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  • Crow Casserole

    October 15, 2007

    Back in the day, when I was large with child, before I actually had a child, I knew everything there was to know about the proper way to raise a child.

    It was in those days that I issued the edict that I would not pimp my child for Disney, that I would not do Disney’s advertising for them on the back of my child, that I would not spend $30 for pajamas with some questionable cartoon character on the front when the $10 no-character pajamas are just fine.

    But that was before I saw little boy eyes light up at the sight of Lightning McQueen.

    I thought about that this morning as I stripped my child out of his Lightning McQueen pajamas and then sent him to school in Lightning McQueen undies, Lightning McQueen socks, Lightning McQueen shoes, shirt, backpack and lunch box.I have become a Lightning McQueen marketing machine.  Ka-Chow.

    Crow casserole.  Yummy.

    Reduced Fat Words

    August 15, 2006

    I’ve grown fat in the nearly three years I’ve been a parent. Not so much from eating after my own child, which I said I would never do, but I do — but from eating my own words.
    I remember when I was about seven months pregnant, Antique Daddy and I were playing cards with some friends. With my child tucked safely inside my womb, I was still free to waddle up to my soapbox and spout off all the idealistic things I would never do that those other horrible, less diligent parents allow their children to do.

    Photo: Idealistic Pregnant Woman Looking For Soapbox

    “I will NEV-UH! (finger wag) allow my child to eat at McDonalds!” I proclaimed with conviction. My friend Susie rolled her eyes and asked this question: What are you going to do when one of his little friends has a birthday party at McDonalds? Hmmm? What then? Are you going to let him go, oh ye Idealistic One? Idealistic One had NOT thought of that.

    “Well, then certainly no television – that vast wasteland!” I preached as though I had coined that phrase. Susie just looked at me because she has three children, so she understood the ways of the world and she already knew that the world likes to stomp on the ideals of pregnant women.

    “What about when you are trying to make dinner, or have to make a phone call?” she asked, “You don’t think you’ll let him watch television then?” I probably said something annoyingly self-righteous like, “Most certainly not! He can read a book or sit quietly until I’m through.”

    I would have smacked me after that remark, but Susie is a kind woman and almost never smacks pregnant ladies. In fact, as I’m sitting here watching television with Sean, slamming down the remains of a half-eaten Happy Meal and washing it down with the the dregs of a warm juice box, I think I’ll just smack myself right now on behalf of idealistic pregnant ladies everywhere.

    Never Say Never

    July 29, 2005

    Prior to Sean’s arrival, I had some pretty lofty ideals about child-rearing. And since I had no children, I had a special license to make all kinds of proclamations about what I would and would “never” do if I had them. That license has since been revoked and I’ve had to relax a few of those ideals to accommodate my new reality. And eat a few words. Okay, a lot of words. And apologize to a few people. Okay, a lot of people.

    For example:

    Before Sean: “I will never take my kid to McDonald’s.”
    After Sean: “I will never take my kid to McDonald’s without someone small enough to follow him up into the play yard tubes.”

    Before Sean: “I will never turn my den into a giant toy box.”
    After Sean: “A toy box makes a very nice coffee table.”

    Before Sean: “I will never let my kid watch TV.”
    After Sean: “I will never let my kid watch TV unless Dr. Phil is on.”

    Before Sean: “I will never go more than two days without working out.”
    After Sean: “I will never go more than two years without working out.” (This one may yet again be revised.)

    I’m still desperately clinging to “I will never drive a mini-van. Ever.” and “I will never let my kid drink soda.”

    Along with relaxing a few standards and exorcising the word “never” from my vocabulary, parenting has also taught me to lighten up and take time to enjoy the simple things in life. For example, before I had a baby, I was particular about my clothes. I enjoyed dressing up and wearing nice clothes. Now I simply enjoy wearing clothes without someone else’s boogers on them. This became apparent at church recently when, right there in the house of God on the wings of a precious little sneeze, my son launched a snot rocket directly at me. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. I heard a cute little “ka-choo” and turned to see the look of horror on the faces of the brethren. A small girl cried out, “Gross!” followed by a chorus of “eeee-yew”. If only she had yelled “Duck!” But it was too late, I was hit. Oddly enough, after the projectile snot incident, we had the entire pew to ourselves. And no one asked us to lunch.

    In the same way, I used to really enjoy eating out at a nice restaurant. By the time Sean was 6-months-old, I was happy if I could just eat sitting down. These days I am happy if I get to eat from plate that doesn’t have a chunk of someone else’s previously chewed pot roast positioned as a garnish. It’s the simple things.

    Having children later in life teaches you that if you have a teachable spirit, you will never be too old to learn, never too old to admit you were wrong and never too old to change your point of view — in other words, humility. It also teaches you that if you don’t want to have to apologize to a lot of people, don’t use the “n” word (“never” — what were you thinking??) and to appreciate any time you get to wear booger-free clothing.