Sunday, August 03, 2008

More Parental Advice

I was eavesdropping on some new moms at Seven Peaks last week when I overheard one conscientious mom asserting that she pulls her bosoms away from her tiny baby after ten minutes because she doesn't want to spoil her. Do what you gotta do mama, but if you're going to be so stingy, why not try a bottle? Then she put her baby into a neoprene baby sling and darted off towards the baby pool. I wanted to tell her, "Dude, if you don't have other kids to keep track of you can use your arms for a baby carrier." What was she doing at Seven Peaks anyway? I HAVE to be there--I've got four bored kids from ages 11 to 1. But if I had just one little baby? I'd be home in bed--which was exactly where that conscientious mom should have been. Oh dear. Time for some more of my unsolicited parental advice.

Make your babies smell good. It's harder to love a dirty, poopy, stinky, snotty baby.

It will be February. Things will be bad. You will consider vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. This will happen again at the end of sumer, and then school will start.

Don't give out punishment that hurts you more than them.

Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?

Clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.

About two-wheelers: If they can reach the ground with their feet they can learn to ride a two-wheeler.

Always pack wipes. If you send older kids somewhere without you, pack wipes for them. It's like having a mom with them.

Don't use your good scissors on Badge Magic.

Let your kids eat school lunch. I ate it all my life and I have a Master's degree and this blog. My kids eat it and they are not dumb, hyperactive, fat, sickly, or unhappy. Don't knock yourself out packing lunches every day, unless you have nothing better to do.

Act on any inclination of kindness or niceness you have toward your children. You'll have fewer and fewer.

Your kids won't be little forever so enjoy them! Just kidding. People tell me this but they don't explain this: how do I enjoy my children when I don't enjoy them? I can tell you something very specific to appreciate about your under-6 kids. They don't really know what you're up to so enjoy that. I have an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old. They notice when I burn food, take naps, surf the web, don't follow through on discipline for the younger kids, and any number of other foibles I'd just as soon keep to myself. It's like living with real people. While I would never trade the perks of having older kids, it can be stifling in a way that laying on the floor in my pajamas watching Blues Clues with a toddler and a can of frosting isn't.

So there are some tips for you. Sorry, but you need them. I'm no pro, but I know enough not to buy a neoprene baby sling. Let me know if you have any questions. Of course, I prefer to give my advice the way I get it--unsolicited.

35 comments:

  1. I love "with a can of frosting" - I think the worst thing that happened to me as a mother so far was when I found I could no longer eat ice cream in front of the kids without THEM wanting some too.

    Now I know why I so desperately wished I could stay home with my first baby. Monday through Friday of my maternity leave was a party of eating junk food and watching really bad TV. Okay - so I didn't get that much sleep - but a bag of M&Ms provides a good boost of energy when it's needed.

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  2. My four year old just skipped up to me and said, "MOM! Smell my armpit!" I told her No. "Pleeease, Mom? It smells so good. [lifting arm and pushing aside sleeve] Just have a look and smell."

    So spoiled.

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  3. Fantastic advice all. As of next month, all mine will be six or older. There are major perks to having them past the baby stage (like, oh, SLEEP), but it is getting harder to get things past them. Darn it. Too smart for their own good.

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  4. You may have kids like mine though, who refuse to eat school lunch.

    So you teach them how to pack a lunch.

    Or you come up with a system: pb&j, a pudding cup, a juice box and a bag of chips.

    They whip up pretty fast.

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  5. How about if the cost of school lunch is $3.50? You read that right, three-fifty! That's more than a Stinkin' Happy Meal at McDonald's and they get NO TOY from school. Crazy, huh?
    I love your advice, girl- I so totally GET you. Frosting? You know it! I have a can in the cupboard right now that I sneak at night and dip either graham crackers or Nilla wafers in after the kids are asleep. YUM. Then I hide it right back by the cake mixes ready for another day.

