Parenthood Archive

Fake smiles Cave Explorer Cave Explorer

Today, I smiled cheerfully as my neighbor passed by as our paths met as I took my daughter to school.  15 minutes earlier it was Cryfest 2015.  As soon as she passed, my conversation with my daughter continued about Shopkins, a new backpack, and her 6yo perspective on life.  She’s really a sweet kid, and although I did my best to be present in that world of hers, the tears started again.

Emotion hiding has never been my strong suit, but in cases of social situations, I usually can muster up the regular social graces, the “I’m fine, how are you doing?” the “Things are good! We’re hanging in there”.  Usually it’s 75% true, as there’s always something that may not be so good.  Also the crying is too easy for me, I’m an emotional person, cry when I’m happy, sad, angry.  It’s my go-to thing.  I envy those people that can remain stoic and calm in the worst situations. I was chided the other day from my friend, for showing emotion, “Don’t do that. You’ll make me cry, enough!” It’s not that I can help it, it’s stupidly hard for me.

So back to Cryfest 2015, which should just be Cryfest #42 of 2015, as we seem to be repeating this at least once a week. 10yo has  a reading log which requires him to answer a  question weekly about what he has read.  So since we had a very light week last week, he accumulated 2 “responses”  which he finished hastily last night.

The responses were about hating school and hurting mom and dad.  So it really wasn’t a good answer and usually those answers get negative attention, so I helped him revise it in the morning.  However instead of being calm about it, it just brought up all the emotions we have been going through.  This kid was in a day treatment center end of last year after he was suicidal, he could not tolerate school and could only take a few hours, so he got up to about 4 periods, and that was hard.  He’s doing much better in 5th grade, but it’s still hard, and I can see when he’s going to have a rough day, cause he’s all shut down and angry and just doesn’t want to go to school.

I see the pain in his face, I see the anger he has for school, and I feel helpless.  We have a good support system, are doing all the right things, and trying our best to make school tolerable. He has a teacher who is such an advocate for him that I talk to almost every day.   My son has an IEP, and a behavior log that keeps us in the loop as how he is doing with school.

I see my other 2 kids be able to get through school so much easier, and I know that it is so hard for him.

I have to choose him as he is.

I have to not think it’s a crisis when he acts out.

I have to remember hope.

I have to remember to not put emotional baggage on him or guilt.

I have to accept him hating school for the rest of his life is ok. Most kids do.

I have to let go, and let him figure it out.

I have to remind him of the things to look forward to.

I have to remember I can’t fix everything, and that I need to learn to let him deal with stuff.

I have to remember that for every breakdown, he will get stronger.

I have to remember that I’m loving the child that will become an amazing empathetic and strong adult.

I have to remember nothing happens overnight.

I have to keep calm and take care of myself.

I have to laugh.

I have to change the name of this blog if I don’t.*

*So if you’d like to guest post to lift the spirits of this funeral of funny, comment below with your email, and I’ll get in touch!





Mindless Humor Helps- Jim Breuer

Hey friends, or friend, or random person reading this!

I caught Jim Breuer on O&J the other day, and something really resonated with me and wanted to share.

“The Importance of Humor during Tragedy”

If you’ve been following Jim Breuer by listening to his appearances, his podcast or facebook, you probably know that he’s been through a bunch of low points in life, death in the family (dad, and sis), his wife’s cancer, mom’s in a home, you know crappy stuff life throws at you. So here’s the audio from O&J the other day- Note timestamp below.

Timestamp – 8:24 On his wife’s chemo treatment time:

“One thing I noticed is she watched funny videos 24 – 7 and alot of them were animal videos and I was surprised going into a lot of treatment centers where they don’t have anything for the patients. You’re in a room and everyone’s the lab rat and their all hooked up and sitting in a room getting juiced up and they should have videos or something of non-stop humor just anything, cats, dogs, funny distractions, and she got addicted to watching hilarious videos and that was a huge HUGE help throughout it all.

And that’s what I tell anyone who asks how’s your… “my daughter is going through this”, or my wife is going through, my grandma… I’ll just say “This is what my wife did, here’s a link of what she started watching…and it definitley helps…”

Well, when Jim said this, it immediately brought me back to a time where humor was so important.

My  10yo was admitted to the child psych unit for suicidal ideation. It was such a dark time to be separated from him, and as parents we felt helpless, and depressed. I still weep at the memory of it, no kid should go through this. As a mom, I felt horrible that to treat his depression, that the first drug that the psychiatrist prescribed was the one that caused the worst side effect. The child psych unit felt like a mini prison, he had a lousy pillow, thin blanket, no toys and was in there because of being on the wrong medication, and it was not his fault, and he was separated from the people that loved him. However he was a danger to himself and we needed him safe while they made sure he was off zoloft and stabilized.

When your kid says he wants to commit suicide and you didn’t even know he knew the meaning of the word, it does a number on you (He read it in a children’s book about “Suicide Hill”).  As parents we were silent, sad, and nothing would really remove that gray cloud, I don’t recall enjoying anything, it was a state of shock, we’d just get through the day, keep the other 2 siblings in their routine as much as possible, leaned on our families.  He’s only 10, how could this happen?  Why him? He was so happy last year?

We were only allowed to see him an hour a day, and my heart just ached when he asked if he could shorten the visit, because seeing us made him sad because it reminded him how much he missed us and just wanted time to go quicker.  We wanted more time with him, but at the same time we respected his wishes, even though as his parents we were desperately wanting time with him.  After the 2nd day, we decided if we come to visit we have to really really make him laugh.

We told the kids we really needed to make their brother laugh, and they were all in.  Our 9yo who is really close to his brother and was already familiar with power point, knew what would make him laugh.  They had recently discovered Netflix had a season of teletubbies and the description of the episodes had them cracking up.  So we made up a few slides.  They were ridiculous, Dipsy had a soiled bottom, we used photoshop.  We found images on the internet of pokemon cards with teletubbies on them.  We made our own descriptions for make believe episodes. His sister made her own slides of cute pandas for him to look at.

When we went to visit next time,  after he was done having his milk shake we showed him the power point and for the first time since he was there he laughed, it was divine.  He really loved all the slides, and we promised to come up with new ones for the next visit.

“I love you guys” he said to us.

“We love you too buddy, you’ll be home soon.”

His stay at the psych unit was short compared to many others, we can’t imagine having a child there for such a long time, and our hearts go out to all the parents that have had to hospitalize their kids.  One thing that is so painful for parents that have their kids in a psych unit is that the visiting hours is “visiting hour”.  They really limit their contact to the outside world, and it is HEARTBREAKING.

From our perspective, we found that humor as Jim said, is just the key to getting through crappy times.

So if you are going through this for the first time,  bring humor to your visits, you know what makes your kid laugh, bring the youtube video if they allow you to, or print out some funny stuff you find on the internet, that’ll make them smile.  Since they only have family time once a week in some psych units, let their siblings make a video, or find stuff that will make them laugh. If you don’t have reception at the psych unit, then make sure you save stuff to your phone that you can show them.

One of our Teletubbies slides

One of our Teletubbies slides

My 10yo is doing well by the way now, he’s not depressed, having a better year, with ups and downs, but not nearly as bad as this past spring.  He has interests again, and now is the owner of 2 guinea pigs.  We are still on a journey to make sure we’ve addressed his mental health, but we have lots of hope and a lot of support.  All the kids now have a great appreciation for photoshop.

Early retirement

Tomorrow I have a consultation with a doctor to have a tubal ligation.

I never thought in my life I would be actively ending my fertility. But let me start from the beginning, you need some perspective on my story.

My youngest brother was born when I was 8 years old. Despite all my entreaties to The Almighty for a sister, he gave me a 3rd brother. All my protests died on my lips when my beautiful Joshua was placed in my arms; from that moment on I became his second mother. I played with him, I cuddled him and whined when my mother took him from me to nurse him. He was my baby after all! I knew from the age of 8 that I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know it would be another 27 years before my wishes came true.

I met my husband in 1998. We became engaged in March of 2000 (I asked him) and we were married in May of 2001. We immediately started trying to get pregnant. I had it all planned out in my head, pregnant by September and I would present my parents with their 1st grandchild. I imagined how my family would be over the moon. We hadn’t had a new baby in our family in quite some time. My parents were just itching to become grandparents. It would all be so very perfect.

Nothing. Month after month, nothing. I didn’t give up hope. My mother told me it took her a few months to get pregnant with me, don’t stress out it.

Still nothing.

At my annual ‘oil change’ (i.e. yearly gyno appointment) my doctor had been reviewing my complaining symptoms and lack of pregnancy with a diagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The leading cause of infertility. My heart sank. I had a nagging fear of infertility for a long time. I remember thinking ‘Oh God I would just die if I could have kids’ Now my worst fears might possibly be real. Before I could panic, my doctor sent me to a specialist. The fertility specialist would help me get pregnant, I thought, they are experts. And besides, my family had no history of fertility problems. My mom gave birth to four fat healthy kids after all.

