ALIEN: What Mum would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.

BABY: 1) Dad, when he gets a cold.  2) Mom's youngest child, even if he's 42.

BATHROOM: a room used by the entire family, believed by all (except Mum) to be self-cleaning.

"BECAUSE": Mom's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically.

BED AND BREAKFAST: Two things the kids will never make for themselves.

CAR POOL: Complicated system of transportation where Mum 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.

DUST: Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone.

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.

FABLE: A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.

FOOD: The response Mum usually gives in answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight?"

GARBAGE: A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mum assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself.

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.

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.

"I SAID SO": Reason enough, according to Mum.

JUNK: Dad's stuff.

KETCHUP: The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mum spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.

MAKEUP: Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc.  which ironically make Mum look better while making her young daughter look "cheap."

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.

PANIC: What a mother goes through when the darn wind-up swing stops.

OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mom's nickname for Dad.

PENITENTIARY: Where children who don't eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mum.

PIANO: A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mum, kids will refuse to play in front of company.

PURSE: A handbag in which Mum 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.