Five Things I Hate Hearing

Five Things I Hate Hearing

There are a considerable number of phrases that cause me to cringe a little, but some are worse than others. Here are the top five things I hate hearing.

  1. When the word “seen” is spoken without being preceded by “have.” (e.g. I know she done killt that rooster because I seen it with my good eye.)
  2. “It’s a God thing.” This particular phrase is used to describe anything good that has happened to any person at any time. I find it most reprehensible when said with a southern drawl. (e.g. After not holding nothing down for a week, Sissy drank a whole Mountain Dew. It’s a God thang.)
  3. “Can you do me a favor?” I probably can and I probably won’t. That’s what you get for using a poor, vague proposition.
  4. “Now, that’s where you’re wrong.” FALSE. I’ve been wrong for years. If you’re just now noticing, then that’s your bad. And just in case you’re wondering, nope- I still don’t care.
  5. Unsolicited parenting advice. This is particularly hard to swallow when spoken from the mouth of stranger, or anyone without kids of their own. (e.g. It’s been forty years since mine were that age, but I spend a lot of time volunteering in children’s church and I tell you. You’re going about it all wrong.)

It’s pretty apparent that the older I get, the less I’m able to tolerate. However, I’m not the only one experiencing intolerance with aging. So spill it. I want to hear what grinds your gears? What phrases, cliches, or otherwise annoying activities make you cringe? There are no wrong answers. Go!

Raising A Tolerant Child For A Better Tomorrow

Tolerant Child

Luke and I have been very busy this summer in my attempt to squeeze in as much fun as I possibly could before the start of Kindergarten. As we ready ourselves to embark on this new phase of his life I can honestly say I’ve spent some time wondering and yes, worrying if I have given him everything he needs in his first six years of life. A parent can only hope that they’ve been a good example and done everything possible to mold their child’s young mind into a form that will create a kind, creative, and loving human.

Had I done my job of raising a tolerant child for a better tomorrow?

After the last few weeks of spending quality time with Luke the answer was apparent. I mean duhh, of course I had.

How can I be so sure? I’ll give you some examples.

Last week, while sitting in the backseat Luke saw someone in the car next to us throw garbage out of their car window. “Mom, unlock my window, PLEASE!”

“Not happening, Luke.”

He banged his fist on the window as he shouted, “Hey LOSER, the earth is not your garbage can!”

We weren’t on the best side of town so I floored it as soon as the light turned green feeling semi-proud. I had a little environmentalist on my hands, yes with possible rage issues, but still. Maybe green bullying is the new black.

I received further confirmation of my ability to raise a well-rounded child when before going to bed one night he informed me, “Mom, I’m not JUST into rap anymore. I like rock music, too.”


However, the pièce de résistance came during our recent trip to the Nashville Zoo. We were inside the alligator exhibit- a small confined space with room for only a few people at a time overlooking the alligators. We were admiring the hideous reptilians alongside a Middle Eastern family. The women had on their traditional scarves and they were speaking in their native tongue.

I was afraid something was about to go down because Luke took on his super cool stance- leaned against the glass with one foot crossed in front of the other. He addressed the family loudly. “So I noticed y’all speaking Spanish. Doesn’t bother me, though.”

He was giving his typical wink-face and gun hand as I pulled him out of the room and away from the nice family. We were walking briskly to the nearest exit when he mentioned, “There was a whole pride of them. Cool.”

It gives me great pleasure to share with you my accomplishments in successfully raising an environmentally conscious, well-rounded, and racially tolerant human being. I hate to brag, but it takes most parents eighteen years to do that.

Disney World Welcomes Typhoid Maury

I’m not ready to laugh about it yet, but if I don’t post something on this blog soon it’ll turn into a ghost town.
We went to Disney World last week. Luke’s favorite ride must have been the one to Children’s Hospital because he rode it twice.
Our first stop to the ER was Tuesday morning at 4AM where they ruled out appendicitis, and misdiagnosed him with a stomach virus. “Thanks for nothing. Here’s a giant bucket of cash.”
After that there were a couple of days when he felt like going to the parks or swimming for a little bit, so we took advantage of it. We would go, stay a few hours, and then take him home to rest. Even though he had to be carried between rides, he enjoyed himself while he was on them.
Then, his cough got worse- a lot worse, with a temperature well over 103 degrees. We used his nebulizer, as we always do when he has asthma flare ups, but it didn’t help. Back to the emergency room we went. It had been four days since our last visit.
When I walked in carrying him, he was totally limp. A nurse came around the corner with a wheelchair. She was en route to retrieve another patient who was hobbling her way on crutches. She took one look at Luke, and immediately ushered us to the back, abandoning the other patient. “Sick babies come first,” she whispered as we walked down the hall.
This time there wasn’t a lot of messing around. He was given an hour-long breathing treatment, X-rays, and a lot of steroids. Afterward, his wheezing wasn’t completely relieved, but it was improved. Our main concern at that point was the fact that he couldn’t stop coughing. When I say he couldn’t stop coughing, I mean he literally could not even stop coughing long enough to blow his nose, let alone speak. His diagnosis was pneumonia, and bronchitis.
I hammered away at the resident until she agreed to give him a cough suppressant. She reluctantly agreed despite her argument that cough suppressants haven’t been proven to work. Her alternative suggestion was to have him sip warm tea. It was midnight. What a perfect time to run out for some hot tea. She also said Luke needed to be on Augmentin for ten days, and then wrote a prescription for five days worth. “Thanks, genius. Here’s another bucket of cash. Stay in school and learn how to count.”
I couldn’t help thinking how much worse things could’ve been if we had listened to the previous diagnosis and continued waiting out the supposed virus. I guess that’s where parental instinct and persistence comes in. 
Now that all of that is off my chest, here are some pictures of the fun times.

