Parenting advice from the Duchess

A fellow blogger asked me why my blog is Alice at Wonderland.  Many of my earliest posts were directly related, and then I got like real Wonderland residents and totally forgot where I was, and just started posting anything.  Like 50 Shades.  Which come to think of it is also about mad people.  Huh.  Anyway, here’s an old one from the vault.
By aliceatwonderland on September 11, 2011 |

Where’s Supernanny when you need her?

While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words:-

`I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!’
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

What a lovely nursery rhyme!  Okay, so the Duchess would not be considered parent-of-the-year material.  In fact, the whole shaken baby thing would definitely get her a day in court, unless the child were to turn into a pig, in which case she’d only have to worry about PETA.

But what makes the “perfect” parent?  Obviously we don’t want to beat children for sneezing – not when there are so many other reasons to smack them.  Not saying that I do, of course, but I doubt there’s a real parent on earth who hasn’t thought of it at least once.  This is why television is such a lifesaver.  Without the occasional use of the boob tube babysitter, I bet there’d be a lot more sneezing beatings.

But of course you’ll get the parents who know more than you do.  Nevermind that thus far, you’ve managed to not kill your kids, a very awesome success in itself, these people are certain they are doing it better than you are.  Their precious child never had a bottle, never watched a second of T.V., never threw tantrums, never ate anything but organic homemade food, never had a second of unstructured time.  They did learn to speak, crawl, and walk earlier than other babies.  Also, their children prefer the taste of spinach over chocolate, and eat it all the time, and are involved in every type of sport, and also make straight As.  And then, of course, they wonder – what do YOU do?

I am a slacker mom.  I used to be embarrassed about this, especially around the Stepford wife crowd, found anywhere, but especially known to congregate in churches.  But now I look at my kids, and I realize that they’re not perfect, but they’re happy most of the time.  They weren’t breastfed for years, but they have fewer allergies than their breastfed peers.  They didn’t always walk and crawl and talk right when the book said they should, but my eldest hummed “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to herself at less than a year.

Her little sister was more the scientist type than the artistic – at about 17 months she discovered through personal experimentation that super glue was, in fact, not a poisonous substance.  And this was after quite a few hours of the dreaded Clifford the Big Red Dog, Teletubbies, and Big, Big World, a show that would make the staunchest environmentalist want to burn down a rain forest.  But they did learn from these shows, and as far as I can tell, haven’t lost brain cells because of it.  I might need to tone down the Disney channel, though, because I’m fairly sure I’ve lost some from it merely by secondhand exposure.

Sometimes I get mad at my kids and shout at them.  Sometimes I’m too tired to play.  Sometimes I have to GET OUT before I go completely insane.  They aren’t in any structured activities save church and Girl Scouts.  But thus far they haven’t written a tell-all book about me.  And my eldest even wrote an essay praising my good qualities, including showing them vidoes on Youtube.  Which might have made the teacher wonder.  But, ah well.  When I’m feeling down, I remember that at least I don’t beat them for sneezing.  So, with any luck, they won’t grow up to be pigs after all.

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30 responses

  1. “`I speak severely to my boy,
    I beat him when he sneezes;
    For he can thoroughly enjoy
    The pepper when he pleases!’”

    My best friend and I were the Duchess and the cook during our eighth grade play of Alice in Wonderland and we sang this song. I miss that little pig baby.

    I too, am a slacker mom extraordinaire. What’s funny is that my kid laughs and smiles more than any other kid I know so there must be something to focusing on loving a kid more than bathing him or in Germ-X every fifteen minutes.

    1. You got to have an Alice in Wonderland play? That’s much cooler than the plays we did. We had a Cabbage Patch play. No, really. I remember a rabbit saying “Cabbages, cabbages, yum, yum, yum.” Help me.

      1. I think I had to be in the audience for that one.

  2. I met the mother of one of those organic-food-no-TV kids. She would not stop talking about how hard it is to raise a child! Creep tried to raise her kid glutten free and had every single minute of his life planned out. Karate class, piano class, violin class, calculus, advanced chemical engineering….or something like that. She should’ve included a daily session with a therapist to top it off.

