Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Elf Just Couldn't Stay on the Shelf

I have said it before: those Elf on the Shelf things are kinda creepy. Aside from that, they are ridiculously expensive. I was tempted to find one on sale and join the elf-moving masses this year, but ultimately, I resisted temptation. That is not to say that we remained elf-free. No, not by any means. We did have an elf. Her name was Zoe, and she managed to come and go without being seen by anyone. Except maybe the cat, but he was in on the secret.

Zoe left notes for the kiddo (in elf penmanship, which looks a lot like, ahem, someone trying to write with their non-dominant hand), and she left a few presents (two before Christmas and one Christmas morning, in the kiddo's stocking). We also think we heard her in the house a few times (one time might have been the wind, and another time could have possibly been the result of something small being hurled into an empty room, but what do I know?). Zoe saw everything, yet was still encouraging to the kiddo, and even ran interference with Santa after a day of not-so-stellar behavior (Christmas Eve, wouldn't you know).

In the end, the kiddo still asked why we didn't have a "real" Elf on the Shelf, even though she enjoyed Zoe's visit. I was really feeling like I just couldn't win since I didn't cave in to the elf pressure, but then, after telling a friend about our elf adventures, I received the support I needed. You see, this friend is a "seasoned" mom--her children are adults. She commended my "intestinal fortitude" in not being swayed to do something just because it seemed like everyone else was doing it. In other words, I have the guts to do it my way. Yes, indeed, I do.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Being a Mean Mommy PAYS Off!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! We had a good Christmas, and today has been pretty good, too.

The kiddo and I were in the grocery store, waiting to check out. The man in front of us dropped some change, and the kiddo picked up a coin. Not certain if she was going to give it back to him, I motioned for her to do so, and she did (she probably wished she could keep it!). I told her that was the right thing to do and that it's good to be honest.

Well, the man in question apparently agreed with me, because he turned around and handed the kiddo a dollar for being honest. What a great lesson! Of course, the kiddo thanked him, and I did too. It may be December 26, but the Christmas spirit is still going strong.

Of course, the kiddo wanted to spend it on junk right away, but I put the kibosh on that. 'Cause I'm mean. I hope all of you have lots of pleasant surprises, too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mean Mommy's Fun Revenge

If you have kids, you know how much they love to talk--usually loudly--when you are trying to have a phone conversation. You press the phone into your ear, attempt to plug the other ear, then run from room to room, trying to stay two steps ahead of the noise, usually asking "What? What?" as you go. (OK, surely that can't be just me.)

Out of frustration, I once threatened to annoy the kiddo when she was talking on the phone, and today I made good on my threat.

The kiddo was on the phone with the neighbor, asking if her friends could play. I was in a silly mood, so I decided to give the kiddo a hard time. So that she would know it was a joke, I said "I'm making noise! You're on the phone and I'm making noise"! My neighbor is a good sport, so she just laughed. And guess what--so did the kiddo. Well, she did also give me an eye roll and an exasperated "Mama!", but I was expecting whining (it had been that kind of day).

Now, though, I'm hoping that I can use this as leverage to keep her quiet while I'm on the phone. Not those marathon calls with my BFF (who doesn't mind talking to the kiddo, too), not those annoying telemarketing calls (I'd love to sic the kiddo on them!) but maybe those important calls...? Maybe? Now that the kiddo knows that I will do it and enjoy it, I might just have a chance.

You know you want to try this! If your child has phone privileges, you will have plenty of opportunities. If they don't have phone privileges yet, you will need to let them start talking to someone on a somewhat regular basis. Then, once they have a routine, you can warn them that if they don't let you talk on the phone, you won't let them talk on the phone. Making a joke out of it made my attempt a success, and now I can remind the kiddo of it the next time a call comes in...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Who Wants to go See Drunk/Dirty/Dying Santa?

