Parenting Pet Peeves

You know I have something really good to talk about when I come out of my blog hibernation {unintentional} and ACTUALLY WRITE SOMETHING. But yesterday’s events were too much for me NOT to share. My fellow bloggers can identify with those times when something happens to you or around you and the first thing you think {after, “Oh-my-lanta, did that really just happen?”} is “I’m SO going to blog about this”.

I’ve decided to make this a sort of staple here at Life in these times… because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 19 months of being a parent, it’s that I will never be short of moments where I question parenting choices… whether they are someone else’s or my own. So I would like to officially welcome you to the first installment of Parental Pet Peeves, or P-Cubed.

But before I jump up on my soap box and into my rant, let me just say this… In the grand scheme of things I’m still a fairly “new” parent so I realize my understanding of discipline and what it takes to raise a well-rounded, respectful, intelligent, and happy child is much smaller that that of someone whose kids have kids of their own. We are just breaking the surface on the terrible twos with the Bean and learning as much about ourselves as she is about the world each and every day. I don’t think I’m the best parent in the world or that my methods are any better than the next mom, whether new or experienced, and I make a conscious effort to remind myself that every family and child are different before I turn into judgy judgy Lucille Bluth.

But some things are just TOO RIDICULOUS to not call out. Like the events that transpired yesterday morning during mass.

A woman walked in with her two children {a boy, 5-6 years old and a girl, 8 or 9} about 35 minutes after mass had already started. The hubs and I like to sit in the balcony during mass, because we have friends that often sit there and the music from the organ is far too beautiful to enjoy anywhere else, despite the fact that it seems to be where a lot of people go when they arrive late or have unruly children. Needless to say we’ve learned to enjoy the service with a few distractions present. You know how easy it is to get distracted by latecomers no matter what the event but generally once they take their seats you’re able to regain focus. Not so neighbor Joe. This family could not be ignored. More specifically the little boy. I’ll call him Sherman. They sat in the pew in front of us and it was evident from the start that Sherman either had not been taught the traditions of a church service {when to kneel, stand, sit, etc} or simply had no intention of following along. At first he was like any other young child in church, playing with the books and envelopes on the back of the pew in front of him and trying to figure out whether he wanted to sit next to his mom or sister. The usual. We’ve all seen it. No big deal. But eventually most mothers usually get them to pick a seat and settle into the service. Well, that didn’t happen.

Once Sherman lost interest in the goodies on the back of the pew he noticed that he could slip his body down in the space between the floor and the pew in front of him. AWESOME! Let the adventure begin!!! Again he’s not the first kid to notice this little bit of balcony magic and immediately drop down to the next level, but it’s usually not long before mom or dad has snatched him or her back up to the appropriate level. Yeah, that didn’t happen either. This mama looked over at her son, saw that 75% of his body was UNDERNEATH the pew in front of them, reached over and touched his arm, {as if to say, “Oh no honey, that’s probably not the best idea”} and returned to her previous position letting him continue on his little adventure.

Ok. A bit more distracting. But not a big deal, focus on the service.

Next, Sherman decided that crawling down on the floor in front of him wasn’t enough, his unexpected Hobbit journey then led him to crawl, on his back, underneath the pew that his family was sitting on. He crawled under his sister, {who was the epitome of a well-behaved child} under his mother, and popped his head out on the other side. Mom didn’t seem all that shocked when she saw Sherman RISE from the depths beneath her and again, did nothing to stop the action. In fact, as Sherman brought himself to his feet, his mother leaned back and pressed against her daughter’s shoulders so she’d do the same, so that Sherman could pass in front of them and do it all over again.

Mama’s new name is The Enabler.

So, Sherman is having a grand old time, his sister is sitting like an angel, and The Enabler is letting it all happen without a second thought. Did I mention she still had her sunglasses on? It seems important to note. At this point in the service I am only able to catch a few sentences here and there. Not the way I like to spend my time at mass.

Then it’s as if Sherman realizes the freedom and approval that The Enabler has given him and pulls out all the stops. In another trip below the pew, he decides that Z and I must find his adventure as awesome as he does because he scoots himself over so he is now looking up at us from the ground. Looking up, from below our feet, while we are standing, when I’m wearing a dress, with the most obnoxious grin imaginable plastered across his face. Is anyone else feeling uncomfortable?

I immediately scoot back and politely tuck my dress between my legs so the worlds smallest creeper doesn’t see up my skirt. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was his goal to see up my skirt, it mostly seemed like was just so unbelievably awesome that he could see us from his little tunnel, but I was still really uncomfortable. And pissed. Yes, I was pissed in church. I was pissed that this was happening two inches away from The Enabler, and it wasn’t like she didn’t know what Sherman was doing, she kept looking over to see where he was and could see his feet pointing upward on the floor. At one point she saw me shaking my head at him and she grabbed his foot to pull him back to standing. I thought {with fingers crossed} that we were finally in the clear and could enjoy the rest of the service.

As we knelt in preparation for communion I watched Sherman slip back under the pew. Oh boy. A few seconds later he was not only looking back up at us, but was grabbing Z’s knee. Thank the sweet lord he didn’t grab mine because he would have gotten his hand smacked so fast he wouldn’t have known what hit him. No pun intended.
Z, trying to be inconspicuous and not add any more disruption to the service, {I should note that there were a number of other families all around us who were also watching this mess unfold.} tried to shake Sherman off his knees and joined me in giving him the evil eye while shaking our heads. The Enabler noticed all of our movement and looked back at us like “what’s your problem?”. We both gestured down at Sherman and she grabbed him back out from underneath us. once again Thankfully it was time for us to get up and receive communion after which we happily slid down the pew, away from Sherman the future peeping Tom.

Once the service was over we grabbed the Bean from the nursery, walked outside, and looked at each other with the exact same “did that seriously just happen?” expression. We were dumbfounded that 1. Sherman hadn’t been taught what kind of behavior is appropriate in public, let alone at church, and 2. that The Enabler wasn’t doing anything to change his behavior. We both commented that if we had acted the way Sherman did when we were kids our parents would have taken us out of whatever public place we were in and tanned our hides. I mean seriously, no discipline whatsoever? Not even the slightest bit of correction to blatantly inappropriate behavior? It wasn’t as if she was having a hard time wrangling both children, she and her daughter were both sitting politely still as if nothing was even happening while creepy mc creepster tormented the pews. I’m not saying cause a scene in the middle of church, as if anything the mother could have done would have been more distracting than what we were already enduring, but there is NOTHING wrong with taking your child out of the room to correct the behavior to {hopefully} teach them what is appropriate. I’m mystified every time I think about it. And oddly enough, we were still talking about it during our after-church lunch trip to Panera and the woman at the table next to us leaned over and said, “Excuse me, but I just had to compliment you on how well behaved your daughter is. It’s so nice to see her sitting calmly at the table with you instead of running around the restaurant causing a mess.” I will admit she definitely stroked our egos. Especially when she went on to tell us she had hope in humanity knowing there are folks out there who can raise well-behaved children. More ego stroking. Then she gave us permission to have another kid. Just plain creepy.

So. There you have it. The first {of many} Parenting Pet Peeves. Parents who don’t discipline their children. After all discipline, whether it’s with time out, a spanking, or a more peaceful “chit chat”, is one of the ways we teach our children. We teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We teach our children how other people deserve to be treated.

Thoughts? Discussion? Similar experiences? Share your own parenting pet peeve!

Until next time…

Link UP Week: Raising Imperfection

link up week

The 2nd link up of the week is brought to you by the dynamic duo at Raising Reagan and Violet Imperfection. Their weekly link up invites you to share… just about anything! Funny stories, parenting successes, parenting fails {way funnier}, DIY projects, recipes, whatever you’re in the mood to share! They choose their favorite link each week and feature them on their Featured Friday post! Sounds like fun, eh? Let’s begin.

Since I have plenty of parenting FAIL stories to share, and they openly invite them, I figured it’s about time I share one.
This is one of my more recent proud parenting moments. One for the baby books. One of those times where you just have to stop and think, “Well, at least she’s still alive”.

My little one is almost 14 months old {that’s 1 year and 2 months for those of you who hate when parents refer to their toddler’s age in ‘months’} and is constantly on the move. She’s a skinny minny monkey because she’s burning like a million calories a day and the chance that I’ll lose track of her somewhere in our house at least once a day is great. I’d say 100%. It’s not that my house isn’t safe – we have baby-proofed cabinets, put gates on the stairs, and are pretty careful about shutting doors to the rooms we don’t want her in, but she is constantly sneaking around like a little creeper. And lets face it, we’re human, and I have mom brain, so mistakes will me made when it comes to keeping her OUT of the things she’s not supposed to be IN.

One such mistake occurred just a few weeks ago when I was neck deep in laundry. Keelin was roamed around upstairs, pulling all the books off the bookshelf, attacking the dogs during their morning sunbathing session, and talking to herself in the mirror in the guest room. The usual. I’m generally pretty good at remembering to close the door to the guest bathroom when I know I’ll lose sight of miss into-everything, but this particular day, mom brain set in and I forgot. Actually, mom brain was in FULL FORCE because not only did I forget to shut the door, but I forgot to put the toilet seat down after rinsing off her latest diaper.

Pause – this is not a frightening story about her falling in the toilet so don’t call social services on me just yet.
You should also know that my kid is a total weirdo and has some strange fascination with the toilet. She loves to drum on the toilet lid, which I admit is equal parts cute, comical, and totally gross. Don’t worry, I keep things extra clean to counteract her weirdness. So what do you think happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? Ponder that for a minute while I continue with my parenting fail tale.

Like I said, I was doing my wifely/motherly duties and kicking some laundry butt when I noticed it had been about a minute since I heard Keelin blabbering to herself or caught a glimpse of her dashing across the hallway. So I turned on my spidey sense hearing and tried to guess where she was while I finished folding the bathroom towels. What I heard was not her normal toilet lid drumming, but something similar. It was a much more prominent slap, as if her hands were wet. WET? TOILET DRUMMING? Oh crap.
She turned to look at me right as I stepped into the bathroom doorway, hands, toilet bowl, and FACE dripping with water.
Mom WIN.

So the answer to my previous question – What happens when a kid who likes to drum on the toilet lid stumbles upon a toilet with the lid up? She drums on the toilet SEAT, but not before dipping her hands in the toilet water, and sticking her hands in her mouth.

Gross.

So after having a quick laugh… because you have to when you’re a parent… I proceeded to wipe off the toilet, and my child. I then got some good use out of my pack of sani-wipes, just for good measure, and immediately called the hubs to tell him of the day’s events.
I’m the best mom ever.
At least she’s still alive.

PLEASE join me and Raising Imperfection by sharing a funny story… hopefully your own parenting fail so I cal feel less like a loser mom. K? Thanks.

Until next time…

Where did my baby go?

1 year is such a fun age.
I’m pretty sure I’ve thought that every 3 months since Keelin was born but seriously, 1 year is SUCH a fun age.

I find so much pleasure in watching Keelin entertain herself with books and toys and X-Box remotes. I was inspired to write this blog after spending about 10 minutes just stalking watching her “be” in the corner of the living room. As she explored her big basket of books {I feel like it should have its own name… B-cubed perhaps} I could see the wheels turning in that sweet {75th percentile} dome of hers. Leaning up against the giant stuffed elephant we got her as a birthday gift, sifting through dozens of books to find her favorites, I am in awe of how much she has grown in just a year.

I was in a little bit of denial when she turned a year because people start calling their kids “toddlers” instead of “babies” at that point. No way. She’s still a baby. She will obviously always be MY baby but still a baby-baby, right? There is no way my daughter has surpassed the title of ‘baby’. But no. She’s not just a baby. She’s a smart, silly, walking – sometimes running, cut up who loves to scrunch her face up and giggle for no reason, snuggle with all members of the family {two-legged and four-legged}, throw all of her stuffed animals out of her crib during each nap, bring me the same book to read to her at least 20 times in the span of an hour, remove her socks at every possible opportunity, toss her bibs into the trash can, press the button on her Veggie Tales “God Made You Special” book over and over again just so she can ‘dance’ to Junior Asparagus’ pitchy-tune, and eat dinner ONLY when she’s having the same things Z and I are having.

She’s definitely not “just” a baby any more. She’s my little girl. She’ll be a ‘big girl’ in no time. And then she’ll be a college grad, engaged to a sweet guy who asked her father for her hand in marriage, a new owner of a great dane puppy with an affinity for eating her shoes, planning to move across the country to start a new stage in her life. Woah.

Is it me or did this just get sappy? Oh well.
Perhaps it’s the start of a new year and the loss of a loved one that has me taking the time to really appreciate all that I’ve been blessed with in this moment.  I’m gonna run with it.

And just to keep things from being TOO sappy… here’s proof of one of the above mentioned habits my little girl enjoys…

caught in the act

Caught in the act compliments of my iPhone… the bibs on the floor were actually ones I’d just pulled OUT of the trash. She decided I was mistaken by removing them and needed to remedy the situation. Stinker. Please notice the sock that is only a few shuffles away from coming off.

Until next time… 

 

The Santa Struggle

Disclaimer… This post may or may not question the existence of a magical man in a red suit who shows up on Christmas eve and eats all your cookies. If your kids like to read over your shoulder… you may want to kick them out of the room.

There are some things that I just didn’t think about when we found out we were going to be parents. Obviously there was plenty of excitement and uncertainty, thoughts about finances, who he/she was going to look like, and how different our lives are going to be… that’s all to be expected. But the one thing that I didn’t really think about was what kind of a role Santa would play in my kids’ childhood. I know some moms-to-be think about these kinds of things but to be totally honest it never really crossed my mind until recently when I started seeing some of my mommy-friends posting photos on Facebook of their little one’s sitting on Santa’s lap for the first time.

This time last year the hubs and I obviously weren’t thinking about whether or not we were going to make it to see Santa… considering our main thoughts were something closer to “get OUT of my bellay!” But now that we celebrating our first Christmas as a family of 3, we’ve got to ask ourselves if we’re going to ‘play along’ with the mystery of Santa Claus or live the next years of our lives braced for the phone calls and hate emails from parents of classmates who “heard from the Pierce child” that Santa isn’t real. Eeep!

First we looked at how much of a roll Santa played in our own childhoods.

I have an utterly terrible memory {seriously I think sometime between high school and 2012 I must have run into an MIB who totally flashy-thinged me because my childhood recollection is toast} but I do recall being really excited when ‘Santa’ brought me that hot pink Barbie camper with “working” grill and  fold out cabana. It was only later that I learned my mother spend hours putting that piece of crap together while Santa was nowhere to be found. What’s up with that Claus? Anyway. My brother and I did the sit on Santa’s lap thing a few times… definitely not every year. And I don’t even really remember the time when I ‘learned’ that Santa wasn’t real… I don’t know if it was something I learned or just realized. I think my parents had fun with it and let us enjoy the magic of it all but they were always very clear on the real meaning of Christmas, both in the biblical sense and in terms of the holiday NOT being about what presence we got. So if I can’t say that Santa’s ‘existence’ really had that great of an effect on my life, should it be that important that my kids believe in him at all? Ponder, ponder, ponder.

As for Z’s upbringing, his parents were very upfront with he and his brother about Santa not being real. No shenanigans in that family {and coming from two mimes, that says a lot!}. They didn’t want either of them expecting that some fat man in a velour suit was going to get them exactly what they wanted for Christmas and, much like my parents, really strived to make sure they understood the real reason to celebrate – the birth of Christ. They did make sure to tell both of them not to go off and spoil it for the other kids who did believe… which Z ignored on a number of occasions. Yeah, he was THAT KID.

So… what does a Christian {and Catholic to boot} family, who grew up with slightly different Santa experiences, who want to make sure they maintain the true spirit of Christmas for their children, while still having fun DO when it comes to Jolly Old St. Nick?

YOU TELL ME! We’re still figuring out the details. It’s highly unlikely that Keelin will even remember this Christmas so we’ve got some time to finalize our Santa-Plan but here’s what we’ve got so far…

#1 at Christmas for us is, without a doubt, understanding our faith’s reason for celebrating. We are Christians, we believe in the miracle birth of Christ, we use Christmas to celebrate that event. Plain and simple, that is what Christmas is about for us. As long as our kids understand that, you could say that the rest is just extra fun stuff, right?

I think the story of Santa Claus, with the reindeer and the sled and the Ho’s {I mean…}, and the big-fat-jelly-belly, is sweet and totally fine to incorporate into a child’s Christmas experience. I STILL love reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, signing “From Santa” on gifts, and watching all the fun Santa-Christmas movies. It’s festive, spirited, light-hearted, and FUN. We’re definitely going to make sure our kids know the original story of St. Nicholas too – where the common story of Santa Claus is said to have originated. There is far too much Santa out in the world to try to ignore it all together. Plus, how lame would that be?!

I DON’T think the idea of Santa should be used as a way to make kids behave. It’s one thing to joke about getting coal in your stocking if your kids are being particularly pesky {I still do that with friends and family today} but I’ve been witness to a mother GOING OFF on her kid mid-supermarket telling them with all sincerity {and intent to frighten} that Santa is not going to bring them ANYTHING because of their awful behavior. Seriously I think I saw steam coming out of her ears and her eyes were definitely set to LASER mode. I’ll admit her kid was being  a little demon but I want my children to behave properly because they know it’s the right way to act, not because I threaten them with fewer toys at Christmas. Just doesn’t seem right. And if Santa were real I don’t think he would appreciate you making him out to be the bad guy like that. Tisk.

So do we say, “Hey kids… there’s this guy named Santa Claus we’d like you to know about. The story books say he shimmy’s down chimneys on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to every little girl and boy. He’ also has magical flying reindeer, and perfect no-blush-necessary cheeks. He’s not real, even though some children think he is, so just go along with it when they talk about him at school, and know that it’s all in fun when you come back home. Ok?”  Maybe. It’s upfront, simply put, lets them know we’re all about enjoying the legend for the STORY that it is, but set on knowing the truth from the get-go.

At the end of the day as long as my kids know the real meaning of Christmas, and don’t go around being the jerks that spoil the ‘magic’ for everyone else, I don’t think there’s any reason to ignore the story of Santa. Just be clear on its truth and appreciate it for the fun that it brings to the holiday.

What do you think. Any parents juggling a similar issue? Did I lose you all when I started an 8th paragraph? How did Santa impact your childhood?