Stop by tomorrow for a funny blog and a giveaway from Amber Dusick of Crappy Pictures!
I want to hear about your favorite family car games, but first, I’m going to tell you about mine. I’m dying for y’all to try it. It’s called Skittles. Your kids might need to be a little older. In fact, my 15-year-old and I still play this game, and today…I got busted.
Let me explain. In Skittles, you look for bright yellow cars. School buses never count–there are too many of them–but Penske trucks do…any vehicle that has a bright yellow body. This could also include an 18-wheeler with a bright yellow body, even though it might be pulling a silver trailer. So when you see a yellow car or truck, you say, “Skittles!” and you get a point. You compete until you get tired of the game. The trick is to be the first person to see a police car. Then you yell, “Busted!” This means that the other person loses all his or her points! You can also yell, “Undercover,” to get them to lose their points–but you have to clearly see the siren either in the window of the undercover police car or on top of the car.
Anyway, today I was winning, 2-0, when my son caught up, seeing two yellow cars within seconds of each other. So we were tied 2-2, and then he saw a police car first and busted me! I was so frustrated! Kids love to beat their parents at anything, so I always play it up being upset–even now, when my kids are older.
You do really get caught up in this silly game, but it’s fun, and it makes the time pass on a long trip, and it keeps people talking to each other. Otherwise, they get out their ear buds and their iPhones and iPads and go into their own little worlds….
Don’t let it happen! At least not for the whole car trip. You need corny family moments! You need games like Skittles.
Warning to the driver: Usually, everyone in the game has to see the yellow car claimed by someone when they yell, “Skittles!” but if you’re driving, you have to pay attention to the road. You can’t always verify someone’s claim–you have to go on trust. And I can’t emphasize enough that it’s very, very easy to get caught up in looking for yellow cars. Sometimes, if I’m feeling absurdly competitive, I abstain from the game when I’m driving. I can’t afford to get us into an accident ever, but especially not over Skittles!
What’s your favorite car game to play with the kids?
I kind of hate summer. There, I said it. Summer does not make me happy. Maybe if I lived some place lovely where summer meant 75 degree days and afternoon rain showers. But no, I live in Dallas where it gets so hot that you can hardly bear to be inside with your overworked air conditioning (which can never keep up), much less actually venture outside into the 100+ degree oven daily. And it is just not natural for it to still be 95 degrees at midnight. Seriously.
But now I have an added thing to make me dread summer. Lack of school for kidlet. Up until last summer he’s been in part-time daycare. So it didn’t matter when summer came because his schedule stayed the same. But now that he’s going to the special preschool program with the school district, that program ends just like all the others for summer. And since he’s still not potty-trained at four (please God, let this click soon), that means daycares now won’t take him and summer camps are out. So our only option is a drop in daycare that we use on occasion. I like the place, but it’s limited and he’s going to get bored if he goes there too much.
But mommy (that’d be me) has to write a novella and full novel by the end of October. And there’s no way I’m going to get all that done without some kidlet free work time. So basically, I’m in denial. I’m refusing to even think about the long days of trying to keep a very active, very intense child busy.
So I’m appealing to you moms out there. What are some activities you use to keep your little ones busy during the summer that give you a little bit of quiet time in the process? And am I the only one with her head in the sand about summer?
I’m Roni Loren, or as I’m called ‘round these parts, No Drama Mama. I’ve been married for ten years and have a four-year old son, who has recently been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. My days are spent writing very sexy romances (my PC way of saying erotic),avoiding all things housework, and hanging out with a kidlet who I suspect is vastly smarter than I am. I secretly dream of having a life that looks like the pages of Real Simple magazine, but would settle for Sorta Decent if could get there. My daily goal is to keep the drama on the pages of my books and out of my life–I’m successful at least twenty percent of the time. www.roniloren.com
Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I’m competitive. I grew up playing sports and kind of took on the mentality of second place is first loser. (Let’s not talk about how I was salutatorian in both junior high AND high school. I have perpetual second place-itis it seems.) But one place where I thought would be free of competition has turned out to be an arena rife with it–the world of parenting.
It all starts with those annoying emails you sign up for when you’re pregnant. They’re exciting in the beginning–your baby is now the size of a Skittle and can feel when your stomach rumbles! Or whatever. But those things don’t go away after the baby comes. And then they morph from being fun little bits of information to measuring sticks that stress you out, make you paranoid, and become the chatter of fellow parents.
And boy, are parents competitive. It’s subtle and wrapped in a tone that lifts at the end, like what’s being said is oh-so-friendly, but the judgement is there. “Soooo, Sunshine Sparklepants is walking already and doing long division with her toes. I see your little guy is still rolling around like a neanderthal and sucking his thumb. Have you checked with your doctor about that? Are you bringing him to Dance Your Face Off classes on Saturdays? I’d bet he’d build that leg strength up if you did…”
Okay, so maybe it’s a bit more subtle than that, but it’s insidious nonetheless. And we all can fall into it. Measuring our kid up to the neighbors, flaunting our kid’s special talents or developmental leaps, pointing out things in other children who we think *should* be further along.
