Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sneaky Things to do While the Kiddo is in School--Cat's Version

Finally, I get some peace and quiet! I know I'm cute and all, but OMG, that girl has got to give me some space! She is sweet, though, so I won't leave any hairballs or anything nasty in her room.

  • Sniff everything.
  • Rub on everything and leave lots of fur.
  • Take a nap on the bed.
  • Take a nap in the tent.
  • Look for any of my toys she has taken in there.
  • Look for any of her toys that might be fun to play with.
  • Get claws stuck in doll's hair.
  • Knock something over.
  • Get that stuffed bunny.
  • Take a nap in the doll's crib. 
  • Look out window.
  • Leave more fur.
  • Take a nap in the closet. 
  • Scare Mommy when she comes in to clean the room.
Oh, boy, this is gonna be fun!

Sneaky Things to do While the Kiddo is in School--1st Draft

What to do? What to do? Here is the first draft of my list. Have I done any of these things yet? No, but today was only the second day of school. Give me time, people!

  • Clean her room. Dust, vacuum, pick up trash.
  • Really clean her room. All of the above, but throw out broken toys, outdated toys, just plain crappy toys. Scrape stickers off door.
  • Organize her room.
  • Remove things from her room that are not hers but that she has appropriated and hidden in there (like the cat toy. Huh?).
  • Remove clothing she has outgrown.
  • Remove out-of-season clothing.
  • Prep ingredients for dinner (before she can eat them--hello frozen peas, a fave snack)
  • Go grocery shopping without fielding requests for crap. 
  • Work on my craft projects, without having them become her projects. 
Of course, all of the above can be done while listing to music--loud music--without worrying about inappropriate language.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I'm of an age where I didn't know the term "twerking". Now I do, and unfortunately I can never go back. All I can say is that if I ever catch my kiddo doing it, I'll kick her in her twerker. (Is that a word?)

Back To School!

It's time for the kiddo to go back to school--she's in First Grade!

She is looking forward to school, although disappointed that she has been separated from her BFF.  I am sympathetic, but...does she think the teachers are crazy?? Those two girls are way too loud, wild and crazy when they get together, which they will, at least once or twice during the school day. I will be reminding her every day that she has to use her "inside voice", and I hope her teacher nips any inappropriate behavior in the bud.

We will also be walking to and from school again this year. The kiddo's new teacher got used to seeing me waiting under the tree for the kiddo at the end of the day, and she was already planning on handing the kiddo over to me there, just like the kiddo's kindergarten teacher did last year. Of course, the kiddo is halfhearted asking to ride the bus, but she will get over that, just like she did last year.

For my part, I can not wait until my chance to toss some of the crap that has been accumulating over the summer while I had barely any chance to get rid of it. I haven't forgotten that the kiddo has an eagle eye and notices when something of hers is in the trash. Of course, there will be a special breakfast and pictures and a fancy napkin and a note in her lunch box, and I will probably get a little teary as I realize how fast she is growing up. Then I'll go to the gym, do some mad cleaning, then welcome my (still kinda) little girl home from school.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Take That, Potty Mouths!

Another way to prevent your kids from getting an earful of someone else's foul language: drown them out by singing.

I have only had to use this technique a few times, and the offenders didn't raise a fuss--they probably thought I was just singing to my kiddo or singing along with her. However, if I suspect that a choice word is imminent, I'm prepared to break out into an impromptu version of "Jingle Bells" or "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". One isolated word--not OK, but not worth a whole song. A stream of profanity, though--it's gonna get loud.

Here's the thing: while I am by no means expecting a record deal, I have had singing lessons, and several people have complimented my singing. They must be tone deaf, but I appreciate the praise. But if I need to drown out the F word, I will do so by singing badly.

This decision was made after an incident at Barnes and Noble, in which a teenager dropped the F bomb in front of my then 2-year-old kiddo. I politely asked him to watch his language, only to be called a b!tc#. If faced with that situation again, I would have ignored him and belted out a song. Maybe I'll make one up...fade to dream sequence...

"you gotta shut your potty mouth!
don't wanna hear it!
yeah shut your potty mouth!
I won't be near it!
keep it up, I'll keep on singin'.
uh huh, until your ears are ringin'!"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yup. I Had to Leave Town!

As it turns out, I did have to leave town. Eric Snowden didn't offer to hang out with me*, but I did get to hang out with my hubby and kiddo, at the beach!

I've noticed that I tend to put the kiddo first--not in a way that spoils her, but in ways she's not aware of or doesn't really appreciate. You know, like buying foods that she will agree to eat, that don't happen to be crap, when sometimes she wants the crap. Anyway, while we were on the beach, I took some time for myself, put my chair right at the edge of the ocean, and meditated. I'm not very experienced at meditating, but what I did was relaxing, so it works for me.

The kiddo was getting frustrated by constantly getting sand in her bathing suit (I totally get it, I don't like chafing, either), and repeatedly whined asked to go to the hotel pool instead. This time, I put hubby first. I asked the kiddo what her daddy usually did during the week. Go to work. Then, I asked what he does at night after dinner. Work. Finally, I asked her why he brought his work computer with us on vacation. So he could do some work. I pointed out to the kiddo that her daddy was having fun, enjoying riding the waves on the boogie board, and not working. I asked if she could be patient and let him have some time to have fun. She agreed, stopped complaining (for the most part), and stood in the surf, cheering for her daddy. The kiddo is a sweet, caring girl. Sometimes she just needs to be talked (and guilted) into it.

*because I didn't try to contact him! Duh!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dismantling the F@#$%&g F-Bomb

The "F-word" is a controversial topic, at least to American English speakers. Now, just let me state for the record that I'm used to it--in fact, two of my grad-school friends once had a cussing contest. I'm still not sure who won--it was quite impressive. My issue is when others drop the F-bomb around my kiddo loudly enough that she might start repeating it.

My question is: do we as moms have the right to ask--or demand--that someone watch their language when within earshot of our children? I'm talking about in public; in the privacy of your own home, you can go ahead and have a potty mouth. If you can't clean it up when there are kids around, I won't be bringing my kiddo to your house in the first place.

This question has come up because the other day, hubby and kiddo and I were in the car when hubby had a mishap with his coffee cup and we had to make an emergency stop at Panera. Now, for the record, the smell of coffee tends to make me ill, and there was a whole puddle of it in the center console of the car. Oh, yeah, and my keys were in there. My car keys that have the remote entry fob. Sitting in a puddle of liquid. So when we all clambered out of the car to clean up the mess, I was already in a foul mood. A couple of teenagers strode by and one of them used that word. If it had been a cartoon, steam would have come out of my ears. I said, "Hey, you need to watch your language", to which they...laughed. And I replied "Just shut up already".  OK, not the best way to handle it, but I didn't hear anything else from them as they went on their way.

I know that the kiddo will eventually be exposed to that word and will most likely use it herself. Shen she's 16, OK...I won't like it, but I will accept it as long as she doesn't use it when I can hear her. When she's 6, no way. Not acceptable. Yes, I know she will hear it at school and I will have to deal with it, but really, I just don't want to have to dismantle that bomb in my house. Lazy? Yup. So watch your language so that I have less work to do.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Radical Idea (Why I Might End Up Hiding Out With Eric Snowden)

I keep hearing and reading grumbling about the dreaded school supply lists. I have a radical idea: how about if the school administrators take some of the money allotted for sports and put it toward purchasing basic supplies for the classroom? Dry erase markers, tissues, hand sanitizers...items that parents are expected to provide. Then, parents could be solicited for money to fund the sports programs. After all, sports are fun, but isn't education the most important part of school? Or am I just not living in the right century? Here's another idea: take some of that money and give teachers a raise.

Oh, and someone mentioned that the reason they post the students' room assignments outside the school, on the door, where any whacko can see them  at my kiddo's elementary school is due to budget cuts.

