I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting Pet Peeves

Now, I'm not Dr. Spock, but really, what makes him an expert- just because you take a bunch of college classes, doesn't mean that you are the be all, end all gospel on a subject.

Anyway, I think I'm a pretty good parent- of course, time will tell how my kids turn out, but for now, based on observations of those around me and my hopes to make better kids for the world and society, here are some pet peeves of mine that I have seen other parents do that are big no-no's in my book.  Also, I've thrown a couple links to articles that I've read in the past that I have found to be a worthwhile read.

1) Spanking.  I started with this because it's the most cliche parenting debate that people seem to talk about.  I'm against spanking for many, many reasons.  I won't get into all of them, because they are all reasons that are out there, so why go into it?  This also includes variations of physical ABUSE, such as mouth popping, arm wrenching/dragging, swatting, etc.  I prefer the timeout method or grounding.  For younger kids, I ground for an hour at a time, based on the severity and usually the hour is lying in their bed, no TV or games.  That usually only gives them the opportunity to color or read books.  Timeouts are usually for small things that they have already been told not to do.

2) Picky eaters.  I know that not every kid will eat every food you offer them- do you?  I know that there are some things I refuse to try and a few things I just don't like.  But how will your child every grow to be a foodie as an adult if they were never "forced" to try anything?  I've seen too many people who fix their kids chicken nuggets or hot dogs every single meal because "that's all they will eat."  I call BS on that.  I've come to realize the things my kids will and won't eat and if I think it is in the realm of possibilities that based on their other likes that they might just like the new food... I make them take one bite.  A lot of times, since the older two don't want to be wrong, they will say they don't like it, but don't complain about finishing it. 

Then, there are things that we KNOW they don't like, so if David and I want to eat them, we will make an alternative for the kids.  For instance, neither of my kids like actual hamburgers.  My daughter doesn't like them from anywhere, but my son will eat the whatever kind of meat they are hamburgers from school or fast food.  So, if David and I want a burger, I will make the kids both something different.  Likewise, I know L doesn't like potatoes of any kind really.  So, I try to substitute some kind of carb as a replacement.  A doesn't like ground beef, so if I make something with ground beef, I find her a main dish replacement.  I know this isn't up to par with, "you eat what I make or you don't eat," but I think there's a happy medium between that and being a short order cook who makes a different meal for each kid every night.

3) Video games.  Back when I was knee high to a grasshopper and walked in 6 feet of snow uphill both ways to school, we played outdoors.  Hot, cold, raining, snowing, whatever, we played outdoors.  We liked it.  We played ball or make-believe or rode bikes, etc.  And then my brother Greg and I would play with action figures (or I'd bribe him to play Barbies) or Monopoly or Risk (somehow I never won.)  And I LOOOOOVED to read!  I'm pretty sure you could say my brothers and I were nerds as adolescents. 

So, when people let their kids play video games the majority of the time they are home, I feel sad for our future society.  What are kids learning by playing video games all the time, other than to be lazy and crush their creativity?  I've had kids come over for play dates that get bored after half an hour because we won't let them play our Wii.  Generally my kids play the Wii once a week and in order to play it they have to have gone outside that day.  And my daughter likes to play on the computer occasionally on Nickelodeon's website.  Lately, though, she has been having fun typing stories.  And in order to play the computer, she has to have helped do something.  Video games in our house are privileges, not babysitters.

4) Public diversions.  You take your kids out to eat and they say they are bored... they start to have a hissy fit because they want to leave, what do you do?  Give them your phone and let them play games?  I disagree.  How is that any different than you being on  your phone at dinner?  It's rude.  Plus, why can't you teach your kids that if they are going out in public with you and you are buying them dinner, they should be grateful and not embarrass you.  I don't recall being a problem like that for my parents, and I've never had this problem with my kids.  Granted, sometimes they make pyramids out of the creamer cups, but that's not really hurting anyone.

5) Spoiling.  It's okay to "spoil" in some instances.  But, if your kid is a demon spawn from hell who calls you names, yells at you, refuses to help, or never listens, why on earth would you reward them for that behavior?  If you kid is constantly doing these things and you continue to buy them everything they want or expensive clothes or games, etc., what are they learning from this?  They are learning that they never have to respect you because they get what they want anyway. 

