Use Your Filters

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No offense to any monkeys out there. But you get my point (I hope.)

When my kids were small there was always that one classmate, or friend, or friend’s child, who had no filters. I’ll be the first to say that all small children say things that totally and completely embarrass us and others. Tiny tots are notorious for being rude. They ask people why they’re too fat or too thin. They comment on hair loss. They ask rude questions and call everything exactly as they see it – especially if it is not how things are at their house, or with their parents.

Yes, parents of overly precocious children, this is for you. Your little darling is not cute or smart. Your child is rude.

That said, we all grow up. By the time a child is seven or eight they should be learning to use their filters. And no, that age is not too young. Get with it parents. Once a child starts school they need to buck it up and learn to be a good citizen. And you have to get on their little butts and remind them not only to be nice, but WHY they need to be nice.

After a child starts school embarrassing personal (and rude) questions and comments are no longer cute. 

Unfortunately there are always those kids who never learn about filters.

brat

Remember her? Don’t be a Nellie Olson.

They say things like:

  • My mommy says fill in the blank.
  • At our house we ALWAYS fill in the blank with something the child observes you don’t do.
  • Why do you fill in the blank with something rude and nosey.

As adults these people are insufferable and make horrible friends and co-workers. Most of them, I’d say 98%, don’t even know what they’re doing. The other 2% is just doing it out of spite. I know, I know, I know, we all slip up from time to time, and then feel bad about it afterwords, but those that isn’t what I’m talking about. You know what I’m talking about. Below is a list of examples.

  1. Unsolicited advice or comments about someone’s body. This includes giving friends brochures from diet seminars, groups, or articles about weight loss.
  2. Just one? You need another baby.
  3. Does you husband wish you’d had a boy?
  4. To a pregnant woman: What if your daughter is gay? Does it matter? So what if my child is gay? Do you expect me to love her less? Don’t be homophobic? And what if my child is an artist? What if my child likes chemistry? What if my child gardens? What if my child likes to pretend he is a bear? Just shut the fuck up.
  5. Is he gay? Assuming a young man we know gay because he skated. No but I’ll point out another skater who is. Does it matter? Really? Does it matter. I’ll adore them either way.
  6. Is he good in bed?
  7. Did you do it last night? No it is not ok to be obsessed with your friend’s sex lives and make unsolicited comments.
  8. Beautiful dress. It fits great, but you look better in blue. Yes, we all know about the undermined back-stab compliment.
  9. I like your hair better long.
  10. At a BBQ joint: Don’t they have anything vegan? 
  11. At a Japanese restaurant when somebody else orders sushi: I hate raw fish. OK then don’t order raw fish.
  12. I thought you only dated guys with blonde hair?

I’m sure all of you have examples of blurted out, rude, and sometimes shocking, and usually hurtful comments.

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Don’t people like that just make you want to scream????

So parents, you need to make sure your children, especially your young adult children aren’t doing this. On the other hand, if they act like this it is possible that they learned it from you. I hope not.

Giving advice, or asking questions is fine and normal. Blurting out whatever pops into your head is not. Always, always, always, teach your kids to think before they speak.

  • Will it hurt someone?
  • Will it hurt them?
  • Is it rude?
  • Will everyone think you’re rude and you’ll NEVER be invited back.
  • Will you end up eating lunch alone from now on?

This is basic kindergarten stuff but some kids just didn’t listen to their teacher because they were too busy either eating paste or saying mean things to other kids.

I swear, I don’t even know the motivation of some people. Maybe it makes them feel better about them selves if they try to push down others. That is pretty sad if you think about it.

And of course these are ALWAYS the people who have to make the asshole remarks on social media. Tell your kids that if someone says something on social media you disagree with just to move on. Don’t be a troll. Don’t feel like you ALWAYS have to comment. If someone posts a photo of their Chihuahua dog don’t comment I didn’t know you have a shake and hate. Just say the dog is cute or move on and don’t say anything.

When you’re an adult rude comments aren’t funny. Remind your children of that. And guess what, you DO need to remind YOUR kids. Even the best kids need to be reminded so that by the time they’re adults they aren’t branded as assholes.

