How Hamilton is Actually a Parenting Self-Help Guide.

hamilton-for-parenting.jpg

Haven’t you always assumed that life would be more fun if it were a musical?

Me neither.

I never did understand how people could sing their lives in perfect rhythm and rhyme in real time – not to mention in harmony with their fellow life-livers.

However. Hamilton has changed my mind.

Due to the constant barraging of praise for Hamilton from those around me, I decided to give the soundtrack a listen on Spotify during a run. It was the most delightful thing my running ears had ever experienced – an engrossing storyline set to music that is both brilliant AND will make you run faster.

Since that inaugural, life-changing, interest-in-history-inspiring run, I have had no other songs in my head. I skipped an entire week of my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist. I made Chris listen to Hamilton on his birthday (he’s now a fan), and I have experienced the best runs of the summer, all while living and dying with A dot Ham.

And as it has been my brain’s story-on-repeat, it has also made it into my parenting. And thus, I am finally living that musical I never wanted to, belting out lines full of passion at my children when opportune moments arise.

If you haven’t listened yet, I insist that you do so (but not with the kids in the car – who knew the founding fathers had foul mouths and sketchy girlfriends? A Beka didn’t teach us that.)  And, once you’ve listened, here is my compilation of the lines best sung to your offspring, along with some suggested opportunities for their use…

 

“Moooom! Why do I have to clean my room??”

Because you’re Half-dead sittin’ in your own sick, the scent thick…

“But I can’t!! It’s too messy! Can you help me??”

The ten-dollar founding father without a father
Got a lot farther by working a lot harder
By being a lot smarter
By being a self-starter!

“Hey Mommy can I have a snack I don’t like this shirt I need a new pillow will you buy me some candy but I don’t WANT to go to the store when are you making dinner?”

While we’re talking, let me offer you some free advice.
Talk less, Smile More.

“Hey Mommy I told Daddy about your secret chocolates…”

Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead…

“Moooooom! She hit me with her light saber!”

Chaos and bloodshed are NOT a solution!

“Give it to me right now!”
“No! It was mine first!!”
”Uh uh! I found it!!”

I am about to send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da!

When you see that kid toying with doing exactly what you just told them not to do…

You keep out of trouble and you double your choices!

When the children are ignoring you at record levels, just belt out at your highest volume…

The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge!

Every night in bed with your spouse, talking about the children….

We are outgunned!
Outmanned!
Outnumbered, outplanned!

When you tell the kid to go do a chore and they try to distract you with a giant hug…

And no, don’t change the subject,
Cuz you’re my favorite subject,
My sweet, submissive subject!

When all the kids are asking for something different at once…

I cannot be everywhere at once, people –
I’m in dire need of assistance!

Texting the babysitter…

We are a powder keg about to explode
I need someone like you to lighten the load. So?

“But Mom!! She started it!”

Love doesn’t discriminate,
Between the sinners and the saints…

“But why am I getting punished, too?”

Death doesn’t discriminate,
Between the sinners and the saints…

When you catch the kid red-handed…

The challenge: demand satisfaction
If they apologize, no need for further action…

When the kid spills apple juice on your MacBook….

Pick a place to die where it’s high and dry!

When you get that text that the husband is on the way home…

No one has more resilience,
Or matches my practical tactical brilliance!

“But Mom! She tattled on me!!”

You have no control:
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story!

When they get their own apartment and then ask for money…

What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You’re on your own
Awesome. Wow!
Do you have a clue what happens now?
Oceans rise,
Empires fall,
It’s much harder when it’s all your call!

When you try to give them a kiss and they squeal and wipe it off…

You say our love is draining and you can’t go on
You’ll be the one complaining when I am gone…

You use this line every day. Obviously.

Ev’ry day you fight like it’s
Going out of style!

When the kids come home totally spoiled due to the The Grandparent Effect.

It must be nice, it must be nice to have
Gramamma on your side…
It must be nice, it must be nice to have
Gramamma on your side…

When the charming, adorable, endlessly endearing (to everyone but you) two-year-old has finally pitched the last fit you can handle…and it’s only 9:08 on a Monday morning…

Somebody gimme some dirt on this vacuous mass so we can at last unmask him!

When you hide under the covers in your bed so your kids can’t find you…

I’m erasing myself from the narrative!

When you find out the hard way that Daddy let the kids have loads of candy right before bed…

I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true –
Your father’s a scoundrel, and so, it seems, are you!

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

R dot Call

Diary of A Tired Mom: Uncomfortable Truths.

Diary-of-a-Tired-Mom

This post felt like I’d taken two familiar genres and thrown them into a smoothie together: my Diary of a Tired Mom posts, and my friend Katherine’s madly fantastic Uncomfortable Truths, which has  66 volumes (and counting.) Be sure to read hers, because they’re delightfully more uncomfortable than mine.


1.

Although my elbow and shoulder (and finger) are slowly recovering, they’re still annoying. I mean, it is my left hand. And I am left-handed. But way more annoying than having three separate injuries on my dominant arm is the fact that it is also my drive-thru arm. It’s hard enough to be a professional Chick-Fil-A Speed Receiver – but try doing it with only one arm.

