Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Post Where I Admit I've Really Got Nothing to Complain About

Occasionally I'll tune in to a show like Super Nanny. You know the one where a fuller version of Mary Poppins shows up in a black cab straight outta London to a home where the children run roughshod over their parents. She delivers instructions in a British accent and there is much less singing involved. Or magic. Or jaunty chimney sweeps. Honestly? The children and I watch it together because even my own kids cannot believe how horribly some of these children misbehave. "Misbehave" is cute. They're more like incorrigible and wild. And the parents? Have reached their wits end. Usually evidenced by the tufts of hair they've pulled out of their heads. And friends? I don't feel the least bit sorry for them [the parents]. Because they've created the chaos they are dealing with.

They didn't do enough setting of the boundaries. Or enough putting of the foot down. Or of the following through. What they have done is a disservice to their children.

Let me throw a for instance right smack into the middle of your Tuesday morning [you're welcome]: I once casually followed a woman around Target. Why? Because I wanted to see if she would really follow through with counting to ten and then getting in the car. Her son was busy in the back of the shopping cart throwing the grand mal tizzy to end all tizzies; hurling objects to and fro [also interchangeable with hither and yon]; basically acting like your average terrible two. Except he was about five. It was around the time that she had threated to "count to ten and then they were going to get in the car and I mean it!" for about the fourth time [at least that I heard] when I grew curious if she did, in fact, mean it. After she'd made the threat several times over, and by then had counted to infinity times pi squared; I finally grew bored with the scenario and, frankly, had run out of shopping to do.

I left. They did not. For all I know she's still there. Counting and threatening. And bobbing and weaving.

If she had executed the threat as issued THE FIRST TIME she would probably find her future shopping trips immensely more enjoyable. And less bang your head against a wall worthy.

I'm a follow through-er. In the past I have more than once done the following:

  • Abandoned a cart full of groceries in the market
  • Had our meals wrapped up to go mid-meal
  • Stepped out of an assembly or school play
  • Left a carnival dragging a toddler and disappointing the rest of the family in attendance
  • Left a movie theater
  • Sent one or more of my children to their room FOR THE ENTIRE DAY
My children:
  • Go to bed on time without fuss and without utilizing stall tactics
  • Take their baths and/or showers when instructed to do so
  • Wake up in the morning when told albeit with some grumbling but they're awake and out of bed
  • Wear what I tell them to wear [Except for Boy-Child#1 who's eleven but I do buy his clothes so his choices are the options I've given him]
  • Eat their breakfast [I like to get their day started with a sugar rush; Trix and donuts anyone? Plus eggs. For protein, you know] and are ready for school on time
  • Do not watch tv, play video games, or use the computer in the morning before school
  • Do not play video games on school nights
  • Are not allowed to play outside until their homework is finished and checked
Work in progress:
  • Food. Variety. Getting them to expand their meal horizon. All three are picky eaters. But so is their father [I'm looking at you Mr. Farklepants] so basically I'm fooked.
  • Sibling rivalry. The fighting. Oy vey, the fighting. Fortheloveofgod
If the Super Nanny can swoop in with a few valid suggestions and everyone lives happily ever after then it goes to show: Do what you say and say what you mean.


Rebecca said...

I totally agree! I need to watch some Super Nanny so I can feel better about my parenting/kids. My guys fight too. Drives.me.crazy. You are so right about follow through too! I've learned not to use anything as leverage that I'm not willing to follow through with swiftly.

Helena said...

Super Nanny can put people off having kids forever. It scarey sometimes to watch those families.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

You don't have much to say about the rivalry - just make sure you don't add fuel to the fire. I love Rosemond's approach - when they fight, send them both to their rooms. Doesn't matter whose fault it is - it evens out in the end.

texasholly said...

On a weak day I downloaded the 8 page application to invite the faux Mary Poppins to our house. On the application it was obvious that we would never get on the show. Questions like "When was the last time your child slept through the night?" (Last night) and "has you child been dismissed from preschool?" (no unless home school counts) followed by an area to write about the horrendous things your kids do. I don't think we would have made very good TV. Oh well, there is always Dr. Phil...just kidding.

Oh, and I don't know if it is crazy but I always ENJOYED that tantrum in Target in which I lift kicking and screaming 2 y/o over my shoulder to the position where no swinging limbs can cause me bodily harm and march out to the car with a smile on my face. It is an investment in the future of family shopping.

1blueshi1 said...

Let me give you my address. I think I need you. Although I did pull over the car on Saturday on our way back from the doctor's office because I told Bookey to move her arm out from behind Jonathan so he would have more room and she would not. Really what I WANTED to do was leave her in the median and drive off, but I hear the courts frown on that type of thing.

Karen said...

I'm with ya sista!
I distinctly remember taking my crying 2 year old by the hand and dragging her out of a playgroup at the park mere minutes after arriving while one little boy we knew said I HAVE NEVER SEEN HER CRY BEFORE! What's wrong? I said she ran off and didn't stay on the playground, she has to go home now. NEVER has that kid run off again.

And I like to watch Super Nanny, because it's very good for my mommy ego!

Anonymous said...

Though I am not as bad as the mom in target, I am working on my follow-through (yes I can admit I suck at that). I have been better about it the last few months and honestly see a HUGE improvement in my kids. Now only if I could get Hubby to do what I say...hmmm

Denise said...

The FIGHTING, oh the fighting. I can't seem to get a handle on that one. Puts me over the edge every time.

Indy said...

Thanks for the reminder. I am usually tough but have been a little lazy. You are so right.

Laura said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't work the same way with cats!

Manager Mom said...

tootsie, I don't know if you've read any of my picky eating posts, but all I can say is if you crack that code, you will be my idol forever and ever.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...


Manic Mommy said...

I need to be better on my follow through but compared to the SuperNanny families? My kids *are* Jane and Michael Banks. Although they're both boys. And yeah, they still fight and don't listen.

Um, where's that application?

Amy said...

My kids watch with me occasionally as well and they too sit with their jaws on the ground most of the time because they can't believe what they are seeing!

I think it makes them actually appreciate our rules a little bit better.

MamaHenClucks said...

Just at the store yesterday while I was picking out lip color,I heard a woman with an obnoxious 3 or 4 year old say, "What do I need to buy you right now so that you'll be good while I'm in the store?" I'm sorry, WHAT??

We must parent the same way because really, I have good kids, too. Even sibling fighting is pretty non existant in our house, although that could be due more to the fact that there are only two of them. But Suburbancorrospondent has the best advice. If there is fighting they both go to their rooms. If it is over a toy, the toy goes to goodwill. No mercy at my house - hee hee!

EatPlayLove said...

My parents were just visiting last week and were amazed at how my girls just go up stairs and ease right into bedtime with no fuss!I wouldn't have it any other way.

I completely agree with you! And for the record I only count to 3 and rarely, do I get to 3!!! I mean come on, who counts to 10?

Debbie said...

I am in complete agreement with you here. We have always followed through and my kids know it. Fear of God people, it works! I am also with you in the food and fighting dilemmas. If you solve them, please let me know.

O'Neal (The woman in charge around here) said...

I SO envy you even more now! I give every ounce of my strength to making sure I say what I mean and follow through with it, but the parenting "team" effort here is struggling. ESPECIALLY with the 2 yr old who has learned how to manipulate us and play one parent against the other.

EG: Last night I told Pink she could not have any dessert because she didn't eat her dinner (ANOTHER ongoing battle in our house, picky eaters- uggh!). Of course, she threw a turning blue in the face tantrum (which I have learned to breathe through, count to 100 and not give into to). Suddenly she became quiet. I walk around into the living room (surprised that she had gotten over her fit so quickly almost excited maybe my method was working) and find her sitting on the couch with hubby feeding her M&M's. WTF????

I wonder if the Nanny can work on kids AND husbands???

Texan Mama @ WhoPutMeInCharge said...

Wow, I do my best with the kids. We follow through. Unfortunately, I have 4 kids who are all individuals.

