Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sock Drama = Comedy

We had been planning a play date at the park with all our friends, but the weather didn't cooperate. The original day was cold, windy, and blah, and there was still snow on the ground. The kiddo and I could suck it up, but for little kids and kids getting over colds, it wasn't a good idea. So, we tried again the following day, which was supposed to be in the upper 40's and sunny. Except it wasn't. Upper 30's, overcast...blah. I decided to venture out anyway. After all, fresh air is good for you and I hoped that it would tire the kiddo out--maybe even enough for a nap. (Stop laughing at my optimism. It was born of desperation, because I needed a nap so badly.)

Since the weather was wintery, I thought it would be a good idea to make the kiddo dress warmly. It was a challenge to get her dressed at all.  First, her underwear was uncomfortable, and she was thrashing around whining about it. That was right when a friend called, and I had to explain that the commotion was about underwear. The kiddo didn't see the humor in the situation, and got a bit upset that I was laughing at her. Honestly, I couldn't help it! Then, she didn't want to wear two pair of socks, so we compromised on knee socks--rolled over a couple of times, to keep her ankles warm. Then, she didn't want to wear her hat because it kept falling down over her eyes (after she stretched it out). OK, her coat has a hood. Good enough. When we got to the park, she left her mittens in the car. Sigh. I decided to let her learn the hard way. Eventually, she started complaining that she was cold (go figure).

After all the running and climbing and swinging at the park, we brought her buddy home with us for a while and the chaos continued at home. After he left, the kiddo still wasn't tired, so no nap. However, hubby got home early and I let him entertain the kiddo...and I took a short nap. I was right about how being outdoors can tire you out--or maybe it was the sock drama that did it for me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Money Lessons

Merry Christmas! OK, it's a few days late, but it is still the holiday season. In an effort to extend the holiday cheer a bit, I waited until today to give the kiddo one last gift, a $10 bill from my mom, to be spent on anything the kiddo's heart desired*. We had to go out to the mall to return some things, so we stopped at Barnes and Noble. She found a bunch of things that appealed to her, many over the $10 limit, before deciding on a stuffed Hello Kitty. She even had some money left over, which I told her she could use sometime to buy a treat.

Fast forward an hour or so, when we started to get hungry. We were waiting for friends at the "Fashions for Evergreens" display and decided to walk over to the coffee shop for a snack. The kiddo had left her money in the car, but I had a gift card so I treated her to a juice box and a banana. While walking back to the tree exhibit, the kiddo announced that she didn't want the rest of her banana, and that she needed to find a trash can so that she could throw it away.

Now, selecting a gift under $10 was going to be the money lesson of the day, but it turned out that I had another opportunity to explain economics to the kiddo. I told her that since I had used my gift card to buy her banana, she would owe me $1 of her leftover money if she didn't finish it since that would be wasting food. I got a defeated "fine" before she ate the rest of the banana.

*The item had to cost $10.00 or less. I would not give her extra money if she wanted something over $10.00, but I did agree to use my B&N discount. I had the right to veto anything that was not age appropriate or that was just plain crap. The kiddo had to carry her own money, pay for her own purchase, and keep the item in the bag while we finished our errands.     SUCCESS!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Perfect Gift?

What is Christmas? To kids, it's all about getting presents. And not even necessarily the "perfect" present; the way they tear off the wrapping paper, glance at the gift, then rush on to the next one, it's more about the unknown, the mystery, the potential inside each package.

Modern culture guru Gretchen Rubin has mixed feelings about gift-giving:  "I think that, often, people don’t really want these gifts. More birthday gifts for children who already opened too many presents on their birthday; more high-calorie treats for people who are watching their weight...", but adds "...although I’ve tried to pretend that gift-giving didn’t matter much, I’ve always known that it DOES matter. It’s an important gesture...Gift-giving makes me stop and think about the people in my life, what they like, what they need. It’s tangible proof of my affection." (Read more of her thoughts on this here:

My kiddo loves presents as much as the next kid, and I love making her smile, but I tried not to go overboard this year. She will be getting a few presents from her daddy and me, and a few from Santa. (And a lot from relatives, but that is largely out of my control.)

I, personally, have come to the conclusion that I have enough "stuff", but, in line with what Gretchen Rubin believes, I would be hurt if my hubby and other family members didn't give me something special for Christmas. However, I fully believe that experiences make outstanding gifts, sometimes more so than yet another pair of socks. Now, if you are really in need, something basic like socks or a gas card or a blanket is appropriate and greatly appreciated, but the old adage, "It's the thought that counts" is true. Any gift given with the needs and preferences and interests of the recipient in mind is a good gift.

Really, though, how much stuff does anyone need? To quote a friend, "Do we remember all of the things we were given as children or do we remember the moments we spent with others?" I think that it's the moments spent with others--people we care about--that stay with us after even the most spectacular gift has been put aside or even forgotten. Giving the gift of experiences is not a new trend, but it is being touted as one, and I think it is catching on. After all, "What gift can we give to the people we care about that actually means something? Why do the holidays have to be so expensive after we buy gifts for everyone on our Christmas list? Then, on Christmas Day, we have to find polite things to say about the unwanted gifts we get and we find ourselves with a bunch of additional stuff to take care of whether we like it or not." (From

To me, the best part of the holiday season is spending time with friends and family. I figured, the kiddo loves playing with her friends more than just about anything, so why shouldn't she have that experience (along with toys, of course)? I have been trying to arrange play dates for her with her friends, including several friends she doesn't get to see very often, (like friends who have moved away, or friends from preschool who go to different elementary schools). Unfortunately, I haven't had overwhelming success (darn you germs for making everyone sick!), but so far the kiddo has participated in our church's holiday play, I helped her make a gingerbread house at her class party, and she has helped me make cookies. We also plan to see the fancy-schmancy Christmas trees in town and see some of her buddies at a "mega play date" in a park, complete with hot chocolate and lots of layers. She will no doubt be disappointed when she sees that there isn't a merry-go-round in our yard on Christmas morning, but that will pass. Hopefully the memories of laughing, giggling, and playing with me, hubby, family and friends will last a lifetime.

Friday, December 21, 2012

First Day of Vacation Down, 12 More to Go

I was teasing people on my personal Facebook page yesterday: "Today is the first day of [kiddo's] Christmas vacation, and for the most part she has been playing with a variety of toys and not pestering me (too much)...check out Mean Mommy tomorrow to find out my secret!" 

Here it is (drum roll, please!): First, I told her that I would really like to make a phone call to the North Pole to tell Hilda the Elf that the kiddo has been really good, instead of reporting bad behavior. Then, when she was complaining about not having anything to play with, I suggested that she play with some of her toys--as is, the ones in her room. After all, Santa won't bring her new toys if she doesn't appreciate the ones she already has. Unless, of course, she is through with them and she wants to give them away...After assuring me that she wants to keep all of her toys, she proved it by playing with a bunch of them.

That is my secret to how I managed to maintain my sanity today. It did get a bit dicey in the late afternoon, with some pestering going on (she lost the right to have any fizzy water because she bugged me about it one too many times) and some whining, but I have hope for tomorrow, but no plan.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pretty is as Pretty Does

In school today, two boys told my kiddo that she "isn't as pretty as Jane Doe". Now, I've seen Jane, and she is quite fetching. However, my kiddo is beautiful. (I know, I'm a wee bit prejudiced!) I reminded the kiddo of all the pictures of her are prominently displayed throughout the house, and told her how beautiful she is in them, but I didn't want to keep telling her how pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, attractive, stunning, etc she is. After all, "pretty is as pretty does". However, I did encourage her to tell those boys that what they said made her feel bad. I want her to stand up for herself. Not everyone will think she is pretty, but I want everyone to think that she is confident and assertive. The kiddo wanted to to reprimand her classmates, but she didn't think she would be able to find the courage to do so. I suggested that she practice in her head--look at the two boys and think "I didn't like what you said. It made me feel bad." Then, maybe the next time (or the time after that or...), she will say the words out loud. And if she also said, "well, you aren't as cute as E or C or T", even better. Confident, assertive, and badass.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

People, Not Politicians, Need to Work This Out

It seems that I have a lot of Facebook friends who are gun-owners and/or supporters of gun rights. They are all posting that they "have the right to bear arms", and that "guns don't kill people; people kill people". Technically, they are correct; the Second Amendment guarantees their right to possess weapons, and a gun can't kill anyone without a person loading it and firing it. Fine--we can all agree on that. But in the wake of the terrible school shooting (the latest in a disturbing series of such tragedies), people are calling for stricter gun control.

