Bruises

We all know the popular Train song “Bruises.” In it, the band endears that bruises make for better conversation . . . ain’t that the embarrassing truth if you are a mom of boys.

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Yowza!

Jack, who seems to be a magnet for the law of threes, recently came down with a case of bruise-itis. In my family, this law applies with every. single. injury. This time, it was the fault of the trampoline. Three times. In one day. At least this time the law of threes wasn’t drawn out at all. Nope. Quick, clean, bloodless and to the point.

Early in the morning (let’s say nine am because that seems to be an acceptable time to let a preschooler jump and yell in my backyard. Because eight am would be annoying and rude), my young lad began his day full of jumping, banging on the patio door, jumping, asking for a snack, jumping, ringing the doorbell (picture Caillou hyped up on Mountain Dew and Pixie Sticks). Saving the day like coffee at sunrise were my neighbor boys, jumping for joy (literally, on the trampoline) over their day off from their school and the prospect of playing with little Jack all day. Halleluia. There should have been peace in my house.

Injury numero uno – Jack banged his ear against one of the other kids. “It huwts.” I brushed him off and sent him back out with the credo, “every owie takes you one step closer to being a man.” I’ll be regretting that for a while.

It was mere minutes after I sent him out that I could hear the definitive “I am really hurt and not just crying over nothing” cry piercing the backyard. I looked out and saw him holding his eye and scrambling off the trampoline. When I was able to pry his hand off his eye, all the while praying he hadn’t popped it out (it can happen – I saw it on Grey’s Anatomy), I unintentionally gasped at the immediate swelling of the orbital floor (or “bottom eye socket bone”, as I googled it). When I had convinced myself it wasn’t broken and he was dosed with Advil and exiled to the couch with an ice pack, popsicle and cartoons, I grabbed my camera to document this injury for the whole lot to laugh at later and perhaps learn from.

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The best part of him throwing a fit while I photographed his owie? His stupid shirt. “Assemble” is not an appropriate word for tiny clothing.

Apparently, I didn’t learn from it later, because I let him go back out about an hour into his ailment. And he came in again, crying and holding his chin. Beneath it was a red skidmark, a friction burn from the mat. Geez Louise.

So when a friend I babysit for dropped off her toddler and was greeted by Jack’s shiner, she said immediately, “Whoa. Not good when you’re trying to run a daycare!” I laughed right along with her because we’re friends and it was no biggie . . . until that sweet little toddler of hers fell backward and sat down hard against the corner of the wall. Telling her mom in front of my bruised and battered child was a lesson in embarrassment! And the cashier at Bath and Body Works (“What happened to your eye?”) and the cashier at Meijer (“Hey buddy! Where’d you get that bruise?”) and the stranger at the library (“Ouch! That looks like it hurts!”) Yes, it hurt. Yes, we see it. Yes, he knows it’s there. Yes, I know I was irresponsible to let him jump on the trampoline with three older kids. Poor little guy is now embarrassed to go in public. He said he didn’t want to go to t-ball because they’ll all see his eye. He told me as we left Bath and Body Works, “Mom, I don’t wike how ev-we-one talks about my eye.” Me neither, kiddo. But you know what they say about bruises . . .

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Foiled again!

The best laid plans in the Wilson household very rarely work out the way I think/hope/expect them to. Only on rare occasions am I happily surprised at a smooth experience. It is because of this that I wonder almost daily why I even attempt to make plans since they are usually foiled (remember the last football game of the season? Yeah.).

Recently, I had a day in which a detailed plan was in place (well, detailed for a stay-at-home mom with usually only household chores to worry about). Wake at 6, shower, make lunches, lay out clothes, put away laundry and get breakfast ready all before the boys got up at 7:30. I had a column to write, edit and submit, fruit to cut up before it went bad and a two-month-old baby to babysit for the first time (and all the little chores that go along – preparing and warming bottles, changing diapers, staring at the cuteness, lying on the couch beneath the baby for hours while he naps . . . the list is endless). The morning went swimmingly, but the afternoon had the potential to become hairy.

