Santa as a Discipline Tactic

The innocence of childhood means you can tell your children literally anything and they will believe  you.  (Suckers!)  In some ways it is a right of passage, your parents lied to  you, their parents lied to them, and now it is your turn.  Tricking your kids to believing in a fat, jolly, white-beared man who rides in on a sleigh and somehow squeezes his big ol’ butt down a chimney to deliver presents, is now your job as a parent.  I was conflicted about whether or not to continue this tradition with my kids because I felt a little uneasy saying, “Santa is going to give you toys,” and “you better be a good boy, you don’t want to be on the naughty list.”  Once I realized that I can use this as a discipline tactic, my qualms quickly vanished.  Common sayings in my household this holiday season have been, “pick up your toys or Santa isn’t going to bring you anymore,”  “Don’t you want to be a good boy?  I guess I need to call Santa and tell him not to bring you anything,” and “be nice to your sister, Santa knows if you are being naughty or nice.”  Another usage I have found for the whole Santa fiasco is that I have been able to get out of the store without the usual whining and temper tantrum scenes after I tell my son he can’t have a toy.  Every freaking time we go to the store, he thinks he will get a toy, and when he realizes that Mommy isn’t buying that, he will scream and try to jump out of the cart.  Now, thanks to Santa,  I tell him that we can’t buy him anymore toys right now because Santa is going to bring him toys for Christmas.  If we buy him a toy now, Santa will have to take his toys back.  It works like a charm!  My darling son will just say, “Oh, ok Mommy, I get it.”  Then I pat myself on the back, pause, then start thinking that maybe he is really saying ok Mommy, I get it, you are screwing with me.  I’ll get you back one day.  Hahaha!  Then my senses come to me, not my sweet son, he wouldn’t think such a thing,no way!  I just don’t know what I am going to do when Christmas is over.  How am I going to get out of buying him that millionth car that he just has to have so he can take the wheels off and tell me that he broke it?  Or another train that he likes to get so he can lose it and tell me a lion took it?  His birthday is in March, so I can probably use the same tactic as that approaches, but what will I do before then?  Just tell him “no” like the good ol’ days and then remind myself that this is why duck tape was invented?  Well, I know that once I see the light in my kid’s eyes as they open their presents, all my uptightness will go away (for the moment) and will see how the whole rush and stress of the holidays is all worth it.  I can’t wait to see the glitter in their eyes as we look in the sky to see if Santa and his reindeer are up there.  Later coming back to the house after looking at Christmas lights to see a half eaten cookie, a little milk spilled on the table (Santa’s a little slob ain’t he?), and presents left for the kiddies, all to see the amazement on their faces will be priceless.  I guess I need to sit back and enjoy all the wonderment that is Christmas and if for only because of the joy it brings my kids.  Seeing their cute little faces smile and laugh is worth everything.  So before Santa is ruined for them, most likely by another kid like it was for me, I’ll embrace the holiday, Santa and all. Hang in there everyone, and have a very jolly, drama-free (hahahaha) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

How are you surviving the holidays?  Do you use Santa to keep your kids in line?  Tell me!

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Time to Find a New Pediatrician

Things that tell me, no, shout to me, to find a new doctor for my kids:

1)  Waiting an hour in the waiting room

Ok, it is one thing to have to wait for your own appointment, but to wait an hour before even seeing the nurse or doctor is excruciating when you have little ones.  Don’t touch this, stop running, give me back my phone, pick up that mess, don’t sit next to the child that is hacking up a lung, don’t tear up the  magazines, blah blah blah. 

I know that every time I visit the pediatrician, I am going to be there for at least 2 hours, which is beyond ridiculous.  I thought that if I was there for the first available appointment (9:00am), that it wouldn’t take as long.  Wrong!  They still didn’t take my copayment  until 9:15 and then was called back there at 9:30.  I finally asked why the heck it takes so long just to be seen, especially since I am the very first person there and it is because they have to verify my insurance.  Every single time I come in, they verify insurance, not before my appointment, but when I show up.  So, my wait time depends on how fast my insurance company answers the phone.  WTF?

