Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Doctor Doolittle

I am seriously done with animals. And I really mean it this time! There is nothing wrong with being an animal lover, but it gets to a point where you cross that line and become the crazy cat lady. I don't want to be the crazy cat lady. Someone needs to save me. This morning, I found one of the turtles floating face up in his tank. Immediately, the child said "When we get another one, can I...." Whoa, wait a minute! Who said anything about getting another one? Wrong number, sister, I'm sorry. The dead hermit crab last week got nothing but a trip to the garbage can. We're down to five of those and I'm fine with that number. There is one turtle left and that's fine with me too. The stupid crayfish that she got from her teacher in May is hanging on even though I keep insisting he wants to live in the wild. The fish are fine. One dies every few months and is treated to a lovely funeral flush. But, none of these animals are all that bad. I just have to remember to feed them and clean their tanks (which I hate!) But now the menagerie has grown even more. My sister got a dog - for the girls. Yeah, right sure. The girls don't walk him. They don't feed him or give him water. They rarely even play with him! The dog lives downstairs, which means the cat came to live up here. She doesn't bother with anyone really except when she bites your toes while you sleep. Other than that, she's fine. But, apparently, that wasn't enough. Because now we have two kittens. Adorable, yes. But what a pain in the butt! It's like having babies! They stay up all night. They want to be fed all the time. They have stinky little poop. Ugh. I guess, just like a baby, you forget about all of that when you snuggle with them or when you watch them sleep. Having all the pets really makes my kids happy so I'm dealing with it for now. I'm off to the store for some more kitty litter and Febreze!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Everyone's doing it

How many times did you mom ask you "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Lots, I'm sure. My daughter's answer to that questions is "Yes". She says she would do it too, so boy do I hope she and her friends never figure out how to get anywhere near a bridge! I don't get it. The girl has all the qualities of a leader, but it seems to me that she would go along with the pack. She seems like one of those girls that you'll see in groups of three or four - always giggling and playing with their hair. The other day, Caty got a fantastic bag full of hand-me-downs from a friend with a daughter in high school. One of the shirts was a halter and of course that was the one my lovely daughter zeroed in on. Why can't I wear this to school, she asked. Mary* wears one just like it. (*name changed to protect the innocent!) Today, my mom made her a shirt. It was at Caty's request. It was this black, shiny, ruffled tank top and Caty loved it. The minute she put it on, I could see the glimmer in her eye. It faded just as quickly when my mom told her she couldn't wear the shirt to school. My mom said it was because she did a rushed, unprofessional job of sewing it. Um, no, Mom, it's because it's the kind of shirt a 25-year-old would wear to a club and not something a third-grader can wear to school! My daughter thinks that if she sees someone else wear a certain style of clothing that she should be allowed to wear it too. I don't know what to do with this girl sometimes. All I can think of is to buy lots of sweaters and keep her away from bridges!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I was just responding to a comment by a fellow mom who was a little sad that her friends weren't there enough for her. She had a newborn and all of her friends had kids who were older. I totally get it. When you have kids and your friends don't, it's really hard for them to understand your life. They can still go out to dinner. They can still go to a movie without paying someone to stay in their home and watch their most precious possession and they can watch that movie without thinking every other minute about all the bad things that could happen to that precious person. When kids get older, their priorities change and so does the parent's schedules and lives. It's hard to stay in touch with people you don't see all the time. They don't go to the same school anymore or one of them is in a different dance class now or their soccer teams practice on different days. Out of sight, out of mind sometimes. Sad, but true. It's nice when you have a friend that your kid can play with. But what do you do when you stop being friends with that friend and your kid still wants to play with her kid? That's a tough one. It breaks your heart when little Susie asks when she can play with little Billy, but you know little Billy's mom isn't going to be calling anytime soon. The nuances of friendship are plentiful as you get older. Well, not for guys. They're friends with whoever lets them come over and watch the game and provides beer and food. I hope that mom stops being sad about the friends she lost and gets some new ladies in her life very soon. I love the girls my girls hang out with and their moms are a great addition to my life. But, I know, in the blink of an eye, things can change. So, we'll have fun while we can and maybe, if we're lucky, our kids will stay BFs Forever!

Friday, September 24, 2010

No time to play

I was changing a light bulb recently, when my children said something about their dad doing it. That led to a discussion about what moms and dads do. In our house, I do a lot of things beyond what someone would normally think is the job of the stay-at-home mom. I fix things and paint and build things and, well, you get the drift. But, my oldest doesn't see this as a good trait in a mom. She's not impressed that her mom will fix the leaky sink instead of asking someone else to do it. She doesn't care that her mom will climb a ladder to the roof to repair the sagging gutter. Here is what she said: Dads have more time to play. I took a step back, reeling from the blow. Time to play? I don't play enough? What the heck? Don't I play with you during Brownie meetings? Don't I sit with you and come up with fun crafts and color artistic pictures? Don't I buy you clay and beads and pipe cleaners? Then, I thought about it some more and realized she is right. I don't really just play. There's never really just any lounging and being goofy and doing nothing kind of play. That's what dads are good at. They're good at zoning out in front of the television. They're good at wrestling and tickling. They're good at doing nothing but making it fun. Moms are good at organizing and creating and exploring. I felt a little better once I rationalized it in my own mind, but that won't change the fact that my daughter's idea of fun is different than mine. So maybe tonight, I'll lay on the couch with her, tickle her feet and just make some time to play nothing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm not your biggest fan

My oldest daughter lately is expressing an interest in singers and actors and looks to be one of those kids who is going to buy the magazines with the pull-out posters of the newest teen sensation/heartthrob/hottie. I don't know what they call them anymore, but I assume Tiger Beat went out of business sometime in the New Kids on the Block era. Have you seen some of these teen stars? They look like ragamuffins. I want to grab a pair of scissors and hunt them down just to get the hair out of their faces! I guess people said the same thing about The Beatles, but I just can't imagine Justin Bieber will have the longevity of Paul McCartney! I don't think the teen idols in my day had such bad hair, did they? Shaun Cassidy had the feathers and there is nothing wrong with that. Rick Springfield rocked a bit of a mullet, but who didn't back in the 80s? Beyond that, here is my deal with these pop sensations (besides the fact that they have no talent and basically rely on computers to sound decent)... when did being famous become such a big business? When I was young, I actually took an autograph collecting elective in school and got autographs from a ton of famous people (except Queen Elizabeth. yes, according to her lady in waiting, the queen does not provide autographs to anyone). And all of those people gave their autograph. Some gave a picture. Some even wrote a little note. But, not one of them asked for money. What the heck is this about? If you want to join Demi Lovato's fan club, you have to pay $29.99! Are you kidding? Who is doing this? What child is convincing their parent that they should spend money just to be a part of a club? Wait, I have to PAY you to be your fan? Isn't there something inherently wrong with that? My daughter is not going to like me much when she finds out that I will never pay for her to join a fan club. Did I have to pay to love Andy Gibb? No sir! And I won't start paying now!


I have never been a big fan of snapping to get someone's attention. I think it's kind of degrading and mean. The other day, while watching Sabrina's soccer game, there was a mom there and I nearly pulled a muscle as I jerked my head at her snapping. I don't even know if it was just the snap or her in general. Maybe it was the way she was loudly chatting with another mom and not paying attention to her kid. Or maybe it was when she finally did pay attention to her kid, she snapped at him with her tipped nails and yelled at him to get in the game. I wonder if she thought she was being supportive and encouraging her son to play properly. Obviously, she didn't see the dozen talented, professional soccer players on the field who were coaching the kids. Nah, what could they possibly lend to this situation? I wanted to go over to Snappy Sally and remind her that a) it's a game; b) these kids are 4 and 5 years old; and c) embarrassing your kid in front of his peers is no way to get him to do what you want. I'm sure little Tyson or Branson or whatever his name was just wanted to watch for a bit before he jumped in and showed his soccer skills. He seemed to be doing fine standing next to the boy that was rolling around in the grass and watching the airplanes fly by. And where was his mom? Why wasn't she snapping? I've gotta tell you - there is really no situation in life where it is acceptable to snap or clap or whistle at another human being to get their attention. Unless you're a construction worker and there's a hot chick walking by (no, I'm kidding, not even then!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Manners, please

Do you think it's okay to parent other people's children? Like, when they don't use proper manners, is it appropriate to remind them to do so? Yesterday, I was volunteering at school and it was a situation where there was plenty of opportunity to give lessons in manners. Now, I know it's bad manners to point out when others aren't using good manners. But, as a parent in a parent-teacher association, should I be a role model. Should I remind the kids that they should say please and thank you? I found myself reeling when the kids said "yeah" and wanted to tell them to say "yes, please." Or when they said "I want red", my first impulse was to say "I would like". I guess it's hard, when you are constantly reminding yourself or your own kids to use good manners to not do the same with other children. Hmmm, how would I feel if someone reminded my kids to say please? I guess I would hope that wouldn't need to happen because my precious angels would never forget their manners!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


