Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bittersweetness

It's been an interesting several weeks since my last post, fraught with cognitive failure and the pendulum sweeping the other way to sheer brilliance for a fleeting second. I should be sleeping right now, because the clock is ticking on the incessantly hungry infant's tummy. But I am sitting in the silence and relative stillness of the house, with only my brain running at warp speed. Such is the joy of an ADD brain. It's 1 am and I'm unable to get my brain to shut up at all tonight.

I have been seeing this one blog post about "The Last One" in my crackbook feed numerous times this week. Finally, I read it. And in doing so, my eyes welled up and my brain started running even faster. I never imagined I'd have FIVE kids in my life. I figured  after #3, and we were good. Then I had a 4th, and thought we had 2 of each, we were golden. HAH! Have I mentioned that I was supposed to have a home office and a motorcycle?

The Tie Breaker is 3 months old and careening through his milestones with warp speed just like his siblings did. And I was looking at him asleep in my arms tonight, wondering what purpose God has for him to send him to us after we feel like we've screwed up at least one of our other kids some how or another. I am still shocked and awed that we were entrusted with the care, feeding, and training of another miniature human. I am boggled that my friend thinks so highly of me to ask that I would be Godmother to another of her children, when I am a slacker in so many ways, including my faith. But at the same time it's all humbling. How haughty of me to think I should strike out on some kind of adventure in my life that didn't necessarily include starting parenthood alllllllll over again.

And I am chronically struck by the sheer fact that we have TWO adult children, yet there are 3 more home, and that the youngest is a brand new sprog. I do derive bemusement from telling people our kids are 3 months old on up to 20 years old. Part of that is just me still trying to digest it. Part of it is that I am amused by the shock others have when they learn we're a larger-than-average family, and NOT a blended household. Yeah, we're rebels like that. I sometimes think that I should have been a sociologist.

But with all of that comes an occasional pang. I miss my boys sometimes. Reality is though, that they are at the point where they must transition into adulthood, despite my desire to keep the little boys they used to be. They're grown and turning into fascinating adults. And every time the baby smiles, I see both his brothers too. And then I see a quirk from one of his sisters. I thought I was done having kids after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. And I'm certainly feeling done after the 5th. With each of those done feelings comes a hint of sadness behind the celebration. First steps for them, but the last first steps for me. First teeth (oh lordy, who are we kidding, teething is abysmally miserable), first words, etc. And I find myself doing something I was incapable of 20 years ago. I find myself dwelling on the smile, the diaper change, the nursing (not always, because oof - someone is constantly touching me!), the giggles, the cooing, the completely different means this kid needs to get a burp out of him, the comforting a baby with reflux and knowing you can only do so much. Then I dig in my memory bank, wondering if the oldest 2 had any of these quirks and issues, and I just didn't have the knowledge then that I do now. Parenting would have been a whole different experience for both me and the spawn, had I been connected with the kind of people who share their story. When you know better, you do better. I hope I'm doing better.

And those well-intended words those veteran moms and old ldies shared when my oldest 3 were born: "Enjoy those babies". It is difficult when in the throes of sleep deprivation, missed showers, gross diapers, the whole kit-and-caboodle. I find myself feeling more present in this segment of the mom-gig. I constantly work to have balance and avoid losing my sanity. And I want to enjoy my kids. I just don't always find the wherewithal to do it. Despite my efforts to find balance, I sometimes don't have it. I rely heavily on my middle child now, and I have mixed feelings about it. She needs to make her own transitions toward growing up, but she's still a child too. And again, we strive for balance. She's incredibly helpful and has the capacity to follow her brothers into adulthood with a different brand of thinking and experience that will hopefully catapult her beyond her peers.

