Random Sunday: The Bad Parenting Edition

Lani and I were talking today about our parenting skills. We all know I’m a lousy mother, but Lani’s rep was pretty good until we reviewed the past couple of days:

Sweetness (showing Fake Aunt Jenny the drawing on her mini Etch-A-Sketch): Guess what this is.
FAJ: A guy with horns.
Sweetness: No, it’s a bunny!
Mommy: Fake Aunt Jenny has issues.

Sweetness’s arms are too sore to lift above her head because she spent five hours playing the Harry Potter game on her Wii.
Mommy: Hey, she was quiet.

FAJ (to other shoppers in Hobby Lobby): These are not my children. I don’t know why they’re following me around.
Sweetness: We love you, Aunt Jenny.
FAJ: Beat it, kid.

Mommy (after Light tripped and hit her head on the big wood sewing case): Oh! Honey! Are you okay? Because Mommy’s had two glasses of wine and it’s only 4 o’clock and I really don’t want to go to the hospital unless we REALLY have to. Here. How many fingers?
Light: Wahhhhhh!
Mommy: Okay, that’s good then.

FAJ: Girls, Veronica just threw up on Mona’s head. Be careful.
Light: Are you going to give her a bath?
FAJ: Yeah, eventually. In the meantime, don’t pet the yellow fur.

FAJ (with Sweetness and Light being noisy in Hobby Lobby): I will beat you like gongs.

Sweetness: I don’t want to write thank you notes. I hate writing thank you notes.
FAJ: Suck it up. There is no free lunch.

Mommy (after Sweetness says something rude): Sweetness has decided she doesn’t like manners.
FAJ: Gee, I hadn’t noticed from the way she said, ‘Hey, Aunt Jenny, you’re old. Move!’
Sweetness(rapping from the back seat): Hey, Aunt Jenny, you’re old, move! Hey, Aunt Jenny, you’re old, move! Hey, Aunt Jenny, you’re old, move!
FAJ: You’re not going to be in that back seat forever, kid.

Sweetness (shaking her mini-Etch-A-Sketch): I can’t get this to work!
Mommy: Intelligence is overrated. Don’t worry. You’re pretty.

Light (coming to ask for something she already knows she can’t have): Mommy, is it wine o’clock yet?
Mommy: No.
Light (sighs in exasperation): Will you have some wine, please? I want a pony.

Sweetness (doing an interminable recap of the movie they saw at school the last day before Christmas break about Santa’s reindeer Prancer): And then Jessica’s father shot Prancer . . .
FAJ: Jesus, who showed you this movie?
Sweetness: The principal. But Prancer was only wounded so Jessica’s father sold him to a butcher.
FAJ: You’re kidding me.
Sweetness: And the butcher took him to a petting zoo . . .
FAJ: Is that like a farm up north?
Sweetness: And Jessica found him . . .
Mommy (coming back from an extended trip to the kitchen because she was wimpy and could only take ten minutes of “and then Prancer . . .”): What did I miss?
Sweetness (exasperated): Tell her, Aunt Jenny.
FAJ: It’s a reindeer snuff film.

Light pours the rest of her cup of milk down the sink.
FAJ: Since when are you so emotional about dairy products?
Daddy: Oh. I thought it was my Jameson’s.

FAJ (in Steak N Shake, looking at the purple bump on Light’s head from hitting the sewing box): You know we could use that as a button. Every time she screws up, we punch the button.
Mommy: And pull on Sweetness’s sore arm like a lever on a slot machine.
Light (ignoring ridiculous adults): More ketchup please.
Sweetness(ignoring ridiculous adults): I like boys.

Sweetness (looking at a Christmas gift t-shirt with a butterfly on it made of human body parts): I don’t like this T-shirt.
Mommy: Looks like the Kama Sutra.
Sweetness: Yeah, it looks like the Kama Sutra.
Mommy: Do you know what the Kama Sutra is?
Sweetness: Something inappropriate.

Sweetness (in Steak N Shake): Light just put more salt on her ketchup!
Mommy (proudly): Highest blood pressure in the third grade.

Mommy (in front seat): When we get home, you’re both grounded!
Sweetness: Aunt Jenny?
FAJ: Forget it, kid, your mother grounded you. You’re dead to me now.

