Tag Archive | parenting

If Adults Acted Like Kids

When hanging out with toddlers or pre-schoolers, people love to talk about how sweet and innocent they are.  They go through their days being spontaneous, not caring what anyone else thinks.  They immerse themselves in their experiences and live for self-pleasure.  I’ve heard numerous adults admire that about young children, and question when we lost that innate spontaneity.  I frequently watch young children and wonder to myself what it would look like if an adult were doing such things.  This is for my own amusement and entertainment.  I have spent a long time “researching” the behavior of little kids and what would happen if adults lived in the same spontaneous way that children do.  This is what that would look like:

 

At a business lunch:  Professionals and executives would be trying to seal the deal over chicken nuggets or spaghetti and meatballs.  At least one person would be blowing bubbles in his chocolate milk, while another stacks suger dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, and silverware in a tower.  Perhaps that would be the architect or builder of the group.  Yet another would be scribbling on his placemat.  Someone would likely have sauce rubbed all over his face and in his hair.  There may even be one well dressed woman crawling under the table, or flinging her legs over the back of the booth seat.  Never mind the potential for launching peas at each other with spoons.

 

At a business meeting:  Rolling chairs.  Think of the fun that can be had in a conference room with rolling chairs.  I’m thinking races around the table, and spinning each other until you can’t walk a straight line.  That sounds way more fun than watching some boring presentation on sales or marketing.

 

At the doctor’s office:  A husband brings his wife to the doctor.  She needs a physical.  She spends an hour in the waiting room, playing with the germ infested toys.  Once in a while, she stops to approach another woman.  She stands in her personal space, stares her down, and then looks her up and down, from head to toe, judging her by the way she looks.  Then, they start to play together…one puts a toy in her mouth, drops it on the floor, and the other picks it up, and puts it in HER mouth.  Finally, they get called into a room.  The man undresses the woman while she fights him the entire time.  Once she is in her underwear, she spins around on the doctor’s stool, climbs on and off the table until the paper is a shredded mess, plays lightning storm with the lights, and touches every last medical tool available.  The visit ends with her screaming bloody murder and fighting the nurse, the doctor, the husband, and six bouncers as they try to give her a shot.

 

At the grocery store:  Picture a mature couple walking into the grocery store.  They select a carriage.  The wife holds it still, while the husband climbs in to the back.  It would be way funnier if he tried to get into the little seat in front, but that would require a full on extrication by the fire department at the end of the trip.  So, let’s stick to the back.  She struggles to push him through the store because, as usual, she picks a carriage that only wants to go left, and of course, he weighs 200 pounds which makes it more of a challenge.  Five minutes into the shopping experience, he starts to whine because he’s bored.  He starts grabbing crap off the shelves.  He keeps standing up, so she has to continually remind him that he needs to sit.  He begs for some garbage food item in every aisle, and pitches a fit every time she says no.  The other shoppers give her dirty looks because clearly she can’t control his behavior.  Everyone thinks she’s a shitty wife.

 

In the car:  They leave the grocery store.  She tries to strap him into his seat belt and he does the whole “arching his back thing” while crying and screaming that he wants to go home.  Once they’re moving, he calms down and entertains himself by making faces at the people in other cars.  He might even suck his thumb.  Eventually he gets sleepy, and dozes off.  By this time, the wife notices a scent that indicates he needs his pull-up changed.

 

There are many scenarios involving children that would be way more entertaining if adults were the key players and not the kids.  Picture an adult stripping off his clothes and running naked through the playground.  Wait, that would just be creepy.  Bad example.  Picture adults playing in the dirt, or tossing stuff in the toilet and swishing it around with their hands.  Picture them running everywhere, and falling on their faces like a two year old.  Picture them riding the dog, climbing on the furniture, having a tug-of-war over a toy, or sticking a metal object in a socket to see what happens.  You can switch the players no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  It really is funny.  Next time you’re stuck in a board meeting or some mind-numbing adult activity, switch the players.  It might be a social faux-pas to act on these ideas, and you would likely appear to be mentally ill or at the very least socially immature for doing any of it.  But nobody can condemn you for simply thinking about it, and honestly, as long as you’re entertaining yourself, that’s all that really matters.

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How Not To Raise An Unlikable Kid

I’ve worked in an elementary school for the past 6 years.  It’s probably the single most entertaining job I’ve ever had.  Kids crack me up, and I am that person who is likely to giggle for a little too long when someone’s little darling innocently makes some innuendo filled statement that only an adult would notice.  Kids can be adorable, and wise beyond their years…or they can be little dicks.  I’ve had multiple conversations with multiple adults about how disrespectful children can be these days.  You used to be able to count on one hand how many kids were poorly behaved and disrespectful.  Unfortunately, the tides have turned and it’s more likely that you can count well behaved, respectful kids on one hand.  With this in mind, I give you my advice on how to prevent your kid from being on the ugly side of that statistic.

 

1.     Teach them that it’s not amusing to be a little punk who ignores the directions of adults.  Believe me, we know they find it amusing because they tend to have a smirk on their face that makes even the most even keeled of adults want to slap it off their face and into next week.   It’s not cute, it’s not because they’re young, it’s because they haven’t learned to respect adults.

 

2.     Teach them that the adults at school are NOT blind.  When we see them do something right in front of us, it means WE SAW IT!  No matter how many times they say they didn’t do it, WE SAW THEM DO IT!   This might be a good time to start teaching them accountability.  When they punch a co-worker in the ribs in front of their boss someday,  they won’t get away with saying they didn’t do it.

 

3.     Teach your child some independence.  Show them how to open a friggin straw, or wipe their mouths.  For the love of all that is great and holy, teach them how to wipe or blow their nose!  It’s unbelievable how many kids need help with EVERYTHING.  It’s not because they aren’t capable, it’s because they never have to do anything for themselves.  I’ve seen parents come to school for parties or lunch, and they literally spoon feed their child!  PLEASE, let them do things for themselves.  They will be okay.

 

4.     Teach them not to be wimps.  Seriously.  Life is a lot easier when you can suck it up and move on.  There are so many kids who whine over trivial injuries, invisible cuts,  and act like they are crippled for life when they have  microscopic booboos.  Then you have the kids who suffer daily with hourly stomach aches.  A lot of this is for attention, so for everyone’s sake…especially your child’s…give them the attention they need.

 

5.     Teach them to be a good friend.  Nobody likes a tattletale, and there are kids who make it their job to rat out every other kid in sight, for even the slightest of transgressions.  Unless a classmate is going to get hurt, it’s usually okay to let things slide.  Teach your kids that manipulating others, talking behind people’s backs, ranking friends, and being visually disgusted when someone sits next to them, is not going to win them friends.  Teach them to be kind.  It’s not okay to be mean and hurt people’s feelings.

 

6.     Teach your kid that not every damn thing that is said and done “hurts their feelings.”  A lot of kids like to use that phrase to get other kids in trouble.  They tell the adults at school that so-and-so hurt their feelings, usually with an annoying smirk on their face. Refer back to rule #4.  Tell them to get over it.

 

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list.  It’s just a starter guide, if you will.  It boils down to teaching kids that school is a place for learning, and that teachers and other adults are to be listened to, responded to, and respected.  Stop babying your kids, stop assuming they are always innocent, teach them how to do for themselves, and to treat other kids the way they want to be treated.   Ultimately, it will make your child a better member of society, a better friend, and a better person.  It will also prevent you from being the parent of the kid that nobody likes.  Don’t be the parent of THAT kid.

The Excruciating Honesty of Children

Kids are hilarious.  They are hilarious in the most obnoxious, yet innocent way.  They say exactly what comes to mind with no regard for the feelings of the unsuspecting adults in their world.  They can reduce a grown woman to tears of laughter, and can even make the most self-confident of people feel lower than dirty toilet paper stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe.  I am the mother of 3 kids, and have worked in an elementary school for the past 6 years.  I LOVE to have conversations with kids, just for the sheer entertainment value of what they have to say.  Some of them have ripped me to shreds, but it never bothers me.  I love the innocence of it.

This blog post will be a little different.  Rather than drone on about how funny kids are, I am going to share some of my favorite “kidisms”  from the past several years.  They’ve been posted on facebook before, but I wanted to put them all in one place.  I hope you enjoy them, especially because a large number of them were made at my expense.   Here they are as they appeared on FB, in all their glory:

One of the 4th graders asked me today if I was born when Laura Ingalls Wilder was alive. Apparently, I look 100 years older than I actually am. Can anyone recommend a good anti-wrinkle cream?

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Two kids at school made my day today. I was telling a 4th grader that when I was a kid, we didn’t go to computers because they weren’t invented yet. After asking me if TV was invented when I was kid, she told me I look like I’m about 20.  Then a second grader winked at me in the cafeteria, and told the kid in line next to him that “Mrs. Palumbo is my best friend.” So cute. The wink made me laugh though…I can see him doing that in a bar in 15 years.

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One of the kids I work with a lot asked me a few weeks ago if I was retired. I told him no, but wondered for days if I look THAT old. Today, he asked me what my son’s name is. I told him, and he then asked me if he’s still alive. Apparently, I’m not only old enough to be retired, but old enough to have outlived my own kids. I’m left wondering who is more damaging to my self esteem…my own kids, or the kids at school? Between them all, I’ll be curled up in a fetal position in the corner, sucking my thumb, and crying by the end of the year.

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So, I was playing “Go Fish” with a kindergartner today, and when I told him to clean up and hand me his cards, he said, “Here you go, Sweetie.”

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 I got a “Rico Suave” wink, and eyebrow raises from a 5th grade boy in the lunchroom today. I looked at him like he had lost his mind, and asked him what he was doing. His reply (in a Rico Suave voice) was “it’s all okay,” followed by a thumbs up. You just can’t make this stuff up.

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A 4th grader asked me today if paper was invented yet when I was born. I told him no, and that my mother carved my birth certificate on a rock, in the cave I was born in. Sheesh.

