November 30th, 2016 | Tags:

In Monday’s post, I summarized the first morning of my husband’s and my attempt to have a long-awaited honeymoon in downtown Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend.

First, our trip was cut short, by a day, by our 22-year-old son/babysitter Vlad—with no explanation.  We accepted this because we needed him.  If we had confronted him about going back on his promise to watch our 6- and 11-year-old sons Patrick and Luke for the four-day weekend—a gig that my husband promised would be “worth his while”—perhaps he would have backed out.  We’ve learned that Vlad is unpredictable, but it’s not his fault: 22-year-old brains aren’t fully developed.

Second, on Thanksgiving morning, our 11-year-old Patrick accidentally stepped on our three-month-old, four-pound puppy’s leg, necessitating a visit to the emergency vet clinic—and a potential end to our honeymoon altogether.  But tiny Teddy turned out to be alright, so I unpacked my suitcase and started a glass of wine.

Two and a half hours later, at 2:30 p.m., Vlad, Patrick and Luke met us downtown for Thanksgiving dinner.  Vlad refused to dress appropriately, then felt embarrassed in his ripped jeans, but that didn’t affect the rest of us.  So we sat at our table of five, talking about Teddy’s injury, Patrick being guilt-ridden, and Luke seemingly being unfazed.  I then asked Vlad all about his fall term in college, his new major, his classes, his love life.  We were all chatting happily away when Luke started talking about fire.

“A fire?” I asked, jolted into super-alertness.

“Vlad let me try to start it, then let Patrick try to start it, but we couldn’t do it. Then he went out to the garage to find matches.”

“What?” I asked, unable to process what he was saying.

Vlad interrupted Luke and explained that he’d gotten out the automatic lighter, and they’d all tried to light it.  He’d actually handed it first to Luke and then to Patrick to let them try it out.  (The lighter is childproof, so you have to use your thumb to slide the top button forward, as you use your index finger to depress the “trigger” to start the flame).  Unsatisfied with this lighter, Vlad ventured out to the garage to look for matches to continue his fire-starting activity, but he was unsuccessful.  He stated that all fire-starting attempts were very logically done in the kitchen so he had access to water.  And Vlad explained all of this as if it were completely normal babysitting behavior:  “Hey, bros!  What should we do today?  Let’s start fires!  And let’s be smart about it and light them in the kitchen!”

Stunned, and knowing that my husband would deal with Vlad, I directed Patrick and Luke to walk to the bathrooms with me.  Outside the restroom doors, I confronted them.

“When did this happen?”

“Yesterday, after you left.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t think about it,” said Patrick.  And, parroting Vlad, he explained, “And we were in the kitchen, so we had water right there.”

“Oh my God!  No more fire!  Oh my God!  Do you feel safe with him?”

“Yes,” said Patrick.

“Yes,” Luke agreed.  “But he’s not letting me have dessert.”

“Yeah, he’s trying to get Luke to eat better,” explained Patrick.

“So, he’s acting like he’s your parent regarding food, but he’s letting you try to start fires…”

“We won’t play with fire anymore.  We promise.”

Looking at them, my eyes to their eyes, I said, “You have to promise that, if anything weird happens—anything— you will me immediately.”

They promised.

We walked back to the table, with me half-expecting to see Vlad’s lifeless body splayed across it.  But he was alive—and had been sufficiently shamed, according to my husband.  He later explained that he only needed to say six words:  “Don’t f..k this up for me.”

Vlad promised that there would be no more fire funny-business, and that’s when I, transformed from relaxed honeymooner to hyper-alert Mom, noticed the two martini glasses.  Vlad, who had driven Patrick and Luke from the northern suburbs to downtown—and was supposed to drive them back home—had been drinking martinis, unnoticed, which shows you how relaxed my husband and I had been…

I’ve mentioned that 22-year-old brains aren’t fully developed.  Right?

November 28th, 2016 | Tags: , ,

My husband and I got married almost 10 years ago—December 16, 2006.  We never took a honeymoon then—or since—so, during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, we planned to take our long-awaited solo vacation.  But because of my anxiety about leaving our sons and our three-month-old, four-pound puppy, Teddy, we ventured only 25 minutes away from home—downtown Chicago.

Months ago, our 22-year-old son, whose chosen pseudonym is “Vlad,” had promised to babysit our 11- and 6-year-olds, Patrick and Luke, for the duration—after my husband said he would “make it worth his while.”  However, the day before our departure, our babysitting Vlad said he needed to leave our house on Saturday morning, rather than Sunday, because he needed to be back at college for undisclosed reasons.  So we cancelled our couples’ massages, scheduled for Saturday morning, and our Saturday night stay.

On Thursday morning—Thanksgiving morning, the first full day of our stay—Vlad called my cell at 10:41 a.m. to tell me that Patrick, who weighs 94 pounds, had accidentally stepped on four-pound Teddy, and Teddy was limping.

Teddy

Teddy

I told my husband we needed to go home.

My husband said that Vlad could handle the situation.

I then spoke with Patrick, who was crying because he felt so guilty about accidentally hurting Teddy, and he told me the truth:  That he had stepped not on Teddy’s foot, but on his little leg; Teddy had yelped loudly; Teddy was not limping, but walking around on three legs; and he was convinced that he’d broken Teddy’s tiny back leg.

Once again, I told my husband we needed to go home.

Once again, my husband said that Vlad could handle the situation.

I understood that my husband’s priority was our honeymoon, but I had to weigh his wishes against the feelings of my sobbing, guilt-ridden 11-year-old and, of course, injured Teddy.  I agreed to let Vlad take Teddy to the emergency vet clinic, but I started packing, imagining Teddy’s leg crushed into smithereens, never to be used again.  I imagined 94 pounds coming down on top of a toothpick-sized leg.

“If Teddy’s leg is broken,” I said, “we have to go home so I can take care of him.  They won’t be able to handle it.”

My husband sat on the couch, seemingly emotionless, staring at his phone.

I asked, “How can you be so calm?”

“I’m not going to buy into it until we know something for sure,” he said.  “Plus, you’re the Mom.”

“I’m not saying that we’re leaving for sure,” I said.  “But I need to pack while we wait to hear from the vet.”

Now, I suffer from anxiety, so I would have been stressed out by this situation regardless.  But we have extraordinarily bad luck with puppies.

Last February, we adopted an eight-week-old Labradoodle whom we named Bullet.  But Bullet suffered from a rare congenital swallowing disorder, and, after three months of specialty vet appointments and a surgery, she passed away in May at four months of age.

In August, we adopted a ten-week-old Labradoodle puppy, Mollie, from a different breeder—a breeder I briefed about our devastation regarding Bullet.  Yet Mollie was not the completely healthy dog the breeder promised:  On Mollie’s sixth night with us, she had bloody diarrhea for hours.  She was diagnosed with three types of parasites, which are treatable and whose symptoms we might have been able to handle, if we hadn’t been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of Bullet’s death.  The breeder apologized, saying that Mollie was the only puppy in 21 years who had a “problem,” but we couldn’t accept another sick puppy, emotionally and financially.  The breeder retrieved Mollie, but said we couldn’t have our money back since Mollie’s health issues weren’t genetic, per the contract.  She said we could have a “replacement puppy” when we were ready.

And now we have Teddy, and Teddy is so tiny.  And I have nightmares in which Teddy is hurt or killed.  And I know that we, as a family, will COMPLETELY LOSE IT if something bad happens to Teddy.  And now Teddy is hurt—we don’t know how badly—and this time it is not a genetic abnormality or illness for which we are not responsible, but an injury that my son will blame himself for, even though Teddy is to tiny that it’s so easy to accidentally step on him.

But Vlad took Teddy to the emergency vet clinic.  And the vet patiently examined Teddy’s back left leg from his hip down to his toes, and Teddy felt no pain.  She said Teddy was running around on all fours, just fine.  She said Vlad, Patrick and Luke could take Teddy home, reporting in the next day if he experienced pain or swelling.

So, at 11:41 a.m., I unpacked my suitcase.  Then I poured myself a glass of wine.  After all, it was my honeymoon…

(Vlad later told my husband that Teddy’s leg had been bent outward…  This morning, I took Teddy to the vet for a check-up, and his leg is perfect.  Apparently, he has Playdoh-like limbs.)

It’s human nature to try to deduce what a person is like, to place him/her in some category, to make sense of him/her in the grand scheme of your experience, your world.  But each person is a sum of nature and nurture, of genetics and experiences.

