About Me? Okay:

My photo
West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
I'm a somewhat crappy-at-it mom to a 21 year old, Genius Boy, & a blue & purple haired 14 year old, the Goddess of Grump. My language is questionable & I laugh at farts. Need I say more?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kids & Cell Phones

Both of my kids have cell phones.
Naturally, one would expect that the 18 year old has one. He does.
But my 11 (almost 12) year old has one too, and has had it for over 2 years.
Some parents have suggested that I'm nuts for allowing my tween daughter a cell phone. I agree that I'm nuts, but not for that reason.

I firmly believe that with proper guidance, supervision and a firm set of rules & regulations, cell phones for younger kids can be a great teaching tool & preparation for some aspects of life in the real world. The world is going electronic people!
I don't want my kids to grow up to be obnoxious adult gadget users.
For instance:

  • Texting while you're walking around a store, narrowly avoiding collision with innocent shoppers, is rude. Don't do it.
  • Texting while in face-to-face conversation with someone is rude AND disrespectful. Don't do it.
  • Talking on the phone while you're in line at Starbuck's is obnoxious to the highest degree. DON'T DO IT! I don't want to hear about your drama while waiting to order my half-caff, whole milk, extra whip zebra mocha!! STFU or get out of the line, dumbass, or I may just surreptitiously accidentally spill my high fat java on your $400 phone on my way out the door!
  • If I happen to get a text while driving, I tell the kid in the car with me to read me the text & I dictate the answer, or I have her tell me who it's from then I tell her that I'm driving so I'll have to answer it when we stop, since texting while driving is dangerous, and only idiots do that. A stupid driver. Don't be one. (She hears that from me a lot, but that's a post for another day.)

Let's not ignore the sense of security in a parent when you know that you can reach your kid immediately in a crisis, or have them located by Police or Fire & Rescue if the unthinkable were to happen (since it's apparently inhumane to have a GPS chip implanted in their head).

I have the GoG keep her phone in her school bag (volume down to silent and then phone turned off), tucked away in an innocent looking pocket in case there's ever an emergency at the school. No mother wants to think of school shootings or a scary stranger, bent on evil, showing up in a school building full of kids. I know it's against school regulations for her to have the phone there, & maybe I'm a little paranoid, but I don't give a shit. I feel better knowing my girl won't be without her own way to call for help should any such horror arise... and she knows how to do it. I dare the school to confiscate her phone & call me to retrieve it. Mom trumps school in my world, & I have no problem discussing this with the principal if necessary.

*****
The Responsibilities, Rules & Regs of child cell phone usage at our house:

Part A
First we'll go over the 3 R's for ME regarding the GoG's cell phone:
1) ALL available parental tools & controls have been activated on her phone, & will be periodically checked to ensure their continuing operation. (No download functionality, GPS tracking ON so I can spy on her, All of my contact info in her ICE contacts, etc.)
2) It is my right as the Great & Powerful MOM to thoroughly read each & every text on the GoG's phone, both sent AND received, even if she's in the middle of typing a word. It's my kid & I can read if I want to.
3) Cell phone WILL be removed from the GoG's possession without warning if I deem it necessary. Each ensuing complaint by the aforementioned kid will add one extra day to her cell phone deprivation. She has been informed of this and will NOT be reminded.

  • GoG: But MOM! I neeeeed it!!
  • Me: I know & it sucks. That's one more day, care to keep arguing?
  • GoG: Grrrrr!!
  • Me: She shoots, she scores!!

4) Compliance with rules of cell phone etiquette, acceptable words & message subject matter will be reviewed periodically in accordance with item #2, above.
5) I am committed to informing and periodically reminding the child of procedures to follow in an emergency.
6) I will make more rules as necessary, being that, although I am the Great & Powerful MOM, I admit that I am fallible & may have missed something.

