Have Some Cake (and Parenting of Course)

In honor of the Grammy’s I was planning on doing a post of the WORST songs ever (Rhiannon, McArthur Park, Spill the Wine, Sylvia’s Mother, Seventeen, That horrible roller skate/key song, The Thong Song, Free Bird, anything featuring Barbara Streisand, Ariana Grande, St. Vincent, or The Doobie Brothers.) I decided to skip it for something not so negative. Musical taste is so subjective.

But it was fun this summer driving across the endless Utah desert with my child, after the air conditioner had failed, listening to the worst songs ever. Let me explain…when a song on the “worst songs of all time” list came on I’d turn it up as part of my daughter’s cultural education. She listened to the entire performance of McArthur Park. I had to explain that the cake out in the rain and finding the recipe was a metaphor for lost love or some bull shit like that, while my seventeen year old child laughed out loud. We both laughed out loud in our 400 degree F car driving along about two hundred miles from the nearest town.

Everything in life isn’t good, no matter how hard you try to put that twist on your child rearing philosophy. At least there are times, like with music, when you can use humor to teach your kid about bad taste, bad judgement, bad fashion, bad friends, bad politics, and all of those weird things that come across our pathway.

Music, like art, literature, and cats, is something you can share with your kids. It brings people together. Stay with me on this because I know a lot of people hate their kids music. At least you can make an effort to understand what they like, and why they like it. Or maybe you can find something new together. Expand your horizons. Take a leap of faith and turn to a different number on the radio dial together. You might hate it. You might love it. But you did it together – with your kid.

Now for the real reason I brought up music. Yesterday I posted a story about a couple of Vampire kids in college called “Why I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Blog traffic was through the roof (because I am the Queen of Love Letters). But NOBODY, not a single person mentioned the reference to a song in the story. Oh come on guys, humor me a little.

And yes, I do love each and every one of you who reads and follows this blog.

OK, here it is. Listen and look for it.

Listen to the next songs too. Have fun even if you don’t like it. Or as your mom would say, “Don’t complain, it’s good for you.” Here are a couple of the best covers ever. Yes, listen to the Vampire – it’s good for you. Don’t complain.

By the way, the band CAKE is from Sacramento, my hometown. We’re a creative kind of place.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Perhaps

 

 

What You Believe

Beliefs that seemed so important to me when I was young don’t seem so important to me now.

I think that applies to most people. We are influenced by our small world of parents and school. Then we go out into the wide world and do stupid things based on our young narrow views. We reject experiences, including love, friendship, career opportunities, education, adventure, fashion, creativity, and so many other things because we’re only twenty years old and set in our ways.

As we get older we start to loosen up and realize that maybe those hard held beliefs don’t fit us. We realize there exceptions to the rules. We realize that we can change those rules and traditions and make them better.

I’ve written about this a lot on my blog, mostly though stories about my friends and family, and my own somewhat crazy experiences. Yes, we learn from our experiences, and from the experiences of others. Heaven help the person (and we all have “that person” in our lives) who never learns from experience and is doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and over.

A lesson for children is to not let others squash their desire to question what they know. And others will try. As a parent you shouldn’t fear this – if you give your child a good foundation, and most of all TALK WITH YOUR CHILD. Discuss these things. Keep the lines of communication open.

Just from talking to my children I’ve changed my mind and beliefs about some things. Yes, we can, and do learn from our own kids if we are willing to keep our hearts and minds open. It is a wonderful thing.

We move away and retreat from the old ways. At the same time so often, too often, we wonder “what if?”

That said, life does not stop when one grows up. You can keep exploring and having those adventures. You’re grown, not dead. And until you’re dead you can keep living, and changing, and looking at your options.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

moth

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/retreat/

Questions your teens should ask.

As both a Vampire and a parenting expert/blogger I’ve compiled a short list of questions that your teens (both high school and college bound) should ask. I’ve also included a few other statements/requests they need to know. This could apply to both school and life in general. Mostly for life in general.

