So your kid found a pair of scissors and snuck into the corner to give her bangs a trim…More like she scalped herself with a machete! Look on the bright side, it could have been worse. Thankfully, the mullet she will be sporting for the next six months will grow out eventually. Kids have some weird obsession with the use of scissors, especially when it comes to the cutting of their own hair. Little Edward Scissorhands, they are. Kids also don’t learn from their mistakes, so don’t be surprised when your kid walks into your kitchen sporting the same jacked haircut it took you months to grow out! Better go buy a hat for those professional family portraits!
Archives for January 2015
Today’s post is a massive deviation from my lighthearted ramblings about the hilarious side of parenting and the miscellaneous nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned along the way. Maybe not a total deviation because today’s post IS about an episode in my parenting journey and the lessons I learned through the experience, just not a funny one.
My husband and I lost a very close friend to brain cancer last month. Our families spent lots of time together over the past decade, having babies, raising small children, sharing meals and doing fun activities. Our first instinct was to protect our seven-year-old son from the truth, if only for a short while longer. We wanted to spare him the harsh reality that death is a very real and fundamental part of life. When the end was finally upon us, we knew there would be no way around telling him.
While we didn’t over share and offered up only as much information as he asked for, it was clear that our little boy’s brain was putting some things together. He asked, “How old was Erik when he died?” “How old are you, Dad?” While we were wrestling with our own sadness over the loss of a friend, we were forced to deal with the sadness of knowing our mostly innocent little boy (minus the occasional indiscretion), was having to face some pretty harsh realities about this life we live. Life can be pretty damn cruel at times. Who wouldn’t want to protect their child from that? On the other hand, there is a fine line between sheltering your child and not giving them the tools necessary to succeed in life without you. We aren’t born with the ability to cope with the curveballs life offers up, they are taught to us by our parents, teachers and mentors. If we are to disregard death altogether, are we doing our children a favor or a disservice?
While dealing with truth can be unsettling and disturbing at times, you can often find a silver lining if you look closely enough. While my son has definitely been thinking about our friend’s death and what that looks like in the broader scope of his little life, he has been open with us about his feelings. This morning, he happened upon a picture of our friend and told me, “Mom, I’m sad about Erik.” When I drop him at school these days, he’s been showering me with hugs and kisses. Though the reality of losing loved ones can be crippling to some, it can also propel you to live more consciously. Isn’t that what I want for my son? The skills to cope with life, death and feelings, both good and bad. And the ability to manage healthy relationships, where one can be both open and honest.
Though it’s been difficult on many levels, I’m glad my husband and I chose honesty. Unfortunately, parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, although we all wish it did. Chapter 229. How To Handle the Death of a Close Family Friend With Your Seven-Year-Old Son (wouldn’t that be nice?). Instead we settle for trying our hardest and hoping for the best.
Living the Dream…
There are countless baby books out there that address sleep issues. Here is a quick overview since you’re probably too tired to read eight full-length books at this point. If you want to co-sleep with your kids until they leave for college, then you should read “The Baby Book” by Dr. Bill Sears. If you want your baby to sleep through the night in their own crib yesterday, you need to “Ferberize” their ass! “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Doctor Richard Ferber will explain the Ferber Method, often referred to as “crying it out.” The bottom line is, it works. You and your child both need to sleep so get to work, stay consistent and have faith in oh mighty Ferber!
We aren’t knocking co-sleeping. Wait, yes we are. Here are the reasons NOT to co-sleep:
- It’s FN dangerous and increases the risk of SIDS.
- You’ll never get laid with Junior cuddled up next to you.
- Kids are crazy sleepers and will be throwing elbows and kidney shots all night.
- Your relationship is parent-child, not friends at a sleepover. Teaching kids that everyone needs personal space is a great lesson.
- Nighttime may be the only break you get from your kids, so take it.
- What’s the bedtime plan? Everyone goes to bed at 7:30pm in Mommy and Daddy’s room. Screw that…I want to watch “Dexter.”
