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BY SAVANNAH CUNNICK

Do you know that humans are the only nimals that have children on purpose (with the exception of guppies who eat their young) ? We are also the only mammals that allows children to come back home. From newborn to adult . And guess what....that's exactly what we are going to talk about today!! That's including the terrible twos through the tortuous teens!!

Having a baby? Are you talking about that HANGOVER that takes forever to go away? And the teenager who keeps referring to the 80's as TURN OF THE CENTURY? Raising kids is part joy and part Guerilla Warfare!! Mom thinks that sleeping until 8 AM feels as magical as riding out of her bedroom on a unicorn. Normally, being a Mom you normally can only sleep standing up or sitting down or quick napping while driving the car. It gets even better when you step on a squeaky toy in the middle of the night and wake up all the kids!

Where are your shoes? We're late!.....No, we're NOT there yet.... Stop with the knock-knock jokes... eeeeh gads: The ability to WHINE IN WORDS!! Watching Sesame Street and realizing you are the ONLY ONE still left in the room in front of the t.v.

Guess where those hated strained carrots go when babies blows them out of their mouths? Oh wait...how about finding out the capacity of your water heater only covers 1 1/2 siblings taking their daily showers. Now, you find yourself washing with baby wipes to save time in the morning. Then, discovering that the Cinderella tea party water came from the toilet down the hall. Congratulations...you're grounded....When does church camp start?

A baby's job is to look cute and poop...not to mention depriving you of your beauty sleep. Does baby poop STINK do you ask? Well, try hiding a dead fish behind the stereo and leave it there ALL summer!

Ever have that moment?....Hey, it's TOO QUIET...something's broken.....or what are they up to now?

What's it like having a TODDLER ? Find a chimpanzee on meth who is allergic to sleep!

I remember Aunt Martha told me that with the FIRST baby...she began wearing maternity clothes as soon as she found out she was pregnant. The SECOND baby, she tried to wear her regular clothes as long as she could...with the THIRD baby her maternity clothes WERE her regular clothes...!!

Face it ... you live in a MAD HOUSE ruled by a TINY ARMY you created yourself!!

Then there is playing hide and seek with the goal to stay hidden till they can't find you until after high school!

Most of us are HOPEFULLY (?) aware that kids today are WAY-OUT-OF-CONTROL....!! We can't paddle them...teachers can't spank or discipline. Or...we all go to JAIL. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!? Each generation is getting worse....the killings, violence, bullying, drugs, open sex, theft, disregard for property or adults. Cell phones, twitter, improper nutrition, no family intervention or parental supervision. C'MON FOLKS.... let's straighten this MESS out....you think Hillary and Trump are scary? Imagine the kids today running our country. R U serious???

How many of you still eat dinner around the table and actually discuss with their children WHAT HAPPENED TODAY? Eight hours or more with somebody else's kids...who God knows have what kind of upbringing. Not a happy feeling is it...seeing all your hard work as a GOOD PARENT washed away eight hours at a time five days a week by some off-the-wall mess that someone else has created in the WRONG WAY. What did you say? Oh, their Mom is busy counseling their so-called buddies on face book...Dad works nights or works late again...so fast food dinners and more face book !!

Now, as I said, there are extremely dedicated parents out there. Dance lessons, gymnastics, Little League, Pop Warner, cheer leading, band....where Parents and their children spend time together and doing what they love. Follow your kids thru all events and stress working toward a prosperous future, college, good job, healthy existence and decent friends. Respect parents, other adults and nature. There's no need to OVER supervise...just BE THERE FOR THEM.

Uncle Festus, who always comes up with a lulu comment once told me: Be careful when you raise your hand to your child....it leaves your groin unprotected! (No doubt, referring to Cousin Clarence...BIG TIME...).

Supervise the clothes they wear, language, curfew values, cleanliness and respect for all living things. Never ASSUME that the birds and bees conversation is no longer needed. When a family member passes away, or when there are racial problems or if divorce within your family is on the rise...talk to them about it all and let them grieve and to express themselves. To suppress these feelings harms both children and their parents.

Whether raised on a farm or in the busy city, the same applies. Remember children MIMIC ALL you do and say. So, be careful with the off color words, comments and gossip .... I hardly doubt you wish for it to be repeated!!

It's also NOT CUTE to let your kids get away with everything....not so funny when they are 28 and living in your basement!! Is it ? Erma Bombeck offers this advise: when my kids become wild and unruly...use a nice safe play pen. When they're finished...CLIMB OUT !!

Aunt Polly says: I just drink wine and think up crafts to teach them using the CORKS.

Uncle Pete who has six kids still at home....I just checked my account balance at the ATM and it printed me a coupon for Ramen Noodles. Yep...kids CAN be expensive !! Especially TEENAGERS!!

One uplifting thought about teenagers is the fact that one day THEY WILL HAVE TEENAGERS of their own!!

There ARE books available on raising them...they can be found in the HORROR section of libraries and book stores.

Uncle Festus says that: Raising teenagers is like being pecked to death by a chicken

Warning: NEVER EAT OR DRINK what a teenager prepares for you when they serve it with a WINK!! Wanna get even? Just start vacuuming and singing while they are watching their favorite movie. (Works on husbands too....)

Cousin Clarence when a teenager once asked his Dad Festus: What happens if I get kidnapped? Festus replies: Trust me...they will bring you back !!!

Be selective in your BATTLES. Sometimes PEACE is better than being right. Here are some of MY favorite ONE-LINERS to get me off the argument hook: Nice Try...Bummer...Probably so...Thanks for sharing that....Don't worry....I'll get back to you on that one...I'll love you wherever you live....

Having the LAST WORD sometimes works when you enclose it in their lunchbox or backpack....HA !!

Awwww...c'mon Dad...what harm can I do to YOUR CREDIT CARD? Anyone have a number for a TEENAGER WHISPERER? Is this why kids ride the LONG yellow bus and leave the SHORT yellow bus for their parents? Sometimes I wake up at night and ask: where have I gone wrong? Then a voice says to me: This is going to take more than ONE night....

When ALL is said and done...my final bit of advice: LIVE LONG ENOUGH to become a responsibility to YOUR children!! If you've done a GOOD JOB...you will find that help is there. Best of luck with that....

HUGS ........SAVANNAH

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