    Your kids sound brilliantly smart, and you are a wonderful mother 🙂

    1. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be hard to raise a child, but you can sure make it hard! I can understand gluten free if the kid actually had an allergy or something but otherwise? Eh? Yup, my kids are brilliantly smart. I’d like to take all the credit for that, but I swear some of their stuff seems to come out of nowhere. But thank you anyway.

      And I bet the organic-food-no-TV-kids grow up and become couch potatoes with TV dinners in rebellion. But I’m just cynical that way. 😀

      1. I have a friend whose mother was/is a diet/organic/schedule freak (his words), I know deep inside he loves her but he doesn’t want her anywhere around him, you cannot plan your kid’s life, you give advice and guidance and correct them, the rest is up to us.

  3. I have one friend who is such a perfect parent that it makes me ill. She considers her house the “fun house” and owns all these animals. And she occasionally pulls one kid out of daycare so she can have a one-on-one day with them at the beach. This isn’t why she bothers me though.

    When my kid was going through his infamous “Let’s smear poop everywhere” stage, which lasted for over a year, she actually said the following. “That would never happen to my kid because my kid is never left alone to do that.” Really? Seriously? He doesn’t sleep in his own room? You don’t shower? You don’t occasionally have to step away from him to care for your other children? How are you preparing your organic gourmet meals with him constantly holding your hand?

    Yeah, you can still be bitter five years later when someone says something really enormously stupid. I am all for being a slacker parent who chooses her battles. One sport per kid is enough. Life is too short to schedule every single minute of the day.

    1. WOW! Someone said that to you? I heard moms make digs in subtle ways, but that’s pretty outright.

      1. Yeah, some moms treat parenting like a competitive sport. So, you hear a lot of crazy things. I’d say more, but I get crabby just thinking about it.

    2. Yeah, you’d be amazed what people will say. Another good reason not to have kids! And honestly, I’ve heard of lots of kids doing far out stuff. One mom I knew smelled something weird in the toybox then realize her 2 year old son was peeing in it. Huh. And she was one of those with the really neat house and all that junk.

      I hate the pressure on moms to be perfect. It’s like this stupid competition. Nobody wins.

  4. I am a terrible mother. My kid eats and sleeps whenever he likes. He has a TV in his room which means I can use the TV as a babysitter without my brain bleeding my last few remaining cells. He’s the happiest kid I know – he’s always cheerful. He doesn’t give me any backchat, probably because he doesn’t speak, but he does come up and give me giant hugs every so often, so I know he likes me … a little.
    As long as he’s happy I know I’m doing something right. And that’s enough for me.

    1. Sometimes I like going against the “perfect mommy” advice Just Because I Can. I’m a rebel that way. My kids like my rebel ways. Right now my eldest is into Monster High dolls and I thought they were really weird but now she has converted me and I’m sitting there playing with them. She has the daughter of Frankenstein and the daughter of the Abominable Snowman right now. And their outfits are divine!

  5. I still maintain that breastfeeding is the true slacker option. It is the laziest way to feed a baby and give them needed physical contact and affection. Sleeping with the baby when breastfeeding is also a slacker route, as sleep training is unnecessary. Ditto homeschooling–sending them to school requires getting up early every morning, and you still have to help with homework.

    And sanity is overrated as a parental quality, isn’t it?

    1. I’m not sure if I’d consider that slacking, but to each his own.

  6. Stepford Moms are not natural, and they scare me. There is something very controlling and inauthentic about people who have children, and are always so perfect and happy. Parenting is a rough gig from what I can tell. Either those people are liars, or they’ve completely sacrificed themselves for the sake of parenting. Either is not good.

    1. They freak me out as well. There were a LOT of them at a church I used to go to – they were like fashionable robots with matching robot children. Freaked me the heck out. Another reason not to go to church.

  7. I was watching Dr. Phil once (okay, I always watch Dr. Phil), and I remember his wife sitting smugly in the audience during a show on parenting and saying, “I never once raised my voice to my children when they were growing up.” And I thought, “Really? Not once? What are you? A saint? A droid?”

