AIRPLANE What Mom impersonates to get a 1-yr.-old to eat strained beets. ALIEN What Mom would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself. BABY 1. Mom's youngest child, even if he's 42. 2. Dad, when he gets a cold. BATHROOM A room used by the entire family, believed by all except Mom to be self-cleaning. BECAUSE Mom's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically. CARPET Expensive floor covering used to catch spills and clean mud off shoes. CARPOOL Complicated system of transportation where Mom always winds up going the furthest with the biggest bunch of kids who have had the most sugar. COOK 1. Act of preparing food for consumption. 2. Mom's other name. DATE Infrequent outings with Dad where Mom can enjoy worrying about the kids in a different setting. DRINKING GLASS Any carton or bottle left open in the fridge. DUST Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone. DUST RAGS See "DAD'S UNDERWEAR." EAR A place where kids store dirt. EAT What kids do between meals, but not at them. EMPTY NEST See "WISHFUL THINKING." ENERGY Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something. "EXCUSE ME" One of Mom's favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children. EYE The highly susceptible optic nerve which, according to Mom,can be "put out" by anything from a suction-arrow to a carelessly handled butter knife. FABLE A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew. FOOD The response Mom usually gives in answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight?" See "SARCASM" FROZEN 1. A type of food. 2. How Hell will be when Mom lets her daughter date an older guy with a motorcycle. GARBAGE A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mom assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself. GENIUSES Amazingly, all of Mom's kids. HAMPER A wicker container with a lid, usually surrounded by, but not containing, dirty clothing. HANDI-WIPES Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc. HANDS Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal. HINDSIGHT What Mom experiences from changing too many diapers. HOMEMADE BREAD An object of fiction like the Fountain of Youth and the Golden Fleece. ICE Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty. INSIDE That place that will suddenly look attractive to kids once Mom has spent a minimum of half an hour getting them ready to go outside. "I SAID SO" Reason enough, according to Mom JACKPOT When all the kids stay at friends' homes for the night. JEANS Which, according to kids, are appropriate for just about any occasion, including church and funerals. "JEEEEEEEEZ!" Slang for "Gee Mom, isn't there anything else you can do to embarrass me in front of my friends?" JOY RIDE Going somewhere without the kids. JUNK Things belonging to Dad. KETCHUP The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mom spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right. KISS Mom medicine. LAKE Large body of water into which a kid will jump should his friends do so. LEMONADE STAND Complicated business venture where Mom buys powdered mix, sugar, lemons, and paper cups, and sets up a table, chairs, pitchers and ice for kids who sit there for three to six minutes and net a profit of 15 cents. LIE An "exaggeration" Mom uses to transform her child's papier-mache volcano science project into a Nobel Prize-winning experiment and a full-ride scholarship to Harvard. LOSERS See "Kids' Friends" MAKEUP Lipstick, eyeliner, blush,etc. which ironically make Mom look better while making her young daughter look "like a tramp." MAYBE No. MILK A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it's turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa. "MOMMMMMMM!" The cry of a child on another floor who wants something. MUSH 1. Main element of Mom's favorite movies. 2. What a kid loves to do with a plateful of food. 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. 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. PANIC What a mother goes through when the wind-up swing stops. 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 colledge. 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 reenactment 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. SUNDAY BEST Attractive, expensive children's clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice. TEACHER CONFERENCE A meeting between Mom and that person who has yet to understand her child's "special needs." TERRIBLE TWO'S Having both kids at home all summer. TRAMP A woman with two kids and no stretch marks. TROUBLE Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in. VITAMINS Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mom forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be "Just like Daddy." WALLS Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with every room. WASHING MACHINE Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues, and wads of gum. "WHEN YOUR FATHER GETS HOME" Standard measurement of time between crime and punishment. XOXOXOXO Mom salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid's lunch box even more mortifying. ZUCCHINI Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried, or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.