Even identical twins have different personalities and circumstances that shape their world views, so accurate assumptions can’t be made even about two people with identical DNA.  So why do we think we can make presumptions about individuals–or whole groups of people?

I have been considered stupid because I’m blond.   When I was interning with a public relations agency while in college, one of my colleagues told me that I proved myself competent, which she was surprised by, considering my appearance, particularly my blond hair.  She, a natural redhead, suggested that I dye it brown to be taken seriously.

I’ve been considered incompetent in the workplace because, as an adult, I have always looked young for my age.  I remember, in my twenties, pining for grey hair and wrinkles so I would be taken seriously.

I have been considered backward because I spent ages four to sixteen living in Louisville, Kentucky.  I had New York-based relatives laugh about my Southern accent and ask if we had indoor plumbing.

I have been considered everything negative that an American is considered abroad.  I lived outside Toronto for two years and was stunned that some Canadians actively dislike Americans.  My boyfriend at the time explained that Canadian children learn U.S. history in school, and they are angry that we Americans are so arrogant that we think we don’t need to know anything about our northern neighbor.  We don’t know who runs the country—whether president or prime minister—and we certainly don’t know that person’s name.  I also lived in London, England, for a year, and I was complimented that I “didn’t seem like an American.”  Before living outside of the United States, I had been so naïve that I had no idea that American travelers were told to put Canadian flag stickers on their backpacks to help ensure their safety.

I have been discriminated against for not having any money—literally no money in college—and for being perceived as well-to-do in my adult life.

I have been discriminated against for deciding to become a single-mother-by-choice, for using infertility treatments to get pregnant.

I’ve been judged—and praised—for being a stay-at-home mom versus a working one.

I have been anorexic and bulimic, skinny and chunky—and downright fat during my pregnancies—with all of the associated assumptions of strength and weakness and attractiveness and ugliness therein.

I’m considered a radical liberal by some Trump supporters in my life, and, to them, this is BAD, BAD, BAD.

I’m sure I have been considered certain things because I’m white, but no one has ever expressed them to me.

But I am more complicated than all of this—my blondeness (now thanks to Clairol Perfect 10), my Generation Xness, my Americanness, the city in which I spent my youth.  I am more than my race, my weight, my political leanings and my household income.

And so is everyone else.  We’re all much more complicated than this.  So let’s not make assumptions.  Let’s get to know each other.  And let’s form opinions based on each other’s integrity, character, and humanity.

It’s a start…

November 18th, 2016 | Tags:

I’m an open person—in person and in my writing.

When I was blogging during my IVF cycle and high-risk pregnancy years ago, I shared personal information—the reason for my infertility [my mother unknowingly taking the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) when she was pregnant with me], the effects of DES on my body and my likelihood of getting cancer, the intricacies of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the loss of one of my twin sons, the stress of weight gain, multiple hospitalizations and bed rest, and on and on.

My husband fell in love with me—and continues to love me—because of who (and how) I am, and he was proud of my website and blog, encouraging all of his work colleagues and friends to be readers.   But, as the months passed, he started getting some flak.  Some of the lesser developed of his male colleagues starting calling him, asking questions like, “Can’t you control your wife?”

After our son was born in April 2010, I rarely blogged.  For me, it was important to turn my focus from my pregnancy and writing to my youngest sons, then five and brand-new.

In August, my youngest started first grade, so I have more free time than I’ve had  since becoming a mother 11 years ago.  I’ve spent the past 2 ½ months remembering who I am, apart from being a mother, and watching too much election coverage in my attempt to reengage with the real world, and now I’m ready to write again.  So on Sunday, I warned my husband that I’m going to start blogging again.

Can he control me?

Absolutely not.

And, even if he could, he wouldn’t want to.  He believes in gender equality—and (sometimes) female superiority.  He’s not a Neanderthal, after all…

January 21st, 2015 | Tags:

Welcome… For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mary Kaye, the oldest of Tom’s five children.

First, thank you so much for being here today. My mother, Joan; my four brothers, Tom, Matt, Jim and Pat; our collective children, my dad’s nine grandchildren; my father’s sister Ellen; his brothers Tim and Chris; his niece Jen; his nephews, Michael, Ryan and Kristian—all of us—appreciate you sharing in our celebration of my dad’s life—and holding us up as we grieve his death.

