Friday, February 24, 2012

Funny Quotes From Our Toddler

This post is going to be a fun one. I have always loved that show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things", and I've been trying to compile a good list of things my daughter, and other kids, have said to me, or around me or my wife. Just for laughs. This is a pretty funny list, I think you'll enjoy it. So sit back on this nice relaxing Friday, and enjoy some hilarious quotes from the kids, and even a couple where we the parents get owned by our kids' own simplistic thought patterns.

  1. Over the last year or so, my daughter has started to develop a better sense of modesty. She wants her privacy while using the restroom. Well, since the potty seat was digested by the dog, she just sits on the actual seat, and holds herself up. Therefore, I or my wife will hang by with her to make sure she doesn't take a dip unexpectedly. So while this is all going on, she says to me, "Daddy, don't look!! Turn around!" So I playfully gawk while she's sitting there, and she then spits this out: "DADDY!! Don't look!! If you look, the pee is gonna come outta my butt and go on your head!!" Now... maybe some of you have experience with this particular logic, but I for one was utterly flabbergasted... how do you come back from that? There is no good comeback. "Ok baby... sounds legit to me..." *Daddy turns around, scratching head*
  2. Recently, I decided to cut my hair, after letting it grow for about 2 years. Well, I told my daughter I was going to do it and asked if she was ok with it, and ready for it. She asked a few standard questions like why, how and all that. But then she really stumped me and said, "So... are you gonna look like a ladybug or somethin'?" After I was able to ingest about 6 muscle relaxers to ease the pain in my now sore-from-laughing abs (joking, I don't take muscle relaxers, haha), I said, "No baby, I'm just gonna have less hair." I cracked up. Probably my favorite hair-cutting story ever.
  3. My wife watches a friends daughter a few days a week. The girl is right around my daughter's age, maybe 6 months younger or so. Well, she comes over one day, and it was somewhere close to Christmas if I remember right. My wife is talking to her, and a series of hilarious responses follow. My wife had been working on birthdays with the girls, teaching them their birthdays, and seeing if they could remember them. My wife says, "When is your birthday?" The response: "Monster." She had just told her when her birthday was, haha. *Facepalm*.
  4. This same girl, I want to say in the same day, had yet another awesome comeback to a question. I forget the actual beginning conversation, but somehow or other, the little girl decided to get my wife a present. "I'm going to buy you a white candle that smells like two!" *facepalm*.
  5. Every night, me and my daughter get to have a few minutes of story time before she goes to sleep. I'll lay down next her, snuggle up and we'll read. At the time, we were reading her "Child's First Bible". We reached what I can guess is about the book of Luke, where Jesus had just healed a group of men. So my daughter says, "I love Jesus." What a fantastic thing for me to hear from her. "Well, that's good baby, I'm glad you feel that way." So she comes back with, "Yeah. I love God too." Now I'm feelin' pretty good, she's actually getting something out of this Bible, even though it's super abridged and VERY simple, and then she continues, "...and Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck..." *Facepalm* "That's good baby, I'm glad you love so many people, just remember that God is a little bit different than Mickey and Donald." hahaha.
  6. Last night was one of the best I've heard from her. We're sitting in the car eating Del Taco with our friends after AWANA. I'm having a taco, and I say to the group, "I hate when the paper gets all wrinkly, because it feels just like the tortilla, and when it's dark I end up being like, 'Uh oh, what am I biting in to?'"  Well, my daughter took that as a question... a question she felt obliged to answer. And in a very matter-of-fact tone says, "*sigh* a TACO daddy." -_- Well... can't argue with that... score one for the toddler...
  7. This morning while I was getting ready for work was probably my next favorite, tied with the one above. My wife asks my daughter what she'd like to drink to take with her to drop me off at work. My daughter says milk, which is great, since one of the things she's been so picky about lately was milk with no strawberry or chocolate in it (see previous post). She also specifies she wants it in her big princess jug. So my wife says, "Well, baby, the princess jug has water in it, I can't use that one." My daughter assumes the matter-of-fact tone again and says, "Well just dump the water out mommy." I look at my wife... she looks at me... and we share the same look: score ANOTHER for the toddler... *facepalm*
  8. A while ago, I decided to have a little daddy daughter time and take the kid out for ice cream. So after we had eaten dinner and whatnot, I said, "Ok kiddo, let's put shoes and socks on and we can go have ice cream!" She was sitting in her chair at the time, crosslegged. So she lifts up her leg to show me her foot and quite sarcastically says, "Does this look like shoes to you?!"... *facepalm* After laughing hysterically, I remind her that I told her she NEEDS shoes and socks. To which she says, "Oh". Brilliant, hahaha.
  9. Another repeating favorite of mine, is that anytime she says she's done something already, it always happened "last year, when I was a baby." This applies to anything that happen prior to the second she replied to my question. It could be two days ago, five minutes ago, or even the task she was performing right when I asked her... doesn't matter, it all happened last year when she was a baby...
  10. A more embarrassing episode occurred in the store. (you can see where this is going...) We were walking into the store, and if I remember right, we passed by a rather heavy-set man coming out. My daughter taps me and says, "Daddy, look at that BIG man." Don't worry, my wife and I recovered from the whiplash we suffered when we jerked our heads around to glare at her... *facepalm*
  11. My daughter is also a human fart detector. If a fart is let go, she immediately jerks her head to look at the person who did it (usually me... ok, always me) and then I kind of snicker at her, at which point she quickly points to my wife and snickers some more... I hope she's a lawyer when she grows up, she can represent me any day, haha.
Well, those are some of the best of her infamous quotes I can remember, but don't worry, I'm sure there's going to be more than one of these posts, as kids are almost never silent, haha. I hope you enjoy reading this as much I as enjoyed writing it, and I would love to hear your stories as well, if you'd care to share. Feel free to do so on Facebook, I post these to my personal profile as well, that'll save you from having to sign up for a membership just to comment.

