The Husbands Who Cried Wolf-itis

If this post looks familiar to you, then you are the proud owner of a copy of “I Just Want To Pee Alone”, which features this essay. We are finally able to share it with our loyal readers the whole world today! And now we sit by the phone, because at any moment Oprah is totally calling us, right?

Let it be known right off the bat, we have initials that go with our full names. Lisa’s are M.D. and Ashley’s are R.N. You might think that being married to someone in the medical professional would come with certain benefits. Maybe we’re like Albert Schweitzer and Florence Nightingale all wrapped up in one, diagnosing their aliments and caring for them with compassion during their man-colds. Surely we’re consumed with keeping track of their Motrin dosing schedule and lovingly applying cool compresses to their foreheads.

You might think those things, but you would be wrong.

Because neither of us is involved in patient care on a daily basis anymore, we really enjoy functioning as private WebMDs for our friends. Our fellow moms always come to us with legitimate and normal concerns. We love to help them. But our husbands are another matter. Something about taking our marriage vows eliminated our tolerance for their whining, sniffling, and dramatic overreactions to their every ache and pain. In fact, we endlessly complain about their latest hypochondriacal maladies to each other. Daily.

Hence our conversation from last Tuesday:

Ashley: Seriously, get ready for the latest complaint from my damn husband. Keep in mind that every.single.word I am about to share with you came directly from his lips.

Lisa: Oh God, I can tell this is going to be good.

Ashley: That man looked at me last night and said, “I am really worried about my knee. It feels really spongy–YES HE SAID THAT VERY WORD– and loose around my kneecap.” I let him know that he is over 40 now and that’s going to happen. I told him to get a knee brace from Walgreens, and he’d be good to go.

Lisa: Yep. Total weekend warrior syndrome. That was good advice. Did it reassure him?

Ashley: Ha! No, not even close. He wondered if he should make an appointment with an orthopedist for a custom brace or maybe an MRI.

Lisa: Wow. Just wow.

Ashley: The best part is yet to come. The *next* thing he said to me was (and I quote), “I am really nervous it will just buckle, and I will need emergency knee surgery.”

Lisa: Bwahahaha! Oh, Lawd! What is he, a linebacker for the NFL all of the sudden? Which orthopedist do you have on retainer? I wonder if knee buckle surgery is arthroscopic or invasive?

Ashley: I wonder if it’s covered under our insurance! I assured him that I was pretty confident he was safe from a dreaded case of “the knee buckle”.

Lisa: This must be the week for joint complaints in the over 40 male population.

Ashley: Oh, do tell!

Lisa: My brave little soldier of a husband has decided that he has a raging case of tennis elbow. Except, instead of taking an ibuprofen and going on with his life like a normal person, he thinks it’s best to go around the house wincing and moaning every time he tries to pick something up. He has even taken to freezing in mid-motion and crying out in agony.

Ashley: Did you tell him to get a brace? Maybe our husbands can go together. Perhaps they can find a buy-one-get-one-free special or something.

Lisa: Oh, I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, the over-exaggeration of his “pain” led our sweet, somewhat anxious son to decide that his father was gravely ill. Bobby was so concerned that he took me aside because he was worried his father had somehow contracted elbow cancer.

Ashley: Poor kid! Hey, wait a minute! Don’t *you* have tennis elbow from time to time?

Lisa: Why, yes…yes I do. In fact, when I tried to commiserate with my dear husband at dinner and offer tips for dealing with it, do you know what he actually said to me?

Ashley: No, but I can’t wait to find out.

Lisa: He said, “Oh, that’s right. I forgot you had tennis elbow.” Um, OF COURSE HE DID because I don’t go around complaining about it all of the time.

Ashley: I bet he felt bad then, right?

Lisa: Oh, no! In fact, he had the nerve to say, “My case must be worse than yours. You would not be able to function with pain like this.” You will be proud to know I suppressed the urge to stab him with my fork.

