I recently came across some interesting parenting tips and figured that since my attempt at incorporating "positive discipline" was such a huge success, maybe I'll put some of these tips to use, too. But then after reading the tips and envisioning myself actually using them, I couldn't stop laughing.
Start kids off on plain (unflavored, unsweetened) yogurt in an attempt to help them develop an appreciation for foods that are not sweet. This sounds like a simple enough idea, if it weren't for the fact that Sour Patch Kids are so good and unflavored, unsweetened yogurt tastes like pus and has the texture of silicone caulk. And I think that kids are naturally attracted to eat things that aren't sweet, considering all the little kids I know that have eaten dirt.
Continually build upon responsibilities into adolescence until one day your children are responsible adults with the ability to live independently! Yeah!!! Oh yeah, that all sounds fine and good but there is this little thing called "reality" that interferes once in a while with the whole giving the kids responsibilities plan. Like the reality that kids forget, or decide not to do something, or roll their eyes before they say "I'm not going to do that," or are busy completing the 864th goddamn science project of the year so they don't have time to even say "I'm not going to do that." What this tip failed to include after the word "adolescence" is the phrase "by repeating yourself three times each day for 15 years, and occasionally hurling a clean basket of laundry across the room while simultaneously pointing out the fact that slavery ended decades ago..."
How many other words for "No" can you use instead of "No"? Ideally, you should divert attention to another healthy activity, but what other responses do you have? Okay, seriously, where do I begin? Do I include just the words I actually say out loud, or should I include the ones that I say to myself, too? I guess I'll do both: Nope, nuh-uh, no way in hell, not unless you want to experience massive amounts of physical pain, what the fuck are you thinking, are you mildly retarded, seriously oh my god, who are you, that's a good idea if you were a moron, I'm going this way please don't follow me, stop it, stop it now, stop it now before I call the cops on you, and of course -- NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Need a diversion for those long car rides with your toddler? Make a sock puppet, give it a name & keep it in the car. This is a tip I may actually try to use. I think I'll name my puppet Martin E., and he'll be made out of stitched together cocktail napkins. I'll glue a couple cigarette butts to his head, give him bloodshot eyes and tape an acrylic martini glass to his side. Then, when I'm driving around retrieving various forgotten items and passing myself on the highway, Martin E. can tell my kids that instead of going to the school or the tennis court, mommy decided to drive to the bar, because Martin really needs a drink.
Take care not to use language that identifies a child with any physical, emotional, or behavioral challenges. So, yay for me because I already knew this before reading the handy dandy tip. For example, if one kid has a giant zit growing on his chin (you know, the kind that if it were to grow it's own face and start talking you wouldn't be surprised) instead of saying "Wow, that's gross and looks painful, glad I don't have to go to school looking like that," I say something like "I hope you don't get hit on the chin today and by the way, have you been using that facewash I bought you?" And when a kid is behaving in a way that I find unacceptable or really, really embarrassing, I never say "No!" but usually opt for things like "Your behavior is making me consider walking that way and you shouldn't follow me" or "That's a good idea if you're trying to piss me off." Or if a kid suddenly bursts into tears because someone looked at them wrong, I never say "Quit crying and being a pathetic drama queen" but instead say, oh wait...I actually do say that. Never mind.
Singing silly songs is a wonderful way to disarm a cranky kid. Seriously. If you ever see me doing this, especially in public, you have permission to pull that machete out of your giant purse and chop my head off.
For improved sleep & strength, get kids to climb up and down stairs whenever possible. The only question I have is: who in the hell doesn't make their kids use their own two legs to climb up the steps? Is this some sort of joke? Like, climbing the steps is the only physical diversion this person could come up with? How about kick a ball, or jump rope, or play tag. No, no. Let's climb up and down the fucking stairs! Oh, maybe I could trick them, like "Go get me that ___ upstairs. Oh, wait, just kidding! I don't need it after all. Put it back and bring me the ____ instead. Ha ha, gotcha again! Isn't this fun? Now go get me the ____ downstairs and put it all the way upstairs." I agree that this type of activity may wear a kid out, but it may also create a kid that, when he gets to school and his phy-ed teacher tells the class to run stairs, discovers a violent side that he never knew existed.
Spring is the perfect time to increase outdoor time and explore the birds, bees & butterflies. There are two birds nests in our yard: one in a front yard shrub and another under our deck. While it's fun to watch the baby birds grow after the eggs hatch, it's not fun to see the dog maul baby birds immediately upon their departure from the nest. Also, I hate butterflies and have really, really bad reactions to bee stings. There's also the fact that I'm pretty sure that Zoe is afraid bees, considering the fact that every time she sees one within two feet she says "A BEE! IT'S A BEE! GET IT! GET IT! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! A BEEEEEEEE!" So, while I'm happy spending time outside and gradually teaching my kids about the birds and the bees, I will not be exploring any actual birds or bees.
Kids should yell and scream outside. Teach them to use their "Fairy Voices" inside, giving quiet voices a magical quality. If a kid grows up hearing and saying "Let's all use our Fairy Voices" and then that kid goes to school and has to go outside for a little free-time commonly referred to as "recess" and says "Oh goody, now I can be loud and I don't have to use my Fairy Voice anymore" that kid might get laughed at and be like, gee mom, thanks for making me sound like an idiot.
Get kids in bed 1/2 hour early to give them time to decompress, talk about their day & sleep peacefully. Let's see, I think it's time for some basic math skills: If I were to spend 1/2 hour each night with each of my three kids individually, that would mean that bedtime would take me an hour and a half, every night, not including the time spent saying "Go to bed, go to bed, please go to bed, get your ass to bed." I'm all for a good night hug, but spending two hours on bedtime? Not so much.
Since we all love to hear people say our name, address kids by their names only for good events, NOT bad! Then what exactly am I supposed to call my kid for the majority of the day!? "Hey you, over there, stop picking on your brother. Kid upstairs that lives down the hall, you need to get your ass to the bus. I wish that this person standing in front of me with the attitude would stop being crabby. Boy with buzz cut, you were supposed to take the garbage out." Not only would this make me sound like an idiot, but my kids would wonder what the hell happened to me because usually when they're in trouble I (like most other moms) not only use their first names, but their middle names too.
Unless, of course, I said these things while using my Fairy Voice. In that case, they'd just laugh at me.