Sweetness (who didn’t fasten her seatbelt before we were on the highway): I can’t hook it in!
Mommy: Try the other one.
Sweetness: Which one?
Mommy: The other one. It’s behind your booster seat. Move your booster seat.
Sweetness: I can’t.
Mommy: Of course you can’t. You’re still sitting in it. Get up off the booster seat, then move it.
Sweetness: It won’t move.
Mommy: Because you have to get up off it first, then move it. Get off it. Get off it. Stand up. Now move. Jesus, you require more instruction than a high school boy.

Sweetness (looking at the steaks Mommy and FAJ are having for dinner): Ew. What’s that?
FAJ: Prancer.

My feeling is that being raised by two smartasses who think everything is hysterically funny probably prepares kids for real life better than anything else. Bonus: Lots to talk about with future therapists. “And then my mother and my fake aunt Jenny . . .”

Really, some day, they’ll thank us.

77 thoughts on “Random Sunday: The Bad Parenting Edition

    1. hahahaha!! I am SO glad that someone else owns up to being smart assed with their children. Our kids are completely immune to it and the friends who would never dream of speaking to their children that way for fear of bruising their psyche think it is hilarious. I tell them, you think it’s funny now, but I’m sending CPS to you when they’re trying to find a good home for them, and then we’ll see who is the one laughing.

  1. Seriously, I would so buy a book of this. “How to Warp Kids Completely before they’re Teens.” I’m taking lessons here. Keep posting.

  2. Its good to see that I am not the only one out there who has no problem being a smart ass with my kids! And the “wine o’clock”–I had to snort on that one! I could totally hear my god daughter say something like that to her mother when she was little. Oh, who am I kidding? She still tries that now and she is 21! LOL! Too funny!

  3. Oh My

    Marvelous childhood.

    My DD still wraps me* around her little finger…and she is way over 21.

  4. Jenny, how about that “young adult” novel you once mentioned writing?

    Reindeer snuff film, natch.

  5. In my defense… oh, hell, there’s no defense for me. If they’re gonna need therapy to deal with their childhood – and let’s face it, they’re going to need therapy to deal with their childhood – at least it’ll be interesting. None of this, “Mommy didn’t love me” crap. My kids will be saying, “Oh, Mommy loved me. So did Daddy, and Aunt Jenny, and Aunt Krissie. Is it possible to be loved a little too much? Let me tell you about the time wine o’clock, Aunt Jenny’s deadline, and my high school prom date collided…”

    That therapist is going to love us.

  6. I have a theory that one of my kids will end up as a star on Saturday Night Live for the same reasons as this post. That’s a good goal, right?

  7. It’s just what happens with writers, right? We drive our offspring crazy to keep us company? Geez. I’m getting mine up out of bed to do his homeschooling NOW so maybe one day he’ll have a chance to escape us.

  8. Didn’t somebody say something about if you can’t be a good example, be a horrible warning….

    I’m sure I read that somewhere. πŸ™‚

  9. I have a terrible cold, so all laughing results in painful coughing. I laugh-coughed through this entire post, but it was all worth it. Reinderr snuff film: laugh-cough-laugh-cough-ouch, can’t stop.

  10. What a refreshing change of pace. Hadn’t realized I needed a dash of humor with my coffee. Thanks. I can now face the day carrying thoughts of the reindeer snuff movie with me.

  11. So if you need a break, send them over this way. Not only will they get more of the same, but they’ll get it from a 16 yo who has already been through “mommy’s a smartass” bootcamp and came out the other side a witty, strong, take-no-shit from anybody teenager with social skills far above her peers who had parents who poor babied them.

    And if they ever visit a threapist, it’ll be the therapist who leaves the room in tears. Guaranteed.

  12. I have a 15 yr old son. Here is one of our conversations.
    Me: How was school?
    Q: Boring, but Brad said he was going to try to find me a girlfriend.
    Me: Uh, Quentin
    Q: Yeah?
    Me: Wouldn’t that make him your pimp?
    Q: Uh, mabye.

    1. Only if she has to pay.

      Lani just gave the kids frappacinos. I’m spending the day in my room. They can bounce off the walls with her.

      In other news, I spilled my Advil PM in the bedroom, and I think I got it all, but all the dogs are still asleep so maybe not.

