Video Games and Kids

My friend asked me the other day whether or not she should get her 12 year old son a PS4. Her son had gotten it in his head that the only gift for Christmas that would suffice would be a PS4. Anything less would be an affront to his year long good behavior and the world would be soooooo unfair (he has a tendency for hyperbole). Since I recently had this debate with my husband in regards to our 8 year old, I decided to share my thought processes into the decision. Continue reading »

It Was the Best of Times…

Last night I was looking at a post my daughter had put on Instagram before she went to bed. It was a collage of photos from this summer and she had tagged all the friends she’d made at her day camp, thanking them for the “most amazing summer ever!”

It was really quite moving seeing a whole summer condensed into a collage of tiny photos and reading about how many great people she’d met and how much fun she’d had.

She made that collage and posted it last night because school was starting today. She was saying goodbye to summer.

And she was saying goodbye to another year gone by.

As I sat there ruminating on this, I got choked up and started to cry.

It’s not just the end of summer. It’s the end of one year and the beginning of another. It’s another year of my kids’ childhoods behind us.

If you know me at all, you might recall that I have a really hard time with the idea of my kids growing up. The mere thought of my babies not being my babies anymore brings me to tears on a regular basis.

But that Instagram post didn’t just make me sad because my kids are growing up and time is flying by faster than I ever thought it could.

It made me sad because despite all the bad stuff that’s happened this summer, namely my husband becoming unemployed along with a few other things, it’s also been one of the best summers we’ve ever had as a family. Continue reading »

You Mean We’re Poor Now?

My husband lost his job.

Well, he didn’t exactly lose it. I mean it’s not misplaced or anything. He just doesn’t have it anymore.

He is officially unemployed after 12 years at the same workplace. I can’t give you the details other than to say his job was in the IT field but he was at that job for a dozen years and honestly, I figured he’d retire from there.

But when your still kind of new-ish boss is having a meltdown every day over nothing and yelling and screaming at everyone on a regular basis and decides one day that he should take a swing at you because you told him you weren’t going to put up with him screaming and spitting and throwing violent tantrums anymore, well, it’s probably time to go anyway.

The guy was an idiot and his childish outbursts chased away the one guy who could actually run the whole department and do EVERY.DAMN.THING that needed to be done but as shitty as the situation turned out, I’m glad my husband doesn’t work there anymore.

He was coming home at lunch and complaining of chest pains at least 2 times a week, if not more, and while a lot of people don’t believe it, stress really does kill people.

So goodbye and good riddance to crazy bosses with anger management issues.

And hello to being poor.

For the record, it totally sucks.

I’ve been taking note of how things have changed for us almost overnight and writing blog posts in my head. Unfortunately, my head is not a very effective filing cabinet and I forget said blog posts :(

Nonetheless, I plan to chronicle our newfound status as the poor people on the block so stay tuned (and load many pages!) because I need that $5 a month ad revenue check more than ever.

And that last part was sarcasm. Sort of.

I’m So Sick of Lazy, Spineless Parents and Their Bratty Kids. There. I Said It.

Do kids have the right to not be touched by other kids if they don’t want to be?

When I frame it like that, I’m pretty sure most people would give a resounding yes. In fact, I think anyone who isn’t some kind of freak would say “Absolutely!”

And yet, when I asked someone to keep the kids in her charge from pushing my kid around, I got the old “Boys will be boys” line.

Really? So, based on that logic, it would be okay if it was a boy or a man touching a girl or woman against her will? How about pinching her? How about kneeing her from behind? How about a good old fashioned shove?

That’s all okay because they’re male and that’s just how boys and men are?

Pfffft…RIGHT.

As those folksy politicians love to say… That dog don’t hunt.

Here’s the backstory…

My son plays in a recreational basketball league. He’s about average size and weight for his age (7). The other boys are similar with minor variations but there are a couple of twins that are notably taller and bigger and I suspect they are either on the late end of six or possibly seven as they are a grade lower than my son. Another huge kid is eight already. How they are all on the same  team, I have no idea.

