i spent so much time looking for the perfect parenting books while i was pregnant with the twins.
i envisioned dreamy, gauzy days of picnicking on fluffy clouds. in this vision, the twins were around one and a half years old. we were on a blanket. during the golden hour. the sun was creamily sinking into the trees. we were drinking and eating out of those cute ikea tea sets.
shows how removed from reality i was, right?
so, i'm going to give you some parenting advice. it's real advice. because if your vision is anything like mine was? let me help you, no one and a half year old is gracefully drinking from a glass tea cup. and if they are? it has already been broken in the time it took me to type this sentence.
and if your tot is poised enough not to break it?
skip this. it's not for you. you've done a far better job than me.
the following advice will allow for the best of both worlds....
maintaining your sanity,
properly disciplining your child,
looking good in front of judgy mothers.
judgy mothers are like sharks.
they band together.
and they prey on you.
their looks will, and can, penetrate your skin.
penetrate your skin, i tell you!
use them. force them. in desperate times use a boob. know that the boob will work 98% of the time. this will be your ace in the hole. try your best no to abuse it.
only change them when they are touching the child's ankle. this saves money and you can avert judgment by stating you do so to be green. it's really important these days to be green. say it like you mean it. with authority. make them believe that.
the following will aid in, but, not guarantee the stop of a full blown meltdown.
dance parties: when they cry louder, dance faster and turn the music louder.
baths: baths must have bubbles.
going outside: i opt for locking them outside while i stay inside. only sometimes, though.
target: fyi - target fixes everything, usually.
if you don't drink, start. if you do? increase your intake.
don't buy a bunch of crap.
you need a
a car seat
and clothes. and save the cute clothes for at least 6 moths and older.
sperrys are the only exception to this rule. because there is nothing cuter than a kid in sperrys.
that's all you need.
consistency is key. always follow through. all the good books tell you that but, they don't tell you how to do it while maintaining your sanity.
here goes: make sure if you threaten time out you are actually willing to get off the couch to put the kid in time out. there is nothing worse than throwing out a premature time out threat and then realizing no money in the world is going to get you up and off the couch for the follow through. realizing you must get up if you want to be a good parent will make you angrier than the original offense.
i too said i wouldn't feed my child in exchange for good behavior. i lied to myself. you will feed your child even ifit's only for thirty seconds of quiet bliss.
and accept it.
it will make it easier on your ego when you decide to cross over to the dark side.
now, be smart about what you feed them.
opt for things that take a long time to eat.
always ask yourself what will take the longest, and go with that.
the twins did not have sugar until their first birthday.
since then, sugar has become an additional food group in our home.
sugar is only used in extremely desperate times, oh, and also when i am trying to pimp chloe's sweet dance moves out on a crowd.
sugar is the new boob. although I have in desperate times thought about going back to the boob.
that said, if you have followed this blog for more than, oh, i don't know, a day, you know i am desperate daily. so, when you're in publix, and your kids start chanting
"candy! candy! candy!"
make sure you loudly say something like
" babies, mommy gives you candy when you go pee pee on the potty."
this is not a lie.
if you would have said
"mommy only gives you candy when you go pee pee on the potty",
that would be a lie.
you will see judging faces relax into sympathetic smiles while thoughts of
"oh, i used candy to potty train my kids, too" dance through their heads.
smile back. confidently.
+parenting in general.
always make sure you parent your children, don't let them parent you, unless your tired. then do what ever you need to do to stay afloat.
let your kids eat off the floor. after they are done, put them on the floor to clean up. their mouths are like little vacuums, put them to work. they're like free roombas!
now, this can get tricky when you have guests. i have two solutions for this.
1. you can go all out and say it's good for them to get a little dirt, it builds their immune system. only go this route if you believe it. they will see through your lies.
2. just instruct the child to stop eating off the floor and state firmly that it is dirty.
please note, this will only work while they can't talk. they will eventually call you out. i know, the nerve of them.
luckily, i opt for option 1 because i believe it so i haven't had to come up with a new solution now that they are talking.
implementing option 1 can be tricky while in public. chloe has been found on more than one occasion eating food off the floor.
one time was at the country club. thank goodness one time she was with my mom. her problem, not mine
the second time, at a restaurant, i just swooped her up and said "no chloe! that is so dirty!" practice a horrified look and scurry away quickly.
now, note that the majority of meals will be served at home so you will have time to prepare a response in public if need be.
you will be able to tell when a fight is abrewin'. if you are ready to tackle your inner disciplinarian, go for it! good job! if you're not, right before physical contact is made walk out of the room. when a child comes screaming and crying, comfort the hurt child and ask what happened. disciplining after contact is easier than getting in the middle of a fight. plus, you could catch a bow! and who wants that?
this also works if you have asked a child not to hit their sibling 3,784 times. sometimes i just can't muster up the energy to ask for the 3,785 time not to hit. or kick. or jump off the couch on to your sister who is quietly laying on the floor.
so, this is also a perfect time to leave the room. again, you must leave the room before contact is made if you want to stay in the good parent category.
elmo ice packs cure everything. so do band aids. but, be advised that getting a band-aid also involves getting up. i have implemented a "there must be blood for a band-aid" rule.
i am a really good mom and have the bathroom locked.
the twins can get the elmo ice themselves.
see how we're working over here? we're working smarter, not harder.
+avoiding an escalation in conflict.
when i go psycho so do my kids. it's not possible to stay calm all the time. it's just not. so, when you are almost there, like to the point of no return? just pretend not to see something. but here's the deal, don't make it obvious! for example when i'm about to snap because i have asked colton not to throw a fire engine at the tv 64 times, i discretely put a dish away in a lower cabinet so he knows i don't see him throw it the 65th time. continue to do so until throwing cars at the tv is no longer fun. it will happen, eventually, that is.
choose your battles people. this parenting gig is no joke. and take comfort in knowing that there is nothing a glass of wine and a bubble bath won't fix.
good luck. you need it.