It’s Hard Being a Kid

Oh my beautiful spawn, you are growing up so fast. Too fast if you ask me, but your dad and I, we can’t stop time. We can’t roll back the clock and keep you little forever.  Someday (sooner rather than later) you will pack up your shit and move out spread your wings and leave this nest and it is our job to make sure you are ready. Prepared. Functioning.

We can tell by your eye-rolls, door slams, and frequent foot stomps that you think that your life under this roof really sucks at times. Like really, really bad. Like oh. mah. GAWD, I don’t even know how you live here bad. I know you aren’t old enough to totally understand our methods, nor do you really care at this point, but believe us when we say that we really kinda-sorta know what we are doing when it comes to raising you. How do we know this?  Because we were you once.

Let me try to help you understand that in fact we are NOT total assholes-I mean I might be, but your dad not so much.

That we are NOT–contrary to popular (aka, your) belief–the meanest parents on the planet.

That in fact we do the things we do because we love you so much it hurts.

That this parenting gig is a long-term, full-time job that requires (and demands) long-term results.

Let me start with allowance. Believe it or not, you get one. It may not be cash money like you want, but you get a roof over your head, food in your belly, clothes on your body. We know it pisses you off and you hate it, but you are a part of this family just like the rest of us and around here everyone contributes. No one gets a free ride. I tell my friends that ask if I give an allowance that in lieu of cash money, we allow you to live here. While I know that sounds brutal and unfair, I was not put on this planet to be your maid. Your dad and I are your parents and it is our job to teach you how to be actual grown-ups. Sitting on your ass playing video games all day while screaming for snacks isn’t going to cut it.  I have chores, your dad has chores, you have chores.  Someday you will thank me.

We know you really want that iPod touch. Earn it. Get up off your little behind and get to work. We give you plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond and earn a little cash. Do it. Save it. Buy it yourself. You’ll respect it more and see that a little bit of work isn’t going to kill you.

The Tooth Fairy doesn’t bring you a twenty or a fifty?  Tough shit. What have you done to earn that kind of money? You put your dirty fingers in your mouth and wiggled, completely grossing your mother out in the process.  You accomplished something that every single human on the planet has also done. <golf clap> Until your teeth are made of solid gold you will take your four quarters and be happy with it.  The Tooth Fairy, along with Santa and the Easter Bunny, are meant to add a touch of fun and whimsy to your childhood NOT to cater to your every desire.  Just enjoy it while it lasts.

That project is just too hard?  I tell you what, I will sit by you and give you some suggestions.  You want me to do it for you?  Not gonna happen.  I already went to school.  I busted my ass and passed all on my own (with some major prodding from my own parents).  Now it’s your turn.  You will survive, not without a few tears and frustrations, but you will do it.  I’ll be right here encouraging you, supporting you, loving you.

Your report card came and you earned all A’s? Congratulations, we are SO PROUD of you!!!!! What’s that? How much are we going to pay you? Hmmmm….here’s a dinner around the family table.  Oh look! I even made cookies!  If you would like financial compensation for doing what you are required to do, get a job. Here you get paid in praise and hugs. Dinners and cookies.  Enjoy your successes because you EARNED them, not because you are getting PAID for them.

I understand that your life is hard, but you know what else is hard?  Parenting is hard.  Being an adult is hard.  Having responsibility is hard.  Seeing your friends have stuff handed to them for doing nothing is hard. Working is hard.  Life is just really fucking hard.  That’s the entire point of all of this.  You can’t get by in life just waiting for someone to hand you what you want.  What you think you need.  I mean you can I suppose, but you won’t be doing it here.

I know this whole being a kid thing is mind-blowing.  That you think you already know everything there is to know about everything.  That competing with your friends is a tough gig.  That you are required to have moments filled with angst and anger toward your parents.  That damn it, at times your life just sucks rotten eggs.  Been there. Done that.

I also want you to know that we are right here, your dad and I.  While we may not shower you with the things you want, we will always be here to give you the things that you need.  To support you and love you unconditionally.  To reward you appropriately when we see fit.  To correct you when you need it and to have your back when it seems like no one else does.  We are here to dry your tears when someone hurts you or something goes wrong, and to celebrate with you when everything goes right.  To show you right from wrong and to correct you when you screw up–and I promise that you will.

No matter how much you think we suck.

No matter how hard you stomp your feet or roll your eyes at us.

No matter how loud you yell and no matter how many times you tell us that you hate us.

You are stuck with us.

We will always be here.

Because damn it, we are your parents and we love you.  Hard.

Parenting

Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Mom, Are We Poor?

Poor

What. In. The. Hell.  Not quite the question I expected to get from my eleven year old as I conducted my normal post school day interrogation   Upon further questioning it came to light that a classmate had asked her if we were poor because she didn’t have any school pictures to bring home like some of the others.   If there ever was a time in which I ever wanted to suggest to my child to tell someone to fuck off and mind their own business, this was it.  Um…have you seen school pictures lately?  Horrendous.  Besides, the condition of my checkbook is no business of a fifth grader.  Not even my own.

After drying her tears and reassuring her that we are in fact not poor,  I  felt it the opportune time to inform her that we are not what many would consider rich either.  While we are not financially strapped and are able to provide our kids with the things that they need, it takes some planning on our part to be able to give them the things that they want.  More importantly I  wanted to stress to her that while we may not be monetarily rolling in the dough, we are rich in so many other ways.  Ways that she may not understand at this exact moment.  Ways that don’t agree with her “cater to me right now” mentality.  Ways that maybe some of her friends don’t get to enjoy.

We live in a ninety-year-old house.  Not just any old house mind you, Farmer Bob grew up in this house.  While it doesn’t have sparkly new fixtures, cable TV and brand new carpet, it has things that are so much better.  It has character and memories and an outhouse.  We have a fort in the trees and hay in the barn to play hide and seek in.  We have open space to play baseball in the yard and plenty of room to get away from each other if we need to.   We have food on the table and clothes on our backs.  We have fun together, we fight, we argue, we love.  We are a family.  

Being rich in the monetary sense would be fantastic don’t get me wrong.  To not have to worry about how to cover this bill or that bill, to be able to give our kids a few of the things that are wanted whenever desired would be an amazing feeling.  The question I have to keep asking myself is would I be willing to sacrifice so many wonderful moments  in order to have the financial stability to satisfy what would undoubtedly become insatiable appetites for shit that serves no other purpose than to allow our family to slowly disintegrate into seven separate entities instead of one strong familial unit?  The answer to that…HELL NO.

It is never easy to tell our kids no, you don’t need that.  As parents we have this primordial desire to provide for them, to satisfy their every desire.  We feel as if we are failing them if we can’t serve them everything that they want and need on a silver platter.  Maybe we are actually failing them if we do throw all their earthly desires at their feet with no request for repayment.  Are we raising a generation of entitled assholes?  I hear how kids talk to their parents, my own included.  I see the look of fear in a mother’s eyes of what might happen if she says no to that toy, my own included.   It scares the shit out of me.  Scares me that as parents we allow it.   That it seems that we really are raising the kind of adults that we ourselves can’t stand to be around.

What scares me even more is the thought that these kids won’t grow up to appreciate the things that don’t cost a fortune.  That they won’t understand that you don’t have to be rich in the financial sense to be rich in so many other ways.  That family comes first and the rest of it is just “stuff”.  That we have riches that far exceed anything that money can buy.  That in fact, some of the best things in life truly are free and can’t be captured in some stupid school picture.

Are You REALLY Gonna Eat That?

My friend Ninja Mom asked me to jump on the Character Assassination Carousel.  I thought about it for about two seconds and quickly agreed. Well, I agreed to give it a shot but I get motion sickness so I won’t actually jump ON the carousel.  Hell, I can’t even watch it go around and around without having to suppress the urge to revisit my lunch.  If you don’t mind, I’ll just sit here in my recliner while you all go around and around and around.

It was after I agreed to this that I started to poo my pants.  What book will I choose?  Can I really take apart a beloved children’s book?  What if the people (AKA, YOU)  hate me afterwards?  What book will I choose?  How in the frickity-frack am I going to do this without looking like a total toad?  So like any sub-par writer would do, I went looking for things I could borrow inspiration from some past riders/writers on the carousel.  I read Frugalista Blog’s assassination of Rumplestiltskin,  The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess’ deconstruction of Walter the Farting Dog,  and of course I had to go back to the very beginning and read Ninja Mom’s own take on The Giving Tree.   Well shit, that was a huge mistake.  Not because I don’t love them all, but now I realize that there are so many great bloggers that went before me and blew it out of the water and now here I sit feeling the pressure.  Oops, sorry.  Excuse me, that one slipped.  Pressure makes me gassy.  *Deep breath, you can do this*    Alright, here we go,  jump aboard the Character Assassination Carousel kids, I’ll watch you from over here while sipping my drink.

After some serious combing through the littles’ bookcases (yes, that is plural because just one bookcase would not suffice), I decided to go with the one book that drives me crazy.  The one book that I love to hate.  The one book that really makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  I think it is time for “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” to bite off more than she can chew.    When I made this decision, I immediately went to Amazon to read the reviews.  I thought surely someone else on the planet had a deep-seeded hatred for this book.  Nope.  Every review I read was about how much they LOVED this book and WONDERFUL it is to read to their kids.  Crap.  I’m in the minority….again.  Par for the course I guess.  Let me  just fill you in on exactly WHY I would love to bury this poor woman in a really big box.

IMG

Nice dress Granny.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she’ll die

Does anyone really know why they swallowed a fly?  I suppose some people in the jungle, or contestants on Survivor,  may eat them for a snack, but I have really been trying to cut back on my fly intake.  I’m sure they are high in protein or something, but I’m not a big fan of wings and legs  and those creepy little eyes that they have.  Not to mention I don’t imagine that they are very filling.  Wait just one minute… Eating flies could KILL me? Guess I better adjust our summer menu. Bummer, flies are so cost-effective.  Dime a dozen round here thanks to the cows and their poo.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider that wriggled and wriggled and jiggled inside her.  She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.  I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she’ll die.

 Um…yeah.  You lost me at spider and wriggling inside her.  That’s just gross and repulsive and wrong and did I say gross?  I know the average person eats a spider at least once in their lifetime,  but at least that occurs without our knowledge.  Why would anyone in their right mind knowingly eat a damn spider?  Who gives a flying rip about the stupid little fly that you just ate, they don’t live that long anyway, but a SPIDER?  ARE YOU NUTS?

Next she eats a bird in order to catch the spider.  Well, if she wouldn’t have been off her rocker to begin with and eaten a nasty ass spider, she wouldn’t need to be eating a bird now would she?  I’m all for eating a little yard-bird.  Fried up with some mashed potatoes and gravy, but this crazy lady is eating a whole bird.  Legs, feathers, beak and all.    How in the hell is she doing this?  Does she have a jaw like a snake?  Is she a sword swallower?  My gag meter is on high alert.  This is just redonk-a-donk.

IMG_0001

See the foreshadowing? Can you guess what is up next?

As if a fly, spider, and a bird aren’t filling enough the old woman decides that she needs to eat a cat.  A freaking CAT.  What they forgot to mention is that immediately after eating said cat, the old woman had to be rushed to the ER to have a ginormous hairball removed from her esophagus.  A cat.  This is the dumbest book ever.  But wait…there’s more!

After the hairball removal, the woman regains her appetite and resorts to eating a dog.  It doesn’t specify the size of the dog, but does it really matter?  Who in the hell eats a dog?  As if there is room enough in her gut for the dog to chase the cat.  I want to know how in the hell this woman isn’t dead yet.  The fly and the spider I can see.  They are small and easily swallowed.  A whole bird, followed by a whole cat with a dog chaser?  This lady is a freak of nature and has got to have the worst case of indigestion on the planet.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the woman swallows a cow.  Not a steak, not a juicy hamburger, not a little bit of stew meat.  A whole cow.  I know many people don’t like to waste any part of the animal, but seriously.  I can barely eat an entire steak on my own yet this old woman ingests an entire cow without even chewing it.  Not even an inkling of steak sauce or ketchup first.  Does she die from this?  Of course not.  Here are my issues with this: 1.  Cows don’t eat dogs, they eat grass and grains.  Herbivores, not carnivores. Very poor judgement on part of our dear old lady.  2.  A WHOLE COW?  This is just asinine.

Let’s not forget the piece de resistance…a horse.  She swallows a horse to catch the cow.  As if she shouldn’t already be dead from intestinal over-extension, she swallows an entire horse.   This just in…eating an entire horse will kill you.  I could buy into death by getting thrown from a horse, or being caught in a wild horse stampede, or even death by hoof to the forehead, but eating an entire horse? Cheese and rice this is has got to be the most overrated book in my bookcase.

 I get that these books are for entertainment purposes, but this is just over the top for me.  “Mommy, you can’t really eat a horse.”  No kids, you can’t.  That’s why dear granny is dead.  Moral of this story?  I really don’t have a damn clue.  Don’t eat yourself to death?  Don’t get started eating bugs because it only leads to bigger things?  If you are going to eat large animals whole make sure to wear a tacky dress?   That’s the best I got.  Go away Granny, you are dead.

IMG_0002

I suppose she looks happy. I would think she would be a tad uncomfortable.

Thanks to Ninja Mom for letting me play along.  I hope you enjoyed this spin on the Carousel and will share me with all of your friends.  You never know, you may just find that we all share a mutual disdain for this adored children’s book.  Don’t miss the next ride on the Carousel when the always hilarious Kelley’s Breakroom assassinates yet another beloved character.

 

 

Do You WANT It, or Do You NEED it?

So, my brain is tired.  Ball games every night, working really hard getting my 4-H kids ready for the county fair, plus (trying) to keep up with the garden, the house, and the kids, I’m tired.  I have nothing new for you today except for an update from the idiots at Expedia .  It’s at the bottom.  I didn’t figure those twits deserved top billing.  I wrote a post back in March about WANT vs. NEED and teaching kids the difference. I really like it and think you will too.  Without further ado, please enjoy this re-post:Today I posted this picture on my Facebook page:

Truth

 

This really made me start thinking about my kids and the path that we are leading them on.  We make our kids do chores.  Nothing hard core, just the basic, “we let you live here, you can contribute” type of chores.  Make your bed, pick up your stuff, do as I tell you because I am the boss of you.  You know, things that teach basic life skills.  We don’t pay an allowance because we feel that we “allow” them to live here, we feed them, we clothe them, we clean up after them.  We feel they get “paid” plenty well enough.We don’t have cable or satellite TV, we get what we get.  We have 1 desktop computer in the center of the house. They get 30 minutes at a time on said computer, and they are not guaranteed that everyday.  I have a laptop that is for my “paying gig”, but doubles as my writing instrument and enables us to watch the football/basketball games that are on ESPN.  Little fingers are not allowed to touch.  We have a Wii, but time on that is limited as well.  We live in the house that Farmer Bob grew up in.  It was built around 1920, and we still have an outhouse on the premises.  It is not currently “functioning”, (if I get many more complaints about how we need another bathroom, I may have to pop the top) but I just think it’s cool to say that I have an outhouse.  A good, old-fashioned, outhouse.   (Farmer Bob just informed me that our basement was dug out by horse…how cool is THAT???)  Contrary to Mini-me’s beliefs, life here does not “suck”.  Life here will turn you into a fully functioning adult.

Recently, Mini-me has started talking the language of money.  “I want this.  Buy me that.  I NEED that.”  On a recent shopping trip, she REALLY wanted this god-awful shirt.  I refused to pay for it and asked her if it was something she NEEDED, or something she WANTED.  “I NEED it mom” was her reply.  I told her if she REALLY needed it, that I would pay for half (I think it was a $10 shirt, not big money, but I was determined to use this as a teaching moment) and she would have to pay for the other half.  It was after about 30 seconds of pondering that she looked at me and said “I don’t really want it anyways.”  There was the key word…WANT

 

I think that my littles believe they are missing out on things.  They go to sleepovers and all I hear about when they get home is how AWESOME Katie’s house is, or how Susie’s mom lets her have a TV  and  a computer in her ROOM plus they get to eat whatever they want on her bed,and play on the iPads (yes, plural), and stay up how ever late they want to!  To which I always tell her…

 

If life is SOOOO great over at Susie’s house, feel free to go live with her.  Pack only what you can fit in your backpack, I’m sure Susie’s mom and dad would be glad to have you, indefinitely.  Be sure to write and let me know how things are going, don’t ask for money.  This always gets me the obligatory eye-roll.  I wish she would hurry up and develop my sense of humor.
Greener Grass

 

They have recently decided that they need more money.  I will gladly by them the things that they NEED, school clothes, shoes, etc… But we recently informed them that if they want money for things that they WANT, they are going to have to EARN it.  That shit doesn’t grow on trees around here. I went to the effort of painting some popsicle sticks, coming up with some obscure chores for them to do (mainly things that I just really don’t want to do), assigned a dollar amount, attached a magnet, and stuck them to the refrigerator.  They can now choose their own poison.  But like us adults, their work ethic goes in spurts.  They will complete a chore, write it down on their message board that I owe them money (little turds just won’t let me forget it), and then nothing else gets done until I pay them.  Every once in a while, when I have cash handy, I settle up.  Then they get all excited again and move on to another chore.
*note to self, keep more cash on hand*

 

Farmer Bob keeps telling Mini-me that she can raise the bottle lamb we have in the barn and he will share the proceeds with her.  All she is required to do is feed the lamb when she gets home from school.  He doesn’t make her get up at the butt-crack of dawn and go out and feed him, she is only required to do it after school.  Today, she decided she was done.  Uh…poor little guy is only about 4 weeks old.  His momma abandoned him, have a heart.  She wants the money NOW, she’s tired of doing it.  Well dear, you don’t GET the money until the lamb is big enough to take to the sale.  Let’s see if I can capture her reaction in words:
UH! GAH! I don’t WANT to do this anymore!  *FOOT STOMP*  *ARM CROSS*  ARGH!
*DOOR SLAM*
Farmer Bob:  I’m not ASKING anymore, do it….NOW!

Needless to say, she did it and life goes on, until tomorrow when we most likely could repeat this scenario again.  I understand her need for instant gratification, but what are we teaching our littles by giving in to them, and obliging their every whim?  By giving them the cell phones and the laptops and allowing them to eat in their rooms?  When do we, as parents, reclaim our spot as “the boss” and learn how to say NO to their WANTS, and pay more attention to their NEEDS?EXPEDIA UPDATE:

So, remember how I had a little problem with Expedia.com? You don’t?  Read about it here.  Done?  Moving on.  I received an email back from them.  Here is what they had to say:

Thank you for contacting Expedia about booking a flight reservation for a group of passengers.

We apologize for the delay in answering your e-mail. We are currently experiencing heavy volume of e-mail requests, preventing us from responding within our normal standards.

We are sorry as well for any inconvenience you experienced when booking a flight reservation for your family online. You may only book a maximum of six passengers per standalone or "flight only" reservation. 

Your words carry a lot of weight with us, and our primary goal is to give our customers superior service. Comments such as yours help shape our policies and practices as we learn and grow. We will forward your comments and feedback to the appropriate members of our management team.

Thank you for choosing Expedia. 

Randy 
Expedia Customer Service Team


Yeah, okay Randy from Expedia.  First of all, your customer service is in no way "superior".  In case you didn't notice, I didn't book shit with you because you won't allow me to book all 7 membersof my family at once.  You and your "appropriate members of your management team"  can pretty much bite me. I didn't "choose Expedia" you nimrod.  Southwest Airlines, here we come, get ready.
 
 
Now, would you mind helping a momma out and voting for me again??  
Just click on that little juggling lady up there at the top.  The one juggling, yeah, that's the one.  Click and your are done.  Thank you so much :)