Why I Told My Daughter to Kick Your Son in the Balls

There was an article that went around last year that my virtual writer friend Ashley Fuchs wrote called The Reason My Daughter May Punch Your Son. When I read the article, my daughter was in kindergarten. In my mind, she was years away from this kind of harassment, so I read it, and I shared it, but I didn’t internalize it the way some of my fellow parents did. Because I thought I had more time.

Turns out, my time is up.

“Mom, I got bullied today,” she said as we walked home from school.

“Bullied?” I questioned. I don’t like the word. I think it’s overused and thrown around, and I have a hard time thinking that my sassy, very independent little girl could possibly be bullied, so I questioned her a little. She tends to be dramatic, and by the time we got home, she said some boys were chasing her on the playground. I told her not to play with them anymore if they bugged her, and that was that. We went on with our day.

Fast forward to dinner where she brought it up again. We always go through our highs and our lows of the day, and when it was her turn to voice her low, she said, “Some boys bullied me today.” Since this was the second time she brought it up, I probed harder.

“Tell me exactly what happened, ” I said. She went on to say that some boys were hitting her butt on the playground, and when she told them to stop, they called her chubby and laughed at her.

That’s right. Two boys put their hands on my daughter, and when she told them to stop, they called her fat and made fun of her. Let that sink in for a second.

Want to know where they learned that? I have an idea.

Rage boiled inside of me, but I squelched it and asked her what she did next. She said she told the teacher, and the teacher told them to stop, but they didn’t.

The more I listened, the angrier I got. She showed me on my own butt what they were doing, and it can only be described as groping, but she didn’t understand that.

BECAUSE SHE IS SIX!

We discussed how inappropriate and unacceptable it was/is, and I commended her for doing the right thing by telling the teacher.

She put her head down and said, “Tomorrow, I’m just going to hide at recess.”

I pulled her into me and lifted her chin up so she could look me in the eye, and I said, “NO. You will not let two boys ruin your free time. You will not allow them to take your fun away. They are breaking the rules. If they do that tomorrow, you say ‘Keep your hands off of me.’ If they do not stop, you tell the teacher. If they continue to bother you, you turn around and step on their feet, or kick them in the shins or their business, and if you get in trouble, go ahead and tell your teacher to give me a call.” I explained that she might end up in the principal’s office and that we would deal with it if we had to, but I made sure she knew that she was empowered to defend herself.

Our boys are learning from us. It is not innate that when a girl says no, they immediately go to calling her fat or ugly. This is learned behavior. Your job as a mother and as a father is to make sure your sons (and daughters) know better. I can tell you that if I learned that my son had touched a girl the way these boys touched my daughter or spoke to another child the way they did, there would be some serious consequences at our home. He knows better. He’s been taught to respect all people, all women, your daughters, so if he steps out of line there, I want to know.

Parents, teach your sons (and daughters) that they are not entitled to touch anyone anywhere, that my daughter’s back side is not for their hands, that if they do put their hands on (MY) child, they will not get away with it because she will defend herself the best way she can.

Thoughts?

(To read more of Ashley Fuchs’ articles, visit her page: The Incredible Adventures of the Malleable Mom.)

 

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Photocredit: Stock photo

 

 

 

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Dear Mom

I didn’t buy you a card this year. I always spend a lot of time looking through all of the cards, humor cards and sentimental cards alike, but this year I couldn’t find one that worked.

Nothing quite put into words the impact you leave on this world, on my world. There wasn’t a card that said, Your laugh is the best sound on Earth. I couldn’t find one that said I see so much of you in my daughter. She’s wild and fierce and brave and strong, just like you, Mom. There were no cards that described the days when I get to talk to you and how they are a little less stressful and hurried, that I’m more grounded and calm when I get to hear your voice. None put into words the way I feel when I come home, when I sit at your table while we have our morning coffee.

I read card after card and replaced each in it’s little bin, unable to commit to one.

Because you’re bigger than a card and greater than someone else’s words.

You’re my mother, which now that I’m a mother too, I understand how important that role is, and I realize how fortunate I am that I get to be your daughter.

Thank you today and everyday for all that you’ve done and do.

I love you.

