How to Be An Effective Parent Using Only the Word “Bingo”

How to be an Effective Parent Using Only the Word Bingo

Kid:   I want a new skateboard.

Parent:   Bingo!

Kid:  So can I have $80?

Parent:  Bingo!

Kid:  Do you want me to clean my room first or something?

Parent:  Bingo!

Kid:  Ok, I cleaned my room.  Can I have the money now?

Parent:  Bingo!

Kid:  Ok, you want me to get your purse?

Parent:  Bingo!

Kid:  So where’s the money?  Don’t you have $80?

Parent:  Bingo!

Kid:  Well, you should have said so in the first place because I wouldn’t have cleaned my room if I would have known you didn’t have any money.

Parent:  Bingo!

When Push Comes to Shove It’s Time for a Cesarean

My New Grandson, Henry William Benson!


Hello Dear Readers!  Well as you can see there’s been some excitement around here.  My new little grandson Henry William began his new life out in the real world on Saturday night after a long, leisurely road trip through BC (Birth Canal).

Henry Took the Scenic Route

 On his way through BC, Henry chose to dilly dally, making frequent stops along the way for snacks and pictures, then taking a nap or two — completely oblivious to the fact that there was a room of people anxiously awaiting his arrival.  Finally at long last, somebody just went and got the scissors and showed Henry the ol’ Cesarean Shortcut.

And, frankly, I was a little surprised when Henry wasn’t born with a miniature camera around his neck, clutching a tiny road map in his fingers and wearing a teeny tourist t-shirt that said something like “I just came through the birth canal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

Having a Baby Can Take a Lot Out of You

My daughter, Jackie, was a trooper through the entire 23 hours of back labor, front labor and sideways labor.  But not to worry.  She had a mid-wife who was there to help her!

The mid-wife, whose name was . . . well, let’s just call her  . . . oh I don’t know . . . I’m just picking a name at random here — let’s just call her Salisbury Steak.

Salisbury Steak, just for the record, Dear Readers, was about 40 years old and in those 40 years, had somehow managed to learn every bit of information a person could possibly learn with the possible exception of Albert Einstein and even he didn’t know as much about birthin’ babies as Salisbury Steak!

Add to that the fact that Salisbury Steak has managed to develop an esteem for herself that is unrivaled, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a midwife!  (And don’t just go by me, I’m sure Salisbury Steak will back me up on that.)

To prove my point, here’s a conversation Salisbury Steak and I had after Jackie had been in labor for 22 hours and her blood pressure had dropped to 60 over 30.

Me:  This isn’t going well, I’m concerned.

Salisbury Steak:  Oh, is that your medical opinion?

Me:  She’s dizzy and her blood pressure is extremely low, and she’s been in labor for 22 hours she’s been pushing for almost 3 hours and the baby isn’t any farther down than he was three hours ago!

Salisbury Steak:  First of all, 60 over 30 is not low!  She just needs to drink some apple juice, besides the baby is moving down now.

Me:  But isn’t this his foot way up here?

Salisbury Steak:  What?  No.  Let me feel it.  No, that’s just a fibroid tumor!

Me:  But she shouldn’t be drinking apple juice!  At this point, she shouldn’t be drinking anything!

Salisbury steak:  Oh really is that your medical opinion? (Salisbury Steak didn’t add, “What do you know about it old lady, you probably don’t even know how to work your smart phone like it do!” — but I could tell she wanted to.)

Me:  I’m concerned, we need to do something!

Salisbury Steak:  Oh really?  Is that you’re medical opinion?

Do you see how well Salisbury Steak handled the situation?  Her assessment that Jackie’s blood pressure of 60/30 was simply a result of Jackie’s mother being overly concerned and micro-managing Salisbury Steak’s sweet mid-wifing skills — was nothing short of brilliance.

And furthermore, it was becoming quite obvious that I was making Salisbury Steak’s mid-wifing experience a bummer and that I needed to please shut up!

