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Friday, December 6th, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. Author of the dark comedy fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” Joe is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
I lie to my children. Pretty much daily. You probably do, too. It’s not that we do it maliciously. We don’t wake up every morning thinking, “Today, I will lie through my teeth to my children.” But we do it anyway. It just happens. In fact, we lie to everyone, most of the time with good intentions. For instance, just this morning a co-worker asked what I did for Thanksgiving and I answered, “Just sat home.” That’s totally not true. Hell, I wasn’t even in my home state. I just didn’t feel like explaining it. Technically, I lied. But frankly, this is nothing compared to the blatant mistruths I spew at my sons.
I’m going to venture a guess that most of you have said these at some point. But here’s a list of common phrases I tell my kids that stretch the truth a bit, or a lot.
I’m not gonna tell you again.
I say this regularly. And immediately regret it. Because I most certainly, absolutely, no-doubt-about-it am going to tell him again. Pretty much immediately after I tell him I won’t. In fact, I say it about 16 more times, on average.
I will totally stop this car and leave you on the side of the road.
I mean, that would just be crazy, and definitely illegal. Just to keep them guessing, though, I start slowing down and look towards the shoulder, so they think I’m serious. But the fact that I’d never be evil enough to actually do it makes this a lie.
I’m in charge here.
I wipe their butts, change their diapers, feed them appetizing meals according to their personal taste preferences like they’re czars….and I’m in charge?
I don’t care if you cry; you’re not getting it.
Crying always changes things. Even if we try to resist. Try, just try, not to bend a little bit when a child cries for something. I have a son with a soy allergy. I refused to give him a cookie because of it. Then the waterworks started and before you could say “chocolate chip,” he had a mouthful of soy.
I’ll give you to the count of 3 to sit in that chair.
Okay, let’s get something straight. Counting to 3 by saying “1….2………2 1/6….2 1/3…..I’m serious here….I will totally say it…..okay, here it comes…..3!” This is not counting to 3. This is counting to 15, taking the scenic route.
Santa is watching.
If Santa is watching, and can hear and see everything we’re doing, why do we need to send him a list of things we want him to bring us? Is he just not paying attention? Is he hard of hearing? This is a clear plot-hole. And sometimes I tell them, “I’m going to tell Santa and make sure he takes a toy off your list!” Is he watching or do I need to inform him of things? I need to get this one straight.
I’m never letting you _______ again.
Talking in absolutes with children is never a good idea (see what I did there?). Saying you’re never going to let them play with a specific friend of theirs or take them to a certain restaurant because he acted like a complete goon there last time you went is incredibly unrealistic. And it makes you look like a tool when, inevitably, you go back on your word. So I’ve started to say things like, “That’s it. We’re never eating ice cream in the winter on a Tuesday again!” Narrows the scope and makes lying about 70% less likely.
You probably didn’t realize you were such a liar. Trust me, I didn’t either until I compiled this list. But don’t worry, the real silver lining here is that the vast majority of these lies are told to our children before their long-term memory is fully formed. So the only ones who will remember the lies will be us! And I can live with the guilt if you can.
I’m sure there are more to add to this list. So share some of yours! Add a comment below with your standby phrases that end up being lies! And follow me on Twitter for more conversation @JoeDeProspero and to let me know a topic you’d like written about in a future blog. Tweet me with the hashtag #blogtopic. And, as always, feel free to share this blog with a friend who you think would enjoy it!
* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
For more laughs, check out these hilarious (and true) parenting quotes. Then, take our quiz and find out what your parenting style is.
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Friday, October 11th, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the fiction novel “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and will be releasing an uncensored parenting humor book in 2014. He currently lives in New Jersey and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
I live with my in-laws. On purpose. Meaning, I willingly packed my bags and set up residence under the same roof that covers my wife’s parents. Some people would say it was a foolish, illogical self-inflicted attack on my own privacy and sex life. But whether you agree with those people or not, at least hear the reasons why I did it (you can still call me an idiot later, if you like).