      1. “Reindeer snuff film”
        “but all the dogs are still asleep so maybe not”

        It’s 21:49 here and I’m trying NOT to LOL, else I’ll wake the others. MMMPH..lol..MMPH

  13. First of all, that’s some damn funny dialogue. I’m glad I put the milk and cookies down first.

    Secondly, I think good wit and snark amongst women is similar to the insults and stuff that men throw around at each other. It’s how we show we care. And from all of this really great dialogue we’ve just learned that Sweetness and Light are very, VERY well cared for.

    Or maybe I’m just rationalizing because that’s what was so cool about growing up with my mom and what I miss about her being so far away now.

  14. And as for this moving in thing – we go through this every time we get a home-related post. There was talk of a Cherry B&B… remember?

    1. We just need a really big lodge for a weekend or so every year. One with lots of room to spread out. The problem is that it would need at least three kitchens to accommodate all of the cooking and card games that would inevitably ensue.

  15. “you require more instruction than a high school boy”

    Holy crap. I am using that one.
    My kids will require massive amounts of therapy too. Last night we forgot the seven year old “sleeping” in the room when we started playing Scrabble. Why does scrabble always deteriorate into the “Who Can Spell The Dirtiest Word Possible Game”? It was around the time someone spelled whore that it occurred to us we should move her sleeping bag into another room.

    I’m assuming that therapy will be the new black in about 15 years. So at least they will be in good company. Wouldn’t want them to feel left out.

    1. Are you kidding? Therapy is the new black /now/. When I was growing up my mom used to joke that she was saving up for our college educations– she was saving up for our therapy. Most of my family has had a stint in it, and I think the whole family is watching me nervously to see when I’ll crack.

      1. What I meant to say was that Mom said she /wasn’t/ saving for our college education. πŸ™‚ Right, that makes more sense.

  16. If those two had a Fortune-Telling Machine, I’d bet the card would read something like, “You will grow up to be bright, funny and articulate. You will have loyal friends who make you laugh. You will have limitless love in your lives. You will rescue many homeless animals.” R. is forgiven for hideous, loathsome panties. He is not an insensitive, creepazoidal bore. He is WONDERFUL and is going to get very lucky tonight. This afternoon, after all the company had left, he gave me the ARC of Wild Ride. I don’t know how he got it, and I’m not even going to ask. I’ve already devoured half of it and it is even more WONDERFUL than non-creepazoid R. God, it’s funny. I love these people. Jenny, you write really good people. Oh, and Bob, too. R. is going to buy the hardback AND the unabridged audio version at a real, legal bookstore. He swears. I dread finishing it – they should invent a pill so you can have that first-time reading experience over and over again. I must go. I have a sudden craving for ice cream.

    1. My god, he did a miracle. I only had one ARC and I think Lani has it. He must have serious connections. Unless they’re already on eBay, in which case, don’t tell me.

      But so glad you like it. Because needless to say, I’m sweating this one.

      1. No, I leaned on him and he says it was the book-store managing sister of a friend of his. I think he promised to give her my first born child. I should have known something was up. But the panties did come with some nice perfume, and an All-Clad pan, so I was blind-sided. If anyone has the poor taste to disparage Wild Ride in any way, R. has volunteered to beat them up for you and I’d hold his coat. It’s a charmer of a book – human and funny and impossible to put down. Oh my, the setting is just inspired and honestly, the descriptions are so vivid, I’d swear I could walk the park. I wish I didn’t know just how hard that is to manage. I’ll admit my evil twin is a bit jealous at how effortless you make that seem. If you’re thinking I’m not a harsh critic, you’d be wrong. I’ve been known to rip books to shreds (not literally) and curse the publishers who foisted them onto innocent readers. I can drop-kick the sweetest protagonist into next week if she or he is weak, or stupid, or boring, or prosy, or preachy, or anything other than identifiable. I’m going on way too long and infringing on R’s lucky time. But, to everybody out there – you’re gonna love it.

        1. He got you All Clad, too?
          Keeper. Especially now that he knows to never ever ever give you anything like that underwear again.

