How I Mastered Parenting Forever Until I Didn’t

So when I left off last week, my five-year-old son had been in trouble for using naughty words. His excuse for using those words was that he didn’t know enough Spanish and therefore HAD to use them. 

This morning a perfect opportunity opened up for us to rehash this discussion, which was a good thing. I hadn’t felt that I had really gotten through to him in our previous discussion and had been hoping for a chance to broach the subject again in an organic way, so as not to alert his brain that he was being lectured. He’s a smart kid and if he gets the impression that he’s in trouble, then he will shut down and just say what he thinks I want to hear.

Side note: Is it even possible to “get through” to a five-year-old boy? Probably not, but I tried anyway and this is how it went.

Luke: Mom, I just feel like I’m going to be on the naughty list forever.

Me: What makes you think you’re on the naughty list?

Luke: Because I use bad words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Me: Why do you think you need to use bad words when you know all sorts of big, smart words?

Luke: Because they help me talk like I feel when I say them.

Me: Hmmm, I have an idea. Let’s make a list of your bad words and come up with other things you can say that mean the same thing, but sound nicer?

Luke: Oh Mom, you’re talking like an old man.

Me: Okay, instead of saying “stupid” what could you say instead?

Luke: Oooh, I know. I could say, “You’re fired!”

Me: Great! Okay, what about the word “hate?” That’s a really bad one. What could we say instead of that?

Luke: I’m done talking about this. Can I have a snack?

Me: No. Not until we finish. Instead of saying, “I hate this,” what could you say?

Luke: I guess I could just say somefing like, “I don’t want to be here!”

Me: Okay, great. Now let’s do one more. Instead of saying “shut up” what is something else you could say. 

Luke: You never got me a snack.

Me: That’s because we aren’t finished. Now, this is the last one. Instead of saying “shut up” you could say…

Luke: Okay. Okay. I could just say, “Hey, I don’t want to talk about this.”

Me: That’s perfect! So next time you get angry instead of using those bad words you can use the nicer words and I will still know how you feel. I’m so proud of you. 

I get up and leave the room to get him the snack I had promised when I hear him mumble, “I don’t want to be here. She is SO fired.”

Wait. Was that progress? 

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DinoTrek and Day Tripping at the Nashville Zoo

Today our whole family took a trip to the Nashville Zoo, where every time we go I’m reminded of how uncomfortable it is to walk through the gate at the same time as an obnoxious, out-of-state family. Without a doubt, you always end up walking alongside them the WHOLE TIME. Here’s a thought. It’s flip-flop weather, so cut your damn toenails. If I see one more set of toenails scraping the cement I will have to start a charity called, Pennies for Pedicures.

On a positive note, the zoo has a new exhibit called, DinoTrek and I highly recommend it. It was much more lifelike than I imagined. You can hear how much Luke enjoyed it in the video below. I decided before we went into the exhibit, that if we are teaching our son to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, then why can’t we teach him that these dinosaurs are real? So I told him they were. In hindsight, I regret that.

I had no idea it would be so scary…

…but it was. 

And, what would a visit to the Nashville Zoo be without at least one mullet sighting? This is the first one I’ve seen in 2012, but something tells me I’m not looking hard enough.

Ay caramba!

PS: When my blog posts are sent out in email form, blank spacing between words are sometimes removed. If anyone knows how to remedy that, please pass it along.

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Opryland Hotel Adventure

Our holiday cheer got a kick start over the last few days as we immersed ourselves in the grandeur that is the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. We visited the Dreamworks Madagascar Ice exhibit which was amazing in its own right. The giant ice slides at the end were a favorite of Brantley and Luke. I stayed far, far away from that slide. I was NOT going to break my by nose crashing into a block of ice.

Brantley enjoying the slide

Inside the ice exhibit it was a frigid eight degrees.  Some people wanted to take their time and see everything, but a quick walk through would’ve been good enough for me.  To my dismay, Luke was being defiant and Brantley decided to place him in timeout right then and there.  Considering the temperature I wondered who was REALLY being punished.

Time out

After the ice exhibit, we went back over to the hotel where Luke got to meet Po from Kung Fu Panda, Alex the lion, and King Julian from Madagascar, Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Puss in Boots. It was very magical, indeed. Luke also sat in Santa’s lap and told him what he wanted for Christmas.

Puss in Boots with Luke
Santa was inquiring about those fancy shoes. 

