a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

A Royal Education – have you prepared your child?

What’s really struck me in all this furor over nakey pics of Prince Harry isn’t the fact he’s naked, or caught on camera while being so – it’s that he clearly lost at the game of strip-pool and lost badly. (he’s not even got any socks left!)

As a Mother – it behooves us to prepare our children for life. Whether it’s providing a good education so they can get good jobs and support themselves, or even swim lessons so the know how not to drown.  Sports and games lessons and clubs prepare children for competition and teamwork in adulthood and develop coordination and dexterity.

It’s not like he’s not coordinated and sporty – he’s well known for his polo playing. So how did this gap in his education come about?

I did a little research and it turns out Pool or Billiards has a noble heritage.

The game has been played by kings and commoners, presidents, mental patients, ladies, gentlemen, and hustlers alike. It evolved from a lawn game similar to the croquet played some-time during the 15th century in Northern Europe and probably in France. Play moved indoors to a wooden table with green cloth to simulate grass, and a simple border was placed around the edges. The balls were shoved, rather than struck, with wooden sticks called “maces.” The term “billiard” is derived from French, either from the word “billart”, one of the wooden sticks, or “bille”, a ball.

Most of our information about early billiards comes from accounts of playing by royalty and other nobles. It has been know as the “Noble Game of Billiards” since the early 1800’s but there is evidence that people from all walks of life played the game since its inception.

History of Pool via thebilliardshop.com (you can read the long detailed history here)

So, you’d think being a royal and all Harry’d have a leg up on the competition, right? But if the photos are anything to go by, he was equally poor at the sport as his companion.

Mums – as part of preparing your child for life out in the world, I think it’s up to you to ensure your child learns valuable life lessons like, how to balance a checkbook, how to do the laundry, how to cook a few meals, how to play well with others – and as importantly pointed out by Prince Harry, how to play pool.

Without further ado, here are several sources you may find useful

Guide- Pool for Kids

Teach your kids how to shoot pool

(And in case anyone was wondering – yes this post is half in jest, but also kind of not :0) )


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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

My first (and hopefully last) experience as a Hospital “Mum”

Yesterday I spent the day with my son in hospital while he had surgery. While everything turned out ok – the experience itself was not one I’d like to repeat. Sitting there waiting for the surgery, then waiting for my son to be returned to me safe and sound and then sitting through the hours of recovery time I had plenty of time to reflect and count our blessings.

As a parent I think there isn’t anything harder than watching your child suffer. Since he was a few months old, our eldest DS (age 6) has had chronic ear infections. Many times our first awareness would be as we’d hold him as he’d scream all night (and not just as a baby). Or having already given him pain meds, holding him as his ear drums threatened to burst and soothing him as they actually did, relieving his pain in one super painful burst. Antibiotics never seemed to help, (and research has shown they only cure ear infections one day faster on average than no antibiotics) and we’ve always tried to treat the pain as best we could. We tried alternative treatments and had him allergy tested to see if that was a contributing factor.

A few years ago we took him to an ENT who recommended tubes/grommets but we decided to wait a few weeks to figure out what to do. As we deliberated the weeks turned into 2 years of no ear infections so we didn’t really think about it again until with moved to London. Once in London the ear infections started up again with a vengeance (I’m thinking because of the weekly swimming classes at school) and we noticed our boy needing to turn the tv up louder and not hearing us so well when not facing us. So again we returned to the ENT and audiologist and found that from the ear infections there was scarring on the ear drum causing him some hearing loss as well as glue ear, thick liquid behind the ear drum that wasn’t draining properly and becoming re-infected.

We had a follow-up appointment with the ENT for 2 months following the first appointment, and during that time our boy had multiple ear infections and an even more significant loss in hearing. It was such a noticeable change, he’d ask us a question to our face while standing 2 feet away, and wouldn’t hear the answer. We’d repeat it 3 or 4 times until frustration set in and we’d shout – resulting in our boys defeated expression and shoulder hunch as he’d slink away – making us feel like rotten parents and human beings. So something had to be done, for his sake and for socialization and learning. He’s starting a new school this fall and this certainly wouldn’t help with trying to make new friends and navigate a new environment.

