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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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Wrong Turn

We made it to church on time a few Sundays ago. By “on time”, I mean we were still five minutes late, but five versus fifteen or twenty is pretty fantastic. We were there just in time to catch a ride on one of the church shuttles in the parking lot and made it in time for the boys to split off into their designated groups. Once I got the kids dropped off, I made my way to my class. This is a new group to me so I’m still learning where the class is located. Plus, we’ve missed Sunday School the past few Sundays because: life. Anyway, I got turned around looking for the room where the class (we call them “life groups”, which I love) is located. I was so sure it was on the left side of the hall that I refused to look towards the right. Finally, after ten minutes of looking like a carnival duck, I asked for direction. A sweet custodian took time out of his busyness to bring me to class. Talk about mortified, because….

Y’all. The room was on the right side of the hall. I’d passed it twice. But that simple act of idiocy got me to thinking, “How many times have we all done this?” How many times have we all looked to one direction when we should have looked to the other? How many times have we been so dead-set against being wrong — only to be mildly, moderately, or aggressively humbled?

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If I am being honest, I’m guilty of that awful character trait more often than I’d like to admit. I’m not an overly proud person when it comes to material objects and, to be honest, my pride usually comes in the form of knowing when to ask for help. I SO struggle with needing to prove to myself (and everyone around me) that I’m Wonder Woman when, really, I’m more akin to “Wonder-How-it-Gets-Done-Woman”. I’m no SuperMom or Incredible Homemaker, that’s for sure.

Looking over a classroom number is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, obviously. It could happen to anyone and has probably happened to everyone at some point or another. But skipping over that class due to my own stubbornness, thereby making me even later for class, is what really struck me hard. “What else have I been too stubborn to look at? What else could be easily fixed, but I keep going back to, ‘It should have never become broken’?” The answer? So many things, y’all. So many things. I’m not one to air my laundry publicly, but there have definitely been some issues in my life lately that I’ve had an opportunity to fix or help fix that I’ve just simply walked away from. The excuses, guys — wow. “‘I’m too busy’, ‘I’ll get to it later’, ‘This isn’t my problem’.”

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How selfish is that, y’all? Pretty damn, right? These life problems range in being not a huge deal to could-be life altering. At what point does life get so over-whelming that our natural response is to shut down and submit to ambivalence? Not even true ambivalence — just a self-preservation tool used to keep us afloat in our own ridiculousness.

You’re probably thinking I over-analyzed that entire scenario and then took it a step too far, right? And you know, you may be (probably are) right in that assumption. But I try and find life-lessons in everything — even in the small things. I’m not always successful in that mindset, but I try to be. Truth is, we’re all going one of two ways: either the right way or the wrong way. Hopefully our lives aren’t at a standstill (although what’s worse — to be at a standstill or to go backwards?), but life happens and sometimes going nowhere in particular is the best path to take.

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My little humbling epiphany was just what this momma needed to get on top of some things and over myself. Sometimes we all need a dose of humility to get past life’s bumps in the road. You guys have any life revelations? Hit me up in the comments below. Like what you’ve read? Follow me on Facebook and Insta! I’d love to see you there!

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What the Fork

Lately, we have been experiencing a shortage of silverware — forks, in particular.  We’ve an abundance of butter knives and spoons, but the forks?  Pftttt.  They have gone amiss.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, there is no chore I hate more than standing at a sink washing dishes.  So naturally, I decided to get to the bottom of the matter recently when I washed the same four utensils three times over the course of the day.  My Nancy Drew sleuthing brought me to this conclusion: my kids, upon scraping their plates, are also discarding our flipping forks.  Why?  Because they’re imps and they hate me.

Okay, so that’s a little dramatic.  Really, it’s because they’re children and they are not paying attention.  Nevertheless, we’re down to four pieces of this particular kind of utensil and I can’t deal.

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“Geez, just go buy some more forks, Sarah”, you might be thinking.  Ah, but it isn’t that simple.  You see, we’re a bunch of weirdos, and weirdos have to use specific eating apparatuses.  These things can be neither too thin nor too bulky, too plain nor too ornate.  They cannot be easily bent (read: husbands) nor can they be too hard too manipulate (read: kiddos).  The silverware set that I purchased a few years back was PERFECT.  The weight wasn’t off (tell me that’s not important — I dare you) and the handles were the perfect thickness.  Bonus: it was bought at Target for $19.99.  In short: this set was EVERYTHING.  And guess what?  They’ve discontinued that line.  Because why the hell not.

