BABY: 1) Dad, when he gets a cold. 2) Mom’s youngest child, even if he’s 42.
CARPET: Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes.
COOK: 1) Act of preparing food for consumption. 2) Mom’s other name.
DATE: Infrequent outings with Dad where Mom can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting.
ENERGY: Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something.
FABLE: A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.
FROZEN: 1) A type of food. 2) How hell will be like when Mom lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle.
GENIUSES: Amazingly, all of Mom’s kids.
GUM: Adhesive for the hair.
HANDI-WIPES: Pants, shirtsleeves, drapes, etc.
HANDS: Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal.
HINDSIGHT: What Mom experiences from changing too many diapers.
HOMEMADE BREAD: An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece.
ICE: Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty.
INSIDE: That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside.
“I SAID SO”: Reason enough, according to Mom.
JACKPOT: When all the kids stay at friends’ homes for the night.
JEANS: Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals.
JOY RIDE: Going somewhere without the kids.
JUNK: Dad’s stuff.
KETCHUP: The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.
KISS: Mom medicine.
LAKE: Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so.
LEMONADE STAND: Complicated business venture where Mom buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of 15 cents.
MAKEUP: Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc., which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look “cheap.”
MILK: A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it’s turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa.
OCEAN: What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals.
OPEN: The position of children’s mouths when they eat in front of company.
OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mom’s nickname for Dad.
PENITENTIARY: Where children who don’t eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mom.
PETS: Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after.
PURSE: A handbag in which Mom carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they’re buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons.
QUIET: A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college.
SOAP: A cleaning agent Mom puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.
SPIT: All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids’ faces.
SPOILED ROTTEN: What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with Grandma.
TROUBLE: Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.
UMPTEENTH: Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mom must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done.
UNDERWEAR: An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident.
WALLS: Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room.
WASHING MACHINE: Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues and wads of gum.
“WHEN YOUR FATHER GETS HOME”: Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment.
“YIPPEE!”: What Mom would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months.
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