  • Please don’t ask me to be stupid.
  • Is embracing ignorance required to attend this event?
  • Do you really love me or is it just for tonight?
  • Will it kill you to be nice?
  • Will it kill you to relax?
  • Do you want to try something new?
  • My name is __________. What’s your name?
  • Thank you.
  • Let me help you.
  • May I help you with that?
  • Do you want to talk about it? Let’s get coffee (or go for a walk etc.)
  • Let me drive you home. We can pick up your car in the morning.
  • I’m calling Uber. Do you want to ride with me? We can pick up our cars in the morning.
  • Do you need help?
  • Are you hiring?
  • Would you like to join us?
  • Can I bring anything?
  • Can I help with the dishes?
  • I’m going out for blood. Do you need anything?
  • What part of no don’t you understand?

This is just a short list. Sometimes we all forget that if we don’t ask the question the answer will always be NO. We also forget that we need to speak up for ourselves and for others. It is just that simple. It isn’t always easy, but it is simple.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Why Sex Education Fails – Any Teen Will Tell You

The college aged and high school aged kids in my life wonder why politicians (and others) are so obsessed by the sex lives of others.

They say, “I bet the guys who are passing the oppressive laws against birth control and women’s health, and the LBGT community, partied hard in college, had sex with multiple partners, experimented, then went on with their perfect squeaky clean lives.”

They also say, “If you don’t believe in abortion don’t have one.”

AND most important of all (are you listening blind and stupid politicians) “If everyone had EASY access to birth control, with no limits on age, and no permissions required, then there would be fewer abortions.” 

Yes, if you cut back on birth control then you will never cut back on abortions both legally and illegally.

My daughter was telling me why sex education in high school and middle school didn’t work.

In middle school it didn’t work because one of the parents (ONE) complained. I believe it was a loud woman who donated a lot of money to the school. According to her, she and her child were the center of the universe. The child of course was completely embarrassed when the mother complained about having sex education in school taught by experts. So the embarrassed teachers had to teach the required course.

In high school my kids were taught abstinence only. Welcome to 1816. Yes, time travel is possible and happening right now in a state near you.

Plus the teens were taught be an uncomfortable wood shop teacher who could barely look the students in the eye when he said the word “pregnancy.” The only terms use were highly technical. The students didn’t learn anything about birth control and very little about STDs. Nobody told the teens about anything except the fact that birth control pills existed somewhere out there in the universe. They didn’t learn about all of the other forms, including easy to get over the counter solutions.

If you’re a parent please talk to your kids about sex. It is going to happen. Don’t expect them to wait until they are married. Remember this is 2016 not 1916, and even in 1916 people (a lot of people) had sex outside of marriage.

Get real. Be a real parent and tell your kids about STDs, birth control, relationships, responsibility in relationships. Don’t lecture. Just tell them the facts. Don’t bring religion or politics into it – because it is going to happen.

Tell your kids that sex is a two-way street. Tell them to NEVER do anything they are uncomfortable with. Tell them that if someone says “if you do this I’ll like you,” then don’t do what they want. Relationships are about sharing, not about only one person giving and one person just taking both physically and emotionally over and over and over.

Healthy relationships are responsible relationships. That includes birth control, protection from STDs, honesty, and respect.

Normal relationships and normal sex is not like what kids see in porn. Tell them that too.

Teens should also respect themselves. Tell your kids that it is normal to say NO. Yes, you can say NO, if you don’t want to have sex with someone. You can wait if you want. You can be on your own timeline. No young person should ever be pressured into doing something they are not physically or emotionally ready for.

Sex isn’t just physical. It is emotional. Talk to your kids about that too.

The point of this post isn’t to give teens and young adults permission to sleep around and hook up.

