Thinking Back on Being A Parent

When I started writing this blog I was dealing with Middle School and summer camp. Now I’m helping my kids navigate lease agreements and finding the best coffee grinders.

Over the years I’ve talked about navigating school and social situations. We’ve gone to concerts. I’ve seen first love come and go, but I’ve also best friends, and bonds that will last the ages.

In the great big world my children and I have discussed school shootings, the environment, and politics. We’ve been to political events so the kids and their friends could have that experience and see what it was all about. We’ve known what it is like to be different. We’ve known what it is like to be part of a group.

Every family is different, but I feel, I know there are some things that all parents must do.

So many people think schools should raise their children and teach them everything. Or many think going to church (God forbid) will teach their kids all they need to know about being a decent person. But they miss the point.

As a parent it is YOUR responsibility to raise your child. Not just feed them or clothes them but to share your world with them.

The number one most important thing I can say to parents is to TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. I don’t mean lecture them or talk at them. I mean talk with them and LISTEN to them. Discuss things with them.

Encourage your children to be “big picture” people and go beyond their family, friends, and school. One day they’ll go out into the big wide world. You don’t want our little birds to take wings and get eaten by the first raptor who comes along. Teach them to see, to watch, to question, to be aware.

Teach your children to have their own opinions. Not everyone is a leader, but you don’t want you child to be a follower. They need to know that it is alright it they take their own path. If they choose to be with others that is OK but it must be their choice.

And yes, they should be allowed to make their own choices but you, as a parent, need to guide those choices. If they hang out with a bully then STOP that friendship cold. Let your child know why. If they have a friend you don’t like and the alarms go off then STOP that friendship. You’re the parent. Teach your kids to have real friends, not just kids to hang out with. Teach them NOT to give into negative peer pressure or bullies. Talk to them about it. Always encourage them to take the higher road. Even tiny children understand that to some extent.

Early on explain to your child how important reputation is. It is easy to lose one’s reputation but it is extremely difficult to get it back. Kids lose their reputations by hanging out with kids who offer nothing but trouble. Don’t think you can save someone by being good. They will only drag your kid down with them – and they won’t care. I know this is harsh but I’ve seen it happen too many times.

At the same time teach your children that good friends are a treasure. Teach them that they can have friends that are a different sex, a different color, a different sexual orientation, a different faith, and just different. Diversity is good. I speak from experience. Acceptance is awesome. Love is awesome. Friendship is awesome.

I love my children’s friends. I have grown to love their parents too. As much as I wail on about things I don’t like – I have been honored to have met so many great kids and awesome parents. Woo Hoo.

Laugh with your children every single day.

Encourage your kids to always be curious.

Raise a child who will be a life long learner.

Raise your children to be better than you are.

Raise your children to be better than you are. Even today my daughter showed me that she is a much better person than I am. I won’t go into details, but I can be an asshole. My child gives no second chances (like her dad) but she is smart, kind, and thoughtful. She has tact. Don’t get me wrong, most people think I’m the sweetest thing in the world (even other Vampires) but I can be… well, not always the person I should be. I’ve raised my child not to be like that.

I’m not the perfect parent. I think I’m a better parent for not reading copious amounts of parenting books. Shirley Jackson’s Life Among the Savages is a must read. Real parenting stories are the best – not theory from experts and cold clinical studies. Besides, every child is different. Every parent is different. Every family is different. What works for me might not work for others. But I have to admit I am so proud of the kind of mom I’ve been.

Hey, how many kids can say “my mom blogs about vampires.” Not many.

No matter what you do, make your kid proud of you, and be proud of your kid.

Love them.

Encourage them.

Talk with them.

TALK.

Keep the communications open. Be positive. Be understanding. LISTEN. Let them know that YOU are their safe place.

Parenting doesn’t stop at middle school, or even high school. It is a life long job, even when they move out, gets jobs, and start their own families. Let them live their lives but let them know that you’re always there for them with your love and your understanding.

~Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Why I don’t write about my parents.

I don’t write about my parents much. I write about my brothers, the Ancient Vampires, my great great great grandmama, my husband, my kids and others, but not my parents.

I’d rather write about the Ancient Elder Vampires because I see them a lot. We are close. I feel a responsibility to make sure they are safe. My readers can relate to them and to me when I write of them.

My father is lovely indeed but a bit old fashioned.

My mother is whatever she wants to be. It is difficult to write about someone who is emotionally disconnected and almost completely lacking in empathy. Even for a Vampire my mother is cold. Yes, she is charming, but she is emotionally not there. She is the perfect Vampire.

Of course that is the opinion of her younger three children, especially the youngest two (Valentine and me). You’d get a different story from the two eldest, but they’re the most screwed up of all of us.

Those who know her adore her. She is as lovely as a perfect springtime day but as cold as ice. That isn’t a good thing or a bad thing – it is just a thing.

I love them, but I choose not to write a lot of posts about them.

So that is that.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

A few things kids should know

I haven’t done famous bulleted parenting lists lately so here we go…

On the beach

 

All families are different. We all have different parenting styles. That is ok with me. That is because I know all kids are different. And in the end if we love them and teach them to be smart and educate them they’ll turn out ok. If we talk to them and they know we’ll listen to them they’ll be ok. If they know they’re safe with us, their parents, they’ll be ok.