 Ahh...the magic of Christmas! If your kids are still young enough to believe in Santa, the season is extra magical for them. Unless Drunk/Dirty/Dying Santa messes it all up for your child. Here are some, well, less than magical Santa encounters. No, this is not a collection of those dreadful, hilarious and memorable photos of screaming children being forced to pose for a pic with St. Nick. (Although the pics turned out great! Santa*---not so much.)
"The one [Santa] at Viva la Cupcake last week looked good but as soon as J. was done he [Santa] started talking about how he was going to head over to the bar for a drink and then asked some adult woman to sit on his lap..."
Or the Santa that causes a child to make a face, like maybe he smells bad...
Or the Santa who tells Mom and Dad that he has just been diagnosed with Parkinson's...because the kids need to know that Santa's gonna die

 *We all know that there is only one real Santa. All the rest are his helpers, which is still an important job. However, maybe some of them should be fired...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry CRASHmas! Or, Why I Need a Big Bottle of Glue for Christmas

On Sunday, the 8th of December, I finally put up my Christmas decorations! The kiddo helped me, and I told her the origin of our ornaments and decorations. I reminded her about the ones that were breakable, and explained that some of them have sentimental value. That isn't the only reason I don't want her to break anything--I certainly don't want her cutting herself, either. She was being very careful...until Monday, the 9th of December.

I came upstairs from doing a load of laundry and found that all hell had broken loose. First, the cat had started to hack and was dumped into "his" room (you know, the one with The Box), and the kiddo was wailing in her room. Nobody wails like that over cat puke (OK, I have come close), so I knew something else was amiss. Hubby informed me that the kiddo had broken one of our decorations*. I called her out of her room to get her explanation (and an apology), but all I got was "it was an accident!!!!!!!". I explained to the kiddo that I was disappointed that she was only concerned about saving herself, and she didn't offer me an apology. Then, of course, she started apologizing over and over...a bit late, and with the urgency of someone trying to save their backside. I told her that I understood that accidents happened, and that I was glad she wasn't hurt, but...since I was worried about her breaking something else made of glass or ceramic and cutting herself, it was probably a good idea to put the most fragile decorations away. No, not the ones on the tree--I'm going to leave them there and hope for the best. And maybe yell a bit if necessary.

So... anything fragile has been put away. Fortunately, we still have some sturdy, not-so-breakable decorations left out. And the kiddo knows that if she proves to me that she can be careful, we will put some of the other decorations back. I understand that, since these decorations come out only once a year, it is exciting to see them and hear about their histories...I'd kinda like to be able to leave some of to the kiddo, though!

*The kiddo didn't cut herself, and Hubby thinks he can fix it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Mystery of the Manifesting Money, or, My Daughter, the First Grade Floozy?

So, we are back to the usual routine with no more freak outs or meltdowns! Instead, I am faced with a mystery: why do the kiddo's friends keep giving her money? This has happened twice, and both friends in question--who are not friends she usually mentions--gave her two quarters.

Once, she got a really cool pirate necklace from a vending machine for $.25 and gave it to a friend of hers. He, in turn, wanted to give the kiddo something in exchange, but all he could find (in his mom's purse!) were three quarters. A 300% return on her investment! That didn't seem like an even exchange, but it wasn't something for nothing, either.

This seems to be something different, and the second time it happened, I gave the kiddo the third degree trying to figure out what is going on. I mean, why are they giving her money? What is she giving them in return? What do they think she is going to give them in return? Who else are they giving money to? The kiddo didn't offer me any clear answers, so...

I started to worry.  Was my kiddo the 1st Grade Floozy, trading quarters for kisses? Or, gulp, was she extorting protection money from them? Was she playing the pity card, telling them that her mean mommy won't give her money for ice cream?