Well in the end, Dear Reader, I am extremely relieved to report that Salisbury Steak finally decided that in Salisbury Steak’s medical opinion, Jackie did, indeed,  require a C-section a decision that could have been made hours earlier, but that would have required Salisbury Steak to hang up from chatting on the phone.  (She’s quite a popular one, that Salisbury Steak!  But, then, who doesn’t like Salisbury Steak?)

Anyway, by the grace of God, our sweet little Henry finally made his debut into this world thanks to the doctor who performed the cesarean section –and both mother and baby are safe and sound!

Before Salisbury Steak left she gave me a great big hug and said good-bye.

And I, too, bid farewell to Salisbury Steak.

“Good bye Salisbury Steak!” I said. “You big effing idiot!”

* * *

Linda vernon's drawing of a midwife, Linda Vernon Humor
Midwife Extraordinaire, Salisbury Steak

How to be an Effective Parent Using only the Word “Bingo”

Hello Dear Readers and welcome to Fish it From the Archives Friday, where we tie a rope around our waists and lower ourselves into a big vat of old posts, fish one out and post it here!  (We also like referring to ourselves in the third person, plural when we do this because sometimes Fridays makes us more weird than we already are.)

How To Be An Effective Parent Using Only The Word “Bingo”


“I want a new skateboard!”




“So can I have $80?”




“Do you want me to clean my room first or something?”




“OK, I cleaned my room. Can I have the money now?”




“OK,you want me to get your purse?”




“So where’s the money? Don’t you have $80?”




“Well, you should have said so in the first place because I wouldn’t have cleaned my room if I would have known you didn’t have any money.”




Until next time . . . I love you

Toodle Doesn’t Give A Fig

Unless you’re a gifted and talented psychic or are renting-to-own a time machine, the future is a place most of us haven’t spent a lot of time knocking around in.

So the only thing we can do about the future is prepare for it in a way we think we’re going to like years from now.

That’s why when we lovingly tuck away Toodle’s first-grade dinosaur coloring book with the other 783 pictures that tiny Toodles drew during the month of April 1987 (using only his blue crayon) along with a clip of his hair and a wad of his first piece of chewing gum in a waterproof, earthquake proof, nuclear-plant meltdown safe container, we know Toodle will thank us from the bottom of his heart one day when he wants to show someone how wonderful he was.

So even though we secretly suspected that  the twice-a-year school pictures multiplied by 12 years might be a tad too much Toodle, we lovingly  preserved  what turned out to be 14,000 pictures of Toodle in every conceivable stage of growing up in  247 boxes labeled ” Toodles –Important” and carefully stored them in the Toodle designated storage area called the garage.

Will Toodle really want all this memoribilia someday?  Answer: no.

So why do parents do this? For one reason and one reason only.   To prevent the following nightmarish scenerio in which the storage of Toodle’s memoribilia went terribly terribly wong.

Fast forward to the year 2040

You and your husband are relaxing on the stainless steel couch sipping Clockwork Orange juice  in matching white jumpsuits looking exactly as you do now only with a tiny bit of gray at each temple.  In pops Toodle looking just like he did in first grade only taller.

“Mother, Father, I’d like you to meet my new girlfriend ThX1138. She wants to see my first grade picture.”

You dash to the garage.  Instead of reaching for the Box labeled Toodle’s First Grade Pictures, BOX 1 of 45,  you manage to find one crummy shoebox smooshed behind the lawn mower with the words “What’s His Name” scribbled on top.   Hands slightly shaking, you carefully lift the lid and are horrified to find just one lousy picture of Toodle with the words “what’s his name, age 8 or possibly 9” scribbled on the back in blue crayon.  Averting your eyes from Toodles’s piercing gaze, you carefully hand it to THX1138.

She takes it in her slender hand and asks, “Why’s there gum on it?”

You run to your to your room and cry yourself to sleep for being such a horrible parent.

The reality?

Much as we would like to think that our future selves will appreciate the efforts of said self here in the present, we got another thing coming.

