Category Archives: Parenting

How I know that I’m not the world’s worst Mom

My children tried to give me that honor many times.  But now I can prove that I’m not.

How? Because I’m not her: “Mom Web Searches Gunshot Wound, Delays Bringing Son to Hospital.”

Another Top 10 List

As we head into the election season for, among other things, Supreme Court Justice, a refresher about the job might be helpful.

Top 10 Reasons to be a Supreme Court Justice:

10.You can honestly say you’re one of the Supremes.

9.  Wherever you go you can chant, “Here Comes da Judge!”

8.  Black never goes out of style.

7.  You’re always ready for funerals.

6.  “One size fits all” robes never pinch your waist.

5.  Gavels make great nutcrackers.

4.  You can finally get even with all those people who wouldn’t let you cheat off
their exams in law school.

3.  If you don’t snore, you can sleep with your eyes open and no one will know.

2.  People think you’re smart when you shout out cool Latin phrases like “Carpe
Vitro Veritas.”

1.  Nobody knows when you’re naked under your robe.

Top 10 Reasons NOT to be a Supreme Court Justice in Wisconsin

10. Not allowed to make lawyers walk on hot coals for personal enjoyment.

9.  The other justices make weird faces when you chant, “Here Comes da
Judge!”

8.  Annette Zeigler insists on being called “Supreme Ruler of Planet Barbie.”

7.  David Prosser doesn’t think it’s funny when you flush all his copies of “Mein Kampf” down the toilet.

6.  They won’t let you keep a llama in your office.

5.  Real judicial decorum means you can’t call the Chief Justice a “bitch.” (Even if you can choke people if you want to.)

4. Because, when campaigning for re-election to what on paper is a non-partisan office, even though you are “neutral and independent“, people accuse you of being a party hack just because you attend Republican events, choose the former executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party as your campaign advisor,  choose as his assistant the former deputy director of the Wisconsin Republican party and most recently Wisconsin political director for the Republican National Committee, have as your bookkeeper the same person who is also Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign treasurer and your campaign donor list is a who’s who of Republican leaders, including Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign chair, who, only by coincidence, was general counsel for the Republican National Committee from 1996 until 2000, was the Republican National Committeeman for Wisconsin during 1984–2002, and was a delegate to Republican National Conventions from 1984 to 2000.

3.  Scott Walker won’t shut up about his trip to Cali.

2.  Even though you deserve it, nobody ever plays the Darth Vader theme music when you enter the room

1.  Prosser is naked under his robe.

Real Women vs. Reel Women

In my next life, I want to be a Hollywood babe who gets pregnant, has the baby, and leaves the hospital not only 15 pounds lighter but with great hair and no cellulite.

That never happened to me (I left the hospital 15 pounds heavier with my hair looking like I’d slept behind a dumpster for a month). But it does happen to women like Megan Fox, who may not even be a real woman. (I suspect she’s from the Orion system and reproduces via pods.)

In case you are a real woman, so may not know who Megan is, she’s the actress [some people debate that] who appeared wearing very little clothing  in the first two mesmerizing monster truck films, “Really Big Machines That Came From A Galaxy Far, Far Away and Yet Speak American English with No Foreign Accent I & II.”

Anyway, recently she made a public appearance to show off her 9 week “Post-Baby Bod” (one of three Hollywood actress reproductive phases, including Pre-Baby Bod and Baby Bod).

“I only gained 23 pounds when I was pregnant and I’m still 10 pounds heavier, but I don’t want to kill myself trying to get back into shape because it’s not a priority right now.”

Wow. How nice. She gained a whopping 23 pounds. And two months later only has 10 left to lose. That’s how to tell the difference between human females and creatures from the Orion system: human females gain weight when they get pregnant. They have to: they’re pregnant.

If she’d been human her doctor would have told her, “Good lord, if you’re human you’re way too thin. I want you to gain 28 to 40 pounds!”

That’s because when humans get pregnant, they have to allow:
7.5 pounds for the baby
1.5 pounds for the placenta
4 pounds increased fluid volume
2 pounds increased weight of the uterus
2 pounds increased weight of breast tissue
4 pounds increased blood volume
7 pounds maternal stores of fat, protein and other nutrients
2 pounds amniotic fluid
Total: 30 pounds

When aliens reproduce, they have to allow:
7.5 pounds for the baby
15.5 pounds for the pod

Still doubt she’s an alien? She also said, “I felt like I was maybe birthing a vampire baby” and was actually surprised that after the baby arrived, “You never sleep and you’re awake all night.” She rented a night nurse.

Real human parents don’t get a night nurse. They tough it out, arguing for the first 12 months that it’s not their turn, they got up the last time the baby cried. They also stagger around in a daze bumping into walls and dozing off while talking on the phone or taking a shower.

Final conclusive evidence?

After reproducing, humans look like this: “haggard, exhausted and walking into walls, the [new mother] stumbled around in a maternity sweat suit that revealed large milk stains on the bodice.”

After reproducing, aliens look like this: “slim, relaxed and radiant with fresh-faced makeup, Fox beamed in a form-fitting, ivory-toned lace dress with peekaboo details that revealed black lingerie beneath.”

I rest my case.

What?

So I’m surfing the ‘net, doing my thing, when I see this picture and come to a screeching halt, the kind of sudden stop Wile E. Coyote makes when he runs full speed into the side of a cliff for perfectly logical reasons and then asks himself why do I always fall for this crap I need to talk to my agent dammit.

This picture.

Of skateboarding great Tony “The Hawk” Hawk.

Zipping along at a high rate of speed.

On a skateboard.

With his 4-year-old daughter Kadence Clover Hawk.

Swinging her through the air.

At the top of a half-pipe.

A concrete half-pipe.

Surrounded by acres of more concrete.

But no protective gear.

Naturally, some namby pambies thought that such behavior irresponsibly put the child at an increased risk of harm. Where were their helmets? The elbow and knee pads? The shoes?

And naturally, the 44-year-old man who – let’s face it – has never had a grown up job requiring any responsibility in his life, disagreed.

And posted another pic of him and his 4-year-old zipping along at a high rate of speed. On a skateboard. With no protective gear. Saying, “For those that say I endanger my child: it’s more likely that you will fall while walking on the sidewalk than I will while skating with my daughter.”

Take that you namby pambies!

Let’s face it – a guy who names his daughter Kadence Clover is not going to be someone who thinks protective gear is necessary even if he’s Wile E. Coyote.

The real question is: where is Mom? Mom would never let this happen. Oh no. Mom is like, “You did what? Are you out of your mind? I don’t care how many Xbox games are named after you, you are NOT taking that child on a skateboard without a helmet, padding, and some decent shoes! What’s wrong with you? Do you think Mom Andretti would let Mario take the kids out for a spin without their car seats or a seat belt just because he’s a professional driver? Hell no!”

The other real question is: what kind of people say things like “It is not our place to judge … I see nothing wrong … It would freak me out if just anyone were doing it, but it is Tony Hawk.”

Ha! Tell that to Mom Andretti!

Dear Woman In Front of Me at the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins Express

Maybe you have no peripheral vision, so were incapable of seeing the growing crowd of people helplessly trapped behind you in line, desperately waiting for their coffee while you surveyed the (apparently) mind-numbing quantity of choices available to you and the children you were escorting.

Maybe your parents never taught you to be considerate of other living beings as you wander the face of this earth.

Maybe your parents raised you to believe that you, in fact, are the center of the universe as well as its sun, moon and stars and that all others should be dazzled and humbled by your magnificence.

Maybe you are just a selfish slob of a human being.

Whatever the reason, let me show you the path to enlightenment.

1. When you go to a place of business, be it a corner lemonade stand, a grocery store, or maybe a … Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins Express, do not get up to the register and do this:

Woman: Well Janie what do you want?

Janie: I don’t know. Do they have ice cream?

Woman: Ice cream? They don’t have ice cream this time of day.

Woman: What about you Bobby?

Bobby: I don’t know.

Woman: How about a bagel?

Bobby: Okay I guess.

Woman: Are you sure? Is that all?

Bobby: Yes.

Woman: Let’s see, we’ll take a plain bagel and some Munchkins®. And what are those over there? And those? Is that an apple fritter?”

Clerk: Here’s your bagel. Did you want some cream cheese with that?

Woman: Yes. Are those apple fritters?

Bobby: I want an apple fritter.

Woman: Here, you can have the bagel back and instead he’ll have an apple fritter. What about you Janie?

Janie: Do you have ice cream this time of day?

Clerk: We’re a Baskin-Robbins Express. We always have ice cream, but it’s soft serve.

Janie: I don’t want that.

Woman: I’ve decided I don’t want the Munchkins®. I want a Smoked Sausage sandwich.

Clerk: We don’t have that right now.

Woman: Well then I don’t know what I want. What about you Janie?

Janie: Do they have any Munchkins®?

Woman: Are those pumpkin Munchkins®?

Janie: I want some of those.

Woman: We’ll take an order of pumpkin Munchkins®.

Clerk: is that all?

Woman: Hmmm. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll have some coffee. Yes, I think I’ll have a small coffee.

Clerk: is that all?

Woman: I don’t know.

Le me repeat myself: this is NOT what you do.

2. This is what you do:

Woman: Janie and Bobby, do you know what you want?

Janie and Bobby: No.

Woman: Okay, we’ll step out of the way until we know what we want.

Thank you. This will keep my head from exploding.

Sincerely,
Person With An Exploded Head

Baby Momma Redux

Nothing is more exciting than hearing about the latest entry into that high quality genre of entertainment known as “reality television.”

Will it be about cheating-married-closeted-gays-coming-out-to-the-in-laws in front of the entire town at their 50th wedding anniversary extravaganza complete with moments of shock, betrayal, and sobbing, bosom-heaving angst?

Or perhaps employees competing “Survivor” style to be the only one in their division to keep their job (bonus: winner gets to do the work of the entire division with no increase in pay while CEO gets stock options for effective cost-cutting).

Or will it be something even more astonishing, something involving ice skates, Simon Cowell, crocodiles, housewives, bounty hunters, and Snoop Dog?

Or – I dare I say it – will it be “My Teen Is Pregnant and So Am I,” a show promoting the benefits of barrier-free sex? You know – all the fun stuff like being a grandma at 36 – or a great-grandma before qualifying for AARP membership.

Seriously, I am not making this up.

It’s a real show with real moms and their real teenage daughters – all pregnant at the same time.

Can we say “dysfunctional parenting”?

Or, as one teen mom-to-be, Liz, whined when she learned that her mom, Ann, was pregnant too, “I kind of wanted the attention on me and my baby, so I was like, ‘are you freaking kidding me?’ ”

And the mom couldn’t agree more, believing that it’s more important to be a pal to her daughter than a “heavy-handed parent.”

“I think you know more about your kid if you’re best friends,” she said. As her also pregnant teen daughter said, “Most girls won’t even tell their parents they’re having sex, so it makes it easier for them to get pregnant.”

Earth to pregnant Mom and pregnant teen Daughter: not telling parents you are having sex is NOT the reason you get pregnant. But being your kid’s “buddy” instead of a parent might be a contributing cause. (“He said he loves you and you can trust him to pull it out in time? Cool!”)

Are these people for real?

But wait, it gets better.

When 18 year-old Liz is just too exhausted (she’s 18 – “too exhausted” for what?), and her 36 year-old mother Ann is busy with her own newborn, Ann’s 54 year-old mother (and Liz’s grandmother) Crystal comes over to baby-sit her great grandson.

What the hell is wrong with these people? Haven’t any of them figured out where babies come from – and how to keep that from happening???

Wait a minute. Now I get it. It’s genetic: stupid runs in the family.

The Little Prince(s)

It started with the shocking revelation in The New Yorker that – and this will come as a real surprise if you’ve never flown on the same plane as the toddler who incessantly kicked the back of my seat for four hours – parents in the U.S. are spoiling their children, resulting in a generation of young adults who incessantly kick the back of other seats on airplanes, as well as being otherwise completely self-absorbed, permanent adolescents who can’t tie their own shoes.

Not all of them of course. But enough for all the other countries to notice and whisper about us at parties

And for good reason.

In the article, the author contrasted indigenous South Americans (the Matsigenka) – who teach their children to assume adult responsibilities (6-year-olds already know how to cook and clean) – with a group of Angelenos who teach their children that a parent’s primary role is to worship their offspring.

The result? “With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world.”

Which is a nice way of saying: what the hell are you parents doing?

And, with unintentional irony, even the author doesn’t see what she’s doing:

Not long ago, in the hope that our sons might become a little more Matsigenka, my husband and I gave them a new job: unloading the grocery bags from the car.

Wow. Carrying grocery bags into the house. Well, that’s certainly an essential life skill. And the kid still screws it up.

One evening when I came home from the store, it was raining. Carrying two or three bags, the youngest, Aaron, who is thirteen, tried to jump over a puddle. There was a loud crash.

So what does mom do? Tell him so sad – go clean up the mess, salvage what you can, and next time carry only one bag at a time or you pay for anything you break?

Nope – she cleans it up and decides to add a “more vigorous” household task. Hmmm. Vacuuming, perhaps? No. Mopping? No. Laundry? No. KP? No.

She (in all seriousness) assigned him the daunting chore of … taking out the trash.

After I’d retrieved what food could be salvaged from a Molotov cocktail of broken glass and mango juice, I decided that Aaron needed another, more vigorous lesson in responsibility. Now, in addition to unloading groceries, he would also have the task of taking out the garbage.

Wow. Another essential life skill.

And what happens then? He screws that one up too:

On one of his first forays, he neglected to close the lid on the pail tightly enough, and it attracted a bear.

So what does mom do this time? Tell him so sad – go clean up the mess, and next time, don’t forget to close the damn lid properly or so help me I’ll feed you to the bear myself?

Nope – she cleans it up and calls it quits:

The next morning, as I was gathering up the used tissues, ant-filled raisin boxes, and slimy Saran Wrap scattered across the yard, I decided that I didn’t have time to let my kids help out around the house.”

This is a woman who can get published in The New Yorker yet she cleans up after her able-bodied son and can’t figure out what’s wrong with this picture??? She just answered her own question: “Why do kids rule the roost?” Three thousands words later – she still hasn’t figured it out.

But that didn’t stop another parent from jumping into the fray – this time to suggest in “The Benefits Of Spoiling Kids In America” that raising children to be helpless narcissists is actually a good thing. It’s a good thing because what’s more important: raising a child to be a competent, capable, responsible, self-sufficient, thoughtful and considerate human being? Or helping make sure they get into a good school?

Why – the latter of course! “And to whom is college admission granted? To those who do their chores? Or to those who fill their after-school with so many ‘enrichment’ activity that there is no time to make dinner? To those who unquestionably obey, or those who argue and challenge? And when kids are under such pressure (parents, too, what with a lousy economy and a more demanding workplace and a world that seems scarier) who wants to add to rare moments of family time with orders and obligations?”

Because nothing says lovin’ like keeping your children away from the oven. And every other household appliance.

Yet another writer tackles the subject, answering the age-old question, why do parents “spoil” their kids, by agreeing that spoiling is bad – but ultimately it’s not their fault. It’s our culture, “the demands of the American workplace.” We just work too many hours so don’t have enough time in the day to teach our children how to be fully-functional people: “We don’t discipline our kids because it takes time, and we often quite literally don’t have the time.”

It has nothing to do with being weak-kneed, lily-livered, spineless wusses afraid to say “no” to their charming little tyrants – or those ego-centric parents whose offspring are perfect and can do no wrong. (No they aren’t and yes they can but here‘s how to change that.

Because after all, anything else might indicate that maybe we have to do things differently, you know – perhaps act like grownups. Because kids aren’t grownups. They’re kids. And the only things kids are concerned about are their own wants and needs. And the only way that ever changes is if we do the hard things – you know – teach them to care about others and (eventually) to care for themselves. And that it’s not all about them.

And it ain’t easy. And it means saying no. And it means sometimes they hate you.

And gosh that’s hard. And it takes time.

Maybe I should just take out the trash myself.

Why Your Parents Will ALWAYS Worry About You

You’ve been visiting your mother. As you leave, she tries to give you food. She starts to pack a cooler. “I want to make sure you’re eating right. I worry about you. It’s cold outside. Here, take my coat.” You’re fifty-three years old and no, this will never stop.

Your parents worry about you. They will always worry about their children. Here’s one reason why: Lindsay Lohan. Here’s another: Charlie Sheen.

Here’s another – a recent news report: “US Students Survive 9 Days in New Zealand Bush.”

Two not uneducated young (and, it pains me to say, American) adults decided to take a stroll into the New Zealand wilderness in the middle of winter to visit some “hot springs, to chill out and study for finals.” Because, of course, everyone studies for finals in the New Zealand wilderness. In the middle of winter. You can’t go a mile without tripping over a desk and power outlet. And the country went Wi-Fi years ago after the sheep farmers complained about not being able to stream video of “Dancing with the Stars” during lambing season.

They carefully packed almost no supplies for their jaunt and ended up trapped by weather for more than a week, surviving by carefully rationing their limited supply of trail mix and – this is the really important part as anyone who owns a Jacuzzi knows – chilling out in a hot spring. They were, of course, a young couple. And the outing had nothing to do with curiosity about sex in a hot spring.

The mother of the male half of the couple panicked when she heard they were lost. “It’s too much for a mom.” Especially since no one knew they were lost for the first eight days. Because they hadn’t told their parents where they were going or when they would be back.

Here’s what his mom said to him after she finished panicking: “You went off into the wilderness in the middle of winter? Without tell us where you’d be? Or for how long? Didn’t we teach you better than that???? You haven’t got the sense God gave a goose!”

Even the parents of rich, successful people worry. They toss and turn and wonder where they went wrong. Newt Gingrich’s folks: “Moon colony? You told people you’d build a moon colony?” Rick Santorum’s: “Too late! We already googled it.” Rush Limbaugh’s: “Son, just so you know, we tell people it’s because of a childhood head injury.”

So we worry. Forever.

Stupid Kills

I know young people can be stupid – I was once one of them. The hope is that they will survive anyway and maybe become a little less stupid. And I know that parents can’t keep their kids from being stupid. But if they do their job right they can usually keep the stupidity from being fatal.

Then I read a story showing neither the kids nor the parents understood what I just wrote.

Two teenagers were injured and three teenagers died this week in northern Wisconsin. In a car crash. But you probably already guessed that part. A car that was going too fast. But you probably already guessed that part too.

It gets worse.

The occupants included a 16 year-old girl, a 15 year-old boy, a 14 year-old boy, a 13 year-old girl and a 13 year-old boy. The car belonged to the family of the 16 year-old girl. She had the car with the permission of her family. She had a graduated driver’s license that limited her to only one passenger. She had four. She probably was the only one in the car with a license to drive it.

She wasn’t driving.

She let the 14 year-old boy drive the car. (No, he did not have a license. Of course he didn’t have a license: he was a 14 year-old eighth grader.) He drove very fast. Faster than 80 miles per hour. He crashed. He died. So did his 13 year-old girlfriend. And the 15 year-old boy. The other two passengers were hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.

Let’s reiterate for emphasis. A 14 year-old eighth grade boy was driving a car full of teenagers at speeds of more than 80 miles per hour on a rural road. He crashed, killing himself, one of his friends, his pregnant 13 year-old girlfriend, and injuring two others.

What!?! His 13 year-old girlfriend was pregnant?? And they were out joy riding instead of staying at home where they belonged having been grounded for life???

Maybe I’m being unkind. Maybe the parents didn’t know. Maybe the kids had busted out of home detention. I re-read the article. Yes, the parents knew.

Where does one begin? Let’s see: your 13 year-old daughter gets pregnant. Or your 14 year-old son gets someone pregnant. The normal parental response is not, “Cool! Go party some more!” The normal parental response is: you are grounded for life.

