SCHOOL PLAY: Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reenactments of famous historic events.

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.

SOAP: A cleaning agent Mum puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.

SPIT: All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids' faces.

SUNDAY BEST: Attractive, expensive children's clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice.

TERRIBLE TWO'S: Having both kids at home all summer.

TROUBLE: Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.

UMPTEENTH: Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mum must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done.

UNDERWEAR: An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident.

VITAMINS: Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mum 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.

XOXOXOXO: Mum salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid's lunch box even more mortifying.

YARD SALE: Heart-wrenching emotional process wherein Mum plans to sell kid's outdated toys and clothing that she decides at the last minute are treasured mementos she can't bear to part with.

"YIPPEE!": What Mum would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months.

ZUCCHINI: Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.