Until next time . . . I love you

Big Bucks Barbie

 One year my daughter asked Santa for a “My Size Barbie.”  A “My Size Barbie” is a Barbie doll that has been fed huge amounts of hormones at the factory causing her to become the size of Daryl Hannah.

Picture of My Size Barbie in a Blue Dress   Daryl Hanna on Red Carpet

To ensure that “My Size Barbie” would be in stock, I went to the toy store early.   I approached the Barbie aisle and was about to ask where I might find The Big One, when I tripped over a humongous box containing “My Size Barbie” nearly breaking “My Size Arm.”

The adrenalin rush I experienced from the fall enabled me to heft the package containing The Incredible Babs onto my cart, but not being Arnold Schwartzenegger (or even Maria Shriver), I wasn’t strong enough to maneuver the box so that I could see the price tag.

I inched my Barbie-burdened cart to the checkout stand where it took four of us to hoist The Big Gal onto the scanner, and I mentally noted that perhaps some low-fat Barbie cuisine would make an apropos stocking stuffer.

Being an alert consumer, I had estimated the price at around $40, $50 or maybe even $60.

“Do you know how much this is?” I asked the clerk.

“I’ll let you know in a sec, hon,” she said as she fired up the jaws of life to help her run Buxom Barb over the scanner.

As I waited for the price to appear, I recalled a Christmas of long ago when I had received a Barbie Dream House.  My mother had lovingly assembled it all by herself.  It had taken her the better part of the Kennedy administration.

Barbie's first dream house
Assembles in four years

That had been my favorite Christmas and I owed it all to my mother and to my Barbie.  How ironic that this Christmas I would be giving my daughter The Mother of All Barbies.

“Excuse me ma’am? The “My Size Barbie’ is $128.  Did you still want it?”

One-hundred and twenty-eight dollars!  Suddenly everything began to move in slow motion.  I could feel myself turning white . . . then red . . . then green . . . like an aluminum Christmas tree on a rotating stand.

I looked at the clerk, then back at the 20 or so people waiting in line behind me.  They were all staring at me and sighing a lot.  Maybe they were thinking that I shouldn’t let my daughter down for a few lousy bucks and that I should forget the expense because, after all, it was Christmas.  Finally, a gentleman from the back of the line offer his advice:

“Move it lady!”

Then the clerk from the neighboring checkout stand shouted over, ” My niece has one of those and they can  wear the same clothes!” And then, just to bring it on home, she added, “I think she comes with an entire wardrobe!”

The clerk and I quickly tried to figure out how many outfits were included, but that information was on the opposite side of the box and somebody else was using the forklift.

In the end, I paid with a check so big it would have made “My Size Barbie” proud.  And as the crane lowered The Ultimate Barbie onto the roof of my car, I knew in my heart I had made the right decision.

"A little to the left!"
When Christmas morning came, my little girl would open her very special present, and the wonder and joy that is Christmas would be captured again for one brief, shining moment.

I say brief because the day after Christmas, I made “My Size Barbie” go out and get a job.

The “First Haircut” Incident

photo of Grandson getting a haircut
No we are not strapping him into the electric chair, he's getting his first haircut!

First the Good News!

My grandson, Mr. Clayton D. Kaiser, got his first haircut yesterday and everything  came off just as it was supposed to except for one minor incident hardly worth mentioning.  But more about that later.

The Hair Cut 

It only took three of us to hold him down (he being the ticklish type) but we are happy to report that not only does his haircut look fabulous, he also managed to retain both ears in the process — and, except for one slight nick in the back, looks downright dapper!

Even though you can't see them in this picture, his ears are still there . . . I think.

Unfortunately, there was one teensy-weensy complication during the course of “The Haircut” 

It was an incident involving a little dog who happens to belong to the Kaiser Family. A little dog who seems lovable enough outwardly, but who, it turns out,  has the heart and soul of a Radical!

Voted Most Adorable Terrorist Alive!
Apparently, Trudy — left to ponder the meaning of life while all alone in a big back yard — took it upon herself to finally show some initiative and  dig her way to freedom whereupon she began  “terrorizing the neighborhood.” 

