Teaching Children About Death

Now that the week is well underway (in fact, the week is almost over), I figured now would be a good time to delve into the subject of death. Surprise! In particular, I wanted to talk about teaching children about death. More specifically, I wanted to talk about teaching a toddler about death. Even MORE specifically, I wanted to share my experience with teaching my toddler about death.

Nellie has, unfortunately, been around death more often than I’d like. Not saying that she’s been involved in a lot of tragedy but since May of 2011, we have had 6 people in either our immediate or outside family die. Nellie herself has been around two dying people; Josh’s Nana, and my mother. She visited both while they were being cared for by hospice.

Nellie was almost two when my mom died in December of 2011. My mom had been in her life relatively regularly. I did about all I could manage considering my strained relationship with her. When Nellie came to visit while mom was in the hospice unit I could tell she was somewhat affected; the sight of someone lying unmoving and unresponsive in the bed was probably a little scary for her. I’m a strong believer that children are very perceptive so I am sure she picked up on the vibe in the hospice unit as well.

When mom died, I didn’t take the opportunity to teach Nellie what that meant, because she didn’t really notice. It’s not like my mom was around every single day. I took care to talk to Nellie about her grandma. I would talk about my mom when Nellie would play with the Twilight Turtle that was my mother’s last gift to her. I told Nellie who the turtle was from, and stressed the fact that it was a very important gift.

The first lesson regarding death that my daughter received was more recently. I haven’t blogged about this yet, but while she and I were away in Chicago, my cat Mungo died.

teaching children about death

Mungo, circa 2005 or so.

I’d had Mungo for over ten years. We’re not sure what happened – Josh said he was acting a little funny, and a few days later he was gone. When I got the news I was sad, of course – but not devastated. Friends and family gave me their sincere sympathies – which I appreciated – but when I told people that I was okay, I really meant it. His absence was weird at first; it was the first time in my entire life that I hadn’t had a cat. But once I’d gotten over the initial feelings of being kind of bummed and getting used to his furry little presence not being in the apartment, I was really okay.

Losing 6 family members – one of them being your mother – in a year kind of puts things into perspective.

Anyway. I was sitting on the floor playing with Nellie once we had gotten home. We’d been home for a day, and she hadn’t said anything about the absence of our cat. She was playing with a toy cat that she has when all of a sudden, she picked her head up and looked around.

“Cat? Where my cat?” she held her little hands out, palms up to the ceiling.
I paused.
“The cat is gone, Nellie,” I told her.
“I go find him.” she said with certainty and a little nod.
My heart tugged – just a little – and I took a deep breath. It was one of Those Moments in parenting – one that would lay a brick in the foundation of her Self. Even if she is too little to really remember – somewhere inside of her, what I had to say about such a heavy topic would stick. Teaching a child about death is one of those things that holds such responsibility it’s almost scary. What I said in that moment could affect her forever: I could teach her to fear death and view it as a horrible, unfair part of life and leave her unable to cope or process when someone she loves dies… Or I could teach her to embrace and accept it as an inevitability; something we all must go through – every one of us – and to take it as it comes with as little fear as possible.

I chose the latter.

“No, baby,” I said. “We can’t go find him, because he is gone. Mungo is dead, and that means that he is gone. And he is never coming back. And that is okay.”
I could have stopped there and she probably would’ve been fine, but I’m awkward and over-analyze everything so I continued.
“And it’s okay to feel sad. And it’s also okay to not feel sad.”

A little heavy for the toddler perhaps, yes?

I explored her face, watching for a reaction. She looked at me for a moment, considering, and said:

“I watch Beauty and the Beast!” She scrambled up off the floor and to the television.

And that was that.

She asked about the cat one more time, this time when Josh was around. He handled it similarly to how I did, she didn’t have much of a reaction, and she hasn’t asked about Mungo since.

I am sure that this will not be the last lesson we will have in regards to the subject of death and dying. When she is older, the finality and gravity of death will mean more and the conversation will probably be more difficult. It’s an interesting thing, being handed these tiny human beings and being expected to teach them these lessons about life – lessons that some full-grown adults have yet to fully accept and absorb. It’s scary, it’s humbling, and it’s an eye-opener that our words as parents have the power to affect our children to their very core.

What experiences do you have in teaching children about death? Have you had to have that talk yet? What will you say if you haven’t?