Don't mean to sound too snarky, but it must be nice having perfect children. Just sayin' - be careful how awesome of a job you think you're doing because as soon as you do, one will break a neighbor's window. On purpose. Just because his buddy told him to. Or whatever. Not saying that ever happened to me.

Sounds like your kids are great kids and you've done a great job raising them. You're lucky that when you stick to your guns the actually DO comply. Because some kids don't, no matter how many guns you have.

anymommy said...

Amen. I think I'm pretty good at follow through. Sometimes, I'm too good. One of my toddlers was throwing a fit at coop school last year because I said no to a second cupcake (birthday party, grrrr, why sweets at two year old school bday parties, drives me crazy). I said if she didn't knock it off she wouldn't get a single treat at school the rest of the year. OOPS!! I stuck to it, but I was the talk of the baby school. I think they call me the wicked mom of the west.

Texan Mama @ WhoPutMeInCharge said...

Oops, one more thing... tell me what to do when siblings fight who share a room? Or how 'bout all 3 are fighting? Then what?

Baby Favorite said...

We are SO much alike in our parenting, I think! Consistency is key.

We have actually had adult friends tell us we have too many "rules," or they're "glad we're not THEIR parents" -- but you know what? Our kids are happy, well behaved and well-adjusted, and theirs? Not so much.

Believe me, we still have *LOTS* of room to improve (who doesn't?) -- and I hear you on the food issues and sibling rivalry -- but overall, our household is pretty peaceful.

Anonymous said...

True story... I was on the phone with a good friend when she started yelling at her son. She said "If you do that one more time, I'm going to CHOP YOUR ARM OFF!" Then to me she said, "Why don't my kids mind me?" Ummm, seriously??

Baby Favorite said...

To Texan Mama:

Last weekend, my kids' fighting was getting on my nerves. I told them if they didn't stop bickering right then, they would be cleaning the kitchen floor - together - with toothbrushes, down on their hands and knees.

Mean? Yes. But they also knew I meant it. Not that they've EVER had to do anything like that before, but they know that when I do threaten something, I mean it. And do you think they fought at all the rest of the day? No, they didn't.

Something else they LOVE doing when they can't get along? Cleaning up dog poop. Together. And if they argue even once while doing it? Another hideous task is waiting for them, right around the corner.

I find that forcing them to work together (doing something they dislike) is better punishment than separating them/sending them to their rooms.

Colleen said...

YAY! Another mom that I won't have to glare at for ignoring or mishandling her child(ren)'s misbehavior(s)!!!!

Shortly after implementing Time Out with Gavin, he acted-up at Target. I stopped the cart and asked him, "do you need to go in Time Out? Because I think I should let you know that Time Out is EVERYWHERE!" in a very sinister voice as I waved my hand in a huge circle, palm-down. His little eyes got big and he said "no" and straightened-up. A few weeks later he did the same sort of thing, but didn't respond to my 1 warning of "do you need to go in Time Out?", so he got to sit on a bottom shelf in the home improvement aisle at Target for 2 minutes while other people shopped around him. He has barely acted-up in a store since then...and that was a good 2+years ago.

Also, I get really really annoyed by parents that not only DON'T follow-through, but also set their kids up for failure by keeping them up regularly past their nap/bedtime or not ensuring they're getting their meals close to their regular mealtimes...then wonder why their kid is a freakin' mess. When either of mine first start acing up I check the time to see if I've gone into food or sleep time.
Also, what's up with the parents that let their kids snack and eat junk, etc, all day then wonder why they won't eat their dinner? Hello, he/she just ate their weight in gummy bears 30 min ago!

Okay. I'm done. Just one of my pet peeves as well.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Awesome post, Tootsie. I try, but I don't do a great job especially during vacations.


Rebecca said...

Texan Momma, I don't think anyone is claiming to be perfect or have perfect children... I mean, why else would we/they mention watching SuperNanny makes us feel better. All kids have their issues, as do all parents I think... Anyway, I just don't think that was the intent. There's a difference between saying "I'm a perfect parent" and my kids are perfect and saying "WOW it sure could be worse."

The Mom Bomb, a/k/a Folksy Mama said...

You're the "Kid Whisperer!"

barbra said...

I am a follow-through-er, too, oh yes I am. We have left stores, restaurants, play dates, what have you. I don't threaten a consequence I'm not willing to deliver.

Also, I find it helpful to describe the expected behavior BEFOREHAND. ("We're going to Target, we're looking for this and this, you will behave like this and this.")

Having said all that, my oldest (age 8) is always testing me and still seems shocked when I deliver the consequences. My husband and I have no idea what she's expecting to happen, since we've been consistent since 2000. STUBBORN! GAH!

Lisa Milton said...

You are so right. It's simple, this saying what you mean and following through, but I think I hear a lot of Moms wanting to be friendly with their kids, instead of being a parent.

(What fun is in store for that woman at Target. IT CAN ONLY GET WORSE.)

You rock. When do you get your own show?

Mrs. G. said...

That leaving the cart full of groceries and treats in the market is some powerful shit. My kids still talk about it...in whispers.

Eve Grey said...

I am also Ms. Stricklystricklerson. I hate (said in deep evil voice) idle threats.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I also follow through about 98% of the time. And, I have no problem with taking away and removing myself from situations. And, when all else fails, a good swat to the backside works wonders.

MommyTime said...

I'm so with you on this one. I have taken a child out of the children's museum and sat with him in the car in the rain while everyone else played. I have put the toddler back in her crib and deprived her of the Big Girl Bed because she got out of the latter twice in the same night (one free pass / night is all I'm good for). I have taken away the rest of dinner for food-playing. I find it very difficult to leave stores while errands are in progress, but that's why I don't threaten to. To maximize follow-through, I think the BEST strategy is to make threats you aren't afraid to fulfill. You won't leave Disney World at 10am and waste $200 worth of tickets, so why say you will? Instead, tell the child he will have to come to the baby area and watch his little sister ride the toddler rides he's too big for, rather than riding anything himself for the next hour, if he doesn't shape up. It's so much easier to follow through with an appropriate punishment if it's one that doesn't punish everyone else in the room.

Eternal Sunshine said...

Amen, sista! It amazes me when people say "I can't get my kids to..."



MommyTime said...

Also, I should add: don't be fooled; my children can be little monsters. But I agree with whoever else wrote earlier that it's almost ALWAYS because they're hungry or tired (or bored), so paying attention to that makes a big difference. The other day while out for milk with a high fever and no patience, however, I didn't have it in me to do ANYTHING but giggle when son looked at me, then at his little sis, and said "let's dash off," and then ran down the aisle as fast as he could with his arms and hands wagging over his head. It was so absurd, I couldn't even figure out what to threaten.

Share the wisdom of a parent with older kids (mine are 4 and 2): What would you do in this circumstance of purposeful defiance, Tootsie?

Live.Love.Eat said...

LMBO. Target lady counting to infinity times pi squared - very funny!!!! I don't know how anyone with a few kids does it so good for you, you should be proud. I have one low maintenance child so I have zilch to complain about!!!!

Mama Dawg said...

Hear, hear.

I've left Chuck E Cheese and a birthday party before when threatened to do so when my child was acting up.

Never had to leave 'em again.

AGSoccerMom said...

I came here for wisdom, dang it. I am having those very same problems, fighting and pickiness.
Girl child won't eat fruits and vegies and is constantly trying to run her brothers life who is 4 years older. UG! And soccer season started so I might have to have your banner made into a shirt, as some parents think AYSO stands for babysitter.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Damn straight.

When I taught high school my most difficult students were the least disciplined at home--I promise you that standing your ground when they're young is totally worth it. I'd rather deal with an ornery 2 year old than an ornery 17 year old.

Swirl Girl said...

I do what I say and say what I mean.

My girls are unbelievably well behaved 99% of the time.

I do pick my battles, though -and try not to threaten anything that I am unwilling to follow through with.

Jeez- my 4 year old puts herself in time out when she feels she broke a rule.

Pay me- I'll fix up your kids 'spot on!'

Stacie said...