So I'll be seeing you next time, I hope you enjoy this post, and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hell's Kitchen

Wow... what a couple weeks we've been having. Busy busy busy. Fear not, I have returned. And today's post is going to be more of a journal entry type of post than anything else.

For a few weeks now, we've been  having quite the conflict with our daughter about something that's never really been an issue before: food. She's always been pretty open to trying foods, and pretty diligent when it came to eating all her food. She's never been one to pick around the vegetables and eat only a certain portion of her dinner. Well, now we've reached a bit of a road block. She suddenly likes absolutely nothing. Chicken, hamburgers, tacos, macaroni, vegetables, nothing. Doesn't want anything to do with it. Well, I want her to eat, obviously. So what do I do about this little conundrum? My parents were not as lenient as I have been. They cooked whatever they cooked, and if I didn't eat it, I was gonna be pretty hungry until I decided I better eat what was there. Which I think is perfectly fair.

Now, I have to believe that she's just testing her boundaries on this one, because I KNOW she is crazy about macaroni & cheese. She loves the stuff. We went out to lunch with a few friends recently, to Olive Garden. She orders the mac & cheese (which she affectionately refers to as "mac-e-rone"). Great, something she knows, something she'll eat. Well about a bite or two in, she decides she doesn't want anymore. Well, that's not gonna work, since she didn't have much for breakfast and she needs to eat to keep her energy up and her attitude better adjusted (gets that from me). So I make the offer of just a few more bites, and then she can share my dessert with me. Refusal. So I ask her if she'd like some of my dessert. Of course I get a positive nod. So I come back with, "Well, then I need you to have a few more bites of your mac-e-rone. Negative. Sigh...

I'm going to be honest, this whole situation has me baffled. The conversation continues with some more bargaining, and slowly but surely she begins to get more belligerent about not wanting anymore. And that's where my line is. I refuse to allow bad behavior simply because she "doesn't want to". Not on my watch thanks. So we have a talk about that next. Slowly, she comes around a little, and accepts the few more bites from me. Deal made, dessert enjoyed, mission accomplished.

It all sounds easy now right? WRONG. This battle has been waged at pretty much every meal for a while now. We have no idea where it came from, how she picked up that she doesn't like ANYTHING anymore, or why. But we're trying to be as diplomatic as possible about it, because the more we have fights about it, the more averted to mealtime in general she is going to be, and it'll be worse. I refuse to make a special meal just because she "doesn't like" what we're having. That's not the way I was raised, it's not the way my wife was raised, case closed. So the general consensus is that she will get a plate with her food on it, and eventually, she'll get hungry enough to eat. If she doesn't want to eat it, well, she's gonna be pretty hungry then. I hate this approach, I really do, because one of the most sensitive subjects in my heart is hungry children. I don't like to see ANYBODY hungry really. But I also know that if she comes to me and says she's hungry, I will have something to offer her, it just may not be what she wants.

Hopefully this whole phase will be something she can use as a lesson later on life. I honestly believe it's a testing of boundaries, and that it'll pass. She just has to have those boundaries established so she can get it out of her system. Toddlers are tons of fun, but sometimes the struggles can be overwhelming.

