In previous posts I’ve discuss sibling rivalry, fighting, hair pulling and eye gouges (http://wp.me/p5p3lP-sA). But every once in a long while, your kids will surprise you and be totally protective of their brother or sister. Like in this video, when I asked my then 2-year-old what he was going to do to his big brother’s friend who had just scratched him while at a play date. His solution: “I’m gonna kick him and I’m gonna punch him!” I’m not encouraging physical violence, but this sh*t is funny. “I can kick the crap out of my brother, but no one else can.” Interesting logic, but spot on for a two-year-old brain!
My family recently had our first professional photos taken last fall. Although I knew it would be a cluster f*ck with my two crazy boys running around like madmen, I really wanted to at least attempt to get some nice photos taken of the family while our kids were still cute and little. This is how I summarized the experience on Facebook afterwards:
That pretty much sums up the experience! Much like childbirth, memory does fade with time. Therefore, I’m guessing once Fall rolls around later this year, I will be contacting our photographer for another round of torture. It’s not that my kids acted any worse than they normally do. In fact, they acted exactly the same as they normally do. That’s why it was slightly torturous trying to keep the boys still long enough to capture them on film. This is what was actually going on in our heads that day:
Our photographer must have been a magician, because she managed to get multiple sweet photos of the boys that day. Here are a few photos to prove that any chump off the street can post a picture of their family on Facebook and make everything seem hunky dory. Chances are, one of the kids shanked the other with a pencil shortly after the picture was taken and the parents got into a fight about whether to grab food on the way home or just eat leftovers. While my family was too exhausted for such shenanigans when we were done with our photo shoot, I wouldn’t put a shanking incident passed either of my kids 😉
Living the Dream…
You have our blessing to bust out a recent photo of your child now and again, especially when prompted to. Or even to post some cute photos on Facebook from time to time. Its healthy and important for you to be proud of your kids, just don’t be one of those parents who say their child is “advanced” or “athletically gifted.” People won’t believe you and they’ll think you’re a total tool for saying so. Not everyone’s kid can be the smartest in his/her class. Someone’s kid has to be a dumbass. Even if your child is the center of your universe, just remember they’re not the center of your friend, neighbor or colleague’s universe.
Warning: Even Not So Zen Moms get sucked into their kid’s awesomeness on a regular basis. The difference is, the Not So Zen Mom won’t drag everyone around her into her awe inspired state. If you’re reading this blog, odds are, you’re probably not the type of parent who would partake in such behavior. But while we’re discussing kid’s greatness, here is my kid’s first time on a snowboard…In slo-mo of course 😉 I like this video because my younger son almost tripped his brother with his sled in the middle of his run.
Next time you run into one of these overzealous moms, let them talk your ear off for half an hour about how little Johnny is in kindergarten, but reading at a tenth grade level (yeah right), taking Spanish, guitar and swim lessons, playing soccer and Judo (he’s already a black belt I’m sure), and learning yoga to even out his liberal arts education. By the way, last time I was in this situation, I asked the so-called “advanced” kid how to count to twenty and he replied with a “niner, ten, one-teen.” Then he picked his nose and ate his booger. “Gifted,” seriously?! I think not.
Living the Dream…
Yesterday at work, my friend and her co-workers were discussing childbirth and babies. Some had experienced natural childbirth and others c-sections. Some had breastfed, while others used formula and bottles. It was a pleasant exchange of differing experiences, all of which resulted in healthy and happy babies. Out of nowhere, another co-worker implanted herself into the conversation. She started giving advice on childbirth, breastfeeding and child rearing, even though she is 50-years-old and has never birthed or raised a child. Say what?! This woman questioned the mother’s choice in diapers, formula and attempting natural childbirth without batting an eyelid.
Two thoughts come to mind:
- Getting parenting advice from someone with no children is like getting dental advice from someone with no teeth!
- THROAT PUNCH!
Living the Dream…
After the huge and surprising success of “Home Alone” in 1990, we were working on the sequel to the first movie just two years later, “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.” The year before, Macaulay Culkin had been featured in Michael Jackson’s music video “Black or White.” Although everyone was aware of their odd friendship, it was still shocking when he unexpectedly showed up on the set during filming one day.
We were shooting exterior scenes outside of the Home Alone house, when out of nowhere a windowless van rolled up. My mom said to me, “Look, a Michael Jackson impersonator.” As he walked closer I corrected her, “No, that’s the real Michael Jackson!” He was accompanied by several body guards and a little boy around five-years-old. I know, strange. I think it was the following year when Jackson’s child molestation charges came about.
Michael Jackson had nothing to do with the adults on set. He gravitated straight for his buddy, Mac and the other child actors that made up the Home Alone family. He was constantly covering up his face with one hand or another and was clearly very timid and shy. But he was also smiling the entire time and engaging with all of the kids. He even let my big brother from the movie, Buzz do an impromptu interview with his little camcorder. It was an interesting encounter and one I’m glad my Mom caught on camera or I wouldn’t believe it myself.
