Posts Tagged ‘kids


There Is a Tablecloth On My Battlefield

If there is one thing that might make me snap as a parent, causing me to fly through the house punching holes through walls and tearing down wallpaper with my fingernails, it will be my daughter’s eating habits.

My 6-year-old wonderful, artistically gifted, verbally advanced, sensitive darling who is the pickiest damned eater I have ever had the misfortune to live with and be unable to employ threats of violence against.

If she had her way, her diet would consist of the following, and probably only the following:

  • Milk, chocolate milk and orange juice
  • Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
  • Bacon and hot dogs (occasionally supplemented with chicken or steak)
  • Green apples, grapes, mandarin oranges and the occasional banana
  • Annie’s Shells & Cheese
  • Tootsie Roll lollipops and gummy anything
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Processed cheese sticks and extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Yogurt
  • Corn, but only sweet summer corn and only on the cob, heavily salted
  • Gravy (mashed potatoes are considered an inefficient delivery device that merely impedes her ability to drink the gravy)
  • French fries
  • Salt or soy sauce, with or without food that requires it, and preferably deposited thickly enough that you cannot see the food beneath it

Now, of course, I give her credit for eating fruit. More power to her. But she’d still rather eat her weight in bacon instead (with the exception of fresh summer strawberries). Also, she occasionally has good taste in cheese and likes yogurt. But as you might notice, the emphasis is on grease/salt/sweets and there is nary a vegetable to be found except for the corn, which is available for only a month or two during the year.

I get that kids can be picky and might eschew veggies. But this is a child into whom we must struggle even to get “normal” kid foods sometimes.

She eats hot dogs, but without any bun or condiments. She will grudgingly eat a hamburger, but just the patty. She hates spaghetti.

This is a girl who recently dipped her French fries into her chocolate milk and declared it delicious, yet won’t eat pork cooked in a sweet mandarin orange sauce even though she likes both of those foods, too, individually.

We can’t get tacos in her. Or sandwiches (except for the occasional jelly sandwich). A banana chocolate chip muffin is acceptable, but rarely is blueberry, and never is a cinnamon-crusted one, much less anything that trends toward pretending to be healthy. She professes to like scrambled eggs but I suspect that’s just an excuse to have something on which to pour salt so that she can hasten her arrival at gross hypertension before she reaches college, because she always picks at them and dawdles when eating them. She’ll eat pancakes, but mostly to get the maple syrup, which she will try to scoop up as often as possible while avoiding the pancakes.

This is a girl so stubborn about eating that if you give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat, she will feign being full or ill and go to bed starving rather than eat a single bite.

It’s maddening.

And to top it all off, if you give her food she adores, she’ll beg to eat it in the living room while watching TV rather than sit with her family.

So many parents wish their kids wouldn’t eat them out of house and home.


I’d give my left nut for her to make us go broke buying her organic zucchini, Brussels spouts, mixed greens, broccoli and green beans.

But for now I’ll settle for her eating her hotdog with a bun or shoving some spaghetti in her craw.


A Kiss Before Bedtime

A wonky wireless home networking system kept me from doing any kind of post last night, and the in-and-out connection has been playing havoc with me today, too.

I will probably post another installment of the Cleansed By Fire novel sometime today, if the gods of the Internet are kind to me, but here’s a quickie post to make up for having posted nothing yesterday and to give you something if you aren’t a sci-fi fan.

pinklips-kissMrs. Blue doesn’t like it when I ascribe semi-diabolic  motives to Little Girl Blue’s actions. She’s agreeing me with more often than she used to now when I point out such things, but I remember in the past year or so many, many times when I would suggest our little girl was playing us a bit, and I would get the stank eye in return from the wife.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My 3-year-old is not some devil child. She is challenging at times, but she’s also loving. And she’s whip-smart. To a certain degree, I like seeing that she has enough intellectual power to find subtle and tricky ways to get what she wants. I have to stay one step ahead of her, and that sometimes wears out my own brain, but I’d rather have that than a child who goes into brain-shutdown/drool mode in front of the TV on a regular basis.

The latest trick in her book is asking for a kiss at bedtime.

No, no, you don’t understand.

It’s not the kiss goodnight that’s a problem. I’m more than happy to give out one or even several kisses and hugs as I lay her down in bed.

It’s when she gets up, 5 minutes later and I ask, “Why are you up?” and she says she wants to give me a kiss. And I do. And I tell her she must go to bed and stop getting up. Five minutes later, she needs to give me another kiss, or a hug. And so on.

