The Imperfect Parenting Advocate

Everyday we are all inundated with tales of perfect children being perfectly parented by pristine, perfect parents. As much as I may wish that I could claim even one of those stories of perfection as my own, alas, perfection in any form was not my destiny.

Tonight was a typical Tuesday evening. The kids and I tumbled out of the house juggling Thumb Chucks, bouncy balls, keys, sweaters and whatever else they managed to smuggle into the van and off we headed for an appointment with the foot doctor for one of the boys.

We navigated our way through town and got there with two minutes to spare. Everyone piled into building and the kids all gathered around the water cooler. Moments later, we filed into the examination room and everyone crowded around the patient chair. The kids bickered over who got to sit in the other chair, who got to play with the skeletal model foot until the one kid who was actually there to be examined said “everybody stop looking at my foot!” and the foot doctor kicked the offending three out into the waiting room so that she could continue her job in relative peace.

Once back in the waiting room, two of the boys started to wrestle, so I stepped out and tell them to take it outside. Conveniently, “outside” just happened to be completely visible from the examination room windows, so we were all treated to a shoving match, some screaming, and a tongue-out-spitting finale. Sweet.

Then, my youngest son decided to share this with us: ” ‘K, so at school, I had this plan to get out of doing work.” He pulled up his sleeve to expose a previously skinned elbow and continued. “I was going to pick the scab and make it bleed so that I could go to the office and get a band aid. Buuuuuut Madame had band aids in the classroom.” He shrugged.  “So my plan didn’t work.” He shrugged again and smiled sweetly, clearly having no idea how devious the plan he just shared might sound to the average listener. The foot doctor and I looked at each other and I could tell that she was unsure how I was processing this admission of attempted deception. As usual, wherever possible, I chose to laugh. Because I try to refrain from crying in public. It tends makes people feel uncomfortable and then things are just awkward. And today was one of the few days that I remembered to wear mascara.

Our lovely foot doctor had now been witness to a bar-style brawl in her parking lot and heard a thwarted, yet diabolical plan of a third-grader to avoid doing his school work, and this only represented 3/5 of my children.

Time to head home, our work there was done. I re-arranged the bodies in the minivan for the ride home with the idea of limiting the opportunity for further brother-on-brother violence. This time, I was mostly successful. Only one primal scream for the entire eight minute drive home. #winning.

Needless to say, by the time we pulled into the driveway I was 88 years-old and they were back to laughing and being ridiculous. Good times. Always good times.

And that, my friends, is how a typical half-hour outing goes with my crew. Please form the line up to babysit my babies on the left…

He has a suspicious mind, that one.

It is no secret that my Paxton loves him some apples. Like, he LOVES apples. All four of my smalls do, but Pax, in particular, is the most emotionally invested in them. Our household will easily go though 20 or more pounds of apples in a single week. Raw.

But right now, it is also the second-coming of teething season here at headquarters, as all four of them are now in one stage or another of losing baby teeth and growing ‘grown up’ teeth to replace and displace them. So, biting into an apple, at times, becomes an issue. Particularly if the apple is lovely and crunchy the way I prefer and the way they used to prefer our apples.

So, being the mindful and caring momma that I am (stop snickering!), I starting to set a bowl of apples out on the counter for those of them who either were in the ‘sensitive to cold’ or the ‘it’s wiggly and hurts to bite down’ stages of his or her teething journey. And Paxton, seeing the apples so readily available on the counter, just started to default to the bowl instead of the refrigerator every time he wanted an apple (often 6-8 times a day – no lie).

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But one day last week, he by-passed the bowl and opened the fridge. He found himself eye-to-drawer with an entire produce drawer full (15 lbs, give or take) of freshly washed and ready-to-eat apples. He dug around for the largest one, closed the fridge and took a bite. Then he turned to walk out of the kitchen, shooting me the side-eye and saying suspiciously, “Oh, I see you’ve been hiding apples from me. Huh.” He took another bite and sauntered out of the room, clearly a changed boy whose trust had been compromised on the deepest of levels.

He still tells me he loves me everyday but I wonder, if, in the back of his mind, the idea now lurks that I’m just not quite meant to be fully trusted.

He’s keeping a close eye on me now. I can feel just it.