We love supernanny...13 year old Son looks on in disbelief and says..."Man, if I talked to you that way you'd totally kick my butt...AND THEN I'd get punished!"

Burgh Baby said...

I watch Supernanny purely so I can feel superior. I'm not afraid to admit it.

There was a time not that long ago when the Toddler was acting like a complete jerk while we were out eating. Right around the time that I ordered a brownie sundae for dessert, she kicked her attitude problem into overdrive, so I gave her the ol' "You've got until the count of 3" routine. I made it to three and she didn't chill, so Mr. Husband took her little hiney out to the car to sit and sulk. While I sat and ate the entire brownie sundae all by my lonesome self.

Who says being a tough parent doesn't have its rewards?

San Diego Momma said...

Good to hear that good old-fashioned "following through" is still in practice.

Sometimes you wouldn't know it to look around these days.

Last week, I met my mom's group and their kids for a morning at the park, then promptly left when my daughter began to hit after her one warning.

The looks I got suggested that I was Cruella DeVille. Don't think the mom's group was hep to the consequences thing.

Christina Shaver said...

Please stop judging other parents.

It could have been me at Target. And if it were and I knew you'd written this about me, I'd have a field day.

You would never know by looking at him, but I have a kid with special needs, and while it is no excuse for his behavior, it is still the reality that I need to deal with. Typical parenting does NOT work with kids who have special needs.

It could be entirely possible that this particular mom was just buying time and trying to keep a lid on things while she finished up some shopping. Taking it to the next level could very well have caused an explosion that would be way more unacceptable in public than what you witnessed. And maybe it was her decision that she needed to get these items more than she needed to deal with a blowout.

When you raise a kid with special needs, you're constantly having to choose between two lousy situations. That's something that I don't think most parents of "typical" kids understand.

Personally, I have become far less judgmental of parents since raising my son. I just wish more parents were less judgmental.

dkuroiwa said...

Sometimes I feel as if Super Nanny is talking TO ME!! (the first few times it kind of freaked me out...i'm better now!)
I started the "counting down from 3" when my oldest was really little. We left many a store and even a birthday party one time, but it works. Now, I don't even have to say anything....I just hold up 3 fingers...then 2...and both boys know I mean business.
I'm a firm believer with you Tottsie that if you don't follow through with what you say, you will lose them....no matter who you are talking to!!!

ANd yeah, the fighting...I'm about to go nuts!! How do YOU handle it?!?! Inquiring minds want to know!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I never said anything about children with special needs. Please don't put words in my mouth.

And no, I don't think picking up a few items is more important than your duty as a parent. Sorry.

This Mom said...

I absolutley mean what I say and my kids know it.

I love SuperNanny it makes me feel like I am not that bad as a parent and that my kids ROCK>

Minnesota Matron said...

The Matron has stepped out of countless stores, left movies, parties and special events. She gets it. Once, when one of her children was three and shoved a pole in another child's stomach, she made HER child stay in his room for THREE hours rather than Dr. Sears' minute-for-year three minutes AND called a nonprofit to conduct a violence/mental health assessment. She's a freak. The assessment? Irrational exuberance, just like the economy at the time. But she got lots of kudos for having the guts to face the truth, whatever it would be.

Heather of the EO said...

This is my first time here (I know, WEIRD- I liken it to how I STILL haven't read Jane Eyre). And the day I click on over to check out this fancy farklepants person, I find that I want to hug you.
Tonight we were at another family's home. They have two small kiddos as do we. I said that we would have to leave if my son didn't x,y and z. The father of the other family looked at me and retorted on behalf of my son, "sure, why don't you punish all of us then." I wanted to punch him. I said, "yes, sometimes parenting takes sacrifice and follow through so the behavior you don't like STOPS."
Seems like such a simple concept.
Thank you for the good read. I will pretend it was meant just for me and sleep peacefully now.

Marcy Writes - The Glamorous Life said...

Yes. yes. Yes.

I am right there with you.
I have very few discipline problems at all.

And why? Cuz I don't mess around and my kids know it.

The Stiletto Mom said...

