Smells like Tween spirit

I am the parent of a tween girl. I had heard the term tween before, but I didn’t truly understand the term until now. I thought it was just referring to the age. Nope.

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It’s mental.

It’s emotional.

It’s crazy.

One minute she is asking for lip gloss and rolling her eyes, the next she wants to snuggle with me and watch cartoons. (Don’t tell her I told you that.)

She holes up in her room most of the day, “doing Instagram.” but when her brothers get all geared up to play Clash of the Clans, she’s the Queen fighting for her kingdom! (Don’t tell her I told you that!)  She wants a purse AND more stuffed animals!

4th of the July at the lake, it was all about the sun bathing and the hair, but in the blink of an eye, she was jumping off the boat doing flips and having water fights. I want to do flips off the dock! But I don’t want to get my hair wet. Do you know how long it takes me to dry this mane straight? And it’s dangerous! What if I crack my head open? People can get paralyzed you know. Stupid adult rationale.  I want to tell her to be young. Maturity isn’t all its cracked up to be.

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It sure is a confusing time….for me. Yes me. That’s my baby and she wants to be a grown up. But then she doesn’t.  I know the feeling, honey. I don’t think anyone ever wants to be a true grown up.  That’s why I sometimes wear a Turkey Suit!

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My hair stays dry, and although somewhat dangerous,

 no one’s head is getting cracked.

So just like with every stage in my kids’ lives, I am trying to figure out how to help her.  How to guide her through the tween spirit. It’s a balancing act. Encouraging childlike qualities but expecting adult like behavior.

Actually the more I think about it, we are all tweens. Right? I am still trying to hang on to that childlike carefree attitude. I like hugs. I like lipgloss. Life is hard as an adult. You can get too serious. You forget how to play. You walk on the sidewalk instead of tightrope walking the curb.

I know how I’m going to handle it. This tween spirit.

I’m going to embrace it.

Whatever side my daughter is on. Lip gloss – check!  Crying for no reason- I’m there, girl. More stuffed animals- ummm. I may try to guide her in a different direction.

It’s actually not a balancing act. It’s about having both feet completely in that one moment.   Yep. That’s what I will do.

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“Your breath smells like diarrhea!” and other helpful information.

“Your breath smells like diarrhea, Mom.”

I was taken aback because I had actually just brushed my teeth.

“Does it smell like diarrhea or like coffee?”

“Like diarrhea flavored coffee.”coffee-wink

I don’t think I’ve ever written the word diarrhea this many times.  I still don’t spell it correctly on the first try. Ok then.

“Thanks for telling me, buddy. I will try to correct the situation.”

(I also used it as a teachable moment because I’m a great parent!)

“You know, sometimes, if you only brush your teeth and not your tongue, your breath can still smell.

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*Blank stare.

Sometimes, my words of wisdom take awhile to sink in. I’m sure he will thank me for this later.

Kids.

They say the darndest things. Like:

“Mom, you aren’t 25 anymore.”

and

“Mom, are you sure you aren’t pregnant?

Because that dress says you are.”

But I have to say, this is also one reason why I was excited to have some. How many times have I tried to smell my own breath, or desperately wanted to check my nose or teeth for indiscretions, but was unable to get to a mirror? (One time is too many.)

I could ask my spouse, but then that last bit of mystery is gone. I’ve been married 20 years this summer, and I can proudly say he has never seen me sitting on the toilet. I hate even writing that word. We say potty. Anyway, that’s another post.

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I may or may not be sitting on the potty in this photo. 😉

Kids are another story! I can ask my kids (or more often, be told by them without even asking!) and there is no judgement. They tell it like it is and still think I’m pretty. 😉  Except when I wear that one “pregnant dress”…which is now in the trash!

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So if you have children, and they aren’t as forthcoming as mine….now you know they can come in handy in certain situations! Start utilizing them! (And always brush your tongue.)

Forget Stranger Danger- I’m scared of the Good Samaritans!

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The situation is out of control. Did you read the story about the mom who was arrested because her daughter was at the park alone? Cliff notes:

Mom works at McDonald’s. 9 year old kid sits at Mcdonald’s while mom works. Kid begs mom to go to the park nearby. Mom gives kid a cell phone. Kid goes to park. “Good Samaritan” sees kid alone and calls the cops. Mom gets arrested.  Kid goes into foster care. And they all live happily…wait, nope that’s not right.

Or what about the parents who were investigated for allowing their daughter to walk to the post office? These are just two examples out of many.

Are we so far removed from the days when kids left on their bikes in the morning and didn’t come home til the streetlamps came on that we call the cops on parents before knowing the full story?  Most of these stories are not about neglected children. The kids are well taken care of, given a cell phone and allowed to head to a neighborhood park for an hour or two.

Listen, I don’t know if I would trust my 9 yr old to go to the park alone, but not because of stranger danger. I would worry about the other people at the park….and the park itself. My 9 yr old is a bit mischievous.

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I don’t know the kids in these stories. I don’t know the parents. I also don’t know the area in which they were “left.” All of those things are factors in how I would handle the situation. What I do know is that kids from the 70’s and 80’s were left to their own devices ALL DAY and we not only survived; we thrived.  We had street smarts. We gained self confidence and independence. We knew how to entertain ourselves.  And yes, we also all have a story or two about the “strange man down the street.”

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I worry that the kids today, my kids, are too supervised, too protected, and don’t get the opportunity to explore and use their instincts.  I’m trying to find a balance.  I don’t want fear to raise my kids. And now while I’m attempting to find that balance, I have to worry about police showing up at my door.

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 Is it more dangerous today than when I was growing up?  It seems all the 24/7 “bad news” is having quite an impact on us but is the threat real? I don’t think so. I think now we are so afraid of the 10% chance that we forget to focus on the 90% chance that it won’t happen.

Like I said, I’m working on a balance. I’m going to squash that lump in my throat when I say yes, you can walk to the neighbor’s house without me watching you. I’m not going to sit out front when I agree to let the kids play in their own front yard. Hell, I may even get crazy and let them ride their bike around the block by themselves! Try not to judge me too harshly.

And if you happen to see my kid, alone but happy, please don’t call the cops. (Unless that cop comes to my house with his own boombox.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about sex, baby…

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And by baby I am referring to my actual baby. She is 11.  I think she read somewhere that she is supposed to ask sexual questions every night at bedtime.  Mother daughter bonding or something.

So it starts with ..”Mom,  will you sit with me for a minute?” I’m not gonna lie…most of the time I really want to say no. I mean it’s 9:30pm and I’m ready for some deep conversations with my wine glass. 😉 But I sit down anyway and take a deep breath.

“Mom, where else do people have sex besides the bed?”

“Mom, do you have sex in the shower?”

“Mom, do you have a baby every time you have sex?”

“Mom, are your boobs part of your body or will they fall off when you bend over?”

What? That last one I feel like was just a stall tactic to keep me in her room longer.  But I answer every question. She’s 11 and these are things she wants to know.  And those questions seemed pretty tame. I want my kids to feel comfortable talking to me….even if I don’t feel comfortable talking with them. lol

I do have boundaries though. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but it bothers me to see so much sexual content out and about in public places.  This isn’t about putting parental controls on my tv or internet. These are things we see in our neighborhood. I wish advertisers considered themselves part of that village that it takes to raise a child.

If I had a dollar for every time I saw sex written or overly insinuated on billboards etc while driving my kids to school…I’d have at least $10. (That didn’t have the impact I had hoped for, but 10 times on a 10 minute drive, that’s ridiculous.)

When my 9 year old said he knew the movie Sex Tape was about having sex, I asked him how he even knew about sex..his response, “Mom, when you have been around as long as I have, you start to know things.”  Out of the mouths of babes.

He didn’t need to know about sex just yet. And he certainly didn’t need to know that people video tape it. That’s for later, when he is married and trying to “keep the fire alive.”  Luckily, he did not ask a question so I did not go further with that particular  conversation. 

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Kids see sex without even trying. What happened to the good old days where you had to see sexy things by sneaking into your friend’s parents room and look under the bed to find a Playboy or convince a babysitter that you were allowed to watch Blue Lagoon on HBO while your parents were out.  (yes dated references, but you knew them, didn’t you?)

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Some parents like to get started early. I know people who lay it all out there when their children are 6 and 7.  I wonder if that works. Some of it is still a bit confusing at 43, so how is a child processing that?

Recently the term 69 was brought up with a few 5th graders. Some parents are of the philosophy that when a question is asked, you answer it completely, no holds barred.

I am of the philosophy that you pretend that someone is calling you and you have to go.

No, not really.  My philosophy is that you give an answer that best fits the age group.  There are some images a kid brain does not need to have. It’s a sex thing and leave it at that.  When I was 10, 69 was just another odd number. Besides, I don’t care what you say about keeping it in the family.  That kid has some interesting information and she wants to share it. And share it she did. 

I don’t want to have lots of graphic sex conversations with my elementary school aged children. (Truth be told, any age children.) “Hey kids, forget the movie night, mommy is going to pop some popcorn and we can all settle in for a night of explicit discussions regarding sexual positions and why people video them.”

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And for the record, I am by no means a prude. As a matter of fact, within my circle of friends, I’m the girl that makes everything seem like a sexual innuendo. It’s my thing and I’m good with it. (That’s what he said!)

I don’t mind answering questions, but I am more prepared for PG than R. I just feel like some of the questions that come up now aren’t because their brains are ready for it, but because they were exposed to it accidently.  In those situations, less is more.  Anywho, I was just sitting here thinking about all this and thought I’d share.

Feel free to do the same. xo

 

 

 

Just the tip!

Let’s play a game. 😉 Why are you looking at me like that? Have you heard of it? Well, let me tell you how it works.

I will give you a tip and then you give me a tip. It will be fun! But it’s not a game you can play alone. So are you in? Come on…it’s just a tip. I will only love you more.

I’ll start and give you a few I’ve heard lately.

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1. Keep flossers in your car. Then when you are driving kids around town, you can pass them out and make them floss! (It also comes in handy when you had spinach for lunch!)

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2. Kid always rolling out of bed? Line up a pool noodle with the edge of the bed and under the fitted sheet!

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3. Want apples for your kid’s lunch, but hate the browning? Cut the apple and then put it back together with a rubberband!

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4. Crazy coughing at night? Put Vick’s Vapor Rub on their feet, cover with socks…. a little more on the chest and they are off to Dreamland… uninterrupted!

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5. Easily peel your banana! Find the end of the banana opposite from the stem. Pinch and twist. Then you can peel your banana and uh take a bite!

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Ok! It’s your turn! Leave a tip! Don’t be scared.

It’s just a tip.

Riding the break!

 

That’s not a typo. I’m not talking about car brakes. I’m talking about a break from parenthood. A break from responsibility. A break from that 24/7 unpaid job we all agreed to do. A break that every mom deserves. Yes, you do. Don’t argue with me, I said you do!

Hey, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

No laundry. No carpool. No lunches to make.  Just me myself and I…and a few friends. Sleeping in. Movies. Room Service. Dinners out. A photo shoot. Champagne blow outs. lol Did I throw you with that? Hey if you are going to make the time to take a break…you need to make it count!

Here are a few tips when taking a break.

1.Take enough time.

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SO many times, I try to plan a weekend getaway but I want to make sure that the kids are fed, and the laundry is done and the meals are pre-planned, and loveys are folded neatly on the beds…FORGET IT! By the time you get everything ready to go, you’ve given up half a day or more! To make sure we had enough time on our trip to NYC, we took a red eye flight. Granted we did not sleep well but we also had the great idea of going straight to the spa when we arrived. Pampering began immediately and that red eye was a distant memory.  If you only have a weekend or even a night, stay some what local or within a 2-3 hour radius and GET AWAY EARLY AND SPEND THE NIGHT! A glorious night of uninterrupted sleep is worth more than any pampering session!

