Friday, September 2, 2011

The Living Is Easy Unless...

My kids want to
emancipate themselves!
I have this friend. Let's her call her Elinor. She is so awesome that she should be illegal.  Her whole family, in fact, is completley ninja-like and bad ass. I adore them. I want to be more like them. But guess what? Even the coolest, closest, most awesome families can still be goofballs, and occasionally slightly mortifying.

So she agreed to write up a post for us on something her kids did this summer to illustrate that point, entitled:


"Summertime and the living is easy. Unless you’re horribly oppressed by your parents."

Once again, our children have tried to emancipate themselves. Not that it's anything unusual having our nine-year old daughter draft contracts. The first one was when she started her own religion against the perpetually warlike “brother tribe” when she was seven. The thought that went into it actually made a lot of sense and was a blend of Judaism and the Baha’i faiths, complete with head coverings and sacred rituals. The second was when she and her best friend started their own international S-Corporation. The strategy behind their business plan was flawed, but probably had more strategic relevance than anything the banking industry has tried implementing over the last several years.

Flash forward to a week ago. Under the assumption that our kids were playing peacefully together one Saturday morning, it came to my husband’s and my attention that what they were really doing was drawing up a contract to emancipate themselves. "No hard feelings, mom. We just want to see some changes around here,” said the Girl. (See photo for evidential proof. I should mention that she inherited her mother’s spelling acumen.) Our Boy’s contribution was a handwritten addendum that included a clause that we still had to drive.

This follows a summer of what I anointed as The Making of Magical Memories. I work from home and my husband freelances while on his own summer break as a professor, so we procured the talents of an extraordinary teacher to help us out. (Not with instituting a curriculum, but getting them OUT OF THE HOUSE.) Though we did want to create a platform for the Girl and Boy to experience summer vacation as only kids can do, meaning ample pool time, trips to the library, going to the movies on a random weekday morning and trying to fit in a week of church to provide some sort of spiritual framework. This is why we signed both up for Vacation Bible School, also known as VBS. I suppose I would have known that it had its own acronym had we taken them to church at some point during the other 51 weeks.

The Girl was excited because they would be doing good deeds for the world, like packaging birthing kits for women in Africa. However, the Boy was EVEN MORE excited. “OK, so maybe we haven’t failed entirely in this department,” I gloated one afternoon before VBS kick-off.

It was shortly thereafter that I remembered that sometimes the hearing of a six-year boy is worse than his attention span. “Ohhhhhhhh,” he said the day of. “I thought you said SURVIVAL school.”

I was nearly redeemed three days into it when this conversation took place:

Me: “So tell me, Boy, what are you learning at Survival, er, I mean Vacation Bible School?
Boy: “That Jesus is in my heart.”

(Hot damn, we’re covered!  I foolishly thought.)

Me: “Cool. What do you think that means?”
Boy: “That he can see everything I eat – like the pasta and yogurt that I just finished. I hope the soup I had last night didn’t burn him.”

(Of course, the kid is nothing but literal. I figure that that should be worth about eight months of nightmares. Especially after he asked me what the name of the thing is that hangs down in the back of your throat.)

Me: “Uvula.”
-10 second pause.-
Boy: “Oh man. I hope Jesus doesn’t climb up and try using it as a punching bag when he goes to work out.”

I put an end to that discussion when the Girl started explaining why surfing through the Boy’s liver would actually have more aerobic value because he would have to contend with digestive acids.

I’m sure that when school starts up soon and they have to chronicle their summer break, the new teachers will be very impressed with our parenting prowess. Did I say impressed? I meant to say horrified. My bad.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. *wheeze* Aerobic...value...I cannot BREATHE I'm laughing so freakin' hard!!

  2. bwahahahaha...priceless

    My son is also literal and loves new words. He has a sensitive gag reflex so at the dentist this summer he explained to the hygienist that he couldn't have x-rays because he had a "very sensitive uvula" and it made him puke.

  3. No, the VBS teachers think of it as survival school.. for us to get through. Classic.

  4. "It was shortly thereafter that I remembered that sometimes the hearing of a six-year boy is worse than his attention span." aagh! i am so there with you, oh my gosh, i am laughing so hard now!! between that and his literalist interpretation of Jesus, I think our boys might be related!!

  5. I want to hear more about the other two contracts. Laugh out loud funny!

  6. As a pastor, can I just say - oh, I love stories like these. They make doing VBS totally worthwhile.

    Also, I presume that the whole 'walking on water' thing would help Jesus in the 'surfing digestive acids' department. Remember, I'm a professional.

  7. Does Elinor have a blog? If not she needs to start one or you should have her write some more posts for you guys. That was too funny!

  8. OK I have to know if you actually allowed the kids to run the house for a day. I would absolutely love to turn the tables and let them know what it's like to make breakfast, clean it up then turn around and start lunch all the while juggling 1,000,000,012 questions/laundry/and making sure no one feels left out. At least they might appreciate it for an hour, then wake up the next day as if nothing happened the day before. I call it "selective amnesia" where they forget anything of value I've taught them.

  9. I am Elinor and I have to tell you, I love you all!!!!!!!!! I was telling Lydia that I can't believe how nice everyone is here. Thank you for the kind words. You actually made me weepy. For those of you that have asked -- we did let them run the household. It lasted an entire 4 hours. In that time, I was sent to my room for downtime and was made a "compromised" PB&J. It was actually lovely. They are over this phase now. What's the latest topic of conversation in our house you ask? Dictators. They've been doing a lot of imaginary play with Kim Jong Il. We're open to hearing any intervention ideas. xoxo




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