Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Product Placement

This morning for breakfast, I made Sam and me a smoothie.
Peyton doesn't get any, because I like to put almond milk in them, and there's a slight chance he's allergic to almonds. So, tough beans kiddo, eat your banana.

Anyway, as we were drinking the smoothie, Sam looked over at the carton of almond milk. Suddenly, she said, "Mom, is this almond milk Silk?"
"Yes." It did just happen to be that particular brand of almond milk. I got excited thinking she might have sounded out the word and read it herself.
Before I could ask her if she read it, Sam piped up again and said, "Wow! It's no wonder I'm so good at soccer now! Silk is so good for your bodies and bones!! I hope I'm playing today, 'cause I'd be great after drinking this."

That was quite the pitch (and so humble about her soccer skills, too). As I've mentioned a time or two on this blog, our family is very susceptible to advertising.

Now, apparently, we've progressed to product placement in our daily lives. She would fit right in to an awkward sudden conversation about Yoplait light or Extra dessert flavored sugar-free gum on The Biggest Loser.

The sad part is, no one is paying us. She just talks like this because she thinks it's normal to talk about products using their key advertising points.

I blame our consumer-driven society, and the vast amount of advertising she encounters everywhere, even on the endcaps of store aisles. I most certainly am not going to blame myself. This is America, and personal responsibility is sooooo last century.
Now, I'll drown my parenting worries in a nice bowl of Blue Bell ice cream. Made with only the best ingredients, Blue Bell tastes just like the good old days, and is still a full half gallon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cleaning with Kids

Cleaning and chores with kids, once they're old enough, is a funny thing.
It's something they've just got to learn how to do to be functional members of society, yet teaching them is a way bigger pain than just doing it yourself. This is why a lot of people today don't know how to do jack--their parents just did not have the energy to do the same thing they would do anyway but nine times slower, half the quality, and with random bouts of crying.
But Daniel and I will not have that in our house. We WILL NOT have it!

So instead, we have this:

Me: "Sam, your room is very messy. You need to go clean it up. Please go and put all your toys away--where they go, not just anywhere-- then make your bed, pick up your books and blankets, and make sure that you don't shove stuff in the corners or stack everything on your dresser."

Sam: "Sure, mom!" Runs to her room, where I hear the Dora clean up song being belted at double speed. Amazingly, approximately 1.6 seconds later, Sam runs back in where ever I am. "DONE!"

Me: "Wow. Really? Your room is clean? If I go in there, will I be happy or sad?"

Sam: "Happy! It's clean."

Me: "That's great. So, you made your bed, and---"

Sam cuts me off: "Oh. Wait, hold on!" Runs back to her room, starts the Dora song again, and manages to reappear even faster than the first time. "My bed is made now!"

Me: "You are super speedy! So, the pillows are on?"

Sam: "Yep yep!" (This is her latest affirmative answer to anything--a super fast "yep yep." It's adorable, we love it.)

Me: "Great! And your comforter is pulled up and smoothed out?"

Sam: "oops. Hold on." Again, she runs off and sings Dora. I start to wish there was another clean up song known to preschooler-kind. This time lasts maybe 5 seconds, so she probably found a toy to play with and got distracted. "Okay," she runs in, breathing hard from all the dashing, "the comforter is up, the room is all clean. You'll be happy."

Me: "Yeah! I'm so glad you cleaned it up! I will come to inspect it soon. I can't wait to see the nice clean dresser--you remembered not to pile everything from the floor on the dresser right?"

Sam: "ummmm, hold on." You guessed it, we repeat the cycle again. As this time, she takes piles off the dresser. When she runs back, we repeat this cycle again with piles in the corners, dirty clothes piled in front of the hamper, clean clothes spilling out of drawers, and books stacked pretty much everywhere but the book bin. Maybe a few more times if she's been playing princesses or blocks, since apparently "clean up the blocks/figurines" translates to "clean up one block/figurine, then announce your are finished. Repeat for every single one on floor." After she has completed a metric mile running back and forth between her room and mine, I decide it's time to inspect her room.

What I find is a comforter pulled up awkwardly over an entire menagerie of stuffed animals, making it look like a small mountain range, decorative pillows stacked on top of each other upside down and sideways, a mountain of books in the book bin that will start cascading to the floor any second, at least one dirty shirt in front of the hamper blocking the closet door, and an entire line of toys peeking out from under the bed that obviously didn't qualify as "out" since they are 1 mm inside the bedframe and are therefore invisible to the naked eye.

Oh, and one four year old completely bursting with pride. "Isn't it great!? Are you so happy!?" She asks jumping and clasping her hands in rapture.

And I am so happy. Because even if it was like pulling teeth and herding cats--simultaneously--she did it herself. Her floors and surfaces, formerly completely covered from view, are clean, and she made the effort. I know this is the best she could do, and I am proud and happy.

But no way am I stupid enough to look inside that closet. I'm going to ride the good emotions while they last.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Infomal Education

A couple weeks ago I was taking the kids to spend the day at what we call "the dinosaur museum," because for all it's other merits on geology, the history of earth, and Arizona's history and natural beauty, all we really care about are the dinosaurs. Especially the robot T-rex that opens and closes its mouth.
I'd never taken Sam before, and I'd been promising for weeks. Since I'm too cheap to pay another $10 bucks so Daniel could go with us (seriously, seems a little steep for people who I wasn't expecting to give a flying fig about 99% of the exhibits, but I digress), it was just me and the kiddos.
It was also a bit of a drive to a different town. On the way there, Sam said, "Hey, mom, maybe on the way back from the museum, we could swing by the aquarium and check that out." (FYI, the aquarium is in yet another city the other direction, but that's not the point).
I said that one major activity was enough for the day, and pointed out that it would be too expensive to go both places, because they both cost a bit of money. I can honestly say that fact that I find fish and sea life totally disgusting did not factor into the decision at all.
Sam sighed and said "Does the 'quarium cost 18 monies?"
Surprised, I answered, "Yes, I think that's exactly what it costs. How did you know that?"
Sam replied, "I know SOME stuff, mom. I know some stuff."

I guess she does, but I'm still mystified as to how.

A few days later in the grocery store Sam pointed at some of the sugary cereals we are trying to quit buying and wean off of.
"Hey mom, can we get this cereal? It is a good source of fiber AND whole grains!!!"
Again, with the crazy "knowlege" out of nowhere? I had an idea where she heard this slightly misleading info, however, but I asked how she knew that anyway.
Sam looked up at me and said "Well, I watch a lot of commercials."

That's just fabulous. Way to make me feel like super mom, Sam. Thanks. I really wish it didn't cost extra for the kids cable channels without commercials. Because, lets face it, I'm not going to take away all the TV, that's just crazy talk! I'd never shower alone again (even with the TV, odds are about 70% I'll get a visitor staring at the glass door asking for a snack or something). If I ask for privacy, but Sam considers it "really important" she's come barging in with her crochet blanket over her head, so I can have my privacy. When I ask her how she runs in like that without bumping into things, she says she can see through it. When I ask how I'm getting privacy if she can in fact see through it, she asks why I would want her to bump into things and looks as me like I'm the crazy person here. Then I sigh and vow to wake up at 5am before Daniel leaves to get a solo shower. The next day, I will not get up at five. It's a fun little game we play.

Anyway, it may not be what I think she's absorbing, and it may not be what I want her to be picking up, but yes, Sam is always learning. The only problem is, after she busts out random trivia knowledge like how much the local aquarium costs, it becomes even harder not to lose it when she says she "forgot" she was supposed to put her toys away after seventeen reminders. Or when she says she forgot that we discussed her bursting in with a blanket on her head is not actually "respecting mom's privacy" after all.

I know what her little brain is capable of, and so does she--making mom's brain explode.