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School isn’t the only place that I hear these charming little nuggets of love. I get it at home from my own spawns, too.  If they aren’t directing their drama at me, they direct it at themselves or each other.

My daughter called me despicable today because I wouldn’t let her stay at her friend’s house for dinner. When I looked at her with shock, she asked me what it meant. I love 8 year olds.

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It’s a sad day in a mother’s life when her almost teenage child says, “Mom, can you please stop singing? It’s embarrassing.”

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You’ve got to love it when you ask your 11 year old son to do something and his response is, “okay, sweet cheeks.”

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“Why did you have to bring the devil into the house?!?”  Hannah, Drama Queen Extraordinaire, when she saw that we are having a roasting chicken for dinner.

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Conversation in the car on the way to get a Christmas tree: 
Lucas: (singing LOUDLY and off key) “Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are.”
Hannah: LUCAS! SHUT. UP.
Lucas: (in a soft voice) I’m sorry madam, did I get your knickers in a tweet?

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So Lucas was playing around and called Arienne “Areola” this afternoon. He had NO IDEA what he said, and I wasn’t about to tell him because that would have only encouraged him to keep saying it. *rolls eyes* I just told him to stop calling her silly names. Yikes.

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Apparently, I put “the devil’s spawn” in tonight’s soup. That would be broccoli…according to Hannah.

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I was traveling with my kids in the car and they were asking me incessant questions about everything under the sun.  I was answering as best I could in a way that they would understand. My preschooler proceeded to ask me how I knew all this stuff.  I replied, “Because Mommy is really smart!”  She responded back with, “Noooo, that’s not it!”

There are more profound comments where these came from.   As I collect funny stories and insulting comments I hear from kids, I will share them as a periodic blog post.  Maybe it’ll become a series.  Maybe it won’t.  Either way, I am just going to continue to enjoy children and find the humor in their words.  Meanwhile, if anyone knows of a good anti-wrinkle cream or face lift surgeon, let me know.

Let Kids Do Nothing

It’s Friday.  The day the world rejoices because their work week is over.  It’s the only day of the school week that my kids don’t mind getting up.  Weekends are full of possibility and free time.  To me, the beauty of the weekend is sleeping in, and enjoying my time at home.  It’s also a chance to do laundry (just enough to get through a couple of days), clean the house (just enough to avoid a ‘condemned’ notice from the health department), and perhaps cook a meal that doesn’t involve french fries and the microwave.   Mostly, I just enjoy being home.  I am a homebody.  I like going out sometimes, but my home is my oasis from the craziness of the world.  I don’t need my weekends full of social events and gatherings.  In fact, being out and about all weekend would stress me out.

Unfortunately, my kids disagree.  Right after the school buses come rolling by to drop off my little darlings, the pestering starts.  “What are we doing this weekend?”  “I’m bored.”  “How can you stand being home and not doing anything?”  “Can we do something?”  Granted, it’s fun for kids to have places to go and things to do on the weekend.  And we DO do things.  They spend a lot of time with their friends, and we occasionally go out to eat, or to a kid-friendly entertainment spot.  But the incessant requests for entertainment from Friday night to Sunday night is a little much.

I tell them all the time that when I was a kid, we didn’t spend all weekend going to places to be entertained.  Once in a while we would do things like that, but for my generation, weekends were spent with friends from the neighborhood.  Our days were filled with riding bikes, going to the park, and hanging out at each other’s houses.  It was the 70s and an awesome time to be a kid.  Even when we were home, we did things like hang out in our rooms, playing by ourselves, drawing, or reading.  We even went outside alone, or with siblings, to find things to do.  I know it isn’t the 70s any more and times have changed.  But when did it become the norm for people to spend weekends, school breaks and summer vacations endlessly entertaining their kids?

On a very frequent basis,  my kids tell me about all the fun things their friends are going to do and the places they go with their parents.  I see it myself on facebook at the end of almost every weekend.  Many parents post multiple pictures of their kids out at restaurants, the skating rink, the trampoline park, the theater, hotels, rock climbing, bowling, the movies, etc…and these are people who do several of these things EVERY weekend. When are the kids getting time to just hang out and BE?

When did we turn into a society that makes entertaining our kids a priority every weekend?  How will these kids learn to cope with quiet and solitude? How will they learn to cope with being bored, and finding something to do by themselves?  How will they learn to be their own friend?  The need that so many kids have for constant stimulation makes me sad.  Having down time and finding creative ways to entertain themselves now, will be of benefit to them as they get older.

As they say, “to each his own.”  They also say, “everything in moderation.”  In my opinion, it’s important for everyone…kids and adults…to learn to stop and smell the roses.  Go out to that restaurant, or to a party, but save just a little bit of time for doing nothing.  Doing nothing sparks creativity, and gets the brain thinking.  It leaves time for imagination to be used.  It lets the brain rest.  The world still needs creativity, imagination and new ideas.  Doing nothing leaves time for those things.  It really is okay to do nothing.