Back in early 2011, my wife Sonia and I were living in a two-bedroom ranch. Our son Antonio was about to turn two and my wife was four-months pregnant with our second son, Nate. Looking around, we were running out of space quicker than the last person to sign your high school yearbook. The writing was on the wall (quite literally, actually). We needed to move. Sonia tentatively looked at me and said, “My parents have offered to have us move in with them. They have more space and will already be helping to watch the kids. I think it makes sense.”
I didn’t answer for at least 15 seconds. I let the concept sink in. I considered the implied benefits as well as the worst case scenarios that went along with it. I created a pros and cons list in my head that was both comprehensive and realistic. Then, as I was fully immersed in contemplation, I remembered how stupid it would be to disagree with a pregnant woman. So, the weekend that Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey (naturally), we rented out our ranch and threw caution to the wind (and trust me, with the hurricane, there was plenty of wind). There was no turning back…
Before I go any further, I want to make it perfectly clear that my in-laws are great people. They both left South America and took chances on achieving successful lives in the U.S. when they were young, and both love my children more than Garfield loves lasagna. But, of course, sharing living quarters with anyone can be awkward, no matter how “compatible” you are. Because home is where your true self creeps out. Home is where your quirks are amplified, where the words that have been bottled up in your head all day come spilling out, for better or worse. And, let’s be honest, home is typically where bodily functions are free to let themselves be seen and heard as well. The expression might be, “Home is where the heart is.” But more accurately, “Home is where the fart is.” For me, I would change that to, “Home is where you duck into the nearest bathroom to release all sounds and odors while running the faucet as loudly as possible.” Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, though. No matter how close you are with your in-laws, there’s always a level of formality there that you don’t have with your own parents.
If I had to summarize my experience living in a multigenerational household, I’d say the highs are high and lows are low. The most significant benefit, of course, is the help we get with our sons. Everything from picking my boys up from school, taking them to doctors appointments when we’re at work, and plenty in between, my in-laws do it. I’m well aware that some people likely think we’re spoiled rotten having this live-in assistance, but to just assume we’re living in the lap of luxury is short-sighted and uninformed. Everyday, we all help each other. It’s a two-way street. We split living costs. When we have a party, they help out. When they have a party, we help out. We’re a team. Simple as that. And for all four adults in the house, there are sacrifices made. For me personally, those sacrifices have been costly at times. If you’re currently heading toward this situation, this is the part you need to consider.
Your ego. Your pride. Your privacy. Those are the items you need to leave at the front door once you move into a house that doesn’t have your name on the deed. Admittedly, I’m two years into this living situation and I still occasionally struggle with these obstacles. It might sound simple, but swallowing your pride and accepting that you’re a “guest” in your own quasi-home is no easy task. I never imagined I’d be in my 30s, married with children, yet still not technically the “man of the house.” Also, there’s something inherently uncomfortable about sleeping with someone’s daughter a mere two bedrooms away from them. Married or not, it makes you feel like you’re 14 and pretending to do homework together. And good luck ever ironing naked again. Sadly, that’s off the table.
Aside from the privacy you lose, another thing that must be considered is consistency. You now have four adults collectively raising a child. Four adults who individually have their own respective ideas on how a child should be nurtured, how much sugar they should have in their diets, how much television they should be allowed to watch, etc. It’s not easy. You just have to be fortunate to where the differences in approach aren’t drastic enough to cause a divide between you and your child’s grandparents, or even worse, you and your spouse. So, before you even start your new living arrangement, be sure to have a collective conversation about diet, discipline, and overall direction for your kids (as well as a layout of expected responsibilities). You’ll see that if you don’t, it makes for some pretty uncomfortable moments later on.
When you make the decision to move in with your parents or your spouse’s parents, it is one of the last decisions you’ll make for the foreseeable future that isn’t a decision by committee. Because everything from picking out a Christmas tree to the temperature in the house is no longer a two-person judgment call. I like my Christmas trees tall, English is my first language and I sweat if it’s warmer than 72 degrees in the house. My in-laws are, you guessed it, the exact opposite. I feel bad saying anything so I end up sweating while decorating a tiny Christmas tree, utterly lost and confused as my wife’s family tells jokes in Spanish.
But at the end of the day, what makes it all worthwhile is that it’s temporary and you’re doing it for your children. They may never thank you for it, but if you ever find yourself awkwardly spraying a deodorizer as your mother-in-law walks into the bathroom after you’ve destroyed it with your nastiness, know that you’re breaking down that fourth wall for the greater good of your kids. Despite all the awkwardness, that’s all that matters. So, should you decide to bite the bullet and add some more place settings to the dinner table, be prepared for growing pains, but rest assured that you’re enriching your children’s lives by allowing them to grow up so close to their grandparents. And that, my friend, is worth sweating over.
Are you in a similar situati0n or considering it? Join the conversation and add a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.
* Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Revelation: Christmas is best with no company!
Revelation: I’m a homebody.
Revelation: I generally don’t like people staying with us…especially over Christmas.
If you didn’t notice, I totally checked out. Why? Because I was having the most enjoyable time with Phil, Emmett and Fia. I just decided to disappear. Poof.
This year I wasn’t pregnant, we didn’t have a newborn, we weren’t traveling, and we didn’t invite anyone to visit. And guess what? It was, hands-down, the most enjoyable Christmas to date. It may even trump our Christmas adventure pre-kids to Mali, West Africa in 2007.
Yes, the extreme adventure-travel girl, people-person and people-pleaser in me just took a massive break. It was our first “staycation” and I gotta say, it was amazing.
Phil and I both realized what it means to have our own family, our own tradition, and to frankly be selfish about it.
It’s not that we don’t love our families, but just having an entire week where each day we’d wake up with the kids and say, “What should we do today?” was simply blissful. To not be mopping and sweeping up after company or planning meals or dealing with drama–that inevitably comes with family–was relaxing beyond belief.
We went on glorious hikes, we took family naps, we went to the beach and the desert. We saw friends. We watched movies. I now understand why the word ”family tradition” was invented. We now have ours.
Em on his new trike. His feet don’t quite reach, but he loves it anyway! A good gift to grow into.
Fia’s grandpa made her a beautiful doll bed. Santa brought her favorite friend, Olivia. Between the two gifts, she has been entertaining herself for days. I love to watch.
Olivia needs lots and lots and lots of naps. Even though Fia doesn’t want to take them herself. (BTW–this is the only picture where I think she actually looks like me. Fia, not the pig.)
A-Wayne in a Manger. (get it? The cat? He’s in the manger?)
Christmas dinner, and drinking wine from my friend Kerstin Walz, who launched her own wine label this year, Stark Wine. It is delicious. I sent it out as Xmas presents to those in my life who appreciate good wine.
Having dinner with good friend Jenn Lee. Phil is there too, but he is taking the picture. Obviously. Goal: try not to over-explain in the New Year. Like I just did.
Nothing better on a Christmas day hike than your baby falling asleep on your back. Delicious.
This may be one of my favorite pictures of Fia to date. Notice the rodent hat and the sparkly shoes. Phil graduated from Madison, so naturally he was hoping for a Badgers win in the Rose Bowl. Didn’t happen, but at least he had his best cheerleader with him.
Okay, so below is when things got really adventurous. Mid-week we decided on a whim to go to Death Valley. That blog is coming tomorrow, so check back. Here’s a sneak peek:
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Amargosa hotel, Badgers, christmas, company, Death Valley, doll bed, drama, family tradition, Olivia the Pig, Rose Bowl, santa, Stark Wine, staycation, vacation, visitors, Wisconsin Badgers | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Cynthia Roelle, mom to a 2-year-old daughter and award-winning photographer, shares a great gift idea that travels the world.
With the holidays fast approaching, Jill asked if I’d like to write something about my charm bracelet. Giddy with the thought of enticing others to start their own charm bracelets, I was more than happy to oblige. Now it’s 2:45 in the morning, my brain is fried, and I’m questioning my enthusiasm. But here goes:
I love my charms. I started my bracelet about 10 years ago when my husband and I moved to Germany. Over the years I’ve traveled the world with it. I’ve planned trips to augment it. I’ve lost it. I’ve found it. I wrecked my friend’s BMW for it. (Not my fault!) I even ran across a country for it.