Consider this: A friend of mine, S, recently moved to a rural area, and she is considering getting a gun for protection. She has two small children, and in the event of an aggressive animal or intruder, there won't be any time for her to weigh her options in protecting herself and her family. If she goes about obtaining a gun legally and uses it responsibly, is it wrong if she chooses to do so? A better option might be a dog, but that leads to the argument that some dogs are dangerous. Good thing S has common sense and isn't rushing into anything. However, if someone lives in a rural area and has reason to worry about wildlife or trespassers, do they need an assault rifle or semi-automatic weapon?  No, not unless they are expecting an army of rabid coyotes.

One of my pro-gun friends, M, has posted numerous comments on her wall, and almost each one is met with a counter argument from a friend of hers. Her friend pointed out that the Bill of Rights--and thus the Second Amendment--was written over 200 years ago, when the standard weapon was a musket. He suggests that if people want to own a firearm, then make it a musket. In a serious situation, you would only have one chance, so you better be a good shot.  But if you are going to own any firearm, you better be a good shot, right?

On the other hand, a plethora of friends are posting things such as


It's time to face the facts: (1) We as a nation are not going let these senseless killings continue without doing something to prevent them. People, especially parents, are angry and afraid. A mama bear is the most dangerous thing in the wild, after all, and a daddy bear is not something to mess with, either. (OK, enough with the metaphors.) (2) No change in gun laws is going to happen overnight. Even though President Obama shed tears over the deaths of so many children, he will have a fight on his hands to make any real changes when it comes to access to guns.

There is no easy solution, but a good start would be for both sides to agree that the issue is not clear cut, and that there is a lot of gray area. That means, when someone is presenting an opinion different from yours, listen to what they are saying. And if you own a gun, don't shoot them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Elf Ain't on the Shelf

Confession time: We don't have an Elf on the Shelf. Well, we do have several elves, and one might hang out on a shelf, but no official Elf that reports to Santa. I thought that, at $29.99, an Elf was a bit expensive considering that the kiddo won't believe in Santa forever. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea, and I enjoy hearing the names they are given, how my friends forget to move them until the last minute, and all the pranks the Elves seem to play. The pranks might be what makes it worthwhile, since that could go on until the kiddo is in college (or beyond!). In fact, I might try to find one on clearance or on Ebay.

Anyway, as I have mentioned before, I have my own ways of blackmailing encouraging good behavior: I have a direct line to the North Pole. Not to Santa himself--that is a last resort, as in nothing-else-is-gonna-stop-the-tantrum-train. No, my direct line is to the Elf who is in charge of our house. Their assignments change every year; this year, our Elf is a girl named Hilda. This revolving Elf assignment is not for creativity--it's in case I can't remember the name from the previous year!

The Elf isn't usually contacted unless the kiddo is doing something I don't like; the Elf is usually used as a threat before things get ugly, like "I know you are going to pick up all those toys, because you don't want me to call Hilda the Elf". Sometimes, though, calling the Elf in front of the kiddo is the only way I can stop undesirable behavior after it has started, like the defiance and wailing that ensued after I asked her to hand over a pen (she didn't have any paper out, so I didn't understand why she needed a pen, unless it was to add to the design she had already made on the chair). In case you are hoping that I really do know an elf's phone number, I need to explain that the number I call is really my mom's. She plays along and takes my "report", so that my responses sound authentic. (OK, that just makes it fun for me. The kiddo buys it hook, line and sinker.)

However, my system isn't perfect, and there are a few things I need to change: first, I need to call the Elf and praise the kiddo's good behavior sometimes, too. It's more important to emphasize the good stuff rather than complain about the bad stuff. Second, I might need to find a new Phone Elf. My mom is a good sport, but she keeps trying to talk to me about other things during these calls. I guess I could just be mean and hang up on her. Don't tell Santa, OK?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Read This!

Read this:
Sadly, the mom in question needs to do more than be mean, but she is to be commended for not sweeping her son's behavior under the rug, or waiting for someone else to deal with it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Red Flags

Yesterday I was a sad mommy, but today I am a mad mommy. The destruction of so many innocent lives in Connecticut goes beyond the label "crime" or even "sin"; it is an offense against humanity. It is also a sign that we are failing miserably as individuals, as a nation, and as a society. I am not talking about gun control; the school shooter was determined to take lives, and he probably would have done so without access to guns. However, I am not advocating laxer gun laws, either; many Facebook posters are again lamenting "If only someone in the school had had a gun!". This goes beyond asinine--teachers and administrators have enough responsibility and stress that asking them to become proficient in handling a gun is ridiculous. What's next, arming children? No, the purpose of this rant is to admonish us all for letting a sick, twisted individual fall through the cracks.

When I contacted the kiddo's school about the incident with the boy throwing a rock at me, the Assistant Principal thanked me for letting her know and also told me to alert her any time I notice something wrong or "off". This is what we all need to do--we need to pay attention, and when we notice something wrong, we need to speak up. The shooter was described as having a personality disorder, although no one has elaborated on the nature of his supposed problem. Nor have details been released about the shooter's behavior leading up to the tragic shooting, but if you look at another case, the Oregon mall shooting, you will notice a red flag.

The Oregon mall shooter has been described as normally friendly and upbeat,  but then his personality and outlook seemed to abruptly change. How many more red flags were there? How many red flags were there before the Connecticut school shooter picked up a gun?
Of course we can not assume responsibility for every individual, nor can we become vigilantes, but we are responsible for being vigilant. If everyone chooses not to get involved, it is just a matter of time until the next tragedy. Remember, "it takes a village...".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sad Mommy

As a mommy, my heart goes out to all the parents who lost their babies in the senseless, horrific school shooting in Connecticut. I worry that their hearts will never heal. I'm going to go hug my kiddo again...

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Today when I was waiting for the kiddo after school, the boy who threw the rock at me apologized! I accepted his apology and thanked him for apoligizing. I'm so glad I spoke to the Assistant Principal about the incident. It's often uncomfortable to make waves and to tell someone something they don't want to hear, but sometimes you just have to do it. Get over your discomfort and think about how you can make things better by taking action! Then do it!

Pets as Christmas Presents: Just say "NO"!

So, you want to buy your child the perfect gift, and he or she has been asking for a dog forever*, and you're thinking that Christmas would be the right time...Step away from the pet store! If you purchase a dog at a pet store, it is very likely that it came from a puppy mill. The Humane Society of the United States has done the work for you, and has some pretty damning evidence that animals are being treated horribly just for the sake of making a buck. I'm hoping it's not your buck. Read this:

If you really want to give your child a pet for the holidays, please consider adopting one from a shelter. In addition to a more reasonable price, you can be assured that the shelter really wants to send its animals to a good home, and will work with you to find the best pet for your family. Of course, if you have a specific breed in mind, you might want to wait until after the holidays, when people discard unwanted animals given as pets. Yup, it happens. Why?  Pet ownership is a big responsibility, and it is not to be taken lightly. The American Kennel Club has a long list of how to be a responsible dog owner; read it here:

Before you assume that a cat is "easier", think again. Read this to find out why:

What about a bird or a fish or a rodent? They all have requirements for their care, and if you aren't willing to step up when your child loses interest, it's going to be a sad existence for the animal. Do you really want that?

If you are planning to go ahead with giving a pet as a gift, check out this info: and if you aren't ready for the responsibility, just say "NO". Your child may be disappointed, but please think of an animal's welfare over placating your child.

*The kiddo has repeatedly asked for a dog, to which I have replied that it's "not the right time". She has no idea what that means, but it's basically "NO", because I'm not ready for a dog along with a kiddo and a cat. Yikes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

While leaving the school with the kiddo after pickup, I heard a little boy (Kindergarten or maybe even preschool age) adamantly denounce something as "stupid". Several times. I know that some people have a big problem with the word stupid, referring to is as "the 's' word" and not allowing it to be said in their house. I'm not quite so offended by it (uh, there is another 's' word, you know, which is a bit worse), but I don't want to hear it from my kiddo, so I wanted to show her that I disapprove--before she even thinks of saying it.

Now, you know that I'm always ready and willing to challenge bad behavior, not that this was that bad, so I told the boy "Oh, I don't like the word 'stupid'. It's not very nice to say that". He looked at me like I was crazy. I should have said "Santa doesn't like that word. You better not say it anymore or he might skip your house". Bahaha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gymnastics, or How I Push My Kiddo to Have Fun

If you have your child signed up for any kind of class or activity (outside of school or preschool), you know how important it is that they make the effort. Because, you know, otherwise, why are you paying for it? Ballet, swimming, team sports, art classes...whatever it is, they should try their best, right?