It is about accepting the fact that young people are going to do what young people do. Yes, we hope they will wait until they’re out of high school. We hope they’ll wait for someone they care about. We hope a lot of things. But even if they wait until college, and wait for a super nice and caring partner, they still need to be educated about birth control and protection.

They need to be educated about respect and responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to talk openly and honestly with your kids. If you don’t like abortions then you damn better make sure your daughters and sons are using birth control.

If you don’t like the idea that your young adult children are going to be sexually active one day then maybe you should have just had indoor cats.

If you want your children to be responsible then you have to be responsible parents and teach them about sex, birth control, STDs, relationships, respect, and trust.

That is what young people want and need.

If you ignore something it will not go away.

Those of you who have followed me for the long haul know this is a parenting blog. I talk about being a mom, teens, old folks, and other issues. Sometimes it is in the form of stories about my family or others. Sometimes it is just weird, but it all comes down to relationships we have with each other, and how we live our lives, especially when our children are concerned.

I’ll have the other stuff soon, but this is important. You have to talk to your kids – as a parent that is your job, no matter how uncomfortable you find it – and no matter how uncomfortable your kids find it. DO it. Talk. Now. Today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Night Belongs to Us

The night belongs to us. Of course it does. We’re Vampires. But we’re also parents, and this is a first and foremost a parenting blog.

My main message is to talk with your kids, share with them, listen to them, teach them, respect them, treasure them. Don’t spoil them except with love and knowledge. Open the world to them and they will explore on their own. They will bring their discoveries and knowledge back to you. The circle is complete.

This morning my 16-year-old Clara showed me a new cover by the band Night Riots.  Let me back up a little bit since some of you may have never heard of Night Riots. I feel like they are one of the best bands out in the past thirty years. Seriously, I like this band that much. My daughter started listening to them. Then I did. I was hooked. We saw them at Warped Tour this summer in Mountain View, CA.

Night Riots Vans Warped Tour 2015 Mountain View, CA

Night Riots, Vans Warped Tour 2015
Mountain View, CA

 

So this morning I received a text from Clara (while I was out on business) saying they’d done a cover of “Because the Night.”

When I arrived home I Clara was excited to share it with me. I listened to the Night Riots version. It was great. Wow.

I asked Clara if she’d heard the Patti Smith version. She said, “I didn’t know it was written by a woman.”

Of course it was. By Patti Smith, who is still singing. Patti Smith is, well, Patti Smith. Need I say more?

She loved the Patti Smith version too.

Her first comment was, “I love her voice. It isn’t whiney.”

Clara doesn’t listen to female pop stars for the most part. Neither do I. So many are breathy or have fake auto tuned voices. They don’t sound real. They sound childish. They sound annoying.

Patti Smith is none of that. She sings. She really sings.

So the guys in Night Riots do justice to her music by putting out a fantastic cover.

I’m not sharing this so much as a music post, but as a parenting post. We share with each other. We learn from each other.

We discussed musical influences from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Not disco crap or silly really bad pop music, but real music that lasts.

Just like real parenting lasts. Real communication lasts. Deliberate parenting lasts a lifetime. If you’re going to have kids then put in the effort. Make them yours. Let them make you theirs.

Yes, let your kids make you theirs. They learn from you and you mould them. In turn, you can learn from them. Let them make you a better person. Let them open your eyes to new things.

 

 

This Thanksgiving be thankful for the young people in your lives. Don’t spend your time judging or criticizing them. Don’t get after them about their hair, their clothing, their music or whatever stupid superficial thing that you think is important. Listen to them and let them tell you about what they think is important. Find out what their dreams are. Tell them about your dreams. Share your music. Share some turkey. Share some love.

Teens are as precious and important as babies or toddlers. Parenting doesn’t stop at elementary school. Now more than ever they need you. And now more than ever you need them. You might not know it but you need them too. They’ll keep you young. They’ll introduce you to music. They’ll be in awe of your shared knowledge. They respect you for respecting them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Night Riots: Contagious

Things you need to do with your teen

Things you need to do with your teen.

