Archive for the ‘The Rest’ Category

Yelling At A Kid Doesn’t Make You A Hero

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

This is not the post I was supposed to be writing today. Right now I am supposed to be taking pictures of my 364-day-old baby so I can post a sweet, heartfelt, sob-worthy birthday post tomorrow when he turns 1. But my baby is blissfully taking a much-needed nap while I get to sit on the couch with a Diet Coke and think about how much needs to be done before his party on Saturday.

Except instead of party planning, I am working myself into a rage for the third time this week over that story out of the diner in Maine. I have spent entirely too much time, energy and furious typing on this story already, so what’s another hour?

Sometimes my children are monsters. I'm sorry.

Sometimes my children are monsters. I’m sorry. But screaming at them is not the answer.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up here on Buzzfeed and also read the mother’s account of what happened here. Do NOT read the comments.

Although I am extremely inclined to believe the family over the diner owner, I cannot prove anything one way or another. Even in this age of social media and cell phone videos as far as I know there isn’t any footage to confirm or deny the length of the tantrum. I’ve already word-vomited my feelings about that part of the story all over Facebook, much to the distress of some of my friends’ friends who insist I can’t possibly know what I’m talking about because THEY SEE parents being bad parents ALL THE TIME. I actually hardly ever see anyone being a terrible parent and can’t remember any time vividly enough to recount it for you now. Maybe I’m not observant or maybe my threshold for “terrible parenting” is just wicked high after having three kids. But if that is something ALL these internet commenters experience ALL the time, I cannot deny it happens.

So I give up on all my previous statements, assumptions and conclusions. You are right, people of the internet. Maybe these parents were incredibly neglectful, lazy and selfish and their monster of a toddler screamed at the top fo her lungs for 40 minutes, ruining everyone else’s morning. They are horrible and completely in the wrong for not taking their kid out of the restaurant.

But the part I absolutely WILL NOT concede is that the diner owner should be congratulated or treated as some sort of hero, standing up for the rights and eardrums of all the polite, respectable people who all seem to have raised their children without a single mistake ever or who are doing us all a favor by not having children in the first place.

I will cut a paste a few congratulatory comments so you don’t have to read all 1,000+ of them yourself.

“LOL I really like this owner!”

“owner did the right thing. that’s it!”

“I think the owner had every right when the parents r sitting there making everyone pay for their child’s temper tantrum. If u can’t control a Whiney kid….Stay the hell home! When I go out the last thing I want to listen to is a whaling brat!”

“Ugh. I’d have thanked her right then. Take your shrieking spawn outside please.”

“Restaurant owner is right. Dumbass mother is wrong. Case closed.”

“As for the owner, I applaud her. Simply put, her restaurant, her rules. It doesn’t necessarily matter if she has kids of her own or not either. She acted perfectly fine.”

“I give the owner support for her so-called rude response…apparently that’s the only way to get thru to the parents…the child had given a pure example of that truth! 40 minutes of ignoring your child is rude …BE A PARENT!”

Let me just be clear here: yelling at a kid in this situation does not make you a hero.

Do you know what makes you a hero in this situation? Kindness.

Kindness, patience and sympathy, which all seem to be rarer than unicorns these days. I feel extremely lucky that most of my interactions on a daily basis fall into the “polite indifference” section of the grid rather than “angry hostility” or “crazy screaming person” areas. I appreciate anyone who lets me just go about my parenting and life business without instantly writing me and my kids off as brats, jerks, whiners, life-ruiners who don’t really deserve to be out in public at all.

My heroes are the people who help when they don’t have to. The waitress who sees that I am struggling to keep my toddler in his high chair long enough to eat my meal and brings him apple slices to gnaw on is a hero. The cashier at the grocery store who starts to talk to my whining 4-year-old to distract her is a hero. The nurse at my doctor’s appointment who holds my baby for me so I can get changed is a hero. The lady at the beach who shares her snacks with my kids so they don’t have a hunger meltdown after all the snacks I brought have run out is a hero. My definition of hero here is pretty low, but in all those situations I am as grateful as if they had saved me from drowning. In a way, that is exactly what they are doing.

Those people are heroes because not only are they doing me a huge favor and embodying the idea that it takes a village, they are demonstrating in a real, tangible way to my kids what good behavior looks like. Instead of reacting to anger and frustration with anger and frustration, they are living proof being kind and calm is a real solution. “Oh!” thinks my kid, “She is trying to communicate without throwing a fit! Maybe I should also try that!”

That is how you turn irrational, screaming babies into full-sized good people. You model the behavior you want them to emulate, in private, in public and in diners. It can take a while, years even, but there isn’t really another option. I work really, really hard every waking hour of my day to give my kids the life skills, language and emotional maturity to one day be someone’s employee, boss, wife, husband, neighbor or friend. It is a fact of human survival that babies and children are necessary to create full-grown adults, so we need to allow for them to exist, even if sometimes they are awful. Kindness is how we teach them not to be so awful.

If you tell me that because these are not YOUR kids and YOU didn’t choose to bring them into this world you have no responsibility or obligation to help me teach them to be kind, I cannot argue with you. That is totally true. You are not obligated to do any parenting, so please enjoy doing things like sleeping in, going to brunch and yelling at whoever you want. But try to remember that you – YES YOU – were once a child. If your mother or father is available, call them up and ask them to tell you about their absolute WORST parenting moment. Maybe they can remember a time someone was kind to them while they were struggling, and the next time you encounter a horrible child in public you can pay that act of kindness forward.

No, you do not have to go above and beyond for me just because I have kids. No, I am not asking for special treatment. It is just so disheartening to think that so many people hate my family just because we exist in public spaces, we have bad days, and sometimes we make noise. I swear I am doing the best that I can to raise my tiny humans into people you would be happy to sit next to in a diner. If you can show them a little kindness, you can be a hero.

I’ve been staring at this for 15 minutes now, trying to decide if it’s worth hitting publish when I am fairly certain I’ll get yelled at for my post about not yelling at people. If you feel the need to comment or share, please be kind and give me and my commenters the benefit of the doubt when it comes to judgment, entitlement, parenting styles and anything else.

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A Mom’s Real Life Guide To Stain Removal

Monday, July 20th, 2015

stain removal

Item: White t-shirt
Stain: Grass
Treatment: Dab stain with rubbing alcohol. When it’s time to wash, pour some detergent directly onto the stain before throwing it into the laundry.

Item: Pink ballet leotard
Stain: Blood
Treatment: Soak leotard immediately in cold water, then rub with a bar of soap. If it doesn’t all come out, treat with hydrogen peroxide, since a slightly pale spot on the leotard is less likely to get your yelled at by the dance teacher than an obvious blood stain.

Item: Swim trunks
Stain: Sand
Treatment: Wonder how the hell SAND can stain a pair of swim trunks. Leave in the back of your car for 2 days because you forgot them. Throw them in the once a week hot water load of laundry, cross fingers.

Item: Sparkly white tutu
Stain: Green chalk paint
Treatment: Throw it in the laundry with the regular stuff, because it’s just chalk, that should come right out. Realize the stain hasn’t even sort of come out. Spot treat with a stain stick, toss it back in the regular laundry. Realize the stain STILL isn’t out and now it probably never going to. Hide that tutu and hope your daughter never notices it’s gone.

Item: Baby pajamas
Stain: Blueberries
Treatment: Let the naked baby run around the house while you spray all the stains with OxyClean. Baby smears blueberries on everything. Forget pajamas, use a toothbrush and Resolve to scrub blueberries out of the new couch. Vow never to buy blueberries again.

Item: Batman underpants
Stain: Skid marks
Treatment: Throw them away. Kid sized underpants are cheaper than the price of your dignity.

Item: Mom’s favorite shirt
Stain: Salad dressing
Treatment: Curse the fact that you can’t just eat your salad of sadness alone for FIVE MINUTES. Instead, you eat standing in the kitchen where you will always end up with half the salad falling on your cleavage. Try rubbing it with baking soda to draw out the oil, realize it barely even matters because you can’t have nice things.

Item: Brand new Tea Collection dress
Stain: Sharpie WTF WHERE DID YOU GET A SHARPIE
Treatment: Count to 10. Count to 10 again. Count to 10 one more time. Calmly ask daughter to remove dress so you can try to get the stain out. Blot stain with vinegar and pray to every god you can think of that it comes out.

Item: Wool rug
Stain: Pizza sauce
Treatment: Move rug to the other room where the stain is hidden by a couch. Order new rug.

Item: Every pair of shorts/pants your almost 1 year old owns
Stain: Baby poop
Treatment: Give up.

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4th of July 2015

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Happy (late) Fourth of July! We went to Cape Cod, like we try to do every year. I missed 2014 because I was so pregnant I couldn’t imagine being more than 10 minutes away from the hospital. And then I didn’t have a baby for another 3 weeks. Good times.

