Mama is Homeless

Yup. Sold our sweet little farm house and moved all that shit out. Figured it was time for an update. We have moved in with the ‘rents while our new digs is being thrown together. Thrown together on an amazing piece of land, in the same, picturesque town in Vermont with which we have fallen in love over the last eight years. And by digs, I mean, house of our dreams. Well, realistic dreams, at least. But now we are waiting. Our shit is in storage and did I mention that we moved in with my parents…? Which I am dying to write about but since they may be reading this and I don’t want to end up truly homeless, I can’t. But you’re really missing out on some go-od stuff folks…

So unfortunately, I can’t tell you about how on our second night back under this roof (in nearly fifteen years) we listened to my parent’s argue about whether my mother snores. It was only when my mother smugly thought she had convinced us of her silent slumber habits that my father presented to us an audio recording of the previous night, evidencing the see-sawing. As they giggled on the opposing couch, I glanced at my husband. Eyes wide, we exchanged the same what-the-fuck-have-we-gotten-ourselves-into look.

Nope. I can’t tell you that. And I also can’t tell you about trying to explain Facebook to my father. Dear. God. I can’t tell you about an argument over who’s drinking the orange juice with pulp or who missed their morning wake-up call for the shower, making everyone late for work. (Yes, we are really sharing one shower.) I can’t tell you about how hard it is to live with people around all the motherhumping time. And I can’t tell you that I am sure the adjustment for us was equally as profound for my parents.

But what I can tell you is that two weeks ago, I watched someone very close to me end a long term relationship. I witnessed her heartache and break. And then I helped her move her stuff out and in with family. What I can tell you, that was never as apparent to me before is that family is everything. Everything. Witnessing her fall, only to be caught, held up by people who love her was eye-opening.

We spend so much time focusing on the things we have. We work to buy more things. We pay bills, go on vacations, buy toys, clothes, electronics. At this moment, near 95% of those things are in a 12 foot by 15 foot concrete storage unit. And we are still happy. All that shit we thought we needed- buying and using- and without it, we are still happy.

I can deal with the nit-picking about OJ and the annoyance of breaking down a grocery bill or deciding how to split up the Costco case of toilet paper. I can deal with waiting for the shower now and then so my mother can shave her legs or with the car shuffle in the driveway. Did I mention that two weeks in, the washer broke…? Eyes on the prize: A new home. It’s family stuff. And I am at this moment very grateful for this family. And most of the stuff that comes along with that. As far as the audio of snoring or explaining Facebook to those over age 60… Well, ask me again in a month.

Peace, Mamas.

20140728-214859-78539261.jpg

20140728-214900-78540644.jpg

Advertisements

“Mom, I Know What Happened with the Twin Towers…”

Cue the sucker punch to the bread basket.  We stopped for a quick bite after finishing up some Christmas shopping tonight.  So we share about our day.  And it was over some fries and burgers that this came out of Cub.  “Mom, I know what happened with the Twin Towers.”  Oh, are the kids talking about this in school?  Keep calm, Mama.  But I can’t.  The knot in my stomach is creeping by it’s fingernails up my throat.  So I do what any logical person would do to push that knot back down: I cram more fries in my face.  As fast as I can, really.  Gross?  I know.  But I can’t stop.  “No, no one is talking about it, I watched a video about it in the library at computer time.”  You did… Were there other videos?  The fries are barely keeping the panic at bay.  “Oh yeah, there’s ones about the nuclear bomb and Nazi’s.  I think the bomb is also called a Nuke.”  Okay, okay.  Okay.  We’ll talk about this later when your brothers aren’t sitting right here.  Who wants to tell about their day?  “I want to hear more about the nukes!” said my five year old with such enthusiasm that the fries were no longer cutting it.  After a few long pulls on the chocolate shake, I successfully change the subject.

So that’s how it went down.  I binge-ate and my kid knows about the largest and most horrific act of terrorism our country has seen.

As we drove home, the boys sang along to a Miley Cyrus song and argued over which superheroes are the strongest.  You know, normal, annoying shit kids should be talking about.  Meanwhile, I tried to process the conversation and my feeling about it.  Because I am a social worker and we social workers just love to process.  Why am I so upset about this?  I knew he was going to find out at some point.  He should know.  It’s a huge part of our history.  And that’s when it hits me.  It’s not really part of our history because it’s hasn’t really been long enough to be history.