Each of the older kids loves the younger siblings. As much as I hate to admit that I miss my sons, one of them hates to admit he misses his newest brother. When they're here, they're awesome with the younger kids (usually). When they're here, I also selfishly breathe in their presence because I know they're not staying long. And I enjoy those fleeting moments, because I painfully recognize them for what they are. And then I look at this newest person to join our world, and think how much more I really do have the privilege of getting to know him before we launch him. It's a perspective that was impossible for me to properly possess two decades ago.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

nursing bra fix

Early on in my 5th pregnancy, I needed bigger bras. Knowing that the girls were only going to get bigger, and that I'd be nursing later, I decided to get the nursing bras instead of buying twice. I went to Destination Maternity and happened upon a buy 3 get 1 free sale. I got 4 bras, but 2 had extra fabric around the straps as cushioning. Unfortunately the idea was poorly implemented, and fabric wrapped around what I call the "pop top clip". Those two ended up languishing in the closet after baby arrived because I couldn't close them one-handed. I took them to a friend who sews to seek her wisdom. She took a seam ripper and cut away the extra fabric on one of the bra cups. Magic! The pop-top clip moved a whole lot easier. I brought them back home to finish the task.

I thought if I had this complaint, others did too. So I took pictures of the way I remedied the problem. If you use scissors, use small, sharp ones, and for the love of all that is holy to you, DO. NOT. CUT. ELASTIC!! For this to work, you must cut ONLY THE FABRIC LOOPING AROUND THE CONNECTION. The fabric that makes contact with the pop-top-clip is all you will remove, unless you opt to remove the cushioning fabric so you can adjust the straps shorter. That's up to you. Do not cut the seam in the bra strap or your bra will be of no use. Again, if you remove cushioning fabric, cut ONLY the outer fabric, NOT the elastic of any kind.

Here's your idiot clause/disclaimer:
Please use caution when handling any sharp object. I used a seam ripper. If you use scissors, do not cut the elastic of the bra straps. I am not responsible for blade or seam ripper placement when you do this, as I am not there to physically guide your hand directly to avoid rendering your nursing bra useless. Pay close attention to where you cut, and how you cut. If you lack the skill and confidence, you can hire your local tailor and show this blog post to explain what you want done. If you lack common sense, then definitely hire a local tailor. Come to think of it, if you lack common sense, child-rearing may not be an appropriate life for you.












As you can see in the after/before picture, there is significantly more room for the clip to operate. I don't know who designed this bra, but they didn't think very far in its wear and use when they thought of these things. It makes me think a man with no experience or exposure to breastfeeding and the logistics it requires had a hand in this detail.

The bras adapted here were Motherhood Maternity brand, molded cup, non-underwire bras purchased at Destination Maternity in the Spring of 2013.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Parental Wringers

