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If it's on Google, then it must be true.

Type in "loudness yelling" on Google and see what happens. Go ahead. See. Now, I am not specifically familiar with such a phrase, but if it really does exist, then whatever it represents undoubtedly dwells in this house - and now the whole world knows it.

Should I feel guilty that Home on the Fringe doesn't show up under a "decent parents" search or even a "mildly acceptable decibel level in a single household" search? Is it a problem that the accurate written representation of our lives contains no actual references to patience, laughter, or good behavior, or at least not nearly enough of these references to show up as the NUMBER ONE LINK IN A GOOGLE SEARCH?

No. Despite my mom's (admittedly accurate) stance that I don't point out enough of the positive (I hear "blah blah, positive happy good, blah blah"), I don't think so. It's Home on the Fringe, people. The FRINGE. Fringes are tattered edges, boundaries, outskirts, peripheral or secondary to the norm. Not preferred. Not mainstream. Not even always socially acceptable. Now, this is not to say that patience, laughter, and good behavior don't exist here. We have some of those, too. For instance, last night, John and I took the kids to a local pizza place and waited 45 minutes to get some cold, soggy-crusted pizza and scalding hot chicken nuggets. During our 45-minute wait, Quinn and Bryce colored about 852 coloring sheets and Bryce didn't start flinging silverware until right before the food came. SCORE! Once he had his pizza, Bryce would cry out between bites with a pained look on his face, saying something about the spicy tomato sauce burning his chapped lips, then he'd swallow and take another bite and the process would start over. Quinn had a hangnail and the salt from the chips he was eating would rub in with every single crunch, so every time Bryce would munch happily, Quinn would sob, "MY FINGER HURTS!!" We'd wipe the salt off Quinn's finger, and then Bryce would be wailing about his lips again. It was hilarious, and we weren't even drinking: Munchcrunchaaaaaaamyfinger. okay it's better. Chewchewaaaaaaaaaamylips. okay it's better. Munchcrunchaaaaaaamyfinger! okay it's better. Chewchewaaaaaaaaaamylips! okay it's better.

After dinner, being the conscientious and attentive parents that we are, John and I decided we should finally GET the lotion we've been talking about, the one Quinn's doctor recommended we always keep on-hand, before going home and putting his already irritated, dried out winter skin through the bathtime wringer for the 15th night in a row that we've been noticing all the red, bumpy patches on his hips and thighs (isn't our care of him admirable? it's a real question in my mind why we don't show up under a search for "award-winning parents"). At Wal-Mart, picking up the lotion, 20 minutes before the kids' bedtime, there were - you'll never believe it - NO PUBLIC MELTDOWNS. I have recorded the date, because I'm pretty sure it was the first time we haven't been escorted out and/or blacklisted.

So there you go: patience (because no one imploded while waiting for the food), laughter (an extension of patience with the kids, even though our entertainment was at their expense), and good behavior (I mean, not getting stared at by the other patrons? Priceless!). I know, I know. You're saying, "but...normal people would consider this merely meeting basic expectations - this is nothing spectacular." And I'm saying this: HAVE I TAUGHT YOU NOTHING?

It's the Fringe. When we approach normal, that IS spectacular. Apparently, "loudness yelling" is our norm. Meeting basic social expectations is the rare but celebration-worthy event in this establishment. A fringe benefit, if you will.