Category Archives: Family & Parenting

Not Smarter Than a Kindergartener

After I picked the kids up from school, I made a stop at a charity thrift store to drop off some donations. Being that close to the doors of a thrift store, where all sorts of treasures lurk, I fought the urge to go inside but my fetish for Danish modern enamelware and the possibility that some might be in there waiting for me was more than I could resist—I fetched the children and headed for the door.

As we were approaching the door, a guy cleaning the glass outside also moved towards the entrance and stood alongside the opposite door, as if he were waiting to go in behind us. I thought nothing of it.

As I was stepping inside, I felt something wet hit my left eye and simultaneously go in my mouth. Get the whole story »

I’m Just Not Ready for Any of This

Ugh…today is a hard day and it’s only 10:45am.

It started last night with the huz and I talking about our ten year old daughter who is starting to ask questions about Santa Claus. Of course we want to be honest with her but 1) she asked when our five yr old was around, so we really couldn’t and 2) once you spill the beans about Santa, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down—Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny—all that magic will evaporate in an instant. I’m not ready for that.

And today, my daughter has her last cheer event of the season. They cheer at games until October and then they do competitions for a while and then the season is over. I’ve been a very involved cheer mom and so it was hard to put her in a car this morning with her team, knowing I won’t have any contact with her until after 7pm tonight. At the last competition, cheerleaders and parents weren’t totally separated all day but at this one we are and I hate it. I didn’t even get to hug her goodbye this morning. She was in the car doing something and then BAM…they were leaving. I told her I loved her and she’s like “Okay, bye mama”  OUCH. Get the whole story »

Almost Syndrome

My daughter wants a skateboard for Christmas. She has quad skates, inline skates, a Razor scooter and of course, a bike and she’s good on all of them so it doesn’t surprise me that she wants a skateboard now and really, I’m happy to get her one. Anything that keeps my kids off the couch is a big fat win in my book.

So I start poking around on the internet to see what’s out there and um…I’m clueless. I’m pretty sure I’ve never ever felt more like a dumb mom than right now. I mean I don’t intend to run out and get her the baddest,  most expensive board out there but holy crap on a Cadillac, there are just so many options and prices, I don’t even know where to start (although something tells me the $30 skateboard from the big box store should definitely be avoided).

Back in the day, about eleventy seven years, I had a skateboard and it was PLASTIC. Red plastic. I came home from summer camp one year and my mom had it waiting for me which hello? It’s AWESOME to come home from 4 weeks at camp and have a present waiting for you! But my mom was always cool like that.

Anyway, as I was saying…it was plastic, which was not uncommon for the department store level skateboard back then and I rode it all the time. It was fine. My friends and I, in our own sheltered suburbanite way, didn’t know any better. And at our age, which was maybe ten-ish, we weren’t hanging out with any future Tony Hawk-types or anything so the no-name red plastic skateboard was perfectly fabulous.

But a few years later, after my mom died and I went to live with my dad and stepmom, I became acutely aware of what I call “Almost Syndrome.” No offense to my parents, because with three kids between them, they had to buy us a lot of shit (in addition to their boats, vacation properties etc *eyeroll*) but here’s how it would go…

I’d ask for something for my birthday or Christmas and instead of getting me what I asked for—i.e. a boombox with TWO speakers because those were all new and hot back then— I got the smaller, lamer one-speaker boombox.

Yes, it served it’s purpose, allowing me to listen to the radio and hit “record” every time one of my fave songs came on the radio (God, I’m really dating myself here) so I could have a cassette mixtape full of awesome. BUT…it wasn’t what I asked for. it was ALMOST what I asked for; the lesser, the not-as-cool, the slightly embarrassing version of what I really wanted. There was no way I was carrying that thing around in public and thus it lived on my nightstand.

The “Almost Syndrome” was a regular occurrence and I got used to never getting the cool version of anything. I know I sound like a spoiled brat but you know how it is when you’re a kid. You don’t want to get called out for having something dorky or substandard or look like some kind of K-mart wannabe. That’s just how it is.