Now, she will from time to time say she needs a damp cloth to wipe her eyes, or another drink of water, but by and large, she will whip out the extra affection as an excuse to get up more often than not these days.

And this poses a real challenge for me as a loving father.

I know she’s stalling and trying to put off going to bed. And she probably enjoys yanking me out of my office every 5 minutes too, since it’s right next to her bedroom and it’s not like we can let daddy do his thing. 😉 But the real quandary for me is this:

I don’t feel right saying, “No, you can’t have a kiss.” Nor do I feel good scolding her about delaying her sleep after I give her one, even though I sometimes have to.

And she’s smart enough to know this, which is why she added this trick to her arsenal. She found an excuse that at least partially defuses my ability to get cross with her. Oh, sure, I eventually do reach a point at which I may have to threaten to deep-six one of her Dora DVDs or something, but for the most part, she gets to delay her bedtime (which is already way late by most family standards) and give me very little room to operate in a disciplinarian mode.

Like, I said, this girl is smart.

It’s that kind of skill that might serve her very well in life as she figures out how to navigate the hell that is other people (other annoying people at least…I’m not such a misanthrope that I think all people are trouble). But it’s going to give me some headaches, and many gray hairs, until she begins harnessing those skills for good instead of selfish reasons.


Two-fer Tuesday: Kids by Deacon Blue

colors-of-the-worldSince Miz Pink went and got all sappy with her kid story on Saturday (actually, it was a cute story), let’s make our Two-fer Tuesday topic “Kids.” I’ll start.

No, not going to talk about sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

Not going to go over that stuff about honoring our mothers and fathers.

Already talked about Jesus telling us to “suffer the little children.”

OK, Bible down. I have no doubt I could expound upon spiritual stuff related to kids. Instead, let me give you some real advice, and this is mostly aimed at people who don’t yet have kids, or are about to have kids for the first time soon. But I’m sure even existing parents can get a tickle out of this, too.


  • Before you have a child, think really, really hard about how hard you think raising a child will be.
  • Double that.
  • Then add on the stress of working for the world’s most demanding and least flexible boss (for at least four years).
  • To that, add the idea of serving in an extended sleep-deprivation experiment (for at least a year, possibly two).
  • Now imagine being denied regular access to the forms of entertainment you have come to rely on (movies, sex, clubbing, etc.) for roughly five years, give or take.
  • If you are having your first child and you are in your late 30s to mid-40s, increase that total amount by 50%, because you are already getting set in your ways even if you don’t think so.
  • Finally, if you are having your first ever child at the age of 55 or older, and you are doing this on purpose, please check into a mental health facility now.

All that being said, children are a joy, and the first time you get an honest “I love you” or a wet sloppy kiss on the cheek, your world will change forever, and for the better. There are few, if any, jobs more rewarding than being a good parent—at least trying to be a good one.

But oh, do those kids work the nerves sometimes. 😉


Two-fer Tuesday: Kids by Miz Pink

pink-cat-childI love my kids. Sometimes I’m not so sure about other people’s kids.

Okay, I’m usually not sure of other peoples kids. Its easier to get annoyed at them but still I often smile when I see a strange baby or some other person’s toddler or preschooler galavanting around.

But as nice as kids are to have, the more important thing is being able to raise them right and the problem is that a lot of people have kids and don’t consider that.

They don’t consider whether they have the resources or patience or skill or support or anything else to put the kid on a good path.

Too many people have kids for reasons like this:

  • Hold on to a man they are afraid of losing/pin down a woman at home that man is afraid of losing
  • Because kids are so cute (or worse yet, “my kids are too big to cuddle now and I want something new to play with while I make them fend for themselves”)
  • Because I can
  • Because I don’t care to be responsible enought to bother with birth control.
  • Because if I can’t afford it, the state will pay/I can give it away/the other parent will take care of it while I split.

Having kids and raising them is a huge responsibility. I see some Christian brothers and sisters online who seem to think that the problem with today’s youth is that they don’t marry soon enough. These folks think that if kids got married and had kids earlier they’d be more responsible. I shudder to think of that. I think of big families in my extended family tree where they started young and what happened was a lot of bad parenting because there wasn’t enough maturity, or time for the kids…and then older kids are placed into parental or baby sitting roles that they aren’t ready for. I’m all for pitching in, but there were folks in my family in recent generations that basically handed the babies off to the older kids and didn’t do crap themselves half the time.