I’m not taking about normal discussions, or debates. That is ok. We can agree to disagree. Or we can agree not to agree. Or we can give advice in a nice helpful way. But we don’t have to be crass or rude to put someone down or make ourselves feel superior. 

Of course very ancient, very young, and special needs folks will blurt things out because they can’t help it. This is not about them. We love them because we know what is going on. But most people don’t fall into that category. You can help it.

But you know the snotty condescending types I’m talking about. Don’t be like them. If your college kid is one of these folks don’t be shocked when their dorm-mate asks for a transfer to another room.

This goes for all of you Vampires and Werewolves too. Yes, I had to get that in there. You know who you are.

As always talk to your kids. Talk with your kids. Think about what you say. We could all be better. Even I could be better.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Road More Or Less Traveled

I often hear the expression “the road less traveled.”

I’ve taken that road. I’ve taken side roads off of that road. I’ve wondered in the woods off of what look like animal paths, or the steps of long-lost tribes. I’ve come to dead ends in box canyons and watched the flash floods come in.

Behind me are things that I choose not to think of because they are things that no longer concern me, or need my emotional energy.

With me I have taken the good things that are near and dear to me. I have taken the things that bring me joy, or make me laugh, or that are actually useful. I have taken the love. I have left the hate behind. Forgiveness? Not so much but since I don’t think about it I don’t care.

When we have kids we need to look hard at our own experiences. Yes, we want our kids to explore and learn that life isn’t always easy, but we don’t want to send them off floundering in a stormy sea without a life jacket.

Sometimes we’re all alone, and sometimes we are with those we love. Sometimes we’re with people we don’t love. And with any luck we’ll be on that road with dogs, and others who aren’t exactly like us, but help us keep our calm and sense of meaning.

Over protecting them will only make life more difficult for them. On the other hand, throwing them out to the wolves as soon as they turn eighteen won’t make the strong. It will make them resentful and abandoned.

From the time they are born, until the day you die, you need to learn from your mistakes, so that you might teach them not to make the same mistakes. Don’t let them believe that what was good enough for you is good enough for them.

They are your children. They are your future. They are the future of all of us.

Let them take the road they choose, but at least give them a car that runs, and tell them to change the oil occasionally. They might drive fast, but hopefully not recklessly.

Learn from your own mistakes. Don’t dwell on those mistakes, but teach your children so that they don’t do the same. It isn’t that difficult. All you have to do is talk to them. All you have to do is teach them to be smart. Teach them caution. Teach them to be skeptics. Teach them to do research. And even if your child is not a born leader, teach your child not to be a follower.

The road less traveled is filled with pot holes, but so are all roads. Nothing is smooth. Everyone who has fallen on asphalt knows that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Teens

Half a dozen teens ate Tide Pods.

About half a million people tweeted about it.

Twenty million believed that half a million kids were eating Tide Pods.

Thirty Million posted memes on Facebook about kids eating Tide Pods.

Those same people are now criticizing kids for speaking out against school violence because they believe that all teens eat Tide Pods.

This is what is wrong.

Everyone WANTS to judge.

Nobody THINKS about these things.

Nobody asks the teens they actually know about this shit.

People are stupid.

I’m sick and tired of it.

STOP EMBRACING IGNORANCE.

THIS is why Vampires sleep during the day. It has NOTHING to do with sensitivity to light. It is because people are stupid and they rush to embrace ignorance.

How do we change this?

Listen to young people for a change. They are our future. Listen to old people. Sometimes they have good ideas and nobody listens to them anymore.

Or maybe just shut the fuck up for a change and THINK before you post. Listen before you post. Have an original idea.

Go back to bed. Clean out your garage. Take a deep breath. And realize that there are different ideas and opinions out there to every problem.

This is for ALL issues.

In June all of the kids I had watched grow up will now be voting.

ALL OF THEM.

I wish them the best. 

They are our future.

We’ve let them down.

Let’s hope they won’t let us down.

 

Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Don’t talk AT them. Talk with them. Engage them. Force the conversations. Spend time with them. Hug them. Love them.

Don’t parent by accident. Your children deserve more than that.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Parenting Choices: Allowing your children to have their dreams

 

Strange but true: I trust my children. I raised them that way.

It all goes by so fast… way too fast. That is the hardest thing about being a parent.

