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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: Rants, Ravings, and Capitulatings
By Marlene Bonney


Weary mother and her three pre-school children troop into the grocery store Friday afternoon.

(She has already changed six diapers and one child’s outfit, done two loads of laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. She has settled multiple spats, monitored T.V., computer games, and I-Pod sessions. She’s suffered through one temper tantrum--not her own, although it was tempting--two minor crises {one with bubble gum stuck in Johnny’s hair and one boo-boo knee scrape when Missy fell off a chair trying to reach the cookie jar}, and a complete personal wardrobe change when baby Elsa sneezed out a mouthful of Gerber strained peas. She has also rescued the cat from a dryer cycle and glued together a broken toy.)

Pushing baby Elsa in the squeaky-tired cart through the fresh produce aisle, her older kids gradually sneak away from their mandated positions on each side of the cart.

“Johnny, you come right back here! How many times do I have to tell you to stay put?”

Missy is before layered tiers of oranges and decides to pull the center one out, causing an avalanche of the “pretty orange balls” all over the floor.

“Young lady, you are going to pick every one of those back up—BY YOURSELF! We talked about this the last time and so you know better!” Mother and Johnny assisting in the clean-up before Manager Mike notices--while Missy, angelically smiling, halfheartedly rolls a couple of them out of the way.

They advance down the canned vegetable and fruit rows, the baking products aisle, and the beverage shelves without incident, Mother breathing easier. She peruses the nutritional labels on cereal boxes as Johnny and Missy escape to the next aisle to drool over the yummy pastries, donuts, and cookies.

“Shush! Don’t be so loud! Mama will notice we’re gone and get mad,” Missy warns her brother.

“Ah, so what? Hey—let’s go sneak these donut holes into the cart!”

“JOHNNY! MISSY!" from Mother.

“Uh-oh! We’re in for it now! Guess you won’t be able to watch ‘I, Carly’ with the rest of us tonight, Johnny.”

“Are you kiddin’? Ma just says things like that to scare us into doing what she wants."

“Kids, WHAT did I say about straying away,” her voice raising several decibels, “as soon as I get the milk and meat, we’re going straight home!”

“But, what about the Popsicles—you PROMISED!”

“You both stand right here and watch your sister while I finish up—DON’T MOVE an inch or you’ll be grounded the rest of the weekend!”

Mother dashes off, quickly selects some ground beef, a gallon of milk, and the heretofore promised box of Popsicles. Meanwhile, awakened baby Elsa’s siblings have pushed her into the toy section.

“MISSY, JOHNNY!” Mom yells, popping in and out of food aisles like a horizontal wayward jack-in-the-box.

Three oversized red balls almost trip Mother as she rounds the last corner where she finds the kids.

“What’s wrong with you children today?! Get over here! We’re going home!” other customers turning around to see what the ruckus is all about as the flighty family exits.

An hour later, a completely exhausted mother cleans up from supper while Johnny watches the latest episode of ‘I, Carly’, Missy is playing with the next-door neighbor girl, and baby Elsa has fallen asleep in her high chair . . .

“Stan, they just don’t listen to me!”

“Judy, honey, they don’t listen to you because you just make threats! I’ve been thinking, though-- you need a break. Why don’t I take over the kids next weekend while you go to that spa over in Stewart Township?”

Stan, an executive manager, begins the weekend with soaring confidence.

“How difficult can it be? I just need to be consistent, follow through, and let these kids know who’s boss!”

By the time Judy is having her complimentary Deep-Tissue Massage, her husband is battling through the Saturday blues with two grounded children and a fussy, teething baby. He had laid down the law at the supermarket, and now he is paying the piper. Between noisy sob-sniffs and messy diapers and repeated requests for taboo entertainments, Stan is teetering on the edge of surrender. The spaghetti sauce boils over on the stovetop at the same time baby Elsa messes her fourth diaper of the day and Stan makes the most diplomatic executive decision of his career.

“Grounding’s over, kids!”

Stan collapses on the couch while Judy blissfully sighs in her perfumed bubble bath.

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This article has been read 301 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen10/25/13
I honestly wanted to say something light and funny and maybe I am old fashioned but truthfully my first thought is these children and the parents need a visit from the TV show, “The Nanny”. Yes, it is hard work being a parent, but if children think they can get their way from parents who give in and don’t follow through, then they think it is that way with God too. And it certainly isn’t, God does what he says He will do. This certainly does show though that being a parent, especially a good parent, is some of the hardest work in the world.
C D Swanson 10/27/13
This was a comical and great tribute to one of the "hardest and toughest" jobs in the world, raising children! Nicely done, and well written and told.

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/02/13
Oh what a wonderful take on the topic. I admit I had tears in my eyes for all the kids whose parents don't understand what idle threats can do. Of course I think probably every parent has over threatened from time to time only to regret it later, but without consistency, the next generation will be spoiled brats. This piece is a perfect example of what not to do. It reminds me of the reality shows like Super nanny and Nanny 911. You did an amazing job with this piece. I wish Dad hadn't caved, but the truth is many parents would cave. Congratulations on ranking 18 overall! Happy Dance!