Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Did the Mean Mommy Cross the Road?

Who cares?! That isn't the point. The point is that there is a mommy* trying to cross the road. Engage your powers of common sense and common courtesy and let her cross the $&%# road!

*A good indicator of a woman's status as a mommy is the presence of a child in close proximity to her.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Moms Just Know

This morning was a rough one for the kiddo. That was rather unexpected, because she went to bed earlier than normal last night. I was expecting an energized, rambunctious little girl, but I got one who was subdued and groggy. The culprit, I'm sure, was her allergies that kept her coughing, even in her sleep. Even though she didn't recall waking up at all overnight, I knew that was most likely the cause of her morning sleepiness. If I needed further evidence of this, I saw it when I picked the kiddo up from school. She was still groggy and she was yawning. I suggested that she take a nap, which sent her into a half-hearted whine. Well, I knew that if she couldn't even put up a good fight, she must really be tired. So, I bribed her: a little TV time and then a visit to Nana's if she took a good nap. The kiddo grudgingly agreed, and what do you know? An hour and a half later, she came into the kitchen rubbing her eyes and much more feisty. I told her that she looked much happier, and that I knew a nap would make everything better. She asked how I knew. My response? "Moms just know these things".

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mean Mommy Quandary: What to do When Another Kid is Mean to Yours

A Mean Mommy quandary: What do you do when another child is being mean to your child? I think that it should depend on the age of your child. My kiddo is 6 and is capable of standing up for herself, but a few years ago it was quite a different story.

We were at the park with some other moms and kids, and a girl who was slightly older than my kiddo tried to get her to eat a spoonful of dirt. The kiddo knew that didn't sound right, but she was about to give in to peer pressure and take the dirt. I intervened and told the other girl to stop what she was doing. All was well for a few seconds, then the other girl scooped up a spoonful of dirt and flung it into the air, and it landed on my (hot, sweaty, sticky) leg. Yuck. The girl's mom was around, but she was either busy (since she had organized the gathering in the park) or she was pretending not to notice. No help there. So I  said "that's enough!", grabbed the plastic spoon, broke it in half for good measure, and threw it into the trash can.

The girl and her mom didn't like me much after that. But what was I supposed to do--put up with the kid's crap (and the mom's lack of discipline) and not ruffle any feathers so we could remain Facebook "friends"?

No matter what the age, there will always be kids who are mean to our kids. Our kids might even be the mean ones, much as we don't want to admit that. However, when they reach a certain age (4, maybe? 5?) and they are more confident in asserting themselves, we have to take a less active role in defending them. This is the point I'm at now. A child who regularly interacts with my kiddo is frequently mean to her. The kiddo has been very good about speaking up and saying "Stop it!" and "I don't like that!"--she has been coached and praised for responding that way. However, it isn't working and the mistreatment continues. I like the parents, and they are trying everything they can think of  to change their child's behavior (and that's not the only reason I like them!), so I don't want to tick them off.  If this situation continues (and it doesn't show signs of stopping), it will get to the point where I have to step up and reprimand the child, or my kiddo will haul off and slug the bully. The child in question can be very friendly and responds fairly well to being corrected, so I make a point to be friendly so that when (not if) I have to speak up, it won't be perceived as picking on the other kid. Other than that, I don't think there is much I can do other than continue to talk to my kiddo about how to stand up for herself--without boxing gloves.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mean Mommy vs Stupid Driver

Dear Lady in the Red Car,

You must have seen us. Yes, my hubby was wearing neutrals, so maybe he blended in a bit, but my daughter was wearing a pink coat and I was wearing a red jacket. I did not notice you doing anything distracting like using your phone or taking a sip of coffee or smoking, or even jamming out to a tune on your radio, but then, you zipped by us so fast that I didn't get a good look. I didn't even get your license, and believe me, I looked.

You were driving  too fast on that road by the school, so maybe that is why you didn't stop to let us cross the road. You might have been going so fast that you didn't notice us until you were too close to us to slam on your brakes. So actually, you might just be a reckless driver instead of a rude b#&%@. My bad.

Really, though, next time, could you please be a bit more careful? And, maybe, drive the speed limit? After all, we are talking about school property, not the interstate. You don't even have to stop for us. There is no cross walk, so you are under no legal obligation. Hubby and I are capable of judging when it is safe to cross the road. However, my daughter is 6, and a bit impulsive. If she had darted out into the road, would you have been able to stop in time?

