Tag Archives: Children

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Stand Up Saturday: Parenting

Welcome to another installment of no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from my rambling mind.

stand-up

Today’s Topic: Parenting

Being a parent these days is such a drag. You try to stick to rules like no glue-sniffing, no shoving kids off the slide and for god’s sake, how many damned boogers have you eaten today?

As if this wasn’t draining enough, then I’m expected to teach my kids this stuff too? And for what?

In spite of all this saintly parenting, they defy you by growing up and discovering Facebook. Suddenly being popular is more important than making me dinner.

Whatever happened to solid parenting? Whatever happened to raising our kids to be respectful? Whatever happened to having your kids take out the trash so you won’t have to?

I grew up in the 1970s, a time when parents were just shadowy blobs off in the distance that occasionally grunted or barked orders your way.

I try to remember what my dad was like when I was a kid and all that comes to mind is a fuzzy image of him smoking a cigarette in his recliner. Sometimes he’d lower his eyeglasses and shoot me a look of disapproval. That was his parenting style.

Go on. Make. My. Day.

Go on. Make. My. Day.

My mom was merely a swish of apron rushing around the kitchen.  Sometimes she’d look down at me, shake her head with disgust and yell, “Darla!” This was her parenting style.

It wasn’t their mission to entertain me. It wasn’t their mission to teach me about life. They just lived their lives and I watched them. The single best way to learn anything.

My parents didn’t read a parenting book informing them how to raise a child. Back then it was all about one thing: Keeping you alive.

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Here we all are, still alive. Good job, Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad taught us to follow four simple rules:

  1. Don’t eat shit you find on the ground.
  2. Don’t beat up your brother.
  3. Don’t beat up your sister.
  4. Don’t run into traffic.

That was it.

Welcome to Parenting in the 1970s.

images (2)

So I’ve made it my mission to not be a helicopter parent but more a recliner parent. I strive every day to adopt a parenting style that uses much less time or energy.

I’m myself.

I just go about my day and do my thing. My kids watch how I act, then they figure out what are the right or wrong things to do in life.

Of course, this puts a lot of pressure on a parent to actually be a good person and show it to their kids through their actions. (And I admit, it’s a lot harder to sustain this illusion when they catch me wearing my bathrobe and tunneling through my third block of cookie dough while binge-watching The Big Bang Theory.)

But face it, kids are much smarter than us. We need to give them more credit.

Need help with your homework? Figure it out on your own. Fighting over a toy? Figure it out on your own. Your brother’s stuck upside down in the toilet? Don’t flush.

My main rule? Unless there’s blood, don’t bother me with it.

Is this lazy parenting? Hell yeah! But in the long run it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Less is more, people.

We all need to get our priorities straight, stop concentrating only on our kids’ academic achievement and more on simple social rules of respect and kindness. I worked at an elementary school for years and it was all about one thing: How the kids hold their scissors. Hey, I’m a big fan of improving our fine motor skills, but what about modeling good behavior?

imagesCAWVF6WO

Oh, crap! He’s not holding them right! His pinky’s all screwy! He’s not cutting straight! We must rectify this immediately! Sure, now he’s trying to stab Timmy’s leg with the scissors, but is it in a straight line?  We have to make sure he can cut paper or Timmy’s leg properly! If we don’t teach him now, how will he survive out on the streets?

Naturally, the teachers think showing our kids how to behave should be the parents’ responsibility. And the parents pass the buck onto the teachers. This world is filling up with people who don’t know how to treat other people. It’s all about statistics and standardized test scores and landing a sweet job and making enough money so you can hire someone to cut paper for you.

But why even bother going to school anymore? Ever notice that nowadays everybody’s kid is ‘brilliant’? Last week, my new neighbor dropped by and introduced me to her 6-year-old son.

“This is Liam. He’s a genius. I homeschool him to give him the attention he needs because he’s WAY too smart for public school.”  The words ‘public school’ dripped out of her mouth like she was saying ‘genital herpes’.

So I leaned down to his level and asked, “Hey, kid? What’s the square root of I don’t give a shit?”

Not really, my parents taught me manners. But I almost asked him because I really wanted to know the answer.

My guess is bullshit times infinity.