I had this issue with my kiddo a few months ago regarding her gymnastics class. When she first started, she was excellent, but at the start of the fall session, her enthusiasm seemed to wane. At least, her enthusiasm for gymnastics waned. Goofing off with her friends, playing in the chalk, and choosing a prize from the prize box were her top priorities. At $40.00 a month, averaging $10.00 a class, those cheap plastic toys became pretty expensive.

One night, hubby took the kiddo to class and came home with a bad report. The kiddo just wasn't making an effort to do the gymnastics part of class. I was pretty upset, mostly because she had been doing so well--one of the better students--and to hear that was disappointing. Later that night, I told the kiddo that she wouldn't be going to gymnastics anymore if she wasn't going to make an effort. I expected her to pay attention to her instructor, take her turn instead of chit-chatting, not get in anyone's way, leave the chalk in the bucket, and choose a prize and let someone else take her turn at the prize box. Otherwise, it just wasn't worth it. To say that she was upset would be an understatement. However, through her tears, she said that she just wanted Mama to be happy. I replied that I would be happy if she were doing an activity she really enjoyed--enough to want to go to class and participate. If  not gymnastics, well, we could try something else.

I'm not one of those moms who schedules something for her child for every day of the week. Hardly. One activity, one day a week. Maybe something else like swimming for a month or so. That's it; she does have school, after all, and most importantly, she needs time to play. And the kiddo can play just fine without me paying $40.00 a month for her to do so.

After our conversation about my expectations, I talked to the kiddo's gymnastics coach, who agreed that she could do better. I love this coach; she is great with kids, and she understands how to connect with them. She has put a little pressure on the kiddo, who is back to working hard in gymnastics class. In just a few weeks, she has improved her cartwheels and can do them reasonably well for her age without getting frustrated. And in this week's class, she did an awesome kip. I'm not sure what a kip is, but if I hadn't put my foot down and enlisted the aid of hubby and her coach, we probably would have stopped gymnastics. I'm glad we didn't, because the kiddo enjoys it so much. And she especially enjoys it when she does it well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Health is the Best Gift You Can Give Your Child!

I've posted before about the importance of limiting junk food; I believe that we also need to monitor our kids' food intake, even the healthy stuff. Obesity is skyrocketing in our country, and childhood obesity is on the rise as well. While treats are fine once in a while, we can't use food to bribe and reward our kids, even though at times we might be desperate to trade something yummy for a particular behavior. I will admit that when my kiddo was a toddler, I used food and drink as an incentive to get her to accompany me on errands and get back into her car seat without a fight ("OK, we need to go in here and get one thing, then you can have your grapes"). That was not only healthy food, it was her lunch! As, in, her midday meal, the only food she was getting until her post-nap snack. I know that my methodology wasn't the best, but at least I wasn't bribing her with junk. That tactic really saved my sanity, but I discontinued doing that when the kiddo was old enough for other consequences, like time out or losing her preferred toy if she didn't cooperate. Now, while she enjoys a treat now and then (or whenever she can get one!), food is not used as an incentive. She is at a healthy weight, and I don't have to log her daily fat intake or treadmill distance (click on the link for details).

The story that I'm sharing should make you take notice, and the  last two lines are the ones that pack the biggest punch. A child's health and self esteem are more important than parents not being "comfortable" with setting limits.

See what I'm talking about by clicking here:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

From 1st Grade to Police Lineup

You all know how I walk my kiddo to school and pick her up in the afternoon, right? I have an assigned spot where I wait for her to come out of the building with her class, so that her teacher can see me and give her permission to leave the line. I'm always afraid I'm going to be late, so I leave my house with time to spare and end up waiting there a few minutes. There is one particular class that tends to be the first one out, and several of the kids like to talk to me while waiting to be released by their teacher. Today, though, things got out of hand. I was talking to one girl, when a boy threw something at me. It hit my shirt and bounced off. I thought it was an acorn, and said that it wasn't nice to throw acorns at people. He said "it wasn't an acorn, it was a rock". Seriously. It must have been about the size of an acorn, maybe a bit bigger. If it had hit my face or hand, it might have broken the skin. I was furious, and told him that what he did was not OK, and that I didn't like it.There was a sub right there, and I think she may have mistaken me for a teacher since I was by standing near the door. In any case, she didn't do anything, and just walked to her car.

Here is my mistake: I didn't speak to anyone at the school right away. I was expecting someone at my house at 2:30, and hurried the kiddo home so we wouldn't be late. I did, however, call the school as soon as we got home, and spoke with the Assistant Principal, who was very concerned. She got all the pertinent information and figured out which class the offender is in. Then, we decided that I will visit the classroom tomorrow morning, after I drop off the kiddo, to identify the boy. Yeah, kinda like a police lineup.

I'm glad I reprimanded the boy, that I spoke to the Assistant Principal, and that the substitute won't get in trouble. And I have a feeling that this won't be the last time that the boy will be in lineup.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Limited-Range Kid

This afternoon I let the kiddo go over to the neighbors' house. They live 2 houses up from us, on the same side of the street. I walked her over, said she could play until 4:00, and went home. And spied on her from the window. Yeah, yeah, paranoid, over-protective, control freak...whatever. She had had a snack, water, and potty break, so I thought she was good for a while. Mistake. I went downstairs to do laundry, and a minute later heard pounding on the door and the doorbell ringing and yelling, all at the same time. The kiddo wanted a snack. WTF?

I stood there dumbfounded, because there was no adult in sight and I couldn't figure out how she had gotten home, because, surely she wouldn't walk home unaccompanied? No, of course not. Two of her friends had escorted her. Um, not acceptable. The elder of the two told me, "it's OK, I walked her over". I had to count to 10 to not utter some inappropriate words. I asked his age, to which he replied that he is 7 years old. I told him that the kiddo must walk with a grown up, and if you added his age with the other friend's age, that would be 13, which is still not a grown up. He apologized, and explained to me that he was the one offering the snacks, and that the kiddo came home to get my approval. OK, I can't be mad about that part, even though I did write our phone number on a piece of paper with instructions to have her friend's mom call if she needed anything. Maybe I should have written it on her forehead with a sharpie.

So, then, we were walking back to the neighbors' house when the kiddo decided that she wanted to race her friends. On the road. I grabbed her arm and told her NO, because I had noticed a car coming toward us, and there is that somewhat blind curve I have mentioned before (in the same context--go figure). She put up a fight, and only stopped when I threatened not to let her watch Rudolph tonight. I am loving Christmas more and more. Maybe not for the right reasons, but it works for me.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Going All Scroogy at the Book Fair

"No. You can't have another book". That is not a sentence I ever thought I would say--I love books, and am thrilled that the kiddo does, too. Reading is important in our house; we read books to the kiddo before bed, and I try to squeeze in as much reading time as I can. Tonight, however, it was different, because we were at the Book Fair.

Selling books as a fundraiser for the kiddos school? Great idea! Her teacher helping her make a wish list of all the books she wants? Fantastic! Doing it right before Christmas? Are you freakin' kidding me?!

If there were a way to covertly buy the books on the wish list, I'd be all for it, but there was no way I could go without the kiddo. She was quite excited to show me how they set the book fair up in the school library, and to point out all the books on her wish list. The wish list turned out to be irrelevant, though, because the kiddo noticed book that had previously escaped her attention. This would normally please me immensely, and I would typically give in and buy one more (is it spoiling your child if you buy them lots of books? No, I didn't think so, either). The problem: some of the books she picked out are ones that I know for a fact she is getting for Christmas! I had to revert to my one book policy that we had discussed at home, which dashed her hopes of adding to her purchases.

All in all, I think I handled it well; the kiddo and I shared quality time at the book fair, hubby read the new book to her tonight, and we participated in the school's fundraiser. But, really, I would have spent more if the sale hadn't been so close to Christmas. Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I'm Calling Santa!

It's December! Cold and snow (yeah, right, not with global warming) and, of course, Christmas! My kiddo has conscientiously poured over Toys R Us catalogs and other ads, circling everything she wants. Which is more or less everything in the catalog. Her behavior, though, is less than stellar. This is not out of the ordinary; it is often less than stellar. She is 5, after all. However, what I really love about the holidays, especially the time leading up to Christmas, is the threat of displeasing Santa.

I have to admit that we don't have an Elf on the Shelf. Shocking, yes, but that is the subject of another post. That's not to say that I don't use Christmas as a threat. I do. In fact, just today I have had to threaten to call the North Pole. Twice. I don't save these threats for major meltdowns, either. Whining? I'm gonna call the North Pole. Not cooperating? I'm texting Santa. Attitude? I'm sending an email. All of these threats result in pleas of "No! Don't do it!" and a rapid improvement of behavior. Is this considered bribery? Aren't we, as good parents, not supposed to resort to bribery in order to guarantee good behavior? The parenting gurus are opposed to bribery...I say: whatever works!

Listen, all too soon, the kiddo won't even believe in Santa. I'm going to get as much mileage out of this season as I can. If you are one of the minority, like me, who don't even have a resident Elf, feel free to borrow my primary blackmail tool: when the kiddo is misbehaving, I whip out my phone and call my mom. When she answers, I say "This is [the kiddo's] mom. I need to report ___."  Fortunately, my mom is smart enough to play along (if she protested too loudly, the kiddo might be able to hear her and recognize her voice). I can then relay a "message" from one of the elves, basically telling the kiddo to knock it off or she won't get anything on Christmas. Most likely, by next year she will be suspicious and ask to talk to the elf. I'm not sure that my mom is up for that, so I may be auditioning potential elves before then. Or I may just cave and get an Elf on the Shelf.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Own Mean Mommy

Yes, I had a mean mommy. Sometimes she was mean, as in not nice. I think that, sometimes, she didn't know how to raise a kid. For example, she would encourage me to "be myself"--to do what I enjoyed and not let anyone tell me that I couldn't. By "anyone", she must have meant only my peers, because if I did something she didn't like, she wouldn't hesitate to tell me I couldn't do it.

For example: when I was little, 5 years old or so, I had a toy drum. I banged on it, a lot. Now, my mom and dad were probably the ones who bought it for me, or, if it came from someone else, they allowed me to have it. One day, I was playing a big drum solo, and my mom decided she didn't want to hear it. She may have given me a warning or three, but, I was a little kid with a drum. I didn't want to stop. So, she stepped on--and in and through--my drum. It was ruined. There was no taking it away, no making it an outside toy, nothing. Just elimination of what she considered the problem. Certainly, her solution was drastic, and not well thought out, because the destruction of my toy caused a huge temper tantrum, which must have really sucked for her (sorry, mom, you are not getting any sympathy from me).

There are a lot more incidents that I remember vividly, and which influence my own parenting decisions.  I have high expectations for my kiddo, but I realize that my job is to help her meet them, as well as the expectations of society as a whole. The key word is help, as in guide, facilitate, assist...not trample, destroy, and talk out of both sides of my mouth.

Perhaps I went through a bitter period when I was angry at my mom for not being kind and sympathetic when I needed her to be*, but remember my post about "The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe"? Seriously, that was my grandmother. My mother learned by example, and didn't really know how to relate to a little kid. She might have benefited from parenting books, mommy groups, etc, but they weren't prevalent back in the day. So, I have chosen to find my own parenting techniques and not model mine after hers.

For the record, my kiddo has a drum, and it is intact. It has been taken away numerous times and even hidden, but she still has it.

*Luv ya, mom!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Think Twice Before Hitting the Toy Store

This is so important to remember!
I have to admit that I get excited about finding just the right gift for my kiddo--the one that she can't put down or stop talking about. Part of that is selfish on my part, because I love seeing her face light up when she opens up a special gift. But you know what? Tonight we watched the Peanuts' Christmas special, and her eyes lit up when I offered to let her watch it on my bed, on my lap, and again and again while watching the antics of the Peanuts gang. Time well spent.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gift Giving Do's & Don'ts From Another Mean Mommy

More holiday cheer! Actually, this is a pretty good list. There is nothing on here about phthalates or formaldehyde (my biggies), but everything on this list could certainly test a parent's sanity.

Warning: this article contains a lot of swearing. But don't we all have our "Bah, humbug" moments?

Monday, November 26, 2012


If you read my post,, you know about my skepticism regarding what was really just another telemarketing call. Well, today, I got my pledge card in the mail. Surprise, surprise, it came from Richmond.

Now, the charity in question is recognized by the IRS, and the purpose is not only to raise money for fallen officers, but also to make people aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Both of those are very good causes; I am not claiming otherwise. However, I am not impressed with the blatant lie Officer Telemarketer told me in order to get my pledge. He said that this charity was local, but judging by the information he sent to me, that is not the case. It seems like he is betting on what he considered my promise to send in money. Remember, though, I promised no such thing. I promised to look over the information and think about it.

I am torn between tossing the info into the recycling bin and mailing my pledge card back with a note explaining why they will not be getting money from me. Here's what I am thinking of saying:
         "Dear Mr. ____,
          I have just received my pledge card that I was bullied into agreeing to by one of your
          telemarketers officers.  When I explained to him that I prefer to support local charities,
          he assured me that the Police Protective Fund was, indeed, local. Now, technically, that 
         is not true. It may, at times, benefit local families, but the bulk of the money goes to
         Richmond. Since I do not have unlimited resources with which to support every charity
         that solicits money from me, I choose to support those which do not falsely represent
         themselves. Please remove my name from your list and do not call me in the future.
         In other words, CEASE AND DESIST." 

Yes, I realize this is a bit over the top, but telemarketers stink. I resent my time being taken up by this BS. Plus, it will give me a warm feeling to send in my donation--to a local charity of my choosing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Deal Breakers

My previous post about deal breakers got me thinking; up until now, I had thought about deal breakers in terms of people outside our family, especially people who might invite the kiddo over to play with their kids. I'm a worrywart, but I think that there are so many things to worry about when it comes to our kids that we should have the right to eliminate some of them from the equation. For example, when sending your child off to play at someone's house, you expect some level of safety and cleanliness, right? Thus, big, gaping holes in the floor, rats, roaches, etc, would be deal breakers.

My big deal breakers:
  • Guns in the house. Kids like to show off, and they are careless. Tragedy waiting to happen.
  • Smoking in the house. I don't want my kiddo exposed to that crap. And I don't want her to think it is normal.
  • Easy access to alcohol and drugs. Duh.
  • Lack of supervision. I don't always trust my own kiddo. If I don't even know yours...
  • Potentially dangerous pet. Oh, your python doesn't stay in his cage?  Adios.
After thinking about it for a while, I have to add:
  • Letting the kids just watch TV. The idea behind a play date is to play.
  • Tons of junk food. A treat is fine (OK, not really, but I won't argue too much on that one), but unlimited crap to eat and drink is a no-no. 
  • Parents/caretakers who cuss. Keep it clean, please and thank you.
  • Mean kids. I'm not sending my kiddo to your house so your kids can be mean to her.
Too much?  Deal with it. Not enough? Give me your ideas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Love This Article!

Parents, you have to read this article! This little girl is thoughtful, intelligent and articulate--and I bet that she has a Mean Mommy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Toxic Christmas Gifts

Most people have go-to gifts that they give over and over again, often to the same person. For example, I can count on shower gel from my sister-in-law on every birthday. Since I appreciate being clean and smelling good, it is a welcome gift. I, too, have gifts that I fall back on when I don't know what to get, or when my brilliant idea doesn't fill the gift bag and I want to add something else.

For kids, it is tempting to buy them pajamas: Christmas pajamas, fleece pajamas, footie pajamas, pajamas with their favorite characters...I have discovered something rather unsettling, though. A lot of kids' pajamas are flame retardant, meaning they are coated with a chemical that makes clothing "self-extinguish when exposed to flames". Many people think this is a good thing, but I disagree. My reasons are sound: (1) the chemicals have been proven to bind to the skin, and they can never wash off. You think that doesn't sound that horrible? Well, (2) they are considered carcinogenic and can possibly  cause "brain damage, hyperactivity, hormone disruption and damage to the reproductive organs of human children". Yeah, um, merry freakin' Christmas to you, too.

I know it's hard to pass by warm, fuzzy, snuggly, cute jammies, but just imagine them with a Mr. Yuck sticker on them. The "better" alternative is snug-fitting cotton pajamas. I put the word "better" in quotation marks, because cotton is one of the most pesticide-sprayed crops in the country. If you buy them used, it's likely that all residual pesticides have been washed out. However, they will not look as enticing as the brand new ones on the Gymboree rack.

