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Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government

Growing up, I was so blessed to have parents who not only discussed with us current events and political/moral beliefs, but who also allowed us to have our own opinions — no matter how laughable or illogical those opinions happened to be. The same could be said with their methodology of parenting, though; nothing was off-limits as far as discussing why things were the way they were. We didn’t have to agree with their standards, we just had to respect them. Having since grown up, I realize that we, as kids, did respect our parents for this — even though it wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort. We recognized from early ages the work and effort our parents put in to our raising and, even though we obviously saw them from a childlike standpoint, my siblings and I developed strong work ethics and values.

That said, we were kids and made mistakes. Our parents allowed us to make those mistakes and we knew fully that there would be varied degrees of consequences when those missteps were brought to light. A lot of these occurrences were brought to light by discussing with us similarly-happening current events/politics and the outcomes that came from the choices that had been put into motion. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for those life-lessons; it’s something that my husband and I are subsequently (attempting to) instill into our own children. Now with that said — the one thing my parents never fully explained to me that, sweet Lord, I wish they would have, was how BLOODY FRUSTRATING it would be to develop and mold our children into productive, decent, non-life-sucking individuals.

Y’ALL. I. CAN. NOT. EVEN.

What’s more, since becoming a parent and a more involved adult, it’s occurred to me how similar raising small children and sorting through political garbage tends to be. Seriously, it’s baffling. Is it because our children are politically geared and diplomatically minded? Anyone who has ever listened to an argument between two or more ankle-biters know that that’s not the case. No, it’s because politicians and their individual agendas have become so mundane and juvenile. Think back to the latest presidential election if you aren’t catching what I’m throwing. I couldn’t watch or listen to the debates half the time because of how much they sounded like my kids’ arguments. No joke, sometimes I replaced the words “foreign affairs” with “sneezed on my pizza” and the comparison was uncanny.

I’ve decided to share with you all my epiphany, so sit back and enjoy my list of “Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government”.

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  1. Someone is always watching you.
    Never was I so paranoid — until I had children. These days it’s a miracle if I’m not constantly looking over my shoulder. Forget about “Big Brother”; it’s “Tiny Terror” that you should really be worried about.
  2. They argue even when they know they’re wrong.
    I tell my husband regularly that if our kids don’t grow up to be successful lawyers I’m going to be pissed. Seriously, these kids would argue with Jesus. My two oldest boys argued recently over whether the name of breakfast was “banana blueberry pancakes” or “blueberry banana”. Facepalm, guys. Face. Palm.

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  3. There’s a lot of name-calling.
    Look, I could be okay with this part if the names being called were at least witty or came from a place of some intelligence. But no. My kids dig down deep and go low and it doesn’t even have to MAKE SENSE. That’s the worst part. My kids were both in tears the other day because they both called each other, “Mick McBootyFace”. I cannot make this shit up, y’all.
  4. Denial, denial, denial.
    A few days ago I walked into our bathroom to get something or other. I don’t remember what. But that’s not important. What is important, is that upon walking into our bathroom, I noticed my once white and turquoise bath mat was stained a gross shade of mud. Naturally, both suspects adamantly denied having even been near the bathroom. One even blamed his sleeping (infant!) brother. Not today, Satan!
  5. They’re wildly out of touch with reality.
    And I’m not just talking about the Santa & Tooth Fairy stories we pump into our kids. No, kids in general, like most politicians, have zero sense of time & zero sense of reality. Case in point: Connor said we bought our house for $50 and a four-wheeler trade. Gabe threw in that if there weren’t so many of us that we could have a DeLorean or a motorcycle with a sidecar. SAY WHAAAA? Adulthood is going to hit these kids hard.

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  6. You never have a shortage of bed partners.
    Okay, so at least the only thing I’m catching from my bed partners is an occasional black eye or the flu. Nevertheless, co-sleeping can be a beeyatch and I’ve got a dislocated shoulder to prove it.
  7. Whatever it is, it’s never their fault.
    Oh, sure. You might have witnessed your kid dump an entire gallon of milk onto the floor because he was attempting to impersonate Captain Underpants. But was it his fault? According to him, no. Why? Oh, it could be anything. The floor made him slip; his foot was itchy; he got too “into character”.
  8. Things aren’t always what they seem.
    It’s quiet in the house? They’re all “sleeping”? Think again. They know they’ve got you where they want you… and they’re coming for you. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he? HE’S GOT THAT WATER GUN AGAIN, DOESN’T HE?!”
  9. It’s all a big mess.
    Nobody is ever on the same page, we’re always running thirty minutes late, and we’ve misplaced homework or doctors’ excuses for the millionth time. Our house is clean, but only because our closets aren’t, and if we can distract you with something over-the-top to keep you from seeing what a shambles our lives are then, dang it, that’s what we’re going to do.

