"Now, Mrs. Kellerman, if you'll step this way, we'll let you blindly pick out one of three insults you can live with for the rest of the day."

“Now, Mrs. Kellerman, if you’ll step this way, we’ll let you blindly pick out one of three insults you can live with for the rest of the day.”

I have to admit, being a perfect parent would go a little smoother if my children would stop saying things like, “You, leave me alone.”

Sometimes, I don’t think any of them realize I’m trying to look better than all the other parents of young children, and they shop lift a tin of mints anyway.

I suppose they get points for only clogging the toilet one out of the last three times they tried this week. Then again, soggy toilet paper and petty theft are dull in contrast with the talking back that’s been happening on a daily basis.

The baby gets a pass. He’s sitting in a salad bowl right now, and looks adorable.

Before I had children, my Big Book of Parenting came with tables and charts, lists and vin diagrams about how my kids would respond to me when I spoke. For instance, page. 748 had clearly printed-out dialogue for years three to four:

Me: Time for bed.
Children: We love bed! We shall now go there and not emerge until sunrise. Would you like us to make you a snack before we retire?
Me: No, thank you. I’m watching my figure. Then again, half a pie never hurt anyone.

Me: Children, gaze upon this sumptuous dinner I’ve slaved over.
Children: Mother, it looks delightful. Watch while we eat everything you and Stouffer’s have given us.

Me: Time for the baby’s nap. And we all know what that means.
Children: Indeed. My brother and I will now spend all day communing outside with nature.
Me: And you won’t come back in for at least an hour?
Children: Silly woman, we won’t come back inside for five more hours. An hour is barely enough time to build a forts, play ten games of Hide and Seek, and bird watch while discussing various migratory patterns of local Kansas wildlife.

As it usually does, life has let me down as gently as possible, in the form of Sundance declaring her independence from anything her parents think. Or from the fact mints need to be purchased before they’re pocketed.

Me: Time for bed.
Me: Did you just spit at me?
Me: You did not just spit at me. You can run, but I’ll find you.

Me: Eat all your dinner and you can have desert.
Sundance: No.
Me: Fine, you can go hungry.
Sundance: Ok.

Me: Please get out of the silverware drawer.
Her: No, I have to juggle the spoons.
Me: That’s a fork.
Her: You juggle the spoons.

And in the miscellaneous category…

“I don’t need clothes to go outside.”

“You’re mean to me.”


“Don’t say butt.”


So, yes, what I’m saying is I’ll be spending the rest of the week multitasking. Because it’s entirely possible to be a better parent than everyone else, while returning stolen breath fresheners.

Yep, that sounds good on a Tuesday. I have to go. The baby just figured out there are holes in his nose.


Paige Kellerman blogs about marriage, babies and gin at www.paigekellerman.com, and is the author of At Least My Belly Hides My Cankles: Mostly-True Tales of An Impending Miracle. You can reach her at paigekellerman@gmail.com.

She also hides out on Twitter and Facebook.

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