Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “motherhood”

The Reason You Should Have Kids

The Reason You Should Have Kids

Princess drew a picture of a little girl being chased by a T-Rex. She then placed it on her dresser in a frame that reads, “Each Day is a Gift from God.”

So can you tell me, where else are you going to get that kind of perspective, if not from someone whose career goal is “have sparkly shoes”?

WANTED: Emotional Drama Assistant

Over at INTJ Life: One Woman’s View of the World, totally captured this woman’s view of my current world when she posted this pic:

(Along with a shwack load of other funny ones. Go take a look.)

INTJ, refers to the Myers Briggs Personality Type we both (along with my Dear Husband) share. Often referred to as the “Mastermind”, we live in our heads, know everything through argument, perpetually question reality and are hyper-emotionally reserved. Which comes in the opposite of handy when dealing with children, which are basically a bunch of uncontrolled impulses wrapped in raw emotion. And then they become tweens and really ramp it up. Every day I have to have some major discussion about some stunningly important issue that makes absolutely no rational sense.

If a 3 year old called you a “chicken” would you cry and hide in your bed? I have an 11 year old who would. Oh wait — it was because the 7 year old said that she had “chicken wings” and then the 3 year old put her over the edge with the “chicken” remark. Yeah, you better take that super seriously. Or my 5 year old who is constantly afraid that her bedroom closet harbours monsters. Really? Does she really think that if there were terrifying, flesh-eating beasts roaming the land, not only wouldn’t I be on guard against them, but I would be so sanguine as to allow them to encamp in my children’s rooms? Do I actually have to deal with this again?

The answer is: Yes. And I do. Day after day I grit my teeth and whiten my knuckles, and talk emotionally wrought children through terrors, and slights and squabbles gone horribly wrong. Plus all the Grade 5 angst of a new school, mean boys and a world that can seem downright hostile at times — even your locker that won’t close right. While I’m honoured to do it, it’s just downright exhausting. Sometimes, my husband and I are so drained, that once the kids are in bed we just stand there starring at each other, too mentally fried to even stuff cookies in our mouths.

“We need to put a ad in Kijiji for an Emotional Drama Assistant. Someone to come here and have 90 minute discussions on why people don’t consult Grade 6 boys on much of anything, especially whether or not you look good in your Liturgical Dance costume,” he’ll say.

“I’ve never been tempted to sneak prescription drugs. But if someone created a pill that would give me the emotionalism of a character that Mindy Kaling would play on TV — just like for 3 hours or so — I would so, so totally take it,” I mutter. Then we go back to starring at each other until it’s time to watch Top Gear.

This under-reactivity in the area of feelings has left us with at least one advantage. We are completely unmoved by tantrums, hissy-fits, breath holding and other emotional blackmail. Yet, recently I did find my Achilles heel — or rather had it pointed out to me. Sweetie Pie, my 9 year old, wandered up one afternoon.

“Mom. We kids should have ice cream,” she quietly, but firmly, declared.

“Oh. And why is that?” I said with a bemused smile on my face.

“Because that way, when Dad and you have your ice cream after we go to bed, you won’t have to feel guilty over being unfair.”

We locked eyes for a moment. I began to feel my smile turn to pride.

“Yes. I think you’ve earned some ice cream.”

Well done, my little Mastermind. Well done.

Don’t Call Your Kids Rude Names, Even Though They Earned It

You have a problem with me, Mom?

“Be careful when you open that pop,” I warned Dear Husband.  “They kids were in the pantry shaking it up today.”

“You know that comedian you don’t approve of, who calls his kid a that name?”

“I just don’t think you should call your kids that.”

“You have to admit he has a point.  People who take your favourite drink, shake it for no reason so it loses all it’s fizz and  sprays all over you when you open it, and then puts it right back so you don’t know, well, let’s be honest. That person is an ass    .”

In response, I just looked at him and pursed my lips, which means, Yeah, maybe you’re right, but push it and you’ll find yourself in all kinds of wrong.  But he does have a point. If your children keep acting like children once they reach adulthood, they would correctly called all sorts of nasty names.