Instead I said, “Hey, buddy! What’s up? You like Hot Wheels? Or Super Mario?”

Liam responded by kicking his mom in the shin then sticking his pinky in her face and whining, “My finger hurts! Kiss it! Kiss my boo-boo! It hurts! I’m gonna dieeeeeee! Get me a Band-Aid! IT HURTS, MOMMY!! GET ME A BAND-AID! RIGHT NOW!”

images (3)

Oh, he’s a genius all right.

I wonder if he knows how to cut in a straight line.

***********

Like this? Here’s more:

Stand Up Saturday: Pain

Stand Up Saturday: Marriage

How Boredom is Slowly Killing Our Summer

“I’m bored.”babies-bored

“O….M….G. This is like, so boring.”

“…ugh……this is soooooooo boooooooooooooring….like….uhhhhhhh….ughhhhh…”

“I’mboredI’mboredI’mboredI’mboredI’mbored”

What is it about summer? What is it about these long hot days? What is about my husband? Doesn’t he realize I don’t have the power to make life magical every single day?

As for my kids — let’s just say I could be juggling flaming knives and they’d think it was boring. And I’ve tried, oh lord have I tried to entertain them. Here’s just a sampling:

  • My son and I at the beach. We are on jet skis.  With Mario and Luigi.  The jet skis shoot flames. We all have paintball guns. We’re jumping through hoops. The hoops are on fire. Dolphins are diving overhead. The dolphins are equipped with paintball guns. Fireworks explode in the sky. One of the fireworks is a giant glittering image of my son’s face.  I look over at my son and raise my eyebrows. He sighs and says, “I’m bored.”
  • My daughter and I are at a parade. There’s a float full of Disney Princesses. Cinderella invites her up onto the float.  Belle sits her down on a giant throne and puts a sparkly gold crown on her head. They make her the Queen of the Universe. Sleeping Beauty hands her a magic wand that makes everything she touches candy.  My daughter looks down at her dress made of rainbow Skittles and sighs, “I’m bored.”
Not. Impressed.

Not. Impressed.

It makes me wonder how my kids will perceive other major events in their lives:

Announcer: …and with only seconds left in this championship game, the visiting team is down six points! This is the last play, their entire season on the line. Here’s the snap… holy crap, it’s a Hail Mary pass! And… he caught it! Oh my god! He’s running to the end zone! He could go all the way! He’s at the 20! 10! Touchdown!  I can’t believe my eyes! The biggest comeback in high school football history! They’ve won! They’re the state champions!

My son spikes the ball in front of the cheering crowd. His teammates hoist him overhead and parade him down the field as confetti rains down.

Reporter (sticking a microphone in his face): How do you feel?

Him: Eh.

________________________________________________________

Minister: And I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride!

My son (rolling his eyes): Bor-ing.

________________________________________________________

Doctor: I see the head! Here comes the head! And it’s a boy! Wait, here comes another head! And it’s another boy! Oh! Wait! And another boy! Identical triplets! Born at exactly 12:01am on January 1st! It’s a New Year’s miracle!

My daughter (looking down at the babies in her arms as cameras flash and newspaper reporters thrust microphones in her face):  I’m bored.

_______________________________________________________

Skydiving Instructor on plane: On the count of three, JUMP! …one….two…THREE!

My son (plummeting like a stone towards the earth, freefalling after backup parachute fails):
I’m still booooooooooooored…….!

_________________________________________________________

God in heaven: Welcome to my kingdom! Here I will reveal to you all the mysteries of the universe! And bestow upon you the ultimate freedom and power to see and do and be anything you so desire!

My son (yawning): Mkay. Sure. Whatever. So what else ya got?

Slide1

Parents–how are you coping with your kids’ boredom this summer? Any tips for me? I’ve already tried kicking them outside but they continue to figure out how to pick the lock. Others–care to babysit?

385673-bigthumbnail

Beautiful Child

385673-bigthumbnail

Gasping your first breath on a cold fall day,
your hazel eyes greeted my blue.
A strand of my hair locked tight in your grasp,
I let my heart bleed into yours.

We ran together through the scarlet leaves,
our dance tinged with memories of gold.

You showed me the starry night,
the seashell warmed by the sun,
the bumpy edge of a lizard’s back.

I showed you the edge of time.

Still we giggled and breathed in the wide open sky,
as it dripped into our lungs
we drowned,
wrapped in sparkling silver threads,
laden with love’s pure promise.

I dream to be rescued
but only as a brown speck
floating in the soft moss-green of your eyes,
so I may see what I’ve always known to be,
I am you and you are me.

A beautiful child.

What? So I'll be living in your basement eating bologna sandwiches and playing Nintendo until I'm 30. You signed up for this, remember?

You Know You’re a Parent When….

  1. The nurse hands you a baby and says with a sneer, “Good luck, suckers!”
  2. You get home with baby and after a few days realize–the baby isn’t going anywhere.
    Probably for the next 30 years.
    If you’re lucky.

    What? So I’ll be living in your basement eating bologna sandwiches and playing Nintendo until I’m 30. You signed up for this, remember?

  3. You never go by your own first name anymore.
    “Hi! I’m Christian’s Mom!” or “Hello! I’m Julia’s full-time domestic slave who lost her name along with her identity about 10 years ago, nice to meet you! Please, help me remember who the hell I am! For the love of God, please!”
  4. You openly discuss puke stories over lunch with friends.
    “Hey….by the way, have you ever seen puke drop from three feet high before? No? well, let me tell you it was epic. I had to hold the bucket up over my head like I was offering up a sacrifice at the fiery altar of vomit volcano hell. I didn’t even flinch. I just turned my head to the side, squeezed my eyes shut to block the spray, and he kept hurling over the side of the top bunk like nobody’s business.
    Now please pass me the guacamole.”
  5. You alternate between serene calmness and explosive fire-breathing rage with ease.
    “Please, you guys really need to start calming down now, okay? Huh? Please?
    I SAID CALM DOWN! RIGHT NOW! OR I WILL DRIVE THIS CAR INTO A TREE SO HELP ME GOD!
    ….thank you.”
  6. You get so beaten down by the constant barrage of questions, “Mom, can I have a cookie? Mom, can I have a piece of candy? Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?” that you finally snap and start screaming, “YES! YES!! FINE! GO AHEAD! YOU CAN HAVE EVERYTHING! ALL OF IT! I DON’T CARE ANYMORE! HAVE AT IT!” only to realize you’ve agreed to letting them drink beer and take the car out for a spin.
  7. You start to schedule meetings with your husband to discuss when to schedule in sex.
  8. This year’s vacation hot-spot?
    Any place you and your spouse don’t have the kids for a few minutes so you can get a tiny shred of sanity back.
    Maybe eat an entire meal uninterrupted for once.
    Listen to your own inner thoughts for a change.
    Could be simply going out for the early-bird special at the local Cracker Barrel, it’s all good.

    Whoa! What sweet bliss is this? Rockers! Everywhere! HOT DAMN!!!

  9. Your go-to emotion is feigned apathy.
    Whenever you have childless friends over for dinner, they’ll have this look of terror on their faces as your kids run around screaming and throwing things like monkeys fresh from a coke binge. And the whole time you’ll  just sit on the couch with a shell-shocked blank look on your face, completely oblivious to the chaos–their loud antics only barely registering as a distant low-buzzing hum. This is a coping mechanism that only comes from years of practice.
  10. You’ve learned society’s acceptable term for your constantly hyped-up, out-of-control kid is ‘spirited’.
    So you use it all the time now as an excuse.
    “Oh, so he dumped an entire bottle of chocolate syrup in your toilet?  He’s spirited!”
    “So you’re telling me he head-butted the gym teacher because he felt like it? Well, now! He sure is spirited!”
  11. You often interrupt important phone calls to yell:
    “Hey! You wipe your OWN butt!”
  12. On any given day you find yourself quoting the best quote ever uttered by a parent:

              “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.” –Bill Cosby

***If any of you weary and worn-down parents out there have any other insights as to when you know you’re a parent, feel free to write them in the comments below so I can laugh at you while offering up my deepest sincerest pity as only a seasoned mom can do.***

mohawk2

So You’re Having A Baby…

Hmm…I think I need to have a talk with you about this baby thing…

Bundle of joy coming your way soon? Is the diaper bag all packed and ready for the hospital? Nursery all set up? Newborn clothes hung neatly in the closet?

Sweet! You’re ready!

Right?

Maybe not? Well, here’s the lowdown. The things you really need to know about having a baby. Toss aside that What to Expect While Your Gut’s Exploding and Your Cervix is on Fire and Your Boobs Throb and Burn like Giant Blazing Orbs of Terror and You Swear to God You’re Gonna Hit the Man that Did This to You Over the Head With this Damn Book, book.

I’m gonna give it to you straight, first-timer. You can trust me. The following facts are coming from a mom who has endured ten years of loaded diapers, leaky bottles, breastfeeding fiascoes, postpartum depression, asthma, colic, croup, never-ending ear infections, and night terrors (mostly mine).

These are the things that will change once you have a baby:

  • Your house will smell like poop.

You may go out and drop some serious cash on a Diaper Genie. You may think this will somehow magically dispel the noxious waste that will be sitting there for days. You will be wrong. And you will fight over taking turns to empty it. The diaper pail almost ruined my marriage. When my youngest was finally potty trained, my husband and I were so ecstatic, we renewed our vows. At the end of the ceremony, we set fire to the diaper pail and danced around it naked under the moonlight. Nothing says romance and freedom like flaming poop.

FREEEEEEEE-DOOOOOOM!

Oh, you’re using cloth diapers instead? Yeah, I did too, for a time. Poop. Poop everywhere. On the floor and in your hair. Poop on your socks. Poop on your smocks. In the washer, on your hands. I do not like this Sam I am, I do not like green poop and ham. Sorry…where was I? Oh, yeah. Basically, your days will be an endless slog through poop. And you’ll find yourself discussing your precious Miracle of Life’s bowel movements anywhere, anytime.

“Oh, God! It was horrifying! You should have seen it! It was blue! The poop was blue! And brown! With a little pea-soup green mixed in! It was so nasty! And chunky! And it was this huge amount too! Like someone had dumped a bucket of elephant dung down my baby’s back!”

“Yeah…that’s….great. Uh…can you pass me the baked beans, please?”

  • Strangers will come up to you constantly.

From the time you’re pregnant, to the time your child is a terrible two, everyone on the street will want to approach you. Grandmas are the worst. They’ll come at your baby with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missile. “OH! He’s SOOOO cute!” Soon cheeks will be pinched, germy hands will be poking chins and bellies. Arm yourself with a giant bottle of Purell. Threaten to throw it at them. It’ll be okay. Once your baby is three and throwing a massive tantrum in aisle 9 of the Stop-n-Go, no one will ever want to go near your child again.

I double dog dare ya to try and pinch my cheeks now, Grandma!

  • Suddenly everyone is a parenting expert.

No matter how you decide to raise your baby, there will always be someone ready to tell you that you are wrong.

“Oh, you’re formula-feeding? Well, that’s bad for the baby!”
“So, you’re nursing? Oh, that’s terrible!”
“Binky? It’ll ruin his teeth!”
“Thumb sucking? He’ll be in therapy!”
“Co-sleeping? She’ll be in your bed forever!”
“Wait! Come back! Why are you running away? I didn’t get to tell you how you’re ruining your child’s life forever because you’re not feeding her organic alfalfa sprouts mixed with guava juice and your own saliva!”

Here comes the vile green choo-choo train! Eat it up or you’ll never get into Harvard!

  • You’ll find yourself doing gross things.

Sticking your entire face in your baby’s butt to smell if they’ve pooped or peed. Licking a warm brown spot to see if it’s poop or chocolate. Licking your finger to clean off dried bananas on your baby’s face. Then tasting it to make sure it’s banana, not poop. Reaching into your baby’s nose to extract a crusty booger. Digging around in their nostrils like a mama monkey picking nits off her baby. You’ll do all these things in public. At a restaurant. You won’t even care. If it’s disgusting, you’ll do it without batting an eye. You’re a parent now. You’ll be scooping puke out of car seats, changing diapers on top of trash cans at gas station bathrooms, whipping your boob out at Target to feed your screaming baby as nipple pads flutter to the floor in some twisted ticker tape parade. Days of modesty are long gone now. Welcome to survival mode.

Aha! Hold still, I think I see a booger!

  • You’ll do anything for sleep.

My firstborn never slept. My second baby slept much better–sometimes five hour stretches at the age of two months. I’ve seen both sides of the sleep spectrum. I’ve been to hell and back. As a newborn, my son slept an hour if we were lucky. Naturally, we did anything to get him to fall asleep. We sang, hummed, hushed, cooed. We wrapped him in a blanket burrito, bounced him, rocked him, walked in slow circles while hushing and humming the theme to Three’s Company. At one point, we took turns driving him in our car around the block over and over at all hours of the night. Severely sleep deprived, the turning point came at 2 am one night when I saw Mr. Furley standing in my kitchen using my breast pump. This stuff happens. I’m not trying to scare you. Just remember to get, at least, a solid block of four hours sleep, trust me on this one.

Get some sleep soon or this man will haunt your dreams forever.

  • You’ll be so in love, it hurts.

Oh yeah, that baby of yours will steal your heart, rip it right out of your chest, and hold it in their chubby little hands. Pieces of it will break off over time. This is when you realize all the above is worth it. Or that God really did make babies cute, sweet, and lovable for a reason.

As my husband once eloquently put it (after another sleepless night with our newborn son),
“Can we take him back to the hospital? Just for a few hours, so we can get some sleep?”

She’s pretty dang sweet, isn’t she? She still hasn’t given my heart back yet.

So congratulations on the new addition to your family! Savor every moment. Forgive yourself for others. You’ll make mistakes. The first baby is just for practice anyway. You’ll get the hang of it, hopefully by your second or third.

And I’ll be here for any parenting advice.

My best advice: Don’t listen to anyone’s advice, especially mine.

Losing Pieces of You

My five year old daughter’s first loose tooth had been hanging by a thread for about a week. She was very nervous about it coming out. “Is there gonna be blood? What if it comes out while I’m eating my goldfish crackers? Am I gonna eat it by accident? What if I swallow it? I don’t want to eat my tooth, Mommy!”

After I reassured her it wouldn’t hurt, she wouldn’t swallow it and there would be no blood (a tiny white lie), she spent the rest of the week standing on her tiptoes, gazing at the loose tooth in the mirror, gingerly wiggling it with her tongue. I tried to remember back when I lost my first tooth and I’m sure it was a bit traumatic. Or maybe I’m just remembering all the cruel ways my brothers suggested I rip it out of my mouth, most involving firecrackers or strings tied to skateboards.

To say losing a tooth is a milestone for a child is putting it mildly. And for a mom, it’s big. As in, ‘my sweet baby girl is growing up before my eyes and why can’t I do anything to stop it or slow it down?!’ big. Aside from the fact that she’s losing a small part of her old self, shedding a baby tooth, I am slowly shedding yet another part of my motherhood along with her. Think I’m being overly dramatic? Of course! That’s what being a mom is all about.

Last night my kids were doing the usual– jumping around their bedroom behind a closed door, whooping it up like a herd of elephants on speed. Then silence. The door flung open and my daughter raced toward me, her eyes wide and her mouth open. She held her hand out and there it was. A teeny tiny tooth nestled in her palm. “Mom! We were jumping and Christian knocked it right out of my head!” I smiled and shook my head. Typical brother.

“Tooth Fairy is coming! Tooth Fairy is coming!” she yelled and danced and twirled around the living room. She watched me as I put her first tooth in a ziploc bag and slipped it under her pillow.  I heard myself sigh. She’s lost a tooth. What’s next? Wasn’t it just yesterday when her first tooth erupted? Wasn’t it just yesterday she was wearing her little overalls and running around the house saying “baba” with her tiny wisp of hair and big hazel eyes, her chubby fingers grabbing mine?

I felt a tear well up, like it often does when a mom faces another milestone in her baby’s life. I brushed it aside, managed a smile and hugged my daughter tight. She grinned up at me, exposing the little space in front. I noticed right then just how different she looked now. How her entire face competely changed with the missing tooth. How grown up she was already, and how much more growing she had in front of her.

And just how incredibly lucky I am to be here to watch it happen.