I remember that Tuesday morning.  You remember too, don’t you.  A glorious fall morning.  I was serving serving coffee at a small cafe.  My second year of college had just begun.  Pink shirt, black pants- which were probably a bit to tight but really brought in the tips.  The radio blares Hotel California.  The phones rings and it’s my soon-to-be-husband.  Two planes flew into the World Trade Center.  My mind sort of stops for a minute.  Why?  How did the pilots manage to crash their planes into two buildings right next to each other?  I hang up the phone.  Thinking, thinking.  A customer bursts through the door.  They bombed the Pentagon too, turn on the radio.  My hands leave fog marks on the stainless steel counter.  And the rest of the day is a little blurry.  Customers come and go.  We don’t tell people to have a good day.  In fact, we don’t really say much of anything.  We just sort of make eye contact.  Like the kind of eye contact where you just want to tell someone, I know.  I feel the same way.  How could this happen?

Then came the death tolls and the shaky video footage.  And the screaming people running down stairs.  The brave souls who entered to get strangers to safety who never came out again themselves.  All the cable channels were shut down.  You know it’s bad when Food Network is offline.  The only thing we Americans could watch was the news.  And holy shit, did we watch the news.

Recounting all of this during my drive home brought me to tears.  This is not history.  This is now.

And that’s just it.

When my kids ask about slavery or civil rights, colossal mistakes in our nation’s past, I can say things like, We know now.  People acted out of stupidity, ignorance and fear.  But how do I explain something to them that exists today?  Seriously.  Someone please tell me how I am supposed to make sense of terrorism to my child?  Please.  Still to this day, men and women (and in some cases children) strap explosives to their bodies and go to schools, town squares, places of worship and marathons, with the intention of taking their own life and as many other lives as possible.  This isn’t history.  This is now.  Right now.

As we sit on his bedroom floor, I finally muster up my courage.  Tell me about the Twin Towers.  And he does.  And asks if it’s true.  Yes, honey.  It’s all true.  But what I don’t understand, says my gentle, thoughtful eight-year-old baby, Is why would those men do that?  Like a dump truck of bricks, this shakes me.  To my core.  I don’t know.  I can’t understand why anyone would hurt another person.  I can’t imaging something that would make that okay.  Me either.  Does it make you feel scared?  Yeah.  And sad.  Those people died.  Yes.  There were many people in those buildings when they were hit.  Oh.  I meant the men who took over the planes died.  I am sad for them and the other people who died too.

This is the silky, fluid innocence that I can literally feel slipping through my fingers.  Sad for the people who died in the buildings but also for the men who died trying to murder others.  Why can’t this world be filled with kind souls like this child?  Oh wait, it is.  We shape them.  Society shapes them.  We can’t protect our children from the terribleness of the world, the complicated sticky mess of a society in which we live.  And that makes me feel powerless but we also need to remember that innocence, kindness and empathy don’t need to be cultivated.  Those attributes already exist.  I believe to my core that humans are born good.  I could have said, those men deserved to die because they killed others.  Hate breeds hate.  I don’t want to raise him to hate.

photo 2 (1)

So maybe the answer is that I need to be honest: I can’t make sense of this because there is no sense to be made.  He seemed to grasp this tonight.  This is the first of many, many conversations which will test us as parents.  I am not in the business of handing out advice but what I can say is that being honest with my kids seems to work.  It feels vulnerable and raw and like I don’t have all the answers but I think it also propels my children to process things that they don’t understand.  To mull them over for a while.  That it’s okay to not have an answer as long as you continue to devote thought to it and talk it over as you work your way through.  I am just a Mama who is terrified of failing at this Mamahood gig.  So I process.  So I throw my plea out to the universe hoping that I am able to find my way.  That I can be the Mama they deserve.

Peace, Mamas.

Mama Forgets. Twice.

Cub began third grade this year and one of the special ways his teacher celebrates each student is to send home Corduroy, the Adventure Bear for a weekend.  Each student takes a turn to welcome Corduroy into their home, to take him on an adventure.  This weekend, it was Cub’s turn.  And we forgot him.  I know what you’re thinking: Winning.

When Cub ran off the bus on Friday afternoon, he was wearing a Christmas-morning-grin.  Lunging to the porch with a large bear.  This is Corduroy!  I got him for the weekend and he’s going to do everything with us!  Joy.  Dear God, just don’t let us lose him- better yet, please don’t let Zook rip his leg off…  We take out the bear.  There is an instruction page and journal for Cub to record his adventures with us.  Most importantly, Cub needs to read aloud to Corduroy.  Okay, here we go.

