Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coming and Punching

Anyone watch Californication? The main actor dude (the guy from X-Files) is a writer with serious trouble keeping his junk in his too tight pants. He writes a novel called Punching and Coming. Based on the show's title, you get the picture.

Well, I've got a different version and it's directed at the "special" parents.

Here are a few helpful hints for discussing and interacting with your children while interacting with a group of parents with children all around the same age.

1. Just because your kid comes up to you when the parents are all sitting together, doesn't mean you need to get all weepy with love. We all pretty much assume you love your kid. We don't need the waterworks. They're obnoxious.

2. You think your kid is better than all the other kids. We get it. We don't need to hear you one up us every time we say something about our own kids. Guess what? We think our kids are better than yours. We just have the humility and grace to keep that thought to ourselves. Try it.

3. If you have a group of parents sitting around a table, making notes on papers with pens, don't let your kid come over and start coloring on everyone else's papers. I don't let my kid do that (because he's supposed to be playing and interacting with the other kids) and because the kids need to know what the rules are. Your kid is a part of the class. Act like it and expect your kid to act like it. Besides, I've got enough scribbles on my papers at home, I don't need your kid's alleged Picasso all over my notes. (By the way, NO, the scribbles do not look like anything other than scribbles. Sorry to burst your bubble.)

4. If a teacher is talking, whether you feel the need to listen or not, keep your trap shut and at least pretend to be respectful. We're there to show our kids how to interact with teachers. They are expected to listen to the teacher. So are you. Don't be a douche and carry on your own conversation.

5. Consider the child you're raising. Do you want people to like this child? If so, enforce the rules. No one likes a kid that doesn't know how to listen and follow directions. Sure, I run toward the stricter end of the parent spectrum...it's how I roll. But I tell you what...I never have trouble finding a sitter, my kids get compliments on their manners and 9 times out of 10, we can get into and out of a store without a meltdown in Aisle 9.

The longer my kids are around, the less patience I have for nonsense and rudeness in other kids. And the same goes for their parents. I think everyone wants the best for their kids. I know everyone has a different idea about how to achieve that. But as a mother, I strongly suggest taking the above sections to heart.

Otherwise, you've been warned. I'll be coming and I will start punching.

(The kids will be nowhere in sight, however. We don't want them taking up that kind of nonsense.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Special vs. Reality

Right now, I have all three kids in some form of school. The Monkey started kindergarten, the Noodle is in preschool and the Dude takes a community ed class for 1 and 2-year olds.

When the Monkey and Noodle were younger, they also took community ed classes. I like to say I took them to get a jump on their love of education, but truth be told, if I didn't get the three of us out of the house, I'm pretty sure the men in white coats and the special jackets were going to show up...and soon. I was new to the stay-at-home thing and not adjusting well. So, off to school we went.

Now it's the Dude's turn. And once again, I find myself spending time with parents, mostly moms, that I most likely would never meet if it weren't for this class. I'm not a Mom's Club gal and I don't think my kids are the reason the earth revolves. There's one dad in the class and I already know him, so we tend to chat and exchange grimaces when the "special" moms start in on how wonderfully perfect their kids are. Disclaimer: I use "moms" because those are the people in the class. I'm sure there are plenty of "special" dads out there too.

Here's the thing about the "special" moms:

I don't believe them.

Sure, I believe they love/adore/obsess about their kids. I also believe there's a slight chance their 18-month old is potty-trained. And the kid stealing toys from the other kids might be able to play a piano concerto and that one in the corner picking his nose is an incredible artist in the style of Monet.

Mostly, in a class of 1 and 2-year olds, I believe the kids are learning to speak (the Dude has very little interest in talking. He's got 2 older sisters and they yak enough for at least 8 people.) I believe that they can point to a cow when you ask him/her where the cow is. I believe they understand 90% of what you say to them. I believe they have opinions and feelings and likes and dislikes. I believe they can express all those things.

I don't believe your child is perfect. I don't believe your child never cries. I don't believe your child has never smacked another kid, taken another kid's toy, pooped on the floor, spit up, cried or could say the alphabet at 6 months. I believe you want your child to be perfect. And part of me gets that. There are a lot of people with perfection issues. I have some myself.

But once my kids showed up, a lot of that need for perfection went by the wayside. Sure, I'll tell you my kids are really smart and super cute and I do believe that. And if you tell me you're impressed by my kids' ability to do anything, I will smile, say "thank you" and agree with you wholeheartedly.

What I will not do is tell you my kids are fluent in Spanish, when they know a smattering of words care of that little explorer Dora. I will not tell you 4 and 5-olds don't ever fight or throw things or have meltdowns. I will not tell you that my son never cries because I won't let him.

I will tell you my middle one once crapped on the carpet and when we saw it, we were certain it was leprechaun poop. I will tell you my oldest is stubborn like me and we have showdowns. I will tell you my youngest threw a tantrum in Walmart and laid down in the middle of the soup aisle until I caved in and agreed to carry him.

I will tell you I make mistakes. I yell sometimes. I curse (mostly mentally). I hate having to come up with meals all the time. I'm a pretty bad housekeeper. Sometimes the kids go a little too long without baths. I've let them eat mac and cheese for breakfast. We've had popcorn for dinner. The children watch tv (gasp).

I will tell you I love my children and they drive me completely insane. I will tell you I adore my children and lots of days, my favorite time of day is bedtime. I will tell you even though I am a mom, that is not all of me. I will tell you being a parent is wonderful and also the most difficult thing I've ever experienced. The other day, a guy was complaining about working a 12-hour shift. I snorted and thought, "Dude, I've got a 5-year old. You know how many hours I've been at work?"

Everyone parents in their own style. I get that. And I think the "special" parents honestly want the best for their kids. As far as my own parenting style, I don't necessarily do it the way I assumed I would. I don't always do it the same way and I don't always do it well. But I hope what my children will learn, from my attempts at good parenting, is that they aren't perfect and neither am I.

And if we were, where's the fun in that? Because I'm 99% sure, there's no leprechaun poop in the "perfect" world.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fun Friday

Fridays should be fun, right? I'm usually beat off my ass come Friday, but it's still early enough in the day, I think I can find some things to entertain you.

How 'bout this?

My 19-month old son has taken to "quacking" his penis. I'll leave the actual explanation up to your vivid imaginations. He also thinks it's funny to "quack" his father's "nickels".

Or this?

My almost 90-year old grandmother is notorious for mixing up expressions and names. For example:

Toyota Jackson
Lahota Jackson
Michelle Piper

Oh yeah, and her favorite word? Asshole.

And then there's this:

My mother like to ask very peculiar questions. And she's a little on the naive side (I say that with love, Mom.) For example, one day, my mom, step dad and I are standing in their kitchen, chatting. Next thing you know, my mom asks:

What is this tea bagging? I keep hearing about it.

At that point in the conversation, my step dad walked right out of the kitchen, just shaking his head.

How about this one?

I had just given birth to my first child, the Monkey. She was laying on my stomach, still covered in all that cheesy stuff, I was still riding the epidural train, and the whole crew in the room suddenly goes, "OH!" The child, all of 15-seconds old, had just crapped all over her mother for the first time. It was a very special moment.

Happy Friday, dear readers. Have a lovely weekend. See you Monday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


A fellow blogger (you can find his blog here) posted a question on his Facebook page this morning.

What is success?

I don't have a direct answer to this question. If I did, I'm pretty sure I could solve the national debt problem, cure cancer and time travel.

I have figured out, however, that success means different things to everyone. Sure, there's the typical answer: Money, big house, fancy car, blah, blah, blah. Currently, I have none of those things, so that can't be my "answer".

So, at this moment in time, here's how I define success:

1. Walking the Monkey to her first day of kindergarten and knowing, with a swell of pride, that we are both ready for this day.

2. Talking the Noodle into putting her socks on, so we can leave the house. Sure, she whips 'em off the second we walk in the door and I have piles of tiny socks all over my house, but at least she wears them when we leave the house.

3. Having a husband and children I adore...and adore me right back.

4. Having a house full of crazy ass animals.

5. Finishing my first rough draft of my attempt at a children's book series.

6. Having dear friends. Even though we're all busy with work and kids and life, I would drop everything for them...and they for me.

7. Knowing my brain still works. Sure, it takes mini vacation on an almost-daily basis, and sometimes needs a little extra medication, but it's still kickin'.

8. When the kids finish a meal, any meal, I've cooked. It happens rarely.

9. Knowing my kids are happy.

10. Knowing other people like my kids. Makes it much easier to get a babysitter.

I also have future visions of success. These are things I'm currently looking forward to and hope will happen.

1. Showering on a daily basis without being interrupted.

2. 3 potty-trained children.

3. Taking a vacation.

4. Buying wine...in actual bottles.

5. Publishing a book(s).

6. Covering the gray on a consistent basis.

7. Disposable income. Just because it's nice to not have the added stress.

8. The kids becoming adults and having people still like them.

9. Being able to sleep in on the weekends.

10. On-demand quiet time.

Sure, a big house, lots of money and fancy cars would be nice. But give me a quiet house, a book, happy kids, a husband who still looks at me like I'm 22 (despite all the lumps and bumps) and a cold box of wine in the fridge, and I'm happy as a clam.