A lot of babble, and some cookies

I woke up at 4:00 this morning and thought to myself: Hey, Self! If you get out of bed right now, you could go downstairs and make coffee and have two uninterrupted hours of writing time! And then I rolled over and back to sleep I went. I woke up at 6:00, mad at myself for squandering two good writing hours.

But then this afternoon, after eight hours of managing the zoo I call my home, I phoned Mr. Handsome at work and said to him, “Hey, Honey! How about we do a changing of the guard this evening?”

And he said, in his super-enthusiastic, gravelly-due-to-a-cold voice, “You mean, you wanna go write?”

And I said, “YES!” And then in a smaller, meeker, slightly whiny voice, “Ple-e-ease?”

And he said, stoically, gallantly, and magnanimously, “Sure.”

And I said, “Aw, honey, you are so sah-weet! I loves you!” ‘Cause that’s what you’re supposed to say when you get your way (and ’cause I do).

So here I am, in my room, two hours to type, a glass of white wine on the bed stand. Though I guess you would call it a “nightstand,” not a “bed stand.” Though now that I’ve written it, neither of them makes any sense. Except that it isn’t a stand upon which you place things like beds, but it is a stand upon which you place things at night. So I’ll go with nightstand from now on. It’s important to clear things like this up.

(And no, we are not going to have a conversation on bad prepositional usage. Absolutely not. Because I like to whip prepositions around like they ain’t nobody’s business, least of all yours. Discussion closed.)

Ah, me. The frivolity that comes about as a result of having two hours of free time. Do you have any idea what would happen if all the world’s mothers (and more specifically, the mothers of young children) were given, simultaneously, two hours of free time? It would rock our world. Literally. I firmly believe that there would be such a bubbling of insane happiness that our little blue and green earth would be jolted right out of its orbit.

I don’t know about you (and here I’m addressing any mothers of young children who may be reading this post), but I get so blasted tired of thinking about Inane Parenting Problems as though they were Life-and-Death Issues. The situations are really no big deal (thus the reason I called them “inane” [obviously]), but if they aren’t dealt with swiftly and appropriately you just might go absolutely insane. Thus the reason they are life-and-death issues.

Example #1: Yo-Yo’s room
It is a disaster. Even though he has a mandatory fifteen minutes of clean-up time (almost) every morning, it always looks like it was hit by a cyclone: shoes, clothes, papers, cards, books, Legos, rocks, even bubbly tar that he scraped off a road and molded into lumps that have since lost their lumpy shape and have oozed and stuck to various pieces of furniture. We keep everlastingly at it, but there is no headway. Any ideas?

Example #2: Yelling
The kids yell all the time—when they’re mad, when they’re happy, when they’re sad, when they’re bored, when they’re going to bed, when they’re waking up, when they’re eating, when they’re not eating—basically, like I said, all the time. Any ideas? (I’ve actually implemented a little system to help deal with this particular problem, but since it’s not exactly kosher, I’m keeping mum till I hear your suggestions.)

And now, on to other things. Like cookies.

I’ve made this recipe three times now, and it’s been weighing heavy on my mind these days. I keep thinking wistful thoughts about cookies, and then when I indulge in the fantasy for a little longer, I see visions of chocolate chip cookies, and then butterscotch, molasses, and oatmeal raisin cookies…and then the butterscotch cookies once again. They’re that way, insistent.

Butterscotch Cookies
Not hardly even adapted at all from Molly’s recipe, ‘cause hers is so dog-gone perfect.

Word of advice: Make a double batch.

14 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 cup chopped pecans

Beat the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat some more. Add the dry ingredients and beat till mixed. Stir in the pecans.

Bake the cookies on a greased cookie sheet for about eight to ten minutes at 375 degrees. Take care not to over-bake them; the centers should still be ever-so-slightly wet and jiggly. Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheets for another couple minutes before gently transferring them to a cooling rack.

About One Year Ago: Peposo. And today I cooked a roast in the crock-pot. Must be something about the end of September that makes me crave red meat.


  • Anonymous

    Oh, and I thought of another thing.

    I don't know if this is a good fit for your family or not, but I found here in my house, that singing, generously incorporated into daily life really can change the whole tone of the moment.