I don’t know why they weren’t. I don’t know why the parents of a 16 year-old with a limited license would let their daughter drive around illegally carrying more passengers than allowed by her license. I don’t get it.

I really don’t get it.

I’m not making light of the tragedy. I’m trying to get my head around people who think it’s okay for their kids to be stupid and not try to stop them.

Because we’re talking about up to ten parents. Ten allegedly grown-up people not one of whom said: no, you’re not going joy riding with a bunch of your friends because it’s not only stupid, IT’S AGAINST THE LAW AND YOU COULD DIE.

Instead, apparently with parental consent, 5 young people were tooling around rural roads at high speeds at 6:49 on a weekday evening instead of being at home, eating dinner with their families and then doing their homework. And apparently it wasn’t the first time. According to law enforcement, “there’s an indication the five occupants of the vehicle may have previously driven in the area.”

I can’t get past the fact that the parents knew. The bereaved mother of the dead girl said, “She told me she loved me as she ran out the door last night, so that was good.” Her pregnant, 13 year-old, eighth-grade daughter running out the door on a week night to jump in a car with the baby’s daddy and other friends? (Or non-pregnant, I don’t care. No way does an eighth grader need to be running around with anybody on a school night. )

Or the relative of the dead girl who said, “I hope it shows kids that they need to not be stupid when they drive, to wear your seat belt and pay attention to what you’re doing, because things like this happen.”

What?!? We already know they’re going to be stupid. They can’t help it, they’re kids. That’s why they have parents. Because “things like this” don’t just “happen.” “Things like this happen” when parents aren’t doing their jobs. And the job means kids learn to always wear seat belts. And not to drive a car unless they have a license to operate it. And if they have a restricted license then they follow the restrictions. Or they walk. They might get mad and call you names. They might hate you. So what.

They’ll be alive.

Attention Parental Units

You have reproduced. Congratulations. Now this may come as a surprise, but you aren’t finished yet.

It seems that some of you are unaware that human offspring do not become autonomous beings at birth. Unlike sea turtles, people babies do not hatch, dig themselves out of the sand, and then race to the water without stopping to ponder the great mysteries of the universe such as where they came from if only because if they did something would eat them. They also do not spring, full grown, from Zeus’s brow.

Instead, human children require a prolonged period of supervision and oversight to develop into responsible, self-sustaining adults.

The normal expectation is that you, the parent, will provide the necessary supervision and oversight.

This means it is inappropriate to drop said children off at the mall telling them you’ll be back in 12 hours. Or the public library. Or at any tempting location except their school during normal school hours (and only on days when school is in session).

This limitation also includes the YMCA. Yes we know that the YMCA is a family friendly place. And we know the YMCA has many activities for human children, healthy activities, activities which help build character.

Frankly my dear, we don’t give a damn.

When we go to the YMCA, we go there for a purpose. That purpose does not include being trampled by a herd of shrieking, unsupervised 8 year-olds running amok. If we wish to be trampled, we will go on safari in Africa where we can throw ourselves in front of a panicked herd of galloping, wild-eyed wildebeests.

We would like to remind parental units that being in the same city – nay – even being in the same building – is not providing the necessary parental supervision and oversight, which requires the parent to actually be able to view the child (keeping in mind this is a primary component of “vision” and “sight”) unless said child is participating in an activity with adequate non-parental adult supervision.

Parents may also be required to act in the unlikely event that their child commits any transgressions, which we understand is nigh on impossible because of course said child is perfect and can do no wrong.

Humor us.

It also means teaching your offspring (even though they are perfect and can do no wrong) that in public places running, pushing, shoving, hopping, jumping, sprinting – in fact, anything beside a sedate stroll is not advisable. Please remind them that maid service will not be available outside their home, so removing articles of clothing and abandoning them in the middle of hallways is not acceptable and may result in non-parental units picking up said clothing – complete with iphones/ipads/any other expensive technology still in the pockets – and accidentally dropping them down the nearest trash chute.

Due to the lack of maid service, they will also have to flush toilets after use and place trash inside (not outside) the trash container.

Thank you. And if anyone wants their iphone back, they might check the bottom of trash chute #3.