Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GUEST POST: More flagrante, less delecto.

As I've noted, Tuesdays are the day when my wonderful blogging friends use this space to let loose.  There are no rules, not even that one rule about not talking about Fight Club.
Do you know Julie? She is spectacular.  Truly.  She writes over at By Any Other Name, and she'll tug at your heart when talking about her children, when she starts talking about her wedding [by way of her adolescent poetry] you start to get the sense that this is a snarktastic woman and then you'll go on to find a woman who has mad writing skills and who doesn't shy away from the big topics, like tattoos and Brazilians and Botox. She is multi-purpose awesome.
Also, follow her on The Twitter, where she makes things all better.
But first, this:
Like many of you fine people, I appreciate a good dose of irony. In literature. In life. In Alanis Morissette lyrics. (Hey. Let’s not get nit-picky, here.)
Still, there’s a wee bit o’ the ironic I can’t support when it comes to parenting. And that irony is this:
The very act responsible for creating a baby becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy once said baby’s in the works.
First, there’s the GESTATING. I realize some women kick into sexual overdrive whilst with-child. These ladies also bake pies from scratch, pair socks straight from the dryer and care about Monday Night Football. They’re just like me. Except not. Because my pregnancy trifecta was this:
Tired. Hungry. Tired. I wanted a nap. A sandwich. Maybe a 48-ounce porterhouse and another nap. I did not want anyone singing “Having my Baby” while pawing at me. Much.
Mercifully, the little darlings arrive and thus begins the LACTATING. Engorging and latching and pumping, oh my! I am Woman, hear me milk! Also hear me admit that nipple cream, breast pads and nursing bras are not the props of porn. (And please don’t suggest links to dispel this belief. I prefer to avoid baking AND the overlap between suckling and sexy. Sue me.)
Eventually however, the udders shrivel to make room for the actual REARING of your offspring (a brave new world Aldous Huxley conveniently ignored). You face feeding struggles, sleep issues, discipline conflicts, sobbing. And that’s just with your partner. The kid brings his own troubles and also craps himself for years.  There’s little time for justice. And even less occasion for intimacy. (Besides whatever romance you can muster during an episode of - let’s say - Modern Family.)
But then. One day. All your delayed gratification culminates in the Final Parenting Frontier:  
IGNORING the teenager in your house.
This stage presents a unique challenge because the fruit of your loins may stay up later than you; he may roam the grounds turning doorknobs, creaking floorboards, leaving you to worry he’ll burst into your bedroom while you’re  -  let’s say - watching Modern Family.
I have friends who scoff at potential “television disruptions.” If their kid walks in? That’s his problem, mister!
Still. I recall the one and only time I “disrupted” my parents and the vision remains tough to swallow.
I was sixteen and scheduled for the afterschool shift at a local bakery. Because we were overstaffed for the day, my manager relieved me of duty. (Clearly, he wanted to keep his BEST employees fresh for the evening.) Naturally, I grabbed a croissant and fled before he could rethink his choice.
Because this was the Stone Age (pre-cell phones), my parents received no warning to shut their bedroom door. I arrived in time to discover them in flagrante delicto (although in my memory, it was less delicto and more flagrante).
Holy Hugh Hefner! Armed with merely half a croissant, I’d stumbled upon the Grotto at the Playboy Mansion; but in lieu of cave-like ambience, we had Broad Daylight to illuminate the celebration at hand.
So to speak.
I’ll admit that for decades, I sought words more severe than “horrifying” to describe this experience. But with a teenager currently living under my own roof, I’ve since revisited the math. My most recent calculations suggest that poor Mom and Dad were only thirty-eight when I caught them in all their irony. Younger than I am now.
So yeah. I am, therefore, hereby issuing a formal apology. And it goes something like this:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m very sorry. For that day. For this post. For the period of time when I moved home in my twenties. And while it’s true that your ‘Convergence of the Twain’ is seared into my brain like grill marks on a three-pound steak, the encounter was for the greater good as it convinced me I never want my own children (your grandchildren!) to experience a similar trauma.
Your loving (in private) daughter,
p.s. The truth is Bill and I don’t have enough money saved up to pay for college and therapy. Instead, we’re investing in a strong lock for our bedroom door and keeping our fingers crossed.
So to speak.


