A Modern Vampire Mom

After 10 years and almost 2,700 posts later I’m still blogging. Below is my very first Vampire Maman post.

I haven’t become a viral parenting blog influencer. I don’t even think the term “influencer” was out there in 2012. Not being your typical “mommy blogger” I don’t wax and wane on the perks of self care, finding the right yoga pants, or how my children are the cutest.

My youngest was in Middle School when this all started. Looking back I see that Middle School and High School are when parenting gets real. If you look hard enough you’ll find the kids are still precious and cute. If you talk to them you find that they’re a joy. They still need you to help them navigate school, friendships, and fear of the future. Impending adulthood terrifies both parents and teens.

Over the years I hope I’ve been able to get my main message TALK TO YOUR KIDS out there. My second would be to prepare your children for adulthood. One day we all grow up and we all have to fly away out of the nest. Overprotecting a child from the harsh realities of the world is only going to put them in harms way.

So how did I do? My son has now has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and has started a business with friends. We’ll see how it does. I’m super proud of them. My daughter was just excepted into graduate school at USC. They both have good relationships with friends and family. They’re both funny. They talk to their parents. They’re a joy.

I wasn’t just taking care of children. Like many parents these days I was also taking care of the elders of my family. I started writing about Eleora and Tellias, the two ancient Vampires who look as if they are college students, but act like they’re in their late 80’s. They have memory issues, and judgement issues. They need extra help. It is both rewarding and heart breaking.

Other features have come up over the years. Short Story Sunday (Tangled Tales) now features over 200 stories – both mine and guest stories. Burning Questions was a popular series I might have to bring back.

One of the most popular features has been Vlad’s Vampire Diary. Oh my goodness the amount of mail I get about Vlad’s “hotness.” It warms my heart. I also get the same amount about my brother Max.

I’ve brought in all four of my brothers, my friend Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, and of course Nigel, everyone’s favorite ghost. Werewolves, Zombies, Demons, and other unusual folk have also graced these blog posts.

We’ve talked about love, music, being different, things that happen in the news, school shootings, death, grief, humor, cats, dogs, long hikes, rock concerts, and everything else under the moon.

Many of my favorite posts have been my December/Christmas posts. Christmas and the paranormal go hand in hand. Believe it or not Vampires love holidays, Christmas trees, and the wonders of the bright stars in the night sky.

Most of all I want to talk about parenting. By that I mean deliberate parenting. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Listen listen listen. Don’t judge. Don’t expect them to be like you. Want them to be better than you. They can and will be better than you if you let them. I’m not a Tiger Mom. I’m a mom who hugs, love, listens, and is aware of what is going on in my child’s life.

I’m not perfect but my kids awesome. But hey, you don’t want perfect kids. Perfection is over rated and boring as hell. What you want is kids who are confident, aware, learn from their mistakes, ask questions, and see the big world around them.

Thank you to all of you who’ve been hanging out with me for the past ten years. I love you all from the deep dark depth of my Vampire heart. To all of you who are new I am glad you’re here.

As I go into the next decade I will adjust to my empty nest life, just as Vlad continues to adjust to the modern world.

I’m glad that I have been able to inspire those with and without children navigate the weirdness and not so weird times in the world in which we live.

Wear a mask. Stay safe. Be kind. Check in on those who be alone or need extra help. Don’t be a dick. Talk to your kids. Kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Special Kind of Magic – Parenting in the Pandemic – Empty Nest Version

When I started writing this blog in 2012 one of my kids was in high school, and the other was in middle school. This was more or less a middle school parenting blog. Then the rest of my family crept into it. The old folks, my brothers, and even my parents. Then friends started to slip in through the cracks. No matter what parenting was always at the core of it all.

On of my kids finished up graduate school at the beginning of the pandemic. Now in the middle of the pandemic my daughter sent in her graduate school applications today. I read some of the letters of recommendation from several esteemed professors and people in her field. I was blown over.

