Category Archives: Family & Parenting

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. Get the whole story »

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. Get the whole story »

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.

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Frenemies and Other Lame Things

Well, the world didn’t end on 12-21-2012, which is good. But then again, we have the Korean krazypants, Kim Jong Un, making threats and pointing his nukes at everyone so maybe I shouldn’t get too happy just yet, huh?

Right now, I should really be writing out my thoughts and feelings in the form of a letter (that I won’t send) to a friend who really hurt my feelings yesterday. She’s not just a friend, though—our 12 year old daughters have been friends since they were two. This complicates things immensely.

I won’t bore you with the details except  to say that she made some incredulous claims about my motivations regarding a recent event..something that hurt her child’s feelings but that I absolutely did not do.

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Free-Range Parenting Fail or Accidents Happen?

My seven year old son has recently developed an interest in running which always makes me smile a little because this is not something I’d ever expect from him. Like his mom, he’s a very firm believer in never exerting himself too terribly much.

Soooo…when he started asking to come along and run the track while my daughter and I are at cheer practice three nights a week, I happily let him.

He was like Forrest Gump…just running and running and running around that track and he swears he did ten laps one night. But then he realized he has access to the playground at the school next to the football field and has been going over there to play while I sit on my butt watching cheer practice and talking to the other parents.

He’s not super close by (maybe 3/4 of a football field away) but I can see him and every minute or so, I look over there to make sure all is well. He’s usually running around and playing with other kids or climbing all over an elaborate array of monkey bars. Of course that part makes me a little nervous because it’s a long way to the ground but I figure we all grew up playing on monkey bars and it’s good exercise for him so I just try to relax and let him have his fun.

Last week, while he ran the track and then went to the playground, I walked over to let him know I was going to the fieldhouse for a minute and would be right back. Upon my return, I again went to him to let him know I’d be over on the bleachers if he needed me.

As per usual, I kept an eye on him while watching the girls and chatting with the other moms and dads.

Well, I must have forgotten to look over for a more than a couple minutes because when I tried to spot him, he was nowhere to be found. It was dusk and I figured I just couldn’t see him and was getting up to walk over there when one of the coaches came over and told me the nurse called her from the fieldhouse and asked her to let me know my son was injured and bleeding.

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Fact: Parenting is Hard and Life Sucks Sometimes

Part I

The past few months have been so damned hard. There are days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m spread too thin. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel like I have the world on my shoulders sometimes…

Tonight, I got really angry with my daughter. I exploded. I yelled and screamed and said I hated my life…that I would be glad if the world ended on 12-21-2012.

I won’t even expound on how wrong that is. All I can say is this has been building for a while…

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