Like this kid:  She comes home and tells me that she won’t use the school bathroom stalls, because she is sure that the lock will fail and she will never get out.  This, of course, is crazy.  I try to role play asking for new pants from the Lost and Found, when she runs upstairs to use the — you guessed it — bathroom, knocking the humungous package of toilet paper off the stairs from which it was to be carried to the — guess again — upstairs bathroom, leaving it in the middle of the room.  She comes back 5 minutes later, interrupting me to shout, “WHERE’S THE TOILET PAPER?”   I pointed to the floor, and I went back to making supper.  Imagine my surprise when I found that package lying right where it fell, with just one roll clawed out of the package.  If you do that when you’re 35, there’s a name for you.

Oh, and remember sweet, little Princess?  After playing with her for nearly an hour, I tried to sit down and listen to an interesting audio clip posted on the Dumb Old Housewives blog.  She walks over, squeezes onto my lap, and asks all these questions about the stock photos that are playing, so I can’t hear.  Finally, “How looong is this?  It’s sooooo boring.”  Meaning:  You are welcome to entertain yourself, as long as it also entertains me.  Again, if you’re pulling this stunt anytime after the 3rd decade of your life, it’s not going win you a nice nickname.

But, they aren’t bad kids, just kids.  This is childish behaviour.  Immature.  Juvenile.  They aren’t doing this because they have decided the world should revolve around them.  It’s just that no one has taught them any better.   The teaching being my job, the job of a parent.

I would like to say I always treat my kids with respect because I am such a morally developed person.  But really, if I call them a jerk, they’d probably just look me in the eye and ask, “Oh?  It must be how I was raised.”  I have enough trouble with these kids without being shown up by the under 11 set.

Mom’s First Day Jitters and Reassuring Slime

I have a bone to pick with you Kindergarten Teachers:  Stop taking our children away!  I just let another one go.  Little, tiny, adorable Princess couldn’t wait to climb on board the bus for her First Day.  She didn’t even want to turn around and wave good-bye.  I had to shout at her!  She was all, “It’s a new day and change is good and I can’t wait to get going.”  The only other people who talk like have just lost their jobs, and even they don’t really mean it.  But apparently my five year old does.

AND THEN, she sits on the opposite side of the bus from our house, so she can’t stare out the window and watch me waving frantically.   Just go on and forgot all about your poor Mother, sitting at home, counting the minutes until she can come and pick you up.  It’s not like I have a heart to break, or anything.  <Sigh>

Big Boy understood.  As soon as Princess was gone, he tucked his chin into his chest, and said in a soft, low voice, “I miss her so, so much.”  No more wallowing for me, now I had to buck up and buck him up, too.  I couldn’t take him to McDonald’s for the traditional too-little-for-the-beginning-of-school treat, (he was still coughing up his lungs.)  Instead, we made slime.

Slime, in case you had any doubt in your mind, works best with boys, though girls dig it, too.  There is something about mixing Borax into blue goo with your hands that provides a necessary comfort and distraction.  Perfect activity for not missing someone.   Big Boy was smitten with his blue gunk.  It was slapped, stretched, punched, poked, ripped apart and then put back together.  I showed him how to hide small toys inside, and suddenly, a monster emerged on the kitchen table, eating an entire parking lots of Hot Wheels, before being subdued with a toy pistol.  He was giggling and wiggling, and I was wondering how I was going to survive doing this again when he goes off to school next year.  I have a little less than 12 months to say start to say good-bye.

I picked Princess up from school.  They tried to put her on the bus on the way home, but luckily, the School Board’s procedures caught the mistake.  I ran out front with her teacher to grab her, and she was standing with the Monitor, holding a big person’s hand.  She looked so small there, her blonde pigtails barely reaching the adult’s waist.  We walked back into the school atrium where the rest where waiting.  My entire brood was there, and they, too, looked so small squashed together by the couch, as then entire 10 grades flowed past out the door.  All the people I to miss when they leave.

Tall Girl kept making comments all day about what I should do when all the kids are grown and have left home.  “What brings this up?  You thinking about when you move out one day?”

“Well…I don’t really want to learn how to drive, so…No.  I think I’ll stay here.  Is that okay?”

Two weeks ago I would have launched into a lecture about responsibility and adulthood, and making your own path.  But that was before I had to kiss another soft, little cheek, and watch her walk up the steps of the bus.

“Of course it’s okay, Sweetheart.  You can stay as long with us as long as you like.”