 

Mandi and Mom

Beware of Peppa Pig on YouTube

Parents, if you listen to nothing else today, please heed this warning. Peppa Pig can lead to very questionable content on the internet.

Like most parents, my children enjoy watching videos on YouTube. My daughter has been a huge fan of Peppa Pig for years, and aside from the annoying random snorting, I’ve never had a problem with the pig herself or her sweet British family. I often hear her snorting from across the room and typically think nothing of it.

I frequently double check to make sure my children aren’t stumbling upon inappropriate videos their little eyes shouldn’t see. The other night, I was going through my daughter’s browser history on her tablet when I came across a series of very disturbing videos.

Multiple random videos featuring fecal matter and defecation loaded onto the screen. I clicked on not one, not two, but several videos about poop. Literally a load of shit appeared before my eyes.

Disgusted and aghast, I immediately called my daughter into my office and questioned the content.

“I wasn’t watching poop videos, Mom. I swear I didn’t mean to.”

“Well, what is this then? It most certainly looks like you were watching videos about poop.”

“I was trying to watch Peppa Pig. I promise mom. That’s gross. I don’t want to watch anyone pooping.” Who would really? (5.9 million people. That’s who.)

“Well, you cannot watch YouTube anymore, and frankly, if Peppa Pig leads you to these videos, then I don’t even want you watching Peppa Pig at all. Ever.” I ushered her out of my office holding onto the tablet for safe keeping.

Later, I decided to investigate further and asked my daughter to tell me how she managed to watch so many poop videos.

“I was typing Peppa in the search, Mom.”

“You were typing Peppa?”

“Yeah.”

I sat looking at the videos clearly not featuring an animated pink pig wondering how she could have stumbled upon the videos.

“Did they start off as Peppa videos?”

“No, they were poop.” She wasn’t even being funny.

I thought for a little bit trying to make sense of this.

“How did you spell Peppa, sweetheart?”

She wiped the tears off of her face and looked up at me with her bright blue child eyes, and with 100% certainty spelled out, “P-O-O-P.”

“Mmm hmmmm. What makes you think that’s how you spell it?”

“I asked Kell (big brother).”

“I see.”

And then I promptly grounded big brother from his tablet for a week.

You see, Peppa Pig videos can lead your child to inappropriate content. Particularly if her brother thinks he’s funny.

Consider yourself warned.

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Why Moms Yell

I’ve often said that every day is Groundhog day when you’re a mom. One thing, in particular, that remains an ever present constant in my house is the struggle for my son to put on his shoes. Every single morning, we do the same thing. Wake up, get dressed, comb hair, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and the last thing is to put shoes on before we leave the house. Yet, EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, it goes something like this….

 

 

The fabulous Deva from MyLifeSuckers let me collaborate on this one which was inspired by this meme:

Apparently, it’s not just my kids. Do your kids do the same thing? Are we being punked? Is it Groundhog day? (Of course it is. We’re parents.)

Mom, I’m Scared to Go to School

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night. We had kind of a rough evening. After a strenuous two hour math homework marathon with my son,  I ordered a pizza, and the kids and I sat around the table discussing our highs and our lows of the day as we do every night at dinner, but I wasn’t engaged. I was irritable, the weight of the world heavy on my shoulders. I was short with both kids, not at my parenting best.

Rushed showers and stories and prayers, and the kids were off to bed. I poured a glass of wine and sat on the couch to lose myself in the lives of the Orange County housewives, watched the news, and then went to bed. Pretty uneventful.

Around eleven, my daughter came into my room half in a sleep walk haze and said she was scared. After the normal “Everything is okay. You’re safe here,” she fell back asleep.

This happened two more times in the night. I know it’s normal. I know kids go through times when they can’t sleep, and I know it will pass. I’ve been through all of this before, but I woke up tired and cranky, and when I went into her room to help her start getting ready for school, I forced myself not to show the irritation I felt.

I sat on the end of her bed helping her pick out a hat for “hats off” day, when she said it.

“Mom, I’m scared to go to school.”

I furrowed my brow at her. “Why, baby?” I asked with confusion thinking she was going to tell me about some kid being a bully and preparing myself to go all Debbie from This is Forty on him and hope that he too looked like Tom Petty. (Movie reference)

“I’m scared of the lock down drill.” Flashbacks to dinner last night when my head was far away from the conversation, and she mentioned something about it. Shame on me for not addressing it then.