6) Blink once for yes.  One thing I hate hate HATE to hear from a parent is, "do you understand me?"  Like, when they are lecturing.  I want to shriek, "yes, they understand you, they aren't deaf or dumb!" Or then there's the act of punishing a kid for crying, or threatening to.  Seriously?  Maybe their reason for crying is lame, but punishing someone for crying?  That's just mean.

Childhood is a pivotal time when kids are forming their future identities.  Yes, peers will come along to disrupt that identity, but the roots are there from when they were young.  You can't expect your kid to grow up and just snap out of all these negative things.  Now, feel free to hold all these opinions against me when one of my kids become a serial killer, but for now, I think I'm onto something.  The world is full of douchebags, so why not try to add some adults that are not. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Dex DayDreamer Sleeper for Babies

My adorable son giving it a try!
Wow... wow... like seriously, wow.  When my gratis sleeper arrived from the UPS guy, I opened it quickly and boom- my jaw dropped!!!  This has to be one of the coolest things I've ever reviewed!!  The theory behind this product is that moms can enjoy some quiet, calm, stress-free time while baby naps near them in plain view.  Baby gets to enjoy the super soft, safe comfort that the DayDreamer offers!  By being able to keep an eye on baby, there's no need for the annoying fuzz of the monitor or constantly looking at the camera (if you have one) to see if baby is moving around.  This provides extremely safe and effective sleep time!

The fabric is heavenly soft.  It's that silky kind of plush feel that feels smooth and fantastic.  I have a throw like it and my kids each have full size blankets with the material, so clearly it's a great feeling to have surrounding you, well, your lucky baby.

The DayDreamer comes in 3 colors.
Now for the specs:
"Busy moms everywhere can now give their babies the benefits of soft, snug, perfectly-inclined sleep anywhere with the DayDreamer Sleeper. Designed by an infant product specialist and 20 years in the making, DayDreamer’s innovative features include a 28-degree incline that provides a perfect, restful position with a soft, breathable cover that prevents baby from overheating.  Fully-compliant with federal law and Consumer Products Safety Council proposed standards, the DayDreamer Sleeper features a flat base and high sidewalls that offer maximum stability and protection.  The DayDreamer is also doctor-endorsed: “I would definitely recommend [the DayDreamer Sleeper] to new parents. I suggest infants sleep at an incline to help prevent plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) as well as alleviate reflux, congestion and colic symptoms” – Dr. Jamison Foster, General Surgeon."

I can't recommend this enough!  It may seem like it is a bit on the pricey side, but for the months of use you can get out of it and the peace of mind of having your baby in full view during nap time is totally worth it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My name isn't mom and la la la la, I can't hear you!

You ever had one of those "mom wants to blow her brains out" days?  (Figuratively, of course, cause if you literally have, you might wanna get some help for that.)  Well, today is one of those days.

I'm such a good mom that my kids won't leave me alone.


Now multiply that times 1000 and that's probably how many times I hear this every day... multiplied by three kids, plus what I'm sure my 6 month old is babbling that equals "mom."  It's like, seriously, you know you have a Dad too, right?  He can do the same things as I can and is more than willing to, but for some reason, Mom's lap is more comfortable, Mom's chest looks like it's more fun to wipe snot on, Mom must be a better nose wiper, Mom looks like a better target to throw toys at... ugh.  It's not that my kids are bad kids, but apparently they think I enjoy their affection.  I appreciate it, sure, but could I live without it here and there?  Sure.  I mean, fast forward to their teens and I'm sure they will hate me plenty.  And it's not that I wait on my kids hand and foot or they are spoiled (can you really spoil a baby?)  The older two are quite willing and capable of doing a lot of things.  Now that my daughter can get her own cereal or breakfast, I've reached a point where I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then there's the fussing.  I've always said a child fussing/whining is like nails on a chalkboard.  Seriously?  What's it gonna accomplish other than the whole blowing the brains out thing?  Sometimes, I just want them to stfu.  Go ahead, judge me for saying that, but seriously, Kid, stfu.  Like when my toddler wakes up before he should have from his nap, cause you know, he'd miss out on some huge event if he stays asleep.  He fusses... and fusses... and screams... and fusses... and screams, on end, for like 20 minutes.  Nothing appeases him.  Well, after last night's lack of sleep, the migraine I had from the lack of sleep, not eating today cause nothing sounded good, and not getting any type of break this weekend, I was just trying to get some pinning done for a bit and the toddler wakes up screaming.  My husband tries to appease him, but it doesn't work.  They go in the living room (which has one of those big open wall spaces so you can see into the kitchen) and I'm at the table at the computer... and he's screaming, so I put my head down and silently cry because I'm up to my eyeballs with stress and all that is left is the short space from my eyeballs to the top of my head.  My husband tells me to go lie in the bedroom, but what good would that do me?  I'd still hear him.

