Tag Archives: parents

Parenting Is Blind Trial And Error. I’m Just Crossing My Fingers We Get It Right.

One of the toughest challenges about raising two boys who are a mere 10 months apart in age has been protecting their self esteem. I’m sure other parents have similar struggles with their children who have a larger gap between them. And I know I’m not alone in the Irish twin department. But that doesn’t make my predicament any less problematic.

#1son (age 8) = strong verbal skills, excellent baseball player, great tennis player, kind, thoughtful, hard working, eager to do chores ALWAYS (how did I get so lucky?), conscientiousness, responsible.

#2son (almost 8) = a memory like an elephant about EVERYTHING, a wiz at mental math (he can do computations in his head quicker than me and that’s sayin’ something because I’m a little bit of a math nerd), excellent speller, strong swimmer, a little comedian, excellent cuddler.

#2son outshines #1son in academics. There are days when I dare say that #2son is off the charts bright. (Keep in mind, this IS his mother writing this.)  His teacher has hinted that pushing him up a grade might be in his future. Although, I’d never do that, for many reasons, but one very big reason is that he would then be in his older brother’s grade.

Hence, my problem.

In a household when academic achievement is far more valued than athletic pursuits, how do I balance the praise? I’m glad #1son loves his sports. I’m glad he’s good at them. But I don’t want to highlight his athletic achievements. Yet, #2son brings home amazing grades, and #1son knows it. So, we hesitate showcasing A’s and 100’s on the refrigerator.

It’s like walking a tightrope in this house some days.

I have a fish that can swim but can’t climb trees. Then, I have a squirrel who leaps from tree to tree but can’t swim.

We do our best to focus the praise on kindness, compassion and doing for others. But sometimes I feel their individual strengths get lost somehow.

Sigh.

Parenting is such blind trial and error. We’re doing our best with each child’s achievement and setback. With each child’s accomplishment and failure. I just hope, fingers crossed, that we’re responding in the best possible way that creates happy, confident, amazing young men.

Make that toes crossed, too.

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Filed under parenting

Item #174 From The List Of What NOT To Say To An Adopted Child

I know you meant well. I know you were, in your feeble way, trying to make my child feel comfortable.

But you didn’t. You made him feel singled out and confused.

When assigning a Family Tree project and addressing your group of children, just talk to the whole group. Use words like “family” and “parent” and “grandparents” as if everyone in the group has a family and a parent and a grandparent.

Because we do!

We all do. Families form in different ways, to be sure. But you don’t need to single anyone out. Each child will find a way to complete the assignment that fits for him.

And if my son had brown hair and blue eyes like his father you wouldn’t have even considered saying…

Item #174 – “That’s ok, #1son. Just use the information from the parents you live with now.”  And when you saw the confused look on his face (because he understood the assignment until you tried to “clarify”) you go on to say, “Not your real parents but the parents you live with NOW.”

Real parents? Are you kidding me?

We are his real parents. We may not have physically given him his 46 chromosomes but we have given him food, shelter and love from the moment we first held him in our arms.

We were there for his first tooth. We rushed him to the hospital when his fever spiked to 106. We laughed with his infectious laugh. He held our fingers, one in each hand, before falling asleep those precious first few nights. We held him when he cried, when he was sick, when he wanted simple cuddle time.

We took him to pre-school and proudly watched him at his kindergarten graduation with adorable cap and gown. We jumped up and down when he rounded third base to score the winning run. We read with him every night. We worry about every sniffle. We stand on the porch watching him walk two houses down to a friend’s house, hiding behind the pillar, hoping he doesn’t see.

We know to give him his medicine during pollen season. We anticipate his frequent bloody noses when the weather is dry or the pollen is high. We know that he is allergic to certain antibiotics. We have his pediatrician on speed-dial.

We are his real parents. We are as real as it gets. His biological parents made a heartfelt, incredibly difficult decision to allow us to be his real parents. And we will be forever grateful.

Our son has a family. A real family. To call his own. He knows who his parents are. Who his siblings are. Who his grandparents are. Even his great-grandparents. So, no need to explain things to him.

He knows who his real family is.

No need to clarify.

Just wanted to let you know.

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Filed under Be-Causes, family, Soapbox

Two Boys (And Their Mom) Enjoy Their 72 Hours Of Fame

Remember when I said I’m not into blogging for the money, just the fame? Well…..

My boys are famous!