My baby who is five years old, in her first year of school, a kindergartner, is scared to go to school because of a drill where fake bad guys come in and try to get into her classroom.

This is the world in which we live, friends, and it scares the hell out of me.

We spent the rest of the morning discussing the details and what she knew about the drill so far. Thankfully, my fourth grade son was around to help calm her nerves and told her it’s his favorite drill of all the drills (fire, tornado, BAD GUYS COMING INTO YOUR SCHOOL TO HARM YOU!)

She told me that if she’s in the bathroom and hears the alarm, she’s supposed to stop what she’s doing and stand on the toilet but keep her head down so nobody can see her over the top of the stall. “We can’t even flush, Mom. Do you think it’s okay to wipe?,” she asked, big blue eyes wide with worry. I shrugged my shoulders. How would I know? I never had lock down drills.

If someone tries to come into her classroom, the teacher will lock the door, and the students are supposed to find their hiding places.Kids are being taught to hide from bad guys in school.

As we walked to school, I told her that she need not worry, that we live in a safe place and that her focus today should be learning and enjoying time with her friends, and then I promised her a fun weekend. I walked away after kissing her goodbye knowing that I hadn’t been truthful.

Sure, we live in a safe place. We are in the heart of the suburbs where our biggest fear is a bobcat that likes to roam around our neighborhood.

But Columbine High School was safe. Sandy Hook Elementary was safe. Virginia Tech was safe.

Until they weren’t.

My daughter couldn’t sleep last night because this world simply isn’t safe anymore. Not even for a sweet little girl with a heart of gold in kindergarten.

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Be brave. Stay safe. It’s only school after all.

There’s Not Enough Vodka on this Plane

It’s a Friday afternoon. I board a plane with my two children. Final destination: Disney World. 

Because I forget things and didn’t check us in on time, we got stuck with a crappy boarding assignment, but alas, my child is under 6, so we file in with family boarding. 

I see a family of four: mom, dad, child, and toddler. It’s clear the toddler rules this family at first sight. Dad is struggling with a million dollar stroller that doesn’t seem to collapse as easily as the two year old who is lying on the floor screaming about having to exit said stroller. Meanwhile, mom stands  above dad wrestling thrashing toddler dictating authoritative directions to dad who can’t figure out the difference in pull and push. 

They board before us. Thank god so we don’t have to sit by them, but as we walk single file down the tiny aisle, I hear them before I see them. 

“I want the window seat.” Toddler screams and snorts. 

Mom says, “now we already talked about this. Your sister gets the window seat now, and you can have it when we come home.” 

“I WANT THE WINDOW SEAT,” toddler refuses to relent. 

Dad says to older daughter who is looking out the window ignoring her obnoxious brother, “let him sit there. Just for a minute.”

Daughter folds arms, “no. I’m not moving.”

Dad, “come on.”

Daughter, “no!” I mentally high five her and also mentally punch dad in the balls. 

Mom takes a noticeable deep breath and says through gritted teeth, “no, Todd,” and makes crazy eyes at dad, “he sits here.” Kid screams. Traffic moves. I trudge forward. 

My children and husband take a row of seats. I ask the man in the row adjacent (who isn’t seated but is standing) if I can have the aisle seat. He informs me he’s saving the aisle and the window seat. As if I’ll take the middle when there are several other seats available. Southwest Airlines at its best. 

I choose the window seat behind my son, noticing the family already seated with a daughter about the same age as mine (5) sitting directly behind me. I can handle this. 

Until I sit down. 

Kid kicks my seat no less than 42 times before I have my seatbelt buckled, but I optimistically conclude she’s just getting comfortable. 

No. 

(Kick count 8,488,911 times, and I’m one hour in flight.)

As we taxi the runway, I determine that she is playing one on one with Steph Curry on her tray table (which should be raised.) I try to internally convince myself that she calm down once the plane begins to move. 

No. 

She screams, “weeeee,” which even in my annoyed state I find cute because I’m a mom and not an asshole, but then she just screams. Over and over again while still pounding on her tray table. It will get better. Surely. 

