How to be the Best Parent Possible

Surprise surprise, the answer is pretty simple. Be there. Be present in the moment with your kid(s). Put down the phones, tablets, cameras, etc and be there. Your kids won’t remember the time you didn’t take pictures at their dance recital. They will remember that you were there and you clapped louder than anyone else. In this day in age, it’s easy to get lost in the availability of technology. We instagram, Facebook, Pin, tweet and selfie like there’s no tomorrow. Technology has allowed us to live vicariously through our favorite celebrities eyes thanks to Instagram. Facebook has given us the misconception that the world wants to see every time our babies sneeze snot bubbles and smile. While technology has given us the chance to stay connected to family and friends far away, we forget to actually disconnect now and then. And our kids take notice of that. When I pick Bean up from school, I actually talk to her(gasp!) I ask her about her day, what her favorite part of the day was. At night, before bed, we talk some more. We talk about what she wants to be when she grows up, we talk about ponies and dolphins and black holes(yes black holes, she’s obsessed with outer space). And sometimes we have serious conversations too. Recently we lost a furry family member, so sometimes we talk about death and what happens after someone dies. Don’t let the television raise your kids. And here’s a news flash, it’s not your kid’s teachers job to raise your kid. You decided to have this child. Now be there for them. It won’t kill you if you don’t facebook your plans to go to the zoo for the day. Instagram will survive if you forgo your morning coffee pic and instead talk to your kid about homework or school or anything. Today there are so many reasons to constantly connected. But in your life there’s at least one amazing reason to disconnect from the world and pay attention to what’s going on inside your own home. I bet there’s a pretty awesome fort just waiting to be built if you can manage to pull yourself away from Trivia Crack.

Now i understand the irony of writing this, as this is one of those social media distractions that keep us away from our lame lives for just a few minutes longer. But I save this time for when Bean is occupied or asleep. I don’t want her to remember that Mommy was glued to her phone or tablet. I want her to remember that I was there. That I paid attention and was involved. Sometimes I have to remind myself that its ok to just take a mental picture of the moment because taking my phone or camera out would ruin the time we are spending together. Memories are better anyway. Easier to get to when you need to be reminded of the good times. By constantly having our phones in our hands and letting the world interrupt whatever we are doing, we are teaching our kids that it’s totally acceptable to interrupt anyone at anytime. No time is sacred anymore. D is notorious for this. He works in an industry that requires constant attention. And the little time he is home is constantly being interrupted by his employees. Dinner, bed time, bath time, “quality time”…..his phone is constantly ringing or buzzing. In the middle of a conversation he will answer his phone, giving the impression that what Bean or I might have been saying wasn’t really that important. I don’t want to live in a world of constant interruption. I’m trying to teach my child NOT to interrupt people.

So do yourself and your family a favor. Disconnect. For an hour. For a day. Go on vacation and lock the phone away only to be used in emergencies. That’s how your parents did it and everything was just fine. Give it a try. I bet there’s a pretty awesome kid just waiting for you to stop taking pictures of them being goofy and get goofy with them.

Until next time…..keep those toes in the sand and the phone outta your hand

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The Vaccination Games

May the odds be ever in your favor?

Lately there’s been headline after headline about vaccinations. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate. Another outbreak of measles at some child-ridden park. To believe science or fringe articles. Celebrities that speak out against vaccination and celebrities that speak out in favor of vaccination. I have a solution that may satisfy everyone who is currently riding the vaccination train. Ladies and gentlemen, I propose….

The Vaccination Games

Now before you go getting all uppity, hear me out. First, let me elaborate as to what exactly your Constitution allows you to do. Your Constitution gives you the right to make choices for yourself and your family. Those choices, however painfully stupid they may be, are protected under your Constitutional right to be an idiot. The Constitution also allows you to matriculate your child in the public school system while citing these “constitutionally protected rights” as reason your kid is now basically a walking Germinator. See here’s the thing; certain diseases are now referred to as “preventable” because YEARS AND YEARS of research and vaccinations have allowed us to almost completely eradicate things like measles and polio. Now I don’t know about you, but from what I’ve read about FDR polio doesn’t exactly sound like fun and I’m pretty sure I’m happy it falls under the preventable disease category. So while you’re citing these “Constitutionally protected rights” let me also elaborate on what they DON’T cover. They DO NOT give you the right to make medical decisions for people who aren’t your family. Like infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. These people don’t even have the luxury of choosing whether or not to be vaccinated. You do not have the right to expose innocent people to a 100% preventable disease because you’re a special kind of stupid. All these parents up in arms about not vaccinating their children should look back in their own medical records and see that they HAD TO BE VACCINATED to attend school. If you didn’t get vaccinated, you didn’t attend public school. It was that simple. And you all turned out fine; with the exception of suffering from a serious case of self-righteous know it all syndrome. So I suggest the following:

We refurbish that town they built for the Manhattan Project, make it totally usable, but fence it in completely. Then all the children whose parents’ decided not to vaccinate them get put there. Then we drop a couple of kids infected with measles, polio and chicken pox, and we wait. But here’s the catch, we don’t televise the kids 24/7. We televise the parents. The parents’ reactions. The worry. The fretting. The gut wrenching guilt that washes over them as they realize that this could have been prevented.  Will most of the kids be OK? Probably. Will maybe a few become seriously ill, you betcha. But that’s the risk their parents knowingly agreed to when they made the noble decision to think they are smarter than doctors and science.  It will literally be a perfect study of Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection, which I’m guessing the anti-vax people also don’t believe in.  So 2 birds, 1 stone right there.  People want to cite all these risks associated with vaccinations, almost all of which have been debunked. Are there risks with injected living diseases into your body? Of course. There are also risks to driving a car or getting on a airplane. There are risks to eating, you could choke. But I bet you let your kid eat. So these kids use their unvaccinated immune systems to fight off these diseases and hope for the best. While the rest of society is safe from deliberate idiocy.

If you’re going to make the decision not to vaccinate, you should really have some follow through. You want to cite “religious beliefs” as your reason not to vaccinate? Then let your church teach your kid. Or better yet, you home school them, because you have no right to decide to expose my daughter to a perfectly preventable disease because you read some article on the internet sanctioned by some celebrity that says vaccinations might be deadly. You know what else is deadly? Diseases!! Oh and stupidity.

I am in no way suggesting the deaths of innocent kids. Once the Games got serious, medical attention would be given (with parental consent of course), but hopefully valuable lessons would be learned.

I’m not telling you that you have to vaccinate your child. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t. I’m simply stating what you have a right to do, and what you don’t have a right to do and you don’t have the right to expose hundreds or even thousands of unsuspecting people. Do you know why they are unsuspecting? Because last they knew, not getting vaccinated wasn’t an option. Every kid had to go through it. So these people go out to Disneyland, The happiest place on earth, and then end up with the measles….not happy. So if you don’t want to vaccinate, that’s your choice and you have every right to make that choice. But please, also make the choice to stay home. Forever.

Also, that same Constitution that allows you to make these decisions also gives me the right to write about those decisions. See how that works? It goes both ways.

Sidenote; If George RR Martin would release the latest Game of Thrones book I wouldn’t even have the time to come up with an idea like this.

So while you’re mulling over my proposal for the Vaccination Games, keep those toes in the sand 🙂