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May 28, 2010

Don't Do That!

TR_the_LOOK_small[1] If there was an academy award for parenting stamina, I would be an automatic winner for having reared my first born son. Please note, I did not say an award for the best parenting or the best result, just for the willingness, strength, fortitude and tenacity to stick to the assigned task. When he was two, I held him tightly after the latest tantrum and said, “You are the strongest little boy I have ever known. Fortunately, God gave you to me and I’m stronger.” That dueling of wills tested both of us. After six years, half-million dollars (I’m not exaggerating), and his documented genius IQ (I’m still not exaggerating), he graduated from high school at the age of twenty-one. Persistence wins---at least, if the goal was just to get him through high school.

In contrast to my stamina and willingness, I was no match for what this boy could think of doing that I never thought to warn him against. For example, I thought I was on top of things because I planned well ahead of time when we built our first swimming pool. He was three and half; I sat him down and explained that it would take two days to fill the pool and we would not go in until it was completely filled. Then he could be the first person in the pool! The day we started filling it, all doors of the house were locked. He sneaked out the locked bedroom window and into the pool before noon.

And just how many Moms remember to tell three year olds “Don’t climb to the roof of the house today?” Do you know any mother who thinks ahead of time to tell her teenage son, “Don’t sell pictures of me to your friends for alcohol and pot money.” I must admit, I looked damn good in those pictures! They were just moderately sexy pictures in evening clothes and bathing suits that I had taken as a wedding gift for my soon-to-be husband. But Mr. Bound-by-no-Rules found them and sold them.

I was always at least one step behind with "Don't do that!"

The accompanying photo of impish, spaghetti-face is a vivid example of the next generation of these extraordinary genes. Photo by

When Brenda is not obsessing over what she coulda, woulda, shoulda done in parenting this man-child, she is a speaker, writer and blogger who can be reached at www.brendabartellapeterson.com