I can't control what other people give to the kiddo for Christmas; however, I can veto a toxic gift and donate it to Goodwill (commencing the "are contaminated pajamas better than no pajamas at all to a child who would be cold otherwise?" argument within my conscience). I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that, because I don't want to be the one to crush the kiddo by not allowing her to keep, say, Hello Kitty jammies. That would be so mean, I wouldn't feel completely OK with it. (I'd still do it, though.)

Check out     for more information. It is a simple article, but it has links if you want to investigate it further.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Run-in With the Po-Po

The other night, I answered the phone to hear a police officer ask for me by name. Since hubby had left to go over to his parents' house to watch football, I automatically assumed that he had been in an accident. I was relieved to find out that that was not the case, then pissed off to find out that the call was to solicit money.

Telemarketers bug me. They really bug me, even when they are working on the behalf of a charity. In fact, if an organization sics telemarketers on me to solicit money, it's very likely that I won't donate any. There are many organizations that are worthy of donations that don't irritate me.

Anyway, the caller assured me that he was a real police officer, and local. However, he didn't confirm his location, so I'm not sure he was calling for a local charity. The charity he described sounded good--raising money for families of officers killed in the line of duty in traffic-related deaths. was supposed to be for local families. I'm cynical, so I wasn't moved by his plea. I mean, how many can there possibly be? If there were an epidemic of police officers killed in traffic-related accidents in my area, wouldn't there be huge news stories about it?

So, Officer Telemarketer was continuing his spiel, trying to get me to pledge $100.00. I reminded him that there are many other charities asking for money, especially this time of year, and told him that I might consider $10.00 if he sent me some more information to look over. Well, apparently a $10.00 donation isn't worth his time. He said that he would really like to send me a pledge card for a $100.00 pledge. That's when I got mean. I replied that I would really like to send him my kiddo's fundraiser information and that she would really appreciate a donation of $100.00 from him. We agreed that he would send me a pledge card for $15.00 and it would be OK if I only sent in $10.00. How kind of him.

Later, while talking to my mom, I mentioned this phone call to her and she said that I shouldn't send in anything at all, except maybe a note explaining why. LOL. That's mean! I guess I take after my mom!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

She Said Whaaat?!

The other night as I was cuddling the kiddo and trying to get her ready to fall asleep, she told me to shut up. I'm not sure where she learned that, since hubby and I don't say that--not to one another, not to the cat, and not to her. "Shut up" is rude, and I don't want her saying it; it is also a deal breaker for me. So, instead of getting angry, I simply got up. I gave the kiddo kisses and told her that I love her, but that I wouldn't snuggle with someone who told me to shut up. She didn't take it well, and kept begging me to come back. After each plea, I replied "I love you, good night", as I walked out of her room. She whimpered for me for about a minute until she fell asleep, which tells me that her behavior most likely stemmed from exhaustion. We discussed it the next day, and I explained to the kiddo that "shut up" isn't acceptable in our house, and why. Then, I reminded her of the consequences and how she didn't like them the previous night. When/if she says it again, she knows I will follow through and get up and leave, no matter how she reacts.

I got to thinking about my list of deal breakers regarding the kiddo's behavior, and there is just one: No ugly behavior (hitting/spitting/insults--"shut up" falls under this category). This is not to say that I don't have deal breakers for other situations--I have a whole list of them regarding places the kiddo is allowed to play, for example. I'm saving that list for another post.

Maybe I don't have a lot of deal breakers because they seem so black or white, all or nothing, and I don't like to think in terms like that. Almost everything has nuances, in which case some exceptions can/should be made. Or is that wimpy parenting? My deal breakers are in place because otherwise, my reactions to those situations would be so extreme (yelling, stomping, etc) that it is better to just shut down, not answer, maybe just, um, shut up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Better than Barbie or Disney!

Just say "no" to Barbie and Disney princesses!
OK, I'm too realistic to expect that to happen, but there is an alternative.  If you have a kiddo like mine who is entranced by everything Barbie and princesses, she may be hoping for an explosion of pink on Christmas. Now, Barbies and princesses and everything Disney have their place (not in my house, though, at least for as long as I can manage), but check out this page if you want to think outside the box. The designer of this toy has come up with something that is not only fun, but challenges kids--girls, specifically--to use their heads for something other than setting a crown on. Every little girl can be an engineer or any other profession of her choosing and ability, but with stores like Toys R Us, Walmart and Target pushing the pink stuff, she might need a little push from a Mean Mommy in order to think outside the pink. And it's ok, because look at the picture...there is a little pink on the toy. Win-win. Hope I can get one before Christmas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Share This Message

I got this from a friend's Facebook page, and I will definitely keep it for when the kiddo is a teenager ( in many, many years!). However, the part near the end, "...develop a backbone and not a wishbone...You are important and you are needed" is a great message that I want to share with her now! Instead of sternly reminding kids of this when they are teenagers, wouldn't it be great if we could instil it in them, starting when they are in Kindergarten? Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Child Whisperer

Have you read this book? Are you familiar with this blog? I am not, but I am intrigued!

Monday, November 12, 2012

There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

"There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed."

She sounds pretty awful, doesn't she? This nursery rhyme has always made me think of my grandmother (who had ten children of her own, plus two stepdaughters, and was super-strict). When I was little, I thought that she was cold and unloving and even a little scary, even if I couldn't adequately express my feelings. Now, though, even though I have "just" one kiddo, I'm beginning to understand. Let's break it down:

Was woman in the nursery rhyme really old? Define old. If she had small children, she was still of childbearing age. Most likely, it was the stress of having so many kids to take care of and not having enough time to take care of herself that caused her to look older. You notice that there is no mention of a husband in the rhyme. Did he leave? Die? Those kids had to come from somewhere.

Did she really live in a shoe? Maybe her house was in the shape of a shoe? She probably had to do renovations herself. If you had to add on to your house without being able to use a professional, what would your house look like?

She had so many children she didn't know what to do--that one speaks for itself! She didn't know how to take care of all of them; she didn't know how to get everything done; she didn't know how to take care of herself.

Broth without any bread, huh? When did she have time to make bread? Or go to the market to buy any? Did she even have enough money to afford bread?

She whipped them all and put them to bed: my guess is that by the end of the day, she couldn't take any more, but the kids were still wound up (probably complaining of hunger). She still had work to do and needed time, space, and quiet to get it done before starting the whole process over the next day. 

One thing I don't get, though: why didn't she put the (older) kids to work?!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This is Not Good

The glow of last week's parent-teacher conference--in which I was told that my kiddo is sweet and kind and gets along with all the kids in her class--is gone. Today, my kiddo got in trouble for being mean to a neighbor's child.

I don't get it; they get along great in school, and she talks about him all the time, but today when she was playing with him and his sister at their house, she decided that she didn't want to play with him anymore. The girl is a few years older than her brother and my kiddo; the kiddo idolizes her, and hence wanted some one-on-one time. The neighbors' girl adores the kiddo, and there is probably some sibling dynamic going on between the brother and sister where they like to play with one another, until they get sick of each other. I think my kiddo picks up on that and feeds off it. In any case, she made the poor boy feel so bad that his daddy escorted her back to our house. This was after both parents asked the kiddo to play nice. Ouch.

This was not clear to me until my neighbor sent me a message explaining what had happened, but I am glad she did. After hubby and I processed the information, we had a discussion with the kiddo. She started to cry, but didn't argue her case; she knew she was in the wrong. She is going to have to apologize to her friend tomorrow--we will make certain that she does. I also think that she will be staying in our yard by herself for the rest of the week. If she can't be nice to all her friends, maybe she should keep her distance for a while.

Most parents claim that they want to know when their child misbehaves, but actually receiving such news is a disappointment. Some parents prefer to only hear about bad behavior, and expect other parents not to discipline their child. I would raise a big stink if someone hit the kiddo, but I think that removing her from the situation is perfectly acceptable (the kiddo was deposited right at our door, and I was right there).

Not to make light of the situation, but this is a fixable problem, and a good learning experience. For me as well as the kiddo.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My New BFF?!

Heading to church in the morning, and there's a good chance that I will run into a man who is very unlikeable, who is trying to be my BFF. I'm used to attracting weirdos; in my previous post I mentioned some stalkers, and both my grandmother and cousin (the one who unfriended me on FB) attracted some unsavory types back in the day. I'm not worried that this "gentleman" wants to marry me, but I'm not certain why he wants to be my friend so badly.