Ashley: Bravo, sister. You deserve a medal for that.

Don’t judge us. We are caring people.

If you had to put up with the litany of complaints we do on a daily basis, you’d become hardened to their whimpers, too. After years of cases of “malaria” that turn out to be nothing more than a zit, we feel totally justified in our penchant for dismissing their illnesses outright. We have no problem assuring our husbands they won’t catch rickets just because they spend all day in an office environment.

We are also absolutely positive they won’t contract scurvy because we callously refused to buy the imported crate of tangelos they wanted from Harry and David.

As a rule, we are always correct.

But…let’s just say that *hypothetically* there may have been a time when each of our husbands complained of a severe cough. We might have suggested they suck on a Ricola and relax. Let’s just say that they both continued to insist they were getting worse by the second and begged us to listen to their wheezy chests. Maybe we assured them they didn’t have the bubonic plague and that, while colds are indeed unpleasant, they are harmless. Let’s just say that after they each spent days lounging in bed, we sent them to the doctor so he would tell them to man up. It’s *possible* that they both *hypothetically* came home with the official diagnosis of pneumonia.

Boy, did we learn a lesson.

No, that lesson isn’t that husband coughs should be taken seriously. Have you even read a single word we’ve written?

The takeaway is that husbands who cry wolf-itis, only have themselves to blame when we tell them to take two aspirin and call us in the morning. Obviously.

Raise Your Hand If Your Partner Rocks Valentine’s Day!

True confession time. We did this last year. As in, this idea is recycled. Or upcycled if you want to be different. Many of you asked in the original post for some feedback on how it went. You know what, y’all? It was really fun! While we can’t remember the exact final scores (we totally won, though, duh.), we know that it led to a trip down memory lane for both couples. It was nice to reminisce about the good old days before kids and laundry and broken toasters took over our lives!

Raise your hand if your partner rocks Valentine’s Day!

Wait a minute, y’all, that looks like a lot of hands up out there…wow, that’s impressive!!

Oh, you were just stretching? So, we don’t need to go cry in a corner because we are the only ones who don’t have the world’s most romantic mates? Whew.

Listen, we are aware of the many ways our hubbies complete us and make our lives better. And we will be sure to tell them all of those ways in their mushy, poetic, just right Hallmark message greeting cards this Thursday. (As long as we have time to go to Hallmark on Wednesday).

But is that really enough? Can’t we do more to celebrate this special day dedicated solely to love?

Let’s just say that we decided to get creative, because when we broached the subject of making this Valentine’s Day special with our hubbies, we were met with a bit less enthusiasm than we had been hoping for. We heard…

“Valentine’s Day? At a restaurant? Isn’t that the night that you can never get a reservation, and then they make me eat off a special menu so I can’t even get the food I actually want?”

“Would we even be able to get a sitter that night? And wouldn’t she want to charge like double? That sounds like it might be expensive. What day is Valentine’s Day again?”

Back off ladies, these special men are all ours! 😉

So, like with everything else in our lives, we have both decided to take matters into our own hands and plan an at-home, totally affordable, hopefully romantic, evening after the kids are in bed!

In order to set the scene, we feel like there must be a good meal. Since we know we’d feel bitter and hostile if we had to do all the work ourselves (and that doesn’t lend itself to romance), we have told our hubbies that they are in charge of what we eat for this special date night. It’s all theirs! Depending on how late they leave the office and how long the line is at the grocery store, we are probably looking at Domino’s Pizza. Hope they don’t forget the garlic knots!

Since we, however, are in charge of dessert, we have been combing the interwebs for all the best recipes. This one left us drooling onto our keyboards, so count on this being served!

Thank you Mix and Match Mama for this fabulous recipe!
Thank you Mix and Match Mama for this fabulous recipe!

But, dinner and dessert didn’t seem like quite enough. I mean we can eat at home in front of the TV with our men any night of the year.