That Which Does Not Kill You, Will Stop You From Blogging

Greetings from the Infirmary!  Know what it’s feels like when a toddler does squats on your chest?  Or at least some kind of chest infection that makes you think there is an invisible one there?  We do.  By “we”, I mean my husband and myself, and for now, just one kid.   But if the Law of Something Going Around holds, soon everyone else here will be part of the Royal We of Illness.

This is to be expected, because next Tuesday we are starting a new school.  Again, by “we”, I mean the four oldest, but after 11 years of Motherhood, I am increasing unable to separate my identity from the group identity of those I feed.  You get one, you get us all.   This sickness seems to hit my eldest whenever she starts a new school.  In Grade 1 she was sent home the second day with a sick stomach.  I took her to the Doctor, and was summarily humiliated to learn she had a fever and untreated bronchitis.  Later, I could hang my head that I didn’t realize that my 5 year old couldn’t hear anything.  The Kindergarten teacher tried to make me feel better.  She told me about the son of a nurse who didn’t realize he was half-blind.  I think we could improve parents lives by installing LED displays on the back of kids’ necks that give a read out of the complete health status at all times.  At the very least, it would solve the “stomach ache in the morning, bouncing on the Tramp in the afternoon” syndrome.

For a while, it looked like I was going to be the only healthy person in house of sickness.  This always strikes me when it happens, as a foreshadowing of what it would be like to survive one those apocalypse scenarios from zombie shows, and the Prime Time line-up of the History Channel.  You sort of wander around the house, dealing with emergencies, making your own rules while everyone lies around and moans.  The only time you can eat straight peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips for supper while watching a Weird Weather marathon and no one’s there to bother you.  It’s all fun until loneliness sets in, and by then, everyone starts to feel better.  The take away being,

The Apocalypse:  It’s Fun Until the Chocolate Chips Run Out

The other reason I’m sure I’m sick is that I’ve finished Back to School Hell Shopping.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this pic.

This is missing the indoor shoes, pencil boxes and a few boxes of tissue.

I’m so obsessed with back to school shopping, I even wrote a little article about how to save money by acting like a Civil War Quartermaster and submitted it to the nice folks at YummyMummyClub, who actually published it!  (Thanks so much, guys!)  I realize I am writing for a niche audience in this case.  I keep trying to tell my friends all my “strategies” and I can hear their voices glaze over on the phone.  But, if you ever have a very big event/holiday/group to buy for, this approach really does work.

For now, I am going back to lying on the sectional, wondering how I could feel like I spent 12 hours last night chain smoking in a bar, when I never left the house.  (I realize that I have excluded an entire generation with that statement.)  The kids are happy because Sick Mom vacillates between Easy-Going to Grumpy to Guilty to Buy Kids Off with Ice Cream every half hour.  Luckily, there’s a full carton of Cherries Jubilee in the freezer.  At the rate I’m going, I’m on schedule to dish up in about 15 minutes.

Are We All a Bunch of Braggarts?

Check out this awesome article at the Wall Street Journal about bragging and social media (like, maybe, the Blogosphere would be included?)  Are We All Braggarts Now? – WSJ.com.

As Elizabeth Bernstein writes,

Changes in parenting style also play a role. Nowadays, every moment—first day of school, exhausted nap in the back seat of the car—is documented. The problem is that these shared moments can easily come off as crowing about how great Mom and Dad are to have raised such an adorable kid.

We’ve become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realize what we’re doing. And it’s harmful to our relationships because it turns people off.

Read the rest here.  I remember 25 years ago, being told by an older co-worker to “never say anything negative.”

People don’t like downers, she said.  If you say something, make it positive.  If someone asks how your trip was, say it was great, even if you spent the entire time indoors eating Dorritos from the vending machine and making up dialogue with the TV turned down.

As for parenting, and as a parent blogger, you have to wonder how all this “look nice Luv, I want to put this picture on Facebook” is warping our kids minds and view of the world.  But is there a corollary of “suckitude bragging”?  You know, the folks that no matter how bad you’ve got it, they’ve got it one stroke worse?

Anyways.  I’ve got to fold laundry while standing on my un-vacuumed carpet while I gaze out the window at my no-longer-weeded garden.  I told the kids to get out their pj’s but they ignored me.

There.  I hope that made you feel better.

Pursuing Failure

Remember the sunscreen!!!