No.

Screaming, kicking, and reconstruction of the back of my seat ensue as I pray that the flight attendants will eventually come by and though I wasn’t planning to have an adult beverage, my temperment demands a vodka, and blessed sweet baby Jesus, they bring me one. I glimpse behind me and see her mother, sleeping peacefully in the seat next to her. 

And then she turns on music. Justin Bieber. And she isn’t wearing headphones. 

Meanwhile, the a-hole who was saving the aisle/window seats opens a plastic container of what is obviously a shite sandwich and begins to eat, filling the airplane with the aroma of an over used porta potty. 

My daughter looks through the crack in her seat and pinches her nose at me. 

“I know,” I mouth. 

My drink arrives, and as I sip and read the contents of my newest book (Revenge of the Chupacabra by Kyle Abernathie), I try to block out the noise, the smell, the chair assault, and my overwhelming need to pee, and I pull out my phone to write this. 

It is not edited. I am sorry. But a girl has to vent. 

Kick count: 9,100,875,209,299,100 multiplied by pi squared. 

There is not enough vodka on this plane. 


What I Really Want For Mother’s Day

“What do you want for Mother’s Day, Mom?” My son asked.

I thought for a minute.

I want to sleep in, and by sleep in, I don’t want a child coming to my side of the bed during a middle-of-the-night thunderstorm or with an iPad that doesn’t work or a boo-boo that needs a band-aid. I want to sleep uninterrupted until my body tells me I have to get out of bed.

I don’t want to brew the coffee or make breakfast that will go un-eaten and left abandoned on the table for me to clean up. I don’t want to pour the orange juice or argue over which cup each kid wants. I want to pour my coffee and drink it while it’s hot. I want it refilled for me only to leave the cup on the coffee table for someone else to pick up and wash.

I don’t want to pick out clothes or find underwear or matching socks or tie shoes. I don’t want to fix anyone’s hair. I don’t want to even walk up the stairs before we have to leave the house.

I want to shower without feeling rushed, alone in the bathroom with the door closed and listen to music as I put on my make-up and fix my hair. Alone.

I don’t want to decide what we eat for lunch.

I don’t want to wipe anyone’s bottom or clean anyone’s nose or pick up dirty clothes or mop up any spills.

I don’t want to spend an hour cooking a meal that everyone will complain about when I serve it after setting the table myself and pouring everyone a drink.

I don’t want to bathe the kids, or fold the laundry and put it away. I don’t want to go through the back packs and decipher what needs to be done for the upcoming week.

I want to sit on the couch all day and watch mindless  television  or get sucked into a good book and ignore the world around me. All day long.

I want to go to bed and fall instantly asleep without worrying about how everything will get done the next day.

I suddenly realized I had an answer for my son.

I looked at my little boy and said, “I want to be Dad.”

He laughed and with a big crooked smile said, “But you’re a girl.”

A girl can dream of dreaming

A girl can dream of dreaming

Could I Have This Dance

Occasionally, someone strolls into my life and just fits right in and becomes an instant friend. Today I get to introduce you to one of those people. Briton of Punk Rock Papa is one of the kindest bloggers on the internet. He is always quick to help out if you need something or to just send a “how’s it going?” message. He makes me laugh, and hearing him talk about his wife,  his twin toddlers, and brand new baby boy warms my heart.  Please give a warm welcome to my new friend, Briton. 

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What an honor to be here!

After talking to Mandi, I ran out and bought some shoes to dance and groove in. Then I realized, I can’t dance!

Much to the dismay of probably every follower of Mandi’s, I am not the cool gay Briton she danced with in Kansas City.

My insecurity is rising and anxiety from being in over my head is swelling to a burst of full-blown panic attack.

I must find something interesting to share with the one or two people who haven’t yet exited the screen when they realized I am not Gay Briton from Kansas City.

—–

When my wife and I found out we were having twins, I almost fainted. Tunnel vision set in. My life flashed before my eyes. There was no way I could handle two babies at once!