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  10. No one ever really knows what’s going on.
    We’re all just winging it, guys. Doing the best we can day by day. So long as everyone is fed, (fully) clothed, & dry shampooed, I can deal. Did we throw out the permission slip instead of the two-year-old water bill? Probably. Did I make a grocery list and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter (again)? You betcha. Are my kids going to need therapy in adulthood? Psh — I’m not paying for it.

I’m just trying to raise kids who won’t grow up to be entitled man-children. If they grow to be successful and happy, then I’ve done my job. If they end up being life-suckers? See numbers 4 & 7.

However, if they grow up to be politicians…. eh, can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

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Final Countdown

We’re in the process of some life-changes in the Paul household.  Read: I’m studying for my insurance license exam until I can get back to school.  Because of this, household chores are being re-delegated according to age, capability, and efficiency level.  My boys have done piddly chores here and there, but nothing chore chart worthy since I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for so long.  I mean, hell — I get most everything done during the day (or week), so by the time they come home, tasks are slim pickins.  Don’t get me wrong — they’ve been exposed to yard work, laundry, and garbage detail; slackin’ is not allowed here!  But now that we’re looking at life and schedule changes, more daily chores added are pretty much a must.  I’m not staying up until midnight only to get up at 5AM every freaking day of my life.

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I’ve looked at lists on Pinterest of “age appropriate” chores for the boys and have modified accordingly.  Adjustments will likely still be made, but baby steps are the best steps in figuring out who is best at what and who can stand some improvement in other tasks.

One chore that both boys have been assigned is folding, putting away, and sorting their own laundry.  This is one chore that neither of them mind doing as it allows them some TV time — provided they stay on task and get the job done quickly and neatly.  This has gone off without a hitch…. mostly.  As with most things, there is one flaw that, by God, I’ll have hammered out by the time I’m employed.  Both Gabe and Connor have a SUPER annoying habit of showing off their (lack) of basketball skills by throwing their socks and underwear in the general direction of the washer.  Only their socks and underwear, and only in the general direction.

I don’t know if y’all know this but… I’m a big girl.  I’m also thirty going on one hundred.  My appliance climbing days are DEFINITELY behind me. But, since I’d prefer to not continuously repair or re-buy equipment attachments or hoses, I’m the one climbing behind the washer and/or dryer to retrieve the wayward foot and butt covers.  This wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t happening daily or if they weren’t running out of undergarments.  Really, I guess “issue” is the wrong word.  Nuisance, perhaps?  Because it isn’t the end of the world, obviously — just a pain in the ass.  Nevertheless, two straight weeks of me crawling my mom hips and carb-loving arse over and behind the washing machine has left me desperate for a solution.

I thought and thought about how I could get their attention that would get the message across loud and clear but without going full Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train.  I considered making them do jumping jacks every time they missed the desired target, but they enjoy exercising and the goal, here, is for them to put aside their Kobe Bryant tendencies — not encourage them.

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I thought about acting like I was stuck between the wall and dryer, but I am 99.9% certain they’d take advantage of that situation.

And then one day it hit me.  CANTEEN MONEY.  Canteen cash is like gold around these here parts and I’m not above making a dollar for a large Diet Coke, no ice, from McDonalds (a dolla ten, y’all!).  I only ever give each of them a dollar for canteen anyway, so this works out perfectly.  Monday through Thursday they have an opportunity to keep their canteen money.  Every time I have to hoist myself to the back of the washer/dryer, they lose a quarter.  They’re fast learners, so each had seventy-five cents to take to canteen this past Friday.

I’m not above taking candy from a baby my kids, guys. This is especially true if it means I won’t get stuck in a place tighter than pleather leggings from the clearance rack at WalMart.  But I digress.

Other than our battle with “The Case of the Missing Skivvies”, chore completion and delegation is going pretty smoothly.  I’ll admit, I was planning for the worst.  Both boys like to help, but as with any new strategy, things get bad before they get better.  Luckily, there have been little-to-no hiccups and I’ve only had to issue threats of death a handful of times.  My night-caps have drastically decreased in volume and we’re making it to bed by 10:00 instead of 10:30 (BABY STEPS).  Also, my voice is slowly coming back from all of the Death Metal-esque yelling that took place ALL OF LAST WEEK.  Side eye to you, Eureka Math.

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Tonight I’m shooting for a 9:45 bedtime and only refolding the towels once.  Fingers crossed, y’all.  Fingers crossed.