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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass


Author: toni

~ 05/25/10

 

Be warned. I’m in a complaining  mode. Specifically about how much of my life is consumed by my child and her activities. Oh don’t act like you’ve never been there. If you don’t occasionally feel totally overwhelmed, irritated and maybe a teeny bit  resentful by how much of yourself you have given up for the sake of your children then you are either a pod person or heavily medicated.

I mean HOW FAR SHOULD OUR MOMBLIGATIONS GO?  When I was a kid, parents didn’t play with us and schlep us around to every activity under the sun. In fact, the extent of their involvement with us (other than feeding and clothing us) was to shout – whilst fixing dinner or gluing together the broken coffee table, “Go outside and play and don’t come home until the streetlights come on!”

Nowadays, my kid has such a social schedule you’d think she was the President of the United States of Children.

Especially this week when all of her activities have come together in a sort of PERFECT STORM.

MONDAY – school/ piano

TUESDAY – End of year conference/ school/dance class/ rehearsal for Talent Show

WEDNESDAY – 2 Talent Show performances for the school in the a.m./ Dance competition rehearsal after school

THURSDAY - School Awards Assembly (she’s getting an award…shhhh!)/ Orthodontist appt./ Talent Show Rehearsal/ Evening Talent Show performance for parents

FRIDAY - Dance competition at a location SO FAR AWAY that will take hours in rush hour traffic on Memorial weekend to get to…ARRRGH!

 

Crazy, huh? And yet, I’m not the only one. All the parents I know have gone hog-wild crazy catering to their kids and their kids’ activities. And most other parents have more than one child so you can multiply their madness accordingly!  

So, where is MY time, you ask? The pathetic bits and pieces of the day eked out to attend to MY work, MY chores, MY personal hygiene? And why is a girl who says she wants to be a doctor when she grows up so focused on the arts anyway? Good questions. If you have the answers, lemme know.

Meanwhile…. before any of you state the obvious, let me just say it myself.

IT’S ALL MY FAULT!  My kid only has this mad schedule because I have allowed it. Yet, as a parent I have the right, the obligation to JUST SAY NO!

And you know what? I plan on doing just that. From here on out, I’m putting my foot down.

Yessiree. Next time she tells me she’d like to take an art class, or join the school chess club I’ll stare her straight in her big,  chocolatey brown eyes that look at me with such unconditional love and I’LL TELL HER…

“You listen here, missy. ABSOLUTELY NOT…. until I have some time to think about it.”

I know. I know. I’m a total pushover. So sue me. I don’t know  why I do it. Love or guilt or the desire to give my kid what I didn’t have in my childhood. Or just because I’m her mom and think she’s the most talented little thing on the planet and generally, it’s all fun, even for me. Probably it’s a little of everything.  Still, the bottom line is that I bring it on myself. And therefore, I shouldn’t complain.

Buuuuuuut…. since this is my  website and I pretty much do whatever I want on it…. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? DO WE OVERINDULGE OUR KIDS?

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Author: toni

~ 05/21/10

 
As a mom, I feel guilty about lots of things. I feel guilty about my lack of patience, about the time I don’t spend with my kid because I’m working, about the fact that I haven’t told her that the dancing light on the headliner of the car is coming from my ring and is NOT a special communication to her from her fairy friend Bettina.

Know what I DON’T feel guilty about? That I haven’t taught my daughter to take apart and reassemble an assault rifle in record time.

I watch the following video and think, if her dad really wanted her to do something in record time, couldn’t he have taught her how to frame a house for Habitat for Humanity or something?

I’m not sure what purpose this talent will serve. You know, unless her name is Sarah Connor and Cyberdyne Systems has finally gotten its hands on that revolutionary new microprocessor that will form the basis for Skynet.

SIGH.

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Author: toni

~ 04/26/10

 

Dog maulings, pool drownings and being left in hot cars. Three completely avoidable tragedies that happen to children every year.

MAMMAKAZE Trudy pointed out the latest hot car tragedy. It happened in Antioch, California. A 7 month-old girl died after being left in the car all night and for much of the next day.

The parents (mid-20s) left the baby in her rear-facing car seat after returning home at night from doing laundry at a relative’s house. Each thought the other had taken the baby into the house.  

It wasn’t until 2pm the next afternoon when the mother awoke that she discovered the baby wasn’t in her crib. She frantically called her husband who was at the gym. He rushed out and looked in the car. The baby was there but by then it was too late.

2 PM THE NEXT AFTERNOON?!  Okay, I gotta ask. How does a mother not notice her 7 month-old child is missing for 14 hours?  I mean, kids that age need to eat and be changed every few hours right? They fuss, they cry, they require attention.  And as a mother your instinct is to be in constant contact with them, right?

Okay. I know exhaustion was a factor. Apparently both parents were working two jobs. And they also had a 2 year old. That’s rough. I personally remember being soooo tired after Julia was born I couldn’t count my toes without losing track. And I wasn’t working 2 jobs nor did I have a second child to run around after.

So I won’t go off any more on these parents. I know they didn’t mean to do it. I know they’re devastated.  And they will live with the guilt of their mistake for the rest of their lives. I can’t even imagine their pain.

But there are things that parents can do to avoid this kind of tragedy. The first of which is to stop thinking it can’t happen to you. Because (except for the occasional selfish moron who leaves his kid in the car so he can get drunk at a strip club)  this sort of tragedy has occured in all age groups, all levels of education and income. The common denominators: exhaustion and change of routine.

Also, don’t think you have to live in a hot climate for this to be a danger. The temperature topped out at 78 degrees in this tragedy. But the inside of the car got up to 110 degrees.

So if you have a small child, add the following to your list of ways to protect your child which include outlet plugs and those bumpers for your coffee table.

 

CHILD CAR SAFETY

1. Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and place it in the front seat to remind you that there is a child in the back.

2. Put something in the back that requires you to open the back door every time you park – like a purse or lunch bag.

3. Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if the child hasn’t arrived at the normal time.

 

Bottom line…As parents it’s our responsibility to do everything to protect our children. Nothing is too extreme where the safety of our kids is concerned.

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Author: toni

~ 03/26/10

 

Okay. Actually it’s been sporadic for a couple of weeks now. But I’ve had a lot going on. And by that I mean I finally put a bulletin board up in my office and posted TO DO LISTS (three to be precise) so that I could SEE all the things I keep forgetting to do.

Big mistake, because now that I see it constantly, I am compelled to actually accomplish things so I can mark them off. Also now Randy the Perfekt husband sees the lists too… and while he doesn’t actually SAY anything about my accomplishments or lack thereof, I am one of those people who reads into everything AND nothing and always make SOMETHING out of it.

So even though I don’t actually know what he’s thinking, I’m making up his thoughts in my own mind. And they always include things like, “What the heck does she DO all day?”

So… driven by a sense of accomplishment or guilt or both, I have been frantically crossing things off my list.

In the last two weeks I have:  

  • completely cleaned and refurbished our grill
  • re-caulked all 7 sinks in the house
  • re-stacked several hundred pavers so critters can’t get behind them
  • planted stella d’oros in the front
  • planted the herb pot I got for Christmas from my sister-in-law
  • fertilized the grass
  • had the back shutters painted
  • had the garage door fixed
  • researched, interviewed and chose an orthodontist for Julia
  • dealt with various health insurance issues (‘nuf said)
  • re-stained 3 kitchen cabinets
  • planned our next two vacations
  • AND prepped for and completed our tax appointment – that’s right – it’s DONE, baby!

 

Notice anything missing from that list of accomplishments? Yep, anything to do with MAMMAKAZE!  And lemme tell you, that is one long list!

It’s a Catch 22, this website thing. On the one hand if I made a lot of any  money doing it I likely wouldn’t put it on the back burner. But I’ll never make more money on it if I DO put it on the back burner.

But then again, I have all these other responsibilities as a mom to Julia too, like helping with projects and talent shows and drying her hair after a shower (it takes 45 minutes!) and just being there when she’s had a stinky day or a bad dream.

And then there’s the whole being a wife thing. I AM in a relationship after all, which Randy the Perfekt husband occasionally reminds me in the midst of my list-making. And that entails some effort too — and the occasional pair of frilly undies.

And don’t forget DAMAGES. I have carve out some time to watch Damages. Oh and MODERN FAMILY…. and….

See, this is why I always feel guilty… and my toenails always look so shabby. Too many balls in the air and not enough hands. And I was never good at juggling to begin with.

 

The point of all this? MAMMAKAZE’s one year anniversary is coming up and I am vowing to kick it into gear. Monday, first thing. Well, right after I do the laundry and grocery shopping for the week. And also, I have to get that oil change on the car. But right sometime after that.

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Author: toni

~ 02/04/10

Two more days until the Harry Potter party. And now my main concern is if I have enough stuff to do to keep all those kids occupied for 2 1/2 hours.

We have things planned, natch. We’ll start with a banquet feast that includes mini tacos (Julia’s not into treacle) and the Harry Potter theme as background music. Then the presentation of the wands. Then there’s Silly Divinations during which I, dressed as Trelawney, will be reading the future of each of the kids. Julia and I had a ball coming up with the most ridiculous futures. They’re printed on parchment in Harry Potter font. Then a game of Pass the Basilisk, ala hot potato. When the music stops, whoever has the Basilisk is petrified and OUT! A game of Harry Potter Scene It projected on the castle wall – the kids will divide up in 4 teams and we’ll make sure each team has a Potter expert, as not all kids are as well versed in Potter as a certain handful I know.

