Parenting is hard and never ending. Mothers and fathers begin their days early and often don’t end until late into the night. Sometimes the kids do the exact opposite of everything we ask. And in the same breathe do everything we don’t want them to do. Frustration is a common term in parenthood. It sometimes describes how i feel in the morning trying to get the kids ready for school. It can also describe how I feel after a long day at work, when I come to to cook their favorite foods only to discover they are no longer their favorite foods. Wasted food and time. It was one of these days in which i was humbled by a letter. After a busy day at work, I walked into he house, sat my bags down and walked straight to the kitchen. I quickly began cooking dinner. While cooking dinner, my knees begin to ache. I have been standing and walking all day, and it’s now 6pm. While dinner simmers, I check backpacks, conduct folders and begrudgingly get the kids started on homework. They don’t have much, but most nights it’s like pulling teeth. Finally, homework is done, dinner and done and i can finally sit down. But before I could breathe a sigh of relief, the complaints come rolling in. “I don’t like this.” “I’m full.” (Even though he/she has touched one morsel of food.) “I don’t want to eat.” “I don’t like my zucchini squishy.” “I just want chicken.” “Do we have any ranch?”
And in that moment, I wasn’t upset, I was dejected. The day had beaten me low and now the night was taking its toll on me. I rose from the table slowly and told Hubby that I was going change into my pajamas and read until I fall asleep.
I walk into my bed room and in the center of the bed is a folded letter. I seize the letter and begin reading it. As I read the letter, my knees buckle, my eyes begin to water and my soul is humbled. So effortlessly, I am reminded of the purpose for all that I do. The letter is from Aiden.
Dear Parents, I would like to thank you for everything you do for me. You help me with my work, my studies and the work around me. I know that you are working very hard so I hope this will soothe you. You are the best people in the world and I want you to know that, by heart and soul.
(On the back)
You are the best
You and all the rest
I love you so hard
There is no guard
that can stop us
I love U!
It’s worth it. GOD!!! It’s ALL WORTH IT. The early mornings are worth it. The uneaten meals are worth it. The frustrations are worth it. The midnight hours in which I pondered and worry about the person they will become and how life will be for them IS WORTH IT.
My child sees me! He SEES me. All that I do is not in vain. To be recognized by my own child is so humbling. He knows that we work hard. He appreciates that we help him with his work and with navigating this crazy world we live in. This letter did more than soothe by dejected soul, it humbled me. I don’t live for validation, but it sure feels good.
Elliott and Elijah have been giving their teachers the blues. Each day Hubby and I ask, “How was your conduct?” Prior to parent-teacher conferences, their conduct was dismal. But after talking to their teachers, their conduct seemed to improve greatly! Until today. A mere 2 business days after parent conferences.
I’m at work when I get a message from Elijah’s teacher.
“I was explaining something to the class and a few students started talking. I said well I guess I’m done talking since you guys are talking. Mr. Lockhart looks up and say you are done talking.”
Really Elijah!!! REALLY!!!! I respond to his teacher and set a reminder on my Apple Watch to deal with him when I get home.
So after an effective day at work, a relaxing evening at the beauty shop and a quiet ride home, I am ready to deal with the foolishness. I tam ready to tackle Toil and Trouble. Elijah happens to be in the restroom, so I ask Elliott THE question, “How was your conduct today?”
He hesitates. This is definitely a bad sign.
Elliott: Well Mom, I was on yellow today. (Yellow is the equivalent of an old school N in conduct.)
Me: (I calmly asks) Why are you on yellow?
Elliott: Well, I don’t know.
Grandma: (WHAM!!!! She pops him good.) Try again.
Elliott: I was throwing paper in the class and it hit someone.
Me: Why were you throwing paper in class?
Elliott: The class was lining up with the teacher, so I threw paper.
Me: Okay…so you had to move your clip down.
Me: So you moved your clip down once?
We spent another 10 minutes discussing and issuing a consequence. Mr. Toil was relatively easy to deal with tonight. Now onto Mr. Trouble.
Elijah comes downstairs and I asks him the same question, “How was your conduct today?” He admits that he was on yellow and that he talked back to his teacher. But it gets worst!!!!!
Me: So you only moved you clip down once today?
Elijah: No, I moved it down 3 times.
Me: ….stares blankly….You moved it down how many times?
Elijah: 3 times. I started on “Ready to Learn” (aka S.) and then I moved down to “Teacher Choice Consequence” (aka N). Then I moved down again. (Which is now a U in conduct.) But Mom…BUT…I moved up again because I was reading quietly.
Me: Elijah, we talked about this at the parent teacher conference. How many times are you suppose to move your clip down?
Elijah: 1 time
Me: …hard stare…
Elijah: 3 times
Me: ….(I take a step forward. This child is about to be popped)….
Elijah: 2 times????
Me: BOY ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD YOU MOVE YOUR CLIP DOWN??!?!?!?!?!?!
Elijah: Ummmmm….(preparing to give a dumb answer…)
And out of nowhere, comes a voice of reason.
Eve: Zero Elijah. Zero times!!!!!
And my mom and I did the worst thing you could do when trying to discipline a child…….LAUGH!!!!!! Eve just came out of nowhere, sounding like a little sensible fish.
Elijah (aka Mr. Trouble) and Elliott (aka Mr. Toil) have said that it is easier to make good grades than have good conduct.
(……in grows more gray hairs….)
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It’s early Sunday morning and I’m sitting at the dining room table minding my own business. I am in complete bliss with my hot cup of coffee, soft pajamas and delicious Cream of Wheat. This is heaven to me. I fell in love with Cream of Wheat at a young age. Well, actually, it was called Farina and it came in a commodity box. But it was oh so delicious. At least 4-5 times a week, I indulge in Cream of Wheat (usually weekends) or Grits (usually weekdays).
Nevertheless, I’m sitting near heaven when Eve slides into a seat next to me.
Eve: Mom, do grits make those fluffy?
Eve: Do grits make those fluffy? (She gestures towards my chest.)
Sidebar: Eve has always had a….well let’s say curiosity…with breast ever since she realized her Barbie wasn't shaped like her in that department. She thinks they are called pop-pops. (I’m not ready for her to use the term “breast” so freely. She's only 5.) If you haven’t, you should read “Eve and the Case of the Pop-pops,” you should.
Me: (trying to play dumb) Eve, what are you talking about?
Eve: Mom, I’m talking about those things on your chest. You always eat grits. Do you eat it because they make your chest fluffy?
Me: (……damn…..here we go again….) (I need an easy escape…) I don’t know Eve. Go ask your Dad.
So Eve saunters into the living room and asks her Dad if grits make mom’s pop-pops fluffy. (tee-hee-hee). He stumbles and says, “What?!?!” Eve causally repeats herself. With all the patience of Job, Hubby bends down and grabs Eve by the shoulders and says pleadingly, “Eve, I need you to focus on little girl stuff, okay. I need you to focus on clothes or something.” But Eve is unrelenting, “But Daddy!!!!! I want to know!!!!!”
Hubby ushered her upstairs to get dressed. She went willingly. Hubby and I stared into each others eyes and spoke to each other without saying a word, “What are we going to do with her? If these are the type of questions she asks when she’s 5, what will she asks when she turns 15?”
This is Aiden’s last year of elementary school. Next year he will be entering Middle School and I’m scared shitless. I know that he’s smart. He has always made good grades and his conduct is impeccable. But is he ready for middle school????
How can he survive middle school when he can’t remember when his projects are due? He has his good moments, but sometimes I just shake my head. Those final 2 weeks before report cards come out are like a race to the finish. Trying to get him to finish strong is like pulling the sword from the rock when you’re not King Arthur. He bought a planner at the beginning of the school year to help him stay organized, but it’s nearly empty. Currently he has 2 teachers and he still gets lost in his assignments. Now you expect him to fully function with 6 teachers. Oh NAWL!
Then it’s his whole grooming habits, or the lack thereof. How can he remember to put on deodorant so the won’t be “that kid”? I still have to remind him to put lotion on his elbows EVERY morning. He will walk around with his lips looking like sandpaper for hours and not be bothered by it. I have been brutally honest with Aiden and told him that he looks like he’s homeless. I have had a sit-down conversation about image, portrayal and representation. That conversation never left the room. It died there. We got him to a point where he would iron his clothes, but that died too.
Plus, middle school kids can be so damn evil. They talk about each other, maliciously. They discuss things that NO child should know about. What if the kids try to bully him? Will he punch the kid so hard that he quits his bullying career? Or will he tell the teacher? Or worse case scenario, do nothing?