MY favorite part of the trip would’ve been the beautiful hotel itself. If you’ve never been, it’s worth the drive. Waterfalls, rivers, and tropical plants combined with streets of shopping, and restaurants, all under the same roof. We ate at the Jack Daniels restaurant after hearing very good things about it.  Two of the items I ordered off the menu plainly stated that they contained lard, to which I replied, “Yes, and yes. Thankyouverymuch!” A couple of hours later I was haunted by the ghost of my gallbladder, but it was totally worth it. Totally. Worth. It.

Out of everything he encountered on our stay, Luke’s most favorite thing was the phone in out hotel room.  “Wook, Mom! It gots a cord.”

Hope you’re all making wonderful holiday memories with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!!

Holiday Memories

This post is an oldie but a goody from a couple of years ago.  Get out the cocoa because it’s about to get warm and fuzzy up in here, circa 1988!

I have fond memories of going to pick out a Christmas tree as a child. My parents, my two sisters and I would load up in our Dodge Omni and head out to what seemed like the wilderness. Most people bought their Christmas trees from a vendor in the Kroger parking lot, or went to a tree farm, but not us. Years later I would realize that we had actually been tree thieving trespassers on some strangers land, but what the hay. It was quality time together and that’s what mattered. 

One year in particular, we found the most perfect tree. It was just right in size and shape. My Dad cut it down and strapped it to the top of our car and the five of us loaded back in. We were on our way home when my dad slowed down and pointed to a different tree on the side of the road. “I think that one might be better than the one we just picked, but I’m not sure if it’s big enough. Lori, would you go stand next to it so we can see how big it is by comparison?”

“Sure, Daddy.” My sisters and I had been singing Christmas carols in the backseat, but I was happy to stop singing and oblige my father. I even felt special that he had asked me, rather than my older sister. I jumped out of the car and ran across the dirt road. When I located the particular tree I turned around to face the car. At that moment I knew I had been set up. My entire family waved out the window at me and I could hear them laughing as my dad sped away.

I was eight years old and all alone, standing next to someone else’s tree, on someone else’s property like a big jackass. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Down the road I saw my dad backing the car up to come back and get me. I considered not getting back in, but I didn’t have a lot of options. My family had a good laugh at my expense. “You should’ve seen your face,” and “That was so funny!” was all I heard the whole way home.

“Yeah,” I thought. “Really funny”. I wish the police had driven by. I could’ve told them what happened and my parents would’ve gone to jail on Christmas. Trespassing, stealing, and child neglect- that would show them. I made the ride home as unpleasant as possible for everyone by singing Christmas carols non-stop, and at the top of my lungs. An hour and twenty minutes later we arrived home and they all clamored out of the car. I may not have abandoned them on a deserted road, but I had gotten under their skin and I took solace in that. My real revenge would have to wait, though. I knew there was a jolly fat man watching and I needed to act the part.

Flash forward about twenty years to a slight fear of abandonment. Go figure.

Ho-Ho-Hack, Cough, Wheeze-Ho!

Luke’s (18 mos) Mom’s Day Out class hosted a humorous Christmas program yesterday. It consisted of all of the kids sitting on a stage and singing Christmas carols and/or crying. Luckily my video camera was on hand to capture the riveting footage of Luke sitting in his teacher’s lap while he sucked on his fingers and/or put them in his nose.

An announcement was made that Santa would be there, but would be unable to do individual pictures because he had COPD and didn’t want to get sick. I knew Santa was getting old, but he is definitely not as magical as I remembered. I couldn’t help but wonder if Santa’s pulmonologist was on “the good list” this year. Let’s hope so.

When I picked Luke up that afternoon we headed straight to the mall to get a picture made with Santa. While waiting in line, Luke got a little antsy and had to get out of his stroller. Once free of his cumbersome wheels, he took off running. He ran directly into the North Pole exit and fast tracked it to Santa. He managed a “ho-ho-ho!” before I caught up to him and put him back in line.
About ten minutes later we got our turn, but stage fright had set in and Luke refused to look in Santa’s vicinity. I held Luke as I recounted to Santa, everything that Luke “wanted” for Christmas while Luke looked in the opposite direction, whispering “no way, no way, no way.”

I wasn’t about to get out of there without a photo op, and since Luke refused to have his picture made solely with the fat man…

…I joined in the fun.