I recently volunteered at my son’s field day and I was totally disgusted. What happened to the best competition in elementary school? Things are different now. It’s depressing. There are no winners, no losers, no ribbons. All the kids run around aimlessly putting 50% effort into whatever event they are assigned. There is no enthusiasm or passion. When I think about it, their lack of excitement actually makes sense. Why would they exert themselves when they are ALL called winners in the end? What are we teaching our kids? I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject.
Thanks so much,
Bring back the ribbons
Dear Bring Back the Ribbons,
Wow! I couldn’t agree with you more. Competition is healthy. It challenges us to take risks. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you are musician but terrible at math. Maybe you are an artist but you have no clue how to kick a soccer ball. Perhaps you are annoying as shit but you have a keen ability to bring a boring party to life. Whatever. The point is, everybody has their moment to shine and the sooner kids learn this, the better. Learning how to lose gracefully is an important life skill that builds character. It starts with field day. Yes indeed. I agree, we need to bring back the ribbons.
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Please write. firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: Any and all answers are completely unprofessional and should not be taken seriously. Don’t be an idiot. If you have real issues, seek a real professional, not me. Any question sent via email can be used on my website and/or social media. Authors will remain anonymous. You suck. Just kidding. I was making sure you were reading this very important message. Don’t sue me. I hate that. It ruins all the fun and then you really would suck. My advice is random and solely depends on the amount of sleep I got last night. Sad but true. Peace out bitches.
My kids have the typical elementary school sense of humor. The words boobs, fanny and fart make them laugh uncontrollably. It’s hard to be mature and keep control of the situation when all four kids are rolling on the ground like a bunch of baboons. Especially when I too have a 7-year-old sense of humor. I admit it. I think mature, proper people are really boring. If you can’t laugh at a perfectly timed fart then I don’t think we can be friends. Stuffy people suck. They probably never laugh. Anyway, I was thinking about my elementary sense of humor and I remembered one of my favorite nurse stories.
I was a new grad working in a very busy cardiac unit. There wasn’t much to laugh about there so we made fun of the doctors. Especially the young ones who are vulnerable. In the medical world they are called residents. Oh relax, we didn’t do anything mean. It was innocent fun. Each resident in this particular group seemed to be foreign. They all spoke broken English. Thank goodness for a good group of nurses who knew to question an order that didn’t seem right. If you add a foreign accent to the word volume and it sounds like Valium. Ya know what I mean? Two totally different things people! To prevent a horrible tragedy we decided that we should spell everything out. We all became spelling champions. I could spell any medical term ever known to man. In fact, I took the spelling thing to a whole new level.
Casually walking down the hall I might bump into Dr. Rampolski and I spell my hello. ”Hello Dr. R-A-M-P-O-L-S-K-I! How are you?” He giggled. “Hello Ronda!” I did this often but my favorite and I mean ABSOLUTE favorite doctor to mess with was Dr. Fu (Foo). He worked in anesthesia with another doctor named Dr. Wu (Woo). You can probably imagine how confusing that might get. Dr. Wu was cocky and had a temper so I avoided him. Dr. Fu, on the other hand, was a nervous, frazzled mess so I enjoyed him. In fact, he brought me great joy. His mannerisms alone made me giggle. He was always fumbling for his notepad. He carried an itsy-bitsy notepad and a pen in his front pocket at all times and he wrote down absolutely everything. EVERYTHING!!!!! Sometimes his frantic writing would make me nervous. Actually, it made everyone paranoid. We couldn’t imagine what the heck he was writing. I think he missed his true life calling. That guy should have been a stenographer in a court room. The point is, he had lots of quirks. He was sweet but also somewhat clueless.
I don’t want to sound arrogant but I could tell he thought I was funny. Sometimes he would say it. I can hear him now with his funny accent. “Ronda you funny”. Honestly, I think most of the time he only laughed because the other nurses were laughing. I don’t actually think he understood my humor. Sometimes I would explain my dumb jokes to him and he would predictably respond “yes, yes, yes” which never really made sense. Sadly, small children and foreigners seem to be my biggest fans. Perhaps I need to step up my game??
Now…Where was I? Oh yes..Dr Fu. I would get so excited when I needed Dr. Fu and he wasn’t on our unit. This meant I could page him on the loud-speaker. The secretary offered to page him for me but I didn’t want her doing anything extra. She was always very busy and this was something I enjoyed. I sat at the nurses’ station desk and cleared my throat. After all, I wanted to sound professional. “Uh hum. Could Dr. Fu please report to 6W stat?” (dramatic pause) “Again, that’s Dr. Fu.” Here is my favorite part…the spelling. I said each letter very slowly ”Dr. F-U! Dr. F-U. Again that’s Dr. F-U to 6W.”
I could hear the other nurses giggling in various rooms all around the unit and the secretary was giggling too until all of a sudden she stopped and pretended to file some papers. I felt someone behind me. I didn’t need to turn around and look to see who it was. I could tell by the nonverbal clues that it was my supervisor. I wiped the smile off my face and pushed my chair back from the desk and stood up. “Is something funny here?” She inquired. “Oh. No ma’am. I was paging anesthesia. I need Dr. Fu and I wanted to be clear. I wouldn’t want to interrupt Dr. Wu from the OR. He hates that.” She gave me the look. The “I’m onto your childish, unprofessional antics” look but I smiled politely. “Why are you doing the paging instead of our unit secretary?”“Oh. Umm…she offered but I insisted. She has her hands full.” (Every nurse knows not to throw the unit secretary under the bus.) There was an uncomfortable pause when I was saved by Dr. Fu. He came running around the corner with his pen and tiny pad of paper out and ready. “Oh, Hi Ronda. You page me?” I pretended to be extra busy and desperate for Dr. Fu’s advice. I was desperate to cease further interrogation from the supervisor. Thankfully it seemed to have worked.
My coworkers and I continued to giggle. I’m sorry but let’s be honest. How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to legally say ‘Eff You” over a hospital loud-speaker? Now, if you will excuse me, I need to page a very petite, sweet doctor named Dr. Ho. Doesn’t everyone love a little Ho?
Typically I don’t like being bossed around but I have certain friends who know what they are talking about. Jessica is one of these friends.
I’m not bossy, I’m informative!
