Category Archives: parenting

How to Know If It’s Going to Be a Rough Day

image courtesy greekshares.com

IF, hypothetically speaking, you wake your child for school and he immediately tells you, “I had a nosebleed,”

and

IF you glance at his bed and it looks like a crime scene

and

IF you realize that he not only had the normal amount of bedding  but for inexplicable reasons was sleeping with 4 sheets and 5 blankets and they are all soaked

and

IF you look at your child and say, “You’re shirt is cov – WAIT!  That’s not blood!”

and

IF you lean in close and realize that (along with the blood) your child is covered in melted chocolate…

Yes, it is going to be a rough day.  And your life sucks.  And you are being punished for something, possibly for being a witch.

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Week One, 2011: I Will Be a Hugger

Let me begin with an apology to everyone whose eyes are still burning from yesterday’s post title.  I have no defense except that I recently watched “True Grit” and I may have been unduly influenced by some of the lesser characters.  No harm was intended, and I will not succumb to such a temptation again.   Now, my penchant for age-inappropriate and outdated slang?  I’m keeping that, yo.

Resolution #4:  Hugs all around!

Grandma hugging boy painting courtesy soentpiet.com

The Grammy I will be, in my best wig and housecoat, hugging my slightly overweight grandchild

Those who know me at all know that I’m not a very demonstrative person.   I admire my warmhearted friends who have a ready embrace for the whole world.  I’m trying to learn from them, too.  It’s easy for me to be affectionate with my daughters, because they initiate hugs and kisses so often.  But there came a time when the boys stopped initiating, and I don’t necessarily think about it…and suddenly I realize I’ve gone for days without touching my sons.

This year I’m resolved that everyone in this family gets hugged by me every, single day.  This is such a small goal – and such a given in many families – that I’m almost embarrassed to share it.  The thing is, even though I may not think to offer an affectionate touch, I know how good it feels to receive one.  Why would I not want to give that gift to my children every day?  I might try to give a few more hugs to my friends, too, although I can anticipate a few of them reading this with alarm.  Don’t worry.  I know who you are.  I understand.  And I won’t hug you.

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On the (Re)naming of my children

might have found some good ideas in here....

I’ve noticed a trend amongst certain bloggers of using pseudonyms for family members.  The pseudonyms often communicate something charming about those to whom they are applied:  Little Camper, Sweet Mama, the Farmer, etc.  Cute, right?  Now, I don’t have any privacy concerns motivating me to use online nicknames.  We’re already out there at various places on the internet.  If someone wants to know the names of my children they’re not exactly going to need security clearance from the FBI to find them.  The idea of using pseudonyms sounded like fun, though – and all the more so if I let the kids choose the names for themselves.  It would be a little shared whimsy between the children and myself.  Well, that may not have been my best idea ever.  Someone always has to be a wise guy, and this time it was the firstborn.   But I’m stubborn and sticking to my plan, so my children are newly renamed.

The problem with the firstborn, age 19, is that he immediately chose as his name “Baphomet, Lord of the Underrealms”.  It wouldn’t have been my selection, but I try to pick my parenting battles carefully.  I told him he could be Baphomet if  I could immediately diminutize it into “Baph”.  That seemed an acceptable compromise and we shook on it.

Baph and his minion, B.Lake

After Baph, it was on to our 15-year-old daughter who opted for Striker.  It’s a reference to her mad soccer skilz, although I think it makes her sound like a a character from a bad action movie.  Our younger son became B.Lake for reasons that make sense to us but that won’t mean a thing to anyone else.   That left the two little girls.  The nine-year-old was easy.  She went with a nickname she’d already been given by friends:  Cheesy.  This is not a critique of her character, but an acknowledgment of her unhealthy obsession with cheese.  Example:  she asked for a lifetime supply of cheese for Christmas, and no one finds that surprising (she’s not getting it, by the way).  Our youngest, at six, has the most straightforward and the sweetest nickname (and, not coincidentally, the only one I lovingly selected).  She is Bee, because she is my little Busy Bee, the child you want at your side when the laundry needs to be folded or the kitchen needs to be cleaned.

Cheesy, Striker and Bee

That’s it; that’s all the kids I have.  It was enjoyable going through the naming process with them, even if my firstborn chose the name of a goat-headed demon.  The upside is that he doesn’t behave like one.

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Last Week My Child Did Something Bad

My son called another boy  on the school bus a name.  I heard about this from my child – let’s call him “Bob” – when he came home from school one day.  “Mom, this kid was calling me ___________.  So I said, ‘Oh, yeah?  Well, you’re _________ because ______________.”

“Oh, no, Bob,” I said (or would have, if his name was really Bob).  “You shouldn’t have done that.  Even if someone calls you a name or makes fun of you, don’t respond in kind.  You can choose to ignore what he is saying to you, and if you just can’t stand it, talk to an adult.  If you call other kids names, you will wind up in trouble and it won’t matter who started it.”

Sure enough, the next morning I received a call from the school principal.  Bob had received a bus referral for calling another child on the bus a name.  “That’s true,” I told the principal “He did it.”  Bob was guilty as charged.  And so, end of story.  Until yesterday when we received our official letter from the school, notifying us in writing of the bus referral.  This is the letter copied to a long list of people and placed in the student’s permanent record.  And this is the exact wording from the letter, explaining Bob’s offense:

“(Bob) was calling other students ________ which caused another student to call him a name.”

Wait.  What?  He caused another student to call him a name?  Is this an example of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy?  Or perhaps we’re not free moral agents and I’ve been lying to my children for all these years?  Every time that I’ve told them that they have the power to walk away from a bully, to not strike back (either verbally or physically) – maybe my entire moral philosophy was built on sand?

Goodness.  How am I supposed to teach my son that his name-calling was not, under any provocation, justified, if the school justifies the behavior of someone calling Bob a name?   Am I nitpicking to have called the school about this?  Possibly, but words matter.  Clearly words matter, since words are what got Bob into trouble in the first place.

Try harder, public school administrators.  Try harder.

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