Saturday, Cub had a soccer tournament.  Four hours of watching, waiting and playing.  Husband lucked out had to work and was only able to make to the last game of the day.  Getting out the door was quite a cluster…  Packing lunches, finding shin guards- why the hell are they not together?!  Then the socks have to go on.  But what?  You can’t do it alone?  As I am packing Cub’s leg into his sock, my spine is beaten by Zook’s boot.  It’s unseasonably warm this weekend- 75 today- and no, child, you can’t wear your boots.  Finally out the door.  I have sandwiches for everyone, snacks and a couple hidden treats to serve as Tangible Rewards– certainly NOT bribes, what kind of Mama bribes her children?  I do however, recommend the Tangible Reward system.  You won’t be disappointed.  Promise.  It was a little ride to get to the tournament and we picked up a couple friends on the way (one for me and one for Cub) but by the time we got to the game, Cub realized we had forgotten someone.  Corduroy.  Shit.

I’m so sorry buddy.  We completely forgot him.  I bet you’re bummed.  We will bring him tomorrow when we go apple picking.  Okay…?  Fine.  Whew.  Dodged that melt-down bullet.  One down, forty-three to go.  The day was hot, long and by the last game, I was ready to be the one to have the melt-down but we survived with only twenty-two minutes of crying and one horrible port-o-potty visit.  Which I won’t elaborate on but I will say this: They are not suitable for young children.  And two people cannot fit.  Well.  Two people cannot fit well.  And then there’s the smell.  And the— Okay, I’ll just stop there for tonight.  But there could be an entire future post focused on visiting a port-o-potty with a two year old.  Just an FYI.

Sunday.  Gor-ge-ous day.  Amazing- even for Autumn in Vermont Standards.  Beautiful drive to the orchard with zero complaining- pretty impressive because it’s about a twenty minute drive from home.  As we walk through the first row of apple trees… Mom!  We did it again!  We forgot Corduroy!  Crap, that fucking bear is ruining everything.  We sit down for a minute- because now, I am pretty sure we are all trying not to hyperventilate.  We have to get him!  Husband tries first: The day’s not over.  We could play chase in the yard when we get home…  Cub doesn’t even humor him with a response.  We have to get him.  Mama looks at Daddy.  Go.  Please.  I say this with my eyes.  But he gets it.  Husband stands up.  Cub smiles.  He’ll be back (in approximately fifty minutes) with the damn bear.  With Corduroy.

Photo2 (1)Photo3 (1)

Photo5 (1)

Photo4 (1) Photo7 Photo6 (1)

Photo1 (35) Photo1 (34)

While I can say that dragging (or forgetting) the bear around this weekend was a pain in the ass, it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to Cub read aloud.  He’s a wonderful reader- better than I know I was at his age- but he often reads to himself before bed, outgrown the evening ritual of being read to.  We still read plenty to him but it wasn’t until this weekend that I heard him read aloud.  It was amazing- like tears to your eyes amazing.  Thanks to Corduroy, I was able to witness my child read, hear him form the words, hear his inflection of tone, hear him enjoy a journey.  I asked Cub if he would read to me sometimes before bed after Corduroy was gone.  He obliged with much more optimism than I had anticipated.  I am beyond proud to report that this is a pastime that will not end when the bear is returned to school tomorrow.  Thanks Corduroy.

Peace, Mamas.

Coming Up for Air

Holy shit that was fast.  In a nanosecond, summer passed us by.  It’s been a while.  My last post was about indulging myself in what was supposed to be my kids’ summer vacation.  Once I abandoned being a self-absorbed lamo, I threw myself into playing with my three little dudes.  We beached it a few times, went to the library a bunch and hung out in the yard, ran in the grass and fell into bed with dirty feet.  And we went to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory for a tour.  Which taught me a few nuggets of parenting genius- which of course, I intend to share here.

I hadn’t done many things with all three kiddos solo- other than work on my (semi) stay-at-home mom tan, while Pintersting as the kids dug holes at the beach- so I decided we needed a trip- somewhere to acquaint them with the culture of our state (Vermont), somewhere they could learn about local agriculture and industry, somewhere educational… Yup, we went to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory.  To learn about ice cream!  I was quite proud of myself as I drove to Waterbury (about a 35 minute commute from home), nearly smug as I pulled into the parking lot, pumping myself up.  See, Mama!  You can do this on your own!  Everyone is happy and ready for a relaxed day of ice cream and fun.  Ha.  Sure they are.  After parking, I gleefully walk to the trunk to get out the stroller- essential piece of equipment for a solo Mama of three at in ice cream factory…  Trunk’s empty.  What the fuck.  Reminder: send husband a hate text.  Now what.  Well, I guess Zook is going to have to walk.  Sure.  That will be simple.  A two-year-old is totally going to hold my hand and walk calmly and quietly as we tour an ice cream factory, right?  Riiiight.  Parenting Nugget #1: Always bring the fucking stroller.

