Category Archives: parenting

Starts With B, Rhymes With Witch

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

What do you get when one and three go to war? Lot’s of flying fists, hurt feelings and exhausted referees.
 

Into every new year a little profanity must fall and who better to give it to you than Il Duce? The shock value of naughty words spilling forth from tiny lips never lessens, but  even I drew a sharp breath upon hearing his newly acquired profane utterance. 

If you want an extreme reaction, make sure to call me a bitch. 

If you want to make me cry watch my five-year old learn and use that word. 

Number one and number three are forces of nature that suck the air out of every room they enter creating a vacuum that few escape. Sandwiched between these two is my gentle sweet heart who has learned to weather the storm and keep his head down. 

Powerful personalities battle it out over Tokyo

Today I listened to all three call each other that word and waited for the piss poor parenting paddy wagon to pull up and cart me off. 

Good work mom. 

One too many viewings of the housewives of whatever county happen to be on and the word became legend over here where potty mouth is far too prevalent and three bars of lye soap are in demand now. 

Little assholes.

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Filed under 1, am I doing anything right?, assholes, Bad cable shows, bad catholics, bad parenting, behavior problems in kids, buffoonery, crazy ramblings, discipline, kids and parenting, kids that like cursewords, parenting, parenting badly, please let him grow up to be normal

Monday Morning Report

Time 7:45 am.
Place Washington DC, interior of my car.

Child 1: What’s that you’ve got going on there?

Me: What, where?

Child 1: Your outfit.

Me: *Vacant expression*

Me: Oh look, there’s a black cat. He just crossed RIGHT in front of the car. I’d watch yourselves today. Don’t do any heavy lifting or risky maneuvers.

Child 1: Mom, seriously.

Me: What? You know kids (*insert meaningful speech about not being so hung up about what other people think because we all know what really matters is that we are pretty and put together on the INSIDE*)

Child 1: *snaps fingers in front of my face* Uh mom?

Me: Yes?

Child 1: You do have to care a LITTLE bit.

Me: *looking down at self* Point taken.

I thought back to last year when I made a solemn promise to take stock, reassess and re-evaluate my wardrobe choices. I vowed to stop wearing my now mysteriously missing Snuggie to greet the UPS and mailman AND almost managed to throw out the terry cloth pants like item that defies description.

They are neither shorts nor pants but have wandered dangerously close to coolat territory with a chance at being capris if I wear them slung very low around my hips.

I got a thumbs down with that attempt.

There is also the matter of the tan granny sweater that goes over every outfit and the red shirt.

Today I added a splash of green for all you fashion forward folks. Drink it in.

The red shirt is the bain of my husband’s exsistence.

He hates it.

Has even threatened to steal and burn it.

I don’t know why he feels SO strongly about it but he does.
It feels like a little slice of heaven when I put it on my body.

Today I am wearing ALL THREE together.

The granny sweater over the red shirt and the terry cloth pantaloony, Capri, coolats I had on earlier.
I traded them in for gap khakis because it’s cold as shit here this morning.

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Filed under bad wardrobe choices, don't make me throw out the red shirt, I embarass my kids, i swear coolat is a real item of clothing, kids, kids and parenting, mediocrity, my husband told me not to buy these, pants, parenting, parenting badly, try to do better

You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

Il Duce at the farm. See the weapon?

Yesterday I needed a momentary break from my service to the emperor. Doing his bidding all day every day can really wear on a person so after re-fixing his chocolate milk three times to get it just right and head off that epic screaming fit that we all could have suffered through, I sat down to catch up on some blog reading. I’ve got a list of fantastic mommy bloggers who I follow regularly because, well, I guess we have at least our reproductive abilities in common. God, it’s depressing though. After scrolling through all these upbeat, inventive tales of their funny and sweet children with the love they have for them coming across in every word they type I just got cranky. Especially one gal who posted an angelic pic of her smiling tot with goodness that just emanated from every pore in the child’s body.

Then I look at Il Duce. Every photo I have of him he’s either sneering, giving me the finger or brandishing a weapon. This filthy little animal has ruined nearly every family photo I’ve tried to take in the last two years. Not even his make-believe games come close to normal. Last night I heard him using his Diego plastic marsupials in a jungle adventure, except he kept calling them “sex monkeys” and putting them in jail for kissing. What the fuck does that mean? Don’t even start pointing the finger at me, because the phrase “sex monkeys” has never passed my lips. Even my ten-year old was scandalized.
We got his weirdly inconclusive test results back from the world-renowned three thousand dollars a pop Neuro/Psycho/Edu testing dude and he’s all like “what a funny kid! He’s super smart but not so good at being told what to do huh?” Yes, super expensive rip off artist, I could have pooled the collective resources of every  idiot who’s ever come in contact with him and come up with a more comprehensive plan of action than scratching my head and suggesting meds if he doesn’t calm down in a few years. Better yet, I’m gonna steal those meds and help myself to a big heap of mother’s little helper during the afternoons when it’s too crazy to deal with here. Okay?
Uggg. So anyway, I’m off to chauffeur Palpatine to his next engagement that takes place right after his school day ends. Let’s hope he’s not suffering from his usual fit of distemper and all goes smoothly. But realistically, probably not.

He got along REALLY well with the goats. Must be the horns.

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Filed under 1, bad parenting, boys with serious attitude, busy days, difficult child, difficult kids, discipline, education, foul language in preschool, kids, kids and parenting, kids that like cursewords, kids with potty mouth, kindergarten options, mothers, my kid the scapegoat, odd behavior, parenting, things to do today, things we shouldn't be thrilled by

Unicorns, Yeti’s and Rainbows

Today I walked past a seventh grader that towered over me by at least four inches, but that wasn’t the only glaring difference that made me stop and think. Did I look like that in seventh grade? Did I carry myself with that much confidence while sporting expensive designer clothing, flawless make-up and a bag that my forty year old self would consider grabbing and running away with? No, I admitted sadly to myself, as I pictured with perfect clarity the dorky, metal mouthed Farrah Fawcett wannabe that I was. We had no idea what was out there over the horizon when we were more concerned with hopscotch, itchy wool uniforms and super new suede Gass earth shoes. Imagine if we had known then, that in the future there would be a way to de-frizz hair, wear clothing that didn’t physically hurt, and take more than one shopping trip to the mall a year.

I was remembering my youth fondly as I strolled along and then a memory that had been tucked away for years surfaced. My best friends Vicky and Julie had tried for months to form a “best friends club” that included only us and they were racking their brains to decide on a symbol that represented the three girls involved. “You know, something that when you see it, everyone totally thinks of us!” chirped Vicky.
No one could agree on a proper avatar that fully encompassed each girls essence so after a grueling two weeks we decided we would each pick our own and that would be “our thing”. Julie was the first to offer up her choice and it was a no brainer. “I pick unicorns!” she shouted at the first opportunity. Of course, if you knew Julie you would know that she chose the most delicate shade of lavender to paint her tiny bedroom and then she had hand sketched a floor to ceiling mural of a white unicorn rearing up in front of a fantasy castle. I envied her talent which far surpassed mine and realized Vicky and I were going to have to step up our game to nab the next best fantasy creature. Soon enough Vicky announced her choice. “I’m going to go with rainbows!” she yelled in the hallway while we changed classes one afternoon. Sure enough we were in her downstairs bedroom the next week with cans of multicolored paint trying desperately to paint within the near perfect lines Julie had sketched out for her in pencil on the walls of her room. To top it off her rainbow ended in fluffy clouds and even changed surfaces arching all the way up to the middle of her ceiling. She had changed the game plan ,by stepping outside the mythical creature realm we had agreed upon, there were now a whole list of things real and imaginary I could choose from. “How about hearts?” I wondered aloud, even though I had no idea how hearts related to me or why I would offer something like that as an option. “Nah” was the response.
What was I going to do? There was no freaking way I was going to lose my membership in the damn club over something so simple and certainly didn’t want others to look at our choices and spend endless hours laughing at the one I chose for myself.
I eventually went with a dual representation, the bumble from the beloved Rankin/Bass claymation Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and the Mon Chi Chi. If you were born prior to 1970 this one needs no explanation.
Eventually, the best friends club imploded and we ended up with daggers sunk deeply in each others backs, like all good girl friendships from middle school. Julie and I kept in touch throughout high school and into our twenties, but Vicky I never saw again after twelfth grade.

