My husband and I have these friends, Ken and Katie Craig. I pilfered this picture off of Ken's blog, and in one of the many ironic twists of karma that go with hanging out with them, it turns out they are even more adorable in person.
Another ironic twist of karma is that they are both so nice, so smart, so funny, you can't even hate them for being so darn adorable. Seriously, it's a real problem.
As if that weren't enough, they also have six -- no, not gerbils; no, not formal table settings including shrimp forks; no, not copies of "American Ninja" -- six even more astonishing things than all of those:
I know! Your next guess was going to be felony convictions, huh? Well, when you consider that the baby is on the bottom of this pile, that's not so far fetched. All I have to say is, if Katie didn't have me around to constantly monitor her parenting choices -- and by "monitor" I mean "feed her kids jelly bean sandwiches on white bread and gallons of Orange Crush whenever they're left in my unsupervised care" -- Child Protective Services woulda hauled her adorable kiester off a long time ago.
Do you have any idea how many young mothers I've saved from themselves? I'm telling you, I give and I give.
But so far, there is one bad habit of Katie's that I just can not seem to break her of. And, nearly all kidding aside, if she doesn't soon mend her ways she may wind up raising happy, well-adjusted children, which of course is code for "freaks."
It isn't this:
Anyone who has spent more than five minutes watching cable can tell you, this is quality parenting in action. Although technically, this picture was taken before they had become actual parents. Or spouses, for that matter. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is how they met, which is funny on accounta it's how Katie and I met, too.
No, Katie's problem is, she has absolutely no idea how to discipline her children in public.
Brace yourselves; the following contains graphic descriptions of non-corporeal punishment at its most shocking.
Picture a living room in suburban Las Vegas. Katie and I were on the floor, surrounded by hand bells, sheet music, and, if I remember correctly, twenty-six kilos of Brazilian cocaine.
I may not be remembering that entirely correctly. There may also have been finger-cymbals.
And in the adjoining family room, a litter of Katie's offspring were flagrantly reading quiet books on the couch instead of playing "Mortal Kombat" like I'd told them to do. So already, it was near anarchy. The little stinkers were totally flouting the "my house, my rules" policy that is standard for most professional mothers.
Anyway, as Katie and I were marking music and snorting bells, one of her children -- I believe it was Flopsy -- came to his mother with a report that Mopsy wasn't sharing the book.
Sure enough, the room had erupted into sheer pandemonium. Cottontail was even heard to say, "Mopsy, you can hold one side and I'll hold the other," demonstrating the complete breakdown of order and civility that is typical in the Craig family.
Well, I've been around the parenting block a few dozen times, usually on two wheels and under the influence of Diet Coke, and I knew exactly how Katie should handle the travesty of obedience that was playing out on my family room couch. I dashed off to retrieve my cape and breakaway folding chair, in case she needed a wingman.
So you can imagine my horror when Katie gently invited Mopsy into the living room, sat her on her lap, and began whispering into her ear!
'Hel-LO!' I telepathed. 'I'm sitting right here! How can I get any mileage out of my Face o' Disapproval if I can't even hear what you're saying?'
Can you believe it? What is wrong with young mothers these days? Don't they know that kids will never learn to fear other adults if public disciplining isn't a team sport?
Honestly, it was just rude.
And then, you will never guess what happened next. Mopsy picked up "B-flat One" and brained her mother with it.
Wait ... that doesn't sound right. I think I dreamed that part.
No, what really happened was, Mopsy meekly replied, "OK," and joined her sibs on the couch, where she was welcomed with kindness and snuggles.
Well, I couldn't have been more baffled by that display if they'd painted their faces white and called it Kabuki. No yelling? No sarcasm? No shouts of "tag me, I'm good to go" from yours truly?
You could have used my jaw for a back hoe, it was that on the floor.
It was apparent Miz Katie Craig had a lot to learn about publicly shaming her kids. Thank goodness she was at DeNae's Reform School for Mild-Mannered Mothers, and today was Final Exams.
I took her aside, and told her in no uncertain terms that if she didn't start belittling, making empty threats, and invoking Ken's name in a way that had her kids hiding in the broom closet when they heard him pull up the drive, she would lose her license to practice parenthood and have no one to blame but herself.
It was then that Katie leaned over, put her mouth to my ear, and whispered:
"DeNae, if you ever meddle in my affairs again, I will tell everyone how much you weigh. In pounds and ounces. BMI; the works. I may even bring up your use of body shaping lingerie. If you're comfortable with that scenario, then keep yapping. Otherwise, shut your friggin' pie hole. Okay?"
And I meekly looked at the floor and replied:
"Mopsy, bring me that B-flat One. I'm gonna ring your mommy's bell but good."
What? How did you think that story was going to end?