  17. I relate to the spilling the Advil PM–I dropped a Darvocet last night and the littlest Pom jumped on it like it was a hot dog! Pain pills + small dogs who eat ANYTHING=oh crap, do I cal the vet or let her sleep it off?! I got the pill away from her before she did more than suck the protective coating off it (thank god they are big pills) and decided maybe I should hop my happy self into the kitchen and take my pills over the sink from now on! Jazz was very disappointed, but I gave her a cookie and she got over it…

  18. OMG, you just described my household to a T.

    DD got her Wii on Christmas. I’ve got faux tennis elbow. DD got the bad back from playing too much boxing. And my son has the look of disgust because he’s still up for a few more hours of baseball. Despite all that we’d both go another round if the damn thing gets turned on.

    That’s not mentioning whenever we go to the grocery store DS has to say, “Remember we came here after the one time when you were a bad mother.”

    So, really it’s a question of when they’ll need a therapist, not will they need one.

    Nothing but good times here in the Land of Blue.

  19. Wait, Lani gave the kids frappucinos and didn’t shove them into your closet? Purely in self defense, of course. I am more and more impressed with your collective parenting skills every day!

  20. This is why you cannot stop this blog!! It gives us our Jenny fixes between new releases!! I printed this page out and read them to my husband so he could laugh too!! He is very happy I was reading in during the day, because when I read one your books in bed, he is often jolted out of a sound sleep by my guffaw and of course I have to read what set me off.

    Thanks for the wonderful gift of laughter on a gray Sunday afternoon!

  21. If ya’ll are bad parents, I am a worse parent. I not only did the smart ass routines, I also considered it my job to periodically embarrass them. I think one of the funniest smart ass moments came when me & my friend Rita had our kids at the rodeo. They were bugging us while we were trying to oggle good looking cowboys. At one point Rita said to her daughter, “if you don’t shut up I’m going to rip the lips right off your face.” She said it loudly as it had been noisy but, of course, it got quiet just at the right moment for everyone to hear her & look at us like we were monsters.

    1. ps – it was supposed to be a funny threat. she never would have done it unless one of the better looking cowboys was actually trying to talk to us.

  22. I too am an evil mother. My teen age son went through a period where he kept saying “f**K” this and that. I kept scowling at him and saying “Language, S”. Finally, I told him he was just jealous because I had someone to f**k with and he didn’t. He looked green for days afterwards. But he cleaned up his language for fear of what I would say next.

  23. This was the perfect way to end my night. And this is one benefit of being a single mom with no one else in the house. No witnesses to the things I say that I probably shouldn’t say. Things like “Do you want to live to see tomorrow?” and “There are pigs who would consider that bathroom too filthy.”

    If they ever record the stuff she hears me yell at other drivers, I’m done for. But she’s cool and ecclectic and already made me promise to let her read all my Crusie books when she’s old enough, so I think she’ll turn out okay.

  24. So glad that I’m not alone here. I just finished telling my three girls (8, 4, and 3) about their oldest sister whom they’ve never met because she lives at boarding school. I told them that she was an awful child that never listened and then I threatened to send them there. My four year old asked what color are the rooms. Errrrr…that’s not how I pictured that working!!

  25. You’re just teaching them coping skills to help get them through life. My father (the minister) used to hide our plates of food if we left the table during dinner (even if was just a trip to the bathroom) and has scarred me for life by telling me a ghost story about our church that still has me scared to be there alone after dark. Being able to deal with snark and threats is a necessary skill to survive adolesence (for both the teen and the parent/caregivers.

    1. That sounds like a certain tradition in my family, Laura. If you leave the table during a family meal for any reason, those still at the table pass your plate around and eat everything off of it. Its very traumatising when you bring the new bf over for Thanksgiving.

  26. LOL! What inspiration-my threats to sell them for a dollar seem so weak in comparison. Although, the one time that the lady in the next aisle at Target overheard me and laughed and then agreed to take the 5-year-old off my hands worked like a charm…

    1. My sister’s middle son kept skipping school and she warned him that if he didn’t stop she would follow him from class to class to make sure he went. He skipped again and she kept her promise. She went to school in her pajamas with her hair in curlers and followed him from class to class, sitting in the back. She talked to his friends and teachers. Embarrassed him to death. It was great. He was also smoking and had gotten someone to buy him several cartons of cigarettes (not cheap). She found them and returned them to the store and kept the money. He was an ornery little bugger but has turned into the nicest young man.