Okay, so Liechtenstein is itty-bitty, but run across it I did. Our course meandered from the Austrian to the Swiss border through a spectacularly beautiful Alpine valley. It was a memorable and fun eight miles, though purely a ruse to get my friends excited about a 500-mile round trip for a half-inch blob of silver. Fortunately, Liechtenstein was charm-friendly.
It’s a quest to find the quintessential charm for each place I’ve been. A gondola from Italy, an elephant from Thailand, a Taweez (talisman) from Iraq, and a Ganesh from India are among my favorites.
The most coveted are those with moving parts—the hula girl with the grass skirt that swishes and sways; the windmill with blades that turn; the beer stein with the lid that opens and closes; the Swiss cowbell with a miniature clapper so inordinately noisy I had to glue it down.
My bracelet is a travelogue of all the places I’ve visited. It’s a transportable collection. An instant conversation starter.
It pains me to admit this, but my beloved charm bracelet is also bothersome beyond belief. It’s heavy, for one. A no-joke one-arm workout. And it jangles to the point of distraction, for another.
It also pokes rakes my wrist if I wear it more than an hour or two. But the worst part is that it gets caught on everything. The darn Minoan Goddess with her pointy little snakes-that-may-as-well-be-fish-hooks is the principal offender. Clearly I’ve offended her highness. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve gotten my arm hung up in some impossible position…I’d buy more charms.
Collecting them is oh-so-much fun. In fact, I have not one, but two charm bracelets. Apparently I’m into self-torture. I justify it though because I had no choice but to split out the domestic and international charms when I could no longer lift my wrist. I know, it’s a terrible problem to have.
I’ve charmed numerous friends, Jill being one of them, into starting bracelets of their own. And when Fia was born, I bought her a bracelet and her very first charm. I think (and Jill agrees) that it’s a sweet and unique baby gift! Think holidays, everyone!
Of course, I’ve also started collecting charms for my daughter. She’s only 2, so I haven’t mapped out the details. And she hasn’t been to 40 countries like I have. Yet. I don’t know if I’ll save them up and give them all to her when she turns a certain age (I imagine her opening the box and squealing with delight), or if we’ll collect them together on our family’s travels. Both options hold appeal.
Either way, I look forward to sharing many charm adventures with my daughter.
If you, too, share a love for charms, tell me about your collection. Or if you’re interested in starting a charm bracelet of your own but have questions—from where to find charms to how to attach them—leave a comment and I’ll tell you what works best for me.
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Airplane, baby on plane, bracelet, charm, charm bracelet, christmas, gift, Holiday, jewelry, present, silver, tradition, travel | Categories:
Cynthia's Guest Blog, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, December 26th, 2011
Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between. Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!
Christmas is funny with a tot. On the one hand, the holiday has so much more meaning to me since I get to see it through her eyes. On that same note though, because I’m seeing it through her eyes, I understand why no parent should waste their time making too big of a production.
I knew she wouldn’t totally “get” that she wakes up on this day and has presents from a red old fat guy. However, for my sake, we still wanted to create a holiday as if she understood.
Christmas Eve Phil and I were up late, assembling the trampoline and the easel for her. We put all the gifts under the tree. We drank Eggnog (well, I did. Phil drank Chimay). We listened to Christmas tunes. I loved it. (Granted, growing up, my family Christmases were highly dysfunctional, so the opportunity to do it right is kind of a cool milestone for me personally.)
The Night Before Xmas....
On Christmas morning, she came downstairs with us, saw the toys and the gifts, and made a beeline to the television. ”Sesame Street,” she said, pointing. Bah humbug. We both cracked up. We had it coming. We managed to distract her long enough to get her to jump on the trampoline then open some of the gifts, but it was the end of the day before all were opened. I’m glad I didn’t put gobs of time into it. Seems like you would just be setting yourself up for disappointment.
But still, I consider it a perfect day. We all took a 2-hour nap. Heaven. Then a 2-hour hike, followed by a delicious dinner. You don’t get many days in life like this. I’ll take it.
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