You know right off the bat I’m going to talk about talking with your teen. TALK WITH YOUR TEEN. DO IT. NOW.

 

fruit bat cutie

Right off the bat…

 

Movies you need to see with your teen:

Lost Boys

Click on the movie titles above for information about the movie (and so you’ll see the right movie)

 

Must do things  to do with your teen:

  • Take your teen to a concert. Not something YOU want to see. Not something you THINK will be culturally enriching. Take them to see a band THEY listen to. Go to a smaller venue. Listen to the music before you go. You might like it. You might like it a lot. Click HERE for guidelines. Click HERE too and HERE.

Night Riots at 2015 Warped Tour - Mountain View, CA. Yes, I was there. It was awesome. I am the coolest mom ever.

Night Riots at 2015 Warped Tour – Mountain View, CA. Yes, I was there. It was awesome. I am the coolest mom ever.

  • Take your teen to Van’s Warped Tour. If you’re the parent who buys the ticket you get in free. What a deal. I saw seven bands that I liked. There were dozens more.
Never Shout Never Posters. Go Chris Drew.

Never Shout Never Posters. Go Chris Drew.

  • Take you teen to the an orchestra concert. Even if you don’t have a major Symphony or Philharmonic orchestra in your area, most communities have excellent community groups. Many high schools and colleges have orchestras. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and GO. Yes, this is the cultural education. You’ll have fun.
  • Go to the zoo. Zoos aren’t just for little kids.
  • Take your teen to a vintage clothing store and try stuff on – both of you. Boys and girls. Rock the vintage stuff.
  • Tell your teenager a bad joke every single day. Laugh out loud. Pretty soon they’ll be laughing along with you.
  • By the time our children get to high school and college the family pets are ancient senior citizens. Keep the love going but make sure you are there for your kids when the four-legged members of your family move on. It sucks but it seems like most teens live with ancient pets – well-loved ancient pets.
  • Cook with your teen, even if you’re a Vampire. When they get into college their roommates will love them if they can cook. Everyone loves a good cook.
  • Go for walks at least twice a week. It gives you a chance to talk and spend some quiet time together. No phones.
  • Go to a baseball game. Any team will do – professional, high school, college, T-ball. It is all fun.
  • Go roller skating.

 

Talk to your teen about:

  • Sex (if you aren’t responsible enough to use protection you are not responsible enough to have sex. Sex is normal but just because you are physically able to do it you might not be emotionally ready. High School is a fun time – don’t complicate it with sex. Yes, the conversation is easy. Don’t lecture, just discuss and let them know they can come to you and trust you for good fact based answers)
  • Birth Control (Don’t be silly, cover your Willy. AND ALWAYS use birth control. Even if your kid is not sexually active have this conversation because when they go off to college they WILL become sexually active and they need to know how to be smart about it.)
  • Diet: Eat right. Don’t pack on the pounds with the Starbucks Ultra Thick Carmel Chocolate Mocha Bomb every single day.
  • History: You don’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been. Talk about your history, your Uncle Duff’s history, George Washington, or anything that has happened before the year your child was born. Tell them about the old days before personal computers and copiers and cable TV. Tell them about MTV when they actually played music. Tell them about seeing The Rolling Stones in concert when Keith Richards was hot (they won’t believe you so you’ll have to show them photos.)
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Yes, this is Keith before he died and came back as himself.

 

Watch silly YouTube videos with your teenager.

I suggest:

  • SMOSH Teleporting Fat Guy
  • Anything with cute animals
  • Famous Rap Battles of History
  • Short horror films
  • Make-up tutorials
  • More cute animals
  • Music your teen likes
  • Music you like

 

Alright, that should have filled up your brain and your time. I’ll have more later.

What would you add to the list? What do you and the teens in your life do together? Let us know.

Have fun

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman