I saw this bumper sticker a few days ago that said “’Parent’ is a Verb”. I stared at it as I sat at the stop light. I kept thinking about what it really meant. I think generally I have thought of “parent” as a noun. But when I saw that bumper sticker it hit home with me that yes indeed “parent” is a verb. The last few weeks have definitely emphasized that fact.
Over the last month or so our house has been infested with the cold and flu. It’s the domino effect. One has it, passes it on the next victim, who then passes it on to the next. It’s been never ending. Just when I thought we were all better, Jackson decided to go for round 2, sending me into round 3. As I write this there are 3 of us at the tail end of a cold. Knock on wood that the constant opening of windows and spraying of Lysol is going to ward off another round. Nothing screams “parent” like kids with colds. Especially when the parent has a cold too.
On top of all of this it was time to put on the first official birthday party for Daniel. He had never really had a real birthday party before. So for the last month I have been planning and making sure he was involved too. He picked out his theme (Superman), his cake, and his guests. I had a few surprises but mostly just wanted him to have a real party for the first time. As I tucked him in to bed that night I asked him if he liked his party. He said it was the best he ever had. Two days later I began planning Jackson’s birthday party. Before his is done I will start planning Sylvia’s too. 3 birthday parties in a span of 2 months makes for a great opportunity to “parent”. And also go on a cake diet.
I think the biggest “parent” challenge as of late has been trying to determine what is the best way to help Daniel deal with his anxiety, AD/HD and behavior issues. His behavior has become more and more challenging, at home and at school. For the past 7 months we have been trying bio-feedback. It has gotten Daniel nowhere. If anything his behavior has increased negatively. We put him in play therapy/counseling. I signed him up for gymnastics. I pick him up one day a week after school and we have special one on one time. I also do the one on one time with Sylvia. Ultimately we decided to try medication. Neither my husband or I are big on medication but I worry about him becoming “that kid” at school and getting labeled as a behavior problem. So we went to the doctor and talked about some options which I could research. We decided on a medication that wasn’t a stimulant. When Daniel came to live with us he was on Ritalin and after school his behavior was out of control. It was too much for me to handle. So we gave Daniel the new medication and hoped for the best. But within a day the little boy we knew was gone and a slow, confused Zombie took over. It was horrifying. Within a couple of days I called the doctor and told him it was too much, we had to change. We lowered the dosage to half and with a day the kid we knew was back. When you have a child who is a handful, who has behavior issues and just generally takes up 90% of your time, you just want a break, you want him to calm down and focus. But the minute he changes, you want him back. I don’t know if this medication course is the right one. I know for his sake we need to try it so he can be successful at school and life. However, this is one opportunity to “parent” that is not on my highlight list.
I suppose that’s why “parent” is a verb. It’s an action. An action that can be joyous, rewarding, difficult and frustrating, all in the same day. You have to be diverse, flexible and downright silly to “parent”. As Ray Romano said “Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” So why would anyone “parent”? To have the experience of being a “parent”? Noun or verb? You decide.