Taking Care of Tiny Teeth

There are a lot of things about motherhood that threw me for a loop and left me scratching my head. There are also a lot of things I never thought about before that I have to learn how to do now.

Things like brushing teeth. Teeth that don’t belong to me. Teeth that are tiny and rooted in the mouth of someone else. Someone else who is small, squirmy, and doesn’t like having her teeth brushed.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about my toddler. Up until recently, I’ve been absolutely terrible about sticking to a twice-a-day dental hygiene routine with my two year old. I’d brush her teeth before bed when I remembered to, or when she was in a particularly good mood. Otherwise, I’d either forget or just forgo it entirely because she was tired/cranky/wiggly/screaming etc. You can go ahead and just hand me that Mother of the Year trophy now, thanks.

I’ve heard mixed things from my mom friends on when to take your child to his/her first appointment. Some of them took their kids to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupted, others waited until they were a little less wiggly and had gotten over their intense fear of strangers. I’ve had in-depth discussions with other moms on their tactics to get their toddlers to hold still and cooperate while brushing their teeth (mine likes to bite the toothbrush and laugh). I have had success with letting my child choose a favorite song for me to sing to her – this keeps her interested, and helps me control how long I brush her teeth by adjusting the tempo of the song. I will also let her “brush” her teeth (which is really her sucking on the bristles and saying “Mmmm toothpaste!”) when I’m finished.

The conflicting information on when to take my girl in for the first time has been confusing, and how to choose one once we’re ready for her first visit has been a little intimidating. I found an extremely helpful website that is both informative in regards to pediatric dentistry and can help choose a local dentist. TopDentists.com allows you to search for a dentist near you. There aren’t databases available in every single city in America yet, but they’re adding and expanding every single day. My favorite part of the website is that they have a plethora of articles about the topic that’s most prevalent on my mind – pediatric dentistry. If you search “pediatric” you come up with titles like “The Pediatric Dentist Will See You Now”, “Choosing a Pediatric Dentist”, “Pediatric Dentistry FAQ”, and “Who’s Afraid of the Dentist?”

Okay, so it pretty much covers everything I was curious and in the dark about: when to take my child to a dentist, how to choose a dentist, and even how to deal with a fearful child.  TopDentists.com doesn’t just cover pediatric dentistry; they cover a multitude of other topics like orthodontics, oral & maxillofacial surgery (think wisdom tooth extraction), cosmetic dentistry and more. There are also topics you can browse for various oral ailments like gingivitis, oral cancer, halitosis and tooth decay.

Raising a little person into a functioning human being can be intimidating; especially with all the responsibility it carries. Fortunately there are websites like this to help take a bit of the guesswork away.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just realized that I forgot to brush my daughter’s teeth – after she ate a bag of doughnuts.

I’m kidding.

Maybe.

 

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by topdentists.com. I really do have a child and she really does have teeth. I also really do forget to brush them sometimes. The opinions and statements in this post are 100% honest, and 100% my own.

Extended Rear-Facing: The Safest Choice

Disclaimer:
This post is about extended rear-facing, why we currently practice it with our daughter and why we will continue to practice it as long as we can. This post is not meant to hurt any feelings, to imply that people who do not practice ERF are bad parents or stupid in any way. The point of this post is to voice my opinion, and educate people who may not have heard the facts and benefits of Extended Rear-Facing before.

Nellie is 17 months old, and is still rear-facing in her convertible car seat. Why? Because it’s the safest way for her to ride. Yes, still. Up until recently, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommended that children stay rear-facing until they reached one year and twenty pounds which is consistent with the child restraint laws in the state of Tennessee (to see what the laws are in your state, go here). This year, the AAP changed their recommendations to say that rear-facing until either the age of two, or the height and weight limits for rear-facing carseats had been reached was the safest way for children to ride in a vehicle.

The law says one thing, and the AAP says another. How do you make a decision on what is best and safest for your child? You read the facts. It can be difficult and confusing when so many people give you so many different opinions. My mother-in-law took her convertible car seat to be professionally installed at a local police station and when she went, the officer tried to convince her that it needed to be installed forward-facing since Nellie met the age and weight requirement of the state. She respected my wishes and had him install the seat rear-facing and when she told me what he had said, all I could do was shake my head. It’s alarming how many misconceptions there are about car seat safety. In my opinion, there is no question that extended rear-facing is the safest thing for my daughter. I plan on keeping her turned backward until she reaches the weight limit for her car seat (40 pounds).