Alas, I found a solution.  Here I sit, blogging, with headphones in and cranked up so high I can't hear anything but my iTunes playlist.  Luckily my husband feels sorry for me and instead of being pissed, looks like he feels like he wants to cry cause he feels so bad for me.  I'll take it... and here's to a possible future solution for when that brain blowing out thing hits me again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Baby's First Book Blocks by Dan Stiles

I'm always on the lookout for new baby and toddler toys as it's always the same ole, same ole standards that every kid has or has had.  And I'm a big fan of having smart kids, so love to have their brains stimulated as well as play.  When AL was a toddler, she loved stacking things, lining them up and reading books.  L wasn't as interested in those things and then H came along and showed interest in the same activities his older sister did.  He loves stacking things, lining things up and sitting with a pile of board books.

So, when Pow! offered me a set of these gratis, I was totally on board!  This combined two of the three things that H loved to use his genius-in-training 2 year old brain to do-- look at board books and stack things.  These mini books are cube shaped, which makes them stackable.  And since each book has a different design on the covers, they can be stacked and lined up in many different orders.  Plus, the inside pages of the books have fun shapes, lines, colors and designs- different in each book!

As soon as I opened the package, H got excited.  He jumped on the couch,
handed him the four books and he immediately set in at exploring them.  He opened the pages to find out what they were all about and I thought I'd have to show him how to stack them, but he figured that out right away.  They kept him occupied for quite awhile, which if you're a mom of a toddler, you know is a glorious thing!

Since receiving these Baby's First Book Blocks, we keep them on top of the book stand where they are easy to find.  H goes to them every day and plays for a bit.  I think they are a great idea for parents of babies and toddlers (I believe they are geared for 0-3) as the patterns and colors are great for babies just beginning to see color and add wrinkles to their brains and develop their sight.  I've tried them with AA, and although he likes to feel them, he is teething, so they end up in his mouth every time.  I think once the teething phase starts to end, he'll enjoy them more.

Plus, they'd make awesome baby shower gifts!  I can pretty much guarantee unless all the guests read my blog, you'll be the only one with these, instead of some random outfit or pointless toy.  Just saying, if I like it (which, really I do!) then it's a pretty good product.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things My Dad Taught Me

My dad taught me many valuable lessons by proxy, but I still felt free to be who I wanted to be and have therefore become quite a different person than him in terms of life views and personalities, but that doesn't mean I didn't pick up a few things during the two decades I lived at home.

1) The value of a dollar: we were never given an allowance.  We got money at birthdays and Christmas from our relatives and were expected to make that money stretch over the year for thinks we might want.  I don't remember every caring too much about that.  But, occasionally I would want money for something and ask for ways to earn it, to which my mom would generally give me a list to choose from of a chore and its payment... like $2 to vacuum the whole house.  We might earn a quarter for raking the yard or a dollar per bucket of digging up dandelions by the root, but that just taught me growing up not to be completely frivolous with my money because it only goes so far.

2) Don't be afraid of manual labor: my dad did construction, yard work, fixed things and was very hands on about keeping our house and yard looking amazing.  He didn't hire people to do the hard stuff, he did it himself.  This kind of goes along with the value of a dollar thing too, because why pay someone to do something when you can do it yourself.  Then that money can be spent better elsewhere.