God entrusts us with these new lives and he expects us to take care of them and to take the job seriously. To do anything less is an affront and an insult.


Cracking the Code by Miz Pink

little-girl-in-pinkAs I’m nursing Mini Pink Model 3 and talking to Sir Pink about stuff to do with the family unit this weekend, I decide to put forth the idea that we might take the brood out to Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant for crappy pizza and loud noises and kids running all around…you know, the kind of stuff our children will like (well, Mini Pink Model 1 he’ll tolerate it for the pizza and endless sodas and a couple of the video games there…and the fact he can fart around with little sis).

Not wanting to get the hopes of Mini Pink Model 2 up (she loves Chuck E. Cheese’s), I decide to speak in code, in what I thought was a pretty creatively entertaining and preschool child impregnable code.

“Honey, what if we went to Charles Edward Fromage this weekend?”

(Fromage, for you uncultured sorts, is French for cheese.) 😉

Without skipping a beat, and before Sir Pink can even answer, little preschool girl Mini Pink Model 2 brightens up and says, “We’re going to Chuckie Cheese?”

I’m not one to assume that my kids are geniuses just because they use more words than other kids in their class or potty trained early or whatever and I won’t start now but I think I may have to look at educational options for Mini Pink Model 2 a lot more closely. There’s no way she should have been able to figure that out.

Not that any of you are going to learn anythning from that. I just thought it was cool to share one of those moments of breakthrough/milestone stuff where you realize with both sadness (I’ve lost another way to keep “need to know only” info out of my child’s head) and joy (gosh, she’s smarter than even my optimistic self expected) that your child is growing up fast. And here I am holding another one that’s going to run me down that path once again and for one last time.

(Just for the record, my preschool kid is even cuter than the one in the picture.)


Two-fer Tuesday: Suffer the Children by Deacon Blue

jesus-childrenIt’s really tempting to use a play on words with well-known phrase “Suffer the little children…” to focus on them actually suffering, either in reality or in perception. Many people do end up doing that. Lord knows I almost did it myself when I tacked the headline on one of my wife’s posts on this blog, Cry For the Little Children, which I did almost title Suffer the Little Children.

But we need to remember that Jesus came up with that line, and that wasn’t what he was getting at. When he said, “suffer the little children,” it was in this context in the King James version: But Jesus called them unto him, and said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Here’s the full text, the New American Standard version of Luke chapter 18, verses 15-17:

And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

In the more modern translations like the one above, we see suffer become something like permit or allow. But that misses the flavor of what I strongly suspect Jesus was trying to get across and that the King James version captured. He wasn’t just saying, “Let them come to me because they are important” (he was, of course), but he was also saying, “you will deal with them being around me…you will tolerate it even if you don’t like it…you will suffer it if you must but you will learn to cope with it regardless.”

So why is it that so many churches and churchgoers and church leaders want the children out of sight, out of earshot and out of mind?

I grew up in the Catholic Church. Whatever ill feelings I have for the Vatican leadership and many of the doctrinal matters of Catholic life that depart from scripture, I have nothing against Catholic places of worship; rank-and-file priests, nuns and brothers; or Catholic worshippers. In fact, one thing I recall fondly is that there wasn’t a single “children’s service” in any Catholic church I ever went to. I don’t know if that’s still the way things are; maybe things were different then. Or maybe I went to a whole lot of non-standard churches. But the kids were expected to be in the pews. If they acted up, they got taken out by their parents. If a baby cried, we all dealt with it until the baby could be soothed or the mother could move said infant to a more soundproofed area. But people didn’t get weird about them being there, because there place was there, alongside their families.

Yet, since becoming born again for real (instead of just being born into Christianity as a baby and raised in it) and attending mostly Protestant churches as an adult, I see a lot of churches—in fact, most of them I have attended—shuffling the kids off at some point, sometimes very early in the service, to a children’s church or to the nursery, depending on the age. If you are one of the “odd” sorts who doesn’t want to hand your baby off to a relative stranger and your child makes a fuss at all in the service and you don’t dart of your seat at light speed with kid in tow, people give you dirty looks.

They don’t want to suffer the children.

Look, I get the value of a children’s church. I know that in a lot of cases, the kids are being taught scripture in a more kid-understandable fashion. But I also know that in a lot of cases, kids are being indoctrinated into what that church believes kids should do. I don’t mind them teaching my child that he or she should obey God, but it’s fully my prerogative to tell my children whether, and how, they should obey other adults, including myself. Yet in many children’s church settings, kids are taught to obey and to do what they are told and not necessarily to think. That’s why I prefer my child next to me in church, because I want my child taught according to my priorities, particularly when she is still not even school age.

