How to Get Your Children to Collect Their Own Specimen – Like in Science Class


Is there anything you would not do for a loved one?  


How about for one of your children?

As an official Mama Bear, I totally get that instinctual reaction one has to protect their young at no cost.

I have always told my children, who are now young adults, that I would DIE for them in a second.  And I believe that just as much now as I did the day I gave birth to them.

I am happy to be at this stage of my mothering and child rearing.  I can sleep in as late as I want, I don’t have to cook all the time, I am no longer a taxi driver AND Mr. Brickhouse (the name I will refer to when speaking of husband from now on) and I get plenty of alone time (assuming all spiders are killed.)

I still love to spoil my big babies and continue to dote over them, especially when they are not feeling well.

Case in point:

One of my children (who will remain nameless) had been feeling ill recently.  So much so, that a trip to the emergency room was in order.

Without hesitation and dropping all the important things I was in the midst of (mostly blogging), we headed over to the ER.  On our way there I spoke to his/her doctor who told me to stop by her office before going to the ER.

My poor baby was in a lot of abdominal pain and I could not stand seeing him/her suffer any longer.

After convincing the doctor that, no, my child was not “just constipated” and that his/her pain was interfering with his/her life, the doctor began her aggressive pursuit of the culprit of this debilitating pain.

After getting some medications and having mass amounts of blood drawn for testing, we headed home.  But not empty-handed.

We were given a lovely happy meal prize souvenir of sorts to enjoy, which needed to be returned within 24 hours.

They call it a “hat”. images

I suppose if you were to turn it upside down and wear it on your head, it could protect you from the burning sun.

But it was raining that day and besides, the instructions specifically said NOT to turn it upside down.

To ease my child’s anxiety, I assured him/her that I would do the collecting.  All he/she had to do was to provide the necessary specimen and that I, being the loving Mama Bear that I am, would take care of the rest! 

“Really mom?  Are you sure?  That is disgusting!”

“Yes dear.  That’s what mom’s do.  I can handle it.”

I was not about to show my very active gagging reflex that had begun the minute we were handed the “hat”.  I would remain strong.

This is where I, for the sake of all Moms and Dads all around the world, engaged in a brilliant case of psychological manipulation.

“You know dear, it’s because I love you so much that I don’t mind doing the collecting.  In fact, I am sure you would do the same for me when I am 106 years old and living at your house with you and your family.” 

And so,


Right on cue!  He/she replied:

“Actually mom, never mind.  I can do it myself.  Don’t you worry, it shouldn’t be too bad.  I wouldn’t want you to get sick and it’s not fair to make you do it.”


And so my friends, the science experiment was completed without Mama Bear having to do a thing.

You are welcome.

ps. Susie Lindau, I hope Justin Bieber does not have to do any “collecting” for his food poisoning. 

We Forced Our Teens to Hang Out With Us


I’ve got myself some pretty nice kids.  They both have a strong work ethic and have had jobs since the age of 14.  They work at the same market a few miles from our home and are fortunate to be getting plenty of working hours to fill their summer days.

It is nice not to have two sleepy, cranky teens hanging around the house all day long, eating everything in sight, watching endless episodes of Honey Boo Boo and telling me how bored they are.  Phew!

Last Friday, I warned informed them that since neither of them had to work that Sunday, we were going to spend the day together as a happy little family and go to the beach.  How awesome does that sound?  

Well, they both chose not to tell me what they really thought of my great idea (smart kids) and gave me a fake (do we have to go anywhere with you and dad) smile.  I reminded them that since one of them is already in college and the other a senior in high school, our vacationing-together days were limited and that we had to take advantage of the time we had now.

Besides, it was the perfect time for me to debut my new shiny blue skirted bathing suit I so agonized over.  I was going to wear that darn thing if it killed me (which it almost did).

Sunday morning came around and we woke the kids up early (just what they want their parents to do on a summer day off).  I packed up lunches for the four of us.  The bread was a bit stale but I figured the peanut butter would mask the staleness and they wouldn’t notice.


We packed the car like we were going to be away for months, in a remote location with no running water or electricity.  We had to make sure to pack our beach umbrella, 4 beach chairs, paddle ball racquets, a cooler, towels, a beach blanket and about 500 different sun tan lotions which had probably all expired.

We were on the road by 8:15 am which is quite an accomplishment considering we had two cranky teens with us and that my aching stiff body normally does not start functioning until noon.

We were not 100 feet from our home (basically still in the driveway) and the kids were already plugged in.  Out of commission.  Unreachable.  Gone Fishing.  One listening to her favorite country tunes and the other, his alternative screaming, guitar smashing and cursing, noise.  It was clear that we were not to have any kind of family conversation or chit-chat during our two-hour trip.

Lucky for my husband, I turned to him and began chatting away.  If he owned an Ipod, he would have been plugged in before leaving the house so he wouldn’t have had to listen to my array of fun facts I like to enlighten my family with, on trips.  I often read to them from brochures about the places we are about to visit and they…so love to listen.

 Two hours later we had reached our destination.  A beach we had never visited but highly recommended by my sister-in-law.  It was one of those horrendous muggy, sticky, mad hot days and we could not wait to freshen up in the water.

For the love of God.  The entire State was there.  At that beach.  We dragged all our beach paraphernalia through the burning hot sand looking for an empty spot.  A gap between the thousands of people already settled in their blankets and chairs sweating away, was all we needed.  After searching for what seemed like 55 hours, we found a little spot.  Not the prime real estate needed to house all our stuff, but we took it anyway.

After getting some dirty looks from our very close-to-us, sand  neighbors, we settled in.  Ahhhh….finally relaxing at the beach.    My daughter decided to lay down on the blanket but could not get comfortable.  My son was mortified when he noticed that her foot was resting on someone else’s blanket and told her to move.  But there was no place to go.  She returned to her chair in a…not so happy mood.  

We have never been in a beach this crowded.  We often vacation on Cape Cod and have plenty of room to spread out.  It was crazy.  We could hear all the intimate conversations of those around us, could actually read their books right along with them and check their incoming texts on their phones.

We decided to go in the water to cool off.  My cover-up hiding my new skirted suit stayed with me while I waded in the refreshing water.  I got stage fright and could not take it off.  I know I would have blended right in among the massive crowd and that I should be over this skirted suit issue, but I kept the damn cover-up on the whole time.

My kids tried to play paddle ball, but it was an impossible feat being that they had zero elbow room.

After a couple of hours, being drenched with sweat and feeling claustrophobic (and the fact that my kids were hungry because the stale bread didn’t cut it), we decided to head home.

But the day was saved.  We stopped at a famous Clam Shack on our way home and had the most delicious fried clams, fries and onion rings we have had in a long time!  YUM!  

After some very fully satisfied bellies, an air-conditioned car and the fact that we were headed home, everyone seemed happy.  There was a lot of chatter on the way home and we even got a Thank You from the kids for taking them on this day trip!  

It’s amazing what eating good food, will do.