And so, that’s where I am with the skateboard. I don’t know if this will be something she sticks with or if it’s just a passing fancy, as so many things are with kids, but I don’t want to get her some lame thing that she will love until someone tells her what a hokey piece of junk it is. I also want something that, if and when she tires of it, she can pass on to her little brother, who will  probably want one, too. And although I’d rather not spend a ton of money, it’s not even about that. I just want to get her something that’s not dumb or almost but not quite…

I’d rather tell my kids no or to save up for what they want if it’s crazy expensive then get them something that will never see the light of day—I won’t be party to “Almost Syndrome.”

I know this is not the best parenting… I should be teaching them that not everything has to be top-shelf or designer or what have you and that labels aren’t important—and  *I* actually believe that— but I just can’t do almost because I’ve been there and it kind of sucks.

Moms Should Know When to Just Shut Up and Listen

Soooo…the other day my daughter and  her friend were in her room playing this “Party Truth or Dare” game that she got as a b-day gift. It’s kid version so there’s no “I dare you to give so-and-so a lap dance” kind of stuff going on—well, not that I know of—I mean I didn’t look at EVERY card.

Anyway, my daughter and her friend are reading the cards and giggling and asking each other questions and then a question comes up that reads something like “Name one thing you’ve done that your parents don’t know about” and my daughter answers something not all that bad (but that I definitely didn’t know about) and they giggle some more and her friend says conspiratorially, “Your mom doesn’t know about that?” and before I knew it, the words were coming out of my mouth…

“I do NOW” I said loud enough for them to hear me,.

*crickets*

And then the door curtly closes shut.

And I sat here wondering why the hell I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut, particularly since this is just the beginning of such things.

OMFGIAMSTUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID.

….

I tried to find a non-pervy truth or dare image for this post and uh…I don’t think those exist. Let’s just say the internet is clearly MADE for perverts and if you are one of them and came here via some gross Google search, I hope you were totally disappointed.

The One Where I Eat My Words

humblepieA couple years ago, I wrote a post about how I didn’t want my daughter to get involved in cheerleading even though all her friends were doing it.

I listed a variety of reasons why I thought sports would be a better choice and how all the cheerleading I’d observed involved a lot of inappropriate (read: stripper-like) dance moves and of course, the outdated gender roles issue—the boys  PLAY the sport while the girls cheer for them on the sidelines. I think you get the picture…

Well, two years later, my daughter is a cheerleader. She hadn’t ever shown much interest in any sports or physical activities other than cheering and gymnastics and honestly, we just can’t afford gymnastics so I finally gave in and signed her up to cheer.

She hasn’t cheered at any games yet but she’s been going to practice 4 evenings a week for a few weeks now and she seems to really love it. She’s also showing a lot of self-discipline and hasn’t complained at all about the rigorous practice schedule—unlike her mother, who’s ALREADY over it and totally dreading those 8:30am games every Saturday.

As far as my concerns about all the hoochie dance moves, the coaches don’t approve of them either so I’m heartened that we’re all on the same page in that respect.

I don’t know how it will be down the road but for now, I’m okay with her cheering. I’m glad she’s getting some physical activity every day and making new friends and I’m happy that she’s happy.

In other words, this is me eating my words along with a nice big slice of humble pie (although I reserve the right to contradict and/or totally recant everything I’ve said here at any time!)

I must now go pack for BlogHer 10! Hope to see you all there :)

PS: I wanted to let you all know that I recently resurrected Moms Speak Up

Besties or Groupsies?

bestfriendsShould Adults Be Tinkering with Kids’ Friendships?

I just read an interesting post today on Blogher about kids and best friends. In a nutshell, some don’t think it’s healthy for kids to have strong friendships with one person or, I suppose, a limited number of people and that adults (teachers, camp counselors etc) should intervene (by separating them) and encourage more group interaction.

