Exploring the Wonders

Exploring the Wonders

They grow

And explore

The wonders

Of the universe

If we let them.

Then they explore

The wonders of

their hearts

and imagination.

 

All children should be allowed to explore, beyond the world of their parents. We should be their guides, but give them the freedom to take that extra step to discover something new. If your child learns something new 9 times out of 10 you’ll learn something new.

Listen and learn from your child. You’ll know what they learned in school and what they did after school. You’ll know about their friends. You’ll know about those who aren’t so friendly to them. They keys to talk to them, talk with them and listen to them. Never take a one world answer. Make them talk. They’ll thank you for it later.

The sun is just coming up over horizon and the sky is turning pale gray and whites and blues. It is that strange in-between time for just about most creatures. Werewolves are turning back into their own skin. Vampires are thinking of going to sleep. Regular folks are getting up for work. This is my time to write when all is quiet. Quiet is a rare thing for a mom.

Summer is in full swing and I wonder how my kids will remember their childhood and teen years.  I hope that the memories they take with them are of the times we spent together talking and just being together. I hope the memories will be of ideas and discussions.

I hope those ideas and discussions will never end.

 

  • Talk to your kids
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay safe
  • Don’t be a dick (be nice)
  • Science is real
  • Check on those who are old or at risk. Summer is hot. The pandemic is real. Make sure everyone is OK.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman 

Parenting: What I practice and believe in

I saw a post on a social media thread where someone asked, “what bad traits of yours do your children have?”

My response was: None. My kids have grown up to be the kind of people I wanted to be.

The person who asked the question responded, “Lucky you.”

Luck has nothing to do with it. Yes, I understand the whole nature versus nurture argument. Let’s put that aside for a moment.

We are all born with certain personality traits. We all learn certain personality and behavior traits. It isn’t a free for all. If you’re a hot mess it doesn’t mean your kids will be hot messes. If you made terrible mistakes in your youth it doesn’t mean your children will. If you hated your parents it doesn’t mean your kids will hate you.

Like I said, luck had nothing to do with the way my kids turned out. The only lucky thing they got was good looks.

What makes a successful parent? It is easy.

  1. Learn from your mistakes and teach your kids by it.
  2. Talk to your kids from the day they are born. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Don’t take grunts and one word answers to questions. Engage with your children.
  3. Show interest in your kids. I know you’re tired. I know you’ve been working. I know. I’ve been there. Show interest in them. By showing interest you will also be helping yourself. Think about it.
  4. Remember that your children are going to grow up to become adults. Prepare them for the adult world. Have those hard conversations.
  5. Trust your children. Give them reason to trust you as well.
  6. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. Not for any BS religious reason but because it is the right to do.
  7. Teach your children compassion and empathy.
  8. Teach them that yes indeed, they ARE judged by the company they keep.
  9. Teach them to be proud of who they are.
  10. Teach them to be curious and that learning is something they will do their entire lives.
  11. Teach them to be polite and to never be rude, especially when they are a guest. If they are pleasant they will always be invited back. Be better away from home than you ever are at home.
  12. Love them and put them first. Always put your children first. They need you. They depend on you. They love you. They can’t function without you. They need your guidance, your thoughts, your ear. Most of all they need your hugs.

Every child is different. Some are loud. Some are quite. Some seem too perfect (that can be scary) and some seem to make a mess of everything. Every family is also different, from the huge families with a dozen children to the family with a single child – and each child is unique. Every child has the potential to grow up and be happy and successful.

The following paragraphs are more or less what I put in my list but read it again.

 

Parenting – Why it is important and what I believe and practice.

My main message is for parents to talk not just at or to their kids but WITH their kids. Also to give your children the safety to be their own little personalities (or big personalities) and to be kids, but also give them the freedom to grow and fly. I am a strong advocate against over protecting children. I’m a mother wolf and yes, I’ll protect to the death, but I don’t want to be responsible for an immature, over sensitive, ignorant adult one of these days. Children, in my opinion, need their parents forever, but they also need to know about the world they’ll live most of their lives in, especially teens. They also need to know the harsh facts about sex, drugs and the company they keep. Our reputations and the choices we make as teens can stay with us our entire lives. Teens need to know this.

I absolutely love teens. They’re funny and wise and silly and so loving in ways that most people don’t even see. Just talk to one, or better yet, try to remember a million years ago in another time, another world, another planet, when you were a teen.

But I’m not going to preach those ideas in every single blog post. Through my tales about my kids, my husband, my brothers and my friends, I try to get across my messages about relationships, love, consequences, and just life. And if I can get someone to think or laugh I feel like I’ve done something. If I can get anyone to laugh I’m happy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Deliberate Parenting

The main message of this blog aside from don’t be a dick  is to be a deliberate parent.

