The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Flapjack Fiasco December 3, 2009

I am the world’s greatest babysitter. Especially after having the fire department called based on my cooking skills. (And no, they weren’t called to come join us for lunch.)

On Monday, while I was watching my regular rowdy rascals, I went to the kitchen a little later than normal in search of ingredients for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Much to my dismay, after already telling the kids I was making what I thought would be a quick lunch, I discovered a lack of bread in the house. While rummaging through the cupboard for something that sounded tasty, I came across a box of Bisquick.

Oh, how I love Bisquick pancakes. I like to think I’m okay at making them. My dad’s the master at making ones the size of your plate or larger. His ability goes so far as to our giving him a giant pancake flipper for Christmas a couple years ago. It looked a lot like this.

So, in honor of my father, and in full knowledge that the children like eating pancakes, I set about on the adventure of making lunch with two kids banging on the table and yelling that they’re hungry and a third screaming just to prove she could be as loud as her older siblings.

The first pancake went well. I would say it was perfect. Round in shape, a wonderful shade of brown on either side, yummy smelling. In order to calm the storm, and not to start a fight, I split the pancake in half and cut it up so that the kids couldn’t notice quite as easily.

I’d thrown the second in the pan to cook while I was getting the first ready for the kids to eat. Unfortunately, I’d had the heat on just a little (or a lot) too high, and by the time I looked back over at the batter, the top was hardly cooked, and the bottom was smoking just a lovely shade of, oh, black.

Having run into this issue on occasion before, I decided to at least cook the opposite side in order to scrape off some of the pancake to eat. It was mine anyways.

I looked around at that time, searching for a smoke detector to wave smoke away from in hopes it wouldn’t go off. When I didn’t find one, I thought it odd, but I figured I just didn’t recognize it. I didn’t, however, have the common sense to open a window.

As a result, the little smoke there was floated and found the ADT smoke alarm, setting it off in an awful screaming beep and alerting the security company to my follies, who in turn called the fire department before calling the house. After I explained the situation, they called off the alarm to the fire department. An inside source told me they even announced to everyone listening that “the babysitter burnt the pancakes.”

Great, now everyone in town knows of my mad cooking skills.

It wasn’t for another hour that I had the opportunity to eat my own pancake, once all the kids were in bed for their naps or “rest times”.

On the upside, the kids and I made a fort out of a giant blanket and the kitchen chairs later on that afternoon to make up for the lunchtime chaos. It was a hit, and even I momentarily forgot about the stress.

Looking back, I find it amusing that the kids continued to sit quietly at the table, munching away at the first pancake while all of this went on. The only time any of them seemed distressed was when they ran out of pancake, not when they heard the alarm go off. I wonder if Mommy has this issue often.


Birthdays & Broken Toys October 5, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 5:42 pm
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My birthday is this week. One of the little girls in our church turns four today and is having a big birthday celebration. As a result, I’ve been thinking about gifts and children’s toys. Considering I’m twenty years older than my little friend, I don’t anticipate receiving the party and gifts like she will be.

The only gift I’ve received this year was a cute little notebook in the shape of a purse and two cute candle holders from my secret sister. Being the youngest in the whole thing, I tend to get gifts that, well, clearly point out that age difference. 🙂 But that’s okay, it makes me smile inside every time, knowing that whoever my secret sister is understands I’m still just a kid in many ways.

Thinking about kids’ gifts, though, I came to realize that there are two days in every typical child’s year that tend to be much more tragic than any other day: the day after Christmas and the day after their birthday. Those are the days that most of their toys tend to break. That is, unless you have an extremely particular child who never breaks anything. (If you do, I’d like to meet your child because that’s not normal.) Many even consider the day after Christmas National Whiner’s Day due to this.

Last month, I had the privilege of watching two birthday children the day after their birthday party. By lunch time, a crown, a drumstick and a drum had busted. Who knows what other new toys I missed as they were dismembered while I was off making pb & j sandwiches for lunch? The mother of these kids likes to claim that they are “curiously destructive”. I like that term.

That brings me to ask a few questions about children’s toys:

(1) Why is it that the annoying ones are the ones that never seem to die and the other toys just fall apart within a day’s time? I think toy makers intentionally do this to parents and childcare providers. Batteries seem to last longer on the obnoxious toys (and, thankfully, we can never seem to find replacements once they do).  As for the trinket-type toys, they break by the end of the day from either being stepped on or torn apart by children who wonder why they don’t make the same obnoxious noises as their other toys. I’ve decided that someone needs to make sturdy, non-obnoxious toys before I have kids.

