WHY PLEASE AND THANK YOU ARE THE MAGIC WORDS NOT ONLY TO EXPECT FROM YOUR KIDS, BUT FROM YOU AS WELL.
“Please and thank you, they are the magic words, if you want nice things to happen, they’re the words that should be heard.” Thank you Barney, purple dinosaur of the 1990s for those deep words of wisdom. When in doubt, listen to big purple dinosaurs … just don’t tell your therapist.
There was a stigma long ago, that children should be seen and not heard. Children should do as they are told, and STFU if you have other plans. Those parents are never wrong.
Alex Trebek: Is that your final answer?
Old parent from the 1970s and before: Yes, Alex.
Alex Trebek: So sorry.
I have bumped into that older generation, especially those who parented my generation who think that children are made into brave, God fearing ,fearless adult warriors, or actually statues and rule followers by making sure they suffer at the hands of parent egos and tight ass rules that are never bent. I certainly didn’t grow up this way.
My parents kept strict moral guidelines, curfews, household rules of respect, general social decorum, standards (or more like the “it better not pass your lips or your vajayjay…ever,) regarding sex and drugs. Education was important, providing for your family both financially and emotionally were also top runners.
We were also so proud of our Italian heritage and given to me both subliminally and outwardly were the love of family, country, Catholicism and tradition. Coupled with this was the allowance to be a free thinker…not a pot smoking hippie …a free thinker: permission to have a thought or idea and express it without being told it was stupid or crazy or ridiculous.
My father said that dreaming was the seed to success and paired with passion was the ultimate win. But there were caveats always and seeing it through and preparation for it’s possible failure was paramount. But he said to me “always dream. No idea is stupid until you try it and realize it’s stupid. Then you move on to plan B. People don’t achieve one success without 100 failures. The next dream should always be around the corner.”
So, where do the manners and please and thank you come in? Basically, while still setting realistic parameters and rules, remember to treat your child how you would like to be treated, and how you would like them to treat others, and your future grandchildren.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU:
I have heard so many parents say they don’t thank their kids or give them a pat on the back when they take out the garbage or complete a task because “that’s what they are supposed to to.” Ok, but don’t you want to be thanked when you drop your little ballerina off at dance or Pele off at soccer practice? Or do you like it when they slam the door as they arrive at their den of activity without saying goodbye to Mommy Cellophane? Even though as a parent, that’s what you are “supposed to do,” feeling appreciated is a human need. You don’t have to go overboard like you do when you are training a puppy “good boy, good boy, yes, mommy loves you. You want a treat?’ A simple “Thanks,” or “I appreciate that, “will do. Remember, a kid’s “scope” is as old as they are. A nine-year-old can’t run seven errands for you and drive a younger sibling to voice lessons. But they can take out the garbage or unset a table or make a bed, or clean up a playroom. Those tasks to a seasoned adult may seem minimal, but they are herculean to a four-year-old.
Verbal appreciation will make it worthwhile to do the task again, and it will become habit. The best part, as the kid grows, so will the magnitude of task. My older girls are the BEST helpers in so many ways, mostly without asking. And, I start and end every sentence with “Please,” and “Thank you.” Respect begets respect, from day one.
PRAISE IS GOOD…BALANCE IS BETTER
This generation of younger parents loves to give their kids a yummy for every GDamn thing the kid does. A frieking chart, sticker, gummy bear just for existing. Knock it off. Your boss isn’t going to be waiting at your desk with a Starbucks Americano and a bagel with fresh lox just because you showed up. He is going to expect you to be on time and earn your keep.
However, to a child who has been potty trained for six months and still basking in praise with treasures from the dollar store because they made a poop the size of an amoeba, will expect a sticker, a bag of Gummy Bears, or whatever the currency is…every time, everywhere for the rest of his/her life. Try instead moving on to the next level or teachable moment and take it from there. Gianmarco, my six-year-old has learned that putting the “fizzy” waters in the cooler and helping to put stuff in the snack bin is a good thing. This escalated into putting dirty clothes in the hamper and self-dressing. And, I will still say, “Thanks, that makes my job easier.” Wow! He has pleased the love of his life and all without roses and a box of chocolates.