 

A few things kids should know:

  • Some people start out with charmed lives and make stupid mistakes.
  • Some people start out with charmed lives and make smart choices – but tragedy befalls them.
  • Some people are just stupid.
  • Some people claw and fight their way to the top and then have charmed lives.
  • Some people realize that they can change.
  • Some people don’t.
  • Sometimes it takes a long time to become someone you like and admire.
  • Some people never learn that.
  • Some people are stupid when they’re young and grow out of it.
  • Some people learn from their mistakes.
  • Some people never learn.
  • Some people always seem to be lost.
  • But most find their way.

 

  • Not all people or families are like yours.
  • That isn’t a good thing or a bad thing – it is just a thing. Maybe more of a good thing because it keeps us from getting bored and boring.

 

  • Don’t get involved with things that piss people off and will end up hurting you in the end (extreme politics, mommy wars, religious wars, cults, hero-worship, obsessive fandom, self mutilation, eating contests, dating slugs, etc etc etc.) Yes, there is a reason why things piss people off.

 

  • Mind your manners. Respect the right of others to express their opinions.

 

  • Don’t be a follower. You don’t have to be a leader, but never be a follower.

 

  • Don’t wait for him to make the first move.

 

Those are the things we need to discuss with our children and young adults. It is easy to be thrown into the world to flounder. Sure we need to make our mistakes and learn from it all, but wouldn’t it be easier if kids had the right tools and a little bit of help. By help I mean guidance. By help I mean someone to talk to.

Werewolves tell their children to “Howl at the Moon!” That is good advice for anyone. Sing your song loud and clear. Sing the song of who you are and what you are – even if you are singing alone.

 

 

Have a good summer everyone (even if you’re sticking around here with me.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

blu butterfly

Why something simple like hanging a spoon off your nose is so important (to a Vampire teen)

Since the invention of metal spoons humans have been hanging spoons off of their noses. Really. I kid you not.

My son Garrett (17) told me that most of his regular human friends and their families hang spoons off of their noses. They do it at birthdays, around the table at major holidays, in study groups and anytime there is a gathering with food and friends. They hang spoons.

“I can’t do it mom,” my son told me with a sad frustrated look.

“What’s going on?” His father had come into the room.

“Why can’t Vampires hang spoons off of noses?”

“Is that important?” Whoops Dad you said the wrong thing.

“I’m sick of not being able to do things that my friends do. I’m tried of not fitting in.”

Neither my husband or I even asked our son to list those things that Vampire teens can’t do.  Being popular, smart and exceptionally good looking wasn’t a comfort. Sometimes it is those small things that make one fit in.

“Show me the nose thing,” said Dad.

Garrett put a spoon up to his nose. He tilted his head back and carefully slid the spoon to the tip of his nose. The spoon fell to the floor. “Everyone I know can do this, except my Vampire friends. I’m tired of being a freak.”

I could have said it is just a spoon on the nose, but I knew it was more than that.

“Did you breath on it?” Asked my husband.

“It won’t work. Our breath is cold. Our noses are cold. The texture of our skin is all off. And I’ve tried everything. It isn’t a silver thing. Stainless and plastic doesn’t work either.”

I looked at my sad men and knew that as usual that Mom would save the day. I turned on the kettle and as the steam came out I put the spoon under the hot damp air. Then I put it on my nose and it stayed.

“You can make hot breath. Now hang yourself a spoon.”

And so they did – they hung spoons off of their noses.

———————————————-

This article was first posted back in March 2013 – but with Thanksgiving coming up… a big spoon-off-the-nose-hanging time for a lot of families. Have fun. Hope you enjoyed this. I’ll return shortly with new stuff.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

For more on hanging spoons click here. http://www.wikihow.com/Hang-a-Spoon-from-Your-Nose

 

old spoons

The Road to Hell (a visit from my ghost)

The storm outside has calmed down for a while so I went outside to see if any trees had come down or other damage.

The ghost was out back pacing in the field. I kept my eye on him, not wanting him to see me but at the same time wanting to flip him off. I could feel my upper lip involuntarily twitching as I tried not to show my fangs.

He suddenly turned and glared at me, then looked away.

Something was bothering him. A ghost bothered? I guess. I can’t figure out the strange black suited bastard who materializes in and out of my life with insults and jabs.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked the apparition.

He slowly turned my way and with icy eyes and a cold steady voice said “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and lined with family members cheering you on.”

“I see.” I said, not really seeing.

“Appreciate what you have Vampire. Human families are out of control and totally screwed. They go through life blindly hurting. They raise their children so haphazardly they have no right to call themselves parents. The children grow up to be dysfunctional people who never realize how screwed up they are or how they screw up the lives of others. It is a total disaster. What I would have given to have been an only child and an orphan.” He looked at me out of sad eyes, ran his hand through his shaggy black hair and vanished into the drizzle.

I had no answer for the ghost. I usually don’t.

Field with deer

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman