Monday, November 25, 2013

The Freak Out. Not the Disco Song.

A friend commented on my FB page re: yesterday's post:
"The thirsty in the car freak out. I know it well. And the "I'm hot" freak out has begun again, now that mine are wearing winter coats. Tiny ticking dirty bombs."
I thought, "Hmmm, the kiddo hasn't had an "I'm hot" freak out..." and I realized it's because she usually doesn't wear a coat or jacket in the car. A lot of the time, she doesn't wear a coat or jacket outside when it's cold, either*.

Today, we were heading back to the car after running an errand, and the kiddo asked me to turn the heat waaay up when I started the car. I asked why, and she replied that she was cold. I said, no, I didn't want to, because I would be too hot. Because I was wearing my coat. Her reply? "Oh...".

*I encourage coat wearing. Really. And I make the kiddo take a coat along when it's cold outside. I just can't make her wear it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Frustration Over Hydration Limitation!

Tantrums can come on all of a sudden. Everything is fine, then, bam, your child explodes into crying, kicking and screaming. The kiddo's latest tantrum was over water. She was thirsty, mainly because she had been playing and laughing with her friends and talking and singing (holiday play practice), and she had declined all opportunities to hit the water fountain. We were on our way home when she decided that she needed water, immediately, and was irate when I told her that the nearest water was 20 minutes away, at our house. The whining was annoying. The fake crying was irritating. However, when the kiddo started kicking the seat, I had to put my foot down. So I did. I put my foot down, on the brake, and put on my flashers. Fortunately, there was no traffic behind me, because, as I told the kiddo, "I refuse to move until you stop that behavior. I understand that you are thirsty, and you can have some water as soon as we get home, but you need to calm down. Right. Now."

It worked! The kiddo continued to complain about how thirsty* she was, but at least she did so in a calm way. Then, when we got home...well, she had to show off for her daddy and ignored the milk offered to her. At least I got to drive home in peace...

*Legal disclaimer: only you know when your child is truly as parched as the Sahara. In the case of an actual emergency, douse your child with water and carry on.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Punishment...Crime...Nom Nom Nom

It's a parenting truth: when reacting to your child's bad behavior, think carefully before you speak. Don't blurt out the first punishment that comes to mind, because you will have to live with the consequences along with your child.

 For example, "You are not to come out of your room for a whole week" seems logical...until you realize that, if you enforce this literally, you will have to deliver meals, rig up a temporary toilet, allow your child to forgo bathing, arrange for someone to be home at all times, and essentially home school them for the duration of the punishment.

Conversely, a reaction like "I'm not going to let you have any food for a week" is not going to be taken seriously if you don't have a history of starving your child.

This wasn't going through my mind when I discovered Friday's cheese stick in the bottom of the kiddo's book bag today, but I managed to pull off the save anyway. My immediate reaction was to declare that if she was going to waste good food, she didn't deserve any candy. Pretty reasonable, except that she already had this unwrapped:

I personally think these are gross, but the kiddo had been waiting all day for hers. Huge, hot tears spilled down her cheeks, and I caved...kinda. I told her that, since it was already open, she could have it, but that she owed me something for wasting the cheese I had bought for her. Something...hmmm...chocolate...And, I also explained that she wouldn't be getting any cheese for a few days, since she seemed tired of it.  The most annoying part of the punishment (so far) was that she had to wait for her treat because she had to pick out something for me. When she sees the slim pickings in her lunch, however, that might make more of an impression.

The kiddo now understands that, in the event that she doesn't want her cheese, it's OK to put it back into her (insulated) lunch box and bring it home and give it to me right away to put in the fridge. (I thought she knew this; lesson learned: review your rules and policies once in a while!) She is now aware that some parents might make a sign that says "I am a cheese waster*" to shame their kids, and that I don't want to be one of those parents.

*I think shaming is a great punishment when done right, however, I'm going to wait until she's older and already embarrassed by every little thing I do.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fashion is a B****, and so is Mean Mommy

Confession time: I was really  mean today. Not to the kiddo, but to the hubby. I said "the 's' word" to him: "shut up". In front of the kiddo. Then I had to explain to her that I was in the wrong and that she should never, ever say that. Yikes. However, the real blame lies with some boy in the kiddo's class. Why am I so eager to pass the buck? Here's why:

I like to buy the kiddo cute clothes. When I can find them on clearance or at a consignment sale, I'm ecstatic. Such was the case with several pair of pants; knit pants, kind of like yoga pants. Not leggings, and not pajamas. Of course, the tops that you pair with this type of  pants determine whether or not they are pajama-esque. If they are too matchy-matchy and loose, they are jammies. If they merely coordinate and the top is somewhat structured, then they are not jammies. If you have a girl and haven't experienced this yet, take notes. If you have a boy, take notes, because fashion rules are important. If they aren't important to you, they still matter, because they may very well determine the course of someone's life.

