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A Busy Mom’s Guide to School Drop-Off

October 27, 2011 18 comments

Necessary Tools:

  • Armored Car
  • Sling Shot
  • Bull-Horn
  • Ear Muffs
  • Defensive Offensive Driving Handbook
  • “I Brake for Crossing Guards” bumper sticker

When preparing for battle, one must have the necessary tools and a solid strategy.  Elementary school drop-off is no less than war.  The meek do not survive (or their kids are late).  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Know Your Allies – Some inexperienced soldiers think that the crossing guard is the enemy, since she can bring a group of over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, stressed out parents to a grinding halt with her long-range stop sign.  Wrong people!  She keeps our kids safe at frequent risk to herself!  Make friends with her, smile and wave every morning, give her extra space and give her an eye contact check before proceeding.  The next thing you know, she will let you slide by, before she allows the 5 minute parade of scooters, bikes and strollers. 
  • Know Your Enemies – They are any parent who thinks their kid is more important than yours or that where they are headed next trumps your next destination.  They park to close to the right hand turn into school, blocking traffic and requiring you to make crazy swerving maneuvers to get around them.  Another enemy is anyone who disregards the crossing guard – shoot them dirty looks.  If possible, use a bull horn to shame them publicly.  In dire circumstances (or with the repeat offenders) do not be afraid to sling shot your cold Starbucks at their car***.  Hey, your coffee wouldn’t be cold, if they followed the program.
  • Practice Offensive Driving – I use my large SUV (or armored car as I call it from 7:40 – 7:55 am) as a child safety device.  I purposely drive 25 mph (the speed limit in a school zone!!) to slow down the other speed demons who are a danger to the kids.  If they tail gate me, I slow down to 23 mph.  It’s “offensive” driving because I find their disregard for children’s safety offensive.
  • Set The Example – My elementary school actually has quite a well-thought out drop-off plan that works when people respect it.  Set the example, work with the program, not against us.  Drop your kid and keep moving, don’t stop to chat while taking space for another little pumpkin trying to get out of the car safely.  Take notice that the darling children who open your car door to let your kids out say ‘have a nice day’ every. single. time.  Thank them!  And tell those sweets kids to have a nice day too!
  • Have a Back-Up Plan – There are days… oh there are days… when the enemy pushes you too far.  What you normally refer to as ‘silly drivers’ in front of your children starts to sound more like an Ice-T album.  Just use the ear muffs!  Don’t let your child hear you lose it!  If you forget the ear muffs, crank your radio and try to swear under your breath.
  • Believe in Karma – I believe in karma and know that karma hangs out with the sheriff and CHP.  One of those three musketeers will catch up with the insane drivers.

In a  delightful twist of demon driving fate, I just opened the following email from our principal:

Please remember to be courteous to students, parents, and staff when picking up your children. It is inevitable that you will have to sit in traffic during drop off or pick up. We ask for your kindness and patience during these times.”

I love our principal, she is a charming lady who carries herself with class and tact.  Her message is perfect and reminds me why I am not the principal, because I would have sent the following:

“It is freaking alarming that some parents show such a blatant disregard for the safety of others.  To those parents that think their time is more valuable than others, think again.  If you have a legitimate time constraint, arrive at school earlier!  Remember, the person you cut off today may turn out to be the one hosting your child for a playdate tomorrow or teaching your child to read in class while you’re causing mayhem on the road!

***Because the world is a ridiculously litigious place, I must inform you that this post is for entertainment purposes only.  I do not encourage or condone any acts of violence or vandalism towards another motorist, even the stupid and selfish ones.  Follow the law!  Especially the one that tells you to drive 25 mph in a school zone and obey all traffic rules!

Parenting Handbook – Meals

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I got the BRILLIANT idea of writing a “parenting handbook” in which I would pass on my super secret, full-proof parenting wisdom.  If this feels like a to-good-to-be-true gimmick, then you’re on the right track!  NONE of my parenting advice is full-proof and it is rarely wise, but I’ll share it with you anyways for the amazing low price of $20.00 – that’s the price of my co-pay on my kids therapy, from being subjected to my “wise” advice.

Because I have SO much wisdom to share, I will break it down into sections, starting with meals.  Meals are tough in our house.  I think this is because I am a control-freak and try too hard to prove how great of a mommy I am (a-hem) by getting my kids to eat what I think they should, when I think they should.  So here’s how you do it:

  • Eating games: Show me how a dinosaur eats (and every other possible animal)  This will not teach great table manners.  As it turns out Dinosaurs and other “cool” animals are VERY messy eaters!
  • Reverse psychology: “Do not eat your chicken because I really liked it and I am going to eat yours when I finish mine”.  The problem with this approach is the possibility of, “Here you go mom…”
  • Fun with counting: “I bet you can’t count all the bites you can eat!”  This is my crowning glory as I get my kids to eat and can check off working on their numbers.  I am huge multi-tasker, so the only way I could improve this is to incorporate reading or social skills.  Hmm… 
  • Cool names.  Turkey Lurkey is one of their favorites and it’s chicken, not turkey.  We have confused our share of waiters and dinner guests with our secret code names for food.

