Moderate Momming

I’m often a moderate apologist when it comes to religion. After being born and raised in the LDS Church, I eventually went through a stint of Atheism and returned to an uneasy truce with Christianity and Mormonism. Hence, I am currently halfway.

My overarching motivation in life is to treat everyone else the way they want to be.

As such, I do not try to convert people to an idea. I do not push my values on others. -Within reason. I have realized that even moderates like me have lines. I have values. I have issues that are my own opinions and a few of them extend out to how I think others should behave.

When engaged in philosophical discussions of this sort with others, I try to back my ideas up with things like, “The good of society,” and “That makes sense anatomically.” Really, though, ALL of them are tied to a value or opinion.

If the law allowed for people to walk around naked and procreate in public, would I still find that wrong? What if I were raised around that?

Maybe it’s time I stopped apologizing for what I might believe. Maybe it’s time I wasn’t hesitant to consider the presence of God. Maybe I ought to actually follow the advice to stop caring what others thought (also a bit of advice that needs reason, else one might get arrested).

What do I fear? Oh -right. I fear the people who will not listen. I worry for those who will turn away with an incredulous shake over my ignorance.

I meant to talk about how important religion is for raising children, but maybe this isn’t quite the morning for it. Looks like this was the morning to talk about values, popularity, and social anxiety. Which, though those were not my aim, are also important to address and important to teach children about.

All things in moderation, right?

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Sunday, March 31: “The Good Old Days,” reminiscing and reasoning about how things were.

Monday, April 1: Wrote a poem titled, “The Polls Are In.

Tuesday, April 2: Shared a quote (probably) by Frederick Douglass.

Wednesday, April 3: Cautioned against glass jars in my food tip.

Thursday, April 4: “Momvan, Or…,” a snippet about the awesomeness of minivans.

Friday, April 5: Reasoned that one should not ever purchase toys with, “Just Don’t Buy It?

Saturday, April 6: Shared 5KidsAndABunny‘s tweet about the things kids parrot back.

Sunday, April 7: Happy Today!

Photo Credit:
Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Behavioral Issues? I’ll Take One for Now, Please

My boys are all …fun in their own ways. Torn between delusion and reality; I often decide that, despite reassurances of similar children, other families do not enjoy quite the smattering of personality challenges I do in raising mine.

Only my second son has been officially diagnosed with anything. That was a result of his school planner in first grade. The notes from his teacher began innocently enough: Had some difficulty when he was asked to sit and do his work, for example. By December, however, each week had a major incident or even two. Threw a chair was one. Tried to bite another student was another.

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That was four years ago, so some of the specifics are still repressed memories for me.

Threatened litigation by another parent was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Through an answer to a prayer, a cancellation made it so I was immediately seen by a new pediatrician. The doctor gave me the education and (eventually) the medication we needed. He has been wonderful.

I am not a fan of diagnosing misbehaving children nor of doping them up. My husband is even less so, which is still a sore issue regarding Boy #2. For the sake of keeping this shorter than a textbook, I have our son where he is with what he is taking because it works and he needs it. He takes a pill known as Straterra, and is now on a fairly low dose.

Every year we have a reevaluation with the doctor to discuss whether the medication is affecting anything. It is, in about a 95% positive way. Every summer we try not taking the pill, at my son’s request. Our record is three weeks.

At that point, I am reduced to constant babysitting. Every social interaction needs moderation and ends in meltdown.

Me: Now, remember: we can’t sit on your brother’s head.

Him: You never tell him not to sit on me!

I can tell he’s approaching puberty because he used to tear up and run screaming from the room. Now he clams up and gives me short little answers that prove he’s withdrawing and repressing on his own. *Sigh*

On more humorous notes, the lucid parts of his personality are more apparent during sober times. So is his forgetfulness. All day he asks me where he left his book or his glasses or his brain -okay, not literally his brain. Even on medication I tell him he’ll need a personal assistant as an adult to remind him to put on pants.

Even on medication he is himself and still has the same challenges. What makes medical intervention and therapy crucial is The Point of Meltdown. As a young child, entering meltdown meant I had to physically carry him to a re-direction point (often outside) until he burned through his feelings. It meant his telling me he did not hit a person whom I saw him hit, and getting fixated on how I hated him for forcing him to apologize.

