Tag Archives: parenting

Faux Pas

5652724063_de2b6d2ee5_zI wasn’t sure I wanted to have a child when I was younger.

I spent my 20’s traveling, working, eating at great restaurants and generally enjoying life. I had a good job that paid well with a company car, laptop and phone. My personal expenses were almost zero. I lived in an apartment just steps from the beach, and I used my 4 weeks vacation a year to travel overseas as much as possible.

I ended up giving up the well-paying job and moving to Ireland and then England to travel, before finally settling in the USA with my (now) husband. It was so much fun! Living in and experiencing new countries and cultures should be a rite of passage for all 20-somethings. I met so many interesting people, visited so many fascinating places and wanted more and more of it. I wasn’t sure that kids and the kind of travel I envisioned for my life would mix very well…

Then my son came along. After a few years of misery (the kid was born 3 months early, spent 4 months in intensive care and never slept through the night until he was three years old due to a feeding disorder – so yes, I can honestly say it was often miserable), he became one of my primary reasons for a good laugh.

Kids are funny, they just are. Even better, most often they aren’t trying to elicit a response so their hilarity is even more endearing. Like when we were driving by a large cemetery in a city far from our town and the headstones could be viewed as far as the eye could see. The 8-year-old said:

“WOW, it looks like a whole lot of people have died…”

Yes it does son, yes it does.

images

However, the biggest laugh my husband has had of late can be attributed to me when talking about my son to his teacher during a school interview a few months back. About halfway through the interview all was going well with the teacher until I came out with the following;

“Sorry he hasn’t completed all of his homework over the past few weeks, we’ve just moved house and getting internet hooked up in this town is harder than scoring cocaine…he’ll get it finished as soon as we are back online.”

Yeah, I really said that. It sounded a lot better in my head than it did after it came out of my mouth and I saw the teachers response (she did not smile). I couldn’t see my husbands response, his head was already in his hands by the time I looked over at him.

The conversation in the car afterwards went something like this:

Hubby: ” I can’t believe you said that! It’s possibly the number one thing you should never say to your child’s teacher!”

Me: “Oh come on, she had to know I was kidding, I volunteer in class every week for Gods sake! Surely that buys me a little credibility? Surely I can get a pass based on my history of good works? It just explained the situation so well. We moved weeks ago, and the damn telco company still hasn’t been able to get our internet hooked up, it’s ridiculous!”

Hubby: “I’m sure she’s reporting us to DOCS.” (Dept. of Community Services)

Me: “Oh well then, judging by the copious quantity of cigarette-smoking parents towing bare-footed children behind them with snot running down their faces and coughs that sound like the death rattle in the middle of winter – along with the large display of grammatically incorrect cuss words spray painted on the bridge heading out of town, they seem largely useless at their jobs – so I suspect it will all turn out just fine.”

Kiddo (little voice from the back seat): “Why is cocaine so hard to get?”

Hubby and I (in unison): “Because its dangerous, don’t ever try it!”

Hubby has since announced I am banned from future interviews until he has time to redeem our family name.

With him on the job it could take decades.

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Your Children Aren’t Nearly As Intelligent As You Believe. (Trust Me On This.)

This company assumed children blessed with the gift of logic, would be drinking their milk.

Today it became crystal clear to me why Doctors say our kids shouldn’t be drinking flavored milk, or soda pop.

Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with the sugar content, obesity epidemic, rampant ADD in our schools, or the complete lack of nutrition.  In fact, it’s a much less hotly-debated issue.

The reality is, they aren’t at the age where they are equipped to deal with the complexities of these drinks.

“Complexities?” I hear you ask; “what could be more simple than drinking a sugary treat?”

What, indeed.

Last night my seven-year-old finished dinner, we were eating outside (it was a beautiful night), and my husband left us to return a phone call.

I had promised my son after he had eaten his dinner, he could have the chocolate milk I had bought him (a rare treat in our house), and his pleasure was evident when I distractedly handed him the drink, and began texting on my phone.

