Jewish World Review Jan. 18, 2002 / 5 Shevat, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Kids, take note -- WHEN the children were young, I had them hone their writing skills by jotting down complaints on paper instead of whining or complaining in person. Other times, they were made to write as a means of discipline. It was a fine system that produced spectacular results - all three of the children can now identify an adverb as a person, place or thing.

Over the years, I stuffed many of them (the notes, not the children) in a file folder, which I happened across the other day. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, these notes constitute what a court of law would label hard evidence. Allow me to present in their uncorrected and unedited glory, exhibits A through J:

Harassment: "I'm crying. He is being mean, eating my mix, swinging dish cloth at me, abusing my doll, squished it's face."

Irreconcilable Differences: "Der Mom, I half to leav because of the way you'v been acting. I can't control you'r temper."

Involuntary Jealousy: "Jeremy just got out of the tub driping wet and playing the car game on the computer with Melissa.. I could tell he was in here because I saw foot prints on the floor of water. The bath room has his durdy clothes on the floor and the water is still in the tub. And there having fun."

Confession Written Under Duress: "I will not talk disrespectfully. I will not talk disrespectfully. I will not talk disrespectfully. I will not talk to you."

Violation of Child Labor Laws: "I am trying to earn money for a professsional reason. If you come up with any chores or work for me to do please tell me. I will go as low as getting a quarter. Professsionally yours."

Unauthorized Surveillance: "I was looking for a tamborine. I looked were we keep are Good Will stuff but it was not thare and all I saw was 1 big present and 2 little presents. The presents are for me."

Non-moving Motor Vehicle Violation: "Dear Mom, We are still in Dad's office. We are writing this on his computer. The time on our meter is expired, we have our fingers crossed that they will not tow away the van with you in it."

Plea for Mercy: "Dear Mom, Sorry I had to act like that at Cub. I was a total jerk. I should have never made a scene over pushing a cart. That's very rediculous. If we could start over again I would be the best kid in that Cub store. Please forgive me."

Plea for Love: "Dear Mom, I love you and I alwasy wil. Do you think you can remember me. I hope so."

Formal Written Statement From the Extremely Guilty: (Editor's note: Keep in mind this bit of fiction came from a sixth-grade boy who complained bitterly about creative writing in school.)

"It was a hot Friday morning. One of my sister's friends slept over and they are both crabby and easily irritated. I was watching my fly fishing video that I had rented the night before. My mother told me to turn off the video, so I did the first time I was told, like a good son. My crabby sister slipped her video into the VCR for the third time in less than 24 hours. I gracefully but painfully paced over to the VCR and sorrowfully tapped the stop button. She came charging at me with the remote and barbarically pounded the play button repeatedly. Being the wonderful, caring and good person that I am, I hesitantly covered up the VCR sensor. When nothing else worked I just lost it and went berserk. I inconsiderately nudged her."

Leafing through these random notes and assorted scraps of paper, I laugh aloud thinking I worried they might someday write an incriminating book about me along the lines of Mommie, Dearest. This file folder is four inches thick. It's all the defense material I'll ever need.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman