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Pants Are Not Optional

Did you ever have a parenting moment in which you screamed something at your kid and then burst out laughing because it sounded so ridiculous? Just a few minutes ago, it occurred to me that Kaleb and Cynthia must have gone outside because the volume in the house had dropped a few decibels. It also occurred to me that last time I checked, Cynthia wasn't wearing pants. Sure enough, I found her (drink) cruising along on her scooter, Paw Patrol underoo wedgie in full view for all our hibernating neighbors' viewing pleasure. I found myself (drink) screaming, "we wear pants outside in this family," at the top of my lungs (drink) as I corralled her bare little buns inside.

Several hours later, I glanced out the window to make sure none of the kids had fallen off the trampoline when I witnessed her begin to strip off her pants. What the hell? Have we become so lax in our clothing requirements under the new social distancing lifestyle that pants are no longer necessary? I mean it's a nice day, but it's barely 50 degrees. Why the need to go pantless? It's not like I have her in stiff jeans or tight leather. They're cotton leggings for God's sake. When I clued James into the situation, he did the exact same thing I had done earlier...something along the lines of "pants stay on outside, young lady!" I can't imagine what our neighbors must think.

I've also caught myself throwing around a few phrases I swore I would never say to my kids and yet here I am, making announcements like, "this kitchen is closed!" and countering complaints about the unjust circumstances with, "well, life isn't fair. Or how, about, "what part of take your dirty laundry downstairs, do you not understand?"

Then there's the classic that my dad used to say to us as kids when we were way too wound up and he anticipated an abrupt crash - "laughter always ends in tears," - the ultimate buzz kill. My siblings and I swore we would never be such kill joys as parents, but recently over a few cocktails, we all admitted to regularly interrupting our kids' fun with these very words. The thing is, it's true. They get so out of control crazy sometimes, that you know the inevitable is right there on the horizon. Generally the crash is a result of an injury - either someone falls (drink), or someone trips over someone else, or heads collide - any way you slice it, Dr. Mom is right there at the ready with ice packs and band-aids, smugly, muttering, "I told you so," as the chaos subsides.

It is no surprise that I've become the queen of parental cliches these past couple weeks. When kids are requesting snacks, not out of hunger, but out of boredom, and whining that nothing is fair, it's hard to muster the patience to have a rational conversation explaining why we're not eating now or why we can't do something. Instead, I'm screaming about indecent exposure and making up hours of operations for (drink) lunch lady land. In short, this pandemic has put me on the fast track to becoming my parents, who, in a twisted plot twist, are the epitome of patience and rational explanations as grandparents. One day, this will be me...and watch out kids, because I plan to pay it forward.

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