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Parenting Stories: Like a Hole in the Head


There are many things I need — time alone with M, a better oven, a book deal, the perfect black boots (OK, the boots I may never find) — but most certainly NOT on the list of needs is an electric guitar in my house.

guitar_boyIn fact, to quote my father-in-law, I need an electric guitar in this house like I need a third armpit. Actually, it’s not the guitar that has me panicking; it’s the accompanying amplifier. Given the constant noise level here, it’s shocking to think we need anything amplified.

But alas, we do. Bennett has been working towards an electric guitar for a while — he’s had some behavior targets to hit, and he’s had to ramp up the practice on his acoustic, to show us commitment.

(Speaking of, I really must say something in defense of the lovely acoustic guitar. I had images of a young Paul Simon, strumming thoughtfully on the couch, providing constant accompaniment to our warm family evenings, with Efram perched on the piano bench chiming in with the occasional show tune.  I did not, when we embarked on guitar lessons, envision Slash, or whatever his name is, jumping around upstairs, pissing off our already suspicious neighbors, and adding to the already fever pitch of this house.) He also had to contribute to the cost, and after weeks of work (including cleaning the car and raking leaves in freezing, pissing rain), he did it. Today, M took him to the store to pick out his electric guitar and Bennett called me from the car, unable to contain his excitement: “Guess what? We put the amplifier on the LOWEST it would go and it was like BOOOM BOOOM!! ISN’T THAT AWESOME?”

No, not the first word that comes to mind. Are you sure you don’t want harmonica lessons instead?

It almost didn’t happen. The last thing he had to do was behave for the babysitter last night. That meant no water pranks, no eating a jar of multicolored sprinkles before dinner (telling the babysitter they were vitamins), no ropes, no scissors, no duct tape, and no waking the baby. Halfway through the God-awful movie M and I were sitting through, my phone buzzed. I was more than happy to leave the theater and take the call. (Side note to George Clooney: Do NOT listen to the adoring critics. The Descendants was complete rubbish. It was flat, depressing, and you looked old. It managed to make even Hawaii look blah, and that’s hard to do when your audience is sitting in Seattle.) No surprise, it was Bennett on the phone: “Where’s N (the babysitter)?” He asked.


“Where is he? I need to call him?”

“Bennett, he’s in the house, with you. Remember? He’s babysitting?”

“Oh, I’m not home. Efram and I took a walk, and now we’re halfway down the street.”

“Bennett, the caller ID on this call is the home phone. You are home. The sitter is home. And home is where you’ll spend all day tomorrow, which means no guitar, if you don’t get off the phone now, and go to sleep.”

“OK,” he said quickly, and hung up.

Sadly, he got his act together and went to sleep. And N reported that he was “better than usual,” which is just about all I can hope for. He hadn’t blown it, and the guitar, amplifier, and all was on its way.

A lot of people have asked whatever came of the American Girl fiasco of a few weeks ago. Well, as promised, M went to the American Girl store to return the Hawaiian doll, whose name I can never get right. (At one time I was good with names, but the names faculty was something I had to get rid of to make space in my brain for the ability quickly make convincing excuses for my children’s behavior.) M took her to the store and asked to exchange her for the Molly doll.

“Are you sure?” the saleswomen asked. “That Hawaiian girl, whatever the hell her name is, is the hottest item we have. She’s the girl of the year. She’ll only be sold until the end of December. We can’t keep her in stock. Are you sure you want to trade her in for that nebbishe Molly?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m sure,” he said. “And I have several sleepless nights to prove it. Give me Molly and take this Hawaiian princess, whatever the hell her name is, off my hands, so I can get out of this nightmare of a store as soon as possible.”  Not surprisingly, he did not use the time to browse around and pick up some cute outfits for the girls. Go figure.

More from This Is the Corner We Pee In
Jumping the Parenting Shark
The American Girl Doll Made Me Do It

lea_gellerAbout the Author
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.

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