Number Two’s appointment for a med check with his pediatrician had been rescheduled twice already, so I had to stick with the appointment they gave me where, of course, I’d be rushing to get him from school and to the appointment on time, all while requesting that the baby be picked up at an exact certain time to keep me from being late. And speeding.

Since the majority of the day went so well (with four loads of cleaned laundry spread about my living room in various stages of fold, all day, being the only caveat) I had a misplaced glimmer of hope for a great turnout. But we all know that smooth is not something that happens to us easily. Especially with a certain child who shall remain unnamed.

Number Two (still unnamed!) was given specific instructions: give this note to your teacher as soon as you get to school and wait for me outside where I normally pick you up, but I will be a few minutes late. He, of course, interjected, “Nooo. I don’t want to sit out there by myself.” I assured him there was always a teacher/monitor out there and I’d only be five minutes later than I normally pick him up. He again interjects, “Put it as a reminder in your phone. Don’t forget.” Um, I have never forgotten them, ever. I don’t know where he gets that from (seriously, I really haven’t forgotten, though I anticipate it may happen at some point). I tell him it’s very important and he finally relents. Phew. So, imagine my shock when I get to school and he is not among the seven or so kids still waiting for a ride. I sat in the car for a minute, hoping he had just gone to the bathroom. After six minutes of feeling like a stood-up date, I rushed, annoyed and a little embarrassed, into the nearly empty school office, hoping he was just waiting there for me. The receptionist looked up, and I couldn’t help but think I was being judged for being now eleven minutes late. What kind of parent keeps their kids waiting like that?

“Would a child be hanging out in his teacher’s classroom if he’s not out here waiting for a ride?” I was more annoyed than worried at this point.

“Well, we’d assume he got on the bus if he’s not out there. Why? Did your child have a note today?” She looked concerned and asked if I could make it home in time to meet the bus.

“Yes, he was supposed to turn it in, anyway. I can’t guarantee that he would have done so. And I can make it home, but now he’ll miss his doctor’s appointment.” I felt like an idiot. I rushed out the door and made it home a few minutes before the bus. During the time before he got home, I called the doctor and successfully moved the appointment back twenty minutes, still causing stress at the timing and anxiety over the question of whether he was actually on the bus – my annoyance had quickly turned to needless nervous worry.

The bus finally pulled up and dropped off two smiling kids (one who looked before crossing the street and one who didn’t). Phew again. Upon his arrival, I simultaneously felt relieved that he was safe but again annoyed at the whole thing, especially because he was prepped multiple times about the plan. His first words upon seeing me standing there, looking at him in expectation? “Mom!” He already sounded defensive and whiny. “I didn’t see you in the parking lot!”

Well, that opened up a whole bag of worms. I chastised him and told him he’s not in charge of making that call, a la “I’ve never not picked you up, I’ve never left you anywhere and there was no reason at all you should have gotten on the bus because you didn’t see me. I told you I’d be late! You were to wait right there for me to get you. Get in the car; we’re going to be late. Again.”

And then his story changed. Then he told me that he forgot he had an appointment and that I’d be picking him up. He said he forgot about the note for the teacher. “You forgot to give it to her?” I asked, unfairly incredulous. I should have expected that.

“No. I gave it to her. I just forgot that I was supposed to get picked up.”

“Well, did you forget for real or you got nervous and rode the bus?”

He squirmed and fidgeted and ate his granola bar. He stared out the car window and twiddled his wrapper. He did everything possible to keep from having to answer, because, I think, he didn’t know the answer. I let him stew over it for a while, and then told him how I trusted him to act responsibly and that I’d like to give him that responsibility in the future. He made eye contact in the rearview mirror for a second.

“I think I needed someone to remind me that I wasn’t riding the bus.” He looked out the window again, and my heart broke a little. He tried, then. He did remember to give the note . . . he just didn’t remember to wait for me. Although that didn’t explain why he said he didn’t see me in the parking lot, I was happy for the communication.

