Monday, June 05, 2006



Although I hate to be a person who stereotypes, it’s my opinion that parents can frequently be placed in one of two categories: obnoxious, or normal.

The obnoxious parent is sometimes the parent of a first born or only child (although on occasion, you’ll find parents who are obnoxious about ALL their offspring.) The child is often still fairly young (reality hasn’t come ‘round and smacked the parent in the face yet, at least that’s what I think!) These parents truly believe (erroneously, although they don’t know it) that their child can do no wrong. That no child smarter, prettier, more handsome, or more endearing or charming has ever been born or walked the face of the earth. To put it less tactfully, to the noses of the obnoxious parent, their child’s shit don’t stink.

Surely you know someone like this? Someone, whose baby pulled up, sat up, crawled earlier than anyone else’s baby? (For you see, *that* is the truly obnoxious part. These parents are competitive, secretly think *your* kid is an idiot, and make sure to tell you about every Herculean feat and Socrates moment their kid has … YAWN!) Someone whose toddler is going to completely skip pre-school because they can already read and do complex algebra? Someone whose child can run faster, skip better, jump higher, and in all ways, is more coordinated than your own?

A playground conversation amongst obnoxious mothers might sound something like this:

Mom #1: “Can you believe that when we went to buy Timmy’s t-ball uniform, we had to buy three sizes larger than the other kids because he’s so tall? I guess that’s the reason he’s the best player on the team, because he’s physically superior to everyone else.”

Mom #2: “Well, be glad Timmy’s problem is physical and not due to sheer genius. I don’t know what we’re going to do with our little Johnny. His kindergarten teacher says he’s already too advanced for all the workbooks she has in her classroom, and even his private Latin tutor admits that he’s way beyond the basic level of her lessons. She says he could *teach* the older kids!”

Mom #3: “Oh dear, you know, our little Susie’s problem is both physical AND due to genius. She is so far advanced for her age, and what “should” be her skill level in her violin lessons, that there isn’t a violin on the planet small enough for her dainty little hands. It’s simply a case of the musical brain being too advanced for the beautiful, petite fingers at this point!”

Mom #4: “Well, I have to admit, our problem is financial. Considering James (currently, four years old) will be getting his undergraduate degree in political studies from Harvard, then his medical degree from Yale, and then his second doctorate in global technical relations from MIT, I’m just not sure we can save enough to put him through school! Good thing for total academic scholarships, which I'm positive he'll get!”

{Tinkling, self-satisfied laughter all around}

Then, there are the normal parents. Parents who, although they adore their kids and deep, deep down, think they are also the most beautiful, clever, intelligent, delightful kids on the planet ….. these parents also have enough backbone to face a healthy dose of reality about their little angels.

Like the fact their two year old is obsessed with shoving beans up her nose, or eating play-doh, or that their four year old shows more interest in Dora than in potty training. That their six year old daughter is the biggest whiner on the planet when she doesn’t get her way, or that their eight year old son finds farting hysterical, or that their nine year old daughter is a pack rat who can’t keep her room clean to save her life. You know. Parents like that. Not that I *KNOW* any, or anything.

Kidding, of course. These are the kind of parents I much prefer to hang out with, and the kind with which I feel I have MUCH more in common. Our playground conversations are more along these lines:

Mom #1: “Well, we got an authorized notice from the principal yesterday that if Timmy head-butts one more kid on the playground, they’re going to ban him from recess for life. Can they do that?”

Mom #2: “Don’t feel bad, you know it’s just a stage, like when our Johnny went around stealing everyone’s dessert out of their lunch boxes. He finally stopped, but only after we threatened to take all of his Star War toys to Goodwill.”

Mom #3: “Yeah, well, I’ve got you both beat. Despite being five years old and knowing better, Susie threw such a tantrum in Toys ‘R Us yesterday when I wouldn’t buy her a Cabbage Patch stroller to go with her Cabbage Patch doll that the manager came over and asked us to please vacate the store because her screaming was setting off the Pound Puppies and the entire aisle was howling.”

