Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Halloween! Put on Your Mean Mommy Costume!

It's almost that time! If you celebrate Halloween, you know how excited and out of control the kiddos can get. You have to rein them in a little, or Bad Things could happen, and I'm not talking about ghosts and ghouls. Here are some Mean Mommy tips for a safe Halloween:

Be safe. Wear something light-colored or reflective, even if the kiddos don't think it's cool. Their costumes won't look so great with tread marks on them. Have them wear layers under their costumes to stay warm. They will complain, but unless they are going as Eskimos, it's better than wearing coats over their costumes. Take a flashlight. The front door may have a light over it, but the rest of the porch or the yard might be dark. You might step in something, um, scary.

Choose a safe costume. You know those old masks that used to come with costumes? The ones where the eyes, nose and mouth never lined up right and it was impossible to see and breathe easily at the same time? Thankfully, those aren't standard anymore, but an ill-fitting costume can still be problematic. Like if you bought one that is two or three sizes too big, just because it was on the clearance rack last year. If the costume is so long that your child has to hold it up in order to walk, you might want to shorten it. (Try using a fabric tape)  If it has a hat that falls down over your kid's face, pin it up (otherwise, you'll end up carrying it all night. Or wearing it yourself). Could it get stuck in someone's shrubbery? That could end up being an unexpected trick...

Insist on good manners. Have your kids say "trick or treat" and "thank you". Don't let them push other kids aside in a frenzy to get more candy. Be sure that they don't trample someone's yard or knock over decorations.

Say "no". This has happened to the kiddo am me several times: we go to a house for trick-or-treating only to find out (the hard way--gag, cough) that the person who lives there is a smoker. Do you really want candy that has been permeated with cigarette smoke? Toss the candy, or better yet, skip the house if you know it's a smoker's house. Of course, that's not the only bad scenario; if you encounter anything that looks sketchy, by all means cut your losses and leave.

Know when to go home. The official hours for trick-or-treating are 6 to 8 in most places, but if your child is getting tired or has so much candy it's getting too heavy to carry, it's time to call it a night.

Halloween is Fun Until Someone's an A******

stolen pumpkin
Don't be an a****** on Halloween! If you have to go for the "trick" instead of the "treat", don't ruin a kid's fun. In other words, if you are so desperate that you need to steal a pumpkin, don't steal a little kid's. That's what happened to a woman in D.C., as detailed in this article that appeared in the Huffington Post, to which the parent of the wronged child replied (for everyone to see):
To the person who stole my son’s pumpkin:
Thank you for the life lesson. This will teach him that sometimes people are mean for no reason and you have to just brush it off.
Because my son is 2-yrs-old and cannot read this sign, I will add:
You are an a‐‐‐‐‐‐‐.
 Shaming the pumpkin thief! I love it! I could see myself doing this...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Candy Tax

Halloween is coming! This Thursday is trick-or-treating! However, many of the festivities have already started: the kiddo has been to three Halloween parties and a costume parade. So much sugar has passed through our doors, it is enough to make a dentist see dollar signs. Seriously, the kiddo already has more candy than she can eat, and she is gearing up to hit our neighborhood hard on Thursday night. In anticipation of a potential sugar overload, I have proposed the dreaded Candy Tax to the kiddo.

What is the Candy Tax? In our household, it is going to be something like this: for every 3 pieces of candy the kiddo gets, her daddy or I will take 1. Now, some of it--the good stuff (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups--yes!)--we get to eat, but the crappy stuff will go straight to the trash. Long gone are the days when hubby and I could pillage the kiddo's  stash without her realizing it, but that doesn't mean that either one of us has lost a sweet tooth. Nothing is certain but death and taxes, right? It's not too early to start teaching this important lesson to the kiddo!

(Seriously, enough is enough, and we will soon be past that point!)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Sometimes songs with questionable lyrics get on the radio. The truly offensive words get bleeped or blurred out, but sometimes a few slightly objectionable words get through. Then there are those songs you have in their unedited form that are OK except for just one choice word, and it's frustrating to have to skip the song just because of one or two seconds of bad language.

What can you do (other than skip the song)?

Best option: turn the volume down for a few seconds so that your kids don't hear the offensive word. This works if you know the song well and have a quick hand.

