April's Real Blog

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dee, yr butt is bigger than mine!

Mike has a story 4 U, which @ least has the virtue of b-ing in present tense. How our standards drop when we R beaten down w/the flashbacks, eh?

Formerly little sis. One of the more difficult times of my day is the 2 hours between the time I pick up my daughter from her school and the time that my wife, the lovely Deanna, comes home from work to take over the kids. My son's sitter leaves after I get back with my daughter and so for 2 hours it's just me and the children. When my book Stone Season had just been published, I used to keep the children entertained by reading to them excerpts from my book. But lately, even that promise of literary greatness has not been enough to keep them occupied.

As you know, mom's primary way of keeping us occupied during that period of time coming home from school was food, but Deanna doesn't believe in feeding the children after school snacks. As she puts it, “There’s no way my kids are going to be as fat as your mother and your…” hum…well, some other people Deanna knows. My wife was pretty adamant about it, and when she is adamant about it, she withholds things to encourage me to be adamant too.

So, as it occurred, one day my daughter and son came into the kitchen as I was beginning the process of preparing for supper and was feeling especially matronly, like I almost looked like Elizabeth. I was trying out a new recipe, but the lettering was not quite that clear. It either said, "Parmesan and Sweet Potato" or it said, "Right Arm and Sweat Pit" I wasn't sure, so to make sure everything was covered, I took a checked towel and rubbed it up into my right arm pit, to make sure it absorbed some sweat from up there. As I was doing this, my daughter said, "Dad? Daddy! -- When will supper be ready?" I replied in my usual manner in which Deanna had instructed me, "You two just had lunch!" My lovely wife had said, "No afternoon snacks" and I had to stick with her rules. My daughter countered with "I know -- But we're HUNGRY!" I countered with my usual manner in which Deanna had instructed me, "You're not hungry...you're bored." As I said this, I looked at the recipe book in my left hand, as I squeezed the arm pit sweat into the casserole dish, to make sure I got the right proportion.

Deanna had often told me the best way to deal with bored children, who were complaining they were hungry, was to put them in charge of the carrots. We have had carrots with every single meal since we have been married, and so the likelihood of the children snacking on them is remote.

You may recollect a story my wife told back about 3 years ago, when she had my daughter help her in the kitchen and put her on a chair with the back of the chair facing away from the cabinet, causing an unsafe condition where the carrots and my daughter fell. Well, we have learned from that situation, and I put the back of the chair toward the cabinet. Now the chair is solid as a rock. It’s practically immoveable.

I put her on the chair and said, "So, Meredith, you can peel the carrots and Robin can feed the rabbit with the peelings." Then I gave her a peeler, a cutting board, and a few carrots and told her to go to it. Now that I think back on that event, I probably should have made some pun about how carrots have an appeel to rabbits.

I know there are some parents who think the child should be taught what to do before saying, "Go to it.", but we Pattersons are made of sterner stuff. None of this, “Move the peeler across the carrot away from your body so you don’t cut your fingers” business. After a few cuts on her fingers, I was sure my daughter would figure it out. As it turned out, I was not quite right.

As was about to put my special casserole dish into the oven, my daughter started crying, "I hate this! I can't DO it! It's too HARD! There she was moving the peeler right down toward her fingers, her nose gone to a button, and tears were streaming in an arc above her head.

My son, who is usually attracted to blood, said, "Can I try?" Then he grabbed the peeler with his right hand, and leapt onto the chair with my daughter who tried to bludgeon him with a carrot, while he tried to pull out her hair, as they fought over the peeler. They both started sending out arcs of tears, and my initial thought was, “Wow! It really pays off to have the back of the chair next to the cabinet, because the chair was not budging the slightest bit, even with the two of them on the chair at the same time, pounding their fists into each other and pulling out great clumps of hair. It was fairly amazing. I am sorry you were not here to see it.”

I hate to admit a little selfishness, since things have been so dull in our family since last September, I found I was enjoying my children’s battle a little too much. After all, it was the first excitement we have had around here in months. But eventually, my good parent nature kicked in and I thought, “What is the solution to this problem?” And right away, I knew the problem was a clear case of supply and demand. I had two children who wanted a peeler and there was only one peeler. I tried to remember if we had more than one peeler, but it didn’t come to me, even after several minutes. I think it was because the kids were screaming and shrieking and punching and kicking so much, it was difficult to concentrate.

