Category Archives: Kids

I said no…to lemon

I was inspired to blog this story because my amazing niece shared a post on Facebook where a woman compared her dog not eating the steak in front of it to men keeping their shit together and behaving. Meaning some dogs are better behaved than many men. Her caption was, “Teach your boys better people.”

I couldn’t agree more. I have two boys. I’m sick to my stomach every damn day when another celebrity or well-known person is outed for being a pig. Honestly, it’s a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m glad these brave women are speaking out and I’m proud of them. But the sheer volume lately is sickening. It’s like when you turn over a rock and tons of those little worms go wriggling for cover. There are far too many worms right now.

The up side, if there is one, is that it makes me super vigilant with my kids and how they are learning to treat women and be respectful.

My six-year-old LOVES to “make” you a water with lemon. I don’t know, don’t ask. Anyway. I’m not a fan of lemon in my water. So the other day, I asked him to put water on the table for dinner. He asked if I wanted lemon. I said no. He gave me water with lemon. When I reminded him that I said no to the lemon, he smirked and said, “I heard yes.”

Poor thing. Let’s just say he got the message that that is not acceptable. (Don’t @ me, I didn’t spank, yell or threaten to beat him.)

I know he was not being malicious. He’s six. He just likes to stick a lemon on the side of a glass. It makes him happy for some reason. But his happiness does not trump me saying no. That’s a really serious lesson that he needs to learn now.

What do you say? Let’s raise a generation where we don’t have to worry about all those worms under the rocks. It starts now.

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Amanda

I wrote this when I was a young mom, shortly after my first baby was born and I was overwhelmed by the love I had (and still have) for her.

Watching her sleep, so helpless and small

The greatest gift from God20160905_121527

The most beautiful miracle of all

Tiny and wonderful, full of love to give

She smiles in her sleep, having angel dreams

I reach down and touch her cheek

Stroking her soft pink skin

Looking into sparkling, wide eyes,

Laughing over a tiny upturned nose,

She has brought joy and love to an empty life.

What the hell, World?

Has it always been this crazy?

The presidential election. (Sigh. This election.) Terrorists. Mass murder. Hate. Racism. Every other ism. Allowing ourselves to be pitched against one another. It’s madness.

My motherly instincts want me to hide my kids away, shield them from the absolute insanity going on in our world today.

But. They have to live in this world. And hopefully make it better when it’s their turn. So don’t they need to know it. All of it? Even the bad stuff?

It’s enough to drive a mom mad.

And yes, I do think it’s always been this crazy. We just didn’t know it. We didn’t always have social media, where we can literally watch things unfold in real time.

We didn’t have the news in our Facebook feed showing us every missing child, every murder, every abuse case from every small town in America. (Seriously, how do I turn that off?)

We didn’t have live tweeting from the scene. Giving us a perspective we’ve never had before. (And if you’re like me, you find out about things happening from Twitter.)

In the old days, if you skipped the 11 o’clock news and didn’t read the newspaper you were blissfully ignorant. (As long as you could dodge Gladys from down the street.)

Now, it’s everywhere. It’s difficult to ignore because social media and all things online are ingrained into our every day lives. It’s hard to escape, even if you wanted to.

I do love social media. I must, I do it for a living. I love keeping up with family and friends far away. I love seeing their pictures, hearing their stories. I love getting to know people from all over the world in a way that I could not have before.

But with the good comes the bad.

I also get to see the world as it is. Warts and all. And I get drawn in. Refreshing that feed too often. Checking the phone one too many times. And you know what? It makes me unhappy. (At least sometimes. I still love a good puppy pic.)

All the more reason to unplug regularly. (Or go off the grid altogether if that’s your thing.) I want to set a good example for my kids. I do think that, within reason, they should know what’s going on in the world. But they also need to learn moderation. And that constant exposure to social media and the insanity that comes with it is not healthy.

Earlier today as I sat in front of my screen working, my younger son waited patiently for me to read to him. I’ll tell you what, watching him giggle over a baby firefly being called a pupa was the most awesome thing that happened to me today. I’m glad he reminded me to unplug.

The best thing we can do is put our devices down and spend quality time with our kids. Raise them to be good human beings. As Whitney says, they are our future. Maybe if we raise them right this world will have a chance. I know I’m going to try harder.

Look up and smell the roses

We recently took the boys on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Universal Studios. I feel truly blessed to be able to do this for our kids. When I think about the memories we are making, and how they will look back fondly on these fun times, it makes me so happy.

But there was one aspect of the trip that just made me sad: So many people staring at their phones.

Granted, when you go to a major theme park on a holiday weekend there is lots of waiting. It can be tedious and frustrating. My patience was tried a few times, the boys got bored, and a few times we had to remind ourselves to just breathe and enjoy it.

But the number of people staring down at screens really struck me.  It was just sad.

During a 45 minute wait to get into Hogwarts, a group of young girls in front of us spent the entire time each engrossed in their own screen. Occasionally, one of them would show something to another, they’d laugh, and go back to their own phone. There was no conversation. No excited chatter about the upcoming ride, no talk about boys, or school or what they had done the previous day. (Unless, of course, they were texting each other.) I was astonished, and even my son mentioned it.

In another line, there was a very young girl with her mom. Her mom was on Facebook pretty much the entire wait. The girl had her own phone, but she tried to talk to her mom a couple times without success. So she kept opening and closing apps, not really doing anything on the phone, but staring at it nonetheless. I think that made me saddest. She seemed to be either mimicking what she was seeing around her and wanting to fit in, or she was resigned to the fact that her mom wasn’t engaging and was just bored. What a wasted opportunity!

(And no, I wasn’t being nosy. When you are stuck in close proximity to someone it’s very easy to see with a glance what they are looking at on their phone.)

Those are just two examples of what I saw over and over again.

We really are having a zombie apocalypse, but instead of some mystery virus, it’s our smartphones that have turned our brains to mush. Did I mention how many times we ran into or had to walk around someone because they were doing the zombie shuffle, or stopped in the middle of the path to look at their phone? Maddening.

I’m not perfect. I wasn’t always 100% engaged with the kids. Yes, I pulled out my phone to text my husband who had the younger one on the other side of the park. Or to take a quick picture and post it to Facebook. And frankly, there were times during our waits that I wanted to sleep. (Sleeping in the same hotel bed with a four-year-old? That’s for another post.) Or I didn’t really feel like engaging because I was thinking about how much my back hurt from all the standing, or I was people-watching.

But most of the time, we enjoyed each other’s company. We talked. My older son and I made up our own versions of the rides we were about to get on. We talked about why he can’t see Deadpool.  (And he didn’t cry this time. Whew.) We dreamt up our own movies or stories. We laughed.

I would not have traded that time for any app in the world.

What are we doing, people? These are the memory-makers. These are the times we should be laughing and talking and sharing (IRL not social media sharing).  When else do we have time to just hang out with our kids without having to rush here and there? And we’re spending it on our phones?

It just makes me sad.

Why Deadpool—and parenting—sucks

Sometimes parenting straight up sucks.

I made my son cry on the way to school this morning.

Why I picked that time I don’t know. I guess I didn’t expect that reaction. I knew he wouldn’t like what I said, but I didn’t expect him to cry. I forget that although he’s taller than me and sometimes has pimples, he’s still a little boy inside. Now I’m devastated, thinking he had to start his day like that.

But I did it for a good reason. Honest.

For two years he’s been looking forward to seeing the Deadpool movie. Since before there was even a hint of the movie being made, he drew pictures of him that he hung on his wall. He made Deadpool his home screen on the iPad. He bought some of his comics. He loves Deadpool.

(I know the comic books, and how raunchy the character is. My son’s read only read a few of them. In his twelve-year-old mind, Deadpool just looks cool and says funny things. He’s still naive and innocent.)

When he heard they were making a movie, he was beyond excited. WE were excited. Because that’s OUR thing. We see all the Star Wars, super hero, big monster movies together. And I cherish and love every second of it.

So he’s seen every preview, read articles about the making of the movie, counted the days.

Then, with a dawning sense of dread, I realized how inappropriate the movie is going to be. I stopped encouraging it, stopped mentioning it. Hoping he’d forget, but he didn’t. When the commercials started showing the opening date, he’d look at me, wide-eyed.  I’d smile half-heartedly and change the subject.

I told him last week that I wasn’t sure the movie was going to be appropriate for him. Laying the groundwork. I dreaded telling him that he couldn’t see it. I knew he’d be disappointed.

Last night, talking to a mom-friend, we agreed we’d go together opening weekend to decide once and for all if our boys could see it.

So, this morning in the car (bad timing!) I told him that I would see Deadpool this weekend to decide if he could see it. And he was crushed. He started to cry. For some stupid reason, I was surprised. I knew he’d be mad and disappointed, but didn’t expect tears. Ugh.

It’s moments like that, that I really hate parenting. I hate to see my boy cry, even if it’s for the right reason. And especially when it’s my fault. Part of me was screaming inside to say, “OK, you can see it,” just so he’d stop crying. But I knew that wasn’t the right thing to do.

Once I explained my reasoning and apologized for the bad timing, I changed the subject and tried to be cheerful. To his credit, he pulled it together and was talking about possible easter eggs in the movie by the time he jumped out of the car. But still. I’m left with this knot in my stomach.

Thanks a lot, Deadpool.