Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not Taking My Chances

It's a word that can strike fear into the heart of any school-age child's mom: lice. They are easy to forget about, then you hear a rumor that they have invaded some child's hair and instantly you start inexplicably itching. Now, I'm not afraid of a little bug-it's the big, hairy ones that totally freak me out--but I'm deathly afraid of the consequences of lice. First, the stigma of incessant head scratching. Then, the inability to defeat them--treatment after treatment after treatment. And finally, what I dread the most: non-stop cleaning. Wash the bedding, the clothes, the toys, the entire house, then do it again and when you think you are done, do it a few more times. Otherwise...they're baaack!

The kiddo has wild and crazy curly hair; a perfect home for a clan of insidious little creatures. Perfect, because it would be a herculean task to evict them. Remember, I'm lucky if I can get a comb or brush through the kiddo's hair without her squirming and fidgeting and complaining. She could handle a shorter 'do, but I have heard from some moms that the last--and best--resort is to shave the kid's head. Kind of like deforestation--the little buggers have nowhere to go. The kiddo would be devastated, and, honestly, so would I. I love her curly hair. (Really. Well, it's kind of a love-hate thing.)

So, in the hope of never, ever, ever having to deal with them, I have been squirting the kiddo's head with Lice Shield Leave In Spray. I can honestly say that so far it has worked, but there were no lice outbreaks in her school that I heard of this past year, so I don't really know. What I do know is that I don't want to take any chances, plus, in the warmer weather, it seems to help repel other annoying bugs like mosquitoes and gnats. I'm keeping it, especially since I'm itchy just writing this post.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leave Me Out of It, I'm Switzerland!

As I have mentioned before (see: Pushy Mom Can't Keep Her Mouth Shut) I'm all for neutral, third parties reprimanding kids or at least pointing out that their behavior is unacceptable. And yet, so many neutral third parties want to maintain their Switzerland status and stay out of it.

Today at the gym, it was nearing the very last minute of my allotted child care time, so, after my second class of the day, I ran down to the kids' area (hello, extra workout!) to pick up the kiddo. However, I had left my bag upstairs and I had to take care of some other matters, so we headed back up. Oh, yeah, I checked her two friends out of child care and took them upstairs to deliver them to their mom, who was still up there. That wasn't the best idea, but my kiddo wasn't about to leave without them, and they were hopefully asking me if they were coming, too and reminding me that I am indeed allowed to check them out. So, upstairs we went...with the kiddo showing off for her two friends and acting as wild and crazy as her hair. I was talking to one of the trainers, interjecting our convo with reprimands directed at the kiddo, and I encouraged the trainer to go ahead and tell the kiddo if she was doing something she shouldn't (like, being upstairs in the first place) which he said, horrified, "I'm not yelling at your child!".  Oh, please. If I take her up there a few more times, he won't be so hesitant.

But, seriously, why are some people so reluctant to stay out of it? Fear of angering parents? Fear of appearing mean? Fear of causing a scene? After I explained that anything coming from me is likely to be perceived as mommy nagging, but will be better received from someone else with some authority, the trainer explained to the kiddo the rules of the gym. Will she remember them? Probably only if I yell at her...sigh.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Making of a Serial Killer? Or Just a Jerk?

You know how I love to share good articles, right? A friend shared Kids Who Hurt Animals Need Better Parents with me, and I'm sharing it with you. I think the author makes a great point; lazy parenting is not OK. Mistreating animals is not OK. And, people who hurt animals suck. Well, the last point is mine, but are you gonna disagree with me?

At the end of the article, the author asks, "Do you ever say something to a kid trying to hurt an animal? What about the parent?"  I actually have done both. Long before I had my kiddo, I chased some neighbor kids through the woods yelling at them because one of them had shot a rabbit on another neighbor's property very near my house. I was concerned about them hunting near my property, since I had a cat that was allowed outside. And, OK, the loser  was swinging the rabbit around by the ears. And I wasn't 100% certain it was dead. I talked to the dad, and he said that it was OK because he hunted small game, too. Yeah, Big Man With Big Penis Kill Bunny.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Night, Night. Yeah, Right!

Last night, the kiddo was still up when I started watching True Blood. No worries, hubby read to her while I enjoyed my show, and I went in give her kissies and tell her good night. When the show ended at 10:00, though, she was still awake! I went in, turned off her light, and sat with her. I expected her to drift off to sleep right away...I was mistaken. She refused to fall asleep, and I was trying to delicately extricate myself from her room, thinking that she would go to sleep if I weren't there this time. The line from the popular book, Go the F*** to Sleep kept going through my head, but I gently continued to try to get her to lie still, close her eyes, and stop talking.

