Mothering Heights


Parenting Method #261


By Christine Fugate.

I’m finding it difficult to whine about motherhood these days. Perhaps after 11 years, I’ve perfected a method to this parenting madness.

Granted my girls are older and out of the dirty-diaper-oops-I-pooped in my-panties phase. Also, public restrooms are no longer extremely fascinating there fore trips to the bathroom are minimal.

The battles over vegetables and fruit are also behind us. After a couple of the hide-the-veggie-in-the-pancake disasters, I donated the cookbooks to the library and used a new method called, ‘eat it now or there will never be another piece of candy in your life ever again.’ Amazing how well threats work.

Of course, I’m always one to use a small bribe here and there. Put a piece of fruit near my older daughter and she shrieks, “Get that away from me.” Alas, the fruit smoothie and a chocolate chip cookie seem to be the only way to prevent her from getting scurvy.

During the evenings, I’m in a state of bliss (or is that numbness?). Bedtime was 8 p.m. with a half hour for reading and lights out at 8:30 pm. But then the sun kept staying up and my sailors declared mutiny, “We can’t go to sleep when it’s light outside.”

“Children do it every night in Alaska,” I argued. “Now go to sleep.” That worked for about five minutes. Then, the excuse train began with endless trips to and from the bathroom. My stance began to weaken.

“Alright, girls. In bed at 8:30, lights out at 9.” The sailors agreed until I realized the ‘yes’ game was taking place.

‘Yes mom, we are heading to bed. Yes, yes and yes.’

It reminded me of the time I worked at Sony Pictures across the hall from Francis Ford Coppola. Sony insisted that Coppola edit “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” at the Culver City studio. He agreed, yet every day his office was empty. I know because I kept waiting to meet him. Months later, the movie was finished and he’d never showed.

I’m not sure how relevant that shameless name dropping story is, but I do know there’s a common thread, the popular parenting method #254: Denial. More than just a river in Egypt, denial can get us parents through many a tough spot.

Yes, I deny that my kids are wandering around the house at 10 p.m. or even later. I mentioned it to another parent recently and their eyes bugged. But then I find comfort in my girlfriend who lets her daughters, also 10 and 11, turn out the light whenever they want. Sometimes, I see her daughter on Instagram long after I know her mom is fast asleep.

As soon as “American Idol” is over, I scream, “Girls, you need to get to bed. Now.”

That’s when bribery and threats work well.

“No cell phone or play dates tomorrow.” A quick scuffle and lights are off.

After 10 minutes, I hear the toilet flushing and little mice playing in the bathroom. I either start screaming or start yelling. I’m saved by method #260: Apathy.

Yes, I’ve stopped caring about those small details like bedtime, fruits and vegetables. Ah, the freedom. I’m still busy though with patrolling the tweenage social media, my daughter’s short shorts and lice outbreaks.

I guess my ability to whine is still alive and kicking. I’m hard at work on perfecting Rule #261: Never whine alone.

Thanks for listening.


Christine can be reached at motheringheights@gmailcom.

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