You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘parenting’ tag.

She most certainly will not be getting out of bed to get dressed for school, thankyouverymuch.

From the kitchen Momma has hollered for her to “GET UP!”  and with an edge in her voice added, “…and that’s the last time!”

This happens to be the second of Momma’s “last time” warnings. The warnings started after an entire series of ineffectual attempts to get her out of bed.  Momma went so far as to pick out an outfit and physically  try to force her into it. This was a grave offense.  She is six and a half years old and can dress herself. A lot of screaming and wrestling went into that fiasco before Momma abruptly aborted the mission to try out a new tactic: cooking breakfast.

But all the clothes and breakfasts in the world will not make a bit of difference.  She’s not budging. It is so cold in her bedroom it hurts to breathe. To protect herself from the temperature, she has ducked her head under the blanket to breathe her own body-warmed air. Her feet are pulled up beneath her flannel gown.  She has folded herself into a little ball to preserve heat.  She has gathered all the loose edges of the sheets and blankets and tucked them under herself to keep the mean air from biting her.   So Momma can threaten spankings all she wants. There are worse things than Momma’s spankings – like being attacked by the cold air outside the semi-warm cocoon she’s created beneath her covers.

It’s not just the cold terrorizing her, it’s also the snakes. Daddy killed one in his bedroom just the other night.  He chased it around the room hitting it over and over with his guitar until it was dead. She didn’t actually see it happen, but she did hear the accompanying soundtrack.  The oddly musical killing featured forceful, pounding rhythms and vibrating, jangly strings that reverberated inside the instrument’s hollow body with each blow. It was definitely not a song usually played in Daddy’s repertoire. She was horrified when she found out the cause behind Daddy’s improvisation. Now she imagines the coiling and roiling pit of snakes that surely resides under her bed. Daddy, the Slayer of Serpents and her Champion Defender, has already left for work.  So no ma’am, she will not be getting out of bed today.

Momma’s footsteps now creak down the hallway and stop at her room.  Uh-0h.

“Come on and get up. I made biscuits and it’s warm in the kitchen.  The oven door’s open.” Momma says sweetly.

The brat beneath the blankets cries, “Nooooo, it’s too cold! And biscuits are so yucky. They’re mushy and gross. And there are snakes!”

“There are no snakes. And I’ll toast the biscuits.  You like them like that, remember?”

Momma steps closer. Under the covers the child braces herself in anticipation of the coming struggle.  When it doesn’t come, she realizes Momma’s footsteps are fading down the hallway. She hears rustling and softly percussive kitchen sounds. The oven door creaks then snaps shut.

She hugs her knees in and shivers.

A few minutes later, the oven door creaks open, then Momma is standing by her bed again, working loose a corner of the sheets.  Delicious warmth touches her skin. Her clothes! In her blanket cocoon, she dresses in her oven-baked shirt, warm pants, and toasted socks, then she emerges a new creature.  She jumps off the bed and runs out of her room before the snakes can get her.  She follows the scent of toasted bicuits to the warm kitchen. For the rest of the day the scent of biscuits and love lingers all around her.

~~*~~

ReminisScent I

He fires up his joint and takes a deep inhale.

She watches, a little afraid and a lot disappointed, as his eyes go flat and boring.  It’s stinky and smoky and dark and she’s cold.  She doesn’t like it here.

He is usually so much more fun than this, especially when they watch Saturday morning rasslin’ together. Between commercial breaks he roars and picks her up over his head like he’s Jerry “The King” Lawler and she’s Junkyard Dog.  He turns in a slow circle showing his imaginary audience how strong he is while she clings to his wrists for dear life and screams, “No! No! Put me down!”

“Down?? You want down?”

“Wait! No! Stop! Please! Maaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”

She screams in terrified delight as he body slams her down on the couch.

She lies there stunned for the 3 count while he flexes and makes his face look mean like he’s the Incredible Hulk. Then he lumbers off to the kitchen to get a Coke out of the ‘fridge.

Momma always yells at him at this point in the routine, “Stop doing that! You’ll break her ribs!”

“Well, I have to win the match somehow,” he replies.

“I mean it. Don’t do that. You could make her lungs collapse and kill her.”

“Nah, I’m just toughenin’ her up.”

Saturday morning rasslin’ is the real He-man rasslin’ and definitely not to be confused with that “kissy face” wrestling that they do in the Ol’-limp-kicks.  She is still trying to work out what exactly the Ol’-limp-kicks is.  It is a sports thing, she knows. They’ve explained that it happens every 4 years.  She is 4.  It is something to do with her birthday?  They said no. They said it happened even before she was ever around – before she was even thought of.  There is something deeply suspicious about this.  How could things go on without her around? The question makes her head feel funny, so she thinks about something else.