That’s the way the landlady described it anyway in an emergency phone call during “the Haircut.”

The landlady wanted us to return to home base immediately and “DO SOMETHING!”

Talk about a Captain Kirk Decision-Making Moment!

A dilemma of epic proportions had presented itself:

Finish the haircut? Or stop mid-cut and rush home to save the neighbors?

In the end, we opted to continue with the haircut — but implored the hairstylist, Christine, to utilize the photon-torpedo scissors and go at it at warp speed!

Take us Home Scotty!

When we returned home, Trudy was back in her proper area, all the neighbors had returned to their living quarters and the Landlady, who lives across the way,  was nowhere to be found.

And although there were no signs of violence or blood or anything like that, god only knows the toll that Trudy inflicted on the psyche of the entire neighborhood.

But hey!  Mr. Clayton D. Kaiser’s hair looks GREAT, so who cares!

Until next time . . . I love you

Get your grandbaby a onesie that says:  “Some things money can’t buy, for every thing else. . . Grandma”    Get it here:
There are some things money can't buy, for everything else . . . grandma!
Design by Buzatron

The Toddler Tabloids

ATTENTION GRANDMAS!  New T-Shirt Now Available:
“There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else . . . Grandma”


Design by Buzatron!

Available at:

Something Happened to toddlers while my back was turned!

My daughter, Nikki, has been sick and it’s not easy being sick when you have a 20-month toddler wobbling around the house.  So it was grandma to the rescue (that’s me).

The applesauce of Grandma’s eye

Now here’s a little piece of info for you new grandmas out there.  Toddlers aren’t like they used to be.  Or at least not like you remembered them to be.

My toddlers weren’t like the toddlers of today!

It seems to me, my toddlers woke up with a big smile.  I’d take them out of their cribs and, after changing their own diapers, they would toddle happily to the breakfast table where upon they would eat their entire breakfast consisting of something marvelously healthy, then play quietly with their toys, watch a little Bert and Ernie before taking a nap for the rest of the day.

Hey!  What happened to the bliss?

Ok, I admit there’s a little fuzziness in my memory here and there, but basically I remember the Toddler Days were filled with love and tranquility and happiness and harmony bathed in a pink cloud of light with the Sesame Street theme song playing sweetly in the background.

I’m sure I’m remembering it right, maybe

But having taken care of my 20-month-old grandson, Clayton, all day for a couple of days now, I have been forced to re-evaluate that perhaps I was remembering things a tad differently than how they actually are when it comes to the care and feeding this tiny creature known as the Toddler.

“Careful! He’s spring-loaded!”

You see, Toddlers are a double-edged plastic knife.  A dichotomy if you will. They are so completely and utterly, heart-meltingly adorable that you can hardly takes your eyes off them. While at the same time they are so creatively attuned to getting into dangerous situations that you can hardly take your eyes off them.

This makes for an enormous amount of intense eyeball time which can sometimes lead to crossness.

these are some of the things I’d forgotten about toddlers:

It’s impossible to get a toddler to:

Hold still long enough to eat their breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Hold still long enough to change their diapers. Hold still long enough to put on their coat, shoes, comb their hair, brush their teeth, wipe their faces, wipe their hands, put on their shoes, take off their shoes, change them into a dry shirt, change them into dry pants, change them out of their wet shirt into a dry shirt and back out of a wet shirt and back into a dry shirt. Phew!

I’d also forgotten that toddlers’ TV viewing habits tend to be repetitious:

It’s Barney, Barney, Barney followed by Barney and then Elmo, then Elmo, then Elmo, then Elmo then back to Barney, Barney, Barney to be repeated in this order until Toddler tires of activity or grandma starts to babble more than toddler in which case an intervention could possibly be in order.

