Posts from the ‘Parenting’ Category



January 2, 1992  2:32 pm  My mothering career began with the birth of the most perfect baby/kid ever.


The only one of the grandkids my Dad lived to see.


He is a wonderful big brother, adored by both his sister and brother.  This last year, especially, has brought moments where he has showed his true character, not only to his sister, but, to his parents.

Behind the hair and sometimes stoic expression is a sweet, kind, sensitive, highly intelligent, very talented young man.  He’s probably going to fuss at me for putting this up here but I’m proud of him and glad to be his mom.

Happy Birthday-


Divorce Fun

I am sitting here laughing out loud to myself at my children’s father. 

When you get divorced in Tennessee, you have to go this mandatory, Parenting & Divorce seminar.  It’s just something you have to do.  The CF is none too happy about it.  He’s aggravated that one, he has to go, and two, it costs $40.  We will be attending this shindig this evening.  Together. Heh.

So just now, on the phone, he’s asking me (again) “What do they do at this thing?”  I do not know because I haven’t been. 

Then, he says…”Do they do some sort of puppet show with puppets saying..’Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced?'”  I told him maybe they’ll do a special showing of The Parent Trap (preferably the original). maureen-brian-web

Ok, so maybe I’m just slap-happy or something but the above has caused me to laugh uncontrollably.  I know this is serious and from what I hear, it’s a really good seminar and all that.  You know me though, if there is something to giggle at, I’m all over it.

Yay! I’m getting off early! Woo hoo!

I should be excited but I have to take my Firstborn to the Dentist and to have his stitches removed.

I haven’t taken a sick day for myself in…gosh, I don’t know if I’ve actually had a sick day for me since I came here. It’s either for one of the kids or my mother.

Suddenly, I’m not feeling so well. Cough…cough….I think my left ovary is hurting….

The One Where The Manchild Dives For The Ball…And Missed

You know how you wake up in the morning to have your regular ol’ day…you are pretty happy that the humidity is low so YES! It’s a Good-Hair-Day-Tuesday.  You’re feeling right good about yourself and your future, life is good, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off-to-work-you-go?  It’s a productive morning, get lots done and you’re thinking “So, what will I do at lunchtime?” …..

Then you get a phone call telling you your kid has split his head open in PE class. You call the school and are told that 911 has been called, your kid is bleeding oh and be sure you get a plastic surgeon to do his sutures?  So much for a leisurely lunch time, eh?I’ve never had one of those kinds of phone calls before until today.

  Now, I’ve had kids get stitched up, (one with an unfortunate encounter with a merry go round, the other an encounter with bare feet and a rake) broken bones, (big toe and wrist) the Vapors, an ambulance ride, handed my not-yet-one year old-baby to a stranger to put him to sleep to put tubes in his ears, had the same baby about a year later, severely dehydrated, suffering from Rotavirus, in the hospital hooked up to IV’s for three days, rocked and held a feverish little one (and not so little) more times than I could possibly remember, sat in the bathroom in the middle of the night with the shower running, letting the steam clear a croupy cough, my 2 year old drink bleach, saw one of my kids nearly drown at 3 years old, an ER trip thinking one had appendicitis, been thrown up on, pooped on , peed on, all those things more times than I could begin to remember.  January 2 I will have been a parent 17 years.  I’ve done a lotta stuff, like every other parent has.

Something about hearing the numbers “911” in relation to your child, who is about 25 minutes away makes your heart just stop for a second.  Mine sure did today.  I waited at Hendersonville Hospital for a good 25 minutes before the ambulance arrived with the Manchild in tow.  I wasn’t even sure if they were bringing him there because the ER people hadn’t gotten a call, the office lady at Station Camp didn’t know if they took him there or to Sumner Regional.

Finally, the ambulance pulls up and I go over to the back, nervous, not totally knowing what I’m gonna see, kinda on the verge of tears, in total Talk-To-Jesus-Out-Loud mode…and they pull the Manchild out on the stretcher. 

Now, you gotta realize, I haven’t seen the Manchild wear anything except a black tshirt with some sort of band name on the front for probably two years and baggy blue jeans.  He had on his Gym shirt, which is gray and has his school name on the front and he had on shorts!  I forgot the boy had legs.  We also don’t live in the same house anymore.