A few days ago she told me to go buy Chelsea Handler’s new book. ”You will laugh. It’s hysterical.” she said. I didn’t really need much more than that. I like to laugh. What can I say? I’m an easy sell. So today I did it. I went to an unnamed bookstore to buy my own personal copy.
I started off in a great mood. I was so excited to get my new funny book. I had 2/4 of my little people in tow so I walked right up to the help desk. The lady behind the desk looked like a stereotypical librarian. She was a senior wearing a calf length skirt with a button up blouse from the 80′s. Her hair was pulled back into a bun and a pair of reading glasses hung on a chain around her neck.
The card catalog worked much better than these damn computers!
She was chatting it up with some of the other employees when I walked up. “May I help you?” she asked in a slightly bitchy tone. I scanned the help desk for someone younger who might appreciate Chelsea Handler but sadly there was no one. “Yes. I am looking for Chelsea Handler’s latest book please.” Jessica would be so proud of me right now! (I thought to myself.) The librarian lady looked at me like I said something terribly wrong. I watched as she put on her glasses and began typing.
“Chelsea huh?” she inquired.
“Yes. Chelsea Handler. It’s an autobiography,I believe.”
“Oh. I know her.” She responded with some degree of disappointment. “Which book do you want?” She buried her face in the computer screen.
Think fast…which one do I want? Hmmm? Which one do I want? Then I blurted out something that always makes me look really, really smart.
She glared at me. It was uncomfortable, so I filled the silence.
“Which ever one is the most recent?”
She fired back an immediate question. “Do you know the title?”
Dang it, of course not…I don’t know anything except that I am here to buy a funny Chelsea book. Crap. Now what do I do?
“Can you read the titles to me? Maybe something will ring a bell?”
She took a deep breath. She was annoyed. She lost patience with me for no real reason. Now I hate her. “Well. Let’s see. She has a few books…”(dramatic pause as she rolled her eyes) “They all have very interesting titles.My Horizontal Life,Are you there Vodka? It’s me Chelsea, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me. Do any of those ring a bell?”
“Ummmmmm….no. Not really.”
She rolls her eyes at my ignorance and suggests that I follow her to the autobiography section. Annnnd….can I just say that for an overweight, elderly woman…she walks fast as hell. Her shoulders were back, her chest was out and she walked with authority. My kids looked like pull toys as I dragged them behind me to keep up with our fearless leader.
“Thank You!“ I said when we arrived to the Chelsea section completely out of breath.
She glanced down at the books and then at my children and then shook her head in disapproval as she walked away back to the help desk. I watched her walk away and found myself irritated. “Go back to your chicken coop you nasty old hen.” I muttered under my breath. My five year old brought me back to reality “What mommy? What did you say?”
“Oh nothing honey. I’m just thinking out loud”
Anyway, I grabbed my book and let the girls each pick out something for themselves and we made our way to the register. Of course, by the time we actually get there, the line is a mile long. Eventually we find our way to the front of the line. ”Next please.” says the voice behind the counter. We carefully grab all of our goods and place them up on the counter and that’s when I made eye contact with the cashier. Oh no! It’s the librarian AGAIN. I can’t seem to escape her.
“Hello again.” She greets me in a very unwelcoming way.
“Hello.” I answered in a monotone voice.
She scans each book and gives me her opinion on each one. Obviously, she is trying to play nice grandma. “Aw, Elmo. Who likes Elmo?” She asks both of my girls. Maggie claps and raises one hand proudly, “Meeeee!” she squeals. We all smile. Then she addresses Teagan. “And this princess book must be yours?” Tea nods politely.
Then she scans Chelsea’s book and her whole attitude changes. Umm? Where the heck did Granny go? I wondered.
“Do you like HER?” she points to the photo on the front.
“Yes. I do. She is hilarious. I have never read her stuff but my friend told me I would love it and I absolutely love her show.”
She tries to change my mind and blurts out her opinion. “She is rude! Very rude! I don’t like her.”
Come on now lady. Why do you want to ruin things for me? The rage built up inside me. I don’t know what happened. I’ve never met Chelsea. I don’t know anyone that knows her. I’m a fan but not a stalker. I have no reason to be furious that this woman insulted her except that I felt like she was judging someone who often brings me happiness.
I defended Chelsea like she was a family member that I adored.
“Why would you say that? How is she rude? I think you are mistaking her humor for rudeness.”
“Oh no. First of all, she’s not funny.”
I interrupted “Yes she is!”
She retaliated “No, no she’s not!”
I talked over her. (Since we are talking about rudeness and all) “Yes she is!”
“Excuse me.” (She gives a very dramatic pause) “She was asked to do theTodayshow and apparently she thought she was too good for them and decided not to show up.”
Now, keep in mind that I have no idea if this ever happened. I have no idea if it’s a lie or if it’s true but I wasn’t going to let the librarian talk bad about my girl.
“Oh please. That was such a rumor!” Now I’m talking out of my ass at this point. Completely making shit up to defend my new BFF, Chelsea Handler. I continue with my rant “She had no idea she was scheduled to go to that show. Her publicist scheduled that and it was a big mix up! A huge mix up is all it was! She wasn’t rude. She was unaware.” Hey? Sounds good to me???
The librarians jaw dropped as she gave me the receipt. “Oh No. I don’t think so. They said she knew and she just didn’t care. She thought she was too big for the Today show.”
“Puuuleease. No, no no, no no! That is all a complete lie!” (ha ha…um speaking of lies) “Chelsea is funny and ya know what…she stays up really late working!” Definitely a lame come back but that’s all I could think of at the time. I grabbed my bag, my kids and my attitude and started walking out the door and that old hen had to get the last word in.
Some of the other customers are giggling at our bantering. I never turned around as the automatic doors opened but as I stepped into the parking lot I yelled “No she’s not!” just before the doors closed. Seriously…what is that lady’s problem?
I was buckling the girls in the car when a customer saw me in the parking lot. She made sure I knew where she stood with the argument. “I love Chelsea too by the way.” We both giggled. I don’t know what just happened in that book store but I bet if Chelsea knew about it she would be horrified proud.
