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Parenting Stories: Johnny Unitas and the Holy Roman Empire


By Lea Geller

0212_curiousgirl_rotatorWe ski on Sundays, in the summer we hike on Sundays, and neither is as tiring as Sundays at home.

80 – The number of times I climbed a flight of stairs today. Am convinced these kids sit up at night thinking of ways to get me to climb stairs. Whatever they need me to get, I can be sure it’s on a floor that I’m not.

6 – The number of meals I served, none of which I sat down to eat.

5 – Times I ran the dishwasher.

5 – Spilled drinks I mopped up, or slipped in.

4 – Band-Aids applied.

4 – Ditto, for ice packs.

3 – Meltdowns (mine not included).

2 – The number of children still awake, even though I tried explaining that my maternal instincts switched off about 30 minutes ago, and they’d be wise to scram.

Even though I could barely stand up straight, I agreed to read to the boys before bed. We’re reading about Charlemagne, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire (hold your applause, please). They’ve been playing what they think is a really hysterical game with poor old Charlemagne. I read about all his remarkable achievements, which included uniting what is now Italy, France, and Germany, and they do the following: Every time I read the word “Lombard” (a region of Italy), they holler, VINCE LOMBARDI!!! Apparently he has something to do with football. They scream with laughter, and one of them then rattles off a useless factoid about him, which is neither interesting nor likely to be true.

482px-johnnyunitassignautograph1964Then, each time I read the word “unite” (which comes up a lot), the other one shrieks, JOHNNY UNITAS!!! Another useless football player, no doubt, but by this time both boys are truly pissing themselves with laughter. Even though they can surely not hear me, I continue to read. I then threaten to leave. They then beg me to stay and I continue on, skipping all references to Lombard and finding as many euphemisms for “unite” as possible, which isn’t as easy as you think.

Then, they both start yelling out questions: “Where in Italy was he?” (not as dumb as I look), “What was Charlemagne famous for” (I refuse to fall for it), or “What’s a better word for bringing people together?” (not gonna do it).

I barely manage to finish the chapter and then crawl out of their room. Instead of reading them into submission, and then sleep, I have succeeded only in riling them up. As I leave, a plastic football hits me on the side of my head.

Damn you, Johnny Unitas, whoever you are.

(Image: Johnny Unitas via Wikipedia.)

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lea_gellerAbout Lea Geller
I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages nine and down)… Currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well.  That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell. I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely. Check out the rest of Lea’s family’s adventures on her blog, This Is the Corner We Pee In.

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