How do you explain to a child that giving someone money is not exactly the same as giving them a drawing or a sticker or a Crazy Loom bracelet? I explained to the kiddo that money is payment--for a job, or a chore, or a service--or it is used to buy something you want or need. I had her think about when she receives money (as a [birthday] gift, or to use for something specific like a field trip or something from the Book Fair), and when we give someone money (to pay for a purchase like groceries or admission to a place or event, or to donate to a charity). The kiddo is no dummy; she knows that it can be better to receive a dollar rather than something she doesn't particularly want, because the dollar gives her freedom to buy something of her own choosing, and that freedom is worth more than the dollar itself. That is most likely why she was so excited to tell me when her friends gave her money. And why she was bummed when I made her return it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Mean Mommy Meltdown

Last week, I lost it. Endless nagging for leftover Halloween candy plus unending requests to watch TV got to me. I had given in once, and set a standard. After that, when I went back to asserting myself, the kiddo remembered that I caved once, and proceeded to plead for more, more, more. I was doing OK resisting her efforts...until Monday. Then it was one request too many. I told the kiddo to go ahead and eat candy. She could eat as much as she wanted. I thought she would (eventually) have enough and be done (or make herself sick). It didn't happen that way. I offered her more, and she took it. And still more. I gave her more and told her that she had to eat it. She did. It was only when I told her that she could have candy for breakfast that her self-regulating mechanism kicked in. At that point, we were both upset. Then, she asked to watch TV. I lost it. She was acting like a little addict. I was disgusted with myself, but I had to test her. I told her to go ahead, to just watch TV since it was so important to her. That was like a slap in the face to her, and it upset her even more. We made up--without any more candy or TV--but I felt horrible about the whole thing all night.

That is what happened. You may have similar stories, or ones that are worse (or ones that you consider worse). That was probably my worst mommy moment up to now. I'm sure there will be more, but hopefully none worse than that.

I made a big mistake, but I learned from it: dump the candy. If it's not there, she can't ask for it. That, however, goes against my nature. The kiddo got that candy the good old-fashioned way, and it seemed like a shame to throw it in the trash. I need to get over that. It isn't nutritious food. It's garbage. It will be treated as such. Heck, next year, maybe we will only go to a few houses on Halloween. How much candy does one child need? My kiddo can't resist, so she certainly doesn't need a ton of it.

As for the TV, it seems to have the same addictive quality as candy. The kiddo can't resist it, and once she gets any, she craves more. Hubby and I decided to cut TV time out almost entirely, since she acts so ugly when we try to limit it. The kiddo wants a 3DS for Christmas, and I have decided that she just isn't going to get one. It would be easy to regulate, but we can't handle any more meltdowns. From her or from me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Freak Out. Not the Disco Song.

A friend commented on my FB page re: yesterday's post:
"The thirsty in the car freak out. I know it well. And the "I'm hot" freak out has begun again, now that mine are wearing winter coats. Tiny ticking dirty bombs."
I thought, "Hmmm, the kiddo hasn't had an "I'm hot" freak out..." and I realized it's because she usually doesn't wear a coat or jacket in the car. A lot of the time, she doesn't wear a coat or jacket outside when it's cold, either*.

Today, we were heading back to the car after running an errand, and the kiddo asked me to turn the heat waaay up when I started the car. I asked why, and she replied that she was cold. I said, no, I didn't want to, because I would be too hot. Because I was wearing my coat. Her reply? "Oh...".

*I encourage coat wearing. Really. And I make the kiddo take a coat along when it's cold outside. I just can't make her wear it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Frustration Over Hydration Limitation!

Tantrums can come on all of a sudden. Everything is fine, then, bam, your child explodes into crying, kicking and screaming. The kiddo's latest tantrum was over water. She was thirsty, mainly because she had been playing and laughing with her friends and talking and singing (holiday play practice), and she had declined all opportunities to hit the water fountain. We were on our way home when she decided that she needed water, immediately, and was irate when I told her that the nearest water was 20 minutes away, at our house. The whining was annoying. The fake crying was irritating. However, when the kiddo started kicking the seat, I had to put my foot down. So I did. I put my foot down, on the brake, and put on my flashers. Fortunately, there was no traffic behind me, because, as I told the kiddo, "I refuse to move until you stop that behavior. I understand that you are thirsty, and you can have some water as soon as we get home, but you need to calm down. Right. Now."

