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By Robin Dearing
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Well, at least it makes me
feel better," Lynn replied as Bill and I told her of our parenting woes over several bowls of soup* Friday.
Both our kids have been ... well, just not acting right and it's really getting me down.
My 16-year-old stepson's story is so frustrating and sad that I always end up just shaking my fist in the air and crying, "Teenagers!" in a disgusted voice. Plus, it's really not my story to tell, so I'll just focus on Margaret.
Margaret ... my 6-year-old little darling.
She brought home two
notes, on two
consecutive days last week about talking back to her teacher. Talking back to her teacher!
Gah! What kind of parent am I?
I am mortified by this. Her teacher is an earnest, hard-working and dedicated woman whom Margaret has always liked. And I feel like an ostrich parent saying, "I have no idea where this behavior comes from." But really, I am surprised.
Oh, that's not to say she isn't more lippy at home than I'd prefer, but she seemed to act right (mostly) at school.
Not anymore. And we're not really sure what to do about it.
We "grounded" her for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with exceptions being that she got to go to Powdercats
(because I prepaid good money for that and, bad behavior or not, she was going) meaning that she couldn't watch TV or play with her friends. We spent extra time doing homework and practicing the piano.
But I'm not really sure that it did any good.
Saturday evening as Bill and I watched some television, Margaret came out of her room and without a hint of sarcasm stated, "I thought I was going to hate being grounded, but I'm finding much better things to do than sit around watching TV."
Yeah, how do you respond to that?
I always end up blaming Margaret's bad behavior on Bill, because I never got in trouble at school. But then I remember that this isn't about me. It's about Margaret and then my head starts hurting.
I think I'm going to stock up on extra-strength Excedrin.
*Our office held a soup potluck Friday. I was amazed at the variety of soups that were brought in. We have a lot of good cooks who work at the Sentinel. Bill was invited to the office potluck because he's the one who actually makes the food I bring to potlucks.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
My kid just ate a whole taco burger and a half a jar of peach baby cobbler for lunch.
I can't believe that such a little guy
could pack away so much food! Where is it all going?
He's still small for his age but there isn't much to be done when he eats like that.
Yesterday he ate cereal, a whole muffin, six ravioli, the other half of the peach cobbler, some pancake snacks, some Wheels, and a small bowl of salmon chowder.
When this kid hits the teenage years I'll have to get a second job just to feed him!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Last Saturday I lay Soren down for his morning nap, grabbed my keys and announced that I was going to the mall to get a much needed haircut and eyebrow wax.
I nearly ran from store to store in desperation trying to get as much personal maintenance done as quickly as possible. The list of "must-do" items getting longer and longer as I went along. Store displays with their flashy clothes and high heeled shoes kept catching my eye. I longed to linger sans baby and look at clothes without a hint of mommyness to them. I wanted to plop myself down in a massage chair and get a pedicure. Before the baby, I wouldn't have given it a second thought.
And I could have if I wanted to. There was no time restriction placed on me. No place that I had to be or appointment I had to keep. The only thing preventing me from enjoying a little luxury was me.
It was just that I felt guilty for being at the mall on my day off when I should be at home playing with my baby.
Then I started to think that my trip to the mall would have been more fun if I had a friend to share it with. "Oh that's right" I thought to myself, " I suck. I never call my friends anymore since I had the baby."
Why is it so hard to take time for yourself once the scarlet M is slapped on your chest? Does it get any easier?
By Robin Dearing
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sunday was Margaret's second day spent with the Powdercats ski group at Powderhorn.
Powdercats is a great program that works with kids ages 4 to 8 on the fundamentals of skiing. And she is definitely getting the basics down pat.
to see a short video of Margaret skiing with her dad and with the Powdercats.
We had a minor set back yesterday as her ever-fussy stomach started to cause her fits. She took a break from Powdercats but we were able to convince her to take another run with her dad and our friends down the bunny slope.
Margaret agreed but only because she loves our friends, Eric and Elissa, so much. They are the nicest pair of kids we've met in a long time and Margaret would do anything to get to hang out with them. So much so that she even agreed to go to the top of the mountain and ski down a blue (intermediate) run with them.
I was nervous but I didn't have to be. After a short run down a steep part of the run, Margaret gathered all her skills and traversed the blue run with gusto.
Just another reason why we love living in western Colorado.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, January 19, 2007
“He’s eating conditioner!”
“You think he’s okay?”
“Well how much did he eat?”
“I don’t know. Some chunks off the top of the bottle.”
I made a quick mental rundown of the lists of ingredients I thought I could remember.
Mom Assessment: “I think he’ll be okay as long as he didn’t eat too much.”
The thing is no matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you crawl on your belly to inspect under couches, despite how diligent you are about relocking the cabinets and shutting the bathroom door, stuff happens.
The Mesa County Health Department said in a press release that unintentional injuries is the number one killer of children.
They are organizing a new group to help parents protect their children called Safe Kids Mesa County. The first meeting will be from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Mesa County Health Department, 510 Road 29 1/2.
The group will address topics such as bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, poisoning prevention, water safely, firearm safety, and suffocation. For information, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
I visited and read the poison prevention tips. You just can’t be too careful or assume you know it all no matter how old the child is.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
“Hey Mom, can you take me to get a haircut?”
“A haircut? You think you need a haircut?”
“Do you not see this bush
growing on top of my head?” (Accompanied by the world-famous teenage eyeball roll.)
I admit I might be a bit absent-minded these days, but I’m pretty sure I would notice an actual bush growing out of my son’s head.
I tried to imitate the eyeball roll and told him, “You never would have survived the 60’s.”
Forty-five minutes and a trip to Great Clips later, he was all smiles as he admired his freshly shorn head.
“Oh dude, that feels so much better. I can’t stand it when it gets so long.”
Aliens. That’s the only explanation.
My son has absolutely gorgeous hair. Thick, shiny, wavy (when it’s longer than a quarter inch) and absolutely unruly. When he was a young babe and before his very first haircut he actually had ringlets. As he grew he wanted it shaved close to his head. He couldn’t bear to take the time to comb it or “deal” with it. I bought one of those clipper things and would take him outside or sit him in the bathtub for a number 3 buzz cut. I figure this has saved me several hundreds of dollars over the years.
Recently though he has decided to grow it out. For him, that means number 3 on the sides and maybe a number 4 or 5 on the top. I can’t deal with multiple numbers so now I’m paying for his coif at Great Clips or whatever chop-shop has a coupon.
This going against the norm strikes me as odd. Don’t most parents nag their teenage boys to get a hair cut? Maybe if I told him I really like it short and think it looks great, that would immediately make him want to grow it out. Then he would have to spend more time in the morning “dealing” with it. Then we would be late for the bus, then I would have to drive him to school, then I would be mad . . .
I guess I should count my blessings and fondly remember when it looked like this:
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Awhile back, my band
was scheduled to play two shows in Denver on the same day. We found ourselves at a bar in a strip mall in Littleton with several hours to kill until we played our second set.
In order to amuse ourselves, we began playing a rather rowdy game of what we ultimately dubbed “Riveter pong.” It was like ping-pong only the object was not to score, but just to keep the ball in motion
at. all. costs.
As a result, we would find ourselves hitting the ball with careless abandon. As one could imagine, the normally harmless, ping-pong ball turned into torture device for those unfortunate enough to be trying to play pool at the tables around us.
We hit one guy with the ball several times. Each time, we’d genuinely apologize but then continue our reckless game.
Finally, Bridgett, our good-conscienced drummer, said, “At some point, saying sorry just isn’t going to be enough.”
I whine all the time that parenting is hard. And I’ve admitted that I’m kinda sucky at this whole “mom” thing.
Some people have said that because I worry that I’m a bad mom means that I’m not. But honestly, I know that not true.
Most people don’t see me at my worst — when I’m afire with anger or lost in sorrow, when I’m mean or careless.
But just like the apologies for our transgressions during “Riveter pong,” I’ve come to realize that just saying I have sucky mom moments, just isn’t good enough anymore.
So this year, I’ve resolved — and this isn’t just for this year, but for always — to never be complacent and always be striving to overcome my incendiary temper and my tendency to be selfish and “me”-centered.
My other resolution for this year is to be nicer to everyone, myself included. So, I’ve been allowing myself more time for one of my favorite pastimes, which is reading.
I wonder what it says about me that the books I’ve been reading lately are memoirs about people who have had crazy childhoods punctuated by equally crazy mothers:
The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Okay, despite the technical difficulties I think you can watch it here
! You have no idea how hard that was so I better get some comments girls!!!
Monday, January 15, 2007
Title courtesy of Robin.
The thing about snow is that you can see your footprints in it. The thing about teenagers is they don’t really think past their footprints at times. The combination of these two truths makes for interesting events.
Alex has a friend stay overnight Friday. The same kids who refuse to get out of bed in the morning also refuse to go to bed at night. So about 11:00 p.m. I tell them both good night and since it was very cold, windy and snowy outside I said, JOKINGLY!, “If you sneak out of the house tonight be sure to bundle up.”
Somewhere around 3:00 a.m. I hear talking and stumble out of bed to see whassup. Both kids are in the refrigerator, not literally, but where else would two teenage boys be?
As I glance across the room doing the “mom-scan” I notice a pair of gloves on the floor by the front door. Most definitely they were not there before I went to bed.
“Al, where did those gloves come from?”
“Umm, they’re the gloves you got me from Eddie Bauer, remember?”
“Yeah, I know where they came
from. What are they doing by the front door?”
“Ummmm,” followed by the deer in the headlight - or the teenagers in the refrigerator light - look.
Now my mom radar is on full alert. I open the front door and see two pair of giant size sneakers coated in snow on the front porch.
“Why are your shoes covered in snow and sitting outside?” (Lest you think I am stupid, I have actually figured out by now whassup. I’m giving them every opportunity to come clean.)
“Ummm, we were bored so we walked around the front yard.”
“Really? You didn’t go anywhere other than the front yard?”
“Ummm, not really.”
“Well, very curious because there are footprints in the snow leading down the driveway and up to the road.”
“No, really, we didn’t go very far.”
OK. They are so busted by now. I mean the smoke from the gun is thick in the air! And there’s smoke coming from my ears because not only is the boy less than truthful, he thinks I’m stupid enough to believe him! I will give his friend points because he did actually fess up. (But I’m deducting points from both of them because they weren’t smart enough to at least put their snow covered foot-yachts in the garage.)
Long story short, I ordered them both directly to bed and lights out. The next morning they were served a lecture on the importance of truth, honesty and trust along with their Spam and bagel sandwiches. And Alex got to copy down every military code of honor that exists and write a brief essay on why telling the truth is important. And I lectured him again on how he may or may not get in trouble for what he did, but he will always get in trouble for not telling the truth about it.
In the end, I have to laugh to myself. I bet it was a blast to sneak out, go up to a friend’s house and write “I love you” in the snow as they claimed they did. And if I wanted further evidence to bust them, I needed only to point out two pairs of wet jeans hanging over the shower rod.
By Robin Dearing
Friday, January 12, 2007
Back when Margaret was a baby, I was always afraid that she was going to get appendicitis (for no reason in particular — I chalk it up to being a result of my general quirkiness).
I remember wishing that she could identify and communicate her ailments. I wished that she could tell me when there was something wrong with her.
But as the saying goes, be careful for what you wish.
Now, that's she's developed a sophisticated-enough vocabulary to hold a conversation with most anyone, she constantly barraging me ailments.
She'll cry that she needs multiple Band-Aids for a mere scratch that she is sure is going to cause her to be exsanguinated. She needs "two pills" (her reference to children's Motrin) for an ache she claims is preventing her living her life to the fullest. She complains that her stomach hurts ...
And that's the one that always gets to us.
For several months last year, Margaret's stomach did hurt — we could tell by her urgent and frequent trips to the bathroom.
At first, we thought that she had eaten something bad or had a bug, but it didn't seem to go away.
After too many days of suffering, we took her to the doctor.
I like our family doctor. He's pretty patient with me and my sundry, bizarre ailments and is pretty practically minded about treating children (and me, as well).
We discussed the possibility that she might be faking it and discussed the possibility that she had a legitimate problem.
We decided on a course of diagnostics and we decided to begin eliminating certain foods from her diet.
She had an x-ray which revealed nothing major.
Next step, diet modification.
First things, first, we eliminated milk. Being that many people are black-toast intolerant,
er, I mean lactose intolerant, we thought dairy might be the problem.
Well, guess what? It was. We eliminated regular milk and now she drinks lactose-free milk instead.
That seems to have helped a lot.
But she still complains about her stomach.
We're pretty sure that she's OK and that she uses her delicate, digestive constitution as an excuse, but what if she's not?
What if she's got an ulcer? Or gastroparesis? Or appendicitis?
Just another reason why parenting is so dang hard.