Today while I was carpooling children to and fro, I found myself lost in thought. SHOCKING, I know!!! I always take a risk that someone will report me to a psych hospital when I share my internal conversations but I thought this conversation might interest you. After all, I am a very, very interesting person (cough). Anyway, I was day dreaming about a subject that I hear many parents talking about. I am fascinated how the same two parents can have four kids raised in the same house with the same rules and each child be so different. So for my entertainment, I compared the temperaments of each child to a specific day of the week. Let’s face it, we all associate different feelings with each day of the week and a child’s temperament is really no different. I have a Wednesday, a Friday, a Sunday and a Monday.
Take Flynn, for instance. He is my first-born son. He is my Wednesday. Wednesday is predictable and routine. It’s comfortable. Nobody celebrates Wednesday or dreads Wednesday but it plays a very important role. It’s the middle of the work week. We don’t talk about last weekend or next weekend on Wednesday. It’s a “live for today” kind of day. This is Flynn. He was born mellow. He is rarely angry or giddy with excitement. He is usually content and is very task oriented. He LOVES a routine and he likes for things to be tidy. He is my strong Wednesday. He holds the week together for me. He reminds me to live in the present and take one day at a time.
Then we have Molly, my Friday. Everyone loves a Friday don’t they? Always a party. Molly was born to party. She always has a smile on her face. She likes to stay up late and never wants to miss out on anything. She is flexible and can adapt to almost any situation. Molly can be in a room with any day of the week and somehow make them all feel loved and comfortable. She makes us laugh nonstop and naturally sees the positive in everyone. She is full of energy. Sometimes too much energy. Have you ever been completely exhausted by a Friday night? I have. Friday can wear your ass out if you’re not careful. My Friday reminds me that you get out of life what you put into it. Investing in relationships is far more valuable than investing in things.
Which brings us to Teagan. My Sunday! She was born peaceful and quiet. She is dainty and easy like a Sunday morning. Does anyone else want to belt out a Lionel Richie song right now?
“Ohhh that’s why I’m easy/ I’m easy like Sunday morning.” (Sorry. I had to. Love me some Lionel) Where the heck was I? Ah yes. Teagan is my day of rest. She loves to cuddle and is as sweet as they come. One should not overlook Sunday. This is a very important day for the soul. As a baby she was a mother’s dream. Never fussed, extremely flexible and very lovable. We all watch over Sunday because she can be fragile. My Sunday reminds me to rest and nourish my spirit.
Don’t get too lazy on Sunday because everyone knows what comes after Sunday….MONDAY! Maggie is my Monday! Monday’s are challenging. We start the work week off on Monday and it barrels towards us whether we are ready or not. Sometimes it catches us off guard. Monday’s are usually packed with activities. It’s a day to take care of business. Mags is always busy and alive with energy. She knows what she wants and she fights for it. There are times when I view this persistence as stubborn and other times when I see it as leadership. My Monday reminds me that life is short and to live it to the fullest.
I am no different from every mother on earth. I love each of my kids equally…(dramatic pause)… unless they irritate me, act rotten, have a foul attitude, think they know everything, refuse to sleep, throw a tantrum, humiliate me or ignore me. When they do that, they aren’t so lovable. In fact, I am tempted to sit them in a lawn chair at the end of the driveway holding a cardboard sign that says FREE. Anyway, the point is, they are all so different. I respect and admire that. The way I look at it, my house is a snapshot of society as a whole. We are all born with completely different personalities but each one of us has something valuable to add to life. What days of the week live in your house?
Laughter is the best medicine- Share with a friend and make the world a better place!
Since it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would write about one of my favorite mommy skills. Or maybe I should call it “Mom-E Skil-Z” since I am ultra hip? Uhhh? Or Maybe not? Anyway..I love my kids dearly but as they get older they start to develop their own ideas and opinions about things (GASP!) I try to encourage these as much as possible (cough) unless, of course, they get in my way. When they start doing things that cramp my style, I am forced to use special tactics to gently guide them back to the mother ship. I like to call these tactics, Jedi mind tricks. There is not a soul on earth better at Jedi mind tricks than a mom. Understand me, you will.
Flynn is my quiet, shy, gentle soul but he also has a competitive side. We are constantly reminding him to make eye contact with adults when they speak to him. We have had this same lecture for 9 years. It comes across as rude, not shy, when he stares at the ground. I’m not in a mood to argue with him about eye contact, so I use my Mom-E Skill-Z.
Jedi Mind Trick: I use Flynn’s competitive nature to my advantage.
Me: (We are getting out of the car walking into a party.) “I hope your friend Jake is here today!”
Flynn: (Excited)“Oh! I think he is coming. Um, Mom? Why do you want him to be here?”
Me: “Ohhhh, I love him! He is so polite. Every time I see him he gives me a big smile and looks me right in the eye. I like that!”
Flynn: (smiles and takes it all in) “Yeah, he is nice.”
Me: “You do that too, right?”
Flynn: “Do what?”
Me: “You smile and answer adults when they ask you questions, right buddy?” (In my dreams)
Flynn: “Oh. Um, Yes.” (he thinks about it for a minute and realizes that his statement isn’t exactly true) “Well? I try to remember.”
We enter the party and he tries to impress me by making eye contact and smiling as he shakes hands with some of the other dad’s. Mission accomplished.
It’s the first warm day and Molly wants to wear her favorite pair of shorts from last summer to school. They are size 5 and she wears a size 7. Her butt is eating half the fabric and they are so short they look like boxer briefs but she thinks they look “like um totally like awesome” and… hello??? she wants to be a designer when she grows up She knows style! (Cough!)
Jedi Mind Trick: Using a fake weather report to trigger an outfit change.
Me: (I make conversation while she is eating breakfast) “You look cute! Did you pick that outfit out yourself?” (She did look cute… just about as cute as I look in a bikini or a pair of size 2 yoga pants.)
Molly: (big smile) “Yes I did! Thanks mom!”
Me: (A dramatic pause as I look at the weather on my iPhone.) ”Aw, bummer.”
Molly: “What’s wrong mom?”
Me: “The weather man says it’s going to rain all day.”
Molly: “What? Seriously?”
Me: “Yup. That stinks. Maybe you should wear capris or jeans. You might be chilly in those shorts.”
Molly: “Good idea mom. I hate when my legs get freezing cold.”
She changes out of her Daisy Duke shorts and puts on a cute pair of capris. I swear she can breathe better too.
Me: “Oh Molly! Much better! You look adorable.”
Molly: “Thanks mom. I want to be a designer ya know?”
Me: “You will be a great designer but ya know what? Those other shorts looked a little small. What size were they anyway?”
Molly: “Um..Size 5, I think.”
Me: “5??? Molly, you wear a 7. I will buy you some new ones that fit. Let’s donate those to Teagan,OK?”
Molly:(sad to say goodbye to her favorite shorts) “OK Mom.”
I win. There are no tears and she gets on the school bus dressed appropriately.
Teagan will not eat her dinner. She is a skinny little thing and needs to eat. She does not typically like the meal I’m serving for dinner and I am in no mood for a struggle.
Jedi Mind Trick: I pair the unfavorable dinner with her favorite dessert and bribe her.
Me: “OK Teagan. If you want your FAVORITE dessert, you have to eat all of your dinner without complaining. I KNOW you can do it because you are the world’s smartest 5 year old.” She isn’t completely sold at this point so I continue. “And…every smart 5 year old KNOWS that eating this healthy dinner is the ONLY way to get your FAVORITE dessert, right?”
Teagan: “I have to eat ALL of it?”
Me: “No. You do not have to eat all of your dinner BUT if you do…you get to have your FAVORITE dessert.”
Teagan: “I’m definitely eating my dinner tonight.”
Me: ” I knew you were a smart girl!”
Teagan is all smiles and eats her dinner. I win again.
Maggie is my strong willed and determined child. When she wants something there is no stopping her and if you do try and stop her, be prepared for a battle.
Jedi Mind Trick: Making my suggestion seem like it was her idea.
It’s 4am. Maggie,23 months, is screaming bloody murder in her crib. I am shocked that the entire house slept through the shrills coming out of her room.
Me: (I open her bedroom door) “What on earth are you screaming about?”
Maggie: (she wants me to bring her into my bed but we are trying to put the kabash on that) “Hold me Momma, puweeease!”
Me: “Mags you really need to put your head on the pillow and go nite-nite, OK?”
Maggie: (screaming again and being bossy) “No mommy! You hold me!”
Me: “Maggie. Go nite-nite.” (I give her a hug but I won’t pick her up and this pisses her off something fierce. Now she is having a full blown tantrum.)
Maggie: (jumping like a primate in her crib)“Mooooooooommmmy!”
Me:(I use my soft mom therapy voice) “Shhhh, shhh, shhh. Now calm down. Would you like a nice drink?” Maggie: “Yes mommy.” Me: “Ok, if you want a drink you need to lay very quiet and I will bring you one. OK?”
She quiets down and puts her head on the pillow.
Me: “Good girl! That’s nice. Now I will get you a drink and you can go nite-nite. Ok?”
I bring her some milk
Maggie: “Tank you mommy! Nite- nite!”
She was so thrilled with the milk that she completely forgot she wanted to sleep in my bed. For tonight, I win.
Some parents might call me sneaky or deceiving. I call it survival. I guide my kids to the “right” answer. I point to it, circle it, whisper it in their ear and give strong hints (cheat) but I usually let them make the final decision (I’m flexible like that). It’s the basis of the Jedi philosophy. Parenting is relentless. It might not always be pretty but survive I will.
I’m about to lose it. I am so tired of watching my children grab their crotch to hold back the inevitable. It feels like I am begging them to empty their bladders every 5 seconds. They do the pee pee dance while watching TV, on the soccer field, in the car, at birthday parties, waiting outside the bathroom or riding their bikes. I am constantly planning the next bathroom break for someone.
Don’t they feel the urge coming before it gets to this point? It’s becoming an epidemic in our home. There are three types of personalities that all lead to the same dance. The liar, the garden hose and the party animal.
We need this sign on our bathroom door
The Liar -This is the child that never admits she has to go. Good grief this makes me crazy.
Me: “Do you need to use the bathroom?”
Teagan: “No. I’m OK.”
Me: “Then why are you grabbing your private?”
Teagan: “I’m not.”
Me: “Really?” (I point.) “Then what do you call that?”
Teagan: “Oh. I’m fixing my pants.”
Me: “Fixing your pants? (insert parental eye roll here) “Why don’t you go to the bathroom so you can fix your pants?”
Teagan: “I’m ok.”(still doing the pee pee dance)
My tone scares her and Teagan runs to the bathroom to pee!
The Garden Hose- This is the child that pees frequently and pees a lot.
Me: “Alright little people, listen up. Everyone needs to use the bathroom before we go to soccer practice.”
All kids in unison: “But we don’t have to go.”
Me: “Every single one of you WILL try to go. Now hurry up!” (Insert lots of moaning, groaning and foot stomping here)
Eventually, they all find their way to the toilet and they all manage to pee. I can’t help but feel a little victorious at this point in my day. We get in the car and drive for 5 miles (No exaggeration). I look in the rear view mirror and my son is doing the pee pee dance “rodeo style” in his seat. I am sorry but this annoys me. How is it possible? He just went to the bathroom five minutes ago.
Flynn: ”Mom! I gotta go…really bad!”
Me: “No you don’t. There is no way. Are you serious?” I look in the rear view mirror and he is still bucking in his seat. I can’t pull over. We are on a busy road. So I throw an empty water bottle to the third row.
Flynn: “Thanks Mom!”
Thank goodness he was the only child in the third row because he didn’t waste anytime filling that water bottle up with urine.
Flynn: (Proud of himself for not crying wolf) “I told you I had to go Mom.” He brings the water bottle filled with pee to me while I’m driving.
Me: “Dude? Ew! What are you doing? I don’t need THAT. And..you need to buckle up. I’m driving.”
Flynn: (embarrassed) “Well? I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t want it to spill.”
Me: “What the heck am I supposed to do with it?”
He shrugs his shoulders because he has no idea. I take it and put it in the cup holder. How gross is that? Yuck! Maggie sees the bottle of pee and demands to have a sip of “apple juice”.
Me: “No, Maggie. This is not apple juice.”
All the kids laugh at Maggie’s request. Let’s face it, pee is funny to school aged kids. And apparently, the thought of someone drinking pee is hysterical.
Maggie: (Growing angry) “APP-LE JUICE Momma! Pu-weeze!”
Me: (Now I’m giggling because my life is constant chaos) “No Maggie. It’s Pee Pee, not juice.”
Maggie: (Screaming and begging. Bless her little heart.) “Apple juice Puweese.” And then she tells me I’m not a good sharer the only way a 22 month old can… “Nat not nice!”