    I specialize in children, and though I like to think I do many things right, I can assure you, I have raised my voice. On more than one occasion. Do I follow it up with an apology? Sure. But I’m only human as is every other parent out there. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

    1. No, it isn’t. There are times I think – why didn’t I get a freaking dog? You can put those in kennels and no one frowns on that. Duh, Alice.

      Seriously, I love my kids, but if I’d realized how difficult it was? I’d be child-free. It is really, really hard. Even with generally healthy, generally happy kids. There was this show that was on way too briefly. They took teen couples who thought babies were like way cute and cuddly and stuck them with various aged children from infant to pre-teen. They had cameras so the parents could watch them, and a nanny standing off in the wings for emergencies, etc. They also had the girls wear those pregnant bellies. I loved it when one girl whined that she didn’t like the belly. Um, idiot, you’re going to have that belly for 9 months, and that’s the least of it. Those kids were ready to run screaming for their lives after only a day or two. Totally awesome. It should be required training for all teens, I think.

      1. Probably the best birth control ever.

      2. Didn’t you get a dog, though? Before Thing One? And some cats? All of which you found new homes for because Thing One was enough work without them? I seem to remember you claiming they were Siamese cats always under the bed.

        1. Well, yeah. But I could have STUCK with the animals. IF not for that pesky biological clock.

  8. Happy kids come from good mothers.
    Your kids are happy.

    1. Thank you, Doggy. That means a lot. They are usually happy. Well, not now, cause they’re doing chores. Haha.

  9. My 2-year-old son knows how to use an iPad. Why? So I can stick him in front of it while I blog. He has made the youtube video “Chocolate Rain” one of his favorites. Mother of the year.

    1. Ha, he probably knows how to use the iPad better than we do. Kids always do. My kids have a somewhat ancient rebuilt computer of their own (we know a computer guy.). They whine that it’s slow. Too bad, kiddies, Mommy needs the fast one to blog.

      You have competition.

  10. Ah…about your one-year-old singing “Twinkle, Twinkle…” So sweet. Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, no doubt about it. I’m so happy my kids play together now. I remember those endless days of “playing” together. I would feel a little guilty about not wanting to do it. It nearly drove me insane, you know.

    1. Thanks. I was so amazed to hear that. She would lay in her crib or playpen by herself for the longest time, happy as a lark. Her sister was climbing the walls in no time.

      Oh, yeah, and my playing time with them is in limited bursts. Mostly I will sit there and dress and undress the dolls. I love doing this. They play together really well (usually) for kids 4 years apart. I’m thankful for that.

      Right now they’re trying to murder each other while washing the dishes, so, eh.

  11. Those perfect parents are scary. In fact, they’re scarier than the bad writing of one author who shall not currently be named.

    Childhood is supposed to be about getting mucky, occasionally hurting yourself by falling off your bike or out of a tree, of pushing the boundaries and getting told off, and of basically learning without it feeling like you’re always at school.

    As for using the TV or a computer as a baby sitter? Sometimes it’s the best thing to do. In the olden days there were grandparents to entertain the kids (back when everyone lived in the same house for ever and ever amen) but these days we need something else. (The jigsaw app my sister has on the iPad for my younger – & autistic – niece is a godsend, I can tell you.)

    I never met any of those stepford mothers at the churches I’ve been to, but then I suppose I’ve always moved in different circles to the “mommy set”.

    1. Right on. Those who focus on doing everything “perfectly” are not going to know what to do when a kid does something “imperfectly.” Their brains will explode. They need to take their competitive spirits and put it somewhere else – a job, a hobby, something. Not kids.

      1. I suspect some of these women are the ones who secretly read 50 Shades and love it… Which probably signifies that there is no hope for the human race. We’re all doomed! (“We’re all doomed!” has to be said in a Scottish accent, because it’s quoting the character Fraiser from “Dads’ Army”, a British TV show from the 80’s set during World War II about one particular Home Guard company in a small sea-side town.)

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