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Because I Make The Rules

He Set A New Record

My awesome wonderful Dude is just that – awesome and wonderful. And twelve. And a dude. So he forgets. Or just too lazy – I’ll let you decide.

Exhibit A – Belts

The kid weighs nothing. He eats constantly, but also constantly moves and is outside or doing something; therefore, he weighs nothing. His waist is still the same size as it was when he was 8. When we buy him size 12 slim pants so they are long enough, he still needs a belt. And belts this kid does own! At least a half dozen – from camo to Boy Scout uniform to recycled Mustang seat belts to black dress pant belts random belts that came in pants or shorts. While he is great at putting a belt through the loops of his pants on any given day, he is completely incapable of removing said belts from his pants before putting them in the laundry basket – or on the floor NEAR the laundry basket.

In the past, when my kiddos have put their clothes in their baskets all wadded up or inside out, I strategically wait until they are long gone playing with their friends on Sunday before I call them back and make them “unwad” their clothes so I can wash them. I’d also done this with Dude’s belts. In due time, they stopped wadding up their clothes. I also started keeping anything I found in their pockets – money, hair bands, diamnds. They stopped leaving that stuff in their pockets.

But the belts. He just could not remember the belts no matter what I did. So, I started keeping them. I told him he could have them back the next time I did laundry and didn’t find any belts in his pants (I do all laundry every Sunday). On New Year’s Eve, we were heading out to a party at some friends’ house and he’s panicking because “OMG where are all my belts!”

Um – in belt jail.

I NEED one back right now – my pants keep falling down!

Um – no. You can have them back on Sunday when I do laundry again. And I’m sure you won’t have any belts in your pants because you don’t have any more belts to put IN your pants!

So he stomps to his room – and his Boy Scout instincts kick in.

I walk into his room a few minutes later and he’s got all manner of ropes (he’s got tons from Boy Scouts) – climbing ropes, shoe laces, paracord – in all different colors and sizes. He’s sizing them around his waist. I had to giggle when he came out sporting a purple climbing rope belt for the evening :-) Resourceful – yes! May have a learned a lesson, too 😉

At least one would think.

Exhibit B – Phones

Yesterday, he comes into my room with the phone in his hand. He’s calling his buddy, H, to see if he can play. I said “You can go, but you better hang that phone back up or I’m taking away your cell phone!”

He asks what his cell phone has to do with the home phone.

I explained that if I can’t find MY phone when I want to use it, then he won’t have HIS phone to use at all!

He got it.

Or so I thought.

No less than 20 seconds later the door slams and he’s running down to H’s house.

I walk down the hall and the phone is sitting ON THE COUNTER NEXT TO THE PHONE HOLDER!

Yes, seriously.

So I marched myself down to H’s house with a smirk on my face. H’s mom answers and asks if I need Dude. I said “No, I just need his phone.” She says “That’s an interesting request!” And we both smile :-)

I walk down the hall and take Dude’s phone – ha asks why and I said “Dude! You set some kind of new record! I told you if you didn’t hang up the phone I’d take your phone and it took you no more than 20 seconds to NOT hang up the phone!” He smiled and handed over his phone, grumbling. H’s Mom and Dad both laughed and said “Oh, that is SOOOOO good!”

Dude will get his phone back when he proves he can hang up the home phone. Since nobody calls him on the home phone, it might take a while.

Hopefully, this time he’ll learn a lesson!


So my little Princess has been grounded since Wednesday. She was supposed to be grounded just until the end of today, but yesterday, she earned herself a grounding all the way through Sunday.

What did she do? She lied.  Not a huge lie or anything . . . just a bunch of little lies. We even made it very clear that we knew the answers to our questions and that it would be in her best interest not to lie, but she chose to lie anyway.

So, she’s grounded. Lying is NOT tolerated in t his house. With the grounding, she’s not allowed to have any sweets either – as part of her punishment. When she was told there would be consequences for her lying, she said “I don’t care. You can take away all my Webkinz forever!” Um – WHAT?! So Hubby took away sweets, which might not seem like a big deal, but we have about 2 dozen left over cupcakes sitting on her counter. It’s KILLING her that Dude gets to have a cupcake each day after school and she can’t (he’s only getting them every day to make a point to her).

