A word about yelling, because it feels nearly constant in that house. Children who grow up in houses where there is a lot of hollering going on can end up just as disturbed as children who grow up physically abused. Lots of experts have talked about all the negative outcomes of constantly yelling at your kids, one among them Dr. Laura Markham, who says yelling causes children to "harden their hearts" and that it makes children go into flight or "freeze" mode, making it harder to absorb what you're trying to teach them in the first place. There is one thing her yelling at them has surely done, and that is turned them into yellers themselves. They all holler and scream right back at her. Problem is, that form of communication doesn't work when you are an adult. You usually can't yell at your boss, or co-workers, or partner, or bartender, without terrible consequences. She is setting them up for disaster.
People still say happy birthday, cha-cha-cha? Ha-ha, that's awesome. That was the thing to say when I was sixteen too.
Some belly photos from Kate's sperm donor miracle pregnancy. I hope the fine gentleman donor was smart enough to sign all his rights away from the get-go. Kate explains that thanks to a Twitter user, she was reminded it's been ten years since they started filming. But did she retweet him? Doesn't count unless you do. Heh, like she needed someone to remind her of every single cha-ching that passed by each year. Bitch, please, you know darn well it's been ten years, you count the minutes, the seconds. This whole twitter thing, I swear. Doesn't life sometimes feel like an episode of Black Mirror?
Kate normally gets up at 5 a.m., and I normally don't care what time anyone gets up much less doofus here. We can tell how ancient this footage is because of all the snow on the ground. The boys usually wake her up, which I find a little unusual for almost teens. The boys are up before 5 a.m.? What time are they going to bed for goodness sakes, seven? Back in 2006, she got up at 8 a.m. She doesn't explain how she pulled this off with six babies in the house, but we all know it's because Jon and the helpers and even the twins did it all while Princess got her beauty rest. That little tidbit is mostly left out. I guess we are to assume the gremlins took care of all those babies until she finally rolled her lazy butt out of bed close to midday?
Literally the first three pages of Infinite Jest are tacked to the babies' bedroom door, directions for all the helpers she refuses to acknowledge. Now we fast forward to the sort-of present day, last year when the boys are making their own breakfast. I feel like I'm getting whiplash from all this back-and-forth. Aaden and Joel dutifully help her prepare school lunches every morning. They seem very chill and nice, but very parentified. The boys explain the reason they like to do this is the boys never get a chance to chat with Kate when the girls are around because the girls always dominate the conversations. Good grief, the girls sound like a real pain. Kate can't tell the girls to STFU and give their brothers a chance to speak during human hours?
The boys also say they enjoy packing lunches so they can be sure to get something they like in their lunches. Wait, huh? After eight years of packing lunches for them doesn't she just know by now who doesn't like what and try to accommodate it, within reason? If you're not there to police it, you're bound to get cod-liver oil and lima beans to go with your tuna? Sheesh.
The close-ups of the notes are interesting/funny. Some of them she attempts to be cute before ordering all her helpers about. "What stinks?" asks one before going into a litany of directions about how to properly throw out a diaper.
Another one is a laundry list of chores, errands and what sound like complex honey-do projects that might even involve having to go to Home Depot for supplies, all for none other than Jon to do, of course. The nap instructions and bed map look like blueprints to a kiddie work camp. 2006 Kate is nuts, as is the 2016 more bleached-out version. "Lunch giver"? Which church lady was that? What does that even mean, is that anything like an Indian giver, and why do only three of their cups go back in the fridge but not the others? It's a Gosselin unsolved mystery. Kate admits she puts notes everywhere, which is the first time she isn't exaggerating. I wish she would go paperless.
We whip back to sort-of present day where Kate is yelling again at the kids, who aren't doing anything wrong. They're just eating breakfast.
On the drive to school Kate makes a point to ask who is going to Jon's next week for their dinner night. The usual four, say the kids, who seem a little confused by this line of questioning. She makes up some lame excuse about how she needs to know because of some dog appointment. Sure, blame the dogs! We've discussed this a lot, but in my court, she'd be in contempt of court for not making sure all the children are attending their father's visitation. It isn't on her to put it on the kids who is going or not going. She is to transact the children to their father as instructed to in their family law order, every single time, and that's the end of it. No questioning them, no implying they have a choice, nothing. If there are any problems, she is to inform her lawyer. That's it. That little snippet was designed to show she doesn't "withhold" the children from Jon, it is their choice, but she doesn't seem to understand that's not good enough and that there are many ways to withhold a child from their parent that are much more subtle, and she is guilty of most of them. What's more, a judge decides what say a kid will or will not have in whether they go to their father's, and usually at this age, it's very little say. Most states recognize that a child their age should not have to bear the bulk of the burden of "deciding" which parent they will spend which time with, and rightly so.
They have to line up and kiss and hug Mommy Dearest when they get to the bus stop? That seems a little much at their age. It's just a few hours at school, not a week-long overnight field trip.
Once she gets back home she claims she gets Collin ready and off to his school, but we never see him on camera. Wait, who was staying with Collin when she took the rest of the kids to school?! She doesn't go into why he goes to a different school. Not that I want her to, but this is awkward, and terribly unfair to him. Poor kid.
She goes into a very long and boring explanation about how when she gets home she's under the gun to get dinner prepped. But she's only making stuffed peppers. At most, prepping that for eight or nine people should take maybe 30 minutes, 45 if you're really slow and distracted because you're chatting with producers about the fascinating topic of yourself. Doesn't she have a solid six hours without the kids every day to stuff peppers?
We made a point here on the blog that this whole thing about having a huge family is a little overblown. When you break it down, she actually just has, now without Collin, two families of four. So your expenses really shouldn't be ten times the amount of a family of four, but rather, just twice, give or take. Same for your food prep, same for your laundry, same for your time management. And it really should be less time actually, because it's certainly much easier to add people to your dinner prep and other things you are doing once you start it.
What would be slightly, ever so slightly more interesting than all this stupid drivel is to explain what exactly she is making. Looks like shredded chicken or turkey, going into halved peppers, with some spaghetti sauce. Seems like a simple, potentially tasty go-to meal kids will eat. Maybe one could find it if they pre-ordered her cookbook.
Kate laments how much easier babies are to entertain. I don't understand what she's saying, I think she says it was so easy, a dumb-dumb thrilled them. I'm too lazy to check the closed captioned to catch that comment. What dumb-dumb? Doofus?
Who's that guy in the background tending to babies? Dark haired, average build, resembles Jon Gosselin. Whooshhhhh, pass the air sickness bag because we're back to sort-of present day. Kate hates 2016 because the kids grew up and have opinions and she can't just shovel whatever food into their mouths or propaganda into their brains. Hey, Kate, you're only in January or February of 2016, just wait until you see what happened by November! Ba-bum, ching! Kate very reluctantly admits that laundry is somewhat better now that they are older but then tries to explain it's actually pretty bad still because even though it's a lot less frequent, the clothes got bigger. She actually says this. Heh. She cannot let anything go without making sure she's the martyr.
I don't think anyone needs me to recap Alexis pooping her underwears, right? Kate leaves the laundry running and runs off to pick up the kids for school. Is this really all she did in six hours, stuff peppers and stuff washer and dryers? Just a PSA here, never leave an appliance like that running when you leave the home. Appliance fires are extremely common, and thank God I was home when my dryer caught fire a few years ago or the whole house could have burned down.
The kids are back home from school and get straight to doing their homework, the boys anyway. What I observe here is the boys dutifully sitting down and trying to get their work done and move on with life, and the girls screwing around, not doing their homework, bothering their brothers, overall being a pest. Teen girls can be the most obnoxious species in the world when not properly parented, I hate to say it.
Kate has a true first world problem, in that in order to ensure everyone has a laptop and can get on the internet including herself, she had to get some more laptops and a business plan for wifi. Ohh, sounds like a business expense write off. Did Kate just say it was "hella expensive"? You are hella all of 15 years old. Nobody likes when old people try to talk like young people, not even other old people.
Some of the girls help Kate cook I guess a dessert for after dinner, and absolutely nothing happens. My god, those oven mitts are huge, and look industrial strength enough to practically remove a body from the oven. Geez!
She oh so lovingly wrestles with Aaden who is teasing her about her dumb jokes, and does anyone else get really uncomfortable when a documented child abuser "play" abuses their kid? It can't be just me.
Collin speaks on the couch! He teases Aaden about how he eats a chicken leg. Nonsense that we know nothing about this kid and his state of mind. There was a good glimpse right there at a child who can explain something clearly, understands humor and can demonstrate it, and knows how to tease without being cruel. It doesn't disprove he may have some struggles, but it is evidence of several abilities no one can deny he has.
Kate says Aaden was more of a quiet studier as a baby (he was really cute as a baby!), but now he has a hilarious sense of humor. I agree with that, I love his sense of humor. I especially love when he takes pots shots at his mother, lol.
Kate wants Mady to close the dishwasher door so Kate doesn't trip over it in her sleep. Kate watches too much T.V., that was the plot line of Garden State. Except I think the child actually pushed his mother over the dishwasher door. Heh. So wait, Kate sleepwalks in the kitchen? Do tell us more.
The day is finally over and naturally, Kate is exhausted. Now imagine doing all this stuffing and policing and having a real job, too. How does anyone do it?
Her storage room looks like an episode of Coupon Hoarders, i.e. Extreme Couponing. Absurd. She makes the kids take inventory before a shopping trip. Huge waste of time. This is one of those things where the amount of time and energy spent stockpiling is really not worth the little savings you find doing so. There is a pretty popular, and really good book about decluttering I read this year called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, based on the Japanese philosophy of decluttering your life to promote peace and tranquility overall. The author takes it to a bit of an extreme, wanting you to even throw out old family photos, letters, etc. (I don't see how it would hurt to at least scan them in and save them in Evernote or on a USB stick before tossing them), but she does have quite a bit to say about this stockpiling business. And that is that she's never seen someone's stockpile that wasn't actually a huge waste of money. Mostly because the products either expire before you use them or you forget you have them. She makes people donate their stockpiles or just trash them. Check it out, she has some good ideas even if you don't go as extreme as she did, and she gives suggestions without being judgmental or condesending.
Hannah is bossy and always has to be in charge, say the twins and Kate. Do they understand those are not nice comments to say about your sister or daughter? And, not to be an obnoxious feminist, but I do buy into the fact that few boys are ever described as bossy. In fact, boys who are like Hannah are described as leaders, decisive, future presidents. But when girls take a leadership role, they are bossy. It's hypocritical and unfair. Leadership qualities should be encouraged, and can be done so while still teaching kids how to lead in a way that is collaborative and kind, not divisive.
Kate is always making checklists. Heh, so is Pam Anderson. And, check!
Kate doesn't normally take the kids grocery shopping. Oh, I see, she's just doing it for the cameras and episode idea. It was harder to be organic ten years ago, which is true. Nowadays, that scam really has caught on, hasn't it?! Thanks in part to dopey celebs like Kate who know nothing about food.
The kids pretty much get away with piling whatever they want into the cart. Mom doesn't even look at the price, because why bother when it goes on the company credit card. Kate yells at them for being in people's way. While I agree they are plenty old enough to be aware of who they are blocking in the grocery aisle and that it is annoying when kids well old enough to be polite in grocery stores aren't, they are not in anyway's way. The aisles are huge, and nobody is around them. I think something I've learned through the years though, is don't assume a kid behaving badly in public can help it. He or she may have special needs. Don't sneer, don't judge their parents, don't let it ruin your shopping trip. Unless you have more information that suggests otherwise, it may very well have nothing to do with bad parenting.
Organic animal crackers, haha, what a dolt.
They flash back to one of the few old episodes I actually found somewhat interesting, where she took the cameras along on a grocery shopping trip. It felt so much more genuine than what's happening today, and she had a few good tips thrown in now and again.
The kids eat a lot more now. No, you're kidding! My god, they're walking away with half the store here. Even seven brides and their seven brothers can't possibly eat through all this crap. Greed.
Kate wants to know if Hannah will have stocked shelves when she's older, too.
Uh, yeah, so, not having a billion kids, Hannah says. Heh, I can't imagine.
They had a historical blizzard? Haha. I think doofus here means historic. Historical just means, like, the past, Kate.
They got two and a half feet of snow. I know that's quite a lot for the area but two or three feet was pretty routine where I grew up. It's always interesting the perspective the location and climate you're used to plays into whether you are in hysterics over stuff like this. On the flip side though, when it finally got to 90 degrees every couple years everyone faints dead away tongues hanging out weak and parched, so it goes both ways. Nonetheless the snow is very pretty. It's that still, silent look that happens when there has just been a major storm and everything is shut down, even the wildlife. All you hear is the occasional creaking of a tree and the quiet rustle of a wind. There's nothing like it.
Whether the producers thought of this, once in awhile Kate does something cool with the kids that is terribly fun and not out of reach of everyone else but the one-percenters. This time it's building an igloo, and she researches, or pretends to research, on Youtube. I'm pleasantly surprised Kate has gotten really nerdy excited and determined to do this. That's how I get about this kind of thing. I go all in once committed, like last one out there in the freezing cold finishing it up when everyone else is over it.
Everyone forgets about Joel. By everyone I guess Kate means Kate? No one else forgets about him, he's great. Ha, baby Joel had that receding hairline thing some babies temporarily develop. Adorable!
They figure out the key to making the igloo blocks is to pack the snow really tightly in the tupperware containers. Everyone is enjoying this, including Collin who is right in there making blocks. Kate is really excited this is turning out to be so fun. She had no hopes of it being fun. Oh, that's a great attitude to have going into any activity, this is gonna suck. What a putz.
Then and now, Alexis still has a twinkle in her eye. I think like most viewers I generally like her. Leave it to Kate to find something to nag and yell about. This time it's about getting snow into her nicely plowed driveway, which they were barely doing, and sliding down a little hill close to the igloo. It's hard to tell how close the hill really was to the igloo to really cause any danger to it, the shots don't make that clear.
The kids have about had enough and are ready for some food, which I expected eventually. Just Kate and Joel are left out there, packing away. Haha.
How badly do you want to succeed in life? she demands. Joel has been complacent lately, she explains, which is why she's been pushing him. Over building an igloo? It's supposed to be fun! And my god, he's twelve years old. Complacent comes with the territory. You're lucky you can get a 12-year-old boy to tie his shoes in the morning much less finish building an entire igloo. This is classic Kate. Start out with a reasonably fun activity, then suck the ever living life out of it and everyone in it until all the things you thought you love you now despise. She is something else.
I was wondering where the twins were in all this. I assumed too smug to lower themselves to playing in the snow. But turns out, Mady explains they're having a "cyber snow day," where the teachers assign homework to them to work on throughout the day so that they don't have to make up the lost day at the end of the year. That sounds genius to this adult, although as a kid I imagine that really deals a crushing blow to the two most wonderful words a northern states child has ever heard: snow day. Seems sacrilegious somehow. I wonder what the students do if they don't have the books they need for the assignments. I guess you can only assign things you can do without the books.
Hey, Kate gets some points for this. She's not letting the twins flake out on their schoolwork, and she's getting the younger kids out of the house most of the day so they won't distract them. And, I don't see her making fun of the twins for this unfortunate situation, as I would expect from a jerk like her. Don't say I never give her any credit.
All the kids were just such precious babies, including Leah. Kate is quick to point out though she was a biter. I've heard so many parents of multiples say their kids bite way more than singletons do. I wonder if that's just some kind of weird evolutionary pack instinct where children had to learn to bite each other or never get any wholly mammoth to eat.
Kate says Collin is no longer laid back. We really must not see much of this alleged behavior ever filmed, because when the cameras have been on lately, he almost always seems pretty easy going and helpful, just like his brothers. He's right there front in center making snow bricks as instructed by the commander, not causing any problems. Leah was the one crossing her arms and looking like she's about to cop an attitude.
Collin is again quite confident on the couch, making great eye contact with the producer, and explaining very clearly how they did about four layers of the blocks. We can observe plenty about this young man, come off it.
Kate really is going on and on about success here for someone who isn't going to even try to attempt a roof, which is the coolest part of the igloo. Anyone can stack blocks. But angling them up into a roof is actually interesting. They didn't build an igloo, so stop saying that. They built a circle of blocks and covered it with a tarp. A fort, really. I hate when adults feel the need to drive home life lessons instead of just letting kids absorb them on their own. They will, without your stupid help.
They head inside the structure and share some hot chocolate and high fives. Kate really liked the toddler years when she could do no wrong. Heh, I bet she did. Kate has said no less than three times now in this episode how blindsided she is to be where she is today, mostly implying the divorce. She really likes to emphasize how allegedly shocking the breakup was, like some kind of over compensation to prove she really was just minding her own business being a good wife and mother and some crazy jerk pulled up out of nowhere and divorced her. She loves to pretend she never saw this coming much less had any hand in it. This from the woman who was the one to file for the divorce in the first place. We get it, it's all Jon's fault. Can we please move on now?
I hate when she speaks for all parents. You do not speak for anybody but yourself, lady. And she's always so off the mark when she does it too. Yes it's true all parents probably have regrets, but do not say that all parents will yell at their kids, because it simply isn't true. For instance, while my mother did slip up and yell now and again, she tried not to, and my father never yelled at us at all. Not even once. When he disagreed with something we had done, we discussed it. He explained what he wanted us to do differently. And it worked. We listened to him. And I believe the reason that parenting style worked so well for him was because we developed a mutual respect where I knew I was free to make honest mistakes as kids will do, and he was free to help me correct them without anyone feeling upset or stressed out or nagged.
Going back to Markham, the doctor I mentioned at the beginning of this article, she has spoken at length about how yelling in fact is not normal, and that there are many households where yelling never occurs. Of course parents still get upset and angry and are far from perfect, but they choose to be aware enough of their own emotions to not take them out on their kids. I would love to hear stories from posters here who had a parent, or parents, who didn't yell, or are a parent themselves who doesn't yell.
Next time on Kate Plus 8, the master of deflection brings on the ultimate distraction--puppies!