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.