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Life With the A Team

Life with the A Team

Life with the A TeamI don’t think it’s any secret that we have some difficult children here in this house. Thank goodness Chuck and I are both stubborn and tenacious. Whatever we put our parents through? We’re paying it back. Every day. Multiple times a day. As my children get older I am much less likely to detail their antics in this space…and especially to mention the children connected with those antics by name.

But let me tell you a secret.

We have three particularly difficult children at the moment and when I have just the three of them together I refer to them as The A Team. Why the A Team? Because words have power and A sounds Awesome! A is the first letter of the Alphabet! It’s the first letter of the word Alphabet. And Avacado starts with A (yum)! We all know A’s in school are a good thing.

That and snark is my love language.

Anyway (<— hey, look, another A word!) earlier this week I found myself in an interesting situation. I had to attend a meeting with teachers, school staff, and district officials. With the A Team. Oh yes, my friends, the stars had misaligned themselves in such a way that an important meeting I would normally (and sanely) attend alone now required me to bring the A Team.

The A Team is pretty much the opposite of sit quietly over there while we discuss important topics. I have a bunch of those kids. I used to take pride in my Mad Parenting Skillz over those kids (and rightly so, we worked darn hard on discipline and self-control). The A Team though? Well, we’ve worked darn hard with them too. I daresay, we’ve worked harder with them.

The results have just been…different.

And so this meeting was difficult. One member of the A Team chose to argue loudly (over nothing) with a district official. Another member decided to attempt to log onto a computer in the school library. Another decided that sneaking through the library shelves (like a spy) and giggling loudly was a fabulous way to pass the time.

And me? I wondered how the heck I was ever chosen to attend the meeting…and wondered what the odds were that the ground would open up and swallow me and the A Team into a giant sink hole (hey, it happens).

Unfortunately, there was no sinkhole.

Just another lesson in humility for me.

As if I need more.

I am the woman who has gone swimming in cat pee.

Been accused of playing evil tricks on her innocent children.

I am both the worst houseguest ever and the worst cat sitter ever.

Humility? I’ve got that nailed.

I could really use a lesson in having it all together, though.



  1. Rosie T

    I am actually a bit jealous of you. Truly.

    At least you have some proof that you can parent well. When your only kids have been similar “A Team” kids, you begin to doubt yourself. You have worked so hard…yet they still are A-team kids.

    Then every so often you realized (for about 10 seconds after days of stuggling), “Hey, I got this.” and you rock it. Then the stars align again and you are back to wondering if you really have absolutely no clue how to parent kids to actually learn how to behave like civilized adults.

    Then you give in and realized those horrid electronic devices you have been stubbornly avoiding for years “because they no not help your children learn self-control and how to think” actually makes it possible to trick others into believing you have well behaved kids.

    Then you feel guilty that what works is the exact thing you have abhorred and judged other parents for using.

    Then you actually get your shopping completed and think about singing the praises of said devices … then feel guilty again.

    • Renee

      I have a friend with four adopted children, her A Team…and she struggles with that as well, not seeing the fruit on any of her parenting. I get it. I can also totally relate to your back and forth about electronics. Sometimes I imagine one of my children living in our house forever, with just a TV and gaming system…no job, no chores…sigh…

      • the Toddler Wrangler

        Sighing in solidarity. My A-teamer has the same diagnosis that you’re struggling to get applied to one of yours (and a long list of other diagnoses). I’m currently sitting here watching her on the security camera in her EMPTY-for-safety bedroom, alternately picking paint on her walls, pulling out carpet fibers, rubbing the carpet with random body parts (yay for more burns), and charging around with her eyes closed until she trips or crashes into a wall. Trying to gear up for the struggle of forcing a few more ounces of fluids down her, and counting down days until the appt at which we discuss G-tube placement. Which SUCKS, because she LIKES most foods and will eat and drink just fine…… behavioral therapy, with a one-on-one therapist who can take three hours to have her eat her lunch if need be. But when she is home, the entire time is consumed by the struggle to keep her hydrated. I feel like there’s double- or triple-jeopardy going on here with all of her diagnoses, and I can’t imagine her ever living alone. I can’t imagine myself or my marriage surviving her living here forever either.

  2. the Toddler Wrangler

    This is great. Mine are all still little but I can sure identify with the dichotomy. There’s my 18-month-old who helps to clear the table and puts away her own laundry in her drawer…and my 5-year-old who must be physically forced to eat and drink and put her clothes on herself. It really stinks to have to walk out of the house, away from two children who are actively screaming for mama to stay with them, to go pick up from therapy the child who couldn’t care less if she ever saw me again. I’m not in this for her to LIKE me, but I hate seeing the impact on the others. My A-team child’s name actually starts with A, but my mother has nicknamed this child Crackerjack–as in, “there’s gotta be a prize in there SOMEwhere!” I would feel like the world’s awesomest parent if I only had the other three…

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