As we walked in to the doctor’s office, he grabbed my hand and held it as if he were four and crossing the road. I smiled at him, somewhat terrified that if I made eye contact, like a wild animal he’d scare and run off. He then told me, out of nowhere, that he had a bad day even though he did well on a test. He said it was because his best friend wasn’t in school and he felt alone . . . who is this kid? I wondered. He usually only speaks when complaining, telling me no and arguing with his brothers. I realized his openness was a direct reaction to the fact that he and I were alone for the first time in, well, probably since I last dropped him off for football practice in October. Let me tell you, that alone was a major realization on my parenting priorities. How have I made this far in life with children and I’m just now realizing how important it is for kids to feel special outside of their place in birth order? Up until that day, my often misunderstood guy was always the middle brother, seeking arguments for attention. Taken out of the home environment and out on his own, he turned into a communicative, feeling child, an entirely different person than he was just an hour before when surrounded by his brothers.

Now flash forward a few weeks. The little guy went grocery shopping with Dad, leaving the two older boys home with me. Given that, on the rare occasions I take all three boys on errands, the little one is usually the instigator in the arguing, I thought a trip to Wally World without him would be awesome. I even secretly planned to maybe stop on the way home for shakes . . . mostly for me. Before we even got into the car, Number Two was crying and demanding a toy. “It’s not fair! He has money and I don’t. I want you to buy me something! Buy me something or I won’t go!”

Oh, geez. Here we go. “Hey, that’s birthday money,” I say, “I’m not buying a toy since we just went on vacation (vacay post coming soon). Get in the car, please, and stop screaming.”

“No. I won’t.”

“Remember the other day when we went to the doctor and the store together and you said you loved it? Why can’t you calm down and enjoy this?”

“Because,” he said, arms folded across his chest, head titled forward and staring at his brother from beneath his furled eyebrows. “He’s here.”

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Furled eyebrows strike again!

As much as I wanted to scold him for that, I could understand what he meant. It is hard to act like a big kid when the simple presence of your older brother suggests different.

And, right in line with the birth order trait of the oldest – problem solving – Number One pipes up, “that’s okay, you can just pretend I’m not here. I won’t talk.”

Aww. The rest of the trip went pretty well once Number Two calmed quickly at the silence of his brother, and with Number One sharing two dollars and buying each of his brothers a Hot Wheels® car.

In the future, I see a few one-on-one trips with each of the kids . . . fueled by excessive arguing, I’m sure, and rewarded with a shake. Or a malt. Or ice cream. Or fries. Good thing I still have my kid taste buds.

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Kind of sad that this is one of only a handful of pictures of just this little guy and his mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Case of the Broke-sies

Well, another broken TV has once again slapped this family in the already red-cheeked face.  If anyone out there is counting, this is the fourth TV from our household that has had a very short lifespan.  I’d love to say we’re idiots and keep buying the same type of TV and the short lifespan has to do with the crappy quality, but no.  That wouldn’t be as fun as, oh, the truth.  Which is, may I add, that we keep breaking them.

A few years ago, when Number Two was in all his undiagnosed and unmedicated glory, he climbed atop a very ridiculous microwave cart-turned TV stand and proceeded to pull our 30-inch, fifty pound Magnavox off the stand and nearly onto himself.  Luckily, he was able to sidestep injury and certain crushing with the maneuverability of ADHD boys that must be a defense mechanism they are ingrained with, because otherwise, there would be many more hilarious albeit grave injuries around here.We never replaced that TV because at the time we had a newborn slumbering in our room and didn’t require a TV – we were much too tired at 8 pm to watch anything.  When we moved to a new house, we not only bought a small TV for our bedroom, but a 55-inch flat screen for our new living room.  After the newborn was older and mobile, he started climbing onto the stand and behind the TV, scaring the bejesus out of me for more reasons than just the impending owie.

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Notice the smudges – this was not the first time he got up there . . . nor the last.

Eventually I taught him not to climb up there (spray bottles are not just for cats) and TV life was a bit more relaxed . . . until I started babysitting on a regular basis.  Every single toy was a weapon and the target was a thousand dollars of electronic heaven.  I saw stuffed animals flying through the air and pictured grenades where their eyes should be.  Toy guns were bazookas.  Building blocks were, well, building blocks and I was having tiny heart attacks nearly every time I had to duck into the next room for a blankie or to prepare a snack.  I was sweating the fact that every second of the day when there were multiple children in my home was a potential threat to my relationship (how does one tell her hubby about another broken TV?).