Overall, I'd like to say to other parents out there, that if you're going through the same struggle, God be with you, haha. And if you haven't gone through it yet, I hope you fare well in your battles. This situation is a definite test of a parent's patience, and it's not always easy.

P.S. For all of you who thought I had the most easy going daughter in the world and just got your mental picture shattered... sorry, hahaha.

See you next time!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daddy VS... Hollywood???

Yes that's right, I'm taking on Hollywood for this one. This will be a similar post to Daddy VS Disney, but will be more general, referencing only TYPES of movies and using a few examples, as opposed to a whole line of movies.

So let's start with a few questions: What types of movies will you let your child watch? What's ok? What isn't? How do you determine if they are or aren't? I've heard these questions answered in so many different ways

Here's a few examples of my and my wife's philosophy on this.

We've been pretty lenient about movies with our daughter. I know of people who strongly censor what their kids see. That's fine, to each their own, but for me it's just not something I worry that much about, at least not to an extreme level. For example, Disney movies, yeah those are pretty much universal. I don't see anything wrong with those. But what about a movie like Wolfman? The new one, with Benicio Del Toro. Is that ok? Let's break it down: It's a scary movie, the werewolf was very well done. Probably scary for a little kid. It's got some gore in it, the werewolf kinda lets a few people have it. However, there is no swearing beyond "damned" or "hell". There aren't any sexual references. And there is no nudity. Would you let your children watch it? Want to hear something funny? My daughter REQUESTS this one... a time or two a month at minimum. I'm perfectly ok with her watching it. Why? Because rather than try and EXPLAIN to her that things are make-believe, she can see it for herself. If she starts to get a little scared, I just pull her up on my lap, and explain to her that it's just a man in a costume and a few tricks with a computer.

The entire Harry Potter collection is the same rule, though not much about that series scares her. The Marvel movies that have been coming out (Iron Man, X-Men, Spiderman, etc) are the same. However, movies with really strong language in them, we're probably not going to let her watch them. Movies with sex scenes or nudity, same deal. The thing about that though, is we aren't really the type of people to watch movies that contain excessive amounts of those things anyway, but there are a few movies where there's a boob flash, or where they use really profane language, that we still like. Not many, mind you, but still...

So how do you regulate that? How do you decide if the movie is ok or not? I don't know... I would actually like to hear your thoughts. As with any question posed on this blogged it's all a matter of personal perspective. I don't think Wolfman is a bad movie for my daughter to watch, but I'm sure somebody who reads this will disagree. That's their choice, because they raise their kids differently. I'm only offering my perspective. Let's hear yours.

See you next time!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Due Process

Okeedokee everybody, get out your torches and pitchforks, cuz this one's gonna be a doozy. Today, I'm going to offer my personal perspective on... drum roll please...


Yes folks, you read that right, I'll be throwing myself into the line of fire on this one and giving my perspective on one of the most heavily debated subjects of parenting. 

So, first of all, this one might take some involvement on your part. Nothing public, just for your own use. So the first thing I want you to do is ask yourself a question. "Were my parents "good" parents?" Pretty simple yes or no question. When you have your answer, ask yourself the following question: "Why?"

Some common answers would probably be: They loved me more than themselves, they always provided for me, they set good examples for me, etc... could be anything. There are no wrong answers (with a possible exception being, "my mom's hair was always perfect"). Just keep those ideas in mind for this topic.

The common theme with a lot of sites I frequent is that spanking or physically disciplining your children is utterly wrong, and under any and all circumstances, makes you a bad parent. They make no bones about it. So let's go ahead and start there, might as well kick this party off with a bang. 

I was spanked as a child. Note: I said spanked, not BEATEN. If I did something severely or deliberately disrespectful or defiant, I got in trouble for it. Sometimes that could be solved with an apology, and other times it could not. Now, I wasn't a terror when I was a child, so this didn't happen all that often. I could probably count the number of spankings I received on my fingers, without repeating. Not too bad considering how long I lived with my folks. Wondering how I answered the opening question? Here goes. Yes, my parents were awesome. Not because they coddled me and because I always got everything I wanted. Because they focused on teaching me the value of appreciation for what you're given, loyalty to family, responsibility for myself and my actions, and because they never failed to show me how much they loved me, even when I was in trouble.

Many of the things I teach my daughter are things I was taught by my parents, and I'm proud to do it. Yes, I was spanked as a child. Personally, I consider myself about as well adjusted as any member of society out there today. The trials and struggles I face on a daily basis are no greater than anyone else's. I don't hate my father or mother for the discipline I received as a child, which was never more than a pop on the behind. I am grateful for it, and here's why.

