Saturday, March 30, 2013


It is Easter time! No matter how you celebrate, there is a good chance that your kids have been inundated with candy. Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs...This year, I have noticed some new go-to holiday treats that are not candy: pencils, rings, pencil sharpeners, erasers...but candy is still the big thing. Have you noticed that candy has even found its way into St. Patrick's Day festivities? Some leprechauns actually leave candy after playing their mischievous pranks. Another holiday, another reason to buy mountains of candy, complain that your kids are jacked up on sugar, then express concern over child obesity.

As a child, I loved getting my Easter basket, because it was full of treats I couldn't get anywhere else. I didn't get candy at church--I had to sneak in candy from my Easter basket to eat covertly during mass (and my dad always busted me, but I shared with him so it was OK). There was no Easter candy at school--hello, Easter is a religious holiday. Separation of church and state, people! My extended family normally had a big Easter dinner, which of course included dessert, but no additional candy.

It seems like we have forgotten the concept of  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

This year, the kiddo had an egg hunt at school, big family dinner @ Nana's house with dessert, egg hunt @ Nana's, treats from the Aunties, and there will be an Easter can hunt at church (with candy as the reward). This all comes on top of the kiddo's birthday, plus a bunch of other birthday parties that she has attended, all complete with cake, most with ice cream, and many with goody bags filled with candy.

I, myself, feel kind of blah from all the extra goodies I have been eating (and I only eat the good stuff), so this year, I decided that the Easter Bunny is going to be quite stingy. There are only going to be a few goodies in the kiddo's basket, plus some eggs for her to find. I mean, isn't an Easter basket also supposed to hold the eggs you find on an Easter egg hunt? It's not supposed to already be crammed full when you get it, right?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do Not Pass Go. Go Directly to Jail

Mean Mommy A's 15-year old son, E, had been driving for a few years, moving cars around the lot at his dad's auto repair business. One day, he decided to take his grandparents' fancy sports car for a ride. E knew that his grandparents wouldn't agree (even if he had been of age), so he carefully plotted out his scheme. E visited his grandparents, took the car keys and hid them outside the house. Later that night, he sneaked out of his house, rode his bike back to his grandparents' house, and found the keys. He drove off in the sports car to pick up his girlfriend to take her for a joyride. E's grandparents didn't notice when he drove off in their car, and were shocked when the police called and told them that their grandson had stolen it. It seems that E's girlfriend wasn't as skilled at sneaking out of the house, and her parents busted them. When A was notified by the police, she made a really tough decision: she let E spend the night in jail to teach him a lesson. A understood that her son had put a lot of effort into planning out his adventure, and needed to realize that it was a serious offense and not just a joke. If he hadn't been adequately punished, who knows what he might have tried next? (E is now an adult and as far as I know, a model citizen! Mean mommies know best!)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Did You Put on Your Cranky Pants This Morning?

Mornings are not the easiest time of day for some people. The long lines at coffee shops in the morning and the abundance of morning-themed Facebook memes attest to that. In our house, mornings usually aren't too bad. The kiddo is generally in a good mood and eager to get to school. Some mornings, though, are aberrations, like this morning.

The kiddo got up, got dressed, came out to the kitchen and started grunting at me. I tried to give her her usual good morning kisses, but she pushed me away and kept grunting. It took a few minutes, but I eventually figured out that she wanted to check on her plants to see if they had sprouted. Since she wouldn't come out and use words and I was collecting the recycling, I told her to please go somewhere else. Well, that caused more grunting, plus some whining. Mornings don't bother me too much, but that kind of behavior makes me want to go back to bed and hide under the covers.

My main focus was on getting the kiddo ready for school and out the door, but I didn't relish the idea of spending time with her if she was going to act ugly. I kept busy and had hubby take her to school, but I made sure to tell her that the reason I didn't want to walk with her was because her actions bothered me and that I would spend time with her after school on the condition that she act nice.

It worked like a charm! After school, the kiddo was all huggy and kissy and held my hand all the way home, and didn't grunt once. I don't know if she just woke up in a bad mood and needed to get it out of her system, or if my response to her actions this morning made an impact. However, I'm sure there will be many more opportunities to find out.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Back Off, Blondie"

I have the sweetest, nicest cat in the world. Today, the kiddo attempted to pet him--rub him behind the ears--and he smacked her wrist, without using his claws. It was like he was saying "back off, blondie". Of course, the kiddo's feelings were hurt and she started to cry, but I had no sympathy for her. After all, she chases and pesters and bothers and annoys the poor cat every chance she gets. If he had scratched her, I would have been sympathetic enough to put ointment and a bandaid on her, but not much else. As the cat gets older, he won't be as tolerant, so I'm hoping this will be a good lesson for her.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Swear I'm Gonna Hibernate Until the Weather Gets Better!

