Lessons on life through the eyes of a child

“The Case of the Panty-Eating Vacuum” April 2010 November 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 12:14 am

Jay was 3, I was pregnant with Kendall, and I was in the middle of our spring musical production at school. It was getting close to opening night, which meant late night rehearsals and sometimes the presence of my little shadow, Jay.

Jay would beg to go to rehearsal. He was fascinated by the ins and outs of the stage, and the students spoiled him rotten. But most of all, Jay LOVED the sound booth. He would spend entire rehearsals back there with two of our best students who became experts in lighting and sound.

After one of our toughest rehearsals, the girls came out of the booth with Jay chuckling about his vast imagination. He had been telling them about a panty snatcher vacuum that would suck your underwear up from wherever it was hiding. I began to get hot and my face was flushed. These girls did not understand my reaction because I’m not one who embarrasses easily. In fact, they had heard me tell on myself and on Jay in numerous anecdotal stories I told them in class. But this one got me and this is why.

Andy and I used to spend a lot of weekends with Mom and Dad because he was always playing in golf tournaments, and Jay and I enjoyed hanging out with Nana and Granddaddy. Well after one of these weekends, I had come to Mom and Dad’s to pick Jay up after school and Mom met me in the kitchen with a pair of thong underwear dangling off the end of her finger. I was confused. She said, “Something was clogging up my vacuum after I cleaned the basement and I found these entangled inside. I know they’re not mine, so I’m assuming they are yours! I’m not going to ask!” Oh geez!! Married and pregnant with my second child and here I was lowering my chin in embarrassment in front of my mom. Of course my mom thought it was hysterical! She could still get me! But who knew the worst was yet to come.

One of Jay’s trickiest traits is making himself invisible in adult conversation so he can absorb forbidden information. This was one situation these skills were in practice. He took in every detail and then took the story to rehearsal with him almost a week later. This would be fascinating material to share while working the lights.

I share this story mostly because it’s funny but I guess there are lessons to learn. No matter how confident you think you are in yourself, humility is forever present to take you down a notch. Also, little ears are forever present and vigil. Something we must always keep in mind as adults.


“I have a lot to say!” November 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 4:17 pm
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Last night was Jay’s first night with me this week, and I discovered a note from the teacher in his folder that was sent home the night before. It seems Mr. Jay, (his nickname he has acquired since joining the ranks of public education), continued to talk excessively even after he was asked numerous times to stop. This became enough of a distraction that he dropped down in rank to “shiver me timbers” (they’re all pirates) and was unable to work his way back up to “all aboard.”

This morning I calmly asked Jay about this issue he seems to have with talking too much in class.

I told him, “Jay, when you’re asked not to talk, we expect you to follow directions and do as you’re told,” and he replied matter-of-factly, “but Momma, I have a lot to say!”

Of course I countered his argument with, “Well, Jay (lonnnggg pause) I do too but…just go brush your teeth!”

Yep. Stumped.

Of course, as parents, we want Jay to understand there is appropriate behavior for every situation, and he is expected to do what is asked of him. But as a teacher, I truly believe kids have to talk. Kids have things to say, and the more open the lines of communication are, the better we will understand their development and their needs. It’s our job as educators to teach appropriate expression, but in order to do that we must allow opportunities to express.

We’re a family of talkers. Jay gets it honest and of course I understand there’s a time and a place for freedom of expression and it should not be at the cost of other students’ learning. I completely support the teacher, but I guess I felt the need to write about this situation because it brought up one of my biggest fears with raising Jay and Kendall–the day they quit talking.

I know those open lines of communication start early, and I try to always be a good listener when the two of them want to talk. The topics of conversation aren’t real juicy now, but if I show them I’m interested in what they think and feel, this will hopefully translate into the teenage years when “shit gets real!”


Sounds of Sadness November 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 7:59 pm

One of our close friends from church who has been a close friend of the Westmoreland family since she was two, has developed a very close relationship with Jay over the years. They seem to have a very special connection, so much so that she travels from Chapel Hill where she lives to visit him periodically and do fun, kid stuff.

Well on this particular night, she came home to take Jay to the Cleveland County fair, but unfortunately it was raining so plans had to be altered. She brought him home a little earlier than she had planned, so she ended up hanging out at the house for awhile.

This very special friend of ours has quite a phobia of animals, so we had to lock everyone up before she would come in the house to visit.

After everyone was secured, she and the kids had a fabulous time playing ball, wrestling, and doing all the things the kids love to do. But bedtime approached and we began to settle down to do a more quiet activity on the floor in the den. At one point, in between conversation, we heard this pitiful whine come from the back bedroom. The two of us paused for a moment and looked at each other and then looked at Jay. He never made eye contact with either one of us as he somberly replied, “sounds of sadness…” Of course we had to laugh at such a heartfelt yet very dramatic interpretation of what we had heard from the animals, but once again my precocious son had another lesson in store for me.

All God’s creatures have a purpose and are an important part of existence regardless of the human hierarchy we choose to impose on them. Many times we fear what we don’t understand, and if we only took the time to change perspective, perhaps we all could learn to value one another. So many times we trap ourselves in our own prejudices and misconceptions. I challenge us all to step out of our comort zone and actually begin to see each other.


“Who is Jesus anyway??” July 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 6:59 pm
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A couple of years ago, our family was getting ready for church. I have to admit we’re not regulars there, but evidently it was some sort of special occasion and we felt it was important to take Jay for exposure. While I was ironing my dress, Jay threw a toy of some sort at Andy and hit him in the face. Of course, this all began as play but quickly changed when Andy was hit in the face. I gasped and said, “Jay! That’s not very nice! What would Jesus say if he saw you throw that at your Daddy?!”

Jay wrinkled up his face, gave a shrug and said,”Who’s Jesus??”

Wow!! We couldn’t get to church fast enough that day! I know. Laugh it up. The PK’s son has a child that lacks quite a bit of Biblical knowledge, but I have to say in our defense that Jay was barely two years old. Since then we’ve had quite a few discussions about God and Jesus and how that all works up there in heaven since one of our close friends has passed away recently. I’ve had to answer why heaven is in the sky and didn’t it used to be on the ground. Why won’t God come down here and show himself because Jay wants proof. Also, when is God going to let Daniel and our dog Jordan come back down here to live with us again. I have a masters degree and feel completely unprepared for these discussions!! How do you simplify spirituality for a four year old? Are we really the ones qualified to do this?

Now ┬áI have to figure out where it is I stand and what ground work I want to lay for my son. Which God am I going to give him? The angry God who punishes you when you are bad? The forgiving God who loves you no matter what? The convenient God who we only need when we’re experiencing tough times? Who is God to me? What do I really believe and why do I believe that way? What God do I show Jay through my actions? Can we go back to bottles, diapers, and sleepless nights? Yeah, he can buckle his own seat belt but his questions are too hard to answer!! But like our spirituality, parenting is a journey and it’s not until we move one way or the other that we realize if it was the right thing to do or not.

I guess Jay’s little spiritual journey has begun and Andy and I have some decisions to make. I wish I could tell you what we plan to do and how it works out fantastically, so much so that we have the best kid God has put on this earth and all the neighborhood parents are so jealous!! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to tell you how it will turn out but I will be able to share with you the small steps we take along the way. Wish us luck and God bless!


Storm Warning June 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 10:26 pm

Jay and I were at the pool today with my niece. Things were going nicely until Jay casually looked up and saw a very small, gray, isolated cloud in the middle of a sunny sky. ┬áImmediately all bets were off. It was time to get out of the pool and go “let the new puppy out to pee” even though poor little Jack Bean hadn’t been mentioned all day. You see, the fact is my son is freakishly afraid of storms. Many times he has flipped out when we’ve been in the car during a storm or have had to be in the rain for any reason no matter how brief. It did not help that he and his father were caught in a storm in a canoe in the middle of a lake on a father/son camping trip a few weekends ago. Andy and I have yet to figure out where he developed this fear. Neither one of us has issues with storms. In fact, we used to sit on the screened-porch and watch storms before Jay was born.

The funny thing is, though Jay may be irrationally afraid, he is fully aware of how storms work. If you ask him which is more dangerous, he will inform you that lightning can shock you and thunder is the boom of the lightning. He can also tell you that lightning comes first and hits before you even hear the thunder. Jay is very educated when it comes to why he has the fears he has. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that no matter how informed we are, information does not keep us from having fears. We almost become obsessed with knowing the ends and outs of things to try to ease our fears, but it seems the more we know, the more we seem to be afraid. In preparing ourselves, we tend to know too much.

Our lovely afternoon at the pool ended abruptly all because of the potential of a storm that had not even begun. Jay’s fear of storms has crippled him so much that he is willing to end a fun afternoon in order to avoid “the storm.” My question for you is, “What is your fear that is holding you back from doing what you want to do?” I’m sure you already know everything there is to know about this “monster” that threatens your livelihood, but what are you going to do to conquer this fear and live to your full potential? What do you really have to lose? One thing I can almost guarantee you will gain is regret. For those of you who see the storms that are looming outside tonight, I encourage you to use the power outages that may occur shortly after to use the quiet and the dark to choose a fear to face in the coming days and take at least one small step towards getting the upper hand. Good luck! Send me comments on some of your experiences.


Parental advisory June 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 6:17 pm

Well, I think we have finally cleaned up one of our biggest mistakes as parents. I know our oldest is only 4 years old, but believe me, there’s a lot one can screw up in 4 years! So let me fill you in on the latest. I told you our woes about losing our dog Jordan, but we introduced Mikey to the family to try to fill the void our son Jay was feeling after the loss of Jordan. As I told you, we went to PetSmart looking for a small to medium female with no alpha tendancies and came home with a 40 pound male puppy we named Mikey. Come to find out Mikey was too much to handle and filled up way too much of the “void” in our house, so we made the decision to give him back to the shelter and find a smaller, more manageable dog.

Andy and I have always believed dogs are the ultimate commitment. You choose your four-legged companion carefully and you stick with your choice through better or worse. Those vows sound vaguely familiar don’t they? The only problem is, the first time we chose our dogs we didn’t have two little people we were even more committed to. So now what? We have this dog who is too big but has already grown attached to us and vice versa. How do we clean up this mess??

Well, we found a stunt double. His name is Jack Bean. He is precious but Mikey is still in the back of hearts. Jack Bean has big paws to fill in more ways then one, and he is quite the charming fellow, but we can’t help but think what will become of Mikey. Making decisions that will impact a large part of your lives is so much more difficult when you have children. Who new the decision to get a dog could become such a heart wrenching and difficult one? To Mikey I say, “We love you, buddy and we will pray for you every night that you find a new home and it is one that is just right for you.” To Jack Bean I say, “Welcome and don’t mess this up! I’m already too attached and can’t stomach another trip to the shelter!!”


New Start

Filed under: Uncategorized — ifboogerswerebroccoli @ 5:54 pm

Hello again! It’s been awhile! I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve moved to wordpress, so if you would like to view my first three posts from blogspot, just visit http://boogerswerebroccoli.blogspot.com to see where it all began. Stay tuned for our latest “shenanigans!”


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