When I’m asked where my children go to college, or plan to go to college I expect to get a good response, but half of the time I get negative responses. Now, they’re not going to Monster University or Ghoul Tech. The schools in question are part of the well respected University of California system. Yes, schools like UCLA, UCD, UCSB, UCSC, and of course UC Berkeley. Those schools aren’t scary. Those schools are FANTASTIC.

The comments I get are always about the school being a party school, or a drug school, or a crazy radical school, or a stoner school, or a hairy armpit school. You know, I’ve heard it all. The reality of the situation is that unless you send your child to some backwoods religious school that ALL colleges are party schools. That is what college students do.

When I became a parent I knew that it was a huge responsibility. I was responsible for not only having a child but for raising a child who would one day be an adult and go out into the world without me. I didn’t let crap just happen by chance. I parented with deliberation. 

That doesn’t mean I kept my kids under my thumb. I didn’t do that at all. I let them freely explore, create and THINK. At an early age they “got the big picture” on the world. And I explored with them, as their guide through the jungle of childhood.

From the beginning they were looking at books (Clara’s third word was book, after baby and kitty), learning how to navigate and use the Internet, learning to explore nature, questioning the world outside of their own family, and discussing ideas. All questions were answered. All opinions were respected and discussed.

My husband Teddy and I also discussed hard lessons with them like the importance of one’s reputation, drugs, sex, relationships, friendships, responsibilities as a citizen, and the consequences of actions. Reputation was a huge issue, and it wasn’t an easy one but we dealt with it.

Their father and I told them cautionary tales of our own youth and of others we knew. As a parent you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable talking to your child about anything. You’re the parent. Your children WANT to learn from you.

So when someone questions my choices, or the choices of my children, I don’t give them the stink eye and tell them we’re Vampires. I don’t tell anyone that we’re Vampires for obvious reasons.

There is enough negativity in the world without imparting it upon our youth. I’ve made a list of a few of the worst things one can say to a young person.

  1. You can’t make any money doing that.
  2. It is really hard.
  3. Everyone with that major is unemployed.
  4. Everyone at that school is on drugs.
  5. You’re not smart enough to do that.
  6. Be happy with the way things are.
  7. Why can’t you be like ______? (fill in the blank)
  8. People in our family don’t do that.
  9. The chances of that working out are a zillion to one.
  10. You’ll fail.

 

I’ve come to the frightening point where I realize that my children are almost grown. For the most part they are grown. One will be twenty in a few weeks. The other is almost seventeen. As I write that I can almost feel my heart beating fast (but, you know, I’m a Vampire so that is a relative term, but still…)

While I doubt myself every single day, I never doubt my children. Even if I’ve failed at everything else, I know I haven’t failed my children, or failed at being a mother.

Even when I feel as if I’ve failed myself I look at the years and years of amazing and interesting things I’ve done, and my amazing and interesting friends. Yes, one can measure success by those we surround ourselves with. Each and every single one of those amazing things, good or bad, have become lessons for my children. In turn, those things also become lessons for me.

As I write there is a small puppy, all of eleven weeks old, curled up on my feet. Her little furry warm face is resting on my bare foot. She won’t be the dog my children grew up with. That dog, Jasmine, would sit with the children in their car seats, and sing (as sled dogs of unknown parentage do) in the car when I’d pick the kids up from school. She was always there for them until last year when she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Now, as my kids become adults, there is a new pup, who won’t grow up with children. And in a year, tiny Alice will be a 60-70 pound dog, who will look like a beautiful dark hound from some paranormal romance novel. Yes, the paranormal romance novel would be my life some years back, but now I’m writing a parenting blog. It all goes by so fast – a fleeting moment.

So enough about me, and back to kids.

You only have so long with them. Take time with your children – real time. Good time. Or that time will be gone before you know it.

I know life happens. Parents DO have lives outside of their kids. They have jobs. They have relationships. They have tragedies and loss. Your own dreams and hopes sometimes die. And all of this intertwines with being a parent.

But kids aren’t stupid unless you raise them to be that way. They know when something isn’t right. They’re sensitive. They’re smarter than you give them credit for. They may not know everything but that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about everything and trying to figure it all out.

