Ever feel like you were being watched? Yeah me too sometimes. Courtesy of Middle Child, Twin 1 and Twin 2.
Ever feel like you were being watched? Yeah me too sometimes. Courtesy of Middle Child, Twin 1 and Twin 2.
When I was a kid we didn’t have all day long TV programs for kids. We waited patiently for Saturday so we could watch cartoons. Kids can watch all day, everyday now. They get way too much television. With that they get way too many commercials. Commercials that convince them that their lives will be incomplete without a certain sugar laden breakfast cereal or incredibly awesome action figure with high tech capabilities that require an endless supply of batteries or ugly doll with big head, disproportionately small body and questionable attire.
When we were kids we were simply told “no”. No meant no and that was that. Or there were the few much envied kids in the class whose parents never said no and their lives were complete bliss. We could never reach that unattainable nirvana that they had. Parents that never said no. But when you have your own kids you realize that it was the parents who had it harder than us. I do feel they could have made it easier for themselves though if they had sat us down and taught us how big companies count on the gullibility of the (dumb) consumer. If our parents had challenged us to be smarter than the advertising professionals I think we would have been more open to accepting “no I am not buying that for you”. At least that is what I think now that I have to deal with my own kids.
I am a big fan of Neflix. No commercials and there are shows that I have okayed for my kids to watch that I don’t have to worry about being age inappropriate. Like the incredibly dumbed down or incredibly crass, even bordering on lewd shows I see on regular channels. Of course sometimes they do watch YTV, so they do have exposure to the wonderful world of advertising and all the material wonders that can cause parents to go bankrupt.
I too just give the “no means no”, occasionally treats are allowed on birthdays and special occasions. But I didn’t want my kids to feel the way I did when my parents said no and I saw dozens of other kids with parents that said yes. I felt like I was a poor immigrant, because something being too expensive and a waste of money was the (if any) excuse given. Yes I want my kids to be tough to face the world tomorrow but if there is an explanation I want to give it to them so they can understand the world around them.
I started telling them how big companies hire smart people to fool kids into buying things they don’t need. They fool kids into pestering parents to a point of madness and the parents finally give in. So these companies win the game all the time because they outsmart the kids. The kids aren’t smart enough to realize they are being duped. This reasoning was incredibly more effective than what we got as kids. My kids understood why they did not need everything they saw on commercials or everything their friends had.
Today I took this to an even higher level. I searched for videos on YouTube that explained advertising tricks. I was once watching a documentary on the music industry and my girls sat down with me. I thought they would run away bored after a few minutes, they didn’t. They absorbed it with interest and now discuss what songs are not worth listening to and which are, they recognize the absurdity that some singers indulge in and understand how this is demeaning and something that should not be respected or idolized.
Anyways I was not expecting to find videos that were actually made for kids about the trap of commercials. But I found a series of them. They were really good, the girls were so engaged they couldn’t stop discussing and asking questions. It kind of did all the work for me, they started talking about commercials they saw and how they no longer wanted that product now that they realized how they were being fooled into wanting to buy things they didn’t need.
Society is becoming one big “I want this-I need this-I have to have this-look at this latest thing that I bought and have thus achieved a level of superiority” self-absorbed mess. It is our duty to make sure we are able to reverse this by teaching our kids to read between the lines, question things and make their own informed decisions rather than have the mainstream media do it for them. We need to make sure our kids are wide awake on all levels. The thing is it is easier to keep them awake by teaching them at a young age than it is to wake them up when they are older.
Which ones look happier and healthier?
Life would be so much easier for all of us if everyone just took a balanced approach to things. But no everything has to be extreme, exaggerated and sensationalized. Like the shock of the year; parents who let their kids walk home from school alone. The police picked these children up and then punished the parents by keeping their kids for hours with the Child Protective Services (CPS). The CPS decided the parents are guilty of unsubstantiated neglect. And of course we should not suspect them of having some ulterior motive even with all the scary stories of legal and medical kidnapping going around. Human trafficking in a prettier package is acceptable apparently. Don’t know why there isn’t more noise about this instead of kids walking home from the park.
So if you let your ten year old go to the park alone, you can get in trouble. But the law gives your seventeen-year-old, and in some places sixteen-year-old, the right to leave home if they feel like it? Confused teens (with raging hormones) that make bad decisions, should be allowed to leave their parent’s protection for something stupid, like say not wanting to do chores? Yeah that makes a lot of sense because shelters would be far better than parents.