EDITED TO ADD: I don’t know WHY the picture is sideways. It appears to be right-side up on my screen, in WordPress, in my previews and in my media library. But here? On Facebook? It’s freakin’ sideways. The universe is messing with me again. Like I really need outside forces playing with my fragile grip on sanity. ????

I’ve been

The complexity and perplexity of living a full life, as I see it.

I’ve been in trouble
I’ve been in a pickle
I’ve been in a funk
I’ve been in hot water

I’ve been on thin ice
I’ve been on cloud nine
I’ve been on the way up
I’ve been on the hook

I’ve been off the deep end
I’ve been off my head
I’ve been off to the races
I’ve been off the wall

I’ve been proud
I’ve been ashamed
I’ve been thoughtful
I’ve been selfish

I’ve been out on a limb
I’ve been out of my mind
I’ve been out of work
I’ve been out of time

I’ve been in lust
I’ve been in love
I’ve been in pain
I’ve been in luck

I’ve been desperate
I’ve been alone
I’ve been powerful
I’ve been surrounded

I’ve been up
I’ve been down
I’ve been in
I’ve been out

I’ve been drunk
I’ve been sober
I’ve been devasted
I’ve been elated

I’ve been lost
I’ve been found
I’ve been here
I’ve been gone

I’ve been sweet
I’ve been sour
I’ve been fierce
I’ve been tame

I’ve been exhausted
I’ve been exhilarated
I’ve been strong
I’ve been weak

I’ve been fat
I’ve been thin
I’ve been loud
I’ve been silent

I’ve been hurt
I’ve been hurtful
I’ve been loved
I’ve been blessed.
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Five things I so love today

Aside from the obvious unchanging list toppers (husband/kids, family, chocolate), today I am loving these things:

Cook's Illustrated Magazine. So much more than a magazine, it's a way of life. Without CI, I would have been lost in my quest for a pressure cooker, to say the least!

Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. So much more than a magazine, it’s a way of life. Without CI, I would have been lost in my quest for a pressure cooker, to say the least!

Remembering that time, about two weeks ago, when Ms. M. turned five and DORA the EXPLORER called her for her birthday. I love that memory.

Remembering that time, about two weeks ago, when Ms. M. turned five and DORA the EXPLORER called her on her birthday. I love the memory of watching that conversation and Ms. M’s beautiful big smiles.

That Mr. K.B. knows me so well that he bought me these. I didn't even open the packages for over a week. I just wanted to stare at their shiny newness and marvel at the possibilities they presented to me.

That Mr. K.B. knows me so well that he bought me these and I didn’t once hint that I would LOVE to have one. And then when he gave them to me, I didn’t even open the packages for over a week. I just wanted to stare at their shiny newness and marvel at the limitless possibilities they presented to me.

So happy that  I remembered to 'jazz up' the chicken breasts with little messages that will make me smile when I go to prepare them later on. That, and knowing that anyone going through the freezer may get a giggle as well. (Or, that I've given someone a reason to roll their eyes and wonder if I'm seriously fit to leave the house on my own).

So happy that I remembered to ‘jazz up’ the chicken breasts with little messages that will make me smile when I go to prepare them later on. That, and knowing that anyone going through the freezer may get a giggle as well. (Or, that I’ve given someone a reason to roll their eyes and wonder if I’m seriously fit to leave the house on my own).

This picture that M&M created together using flowers that they collected off the ground at the garden centre when we were there on the weekend buying our tomato plants. I love so much that they couldn't stand the thought of leaving all of these beautiful fallen blooms on the floor to be stepped on, swept away and discarded, so they collected them up and many of them went into this picture and the rest fed our compost bin to help create more beauty in our gardens.

This picture that M&M created together using flowers that they collected off the ground at the garden centre when we were there on the weekend buying our tomato plants.
I love so much that they couldn’t stand the thought of leaving all of these beautiful fallen blooms on the floor to be stepped on, swept away and discarded, so they collected them up and many of them went into this picture while the rest fed our compost bin to help create more beauty in our garden later on.

That is it for today. Short and to the point. Just like me. Except I’m mostly just short, and kind of roundish, not really pointy at all, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re not here to talk about me, so moving right along. We have no fanfare or kerfuffle here today. Oh, but I should mention that if you’re not checking out The Keswick Blog on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you’re only getting one piece of TKB puzzle. So pop on over to one or all of those sites and follow along.

You will likely regret it, but not immediately.

And I promise, no walk of shame the next morning.

heart