The world is not a walk along a flower lined path, edged by bushes that grow gumdrops instead of berries. There is not candy cane bridge over a river of root beer. The real world will not allow you a simple apology for your mistakes. Your words and actions are offered to the world for acceptance, and no matter if they're good or bad, there WILL be a reaction to them. I understood that from a very young age. I learned to respect my parents, and to be respectful of other adults, and to take responsibility for my actions and mistakes.

So according to a fair number of people, my parents are still bad parents right? The ever present need for society and humanity to generalize things for the sake of ease has struck again. Instead of viewing every situation uniquely and fairly, they're simply saying words like "all" and "any". That's not fair to those of us who are perfectly well adjusted as adults, but were disciplined this way as children. It's not fair to tell a person who spanks their child that they don't love their children as much as someone who doesn't spank. Not fair at all.

Please understand this. I don't disagree with the parents who choose not to spank their kids. Quite the contrary, I very much admire the parents who don't, especially if that works when it comes to their child getting the message they're trying to convey. So what is our philosophy and opinion? Let me break it down for you.

Our daughter responds very well to reasoning, more often than not. If she's throwing a tantrum about something, because it's not going her way, we can sit her down, try and get her calmed down with a hug, and then ask her why she's upset. If she can't seem to calm down, she has a little harder time answering the question. But if she CAN answer the question, then we can start dissecting that problem with her, and usually reach some form of compromise or deal about it, to avoid conflict.

One situation we encounter is when she's asked to do something, and suddenly decides that she's grumpy, puts on her pouty face and shakes her head no. "Ok Punkin, it's time to get ready for bed, let's pick up your toys so we can get ready for bed." Commence head shaking. This would be one of those instances where telling us no is not ok. We asked nicely, and since she was playing with them, she needs to aid in the cleanup process. As above, we begin by calmly reasoning with her, and explaining that it's part of her responsibility to help clean up after she's done playing. About half the time, she understands that it's partly her job to help too. The other half isn't so sunny... haha. She will maintain her defiant stance, so then we have to explain to her that it's not nice to make a mess and not clean it up. I don't want her to think that she can go through life making a mess because Mommy and Daddy will just come through and clean it all up for her, that's how Kardashians are born. On occasion, this second round of reasoning will take, and she'll come over and help. But there are the rare instances where it simply doesn't take, and then she starts to get belligerent and rude and disrespectful. It wasn't allowed when I was a child, it's not allowed in the real world, and it's not allowed in our house. She's given yet another opportunity to explain herself, and to come and help, and if she still continues to act that way, it's a quick pop on the behind. This is not to be confused with a full-arm swing, it's from the wrist, and it suffices to get her attention. At this point, another round of attempted reasoning begins. Usually, she'll come around and she's given the opportunity to apologize, and make right the situation. When that is established, we then apologize to her for popping her on the behind, and she acknowledges that she forgives us. Does that mean I don't love my daughter? Absolutely not.

Many parents who swear totally against this kind of thing will interject and tell me that when she's crying and yelling irrationally, that she's just expressing her emotion in the only way she knows how, and that we need to be more understanding about it and that she's emotionally distressed, etc. I'm sorry guys, but I disagree. She was asked calmly and kindly to HELP pick up her toys, and refused. She was explained the importance of taking responsibility, calmly and kindly, and still refused. It was explained again, and she began her tirade. Three explanations is plenty, and there is no "emotional hardship" behind simply not wanting to pick up her toys, and contribute to the effort. Believe me, I know when she's struggling with something like that. If she got her feelings hurt because one of us was impatient with her (which everyone does at some point or other), then it's OUR job to apologize to her, and sit and reason with her about it, and that's where she can explain that Mommy or Daddy hurt her feelings. These are the points where she learns about forgiveness.

Let's also be clear about another thing. There is a very clear line between discipline and child abuse. Just two weekends ago, a car skidded to a halt outside our house, a man exited, moved to the passenger door, opened it, and began to repeatedly slap his 15 year old daughter in the face so hard that we could hear his hand making contact with her face... from the backyard. She was screaming. Excessive? Absolutely. The sheriff was called about it, it was that bad. I'm sure some of you who read this will argue that there is no line. You're entitled to your opinion, as am I. And if your methods of parenting work for you, then I wish your child a blessed journey to adulthood, and I hope that you get as much out of it as your children.