Football, anyone?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Safety First--Protect Your Kids! (warning, graphic pics)

It's almost Back-to-School-Time! It is hard to believe that summer is almost over--oh, wait! It's not! Summer isn't technically over until the middle of September, but warm, sunny weather can linger even longer than that. Just because your kids are going back to school, don't forget about the dangers of foregoing sunscreen! Kids can potentially get a lot of sun exposure during recess, when gym class is held outside, extra outdoor playtime for elementary kids, and going home from school. It's easy to forget the sunscreen, and it's even easier to neglect it, especially when your kids are complaining and squirming because you're trying to cover them in that slimey lotion, and let's face it, each and every sunscreen is either slimey, sticky, greasy, or a combination of all three. Don't forget it, and don't wimp out, either! Check out these links for inspiration, to see if you are sun savvy and to make sure you know how to protect your kids and yourself. Tackle them if you must, show them pictures of skin cancer; you can find really gross ones online, like these:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hot Mess Mommy Will Bribe Kiddo For Sleep

The kiddo has her last camp of the summer this week. It's good practice for getting her up earlier than what has become the norm once school starts, and you know what they say: practice makes perfect. We are far from there yet, though. Oh, my. It has only been two days, but the combination of getting up early (ish) and getting ready to go out has been a challenge. Combine that with non-stop action at camp for the kiddo and non-stop cleaning and trips to the gym for me, and we are one hot mess by the time we get home.

Today, the kiddo was dragging her butt out to the car after camp, then she was about to fall asleep on the way home, I, myself, could barely contain my yawns. When we got home, nothing looked as appealing as the couch. It was calling me. It was also calling the kiddo, but she chose to ignore it. Since I couldn't ignore it, I made a deal with the kiddo: she could watch TV, but only if she laid down and tried to sleep. (No commitment--no mention of the word "nap", no mention of her bed; just laying down on the couch and relaxing.)

I was comfortably drifting off on the couch when I heard a voice coming from the other room: "Mama! I tried to go to sleep but I can't! Can I watch TV now?" You know how when your sleep is interrupted and you get annoyed and that raises your blood pressure and makes it impossible to relax enough in order to get to sleep? Yeah, me, too. That's where I was heading. I shut the door part way and turned on some white noise and promptly fell asleep. Guess what: so did the kiddo. Sure, at first she was crying about how unfair it was that she couldn't watch TV. In fact, the intensity, volume and inflection of her complaining was enough to convince me that she really needed the nap.

One hour later, mommy and kiddo were wide awake and much happier.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong--But Mommy Always Is

I got used to being right sometime during my adult life, then, about the time the kiddo turned 4, I stopped being right. The kiddo is now the one who is always right, even when I am right and she is wrong. Pretty soon, I won't be able to tell her that she is wrong, I will have to say "not-so-right".

For example, we were stopped at a red light, then I accelerated when it turned green. The kiddo demanded to know why I was speeding. I told her that I was not speeding--not even going the speed limit. She pointed out that I was going faster than the car next to me. I agreed, but pointed to the speed limit sign, and told her how fast I was going, and that I wasn't speeding. The kiddo then said, "Well, you're still speeding".

You could interpret this as a difference in opinion as to what "speeding" really means--going over the legal speed limit, or just going faster than another vehicle, but I have so many other examples that indicate that I am just always wrong. Here's a good one:

 The kiddo and I were walking with friends--a girl around the kiddo's age (B) and her mommy (A). This is a snippet from an real conversation:

B to A: You ran a red light on the way here, Mommy.
A:   No, I didn't.
B:   Yes, you did!
A:  I was driving, so I should know if I ran a red light or not, and I didn't.
Me to A: I'm never right, either. According to my kiddo, I'm always wrong.
Kiddo to me: No, you're not! You are not always wrong, Mama!