It took a few hours to get through the recovery period but by later afternoon he began feeling better

Before the surgery I reached out via Facebook and Twitter to see if any other parents of my acquaintance had been through the experience of their child getting tubes/grommets and adenoids removed. While people were nice enough to retweet my query on Twitter I didn’t really hear about anyone’s experience. With Facebook I was a little luckier. Hearing from 4 other parents that while the day itself would be rough, the post-hospital recovery would be quicker than the Dr’s said and also that there would be noticeable improvements in health and hearing. One friend alerted me to an issue I hadn’t really considered – watching my child be put under anesthesia – which she forewarned me would be difficult to watch. I appreciated the heads-up as I hadn’t really considered this.

While I don’t consider myself religious – I have and did and will continue to count my blessings – in the sense of gratitude.

1. I’m thankful for Social Media
Connecting with other parents who’ve been through similar things online via Facebook and Twitter went a long way to relieving some of my fears and making me feel not so alone.

2. I’m thankful I live in this time and place
We live in a country that makes medical treatment widely available, have some medicines to make the procedures less painful, and others to prevent and treat more serious complications.

Before the surgery began, they used cream to numb the areas where they’d insert the IV

3. I’m thankful that it was in the scheme of things, a small procedure
We were able to go in and out the same day – whereas I have friends who are just leaving the hospital with their children after 90+ days

4. I’m thankful that it worked
Although the recovery period was a bit traumatic (although he doesn’t remember it) shortly after he was already complaining everyone and everything was too loud and there were too many noises. Since returning home, he’s gone from watching the television 2ft away at volume level 23 to now sitting back on the couch and watching it at volumen level 6.

So we had one day in the hospital. One day of discomfort for my son, my anxiety on his behalf – and one day of being addressed by all and sundry (doctors, nurses, cleaners etc) as “Mum.” Ok so this was my one pet peeve about the day – it’s a small one but annoying nonetheless, it’s fine if you can’t learn all the parents names, I get it, but I’d rather not be called “Mum” by a bunch of other adults. But in the same respect of counting thanks – I’m thankful that I wasn’t there long enough that they did learn my name. Contrary I know.

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8 years ago 5 Comments Short URL

BritMums Live Conference Report

So here I go with my belated post on BritMums Live – a UK Conference for Mum Bloggers, based around the BritMums Community. While I’m not a regular contributor to the community – I am a big fan (or sucker) for Blogger Conferences and it was a great opportunity to meet some of my new online Blog and Twitter friends from the UK.

The conference started on a Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday. I found it kind of an awkward time as I had to take time off work to make it there as it started mid-afternoon. I’d have preferred it over a Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people travelled from outside of London – so I’m not sure if this time made it easier or harder to travel.

Like many of the conferences I’ve been to in the US – it was a nice mix of panels, talks, keynotes and sponsor showcase area. As usual my favorite conversations and learnings came from the casual hallway chats and new friends made in the moment.

Having come straight from work – I didn’t get quite so fancy for the awards night on Friday evening – but was lucky enough to be sporting some gorgeous earrings by Sarah Hickey Jewelry. It made me feel very glamorous.

These were so gorgeous – I couldn’t send them back! I bought them and have been wearing them everywhere!


On Friday evening while waiting for the awards ceremony to begin I had the pleasure of meeting “My Funny Mummy. while she didn’t win the award she was nominated for – certainly made a lasting impression on me and I can’t wait to connect again in the future. Unfortunately she had to leave the conference early due to an unfortunate incident at home – you haven’t read about it? check it out here: “Why Me”

At the awards ceremony I also met Becky from Arblog and Gourmet Mum who who were both lovely.  Becky was camera in hand and I wasn’t surprised when looking at her blog how gorgeous her photography is!

On Friday evening I went to the expat blogger meetup with some of my fav old and new online friends – unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay long at all as I had a horrible headache and the loud music in All Bar One had me beating a hasty retreat quickly after arriving. The expat meetup was organized by the amazing Michelle, The American Resident – who also wrote a lovely recap of the conference and meetup here: Expat Roundup

One of my favorite sessions was the Food Blogging panel, Good Taste: Blogging about food which included  Kerstin RodgersMs. Marmite LoverSarah TrivuncicMaison Cupcake; Katie Bryson, Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.

