Tag Archives: Children

Goodbye 2013: An Open Letter to My Children

1 Jan

Dear Kiddos, 

The beginning of the new year means a lot to adults. Each year adults get a kick out of sitting around and talking about their resolutions (things they hope to do) for the coming year. Most of these resolutions or wishes are lame and feature notions like saving money, loosing weight (no one says they hope to learn to love themselves for who they are), quitting a horrible job, etc. But since you guys are not bogged down by adult worries I decided to put a new spin on the resolutions and write down all the amazing things you have done and how being your mother is one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. So since I am fond of lists, here is a list of the rad things and funny things that happened this year. 

1. You both learned how to ride a bike in a day and proved that I have what it takes to be a kick ass mom. 

2. This year’s tantrum highlights: “I just want to meditate!” “I don’t want to get out of the car!” “I just can’t do it!” “You are always picking on me!” “He/she started it.”

3. Someone started kindergarten and begin to read, while someone discovered that the word “balls” is possibly the funniest thing ever heard by a third grader. Both very proud moments for me. 

4. I have learned to be careful what I wish for. I am now the mother of a child with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead…. 

5. You both have learned to love Harry Potter and Dr. Who, which proves that I have good taste and you are going to push me in a wheelchair around Comic-Con when I am 83; and you will love every second of it. 

6. Kisses. There will be a moment when you both decide that kissing your mother is lame, but until then I am taking all the kisses you can give. 

7. While I couldn’t afford to take you to Europe, I did manage to take you to Las Vegas – and to Paris to boot!

8. This was the year that I let my daughter cut her hair short and didn’t cry. This was also the year that I let my son fall in love with three girls and didn’t cry. 

9. Table manners! Tone of voice! Tattle Telling! All things I hope to curb in 2014. 

10 and the most important: You played with each other. I am not sure how much longer this will last but it was the sweetest thing to hear you two play with each other, read stories to each other and put on shows for your dad and I. 

 

Mommy is this safe for Dolphins?

9 Oct

Kids will say the darnedest things, especially kids who can’t read.

My boy is just dabbling into the world of reading and since much of reading is recognizing shapes and making your brain associate them with sounds, I have started recalling what his “reading” was like before. Since words looked like a bunch of scribbles on a piece of paper he latched on to symbols that were in his everyday life.

Here is a small taste of toddler thinking vs. the hard work of graphic designers and logo creators. Sorry logo designers you need to work harder, tap into that 3-year-old brain I know you are just trying to shine through!

Exhibit A: The Dolphin Safe Logo

photo courtesy of Logo.net

photo courtesy of Logo.net

This kid though that his can of tuna was telling him that the tuna salad sandwich he was about to eat was safe for dolphins to eat also. Somewhere under the sea he imagined a porpoise dinning on a delicious tuna on rye. Mmmmm….sandwich

Exhibit B: Poison

image courtesy of clker.com

image courtesy of clker.com

This doesn’t mean stay away, this substance might kill you. No this symbol lets you know that pirates love this stuff. Sure they love to wash their clothing, scrub the floors, and don’t forget spray stuff on things. “Mommy, they are very clean but they won’t change diapers!” Luckily for me I worked hard at getting the real message across and it did stick. The kid won’t be adding a sprinkle of Ajax to his pasta.

Exhibit C: BTHA Safety Lion (if this one doesn’t ring a bell next time when you are at the store check out the back of the box of that toy you are about to get your kid, if you don’t see it you might want to not purchase that Ninja Turtle, because it most surely did come into contact with some radioactive ooze)

Official logo of the British Toy & Hobby Association, which means your kid's toy was not made in a sweatshop and most likely not covered in lead paint.

Official logo of the British Toy & Hobby Association, which means your kid’s toy was not made in a sweatshop and most likely not covered in lead paint.

While most kids who even read aren’t going to get this logo, my kid called it the red lion picture but was highly confused when he would open up toys and there was no red lion to be found in the box. Like it was some sort of indication that there was an extra hidden prize, making all toy boxes in to a Cracker Jack hunt. Cue meltdown when the red lion never appears.

Exhibit D: Not Tested on Animals

Are you checking your shampoo for this symbol right now?

Are you checking your shampoo for this symbol right now?

Now I know you think that most kids won’t even look at this, but when you spend hours (yes, hours) in the bathtub anything with in reach will be turned into a toy. “Why is there a bunny on this?” “Do bunnies take baths?” “Can our bunny take a bath?” “Do bunnies wear lotion?” This image was just a cue to ask a crazy amount of questions and pester your mom. Originally it was about bunnies, but it always morphed into something else; “Where is God right now?” “How do you work?” and ended me telling my kid to stop asking so many questions and shouting “I don’t know, okay!”

Finally Exhibit E: Caution Floor is Wet

image courtesy of sinoconcept.com

image courtesy of sinoconcept.com

Well obviously this tells you that there is going to be a dance party in a tiny house! Cue the Delight!

Time Change Survival Guide

4 Nov

Every year my family mentally prepares to roll with the time change, and ever year I get to listen to people brag about how they are going to get an extra hour of sleep or complain about how they will loose an hour of sleep. Well… if you have kids it is not a matter of gaining or loosing a single hour it is about adjusting your whole life to the rising and setting of the sun! In simple terms it sucks. 

Rolling back is the worst, children have no comprehension of what it means to sleep in. Nor do they care if it Sunday and the rest of your neighbors and household have been preparing for this glorious “extra hour of sleep” day for months. They wake up at 5 a.m. (their 6 a.m.) proceed to trash the house, jump around, and demand breakfast. So here are some tips to surviving the next time change, or even next few days for that matter. (In all honesty it takes about a month for the little people to adjust.)

Parenting tip #1: When dealing with a crazy person (aka toddler/preschooler) just walk away. There is no rationalizing with crazy, it will only have you wanting to do something horrible to your child before 7:30 a.m.

Parenting tip #2: While partying teens and adults maybe enjoying sleeping in on weekends,Image you should be teaching your children the art of starting a pot of coffee. Before you think that is a rediculious thought – it is not like they have to boil water and harvest coffee beans – give your children the benefit of the doubt, all the kids have to do is put a filter in the pot, toss in two or three scoops of coffee in the filter, pour in water, and press a button. It will give them something to do while you are struggling to rise out of bed, and make you a much happier person. 

Parenting tip #3: The nights leading up to the time change, adjust bedtime accordingly. If you are falling back let the kids stay up so late that they are barely able to hold open their eyes. Play games, watch movies, and when all else fails throw a dance party. If you are springing forward, this takes a bit more time and inch the kids bedtime up by 20 minutes for four days before the switch. Let the kids take their favorite book to bed and a flashlight (though I doubt they will need one since the sun is barely setting at this point) if they can’t fall asleep.

Parenting Tip #4: Do you have neighbors who drive you crazy? Well payback is a giant B. Embrace the insane behavior of your children and don’t fight it. Let the kids play flashlight tag, send them out to the backyard at 6 a.m. You can sit out on the back stoop drinking the fresh coffee your four-year-old made you while your 20-something neighbors get reminded about the many birth control options they can use. 

Parenting Tip #5: You are not alone in this process. There are millions of parents in the U.S. who deal with the government’s crazy policies, so take this opportunity to set up a crack-of-dawn playdate. At least you will have another adult who will understand why you are still in your pjs and wearing dark Jackie-O sunglasses. 

Pushing Through the Pain

11 Nov

The life of a parent is full of irony. Pregnant moms wishing for a boy end up giving birth to a girl who grows up to be on the cheerleading squad, homecoming queen, and only wears pink. Like anything in life, it takes time to adjust but you move on and accept it. With me irony is not so funny.

Before I was laid-off from the parenting paper our columnist Meg Zwieback (my personal voice of reason) wrote about what to do when your child has to have a “medical procedure” done. She recommended talking about it, not  anything, and doing a rehearsal of the event. Zwieback wrote that if your child needs to be restrained you should talk about it ahead of time.

Restrained, I thought was an odd word. But her description made sense and in the end I thought the story might do parents some good. I had no idea that I would be the one being calmed by Zwieback’s words only two months later.

My daughter has had a small tumor on her shoulder for 6 months. It is not cancerous but it had to come out. A simple procedure; she would not have to be knocked out and it would only take 15 to 20 minutes. I took Zwieback’s advice and talked with my daughter about it, she was scared of the shot but not the tumor removal.

As a mother there is only one sound that really gets me: screams of true pain. Not “I scraped my knee” crying, but “there is a bone poking through my broken arm” scream. I have never been one to sit through the end of skateboard videos when people are falling and breaking bones, and while Jackass can be amusing I can’t watch the painful stuff. (Yes, I am a pussy!)

Struggling, I lied down with my daughter, pinned her legs through mine in a leg lock and held down her head to face me (away from the scalpel). I was prepared for the tears, and was a little prepared for holding her down, but the screams of when it “hurt”were too much. This is something I never wanted to do again. Because I was making her look into my eyes, I had to hold back my own tears. No one wants someone they love to hurt, especially a child. But somethings have to be done, and yes somethings hurt.

After it was over we were both exhausted.

When I was reflecting on this with another parent, she shared  a similar story. I began to realize, while I only have a few friends with children, this scenario is something that happens more than you would think. A bad trip to the dentist, a broken arm, or as with me when I was younger the dreaded “eye drop.” It is all in the words that are said during and after the procedure, no matter how horrific, that make a lasting impression.

I recall after having a surgery as an adult, it wasn’t the pain that lingered but the reactions and comments by others. And with my daughter it was the comments by the staff and doctor that helped ease the emotional pain of having her tumor removed. I was eased by the doctor commenting that “mommy was really brave, too” and that Zwieback’s article was helping parents like me prepare for the worst.

I guess irony does have its place, even if it hurts.