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It’s too bad it took me the entire summer break to realize I had completely reneged on my pinky-swear on the girl’s report cards where I promised to “continue to read to the girls and encourage them to work on their multiplication and division during the summer.”

It occurred to me we hadn’t given this pinky swear its full attention when Chloe said to me last night, “Mom, I know two words that rhyme.”

Okay let’s hear them.

“Couch?”

Yes, is there more?

“And cheetah.”

In the next room I heard my eight year old say, “Go ahead, pick a card, any card, I’ll tell you what it is, I’m psycho.”

Chloe then began singing “Let It Go” as Whitney Houston while running around asking to play hide and seek.

I told her to count to twenty (math!) and she replied, “I can’t count to twenty, I’ll count to ten twice.”

Close enough.

We had fun. Isn’t that what counts?

Prizes….

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Like so many commands from my four year old, “Mommy, put on my life jacket.”

“I would be glad to. What’s the word I’m waiting for?”

She replied, “Sorry?”

“No, not sorry. What word am I looking for?”

“I’m very, VERY sorry?”

We took the kids to a water park over the weekend and Chloe overheard an announcement about coming to the Coconut Grove, or Canyon Cove or Reception and winning a prize.

I didn’t hear any of it but it gave us an adventure to chase while her sisters (and Dad) raced each other on water slides and tried to see who could make the biggest splash.

We finally found the DJ booth and asked to claim our prize. We weren’t interested in the contest that might preclude the winning of said prize, we figured finding a person-in-the-know was worth the reward.

We were informed there would be some sort of dance-off in about an hour but even that sounded like they weren’t totally sure.

I lured Chloe away from Treasure Trove with the promise of more sliding and fewer grammar lessons but she held onto the idea of winning something amazing at the water park and listened intently for future clues.

We passed by Pirate Island right when the hula hooping contest was about to start. The contestants included; four girls who were wearing little more than nipple covers while smoking and trying to make hula hooping more sexual than my prudish mind thought possible, a twenty-something couple who had incorporated dance into their obviously rehearsed hula hoop number, twin-8 year old boys, a teenage couple who tried to hula in the same hoop stopping only to make-out and of course a late entry, Chloe.

The announcer asked all of the contestants to hold the hoops around their waists until he told them to start.

At the bell, a couple of nipple covers slipped and there were instant disqualifications, the mid-twenties couple abandoned their hoops for a lift and spin combo, the teenage couple fell on top of each other on a lounge chair, Chloe’s hoop dropped to the ground and the 8 year old twins hula-ed their way to victory.

Chloe’s eyes filled with tears, “So now I don’t get a prize?”

I told her there was no way you could ever win a prize if you didn’t try and you wouldn’t win prizes unless you had a winning attitude.

“So I don’t get a prize?”

I wanted this to be a lesson for Chloe. That not everything in life is handed to you, that you don’t always win and sometimes losing gracefully (even if it is to this almost unbelievable cast of characters) is worth more than a hula hoop contest prize.

She motioned for me to bend down so she could whisper something in my ear.

As the contestants and audience looked over, they imagined Chloe whispering her disappointment in my ear, embarrassed to cry in front of the crowd. They all hugged her with their eyes and tilted heads.

What she actually said was, “Mommy, I did the hula hoop. If you don’t get me a prize I am never going to talk to you ever again and I’m going to throw a rock at you.”

Huh.

Just as I took Chloe’s hand to remove her from the competition and discuss this whole rock hurling threat, the announcer walked over and handed her a package of Pop Rocks candy and said, “This is for you, just for trying.”

As long as we’re all on the same page.

Mom, you can come into my room but don’t wreck my sanctuary.

I keep getting emails from companies advertising their end-of-season clearance items.

A number of the promos read, “70% off when you take an additional 40% off” or “50% off when you take an additional 40% off.”

The hook almost always involves me taking an additional 40% off.

I have no idea what this means or how to calculate this massive savings or why I am being emailed a math equation as a lure to want to click on or continue spending time on a company website.

I started saying to my kids, things like “I’ll be there in ten minutes when you take five minutes off” or, “I’ll read you seven books from the stack after you take six books off” or “You can eat two more gummy bears when you remove the two you’ve already eaten from your mouths.”

It doesn’t make sense to them either.

The other night, for the first time since being a parent, I could not catch any of my three children in a friendly game of tag.

Stupid Crocs.

It had to have been my shoes. Although they were feeling, as Crocs do, perfectly spongy, airy and supportive in every way. Still, it had to be the shoes.

So I smartened up the next day and put on an old pair of running shoes while we chose, through a series of ill-timed sing-a-long chants, who would be “it” somehow landing on me each and every time and we began our races across the yard, while I continued to hum, “black shoe, black shoe, change your black shoe” (odd given all of our shoes were made up of bright colours.)

Is it because I’m wearing these things without socks? How is it that my four year old continues to beat me?

I was, am a fast runner! I can outrun little children!

Nope.

Also my knee starts to spasm when I take those corners too fast. Corners in Crocs? Forget it.

