too many at the bar while out with friends, and had ended up going home with one of her guy friends. Their friendship crossed the line quickly, but stopped after a heavy make out session when they had sobered up enough to realize that where they were going wasn’t somewhere they’d want to be in the morning. They stopped it short and promised to never speak of it again.

Several months later, Jenny’s new boyfriend asked her about her past relationship with this friend, and true to their agreement, Jenny denied that anything had ever happened. It was when she was still single, and she decided that telling him would only make him uncomfortable as they were all mutual friends. And mostly, she knew that he would be pissed that she had hooked up with a friend of theirs. Keeping mum about the situation was the only thing she could think of doing.

But as time wore on, Jenny felt guilty about lying. So she fessed up. What resulted was a yelling match, a slammed door, and Jenny on the other line with me sobbing into the phone. And as she wondered what she was going to do, I couldn’t help but feel my anger seethe at how the blame was being placed entirely on her. (more...)

Representing the Family

When my sisters and I were small, my dad was adamant that appearances went hand in hand with being considered a good kid.

“You’re representing our family,” my dad would say to us gruffly whenever we were out of line, or when we decided that the wrinkled clothes on our bedroom floor were perfectly acceptable to wear to school. I still remember the look on my dad’s face, and the way he couldn’t speak to me for days, when I shaved the bottom of my head for a more punk look. I was only trying to find myself, to separate myself from the drones of prep students who I didn’t fit in with anyway. My mother was irritated at the action I chose to took, but decided that it was just hair, and that it would grow back. My dad, on the other hand… “You look like a butt,” my dad said when he could finally talk to me. (more...)

Kids and Lying

The other night I was getting the kids ready for bed when I saw it. Or rather, I felt it. My boot was stuck to the floor of our bathroom. I lifted my foot to find a half wad of bright yellow bubblegum stuck to the bottom of my shoe, the other half still on... Continue Reading →

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