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Sorry, Mom, That Snot Happening

, , , , , , , | Right | May 16, 2022

Every year, my dad volunteers at our church’s annual summer camp for kids. On the last day of camp, they always have a big party with snow cones. Dad always volunteers to run the snow cone table.

One of the kids’ mothers is also a volunteer, and a real Helicopter Mom. Her young daughter is a little bit hyperactive and excitable. Since Helicopter Mom seems to get most of her medical advice from blogs instead of pediatricians, she’s decided that certain food additives and sweeteners are the cause of her daughter’s high energy. All camp, she’s been bringing in special snacks for her daughter, which isn’t a problem at all. Before the traditional snow cone party, Helicopter Mom announces that she is going to bring in a special syrup for her daughter since all of the snow cone flavors have artificial colors in them.

On the day of the party, Helicopter Mom shows up with a milk jug half-full of some weird homemade concoction made of corn syrup, water, and some combination of “all-natural” flavors. It’s viscous and thick, with chalky streaks of light yellow and green. Gross, but, no problem, thinks Dad; he can keep the kid’s special syrup in a little squirt bottle and set it off to the side.

Nope! Helicopter Mom doesn’t want her daughter’s special snow cone flavor in a separate bottle lest she feel singled out and discriminated! She instead takes a nearly-full jug of root beer flavor and dumps it all down the sink. She fills the pump jug with her homemade syrup and gives it to Dad. 

Later, during the party, the kids are lining up for their snow cones and telling the Dad what flavors they want. Dad’s been struggling about what to call the Mystery Syrup until he gets an inspiration:

Kid: “What flavors do you have?”

Dad: “Well, we have cherry, grape, blue raspberry…”

Kid: *Pointing at the homemade syrup* “What’s that one?”

Dad: “Uh… that’s… um… ELEPHANT SNOT!”

Kid: “EEEEEEEWWWWW!”

Dad then pumps an amount onto his gloved hand. It shoots a big, gooey glop out with a coughing sound. He squeezes it out of his fingers, and it drips out in long, sticky strings. The kids are delighted!

Dad: “EEEEEEW!

Multiple Kids: *Laughing and shrieking* “EWWWWWWW!”

Kid: “I want elephant snot!”

Dad gleefully pumps the homemade syrup onto the snow cone. The syrup spreads over the top and oozes over the ice.

Dad: “Here you go! One elephant snot snow cone!”

All The Kids: “EWWWWWWW!”

Dad had a hit! About every tenth kid asked for the elephant snot flavor, and each time, he cried out, “Elephant snot?! Ewwwwwww!” as he pumped it out. The kids who ordered it were loving all the attention they were getting from their grossed-out friends as they gleefully ate their “elephant snot” snow cones.

Everything was going great until Helicopter Mom’s group showed up with her daughter in tow. She was FURIOUS when she heard Dad call her homemade syrup “Elephant Snot.” She stormed off to complain to the pastor as dad served the kids (including a snow cone for the daughter) but Dad didn’t hear the conversation. Later, the pastor pulled Dad aside. Luckily, he had a great sense of humor about the whole debacle, but he respectfully asked Dad not to refer to the syrup as the mucus of a large mammal. Dad laughingly agreed.

Later, the Helicopter Mom was able to get her daughter some medical treatment for her daughter’s undiagnosed ADHD and loosened up quite a bit about her daughter’s snacks. We’ve not had a summer camp at the church since, but I’m wondering if elephant snot will be offered at the next snow cone party!

A Depressing Lack Of Compassion

, , , , , | Friendly | April 27, 2022

My sister-in-law has invited my daughter and me to a kids’ group at her church. Afterward, we are talking with another mom. For reference, my sister-in-law has two sons and the other mom has three.

Mom: *Pointing to my daughter* “So, how old is she?”

Me: “She’ll be two at the end of next month.”

Mom: “Are you going to have more kids?”

Me: “We’ll see. I had really bad postpartum depression, and I don’t want to go through that again, so she might be an only child.”

Mom: *Laughs* “All moms have postpartum depression! It’s normal. Besides, you had a girl first.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s not how that works.”

I declined the next time we were invited.

Potentially Peeing In The Pews

, , , , , | Right | April 6, 2022

Before moving out, I used to occasionally work as a volunteer in a historical church, and I’ve seen my share of visitors, usually foreigners, trying to come in with shorts, bare shoulders, or even swimsuits, and the need to direct them either to the “disposable veil” bin or the outside of the church, something the signs outside explicitly tell you. However, there are also other unspoken rules when it comes to churches…

I was sitting down at the pamphlet table, when I saw an older man enter with his dog, which looked like some sort of bulldog. I immediately got up.

Me: “Excuse me, sir, pets aren’t allowed in the church, there’s a dog parking outside where you can leave them.”

He looks at me as if I had told him his dog had to be butchered and served to the poor.

Man: “What? Why I can’t take my dog in the church? He’s a good boy, he won’t bark or make a mess inside.”