Fast forward six rounds of Clomid and three rounds of IV injectable drugs (and a husband who tested with a tremendously high sperm count) I still wasn’t pregnant. I was told at the pharmacy that my lifetime allowance for fertility drugs had been reached and if I wanted to continue it would be $1500 a month. I can honestly say I don’t remember walking back to work. I felt like my heart had been shattered into a million pieces. If fertility drugs couldn’t get me pregnant…… my hope was low. I cried for months.

Over the next few years, my brothers and their wives began to produce offspring. My oldest niece (and my parents 1st grandchild) was born in April of 2004. Despite my own struggles, I happily and joyful greeted each new baby with a happy heart. I couldn’t begrudge my brothers the joy of parenthood just because I couldn’t get pregnant.

Near the end of 2007 my doctor suggested that I could try losing weight to help with my fertility. PCOS causes weight gain and I had gained weight since marrying my husband. It could hurt anyway. So I joined a gym, started doing South Beach Diet and waited for my youngest brother Joshua and his wife to have their 1st baby. April 2008 gave me my first nephew ‘lil’ Josh. I was relatively happy at this point. I was losing weight, I had my friends, and family, I had a good husband. I had slowly start to accept that parenthood was not in the cards for me. I took immense joy in my godchildren, my nieces and now nephew. I was getting a grip.

Christmas 2008 was a bear. I was getting the flu and felt like garbage. I knew me and my husband would have to ‘do the rounds’ and I was dragging ass bad. I just wanted to sleep. But little did I know, I wasn’t really sick.

I was pregnant. I was finally pregnant!!!

Needless to say, there was never a better Christmas then 2008. I rung in the new year with pure unadulterated joy.

I’ll give you the short short version of the next 6 months. My father died in April of 2009 and my daughter was born 9 weeks early in June due to preeclampsia which had a ‘Stroke Team’ standing by during my delivery.

New Years 2009 I had a baby in my arms and my father in the ground. Needless to say, I had quite the struggle with mixed emotions.

And despite all of this, my greatest wish came true. At long last I was a mother. The thing I had prayed, cried and begged for was mine at last. All the heartache my husband endured with me, never once reproaching me for my lack of fertility, was ours at last. Our daughter was beautiful and perfect.

In the 4 and a half years since my daughter’s birth, I have not gotten pregnant again. I have done nothing to prevent it or actively tried to get pregnant. My reasoning was that if I was blessed with another child, so be it. If not, I wouldn’t ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’

Now as I approach 40, the dangers of getting pregnant now are paramount in my mind. I had a harrowing experience the 1st time around, did I really want to try again and be 5 years older doing it? The answer is no. I was given a beautiful daughter in reward for my years of struggle and she is enough.

But it seems so bittersweet to truly put an end to my fertility when for years my goal was to have a child. When I started on this journey, I wanted three children, two boys and a girl. By the end, I just wanted one healthy child and I got her. This is the hand I was dealt and I’m happy. But I guess there is just a tiny pang of longing for the son I will never have, the second daughter that might have been. But it’s time to put that struggle to an end.

Thank you, my fertility, for giving me enough in her.


7 Questions with Linzbella

Presenting our first interview on ParentsforOpie, with the lovely Linzbella!!! I first heard about Linz when she called into the Opie and Anthony Show about the Boston Marathon bombing. She knew one of the victims personally and defended him while Alex Jones spewed his conspiracy bullshit. Girl can hold her own! Well then we got to know her on twitter and the rest is history. We got a chance to ask her a few questions about O&A and parenting. 



How were you introduced to O&A?

I started off, back in / around 2005, listening to Howard Stern. One day, in 06? I heard him bitching about these guys named Opie and Anthony, so I decided to check them out. Haven’t left since… and I now despise Howard Stern. Not to mention, their show is the perfect combination of funny and serious, and they actually have really great content. it’s hard for me to get to work in the morning, because I never want to turn them off.

Besides health and happiness, if you could wish one thing for each of your kids, what would it be?

That they always remember to show kindness to others, do what they can to be upstanding people in society, and to remain passionate about life and the things they enjoy doing. (provided they are not illegal. 🙂 )

What is the biggest challenge for you in parenthood?

For me, the hardest part about being a parent is balancing everything. While multi-tasking is part of being a mom, it is so hard to equally divide your time / attention to all three children. I’d also say that many times, I am overly critical of myself; constantly worried that I am being too lenient, or other times, too harsh.

Bullies. How do you deal with bullies yourself? and what
would you advise a parent to do if their kids are being bullied?