 

The times they are a changin’ and kids seem so worldly now so aware of things that we only began to discover in our late teens. I took a last look at the supermodel tall seventh grader and concluded the last time she’d even given rainbows, unicorns or yeti’s a thought was probably in kindergarten. I hope my daughter remains blissfully naive for at least a few more years, but my last trip with her to Hollister to shop for clothes tells me that soon this era will be coming to an end.

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Filed under 1, kids growing up, parenting, rainbows, seventh grade then and now, unicorns, yeti's

Prince of Id

 So here I am again. Today I sit in an office across from another set of baffled educators trying to dissect my uproariously funny but hard to understand four year old. Should I tell them that they would have a better chance of unlocking the secrets of the universe than coming up with a comprehensive plan to control and track his behavior? No, professional person I have no idea why he has all the words to the Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” memorized (that one is actually my fault). No, learned early childhood team, we didn’t let him see that inappropriate movie, he caught three seconds of the trailer on You Tube when his sister was researching something the other day and he committed those lines to memory in an instant.

Ahhh , a day in the life of a parent with a “difficult” child. I have trouble with that moniker because it says so little about someone with so much to give. This child is as likely to warm your heart with a loving insight as to drive you to drink with stubborn defiance. Such frustrating and fascinating individuals defy explanation and description. There are times that I suspect that those around me doling out advice have no idea what they are talking about as he seems to confound even the most seasoned professionals. Solutions can’t be put into action when he’s more than aware of the game plan and tries to beat you to the punch. Or worse, he switches gears and bats his long dark eyelashes at you while letting you know you are a wonderfully patient parent to put up with his nonsense. Still, he does not suffer fools well and tells you where to go (with directions)  if you’ve gotten on his shit list.

I have often wondered if my third child is the anecdote to all those long days of deeply felt exhaustion that were mine to suffer through because of my inability to say no to a request.  A people pleaser by nature I have spent too many precious hours doing the bidding of others, sometimes even against my will. Lifetimes of undenied requests lead to pent up hostility, a terrible martyr complex and an appalling lack of personal time. I feel like my third is the end result of all that congenial wish granting blowing up in my face producing a  rebel child that refuses to please instead uttering phrases like “You need to do everything i say or I will push you into traffic” and “I don’t have to listen to you because NO ONE is the boss of me”. Most average people gasp at the sheer audacity of a four year old telling adults and children alike where to stick it, but for me it’s all in a day with id boy. Aside from the daily battles I fight to get him to comply with basic rules, I sometimes find myself sitting back and admiring the conviction and tenacity of a boy who will not give an inch. This is a child who once spent two days in a spaghetti western style showdown over the insistence that he use a red crayon to color. The perplexed early childhood expert finally called it quits and sprung him from his eternal time out but not before she gave him yet another admonishing. He responded by letting her know that next time she wanted to throw down she better bring her “A” game since he does not waste time with amateurs. Then he told her he wanted to hit her with a bowling pin, which was totally not psychotic since we had just gone to Strike Bethesda the day before. Notice though, he never used the red crayon. Victory.

What is the difference between charmingly stubborn and needing psychiatric intervention? Many people have come forward with advice and well meaning methods to get a handle on this sweet prince of id, but one simple solution seems far out of reach. No amount of finessing or manipulation remains effective for more than a day and we’ve exhausted every parenting method out there. There are some days we all throw our hands in the air in mock surrender, but deep down we will never give up. He may not be as pliable and easy to reason with as my first two but I love a challenge.

I sometimes wonder what the future holds for our lilliputian tyrant and hope that he uses his absolute power for the good of mankind.  Perhaps he’s here to teach me that saying “no” isn’t such a difficult task and standing up for yourself (no matter how crazy you appear to be) is something to be commended, not  an act  that’s punishable by fifteen minutes alone in your room.

So, I shake my head in absolute agreement with my colleagues across the big mahogany desk and I tell them “yes” and “absolutely” when we all agree on a plan of action, but behind the black out blinds I’ve hung on tiny hinges over my glazed eyes I’m  seeing an entirely different picture. No, I think I’ll keep my fingers crossed for this little guy along the way but I don’t want to see him change too much for that just wouldn’t suit him.  After everyone has finished saying their peace and we’ve all parted ways, I’ll return home  to help my little monarch off his throne to polish his tiny crown. It’s good to be the king.