Parents.com saw my first-day-back-to-school pic and asked if they could use it on their back-to-school online page.

Yep. That’s them! The cute little devils on the left. You have until Monday to check them out and then I suppose they’ll be replaced by two more handsome little devils. (But never as cute as mine!)

Even if you see this too late, head on over to Parents.com anyway. It is chock full of helpful information to make your school year delicious, easy, organized, joyful, healthy, fashionable, effective, bully proof, homework-hassle-free, safe, nutritious and fun. You name, they have an answer for it!

So check it out.

And yeah. My boys are there. Rockin’ it out like the rock stars they are.

Ok. So I’m not the famous one  this time.

That’s ok.

I’m a mom.

I’ll just live vicariously through them! 😉

 

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Filed under children

To You, Dear Readers. Thanks For Helping Me Deal.

Your outpouring of support for my last post (The Life And Times of Six-Year-Old Jane) has touched me so. Especially when I’ve been such a horrible reciprocating blogger of late. I’m going through some (not serious) health issues that have me pre-occupied. All is well. I will be ok. Just extra distracted, scattered and annoyed with the struggles.

I’m great at putting emotions or moments I’d rather forget in a drawer and never thinking about them again. Or, brushing things aside and saying, “I’ll get to that later.” When my husband and I have had an argument and much later he says, “Remember when we disagreed about….” I can actually feel the memory of that uncomfortable moment start to show his (because bad memories are always male, right?) ugly head. I’ll stop my husband in mid-sentence and say, “No! I don’t want to remember. Let’s just move on.” Yes, I’m the one with her fingers in her ears singing “La, la, la, la,la,  la!”  

But I’m learning that you can’t truly move on unless you’ve dealt with it head on.

When Dawn and Tori inspired me to write a post, tongue-in-cheek, about a 6-year-old memoir, I thought, “Ooooo. This will be fun.”

It wasn’t.

It reminded me of things I had stuffed.  Things I hadn’t dealt with. Things I’d rather forget. And I chose not to write about the heavy, heavy stuff. Too painful.

I cried a bit, writing what little I wrote. I miss that little girl. She was cute and always smiling. She loved music and listening to baseball games on her stuffed Tiger with the transistor radio tucked inside.(Remember those?) And she just wanted hugs, approval and love.

Don’t get me wrong. My parents did the best they could with what parenting talents God gave them. And I have many happy memories. But most of those happy memories don’t involve my parents. I think that’s why I am so hell-bent on creating happy memories with my own children.

I have a soft-spot for children who are ignored or forgotten. I suppose we all do. But I have always gravitated toward charities, causes, and professions that could help those children. When I dabbled in foster care and had those two beautiful girls in my home it was the most rewarding and emotionally draining year of my life. I’ve thought about becoming a child advocate volunteer many times. But I always stop short, knowing that I may have to open a cupboard or two and deal with a few of my own demons.

And at for-sen-sumpin years old, I’m still not ready.

Baby steps.

Tiny baby steps.

Thanks for pushing me along.

 

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Filed under Observations, Ponderings

Hey! Hallmark! Where Are All The Dysfunctional Family Cards?

This goes into the books for something I thought of first but someone else is going to have to implement.

I want Hallmark to create a Dysfunctional Families Division.

Yes. I’m putting my idea out there for Hallmark to see.

Come on, Hallmark. Run with it!

I hate searching for a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthday cards for my parents. I’m a crappy daughter. Just ask them. But I’m not so crappy that I don’t send them a card for birthdays and other holidays.

I’m not asking for mean cards. I don’t want them to say “I hate you!” or “You screwed up my life!” or “Thanks for nothing!” I’m crappy but I’m not cruel. But all of this “You were always there for me” or “Thank you for being the kind of (parent) that is so easy to love!” or “I am so lucky to have you for a (parent)!” I’m just not feelin’ it.

I’m pretty organized. I have one of those handy, dandy card organizers. On the rare occasion that I find more than one card that would suffice for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthday? I buy them all. Then I stick them in my handy, dandy card organizer so I’m ready for the next year. Luckily, last year was one of those banner years. I was armed and ready for this Father’s Day.

My husband? Not so much.

“Damn. Publix was closed by the time I got there. I couldn’t get a card for my dad!” He looks at me with a sheepish grin on his face that means, “So you’ll go get a card for me tomorrow….right?”

Ahhhh, no.

