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raising children

This post is sponsored by Disney’s Pinocchio. All opinions and the wish for my child are my own.

Ever think about what your greatest wish for your child might be? Do you want them to be smart? Successful? Healthy? Happy? Good human beings? Maybe all of thee above. When I was a child, I thought the tale of Pinocchio was just about a boy who lied and when he did, his nose grew. The moral of the story for me, as a child, was to not lie because it’s bad and liars get caught. So not worth it, plus, I didn’t want my nose to grow. I was vain so that lesson quickly stuck with me. Years later, that’s how I became “Truthful mommy.” I simply can’t lie because my face shows every thought that comes into my head. I think it’s a pretty awesome thing and it’s something I’ve taught my girls, the no lying part, the face betrayal is pure genetics (fortunately for me they’ve inherited that too).

As an adult, I’ve read the story of Pinocchio with my children and I see it with a fresh perspective. I see an even deeper aspect to the timeless story. I see a man desperate for a child; someone to love unconditionally. Geppetto wants what all parents want, his own little miracle.

From the moment I knew that I was pregnant and felt those first flutters and kicks, I’ve known that being a mother was a privilege. Sure sometimes I’m exhausted and the minutia of motherhood makes me feel like I’m a little bit brain dead. But, then out of nowhere I’m inspired or flabbergasted and other times I’m just outright amazed by the way they move through the world. They truly are miracles to me. Don’t get me wrong, they can also be a handful. It’s certainly not always sunshine and rainbows but I totally see why Geppetto wished on a star to make his puppet son a real boy. Nothing can substitute the love shared between a parent and a child.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

 

When I was younger, I always knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be a mom. I come from a big family; 6 children. I like to call us the Mexibilly Brady Bunch, only we all came from the same set of Catholic parents. I’m the Marsha of the family. Children have always been a part of my life. I was always the girl who went to family/friend gatherings and spent a bulk of my time entertaining the children. It was all I had ever known and I knew one day, I wanted my own children to love.

I grew up, got married and eventually had a couple little girls of my own. There is nothing quite like motherhood. You can babysit a million children, read every book and watch every movie and it still never prepares you for being a mother to actual children. First, you are overwhelmed with all the heart-exploding love that you never even knew existed in the world that you feel for said ooey, gooey baby from the instant you see them. And forget about it once they put that baby in your arms, you are done for. There is no recovery from that kind of love. Instant and eternal addiction.

Then complete and overwhelming, all-encompassing fear because holy moly you realize this baby is perfection and you have absolutely no idea what you are doing and the last thing you want to do is mess up the most perfect thing you will ever do in your life. When the doctor said I could go home from the hospital with my first baby, I was overcome with sheer panic because what were they thinking? I felt like the world’s biggest imposter. I was terrified. None of my experiences up to that point had prepared me for what I was feeling in that moment.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

Then more fear because, oh my goodness, I love this little person more than anything I’ve ever loved in my entire life and now they are out in the world, exposed to the elements; the crazy (all the crazy), global warming, sharp edges and mean people (people who could hurt their feelings or worse). And what if I messed it up and she stopped breathing or I couldn’t feed her or I dropped her (all of which happened by the way) or the list was endless of ways that I could damage her? That’s when it hit me like a train, loving someone has no guarantees. Being able to love someone so precious so much comes with a price and that price is the uncertainty that it will all be alright. The price for great love is great pain if it’s ever lost but it’s totally worth the risk. Once you’ve seen your child look at you like you are the best thing in the world, you will die, kill and risk it all just to see them smile; everything else becomes meaningless when you have that kind of clarity. When you give love to a tiny human, you accept the responsibility and you never look back, only forward.

Geppetto’s wish for Pinocchio was that he became a real boy. How could he not? I have two wishes for my daughters and they are these: health and happiness. Sounds simple, right? Not so much because one day I may find myself confronted with the choice of watching my child choose a path that might not be what I would have chosen for their happiness, but it’s not my life to live. I am only the giver of their lives but it is their lives to live.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

Sometimes we have to watch our kids struggle before they reach their goals. That’s how they learn to work for their dreams. That’s how they learn to become who they are meant to be. That letting go to let them grow up is almost impossible but it’s part of the unwritten parent/child agreement.