Um, I think I love you...in a totally non stalker type way. I am now inspired to crack the whip (proverbial of course) a whole lot harder. My son? An angel. My daughter? The future, and present, bain of my existence due to arguing and stalling. She's SIX. God help me...are you for hire? Enjoyed your post very much!

g said...

Jeez, this made me laugh.

I am lucky enough to have a pretty good kid, and to only have one of them, to boot (he'd probably be awful if he'd had a sibling!).

But I remember the WORST day with him, which was on a train platform in Norway, after grocery shopping, having to travel by train to our apartment with bags and bags of groceries, and having a 3 year old throw a tantrum.

I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't do anything. I had all these bags of groceries to carry. The platform was a concrete thing about 8' wide, with train tracks falling away on either side. he was fussing and fighting and crying and yelling... Oy!!!!

All these Norwegians coming onto the platform looked at him, and then looked at me like - "Lady, why can't you control your kid?"


And funny thing is, suddenly he just stopped. he got tired or something. He just stopped and he snuggled into me, and we ended up catching the train and going home with our groceries, and all was well.

He's 20 years old now, and a great young man, and I love him dearly.

katydidnot said...

it's possible that was me you were following in target. was she a redhead?

heh. kidding.

Marmarbug said...

I AGREE! 100%
We have left more meals than I can say and left stores.
IT sucks BUT my threats? Are promises.

Oh and on the food front. I pinch the hubby under the table and MAKE him act like he LURVES what I made.
It seems to work. Minus the bruising.

Anonymous said...

I think I love you! One tough mommy, that's me! I said "pick up your room before you go to camp or I will do it AND I will throw everything that's on the floor - OUT!!!"
He didn't. I did. I actually BACKED A TRUCK below the window and I cleaned that room. Oh yes I did!!! When he arrived home, he brandished a brand new shiny flashlight saying " I won it because I had the cleanest cabin at camp!" I almost killed that kid.
Every single opportunity he gets, he reminds me that I threw out ORIGINAL Star Wars, Star Trek, GI Joe, baseball cards,etc. etc. All of which are HIGHLY collectible now and worth BIG bucks!!! Oh, did I mention that he's 45??(And he's a 'neat-nik') xoxo the fan

feather nester said...

Thanks for the reminder! My daughter's only 10months now, but we'll be there soon enough, I'm sure. You are the kind of mom that I hope to be, but man, it seems like a slippery slope to finding yourself in the shoes of the woman you followed in Target. But hey, parenting is hard. Hopefully, we all knew that going in.

Daalelli said...

um ok... I almost got myself into a pickle on the follw through like two weeks ago. I told my girl that if her room wasn't clean by Monday I was going through and throwing away anything on the floor. Said it even before my brain caught it. Then I was all *crap* what have I gotten myself into?!? But I said it so I did it. It is ALL about the follow through! So many parents just don't follow through. It makes me sad for the adults of tomorrow.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

We're having isssues with respect and arguing but I'm working on it. I don't know about anyone else but it seems we have a "I'm the male, you will listen to me" dominance thing going on because he doesn't act the same with my husband.

I'm no pushover (I'm the spanker) but there really is a battle of wills going on. It's wearing me down but I will prevail!

Sue said...

So true. My kids watch it and are amused and horrified by what the kids say and/or do. I am glad not to have super nanny at my house.

Ringleader said...

I so agree. I ran into your opposite once at the craft store when I was administering a well-deserved time out to my then 2yo right there in the button aisle. This lady tells me how special children are and how it works so much better if you treat them like little adults. Then she admitted that she didn't have kids herself. I told her very nicely to please go away.

Ringleader said...

Oh, and I have perfected the count to three routine... I simply clear my throat to get their attention and silently throw up one finger at a time- I don't know why, but when they see that look on my face and the fingers start to go up- the attitudes go into reverse pretty quick. Also love Super Nanny- also not afraid to admit that it is mostly because it makes me feel superior! My kids love it too- their favorite quote is from an episode where one little boy tells the camera,"you're going to FAIL Supernanny!" She even whipped that little brat into shape!