Well, one day near naptime, I filled two sippy cups of milk and gave them to the twin boys I was babysitting.  I went back to the kitchen for something, leaving them watching Disney Jr.  Within seconds, I hear banging and yelling and honestly?  I had been hearing banging and yelling all day and was at the absolute end of my rope with the noise level that seems to surround boys.  Marching into the living room to put an end to the yelling, I spied with my little eye two two-year-old boys smashing their sippy cups into the TV screen . . . that no longer had a picture.  Lesson learned: milk sippies and ten seconds can completely change a life.  Another lesson learned:  telling hubby and telling the parents was extremely awkward.  Still don’t know exactly how I got through it.

We bought another TV within a few days and I was back in my hubby’s good graces after I stopped babysitting, because, in his defense for sounding a bit like a lunatic for suggesting I quit after suggesting babysitting to make money to earn back the cost of the TV, more kids in the house equals more mess and more destruction . . . and more cost.  It was 11 months later when I was blow-drying my hair in the bathroom and Number Three comes in holding a Nerf bat that his brother had just gotten for his birthday.  He was babbling something that sounded a lot like, “wook at da bwoken TB.”  My heart thudded . . . thump, step into the hallway . . . thump, thump, thump . . . turn the corner, see black screen . . . thump, thump, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep . . . see very large cracks all over the screen . . .

“What did you DOOOOOO?!?!?!”  I semi-yelled, semi-cried.

“I hitted the TB wif da bat.  It bwoken, wight?”

Oh. My. Goodness.  Eleven months.  How do I tell Hubby that our infant of a TV, the third in three years, is destroyed?  Honestly I cannot recall how I told him, but I do recall lots of tears and a sore throat . . . that small TV we had in the bedroom was now to be moved to the living room much to the very vocal chagrin of Hubby.

A few short months later we put that house up for sale and Hubby and I decided that I’d start babysitting again once we moved to earn money for a new TV.  But Hubby, being the type A person he is, went ahead and bought a new TV to be delivered when we moved in to the new house.  Another 55-inch beaut, set atop the same TV stand we love (you know, the one the youngest liked to stand on). Sadly, the poor thing stood no chance at all in the Wilson house.

A few nights ago I asked Number Two to close the blinds in the living room.  He surprisingly surrendered to it, mutely and without a moment of opposition, shocking me into silence as he closed the first one.  Reach up on tiptoes, pull down.  I turned and bent to pick up some mess and heard a yell and crash . . . and upon turning around found Number Two standing on the TV stand which stands in front of a window, alone, with his hands over his mouth and eyes wide.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m soooo sorry!”  The TV was upside down on the floor.  The TV was upside down on the floor.  The TV was upside down on the floor.

“It’s broken.” I said in disbelief.  “It’s broken.”

“I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!”

“It’s broken?!”  I may have been in shock.  And all I could think was, “These things happen in threes.  These things happen in threes!”

“I’m sorry!  It was an accident.  I didn’t mean it!”  His hands were still on his mouth.

“Ohhhhh no.  Oh no.  You have to call Dad.  Oh no.  I cannot tell him about a fourth broken TV.”

“Noooo!  It was an accident!”

“Help me lift it up so we can see if it really is broken.  Oh jeez.”  We lifted it up and set it back down on its base.  The screen was blue with shards of colors jutting out of the point of impact.  Geometric art.

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The TV may be broken, but at least the blind behind it is closed.

“Get the phone now.  You’re telling Dad.”  I couldn’t stop myself from repeating.  And I’m making myself sound waaaay better that I actually was.  I may have damaged my throat from screaming in terror . . .

So folks, this is how you tell your Hubby that the fourth TV in four years has been broken:

“Dad?” My crying third boy said.  “I broke the TV!”

You pass the buck.  I’m not super ashamed of this.

And kudos to Hubby for not freaking out on him.  He asked which one, with great trepidation I’m sure as his pride and joy is the 80-incher we have in the basement.  When he heard it was the small one, he asked if it was an accident and, being assured there were no shenanigans going on – no toys being thrown from the catwalk, no wrestling in the living room – he asked to talk to me.