3) Don't turn your kids into ungrateful assholes: now this was a lesson it took longer to understand because kids are generally inherently selfish.  We were expected to help out with no reward.  You have kids who get an allowance for throwing away their kleenex when they blow their nose.  What is that teaching them?  I had friends whose parents would just shell out twenty bucks anytime they wanted to go to the movies, even when those parents didn't have a lot of expendable money.  Then in turn, their kids were ungrateful assholes.  Every spring my parents planted a garden.  They had four kids to feed and understood the value of a dollar (duh), so they planted fruits and vegetables.  However, they both taught summer school, so often my brothers and I were told to go pick beans or what not.  Also, as we got older, we were responsible for trimming the hedges, etc. with the push mower and my dad would mow with the riding mower.  We didn't get paid with cash for these services, we got paid through food and lodging and clothes... sure as a kid it might have seemed unfair (I don't recall feeling this way, but maybe I did), but why should they fork over their hard earned money so that we would do things that we should help do anyway.

4) Don't let people get away with embarrassing you: my parents are proud people and as well they should be.  They worked very very hard for what they have and for the respect that people in their community have for them.  One thing that my dad made very clear is that he did not want us to be embarrassments to him.  Sure, that's a hard thing to do when you're a kid and again, kids are inherently selfish, but as an adult I've come to realize how important respect is.  I've known women whose husbands cheated on them and being as how I came from a small town, EVERYONE knew.  I'm not a believer in forgive and forget when it comes to adultery, so that would most certainly not fly with me.  But there are other things that wouldn't fly with me in regards to what my spouse and children might get away with in public.  I didn't work hard for the things I wanted and or have just so that those I love can make me look like a dumb dumb head to the public.

5) Your kids aren't first in line for the tv: I used to go over to my ex-in-laws house and their TV was on the Disney Channel 24/7 because their youngest wanted to watch it.  This went on from when she was a kid until she went to college.  The parents would just sit in the living room and watch it with her.  WHAT??  That would have never flown with my dad.  There was a pecking order to who was in charge of the remote and it went oldest to youngest.  And with me being the youngest, the only times I generally picked what I wanted to watch was on Saturday mornings before anyone got up.

I have quite a few friends who let their kids control the living room remote.  That doesn't fly with me, especially since they have TVs in their own room or there are other TVs in the house.  I don't pay the cable bill so that I can watch Teen Titans Go on DVR for hours on end.  I didn't become an adult so that I could waste my time being subjected to hearing Adventure Time in the background while I cook or do dishes... that's my Golden Girls in the background time!

6) Men CAN cook: Don't be one of those chauvinists who think men can't and shouldn't cook because it's a woman's job.  Welcome to 2014, and good luck with your future relationships if you think that way.  My dad is an AWESOME cook.  He worked a full time job and still came home and made dinner for 6 every night.  It wasn't just grilling either, it was utilizing every cooking appliance in the kitchen.  I had a best friend whose husband was a good cook, but refused because it was a "woman's job."  So, they ate pizza a lot and their fridge was filled with hot dogs.  I always wanted to marry a man that can cook.  I didn't, but at least my husband WILL cook.  He tries.  It doesn't bother me that he can't cause I know not every guy out there is good at everything.  But I did make sure I found a husband who didn't believe that there were "men's jobs" and "women's jobs."  He feels like all chores are created equal. 

Conclusion:  I have many other lessons I can list, but if I did, Father's Day would be over before you had a chance to read them all.  These are just the ones that stick out the most with me as a parent.  I do think that my approach is quite different than my Dad's was, but that goes along with having different personalities.  Clearly he did something right if I find these to be lessons that I have adopted as a parent.  I have no problem telling my kids no because I want to raise them to be good people and I've witnessed first hand things that other parents have done that turned their kids into giant d-bags.

SOOOOOO, Happy Father's Day to my dad and despite the fact it never seems like I listened, I actually WAS paying attention!  Thanks for the help!