Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Living, breathing flesh. . .Count Time

I've been thinking that I should finish my book, Everything I Needed to Know about Parenting, I Learned in Prison. So, here is another excerpt for you (to help motivate me).

Comments: complimentary or constructive are more than welcome!!!

Living, Breathing Flesh. . .Count Time

Count time is what it sounds like...the time we check to see if all the inmates are "present and accounted for". Kind of like the "roll-call" we remember from school. During count time all movement stops. Inmates are sent to their cells. Yes, I used to tell grown men to "go to their rooms!"

When inmates are checked at night while they sleep, we, officers, are taught to look for "living, breathing flesh". As you might have guessed, this is has evolved due to problems in the past such as inmates leaving stuffed pillows under their covers. Inmates are not very happy when a guard opens their door and awakens them because they couldn't see them breathing, but such is life in prison.

Parents instinctively know about checking for "living, breathing flesh". From the time we bring that first babe into our home we can't stop checking the sleeping baby so make sure he or she is still breathing!!! My oldest is almost 14 and I admit I still check in on him when he is asleep. It's just what moms do!

Count time is similar to parenting in another way. Almost every time we get in the car I look in the rearview mirror, "one, two, three, four, five, OK we can go." I had heard stories of moms forgetting their children at the store or the laundry mat. Once waited for a mom to return after she left one of her children at an activity we both attended. I never wanted this to happen to me. And yet, it seems it is inevitable!

One day we were visiting with my friend, Charice, and her family at their home. On impulse we decided to go to another house around the corner to pick something up and then return. Charice and her kids, and I and my kids (or so I thought) piled into her van and drove around the block. I hadn't seen Charice for quite sometime because she lives in a different state, so I was really absorbed in our conversation while she got the things together we had come for. Then it hit me! One of my children was missing. Oh my stars! How could I have left one of my children behind at a home that was unfamiliar to him?! Charice assured me that he would be fine. There were adults to care for him and children to play with. Still I was on tenter hooks until we returned to the other house. When we got there I expected to him to melt in a puddle of tears, and I would have to apologize with many hugs and kisses, but he hadn't even noticed we were gone. Makes you feel so indispensible as a parent. . .

Unfortunately that wasn't the last time that happened either. Another time we were at a Church Christmas party and we had sat down to eat when my husband asked me where one of our children was (ironically it was the same child! Poor kid!). I was mortified, not only had I not noticed that he was missing, but I had no idea where he was. Fortunately, my daughter, who is a little mom, said, "I know where he is." He was with Santa. Oh yeah, I remember now, I told him he could get in line to see Santa.

One, two, three, four, five...I need to keep working on that one.


  1. What do I say to someone I enjoy reading? Thanks! I love how you realate it to everyday life. I never check on my kids.... more then 10 times a night that is=D) I can't help wondering who you left though... Read 5th par and see if you need to add an I before Once. I love your work!

  2. I know exactly what you're talking about with the counting of kids! It can be exhausting!

  3. Thanks Pam...I'll check. Dare I admit who I left behind? The kids don't read my blog now, but I hope they will when they are older! Ok, I confess it was Brigham.

    Spring, thanks. Parenting is not for whimps, right?!


Sorry about the word verification, I hate it too, but spam has gotten bad lately.