Lunch with Mickey at Animal Kingdom

Luke singing Karaoke to Billy Joel’s, Only the Good Die Young, and getting a lot of the words right.

Luke was driving when he fell completely asleep. Brantley had to navigate from the passenger seat. 
…and he slept for a while.
Rhinos at the Animal Kingdom Safari


Brantley and I are a little leery when it comes to exposing Luke (3) to computer/video games. We realize that there are valuable motor skills learned with some games, but for the most part they just fill up spans of time that should be spent playing outside. Don’t worry. We aren’t going to let Luke be the odd kid that shows up for the first day of school and says, “What’s a video game?” So he’s allowed to play certain ones that are deemed educational.

He and I were playing one such game yesterday. The premise of the game is to count apples, and thus help you practice counting. I noticed that he had gotten pretty good. He added one plus one, and one plus two. Then he got confident. He clicked six apples plus three more. He got discouraged and shook his head.

“It’s ok, Luke. Let’s think about this. What do you get if you have six apples, then you add three more?”
“A big mess. Wet’s go outside.”

(Keith Glines photography)

Against All Odds: A Harrowing Tale of Vacation, Marriage, and Pancakes

I had a rough night with Luke last night, and as a result I didn’t get much sleep. Brantley and I are alternating sleeping in Luke’s bed with him while we’re on vacation, and he struggles through a little nightmare phase. If a million reasons just popped into your head on why this is a bad idea, just keep it to yourself because we each get a good night sleep every other night. All was well until 4:30 this morning when I started feeling a tap tap tapping on my shoulder.

“Hey Mom, it’s me, Wucas. I need a snack.”
“Go back to sleep,” I mustered through gritted teeth.
“But I’m so hawngry. It’s morning time.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Mom, you be kiddin’ me.”

This went on for quite some time before I finally turned on Tom and Jerry to pacify him before going back to sleep. I have no idea how much time passed, but some time later I heard Brantley’s thunderous footsteps coming down the hall. Luke greeted him sweetly with, “Good morning, Dad. Mom won’t wake up and it’s morning time.”

I could hear Brantley make his way toward me. I pulled the covers off of my head with my standard growl and hiss. (It’s imperative that I exert my dominance early on in the day, otherwise Brantley spends a whole day feeling drunk with power.)

“I brought you something,” he said.

There before me was a pancake and bacon breakfast with a cup of coffee. This was an especially sweet gesture considering Brantley version 2.0 doesn’t eat pancakes or drink coffee. He had done it all for me. I was almost speechless. All I could think to say was, “I’m sorry for cussing at you in my head.”

Now, I’m not one to jump to conclusions, and I certainly don’t want to jinx anything, but after eight years together I’m starting to think this marriage just may work.

My boys

With a new train and giant lollipop it’s obvious who is REALLY drunk with power.

Vacation Recap and A Week’s Worth of Luke-isms

Alas, I have returned from a relaxing week at the beach feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle all life can throw at me. Ok, truth time. It was a great week, indeed. The weather was beautiful, and the accommodations were unimaginable, but the company could have been a little better.
As luck would have it, Luke (2.5 years old) was absent, and in his place was his alter ego, Damien. I did NOT let this spoil my perfect week, but it did make things a little challenging. His latest vice is back talking, and like his dear, sweet mother he doesn’t do anything halfway. There were no four-letter words spoken, but his favorite thing to say was, “Mom, hush up! You unda-stand me?” 
Brantley and I considered, and applied, all forms of discipline to include time outs, taking away toys, and my least favorite- spanking.  After about a full week of trial and error, he finally responded positively to, of all things, a stern talking. Who’d a thunk it? This wasn’t discovered, however, until everyone in Destin, FL had received a, “Hush up! Wight now. You unda-stand me,” including the waitress at Crab Trap. In Luke’s defense, she totally had it coming. After waiting fifteen minutes to show up at our table, we didn’t need to hear her talk about the daily specials.
As it would turn out, the advice my Mom gave us at the beginning of the week was right on. I hate when that happens. “He’s just trying to get your attention,” she said. “Preposterous,” I thought. “He ALWAYS has our attention.” If only my Mom and I had been talking about the same type of attention, then Brantley and I wouldn’t have sat on the beach and cried one day after deciding that Luke must have Tourette’s syndrome. “Why else could he NOT stop saying, “hush up?’” we thought.  
So after a week in the sun my brain was finally willing to accept the advice my Mom had oh, so quietly mentioned seven days earlier. Sometimes, the attention kids need is more than eye contact and a reprimand. I now know that a well-timed hug, kiss, and tickle fight can prevent a lot of unwanted behavior. So far, this is working for us. When Damien pops back up, and believe me he does, we address it and move on.
So to summarize, I learned on vacation how to be a better parent, that my Mom is always right (spoken under my breath), and that seagulls LOVE popcorn.

Things a Parent Should Never Have to Say

If you’re a parent, then you know there are things you should never have to tell your kids.  If you don’t have children, then I’m sure you remember hearing something similar from your moms and dads.  I got some help on this post from my friends on Facebook.  If you haven’t connected with me on Facebook or Twitter, there’s no time like the present. 
Here are a few things that should go without saying.
  • Why are you eating that worm off the ground?
  • We do NOT bite balls.
  • We don’t lick doorknobs.
  • Come get this snake off my desk.
  • Why did you drink that unknown substance out of a cup left in the parking lot?
  • Yes, you can sleep with the dust buster, but don’t turn it on.
  • Please don’t lick the chocolate off your hands after touching the toilet seat.
  • Don’t bounce on your sister’s head.
  • Don’t eat the faucet!
  • Did you wipe and flush?
  • We don’t take our pants off in the liquor store.
  • Any girl that mounts you on the playground is not the marrying kind. Yes, I understand that it was fun, but she sit’s on top of a lot of boys.
  • Please take your athletic cup off the kitchen table.  How would you like to eat breakfast with my bra in front of you?


Today Luke and I ventured to Whole Foods to have lunch and grab a few grocery items.  After about half an hour, I decided Luke needed to try to potty.  Needless to say, ten minutes later, he had still not gone to the bathroom, but had managed to touch every filthy surface in the room.  I washed his hands in the sink, and then began to wash my own.  At the same time, Luke heard another bathroom patron begin to use the bathroom.  Without a second thought, he immediately stuck his head under the door of her stall and said, “Oh! Good job, sir!”

I scooped him up, with soap still on my hands, and ran out the door.  So, to the lady wearing gray sweatpants and brown Birkenstocks, in the next to last stall at Whole Foods, I apologize.

The Potty Wars

“Get him a toy out of the treasure chest.”
“No,” I told my husband.  “Pooping in front of the potty does not qualify him to go to the treasure chest.”
“But he was trying.  He went into the bathroom, stood on the stool…”
“And crapped on the floor,” I interrupted.
There we were, husband and wife, in the throws of an argument over our two and a half year old son’s potty training antics.  Fundamental differences of opinion had plagued us recently when it came to Luke’s bathroom use.  Truth be told, he was doing quite well as long as he was completely without pants or a diaper.  He would go into the bathroom, get on the stool and perform a number one like a champ.  Numero dos, however, was another story. 
We provided him with positive reinforcement, made him a treasure chest and a sticker chart for his successful visits to the bathroom.  Still, he didn’t seem motivated to do the part that required sitting down.  “Why should he?” I thought.  Who wouldn’t love to just go wherever they are and have someone else clean up after them and powder their behind?  Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. 
But, maybe something else was slowing his progress.  Maybe I was a bad teacher.  That had to be it.  Who was I, to tell him how to use the potty when I clearly had my own hang-ups about it?   As a child (read: and adult) I had always been afraid of the dark.  One night, my older, and meaner, sister said something to me that I’ve never forgotten, despite how ridiculous I now know it to be. 
“You should never, ever flush the toilet at night.  If you do, monsters will come out and kill you because they know your parents can’t hear your screams over the sound of the toilet.”
I was horrified, and to this day, I will not flush a toilet after dark.  My husband has come to accept it, although I now say that I don’t want the sound of the flush to wake up Luke (who sleeps on the other side of the house).   Yet, there I stood, a grown woman who saw fit to pass judgment on her kid because he missed the bowl by a couple of feet. 
“Here you go, Luke.  Come pick something out of the treasure chest,” I told him.  He was delighted over his reward and I was proud of his effort.  True, it may not have been a perfect attempt, but I’m not a perfect mom.  The fact is, potty training takes time, a lot of time.  My hope is that he can accomplish that without being scarred for life.  If that happens, then I have done my job.   My other hope is that my older sister has kids one day so I can totally mess them up.  Revenge is sweet.

Just Say “No” to Irony

Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston laid down their crack pipes and sobered up just in time to hold an intervention for their seventeen year old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, last week. This came after picture evidence of her partying hit the World Wide Web leaving many to speculate that the apple didn’t fall far from the addiction tree. However, after experiencing their own pitfalls with drugs and alcohol, who better than the Whitney and Bobby to warn their daughter of what she’s in for, lest she change her ways? There is no match for firsthand experience, after all.

If you are a parent who is struggling with talking to your teen about drugs and alcohol, try this Whitney Houston quote as a conversation starter.

“Let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Crack is whack.”