Gum in Your Hair

A blog for parents under the big sky.

Editors Voice

Issues... and Solutions :: Written by Leigh Ripley ::

Parenting today is a world away from what our parents experienced. Sure, they never knew exactly where their kids were because most kids played outside all day and didn’t have cell phones with tracking apps… but now they do – along with all the other various forms of social media out there. Today’s parents face the same fears as yesterday’s, in addition to the mixed bag of violent video games, suggestive TV programming, cyberbullying, “nakeds” and the dreaded Snapchat, just to name a few. My own kids range in age from 10 to 15 and already seem so much older than I did at that age.

But some parenting stuff is exactly the same. Like temper tantrums, potty training, hormones… and brownies. Let me explain.

My girlfriend called me the other day, very agitated. She had been home this particular day, fighting a stomach bug that was making its way through Bozeman, when her middle-schooler came in from her first day of school. She was over the moon about her new school and new teachers, in particular her math teacher – because he gave rewards! How exciting, my friend thought, and what an enthusiastic teacher this must be! Then the box of brownie mix appeared.

“We did really good today and our reward is brownies tomorrow! And I get to make them…tonight!”

This did not fly quite right with my sick friend, who works full time, has two other children and most definitely was not planning on supervising a brownie invasion in her kitchen while keeping her germ-infested self at a safe distance. Ill and angry, she admittedly did not react very well, resulting in an unpleasant brownie-making experience that night.

 The next morning she awoke to find the brownie pan void of any gooey, chocolate yumminess. She approached her daughter and happily commented, “You got all the brownies out all by yourself!”

To which her daughter replied, “Not really. I couldn’t get them to come out of the pan right; they kept crumbling. So I just rolled them up into brownie balls.”

Seeing her mother’s strained face and the words she didn’t want to hear in her intense stare, the child added, “I promise I washed my hands.”

My girlfriend was frustrated. Her child was frustrated. But the sixth-grade math class would have their dang brownies! So she drove her daughter to school, and dropped her off with the chocolatey balls in hand.

In the parking lot, my pal picked up the phone and called this super math teacher and left an appropriate message. “Hello, I hope you had a lovely evening last night. I, however, did not. Thanks a lot for sending my child home with a box of brownie mix on the first day of school and setting my family up for failure!”

The issue? This stuff happens. And it’s going to happen again. The solution? I can only think of three things: 1.) Buck up and bake like my girlfriend did, 2.) Bake a bunch of cookies, brownies and cupcakes at the end of summer and freeze them for the school year or 3.) Leave home with enough time to swing by the grocery store for premade brownies before school. Whatever happens, you will figure it out – because you’re a parent, and that’s what parents have been doing since the beginning of time.