I can keep my daughters healthy and happy in my house because I control the climate but once they get out in the world, I can only be there to catch them when they stumble. I will always do all that I can to help them make their dreams come true but I can’t do it for them because then the happiness will lose its effect.

wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

So my wish for my girls is all the happiness that the world has to offer them. I teach them to go for their dreams. I teach them to pursue their joys and to never be afraid to change their expectations because sometimes life and happiness don’t fit neatly into a box. Life is messy and beautiful and I just want my girls to be open to enjoying every single moment of it.

disney, wish for your child, wish upon a star, pinocchio, parenting, motherhood

New to The Walt Disney Signature Collection, the movie that inspired the world to wish upon a star, Pinocchio is a timeless tale for the whole family. Bring home this magical story of friendship and epic adventure now on Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere, on Blu-ray Jan 31. Pick up your copy here. It includes hours of new and classic bonus content.

This is the wish for my child, what do you wish for yours?

 

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bullying. mean girls, raising daughters, discipline

Yesterday was the much anticipated parent/teacher meeting with the teacher who doesn’t pay attention about the bully situation. I was ready to lay into this teacher who called my daughter a “bully”. My daughter was a victim of the bully. She would NEVER be mean to another kid. She knows better. Then, I got to the meeting and got blindsighted.

Firstly, my opinion in no way has changed about this teacher. She is an inaccessible teacher and she doesn’t pay attention. She is cold and I just don’t care for her attitude. When I confronted the teacher and asked her why she has never returned any of my emails or phone calls, her answer was, “Oh (smirk) I never check my email or voicemail.” What? This is unacceptable.

But all that being said, when the “bully” situation was brought up. The teacher had the note. Proof. There at the bottom was my 3rd graders handwriting, “Read a good book dood. Bam!What?” It was my daughters writing. I felt sick to my stomach. The rest of the note, repeatedly insulting the little boy, was not my daughter’s handwriting but that last nasty line…it was and that was way more than my tolerance level allows.

The teacher said that my daughter is not known to do these sort of things but she said there was one other instance where my daughter told a boy in her group to, “Stay focused, get back to their group and do some work.” He was in her group and she said she always ends up doing all the work and she was frustrated. I understand this because I was the kid who always got stuck doing the “group” work. I don’t consider that being a bully, do you? I consider that being bossy. Still not her place but let’s not confuse it with bullying. Bullying is repeated with the intent to harm and hurt.

But this instance of telling the little boy to “Read a good book dood.” Was obviously rude and could be hurtful especially when the teacher told my daughter, “Some kids don’t have the same gifts as you do, so you can’t say things like that because maybe they are not capable of doing that.” By the way, there is nothing wrong with the little boy, in case you were wondering, other than maybe he isn’t as advanced in some subjects as my daughter is but that is completely normal at this age.

Bottom line is this, we do not tolerate bullying in any form, even the slightest because it can have a lasting and damaging effect on the child on the receiving end. My daughters have both been on the receiving end. So, my daughter is grounded for a month. No television, no electronics, no play dates and no birthday parties and she had to write an apology to her father and I for not coming forth in her part in the letter and she had to write an apology to the little boy who she told to “Read a good book dood! Bam. What?” that included writing 5 nice things about him. She is also no longer allowed to communicate with the girl who wrote the note and gave it to the boy in the first place. That kid is bad news. She used to bully my daughter in the first grade.

I am very disappointed in my daughter for writing anything on this note, I am disappointed in the teacher who does not respond to parents and sushed my daughter when she tried to bring her the note in the first place before she decided to add to it.  I am disappointed in myself for parenting my child in a way that made her think it was okay to say something mean to another child, without considering the consequences or effect it may have on the other child. She knows now. We had a very long discussion on not saying negative things to people. I explained that I understand having negative feelings about someone or not liking them and you are entitled to your own opinion but you cannot say these things out loud if it hurts another person. Keep it to yourself.