My dad passed away in his sleep last Thursday morning. My mom, my brothers and I were shocked, which seems impossible considering that my dad had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for years. For the last year and a half, he lived in a nursing home. He could barely talk. He couldn’t walk. He had two forms of dementia. But—even in the end—my dad seemed invincible. After he could no longer walk, he still tried to get up, over and over and over again. My mom and the nursing home staff spent their days pleading, “Tom, you CAN’T walk! Stop trying to get up out of your wheelchair!”

My dad had to literally fight to live, day after day. But, during the holidays, his five children and nine grandchildren traveled in from our different cities to be with him. We feel as if, surrounded by all of us, he knew how much he was loved and felt it was okay to finally let go.

On the day my dad died, I talked with my mother and brothers about my dad’s life, about his accomplishments, and about his loves. And, while it’s impossible to describe a life in a short eulogy, we distilled his life down into four categories:

Family. Faith. Focus. Lacrosse.

First, family: My mom and dad married in 1967, and, from their courtship to his death, they were together for 49 years. Together, they raised five children, and my mom talks about how proud my dad was after each of us was born, calling all our relatives and friends with the news—“And it’s another boy…”

My dad really came into his own as a grandfather, and we think that is the greatest loss, that our children won’t have the long-term benefit of knowing the indomitable man he was. Indomitable means “impossible to defeat or discourage,” and the word defined my dad to a T.

Second, about faith: My father was a devout Catholic. He never missed a Sunday mass. Even when we were on vacation, we had to track down a Catholic church—no excuses. He sent all five of us to Catholic grade schools and high schools, because the burden of five tuitions wasn’t a burden to him, but an investment in our futures—and the state of our souls, which he was always worried about. One of his primary hopes was that our family be together again in Heaven, and there is no doubt in our minds that he went straight there.

Third, about focus. My dad was laser-focused. He rose from an entry-level sales job to the top sales position at Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. He succeeded because he never stopped trying to better himself, to increase his skills, to learn the latest in sales and motivational techniques. He attended seminars on his own time, and there were literally dozens of business-related books on his shelves at home. He was a living example of commitment: He worked for Milwaukee Electric Tool for 37 years; he tried to achieve his personal best; and he took his role as a boss very seriously, working to mentor his sales personnel so they’d achieve their best too.

Last, we have lacrosse, which was my dad’s passion. As a West Genesee high school and Syracuse University lacrosse player, my dad was a rock star.

After college, he played against the Onondoga Native Americans. He played box lacrosse. When we moved to Louisville, where there was no team on which to play, he founded the Louisville Lacrosse Club. I’ll never forget how proud I was of him when he played against the University of Kentucky team—a dad in his late 30s playing against 19-year-olds, who had to triple- team him and still couldn’t stop him from scoring over and over again.

When we moved to Cincinnati, he said he’d help Father Tedesco with the formation of a lacrosse program at Moeller High School. He was thinking he could line the fields—or something minor of that sort. He was shocked to learn that he’d been tapped to be head coach of the first lacrosse team in Cincinnati—without ever being asked. (Father Tedesco later said that he named my father as an act of faith.) And my dad lived and breathed lacrosse as head coach for 13 years.

He’d always wanted to be a physical education teacher, but, as father to five children, he couldn’t afford to pursue his passion. Being a salesman of industrial tools by day and lacrosse coach in his free time was perfection: He could feed and clothe his children and devote himself to the fastest sport on foot. He also was able to coach four of his children, my four brothers, combining his love of family with his love of lacrosse. (FYI: There was no girls’ lacrosse when I was growing up, or I would have been right there with them.)

My dad devoted himself to Moeller lacrosse. He mentored countless young men. Of course, he taught them stick skills. But he also taught them about focus and hard work and commitment. He taught them to never submit to feeling as if they were underdogs. He then led these underdogs to the state and Midwest championships. And then he did it again.

In recognition of his contributions as a coach, my dad was elected to both the Moeller Athletic Hall of Fame and the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He also was named Coach of the Year by both the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association and the Midwest High School Lacrosse Association.