Part B
The GoG's rules regarding her cell phone usage:
1) All phone calls or texts from mom WILL be answered promptly OR ELSE the cell phone will be removed from her possession (see Part A, #3 above).
2) The GoG is responsible for maintaining a sufficient battery charge. Battery death is not an acceptable excuse for failing to answer calls or respond to texts from moi. (see Part A, #3 above)
3) Bullying, (or encouraging/participating in a friend's bullying behavior) will result in immediate termination of cell phone privileges. Phone will be surrendered to mom & battery will be hidden where even God himself would have difficulty in locating it. (see Part A, #2 above)
4) If she wouldn't say it in front of Gramma, I had BETTER not find it on her phone. (see Part A, #2 above)
5) Possession & usage of a cell phone are a privilege, NOT a right, and will be promptly withdrawn if rules 1-4 are not strictly adhered to
6)If something happens to you, grab your phone & call for help. 911 first, mom second. Having a cell phone is also a responsibility. If you are witness to an emergency it is your responsibility to use your phone to summon help.
7) Don't ask me again for a smartphone. You're a kid. You don't need the web in your pocket.

*****.

I am not a mom who will give 5 warnings or cave to whining or pleading. (This is where being a stubborn bitch comes in handy)
You know the rules, kid, & failure to comply will result in consequences that you are fully aware of. If you have forgotten the consequences, please consider the consequences you endure to be your reminder of their existence. This is how real life works; harsh, I know. It sucks. Get used to it. You're gonna be on this pretty little Orb we call home for a while.

I have found that with my kids the best teaching tool is consequences, especially if those consequences are sudden & substantial. They learn much more quickly to turn off the laptop/DS/Playstation/TV when they are instructed to if refusal results in mom immediately removing the object from the child's possession, dismantling it, and sending it's parts to the 4 corners of creation. They earn the privilege to use the object again by a consistent display of acceptable behavior. For TVs this is accomplished by removing the power cord. For a desktop computer, removing the keyboard and mouse are usually sufficient.

This approach has worked well for us, especially with the cell phone issue.

Additionally, although I've never had trouble with GB & his phone usage, I would not hesitate to suspend his phone service via a call to the service provider if I deemed it necessary. (Bonus: I'd get to pretend I had no idea what was wrong & would "try to fix the issue with customer service" until I decided to allow the use of the phone again.) That would be kinda fun.

I'd really like to hear from other moms who have allowed their kids to use cell phones & what rules and procedures are followed in your family!

Happy Texting!
-DM

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

For the Love of Iris: A Public Service Announcement

I've gotten nothing done for the past several days.

Nothing!

Partly courtesy of Insomnia (the skank), partly due to a sick teenaged whiner son, and partly because I can't stop reading about the life of Iris, the Bearded Wonder.
Everyone should read Iris's shit. Ev.Ree.One.
It takes a LOT to make me laugh out loud. I'm queen of the inner snicker. But this woman has me laughing so hard I actually shot lukewarm coffee out of my nose.
I highly recommend her blog to every mom out there with an appreciation for bad words & toilet humor.
However, if you plan to take your virgin dip into the pool of Iris at Starbuck's or some other public wi-fi access point, I suggest you install a poise pad and a butt muffler in your panties prior to leaving the house. Trust me. I warn because I care.
I'm considering making a t-shirt that says " I love Iris. Her Beard tickles."  I would wear it to PTA meetings if I actually went to those. Yes. I love her THAT much.

Go.
Read.
Iris.

p.s.
I want to be Iris when I grow up.

-DM

A New Day Begins

First off:

Dear Yesterday,
I'm sort of sorry for yelling at you. It was that bitch, Insomnia's fault. She's been dealt with.
Sincerely,
The Grumpy Bitch Mom

*****

Good news:

GB's pink eye has improved dramatically. His eyes weren't glued shut this morning! Yay!
His fever has broken and, although his cough is still pretty gross, I see a definite improvement.
I should let you know that my approach to sick kids isn't exactly mainstream. I'm a firm believer in allowing the body to do what comes naturally when invaded by evil germies. FEVERS KILL THE BAD SHIT. I don't give the kids medicine unless they're unbearably miserable or their fevers go higher than 102. OTC cold medicines tamp down the symptoms and make it appear that the kid is better, but in my experience, illnesses are over MUCH more quickly when I let nature take it's course (within reason, obviously).