Unloading everyone from the car, I pass out cheerful reminders like party favors.  Let’s try to be really good listeners today!  Mama needs your help to be calm!  We all need to work together and follow directions!  Hopefully they are not listening well enough to hear the panic bubbling in my throat…  This was going to be a long morning.  And why the hell do I not have the stroller?!  Okay Zook, hold Mama’s hand…  Nope.  Me run now!  Shit.

Up the 47 stairs from the parking lot.  Inside and into line to buy the tickets.  Thirty minutes until our tour begins… What are we going to do to kill some time.  Cub spots a spin art station.  The kids run over, to drop paint from a bottle onto a spinning sheet of paper.  Now I have to point out here that although the kids loved this, whoever in their right mind thought that a horde of children crowding around a spin art table was a good idea, clearly did not have children.  “Okay, just one drop of each color!”, the cheerful (annoyingly cheerful) 16 year old girl says to the boys as they rush the spinning paper.  Oh yeah, they are totally going to listen to you, honey.  Good one.  Zook takes a death grip on the bottle and squeezes like he’s trying to force out the last bit of ketchup.  Except the bottle is full and now there’s paint everywhere.  Everywhere.  Sweating, I pry the (now nearly empty) paint bottle from his paint-covered hands.  And now he’s screaming.  There’s paint everywhere.  Calm down, pull it together.  Clean up.  Who wants to pose in front of the giant ice cream truck?  Parenting Nugget #2: Don’t ever let a two year old do spin art.

Okay so spin art sucked up about 12 minutes- including clean up, which was really rather impressive.  Now what.  The boys spot a playground.  Perfect.  Just as they descend on the slides and climbing walls, I feel it.  The trickle.  A week early.  I have on mint green capris.  Fuck.  Boys!  We have to go back to the car for a minute.  Moans.  Whining.  All the “but we just got here”, “we want to stay” start a’flowing.  I forgot something and we need to go back to the car. Now.  Grumbling.  Of course Zook wants to walk.  All the way back to the car.  Oh dear god… This is bad.  In an effort to maintain my calm facade and struggling not to start screaming- or running- I try to formulate my plan of attack.  Do I dare leave them outside the stall in the bathroom?  Do I bring them in?  No.  There will be questions… Questions are bad.  The car.  I have to make it work in the car.  Good god, I have to make it work in the car!

I’ll spare you the details but my critical, curious (and a little annoying) 8 year old pretty much bitched me out the whole time while Zook literally devoured half a tube of chapstick and Mooch asked about 40,000 times how many more minutes until our tour- which by this time, I had completely forgotten about because so far, this fun trip to the ice cream factory has consisted of no stroller, spin art and my fucking period.  Where’s the bar.  Mama needs a drink.  Parenting Nugget #3: Don’t get your period at the ice cream factory.  (What?  TMI, you say?  Well, the name of this blog is Mama Gets Real.  And this is about as real as it gets.)

Long story long, we made it to the tour in the nick of time.  It was pretty boring.  But there was ice cream at the end and no one had a melt down.  As we drove out of the parking lot, Cub asked if we could do this every weekend, Mooch asked if we could have ice cream for dinner and Zook was passed out before we hit the interstate.  And my mint capris were totally fine.  Just when I think things are falling apart, they come together.  I forced myself to remain positive and my little ducklings followed suit.  Our summer wrapped up nicely.  My heart feels so full when I think about our last days of summer.  Completely elated that I had this time with them- which while stressful, warmed my soul.  Parenting Nugget #4: Enjoy these summer moments… Because the shit hits the fan when school starts again.

21416_10151850959899257_1370877294_n

Peace, Mamas!

A Kid-friendly Meal?! Oh Hell Yeah!

Yes, it’s true…  My entire family ate this meal.  It was amazing!

