"The Real Drama Queens of Preschool"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014



It's a new show on Bravo, haven't you heard?

Wanna know who's starring in it?  Nope, not the pre-schoolers themselves.  The parents of preschoolers are! The premise is that they all get over-involved in their preschooler's lives - therefore, creating drama filled days for themselves.

*************************************Scene 1************************************

The mother of a little girl that goes to the same preschool as my daughter, texts me at 9:30PM.

Here's her message verbatim: *names have been changed to protect the sort-of-privacy

"Hey Stranger. How are you? Do you think we can plan a playdate for the girls sometime soon? Susie cried for 20 mins tonight saying Mary [my kid] doesn't want to be her friend anymore and she misses her and it makes her really sad. Broke my heart :-( Thought maybe if we got them together it might help."

*************************************End of Scene 1*****************************

Synopsis:

There are so many things wrong with this mother's approach, I don't even know where to begin.

First, if my child was telling your child that she didn't want to be her friend, and it made her CRY for that friggin long - doesn't that warrant a phone call?  During like, daylight hours?  Not a text at 9:30PM.

Second, don't text me at 9:30PM unless you are near dead. You don't know my life. The only people allowed to text me at 9:30PM are my mother, my mother-in-law, my husband, my sister and my bestie.  That's it.

Third, getting the girls together after my kid allegedly verbally attacked your kid is probably the wrong thing to do. Does she want to send her kid in for more emotional floggings? That's not how you support a child that feels emotionally attacked by another human being.

**********************************Scene 2**************************************

I'm staring at my cup of chamomile tea. I'm staring at my phone. Smoke is coming out of my ears. Well, bedtime is shot to hell.  I am fuming that this mother texted me right before my damn bedtime to tell me this shit.  I am fuming that my daughter may be a little bitch.  I am pissed off, that her daughter may be overly sensitive (I'll get to that in a minute).  Then I think, maybe this mom is just trying to guilt me into a very overdue playdate?

*******************************End of Scene 2************************************

Synopsis:

Listen, I definitely didn't take my kid's side right off the bat.  There is a real possibility that my girl is a "mean girl".  She has my DNA after all.  She's seen enough crappy Disney cat-fighty cartoons.  She's got older girl cousins.

But, I can only go by the very rational facts here.  She's never been accused of this type of behavior before.  I've never observed her do it (even to her little sister).  And certainly, if "mean girl" behavior was actually happening at school, don't you think the teachers would've contacted me about the problem?

********************************Scene 3***************************************
Instead of responding to the tacky, over the top text - I do 2 things

First, I email my child's teacher.  I ask her if she's observed any "mean girl" or "un-friending" behavior/conversations on my child's part.  And if so, does it warrant a meeting to discuss?

The teacher promptly wrote back early the next morning, with "No, I haven't observed 'Mary' engaging in that type of behavior - and if I do I will promptly let you know."

Boom, done.

Now, on to my child.  I tread very lightly with her, prying information out as discreetly as possible.  I'm careful to not suggest anything, or implant thoughts/words in her mind/mouth.

Me: "How's Susie doing?"

Her: "Good."

Me: "Have you been playing a lot with her lately?"

Her: "Yeah, she got a pretty new bow and her nails painted."

Me: "Oh, that's nice."

Her:" Buuuuuuuttt... Umm, she, um, she doesn't like when I play with other friends."

Me: "What do you mean? It's good to make lots of friends?"

Her: "Yes, I'm Susie's best friend, but she doesn't like it when I'm with other friends, she won't play with us."

*********************************End of Scene 3***********************************

Synposis:

Okay, so I don't totally believe one side or the other side of this cat-fight she-said, she-said crap.  I'm not sure what the truth actually is.  But, I know a few things.

Kids can be overly-sensitive.

Kids are learning how to communicate their emotions (just like adults), and often times - they don't do a great job.

So, armed with all of this information - yes, you're damn straight I think the other child is an overly-sensitive pain in the preschool ass.

More importantly, so is her mother.

She's a Drama Queen.  And an ill-mannered drama queen to boot.

Even more cause for concern -if my own 4-year old child was crying for 20 minutes over a "friend issue", um....I would need to do some serious investigating.  Like perhaps, whip out the thermometer-see if my kid has a fever.  Check her body for bruises or signs of abuse to see if she's been hurt.  Talk to her in depth about her feelings.

It all just seems like too damn much.  Just too damn much. This episode of real drama queens - that is now my life, feels more insufferable than Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

I'm pissed at myself that I felt dragged into this dramatic situation and felt compelled to write a very polite 'fuck you' email to this mother at 7AM.

*******************************Director's Notes***********************************

If you're wondering about the contents of said email - I basically tried to school this mother about appropriate modes of communication (you tailor your communication based on the seriousness or tone of the situation).  I suggested if the alleged unfriendly comments were that big of an issue - she too, should reach out to the class teacher.  And I concluded with - kids are EMOTIONAL, they're navigating the social world the best they can - unless my kid is truly verbally attacking your child or is physically abusive, or dare I use the cliche' term - 'bullying' your child - I don't wanna fuckin' hear it.  Just leave me out of your drama.

Was my email a little dramatic?  You may think so.  But, at least someone had the sense to crown me with common sense too.

*******************************Credits******************************************

Here's what you do to cope with Preschool Drama: (via PopSugar)

1. Leave your own baggage out of it.  That's right, parent, your own shit. Out.

2. Ask questions and listen.  You'll probably find out the whole thing is just a misunderstanding.

3. Remind your child that they don't have to be friends with everyone.

4. Suggest friends outside of school. If there are children your kid likes outside of school - encourage playdates with those children.

5. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.  Before you go yanking your kid out of school - make sure the situation is big as your child is making it out to be.

6. Read about it - like you are now.

7. Talk to the teachers.  They are your eyes and ears - they'll be able to tell you if there's a concern.

8. Volunteer in the classroom. That way, you can get a sense of the interactions yourself, first hand.

9. Role play with your child.  Pretend to be the mean girl, and practice appropriate responses or actions for your child.

10. If your child is the mean girl - explain how she's hurting others.




Fear-bola has turned me into a Friggin' Lunatic

Monday, October 20, 2014




Ebola is freaking me the frigg out.

So is Enterovirus, or EV-D68, or Enterovirus D68, or whatever the virus is called.

For the first time EVER, I bought hand sanitizer to keep in my purse, several hand soap refills at Target and disinfecting wipes for each of the 3 bathrooms in my house.

This is way over the top for me given the fact that I've been known to let my kids eat, yes eat, without washing their hands first, pretty much all of the time. (A habit, or non-habit that totally grosses my husband out).

I've never carried hand sanitizer in my purse.

My stock pile of fine hand soaps under my kitchen sink looks like I'm preparing for biological warfare.

But it's not so much the germ-fighting supplies I bought that's alarming - it's my down-right, bat-shit crazy behavior that's a cause for concern.  And probably needs a diagnosis of it's own.  Dare I self-label myself, a germaphobe?

My 3-year old has been sick for going on 3 weeks here - with various symptoms.

Week 1: Toddler has uncontrollable diarrhea.

I literally can't stop the poop.  She must've let it rip 8 times a day, for 8 days straight.  I was doing everything - Pedialyte Pops, Pedialyte drinks, probiotics, Emergen-C, cheerios, bananas, apples.  I brought her to the doctor on the 7th day of said poop-athon.  The doctor recommended I bring in a stool sample to be tested. Fine done.  A week later, I get a call from one of the nurses that my daughter's submitted stool sample somehow got contaminated and was not able to be tested.

I freaked out on this woman.

I'm like, "When did you know this?"  "Why didn't someone call me, to notify me, I would've brought you a new stool sample, right away?" "Who's accountable?" "How did it get contaminated?" "WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?" "What if this is something SERIOUS?"

Nurse: " Ma'am, it's probably just a stomach virus, let us know if it doesn't clear up in a couple of days or she gets a fever."

Me: "Well, it would help to know which virus it is, now wouldn't it, especially because there's a bunch of freaky ones floating around! Thanks for nothing!" (Hangs up phone).

Ugh.  I'm embarrassed by the Entero-Ebola hysterics of the whole situation.

Three days later, I rush the same kid, my 3-year old to the hospital at 1AM.  She's got a cough, and she seemingly can't breathe well.  She is diagnosed with Croup.  At which point the doctor says she'll need some steroids to get the swelling of her vocal chords to go down.

I'm asking the highly trained doctor, " Are you sure this is Croup?  She had diarrhea just days before - are you sure the two aren't related and this is a different illness?

Doctor: "She has Croup, I'm confident it's nothing else."

Me: "Okay, this may sound crazy, but it's not looking like Enterovirus at all, right?"