Or, you could always just sing along and insert a different word that sounds similar and somehow fits contextually. This reminds me of that scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are at the opera...

JR:"It was so good I almost peed my pants!"
Easily offended elderly lady: What?
RG: "She said it was better than Pirates of Penzance"
In other words, your kids aren't gonna know.

However, when you can't think on your feet fast enough, there's always the sudden allergic reaction:
Cover any questionable language with a series of coughs and sneezes. 

Confession: I am a Green Day fan. There is a song, "Horseshoes and Handgrenades" which starts out with the line, "I'm not f*****g around". It is on my iTunes, which, one time, hubby had on shuffle. Suddenly, I heard the guitar intro to the song and I knew I had mere seconds to protect the kiddo's innocent ears from that word. So, I ran for the computer, but I wasn't sure I would make it. With no time to spare, I yelled out a primal ahhhhhhh as loudly as I could, and hit the mute button. The kiddo thought I was crazy. That is up for debate, but one thing is for sure: I'm not f*****g around, either.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Well, This Bites!

Dentists know how to make time in their chair less frightening for kids. Maybe even fun, which is good, because we all know that good dental hygiene is important for overall health. (You did know that, right?) Dentists and hygienists work hard to help kids realize this. Moms, too, work hard to get kiddos to take care of their teeth, but are often ignored. My own kiddo brushes and flosses, but half the time she does a half-baked job.

Mean Mommy K has been after her son, N, to brush his teeth, day after day. Sometimes she has checked his teeth only to find that they weren't very clean at all. Her husband has tried to get N to brush better, one time right before a dental appointment. Hubby dropped the ball. N was in the dentist's chair, and his checkup was less than stellar. The hygienist made that clear, then proceeded to scrape away all the tartar (and explain how it had hardened) on one tooth so that N could compare that tooth to the rest of them. Wake-up call! N promised to do better and take better care of his teeth.

Mom deserves kudos for trying, but it was really the hygienist's example that made the most impact. Once again, we are reminded that in some cases, a neutral third party is the key to getting our kids to cooperate.

If I Had Bad Manners, I Would Have Totally Said This

Here are some of the totally inappropriate responses that were going through my head as K, the Bad Mannered Mommy told her story:
  • Uh-oh, my Yankee finger is starting to twitch! (referring to the middle finger, of course)
  • The war has been over for almost 150 years. We're in the 21st century now. Duh.
  • Excuse me, I need to cut up a rug and make a valise.
  • You really don't get irony, do you?
  • Since I'm from Pennsylvania, you'll understand if I call you a b***h.
  • I hope your son marries a Yankee.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bad Mannered Mommy

In the middle of a conversation about the decline of manners, K jumped in and shared how she, a homeschool mom, made it a point to teach her children manners and etiquette as well as academic subject matter. I was on board with the head nods and the good-for-yous until K shared an anecdote about an acquaintance of hers, who displayed terrible manners. What happened: K's friend objected to being called "ma'am" by an African-American cashier, and told him that he wasn't her slave and didn't have to address her that way. Wow. Just wow.

First, it seems like maybe the woman in question (a) resents being called "ma'am" instead of "miss"; (b) feels guilty about some latent racist feelings; or (c) needs to work on her social skills...or maybe (d) all three. However, in the telling of this story, what struck me was not the inappropriate outburst, but rather the way K prefaced it: the reason behind this rude outburst is that the woman is a Yankee (said with a sneer). Oh, and by the way, K's ten-year-old son was there with her. So, it seems that in addition to reading, writing, 'rithmatic and manners, K is teaching her children that it is OK to make generalizations about people based on their origins, and that it's acceptable to disparage someone based on where they are from. Yes, that boy will hold the door open for you, but if you are a Yankee*, he will be sneering at you as you pass through. However, the truly sad thing here is that, even though we are living in the 21st century, K still categorizes people by their origins. OK, we can't control what goes on in other peoples' heads, but it's ironic that, for all her prattling on about teaching her kids good manners, she failed to display them herself.

Maybe part of the reason K's sneering condemnation irritated me is because I'm from Pennsylvania. However, her obvious antipathy toward Northerners gave me pause. Most people display that amount of venom when talking about a rival school, or a different political party. I held my tongue and didn't address her critique in front of her son, but I was thinking a non-stop stream of things I would have liked to say.  (You'll get to read them in a separate post, up soon!)

*The term "Yankee", as used in the southern United States, generally refers to someone from the following states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thank You!

People do things I don't understand. A fraction of them do things that hurt my feelings. I typically don't write about them, maybe because it's a bit too personal. However, sometimes people do things that are so unacceptable that I have to write about them or else I will be venting to everyone I know and I won't have any friends left. On Monday, I will share with you the story of Bad Mannered Mommy. Then, I may even share the responses I considered but didn't say. Thank you for reading and letting me vent my disgust, share my frustrations, and celebrate the reason I am a Mean Mommy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Can't Sing. I Really Can't Sing. Really.

I love, love, love this song, and even sing along in the car. However, when the kiddo is with me, this is how it usually goes:
(The words in italics are the real lyrics. The words in pink bold are mine. The words that have the strike through are the song lyrics that I don't get to sing because I'm talking to the kiddo.)

"Demons" by Imagine Dragons
When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the
Yes, I'm looking saints we see
Are all made of gold
No, I can't look now When your dreams  all fail
the ones
OK we hail
I'm looking the worst of all
And the blood's
Uh-huh run stale
I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
OK nowhere we can hide
No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my 
Kroger kingdom come
This is my kingdom
Milk and stuff come
When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It's where
Maybe my demons hide
I said maybe where my demons hide
Don't get too close
It's dark inside
It's where my demons hide
It's where my demons hide
Cur No, we're not getting that  tain's call
Is the last of 
You don't need that all
When the lights fade out
I said no the sinners crawl
So they dug your grave
And the masquer
Huh? ade
Will come calling out
At the mess
That's not her car you made
Don't want to let you down
But I 
I've seen her car am hell bound
Though this is all for you
OK Don't want to hide the truth
No matter what Sure we breed
We still are made
I can't look right now of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come
When I can't turn around you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It's where my demons
I'm driving hide
It's where my demons hide
Don't I can't look in the mirror right now get too close
It's dark in
It's where my demons hide
OK It's where my demons hide
They say it's what I will you make
I say it's up
Yes to fate
It's woven in my soul
I need
OK I see you to let you go
Your eyes, they shine so bright
I just looked want to save that light
I can't escape this now
In a second Unless you show me how
When Kroger you feel my heat
Almost there into my eyes
It's where
Sorry, you still can't get that my demons hide
It's where my demons hide
Don't get too close
It's dark inside
I can't look right now where my demons hide
It's where my demons hide

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Give it a look and a listen on YouTube

Monday, October 14, 2013

Believe It

A person's beliefs are very personal, and not to be scoffed at. Unless someone has been brainwashed, their beliefs come from their attempts to make sense of an event, of themselves, or of the universe. So, I respect other people's beliefs. Even if they are bats**t crazy. However, if anyone tries to push their beliefs onto my kiddo, that's another thing.

The kiddo and I went to a local festival. There was music, dancing, vendors, lots and lots of food, and booths occupied by certain interest groups. I was trying to find someone in particular, so the kiddo and I strolled slowly down the row of tents and booths, checking them all out. There was one that we should have passed by very quickly...

The booth in question was for pro-life interests. They are typically very passionate about their beliefs, which is admirable. Many of them, though, choose some extreme ways of presenting their beliefs. The lady who accosted us (yes, accosted--she came out of the booth to where we were walking in order to talk to us) offered the kiddo one of their promotional items. It was...I'll just come out and say it--it was a plastic, "toy" fetus! To say that I found that inappropriate is an understatement. The lady told the kiddo that the toy fetus was the same size she was when she had been in my tummy for 12 weeks. Now, my kiddo knows that she was in my tummy, and she knows that for part of that time, she was quite small. There are pictures of me where you can't really tell I was pregnant, and I will ask the kiddo, "Where are you in this picture?" and she will point to my tummy. She gets it. In an acceptable, 6-year-old kind of way. This toy fetus resembled a typical baby doll the same way a real fetus resembles a newborn after it has been washed off and wrapped up. Slightly, but not much.

So while I respect everyone's beliefs, and life in general, and I agree with their most basic tenet (don't kill babies), I do take issue with the way a lot of pro-lifers represent themselves and their beliefs. I take issue with the way so many of them disregard so many other important issues in order to push their own agenda. They need to keep the craziness away from my kiddo. Handing out plastic fetuses is not acceptable, and downright freaky. I was disgusted, even though I understood the point they were trying to make. My kiddo was confused, hesitant, and yes, freaked out by it. I could see it on her face. I asked her if she wanted to take the "baby" being offered to her, and she vehemently shook her head and said 'no'.

My kiddo loves babies. She does not understand that there are women in this world who should not have children because they are ill-equipped to care for them. She doesn't realize that there are women who should not have children because they are or would be terrible mothers. (That last one might be a credit to me--I'll take it!) In my kiddo's reality, all babies are wanted and all mommies take wonderful care of their children. She is the ultimate pro-lifer (Don't even get me started on animals. That's for another post.) And yet this ultimate pro-lifer thinks that the "official" pro-lifers are scary and gross.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

You Can Quote Me On That

It's time for a Mean Mommy Quote!

My own go-to quote is "Watch your head! Do you know how long it took me to make that head?"
The kiddo knows--and rolls her eyes and says "I know, I know! Nine months!"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wasting Away

OK, I know your kid is clean. However, when my kiddo puts her head against another kid's head, all I can think about is "what if there's a hitch hiker"? No offense. Cooties don't discriminate. So, I have been putting styling product on the kiddo's hair and spraying it with Lice Shield, as I mentioned in this post, "Not Taking My Chances" , to discourage critters, just in case.

The Lice Shield has a very pungent fragrance, so I use it sparingly, even when I use it as an all-around insect repellent (it works great for that, too!). The kiddo, however, doesn't use anything sparingly. Tonight, after her shower, she felt the need to spray it all over the bathroom counter. I asked her point blank why that was necessary, and she replied that she didn't want bugs in the bathroom. Okaaay, I don't, either, but we've never had a problem with that before, so I'm not sure where this came from. Now, the kiddo didn't empty the bottle, but she did waste a lot of it, and worse than that, the smell was overpowering. Yes, it's all-natural and botanically based, but essential oils can be just as noxious as chemicals. My throat and my head were starting to hurt, and, yes, there was yelling.

This wasting is causing no end of frustration for me. I know that the kiddo is curious and wants to experiment to see how things work. I'm not sure that she's pondering the physics of the force of the spray bottle, or analyzing the chemical properties of the product, but she's definitely investigating. That's great, except we're back to the wasting. And in this case, my aggravated sore throat and pounding headache. And the sticky mess on the counter.

My solution? Yeah, I don't have one. Last night, I had the kiddo wipe down the counter, and I charged her $.50 for the product she wasted, since it will have to be replaced. That is only a small fraction of the cost, but it's a significant amount for her. Of course, the bottle has also been put away, but this is all more reactive than proactive. I'm at a loss, and my throat and head still hurt, but hey, there are no bugs in my bathroom.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Half Full or Half Empty?

Look closely at the picture. There is a black line showing how much shower gel is left in the bottle:
You might be looking at this photo as a "bottle half full" instead of a "bottle half empty" type of scenario, but I am telling you that it's the "half empty" version, for sure. This bottle was just opened four days ago. Someone has been soaping up with wild abandon, and it hasn't been me. As you know, I am all for cleanliness (maybe too much so), but I am also for thriftiness. Even with my trips to the gym and the kiddo's non-stop running and playing, there is no way we should have used that much in four days. I am not happy with the kiddo, and I told her so--calmly, while showing her the evidence and explaining why I don't like it when she wastes things like that. I decided that I would have to ration her shower gel, dispensing it onto her washcloth myself, like I had to do when she was younger. She didn't like that, but she accepted it, probably because she knew she was going to be in real trouble if she didn't. This is the first time she has wasted so much of any product, so I'm not too concerned or upset. However, in my quest for quality products that (a) work; (b) don't contain harmful/potentially harmful ingredients and (c) smell good, I have yet to find any that meet all the criteria and are inexpensive. Sometimes $3.99 for a puny bottle of somewhat watery shower gel at Marshall's is the best deal I can find.

