Tag Archives: challenges of parenting

Tiny bubbles

First thing every morning at work, I grab my reusable water bottle and take it to the breakroom to wash out. Just a squirt of liquid dish soap will do, but I always like to give the dish soap bottle a little extra squeeze to make little bubbles come flying out. Every time I do this, I think of the part in Finding Nemo, which I was only blessed to watch at least 50 times when the boys were younger, where one of the aquarium fish becomes overjoyed every single time the bubbles are released. I figure when I release the bubbles from the dish washing liquid, it gives me at least a little smile for the start of the day.

But this morning was different, I found no joy in the bubbles. As many people around the world, I find I have a heavy heart after the weekend’s horrific attacks in Paris. I have a hard time understanding how such evil is even possible.

When such tragic events occur, I find myself longing for the days when my parents were responsible for carrying the burden of worrying about world events. I was happily ignorant throughout my youth, made possible by my parents’ efforts I’m sure of it.

I don’t particularly like this part of being an adult, or a parent. I think I’d rather remain oblivious to current events. I’m certain I’m not saying the right thing to my boys when they have questions. But I suppose as Gerald and I go about our daily business, I hope this shows them that life goes on. If we give in to the terrorists and live in fear and never go anywhere or do anything, then they win. Don’t get me wrong, I have to fight the urge to lock my children up in the house and never let them go anywhere. I do sometimes harbor a fear of something bad happening to my kids, especially after some horrific tragedy, but I know I can’t let that fear take over our lives.

I’m curious how others are dealing with the current world in which we live. Coping mechanisms? What are you telling your kids? I’d love your input.


But do credit cards grow on trees?

We're rich!!
We’re rich!!

Our credit union started offering mobile check deposit. Or maybe they’ve had it forever and I’m just now getting to be in the know. But anyway, I’ve been so excited with this phone app. I don’t ever plan on having to set foot in the credit union again. I may be exaggerating a bit, but it will definitely be less banking errand trips.

Apparently I like the banking phone app so much that I attempted to deposit the same check twice. I can just imagine the people who audit this mobile check deposit. (It IS people who double check, right? Or is that automated now as well?) I gotta wonder if they are thinking I’m trying to make some money out of this deal. I mean, I can do this cool check deposit on the same check over and over again. You never know, maybe a few of the duplicates would slide through. Boom! More money in my pockets! Do you think anyone else has figured out this little loophole yet?

This little accident (really!) reminds me of when I was a little girl, and I saw my mom pay for groceries at our local Piggly Wiggly using these little rectangular pieces of paper. Visions of color TVs, shiny new cars, mountains of candy, mounds of money, and fancy new clothes all danced around in my head. Hell yeah, we’re rich! We’re gonna be living the big life now! We’re movin’ on up! I didn’t get, after all this time, why my mom didn’t just write on these little papers to her heart’s content. Hot check? Well, I don’t know what that is, but it doesn’t sound so scary.

Nowadays it’s probably more credit cards the kids may think of as an unending entertainment source. Oh wait, and so do many of their parents, unfortunately. I gotta say, Gerald and I were both taught right, of course after my mom had to explain that money really doesn’t grow on trees and that the little slips of paper were like an official IOU note. Oh.

Gerald and I have always been of the mindset that credit cards are convenient, most definitely, but we won’t make a purchase unless we actually have the funds available. And we always pay the balance in full when the bill comes due. Not sure if we’ve instilled this sort of thinking in our boys though, but we’re working on it.

You can pay for anything using this little piece of plastic...
You see boys, you can pay for anything using this little piece of plastic…


Surprise! It’s a new emotion!

Stick me! Stick me!
Stick ME! Stick ME!

The other day, I took the boys to their yearly “well child” visits at the doctor’s office. They were given an overall good bill of health, and that’s all good. But since we had time to kill between all the nurse/doctor questions and required jags for each kiddo, the boys and I had a lot of time to chitchat.

I started describing to them the first time I ever felt the compulsion to willingly want to fully absorb someone else’s pain. My youngest was a few months old and I had to take him to the lab so blood could be drawn for some kind of test. The way he cried when he got stuck with the needle just broke my heart. I had the strongest urge to tell the lab tech to just stick me instead. I realized later that such a desire in me was new. I’m not known to volunteer for anything where I know I’ll feel pain,¬†and yet there I was, wishing so bad it was me¬†getting stuck with that needle.

(And FYI, I’m sure I had these same feelings after our first child was born, but I don’t remember him being all traumatized from similar experiences so I think I just didn’t recognize yet that I had gained this protective “mother hen” instinct. And Gerald, do not feel obliged to share the story about how I let our youngest’s stroller roll into the totally quiet neighborhood street because there was a bee buzzing around my head.)

When my oldest was four and a half, his appendix burst and he had to stay in the hospital for almost a full week after the emergency surgery. Towards the end of the week, Gerald noticed our son’s IV’d hand was starting to get puffy. He alerted the nurse and she informed us they’d have to insert a new IV needle. The vein was too worn out and a new vein would have to be used. I hadn’t been calling our son my anorexic four year old for nothing. He wasn’t eating or drinking. The only thing giving him any real nutrition at the time was his IV. No matter how much Gerald and I, or others who came to visit bearing lots of tempting goodies, tried to get that kid to eat, it just wasn’t working. I suppose the IV pumped antibiotics put the kibosh on his appetite. I found out just how stubborn a four year old could be.