  1. Oh Suniverse -

    Thank you so much for turning your place over to me today.

    I'd hang with you in a public pool any day, my friend.

    Love you hard ~

  2. My sophomore year of high school, I decided to surprise my dad by coming home for his birthday, as it fell on a Sunday. So, I woke up at 5am, shook off my hangover, and drove "back home."

    Little did I know that my parents were in the early throes of a divorce that would be finalized my senior year of college.

    My mother knew I was coming, my father didn't . . . and I drove past the house just a little while before they got home from church. I went to the store, got him a card, and drove back to find the family station wagon there.

    I walk in, hug my mom and hear that my dad was upstairs checking his email. I go up to the guest room, where we had the computer....and he was checking out the naughty bits of the internet. And doing what a man might do while checking out the naughty bits of the internet.


    All growing up, my room was next to my parents' room, their bed was aligned right next to one of the walls of my room, so every now & then I heard a rhythmic tapping. But, when that happened, I'd just shake it off.

    This, yeah, this sticks with me.

  3. Kendall,

    I was going to say "This is one cycle I'm ready to lose," then I tried to think of a cycle I DO like...


    So yes. Fingers crossed...

  4. Ok, I have to say, I never experienced this terror and I'm so glad of that. But I'll still lock the doors, always.

    And let's talk for a second about how unsexy nursing bras are, especially the "sleep bras". Hubba, hubba.

  5. John - NO! Not the rhythmic tapping! I think this may actually be why Ben Franklin invented ear plugs. He's the one who did that, right?

    Amanda - I haven't nursed in 11 years but I still wear my sleep bra because Bill LOVES it. (Not really. That is one ugly piece of lingerie.)

  6. Ah the horror! Ah the rusty-nail strewn path of marital intimacy! Did that sound v. pretentious? Yeah, true. I read some stupid article not too long ago, pointing a finger at us less sexy, burnt out parents reminding us that where there's a WILL there's a way, and I think even stupid Oprah urged us to take the 7 day challenge, and get it on every day. Yeah, okay. My bedroom's right outside the tv room, and the basement is where the cats take a shit.

    Stupid Oprah.

    Great post!!!!

  7. Karen -

    The only thing I want to do for 7 straight days is NOT watch Oprah.


  8. My sister has the worst story I've ever heard about catching our parents in the act. Except that it was less her catching them and more them rushing into the kitchen for props. Naked.

    I laugh, but I'm thrilled it didn't happen to me.

  9. I too was sixteen and bear the emotional scars of my parent's indiscretion. Apparently we were not supposed to knock on their door on Friday nights and I never got the memo... If I recall correctly my eyes bled and I began speaking in tongues. So as you can see, not much has changed since then.

    This post was absolutely brilliant, my friend. Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.

  10. oh my gosh Julie, freaking hilarious. I can't believe all the code you came up with for the s to the x word. You are brilliant.

  11. I love it! From the very beginning, when I found myself nodding along in agreement, to the bitter (literally) end with that slightly-unexpected-yet-hilarious little anecdote. I may have laughed out loud at, "Armed with only half a croissant..."

    I never walked in on my parents in flagrante delecto. I'm not sure how I escaped 18 years under the same roof with them (plus a couple more in my 20's) without it ever happening, but I'm not complaining.

  12. KLZ - Props? Oh my. And also, *shudder*. Poor sister.

    Heidi - Bleeding eyes? Yes. But I don't want to talk about tongues. Under the circumstances. You understand.

    Ostriches/JoAnn - And yet, I didn't even THINK to use s to the x. DANG it.

    Kristin - I'm hoping to recreate your lucky streak with my own kids...That's why they can't move home in their 20's.