Eight months and a scary emergency C-section later, there I was! Holding two of the most handsome babies to ever grace the world with their beauty and life. (I’m allowed to be biased; I made these little guys with my skilled unprotected coitus). I assume parents everywhere know that feeling when they first hold their offspring – the swell of happiness and love that fills your chest. It’s a really spiritual moment, even for those not spiritually inclined. You feel the bond, like an invisible umbilical cord, between you and the child.

I didn’t sleep for a month after my kids were born. Absolutely terrified of SIDS, I would get out of bed intermittently and jab my kids in the stomach with a finger to make sure they were still alive. If I was working, the wife would get a “poke the babies” text.

Flash forward six more months. (We are at around seventh months of life for those not very good with counting)

“Killian and Nicolas Underwood?”

Here we came around the corner at the doctor’s office. Dad and kids. It should be noted that I was *carrying* the kids by the front of their winter bear suits. Here we come, Papa Bear and his Cubs, arms and legs wildly dangling.

The look on the face of the nurse at the pediatricians office said everything.

Shock quickly turned to laughter. The kids and I are rather popular at the doctor’s office. We laugh and joke and hate the nurses who give shots. Usually when we’re called in, I’ve got one kid tucked under my arm, newspaper-style, and I’m dangling the other one upside down.

Why do you care, why does this story matter?

Rewind! (I know, bear with me.) (See what I did there?)

After finding out we were expecting twins, the first place we visited was the bookstore. From What To Expect When You’re Expecting to Twins, Multiples, we got All The Books!  Even found some dad books for me to read!

And read, I did

By the end of the first book I had to check and make sure the author wasn’t Stephen King.

The second book had me calling a doctor asking for a prescription to quell my parent anxiety attacks.

SIDS! Sidebumpers! Cradle Cap! OH MY!

The first month of parenting I leaned on these terrifying books. They are the cousins to the whole “if you have unprotected sex you will get an STD and die!” style of teaching. Their motto is, “If you don’t do this, your child will die of SIDS!”

After the first month, I was ready to purchase bubble boy suits for the kids.

I can’t remember the exact moment I realized I had been worked up into a frenzy. I just remember it happened after about a month of sleep deprivation and being alert to every possible sign of baby sleep apnea. I had to dial back. I couldn’t live in fear that my Nemos might run into something bad at the drop off.

Flash forward! (Hop in my DeLorean. We are going Back to the Future!)

My kids are almost two. We have a blast. All my friends have largely fallen off the radar, so my kids take up that space and time. From wrestling to running around, I simply love fatherhood. Even snuggling up and watching Kipper the Dog is time well spent. I still poke my kids occasionally to make sure they’re breathing, but I don’t have nearly as many heart attacks as I used to.

And the best part?

We DANCE!

Yes, this has all been a big build up so I could follow up on Mandi’s awesome dance post with ANOTHER post about dancing. We have the most fun kitchen dance parties! Nothing like two toddlers and a dorky dad moving and grooving during lunch time. So, on a late night in Kansas City you might be able to catch a ride to dance at the gay bar with Briton. You can also, if you’re inclined to do so, come catch an afternoon kitchen dance party in New London.

Either way, life should be fun! Whatever you’re doing – from dancing late into the night, to shimmying around a kitchen with toddlers, live in the moment  – and enjoy it.

briton

Briton “Punk Rock Papa” Underwood is a proud Parent, Writer and Original Bunker Punk. His passion for writing is second only to his passion for parenting. Co-founder of the Original Bunker Punks, Punk Rock Papa enjoys helping people’s thoughts, stories and emotions be heard. You can find him on his personal blog or on the Original Bunker Punks writing about what he loves, the people around him.

To learn more visit: Punk Rock Papa, Original Bunker Punks

Connect with Briton:

Be Still and Know

I don’t always listen to lyrics. I admit it. I love music and often get caught up in the instrumental parts of the song, dissecting each melody. I rarely ever sing the correct words. I’ve been known to just insert whatever I hear. For example, when I first heard U2’s “Mysterious Ways,” I immediately loved it and went to buy the album. When I walked into my local music store and asked for “Mr. Eastways,” the salesman looked at me like I wore a straitjacket. I sang the line, “She moves in with Mr. Eastways,” and he laughed. True story. Continue reading

Hide, Run Away, Disappear

I wake from a deep sleep from a dream that seems so real. I can feel all of the emotions, the intensity, and I miss it. I want to go back. I look at my clock. 5:30 am, and immediately the dread sets in. My alarm will go off at 6:15, but I know that before it does, my day will already begin.