Because of the speedy exit Mr Mambo#5 was jaundiced, just like his sister was. The muck didn't get squished to the southern exit. Apparently newblings need more than 20ish minutes being squished out of mama's nether-regions for that to happen.
And so began the incessant trips to the lab, back to the pediatrician, lather rinse repeat. He was also tongue-tied. The perinatologists and the pediatricians all said that it was minor. But it was indeed NOT something to be left unrevised here. In our case, baby boy could not extend his tongue far enough to pull milk out of the breast. He was always hungry, always nursing, always gassy and unhappy. He wasn't moving enough of the foremilk to get the fattier hindmilk that keeps him fuller longer. He was exhausting himself nursing all the time, trying to fill his little belly. I was pumping sufficient amounts of milk, probably more than he was moving out of there himself. Babies are supremely more efficient at transferring milk than a pump is. If I was able to pump 3 ounces from one breast with a nursing newborn, then something is definitely amiss.
Add to this scenario, twice a week lab checks, with ped follow up - and a 4 year old in tow. I was supposed to be recuperating. Pregnancy and childbirth takes a big physical toll on a woman's body. And I had a pediatrician's office not listening to me about the tongue tie being part of the problem. They kept suggesting the same things: supplement even an ounce of formula or give pedialyte, or pumped milk - anything to improve what he was taking in, so he could flush the bilirubin faster before it started posing more and major health problems. The problem was my child hated anything but the "gourmet groceries" as Mrs. A calls them. He would begrudgingly suffer a bottle of pumped milk - very reluctantly suffer it.
A friend was at her pediatrician's office, getting her son's tongue tie revised 3 days after he was born. She related our situation. The doctor told her to call us and get in there *NAO*. It was Friday, at 5:30 pm, and the pediatrician could have said "tell her to come in here next week." No, she said NOW. So, we hastily packed up everyone and left. My lil man was 10 days old, barely gaining, still jaundiced, and barely going through any diapers. Average is 10 diapers a day, but we were using maybe half that many.  We had to wait a while, and finally we got his tongue tie clipped. The pediatrician regularly does frenectomies, and understands the impact a tongue tie has on breastfeeding. I was about ready to take him to a pediatric dentist who would laser the tie, as trained by Dr Kotlow. But someone closer to home could do it, and covered with insurance and a copay. And she was insistent that I get to her office immediately, on a Friday evening, because my supply was at stake.
The first day after the revision, he was a little cranky and clingy, but that's to be expected. Then he started making up for lost time. He filled so many diapers over that weekend, and actually did more than a smear of poo. If he had a blowout diaper, I would've celebrated because it meant the bilirubin was moving out of his little body. Thankfully he didn't, but if he had, I would have cheered anyway. Diaper output immediately doubled. And then we had yet. another. follow-up. that Monday. He lost an ounce and the ped's office got all panicky. DUDE! He finally started producing diapers that were worth changing! Look at the whole picture here, will ya? I was supposed to go to a weight check on the Friday of his 3rd week, and I was exhausted. I refused to get in my mom-bus one. more. time. that week. My sanity, and that of my 4 year old needed to push pause on this incessant going places. Not to mention, the household budget needed a break from the fuel expenditure when I was not working to pay for said fuel, and copays.
I'd already had an appointment for the next Monday, so, really, I didn't feel a need to cater to the demands of the pediatrician's office when my sanity just was D.O.N.E.  and I needed to rest. This was not my first rodeo, and I felt safe staying home despite the objections of the nurses at the doctor's office. If mama is fried, the kids suffer. I learned that a long time ago. And I didn't care that they thought I was being neglectful. Yes, it's *just* a weight check. But to my 4 year old, it was yet another disruption this baby has caused her life, and making mommy impatient and cranky with her. She was devolving into a petulant, foot-dragging preschooler who was making mommy late for everything. We stayed home, and I napped on and off all day, with the little girl happily able to do what she wanted.
That next Monday, I had another ped appointment in the afternoon. I made them fax the lab order before my appointment, because I refused to spend my day waiting around and dealing with inefficient travels. I'd done this enough in the 3 weeks, I had a good gauge of the timing. Sure enough, he gained almost half a pound in a week, and the bilirubin was almost what it was when we left the hospital. No more wringers for us. We could resume a typical well-child check schedule.

And then 3 weeks later, for the well child check, Mr Mambo porked up an entire pound. No wonder I was losing circulation in my arms while holding him. Silly medical people, this mama is smarter than you think she is. Maybe you should listen more and wring her less.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Update on Kathryn

Kathryn is making progress.
Colin has more information.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marrying young has advantages

I never thought I'd marry young, or have this many kids. But life has taken many scenic tours for us, despite what I call our Grand Plans of Marvelous Theory. Here we are, 2 decades together, still running headlong into the cloud of insanity that is our life.

A cousin who is 4 months older than our freshly minted Marine son, got married in May 2013. The same year in December, a friend's daughter who is about the same age got married. And no, neither one was a shotgun wedding. Of course, that has been the assumption and accusation, however unfair and inaccurate it might be.

Colin over at Catholic Husband shared a blog on his Crackbook wall that has me saying a whole-hearted AMEN. In the time of most marriages failing, regardless of the age of the spouses in the beginning of the marriage, there seems to be a resurgence of marrying young instead of waiting till mid-life crisis leers in the wings. And yes, a lot of young marriages HAVE crumbled. But not all of them do. In fact, some of the stronger marriages I've seen (and lived) are those initiated at a tender age.

