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Thursday, March 6th, 2014
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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
It truly is remarkable how many atrocious acts children are able to get away with, under the guise of “they’re only kids.” And frankly, I don’t think it’s fair that age should determine social etiquette. I mean, do these cretins think they’re above the law? Anyway, here is a series of infractions where I think kids (and even babies) need to mind their manners and shape up!
Blatantly throwing food on the floor
Seriously? There’s a ball right there in your hand. Throw that instead! And it’s not like macaroni and cheese even makes a satisfying noise when it hits a tile floor. I see no logic behind this senseless, selfish act. Adults could never do this as there’d be no one to clean it up.
Touching someone else for no reason
This is something that kids do without consequence until they’re about 17. Babies, toddlers, and adolescents alike have been touching people’s butts and faces for centuries without a care in the world. Adults would definitely not be able to get away with this sober.
Saying dinner is “gross”
My son often tells my wife that the dinner she prepared is “gross” or “yucky.” However, when I say the same exact thing? Suddenly it’s this major issue. Adults clearly cannot get away with blatantly insulting a chef/spouse to his or her face.
Throwing a tantrum in the mall
It seems like kids save their absolute worst, most uncontainable fits for when you’re trekking through a department store with 12 bags, a stroller, four jackets, and zero patience. But imagine an adult acting in such a manner. You bring a sale item to the register, only to discover that item is now full price. So you start convulsing on the floor and knocking down clothes racks. You would probably be banned from the mall. But if your kid did the same thing, everyone would have a hearty chuckle and go on with their day. Fair?
You’re a child, not George “The Animal” Steele. I mean, really.
Staring at boobs
If there ever were an activity that yielded either giggles or unrivaled anger, depending on the age of the perpetrator, it’s this. The rule seems to go: If you’re three, more breasts for thee. If you’re 38, here comes the hate.
Opening someone else’s gifts
We’ve all seen this. Little Emma is perfectly capable of tearing wrapping paper on her own, but Dylan is blind to that fact, callously pushing her out of the way to open a present that’s not even his! Try doing this beyond the age of 10 and suddenly, no one wants you involved in their Secret Santa.
Refusing to get dressed
Has your kid ever insisted on staying in their pajamas when you need to be out the door to get him to school so you can be on time for an important meeting? If you said “no,” then your kid is probably in utero. Every child over the age of 18 months suddenly gets very specific about when and by whom they’d like to be dressed. Such Prima donnas. Then they demand exactly 2 ½ strawberries and ¾ glass of milk with their cereal. It’s like dealing with a self-important Hollywood starlet in diapers.
Climbing on countertops/tables
Kids are like mini, drunk adults when they’re misbehaving. No clearer example of this is their constant decision to do their impression of any and every four-legged animal on the dining room table. I tried being “cute” once and joined in. My head smashed into the hanging light fixture, my knees ached, and the looks on the faces of the other people at Outback Steakhouse were definitely not encouraging.
Crying when barely injured
My 4-year-old stubbed his toe on his dresser the other day and wailed like he’d been set on fire. Incidentally, that very same dresser nearly brought me to tears a few years earlier (when I had to pay for it). But sometimes I think he’s exaggerating. There are times when he cries because his socks are too tight. He’ll make a terrific professional wrestler. Or a LeBron James.
You hear the term “double standard” thrown around quite often. But rarely is anything ever done to change it. All I’m asking is that we hold these children accountable for their butt-touching, food-throwing, gift-ruining ways. Then, and only then, will there be justice, and clean floors.
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Image: Slingshot photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
I know screamers. Baby screamers. Toddler screamers. Boss screamers. At any age, it’s not pretty. At least not to 99% of us. The exception is with parents and their offspring. Parents think their kids’ shrills are cute–but they also think the same of their child’s poop (and let them publicly defecate. In a restaurant). So they are no barometer.
We met a couple once who thought it was cute when their 2 -year old went into his high pitched screaming mode. He would do it over and over, almost like a crow squawking. They laughed at him and while maybe not encouraging the boy, it didn’t seem like they did much to dissuade him either. I don’t know what happened to the kid. I could speculate, but I won’t.
