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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What the Fudge? When Your Kiddo Experiments With Language Boundaries

  What would you do if your normally G rated child suddenly let loose with the mother of all curse words? Yup. You guessed it. My sweet, darling princess just dropped the f-bomb on us. I hear when most kids first try out cursing they start with an occasional hell or shit. Not my princess. Nope. Too mundane and beneath her. She goes straight for the mother of all curse words.
As parents, we try not to let any expletives slip in front of the kids. Mostly because it's easier to ask them not to say them if they aren't hearing them all the time. So, although I am not perfect, in general, if my kids are hearing foul language, it's more likely that they heard it from another kid on the playground or from walking into the room during an inappropriate movie. Shrug. It happens. When I was a child of approximately 5, I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the very R rated “Terminator” and survived. Generally, I do try to protect their innocence if possible, but even network television has gotten pretty risque in this day and age. No matter how hard you try, kids are going to hear and see things that you'd rather they didn't. I try not to beat myself up about it.
So, what was my reaction when my 9 year old dashed in and told me that my 6 year old had dropped her little bomb? Well, of course, I was initially a little surprised. I mean... Where did she hear that word of all the words? I'm pretty confident it wasn't from my husband or I either one. On the other hand, we live in a military town, and most of the people I know here are not particularly careful with their language. It was bound to be added to her vocabulary eventually. So, after asking her to tell me what she said, then where she heard it, and not getting an answer, I decided to take the intellectual approach.
You know what kids love more than anything else? Doing the thing that is forbidden. True story. So, it follows that if I go off the deep end about foul language, which, let's face it, is kind of a right of passage at some point in the journey from child to adult, what do you think is going to seem all the more appealing? Instead, I asked my daughter why she thought I didn't want her to say those types of words. Her response was probably typical. She answered, “Because it's a bad word?” I had to smile as she'd walked neatly into my trap. “No,” I said, “There's no such thing a good words and bad words. Words are just words. The problem is that while there's no such thing as bad words, there are hurtful words, there are unkind words, and there are rude words.” I had her attention now, so I continued, “The word you said is considered really rude by most people. If you want people to think you're rude, than that word is one that is pretty sure to make them think that. The other issue is that words like that? Those words are words that people say when they are frustrated or trying to be mean , usually because they can't think of something more intelligent to say. When you use those words, what you're telling everyone around you is that you aren't smart enough to think of something clever to say instead. Do you want to present yourself as someone who isn't smart enough to say anything besides rude or unkind words?” Of course, her response was negative. No one wants to be perceived as less than intelligent. I went on to explain that I wasn't angry, but she has a choice about how she wants to present herself. I, of course, would prefer that she obey our house rules and use kind words. For now, she would, too. I'm sure this is the first of many discussions about language.

So, now I ask again, how would you have handled this situation? Do you censor your language in front of your kids? Do you think assigning the name “bad words” gives the behavior power? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Because Jesus

L (8): "If you're going to do it, just do it or move on."

M (5): "I'm looking for a pencil!"

L: "You have not been looking for a pencil for the last hour!"

M: "Don't make me mad!"

Me (Hoping she'd say, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."): "Why?"

M: "Because I don't like being mad!"

Me: "Then don't get mad. You choose how you respond to someone else."

M: "Nuh-uh. Because Jesus."

Me: "Jesus does NOT make you be angry."

M: "Yes He does, because He made me and my mad."

L: "Actually that was God."

M: Well, God made Jesus so I'm still right."

Me: "No, because you still have free will and thus are still responsible for how you choose to respond to things."

M: *hand up in the classic "talk to the hand" pose*: "Because Jesus."