I sent the kids to camp this week.  Overnight camp.  Like 4 nights and 5 days overnight camp, and for the third year in a row.  I caught my Sweetheart’s eye as Tall Girl and Sweetie Pie queued for the bus.

“Ripped right out.”  I pointed at my heart.  He nodded.

“I thought it should get easier, but it doesn’t.  The logistics do.  But this?  No.”

Why do we do this every year?  I mean they have the time of their lives and make all these friends and develop as great human beings.  But is that all worth their parents’ grey hair?  Or sleepless nights?  Come on — who wouldn’t trade a week with a Slip ‘N Slide with a bunch of cranky preschoolers, for a giggle sleepover on an island on a bug-infested lake?  I mean really.

Plus, we sent Art Girl to Taekwondo Daycamp, so I’m stuck at home auditioning next school year with the bottom three kids.  This gives me an opportunity to try out my “Why you can’t watch anymore TV” arguments.  Eventually, I know they will get bored of sitting on the couch staring at that black, matte rectangle, commanding it to light, and wander over to the kitchen table to take out their frustration on some playdough.  Until then, between that and the heat, it’s going to be a long week.

Are my children secret cave men?

Compound this with my Walk Guilt.  As I wrote last time, I’ve been trying to get back into some kind of shape after being left floundering on the carpet with back pain.  Tall Girl is now a certified babysitter, so this summer I’ve been taking the Baby in the stroller and leaving big sis in charge for 40 minutes.   Which is great for about 10 minutes, until I start feeling like the World’s Worst Mother for leaving them.  What if they are fighting?  Speaking rudely?  Just today, Big Boy demanded a pencil of me.  No, “please”, “may I”, nothing.  Is this what goes on when I’m not here?  They revert to troglodyte cave kids?  I’ll come home to grunts and people painting on the walls, eating raw meat.  It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I’ve just been lucky.

I had thought, that once the kids were older, I would start to take some time to “do some things for myself.”  Except, I can’t seem to leave.  They’re all fine, independent, moral human beings.  But I’m a crazy woman.  I just can’t go.  I was thinking of whether I should get a job.  I can now know that unless someone is prepared to pay me to run around after my own offspring, it’s probably a no go.  Actually, it’s definitely a no go.  I always figured that some kind of worldly success was hiding inside of myself, but when I actually looked, I found someone who was happy being a failure, if it means more time with her kids.

I know that one day the girls and boy will grow up and move on and leave.  I’ll be sad/happy, but that’s part of life and that’s okay.  But I can’t rush it and still be all okay with life.  Come back soon from camp, girls.  Your Mom wants to make sure you brushed your teeth.

“How Empty is Your Life?” and Other Parenting Misses

Everything’s just peachy around here

Did you think I could stay away from the my little soap box for a whole 10 weeks?  Come on now.  You’re dealing with a woman who gets interrupted six times while screaming “FIRE!”  Plus, I went camping so there is only so much that one’s psyche can handle.

Since there is only 4 weeks left to the kids’ summer vacation, and I wouldn’t want them to have delusions that it was niceor anything, I thought I should permanently record the Mommy Misses so far of the season.  Think of this post as one of those Realty TV recap shows.   My kids will appreciate the cheat sheets for their memoirs.

“This will be perfect for the cover!”

  1. As for the title —  I didn’t actually say it that way.  Sweetie Pie came up and showed me some gross, dried-up glue in a tube, and said, “You could squirt it on some paper in a big blob.”  I assuming that, at age 9, she was a pretty much an adult in some Hunter-Gatherer cultures,  and quipped, “How empty would your life have to be to want to do that, eh?”  As I watched her eyes and then entire face fill with horror, I realized that I had made a grave mistake.  I gave her the glue and paper and a whole bunch of candy.  Things seem fine now.
  2. Look into my eyes!

    Tall Girl asked why I was staring “right there,” and pointed to a spot above her eyebrow.  I said that I was just looking at her.  Then I realized, being always crazy-run-around-busy, I never make eye contact with my kids.  They think all Moms have heart to heart talks with their heads stuck in the dryer.

