Raised by My Child

September 2, 2011

in no manual for parenting


“All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting to encounter yourself.”   — Gore Vidal


This is going to make me sound like an awful mother, ok, more than usual.

I know many of you who are kind enough to read my blog on a regular basis adore my precocious youngest child. But sometimes, sometimes, I wish my child would say only “age-appropriate” things and engage me in “age appropriate” conversations. Sometimes I wish he were not such a little old man.

I am kind of tired of having to respond to a comment out of nowhere such as, “I don’t know how a Christian can ever support death penalty!” Seriously? Where did he get that?

Or, “I finally figured out how Batman became so rich. When his parents died, they left him with the inheritance.” Yes, he’s been quite fascinated by the concept of inheritance lately. I am trying to NOT worry about it.

Or when he flipped the channel and decided that a documentary on Freedom Riders was the most interesting thing on TV and he wanted to watch the whole thing. It’s exhausting because to answer his questions oftentimes requires supplemental materials and contextual information that are beyond his comprehension.

On these days I am worried that I am not qualified to be his mother.


I also don’t need a critic that follows me around like Jiminy Cricket, questioning everything that I do or say.


The other day he followed me around the house. “You know. This house is falling apart. We have ants everywhere,” he sighed.

First of all, the house is not falling apart. It was built in 2000 and we are the original owners. The ants? The ants are in our house because he leaves a trail of crumbs no matter how many times I have asked him to please be careful since he freaks out about the ants.

He sighed again. “I think it is going to be very hard when it comes time to sell this house.”

“It is not going to be hard to sell this house. Please don’t say things like this.” I was getting rather annoyed because unfortunately, I have absolutely no patience for Debbie Downers, Pessimists and Worrywarts.

“Ok. I just want to let you know that when you die, and I inherit this house, I am going to sell it.”

“Well, I will make sure you don’t inherit this house then.”

“I am just letting you know, that when you die, IF I get the house, I am going to sell it.”

That’s when I started having this huge headache between my eyes. And it’s still there.


I don’t need someone to constantly remind me how old I am.

“Mom, you are 40 years old. Do you think you should behave that way?”

“You are a middle-aged woman, please don’t jump up and down.”

And he says these things not because he’s embarrassed, but because he has labeled me as such and therefore I should behave in such and such way to conform to that label.

It’s like I am living with the Puritans.

“Are you my dad? You are worse than my dad.”

Like I said in the beginning, I am an awful mother.


It was funny the first time he sprinkled Holy Water on me. It was a lot less funny when I overheard him saying “Yeah, and if your mom does not believe in god, it is very hard when you want to be a good Christian.” To nobody in particular. Again, out of nowhere.

Head. Desk.


It’s like living with your own critic, your very own Simon Cowell who has no filters when it comes to the dissemination of truth.

Yup. My son. The truth seeker.

I know I am the adult here but oh boy does the truth hurt especially when it is pointed out to your face by someone who’s supposed to be looking up to you.


“Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they are going to catch you in next.”  — Henry Ward Beecher


tracey - justanothermommy September 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Oh My Word. Where did he get all of that “Christian” stuff if you’re not a Christian? My middle child went to a Christian preschool for 1 year. ONE YEAR of his life, because it was a good school and I thought “What can they possibly do to his brain in one year?”

Yeah. He is still mis-quoting what he “learned” in that year there. And I, apparently, know nothing about eternity and life and God. Whatever.
tracey – justanothermommy´s last blog post…To top it all off, I was wearing a Thong…

Absence Alternatives September 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm

My oldest told us in the car after religious ed that you are not allowed to socialize inside the church. What? I said, That’s what church is for: a sense of community. He said well it is one of the N big rules and you never believe what I have to say!

I have to remind them over and over again that I have read the Old testament and know most of the new testament because I was a English lit major so don’t try to BS me. Ugh.

Joy September 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Oh my goodness. I loved this post! I could picture the interactions with you and your little man. He should get together with my daughter, the other day on a road trip, we all learned about the history of the Ku Klux Klan – she was both intrigued and dismayed at humanity all at the same time. Ah, kids 🙂

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:12 am

See, that was the thing: he’s only 8, should I be explaining to him what lynching is when it was mentioned in the documentary? sigh. I don’t want to shelter him (and of course I am grateful that I even have the choice) but I would really love to keep his innocence as long as possible. They grow up so fast nowadays. too fast.