Overpraising, I feel can be almost poisonous. Balancing praise with critique is also very important. Don’t be afraid to say to your burgeoning bundle of joy…” That was good, but this could be better.” Or, "I don’t think you had good judgement here,” or, “You raced through this,” or “I didn’t like your tone, your language,” or, “That was mean, and I don’t expect that from you.” “Your breath smells…brush again, this time with toothpaste.” “You only brushed half your hair…finish it.“ Parents have become afraid of their children, and children become very aware, stealthy and manipulative at an early age. I was afraid of my parents! LOL
Every time I cower because I hate the confrontation I always remember the daunting task the Lord has given me: to raise, healthy, nurtured, loving adults who treat themselves and others with respect, and who can also take out the garbage. Nobody is perfect, but my job is to take this empty slate and fill it with positivity and production. I’m not always going to be here to put detangler in your hair or throw away the underwear with skid marks.
JUSTIN BIEBER: IS IT TOO LATE NOW TO SAY SORRY?
Not a fan of the long haired hippie raised, ungrateful millionaire baby boy, but I love his lyrics. The answer to this is :No, and you better.
Some parents think that slamming down the gavel and calling in the guards is the grandest and most powerful way to exercise your parental license. Negative, oh powerful, omnipotent one. Quite the contrary. You are mortal and fallible, and your kids should know that.
Guess what, you are human and so are your kids. Teaching them that you are, sensitive, and very importantly, accountable, and contrite is one of the best gifts you can give them. It promotes compassion, responsibility and forgiveness.
Always remember “I love you,” even without a response from the eye-rolling teenager are the most important words of your day, even if they follow an unresolved argument, a confrontation or a bitchy ride to school. You don’t know what the day will bring. Until you see each other again, make those your final communication even if the response is a car door slam.
We all make parenting mistakes…every single day. But, in the end the parent who can teach their child to take care of themselves, welcome judgement, recognize mistakes, respect themselves, others and learn early on how to weave all the loops and bobs into an adulthood, is an adult who will learn to fish for a lifetime.
Did I ever tell you about the time I pulled out all my lashes because my arm slipped off the sink while I was curling them?
Actually my husband, Al the ophthalmologist, could tell you better how that afternoon went. Another blog post.
In any event, it started my love affair with lash extensions. I am a faithful lash extension wife. Every week without fail we come together as one with my technician, Angela, who speaks very little English, but with her cutest, most delectable Korean accent, tells me every week, for the good and bad of it, “ooooo, Linda, very dry. Ooooo, Linda, too much make up. OOOO, Linda, lashes stuck. OR. Oooo, Linda, very beautiful…..oooo, Linda very easy today.” But, after my hour of someone actually making me shut my eyes and lie still, I emerge like a four year old girl with perfectly symmetric, dark lashes. No mascara, no clumps, and curled like a black Cheeto.
I do not believe in any lash serum developer. I have had this conversation with Al many times, and I stick with my weekly investment. However, as the week goes on, my left eye, especially, can’t seem to hold its own, and the lashes can droop or twist, probably because of the way I sleep or facial soap I use. I usually wear no eye make up, or maybe just a touch, because it detracts from the beauty of the eye falsies.
But, the lash heavens opened, and I discovered two products I so adore to keep up the look, and strengthen the bond, literally between my shorties and my falsies. Enter: Beauty Garde.
So far, I have tried the mascara and the primer, and LOOOOOOVE them. My lashes look like I just got them done. Angela will be so proud…”Oooooo Linda, very nice lash today. No stick.” There is a primer as well.
I am on to the eyeliner, possibly…will let you know.
But, invest in extensions, and if you already have, invest in Beauty Garde and wear those falsies with pride!!!
As I have gotten older, the thought of dying has become just a little too real. When I was a kid, I was like, “who dies? Only old people.” As I got older, and after losing my mother at 62, she still seemed old. I was 28, and although the most heinous and horrendous and unthinkable thing happened, I still thought my mother was old. But, now that I am 52 and I actually know people that are my contemporaries who have passed on, the thought becomes a stabbing one at least once a day. And, as a cancer survivor, the bite is an unescapable sting.
So, when I get the death thought in my head, I prepare a list of things that I want my family to bury with me so the congregation at my wake won’t weep, and just say, “Ok, so she was a weirdo after all. She thinks this stuff was important? “Yes, so next to the rosary beads from Mondo Cattolico, and montage of selfies with Al, and a portrait of me, Al, and the kids, I need the following:
PORELESS MATTIFYING PRIMER FROM TARTE:
I know what you’re thinking, but I want my girls to give this to my embalmer before they start the makeup process. It is the best out there. smoothing and spackling my middle-aged skin, still scarred by the war wounds of teenage cystic acne. I use it even without foundation to bring back, way back, the natural radiance of newborn skin. Then, keep the tube tucked to the liner of the box so everyone will know I was the only corpse without a cake face.