Free range parenting, with just enough helicoptering to make sure the kids are safe from any extreme danger, would be ideal. But Helicopter parents would probably faint at the idea of letting the kids walk home themselves or lighting sparklers in the backyard. If we look at today’s kids we find all sorts of problems that might be solved from going to the park on their own more often. How about obesity? Kids who aren’t in the park are sitting at home in front of the television or tablet or what not gadget and munching and watching and munching and playing and munching and chatting. Turn off the damn wi-fi and send those kids off to the park.
Paranoid, depressed, moody kids. These kids don’t ride bikes, or skateboards or go dig up earthworms. They do watch the stupidest shows ever created, that have nothing to do with reality (although they claim otherwise)and glamorize being bitchy and mean. Or they have perfectly chalked out schedules in which they have no free time to just be kids. They are too busy with ballet, then piano, then lessons for something unpronounceable. No wonder kids are so depressed these days. Give them a couple of bucks, tell them to go buy some seeds and grow a vegetable garden or buy some fishing line and a hook then go down to the river to catch dinner. Or just hand them an (uncut-no they won’t choke on it!) apple to eat on their way to the park.
Besides all this Helicopter parents have the horrible habit of doing everything for their kids. As if everything needs to be done perfectly all the time. Just let the kids do it themselves and actually use their brains, it’s good exercise for them! They can do their homework themselves. Then go to the park. They can clean their rooms themselves. Then go to the park. They can make their own snacks. Then go to the park!
When we were kids we would be out all day climbing trees, riding bikes and yes just walking around town. We were just as likely to be kidnapped or killed in accidents as our kids. In fact if you look at stats (here and here) our kids are actually safer than we were. Our parents taught us to be careful then let us out of their sight. They had a couple of hours of peace and we had hours of fun. The result? Happy parents and happy (active) kids. So how about we let our kids be kids and enjoy their childhood while they still have one? (Although we have made such a mess of it that we may have to force them to just go be kids!)
(pics from News Track Live and Before It’s News)
I am the kid who got bullied at school. All the time, yes, even in high school. I was brown (still am, but proud of it now) and my parents were immigrants. I was taught to suck it up and turn the other cheek. And of course tell the teacher. But there were some teachers who didn’t really care. And I was not the type of child to go home crying to my parents every time something happened, especially as I got older. I would ignore it as best as I could and then I had enough. I started to fight back. I did get into a couple of physical fights because I defended myself, the result of that was reinforcements were called in and I was beaten up by a group of racist little brats. It was not in school so not much could be done about it. The last incident I remember was in high school when this boy in math class continually called me “Paki” with an assortment of nouns added for color. He was also the child of immigrants but he was white. One day as he whispered profanities at me I turned to him and very loudly, whilst our (stern) teacher was explaining something, told him exactly what he was. The class was deadly silent. All eyes were on us, and then the teacher continued. He did not send me out of the room, did not ask me to explain. He let me have my say, he let the boy turn red in front of the entire class as he glared at him. He did not interrupt my victory. Sometimes you can’t turn the other cheek.
Things have changed a lot now. My daughters are not the only brown girls in the school. They do not get picked on for being brown. But of course kids still get bullied. And I too give my daughters the same advice my parents gave me, walk away and inform the teacher. Stay away from those conflicts. And I know the teachers do their best now to keep bullying at bay. But sometimes they can’t be there and some kids just can’t control themselves. I don’t blame the kids, I know some times there is a serious issue that is affecting them. I do know that sometimes bullies have to be put in their place.
There is a boy (or two) in twin 2’s class that can’t control his arms and legs. He has to hit, he has to kick he has to push. The teacher can’t keep him in her sights every second, and I know she tries because Twin 2 has told me he is always being pulled aside and getting the ‘talk’. But it doesn’t stop him and he would be at it again in no time.
Then I told my daughter if he hit her again or hit any of her friends and the teacher was not there (something always happens at recess) she needed to tell him to stop and if he didn’t listen she needed to defend herself. Yes I told my daughter if he hit her she was to hit him right back.
I am not a violent person and neither are my daughters, they are gentle and caring. It was not advice I liked to give but I want my daughters to be able to stand up for themselves and I don’t want them to go through their entire school life before they learn to do it like I did. Bullies need to learn they can’t keep hitting with no consequences.
Anyways some days later twin 2 came home with a note informing me that she had broken said bully’s water bottle. She told me that he had been hitting her in the hallway after recess and the teacher was nowhere close by so she had asked him to stop (he didn’t) and then she took matters in to her own hands, threw his bag thus breaking the precious water bottle. She was upset because she thought I would be upset at the note. I wasn’t, but I had mixed feelings. Would my baby now turn into a thug?
