This Story Hurted Our Editors’ Brains

, , , , | Related | August 13, 2020

Both my mom and I find people saying things incorrectly to be extremely funny. We’re in the middle of an argument when this gem happens.

Mom: “Your retainer hurts because you stopped wearing it!”

Me: “I stopped wearing it because it hurted!”

The argument ends there, as both of us are cracking up at my use of “hurted”. A few minutes later, I must be making a weird face, because she asks me this:

Mom: “Are you still thinking about ‘hurted’?”

Me: *Immediately starts wheezing* “Yes.”

No Use Crying Over Spilled Sweet Potatoes

, , , , , , , | Related | August 13, 2020

My sister is a single mom with a seven-year-old son. I don’t have kids, so I don’t actually know how hard it is to raise them, but I think he’s basically feral. [Nephew] has no concept of right and wrong, he does whatever he wants without consequence, and he physically fights back if anyone tells him what to do.

My sister says that as both the mother and father in his life, she doesn’t want to be the bad guy and risk their relationship as he grows up. She would rather let him learn on his own than tell him what is right and wrong. 

One day last summer, he tried to steal something from my jewelry box. I caught him with the jewelry in his hand and tried to take it from him. He responded by grabbing my arm and biting me hard enough to break skin. My sister sided with him, saying he felt threatened and I shouldn’t have touched him. I am the host of my family’s Christmas dinner this year and I wasn’t going to invite her back, but my parents reminded me that she probably didn’t have anyone else to spend the holiday with.

We all sit down to our meal, the feast laid out on the table. [Nephew] tries to take the sweet potato casserole, but I reach out and block him. He glares at me but sits down. We all fold our hands and close our eyes to say grace led by my father.

It only lasts a few seconds before we hear a dragging sound followed by a crash. [Nephew] has tried to take the sweet potatoes again, but it was too heavy and he dropped it. The dish shattered, sending potatoes and marshmallows everywhere.

[Nephew] screams like he is on fire. My sister scoops him up immediately and begins kissing his face and trying to soothe him. My mother and I pick up the shards and start scooping up the food.

Father: *Sighs* “Stop.”

Mother and I look at him.

Father: “Stop cleaning.” 

He looks at my sister.

Father: “Is he okay?”

Sister: *Cradling her son* “He’s okay. Just a little scared.”

Father: “Okay. Then he can clean this up.”

Nephew: “No!”

Sister: “Dad, it’s broken glass.”

Father: *Sternly* “Yes, he can. He made the mess.”

Nephew: “No! It’s [My Name]’s house. She can clean it up.”

He looks at me.

Father: “Come here, [Nephew].”

My father takes [Nephew] and, in the blink of an eye, lays him over his lap and spanks his butt two times before putting him on the floor. We all stand there in shocked silence. I can’t remember a time my father spanked either of us; he was more of the “go stand in the corner, no dessert for a week” kind of punisher.

Sister: “Dad! What the h*** are you doing?!”

She grabs her son.

Father: “What were you going to do, tell him it’s bad and ask him not to do it again?”

Sister: “I— I— I don’t know! I wouldn’t have beat him!”

Father: “Disciplinary action and abuse are two different things. Two swats on the butt is not abuse.”

Sister: “You had no right! You could have hurt him!”

Father: “[Nephew], next time you’re at the table, are you going to grab something without asking?”

My nephew is in tears, holding his butt, and he shakes his head.

Nephew: “N-n-no.”

Father: “Do you understand that bad behavior has bad consequences?”

Nephew: “Uh-huh.”

My father holds out his hand.

Father: “I am sorry. Is your butt okay?”

Nephew: *Nods* “Yes, Pop-pop.”

Father: “I love you, buddy. I really do.”

They hug.

Nephew: “I love you, Pop-pop.”

Sister: *Grabs her son* “You’re a monster.”

My sister promptly left and has cut all contact with us. I’ve heard from mutual friends that she still lets him run wild, but sometimes he looks over his shoulder like someone might discipline him the way my father did.

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Look. SOMEONE Has To Do His Homework.

, , , , , , , | Related | August 13, 2020

I do really love my family, and I know that they love me. I am a twenty-year-old woman, and I have a twenty-year-old brother and my mother and father. While my own university life and career has not always been smooth sailing, at this point I’ve settled, and I’m close to graduating, have a plan for after graduation, have a job, and am working an internship.

While my brother might not be at that exact same spot in his life, I would expect him to be reasonably close. However, my parents have always been a little easier on him than me, so he’s still trying to figure things out. To give some context, he was one of the smartest kids at high school and took six advanced placement classes in his junior year, scoring fours and fives — out of five — on the tests for most of them. This is a small snippet of his story.

Year One of University: he passes the first semester with mostly Cs and some Bs, but that’s okay. We all struggle when the environment changes a little. He fails all of the second semester and ends with a GPA of 1.77. We find out he didn’t go to a single class and didn’t do any of his work.

