Originally created 06/20/03

The Sweet Sound of Summer Vacation

"Mommy, Maddy, gave me a monster wedgie!"

Ah, yet another of my sweet wake-up calls as summer vacation rolls into its second month.

"Maddy, you dork!" the screaming continues.

My children are never at a loss for words, especially at a time when I'm in that hazy place between sleep and consciousness. This particular morning, my sleep is stopped by a crying 7-year-old, patting my arm with her still-sticky peanut butter and jelly hands.

"I hate Maddy," Sky wails. "It really hurts! She is SO mean."

"Did you give her a wedgie first?" I dutifully asked. (Motherhood has taught me that random acts of spite are often provoked by similar random acts of spite - call me a rocket scientist.)

"Well, she took my Kids Bop 3 CD without asking!" (Uh, Sky ... hello? This is a yes/no question.)

"Did you give her a wedgie first?" I repeated.

She rolls her eyes. I continue, "Sky, Maddy is bigger than you are. She is stronger than you are. That's something you need to think about before you give your big sister a wedgie."

This is the same child who delights in scaring her older brother and sister as they unsuspectingly come out of a bathroom, or round a corner to climb the stairs. She delights in flexing the power she holds in making her big brother and sister scream in fright.

Sky's very petite, always has been. She's the baby, physically, as well as chronologically. In our family, though, we have a phrase: "She's little but she's loud!"

Last month, we had the opportunity to "pay back" her dad and brother on one of our camping trips. On our last night, the girls and I were carrying flashlights, making our way back from the bath house to our dark campsite, when the boys jumped out from behind some bushes and scared us half to death. Unfortunately for them, though, THEY headed to the bath house next.... giving us all kinds of time to plan our revenge.

They had no idea that we followed them through the dark woods. That innocent little Sky was the first to volunteer to open the door to the men's bath house, reach around, and flip off the light as they showered.

She squealed with excitement and mischief as we tore back to the tent.

The best squealing, by far, happened the first week of summer vacation. I was in the kitchen, trying to make lunch for my gang. Zack and Sky were arguing about something in the other room (you know how you tune everything out until it's just that familiar background noise?) A few words caught my attention, like "You're not the boss of me!" and "You dork!" (clearly, a favorite expression at this age.)

Suddenly, Sky burst into the kitchen and looked up at me, ready to fire off all kinds of accusations about her brother, when she stopped cold. She paused, as if a light bulb went off in her head, turned around and ran back into the other room: "You CAN'T tell me what to do, Zack," she screamed, "Martin Luther King gave me my freedom!"


Make sure you tune in weekdays to WJBF NewsCHANNEL 6 at 5:00. You'll get all kinds of parenting tips in MOM-TV, plus you'll meet some moms who share their ups and downs of raising kids. This month, look for a profile of a local mom who is dealing with the biggest challenge of her life: her little boy's brain cancer.

Itina McCuller, of Martinez, had been adjusting to life as a widow, raising two children on her own after her young husband's sudden death. Her strong faith helped her through the heartache and the loneliness of losing Stephen, but little did she know how the depths of her faith would be tested when she learned her second-grader had a brain tumor. It's a story of courage and survival you won't want to miss, coming this month on MOM-TV.

Jennie anchors the 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts for WJBF Channel 6. She and her husband Scott live in Columbia County with their children Zack, 10, Maddy, 9, and Sky, 7.

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