I wrote a glib snippet last week about people wanting a silver bullet or a cure-all for behavioral issues. Wouldn’t that be nice; right?

The truth is that there is a cure-all, and it is love.

The Number One thing I’ve had to learn as my son’s mother is to show him I love him in an over-the-top, but genuine fashion. When he is being a mean jerk, telling me that he does wish he’d mortally wound his older brother, that’s the time I need to say, “I love you so much.” When he is hiding under the table and yelling about whatever ticked him off and that I never care, that’s when I start tickling his back and talking about how much he means to me.

Tickling his back and neck are his weakness, besides the love. Maybe your son or daughter has an Achilles’ Heel like that, too.

Life is not easy with a difficult child or four, but it is what it is. I’ve tried the Hide and Resent It approach; it’s not very effective. With patience, love, and lots of chocolate, taking it one day at a time is the best way to go.

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Silver Bullet

My second son has behavioral issues. Sometimes teachers or other adults ask me ‘what works’ with him.

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Don’t you think, if I knew, I’d be spraying that magic solution all over the place?!

What’s the Point?

Raising children is a difficult and thankless job, especially if the children are difficult and thankless people.

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Sure, we have some control over the responses and attitudes of kids. Their manners are one of the many things parents blame themselves for the first (and second, and third) time(s) our darling pipes up, “That lady is really FAT!”

HOWEVER, one of my sons is consistently a little jerk whenever the mood strikes him. This problem is associated with some behavioral issues (fo’ real), but his comments still hurt. We’re talking accusations that I hate him, never believe him, always side with The Other Person, want to see him suffer, etc.

Seeing as he was raised about the same way as his siblings, I’m gonna go with a natural bent toward difficult/thanklessness.

Is this why I became a mother? To be put down by the thing I carried for 9 months based on the first day of my last period before conception and an actual birth which was earlier than the expected due date? DID I?!

I most certainly did NOT.

I thought I’d see the sorts of cute kid things people write about or make movies about. My babies would giggle and smile. Brothers would help sisters tie their shoes. Oldest children would pass down dating advice, and the girls would teach each other to do makeup. When all of them grew old, they would sit around our family room fireplace and reminisce about how happy The Good Ol’ Days were.

at least expected a toddler running to me in slow-motion, with springtime sunshine outlining our happy faces and outstretched arms.

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It’s been a mixed bag. Sometimes that bag is the last of the Lucky Charms and only the cereal bits and crumbs are left. I guess I shouldn’t get hung up on a bowl full of cereal dust. I need to stop assuming I’ll pour dust every time, when it’s only at the end of 20.5 ounces.

Even when I get a lot of marshmallows at the other times, there are plenty of oat pieces. Children are human, too. They can’t help it, which is somewhat endearing. Ya know -when that humanity isn’t horribly insultingy and disrespectingy.

These thoughts remind me of the handful of times other people have asked my boys about me. -Like on Mother’s Day. Usually, my offspring guess my age incorrectly and assume I enjoy doing dishes. The best answers are the candid ones; the ones they supply when given enough lines to expound, or to answer why they love me.

Another job similar to parenthood is teaching. School’s out for my kids (yay.) and I was up late perusing the FB page for their institution. I watched a short video about a teacher two of my sons had in the past. The teacher’s room mothers filmed every child in the class this year, answering questions about What She Always Says, What She Likes To Do, and What’s Your Favorite Thing About Her? I didn’t have any children in her class this past year, yet I was happy-crying.

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I thought about the influential people in my life, parents included, and how I had never made them a full-on video about how I felt. What a neat thing for this teacher to hear, right then, how much her class loved her and what a difference she’d made in their lives. I think most people don’t ever hear from the people they influenced. They work each day, following a routine, sticking to their rules, and struggling with the difficulty and the thanklessness.

What do we do it for?

WHO do we do it for?

It’s cliché, but we do it for the children.

So every time a child tells me whatever popped past his brain and out of his mouth, I’m going to picture the Sunshine Moments. They just might get me past the cereal dust.

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