It worked! The kiddo continued to complain about how thirsty* she was, but at least she did so in a calm way. Then, when we got home...well, she had to show off for her daddy and ignored the milk offered to her. At least I got to drive home in peace...

*Legal disclaimer: only you know when your child is truly as parched as the Sahara. In the case of an actual emergency, douse your child with water and carry on.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Punishment...Crime...Nom Nom Nom

It's a parenting truth: when reacting to your child's bad behavior, think carefully before you speak. Don't blurt out the first punishment that comes to mind, because you will have to live with the consequences along with your child.

 For example, "You are not to come out of your room for a whole week" seems logical...until you realize that, if you enforce this literally, you will have to deliver meals, rig up a temporary toilet, allow your child to forgo bathing, arrange for someone to be home at all times, and essentially home school them for the duration of the punishment.

Conversely, a reaction like "I'm not going to let you have any food for a week" is not going to be taken seriously if you don't have a history of starving your child.

This wasn't going through my mind when I discovered Friday's cheese stick in the bottom of the kiddo's book bag today, but I managed to pull off the save anyway. My immediate reaction was to declare that if she was going to waste good food, she didn't deserve any candy. Pretty reasonable, except that she already had this unwrapped:

I personally think these are gross, but the kiddo had been waiting all day for hers. Huge, hot tears spilled down her cheeks, and I caved...kinda. I told her that, since it was already open, she could have it, but that she owed me something for wasting the cheese I had bought for her. Something...hmmm...chocolate...And, I also explained that she wouldn't be getting any cheese for a few days, since she seemed tired of it.  The most annoying part of the punishment (so far) was that she had to wait for her treat because she had to pick out something for me. When she sees the slim pickings in her lunch, however, that might make more of an impression.

The kiddo now understands that, in the event that she doesn't want her cheese, it's OK to put it back into her (insulated) lunch box and bring it home and give it to me right away to put in the fridge. (I thought she knew this; lesson learned: review your rules and policies once in a while!) She is now aware that some parents might make a sign that says "I am a cheese waster*" to shame their kids, and that I don't want to be one of those parents.

*I think shaming is a great punishment when done right, however, I'm going to wait until she's older and already embarrassed by every little thing I do.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fashion is a B****, and so is Mean Mommy

Confession time: I was really  mean today. Not to the kiddo, but to the hubby. I said "the 's' word" to him: "shut up". In front of the kiddo. Then I had to explain to her that I was in the wrong and that she should never, ever say that. Yikes. However, the real blame lies with some boy in the kiddo's class. Why am I so eager to pass the buck? Here's why:

I like to buy the kiddo cute clothes. When I can find them on clearance or at a consignment sale, I'm ecstatic. Such was the case with several pair of pants; knit pants, kind of like yoga pants. Not leggings, and not pajamas. Of course, the tops that you pair with this type of  pants determine whether or not they are pajama-esque. If they are too matchy-matchy and loose, they are jammies. If they merely coordinate and the top is somewhat structured, then they are not jammies. If you have a girl and haven't experienced this yet, take notes. If you have a boy, take notes, because fashion rules are important. If they aren't important to you, they still matter, because they may very well determine the course of someone's life.

So, the kiddo was wearing some knit pants to school, and a boy in her class told her that they looked like pajamas. Unless that boy is going to refund me the money I spent on those pants, he needs to keep his opinions to himself. The kiddo was upset and declared that she didn't want to wear that type of pants to school anymore. It's still OK to wear them for play clothes, and it's all right to wear them to church, though. The part about wearing them to church made me happy, because she has the cutest outfit of matching pants (knit--gasp!), t-shirt, and sweater, that are too nice to wear for play clothes.

Today before church, the kiddo gladly put on the aforementioned outfit, because she genuinely likes it. Hubby, however, decided to poke fun at her and ask "Are those pajamas?" It was said in jest, it was said with love, but now the kiddo is so goshdarned sensitive about that--and it was five freaking minutes before we had to leave and so there was no time to change her clothes--that I told him to shut up. We were late anyway, because I had to do damage control and, even though hubby apologized to the kiddo, she still was upset. Keep in mind that for the most part, it was pretend upset, but I still had to deal with it. So, I had to deal with some real upset and a lot of pretend upset, basically because males don't understand fashion.

