Smoke Signals

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's cigarette smoke. The taste, the smell, the general yuckity grossness. Unfortunately, I live with a smoker. Yep, you guessed it: the baby. Coby smokes like a fiend, kinda like that Indonesian toddler Ardi Rizal (remember him?).

Ahahaha! I'm just kidding, y'all. Of course the baby doesn't smoke. He's too busy clogging up the toilet with random non-toilet-friendly items, and filling up diapers with stuff that actually SHOULD go in the toilet.

I do live with a smoker, though. Curtis has smoked at least a half-pack a day throughout the entire fourteen years that I've known him. Back when it was just the two of us, he'd tell me that as soon as I got pregnant, he'd quit smoking.

... Um, hello? Three kids later? Still lighting up. Granted, he does it exclusively outside now, but still.

I'm not on too much of a high horse here. I've tried smoking, myself. First when I was like nine, and my cousin stole some of her dad's cigarettes and we "smoked" (i.e., pretended to inhale a la Bill Clinton) on the way to school. (Yes, Mom and Aunt Judy, this is probably the first time you've heard about this, but don't freak because we turned out okay. Right? ... RIGHT??) I tried again in high school, when my BFF Betsy smoked and was like the coolest person EVER and I wanted to be just like her right down to the Marlboro Lights. Only they made me lightheaded and gave me a sick, dizzy feeling - and who can look cool while they're trying not to hurl all over their best friend's car?

I just never got the appeal of it. And now that I'm all grown up and a certifiable nonsmoker, I'm glad. I'm not burdened with a habit that is expensive stinky, expensive health-harming, expensive teeth-yellowing, and expensive!! restrictive. I don't have to go crazy on a long flight or car trip because I'm craving a cigarette. I don't have to search for a section in a restaurant where I can smoke, or spend forever looking for a "designated area." It's pretty nice, y'all.

All these reasons are why I hope my kids never take up the habit. But even at this age, they want to be just like their daddy - and they mimic him every chance they get (like the other day when Coby was fussing and Cameron told him to "lock it up").

So the other evening, after our older boys had gone to bed, Curtis went outside to sit on the front porch and have a cigarette. Coby wanted to follow him, and it was nice out, so I let him go. I peered out the window to witness the sweet bonding session between Daddy and his baby: just the two of them sitting on the steps, talking, pointing at things. But then I realized that while, yes, Coby was bonding with his dad, he was also watching his unhealthy habit. Absorbing everything like a sponge - and I don't just mean secondhand smoke.

Which was more important: the two of them having a "moment," or Coby not seeing Daddy smoke? It was one of those impossible toss-ups, but I ended up letting Coby stay outside. It's rare that either of us get many quiet moments with just one of our boys at a time. Still, it almost felt like their bonding came at a cost. Maybe I'm being overdramatic, but hey, I'm a mom. We're good at that.

Do you smoke - or does your significant other? Do your kids see it?  



  1. Jessica Armstrong LasaSeptember 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Ray smokes about half a pack like Curtis and only outside. The boys see it and now that they are older they always say they want him to quit because they know it is bad for him. I smoke sometimes at night but they aren't concerned about my health because I rarely do it. I feel like it is just one of those things that kids have had to deal with forever. They know it is bad. Thankfully, people do it outdoors now though and don't stink everything up!

  2. I smoked a pack of cloves per week in college, in addition to the stolen from dad cigarettes in junior high and high school. Haven't touched them in 10 years now. But the urge comes every once in a while. The Wife was only a social smoker.

  3. neither I nor my husband smoke - the only person in my family that does is my grandfather, so everyone is pretty onboard the "smoking is disgusting" train. But my husband used to dip tobacco when we first met, which I think is the single most repulsive habit anyone can have. If I had known he dipped straight off instead of discovering it several months later, we would never have had a relationship beyond the initial meeting. So gross!!

    I personally would not have let Coby outside while Curtis smoked, if only in the hopes that missing out on that time might be that extra little incentive to help him quit. (and because I'm super paranoid about second hand smoke)

    good luck!

  4. This is going to sound weird but...
    My mom smoked when I was in late high school/early college. It was our bonding time. I'd sit out on the porch/in the garage with her as she puffed away and we talked about anything and everything. I really cherished that time, and honestly? The first whiff I get of a just-lit cigarette makes me miss her.
    She has quit smoking and I never was inspired to take up the habit. (Then again, I was old enough to REALLY know better and had been through numerous health classes in school.)

  5. i don't smoke nor does hubby, my dad does and it makes me sick.

  6. I think you did the right thing. As you pointed out, neither you nor Curtis gets much one-on-one time with the boys, and that's really important. Besides, they're going to make up their own minds about that someday anyway. I smoked while you were growing up, but your and your siblings don't. They were outside where the smoke dissipates quickly, and the bonding is priceless. Curtis is a great Daddy and that's what they'll remember most. I wish he would quit smoking, too, and he will when he really makes up his mind to do it.

    And by the way, Judy and I both knew about you and Jess taking Jim's cigarettes. Moms know everything! ;o)

  7. I don't have kids yet, but I'm super paranoid about 2nd hand smoke. I'm actually allergic to tobacco, so I can't even handle standing by someone who has smokey clothes on. I am determined though that no one who even smells like smoke to be near my children. That may seem a bit crazy, but I know it can cause breathing problems and induce allergies. So I don't plan on taking any chances with that nastiness.

  8. My father died because he was a smoker. Now the smell of cigarettes sends me into grief every single time.

  9. I smoked for about a week. I found a pack of menthols while waitressing and decided to give it a try. My sister found the pack and said, "What the heck is this???" and threw them out the car window. I went "ehh" and didn't smoke again.

    It's funny because my mom smoked and I was thoroughly grossed out by it. So, I'm glad my sister dumped them. I'm sure I would've gone down the same path as my mom...

  10. Yeah....smoking is about the foulest, stinkiest habit ever. I can understand your "dilemma" there, if for no other reason than the second hand smoke. I guess all you can hope is, that your boys will be smarter than that, and through your example and teaching they'll realize smoking is NOT what they want to do. And hopefully, someday soon Curtis will change his mind too. It's just not worth it, the stink, the expense, the health issue, et al.

  11. I've never smoked but my Dad did. He recently quit after smoking for...I think 40 years? I know it wasn't easy but he says he can breathe much easier. He always smoked outside though. I could never stand when people would smoke indoors.

  12. My husband and I smoked until pregnant- quit for years and then started up again a few years back. But we would hide outside behind the garage like crack dealers to hide it from the kids. So many many close calls when a kid would come running out and we would hold our breath like highschoolers hiding it from our parents. We have both quit again- we couldn't handle the stress.


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