However, the cat decided to pay us a visit, but instead of greeting the kiddo or me, he went into the kiddo's tent. She tried to look for him, but I told her that he came in and went right back out. Then I saw him peeking out through the window of her tent and I laughed so hard that she sprang out of bed and went to find him. (Poor cat ran out of there as fast as he could!)

No, I didn't do a very good job of getting my kiddo to bed at a decent hour, but hey, it's summer. And by golly, the cat and the kiddo together make for good entertainment.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Second-to-Last Resort of a Desperate Mommy

Things keep disappearing around my house. I'm not talking about the myriad school projects and papers that somehow find their way into the recycling bin (no, not all of them, just the half-assed jobs), but rather everything else. The kiddo's toys, some of her birthday money, hair clips and elastics...broken hardware, papers, cat toys...socks, more socks. The cat toys, well, sure, the cat has batted them around and they have ended up under the stove--well, most of them. I caught the kiddo playing with one of the cat's toys last week. She wasn't chewing on it, thank goodness, but--why, just please tell me why...And I'm sure that the cat is responsible for some of the clips and elastics entering our own version of the Bermuda Triangle. How do I explain the rest? I can't!

At this point, I have lost count of what is missing and where it might be. I have come to the conclusion that there is just too much stuff in my house. This is a conclusion that I have come to before, and I thought the matter had been resolved by Operation Clutter Reduction Action Plan--aka Operation CRAP. However, the problem seems to be with the kiddo's crap junk stuff. Toys, parts of toys, parts of parts of of things that may or may not be from get the picture. My dilemma is that the toys in question are not slated to be tossed. It's just that there are too darn many of them. So, half of the kiddo's toys were relocated to the storage room--a room that she is barred from. They will be back in rotation at a later date. You know what the kicker, is, though? Compared with some of the kiddo's friends, she doesn't have that many toys. Of course, many of her friends have siblings, so their toys and whatnot get jumbled together, but still, I though that the kiddo's amount was paltry compared to that of some of her peers. In any case, the amount was too big for my sanity. While some toys may still find their way to Goodwill, most of them will remain. Remain out of sight, out of mind, that is, until it's their turn upstairs again.

The incident that motivated this drastic action was the loss of a game piece. Yes, one measly game piece. In a true Pinterest triumph, I designed my own outdoor tic tac toe board, bullied hubby into cutting tiles for me, found stones, painted them, drew X's and O's, and put a sparkly top coat on them. I put them out for the first time today before we had kids over for a play date, and within one freakin' hour, one of the O's was missing. Petty, I know, but it didn't even last an hour. With all of my Pinterest failures, I was pretty proud of this. There are actually enough pieces; the one that went awol was the extra O. That is not the point. The point is that it happened within ONE HOUR. That and the fact that the kiddo has so much stuff that it could have gotten mixed in with that we won't find it until she goes to college. So, my theory is: less stuff-->less stuff strewn about and forgotten-->less clutter-->more organization-->fewer lost and missing items. OK, so that probably won't happen. But at least I can have some of my sanity back? Maybe?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Parents Are Super Heroes

So, there was this 15-year-old girl whose parents weren't monitoring her Facebook very well, and she ended up using a dating application and hooking up with a 30-year-old man and planning to run away with him. That she interacted with him and managed to meet him (and other things, shown by the child rape charges against him) is indicative of a huge parenting FAIL. However, the parents did manage to redeem themselves by a) locking her out of her own Facebook account; b) interacting with the sicko while pretending to be the daughter and setting a trap for him; and c) carrying out their plan and catching him, leading to his arrest.

The girl is probably convinced that she and this criminal are in love and that her parents are ruining her life. I'm sure she will thank them later.

Get the details here .

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Can't Wait to Try This!

Tonight I was talking to some super-organized, super-insightful, and just plain super parents, and I am totally stealing an idea I heard:

In order to keep tattlers and complainers from interrupting every two minutes (seconds?), a teacher gave her students a notebook specifically for recording complaints. The kids felt that their issues were taken seriously, and the teacher got a bit of a break. I don't think she ever really read the comments, but she didn't need to, because the kids got their griping out of their systems. Plus, it served as extra writing practice for the kids. (For more great writing practice ideas, see You Know You Are A Mean Mommy When... and Another Note! .)

The kiddo needs some writing practice for over the summer, so I'm giving her a notebook tomorrow. Then I will have to give her lots to complain about ;)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Culture Shocking

We don't consider it mean to teach kids about the important aspects of American culture. McDonalds, not so much...respecting the flag,  our rights and responsibilities as citizens, of course. What if you live in the US, but are from another country/culture? Is it mean to retain aspects of your culture when it comes to parenting?