Summer of Year One: my parents find two classes that he could take to redo those classes he failed and boost his GPA. One class is in person at the local community college; in order to make sure he goes, my mom drops him off to each class. The other class is an online class, and my parents expect him to be fine or ask for help if needed. 

Year Two of University: we find out he didn’t complete the online class that summer and is on academic probation. By October, he receives a letter from the university recommending that he withdraw, as he has not been to a single class from the beginning of the semester. His GPA is 0.79. 

He is enrolled in community college for the second semester of that year, so he can try to improve his grades and re-apply to his university.

Semester One at Community College: my dad wakes him up every morning so that he gets to class on time. We get a letter in the mail that he has withdrawn from one of his courses; it turns out, he drives to college and then sleeps in his car in the parking lot until class starts. During one day of an exam, he slept through the test. At the end of this semester, the health crisis hits, and everyone has the option to credit/no-credit the courses, which means that the grade does not factor into the GPA. He no-credits each of his classes without discussing the options with my parents, his counselor, or anyone else, and then gets Ds and Fs on all the classes. 

Summer at Community College: Currently, he is taking four online classes to try and boost his GPA once again, so he can try and apply to university. The due date for all classes is July twenty-third. As of July fifteenth, we learn that he has not started any of the four classes yet. 

So, this is where we are. My mom, dad, and I are sitting in the front room of our house in the morning, and my brother is asleep.

Dad: “Good morning, [My Name]. Listen, I need you to help me out. When I get back from work tonight, your mom, you, and I need to go to [Brother] and help him with his work. I’ll take one class, you take one, Mom will do the other, and [Brother] will do the last one. Let’s try to get this done before the deadline, okay?”

Me: *Pause* “No.”

Dad: “What do you mean, ‘no’?”

Me: “Um, sorry, but I’m not doing his work for him. If he wants my help, I’ll be glad to help him organize or manage his time or check over his work, but there is no way I’m doing his homework for him. I have my own stuff to do.”

Mom: “Come on, [My Name]. Be reasonable.”

Dad: “Listen, he needs to get this done. If he doesn’t get into university this fall, he’ll have to go back to community college, and since he already has the credits, he’ll be taking useless classes that won’t advance his degree and waste a ton of money. If he doesn’t go back to school, the federal loan he signed will be called back and we’ll have to pay a ton of money that we don’t have. The best course of action is to get his GPA up so that he can go to university.”

Me: “No offense, but how is that my problem? He has been messing up; he needs to take responsibility for it. You need to stop shielding him from his mistakes and help him learn to handle it instead of doing everything for him. You should make him get a job, or volunteer, or do something with some accountability!”

Dad: “Don’t you criticize my parenting! You’re only in your twenties; I’m almost sixty. You don’t understand it. Once you have kids, you’ll see things differently. What do you want me to do? Throw him on the road? I can’t do that. We’re family, and in times of crisis, we can’t turn our backs on each other. Now, you have a choice, but know that if you don’t help out, you will break my heart.”

For anyone wondering if my brother is depressed or has some disorder that is affecting him — maybe. He’s vehemently denied it, but if it is true, as much as it sucks, he needs to take the prerogative to ask for help or see a professional. I can’t do anything about that part.

In the end, I did not help out. So far, my dad and mom have set up twelve-hour patrols in my brother’s room to keep track and make sure he’s doing his work. I’ve also caught them working on some of his homework while he’s sleeping.

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Mom Sets Another Unrealistic Expectation

, , , , | Related | August 12, 2020

My mother has a bad habit of changing subjects mid-conversation and then getting upset that we haven’t followed along with her train of thought. 

We are talking about a recent illness outbreak that is not very far from us. She then mentions that they had a lady come out to care for my invalid father, that she didn’t wear a mask, and that she mentioned that she had been to the outbreak hotspot that day so they had made a complaint to the care providers.

Mother: “She recently had a baby; she should have known better. She named him Joe. Joe! Joe’s got lung cancer that’s gone to his brain.”

I am horrified to hear that about a baby.

Me: “Oh, my God! Was he born with it?”

Mum: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “Was the baby born with cancer?”

Mum looks at me as if I am the dumbest person on earth and talks to me the same way.

Mum: “No, you remember Joe, your sister’s stupid ex-husband? That’s who I am talking about. You’re as bad as your father; he never listens to me, either.

Me: “What did you expect? One moment you are talking about a baby named Joe and the next you tell me that Joe has cancer. I couldn’t tell that you were talking about two different people.”

Mum just shrugged. She can’t understand how we get so frustrated with her when she does things like this. It makes sense to her, so why wouldn’t it make sense to others?

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Siblings Can Really Get On Your Nerves

, , , , , , , | Related | August 12, 2020

My nine-year-old cut her finger doing an art project — not terribly, but she needed help cleaning the cut and bandaging it. She asked me why it hurt so much and I explained that fingertips have a lot of nerve endings and she’d cut some nerves.

It seems she tried to explain this to my seven-year-old but didn’t quite get the point across, because when my husband came home, the seven-year-greeted him with, “[Nine-Year-Old] cut her finger and her nerves fell out!”

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