Sunday, April 17, 2005


241 Days of Treatment to Go

OK, so, you know how I complain, in pretty much every journal entry, that my kids are spoiled rotten brats, but secretly I blame it on the steroids? (At least in Kendrie’s case …. I’m still trying to come up with a good medical excuse for Brayden and Kellen.) Well, that’s a concern of many cancer parents, I think, the dilemma over just how much we should let the little rugrats get away with because of all the crap they’re going through for such a long time. How much slack should we cut them? How much really, truly, IS a side effect from the chemo and the steroids and procedures? How much is normal childhood behavior? And how much is bad parenting? Or in my case, *lazy* parenting. There, OK, I said it out loud!! I AM A LAZY PARENT!!

Here are two examples from this past week, then I’ll get to my point. First, Kendrie came to me on Thursday morning and said she wanted to wear her “Bat Attitude” Halloween t-shirt to school. I had recently swapped the summer clothes and winter clothes out in the kids’ closets and she re-discovered this long-lost favorite t-shirt--according to her, anyway, it was a long-lost favorite. I said “Don’t be silly, it’s April, you can’t wear a Halloween t-shirt.” And she started whining. And complaining. And asking “Why???” (You have to make the droning, nasally, whiny noise in your head to really get the full experience.) And so I stood there and the lazy part of me thought, “Well, why not? It’s not like if she ruined it I wouldn’t be able to find another t-shirt for her to wear next Halloween, right? What's going to happen, the Halloween police show up and arrest her for wearing the shirt in April??” (That’s the lazy part of me, who just didn’t want to argue with her … pick your battles, right?) Then, the cancer parent, paranoid, anxiety-ridden part of me (that doesn’t surface very often, but when it does, it’s vicious) thought, “For all you know your worst nightmare could come true and the cancer could return and she won’t even be here next Halloween; just let her wear the shirt now while you know she can and make her happy!” So of course Kendrie, after the whining and complaining, got to wear the shirt. And I wonder why she insists on arguing about everything. Because Usually She Gets Her Way, that’s why! …. She’s not stupid!

Example #2: I spent an hour and a half in the commissary (grocery store on base) buying all sorts of nourishing and healthful foods for my family. My cart was so loaded down with stuff that I was balancing items on my head … like those Ugandan women with the water basins, only in my case it was a 24-pack of Charmin and I was having to steer the cart with only one hand because I had the 12-pack of Bounty and 6 bottles of Purell under the other arm. I checked out (writing a check for a very painful amount, I might add), tipped the bagger, drove home, and began unloading. Kendrie walks in the kitchen, takes one look at the two dozen bags of nutritious food, and her only comment is “Did you remember the Doritos?” I said yes, and her next comment was “I’m hungry and want a grilled cheese.” So I explained, calmly, that first I had to unload the groceries and put them away …. maybe if she wanted to help, the quicker I got it done the quicker I could make her a sandwich. Well, *that* fell on deaf ears, and I continued unpacking by myself. Every few minutes she would holler from the living room, “Are you cooking my grilled cheese yet???” and I would grit my teeth and unload another grocery bag. Finally, finally, I was done and I cooked her not one, but TWO grilled cheese sandwiches like she wanted.

I asked her, “Do you want them cut into squares or triangles?” and she said “Squares”. In between trying to find something for Brayden and Kellen to eat, because "I hadn't bought anything good" and feeding the dog, I had a momentary lapse of memory and cut the sandwiches into (gasp!) triangles. Kendrie took one look and said, “I asked for SQUARES! These are TRIANGLES!” Very sarcastically, I said, “Well, I’m sorry … Lord knows they won’t taste the same. Here, let me throw these in the trash and make you a new sandwich in squares.” (Let me interject here that Brayden had already tasted the new yogurt I brought home and deemed it inedible and thrown it in the trash.) and Kendrie said, “Yes, please, I want squares. Throw these away.”

I mean, I understand they’re kids and don’t perhaps get the concept of money …. but I was so perturbed by her attitude that I just walked off, making all kinds of comments about how “No big deal that I just spent three hours looking up new recipes and shopping for food and putting away food and cooking food and you guys don’t like anything I bought so you think it’s ok to just throw it in the trash” (although I did refrain from mentioning the starving Cambodian children, though I was sorely tempted to throw that in my lecture.) Kendrie said, “Fine! I’m taking off all the bread!” (in an I’ll-show-you tone of voice) and I hollered back, “Well, next time let me know and I’ll melt you a bowl of cheese …. No sense wasting four perfectly good pieces of bread!” (For some reason, all of a sudden the waste thing was seriously bothering me!) and Kendrie said, “I’m not eating the cheese, either!” and I’m left wondering, if you’re not eating the cheese or the bread, what is left in a grilled-cheese sandwich???