And today – we had planned to take them to the movie The Tooth Fairy after school because they really have been really good lately – especially this past 10 days while I was playing the role of single mom. Alas . . . no movie for Princess. She gets a babysitter. And to make it sting a bit more – Queen Taunya is joining us at the movie AND I went to Walgreens and bought 4 HUGE boxes of candy for the movie. Ya I know I’m not supposed to take candy into the movie – but that’s not the point here! Stay on task . . .

The candy is sitting on the counter for all to see when they get home from school :-)

Ya – I’m a good mom like that.

I shouldn’t let her go on the Daisy field trip Saturday, but I will. That’s really important to me. Open skating on Saturday with the family is another thing – I see a little Princess sitting in the ice rink without skates on her feet, watching the rest of us skate around with our friends.

Snowboarding on Sunday – she’ll go – that’s not fair to the rest of us to not go because she made bad choices, and there is no way I’m paying a sitter for the entire day! But, she will NOT get to watch movies on the way up there.

Yes – I’m in the running for the MOTY award.

A Slippery Slope

I never had video games growing up. My video game exposure was limited to Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac Man at the bowling alley every Saturday morning! I remember getting our first and only video game console at home – an Intellivision! Oh the graphics on that . . . and the many keyed touch pad that you used to play REAL LIVE FOOTBALL! But I digress . . .

Just as back then, we’ve always been a no video game house as well. We just didn’t have them. Oh we had a couple plug-n-plays because I just couldn’t go without Ms. Pac Man 😉 But other than that . . . nothing. Until now . . .

Grandma and Grandpa gave the kids a Wii for Christmas. Woo hoo! We all love it. The adults are playing as much as the kids (I even had to start bowling left handed because my right shoulder started to hurt!). And if we were going to get a video game system, I guess I’m good with the Wii because you’re actually up doing stuff rather than sitting there losing your eye sight and getting carpal tunnel.

Then, each kid asked the big guy in the red suit for a Nintendo DS. I wasn’t surprised that Dude asked for that. I was very surprised Princess asked for that . . . I was sure she’d ask for something sparkly, or a unicorn, or a sparkly unicorn.

So, they each got a Nintendo DS from the big guy. The big guy must have been feeling very generous because he also gave each of them a couple games for their DS. I guess that was good because really, what good is a DS without any games?

Then, Grandma and Grandpa #2 sent each of them a $50 gift card for Christmas (thank you!). Of course they each used the gift cards to buy cases for their DS and also a game or 2.

So, we have officially started down that slippery slope of video games. We’ve taken the Halloween stance on the video games . . . let them eat as much candy as they want the first day then throw the rest away. They’re getting to play video games a LOT this past week . . . and we’ll let them until Grandma and Grandpa #3 come on Thursday . . . then it’s a new year, new rules :-)

How about you? Do you do video games? Do you have rules on playing times?

Disappointing Our Kids

I was reading an article on Baby Center about 12 discipline tactics that really work. Imagine my happiness when I saw the one that said we shouldn’t be afraid to disappoint our kids. How true is that! I know so many parents that don’t want their children to ever feel sad or disappointed, so they go out of their way to make sure that their kids always win, always get what they want, never have to feel bad when they make a bad choice and lost a privilege – suddenly, the privilege is no longer lost because they don’t want their child to feel left out.

I can’t imagine letting my kids grow up without ever feeling disappointed . . . it’s part of life – life is not fair; you do not get everything you want; you don’t always win; you don’t get an “oh that’s OK” every time you make a bad choice – some bad choices just really are not OK. And if we as parents don’t allow our kids to feel that disappointment every now and then, how can we ever help teach them how to deal with it and move on? There is disappointment around every corner, along with all the good and fun things in our lives. Everybody needs to learn how to deal with disappointment and find the good things in our lives. We’re continuously raising a generation of kids who feel entitled . . . entitled to play the same amount of time as everyone else in a soccer game; entitled to get whatever they want to eat; entitled to get paid for everything they do, including common household chores; entitled to be constantly entertained; entitled to win everything; entitled to be constantly patted on the back for the tiniest accomplishment. You know what the “reward” for being good in the car, at the store, at the playground, is at our house? The reward is that you don’t get grounded – good behavior is expected, not rewarded. No way are my kids perfect, and neither am I - that’s why toy jail exists . . . it’s usually got something in it . . . whether it’s a Gameboy, a baby carriage, or the occasional mimi – yes, I’ve taken away the comfort blanket for an entire day and night when necessary – I know, I’m an awful parent, but it sure makes a mark on the little one’s brain about what is and is not acceptable!