I’m the kind of person who has eleventy-hundred movies and/or series on her Netflix cue but only watches the same five or six that never let her down.  So, of course, I’m going to keep nose-diving into my first world problems and get all stupid over forks.  Obviously, I will eventually have to purchase another set.  And if Target would get it together and re-instate this particular set, then I’d be ready and raring to go.  But nooo.

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Don’t worry, y’all — I’m not nearly as on myself as I sound; most of the above has been said in jest.  But honestly, while most decor and utensil options come to me pretty naturally, this whole fork/spoon/knife thing has me frustrated.  I’ve looked at several options and I cannot find any that aren’t either A) over-the-top expensive or, B) something everyone will like.  My husband isn’t a particularly big guy, but he has big hands and doesn’t like to use small utensils.  My kids I’m not so worried about as I’ve recently bought them some colored, plastic tableware that I won’t flip my lid over when and if they’re accidentally thrown out.  I, myself, don’t care so much about the size as I do the thickness; I don’t like using anything bulky.  So here’s my question, dear readers: what brands are you using and what are the pros/cons of your favorite utensils?  I know I’m not the only one here who agonizes over tableware, so dish (pun absolutely intended).

I suppose I should be relieved that they aren’t throwing away entire dishes, although a few weeks ago a very bleary-eyed Connor nearly chucked his bowl that he’d been eating oatmeal out of.  He realized his error before I even got the chance to say anything, however, and begrudgingly grabbed it out of the trashcan.  “Ugh, mom”, he said.  “Why’d you let me do that?!”, he asked.

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“Because why the hell not”, I mentally argued.  “Why the hell not?!”

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Running + Screaming

Hey, y’all. Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. The days are long, but the years weeks are short, ya know? The boys started back to school in mid-August and we’ve been busy acclimating to the newness of kindergarten and fourth grade. Connor has situated nicely to kindergarten and, to be honest, I was totally surprised. Pre-k was kind of overwhelming for him on a social scale and I kind of figured he’d have similar issues this year. Much to my relief, he loves school and learning which makes life that much easier.

Gabe has entered into fourth grade. Our school and the teachers there are awesome, so lemme just preface with that. The homework given is in-line with their lessons and we parents are provided with resources so that we can adequately assist our kids. I’m a firm believer in homework for kiddos like Gabe, anyway, who are super bright but need consistency and repetition in order to make the grade. But y’all — this. kid. is. KILLING. me. We’re exactly three weeks in and I’d be lyin’ if I said I didn’t have an early nightcap last night (and I still had to treadmill once the kids were asleep).

This is not a new issue for us. Connor is a bit of a class clown but academically on-point, whereas Gabe is exactly the opposite. He’s well-behaved and well-mannered.  But when it comes to schoolwork?  LAWD HAVE MERCY ON OUR SOULS.  Can he do the work? Abso-freaking-lutely. The problem is that he doesn’t want to do the work. It’s boring for him and, if I’m being honest, a bit tedious. His double whammy of sensory processing disorder and ADHD has his focus all over God’s green earth. I totally get how that can be problematic for him (he’s a mini me if ever there was one) but I also get, from experience, that if he would just push through he could be UNSTOPPABLE. Y’all, this kid is no Billy Madison, but getting him from points “A” to “B” is a flipping chore.

I know you guys have seen this meme floating around the interwebs:

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And, yeah. This is pretty much totally accurate. But the hidden backstory here (I’m speculating, anyway) is that this was said by a mom who was on her fourth glass of red wine who just went straight T-Rex on her math-hating prey, er, kid. Again, speaking from experience here. We literally wrapped up his three items of homework, like, thirty minutes before bedtime. To sum that up, he gets out of school at 3:30. We got home at 3:40 and started homework at 4:00. He finished homework at 8:00 o’flipping clock. Gabe still had to eat dinner, brush his teeth, and shower. Yeah… he showered this morning because at 9:23 last night he was an hour past bedtime.

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Now, bear in mind — those four, LOONNGG hours were not spent strictly completing homework.  Lemme break it down for ya like a fraction:

4:15-5:45 — Gabe takes multiple bathroom breaks during which time he forms a one-man search party whose job is to locate — wait for it — his old toothbrush which was stamped with Elmo.  (Side note: he has not had that toothbrush since he was three years old.)

5:46-6:46(ish) — Me alternating face-palms of increased intensity and bellowed, “OH, COME ON” mental breakdowns, featuring the upbeat sounds of pencils being sharpened twenty-eleven times.