I think one of the things that made it so special was how real and open these ladies were. They shared their rates for sponsored posts and what they’d charge for putting together a new recipe. I think there should be more transparency in the blogging community about this – and about compensation or sponsorship in general as women I think we often undervalue our contributions and are therefore more easily taken advantage of when it comes to putting money to the time we invest in things.

On Saturday I shared lunch with the lovely American expat Bump2Basics and her babe in arms, and had a long lovely chat. While in the sponsor area – one of the first people I met was Penny Alexander of The Alexander Residence. Penny told me about Give As You Live, which allows you to shop online with thousands of stores and raise money for your favourite cause with every purchase – at no cost to you. (I later won a lovely gift bag from them which included some fair trade goods and items made by hand and or which supported charitable causes and community building)

I was also delighted to see LEGO in the sponsor area as my munchkins are huge fans and was delighted to see they’ll be releasing more book/toy sets. They did a cupcake decorating session which was well received.

While in the sponsor area I also ran into Andy from Dad’s Cooking Tonight – one of my favorite #MumsNight contributors! It was lovely to see Andy nominated for some awards and see Dads included in this event.

One of the things that most surprised me was all of the Americans – both attendees, event organizers and sponsors! In the sponsor area there was Disney, ThermoMix, Crocs and Visit Orlando.

Thanks to Visit Orlando I was able to have a truly evil moment of parenting -> Visit Orlando had a photo booth where you could take your photo with a backdrop of iconic Orlando locations, including SeaWorld and DisneyWorld. The day after BritMums Live the boys found my photo – and asked “Mommy what’s this” grinning evilly I replied – “What does it look like?” The look of horror on their faces as they said “You went to Disney without us?!” was priceless. Ok so I only let them believe it for a second a quickly corrected them that it was just a pretend photo and I hadn’t gone to their holy land and left them at home.

It was a full day and a half and by the end I was ready to head home – which of course was complicated by tube closures. This did give me a great opportunity to connect with Christine Mosler and  Circus Queen ( Christine wrote a great writeup of the conference here: BritMums Live 2012 – How was it for you?  ) as we tried to navigate alternate routes across London.

All in all – I enjoyed the event but like BlogHer in the US – I always find I enjoy the unscheduled hallway chats more than the panels themselves. I find panels problematic in that with so many people you never have time to get in depth in a subject.  Or, like Advanced blogging: Video blogging – Building your online presence and YouTube profile. Christine BeardsellVCCP  - we ran out of time before she could share more of the advanced details which I really wanted to hear.

Will I be back next year?  Yes, probably – I really enjoyed it for the opportunity to meet people in person I’ve connected with online. Did I learn much, no but I’ve been online for a few years now so wasn’t really expecting to. It’s nice though to meet people, connect and share online and off so for me, it was worth it.




8 years ago 1 Comment Short URL

Dear Daddy…

Dear Daddy, I know I’ve got children of my own now – but you’ll always be “Daddy” to me. While I shouldn’t have to wait for Father’s Day to roll around to tell you how I feel, often it’s those Milestones on the calendar that shift me out of my just living mode into actually verbalizing my thoughts. A friend of mine recently shared her thoughts with me on how Fathers influence not just our choice in men – but also our careers.

I wanted to say thank you for always being my biggest fan and supporter. I’ve always known and felt that you wholeheartedly believed in me and my power to change things, help people, think independently and do great things. With that kind of support system – you’ve helped me build my own sense of self worth and independence. You’ve always made me feel valued – and that my ideas (even the wacky ones) were of merit.

Because of this – through family changes, new relationships, changing careers – I’ve always felt that I was smart enough and capable enough to tackle any new challenge. In fact when approaching new ideas or obstacles, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it or might need expert assistance. You had instilled in me the confidence that I was able to tackle it and smart enough and resourceful enough to figure out how to accomplish whatever I had set out to do.

