Friday, January 2, 2009

The Poker Face, or How to Discourage Child Informants

Today I'm avoiding housework as well as "work" work...I have a minor mountain of papers to grade, so here I am blogging instead. The kids have done a fairly decent job of keeping the house livable, if not clean, so today I'll give them a break...if only because they are currently not fighting with each other and I'd love to keep the status quo.

SOOOO, I've decided that my parenting tip for today is: Develop a poker face. Now, I'm a rotten poker player because I can't remember what is good and what isn't and it rather spoils everything when I have to keep asking if it is better to have all the black clover thingies or a bunch of numbers all in a row. Plus I have a tendency to jump up and down and yell with excitement when I get a good hand (which isn't often). Finally, I find poker a bit boring. Then again, I don't drink so that may contribute to that particular problem

Where was I? Oh yeah, the poker face. I have gotten really good at keeping a perfectly plain face at whatever the kids tell me. It drives them nuts. Especially when they are tattling on each other, because that is when they want me to react. It goes something like this:

TATTLER CHILD: "Demon Brother and his Demon Friend have tied the dog to the trampoline and lit a bonfire underneath to see if her fur will catch fire before the yard does."

REPLY YOUR CHILD WANTS: [Shouted by Mom with a look of shock, horror, and a wish that Tattler Child had been her only child]: "Good Gracious Mary, Joseph, and Martin Luther King, whatever will I do? Please, Tattler Child, go put the dog out (literally) while I prepare a dank cell for Demon Child in the basement where he will live until the age of thirty-seven on fruitcake and diluted grape kool-aid. Oh, Tattler Child, I wish you were the only child because you are so perfect in every way!"

ACTUAL REPLY: [No change in look, while you get the fire extinguisher]. "Oh. At least I won't have to take the dog to the groomer this week and I won't have to mow the lawn. Pretty cool."

OK, so I am evil and heartless. But it really does drive the Tattler Child nuts, and better yet, serves as punishment because what they fail to realize but you remember all too well is that Tattler Child participated in exactly the same kind of activity in their past. (After all, where did Demon Child get the idea?) Perhaps The Poker Face is not really punishment, but at least revenge.

One may question this, because it could be argued that you want to encourage Tattler in their reporting, especially in this case, at least for the sake of the dog. Trust me, though, the dog will escape mostly unharmed. Plus, if the bonfire burns the house down then you don't have to worry about cleaning it.

As every mother knows, the worst part about children getting into trouble isn't whatever it is that they do, but the fact that you have to find out about it and then act as judge, jury, and executioner. It is much better to just not know. The Poker Face is very helpful in this endeavor.

Best of luck to all, and if someone can let me know whether it is better to have a hand of all the black-clover-things or all the numbers in a row I would appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm a blogger! Do I get a prize?

If I could write blogs while driving to and from work, I would have started long ago. Then again, those blogs would contain way too many obscenities. So this is something I've thought about doing but never did get around to starting. Sort of like exercise, cooking, gardening, and saving money.

Anyhows, I was "facebooked" by an old friend from high school...(okay, she's not old, but high school was so long ago!) and she has a blog and I read a lot of it and was instantly jealous. She was always a step ahead of me. Heck, she even went to the prom. With the combination of reading that and the fact that it is Christmas break and I'm making the kids clean the house right now, I decided that I needed to blog. Now. It won't be useful like hers...she puts recipes on hers and I don't cook, but at least it gives me something to do while the kids clean.

There's lots of stuff I could start with, but let me just say that I love Facebook. I never thought I would. The only reason I got an account in the first place was to try and find students who have graduated and keep track of where they are working in the wonderful world of nursing. Then I realized that old friends from high school are also on Facebook and I became hooked. Now that my kids are entering high school, it makes me think of the good ol' days (all three of them) back then and thank my lucky stars that I never have to go through that again. Facebook helps because I look at all the people I knew back then and they don't look too terribly old so then I don't feel old either. Then I tell my kids stories about my days with Good Old So-and-So until their eyes glaze over and they beg to do chores. Like I said, I love Facebook.

I do feel the need to do some public blogging service for the three people (including my mother) likely to read this post. Ummm, well, I'm a mom and I teach pediatric nursing so I guess I could share tips about raising children.

Tip for today: When you want them to do something around the house, tell stories about your old high school friends that you just rediscovered on Facebook. It works.