Go Outside and……Oh, Never Mind

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Remember when we were children?  There was no such thing as the video game.  We had no smart phones or computers to keep us busy.  What we did have was the Great Outdoors.  Our mother’s favorite thing to say was, “go outside and stay outside.”  I think we were only allowed to play inside of it were raining.

I remember leaving after breakfast and only coming home for lunch and dinner.  Our rule was we had to come in for good when the street light’s came on.  DH’s mom had a cow bell attached to the front of her house that she would ring to let her boys know it was time for lunch, dinner or bed.  It was a simpler time.  It was a carefree time.

When the kid was little, I remember feeling so resentful that I couldn’t let her play as I did.  Why couldn’t I?  When did it change?  I mean, I think they had just as many perverts back then as they do now, maybe even more.  My parents weren’t afraid some psycho was going to snatch us off the street.

Because I had to conform to society and because I loved my kid and was scared shitless of what the media said, I kept her in.  Safe and sound.  I remember if she played outside in the yard, I would pull up a chair. I mean, we would hear on the news that weirdo’s were coming into people’s yards and taking their children.  Out of their own yard!  That right there is some scary shit.

What are our kids going to tell their children?  Probably something that sounds a bit like this:  “When I was young, we would play Wii until the cows came home.  And there was this really cute place called a Park and all the moms would sit on the bench and watch us like hawks while we played.  I remember this one time, your grandmother had a heart attack because she lost sight of me for about 40 seconds.  Haha!  It was a trip.  You should have seen the look on her face.  We almost had to call 911 on her.”

I can totally see why we are called helicopter parents.  These poor kids will not have street smarts. My kid sometimes forgets to look both ways before crossing the street because she always assumes it’s my job.  I don’t think she can find her way out of a paper bag.  I’m afraid when she goes off to college she’s not going to know what to do.  How to navigate.  We’re going to have to pin a GPS device to her jacket.

Look, I know I’m exaggerating a bit.  I have dropped the kid off at the mall with some friends and she comes home unscathed.   I’m learning to let go a little.  Be a little less afraid.  So let’s see….three years, 6 months and approximately 1 week until she leaves for college.  A little more time for me to hover.  Then what?  Advice to give our kids who are going off to college:  don’t put your drink down and travel in packs.  Let’s hope they listen or I’ll be having another heart attack.  Or twelve.

Flatsy Patsy

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I was a member of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.”  It’s true.  I had the tank top to prove it.  My friend and I each had one.  It was a great committee to be a part of.  We were so cool.  I know, anyone who knows me can’t believe it.  I was a flat-chested teenager.

What’s worse is we would actually walk around with this shirt on.  I mean, walk a mile to the deli after school on a main road kind of wear.  Wow.  There are no other words.

I used to get teased in school for my lack of, um, boobies.  There was this one certain boy, let’s call him “Danny.”  Well, because that was his actual name.  He used to rub the top of the desk like he was rubbing my chest.  Even though it appears as if I completely embraced my lack of….boobies, Danny really got to me.  Once I ran home crying to my dad.  He was so supportive.  His reply?  “Well, it’s true.”  Nice, dad, real nice.  Danny even bought me a box of bandaids once.  And they weren’t meant to cover a cut.

One day, I woke up and there they were.  Finally.  I was about 17.

It was some time after graduation and I was pumping gas at a local gas station when guess who is getting gas at the next pump over?  Yup. You got it.  Danny.  There was genuine shock on his face and he seemed a bit too happy to see me.  But there was something wrong with his eyes.  Yo Dan, up here dude.  My face is up here, about 6 inches higher.  Oh, and eat your heart out.  I heard he married a flat-chested girl.  Hahahahaha…sorry.  I’m over it.  Really, I am.

reNOVAtion

The kid was talking the other day about how she can’t wait to get her license.  She’s wondering what car she will get to drive.  I have terrible news for her.  It will most likely be nothing short of falling into the category of a soccer-mom vehicle.

I base part of that decision on my own teen experience.  It was a circa 1970’s Nova and it had an 8-cylinder 350 engine.  No seventeen year old should be driving a car of that magnitude.  Especially not me.  Let’s just say, I went through a period where I thought I wanted to be a race car driver.  Not a good combination.  Like the elastic neckline, I think my mom was trying to kill me.

