Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to the Saturday Survey!

Weekends around the Blogosphere are soooooo boring! Sometimes I am cruising around the internet looking at my favorite blogs, and there is nothing new, nothing to do!

So I thought I'd spice things up a bit. Starting today, I will have a new survey in my right column for you to answer. The questions will be silly, stupid, fluffy, and irrelevant. (Just perfect for our worn-out weekend brains, and just short enough to leave us with our leisure time.) If you've got the inkling to hit the internet on the weekend, check out Saturday Survey! And if not, you've got a full week to answer... until the next Saturday Survey is here!

If you want to explain (or justify) your answer, there will always be a Saturday Survey post for you to comment on. Just leave a comment to have your weekend shout-out. If a survey question compels you to write a post about it on your blog, feel free to copy the picture from this post and link to it with a comment here. I would love to be a part of the discussion!

This week's question (answer poll to the right): Paper or plastic?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children."
-- Marilyn Penland

(I know I do!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Behavioral Study of Siblings

Why is it that whenever one of my kids is in trouble, the other turns into the model child?

When Monkey is screaming and stomping her feet, suddenly Volcano is the perfect angel. He is miraculously saying "Yes, Mommy" and "May I please, Mommy" and having the best manners that even Emily Post would envy. It is truly a miracle.

And, in turn, when Volcano is talking back or rolling his eyes and saying "I knoooooow!" in his I-can't-believe-he's-only-five-and-not-a-teenager-yet voice, Monkey turns around and gives me a hug, saying, "Can I kiss you, Mommy?" in her sweetest of princess voices. It's as if the one kid feels sorry for me, seeing as I'm about to tear my hair out, and decides to give me a break. Or maybe they're just being competitive with each other and trying to show the other one up.

Either way, I call it the "Opposite Behavioral Effect." The theory is that each negative action by an offspring can cause the sibling to have the opposite, positive reaction. (That minor in sociology I have is finally being put to some good use.)

For example, let's say your 3-year-old daughter is screaming "No No NOOOOO!" at you when you tell her to clean up her place at dinner. You become frustrated, upset, and are ready to scream. When, suddenly, your 5-year-old asks ever so sweetly, "Mommy, may I be excused from the table, please?" This is the Opposite Behavioral Effect.

Or when your 5-year-old is arguing with you that his Legos are just fine scattered all over the floor in his room. This is when your 3-year-old saunters in and tells you sweetly, "My room is all clean, Mommy. Just like you asked." This is the Opposite Behavioral Effect.

There is also the "Ganging Up on You Effect." Thankfully, I don't get this one as often. This is when one offspring encourages the other offspring in a negative manner, coaxing their sibling to join them in bad behavior. For example, when Volcano tries to balance his cereal spoon on his nose, Monkey laughs hysterically and tries to imitate him. This, as many of you know, can be tortuous. (This is one of the main reasons Hubby and I decided to stop at two.)

So... now it's your turn. Which one do your kids pull most often? Or is there another "Behavioral Theory of Siblings" I may have overlooked?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

Today we enjoy some time off with our families, and honor those who have died in the name of our freedom. Unfortunately, the weather is not conducive to BBQ today, so I'll have to forgo the usual traditions and settle for some take-out and a beer. As long as I don't have to cook, right?

God Bless America!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mommy Quote of the Week

"If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says keep away from children."

-- Susan Savannah

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Single Mother Card

Being a single mom must be tough. I know I depend on Hubby to help out a lot, whether I'm sick or tired (or just plain sick 'n' tired). I'm grateful I'm not a single mom -- every time Hubby gets home and revives me from a tough day dealing with the kids all by myself. God knows I could do it by myself if I had to, and I thank God I don't have to. I give single moms a lot of credit, for working so many hours in an office and then making it home to raise their kids all by themselves (with a little help from a day care provider or a family member).

But I think I deserve a lot of credit for not being a single mom, too. I waited until I was married and ready to have kids, before any of them were born. I chose a good guy, one that would be a great father and would stick around, so that we could raise these kids together. I insured myself with my good choices that I would never be a single mother, and that my kids would have two parents that they could always count on.

So here is what's bugging me. It seems like lately every time a contestant on a game show starts talking about how they got so strong, so smart, so dedicated, they start talking about their moms. Great, huh? Of course! But what I'm tired of hearing is the "And she was a single mother" tag. Like it doesn't matter if Mom survived cancer, worked in the military, worked her @$$ off to feed you and take care of you... it doesn't matter that much until you add at the end, "And she was a single mother." Suddenly I hear angels singing and harps playing. Let's elect that mama for sainthood!

It usually goes like this: between tears, a contestant laments that his dear old mom worked so hard to bring her kids up out of the ghetto, or the slums, or the trailer park... raising 6 kids on a minimum wage job... and (wait for it... wait for it...) she was A SINGLE MOTHER! Now how does that make her a more dedicated, more hardworking, a better mom than me?! Just because I made choices that took me in an easier direction, I'm not as worthy of such high praise?

Imagine Volcano, thanking me as an adult for motivating him, saying, "Yeah, my mom took me to school in her minivan, volunteered at every bake sale, helped me with my homework, cheered me on at soccer games. She had me when she was 29. We lived in the suburbs of Oregon, just me, my mom, and my sister... oh, yeah... and my dad." BOR-RING! How could that have possibly shaped anyone's life? Where's the motivation in two caring parents that are actually involved in your life? That would never make it to air.

I know things happen. Spouses die, parents divorce, women get pregnant out of wedlock. These women do the right thing and step up to the plate, working hard to raise their kids on their own. They have my full and utmost respect. I'm just tired of the Single Mother Card being tossed around like an instant prize for Mom of the Century. It seems to mean that single moms guarantee harder-working kids, kids that will grow up to instantly win American Gladiators or Deal or No Deal. But kids of married moms have the same chance, and they shouldn't be overlooked -- that's all I'm saying.

Let's hear it for the Married Moms!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Hear Ya, Dawg!

This will be my sentiment come September, when Volcano starts kindergarten! No more sleeping late twice a week, kiddos!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mommy Quote of the Week

"You know what this family needs? A mute."
-- Gus, played by Denis Leary, in The Ref

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Who's the Parent Here?

Uh-oh! Here we go again! Thanks to our friends at Sweepea's Lounge, we've found another Random Act of Bad Parenting.

According to the Monroe County News website, a 13-year-old Michigan girl had to call 911 on a cell phone about 3:45 p.m. this past February. She had to report that she was with her dad on the highway, and he was drunk. The girl told central dispatch that her dad was intoxicated and driving a gold van on the I-75. She also explained that he had plans to drive them to Florida, and she didn't want to go.

It's a sad state of affairs when a teenager has to discipline her father. Worse yet, she had to call authorities when her attempts to discipline him failed. Seems the father needs the lessons, not the child: in driving drunk and generally being reckless and selfish. Thankfully, the girl is safe. And she will hopefully learn from her father's mistakes instead of repeat them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mothers and Moms

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here." Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse. For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors. And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars. And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat. For all the mothers who read Goodnight, Moon twice a night for a year. And then read it again, "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college -- or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them. For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green. For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war. What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache she feels when she watches her son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes her from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put her hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in her home? Or the need to flee from wherever she is and hug her child when she hears news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation.... And for mature mothers learning to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us... Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can. Tell them every day that we love them. And pray and never stop being a mother....

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."

Happy Mother's Day!

(Thank you to Tiffany for this internet find.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Parenthood: That state of being better chaperoned than you were before marriage."

-- Marcelene Cox

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy... What?!

I was driving through town yesterday when I saw this huge banner hanging in the center of town: Happy National Child Care Giver Appreciation Day! May 11, 2008

When did this happen? When was my Mother's Day demoted to a "Child Care Giver Appreciation Day"? Now all my work as a hardworking mom is clumped together with daycare workers and nannies. I am being equalized with babysitters! It's insulting. It's disgusting.

This reminds me of my final years of teaching, when they changed "Teacher Appreciation Day" to "Staff Appreciation Day." This meant that I, as a college graduate, a credentialed teacher -- with extra years of school and tests to pass in order to get my accreditation -- was on the same level as the custodian or the cafeteria lady. No offense to those guys; they work hard too. But don't put us in the same league. It's much more impressive to be a teacher in the classroom than it is to spoon creamed corn on to a plate. I was offended then, too.

It seems that in order to be more inclusive, not to offend those people without mothers perhaps, that you have excluded the people that actually used to matter on this holiday -- Mothers. My position as Mother has just been swiped clean of all merit, shoving it under the passing fancy and careless thanks of a high schooler who watches your kids and raids your fridge. And what is Father's Day going to become? "Sperm Donor Appreciation Day"? Seriously!

Well, thanks, but... no, thanks.

And Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Congratulate me. Today is the one year anniversary of my first post here on The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Can you believe it has already been one year? (Or did you just happen upon this blog today?) Either way, dear reader, I thank you for attention. It all began as a humble space for me to vent my frustrations of life as a mom, looking for hope, support, and an occassional "You were so right!" It is because of my passion for motherhood that I continue to write for this blog. (Or is it my habit of getting into sticky and uncomfortable situations? Perhaps my need to expel any "Mommy Demons" before I strangle someone?)

A lot has changed in a year. My son Volcano is now 5, entering kindergarten in the Fall, and my little girl Monkey is 3, starting her first preschool in September. (I cringe at the thought of waking up early 5 days a week, but, alas, that is for another post.) We have been here in Oregon now for 2 years, and it's finally starting to feel like home. I have made new friends -- and made new enemies -- and not regretted a minute of it.

I hope you've enjoyed the past year as much as I have, whether you've been reading my blog or not. And I hope to see you around cyberspace more often.

Much thanks and humble gratitude,


Friday, May 2, 2008

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Kids. Ten seconds of joy. Thirty years of misery."

-- Albert "Gib" Gibson, played by Tom Arnold, in True Lies

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Can I Have It My Way?

Dear Burger King:

This letter is to complain about your choice of promotional items, namely those pertaining to the movie Iron Man. At this time, you are promoting the movie Iron Man by including the action figures in your kids’ meals. We have to tell you of our extreme frustration and confusion of including toys from this movie with your kids’ meals.

The movie Iron Man is rated PG-13. That is to say, it is inappropriate for children under the age of 13. So why are you giving these toys away with your kids’ meals? We doubt anyone over the age of 12 still orders from your kids’ menu. Therefore, it makes no sense to give away toys that are inappropriate for the age level of your targeted consumer. As parents, we expect your toys to be G or PG-rated in your kids’ meals.

We are parents of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. Upon walking into Burger King, our children expect to get the kids’ meal. However, we will not allow our children to have a toy that is connected to a PG-13 movie, so we will not order that meal for them. Or we will ask for the “toddler toy” instead, which is usually too young for them. They have already seen the posters and the toys for Iron Man in your restaurants, and they know what they are missing. This makes us the bad guys. So you know what is easier for us? We will instead go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s where we can find an age-appropriate toy that is included in the kids’ meals (they are now including American Idol toys at McDonald’s and Arthur toys at Wendy’s, both of which are much more appropriate). Our kids will be happy, and we as parents will be happy. Then we have no problems, and you have lost our business.

Because the quality of your food is so much better than your competitors, we expected a much higher level of service from your company, and we are quite disappointed. We will be informing our friends and family about this experience.


Disappointed and Angry Parents

If you agree, please join me in writing a letter to

Burger King Corporation
Promotional Items and Toys
5505 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, Florida 33126

The more of us that inform them about this issue, the more likely we will get a positive change. Or you may call their Consumer Affairs Hotline at (305) 378-3000.