I was paying no attention to him, until I noticed him wiggling a little in his seat. In typical parenting style, I ignored it (not wanting to open up a dialogue on kid related things that would almost certainly be akin to watching paint dry on a wet and cloudy day).

The wiggling continued and turned into actual bodily shaking… he was now standing in front of his seat with his hands and arms moving in the air as well!

“What the hell?” I thought to myself.

Don’t ask”, my inner voice warned, “don’t open up that can of worms, continue on with your texting.

I knew this was a road I really didn’t want to travel, so I left it alone and continued with my text.

Moments later, he sighed loudly and sat back in his chair, with a force that comes from the exhaustion of moving so energetically on a warm evening.

Then the lunacy spewed forth from his lips;

“mummy, why do I have to shake well before opening this drink?”

Note the little " symbols they have added to the bottle to really emphasise the shaking - little did they know the confusion this would cause.

This my dear friends, is the result when one’s reading ability, far surpasses their intelligence level. (A condition I suspect many adults also suffer from, but that’s fodder for another post.)

As a result of this illogical display of senselessness, my son will only be given one  beverage option – water – when requiring relief from his thirst for the next half decade or so.

Until he is capable of reading the label and deciphering for himself that wording like “twist top”  is not an instruction related to the shirt he is wearing, “contents under pressure” does not refer to an unresolved emotional conflict or a tight work deadline for the beverage, and “ring pull”, is not the can asking you to present your buttocks for any kind of assistance – he will be banned from all beverages that are not see-through.

And from what I’ve just witnessed, it may be a long 5 years.

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How Do You Like ‘Dem Apples?

Nectarine

Image via Wikipedia

Picture the scene if you can….

7:30am summertime. (School is on vacation so I’m still asleep, but hubby is up because he has to go to work.)

Kiddo says he is hungry, and could he have an apple?

Hubby goes to the fridge, and peels and cuts an apple for our son. He gives it to him and walks away.

Moments later, my son comes into the bedroom and I hear the whining; “Daddy this apple doesn’t taste like the apples mummy cuts up for me…I don’t like it.”

[The opportunity for sleep is gone with all the action, coupled with the fact that the two boys in my life sound like a herd of raging elephants when they walk around the house, so I give up on sleep and get out of bed to investigate.]

I view the offending ‘apple,’ and see immediately what the problem is.

My husband has peeled and cut up a nectarine for our son.

I mean, really?? Think about that for a minute. Do you know how hard it would be to peel a nectarine? They are soft and squishy and not created to be peeled. The mess when he peeled and cut it must have been extraordinary!

It’s one thing to mistake a nectarine for an apple as you pick it up – who am I to judge? But to peel and cut the whole thing up, never once during the process stopping to think; “hmm… this doesn’t look/taste/smell/feel like an apple, perhaps I have the wrong fruit?

Then we get to the HUGE-ASS STONE in the middle…what on earth did he put that down to?

The whole concept of such colossal failure is beyond me. I can’t express my incredulousness to you. I really can’t. I didn’t even say much to him, I just kind of looked at him thinking; who are you, and how did you function in life before you met me?

The next day I found my voice and after ribbing him mercilessly, he began to claim the reason he thought it was an apple was that it was “so early and I had just woken up.”

Uh huh. That’s right, sleep deprivation was the problem here.

I blame his mother. She is responsible for this disgrace. By his own admission he was never fed nectarines when he was growing up. If you listen to him, all he ate was Doritos’ and M & M cookies slathered in a little spray cheese. (The Doritos, not the cookies – at least that’s what I assume he meant.)

Still, on the positive side it tells me that I am needed.

Without me, my son might be eating ice packs instead of ice cream, cardboard instead of toast, eggplant instead of eggs, and uncooked quinoa instead of cereal. Clearly they cannot get by without me, and though we mothers know this in the depths of our hearts, I have never had the evidence thrust before me in such a shameful display before.