This is the child I took to Black Veil Brides concerts. This is the girl who shocked the horrible middle school PE Bitch teacher with her stylish outfits that DID NOT break the dress code rules. This is the kid who struggled with algebra and ended up taking a series of upper division statistics and economics classes at a top university and getting almost all A’s. Yes, this is the kid who never got below a B in college. This is the kid who inspired me to write about glitter, glue slugs, and Emo music, and growing pains.

These are the kids had tough conversations with about school shootings, and death, and losing, and caring, and unconditional love, and failure, and reputation, and about being an asshole.

My daughter hasn’t been in a classroom since last March. She’ll graduate and never meet most of her upper division professors or classmates in person. She has asked for and received letters of recommendation from professors, and a boss she has never met in person. She has impressed others with her presentations and discussion points but never in person.

Both of my young adults would love to live life in person. Wouldn’t we all. Sure we go to the post office, and the grocery store, but not to schools, or museums, or coffee houses with friends. I guess we could sit outside the coffee houses, sometimes, if there is seating and not too many people are there.

My dog misses the days we’d spend outside at the local coffee house. At our usual table I’d write or read. My giant do would stretch out over the walk way and thump her tail at anyone walking by. I’d have water and treats for her. I’d pretend she was as smart and well behaved as she looks.

Now Garrett, who is 24 is living in the Hollywood Hills, housesitting until the middle of next year, working from home, and working on starting his own business with his best buddy Randy. Neither one of them has a girlfriend right now which is weird but a nice break for Randy’s mom and me. We’ve seen a lot of broken hearts with our sons. I’ve found a lot of love letters in the laundry.

Clara and her boyfriend (both 21) will be getting their own place in January. They’re both seniors in college, but will never set foot in an undergraduate classroom as students again. Their roommates are getting weird. Everyone is getting weird. They’ll save money and time. It just makes sense. Yes, if you’d told me this would be what we’re talking about today in 2012 I would have said NO WAY.

I’m serious about parenting but I’m pretty chill too. It isn’t just a Vampire thing. It is a parenting thing. Seriously, you have to be chill. You have to listen. You have to change with the times as a parent. As parents we are leading the way and we can’t do it blindly using rules from the 1970’s.

My kids are stressed. I’m chill on the outside but going nuts inside.

Clara, her boyfriend of four years, and his orange kitten all came up this week. It was a surprise. It was a 450 mile drive. They’ll go back on Thursday and return before Christmas. They just needed a quiet safe place to finish their finals and graduate school applications. Their homes didn’t provide that right now. Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been a problem but right now it is. I just want them to be able to finish school without any additional stress.

Yesterday Clara and I went out. I had on a red jacket and a red mask with a cat print on it. She wore a black sweater with a black mask with a cat print on it. That wasn’t planned. We just do that – always dressing almost the same or in the same colors. It has been going on since before middle school. It just happens. It is a special kind of mother/daughter magic.

So yes, I write about Vampires, but it is really all about my kids and everyone else I love.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. Hug your dogs and cats. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And of course, if you get a chance, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Trust your kids. Seriously, they’re your kids so you should trust them.

If you automatically assume you can’t trust our kids they will never trust or respect you.
         ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Don’t listen to parenting advice from people who are bad parents with rotten kids.
         ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My nineteen year old daughter just texted me that due to the forest fires she and her boyfriend can’t see Mt. Shasta. Last night she sent me a photo from the cabin they’re staying in near Dunsmuir and Castle Crags State Park.

I would have never sent my parents messages like that had there been phones or texts when I was her age. The only texts they would have sent me were texts asking me where I was and texts that proved they didn’t trust me. I wanted to hear about the dog not their concerns that I might have been doing something bad. Of course they were too uncomfortable talking to me about “bad” things.