It's true that you can (almost) never go wrong with a good pair of jeans, and khakis are suitable for just about any occasion, but, hey, knit pants have their place, too--but apparently, when you are 6-years-old, their place is limited, unless they are sweat pants. Yes, from now on, I will be more selective when I shop for the kiddo, but honestly, she needs to be more assertive in defending herself instead of just getting upset when someone criticizes her clothing options. However, I am in mama bear mode, and truthfully, I felt a little defensive, too, since I bought the outfit. The outfit that consists of a t-shirt, sweater, and KNIT pants. So, lesson learned, and I truly am sorry, and now I will shut up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shakin' Up the Morning Routine

I confess: I get tired of fighting with the kiddo. My back spasms are under control, but today, I still didn't feel like arguing. (Sometimes I do feel like arguing. I get a kick out of playing devil's advocate.)

Today, the kiddo was goofing around instead of eating breakfast. After three attempts to get her to move things along, I suggested that she come with me and we would try something different with her hair. We did her hair (which ended up being the same-old, same-old), applied her sunscreen, and then we got her some socks and I told her to pack up her book bag, put on her boots and coat, and head to the door.

Wait! What about breakfast? Well... she ate part of it before doing her hair. The rest went into the fridge, where it was waiting for her when she got home from school and wanted a snack (I was happy to warm it up for her). They eat lunch quite early at her school, so I wasn't worried about the kiddo starving to death, or even suffering from hunger pangs. And my day went so much more smoothly.

What about you? Is your routine getting old? Shake things up a bit, and see if that makes a difference. As long as you don't make it seem like a punishment or a huge upheaval, your kid should adapt*.

*If you think it might be difficult for your child, try giving him or her a head's up the night before: "I'm worried about you wasting so much time in the morning. If you're not super hungry for breakfast, we'll try doing your hair/packing your book bag first, then heading to the kitchen." Worst case scenario: your child doesn't get to eat a full breakfast and gets hungry before lunch. He or she will survive, and may even learn a valuable lesson**.

**Here, I am covering my butt***: this obviously does not apply to all children. You know your child and what he or she can handle.

***It's sad that I even have to make such a disclaimer. People need to take things with a grain of salt. Yes. I said it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pain Sucks. Robaxin Rocks. Valium...Meh

Hello, there!

I took an unexpected "vacation" from writing, due to a back injury. Back spasms = ouch. I am now medicated and iced, and able to sit still long enough to write something.

The subject of pain is very deep and intense. I could write volumes on pain and my responses to it, but I'll keep it simple here: I don't like it. In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid pain, even though I'm tough enough to take it...sometimes. I have taught classes through raging migraines, hobbled around on broken toes, and we won't even talk about c-section incisions and breast feeding agonies. However, any pain in my midsection is enough to sideline me and have me screaming for mercy.

This past weekend, I went on a retreat with a wonderful group of people. Everything was great until the second day when I woke up with a stiff back. Just the bunk bed, I figured. It probably would have been OK...if I hadn't been tackled by a flying kiddo and knocked to the ground. The spasms started shortly after that, and got worse, and worse, until I begged hubby to look up the hours for the walk-in clinic.

I was seen by the doctor, and given a prescription for valium, but it didn't do much to mitigate the pain. I had to tell the kiddo to stay away from me--and to stay off me. No hugs, nothing. That made me feel like the worst mommy ever. Hubby had to go out of town, so I walked the kiddo to and from school yesterday, stopping every few feet to double over in pain while waiting for a spasm to stop. Finally, the doctor's nurse called, and was dismayed by my lack of improvement. Then...I got a new prescription! And, my father in law offered to get it for me! And, I got in right away for physical therapy!