Our Massachusetts relatives really know how to throw a party, especially if you are a kid. They rent a big inflatable water slide so I barely saw Evan or Caroline the whole day. I eventually bribed Caroline with salt water taffy to come down to the beach and take some pictures with me, but no one else fell for it.

We stayed super late this year to see the fireworks, which was a mistake. They’re fireworks. Boom, flash, oooooo, aaaaaah. And then an extra 90 minutes of traffic to get off the Cape with three incredibly exhausted children and two very tired adults. We made it home but it took me two days to recover from my completely non-drinking related hangover. I think that makes me a real grown up, which is way less fun than being not a grown up.

Please enjoy a ton of photos of our day:

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The parade every year includes a ton of the floats/marchers throwing candy. Like, tons of candy. So much candy. The lady sitting next to us was really worried about her grandkid (kid? great grandkid?) getting enough candy – and by “enough” I mean she felt like he deserved ALL the candy. She kept shoving him in front of my kids (and their cousins) and saying “You have to be faster! Don’t be afraid to get in front of kids! Grab it!”. For the record, her kid was significantly bigger than both of mine and just ONE KID who definitely did not need a zillion Tootsie rolls, Dum Dums and pieces of Double Bubble.

Since my kids aren’t allowed gum (I’m not a meanie, they just don’t understand how to now swallow it) I had them walk over to her kid and give him every piece of gum they picked up.

And then she STILL shouted at her kid to be sure to grab as much candy as possible. Some people are just not good people. I’m really glad I only had to sit next to her at a parade and not live or raise my children next to her in real life.

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This is Caroline pretending to swim. She asked me to take a picture.

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Fun with glowsticks!

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Tired, tired Caroline. Honestly I think the kids have been tired ever since. I put them to bed before dark tonight, so hopefully they sleep in and maybe we’ll have a less melt-down filled day tomorrow.

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Take Us Out To The Ball Game

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

I love minor league baseball. I mean, I love major league baseball too, if I get to actually go to the game in person. But major league baseball games are a) expensive b) far away and c) expensive, so I mostly stick to local minor league games. Our team here in town has changed names at least 3 times since we’ve lived here. First they were the Gators (maybe?), then they were The Defenders (I’m sure about that one), now they are the Connecticut Tigers. I appreciate that they make it family friendly. And cheap. Sitting in the first row right on the 3rd base line make the game much more fun for the big kids.

Poor Linc though. Baseball stadiums aren’t exactly baby-friendly, especially for a baby who just started walking and climbing steps. I felt like I spent most of the game wrestling an angry, wet badger. He did seem to like the baseball food, which kept him partially entertained. I mean, who doesn’t like licking the salt off of soft-baked pretzels?

After the game the kids got to run the bases, which they thought was neat. At the end they each got a coupon for free Ben & Jerry’s, which I think is neat, because I can make them share one scoop while I eat the other. Win win.

Photographic proof of our fun and/or eating:

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Running away…

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Linc thought this game was super fun.

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I think that mascot was hitting on my husband.

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Linc also thought this was a fun game (despite his face not looking so fun).

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Zoo Day June 2015

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

I have taken a TON of photos over the past week. I know you’re probably thinking “Um, but Suzanne, you ALWAYS take a ton of photos, why is this new information?” Really, I haven’t actually been taking photos. I’ve been trying to get used to wrangling 3 kids. It’s kind of been kicking my ass, especially in public. Even with Linc tied to my body I have a hard time, because he’s either grabbing the camera or his weight changes my center of gravity and I have a had time balancing to get interesting, in focus photos. Besides the

Besides the photo I take every day for my 365 project, I’ve hardly been doing any creative or documentary photography. This blog was built on me sharing photos of our adventures, so it’s really been suffering from that loss. Bebehblog started with a crappy point and shoot camera and evolved into somewhere I learned, shared and grew with my photography. I am hoping I can get back in the habit of documenting our lives with more than just my iPhone.

We went to the zoo with some of our favorite friends on Saturday to celebrate Z’s 4th birthday. Caroline and Z are like two animal-loving peas in a pod, so they a great time. We all did, because hanging out with friends is the best.

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You would think my kids would be over goats by now, but you would be wrong.

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Flamingo impression.

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LOOK AT THIS MONKEY. LOOK AT IT.

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New zoo exhibit: Wild Gingers.

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I just stopped in the middle of this post and thought “How did a photo of Baby Evan get in here?” The family resemblance is STRONG.

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Linc’s first time getting to ride on a horse, and an up-and-down horse at that! He loved it.

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