Archive for the ‘PARENTING’ Category

Conversation this week On The Ponderosa:

ME:  Lulu, did the Princess tell you we are going on vacation next month?

LULU:  No, she doesn’t tell me anything.  Where are you going?

This is a blatant exaggeration born of teenage angst.  When not physically attached at the hip these two BFF talk no fewer than 10 hours per week, not including text and instant messaging.

ME:  We are going Niagara Falls.  

LULU:  Cool, never been there, I never get to go anywhere.

Please note that Lulu, just last month, returned from a week long vacation at the beach with The Princess.  This was her attempt to procure an invitation to the family vacation.  As much as I love Lulu, my idea of vacation, rest and relaxtion does not include 22 road trip hours with two teenage girls.  Primarily because drinking and driving is illegal.

ME:  Since Niagara Falls is in another country and The Princess does not have a passport,  we will drop her off at the US border each day and pick her up every night after our adventures are over. 

Because, well, I just like to mess with my daughter and when her BFF is around, messing with both their heads is twice as much fun.

LULU:  When did going to Florida require a passport?  

ME:  What?  Passports are not required to go to Florida.

LULU:  I didn’t think so.  I knew Florida was in the southern US.

ME:  Yes, Florida is south from here, but.

As you can see, I was interuppted mid-sentence.  This is SOP should you dare to converse with a teenage girl.

LULU:  Well then, she shouldn’t need a passport to go there.

ME:  Um, Lulu you lost me at Florida.

I was not quick enough on the response draw because The Princess broke one of her 2 connections to the outside world (internet/cell phone) to explain her BFF’s error in vacation spot placement on the world map.

THE PRINCESS:  What?  Lulu, have you been sniffing the Sharpie too long?  Everybody knows that Niagara Falls is not in the South, it is in the northern hemisphere of North America.

LULU:  Well, exactly where is it then if you know so much?

At this point The King & I were observing the scene with parental admiration, since The Princess was about to give Lulu a much needed geography lesson.  Scoff if you will, but when you are a parent your chest will swell with pride when your child is about to display their educational prowess.

Make that your head, because pride does go before the fall…

THE PRINCESS:  Lulu, really.  It is in Mexico, dummy.

This America, are your public education tax dollars at work.  The BFF Tag Team are honors students enrolled in the AP and college bound pathways at our local high school.

The Princess would like it noted for the record that all of the family talking at the same time confused her and she was clearly talking about our last vacation which included a cruise to Mexico.  Lulu would like it noted for the record that at no time did she inhale fumes from her writing instrument.

I would like it noted for the record that, The Princess, is the only member of our family that has ever been to Niagara Falls.  Two years ago.  In fact, she did cross the Canadian border.  Two years ago.  To tour Niagara Falls.  I’m just saying. 

Perhaps Niagara Falls has been moved to South America by the United Nations.  Although I do not recall any international summits addressing the issue.  I could be wrong.  Depends on who you ask.  Because as stated before, I am intellectually challenged, tragically unhip and basically dumber than a rock


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Summertime here On The Ponderosa and school is out.  Who plans this school calendar?  No one trapped in a house will two teenage girls I can assure you.  The Princess and her best friend Lulu (read: BFF Tag Team) had dreams of the lazy days of summer with no classes.  Now four weeks since the last day of school their favorite mantras include, but not limited to the following: 

  • WE WOULD LIKE TO GO TO THE LATE MOVIE – But our curfew is too early
  • LET’S GO TO McDONALD’S –  We need some cash

After days of much whining from the BFF Ponderosa tag team, I decided a plan of action was required.  Empower your children I say, offer them choices and if those choices happen to benefit you, then all the better.  Beyond the shadow of a doubt, motherhood has granted me these inalienable rights as compensation for tolerating teenage angst.  My interpretation of the Parents Bill of Rights is broad people.  My story, I am sticking to it.

Queen: What could you two do to earn extra privileges and money?

BFF Team: We could clean the house?

Queen:  Whose version of clean?  (Note:  I have seen their rooms)

BFF Team:  We will mop floors, vacuum and dust!

Queen:  Well, that may buy you a happy meal.

BFF Team:  We will throw in cleaning bathrooms.

Queen:  Okay, well that offer will provide dinner and the late movie.

BFF Team:  (in quiet hushed tones)  We won!  With two of us we will be done in no time.  He he he…we get to stay out late!

Two hours later….

BFF Team:  We are finished!  See our list we did everything!