Thanks to our friend Sheri and a long car ride back from the beach, we came up with a way to really spice things up this year! We came up with a game that can be played with our mates that should inspire romance! And no, for the men reading, it is NOT called strip poker.

It is more of a trip down memory lane style game. We thought of questions to answer “Newlywed Game” style that would invite shared conversations about all the reasons why we love each other. We’re writing the questions down in advance and answering at the same time to see how closely our answers match.

Here are some sample questions we will be using:

Where was your first date? This should be an easy one, right? We know they might be dubious about the game, so we’ve got to start off with a simple question to inspire confidence in the whole process!

Favorite Take-out and your mate’s order? Chances are this will be an easy one, too, since we will most likely be eating it as we play!

Best thing your partner cooks? We admit this will be a tough one for our men. It will be a reach for them to say anything other than, “Any meal that doesn’t have us reaching for the fire extinguisher works for us”. It will be fun seeing them try, though!

What was the first trip you took together? Who doesn’t love remembering the good old days of having enough money, time, and energy to travel? (You know, before kids).

What is your dream vacation? Okay, we admit this one could be depressing if you suspect you’re never actually going to be able to get to that beautiful beach in Fiji, but both of us already have dream vacations in mind that are not out of the realm of possibility. This seems like the perfect way to get them on the guys’ radar.

Who is better at handling money?: If our answers match up on this one, we’re immediately putting that person in charge of creating and maintaining the dream vacation fund!

What detail at the wedding did not go as planned? We know there at least one thing that happens on every wedding day that could have made the highlight reel of America’s Funniest Home video, right? Ours are no exception.

What song reminds you of your spouse? We hope they tread lightly here because no wife wants to hear that “Baby Got Back” immediately brings her to mind!

What was the first thing you noticed about your spouse? Was it his sparkling blue eyes or his early 90’s popped collar?

What one item of clothing would you like your mate to eliminate from their wardrobe? Oh dear, this could get interesting. Needless to say, our hubbies have many items to choose from in our closets! And actually, we can think of quite a few things from their closets, as well! (Nobody needs a road cone orange t-shirt. Just sayin’.)

What is the best way you have been influenced/changed by being together? This will have us ending on a high note for sure. Our guys really have brought the best out in us…if you think we’re crazy now, you should have seen what we were like before!

Good Luck, Guys

Have you done this sort of question game with your partner? What other questions would *you* add to our list?

Smells Like Teen Spirit

 

It’s official!! The Dose of Reality has its first teenager!! Whoo Hoo and oh, boy! Today is Bobby’s 13th birthday! In his honor, we’ve decided to re-run this post from last year about the pleasures of having a preteen boy around the house. Even though he’s crossed the threshold and is now an official teenager, all of these still apply (so far)…

 

As we all know, there are many stages of childhood. With each comes some wonderful things and some…well…not so wonderful things.  The pros and cons let’s say. As the mother of a 12 ½ year old son, Bobby, who is *this* close to teenhood (teendom? teenagery?), I feel qualified to spread the word about this stage for boys.

The downsides of having a preteen aged son are well documented—the smells, the messiness, the sheer volume of Axe Body Spray that must be purchased—yes, but those are things I’ll save for another day. Today I’d like to tell you about the good things, the GREAT things actually, about having a preteen son. These don’t get quite as much airtime as they should, and I’m not sure why.  It’s a really well kept secret that this stage is LOADS of fun.

1. THEY WILL CARRY THINGS FOR YOU
The preteen male absolutely revels in the fact that he is getting stronger, starting to fill out, and becoming manly (yes, I can ALMOST see that wisp of hair you are calling a mustache, honey). What fun are manly muscles if they are not showing off? None at all it turns out! Everywhere we go, Bobby immediately starts gathering bags or boxes to carry like he is part oxen. I don’t even have to ask. I swear I have not carried a bag out of Target for over a year. He is very proud to heft those bags right out to the car without even putting them in the cart, thank you very much. It is awesome!

