Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Elf Just Couldn't Stay on the Shelf

I have said it before: those Elf on the Shelf things are kinda creepy. Aside from that, they are ridiculously expensive. I was tempted to find one on sale and join the elf-moving masses this year, but ultimately, I resisted temptation. That is not to say that we remained elf-free. No, not by any means. We did have an elf. Her name was Zoe, and she managed to come and go without being seen by anyone. Except maybe the cat, but he was in on the secret.

Zoe left notes for the kiddo (in elf penmanship, which looks a lot like, ahem, someone trying to write with their non-dominant hand), and she left a few presents (two before Christmas and one Christmas morning, in the kiddo's stocking). We also think we heard her in the house a few times (one time might have been the wind, and another time could have possibly been the result of something small being hurled into an empty room, but what do I know?). Zoe saw everything, yet was still encouraging to the kiddo, and even ran interference with Santa after a day of not-so-stellar behavior (Christmas Eve, wouldn't you know).

In the end, the kiddo still asked why we didn't have a "real" Elf on the Shelf, even though she enjoyed Zoe's visit. I was really feeling like I just couldn't win since I didn't cave in to the elf pressure, but then, after telling a friend about our elf adventures, I received the support I needed. You see, this friend is a "seasoned" mom--her children are adults. She commended my "intestinal fortitude" in not being swayed to do something just because it seemed like everyone else was doing it. In other words, I have the guts to do it my way. Yes, indeed, I do.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Being a Mean Mommy PAYS Off!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season! We had a good Christmas, and today has been pretty good, too.

The kiddo and I were in the grocery store, waiting to check out. The man in front of us dropped some change, and the kiddo picked up a coin. Not certain if she was going to give it back to him, I motioned for her to do so, and she did (she probably wished she could keep it!). I told her that was the right thing to do and that it's good to be honest.

Well, the man in question apparently agreed with me, because he turned around and handed the kiddo a dollar for being honest. What a great lesson! Of course, the kiddo thanked him, and I did too. It may be December 26, but the Christmas spirit is still going strong.

Of course, the kiddo wanted to spend it on junk right away, but I put the kibosh on that. 'Cause I'm mean. I hope all of you have lots of pleasant surprises, too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mean Mommy's Fun Revenge

If you have kids, you know how much they love to talk--usually loudly--when you are trying to have a phone conversation. You press the phone into your ear, attempt to plug the other ear, then run from room to room, trying to stay two steps ahead of the noise, usually asking "What? What?" as you go. (OK, surely that can't be just me.)

Out of frustration, I once threatened to annoy the kiddo when she was talking on the phone, and today I made good on my threat.

The kiddo was on the phone with the neighbor, asking if her friends could play. I was in a silly mood, so I decided to give the kiddo a hard time. So that she would know it was a joke, I said "I'm making noise! You're on the phone and I'm making noise"! My neighbor is a good sport, so she just laughed. And guess what--so did the kiddo. Well, she did also give me an eye roll and an exasperated "Mama!", but I was expecting whining (it had been that kind of day).

Now, though, I'm hoping that I can use this as leverage to keep her quiet while I'm on the phone. Not those marathon calls with my BFF (who doesn't mind talking to the kiddo, too), not those annoying telemarketing calls (I'd love to sic the kiddo on them!) but maybe those important calls...? Maybe? Now that the kiddo knows that I will do it and enjoy it, I might just have a chance.

You know you want to try this! If your child has phone privileges, you will have plenty of opportunities. If they don't have phone privileges yet, you will need to let them start talking to someone on a somewhat regular basis. Then, once they have a routine, you can warn them that if they don't let you talk on the phone, you won't let them talk on the phone. Making a joke out of it made my attempt a success, and now I can remind the kiddo of it the next time a call comes in...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Who Wants to go See Drunk/Dirty/Dying Santa?

 Ahh...the magic of Christmas! If your kids are still young enough to believe in Santa, the season is extra magical for them. Unless Drunk/Dirty/Dying Santa messes it all up for your child. Here are some, well, less than magical Santa encounters. No, this is not a collection of those dreadful, hilarious and memorable photos of screaming children being forced to pose for a pic with St. Nick. (Although the pics turned out great! Santa*---not so much.)
"The one [Santa] at Viva la Cupcake last week looked good but as soon as J. was done he [Santa] started talking about how he was going to head over to the bar for a drink and then asked some adult woman to sit on his lap..."
Or the Santa that causes a child to make a face, like maybe he smells bad...
Or the Santa who tells Mom and Dad that he has just been diagnosed with Parkinson's...because the kids need to know that Santa's gonna die

 *We all know that there is only one real Santa. All the rest are his helpers, which is still an important job. However, maybe some of them should be fired...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry CRASHmas! Or, Why I Need a Big Bottle of Glue for Christmas

On Sunday, the 8th of December, I finally put up my Christmas decorations! The kiddo helped me, and I told her the origin of our ornaments and decorations. I reminded her about the ones that were breakable, and explained that some of them have sentimental value. That isn't the only reason I don't want her to break anything--I certainly don't want her cutting herself, either. She was being very careful...until Monday, the 9th of December.

I came upstairs from doing a load of laundry and found that all hell had broken loose. First, the cat had started to hack and was dumped into "his" room (you know, the one with The Box), and the kiddo was wailing in her room. Nobody wails like that over cat puke (OK, I have come close), so I knew something else was amiss. Hubby informed me that the kiddo had broken one of our decorations*. I called her out of her room to get her explanation (and an apology), but all I got was "it was an accident!!!!!!!". I explained to the kiddo that I was disappointed that she was only concerned about saving herself, and she didn't offer me an apology. Then, of course, she started apologizing over and over...a bit late, and with the urgency of someone trying to save their backside. I told her that I understood that accidents happened, and that I was glad she wasn't hurt, but...since I was worried about her breaking something else made of glass or ceramic and cutting herself, it was probably a good idea to put the most fragile decorations away. No, not the ones on the tree--I'm going to leave them there and hope for the best. And maybe yell a bit if necessary.

So... anything fragile has been put away. Fortunately, we still have some sturdy, not-so-breakable decorations left out. And the kiddo knows that if she proves to me that she can be careful, we will put some of the other decorations back. I understand that, since these decorations come out only once a year, it is exciting to see them and hear about their histories...I'd kinda like to be able to leave some of to the kiddo, though!

*The kiddo didn't cut herself, and Hubby thinks he can fix it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Mystery of the Manifesting Money, or, My Daughter, the First Grade Floozy?

So, we are back to the usual routine with no more freak outs or meltdowns! Instead, I am faced with a mystery: why do the kiddo's friends keep giving her money? This has happened twice, and both friends in question--who are not friends she usually mentions--gave her two quarters.

Once, she got a really cool pirate necklace from a vending machine for $.25 and gave it to a friend of hers. He, in turn, wanted to give the kiddo something in exchange, but all he could find (in his mom's purse!) were three quarters. A 300% return on her investment! That didn't seem like an even exchange, but it wasn't something for nothing, either.

This seems to be something different, and the second time it happened, I gave the kiddo the third degree trying to figure out what is going on. I mean, why are they giving her money? What is she giving them in return? What do they think she is going to give them in return? Who else are they giving money to? The kiddo didn't offer me any clear answers, so...

I started to worry.  Was my kiddo the 1st Grade Floozy, trading quarters for kisses? Or, gulp, was she extorting protection money from them? Was she playing the pity card, telling them that her mean mommy won't give her money for ice cream?

How do you explain to a child that giving someone money is not exactly the same as giving them a drawing or a sticker or a Crazy Loom bracelet? I explained to the kiddo that money is payment--for a job, or a chore, or a service--or it is used to buy something you want or need. I had her think about when she receives money (as a [birthday] gift, or to use for something specific like a field trip or something from the Book Fair), and when we give someone money (to pay for a purchase like groceries or admission to a place or event, or to donate to a charity). The kiddo is no dummy; she knows that it can be better to receive a dollar rather than something she doesn't particularly want, because the dollar gives her freedom to buy something of her own choosing, and that freedom is worth more than the dollar itself. That is most likely why she was so excited to tell me when her friends gave her money. And why she was bummed when I made her return it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Mean Mommy Meltdown

Last week, I lost it. Endless nagging for leftover Halloween candy plus unending requests to watch TV got to me. I had given in once, and set a standard. After that, when I went back to asserting myself, the kiddo remembered that I caved once, and proceeded to plead for more, more, more. I was doing OK resisting her efforts...until Monday. Then it was one request too many. I told the kiddo to go ahead and eat candy. She could eat as much as she wanted. I thought she would (eventually) have enough and be done (or make herself sick). It didn't happen that way. I offered her more, and she took it. And still more. I gave her more and told her that she had to eat it. She did. It was only when I told her that she could have candy for breakfast that her self-regulating mechanism kicked in. At that point, we were both upset. Then, she asked to watch TV. I lost it. She was acting like a little addict. I was disgusted with myself, but I had to test her. I told her to go ahead, to just watch TV since it was so important to her. That was like a slap in the face to her, and it upset her even more. We made up--without any more candy or TV--but I felt horrible about the whole thing all night.

That is what happened. You may have similar stories, or ones that are worse (or ones that you consider worse). That was probably my worst mommy moment up to now. I'm sure there will be more, but hopefully none worse than that.

I made a big mistake, but I learned from it: dump the candy. If it's not there, she can't ask for it. That, however, goes against my nature. The kiddo got that candy the good old-fashioned way, and it seemed like a shame to throw it in the trash. I need to get over that. It isn't nutritious food. It's garbage. It will be treated as such. Heck, next year, maybe we will only go to a few houses on Halloween. How much candy does one child need? My kiddo can't resist, so she certainly doesn't need a ton of it.

As for the TV, it seems to have the same addictive quality as candy. The kiddo can't resist it, and once she gets any, she craves more. Hubby and I decided to cut TV time out almost entirely, since she acts so ugly when we try to limit it. The kiddo wants a 3DS for Christmas, and I have decided that she just isn't going to get one. It would be easy to regulate, but we can't handle any more meltdowns. From her or from me.