6:47-8:00 — This is the time slot in which the homework was actually done, but only by threat of Lego-tossing.  I managed to sneak into the pantry to stress eat an Atkins peanut butter cup and check out Google Maps to see how far away Timbuktu is from our dining room.  Checking for a friend.

8:15-8:45 — Our Tyson chicken patty sandwich dinner of champions was served.  The boys proceeded to argue over condiments.  I finally snapped and ordered absolute silence lest they sleep on the deck in sleeping bags.  All the wine is gone.

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Three weeks ago Gabe was excited to be back at school.  I, stupidly, thought things would go off without a hitch.  “He’s growing up!”, I said.

Two weeks ago Gabe mildly complained about having to write a paragraph.  He did it, but it took a little longer than necessary.  I was okay with it — fourth grade is a whole new ballgame.  No worries — he’ll get there.  His paragraph was well written, which sparked hope.

Last week he “didn’t need to study the science words” because he, “knows that a delta is rock broken down by erosion”.  I’M SORRY, SAY WHAT??

This week I’m bracing myself.  This week I’m gonna pray my way through the car rider lane and all the way home.  This week I’m going to look into those crystals that you chant to in order to prevent pre-mediated thought processes.

This week.  This week I’mma be a homework survivor in the land of Terdassic Park.

Fire up the grill!

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10 Things I’ve Said to My Children in Walmart

As we grow older, we develop life stories.  Some parts of these stories are light-hearted and fun.  Other chapters are dark and gloomy.  Some are just “meh”; you know what I mean — we all wander out of the “wonder years” and straight into the “not-even-using-dry-shampoo-give-a-damn’s-busted”- ‘meh’ phase.  It happens to the best of us — don’t knock ya’self.  If you’re a parent, at least one and a half of those chapters take place at the grocery store.  If you’re an unlucky parent, that grocery store just so happens to be WalMart.

Now, look — if any of you are employees of WalMart, I’m not hating on your workplace (much).  WalMart is a necessary evil.  A necessary evil that I should be a stockholder of, but I digress.

Point being, we all hold our own dialogue, with our own children, from our own personal experiences in the aisles and check-out lanes of various markets.  My kids are generally well behaved in public.  Sure, they get rowdy on occasion and sometimes I threaten to leave them in the frozen food aisle (“WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS, RANDOM HEATHEN?!”), but usually, the most damage that is ever done is me having to say really. weird. SHIT.  No, Classy Cathy; I don’t mean stuff.  I mean SHIT.  I have said some seriously off-the-wall, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from crap.  And if you have ever had to run into the grocery with your children for, “Just eggs!” and you come out with everything but eggs, then you know my grief.

With that said, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of my personal favorite “WTF?!” WalMart moments with my kids.

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10. You don’t have to have a new toy every time we come to the store.  Yes, that includes the poo emoji beanbag chair.
09. STOP POKING THE CHICKEN.
08. I don’t care if this is only WalMart and not Target, quit farting on your brother.
07. Quit staring at the bras.  You’re right — I don’t have a tiger striped bra.  Oh, I’m sure dad would laugh, alright.

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06. You know, they throw kids in WalMart jail for eating grapes that haven’t been purchased.  Don’t think I won’t let them keep you, either.
05. Yes, I see that she is wearing her pajamas.  No, you may not wear your pajamas next time.
04. Are you lic– WHY ARE YOU LICKING THE BUGGY?!

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03. No, you may not scan the baby’s butt.  Why?!  Because we’ve already paid for him, that’s why.
02. GET OUT OF THE FREEZER.
01. Go get in the car. Go GET in the CARGET IN THE CARRRRRRR.

All of the above was said in one shopping trip.  Last week.  The final week of summer.  Y’all, Connor started kindergarten today.  Do you know what that means?!  That means I get to go grocery shopping, nay, to WALMART, alone.  Unincumbered.  In (relative) silence.  There will be wine and dancing in the aisles and I don’t care who stares!

I hope I’m not alone in most of these (and seriously doubt that I am) and also hope you’ll comment below with your own grocery shopping proclamations and weirdness.  Like what you’ve read?  Hit the links below to follow me and subscribe for email notifications!

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What is This “Effortless” You Speak Of?

What is with all of these “effortless” families I’m seeing on Instagram lately? Like, seriously. There is no way on Earth that you always look like you’re ready for an impromptu photo shoot.

