Count the Bad Mommies

Thursday, August 7, 2008

pet peeves

i have pets... 6 gold fishies... and Billy the cat... i've also had 3 dogs in the last 10 years... and Billy has outlived them all... what i find very interesting is that Jay, to this day remembers each and every one of the dogs... just yesterday he said, I miss Goggles (our boxer who died)... and Buksie... and Rex... the last dog "went away" almost three years ago, when Jay was 6, and he still remembers them! so I guess being a pet person also makes a difference, if you love dogs, you will love dogs from the first time you see one until your dying day... and if you don't like dogs, well let's just say then you're a cat person :)

ok back to my story... if Jay ever found out what happened to Buksie he will probably never talk to me again...

the divorce of course made everything go pear shaped... don't hate me OK?... here's what happened...

we had the cutest little dog called Buksie... and poor Buksie was just one word~ T R O U B L E... he got out of the yard every chance he got... he barked, he howled... he chewed, he peed and he pooped... so when we moved after the divorce, Buksie came with... and the complex we moved into generously allowed us to keep him... until the streams of complains started rolling in...

during the day Buksie would howl like a dog possessed, missing us ... so sad i know... and of course this was a huge irritation for everybody who lived close by... so after loads of complaints I was told that Buksie had to find a new home... or else... so I looked for a new owner, I really did... nobody could take him, and we just couldn't keep him any more... so I had him put to sleep.

I know... I am a terrible person... to this day i feel guilty... to make this even worse... i had to do this in secret and tell the kids that Buksie ran away... how cruel...

so i would love to have another dog... but frankly i'm in no position to care for one... we're never home... and i just can't bear thinking of doing what i've done ever again...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Discipline. It’s that quintessential life principle that gets drummed into us from day bloody one.

I need you to know this before I continue, I hate rules. I loathe being told “no, you can’t do that”. So, when it comes to discipline, I battle. But, as life has grown me up and made me think about things over and over again, I’ve developed and stick to my own set of rules.

For that, I blame my parents. They weren’t ever particular sticklers for the conventional “be a good girl, keep your mouth shut, do as you’re told” rulings. In fact, their lives weren’t even remotely good examples of “keeping their mouths shut”. For that, I am eternally thankful, even when it makes me unpopular. I don’t have the ability to keep my mouth shut when something irks me, annoys me or is shown to me as an injustice. Above all of that, I can’t stand people who beat around the bush. Either be direct, stick your neck out, say what you mean to say, and we’ll deal with it. People who try to pussy-foot around an issue, generally don’t get my respect or my abiding.

This is one good reason why SheBee and I can live together. Neither of us are pussy-footers. Some people call us fullashit, but we call a spade, a spade.

When I was growing up, my folks used their voices. Alot. I cannot think of a time when they weren’t talking. Heh. My mom also had a very unique way of telling us when we were in the shit.

If I’d been a bit of a naughty shit the day or night before…Mom would simply make me a beetroot sandwich for school lunch. Now, beetroot sandwiches are actually great freshly made. But, leave them in your lunchbox for the four hours between leaving home and lunch break and, well, by the time you whip them out to eat them… all you have is a pink, soggy mess. That was generally enough to let me know I’d been a bit of a shit. Trust me, having your school friends look at you askew because you’ve got soggy pink bread for lunch, makes you feel distinctly UNcool and it works pretty darn well.

I digress…

When it comes to discipline, when it comes to rules, when it comes to the “no, you can’t” and “yes, you can” debate for Cam…I’m not all that conventional.

I’m not a smacker. I have a simple rule on this, if she smacks someone, I’ll smack her hand. Undoubtedly, I’ll kiss it better and give her a love afterwards but, I will never smack my child in anger. I can’t do it. It’s just not me. And that’s not me being weak, that’s me knowing that that’s how I want to raise my child.

When it comes to enforcing a rule though. I’m a shouter.

Now, in our house, our rules are not conventional. The primary rule in our house is bedtime. And I will shout about it, if I have to. Generally though, I win before I have to shout. I’m a negotiator, true, and I believe that gentle reminders for about half an hour before bedtime make things easier.. “after this Gummi Bears, it’s bedtime, okay?” generally garner a very cute “okay” response and there’s not much hassle beyond there. Face it, No kid likes to be told it’s time to go to bed, fuck, I hated being told it. But, it has to happen. And it does. Most of the time.

