SQT: Unexpected Parenting Goals

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Unexpected Parenting Goals for 2017:

1.  Not to accrue any library fees or fines.

I feel like we should have a chalkboard with “___ Days Since Last Library Fine” in our living room.  Do they sell those on Etsy?!?!   Might be a real motivator in preventing the destruction and loss of library books.  While I’ve been pretty good about keeping the book rage in check lately, we did end up having to pay to replace a library book this year.  Next year will be different!


2. To make sure my kids eat at least one vegetable every day.  

That sounds like a really low standard, but we don’t count grains (like corn) or starches (like sweet potatoes) as veggies.  In practice it’s tricky to convince kids who aren’t vegetable-minded to eat spinach.  But I’ll keep trying.  There are days where the kids eat several servings, but I want to set the bar at at least one daily.

Broccoli for Haters



3.  To go to Mass as a family more often than we split up.

I love the idea of going to Mass as a family, but in practice it is exhausting.  I came home from Mass on Christmas a sweaty mess.  Does that mean it counts as exercise, too? No?  Too bad. Either way, it is beautiful and good to go to Mass with the whooooole lot of us.


4.  To completely avoid the Emergency Room.

This seems pretty self-explanatory.  It will be a good year if we can just stick to urgent care and other regular clinic visits.  We’re pretty great at playing the “get to your maximum out of pocket as early in the year as possible” game without the help of the ER.

In my experience, the urgent care staff think that magic happens at the ER.  They are very quick to make referrals.

“That cut is really close to his eye…maybe you should go to the ER.  They have plastic surgeons.”  (They don’t.)
“If he hit his head, you should go to the ER for a CAT scan.”  (It was an ear infection.)
“We don’t have an xray machine…better go to the ER.  They can do stitches there, too.”  (It was fine.  No stitches needed.)

These were three separate incidents.  We have dutifully gone to the ER when it was recommended.  But–the way we asked for things that the urgent care doctors recommended, we might as well have been asking for champagne.

Us:  Hi.  This is our son.  He did dumb things, and now he’s hurt.  They said you have champagne here?
ER Staff:  (blank stare)
Us:  We came from urgent care.  They said to ask for champagne?
ER Staff:  (blank stare)
Us:  Okaaaay.  We’ll just go home now.

Now that I type that all out, turns out maybe we should just set the goal of avoiding urgent care…*

*As I read this to David, he said that that’s not fair.  There have been many times urgent care has been awesome for us.  I think it *is* just that they assume the ER has magic and champagne, so they are quick to refer people there.  Moe definitely thinks that the ER is where you go for ice cream, so maybe he has a future as an urgent care doctor.


5.  To read a book by St. John of the Cross or, failing that, a book *about* a book by St. John of the Cross.

I’m a more patient parent when I have some spiritual reading going.  Specifically I want something by St. JOTC (I imagine saying that like ROTC — Rot-C; St. Jot-C) because he’s my patron saint this year.  The internet told me to choose him, and I’d like to learn what his deal is.

I’m a little intimidated by mysticism, so I might settle for reading a book about his works as an introduction to his ideas.

I already started composing Spanish poetry in his honor, so there you go.



6.  To figure out how to use my camera.

We’ve had a nice-ish camera for several years, but I haven’t gotten past using the automatic settings.  If I’m taking a picture of a flower, I choose the flower setting.  If I’m taking a picture of a mountain, I use the mountain setting.  It’d be nice to go deeper than that.

Specially since there are lots of things that don’t have their own setting.  If I’m photographing food, is that more of a flower, or a portrait?  What about kids who are constantly waving their hands around when it’s picture time?



And what about bison, people?  What’s the camera setting for “bison out the car window?”  There’s no button for that.

Ah, Yellowstone.



7.  To make friends with a plumber.

So…this conversation happened this week:

Moe: Mom, I’m done! Come wipe me.
Me: Okay. (Holding up half the metal spring thingy) Hey…where’s the other half of the toilet paper holder?
Moe: I flushed it.
Me: …
Me: No…I don’t think that’s possible. Are you kidding?
Moe: I’m kidding!
Me: Okay. Where’s the other half of this thing?
Moe: I don’t know.  (pause) I flushed it.
Me: (Looking into toilet) I don’t think it would fit… Are you sure?
Moe: I flushed it. I’m sorry.

Although the toilet is flushing just fine, I fear for the future since we haven’t gone in after the holder thing. Any plumbers in need of a BFF?  Heh?  Heh?




Check out more quick takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.



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  1. // Reply

    Oh my GOODNESS! I was laughing – full on, legit giggling at this. Especially the parts about the ER (because it is SO true!!), and then the toilet mishap. We knew a kid who flushed a toothbrush down, and some foster kids would randomly flush unflushables (like a washcloth) down the toilet when I was growing up. ?? I started teaching my son to not flush anything down the toilet, aside from his waste and tp (and only two to three squares at a time) at a very early age. He’s my rule follower, though; I suspect my daughter will be more likely to “want to see what happens”!

    Love the library book goal!

  2. // Reply

    Oh my word, you’re on fire this morning! (In a good, “you’ve got me laughing and it’s not even time to wake up yet so normally I’d be grumpy to be awake already but now I’m not” kind of way)
    I sang a song in high school that was St JotC’s Dark Night of the Soul set to music… It was intense. And kind of creepy. So unfortunately that is my only experience with him. I’ll look forward to learning more about him as you do!

  3. // Reply

    Hahahahaha, dying!
    I can totally relate to the library fine one. I’m thinking of getting a big swanky fun basket that is the library book basket. Maybe that will help the books end up there instead of under the couch, rug, or kid pillows (“But I want to sleep with my book! It tells me stories IN MY SLEEP!” <– #RealThingsAtNapTime).

    1. // Reply

      So cute! Glad to know we’re not the only ones fishing books out of the cracks between the bed and the wall. 🙂

  4. // Reply

    These are fantastic goals. Your vegetable achievements are 100% (infinitely, actually) better than are mine. We’ve been trying very much to avoid the ER because it costs soooooo much (about $500 just to walk in the door before they do anything) when most of it doesn’t need to be done there. We’ve gotten a lot more gunshy about going to the ER.

    1. // Reply

      Right?!?! It’s so hard to decide– “This urgent care doctor is telling me to go to the ER…do we go against medical advice or just head to ER for our champagne?”

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