Since 2012 I’ve been blogging about parenting. Now my children are grown and they’ve turned out to be amazing, capable, and independent adults. I am so proud of them. I am beyond the moon and back proud of them.

Please, if you’re parent read this, consider what I have to say, and if you like pass it on. Every family is different. Every child is different. But all children deserve parents who take them seriously.

 

Deliberate Parenting

Don’t parent with your eyes closed. Don’t wake up surprised one day when it is too late.

I raised my kids deliberately. I raised them not to be bully bait.

I raised them to be confident. I raised them to fly with their own wings and pursue their own interests.

I raised them to think.

I raised them to see the big picture.

I raised them not to be stupid or sheltered.

I raised them to question what they hear and see – even if they see and hear it from me.

I raised them to realize that one day they’ll have to make it on their own and that they’ll have to fight tooth and claw.

They know how to come to their own conclusions.

They know that reputation is everything.

They know that being fair and good and standing up for what is right and good is everything.

They’ll be far better people than I will ever be.

They aren’t perfect, but at least they have a chance.

I don’t always agree with them but at least we discuss it and as a parent I have the last word, period.

And they still cuddle with me and need me. We’ll always have fun.

Don’t parent by accident. Do it deliberately.

I’ll say it is important for your Vampire kid, but it is important for all kids, even Werewolves and especially regular human kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

motherandchild

Short Story Sunday: I Hate Valentine’s Day

I Hate Valentine’s Day

“I shouldn’t be alone today,” thought young Randy as he sat brooding on a rock, on the beach at 5:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. His heart was broken. The girl, a Vampire girl he knew he was going to fall in love with had given her heart to another and left him in the dreaded friend zone.

And it wasn’t as if she’d left him, or chosen another college student. Sure the guy she’d fallen for looked like he was twenty-one but he was born in freaking 1902. What did girls see in these older guys?

He was jolted from his thoughts by a “Hi. You’re Randy, aren’t you?”

A dark haired girl stood in front of him. “I’m Alexis. I’m in your Organic Chemistry class. I’m a Vampire, but you knew that. I know you are too. Small world.”

“Oh, right. Sure. Hi. Have a seat,” said Randy, glad for the company now.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” said Alexis.

“Why do you hate it?”

She sat down on rock next to him. “My parents were borderline Shadow Creepers, you know old time Vampires who stayed in the dark most of the time. Nobody knew we were Vampires but everybody including the other school parents thought my parents were weird. I got picked on a lot at school. I was like quiet and small. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t dare try any of my Vampire stuff on anyone. I was afraid if anyone found out they’d kill my family.  Anyway, every Valentine’s Day we’d have to make stupid boxes and bring Valentines. I always made something pretty with roses and flowers and stuff, all pink and nice. I always But I never got any Valentines. Maybe from one of the girls who felt sorry for me. Everyone had full boxes except me. The kids all started to laugh at me. I wanted to rip their throats out but I couldn’t. You know, Vampire code.”

“Sure, don’t show them what you are, no matter what. Did your mom and dad know?”

“I never told them anything. We didn’t talk much at home. But I got my revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“I told the teacher I had to go the bathroom. Of course the boys started to make jokes about how I’d stink the school up. They were mean like that. Always. It never stopped. So like the teacher said someone had to go with me to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much time in there, cause sometimes I’d just go there to get away from it all. She said that Ashley should go with me. Ashley was the most popular girl.

She started to pout and complain. So a girl called Emma volunteered. Emma was the only kid who gave me a Valentine. She was kind of overweight and sometimes the other kids would say mean things to her too, but she was the smartest kid in the class so they didn’t say too much.

When we got out of the classroom she said she knew I didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We walked around for a bit, then went back to the classroom. But we didn’t go in.

“You can make them pay for what they did. I’ll help you,” said Emma. “I’m a Witch. I know what you are.” Then she smiled in a way that even scared me.

We didn’t go in. The door locked. The room filled with smoke. The other kids started to scream. They couldn’t get out. Everyone started to claw at their faces and arms. That is except the teacher who kept trying to open the door. We ran to the office to get help. You know, we had to keep up appearances.

By the time the fire department go there and knocked down the door, the smoke at gone away, but the smell of sulphur was still in the room. Some of the kids had clawed out their eyes and made huge gashes in their faces and arms.

Then Emma whispered in my ear, “they’ll never call you ugly again.”

Hey, even I was shocked. I never did a thing. It was all her. Both of us ended up going to another school. In high school I made a lot of friends. They all thought my parents were cool Goths. The rest of the kids are still all scarred and screwed up.”

Randy looked at her feeling sort of numb. “Where is Emma now?”

“She got into swimming. Lost a lot of weight. Turned blonde. She’s at UCLA now. So Randy, why don’t you like Valentine’s day?”

