Monday, August 31, 2009

Grass Is Always Greener

Each home has been reduced to the bare essentials -- to barer essentials than most primitive people would consider possible. Only one woman's hands to feed the baby, answer the telephone, turn off the gas under the pot that is boiling over, soothe the older child who has broken a toy, and open both doors at once. She is a nutritionist, a child psychologist, an engineer, a production manager, an expert buyer, all in one. Her husband sees her as free to plan her own time, and envies her; she sees him as having regular hours and envies him.

~ Margaret Mead

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Lust is the sin that gets me excited. Luckily, because I'm married, I also get really good jewelry out of it."
-- Heather Locklear

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Yellow Curb Saga Continues

I can't believe this is still going on.

As you may recall, a couple years ago my neighbor Bill painted the curb in front of his house yellow, to create his own no parking zone. He then continued to tell his own guests to park there. However, whenever one of my guests would park there, he would leave rude notes on their cars or yell at them. He even yelled at me over the phone and hung up when I tried to discuss it with him.

Just last weekend, Bill had another party at his house. Hubby heard his daughter was getting married, and they were holding the rehearsal dinner at their house. Sure enough, when the guests arrived, cars were lined up and down the street – including that yellow curb in front of Bill’s house.

“I’m calling the police,” I threatened, reaching for the phone. I was so tired of this double-standard Bill held to his beloved frontside curb. But this time, Hubby seemed to have reached his limit too. He decided to walk over to Bill’s and have a chat with him. I followed him out the front door so I could hear.

Hubby couldn’t find Bill, but he met his daughter instead. “Hey, I’m the neighbor next door. Is there a way someone could move their car? It’s kind of hard for us to get out, and you’re really not supposed to park there.”

“Oh, sorry,” she explained. “We told guests they could park there.”

“You know it’s a yellow zone, right?” Hubby asked.

“I know,” she giggled. Then she added proudly, “My dad painted it.”

“Well,” Hubby began. “It’s been this kind of back-and-forth thing, with the City coming out and everything, and they determined it a no parking zone.”

“Oh,” she said. After a pause, she continued. “Well, let me get my dad, then.”

Soon after, another gentleman stepped out of the house and walked over to the car. It wasn’t Bill, but the car’s owner. We had to assume that Bill had confirmed our request and asked his guest to move his car.

So Bill’s daughter admitted he had painted the curb, and that they still let their guests park there. And now, he knows that we are aware of what he is doing. And that we’re not going to allow it anymore.

It’s amazing that I am trying to teach my children manners and how to be good citizens in society. And, yet, next door is a grown man who is still learning this lesson.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mommy Quote of the Week

"When my husband comes home, if the kids are still alive, I figure I've done my job."
-- Roseanne Barr

Monday, August 17, 2009

No Shirt, No Shoes... No, Seriously!

While standing in line at our local ice cream parlor, I couldn’t help but gag. In front of me was a father, lovingly holding his two or three-year-old boy on his shoulders. But that wasn’t the gross part. The part I found disgusting was that the little boy had no clothes on. No shirt, no pants, no shoes. Not a stitch of clothing on. All this kid was wearing was a Pull-Up.


Now I’ll admit, it was one hundred eight degrees outside that evening. I am not exaggerating. The car’s thermometer read 108. I mean, that is hot anywhere, and we were on the Oregon coast. None of us were used to this heat. And I was sympathetic to the child’s comfort, putting my own kids in tank tops and shorts that evening. I myself never wear tank tops unless I am at the gym, and I was wearing a tank top that day. We had specifically gone to the ice cream shop to cool down in the A/C and to get a cold treat. But the difference was... we were all fully clothed.

Why do people feel that it is acceptable to have their children walk around town half-dressed? Pull-Ups are the same as a diaper or underwear. This is not acceptable attire by itself. It's not like we were at the baby's private home, or at a swimming pool. We were in a public place, a place that serves food. I mean, would it have been okay for the dad to be standing in line for ice cream in just his tidy whities? As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same thing as this little boy sitting here in his Pull-Up all by itself.


Most stores have a policy about “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Why are children the exception? It’s still gross. Even if you’re living on the sun, you still have to wear clothes. It’s a matter of common decency. Especially in a restaurant or grocery store. We’re not at the beach, people.

Another day the family and I went to Subway, and we couldn’t help but be annoyed at this little boy running around without a parent following. The mom was sitting with a friend gossiping, letting the toddler roam around the store. Worse yet, the kid was just wearing a t-shirt and a diaper.


It’s just trashy. It’s just gross. It’s just wrong. Letting your kids run around in a restaurant is bad enough, but letting him do it half-dressed should be illegal. It’s very hard to eat when I can see your kid’s diaper running around in front of me. I mean, do you know what kids do in those things? THEY POOP IN THEM! Yes, really! It literally made me lose my appetite.

I understand that kids make a mess, spill food on their clothes, poop in their pants, or throw up on their shirts. These things happen. But a mom or dad’s job requires them to bring a spare set of clothes, either tucked in a diaper bag or folded in their car. If we know these things happen, then we as parents should be prepared. When my kids were younger, they ruined many, many items of clothing. But I always had a spare set in my bag and in the car, just in case. And if you have a newborn baby, the kid should still be in at least a onesie. You pack extra diapers, wet wipes, and all that other stuff for the baby. Make sure you throw in an extra onesie too.

So do us all a favor. Keep your kids dressed. Licking an ice cream cone is just not the same when I’m staring at your kids’ butt in a Pull-Up.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterwards."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, August 10, 2009

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again...

If I had my child to raise over again
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later.
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often and affirm much more.
I'd model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.

~ Diane Loomans

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mommy Quote of the Week

"Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee."
-- David Frost

Monday, August 3, 2009

Receiving Gifts, With Strings Attached

My mother, as was her mother before her, is a very proper lady. We were always taught the strictest of manners. This was not limited to the simple please and thank you’s of a normal, polite society. No, this was extreme manners. Like eating with a napkin on your lap, elbows off the table, and asking to be excused when finished. We were never to say, “I’m full!” when we were done. My mom would tsk and say, “Estoy satisfecha,” which means, “I’m satisfied.” We were taught to address all adults with a Mr. or Mrs., to RSVP as soon as we received an invitation, and to always – ALWAYS – write a thank you note when you received a gift. Mom even had a rule: before you can use your new gift, you have to write a thank you note. You can't wear that new sweater, turn on that new Walkman, or spend that gift card until the thank you note was signed, sealed, and mailed.

This became a habit I continued into adulthood. When Volcano was born, the gifts were in abundance. On my husband’s side, he was the first grandchild, and the first great-grandchild. Even on my side of the family, where he was grandchild number 3, he was given plenty of gifts: toys, clothes, accessories. And I was diligent about those thank you notes. Volcano nor I never used a gift until the note had been written and mailed.

So when Volcano was about 18 months old and received a toy from one of my in-laws, I mentally started writing the thank you note, remembering the item and giver even as he was still ripping the paper open.

“Say thank you,” the in-law instructed him, before he had had the chance to do it on his own.

“Tankoo,” he said, turning the plastic boat over in his hands, examining it excitedly.

Then she patted me on the shoulder. “And don’t worry about a thank you note,” she added, still looking at Volcano with a smile. “I know your family doesn’t do those things.”

Was she reminding a toddler about thank you notes? Nope. I knew she was speaking to me. And it wasn’t a reassurance, like “You don’t need to write me a note.” No, it was a reminder. She expected one.

Where did she get this information that my family “doesn’t do those things”? At that time, I had been in the family for almost 5 years. Did she know how many thank you notes I had written in the past 29 years of my life? Did she know the insistence with which my mom used to nag and nag and nag my siblings and me to write those thank you notes? After every birthday, Christmas, First Communion, Confirmation, Graduation… the thank you notes had to be written. After my wedding, I spent days and weeks writing thank you notes until my hand cramped.

I seethed silently, but dutifully sent that thank you note. To this day she must have thought it was her idea.

Years later, when Monkey received a gift from another relative, the same thing happened. As Monkey pulled the new dress close to her, twirling around in pleasure, another relative said, “You know what you should do, sweetie?” Again, she was talking to my 4-year-old daughter. Not to me, right?

“You know what you should do sweetie?” she sang. “You should go home and take a picture of yourself in your new dress. Then you could write a sweet little thank you note and send it to me with the picture.”

Ugh. She had taken the idea right out of my mind. But who would know I had thought of it first? I was already thinking that I could take Monkey’s picture, and have her write some words to send to this relative. I had already thought of that. But it was too late. It was now her idea. So, again, I seethed silently inside, plastering a smile on my face as I folded the new dress back in the box to take home.

At least I knew my mom would believe me. She had trained me well.