So what made me so adamant about extended rear-facing? What made my decision so simple, and so easy? I did my research, read some articles and watched a lot of videos. When talking to other parents about ERF, I’ve encountered many supporters but some skeptics. People have a lot of questions and opinions.

The law says I only have to rear-face until one year and twenty pounds. That AAP thing is just a suggestion. You’re right, it is just a suggestion. A suggestion based on a lot of research. How old is that car seat law that we’re abiding by? Does it get modified each year, or has it been in place for a long time?

Well, I didn’t even have a car seat when I was a child. I just rode in the backseat without any kind of restraint and I’m fine. You’re also lucky. Car seats were invented for a reason and they have saved many, many lives. Just because your parents did something one way doesn’t mean that it was the safest way. As humans, we are constantly learning and evolving in the way we do things. As time goes by, we find ways to be safer than the generation before us. My mother was allowed to play with mercury and she turned out (relatively) okay. Does that mean that I should let Nellie sit down and play with a handful of mercury? No. No it doesn’t.

My child looks uncomfortable. S/he has to bend their legs and I’m afraid if we get in a crash, it will break them. If all your child knows is rear-facing, then sitting cross-legged isn’t going to bother them. It’s not uncomfortable; children sit that way all the time without complaint. As for the risk of their legs being broken, the way I see it is this: I would rather have to deal with a broken leg or even two than have my child internally decapitated or have spine/brain damage due to a car crash.

My child won’t stop screaming while rear-facing, and it’s a distraction when I’m driving. I sympathize with this. Nellie has just begun to fuss in the car, and I think it probably is because she’s getting bored and tired of not being able to see. With this, I’ve had to implement a little bit of distraction techniques paired with tough love. I make sure she has books and toys to play with and if she still whines and screams, I try my best to tune her out. She’s just going to have to fuss, because I’d rather her be upset than severely injured in the event of serious accident.

What if she chokes? You can’t see her if she is choking. I don’t give Nellie anything to eat unless someone is riding in the back with her. I don’t let her play with things that are a choking hazard (obviously). So if there is nothing for her to choke on, that’s not really an issue.

So why is extended rear-facing so important anyway? There is a website which states it better than I possibly could, so I’m going to quote them for this answer: “When a child is in a forward-facing seat, there is tremendous stress put on the child’s neck, which must hold the large head back. The mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%!  A small child’s neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash.  The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward – stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord.  The child’s head is at greater risk in a forward-facing seat as well.  In a crash, the head is thrown outside the confines of the seat and can make dangerous contact with other occupants, vehicle structures, and even intruding objects, like trees or other vehicles.

Rear-facing seats do a phenomenal job of protecting children because there is little or no force applied to the head, neck and spine.  When a child is in a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all kept fully aligned and the child is allowed to “ride down” the crash while the back of the child restraint absorbs the bulk of the crash force. The head is contained within the restraint, and the child is much less likely to come into contact with anything that might cause head injury. ” — Source: CPSsafety.com

For me, visually seeing the difference in what happens to a child’s body when they’re involved in a crash while rear-facing versus forward-facing was all the evidence I needed. Reading about it is one thing but seeing it is another. Below is a video that simulates what happens in the event of a crash. It doesn’t involve a real child but be aware, it is still somewhat disturbing to watch.

I was planning on practicing extended rear-facing before seeing that video but after I watched it, I knew with 100% certainty that we would ERF. The thought of my baby’s body being thrown forward like the forward-facing child made me sick to my stomach.

If you would like to read more facts about extended rear-facing and why it’s the safest method of travel for children still within the rear-facing weight limits of their car seat, here are a few of my favorite links:

This website has great visual “do’s and “dont’s” when it comes to other common mistakes parents make with car seats, such as dressing their children in bulky coats, having the chest clip positioned incorrectly, and not having the shoulder straps down low enough.

I feel strongly about keeping Nellie rear-facing as long as I can. I am not one to argue a person’s choices or methods of parenting. Breastfeed or formula feed, cloth diapers or Huggies, TV or no TV… I really could not care less about which of those people choose to practice as a parent but when it comes to the safety of children in a car, I want to educate as many people as possible because I believe it’s still an issue of old habits and misinformation.

Do you practice extended rear-facing? If not, why?


When a child is in a forward-facing seat, there is tremendous stress put on the child’s neck, which must hold the large head back. The mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%!  A small child’s neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash.  The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward – stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord.  The child’s head is at greater risk in a forward-facing seat as well.  In a crash, the head is thrown outside the confines of the seat and can make dangerous contact with other occupants, vehicle structures, and even intruding objects, like trees or other vehicles.

Rear-facing seats do a phenomenal job of protecting children because there is little or no force applied to the head, neck and spine.  When a child is in a rear-facing seat, the head, neck and spine are all kept fully aligned and the child is allowed to “ride down” the crash while the back of the child restraint absorbs the bulk of the crash force. The head is contained within the restraint, and the child is much less likely to come into contact with anything that might cause head injury.

Fighting in Front of the Kids: Never, or Sometimes Needed?

My husband and I were raised completely differently. Not just because I was raised in Chicago and he in the South, but our family dynamics were pretty much polar opposites. His parents were married before they graduated high school, and are still married today.  My parents were married in their mid-twenties and by the time I was 13 they were divorced. Josh’s family dynamic is generally a very healthy one… And I come from a broken home. Shattered is a better term for it, really. I will write more about that in a later post.

Joshua once told me that growing up, he never heard nor saw his parents fight. If they had an issue with something, they hashed it out behind closed doors where their children didn’t witness the conflict. My parents? Screaming. Shouting. Name-calling. Door-slamming. My brother, who is 6 years older than I am, would let me into his bedroom (which almost never happened otherwise) when my parents would start fighting because he knew that it scared me.

I got to thinking about the different ways Josh and I were raised, and started wondering: what is the right way to go about handling things when you and your spouse/partner disagree and have children? Is it better to present a united front – a team – in front of your kids and save even a small argument for when you are alone, or is showing a little bit of disagreement every now and again okay…. And even healthy? The one thing I am absolutely sure of is that the type of fighting my parents did is unacceptable and unhealthy. It’s scary for a child to witness the two people who are the biggest influences in their lives screaming at each other, and it’s emotionally damaging to hear your mother tell your father (and vice versa) that she hates him. As a child of parents who raged at one another, I can tell you that it teaches you to be afraid because you don’t know if they’re going to turn that anger on you and it’s hard to see two people who are supposed to love one another act so hatefully.

Clearly the raging and angry fighting is a no-no, but is keeping your children ignorant and deaf to any sort of marital conflict whatsoever just as damaging? As parents, you definitely want to be on the same page when it comes to how you raise your children. You want to show a strong foundation of stability and love to them because it makes them feel safe and secure. That is undeniably the healthiest way to parent, but is teaching your children that married people never fight detrimental to their future relationships? We often mimic our parents’ relationships, and learn how to build our own from the way they work. If you grow up your entire life never seeing your parents argue, I wonder if one may enter into a relationship with rose-colored glasses thinking that it’s going to be easy street all the way through… And anyone who has ever been, or is in a long-term relationship knows, that is most certainly not the case,  especially when children enter the picture. Children add joy and happiness but they also add stress. You find new things to disagree on, even if it’s something as simple as whether or not to give your kid organic milk. If you find yourself in the middle of an argument you may feel like your entire relationship is failing or crumbling because after all, your parents never argued like this and they are in a happy and successful relationship.

Coming from a family full of yelling and anger I can say that I used to feel that hiding any and all conflict from your children was the way to go but now that I’m a mom, I think that I may have changed my mind. I feel that you most certainly need to be a team when it comes to parenting; no undermining your partner’s authority in front of the children (this goes for BOTH parents BOTH ways), do not demean or degrade your significant other in front of your kids (or any time, really) and as far as discipline goes, you both need to be on the same page. But I think that arguing a little about some things in front of your children can be good for them. It shows them that it’s okay to disagree, that even though you and your partner are a little angry with one another, that doesn’t mean that you don’t love and respect each other. I think that calmly and respectfully hashing out a conflict in the presence of your children can teach them how to work through differences not just with their future partners, but just in everyday life as well. If you show them that it’s okay to disagree and how to get through an argument in a healthy way, that is what they will learn and take with them. If you yell at each other, they will model that behavior. But if you do all of your disagreeing behind closed doors, how will they learn how to cope when they are put into the same situation down the road?