The main idea with any meal is fresh, natural and local.  We make every effort to consume foods which are grown withing 100 miles of our home.  In addition, I steer away from corn and legumes unless they are organic and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms).  In fact, I try to entirely stay away from foods containing GMOs.  Why would I want to feed my family man-made food?!  Recently, I came across a wonderful site which maintains a registry of non-GMO foods. The Non-GMO Project, website here, lists foods and brands which are registered as non-GMO.  I was very surprised that many of the items in the natural foods section contain GMOs.  Kashi?!  Yes, Kashi.  Why are these foods not labeled, you ask?  Well, here in Vermont, we are working very hard to make that happen.  Stay tuned!  Quality food is something I’m rather obsessed with and there are worse things to obsess over.  The fuel we ingest determines the efficiency of our bodily functions- which is essential to life.  Off the soap box for now and on with the show.

Brace yourself… Here comes dinner!  Who likes what, who won’t eat what and who throws a fit.  Not tonight…  Oh hel-lo Chicken Won-Ton Cups!  Using delicious, free-range, local chicken breasts, non-GMO won ton wraps, organic cabbage and carrots, I pulled off a winning meal that everyone loved.  I deconstructed it a little for the kiddos- they prefer raw veggies and weren’t super into the cabbage but since I planned for this ahead of time, we were golden!

Here’s the low-down:

  • 1lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Half head of cabbage, shredded or sliced very thinly
  • 4 Carrots, julienned (cut into matchsticks)
  • 24 Won ton wraps
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.  Gently push one won ton wrap into each muffin cup, bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges just begin to brown.  Spray non-stick skillet with a little cooking spray, add chicken. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the soy sauce and cook down for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO on med-high heat and add the cabbage and carrots.  Saute until the cabbage begins to brown slightly and the carrots are tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Assemble, using the won ton as a cup for the cabbage, carrots and chicken.  Voila!

Photo2

I think the kids were quite intrigued with the idea of eating dinner from an edible cup.  They did not eat the carrot-cabbage mixture so instead used raw carrots and tomatoes along with the chicken.  The idea of using the cups got me to thinking about different food combos that could be subbed.  There will surely be some experimenting!  Enjoy these with additional soy sauce if you desire but we didn’t need any- the flavor was delicious and perfect!

Photo1 (9)

Lastly, I decided on Sunday that I would renew my commitment to the No Yell Challenge.  And I am happy to report that it’s been a success!  A huge success, actually.  I have stayed true to not yelling.  Exhausted my patience, been empathetic and all that nice warm and fuzzy shit.  And it’s working.  I have also been really diligent about telling my children how much they mean to me.   At a few points during the day, I have tried to quantify my love for them in a way that might make sense.  By committing to this, it’s really forced me to think positively about how I parent.  Inadvertently, I have changed up my vocabulary and tone of voice because I need to make my actions reflect my feelings.  Tough but not impossible.  I feel great and I really think they do as well.  Win-win!

And I leave for my trip on Monday…  This has been on my mind for the last week and I can feel my anxiety mounting as the date gets closer.  Instead of dwelling on leaving my little guys (and my big guy), I have poured myself into making these last days with them count.  So far, my avoidance and denial have worked out nicely…

Peace Mamas!

 

Mama Project: Lake Walk

Share day in Cub’s class is themed each month. So instead of bringing the same junk into share with his classmates, we have to come up with items which match the theme for the curriculum each month. Fabulous from a teacher stand-point… From a Mama stand point: What the hell am I going to come up with- and by the way the bus will be here in 3 minutes. What the hell.

This month, our theme is Lake Champlain. Which, if you don’t live in Vermont, you should totally Google. Right after you finish reading. Here in our lovely State we are blessed with a gorgeous lake, shared with NewYork and home to Champ, the legend Lake Monster. Which you should also Google. Back to Share Day. We sent in a photo and brief description of Champ and some sightings- which I printed off and threw in his backpack as he walked out the door we researched together last week. In a effort to encourage to Cub to be more thoughtful about his Share Day, we drove to the lake (which is a pathetic eight minute drive from our house…) and filled a jar with items from the Lake.

Photo1 (18)

Photo1 (25)Photo1 (27)

Collecting, searching, inspecting. Touching, feeling, sensing. Smelling, listening, exploring. Taking it all in. This was a wonderfully, beautiful afternoon with my children. Watching them enjoy simple items like rocks, shells, feathers, sticks, weeds, water was refreshing. Rewarding. So in love with being a Mama today.

Photo1 (16)

Photo1 (17)

Peace, Mamas!