Oi, nobody’s perfect and anyone who says they are is simply another one of those things I cannot stand - a liar. =)

So, in our house and our lives, we don’t have the “eat at the table; children should be seen and not heard; no, you can’t wear a ballgown to school; dessert is only for after dinner” rules. We have good ones. Cameron is a stickler for please and thank you and is learning, very well, how to share. We don’t care about drawing on the walls, as long as it’s crayon. We don’t care about paint, as long as it’s on the sheet and not on the carpet and yes, we can throw stuff in a bowl and make a big mess and pretend to bake. Yes, on the floor. No, I don’t care if it makes a mess.

Someone pretty random in my life that I went to school with, Wendy, taught me a critical life lesson about child-raising many, many years ago. She, in passing, whilst we were sitting at a soccer game (don’t ask questions just accept, people…) said to me: “having three kids is hard. But I just don’t worry about anything that a shower or a good cloth can fix”.

I can never thank her enough for saying that. I am anal about cleaning the house. But, when it comes to Cam’s mess, I let her have her mess.

And, funnily enough, it’s Cam who says “Mommy, I want to clean” or “Mommy, I want to wash the dishes”. She knows that mess means cleaning up afterwards. Most of the time. Again, Nobody’s perfect, and anyone who says they are is, you guessed it, a liar.

So, yeah, Rules. Mine aren’t normal. But, yes, I’m a shouter. A big one. I am not scared to raise my voice to make my point when trying to cajole a three year old away from a tantrum.

So, if you ever see a short lady walking down the street holding the hand of a little girl wearing wellington boots and a fairy princess dress whilst they sing and eat ice cream BEFORE dinner, that’s us.

Living our lives our way, thanks very much.

To Pet or not to Pet . . .

I honestly don't think a pet gives children any sense of responsibility at all. Unless you insist they feed said pet, and then said pet would die because said child would not feed said pet. Then said child would cry and said parent could say "Well you obviously aren't responsible for a pet yet, are you?". Said parent would be a bit of an ass though, wouldn't they?

I got Ciara a cat when she was two. Her name is Lulu, and her lift doesn't even reach the first floor, poor thing. Lulu the cat is fed by me. Ciara loves 'her' cat a lot though. But that is where it ends.

We now have one cat and three dogs, all of them are Ciara's (if you ask her). But they are all fed, cleaned and housed by me (and my mom.)

Pets can be really good for kids. Ciara and Cleopatra (the black lab) have so much fun together. "Find Ciara" is one of our favorite games, where Ciara hides and Cleo searches for her everywhere. Lots of fun.

But pets have a downside too. They die. Before we do. When we lost Priscilla (the female* goldfish) and then later Elvis (the male* goldfish) there were many tears and there is nothing I, as a parent, could do but just let her cry. The heartbreak (for both of us) is agonising.

A little side bar story. I had a cat named Jessie from when I was about 10. When she was 11, and I was 21 Jessie was old and she died. This was heartbreaking, but understandable (I was 21 afterall). Jessie was soon replaced by Poe the mini-cat. I loved Poe very much, and she went missing after only about 6 months, and we later discovered she had been hit by a car. I was devastated. I vowed never to get another pet - EVER.

I only got my next pet when I was 27 years old (the aformentioned Lulu), and I refused to love this cat until about 2 years ago. The death of Poe had affected me that badly.

Since Ciara is a mini-me, I worry that she will be as deeply affected by the death of a pet** as I was, and still am.

* The sex of the goldfish was just decided as we wanted to name them Priscilla and Elvis. I have no idea how one determines the sex of a goldfish.

** Goldfish don't count as 'real' pets. Because they are goldfish.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yeehah!!! It’s An Angel Double Feature On TBMB!

Part 1

What 3 things do you do, as a mother that goes against all the books?