But this car was the bomb.  It didn’t have reverse, the seats weren’t bolted down to the floor board and the windshield was loose.  Every time I went over a bump when it was raining, I would get splashed in the face and my seat would lift up in the air like a ride at Disney.  It didn’t have a paint job, but it did have a Budweiser gear shifter.  I was the shit.

This Nova is similar to mine.  This one is on E-bay if you're interested.
This Nova is similar to mine. This one is on E-bay if you’re interested.

The only time I could get it to go into reverse was when the engine was cold.  And I mean ice cold.  Like the middle of February cold.  Any other time of the year, if I didn’t park where I could just pull straight out, I was pretty much screwed.  Unless there was a strong male walking by, I was stranded there until the following Winter.

I was really good at pulling donuts and burning rubber.  The engine was so loud, my friends could hear me coming a mile away.  I adored that car.  One night a friend of mine who was going to BOCES for auto mechanics told me he could fix my transmission.  Just like that.  I was all too eager to hand him the keys.  Without consulting my parents.

My good friend wrapped her around a tree that night.  He was ok, the tree was not.  And neither was my Nova.  As for me, I was grounded for a month.  And my baby spent the rest of her life in a junk yard being raped of her good lady parts.  Sniff-sniff.

And that is precisely why the kid will be driving a mom-mobile.  That’s a good enough reason for me.  What memories does your favorite car stir up?

The Lost Art of Communication

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I’m not sure if you’re aware of it or not, but we, as a country are completely screwed.  When you say to your child, “I need to speak to you,” and she says, “just text me,” you know we have a problem.

I grew up with the rotary phone.  You know the kind.  It had a curly cord attached to it and a circular “key pad.”  We had one phone on the kitchen wall.  For privacy, it was literally a stretch across the hall and into the bathroom.

Sure, in retrospect, it was a pain in the ass.  But at least we SPOKE to one another.  We opened our mouths and actual words came out.  We put the effort into dialing a phone that took 2.5 minutes so that we could talk to our best friend or boyfriend.  We also learned about time management because otherwise we would never get the opportunity to make that phone call before mom or dad needed to use it.

If the kid needs to ask someone a question that needs immediate attention, she texts instead of calls.  When I suggest she actually pick up the phone and call them, you should see the look on her face.  It’s as if I just suggested we go skinny dipping in the Atlantic in February. Like it was the stupidest idea since the Snuggie.

Every job description I come across during my job search says that good verbal communication skills are necessary.  I’m afraid this is what a job description of the future will look like:

“Must be proficient in texting at least 95 words per minute without error.  No need to speak to anyone.  No need to pay attention to anyone.  Ability to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter an added bonus.”  To top it off, they will probably be required to have a Master’s Degree.  So, we all get to pay out our asses in education for our children so they can get a job that doesn’t require them to speak.

This should be interesting.  I’m not sure I want to be around for that.  If I am, please call and let me know.  Although the phone may be obsolete by then.  Um, text me?

The American Girl Bait and Tackle

This is the biatch that started it all
Scam Artist

May I tell a story about how American Girl sunk her manufactured teeth into our middle income wallets?  I’m sure many of you can relate.

It all started in December 2003.  My mother-in-law, the kid and I are in a taxi cab going to see the Christmas Show.  When, what to my MIL’s wondering eyes should appear but….The American Girl Place.  Why oh why did you have to look, mom.  She’s got enough Barbie’s to choke a small horse.  She certainly doesn’t need any other doll, that’s for sure.  I wanted to tell the driver to step on it.  But it was too late.

MIL:  (Gasp) Look what they opened!!!

The kid:  (gasp, gasp, and more gasping)

ME:  Oh help me Lord.

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but we somehow wound up at “The Place”, along with 90% of the city’s spoiled little rich girls and their mothers.  After we get trampled on by over-priced doll loving brats and make our way up the escalator, we see this store has a cafe.  Of course it does.  Lucky for us, there is an opening.  Joy.  They seat us.  But they do not seat us alone.  No.  We have a guest.  Her name is “Samantha” and she is seated down to the kid’s left.  She even gets her very own teacup and saucer.  How nice.

We have a marvelous time.  It’s truly magical.  Memories to last a lifetime.  The only problem is, Samantha doesn’t get to come home with us. No, if we want our very own “Samantha” it’s gonna cost.  And big.  All I can say is, thank God this joint serves wine.

ME:  Ok, honey, say goodbye to Samantha.  She has to go back to see her friends now.

