While I was attempting to post a blog entry the other night, Victoria began wailing from the other room.  High pitched crying.  Girl style.  In between breaths, I could hear Aaron saying, “I didn’t MEAN to!!!” and then the wailing would commence again until her breath ran out…again.  With Dom out for the evening, and Mason and Mabel not much on child supervision, I decided it was in everyone’s best interest if I hoisted my butt up and investigated.

It was a cut and dried case of He Said, She Said.  I had everyone approach the bench for a sidebar in the middle of the kitchen.  Apparently, an earlier game of “Let Me See How Badly I Can Annoy You” had continued out of the blue after chores were done and baths had been taken.  Except that Vic was finished playing.  Aaron, as the story is told, did not know this.

And so, a blanket was thrown, and in the process of retrieving said blanket, hair was pulled.  The plaintiff claimed that hair was “deliberately yanked.”  Defendant wanted to pummel plaintiff in the middle of the courtroom for perjuring herself.

The judge explained to everybody that misunderstandings happen and feelings get hurt.  And if any physical action is involved, somebody always ends up crying in the judge’s chambers.

The judge is tired, y’all. Lady Justice is blind for a reason.  If she had a choice, she’d probably be deaf, too.

So I explained to both parties that my mother always allowed me a code phrase.  Once I invoked the phrase, everything stopped and I was allowed space to decompress without repercussion in an effort to prevent an all out mother-daughter war.  My code phrase was, “I’m having a nervous breakdown!”  After declaring my state of mind, Mom would cease thoughts of stringing me up to the light fixture by my toenails as punishment for my attitude, and I would resist the urge to smash my hairbrush into the wall. We would take time to chill privately, and then resume speaking to each other only when we could do so respectfully.  The code phrase saved us both a lot of pain.  My mom is pure genius.

I suggested to my own sprouts that perhaps they, too, need a code phrase.  Something that says in much fewer words, “Hey, I know we spent most of the day chasing and tickling each other until we couldn’t breathe, but for now, I’m done.  Paws off, ok?”  They both thought this idea might have some merit.  We tossed around some potential code phrases.  I offered “Time Out” and “Game Over.”  Vic offered “Uncle.”  Aaron, ever the comedian, offered “Cheese Balls.”

“Okay, guys, we need something we can all agree on,” I said, hoping to urge team cohesiveness.

“Cheese Balls!”


“Well, good grief, we might as well end up with a code phrase like “Uncle Cheese B…” I stopped myself short, realizing how vulgar what I was about to say sounded, while visions of South Park characters floated through my head.  My hand flew to my mouth as the kids mentally finished my sentence, then fell out in peals of laughter.

Nothing but nothing was ever going to top this according to the nominating committee. “Uncle Cheese Balls” won by a landslide.