I mean, we get it. You like for everyone to think that you have it all together as though you’ve stepped out from the pages of a Nordstrom catalog. And it really helps brand your creative image. But just like those effortless buns, that, again, let’s face it, we all know took you 2 hours and a 1/2 a can of dry shampoo to put together, we know all about the righteous chaos that is your life. Why? Oh, honey. Because we’re there, too.

Embrace it. Accept it. Life with children, although a wonderful thought, is not a fanciful, whimsical world. It is chaotic, loud, and often a muddy mess. Even Princess Kate has her off-days — even though, thanks to royal protocol, her kiddos kind of have to always look put-together. But don’t be fooled! She’s definitely the kind of mom I’d want to have triple shot mimosas with.

Listen, I’m not mom shaming or even being judgmental. I’d love to be “that mom” who color coordinates with her kids and has matching (but not matchy-matchy) tee shirts. I’d also love for my own messy-yet-effortless bun to be less Miss Trunchbull and more sexy, exotic Pinterest board, but that’s just not my life. But I digress. Like I said, I’m not mom shaming. I’m inviting you to the ease of letting kids pick out their own outfits (within reason and season), pull on some leggings, and come sit amongst my laundry pile fort and have a margarita with me. It’s five o’clock somewhere, and even if it isn’t I’ll toast up some frozen waffles and we’ll call it brunch.

You can go back to your regularly scheduled programming of fake-it-or-make-it after you’ve ugly cried and even uglier laughed during a Boy Meets World/chips and salsa marathon if you want. I won’t mind. But come sit with us hot mess moms for a second. You may hate it — but I’m betting you won’t.

Just a heads up — we wear pink on Wednesdays. But only because Karen left a red sock in with her whites a few weeks back and, well, we still haven’t beaten that joke to death yet.

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The Safeword is “Paw Patrol”

“I need you,” he sighs.

Don’t lock your doors and switch your browser to Incognito yet, y’all.  It’s just my four-year-old on the other side of the bathroom door, needing me to poke a straw in his millionth juice box.

It’s an age-old story that we moms know all too well.  I’m sure if you go back in obscure history you’d see that even the cave-mommas were subjected to their offspring rushing to the designated toilet-tree just to ask if they could ride the family sabertooth.  Nevermind that cave-daddy was sitting on a nearby rock, scratching his backside and watching grass grow.  Because, obviously, mom grunts, “YES, GET OUT OF MY FACE,” BETTER.

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To be honest, I’m not really sure where to place the bathroom creeper blame.  Is it my fault for dragging their baby swing into the bathroom with me just so I could shower when they were small?  Is it the obligatory, “Herd all the children into the bathroom so they don’t flood the joint” mentality?  Actually, that second one is pretty legit.  They’ve both been known to flood bathrooms.  THANKS, KIDS.

Lately, I blame my eight-year-old who has become an expert bathroom lock picker.  No, he’s not creepin’ on people who are using the facilities.  He only does it to me and only when Connor has been whining for 2+ minutes about aforementioned juice boxes — or anything else, for that matter.  “Moooom.  He just won’t quit whiniiiing,” he, himself, whines.  But that’s another post for another day.

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In the way of motherhood privacy, there is no such thing as “privacy”.  The only me time I get these days is when a child’s nose is pressed into the corner of our bathroom or a fitting room.  “If they can’t see me, I can’t see them.”  (Yes, I know that’s not the saying and, yes, I know that doesn’t actually work.  But I’m doin’ what I got to do.)  For the past approaching nine years, I have been watched closer than a Russian spy.  My kids know no boundaries, and if one of them doesn’t one day have a career in the FBI, then I’ll be sorely disappointed steamed.

I don’t know when bathroom visitation ends, but I’m not seeing a clear end in sight.  I’ve got minimally four years left (Mason) until my privacy probation ends with no chance of parole.  What I don’t understand is why this glorious potty booty call doesn’t happen to my husband.  IT NEVER HAPPENS TO HIM.  No one ever busts up in the bathroom when homeboy is taking a shower.  No one slides notes under the door for him asking when he’ll be done.  No one goes in full Kramer-style with a mango and the TV remote asking for a hamburger (that actually happened).  They leave him the hell alone.  There have been no threats issued.  No discussion.  They just… leave him to his devices (read: cell phone).

I gave birth to these children.  My dignity has long since gone down the toilet.  My body has gone to crap.  My patience has been washed down the drain.  AND I JUST WANT TO URINATE IN PEACE, DAMNIT.

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“Safeword is, ‘Paw Patrol’,” she mumbles to herself, as she zips up her pants and shuffles, defeated, to the living room.