Queen:  Yes, you did a great job!  Thanks so much.  (hands over cash)

So here I sit On The Ponderosa with a clean house, a quiet house and the feeling that I live in a Mastercard commercial.  Why, you ask?


Cost  $10.00


Cost  $10.00



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Ponder no longer why adults slowly ease in to alcoholism around say their mid-forties…it is because they have teenagers.  Seriously, AA should add a 13 step to their program…..We have come to believe that we were driven to drink by our futile efforts to communicate with our teenagers and admitted that the exact nature of our wrongs were to have unprotected marital sex about 16 years ago.

In an effort to understand the misnomer Sweet 16 I have researched many parenting books, which are truly useful only to bang against your own head or toss at the backside of your teenager as they walk away in a huff mumbling under their breath. 

Karma numerical guidelines provide the most accurate insight.  Number 16 offers the test of optimism and faith; it represents the misapplication of sexual energy, adversity, secrecy and aloofness.  Not a spiritual guru myself, but these numerology folks have teenagers.

This darling little girl that jumped in your bed because the “scary” man (read: Unsolved Mysteries program) was on TV, the same one who gleefully camped in the yard catching frogs with her dad, the same one that rushed to deliver your homemade birthday card now believes you are the AntiChrist.

School is no longer an academic experience, it exists merely as a social arena to plan evening and weekend activities.  Studying 12 hours for the driver’s license exam and 12 minutes for an english test will be the educational effort example for high school.  Further evidence will be presented as a sudden aversion to math, unless calcuations are required to determine the amount of cash they need from you.  You are THE NEW HUMAN ATM.

Rooms that you spent a week turning in to a palace for a princess, now resemble a pig sty complete with food scraps and odors to keep out anyone with a sense of smell.  Cries of woe are frequently heard from this disaster area declaring that she has NO CLOTHES.  Apparently 10 pairs of jeans, 36 shirts, 6 dresses, 3 capris, 8 skirts, 15 pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of shorts now represent the equivalent of having NO CLOTHES.

The little girl who used to sneak in to your closet for fashion shows would sooner gouge out her own eye that consult your opinion on wardrode options.  Often you find yourself shouting to the driveway “you are not going anywhere dressed like that”, only to be reminded that you must be confused because she was only getting something from her car.  And yes, she always carries her purse and car keys when retrieving CD’s from her automobile.

The four major food groups are now:  pizza, dr. pepper, cookies and anything from the golden arches palace.  Sleeping is tossed aside in favor of necessary tasks like instant messaging, TV viewing and marathon cell phone sessions, unless of course you point out a chore needing her attention. 

You no longer possess a working knowledge of anything, you understand nothing and possess an IQ lower than a turtle.  It is miracle of some deity that you have lived past the age of 40 and can actually shower, consume food and operate a toilet.  (The King’s opinion on my operation of plumbing fixtures has no bearing, in fact, his genetic contribution to The Princess has probably brought us to this point.)

When you tire of choosing your battle, the aforementioned incredible raging hormonal one will do something so small and amazing your heart will melt.  Let me explain:

BATTLE FOR TODAY: Rationalizing that strapless blue satin party dress with black lace is perhaps a tad inappropriate for church service.

HEART MELTING MOMENT:  Scanning The Princess’s MySpace page and reading “The Parentals” in the spot next to My Heroes.

Contrary to rumors, my picture should not be placed in Webster’s dictionary as a photo illustration for the word stupid, I am aware these heartfelt moments are few and far between.  For the other 364.5 days of the year I have Margaritas close at hand. 

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One night a week, The Queen indulges in girls night out with her best friend.  Basically, this is a torrid affair of attempting to enjoy a quiet meal in a restaurant and catching up on gossip.  My idea of a good time does not include the following tale of parents gone stupid accompanied by an 8 year old child that would scare Stephen King. 

Crosby (yes, that is his name) spends the majority of the meal throwing utensils, food, condiments all over the place and smacking me in the back of my head at every opportunity.   Every time he did this, his idiot mother would say, in a voice barely above a whisper, “Crosby, stop that, please.”  At this point, we should have asked to move away from Crosby, but my interest was peaked as to Crosby’s fate.  Granted I have nearly grown children, but if I recall correctly, when they were 8 years old this behavior would have warranted a trip to the restroom where they would have received the knowledge of a come to Jesus meeting. 

