Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pants on Fire!

LIAR LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!!! Soon, my kids, when they have that "aha" moment will be singing this to me until I am on my death bed. Even then they will probably say, "go in peace, you friggin liar."

I lie to my kids ALL - THE - TIME! I know it's bad parenting, but it's really most convenient to me and it usually is in the best interest for my kids. I don't think my lie telling is harmful to my kids. It's not like I'm lying about who their real father is or about taking money from their 529 accounts. The lies I tell usually revolve around incidents I prefer to avoid. Whether it's health (mental or physical health) or monetary or another purpose, the lie probably won't negatively effect their livelihood and actually, most likely will improve their lives.

Here are some examples of my parenting via anti-truth telling:

1. Chucky Cheese is an invitation only venue. I took the kids once to Chucky Cheese. That's all I needed to form my opinion and ban the place for life. I took two kids by myself. First of all, I thought I was going to have a seizure from all the noise from the people and games, the poor lighting and the flashing from the electronic games. Instant headache. Then, my kids ran off in two different directions. It was impossible to watch both at the same time. Yeah, ok, they have a system in place so the kids can't leave the building by themselves. But is there a system in place to monitor the pervs lurking over my kid, or the older, bigger bully kid bothering my kid? NOPE. Therefore, I must be a shadow. My kids however, quite enjoyed their 20 minutes of Chucky Cheese (I bribed them with the reward of McDonalds for them to leave.) Now, each time we pass Chucky Cheese they ask to go. Do I want to explain to them about all my issues about the big Cheese? NO. Do I want to be the mean mommy who says "no" every time they ask. NO. So my solution was to tell them that the rules changed and now you can only step foot into a Chucky Cheese if you are invited for a birthday party. They seem to understand and accept this and I don't come off as Mommy Dearest.

2. They are allergic to certain foods. Not really. My kids are not allergic to anything. Thank goodness. But they do have a friend who is severely allergic to peanuts and other foods. They understand that if she eats it, she could get very sick or even die. Yes, they understand death. There are certain foods I don't want my kids to eat / drink either forever or until they reach a certain age. These include soda, popcorn and gum. Soda is forever, popcorn has an age requirement and gum I am striving for forever but will give in at a certain age.

They are allergic to soda because I just don't want them drinking it. There are so many better options and if they are without my supervision at a friend's house or party, I would prefer them to not drink it.

They are allergic to gum because I think it's a bad habit. Not only that, but I don't need them chewing gum in the car and then choking on it when I slam on my brakes or something. I also would like to avoid having to get it out of their hair.

They are allergic to popcorn until they are 5 years old. Popcorn is the only food that expands when eating. I have heard of too many horror stories abouts kids choking and dieing from popcorn. I know, I know, kids can choke on any food. But popcorn is a great risk. Plus, even as an adult, when you get a casing stuck in your throat, it's so damn hard to get it loose by clearing your throat. You know what I'm talking about. For a kid it's a lot harder to make that motion.

That was my public service announcement. Back to regular scheduled programing.

3. "You had that before and liked it". Often I will make something new for dinner or introduce a new vegetable. Automatically my kids sing out that they don't like it, even without trying it. It's so annoying. I then reply "The last time you ate this you loved it and asked me to make it again." To be honest, this is getting old and they are getting to the age where they remember what they told me. However, it never hurts to try. If I can be convincing enough, using my acting skills, I can atleast get them to taste it again. Then they can decide whether they like it or not.

4. The battery died. All those toys with noises drive me insane. I just want to watch my show, god damn it. Stop making so much noise. Most of these toys have had the batteries removed. They can play with it just fine without the blinking lights that will cause A.D.D. and the annoying music or beeps. When my kids go to play with it with all the functions, they ask for my help when it does not work properly. I say "oh well the battery died." Nowadays, the battery is kept behind an enclosure that requires a screwdriver. Yes, double threat. Mommies don't use screwdrivers, so when daddy gets home, ask him to change the battery for you. By that time, I have already hid the toy under a pile of stuffed animals and all is forgotten.

There are other subtle lies / tricks that I use for parenting. For instance, all the digital clocks in my house are like ten minutes fast. That way I can tell tell my kids that it's bedtime before the actual time. Or I can point out how wonderful I am by showing them the time and saying "Look, I let you stay up late." Another trick is the "placebo method". My kids will occasionally delay going to sleep with complaints of ailments. No worries, when my instinct tells me it's the truth, I come into action. But most of the time I know it's a plot. So I tell them that I will give them medicine. I give them water in one of those clear, plastic medicine cups. Sometimes I will even put the tiniest bit, and I mean tiny, of medicine just to add coloring or flavor. Miraculously, after getting the medicine, they feel fine.

You may think I'm a rotten mother for tricking my kids. You know what? I may just be...but I have a challenge for you. Try to define what a good mother is. I'll give you time to think.

You can't answer because there is no answer. Do I avoid taking my kids to a gross indoor amusement place where I can't supervise them? Should I permit or encourage them to eat foods that are not good for them? Do I do what I can to get them to actually eat the healthy stuff. SURE! So, if getting the desired results requires a little alteration of the truth and a little trickery, I would say to go get some water to put that fire out on my pants and my nose is going to be really big by the time my kids are teens. It works for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Big Screen

Recently I went to the movies with my daughter. We went on a weekday when there was no school. The movie had been out for a few weeks already so I didn't think it would be too busy. Plus, only a few local towns had no school this day. But as it was approaching an hour before start time I started to feel it. That uncomfortable, itchiness, I gotta get there feeling (very similar to the one I get when I have to be at the airport on time.)


I can't help it. I get anxious about getting there and finding a seat. It's not too often that I will go to a movie when it's first released. I rarely go to the movies anymore but when I do go, I usually have to wait until it's been out for two weeks anyway, because I buy discounted tickets and that's the stipulation. So, even though most of the world has seen the movie, I get nervous that the theater will be so crowded that I will get stuck in the first row. I once sat in the front row and it was awful. I had a headache from the blurred vision and my neck was sore from tilting it upward. I don't even know why they even have the front two rows. They should just eliminate them and have less seats. I'm not stupid, I understand it's revenue. But if the customers are going to be unhappy, why bother?

So, I make sure I am at the theater at least a half an hour before the start time. I understand that I will sit through all the commercials, plus all the previews add another 20 minutes. I don't care, I have my seat. I like to sit next to the wall. I honestly have no problem sitting next to a stranger, but being next to wall means that no one will do the tuck in the ass squeeze past me during the film. While I'm on the topic, why do people always leave a seat between them and the unknown person in their row. It should be a rule that you have to sit in the first available seat in that row. That way you don't have a group of movie goers looking for seats together. Have you ever gone to the movies and within one row there are two empty seats but they are not next to each other? Then it turns out that if two people just slide over by one chair and (gasp) sit next to a stranger, then you and your movie partner could actually sit together! It drives me bananas!

When I last went to the movies, there was a mother, father and daughter looking for seats together. In one row, there were two available seats. At the very end seat was a pile of coats. Really? The coats need a seat? Did the coats pay friggin $11.00 for the two hour movie? Then, when the mother asked the coat owner to move the coats so that her family could sit together, the coat owner got annoyed! If I didn't value my teeth, I would have butted in and said something, like she was being a jack ass.

Just a bit of trivia here: remember I mentioned the tuck in your ass move while passing the row of occupied seats? Well, it is actually proper etiquette to FACE the person when squeezing past. That way your ass isn't in their face. I know what your thinking, then your "junk" is in face-level with someone. That's what I thought, but don't blame the messenger. Blame Emily Post. Actually, I kind of get it. If you are facing the person sitting, then you can give eye contact, say excuse me and you can gauge how much room you have between you and them. If your back is to them, you have no idea how far your butt is sticking out and exactly how close it is to their face.

My anxiety does does not stop at the urge to get a good seat. I very rarely buy from the concession stand. Popcorn is $6.00!! As that's for a small!!! It's fucking insane and almost like robbery except there is no weapon used to make you fork over your money. I usually don't eat in the theater but when I take my kids, I'll bring some Cheeze-Its or Goldfish and bottles of water and juice boxes. Of course I go with my big hobo bag but I am so paranoid that I will get caught! In order to avoid getting caught, I will stick my passes / tickets and money in my pocket. That way, I don't need to open my purse and the potential of the cashier accidentally seeing my stash is eliminated! Pretty savvy, huh?

Between the drive there (I get anxious just going because I am anticipating getting caught in a line, thus missing the opportunity for premier seating), waiting on line, being paranoid about getting caught with my snacks and then walking that loong hallway from the ticket taker to the actual theater....I'm a mess! An enjoyable outing becomes a panic attic.

I went to discuss this with a psychiatrist. She signed me up for Netflix. With the money I saved on my co-pay, I think I'll buy a large popcorn if I ever make it to another movie.