You’ve always tried to guide me, give me your support when you can and just listen when there was nothing else that could be done. While Mom helped inspired my creativity, resourcefulness and perseverance – my confidence, competence and self love were inspired from and grew from your own. For this I’ll be eternally grateful.

When I was about 9 you gave me some of the best advice that’s stuck with me ever since…

Never write down anything you don’t want the world to read.

(you said as you put away one of the high school love letters from my older brother’s stash… hahhahahaha!)

So world – feel free to read this!

(P.S. this is my Father’s Day gift for you – I thought you might like it better than a tie.)


8 years ago 3 Comments Short URL

Carelessness at Son’s School. What would you do?

My 4 yr old son had an ear infection a few weeks back in Belgium (you can read about it here). His eardrum perforated – but hasn’t healed yet. In fact there is almost no eardrum – it’s a giant hole. We have taken him to the GP and ENT because it hasn’t healed. One of his favorite activities at school is swimming – but because of the perforation, upon doctors orders he’s not allowed to swim until it’s healed. We gave his teacher a letter explaining this and and that upon our request and Dr’s orders he not be taken swimming. We then discussed it with the teacher after he read the letter. We even sent him to school without swimsuit and towel so that he couldn’t go. The same day, we picked him up and he was all wet – they’d taken him swimming!

I’ve called the school office and will be meeting with the Headmaster next week to discuss this and complain.  My husband is upset – but is worried about the Teacher’s career if we complain.  But I see it a bit differently – yes, it didn’t kill him, but they aren’t the ones who have to sit up with him all night while he screams in pain from because of his ears – also, what if this was something more life threatening, like a peanut allergy?

Also you should know this isn’t the first time they’ve been inattentive and careless with our child.

A few months back we had to send a friend to go pick him up from school. We had sent a note saying she’d be picking him up and also had her added to the list of approved people to pick him up. She arrived as school was ending and the children leaving with parents etc. and didn’t immediately see our son. She asked his Teacher and was told – “He must have been picked up already.” She told him he couldn’t have been picked up – because she was doing the picking up. She was then told, that perhaps he was in the school office and go look there – which she did to no avail. She then went back to the classroom which they were in the process of locking up (it has doors to the outside etc.) She explained that he was not in the office and she would very much like to know where he was.  At that point the Teacher began to panic – and actively look. My friend helped search the classroom and found him asleep with a high fever in the book nook.

How do you lose a child in your classroom? How long must he have been there? Hours perhaps? Would they have just locked him in there? What if it had been more serious? What if he had had a seizure etc.?

I do like the Teacher – he’s a nice guy and that’s why my husband is concerned about me saying something. But just because my son will get better – doesn’t mean that their carelessness is ok.

I will tell the Headmaster that they apparently have too many children in the classroom for the Teacher to actively monitor – and that the Teacher needs to pay more attention. I have expressed my concern and displeasure to the Teacher – but I think it should now be escalated.

Our son will be attending another school next year regardless. We’ll be sending him to Reception at the same school our 6yr old is at – he’ll be moving from a class size of 30+ down to 12.

What would you do?


8 years ago 7 Comments Short URL

Spring cleaning checklist – thank goodness it’s only once a year!

So I’m really looking forward to tonight’s #MumsNight – Spring Cleaning Hacks and I had perused quite a few spring cleaning checklists – but none of them incorporated everything I wanted so I’ve made my own to share with you.

Feel free to download, print, use and share it.

While I didn’t go into the detailed steps of how to do everything it lists out the activities by room. It also assumes that this is a 1 time deep clean and that you’re regularly cleaning and dusting etc. If you need to get organized for your weekly clean here are some great checklists – check out these pretty printables by Evelyn Kate Designs and also Modern Parents Messy Kids

You can dowload a .pdf version by clicking the link below – or print the image as displayed below. The .pdf version will print better.

click here to download -> spring cleaning checklist  (.pdf download of my spring cleaning checklist)




This spring cleaning checklist was inspired by #MumsNight

Inspired by #MumsNight

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

What’s for dinner – my new project for managing mealtime with magnets

So I was very inspired by last week’s #MumsNight – Slow Cook / No Cook lazy cooking ideas. Everyone shared so many fantastic recipes and ideas! While I only intended to spend about half the time on slow cooking – it became the conversation focus. Having not been a big slow cooker previously – I realized I must be truly missing out. But that’s not what sealed the deal for me. You see – with my husband and I working all day, someone else picks up our kids and serves them tea before we get home. Quite frequently my husband arrives in time to feed them too, (if he wanted to). It was at the end of a very long week last night that I learned my boys 4 & 6 had had Ramen noodles for tea, EVERY night.