What do you think? Should parents do their arguing in private all of the time, or is showing a little bit of conflict in front of the kids necessary and healthy?

 

 

Warm Glowing Warming Glow

I admit it. We’re a TV family. I like watching TV, Josh likes watching TV, and yes. We let Nellie watch TV, too. Not just occasionally, or as a treat, but every day. She watches PBS every morning and you know what? I’m fine with it. She enjoys it, I’m okay with what she’s watching because for the most part, the shows she watches have some educational value. For instance, one of her very favorites to watch are these kiddos:

That’s Super Why & the Super Readers for those of you who either don’t have kids, or have them and aren’t a TV family. I enjoy Super Why because it involves problem-solving, reading, letters, and teaches lessons like “try new things” and “share your stuff”.

I’m not a huge fan of mindless children’s shows, so I appreciate the cleverness of these two shows:

I think that the theme song to Dinosaur Train is really fun and clever, and so is the one for Martha Speaks. Martha also teaches words, which I love.

I of course love Sesame Street, because who doesn’t like to see Neil Patrick Harris singing & dancing while he sings about shoes? And the True Blood spoof: True Mud? Hilarious!
I don’t love all the shows Nellie loves. There are a few that mystify me:

Your mother will not mind at all if you do. WTF, Creeper?!

Cat in the Hat’s a little wacky & kind of creepy to me. His laugh kind of gives me the heebie jeebies, and every time he says “flick the jiggermawhizzer” I’m like ………………………

Then there are the cartoons that I just downright HATE. The voice, the repetitive songs, HIS HAIR… I’m talking, of course, about:

GYAH. SID THE SCIENCE KID. HATE. HATE.

I don’t know what it is about Sid the Science Kid, but my child loves him. As much as I hate him & his stupid little songs, Nellie loves him. She grins and claps and dances when he comes on and I’m left groaning and wishing for ear plugs or a beer. Or both.

Like I said, we’re a TV family and I don’t see anything wrong with it. We still interact with her, watch the shows with her, and read to her. She loves her books. She can just sit and play with a book for 20 minutes. But she also enjoys her “baby stories” and I like to watch her enjoy them because she’s adorable sitting there in her PJs and drinking her milk.

What about you? What’s your take on children and TV? If you’re TV-watchers, what are your kids’ favorites? Do you share my loathing for Sid the Science Kid?

P.S. Bonus “cool” points & and imaginary cookie to anyone who identifies what my blog title is from.

Judgemental Parents

I judge.

You judge.

Everyone judges each other, just a little bit.

Some of us are more judgemental than others, and it’s never been more obvious to me than since I became a parent. Before I became a mother, when I’d hear about women choosing to formula feed I’d turn my nose up, scoff, and say, “WHY would you CHOOSE formula if you can breastfeed? That’s so selfish.”

Now? I get it. I’m all for attempting to breastfeed and I think that women who stick with breastfeeding are awesome. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard and sometimes it’s just too damn hard for some women.

But you know what? If a woman chooses to formula feed because it’s easier or because it works better for her and her family, then that’s her fucking prerogative. It’s none of my, or your, goddamned business.

I came across a Twitter-er/blogger who claimed herself as judgemental in her very name. I’m sorry, what? Why would you advertise yourself as judgemental? Being judgemental is not a positive thing. Being a judgemental person sucks. This person announced that formula feeding, crib sleeping, and disposable diapering were all inferior parenting choices and those who chose to do them were bad parents. She added a comment saying that if circumstances were beyond one’s control and they had to formula feed, disposable diaper, or independently sleep then that was different. That was okay. But voluntarily choosing those things? AWFUL PARENTS.