What would kids do? I was watching this news program last night where kids were put into these situations and parents got to watch on hidden camera to see how their children would react. Gotta say it freaked me out a little to see somewhat intelligent teens get into a car driven by a guy they thought to be drunk. They showed teens who promised not to use their phones in the car as they were texting and driving and hitting mailboxes and other stuff. They showed two kids home alone who opened the door to a stranger who said he was with the sheriff's department and then let him in to inspect the milk from their fridge. And all the parents sat watching that hidden camera saying "my child won't do that." And guess what, they ALL did - every one of them. And the whole time I was watching, all I could think was "Oh, yeah, I can totally picture my kid doing that." Sure, I can imagine them opening the door to a stranger. And the part of the experiment where one kid was the bully and the other was the victim? Well, if my oldest wasn't being the bully, she might stand up for the victim. I would hope she would and not team up with the bully! Do you ever wonder what your kids would do when they are faced with a certain situation? I guess the only thing we can do as parents is keep teaching them right from wrong and letting them know there are dangers out there. The best part of the show? 70 percent of kids said they talk/text while driving because they see their parents doing it. That's right friends - we the parents text more than the kids do! Think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What matters most

Everyone thinks their kids are the best, right? This weekend, my daughter showed me what a wonderful person she is and it just warmed my heart. During her soccer game, all the kids were running around and chasing the ball and a little boy got knocked down. Well, Sabrina stopped running and went back and helped him up. So, at the end of the game, we were giving high fives and I told her how great she played and that it was awesome that her team won and she said "and I helped that boy up, Mom." Of everything that she could have been proud of at that moment, she chose the most important thing - that she stopped what she was doing to help someone else. Yesterday, we were at a carnival with some friends and the kids were enjoying the rides and having fun. Sabrina played a water pistol game with one of her friends and the other girl won. Of course, you'd expect a child to pout or be disappointed or cry. But, my little girl turned to her friend and said "Good job! Congratulations!" and held out her hand for a shake. I was speechless. Sometimes, I think I expect the worst from children. I expect them to not remember the lessons they've learned and act out of character. But then they go and do something like that and it just astounds me. I love that my kids continue to practice the love and good behavior they are learning at home and in school and at church. I hope they keep it up. And I hope I stop expecting the bad behavior. That wonderful kindness that my little girl displays should be no surprise at all.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I know I have several years (10, I hope) before my girls start dating, but I really hope by the time they do that boys are a little different. Does it ever strike you that boys these days just aren't all that cool or tough? I'm not saying I want my kids hanging around with some rebel without a cause, but if some boy walks into my house with his underwear showing? Come on! I will have to laugh and let him know that briefs/boxers, etc. are not to be shown in public. And what's with these stupid hats? You wear a hat on your head. WEAR it. Don't rest it on the back of your head. Seriously, are these kids walking around with bobby pins holding these things on? And they have to be perfectly skewed to the side and have no creases or folds or anything. I remember when the fad was to have beat up, bent up caps and now it's gone to the other extreme. What are we all rapper that have to have the tag on our hat and not bend the brim? Please. And how about their cars? Since when did driving a little hyundai with a lawnmower become cool? What happened to Chevelles and Mustangs and eight cylinders? There is no muscle in these little cars the boys drive these days. Oh Lord, I pray that my girls don't ever find these silly boys attractive. Please let them find someone who plays football or works on a farm or can swim a mile without being out of breath. Please don't let them ever bring home a boy wearing skinny jeans. And since we're talking about skinny jeans (which my daughter calls jeggings - a cross between jeans and leggings) what's the deal with this? Two effeminate boys hanging out with one girl. I see that like all over the place now. I don't remember boys being so girly when I was a teen. I just remember them being boys. They didn't care about pants. Yes, sneakers were important, but it didn't really matter if your shirt was from any particularly dark, loud, overpriced, obnoxious store in the mall. Ah, the world is falling apart. I'm never letting my kids out of the house!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to school