This is the point guys. Children MUST understand the concept of consequences for inappropriate actions. The world is not going to give them a million chances to say sorry for their mistakes. That's not the world we live in. Reading about riding a bike is simple enough, as is listening to an explanation of how to ride one. When you're on the bike, that information carries only so much weight now. Any parent with half a brain will ALWAYS choose a more peaceful resolution to inappropriate behavior. Who wouldn't want a peaceful resolution to every problem. Be open to suggestions from other parents,  you may not know they make a good point until you look at it with another pair of eyes.

There is nothing general or standard about a person's parenting style. It's a very dynamic, individual, unique experience to each family. I honestly pray that any who read this can understand that before they judge me.

See ya next time.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daddy VS Disney

Ok, today I'm gonna do something a little bit different. Call it an analysis. My daughter... ok, well, my FAMILY watches a lot of Disney movies. They're reliable, they're funny, they're appropriate (normally), and most adults my age, and even a bit older, can remember watching them when THEY were kids. It's tradition. 
What I would like to do is take a little better look at how they've progressed over time. Being that I have a little girl who loves her some princess time, I'll go into the princess-based movies first. What I'll be doing is offering the moral that I pick up from the movie, as I see it relating to a child. Are you ready princesses?!?! Prepare to be ROASTED!

Let's start with some of the older ones first. No, they will not be in chronological order, because I'm just not that good, haha.

1.) Snow White: Well let's see, as with many of the Disney movies, the stepmother is always a wicked, hateful, jealous woman with one goal: making the main character's life miserable. The writers of these stories must have had parents with horrible marital problems... Anyway, Snow White is made to work all day for her stepmother, and her stepmother is this vain woman with a severe jealousy problem upon finding out Snow White is prettier than her. Which begins Snow White's dramatic journey through the forest and into the company of the Seven Dwarfs. Here, she continues to cook, clean and basically manage these slovenly old dwarfs household for them, in exchange for room and board. Seems fair, right? I think so. Not a bad lesson in my perspective. If somebody is giving you something, help out and earn your keep. On the flip side, when the queen suddenly discovers the betrayal of the huntsman and pursues Snow White, the girl does nothing to aid her own defense, and opens the door for the freakishly scary looking woman with apples. You know the rest. Moral according to Daddy: 1.)Don't open the door for strangers, bad things can happen. 2.) If someone is helping you, help them in return. Well done Disney, well done.

2.) Sleeping Beauty: This girl was just unfortunate. The evil sorceress has it in for this poor girl before she can even walk! So she is whisked away to the forest to remain in hiding until her 16th birthday. Well, on the day of her 16th birthday, whilst wandering alone in the forest (which doesn't seem like a terribly bright idea to me given the circumstances) daydreaming, she happens to run into the Prince (who she was betrothed to, but doesn't know, therefore making him a stranger). They dance, and walk and flirt and all that good stuff, and then all of a sudden she has a reality check and remembers she shouldn't be doing that, and then runs away, SHOUTING HER ADDRESS TO HIM! Hmmm... this movie just seems to be one bad idea after another. Moral according to Daddy: 1.) If confronted by a stranger, immediately run away, but if he seems honest enough, and he's cute, tell him where you live, because he might be a prince. 2.) Follow your dreams. Ok, I can get behind the second one, I would encourage my daughter to dream. The first one... not so much, haha.

3.) Cinderella: This is yet another stepmother bashing film. Cinderella is made to serve in her own house, waiting hand and foot on her stepmother and stepsisters. She, much like all Disney princesses, has a head full of dreams, which is fantastic for little girls to see. As I've said, dreaming is highly encouraged in our house. Well, as the story goes, she is allowed to go to the ball if she finishes her chores in time, which get multiplied by the stepmother to prevent her attendance. Well, once she finishes her chores, everyone else is ready to go, and the mice had made her a dress from "acquired" items discarded by the stepsisters.  This dress is of course shredded, and she runs into the backyard to cry. This is the famous moment when the fairy godmother appears and makes all her dreams come true by sending her to the ball in a beautiful gown, exquisite carriage and some presumably uncomfortable shoes. All this cool stuff is given a limit though, in the form of the spell wearing off at midnight. Long story short, she hangs on to one of the shoes (the other was left behind at the ball), and ends up proving her identity, thereby seeing her dream of marrying a prince come to fruition. Moral according to Daddy: 1.) Sometimes life isn't always peachy, but keep dreaming, and things will work out. Maybe not realistic in a literal since, but definitely a good message of keeping a positive message. I'll give you this one Disney.