Well, since I’m a stickler for the rules (as most of you know) like adhering to movie and PS2 game age restrictions… proper bedtimes, and obeying legal issues like not being allowed in the front seat till you’re 12, always wearing a seatbelt and sticking to the speed limit… there’s not much I do that’s not by the book.
Here are the few I could think of…

1. If he says he’s not hungry, he doesn’t have to eat.
I do not fight with Damien when he says he’s not hungry. I learnt early in his life that he is not a big eater. He’s not fussy- but he goes through phases where he doesn’t eat at all. It used to be a battle. I would serve him some food and we’d sit and he wouldn’t eat. And we’d fight about it because he HAS to eat… doesn’t he? Then I had a revelation and I stopped forcing the issue. One nightmare over with! It’s taken my family a while to get used to it though… he’s the only person I know who can go to a restaurant and not eat simply because he’s not hungry. So instead I make sure there are snacky things like sausages and two-minute noodles and lots of bread and leftovers for in case he decides he wants to eat, or like when he was little I offered him a “
Nutrament” or “Ensure” milkshake instead.

2. I shut the door so I don’t have to see the mess.
His bedroom usually looks like a bomb’s hit it. When he was little, I tidied up for him- trying to get him to do it too and help out and get into some kind of habit… but to no avail. So I gave up. Every now and then I did a hectic spring clean when he was away on camp or something, but for the most part I left it. I still do. But he has to take responsibility- if he doesn’t make sure his dirty clothes are in the wash when it gets done then he doesn’t have clean clothes either.

3. He can wear what he wants…
Except for being strict on school uniform requirements- Damien can wear whatever he likes. This often means he goes around looking like a real scruff- and I will ask him occasionally if he doesn’t perhaps want to brush his hair, or wear a different shirt… and I will tell him if it’s a smart sort of occasion and a T-Shirt won’t do, but that’s it. He’s allowed to wear whatever outfit he chooses.

Part 2

What is your opinion on pets - and your children's role in the new family members’ life? AND when do you say NO and HOW do you say NO to hairy and scaly pets without destroying your son’s dreams of becoming a Nature conservationist.

I am one of the few people who do NOT believe that a child NEEDS a pet. I’m sure you’ve all heard people use the totally nonsensical argument that “he really needs to grow up with a dog of his own you know”. I think people who think like that have watched “Old Yeller” or “Lassie” too many times.
The truth is that no matter how old your kidlets are- you are the one who will end up looking after said animal.
Yes you can make it his or her responsibility- but we all know what’s going to happen. Either you’ll be cleaning up hurriedly in the morning so your other half doesn’t step in anything… or you’ll clean up after and feed the animal for the sake of peace because you’ve argued with your offspring for 4 solid days about your agreement that he or she would look after it.
So. How do you not wreck his or her dreams of becoming a game ranger or some such? Let them volunteer their time at a shelter like Wetnose or the SPCA. Organisations like this are always looking for people to help out in some way or another. And the few hours your kidlet then spends with the animals means he doesn’t get bored with the responsibility, they’re making a small difference, and you don’t have to argue with them all the time about whether Rover’s been fed and Felix’s litter-box scooped out.

The Necessity of Pets

The Kid has a puppy. The Kid is 8 months old. And yes, he has a pet. His name is Earl.

The Kid loves this damn dog. Even though I'm battling to house-train this freaking furball. Even though he chews holes in The Boyfriends underpants.
Even though he chews everything he can get his grubby little paws on. Even though I have to feed him, give him attention and foot the vet bills.
The Kid's whole face lights up when I let Earl into the house. This dog is so unbelievably gentle with The Kid. The Kid can pull his ears, put his hands in the dogs' mouth, take away his food or chew toy, and the dog just tolerates it, and waits til The Kid is done tormenting him.
The Kid follows this dog around everywhere. Loves to pat him, and lets him lick his face. I am not even allowed to touch The Kid's face, and trying to wipe it clean with a cloth incites much whining and wriggling. But he will hold still while Earl licks his face.
So what's my opinion on pets? I think they're important. They help strengthen the immune system, they teach children not to be afraid of dogs, and if a child grows up with furry pets, they're less likely to be allergic to cats or dogs.
Once The Kid is a bit older, these two will be inseparable. Partners in crime. It will lessen the impact of being an only child. And when he's old enough, he will do the feeding routines.
And for damn sure, he will be doing the shit-pickers'-waltz too!
*Please, bad mommies - dont forget to do Ydnic's homework task - there was an overlap with the 3 Bad Mommy Things as set by Jenty.