Finally,  there’s the Yule Ball Petrificus Totalus Dance. Snape (my brother John in costume and character) will oversee this. It’s like a freeze dance, only when the music stops, he will pertify them and those still moving will be out. The kids LOVE the freeze dance and we do a thematically appropriate version at every party.

I will have a cauldron of prizes and we always make sure that every kid wins a prize.

We might throw in a dementor attack or two. Just to give us an excuse to eat chocolate. Not that I need any.

Here are some more homemade decorations. I’m doing the actual decorating tomorrow and will post photos of the finished product then.

 

Every Grand Hall must have house flags. I’m hanging 4 over each of 4 tables representing each of the Houses of Hogwarts.  And also the Hogwarts Crest which will hang at the front of the Hall (aka my garage).  Made with felt and photos of the crests.

 

 

 

 

We also did an Ollivanders sign to hang up over the basket of wands. Just for ambiance.

 

More in coming days. Wish me luck!

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Author: toni

~ 11/10/09

 

Okay. So here’s the deal. The other night Julia won a trophy for dance choreography and a certificate for photography at a contest at her school. This is the same contest where she won a first place trophy last year in Visual Arts for her photo collage. Randy the perfekt husband and I couldn’t be prouder…

Except… up until this last award she has been adamant that she is going to be a doctor when she grows up. She has stuck to this idea since she was 2 years old. And her father and I thought (perhaps foolishly) that it would stick until adulthood. After all, this is the kid who, the day after Halloween, picks what she is going to be NEXT year and NEVER strays from it. She is so firm in fact, that I buy the necessary costume items for the following year at 75% off the day after Halloween.  And I’ve never regretted it.  

So given this strict adherence to her word imagine my shock when, after the awards assembly the other night, she quietly said between spits while brushing her teeth, “I’m not sure I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”

WHAAAAT?!?!?    Despite the soft voice in which she said it, the earth shook beneath my feet. Mommy’s world was rocked … in a BAD WAY.

Instead, she says, she wants to go…brace yourself… INTO THE ARTS!

Not the arts! Not that vague, impractical, you’re-more-likely-to-get-hit-by-lightening-or-sucked-into-a-black-hole-created-by-the-particle-accelerator-than-succeed-in  “the arts”!

It’s every parent’s nightmare. Imagining their child struggling and destitute, living in a wretched garret and coughing up a lung from consumption. Okay, that’s my IMAGE of it. And yes, it’s overly dramatic. Well, where do you think she GETS it from?

I know it’s all partly my fault. I come from a long line of musicians and artists on my mom’s side. All those Italians were painters and composers. My mother was an opera singer before her career became derailed by marriage and children.  I, in fact, was a theater major before I switched to the more “practical” field of writing. LMAO – as they say in those TWEETS.

And it didn’t help that I enrolled her in dance when she was 2 1/2. At the tender age of 7.5 she’s been dancing for 5 years now. And then I put her in piano which she’s been doing for two years. I have helped her the last couple of years when she wanted to do the talent show – which she got into both times with her singing. Oh yes, and last year Santa brought her an easel, oil paints, pastels, acrylics, paint brushes, etc.

The result? Now she wants to go into the arts. Oy vey!

So here’s the question. Ain’t no way. Okay that’s not the question. That’s a statement of fact. The question is:

Is it okay for a parent to discourage their child from something that they want if the parent knows it not to be practical and likely to bring the child a lot of frustration and heartache and lack of health insurance and matching 401k contributions?

I’m not trying to shelter my child from the difficulties of life. They’re part of life and we must all face them. I just want her to have, well, fewer difficulties – which a job that is always in demand can bring. Especially since her father and I aren’t likely to leave her independently wealthy. As parents isn’t it our obligation to put our kids on the right path? In this case… the path to medical school.

I have known some parents to REFUSE to pay for their child’s college if they didn’t like the kid’s course of study. But that threat is years off. And I have a problem NOW!

But what should I do? Should I allow Julia to continue thinking she’s going to be the next Hannah Montana or whatever she’s thinking and then spring my refusal reluctance about her career choice on her when she’s applying to colleges? Or is it best to start gently discouraging encouraging her otherwise…right now?!

Of course, the other choice is to let her be who she is, let her make her own mistakes and choose her own life path and be the supportive parent no matter what she chooses……….NAH.

 WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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