“A girl I liked started seeing another guy.”

“Bummer. Sorry to hear that.”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves. Randy didn’t know what to say. He and his best friend had been the two most popular boys at their high school. Their lives had been happy and relatively care free. Their parents were modern Vampire in every way possible.

Alexis bumped her shoulder gently against Randy’s. “I hope you don’t think I’m weird.”

“No. Well, maybe just a little.”

“Looks like the storm is coming in. Wanna get coffee? No pressure. It’s not like I want to be your girlfriend or anything like that. Just you know, like just a couple of Vampire friends.”

“Sure,” said Randy.

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun. Well, stranger things had happened.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Parent Chaperones Behaving Badly (Or How YOU Need to BEHAVE on Your Child’s Field Trips)

Parent Chaperones Behaving Badly (Or How YOU Need to BEHAVE on Your Child’s Field Trips)

I’ll make this quick, because we all know parents (and I’m one of them) don’t have a lot of time.

If you have K-12 children you know they are going to go on field trips. If they go on field trips you know parents are going to be asked to go along as chaperones. You know that one day YOU will be asked to be a chaperone.

When you arrive to the location of the field trip you might have a guide to take the children on a tour, or to give them some sort of lesson or demonstration, or help with an activity.

Your field trip host might be a park ranger, a docent, or some sort of other adult helper. 90% of the time this guide/docent/helper will be a VOLUNTEER. By volunteer I mean someone who has freely given their time to spend their time teaching something to YOUR CHILD.

As a PARENT on these trips, be it a historic park, an art museum, a factory tour, or a science center, YOU need to do your part to make it a good experience for everyone.

Yes, being a chaperone is fun because you get to go someplace and take a day off from work. Fun fun fun. You also have responsibilities. Those responsibilities include:

  • Keeping the kids from acting like wild animals (including your child)
  • Encouraging the children to stay together
  • Encouraging the children to get along
  • Making sure the children pay attention to the guides/docents/teachers
  • Making sure the children are engaged
  • Making sure ALL of the children feel included in activities

YES that is YOUR JOB. 

  • Also… remember these trips are for the KIDS.
  • Don’t take over activities. If a guide/docent has a question for the CHILDREN let the CHILDREN answer it.
  • Be nice. Don’t be rude to guides or docents. Like I said, they are volunteers. They are doing this without pay. They are doing the best they can. If you’re an asshole it will just take away from the experience of the kids.
  • Don’t use tour time as a way to catch up with other parents. Watch for kids who are wandering off. And YOU are not allowed to wander off. Stay with the children. Stay engaged.
  • Don’t spend all of the time with YOUR CHILD. As a chaperone you have agreed to be with ALL of the kids in your group. Don’t wander off with your kid on a tour. It distracts the other children. It distracts the guide/docent. It distracts the other parents. Plus it is just rude.
  • Listen to the guide/docent and help the children follow the rules. It will make a safer tour and guarantee everyone will have a fun experience.
  • Don’t be an asshole.
  • Don’t look bored. Kids will pick up on that. Like I said, don’t be an asshole.
  • Do a little bit of research before you go on the field trip so you can discuss it with your child and the other kids in the group. There is a wonderful thing called the INTERNET. You can get all kinds of information about EVERYTHING including the location of your field trip.
  • Make sure kids get snacks before the tour or activity. Hungry kids don’t pay attention and tend the fidget. The same goes for bathrooms breaks. Make sure every has gone to the potty before the tour or activity.
  • Yes, you’re the adult. You’re a parent. That is your job when you volunteer as a chaperone.

Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants to be known as a good parent. Everyone wants to be asked back. Nobody wants a bad reputation. Follow my guidelines and you’ll be the coolest field trip chaperone in the class. I guarantee it.

That’s it. Simple rules. Be the adult you are. Your kids will than you for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Books I Read To My Kids

When I was a child there were a lot of books with pretty pictures, but it has been in the past 50 years that the children’s book industry has blossomed into something truly magical and inspiring for both children and adults.

I’ll put links to Amazon and other sites on here, but I found out about most of these books by word of mouth or GOING TO MY LOCAL LIBRARY. Libraries ROCK – I urge you to GO to your local library and take advantage of all of the useful services they provide. You can also find many of the out of print books on eBay or used book stories (real life and online.)

Sammy the Seal by Sid Hoff

We found an old copy of this at our local library sale. What a find! Sammy the seal decides to go to school but finds it isn’t really the best place for him to be. Sounds simple but it will surprise you. This is an old fashioned read but so much fun. You can’t help but adore Sammy!

http://www.amazon.com/Sammy-Seal-Can-Read-Book/dp/0064442705

Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell and Kevin O’Malley

You HAVE to read this one out loud and do ALL of the voices.