So, you see? I am never right. No matter how correct or accurate I may be, I am never right.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Growing a Loving Child

True story: several years ago the kiddo and I attended Music Together classes; these are music/singing/rhythm classes for young children (accompanied by an adult). One semester, a young boy about the kiddo's age would cry every time they arrived at class and continue to cry for most of the class time. I later learned that the boy in question is autistic, but at the time, I just wanted him to enjoy music class and not be sad. So, I got the kiddo to approach him and talk to him: ask him if he was OK, tell him that she hoped he felt better, etc. I had to cajole the kiddo to talk to him at first, but eventually, he started to enjoy music class. Now, I'm sure that his change of attitude had a just a wee little bit to do with my kiddo and a whole lot to do with his mommy, the teacher, and the general, wonderful class environment. However, it seems as if my prodding and pushing the kiddo to interact kindly with that one boy made a lasting impression on her and taught her a valuable lesson. To this day, the kiddo is very kind and loving with other children. Sure, she and her friends have their squabbles and fights and arguments, but when another child is hurt or sad or upset, the kiddo will pat them on the back, give them a hug, hold their hand, and/or give them encouraging words. Of course, I have noticed this and have pointed out to the kiddo how much her compassion means to other kids, but the other day, another parent pointed it out, mentioning what a caring child my kiddo is. *Happy mommy dance*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When Your Patience Crumbles

If a friend of yours brought their child to your house and made a mess, what would you do? If she were a close friend, you could ask her to clean it up or at least mention it. If she were not a close friend, you might choose to grit your teeth and clean it up yourself, then not invite her and her child back.

What if you ran a business--say, a coffee shop--and a customer let her children make a mess and left without cleaning it up? I'll go out on a limb and guess that a large tip might smooth things over quite well, but what if there was no tip? Just a mess on the floor and some extra work for you?

You may have heard about Rainy MacDuff, the cafe' owner who was frustrated by a mess left by a customer with small children and resorted to posting a picture of the mess on her shop's Facebook page (I'm guessing the mom didn't leave a large tip). Now the cafe' owner is facing criticism and even threats of violence.

Now, I'm the mommy who got down on her hands and knees to pick up grains of rice flung onto the floor of a restaurant by my kiddo when she was 18 months old. The one who hands her kiddo a wad of napkins and makes her clean up spilled ice cream from the ice cream parlor table. Someone who doesn't tolerate littering. So, yeah, I would try to avoid a mess in the first place, try to clean it up myself if the kiddo weren't able, make the kiddo do it if possible, or at least offer an apology and a nice tip if circumstances didn't lend themselves to any of the above options.

Was MacDuff unreasonable and snotty when she posted pictures of the mess (which, really, was not as bad as I expected)? How about frustrated? She probably didn't want to say anything to the customer in front of anyone--to allow them to save face as well as to not lose business. Posting a pic on FB was likely her way of sending a message without calling someone out directly. (The link mentions the name of the shop, and I checked them out on FB. There are tons of comments, but the initial photo has been removed.)

This is clearly a polarizing issue: people are either in favor of parents taking care of their children and their messes and teaching their children about responsibility, or criticizing MacDuff for being a control freak and having unreasonable expectations.

My take on it? Yes. Yes--that's my answer. Both sides have valid points. Yes, kids are messy. Yes, a mom who is wrangling two small children without backup is overwhelmed and doesn't need to be shamed into shutting herself in her house and never venturing out. Yes, the owner needs to be considerate of her customers and not drive them away. But...yes, business owners have the right to expect people to keep an eye on their kids. Yes, they have the right to try to keep their immense workload under control. And yes, they have the right to think of other customers, the ones who haven't walked through the door yet, who might be turned off by a mess and decide to go elsewhere.

Mom, did you apologize for the mess and ask for a broom to sweep it up? I bet Ms. MacDuff would have appreciated it, but would have declined your offer. Ms. MacDuff, could you have tried a little finesse and taken a broom over to the table and asked the kids if they knew how to sweep? Do you think Mom would have then offered to do it herself?