Never be uncomfortable talking to your children about anything – no matter how old or how young they are. You’re the parent. You never need to be uncomfortable with YOUR child. Of course you might just be uncomfortable about yourself. Don’t be an ostrich and get your head out of the sand. Ignoring shit won’t make it go away.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents but it was a different relationship than I have with my own children.

I learned that I was not to be trusted even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

Parents assume they can’t trust their teens. Then again can we trust anyone? We all have our secrets. But to automatically assume that youth can’t be trusted does far more harm than good.

If children know you don’t trust them they will learn to lie. They will learn to be great liars too. Lies will be come part of their everyday life. Strange to some but true.

So how do you build that trust? Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Engage with them. Be there for them. Believe them when they do tell the truth. Stand up for them. Start the dialogue when they’re young.

I don’t advocate a totally no rules childhood. Kids are going to make mistakes. They’re going to do stupid things. They’re going to be untrustworthy. That is part of growing up. Childhood is a time of trial and error. But if you teach them to learn from their mistakes, if you guide them to do the right thing, if you teach them about self-respect and the value of a good reputation, if you teach them to be smart – not just book smart but street smart, then, well, it is a good start. Nothing about parenting should be accidental, even if you’re relaxed like me. I’m serious.

Every child is different and every family is different so it isn’t always easy. But don’t go into parenting with a harsh negative attitude. Teach your kids with love, and laughter and a positive attitude. Make them WANT to keep you updated on their where, when, who, and why.

Unfortunately our kids are all unique individuals so we can’t control everything they do or think. We can’t control all of the influences in their lives or their weird impulses. Unfortunately in a lot of families an older child will screw up so the parents assume all of the kids will. Don’t do that. Don’t punish all of your kids for the actions of one.

For example I have known several people who had siblings who took college money and lied about going to school. So the parents decided not to help any of their kids with college. That is just messed up. Don’t punish all of your children for the actions of one.

The blind lack of trust can and will cause resentment that lasts a lifetime. Nobody wants that.

Sure, your children will do stupid things at all stages of their lives. But try to trust them. Give them your trust and they will value it, if they know you value them.

Simplistic? Yes. Easy? Not always.

Sometimes kids are assholes. You have to talk to them about that in straight forward honest terms. Sometimes you have to say “don’t be a jerk” Any kid over ten will understand that.

We’ve all done stupid things in our youth. Learn from your mistakes and use that experience as a parent. That is your job.

I trust you on this one.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

College Life – What I learn from my child

One thing I LOVE about having a child in college is that I learn almost everything my child learns (except the math.)

Ever since Clara, was a preschooler she has always told her dad and I all about what she learned in school. Even when she went on field trips she’d repeat to us what the park rangers, or museum docent said.

Yesterday afternoon she told me about her new political science class (second semester of college started this week.) I learned about the instructor (he used to be a spy, and has two kids.) I learned about how he runs a classroom (no immaturity allowed – he will drop kids who don’t act mature.) I learned what the students will be learning. My child and I talked for about an hour about the two-hour class she’d just finished.

Like I said, this isn’t something new. During the fall semester I learned all about religion, our environment, weird fellow students, art, history, philosophy, and everything except math and Spanish. I did learn all about the math and Spanish classes – the teachers and the fellow students.

I learned who put out tables on campus – mostly political and religious groups. I learned about blood drives, especially after the Las Vegas shooting.

Now the second semester is starting. I’m looking forward to learning about the US Government and Marine Biology.

I’m looking forward to hearing my child’s nightly observations and insights.

I’m looking forward to hearing the passion in her voice.

She knows her parents will actively listen too.

Clara told me that if she tells someone else what she learns it will help her retain the information. True.

My child isn’t one of those brainiacs who always got straight A’s and was wooed by Stanford University or Ivy League schools. But she is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

It isn’t advanced math that will make her go far. She has passion. She has communication skills. Yes, people skills. She listens. She observes. She evaluates. She relates. She sees learning as an active life long skill.

She is my child and I am amazed every single day.