I think that this is so ridiculous, and so unhelpful to those of us WHO DO CHOOSE THAT. I formula feed. I made the choice to stop breastfeeding because it was making me miserable, and because I was a better mother to my daughter when I stopped. I choose to disposable diaper because it’s what works for me. I don’t HAVE $300 to drop on a cloth diapering starter kit. I don’t HAVE the time to launder diapers. I work, I share a car with my husband who also works.. Yes, we could budget and scrimp and save and eventually buy cloth diapers but you know what? I don’t fucking want to. I don’t want to spend my free time scraping poop into the toilet, hanging my diapers out, laundering them, etc. I’d rather spend that with my husband and baby. I chose to crib sleep because I can’t co-sleep. I’ve brought Nellie in to my bed, and when I do I get no sleep. None. Whatsoever. Because I am constantly watching her and startling myself awake to make sure I’m not rolling over on her, or smothering her accidentally with a pillow. Also? I believe that my bed belongs to me, and my husband. It’s the one place that we can spend as a couple and do the things that couples do, which is have sex. There will be times when Nellie is older and has a nightmare, or is sick and in those cases I will allow her to crawl into bed with us because it brings her comfort. But as for every day sleeping? Co-sleeping is not for us.

So, tell me something. My child has formula in her tummy, has Huggies on her butt and is about to be put down for a nap in her crib. I am holding her in my arms, right now, as I type this. Snuggling her. Kissing her cheeks and in awe of how much I love this child. I would die for her. I would sell my soul for her. I would kill someone for hurting her. I would defend her to my very last breath. Am I bad parent because my kid is wearing a disposable diaper with a picture of Winnie the Pooh on her ass? Are you really going to overlook the fact that I’d do absolutely anything for my kid, simply because of the fact that I choose to put her in a disposable diaper?

How does what’s in her belly, on her butt, and where she lays her head matter if she is taken care of, and loved? Why does it matter? My child is loved beyond belief, she always has what she needs and always will.

Everything else is water under the bridge. Why do moms feel the need to attack each other for their choices as parents? We’re all in this parenting thing together. We are all parents, and we all love our children. We all do what we feel is best, and what we think is right. This goes for people who breastfeed and people who formula feed. For cloth diaperers, and ‘sposie diaperers. Whether you co-sleep, or put your kiddo in a crib.. We’re all just doing the best that we can to raise these children. Why can’t we all just support one another and stop being so damned judgemental?

Better Homes & Garden FAIL: The Anti-Public Breastfeeding Comment

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but this woman named Heather at Better Homes and Gardens recently published a blog entitled “The 10 Commandments of Dining with Little Kids”.

From her opening lines, this article screams, “I HAVE NO CHILDREN!“:

“Let me be clear: I am not anti-kid. I adore children in all their lovable, spontaneous, energetic glory. However, in recent years, I’ve noticed a pronounced blurring of the boundaries between “adult world” and “kid world”, especially when it comes to dining out. Those seeking romantic, contemplative dining may find themselves irked by erstwhile tots in a refined restaurant — but I don’t think anyone is ready to institute a kid ban. Really, we can all get along…”

Okay, first of all, what a way to start your article by putting any reader who may have children on the defensive. “Adult world” and “kid world?” Really? Last time I checked, WE ALL SHARE THE SAME SPACE, YOU IDIOT.

Some of the things she says are big, fat, no-brainers for parents. A lot of them are good points. What I have a problem with (besides the breastfeeding comment) is the overall tone of the article.

Here is her gem of an article:

With this in mind, BHG.com offers our ten commandments for kids in upscale restaurants — gentle reminders for parents and non-parents alike — as well as kid-friendly recipes for creating your own restaurant experience at home.

THOU SHALT NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC WITH BULKY STROLLERS
Strollers have begun to overtake cars and wristwatches as conspicuous status symbols. You may be proud of your double-wide Maclaren, but be sure not to leave it jutting out in a place where waiters and other patrons might trip over in transit.

Leave the stroller at home and indulge your family with this melty, tasty Chicken and Cheese Panini.

THOU SHALT NOT ORDER A 10-COURSE TASTING MENU WITH KIDS UNDER 10
Kids, as we all know, have kid-sized attention spans. Attempting to make them sit still while you enjoy a world-renowned chef’s esoteric, glacially-paced tasting menu isn’t going to be a pleasant experience for anyone.

For a fast meal your kids will still savor, whip up this Quick Crunchy Chicken Dinner.


THOU SHALT NOT TREAT YOUR SERVER LIKE A SITTER

Your server is there to accommodate you, but customer service has its limits. While most waiters are happy to engage and amuse your little one, it’s bad form to delegate your child-minding duties to the person taking your sea bass order.

Let your kids serve themselves with our Best Yummy Mexican Meals.

THOU SHALT NOT BREAST FEED AT THE TABLE
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)

If you’re breastfeeding, you likely want to cook something quick, easy, and protein-rich; we love this Speedy Bow Tie Pasta Dinner.