The church we’re in now has a great program for kids and I trust them, so I do send Little Girl Blue down to the nursery/playroom. She’s happier that way, and I’ll ease her into doing services as she gets older. I’ve seen them in action and they ultimately let the kids be kids. Also, our pastor at a recent meeting of new members didn’t ask parents to leave their kids with someone but welcomed them and thanked all those kids afterward for having been such good sports about the whole thing and letting us grown-ups talk.

But in so many other churches I’ve been to, you’re going against the grain if you bring your child, and God forbid you give special instruction like “don’t feed my child X” or “if he/she cries, get me immediately” or anything else, because in my experience, most of the people in charge of the kids don’t listen to what the parents tell them, or don’t care what the parents are saying.

Kids are people too. Trite as it sounds, it’s true. Jesus recognized them as children of God first and foremost, which is the same way he viewed the adults.

We should too. We need to suffer the little children.

And we need to suffer them gladly.


Color Me Girly by Miz Pink

I like pink. As if that isn’t obvious as heck with me around here. I’ve always liked pink, even before I embraced my girly side. As a kid I’d pick up the pink squirt gun if there was one (purple was an acceptable subsittute) but I’d be shooting up the place with the guy whether I was the cop or the robber. I’d be sporting some pink lip gloss, but I’d be kicking butt and taking names. I’m toned down the tomboy stuff as I’ve gotten older, and found the joys of periodic dress-wearing, occasional high-heeled shoe toting and similar things.

With Mini Pink #1, I did the blue blankets and rockets and trucks and other male-friendly stuff. I did try to steer clear of the guns but then he started turning the hose attachment into a ray gun and finding sticks he could shoot the bad guys with and I just gave up trying to reign in the testosterone.

With Mini Pink #2, I avoided the pink stuff and frilly stuff because I thought if I couldn’t tone down the inherent violent play in most boys maybe it was because I had still stereotyped him with all the other “male” stuff and gender-typed him. So my little girl got trucks like he did, along with dolls. She got construction hats and tools along with princess caps and fairy wands. And she got a lot of green and yellow clothes. She’s not even in grade school yet and she’s trying to put on my makeup and wear my girly shoes and be all things feminine.

With Mini Pink #3, still just a bun in the oven, I’m just going to stop caring about it. I’m proof that a girl can be a tomboy and feminine, and I have friends who are women and are about as unfeminine as you can get and I have other friends…and a lot of relatives…who slather on every kind of makeup there is and wouldn’t be caught dead in flats. But I don’t know that we can stop our boys from being boys most of the time and our girls from being girls.

And I’m not sure we should.  I still don’t know if Mini Pink #3 will be a boy or a girl. When I find out, the kid will get probably mostly the color that “fits” the gender. At least that will cut down on people putting their feet in their mouth when the kid is still bald. I hate it when my girl got called “he.” I will do a mix of toys like I did with Mini Pink #2 but it will probably trend toward the “traditional” toys for the particular gender.

Basically, I’m putting it in God’s hands. He made us different and he gaves us whole different anatomies and hormones and crap so that we would…most of the time…turn out with certain basic gender based traits. Doesn’t men a man can’t be sensitive and a woman can’t be in charge. Doesnt mean every women will be maternalistic or every guy will by handy with the tools. But basically, we women act like women and those men act like men.

God obviously had a reason for it all. I think that people who try too hard to make their kids gender neutral or who encourage a boy to dress up in dresses (yes, I know such people) for example are just going too far the otehr direction. Just as we shouldn’t try to gender-type our kids but rather let them be who they will be…we shouldn’t be trying to de-gender or opposite-gender them either.

Let’s just raise our kids right, teach them to be good people, and instill values, and let them and God figure out how manly or girly they’ll be.


Kid-unfriendly by Miz Pink

So, I mentioned a couple posts back that I’d explain why I kinda left Deke in a lurch a couple weeks ago and didn’t have my “weekly” post in for once. Well, the hubby and I were kinda excited about something and had a lot of calls and stuff to make. And now that I’ve told everyone else (starting with my son and daughter, working through the core relatives, out to the relatives I only see every few years for reunions, and then to my friends and then co-workers and then, finally, the mail carrier), I can tell you: The hubby and I are preggers. Well, okay, only I’m pregnant but I’m dragging hubby into whole new territory with this third (and final! I mean it! I want one more and only one more! Please God no surprises when I hit 40 or 50!) child, so I figure he might as well be tied to me in this and get pregger status too.