Sunday Reset: The Hike

This weekend, the weather in Vermont was amazing!  Gorgeous, warm and bright.  As I eluded to in a previous post, we live in a very old farm house, built in 1870.  When we moved in, as stupid young homeowners, we thought we’d have it looking just the way we envisioned within a matter of months.  Ha.  So six years, three kids, two ER visits, and thousands of dollars later our house is finally the way we envisioned.  Many sacrifices have been made along the way but the compromises I feel most shame about are the missed family moments.  Time we should have spent with the kids was spent hemorrhaging funds our home.  Last weekend, we finished the last project… Which meant this weekend was long-overdue family time.

We decided today was the perfect day for a hike.  Frequently in the warm months, we climb the trail to the top of Mount Philo.  Barely a mountain, it boasts what I believe to be one of the best scenic views in our beautiful state.

Along the way, we took note of our surroundings.  My oldest was excited to record his observations in his journal (which of course I was carrying, along with the snacks, drinks, etc.).

Once at the top, he quickly began working away in his journal.  I spent a great deal of time watching his steady pencil strokes, his even lines and the concentration which spread across his face was inspiring.  This child has so many gifts.

Photo1 (10)

This hike was significant as it was the first trek my youngest made on his own two legs.  He reveled in the landscape and though it took us a little longer as he needed to inspect holes, roots, rocks and bark, it was he who was more proud than I when we reached the top.  Unfortunately, he quickly had an accident.  And though I had many (many, many) items in the pack on my back, a change of clothes was not among them.  Ugh.  Luckily, his older brother was wearing boxer briefs and had no hesitation about loaning them.  And even luckier still, my youngest was delighted to wear nothing but his brother’s unders for our journey down the mountain.  Crisis averted.

Photo1 (9)Spending this time as a family felt refreshing and filled my heart with love, my veins with patience which will hopefully last through the week.  Being active, in nature, hearing their excitement about new surroundings made me breathe in their curiosity along with the fresh air.  A day I will remember for long time.  My children are outside all the time and I am with them… But so much of the time I watch them.  Observe them.  But to experience the outdoors alongside them was a treat (for both of us) I don’t normally indulge.  I feel that it made a difference for them as well.  There was no whining (really!) and such powerful enthusiasm.  The good moods and possitivity followed us all through the day.  Get out with your kids.  Experience nature together!  Peace Mamas!

Photo1 (7)

Little Boys are Murderers

Sweeping the mudroom this morning, I stumbled across a mass grave.  Of ants.  Let me start by saying that it may come as a surprise that although we live in a 143 year old farm house in a small Vermont town, we have never had a problem with insects (mice, of course but no bugs).  Until we updated our kitchen and uncovered some kind of colony of black ants.  For the last couple of months, we have used ant cups, gel cups and spray.  But to no avail.  The little suckers just keep coming back.  Our plan is to hire an exterminator to bomb the creepy bastards once it’s warm enough to open the windows without wearing our snowsuits- which in Vermont is typically June.  In the mean time, I have children to keep the problem somewhat under control.

Their method of extermination consists of picking each ant up and pinching its wriggling body between their fingers.  Most of the legs stop moving before they toss it back down.  Sometimes the legs continue to spasm for a few seconds but by this time, the boys have lost interest in their suffering victim and moved on to the next.  Of course the corpse is left behind (or tossed into the mudroom, thus the mass grave) with zip remorse.  Zip.

Photo1 (1)

Now all of this is gross, cringe-worthy and there’s nothing sanitary about it.  But what’s most disturbing about is sometimes they smile while doing performing the execution.  Even my two-year-old.  And once I started thinking about this, I was comforted by the realization that all boys are murderers.  This insecticidal ideation seems to be ingrained in their minds from a very young age- or as I believe, at birth- because surely this is not a result from my parenting.  Surely.  Nope.  I even remember my cousins (four boys- bless you Aunt Kay!) seeking out and murdering anything from insect to arachnids to small reptiles- well except for the nature-loving one who wore moccasins, purples Umbros and toted a stuffed kitty around until he was… well never mind.   But the rest were murderous.

Further distressing is that my husband seems to almost encourage this savage behavior.  He at least suggests the carcasses be disposed of outside (most of the time) but he doesn’t tell them to cease this beahvior.  I think I am the only one who cares.  And this is another reason I stand by my claim: This isn’t my fault.  This happens because boys are torturous, head-hunting babarians.  This uncivilized streak seems to be limited to bug-squishing so as long as I can count on table manners, I think I can overlook this.  But for God-sake, can’t they drag the bodies to the side of our property, dig some shallow unmarked graves and dump them there instead of the mudroom?  Having said that, I’m confident I am raising upstanding, contributing members of society.  I think.

Photo1 (3)