Find the details here

When the Bacteria From the Toilet Has Eaten Away at Their Brains

Oh, my goodness. It happened again. The kiddo and I were Kroger (the one by Lowe's/Airport for you local peeps) and the kiddo had to use the restroom. There was a lady in the stall next to us, can guess what happened. The kiddo and I were washing our hands, and Ms. Bad Hygiene bypassed the sink and headed for the door. I was appalled, and this time, I did it. I said "Ma'am, aren't you going to wash your hands?!"...she ignored me. Seriously. She was looking at something near the restroom, which was unfortunate for her, since I continued my tirade and commented, "I can't believe that there are still people who don't wash their hands after they use the rest room". Didn't faze her. So I told the kiddo, "Seriously, don't touch anything that woman has touched", and marched her to a different section of the store.

OK, I realize that I'm quickly morphing from Mean Mommy into Totally Bitchy Mommy, but are you freaking kidding me? Just wash your damn hands already. Public rest rooms have sinks complete with water, soap, towels and hand dryers for a reason, and that reason is that nobody wants your germs, thank you very much.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ewwwww! Or, Tales From The Walmart Restroom

It could  be anyone. The lady in Walmart. The well-dressed, well-coiffed older woman in Macy's. The acclaimed professor and textbook author at a prestigious conference...what do they have in common? It could be their hometown, the color of their eyes, their college GPA...or it could be their hygiene. The aforementioned women are just a few examples of women I have observed who did not wash their hands after using a public restroom. Now, maybe they use the "drip dry" method, or maybe their bodily fluids are just better than yours or mine, but a little soap and water never hurt anyone. After all, they have to touch the handles to the doors of the rest room stalls in order to get out.

The latest observation was a relatively decent-looking lady in the Walmart rest room. She exited her stall and didn't even look at the sink as she charged for the door. OK, maybe she had hand sanitizer in her purse, or maybe she was indifferent to the microbes using her digits for transport. In any case, my first instinct was to say "excuse me, but aren't you going to wash your hands?", but I imagined potential curse words flying my way, and I had the kiddo with me. Instead, I turned to the kiddo and thanked her for washing her hands, reminding her how important it is to do so after using the rest room.

So, if you carry hand sanitizer in your purse or pocket, is it important to let other people see you using it if you decide to bypass the sinks in a rest room? I think it is, just to assure people that you are not spreading dangerous (or at least disgusting) pathogens. Or, so that you don't get mentioned in a blog post like this.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

How I Made Back-To-School-Shopping Not Suck

If you have been back-to-school shopping, impatiently reading and re-reading The List of required and suggested supplies, even just once, you can guess my trick to making it not suck: I went by myself. Some items are just not exciting, and wouldn't have merited much of the kiddo's consideration--I mean, how much variety can there be among different brands of yellow #2 pencils? However, I didn't want the kiddo's "help" in this case, which would have consisted of reminding me that she is expected to bring in two boxes instead of one. (If you remember from my previous post about buying school supplies, I'm not buying or sending in everything at once. Maybe I just don't like being told what to do.)

There is one thing, though, that the kiddo could have deliberated over all day, and that is the 1-subject spiral notebook. I saw cute animals, fairies, Hello Kitty, princesses and My Little Pony in addition to the plain, boring, solid colors. The kiddo loves all of those, and any attempts on my part to hurry up a decision would most certainly have backfired and caused her to analyze and overanalyze her choice even more. Not out of spite, but because she is 6 years old and this could possibly constitute a big decision for her. So, what did I do? I took matters out of her hands. I chose the cute animals--lion cubs--and didn't tell her about the other options. When she saw her notebook, she squealed with delight and thanked me. I even got a hug for my efforts. When she sees all the other notebooks she  could have had, sure, she might be upset for a few seconds. But, hey, she has lion cubs, and she can always pick out everything herself next year.

As I'm writing this, I realize that I'm coming across not as a mean mommy, but as an overbearing, control freak mommy. So be it. I'm a mommy who did not have to pop aspirin or guzzle a bottle of wine in order to get school supply shopping done, plus, I have a happy kiddo. I can regroup and change my strategy next year.