4.) The Little Mermaid: This one is a tough call. Ariel begins the movie by being late to her first ever musical performance, that was extremely important to her dad. Then, she continues to rant about how unhappy she is being a mermaid, and how she wants to be human so bad. So badly in fact, that she would strike a deal with a KNOWN ENEMY of her father to get it. You all know how things progressed from there, and in the end, her true love saves her, kills the sea witch, and she becomes a mermaid again, at which point her father gives in and allows her to live her life as a human. My findings on this movie will probably seem harsh, but it's all in good fun. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) If your father doesn't agree with you, go around him and do it anyway. Come on Disney, forsaking your parents for the sake of your dreams? Ouch. 2.) If you don't like yourself the way you are, find a way to be different. Hmmm... ok... I might be able to see this, but it's definitely a split decision for me. I'm half and half on this movie. Call it a draw.

5.) Belle: I kind of see this era of Disney as a turning point of sorts. Prior to this, most Disney princesses were pretty helpless as far as the story went. Waiting on their prince to come and rescue them because they were being somehow threatened by another entity. Little Mermaid hits on it a little bit by making Ariel so headstrong, but I really notice the independence with Belle. She is immediately portrayed as a woman with a purpose, dreams and a head on her shoulders. She's strong and she won't be pushed around by anyone, including the 8 foot tall beast. She wants TRUE love, to ANYBODY she falls in love with, not just a prince, it could be anybody. So the story really picks up when she rides off into danger to rescue her father (who really could've used Google Maps in my opinion). She finds herself in the castle where he is held captive, and then trades her own life for his. Noble and brave if you ask me. Then, she defies the beast and runs away because he's treating her badly. At which point he rescues her, and she stands up for herself YET AGAIN because he's being irrational and mean. After all that, she has to go rescue her father again, and is then put in the position to stand up to an entire angry mob (complete with pitchforks and torches) in defense of her friend the beast. The rest of the story continues and they live happily ever after. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) Be smart, and be independent, no matter what anyone thinks. Brilliant. 2.) Don't put restrictions on who you love that are based on income, stature or looks. Be open to love from wherever it may find you. Well done. 3.) Stand up for what you believe, and for your friends and family. Awesome. Disney, you have a masterpiece on your hands here. Brilliant job.

6.) Pocahontas: Yet another tough one. The girl is obviously independent and headstrong. Not terrible qualities at all. Early on, she is proven to be disobedient though... going against her father's very clear wishes. For the greater good? I suppose. The story then shows her finding John Smith, and teaching him all about the land, and the animals, etc. In the process, she falls in love with him, and there's a big conflict over the whole thing. This movie is pretty concise. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) If your father says not to do something, but you have a different feeling, do it anyway. Not always a smart idea. 2.) Don't let race or language get in the way of falling in love. Ok, I can support that. 3.) Defend your love to the death. Alright, ya got me there... that's a good one. All in all, Disney beats Daddy 2 to 1.

7.) Jasmine: Here is one I have to say I'm half and half on. Jasmine is a very obviously independent young woman, who feels very strongly that she should be allowed to marry anyone she wants. This of course is a problem for Jafar, who has plans of replacing the sultan. So Jasmine sneaks out, and ends up meeting Aladdin. Well, when they're both apprehended by the palace guards, she wastes no time in shovin' her weight around. Aladdin is clearly far more unfortunate than herself, and has no means of eating other than stealing his food. She shows compassion. An admirable quality. Well, Aladdin escapes to unwittingly help Jafar, and ends up lying to her about being a prince and yada yada yada. She ends up loving him anyway, without being a prince, and they live happily ever after until the sequel. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) If life isn't so great at home, leave. Not so crazy about this one. Rules might suck, but they're still rules. 2.) Help the poor and hungry. How could I possibly say anything negative about this one?? 3.) Don't let class, stature, or financial security decide who you love. A common theme, and a good one. Disney, this one is definitely passable. Well done.

8.) Mulan: Ok, while this one I don't really classify as a "princess" she's still a good role model for  young girls today I think. She defies the societal standard by being different, and quirky (reference the scene where she gives the Matchmaker a run for her money), all while being proud of it. Then, when the draft comes around to collect her father for service, she takes his place and rides off to join the army. She grows and becomes even more independent and strong throughout the whole movie, and ends up being left to die for being a woman impersonating a man. After this, she journeys to the city to save the emperor and her fellow troops, EVEN THOUGH THEY LEFT HER TO DIE. She sees the big picture. Well, of course she saves China, and all is well. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) Stand up for your family, no matter what. Brilliant lesson. 2.) Be proud of who you are, even if you're not perfect to anyone else. Something I truly hope my daughter understands. 3.) Sometimes people make mistakes, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have help too. A very noble concept. Well placed. Another win for Disney.

