My Kids Think They Live in a Barn

One mother's children suddenly forget their manners once guests come around.

In Her Words

Moo, Oink, Baaa!

My children think they live in a barn

-Jennifer Trannon

noisy boyWe eat dinner on a fairly regular basis in my house. You know, like daily. We also frequently have guests over to visit. Nothing new there. My children, one would think, are pretty accustomed to both of these occurrences.

Why is it, then, that when these two events happen at the same time, my children appear to lose their minds?

We had friends over tonight for dinner. It was nothing fancy: Just a pan of lasagna with our very close friends. There was no need to impress, no promotion on the line, nobody I worried would cut all ties with me if my children weren’t perfect.

But still.

We crammed around our kitchen table, the nine of us. We were laughing and talking and eating, and then one by one, my children began to act as if (Oh, dare I say it? Am I really going to go there?) they were raised in a barn!

Now, I haven’t actually ever met children who WERE raised in a barn, so I’m only speculating. But my 5-year-old began crawling under the table, and my 9-year-old stood up on her chair and screamed at the top of her lungs for no apparent reason. Five thought that was funny, so he climbed ON MY CHAIR and did the same thing. Then 11 decided to bring his Nintendo DS to the table (which is never ever allowed, even in a barn) and when I told him to get rid of it or it would be mine, 15-I-mean-11 said, “You can’t do that-I OWN it!” Oh, really? Guess whose DS it is now?

After our wonderfully understanding friends left, I sent the animals to their rooms. They came down once to try to apologize, but I told them that, no, there was no excuse for their behavior and they needed some time to “think about what they did.” (We really do turn into our mothers, don’t we?)

Later, when I went upstairs to put everyone to bed, at the top of the stairs there was an envelope addressed to Jennifer Trannon. Stamped and everything. It read:

Dear Mommy: We are VERY sorry for tonight. And we have all signed this document stating that any time we have guests – wait, ALL THE TIME – we will have the best behavior that we can have. Our apologies. Love, 11, 9 and 5.

And the upside of anger? Eleven unloaded the dishwasher while 9 got 5 ready for bed and read him a story. Maybe there really is hope for them after all.

But the DS is still mine.

Jennifer Trannon is a former public school teacher who is currently
staying home in the barn to care for her three children. She can be
reached at

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