So when they’re on the brink of adulthood and someone tries to squish their dreams be there for them. Because it is THEIR dream. It should be your dream to make their dream happen. I’m not talking fairy tale crap, but real dreams. Don’t tell your kid that biochemistry is too hard of a major, or that history is a stupid major, or that artists starve. Let them try, because if they have the passion they’ll find their way. Let your child surprise you with his/her success. Let them learn by their failures and be there for them. Because it is now their time and that window is so small, so fleeting, so precious.

My children are smart and happy about who they are. Sure they aren’t perfect, but they’re mine and I’m proud of them.

So if you get anything from this post/blog it should be to talk with your kids, listen to them, discuss with them, share with them, trust them, and love them. Always.

Savor your time with your children. It is your time and their time – something precious, rare, and to be treasured. It is a gift you can’t afford to squander.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Keep Calm We're Teens

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

Charms of Youth

We watched our nineteen year old son drive down the street and back to college.

My husband was caught up in his own thoughts. Times were different when he was in college. He was different.

Nineteen is so young, but when you’re there it feels so grown up. It seems like everything is just a countdown to twenty-one. Those odd two years of nineteen and twenty are just stuck in-between being an adult and being a real adult.

I remember one warm September night in 1878 when my brother Valentine and I discussed the matter as we dug our toes into the wet sand on the riverbank. I was nineteen and a month from twenty. Val was twenty-one.

We had years of crazy, hair brained adventures, but on that night it seemed as if our carefree days of youth would soon be over. We played the remember when game.

Remember when we saw the orphan Werewolf children on this very beach.

Remember when we broke up a dog fighting ring.

Remember when you fell in love for the first time.

Remember when we ran wild through the streets at night because we could.

Now we were expected to be respectable but we knew that wouldn’t always be the case. We laughed over the prospect. Sure, we laughed but we were both scared at the prospect of being serious and respectable, or worse, dark and brooding like so many Vampires of our time.

Of course what we thought was love was far from it. But no matter, because we were both natural flirts and charmers. Remember, we’re Vampires. Of course we’re charming. But being charming to other Vampires is always a challenge, or at least it sometimes seems that way for the younger of our kind.

In our time on Earth, Val and I had experienced a lot. Just that week’s news included floods, outbreaks of diseases which left the dead piled in the street, news of Sitting Bull, evasive crops, and of course murder.

We watched a boat drift by and waved to the occupants. We knew they were surprised at our formal dress as we stood barefoot in the sand. I held my skirts up to my knees, while Val had removed his jacket but still wore his top hat.

Earlier that evening we’d been to a formal party. We’d become bored and made our way down to the edge of the water. We were at a point where we had become bored with a lot of things – well, pretty much most things. That would change soon. We couldn’t even imagined the adventures we would have.

I kicked water up at Val. He came back at me and pushed me into the water. Soon we were both soaking wet. We laughed so hard I thought I’d crack a rib.

So I stood in my front yard knowing my own children would have adventures, both big and small. I knew, as a mom, that my kids were much more prepared than Val and I were.

My husband Teddy and I have been deliberate parents. We have let our children explore ideas and experiences, all along discussing those ideas and experiences with them. We’ve taught our children that there are consequences to their actions that lie far beyond the moment and parental anger. Things they do now can and will affect the rest of their lives. And other things won’t matter later on. It is the key to know what does and what does not matter. Our kids get the big picture. They know about the world around them. We’re not helicopter parents. We don’t shelter our kids. Yet, we are always there for them.

We’ve raised them to feel joy and wonder that will last far after childhood is gone.

Hugs are in large supply.

My kids are ready to be adults. I’m ready, so my logical self says. It does go by fast, so make sure if you have kids that you are there for them and involved far after babyhood is over.

Be it the rare Vampire child, Werewolf triplets, or a Regular Human baby, it is our job to teach them so they’ll be adults we’re proud of. We need to teach them to be the adults we’d want to be – or better. Always better.

And like I say here, the key is to talk to them. Don’t wait until they talk first. From the first day they are on this earth make sure you talk to them. And even after they are grown, or think they are grown – talk to them, and with them. Discuss, laugh, debate, share, laugh, cry and be together in mind and spirit.

Have a good weekend everyone,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman