Friday, March 4, 2011

The Parents Reading List

Way back when...when I was pregnant with Greyson I bought all kinds of parenting books. I did not yet have to spend my money on things like diapers, 5 gallons of milk a week, and clothes they would stain the first time wearing. So there was a lot more flexible money and a whooooooolllllle lot of ideas about what kind of Mom I was going to be. Since it was my first pregnancy I didn’t know I was hormonally insane and wasn’t filtering my thoughts and asking “hmmmm…is this a rational way of thinking?” *

Around the beginning of my 3rd trimester I realized I couldn’t remember the words to any kids songs. What if sweet baby wakes up at night and needs a soothing lullaby to go back to dreamy la la land? I DON’T KNOW ANY. Actually, I don’t know ANYTHING about being a parent. Enter Amazon and daily visits by the UPS man. Place satisfied grin on smug expecting mama's face...I am going to be AWESOME.

Four years later, I have all of these parenting books somewhere in the basement. I can't get rid of them at a garage sale. What if someone asks me what they are about?! There were some that I did read and found really interesting, okay I read parts of them--I've been a little busy growing my organic vegetable gardening and spinning my own cotton thread for crocheting stuffed animals to stimulate creative play. 

For the most part, all I've learned is that parenting books are ridiculous. I don’t know who these people are but I am sure I would NOT be friends with them, (or probably more accurately they would not be friends with me..."I'm sorry, I am all out of soy. Would you like kaluha in your coffee?")

“Top 100 Baby Puree’s” I actually asked for this book as a Christmas gift before Greyson was born. I had great ideals about cloth diapers, making my own baby food, and being a "Crunchy"** mom. You know what was crunchy? My Hair. G had colic and constantly threw up. In my defense, I DO make my own baby food. It goes something like this. Step 1: Open can of fruit or veggie. Step 2: Put in food processor. Step 3: Add water and powder formula. Step 4: Turn button on process until it is done or until you remember that it is on and get back to it. 

“The Sleep Solution.”  How to get your baby to sleep soundly through the night? According to the book, you develop a night time routine and teach your kid to soothe themselves. Okay routine…everyone in the tub, stop drinking the bath water, don’t eat the soap. Kids out of the tub, run wildly through the house (for kids, parents please refrain from doing so until 9p) while trying to get a diaper on a moving target. Announce 20 minutes until bed time. Put children in bed 2 minutes after announcement, they don’t understand time and you are at risk for losing your mind if you have to deal with them using the house as a race track for 18 minutes. Good night dear children, I love you, sleep well. No you may not a have a drink. No you already went to the bathroom. No you can not have another book. I SAID. I LOVE YOU. AND GOOD NIGHT. NOW I AM NOT SAYING IT AGAIN. GO. TO. SLEEP. 

“Parenting Beyond Belief.” Bo and I have very differing religious beliefs. I bought this book so that I could learn how to teach my children about faith, religion and God but be respectful of Bo’s beliefs as well. The first story was a mom whose father had recently passed away. She told her 7 year old daughter that her grandfather was in the ground decomposing. What the...?!***

Um yeahhhh. 

Let’s see, I can tell them that thunder is the angels bowling or I could say “the electrodynamic effects of the massive current acting on the plasma in the bolt of lightning.” Bo can figure out what he wants to say on his own, I’m sticking with the whole bowling concept. 

“Siblings without Rivalry.” I’ve never even cracked this book open. I am going to write my own book. It is going to be called “How to use your kids against one another to get them to pick up their stuff.” Too harsh? Okay how about, “Keeping things fair. I will give you an M&M to use as an example of the reward system while giving the parent stare to other misbehaving child.” 

“The Busy Toddler Handbook.” I bought this one when I first lost my job and started staying home with the kids full time. Let me save you the $11. If you are interested in this book than it indicates that you do, or will, have a toddler. I hope sometime around the point where all of the kids are in school full time I find the opportunity to read this. Glancing through it looks like it is full of great ideas…like fill several pans with a different textured element, such as rice, sand, and water and let your children explore how it moves through their hands. 

Yes that is a WONDERFUL idea. As if your dear little ones did not already turn your house into total chaos, please give them free reign to poor things into every bitty crevice of your house. Please see above referenced book to prevent children from flinging textured elements into each others faces. If that doesn't work, see book below.

“1, 2, 3, Magic!” Yet another that I have not read, but I think the title kinds of gives it away. Please let me put this in terms of how “real” parents use this method. 

“Dear child who I love oh so much, Stop. Licking. The Freak.Ing. Ketchup. Offthetopofthebottle. NOW.

I am going to count to three.  One. (Oh wait, I forgot to put the whole threat part in it.) Stop licking the ketchup orrrrrr you will have to go to time out and I may start blogging and forget that you are there. One, two I mean it. Do you want to go to time-out? Fine. Three.”

You can determine what kind of day you are going to have by how many numbers you have to count. It is it’s own good-behavior metric system. 

  • Issue threat and child retreats. Good day
  • Count to 1 and your child runs away to engage in another activity. You are an AWESOME parent. Start giving other parents pointers on how to make their children behave. I am sure you're child will have the same reaction to this method every time, ESPECIALLY when in public or at your in-laws house.
  • Count to 2 and give evil stare. You got it going on!! Rocking parent. You may also give pointers to other parents on the exempliary behavior modification method you practice. Please insert long sighhhh to indicate how difficult it was to get your child to listen. You are not on a pedestal here, you worked hard to be an ideal parent. You counted to two AND maintained mean face.
  • You’ve counted to 3, gave second evil stare and are now dragging kicking and screaming child to time-out spot. Check liquor cabinet to determine if there is an appropriate level of “post kid bedtime” adult medication.
  • You’ve counted to 3, gave second evil stare, dragged child to time out. Threatened child to stay in time out. Told them to get back to time out, or you are going to count to three again. 1, 2…oh screw it. Go see if Oprah is on. 
*Dear Readers, please ignore any follow up comments posted by dear husband. He doesn't remember it correctly. I was a peach while carrying our beloved children.

**"Hippie-esque; ALL-NATURAL. Refers to the crunch of granola, which (as goes the stereotype) hippie-esque people are likely to eat. Translating to parenting, it is breastfeeding (all natural), organic homemade baby food (all natural), cloth diapering (better for the environment), etc..."

***What the...? Has become my new favorite "swear" word. You can creatively insert that matches your level of intended offensiveness. Of course mine mind is thinking "What the...golly be! Could it really be? Gosh almighty,what the bee's knee's was I thinking?"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things I Think I Should Add To My Resume

As the job search continues, I've wondered how to fully capture some of the activities I have recently engaged in...

  • Advanced the understanding of key principles including, but not limited to, colors, numbers, songs, and manners.
  • Created and executed reward system consisting of candy coated chocolate discs (M&M) to facilitate appropriate behaviors.
  • Developed guidelines and provided structure for day to day actions.
  • Critiqued, role modeled and reprimanded as necessary to maintain order and prevent overthrow of governing body.
  • Excelled in budgeting time to meet all necessary deadlines including breakfast, morning snack, lunch, nap, afternoon snack, dinner and bath.
  • Fully utilized materials on hand, fitted sheet and kitchen table, to build play structure.
  • Captured attention of individuals under 3ft tall for up to 4 minutes at a time.
  • Championed efforts to encourage individuals to utilize appropriate locations for urinary and bowel movements.
  • Clarified understanding of world concepts, social etiquette and hierarchy principles.
  • Minimized questions through consistency in concrete answers, primarily applying the phrase “Because I said so.”
  • Served as project leader for arts and crafts activities.
  • Computed regular facebook updates central to communication with external sources.
  • Led measures to streamline nap/bedtime process and eliminate any areas of procrastination.
  • Discovered  numerous ways to utilize paper towel and toilet paper rolls.
  • Devised creative phrasing and actions to deter “meltdown city.”
  • Actively engaged in conflict resolution and negotiation.
  • Documented growth and progress through various mediums including print, electronic, video and photography.
  • Elicited truthful responses to further understand vague situations including who hit who first.
  • Familiarized self with animated characters names, role, interests and other key elements.
  • Incorporated musical elements into mundane activities including clean-up, potty, eating and “I love you. Now go to sleep and I am not saying it again.”
  • Inspired imagination and use of kitchen utensils, various box sizes, and costume to further creative play.

The Morning's Highlights

  1. A WWF challenge occurred on my lap regarding who got to sit there and who got the crummy seat of sitting next to me. I got up and moved twice. The wrestling team followed me. Fortunately there are no folding chairs in near site.
  2. The kids have learned to make fart noises by sticking out their tongues and ppppppllllllllttttttt, therefore flinging spit all over one another.
  3. G is on underwear #4 for the morning and has been threatened that if he pee-pee’s somewhere other than the potty one more time he will have to wear a diaper. Not to be made the fool, he has informed Kinsley that SHE is wearing a BABY diaper, leading to the argument “I am NOT a baby.” “Yes you are.” “No I not.” “Yes you are.” Mooom. We are on round #7.
  4. Due to item #3, I have stepped in something warm twice.
  5. Trying to provide incentive, I am dancing around singing "pee pee in the potty." Should I include this in my resume? I will put it right under my MBA. "Proficient in singing about urinary and bowel movements to facilitate an encouraging atmosphere."
  6. The washing machine is out of order until the part Bo ordered comes in so the pee-pee, barf, food soiled clothing is piling up in giving another reason for me to ask “What’s that smell?” and search it out like a drug dog on Michigan Ave. But seriously, what is that smell?
  7. Due to item #4 I have been smelling clothes to determine the level of offensiveness. Greyson is now going around sniffing everyone. This could prove to be difficult to explain in public. Sorry my kid is smelling your butt, he just wants to know if you produced a load terrible enough to leave scent on your clothing. No offense.
  8. Arlo barfed on me—bad day to wear a v-neck—and then laughed. When you are #3 you learn at a much younger age that it is funny to spew fluids onto someone. We’ve further added to the funky smelling pile of laundry.
  9. Also being #3 Arlo has learned that in order to get my attention you have to be the loudest of the loud kids, in true sibling style, Kinsley and Greyson have turned their volume up several notches. It now sounds like we are in the middle of Chucky Cheese where 40 kids are infected by the kiddy crack I am convinced they pump into the air.
  10. In case I had any intention of ignoring the quite challenged munchkins, they are reporting each other’s every move to me in a very Snookey-esque tone. MOM! ARLO. IS. YELLLLLING. MOOOOM! I CAN’T. HEAR. DORA. ARLO. IS YELLLLLLING.