So, I admit it, April. I had to resort to calling Deanna at work to ask her, “Honey? Do we have another peeler?” Naturally, Deanna was upset when I called. I forgot that she would be able to hear the background noise. She said, “Michael!! Stop the children from fighting and then I will tell you where we keep the extra peelers.” She didn’t seem to understand that the extra peeler was needed to stop the fight; so I explained that to her. Then she said, “Michael Patterson. Is there a Lynn written in cursive near your crotch?” I told her there was, and she said if I removed that I would be able think more clearly. She was right, of course, and I was able to settle things down a lot better. After all, there is not much that can disturb a man’s thinking more than having a Lynn near his crotch.

Michael Patterson
Gah, poor kids! But yeah, @ least sumthing is happening. I h8 it when time stands still around here. Jeremy, I had so much fun w/U watching the U.S. Super Bowl last nite, and yeah, the makeup did the trick this morning!


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  • At 7:02 AM, Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said…

    It's hard to think when there's a Lynn near anything. It's as if when one of those show up, your brains all shut down. Maybe someday, they'll go away and you're start to think clearly all the time.

  • At 1:24 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Well, Amazon River catfish villain, it is rare when we agree, but this is one of those times. I will be watching especially carefully to make sure that the cursive Lynn which I seem to find around the house at least once every day, stays far away from my private areas, or my brain. There is nothing quite so disconcerting as to go into the washroom to my business and find a cursive Lynn there instead of my usual equipment. I am sure every man who reads April’s Real Blog will agree.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 1:25 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    michael, thass 4 sure. the only thing worse wud b if sum1 else wuz checkin’ out my equipment & found a cursive Lynn there.

  • At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Luis Guzmán said…


    Speaking as a muy macho Latino, a cursive Lynn in the place of my cojones would ruin my reputation with the señoritas.

    Luis Guzmán

  • At 1:26 PM, Blogger howard said…


    I rarely agree with you, but in this area we are in complete agreement. In fact, after reading your Blog entry today, my wife, Beatrice Alfarero said that I should make it a regular habit to check my pants for a cursive Lynn there. She said she better not find one there.

    By the way, I saw you out today, and I strongly recommend you stop wearing mom jeans.

    Howard Bunt

  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Sorry, Howard. My wife, the lovely Deanna, said that since I am a kept man, these jeans would be appropriate for me. They are quite comfortable and don’t grab me in the hips the way other jeans do. I must inform you of an error in your writing. They are not “mom jeans”. It is actually “M.O.M. jeans”, using an acronym in the label, which Deanna says means, “Man On the Move”. Given how well my novel has been selling, it seems like an appropriate type of jeans for me.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Dr. Vera Überfromme said…

    Mr. Patterson,

    I regret to inform you that your daughter Meredith got in trouble for fighting today and we had to remove a weapon from her possession – a vegetable peeler. She and another student got into a fight about whether or not the paper from a best-selling book from a local Milborough author was good enough to be used to line the bottom of a birdcage. Your daughter was found pointing the vegetable peeler at the other student and yelling “Don’t bring a pencil to a peeler fight, punk!” We believe this is because the other student was pointing a pencil at your daughter.

    Mr. Patterson, we believe the situation is very serious and we would like you to come to the principal’s office to discuss it when you pick up your daughter today.

    Dr. Vera Überfromme
    H.G. Davis Public School

  • At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Vera Unterfromme said…

    Those Überfrommes are sooooo full of themselves!

    Vera Unterfromme

  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…

    Ugly Brother,

    Don't worry, I called that horrible principal Dr. Uberfromme and said, "Hello, this is Elizabeth Deborah Patterson speaking, Milborough's Teacher of the Year, and I understand you have some problem with my niece, well, I am calling to tell you it has to be all that other kid's fault," and she said, "But your niece had an open bladed weapon!" and I said, "Silly, that is a vegetable peeler, she has been chief carrot peeler for the Michael Patterson household since she was 2," and Dr. Uberfromme said, "Well, she doesn't have any use for it at school, and besides, is'nt it terribly dangerous for a small child to be allowed to wield a sharp bladed implement?" and I said, "She's not welding any instruments, she just peels carrots," and Dr. Uberfromme said, "It seems dangerous," and I said, "What's dangerous is not eating enough carrots, you will risk a vitamin deficiency," and Dr. Uberfromme said, "You're the Teacher of the Year?" and I said, "Most certainly," and she said, "Clearly a case of nepotism," and I said, "No, when I won, they gave me a case of Elmer's Glue," and she hung up, but I'm sure the problem is solved.