As it stands, no matter how fat my life insurance policy, I simply cannot die. They won’t survive in the wilderness that is the 21st century – you know – with all its confusing fruits and vegetables and stuff.

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The Humble Iron is Not Like An AK-47

Image by John Kasawa

A few weeks after we arrived in Australia, my sister and her boyfriend came to spend a weekend at the beach with us. They live inland and don’t get to the beach often, so it was a great weekend of sun, sand, surf, and catching up.

It was the last day of their trip, and the boyfriend pulled out an ironing board and iron, to iron his shirt.

My kiddo walked by, and asked him what it was he was holding.

“What, this?” said the boyfriend,  holding up the iron. “It’s an iron!”

“What does it do?” kiddo asks in all sincerity.

(The boyfriend is flabbergasted by the turn of events.)

“You iron things with it. It makes your clothes neat. Have you seriously never seen your mother use an iron?”

(Kiddo is somewhat perplexed, but losing interest fast, given that the strange object wasn’t a toy, chocolate or a something to pull apart.)

“No, she doesn’t use that thing, our clothes are already neat.”

I actually heard this conversation from the other room and tried to dodge the proverbial bullet, by escaping into the kitchen – without a confrontation – but had no such luck and was  accosted by an incredulous boyfriend near the refrigerator. He gave me the rundown, and demanded an explanation as to how an almost-seven-year-old did not know what an iron was, nor what it did.

Valiantly, I explained about the miracle and wonders of dry cleaning in America, (where I had lived for the preceding 10 years). In the USA dry cleaning is cheap, efficient, easy to access (most have drive through windows) and thus, used regularly by me. If the truth-be-told, my son had probably never even seen me use an iron.

Here in Australia, (The boyfriend will be pleased to know), I iron all the time and the kiddo has now become intimately familiar with it, as I curse my way through his school shirts. Some bright spark on the board of his institution – in their infinite wisdom – decided that it would be a fantastic idea to put 7-year-old boys in white, button up, crisp cotton collared shirts, for school (along with a tie, no less)!

This necessitates me washing and ironing on a weekly basis. These shirts get indescribably dirty, requiring the use of industrial-grade stain remover (and shirt replacements every couple of months), due to the stubborn marks that appear and defy all laws of stain removal.

My grandmother always says; “You’re never to young to learn,” and since my love of old quotes is far greater than my love of ironing, I’ve decided to pass the baton and allow kiddo to experience the thrill himself.

That said, can anyone tell me the legalities involved in allowing a 7-year-old to use an iron? I mean, it’s not like it’s an AK-47, I couldn’t get arrested, right?

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Water Boarding With Nemo

Photos from a protest against waterboarding, o...

This is what they did to my son. Well, without the face cover and tie downs - because THAT would be inappropriate. Image via Wikipedia - waterboarding protest.

Just before Christmas in 2009, the kiddo presented with H1N1 flu symptoms and a fever of 104.8 that wouldn’t reduce with Tylenol.

Because his regular Doc’s office was closed and the fact that he is at high risk status with Asthma and Chronic Lung Disease, the Children’s Hospital recommended we come in so they could check him out and run some tests.

Off to the emergency room we went at 3pm. (Way to spend a Sunday!)

After the basic questions and evaluation, I was told that they needed a sample of his snot for testing. (Sorry, snot isn’t really a very nice word is it? Is there a better word than snot? By better, I mean politically correct and lady-like.)

Is there? Well if so, I don’t know it.

Anyway, they needed a sample and he couldn’t get one by blowing his nose, so they decided they needed to ‘get it themselves’.

And I let them.

They laid him back on a gurney sloped downwards so his feet were raised higher than his head. With one nurse pinning his legs and another large male nurse pinning his arms and body by almost laying across him, a third held his head tipped back and shot water up his nose with some kind of electric powered water-filled syringe.