For example, H is from Mexico, married to an American, and living in Virginia. She speaks fluent English, loves Trader Joe's,  and knows more about American politics than many Americans do. She also insists on raising her kids in such a way that incorporates Mexican traditions. Si, she speaks to them in Spanish, but the custom that stands out is that of shaving their heads. Her son, who is 3, has been shaved at least twice, and her almost-1-year-old daughter has been shaved once. Why? To make the hair come in thicker, healthier, and more even. By the way, this tradition is common in many countries, from Latin America to Eastern Europe, but what about when it is done here in the US? Is it mean, cruel, or unreasonable for H to subject her kids to this tradition when they are too young to understand the reasons behind it? Or is H a good mommy, giving her kids an enriching experience and giving them a connection to her cultural identity and half of their heritage?

Interesting note: when I was searching for images to go along with this post, I found mostly cutesy baby pictures, or pics of kids who had obviously lost their hair due to chemo. If you see a bald child--old enough to have a good bit of hair if not a full head--would you assume that it is a result of chemo? As a parent, would you be OK with strangers speculating about your child's health and the reasons s/he has no hair? Would you be apologetic or assertive (or even aggressive) in your response?

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Voice

Sometimes we moms have to use the voice. It's a far cry from a soft, sweet, comforting voice, or an urgent, worried voice, or a lovingly encouraging voice. No, this is the voice we save for extreme situations, like when our children refuse to listen to us. By "listen", I mean both definitions of the word. The first definition* is the more basic: to actively try to register and comprehend what is being said. If you have ever been ignored in favor of Sponge Bob, you understand what I mean. The second definition* of to listen I am referencing is to comply with an explicitly expressed request or command. Of course, in order to accomplish #2, one must first be willing to do #1. The voice is sometimes brought out of storage in the nether regions of the throat for #1, but is used primarily for  #2. The voice can be engaged out of anger, frustration, irritation, or desperation, but no matter what the reason, the voice demands immediate attention. Our children know that we are not kidding, and that they have only one chance and they better not mess up. If we utter their complete name--first, middle and last--using the voice, we strike terror into their hearts and are assured of their complete and immediate compliance. The first time or two, that is. After that, the voice starts to lose its effectiveness unless we back it up with physical aggression or punitive consequences, neither of which I recommend.

Our kids are going to test us, push our limits (and our buttons) and try to get away with as much as they can. We need to have a bunch of weapons in our mommy arsenals, but the easiest, cheapest, most natural one at our disposal is the voice. Use yours well.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Unreasonable Clean Freak Mommy's Request

Today, the kiddo's friends wanted to come in the back door, walk through the house, and go out the front door in order to get to the front yard, because the area by our gate has too many bees. I said OK, but they had to wipe their feet or take their shoes off before walking through the house. When they asked why, I told them because I am sick of cleaning my floors. They wiped their feet very well.

Was this unreasonable of me?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Too Much Free Time? Really?

It was one of those blah days: cloudy, rainy, hubby was working from home, we had nothing scheduled...our first "real" day of summer vacation after being at the beach for a few days. So, why, then, did it feel like anything but vacation?

The kiddo was being annoying. That was hubby's word, not mine, but I couldn't bring myself to argue with him about it. The kiddo obviously wanted attention. There are no extra (meaning, school) rules to remember--if she runs or talks too loudly or doesn't pick up her toys, she will be scolded, disciplined if necessary, but there will be no bear changing its color to yellow. Today, we didn't rush breakfast, we didn't walk briskly across wet grass. We got up and ate our meals whenever we wanted, and went outside at will. Ideal, no? Well, no, I guess not. As I said, the kiddo wanted attention. Or stimulation. Or maybe she had too much stimulation. Music, toy noises, hubby and I talking were filling her ears at the same time. There were books and toys and my craft projects and the kitchen cabinets full of food and hubby's computer and the outdoors all competing for her line of vision. Perhaps she was overstimulated?

Are we suffering from a lack of structure? I admit that several times during the day, I didn't know what to do with myself. Oh, I always have plenty to do, but I didn't have anything pressing to attend to at a certain time. Could taking it easy be a bad thing for a 6-year-old?

I have Activity Boxes for her quiet time--which will be observed, every single day, darn it--and once I got a new toy* out for her, she calmed down and became quite engrossed in it. Then, she and hubby went to get groceries, then it was dinner and bath and books does seem like she does better with structure. I think I do, too.

*the Michael's version of Lite-Brite.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Vacationing With Kids--Oxymoron?