But listen–we need to stop this. Only your family cares about little Susie’s musical genius on the xylophone. And when you’re rambling on about your kid’s greatness, you may be telling it to a parent who is worried out of their mind, dealing with developmental delays in their own child or doubting their own parenting skills because their kid is a few stages behind.
How do I know? Because I am that mom. My son has high-functioning autism and has some developmental delays. I was that mom who was obsessing over every little thing–why did he take an extra month to point? Is he smiling at me or is it just gas? Why isn’t he talking in sentences yet?
So when another mom would start yammering on about her child’s precociousness and asking me endless questions about what stage my son was at, it would just make me feel more worried about my child and more inadequate as a mother. Of course, those moms who said those things weren’t trying to be mean or worry me. But even if they didn’t intend it, a strong undercurrent of competitiveness and my-kid-is-better-than-yours is present. So stop and think before you pull out that measuring stick.
And be proud of wherever your child is on the scale. A victory for your child is a victory no matter if it’s two months before or two years behind the neighbor’s kid.
My four-year old…
is not potty trained yet
has trouble having back and forth conversations
can’t tell me how his day was at school
still has trouble falling asleep on his own at night
and has to be the one to open doors or he gets upset
BUT he also…
can read books at a first grade level
knows the names and capitals of all 50 states and their location on the map
can count to 50
taught himself his upper and lowercase alphabet, colors, and shapes at age 2
can remember how to get somewhere even when mommy can’t
and always can make me smile.
So you know what? To hell with those emails and walk away from those comparison conversations. Obviously, you need to be aware if your child has delays because you want to get help and early intervention when needed, but don’t ever let anyone make you feel like your child is less than or “wrong” because they’re on a different path than another. We’re all individuals on our own timeline. This isn’t a race. There is no prize for the kid who learns to roll over first.
*end rant* :)
Have you ever found yourself in one of those competitive parenting conversations? What did your child do slowly or quickly that made you have a parent freak out?
I’m Roni Loren, or as I’m called ‘round these parts, No Drama Mama. I’ve been married for ten years and have a four-year old son, who has recently been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. My days are spent writing very sexy romances (my PC way of saying erotic),avoiding all things housework, and hanging out with a kidlet who I suspect is vastly smarter than I am. I secretly dream of having a life that looks like the pages of Real Simplemagazine, but would settle for Sorta Decent if could get there. My daily goal is to keep the drama on the pages of my books and out of my life–I’m successful at least twenty percent of the time. www.roniloren.com
So there’s this phase after you have a baby, a span of time where your child is not old enough to understand or catch on to everything going on around them, and you can get away with some things. You can have conversations that you know they aren’t following, you can listen to music that may have questionable lyrics, you can “trick” them (you know having that really noisy toy magically disappear). It’s a nice little time where you don’t have to be quite so careful.
I thought my kidlet (age 4) was still somewhat in this stage. He’s a little hard to figure out because he’s wicked smart but then has some language delays. So sometimes I think we underestimate exactly how much he’s observing and picking up. For instance, when he was two I was out at an ice cream shop with him and the song “Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects came on the radio. Well, I used to play music videos in the background when I did housework. Well, there’s this clap they do in the video at a very precise moment. And guess who clapped his hands over his head at the exact moment that part came up? (The clap is at the :45 mark if you want to see it.)
This interest in music and ability to remember it has only increased with time. He can now do most of the choreography for Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance from when we watched the concert on TV. So we now try to be aware of what we’re letting him see or listen to. Though, I have to admit it’s kind of cool to have a kid who can hear songs in the grocery store and announces to everyone, “This is Journey! This is Foo Fighters! I love Pink!” : )
But now his observation skills have moved beyond TV and music. Now he’s apparently watching mommy and daddy much closer than we thought.
Conversation he had in the car this week with his daddy…
Kidlet: That’s the house with the trick-or-treat.
Hubs: You mean, that’s the house you went to when you trick or treated?
Kidlet: Yes, for Halloween.
Daddy: And what did they give you when you trick or treated?
Daddy: And what did you do with the candy?
Kidlet: Mommy ate it.
*cringe* Now, for the record, I didn’t eat ALL the candy. But frankly, he’s not that far off. I’m kind of the healthy-cooking, organic, no food dyes kind of mama, so I limit his junk food pretty carefully. But I thought that after the few chocolates I gave him, he’d forgotten about the rest of it. Um, apparently not. Clearly, he knew just where all that stuff was and who was eating it, lol. So sneaky me was not as stealthy as I thought.
Big Brother Kidlet is watching you.
I’m now on my best behavior. Easter candy will be shared by all. : )
So has your kidlet ever figured out something you were trying to “trick” them on? Or have you ever been caught red-handed like me?
I’m Roni Loren,or as I’ll be called ‘round these parts, No Drama Mama. I’ve been married for ten years and have a four-year old son, who has recently been diagnosed with high-functioning autism. My days are spent writing very sexy romances (my PC way of saying erotic),avoiding all things housework, and hanging out with a kidlet who I suspect is vastly smarter than I am. I secretly dream of having a life that looks like the pages of Real Simplemagazine, but would settle for Sorta Decent if could get there. My daily goal is to keep the drama on the pages of my books and out of my life–I’m successful at least twenty percent of the time. www.roniloren.com