When I expressed my displeasure to Hubs he said “But they love Ramen noodles!” My response? “They love chocolate and crisps too, but they aren’t for tea – these boys need some whole meals, protein and veg!” It was definitely time to change my meal planning and take action!

Previously my meal planning mostly consisted of me sketching out what we’d eat for dinner each night (making more for lunch leftovers) and putting in the order for grocery delivery, then also doing a few quick shops during the week for bread or butter or milk, minor staples that may have run low. But clearly just having a full fridge and a plan aren’t cutting it.

So, my new plan is to involve the boys in the menu planning – and then to prep the dinner the night before and to slow cook it during the day so it’s ready for their tea and our dinner.


Inspired by #MumsNight

For the meal planning I decided to change it up a bit. They are very hands on and visual so the written sketched out list wouldn’t cut it for them. Luckily I came across this great idea on Pinterest, to photograph family meals and make each meal into a magnet. Children can then help choose the weekly meal by placing the food magnet into that week’s calendar squares. (via heartofwisdom.com )


I explained it to the boys and they are very excited about it. We’ve already photographed three meals from this weekend, Lumache Carbonara (told the boys it was Mac & Cheese), Slow Cooker French Onion Soup and also Roast Chicken and Vegetables (our Sunday standard).

Of these – I was most surprised and delighted by the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup. The flavor was spot on and it was sooooooo easy! I think I’m a convert to slow cooking, it only took once!

So for the Lumache Carbonara, we served this with a side of salad and garlic bread. The entire meal for 5 people was less than 5 pounds (and made leftovers!)

Of the three dishes this was the quickest and easiest. I bought the Lumache pasta (any other shell type pasta will work too), and the sauce (Sainsbury’s fresh Carbonara sauce) along with a fresh garlic baguette and bag of salad on my way home from work. The pasta took about 11 minutes to cook, the garlic baguette about the same – and I mixed the salad while it cooked. The sauce I microwaved for about a minute – and mixed after draining the pasta. Meal accomplished in under 15 minutes and for less than 5 pounds.

Next up was the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup – I took a look over a few recipes online but wasn’t completely happy with them so modified them a bit for a richer tastier version.


Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 slow cooker (duh)
  • 3 large onions sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (or more if you like)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt (or half salt/ half garlic salt)
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 8 measuring cups of water

For the toast:

  • 1 baguette
  • Gruyere cheese

Thinly slice the onions and put the onions and butter into the slow cooker on medium heat for about 20-30 mins to sauté until a bit brown around the edges. Add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, bouillon cubes and water and cook on medium to low for about 5 hours. (You can actually eat it about after 2 hrs once the onions are soft – but the longer you leave it the better the taste) Check the taste throughout – you may need to add more water if it’s a little salty for you or a little more Worcestershire sauce if it’s not flavorful enough for you.

For the toast on top, once you’re ready to serve the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup, slice the baguette, grate the cheese and put the cheese on top of the bread slices in a pan. Put under the grill for about 4 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the one, serve the soup and put the cheesy bread on top.

Serve with a fresh green salad.

For 5 people this meal again came in well under $5


So next up is our weekly Sunday night staple, Roast Chicken and Vegetables. The vegetables vary by season, but the general ones include potatoes, celery, carrots and onions.

