The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Category: Family and Parenting

Pies in the Sky

Rolling out the dough across the floured countertop becomes her silent lament. Time was the kitchen would filled with bustling bodies. Twice yearly they baked pies — fall apple; summer blueberry. Fruit would be harvested and sorted, washed and peeled, tiny hands sticky with everything. Fewer local farms now, fruit comes in small plastic supermarket […]

Reasons Upon Reasons

One of the first questions my wife asked me was, “Do you think she did this on purpose?” I answered, “No.” At that point, my daughter had not been formally diagnosed with depression so when the dust settled we asked my daughter directly and bluntly about the incident. She was insistent. No way, she said. True, that […]

Dinnertime

The equation is simple — in theory. You cook it, they eat it. Yea, right. Actually, we’ve been lucky. Our children never really gave us too much grief at the dinner table. They’ve always eaten just about anything you put in front of them. My almost-16-year-old actually has greater moments of difficulty at the dinner […]

Because

“Because!” This is the parenting go-to when our limit has been reached. When the teeth are still unbrushed ten minutes past bedtime; when the muddy sneakers have made it un-wiped past the door mat; when the same muddy shoes are left blocking the door; when the bathroom is covered in wet towels and laundry; and the bedroom, the […]

Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism is attirbuting human traits, emotions, and intentions onto non-human entities and this act of cognition is considered by some to be an innate tendency of human psychology. Psychologists consider the concept a form of cognitive bias. We use brain patterns (schemas) to layer human qualities upon the non-human based on what we’ve come believe about […]

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

If you had seen him for yourself, you’d likely dispute his fantasticalness. He was worn, thin with a faded and thinning coat, ashen nose, dark and darting eyes, and… no tail.  Yes, his tail was missing.   Because of this I decided he was indeed a fantastic fox. Last week our dog Beckham, a Welsh Corgi […]

The Specter of Sacrifice

I forgot Ash Wednesday. No big surprise; I forgot last year too. I probably could have swung into the church I only haphazardly attend. I dropped my daughter off at school for 7 am so I could have stopped in… but I didn’t. So begins a stretch of 40 days and nights where my family […]

Of Mice or (Hu)Men?

The other night I walked in the door just after 6 PM. Before my bag even hit the floor, my daughter blurted out from the dining room, “I need help with my English homework.” I sighed, took off my shoes and headed to where my daughter had all manner of study materials fanned across the […]

Time See What’s Become of Me

Mother Nature has a bit of a cruel streak when it comes to New England weather. Last week she dumped 14 inches of snow on us and today she come back with another 3-5. My wife checks weather on her phone and says with regret, “Well, I guess this isn’t actually going to keep me […]

Peeing on the Buddha

We have this stone buddha in our yard. We bought him when we got our first house in Providence. That house was built in the early-1900s by some rich old Italian who owned a sausage shop. In the back yard, surrounded by roses bushes was an empty pedestal. The old Italian likely had a whitewashed statue […]

A Winter of Listening

Right now the thermometer says the outside temperature is 50 degrees and rising. It is warm, too warm for January, and almost unnatural for Winter. Last week a storm threatened us here in New England with temps in the teens and 4-8 inches of snow. The computer models were off a little, by Sunday we ended up with […]

A Good Room

This room is a good room. We call it the family room, not because it is the room that holds the family most often but because that’s what the builder’s plans called it. This room is not the living room. The living room is at the front of the house, across from the dining room […]

Hunting Elusive and Exclusive Holiday Specials

Part of our Christmas holiday traditions always includes watching several movies and holiday specials: Christmas Vacation, Four Christmases, Fred Claus, Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph and of course Home Alone. For a variety of reasons we only own Christmas Vacation and Charlie Brown, and we usually DVR Elf or some of the others. Problem […]

No Shop November… Um, what?

Around the beginning of November my wife offered us a proposal: Let’s try to eat all the food in our house. Not all at once, mind you, but over the month. See, we are notorious for buying on sale, stocking, forgetting and then tossing food in the garbage. Especially leftovers, and the same pattern ensues each and […]

Tis the Season

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone. Evidence of the holiday lingers throughout the kitchen: the container that held the last pumpkin muffin with cinnamon cream cheese frosting laden with crumbs, a bag of brown sugar leaning against its half-brother powdered sugar, two pieces of apple strudel that somehow survived the onslaught, and several counters that […]

A Small Good Thing in Times Like These

Recently I began baking bread and I can’t really explain why. I have always wanted to bake bread and it seemed something very primal, simple and pure. So I started baking bread, focaccia to be precise. After that, I decided I could tackle making loaves of white bread for toasting and sandwiches. How hard could […]

You Go Girl!

My 15-year old daughter never ceases to surprise me. Recently she’s brought up a number of cultural inconsistencies that are driving her batty. In fact, they would no doubt make many of us bat-shit crazy too if we only bother to open our eyes and apprehend them. Observation One: Boys don’t get wardrobe infractions.  The question […]

Hashtag This!

From time to time we are made aware of things our oldest does on the internet. For example, the Father’s Day tribute she paid to her Grandfather and Uncle, calling them the men who raised her. Ouch. That was not a flesh wound. Or this… #MyTendencyToCallMyselfADadisRootedInADeepLackofFatherlyAcceptance #Freud #Heck What to make of this, I thought. My […]

Trigger this!

Actually, no part of your classroom education should be intellectually “safe”. This is how I began my semester last week, by reminding a new crew of Freshman that if you’re practicing “safety” in the classroom, then you are not stretching your intellectual boundaries. Let me explain… Over the past several years or so colleges, universities and […]

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