You may wonder why I am opposed to forming a friendship with a 60-something man; let me tell you, age has nothing to do with it. The fact that he heckles speakers in church, has sexually harassed people, and said cruel, antagonistic things about a person I very much like and admire has everything to do with it. From what I've seen of him, he's just not nice. The kiddo and a buddy both had a strong reaction when this man tried to relate to them in a jovial, avuncular way: they hissed and snarled at him. I'm not joking.

As unpleasant as he can be, he does have a nice wife and I know that he has children; clearly, someone is able to overlook his faults and see his good qualities. And I'm sure he must have some, because everybody has some. My question is, is it mean of me to rebuff his friendship overtures based on his previous behavior? Should I make the kiddo be polite to him? I have put a stop to the snarling, so that is a start...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Comin' Clean

No, this post is not about bath time. That was full of drama tonight, according to hubby. I was in the kitchen ;)  This post is about me being honest: a handful of you know who I am, and others of you have guessed. My name is Georgianne, and when I'm not writing my posts, I am a full-time wife, mommy, and cat-caretaker, and a part-time (adjunct) Spanish instructor. I have been trying not to let the cat out of the bag (figuratively, not literally) and not reveal my real identity, because I'm afraid of people bugging me. Bugging, stalking, it's all the same...been there, done that. But my previous experiences of being stalked were before I had the kiddo (sorry, if you don't know her name, you're not finding it out here. Still gotta be a little careful). Now, if anybody messes with me, they mess with a mama bear.

Some of my previous posts have been about other inspiring mean mommies (and daddies); I'm always excited to hear about another parent who's not afraid to put their foot down and make unpopular decisions in the name of good parenting. In fact, I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences.  Feel free to share!

I have changed the settings on this blog so that anyone can comment. If you abuse that privilege, I will take it away...and say something really mean about you. Or to you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Facebook Drama

Wow. My cousin unfriended me on Facebook. What the heck? We were on opposite sides during the election, but we were able to have discussions about things she posted on her wall. We usually ended up in a stalemate, but there was never any real animosity, at least on my part. I provoked her a bit, but I was trying to get her to open her mind and try to look at things from a different perspective. Or at least admit that there is a different perspective. After the election results, I saw a lot of disparaging remarks and drama on Facebook (not just from her), so I appealed to all of my FB friends to stop the whining and badmouthing and move on--and it was met with a tirade from my cousin and the aforementioned unfriending.

Cuz is a one-issue voter, and thinks that anyone who does not share her views is evil, as in really evil, in league with the devil, etc. That doesn't make any sense to me, but I know that I can't change her mind. Her opinions are based on a good heart and strong beliefs. In her tirade, she clearly expressed a lot of bitterness and hopelessness, and lumped me with the people who contribute to her unhappiness.

I am stunned. I can't even send her a message, which might be a good thing, since I am hurt, not to mention furious with her. No telling what I might say. Was I mean to try to engage her at all? Is she just crazy and ready to pop at any moment? I really never thought so, but her reaction was extreme. I am sitting here trying to decide if I need to try to contact her at all in the future. Not right away, that would only make things worse. That I am sure of. But how can you just give up on family? As I posted before, my kiddo is free to make up her own mind about politics and everything else. I can only teach her to the best of my ability and hope that she chooses wisely. One thing I can tell you, though, no matter what she chooses, I will never, ever give up on her, nor will I ever "unfriend" her.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Today's Tantrum is Brought to You by the Letter 'S', the Number '8', the Hershey Corporation and The Cartoon Network

Today's tantrum is brought to you courtesy of the letter 'S', the number '8', the Hershey Corporation and The Cartoon Network.

On the way home from school, the kiddo informed me that she was going to have candy while she was watching cartoons. I was shocked at her audacity and said "um, no". Cut to the wailing, stomping, flinging herself about until she said in a small voice "I want Mommy".

I held the kiddo and cuddled her while she cried intermittently, then surprised me by saying "I can't write an '8'". Huh? I remembered that she has a bit of trouble writing the letter 'S', and wondered aloud if writing an '8' was like writing an 'S'. She emphatically agreed and started sobbing again, and said that was the real reason she was crying. Again, huh? I asked the kiddo if she wanted to practice writing '8' and 'S', but she wasn't interested. She cried a bit more and I comforted and snuggled her until she fell asleep on my lap. When she woke up, she was almost back to normal.

Hmmm...was the number/letter drama a clever attempt by the kiddo to cover up her ugly behavior? Or was she really upset about her writing skills? I am suspicious, but ready and willing to help her practice her writing.

Politics Aside, Just Be Nice!

OK, people, the election is over. Whether your candidate won or lost, it is time to end the crap. The name calling, the Facebook's gotta end. Anybody who posts negative comments is setting themselves up for negative, hurtful replies, and that's just--you guessed it--mean. And please be careful of the comments you make in front of impressionable children.

I am doing all I can to teach my kiddo to make good choices; her political opinions may be shaped by hubby and me, but they will ultimately be of her own choosing. However, if I start mudslinging about a politician, I really shouldn't be surprised if she starts name calling on the playground. (That's why, instead of insulting certain politicians, I explain to the kiddo that I don't like their choices. That their choices will end up hurting people [possibly us] rather than helping people.)

Kids are listening to you; BE NICE!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Good news: I have received apologies from both of my misbehaving students! It is nice to know that people can still be shamed into having good manners!

Get Your Paranoia Right Here!

My kiddo is all about playing outside (yay!), and her big thing is "stands":  she wants to have a lemonade stand, jewelry stand, flower stand, and now, a candy stand, featuring her "extra" Halloween candy. It's great that she wants to get rid of some of it, enterprising that she wants to make money off it, and alarming to this mommy that the kiddo gets too close to the road and starts yelling at passing cars to buy her candy.

"Too close to the road" is subjective; other parents don't have a problem with their kids playing in their front yards unless they are almost in the road. One of my concerns is speeding drivers, but I also worry about how she calls out to people as they pass by. I'm afraid that one day, someone will stop, and instead of stopping for candy or whatever, they will stop for my kiddo.

You can call me paranoid, but you hear so many stories of kids who are grabbed right by their houses, on their way to school, etc. that it's unrealistic to think that it couldn't happen here. I try to keep a close eye on the kiddo, but I have work to do inside and I can't watch her every single second, so I need her to stay near the house.  That doesn't go over very well, especially when she wants to talk to one of the neighbors or check out what someone else is doing.

I need to point out that the neighbors I do know are good people and I know that they all keep an eye on my kiddo when she is outside (especially when she is playing with their kids), but I don't know everybody, nor can I control who comes into our neighborhood. So, "better safe than sorry" is my mantra.

As the kiddo gets older, I will get a little less rigid (but probably not less paranoid) and allow her more freedom, because if I don't, she will demand it. Which will be fine, because she will have taken lots of self defense classes. And I can get a Rottweiler.

Monday, November 5, 2012

This is a Warning for the Rest of the Day:

Dear Monday:

So far, you suck. I have been coughed on and yelled at, and my path has been blocked by a certain someone whom I almost fell over. I will be looking for good things to happen for the rest of the day, because if they don't...well, you know how I am!

Mean Mommy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Can, But You Can't

How can I explain this...? I am allowed to chase the cat. The kiddo is not.
I'm sure it seems mean and downright confusing that I am allowed to do something that she is not allowed to do, especially when there is no logical explanation for it. The kiddo knows that it is OK if hubby drinks a beer, because that is a grown-up beverage. Just like it's fine that I cook at the stove or use a knife, because my mom taught me, and I have been cooking for a long time now. She understands that True Blood is definitely not a show she can watch, because it could scare her and cause nightmares...the list goes on and on. But about the cat, well...

I have mentioned before that Mr. Kitty is my cat; the kiddo came later. Plus, she is noisy and grabs at him, two things that he dislikes almost as much as he dislikes his carrier and getting shots. But, he is a silly cat and he loves to play. Just today, he hid behind a piece of furniture and jumped out at me! He likes it when I play with him, especially when I chase him. The kiddo sees this, and wants to get in on the action. Unfortunately, Mr. Kitty thinks she is going to pat him too hard or pick him up and let his rear dangle, or hug him too tightly, and he runs away. Then, as soon as the kiddo is occupied, Mr. Kitty is at it again, racing around, ready to be chased.