2. Send in reinforcements.

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I always try to have my inlaws come in to stay if I am going away for more than a few days without my husband. My mother in law loves to take care of her baby (my husband) as well as the grandkids. If you don’t have that option, use other family members or friends to farm out your kids or run carpool for you. If you have the cash, hire a babysitter to help out your spouse. You want it to be an enjoyable experience for him too so he is open to another girls’ getaway. 😉

3. Be flexible.

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I’m gonna kick my heels up regardless!

We had all kinds of plans when we hit New York, but the weather and a bout of food poisoning had us scrapping lots of ideas and regrouping. Aside from our friend who was ill most of the day, it wasn’t bad hanging out in the room watching movies and talking. It’s good to have a plan but be ready to just go with the flow.

4. Pamper yourself!

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We planned this trip far in advance so I made sure there was money in the budget to do some really fun things. But pampering can be something as inexpensive as a $20 foot massage or $30 blow dry with free champagne!

5. Do something different!

For this trip, we booked an awesome new company called Flytographer.  You get your very own photographer in the city you are visiting. You can have professional photographs taken of you and your friends having fun in the city! They have photographers all over the world!They can be candid or more posed. It’s lots of fun and you have great mementos of the trip!

http://www.flytographer.com

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So let’s recap:

A break. You need it. Take it. Fun and flexible….like Olivia Newton John.

mom guilt

I yelled at my kids right before dropping them at school. I forgot to send them with jackets. I bought lunchables instead of making nutritious all organic lunches. I said “because I said so” instead of taking the time to explain my reasoning for saying no to yet another sleep over. I didn’t stay long enough at the skate park. I didn’t take them to the skate park. I said the skate park was closed.

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Mom guilt.

It starts early.  You let your baby cry in her bed while you finally take a shower after a 10 day hiatus. You called him a fat ass when he wouldn’t stop crying in the middle of the night. (Only to your husband who didn’t even hear it because he slept through the crying, but you still feel awful.)  You fed her store bought baby food instead of mashing up organic avocados and bananas. Mom guilt!

It sucks.

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Every mom I know suffers from some sort of mom guilt. We have been conditioned to think that every single thing we do or don’t do can impact our child’s very soul.  I stressed because I didn’t carve pumpkins this year, and I definitely didn’t roast any damn pumpkin seeds. I don’t bake or cook really. I don’t enjoy the park. I hate reading with my kids.

Shit. My kids are screwed. (and while I’m confessing…I didn’t breastfeed. Oh shit. Double D screwed!!)

Except that I do other things. Maybe it’s not the traditional way of bonding, but dance parties, and super awesome indoor tents are something, right?  You have to know who you are and be that person. I don’t use the oven much but I’m not stingy when it comes to hugs and kisses and praise.  I can create an impromptu musical with my kids about homework. “Every day this week, we try to geeeeet our work done. Geeeet our work done….” Chorus line…Anyone?Anyone?

I heard a great Ted talk the other day from Brene Brown and she said:

” Our job as parents is to make our children feel worthy of love and belonging.”

Did you read that? It did not say our job as parents is to sit on the floor playing hours of barbies/legos/petshop.  It did not say it is our job as parents to take them to all three Chipmunk movies the day they open. Good parenting doesn’t mean baking from scratch! And Lunchables were never mentioned!

I actually googled Brene Brown after watching this. Apparently she is a big wig in the self help community. I’m surprised I didn’t know her sooner since that’s where you will find me in any bookstore. She has a great book: The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting. I haven’t read it but I did read the synopsis. Hey, that counts. Plus, did you read the title? Hello!brene brown bookBasically she says we have to embrace our imperfections. It shows our kids that it’s ok. We need to be who we really are. For me that means, I’m not a baker, a butcher or a candlestick maker.  It’s exhausting to keep up the charade anyway. I am pretty sure I’m not fooling anyone. It’s ok that I don’t bake cookies from scratch! It’s ok if I give a little processed meat.  It’s ok if I don’t want to hear my daughter sing “Rolling in the Deep” for the one millionth time.

We all have our own ways of making our children feel worthy of love and belonging. It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. And it will never be perfect. Stop feeling guilty. In the words of Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb: You’ve got nothing to be guilty of….”

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