MUM’S THE WORD: My parental guidance gravitates between Clair Huxtable and Peg Bundy

Mum’s the Word | Amanda Leitch-Lee

There are days I feel as apathetic as Peg Bundy from the t.v. show “Married with Children,” and there are other times I feel as unstoppable and witty as Clair Huxtable, from “The Cosby Show.”

Here is a list of my Peg and Clair moments involving my young son, Holden. Keep the following words of wisdom in mind as you read: “We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” — Ian Percy

Clair Huxtable — Always taking a bullet

I test tear-proof shampoo and body wash in my own eyes before I let my son use it. I have sadly learned some products are not as always as tear-proof as they claim. I am glad that I am the one who is blinded rather than my child. It also works as a way to prove my unbridled bravery to my husband. I challenged him to such a task. The challenge was politely declined.

Peg Bundy — There’s only one DJ in the car

I refuse to let my son listen to children’s music while driving in the car with me. I really loathe mind-numbing, “boppity bop” sounds that pass as children’s music. If I have to listen my toddler whine for his Matchbox car that has fallen behind my seat as a I drive, I will at least be listening to my adult music. Buckle up, Holden! You will be having a steady musical diet of showtunes, political operatic pop and 80s easy listening for the next 15 years.

Clair Huxtable — Devour love, even if it’s a soggy pickle

When my son hands me a half-eaten piece of food as a “present,” I gobble it down with a flourish. I am all for the idea of sharing. I think it is one of the biggest challenges I am faced with raising an only child. So, when my son hands me a half eaten, soggy pickle he has had in his mouth, the floor and under the couch cushion, I eat it with a reckless abandon and exclaim “yummy!” and thank him for sharing it, ending my praise with “You make mommy so happy!”

A Peg-Clair merging — Dining on (and in) the water

I let my son eat his dinner in the bathtub. Some days, Holden will eat anything I place before him. I have had him eat an entire pack of Boca veggie sausages in one sitting. But, other days, I struggle to get him to even drink a glass of milk. On those days, we have a water picnic. I serve him dinner in the tub. He enjoys the novelty of it. FYI: The best time to serve pancakes for dinner is at a water picnic. No syrup mess to clean up!

Peg Bundy — ‘Watering’ the lawn

When I get sick of cleaning urine up from the potty training chair and floor area 45 times a day, I let him pee in the backyard. This may be the ultimate in slothful parenting. But, after peeing in the electrical socket and down the radiator vent (twice) I am fed up with this process. So, become one with nature, little guy. Just stop doing it before you hit puberty. It will be frowned upon.

Clair Huxtable — Slugs, snails and puppy dog tails

I let my child discover and embrace his own interests, no matter how revolting I find them. My son has an infatuation for bugs, snakes, rats and lizards. I personally do not enjoy reading books on the Black Widow Spider and their life cycle. They lay 100 eggs at a time! He is also a huge fan of the “Snake Bytes” shows on Youtube. This is just as hideous as it sounds. But, it makes him blissful. And that is enough for me.

Peg Bundy — Can’t ‘spot’ the book

I sometimes “lose” my child’s favorite book. There are only so many times I can read, “Where’s Spot?” without wanting to use it for kindling. It is a book that I have to do a variety of silly voices and has the added drama of having lifting flaps. I really dislike books with lift flaps. They get ripped and cause tragedy. “Where’s Spot?” sometimes “magically” reappears when it is dad’s turn to read to him.

Clair Huxtable — Raising a well-rounded kid

I try to instill an appreciation for the arts and history. Holden’s father has a passion for art. I read Holden children’s books on famous artists. We always attend Art Prize several times during that week and we are regulars at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. I have a love for history so I read him stories on Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Indira Ghandi, Rosa Parks and former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir. I want him to know where our country and world have been and where it is going. By the way, I could write another column about reading a book on Meir to a toddler.

Peg Bundy — Grooming a handy man

I have Holden embracing the idea of child labor. I make everyday household chores into a magical experience for Holden. I call it playing Cinderella. I’d say “Let’s play washing windows,” and “Wow, wouldn’t it be fun to put clothes in the washer?” and, finally, “Nothing is as fun as scrubbing the bathtub!” In a few years it will be “Wouldn’t it be fun to fix and make electronics in our basement so I can get money to get my hair done?”

Clair Huxtable — ‘And let the record show…’

I work very hard at teaching Holden to respect all people. One of the most important lessons I can teach Holden is to not be a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” like Franklin M. Hart Jr., played beautifully by Dabney Coleman in the 1980s classic “9 to 5.” Racial slurs and words like “retarded” and “that’s so gay” are not allowed in our home. They are worse than the “F bomb,” in my opinion. I would also never tell Holden that he “throws like a girl” or anything that would be negative toward females.

As one of my dear college friends said, “I want my daughter to marry your son. I know he will be raised right.” That is one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten, and I wasn’t even fishing for it!

Amanda Leitch-Lee is a Greenville resident. She enjoys researching conspiracy theories on Marilyn Monroe’s death and  the campy British television drama Footballers Wive$. Comments, rants and political statements can be sent to

  1. 27 Aug 12 at 10:32pm

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