Here, let me just copy what was posted on Early Mama as written by Gemma Hartley.

So here are 7 reasons I love my young marriage:
We Get To Grow Up Together
There’s certainly something to be said for “finding yourself” before settling down. But I think there’s something equally, if not more wonderfully, beneficial about growing up alongside your husband. Getting to experience such a vast majority of your life together — to grow as individuals side-by-side — is utterly amazing.
I’ve been able to watch my husband transform from the long-haired, baby-faced teenager I used to make-out with at house parties into a hardworking, loving husband and father. Living through that sort of transformation can deepen your respect and strengthen your bond. (Not to mention you'll probably have some epic stories to tell your kids.)
We're More Flexible
In the same way young motherhood has the advantage of flexibility, so does young marriage. We didn't have enough time to get set in our ways, so we've been more open to compromise. Because we got married in our early 20s, we were still figuring out how to "live like grown ups" — which wasn't only easier to do together, but more fun. The thrill of upgrading from a folding card table to a real-deal wood dining table is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with.
We Know the Statistics
Trust me, no one is more aware of the grim statistics surrounding young marriage than people who get married young. Relatives, friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers seem oddly eager to tell us how our relationship is doomed – how we’re na├»ve to think it could ever work, because just look at the facts! And yes, we know there are plenty of people shaking their heads behind our backs as well.
But you know what? Being aware of the statistics just makes us more determined to beat the odds. I think we are more willing to do the work to make our marriage successful because we know there are people out there waiting for us to fail — and we want to prove them wrong. I think we know better than most that problems will arise, and I believe knowing that makes us more apt to rise to those inevitable challenges.
Easier Parenting Transition
The transition into parenthood is never easy, but I do believe young marriages have a major advantage here. When you’re used to crazy schedules and not having lots of extra “me” money or nice vacations, becoming parents is not such a huge lifestyle adjustment. I think young couples are more prepared to roll with the punches, and that goes a long way in parenting.
Accomplishing Milestones Together
Of course most couples get to go through the major milestone of becoming parents together. Young couples, however, get to experience all sorts of amazing milestones side-by-side. Graduating high school or college, moving into your first crappy off-campus apartment, landing that first big job, saving up for your first grown-up car – these are awesome experiences my husband and I get to share in addition to becoming parents.
No Wedding-Fever Pressure
When my husband and I got married, we were definitely the first among our friends. Now we’re going to a lot more weddings, have a lot more married friends, and feel a lot more “normal.” In a few more years, we’ll become the majority and our unmarried friends might begin feeling the pressure to settle down – whether they’re ready or not.
In Meg Ray’s TED talk "Why 30 is not the new 20," she describes the enormous pressure that comes when everyone around you seems to suddenly marry at once. She describes the story often sounding like, “Dating in my twenties was like musical chairs, everybody was running around and having fun. But then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up.”
Marrying young has left that pressure off my plate completely, and even though I don’t think about it often, it is a huge relief.
A Great Romance
Great love stories can happen at any age. But the wild and passionate romance of a young relationship is a force to be reckoned with. We made-out in the backs of cars and held hands under the lunch table and stayed up all night day-dreaming and kissed beneath the Reno Arch at midnight to ring in a new year. We’ve done things too inappropriate to write out for the world to see, because we know what it is to be young and in love.
Young marriages get to run the whole course from young and stupid to old and wise. It’s a beautiful journey to make together, and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.
***

Yes, all of this fits us. Yes, we have endured some things that would have toppled anybody else's marriage. And yes, there are days at least one of us has wanted to punt the spouse to the curb with Wednesday's trash pickup. But the difference was that we were doggedly determined to prove those naysayers wrong, and make them eat their own words. Plus, in our case, the romance is still alive. That is documented by the ages of our five children - 20, 19, 11, 4, and the newest sprog born a few weeks ago.
Wedding pressure? Yes, we skipped that in spades. We eloped, and didn't keep contact with most of the peers. Between the 2 of us, less than a handful of the friendships we had as kids survived into adulthood. We felt no pressure in that regard what so ever.
Milestones? WHOOOOboy do we ever have a litany of those.
Parenting? We did this whole thing backwards, and got married after having 2 kids together.
Yes, we know the statistics, but we ignore them in favor of diving into what happens in our own household, not that of the millions of others with problems. It's none of my business really. I have enough on my plate, that I don't need to go LOOKING for problems that aren't mine to solve.
Flexibility? Yea, I learned a lot of that while Devildog was serving in the Marine Corps. We've got that covered, and SOOOO much more.
Growing up together? We did that with our kids too. And to tell the truth, we are still just big kids with big responsibilities. Our bodies tell a different story, but our hearts, minds, and souls decry the body's complaints. We are still young at heart, and that will serve us well when our children finally all fly the nest. We still have a lot of living to do together.




Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kathryn's plight

I interrupt my usual snarky banter with something important.
Please keep this girl, her family, and those tasked with her medical care in your thoughts and prayers, as they embark on a long journey. After many days and nights of searching for an answer to the problem, she has been given a diagnosis. And it's a heartbreaking situation.

http://catholichusband.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/kathryn-gets-a-horrific-diagnosis-and-needs-a-miracle/

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Turkeys have their own mind

So  I left off with a reblog of the mom who summed up the sentiments I was feeling at the time. I was a watched pot and hating it. Don't make any pregnant woman feel like a watched pot. It's horrible, and incredibly frustrating. Not to mention, it's pretty darn RUDE. (queue Michelle Tanner's "how ruuude!")

Things after that were a bit of a whirlwind. The following week was another litany of work, babysitting the Godchildren, my own doctor's appointment, and a house with visitors. I was trying clary sage oil and red raspberry leaf tea to motivate the spawn to well, spawn. Not a lot was happening. I swear the kid was waiting for the chaos to cease before he graced us with his presence. I should've had the doctor stir the pot (aka strip/sweep membranes) at that week's appointment, but I didn't. I figured that I would give him a chance to exit on his own first. Being Thanksgiving week, the OB's office was closed Thursday and Friday, and MamaX3 had her OB & NST appointments Tuesday. I didn't want to be dealing with crazy traffic Wednesday, and had plans to be cooking things in advance that day anyway. Yes, we were still planning on hosting Thanksgiving because we are insane. So, my appointment was on Monday, 2 days after my due date. I had the doc sweep membranes at that visit. And the contractions I'd been having the previous week got more noticeable and frequent. And I told them I wasn't going to go forward with the induction scheduled for the next day, because the decision to induce just did not give me peace.

The next day, I was sitting on the Godchildren. Yes, didn't you read a few sentences up? I am insane. MamaX3 came home, and we started having contractions every 5 minutes, alternating who went first. I decided I needed to go home just in case it was hormonal feedback, and just in case I really *was* in labor. I got home and the contractions spaced themselves back out, but they were getting stronger. I reluctantly called the OB's office and the nurse asked what was going on, I told her, and she said, "Well, you've convinced me". Ugh that was not what I wanted to hear. I don't entirely know why, aside from the fact that it was going to mean coming home from the hospital ON Thanksgiving, and totally leaving my MIL to handle Thanksgiving prep. So, I called Devildog to come home, preventing him from getting overtime that day.

It took a bit of time to get to the hospital, partly because Devildog had to shower and wash the work grunge off his person, partly because it was the start of rush hour going in the direction of most of the traffic, and add Thanksgiving traffic to the mix. It was shortly after 5pm when we arrived. I will spare the male readers the triage portion of the initial intake. I will say the nurse was giving me crap about bailing on the induction and then showing up in labor that night. I love nurses whose sense of humor matches mine.