  13. So perfect. I am happy to say I never had to live through this experience so far, either on the viewing end or the "in the act of" end. and I hope I never do. :)

  14. Ryan and I were JUST talking about this, because until recently, Abbey didn't ever get out of her bed at night by herself. We have been less than perfect about shutting the door (or keeping it in the bedroom, actually). Now, I need to invest in a deadlock. I don't want to sear anything into her little brain :)

  15. The most striking part of this post? Your phrase, "craps his pants for years".

    Will your parents be reading your letter to them?

  16. I really hope you send this to your parents. I'm sure they've been waiting years for this apology. That moment is likely as imprinted in their minds as in yours. OR, their minds have coped with the moment in the only way they could to stay sane and they've completely blocked it out of memory, in which case your apology will likely send them into anaphylactic shock. Good luck with that.

    Meanwhile, that deadbolt may be the very thing that guarantees your children will take care of you in your old age (or in your insanity when that memory of your parents finally catches up with you, as the case may be, so to speak).

    I love you, Julie. Please put out a book somewhere so I can buy it.

    Hi, Suniverse. You're pretty.

  17. Ugh.


    we have a 5 a.m. story over here.

    JUST HATE that he will sometime tell of it, too.

  18. I walked in on my parents twice as a small child. Actually, the first time was the pregame show, so there was still underwear involved. The second time was the post-game wrap-up, which involved sleeping. But I knew what had just happened during my nap because I had already caught them before. Shudder.

  19. Kids, the ultimate cock block (stole that from the Mad Woman). A check in the "pro" column for boarding school depending on which way you look at it.

    And thanks Julie for bringing back some shit that I successfully repressed years ago.

  20. DAMN you people are all funnier than I am.

    So not fair.

    But I love you anyway.

  21. My two fave dames on one page??? I just squee'd a the doctor's office, for real.

  22. Currently dodging one (almost) teenager (read: living in the Land of Very Little Nookie). Just what I needed today. Bless you.

  23. I am so happy to report I never was subjected to seeing this image of my parents. How traumatic. I think it would have scarred me for life.

  24. Just this - if my husband EVER tried to interrupt Modern Family for SEX? God help him.

  25. True to form, I laughed out loud reading this. So so funny.

    And I second the strong lock purchase.

  26. Isn't it crazy to think that we are now older than when we thought our own parents were old?! Ugh. And, duly noted, strong locks.

  27. I'm with Bibliomama, I much prefer Modern Family. And seriously, who are those women whose sex drive goes into warp speed?

    Thankfully, I never had to witness my parents in the act since they divorced when I was pretty young (hey, an upside!) but my mom loved walking around the house naked in the mornings yelling at me and my sister to "get the hell out of bed, god****it!." It. Was. Not. Pretty! Excuse me, I need to go call my therapist.

  28. Mom and Dad. On the dining room table. And I had friends with me.

    I can't say anything else.

    It still makes my brain bleed.

    This was a great one, Julie.

  29. To clarify re: the watching of Modern Family --

    I was referring to reruns...


  30. Oh how I love this!

    I was saved the viewing of my parents in such delicate circumstances but my brother was not and he came to me to, oh I don't know clear his mind and his eyes so I got a play by play of the activities.

    Needless to say, we lock our door. Of course with three boys in the house, and always being clung on to by a baby, there isn't a whole lot of door locking going on these days!

  31. Sweet vidalia onions that was hysterical. "Modern Family" - ha! If I ever watch "Modern Family" again, I will keep your words in mind.

  32. Oh Julie...I hear ya, especially on the whole teenagers thing! We have a very small house, and it's just almost impossible to ignore the fact that they are lurking all around the house, not going to sleep at 7pm like the toddlers are.

    And how in the hell did WE become the parents in this scenario anyway?? We are too young, I say. Too young.

  33. The horror!! I am fortunate I was not subjected to that scenario you so eloquently described. And strong locks are a must. A must.

  34. Thanks so much to Julie for sharing this horrifying memory. I am glad to say I never had to deal with this, although just the thought of my parents getting it on is enough for me to start going fetal.