Things are much better now, and the kiddo has been offering to help out as well as offering me hugs and kisses. I think the sight of me hunched over, tears streaming down my face as I begged her to just please help me out changed her perspective a bit. While I certainly don't recommend an injury as the best way to get your child's attention, the lessons it can impart can be very valuable. I'm hoping that the lasting lesson, though, is when I say "No! You might hurt me!", it will be enough to make the kiddo stop and reconsider what she is doing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toxic Pajamas?

Busted--as much as I'm trying to avoid early mentions of Christmas, I was out shopping the other day. The kiddo has repeatedly asked her grandma for a bathrobe for Christmas. Since I don't allow the kiddo to wear clothes treated with flame retardant chemicals, my mom thought it would be easier to have me pick out the robe.

I was in store #5 and my eyes were filled with tears of frustration which were about to spill over and run down my cheeks. Every single bathrobe I found carried a tag that said "this garment complies with federal safety standards"--which means that it has been doused in nasty, potentially toxic chemicals. So, I went home and checked out kids' sleepwear on some of the better quality on-line retailers' sites, only to find the same notice. At that point, the tears did fall, because I found the most beautiful bathrobe and I know the kiddo would love it. Too bad, so sad. Some of the most beautiful things are also the deadliest.

In searching for some kind of soft, warm, fuzzy, pink girl's bathrobe, I did find a great article, 3 Ways to Get the Flame Retardant out of Your Kids' Fuzzy Pajamas. OK, each of the 3 ways is debunked in the comments, but it made me feel better to know that other moms are also leery of this unnecessary chemical overload. The author, Katie Kimball, has researched the use of flame retardants on sleepwear, and, even though there doesn't seem to be a surefire way to remove the chemicals from the clothing, I appreciated the information. In the course of my own investigating, I found out something else:

It is possible to find kids' robes without the toxic chemicals. They are labeled "terry cover-ups" or "spa robes", and buyers are warned that they do not comply with blah blah blah and should only be worn as pool or beach cover-ups. Unfortunately, they all come in solid colors, with no flowers or fairies or polka dots...but I have plenty of time before December 25 to get a robe cover-up and then fancy it up with help from JoAnne and her Fabrics.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Puttin' the Bah in Your Humbug

On Saturday, NOVEMBER 2ND, I was checking out local radio stations and discovered that one was playing Christmas music. Halloween is barely over, and Thanksgiving is weeks away, but that doesn't matter, because it's never too early to start spending money for the holidays. Because, of course, along with the music comes the ads. BUY! BUY! BUY! SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! You are a loser if you don't spend four months' salary on presents for people. It doesn't matter if they need any of the stuff you buy them or not, it's the amount you spend that really matters. People need more stuff. But don't stop there! You need to totally disrupt your entire household to redecorate everything and create a true holiday atmosphere. It used to be that all you needed to celebrate Christmas was a tree, some good food, and a gift or two. Now, however, you can't celebrate Christmas if you don't have the following:
  • lights on the house, shrubbery, lamp posts, and other structures
  • a wreath on the front door
  • a wreath on every door
  • Christmas-themed doorknob covers
  • Christmas-themed door mats at every door
  • Christmas-themed picture frames
  • Christmas-themed throw pillows and and blankets on every couch and/or chair
  • Christmas-themed plates, glasses, cups,flatware, serving dishes, table cloths, place mats, table runners, magnets on the refrigerator, napkins
  • Christmas-themed bath towels, bath mats, hand towels, soap dispensers
  • Christmas-themed bedding
  • Christmas-themed clothing: pajamas, slippers, robes, socks, underwear, sweaters and sweatshirts
  • Christmas-themed accessories, such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, headbands, hair bows, and purses
  • Christmas-themed paper, pens, pencils, and stamps (and not just for your Christmas cards)
  • Christmas-themed items for your pets (bowls, sweaters, collars, and of course reindeer antlers)
  • Something Christmasy to put on your car, like a bow on the front grille or antlers for the top.
Got all that? Good. Now you can start on the tree. Then, once you have discovered the true meaning of Christmas, you will be ready to go forth and B U Y   S T U F F !