Being that I have such fast deliveries, the OB was hesitant to let me leave. Any other woman presenting like I was, she would have potentially sent home. Knowing how fast things can escalate, I decided it would be judicious to stay. I asked for the epidural early, because I was figuring I'd eventually get tired, start fighting contractions, and having trouble. To get the epidural, one must have 2 bags of IV fluid, to avoid blood pressure tanking to lethal levels. I got to my room a little after six p.m., and things started moving faster and getting stronger within the hour. By 7:30, I was sensing that I was not going to make it to the epidural, and told Devildog as much. By 7:45 the contractions were practically non-stop. At that point, I told him I hit transition. Not wishing a repeat of Blur's exit, he called the desk, telling them to get the doctor. Meanwhile, my nurse who was advised of just how fast things went with #2 & #4, went off in search of the anesthesiologist. She must not have been in the room when I told Devildog I wasn't going to make it to the epidural, nor did she have bat hearing. She returned just shy of 8 p.m., and at that moment, I started feeling immense pressure. I said as much, and she asked if it was with or without a contraction. (BOTH, honey - it's seriously GO time. Clearly, you haven't had expeditious patients like me before.)

And then...an explosive gush flooded the place. Devildog made an awful face, saying "yea, your water broke. It stinks!" I asked him what it smelled like because I could not smell it at all, being north of the carnage. His response? "rotting meat". Seriously? Some other woman would have been offended, but luckily for him, I'm not some other woman. Although, when you think about it, if you pull the plug on a tub of water that has been sealed up for the better part of 9 months, things are going to be a bit stagnant, so it made sense in a way. The nurse left the room, I hope to get the OB, not the anesthesiologist. All I know is the next several minutes were what felt like a single, long, contraction. It was probably more like ten 2-minute contractions piled on top of each other with a 10 second break between them.

A mere 23 minutes after the explosive gush, the baby was born, and I was completely out of breath, being asked if I wanted the oxygen mask. Yes, please, breathing is overrated sometimes, but I'd like to NOT pass out within seconds after expelling a mini-human from my nether regions, thank you. Nothing incites an obstetrical riot like a freshly spawned mother losing consciousness, so yea, let's avoid that.

If I'd gone back home, or stayed home till my water broke or contractions were closer together/stronger, then I would have been having a baby at home or on the side of the road. I have a friend who had one of her children inside 15 minutes on the kitchen floor. I didn't want that happening here. I warned everyone that I have very fast deliveries, and this was no exception. Upon hearing the story, a few people made comments about a greased pig.

Yes, I've got a case of greased pig, greased chute. Except, in the throes of it all, none of it felt like greased anything, probably because he was partially sunny-side-up. By the time you propel the 5th from your person, you not only have a clue as to how your body operates in childbirth, your body expedites things that much more than it already had in the past. But this turkey had his own timeline for the exit, as do all other babies. He's going to have birthday cake for Thanksgiving some years.
Look at those fat turkey legs


Friday, November 15, 2013

Because this other mom has said it sooo much better than I could

My friend C shared this link with me, after one of her crackbook friends posted it. Her crackbook friend is the author, but she very nicely puts it into terms that are more polite than I would have.







So, let me just reblog hers, noting she's got twins, and I'm only growing one. I'm due next week, NONE of mine have ever arrived early, unless you count 2 days as early.





I almost feel ...   …like a watched pot, taking too long to boil.  No one could possibly want these boys to be born more than me. I’m sure it will be easier to hold them in my arms than my belly.
Instead of being frustrated by my well intentioned friends and family, I posted a guide on my Facebook … it was a bit tongue-in-cheek but from a very real place. Not only did people get a kick out of it, some also asked to share it if their due dates came & went. I made the post public so strangers could share if they needed it. In doing so, I decided to post to my blog in case there were people not on Facebook that needed to know someone else in the world felt their pain. I do, sister. I promise to not ask if you’ve had your baby yet.  Feel free to comment and/or share this post. 

It’s not only for me .. but for all of you who have been there, done that.