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Filed under boys with serious attitude, difficult child, parenting

Baby Slapper vs. Baby Ass Kicker

Picture this. You are eight hours into what should have been a three hour trip home from your beach vacation and you’ve only gone about seventy five miles. Frustration, boredom (for the kids), hunger, and straight up agony are being fed to you in heaping teaspoons. Suddenly, you hear a surprised gasp and a powerful expletive spew from the mouth of your husband who usually suffers silently on these road trips with only an occasional loud sigh. “THAT WOMAN IS WAILING ON THAT BABY!” he screams. Now that he’s got our attention everyone pipes up- “Where?” “What kind of baby?” “Which car?” “Daddy, catch up to her so we can see the baby slapper!”
As we creep closer to the alleged offender (notice I give her the benefit of the doubt by using “alleged”) we see only a woman driving with what looks to be an infant in the backseat. “Are you sure she wasn’t adjusting her car seat?” I say, hoping that in fact is the case since this is a TINY baby I’m looking at. “NO” my husband thunders, “She was slapping the shit out of that kid!”
Now, given the level of seething rage and impatience in our own car after that many hours confined, I can only imagine that someone somewhere out there is going to completely lose it with a kid. Who knows, maybe she had been crying non-stop for ten hours and throwing plastic crap toys at her beleaguered mother who simply wanted to pull over and just end it all by running into oncoming traffic. Although, on second thought no cars were moving so that’s not a good way to die. Seriously though, people sometimes lose their minds and my husband and I did feel badly but we did nothing.
Cut to several weeks later and my spouse has another story for me involving a mother losing her shit and a kid paying the price. “Today I saw a mom kick her kid in the ass right across the crosswalk and then leave him there”. I let this sink in before using my junior detective skills to ascertain the steps leading up to this event witnessed again by my husband.  There was clearly the issue of the child’s age. “Two years old, maybe three tops”. Was the mother alone or with her other kids? “She had a school aged child with her, and they were clearly walking home with the younger sibling”.  Did anything precede this ass kicking, or was it unprovoked? ” The little boy was screaming uncontrollably the whole way, and then turned and whacked her with his bag”.   That was the point that I began to sympathize with this woman’s plight.  I have been there. Anyone on the receiving end of the reign of terror  tantrum that a difficult 2-3 year old little boy can dish out knows that it is easy to snap and make a mistake. God forbid you are somewhere that makes a spectacle of you and your little demon because you do not want others judging you at your least stellar moment, and judge you they will.  I once spent an afternoon at a local park with my friend Beth and our kids where we sat on the side of the sandbox and chatted about celebrity gossip and all the recent headlines. A week prior a local foster family was all over the news for keeping some of their more difficult kids in cages and we both laughed hysterically as we said that keeping kids behind bars didn’t seem like a half bad idea. CLEARLY, we were joking but the disgust and horror of those around us made us acutely aware that these parents probably didn’t spend more than a few hours a week with their ONE child. This was confirmed as the parade of nannies came to fetch the young toddlers so their parents could have even MORE free time.  It’s easy to be an award winning breeder if you have endless hours to pamper and think about yourself, now try that when you are ankle deep in garbage you haven’t had the time to pick up because you’ve been busy breastfeeding your Irish twins simultaneously and changing their diapers while pregnant with your third. O.K. that is a bit of an exaggeration, I wasn’t pregnant with my third until my first two were older, but still…you get the idea.

Now, next time you see some poor frazzled woman going bat shit crazy on one of her kids, consider her day. Has she slept at all? Are two of her four kids down with a fever? Has she broken the world record for weeks gone by without a shower? Is her house a disaster? How many days have passed for her without a morsel of adult conversation? Is her brain ringing from all the temper tantrums she’s had to deal with? Have her children thrown bowls of food it took her hours to make right back in her face? How many diapers has she changed and how many runny noses has she wiped? You will never know the answers to these questions or the level of difficulty in her life, but you can offer a helping hand by letting her know you’ve been there, and if there’s anything she needs just give you a call.

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Filed under 1, kids, parenting, watching other parents lose it