- You’re so sleep deprived when you have a newborn, you could literally roll over and suffocate your baby. Please refer back to 1. It’s FN dangerous!
Warning: A bad sleeper can put a huge damper on your parenting experience early on. Though you have little control over whether your baby will be a good or bad sleeper, you do have control over when you choose to sleep train them if it proves necessary. Obviously, talk to your pediatrician about when and how to sleep train, just know that often times the longer you wait the more stubborn the behavior becomes. We know from experience that “waiting it out” for your child to correct their own sleep issues does not work. The bigger the baby, the louder and longer they scream. If you can, sleep train sometime between five and seven months if they’re still waking up more than once a night. Depending on your child’s weight, they should be more than capable of a six to eight-hour stretch at about ten pounds. Just remember, one or two weeks of torture may spare you months (even years) of sleep deprivation.
Middle of the night wakings for older children should be treated in the same manner as bedtime. Lay the hammer down. They are not to wake you unless they are sick, period. If all else fails, use threats! Remember the Not So Zen Mom Parent Pledge: “I understand that the proper response to any waking in the middle of the night by a kid over one year old is, ‘Go back to bed or Santa’s NOT coming!’” Typically these nighttime wakings are just another manipulation to test what you’re willing to put up with. You will be exhausted from the hour and a half bedtime routine plus getting woken up twice in the middle of the night, yet somehow your kid will still wake up at 5:30am raring to go. These kids never clock out! If you don’t put a stop to the bedtime/sleep manipulation, your kids are sure to take advantage.
Good Luck & May The Force Be With You!
More Importantly, May Ferber Be With You!
Living the Dream…
Bumps, Bruises, Goose Eggs & Fat Lips are a fact of life if you have little boys. The question is not IF they will get them, it’s WHEN. You need to be prepared for these situations when they arise. Some good things to keep handy:
IN YOUR PURSE:
- Dissolvable Children’s Motrin
- Triple Antibiotic Pain Relief Spray
- Benadryl…Because you never know when someone is going to have an allergic reaction and have their face blowup like Will Smith in “Hitch!”
IN YOUR HO– USE:
- Ice packs in the form of Spiderman or Elsa depending on whether you have girls or boys.
- Enough supplies to perform triage for any major incident.
Once you have said supplies, your work is not done. Unlike adults who willing apply pressure to a cut or hold ice bags on an injury, how are you going to get your four-year-old to keep an ice pack on their giant goose egg? Parents, you’ll need to be creative here and always remember. Necessity is the Not So Zen Mother of All Invention!
Living the Dream…
No matter what lies you may hear, boys usually potty train around three years old and won’t be able to properly wipe their own butts for years after that. Due to this fact, you will probably choose to wipe their butts for them to avoid purchasing new Spiderman underwear on a weekly basis. Just hope that by the time they reach high school they will get it figured out.
Another thing boys are less than stellar at, is aiming when they go to the bathroom. You may find yourself asking, “were your eyes opened or closed when you peed?” Warning: If you have a trashcan next to the toilet, it may end up filled with urine. You will wonder how this is even possible, until one day you catch your son with his pants around his ankles, three feet from the toilet, peeing as he walks towards it. As the only female in my house, I’ve seriously considered purchasing a urinal for our bathrooms. The only reason it hasn’t been installed yet is due to ongoing negotiations over who will clean it.
Having low expectations means any pee that does not end up in your son’s underwear will be considered a SUCCESS!
