Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paying the Price

Good morning! The sky is blue; there is a breeze and chill in the air....a perfect day. Although today is day 3 of Diva Dog's illness. She has been queasy, anorexic, with vomiting, and has diarrhea...Oy, on Saturday, I actually considered buying another dog. If trying to get the mess out of Buddy's carpet has not dissuaded me, nothing will. And so, my pretty little dog that I wanted to bring home with me named Dusty will have to find a home with another family. 'Cause right now, I am on my knees trying to clean up the poo and vomit. I barely recovered from yesterday's veterinarian bill, yet if the dog does not feel better by the end of the day, I have to go back for round 2 this afternoon. I need doggie health insurance. Will there be a co-pay on the plan?

This morning dad received an invoice from last year's summer baseball team. It seems that my son, a college student, refused to return his uniform despite a number of requests. He was angry with his treatment from the summer and chose a passive aggressive way of demonstrating his militancy by keeping the jersey. Normally, I do not get involved in these things, but I have a few photos of the former blow-up companion Irene wearing the jersey for parties (a party frock, if you will) and Angel wearing it to barbecue the burgers. I am sure that it rests comfortably on the bottom of a pile of clothes in the closet or being used as a dust rag (doubtful).

The invoice is quite sizable and dad is a bit peeved (this is the Rated PG version). The owner of the team sent the note that said that since Buddy could not "find" the jersey to return, he had to pay for a new one. This makes sense although we paid over $600 for the privilege of sitting in the bull pen holding sunflower seed spitting contests. Further, we paid to live there, food, rent, and so on. This year's bill to play ball in Maryland was less than half of that amount. Are baseballs more expensive in Ohio?

Now the big leftie is going to have to do something about this invoice. I am not paying it. Let me be very clear....I am not going to pay to replace a jersey that is sitting on  blow-up doll in a college boy's apartment. OK, one more time....this bill is my son's and if he has to work in the bakery 24/7 until it is paid, then so be it. For the last time, and I am very sincere.....I pay the water bill, gas bill, mortgage and college tuition, but I will not pay for doll clothes. I don't ever recall my Barbie's wardrobe starting at $250.00. Not ever...

This leads me to share one of the articles that I read this morning online. Each day, I start with the coffee and reading news on my iPad. As I reviewed the headlines, a link looked interesting entitled: "Six ways to ruin your children." After hearing about the jersey's invoice from the Ohio version of George Steinbrenner, I clicked on the link thinking that I ruined my kids. Here are a few of the six mistakes:

1. Give in: Parents are afraid if they deny a child's request for something, they will not love them. OK, if I caved in every time my child asked for something, we would be living in a box over a vent in the city. They didn't just want candy or sodas...they wanted it all...action figures, game systems, expensive games, fancy jerseys, hot sneakers, and so on. Sorry gang, the money tree died after Buddy was born. There was a hurricane that came through and our money tree blew away with my Porsche and Mercedes.

2. Lack of discipline: A parent should set consistent rules with consequences. explain why misbehaving in unacceptable. Once again, the rules would vary based on the situation. No one can have consistent rules, 'cause the kids are creative in misbehaving. One day they would be vacuuming broken eggs, then next minute there is baby powder all over their bodies, the bathroom, and bedrooms. Other creative ways of rule-bending would be half truths or no truths at all. Not completing homework, being late for school, fighting, and not listening to a parent or teacher. How can  a parent be consistent? One infraction is not the same as the second or third. There are levels of rule-breaking, so I need a chart and say to them: "OK, you have a potty mouth. According to my graph designed by my personal actuary, the consequences to your action is three days without your action figures and bedtime at 8 pm and not 9 pm." Or for spitting in the garage, the consequences could be dusting the house for three weeks....perhaps we have something here. It could actually turn into a Handbook for Parents. Based on the size of the infraction, you find the penalty on the chart.  Would Dr. Spock approve? How about Mr. Spock? Captain Kirk?

Let's move down to number 5: Set a bad example: "Cutting in line, lying, saying curse words, and stealing" sets a bad example for your children. I agree with this point and gave up my life of crime when Tink came along. Not wanting her to follow in this line of business, I decided that racketeering, forgery, and bribery would have to be replaced by a job that I could earn 25% of what I am worth in larger cities.

6. Not being present: This means not showing up for games and shows, working late, and ignoring your kids. They recommend spending an afternoon in a park to avoid having the child feel neglected. I know that I did not break this one. I finally shared with Tink last week that the last play that she was in was the worst that I had ever seen in my life. I will never get back the hours that I gave up to watch the Princess and the Pea (the high school musical) on a number of nights as I supported her venture into the theater. It was awful.Tink looked at me and I thought that she would be insulted. Instead she said: "Mom, it was the worst play...ever!" Whew...on the same page on this one.

It was at this point that I did not want to read any more of the article. I had already broken the parenting rules and ruined my kids according to the author.  What did I ultimately learn from this article? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! Come on, people! A lot of this nonsense is common sense. I can't financially give them everything that they want. Discipline? Absolutely. Otherwise, the inmates would have been running the asylum. Setting a bad example? Does cursing under your breath then running to confession indicate you are a bad parent? Lastly, not being present....OK, there were days when my kids did not want me to be present. But on a whole, they did. I was accused by a friend of being a helicopter parent (one who hovers around). This could not be farthest from the truth. I want them to make it on their own. I will help, but it is up to them to ultimately take the big steps on their own.

And there you have it....BP mom....not a saint....just a parent trying to figure it out without a chart, brochure, or manual. Aren't we basically the same at heart?

Time to get through the day as I keep my fingers crossed that there will be no emergency visits to the vet. Can I give the dog a Tums?

Have a great day!

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