Dear Whine and Cheese

23 May

Whine: Ever since the Great Hail Debacle of ’95, when softball-sized hail came hurtling through our kitchen window (and also the windshield of my  brown 1983 Ford Fairmont), I have been just a teensy weensy bit scared of spring storms here in Texas. And also I hate getting my hair wet.

Cheese: Between the T-Storm/Large Hail warning on the radio and the peals of thunder overhead, I was very motivated to make my trip to Target quite brief. Who knew mortal danger could be such a money saver?

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I know as a family we are supposed to be spending lots of quality time together, but I’m not sure what to do. Got any suggestions?

Sincerely,

What Do I Do With All These Children

Dear What To Do,

I want to give you credit for desiring more Quality Time with your family. We all know that without enough Quality Time each and every day, all of your kids will grow up to either disown you or live in your garage indefinitely, so I think it’s important to do what you can while they are young. The good news is that Quality Time can come in many different forms:

Taking advantage of free activities in your community is one easy way to spend time together. Arriving two minutes late for the town Easter Egg hunt will allow you to park far enough away so that not only do you miss the actual egg hunt, you will also be able to push your emotionally exhausted 5 1/2 year old in a stroller while carrying your fussy toddler on your hip while your spouse carries your middle child on his shoulders, which is excellent for your cardiovascular conditioning. You will then have the opportunity to go to a local discount store to spend money on your own eggs and candy in order to recreate the hunt at home later that day in lieu of the free hunt you missed.

Doing arts and crafts is another way to stretch your children’s creativity and your patience simultaneously. Painting, gluing, eating thumbtacks and dropping loaded paintbrushes on your hair are all great ways to build fine-motor skills and digestive tolerance. Not to mention the gift-giving potential of a nice homemade gift, because who wouldn’t be touched to receive a repurposed juice bottle filled with tiny pom-poms and covered in streamers? It’s eco-friendly too!

Letting your family assist you in the kitchen also builds strong communal ties. There is something primal about letting your child mix the chicken salad and then wail unintelligibly as you wrap it in lettuce to make cute little chicken salad boats because (you discover much later) the boat lettuce was not cut at the correct angle. Baking cookies and cupcakes is also fun, as your family will develop a keen sense of when it is time to appear (when there are tastes to be had) and to disappear (when there are counters full of sticky dishes to be done).  Perhaps the disappearing act will someday transfer to the time while you are trying to shower or use the bathroom.

In the end, anything you can do to kill time enjoy each other can be considered Quality Time. Just remember, even the Von Trapps didn’t sing all the time. Sometimes they made clothes from curtains or escaped evil political regimes.  So just keep that in mind when planning your next family ordeal outing.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

How do I know if the time we’re spending together is Quality Time or if it’s just Regular Time?

Sincerely,

Does TV Count

Dear TV,

Determining the nature of your time together can be tricky business, so I have devised a Quality Time checklist for your convenience. Score one point for each item, unless otherwise noted.  If you score a ‘3’ or higher, you’ll know you have achieved Quality Time.

1. Forced participation of family members (1 point for each unwilling person)

2. A preparation/clean-up time to actual time spent ratio of at least 5-to-1 (i.e., At least 5 minutes of prep for each minute of actual enjoyment.)

3. Misunderstanding/miscommunication resulting in total meltdown. (1 point for each door slam, frustrated head banged on wall, or tantrum; 2 points if tantrum is in public or  full-out, flat on floor screaming fit.)

4. Arguments regarding trivial details

(Examples: type of sandwich for picnic, seating arrangement in vehicle, choice of dvd for road trip, color of game marker in Candy Land)

5. Exorbitant and unexpected cost (1 point for each unplanned $25 spent)

6. Pictures that make it look like you actually had fun. Pictures assist in creating the Magic Memory Filter all children need in order to look back on their childhoods with that happy, rosy glow. (And yes, pictures from the ER totally count.)

I hope this checklist can be of assistance in your quest for Quality Time.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

A really good friend of mine just published her 100th blog post and I’m very happy for her (even though it took her 2 1/2 years to do it and her posts mostly revolve around getting stuck in windows and the clean up of bodily fluids). What should I do to congratulate her?

Sincerely,

Loyal Reader

Dear Loyal,

Your friend obviously sounds like a delightful (although perhaps slightly disturbed) person. After showering her with lavish gifts and diet coke, I recommend spending some Quality Time commenting on her 100th post and reading through some of her old stories. I hear her take on potty training is informative as well as her handy tips on procrastinating and grocery shopping. I was in the mood for a good laugh-cry, so I read this and this.

And I’m sure, being the delightful person she is, she would want you to know how grateful she is to have a reader friend like you. I would hazard a guess that she really enjoys getting to tell her stories and feel so accepted and encouraged both in parenting and in writing for such a nice person as you.

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Whine and Cheese

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11 Responses to “Dear Whine and Cheese”

  1. rachellemariesoule May 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Hooray 100! That’s awesome! I get a little jump in my heart when I see there is a new post to be read. Keep writing. I need all the jumps I can get.

  2. wee May 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    Whine: (WOW 100!) That really seems unlikely. Time is flying a bit too much. Cheese: WOW 100! Definitely worthy of a LOT of diet coke and many lavish gifts!

  3. Leigh May 23, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Love it! This should definitely be a regular feature if it’s not already. Whine and Cheese sounds super funny and smart. Hope I get to spend some time with her soon! 😉

  4. EricaK May 23, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Congrats on 100! Enjoy your marvelously too true tales. Dear Whine and Cheese is a winner!

  5. gaillaochinda May 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    100! That is so awesome! You are incredible, and thank you for all the laughs and cries you’ve given me over the last 2 1/2 years!

  6. Cheryl Walhout May 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    LOVE IT!!! Congrats on number 100, keep them coming. As for the Von Trapps, if I remember correctly, they broke out in song frequently at rather odd times and places. Again if I am remembering correctly, your mother used to break out in “musical” tunes and dances while walking in the mall. I am sure she could help you master that art. (Just ask her.) Don’t forget to video your experiences. I would love to see them.

    • Sars May 24, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      WHAT?? I have no memory of such things, Sissy. I will have to ask her about that today. Perhaps she’ll demonstrate.

  7. kellie@LaVidaDulce May 27, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Happy 100! You are so ding-dang clever! Love to read about your life as a mom (and you’re a great one by the way!). Such a different time than those days when we sat chatting in my living room isn’t it? xoxo

    • Sars May 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

      Good grief, Kellie, I hardly remember that girl. . . but that’s ok, I don’t remember a lot of things these days.

  8. LJ June 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Wow 100 posts! How wonderful! And you threw in a spot about “diet coke” too! You rock girl!

  9. Karen June 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Every time I read your blog, it makes my day brighter. Congrats on 100!

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