Living the Dream…
I’ve already discussed parent’s obsession with taking photos of their kids in my post: “Say Cheese” http://notsozenmom.com/kids-cameras/. What I didn’t mention was kid’s obsession with taking photos of themselves. I recently tried to take a picture on my iPhone only to realize that there was no more memory available. I thought it seemed odd until I looked at my camera roll and saw 123 pictures of my son’s left butt cheek that he had secretly taken. Nice! Here is a tamer example of the same situation:
Another caveat to the kids and cameras dilemma, is that eventually the day is going to come when you’ll want/need your child to take a photo for you. This can be a dangerous gamble. Your kid’s thumb will likely end up in every picture they take (I cropped my son’s thumb out of the pictures below before I knew I was going to write this blog post…Damn!) and your head will be conveniently chopped off. Oh well! You win some, you lose some. If you need proof of this phenomena, I have documented proof below. I’m still not sure if my son meant to take 37 pictures or if he was just screwing with me. Since he already knows more about technology than me at seven-years-old, I’m banking on the latter. As my four-year-old son likes to say, “It is a little bit funny!”
Living the Dream…
When my oldest son was only three-years-old, I signed him up for art lessons to hopefully help mold his little brain into the creative and brilliant mind I thought he could be. I was already schlepping him all over creation to art class, gym class, museums and other special activities to try to help him reach his full potential. Mind you, he was only three. Every week we drove downtown to his art class and every week he would run around while I sat at the table and followed the teacher’s instructions. I would get so frustrated when he failed to follow direction and participate in the class activities. Again, he was a three-year-old boy. I finally gave up on the art class, followed by the gym class, when they told me my three-year-old needed to work on sitting in the circle during circle time. He’s always had something against circles…
I finally asked myself why I was paying all this money for my child to do these activities when he clearly could care less about them? Not to mention the fact that I ended up spending much of the time getting pissed off at him for not following instructions. Three year old boys following instructions is surely an oxymoron! It’s not that my son was “failing” at circle time, it’s that little boys (at least my little boys) are so full energy and wonder, that they don’t have the time or inclination to be controlled by such shapes!
If you’re a Not So Zen Mom like me, much of the reason you’re Not So Zen is because you are so hyper focused on your child’s happiness, development and potential that you literally drive yourself nuts. The good thing about being a Not So Zen Mom is that you care so much about your children’s future. The bad thing about being a Not So Zen Mom is that you care too much about your children’s future. The good news is that Not So Zen Mom’s mommy mojo is usually running thin once their second child arrives. For the first 18 months after my second son was born, simply keeping the kids alive and my head above water was considered a success. Therefore, I no longer have the time, energy or inclination to be so hyper focused on anything.
There is no art or gym classes for my second-born. Instead, there is lots of play time with friends and the occasional special activity. The only art he’s doing outside of Preschool is when we visit the local indoor play place that has an inflatable slide, a climbing gym, some toys and a few art supplies. There is no “circle time” or directions to follow, so my son gets to choose whatever he wants to do and I can sit and chat with my fellow Not So Zen Moms. Everyone is happy! The only art my kid is doing there is the painting of his exposed skin when I’m not looking. Because he’s my second kid, I laugh it off, wipe him down and throw him in the bath when we get home. No big whoop!
The funny thing is, he seems to be doing just fine. Could all of that extra energy I put into my first son have been a waste of time? Trying to civilize little boys is surely fighting a losing battle. Lesson learned! Although this picture of my second son does make me wonder, I’m still hoping for the best!
What started as an attempt to introduce my wild and crazy little boy to the arts, turned into this:
This takes being a “Dexter” fan to an entirely new level. I’m locking my bedroom door tonight!
Living the Dream…
Want more out of the Not So Zen Mom? Here’s how: Follow & Like Not So Zen Mom on Facebook and share some of your own hilarious and ridiculous stories about your kids. If you’re not on Facebook, check notsozenmom.com for daily blog posts regarding the latest and greatest way to get a good laugh out of parenting. Remember, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry! On the right side of the Home Page there is a subscribe box where you can sign up to receive daily posts directly to your email inbox. How easy is that? For daily updates about the hilarity that is my life with two little boys, you can always check the page, “That Just Happened: True Story,” to find the latest. (http://wp.me/P5p3lP-gI)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my kids & my friend’s kids for the boundless material they provide me on a daily basis to help create the Not So Zen Mom. As they say, my cup runneth over!!