You’ll need

  • 1 large roasting chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 garlic cloves or about 1 teaspoon of garlic puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 jacket potatos
  • (2 celery stalks and 1 onion optional)
Each week when we order groceries it includes 1 large roasting chicken. I like to do it on Sunday evenings so we have a good meal to start the week, and leftovers of chicken and roasted veg to incorporate into dishes throughout the week. The large chicken is 5 GBP itself so with the vegetables and or side of bread/yorkshire pudding and salad comes to about 7GBP and makes several more meals out of leftovers. This is probably the best bargain meal you can make for a family in terms of flavor, fillingness and frugality!
This meal, is definitely one of the easiest and tastiest. First take the chicken and place it in a large baking dish. In a small little bowl, gently heat the butter in the microwave until soft and then add the garlic (either pureed or pressed) along with seasoning salt. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Then around the neck of the chicken, reach your hand underneath the skin but above the chicken breast from the neck end – break through the small membrane around the neck so your hand reaches under the skin over the top of the chicken breast from the neck end. Take the butter/garlic/spice mixture and spoon it under the skin over the breast from the neck end – being sure to get it all the way towards the back. After this under the skin breast area has been saturated massage the butter/garlic/spice mixture into the outside of the chicken on all sides.
Cut the lemon in half and put the 2 half pieces into the internal cavity of the chicken from the rear.
Slice the vegetables and put them around the chicken. Place the whole thing in a fan oven pre-heated to 180C and cook for about 1 hour 20 minutes, turning it halfway through front back and stirring the vegetables around a bit.
Poultry is cooked if the juices run clear when the deepest part of the bird is pierced with a thin skewer. If the juices are pink continue cooking for a few minutes and retest Adjust times according to your particular oven. We always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. ( You don’t want to mess about with undercooked chicken.)

You can serve this with a side salad or even Yorkshire Pudding

So those are some of the main meals we had over the weekend and I plan to put the slow cooker to good use this week with a selection of slow cooker meals to provide the boys with a more nutritious tea and have dinner ready and waiting once we return home from work. Here’s the plan for this week, which we’ll photograph and add to our visual menu plan. What’s not listed below is that each night we also have some type of green salad, either romaine or spinach based. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Mon – Chicken sundried tomato and rice
Tuesday – stroganoff and noodles
Wednesday – Gnocci & Marinara, side salad or garlic bread
Thursday –  Chicken and dumplings
Fri – Chicken, noodles and peas
Sat – Italian pesto bean pasta
Sunday – Macaroni & cheese
Leftovers throughout the week for lunches etc
 We will ill also have chicken salad / egg salad/ tuna salad for lunch fillers amongst other groceries and snacks etc.
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Would you ever use a “Shut Up” Gun on your kids?

You know the feeling – you’re on your cell phone and have a terrible connection – where your own voice echoes back to you with a short delay – and it’s almost impossible to carry on the conversation without holding the phone away from your head and projecting your voice into it. Along the same lines there is a new (harmless) gun being developed by Japanese researchers which shoots sound waves in an effort to disrupt and silence people who are speaking loudly, inappropriately etc. The device doesn’t cause the person it’s being used on any physical harm — it simply messes with their head.

The gun operates based on the concept of delayed auditory feedback. An attached microphone picks up the sound being made by the target and plays it back 0.2 seconds later. The effect is incredibly confusing to the human brain, making it all but impossible to talk or hold a conversation.

Would it be ethical/feasible/reasonable to use it on your kids? I know if they made one small enough or inexpensive enough – there would certainly be a time or two when I’d have an itchy trigger finger! But, just having it – would that make me less motivated to work with my kids on what’s a proper “inside voice” or how to work through tantrums. Would it make me a lazy parent and just condition my kids like Pavlov’s dogs? Ok so it’s probably not something I’ll invest in as a parent – but ahhhh *sigh* just the mental picture makes me smile!

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Have boys? Read this now and prepare for your MIL pre-nup

So having boys seems to be different from having girls – we don’t bond over clothes, shoes or boys (generally) and can’t quite jive over the Disney Princess thing (um ok) or Justin Bieber (never!). But that being the case, Mothers and Sons do have a special bond – which as one Blogess, Jenny Isenman goes into detail over in the Huffington Post (if you have a boy you must read this!!!)