This melee continues for 20 minutes and finally I believe the mom is about to discipline her child.  Did you know the word discipline comes from the word disciple (to teach)?  Crosby’s mother is not aware of that…keep reading.  She tells him, “Crosby, if you don’t stop that right now, we are not going to get  the new Power Ranger.”  I wish at this point I could add an exclaimation point or bold typed those words, but her voice was incapable of being strong and authoritative. Ever optimistic, I thought she was finally going to take charge.

Does the threat of no action figure strike fear into his heart?  No, it does not.  He continues his utensil and condiment juggling, adding throwing ice cubes at the waitress to his act .  Finally, mom announces that he will not be receiving his action figure for his continued silliness.  I kid you not, she called it silliness.  With that proclamation his bottom lip trembled, and tears almost filled his eyes.  This child should receive an Academy Award for Best Manipulation of Person Posing As A Parent.  Take a bow, Crosby.  You are about to win the prize.

Mom spots the tear, this is where my best friend had to hold my legs to keep me from climbing over the booth and striking the mom in the head with the ketchup bottle.  Mom pulls Crosby in to her loving arms to comfort his toy deprivation act.  She tells him, “oh, don’t cry, honey, we’ll still go get the Power Ranger.  Don’t cry.”

Let’s see, what has Crosby learned today? There are no consequences for my actions.  I suspect he knew this before fate landed him in the booth next to mine in this restaurant.  Really, there are parents that I must restrain myself from smacking the shit out of, see now I have degenerated to bad language.  You might say this is one of my pet peeves.  No really, this makes my head want to imploded or become an advocate of corporal punishment, purely to make me feel better.  So when I see brats, like Crosby, I feel completely justified in blaming the parent. Blame this mom, I will.  Gladly.

Parents like these are afraid of being the bad guy, not being liked or actually daring to say NO to these children.  Let me say it again, you are not their friend, you are their parent.  For some, apparently from a biological aspect only.  After 18 years these overindulged selfish brats will be unleashed into adult society, we should be afraid, very afraid. 

Now if you want an example of a parenting hero, read here.  She is totally, my parental heroChris, I bow at your parental superiority.

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Has anyone has bypassed this route on your road to parenting?  Let me familiarize you with my current Highway to Hell. It is located in the city of Math, still don’t know it?  Try exit Algebra II Honors.  There exists a land of polynomials, with a few exponents and radicals with stupid algebraic expressions on their faces, all debating the quadratic function of life. 

The Princess is an excellent student, A’s in Civics, Bible and English II Honors, however she is failing Algebra II Honors.  We have been battling traffic on this highway for the past four months and have now found ourselves at the Ninth Circle of Math Hell.  She has declared she now hates Math, loved it in the previous ten years, but nope, this year she just doesn’t relate to the concept. 

There are many possible explanations to her struggle this year.  The teacher, the less than interesting subject matter, The Princess lack of effort and discipline to use available resources, the school system structure, etc.  We have instilled the importance of learning and education to two completely different children.  The Prince is an intellectually oriented young man and The Princess a socially oriented young lady.  They possess identical senses of humor and opposite styles of learning information, he learns for the love of learning and she learns what she loves.

Unfortunately, educational systems in American today are geared not to individual learning methods, but a focus on the grade versus actually instructing the student in an intelligent and engaging manner.  A manner that results in the student actually comprehending the subject versus suffering total defeat.  Our local school system seems content to inspire learning through daily routine that is cycled adnausem to be repeated on a paper exam.  Conventional teaching methods seem to hinder both the challenged, and the gifted in acquiring an appetite for knowledge.  

We were provided these tips for The Princess success in Algebra II Honors class from the teacher, who refuses to make eye contact when speaking to you, I have added my thoughts for additional insight.

  • Review homework each night: Okay, I can look at the homework, but I have long since lost the ability to interpret quadratic functions.
  • Make certain they get 10 hours of sleep each night: What planet do you live on?
  • Reinforce math through everyday life:  Okay, as soon as I can think of a way to work in Euclid’s axiom into our daily routine I will get right on that one.
  • I am always here to help:  It is not helpful to call my daughter a ditsy blonde, it is also not helpful to treat her with disdain when you discover she is receiving tutoring from one of your co-workers.
  • Test re-takes are always available if she does not do well on the initial test:  Did anyone else get do-overs in High School because they did not perform well on the first test? (Refer to previous comment on pressure to produce a grade)

The Princess has, under duress from the The Royal Parents, surrendered.  Her response:  “Mom, really, when will I use this in the real world?”  As much as I would like to say, you are right dear daughter, we all know there are hoops you must jump through in our educational system to arrive at the the end of the course.  This term she has failed to even apply a minimal effort to improving her understanding of the subject.  The King and I have resorted to what I like to call catalyst agents, The Princess declares they are certainly going to end her social life, I disagree, I could resort to these methods.  Pain sometimes motivates change, I would settle for a concerted attempt. 