So here’s my little informal poll . . . Do you stick to your punishment, even if it breaks your heart to see your child sitting on the sidelines with tears in her eyes watching everyone else eat cake at a party while she doesn’t get any? Do you always let your child win at games so they won’t feel bad? Do you reward for expected behavior, or punish for bad behavior?

The New Junk Drawer

We got our carpets cleaned yesterday – and in the process I noticed how heavy one of the rolly toy thingies was getting – a brief look in to one of the drawers and I realized it was full of junk toys – you know, Happy Meal toys, cheesy toys from the salon/restaurant, etc. Heck, my kids even get suckers from the liquor store (it’s right next to the salon – read on please). I realized it was our new junk drawer, and got to thinking – when did we become a society that believed we had to CONSTANTLY entertain our kids? Or bribe them to behave at dinner/school/church/the grocery store? We do a lot of stuff as a family – hiking, camping, the zoo, playing games, etc. . . . but at the same time, Dan and I are trying really hard to raise our kids so they don’t feel entitled to anything other than our unconditional love and to realize that they are in control of their choices and the consequenses. They have to earn things – good behavior and manners are expected, not rewarded. Bad behavior results in lost privileges.

Case in point – I took my son to get a haircut, and my daughter had to sit quietly while he got his hair cut – or so I thought. After 2 minutes, the lady cutting my sons hair said “Oh sweetie, I bet you’re bored just sitting there. Here, let me put a movie in the TV for you.” WHAT?!? Since WHEN do the kids need to watch TV for 10 minutes at the salon while their brother gets his hair cut? And then after the haircut, Jason got a toy – for getting his hair cut! He sat there for 10 minutes while she buzzed his head and somehow “deserved” a toy as the hair cutter lady said. Then Keira got upset because she couldn’t have a toy . . . I told her that we’d talked about it before we even got there and that only the kids who get their hair cut get a toy. She of course insisted that she immediately needed a hair cut then went in to the whole “but I sat so nicely the WHOLE time that Jason got his hair cut – so I think I deserve a toy, too…” bit. I went on to explain that sitting nicely is expected whether or not you’ve got a reward coming. The reward for behaving is that you’re not grounded when you get home!

Anyway, I was just thinking about the days when kids were allowed to be kids, but were also expected to behave no matter what. And if you didn’t behave – the long arm of the law (i.e. Dad) made a visit. The only time you expected anything was on the rare occasion you got to go to the bank with mom and you ended up with a Dum Dum – and oh boy, what a treat that was!

Do you remember when you were growing up and you were expected to:

  • sit at dinner in a restaurant without crayons and a menu that you could color on (mom might have pulled a pen – a red felt one if you were super lucky – and deposit slip out of her purse for you to draw on)?
  • entertain yourself on a 30 minute car ride WITHOUT a TV/iPod/GameBoy, all the while having to listen to DAD’s music of choice?
  • play outside for an entire Saturday with your friends without any parent moderating or telling you to be careful?
  • sit for 30 minutes on Saturday morning waiting to get your hair cut, then sitting for another 15 minutes during the hair cut, without the prospect of a cheesy toy at the end of the torture?

I’m only hoping that our kids enjoy the time the spend with us as well as their time without us. I love watching my kids outside with the neighbor kids, riding bike, playing baseball, pretending they’re dinosaurs – all sans parental involvement. They’ve all got to have time to learn and experience on their own while we guide them through life and it’s tough choices, right? I mean, if we never let our kids learn the tough lessons, how will they be able to make good choices as adults?

Calling All Trucks, Dolls, Tea Cups, and Matchbox Cars

One of the many decisions Hubby and I made regarding our children early on was that no personal items leave the house with them. No matchbox cars, dolls, stuffed animals, or any other toy leaves the house. Not even mimi (their favorite blanket).  This made leaving the house when they were smaller SOOO easy. We grabbed the diaper bag and were gone. No whining about which toy they can bring, crying when said toy got lost at the park, or throwing a fit when mimi got dirty at the mall and had to be washed before bed time. Now that the kids are a little older, it’s great! They never ask to bring anything, and my car is squeaky clean :-)

What’s your best tip for painless outings with the kids?