Tag Archives: kids

Swag bag scramble

I am certain the following described events never occur in other households.

I attended a recent “health” fair event at my workplace. The typical vendors were there – eyes, dental, medical, fire safety, credit union, etc. Most the popular vendor booths were giving away the cool little freebies. Water bottles, pens, flashlights, clip magnets, canvas totes, etc. Yeah, the majority of it is cheapy stuff but I believe that for whatever reason, most of us like to collect this free clutter crap.

I get home with my scored items to show off to my family I got simply by walking around and half-assed listening intently to the vendors’ spiels. Small price to pay for this super cool can’t-go-in-the-dishwasher-super-thin water bottle! Ha! Take that, kids! That’s when I realized I forgot an important lesson I had learned when I went to a previous year’s health fair – The kids snatch up and claim ownership of the cool items so fast, you don’t even know what hit you. And you can’t stop them and say “No.” I mean, it’s quite obvious I do not need another key ring flashlight. And yes, this tote bag would be a great Halloween candy receptacle. (sigh) Easy come, easy go.

Give it a few days and Gerald had gone to a charity golf tournament. The last time he went to one of these golf dealies, he came back with what the celebrities call a swag-bag. Yes, I am fully aware Gerald’s golf goodie bag contents do not compare to that of the grab-bags afforded celebrities at their fancy shmancy events, but it’s a swag-bag for us everyday Joes and Janes, it’s a goodie bag for the common folk, people!

As expected, Gerald walks through the door with his own collected freebies and the kids were all over it. Golf balls and golf tees – You can keep those, Gerald. Koozie – I think we need one more koozie to add to the classy collection we already have stowed in our pantry. Stylus pen – Where did that thing go?? Oh, the youngest claimed it. Broken flashlight keychain – Surprisingly, no one wanted this little gem. It actually made it to the trash. The cool backpack bag all Gerald’s stuff came in? Yeah, I claimed that for when we go for our walks; it will be great for holding water bottles and doggy doo bags. Maybe it will actually last longer than the other cheap string backpacks we’ve already gone through. (a big HA goes here)

It's such a valuable collection, there are even some still in their original wrappers!
It’s such a valuable collection, there are even some koozies still in their original wrappers!

There you have it. Before you even know what happens, your children strip you of everything. And I’ve just given the goodie/swag bags as an example. I’m sure in other households, the children don’t swipe nail-clippers, screen cleaner cloths, the last of the chips, the last of the cookies, oh and Gerald just reminded me — money. I never have any idea what sort of bills, if any at all, are lurking in my wallet. I’ll set the record straight here though – the boys don’t swipe money from Mom and Dad unless they ask first. I tell them to look in my wallet and take what they need for some school something or other.

So am I right? Does this sort of phenomenon happen to anyone else? It’s just my family, isn’t it?


A side boob distraction

Several years ago, Gerald and several (guy) co-workers attended an after work happy hour at a bar near their office. One of the female bartenders was showing the guys bikini shots (of her) on her phone. Heaven only knows what led to this special “viewing,” but it was noticed in the pictures that she had a large tattoo that went all the way up her side (on the top). The guys asked the bartender what the tattoo was (picture/symbol of ??) since it couldn’t clearly be seen on the phone (I guess not even z@@ming in did the trick). She pulled the side of her shirt up right there in the bar so they could get a good look (at the tattoo?). Gerald said she told them what the ink was a picture/symbol of, but the guys were so distracted by the woman’s flash of side boob, they didn’t actually catch what she had said. Gerald said she wasn’t even wearing a bra so as soon as the shirt went up and a little side boob was exposed, well, all bets were off. The gawking males probably couldn’t even remember their names.

Me: So you got side boob distracted, huh?

Gerald: Yeah.

I suppose a side boob exposure could be distracting to anyone. So I started wondering, what are my side boob distractions?

Let’s see, you got electronics. Yeah, electronics are definitely a big distraction for me. My phone, my Kindle, gotta have them near me at all times. I gotta check my blog stats and I like being able to surf the internet at the drop of a dime. But it’s come at a cost at times. Gerald or the kids may be trying to talk to me, and I find myself drawn to whatever device, and not paying attention to what’s going on around me. I can tell when I’ve annoyed them or hurt some feelings because of the perception of my choice between electronic vs. human.