THOU SHALL FEEL FREE TO ORDER “KID FOOD” OFF THE MENU
Most restaurants are happy to provide kid-friendly cuisine, so don’t hesitate to ask, just keep in mind you may experience sticker shock (e.g., $23 for pasta with butter)

For a filling and savory twist on basic spaghetti, try these hearty Filled Pasta Entrees.

THOU SHALL NOT TURN DINNER INTO A PHOTOSHOOT
It’s exciting to see your little one all dressed up at the table, and special occasions and birthdays are naturally conducive to photos, but overzealous documentation with flash photography, flip-cams, and camcorders can be distracting to fellow diners.

Say “cheese” with these ten tasty Macaroni and Cheese recipes.

THOU SHALT NOT BRING NOISY TOYS
It’s wise to bring a few of your kid’s favorite toys for their amusement but try not to bring excessively loud games and bleep-blooping electronic toys — or at least be sure there’s a volume-off button.

Keep their hands busy with a finger-food meal, such as this tasty Buffalo Wing Dinner.

THOU SHALL TRY TO QUELL HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMING
Unexpected tantrums and outbursts are a fact of life, but when a parent sits stoically as their child screams without any intervention, the mood of the room can quickly turn from convivial to incredulous to profoundly irritated.

They’ll be screaming with joy for these homemade Mini Pizzas With Pizazz.

THOU SHALT NOT ALLOW FREE-RANGE KIDS
When you let your child run free in the restaurant, it’s not only disruptive to other diners, but it could be a safety hazard: Restaurants are full of hot plates and sharp cutlery, and kids underfoot could cause a major disaster.

Keep them planted happily in their seats with this zesty, crunchy Skillet Tostada Dinner.

THOU SHALL CALMLY DISCOURAGE FOOD FIGHTS
Ah, the food fight. The epitome of fun at summer camp and grade school cafeterias — less so at Michelin-starred eateries. If the food starts flying, quietly and firmly put an end to it.

And if your kids politely make their way through the meal without incident, treat them to a well-deserved Dessert treat.

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So, clearly, everyone is screaming for this author’s head over the “take it to the bathroom” comment. Yes, it’s completely and utterly inappropriate and insensitive. How would YOU like to eat your dinner in the bathroom, you pompous wench? Go ahead, take your chicken finger basket, sit on the toilet and see how appetizing that is.

That “commandment” is bad enough. The entire article reeks of “holier than thou because I don’t have kids” attitude. I was seriously offended by this shit, and surprised that BH&G approved it for publishing. Let me make myself perfectly clear:

We take our child out in public to eat. Why? Because being a parent is fucking stressful, and we deserve a damn night out. Even if it means hauling the baby with us, which we are more than happy to do. You know why? Because she has just as much of a right to be in public at a restaurant as you, Ms. High and Mighty. Of course children need to obey certain rules and act a certain way in public; that goes without saying. But as for “not turning dinner into a photoshoot” or “not bringing noisy toys?” I’m sorry, but you can kiss my effing ass. I will take as many pictures of my child as I want to. And I will bring her toys that make her happy if I so choose. Again – YOU DON’T OWN THIS EFFING PLANET, AND SHE HAS A RIGHT TO BE HERE TOO.

This woman is so ridiculously out of line for writing this article, and if you go to the original article here:

The 10 Commandments

I think you’ll see that most everyone agrees with me. Go ahead and visit the link, and speak your mind about what YOU think about this sorry excuse for writing. Obviously some of the things on the list are no brainers: don’t use your waiter as a sitter, try and reign in a tantrum ASAP (even if it means carrying your babe outside until he/she calms down), and one I partially agree with is the “don’t block the way with a stroller” comment. Yes, it’s rude to put your stroller in the way but you know what? I’m not going to NOT bring my stroller into a restaurant. I’ll fold it up and do my best to keep it out of the way, but I’m not going to NOT bring it and just “Leave the stroller at home and indulge your family with this melty, tasty Chicken and Cheese Panini.”

You know what, Heather W. from Better Homes and Gardens? Maybe YOU’RE the one who should just stay home and try the tasty meals that you so “helpfully” suggested and let us annoying parents burden the “adult world” with our little ones. Or maybe you should just remove the GIGANTIC STICK FROM YOUR ASS.

