Friday, February 6, 2015

Zero Tolerance Zone

I live in Southern Utah along with no-one-else-in-my-family. I have family in Arizona, family in California, and family in Northern Utah which means that I travel a lot (cause I happen to really like my family.) I spend many days and hours driving along the I-15 corridor (I know it's just a freeway, but that makes it sounds so much cooler in a traffic-reporter-in-a-helicopter type way, don't ya think?) I have noticed a lot of these signs lately that say Zero Tolerance Zone. I am not quite sure what they are referring to, these Highway Patrol signs. (But if you are doing it, you'd better cut it out. Cuz they've got zero tolerance for it. You hear me? Zero.) Drinking and driving, texting, leaving your blinker on, driving 15 MPH below the speed limit, naked lady silhouettes on your mudflaps. I don't know. Something. 
But it's gotten me to thinking about my own Zero Tolerance Zone. Now, truth be told, I have zero tolerance for a lot of things. But a significant amount of them apply to my life as the mother of 4 children. And if I had to choose just 3 of those things? Well, these would be them:

Holy crap, I hate it. I don't like crying. I'm not a fan of yelling. But whining? I hate it. Hate. "She got a bigger piece of pizza than me!" "He won't stop touching me!" "I don't want to!" "Do I have to?" "She won't stop touching me!" None of these are my favorite phrases anyway, but add to them that nasally, high-pitched, plaintive quality and I want to die. Die I say. There is nothing worse than whining. It makes me want to scream. And pull my hair out. And lock myself in a closet and never come back out. I can't even hear what they're saying when they whine. To me it all just sounds like, "Beat me! I'm SO annoying! No really. Bind and gag me. I want you to! Grab the duct tape." 

I don't love dirtiness or messiness. But I have learned to develop a higher tolerance for these things. Because I am a mother and a wife. And my children tend to be both dirty and messy. (And enjoy living in absolute squalor.) What is even worse than being dirty or messy, though? Being totally disgusting. Which my kids are. I can't even begin to tell you about the grossness of boys and toilets, but there is a formula there involving small streams and large targets that I simply do not understand. But that's not all. They fart. They talk with their mouths full. They pick their toes. They don't like to brush their teeth. They eat food off of the floor. They pick their noses. They PUT GUM UNDERNEATH MY DINING ROOM TABLE. Yes, gum. In my dining room. Under my table. AT MY HOUSE! Not that it's ok to do it in a restaurant, but REALLY!!!?? At home?? So freaking disgusting.  And just the other day I saw my 5-year-old grab something off of his face and put it in his mouth. I don't know what it was. I didn't ask. Because I don't want to know. Disgusting.

I am fairly certain my kids aren't actually deaf. They seem to be able to hear the television just fine. They also can hear me opening a can of soda or a bag of chips from 2.3 miles away. But they have this wonderful selective hearing issue when it comes to anything I tell or ask them to do. They never seem to hear any of it. I don't know if the sound of my voice triggers a reaction that causes copious amounts of ear wax to accumulate or what. I only know that they are unable to hear just about any sentence I utter that has the words "can" or "will" or "do" in them. If I had a dollar for every time they said, "You didn't tell me that!" Or, "I didn't HEAR you!" Well, let's just say I'd be paying someone else to deal with them. While I was in Belize.

These, of course, are not the only behaviors I am averse to. I am additionally not fond of fighting, laziness, tricycle-riding-in-the-house-ingness, loudness, talkingbackedness, or general craziness. But you gotta pick your battles, right? And if I had to pick just 3 zero tolerance things, these would be them. 

Of course, not tolerating something and preventing it from occurring? Well, those are two completely different things. But sometimes, just for fun, I pretend like I have a little bit of control.


  1. That DOES sound like fun! I think I'll try that one next time. Some of my zero tolerance things: When they say the room is clean when they know it isn't. And then when you point out the ten things on the floor, they say, "Oh, I didn't see that." Also, when they get out of bed after I have shut the door and "clocked out" for the night. One time. Five times. It doesn't matter. My blood boils every time.

  2. P.S. What on earth are you doing posting something at 6:33 in the morning??