  3. I got so out of shape I couldn’t get up off the floor.  Well, let’s back up on this one:  While I was pregnant with my SIXTH adorable child, I strained the ligaments in my back, which caused me an amazing amount of pain.  Being, like, not un-pregnant, I took it easy for a while.  A while being 18 months.  This rest period was abruptly terminated the day I lay down to retrieve a binky from under the kids’ bed and couldn’t get up.  I pacified the little ones by grinning furiously and telling them I was “playing whale.”  Daily walks have since ensued, and the call to “bring it here to Mommy” is slowly disappearing.
  4. Mommy is soooo distracted. Plus this tastes healthy.

    Today, my kids ate Chocolate Chip Cookies and a little piece of cheese for lunch.  I gave them buttered bread, cheese and peaches for lunch, with a cookie for dessert, and they just ignored all the real food and went straight to the sugar.  I was trying to fix my email and didn’t notice until I went to clean up and found all this perfectly good foodruined by sitting in sun outside for too long (they were having a picnic.)  Luckily, chocolate is a good source for Vitamin K.

  5. I told the kids the Ice Cream Man was “just a jerk in a truck.”  They retaliated by lying that he was riding a bike and wearing a FREE ICE CREAM hat .  I knew better — that’s too many letters for a hat, and those jerks avoid all physical activity.  Mom 1 Kids 0
  6. Big Boy reads Green Eggs and Hamto himself by stabbing the the picky guy with his finger and shouting, “I hate you.  I hate you.  I HATE YOU.”

    Come back here Sam-Not-I-Am! We’ve got a score to settle!

Yeah, lots to be proud of around here.   People sometimes says nice things to me like, “You have lovely family,” or “What good children,” or “Could you please go ahead of me in line because I can’t stand the noise” and I just have to laugh if they knew what a zoo I have.  Oh, well.  Four more weeks to screw up improve.

If you feel it would be helpful, feel free to share your parenting missteps in the comments.  Remember, it’s harder to catch a whole herd, than a single Bison.

Whither Sturm und Mom?

Enjoy the entire 39 days of a Canadian Summer!

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to this blog.  I just realize that a this puppy’s been gestating about as long as a baby.  Is this thing my 7th kid?  I don’t’ know.  But I DO love list posts, so I thought I would summarize myself in one.

5 Truths I Learnt in 9 Months of Blogging

1. Consistency is (often) way more important than brilliance.

People want what they want.  When I started blogging, I thought I would write commentary on social issues related to Motherhood.  That proved waaay too time consuming for a hobby.  I also felt uncomfortable writing about religion, like I was wearing my mother’s interview clothes to a party of older people, thinking that would make me fit in.  Since I’m not a programmer/chef/expert about anything, this leaves general purpose Mommy blogging.  But, having going through all these permutations over the last few months, means that anyone who liked my blog in the first month, probably hates it now.  Successful blogs are uni-purpose.

2. As far as a money-making opportunity, you’re better off working at Starbucks

As Wordtabulous wrote, we’re doing this in some way to be discovered, and that’s okay.  But just like that small town gal with great gams and a big heart, there’s a million others out there.  As far as I can tell, the business model behind most “Make Money Blogging Guides,”  is to sell the guide to other people who want to make money on the Internet.  Besides, most well-read bloggers are constantly referencing their lack of cash, so if they can’t make it, don’t count on anything other than an occasional free product sample to review.

3. Blogging is more about community than writing

If you want a widely read blog, you must promote yourself via whatever Social Media you can get your keyboard on.  You must also seek out others with the same “brand”/message/genre and start trying to entice their readership to check out your page.  If you have a product, like a book or a consulting service, that you are already trying to promote, then this is just another day at the virtual office.  But if, like me you have forgone real paid employment to spend time with your kids, this can become a shockingly draining hobby.

4. If the real you wasn’t popular in Highschool, the Internet isn’t going to change that

Blogs are driven by one of two things — information or personality.  If your high school personality was more Square Pegs than Beverly Hills 90210, it doesn’t get any better on line.  Sure, you’ll find more people who see things your way — but the majority still won’t.  This isn’t good or bad, but it is the truth.  Not only that, a lot of what will be kicking your stats is total junk.  Pages of inspiration boards as you seek the perfect Fall lipstick.  Rants about how some organic snack doesn’t meet some standard in Europe so it shouldn’t be sold here.  Nasty tales of what you did to someone’s daughter at a bar last Saturday night.  The cream may always rise to the top, but so does the garbage on Lake Michigan.  (Sorry for the Goodtimes reference.)

5. Blogging will teach you something about yourself that you didn’t really know…

…and with that knowledge you can do something that you really need to be doing.  You’ll learn what style of communicator you are, get used to being critiqued by strangers, learn how to tailor your ideas for an audience, and some of how the Blogosphere operates.  At the very least, you’ll figure out what doesn’t work for you.  With that, you can go forward to accomplish what will make you most happy.

I finally realized that I have been put on this Earth to succeed at something.  This isn’t being selfish, it’s being who I am.  I really like writing and explaining complex ideas with words, and I don’t really like the spotlight.  And I want to earn some money before I die.  I’ve finally accepted that I’m driven, and rather than being a character flaw, it’s my DNA.  By accepting this, I can manage my life to reflect my values, rather than just fumbling around wondering what’s wrong with me.

Being a typical, wacko INTJ female I couldn’t just publish a Gone Fishin’/Closed for Renovations post as I took the summer off to get my head in order and this blog back on track.  But you probably are used to that since you’ve all been here before.  Which is awesome.  I couldn’t wish for a better group of commenters, and “Like”-ers, and Facebook friends and all the rest who have taken time out of their lives to give this a read.  You are all the best, or as Princess would say, “Bestest in the world.  Even better than McDonald’s!”

Have a great summer, folks!  Take it easy and God Bless!

My Little Commando

My little man just can’t stop moving!

Big Boy ran across the floor of the Toy Section, jumped at least 12″ up and landing 180° around, feet in a Sumo stance. “Ta Da!”

“It’s s Shaving Kit!  Just like Dad.”

There is something about being under 40lbs. that allows you to punctuate your sentences by leaping a third of your body height into the air.  Big Boy does it all the time.  He jumps, and kicks, and points, and air punches.  Like when he found a Junior Shaving Kit, complete with a can of foaming soap, a cracker sized mirror in a yellow frame, a tomato red Barber’s comb, and a plastic toy safety razor.

“Now,we can shave together,” he announced to the young salesgirl who was following us surreptitiously. “Me, and Dad.  Together.”

But he couldn’t wait that long.  As soon as we hit the back deck, he was scrapping white cream off his face with his blue and red Shaver.  “How do I look?”  Big Boy stuck out his chin, as if it was a pre-Prom inspection for missed spots and toilet paper First-Aid.

“Two big thumbs up, Dude. You’re perfect.”  Like you always are, Dude.

Big Boy is all of 3, and if you don’t know, hanging around with a 3 year old is a like keeping time with a non-stop one liner machine.

“When I grow up, I’m going to dance like SpiderMAN does.”  Punctuate this with a donkey kick or two.

“I wasn’t playing with the curtains, Mom.  I was just wiping my Boogy-juice.”

“But I can’t stop fiddling with my nose.  I’m exercising it.”

This morning I handed him an outfit straight from the dryer.  “Shirt, shorts, and underwear,” I said.

“Underwear?  Underwhoawhoawhoear,” he giggled and saluted the suddenly ridiculous garment toward the ceiling.  The invitation to Big Boy’s world includes the the letters:  U.O.L.O.L. or, Underwear Optional, Laugh Out Loud.  Never has anyone found anything so funny or so dispensable as Big Boy does his BVD’s.  I find discarded boy’s underthings – perfectly dry and clean, mind you – in the most unlikely of places.  Beside the powder room floor (tucked behind the waste basket,) on the TV couch, under my bed, by the kitchen table, and in with a bunch of doll dresses.  He’s never naked, just less dressed, you could say.  (We’re way beyond the stage where he come down “ready” in the morning, sporting nothing but sweater, Tee and socks.)

This all reminds of the time he was running around in his Board Shorts in the sprinkler.  They were big, baggy, Hawaiian print swimwear, and while the string ties were keeping things in place in front, the back was totally different universe.  I was blinded as two very round, very white cheeks reflected the sunlight straight into my eyes.  Sort of the pants version of a Mullet:  all business in the front, all Moon in the back.

“Dude!  Pull up your pants!”

He bent over at the waist and started twisting furiously back and forth looking evidence of immodesty.

“What?  Looks perfect to me, Mom.”

Yes, Big Boy.  You’re perfect.  Like always.

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