Have I mentioned yet that this is one of BrightSide’s favorite sayings?  And that he’s not typically at the zoo when this little gem passes his lips?

Yep.  One guess who he’s referring to as said bear.  (Hint: It’s not the prepubescent girl in the house, though I have to say there are some days now when this is EXCELLENT advice in regards to her.)


He usually tosses out this saying when BS is entertaining himself by giving me a friendly (huh) jab just to get a reaction.  (It’s surprising he’s played this game all these years, actually, considering the number of times the backlash has been a bit more than he bargained for.)

“Don’t poke the bear.”

Times when this would be an excellent suggestion for BrightSide to follow:

  • When I am sleep and/or food deprived.
  • When T-man and Bear have run me ragged, as evidenced by my slumping shoulders and weary face.
  • At nine o’clock-ish, when the kids are finally in their rooms and I realize I still need to empty the dishwasher so I can clean up the kitchen, move wet clothes to the dryer, and fold a load of laundry before I can sit down.  All while knowing I’ll have to accept that, yet again, I didn’t get to the vacuuming and there are dog hair tumbleweeds everywhere.
  • When I am dealing with drama elsewhere in my life.  (It tends to strip me of my sense of humor.)

“Don’t poke the bear.”

Times when this would be wise advice for my kids to follow:

  • Before I’ve even pulled myself out of bed in the morning.
  • Before I get that first sip of coffee.
  • While behind the wheel, late for a lesson, driving 70 mph in rush hour traffic.
  • After getting at least two fair warnings that I have a blistering headache.
  • While I’m on the phone or speaking with another adult.
  • Short of an urgent matter (currently defined as a head wound, profuse bleeding, or fire), while I am in the shower.

“Don’t poke the bear.”

Times when this would be astute guidance for other children:

  • While in my home.  If I say clean up, clean up.  If I say you’re collectively being too rowdy, calm down.  If I say get outside, then get the hell outside.  It’s for your own good.
  • While you’re working with me at school.  Yes, I’m a visiting parent and yes, you’re a too-cool-for-school tween, but if I’m running a study group and you act up then you should expect to be yanked back into line.  And, my sweet little darlings, if you choose to push back then you can expect a smackdown.  I don’t take lip off my own kids; I’m sure not taking it off you.
  • While playing with my kid.  I’m big on letting them handle their own problems, but when push comes to shove I am a mama bear.  So my kid tried to work it out and you’re still showing your ass?  Let’s just say you’d rather work it out with my child than have me enter the equation.

“Don’t poke the bear.”

Times when this would be prudent counsel for other adults:

  • When you’re angry with my kids.  Hey, it happens.  I get angry with yours, too, and you can bet I’ll call them down if needed.  It takes a village and all that jazz.  As long as that “jazz” doesn’t involve inappropriate language or yelling.
  • For the love of all things holy, while in public show some common courtesy.  My kids and I were in a waiting room last week where there was only one set of three open seats together. The problem? A newspaper left on the seat next to the man there.  Was it left by another patient?  Placed as a buffer to prevent someone from sitting?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that this man said nothing, ignoring my son as he stood directly in front of him, and that it was T-man who politely asked if the seat was saved.  I mean, COME ON.
  • While my kid is at your house.  If you know mine aren’t allowed to play violent video games (hello, Call of Duty), please don’t set them up at the console with popcorn and drinks.  And if you catch them tucked away in a room, do another mom a solid and let me know.  (Shout out here to my neighbor for her help.  You are totes awesome.)
  • When your kid has been invited to our party.  I have no idea why this is such a problem. We’ve all been on the receiving end of this silence, trying to plan a birthday party with only a rough guess at the number of people coming.  I know you must hate it, so why would you do it to me?

It’s kind of funny…when I started this post BrightSide’s saying was, well, a little annoying.  But it turns out to be appropriate in all sorts of situations.

Now all my husband, kids, other youth, and adults need to remember is this:

“Don’t poke the bear.”