Let me clear something up, because your mental capacities might be a bit lacking: when I waved at you, it was not a friendly wave (at least I didn't flip you off). When I shouted "Thanks for stopping!", of course I did not mean it, because you did not actually stop. It's called sarcasm.

I realize that it is unusual to see people walking their child to school. Perhaps you were confused. But my kiddo is in kindergarten, which means that she has 12 more years to walk to school, so you need to get used to seeing us. And slow down. Because next time I might get your license number. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kiddie Jail

You know those crazy parenting ideas that you hear about and think that you could never try them because they are too mean? Well, I had such a moment of hesitation when mean mommy K told me about the following trick:

With three boys, K couldn't keep them all contained, especially when they got big enough to resist. Whether they were running out of their rooms when they were supposed to be in time out, or refusing to take a nap or go to bed, sometimes K just needed them to stay put. She did something that I never would have considered: she unscrewed the door knob and replaced it, but with it facing the other way, with the lock on the outside of the room.

When K first told me, my reaction was "That's so mean!", which was quickly followed by "That's genius!" The very next time my kiddo needed to stay in her room (this was back when she was three), I hesitantly attempted to lock her in her room. Big problem. I showed weakness by hesitating, and she resisted. It was one of those "now or never" moments; I knew I had to go through with it or I wouldn't be able to pull it off in the future, and I was desperate.

The kiddo did not take kindly to being locked in her room and pounded on the door and cried and screamed. When she finally got quiet, it was because she had fallen asleep on the floor. Looking back, this was probably my first mean mommy moment, the moment I realized that I had to suck it up and deal with the unpleasant aspects of parenting in order to ensure that my kiddo was well taken care of. In this case, it meant physically restraining her and dealing with a tantrum in order to give her some much needed sleep (not to mention a respite for me).

It has been a while since I used this trick, or even thought of it, since the kiddo is big enough to respond to other incentives to do what she is supposed to. Plus, if I locked her in her room now, she would probably trash it!

Unreasonable Clean Freak Mommy!

As I have mentioned before, I hate cleaning, but I despise a dirty house. So, it gets to a point where I can't ignore the dirt and chaos any more. Sometimes, depending on my mood, it takes longer to reach that point, but I always get there. However, there are certain things that are a beast to clean, like upholstery and carpeting. When the kiddo has dirty feet, leaves and whatnot clinging to her clothes and hair, sticky hands, etc, she is forbidden from getting on the furniture or carpeting.

The other day, she was rolling on the floor (some version of kiddo yoga, I'm sure) and I noticed that her feet were filthy. She had been playing outside and had apparently removed her shoes, so dirty feet were a natural consequence of that. However, being the unreasonable, mean mommy that I am, I marched her into the bathroom, got her into the tub and washed the grime off her tootsies. Only then she was allowed to resume her silliness on the nice carpeting.The kiddo reacted like I was the meanest mommy ever! How dare I interrupt her fun?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

She Gets It!

Here is a great article that spells out very clearly the top 6 Ways to Ruin Your Children. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 especially pertain to being a Mean Mommy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Right There, In the Middle of the Kite Festival

It's April, that beautiful hot/cold/sunny/windy/rainy/snowy month where a beautiful day means getting outside, and for us on Saturday, flying a kite! Hubby and I took the kiddo to the Kite Festival at the park, and had a great time, but I think I missed the opportunity to meet my mommy soul mate.

There she was, wrangling three kids who were each going in a different direction, when she suddenly told them in no uncertain terms: "Don't go that way! Someone is smoking and I don't want you breathing that!"

First, don't get me started on why the county would allow smoking in a public venue filled with kids, or why anyone would even think it's acceptable to smoke at such an event. What I was impressed with was (1) her no-nonsense tone of voice; (2) her lack of concern about whether anyone else--including the offender--heard her; (3) her desire to protect her kids from someone else's addiction; and (4) her way of reinforcing that smoking is unhealthy/undesirable/unacceptable.

I wish I had stopped to talk to her, but maybe our paths will cross again...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Full Tummy

This morning, the kiddo started counting her bits of cereal, and announced that she had six left, and she just didn't have room in her tummy for them. She then asked for her vitamins. Excuse me?