Pretty sure my obsession over trying to keep our house picked up and looking presentable could be considered a distraction to me as well. My recent decluttering quest has been intense. I’ve spent entire weekends engrossed in getting rid of so much crap. And I’ll be working on one area of the house, only to be distracted by a mess in a different area, and the next thing you know, I’m all over the place. I am hoping though that my house management distraction will soon lessen as I get closer to my goal of a totally clutter-free house. We shall see… Hmm…

My youngest just came in here and is trying to talk to me as I’m typing up this post. I wonder what he is saying. Oh, so that reminds me – my KIDS can be a distraction. There are so many times when I try to carry on a conversation with my boys. I ask how their day went and I try to get the scoop on what’s going on with their friends or whatever, and it’s like I hit a brick wall. They answer in short little fine/okay/yeah quips. But I stumbled upon the key to having them open up and start a dialog with me. All I have to do is try to engage in something that doesn’t involve them. It works like a charm. Like the example I just gave of my youngest popping in while I’m in the middle of writing a post. Then there’s anytime I’m attempting to get into the latest novel in my hands / on my Kindle. I wonder if there’s a name for this phenomena. But usually I forget to use this as a tactic and am really wanting to get something done and then I will for sure get distracted by the latest household drama.

So there you have it, some of my biggest distractions in a nutshell. So let’s look deep into what I’ve learned from such reflection. Let’s examine how… Oh look, side boob!

A really badly drawn side boob picture. You didn't think I'd actually include a real side boob pic, did you? Just do a google search.
A really badly drawn side boob pic


Forcing it


A recent Dear Abby conjured up some old memories for me. The letter writer was a mom whose 11 year old son was told by a playmate that he was only friends with her son because he was being forced by his mom. This made me think of the time when my family moved to a new town when I was around 8ish, 9ish. There was this girl at church, Stacey, who was one grade ahead of me, and she eventually started asking me to go to church functions and even slumber parties at her house. We were never friends who clicked. Our personalities didn’t mesh, we didn’t run around in the same circles, and we had no mutual friends. But she would invite and I would go. I suppose I had an okay time but I could leave the whole friendship if push came to shove. I definitely was not what you’d call vested.

I don’t remember when it was or how I heard this, or from whom, but apparently, Stacey was only nice to me because her mom had told her to be. Her mom had instructed her to befriend the new girl in town. Even though I never felt any real connection with Stacey as a friend, I admit that this news hurt my feelings. Once we were in high school together, I would see her in the halls laughing and carrying on with her friends and she wouldn’t even acknowledge me. I thought it was weird. I mean, we didn’t have to be best buds by any means, but why would you totally snub someone? What a bitch. Oh sorry, did I type that out loud? And it’s not like you could’ve called her Ms. Popularity. She wasn’t. She had her friends and I had mine and that was that.

So let me give Stacey’s mom a little straight-talk — Lady, you weren’t doing me, the poor little new girl in town, any favors by forcing your daughter to be friends with me. What did you possibly think you were going to achieve by trying to fit something together that just wasn’t meant to be? Perhaps you wanted the feeling of doing a good deed. Well good for you, lady. Those hours spent at your daughter’s lame ass slumber parties, I’ll never get back. And no one wants to feel like the odd girl out, and I was. Such a good deed. Gee, maybe this bothered me more than I realized. Ya think?

Several years ago, I was guilty of a similar parenting move. When my boys were still young enough for me to pull it off, I would throw them a two-for-one birthday party. The dates of their birthdays are very close so I would usually combine the celebration into one big blowout to save a lot of headache (and money) and make it more convenient for family and friends as well. A friend of mine’s daughter attended the same daycare as my kids. Her age is right in the middle of theirs. I asked my boys whom they wanted to invite from the daycare, but as you can imagine, caution is advised when handing out selective invitations in such a setting. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you don’t want anyone to feel left out. But at the same time, I wanted my kids to be in charge of their guest list. The exception was my friend’s daughter. I mean, it only made sense to me to invite her, my boys had been invited to some of her parties, but I didn’t let them have any say. I didn’t think it was even necessary, I didn’t think they’d really care one way or the other actually.

But come to find out, my oldest didn’t particularly connect well with my friend’s daughter. Oh, and don’t get me wrong here, my friend’s daughter is a great girl and she’s smart as a whip. But my oldest took it upon himself to pass this sweet girl an “uninvite” to his party. ?? If memory serves me correctly, the daycare director was involved and all that. Now, I don’t think this little girl was particularly fond of my son, and she most likely still isn’t, but I believe her feelings were hurt. She probably didn’t feel unlike I felt when I found out the truth about Stacey’s “friendship” to me all those years ago. It’s not a good message, no matter who the deliverer, your like or dislike of them.

At first I was mortified my child would hand deliver such ugliness to another child. But then I had an epiphany–picture the whole light bulb over head and clouds opening up thing–Gulp, this whole thing was my fault. If I had respected my son’s guest list entries in the first place, there would have been no ugly note, there would have been no hurt feelings, and there would have been no embarrassing hoopla at the daycare.

I believe apologies were given along with discussions of sensitivity. Yes, your mom should not have invited someone without checking with you first, but it still should have been handled differently, better. From that day forward, I’ve always checked first before adding someone to an invitee list for anything in our family.

So… discoveries made here — I guess all things considered, the good intentions may be there, and Stacey’s mom probably did have good intentions, and I had good intentions as well, but ultimately it’s up to the kids if they will become friends or not.