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Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Did you know that new moms today can get a digital timer to remind them to feed the baby? Is it just me, or is this the most ridiculous item ever put in front of pregnant women? These poor women are distraught, tired and distracted by their own swollen feet, so they’re vulnerable to absurd and manipulative marketing. Your baby will die if you forget to feed it. Better put that timer on the registry!

In case you have the kind of baby who doesn't cry when hungry, or smell when poopy.

People! You do not need a timer to remind you to feed your baby. Your baby will remind you. Your baby is programmed to do just that. Basically, it is the only thing your baby can do for a long, long time.

Anyway, as I was smugly making fun of this timer, I suddenly remembered an episode from my own crazy first-time-mom past. I somehow blocked this out, preferring to remember a fictional history of myself as a non-panic-stricken individual who did not go over the top with her first baby. But I did. Boy, did I ever.

When I was pregnant with L, T and I wanted to take a baby first aid and CPR class. Not unreasonable, right? Well, we were both full-time students with no money or time to spare for such courses. No worries, because I found the perfect solution! A way we could become baby saving experts on our own time for even less money than a course! I found this:

Maybe the scariest thing I've ever received in a box in the mail.

That’s right. I got my very own plastic baby. (This was a few years ago and ours looked a lot less like a blow up doll and a lot more like a dead baby. A totally freaky thing to live with.) What a great thing to have! We could always freshen up our skills. Just pop in the DVD, inflate the baby and compress to our hearts’ content!

If you think this is where the crazy ends, wait, there’s more.

Then I had my precious baby. He actually did choke once and I had to quickly turn him upside down and pound on his back until he vomited his body weight on the rug. Thanks plastic baby for the practice! (You might have mentioned the vomit and suggested doing it over tile or hard wood.)

Fast forward about 8 months when I’m ready to leave baby L with a babysitter. A random girl (who I grew to love) who I found on a university job board. This made me nervous. These days I’ll leave my kids with anyone willing to take them, but this first time I was so anxious about it! Guess what I made her do?

Yup. I made her come about 1/2 an hour before I was scheduled to leave so she could watch the video and practice on the dummy baby. And she did it graciously, as if it was a perfectly normal and not at all neurotic request, and she didn’t tell me I was a crazy lunatic. God, I love that girl.

I completely forgot all of this, like I said, and was so embarrassed for myself when I remembered. So, if any of you were ever under the impression that I’m at all cool, I give you this story as incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. *Takes bow.*
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S has memorized the How To Be An Annoying Younger Sibling Handbook. Hell, she may have revised the thing, adding new chapters such as “Sitting on Big Brother’s Head – Appropriate Situations to Employ This Most Dangerous Tactic,” and “When Hurting Yourself is Worth it in the Spririt of Getting Big Brother in Trouble,” and “Let’s Make Sure Mom Drinks Tonight.” My sweet little girl pulls hair, claws eyeballs and puts her own fingers into L’s mouth for him to bite. In her defense, she only does this stuff when she’s bored. And she will handle a whole minute of boredom before resorting to these measures.

She’s most bored when L watches TV. This is problematic for me because I plug L into the TV when I have something to do. Like cook dinner, make a phone call, or not kill him. So while I’m super busy cooking, talking on the phone, or not killing, S is in the other room stirring things up. She’s instigating a monster, and she knows it. She will sit on his head, (keep in mind, she’s usually not wearing anything on her bottom half,) pull his hair and claw at his eyes until he retaliates. In his defense, he has a HUGE tolerance for this type of crap. I have seen him watch an entire Wild Kratts with his sister on his head. When he does retaliate though, he does so with gusto. A swift twist, push and throwing maneuver and S is thrown from the couch altogether. He may leave it at that, or he may leap down after her and then the two are a blur of legs and arms as they wrestle it out on the floor.

L weighs 45 lbs. S weighs 23. Fighting is in L’s DNA. S doesn’t stand a chance.

This morning, L is plugged into a movie while I try to pack up all of our stuff as we can finally head home after a week of living with my parents. We have our electricity back and I can’t wait to get back to our normal lives. S does not want to watch a movie. So, naturally, she grabs a handful of eyeball. Like a pitbull, once she’s latched on, nothing can get her off. L is screaming and I’m yanking on S but she’s glued onto that eyeball. I finally free L from her clutches and put S into a time out. She does not stay in time outs so I am re-putting her in the corner again and again and then something strange happened.

A man came in and scooped her up. He gave her a hug and asked her if she will promise to be good. Through pathetic fake tears, she promises. He then releases her back into her freedom. WTF? Who is this man? He looks like my dad, but can’t be.

When I was growing up, my dad was the scary one. When we were naughty we quickly asked our mother, “Please don’t tell dad??” I think he still doesn’t know about the brand new ski jacket I lost in the 5th grade. (Sorry, Dad.) So who’s this softy letting my daughter out of her time out? I could have used this guy 30 years ago.

I guess the moral here is that we all have to wait about 30 years. Then when our terrible children have terrible children of their own, we can do whatever the eff we want. We can be the nice guy if we used to be the mean guy. We can give them Sugar Puff Honey Crack O’s for breakfast and then give them back to their parents. We can babysit and keep them up way past bedtime. All this is to say, that one day, we will have our revenge. Good things come to those who wait.

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Baby Haters?

Actual Facebook status of a college (clearly childless) friend:

Note to all you parents out there: if you can’t get your baby to stop crying for more than 30 seconds at a time throughout a 2 1/2 hour flight, maybe you should hold off on flying because people like me hate people like you. On an unrelated note, I think it’s about time for a vasectomy.

After a mix of comments, none of which were a hand reaching out of his screen and smacking him, he followed up with:

Listen, I’m not anti child, I am anti shitty parent. If you can’t shut your kid up for more than 30 seconds on a 3 hour flight, I guarantee you that all 20 people sitting within earshot from you think you aren’t trying hard enough.

Am I naive to be shocked by this? Am I so far gone into parenthood that I’ve forgotten how people without kids think and feel? Did I feel this way? Is it normal?

My question to him was, “How exactly should these shitty parents make their baby shut up?” I haven’t gotten an answer yet.

Do childless people really think parents can make our kids and babies do anything? Or is it just a matter of not thinking it through? Obviously we can’t make them do anything. If we could, parenting would be easy. We could make them eat what they’re served, make them go on the potty, make them behave in public places, make them go to sleep and make them stop crying. If only!

Then again, that would mean that our children had no wills of their own, that they were not their own people, that they were not capable of exerting themselves or having independent thought. I’m the first to raise my hand to tell you that my kids’ will and independent thought are often entirely frustrating to me, but I’m still happy that they have them!

As for the crying baby on the plane, I hope that before I had kids I was smart enough to know that despite how entirely annoying to me a crying baby might be, there’s nothing that the parents could do about it. Those poor parents were surely trying all they could think of, and certainly felt the judgement of all the people around them. I’m positive that the parents were more stressed and unhappy about the whole ordeal than anyone else, baby included.

As for my college friend, not sure if I want him to get that vasectomy immediately, or to have a baby of his own!

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I want you all to know that I read every comment I get here and on my FB page and every single email. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the feedback, support, advice and points of view. There are too many awesome points for me to respond to each one, so I’m writing this as a general response:

  • Yes, I am still going to go forward with having L evaluated by someone who is not that douche-bag doctor we saw the other day. My objective is to find out what makes L tick, so I can help him tick in a way that will not piss me off is more socially acceptable.
  • You’re right, all kids behave worse at home. I should be happy and proud that L can behave so well at school. It does mean, at the very least, that he’s not a psychopath, sociopath, or any other kind of terrible-path. And it also shows that he trusts me enough to never really sell him on eBay.
  • I will try to look at L’s ransacking the baking/junkfood cabinet and the freezer at dawn today as a step towards his becoming an independent, self-reliant man. (Damn, some of you are very glass-half-full people!)
  • I had an aha moment today when I read this comment:

….I’ve found my kids doing the exact same things. They ignore rules they’ve known for years, make messes just for the sake of being messy, and misbehave for me while acting the angel for everyone else. I’ve also come to realize that every time they act this way, it’s because they know they can get away with it. I realize I’ve fallen into the parent trap of frustrated speech, not following through, and trying to plead with them to do what I told them. When I follow through with discipline and kind words, all goes back to normal…

Dean is totally right on. Things were bad with L a year ago, I got really strict and mean, things got better. Things were so good that I thought I was out of the woods. I let my guard down. I let small things slide. Small things snowballed into an avalanche of bad, and now I’m here. Time to bring back mean mommy. This will not be fun, but will probably provide blog-fodder.

So, watch out, L! Mean-Mommy is back. And Daddy’s going to bring back Hammer-T. I will try very, very, very hard not to react emotionally. I will suppress my inner combustible self. I will be nonplussed, calm, and mean.

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I may be a genius. Or maybe I’m just emerging from the rock I’ve been under. Either I just figured out a great little trick, or I’ve been unaware that every other parent out there already knows this, and how could I not?

Some background:

L is happy to have a bucket of water dumped on his head pretty much anytime, anywhere. The upside to this penchant is that he’s been happy in the bath since he was a baby. (Although he was decidedly unhappy in his first bath, if memory serves.) Washing his face and hair was never a problem. Then came S, who is quite delighted to be in the water. Is happy as anything playing with the toys and bubbles and washcloths. But woe be to the person who tries to touch her! And may the person who pours water over her head be forever damned!

I’m the meaner parent, so pouring water over S’s head is my job. My wanting-to-complete-the-task impulse is stronger than my feel-bad-for-miserable-toddler impulse. (This is not a surprise.) Luckily, S has had barely any hair until pretty recently. Not sure if you remember or not, but not long ago I made the comparison between S’s hair and that of a certain celebrity:

I'm not kidding. S was a dead-ringer for the Captain.

Good thing for S, her hair has since grown out a bit, into a toddler-chic shag do. Suddenly she needs conditioner. This involves so many more cups of water poured over S’s head. So much more misery. My Efficient v. Empathetic scale started to move.

Here comes the stroke of genius (or my personal discovery that the sky is blue):

I use leave in conditioner in my hair, why not use it in S’s?

This has changed my life. Well, my evenings. Well, the evenings in which I bathe my children. If you don’t do it already, try it!

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You know what is absolutely not necessary in the world? Moms who tell you that their children never have had a tantrum. Especially when this comment comes as part of a conversation with another mom about how our almost 2-year-olds are suddenly willful, crying lunatics. Kids who have never thrown a fit? Puh-leeze! What utter bullshit!

This scenario happened to me at a party recently. The other mom has one child, almost 2 years old. She just experienced a mortifying public tantrum and we were discussing disciplining and consequences in public. A tricky topic for any mom, right? Something we can all empathize with and understand, right? Who hasn’t been totally mortified in the supermarket? I’ll tell you who. The little-miss-perfect mom standing to my left. Allegedly.

This mom, and other sancti-mommies like her, claims that none of her three children, ranging in age from 8-14, has ever had a tantrum or embarrassing public episode. Trying hard not to kick her in the knees or say something really, really snarky, I told her that she has some “special kids.”

Special, as in we should all be concerned for these poor catatonic children. Are they malnourished or in need of medical intervention? Is that the explanation for their apparent lack of a will? Or should I be concerned because they are being raised by a mother who is so desperate to appear “perfect” that she needs to tell strangers (who are openly admitting to their own kids’ horribleness) that her kids are beyond reproach to the point of being scarcely human?

Meanwhile, the other mom’s face held a crestfallen expression of parental failure. Why isn’t her kid behaving as well as this other person’s? Incredibly, she actually asked this crazy bitch for tricks and advice. The only thing more obnoxious than saying that your three kids have never thrown a fit, is taking credit for that nonsense. This mom was only too happy to share her perfect parenting secrets.

I then completely scandalized her by telling a fairly benign story of how I was once so mad at L while we were driving that I not only pulled the car over and stopped, but got out and walked far away. You should have seen the look on perfect-mom’s face at that one. You’d think by her reaction that I told her I had filled a sack with babies and kittens, tied some bricks to it and threw it into the river.

Can’t we all admit to our own struggles already? Why is it a secret that kids (and all people, really) can suck sometimes? And it’s not just parenting. Have you ever told someone something you’re struggling with only to be met with total righteousness?

“I’m really having a hard time watching what I eat and getting to the gym.”

“Oh really? My body is a temple and I couldn’t possibly eat one (organic, vegan, and sprouted) bite more than what I need to keep it working perfectly. And I’m just naturally energetic and disciplined. I’m up at 4AM for my daily 7 mile jog. I also do yoga 5 times per week, spin class twice and swim 8 miles on Sundays. Why don’t you just do that?”

“Fuck you.”

Can we have a national coming out day for average people? We can all proudly announce that we are good at some things sometimes. People could hold up signs that say “My kids watch TV!” and “I ate a pint of ice cream yesterday!” and “My kids are not gifted but I like them most of the time anyway!” I might need to pioneer a movement.
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I love me some Memorial Day Weekend! Coming out of what felt like weeks of cold and rain to a hot weekend at a house full of kids with an in-ground pool is the only way to go. The big kids, my 6-year-old nieces and 4-year-old L (yup, he’s one of the big kids!) got to run free in the huge backyard without adult supervision. Completely unaccustomed to any kind of freedom like this, they stayed outside, out of the way and out of trouble just about every minute. Unless they were eating, which they did with abandon, or swimming.

Ahhh, swimming. There is nothing like a pool to knock noisy, hyper kids out. Dinners were blissfully quiet as the children worked to keep their heads off the table. Not a single second of resistance as we packed them off for bed before 7PM both nights. This is what kids must have been like in the old days when they were busy tilling the fields all day. None of the usual sass, noisiness, constant motion and non-stop talking that plague us poor parents of modern children.

As beautiful as the sleepiness and quiet are, the best part of the pool is actually playing with the kids in it. Nieces 1&2 excitedly showing off their very best handstands which are really just spastic feet splashing about while the feet’s owner tries desperately to keep her top half under water. And L, nothing is better than L in a pool! He was the only kid brave enough to jump off the diving board, which he must have done 12,856 times. He couldn’t possibly love swimming any more. His face just glows with joy.

We still have to work on S, who refuses to be outside without shoes on and therefore was in the pool with shoes on. She also does not like getting splashed – not a great combo with all those other kids splashing about. Luckily, there were enough adults who preferred to not be in the pool, so T and I were able to pawn S off on them and we got to play all day in the pool too.

Even the speeding ticket T got on our trip home hasn’t dampened my weekend. (Although he is very grumpy about it.) We stopped for roadside burgers, dogs and ice cream before getting back home where we were able to get both kids into bed within 15 minutes of our arrival.

Life is good.

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