1) If you see a post from me stating that I’ve given birth, then I’ve had the babies.
2) If you see a post from my husband/daughter/sister/bestie stating that I’ve given birth, then I’ve had the babies.
3) If you see that I’ve posted pictures of the boys in the hospital or in my arms, then I’ve had the babies.
4) If you see that someone has tagged me in pictures of the boys in the hospital or in my arms, then I’ve had the babies.
5) If you receive a private message, phone call and/or voice mail from me/my husband/daughter/sister/bestie telling you that I’ve had the babies … then I’ve had the babies.
6) If none of the above has happened, then I have NOT had the babies.
We hope this guide has helped clear up any confusion ;) And please … feel free to share this note with anyone. Really … ANYONE.

Let me amend and add also: If I've come to visit you and shown you the offspring, then I've had he baby.

Thanks to Retta for sharing this helpful guide.
http://rettarizzo.com/friends-guide-to-whether-ive-had-the-babies-or-not/

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Art of Life

It's too personal a story to relate.
But after a long time friend left my house today, I found a note I'd jotted down during one of Father Lam's homilies. And it so appropriately sums up what I was feeling, and how that friend has lived life.

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." - Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Thank you for making the trek - all the way to my house today, and all the way through our lives.

And don't stick your head in a tiger's mouth.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tough love

I was watching the Today show and they were talking about the first half of this story, where an exasperated dad took his 4th grade son to the street with a sign as a public means of discipline. The anchors all said it's a form of bullying itself, by making the son hold the sign saying "I'm a bully! Honk if you hate bullies!" And the dad caught a ton of flack for it.

Let me just make these points:
1. The son was in trouble at school for repeated offenses of bullying. This means that the school was attempting to curb/stop the behavior. The dad made various efforts to get his son to stop bullying.

2. The dad stood on the street corner with his son. He didn't sit in the car playing on his phone or drinking a latte.

3.  The dad owned his son's behavior. He basically said "My son screwed up. Let me do something to prevent it from escalating, and my son being the reason someone else's child ends up on the news because no one did enough to stop the tide of the mistreatment." He DID NOT defend his son's behavior. He did not say "oh, no! not MYYYY child! you're mistaken! you're lying!" that so many other parents do. He demonstrated to his child what other children were feeling when his son was being mean to his peers. Sometimes, empathy is a powerful experience. Who better to help victims of something cope, than other people who have experienced that pain and share their coping methods.

4. The school reported back to the dad that when his son returned to school, he apologized to his victim - OF HIS OWN ACCORD!  No one forced the apology as a contingency for his son's return. The son understood what he'd done, and how it impacted his peers, and he apologized.
Here is where I'll reference that Stanford prison experiment from the 70s. The two groups switched roles after a time. The first-round inmates did not mistreat the former guards to the same extent they were.
Maybe if bullies were subjected to a taste of their own medicine, they'd quickly check their own behavior.

5. He didn't backpedal. The next day, the dad stood on that same corner without his child, responding to the critics. He stood firm in his parenting, and told critics that he was not going to be bullied in to sugar-coating things. The fact that his son apologized to his victim of his own accord tells me this tactic worked.

As a parent of a child who must learn things the hard way, I can relate to this dad's frustration. It took a long time for my child to change some of his behavior, and it took interventions on many fronts. I can relate to the mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion from constantly battling my child on things like house rules, treating people poorly, and consequences. And being strong-willed, my child also didn't back down from me either. As a result, the house was fraught with tension on a daily basis. But, I'm the parent, and the responsibility of the household rests on my shoulders and those of my husband. We HAD to exhaust our efforts to effect change. In our minds, there was no other way to do it. We were not going to shirk our responsibility to raise our children to become responsible adults.

I personally applaud this dad for taking a stand with his child, and going tough love on his son. If more parents did so, we'd see a decrease of bullying, entitled behavior, and an increase of civility. This guy didn't subscribe to what I call "speshul snowflayke parenting". And I appreciate that he took a stand against his child's behavior, and stood on that street corner with his son holding the sign.