What does he want with me?  What am I going to say?

“Hello?”

“Are you crying?  What are you crying for?  It’s just a TV.”

Utter shock and disbelief.  Who is this guy?

“Yes, I’m crying.  Our TV is broken.  The fourth one.  I know how much it cost and I know it’s my fault.  I should have known he would try to stand behind the TV to reach the blinds.  I’ve been his mom long enough to know that everything is a playground.”

“No.  He was doing what you asked and it happened.  We’ll figure it out, but maybe no water park this spring because the cost of the replacement is about the same cost as the trip.” Great.

I got off the phone and went to hug Number Two, who was still crying about his impending punishment.  He was shocked when I hugged him and told him that I knew it was an accident.

“Mom, I need to go to my room,” he said, pulling away from me.  “I gotta get my expensive toys and sell them.  My iPod, my DS –”

“Yeah, me too,” Number One interrupted, “and I want to contribute this.”  He handed me a five dollar bill.

My heart grew three sizes that day.  We went to the kitchen and found a mason jar.  The boys put their money into it and I dumped out all the change from every change magnet in the house.   It’s a small jar and a small amount of money, but the thought is mighty.  Now, I’m not going to let them sell their expensive toys, but I will let them put their hard-earned money into the jar.  In the face of adversity, I love that they decided to work together to solve a problem.  Until the problem is solved, I’ll be babysitting again.  No sippy cups in the living room and no Nerf bats anywhere.  And I’ll be doing all the chores myself for a looong while.

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Although it serves as a reminder that something was destroyed, it also reminds me that my boys will give to benefit the entire family.

Mug Shot Monday

While I spent a long while on the phone with my mom, Number Three spent a long while making this little scientific concoction - ice cubes and ranch dressing.  I don't believe he dipped his apple in it, but I wouldn't put it past him.  If you look closely, you can see his reflection in the countertop - he's standing in front of the sink, on the counter, after washing his hands.  It never ends around here!

While I spent a long while on the phone with my mom, Number Three spent a long while making this little scientific concoction – smiley face ice cubes and poppyseed dressing. I don’t believe he dipped his apple in it, but I wouldn’t put it past him. If you look closely, you can see his reflection in the countertop – he’s standing in front of the sink, on the counter, after washing his hands. It never ends around here!

This year's Halloween costumes proved true to their personalities - Number Three is a cop, ready to tattle on his Gangster brother (Number Two.  Notice his gun . . .) and Number One seems to blend into his surroundings as to not cause any ruckus he may be blamed for!

This year’s Halloween costumes proved true to their personalities – Number Three is a cop, ready to tattle on his Gangster brother (Number Two. Notice his gun . . .) and Number One seems to blend into his surroundings as to not cause any ruckus he may be blamed for!

Why wouldn't there be a football in my tree?

Why wouldn’t there be a football in my tree?

Nothing in this house is used solely for it's intended purpose.   And I doubt they were wiped off afterward.

Nothing in this house is used solely for it’s intended purpose.
And I doubt they were wiped off afterward.

It seems I have entered the twilight zone . . . where not one, not two, but ALL THREE of my boys are reading.  Voluntarily.  Thankful for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series!

It seems I have entered the twilight zone . . . where not one, not two, but ALL THREE of my boys are reading. Voluntarily. Thankful for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series!

Bad to the third power

My littlest guy and I sat outside in the warm October sun this afternoon.  He cuddled on my lap for no good reason for a good fifteen minutes before the ants in his pants took over.  He bumped the table and spilled hot tea, he knocked my brand spankin’ new book to the ground (Follow me on Goodreads!) and he missed stepping on the same sugar-fiending wasp by millimeters about twenty times.  As I was stressing about the impending sting and wondering if we should just go inside, I ruminated on the old saying, “bad things happen in threes.”