And just a couple of weeks ago he mentioned getting a girlfriend. A GIRLFRIEND! OH SWEET, BABY JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!
2/4/2019 0 Comments
The kids have been giving Hubby and I the blues. Eve is whining all the time about everything! Aiden would ask her, “Eve, do you like pineapples?” She would then reply in the most shriek-ish whine ever heard, “No!!!!! I don’t know. Well maybe.” The twins have been acting as if school is Cirque de Freak. Good conduct should be the easiest thing to get in school, yet it’s a daily struggle for them. Elliott came home and told us in his most disappointed voice ever that he was on Red. Hubby and I are familiar with the basic E, G, S, N, and U for conduct grades, so we were completely confused when he said a color. Elliott politely explains to us that he’s on Red. Above Red is Yellow. Above Yellow is Green. Above Green is Orange. Finally, above Orange is Blue. (Reminder: Elliott is on Red). We were shocked. He’s a long, long, long way from the top. In fact, he’s at the very bottom. This is true for Elijah too. I guess Red is their favorite color. Finally Aiden. He’s just half does everything. Half does his school work. Half studies his scouting material. Half does his chores. Half grooms himself and ends up looking like a crusty old man. And it’s because of this “half-baked” mentality that I end up with red stuff all over my hands and pulled over by the cops.
We arrive home one Friday evening after picking up our Clicklist groceries. As usual as I ask the boys to unload the groceries from the car. True to their nature, they drop a glass jar of spaghetti sauce in the driveway. I ask Aiden to carefully clean it up and the twins to continue bringing the groceries inside. Eve is whining in the dining room because she doesn’t want to take the groceries out of the bag. The twins are standing in the living room as if they haven’t just been given directives. Thus, the yelling starts. “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND GET THE GROCERIES!” Aiden comes in dripping sauce on the floor. I take a deep breathe and explain how a plastic bag could be useful in situations like this. Finally, Eve has finished her task, Aiden said he is done and the twins have triple checked the trunk to make sure no groceries are left.
I rush the kids out the house so I can get them to Grammie’s house. (I’m so done with parenting.) I walk around the rear of the car and what do I see? The broken jar of spaghetti sauce and the Kroger bag that it was broken in. Why in the hell would Aiden just leave it there???? I guess half-doing things is just his signature move. So while picking up the broken glass, a saucy bag and OTHER GROCERIES that were left in the bag, my hands become covered in red spaghetti sauce.
Feeling stressed to the max, I decide that it’s in the best interest of all parties involved if I take the kids immediately to my mom’s house and wipe my hands and steering wheel later. Keep in mind that my mother lives less than 5 minutes away. And in this short amount of time, Eve starts whining and the twins start arguing. I begin fussing at the kids; explaining to them that I am at my wits end with their nonsense.
Distracted and ready to get them out of my car, I do a slow roll through a stop sign and slowly turn the corner within our quiet neighborhood. Can you guess who’s coming up the street? The police. I continue down the street and watch in my rearview mirror as the cop bust a u-turn and flash those awful lights. I pull over into my mother’s driveway as the cops slow behind me. She comes up to my window and inform me that she pulled me over because I failed to come to a full and complete stop at the stop sign and not to exit the car. Politely, she asks for my license and insurance. It is at this moment that she notices my hands. She doesn’t say anything and I don’t voluntarily give any information. I fondle with my wallet refusing to get spaghetti sauce on it. Finally, she asks, “Can I help you with that?” I hand her my wallet and explain where my insurance is located. After she has what she needs and returns to her cruiser, the kids start mocking me. Eve questions, “Are we in trouble with the police?” Aiden is quick to reply. “No, Eve. Just Mom. She’s the only one in trouble.” Eve gives him a simple, “Okay” and continues playing with her toys. The twins could absolutely care less.
Moments later, her partner returns with my things and smile. By this time, I have done the only sensible thing to do. I licked all the sauce off my hands. He gives me a verbal reminder and then leaves. I kick the kids out of my car. I’m dusting my hands off. Parenting is done!!!!!!! #gotogrammies
Oh, by the way, I found a bag of groceries in the trunk later that night. They needed to be refrigerated.
Mommy Phoebe Free
These are simple letters to my kids...about their antics.