I think that’s a better plan, don’t you?

Santa Who?

In the spirit of Christmas, since it is Christmas Eve I’ve decided to go ahead and post this entry that I’ve had drafted for a while. I’ve contemplated if I wanted to post it at all, considering it’s somewhat controversial. I may, or may not get flack for this post, and that’s OK. Not every blog post has to be fluffy and happy and non-controversial. Really, who wants to read entries from a blogger who doesn’t stir things up every now and then? It doesn’t seem to be a very popular opinion, especially with my friends who are already parents and my mother-in-law. So bear with me.

My husband and I aren’t going to teach our kids about Santa Claus.

Well, that’s not 100% true. Let me rephrase. We will teach them of the myth and the story behind Santa Claus; the origins of the legend, etcetera. But we are not going to do the whole, “There’s a magical, obese man that squeezes down your chimney every December 24th and brings you presents if you’re good. And likes milk and cookies, which really and truly doesn’t help with his weight problem. And has flying animals. And automatically knows who is naughty or nice, and knows precisely where you live. And sees you when you’re sleeping. “ Because that last one is really, really skeevy and creepy. Sorry.

I have seen a lot of skeptical faces from my friends, and disappointed expressions from grandparents and other family members who can’t understand why we don’t want to pass on the Santa tradition with our children. I can’t remember believing very strongly in Santa. Some people will argue that if you don’t let children believe there is a Santa Claus, you are “robbing them of the magic of the season”. Since when does Christmas have to be about a jolly man in a crimson suit dropping presents (or coal) on the people of the world? To me, my fondest holiday memories are steeped in family, not whether or not the fat man existed. Memories of gathering around the table and eating, sharing stories and singing songs with my cousins dominate over the one year I recall leaving Santa milk and cookies. I don’t believe the magic of the season is lost on children at all if you create new magic, and new traditions. I also feel children need to understand where their gifts come from; they don’t come magically from a workshop in the North Pole. They come from mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles.
There’s also the matter of questions, which has been inspired by the children of friends I have who are parents. Questions like:
“How does Santa fit down the chimney?” and “How does he know where I live?”
The only response that most people can seem to come up with to perpetuate the illusion that this mythical man exists is, “It’s magic” or “Because he’s Santa.”

Um. I’m sorry, but if you have a child who is logical (like my husband is) and questions the nature of his or her reality, that’s just not going to cut it. And it’s not like you can just make something up like, “He fits down the chimney because he’s made of rubber.” Or “He knows where you live, because he has everyone in the world in his PDA contact list.”
Because that’s just flat out lying. And then you get the questions about the various other aspects of Santa, like..
“How do his reindeer fly?”

“What if my list gets lost in the mail?”

“Is Santa married? Does he have kids? What are their names? Does he get them presents?”

The questions that can fly from a child’s mouth in regards to Santa and the whole thing surrounding him could be endless.. Which also equals a parent who is frantically trying to think on their toes because they don’t want to shatter a child’s illusion of Santa Claus.
Really, I don’t want to lie to my children. I don’t want to tell them that something exists when it doesn’t. Because one day, when they find out the truth they may be upset or angry that I lied to them. I want my children to be enlightened and educated. As for “robbing them of the holiday spirit”, since when did Christmas become about Santa? For those of you who know me, or have read my blog for a while you know I’m not religious and don’t consider myself a Christian. For me, the holiday season isn’t about the birth of Jesus, or the “magic of Santa”. For me, it’s a time of family and celebration, a time to be thankful for what we have in the world and to give others gifts and show them kindness. Ideally, this behavior should be carried throughout the year but the holiday season is special. I do have my childhood memories of Christmas and none of them have to do with Santa. They have to do with fireplaces and cocoa, of carols and decorating our family Christmas tree.

So our plan to tell the truth about ole’ Kris Kringle may seem harsh or even mean to some, but to us it fits. Also, please don’t think that I look down on anyone who chooses to continue the Santa tradition with their children. I understand that for a lot of people, believing in Santa is very important and they can’t wait to pass that excitement down to their children. That’s awesome! It’s just not for us. We also plan on making it very clear to our children to keep the Truth About Santa to themselves, as we realize that others would like their children to believe. Our kids will be taught many other traditions and values to create their own memories during their holiday season.. Santa just won’t be part of it.