So, he’s got on a totally different color than I’m accustomed to seeing, his head is wrapped in gauze, oxygen thingies up his nose, blood on him and I say something very motherly (and very sincere) like “Oh Tyler” and my firstborn child waves at me and says “Mom….I look like a retard.”

The Wellness Class (what happened to “Gym” or “PE?”) was playing “Flash Football.”  I don’t even know what that is.  A friend of mine asked me if that was when you run down the field and show your ass. I don’t know. I’m assuming it’s something akin to Flag Football.  They were inside the gym and Tyler went to dive for a catch and…well…he missed. 

He doesn’t remember the missed catch so that means he went to his Special, Happy Place for a moment.  He was pretty pale when he got to the hospital and he was chattering.  Tyler is a big talker but he’s usually very calm.  He was almost hyper.  I guess part of that was nerves, part of it mighta been a little shock…he was cracking me up though.

They ran him through the CAT scanner and that all came out fine.   A plastic surgeon looked at his boo boo and said that he narrowly missed hitting a major artery in his forehead as well as narrowly missed the muscle that controls the eyebrow movement.   4 cms with tissue and skull exposed.  Yee haw. The Manchild is fortunate all around and that is not lost on his Dad or myself. (There are more pictures on the Flickr over there but some are a little…ick so I wanted to be sensitive to my more sensitive readers)

 I got paper towels and washed his hands and face (first time he’s let me do anything for him like that since I can remember) and even though it was a crappy thing to have happen, I enjoyed getting to play Mommy to my big boy, even for just a minute.  (Enjoy is probably not the right word)   I couldn’t believe he wasn’t fighting me.  This boy likes to be independent.  I respect that and totally encourage him to take care of himself but it’s interesting how when your kid is sick or hurting. that mother instinct just kicks in.

The changes that have occurred in our family the last few weeks, the logistical changes, etc.  I don’t know…I’m glad he let me be Mom and do my job, even though when he first got in the room he said “Mom…I’m 16. I’m ok.”  After the EMT guy said something about how much he bled and that “that’s your Mom, man” it was ok for me to slip into that mode cause none of his buddies were around or nothing. 

All the stuff that’s gone on lately has been difficult for all of us.  It’s so important to me that Tyler knows that just because I’m at a different address (he chose to stay with his Dad) that I’m still his Mom and my love for him is no different.  I may not be a perfect mother, but, those kids are my heart.  Even big, tall and hairy like the Manchild is, he’s still my baby boy.

When we left the hospital, I hugged the Manchild and told him I loved him and was glad he was ok.  I decided when I moved that I have to start telling those kids every single day I love them.  They aren’t really warm/fuzzy/”I love you” saying kinda kids and I’m not so good at saying it but thats another thing about my life I’m trying to change.  Days like today are such a reminder that you don’t know from day to day, how your life can change in the drop of a football.

In Which I Discuss Parenting Teens

I’m convinced that as a mother of babies, toddlers and elementary-aged children, I was the bomb. 

From the time I gave birth to the Manchild, I was as confident about my abilities to take care of him and truly felt I had found my calling.  I was not a nervous new mother.  I felt like if mama dogs and cats knew how to take care of their babies, surely I could take care of that little feller.  And I did. 

Of course, the MC was perhaps, the most amazing baby/little boy ever.  Good natured as all git out.  He was why I wanted more babies cause he was a dream of a little guy. 

The Holy Tara showed up on the scene when the Manchild was 20 months old.  I was 24 years old and had two little babies but oh man…how I loved having those little people around me.  I never minded Barney even (this was when Barney was BIG) and I was not uptight about schedules, germs, or nothing like that.  I was a Stay-At-Home Mom then.  I had plenty of time for them.

  Those two were just the cutest little things.  They played together so perfectly.  We went to the park a lot…to the mall…just hung out.  I dont remember getting totally exasperated with them much back in those days.  I’m sure I had my moments, but, really, they were just the most fun and I loved being their mother.

