Wednesday, January 19th 2011
Proudly Lowering the Standard for Defining Parenting “Success”

Some days I count as successes just because I got through them without yelling or crying or parenting in clearly awful ways. Today was one of those days.  There may have been an addiction to lean on. And music whose lyrics are not perfectly suitable for young children, but they weren’t around. Regardless, this counts as a success.

Today must have been some sort of record. Three little boys, in full on TEARS for three different reasons between the time I picked them up from school and BEFORE 4:45 p.m.  And…? It was NOT my fault. Sometimes – not very often –  I realize everyone around me is acting all weird and crazy and then (because I am so stinkin’ smart) somehow I reach the conclusion that it’s actually all stemming from ME. Because i’m in a foul mood and acting weird and crazy and snippy and then THEY are and really, if I’ll just guzzle a diet coke or pray or apologize for being a moron or whatever it is I need to do right that second, then the world around me will calm on down.

(I KNOW. I need to quit the diet coke. Am addicted, or that sentence would never have been written that way. I KNOWIT, ‘kay? And just lighten up, because I am ALL OVER IT. So all over it, in fact that I have given it up THREE whole times since January 1. And really, it did NOT help on Monday when Caden-6yr decided to tell the cashier at the grocery store all about how he’s trying to be helpful to me and encourage me to stop because it’s bad for my health and he’s being real patient with me. He wore a mournful expression to show his heartbreak that his cracked out mother was failing the 12 steps and all. His Dramatic Mistreated Waif routine should have horrified me into stopping forever, but no. It made me WANT TO ADD WHISKEY TO IT, thanks, Caden-6yr. The cashier nodded, and smiled at Caden-6yr, and said, “He’s talking about… diet coke?” I nodded. She looked at all 3 boys and said, “If I had 3 boys, I’d be on more than that.” And… thank you, kind lady. Then, because ‘thank you’ didn’t seem like enough, I ended up in weird conversation where she was going to try to get a job somewhere I’m familiar with and so I offered to be a reference and then she wrote down my name and maybe I just shoulda said, ‘thanks’ instead.)

Anyway. Today the crazy was coming from THEM. In fact, I think i did a pretty good job of not letting their crazy wear off on me. Always a challenge, but it was met successfully today. Wednesday afternoons we go to my mom’s for awhile after school. Normally, this is a sweet, relatively peaceful and enjoyable time.

But today, several times Mom and I looked at each other over a crying, whining kid’s head and shared a WHAT THE HELL? expression. Seth-5yr and Caden-6yr had a full on tears FLIP OUT over a rock. A ROCK. A black rock that Seth-5yr was saying was his very special ‘souvenir.’ And props for breaking out that word, since last month you couldn’t say words that start with ‘s’ and now you’re onto ‘souvenir..?!’ Okay, then. You just cry over it and I’ll make your brother give it back in the name of good speech therapy.

But then Caden-6yr has a full on tears FLIP OUT because nuh-no, that rock story was totally misrepresented and there were some false allegations that needed to be sorted out regarding throwing something over a fence, but way back when the fence wasn’t even built yet. And would you like to try to hang onto your sanity while figuring out exactly what that means? I held, I patted, and when the wailing entered into the ‘i’m just being dramatic to make you hate life as much as i do right this second because of a ROCK’  phase, i told him to go finish his cry in the bedroom with the door closed. Freedom of expression, but not in my right ear, please.

Ethan-10yr had his own meltdown. I’ll spare you. Not because I’m that nice, but because I just cannot bring myself to relive the ordeal long enough to type it.

I’m calm, sober as ever, even patient. Seriously, I am. Don’t judge me by my caps lock issue. I was patient while they argued over a rubber duck as if the fate of the world depended on it. Even though there were TWO yellow rubber ducks that I couldn’t tell apart. And I tried. But then I gave up and used a zen voice to threaten an early bedtime (I was hoping to get to follow through on ) and then went to the kitchen and drank a diet coke.

I requested “Whiskey River,” Willie obliged, and I turned it waaay up. I tried not to think about the mom whose child drowned in the bath while she played a game on facebook, and rationalized that this was nothing like that since the boys are 5 and almost 7 and it was perfectly okay to go stand in the kitchen with Willie.

It’s been that sort of afternoon. I told the boys they were going for a record since they’d all had meltdowns with tears in a very short period of time. They shrugged and walked off and one of them said, “PB.”

Which made me wonder why they were discussing peanut butter when i was talking meltdowns, except we all WERE standing awkwardly in the pantry at the time…. and then I realized that kid had not meant ‘peanut butter’ at all.

He meant “personal best,” and had said it earlier as well in a different context but in the same abbreviated way.


Oh my gosh, don’t EVEN go there today, sweet boy-child.

This was not anyone’s PB. But we all made it.

And that’s good enough for me…


7 Comments on “Proudly Lowering the Standard for Defining Parenting “Success””

January 19th, 2011
9:36 pm

Oh dear. I might have needed more than Willie and a diet coke too. Like maybe something that ends in ‘-tini’ and something else that equals about 4 lbs of high quality dark chocolate. (‘Something else’ was just a cover, I really meant 4 lbs of high quality dark chocolate. Which I have eaten on more than one occasion in my life. PB.)

Jennifer Sullivan
January 19th, 2011
9:51 pm

I was going to post on my site about how I whispered “WTF” but the actual words, and yes the last one rhymed with duck and my 13 yr old daughter, from the office says “What?”. Yes, she heard me, she thought it was funny that she heard me. I had said it while irritated at the computer and so I said “Do as I say not as I do” and she said “Well you SAID F” at which point I screamed “You had better not if you want to live another minute with all your teeth in your head!” She laughed histerically because she had no intention of saying the word but I just kept digging myself in deeper and deeper. Now, knowing that your kids spent the day crying, while mine spent the day mocking me makes me wonder if it’s supposed to be a full moon.
Jennifer Sullivan recently posted..I know you’re reading – Thank you!

January 19th, 2011
10:17 pm

I WOULD have been in the stash of Vosges truffles on the counter except I noticed that they all looked really… licked. Pre-licked. Kid-licked. So I abstained. But yeah, unlicked chocolate woulda helped.

DUDE. You canNOT say WTF and then say, DO AS I SAY. That’s um… hysterically so funny that you walked right into that…?! (She’s so lucky to have you, and you know I honestly believe that. But I’m still laughing anyway.)
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Jennifer Sullivan
January 19th, 2011
10:24 pm

I know, talk about sticking my foot right in my mouth!
Jennifer Sullivan recently posted..I know you’re reading – Thank you!


[...] Yesterday the happenings in KidLand were over the top, unexplained and made me want to learn to drink. Today… we were at the other end of the spectrum. It’s only right to report about this afternoon, which is equally over the top and unexplained wondrous beautiful WHAT IS GOING ON in KidLand AND CAN I HAVE JUST ONE MORE BABY? type feeling. [...]

January 22nd, 2011
3:29 pm

OMGosh. I’m exhausted. You swear all that really happened? In one single day? I am getting a vicarious migraine just wondering where you get all your energy and patience! And I’m also going to need something stronger than Diet Coke. Diet Vicodin, perhaps… with a side of Imitrex. While you’re out kick boxing, I’ll be semi conscious and dreaming about it!

Great story! :D
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January 22nd, 2011
6:20 pm

Welcome to my life. (I’m not always patient.)

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