Yahoo!!! I mean, Boo Hoo. Okay, whichever you are doing right now, it's that time of year... when waking up isn't followed by a leisurely breakfast and some cartoons... when you have to start preparing the night before for whatever comes the next day... when the sound of air brakes mean the bus is coming down the hill. It's school time! I actually love this time of year and not just because it means my 8-year-old is out of the house and not fighting with her sister all day long. Sure, I love that part, but I love the crisp air, the excitement of seeing new friends, getting a new desk and opening all the new school supplies you got a month ago but couldn't touch. I know my daughter is anxious, but I am so excited for her right now. This morning was almost a blur. She had an hour to get ready. Her clothes were all laid out and her bag was packed so all she had to worry about was brushing her teeth and her hair. Of course, she started freaking out. Is that the bus? Mom, I'm gonna be late! Was that the bus? Mom, hurry up! Mom, stop brushing my hair. Is that the bus? Of course, as on every first day, the bus was 10 minutes late. She got her outfit on, used the lint brush (because it's black!) sat kinda still while I brushed through the tangles, put on her garish new sneakers - but packed flip flops because it's going to be hot today! She didn't even hit her sister once this morning! She said she was too nervous to eat breakfast and I even tried coaxing her with a chocolate chip pancake but no dice. Once outside, I made her pose for the obligatory first day of school photo. Mom, how much longer are you going to make me take these pictures? Answer? Until you're in college. I told her that some moms follow the school bus and then take a picture of their kid getting off the bus. Her response: please don't ever do that. And, no she won't let me wait with her at the bus stop. She wants me to watch her cross the street and then go back into the house. Not happening, but I hide a little bit just in case anyone is looking. What my cool daughter doesn't realize is that her friends on the bus wave to me when they see me. They don't think I'm totally uncool. So, she's off with her crazy sneakers and her Vera Bradley bookbag (a gift, people. I'm not that crazy!) and her big-girl attitude that provides a good cover for a nervous little girl. And no matter how grown up she tries to be and how much she pushes me away, I will always be there (even if I have to hide) because I know she needs her momma. Things will be different tomorrow when my other baby starts kindergarten. I'll be the one trying to hide the tears!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Tomorrow is National Be Late for Something Day! I've been practicing for it all year long so I'm sure I'll be prepared. I am late for everything and I don't know why. I could blame having kids but I'm sure my family will tell you I was always late before children and will continue to be late when they no longer live in my home. Here is my only defense. I have no real spatial sense. I am a really, really, really bad judge of time and distance. For instance, when I used to give directions to my house, I would say the turn was about 3 miles from the main road. It's about 1/4 mile. I think it takes "ten minutes" to get pretty much anywhere and that is not at all true. I don't mean to do it. I know it's a bit disrespectful to leave people waiting and I would never intentionally make someone wait for me. I just think I have more time than I actually do. I think 30 minutes gives me time to shower, dress, check my e-mail, have a cup of tea, walk the dog and get the kids ready to leave. And then, when I'm ready and they're sitting on the couch watching Hannah or Zack and Cody, I get all flustered and rush them to throw on clothes and brush their teeth and hair. Today, I was mentioning to my oldest daughter that her bus will pick her up at 8:29 a.m. this year instead of 8:27 like it did last year and my sister laughed and said "Oh, that means she'll only be tardy 18 times instead of 23!" What? I beg your pardon! My child was not tardy 23 times last year. It was only like 12 or something! When I was growing up (and she still does it to this day!) my mom would set the clocks in our house to be a few minutes fast. I swear, I never knew the exact time unless I called that number to get the time and temperature. (Remember now, this was back in the days before cell phones and computer clocks). Maybe she knew something I didn't. Maybe by making the clocks fast, she was helping me get places on time! It probably backfired though, because I always thought I had extra time and would hit the snooze button. Um, yes, I must say I was tardy quite often in my school career. It was only a five minute walk and I was late 2 days out of 5 at least! So, maybe I can change my stripes this school year. Maybe, I will lay my daughter's clothes out the night before and pray she will not fight with me in the morning. Maybe she will brush her hair and teeth without argument. Maybe she will not spill anything on her shirt and have to change her outfit. Maybe she won't want to watch TV in the morning. Maybe she will never miss the bus. It could happen. Don't count me out! And tomorrow, I will try to be on time for something - I promise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just one thing

Recently, I won a complimentary session with a parenting coach. I contacted her to give her some background information on my children and the issues I have been having with them. Since it's only one, short session, we have to get down to business really quickly. Her response was to ask me what I wanted to get out of our session. Wow, just one thing? How can you pick just one thing you want to learn and accomplish as a parent? How can you pick just one problem you want to conquer? I wanted to tell her a slew of things. I want her to show me how to not lose my temper, how to make my children get along, how to get them to not talk back and be obedient. I want them to know how to clean up after themselves and show good manners at all times. I want my kids to learn that being naughty isn't funny. I want them to know that hitting is bad and calling names is hurtful. I want them to learn how to control their emotions sometimes. So, how can I pick just one thing to accomplish? I need a parenting coach every day. I need this woman to come to my house and help me all the time. I know my mistakes. I just don't always know how to fix them. Wouldn't it be nice if there was someone around you all the time to encourage you and help you along the journey of parenthood. Well, God is there all the time. You just have to ask Him for help when you need it. It's so funny that we think that we can be good parents. Do we have any type of training for this? Do we all of a sudden turn into Mary Poppins or supernanny just because we've given birth? And how does one become a parenting coach anyway? Did they play in the major leagues or something and get all that experience before doing this? I have so many questions. I need more answers. I'm getting back to her today. I still have yet to come up with the one goal I would like to achieve as a parent. Maybe she could give me the answer. If she does, she'll be coach of the year in my book.