Me: “Oh sweetheart. I am nice. I would not feel like a good Mom if I gave you your brother’s pee to drink.” The shit that falls out of your mouth as a mother is astounding at times.
We arrive at soccer practice and it was a sad scene as Maggie watched me pour a perfectly good bottle of apple juice out on the ground.
The Party Animal- This is the child that is always too wrapped up in an activity to pee.
Molly and Flynn are playing Super Mario Brothers on Wii. I walk in and Molly is doing the side step pee pee dance while she is playing.
Me: “Molly. Go to the bathroom.”
Molly: “I’m OK.”
Me: “Please pause the game and go the bathroom before you have an accident.”
Molly: “But Mom? I am on level 3.”
Me: “Pause the game!”
Molly: “Mom? You don’t understand, Flynn will keep going and he will beat me.”
I stand in front of the TV and demand that she stop playing and go to the bathroom. She drops the controller and runs full speed to the toilet. It really doesn’t matter what activity she is involved in, pee always plays second fiddle. Shouldn’t a bodily fluid be a priority?
When I think about it. Pee seems to dictate my life. I’m either begging a child to go, looking for a free minute so I can pee, washing linens saturated in pee, wiping up pee around a toilet, changing a pee diaper, emptying water bottles filled with pee, looking for a tree my son can pee behind, or setting up the car potty for the kids to pee in. It’s another one of those parental things that nobody warned me about. If you think dealing with pee ends with potty training…urine big trouble.
I was having a great day on the labor and delivery floor. My assignment was a young couple, Emily and Steven, and they were having their first baby. They were adorable and easy to get along with. The OB, Dr. Wilson, was a doctor that had been in Emily’s family for years. He delivered her nephew and her cousin’s baby. Emily was a scheduled induction and everything was going smoothly throughout the entire morning. Like many first time moms, Emily wanted to know why the doctor was not at the bedside. I tried to reassure her “he will be here soon” but the truth is, most OB’s let the labor nurse run the show. There is a certain amount of trust between the labor nurse and the doctor that develops over time. It works. It allows the doctor to run his office more efficiently and the nurse to have autonomy. Emily was no exception. I started the IV Pitocin and Dr. Wilson called late morning to check-in on her. “I’ll be by at lunchtime to break her water” he explained to me. “Sounds good!” I responded. I let Emily know the plan and she seemed happy with the news.
We spent the hours before lunch getting to know each other. As usual, I made lots of bad jokes to lighten the mood. We laughed a lot. Why not? It’s one of the happiest days in a young couple’s life. As promised, Dr. Wilson showed up at exactly noon to break Emily’s water. He walked into the room rolling up his sleeves. He seemed to be in a rush which upset Emily.
Emily: “Hey! Dr. Wilson! How are you?”
Dr. Wilson: “Hello, Emily! I’m doing well. The real question is how are you? Any pain?”
Emily: (Who thought she was giving the right answer..smiling.) “Nope!”
Dr. Wilson: “Well, we need to change that!”
Emily: (Clearly his comment scared her to death): “Oh no..really?”
Dr. Wilson: (laughing) “Yes! Really!” (He pushed the button on the side of the bed to lower her head) “I’m going to break your water and see if we can get this labor moving in the right direction. If you have pain, you can have your epidural whenever you want it, OK?”
Emily: “Um. OK.” (She turns to me and whispers) “Is this going to hurt?”
Me: “It’s going to be Ok. You will feel some pressure. Hold my hand.”
Dr. Wilson: (Impatient and rolling his eyes at my compassion) ”Alright. Can we get going here?”
Clearly, he was in a mood! Who says men don’t have PMS? I think they are worse than women. I walked over to the linen closet and grab a few blue pads and several towels to put underneath the patient to keep her linens dry. All the while, Dr. Wilson is huffing and puffing and carrying on like a spoiled rotten kid. I think the whole process took me about 3 minutes but he acted like it was 20. After I protected the linens, I helped Dr. Wilson with a sterile glove and an amnihook (used to break the water) . My right hand was assisting the doctor and my left hand was holding Emily’s for comfort. She was a nervous wreck! Steven, her husband was leaning over Dr. Wilson’s shoulder annoying the shit out of him. I tried to give Steven the eyes that said “come over here” but he wanted a front row seat.
Dr. Wilson: (Getting aggravated because he couldn’t break the water easily ) “Can you help me out here?”
Me: “Sure.” ( I lowered Emily’s head and had her scoot towards the doctor so he could reach a little easier)
Dr. Wilson: (Barking orders now and getting nasty) “I need you to relax Emily!”
Emily: ”I’m trying to. It hurts!” (Now she has tears in her eyes.)
Me: (I whisper to Emily) “You are doing fine. Take nice, slow, deep breaths.”
Then something happened. Dr. Wilson snapped. I think it was a combination of a husband breathing down his neck, a frustrating exam and a crying patient. Things were not going as smooth as he had hoped and he took out his frustration on me. He looked at me right in the eye and said:
I felt my blood pressure sky-rocket and all I wanted to do was punch him right in the nose. I shot daggers at him with my eyes. He knew he went too far and purposely avoided eye contact with anyone in the room. I was embarrassed for him. So unprofessional and downright rude! The patient gasped at his comment and her husband turned his back and walked out of the room slamming the door. I think he was afraid he was going to do something physical to Dr. Wilson. He was confused and wasn’t sure if this was normal behavior for an OB at a delivery. Emily always had such wonderful things to say about this guy. Steven was confused and angry. I didn’t blame him one bit.
Somehow I kept everything bottled up and I remained professional. Emily was crying harder than ever now but she was trying not to make a sound. She was trembling. I held her hand tight and brushed her hair gently with my hand. She leaned towards me as to say “thank you” without making a peep. Lord knows we didn’t want to do anything to get him more upset.
Finally, he broke her water. It was clear fluid and the mission was accomplished. Thank God. We all took a deep breath of relief. Instead of trying to catch some of the fluid onto the towels I provided, Dr. Wilson let the amniotic fluid pour out all over everything. It soaked through all the pads and towels, soaked the linens, dripped on the floor, pooled under the patient. He took off his glove and threw it on the bed, washed his hands and stormed out of the room.