Naptimewriting September 8, 2011 at 11:03 am

See, here’s the thing: Simon Cowell’s opinions have been built over a reasonably successful career. He knows what he’s talking about. A child of any stripe really doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and it’s infuriating that our job descriptions include “listen to what child says,” and “honor what child feels.” Barring those, I’d ignore that little social critic.

In his defense, though, I don’t see how a Christian can believe in the death penalty, either. I don’t know how any thinking, feeling person can be. But I don’t know very much and my parents’ job descriptions didn’t include those mandates to listen and honor. So, I kind of count as a child.

[It won’t help you, I’m sure, but I prep answers for my little Out-Of-Left-Field-er. I knew he’d some day ask about god, about death, about sex, about babies, about war, about guns, etc. So I prepared and knew what I wanted to say so that even at terrible moments like the grocery store or post office line, I’d have an easy answer that cleaves to my principles. I don’t have an answer prepared about my kid selling the house when we die. He’s already said he wants to move out and build his own house, so I don’t think he cares about whether ours is falling apart.]
Naptimewriting´s last blog post…Wordless Wednesday

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

Dear NTW, did I not ask you many a moons ago that I *need* you to write a manual for parenting STAT???!!!! I am serious. You can start with that FAQ. SHARE! xxoo

Fresh Garden September 8, 2011 at 2:39 am

I understand, totally.
Fresh Garden´s last blog post…Lotus Root

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

Thanks! Thanks for visiting and commenting too. 🙂

magpie September 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

Laughing. How old?
magpie´s last blog post…Where Have I Been?

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

He’s 8 going on 70.

Velva September 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Once again, I am smiling. Would you feel any better if I said, this is not a unique experience? Kids just do different things, say different things …but, it is all the same feeling for parents.

Velva´s last blog post…Chicken Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

Yes I would and I did. Thanks! 🙂

SisterMerryHellish September 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Hmm…Perhaps you only have one child and this second one is the manifestation of your inner critic? If he’s talking to no one in particular, maybe it’s because no one but you can hear him.

If no one else sees him and he knows things about you only you would know I’d seek help. And by that I mean start drinking until he turns into a mute sea monkey you can distract by holding a light up to his tank.

Please report back.
SisterMerryHellish´s last blog post…The Secret Life Of Guitar Playing Sheep

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

O.M.G. This explains everything!

p.s. Would be a very cool movie script no? Like The Sixth Sense…

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick September 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

This is too funny. I know it’s easy for me to say, but living with your son would be like watching a really funny movie all the time. He’s a hoot.

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

You are welcome to visit us any time m’lady!

MacDougalStreetBaby September 5, 2011 at 6:02 am

I know this may sound like I am a very bad mother but I’m a big supporter of mothers-giving-wedgies-to-their-very-annoying-children. Sometimes they just need parameters.

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:06 am

Great idea! ha.

Jack@TheJackB September 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm

If my kid asked me if it was the Christian thing to do I’d go slap the principal at his school. All that money I spend on a Jewish day school and he comes at me like that. The nerve of it gets me all bent out of shape. 😉
Jack@TheJackB´s last blog post…Blog Comments Are Not Currency

Absence Alternatives September 10, 2011 at 8:06 am

LOL. UNLESS they are saying it in an ironic way…

Kathy September 3, 2011 at 11:47 am

Your very own Simon Cowell? Too funny! However, I think you may be better off than me, as I think I’m being raised by my dog! And she’s a fucking bitch–sort of, literally————–
Kathy´s last blog post…How Bloggers Can Make a Difference (Imagine Haiti in the Rainy Season)

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Probably the only time you can actually call someone a bitch and you’re telling the truth. LOL

Wicked Shawn September 3, 2011 at 7:46 am

Might I make just a couple of suggestions:

“This house will be very hard to sell when you die and I inheret it because of these ants.”
“Yes, I know, that is our plan”

“You shouldn’t jump up and down like that, you are a middle age woman.”
“You will never get your inheretance if I don’t do something to speed the process.”

“I don’t know how a Christian can ever support death penalty!”
“Nor do I, but then, I am fairly certain as a good Christian, it is important never to judge another person or their choices and opinions.”


And I still think you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit, because nothing short of an incredible mother could be raising two such wonderful boys!!
Wicked Shawn´s last blog post…11 Minutes

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm

“You will never get your inheretance if I don’t do something to speed the process.”