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Fall Festival Ain't Much Fun if Mean Mommy Catches You Smoking

The kiddo's school put on their annual Fall Festival this weekend. There were games and prizes and face painting and a bouncy house. The kids could even go from the gym to the outdoor playground and an inflatable obstacle course. One mother thought that right there, outside the door, where everyone would have to pass to get to the playground, would be a good place for her smoke break. OK, she may want to hasten her demise (and honestly, at that moment, I wanted to hasten her demise, too), but on school grounds? Really? It's crappy parenting to smoke in front of your child, and school property is universally smoke-free. Her chemical dependency is not more important than our children's health. It's not more important than my health.

What really made me mad, though, was that nobody challenged her stupid decision. Well, nobody except for you-know-who. She just looked at me, but I'm sure the school administrator I complained to got a more positive reaction.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tricking the Kiddo With Treats

It is the day after Halloween, and, several sugar-rushes later, the kiddo was again asking to have some of her candy. I made a deal with her: she could have one piece right then, and not ask for any the rest of the day. Or, she could wait, and have two pieces after dinner.

She wait until after dinner and have two pieces. I'm impressed!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Halloween! Put on Your Mean Mommy Costume!

It's almost that time! If you celebrate Halloween, you know how excited and out of control the kiddos can get. You have to rein them in a little, or Bad Things could happen, and I'm not talking about ghosts and ghouls. Here are some Mean Mommy tips for a safe Halloween:

Be safe. Wear something light-colored or reflective, even if the kiddos don't think it's cool. Their costumes won't look so great with tread marks on them. Have them wear layers under their costumes to stay warm. They will complain, but unless they are going as Eskimos, it's better than wearing coats over their costumes. Take a flashlight. The front door may have a light over it, but the rest of the porch or the yard might be dark. You might step in something, um, scary.

Choose a safe costume. You know those old masks that used to come with costumes? The ones where the eyes, nose and mouth never lined up right and it was impossible to see and breathe easily at the same time? Thankfully, those aren't standard anymore, but an ill-fitting costume can still be problematic. Like if you bought one that is two or three sizes too big, just because it was on the clearance rack last year. If the costume is so long that your child has to hold it up in order to walk, you might want to shorten it. (Try using a fabric tape)  If it has a hat that falls down over your kid's face, pin it up (otherwise, you'll end up carrying it all night. Or wearing it yourself). Could it get stuck in someone's shrubbery? That could end up being an unexpected trick...

Insist on good manners. Have your kids say "trick or treat" and "thank you". Don't let them push other kids aside in a frenzy to get more candy. Be sure that they don't trample someone's yard or knock over decorations.

Say "no". This has happened to the kiddo am me several times: we go to a house for trick-or-treating only to find out (the hard way--gag, cough) that the person who lives there is a smoker. Do you really want candy that has been permeated with cigarette smoke? Toss the candy, or better yet, skip the house if you know it's a smoker's house. Of course, that's not the only bad scenario; if you encounter anything that looks sketchy, by all means cut your losses and leave.

Know when to go home. The official hours for trick-or-treating are 6 to 8 in most places, but if your child is getting tired or has so much candy it's getting too heavy to carry, it's time to call it a night.

Halloween is Fun Until Someone's an A******

stolen pumpkin
Don't be an a****** on Halloween! If you have to go for the "trick" instead of the "treat", don't ruin a kid's fun. In other words, if you are so desperate that you need to steal a pumpkin, don't steal a little kid's. That's what happened to a woman in D.C., as detailed in this article that appeared in the Huffington Post, to which the parent of the wronged child replied (for everyone to see):
To the person who stole my son’s pumpkin:
Thank you for the life lesson. This will teach him that sometimes people are mean for no reason and you have to just brush it off.
Because my son is 2-yrs-old and cannot read this sign, I will add:
You are an a‐‐‐‐‐‐‐.
 Shaming the pumpkin thief! I love it! I could see myself doing this...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Candy Tax

Halloween is coming! This Thursday is trick-or-treating! However, many of the festivities have already started: the kiddo has been to three Halloween parties and a costume parade. So much sugar has passed through our doors, it is enough to make a dentist see dollar signs. Seriously, the kiddo already has more candy than she can eat, and she is gearing up to hit our neighborhood hard on Thursday night. In anticipation of a potential sugar overload, I have proposed the dreaded Candy Tax to the kiddo.

