The ‘mental problems’ category

Hells on Wheels

December 5th, 2019

A few people have asked me how it went when I marched my kids back into the hardware store to replace the thing Phoebe pocketed the other day — which incidentally, turned out to be a very tiny, very lightweight flashing red light. I don’t know what one would use this for. Probably something sporty that doesn’t apply to me.

A few other people asked me why I bothered to make her return it in the first place. The answer: I felt like it was important to teach them a lesson about honesty and integrity. Yes, I’m a foolish idealist.

Before daring to venture into the hardware store again I devised a new mantra and instilled it into their cerebral cortexes:




Eliza admitted “I’m nervous.” Feeling sympathetic about her plight, I asked, “How come, honey?” I assumed she was nervous about admitting her sister stole, or having to talk to strangers.

“I’m nervous I won’t be able to listen,” she said.

I replied “That makes two of us.”

They did a pretty good job of listening, actually. We even got the original item we had visited the hardware store for: floral tape for making wreaths. Directly after that, I brought them to my office in town to wait for Daddy to get back from skiing. We were there for no more than ten minutes before Phoebe knocked a planter over into a disastrous pile of dirt, leaves, and shattered pottery on a plush rug. I spent the next half hour trying to borrow a vacuum cleaner and find a replacement plant on Main Street. 

They said it would be easier when my kids turned four. “Four is the magic age,” they said. They lied. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong. They’re flawlessly potty trained. They can dress themselves and even brush their own teeth. They can <sometimes> follow <basic> instructions <if they feel like it>. And their communication has expanded so much in the last year that I can have real conversations with them now. 

But they are hell on wheels. That evening, I whined to my friends that I feel like my kids are crazier than other people’s kids. “They’re not,” said Leslie. “You just have too many of them.”

This morning, in the madcap rush to get ready for school, Eliza looked me dead in the eye and said “Mama, you seem hungry.”

At least this child gets me.

What I’m eating:


What I’m listening to:

Like everyone else, I’m obsessed with my own Spotify stats, although they are admittedly off-brand because we have a family Spotify account. Accordingly, my number one song for 2019 is “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin — a song we had on repeat in the car on the way to school for months and months and months. I also was amazed to learn I only spent 29 hours listening to the Avett Brothers this year — until I realized that’s because I most often listen to the Avett Brothers on iTunes because I actually own all their albums. Not to mention that I saw them live twice this year.


What I’m reading:

And the book The Tiger’s Wife by Yugoslavian-born Téa Obreht.

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