2)  Telling me they ran out of vaccines, oh wait….no they didn’t

On one occasion, I took my daughter to the doctor for a shot only visit, so I thought I would be in and out of there.  Silly me!  My appointment was originally at 9am and the doctor’s office called me the day before to see if I could come in at 8:30.  Ok, the office doesn’t open until 9, but I thought ok fine, they were getting an early start that day, so I agreed.  I would be out of there in no time!  I get there and by 9 o’clock, they still haven’t taken my copayment, so I go to the desk trying not to strangle the person and calmly ask what the hold up was.  Oh that is right, had to verify my insurance and guess what?  The customer service line doesn’t open until 9am!  (I’m sure you can imagine what I was thinking!)  Then, I am told that they ran out of the vaccine I was there for, and I received a bunch of  “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  Sorry?!!?  Ok, I couldn’t remain calm any longer.  In an extremely irritated tone I ranted, “Why did you have me come in a half hour early, what was the point?  To wait even longer?  Then to tell me you ran out of a vaccine? You realize this the day of my appointment?  So now I have to come back and sit through this torture again of waiting for you to verify my insurance?  Did it ever dawn on you to verify insurance the day before people’s appointments?  This is ridiculous!!!”  Then comes a stare and a, “I’ll be right back.”  A few minutes later, the lady returned and asked, “So you have regular insurance right?”  In which I responded, “I don’t know what you mean by regular insurance, but I have insurance.”  Then she asked, “So you don’t have medi-cal?”  In which I said, “No, why?”  She then told me, “Oh, well since you have insurance and not medi-cal, we do have the vaccine.”  If ever I wanted to punch someone in the face, it was then, but I refrained myself and just went to the back for my daughter’s shot and got the heck out of there.  I don’t know why it would freaking matter if I had medi-cal or not, maybe some kind of allocation for medi-cal patients, I don’t really care.  I have no idea why they were verifying insurance on the one hand, and then thinking I had  medi-cal on the other.  WTF?

3)  The doctor doesn’t believe in pacifiers

How can you not believe in pacifiers?  It is one thing to say you don’t believe in Santa Claus, but to say you do not believe in pacifiers?  So I guess he believes sleep is overrated cause pacifiers give that extra comfort to help the baby sleep and thus, sleep for the parents.  Pacifiers are a godsend and they work because babies love to suck and this provides a comfort and soothing mechanism for them.  Pacifiers are  mommy’s best friend and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about using them.  I told him that I used them for my son and daughter in which he told me that  he didn’t like them because parents need to learn how to soothe their baby in other ways and not take the easy way out.  What?  Being a parent is hard enough and using a pacifier is the easy way out?  I think I looked at him in a confused way because then he said that they are not good for the child because pacifiers delay speech and social interactions.  Yes, if your child always has the pacifier in their mouths, I can see this, but if it is used for what it was designed for, then they are wonderful and do not create problems.  They are not designed to shut the baby up (ok ok, sometimes), but are to help calm the baby down so they can sleep or relax.  My son stopped using his “wa wa” around 2 years old and I am working on my girl to stop.  They both are very social and I can’t “shut” them up even if I tried.  So, WTF?

4)  Staff that doesn’t seem to care much for kids

If you work in a pediatrician’s office or are a pediatrician, you would think that you enjoyed kids.  So when my son says “Hi or how are you doing” please look at him and smile and answer him like he is a person.  He is a person, just a smaller version and one who has better manners.  I thought it was just one particular person that did this, but other times that I have gone I have noticed it is a number of people there.  The doctor I noticed just looks at my children, but doesn’t smile at them or talk to them.  He answers my questions, but that is about it.  I had a different doctor at a different office before, but since we moved, I had to change to this doctor.  The previous doctor and all the staff were so good to my children.  All smiles, giving my son high 5s, talking to them, giving them toys and stickers, and making them feel important.  Now this office, it is get it in and get out.  My daughter on her last visit said “Hi” and gave the nurse the biggest cheesy smile that would even make the Grinch chuckle.  Not this lady.  She just took her weight and pointed to the room to go in.  I thought, oh my God, what the heck is her problem?  She needs to work for the DMV, she’d fit it very well.  This is my last, WTF?

Ok, so thankfully I will be changing insurances next year and thus, a new doctor.  Here is hoping for better doctor experiences in 2012!     

Do you have any other reasons to switch doctors?  I’d like to hear from you!

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Reminder to Self: Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Holidays

This is easier said than done.  Through all the hustle, bustle, and stress of the holidays, I have to stop and remind myself what this whole season is about.  It isn’t about how I am going to stretch my money to buy gifts, what desserts to bake because I can’t make up my mind, the million presents I want to buy kids, being stuck in traffic because I decided to go to that store that was having the big sale for toys, waiting in a mile long line at the store, trying to find that stupid coupon so I can get an extra 20% off, or feeling guilty about not being able to buy for everyone.  Yes, those are a part of the season, but they shouldn’t be what takes over the true purpose of the holidays.  What makes Christmas, Christmas, is different for everyone, but I think it all centers on the same things:  family, love, giving, food, and music.  For me, Christmas means seeing the amazement on my children’s faces as they open up their gifts, the “oh wows” as we go around looking at Christmas lights,   sitting down with family for a delicious meal, drinking hot cocoa by the fireplace, smacking down on cherry crisp with a dollop of ice cream, snuggling under a blanket with my kids and husband as we watch Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and putting my kids in their fuzzy, cozy, warm Santa pajamas.  Allowing myself to get overwhelmed takes away from the joy and good that this season brings.  It is a time for community and spending quality time with family and friends.  It is a time to slow down and be thankful for all that we have, even though at times it reminds us of what we don’t have.  It reminds me of the money I don’t have, the family and friends that I am apart from and miss dearly, and my grandparents who have passed away.  Then I try to focus and appreciate on what I do have:  a supportive and hardworking husband who loves me, two beautiful and healthy children who are the light of my life, my health, a roof over my head, food in my belly, the opportunity to stay at home and go to college, and a wonderful support system of family and friends.  Life is about making memories and the times we have enjoyed with each other.  It isn’t about the material things, I don’t even remember what I received last year for Christmas, but what I do remember is the warmth and joy that I felt from the people I was around.  My son loves getting new toys and my girl loves to get stickers and dolls, but what I know they love more is being cuddled and kissed and being silly with them.  So when the holidays start to stress me out and I worry about what gift to buy, I need to remind myself that the best and greatest gift I can give is my time and love.  Of course, this only applies to me, so I’ll still expect a bunch of lavish and expensive gifts from everyone else, mmmmmkay? 

