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Taking gifts from strangers intended for your kids…


I took my son out for lunch today while the spouse and daughter were getting their hair did. While we were munching on hot dogs a member of our senior community sneaks up on me rather swiftly and asks if my kid can have a stuffed animal. My first question was “What kind of stuffed animal is it?” Since he wasn’t holding one. He replies: “The one that’s out in my trunk.”

Well, putting the words “my child, stuffed animal and trunk” in the same conversation gave me a little boost of anxiety adrenaline. He never made eye contact or bantered about my son or anything. The fact that my son was sizing him up didn’t help his cause either. I politely said “Oh, no thank you, we have too many as it is”. Before I could finish my apology he was off to the next table that contained a child.

There were five other parents who accepted the offer. I being the only one who didn’t. I watched him go out to his trunk while other parents nervously laughed about what was going on. His license plate revealed that he was a veteran, so I felt a little ungrateful at this point. He opened his trunk and proceeded to pull out a large broadsword some Ty beanie babies. He then distributed them to those who accepted, quickly tossing them to the parents then sitting down to his table. Then, I felt confused when he sat down with a ethically diverse, tattooed, pierced and far younger group than himself.

I would like to live in a period of time where this kind of generosity is common place. However, you never know who’s going to put gps tracker, hidden camera, razor blade or needle on the inside of a stuffed animal that is handed to you by a deranged lunatic with an agenda. We have to teach our kids not to talk and or receive gifts from strangers in these kind of awkward situations. Doing so breaks down their guard and a level of protection against strangers. The fact that my son didn’t get upset about it makes me feel justified in my decision.

Caring About Child Nutrition

I wouldn’t say that I’m the best at nutrition for myself but I go out of the way to feed my children the best things possible. It’s not that I eat total garbage but I do avoid refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. I’m careful when I read food labels for my kids and this cereal “treat” astounded me on the amount of ingredients I didn’t recognize, let alone could pronounce.

I let my children eat cereal a couple times a week, and they both prefer gluten free Honey-Nut or Cinnamon Chex, helps keep them both very happy during the morning. The other times I’m cooking a hot breakfast for them. We also feed them whole foods and organic as much as possible. People used to make fun of us for doing so, but considering how much natural energy my kids have despite being hopped up on corn sugar, I’ll take that over a malnourished child any day. They can tell the difference between organic milk vs non, and will only drink the former.

Which brings me to my point. How lazy do you have to be to serve a cereal bar for breakfast? Lucky Charms is not something I would put high on the nutrition pyramid let alone in a compacted sugar ration. It’s easy to open a box of cereal, pour the contents into a bowl and add some milk. I’m sure the kids are climbing in the pantry to eat these for breakfast while you are sleeping off your Crystal Light Margarita buzz from the night before.

Dealing with a Strong Willed Child

Having a strong willed child is not an easy thing. We were blessed to have a docile daughter who is able to think for her self and follow instructions. However, our son has decided he can think for himself just fine and doesn’t need our instructions.

It seems like no form of discipline works. Spanking doesn’t seem to bother him and timeouts are tolerable. At his Sunday School class, he’s figured out that he can hit or bite someone and them put himself in timeout.

Some people don’t understand strong willed children. They think there is something wrong with the parents and we aren’t taking care of our children. Comments like “Why don’t you get him tested for ADD?” Really? You think that because a 2 year old doesn’t want to sit and listen to a story and wants to play with blocks by himself that he’s ADD?

Best thing to do when they become a tornado of teeth, fists and leg kicks? Remain calm, I know that sounds easy, but if you get out of control, it’s only going to make the situation worse. Remove the child from the situation and explain why playtime is over. When you are ready to try again say things like “Ok, we are going to play, but if you bite, kick, punch, choke-hold, arm-bar, or elbow drop any of the kids, playtime is over and we will leave.” Once he breaks the contract, leave and explain why.

You have to know the difference when a kid makes a innocent¬† mistake and when they are openly defiant. Also, look for true repentance. Kids need to understand what they are doing is wrong and how to correct it. They need to understand how to apologize and make the situation better. Sometimes they are just sorry they got caught and are upset because they had to stop pounding on someone. If you have a heart in your chest that is beating, you’ll know true repentance when you see it. It also helps to know your child’s love language.

Finally, obviously, just hold on to your kid and love him. Ignore the idiots who make stupid comments about how you can’t control your kid. Don’t point out the fact that they are raising mindless zombies who only follow herd mentality. That doesn’t help.

Dog Owners are Pet Parents?

It cracks me up that people can really compare owning a pet to raising children. Are we really concerned about organic dog food and oven baked low fat snacks when they eat their own feces? I can’t believe I actually saw medication for a dogs joint health.

I guess the line between pet parent is being blurred with how we treat our children. We now have kids on leashes at public malls. What’s next, let them eat off the floor, put them in a kennel at night, and let them crap in the yard?

Sleeping Like a Baby?

I don’t understand why people are always saying. “Ah, I slept like a baby last night”. I don’t consider waking up every 2 and half hours and pooping in my sleep a good night.

Traveling with a Toddler

Yes we all know to bring pack and plays, diapers, wipes and food, but what about the out of the ordinary things that keep the parents from going insane on vacations?

  • Small bottle of Dish-washing liquid – rancid sippy cups of milk found the next day in the floorboards are no fun to clean
  • Door stops – Toddlers are fascinated with opening and closing doors. It gets old with parents really quick. Especially if the doors are really heavy and can lop fingers off with ease. Rubber door stops are real cheap too.
  • White noise device – We use our one of our iPhone’s with White Noise, it’s great at drowning out the low random noises of a hotel room.
  • Stroller or Alternative – We have two different types. We have the Maclaren and we also have the Tikes Mobile. The tikes mobile has been great for us because it gives our son a sense of control and doesn’t give the impression that we are torturing him with the stroller.
  • Patience – We all don’t have enough of this, toddlers can drive you crazy, they are all over the place. It’s easy to scream at them when they don’t do what you want. But keep them busy and don’t miss naps. If you can keep them happy on a trip, it will trickle down to everyone.

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