She is also hilariously funny.

Over the years I’ve posted “What we talked about this morning on the way to school” posts. I’ll have to start doing that again. She has her own car now, but we still talk before and after school.

When she leaves for the big university we’ll still talk.

If you get one thing out of this parenting blog THIS is it: Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. LISTEN. Encourage them to talk to you and with you. Hear their thoughts and ideas. The more you listen the more they’ll want to talk to you.

And you’ll say, “Life is good.”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

By the way we also talk about pets, music, people we know, fashion, beauty products, the weather, movies, Netflix, cat and possum memes, and other daily stuff… but that is another blog post.

 

 

 

 

Parenting: What I’d Do Differently

On June 2, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in the morning my daughter graduates from High School. That more or less ends my role as a parent of school aged children.

When I look back at things I’d do different 95% of it has to do with my reactions to situations we’ve encountered at school. Let me rephrase that in a more realistic way. When I was a parent I had no idea I’d have to deal with so many assholes who were dead set on doing the wrong thing for/with/around my children, and other kids who are in my life.

I raise my children not to be bully bait. We’re Vampires so self confidence and fitting in is always a first priority. That said, we’re not any different from any other parents and kids.

So let’s just go down the list.

Why do schools always do their best to protect bullies and brats? That includes children who are sexual predators. Sometimes (most of the time) sitting down and talking to the parents of these children does no good – because the parents are usually the root of the problem.

I’ve seen good teachers fired or driven out of schools by whack job parents and their horrible children. These are people who are constantly complaining, while their kids bully, act out, distract other children, and do horrible things to and around other children.

For example there was a child at our school who decided she wanted to be friends with my daughter. My daughter realized this was a mistake. So then the trouble started. This child would run screaming down the hall. She would take off her clothing in the bathroom and expose herself to other children. By third grade she was telling other children sexually explicit things about sex (like how Gay men perform anal sex.) She would tattle on kids who wouldn’t play with her. She would stalk other kids on the phone and online.

She would tell other children that she wanted to grow up and be in Playboy Magazine, and be a stripper. Since she was a pretty child she would use her big sad eyes and lie to the office staff. Her parents would threaten to sue the school, and they would lie. They lied about my husband agreeing our kids should play. They never talked to my husband. He went up to the school. It wasn’t pretty.

The only administrator who listened left the school for another job. It got worse. A fantastic teacher left the school. The problem child stayed at school. We complained and complained and complained. Nothing happened. We documented the problems. Nothing happened. We were told that the Devil Child wanted to be like my daughter and admired my daughter. What the fuck?

In Middle School the girl developed quickly but refused to wear a bra. It wasn’t as if her family could’t afford it. Some other girls put a bra in her backpack and were suspended. She braless girl screamed and yelled about it as if someone had left a severed head in her backpack.

Something was not right at home – obviously, but nothing was ever done about it. Nobody sent CPS to the home. The child demanded her own way and told other kids that if their parents threatened to sue the school, they too would get to do whatever they wanted to.

With the help of her father the girl learned more complex online stalking. Parents spoke to each other about it, and warned each other so we could all tell our children to ignore her. So they ignored her and she went away.

So much time and effort was spent on this child. Nobody knew who was being blackmailed in the front office. When the children got to High School the girl faded into the background. Nobody in the office would listen to the parents anymore. The girl and her father had physical fights in the parking lot. Then the girl vanished. Then she came back. Then she vanished for good.

Had I been able to do this all over I would have put my foot down harder for the school to do something.

There was also a P.E. teacher I would have had fired because she was horrible to any girl who didn’t act like a boy, or want to be friends with her bully daughter. Nobody liked her, yet she had so much power.

