Tag Archives: parenting
Video

Why You Shouldn’t Get Your Kid a Cell Phone

20 Sep

A great explanation to why you should not get your kid a cell phone by Louis C.K. Not to mention you teenager might post photos of themselves getting wasted or wearing something that makes you blush. He also sheds light on why everyone is texting and driving that makes perfect sense.

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Tooth Fairy’s Digging a Financial Hole

3 Sep

The Tooth Fairy has finally given into keeping up with Jones. 

This should have been the headline last week when Visa, Inc. announced the update to their app, which found that the price of a tooth for most parents has soared to $4 a pop. With the announcement, it seamed like every news organization in the country from Associated Press to KQED had to profile some parents who gave examples of what they pay their kid when the loose a tooth. It all stems from this AP story where parents chime in with how much they are dolling out, ending with a mother actually admitting to shelling out a $100 bucks. And they are all doing it because some other parent chimed in and said they were giving their kid a certain amount. Never to be outdone, parents need the feel to top whatever price was suggested.

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Dwayne Johnson in wings as the tooth fairy.

What is going on here? Isn’t there enough pressure to be a super parent without having to keep up with the Jones when it comes to your children’s teeth? Being the Tooth Fairy is a very intimate thing. It is a treasured rite of parenthood. I understand getting a gauge of what to put under your kid’s pillow when their first tooth gets wiggly, but you have check yourself on how high are you going to set that bar. 

I am the type of parent to keep the expectations low, so when I do decide to go bigger my kids take note. Like adding a piñata to a party. If you start off your kids birthday’s with a piñata, they and your other guests will expect one…EVERY FRIGGIN’ YEAR. So just like your kids party, placing $20 bucks under your kids pillow when they loose a tooth is only creating the expectation that the Tooth Fairy is going to crack open his/her wallet each time and put a twenty there. 

Can you afford this pressure? I know the app/articles said that the average price of a tooth is $4, but really do you have ones lying around your house like that? 

I have two kids and have learned over the years that it is good to explain magical creatures with a map. Listen kids we live in a county where the Tooth Fairy can only give a certain amount depending on what tooth is under the pillow. So what your buddies tell you on the school yard is not what you are going to get because they have a different zip code/apartment number/county address (fill in the blank). 

Often the Tooth Fairy hasn’t even left money, but things found around the house since her ATM card was stolen or she didn’t have time to go the bank or the neighbors didn’t have change for a $20. 

If the Tooth Fairy had to keep up with whatever rate the kid was getting up the street she would go broke. So media companies when you want to write a story about how much the price of a tooth is why don’t you do the math. Twenty teeth at $4 a pop, that’s $80, add in the now estimated $241,081 to raise a child (without college tuition) and I think the price is too high. 

Give your kid what ever loose change you can find in house and call it a night, they won’t judge you for it. The Tooth Fairy on the other-hand will be forever a cheap bastard. 

Tales of an Awkward Mom: First Day of School

21 Aug

The first day of school is always tough for any parent, but for folks like me it can be downright brutal.

I am not the most graceful person when it comes to social interactions and being surrounded by a bunch of parents who you are secretly judging doesn’t make me into a functioning member of society by default. I have no filter on what is appropriate conversation – do you talk about the amazing photos your friend took of a riot or that you are really close to paying off your student loans? I am 10 to 15 younger than most parents at my kids’ school – not to mention a whole lot poorer. It makes for a bad combo when I have only had one cup of coffee and I have some super mom breathing down my neck to join the PTA or volunteer 1-2 hours a week doing database entry on the school’s massive phone list. Responding “Does it pay?” is frowned upon – learned that the first year.

I have gone through the first day ring-around before, but this year I felt like I was starting from scratch. My daughter is entering 3rd grade while my son is going into Kindergarten, so it was double the awkward social interactions. The parents and kids in 3rd grade I feel like I have gotten to know. I have settled into truth that some kids have parents who I don’t like and some parents have kids that I don’t like; its just that simple. And if your mom or dad still don’t know who I am (and no I am not the nanny) then more than likely they never will – sorry buddy. 

But the pressure of having to do this all over again for another set of parents is too much for me. I don’t like making new parent friends, I am not good at it. Somehow I always end up sticking my foot in my mouth or leave feeling that I am never going to be good enough to hang out with a certain crowd. It’s like high school all over again, but this time I can’t just cut class and hang out with the stoners (I draw the line there, got to set a good example). 

Dropping my son off at his class, I found myself avoiding eye contact with the other parents. For crying out loud, I will talk to the little children before their parents. I rushed off once the drop-off was done, not sticking around for the chit-chat. You will not find my name on the volunteer lists in the cafeteria either, not because I don’t want to help out – I just don’t want to talk to people. I feared being cornered by some parent who is a Realtor and spends the next hour telling me how it is a great time to buy a house, ignoring that I have said multiple times I can’t afford a $800,000 home right now (yes that is the average price around here). My fear of Realtors and interior designers is holding me back from contributing to my children’s education – help me Oprah!

There is no Glamour quiz to take that will help the situation either. So what is a socially inept mom to do? 

Well, I can apply what I have learned from my daughter’s years in school. Save everything till the last minute or as a wise mom told me once embrace becoming that fruit tray mom. There is nothing like showing up to help out on the last school party or field trip with a fruit tray to have the other parents ask you who’s mom you are. This is always followed by some wonderfully pleasant story about my kid. By then they have gotten to know my child, I have gotten out of some dangerous situations. I always follow up with “Let’s get the kids together over the summer?” We look at our calendars and it never works out since our schedules are already full. Easy peasy as the kids would say. 

Fear Factor: Will My Kid’s Lunch Kill Someone?

9 Apr

I have learned over the years there are many ways to make yourself feel like crappy parent. Locking your baby in the car along with the keys in the front seat… more than once. Rolling up the windows on your child’s hand. Laughing at them when the cry. And the one I just can’t shake the habit of, mocking them when they are whining. All equally can add up to some way tarnishing your child’s emotional development, but I just say “add it to the therapy bill” (because I am tough as nails!) But what if you kill your child’s classmate?

Lunch

Accident waiting to happen or just an innocent sandwich? Image by http://www.skiptomylou.org

Not in a Dexter kind of way, but by packing something in their lunch that causes the kid to have an allergic reaction.

This is my biggest fear. That one day my daughter will reach into her lunch box and pull out a banished food item that I have totally forgotten about (etc. citrus), and the kid next to her drops dead. And my kid is watching the whole thing go down, traumatized.

According to the CDC  4 out of every 100 kids suffers from a food allergy, and out of that number nearly 90 percent of food allergies are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. That is just mind boggling to me. There is death (well if not death at least a mean case of the hives) lurking in every lunchbox.

If you have kids you know where this fear lies. Every classroom at my child’s school has a sign declaring if it is a “Nut-Free Zone”. We have been to birthday parties with egg-free cupcakes. And not to mention the “talk” at every back-to-school night about proper lunch items and what is not allowed.

Normally I am really good about this. I happened to grow up around people with food allergies and I am not one of those crazed parents who is going to create an all out war on the kid with the nut allergy because I am inconvenienced by getting creative when it comes to a bag lunch. So today when my 7-year-old daughter came home an lectured me about the nuts that were in her leftover Chinese food I felt like a crappy parent and automatically went into a mental freak out of how I have once more harmed my child’s mental growth by killing off a kid (0r kids) in her class. I my mind I had basically murdered a child in front of my own child. God help me!

But in all reality nothing happened… this time.  In the end I figured this is one more reason my daughter should pack her own lunch. She would not willingly off one of her classmates, like her absent minded mother would. And it helps takes one more thing off the list of being a crappy parent, now I can peacefully go back to mocking her while she whines about how her little brother getting everything and is loved more.