However, all my judging of kids and parents happened before I had my own. Now I still judge but in a different way (don’t we all?). I have a sweet, somewhat shy girl and a boy, who is, well, a screamer.
Emmett is 16 months and is rapidly discovering his voice. This means when he decides to test his vocals out, he nearly breaks glass. Thank god we don’t live in our Brooklyn apartment anymore. I would be horrified for my neighbors.
Here’s the kicker: when he first started doing it, I found it, well, um, ack– cute. I would laugh at him and he’d continue on. Then I realized I was becoming that oblivious, entitled parent. So I’ve started putting the kabash on it. “No Emmett,” I say, as he squawks. That word actually pisses him off and he escalates the shrieks. At this point, he’s only been doing it a few weeks and I’ve only been disciplining him for a few days. But so far, it seems to be backfiring.
So how do you stop a screamer? Especially one as little as him? Last night I was in a restaurant with him and Fia when he started. I threw his pacifier in, which at least allowed me to shove down my last few bites of food and get the hell out. But I don’t want to stop doing the things with him and Fia that we enjoy. I cringe to think of him on an airplane at this stage. 90% of the time he is such a fun easygoing little dude. And even the screaming for him is typically in a happy-hooting non-tear-ridden way.
Any tips? If I keep saying “No” is that going to make a difference? Or make it worse? He doesn’t understand timeout yet so that’s not the answer. I knew from the day he was born he was strong-willed and had things to say. I just don’t want screaming to be one of them.
Pic of toddler shouting via Shutterstock
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baby screaming, baby talk, learning to talk, screaming, toddler screaming, toddlers, vocal chords | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Friday, November 30th, 2012
Before Thanksgiving I took the kids on my own (gasp. Read about my
horrendous challenging trip down there) to see my Baba Yaga (Aunt Nancy) outside New Orleans.
Emmett had never been to her place on the bayou, but Fia had. When she was 18 months I took her down there. What a difference another 18 months makes. The first time around she almost murdered Peg and Peepers, the lovebirds. This time it was far different. She took poor little crippled Peeps under her proverbial wing. Every morning all she wanted to do was hold him, lie with him, put him on her head…you know, all the normal things people do with birds.
Granted, at times she accidentally put him in a chokehold, but alas, he did survive. And not just barely…like last time. My tot is growing up and she is learning what it really means to be gentle (sorry, I’m getting mushy with her 3-year birthday on Sunday).
Oh, there were other things too…the stuff of the swamps.
And giraffes. Wait? Huh?
The giraffes are one of 3000 animals on 900 acres of land at the Global Wildlife Park. I would say it was amazing, but, well, we did think at one point we might not survive. Baba has a bad shoulder. Emmett is 9 months old. And in our private tour we took– which consisted of a flatbed pick-up with some benches and rails but nothing else–there were moments of sheer pandemonium…and a little fear that we might get eaten, or more realistically, bitten, by a zebra…or five. We didn’t realize that by taking the private tour, you get so up and close and personal, you may not make it out alive. At least if you’re with tiny tots.
Oh, and I should also mention who our guide was: an 18-year-old kid who clearly never had been around babies, at least not while four-wheeling. He was tossing us all over the place. We would be screaming in the back as we got pushed from side to side. I’d be holding onto Emmett for dear life, while trying to fight off buffalo mouths full of saliva on one-side and elk antlers nearly blinding us on the other. All the while he’d be up front, gassing the engine and yelling to us about the difference between a black duck and a camel. Or something to that effect. I honestly didn’t hear a word he said.
All he told us before he took off was, “Zebras bite, elk have antlers that can maim and the giraffes like to get into your space.” Then he plopped a huge bucket of corn down, gave us some cups to throw feed out, and went flying. By the end, we were covered in corn dust and spit from many species and utterly tuckered. I wish I could post the video…but technology isn’t my forte and I could barely keep my son alive, much less capture pictures to show the chaos that ensued.
That day was about the perfect example of how Baba and I roll. Just like we did on our Kilimanjaro adventure…laughed through the hazardous feat. Like I said before, no one quite “gets” us, but that’s the way we like it. I do think Fia is going to have that same kindred spirit with us. And Emmett, well he just goes with everything. BEST BABY EVER. And a reminder that there’s never a dull moment in the Bayou with Baba.
