Life Minded

Too Tired to Handle

Our household is home to three kids, four if you count the dog which we do and he is the hands down favorite since he didn’t need orthodontia. Two of these ‘children’ are adults on paper but are still on our cell phone plan and eat all of our food so…it’s still safe to claim them as DEPENDENTS. It’s true you are a different parent to the first child than you are to the last because you are older and wiser but mostly older and way more tired.

I recall a time when our youngest was three and was bringing me to the brink of insanity screaming from his car seat on a long road trip and I threw him a sucker. When I called my mother to lament, she said, “You probably never would have let the others have a sucker at that age.” And this was absolutely true but by that point I also would have let him drive the car if he would just stop screaming. Our third child has enjoyed a lifetime of paths cut by an older sister and those same paths scorched and worn smooth by an older brother. He is the baby of the family and thereby lives by a completely different set of rules. 

So with this in mind, we recently discovered that he had been watching “Too Hot To Handle” on Netflix much to our dismay. If you are not familiar with this show, and I was not, it is a reality show centered on single people trapped on an island competing for a chance to win $100,000 all while wearing swimsuits. This is not my type of programming but it must appeal to someone because they are already on their fourth season. It is definitely not something I was excited for my 8th grader to watch and he was already on episode nine by the time we asked him about it. 

And then he flatly denied it. 

Now here is where it does NOT pay to be the third child. Because we are tired but smarter than we were ten years ago and so we started in on our practiced lecture series on making good media choices, the dangers of lying, positive ways to use time, etc. 

But that youngest, he stands his ground and decides to do the only thing that comes naturally to all children. He blamed it on his brother. 

But then the older brother also vehemently denies it and is offended we would even suggest it was him. So he suggests it could be his sister. 

With the full acknowledgement that all modern kids have both good and bad content at their fingertips at any moment we are almost ready to give up this ridiculous and unnecessary manhunt when we stumble upon a new piece of evidence.  

We uncover that it has only been viewed in the kitchen. Which is odd. We rarely use the television in the kitchen these days with everyone coming and going. Why would anyone watch that particular show but only in the kitchen. This is when my husband says, “Wait, wait, wait. I think it’s the dog.” 

The dog. It’s the dog. 

When we leave our house, we always turn on something for the dog to watch. I don’t know how this habit started but I know that it is part of the routine of our family as much as filling the water bowl and it makes all of us feel better knowing he has a bit of company. Our dog has watched "Madam Secretary" in its entirety. He has watched numerous shows about home improvement. He has watched "The Secret Life of Pets" for obvious reasons. And one day my husband, in a rush to leave had just pressed play on the very first thing that popped up and this is how we realize that our Cavapoo had been diligently working his way through season four of “Too Hot To Handle.” 

If it’s not the kids, it’s the dog. There is never a dull moment and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our dog is only six years old but we are going to let go of managing his viewing habits. He is almost at the end where he will find out who will win the money. The youngest really does get to live with no rules whatsoever.

Jen Fortner is a freelance writer who enjoys asking friends and strangers far too many questions. She spends her spare time sitting in inclement weather watching youth sports, traveling, cooking, and searching for the very best baked goods. She lives in Shorewood, Minnesota with her husband, three children and the most spoiled dog. 

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