Monday, September 30, 2013

Boo! Scary Treats for Halloween

Halloween is a month away, but maybe you have already bought your Halloween candy. Maybe you are concerned about the ingredients in the candy your kids will eat. Parents used to worry about needles inserted into candy packages, but now we need to worry about GMO's and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

On her popular blog, Food Babe, Vani Hari encourages everyone to make healthy choices when purchasing food, including Halloween candy. Now, whether or not you agree with her position on potentially harmful ingredients, you might see yourself in one reader's comment:

"I would really hate to be “that mom” that goes around to the neighbors before trick-or-treating to give my neighbors acceptable candy to give to my kids, but I just might have to do that unless you have any other ideas!"
Hey--you gotta do what you gotta do!

D-R-A-M-A--Sound it Out

The kiddo's First Grade teacher is working hard to get the kiddos to read. The kiddo has to read two books every day--age-appropriate and with some assistance, of course. She brings home two different books a day and has a checklist of different places she can read the books. This is to keep the kids interested in reading; the checklist includes items like "In my favorite chair" and "While wearing a hat" and "Under a tree".

However, sometimes the kiddo just doesn't feel like reading, but I have her do one of her books as soon as she has her after-school snack. Then she usually works on the other one before bed (when hubby can help her). The other day, she got frustrated and didn't want to finish her book. Or even start it. She kept making a joke about the picture on the cover and giving up way too easily. I insisted and made her continue, finally bribing her with the promise of letting her call the neighbor boy to play when she was done.

After what seemed like an eternity, the kiddo finished her book and called her friend's number. The boy's mom answered the phone and was put on speaker phone so I could hear the whole thing. It turns out that the kiddo's friend was not allowed to go out and play, because he was in the middle of a temper tantrum. The reason? He didn't want to work on his reading.

I am happy to report that today's reading assignment was completed (relatively) drama-free. Whew!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Explaining Death to a Child Who Marvels at Everything in Life

Parenting involves tackling unpleasant topics, like death. We squish bugs, see road kill, lose beloved pets, and lay loved ones to rest. We talk about accidents and crimes that take lives, sometimes having to explain them to our kids. Mental health professionals decry the use of the term "sleeping" to describe death, on the grounds  that using that term may cause children to fear sleep. Most parents don't want to scare their kids; sugar-coating the truth makes it less painful in the short run, but harder to face later.

I have never shied away from discussing death with the kiddo. A few years back on one of our walks, we saw a chipmunk that had just been hit by a car. There wasn't a visible mark on it, or any blood, but it was obviously dead. The kiddo didn't know that, and was fascinated by seeing such a beautiful animal up close. I had to explain what had happened, in an age-appropriate way, of course. Sure, I could have said that the chippy was just "sleeping", but that seemed dumb. With all my prompting--OK, nagging--the kiddo to be wary of cars, was I going to suggest that an animal was taking a nap in the middle of the street? Not likely. No, I bit the bullet and explained that the chipmunk was in the road when a car came, the car hit him, and he died because it caused him so many booboos that his body couldn't work anymore.

Many, many times after that, we revisited the incident, pointing out the place where the chipmunk had been and discussing how nature had taken care of the body. Eventually, the kiddo made the connection between the chipmunk and my dad. My dad passed away years before the kiddo was born, but he is a continual presence for me. I tell the kiddo funny stories about him, and stories that I hope will serve as a good example to her. Frequently, I find coins on the ground or in the supermarket, which I believe are from my dad, and I make sure to thank him. The afterlife is a puzzling topic even to adults, but the kiddo accepts that death may be sad, but is not always scary.

This acceptance served us well when we had to take the kiddo to a relative's funeral out of state. There was nobody available to baby sit (most of our options were at the funeral, anyway), so we brought her with us. We expected to have to take turns keeping her in one of the lounges, but we were surprised when she wanted to go up to the casket. Some people looked at me as if I were crazy for taking her up to view a dead body, but I reminded her that the person in question wasn't in her body anymore, because she didn't need it. It was a body, but the most important part of the person was gone to...somewhere better, somewhere we would discover only after we had lived a long, long time. (It helped that this was a distant relative whom she didn't remember.) Sure, the kiddo did get a bit rowdy (she was 4 at the time) we took her to the lounge for a break, but when it really mattered, she was calm and respectful.

Does the kiddo have such a relaxed attitude toward death in spite of her exuberance for life...or because of it?

A Hair-Raising Morning

Yesterday, the kiddo was late for school for the very first time, because of a "bad hair day". Seriously.  She had wet it with a spray bottle as usual, then wanted to style it all by herself, and, well, I dropped the ball and wasn't paying enough attention to see that she used a lot of styling product--all on the top of her head--and didn't brush it. Then, the product dried. Oh...