 My most memorable taste of the physical destruction of boys happened when my second monkey was nearly two.  He was jump-jump-jumping on the bed and just when I told him to stop, he fell off and cracked his eyebrow on the corner of the dresser.  I saw red – literally.  Blood was running everywhere, he was screaming and I was sweating it – a trip to the ER with a hyper and hurt toddler was going to be anything but fun.  Surprisingly, as rambunctious as this boy normally was, he was calm and still for the entire episode of the show I was watching – “Stitch: The Big Owie”.  It was mere months after that that the same boy ran head first into a corner, creating a gash (no stitches this time!) and a h-u-g-e goose egg right on the middle of his forehead.  As if that wasn’t enough pain for him, a few days later he backed into a roaring woodstove, sans diaper, and burnt his little baby butt cheek.  I have a picture of this, but isn’t it unsavory to post a picture of a little boy’s bare booty on the internet?

 It seemed that my life was going to follow the saying and I was given a reprieve for a few years until both my older boys suffered from Lyme disease.  Yeah, what are the chances that these bacteria would infect both boys at the same time?  Imagine my surprise when they woke with crazy bull’s-eye rashes all over their bodies and suffered debilitating body aches and fevers . . . lo and behold, Lyme disease was the culprit for both (don’t tell my dad that, though.  Although three blood tests came back positive, one for each boy and one for the naysayer himself, he still claims it hogwash). 

 It was another year of a peaceful owie break before all hell broke loose.  For real.  Looking back, I don’t know how I stayed in one mental piece.  In the course of one week, I was in the ER twice with two different children and could very well have been in three times had I not been more embarrassed than certain that my child needed emergency medical care. 

 Day One:  Aforementioned middle monkey doubles over in pain hours after eating an entire tin of chewable mints (but I didn’t know that little factoid until it was unnecessary), screaming that he is going to “blow up”.  A CAT scan, four wasted hours and a few thousand dollars later the kid is giggling and grinning as he is blasting gas out of his nether regions at a rate even the surgeon couldn’t believe – though that didn’t stop that classy guy from making jokes about my monkey’s talent.  Imagine my embarrassment.  Here I was thinking his appendix had ruptured and all he had was gas.

 Day Four: Baby is running through the dining room like the madman he was when BAM!  Smack into yet another corner of yet another wall with yet another goose egg.  It must run in the family.  Trip number two to the ER results in another few hundred dollars long gone and three stitches – not to mention the discomfort and poor confidence in my parenting skills when the same doctor from the last visit enters the room and recognizes me, a la, “Hey, I know you.” Puzzled glance at the chart.  “This isn’t the same kid . . .” Puzzled glance at me. 

 Day Five: Same baby launches himself off the table and bites through his lip.  Listen to my phone conversation: “You need to get home now.  Baby’s bleeding again and someone else has to take him to the ER.  I can’t see the same doctor three times in one week!”  I was borderline hysterical.  After dad arrived, we determined that he probably didn’t need a trip to the doctor just yet.  Or, to be brutally honest, we determined that neither one of us wanted to go back a third time and possibly suffer the shame of inattentive parenting.

 Day Six: Again, the same little guy (at this point, the reader ought to know that he was almost two, which should explain everything to those who have had two-year-old boys) climbs onto a fire hydrant and tries unsuccessfully to jump off.  End result? Two big scrapes on his thighs.

 Day Seven: (Need I even mention who this is about?)  Yes, the baby fell and bit through the almost healed part of his lip.  I probably could have laughed that part off (oh, haha, another owie for the toddler! What next?!), but then he opened a drawer in the bathroom while I was wringing out the bloody washcloth for his mouth, found the tiniest vial of sample perfume and sprayed that sucker directly into both of his eyes. I sat in the corner and cried . . . after washing out his eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Trust me, that was no small feat and deserved the tears shed by the both of us.  Mothering can be a thankless job.

 In the tentative end of all the commotion of destruction, as we’ve been pretty lucky for the past few months, I smile about the comment the doctor made after she handed the littlest monkey a sucker after taking out his stitches.  “Just don’t fall and split it open again!”  Are you serious?!  If she knew what had gone on since those stitches came out, she’s be prescribing me Xanax like candy and offering the kids ten pound bags of pixie sticks because after all, the same way the sucker was a peace offering, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down – or in our house, dulls the pain – in the most delightful way!  And with three boys, I’m potentially looking at nine bad things happening at a time.  Now where’s my Xanax prescription?

