Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Parenting Manual: The Three Martini Playdate

Saturday as we hung Halloween decorations on the outside of the house due to Jake's persistent prompting, the boys were whipping us so much that we placed an impromptu phone call to Charlie and Kim (Jason's Dad and Dad's wife) to see what they were doing. Ninety minutes later, the boys were downtown at their condo while Jason and I enjoyed a leisurely meal and some light window shopping.

While at Z Gallerie, Jason suddenly grabs my hand and pulls me to a large table with various books and novelty games on it to show me a book called, The Three Martini Play Date, A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting by Christie Mellor. I read a short paragraph and was instantly hooked. This is my type of book! I finished the entire 150 page book that night in about two and a half hours while watching tv. If anyone ever questions the method to my parenting madness, I will instantly hand them this book and tell them to read it. Then they will understand. THIS WOMAN IS ME! SHE GETS IT! I'M NOT MEAN AND CRAZY - I'M SIMPLY NOT LETTING MY CHILDREN RUN MY HOUSEHOLD! The whole book is genius and basically my complete belief of how children should be raised, but I will share a few snippits with you here........

First as an ode to my former post, "My Hell Defined" (if you didn't read it, pause here, go read it and come back), I must share with you this sentence found on the very first page of the book.

"One wasn't required to transport the little children hither and thither, here to T-ball practice, there to a 'playdate,' may the chipper mommy who coined that particular term forever rot in hell of eternally colicky babies. " You would have thought I read this book first and then posted "My hell defined."

Saying No Like You Mean It:
"To what depths have we sunk as parents? We have become ineffectual lap dogs to our children, with all the power and authority of retired security guards. We are bigger than they are. We are supposed to be running things. If you don't start saying no to your children as if you mean it, and you don't start now, the fussing will only get worse...........Learn to say no to your children while they are still young and somewhat malleable, and it will be like money in the bank when they reach those really unbearable hormone-laden years."

On Bedtimes:
"Often parents think that letting their child fall asleep 'naturally' is more, well, 'natural,' although I find nothing natural about a six year old building a fortress out of the sofa pillows at ten o'clock at night."

At Social Events:
"On the other hand, there is the overly precocious 'little adult' who is eternally encouraged to join in with the grown ups, having been told too many times she is 'beautiful' or 'so funny' or 'exceedingly smart.' These tiny party crashers find it necessary to dominate the grown ups' attention with a desperate display of their banter."

Child Labor:
"If your child is older than say, four, there is no reason on earth why he shouldn't be getting his own breakfast, and picking the paper up off the front lawn while he's at it."

"A child who has never been given chores to do is a child who grows up with a skewed sense of entitlement. He shares your home, but strangely, things get picked up after him. The bedsheets are magically changed and laundered, the dinner table is miraculously set every night, and he rarely is told to lift a finger to clean up his messes.......It is time for you to get some much deserved help around the house, not only to lighten your work load but to save your child from growing into an arrogant and spoiled teenager and, ultimately, a helpless grown up." Amen sister!

On Adult Socializing During Playdates:
"I have discovered an easy and fun solution for quickly weeding out the types of parents with whom you would rather not share your afternoons. When forced into a playdate situation, invite the parents over around the cocktail which time I suggest you noisily and with much gusto mix up a cold batch of martinis. This is a surefire way of separating the wheat from the chaff, the cream from the nondairy soy alternative. If after you have offered drinks all around, the visiting parents quickly gather the child and run silently from your house, enjoy your martini with the knowledge that these people were not the sort with whom you would want to embark upon a long term playdate relationship."

Finally, I leave you with a list of activities called the "Do It Yourself After School Enrichment Program", which are suggestions as an alternative to overscheduling your children in 500 extracurricular sporting and cultural events during their waking hours:

1. Care and Cleaning of Barware
2. Fun Foot Rubs for Mom and Dad
3. Finding Neat Hiding Places to Build Forts and Hide from Parents for Hours on End
4. Skedaddling for Beginners
5. Emptying the Dishwasher
6. The Mediative Qualities of Furniture Polishing
7. Hospital corners and the Well Made Bed
8. Make Yourself Scarce
9. Weeding for Fun
10. Delicious Snacks for Mom and Dad
11. The Magic of Sock Sorting and Clothes Folding
12. The Art of Walking on Tiptoes
13. Chemistry in Action! The Gin Fizz
14. Letting Mommy Nap 101

I hope you've enjoyed this post as much as I have. Its like reading the book all over again - and I just might do that! I highly recommend it, although if you subscribe to the philosophy of parenting Christie is mocking, not only do I recommend it, I DEMAND that you read this book. Its never too late to take control, teach your children respect and above all else, how to make a very tasty martini. Its a character building trait that will serve them well for many years to come.

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