*****

The Art Show at GB's school last night was incredible! I knew these kids were talented (all his friends are art geeks too), but to see all their work so beautifully displayed was a humbling experience. I can't put into words how incredibly talented some of these kids are. We're talking fancy art gallery good. No joke!

*****

Bad news:
My throat hurts & my eyes are kinda sticky feeling. Thank God my kids are old enough to handle their own shit for the most part, 'cause if this charming illness hits me hard, I'm not getting out of bed for anything but the Rapture or a zombie apocalypse (which I'm really looking forward to, by the way).

*****

All said, today is looking a bit better than yesterday.
On a serious note, I have to say that I'm feeling incredibly blessed right now to have the life that I do. We don't have much money, our house is full of dog hair & clutter, and my chart at Mental Health Services is the size of a fucking encyclopedia. But my mom is my best bud even though we live in the same house, my kids are amazing little creatures who never cease to amaze me with their awesomeness, and I have a couple of TRUE  friends who are incredibly loving & patient with me (have I mentioned that I'm a little nuts?). I have everything I need, & I recognize what a gift that is. Big shout out to God/the Universe/the Aliens/Elvis (or whoever runs this place). Thanks for giving me a kick-ass life.

-DM

*****

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dear Today, You suck.

This is a bad day. A day I dislike. A day I'd like to curse with the rectal incontinence of a 20 year old cat.


*Disclaimer:
I've been through 2 infants who refused to sleep like REAL babies until they were well past a year old, who stopped taking naps (for my nighttime sanity) before the age of 3, followed by a couple years of night terrors in my older one. I made it through. I'm allowed to complain about non-child-related sleep trouble now.*


I slept for just under 3 hours last night/this morning.
Insomnia is a spiteful bitch. She deserves an afternoon downwind of my 89-year-old, egg salad sandwich lovin' Grandpa. He eats his broccoli too. Just sayin'.
But I can handle her. I just get my princess off to school, maybe I unload the dishwasher AND put the dishes where they go (on a good day), switch laundry loads (okay that part was a joke), then give Insomnia the finger & take a nap.


But today is different.
Today, my baby boy is sick and home from school. Yes, he's 18 now. Yes, my little punkin butt is 6' 3".  Yes, he graduates from high school in a week and a half. Yes, he even has a job. 
But he's still my baby. My firstborn. Mommy's lil' man. Unfortunately, he's dangerously close to being a man FOR REAL now & we ALL know how men are when they're sick.
Conveniently, Genius Boy lives in a very stinky ginormous room in the basement. I do not. I'm upstairs (emphasis on stairs).
God love the cell phone era. He doesn't have to yell "MOM!" a hundred times or ring a bell for 15 minutes anymore. Nope. Lucky me, I get texted. And like every good mommy would, I respond within half an hour immediately.



So he's sick. My mildly asthmatic angel boy has a deep-chest chunker cough, a low grade fever, and ... wait for it ...
Pink Eye! WOOT!
*cue the 1970's biology class film reel music*
Wobbly Voiced Narrator:
"Known in the medical community as Conjunctivitis (-itis meaning inflammation; conjunctiv- referring to the conjunctiva, better known as the outer layer of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelid.), Señor Pink Eye has been torturing moms across the globe for, well, infinity."


A BIG thank you to my mom for raising me on the Boric Acid (yes I said ACID) eyewash. Thanks to this nugget of mommy wisdom AWESOMENESS, Señor Ojo Rojo del Diablo should be headed back to hell in 2 or 3 days. (Quit freaking out & go look up the ingredients of "red eye relief" eye-drops and multipurpose contact lens cleaner/disinfectant/RINSE. While you're at it, go look up home remedies for pink eye. Google may be able to help with that. The key is that the solution has to be VERY diluted... like 1/4 tsp for 8-12 oz. boiling water, which MUST be cooled down before use!)


So, my day (so far) has been a blast.


To top it all off, tonight is the annual Art Show reception at his high school, and GB is one of their prized art students, his photography portfolio having won a Scholastic medal at the NATIONAL level this year. (Hear that? Yep. It's my horn & I'm tootin' it.) However, we all know the school rules regarding contagions. And my lucky lil' guy has the fever/pink eye double whammy. Soooo, no Art Show for him.


The last great event of his high school career (fuck graduation, you're not special there), and he can't go.


I'm considering wrapping his ENTIRE head in gauze (leaving a tiny strip open across his pupils (think ninja) so as to avoid any doorframe or stairwell incidents), giving him a cardboard placard on a string to wear around his neck with something artsy written on it so he could pretend to be one of the display pieces. Then maybe he could go. I'd even wear a black catsuit, ballet flats AND a beret and follow him around giving finger snaps whenever he speaks.


But, at this point, what I REALLY want more than anything else is a NAP!


Oh!! I almost forgot! Earlier, Facebook politely informed me that 357 people "Like" Conjunctivitis. Seriously.


Dumbasses.




Oh well. I've got 2 hours until the GoG gets home from school. I'm turning off my cell phone, inserting earplugs and taking a nap. GB can climb the stairs if he needs me that bad.


-DM

Monday, June 6, 2011

Princess Potty Mouth

Yesterday afternoon, my 11 year old angel, the Goddess of Grump, said "fuck".


We were in the car, en route to yet ANOTHER store in search of  shoes for her 6th grade promotion ceremony, when she dropped the F-bomb. I honestly can't even remember what we were talking about because my short-term memory  took a big dump the moment that word passed her innocent little lips.


The conversation (to the best of my recollection):


Me: blah, blah, blah...
GoG: blah, blah, blah, fuck, blah, bla...
Me: Did you just say "fuck"?
GoG: Yeah.
Me: *giggle*
GoG: What?
Me: You said "fuck". *more giggling*
GoG: Well, you & GB (my 18 year old son, Genius Boy) say it all the time.
Me: Yeah, I guess we do. I just didn't expect that word from you so soon. *yet more giggling* 
GoG: I say it in front of a couple of my friends and they say it too.
Me: Ah. Ok. Do you say it in front of their parents?
GoG: No.
Me: Small children?
GoG: No.
Me: The elderly?
GoG: No!
Me: Ok. I don't care if you say it at home when it's just family & GB's friends, but NOT in front of Grandma!!
GoG: Ok.
Me: Don't say it in public, in stores, at school, or at your friend's houses. Don't text, email, or post the word in your status.
GoG: Ok. *turns radio up*


Both: *sing along with Rolling in the Deep by Adele*


GoG: *turns radio down* What did she just say there? I can never understand that part!
Me: "Shit". "I'll lay your shit bare."
GoG: Why did it sound funny?
Me: They jumble up the sound because they're not allowed to say "shit" on the radio. Or "fuck" for that matter.
GoG: Oh. *turns radio back up*
Both: *sing along some more*


-new song comes on-


GoG: *turns radio down* I don't like this song.
Me: Me neither.*giggle*
GoG: What?
Me: You said "fuck".
GoG: *giggle*


-end scene




Later on that evening, we had a decent discussion about WHY it's important to watch your language. I told her it basically boils down to respecting others by not using language that they may consider offensive. She seemed to get it. That reasoning worked years ago with GB, so I don't think my lil' princess potty mouth will be poisoning the ears of the neighborhood munchkins anytime soon.


Then we snuggled and watched Four Brothers. We love Jackie.


-DM