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Being a parent of young children can be a frightening experience. You love them with all of your heart, but you eventually have to send them out into a challenging, scary world in which you are not always around. As a service to my readers, I’ve been collecting stories mailed in by parents who have had to deal with difficult parenting situations as their children first start school. Here are some powerful tales of parents who have looked difficult situations in the eye and said “Go away, Difficult Situation. I don’t like you. You are a jerk. I hate you, Difficult Situation, and I hope a plague descends on you and your family.” Hope these stories touch you as deeply as they have me….
My son’s first run in with a bully
The other day Bernie came home with a sad, scared look on his face. When I asked him why, he told me that another boy at the school named Jimmy was making fun of him. I felt so angry at Jimmy! How dare he do that to my boy! However, I am a parent now and sometimes it is important to be a rational adult. After all, I am a role model to Bernie and I want him to understand that simply responding emotionally to every challenge isn’t the right approach.
The next day as I was dropping him off, I had Bernie point the bully out to me. I made a note of what he looked like then drove home quickly. I got dressed up in a vampire costume that I had picked up at the local thrift store. Very frightening outfit! I covered my face in white paint and smeared fake blood on to my fake fangs. Then, I went to the school and hid behind a tree. When the Pre-K class came out for recess I leaped out from behind the tree and started running right after Jimmy. He began running away with tears streaming down his face. I chased him around for a while until I finally cornered him. As I looked into his terrified face, I said “Nobody messes with Bernie! No one!!!!” I think he got the message. My son has had several kids give him their cookies during snack time and has gotten to get on the swings first everyday since.
-Anna in Cell Block A
My daughter came home from school wanting a bizarre tattoo
Sure, young children pick up a lot of strange ideas from their friends. Peer pressure is a major issue that affects all kids, even the youngest among them. That being said, I was stunned when our 5 year-old daughter Bunny came home last Friday begging to get an inverted cross tattooed into her forehead. Personally, I’m very open-minded, but this simply was too much for me to handle. I immediately regretted letting my wife talk me into letting her join the afterschool satanic cult that was being offered at the school from 3 to 4 on Wednesdays. Clearly, young children should not be exposed to this sort of thing, whether it be at school or in some bizarre 16th Century French dungeon.
I knew that this was a trouble sign and I responded immediately. I went up stairs to her room and cast her copy of The Necronomicon into the fire. I took all of her Anton Lavey posters off the wall and made her put the heads back on her dolls. Then, I told her she was going to have to listen to records forwards from now on. Sometimes, being a good parent means having to put your foot down.
-Not Satanic in New Hampshire
Living With Flippers One Day at a Time
At age 2, my son Barbara began to grow flippers in place of his hands. Flipperitis is a rare but common disease among young children who have eaten large amounts of tin foil from an early age. When Barbara was ready to start school, we were concerned the other students would make fun of him. In order to make sure that he was not teased, we spent several thousands of dollars to train him in several of the martial arts and get him certified in the use of firearms and small explosives. These weren’t easily skills to learn for a young man with flippers, but through dedication and the use of massive amounts of body altering steroids, Barbara became a threat to the lives of nearly anyone who came within 100 feet of him.
From Day One, Barbara was the most popular boy in his class. He is currently captain of the high school swim team and he is only six years old. Even when he sprouted horns over the Christmas break this year, we barely broke a sweat. Kids would have to be crazy to mess with him.
-Won’t Be Messed With In Winnepeg
I ain’t feelin’ no sweet mystery of life nonsense this evening. I have a miserable cold. My throat hurts, I’m tired and I feel like I fought a 50-foot killer sea urchin all day. I have nothing to add to your life but complaints; I am going to blog anyway. Being sick is awful.
The other night I tried to get rid of this thing by sucking down some Robitussin. How on earth the FDA approved this substance is beyond me. The stuff never makes me feel better, but it does always fill me with angst and white-hot rage. I took the recommended dosage and went to bed. Immediately I fell into hours of hellish dreaming. I had one dream where everything was normal except everyone I saw had tremendous goiters protruding from their necks. Just an average Saturday, I went to the supermarket….goiters everywhere…..I went to the bank….GOITERS….I got home….GOITERS on everyone. Nobody noticed except me. It was basically what would have happened if Ken Kesey wrote a Twilight Zone episode. You have been transported to a strange land where everything is the same, except everyone has goiters.
I woke up from that one sweating. It was 2:58 in the morning and I was staring at the ceiling. Being a basketball coach, I am familiar with this drill. Usually I lay there muttering to myself about how I should have gone to a 1-3-1 zone in the second half of a game from 5 years ago. This evening was different. I kept thinking about orange juice. For some reason, the idea of oranges being squeezed and put in bottles was making me insanely angry. Why do they do it? Who came up with the idea? Usually, I can distance myself from this sort of thing and laugh a bit, but I was full on committed to the grave injustice that was orange juice. Then, I started thinking about raisins. Ridiculous little things! Absurd!
I bolted upright in bed. My wife is familiar with these sorts of moments and has learned to not engage me at 3 AM. Nothing I say makes any sense at that time, but with a head full of Robitussin I was bound to start yelling at her because she didn’t know the two Senators from the state of Nebraska. I started pacing around the room looking for something to read. I found the most boring thing I could lay my hands; a nightmarish volume I found in the quarter bin years back on how the commodities market works. The plan was to bore the demons out of my body. The next thing I know I am sitting out in my car waiting for the thing to heat up with the first Suffocation album, a wonderful piece of music known as “Effigy of the Forgotten”, blaring as loud as my blown out Saturn speakers could blast it. (A side note…I am convinced that there cannot be a more bizarre vision then watching a 35 year old father of two sitting alone in a beat up car at 3 AM on a Monday morning blaring death metal and singing along at the top of his lungs)
Suddenly, I’m in a Dunkin’ Donuts. The guy behind the counter has that “please don’t hassle me” look that any rational person would have working a nightshift would have when a wild-eyed lunatic walked in with malice in his eyes.
“Boston Creme donut,” I mumbled.
Wrong answer. “What do you mean!!!!? How are you out!!!! What are you talking about? This is a donut shop, man!”
“We don’t put those out until 4 AM.”
“Really?!?!!? really?!??!!? REALLY!!!!!!”
The poor guy was clearly feeling under the counter for the shotgun at that point.
“We have old fashions.”
“NO! NO! NO!!!!”
“Ehhhhhh. Give me two.”
I slunked away a defeated man. I sat there for an hour reading the same three pages on soybean futures over and over not understanding a word. The book might as well have been upside down. Every five minutes or so I got up and looked at the section of the rack where Boston Cream donuts were usually kept and there was nothing. I didn’t even want one anymore, I just felt like there should be some sense of completion, some end to this absurd journey.
I went home. I lay there for a while longer staring at the ceiling fan. It got light. It goes on.