9.) Tiana: This was definitely a twist for Disney. This girl has been a hard worker from the get-go. Her father passed a dream on to her, and she worked her tail off to get it. She kept her eye on the prize, working two jobs, extra shifts all to get her restaurant. Well, when her offer gets rejected by the realtor guys, she's pretty bummed out and resorts to kissing a frog to see if THAT will help. Well, obviously it doesn't, and she goes through every manner of danger and disaster to find a way to be turned back into a human being. In the process, she teaches Navine a few things about hard work (and cooking) and also learns a few things about enjoying life for herself. At the end, everything works out for the best, and they live happily ever after, of course. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) Work hard for your goals. Couldn't pick a better moral for today's children. 2.) Work hard, but take time to enjoy life as well, its not ALL about work. A practice I regularly apply to my own life. Disney, you've got a winner on your hands!

10.) Rapunzel: This girl is quite interesting. She loves her "mother" very much, which is highly respectable. Though, when given the order to stay home, she disobeys and goes outside anyway, searching for the lanterns. But along the way, she makes a near instantaneous transformation into a strong, independent woman. She defends Flynn against the thugs in the bar (who become friends), stands up to her mother, perseveres and reaches her floating lanterns. She also discovers a few things about Flynn's humble beginnings, and loves him even more for them. They find their way back into the clutches of her mother, at which point she sacrifices her freedom for the chance to save Flynn's life, at which point he botches the whole deal and cuts her hair off. They return to the kingdom to reunite her with her parents, and live happily ever after. Morals according to Daddy: 1.) If your mom tells you something, but you REALLY want to do something else, just go ahead and do it. Ok, it's for the good of the story here, but I don't encourage rebelling against the parents. 2.) Accept a person for who they are, and love them for it no matter what. Sound advice. 3.) Be assertive, and know what you want. Another case of this in a Disney princess? Disney, you're on a roll!

Ok, so that about covers the MAIN princesses of the Disney realm. Overall, there are some good strong messages behind these movies (if you choose to be a nerd and dig them out haha). I notice the more recent Disney movies are more about independent, strong, caring women, while the older movies have the dainty, helpless, over-emotional princesses waiting around for the man to come and save them.

Don't get me wrong, I will always watch these movies, and let my daughter watch them. I will also always be a fan of these movies. The above theories are purely for a fun, thought-provoking way to see the Disney movies, and how a child might subliminally perceive the things happening in them. Obviously, I will not be attributing a child's disobedience to watching The Little Mermaid a hundred times a day...

I hope you enjoy this post, and I hope you have some cool comments to share with the rest of us about it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Peeves of a Parent

Ok, well, it's been a few days since my last post. Things have been pretty busy in the Gertsch house this last week. Lots going on, we were all sick in different intervals... what a week. So to make up for being gone for a bit, I'd like to throw you all a post that is designed to receive interaction.

Pet peeves. Everyone has them. Allow me to re-phrase that. Everyone has PERSONAL pet peeves, that apply to any and every aspect of their own lives. But when you become a parent, suddenly you develop all new ones that relate to your children; whether they be about something your child does, or just how something affects your child. So let's get on to it then, and then you guys can share yours as well, because I'd love to hear them all! As with all my lists, these are in no particular order because they all irritate me just the same.

1.) Family restrooms. What a novel idea. A place for a breastfeeding mother to take her child for a bit of refuge from the prying eyes of the entire mall, a place where daddies can take their little girls potty, or mommies can take their little boys, or heck, a place for the WHOLE FAMILY to go together. The point is, these bathrooms are designed for those of us with children, to have a little easier place to get potty business done. My peeve: When I'm waiting and waiting for the family bathroom to open up, and when it finally does, out strolls a grown man or woman, BY THEMSELVES!!!! GAAAAAHHHH! This infuriates me. These bathrooms are a convenience to people with children, not to indulge a person's need for personal private time on the john.

2,) The eternal journey to the potty. Parents: Does it not blow your mind that the only time your child has to go potty is when you've finally made it to the opposite end of the store?? And to add the cherry on top, isn't it that much sweeter when you make it there after carrying the child, and dodging countless people with no sense of store-aisle etiquette, only to hear her say, "I don't have to go right now." How about when this happens multiple times? Even. Better. Now, don't mistake this peeve for one that incites anger in me. It certainly irritates me, since we're usually trying to get the shopping done and be on our way. But as my wife reminds me pretty regularly: "What if she really does have to go?" Hmmm... run to the bathroom, or chance it, and then clean her off, after going to the bathroom anyway?

