(Under) Armed and Ready

Paula Brown, Columnist

Last week I talked a little bit about the battle with what my kids eat and won’t eat. While I haven’t entirely given up on fighting it, it is one of those things I kind of take with a grain of salt (but not too much salt because seasonings are disgusting, you know) and sometimes choose to be passive about. I try to make meals that can easily be delicious for the grown ups and boring and tasteless for the kids after they scrape everything off the piece of chicken — so everyone is happy.

It just comes down to this: There are so many other things I spend my energy arguing with them about, because it seems like everything’s an argument these days, that by the time dinner rolls around if they want to eat a pile of saltines then so be it, I don’t even have it in me at this point on some days to care. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I make them eat what I have served or go hungry, because I am still a mom, after all, and I think that is in our genes.

My mornings begin with arguing about personal hygiene, usually. Boys don’t seem to see the value in showering and brushing their teeth, so it’s usually something that’s forced upon them in the same way you might think one was being forced to drink poison or choose a presidential candidate: disgust, protests, and tears.

Then comes the clothing. Oh, the clothing. Firstly, what is it with kids refusing to wear outerwear? It’s 30 degrees out, but wearing a jacket is apparently so uncool that they’d rather die of hypothermia than wear it. Secondly, whoever is the founder of Under Armour, I’d like to reach out and give you punch in the throat. Although, I know if it wasn’t you, it would be someone else I’d be wanting to jab in the windpipe so try not to take it personally. But because of you, my kids, ages eleven and six, think that if they aren’t wearing something with your logo emblazoned all over it, they will walk out into the sun and spontaneously combust.

This means a couple things: 1. My kids don’t have all that much to choose from and 2. At least one of them will be doing their own laundry by week’s end. If you want to wear the same shirt and florescent yellow knee-socks every single day for the rest of your life, be my guest. However, it is no longer my responsibility to supply you with clean clothes. Wait, maybe I should be thanking UA?

If you can figure out how to use a smartphone, tablet, portable DVD player, and any and every device you get your hands on, you can certainly figure out how to use a washing machine. I am 100% sure one or both of them could successfully launch themselves to the moon if they were given a rocket that was operated by an Apple device. (Note to Apple: please make a laundry app.)

Another battle I’m forced to fight whether I want to or not: homework. Admittedly, nothing has been worse than 4th grade homework was for us and I’m beyond grateful that has passed. I don’t know what it was about 4th grade, but I’m thinking maybe the teachers were running some sort of social experiment where they wanted to make the children and parents hate each other as much as possible. That said, I still have to use every negotiation tactic possible to get them to do their homework.

I haven’t even mentioned the battles of cleaning up after themselves, not killing each other, not making me a raging alcoholic, or teaching them that is possible to speak without rolling their eyes but I’ll have to save those for another day.

So if you’re wondering why that mom over there is letting her kid eat plain noodles or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the 950th night in a row, just remember, she probably spent her morning looking for the only shirt her kid will wear in public so back off.

Paula Brown is a mom of two, writer, and an expert at deconstructing recipes that can please those with and without tastebuds in a single meal. She can be reached at paulacourtneybrown@gmail.com.

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