Oh and Chloe (my four year old) has this amazing, magician’s-assistant move where she runs in a straight line and then pops her neck to the right and instantly changes direction. She should probably have her own show in Vegas or at the very least headline for someone incredibly famous. Nonetheless, I can’t catch her.

She’s four years old.

Rotten Crocs. Sockless runners.

Then Hanna (my 10 year old) asked me to go for a light jog with her and I was wearing all the right things.

“Hey wait up! You call that a light jog?”

Is it my shorts?

This is getting out of control.

I took Chloe to the Doctor for a check-up before school started to be sure she was caught up on all of her vaccines and to be weighed and measured with instruments more accurate than a door frame, pencil and kitchen food scale.

Chloe appeared healthy and was able to sit still long enough to have him examine her eyes, ears, only attempting to bite him twice when he asked her to stick out her tongue.

He listened to her heart.

He joked that he could hear the pear in her stomach she had for lunch.

She rolled her eyes and mumbled something like “not likely” under her breath.

When he looked to me for permission to look “down there” (his words) I nodded.

I think I was still nodding pretending to know what a UTI was when he asked me if she had ever had one.

A UTI as it turns out is a urinary tract infection. No my four year old has never had one. No I have no idea why he would think I would know what the acronym stood for.

When he placed one hand on my daughter’s stomach and the other on the elastic band around her waist, Chloe swatted him and said, “Oh no, that’s not happening.”

He shrugged and said, “She’s fine.”

My kids are annoyed they’ve never been to Canada’s Wonderland.

Greg reminds me this is a first world problem as is the fact I was annoyed with him for putting the leftover hamburger patties from dinner, inside the leftover buns so when I try to microwave a burger for lunch tomorrow, I end up with a first-hot, then rock-hard bun. Why can’t he just wrap the patties and buns separately?

First world problem.

Or when the kids informed me after being forced to wear rash-guard t-shirts in the pool to avoid getting a sunburn on their shoulders, “This is the worst day ever!”

Ellie has been offered the chance to go to Wonderland with a friend and Hanna has spent her time crafting careful instructions for how Ellie is permitted to spend her time at the theme park.

Hanna: Ellie, you can’t go on any upside down roller coasters without me.

That doesn’t sound fair at all.

Ellie: I have to go on if my friend and her Mom want me to.

Hanna: You probably shouldn’t bring a bathing suit. It would be too much for you to try to fit in the water park and the rides all in the same day. You wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything if you’re too rushed.

Interesting strategy.

Ellie: I have to Hanna, they’re both on my bucket list.

Hanna storms off.

Ellie: Don’t worry if you don’t get to Wonderland now, you can always take your kids one day.

Hanna yelling from the other room, “My job might take me away and I won’t live close enough to go.”

I love it when she mentions future employment.

Ellie: Mom, I’m going to live right down the street.

Ah, the bum kisser hasn’t lost her touch.

Hanna: My job is going to be in California and I’ll never get to Wonderland.

First world problems.

Hanna and I were hanging some clothes out on the line yesterday after lunch and I used the opportunity to have a quiet conversation with her.

I explained that my back was sore from something I had done the night before (trying to jog when I thought no one was looking and then when I realized someone was looking, trying to sprint because I’m obviously a child–trapped in a young boy’s body).

I asked given the slight twinge in my back if she could put forth her best effort for the rest of the afternoon and try to get along with her sisters.

Her response, “Why did you have kids then?”

And it shocked me a little.

Obviously we had kids to help with laundry, duh.

I remember asking my own Mom the same thing but in a completely different scenario. My thinking was totally justified, “Are you kidding me you won’t buy me that Cabbage Patch doll? Well why did you have kids then???!!!” Then I snapped my leg warmers and stormed away.

It’s a reminder for me that kids don’t see us as flawed individuals despite having too many flaws to list.

Do you have a sore back? We’re supposed to deal with it and move on.

Have you ever wanted a quiet moment to yourself? Why did you have kids if you ever wanted to have a second alone?

Why did you have kids if you wanted to close the bathroom door?

I think I had kids so I could buy a Cabbage Patch doll.

The new school year is just a week away.

We are trying to get the girls back into something resembling a routine by putting them to bed a little earlier and having them eat all of their soggy meals out of overstuffed lunch sacks at tables facing each other.

I asked the girls last night before bed, “Tell me three exciting things about school starting.”

Ellie: Here are the three things I’m not excited about 1) getting up early, 2) going to bed early, 3) seeing my friends… wait, I am excited about seeing my friends.

Hanna: 1) the swim season is starting, 2) that’s all.

Chloe: 1) Wearing a purse everyday (no), 2) Wearing make-up every day (no), 3) Being a mermaid.

I did the ice bucket challenge in support of those suffering from ALS after being nominated by a hateful, torture-loving, ex-friend.

My husband happily volunteered to do the dumping of the ice water after giving up the chance to videotape for fear the kids might miss a drop of water or a rogue cube might not hit my head as squarely as intended.

Here is the video evidence.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10154564720950232&set=vb.705845231&type=2&theater

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