Screen Shots

Back when my daughter (who turns 20 next month) was in Middle School she would change the screen image on my phone every chance she got. I’d have a lovely photo of one of my cats or something else nice and calming.

Then I’d pick up my phone and see a photo of a HUGE naked man. I’m talking 500+ pounds in a birthday suit.

This went on for about a month.

Fast forward.

Now she sends my best buddy Amelia (the famous Las Vegas Vampire) snap chat photos of me as a man.

Amelia, due to beautiful blue eyes, high cheek bones and general nice bones looks like Fabio or some other gorgeous male model when she gets the male filter.

I, on the other hand, look like the scruffy guy always asks if there is any beer left and goes out in pubic in pajama pants and a tee shirt that isn’t quite long enough to cover his belly. Thank you SnapChat filters.

That’s all. I’m on vacation with spotty Internet access, but just wanted to share this delightful little parenting story.

I love my child. I’m glad she has a sense of humor. I love my friend. I’m glad she has a sense of humor.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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.

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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

 

It Was a Dark Stormy Night – Kids, Vampires and Thoughts On Life

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If you’re a parent don’t assume anything about people without children. They aren’t like the Baroness in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the Witch in Hansel and Gretel.

Note: My husband Teddy always has a point to make about that Witch. What would you do if a couple of little urchins come to your home and start tearing it apart and eating it? It wouldn’t go down well.

It was a dark stormy night last night even in my drought stricken universe (California.) The captain and his crew…just kidding.

The kids were discussing the fact that Presidents (as of the United States of America) have speechwriters. My teens are of the opinion that if you can’t write your own speech you aren’t qualified for the job. Presidents have always asked for advice but blame it on Harding for having the first guy hired for the job.

The rain was pounding on the roof. There was a knock on the door. But wait…who could it be?

On my front porch stood my  brother Max and his partners Pierce and Mehitabel. They’re not just friends. They’re the Vampires who hunt Vampire Hunters. They’re the Vampires who hunt rogue Vampires. They’re the Vampires who kick ass and make no excuses, no regrets, no turning back on any situation.

Of course we said they could crash at our place for a day after a messy job taking care of some rather unsavory characters both human and non-human. It is what they do.

Pierce was the first to come down after cleaning up. He is one of those tall lanky guys with mismatched features and long hair that is attractive in spite of himself. He always has a smile and a story. When Garrett was born Pierce was one of the first to meet the newest member of our community. From then on he always treated the young ones, all of them, as members of the community on equal standing. He loves to tell them stories, teach them things, explain how the world works. In turn the kids make jokes with him that they wouldn’t dare make with other friends. When my daughter was in 6th grade she told him to pick her up from school in his van and yell “Hey little girl want some candy?” Among his charms, Pierce is a bit OCD (he’ll be the first to admit it) so he’ll straighten things out, straighten up crooked pictures and fix odds and ends around the house that we keep meaning to get to.  Of course everyone likes to mention his liberal use of four letter words. That is the Pierce we know and love.

Mehitabel came down a little later like a shadow drifting down the stairs. It was the first time she’d been over to our loud house. She is quiet, at least since she doesn’t know us well. Max and Pierce have known her for years.

I handed her a goblet of mulled wine and blood with nice aromatic spices. I mentioned the noise from Pierce and the kids (not to mention the cats who were screaming for food and attention.)

She smiled at me. “I like it. You know, getting in my family fix.”

As Vampires we’re generally polite and always keep our filters in place. We never ask anyone why they do or do not have children or how many and why or why not. We just accept it. If someone wants to share information then we let them. No rude questions about why one does not look like their child or why they’re alone with no mate. Our lives are our own and we give everyone credit for making their own choices. We let people deal with their lives without having to deal with rudeness. Life can be difficult enough without having to answer for everything.

Of course we’re curious. Of course we want to give advice (which we do when it is needed) but we don’t act like children. And we teach our children not to act like that – we teach them to use their filters and think before they say things. Sort of like the five second time delay on programs like the Oscars. We always try to keep our own time delays in mind.

Max, my alpha Vampire brother soon came down to join us. His arm was bandaged and bruises ran up his neck. Now that is something I had to ask about.

It was the usual grim tale of Vampire Hunters going after the wrong people, Werewolves to be exact. Nerdy Werewolves at that. Going from a couple of Geeks to a couple of Golden Retrievers so to speak doesn’t always help when you have six guys with guns and silver bullets after you. Yes, even Werewolves are sometimes rescue dogs (a little Vampire humor there folks.)

We discovered that Mehitabel never went to school as a child. Pierce had gone to a boarding school that was attended by a dozen other Vampire boys. Garrett and Clara told them eye opening tales from school this week. A teacher was fired for sleeping with a student. A group of students were suspended for calling a teacher a whore and taunting her until she was in tears (I think they should have been expelled.) Some Seniors had to retake a class they’d done poorly in as freshmen even thought they’d already been accepted into good Universities – long story about the insanity at school. Like I’ve said, they go to one of the better schools. It surprised even our hardened Vampire friends who thought they’d seen it all.

We talked about movies and what Vampires would be at the Oscars. We talked about TV and music and more music. The kids showed everyone funny YouTube videos. I told everyone a bit about my writing and art. It was just nice.

Eventually I had to send the kids to bed and the rest of us stayed up and talked more. Then one by one as the wee hours of them morning came close to sunrise my guests went up to bed. We can sleep a lot here since we turned the large attic into a couple of guest rooms and a sitting room.

After too few hours I was up to make coffee then wake my children for another day at school (which isn’t as bad as it sounds, really.) I let Teddy sleep knowing he had a long day ahead.

Pierce was in the kitchen drinking Zen tea and reading Bad Monkey.

“I downloaded and read your WPaD anthologies. I love them,” he told me. I love a man with good taste in literature. We talked books for a bit and it was time to roust my zombies, I mean teens out of bed.

I could hear Oscar the cat scratching to get out of the room where Max usually slept. My brother was asleep curled around Mehitabel who slumbered only as a bone tired Vampire can. He says he could never have a romantic relationship with her but he can’t stay away from her. She is always there for him, not just on a physical level but there is something almost mystical about their connection. One day he’ll lose her to someone else, but she’ll always think of him. They’re so stupid, especially Max.

They’d make pretty little Vampire babies together but I’d never tell either one of them that. Vampire babies are rare as it is so I’m not one to hold my breath over it.

When you’re older you don’t care who has kids or who doesn’t. It isn’t a contest or a prize. As a parent and someone who blogs about parenting I get so tired of the “kid vs kidless” debate. Sure there are a few fucktards on either side of the fence who act like trolls either way, but hey, there is no fence. We’re all friends – big and small, old and young, kids and adults. Behave well, be nice, be considerate, be understanding and all will be well. We’re all Vampires (or whatever you are.)

Have a good weekend everyone, and hug your kids, or any kids you like (even if they’re grown.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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