We were out the door when I finally noticed that the kiddo had sticky helmet head. I just couldn't let her go to school like that, so we went back inside and I struggled to get the brush through her hair. Of course, my efforts went unappreciated and the kiddo was concerned about being late for school. When we got to the school and I had to state the reason we were tardy, I said that the kiddo and I had had a fight over her hair. The secretary, a curly girl herself, nodded and tried not to laugh.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hair It Is Again

One of the kiddo's teachers told me that she complimented the kiddo's curls, and the kiddo blurted out: "my mommy brushes it every single day!"  Yes. Hence the compliments.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Makin' Them Squirm at the Greek Festival

We headed to our local Greek Festival yesterday to enjoy some dolmades and spanakopita. We were sitting at a table, digging into our food, as were two young men sitting next to us. One of the guys felt so festive that he felt the need to drop the F-bomb at the table. I looked at him and said "my daughter is six years old. I don't want her repeating the F-word". OK, I might have made a vague threat as well. Anyway, the young man in question looked ashamed and apologized, saying that it "just slipped out".  Not really the best place for it to slip out, don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Confessions of a Band-Aid Smuggler

Who invented these "butterfly" band-aids, and what exactly are they for?

I resorted to using them because we were completely out of any that actually cover up any kind of boo boo (see my post about band-aids and bleeding here). We go through an unreasonable amount of band-aids here in my house, because the kiddo sees them as accessories rather than first aid items.

Anyway, here's the deal: I walk the kiddo to school in the mornings when the grass is wet. While she has a pair of cutesy rain boots or wellies, I wear my cutesy hiking sneakers. Unfortunately, a trip to the berry patch a few months ago resulted in dirty, wet, and ultimately stinky shoes, so I washed them. Now, they look and smell better, but the material is now very stiff, and has given me a blister on the back of my ankle. I will keep these shoes until they fall apart, because nobody will want them because of the blood stains. In time, the rough area of the shoe will soften up, but until then, I have to wear a band-aid over my oozing, bleeding ankle. (I could wear other shoes, but they would get all wet. I don't have any wellies.) The kiddo has used all the other band-aids, and all I could find was the box of butterflies.

Using that type of band-aid got old real fast, because it didn't really cover, while the kiddo was in school, I bought a new box of band-aids--the real kind: full size, and in funky neon colors--and I sneaked them into the house.

These are mine mine (almost) all mine! I tossed some in an relatively unused drawer in the bathroom and hid the rest in my dresser. In the event of an actual boo boo requiring care, I will magically find one for the kiddo, but until then, whenever I need one, I will magically find one for myself or mysteriously wear the "same" band-aid for days on end.

Clever and thinking on my feet, or unreasonably mean mommy? Listen, the kiddo wastes band-aids, and sometimes I need them. We have enough for true boo boo emergencies, but it's better to stride comfortable than limp pitifully.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Crafts, Crap, and Comedy Come Together

A lot of things came together today, and made for one funny experience.

First, I met up with a guy I was in contact with through a bartering website in order to pick up an (alas, empty) tequila bottle from him that I might possibly use in a Pinterest project. We met at the Kroger near the airport (for you local peeps) at 6:45 pm, a time when there are all types out shopping for their groceries.

After we identified one another and I determined that the odds of this guy being a serial killer were not very great, I followed him to his car and got the bottle. I only had to carry it across two aisles of the parking lot to get back to my car, but in doing so, I got fairly close to one car in particular. A dirty, nasty car with a dirty, nasty man in it. This man also had a dirty, nasty mouth and was using it to cuss out a child he was getting out of a car seat. Uh oh.

For the record, I think that man is a horrible caretaker, but I'm not stupid to go up to him, tap him on the shoulder and tell him so. It wasn't even worth my while to ask him to tone it down, because, hey, if he drops the f-bomb in front of a child in his care, it's likely that he would just transfer his invective to me.

Here's the kicker: I had the kiddo with me. As I've mentioned before, exposing a 6 year old to the f word is not acceptable. So...I carried out my plan mentioned here, except that my original, cute song completely escaped me, and I fell back on that old favorite, "Jingle Bells". However, I did remember to sing it loudly and horribly off-key. An older woman witnessed the whole thing, understood what I was doing, and gave me a big smile. That meant so much to me, because it could have been ugly. I'm not just talking about Mr. Dirty Potty Mouth. No, it just didn't look good that I was walking across a parking lot, carrying an empty tequila bottle and singing a terrible rendition of a Christmas song in September.

Clarifying and Asking For Help!

Last night, hubby duly read my post (not that I force him to, of course) and didn't get the title. I was surprised that he wasn't familiar with the taunt "I see London, I see France, I see .....'s underpants". Is this a Yankee thing? (Did he never hear it because he went commando as a kid?) If you are scratching your head in confusion along with him, I am sorry. And I'll try really hard not to make fun of you...

Here's the scoop; it seems to be more of a northern thing, dating from the middle of last century:

Apparently, there is an episode of 90210 with that phrase in the title (I wasn't interested enough to investigate further). And I swear it was mentioned in an episode of me out here!

Monday, September 16, 2013

So You See London and France. Shut Up About it!

Kids can be mean, and they love to pick on one another. I get it. I've been there--on both sides. However, if your kid laughs at my kiddo's underwear, my kiddo has my permission to tell him to shut up. Now, I generally don't like that phrase. It's harsh and it's rude. However, I don't see how my kiddo's underwear is any of your kid's business. If she is pulling her pants down and flaunting them, sure--and in that case, I guarantee that I will be the one making her cry. However, if they peek through in the course of normal 6-year-old romping and playing and your kid points it out and makes fun of her, then, he needs to shut up