So that was about the time I decided that I couldn’t blame the steroids (she hasn’t been on them for two weeks) and I had no excuse for the other two children … obviously, it’s bad parenting, right? What else can it be? But, what kind of person am I that I have raised children who are so incredibly ungrateful? I’m sure Dr. Phil would have a field day. How depressing.

Fast forward to our dinner at Chick-Fil-A the other night. Now, I realize it’s not fine dining, but we were meeting friends and there’s a play-land … so it’s an automatic success in my book. We were sitting at one table and our friends were catty-corner to us in a booth. In the booth to my immediate right was a dad with three kids. Not to sound rude, but none of those kids had seen the wet end of a bath in quite some time, or a Kleenex, just going on appearances. There was a little boy, about four years old, turned around in his seat looking at our friends. I glanced over at him and caught his eye, I gave a little smile …… and the kid flipped me off! Not a subtle motion either …. I’m talking, flipped me the full bird! What was even more surprising to me was his dad walked up just then, *had* to have seen the whole thing, but said nothing to him! I was dumbfounded. He started rounding up his kids, telling them it was time to leave, and they were completely ignoring him. So he started in with threats about throwing their kids’ meal toys in the trash … then threatened to throw their shoes in the trash …. then (my favorite) threatened to leave them at the restaurant if they didn’t put their shoes on RIGHT NOW. (ps. I hate parents who do this. Don’t make a threat you’re not willing to follow through with. It’s called BLUFFING and kids will beat you at it when you make stupid threats like leaving them at a restaurant, which everybody knows {including the kids} that you’re not going to do!)

And I suddenly realized …. I am not the worst parent on the planet! I might not be the best, and that guy probably isn’t the worst, either, but at least my kids don’t give middle-finger salutes to total strangers. Or if they did, you can bet your bottom dollar I’d do something about it! And the next day, when we got stuck in a parking lot next to a car whose owner had invested a little too much cash in the stereo system, which was spewing forth a clamor I can only imagine must pass as music on another planet, Brayden said, “It’s rude to play your music so loud when other people are nearby. That’s not being very thoughtful.” and I could almost hear the chiseling sound from my name being engraved on the Parent of the Year trophy! My child was talking about thoughtfulness!!!

So to all of us who face these types of parenting issues (Weekly? Daily? Hourly???) let us have faith that despite the extra challenge of kids on steroids, or kids who are nauseous or fatigued, or siblings who are sick of taking a back seat to the “sick one”, or kids who are just plain pushing their limit …. There will always be someone doing a worse job than you!!! Yippee!!! I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a whole lot better about myself!

I was so thrilled with my new-found parenting confidence that I decided to put on a DVD and let the kids dance away part of the evening. It is part of my “Happy parents help make happy memories” philosophy. Ask me again in a few days after the kids are driving me crazy and I’ll most likely have a new philosophy … one that involves military school in a far-away land. But for tonight, I want to share a few pictures from our Freeze Dance frenzy in the living room.


Brayden and Kendrie, square dancing.

Kellen, air guitar. Or seizure, I'm not sure which.

The "pick me up and swing-me around the room" dance.

Yep, that Lord of the Riverdance guy ain't got NOTHING on me!!


Hey, I said FREEZE!

Joy comes in many forms. So does a need for Ritalin.

Did somebody say Vogue?? Hello? Madonna?

Hey, it's not really a dance, but I can do the changing-knees movement .... just not very good.

Believe it or not, this is the kids doing the Worm.

I have no idea what this dance is, but she seemed to be doing it a lot tonight!

So ends our weekend. We started out sad because we had to miss our weekend at Family Camp, but ended on a high note. Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Love, Kristie


A very brave boy on my mom's list-serve, whose cancer came back a little over a year ago, went through a bone-marrow transplant last year with his older brother as donor. I am very sad to find out that his cancer has come back again ... Please visit his site at Cam's Page to cheer him up as he starts his treatment protocol for the third time. Geez, Louise ... when is enough enough for this poor kid???

BEST PART ABOUT HAVING CANCER TODAY: Zofran. No need to elaborate.

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