So, what is different with this kid, why should you care, and what does it have to do with this post?

Well, I’m kinda concerned about what this is gonna mean for my churchgoing experience once the baby pops out. We flit between three or four different churches, with one in a pre-eminent position for us most of the time, and I think all of them are going to pose challenges for me with child #3.

Oh, sure, the folks will oooooh and aaaaah over the growing belly and all that. But this child isn’t going to be like the rest, and no church I go to…heck, no church I’ve ever been to, seems to be equipped to deal with the neo-hippy way I plan to do boy-or-girl three.

You see I’ve been workin’ hard to be a healthier person. A less polluting person. A better mommy. Etcetera etcetera. I didn’t feed kids #1 and #2 a ton of junk and I didn’t slap their behinds red very often or nothing like that. But I do recognize that kid #1 got the short end of the stick because I was young and foolish and didn’t have a great marriage going, and he got a lot more junk food than he should’ve. Kid #2 was born into a happier household and I had begun to discover the wonders of organic and (more important) locally grown food and such and I was a bit more mellow on discipline, although butt-whoopings did occur at times.

But this time, I want to raise my child in a way that makes me feel really good about my choices and that will (I hope) allow him or her (still don’t want to know gender. must resist temptation to have ultrasound tech or midwife tell me…) to grow up in a very positive way. Breastfeeding all the way until at least 1.5 years old, maybe 2 years old. Cloth diapers. Toys that are mostly natural products. Gentle discipline. No TV or videos (I hope) during year one and maybe not until he/she is two. Maybe that sounds hippy dippy to you, but it’s important to me.

But I’m not sure my main church or backup churches are going to be so down with me on this. Particularly the breastfeeding. Now, despite laws protecting the right of mothers to breastfeed in public and give their babies what God (and nature) intended them to consume, a lot people still get freaked out when a mother puts child to breast, no matter how discreetly she does it and even if no one ever sees that damn nipple. Now I’m not into to rubbing the breastfeeding into other people’s faces (get your dirty minds off that track right now) and I did a mix of breast and bottle with kid #2…but people shouldn’t get so bent about what is a very natural thing. Somewhere along the line, corporate America convinced us babies were supposed to drink formula, and that’s wrong and cheats the baby of a lot of stuff it needs to grow healthy. It’s also expensive and wasteful and environmentally unsound.

Nowhere do I expect to get a bigger cold shoulder with breastfeeding than at church. And I can tell you already what’s gonna happen at most of ’em. I’m gonna have to go into some little room or into the basement to do it, and I’ve gonna miss a lot of the service, and I’m gonna wonder why the hell I bothered to come to church at all. Because God forbid I be in the back of the church with a blanket over my kid’s head letting him/her get a nice healthy dose of God’s brand of baby food. Why men and women in this country cannot ever think of the breast as something non-sexual at times is beyond me.

And that got me to thinking about what the future will bring when it’s time to put my kid in the nursery…or if I even want kid #3 in the nursery. Are they going to really listen when I tell them my rules for how the baby/toddler needs to be fed? When they should come and get me out of sthe service? Whether they should let him/her cry for an extended period or not? I know that I’m going to tell them what they are supposed to do for my kid, and I know they mostly won’t care. And I know this because I dipped my toe into some neo-hippy stuff with kid #2 and got a lot of thinly veiled shock and passive-aggressive resistance any time my rules differed from what everyone was force-fed as the “only way” when they grew up. And I’ve seen a handful of other breastfeeding and alternative parenting mothers get the same stank eye treatment. And if a baby is in the sanctuary and starts to make any noises, boy, do some people give you looks for not having gagged junior before entering the church and for not being able to get out of the pew 2.5 seconds after noises begin.

And it’s sad because I’d like my “church family” to be supportive of my desire to raise a healthy and happy God-fearing kid in the way that (most) of my biological family is. Instead, I’m going to be pushed out of the camp like a menstruating woman in Old Testament times and left lonely at church for much of my child’s early development most likely. And that’s going to make me wonder how much my church folks love me, really.

(I wonder if I’ll look as good as Salma Hayek in that photo when I’m that big this time around? Nah, I’ll look better…and if I don’t, dear hubby better say I do anyway.)

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


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June 2023

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