In high school I would have spoken up about the three bad teachers. Luckily there were only three bad teachers. One, a science teacher, had a drug problem. Kids smoked pot in her class and jumped out of windows. Mentally ill druggies should not be in charge of a classroom full of teenagers. The other was a math teacher who was an asshole but protected by the school administration despite parent complaints. Kids who were not allowed to transfer out got bad grades and ended up not getting into the colleges they applied for. The third was an English teacher who I wrote about a few years ago. She couldn’t see talent or desire to learn in children, including mine. She was a jerk. She rushed to judge kids. She was a turtle who hid her head in her shell. If I could go back I would have been up in the school, meeting with administrators in person, and being that parent that all school principals dread.

Other things I would have done include:

  • Learning how to roller skate so I could have skated with my kids.
  • Had a really nice aquarium.
  • Insisted my children learn to garden.
  • Written that best selling novel so my kids could have a parent they could brag about. On the other hand they do brag about us. We’re just not famous. There are advantages to not being famous.
  • Trained the dogs earlier.
  • Traveled more with them.

We’ve never had to deal with teenage angst. Our kids have never told us that they hate us. They always talk to us about everything.

If anyone ever asks me what I am the most proud of I would have to say it is the way I’ve raised my children. They were kids. They’re great young adults. They’ll do fine. They’ll do great. 

So I guess it doesn’t matter about the jerks and assholes. Now they know how to deal with those kinds of people. It is a lesson learned. 

For those who are new here I’ll tell you again how I approach parenting. This is from 2012 but it still applies.

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

This is a thinly veiled parenting blog and a Vampire blog, but most of all it is a blog about relationships. That can be a lot of things including how we relate to our families, or kids, our friends, weird people and our lovers.

The 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.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we won’t talk about them.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

Parenting doesn’t end when they’re grown. We all know that. We’ll still be close. We’ll still be learning. Now I just have to figure out what it means to be a parent of adult children. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t still be calling them to the window to see the cute squirrel on the deck, or looking up to the sky to see bats, or to talk for hours, and laugh just because we can. We’ll still be doing all that and more.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Two Years With The Vampire

proudparentofvampireteens

Two years isn’t much time to spend with a Vampire, especially a Modern Vampire Maman.

I missed my anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary – that is May 3. I missed the anniversary of Vampire Maman. It was two years April 14.

Two years ago I had no idea… no idea at all that I’d have 780 posts up here. Check them out. Please, I mean it. Check out what you’ve missed. If you need suggestions let me know, or just a search on subjects. Check out the side bar to the left for links, suggestions and more about me and this blog.

My brother Max is up for the holiday. We’ve both been put through the ringer with our jobs. He hunts Vampire Hunters and I help fellow Vampires who are needing help navigating the world around them. And I have a husband, elders and kids to take care of – you all know how that is.

Max always asks about the blog. He doesn’t read it unless there is a short story I really want him to read. Family is like that. Don’t expect them to read what you write. Well, that is unless you’re a Werewolf. They’re such pack animals. If you write a grocery list in a Werewolf family everyone reads it. Pack mentality all the way.

Thank you everyone for following along and reading about my adventures, my bad poetry, my venting, my parenting advice, sketches, science, music, fiction, thoughts on most everything and all the rest. And even the occasional cat.

The next few months will bring more adventures about my Vampire brothers, my Vampire Teens, The Ghost and … you know, I don’t plan any of this out so I really have no idea.

What I do know is that I appreciate you, my readers, more than you could ever imagine.

And why yes, this is a parenting blog – or at least about my experiences as a parent. I believe I’ve done a pretty good job. My style is deliberate, thoughtful, loving, happy, full of humor and dead serious. Being a parent IS the most important job anyone, no matter who or WHAT you are can have.

Life is full of mystery and uncertainty. What you can be certain of is that if you talk with your kids, and do it a lot, they will continue to talk to you.

And if you see a Vampire don’t be afraid. For a pint of blood we’ll give you sweet dreams and a warm and fuzzy feeling that will last you a month. Or nightmares… in some cases… just some.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Juliette Vampire Maman

Juliette
Vampire Maman