For those of us Mums who are afraid of what will happen when our boys get married and move away – I’m sure you’ll be glad to have this Mother In Law Pre-nuptual Agreement

This is a MIL-nup, and it goes like this:

    • I will compliment my mother-in-law’s (MIL’s) cooking, her decorating, and, most importantly, the incredible way she raised her son, my husband.
    • I will marvel at my MIL’s beauty and miraculously never-aging skin every time I see her.
    • I will acknowledge that my MIL’s son is on loan to me so that we can make grandbabies, which will probably look like her and have her wonderful traits, which I will mention in conversation frequently and with great fervor.
    • I will remind my husband to call my MIL daily, saying, “Have you told your mother you love her today? You should, she rocks.” Plus, I will throw in phrases like this:
        • “That amazing woman raised you! You should call and thank her… again.”
        • “You can truly never thank her enough.”
        • “Let’s go over and thank her in person.”
        • “We should bring her a gift when we go.”
        • “She’s so deserving of gifts.”
        • “Let’s take her on vacation with us.”
        • “And get her another gift.”
        • “Maybe a beautiful locket with pictures of you and our children.”
      • “No, I don’t need to be in the pictures; she didn’t raise me… unfortunately.”
    • I will tell other women that their mothers-in-law are not as fabulous as mine, and I shall be willing to throw down in the event that said women disagree.
    • I will take my MIL to her weekly hair salon appointment and shopping at Loehmann’s, when it is deemed necessary by age.
    • I will spend all holidays with my husband’s family, because they are so awesome and gracious, and I realize how much mine sucks by comparison.

And lastly:

    • I will move to be near my MIL, whether she has retired to Century Village in Florida, decides to live in a nudist colony in Arizona, or goes bat-s**t crazy and moves to Alaska for the fresh sushi. She is so wise and wonderful that I’m sure her choice of habitat will suit me and my husband perfectly!

Oh, and:

  • My MIL can so live with me and my husband when she’s old and can’t remember who I am.

There. You can print this to be signed when the inevitable happens. I just saved you from losing your sweet, sweet boy. You’re welcome.

 So what do you think? Is there anything you’d like to add?

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8 years ago 1 Comment Short URL

Little Liars

So my younger son (4) is talented at so many things – including lying. He’s convincing, does it with a straight face and no giveaways like facial ticks or raised voice etc. Which, is worrying. He clearly lies because he believes he’ll get in trouble (rightly so) but even when it’s about small things – where we know he did it and is lying to our face, but the actual thing isn’t really a big deal and we’re just trying to get him to confess – he sticks with the lie.


I read a great book a few years ago, called NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it!

NurtureShock is a groundbreaking collaboration between award-winning science journalists Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. They argue that when it comes to children, we’ve mistaken good intentions for good ideas. With impeccable storytelling and razor-sharp analysis, they demonstrate that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring–because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Nothing like a parenting manual, the authors’ work is an insightful exploration of themes and issues that transcend children’s (and adults’) lives.

So one of the things they cover is lying. “If 98% of kids think lying is morally wrong, then why do 98% of kids lie?” They basically said that all kids lie – but if you call them on it and discuss it the frequency and scale goes down over time, but if you let them get away without calling them out on it – the frequency and scale increases.

We’ve been following that method – calling the kids out if/when they lie – and it’s worked well with our older son who for the most part never does it. But for our youngest, it doesn’t seem to be diminishing, or scary thought here – maybe it is diminishing with this approach and if didn’t call him out on them there would be even more lies…

When discussing lying with my 4 yr old, unsolicited, my older son 6 piped up that he thinks the younger learned it from Bart Simpson – and maybe he shouldn’t watch the Simpsons anymore… I don’t think the Simpsons are a bad influence on the kids, but it was an interesting theory.

So how do you deal with lies, and the lying little liars who tell them?  Any advice to share?

*update* I took the conversation to Twitter and here’s one of the responses I got… So, it looks like I’m more responsible than Bart Simpson as a role model for my son’s bad behavior. Which I think is absolutely correct and clearly something I should work on myself.  When you think about it – it’s often us who start the kids down the path of lying with social lies, like : Tell Grandma thank you for the present and that you love it, or Say the food was delicious….  

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8 years ago 2 Comments Short URL

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