My son is very mild mannered, easygoing, friendly and kind. He gets along with everyone and makes friends wherever he goes. He is NOT  aggressive, obnoxious or the kind of kid that goes around pushing, pinching or shoving other kids. That’s not to say he won’t engage in some wrestling and sparring with his friends but those are activities where there are  two willing participants.

Every week at basketball practice, I see both of those twins constantly putting their hands on other kids. I don’t get the sense that it’s totally malicious but when you go and pinch someone when they’re running alongside you minding their own business, it’s probably not going to be well-received.

When you take your place in line and intentionally shove the kid in front of you and make them run into the person in front of them, it’s f#$%ing obnoxious and uncalled for.

When you run up behind someone and knee them in the back, you’re crossing the line as far as this mom is concerned.

Never mind that they will block and take balls from kids on their own team during a game. Never mind that if they want a ball at practice they will just take one from someone else.

Those things suck and reek of poor sportsmanship but they’re not  really hurting anyone.

But the other stuff? I watch it happen every week. Once when my son tried to tell the coach one of the twins was pinching him repeatedly during drills, the coach blew it off. I told my son the next time someone puts their hands on him, he should get right in their face and yell at them to knock it off but he’s not a yeller and even when he does speak up, nobody hears him in a loud gym full of bouncing balls.

So…I watched it happen again today and I’d had enough. My son doesn’t cry or complain about it but the fact that everyone blows it off is sending a message that I don’t want him to internalize:

It’s okay for people to cross your personal boundaries, put their hands on you and hurt you and no one is going to do anything about it. You have no choice but to take it.

Continue reading »

Just Say Know

I was watching some silly movie the other night where Jim Carrey’s character takes a self-help course where you are are supposed to say yes to anything anyone requests of you. Of course, this leads to all sorts of comedic shenanigans and the hijinks ensue.

But I was thinking that rather than saying “yes” to everything, I should take a page from my kids’ books and just say “I don’t know” to everything. It seems to work really well for them and absolves them from responsibility for, well, just about everything.

Me: Where are your shoes?

Child: Ummmm I don’t know


Me: Where are my good scissors that I let you use the other day?

Child: Ummmm I don’t know.


Me: Do you need to do this worksheet I found in your backpack?

Child: Ummmm I don’t know.


Me: Why on earth did you (insert undesirable behavior here)?

Child: Ummmm I don’t know.

 

I think you get the general idea. Since they don’t know anything, they are OFF. THE. HOOK. I find out about the worksheet and eventually locate the scissors and unearth the shoes and come up with some explanation for the undesirable behavior.

But what if *I* was the one answering “I don’t know” all the time?

 

Child: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: I don’t know  (I no longer need to think about dinner…I WIN!)


Child: Mom, where my sneakers?

Me: I don’t know (I no longer have to hunt for shoes…YAY!)


Child: Mom, can I get a (insert toy, gadget, clothing item)?

Me: I don’t know (I don’t even have to come up with a reason for saying no!!!)


Child: Hey Mom, are we going to Disney World this summer?

Me: I don’t know  (I can put off planning a summer vacation!!!)


Child: Mom, can you drive me to (insert location)?

Me: I don’t know (I never have to drive anyone anywhere ever again unless I feel like it…WOOO!!!)


Child: Mom, can I (insert anything that doesn’t involve bodily harm or the police)?

Me: I don’t know (I don’t even have to THINK! This is SO awesome.)


Child: But whyyyyy can’t I stay up later tonight?

Me: I don’t know (This is what WINNING really looks like!)

 

So, there’s the plan…

I might market it as an e-book to start and then parlay it into a vast self-help empire where I teach people of the joys of… (say it with me!)  I DON’T KNOW!!!!