I'm honestly not sure who won that discussion, but I'm cracking up. "Because Jesus" is her rationality for everything. She told me at Halloween that grown ups can't trick or treat. When I play argued with her that that wasn't fair, she informed me that I shouldn't shoot the messenger, she doesn't make the trick or treat rules, Jesus does. I was laughing too hard to correct her. LOL

Monday, December 9, 2013

True Confessions of an Unapologetically Mushy Wife

   I am a serial offender of the rule against PDAs. (Public Displays of Affection.) No, I'm not making out at the theater, groping in the aisles at the grocery store, or all but having sex in front of friends. I am just openly and often affectionate toward my husband. Always have been. Throughout the course of any day, I probably tell him that I love him somewhere between 10 and 25 times. I text him love notes. I post “I love you. XOXO” on his facebook page for him to find later. I hold his hand when we ride in the vehicle together or as we walk into a restaurant or store. I randomly offer a hug and a kiss several times each day. He does the same to me. When you commit all of this to paper, it sounds disgustingly mushy and over the top.  More than one friend has issued a virtual eyeroll in my direction.  Maybe it is over the top. I don't even notice I'm doing these things most of the time, though, because being affectionate is a long standing habit. We've been a couple for more than 19 years and married for over 14 of those years. We have nothing left to prove to one another at this point, so we are officially together for love and no other reason. So why the constant PDAs? Well, the answer to that is somewhat multifaceted.
I don't really like to be touched. I love an occasional warm hug from someone that I really love, I like holding hands with my husband, I like sex, but I don't enjoy cuddling or lots of physical contact otherwise. I'm not sure why. It makes me feel overly heated for one thing and I hate being hot. I also start to feel trapped when a hug lasts too long or if I try to cuddle for longer than around 4 minutes.  I used to put forth an effort to cuddle with my husband, but the older I get, the less willing I am to be held.  About the closest I will get to cuddling is sitting next to him on the couch and laying my head on his chest or shoulder for awhile. Most usually, though, I don't cuddle. Every night when we go to bed, my husband and I lay side by side and read. We've done this for our entire marriage. We're not speaking, unless one of us reads something really interesting or amusing that we want to share with the other, and we're definitely not cuddling, but this is probably my favorite and most intimate feeling part of the entire day. If I'm feeling affectionate, I will put one foot on his leg or I will lay one hand on his shoulder. Otherwise, we aren't touching or interacting, just sharing some quiet space and listening to one another breathe while we each read away, content in our own entertainment. That's it. I love it. So, how does someone who doesn't like being touched end up being a giant mushball of love? Well, somewhat ironically, because I dislike being cuddled and touched, I tend to try to openly show my affection in other ways, because otherwise our emotional relationship boils down to just sex. I do like sex, don't get me wrong, but I also feel a deep and abiding love for my husband. The problem comes in because I want him to know that I love him even though I don't want to cuddle unless it leads to sex. Ever. So, instead of lots of cuddling, he gets a lot of verbal affirmations that I love him, and lots of small touches like random hugs and kisses so that he knows I do, in fact, love him.  It makes sense to me, so I guess it doesn't really matter if anyone else gets it.  *shrug*
If you know me, you may be thinking,  "Wait a minute ,I've seen you two cuddle, you lying liar!" Well, sort of. If we are in a group situation, I do tend to be more willing to allow physical contact. I'm sure both of our families have witnessed me sitting right next to him and snuggling on the couch at family gatherings. That isn't what you think it is. I don't like lots of people around me. I feel socially awkward and ill at ease, and I really want to go hide and read a book. In those situations, my husband becomes my touchstone. He becomes my center of calm for that situation. I need to touch him at that point because it shuts some of the stress and noise of a social situation out and I can sort of recharge my batteries by knowing that he's there. If you ever witness me give more than a hug and a light kiss in public, I'm probably feeling very ill at ease and looking for a bit of normal to keep me from freaking out. When I was a kid, I had a security blanket that I drug around everywhere with me for years. I was terrified of new people, situations, loud noises, and more. That blanket provided me with something physical that made me feel safe and okay in the face of a crazy world that I couldn't make sense of as a child. Sometimes I still can't make sense of it. Now, I cling to my husband as the port in a storm when I'm overwhelmed by social interaction. Is that cuddling? I guess it is, but it's more of a defense mechanism if you ask me. Still, how awesome a compliment is it to the spirit of quiet strength and calm that my husband exudes that it elevates him to bear that place in my life? I hope he knows how much I value him.

Because he is so important to me, I don't ever want him to question that fact. I tell him often, I try to show it in my actions and words, and I am never embarrassed to engage in some mild PDAs in the quest to let him know that I do love him. Is that mushy? Is it over the top and eyeroll worthy? Maybe. But, feel free to roll your eyes and look away, because I'm unlikely to stop any time soon.   

Friday, June 7, 2013

Now *That's* Romance

So.... Due to limited activity on my part lately  (I had a miscarriage and hemorrhaged, so I've been really restricted in what I'm allowed to do.  Mostly holding down the couch these days.), I've been watching more tv than I usually do. TV is full of couples that freak me out with their drama. So is real life. The following is a brief series of text message I just exchanged with my husband:

Me: “When I watch tv, which, yes, I know isn't real life, or when I talk to other people, I am incredibly thankful for an almost completely drama free relationship with my soulmate and BFF. Love you.”

Hubs: “Love you, too. *love smiley emoticon* You complain about my emotional constipation, but that's what gets you drama free. ;-)”

Me: I think that whole not sticking your penis in other people thing is helpful, I have to say. 17 years, gonorrhea free and still going. Win!”

Hubs: “True dat.”

We're such romantics.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

There Could Be Bears!

Me: I don't know if this is a good idea.
Hunny: You don't know if what's a good idea?
Me: You riding your bike to the office to pick up the Durango.
Hunny: Why?
Me: I don't know. I just have this vision of you dying on the way there.
Hunny: Stop being paranoid.
Me: It's not paranoid. What if your chain breaks on the way there and you die because you wrecked when your sugar was low, and were mauled by bears. You know, because the bears were attracted to your sweet, sugary, nectar blood.
Hunny: If my sugar is low when I wreck then it won't be sweet, sugary, nectar blood.
Me: No, it's high because some stranger gave you emergency peanut butter fudge to compensate, and THAT's what attracted the bears.

In the end, he DID ride off on his bike to go fetch the Durango. Mark my words, if he's mauled by bears and gets the kind, compassionate, peanut butter fudge Samaritan killed, I will NOT be blamed. (And no, there's really no reasoning with me. You'll notice he didn't try for long.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thank Goodness She has No Working Knowledge of Shivs - Also, Here's a Phonics Download (Free)

