Posts tagged ‘mommy blog’

May 7, 2011

I made my sick kid cry

aCS blog: Mother Inferior (or, why I suck as a parent)–Connie Lissner

I made my sick kid cry.

No, I’m not a monster, it’s just that he was perched on the couch, ordering his third $4.99 pay-per-view movie in as many days, and I was beginning to feel a bit manipulated.

Lest you think I am totally clueless, he did start out with red, crusty eyes and dark eye circles and he was rather pale so I know that he had been sick. We even went to the doctor where he was given eye drops and I was scolded for letting him go to a water park (aka a giant Petri dish) where no one knows what diseases lurk around the edges of the pool. But that was day one. Even day two seemed legitimate, but by day three, I had my doubts. So, I decided to whip out my slightly rusty, legal skills and cross-examine my 11-year-old.

I started off well. I sat next to him, wiped the hair off his forehead and pretended to check for the fever that I knew was not there:

“So, I think you should go to school today,” I said very tenderly.

No response.

I stood up and blocked the TV. “Are you listening to me?” I asked.  “I said, that I think you seem a lot better so you should go to school today.”

He shifted on the couch to get a better view of Jack Black as Gulliver.
“You know, I don’t really think that you are sick enough to be staying home from school.”

Still no response.

(Here is where I start to pick up steam) “In fact, it seems that the only time that you are really sick is when I ask you to get off the couch. (Louder now) “I’m sure that if I told you that you could have a friend over, right now, you would suddenly perk up.”(Wait, it gets better…) “If you stay home today you don’t get to use the computer, or the TV or any video games, you can read a book. In fact,” (almost yelling now) you can sit in your room. If you were really sick you would be sleeping!”

I turned off the TV with a flourish and pointed toward the staircase to his room.

I knew I lost it. I mean, really? All sick kids take to their beds? What was I talking about?
I never did that – I spent the day on the couch and watched TV when I was sick just like every other kid.

So, here I am, knowing that I’ve gone too far (even the dog abandoned me by this point) when my son’s tears start to flow. “You never believe me!” he wailed.

And still I hesitated. My son is quite dramatic, you see, so usually the tears don’t clinch it right away. (I once found him lying on the floor, clutching his chest and gasping for air, howling that he couldn’t breathe in the winter coat that I insisted he wear– in February, in Chicago. So, yes, he is quite dramatic.)

But this time it was real: the shaking shoulders, the runny nose, the blubbering. He’s a good actor, but not that good.

So, after many hugs and many apologies for my outburst, I reached for the phone to call the school to let them know that he would be out for another day.  Just as I picked up the phone, it rang. It was the nurse calling from the doctor’s office to tell me that my son had strep throat and needed antibiotics.

So, like all people who suddenly feel very sick, I took to my couch to watch TV…just like my kid.

Connie Lissner is a writer, lawyer, wife and more importantly, the mother of two boys. She was once told that a child’s job is to constantly push a parent’s limits. She assures you that her boys do their job very well. She, in turn, is trying to do her job of not totally screwing them up. She navigates the slippery slope of motherhood one day at a time.

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April 19, 2011

Why I suck as a Parent

aCS Blog: Mother Inferior (or, why I suck as a parent)–Connie Lissner

I suck as a parent. There, I said it.

I thought I would be a great parent. Well, that’s not actually true. Truth be told, I never thought that I would have kids, but once I held my friend’s baby, I was smitten. Babies are so cute and they smell good and they do adorable things like coo and smile. What I now realize is that I was smitten with the idea of having a baby– not a teenager.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my teenager and not just because I’m putting this in writing. It’s just that no one tells you when you have a baby that the baby will grow up…to be a teenager.

To be fair though, my oldest has not developed his oppositional behavior because he is now 15. He’s always been oppositional. We are a family of Cubs fans – he became a White Sox fan when he was 7. We are Chicago Bears fans – he cheers on the Green Bay Packers. We want to go on a beach vacation – he wants to ski. Are you seeing a pattern?  He has always been his own person and yet I am always surprised that he won’t do exactly what I say when I say it. Take homework, for example. I did my homework every day, without being told, and I remind him of this fact every day. But daily reminders are apparently not enough, so I remind him more loudly and more loudly until I am yelling it at him. And he still doesn’t do his homework exactly the way I did! My 11-year-old son asked me the other day if I was going to yell at him about homework one day, too.

It was a very proud moment for me.

Which leads me to the first reason why I suck as a parent – I yell. I know that it is not “pc” to say that you yell at your kids unless you are a Chinese mother ala Amy Chua. But I yell, and I know that every parent who is now judging me has either yelled and repressed the memory or has young children and thinks that she (or he) will never yell (see below regarding expectations). Trust me, you will yell. You will yell and in the middle of it you will realize that you are yelling and you will wonder why you are yelling at your child for getting a “B” instead of an “A” (“if you would only apply yourself – dammit!”) and you will want to stop but you will think that if you stop your children will think that you are surrendering and then you, too, will realize that you suck as a parent and you will wonder how you got here.

Every parent probably starts out the same way: you look at your baby and you envision building things together, cooking meals, taking great adventure vacations, playing sports and reading books. And when he starts talking you picture wonderful, heartfelt conversations or challenging dinner conversation ala the Kennedys. And, sure, you may even have that for a while and then one day, your son wakes up looking more like a man than a boy and you think – shit – who is that? You don’t expect the grunts, or the sass, or the condescending stares that apparently come with being a man/child.

Which leads me to the second, and probably most important reason that I suck as a parent:  I had EXPECTATIONS. You can’t have any when you have a child. Intellectually, I know this to be true and, yet, there’s a part of me that keeps yammering away saying “but if they share my DNA why can’t they do everything like me??!”. But—and here’s the secret—they are not mini versions of you or your spouse – they are their own person! Which does make me wonder why I spend so much time worrying about becoming my mother…but that’s a discussion for another day.

Connie Lissner is a writer, lawyer, wife and more importantly, the mother of two boys. She was once told that a child’s job is to constantly push a parent’s limits. She assures you that her boys do their job very well. She, in turn, is trying to do her job of not totally screwing them up. She navigates the slippery slope of motherhood one day at a time.