How I Mastered Parenting Forever Until I Didn’t

So when I left off last week, my five-year-old son had been in trouble for using naughty words. His excuse for using those words was that he didn’t know enough Spanish and therefore HAD to use them. 

This morning a perfect opportunity opened up for us to rehash this discussion, which was a good thing. I hadn’t felt that I had really gotten through to him in our previous discussion and had been hoping for a chance to broach the subject again in an organic way, so as not to alert his brain that he was being lectured. He’s a smart kid and if he gets the impression that he’s in trouble, then he will shut down and just say what he thinks I want to hear.

Side note: Is it even possible to “get through” to a five-year-old boy? Probably not, but I tried anyway and this is how it went.

Luke: Mom, I just feel like I’m going to be on the naughty list forever.

Me: What makes you think you’re on the naughty list?

Luke: Because I use bad words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Me: Why do you think you need to use bad words when you know all sorts of big, smart words?

Luke: Because they help me talk like I feel when I say them.

Me: Hmmm, I have an idea. Let’s make a list of your bad words and come up with other things you can say that mean the same thing, but sound nicer?

Luke: Oh Mom, you’re talking like an old man.

Me: Okay, instead of saying “stupid” what could you say instead?

Luke: Oooh, I know. I could say, “You’re fired!”

Me: Great! Okay, what about the word “hate?” That’s a really bad one. What could we say instead of that?

Luke: I’m done talking about this. Can I have a snack?

Me: No. Not until we finish. Instead of saying, “I hate this,” what could you say?

Luke: I guess I could just say somefing like, “I don’t want to be here!”

Me: Okay, great. Now let’s do one more. Instead of saying “shut up” what is something else you could say. 

Luke: You never got me a snack.

Me: That’s because we aren’t finished. Now, this is the last one. Instead of saying “shut up” you could say…

Luke: Okay. Okay. I could just say, “Hey, I don’t want to talk about this.”

Me: That’s perfect! So next time you get angry instead of using those bad words you can use the nicer words and I will still know how you feel. I’m so proud of you. 

I get up and leave the room to get him the snack I had promised when I hear him mumble, “I don’t want to be here. She is SO fired.”

Wait. Was that progress? 

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Why My Son Uses Bad Words: A Luke-ism

Today was a rough behavior day at our house. It was the kind of day when a certain five-year-old boy lost one privilege after another until he was basically stripped of every Lego, battery operated device, and toy he had. All he had access to was paper, crayons, and his books. 

I settled in to do a little writing while Luke busied himself with the only things he had available. 

Ten minutes later he was back at my side complaining of being bored. “I’m tired of coloring. Can I have a toy back?”

“No. Go read a book.”

“I can’t read.”

Dammit. I hate when my kid’s punishment punishes me, too.

I closed my laptop and told him to go pick out a few books for me to read to him. He snuggled up beside me on the couch as I opened the first book.

“Mom,” he said. “Do you know why I use bad words sometimes?”

“No. Why?”

“It’s because I don’t know enough Spanish.”

Thanks Again, #PBS For Setting Standards Too High

Just when I thought it was safe to let my five-year-old son watch any of the PBS cartoons I was seriously let down. 

Luke came in my bedroom this morning and said, “Hey Mom, I learned a song on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It goes like this, ‘Grown-ups always come baaaack.”

“Luke, look at me. Did Daniel Tiger really say that?”

“Yep, that’s what he said.” (skips away)

It was before 8AM and thus I hadn’t had my morning coffee. This is when I am at my absolute worst- mentally, emotionally, aesthetically

I was furious. As if I don’t have enough stress on me as a parent, now I have to worry about that elitist, sumbitchin tiger telling my kid that I’ll never forget to pick him up for school. Not today.

“Hey Luke,” I called out. 


“Change the TV to Sponge Bob and go turn on Mommy’s coffee maker, please.”

An Update From Your Friendly Neighborhood Martyr

You’ll be happy to know that Luke is feeling better from the viral torticollis he developed over the weekend. If you haven’t read about it yet, then grab some Kleenex. It’s a real tear jerker. 

It wasn’t enough that I had to relinquish my Tempur-Pedic neck pillow to him, but he added insult to injury when he asked me today, “Am I your favorite grandson?” and “Back when you were a kid did people drink chicken juice?”

I answered, “No,” to both. 

What a punk. He’s going to have to learn NOT to insult the person in charge of giving him neck massages.

Warrior Moms: What Makes Us and Breaks Us

Yesterday I encountered a scary mommy moment.

Luke (4) had been battling an asthma flare-up for several days. My husband, Brantley and I had been giving him breathing treatments every four-hours in addition to the two steroids he had been placed on.

His symptoms had begun to improve until yesterday morning around 9am when he complained of a headache. By ten o’clock the pain had spread to his neck, which had quickly become so stiff that he was unable to turn his head.

I called the pediatrician who we had seen last week when the asthma flare-up started. He told us to go to the Children’s hospital emergency room so Luke could be examined. He was going to call ahead and let them know we were coming.

After a thorough exam, the attending physician, Dr. Arnold explained that Luke didn’t have meningitis, but a condition that caused inflammation and spasm of the neck muscles. This condition, torticollis, was actually caused by the viral upper respiratory infection that he’d been battling.

Our instructions for treating this was to alternate Tylenol and Motrin and to massage the muscles of his neck to help them to relax. Otherwise, his neck would stiffen back up, drawing his left ear over to his shoulder.

Brantley and I breathed a sigh of relief and we headed home with our little patient.