“Why did you break his bottle?”
“He wouldn’t stop, and I didn’t want to hit him. Are you mad?”
“No, of course not. Sometimes people don’t understand words, you had to make him stop somehow.”
I signed her note and gave her a hug. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world, I hope I have not given her the wrong advice. So far she has not come home with any complaints of being bullied again and it is with great relief that I have not received any notes from school informing me that my daughter has taken it upon herself to bully the bullies.
Dinner time and weekend breakfasts are great. When you all sit and eat and talk about stuff together. With all the kids there. My kids have grown older so they spend less time with me now. Or should I say I no longer have some small child clinging to my ankles crying its little head off because the cookies are finished or the cat is sleeping or unicorns aren’t real. I know a time is coming when I will actually miss that.
That going crazy trying to cook and clean and feed and do laundry, all with kids fighting and crying and lacing themselves up around my shins. Ok I guess it won’t be too soon that I will miss all that because every time I see a pregnant woman I drop down to my knees and shout “Hallelujah that’s not me!” I do love my kids though.
Which is why eating together is great. You know food, talk, love blah blah blah. Food is an excellent catalyst when it comes to loosening up tongues and inhibitions. We talk about everything at the dinner table. From politics to lame celebrity news to drugs and farting. We use language that would be otherwise frowned upon, but food just makes everything ok.
A couple of days ago we were eating when one of my teenagers commented about weed. I have learned so much about weed since my annoying inbetweeners became teenagers. For example I had no idea you could make weed brownies. Not that I am planning to or anything. But I feel quite appropriately enlightened. My seven year old twins know what weed smells like. I always thought it was a skunk gone haywire somewhere. This was good motivation to convince the kids that anything that smells that bad can’t be good. They have assured my they won’t smoke it. I have assured them I won’t always be around and they need to make smart decisions and will be accountable for their own actions. I then went on to tell them the grisly details of drug addiction. I hope those nightmares stay with them forever and they pass it down to their kids someday.
These are baked without weed. Really.
Political discussions usually come on Saturday morning when I am making parathas and Teen 1 makes the omelet (du fromage btw-always). No matter what we start out talking about, it always winds its way to politics. And then there is much shouting and screaming. Especially after Teen 1 claims I am racist. I then tell her, very loudly, exactly what racist it, I was born and grew up in Canada when people were less enlightened and very racist. I am not racist, I just have a keen interest in conspiracy theories. War is a big money maker, wars are planned. For the greater good of the privileged few. And I am Mom, I have seen the world. I am right. End of discussion. Go read some damn history books.
Seriously though our kids only know what the media tells them, they need to read more books. I lecture on this at great lengths, I know they will retain some of it, and realize there are two sides to every story, someday. Just like I did.
Then of course there is poop. No discussion is ever complete without poop or fart jokes. Or some other jokes. Yesterday Teen 1 whipped out her cell phone in the middle of dinner to tell us some great jokes. They were awful. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. (Note:extreme stupid ahead)
What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
Why did the boy drop his ice cream?
Because he got hit by a bus.
What’s red and smells like blue paint?
An Irishman walks out of a bar.
What’s green and has wheels?
Grass. I lied about the wheels.
A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
How do you confuse a blond?
Paint yourself green and throw forks at her.
Dave proceeds to break into tears as his grandmother’s Alzheimer has progressed to the point where she can no longer remember him.
What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?
Where’s my tractor?
Why are black people good at basketball?
Dedication and hard work.
Roses are grey, violets are grey. I am a dog.
What do you discuss at the dining table?
(All ridiculous humor from here http://anti-joke.com/)
(High End) Furniture designers are evil people who hate children (and mothers). They purposely design furniture that people with kids can’t buy ( not that we could afford it anyway). I suspect they had some sort of traumatic experience in their lives. Like maybe best friends with small children who visited once too often. Whatever, I still believe there is no excuse for their demonic furniture. Let me introduce you to the furniture from hell…
Treefury :“Have fun picking the Lego out of me b**ch!”
Tibia Smasher the Wicked: “I love shins and knees. But I especially love the chins of your offspring.”
Agrona the Poker: “Just waiting for the kids to push me over muhahahaha!”
Slovenly the Spaghetti Lover: Name says it all. (It also loves play dough, mashed potatoes and Cheerios.)
Jaba the Couch: “I am gargantuan, hideous and incredibly expensive. I also make embarrassing fart noises your kids will love.”