Oh hell no..he isn’t getting away with this shit. Nobody walks all over me like that! I gave Emily some towels and draped a blanket over her and promised I’d be back in 1 second. I ran behind Dr Wilson, who was halfway down the hall.
Me: (yelling down the hall) “Dr. Wilson! (louder now) “Dr. Wilson!”
Dr. Wilson: (He turns to me and says with a huge chip on his shoulder) “What?”
Me: “I need to have a word with you…NOW!” (I was fuming! I wanted to hurt this man. I never get mad. This was so out of character for me but I was raging.)
Steven was waiting in the hallway so I opened the door to Emily’s room for him.
Me: “I’ll be there in just a second, OK?”
He nodded and walked into the room shutting the door behind him. It was only a matter of seconds and Dr. Wilson was standing in front of me with his hands on his hips. He was a tall guy. 6’2″ or so. I looked up at him and put my finger in his face and with a stern, nasty, some might argue bitchy tone I told him what I thought.
Me: “Don’t you EVER! EVER! EVER freaking tell me to SHUT UP in front of a patient again! I was trying to help her and keep her relaxed so you could break her water! You have some nerve talking to me like that!”
Dr. Wilson: (Eyes wide. He relaxed his arms by his side now and then he said something that shocked me) “I’m sorry. You are right. I am sorry.”
Me: ”OK” (I noticed a crowd of nurses watching from the nurse’s station and other ones popping their heads out of labor rooms to see what the heck was going on in the hallway. I felt like this was my moment to really give him a piece of my mind but Dr. Wilson was experienced with pissed off women. He diffused my anger with a sincere apology.)
He walked away and some of my nurse friends gave me a thumbs up. I felt better. An apology was what I wanted. I didn’t think it would come so easily though. He must have seen the crazy in my eyes. Instantly, I thought I was going to get fired. I don’t know why I thought that. I guess it was because I have never yelled at anyone at work. I couldn’t help it, he pissed me off. There comes a point and time when you have to put somebody back in their place ya know? I took a deep breath and calmed down and then opened the door to the patient’s room. Steven had a huge grin on his face and gave me a high-five.
Emily: “Oh my goodness, Ronda! Love it! He soooo deserved that!”
Me: “Uh oh? You heard that?” (Oops. I guess I was loud.)
Emily: “Every word! Awesome! You are the best nurse ever! He sucks. I’m glad he won’t come in my room again until delivery.”
For some odd reason I defended him. I guess I wanted Emily to have peace of mind that we wouldn’t have a Jerry Springer scene at the delivery.
Me:“Aw! He is a good guy, he was probably stressed about something else. We are fine now. Are you OK? Let’s get all this wet stuff out from under you and get you comfortable.”
The rest of the day went smoothly. We continued with the induction process and she eventually got her epidural. The epidural must have relaxed her body because she progressed nicely. It was only an hour or so when she started to feel the urge to push. Emily’s moment had arrived. In the next few hours she would become a new mom. I instructed her on how to push and we practiced. Shockingly, she moved the baby way down in her pelvis with one push! Usually, first time moms push for several hours so this was very exciting for a labor nurse. We did a few more pushes together and before I knew it the baby’s head was crowning. I called Dr. Wilson and prepared Emily for delivery.
Me: “Ok, Emily. When Dr. Wilson arrives, I do not want you to be nervous. All I want you to do is to push hard. Exactly like you were just doing. You are going to do fantastic.”
Emily: “OK. I can handle that.”
Me: “I have no doubt!”
A few minutes passed and a transformed Dr. Wilson entered the room in a good mood.
Dr. Wilson: “Alright, Emily! I hear you are a great pusher.”
Emily: “I hope so.” (She didn’t want to disappoint this guy again, that’s for sure)
Dr. Wilson: (He put on his gloves) “Let me see you do the next push and then I’ll gown up for delivery, OK?”
Me: “She is very strong, Dr. Wilson. You can go ahead and gown up!” (I tried to warn him)
Dr. Wilson: (He smiles a condescending smile and decides not to put on a gown and mask). “OK, Emily. Give me your best push!”
And then…at that very moment. All the planets aligned and everything seemed right in the world. Emily gave a huge push and her beautiful baby girl came flying into Dr. Wilson’s arms. As if this didn’t shock Dr. Wilson enough…he also got completely soaked with a huge pocket of amniotic fluid hiding behind the baby. It was like a tidal wave of karma. He had amniotic fluid dripping off of his nose, his mouth, his eyes. It was awesome! He gasped for a breath the way kids do when they stay under water too long.
Dr. Wilson: “Ronda?” He called for me in a panic with his eyes closed. I answered promptly.
Me: “Yes doctor. Do you need my assistance?” I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
Dr. Wilson: “Yes? Towel please!” He opened one eye and fumbled for a bulb syringe to clear out the baby’s airway. He caught a glimpse of me laughing and he had to laugh too. “Oh, I see. you think this is funny.” I wiped off his face for him.
Me: “I think this is hysterical. Hey? I warned you to gown up.”
Dr. Wilson: “Yes..yes, I guess you did!”
Me: “What can I say, Dr. Wilson. When I talk, I have very important things to say.” (I love a good dig)
Dr. Wilson: (Laughing) “You are a good nurse Ronda and you are a good pusher Emily!”(He smiled at the newborn)” I’m telling you. This little girl got me good! I am soaked!”
I wrapped the newborn in a warm blanket so Emily could snuggle with her beautiful baby girl. Who says a newborn can’t teach us some of life’s most important lessons? Emily deserved this perfect newborn and I think most would agree that Dr. Wilson deserved a little splash in the face.
“Don’t worry. I got your back nurse Ronda!”
AVOID AN AMNIOTIC FLUID BATH. SPREAD GOOD KARMA! SHARE THIS POST!
I consider myself a fairly patient person 90% of the time but I openly admit that I have moments. By the term “moments”, I mean psychotic episodes when something takes over my body and suddenly every ounce of kindness and compassion is evicted from my body. Sometimes it’s the slightest things that set me off. Usually it’s the things I do every single day that seem to get under my skin the most. Each day seems a little more dramatic and painful. This morning it was brushing my daughter’s hair.
For the first few years it was sweet. It’s a mother daughter moment. Time to bond and be girly. I remember when I picked the style and hair bow and she would sit there quietly soaking up all of the one on one attention. Nowadays…not so much. It’s actually torture.