Mom #4: “Sorry, no sympathy from me. I came home yesterday to discover James had shaved a four-letter word into the cat’s fur.”

See? *Those* are the kind of moms I prefer to hang with. I second guess my parenting skills often enough without “friends” making me feel worse because my kids are (gasp!) normal.

So ---- What is the point of that little tangent, where I try to prove to you that I am a normal parent, and that I recognize my children and their annoying idiosyncrasies? Because for a brief moment, I’m going veer off the path and be an obnoxious one, and I don’t want you thinking that is the way I normally behave!

Announcement, Please --- We just found out that Kendrie was accepted into the gifted program for first grade in her elementary school!!!! Gifted, people, GIFTED!!! The fruit of MY loins, gifted!

She was so excited when she found out, this was her reaction:

(This is the part of the journal entry that is totally cheesy because we had to re-enact it. I got the notice from the school almost two weeks ago. But what with the delivery, and the chaos that followed, I completely forgot to tell you guys, so I’m pretending that its news to us now!)

And here, basically, is the thing. I wouldn’t even say anything, let alone brag like this, under ordinary circumstances. Shoot, telling you pretty much ensures she’ll flunk out the first week of school next fall, and then I’ll have a big ole’ egg on my face, won’t I?

But you see, her circumstances AREN’T ordinary. Between the ages of four and six, she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent two-plus years of chemotherapy to get rid of it, including her entire year of Pre-Kindergarten, and half her Kindergarten year. She missed so many days of school that if it weren’t for her Exceptional Student (Medical) Status, she could have been held back due to the school’s absence policy. Days where she was in Atlanta getting chemo injected in her chest and her back and her legs; days where she took a nap in the Nurses Office, or came home early; even days where she felt too crummy to get out of bed and attend at all.

So to know that despite her challenges, she not only attended school, and passed, but THRIVED ---- it’s so exciting for me that I want to shout the news out to everyone! I’m so proud that I’m considering renting a marquee somewhere, or tattooing my forehead with “Kendrie Rocks!”

I also tell you this because I know there are other cancer parents out there who follow our site. Many of their kids were diagnosed after Kendrie, so are still in the thick of treatment. I want them to see that there are kids who do well, despite the trials all these young patients face. Sure, who does well and who struggles more than their share ….. a lot of it is bold-faced luck and I won’t deny it. But if your child is in still on treatment, or facing challenges, and you need a face to look to for inspiration, well, today I think that face is Kendrie’s …. Frog chaser, scooter rider …. Gifted student.

I might be her mom, and this might sound incredibly corny, but when I see her face, I’m a believer. It is possible.

I love you Kendrie,


PS. But could you please just knock it off already with the whining, ok sweetie?

PSS. Can you even believe, after me publicly professing my love for Sonic cups and rabbit pellet ice (you people who have never heard of rabbit pellet ice … you have been severely deprived and need to get to a Sonic right now) that I got up tonight to make myself my nightly DDP ….. AND I DIDN’T HAVE A SPARE CUP IN THE HOUSE? OR THE CAR? OR ANYWHERE????

I was searching all over, getting all grumpy and angry and testosterony, and griping to Blaine about how he had thrown out eight cups too many the other night, when I suddenly remembered that my girlfriend Jadine (yes, the one from Pflugerville that I mention all the time) who knew about my Styrofoam cup obsession already and had sent me a care package recently with several dozen cups and lids in it!!!! Jadine, you are a lifesaver! Smooches!

PPSS. Speaking of kids who are struggling right now, two of the boys on my list-serve have relapsed and could probably use a note of encouragement: Cameron has had a long, difficult journey for quite some time and I can't help but believe this brave kid is more than due for a break .... but he just doesn't seem to ever get one. He has relapsed ... again ... please stop by his site and say hello. Also, Tyson finished his treatment for ALL last summer. This past May 24, almost a year later, doctors discovered he relapsed. Tyson is just beginning his relapse journey and I'm sure it would make him and his family feel great if you could leave a note of support in the guestbook.

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