OK, this mommy is tired of snow days! The snow itself has lost its appeal, and even the kiddo is losing interest. She does, however, insist on going out, getting her pants and socks soaking wet, coming in, changing them, going back out...the cycle just goes on and on.

Playing outside in the cold is great exercise, and I encourage the kiddo to run run run and tire herself out (it was in the 40's so she wasn't in danger of frostbite, and the way she runs, hypothermia isn't an urgent concern). All of the in-and-out, however, really frustrated me. I don't remember ever getting away with that. It was either go out and stay out until I was exhausted, or stay in.  Every time the kiddo came in, I had to remind her to take off her boots at the front door and to not hold the door open. Every single time. And I got very frustrated by the growing pile of laundry.

It is officially spring; the weather will catch up soon enough, and spring brings its own set of problems. Right now, though, they don't seem nearly as annoying as slushy snow and chilly temperatures.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shaming as Punishment

Here is another case of parents using public shaming of their child as punishment. This last-resort approach to parenting seems to be catching on, but these parents have received a lot of criticism as well as support. When other attempts at correcting a child's behavior fail, what is wrong with public punishment, especially when a parent is with the child and they are in a safe environment? The girl in question is 13 years old, an age when image is extremely important.

When my dad was a child, any bad behavior at school was reported to my grandparents by the other kids, and the punishment they received at school was matched at home--and was probably the main topic of conversation at the dinner table. Is public shaming the new, more sophisticated version of this?

Read the article here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Register For Camp!

Summer seems like it is far away, but this is the time to be thinking about summer camps and other activities to keep the kiddo occupied after the school year ends. When she was little, I thought about camp and summer-time classes just as something fun that the kiddo and I could do together, mostly for socializing purposes. The moms who obsessively scheduled every free moment of their kids' time seemed extreme to me. However, as the kiddo has gotten older, she wants more activities with friends and I find myself facing the daunting task of keeping her entertained. Crafts are great, but I don't always want to do them with her. She is just learning to read, so sending her off with a book won't last long.

Camps and classes seem like the perfect alternative to "find something to do that doesn't involve bothering me". However, I don't want to push her out of the car into some random activity just to get her out of my hair. When I was a kid, my neighbors' parents literally pushed them out of the house every day of summer vacation and told them to go play. They weren't allowed to play inside the house, or even go back into the house unless it was to eat, use the bathroom, get a bandaid, etc. Looking back, I remember those kids getting into a lot of trouble...coincidence? Too much structure is overkill, but too little structure can be bad, too.

There are tons of options for summer camps and activities--far more than when I was a kid--but I'm not spending money on anything that is lame and not worth it. I certainly won't drop my kiddo off at a place where safety and security aren't a top concern.

On the other hand, I remember my summer vacations as being almost magical because they weren't structured. Of course, I  wasn't barred from my house all day. next post is going to be about the joys of unstructured summer activities. But I'm still looking into camps. For my own sanity.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Glamorous? Not so Much.

This morning, the kiddo took a little extra time getting ready for school. She was in her room for a bit longer than usual; I checked on her and found that she was applying makeup from her new makeup kit that she had received for her birthday. There are what seem to be lip glosses in a pot with applicator brushes, but the kiddo is certain that they are eye shadows. (The package didn't list any eye shadows, so I'm pretty sure they are lip glosses [terephthalate free], but I'm not going to argue this one.) It's most likely the applicators that are making her think they are eye shadows, but the crazy part is that I don't normally wear eye shadow, so I'm not sure how she even knows about it.

Anyway, the kiddo asked me if she looked "better", and I said "absolutely not", for two reasons. First, imagine what you would look like with goopy, Vaseline-type stuff around your eyes (pink, no less). Second, I don't want the kiddo to think that she only looks pretty when she has junk on her face. I told her that she looked glamorous, but that she always looks pretty. I also reminded her that she is beautiful without anything on her face.

After walking the kiddo to school, I recounted our conversation to hubby, and suggested that he follow my lead and tell her that she looks glamorous, sparkly, or made up but not better, prettier or more beautiful. I'm thankful to report that we are on the same page about this.

