Saturday, October 22, 2011

Statistics don't lie, but they leave things out

There is tons of information out there about the benefits of family dinners.  It's more likely that the family consumes healthier foods, more fruits and veggies, less fried foods and soda.  Young girls are less likely to have eating disorders.  Children are more likely to feel like their parents are proud of them, less likely to use drugs and more likely to get good grades.  This sounds fantastic.  But something you never see are the statistics about the effects of family dinners on the parents.  I'm sure this is because no good could come from studying it.

Our family dinners always involve at least one person crying about what's being served, at least two people fighting over who gets to lay out the forks versus the napkins, at least one person making a massive mess, at least two people telling very animated stories at one time, at least two people who cannot remain seated more than 90 seconds at a time, at least one person crying because they fell out of their chair, at least two people begging for dessert before any real food has been consumed, at least two people bickering loudly and at least one grown-up reaching their breaking point. 

There are times when all I can do is take my plate and fork, go to the kitchen and stand at the counter finishing my dinner because I just cannot take it anymore.  Since we have family dinners almost every night I feel sure my kids are going to be incredibly healthy, well-adjusted adult people someday but I fear I'll be drooling in my rocking chair on the porch of some state-run mental institution well before that ever happens.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Someday I'm going to miss this, right?

Lately being a good and tolerant parent has been very trying.  My oldest daughter is exasperating and exhausting.  She works hard at ruining every situation she is a part of.  Yesterday I took the three girls to the Second Sunday Market on Main St, as soon as we stepped out of the car Lorelei announced she was bored.  We stayed long enough for me to get some bread, let the little girls look at the water and listen to a multitude of complaints.

We piled back in the car and I took everyone to Meadowbrook Park where I had to force Lorelei to get out of the car.  She then spent the entire 45 minutes we were there closely following me and repeating, "Can we go home now? Can we go home now? Can we go home now? Can we go home now?"  I ignored her, gave no response.  I just continued to follow the little girls around making sure they weren't trying too many daredevil stunts (I did wonder what other parents were thinking of us, though).  Then she changed tactics and started bullying Violet, doing things to put her in danger on the monkey bars.  I was forced to acknowledge her behavior and sent her to sit on a bench.  Shortly after that we decided to go home for lunch - I was completely mentally and physically exhausted by the whole outing.

All that came on the heels of a giant meltdown that happened Friday night, nearly resulting in cancelling her plans for Saturday.  I gave her the opportunity to earn back the outing with her friend on Saturday and she did, but barely.  We were being very generous - it's so hard when another family is involved in the punishment, you don't want to also punish them by cancelling.  I was talking to her friend's mom (who was seeing similar behavior from her kid) and we both agreed that we really hoped it was some sort of early hormonal thing rearing its head and not the fact that we have rotten kids.  (We know we don't because each of us can report that the other's kid always behaves marvelously when they are away from their parents.)

There are a few nuggets from my childhood that surface every once in a while when I'm in the midst of some crazy parenting nightmare that make me think I'm being punished for all the terrible things I did to my parents.  I remember my father telling me when I was a kid, probably just a little older than Lorelei is now, "Just because you're in a bad mood doesn't mean you have to put every one else in a bad mood."  That is exactly how I feel.  I'm struggling with how to not let her tantrums affect my good mood. 

And then there's the bathing problem.  She refuses to bathe.  I'm going to have to start buying her deodorant so she doesn't start offending passing strangers.  Sigh. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I did not fall off the face of the earth.

I've been avoiding the blog lately.  The thing that has been looming largest in my life lately is not something I can write about publicly and it's been blocking out every other thought that I have when I have a moment to sit at the computer.  It's very frustrating.  So, to get out of the funk, I'm going to tell a few funny Violet stories.

I've mentioned before about Violet's penchant for fabulously clashing outfits and how I've given up on trying to guide her choices.  On the first semi-chilly day of fall Violet chose to wear a multicolored flowered skirt, multicolored striped leggings and a solid colored shirt (I was just relieved that we didn't have three different patterns) to school.  That same day I saw a little girl from a different class wearing something similar - patterned tights, patterned skirt, patterned shirt AND mismatched shoes!!  Her mother was taking a photo of her outside of the school.  I was overjoyed - someone else had a kid with quirky fashion sense.  After school we were hanging out on the playground and I was telling a mom friend about my joy at seeing this other little girl.  She laughed and said, "Oh - today was 'mismatch day' for that class!" 

One recent afternoon Violet was talking to Cinderella on her toy cell phone.  We were in the front yard waiting on Lorelei's bus and I wasn't really paying attention to her "conversation."  Until I heard her say something about the Prince's pointy red penis.  WHAT?!  Turns out this had been a topic of conversation with a neighbor kid who'd noticed our new kitten's pointy red penis.  I told her that it isn't really polite to talk about people's private parts, to which she replied, "Mo-om, it isn't even real."  I didn't ask if she was talking about penises in general or just the pretend Prince's penis. 

Costco has had Halloween costumes out for a while now and early last month Violet saw a mermaid costume (generic, but she thinks it's Ariel).  She fell in love with it and I just couldn't resist making her totally happy, so I bought it.  It is adorable (see photo) and the best $18 I've spent in a long time - or so I thought.  The headband that came with it is too small and squeeze's her head too much.  It's a cute headband, but really, it's totally unnecessary for a mermaid to have a headband, right?  Wrong.  Violet says that since the headband is too small she cannot be Ariel for Halloween.  Another $18 down the toilet.

Hopefully I'll be better about posting.  Thanks for stopping by!