Lazy parenting tip: #4,856

The nightly bedtime story has the desired effect ... on the dog.
The nightly bedtime story has the desired effect … on the dog.

So: Scott (the husband) and I are devotees of “lazy parenting.” I didn’t realize it was even a thing … I mean: *we* call ourselves lazy parents, but I just googled it before writing this article, and apparently(!) there are all kinds of articles about how to be better lazy parents! Maybe I’ll read them later.

Anyway: here are four times we’ve been going-about-our-parenting-business, Fisk family style, only to realize that not every style-of-parenting is Fisk family style (something we tend to forget), followed by the real reason we started writing our own children’s books (that may *seem* not-lazy … but just wait for it).

5) We were at Scott’s parents’ house and daughter-Arina (I forget how old she was, b/c it’s hard for me to keep track of such things) came to tell us that she used “the potty” but couldn’t wash her hands. She was too young/short to reach the sink, apparently.

Scott, with a sigh: “You can figure that out, Rina! Close the toilet lid; climb onto the counter; wash your hands!”

Rina: “Okay! Thanks!”

Scott’s sister, a fantastic mother who arranges nature-walks with her kids: [raised eyebrows / shocked expression]

Me: “We teach self-sufficiency early.”

4) That moment when you realize that it’s not always socially acceptable to talk about how the ipad is the BEST-INVENTION-EVER (kudos to Steve Jobs), b/c it keeps your kids out of your hair.

The socially-acceptable-way-to-talk-up-the-ipad: it’s educational.

The real reason the ipad is the best? It allows your kids to play virtual LEGOS (hello Minecraft!) that you don’t have to pick up. Or step on.

3) I was trolling my cousin on Facebook, excited to see pictures of her new baby. She posted an update, w/o said pictures. When folks said:, she pointed out that her husband had to put their other kids to bed and couldn’t post photos until after they were settled.

Me, in the FB comment I probably shouldn’t have written (but, seriously: it’s like she had started talking in a foreign language or something):

Just tell the hubby to toss some blankets&pillows on the floor, Fisk family style.

2) That moment when you think “why not? the kids are with me, but i can totally go see my friend at a bar!” and realize they’re the only ones drinking Long Island Iced Tea (w/o the Long Island part).


^This^ is why the Fisk family belongs in Spain, per my friends’ lovely writing about that time they took their baby on the Camino de Santiago (shout-out to Todd & Brittany Kennedy):

We should be clear in saying … that [Spaniards] do not subscribe to a worldview in which everything has to be children first — a perspective we too often see in America (you know, the way that too often produces children who think they are the center of the universe when they head off for us to teach them in college). No, this was a means of emphasizing the family by integrating family activities into the daily lives of adults … It wasn’t just out of necessity that bars were multipurpose and full of kids. It was a sign of how Spanish family life is fully integrated into daily life. There isn’t adult space and kid space. There is simply space. Kids are a part of it. So are the grandparents. And that’s why there’s a playground in every city center.

 Also: SIESTA; or, another reason Spain is the country that the universe made especially for me.

1) Part of the reason we’ve started writing our own children’s books? Most of them are too.damn.long. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE books. It’s kinda my job (having my PhD in English and teaching it and all). And I go through A LOT of books with my kids, lazy parenting style (we listen to audiobooks in the car).

At night, we want to read to our kids. But we’re also tired and kinda want to be away from them. We found ourselves always reaching for poems (b/c they’re pretty much guaranteed to be easy and short). But there’s only so many times you can read Llama Llama and Go The F**k To Sleep (kidding — calm down).

Enter: The Pirate Train. You can read it in 4 mins. 55 secs. Or, you can go true Fisk-family-style, and let someone else read it for you. 😉

The Fisk Family’s “Rockin” [sarcasm] New Year’s Eve


Note: ^that^ photo was not from last night … it’s circa 2013.


Nor is ^this^ one … it’s circa 2007 … though omg, guys: look at baby Arina!

New Year’s Eve 2015 went like this: at approximately 7:00pm, I went downstairs and found Arina playing Animal Jam at the computer, eating what-I-thought-was-cereal-with-dripping-from-the-spoon-milk-but-what-was-actually-grits over the computer keyboard. This is not allowed. I have already had to replace the keyboard once, b/c of icky-goo&crumbs from Scott&Arina eating-at-the-keyboard. I freaked out. Scott emerged and told me not to be mad at Arina, b/c he told her she could. I said that she knows she shouldn’t, as does he, and that I was mad at them both. And then: I burst into tears.