Tonight, she came strutting out of her room with more "eye shadow", an old dress, and her princess shoes and announced that for Career Day at school, she wants to dress as a model. Who is filling her head with this baloney? While I have often considered trying to get the kiddo booked as a child model--she is super cute, after all--that's not my idea of the perfect career for her. When I figure out who is encouraging this, I may have to track them down and beat them over the head with the make up kit.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Birthday Presents

Hello! It's good to be back. The computer has been fixed, and I'm hoping that I will be blogging regularly once again.

While I have been busy dodging the usual parenting bullets, some big things have been happening. The biggest has been the kiddo's birthday. She turned 6 last week!

I really appreciate when family and friends ask me for suggestions for birthday presents; that way, I can give them ideas about what the kiddo really likes and wants. Another benefit, though, is that I get to discourage them from giving her something that is forbidden (like anything Justin Bieber, lol).

This year, things were going well. The kiddo received some good gifts--non-flame-retardant pajamas, books, Legos--and then a couple sketchy ones. The one in particular that gave me pause was a makeup set--yes, for 6-year-olds. I read the ingredients (which I do for products I buy for myself, so of course I check extra-carefully on things for the kiddo) and was dismayed to find multiple parabens and terephthalates. The terephthalates, being the more toxic of the two, were only in one product, so I threw that out and agreed to let the kiddo keep the ones that only contained parabens. (They will inevitable get left out somewhere they don't belong, then I will have the chance to toss them, too.) The kiddo asked me why she couldn't have the the lip gloss that got thrown out, and I explained that they contain a type of phthalate, but that her friend didn't intend to give her something she can't have. She understood, and realized that "they just don't know that phthalates are bad for you". I am so proud of my kiddo! She is aware that there are some things that I just will not budge on, and that I may be strict/uptight/unreasonable, but it is for her own well-being.

In case you are interested, here is a concise article about phthalates (what they are, what they are used for, and, most importantly, how they can affect one's health), but really, all you have to do is google "phthalates" and you will find a plethora of sites relating to them.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Great Toy Cull

It's that time of year--the kiddo's birthday! I have some (hopefully) awesome gifts for the kiddo, and I'm sure she will get a bunch more from family and friends at the small party we are throwing for her. In anticipation of  her b-day celebration, I have already started this year's Great Toy Cull. (Actually, this is part of Operation Clutter Reduction Action Plan, aka Operation C.R.A.P.). Would you believe that I have already thrown out no less than five whistles/harmonicas/flutes? I didn't even bother counting the broken crayons that got tossed into the trash. Then there are the tiny body parts from some poor, dismembered, forgotten doll. Loose beads from a busted bracelet? Long gone.

The thing is, if the kiddo saw all of the crap I was throwing away, she would be devastated and would no doubt throw a huge tantrum. But guess what? I tossed it while she was in school--and covered my tracks by hauling it out to the big garbage can so she wouldn't discover it--and she hasn't noticed that the crap is gone. If I had put away her Hello Kitty or doll house or remote control car, she would have noticed right away. However, the small, plastic pieces of plastic? They are good for a moment's diversion or distraction, but they don't really matter. So, I have decided that I don't mind the kiddo getting cheap junky stuff (hello, treasure box and prize box!), and I will patiently bide my time and toss the junk when the kiddo loses interest.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bitchy Dads

Hubby had work to do on the computer, and what was the kiddo doing? Disrupting him by shouting, hanging on him, crawling under the table and jostling the table legs and his chair, breathing on him...that was not really misbehaving, but his attempts to get her to cease and desist were met with fierce resistance, which was misbehaving. This, of course, made him grumpy, so he ended up yelling.

I have so been there. If something requires concentration--sorting out a bill, double checking my math, reading anything more complex than a comic strip, writing a blog post--it doesn't get done if the kiddo is cavorting about. Between worrying about her hurting herself and damaging something or spilling something or even trying to tune her out, my brain shuts down. Serious tasks are accomplished by working in a secret hiding place or yelling at the kiddo until she realizes that I am serious about the task at hand and will continue to yell until I get it done. Let's be honest; nobody wants that. But the truth is that I don't really I manage to get anything cerebral done when the kiddo is around. I tend to do housework, cooking, and craft projects done--things that she can help with-- and save the stuff that requires brain power for when she is in school or asleep. Hey, maybe that's why hubby stays up so late...

Back to hubby; he hasn't mastered the art of Making Sure You Get Your Crap Done yet. He needs to find a balance between "I love you, please let me work" and "Ahhhwrrrrrrrgh!". That balance does exist. Somewhere. Maybe not in my house...

I'm Baaack!

Well, kind of. My computer is about to kick the bucket, so I will be posting only when I can use hubby's computer.