I still love being their mother.  When I look at my handsome, strapping, 6’2 inch, 16 year old son, who is the spitting of image of his Grandpa Biff, hear him play this complex material on his guitar, when he discusses music theory and other things that are so over my head….that he makes pretty good grades and can talk knowledgably about most any subject…I’m so full of pride and find it hard to believe that’s the same little feller who carried his “Gee” around (what he called juice) and cried to watch “Dubbadee” all the time (he was obsessed with CMT as a toddler.  Loved those videos.  Go figya)  Now he likes sweet tea and practically has a 5 o’clock shadow. 

The Holy Tara came into the world with two quick pushes, eyes wide open, ready to see what was going on.  She sang herself to sleep as an infant and talked in complete sentences at 14 months.  When she’d try to pull herself up when she was about 8 months old….would fall flat on her face….would not cry but would do a disgusted grunt and get right back up and do it again.  She has more resolve and determination in her than just about anybody I know.  (She reminds me that way of her Grandma Hazel and her Aunt Gastrica)  She has the voice of an angel and its been fun of late watching her find that voice and work it. 

I’m so proud of these two teens of mine (y’all know how I am about #2.  He’s not a teen yet though).  I’m not saying this cause I want a bunch of comments lauding my mothering…nope.  I feel like I suck as a mother to teens.  I really do.  I have no patience for DRAM-uh.  Not much of that with the Manchild but with the HT, it’s constant.  I have no patience for it.  None.  I feel like I let them down constantly in more ways than I can even tell here.  I feel like I’m growing up so much my own self, that I’m not as attentive or take their stuff as seriously as I should. 

I always thought I’d really rock as a mom to teens cause I’m younger than a lot of their friends’ parents.  I don’t think this is so.   The thing is, they’re close to being grown.  Two years from now, the MC will be a legal adult.  The HT is not far behind him. 

It’s not my style to be one of those moms thats in their face, volunteering for everything at the school and every activity.  It’s not cause I’m not interested.  It’s more that I want them to be free to be themselves in their world, without any self consciousness that Mom is looking or what I might say.  I sorta felt like that when I was a kid.  Scared to be who I was.  Afraid I would look stupid or something.  So, I try to give them some space. 

I’m not a rigid rules person, however, I feel like I’m the Parent, they are the Child.  My job is not to be their friend, yet, I want them to feel like they can bring stuff to me…which they do. 

I don’t know the point of all this babbling….maybe I’m just realizing time is marching forward and they are becoming their own people….I don’t know. 

I do love my kids.  I hope they realize that when the chips are down, their Mama’s got their back.

Can somebody just make time stop or at the least…slow down a little?? 

Mama, You’re Crazy

My Baby Girl…well, I don’t know if it’s an official one, but, she’s on a date.

The only reason I let her go is cause I know this boy’s parents and I know him. Curfew is 9:00.

I don’t know if it’s “ok” or not. Part of me thinks “Oh my gosh…she’s 14” then the other, who remembers 14 very clearly, although I don’t remember any fellers in Brentwood, TN wanting to take me out.

Heck…even if I’d have had any potential suitors at 14, my mother would not have allowed anything as silly as going out or anything. Anytime there was any talk of us dating , she’d say stuff like “I don’t want no boy hanging around here all the time.”

She was really mean to the Basketball Coach and I was 18 when I started dating him. Seems like I remember she was pretty not nice to the Engineering Brother In Law when he and Gastrica started getting serious.
I never understood why she was so bothered when those situations came up..I figured she knew we were having sex. I figured that was her whole hangup….until just a few years ago when I learned that she had other husbands before my dad.

She still doesn’t know we know this. I think she was possibly afraid for us. I’m sure she was. She knew that we were in different dating situations than “Do you like me? Check yes or no”. She knew what we were going to run into.

For whatever reason, she has chosen not to share with us her life, BB (before Biff) and really, that’s ok. I don’t take the same attitude with my kids. I hope they can learn from my experience, rather than have me sitting on my soapbox, telling them “You don’t need to date…what is wrong with you? Are you a sex maniac or something?” (She never said that but the way she acted, I felt like I was nawtee or something.)