So, the kiddo was wearing some knit pants to school, and a boy in her class told her that they looked like pajamas. Unless that boy is going to refund me the money I spent on those pants, he needs to keep his opinions to himself. The kiddo was upset and declared that she didn't want to wear that type of pants to school anymore. It's still OK to wear them for play clothes, and it's all right to wear them to church, though. The part about wearing them to church made me happy, because she has the cutest outfit of matching pants (knit--gasp!), t-shirt, and sweater, that are too nice to wear for play clothes.

Today before church, the kiddo gladly put on the aforementioned outfit, because she genuinely likes it. Hubby, however, decided to poke fun at her and ask "Are those pajamas?" It was said in jest, it was said with love, but now the kiddo is so goshdarned sensitive about that--and it was five freaking minutes before we had to leave and so there was no time to change her clothes--that I told him to shut up. We were late anyway, because I had to do damage control and, even though hubby apologized to the kiddo, she still was upset. Keep in mind that for the most part, it was pretend upset, but I still had to deal with it. So, I had to deal with some real upset and a lot of pretend upset, basically because males don't understand fashion.

It's true that you can (almost) never go wrong with a good pair of jeans, and khakis are suitable for just about any occasion, but, hey, knit pants have their place, too--but apparently, when you are 6-years-old, their place is limited, unless they are sweat pants. Yes, from now on, I will be more selective when I shop for the kiddo, but honestly, she needs to be more assertive in defending herself instead of just getting upset when someone criticizes her clothing options. However, I am in mama bear mode, and truthfully, I felt a little defensive, too, since I bought the outfit. The outfit that consists of a t-shirt, sweater, and KNIT pants. So, lesson learned, and I truly am sorry, and now I will shut up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shakin' Up the Morning Routine

I confess: I get tired of fighting with the kiddo. My back spasms are under control, but today, I still didn't feel like arguing. (Sometimes I do feel like arguing. I get a kick out of playing devil's advocate.)

Today, the kiddo was goofing around instead of eating breakfast. After three attempts to get her to move things along, I suggested that she come with me and we would try something different with her hair. We did her hair (which ended up being the same-old, same-old), applied her sunscreen, and then we got her some socks and I told her to pack up her book bag, put on her boots and coat, and head to the door.

Wait! What about breakfast? Well... she ate part of it before doing her hair. The rest went into the fridge, where it was waiting for her when she got home from school and wanted a snack (I was happy to warm it up for her). They eat lunch quite early at her school, so I wasn't worried about the kiddo starving to death, or even suffering from hunger pangs. And my day went so much more smoothly.

What about you? Is your routine getting old? Shake things up a bit, and see if that makes a difference. As long as you don't make it seem like a punishment or a huge upheaval, your kid should adapt*.

*If you think it might be difficult for your child, try giving him or her a head's up the night before: "I'm worried about you wasting so much time in the morning. If you're not super hungry for breakfast, we'll try doing your hair/packing your book bag first, then heading to the kitchen." Worst case scenario: your child doesn't get to eat a full breakfast and gets hungry before lunch. He or she will survive, and may even learn a valuable lesson**.

**Here, I am covering my butt***: this obviously does not apply to all children. You know your child and what he or she can handle.

***It's sad that I even have to make such a disclaimer. People need to take things with a grain of salt. Yes. I said it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pain Sucks. Robaxin Rocks. Valium...Meh

Hello, there!

I took an unexpected "vacation" from writing, due to a back injury. Back spasms = ouch. I am now medicated and iced, and able to sit still long enough to write something.

The subject of pain is very deep and intense. I could write volumes on pain and my responses to it, but I'll keep it simple here: I don't like it. In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid pain, even though I'm tough enough to take it...sometimes. I have taught classes through raging migraines, hobbled around on broken toes, and we won't even talk about c-section incisions and breast feeding agonies. However, any pain in my midsection is enough to sideline me and have me screaming for mercy.

This past weekend, I went on a retreat with a wonderful group of people. Everything was great until the second day when I woke up with a stiff back. Just the bunk bed, I figured. It probably would have been OK...if I hadn't been tackled by a flying kiddo and knocked to the ground. The spasms started shortly after that, and got worse, and worse, until I begged hubby to look up the hours for the walk-in clinic.

I was seen by the doctor, and given a prescription for valium, but it didn't do much to mitigate the pain. I had to tell the kiddo to stay away from me--and to stay off me. No hugs, nothing. That made me feel like the worst mommy ever. Hubby had to go out of town, so I walked the kiddo to and from school yesterday, stopping every few feet to double over in pain while waiting for a spasm to stop. Finally, the doctor's nurse called, and was dismayed by my lack of improvement. Then...I got a new prescription! And, my father in law offered to get it for me! And, I got in right away for physical therapy!

Things are much better now, and the kiddo has been offering to help out as well as offering me hugs and kisses. I think the sight of me hunched over, tears streaming down my face as I begged her to just please help me out changed her perspective a bit. While I certainly don't recommend an injury as the best way to get your child's attention, the lessons it can impart can be very valuable. I'm hoping that the lasting lesson, though, is when I say "No! You might hurt me!", it will be enough to make the kiddo stop and reconsider what she is doing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toxic Pajamas?

Busted--as much as I'm trying to avoid early mentions of Christmas, I was out shopping the other day. The kiddo has repeatedly asked her grandma for a bathrobe for Christmas. Since I don't allow the kiddo to wear clothes treated with flame retardant chemicals, my mom thought it would be easier to have me pick out the robe.

I was in store #5 and my eyes were filled with tears of frustration which were about to spill over and run down my cheeks. Every single bathrobe I found carried a tag that said "this garment complies with federal safety standards"--which means that it has been doused in nasty, potentially toxic chemicals. So, I went home and checked out kids' sleepwear on some of the better quality on-line retailers' sites, only to find the same notice. At that point, the tears did fall, because I found the most beautiful bathrobe and I know the kiddo would love it. Too bad, so sad. Some of the most beautiful things are also the deadliest.

In searching for some kind of soft, warm, fuzzy, pink girl's bathrobe, I did find a great article, 3 Ways to Get the Flame Retardant out of Your Kids' Fuzzy Pajamas. OK, each of the 3 ways is debunked in the comments, but it made me feel better to know that other moms are also leery of this unnecessary chemical overload. The author, Katie Kimball, has researched the use of flame retardants on sleepwear, and, even though there doesn't seem to be a surefire way to remove the chemicals from the clothing, I appreciated the information. In the course of my own investigating, I found out something else:

It is possible to find kids' robes without the toxic chemicals. They are labeled "terry cover-ups" or "spa robes", and buyers are warned that they do not comply with blah blah blah and should only be worn as pool or beach cover-ups. Unfortunately, they all come in solid colors, with no flowers or fairies or polka dots...but I have plenty of time before December 25 to get a robe cover-up and then fancy it up with help from JoAnne and her Fabrics.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Puttin' the Bah in Your Humbug

On Saturday, NOVEMBER 2ND, I was checking out local radio stations and discovered that one was playing Christmas music. Halloween is barely over, and Thanksgiving is weeks away, but that doesn't matter, because it's never too early to start spending money for the holidays. Because, of course, along with the music comes the ads. BUY! BUY! BUY! SPEND! SPEND! SPEND! You are a loser if you don't spend four months' salary on presents for people. It doesn't matter if they need any of the stuff you buy them or not, it's the amount you spend that really matters. People need more stuff. But don't stop there! You need to totally disrupt your entire household to redecorate everything and create a true holiday atmosphere. It used to be that all you needed to celebrate Christmas was a tree, some good food, and a gift or two. Now, however, you can't celebrate Christmas if you don't have the following:
  • lights on the house, shrubbery, lamp posts, and other structures
  • a wreath on the front door
  • a wreath on every door
  • Christmas-themed doorknob covers
  • Christmas-themed door mats at every door
  • Christmas-themed picture frames
  • Christmas-themed throw pillows and and blankets on every couch and/or chair
  • Christmas-themed plates, glasses, cups,flatware, serving dishes, table cloths, place mats, table runners, magnets on the refrigerator, napkins
  • Christmas-themed bath towels, bath mats, hand towels, soap dispensers
  • Christmas-themed bedding
  • Christmas-themed clothing: pajamas, slippers, robes, socks, underwear, sweaters and sweatshirts
  • Christmas-themed accessories, such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, headbands, hair bows, and purses
  • Christmas-themed paper, pens, pencils, and stamps (and not just for your Christmas cards)
  • Christmas-themed items for your pets (bowls, sweaters, collars, and of course reindeer antlers)
  • Something Christmasy to put on your car, like a bow on the front grille or antlers for the top.
Got all that? Good. Now you can start on the tree. Then, once you have discovered the true meaning of Christmas, you will be ready to go forth and B U Y   S T U F F !

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Fall Festival Ain't Much Fun if Mean Mommy Catches You Smoking

The kiddo's school put on their annual Fall Festival this weekend. There were games and prizes and face painting and a bouncy house. The kids could even go from the gym to the outdoor playground and an inflatable obstacle course. One mother thought that right there, outside the door, where everyone would have to pass to get to the playground, would be a good place for her smoke break. OK, she may want to hasten her demise (and honestly, at that moment, I wanted to hasten her demise, too), but on school grounds? Really? It's crappy parenting to smoke in front of your child, and school property is universally smoke-free. Her chemical dependency is not more important than our children's health. It's not more important than my health.

What really made me mad, though, was that nobody challenged her stupid decision. Well, nobody except for you-know-who. She just looked at me, but I'm sure the school administrator I complained to got a more positive reaction.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tricking the Kiddo With Treats

It is the day after Halloween, and, several sugar-rushes later, the kiddo was again asking to have some of her candy. I made a deal with her: she could have one piece right then, and not ask for any the rest of the day. Or, she could wait, and have two pieces after dinner.

She wait until after dinner and have two pieces. I'm impressed!