The drama begins bright and early. Molly was showering for at least 20 minutes and I poke my head in to make sure she is on task. She is standing halfway under the water..playing. Angling her arm so she can shoot water from her fingertips and making “potions” mixing shampoo and body wash. Her hair is still dry. My blood pressure rises and the daily interrogation begins
Me: “Did you use soap?”
Molly: “Um..not yet.”
Me: “Why is your hair dry?”
Molly: ”I forgot.”
Me: “You forgot to wet your hair? Molly..Come ON..wash! Flynn needs to get in there when you are finished.”
I close the curtain but purposely never leave the bathroom. I let 2 minutes pass and then peep inside the shower again. This time her hair is wet but still no shampoo.
Me: ”Did you shampoo yet?”
Molly: (She is wide-eyed like she did something wrong.)”Not yet!”
Molly: (now she is cranky and whining) “I’m tired. I don’t want to shampoo. It takes forever.”
Me: “I’ll wait. I need to see suds.”
Molly: ”You don’t have to wait, I’ll do it.”
Me: “Go ahead. I want to actually see the shampoo on your head.”
She rolls her eyes and stomps her feet and gives me a look that makes me cringe. Although I am deeply irritated, I try to lighten the mood as she finally scrubs her hair.
Me: “Ladies and gentlemen…we have bubbles.” I followed my annoying comment up with an impromptu jig that clearly disgusted my 7 year-old. Ha!
Molly: ”Mooooom…privacy please. It’s not funny.”
Me: (I can’t help it. I’m giggling at this point.) “Hey!”(I say abruptly) “It actually IS funny. I am funny Molly. I’m freaking hilarious.” (She just stares, very confused) “Now that we got that straight, you have exactly 3 minutes to finish up…(dramatic pause)..and if you’re not done… I will return to harass you.”
I head downstairs to start the day. Only a few minutes pass and my mommy ears can hear Molly getting out of the shower and Flynn getting in. I am pleased that we are moving in the right direction. I’m busy signing school papers and cooking breakfast when I notice Flynn sit down at the kitchen table.
Me: “How did you beat your sister down here? Didn’t you get in the shower after Molly?”
He shrugs his shoulder. Smart boy. He knows better than to get involved. I couldn’t imagine what she was doing. I assumed she was brushing her hair since she picked out her clothes last night. My assumption was quickly debunked when Molly entered the kitchen fully dressed sporting wet dread locks. My jaw dropped.
Molly: (Clueless that she was moving like a sloth) “Yes mom.”
Me: “What the heck took you so long? You didn’t even brush your hair.”
Molly:(with an attitude) “I did brush it.”
Me: “With what?”
Molly: “Seriously Mom..I did.”
Me: “Well, it needs a LOT more work.”
I place her breakfast in front of her and watch as she takes her sweet time eating it.
Me: “Molly? Pick up the pace please. The bus will be here in 15 minutes and we HAVE to do something with that rat’s nest”
Molly: “Can I please let it air dry?”
Me: “Air dry? Um? No. It’s 30 degrees outside.”
Molly:(pouting) “I hate my hair!”
Me: “Me too!”
Awkward silence. Maybe that wasn’t the correct motherly thing to say about her hair but it was a pre-coffee moment and all I could think about was all the hair drama ahead of me. According to the clock, we had 10 minutes left in the morning to make that mop of a hair-do presentable for school. As she is finishing her breakfast, I begin to gently brush her dreads. For the record, I do not normally brush hair at the breakfast table but we were in a bit of a time crunch so cut momma some slack. Despite feeling rushed, I actually started off with a positive attitude. I approached her hair gently using lots of detangler spray and slowly worked my way toward her scalp. I was about half way through when she started with all the drama. Perhaps it was the over exaggerated head bobbing that got me fired up or maybe it was the jerking away in the opposite direction but something took over my body and I reacted. She pulled away with defiance and I simultaneously tapped her on the back of the head with the brush. “Doink”
There was no thought. It was like a reflex. Her eyes got wide and then they welled up with tears. Oh boy. Now I really did it. A mother’s innocent weapon, the hairbrush. I swear it is like a motherly instinct.
Molly: (holding her head like I beat her) “Mooooooom?”
Me: “Well? Knock it off. Stop pulling away from me.”
Molly: (now she is mad) “You didn’t have to knock me on the head with the brush.”
Me: “I’m sorry. It was a little tap to get your attention. Some might consider it a spontaneous motherly reflex”.
Molly: ”Well, your reflex hurt.” (Someone please tell her that little comments like this are not helping her in any way)
Me:(continuing to brush) “The bus will be here in 5 minutes. I’m sorry but please stop with the attitude” I kiss the top of her head as a peace-offering. After all, what mother wants to send her child on the bus crying?
Me: “Do you still love me?”
Molly: She answers in a monotone voice with her arms crossed and gives a look that could kill. ”Yes.” I hope everyone can feel that love, sigh.
I start blow drying her hair at lightening speed. One hand lifting the under layer of hair and the other hand moving the hair dryer all over her head. When I finished the ends were still damp but it would have to do.
If there were such a thing as a Hair Diner, I would be the head waitress. “Good Morning. How are you today? Uh huh..Yes mam…and how would you like that pony tail? OK, Coming right up!” To be honest, I disgust myself when I give them too many options but I do it so they feel like they made the choice.
Get your hair done anyway you want it girls.
Me: ”Do you want a 1 pony tail, 2 pony tails, or a barrette?”
Molly: “I’d like a french braid.”
Of course she would say that! Grrrr! Good grief this child knows how to push my buttons!
Me: “Ok. Fine. Ya know what? I’ll pick. We have 2 minutes Molly.”
Molly: ”Ok, ok, ok..1 pony tail please.”
I get a pony tail in her head with one swooping motion. I smile because I am only minutes away from peace and quiet but she seems miserable. I didn’t care. She had 1 minute to brush her teeth and then out the door to catch the bus.
Me: “Ok..quickly go brush your teeth.”
She runs to brush her teeth and returns with full tears.
Me: (I help her with her coat) “What? Why are you crying? You asked for one pony tail right?”
Molly: “Yes but this one is high. It looks baby-ish. I wanted a low pony tail.”
Me: “It looks amazing. You look good. Now stop crying.”