When these fail (absurd as that may seem…) here is Plan B (read the fine print):

The following is meant for entertainment purposes only.  Use of the below tactics is done at your own risk. 

  • Negotiation: “I’ll give you $5 to eat your whole dinner”
  • Fear: “Your friend Aiden barfed one night because he didn’t eat his dinner…” (I really used that one in a less than spectacular parenting moment)
  • Proximity: Duct tape the little darling to the chair until dinner is done.
  • Supply and Demand: Starve them for a few days, then they are bound to eat just about anything.
  • Peer Pressure: All the cool kids are eating this.
  • Listen to Their Bodies: Feed them whatever they want.  If they are craving it, their body must need it.

What other parenting challenges would you like for me to solve?  I am taking requests! 😉

It's what my body needs Mom!

Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs

September 8, 2010 3 comments

My husband walked into the kitchen after we put our kids to bed and found me serving up a bowl of ice cream and stealing part of my kids homemade ice cream sandwich.  He looked at me, recognized the seriousness of the situation and kept walking.  He knew his life was in jeopardy if he tried to stop me or reason with me.  He understands the “Mommy’s Hierarchy of Needs” based very loosely on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Based on how tough of a day I have had, I have different needs for coping.  Here is the graphical representation:

As you can see, from the scientific diagram above, there are 5 levels of need.  Within each level, the amount needed to cope can vary based on the severity of the day.  Sweets is level one, but one M&M is a good day compared to a whole chocolate cake which is a catastrophic day.  The most rare and severe level is a shot.  If the day requires a shot, alternative child care should be arranged!

However, the pyramid can also represent exceptional days, where each level would denote the amount of celebration appropriate for the occasion.

With good days and bad days, levels can be combined to most accurately represent the situation and mommy’s psychological state.  For example, a shot and a cupcake means that the principal, poop and stitches were involved.

So as not to discriminate, I will put together Daddy’s Hierarchy of Needs in a future post.

The “Real” Me

August 26, 2010 8 comments

I attended my daughter’s preschool  back to school night this evening.  This means, getting to know a new group of parents, some of which have their oldest in preschool.  New parents always worry me because they may not have given up their ideals and sanity yet.  They say admirable things like, “How do we know what our kids learned in school today so I can ask my child about it?”  I respect this, but the easy way out is “what did you do, what did you learn and what was your favorite part”?  They are still trying to do everything right (bless their hearts).  I have to say, all of the moms I met seem very nice and down to earth, but time will tell who is as off-balanced as me.  I have decided to show them the “real me” as early as possible in hopes of bringing them to the dark-side of reality parenting.  Or maybe they are already there…

Last summer, there was an evening when I had too much to liquid fun and I was acting like a child.  I was throwing food at my friends (trying to start a food fight, not out of malice) and generally acting silly.  My husband was getting irritated with me (how could this be?!) .  I turned to my group of friends and proclaimed, “This is the real me!”.  I will never live that quote down, but I have also embraced it in many ways.  Here’s more about the “real” me.  Yes, it’s another list of confessions.

  • I loathe the idea of owning a dog.  My kids want one very badly and I am dead set against it.  When I hear dog, I think hair, fleas, chewed up furniture, doggie breath and more responsibility.  It is a threat to my precarious life balance.  Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs – when they belong to other people!  I am also not a huge fan of overnight dog guests, but have made exceptions for my dearest friends. (Devon – I am high-fiving you right now).
  • I let my kids eat food they have dropped on the ground (there’s no dog to clean it up).  Correction, I tell my kids they have to eat what they drop, because I am not giving them more.  Now, this is only in my house, when the floors are reasonably clean, and maybe outside if it’s not too public of an area…
  • I love the idea of playdates that involve cocktails.  I NEVER drink when I am responsible for someone elses children AT ALL and I never have more than one if my husband is out-of-town.  This is not a joke and if you drink while watching my kids, you will learn about mama bear.  But, if you bring your little one over in the afternoon and you’re staying and want to have a beer with me, that is my kind of playdate!
  • I am perfectly comfortable letting my children’s teachers be responsible for their learning.  I will do all the homework and read to them, but frankly, I am exhausted at night and do not feel compelled to do extra credit as a mom.  I am glad there are professionals to ensure my kids are brilliant.
  • I recycle, but I drive a diesel SUV, do not compost, never made my own baby food, use disposable diapers and pull-ups and loved having drugs to ease the pain of labor.
  • I bake the bread for church, but mostly to make up for how often I miss Mass (meaning mostly absent) and to see a friend who I never get to see unless it is baking time.
  • I don’t like cold water so I spend more time watching my kids swim than swimming with them.
  • I cannot do math.  Period.

What’s the real you?  You can tell me, I promise to use a fake name when I blog about it! 😉