[Anne] Husband and I have a Special Way to Torment Our Kids

Husband and I have a special way to torment our kids, which mostly involves forcing them to learn how to interact. Televisions and computers, and for some, phones are not allowed in bedrooms. We still have a landline, because Youngest Child does not have a phone, two phones that are rotary dial. (One of them is an old pay phone.) And, while we do have an Xbox and a Wii, mostly the old pinball machine is played, especially when company is over. It is not a great surprise, then, that we communicate with Oldest Son by hand written letters….sent by mail!

We send articles, pictures and letters. There letters with pictures. Letters with graphs. Some letters are long and sometimes just one sentence is written. We include quotes. There are coded messages. And plain letters. Honestly, I cannot remember ever sending Oldest Son a package with baked goods, although Girlfriend gets a weekly-ish package of brownies from me. (Along with a note in glitter pen about why Pretty Little Liars is the worst show ever.)

The latest exchange started with Youngest Child sending a coded message to her brother. He promptly decoded it and, by text, sent us a picture of the message noting that her letter was even more mysterious decoded. It was an incomprehensible mess of gobbledy goop. Literally. And so beautifully hilarious. Oldest Son thought that maybe she had sent a code within a code, until he saw that she had misspelled her name in the signature.

Oldest Son returned the intrigue by sending her a coded letter. It is a mathematical code that requires me doing homework to break it. He gave me a set of instructions and defined variables for me, which was really sweet. I am hoping it is not an urgent message, though.

My favorite part? Addressing the envelopes. Sometimes we give clues as to what to expect inside (the Family Symphony was a coded letter to us that was written on a musical staff) and sometimes it is just plain silliness. The package I sent today, because there were ridiculous awards and certificates in there, was addressed to Plain Man. Years ago, Youngest Child used to sing a song about her brother. The lyrics were:

Jacob is a plain man, not a WO man.

Oldest Son and I are always at battle about women and math, so I needed to remind him that he is a plain man.
It is my favorite way to communicate. I will respond to all who agree with me.

11 thoughts on “[Anne] Husband and I have a Special Way to Torment Our Kids

  1. This . . . is absolutely brilliant. Your children (and their parents!) are to be envied.

    (Aside to Tami: Also? Convincing Anne to write for the blog was equally brilliant.)

    • KristenSue

      (Re: Aside: agreed. I’m gladd Anne finally caved)

    • Mother of Three, Anne

      Thank you, Steve.

  2. KristenSue

    Anne, your family continues to delight me. coded letters are deilghtful and I applaud the use of them.

    Over here we are pretty good on letter recognition, but singing the Alphabet Song still leaves the middle half neglected. We’ve a ways to go!

  3. Mother of Three, Anne

    First of all, I did not cave. I am here as a revolutionary! I am creating dissent and unrest, not caving in to the whims of the oppressive regime.

    All credit for coded letters goes to Oldest Son. I will say that it inspires the family to find creative ways to write back. Another favorite was when Youngest Child wrote a letter in a French accent. Again, it was incomprehensible, but hilarious. (Haw haw haw.)

    Try singing A is Adorable. It slows down the letters. John Lithgow sings it well.

    • KristenSue

      Great idea. I’ll have to familiarize myself with it better, but i’m a fan of teaching my kid ‘old fashion’ songs, musical numbers, etc. She’s quite good at ‘Do Re Mi’ from Sound of Music.

  4. Mother of Three, Anne


    You know that song. It is right up there with the Inchworm song.


    I raised my kids on swing music, Gerswin, big band music and Weird Al.

  5. Anne – your family is amazing!

    and you continue to make me feel wholly inadequate and boring as a parent.

    Great post, please continue to sow dissent and unrest!

    • Mother of Three, Anne

      Yes. Yes. Amazing family.

      The agreement was supposed to be about how hand-written letters are the best way to communicate! A soapbox about the lost art of communicating as a thoughtful process!

      (But, thanks, Willydd3. Truthfully, most people just find us odd/different/weird. And good parents come in all different forms. I am not even certain that our parenting is the best for all our children, as kids all have different needs and perceptions. I am certain at least one of our children needs less weird.)

  6. Perry

    She’s just prepping her children for the upcoming storm…


  7. Bre

    This. Is. Brilliant!

    Wow,makes me wish I grew ip in your house, Anne! What a wonderful way to communicate and keep your family talking and laughing with each other.

    I am so happy you are finally writing posts! Love them. Keep the revolution going!!

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