“Kroger is open until midnight,” I say, not even looking up from my book.

He sighs and heads back out the door.

An hour later. Yes, a full hour later, he arrives back home. With one card.

“Uhg!” He flops into the house and slams the single, one ounce card onto the counter.

“Picking out a card for my dad is like going through therapy,” he laments.

Yep.

I know exactly how he feels.

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Filed under family

The Pain Never Lasts Very Long

We were all working in the yard over the weekend. Spreading mulch, dividing daylillies, minor repairs. Side by side. The whole family. Ok. So, we had to bribe our daughter with gas money for her upcoming trip. But we were still having a great time. One big, happy family.

A thorn jabbed me under my nail. Deep. And it hurt.

“Ouch!” I cried.

My youngest son, all 7 years of him, rushed over, grabbed my hand and said, “Don’t worry, Mommy! The pain never lasts very long.”

I smiled. Savoring his wise words. Starting to dismiss them. Because our family has been struggling through a heaping basket full of minor and major mishaps for the past five months.

And then I realized, he’s right. In the huge (and in our case it has to be huge because we still haven’t seen the end to the crap parade that’s been coming down our street) grand scheme of things everything we’ve been going through is going to look like a tiny blip on the radar. Tiny. At least, fingers crossed, that’s what I’m predicting.

Have you ever sat there, in your comfortable life, thinking things were so hard? And wishing for the days when things were so easy? You’re in your forties, with college looming ahead for your daughter, wondering how in the world you’re going to help finance it and wishing you were in your thirties when her biggest expense was a new bicycle. Or you’re in your thirties, struggling to give your children everything they deserve, wrestling with their constant demands, wishing for the carefree life of college. Or you’re in college, struggling with studies and holding down two jobs to help pay for your existence and wishing for the easy days of high school when your biggest dilemma was what to wear or which social activity to attend.

It’s all relative.

And it’s true, the pain never lasts very long.

In a blink of an eye, your daughter is being placed in your arms at the airport. Sweet, cuddly little bundle of joy from Korea. Blink, blink. And she’s 10 years old, doing her adorable judges salute at the state gymnastics championships. Blink again and she’s struggling with a death of a boyfriend, honors and AP classes, essays for college applications.

Or she’s struggling with pain you feel you created for her. A dad, the man you married much too young and later divorced, who is making her feel like a burden, less than valued, an inconvenience. You try to take away her pain. You try to tell her the pain never lasts very long. But your words feel hollow and thin.

As much as this pain that she’s struggling with hurts right now, it is true. It will dissipate.

And be replaced with something new.

And thank goodness, that pain will never last very long either.

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Filed under children, Deep Thoughts, family, Lessons Learned, Motherhood, Observations, parenting, Problems

Toddlers & Tiaras: Has Child Protective Services Been Called?

I’ve been snowed in. Trapped in my own home. We’ve baked. We’ve cleaned. We’ve played xBox and board games. The boys have comandeered the computer. There’s a half-finished 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table. Laundry has been washed twice. 

What to do….what to do?

Watch television.

Has anyone seen Toddlers and Tiaras? Another train wreck of a television show. I got involved and couldn’t look away. I can’t say I’ll ever watch it again. This episode had me catching flies. My boys came downstairs and saw my facial expression and said, “Mommy?!? What’s wrong?”

“Go!” I said firmly, “This show isn’t appropriate for……..well, anyone.”

Prancing around little girls. Waxing a 7 year-olds eyebrows while she screams and cries for them to stop. Spray tanning, mascara, lip gloss and debating fake nails for a 15 month old. Yes, you read right. 15 months old.

I burst out laughing when little Sami Jo’s mother said, with a serious-as-a-heart-attack-expression on her face, “I just don’t know HOW she’s going to react if she doesn’t win her division!”

How she’s going to react? Are you kidding me? She’s 15 months old. Your daughter “uses three words regularly, walks backwards, scribbles with a crayon and has adopted “no” as her favorite word.” She can’t spell the word pageant, let alone say it. She doesn’t know she’s in a pageant. She doesn’t know what a pageant is. And she certainly doesn’t know what it means to win or lose a pageant.

Your daughter? Adorable.

Toddlers & Tiaras? Crazy.

The moms that put their daughters through the pageant paces?

……

(I’ve already been smacked down by Monday’s post. You’re welcome to fill in this blank.)

39 Comments

Filed under Observations, parenting