Vertigo: “I can’t wait till the young ones learn to walk.” Not furniture but (stair) well deserving of mention.
Poe’s Dining Pendulum: “I make sure the kids never sit still to finish their food. Ever.”
Oakenfang: “Give me little fingers. Plump little fingers…..”
Gollum Chair: (old, ugly, creepy and at $35000 it’s preciousssss). “We loves toeses, soft juicy toeses!”
Brian Hyland Chair:
Pinebelle the Insane: “once you start cleaning me…you’ll never be able to stop.”
Banshee Recliner: “Hello little children, come closer. Don’t be shy…”
Which one was your favorite ( and ridiculously expensive) nightmare?
(All furniture names are a combination of my brilliant imagination and the Evil Name Generator. )
As a mother of five kids I have learned that it’s part of a normal (ugh!?) childhood for young children to put everything in their mouths. You have to be very vigilant. No matter how much you clean up and remove things from within their reach, they will find the most disgusting things possible to put in their mouths.
I have jammed my fingers between Firstborn’s little rose bud lips and extracted half eaten large black ants covered in baby drool. I can’t be sure if the poor creatures drowned or died of dismemberment. All my kids ate sand. After the first two I decided there must be something healthy in it and just let them sit behind the curtains and swallow that organic earthy goodness. If nothing, it helped them develop a great immune system.
Middle child was even more adventurous and once managed to down some phenol liquid (used as a cleaner). How she managed to climb up to a high shelf and retrieve it I don’t know. She also managed to unscrew the tightly closed cap. Anyways I thought she may have learned her lesson as the little blisters that popped up in her eyes, mouth and nose lasted some days. It was so painful, but she was ready for her next gastronomical adventure soon afterwards.
The twins delighted in feasting upon soap and tubes of toothpaste. When caught they would scream bloody murder as the soap and toothpaste were snatched away from them and their mouths washed out. I would explain to them lovingly, “we don’t eat soap and toothpaste.”
They would screech back, “we do eeef foap n toofpase!”
Then Twin 2 did the stuff mom nightmares are made of. She managed to get her hands on a bottle of Mortein liquid mosquito repellent and drank it down. She was playing happily after that and when I gave her a kiss I told her she smelt funny, my mom senses started tingling. She told me it was the funny thing she drank and then it hit me. We rushed her to the hospital and I had to hold her down while she got her stomach pumped. They usually keep the parents away at that time, but the two nurses and the stomach pumping guy couldn’t manage to keep her still so they called me in. Good times, good times.
Unfortunately none of my kids got any super powers in return, you’d think they would have. I honestly feel I deserve that much. I was positive Firstborn would be bestowed with Ant girl powers or Twin 2 would have some sort of super cleaning, mosquito repelling gifts that would benefit the world in some way or another.
Ah well, at least I am over that stage. Or I thought I was until I discovered Twin 2 licking her hands randomly as she watched T.V. She didn’t even realize she was doing it. I stared at her for a minute.
“Did you just eat something chocolaty?” I asked.
“No. Why do you have any brownies?” she asked hopefully.
“No, I don’t have any brownies. Why were you licking your hands?”
“I wasn’t!” she laughed.
“EEEWW! You were licking your hands! We saw you!” piped up Middle child happily.
“Yeah mommy, she always licks her hands!” added Twin 1 triumphantly.
Everything is a damned competition. Always.
“No I don’t!” Twin 2 is the worst liar ever. She had a guilty smile on her face. Then she dove into my arms when I gave her the look.
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she was still laughing.
“She likes the sweaty, salty taste!” Middle child exclaimed and then went into peals of laughter along with Twin 1. This is somehow considered a victory for them.
“Listen, you are almost eight. I thought I was done with this stuff by now. Do I have to keep running after you to make sure you are not putting everything into your mouth like a baby?”
“No. I’ll try not to.”
“Good.” Hugs and kisses and cuddles. I love being a mom.
I had to remind her fifty different times after that to stop licking her hands. She’s trying to remember not to lick them. Her sisters have agreed to help by reminding her when they catch her doing it.
“Does she do it a lot?” I asked Twin 1.
I am beginning to wonder just how good that salty, sweaty taste is. Maybe I will lick her hands when she’s asleep to find out. Oh I wonder what kind of super powers could possibly come out of this?! Keeping my fingers crossed.