(2) Why is it that people always think that they’re giving kids something fun when they give them a cheap $.25 toy that’s going to make them cry when they break it the next day? I have to confess, it’s easy to do. You think to yourself, “Oh, little Johnny will like this” even though you’re simultaneously thinking, “This toy is a piece of crap with a price tag.” Sadly, it’s too easy to let that sentimental side convince you that, while you know the toy is going to break soon after the child receives it, the smile on his or her face is worth that measly $.25. But is it really? Maybe, if you’re not the one who has to deal with the broken toy later.

What do you think? Are toys made sturdy enough for kids? Or do we just buy the cheap ones because they’re inexpensive?

Did you have a favorite toy when you were a kid? Was it prone to breakage, or did you know to keep it out of harm’s way?


Part of Your World [Get a Job Remix] September 28, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — Erin Joy @ 12:42 pm
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A few weeks ago, I watched The Little Mermaid for the first time all the way through in English. The only other time I’d seen it was in high school French class. I was one of the few girls growing up who didn’t dream of being Ariel or repeatedly watch the scene where she sang with all her gadgets and gizmos in the cave. That’s okay though. I’ve decided to make up for lost time by writing a parody of the song with respect to my current situation.

And just a clarification before you start reading, I don’t hate spending time with all kids. It just gets tiring when you seem to only spend your time babysitting kids, especially when you would rather spend time at a job doing something else. Even still, I’m thankful every day for what income I do have.

“Part of Your World” [Get a Job Remix]

[spoken] Maybe he’s right. Maybe there is something the matter with me. I just don’t see how a world that employs so many people could find me so bad.

Look at this stuff,
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my life’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl,
The girl who has everything?
I’ve got a home,
Friends all around.
How many blessings can one person have?
Looking around here you think:
Sure, she’s got everything.
I’ve got bubbles and puzzles a-plenty.
I sit babies and toddlers galore.
You want Handy Manny shows?
I know twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal,
I want more!

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna be, wanna be with them workin’
Walking around at those – what do you call ’em?
Oh – jobs!

Watchin’ the kids, you don’t get too far.
Ideas are required for writing, working
Scrolling along down a – what’s that word again?

Out where they write, out where they have fun
Out where their sitting days are all done
Imagine me free – wish I could be
Part of that world!

Know what I’d give if I could live out of these pressures?
Know what I’d pay to see loans come to an end?
Bet’cha you can, and they understand
That they’re not stuck living with their daughters
Proper women, independently dreamin’
Ready to stand

And ready to know what the people know
Ask ’em my questions and get some answers
What’s a job and what does it – what’s the word?

When’s it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that world with no kids,
No more babies?
Wish I could be,
Part of that world!


The Follow-Through June 25, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 8:43 am
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One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says that they’re going to do something, and then there is no follow-through. I take people at their word, and I expect them to take me at mine.

The worst part of this, I think, is when I find myself doing exactly what I hate most. (Romans 7, anyone?) It’s an awful cycle. I’ll give you an example:

Sunday nights I generally reserve for watching the children at my parents’ small group. There are usually two kids I spend time with, occasionally three. We have a lot of fun playing in the backyard on the swings or in the basement with blocks.

But early last month, I had a Sunday afternoon bridal shower to attend. I had figured in the length of time that the shower would take, but I had forgotten that there would be about an hour drive in each direction, not to mention time I’d spend after the shower talking with friends from high school. By the time that we were on our way back home, I was already late, so I canceled on them.

The kids were devastated, and the small group didn’t accomplish near what they normally do due to my absence.

My guilt drove me nuts that next week. At first, I felt awful that I’d told the parents (and the kids) that I would be there later that evening and wasn’t. Then, after realizing that I complain most when people do this to me, a new wave of guilt washed over me as I began to see myself as this horrible hypocrite.

I’ve found that I guilt others in the same horrible way. If someone promises me something, I expect it. I take people at their word. If it doesn’t happen, if there’s no follow-through, I become angry and unforgiving. I don’t leave room to consider for miscalculations like the one I had or for confusion or a just plain change of the mind. You would think I would be more understanding, but that’s not usually the case.

This recently happened with a friend of mine. I’m trying to decide if I should just let it go or if I should stop trusting this person. I watch as just about everything this person says to me falls through, and then this friend wants to shrug it off as if nothing happened.

So, the question is, is it time to no longer believe anything this person says anymore? Or do I forgive and pretend as if nothing happened?