Tag Archives: parenting

Cinder Blocks & Sweet Talk

30 Jul


Allie begins 3rd grade on Monday. I’ve been trying to avoid the annual shedding of tears as she advances in grades. It never fails that I usually cry, because it really does feel like just yesterday she was a baby. It seems like such a cliche thing to say or hear, almost like a cop out that parents blurt when they are unable to really capture how it feels to see their children grow, but the reason people say it is that it is true. One days she was a tiny baby, and somewhere in the shift of time she became a walking, talking sass mouth that never fails to make me laugh.

When Allie was a baby I remember thinking another cliche thought, that I wished she came with a manual. I’m not really sure even now what a parenting manual would say. However, I feel that if it possessed real wisdom and not the scraps of common sense that you can find in the instruction of any baby product, it would document that the struggle of parenting transfers slowly from physical to emotional in a way that remains steady yet challenging as kids grow older.

In the beginning, it seems like the demand of parenting is largely physical. From carrying a child inside of your body to carrying them around in your arms for hours when they will not sleep, it’s pretty physical. The lack of sleep from nightly wake ups is similar, and while I am not denying that there is an emotional element, I don’t think it is comparable to the emotional pull as they age and the things that trouble them become more than needing their diaper changed.

Eventually, there is a time when the struggle is no longer carrying a sleeping child up a set of stairs or a random back ache from pulling a car seat from the back seat. Parenting an older child is difficult in a very emotional way. I think the aforementioned nonexistent, realistic parenting manual would tell you that there are no words to truly document the heartache of watching your child struggle with change, feeling left out, or hurt feelings. Watching your child in tears over an issue that you can not assist her in handling is heart wrenching in a way that lack of sleep can never touch. You could fill a car seat with cinder blocks and carry it five miles and the physical strain would never compare to the sadness of watching your child’s feelings crumble while dealing with something they find difficult.

Allie’s a pretty tough girl feelings wise, and she will conceal and refuse to reveal her true feelings in an effort to please people. And while I see how that could beneficial to some degree, it’s also sort of a bummer. I feel like she ends up acting like she is okay with things that she isn’t and then having a break down later and acting out in some of the strangest ways possible. The physical to emotional comparison with watching this is probably akin to waking with an infant every 30 minutes and then running a marathon in which your shoes are lined with razor blades. It’s painful, it stings, and you are just waiting for things to heal.

No matter how well you try to explain it, there are no real words to truly describe it and any attempt seems nearly useless. Hugs and reassurance seem to work for cheering her up,  yet the issues churning her emotions still weigh heavy on my mind.

The upside of it all is that she cheers up pretty easily after she falls. Which I guess is why she has currently wrapped her whole body in ace bandages while watching The Brady Bunch like it’s a new show on the DIsney Channel.

Maybe by the time 4th grade comes around a parenting manual will explain it all. Cross your fingers for me.


Harold and the Gemstone

25 Apr


Allie got in the car after school on Tuesday and looked sad or maybe tired.   This is pretty out of the norm for her, as she is usually happy go lucky. I decided to investigate the problem.  In a matter of seconds, the issue surfaced:

Allie,”Ugh. My boyfriend broke up with me today.”

“Well, Allie, you’re 8.  I think you’ll be okay.   Besides, I think we both know you don’t need a boyfriend. Being 8 isn’t about boyfriends. It’s about playing, having friends, and being a kid. You will have plenty of time in your life to think about how much you want to strangle a boy*.”

Allie,”Oh, I know. But still, what kind of loser breaks up with me? I think I’m cool.”

“That’s an excellent question.  You’re smart and funny.  You’re always happy, and you’re pretty.  Not to mention, you have the best hair out of anyone I know in basically the history of ever.  You, well, you are a total gemstone.”

Allie,” Yeah.  You’re right. What a scum knuckle. Besides, I already have a new boyfriend named Harold?” All of this said while her sad expression morphed into one of cynicism and giggles.

“There’s a second grader named Harold? Does he go by that?” I asked, trying not to lose focus on the subject at hand and go off on a rant in my head about the things people name their children**.

Allie,”Not even close, that’s just what I call him: Harold.”  Then she laughed like a hyena.

And that is why if left to listen to someone for hours upon hours, it would be Allie.

Allie and Harold sittin’ in a tree, R-E-A-D-I-N-G.

*Not all boys need strangled. But some of them do need a slap upside the head.  (Not my boyfriend, because he is a man, like a real one and not just someone who thinks they are a man because they’ve gone through puberty. The latter of which sadly accounts for most men in this area. I think any further rants about that would need a whole other post and would distract from this bit.)

**While what other people name their children obviously isn’t my business, I think when naming a child you should realize how much power you truly have in the initial impression they make. If your daughter is born with a stripper name, it may be difficult for her to become President. I would probably never vote for someone called Precious or Trixie. However, I am only one person. So.

Like Marie Antoinette

19 Apr


Allie is 8 now, and the importance of giving her an educated version of recent tragedy is pretty prevalent. If you fail to properly educate your kids about events, they hear the weirdest version at school. I would much rather have a talk with her about something than deal with the strange and recycled version received at school after swapped through various tiny mouths, like a bad game of telephone.

So Allie and I had the Boston marathon talk. She looked sad, and then she looked angry. And then she looked at me, very matter of fact and said, “You know what they should do to those people? Probably arrest them and do what happened to Marie Antoinette. Off with their heads.” I think she will be sorely disappointed to find out that the guillotine is not a current method of punishment in the United States.

This would probably be a good place to be all, “Hey girl, what’s with the urge to behead people?”  But I pick my battles and today the guillotine isn’t one, especially since she just washed a load of laundry by herself.  Not to mention, the chances of her becoming a revolutionary is already pretty much 50/50, because she wakes up ready to stop around about some sort of injustice on a daily basis.

I hope you enjoy your children as much as I enjoy Allie.  I also hope you find a way to explain things to them that means they aren’t learning them on the school bus. I’m pretty sure the only useful thing I learned on the school bus was how to properly launch an egg at someone’s house, and that isn’t the most practical of things.

Allie on Scents and Feather Boas

14 Apr


While prancing through the store yesterday, Allie stops in her tracks and points to Bugles, “those are so gross. They disgust me. They taste bad, AND they smell worse than feet.”

Me, “I agree. Bugles probably have one of the grossest scents on earth. The smell of bugles could truly make me vomit.”

Allie scoffs, “Worst smell on earth? Clearly, you’ve never smelled diarrhea.”

Me, “Allie, ladies don’t talk about diarrhea, and if they have to, they don’t discuss it in a public place.”

She rolls her eyes then looks at the floor for a moment, quietly calculating if she wants to go on with the conversation or buy into the business of being a lady.

Finally, she looks up at me with a near regal facial expression and wraps an arm around my waist while leaning in to walk side by side down the aisles with me in the style of Siamese twins, “How about Rootbeer? It has a very interesting smell. It’s like you can smell it fizzing.”

She is so spot on sometimes. I love being Allie’s mom, even when it means she stops me in a craft store so that she can bury her body in feather boas because she claims it is, “the perfect opportunity for a photograph.” And it was.