Kids & Summer

Yep. That’s a crumb-caked knife. Used by one of our children for breakfast and placed back in the drawer.

A few things I guess I should try to be proud of if I want to look for a silver-lining here, and I usually do want to, so here goes:

  1. My kids are old enough to serve themselves breakfast.
  2. Whichever kid it was (cough-cough-Grace) (Just making assumptions here folks. I have no actual proof.) at least thought to clean up after him- or herself and put the knife away.
  3. Whichever kid it was didn’t lick the knife clean before putting it back.
  4. They didn’t put the used fork, used plate and used glass back in the cabinets. Nope. Those are all still on the table, waiting for the mom-maid to pass through. Thank goodness, really. I have a free five minutes to clean up after breakfast around 5 p.m. today. Well, less now, actually, since I took a few minutes to write this blog. 😉

Happy summer to all the parents out there! 🙂


Mulching Fantastic

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you from the edge of my kitchen table, just a few short days into summer break. For the kids, obvs. For parents, normal life marches on through the summer…mostly. You do have a few added chores like parent taxis, and drying all the swim clothes. Adding to our early summer time joy, me and Kenny decided to mulch our yard ourselves, instead of hiring that shizz out. You know – cheaper, relatively easy, enjoy the sun, get some fresh air, good to do some manual labor and all that. It’s joyful work on a number of levels:

  1. The little splinters that finely coat your clothes and later find their way into every single part of your body. We’re talking splinters so small, they are invisible to the naked eye, and you only ever know they are there when you brush whatever body part against a harder surface and yelp out in pain, bee sting style. Every time it happens.
  2. Ass crack for the neighbors for dayzzzzz, my friends. Dayzzz. Free shows for all. Apparently even when you tuck in your shirt. It’s like jacked up outdoor yoga with splinters and peeky cheeks. Can’t unsee that. Sorry. Truly.
  3. Three separate trips to Home Depot because who the eff can estimate how many cubic feet of mulch one needs to get enough bags in one fell swoop? (Clearly not me. Or Kenny. He estimated 2 bags. We needed twelve, folks. Twelve. As in one-two. As in ten more than he thought. I’m hoping he went with two because he felt bad about me going to Home Depot and loading it up myself.)

Speaking of mulch-fetching Home Depot trips, keep your eye out for a viral video from a local store. There may have been a woman there loading up a flat bed cart with bags of mulch…on her second mulch shopping trip because she (or her husband, ahem!) may have underestimated how much mulch they actually needed. One bag may have slid off the top of three bags neatly stacked on the flat bed cart. The woman may have leaned over in a rescue attempt, banged her shin on the cart, went off-kilter, and instead of releasing the bag of mulch she was trying to save to free up her hands to catch herself, instead did not and face planted into the entire mulch display at Home Depot. There may have been a few construction-type spectator dudes. One of them may have said, “Ah, can I help you? Um, ah…I guess it’s too late now.”

Yea, buddy, it was. But thank you. And Kenny, turns out that if you felt bad about me loading up a cart and car with mulch bags, it was probably a good call. On the plus side: I’ve perfected the walk of shame out of Home Depot. Hahaha. Added bonus: summer also means sunglasses, and thank God I am a big fan of big sunglasses.






Have you ever gotten a phone call from the vice principal of your child’s school? It’s literally dreadful the way you might imagine getting fired from your job might be. I never want to answer the phone when I see it’s the school calling. No one from school ever calls with good news, do they? “Oh, hey, Mrs. Clark! I am just calling to tell you that Gavin single-handedly revived chivalry at school today and held the door open for the entire fourth grade after recess.” Nope. Uh uh. I mean, I don’t think Gavin would necessarily do such a thing to warrant such a call, but still…I have never heard of another parent getting such calls and I know there are some darn nice kids in this area. Mostly, our calls have been about sick Clark children. One was a bit more serious … a troubled child had threatened to “kill” Grace in retaliation for something another child had done to him. Poor Grace was just the first face he saw and was an innocent victim of the outburst. Everything’s fine. Everything was handled appropriately.

This year, however, I got the phone call that may just take the cake.

I was in the movie theater with Gavin, Grace and some friends when my phone rang. I let it go to voicemail, because, well…I was in the movie theater. I picked up the voicemail to hear a mostly cheerful message from the vice principal at Gavin’s school. “There was an incident on the playground at recess. Everything’s OK. I am almost positive Gavin’s on the periphery, but I did want to make you aware of the situation. Can you please call me back?”


I texted Kenny and asked him to call because…well, I was in the movie theater. He was delighted with the assignment. I am definitely a giving wife. Passing out the jobs that make me personally uncomfortable. Hahaha.

Turns out, our dear, sweet, loving, lovable, kind, brilliant, mature, confident son had stumbled off the path of perfection we’ve been so perfectly paving since late 2006. (Sarcasm! Sarcasm! Honestly, we’ll be happy if – as an adult – he’s happy and kind and has minimal therapy bills.)

In reality, though, it seems we’ve got quite the agreeable kid on our hands – you know, the kind who says yes to almost anything his peers might ask him to do. (Our parenting flash forwards are terrifying! Yea. Pass the vodka.) Like his parents, he doesn’t like confrontation or to ruffle feathers. Apple. Tree. Ground. You know…the kind of kid who, when asked if he wants to join a fourth grade ‘gang’ says, “Sure.” Now, I know that gangs are quite serious and nothing to joke about…but…but…

I can only sum it up like this: his assigned ‘gang name’ was FRUIT LOOP or FROOT LOOP… I don’t know which is cooler. None, really, if we’re being honest. He didn’t get to pick…apparently. His gang mates included Bubble Nugget, Waffles, Shirley Temple (Yea. Yep.), and more… these are only the ones we can remember.

Now, FROOT LOOP’s parents had to speak with the vice principal because the leader of the gang thought it was a good idea to “rough kids up” when they said “no” to being in the gang. Like would legit grab them by the shirt and shake them or something. Apparently, Gavin never went beyond saying “yes” to being in the gang and couldn’t even explain what a “gang” was, but that “yes” made him culpable. We explained to him what gangs are (in very clear terms), and set out on the road of some serious lesson learning – including an apology note to the principal and vice principal for disrespecting rules and other children. I suspect that most of the lesson will fade as time passes, but maybe, just maybe, he’ll think twice before saying “yes” to something he truly doesn’t understand – that’d be a major parenting (and kid!) win. And, if not, I am quite sure all Kenny or me will need to do is refer to him as FROOT LOOP, and it will come rushing back.

If your child happened to be caught up in FROOT LOOP’s peripheral gang days, we are truly sorry. Hopefully, these days are well behind us, and our son’s on a good path of being kind and inclusive.