My game has been decimated.

(Seriously. Next time you’re at the drive-thru, try doing all transactions with your right arm. It’ll make you appreciate the left side of your body so much more richly.)

(And anyway. Who needs to actually write with a pen in this day and age anyway. The ability to accept fast food is way more crucial.)


2.

The British add a lot of unnecessary letters, right? (I get that the US of A became a nation a couple years after the United Kingdom but spelling wasn’t normalized until we were both around so I blame them for saying “yeah, let’s shove all those extra letters in.”)

There’s labour and flavour and colour and foetus.

But the most disturbing of all extra letters the British chose to keep is in a word already fraught with unnecessary characters.

Without a doubt, it goes to diarrhoea.

Somehow this unfortunate British spelling got stuck in my head and that extra o – a round circle surrounded by two cheeks of burgeoning letters – haunts me. And every time I mentally say diarrhea, (which is more often than I’d like thanks to having two children and a husband and being human and all,) I also add the o in there, mentally saying dia-ROY-a, as I imagine a countryside British farmhand would say.

“This ‘ere mare’s got tha dia-ROY-a again. Best be givin’ a ring to Doc Herriot.”


3.

I recently had the joy of possessing a rather stubborn UTI. After a couple rounds of antibiotics, I went to the doctor, where they loaded me up with drugs – both the antibiotic and the UTI kinds. As she handed me samples of the UTI drugs, she said, “Now don’t be alarmed – this WILL turn your urine a bright blue.”

Well THAT’S different. I mean, AZO is entertaining enough, with it’s orange-maroon color (which incidentally looks just like the colors of the Virginia Tech Hokies – the students should all take AZO as a show of team support before football games.)

North+Carolina+v+Virginia+Tech+WibQJQIL-G_l

But BLUE. Not everyone gets the opportunity to pee blue.

When I actually experienced this fascinating phenomenon, I realized something: I could choose to not flush and other people would think I’d just finished thoroughly cleaning my toilet bowl. Because nothing feels fresher than sitting down at a toilet full of bright blue water, right?

It was like a magic pill! That made it look like I’d done a chore! Where can I get pills to make it look like I did the dishes more than twice a week? Or perhaps a pill that hid the crumbs my kids so expertly and efficiently spread across my floors? Someone needs to be researching these possibilities right away.

(Disclaimer: I didn’t actually not flush. But it totally looked Mr. Clean up in there.)


4.

I’ve been wondering if I’ve contracted ADD. If I have, I suspect that one day they’ll discover there’s a risk of ADD contraction from being on Twitter. So many subjects. So many conversations. So many news articles. All jumbled together. Making your brain change lanes every 140 characters.

It’s a lot.

I was such a focused person in my school days, and even in my career days (which thankfully ended before the mainstream adoption of social media.) I could sit in class and take notes for HOURS and adore it. There was nothing I liked better than a perfect, neat, organized, outlined page of handwritten notes. It was a type of beauty I could appreciate.

But now, my brain is different.

I can’t take notes.

And definitely can’t sit still and listen.

However, I’ve found coping mechanisms. The downside to my coping mechanisms is that it makes me look like an unruly seven-year-old. But I swear it works. If I sit in church and take “notes” like this, I hear every single word of the sermon – and am able to process and even meditate on it.

Line Art for paying attention

But the second I quit my line art because I started feeling bashful about all of the eyes around me that could get a brief look at my notes and and say “mm, mm, mm,” while shaking their heads on the inside, I don’t hear another word. My mind wanders to the randomest of places. Like writing this blog post.

So, dear people around me in church, and Pastor if you have really good eyes, please know – if I’m coloring, I’m listening.  And maybe those coloring kids are, too.


5.

“We have a reservation. For fifteen.”

It was Father’s Day. I was in an extremely busy restaurant, trying to snag our family table before the staff was overrun with families celebrating their Dads. I was too late – I waited at the hostess station for ten minutes, and our food wait was over an hour and thirty minutes. But I say all this to go ahead and excuse myself for what I didn’t do.

Noah needed to pee. Right away. I sent him and Ali in the Ladies’ room together, instructing her to not leave without him.

Way too long went by, all while I was still standing at the hostess station.

Finally, I saw Ali open the door. And hold it open. And hold it open.

He must be taking FOREVER to wash his hands, I thought.

Then she closed the door.

I was worried. What would I do if the hostess was ready for me to follow her deep into the bowels of the restaurant and my children hadn’t made it back yet?

Ugh. WHAT is taking him so long?!

A minute later, as the hostess was gathering our fifteen menus to seat us, Ali reappeared, and Noah followed her out.

They walked up to me as I began following the hostess.

“Noah couldn’t get his stall door unlocked.”

“Ah!”

“So he had to crawl underneath the door.”

“Uh?”

“Yeah! I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl under the door to escape!”

“Um.”

“I tried to help him but I couldn’t.”

“Did you wash your hands really good?”

“Yes! I used three lumps of soap.”

And I kept walking.

So I’m sorry, Manager-Who-Had-To-Figure-Out-How-To-Get-That-Stall-Door-Unstuck later that night. I had semi-plans to crawl back under myself and undo my son’s issue. (After I ate. Because ew.)