The kiddo and I went to the beach for a few days to hang out with our friends. Hubby was supposed to go, too, but then he was sent out of town for work. I was quite upset, and decided that the kiddo and I would still go. Well, Tropical Storm Andrea rolled in, and our friends left. I would have hit the road, too, but it took a while to get back to our hotel and to get food, so if we had left that night, we would have made it home around 12:00. That made me and the kiddo both nervous, so we decided to tough it out and stay. So for the most part, it was just the kiddo and me. I enjoyed our time together: swimming, looking for sea shells, snuggling and reading at night, watching the storm, a few treats here and there... It was also a learning experience which I appreciate very much.

What I learned:
  1. The kiddo tried to slide the room key-card through the slot on the safe. Hotels charge for everything possible, including use of the safe. I was afraid the kiddo would incur an outrageous charge by messing around with it, but she wouldn't stop. Solution: I had some of her birthday money with me, and I told her that if we were charged for the safe, I would take it out of her money.
  2. Our room had a connecting door with the room next to us, which the kiddo kept trying to open. We didn't know the people in that room, and I didn't want to bother them. If you are familiar with some of my previous posts, you know that I am obsessed with keeping my kiddo (and myself) safe from sickos, so I definitely didn't want that door unlocked. To keep that door locked, I had to threaten to take away a toy and lock it in the car. 
  3. To keep the kiddo occupied while I got dressed, caught up on messages/texts, I let her watch TV...which she turned up way too loud. For this one, I just yelled. What I should have done was to remind her to keep it down out of respect for other guests--before even giving her the remote.
  4. Our hotel had a "Kids Eat Free" policy, so I didn't lose any money when the kiddo didn't finish her food, but I hate wasting good food. For this problem, there wasn't a good solution, but a practical one. For example: the kiddo decided she didn't like her scrambled eggs, only ate half of her cereal, and rejected the apple because it was too whatever. Result: she got hungry early, and we didn't have any snacks with us. She had to wait until lunch.
  5. I get really anxious when I have to drive somewhere unfamiliar, and the kiddo's incessant talking is extremely distracting. In those instances, I just had to tell her to be quiet, and ask her to look for landmarks.
  6. Our room had a balcony, and the kiddo was allowed to go out on it by herself because she is good about being careful up high. However, I heard this awful noise, which turned out to be the kiddo singing. Apparently, there is a song from The Little Mermaid  that sounds like "ah ah ah", which the kiddo was wailing singing loudly. I had the same reasoning here as in #3, but I was also kind of embarrassed by that noise sound, so I had to remind her not to disturb the peace.She was a little insulted that I didn't like her singing. 
However, I wasn't the only Mean Mommy--not by a long shot! I heard moms yelling at their kids for running down the halls, for getting into the elevator without them, for not paying attention for where they were going, for splashing someone/squirting someone with a water gun...

All in all, our trip was a great way to kick off the summer. However, what I did  was similar to what single moms have to do all the time--in theory. Hopefully that doesn't include worrying about potential sickos in the next room or the kids channeling Ariel too loudly.  Kudos to all you single moms (and dads). You need a vacation!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

She Really Said This:

Me: I want to make some more of those apple muffins.

Kiddo: Ohh...and could you make some of those protein cookies, too?

Me: Um, OK...

Kiddo: Well, you can rest a bit before you make them.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes, Some Parents DO Teach Their Children Manners!

A friend recently posted on FB: 
"Had an 8th grade young man act rather rude toward me, nothing unusual there. What was unusual was he came up to me 10 minutes later and apologize for his behav[ior] and shake my hand! This small moment restores my hope and brings more joy than you can imagine."
Someone has taught that young man some manners! Maybe a Mean Mommy?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Declaring War

FD&C Red Dye #40, I hate you. Your sneaky disguises may fool my kiddo, but you can't fool me. Now, I realize that you are not as bad as, say, arsenic, but you are still pretty evil and insidious in my book. Yes, you and I go way back, I admit, but I don't like the things you've been doing to my child. It's almost like you flip a switch in her brain and make her act like a--dare I say it?--brat. Every time you come around, whether barging in or sneaking up on us, I have an overexcited, wound-up, ├╝ber-rambunctious kiddo bouncing off the walls. I don't mean ordinary kiddo behavior, I'm talking about out of control behavior, but ratcheted up, a lot. I don't like her behavior when she's with you, and I don't like how frustrated and irritated I get. I especially don't like how I react when you are here, yelling and saying things I'd rather not. Welcome to the inside of my trash can.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kids + Cell Phones = TROUBLE

There are many reasons kids and cell phones aren't a good combination, but this one tops my list.

13 year old receives text from boy she knows from school.
6 year old has phone and types random letters and hits "send".
Boy replies, "Huh?"
6 year old types "I love you"!