Laundry Day

18 Feb

Laundry is a chore no matter how you fold it (good one huh?) Well for parents it is something that has looms or fester (depending on the week’s activities of your children) in the corner of your house until it starts talking to you or you just run out of underwear.

As a single person or a non-breeder you have no idea how much laundry can accumulate in a week. You dedicate a few hours to doing your laundry and cleaning your house all in one day, then you might celebrate by hosting a dinner party later that night or going out on a date. Before kids, you would do things like drop off dry cleaning and then actually pick it up!

Once you have a baby that all changes. You find out quickly about which stain treatments work on baby poop, that pee soaked clothes actually can’t be ignored after sitting in a basked for more than 4 days (the smell overtakes the house), and that sometimes it’s just okay to throw out an item of baby clothing that is too gross to take out of a plastic bag and put into the washer (you never liked that onesie anyway). But in the end it all comes down to sheer volume of little people clothes that breaks you. At some point, maybe around the 14 month of your child’s life you decide folding is for suckers. Laundry_in_Paris

Well for you bitter laundry haters I have a glimmer of hope: The laundromat. It is my best kept secret.

I have become a lover of the laundromat (full discloser I have never owned a home where I could have my own washer).

Driven to the brink of exhaustion from walking back and forth from my apartment to the wash room in my building and having by neighbors roll their eyes at me for washing more than a single load, I started doing laundry every other week at my local wash-house. Now this sounds crazy, since there is a washer I can access any time of day in my building, but I have created a sanctuary at my laundromat and I was sick of being two quarters short of a load, not to mention the girl from apartment 24C and her eye rolling.

The laundromat is a place for me go sans my children (there are usually other kids there, but I am not responsible for their horrible behavior so they don’t bug me and they make my kids look like angels for the day). I spend my laundry day listen to music, reading books, or watch tv and munching on unhealthy snacks. It’s worth spending the extra cash for some time alone.

Not all laundry houses are the same, so it might take a few visits to find the right one. Now the key to this is going on a day or evening when no one is there. Sunday and Friday nights are wonderfully quiet. Make sure there is an attendant there during the time you will be washing, they hold the remote and if you befriend them they will turn on Downton Abby for you, not to mention if the machine eats your money they can help. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN! This is very important, if you bring them they will just make your evening go to s$@t in a few minutes. Note: Some parents will gladly take your kids for a playdate if you tell them you just need a few hours to do laundry. Bring headphones and some technology, even if you are planning to watch Mr. Bates and Anna, this is important to keep the Chatty Cathys at bay. Finally take time to fold, it buys you more time alone, and it will guilt whoever is at home watching the kids into making you dinner or lunch. “I must have done 12 loads of laundry” and “I think I might have tweaked my back lifting a basket into the car” also helps.

The end result of your hours at the washhouse is that you have stacks of clean clothes, where you don’t have to worry about for at least a week, your car smells awesome (thanks to Tide), and you had an opportunity to finish that trashy romance book you were reading (but won’t tell anyone that you own).

Stick and Stones – When Children Hurt Your Feelings

18 Jan

I am a tough chick – and yes I am calling myself a chick, I also have been known to refer to myself as a feisty broad. I can bark orders at a room full of people, cuss out a grown man, and even stand up to my family time to time. I am like a duck most of the time, insults, angry letters, even snide comments roll of my back. Unless … it is coming from a four year old. 

Kids seem to have the ability to tap into my core emotional issues in one sentence. “You’re fat.” “Why are you wearing that?” “Wow, you are old.” “You don’t care about me.” and the classic “I hate you.” Is this something that they teach in preschool? Or do older kids pull the younger ones aside and give lessons on how to make Mommy or Daddy cry.

Psychologists and parenting experts say that the best advise is to not get angry, but explain to children that what they say is hurtful. Don’t try to scare the 

Imagechild or shame them about their behavior, but let them learn from the mistake and discover how to express their frustration in a more loving way. Those experts are full of it. It’s hard to not get pissed off when you look like this.

When kids stay stuff like that it is like your mother asking you if you are really sure you chose the right college, job, or date. It rips open any old wound, and just for shits and giggles there is a cute toddler standing over the wound with a freshly cut lemon. 

The other night my son, who is normally a loving cuddle bear though has been known to turn on a full moon, told me he wished I was dead. WTF?!!?? He is four. 

Now let me explain, for the past month I had thought I had a brain tumor – a normal reaction when your headache won’t go away, right? While I never told my kids about my impending death, which for some reason was corrected by a doctor’s visit and prescription – but that is another post on hypochondria, the kid knew right where to throw the verbal punch. 

Okay BabyCenter how do you respond to this one? Oh, you don’t have a expert psychologist on staff to tell you how to handle a preschooler telling you that they wish you were dead??? THANKS! 

Well this is how a parent who can’t find the answer online reacts: I lost my shit! I ended up looking like that woman above. Hey and here is the miracle, if you want your kids to clean up their act start crying in front of them – but not all the time then it looses all power and you also might have depression. They will say they are sorry super fast. It also helps to have a partner to back you up, and yell “see what you did to mommy.” 

Nothing like a little guilt to make it all better. Now if you don’t mind I am going into my room, turning out the lights and blasting The Smiths

 

Playdate Survivor: Awkwardness, Jealousy, and Manipulation

6 Jan

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Few things in life are easy. 

When it comes to being a parent and having a social life, well that can just be a shit show most of the time. Most parents will tell you that the only time they get to talk to other adults is on a “playdate”.

For the non-breeders, this is defined as showing up at a park or one of your kid’s classmates house (which is almost always better looking and cleaner than yours) and having awkward conversations with the other parent, until one of you asks if it is okay if the other watches the kids until you do some errands. 

In an ideal world this would be a perfect opportunity to meet other parents who you might have something in common with. But in reality you end up looking like Grumpy Cat and rethinking all the life choices you have made in the past (enter you child’s age and add nine months) years. 

Some great friendships have been created on playdates, there are even cute books about how to make playdates fun for the adults and not just the kids. But it has been my experience, that most of these playdates are the perfect opportunity for what my husband refers to as “Mom Banging” – it sounds dirty, huh? Mom banging, is just like gang banging, but it is where mothers sit around judging each other’s parenting skills and methods. It’s filled with a flurry of questions about when your child started walking, potty training, reading, etc. then followed up by awkward silences. It is torture!

The best part is your kid always end up being best friends with a child whose parents drive you the most insane. Or even better you and a mom hit it off fabulously and your kids can’t stand each other. 

To make this better for myself and because I love a theme. I have begun to pretend that my children’s playdates are like an episode of Survivor. Sure the other parent has some hidden skill that you wish you had, a MFA from NYU or snake handling experience, but you can be prepared for this!

1. Bring one essential item, depending on the event it can be many things: frisbee, baseball, a blanket. These days it is my own bottle of water, there has been a nasty stomach flu going around.Image

2. Prepare myself to eat something nasty – we live in San Francisco so everyone is either gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan, or allergic to taste. There is always some weird snack being served by the other family. 

3. Set an alarm that sounds like a phone call, so that you have the option of saying “We have to go. An emergency came up.”  

4. Call for back up. There is nothing wrong with having a friend who you actually like show up because they were “in the neighborhood” or “driving by and saw you waving frantically for a rescue.” Note: You better be ready to give you kids a treat to cover for you, because there will be follow up from the other playdate mom.

And the most essential: 

5. Take it easy. Playdates are not suppose to make you feel crapy about yourself, your kids, or life in general. They are supposed to help parents get to know each other. So what if the other mom drives up in an Audi making your Volvo look like a Gremlin, or you are meeting the nanny because the mom is at yoga. It is not the end of the word, at least you got out of the house. In these cases forget the water bottle, bring wine! 

If all else fails be the first one to ask if the other parent wouldn’t mind watching the kids for a bit while you ran to Target.