And before the sun is up, before the alarm sings, I want to hide. I want to run away. I want to disappear.

Because I know what’s coming. My day.

It starts with my bedroom door crashing open and banging against the wall.

“Mooommmy,” she says entering my room.

I take a deep breath and roll my eyes in the dark. I know she needs something. My poor sweet little girl has been sick and incredibly clingy to mommy this week, and I am at the point to where I want to change my name.

She makes it to my bed, and I feel her tiny hand on my stomach.

“Mommy, is it morning yet?” She asks and then starts coughing. I reach over and pull her into my bed and snuggle against her back.

“No, baby. It’s not morning until the sun is out. Come lie with me and rest.”

And we lie there together. I won’t fall back asleep. I will put my nose in her hair and smell her and hold her next to me and try to make myself believe that I am enough for her, that she doesn’t deserve someone better, that I shouldn’t just disappear.

The alarm sings, and we get up. She follows me to the bathroom and stands at my elbow as I brush my teeth and wash my face. I walk into my closet to get dressed, and she’s right there, and I don’t want to be annoyed by it. I don’t want to be aggravated that she needs me, but I am, and I hate it, and it makes me want to cry because I want to hide. I want to run away. I want to disappear.

I dress and then walk upstairs to wake my son. I crawl into his bed and kiss his head and tell him it’s time to start the day. He is warm and sweet, and I could stay here all day, but he has tutoring, and school, and an entire day awaiting him, so I shake his shoulder and tell him to get up. I pull out some clothes and tell him to jump in the shower. He argues with me for twenty minutes. I stay calm, try not to yell, but the pressure is building as each minute passes, and I know that he will be late for school if he doesn’t get moving. I can’t send him to school without a shower. I start the water, get him a towel, and leave him to take care of everything else. I go to the kitchen to make his lunch, get his bag packed, and feed the little girl who is attached to my hip. When I walk back into the bathroom to check on him, he still hasn’t washed his hair. I lose it, and yell at him that he needs to hurry, that he’s going to be late, and I immediately hate myself for losing my temper. I don’t want his day to start off this way, and now he’s as frustrated as I.

I manage to get him to school, three minutes late, his first tardy in three years of school, and as soon as he passes through the double doors, I turn around and all I can think is: I want to hide. I want to run away. I want to disappear.

I spend the morning cleaning up messes, playing barbies, doing laundry, doctoring my sick little girl. Time flies by, and it’s already time for lunch. I made a big dinner last night and decide left overs will make lunch simple. I heat everything up, plate the food, and call my husband in from his office.

“I’ll be right there,” he says.

“I’m hungry, mommy,” my daughter whines.

“Wait for daddy, baby,” I tell her as we sit together around our table.

She starts picking at her food, and I ignore it. He’s taking forever. What’s going on in his office is more important than lunch. I get that, but it still seems disrespectful, and I can’t help that it bugs me.

He finally sits down, takes a bite of his food and says, “It’s cold,” and immediately gets up to reheat it. No big deal.

Under my breath, I say, “Of course it’s cold. It’s been sitting here for twenty fucking minutes.” But I won’t say that out loud. He isn’t trying to be a jerk. He has no idea that he’s taken so long to get to the table. His job is demanding, phone call after phone call. Some days he can’t even eat lunch. He doesn’t know it bothers me. I won’t say anything, but the entire time we eat, those two words, “It’s cold” will echo in my mind, and as I clean our dishes, I want to hide. I want to run away. I want to disappear.

And the rest of the day is the same. I will hide myself in my closet at least a dozen times. I will chat with friends on the phone, online and via text message, and they will have no idea the state of my mind. They will make me feel less alone, more human, and they will talk me from the ledge where I clumsily stand.

I don’t want to feel this way. I know it will pass. It’s one day, just one bad day. My children are funny, talented, and wonderful.  I love them and know how fortunate I am to have them, but sometimes I just can’t help it.

I want to hide. I want to run away. I want to disappear.

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