  35. Never saw the parents but heard them all the effen time. And it was my horrible step-mother. Put a pillow over that botches head. Sheesh, Dad. Not only did I hear them, but every friend who ever spent the night heard them. Super classy, plus it helped with the social status.

    Alas, I am responsible for scarring our oldest daughter. She was 9. It was early. They never get up that early. Expect when they do. She bursts in and screams, "WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING?" My husband, who was in a, um, compromising position, yells, "GET OUT!! GET OUT!!"

    The door shuts. Buzz kill.

    We Have learned about things like locks since then. We were only 28 at the time. I blame it on youthful passions.

    Now it's all about the Modern Family. ;)

  36. Julie! Hilarious. And what IS it about teens walking in on parents - same thing happened to me around that age. Scarred for life, therefore I have the same plan as you - my kids'll NEVER catch me!

  37. So a few things I've learned from these comments:

    1.Our parents did (do? gulp) a lot of boffing.

    2. We kids do not recover quickly from The Bleeding Eyes.

    3. Modern Family is better than sex (shhhh).

    p.s. You people are all too fabulous...and I'd party with any one of you behind locked doors any day.

  38. Am I the only one who never caught her parents misbehaving?

    Does that mean I'm destined to get caught myself?

    If so, please, Cosmos, let it be while he's still young enough to believe we're "just horsing around."

    Or something.

  39. This is flipping hilrarious. I remember walking in on my folks... and What I Know For Sure is my mom is not Brazilian. I just threw up in my mouth. About the time our girls grew up and got married, I morphed into a post menopausal fat "spayed" cat. I just wanna lay in the sun and eat. Craptastic irony.

  40. I'm still choosing to believe that my parents have never had sex. I was an immaculate reception.

    For the record, I was a big fan of the lactating stage. BOOM!

  41. Man, I admit - I feel left out. 'Cause it seems like *everyone* has a walking in on parents story and I don't. So maybe you're just making your poor teenage be deprived like I was.

  42. I keep telling John that we will have sex again, at some point. God I hope so LOL.

    I knew my parents had sex...A lot. In fact...oh wait I can't tell that story here. Ok so the last time we went on a family vacation, the children were told to got to beach and they'd meet us there...relax I was 26!! So they come down about an hour or so later..and they are stammering...about going to get ice ..etc. My dad goes to get in the water and my mom says......"no one goes for ice like your dad".

    I will admit that I always wanted to find a chemistry like theirs...they truly loved and "lusted" one another...even though the fights etc.

    This was so funny and so well written....glad I came over to say Hi!

  43. This was the funniest and most clever humor fiction I've read for weeks! Notice I put fiction??? That's for you Momma.

  44. This makes me give thanks for my parents hating each other and never, ever having sex EVER. I'm going to bring this up at Thanksgiving when it's my turn to talk about how my life has been blessed.

  45. My parents divorced when I was a wee one - no other men around for me to have to even consider walking in on anything.

    Also, you should worry more about crossing your legs than your fingers. Just sayin'

  46. Oh I laughed - this was SO funny! We also made sure we had LOCKS on the door of the bedroom, but also that the house locks were strong because sometimes he wanted to run down the field to come visit us from Gram's house when we were, ummm, sweeping the floor.. yeah, that's it, sweeping the floor with our backs.

  47. Wait, are you saying we are suppose to have sex after we are done having kids? I missed that memo. I only have Project Runway on my agenda for the next eight weeks.

  48. I hope you ALL saw Modern Family on Wednesday night.

    Two new episodes.

    Oh yeah.

  49. Everybody needs a "bad mommy" story to tell their therapist. My son can tell his story of walking in on mommy & daddy. Amoung many other stories he will tell.

  50. I remember the night I walked in on my parents like it was yesterday.
    First year in college, came home late and saw their light on and walked straight in. My Dad pulled the sheets up to his chin, my Mom fled naked to the bathroom - oh yes, my boyfriend was standing right next too me ;)


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