His players continued to play lacrosse in college, many with scholarships. (Three of my brothers played Division I college lacrosse—two with scholarships.) Some of his players—including three of my brothers— followed in his footsteps and became lacrosse coaches themselves. But, beyond lacrosse, his former players continue to live with his influence:

Upon learning of my dad’s death, his former players have written the following to us:

• Coach Kennedy was an amazing influence on us.
• I don’t have the words, other than “I love you, Coach, and thank you.”
• One of my favorite coaches of all time. Such a positive influence on so many guys’ lives. Great coach. Great man. You all have so much to be proud of.
• He was a great man and touched many lives. Your dad’s legacy will forever live on.
• Coach Kennedy was an incredible guiding force at an important time in my life. I don’t know the path I would have chosen—and know I wouldn’t have been inspired to become a coach myself, if not for him.
• I loved your father like he was my own. Words can’t describe my respect for what he did for me and my playing career. He was the most influential coach I’ve ever had—in all sports.
• I was devastated when I heard. He was one of two coaches whom I truly respected. He took a kid who had never seen a lacrosse stick and made me an All American and a better athlete. He meant a ton to me. He meant a ton to all of us who were part of the program. Truly a legend in my mind.

My dad had full life, a live fulfilled by family, faith, focus and lacrosse. He died too soon for all of us. But he continues to live on in his family and in his players.

We know that, last Thursday, my father was greeted with open arms by his parents and his brother Jim. We know that he is here with us—in spirit—today. And, last, we know that he is now our Guardian Angel, watching over us from Heaven, where he’s thrilled to once again be able to walk solidly, speak and think clearly—and, of course, love lacrosse.

We’re nearing the end of my sons’ “house rules” designed to make my husband and me happy.

In today’s rules, Rule 11, Clean Up Your Own Messes, applies to me, because I end up cleaning up their messes unless I threaten their little lives. And, even when doing so, my four-year-old Luke will suddenly be too injured to pick up his toys, or too tired, or too sick. Patrick, who’s nine, is pretty good about it. He’ll never clean up unless I tell him to, but then he’ll just say, “Yes,” and get down to business. On occasion, I have found that he’s deceived me: He’s told me that all of his clothes are put away, and then I find them all piled at the bottom of this closet. But this is pretty typical nine-year-old behavior. When I call him on his deceit, he says he’s sorry and immediately does what he was supposed to do in the first place.

Rule 12, Wipe Your Butt Clean (No Remnants), applies to my sweet husband, who does about 99 percent of our laundry, and me. We all know what happens if the butt isn’t wiped properly–my husband calls it “bacon strips”–and he doesn’t want to have to see it or smell it when he’s sorting through the darks and whites. But because Luke hasn’t perfected wiping, I always have to do a re-wipe, a final wipe, in order to protect my husband. Four and a half years, and I’m still wiping his poop.

But I’ve still got the better deal. My husband does all of the laundry.

Just this morning, my nine-year-old son Patrick accused me of “living in paradise” while he has to do his homework. Mind you, I told him that I was going to go downstairs to watch a marathon of Damages (thank you, Netflix) until I have to pick up his four-year-old brother Luke from preschool. And since Patrick is home sick for the third day this week, and his homework packet is due tomorrow, he’s got to work on it extensively today.

But the nerve… I’m “living in paradise!”

He broke two of his own house rules–Rule 9 “No talking back to your parents,” and Rule 10 “No mocking your mom.”

I wasn’t expecting the attitude until Patrick became a teenager, but it’s in full force already. And he’s not a bad kid. I think he’s just a bright kid who is learning by engaging with me at every turn. But it’s irritating that he argues with me about everything. If he’s stuck on a complicated math word problem, for example–you know the type that messes with your head–he’ll ask for help. I’ll walk him through the problem and how I found the answer, and he’ll flat-out tell me that I’m wrong. Then he’ll come home from school the next day and sheepishly admit that I was right after all.

I find myself regularly explaining to him that I am 46, I did graduate from college, and I do have more life experience that he has at age nine, but it seems to have no effect.

As far as mocking me, it’s a sport for both my sons. I’m sarcastic, and so are they, so we banter every day.

If Patrick, for example, doesn’t listen to me, I’ll ask, “Would you like to live until you’re ten?” And he’ll respond, “Real quality parenting.”

If Luke, only four, misbehaves, I’ll threaten to kick his cute little butt. And he’ll say, eyes rolling, “Really, Mom?”

Patrick just walked in here and said, “You lied to yourself.”

“What?”

“You said you were going to go downstairs to watch TV.”

“I have to blog first.”

You see what I’m dealing with?

The bad part is that I only see it escalating. It’s going to be more “talking back to your parents” and more “mocking your mom.”