Me: “Sir, unless your dog is a service animal, he really cannot enter the church.”

Man: “Well, he isn’t a service animal, but I want to take him inside the church! It’s too hot out there; he’d get a heatstroke!”

Me: “Don’t worry, the dog parking is in the shade and has a bowl of water if he needs it.”

Man: “But what if somebody steals him? Besides, why do you care so much? Can’t you just let me take him in?”

Me: “Sir, I can’t make any exceptions.”

Man: “You’re a d*** and not Christian at all, you know that? For people claiming to be so tolerant, you sure like to boss people around.”

He then left in a huff. I know that “no pets allowed” isn’t commonly found on church doors, but shouldn’t the saying “being treated like a dog in a church” be a hint on how acceptable they are in a church?

The Miracle Smile-Maker

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 4, 2022

When I was still a teen, I helped at the nursery of our church and then “graduated” to an assistant for the new daycare program they started for kids three to six years old.

One little girl that I remember fondly was an extrovert who truly loved being in our class and getting to spend time with the other little kids. Unfortunately, she also suffered from a severe case of separation anxiety. Back when I had her in the nursery, she could cry through the entire sermon until her mother came back to get her. This led to an odd dichotomy: a child that loved to be in our classroom and yet cried as if she was being tortured whenever she was first dropped off.

I had one game I liked playing with a few of the kids during snack time where I would go up to the child and dare them not to smile, then just stay in their face reminding them not to smile and commenting if they were starting to smile, etc. The absurdity of trying not to smile always makes one smile, and most kids would end up smiling within a few minutes. Since the aforementioned girl happened to have the most beautiful smile, capable of lighting up a room, she was almost always one of the kids I’d do this game with just to see that smile.

Eventually, like some sort of Pavlovian response, she got to the point that just telling her not to smile would lead to a giant smile. Not wanting to lose, she would cover her face with her hands, so now the game was to see if I could “find” the smile she was hiding.

This was so reliable that I started to use the trick on her whenever she was dropped off. She would always be handed to me bawling her eyes out. I’d find some way to distract her for a split second so she would listen to me — I’d even pretend to bump her or trip just to get her attention if I had to — then, once she was listening, I would tell her not to smile. Her hands would immediately go to cover up a big smile, and after a brief game of “hunting” for the smile, she would give up, beam at me with her smile for a second, and then get put down to happily run off to find some kids to play with, having forgotten all about her crying and separation anxiety.

Then, one day, my family was out for a vacation and I wasn’t there to help with the class on Sunday. The girl’s mother came down to drop her off as usual, but when she learned I wasn’t there to take the girl from her mother, she asked if she should just keep her daughter with her in church so her daughter wouldn’t distract the rest of the class. Apparently, she had decided I was a miracle worker and the only one capable of stopping her daughter from crying and was worried the girl would cry through the entire class, like she used to do in the nursery without me.

Of course, as much as I’d like to claim I was a miracle worker, mostly the girl had simply been growing up over the year between when I first saw her in the nursery and then, and she had better control of her separation anxiety. So, while I’m told she did have a harder time adjusting to the classroom without me to comfort her, she managed to calm herself on her own enough to enjoy the class within ten minutes or so. Still, I did feel touched that her mother had such faith in me.

I still have fond memories of that sweet little girl, her beautiful smiles, and her convincing her mother I was a miracle worker.

Thanks For The Moral Support, I Guess

, , , , , | Friendly | February 13, 2022

My parents are in their eighties and both are very active in their church, so much so that Dad often laments that he feels they are taken advantage of. Mum doesn’t see it that way, constantly telling us how much support she gets from the church. She always does more than her fair share; Dad is always there to support her.

It’s just before Christmas and they are running a fundraising stall at a local craft market. The weather is horrible; it’s very hot and humid, and the wind is threatening to blow their shade cover away. Dad is holding down one of the edges while Mum is making sure the stock isn’t flying away.

I notice one of the church ladies sitting in a chair in the middle of the stall as I approach. I choose to buy a couple of things. Mum serves me, and as she is counting out change, another customer approaches.

[Church Lady] doesn’t move from her chair.

Church Lady: “[Mum], there’s a customer.”

Mum is concentrating on getting my change, so the lady raises her voice more.

Church Lady: “[MUM]! There’s a customer!”

Mum quickly hands me my change and turns to serve the customer. I notice that this happens a few more times; she pretty much orders Mum to serve customers while never leaving her seat. I was going to head home but I decide to stay for a little while helping to tie the shade cover down and collect items that have blown off the table.

Dad: “Maybe we should pack up early. The wind is really picking up, and there’s a storm coming.”

Church Lady: “Yes, I think that’s a good idea. I think it’s definitely time to leave. This is so tiring.”

She stands up and grabs her bag.

Church Lady: “Okay, see you on Sunday.”

And then she left my parents to pack up the stall. Dad just shook his head as he started packing. Mum, as usual, couldn’t see a problem; she raved about how much help it was having the woman there. But for the hour and a half that I was there, the woman didn’t leave her seat.