JERGENS WET SKIN TANNING MOISTURIZER:
This miracle stuff has saved me hours and dollars in spray tanning. I used to tan once every 10 days to minimize cellulite and varicosities. Now, I don’t even have to put a towel on my body after the shower. It gets slapped on (I slap because they say to pat dry, so I slap first), and then I dry off, and we look like paradise in Ibiza. This means I can wear a mini to the pearly gates. I want the tube tacked next to the floral rosaries that are cemented on the inside satin sheet covering the “hood.”
MY INSTACART ACCOUNT:
Not quite sure you could bury an account, but maybe for this one I’ll take a screenshot to throw on the “board.” Every day, my shopping savior cruises me virtually through the aisles of Wegman’s, Shop Rite, CVS, Petco, Acme, and Uncle Giuseppe’s. If I didn’t die from a heart attack, it’s probably because of Instacart. Out of paper towels? No problem. Razors? Easy. Basil? Sure thing. From the comfort of my car, my kitchen table, the bathroom or wherever…Julia Child! In as much time as it takes to say, “Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes,” my Instashopper is at my door, wrestling with my dogs, and I never had to get out of my workout gear. I mean, really, who can live, or die without that kind of service?
The thought of someone going through my texts and contacts is enough to bring myself back as an apparition and haunt the shit out of you. Not that I have anything to hide, but it’s like my security blanket…even in death. As I take my last breath, make sure my phone is in my left hand (I am a righty) …so when the rigor sets in, it’s in my grasp for all eternity.
MY STARBUCKS APP AND NITRO COLD BREW:
This might actually be a game changer. Nitro Cold Brew has awoken me from the depths of despair and naptime many a day. I only need 1-2 shots of caffeine a day, but this takes the place of any amount of caffeine I could possibly need. It might even counteract embalming.
KAT VON D EVERLASTING LIPSTICK (ANY SHADE) AND THE SHADE + LIGHT FACE CONTOUR BRUSH:
Her lipstick will stay put until a grave rising apocalypse or the next resurrection…whichever comes first. There are so many shades to choose from, and I’m sure Valentina will pick the right one from my collection, which would probably overwhelm even a Sephora sales associate. Her contour brush has two ends to it, one angled for bronzer and contour the other a puff ball for the apple of your cheek. What I will do at the pearly gates with this device I have no idea, but hey, looking good never hurt anyone. At all times.
ELASTIC HAIR TIES:
At 52, I am so lucky to still have good hair, so I am trying not to sound annoyed about this feature which, well, can be annoying at times. In the summer, I never have my hair down…it can be bulky, frizzy, and it’s curly. Whoever invented hair ties (in my day, hair elastics), you are probably dead, but I can’t wait to have a posthumous toast. You have kept me in good style, while just learning to throw up my hair in 15 seconds. I’ll make sure they thrown in a Wet Brush, and we can do up some dos.
Ok, I can’t take a company with me, but please refer to them in my eulogy as my materialistic, fashion mecca. Not much to say here except they have outfitted me now for many years, saving months and money of fashion magazine subscription cash.
MY WEIGHTS AND ELASTIC WORKOUT BANDS:
I can’t ask my trainer to come with me, because that’s selfish and unfair…he’s young and handsome with his whole life ahead of him. What I can ask for, though, are my weights and my bands. They were a major life changer for me during a midlife crisis and have sculpted my body back to a decent mold. I didn’t say Gladys Portuges sculpted, but good enough to show off some biceps, and if you press on my thigh, you can feel my quad. Very exciting for this chubby teenager to rock something at 52 that I couldn’t when I was 20.
I really hope I still have them when I expire. Not for the reasons you think. For the most part, I hated them my whole life. I had a little body, a tiny back, and these disproportionate monsters, that pissed me off every time I wanted to buy a top that may have looked snug, are now my buddies. When I realized God gave them to me to feed and bond with my children and pass that love and dedication of nursing to other moms who may have been more inclined to bottle feed, I knew why they were there. I have learned to love them more than I ever thought I would. It was scary when I was thirteen and the boys in school used to trash me as “Big Linda,” but now, I would be proud to say, “what’s the matter…your wife has ant hills and you are angry?” I hope God gives me the opportunity.
To those people I would like to take with me, it’s very, very simple. Believe me, it’s not going to be because I love you. I can’t wait to start penning that one.
Mr. Rogers: Henrietta Pussycat, can you say LIBEL?
Henrietta: Meow meow.