And when it comes to reading material, Toddlers can be fickle

Just when you’re getting used to reading “I Can Help” 14 times in rapid succession as they listen enraptured, thumb-in-mouth;- they suddenly decide they don’t want you to ever read “I Can Help” again, and it will be “What Do Babies Need?” 14 times in rapid succession or it will be NOTHING AT ALL!

I’d also forgotten toddlers’ are so very gifted when it comes to rapid emotional changes:

For instance, they can hurl themselves to the floor face down and cry bitterly into the shag carpet when corrected for wanting to play with electricity; but can  just as quickly make the tears running down their cheeks screech to a stop,  reverse direction, and roll right back up into their adorable little eyeballs stat! when confronted with a cookie.

Yeah, my pants are full of poo — Aren’t everyone’s?

They can also get quite testy when you try to get them to eat the rest of their applesauce, while simultaneously being cool “just hanging out” with a pant-load of poo.


Always Take into account the Toothpaste Factor

And finally, I’d forgotten that toddlers are like toothpaste.  Once you take them out of the container they are in, you can never get them to go back in again.

So a reminder to new grandmas everywhere. Remember that if you let them out of the shopping cart, the high chair or the car seat to run around on their own, there’s no going back, EVER!

You will be completely screwed until they reach the age of six.

Until next time . . . I love you

Are You Ready for Kids?

There are a lot of things to be considered before having children. Are you mature enough? Will you be able to swing it financially? But most importantly, do you have what it takes to create a miniature model of Mission San Juan Batista from scratch?

Be forewarned that by the time your cherished tyke is ten, you will have been required to produce — through the magic of glue guns and Popsicle sticks– an exact replica of every major historical event known to man, real or imagined.

For me, it all started when my child was in kindergarten and brought home a paper doll with instructions to dress him or her in native dress that would represent our family’s ethnic origin.

This is easy for those who have specific ethnic origins. It’s a little more difficult for those of us whose lineage is all over the map.

Let’s see . . . Mom is a little Danish, a little Irish and a little French, while Dad is a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

I decided to cover all my bases. I would send the paper doll back to school wearing knickers, a Nehru jacket, a clown collar, a plaid beret, and a powdered wig.

I then proceeded to create the outfit using ordinary household junk — keeping in mind all the while that the final product should look as if it were crafted by my child’s own “wittle” hands. This part was easy. everything I have made in my entire life looks like it was crafted by the “wittle” hands of children.

Of course, it gets worse. First grade requires Mother to fashion a pilgrim’s log cabin replete with pilgrims, pilgrim’s pets, plus four cleared acres of land.

In fairness, I must admit that the teachers always stress that the child should be doing a good portion of the work. That’s why when Mom sits down with Junior to make a log cabin by gluing 5,009 pretzels on a milk carton, she makes Junior contribute by handing her the pretzels one at a time — until he can no longer stand it and runs away, 30 seconds later — leaving Mom all alone (if one can truly be alone with 5,009 pretzels).

The log cabin project is only the beginning in a series of progressively more complicated projects until the final culmination of skill is tested in the fourth grade when Missy is required to make a scale model of a California Mission.

This is not to be taken lightly. One false move here and your youngster could suffer the stigma of bad gluing for weeks, even years. One of my children still has nightmares about the fourth-grade mission project.

In a series of bad decisions and poor planning, this particular kid when to school with a slapped together mission made out of Play Doh and ordinary leaves and twigs. It didn’t look bad the night it was finished, but no allowance was made for the fact that Play Doh tends to collapse under the weight of ordinary leaves and twigs.

By the time School Open House night came, there lay my kid’s rendition of San Juan Bautista looking exactly like San Juan Bautista — right after The Big One.

By the time my youngest child hit fourth-grade, I had learned my lesson. This time we made a trip to the local craft store where we purchased a 100-percent authentic California Mission Kit. All we had to do was glue it together and paint it.

We got home and followed the instructions that were so simple that any child with an IQ of 165 and three hands could do it. After gluing and un-gluing some more, my child proudly returned to school with a mission so wonderful, it could have been entered as a float in the Macy’s Day Parade.