    Any kind of songs from silly to serious. (although I would advise to go a bit heavier on songs with lifegiving lyrics. That is what will return to them in years to come when faced with difficult times)

    And then I love to overhear (unknown to them of course) my kids singing together when they are playing or working. Marvelous therapy for them and me.


  • Anonymous

    Regarding room messes: I stumbled on something this summer that helps. Step 1: have the offending child simply make a pile in the middle of the floor of everything cluttering the room. Step 2: send him outside to play for a predetermined amount of time, say 20 minutes. Step 3: have him return and work on his room for 15 minutes. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until it is clean. Be sure to emphasize to the child that at the point the entire room is redd up, he won't have to come in any more! 🙂

    Although there is definitely a wrong time and wrong attitude in administering a good spanking, Solomon was pretty clear when he said that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, pain *is* an effective tool! It taught me to be deceptive and, later, to be pretty angry with my parents' natural hypocrisy. They'd often spout holy maxims like that when they'd hurt someone. Thing is, they *believed* it. Only later did they regret all that.

    I am struggling with the same things (messes, yelling) you are and have no advice but lots of commiseration.

  • Rosanna

    By the way, your prepositions are beautiful. Coming from someone who gets paid to fix people's prepositions, and firmly believes in the liberation of sentence-final phrasal verbs.

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    I agree with your mom and Mavis. Ignore the yelling (as best you can) and give responses only to those who use a proper voice.

    If that still doesn't work, some kind of natural consequence, like, if they are using outside voices, they have to sit outside on the porch for a certain amount of time until they can come in and try again.

    I also must remind myself that if my kids are yelling a lot, I probably am, too. "Do what I do" is a lot more effective than just "do what I say":-).

  • Kris

    Since it's Yo-Yo's room, why does it matter to you what it looks like? Yes, I can say this from my own difficult experience because my elder daughter's side of the room hasn't been touched in months. Now and then (very rarely) when she wants to find something she might ask for my help sorting through the piles, or maybe she will (even more rarely) do it herself, especially if someone is coming to visit that she wants to bring into her room.

    I think it's important for our children to have a space they are truly in charge of, without any of our interference. Much easier said than done, what with my need to control and all, but I really try to leave their spaces alone.

    I'm not sure I have a solution for yelling, since I have ample reason to believe that yours yell more than mine do, and that your house resonates with the loud sounds more than mine does, but I agree with dr perfection on this one (no painful retaliation). Kids yell, and while I do ask for indoor voices, and repeatedly, I also try to breathe deep and realize that they are still children and will eventually learn to moderate their voices and many other aspects of their lives.

    Oh, also I try to lead by example and not yell myself. That's a tough one. 🙂

  • It's me ...Mavis

    Maybe this phrase will help:

    "Are you on fire?"

    Our kids learned from a very young age not to yell unless it's an absolute emergency.

    Simply ask them if they are on fire…if they are not…then ask them nicely to use indoor voices. Repeat yourself a hundred times if you have to… saying "I'm sorry I can't hear you…could you please repeat that using your indoor voice? …until they get it.

    It's amazing what you can get kids to do if you can be stern, loving and give the evil eye all at once.

  • dr perfection

    I have an idea for Yo-Yo Boy's room. Involve him in acquiring some storage containers; either go shopping or collect some creative holders for his possesions. Get him to take pride in storing his things. whatdayathink?

  • Anonymous

    Implement the art of whispering.

    And make the consequences of yelling (disobedience) painful.
    Pain is a very effective tool to cause our children to choose what they ought to choose.
    The Lord disciplines those whom He loves.


    Oh, I see your mom already gave the whisper council.

  • Mama Pea

    Three cheers to that man you're married to for having the sensitivity to see that you really, really, really needed some time for yourself. (People forget that sometimes caregivers need to be taken care of, too.)

    Hope you enjoyed it to the utmost . . . and had a second glass of wine.

  • Karen


    Wear earplugs. The foamy kind that muffle outside sounds just enough that you can still sort of hear what is going on. Or maybe dunk your head in a bathtub of water. Not helping am I.

    By the way, a very happy belated Bday to you!

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