The scent of Old Witch’s scrumptious Halloween pie lures Vampire and Ghoul, Ghost and Banshee, Zombie and Skeleton, from their lairs for a midnight feast. This wonderful read-aloud romp, full of spooky sounds and midnight magic is sure to be a Halloween favorite.

http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Pie-Michael-O-Tunnell/dp/B00006F7JK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491026&sr=1-1

One Witch by Laura Leuck

Absolutely charming. I will never tire of this wonderful book. One witch, on a hill, had an empty pot to fill. So what does that one witch do? She goes around to visit all her fiendish friends, naturally; two cats, three scarecrows, four goblins, five vampires, six mummies, seven owls, eight ghosts, nine skeletons, and ten werewolves.

At every stop they contribute ghoulishly tasty ingredients until the witch has enough to make a properly gruesome stew for her party. Then, of course, she must send out her invitations; to the ten werewolves, nine skeletons, eight ghosts, seven owls, six mummies…

http://www.amazon.com/One-Witch-Laura-Leuck/dp/0802777295/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491243&sr=1-12

Each Peach Pear Plum by Allen Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg

 A dear friend of mine gave me this book when my daughter was born. I can’t even count how many times we read this. I’ll never give my copy away!

“Each Peach Pear Plum. I spy Tom Thumb!” In this engaging, interactive book for the very young, familiar nursery-rhyme characters such as Mother Hubbard and Baby Bunting sneak their way into the gentle drawings. Even young children who might not know all the fairy-tale stars can find them lurking in the cupboard, on the stairs, or deep in the woods. In the happy finale, the whole cast meets up for plum pie in the sun, where the little one on your lap will gleefully find everyone. http://www.amazon.com/Each-Peach-Pear-Picture-Puffins/dp/014050639X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491325&sr=1-1

Go, Dog. Go! By p.d. Eastman

All I can say is that this book is one of the most perfect and brilliant books ever written. It has it all: fast cars, parties, adventure, gambling, romance, sports and more. If you haven’t read Go, Dog. Go! you’ve been sleeping way too long in your coffin. Time to wake up and read the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Read-Myself-Beginner-Books/dp/0394900200/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491364&sr=1-1

Oz Series

JOHN R. NEILL (Illustrator), L. FRANK BAUM (Author)

Most people don’t know that after the first book “The Wizard of Oz” there were more. 14 OZ books written by L. Frank Baum and many more written by other writers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oz_books

While I like the first book – I love the rest, especially Dorothy and the Wizard In Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

Oz is a land where girls rule. Dorothy, Glanda, Ozma and other strong girls take charge!

When the series continues after the first book and (John R. Neill takes over the illustation) the entire tone of the books changes. Dorothy is transformed from a chubby frumpy farm girl who longs for home, to a dynamic, sharp, stylish girl who is almost like a hip young Hillary Clinton.  Oz becomes a place where you’ll meet talking cats with an attitude, where anything can come to life and there is a surprise around every corner.

Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

My favorite book by Maurice Sendak is Outside Over There. It is not only one of the most beautiful books ever written, but one of the most touching and magical books I’ve ever read. It is a story of Ida who is watching her baby sister, but not so well, because her baby sister is kidnapped by goblins. Of course Ida must go on a quest to rescue her sister. It is a story as only Maurice Sendak can tell though his wonderful words and illustrations.

Some people believe the movie Labyrinth was based on this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Outside-Over-There-Caldecott-Collection/dp/0064431851/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491556&sr=1-1

The next two books are by Daniel Pinkwater – a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t heard of him look him up on the NPR web site archives (NPR.org)

Irving and Mukuk: Two bad Bears by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

This is one of those spit milk out of your nose pee your pants funny books.  Jill Pinkwater’s illustrations are too much FUN and perfect for this story!

http://www.amazon.com/Irving-Muktuk-Two-Bears-Story/dp/0618354042/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491637&sr=1-1

Wolf Christmas by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

A touching Christmas story about a group of wolves who become curious about the human celebration of Christmas.  My favorite Christmas Story.

Daniel Pinkwater reading “Wolf Christmas”: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/25/132324290/Daniel-Pinkwater-Reads-Wolf-Christmas

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Christmas-Daniel-Manus-Pinkwater/dp/0761450300/ref=sr_1_86?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491751&sr=1-86

 The House on East 88th Street by Benard Waver

A fun book that will make you wish you have Lyle the crocodile living with you. A charming book about the Pimm family and the unexpected bonus they find when they move into the house on East 88th Street!

 

The best gift (aside from common sense) you can give your child is the gift of reading and story telling.   

Please feel free to let me know if you have any favorites you’d like to post or an author you’d like to feature (especially indie authors). If you are an author of YA or kids’ books, and if I feel you’d make a good fit for this blog, I’d love to help you get the word out about  your work! That goes for illustrators too!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman