Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parenting Philosophies

I am getting ready to watch Parenthood, thinking about how grateful I am that not only is the show on network television but that it is on during this time in my life.  It is so well written and even more well acted and I appreciate how true to life they have stayed.  Unlike the so-called "reality" shows and some dramas that start off well then fall in the Desperate Housewives funk (Grey's Anatomy).

It started me thinking about my own parenting, or tonight my lack there of, and the philosophies that I have formed while on this journey.  I love that we can call everything a journey now.  Weight loss, parenthood, drug abuse, losing your mind, all a journey. Some a lot more fun than others, like, never mind I digress...severely.

Here are some of my parenting philosophies:

Children can not grow and be sane at the same time.

This applies to growing 1/2 and inch as well as learning to sit on the potty.  Has anyone else noticed that the moment life seems to be good, you really feel like you are cruising along just fine, maybe even telling yourself what a good job you are doing raising the child- BAM!  Out of the blue the child decides to cuss at grandma, pee in a potted plant at church, and scream "You are not my mommy" at you all the way down the milk aisle in the store.  It's taken me a while, but now before the cashier can hit social services on her speed dial all I say is, he's going through a growth spurt.  The sigh is audible above the the sirens.

Children will do the exact opposite of what you ask them to do, unless you ask them to do the opposite.

This one sounds tricky, but it's not.  If you see the fight brewing and you know that the five-year-old is about to retaliate by hurling the Lego ARC-170 that took the 8 year-old (and you unfortunately) seven hours to build and you scream "DON'T DO IT!" you are guaranteed it will hit the floor before the words finish coming out of your mouth.  However, trying to apply reverse psychology to the child that asks for another cookie for the 15th time, "You know what honey, eat what ever you want", will reduce cause said child to lie on the kitchen floor screaming that you don't love him.

Children can smell fear.

It's like dogs or horses or both, Trust me!

Children will be perfectly healthy until midnight.

It didn't take long to figure this one out.  Had I actually listened to my Aunt who was a nurse for 25 years I might have understood that children have the innate ability to spike a fever, cough up a lung, or break out in a weird rash only after both you and the Doctor have finally fallen asleep.  So keep that wonderful amazing most kind Aunt on speed dial - or bring a book because the ER takes forever and the child will get well again as soon as you walk in.

Children do get hyper after eating sugar.

And toast, an apple, even Cheerios.  Just feeding them gets that blood sugar back up to warp speed so be ready, Scottie!

Children will repeat everything you say only at the exact inappropriate time.

We are all guilty.  We are so angry at {insert name here} that we turn Ralph's World a little louder and think we're talking quietly on the cell phone until we get to the play date and someone asks, "How are you?" and your child replies, "She's pissed."

Children will amaze and astound you at least once a day -if you watch for it.

When all is said and done, I have the best job in the world.  These are truly amazing creatures and I am blessed to watch them grow.  It is so cool to watch them go from sitting to walking to talking to reading to telling me how to fix the computer.  It's incredibly hard to watch the fighting and crying and struggling and failing, but I also get to watch how that makes them stronger the next time around.  It is not the easiest job that I've ever had, but I hear grand kids make up for a lot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tooth Fairy Blues

So there is one advantage to finally joining Face book about a year ago - misery loves company.  My five-year-old has begun to loose baby teeth.  Mind you they have to wiggle in his mouth for a good month or so before they actually fall out.  That's right, I said fall out.  He will not touch them let alone pull one.  I think he currently has about three loose in varying stages of course.

After much work on my part with the toothbrush every night...Have you ever tried to brush a tooth out? It ain't easy folks.  We lost tooth number two.  He was so proud and put it in a plastic bag. Thank God! Not that I asked him to but touching those things gives me the willies.  Besides they are REALLY small.

He showed everyone and decorated the sandwich bag.  Then there were a few tense moments when we thought we lost it, but after the screaming and tears I finally settled down and realized it was still in the bag, just too damn small to see.

It took five days to remember to put it under his pillow.  Every morning he would come down for breakfast and say, "Oh look, I forgot my tooth again." So is it any wonder that when he finally remembered to put it under his pillow, I FORGOT!  How much do you suck as a mom when you forget to be the Tooth Fairy?!

I was really beating myself up over this one, because there was no getting out of it.  Oh, it's happened before people.  But my older son never came in with the tooth bag and a report of all the places the money was not.  He would just casually say, I think the tooth fairy forgot.  To which I would casually reply, "Really? Let's check under your bed at breakfast.  Excuse me while I go to the bathroom."  At which point I would dash upstairs cursing under my breath, stealing money from his own stash (under the bed) then grab the tooth and leave a dollar and no one was the wiser.

But the five-year-old really had me.  What now?  Couldn't even blame it on a snow storm like I did for my older son.  That excuse actually lasted three days until I threaten my husband with his sex life if he didn't remember to do it because I obviously can NOT!

When I posted this to my Face book page I had 8 comments from friends about how typical this was of the Tooth Fairy.  Perhaps because the Tooth Fairy is expected to do it all by herself.  Raise the little fairies, feed the little fairies, put the fairies to bed then spend all night picking up teeth!

Like I said, misery loves company.  And according to Face book I am in good company.  Maybe even at the top because one friend posted that she is pretty sure her son has had a tooth under his pillow for six months now.  The interest on that could put the Tooth Fairy out of business. Not a bad idea, not bad at all.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Resolution

I have said before that I do not believe New Year's resolutions.  They are pointless and guilt ridden declarations that I think 90% of the population makes while fall down drunk on New Year's Eve.  This year I may have had a change of heart.

The first reason came after getting about 1/2 sick after Christmas.  Due to the pounding headache, sore throat, and insipid cough I sat on the couch doing nothing as often as I could.  Because of this, I happened to caught an episode of The Middle on ABC.  They made New Year's resolutions for each other and it ended up working out pretty well, in that funny sitcom sort of way.  The 17 year-old son went back to 5th grade to turn in a paper for an A - except that the teacher took off a point for every year it was late, and for every misspelled word so he still didn't get an A.  The 15 year-old daughter tried to drum up support for the wrestling team with a band of misfit cheerleaders.  And the youngest child who was hoping to get time with mom ends up getting left at her job 4 hours after closing. See what I mean?

The second reason came when a friend, father, and husband lost his 11 month battle with cancer.  Our birthday's are 8 days apart.  We would both be turning 40 this July.  He leaves behind my good friend-his wife and their three beautiful children.  This really hit me hard.  I'm pissed, still.  I know that I should feel relief that he is not suffering, gratitude for our friendship, and peace that God has a plan.  But I'm struggling, because it sucks.  Wish I had a better expression, sorry Mom.

I was looking at the list that my son made last year right around this time, I have it hanging on the kitchen cupboard, it says and I quote

stuff I need
1. more kindniss
2. more hugs
3. more play time
4. more sleep
5. Kind words

That sounds about right.  Wishing everyone all the stuff they need for 2012.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Being 5 is tough work....

Tuesday was the first day back to school after Christmas break.  My five-year-old is in half day Kindergarten.  When I picked him up from school at noon he jumped in the mini-van (yes, yes, I know Julie keep laughing) and said "That was EXHAAUUSSTING!" I am sure it was big guy.

I asked how his day was otherwise

Really? What made it horrible?
"I can't talk about it."

Oh, my little man.  Being 5 is tough.  There are so many expectations and so little reward.  Get up, get dressed, eat your breakfast, go to school, do your homework, take a bath, eat your green beans, get some exercise - no Wii does not count - pick up your room, put on your pj's, brush your teeth and don't ask any questions, misbehave, whine, cry, or complain.  Thank you. Now repeat 10,839 times before graduation.

He seemed to be plugging away just fine this week.  When I got him up on Friday he said, "What are we going to do today?" Here it comes.....I said you are going to school. His reply, "AGAIN!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Where's my Guidance Counselor?

I will have to go to a funeral this week for a friend who was my age.  He fought a long and horrible battle with cancer and although he is at peace - what about the rest of us?  What do I say to my dear friend who is left without the love of her life?

She mentioned the school guidance counselor has already called her with the plan for telling the children's classmates and talking to them about how to be a good friend.  It made me so jealous.  Where's my guidance counselor?

There are so many situations not just this one where I feel lost, uncertain, ill-equipped to handle.  How do I be a good friend? What do I say when someone is sick? Is it OK to ask them how they feel? Do I bring chicken noddle soup? Or a bottle of wine?  What do I say at a funeral? Is it OK to laugh - tell a story about how I tried to feed him three year-old cream cheese brownies???

I wish I had a guidance counselor, better yet I wish I had super powers.  Flying, super strength, mind control - that would all help in fighting evil doers who are plotting to take over the world, but all I want is the power to heal.

In honor of Caesar Carnavale.  Extremely fun-loving friend, amazing husband, and great father. May your family feel your peace as you watch over them.  and C - next time give me the numbers!!