Here’s the thing; the facts; and the aftermath:

(1) Thing: I *rarely* burst into tears over stuff like that … or cry at all for that matter … b/c I’m one of the lucky people with anxiety/obsessive-compulsive disorder — in that, a very low dose of anti-anxiety medication keeps me on a very even and happy keel. I’m even luckier, b/c the first medication I was prescribed worked like.a.charm. Scott has learned from a very long time ago not to ask, on the rare occasions I get really upset, “did you take your meds?”

(2) Facts: I had stayed up till 2:00am the night before, working on a project, so my day/hours were all screwed up yesterday. I had continued working on said project while trying to clean house and run errands (I managed 1 load of laundry; to feed a good lunch to the kids; a post office run;; and little else before a late&disorienting crash-nap).

(3) More facts: I repeated myself, as all Moms do, throughout the day when instructing the kids to do this, not to do that, etc. And I have said: don’t eat at the computer desk, to both Scott & Arina 10,763,234 times. Everyone has pet peeves … eating at the computer desk is one of mine. We *work* there. We don’t *eat* there.

(4) Aftermath: Scott&Arina were sorry. Arina sent in Jack to check on me (she knew that he would totally get it, b/c he&I are matched personalities the same way Arina&herDad are — i.e., Jack&I eat our cinnamon rolls with a fork&napkin handy; Arina&Scott eat theirs with their hands and lick their fingers, unless we complain).

Done for the night (after I wept more, silent tears over a bowl of cereal), I went upstairs and played Candy Crush, but I overheard Scott and Arina talking, very seriously, downstairs. Normally, I would sneak to the stairs and listen, but I was still irritated and in “whatever”-mode … until later, when curiosity prompted me to ask Arina:

“So … was your Dad talking to you about why I got upset.”

Arina said “yeah,” in her perpetually cherry voice.

Me: “So, what did he say?”

Arina: “He made me watch a video about the Nazis.”

Me, in my head: “wtf?”

Me, out loud: “What did that have to do with anything?”

Arina: “I don’t know. It was really weird.”

enter: Scott

Me: “So, what did you show Arina?”

Scott, in his perpetually cherry voice: “The Milgrim Experiment!”

[In case you need to refresh your memory: the Milgrim Experiment (1963), named after Yale psychologist and author of the study Stanley Milgrim, set to answer the question “how can people do crap-things to other people, like the Nazis did to the Jewish people during the Holocaust?” He wanted to see how far obedience of authority figures would go in his experiment, and asked his test subjects to shock a person in another room (who, thankfully, was an actor and not *really* being shocked). Many did so, despite the actor’s repeated screams, simply b/c the person-in-authority said so.]

 See:; or, this! the video Scott showed our 11-year-old:

Me: “Umm … why?”

Scott: “B/c, you know: Arina knew that she shouldn’t eat at the computer, and I’m an authority figure who said she could, but she should remember the Milgrim experiment next time, and not do it.”

Arina: “OH! Now I get it. Thanks, Dad.”

In short, our daughter’s last lesson in 2015 was, literally: “don’t be like a Nazi: walk your grits away from the computer desk.”

sigh … although, i guess it’s nice to be supported.

also: happy new year, ya’ll. XO

Occasionally, I will post (GASP!) non-pirate things, like this:

1a (6)Look! It’s another book! I was thinking that while you’re taking advantage of the NEWYEAR30 promotional code on LuLu today, you might consider helping out Miss Ellen while you’re at it. All profit goes to keeping this gemstone of a bookstore open. I wrote about Ellen’s story, and her store: The Booktenders’ Secret Garden, in a Daily Kos piece,* entitled:

Calling All Book Lovers: A Gift for Ellen!

And it’s not like there aren’t any pirates in this book. I mean, c’mon: it’s about a CHILDREN’S BOOKSTORE! You know there are pirate books in there. What you may not know (but what’s very true) is that Miss Ellen is a sort-of-pirate herself. Here are the illustrations/text to prove it:


*I know that Daily Kos doesn’t seem like the best platform for a not-political book, but there are really nice people over there, and a group called Readers&BookLovers, which is *perfect.* I also know that by admitting I’m a Daily Kos writer, I just outed myself as a liberal (hi there). But, if you’re not, that’s okay. You may still like my books. Both liberals & conservatives like pirates and trains. And we can still be friends.