When applying as a writer . . .

I decided to take an unconventional approach to querying for a writing position: I’m submitting a tongue-in-cheek cover letter to a few local newspapers and keeping my fingers, toes and legs crossed (Hubby not too thrilled about the last one!).  See below for a peek into the life of a DESPERATE woman who so badly wants to be PAID to write:

 

Subject: Writer to write and make you laugh

 To whom it may concern (but specifically to someone who finds value in nonconformity):

 Please allow me to introduce myself to you.  I am a married, stay-at-home mom of three boys – and yes, the stigmas of that position, as well as the number and gender of the children, are mostly accurate as I do wear pajamas most days, spend the majority of time yelling, and my kids almost never hear my voice or say please and thank you to the woman who gave them life.  My current job titles include, but are not limited to: chef, housekeeper, laundress, personal assistant to a handful (or fistful, depending on the day) of demanding and inflexible men, hostage negotiator, babysitter, party planner, life coach, nurse, child psychologist and bartender (though the latter two should never be confused with each other).  I would add that I have perfected the art of butt wiping, but I feel that may be a little too risqué on a cover letter for this classy lady. 

 Let me warn you that this may be a bit wordy, but if I am succinct, I am not funny.  If I am not funny, I should not assume that I have a snowball’s chance in . . . well, you get the idea.  I am interested in sharing my plethora of specialties with your publication in the form of written entertainment.  I am no longer able to entertain my current bosses with my biting wit and somewhat questionable sarcasm, as I am afraid they’ve all developed immunities to my charms. 

 I propose that I write a column documenting my somewhat hellish experiences with my little animals (one of which has special needs – always a fun addition of fuel to the fire).  They have a knack for creating drama everywhere they go and I have a knack for overdramatizing their antics, so we, as a team, would be tumultuously entertaining! My dream is to give you and your readers a front row seat to the disorganized hilarity that ensues every day.  A number of your readers are parents and, being one myself, I know stressed out parents would appreciate a tongue-in-cheek column about parenting and experiencing the area with young and rambunctious children in tow.

 Of course, nothing in this world is free, especially concerning an aging woman under the influence of little boys (ahem, someone needs to pay for my hair dye and wrinkle cream).  They suck every ounce of worth and youth out of me so I would expect some compensation for my hard work and certain misery while my boys embarrass themselves and me for your entertainment.

 I would also like the freedom to come in to work late and take random days off.   My current positions don’t allow any vacation days, so I hope I can count on you to assist me with that.  Aside from the pajamas and yelling, I am pretty professional.  I clean up well and impress when I have to. 

I have a small amount of experience leftover from my high school newspaper, but that was ages ago (honesty will get you everywhere?  Probably not, but at least I’m not embellishing my experience).  My most recent writing experience comes from a writing competition I won in Michigan, hosted by my former library district.  That’s write!  I took FIRST PLACE.  A few snippets of my work can be found below (please ignore the shameless plugging of my abilities – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, especially when the girl won the very first competition she entered, and when her brain cells are dying at rapid speed).

 Wait.  Before I end this asking only for a column, let me be frank.  I’m not picky.  I just want to write.  And get paid.  I’ll be your admin if you need one (and I’ll write about that).  I’ll be the go-to gal for the boring function no other reporter wants to go to.  Heck, I’ll be a grammar goon or spellchecker or what-have-you.  Got a position in the mailroom?  Need someone to read and respond to your e-mails?  A research assistant?  We all have to start somewhere and I’m willing to start by cleaning the office if it means there is room to progress into the world of writing.   Be warned, though, that I will write about the condition of the office. 

 Please let me know via phone, e-mail, snail mail or hot air balloon if this situation is something that is of interest to you.  You can also expect to receive a second copy of this in the mail.  I like to cover my bases.  I want a writing job so bad I can taste it.  Strangely enough, it tastes a little like that Jell-O salad called Ambrosia. 

 Sincerely,

 Underwhelmed, underappreciated and under a pile of laundry in Sylvania