She wishes it was Saturday morning.

But it’s not Saturday. He passes the joint to his friend, who takes it, glances at her, then back and him. Between hits he asks, “Do you think she knows what we’re doing?”

Of course she knows what they’re doing. They’re being bad.  Momma would be so mad. Daddy smokes Lucky Strikes, which is bad Momma says.  But Daddy doesn’t smoke “wacky tabacky,” which is way more bad.  She doesn’t say any of this. Even though she is looking at them, they are looking through her and talking about her like she doesn’t understand English or like she is deaf.

She knows about being deaf because a really long time ago, when she was 3, she lived in Texas and her best friend in the whole world lived next door and she was deaf for real.  Daddy had explained it all to her then. He told her that her best friend was deaf and dumb.  It’s not nice to call someone dumb, she told him.  He said he wasn’t being mean – it wasn’t that kind of dumb.

He said, “You know how some people can’t hear and they’re called deaf?”

Well, no, in fact, she didn’t know anything about that. How come they couldn’t hear? What did they hear if they couldn’t hear?  Was being deaf like when the wind blows everybody’s words away? Or did they not even hear the wind? Do deaf people’s ears ever ring when nothing is actually ringing like hers sometimes do? Does being deaf sound like the way you hear under water? Do your ears feel full of water when you are deaf?

Sometimes Daddy seems to know a lot and sometimes he doesn’t seem to know much of anything at all. She sorta-kinda got the idea, though.

Daddy went on, “When people can’t talk they are called dumb. It’s just a way to describe someone who can’t talk.”

Dumb isn’t a nice word, Daddy,” she reminded him again.

Besides, she understood everything her best friend said.  Her best friend didn’t say things the way everybody else said things, so you couldn’t listen with just your ears.

She misses her best friend. When her family moved back to Memphis, her best friend stayed in Texas.

She remembers Texas and the night they met.  She was outside her new house with Momma and Daddy. The sun was about to go to bed for the night when the neighbors came out of the house right beside theirs.  And there was her best friend.  They both squealed and immediately the chase was on.  Running, running, running. Cool grass on bare feet. Lungs aching with the effort of breathing around giggles, squeals, and exhaustion. The sheer joy of having a friend. Of being seen!

That night as she scratched at her berjillion mosquito bites, her parents murmured in sad, serious tones things she didn’t comprehend.

“… woman in a child’s body”

“Can’t imagine…”

“…must be hard.”

“What a shame.”

She didn’t understand her best friend was “different” until one day during another endless game of Chase, she tripped over a broom in the driveway. Face slides across bumpy concrete. Pebbles scrape tender skin on palms and knees.  Best friend sees her fall and panics, collapsing to the ground beside her. Hands flapping. Moaning. Best friend didn’t fall, why is she crying? Oh, oh, face on fire. It hurts. Best friends crying together. Blood-curdling screams.  The scene strikes fear in the heart of both Mommas, who rush out to fix their injured children.

Mercurochrome is dabbed on her scrapes – even on her nose.  “Hey Rudolph, what happened to you?” Daddy will say when he gets home from work.

Momma decides it’s better for her not to play with her best friend, who is so much older. She might hurt her, accidentally.

Bruises and scrapes will heal in a few days.  Other kinds of hurts take much longer.

Last month, in an unexpected twist of fate, I was offered the job of meeting 500 preschoolers in 45 days.  To the uninitiated and in the abstract, meeting 500 preschoolers may seem an unmenacing task. At least that’s how it seemed to me when I was offered this job.  Still, I would never have imagined myself working in this context. I accepted the position anyway thinking it would be a breeze.   Ha! In the days that followed I came to liken the task to being trampled by a herd of wildebeest. As it turns out 500 preschoolers is a lot.

The fact is preschoolers are creepy people. They come to school clean and groomed, shirts tucked, shoes tied, hair wound in neat braids. Kinda cute even. Within 10 minutes they start to unravel showing hints of their true nature.  Eventually they erupt into full-blown disarray with noodle-encrusted hair, milk-mustached upper lips, and booty fingers.  In this state, their teachers would bring them to me and attempt to reclaim order  by lining them up to sit in neat rows, and then telling them to behave and to wait quietly for their turns.  That structure worked for only a few moments. The short legs dangling over the edge of too-large chairs would start kicking idly at the empty air causing the laces of their sneakered feet to lose all restraint and start dancing wildly. A few moments later, the preschoolers would simultaneously begin practicing their unique talents. There were the prize fighters who liked to throw punches at each other, the stuntmen jumping out of chairs and running into things, and the gymnasts who did Cirque de Soliel routines using the chairs as props in strange balancing acts.