Anyone know how I could get Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting to help tutor?  That would provide incentive.

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This past weekend I attended a baby shower in our church fellowship hall, I had forgotten my camera and returned to the parking lot to retrieve it from the car.  Out of the corner of my eye I say a young girl, 12 years old push her mother in to the side of their family van and followed up with a blow to her mother’s stomach.  She the proceeded to scream “I told you I am ready to leave!”

My brain had a mini-stroke, did I just see a clip from Tweens Gone Wild?  The attack of tween continued, all the while the mother was consoling the child, begging her to listen to reason and yes, they would go to the mall for her new shoes in a few minutes.

I am not particularly a fan of corporal punishment, but remember spare the rod spoil the child?  My children are sixteen and twenty-three, I can count the spankings they had on one hand, all before the age of 10 as I remember.  By the grace and mercy of God this was not my child.  I surely would have resorted to smack-down in the church parking lot, grounds for some sort of religious retribution from the church elders I am certain. 

A couple of tips:

  • It is okay to say NO to your children
  • The earth does not revolve around your children
  • It is your responsibility to discipline your children
  • Teach consequences for actions
  • Extend and expect respect

I am not Mother of the Year material.  The Princess has seen anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes, when she crosses a line sometimes I yell.  Making certain she knows where she stands and I love her in spite of her behavior.  Sometimes I practice imprisonment; I have the nerve to ask where she is going, with whom and what time she will be home.  Sometimes I say NO, knowing that she will hate me for that moment.  Sometimes I say or do nothing, letting her reap the consequences of her actions, even when doing so breaks my heart.  The Princess will at various times allude to slavery practices when forced to do her chores.  But I do all these things, why?  Because I am her parent and advocate, I am not her friend.  Contrary to all the contemporary parenting experts, I long for a world where mothers and fathers return to parenting.


It might sound a paradoxical thing to say –for surely never has a generation of children occupied more sheer hours of parental time –but the truth is that we neglected you. We allowed you a charade of trivial freedoms in order to avoid making those impositions on you that are in the end both the training ground and proving ground for true independence. We pronounced you strong when you were still weak in order to avoid the struggles with you that would have fed your true strength. We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been givenMidge Decter


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One may consider that a ludicrous title for a post, but I have my reasons, stay with me.  The Princess and I ventured four hours to coastal North Carolina in search of the much coveted prom dress that is like no other.  For those with teenage daughters that have yet to endure this past-time, I warn you it is not for the faint of heart.  Be certain to review your Seven Deadly Sins before embarking on your trip.  For your reference, I submit the following:

SLOTH:  Two weeks before prom The Princess advises that she has finally decided, she will definitely attend the gala.

PRIDE:  The feeling of arrogance you will have when she slides in to the two hundredth dress that makes her look like a princess.

ENVY:  Refer to pride with a twist.  You have long since passed the size the light of your life just effortlessly zipped up.

GREED:  Observations made of other teenagers in the dressing room who do not even blink when their mothers inform them the dress they have fell in love with is a mere $856. 

LUST:  Why you must explain to The Princess that it may be a bit inappropriate to show up to prom with a dress laced up to your pelvic bone.

WRATH:  What the shop attendant encounters from The Queen when she says “if you ask my opinion, the halter dress with laces is entirely age appropriate”.  She went on to include that The Princess would most definitely be able to shake her hooters and bounce the junk in her trunk!  Note: The Queen responds “do you have children”?  No, enough said.

GLUTTONY:  Remind The Princess when she wants that 1/2lb of fudge that perhaps she might choose the frozen yogurt.  In a totally loving way, you highlight that currently she must exhale all the breath from her body in order to continue to fit in to the form fitting sequin gown that you just purchased.

A few more tips:

  • When The King makes light of your harrowing four day retail experience that was most definitely not retail therapy, tell him:



  • After The King receives treatment in the Coronary Care Unit, give him reason to live by informing him the photo of the date was fib and the entire prom experience only set him back $131.00.

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