My friends received this drawing via text from their 12-year-old son a few days ago. He was pretty proud of his latest piece of artwork and knew his parents would be too. When his Dad mentioned Bart Simpson’s pants, his son replied, “Dad, you’re sick. No one else would notice that but you!” I beg to differ:
- Thought #1 – Wow, my kid is artistically gifted!
- Thought #2 – No comment…
- Thought #3 – Son, thank you for providing me with more than enough material to keep me laughing indefinitely!
If you have more than one child you may ask yourself, is this amount of fighting between siblings normal? The short answer is…YES! This behavior may be normal, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. The thing that will grate on your patience most is the persistent bickering and tattle tailing that forces you to constantly intervene. The dynamic between your kids will depend a lot on the age difference, how many kids you have and what sex they are. Regardless, sibling rivalry is bound to happen to some degree if you have two or more kids. I may be biased, but from what I can see having two boys, close in age is the worst combination for sibling rivalry. If you have two or more boys, your house will feel like an octagon and depending on your parenting approach, you will either be a referee or a spectator at an MMA fight. Your kids will have a love/hate relationship, which is constantly flip flopping minute by minute between the two. While there will be moments of real tenderness and pure fun, there will also be a lot of yelling and plenty of tears.
The disappointing thing about sibling rivalry is that the reason you had more than one child in the first place was so your kids could have someone to play with. The hope is that between all of those cheap shots, low blows and hair pulls, a strong and lasting bond is forming, but who knows. You see so many adult siblings that can’t stand each other and barely keep in touch. It can be kind of discouraging to think your kids won’t ultimately be best friends when they grow up. Unfortunately, you have little control over how things will pan out. You can try to foster a loving relationship between your kids, show them a strong sense of family and try and model healthy relationships in your own life. Just like everything else in parenting, try your hardest and hope for the best. Remember control freaks, this is just another bullet point on the long list of things you can’t control.
PARENTS IMAGINE THIS:
PARENTS USUALLY GET THIS:
Living the Dream…
How do you decide who cleans up the projectile diarrhea your son had all over the bathroom? Rock, paper, scissors of course! You won, congratulations! Your hubby will be cleaning up poop for the next hour while you take a bubble bath. Not so fast…when you emerge in your pj’s 30 minutes later, your husband has bribed your teenage son to do it for $50. No shit (pun intended)!
Living the Dream…
Mastering the art of the bedtime routine can make or break you as a parent. If you let your little ones manipulate bedtime, be prepared for an ongoing battle. Children are known for testing boundaries and bedtime is no different. Warning: Kids are very creative and can think up countless creative ways to delay sleep. For instance:
- One more book
- One more show
- One more of anything
- A sip of water
- A snack
- An extra blanket
- A cheese stick
- A toy
- A hug
- A kiss
- “I’m scared”
- “Turn on a light”
- “Turn off a light”
- “There’s a dinosaur under my bed”
- “I heard a ghost in my closet”
Huh?! The best way to handle bedtime is to set expectations, be consistent and stick to a schedule. I’m not saying you have to be completely rigid in your bedtime routine, but loosely sticking to somewhat of a schedule will help give your kids the cue that bedtime is fast approaching. Kids are master manipulators and if you give them the chance, they will take advantage of you at your weakest. By the end of the day when bedtime finally rolls around, most parents are completely exhausted. Your kids know this. You will be like the gazelle with the bleeding Achilles and they will be like the lion. When kids sense their parents are weak, they know to take full advantage. If you have a routine in place that you stick to most nights, it will be easier for you to mindlessly follow the program and harder for your kids to fight you.
In my previous post, “What’s Your Family’s Pre-Bedtime Routine?” http://wp.me/p5p3lP-kx, I discussed starting early and giving your kids the opportunity to get some energy out before winding down for sleep. Once you do so, start checking off steps as you go, moving swiftly towards your one hour of kid-less, relaxation before you collapse yourself. The point of a quick and concise bedtime is so you and your spouse can enjoy some peace and quiet and maybe even each other’s company for a small chunk of time before your own bedtime routine begins (which probably only takes you 2 minutes).
- Bath – DONE
- PJ’s – DONE
- Snack – DONE
- Brush teeth – DONE
- Go to the bathroom – DONE
- 1 or 2 books depending on length – DONE (be aware, your kids will ask for 14)
- A quick snuggle – DONE (this means 2 minutes, not 20)
- Lights out – DONE
When our oldest son was around three, we had a friend over for dinner. We excused ourselves to go put him to bed before we ate. Our friend waited patiently for us to complete the 25 minute production we called “bedtime.” This wasn’t including everything leading up to actual bedtime or the multiple times our son came out once we left his room. Our no-nonsense, brutally honest friend gave us plenty of shit when we finally sat down to dinner. “Your kid is working you over. Bedtime should take less than 10 minutes,” he told us. Was that even possible, we wondered? This is when we formed our bedtime routine that we pretty much stuck to and suddenly, things got much easier. Once our son knew he couldn’t manipulate us with his BS, “one more book,” or “I’m hungry” excuses, he just gave up and went to sleep.
If all else fails, try this one: “Go to bed or Santa’s NOT coming!” It can be rather effective 😉
Living the Dream…
Much like babies, toddlers can be equal parts cute and annoying. Here is one of those cute moments! Living the Dream…