Sunday, September 09, 2007

Parenting Challenges

Sure, I could talk about discipline, boundaries, conflict, or any number of serious parenting issues. But, this isn't really so much of a mommy blog. (see previous post if you need to clarify that)

Last Friday I encountered one of my most common challenges as a parent: Not laughing out loud at my children. Let me clarify, I just said AT my children, not with.

See, on Friday my 13 year old daughter had her first mall adventure with her peers. Meaning, I let her go to the local mall with a few other girls for about two hours after school. I made her call me as soon as she got to the mall. I lectured her about the proper protocol for distancing herself from her friends in case one of them was a shoplifting juvenile delinquent. About an hour later, I get this call and my daughter is in mid-conversation with an adult saying, "I don't know ma'am do you want to ask my mom, she probably knows"

At this point my phone goes dead. I am imagining all the hijinks that may have occured. I can hear panic in my child's voice as I picture her sitting in the security office at the mall being quizzed by a mall nazi. I immediately call her back. Apparently, my daughter had an accident on the escalator and was filling out a report for the store. She assured me that she was okay, just a little shaken up. Now, here is where the parenting challenge begins.

If I have an accident on the escalator, I will attempt to minimize any possible attention that may be paid to me. I would even deny needed medical attention to try to get the attention off of myself.

STORE EMPLOYEE: "What do you mean you don't need an ambulance?
Your arm has been severed!"

ME: "I'm fine, really. It's my left arm and I am right
handed. I"ll just put some ice on it when I get home"

STORE EMPLOYEE: "It is spurting out blood!"

ME: "I'll just grab some papertowels from the ladies room" (said while frantically dashing away from the scene)

Now I give you my daughter's response as soon as she falls:

(notice how it is in all caps? That is because she did yell it, at the top of her lungs no less)

She was just fine, of course, except for a wicked escalator rash on her back. So, I hang up the phone and am repeating the story in my office and we are all dying laughing. I mean tears streaming, imagining her screaming like someone was holding a gun to her head and I am trying to get it out of my system before I have to see her and attend to her like a mom is supposed to. Which I did, effectively and with a compassion that would have made June Cleaver envious. But then my older daughter calls. (okay, I sent her a picture of her sister's back) I assure her that her baby sister is fine and then relay the incident with tact and caring. (the victim is only a few feet away from me on the computer at the time) Big sis is the picture of compassion until she asks, "Oh my, what did she do?"

I whisper, "she screamed, OH HELP ME, OH GOD, SOMEONE SAVE ME" and suddenly on the other end of the phone is the same hysterical laughter I experienced earlier. Only this time, I. must. not. laugh! All I can do is casually say, "I know, that is exactly what I thought and other conversationally appropriate remarks so that the victim doesn't know.

Parenting is so hard y'all!