As you can probably guess, we don't do sugary, neon-colored cereal in our house. Hubby and kiddo eat Quaker cinnamon squares, which are not my idea of a perfect breakfast, but a relatively healthy choice. However, the kiddo tends to waste cereal--not much, but enough to make hubby mad, since after all, I buy it for him, technically making it his cereal. He shares it with the kiddo, and then she wastes it. You can understand how that could be frustrating.

So, when the kiddo made her announcement/request, I opted for some mommy legalese: "But, if you don't have any room for the rest of your cereal, you can't possibly have any room for vitamins. I don't want you to waste both cereal and vitamins". She gave me a half-hearted argument, then walked away to finish getting ready for school. Without her vitamins. Either she really was too full to argue, or she didn't have a good argument to match mine. In any case, her tummy was full and she got her vitamins later. But I'm wondering: if she had been eating some sugary, glowing cereal, would she have finished it? If we never find out, I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Watch Your Head!

My kiddo does gymnastics one night a week. She loves it, and she is doing quite well. Although the classes are not cheap, it's worth it because it keeps her active and it's a great outlet for some of her energy. Plus, it's nice to have a designated place and time for her to do her tumbling, flipping, balancing, etc other than the house at all hours.

However, as wonderful as the class, the coaches and the other kids and parents are, there is one part of class that I dread--when the kiddo is being careless and I have to remind her not to break her head. There are a few pieces of equipment that could cause the kids to land at a weird angle if they are not paying attention--and these kids are around 6 years old, so you know that happens often.

Today, for example, the kiddo did a back walk-over using a piece of equipment and ended up using her head instead of her hands. I asked what has become my standard question: "Do you know how long it took me to make your head?" She knows how long (9 months, duh), but that doesn't prevent the inevitable "protect your head!!". Even the coach has taken to reminding the kiddo and her teammates to be careful.

My dilemma is that I fear becoming a nag (well, more of a nag), but I have put so much time, energy and love into creating that little person, I want her around for a long, long time. Intact.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another FAIL, This One Irreversible

I don't troll the news for hours, looking for articles to feature here on my blog. I don't have to. They are everywhere. What I don't understand is where the hell the parents are. Another life ruined by the thoughtless actions of others: 3 Teens Arrested For Assault After Girl's Suicide. One of the comments sums it up perfectly:  "It is bad enough that parents apparently allow unsupervised parties where 15-year-olds can pass out. It is worse that boys see unconscious children as sexual toys."

Parents: Wake up and take care of your children!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mommy FAIL

Even before I read this article, "Teen's Strange Ramen Addiction" I  realized that the underlying cause had to be an epic mommy fail of major proportions. The girl in question has eaten nothing--nothing!--but ramen noodles since she was 5 years old. As a result, she is most likely afflicted with "stunted growth and IQ, osteoporosis, heart and kidney damage, and high blood pressure. Her lifespan has likely been shortened as well" according to pediatrician Lisa Kaufman, who is quoted in the article.Why would anyone let that happen to their child?

Kids are notoriously picky eaters, but it's a parent's basic responsibility to nourish their young. The mother needs a good kick in her (probably fat) a**.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Litter Update

One result of writing a blog is the accountability. After all, if I say that I'm going to do something but don't follow through, you won't take me seriously, right?

After complaining about a litter but in Walkin' the Walk, Not Just Talkin' the Talk, I am happy to report that this morning, the kiddo and I picked up trash on our way to school. She held the bag for me and I picked up the crap with my glove-encased hand and dropped it into the bag. She was happy to help and eagerly pointed out pieces of trash that I missed. We ended up filling a grocery store bag over half way full. The majority of the trash was beer cans. Seems like some delinquents had a party in the open area by the school. Their parents need to keep a better eye on them, but that's for another post...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Follow Up on the Follow Through

A few months ago I wrote about The Follow Through and how hard it can be to do. It must be even harder when you have to follow through for someone else, like Mean Mommy E had to do. E was on a road trip with her hubby and twins who were getting a little rowdy in the back seat. Hubby  threatened to throw a toy out of the car window if the bad behavior didn't stop. However, he was not a master of the follow through and repeatedly held the toy out the window, threatened to throw it, then brought it back in. In fact, it became almost like a game--or torture--since he never followed through on the consequence. Finally, E couldn't take it any more, grabbed the toy and pitched it out the car window herself. E's sons begged to go back and retrieve it, but E said it had already been run over. Way to keep kids and hubby in line!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Walkin' the Walk, Not Just Talkin' the Talk

So, yesterday I was all upset about a litterbug who was in a car and I couldn't tell him off. But I didn't do anything. It would be foolish to pull over and run out into traffic to pick up litter, but there is no reason I can't pick up litter where the kiddo and I encounter it--on our way to and from school. In fact, I think I will have her help me. I'll take a plastic grocery bag and my gardening gloves when I pick her up tomorrow, and she can help me pick up trash on the way home. What do you think? Do we really have the right to grouse about something that we ourselves don't do anything about?

