Tag Archive: children

Hello, tooth fetishist! Please sneak into my child’s room tonight

It’s Throwback Thursday. This is a post from 2011 from The Two Boys Club (http://twoboysclub.com). This lady makes no more sense to me today than she did back then.

I almost blew the whole Tooth Fairy thing already, and The Elder is a few years away from even getting a loose tooth.

“Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy REAL?”
“Um, yeah — um, so, uh …. well, why do you ask?”
“You said fairies aren’t real!”
“Oh, uh, see, that’s because she’s like, a different kind of fairy. A, um, metaphorical fairy? She’s in the fairies … union, like the, uh, elves, but not exactly a fairy, per se?”

“Well, does she have helpers?”

“You mean like a staff? Uh-huh. Yeah, I think she has some employees. Possibly elves.”

Next up, he’s waiting to hear how Santa can live at the North Pole if there is no land at the North Pole (as he learned from “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Ice is Nice”) and why Mommy and Daddy have to be from another country, called the East Coast, where parents don’t allow toddlers to play “Angry Birds.” Ever. Or so his parents say.

I’ve also got to come up with a better explanation for why this lady wants his teeth. What does she do with them? Does she eat them? Study them? Wear them? Sell them?

When I was a kid, my mother very cleverly told me the Tooth Fairy was building a big house, and I bought it, briefly, but today’s savvy kids might just put in a call to the FBI. A house … made out of teeth? What is it decorated with, hair rugs? Fingernail mosaics? Is she a serial killer, or just your run-of-the-mill fetishist?

As a society, don’t we owe it to our kids to find better reasons to put body fragments under pillows? Let’s start today.

 How do you answer questions about the Tooth Fairy?

Are smartphones a dumb move for grade-schoolers?

My eight-year-old thinks he should have a smartphone so he can play Minecraft whenever he wants. I think that he shouldn’t have a smartphone because then he will play Minecraft whenever he wants.

Back in my day, a kid that age would call his friends on tin can “phones” attached by a string. (OK, maybe that wasn’t my day, but I sure did see that on reruns from the ’60s a lot.)

And back in my day, it was character building to sit and wait in a panic, with no phone in sight, when a parent was late picking you up from the bus.

Nonetheless, it seems I am way out of step with trendsetters in the children’s fashion world, who find it not only desirable but essential that my five-year-old’s winter coat have a cellphone pocket. (What five-year-old doesn’t have a need for a cellphone? It leaves me to wonder where he’s going to store his car keys and his cigarettes when he’s out on the slopes.)

But seriously, I do resent being nudged toward completely immersing my kids in the world of iPhones, Androids, iPads and Nintendo 3DSes before they’ve even formed a proper sense of what intersection they live near. They barely understand how to talk into a phone when it isn’t in speaker mode, which other parents tell me is now a grave epidemic among today’s under-10 set. The last thing we need is autocomplete messing with their newfound spelling ability.

But the products keep coming. There are little gloves for four-year-olds with touch-screen-friendly fingers — just in case your child wants to play Minion Rush while out in a blizzard. A tiny coat pocket is tagged with a picture of a phone so your preschooler knows, before he can read, that you are depriving him of valuable technology that he could be carrying on his person at this very instant, even though he is struggling with the concept of having to carry his very own nearly empty backpack to school each day.

My question is whether parents are really doing this: Are adults buying kids as young as grade-schoolers their own phones now? And are people actually buying young children smartphones? (And requiring pockets for them?)

Sure, the kids can call you when you mess up and accidentally forget to pick them up at school. The down side is that they might be surfing porn and watching bomb-making videos when you get there.

What are your thoughts on smartphones for kids? Are they too much, too soon, or just right?

Parents’ bully phobia might build better victims

In the winter, many people find themselves unwillingly stuck in the house with a pack of sugar-jacked kids unless they get out and go to the one of the hell holes known as a “children’s museum.”

Or better yet, a “science” museum, where kids jockey for position gaping at naked mole rats and narrowly avoiding stepping on butterflies.

It’s also a great place to go if you want to watch people from all walks of life demonstrate the latest techniques in helicopter parenting, also known as raising the passive child.

My five-year-old was playing with discs at a bizarro station that looks like a conveyor-belt sushi place. He was taking a bunch off the belt and stacking them up.

And then I heard a parent angrily chewing him out for taking too many and not leaving enough for her precious offspring, who was also 5.

(One might ask why she was so close to a contraption that provides hours of entertainment to kids who clearly do have a knack for stuff like factory work. If you want to know why those mean adults in Lowell, Mass., hired 19th-century children for endless menial tasks in factories, just take one look at a kids’ museum. They love it. Forget the basement foosball table and just put a sweatshop down there. But I digress.)

Why was she not — at the very least — advising her five-year-old to tell my five-year-old that he was being over the line?  Did she really think she was the only capable person in the pair? Are we training kids to be so conflict-averse and non-bullying that they can’t even stand up to a nonthreatening peer? Why?

I’m wondering if I’m living in some kind of twilight zone where I expect my kids to talk to other kids about how to share and play, and everyone else is intent on training their children to roll over and whimper. Meanwhile, the parent takes out any faintly aggressive child in his or her path. I’ve seen this happen many times at many kids’ play areas over many years.

Kids know the rules, and usually can be counted on to hash out a deal. And if it gets too volatile, well, then an adult or police officer or EMT can be called in. Since about three people left in the country send their kids outdoors to play alone together, where else can kids practice these skills but at a simulated factory?

I suspect that the main reason The Other Mom was intervening was that she felt her child was a victim, and that she was standing up to the more assertive child. I’m here to tell everyone today: just because bullying exists in society does not mean that children who look out for their own interests and don’t hand everything away are bullies. These types were once known as showing leadership potential, before society got bogged down with wanting all children to compete in a passivity/sweetness contest.

That day, this child learned that only his mommy can stand up to pushy kids. He needs her there to wade through the morass of scary, assertive kindergartners. And where does that leave his development? When will he get a chance to do this on his own if not at age 5? Will he magically be left alone by all slightly more aggressive children because he has been shielded from all conflict? Or does he perhaps need to develop a few social skills to tell other kids when to back off?

But on another note, since when do adults tell off kids in front of their parents? Was she unaware that I was about to metaphorically drop-kick her? She’s taking a big risk in the first place that her kid will not grow up to know how to get a job or make a friend, but also that other parents are going to go nuts on her.

Or merely blog about her.

Have you encountered a parent telling off your kid? Have you told off kids? What do you think about this issue? Share your story in the Comments box below.

First posted in December 2014

Kid, get out of my hair

Raising kids can be a scary business.

The latest manifestation of this, for me, has lately come in the form of hair pulling. Hard hair pulling, at close range, with an adorable, smiling two-year-old cackling, breathing directly into my face, chanting: “Let go! Let go! Let go!”

Forget “What to Expect.” This is some “Sopranos” shit. Who knew a toddler could be such a chilling assassin? And when did he learn to sound like Gollum?

I really did a bit of mental arithmetic during one attack lately, such as, what happens if he does not actually, um, well, let go?! Do I lose hair? Skin? Platelets? His nasty, sticky little fingers are not coming loose, and I see some sort of weird trophy lust in his little blue eyes. Mocking my previous requests to stop rending follicles out of my scalp was not particularly nice of him, either.

Pediatrician/parenting expert Dr. Harvey Karp likens toddlers this age to charming chimps, but, as we all know, one lovely chimpanzee ate that lady’s face off a few years ago. I love my kids, but, hell no, we are not going there. I draw the line at no nursing while eating, and no gnawing off Mommy’s discernible features.

Well, maybe … but only if he promised to finally sleep through a night.

Previously posted at The Two Boys Club site: http://twoboysclub.com

What have your kids done that made you fear for your own safety?

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He’s making the world a better place, one M&M at a time

In case you haven’t heard, five-year-olds get homework now.

Yes, actual homework, the likes of which a 1977 kindergartner never saw. (She was too busy walking to school alone, breathing in leaded gasoline and avoiding cars on the road with doors tied on with twine.)

This week, my son’s homework includes writing a new year’s resolution. I found it amusing since my own resolution was already broken by Jan. 4. Yes, I got that far, and I’m quite proud.

I thought this assignment was a great exercise for him to think about all the (more…)

Mommy talks about fog a lot  

As I was driving along this morning on a busy street, I saw that a parked car was ahead in my lane. There was enough room, so I decided to merge into the next lane.

The lady at the wheel decided she was going to have none of that and sped up. To which I said, “Why are you fuh- …”

Oops, stop there. I didn’t actually say it, but I was close. And who did I have in the back seat but an eager 8-year-old, who wanted to know more. “Did you just say the F-word?”

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Top 10 questions about Santa you’re afraid your kid will ask

1. How does Santa get all those gifts all over the world in one night? I don’t believe the toys use little umbrellas to fly down, like on “Rudolph.” 

You know, it, um, happens. Like … magic. Yeah, magic. And aren’t you glad it does all work out?

You like getting the toys, right? I wouldn’t want anything to … happen … to slow Santa down, or impede him in his … mission. It would be a shame if you got in his way with these questions.

Do we have an understanding here?

2. Why does he look different sometimes? Why was he wearing a fake beard when I last saw him?

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Merry whatever — here’s your card from my delightful family

It’s December, so it’s time to put together some sort of stock greeting card with pictures of my kids on it so people don’t think we don’t love them anymore. The kids, that is.

 

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He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice … well, OK, that’s not true

“We’re trying to prove that Santa is not real!”

Oh, really? “Why would you do that?”

“Because the reindeer don’t die. Because he doesn’t die. How does he even stay alive for so long?”

Um, I don’t know, buddy. How is it that you’re 8 and still believe this stuff? And why don’t you ask me directly if he’s real or not?

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Sit down! This is P.E.

Twice this year, I received notes home that informed me that my child had refused to sit still and listen during his P.E. class. You know, GYM class.

The time when our children are supposed to get a state-mandated amount of running-around time at school, lest they grow up to be morbidly obese people who, say, sit still and listen all day. (And maybe work in five hours of TV, too.)

I know disciplining grade-school kids can be really tough for teachers, and I know my child is no angel, but I am pretty sure he’s entitled, by law, to be as active as he can be when it comes time to go to a course that exists so that children will grow up to be as active as they can be.

It’s his fourth year in school, and we’ve never had anything other than glowing reports. But this year, there is a new emphasis at his school on listening to painstakingly detailed game rules and practicing drills.

As one very talented soccer fanatic boy I know recently shared, “They actually found a way to make soccer boring!”

Are teachers now so attentive to getting our kids into shape that they are implementing rules and curricula that make it necessary for kids to hear lectures about how fitness is awesome, while getting almost no opportunity to get physically fit?

What a mistake. To sit and listen in their academic classes, kids need time to run like banshees. Or they’re going to be pure terrors when they get back to reading and math.

The solution? “If he won’t sit still,” I wrote, “you could try having him run around first.”

I’d love to hear what’s going on in other P.E. classes. What are your thoughts?

 

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