The kiddo wants to do everything she sees me doing, and it makes her mad that she can't. She really dislikes hearing "Leave the cat alone!". However, the cat must be relieved to hear it.  _^..^_

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Restraining Myself in Class

Yesterday, I was teaching my class and had to deal with two rude young men joking around, talking over me and interrupting me. That behavior didn't last long, because I nipped it in the bud by telling them that if they didn't knock it off, I would remove them from class. Hey, the chairs in my class room have wheels on them; I could have rolled one right out the door, and I know someone would have volunteered to push the other one out. They weren't exactly attentive the rest of class, but I decided to write them an email instead of calling them out in front of their classmates again. This is what I wrote:


Your behavior in class today was quite disappointing. You were disrespectful to me and to the other students who were trying to learn. I know you are capable of acting like gentlemen. Please do so in the future.



 What do you think? Good response? My students are well aware that even though I encourage a friendly class, I like to joke around and I will act silly to get them to remember--well, anything, that I won't take any crap. I was this close to going all Mean Mommy on them and yelling speaking sharply. So I, personally, think my response was pretty good. But feel free to weigh in with your opinions!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Phone. The Phone is Ringing...

Anyone with young children understands about The. Phone.

Whenever I am on the phone, the kiddo makes a beeline for my side and starts talking in a loud voice. If she realized that it is someone she knows, or better yet, the parent of one of her friends, she drives me nuts. I have had to go to another room in order to try to have a conversation in peace, and she usually follows me. If I go to a room that is off-limits to her, she stands in the hall and talks even more loudly.

But, today, the kiddo herself got a phone call from her school-BFF. They had quite a conversation that went on uninterrupted for a while. Later, I was trying to talk to hubby on the phone only to be interrupted by a loud kiddo. I refuse to say "shut up", but I told her to be quiet/stop talking/go somewhere else but to no avail, and I ended up rather annoyed.

However, now I have leverage: the next time she is on the phone with a friend, I am going to annoy the heck out of her to show her what it feels like. Then, when I am on the phone and she is bugging me, I will remind her that I can do the same to her when she is talking to her friend. Hahahahaha!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Today was a challenging day. Nothing went my way. Running around, running out of time, backed-up traffic, a massive to-do I yelled a lot.

First, the kiddo freaked out over her library book. I made her look for it, then she said she already returned it. What??? All that yelling for nothing? I'm still not sure what that conversation was  about.

Then, the cat wanted to be fed every hour. Every. Single. Hour. I do not want the fattest cat in the USA, so I said "no way, mister". That doesn't mean much to a cat, though, and he kept getting under foot. I yelled some more, and understood all too well why some people are mean to animals. (Disclaimer: I would never ever hurt an animal. The cat was not harmed while I was yelling, except maybe his ears.)

Then I got the kiddo from school and right away she started asking for candy. That was a definite maybe until I discovered that she hadn't eaten her sandwich. Result: no candy. She actually sat down on the ground in the middle of the field between the school and our house and wailed that she wanted candy. I replied that that wasn't a very smart way to get candy and kept walking. The kiddo followed me, asked for candy again and got the same answer, threw herself down on the ground again and wailed that she wanted candy. My rationale was that if she wasn't hungry enough to eat a PBJ, she couldn't be hungry enough to need candy. I always tell her that she can't have a treat unless she eats something substantial. So she offered to eat some yogurt, because "that's substantial, right?". How could I say "no" to that? Good nutrition, good vocabulary...and just ONE piece of candy. She made my day better. And I had a piece of candy, too ;)

And the kiddo will be getting the same PBJ in her lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Don't Expect Everyone to Move Over to Make Room for You

Today I was in the stairwell at work when two people came from the opposite direction. One of them was one step ahead of the other, but they were basically walking side by side. Now, by all rights, the one in the "middle" should have moved over so as not to bump into me, right? Well, she didn't. And guess what? I didn't move over, either. I am faculty, and she was clearly a student, but in the stairwell, we were equals.  So, there was no way I was going to step aside and flatten myself against the rail. In fact, I didn't even move my book bag out of the way. She bumped into it, and didn't apologize, but then, neither did I. I figured that since she didn't move over, she wanted to bump into my book bag.

This type of thing has happened to me before, but on a sidewalk rather than in a stairwell. I have been walking down the sidewalk and have encountered two and sometimes even three people walking side by side coming straight at me. When I was younger, I would step off the sidewalk entirely to let them pass. Then it occurred to me that there was no need for me to do that; one (or two) of them needed to step back so that we wouldn't all run into each other. I realized that I am not inferior, and as long as I keep to my part of the sidewalk, I'm should not have to step aside in that situation.

So, really, what was the best way to handle this? I didn't want to say "excuse me", because I wasn't in the wrong. Yelling "please don't run into me" would have been a bit extreme, and "excuse you" would have been too rude. Stopping the person in question to explain why her behavior bothered me would have been ridiculous.

I'm not even going to try to explain this to the kiddo until she is a good bit older. If I teach her basic good manners, hopefully it will occur to her to not expect everyone to move over to make room for her. As for the girl woman in the stairwell, well, I'm not her mommy. But I am mean enough to let her run into my book bag.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

OMG, I love Halloween! The decorations, the costumes, hearing "Thriller" on all the radio stations...and ok, yes, the candy! Well, some of the candy. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, yes! Cheap crap made in China? Not so much.

When I was a kid, my parents examined all of my candy in case it had been tampered with. In particular, they were looking for something that had been unwrapped or something that had needles inserted into it (seriously, what kind of sicko would do something like that?). Parents were even encouraged to have the police or fire department examine trick-or-treat goodies.

Now that I purchase my own Halloween candy to give out and have a kiddo out collecting candy, I have become aware of cheap candy. It used to be that Palmer candies were the low-end candies, especially their chocolates, since they were diluted with oils. Now, I'm more concerned with candy made in China. Hey, they managed to poison pet food, infant formula, and children's toys. We're supposed to trust them with candy? Isn't it enough that we have to contend with high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and the like? Some candies even contain "beef gelatin" (Avengers candies, I'm looking at you). The kiddo and I are vegetarians, so that is a no-go for us, but really, why put beef gelatin in candy?

So, this Halloween, this Mean Mommy will not only make sure that the kiddo is wearing something light-colored and reflective; not running too far ahead of me; saying "trick or treat" and "thank you"; not taking more than one piece of candy per house; and returning home at a reasonable time, but Mean Mommy will also be examining the candy for tampering, discarding the cheap stuff, and maybe even stealing a Reese's Cup...

Have fun and stay safe!

Snow--uh, Wind Day!

No school today! I remember how I used to love snow days! Today we are having a wind day rather than a snow day, and that's putting a damper on things since I can't send the kiddo outside to play. She thinks she should watch TV all day, and keeps subtly trying to get me to agree. Subtly for her, that is. She suggests that she "go downstairs"--where the TV is--to which I enthusiastically exclaim "Cool! You can play in your kitchen!", or "Fun! Your tent is downstairs!". Needless to say, the kiddo is not as excited about her kitchen or tent as I am.

When she started playing her flute, I threatened to send her outside to play it (that's the rule, no flute- or whistle-playing in the house. They are officially categorized as outside toys), then warned her that it might blow away. That suggestion wasn't well-received, either.

Then, the kiddo started loudly complaining that she was bored. I got her puzzles, crayons, and fake tattoos out and we spent some time with those, but when they lost their appeal, she started complaining again. The next time she whined about how bored she was, I told her that I needed some help with cleaning and that she could start by sweeping the steps. The kiddo is now playing with her i-XL, and even though she is playing some game that sounds like singing cats, I much prefer that to the flute, whining and complaining.

Please, can there be school tomorrow?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

That's Disgusting--So Don't Let It Happen To You!

Today I was talking to a Mean Dad who told me how he resorted to showing his young son graphic pictures of what could happen to him if he continued chewing on electrical wires (yikes!). So, because of the same compulsion that makes me look at road kill, I had to google some images. The results range from silly cartoon drawings to photos of nasty-looking burns. Then I googled other awful things, like "bike hit by a car", "2nd degree burns" (didn't make it to 3rd degree), "broken arm", "smoker's lungs", "skin cancer", "meth mouth"...OK, some of those things I don't have to worry about for a while (hopefully not at all!), but I am adding this idea to my arsenal of weapons against bad/undesirable/dangerous behavior.  I think I will start with "rotten teeth", "head lice", and "hit by a car". *Shudder*  *Cringe*  *Wince*

Friday, October 26, 2012

Love My Girl!