Doctor: "No, not at all."

I feel crazy even writing this.  It doesn't even sound like me.  I mean clearly, my daughter had that signature barking seal, Croupy-cough.  Anyone could hear that.  It's not like I'm some stranger to Croup.  But, for whatever fear-based reason, I couldn't stop myself from thinking, that there's a chance this is something else.  What if I don't catch it in time?  What if I don't prevent something horrible from happening?

Three days after hospital freak out.  I bring my daughter to the pediatrician for a post hospital check up.

As my luck would have it - my daughter's normal pediatrician is out for the day.  Instead, we see a doctor - who acts like a one man circus show.  He says it's to help ease the anxiety for the child.

I'm like, duuuuudddeee you are freaking me the f*%# out.

So he flies through the exam - and says maybe she's got Strep now.  Okay fine, Strep, Croup, Diarrhea.  I'm thinking, Whaaatttttt else?!!!!  How could it be all of these at once?

Again, I hit this clowny doctor with my questions like bullets, "Are you sure it's Croup?  And it's not Entero- whatever the heck?  And certainly not Ebola?"

Doctor: "Well, has anyone traveled outside the country in your house?"

Me: "No."

Doctor: "Well, then no."

We leave, I get all the way down to my car, and realize that circus clown doctor forgot to check my daughter's breathing with a stethoscope.  Apparently I was so entranced (disgusted) by his tornado of tricks, that I didn't realize he skipped the stethoscope routine.

So I marched back up to the doctor's office even though they were now closed.  I caught the receptionist locking up the door and I demanded that the doctor re-check my child.

Every single person in that office, looked at me, like I was the freak-show.

But, I'm like, "I can't go through the weekend like this, not knowing for sure."

The doctor listened to my daughter's breathing, and said, he couldn't hear any respiratory distress or wheezing.  We're good to go.  And he added, "I diagnosed a 4-month old with Enterovirus last week, and she did just fine with it."

Wait, what, people survive Enterovirus?

Apparently, people can survive Ebola too.

So no, I won't be buying medical masks or haz-mat suits anytime soon.  I have to remind myself, that it's Fall in pre-school.  Those classrooms are germ cesspools - with their coughing kids, snot-nosed students and sneezies.

I need to get back to a real threat, a real fear- like the friggin flu - now that thing you gotta watch out for.




Shouldn't companies be making it easier to have children, rather than delay it? The Corporate Egg Freezing Frenzy

Friday, October 17, 2014



I would like to applaud Facebook and Apple for offering Egg Freezing to their female employees.  In an effort to compete for top talented women - the tech companies are the first ever to offer to pay for the procedure.

This is huge because, a) talented, college educated women are dropping out of the workforce in droves - feeling they have to choose between family and career. b) more women are waiting to have children knowing that if they have kids during their career climbing years (usually their 20's) - they could be thrown off the tenure track, c) certain medical conditions or cancers can cause infertility in women- and it's nice to have the option if gawd forbid a woman should fall ill for a period of time d) the costs of freezing your eggs are insane.

About $10,000 to go through the egg freezing cycle.  This includes testing, monitoring, etc.  Storage of the eggs will run you about $500/year.  Then if you wanna thaw those suckers - $5,000 to get crackin'.

So what's my issue with this whole thing?  Cuz you know I'm going to get all acerbic about this topic.

My first issue is- I hope the women that decide to freeze their eggs are well informed.  Even if you freeze your eggs - there are no gaurantees that it will actually work when you are ready to have a baby.  Egg freezing can be compared to your insurance policies, it's good to have, but when it's time to use it- it might not come through for you the way you expect or want it to.  There are factors to consider - YOUR body, the sperm of your future partner or donor, the success rate of IVF, etc.  Just because you freeze your eggs doesn't mean you're gonna have a baby.

Beyond these medical considerations - there are the emotional considerations.  Will you have a life partner or husband when you feel ready to thaw your eggs and have a baby?  Will you want to possibly raise a baby on your own?  Will you be okay with the hormones you have to pump in you before the egg freezing frenzy begins?

Now - because I'm an ungrateful, bitter bitch about this whole thing - FUCK YOU VERY MUCH FOR FREEZING MY EGGS FOR ME, FOR FREE!!

By this I mean, shouldn't companies start supporting families/parents instead of encouraging women to put off family?