But this is what I signed up for. And, because I suffered from infertility and know the alternative, I secretly love every minute of it.

So, far I’ve listed my sons’–Patrick, age nine, and Luke, four–first six “house rules,” rules that they developed to make my husband and me happy.

We’ve covered:

1. No punching.
2. No kicking.
3. No hitting really hard with swords.
4. No stabling balls with swords.
5. No pooping without spraying.
6. No farting without warning.

Today’s two rules are actually linked because, when my sons’ yell, I yell, and, when they don’t listen to me, I yell. It is not my first instinct to yell. It’s not even my second. But it seems as if they NEVER listen to me.

In the case of their yelling, obviously they’re yelling, so it’s hard to hear anything else, as in their mother very calmly telling them to be quiet, to stop screaming because, for example, their exhausted father is trying to take a much-needed weekend nap. They’ll stop yelling. But, within minutes, my four-year-old Luke, who is the loudest child on the planet–whose normal talking voice is close to a scream, because he takes after his very loud father and semi-loud mother–starts in again. In this case, I don’t yell (because of my husband sleeping). But I ask, “Why do you have to yell all the time?” And he responds with absolute honesty: “I can’t help it.”

When my sons don’t listen to my husband and me, however, it’s more frustrating, because I have–in a very Zen way–told them what they should be doing: putting on their clothes for school, brushing their teeth, putting away their toys, cleaning up their rooms, getting their shoes and coats on, and so on. And, even though I say it very nicely the first time and more sternly the second time and slightly yelling the third time, it’s only when I actually yell that I get their attention. And then they are shocked that I’m yelling.

I’ve discussed this with my friends, also very nice woman who are yelling mothers. And they state that it’s only when they get to the yell that their children pay attention.

Why?

If my sons would only follow their own rules–no yelling and listen to your parents–we’d have a very peaceful household.

Except for my husband, who’s usually very loud.

And me, who’s semi-loud.

And Luke, who’s always loud.

Poor Patrick…

My four- and nine-year-old sons, Luke and Patrick, have been able to follow the first five rules they developed for keeping their parents happy. But this sixth rule–No farting without warning–is a joke. Not a literal joke. They had all good intentions when adding this to their list of rules. But they can’t follow it.

Now Patrick, age nine, knows that he should warn us before he gasses up the area. But he doesn’t. He just remains silent, then claims his fart.

But my four-year-old Luke is involved in full-on fart warfare at all times. If he has to gas, he’ll sit on me. Or he’ll put his butt in front of his brother’s face. Or he’ll turn toward me, then tell me that he just “farted in my general direction.”

After he farts on or toward one of us, we play it up, gagging, coughing, squirming as if we’re in the midst of our dying breaths. It makes him feel powerful to elicit such extreme reactions. He thinks it’s hysterical to cause us so much pain, so he keeps us on our toes with his weapon of choice.

And it is a weapon. It’s amazing how much stink can come out of such a little body.

For those new to this blog, for the past few posts, I’ve been addressing the 15 rules for boys that my 4- and 9-year-old sons, Luke and Patrick, made up all on their own. When I asked why they undertook this task, they said, “To make you and Dad happy.”

So far, I’ve listed the following four rules:
1. No punching.
2. No kicking.
3. No hitting really hard with swords.
4. No stabbing balls [testicles] with swords.

Today, I’m explaining Rule #5–No pooping without spraying.

First, I’d like to say that this rule shows the maturity of my sons. Not so long ago, it was an issue just to get them to remember to flush. I’ll never forget when Patrick was two, and I found him playing in the toilet water–toilet water filled with poop–because his 13-year-old brother had forgotten to flush. Horrifying.

But, at only four and nine, these two are far beyond flushing: That’s second nature. The problem is the lingering stench.

My husband has explained the concept of the “courtesy flush,” which I had never before heard of. It means that the moment you poop, you flush to eliminate the initial smell, flushing again if you poop further.

But my sons aren’t advanced enough to flush multiple times, so they’re courtesy measure is spraying. We have a special spray that we all enjoy: Glade’s Apple Cinnamon. It’s in every bathroom, at the ready.

So, although my sons can’t help but exude occasional stink–something none of us can avoid–they are courteous enough to spray some Glade Apple Cinnamon around, smothering the stink with the sweet smells of an autumn day. Hurray!