Living the Dream…
Time-outs are for rookie parents who don’t know any better. Even your average intelligence kid is smarter than your lame timeout strategy. A word to the wise, putting your child on a thirty-second time-out does nothing but teach them that time-outs really aren’t that bad and totally worth continuing the poor behavior that got them there in the first place. If you’ve already graduated to the long-ass time-out (I’m talking an hour), having removed every last toy from your child’s room and it still doesn’t curb their bad behavior…what next you ask? When no threat of punishment or consequence and no timeout regardless of length seems to be effective in correcting your child’s behavior, what’s a Not So Zen Mom to do?
Just so you can understand where such off-color daydreaming stems from, my rock bottom was back when my oldest son was four and he spent his days running around like a madman from before sun-up, till the moment he went to bed. He blazed a trail through life with the kind of “joie de vivre” (French for “Joy of Living”) reserved only for the most exuberant and spirited souls. One can imagine that such spirited souls don’t have the time, inclination or focus to listen much to direction, even that coming from their very own mother. This can make for a rather frustrating experience for the adult in charge of such a child. There were many episodes of torturing his baby brother, launching toys through the air and darting into parking lots while laughing maniacally. On the other hand, I had my one-year-old son who made it his mission in life to torture my husband and I from 6-12 months old, by waking up 3-5 times per night. He sapped me of the very energy I needed daily to keep up with my older son. I have always said that I don’t do well without sleep, but honestly, who does? Those were some pretty dark days of parenting for us!
I’ve ranked the top alternative options to the lame ass timeout, which I dreamed up one day when my boys were being especially evil. The imagination of a Not So Zen Mom who’s seemingly at rock bottom can be a very scary place, but I’ve found, it can also be rather entertaining. Remember, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, so let’s have a look!
In third place is the Pillory. This one broke into the top three mainly because the thought of your kids locked into this contraption is enough to crack a smile on even the most overwhelmed Not So Zen Mom.
In second place is the straight jacket. With the ability to contain your child’s flailing arms from throwing toys at your baby’s head and drawing pictures on your car with a rock, it would prove rather effective. On the other hand, with their legs free to run, the straight jacket doesn’t offer the type of restriction needed to keep your crazy kid at bay.
In first place is the Mummy Straight Jacket. With all the benefits of your run of the mill Straight Jacket, this model comes with the added benefit of containing both the arms and the legs. If you were to throw on one of those masks that Hannibal Lector wore in “Silence of the Lambs,” the look would be complete!
*I’m hoping it unnecessary to include a disclaimer that this is a joke and not something you should actually try at home on your own kid, but better safe than sorry. On the other hand, you can’t get arrested for daydreaming, so dream away!
Living the Dream…
Getting to work on time before kids was as simple as a five-minute shower, throwing on some clothes, grabbing a banana and your to-go coffee cup. On the other hand, getting out the door in the morning after you have kids and depositing everyone at their respective locations can sometimes feel like you’re herding cats. The daily grind will be just that…a grind. You may ask yourself how it is humanly possible that you’re late every morning when your children wake up at o’ dark thirty. When it comes to daily mundane tasks like going to the bathroom, brushing teeth and getting dressed, they are children’s kryptonite. Who knew something as simple as getting out the door in the morning could be so difficult when you throw a couple of kids into the mix?
However long you think it will take you to get out the door with your kids add twenty minutes. Getting everyone to the garage and secured in their car seats will probably take fifteen precious minutes that you never considered when you started getting ready. Warning: Without fail, when you load the kids into the car someone is bound to ask for a snack, need to pee or have a dirty diaper. Question: Do kids hold it until you lock them in their car seats just to screw with their parents? Now you’re running late, it’s barely 8am and you’re ready to pull your hair out. There is not much you can do to prepare for these little surprises, but if you are otherwise on schedule, it shouldn’t set you back too much. The best way to improve the morning routine is to start early and don’t freak out if you’re running late. Try getting everyone fed, dressed and looking halfway presentable before watching a show or playing with toys. If only I took my own advice!