  27. This ought to make you guys feel better.
    Thursday night we were tracking Santa using the NORAD Santa tracker which is just so cool. If you haven’t checked it out you MUST!
    Anyway, our 8 yo’s were shouting updates down the hall every two minutes to let us know what Country Santa was currently flying through. Just before bed we told her to do one last check before she headed up and here was our conversation:
    All of the adults chatting downstairs: Silence
    Me: WHAT?!?
    DD8 still upstairs: HE’S in the FALKLAND ISLANDS!!
    Downstairs the adults find this very hilarious, especially after several glasses of mulled wine.
    DD8 who is now in her PJ’s peeks her head through the railing, rolls her eyes at us then says “What’s so funny, where are the Falkland Islands?” To which her daddy in his best (not so great) Goodfellas impersonation replies, “they’re in the middle of the Falkland Ocean, where else?”

  28. “Wine-o-clock” – OMG! You just made it better for me to be at work this morning instead of home on vacation with my kids and hubbin.

    I knew about three days after giving birth to my oldest that her college fund was going to be a therapy fund.

    And I am SOO jealous about the WR ARC and All Clad Christmas. R knows his business.

  29. Oh thank you. I needed a tear-inducing laugh this morning! We don’t have kids, but the huz and I have similar back-and-forth’s – this weekend he called me a pill, and I told him if I was a pill, he was a suppository. He fired back with “If I’m a suppository, you’re a laxative… cause you’re annoying the s**t out of me.” We’re mature like that. And yes, this was in public.

  30. My sister divorced several years ago and moved back to our hometown with her two children. I bought a house where the four of live together. We believe the smartass method is the best for preparing them to think quickly and get ahead in life. When the kids get rowdy in public, my sister reminds them that she can embarrass them way more than they can embarrass her-a threat which they have never tested. My niece, now 14, began begging to read Jenny’s books at about 7. We told her she would have to get THE TALK before she could read them. Her response was always “Ewww” until last year when she decided she could wait no more to read Crusie. Between 7 and 14 we had covered most of THE TALK in casual conversation in front of her and decided if she was mature enough to ask for THE TALK she is mature enough to read the books. And another Crusie fan emerged into the world. Her favorite is Agnes and the Hitman. Now we just have to devise a way to have THE TALK with the 10 year old boy.

    1. I had to chase mine down and hold his hands away from his ears. I finally found and bought 2 different but good books on the subject and hid them. The books disappeared not long after and I let it be for a while. Then I started quizzing him on the material in the books most important to me. If he didn’t answer correctly, I told him the lecture would start in the morning.

      1. Um, Crusie and other romance books given to me by my mother were her version of The Talk. If I ever have children, I think that’ll be my way of going about it.

  31. I find myself actually jealous. My ten-year-old is smarter than I am, and sets me up and knocks me down constantly. Yesterday:

    ME: Holy cow, Babba’s banana bread isn’t completely dessicated from freezer burn like it usually is. It’s a miracle!
    DD: What does dessicated mean?
    ME: (puzzled, sure she knew this) It means completely dried up.
    DD: Can anything completely dry up and disappear entirely?
    ME: No, of course not, not entirely. Conservation of matter, right?
    DD: (triumphant, finally where she was headed all along) Oh, yeah? What if it’s a GRAVITON!! (theoretical particle postulated by String Theory, which if found would actually disappear from our known universe shortly after forming- DD taught me about this three years ago)
    DD: (hysterical laughter at Mama’s gullibility)

    1. One doesn’t put gravitons in the freezer. Tschh.

      (Seriously, though, don’t let your kid grow up thinking she’s smarter than you. Knowledge is for sharing, not for lording over people.)

      1. She doesn’t actually think she’s smarter than I am, she just thinks she’s good at math and science. *I* think she’s smarter than I am, because I remember myself at ten. My version of science was testing air resistance by jumping out the second story window with an umbrella.

        She’s also very aware that common sense is far more important than book smarts. Her dad is unbelievably brilliant, but Mama is the one who gets things done.

    2. I have one of those too and he was so much fun even though I didn’t know what he was talking about most of the time. He would explain something he had just learned, then dumb it down for me and when I still didn’t understand he’d say, Just take my word for it, it’s so cool. He’s now working on his doctorate in Physics at Florida State and still thinks everything he learns is cool.