My grandparents were big on the saying "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" (Depression-era mentality), and I'm trying to reconcile that with my concern about toxic chemicals in our personal products. However, since there will be absolutely, positively  no P&G anything in our house (questionable ingredients and a horrible track record when it comes to animal testing), you can understand why I see that bottle as being half empty.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Introducing: Mean Mommy Quotes

Do you have any good ones you tell your kids to keep them in line? I do, and I will share mine with you soon, but first, here is a quote from a Mean Daddy:

"Go ahead and hold your breath until you pass out. It will make it easier for me to put you in the car."
~Chris B. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hair it is--Picture Day!

Today is picture day! We were up early, working on The Hair. The kiddo was cooperative, because she wanted to look her best for her pic.

First, she chose her outfit from the options we discussed last night. Then, she willingly let me do her hair--which, of course, involved wetting and conditioning it before we even got around to styling it. I let her use some of my fancy gel,, no. So we tried again. And...still not right in the front. So what's a curly girl-mean mommy to do? Whip out the scissors and fix the bangs. Much better. And then I had to scrunch it some more before I let her go into the school, but you know what? She only complained halfheartedly, because after all, today is Picture Day.

A big shout out to Brandy H. at Les Cheveux for showing me the Deva Curl "hair aerobics" and for giving me tips for cutting the kiddo's hair.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We Interrupt This Dinner For Basic Hygiene

I have been known to interrupt dinner to remind the kiddo to wash her hands. Tonight, I had to interrupt for another reason...

The kiddo was happily noshing on her pasta, marinara sauce, peas and broccoli, and crossed her legs ("criss cross apple sauce") to get more comfortable. That was when I saw the bottoms of her feet. They weren't white. They weren't even pink. They were black. Ugh. In a split second I envisioned those feet on the carpet, the couch...nooooo!

So I made the kiddo get up, go into the bathroom and scrub those feet! I'm not a fan of colder weather, but at least when it's cold out, she will have to wear shoes or boots, and she knows darn well to take them off and leave them at the door.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dandelions as Weapons of Mass Emotion

I had a few free minutes, and it was a nice afternoon. I asked the kiddo if she wanted to take a walk, and she excitedly said "yes". We were in front of the next-door neighbor's house when she spotted some late summer dandelions, all white and fuzzy and perfect for a dandelion fight. Yes. You read that right. A dandelion fight. The kiddo and I started having dandelion fights when they were plentiful in the spring. The objective is simple: cover the other person in white fuzzies and avoid getting any on yourself. (True story: I once went to the gym and had an instructor ask "What is that?" as she pulled fuzzies out of my hair. I didn't even know they were there.)

Today, the kiddo was delighted by the chance to play what has become one of her favorite games. She raced into the neighbor's yard and grabbed a handful of dandelions. Not to be outdone, I grabbed one she had missed. Well, that did it. The kiddo smashed her fuzzy dandelions into my shirt, then squealed and ran away. So I did the only natural thing--I chased her with my lone dandelion. Fun, fun, until the kiddo started screaming that she didn't want dandelions on her. Um, hello, that's part of the game. She raised such a fuss with her whining and screaming that I decided our walk was off. I headed toward our house, informed her we weren't walking, and told her to go inside. Of course, she resisted and screamed "I want to go for a walk!" (I'm sure there was foot stomping and hands placed on hips, but I was too annoyed to notice.) I held out my hand--the underlying message was that if she took it, we would walk calmly into the house together, but I was ready to grab her if necessary. Guess what? I had to grab her. As I reached for her arm, she hit me. Uh oh. That's not nice. She repeated that she wanted to go for a walk, but this time she was even more agitated. I calmly replied that I, too, wanted to go for a walk, but not with a kiddo who was acting so rudely. Crying, screaming, slamming ensued, and the kiddo was banished to her room.

Why did this happen? I'm guessing pure exhaustion. 1st Grade is a lot more tiring than Kindergarten, and the kiddo is often worn out when she gets home. There is a lot more work--the evidence arrives home every day in her backpack. However, I don't think it's acceptable to use that as an excuse for bad behavior. This is an example of how sometimes it's necessary to give up something (in this case, a walk) in order to make a good  parenting choice. Am I annoyed that I had to give up my chance for a nice walk? Of course. Could I let the kiddo get away with her bad behavior? No way.