Posts Tagged ‘ holidays ’

My Latest Annoyance: Parenting In Excess

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

I had two graduations in my life. One in high school, one in college. So what is with the “preschool graduation,” “kindergarten graduation,” “second grade graduation,” “fifth grade graduation,” and “junior high graduation?” I am not there yet, since Fia is just now in preschool, but I can tell you one thing: it’s going to annoy the sh-it out of me when it’s our turn.

I think the last two decades have been an exercise in indulging our children. From our consumerism when it comes to the holidays (read my rant) to the idea that when playing sports, no one loses anymore. “Oh hooray for us!! We are all winners!!!” In my Participation Awards blog post, I brought this up because sometimes it’s hard to resist all the indulgence. But really, when trophies and medals are given out to both teams so that no kid “feels bad,” I say suck it up and toughen up. You think teaching your kids never  to lose is smart and useful preparation for life? I don’t know what candy-coated life you live in, but it ain’t mine, nor most of ours.

Speaking of candy…I read another mom’s blog called Rage Against the Minivan. Kristen Howerton’s hilarious rant about all the “new” holidays that set your kids’ expectations for more gifts–like candy–got me thinking about all these “graduation” issues, sports issues, and of course my own annoyance at the holiday toy overload.  They all stem from the same line of thinking: spoil and shield your kid from what’s real. Since I’m already having a crappy week, I figured I’d just continue to rant about it all.

Her take on St. Patrick’s Day is spot on. Her kids came home from school with the expectation of receiving chocolate coins from an elf. Seriously?  I mean, will it ever end?

This year at Fia’s preschool I didn’t even know it was Valentine’s Day. And luckily we were out of town so I didn’t have to deal with anything. But when we came back, there was a huge basket of cards for her from her “friends.” Written of course, from the parents of the kids she plays with. Okay, that’s sweet. But just like in Kirsten’s piece, I found some parents had put together gift bags of candy. I’m sorry, but that’s just not cool. It raises the bar for anyone who cares (I don’t, so knock yourself out. You’ll get a handmade doily from Fia every year that I don’t whisk her off to Hawaii during holiday weeks. That’s it.), but it also sets a precedent. One that is embedded in an already monstrous problem facing our society: obesity. Okay, okay, I get it. You think I’ve gone too far to equate a Valentine candy bag with obesity. But the snack epidemic is already out of control in this country and gift bags of candy don’t help.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in Parents Magazine by Sally Kuzemchak:

Obesity experts now believe that the frequency of eating, not just bigger portion sizes, is also to blame for the uptick in calorie intake for kids and grown-ups alike. “Our children are being offered food at every turn,” says Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. And adding just one extra snack each day can make a big impact. In fact, it’s possible that obesity is driven by as little as 165 extra calories a day for kids ages 2 to 7, say researchers at both Harvard and Columbia universities. That’s roughly the amount in a handful of potato chips.

…Or a bag of Valentine’s Day candy. Or chocolate coins left by leprechauns.

I don’t know what the solution is because it would truly take a village–where everyone is in agreement–to stop this madness; to stop creating indulgent children who have no perspective when they grow up and face the real world. I’ve seen the results in my extended family. It’s not pretty. But the village mentality won’t work. The addiction to consumerism and more, more, more is just too great.  I guess the only way is to try and shield my kids from all the excess. Ironic, since so many parents are doing the opposite: they are shielding their kids from real life. I wonder, who will grow up with the better coping skills?

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Milestone Monday: Christmas 2011

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 Morning

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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Milestone Monday: The 2-Year Check Up

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Fia had her 2-year old checkup last week here in LA. I loved her new doctor, Dr. Iyer, at Glendale Pedatrics. She walked in, sat down and said, “Tell me everything from the day she was born.” Wow, I thought, I get the doc for 5 hours. Ha. I gave her the synopsis of her little life and she asked questions, took notes and just seemed very engaged. Not rushed at all.

Fia is developing fine, physically and verbally. No red flags. She said the hypochondria is probably a combination of attention seeking + knowing her body parts, which is very exciting to kids this age. I can ignore a little more, (since right now I immediately go and “kiss” the hurt area), and tell her not everything has to always hurt. Seems logical.

A few reminders she pointed out that I have to stay aware of: toddler safety. Phil and I tend to get a tad complacent, thinking, “well, she knows better than to…(fill in blank).” And for the most part she does. But she is still a tot, so we have to be hyper vigilant. For example, sometimes I’ll let her eat while watching Sesame Street and I’ll be out of eyesight in another room cooking. The doc gently reminded me that humans can choke on just about anything. Even a raisin (I have looked over to Fia before in her highchair and seen a mouth full of them). We always need to sit with our babes while they eat and not leave them unattended. Remember: choking is silent.


–Plants, including Poinsettias, are poisonous. I knew they were to cats, but I didn’t know they were to us as well.

–Toilets: This is the age where she may start to throw things in the toilet (gross). And along with that, toddlers may reach in to retrieve their toy and fall in since they are head-heavy.

–Make sure chords on our blinds don’t loop. Cut them so they dangle down individually.

–Secure cabinets. Two ounces of perfume contain enough alcohol to kill a small child. Mouthwash too, as it’s 85-95% alcohol.

–Stove top: cook on the back burners of your stove if your toddler is around while you’re cooking. I know Fia can almost reach the front burner now. Also, turn your pot handles inward, so they can’t grab it and pull, potentially spilling boiling water on them, etc.

–Helmets: we are thinking of getting Fia a tricycle for Christmas. From the very beginning make them wear a helmet. You want to develop a life long habit on this one.

And for my own fun, here are her stats:

Weight: 25.4 pounds (30th percentile)

Height: 34 inches (50th percentile)

Head Circumference: 19.25 inches (83rd percentile).

Some helpful websites for safety issues as well:

Picture of doctor and baby via

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