  • At 1:44 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. You know from the times we spent reminiscing during the past weeks, I remembered that dad used to be able to escape from the troubles of parenting, by simply taking a newspaper and sitting down to read it. There was a certain respect I had and Lizzie had for dad when he was in that mode that said, “Don’t mess with me, I’m reading about important things.” So, I decided, in honour of my father, I would try the same method of attaining peace and tranquility.

    I know what you’re thinking. My kids have never seen me read a paper before, and they won’t know how to react. I would like to think my children are made of sterner stuff than that, and as Pattersons, they would recognize that newspaperial importance.

    Unfortunately, you were correct. The minute I picked up the paper to head for a reading spot, my daughter approached me and said, “Dad! Robin’s got the Galaxy Game an’ I want it!” Behind me, my son said, “I got it first!!!” I gave my daughter the patented Patterson parental grimace, and I thought to myself, “Is this the time to give the lecture about proper passive aggression?” My daughter’s statement of “I want it!” was far too straightforward and easy to understand for a Patterson.

    Instead I opted to give a lecture on how to use a timer. I put the Galaxy game under my arm and as I turned the timer I said, “You can both play the Galaxy Game. I’ll put the timer on for 20 minutes. When the bell rings, Robin, you will give the game to Meredith.” My son said, “Awww?” while I could see the gears turning in my daughter’s head about how she was going to wreck that scheme. I was thinking she would adjust the time on timer when my son wasn’t looking, but she instead opted for a more open scheme of annoyance. That works too, but it is not subtle enough for my tastes.

    Soon thereafter, as the timer was “Tick Tock”ing away, I heard my son yelling, “Stop it!...I SAID STOP IT!!” and my daughter saying, “Stop what? I’m not doing anything.” I was sitting in my chair attempting to achieve the inner peace my father achieved when he read the newspaper, but my mind was whirling with other things like, “I hope my daughter is not using any kind of bodily excretions to annoy her brother.” Within a few moments, my son called out “DADD…EEEEEE” to get my attention. I can tell you right now, formerly little sis, I felt like a parental failure. How had my dad been able to ignore his children and continue to read the paper all during the years I was growing up? The man was a marvel. To find out, I know I would need to ask him how he did it, except that involves talking to him and you know how that it is these days. “Trains. Trains. Trains.”

    So, it was with a certain degree of fear and trepidation I approached my son to see how it was that my daughter was annoying him. I gave him the eyeless look accompanied by an underbite, which usually scares the children into confession and causes them to ask questions about jaw flexibility. My son said, showing a respectful amount of fright and protecting himself with his Teddy bear, “Merediff was SEEING at me!!!” My daughter had her hands up in the standard Patterson splayed hand denial.

    I said, “Daughter. I thought you were done with wetting your pants.” My daughter said, “Huh?” My son said, “No, Daddy. SEEING not peeing.” I said, “What does that mean?” He said, “She was looking at me and she wouldn’t stop looking at me.” I said, “Son. You are a Patterson male. It is a right and natural thing that your sister should worship and adore you. She’s going to look at you a lot out of sheer admiration for your Patterson maleness. The technical term is Patterson Envy. It is just something you are going to have to live with, and be thankful you only have one sister, since I have your Auntie Liz and Auntie April staring at me all the time.” My children said, “They do?” I said, “Indeed they do. So son, having your sister ‘see’ at you, is simply something you will have to live with.”

    Then I went back to my paper until the next disaster occurred. Was it nearly burning down the house with the stove fire, or was it my daughter taking a vegetable peeler to school and getting into a fight with it? I don’t know. I’ll talk about it tomorrow.

    Michael Patterson


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