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  6. Two questions:

    For Pete's sake...how old was that baby at seven peaks?

    and

    Can you open a can of frosting and put it back in the cupboard to eat another day? I think I grounded somebody the other day for doing that...

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  7. Granny B sometimes mixes up her kid memories. The first three have differing accounts of her mothering than the younger three do, but since I will eat anything I think that it was maybe one of her other children said they didn't like school lunch.

    What I do recall is being told at age nine that if we didn't pack our own lunches then we would just be out of luck at school. I never liked making my own sandwiches so I would just have the things that you could just throw in the bag (pudding, granola bar, etc.) and sometimes I'd trade that for some poor sap's KFC. And this laziness has lasted into my adult years, because I still can't wake up that extra ten minutes early to make myself a decent lunch.

    Now I have a husband who makes my lunch and enjoys doing it. Boo yah.

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  8. Where were you 13 years ago when I needed this advice?? I have already figured out most of it on my own.

    You're right, it won't hurt kids to sleep in their clothes. In fact, they don't really need a bed, they seem to prefer sleeping on the floor. In their clothes. Without a top sheet.

    If my kids want a lunch from home, they have to get up early and make it themselves.

    You are a wise woman.

    Hey b. You should really put the frosting in the fridge if you're going to save it. Behind the pickles where nobody else will find it.

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  9. This is some of the best advice I've ever gotten.

    Ah, those halcyon Blue's Clues and frosting days...

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  10. I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN.

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  11. Thank you for the advice, Sensei.
    The biggest flaw of Mia's school is that they don't offer school lunches and I have to make one. It's horrid.

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  12. I do not really have mixed up memories - I did pack lunches - for my husband and kids for lots of years - and then I started working. That's when I gave Hannah her ultimatums.

    But I provided lots of good stuff for people to make lunches - and every so often, I did fix her lunch - and I put in little notes and things too.

    The stuff kids forget!!

    I have a theory about all of this - i.e. the attitudes I see among young mothers today about lots of things. Some of their ideas are a definite improvement on the past.

    But some of them make me a bit sad.

    I need to do a post of my own.

    As soon as I go fix my own breakfast.

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  13. I was having a crappy (read:normal) day with my three-year-old and a "friend" texted me the following "advice"

    "Oh, La Yen, little hands grow up too soon. Don't be in a hurry!"

    I wanted to punch her in the face.

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  14. i love this "unsolicited" advice. it's awesome. can i just say baby slings are gay? there. i said it. just blurtin' out my true feelings here. and if i heard that snot ball woman talking about taking her boob away from her baby i'd have to say soemthing to her. i am THAT person- the one that blurts it out with no concern for the aftermath of embarrassment, awkward silences, or backlash....but then of course i;d get really hot and sweaty and try to run away as fast as possible.

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  15. Here's a tidbit too . . .
    If you think to yourself, "what's the worst thing that can happen if I don't put the pillow cover on before the pillowcase?" That will be the night your child who has never had a bloody nose and has never had one since will have one.
    And if you buy dark pillow cases you will discover that your children are mouthbreathers. AND that those toothpaste stains are more like bleach spots.

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  16. "Don't give out punishment that hurts you more than them."

    You said it, sister. If you're the one who cries because the outing gets canceled, there's a problem. :)

    I love the other advice, too. Keep it coming!

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  17. This advice came at the right time. February=end of Summer. I just need to breathe and stay calm. Thanks.

    Also, your advice on top sheets has helped me out a lot. What else you got?

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  18. uh-huh
    uh-huh
    uh-huh

    HOOH! (elbows jutting towards hips)

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  19. Anna See2:04 PM

    Right on, sister! We all need to give ourselves a big break. This motherhood thing is a marathon,not a sprint. I've started letting my kids go to church in the clothes they slept in. It saves us time and a fight.

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  20. I echo Lisa's comment. We are now a top sheet-less free family.

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  21. I hear you on the punishment advice. Although, I've taken to just sending them to their room so that, if they get in trouble, I still get to play Guitar Hero without listening to anyone whine.

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  22. I tried the lunch thing. My finicky daughter didn't eat it either. So, I wrote checks all year.

    And they sleep in their whatevers. Why buy pajamas?

    I am getting the "you didn't discipline her right" stuff already too.

    And seriously, do spoil those babies with some cuddling. They will have to start the pain and suffering of life as soon as they wean. (Mine just weaned last week and we are all doing great...she is 21 months).

    Thanks for the good times.

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  23. granny babs packed excellent lunches - always a sandwich, a fruit, a veggie and a nice bag of chips or granola bar. and don't forget the dessert. she would go to such pains to pack pres. kimball's favorite dessert (a cheescakey thing), pumpkin cookies, stake visitor's cake......

    my own children should be so lucky.

    but i was one of the older kids, and she wasn't working.

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  24. oh yeah. i get busted by my 8 and 6 year old all the time. i've tried explaining the nuances of the word stupid (ie: it's okay to say an ice maker that never works is stupid, but not your sister) but they don't get it. it's like living with two cops.

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  25. Uncrustables are my friends.

    "Don't give out punishment that hurts you more than them." This is what I am trying to teach my husband after he grounds my son from the computer for a week. "Oh, thanks. And who's the one who has to listen to him ask to play four hundred times a day?"

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  26. How many members of the Terrill Family will comment on the packed lunches?
    I just remember mostof eth school lunches being gross. Maybe we were spoiled?

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  27. "Act on any inclination of kindness or niceness you have toward your children. You'll have fewer and fewer."

    Thank you, it felt SO good to laugh out loud for at least a full minute.

    I can't even picture what a neoprene baby sling looks like. But once I was at my friend's apartment in Berkeley and her neighbor stopped by carrying a child in a sling. The neighbor was slim and about 5-feet-nothing, and the child looked to be a large 8-year-old (but maybe he was just a VERY large 5-year-old.) If I'd been on the fence about slings at all, that sight clarified things for me.

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  28. "I ate [school lunch] all my life and I have a Master's degree and this blog."

    Loved this one too.

    I found out my son wasn't even eating his school lunch some days (when he didn't like either of the meal selections) so now I make him look at the lunch calendar and circle the days he needs to bring a lunch. He also does a lot of bartering of his school lunches, but I'm okay with that (lots of great education involved, I think,) as long as he does actually end up with a food-like substance to eat.

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  29. (Does three comments in a row make me a comment spammer?)

    Oh, and what's this about top sheets? My oldest is 11 and just this week I decided to try giving top sheets to my 11-year-old and 8-year-old FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES. Are you saying I've jumped the gun on this one?

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  30. hilarious! and I was tired and cranky because my 14 month old wouldn't sit in his stroller today! I guess I have it coming to me soon.....

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  31. Man I just found yr blog and I love it. You make me laugh right out loud. I love you!

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  32. Ditto on "I never did topsheets for the kids!" Life is way too short to worry about the finer points of bedmaking when you're the only one who makes the beds!

    Oh, and you're so right about the nursing. My second was born 14 months after the first, and I tried the speed-nursing thing with her. Poor child almost starved to death before I figured it out! Don't do this, mommies!

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  33. Kacy - first of all, you are a great writer. Secondly, I was wondering if would be alright with you if we quoted some of your parental advice on our blog http://therealworkingwomen.blogspot.com/ ? We're just getting started with this whole blogging thing - and we need help! Thank you!!

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  34. my kids had brownies for breakfast.

    they just changed out of their pajamas to put on clean pajamas. brushed their teeth with their fingers because we found the brushes in the toilet, again.

    They say they can't sleep when it's light out.

    I told them not to sleep then, just pretend they're pencils, with their eyes closed. and maybe if they put their underwear on under their pants they may be more comfortable and thus won't even notice it's still day. Early evening, I mean.

    good stuff. You're obviously good at what you do. i like you.

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