As it overwhelmed his senses spewing water from what looked like every orifice he had, they put a suction tube up his other other nostril and collected the precious snot. The gagging, screams and thrashing that came from his body during this procedure were incredible.

Our son has had many, many visits to the hospital and there was never this much drama. Not when he had to have an IV put into his skull when he was younger,  not on the many occasions he has had blood taken, or when he’s been unable to breathe and has had to be on a respirator, or from his stays in intensive care.

Never!

Now, take a look at this description from Wikipedia on a form of torture called water boarding:

Water boarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages, causing the captive to believe he or she is dying.[1] Forced suffocation and water inhalation cause the subject to experience the sensation of drowning.[2] Water boarding is considered a form of torture by legal experts,[3][4] politicians, war veterans,[5][6] medical experts in the treatment of torture victims,[7][8] intelligence officials,[9] military judges[10]and human rights organizations,[11][12] although other current and former U.S. government officials have stated that they do not believe water boarding to be torture.[13][14][15][16]

In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, water boarding precipitates an almost immediate gag reflex.[17] While the technique does not inevitably cause lasting physical damage, it can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, if uninterrupted, death.[3] Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years.[7]

Do you see where I’m going with this?

They totally water boarded my 5 year old, and it happened at a Children’s Hospital in Texas, administered by medical personnel (who signed the hypocratic oath, no doubt).

To top it off, note the part highlighted in red that refers to the possible damage of lungs… on a child with lung disease.

I know, I know, medical personnel would tell me its really not the same thing. All I know is what I saw.

Reading this description and combining what I witnessed, could have been the manuscript for the “Water Boarding 4 Dummies, How-To-Tutorial.”

That’s what I know.

Let me also clarify – before they were going to do this, I asked the question – “Would your treatment be the same regardless of the results?” “No”, they said. The treatment would differ depending on whether a flu virus was found or not.

Thus it seemed necessary to do this, to ensure proper, safe and effective treatment. The result?

A negative H1N1 that we are then told is only about 70% accurate so they wanted to give him Tamiflu anyway. Seriously.

I pondered the risks of asking the doctor the thoughts that were running around my head. Thoughts like;

“Are you even really a Doctor at all?

or

“Have you perhaps been laid off from your job at Guantanamo?”

or

“Do you moonlight as a Mafia hit man?” (These are questions all good parents should ponder.)

Against my will, hubby convinced me not to. He felt that it wouldn’t help improve the service our son would receive. (He’s conservative like that.)

Someone really needs to reflect on the approach of Doctors and nurses at these places. People laud the wonderful care given by the staff in the Cancer wards and the like, but in my (vast) experience, the treatment when arriving at the ER in Children’s Hospitals has never been more than disappointing.

(Sorry to all the great Doctors and nurses that work in Children’s Hospitals, I know you are out there, I just haven’t met you yet.)

That being said, when kiddo was admitted into the  emergency room at Skyridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO and then transferred to the PICU in Swedish Medical Center, CO a few years previously, the staff there were awesome – so kudos to those staff.

As an aside, here’s how hubby coped with the stress of the day:

This is what hubby does during stressful hospital stays for kiddo

That’s right, stealing hospital products and making rooster balloons – its good to see some people weren’t traumatized by the day.

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No Man Will Ever Love You This Much

I was down at the beach on Friday when my hubby picked up my son from school. He told him if he got changed quickly he could meet me at the beach for ‘a little while’. My son loves the beach so he raced inside, tore off his school clothes and redressed in his beach gear, all in record time.

He did however, take the time to stop and get a cup and fill it with water to place a flower in it that he had picked for me earlier that day. My husband urged him to leave it on the counter to be dealt with later as it was getting dark and he was missing out on precious time at the beach. Usually a ‘threat’ like this would ensure instant compliance,  but this time he would not hear of it.

“If I leave it until later, it will die, and I picked this especially for mummy and I want her to have it”; he said.

Here is a picture of the ‘flower’ and the vase-cup he used.

There’s just no way any man will ever love you that much. Never ever.

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