What would you have done? I wanted her to remember this punishment as a consequence of being mean so she never does it again. What do you consider being a bully?

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passing notes, bullying, teacher not paying attention, raising girls

I don’t usually complain about my kid’s school. In fact, I mostly love their school. If you have children in a parochial school you already know this but kids who attend parochial just seem to consider consequences of actions more than the average kid. Our children’s education is based on a foundation of charity, family and faith. Kindness, compassion and respect for others is reinforced in the classroom from the beginning. I’m thrilled to see the lessons we teach at home being reinforced at school. These are good kids. This is why I work to pay tuition. For us it is worth it. So you can imagine my shock and dismay when I hear of a child behaving in a way counterintuitive to everything they are taught. What’s worse is when the teacher ignores or misses it.

What’s not worth it is to expect all this and then realize that this year, you got the teacher who is not invested and never accessible unless you pop into the classroom and even then there is a very good chance then that you’ll be cutoff midsentence and asked to leave. True story. I am used to teachers who, if call or email about my child, respond. I am used to teachers who pay attention to what is going on in the classroom and handle it.

For the past 3 years, my oldest has been victim to some bullying and every year, I contacted the teacher and he or she handled it. We worked together and it all ended up fine without too much emotional scarring but it took all parties involved to be invested. This year, one of her previous bullies is in her class again. It’s a very uncomfortable situation.

Yesterday at pick up, my 8-year old got in the car and immediately started telling me about her day at school and then started crying telling me that her teacher thought she was bullying a little boy and she swears she didn’t do it. When she tried to explain, the teacher called her a bully. You see the same little mean girl who bullied her in 1st grade is in my daughter’s class again this year and this time she has a new victim, a little boy in the classroom who sits next to my daughter. The little girl wrote a note of insults about the boy and put 4 girl’s names next to them. Girls she also doesn’t like. Then she showed the little boy. Then she gave it to my daughter. My daughter knows that we have a zero bullying tolerance. She told the girl to erase her name and when the girl wouldn’t, my daughter went to the teacher, only to be shushed and told to sit down. A few minutes later the little girl threw the paper at my daughter and the teacher saw it mid-flight and assumed the girls were passing notes and when she saw what the note said she moved the girls apart and then told all five girls (the child who wrote all of it and the other 4 girls names who she had put on the sheet (as far as I am concerned victims too) that she will be bringing up the “bullying” incident at Friday’s parent teacher conferences.

Now this all comes after a week of my trying to get in contact with the teacher via email about the Halloween party I’m organizing, with NO ANSWER to any of my emails. This also comes after she almost made my child wet her pants because she wouldn’t allow her to use the restroom (I have since told my child that if she needs to go..go and I will deal with the consequences rather than her piss her pants and deal with the ridicule). My daughter is 8, I think she knows if she really has to piss. So this teacher has been, in my opinion, half-assing a lot of things this year.

I have a couple problems with the whole “bullying” incident because 1) if the teacher would have taken a second to just listen to my daughter when she tried to give her the note in the first place and not shushed her maybe the little boy would never had gotten the chance to see it and she would have known who was doing what. 2) If she paid attention to my daughter in class at all, she would know that doing something like this is not in her nature especially since she has been bullied herself. 3) When I called her to discuss the incident (5 minutes after pick up) she was gone and never called me back this morning. I think if you are going to be throwing around the word “bullying” and label my child you should at least answer the phone message of a concerned parent who wants to know what’s going on because if my daughter is not the perpetrator she shouldn’t be labeled and punished and if she is then she should be punished by her father and I.

She swears she never said the things written on the note after a long and thorough discussion, I believe her. I still told her that she needs to apologize to the little boy; to which she said she already had when he first saw it. My husband has told her to show a little extra kindness to the child who was insulted because he’s probably feeling pretty down. I just want to get to the bottom of all of this so we can take the proper steps to stop this kind of shit from happening to our children. If I were that little boy’s mom, I’d be livid. Things like this can stick with you forever.

I need your advice. As a parent, what would you do?

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