She got over being mean to the EBL and he’s like Super Son In Law. Kinda amazing he hung around. She actually digs both of her sons in law. Mr. Smiff digs her and appreciates her and understands her in a unique way.

I sometimes wonder what my future son and daughters in law will be like. This may sound crazy, but, I’ve been praying for whoever they are for years.

I’ve tried to teach the HT stuff about boys, what’s acceptable treatment from a boy and what isn’t (my mother never felt it necessary to fill me in on any of that stuff)…I’ve tried to be as open as I can about stuff like sex, tempation, all that.

The day I introduced her to the Basketball Coach, she knew the whole story. I don’t want that girl going into something like that as naive and clueless as I was. I think the whole experience would be in vain if I couldn’t impart to her, especially (and the boys too) the impact stuff like that can have on you in the longterm.

I do know that she most definitely will get her heart broken many times before she runs into her Mr. Right. She will probably do stupid things that she’ll look back and cringe at like I do.

Still, I refuse to let her try to feel her way through some of the most important times in her life, alone, with no direction or loving advice, as opposed to the approach my mother took…I like to call it the Eisenhower Era Approach to Dating. My mom came from a totally different era where girls were taught that “Nice girls don’t” and that was that.

No. Way. Not my daughter. She’s entirely too intelligent and I would do her no service to not be open and honest with her and let her learn stuff in a way that helps her wind up pregnant at 16.
One thing I hope she doesn’t do is spend all of her school years tied up with one boy. I can remember people in high school who did that. That’s nuts. You have your whole life to be with one person.

I stress and stress to her that she does not have to have a guy in her life to be whole…a boyfriend is not going to be any sort of magical cure to any insecurity or mean she will be “happy” at any given moment.

She has a good friend who tends to lean towards the “I Have To Have Boyfriend” syndrome. We’ve talked a lot about that and she appears to see that’s kinda not so good.

We do have a pretty good communication thing happening. Since the big “Grounding of 08” occurred a couple weeks back, I have sensed our relationship as Mom/Daughter has matured and grown. Yeah, she’s rolled her eyes at me since and told me I was weird, but, I sense a positive sort of vibe since that whole event.

It dawned on me today that I have spent a ton of time around her lately and in her world, around her peers more than I ever have. It’s fun watching her find herself.

There for awhile, I thought we were going to be like Naomithejuddsfromwhynotme.jpg and Wynonna…I guess we still might.

Wacky Wednesday

I want a basement.  After two major tornadoes have hit my county (one a little too close to home), I am of the mind that we need our own “Special Happy Place.”  (The newspeople kept referring to the “Special Place” last night.  That is funny to me).  We don’t have a Special Place in our house to ride out potential tornadoes.  Our house is not big.  We are low on closets here at the Smiff House and our “hallway” is not much of a hallway.

This story about the baby that survived just kills me.

Yay to WSMV for not wasting any time and holding a telethon tonight to raise money.  And yay to all the people who called in donations.

Y’know, that Dan Thomas kinda won me over last night20071025_tedbaxter.jpg doing his weather thang.  He’s kinda lost his Ted Baxter-isms.

Mice and tornadoes send me into a tizzy.  I haven’t spotted a mouse this winter (I’m sure I will now that I’ve said that) and I think I can think X the Owl, who lives in the big pine tree in our front yard for taking care of that for us.

Mr. Smiff will soon embark on a cruise to somewhere down South where it is very warm.  I am not accompanying him.  I have been on these cruises before.  They are nice.  I wasn’t fillin’ it when this came up.

I don’t want to wish my kids’ lives away and all that, but, it’s like this…I’m over this teenager thing.  It’s making me cranky.

The Drama Queen’s cellphone was returned to her today with warnings that I can and will take it away again if she doesn’t learn to put a guard on her oft-smart mouth.  I also told her I have the power to take other things away from her, if need be.  She was to’ up not having that cellphone for a week.  That one hurt her.

I’ve had a door slammed at me not once, but, twicet this evening by a certain 16 year old son.  It was a blessing. Sometimes I ask myself why I didn’t enter that convent.  Maybe it’s cause I wasn’t Catholic.