I’m not your Huckleberry!

Want some of this bro!

Want some of this bro!

Ok so one of us needs to work on our sense of humor. Either I have to tamp mine down a bit or Frank needs to grow one ASAP. I vote for Frank growing a sense of humnor. He’s only five. It could be a long row-to-hoe going through life as serious as he seems to be. And when the boy is doing his homework he is droopy dog serious.

Whilst assisting the boy with his writing homework we were discussing words that begin with the “H” sound. Once you come up with a word you have to spell it, write it, and then draw a picture of it. It’s a good little exercise that can show, and help, with comprehension. It’s one thing to say and write a word but drawing a picture of it shows you know what the word is and what it means.

I like to let him come up with words but sometimes I’ll toss out a few examples or ask him questions that might lead to an example. I know I know, Teacher of the Year here I come. Before I can get one swallow of Diet Coke he yells out HOSE! Almost choked on my DC cause I heard HOES. The under-appreciated gardening implement is not the first thought that came to my mind. However the boy was undaunted and started drawing.

Oh hose! 

What did you think I said daddy?


How would I draw a hoe? I don’t even know what a hoe looks like.

Good, lets keep it that way. 

I got the, “Daddy are you dunk?” quizzical glare. No matter. Crisis averted. Moving on.

So abstract boy kept tossing our words that did start with the “H” sound but seemed, to me at least, difficult to draw. My next offering – Hat. Good word, easy to spell and write, and more importantly very easy to draw.

No daddy I don’t want that word.

Why not? I asked indignantly.

I want to use hot.

Well how in blazes are you going to draw hot? Again I’m in full indignant mode. Here’s a rare parenting tip from me. Never go full indignant mode. Especially when you’re dealing with kids, whose minds have not been sullied with the limitations of the three dimensional world and the pessimistic adults who inhabit it.

Like this silly McGilly. Silly McGilly? I decided not to ask.

He proceeds to draw a large orange/yellow ball with rays of various shapes and sizes raining down upon the earth. Ok so he drew hot, big deal.

He was proud of himself. Then he starts the trash talk. Laughing at me because I didn’t know how to draw hot.

You know, I’m the adult in the room. I know better than to sink to his level. However, as it turns out his level may actually be above mine.

I reply with, Okay huckleberry, lets see you draw Habits. This is really nothing new. I generally call him a buch of different names when we’re talking. He felt differently.

Setting his pencil down and turning his head toward me in a manner that gave me Catholic School principal office flashbacks, he began to lecture me on name calling.

I Am Not Huckleberry!

Yes Frank I know that.

You should not call names. It’s not nice. You shouldn’t do that. 

You’re right Frank. I shouldn’t have said that, I’m sorry.

It’s ok Daddy.

And we’re back to drawing abstract words that start with H.

God it’s going to be a long school year.


Oh Crap. They’re gonna make it.

Let me just say I’ve come to realize that the adults in the room are not always the smartest or necessarily the most qualified when it comes to parenting decisions. Such was the case in our humble little home on New Year’s Eve. With not one drink taken, yet, Mrs Frank’s Place and I made a “What were we thinking” type decision. Or as Mrs Frank’s Place mom succinctly summed it up, “Are you out of your minds!”

Yes Linda. Yes we are.

It seemed pretty harmless at first. Honestly I thought there was no way we could lose. It appeared to be a parenting win/win situation if there ever was one. Vegas would have taken it off the board due to everyone betting on us. That’s how win/win this was.

And then it wasn’t. It’s not like we didn’t consider mitigating factors, their age, how long they had been up already, etc… They just gutted it out. Hard to put a betting line on effort.

So yeah we decided to see if our 5yr old and 2yr old could make it to midnight for the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. And the little chooches made it. One made it with ease, the other had to rally. I’m sure you can figure out who’s who in that scenario.

It started out innocent enough. Anne Marie never wants to go to bed anyway so we thought tonight of all nights let’s call her bluff. Let’s just see what this kid is really made of, as if we didn’t know that already. I figured she makes it to 10 maybe 10:30 tops. No big deal there.

With Frank it was hit or miss on whether he would care one way or the other. As AM gets more wild he gets more serene. As she has become more labor intensive, he has become more maintenance free. Most of the time he’s ready to go to bed at 7:30 or he just takes himself.  So we weren’t sure if he would even want to stay up. But I knew one thing, he wasn’t making it to midnight. I put my money on 9:30 he’s passed out on the couch.

Can you see that win/win scenario shaping up. We look like the good guys cause we let them stay up, and they barely make it to 10:00 and still get to bed at a decent enough hour considering they are still on Christmas vacation. Plus we get to go to bed right after cause we didn’t really care about staying up till midnight anyway. That’s some quality parenting right there. The whole thought process just smells like win doesn’t it? Well, doesn’t it?!

Yeah I know now it doesn’t. But it sure smelled like win at the time.

The plan begins to unravel

The plan begins to unravel

It’s not like we sat them on the couch and made them stay awake. We played games, we made crafts; nifty New Year’s Eve hats, with decorations and everything. We made all kinds of party food, sort of. Tracy found a way to make sausage meatballs that came to resemble something JB and Becky’s dog Goose might leave in the Sac. But she rebounded with little homemade pizzas. We were partying man!

Then the first sign they were starting to crack. After some interpretive dance numbers, Frank took up residence on the couch. This is it, he’s gonna close his eyes for a long second and be sawing lumber in no time. It was 8:45pm, Dec 31st. We might all be in bed by 10:00.

Anne Marie on the other hand was just limbering up. To make sure we understood her commitment to the long haul of midnight, she ran seven or eight laps around the downstairs part of the house. Then proceeded to do actual stair climbers, going upstairs for some wind sprints in the hall way.

I was unimpressed. If anything I thought she peeked too early, only making herself more tired and thus shortening her awake time, not lengthening it. Yeah I know. I’ll never learn. But in my defense I was paying more attention to Frank.

Frank had been on the couch and very quiet for a long time. His eyes were still open but I sensed he was fading. He was in the 1000 yard stare zone. Only a matter of time now. I hoped. It was 9:20pm. It may have been the sausage dog balls or the fear the kids would make midnight, hard to say. But I was starting to sweat just a tad, bead up a little, glisten almost.

By 10:30 I had sweated out the dog balls. Frank was still awake and now running laps with his sister. I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Frank gave me the old Ali rope-a-dope. He  sat on the couch just waiting for the rest of us to use our precious energy, then he came out swinging.

Here she was just toying with us.

Here she was just toying with us.

Anne Marie is just a bull, a grunt, never tiring, never wavering, always pushing forward, always forward. She never showed a single sign she was tired. In fact, she seemed to get stronger as the night wore on.

By 11:20 we were resigned to our fate. They were gonna make it. Even Frank, now back on the couch with a laser focus on the TV, was determined to make it to this silly “Ball Drop” is parents had been yammering about.

I can’t post the pics of our 2yr old Anne Marie, drinking sparkling grape juice from an actual crystal glass at 12:01 on January 1st 2015, because Mrs Frank’s Place is afraid the authorities will come for us. However I can report, after she downed it all she put her finger in the glass, wiped it around the bottom, being sure to get every drop and then tasted the sweet victory of having idiot parents.

Frank watched the ball drop, took the required sip of sparkling grape, said the mandated Happy New Year and took himself to bed. No touchdown dance, no spiking of the ball. He just handed it to the ref, gave an “up yours” glance to the opposing sideline and walked to the bench.

No doubt you can guess what’s coming next. They were both up by 7:30 that morning, bright-eyed and ready to do it again.

Serves us right.

Happy New Year!