Today I was supposed to go to church with my family. (I know, I'm as surprised as you are that I don't actually burst into flames when I enter a place of worship, but there it is.) Instead, I woke up with the intestinal flu (So, maybe it is ill-advised for me to attempt to enter a religious building and this was me receiving that message loud and clear. Hm.). It was Scout Sunday, so Hunny took the boys and went to church without me. They all looked very cute in their scout uniforms, but since I was dashing for the bathroom as they were exiting the premises, I did not get a picture of the adorableness. That might make me a bad mom, but my laundry thanks me.
Since I was essentially chained to the toilet all day, I decided to try my hand at being a good mom, and do some phonics lessons with Ms. Thang. She just turned 4, but she's known most of the letter sounds since she was 2, and lately has taken to reading 3 letter words. (Yes, I said 3 letter, not 4 letter. See, I'm an excellent parent.) So, I figured it was time to start actually trying to teach her something since she seems to be ready for more formal instruction. With my other 2 children, I've taught them to read using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and while it's a bit boring, and dry, it's inexpensive and it has produced very effective readers. You can't argue a whole lot with results. I've used this a little bit with Ms. Thang, but she doesn't really like it. I've also downloaded some apps to my iPhone that she really likes, and she seems to respond to this better. She loves the starfall phonics app. (You can use the same program for free on the computer, but she can manipulate the touch screen on my phone better, so I decided it was worth the cost of the app.) She's also done really well with the Bob books reading apps. Seeing how well she responded to those, I was pretty excited when I discovered that Funnix is hosting a free giveaway of their award-winning reading program right now, through 2/16/12.
I figured that there wouldn't be a better price than free, and decided to download the program. The Funnix program is similar to Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but it's computer based, and I thought that my daughter might prefer it. It turns out I was correct. We've done 4 lessons with Funnix so far, and she really likes the computer based lessons. I'm still engaged with her for each lesson, as I listen to her side of the interaction and make sure that she's following through the way that she's supposed to and that she's enunciating the sounds as she's meant to. The program also comes with a teacher's guide which includes placement tests if your child is beyond the beginning lessons, and a set of worksheets to go along with each lesson. All in all, the free download includes 2 years worth of reading instruction. Now, that's a bargain!
Anyway, here's where the amusing story portion of the blog, where you're grateful that you're not me enters the picture.  Or maybe that was when I talked about the intestinal flu.  Whatever.  This morning, I thought I'd sit down with Ms. Thang and do some work with her with the Funnix program. All was going swimmingly. Ms. Thang was engaged, she was performing the exercises well for the lessons. I was impressed with how quickly she was breezing through. We made it to the worksheet portion of the lesson and that's when it happened. The phone rang. I answered it and had to pause the lesson. Ms. Thang poked me a couple of times. Then she said, “Mommy. I'm ready to do this part, now.” Then, she made loud noises. Then... Well, then she stabbed me with her pencil.
So, on the plus side, I'm glad that she likes her reading lessons that much. On the other hand, I am a little concerned that her response to me stopping is to stab me. Fortunately, she didn't have a good angle and it didn't actually hurt me, and I'm pretty sure the offense won't be repeated since she howled like she was the stabbing victim when I stopped the lesson completely and sent her to her room for a time-out. Thank goodness we didn't spend much time studying the shiv display when we toured the state penitentiary this past summer or I could be in real trouble, eh?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This is Why We Can't Have Other Friends

Friend: “I learn a lot from watching Anthony Bourdain. For instance, did you know there was a group called “The New York Dolls” who were a precursor to “The Ramones?””
Me: “I actually did know that. Not actively, but stored somewhere in the recesses of my mind, yes.”
Friend: “Well, I didn't. I learned that from Anthony Bourdain earlier.”
Me: “I think I learned it from VH1 back when VH1 didn't suck. I think I saw it on a “Behind the Music” or something.”
Friend: “I don't watch “Behind the Music.” My husband always did, but I never really watched it.”
Me: “I used to love VH1. “Pop-Up Video” was awesome. It was my fave.”
Friend: “I love you. You're such a dork.”
Me: Don't mock “Pop-Up Video!” It was awesome! That's where I learned that Mick Jagger's wife once caught him in bed with David Bowie! That show was a fount of knowledge!”
Friend: “That actually doesn't surprise me since the other day I googled “Iggy Stardust” and popped up a picture of him wearing a leotard that showed all of his ass cheeks.”
Me: “See! “Pop-Up Video.” You can't mock me for my love of “Pop-Up Video.” I've been watching a lot of “Criminal Minds” lately and this kind of psychological trauma could turn me into a terrible serial killer.”
Friend: “We don't have the follow through to become serial killers.”
Me: “Oh, nice. I like that, 'It's not that you aren't crazy and unfeeling enough to slaughter people, sweetie, it's just that you're a lazy ass.' Thanks.”
Friend: “No, you just don't have the commitment to be a dedicated serial killer.”
Me: “Okay, fine, so I could lose it and kill people in a violent rage, but I lack the necessary follow-through and planning to be a serial killer? So, again, 'You're psychotic and all, but you're a lazy ass.' Nice.”
Friend: “Exactly. YOU'RE WELCOME. Besides, I said 'we' not just 'you.'”
Me: “It's nice to have someone put these things in perspective. This is how you find out who your friends are.”
Friend: “It's true.”