:-p

So what stresses you out about the holidays?  What are the things you enjoy about the season?  I would love to know!

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Being Happy with Children

A study just came out regarding how although dads are doing more to help with housework and children, moms still report feeling more stressed then dads do.  It is an interesting study which I’ll put a link at the bottom, but what I found the most interesting was not the topic (no new news to me), but something else mentioned.  It stated that research shows that people with no children reported feeling happier then those with children.  Mental well-being was higher among the childless and  those whose children have left the nest.  Reading this article made me realize that there needs to be a change to how we view raising children and what should be expected of us.  I love my children and I know those with children like me would do anything for them, couldn’t imagine our lives without them, and wouldn’t want to be in this world without their kids, but let’s be honest, do you feel happy more than stress?  Do you feel stress more than happy?  I am taking a stress management class and I have been more aware of just how much stress I actually feel everyday, and it is most of the time.  I always knew that I felt the symptoms of stress:  anxiety, uneasiness, trying to do 100 things when I only have time for 10, and tension in my body, but what I didn’t realize was to the extent that it affects my whole day.  In the class we have to write down times we feel stress, what caused it, how we reacted, and what we did about it and in this whole process, it has really made me aware of the damage it is doing.  In the class, I have learned that not all stress is bad, there is actually good kinds of stress(eustress).  That is the kind of stress that forces me to get up at 5 in the morning to study for my classes so I can graduate, the kind that makes me go to the doctor to check out a suspicious mole, the kind that helps me get the house in order to get ready for hosting a party, and the kind that has me sacrifice to save money for things I want for my children.  Without this kind of stress, we would just lay there and do nothing, just a lump on the couch taking up space.  Unfortunately, most of the time I feel the bad stress and it is because I try, like many moms, to do it all.  When I think about it, it makes sense that having children doesn’t really make you happier and that childless people are on average more content in their lives.  With children come interrupted sleep, more worries, more tasks, more vulnerability, more responsibility, and less time for yourself and your spouse, and many other things that take a toll on you.  I get so stressed throughout the day that towards the end, ok let’s be real, after a few hour(sometimes by noon), I bark at my kids for something that is a normal kid thing:  spilling water on the floor, making noise, running around the house, climbing on the counters, marking on the walls, fighting with each other, and washing their toys in the toilet…among other things.  So one little thing happens, and BAM, here comes CRAZY MOMMY!  Yes I feel better after I have yelled at them, but just for that moment, then I feel like crap as they look at me with their big brown eyes and as their little bottom lip sticks out, then I give lots of hugs and I’m sorries.  I want to change the outlook on having children, I want to Be Happy With Children, if not happier then if I didn’t have kids.  They enrich my life so much, it is just hard to see it through all the chaos.  Why do we put so much on ourselves?  I feel so overwhelmed with school, laundry, cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, taking care of the kids, laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, laundry, oh yeah, did I mention LAUNDRY??!!? It never ends!  Ok, so then I ask myself, why, why, why, WHY?  We can’t do it all and we shouldn’t.  What we should be doing is spending more time with our family, and less time doing chores.  Our kids will be grown in a blink of an eye and I’m sure we won’t be saying, “If only I cleaned more,” no we will be saying, “I wish I played, read, laughed, made messes, tickled, kissed, wrestled more with my kids.”  I always tell  my son that mommy will play with him after I do this…. and after I do that…and put him off.  I should be putting off whatever chore I’m doing and spend an extra 10 or 20 minutes with him, “F” the laundry(it is my enemy). 

So if you want to read more about the article that started my rant (even though I just touched a small portion of it), the link is below…

   http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-he-multitasking-parents-20111201,0,4356544.story

Now, I have to get back to doing the laundry….

Let me know what you think, what are some ways you try to be happy with your kids?  Are you childless and have some tips for us Moms and Dads to maintain or recoup our sanity?

Thanks for reading!  Follow my blog and follow me on twitter:  @lifeintoylane