On one hand, I understand this. My daughter, who is almost ten, has always had a small coterie of BFF’s (depends on the week which one is THE BESTEST) but these friendships are very important to her and can be rather intense at times, especially as they start to get older.  I always encourage her to make multiple friends in her classes each year because you know, putting all your eggs in one basket can lead to disappointment in a numerous ways, but alas, she doesn’t listen. She’d rather have a lesser amount of really good friends than a stable of “meh” friends. While I totally get this, I still can’t help but occasionally encourage her to be more group-oriented. It just seems more sensible, even though, at heart, I know it’s not her thing.

She and I are are, in many ways, cut from the same cloth. I, too, prefer a few really good friends to a group of “meh” friends. I like knowing that my besties are trustworthy and we are always there for each other, rain or shine. You just can’t say that about a group of people that you haven’t totally bonded with over tears and confidences and private jokes that don’t make sense to anyone else. My dearest friends make me feel secure and loved and we always have each other’s backs. You just can’t get that from a larger group, especially not a group of females (no offense to my gender but seriously, groups of women are just… *shudder* Do I really have to explain?) My nearly lifelong BFF and I have been through all kinds of stuff together, good and bad, and trust me, no group of people could ever trump 32 years of one-on-one friendship.

That said, I’m not so sure that forcing kids, especially girls, away from their closest friends, and into group-oriented situations, is such a good idea. Not everyone is cut out for that and some people just don’t dig groups and the resulting group dynamics *raises hand* And regardless of whether you hire a “friendship coach” (yes, you read correctly) introverts (and/or those who simply prefer quality over quantity) will never become extroverts and nor should they have to—because really, how much would the world suck if we were all exactly the same?

Ultimately, we can advise them, we can guide them and we can try to get kids to have more than one BEST friendship but I think that’s where it needs to stop.

I say let kids choose how they want to roll—a few close friends or a ton of acquaintances—they’re going to gravitate to their comfort zone and we should respect that. I know if I was forced to do the big group thing on a daily basis with a bunch of women (and believe me, I have—groups of men are far preferable) I would ultimately be miserable and I would hate to think that, in the name of “helping” we end up making kids miserable, too.

What Kind of an Idiot Thinks This is Okay?

Ahhh…it’s that time of year again. Time for witches and ghosts and goblins and of course, the trashy, slutty costumes for little girls that make my blood boil. But…I’ve railed about those plenty in the past. Everyone who gets mail probably already knows of a certain national party store chain that carries an assortment of inappropriate costumes for elementary aged girls which, given how I feel about corporate America sexualizing children, kinda makes me want to hurl.

Before I go any further, though, let me ask if you, as a parent, make a habit of letting your 5-7 year olds (or even 8-10 year olds) watch movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Friday the 13th or Saw or Hostel? I’m sincerely hoping the answer is no and I’m just going to assume that the vast majority of you are responsible parents who would never do something so reprehensible  <— A must read!

So, that said, you probably wouldn’t be able to explain to me WHY THE EVER LOVING HELL why the aforementioned national party store chain is selling Freddy Krueger (of Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jason (Friday the 13th) costumes for FIVE to SEVEN year old kids and Leatherface (of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) masks for children?

Can you tell me? Because I sure as hell can’t figure it out. In any case? It’s messed up.

5-7 years old???

5-7 years old??? Even 8-10 yrs old is effed up.

Fits Most Kids???

Fits Most CHILDREN???

Nice.

Nice

And riddle me this…even if you haven’t let your kids see these movies but you DO buy them the costume, out of some kind of twisted nostalgia, I assume, WHAT do you tell them their costume is, exactly? Do you say “Oh, Leatherface is this guy in a movie that dismembers and kills tons of people with a chainsaw. Oh, and his mask? It’s made from the skin of his victims!”?

I mean seriously, I’d LOVE to know.

And yes, it’s very likely that I AM judging you for that. I admit it.

But I’m judging the store that sells this crap for little kids even more more harshly—what the hell are they thinking?