2. THEY CAN REACH THE HIGH SHELF FOR YOU
Now, if you are very tall some of you might have to wait a bit for this one, but if you are short like me (I measure in at a shrimpy 5’3” on a good day), this rocks.  Bobby has been taller than me for about a year now with a better reach to match. If my husband is not around or is otherwise occupied, guess who is more than happy to reach up to the high shelf for me?  You got it. You can practically see him beat his chest like a cave man every time he performs this task. It’s a win-win for us both.

3. THEY ARE FUNNY
You know when a younger child tells you a joke and you laugh and laugh, not because it’s actually hysterical but because they made it up themselves and it’s your parental duty to chuckle? Or maybe you laugh despite the fact that it’s that’s been around so long even your parents are tired of it? Well, those days are over, my friend!  Right about now, they start knowing real jokes that are actually funny.  Now, these are jokes aren’t always “appropriate” for all types of company, mind you, but they know real honest to goodness ways to make you laugh *on purpose*.  Aside from jokes, they totally grasp sarcasm, irony, puns, and can also deliver a deadpan line without cracking a smile.  It all begins here!

WhenSharksAttack

4. THEY READ GOOD BOOKS
I’ve always been a big reader (find me on GoodReads!), and it turns out that Bobby is as well.  When I was little, once you finished children’s books like Little House on the Prairie or Nancy Drew, you were out of luck if you were a reader. You had Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, then…zilch. There was no Young Adult category like today. I started reading grown up books around 6th grade which was sometimes fine, but more often was not. (Let’s just say I read more Sidney Sheldon  than was probably wise.) Now, however, there are fabulous books for young adults—books you will *love*. It was Bobby who told me I should read The Hunger Games trilogy long before any other grown up I knew had heard of it. He also turned me on to The Graveyard Book which introduced me to Neil Gaiman, who is now one of my favorite authors. I, then, told him about the Chaos Walking trilogy, and he returned the favor by having me read the Fablehaven books and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I know this will only get better and better, and I love it!

5. THEY LIKE GOOD MUSIC
I truly love all kinds of music. You’ll find classical, pop, rock, country, folk, and everything in between on my iPod. I have nothing against Justin Bieber or One Direction.  They are absolute staples to my 9 year old daughter, Lucy. But music is important to the preteen boy, and the stuff they listen to is actual music that doesn’t feature a single artist who would be caught dead in Tiger Beat. Bonus points for you if your child plays an instrument (Bobby plays the guitar) because you can get them to learn songs you like.  They can finally play well enough that you can even recognize the song.  Because of Bobby, my iPod now also has rap and dubstep—yes, I do play them even when I’m alone without a child in sight. This might be counted as a negative for some people, but not for me. If you love music, your preteen will make sure you are up to date on what is good and current right now. Look who’s the coolest mom in carpool!

6. THEY ARE GOOD AT GAMES
I stop the “always letting the kids win” thing with games when kids turn 8 or 9.  Now, I’m not saying that I purposefully go all out to stomp them in the ground, but I do quit letting them take multiple turns or changing the rules to suit them. Still, it’s not very competitive, and you can always win if you wish. You are playing games to spend time with them and that’s wonderful, but you can’t play up to your *actual* ability. Right about this stage, though, the preteen boy starts getting good at games and has the ability to go with his burgeoning male confidence. Whether you are talking about board games like Blokus, digital games like Hanging With Friends, or outside fun like shooting hoops, preteens will know what they’re doing. You may still win most of the time, but more and more it takes some actual *doing* and it’s not always a foregone conclusion. If you are somewhat competitive like me, this is fantastic!!