But then I had to wait an hour and a half for my food. And by the time I was able to wrangle my kids out of your restaurant, I had totally forgotten about your jammed door. Even though Noah returned once during the meal, crawling back under the stall door, to look for his lost bible. Because what good is there in Gideoning up a bathroom stall that can’t even be accessed?

A Bathroom Conundrum Worth Discussing.

Saturday afternoon, Chris took me out on a date.

He arranged babysitting, made reservations, gave me specific instructions (put your hair up and bring your camera), and that’s all the information I got. I had no idea where we were going or what our date entailed.

I WAS surprised when I was still in the car an hour and a half later, but hey. One must go where the date takes you. And the drive was lovely – fields of flowers with cows idly grazing, baby foals being nudged along by their mothers, the occasional cluster of goats being herded by giant white dogs, Alabama mountains, and fantastic rural haunts like “Hick’s Poor Man’s Store” and “Mister Willie’s Family Restaurant”.  All of these would have made lovely photos for this post, but apparently that wasn’t on the date agenda, and anyway there weren’t exactly shoulders on this two-lane country road.

There were also lovely smells wafting into his convertible (hence my hair being up) – until we passed a pile of manure and then not-at-all-so-lovely smells.

But anyway.

We arrived at dinner in a small lakeside city a couple of hours north. The restaurant chosen was one we’d never been to, but had both heard of from prior trips to said city. It was one of those quirky, small restaurants that’s located in an old house. Do y’all have that type of restaurant outside of Alabama? I know Georgia does, because we had one of our quirkiest meals ever at The Olde Pink House.

But that’s not today’s story.

In this house restaurant, there were a couple different very small dining rooms (I think we ate in a bedroom), a cozy feel, and very winding hallways.

Since we had driven two hours to get there, I of course needed to visit the restroom immediately. It took me a minute, but I located it down a hallway that also housed a very squeezed-in-the-hallway bar. Because it was an old house, there were two choices, both individual bathrooms, one down the hall from the other. The one I went in was the bigger one – big enough that you assumed it used to have a claw-foot bathtub or some other sort of antique bathing option. The other bathroom, down the hall a bit but still in view of former-clawfoot bathroom, was clearly the old house’s pocket bathroom. It barely had room for a toilet and a sink and the leftover floor space for a very careful turnaround from the sink to the door when it was time to leave.

I headed back to our table for a lovely, lengthy meal at this tiny old house.

After our dinner of potato croquettes and filet mignon with a coffee rub and all sorts of deliciousness, it was time to go. Chris had sunset plans (hence the camera), and the meal had taken slightly longer than he had anticipated. But because I have the bladder of a 5 week old bunny, I hurried back to the bathrooms for one last visit.

When I arrived, both were occupied and there was a gentleman waiting. The bigger bathroom opened up, so he took it. Shortly thereafter, the tiny bathroom became available, so I turned sideways and squeezed in.

As I walked out of the bathroom, there were two more people waiting – older ladies – I would guess in their late 70s or early 80s, chatting as women do.

They saw me exit the restroom, and the woman that was first in line headed toward it and said,

“Hey Judy if you want, you can just come on in here with me.”

I was passing them as this offer was made, and I whipped my head around with an eyebrow raised.

Judy shook her silvery curls and quickly said, “Oh but I think it’s just a single…”

Judy’s friend interrupted. “That’s okay! You can still come in here if you don’t mind.”

I watched as Judy, clearly the non-dominant friend in this situation, sadly followed her friend into the bathroom.

Now.

I had just come out of the tiny bathroom. The one with NO room for an audience. And I understand that women like to go to the bathroom together and it’s what we do and all, but pure logic here makes the presumed assumption behind the offer make zero sense.

I had no indication at all that Judy’s friend, this delightfully blue-haired 80 year old woman, was making anything other than a helpful offer to Judy. The tone in which she invited Judy into the bathroom was obviously one of convenience. As if to say “Hey Judy to make sure you get the next bathroom available, just come on in here with me.”

Which is where I got completely and infinitely confused, as her opportunity cost and game theory and all that was seriously off base.

If Judy waits outside the bathroom, she gets two options – because maybe the guy who went into the big bathroom would get out before Judy’s friend does – in fact, it’s probable that he will. Judy’s friend has pantyhose to try to wriggle back into, after all.

Judy

But instead, because Judy obeyed her friend, not only does she have to squeeze in the impossibly tiny bathroom, watch her friend pee, and awkwardly not notice if any passing of the gas slips out (and what if Judy knew that SHE had passing of the gas that needed to happen?? Now she has to hold it forever?!), but she loses the opportunity to relieve her own bladder even sooner – because the big bathroom option is now off the table.

 

Judy3

I DO hope her Depends underwear survived her plight. And I hope that Judy NEVER EVER finds herself chatting with her friend while waiting on a Port-A-Potty.

So. Lest you miss it, the moral of this extremely important opinion piece is, friends don’t pressure friends into joining them in one-hole bathrooms. And also, #PrayForJudysPantyhose.