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Kiddo Will NOT Be a Bone Head Driver

Sometimes people make me mad. Ideally, I have the chance to tell them what they have done and how it makes me feel. Other times, though, I am driving, and I don't have the chance. Sometimes drivers are jerks and cut me off or do something else incredibly stupid like come to a complete stop before turning into the turning lane. Sigh. Sometimes, however, drivers do something so repulsive that I have to fight the urge to follow them, wait until they get out of their car, and yell at them. Today was one of those times.

I was behind a car that was spewing trash like a tree drops leaves in a wind storm. First, something small and green popped out from the side of the car. I wasn't certain that the driver was littering, until the next thing flew out the window. Then there were a few more things that also looked like they had come from the same place.

Since I had errands to run and wasn't interested in being arrested for stalking, I opted not to follow the jerk to his destination and give him a piece of my mind. Instead, I honked my horn and shook my finger. I'm lucky he didn't show me his finger.

Would it be totally out of line for me to make a sign that says "I saw you litter, you jerk!" ?
Or I could do this: *caution, adult language http://www.mentaldischarge.com/articles/Drive-By_Road_Rage_Signs or http://www.amazon.com/Shticks-The-Original/dp/B001GRIY7M although, if I have to fiddle around deciding which one to hold up, it's not really worth it. Maybe I need to choose the issue that bothers me the most and stick to one sign.

When I'm in the car with the kiddo and another driver makes me mad, I do my best to explain to her what the problem is. If the only criticism I come up with is "that guy is a bone head", well, then maybe I need to chill out. (But really, the other guy usually is the bone head.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

For Moms of Boys

The Indian rape victim. The Steubenville rape case http://news.yahoo.com/ohio-sheriff-confronts-protesters-football-rape-case-212214094.html . The list of violent acts toward women and girls goes on and on. As a woman, this sickens me. As a mother, it terrifies me.

I have taken RADS (Rape and Aggression Defense Systems) and kick boxing, and I think I could do some serious damage--if the odds were in my favor. When the kiddo is older, I will sign her up for similar self-defense classes (and continue to keep a mama bear eye on her), which is all very well and good, but...

After reading the article "What Makes a Rapist" http://www.more.com/news/womens-issues/what-makes-rapist, I have come to the conclusion that we need to work harder to teach boys what is acceptable and what is not. According to Dr. Mary Koss, Professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona, and co-chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Male Violence, "It’s hard to convince men—rapists or not—that women have a right to be treated as equal human beings in relationships, when there’s such a huge power differential between men and women in America. We have few top elected officials who are women, few parental leave policies that allow fathers to participate equally in raising their children, and few areas in which women can earn as  much money as their male counterparts.” We can't do anything to change Indian society (but judging from the protests, they are trying to do that themselves!), but we can change our own society.

Women are demanding equal pay and are attaining more jobs comparable to men; I know several stay-at-home dads, and plenty of dads who are involved in their kids' lives and have no problems with their wives holding full-time jobs.This is fantastic, and  I believe that society is changing, but unfortunately, not fast enough. We can't snap our fingers and instantly improve the role of women in the workforce or create more opportunities for stay-at-home dads, much less change the attitudes men have toward women. What we can do, however, is start teaching boys at a young age that everyone deserves respect and that women don't exist for the gratification of men.

It sounds like an daunting task, doesn't it? But one act of violence against a girl or woman can snuff out so much potential, crush a spirit, and permanently alter a life. I don't have a boy, but I am teaching my kiddo how to stand up for herself, trying to show her that there is so much more out there for her than princesses and Barbie and slavish devotion to anything pink, and emphasizing that everyone is important and that nobody deserves to be treated badly. I can only do so much, though, and hope that moms of boys do their part, as well.