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antlers, Baby Travel, baby vacation, Bayou, buffalo, elk, feed, kilimanjaro, saliva, toddlers, travel, traveling with baby, vacation, wildlife, zebras bite | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Fia Friday, Mom Situations
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
My boobs have become a secret weapon in survival. And not just because they feed my child.
When Fia came, it was all me all the time. I was drowning in her barf and tortured from lack of sleep. I became resentful that everything was put on me, even though yes, I am the mom.
Flash forward to Emmett. I am the picture of calm. That’s not an adjective you would typically use to describe me. But between hypnotherapy and the beauty of the boob, it’s a totally different scenario the second time around. Phil on the other hand seems to have postpartum frustration. He stomps around; I sit in lotus. He’s angry; I meditate. Here’s what shifted:
Fia’s melting down at dinnertime? Sorry honey, I gotta go feed Emmett.
Fia’s awake at 5:51 every morning? Sorry honey, Emmett’s hungry.
When you have the second baby, the parenting of the toddler falls more on the dad. Or at least in our house. I’m not kidding when I say that I get an extra hour-plus of sleep every morning because of this. AN HOUR. PLUS. Do you understand what that means? That’s like winning the lottery every day. I lay in bed with my little man as he nurses and we drift off to sleep. It’s heaven.
Cut to Phil downstairs with Fia screaming for Elmo, spilling orange juice and crying for eggs (Phil hates eggs and can’t make them. He claims he will barf. And we have enough barfing in our family with Em’s reflux).
At around 7 or 7:30 (the latter if I’m feeling greedy), I serenely float down and take over. Phil goes back to bed for an hour. I cook eggs, clean up the OJ and read the paper. I hold Emmett and Fia watches Sesame. Or we all play. It’s great. And to be fair, Phil wakes back up refreshed. Don’t feel too sorry for him–I’m not killing the guy.
At night, as Phil is trying to get Fia to eat, I’m sitting in the living room, a glass of wine in hand, watching the news, nursing my boy. Ahhhh… this is the life!
I’m lucky to have such a hands-on husband. I don’t know what I would do if he weren’t. But I wouldn’t have married someone who didn’t look at our relationship as a partnership of equals. I will admit that the scale is tipping a bit more in my favor lately. I’m taking it–guilt free. I carried these babies for 10 months. I endured another c-section. And I know that eventually everything circles back to the mom. This is a temporary reprieve.
When Emmett’s reflux started to increase last week I panicked. Not only because I want to breastfeed him for health reasons, but for my own personal Zen. Hell, if I keep getting these kinds of breaks, I might breastfeed him until he’s 4. Or 14.
So for all you moms out there expecting baby #2, this is my big secret—use the boob. It’s survival for us. And justified because it’s also survival for your baby. Nothing wrong with that.
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babies, barf, bottle, breastfeed, breastfeeding, formula, hypnotherapy, reflux, sesame, spit up, toddler meltdown, toddlers, wine, zantac | Categories:
Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
While I’m having a baby pulled out of my belly (not my vag–by choice), I figured I’d schedule a post for fun. Don’t worry, I did this before I went to the hospital. They aren’t allowing me to blog in the Operating Room!
1. Looking for my sunglasses while they’re on my head.
2. Looking for my cell phone while I’m talking on it.
3. Running into a cabinet and breaking my nose (that was my first pregnancy with Fia).
Not a pretty sight
4. Running into a cabinet and giving myself a black eye (that was this pregnancy—a few weeks before delivery. No photo unfortunately.)
5. Irrational Fear of Spiders.
Also: Breaking countless bowls, wineglasses (maybe because I’m bitter since I can’t drink?), and dishes.
Parents did a funny bit on this subject you can link to here. Tell me your best baby-brain moments!
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baby, baby born, baby boy, breaking nose, c-section, delivery, irrational fears, irrational pregnancy fears, pregnancy, pregnancy brain, pregnant, spiders and pregnancy, toddlers | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Have Baby, Will Travel, Moving Mid Pregnancy, Moving to Los Angeles