Preschoolers ooze fluids. I’ve been cried on, sneezed on, and spit on. The spitting was not malicious, but rather with great enthusiasm. On one occasion a great potty frenzy swept the room, which ended badly and predictably with an “accident.”  In the natural course of things, my third week on the job I caught the Preschool Crud, rendering me bed-ridden for 2 ½ days with a fever and sore throat.

The 45 days are over and phase one of the job is complete. This week I’ve jumped back into the fray for round two.

As a result of this whole weird experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that preschool teachers should be lauded with firemen and police officers as heroes in our nation’s workforce.  I’m not kidding. Having seen these women in action, I can honestly say they are nothing short of amazing given the occupational hazards and with their grace under fire.

Out of the mist your voice is calling, it’s twilight time.

When purple colored curtains mark the end of day,

I’ll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.

–The Platters, Twilight Time

~~*~~

Catherine Soule, or Kiki, graced this world from August 1, 1914 to June 14, 2004.

She sometimes drove with her elbows propped on the steering wheel, her chin resting on her hands.

She smelled like roses.

She loved hamburgers.

Her living room was a sacred place to welcome guests. Everything in it was just so and it was off limits to grandkids. When she got new carpet, we had to take off our shoes and leave our socks on to walk on it.

She grew mint just outside the backdoor.

Before I knew her, she wore little dainty white gloves. I never saw her wear them, but she had a lot of them.

She would visit the beauty shop to get her hair done every week.   Immediately following each visit she’d spend a very long time in the bathroom restyling it.

She kept all the greeting cards she ever received in a box under her bed.

She used Scotch Tape at night between her eyebrows to keep frown lines at bay.

She swore that ½ a banana would cure everything from headaches to nausea.

She would prop the end of her ironing board on her bed and lie on it upside down to undo the effects of gravity.

She referred to earrings as earbobs.

She watched Johnny Carson every night.

She once told me to “give the finger” to a person who cut her off in traffic.  When I looked over at her horrified she gave me a little wave with her index finger to demonstrate what she meant by the phrase.

One of her favorite songs to play on her organ was Twilight Time. She also would play Love Me Tender.

When I spent the night she’d always tell me I looked like “the last rose of summer” in the morning when I woke.

She taught me to end each day by counting my blessings and praying for loved ones.

She was married to Hiram Soule for 72 years.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Top Posts & Pages

Archives

Hate to Love You (Reviews)

All My Charms are Wards

Celestial Goodness

This is a space of love and positive vibrations. It is a safe space for uplifting one’s soul.

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

Artistcoveries

Discovering the joy of art

OCA learning log

Carlota Betlinski

P e d r o L

storytelling the world through travels & books

Before I Forget

STORIES WITH NO BOOKS

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison

Columns. Letters. Rants. Stuff.

Stitched in Stone

Based on True Wives Tales

THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE

The Goddess Attainable Blog is an inspirational portal for a goddess way of life.

The Druid Herbalist

An ongoing journey with the healing power of plants

The Fledgling Belly

The Adventures of a Discerning Bellydancer

It's Just Life

Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Down the Forest Path

A Journey Through Nature, its Magic and Mystery

Project: Motion Blog

Modern. MOVEment. Memphis.

The Human Rights Warrior

"There is some good in this world...and it's worth fighting for." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

The Tragic Life of Frank

Around five minutes ago I had this sudden revelation; that my life is quite sufficiently, tragic.

zona pellucida

...blinded by the light

Donna Mejia

Dance Artist/Scholar/Cultural-Creative

Beautiful Day Traveler

It's a beautiful day to dance with words on this journey called life.

shimmymobmemphis

dancing to change the world

samrarose

Just another WordPress.com site

Peaceful Hands Reiki

Where love flows

Job & Career News

From the Memphis Public Libraries

LibrarianShipwreck

"More than machinery, we need humanity."

Sorry Television

Reading a book a week

Mark Coakley

Author of "Hidden Harvest" and "Tip and Trade"

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

CultFit

Form, Flow and Grace

Owls and Orchids

Life, Love, Spiritual Living and the odd Catastrophe.....