LOL. This is a great one!

Andrea September 3, 2011 at 5:57 am

I am with Dufmanno here. I’m glad you share these instances with us — it makes you both endearing to me. He must take after his momma, questioning things that need questioned. 🙂 And it makes you wonder where else his soul has been.
Andrea´s last blog post…Speechless Yet Again

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I do wonder what’s in his little head all the time.

Lies September 3, 2011 at 3:32 am

I can imagine it is confronting… but if I were you, I’d be proud to have a son as smart as that! I can’t wait for the moment when he catches up on the inconsistencies of the christian faith… ;).
Lies´s last blog post…Locking love

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm


Life with Kaishon September 3, 2011 at 12:14 am

He is such a great kid.
So thankful he is not mine because I can barely answer “Why do we have to go to school for 180 days a year?” and such! ; )
Wishing you a great weekend. Relax friend. As much as you can…with your little question asker by your side.
Life with Kaishon´s last blog post…Here’s to the Kids Who are Different by Digby Wolf

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Thanks. Most of the time I say: Google it!

dufmanno September 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I can’t help myself. I still find him hysterically endearing.
Still, I know the feeling. Don’t fret my dear he’ll either take over the world or watch it burn. Wait, no.
That is what the battery of neuro/psche/educational people told me about my kid. Your kid will be fine.
dufmanno´s last blog post…I Don’t Know What To Do With This Anger

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm

LOL. Well put!

Meg at the Members Lounge September 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I cannot help but think of Jung’s archetypes. He inherited an old soul.
Meg at the Members Lounge´s last blog post…I Can’t Help Myself Friday. A Salute to Alec Baldwin.

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

You are so right! I need to go refresh it.

andrea@shamelessagitator.com September 2, 2011 at 10:07 am

“I know I am the adult here but oh boy does the truth hurt especially when it is pointed out to your face by someone who’s supposed to be looking up to you.”

That line got to me. You’re right. How do we help our kids understand that their parents are only human too?
andrea@shamelessagitator.com´s last blog post…Reflections

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

My kids definitely know I am only human. I have the tendency to cop to my failure when it happens. Never sure whether it is the right thing to do or not…

BigLittleWolf September 2, 2011 at 9:18 am

Oh, your posts do make me chuckle… Raised by our children indeed.
BigLittleWolf´s last blog post…Piano Bar

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Now what are you going to do now that they are away? ^_^

Alissa September 2, 2011 at 8:41 am

This reminds me so much of my 4-year-old daughter. She asked me if I believed in God, and I said no, and she asked for the phone so she could call my in-laws and tell on me. “No, give me the phone! What’s the number?” I told her she shouldn’t do that because they will freak out and never speak to us again, and she sighed, “Can I tell YOUR parents?”

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

LOL. This is awesome! Oh this absolutely cracks me up.

TheKitchenWitch September 2, 2011 at 7:13 am

If the words “good Christian” ever fell out of my kid’s mouth, I’d be putting a hand down the garbage disposal. And you think that YOU are a bad mom.
TheKitchenWitch´s last blog post…Freakshow Breakfast Salad

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

If I were the Christian parent in the house, I’d be feeling the same way. However, I am trying to toe the “I respect your religion” line and therefore it makes it hard for me to react… Do mixed faith families really ever works?

secret agent woman September 2, 2011 at 5:31 am

I’ve been dealing with this since my older son started stringing words into sentences at 14 months. I thought I’d get a break with the next one, but no. And so I’ve fielded the queries about inheritance, and the questions about whether I was sure there wasn’t another baby in my belly because it sure looked like there was, and the wondering about how any sane person could be anything other than an atheist and on and on. But you know – I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
secret agent woman´s last blog post…From the dorm walls.

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I am going to say you are right!

Nance September 2, 2011 at 4:57 am

We have a tendency to produce these odd ducks in my family, too. My son’s first phrases were:

“Oh, no, me”

“Hard do”

And, “I can’t want to.”

During a recent visit, my four year old grandson informed me, “I’m very tired of old. Young people live in houses and old people live in motels.”

Whatever happened to children keeping us young?!
Nance´s last blog post…August Anniversary Comment Winners!

Absence Alternatives September 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Children are taught by us to tell the truth so why am I so upset when mine do? LOL

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