(Top pic from Google Images)
Winter Vacation is coming up and if you have tyrannical offspring under the age of twelve you know that means countless whining sessions of “I’m bored” and even “come and play with me”, “color/draw with me”, “cut and paste with me” in general just “do something with me!” And you probably won’t have time to stop and take a breath with all the cleaning and cooking the holiday season brings. That and the stress of trying to be super woman and not breaking a sweat in front of the in-laws or your other “competitive company” i.e. the women with the perfect manicures, well-behaved children, spotless picture perfect homes and designer clothes who serve up gourmet delicacies they cook themselves. We should actually be thankful for their questionable existence, if it weren’t for them how many of us would actually try to workout once in a while and change out of those baggy plaid PJs?
A trip to the dollar shop can turn up some real treasures, yes and also cheap “use today, break tomorrow, dump in recycling on Wednesday” items imported from China. So you have to be careful. If you go in the aisle that has all that artsy stuff you will be amazed how many things you can find that will actually keep your kids busy for at least fifteen and if you are lucky sometimes a little longer.
Cutout pieces of colored paper, glittery fomic sheets in bright shades, sequins, beads, glitter glue, pom-poms and feathers are great for making cards, murals and other holiday themed decorations. Kids love decorating boxes and empty jars that you can use to give gifts in or candy in. You can make an outline of Santa, candy canes, reindeer or whatever else and have them decorate it as they like or even use old coloring book pages if you aren’t that great at drawing. If you have older kids threaten to take away their Xbox controller or with hold shopping money till they draw an outline of a big fat snowman on a sheet of chart paper for their siblings.
Twin 1 and 2 made these, all this stuff came from the dollar shop.
Empty jars and odd left over pieces from tea sets or serving sets can be made into very pretty center pieces for the coffee table. You could also get stuff from the Thrift store. The pine cones, dried flowers and shiny little pebbles that you find in boxes under the kids’ beds are great to use for these. You can even find elegant (and cheap) glass candle holders to use at the dollar shop.
We made this one ourselves. I got the tray from a thrift shop, pebbles we collected from the beach and you can find little candle holders at the dollar shop (you can tell this is my favorite place.)
Don’t forget to bake some extra cookies to use as a bribe to get them all to clean up their mess. And if that doesn’t work then you can always remind them of the gifts they won’t be getting, that often helps in convincing them to cooperate.
There are about four days left before school reopens, and I have mixed feelings about this. Summer is ending, this is a nostalgic and often bittersweet kind of feeling. After a certain age it reminds you that you are at that late summer stage in life.
I will miss sleeping in and being awoken by my twins acting like lion cubs and lounging on me, late and lavish breakfasts and the no stress late nights because no school the next day.
However I also miss the few hours of peace and quiet, the clean house, the lack of screaming after every five minutes and the time away from the kitchen because summer vacation is also basically just one big “I’m hungry…” all the time.
You’ve got to have both experiences or life would be pretty boring…which made me realize that two extremes of people commit suicide : those that have everything and those who have nothing. No this has nothing to do with my blog post, sorry for that depressing thought. It’s just my brain has all these tabs open at once, you know all that creativity and stuff.
What I wanted to blog about today was the “Laws of Mom Physics”
1. The amount of a mother’s love is constant, it simply changes from one form to another from mother to mother and even in the same mother. Like “overprotective love” to “please get out of my hair because I don’t want to hurt you” love.
2. Every action from a child will cause an increased reaction from a mother. For example a hug from a toddler will result in a much tighter hug and many smooshy smooches from an exuberant mommy. A ridiculous demand from a teenager will result in a higher decibel verbal reprimand and an increased possibility of house arrest.
3. The stickiness of the floors is directly proportional to the necessity of the reopening of schools.
4. The capacity of a mother’s bladder increases exponentially with her number of offspring.
5. The angle of projectile vomit spewing from a noxious child can be calculated perfectly by mommy ready with the plastic bag.
6. Dinner ready and set on the table will always result in all the kids NOT being hungry at the given point in time.
7. Pi(e) is always equal to happy children especially when served with ice cream.
There are many more laws, please feel free to add yours.
Can’t imagine life without them. But since they are all around us all the time, sometimes we just don’t seem to notice them, or really appreciate them. So thank you Cheri Lucas Rowlands for reminding us of their beauty and importance.
As a mother when I see these letters written by my kids (on endless love letters and pictures) nothing can describe the feeling of love that washes over me.
These letters name what I find in every corner, under the sofas, beds, the dining table and even in long tangled hair of Twin 2. I love cheerios. I just don’t like cleaning them up. I also don’t like the fact that they only seem to stick to my feet.
As a writer these letters on this device are my best friends, the ones on the screen and on the keyboard. The letters G-O-O-G-L-E take me to places I could never go.