Ok- Here’s what I’m sick of. I’m sick of these moms screaming down from their glass pedestals condemning other moms about how much they are on their phones, how much television they let their children watch, or how many video games they let their children play. I’m tired of these self-proclaimed perfect mothers who claim their kids never eat sugar, have never been to a fast food restaurant, and their children only watch ten minutes of television per day.
Now, I have no problem with the moms who actually DO follow through with what they say they are doing. I have friends who are very good about always making sure their children are eating healthy, they truly do not visit fast food restaurants, and they cook just about every single thing their family eats every day. They don’t condemn my lifestyle or parenting choices, even if they don’t always agree with them. They even let their children come to my house and eat an occasional piece of chocolate or two!
It’s the people who claim their kids NEVER eat junk, NEVER have sugar, and NEVER eat fast food, and then I see their cars pulling into a McDonald’s drive through after they’ve posted on Facebook how disgusted they are with “some moms who allow their children too much junk!”, who annoy me to no end.
Here’s what I have to say to those mothers… I don’t believe you. You may have never taken your kid to a fast food restaurant- I’ll give you that. But Lady, if your kid has any friends and/or has been out of your site for at least an hour at a time, he’s eaten some crap, and he probably loved it.
Don’t tell me that you’ve never plopped your child down in front of the television so you could take a shower, or pee and read a magazine, or make dinner, or just so you could have several minutes of him not repeating your name three hundred times before you answer.
I read an article the other day written by a mom who doesn’t allow her children to play video games. That’s fine. I get it. I get very frustrated, as well, when I ask my ten-year-old son a question and he doesn’t answer because he needs to breed some cows for his Minecraft farm. It’s annoying. However, we’re not living in 1950, people. This is the age of technology and there are going to be times when I’m going to allow my boys to play video games. In fact, I’m so completely nuts that I paid an outrageous amount of money to send my eleven-year-old to technology camp at the University of Michigan where he sat and played video games for nearly eight hours every day for an entire week.
My kids wear t-shirts and shorts or athletic pants to school. I’m OK with this. Yes, there are times when my eleven-year-old comes downstairs wearing two different shades of neon orange and a pair of red tennis shoes, and I cringe as my eyes are partially burned and blinded by the horror. I occasionally tell him his clothes do not match, and I get back “Eh, I don’t care.” I let it go. As long as he’s clean, he makes good grades, he follows the rules, and is respectful, what do I care if his clothes match or not? I have a feeling that as soon as some cute girl at school tells him his clothes don’t match, he’s going to change his tune very quickly.
I buy organic food and I make my family eat it. I force my vegetable hating ten-year-old to eat at least one or two vegetables for dinner every night, even if it’s just a bite or two. My boys are only allowed to drink carbonated beverages on special occasions or if we eat in a restaurant every so often. But if my kid wants some Lucky Charms for breakfast a couple days per month, I let him have it. Is this lazy parenting? You bet it is and I don’t care. As far as I know, a couple bowls of Lucky Charms a few days per month hasn’t killed anyone. Yet. Now if I hear that eating Lucky Charms actually DOES kill someone, I may change my tune. He can get up on his own, pour himself a bowl of cereal with milk, and eat it, while I get myself ready for the day, drink my coffee, or watch the Today Show. There are other mornings that I make him eggs, ham and toast. Maybe one of the other mornings I will make him waffles or pancakes with bacon (all organic, of course).
I am probably on my phone way too much, I’ll give you that. There’s nothing in this world I love more than spending time with my boys. I love talking with them, playing with them, watching movies with them, or simply just snuggling with them on the couch. But sometimes I need a little “me” time. My phone is a tool I use to shut off my brain for a little while and just focus on something completely stupid or mundane. I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner (organic, of course), how much laundry is piled up in my closet, or that it’s probably been a couple weeks since I’ve changed the sheets on our beds and I should probably get around to doing that very soon, when I’m catching up on Facebook or playing Candy Crush on my phone. Again, I am fully aware that I am demonstrating how to be a lazy parent when I’m focused more on the games on my iPhone than on my household duties and my role as a wife and mother.
However, I teach my children right from wrong. I have volunteered countless hours of my time at my sons’ schools, even taking over as their PTA President for the past two years. I have sat with other people’s children during school, helping them learn to read, write, and play math games. I have made thousands of copies for my boys’ teachers, decorated bulletin boards, chaired and organized class parties, and supplied food for teacher luncheons. My boys (knock on wood), both get straight A’s, work hard, study for tests and quizzes, are respectful to their teachers, and kind to other children. They are involved in many activities such as Taekwondo, baseball, football and swimming. As far as I can see, they are doing very well in spite of some of my lazy parenting tendencies.
My point is this; there are probably better moms out there than me. I think I’m OK with that. There may even be better kids out there than mine. I’m definitely OK with that. And I think I am finally OK with the fact that my children aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect; our life is not perfect. There are going to be times when we eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a handful of Cheetos for dinner.
I’m OK with that.
Just so you are aware, that peanut butter, bread and jelly will most certainly be organic.
It was a desperate time. My first born was entering the sixth grade. With middle school right around the corner, I began to panic. It would only be a matter of time before he would be going through the doors of the middle school and entering into a world where he would be learning new words he’d never heard (and I’m not talking about the words he would learn in his classes), noticing girls (preferably not the ones I’ve seen wearing tank tops that expose way too much skin and shorts that might as well be labeled as underwear), and answering my questions with grunts rather than using actual words.
I was in a panic. I decided to try to embrace my son’s impending adventure and take my boys shopping for school supplies and maybe even some new school clothes. Let’s just make a long story short here; no point in beating around the bush. We went out to shop for school supplies and came home with a puppy. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
Some serious credit goes to my husband for not divorcing me when I brought the little beast home. I told him it was an anniversary gift. He didn’t believe me.
The puppy, now named Cabbie, is a beagle. He’s one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. He’s also one of the most mischievous.
First of all, the dog is just over one year old, and he still isn’t potty trained. I’ve tried everything- crate training, rewarding him with treats and love, and trying to catch him in the act. Nothing works. He will do fairly well for a few days, and then all at once, he will pee on my front door several times throughout the day; or the family room; or the living room; bedroom; bathroom; kitchen. No one knows what to do. We’ve tried all the things the trainers have suggested, but the dog still pees.
He’s scared of everything. If there’s a strange sound in the house; howling. If a doorbell rings on a television program; yelping. If a bird flies in his general direction, he runs to the door and scratches on it until we let him inside. If he sees a bug, he’s running in the other direction. God forbid if a person comes to the front door, because all Hell breaks loose.
He eats poop. He eats his own poop, our other dog’s poop, all poop is free poop. He loves it. Our other dog, a hound dog named Carl, has never eaten poop and seems to look at Cabbie as if he’s gone completely nuts when he watches Cabbie digest a full mouthful of the stuff. It’s disgusting. We’ve all experienced a significant amount of gagging after witnessing Cabbie wolfing down his big, brown treat. We’ve tried putting cayenne pepper on the poop. He still eats it. We tried some pills our veterinarian gave us. He still eats it. Nothing works.
He hates love. I’m not kidding. The dog doesn’t snuggle and he doesn’t really like to be petted, patted, loved, or caressed. WTH? I thought every dog yearned to have owners who would spoil him rotten, patting him all over his tiny little body at all hours throughout the day. Not Cabbie; he hates love. He won’t sleep next to anyone, preferring to nap at the end of the bed or on another part of the couch if there is a human nearby. When one of us comes toward him, saying his name sweetly, and holding out our hands to pet him, he runs away. He’s never been hit or abused, so I’m not sure what is causing this fear. We want to love him and snuggle him, but he’ll have none of it. My boys say I should write a book about him, “The Dog That Hates Love”. I don’t think it would be a big seller.
The problem with this dog is that he is just so darn cute, I can’t get mad at him. He poops in my living room, and although I’m enraged when I first find it and have to clean it, he looks at me with those sad, brown, beagle eyes, and I can’t stay angry. He’s too cute.
So here we are, in our dog-filled house of canine fur and kibble, stuck with this cute little ball of fluff that is destroying things one by one, and yet we continue to move forward. Thank goodness for aerosol air freshener, a heavy-duty washer and dryer, and a sense of humor.
My son is not what you would call one of the popular kids at school. People don’t hate him or anything, he’s just not part of that “in” crowd that most children (and as I’ve come to find out), many parents crave.
We were at the pool a few days ago, and I noticed several boys and girls arrived whom I recognized to be part of the “in” crowd at my son’s middle school. There were certainly some handsome boys and pretty girls in attendance; the boys with their side swept hairstyles not unlike many of the young pop stars popular today, and the girls with their teeny tiny bikinis whispering to each other with crooked smiles and hushed giggling.
They don’t wear goggles or swim shirts, and the boys’ swim trunks hang as low on their waists as the law will possibly allow. I have to resist the urge to walk up to them and pull up their trunks, while brushing all the long hair out of their faces.
I watched this particular group of boys and girls quickly come together dancing to the music playing over loud speakers, flirting, touching, and laughing. One girl walked over to a boy, whispered in his ear, then practically dragged her friend over by the arm and plopped her down on the bench next to the boy. More flirting ensued. I smiled remembering so many years ago being young, flirting and feeling that thrill I felt when a cute boy paid me some attention.
A diving contest began, and the boys took their places at the board ready to perform and show the girls their very best diving moves. One boy began chanting, “No balls, no balls, you have no balls”, as each of the others stepped up on the diving board. Immediately each boy joined in and the girls erupted in giggles. I shook my head, remembering back to the time when I am fairly certain I had acted much the same way.
I looked across the pool, and saw my son, my handsome, sweet, smart, middle school boy, playing with his younger brother splashing him and squirting him with a squirt gun. Clad in a tight swim shirt and a pair of youth goggles, he looked a bit like a large mouthed bass flailing in the water. There was no interest in joining the other boys and girls. There was no self-consciousness that he was playing with a group of younger kids, wearing weird swim gear, and ignoring the pretty girls. He was and is totally OK with who he is.
When my son was in the fifth grade, a few fellow parents and I were volunteering at school and somehow a conversation began about boyfriends and girlfriends. It was very clear to me that while my son was still sleeping in Star Wars themed bedding and asking me to “come snuggle” at night, their children had moved on and started “dating” the opposite sex. One parent described how cute it was that her son and his girlfriend were texting while he was on vacation.
“She was telling my son how much she missed him and couldn’t wait until he got home! It was just so cute!” She smiled.
I was definitely in the minority when I exclaimed, “Ew! That’s not cute! They’re ten and eleven years old!”
Shocked parents looked at me like I had three heads. I shrugged. It was all I could think to do.
Please don’t think I’m judging anyone. There is nothing wrong with any of these children or their parents. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s only a matter of time before my son starts acting the very same way his classmates did at the pool. I realize that at any moment, this sweet, good-natured, even-tempered, laid back son of mine will cross over to the dark side and no longer want me to snuggle him at night, scratch his back, or tell him scary stories. The time will come when he outgrows the Star Wars bedding, stupid-looking swim googles, and maybe even playing with his younger brother.
At some point, he will probably be self-conscious enough that he will start wearing clothing that actually matches, and he will no longer wear sandals with socks. Ok- maybe not the sandals with socks part because his father still does that.
And when that time comes, I will weep.
I know they must grow. I know they must become independent, strong, and manly. I just don’t want it to come so soon.
I feel happy to be in this little, protective bubble where my son is a self-proclaimed nerd and proud of it. My heart will break when the bubble finally bursts.
So… rather than sit here and wallow in the dread and apprehension of things to come, I am planning to go grab my young sons, take them for ice cream, maybe play at the park, and finish off with a light saber duel. It won’t be long before they’ll be too cool to join me for these adventures.
One of the greatest joys in life, for me, anyway, is going to the dentist. Where else can you sit in a chair draped in plastic covering permanently damaging your jaw muscles from keeping your mouth open for an hour while a stranger shoves his hands in there causing pain that seriously rivals childbirth? Joyous. I love it.
I went to the dentist yesterday to get a cavity filled. I'm forty-four years old and for the life of me, I thought I was done with getting cavities. I brush at least twice a day, sometimes three times. I floss regularly. In fact, I'm sort of an obsessive flosser, so why do I still get an occasional cavity? What is this about?
Let me begin by telling you a bit about my history with dental procedures. This will help you understand the anxiety and pure, white hot fear I feel the minute I step into the chamber of torture referred to as the dentist office. In my twenties I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. I was nervous, but I had known friends who had to have theirs pulled, and their recoveries were quick and fairly painless. I figured I'd get through it just fine. Not the case. I developed something called "dry sockets" in all four holes after the teeth were extracted. It was the single worst pain of my life. I'm not kidding you.
Keep in mind that I have given birth twice, the first time to a huge, nearly ten pound boy with more hair than Don King, a head the size of a watermelon, and feet that were the same size as some five year olds I know. It was an incredibly painful birth, for sure, but even it did not compare to the misery I experienced after the wisdom tooth fiasco.
Dry sockets feel like, hmmmm... let's see... someone taking a small letter opener type device, heating it in a hot fire, and stabbing you with all their strength right into the empty holes you now have in your mouth. The pain never stops. All you can do is moan, cry, and hope that someone punches you in the face and knocks you unconscious so you no longer have to feel the pain. The treatment for the dry sockets consists of the Grim Reaper, I'm sorry, I mean dentist, using a small spoon-like instrument to basically dig out the holes in your mouth, causing them to bleed again. That's the point- they want blood. They need the holes to bleed again so they create a clot that will hopefully stay in the holes so that the nerve is no longer exposed. Oh- and did I mention they do this without any anesthesia because they do not want it to hinder the production of blood? Most. Fun. Ever.
Imagine me lying there, Reaper digging at the holes, blood pooling in my mouth, tears streaming down my face, while the dentist grabs some tweezers, picks up some cotton soaked in some horrible smelling liquid (I later found out it was clove liquid), and shoves the soaked cotton in each little hole. And that shit stays in there, people. You don't remove it until the next day, when the torture begins all over again. This went on for about four or five days (I lost count since each time I believe I lost consciousness as well as, I am certain, years off my life). Eventually I was healed, but the damage was done. I have since had a horrible fear of the men in white coats who delight in putting their hands in my mouth.
About ten years ago, I had a root canal. Some crazy woman who called herself a "specialist" (yep- a specialist in torture, pain, misery and stupidity), performed this procedure for me. It took days to complete, and day after day, while this "specialist" performed her own brand of mutilation on me, she seemed to become more angry. I lied there wondering why on earth this woman would be mad at me, when I was the one experiencing the hours of horror at her very hands. It turns out I have some very long roots or nerves or something long, anyway, and she was having a very hard time cleaning out whatever it was she was cleaning while performing the procedure. On the last day (I think we were on day number five), she became extremely frustrated and mumbled to her assistant that she was "just going to fill 'em up."
I wondered exactly what it was she was filling up. I really didn't understand what was going on, but something didn't seem right. However, I didn't question her. I had reached my limit. Five days in the chair having her stick tiny wires in my mouth had taken its toll. I was done. "Yep, fill 'em up!", I thought. Just get this over with.
To make a long story short, the root canal was not done properly and many years later the tooth became abscessed. The pain was excruciating and not unlike the pain I experienced after I had my wisdom teeth removed. After being sent to another specialist, he determined there was nothing that could be done. He apologized and told me that the tooth would need to be pulled.
"Uh, no. Nope. Never. Nu-uh. No way. Nopety. Not. Going. To. Happen. Ever", I said.
"Yes", he said.
"No", I said.
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but yes."
Ma'am? I'm not sixty.
And then I cried. Not a quiet, sad, tiny cry, but a loud, snotty, tear-filled, sobbing cry. The specialist became nervous and I'm pretty sure he was considering calling in a psychiatrist. He assured me things would be fine, that all I would need to do is go back to my regular dentist and he would just "pop that tooth right out". No biggie. Smile.
I wanted to rip his eyeballs out.
I ended up going to an oral surgeon to have the tooth pulled. There was no way in hell that I was going to sit in my dentist's chair awake while he ripped out another one of my precious teeth with his pliers the size of hedge clippers. The surgeon explained that he would pull the tooth and create a place for the rod that they would later shove up in there to attach a fake tooth.
"How do you create a place for the rod to go? What do you use?", I asked.
"Cadaver bone", he replied.
"I'm sorry. Whaaaaaa?" Certainly I had misheard him.
"Yes, cadaver bone. We pack it up with cadaver bone so that the rod has a place to set and the artificial tooth stays in place." The surgeon's eyes were wide with pleasure. I could tell he enjoyed his job.
So I sit here now writing this blog post, mouth filled with a dead person's bones, tooth aching from the latest trip to my favorite place on earth, thankful I don't have worse mouth problems. Maybe one day I'll get over this irrational fear I have of going to the dentist, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.