She isn’t buying it. It breaks my heart. I hate to see a little girl sad and feeling “ugly”. Then her brother chimes in with sibling taunting.
Flynn: “Hey Molly? You look like a baby.”
Molly: “See mom?”
Me: “Flynn…zip it!”
There are days when taunting seems to be his sole mission as a big brother. He opens the door and starts walking outside but has to insert one more comment.
Flynn: “Let’s go… baby hair! The bus will be here any minute.”
Molly punches him in the arm and he laughs.
Flynn: “Dude. Not a bad punch for a little girl.”
Molly: (now laughing) “There is more where that came from buddy!”
Me: “Stop it! Behave.” They both giggle.
In a last-ditch effort to start the day off on the right foot (OVERACHIEVER ALERT), I grab the hairbrush and walk behind her to the bus stop. Somehow I managed to lower her pony tail just where she wanted it with at least 15 seconds to spare.
It’s a Wednesday morning miracle people. Both kids got on the bus smiling. Molly waved to me from the window and gave me a thumbs up. I guess I got it right. Who could have guessed the importance of the pony tail location to a second grader. Lawd!!!! Another day of hair drama has ended successfully. Phew! I take a few minutes to catch my breath and enjoy a warm cup of coffee. The house is quiet and it isn’t long before Teagan wakes up and joins me in the kitchen. She turns around to climb up in my lap when I noticed her hair. It scared me. In fact, I screamed. There in front of my eyes was the most serious case of bed head that I had ever seen. That’s when it hit me. I realized that I have 3 daughters and Molly was only the first. The hair drama was far from over…it has just begun.
Ladies and gentlemen we have a level 5 bed head, call in the professionals!
I’m fairly certain that every single female on earth can relate to some sort of hair drama. I think back to my childhood and how much thought I put into my hair. I remember specifically wanting 2 pig tails before every soccer game. I can also remember feeling robbed of my creativity when it didn’t happen. Sometimes it was because my hair wouldn’t cooperate and other times it was because time would not allow for it. Seems silly today but to a little girl searching for her place in the world, it matters. I get it. I really do, but for a mom… it’s knot exactly fun.
My blog has evolved quite a bit since I started writing in January of 2012. What started out as “Mrs. Doherty Unleashed” has been shortened to the new phrase “Go Unleashed.”
What the hell does that mean?
Grampy, age 86, said it best when he read the title of my book “Go Unleashed…What the hell does that mean?” he asked. Maybe it’s time to talk about it. To me, Go Unleashed means embracing my crazy life and having the freedom to talk about it. I love to talk but I hate feeling restrained like I need to be careful what falls out of my mouth. Lord knows I could use a filter but filters are boring. Everyone seems to walk on eggshells these days. Women all over the country try to stuff themselves into some sort of Suburban housewife mold. It’s like a right of passage after a family adds a child to the mix. There was a brief moment in time when I found myself falling into the misery of the suburbs. A part of me felt the pressure to be like the other moms but when it came down to it, I couldn’t conform. Now I look back and wonder why I ever tried.
After I delivered my first child, Flynn, I entered what I like to call “bragging parent hell”. Suddenly, everybody I met thought that their child was the brightest and most gifted one in the group. They would size up their competition with a series of pointed questions. The questions started off simple. “Is your baby talking? How many words can he say?” Then it got a little more competitive. “Is your 2-year-old in preschool? Do you have him in music?” I heard things like “My son listens to Mozart and we are working on potty training him.” I felt inadequate and questioned everything. What is wrong with my child? Is he behind? What should a 20 month old be doing? I had no idea. I watched him turn beet red as he crouched in a corner and pushed a poop into his diaper. The thought of music lessons was certainly not in his future and it felt like we were light years away from potty training. Maybe he would be an artist because he actually ate crayons and he pooped a rainbow of colors. Is pooping rainbows a talent? Why did I care if he had a talent or if he was gifted? He was perfect to me and that is all that should matter, right? Can’t he develop at his own speed without other parents scrutinizing his every move? Who was I trying to impress?
Then I had my second baby, Molly. I started to ignore the other parents and what they had to say. I had to keep 2 kids alive, that was enough for me. Then I had my third, Teagan, and it got worse! I started doing things publicly that horrified the Joneses. I fed my kid things off the floor and let her wear fairy wings to the grocery store. She fell asleep at the dinner table and wore PJ’s all day. I started leaving the house unshowered (GASP!) and plastic toys were strewn all over the house. I had more kids than hands and honestly; I looked like a hot mess most of the time. I got a lot of funny looks out in public. The “Honey? I don’t think you need any more children” look was my personal favorite.
I didn’t care. I loved my babies. They kept me on my toes. They grounded me and reminded me to live in the present. They forced me to laugh when I wanted to cry. I took one day at a time and did whatever worked to get us through the day. Then I had my fourth, Maggie. Maggie was a surprise and she taught me a whole bunch of life lessons. She was my NICU baby and she scared me to death. Let’s face it, life throws us lots of curve balls and Mags was no exception. She taught me that life is precious and every single moment is a gift. I love that! My house is insane! Totally and completely insane but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world. I am proud of my family. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest achievement in my life. No matter how crazy my life gets I know that we can survive anything.
I’ve come a long way since I delivered that first baby. I don’t have the time or desire to impress other people. It’s certainly no secret that I like to swear. Call me a potty mouth but in my opinion, “my goodness” and “oh fiddlesticks” just don’t capture the raw emotions I often feel. I don’t care who judges me. Put on your big girl panties if you read my blog because I need to vent. I can’t keep that shit cooped up inside me. I gotta talk and I like to talk through my writing. It started off as a way for me to document all of the funny things that happen daily around our home and evolved into a supportive network of readers. I write about everything and anything. It is a way for me to mentally leave the house and unwind. It’s raw, honest and real. It’s a place where I can be myself. If my stories make someone laugh or if they reassure others that they aren’t the only one with struggles through life, then this blog is a success.
I don’t know what happens in your house but sometimes I feel like nobody in this house listens to me. There are moments when I feel like I am living on an island all alone. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of raising a family and lose your own identity. That’s why I like to keep it real and Go Unleashed!
The Website Makeover
Do you like the awesome new look of my Website? John Debar with 113 productions did a great job! Super easy to work with, knowledgable and fair! Check it out: http://www.113productions.com/
The New Logo
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