 

Decisions, Decisions

Ughhhh…blerghhhhh….arrrghhhhh… Big decisions are afoot over here at my house. And if you know me well enough, you know that I am a worrier—but not one of those annoying worriers that constantly ruminates on their concerns—out loud—over and over and over until you want to jab a sharp pencil in one ear and clear out the other.

No, I am a secret worrier. There is always a mental chess game going on in my brain…weighing pros and cons and what ifs and trying to stay two jumps ahead of fate and circumstance until I’m mentally exhausted and have to take to my sofa and nap it off. Some people eat when they are stressed or upset or worried. I sleep.

So, the minor stuff first…

My almost 13 yr old daughter wants an iPhone and if anyone had told me a few years ago that I’d even be considering such a thing, I would have insisted they put down the crack pipe and seek help.

Anyhoo, she already has a regular phone she peevishly refers to as a “dumb phone” because it has no internet and even worse, NO INSTAGRAM!!!  OHHHH, THE HORROR OF IT ALL!!!!

I just got it for her about 6 months ago because she was going on a trip with her Girl Scout troop and I wanted her to be able to contact me whenever she needed without having to ask anyone or borrow a phone yada…yada…yada. It doesn’t help at all that her BFF just got her first phone and it’s an iPhone 5.

Honestly, if we weren’t grappling with other issues, I wouldn’t even consider letting her have an iPhone but since an iPhone 4 would be free on our plan and it would only be an extra $10 a month more than what we pay for her “dumb phone”, I’m actually thinking about it.

My primary concern is that she will become one of those kids who always has her nose in her phone. I don’t like it when adults can’t pry themselves away from the tiny magic screen and I really hate it when kids do it (looking at you, neices and nephews). But the upside is the leverage I will have with her—TONS AND TONS OF IT!

Of course, this begs the question of why I am actually considering letting her have the stupid iPhone (aside from the leverage).

You see, she attends a very diverse International Baccalaureate (IB) magnet school and the kids come from all over the county. Making friends you can actually spend time with outside of school is very difficult when they live up to 45 minutes away. Having an iPhone will let her stay in touch with her school friends as well as all her friends from her old school since she never gets to see them either.

She’s been feeling really left when she gets together with her old girlfriends because they are all connected by school and apparently by their phones, too (via Instagram, Facetime etc). It’s really not that different from the blogging world…we adults stay connected by social media and if you’ve ever been to a blogging conference without a smart phone,  you know exactly what I’m talking about. It kind of sucks :(

The much larger issue is that she wants to change schools.

Continue reading »

Pet Sematary (kinda like the movie but not really)

It’s been the week of death around here…critter deaths, unfortunately.

Yesterday, I had to go out and get a dead squirrel off the street in front of my house because the kids play out there and that would have really upset both of them. Plus, it’s just ewww to leave something dead in the street.

Whenever I see that,  it makes me wonder how civilized we really are because a truly civilized people wouldn’t just ignore something dead in the road. And this will make me sound like a freak but over the years  I have removed a handful of dead animals out of the main road a couple blocks away…primarily because it was obvious it was someone’s pet and I can’t think of anything more devastating than finding your missing pet squashed in the road and continuously run over like a fly-ridden soda can.

Prior to that, over the weekend, my cat got a bluejay. He’d lost his bell collar a few days before and I hadn’t had a chance to replace it.

I saw him with the bird and it was flapping and freaking out but by the time I got from my car to the other end of the yard, the poor thing was dead and it’s mate was flying around all agitated and upset.

The whole thing was awful. But I can’t blame the cat completely. Cats are predators by nature and that’s why he wears a bell. It’s really all my fault because I didn’t get him a new one as soon as I noticed his old one was missing. He has a new one now. Guilt s a terrific motivator…

And because I don’t have the heart to just throw away a dead animal in the trash like many people do, a bird and a squirrel have joined our growing pet cemetery in the back yard.

And I sound like a total Wednesday Addams weirdo  :-|