A Mother's Dictionary, Part 3...
NAILS: A hard covering on the end of the finger, which Mom can never have a full set of due to pitching for batting practice, opening stubborn modeling clay lids and removing heat ducts to retrieve army men and/or doll clothing.
PANIC: What a mother goes through when that darn wind-up swing stops.
OCEAN: What the bathroom floor looks like after bath night for kids, assorted pets, two or three full-sized towels and several dozen toy boats, cars and animals.
OPEN: The position of children's mouths when they eat in front of company.
OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mom's nickname for Dad.
PENITENTIARY: Where children who don't eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mom.
PETS: Small, furry creatures which follow kids home so Mom will have someone else to clean up after.
PIANO: A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mom, kids will refuse to play in front of company.
PURSE: A handbag in which Mom carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they're buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons.
QUIET: A state of household serenity which occurs before the birth of the first child and occurs again after the last child has left for college.
RAINCOAT: Article of clothing Mom bought to keep a child dry and warm, rendered ineffective because it's in the bottom of a locker stuffed in a book bag or because the child refuses to wear "the geeky thing."
REFRIGERATOR: Combination art gallery and air-conditioner for the kitchen.
ROOM MOTHER: A position of great honor and responsibility bestowed on a Mom who inadvertently misses a PTA meeting.
SCHOOL PLAY: Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reenactments of famous historic events.
SCREAMING: Home P.A. system.
SNOWSUITS: Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped, performs two important functions: Protecting children from the cold and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom.
SOAP: A cleaning agent Mom puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.
SPIT: All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids' faces.
SPOILED ROTTEN: What the kids become after as little as 15 minutes with Grandma.