The Kid:  Oh, but mommy, I am so attached to her.  I just love her so…

She has mustered up the cutest little tear in the corner of her right eye.  Yup, I fell for it.  Hook, line and sinker.

On the train ride home, there is one happy kid and one dumbstruck mother whose bank account has been depleted of $100+ in a matter of seconds.  DH is gonna love this one.

It turns out, Samantha makes for a great conversation piece:

The kid:  Oh mommy thank you so much.  She is my best friend!  I LOVE her! (blah, blah)

MIL:  You are such a wonderful mother. (blah, blah, blah)

And so that’s how it continued for 73 minutes.  Hearing about how wonderful the doll and I are.  So happy to be placed in a category with Miss Samantha.  It warms my heart.

That little jaunt was the start of a very expensive addiction.  9 years and 12 dolls, clothes and accessories later and guess where they are?  In the attic with the mice, bats and cobwebs waiting to sink their teeth into a new generation.

Let this be a warning to all mothers of doll loving little girls…do not eat in the cafe.  They are running quite the operation.  I am living proof that this is true.

Parental Discretion Is Advised

Parenting comes with its trials and tribulations. You want to be able to give your teen some freedom. You want them to be able to figure some stuff out. But we have to keep them on a leash of some sort and guide them. How do we know what we should and should not allow them to do? I think it just comes down to good old fashioned common sense.

A few months ago, my 14 year old daughter came home from school asking about a party she wanted to go to.  The conversation went something like this:

Her: Mom, there is this party this weekend. Can I go? The thing is, the parents aren’t going to be home. Like, I think you should let me go though. So-and-so’s mom is letting her go.

Me: Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate that. But, no. You will not be going to someone’s house party without adult supervision. And you are not so-and-so (ugh that was a major “I have turned into my mother” moment).

Her: Mom, I think you need to trust me. I mean, I’m not going to drink or take any drugs, if they have any of that stuff there.

Me: (holy shit…drugs? alcohol? Lord, help me survive the next 4 years) It’s not a matter of trust.  Of course I trust that you will make the right decision, but putting a bunch of 14 year olds in that kind of situation can only lead to trouble.

Her: Gawd mom, I don’t understand what the big deal is!!!

Me: Ok, fine. Then I’m going to call Penelope’s (name changed to protect the innocent) mom and thank her for allowing a party to be going on at her house while she is away. That is super nice of her, don’t you think?

Her: OMG! No mom! You cannot do that. OMG, please don’t do that, I will die!

Me: Well, if I can’t call the mother, then you definitely cannot go.

Her: Never mind.

My kid is smart. So, why do I have to explain this stuff in triplicate? Then I recall when I announced to my mother at this exact age that when I had kids, they would be allowed to do whatever they want.

I wanted to see what she would do in this situation. She is definitely much smarter than I was. Unlike me, she’s a straight A student and has more sense in her head than I ever had in my left pinky toe. Surely, she realizes how stupid her request is.

So, I asked her this: “Honey, put yourself in my shoes. If you were a mom and your teenage daughter approached you with this same question, what do you think you would do?” REALLY dumb question, by the way. Her reply? “Of course she could go, I don’t see what the big deal is.” Duh.

So, it is completely true what all those child psychologists and books say. Teenagers are stupid. Plain and simple. I don’t care if you gave birth to Albert Einstein. I bet his mother thought he was an idiot at 14 too.

As for that little party, it didn’t happen. It turns out I’m not the only parent that is totally uncool. What can I say? We certainly know how to kill a good party. We uncool moms have that effect.

14 Years Equals A Trip Around the World TWICE

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 The kid is an irish dancer.  For anyone who has a child who partakes in the irish dance world (or any major sport for that matter) you understand that it will cost DH and me enough to send her to Harvard 3 times over by the time she is done (ok, I’m exaggerating just a little, but still…).

I was day dreaming today and thinking of all the things I could do if she decided to just join the debate club at school instead.  I felt the need to share to put it all into perspective:

  • 1 year of tuition x 14 years = one in-ground pool
  • 3 solo dresses = a 2-bedroom apartment in NYC’s Upper West Side for a month
  • 3 team dresses = LASIK surgery for my left eye
  • Wigs & Crowns = Tiffany necklace
  • Soft shoes, hard shoes and poodle socks = 27 inch iMac
  • Private lessons (really stupid since we pay an arm and a leg for tuition) = a full body massage
  • 7 years going to Regionals = A 2.5 week trip for two to Hawaii
  • Going to Worlds once (secretly hoping it stays that way) = LASIK surgery for my right eye
  • 14 years of local competitions = One master bathroom renovation
  • Dress alterations = full body massage PLUS facial & manicure
  • 1 happy kid = Priceless or I have to have my head examined, whichever way you want to look at it

When I signed her up, I had no idea what was coming.  Not one person warned me that it would turn into a 4 class a week, competition led sport.  Not ONE!