What is the Candy Tax? In our household, it is going to be something like this: for every 3 pieces of candy the kiddo gets, her daddy or I will take 1. Now, some of it--the good stuff (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups--yes!)--we get to eat, but the crappy stuff will go straight to the trash. Long gone are the days when hubby and I could pillage the kiddo's  stash without her realizing it, but that doesn't mean that either one of us has lost a sweet tooth. Nothing is certain but death and taxes, right? It's not too early to start teaching this important lesson to the kiddo!

(Seriously, enough is enough, and we will soon be past that point!)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sometimes songs with questionable lyrics get on the radio. The truly offensive words get bleeped or blurred out, but sometimes a few slightly objectionable words get through. Then there are those songs you have in their unedited form that are OK except for just one choice word, and it's frustrating to have to skip the song just because of one or two seconds of bad language.

What can you do (other than skip the song)?

Best option: turn the volume down for a few seconds so that your kids don't hear the offensive word. This works if you know the song well and have a quick hand.

Or, you could always just sing along and insert a different word that sounds similar and somehow fits contextually. This reminds me of that scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are at the opera...

JR:"It was so good I almost peed my pants!"
Easily offended elderly lady: What?
RG: "She said it was better than Pirates of Penzance"
In other words, your kids aren't gonna know.

However, when you can't think on your feet fast enough, there's always the sudden allergic reaction:
Cover any questionable language with a series of coughs and sneezes. 

Confession: I am a Green Day fan. There is a song, "Horseshoes and Handgrenades" which starts out with the line, "I'm not f*****g around". It is on my iTunes, which, one time, hubby had on shuffle. Suddenly, I heard the guitar intro to the song and I knew I had mere seconds to protect the kiddo's innocent ears from that word. So, I ran for the computer, but I wasn't sure I would make it. With no time to spare, I yelled out a primal ahhhhhhh as loudly as I could, and hit the mute button. The kiddo thought I was crazy. That is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: I'm not f*****g around, either.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Well, This Bites!

Dentists know how to make time in their chair less frightening for kids. Maybe even fun, which is good, because we all know that good dental hygiene is important for overall health. (You did know that, right?) Dentists and hygienists work hard to help kids realize this. Moms, too, work hard to get kiddos to take care of their teeth, but are often ignored. My own kiddo brushes and flosses, but half the time she does a half-baked job.

Mean Mommy K has been after her son, N, to brush his teeth, day after day. Sometimes she has checked his teeth only to find that they weren't very clean at all. Her husband has tried to get N to brush better, one time right before a dental appointment. Hubby dropped the ball. N was in the dentist's chair, and his checkup was less than stellar. The hygienist made that clear, then proceeded to scrape away all the tartar (and explain how it had hardened) on one tooth so that N could compare that tooth to the rest of them. Wake-up call! N promised to do better and take better care of his teeth.

Mom deserves kudos for trying, but it was really the hygienist's example that made the most impact. Once again, we are reminded that in some cases, a neutral third party is the key to getting our kids to cooperate.

If I Had Bad Manners, I Would Have Totally Said This

Here are some of the totally inappropriate responses that were going through my head as K, the Bad Mannered Mommy told her story:
  • Uh-oh, my Yankee finger is starting to twitch! (referring to the middle finger, of course)
  • The war has been over for almost 150 years. We're in the 21st century now. Duh.
  • Excuse me, I need to cut up a rug and make a valise.
  • You really don't get irony, do you?
  • Since I'm from Pennsylvania, you'll understand if I call you a b***h.
  • I hope your son marries a Yankee.