I didn't grow up in some 1950's household - I was encouraged to get an education and get a good job.  I literally stumbled upon married life - and parenting in my young twenties.  I tell you all of the time, dear reader - I'm still jilted.  But now that I'm here, in parenthood, I see the huge shortfalls in our society when it comes to supporting American families.

The thinking of corporate America is ass-backwards.  Society and corporations think the solution to keeping women in the workforce - is to offer them free egg freezing?!  We're encouraging women to wait to have children?! This is the dumbest fucking shit I've ever heard - because it's like - has no one heard of a biological clock?  As women's bodies age - our fertility decreases, our ability to carry a pregnancy to term without complications decreases, and the chances of having a baby with birth defects rises.  Egg freezing does not totally solve these problems.  So why, in gawd's creation would you purposely put off pregnancy?  I know why, because that was my plan.  That was my career plan - OPERATION- DON'T GET PREGNANT. Only my plan to put off having a baby, wasn't hatched.  A baby (or 2) was instead.

As disgusting as you may think this is - women's bodies are perfectly ripe for pregnancy from age 16ish to 30ish.  I agree, it probably wouldn't be awesome to get knocked up at 16.  Teen mothers have it really fucking hard.  So there you go - your window just got shorter by 4 years.  That's your window for optimal pregnancy and child bearing 20-30 years old.

So INSTEAD OF ...supporting women's (and men's) decision to have children when they're ready (biologically, emotionally and financially), and creating the most family friendly work environment possible with daycare and flexibility perks - these companies are offering fertility perks.

It's such a sign that our priorities when it comes to supporting American families are fucked up.  Maybe companies should take a lesson from Google.  They offer paid maternity leave for 18 weeks (plus paternity leave), they offer baby bucks (money to offset costs of diapers and formula for new parents), onsite FREE daycare, and a slew of other family-oriented benefits and perks.

If companies really valued a woman - they'd make it easier for her to actually have kids, not easier for her to delay it.

Like me on Facebook because apparently I joined when it was becoming less popular as evidenced by my lack of likes.  Although I have to say - I post some damn good articles about women and family life.  Twitter is my shit - so follow me there for snarky, inappropriate humor all day long.

I didn't know committing to motherhood, would mean committing career suicide.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



This isn't a love story between a new mother and her new baby.

And while we're being truthful - I hated the newborn phase - it was my least favorite parenting phase to date (although I haven't experienced teenagers yet).

I, like so many new mothers, felt forced out of a job I loved.  I felt the money I earned was too little to justify time away from my child.  I felt the money I earned only covered daycare, and that didn't seem worth it to me.  I mean, was I supposed to simply work for peanuts, pay for full-time daycare, and say it was all in the name of career climbing?

Since I graduated college, I was hungry to work!  I was ambitious - if not, overly ambitious like so many college grads are.  I wanted to work my way up, be someone, do something spectacular.  I didn't care that the money being offered to me for a full-time job was not enough to cover my modest living expenses - or even my student loan debt.

Kids?  Who wants kids?! I'll pop out some in the my thirties (nevermind that silly biological clock thing), THIS IS MY TIME TO SHINE.

As I became more seasoned, more experienced, and overall more comfortable in my high heel shoes, I started realizing I wasn't getting treated fairly in the workplace.  As a single girl with no kids, I was asked way more often to work overtime, cover when someone else was sick, and to work holidays so other employees with families could have off.  At the time, I thought, if I just say 'yes' to everything they ask me, I'll be regarded as a hard worker, as a go-getter, and hopefully offered a promotion when the time comes.  Little did I realize, I was losing more than I was gaining.  Through all of those 'yes' years - I lost my self- worth.   I was ignoring the two discriminatory forces working against me the whole time I was 'career' climbing.

1. The gender wage gap.  You've heard it before - women earn 78 cents per every man's dollar.  And that number, has barely budged in over a decade.

2. Single woman expectations.  The expectation to work more and for less pay (because after all, you have no mouths to feed).

Things changed even more when I got pregnant in my young twenties.  I went from career crazed, single gal, to as one co-worker put it, "A baby, havin' a baby."

Like my situation was some Jerry Springer episode.

When I popped out my first child, the company I worked for - offered me six weeks paid leave.  And if I had a c-section (which I did), I got 2 weeks more (8 total).  Now, if I was in complete financial dire straits, I would've been screwed at the end of the 8 weeks.  I opted to take 12 weeks, the last 4 weeks were unpaid.

