Raising Kids Requires Patience, Humor, and a Good Memory


Sixteen years ago I received the best advice in the form of a baby shower gift.  Inside a beautifully wrapped gift box was a gorgeous baby blanket lovingly crocheted by the wife of a co-worker.  Attached to the blanket was a note written by Earl, a sixty-something father of four, grandfather of six.  It simply said:  “You’ll spend the first two years teaching this kid to walk and talk and the next sixteen telling him/her to sit down and shut up.  Good Luck and Best Wishes.”

That was one of the first chuckles I had as a soon-to-be-mother.  Sixteen years later, I continue to laugh my ass off.  If I didn’t, I more than likely would be reduced to tears.  This motherhood thing is not all that it is cracked up to be.  I have experienced days no sweetly written wish could have possibly predicted.

The kid outgrew the blanket before his first birthday.  Seems there should be a baby registry option for towels and white flags when giving a shower gift.  Most mothers would get eighteen years of use out of these presents between throwing ’em in and waving them in defeat.

I am sure my beasts are not unique.  Certainly your kids are a lot like mine; they are slowly killing me with one stupid move after another.  But, it’s when they do something so completely hair-brained that my memory comes back to haunt me.  My mother was spot on with her “new mother advice”. 

While it was not written inside a card, it was delivered in person with a knowing smile; she simply said, “the little brats have a way to pay you back in spades”.  After sixteen years officially “in the club”, I can confirm that I must have been a real pain-in-the-ass way back when because mine never seem to disappoint in this department.

I have two boys with a span of four years between them.  For the most part, the last sixteen years have been relatively uneventful as far as really bad behavior goes.  Oh sure, the boys have exhibited behavior that is cringe worthy; they have made arguing and harassment sport .  I do not claim to be the first mother to referee an argument that goes something like this, “Your face is so gross~eeewwww, get me a marker, I can play connect the dots with your pimples”.  And, a statement like this can clearly only be countered with a “take a shower, you smell like ass” rebuttal.  Yes, you know my secret, my boys are what motherhood dreams are made of. 

Wrestling matches followed by bodies thumping down the stairs usually follow bickering after one of the clowns insists on playing Xbox until he “levels up”.  Beating the daylights out of each other has been strictly forbidden along with being in the same room together without a chaperone, following the afternoon Mr. Younger Wise Guy spent in the nurses’ office fielding some pretty tough questions posed by the RN and Intern School Social Worker regarding the hows and whys of the black and purple shiner he was sporting.

Until last month, my husband and I were hunkering down putting all our heartache and headache eggs, courtesy of the teenage years in the younger hooligan’s basket.  And, why wouldn’t we, as we near the halfway point of high school with son number one, we have been pretty comfortable with the knowledge (fingers crossed) he would continue along on the “so far so good” path; he follows the rules. 

His younger brother has spent his eleven years on earth figuring out ways to reinvent them.  Clearly the anticipated “crazier” life ahead of us lay in the hand of cards we had long since been dealt.  Until last month the younger referred to the older as “the choir boy”.  That was last month.

This month, we have been introduced to his alter-ego: “Pinocchio”.  Our boy, who once followed our rules as gospel has turned into a big, fat liar overnight.  And we have assumed the premature role of becoming “enforcers”. 

Tomorrow I will tell you of his crime in Part ll.   

Leave a comment