You may be thinking that all I do is complain about my kiddo. Well, it's true, I do tend to criticize her choices and detail my mean mommy reactions to them. However, there is a lot about my kiddo that I am proud of. Just to mention a few things:

  • The kiddo makes a lot of good food choices. She often chooses the healthy option (fruit, pretzels, etc) over the sweet option. Not always. She is a kid, after all.
  •  She is kind to other children, and she likes to share. On her terms, and that's OK.
  • She speaks well, has a large vocabulary, and uses good grammar.
  • She understands the value of her toys.
  • She appreciates books.
  • She is healthy and enjoys being active.
The kiddo is an awesome little girl, and I can't take credit for all of it, but I really think that my choices have influenced her choices (like limiting sweets and banning crappy food; making her play nice and take care of smaller children; correcting her grammar and making her repeat things the correct way; "selling" one of her toys for money to replace something she damaged by being careless; making her leave me alone when I am enjoying my own reading time; and making her walk to and from school)

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have received criticism, sneers, and questions from other people in addition to whining, complaining, and claims that "it's not fair" from the kiddo herself. But when I look at her, I know that I am doing some things just right.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Sometimes having a kid and a kit is like having two kids, in that the one (the kid), likes to bug the heck out of the other (the kit). Today Mr. Kitty Cat had to go to the vet for his yearly checkup and vaccinations, and I just couldn't get us in until after school, which means that the kiddo had to come with us. Mr. Kitty Cat loathes his carrier, so I have to be sneaky about catching him and stuffing him into it. In order to give myself extra time in case the cat put up a fight, I put him into his carrier before getting the kiddo from school. As soon as we got in the door, she went straight for the carrier and started bugging him.

The last time we took the cat to the vet, I put his carrier in the back seat, which wasn't the best idea. The kiddo has a new car seat, which gives her a little more freedom of movement than the old one, and she spent the entire ride to the vet's office leaning over and reaching into the carrier. She thinks she is petting the cat, but she is really adding to his overall discomfort and anxiety. So, this time, the carrier stayed up front with me.

The kiddo just couldn't stand it, though, and as soon as we got into the exam room at the vet's office and the vet was examining the cat, she started in again. She was trying to pet and poke the cat, making him very agitated. I told her to stop, twice, then I had to physically remove her from the area around the exam table.

If the vet hadn't been in the room, I'm sure we would have experienced a full on fit. I asked the kiddo if she would like being poked and annoyed when she was in the middle of a doctor appointment, getting shots. She vehemently said "no", so I pointed out that the cat must feel the same way.

The kiddo loves the cat; he is...tolerant of her. In time, when she learns to stop bothering him, they could be friends. I guess I am overly protective of them both--the cat was a stray and is skittish around loud noises (like screaming, wailing, giggling...), and the kiddo loves animals so much that I don't want that to change if she goads the cat so much that he scratches her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funny Punishment

This will go into my arsenal of parenting tips for when the kiddo is a teenager:


In an effort to make my house look somewhat presentable, I have attempted to de-clutter, which is a nice term for tossing crap. My house is overflowing with crap. Some of it is hubby's, a lot of it is mine, but the bulk of it belongs to the kiddo. There are random pieces from long-lost toys, plastic junk from the "treasure box", forgotten candy wrappers under the table (thank you, kindergarten!), and paper. And more paper. And even more paper.

If I could turn all the paper in my house back into trees, we would have a small forest. There are notices from school, pages from coloring books, schoolwork, notes to the kiddo's friends that never got delivered, notes from the kiddos friends that did get delivered, drawings, get the idea.

So, in an effort to clean up, I grabbed any loose paper that wasn't a) official, b) sentimental, or c) interesting,  and threw it away. Unfortunately, I tossed a paper that had some significance to the kiddo. That, however, is not the problem. The problem is that I put it in the kitchen trash can and didn't cover it up. You guessed it--she found it, and the tears began. It was in the trash with some pretty unsavory stuff, so it was ruined and she knew better than to try to retrieve it, but that didn't stop her from letting me know just how displeased I had made her.

I feel terrible. Not because she was distraught over a piece of paper, but because I got caught. The next time, the crap goes straight into the big trash can.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just Doing My Job

Well, there I was, thinking that I had nothing to report for today and that I could just post links to good websites when, all of a sudden, inspiration hit me. Almost literally.

The kiddo and I were heading over to the neighbors' house so that she could run around with her friends. She spotted a little girl who isn't usually over there and excitedly pointed her out to me. The kiddo was so eager to tell me all about this other girl that she didn't look before trying to venture out into the street. There is a slight curve right before our house, so she didn't see the car coming, and even when it was almost right in front of us, she wasn't paying attention.

Fortunately, there were several things in our favor: first, the driver appeared to be a timid teenager, probably just learning how to drive, very nervous, and going fairly slowly; second, the kiddo was so enthusiastic about telling me who the other girl was, she wasn't focused on running across the street.

She actually stepped off the curb, but I grabbed her arm; when she tried to keep going, I jerked her back. When the car passed and she tried to break my death-grip on her arm, I just held on tighter and pointed to the truck that had just turned onto our street. Seeing the truck took all the fight out of her as she realized that I wasn't torturing her, just trying to prevent her from getting run over, and she held my hand as we crossed the street.

This incident reminded me that even though the kiddo knows "the rules" and can even recite them to me, I can't trust her to remember them when she is distracted. So, Mean Mommy will continue to annoy her by repeating the rules, checking on her, and grabbing her as needed.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Missed Opportunity

This evening after bath time, I was trying to put the kiddo's clean laundry away. Specifically, I was trying to put her pants away in the middle dresser drawer, while she was attempting to choose a different pair of undies from the top drawer. I asked her not to whack my arm with the drawer. What was I thinking?? I should have just handed her the clean clothes and had her put them away. Next time...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meet Another Mean Mommy

I'm always interested to hear other moms' "mean mommy moments" (maybe so I can get ideas, or maybe so I know I'm not the only one...). Here's one for you:

"A" is very conscientious about making sure that her kids are well behaved, especially in public. One of her techniques is to bribe the littlest one with a small piece of candy if he lets her run her errands peacefully. One day, though, he was way too excited and after a few reprimands, then threats, A was at the end of her rope. The youngster was wild and crazy and about to be strapped into the shopping cart, a form of torture for an energetic toddler. A knew that a meltdown of epic proportions was imminent, so she decided to use it as a teaching moment. She pulled out the candy she had put aside for bribing her son, told him that he didn't deserve it, but that she did. She then proceeded to eat it, making a show of savoring every bite!

Of course, some of the other customers were shooting A dirty looks but they probably would have done so if she had let her little guy throw a fit. Now, he realizes that there is a benefit to being good, A does not have to pull her hair out, and shoppers around town can breathe easier knowing that at least some mommies keep their children in line. Go, momma, go!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Eat Healthy, Eat Healthy, Eat Healthy...Here, Have Some Crap

The kiddo is enjoying kindergarten, and hubby and I are enjoying our routine walks to and from school with her. Her life sure is sweet, and that is the problem.

Every Friday, her class prepares some kind of food to tie in with the lesson of the week; for instance, when they studied the letter 'a', they made apple sauce. However, every cooking project after that has been something sweet. That's not too objectionable, but Friday is also the day on which the kindergarten students are allowed to purchase ice cream. The kids are also rewarded for good behavior by being allowed to select a prize from the "Treasure Box", which always includes candy (a Starburst, for example). Students are also allowed to bring in treats for their birthdays. So, those kids can get two sweets in school on a Friday, possibly more. At the school's Fall Fest, enough candy was given out to kill a town full of diabetics.

But, oh, it gets better. I wrote about the coupon for a free treat--it was a Slurpee--that I allowed the kiddo to get (and savor over the course of three days), and yesterday she whipped out a coupon for a free kid's meal at the local Zaxby's. She looked at the Zaxby's coupon and said "That's one of the places we don't go to, isn't it?", because she doesn't eat meat and she knows we don't do fast food.

Hubby and I insist on a healthy diet for the whole family, but we like the occasional treat, too. Sometimes I have to forgo a sweet treat for myself because the kiddo is already sugared up and I can't exactly treat myself and not allow her any. I'm committed to having a healthy kiddo, so I can deal. But I'm also concerned about the other kids. A kid could have a sugary cereal for breakfast, come to school on a Friday and make and eat something sweet with the class, have ice cream for snack, have a sugary snack with lunch, go home and eat junk food, have a fast food dinner and dessert. That is a whole lot of crap in one day.

Oh, and I should mention that her school encourages healthy food. WTF???