A final word of advice to those of you even considering having children — start saving everything now — no matter how useless. You never know when you’ll need material to craft that scale model of Atlantis or replicate the Big Bang.

Only in this way will you be prepared should the little clone come to you of a Sunday night at 10 p.m. and announce that his Panama Canal Project is due the next day. You’ll simply go to your collection of materials, reach into your holster, draw your glue gun and VIOLA! A gateway to the Pacific!

Until Next time . . . I love you

How to Be An Effective Parent Using Only the Word “Bingo”

How To Be An Effective Parent Using Only The Word “Bingo”


“I want a new skateboard!”




“So can I have $80?”




“Do you want me to clean my room first or something?”




“OK, I cleaned my room. Can I have the money now?”




“OK,you want me to get your purse?”




“So where’s the money? Don’t you have $80?”




“Well, you should have said so in the first place because I wouldn’t have cleaned my room if I would have known you didn’t have any money.”



Daylight Savings Barbecue

Daylight savings time has arrived which means  it’s time to clean off the outdoor grill and start looking around the house for something to throw on the Barb-y and while you’re at it maybe find a clean shirt for Ken.

"Mmmmm . . . is that charcoal briquettes I smell Ken?" "No my pants are on fire."

Ah! There’s nothing like the aroma of charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid to make your mouth water for a big, fat juicy filet Mignon (which, by the way, is French for “to hell with cholesterol”).

In my house, nothing can put a stop to the pre-dinner moaning faster than the announcement of barbecue.  This is because my family prefers food that has been over-cooked in the Great Outdoors to food that has been over-cooked in the Great Indoors.

I don’t want to brag, but I have this natural ability for broiling, roasting and frying everything to a crisp.  I believe cooking should be a devil-may-care endeavor, and the fact that my electric frying pan is jammed at 525 degrees is nothing to get all hot under the collar about.

"Oh goody! Supper's ready!"

My family takes my laid-back approach to cooking lying down because that is usually how they end up after eating the meals I fix.

"I think there was something wrong with that souffle." "THAT was a souffle?"

But when they occasionally rebel and complain about supper being singed beyond recognition, I simply tell them it’s Cajun Style.  “They’re blackened pancakes,” I’ll explain, “the most often requested meal at Mardi Gras.”  They pretend to buy this explanation even though I’d be willing to bet they would buy no such thing at Mardi Gras.

"No thanks, I had 'em for lunch."

Actually I have a lot of little fibs I use to cover my trail of cooking smoke.  For instance, last night on a whim, I decided to fix chicken Kiev as I had some extra Kiev lying around.

Unfortunately, right in the midst of my Kiev culinary conniption fit, I got a phone call and I was amazed how quickly my supper transformed itself from Chicken Kiev to Chicken Chernobyl.

So it’s little wonder that my family was positively giddy when my husband unwrapped his birthday present.  It was a box containing 5,167 shiny new pieces which, when properly assembled, would become a deluxe barbecue, and it meant that somebody else (like Bill, himself) would be doing the cooking.

“ASSEMBLES IN MINUTES” was emblazoned on the side of the box and since there was a whole hour before supper, my husband got right down to the task of assembly by carefully reading all 158 pages of instructions then meticulously laying out thousands of parts labeled with every letter in the alphabet and then some.

"What the ?"

We all hummed Happy Birthday and watched in hungry anticipation as my husband (a mechanical engineer) struggled to fit Piece A into its corresponding Slot VII.  He admitted defeat only after the batteries in the flashlight went dead.

We ended up eating Bill’s birthday dinner at 11 p.m.  While we were waiting for the steaks to finish broiling in the Great Indoors, we amused ourselves by making up jokes about how many mechanical engineers it would take to put together a barbecue.

When we finally heard the familiar buzz of the smoke detector, we were jubilant.  It meant we could finally sit down and enjoy the delights of broiled filet mignon steaks cooked to perfection in the style most often requested at Mardi Gras.

Mardi (blackened) Gras (pancakes)

Until next time . . . I love you