Advice

Parenting is not a one size fits all kind of experience.   One must be cautious when executing another parent’s “oh my god, you have to try this” or “oh my god, I swear by this.”  This is easier said than done.

When Dylan was a baby, a friend’s mother swore by the Svan, a stylish, functional and very expensive Scandinavian high chair.    You know me, I bought one the next day.  $250 plus tax and Dylan hated it.  It was like it was possessed and he could feel the evil if he got within five feet of it.  I ended up buying a $50 high chair from Target (Dylan loved it), and I took a lot of heat for the pricey Svan that collected dust in the closet.  (FYI: When converted to a toddler seat, the Svan possesses no evil spirits and both kids enjoy sitting on it – and fighting over it – now.)

I’ve given some potentially good/potentially bad advice myself over the years.  One mom was desperate to stop her son from having tantrums when she dropped him off at day care, and I said maybe she was hanging around for too long.  I told her, “Get in and get out.”  

Here’s another one: If your child throws a blunt object at your head with a mischievous smile on his face (like Riley did earlier this week with a dump truck), send his cute butt straight to time out, and, for Pete’s sake, raise your voice when you tell him throwing toys at Mama is not nice and HURTS.

A few weeks ago, a friend on Facebook asked for advice on how toget her toddler son to keep his hands to himself.  My response was: “consistency, patience and a lot of Pinot Grigio.”  That was mostly good advice, right?  Speaking of Facebook, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Zuckerberg for giving Mamas a worldwide platform to brag, complain and occasionally share little nuggets of genius with perfect strangers, I mean, friends of friends.

I don’t know about you, but my kids went to about ten houses on Halloween and brought home ten pounds of candy.  What is it about small, adorable children that makes adults want to stuff their buckets with, in Dylan’s words, a million pieces of candy? Thanks for the twelve Twix bars, Lady, but one each would have been plenty.  I’m not anti-candy, although I would choose cake over candy any day of the week, but now that I’m a parent, there’s something grossly excessive about this holiday.

Back on Facebook, a friend posted her concerns about the onslaught of Halloween candy.  I understood her uneasiness.  We call Riley “The Beast” when he eats a single M&M. In the comments, one of her friends suggested the Halloween Fairy solution.  The idea is to let your kids have a few pieces of their favorite candy and then leave the rest in a special place where the Halloween Fairy exchanges the candy for a toy while they sleep.  Brilliant!

I had some small toys in the closet for just this kind of situation (a Lego helicopter for Dylan and a set of mini-construction trucks for Riley…one of which he hurled at my head the next day), and they had no trouble letting the candy go.  In a few years, this advice might be preposterous, but for now it was just right.  

The next day, I used my Facebook page to declare Candy Fairy success (that’s what we called her in our house), and in doing so, provided inspiration to even more Mamas burdened with gallon-sized plastic bags filled with sugar, partially hydrogenated oils and food dyes, I mean, candy.

Now the dilemma is what to do with all the candy I have stashed in the laundry room, including the boys’ treats and the leftovers that we gave out.  (Yes, I gave out candy…the M&M’s and Skittles kind.  Deep down, I wanted to hand out raisins and stickers, but I also didn’t want to be the house that kids avoided and the Mama and wife that my kids and husband rolled their eyes at.  Change takes time, my friends, even for a Mama as enlightened as me. In my defense, though, no matter how cute those costumed kids were, I gave out one treat per customer.)

Many dentists are participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back that sends candy to our troops abroad. (Click here to find a participating dentist near you.)  Thankfully they send toothbrushes with the care packages, but I must admit, I don’t feel great about unloading candy on anyone…except for the Candy Fairy…which still leaves me with a candy dilemma and makes me wonder how to handle future candy-filled holidays.  Any advice? 

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