Beyond the financial implications - I just needed time.  I was in my young twenties - totally jilted by this whole parenting thing.  In a cliche sentiment -  I wanted to be able to bond with my baby.  I wanted to learn how to feed her properly, learn how to give her adequate sleep time, gawd forbid develop some type of schedule - and eventually enjoy a coo or two (however far and few between those were).  I wanted time to get my hormones back on track.  I wanted time to get healthy - get my body healed after the trauma of pregnancy and birth.  I wanted that child to effing sleep!  I was exhausted.

I needed time - but not forever.  I just needed more time than my company was willing to wait.

Wasn't I worth it?

Apparently not, because when I told my boss I wanted to be placed in a more flexible position, he scoffed at the idea and told me it was impossible.  At which point, I felt forced to quit.  My former boss also added (as if to compliment me), "You're welcome back here anytime, but just know you probably won't get the same position."

So basically I could come back, and be thrown off the tenure track.

This is the reason women leave the workplace.  We're talking about college educated women.  We're told we can 'have it all', but it's a complete fallacy, if not, fairy tale.

The proof is in the Huffington Post article, entitled, "This is the Face of Female Ambition."

According to the article, a recent nationwide "Success Poll" by Real Simple and Time found that women jump into the career world hungry for success -- 73 percent of women in their 20s ranked it as "very important" -- but that eager majority falls to 61 percent for women in their 30s, 50 percent for women in their 40s and 50s until it drops down to 37 percent for women in their 60s.

What the article didn't address is - why the sharp drop?  I suspect parenting.  Motherhood.  Mothers are being told they can have it all.  They go out - try to get it all - get knocked up - and are still expected to DO IT ALL.  By doing it all- I mean, working a full shift, working a second shift at home with their kids, doing the grocery shopping, the laundry, the bills, the driving, the cleaning, etc.  I could go on forever.  The point is - having that many responsibilities in life is overwhelming and impossible.

'Having it all' was coined by the feminists before us.  Let me be clear, I'm not blaming feminists.  They accomplished so much change for women and society.  But the work of feminists and women has fallen short.  Feminists worked hard for women to get into the workplace during the women's movement.  They fought for equality in the workplace, in terms of pay, leave, benefits, sexual harassment, etc.  But, it's time for a creative solution to the conundrum that women want to be in the workplace and have enough time for their kids - without being penalized for it.

When my first born was 6-months old, I was determined to stay in the workforce because I loved working.  I craved it.  But, this time, my job search only included positions that were flexible.  And yet again, I didn't demand the pay I probably deserved, thinking, well, they're allowing me flexible work hours - so it's a trade off.

WRONG.

That's what's wrong with this society's thinking.  I should be getting paid exactly what everyone else is getting paid - whether it's a flexible job or not - because that's the going rate for that job.  It completely under-valued my talents.  And I didn't even realize it, because again, I was just so desperate to get back in the game and be respected on a professional level.

After years of engaging in my 'flexible' job, that mind you, had unpredictable hours, I decided, I'm worth more than that.  I should be paid for my work, talents and skills, regardless of the flexibility offered.  Flexibility should be a bonus, a perk, not a trade off for pay.

Moms are penalized in the workplace.  Sociologists call it the Motherhood Penalty.  Mothers who work are perceived as less productive, less competent and more distracted than women who don't have children and men.  This penalty results in an even larger pay gap than the gender wage gap.

On the flip side, men who become fathers or who are fathers - are seen as more committed to the job and more responsible than their single male counterparts.  According to the New York Times article, "The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus," men are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.

Now that my kids are going to pre-school part-time, my 'free' time stocks are going up.  I'm even tallying up how many hours I'll get to myself when they go full-time to elementary school in a couple of years. I get giddy thinking about the six full hours every single day that I will have.  It seems like the biggest gift from the career gods.  Or dare I say, the big career break I've been looking for.

How will I be treated when I get back in the career game?

Should I wear my wedding ring on an interview? Gawd forbid I give off the married with children vibe.

Will employers judge my resume harshly for the time I gave to my kids?

Will I be hit with the mommy tax?

Will I even be considered hirable, let alone get paid as much as my equal peers?

If there is one thing I learned through this process, it's this - I won't accept anything less.


F*** Yea! It's FALL!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the spirit of cool breezes, falling leaves and PSL's (PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES), here's my list of things I love about Fall.

1. Pumpkin EVERYTHING.  IDGAF.



Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin coffee creamer
Pumpkin cookies
Pumpkin bread
Pumpkin Spice Lattes (yes, I fucking said it)
Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin gnocci with sage (it's a real recipe, and it's amazing. PS I add prosciutto)
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin pancakes
Pumpkin cream cheese
Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

Did I leave something out?  Leave it in the comments section of the blog.

2. Cool breeze.  Just as the beautiful sunshine is warming your face, a cool breeze will blow through.  It will hit your warm cheeks and run through your hair - and it all feels awesome.

3. Leaves.  The vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and magentas give me a moment for pause.  And sometimes, it's good to take in the nature that's around you.  And just stop.  Even if it's for 10 seconds.  Get in a good deep breath while you're at it.  I love the smell of leaves.  The color of leaves.  And the sound of rustling leaves.  

4. Fall clothes.  Sweaters, booties, scarves, furs, leather, tweed, textures and layering.  I looovvvee layering.  The clothes feel like a cozy cocoon.  Besides, summer is slut weather.  I always look like a fucking hooker, a wanna be teeny bopper or sweating slob when it's 80 degrees or above.

5. Raking leaves.  Because it counts as exercise and the whole family can do it together.  According to Harvard Health, a 125-pound person raking the yard for 30 minutes will burn 120 calories.  A 155- pound person will work off 149 calories in the same span. 

6. Apple Cider.  When else can you get this yummy drink?  Even better? Heat that cider up.  Or for the adult Apple Cider version -  heat it up, add cinnamon and pour over whiskey, eeeevvveeennnnn beettterrrr.

7. Sam Adams Octoberfest.  Semi-related to #6.

8. The fragrance that is FALL.  The smell of crunched leaves, cinnamon and pumpkin can all be euphoric.  

9. Uggs (another IDGAF.  Mine are old, worn, stained and possibly the most comfortable and coziest footwear I've ever owned).

10. Finding the perfect pumpkin with your kids.  

11. Breast Cancer Awareness and the sea of pink.

12. My kid's soccer season.  However, I don't appreciate those games at 8:30AM on a crisp (sometimes freezing) Fall Saturday morning.  The rest is good.

13. Cuddling up by the fireplace.

14. Chili.  My whole family digs a good, hearty chili with cornbread.

15. MY BIRTHDAY.  I'm 30 this year.  I could've put this on my 'hate' list, but I'm really trying to embrace this new decade in my life. 

What do you love about Fall?  Add it below in the comments section or add it to the Missguided Mama Facebook page.








My Pre-k'er Has a Crush (and I wanna puke)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


**This image above is not my kid, or her crush

Puke

Drink.

His name is Henry.

What kind of name is Henry anyway?

My 4-year old proclaimed her love for Henry in the car yesterday.  We were driving home from pre-school (yes, PRESCHOOOOLL!!!!), and she says, "Mom, I have a secret to tell you.  But you can't tell daddy."

Me, "Okay, no problem, what is it?" (I'm so telling her father!!!)

4-year old, "I ... I....I ....ummm, I love someone."

Me, "Okay, like your sister, me, daddy, Grandma??" (not a boy, not a boy, not a boy)

***sweat is forming under my pits and in my bra***

4-year old, "No, a boy at school." (Ohhhhh fuck.)

**cranks air conditioning**

Me, "That's nice, what's his name?"

4YO: "Henry"

Me: "Okay, what does Henry do that you love him, is he super nice, or funny??" (please don't say he's cute)

4YO: "Henry helped me put away the chairs in the classroom during clean up time.....don't tell dad.  I need to tell dad myself."

Silence

While my first reaction was to break her little her heart and tell her no fucking way will she love a boy until she's 21.  I stopped myself.  Which is pretty shocking.  I am usually unable to stop myself.

But, I kept thinking, if I act like her friend, someone she can talk to and trust - this will continue into her tween and teen years.  I will NOT sabotage it right now.

Yes, I'm still jilted by the fact that my 4-year old has professed her love for a boy.  I'm horrified actually.  I sat in bed last night asking my husband, "what did I do wrong?!"

"Too many Disney movies?"

"Maybe we shouldn't show them our wedding video anymore?"

"Maybe we shouldn't kiss or hug in the house?" (riiiighttt, like we do a lot of that).

My point is - I don't know what I did to make my pre-schooler proclaim love for a boy at such a young age.  Isn't this a little advanced?  Inappropriate?

Do you know what happened when a boy said he loved ME in preschool?  I actually have a very vivid memory of this.

The stupid boy fucking bit me.  ON MY FACE.  And it got infected.

And you wonder why I have men issues.  Love biiiiiites.  Or, is it a LOVE bite?  Ugh. Whatever.

Anyways, apparently it's pretty common for kids at this age to have a crush.  They're acting out what they've seen in movies or what they see at home.  Playing house, if you will.

Dr. Ruth Peters, (who is now deceased), was a clinical psychologist and regular guest contributor on NBC's Today Show.

Peters said this about first crushes, "Early socialization promotes crushes, Media hype, Disney movies (who gets to have the prince?)"

She went on to say that the first crush is NOT, "true or erotic love- but another type of playing 'grown up' similar to pretending to be a teacher, coach or actor."

Phwew!

Here are tips that Dr. Peters wrote out for parents handling the whole First Crush situation:

- Don't try to dissuade your child or talk her out of her feelings, as long as the "crush" is moderate.  Caring for a peer is nice- this encourages kind and thoughtful feelings and actions.

- Show reasonable interest - "Why do you like Jason so much?" "Is he nice to you?"

- Allow sensible responses and activities such as the giving of a Valentine or appropriate birthday gift.  Discourage love notes, phone calls, or too many playdates to the exclusion of other friends.

- If the crush seems to be getting too intense (your child not playing with other children, obsessing on the friend, or getting feelings hurt when the crush is not reciprocated) have a frank talk.  Focus on how it's nice to care for another person, but that a sure-fire way to lose a friend is overwhelm or to smother them. Also, discuss how it's rude to overlook the other kids in the class or to exclude previous relationships- feelings are hurt and prior friends may not be there when your child is ready to spend more time with them again.




Did 9/11 turn us into Coddling, Helicopter Parents?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Studies suggest 9/11 shaped and defined Millennials on many levels, and may have even impacted our parenting.

The theory is, that 9/11 turned Millennials into coddling, hovering, helicopter parents.

I'm 29 now.  I was 16-years old on 9/11.

September 11th defined my generation.  We're often called the "9/11 Generation."  That day defined my political beliefs, my religious beliefs, my social beliefs.  It instilled a fear of flying that I still can't shake, a fear of being in tall buildings that I can't shake, and a fear of public transportation that haunts me.  (I still fly, go in tall buildings and take public transportation, but 75% of the thoughts in my head while I am doing these activities- is about terrorism and dying - maybe I need a therapist).  Let's just say - I sweat it out.

It instilled a sense of social, civic and communal duty.  My parents weren't really super involved in community - but I find myself constantly drawn to community activities and volunteerism.

It opened my eyes to a whole other side of the world that I never really knew existed.

I barely knew what the Middle East was - let alone terrorism.  And even though terrorism frightens Millennials - we have an acceptance and curiosity towards other cultures and ethnic groups unlike any generation before us.

I grew up in the golden 80's and 90's - the economy was good and it was basically sunshine, rainbows and great rock and roll.

I remember it was a sunny day when the planes crashed into the World Trade Centers.  I was in high school, in upstate New York.  I watched my baby boomer aged teachers rush into the halls, grab tv's and put them on for us all to watch.  We didn't know we'd be watching a moment - that re-shaped our country, the world and our lives.

9/11 impacted different generational groups in different ways, some more than others.

First, let's start with baby boomers - their defining moment was Kennedy's assassination in 1963.  In short, baby boomers are mostly characterized by their need for power, material things, money - all exterior rewards.  September 11th was horrific for them, but as studies suggests - it was not a defining, impactful moment.  It didn't necessarily change their attitudes or how they operated day to day, nor how they parented.

Next, Generation X'ers.  People born anywhere from the 1960's to early 1980's.  September 11th was a defining moment - but most were older by that point, and had already formed their beliefs and attitudes towards the world and government.  They are referred to as the voiceless or quiet generation.  Gen X'ers wanted to do the opposite of everything their baby boomer parents did - and in turn, they lived invisibly in a world dominated by power and money.

There is some information suggesting that those Gen X'ers who were already prone to coddling/helicoptering their kids at the time, actually increased the coddling and helicoptering after 9/11. There are also recent studies that say these Gen X'ers continue to coddle and hover over their college-aged kids - to detrimental and unhealthy levels.  You can read about the harmful effects of helicopter parenting in a study called, Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting.

Some of these Gen X'ers were parents of young teens.  Like many teens in the early 2000s, I was about to embark of life.  I felt like I wanted to make a difference in the world.  Like me - many teens of Gen X parents wanted to make a serious mark after high school and after 9/11.

University of Texas education professor Patricia Somers says, "The parents of these older students seem to support their sons and daughters in trying to make a mark while being concerned that in making that mark, the student may be in harm's way.

I think of my own mother.  She's a Gen X parent.  She was the first person I wanted to call when I saw the horror unfold on the news in school.  New York state was a mess.  We were forced to evacuate our high school and sit outside after the morning attacks.  We were 3-4 hours away from New York City - but we were forced to evacuate.  I couldn't call my mom.  When we were allowed back inside the school - I rushed to the school office.  All phone lines were down.  You couldn't get a dial tone.  No one could get a phone call out.  I tried over and over and over again.  I got through.  My mom picked up, I said, "Mom - cousin Benjie is in the World Trade Center.  You need to call and find out if he's okay.  I love you."

I cry as I write this because it was so scary as a teenager to not be able to talk to your mom.  It was more scary to not know if your own family was safe - or even alive.

My cousin was on a lower floor of the World Trade Center - and made it out alive.  We are eternally grateful for that.

Being faced with that type of tragedy - had never happened to me, up until that moment.

My Gen X mom had been a bit of a helicopter parent.  She was very involved in our schooling from a young age.  But, did 9/11 heighten her helicopter tendencies?

That school year - I graduated high school and made plans to attend college out of state.

My mom drove me 12 hours away and set me up in my dorm room.  She stocked my mini fridge. Then she left me with a bank account and some money in it.  I was a young adult - she shoulda put me on a plane, pat me on the back, and said "Good luck sweetie!"

She still texts me if we haven't talked on the phone in four plus days - ARE YOU ALIVE? ARE YOU MAD AT ME?  CALL ME.

Is this post 9/11, fueling her fears?  Driving her to still worry like that?  Or was she just worried that I was irresponsible?

We will never know, because studies done on people's psyches and habits weren't performed until some years after 9/11.

But, Millennials were studied.  And the impacts of 9/11 are profound on this generational group.

The Millennials were born anywhere from 1980s to early 2000s.

There are photographic memories I have of that day.  All horrifying news snippets.  Planes crashing into the World Trade Center, burning buildings, the billowing smoke taking over the streets of NYC, people jumping out of the buildings, the sound of screams, the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

These photographic images were snapped into many of our Millennial minds.  This phenomenon of photographic images is well-documented in studies about Millennials and the impacts 9/11 had on them.

The images are impossible to let go of.

Besides the intermittent fears of terrorist attacks - I do worry about the safety of my kids.  Constantly.

If they're at the park and are out of my sight for even a moment - my heart quickens.  Or out of my sight, hiding in shopping racks.  I have a mini panic attack.

I'm not the only one.

Just go to a playground. You'll see kids climbing up and down - and parents following the children around like shadows.  No more than 6 inches away from their kid at all times.

No one just lets their kids play anymore.  Free play.

We armor our kids with helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, etc.  Every safety feature or equipment on the market - we'll buy it.

We buy nanny cams.  We GPS track our kids.  We're crazed.

Somers says, "It's been suggested that parents' safety concerns escalated after events such as the Columbine High School shooting and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and they worry more about children being far from home and feel helpless to protect them."

Maybe 9/11 is the reason I haven't taken a vacation without my kids.  The thought of them being so far from both me and my husband at the same time - terrifies me.

Besides being a helicopter-ish parent (I won't admit to being full blown hover mode), I'm a liberal, I feel it's important to be authentic at all times, I love culture and community events.  I'm pretty spot on when it comes to profiling a post 9/11 kid.

The impacts are still being studied.

One impact - that I'm forever grateful for is that 9/11 did broaden my view of the world.  Remember how I said I didn't even know what the Middle East was before 9/11?  Now I do.

My kids are half.

Their blood comes from a country that is one of the most hated by Americans.  Their blood comes from a country rocked by constant turmoil.  In a post 9/11 world - they can't visit the country where their their family is from.  They might never set foot on soil - that so shapes the very culture of who they half are.  And if they ever do decide to take the risk, and travel to the Middle East, to see what they are and who they are - I'll be right there with them.  Facing all of my post 9/11 fears, and dare I say, helicoptering the whole journey.
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