To add insult to injury the kid loves it.  She dances around the house all day, all night.  Down the hallway, in the shower, during dinner.  If you ever run into us at the mall, you probably will catch a performance.  Rally one, Rally two.  AAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

So, instead of a trip around the world TWICE, I get to sit at competitions all day long.  Who can relate in one form or another? Let’s see, 3 years, 4 months and 21 days until our money is ours again.  Oh wait.  I forgot about college.  Never mind.

Face-twitt-agram

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The kid wanted a Facebook account.  Now, DH and I are pretty strict.  We did not give in to her easily.  We had to think about it, mull it over, digest it, dissect it.  Finally we relented.  I had my own page so I could keep an eye on things.

She was happier than a dog eating poop.  Everything’s great.  Happy kid, happy mom.  Until about 6 months later.

The Kid:  Mom, what are you doing?

Me: I’m checking my notifications.

The Kid:  Oh, mom get with the program.  Facebook is so yesterday.

Me:  Oh.

The Kid:  Can I get an Instagram?

First of all, it took me a year to figure out the term “notifications” and she is ready to move on?  Second of all, what the hell is an Instagram and why do you need it?  Apparently, it’s a place where you post pictures.  In my opinion, no one wants to see how you dress your cat.

Now she’s working on us for a Twitter account.  Isn’t that so “yesterday?”  Chirp chirp.  Or is it Tweet?

You Got Swag You Cray-Cray Peep

Ok, like gag me with a spoon.  I guess every generation has their own lingo.  But really.  I can’t even have a conversation with these kids without a translator.  What are they talking about?

So, I looked up some of the definitions of these “words.”  Here is a list that I compiled to help parents try to understand their child:

  • Sweet = beyond cool
  • YOLO = You Only Live Once
  • Noob = when someone doesn’t know basic pop culture
  • LOL = Laugh Out Loud
  • Sick = awesome or cool
  • Hater = referred to as someone who is angry or jealous because of their success
  • Swag = being cool
  • Reach = attending an event
  • My Mains = group of friends
  • Rachet = someone who is rude and obnoxious
  • Flex = someone who likes to show off
  • Dope = cool or slick
  • Derp = dumbass
  • Dip = leaving a party
  • Chirp = to insult someone

Just don’t try to talk like this.  It’s really not “sweet” at our age and they’ll let you know.

Something else I’ve noticed:  the shortening of words.  The Kid will say things like “she’s presh” (precious).  Or “I’m hun” (hungry).  My personal favorite: “that’s cray” (crazy).

The next time you have a conversation with your teen, try this: “so, like did you have a bitchin’ day?  My day was so bangin’.  I saw this bimbette wearing this totally barfsome outfit.  I was like gross me out the door.”  See if they follow.  Totally gnarly dude.

Leave Your Bags at the Door

I am the mother of a 14 year old.  I am just about at that stage in my life when I will have to start searching her friends’ bags when they come over for any hidden paraphernalia.  For instance: beer, vodka, bongs…

Now I was no saint when I was a teen.  But I didn’t start acting like a complete dumb-ass until I was at least 16.  What’s with these kids today and their need to grow up so fast?  Teenagers are stupid.  Even though at this age I proclaimed to my mother that MY children will be allowed to do whatever they wanted.

I worry that my kid will make the wrong decision someday but for right now I’m feeling pretty confident that she won’t.

Here are just some of my reasons:

  1. She will not take cough medicine even though she is coughing so badly she has all but coughed up her esophagus.
  2. She will not swallow her Flintstone vitamin AND an Advil because she’s afraid of drug interaction.
  3. She will not spray a little saline up her nose to help ease some dryness for fear of becoming addicted.
  4. She will not take Tylenol because someone once told her it will kill her liver.

So, to those mom’s who also check bags…I think you may be safe with this one. Unless she’s holding it for someone else.  But that is a whole other topic.