Anyway, the lack of food and drink caused my son’s veins to not be so “plump.” The nurses needed to put in a new line, but how are you going to find a vein to use if you can’t find a vein to use? Do you see where this is headed? My son had to have been stuck with a needle about 20 times that day, trying in vain to find a vein (see how I did that there?). They tried his wrists, the top of his hands. Then they moved to trying his feet. He was screaming and crying, and I was full on crying as well. I started to cry when retelling this story to the boys while waiting at the doctor’s office, and I’m starting to tear up now just writing about it. It was miserable. How I wanted them to stick me with that needle instead! I would have taken his place in a second if I could have.

Then there was the time when my youngest was about two or three, and he was due for some routine vaccinations at the pediatrician’s office. It was a pretty uneventful visit, until we got to the very end when the nurse came in with the materials for his immunization shots. Oh yeah, all hell broke loose. The adults in the room had to catch my son, who had taken to darting all around the room, and physically hold him still while the shots were administered. This escapade bothered me because it hit me that if an adult wanted to do some serious harm to my child, they could. In the end, a toddler isn’t going to win against the strength of an adult. Yeah, so that’s a thought that kept me up at night. I mean, I already had a healthy fear of one of my kids getting injured while playing or being hit by a car or some other horrible tragedy. But then, on top of that, the fear of child abduction now came into a clearer focus.

But as time has marched forward, and my boys have grown older and are more mature (hmm..) and stronger, I’ve found the baby and toddlerhood parental feelings have waned. Don’t get me wrong, of course I still cannot stand to see my children suffer through any physical ailments/injuries, but new fears/worries/emotions have cropped up and have taken more of the center stage. For instance, when you realize one stupid mistake your child makes during adolescence can literally affect the rest of their life, that’s a hard pill to swallow right there. And I can’t describe the anger I feel when I know some other kid has done something mean to one of mine.

Before becoming a parent, I never would have guessed I’d experience all these strong emotions. I suppose new life experiences, like the challenges of parenting, can do that to a person.


The joys of boys


I didn’t have brothers growing up so I never had any experience with adolescent boy high jinx. So excuse me while I try to figure out the alien type behavior of the two boys God has blessed me with.

A big mystery for me is their clothes. My boys will ride their bikes somewhere (Good for them! They’re getting great exercise and they’re out and about and not holed up in the house being bored.) and if there’s a mud puddle out there, believe me, the back of their shirts will find it. They’ll come home and the front will look okay but then I’ll get a load of the back. Oh man! I especially like how my youngest has managed to get mud on his solid white shirt every time he wears it. Yes, yes, who in their right mind would buy a white shirt for a ten year old boy?!? He gets it muddy every time and I end up bleaching it every time. The bleach has worked great at removing the stains, but the material is starting to break down because of the over-bleaching. Now there is a little hole starting in the shirt. (sigh)

The way my boys are with food also boggles my mind. The other morning, I found a half full/empty bag of (once) frozen meatballs on the kitchen counter. They had been out all night. My oldest and his friend had opted for a late night snack after Gerald and I had gone to bed. I don’t mind if they want to fix themselves something to eat. But for the love of all that’s decent, please remember to put the food back in the fridge/freezer. Please remember to close the chip bag up tight when you’re done. Please wipe up the mess of spilled milk you left on the counter. Gee, did you get any of that cereal in the bowl? Pretty sure you poured it all on the counter and/or floor. If there’s one thing I can’t stand (okay, actually there are A LOT of things I can’t stand, but whatever), it’s wasted food.

There are other mysteries such as the forever clogged toilet, missing what-nots (what-nots can be anything, like shoes, chargers, ipods, etc.). I especially like it when one of my sons comes and asks me where such-and-such is. And the tone used is almost accusatory, like it just had to be Mom who moved my such-and-such or my this-and-that. Umm… no, I haven’t seen your such-and-such or your this-and-that, thank you.

But when I think I can’t take another minute of the insanity, I realize that hey, it could be worse. I could have two GIRLS. Why just today Gerald and I were at the mall and seeing the way some young girls were dressed (read: scantily clad), I turned to Gerald and said, “I’m so glad we don’t have girls.” Hoochy-attire fear aside, I know I’d be spending sooo much more money if I had girls. When my oldest hit junior high, he became much more aware of fashion/style and some of his demands for the latest brands and clothes are ridiculous, at least to Gerald and me, but I can only imagine if I were up against a junior high female. Oh, the horror!

So the moral of the story is… If you’re a regular Crankoutloud reader, you already know that most of my posts have no moral, it’s usually just my typical rambling. I believe it comes down to this though — Parenting is tough no matter the child’s sex, and each child presents his/her own set of challenges.

Please do share any mysterious ways of your own kiddos or other kids you know by leaving a comment.


P.S. An update on Gerald and his skitters — He is doing well. And this week’s chicken dish appears to be safe eating. See? Nothing suspicious to see here.