Bullying is THE ONE THING I cannot stand. I was bullied throughout my middle- high school years, and it is an extremely sore spot for me. The way I deal with bullies, is typically, I try to talk it out with them. Sometimes, you cannot reason with them, but many times, the ones that keep talking, say more about themselves as a person, than it does about you. I try to remember, depending on the forum, that many times, these people know nothing about me, so their opinion of me does not matter. Typically, I’m a fighter; I stand up for what I believe in, and I never let anyone push me around. I’m better in real life confrontations than I am on Twitter though.
As a parent if my kids are being bullied, depending on the severity of the situation, I try to let the kids work it out on their own. Generally, I’ll give my kids advice, and if it escalates after that, I would try to contact the school or the bullies’ parent and discuss the issue. I haven’t had any of my children be bullied, (thank god).

Being O&A listeners I know many of us have the sense of humor and don’t take things too seriously when it comes to radio entertainment, but are there any hot buttons that would make you change the channel?

You know, this is a great question… So far, I haven’t heard anything on O&A that has made me want to change the channel. Things have made me mad, but generally, that makes me want to listen more. I would have to say the one thing that I cannot stand, is a boring show. When they have these snoozefests on, I don’t mind turning it off, because I feel like I’m not missing much.

What is your favorite O&A bit?

Anything with Jim Norton, and his “personalities” they all make me laugh, Chippa’s my fave.. And back in the day, when they used to have homeless people on the show. Always made me laugh. Oh!! and Lady Di tweeting out her phone number was probably the best thing I have heard this year; aside from my fight with Alex Jones. 🙂

What is your superpower?

I am really good at fixing other people’s mistakes, and good at giving relationship advice. 🙂

Thanks Linz for sharing with us, and I hope you guys check out her out on Twitter.  Check out a great interview she did on the @ItsAllAbout podcast here

Oh, I’ve noticed that she’s a noticer (and other goofy stuff)

Editor’s Note:  Thrilled to have @queenelisabeth contributing to our blog!  For more blog posts from the queen, click here

‘Live your life thinking any moment, something magical is about to happen’

Then my alarm clock goes off and real life starts to happen.

I recently read a blog about a woman with Type A personality that decided to stop telling her 4 year old daughter ‘Hurry up’. The reason being that her daughter like to take her time doing things. The mother couldn’t understand why the daughter wanted to stop and smell the roses. So one day, Mom has an epiphany and ‘wham’ no more ‘hurry up’ in her vocabulary. Her daughter was a ‘noticer’ and she was going to let her ‘notice’ everything and not rush her.

Her alarm clock has yet to go off. But thankfully, mine has.

I get what this mom is saying, her daughter (and most 4 ,5,6 year olds) like to take in the world around them. Pet the dogs, feel the rain on their face and ask 60 million questions from here to the grocery store in the space of 35 minutes. We, parents, want our child to absorb the world around them, to see and understand and perhaps gain a better understanding of things then we, the adults, ever will. My child~the philosopher.

But let’s get real.

As much as I want my daughter to be better than I am (which hopefully she will be) does allowing her to take her jolly good time getting from the house to the car really give her better childhood memories and experiences? How about it’s pissing down rain and Mommy needs to get you to your doctor’s appointment in 10 minutes. You need to get your ass in the car and pontificate about the brilliance of rain later! Are we bad mothers because we force our children to be considerate of the people around us, not to mention *gasp* the mothers and fathers who are, for lack of a better term, running this show?

I guess because I do tell my daughter to ‘hurry up’ that this blog post felt insulting to me. I would love to let my daughter hear and observe everything that catches her attention. I want her to think long and deep about the world around her; to love it, to want to make it better, to understand everything.

But I really need to deposit this check before the bank closes…so let’s go!!!

I feel like this mother is trying to manufacture these magical moments with her child by simple allowing her daughter to dictate the pace of everyone else’s life.

“Oh no, we can’t hurry, Britney is trying to decide exactly what shape the clouds are making.”

C’mon now.

My child is figuring out things faster than I can teach it to her. She observes, she drinks it all in and asks plenty of questions. But she also knows that when I say ‘Let’s roll’ she moves.

But, with all this being said, Kids do need time to just check the world out. I like watching my daughter watching people. Asking about different things and giving me her reasoning on things she has seen or heard. I could listen all day to her 4 year old philosophy. But I also want to raise a child that although she may have her head in the clouds, she’s got her feet firmly on the ground. She should know that there are time schedules and appointments. Walking around with no regard to anyone else’s time is not only inconsiderate, it’s rude.

Take it all in child, but keep moving.