7. THEY CAN GO TO GOOD MOVIES
If you have a child, you will spend more than a few hours of your life in the movie theater watching children’s movies. Some are fantastic and destined to become classics, but some are so awful you deserve a reward (and a cocktail) just for making it to the end. Either way, you will be spending some of your time and money in this way. When boys hit the preteen years, the things they want to see are suddenly things that sound actually enjoyable to you as well.  Now, the movies they select will have a definite male bent to them, but they are movies you might actually select for yourself, and there will not be an animated animal in any of them. You’ll happily attend the newest Batman movie, Mission Impossible, or Sherlock Holmes and—get this—you will actually be parenting at the same time. It doesn’t get any better than this!

8. THEY DO ALL THEIR OWN HOMEWORK
When your children are younger there is a fair amount of home work that you, as a parent,  are required to spend hours doing. You are expected to turn lowly shoe boxes into adorable Valentine’s Day mailboxes, you have to help create posters and dioramas at the drop of a hat, and you probably have to make sure that all homework tasks are done by the time bed rolls around. You are mostly in charge of the whole deal really. Guess what, that is NOT TRUE of the preteen.  A wonderful thing takes place right around middle school.  You don’t have to do a damn thing. They start organizing themselves, they know what has been assigned, they are old enough to do any project thrown at them completely independently, and they frankly don’t want your help because they are just beginning to think they know everything. (Score!)  Sure they might ask you to quiz them to make sure they know their stuff for the Social Studies test they’ve studied for, but sometimes you can’t even do that. (Hello Spanish! My husband took French, and I took Latin. We are no help at all!) Yes, you will still want to spot check to make sure that they are being neat with assignments (they are still boys, of course), and you will still make sure they are keeping up with all of their subjects. But overall, you don’t have assignments nor are you the one who has to keep track of what needs to be done and when. You will not believe the hours of your life this will allow you to reclaim, and the joy this will afford you. They are truly becoming very capable and self sufficient!

Of course sometimes they are too busy texting to actually talk to you.

9. THEY CAN SIT IN THE FRONT SEAT
Sure, they still spend a decent amount of time in the back seat. (When it’s your turn for carpool duty they want to sit next to their friends so they can talk, of course). But, when it’s just the two of you, he can sit right next to you. It’s much easier and more fun to talk this way. Now, you might have to lay down a few laws about who is allowed to touch the radio and air conditioning buttons, but other that that, it’s more fun to travel with another passenger this way. (And you feel less like a chauffeur when you are not the only person up front, let me tell you.)

 

 

10. YOU WILL LOVE THEM MORE THAN EVER BEFORE
I know if your son is small now, you can’t imagine what it’s like when his feet will be bigger than yours, and he needs deodorant. Just thinking about it might make you sad because he won’t be the same sweet little guy who wants to cuddle with you anymore. Even if this list hasn’t convinced you that the best is yet to come, do not fear.  When you look in his eyes or see him smile, believe me, he is still every bit your little guy. You will still see the same boy who loved Thomas the Tank Engine and didn’t get the hang of potty training until you used M&Ms for rewards. The great thing is, now in his profile, in the way he carries himself, and in the way he treats others, you can start to get little glimpses of the man he is becoming, too. It’s amazing.

Bobby through the years

So, let’s celebrate the preteen boy! All the benefits of a real teenager… minus the attitude and ability to drive!

Happy 13th Birthday, Bobby! I can’t believe I have a full-fledged teenager now… and there are only three more years until you can *actually* drive. (gulp)

Don’t Grill a Steak, Grill Your Man on Valentine’s Day!

Raise your hand if your partner rocks Valentine’s Day!

Wait a minute, y’all, that looks like a lot of hands up out there…wow, that’s impressive!!

Oh, you were just stretching? So, we don’t need to go cry in a corner because we are the only ones who don’t have the world’s most romantic mates? Whew.

Listen, we are aware of the many ways our hubbies complete us and make our lives better. And we will be sure to tell them all of those ways in their mushy, poetic, just right Hallmark message greeting cards this Thursday. (As long as we have time to go to Hallmark on Wednesday).

But is that really enough? Can’t we do more to celebrate this special day dedicated solely to love?

Let’s just say that we decided to get creative, because when we broached the subject of making this Valentine’s Day special with our hubbies, we were met with a bit less enthusiasm than we had been hoping for. We heard…

“Valentine’s Day? At a restaurant? Isn’t that the night that you can never get a reservation, and then they make me eat off a special menu so I can’t even get the food I actually want?”

“Would we even be able to get a sitter that night? And wouldn’t she want to charge like double? That sounds like it might be expensive. What day is Valentine’s Day again?”

Back off ladies, these special men are all ours! 😉

So, like with everything else in our lives, we have both decided to take matters into our own hands and plan an at-home, totally affordable, hopefully romantic, evening after the kids are in bed!

In order to set the scene, we feel like there must be a good meal. Since we know we’d feel bitter and hostile if we had to do all the work ourselves (and that doesn’t lend itself to romance), we have told our hubbies that they are in charge of what we eat for this special date night. It’s all theirs! Depending on how late they leave the office and how long the line is at the grocery store, we are probably looking at Domino’s Pizza. Hope they don’t forget the garlic knots!

Since we, however, are in charge of dessert, we have been combing the interwebs for all the best recipes. This one left us drooling onto our keyboards, so count on this being served!

Thank you Mix and Match Mama for this fabulous recipe!

Thank you Mix and Match Mama for this fabulous recipe!

But, dinner and dessert didn’t seem like quite enough. I mean we can eat at home in front of the TV with our men any night of the year.

Thanks to our friend Sheri and a long car ride back from the beach, we came up with a way to really spice things up this year! We came up with a game that can be played with our mates that should inspire romance! And no, for the men reading, it is NOT called strip poker.

It is more of a trip down memory lane style game. We thought of questions to answer “Newlywed Game” style that would invite shared conversations about all the reasons why we love each other. We’re writing the questions down in advance and answering at the same time to see how closely our answers match.

Here are some sample questions we will be using:

Where was your first date? This should be an easy one, right? We know they might be dubious about the game, so we’ve got to start off with a simple question to inspire confidence in the whole process!

Favorite Take-out and your mate’s order? Chances are this will be an easy one, too, since we will most likely be eating it as we play!

Best thing your partner cooks? We admit this will be a tough one for our men. It will be a reach for them to say anything other than, “Any meal that doesn’t have us reaching for the fire extinguisher works for us”. It will be fun seeing them try, though!

What was the first trip you took together? Who doesn’t love remembering the good old days of having enough money, time, and energy to travel? (You know, before kids).

What is your dream vacation? Okay, we admit this one could be depressing if you suspect you’re never actually going to be able to get to that beautiful beach in Fiji, but both of us already have dream vacations in mind that are not out of the realm of possibility. This seems like the perfect way to get them on the guys’ radar.

Who is better at handling money?: If our answers match up on this one, we’re immediately putting that person in charge of creating and maintaining the dream vacation fund!

What detail at the wedding did not go as planned? We know there at least one thing that happens on every wedding day that could have made the highlight reel of America’s Funniest Home video, right? Ours are no exception.

What song reminds you of your spouse? We hope they tread lightly here because no wife wants to hear that “Baby Got Back” immediately brings her to mind!

What was the first thing you noticed about your spouse? Was it his sparkling blue eyes or his early 90’s popped collar?

What one item of clothing would you like your mate to eliminate from their wardrobe? Oh dear, this could get interesting. Needless to say, our hubbies have many items to choose from in our closets! And actually, we can think of quite a few things from their closets, as well! (Nobody needs a road cone orange t-shirt. Just sayin’.)

What is the best way you have been influenced/changed by being together? This will have us ending on a high note for sure. Our guys really have brought the best out in us…if you think we’re crazy now, you should have seen what we were like before!

Good Luck, Guys

 

Have you done this sort of question game with your partner? What other questions would *you* add to our list?