A Letter of Clarification: REVISITED


So Facebook reminded me about this post, “A Letter of Clarification,” which I wrote three years ago this week. As I read it, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that it actually could have been written TODAY.

Honestly, has NOTHING changed in three years??

Let’s take a closer look and break it down. Original post is normal copy… my CURRENT comments are (in the type that looks like this.) 

Dear Offspring,

It’s possible that, given my current state of caffeine-deprived and calorie-deficient, I’ve been slightly crankier than usual. But it’s for my long-term health, goddammit so I would hope you could support me here.

(This refers to the cleanse I was doing at the time. Obviously, I never made THAT mistake again. The fact that I am over-caffeinated these days is just about the only thing that’s really changed since this was written.)

But noooo, instead you guys are all “Mommy, this pizza is so delicious! Mommy, why aren’t YOU having ice cream? Mommy, aren’t you tired of smoothies and soup?”

Cruel. Just cruel. (They’re still cruel. Just in different ways.)


Anyway, cranky or not, there are a few things I’d like to clarify as we move on in our life together:

You’re NEVER going to be “done sweeping” at 2:00am. 2:00am is the middle of sweeptime. If you wake up at 2:00, you should promptly remind yourself that Mommy and Daddy are still happily sweeping and you should be as well, AT LEAST until 7:00am. 7:00am is an acceptable awake time. (Although you know we’re suckers and we’ll give the iPad at 6:00.)

(This is still true. Just because you don’t call it “sweeping” anymore doesn’t make it any better when you wake up in the middle of the night and ask for a drink/tissue/hug/listening ear because you had a bad dream. In fact, it’s WORSE because you’re not as cute.)


THEN: Cute even though I have to force them to smile


NOW: Taking selfies on their own

You can have Cookie Crisp OR chocolate chip waffles. Not both. Do I look like a gigantic pushover to you? Wait, what? Cookie Crisp has less sugar than Cheerios? OK, nevermind. Mother of the Year! 

(I’m proud to say that we have moved onto blueberry waffles. Still have the Cookie Crisp though.)

I have brought you to the playground (you’re welcome)… but now you expect me to play with you, too? That’s why I had THREE of you. So I wouldn’t have to do that stuff.

(Still true, only now they want me to play Mastermind, freeze tag, Battleship, Hangman, Rummy 500, hide & seek, Skylanders, various invented sports brackets games that involve them asking “Which team do you like better, A or B?” and Solitaire. Yes, Solitaire. The card game that by definition is a game you play ALONE. They don’t get that. I’m all, WHAT DO YOU EVEN THINK SOLITAIRE MEANS???)

Do you think crying, “I want Daddy to put me to bed!” upsets me? Because it doesn’t. I want Daddy to put you to bed as well. (SAME.)

When I say “Knock it off!” I don’t mean it literally. (SAME.)

When I say “Now!” I do. (SAME.)

Pajamas can be worn at least three times before washing. Unless you’ve peed on them. Also, please don’t pee on your pajamas.

(Hey, you guys actually don’t pee in or on your pajamas so much anymore… good job!)

Underwear and socks need to be washed after one wearing. Yes, even if you haven’t peed on them. BECAUSE I’M THE MOM AND I SAID SO.

(Yeah, still true. Don’t pee on your clothes. Wear your underwear and socks once.)

Because I’m the Mom and I said so” is a perfectly acceptable answer to many questions despite what the newfangled parenting books say about respecting our kids and honest communication.* And yes, despite what you think now, you will absolutely say it to your own kids someday.

(*This is, and always will be, the most true statement ever.)

Whenever you yell, “I wish Amanda were here!” you should know, NO ONE wishes Amanda were here more than I do. Trust me.

(<sniff, sniff> We ALL wish Amanda were here now.)


THEN: <sigh>


NOW: <sob>

Throwing a fit when you lose a game is a surefire way to be sure no one will ever want to play games with you. Man up and shake hands.

(Why are we still working on this, guys? And by “guys,” I’m talking to one of you specifically. You know who you are.)

On the other hand, gloating when you’re winning is equally ugly. It’s a fine line between good-natured smack talk and unsportsmanlike conduct. Keeping your mouth shut is always a safe bet. (This kind of works in life in general as well.)

(See comment above. Also, “When in doubt, keep your mouth shut” will work really well as a life motto for your ENTIRE life.)

“Please put those dirty clothes in the laundry basket” means exactly what it says. Here are the things it doesn’t mean: throw the dirty clothes in the hallway outside the laundry room, throw the dirty clothes on the laundry room floor, put the dirty clothes over your head and walk around with zombie arms saying “WHERE IS THE LAUNDRY ROOM?” in a spooky voice.

(Somehow you’re still unclear about “Please put those dirty clothes in the laundry basket” means. And it’s way worse now that your uniforms are more plentiful and WAY smellier. C’mon, get on board here.)

Yes, I DO work. YOU are my work.

(Same times ten.)


THEN: Doughnuts make them happy


NOW: I don’t ALWAYS have to bribe them to smile anymore

No, you cannot have “all of the shoes that light-up.”

(OK, you’re not interested in light-up shoes anymore, but here’s a list of just some of the things that you can’t have “all of…” now: baseball cards, football cards, Pokemon cards, Wii games, stuffed animals, live animals, pieces of candy, bottles of Gatorade, my money.)

Yes, it is true that carrots help you see better.

(Still true.)

No, not by actually sticking them in your eyes.

(Still true. They also don’t help your hair grow faster if you put them on your head OR your ears “hear better” if you stick them in your ears.)

Even when you’re telling me that I’m mean and you don’t like me, I still love you.

(Will always and forever be true.)

But I’d like you more if you’d stop telling me that I’m mean and you don’t like me.

(Same. And Amen to that.)

Yours forever in the laundry room (I’m still in here),



THEN: Little devils


NOW: Bigger devils with more modern devil emoji faces

One response »

  1. A great “look back” but I am still amazed at how different they are from one another: the animal (and insect) lover, the fierce competitor and, of course, the Happy Dude: are you sure that one or more of them aren’t adopted? Oh yeah, I forgot, you were there at their first appearance!

    Thanks for the memories (courtesy of Bob Hope).


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