      1. Yeah, she is fun. She’s running around the house taking everything apart to get parts for a Rube Goldberg machine she’s assembling in the living room. Right now, that’s fun. At dinner, when I need my kitchen tools back, I may be less enthusiastic.

  32. Best. Post. Ever!!!

    Now you I wouldnt mind watching as a reality show…ok, maybe a pre-scripted BBC sitcom but still πŸ˜€ youre all awesome!

  33. Back from the land of over indulgence, this is a very funny post. I once said to the troublesome teenage son – “I brought you into this world and I can take you out. We can just end this misery right now.” Of course, it was the heat of the moment and in retrospect we talk about it as another “time to grow up” moment. He recognized he was a “trying” teenager. It is all good now. Really, it is the best now. Once you get past all the angst, it is heaven when they say to you, “I am glad you were so strict.” (Boundaries) Yes, a little snark goes a long way.

    And Marly ~ R sounds Wonderful. All-clad, an ARC book. How lucky are you! Also, there may be a time when you may want those panties even though you were … upset. Perhaps, one day, you need the panties, so tuck them away. ;

  34. I’d type more, but I’m laughing too hard to do it coherently. OMG! I would definitely buy the book, “How to Warp Your Kids…” It would definitely be a bestseller. Better than Spock.

  35. LOVE IT

    Laughed so hard my eyes teared up and I began snorting. New Husband looked up from Facebook, bewildered. I tried to repeat the “Mommy’s has two glasses of wine already and doesn’t want to go to the ER” portion but was still snorting incoherently. You made my day. Thank you!

    PS As a 2nd grade teacher, most days I build up their self esteem and teach them proper grammar. On days when the grades are due and they won’t stop arguing I catch myself saying enlightened things like “Do NOT say ‘crap’ you’re only 7.” πŸ™‚

  36. I’ve always said that the best way to raise teenage boys (and I have had a few come through my doors over the years) is to just put them to sleep when they are twelve and then wake them up when they turn eighteen and boot them out the door. (Sigh) Somehow society seems to frown on this type of parenting so I have been forced to endure junior high and high school along with them… Maybe I should be the one who gets put to sleep for those years–I would have a lot less gray hair if I did!! LOL!

  37. Those kids are going to be able to survive any situation and wildly entertain themselves while doing so.

    I just spent the holidays with my brother, s-i-l and nephews. The boys are now 22 and 20 and snark-meisters. Makes a smart ass Aunt proud to see how well they learned from their father and me. πŸ™‚

  38. I’m really looking forward to a recounting of New Year’s Eve at the house of many women large and small. PLEASE take notes! Or video! Or notes and video!

  39. I was shopping w/a friend when her toddler son through a tantrum in the dept. store. She picked him up [still screaming and yelling], put him under her arm like a football and as we were going out the door to the car says loudly: YOUR MOTHER IS GOING TO BE SO ASHAMED OF YOU WHEN I TELL HER! He was surprised into silence. He stopped yelling when he tried to figure out what it was that she just said.

  40. This gets funnier every time I read it. Even my husband is still snorting about the Jameson’s.
    I’ve decided to put an add on Craig’s List for my own FAJ. I need someone else to appreciate and my inappropriate comments and enjoy wine o’clock with me!

  41. I know I’m late to the party here, but I’m still catching up on post-holiday blogs that I missed during that craziness.

    I just had to pause the ipod and hold on to the edge of my desk because I was laughing so hard. It was the reindeer snuff film, the Prancer’s steak denouement, and, above all, high-school boys instruction that did it. Your house, your family, is a source of unending delight to all of us. Obviously, to you too.
    Wine o’clock. Priceless.
    Childless as I am (and really happy to be so) I have conversations with my grandfather that bear a very slight resemblance. Our most recent one:
    K: You bought me lunch today.
    G: That was nice of me.
    K: I thought so. So I decided to call so we could have lunch together.
    G: Good idea. What did I get you?
    K: Smoked turkey and cheddar on wheat with horseradish.
    G: Wow. Sounds good. Smoked turkey?
    K: Yeah.
    G: They say that isn’t good for your lungs.
    K: It’s OK. I have a patch.


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