We prepared for a day of rest and relaxation for Luke. Brantley heated up his favorite blankets in the dryer while I got his favorite Scooby Doo videos to watch in bed. I gently rubbed Luke’s neck, which he didn’t like at all because the spasming muscles made it painful. I hated having to do something that increased his pain, but I knew that it would help in the long-term.

“Mom, can I use your Tempur-pedic pillow?” Luke asked.

“Bitches be trippin,” I thought to myself as I grabbed my Tempur-Pedic pillow and held it tightly to my chest.

Yes, he was under the weather, but had he really just asked if he could use my Tempur-Pedic neck therapy pillow, aka The Precious?

“Here Puddin’ Pop, why don’t you try one of your Dad’s really soft…”

“Lori,” Brantley interrupted. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Give him that pillow,” he said through gritted teeth.

“I was just warming it up,” I lied as I relented and allowed the marshmallowy softness to be taken from my tight grasp. “Anything for my boy.”

As I sit here this morning with a crick in my neck from sleeping on a standard pillow, I want to hear YOUR story. You know you have one.

When was the last time you offered to walk to the end of the earth for someone, only to later realize that the end of the earth was really far away and you didn’t have on comfortable shoes?

I want to hear about it. No judgement. I’m kidding, of course. I will totally judge you. We are humans, after all and we LIVE for shit like this. Go on and share. Make me feel better by comparison.

PS: Luke feels better today. The range of motion in his neck is greatly improved, blah, blah, blah.

Luke-isms: What’s An Expert?

Luke (4) and I were cuddling on the couch this morning and watching a little Thomas the Tank Engine when that cheeky little engine referred to someone as “an expert.”

“Mom, what is a expert?” (That’s his poor English, not mine.)

“It’s someone who’s really good at something because they know a lot about it, like your Daddy is an expert about medicine.”

“Oh yeah, and you’re an expert on TV, and sweeping, and the commode.”

I stopped him right there because my ego was on the verge of rupture. 

“I’m an expert at a lot of fings,” he added.

I agreed. He’s an excellent observer. 

10 Years Married And We’re Both A Little Better

It’s hard to believe that I married Brantley Wescott ten years ago today, and even more unbelievable that those ten years were intersected with a perfect fifth year event marking the birth of our little professor.  

A lot has changed in these ten years and yet, not a lot has changed.

I can cook a little better. Brantley communicates a little better. And everyday, we parent Luke a little better

We’ve never strived for marital perfection because it doesn’t exist. In fact, there have been times when we were so far from perfection that we wouldn’t know it if we saw it. Those are the times we can now look back on and appreciate what we have, and what we’ve built together. 

I think I’ll mark myself down for ten more. How could I not? Look at him! Oooh-weee, I’d take a bullet for that sweet ass!!

Look at that face in the middle. Handsome enough
to be a part-time model. 


Luke’s class is reading a new book about frogs. When I picked him up from school yesterday he was very excited to share his new found knowledge of frogs with me.

“Mom, did you know that when frogs are babies they don’t have wegs yet? They have tails and they’re called tampons.”

“I think you mean tadpoles, sweetie. Baby frogs are called Tad-Poles.”

The little professor disagreed with me until we finally settled on calling them “tad-puns.”

Parenting is all about choosing your battles.

Woes From The Salt Mines

Throughout my years as a writer, I’ve maintained my nursing license by working part-time, here and there at a clinic. However, due to some recent and, ahem, sudden staffing shortages, I’ve been needed on a more routine basis. I could use the money and am happy to help, so it works out well. I only have one complaint. Working is hard, y’all. 

This is such a news flash that CNN is bound to pick up this article at anytime.

My mantra has always been, “Don’t work too hard,” and I’m proud to say I’ve stuck to that principle, until recently. I’ve been working about three days a week at the clinic. On my off days at home I write music reviews for the paper, and do my best to keep my blog current. Then there’s my husband who follows me around asking questions all the time like, “Lori, what do you want for dinner?” and, “Lori, do you have any whites that need to be washed?” Omg! I can’t make every decision by myself!! 

Could you feel the sarcasm there? Yeah, my husband is kind of awesome. He works about fifty hours a week AND does all of the laundry. On his days off he cooks dinner. He’s a grat Dad and is kind of, really attractive. You know what else? He doesn’t complain. I can’t believe he’s still married to me, either. 

When I got home from work the other night I walked in on him having a conversation with Luke (4).

Luke: “Dad, tell me a spooky story.”
Brantley: “It was a dark and stormy night when the power went out. Suddenly, the lightning flashed. It lit up our dark bedroom and I saw someone standing there. It was your Mom, and she didn’t have any makeup on!!” 
Then, they both screamed and Luke laughed so hard he fell out of his chair. 

So I’m working on getting over myself and becoming a better multi-tasker. I will close with a conversation I had with one of my patients this week.

Patient: “It smells weird in here.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s my body. I emit an odor when I’ve worked close to eight hours in a row.”


The four-year-old’s favorite video of the week was Elmo Visits the Doctor. I’m guessing that’s what inspired the following. 

  • He was attempting to resist hair combing before school Friday morning. For some reason he detests having his hair combed, but a Mom’s got to do what a Mom’s got to do. “Stop it, Mom. Stop it! You’re not even a real doctor.” Huh???
  • That afternoon he came into my bedroom and announced, “I’m a penetration!” I was terrified, but had to ask, “What are you talking about, son?” “I need to use your stefo-scope,” he said plainly. “Because I am a penetration.” Since then, we have practiced pronouncing the word, “pediatrician.” It’s tricky. (pē-dē-ə-ˈtri-shən)