When you have five kids there are a few things you can bet your last prescription of birth control are going to happen at some point in their childhoods:
1. There will be at least a couple of months that you spend more money on pediatrician appointment and ER visit copays than you spend on your mortgage.
2. You will ruin several loads of clothes that get washed then dried with pens, markers, playdoh, silly putty, gum or all of the above simultaneously.
3. You will be turned in, at least once, for suspected child abuse while trying to shop with three or more of them at Wal-Mart.
4. You will be called by their elementary/high school principals with reports of infractions that range from inappropriate comments to attempted self electrocution, sometimes with dizzying regularity.
It’s #4 that I’m dedicating the rest of today’s post to, however, having just moments ago taken a call from my 11 year-old son’s elementary school principal, reporting that my youngest boy was, in fact, being disciplined for writing a confiscated note to another student that read, and I quote, “You suck, Joey, buttcracks!” *Joey* is my son Jackson’s best friend, a detail that emerged when Jackson was “interviewed” about the “incident”. From the principal’s report, it seems that Joey had asked Jackson to draw a picture of a motorcycle. Jackson complied, but instead of signing the piece, like a true artiste, he’d opted for a personalization that included his new favorite word at the moment: buttcrack.
(photo credit: cagle.com)
-not Joey, also not a motorcycle
The buildup to the principal’s reading the note over the phone to me was intense. I even broke a sweat trying to imagine what kind of hateful vitriol the most sensitive of my children could have been spewing to land him in the principal’s office. When the fateful sentence was finally uttered, with complete seriousness and severity, the only thing I could think to say was, “You’ve never read any of my stuff, have you?” And so I was silent until I was able to swallow those words and my inappropriate laughter and come up with something more No Nonsense Parent like. It took a minute, y’all.
I assured the principal that while we were a colorful and expressive family, we didn’t encourage wantonly hurting someone’s feelings for sport and that I would be speaking to Jackson about his language at school. I hung up virtually quivering with delight that he hadn’t put pen to paper to record for his buddy some of the exchanges between himself and his fourteen and eighteen year-old brothers while playing xbox or assembling a ten foot basketball goal with thirty parts and no accompanying instructions, or any quotes from Tosh.o.
Parenting a small army is tough, especially when the capacity of your soldiers for foolishment seems limitless, but hang in there troops! Things could be worse in the trenches and vasectomies could be a whole lot more expensive.
*name changed to protect the innocent*