3.) The game show parent. This one is specifically for my good friend Ken. We laugh about this one quite regularly. Picture this: You encounter a couple in the store and somehow strike up a conversation, maybe you know them somehow. They also have a small child. You turn to the child, and to have them be part of the conversation as well, ask, "Wow, cool shoes!! What color are they?" Immediately, the parent mentally slams their hand down on their buzzer and says, "They're red." *Facepalm* Yes lady, I'm not blind, I'm well aware of what color your child's shoes are, I was asking THE CHILD to give the opportunity for them to answer me, and show me that they know their colors. The best is when a child is at the stage where they're beginning to count, and understand age. "Oh wow, you're gettin' big! How old are you?" BUZZ!!! "She's three." *Facepalm*

4.) The heathens. No, this is not a religious disagreement. I mean the children who barrel through you or your kid at the store, or the park, and create a general sense of havoc and disarray wherever they go. The part that peeves me about this? The parents, sitting idly by, playing on their smartphones, or simply meandering through the store with their carts, paying no heed whatsoever to their rowdy, obnoxious children. Now, I'm not a total stiff, I'll play hide & seek with my daughter in the department store, come on, what else are all those racks of tacky, ugly clothing for? But come on, if your child is running amok, rein em in! I cringe every time we go to the park and there are kids like this there. My daughter will get to the top and be ready to slide down the big slide, and up behind her comes the ill-behaved children. My only thought is that they're going to push her down, and she'll tumble off the side or something.

5.) The know-betters. These are the parents who have very rigid parenting techniques, that they are pretty certain were sent by God himself, and therefore, are the ONLY parenting techniques. They are also generous enough to constantly share that perspective with you, and insist that you shouldn't "Let your child do that" or some other ridiculous little tid bit. Without knowing the full situation about a person's parenting style, don't criticize it. Nobody's saying yours is wrong, I'm saying don't push it on me.

6.) The kid owners. One thing that absolutely drives me nuts, are the parents who have children, maybe a few, who take the time to have their kids, and then any time you see them, they're either never with their kids, or never acknowledging them, similar to a pet owner. They'll sit and ignore their kids while they're trying to get their attention. I get the impression that as soon as the child learned to walk on their own, that was it. The parent has no interaction with their kids, they just sit and do whatever it is they want to do, and ignore the child's attempts to get their attention, whether it's just to show them something, or to play with them. This is just sad. My daughter will pick some rather inconvenient times to want to play with us, usually during the cooking of dinner. I understand, because she hasn't seen me all day, and cooking usually happens shortly after I get home. Me and my wife will be in the kitchen (after the homecoming hugs and kisses) getting dinner together, and my daughter will ask me to play with her. God bless my wife, she usually takes over whatever it is I'm doing so I can at least get a few minutes in of dinosaurs or ponies. Other times, I may be doing the whole meal myself, and have to tell her that I'll play with her in a little bit, when the dinner doesn't need to be serviced, just listened for. The point is, we love playing with our daughter, we had her so that we could interact with her. Sometimes we don't feel like it, or have something going on, and have to tell her no, but we always respond to it, and make her a return offer of a different time to play. I enjoy playing video games quite a bit, but I don't want to totally lose out on time with her either. Long story short, my daughter is an expert dragon/zombie/goblin/bad guy finder.

7.) NO. This one kinda speaks for itself doesn't it moms and dads? "Punkin, can you eat your dinner please? Then we can have dessert." "No." Even when not yelled, this word is one of the most irritating words I know... and the worst part about it is that I know I helped create it. We've always been pretty open about letting our daughter make choices for herself, so she knew how to make up her mind and think for herself. But that does open up the door for her to apply those rules to ANYTHING SHE IS ASKED! So then, especially in relation to dinner time, it turns into an explanation of why I don't want her to be hungry, or more often than not, the benefit to her for eating some more. I've learned the hard way about making her eat too much, so I won't push her to eat everything on her plate, because she hasn't learned to give us a rating of how hungry she is. So she could very well be full. But I'm no idiot, I know she has room in her stomach for more than just two bites of chicken... haha.

Well this is my list everybody. Just a short one. Believe me, I have way more peeves than this, but these are probably my top peeves. I am not just encouraging you to share on this one, I would actually like to ASK you to share on this one. I think this could be a pretty fun little experiment to see where everyone's peeves collide, so let's see it.