Thursday, June 29, 2017

Start of Summer Days

I don't want to fall off the earth, so I'm going to throw you a short one just mentioning what I've been up to these days!

Summer is wind-down time for many but for me, it's just ramping up. School ends, which of course was a lot of chaos, but then that went right into camp. While I don't like a lot of idle time between camp and school, I literally had one free weekday. AND IT RAINED. I have to hand it to my friend Alex though- she rallied with me and we spent a LONG day, at the pool, in the....mist. It was actually fine because it was warm and humid for most of the day and we needed that rain for a cool off. The pool staff let the kids swim because there was no lightning or thunder so it was fine.

We also had the town Fun Fair, which everyone knows is my favorite four days of the year. We didn't go one of the days though because the weather wasn't promising and I wasn't spending $25 on a wristband for the rain to come down and send us home. We stayed late the three nights we were there and E was thrilled.

E also had what seemed like a lot of auditions, all crammed into like ten days. I was in the city more in those last few days of school than I had been in months. We randomly ran into Todd one of the audition days, the owner of Actor's Technique NY on the street, nowhere near his acting school. E hasn't been there for class in awhile because we have no time, so it was nice to catch up for a minute.

There was also E's Dancetc (Fair Lawn) hip hop dance recital thrown in there too at some point. It was a whirlwind making sure he got from NYC to his last dance class before the big day. But we made it! Recital was great- the kids worked really hard and it showed.

B and I got to go out one night too- sans kid. Don, my friend & hairdresser, gave us the recommendation to try Fin, a restaurant in Montclair. Apparently there are four restaurants in the same small area there, owned by the same people, but all different kinds of places/food. Fin is seafood.

First- the area is super cool. Parking can be a bit of a pain, but oddly, without knowing Don's address, we ended up parking right in front of his house! It was a short walk to the restaurant. I'd made a reservation- you have to or you're not getting in. Just like anywhere in Bergen after like six-thirty in the evening. I heard a couple ask for a table and they were nicely turned away because there was nothing available.

Second- It's a cool looking place- as is The Crosby next door, one of their other places. The front is totally open on both so it's a really nice atmosphere without actually being outside.

I ordered the fried calamari and a special with scallops and risotto. The calamari was a little soggy but I think that's totally because of how it was served. If it was served differently, it wouldn't have been. They put it in one of those paper things in a holder. Like other places do with fries.

My scallop special though- was amazing. It was so, so good. I don't remember what B had but he loved his too and I have a picture of it. Totally worth it. It's a little on the pricey side- I'd say it's on par with Legal Seafoods, but you don't want a cheap fish place either. So it wasn't unexpected. It's just not somewhere you can frequent if you're on a budget. I would try their other restaurants though after eating here. They do seem to care about quality cuisine.

Montclair isn't far from us. I don't know why we don't go there more often. I guess we just don't think about it. After dinner we went walking around and just took it all in. There was live music going on, a lot of bakeries and other kinds of shops. We've been to Montclair before, but just not in a long time and not without E, I don't think.

I can't believe it's almost July already. I've been wearing sunscreen, and I'm not tan, so it doesn't really FEEL like summer...not to mention the weather has been all over the place. But I'll take it over winter any day. Happy 4th weekend! Have fun and be safe!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice, otherwise known as the longest day of the year. It will probably be light out until like 9p, which is awesome. This is my season. Living in NJ, we get such a small window of good, outside weather, that summer isn't relaxing in the LEAST for me (or us, because that includes B), but it sure is a good time.

I thought I might reflect on the past school year too, since this is kind of like my "New Years". There's Rosh Hashana, the "real" New Year in January, and then Summer Solstice (for ME). Reminds me of an old friend who used to say, "This is MY Superbowl" about the Emmy, Tony and Oscar awards. This is MY New Years.

I didn't have anything major happen to ME, but we did make and SELL my rainbow PRIDE chandelier. I never thought I'd sell it, but I had this amazingly awesome customer who I felt would really appreciate it as much as I do. I also was able to score an external freezer for twenty dollars from someone in town. Anyone that knows me and how I freeze everything, understands exactly what excitement and happiness this freezer brings.

Instead of just being a behind-the-computer-screen-slacktivist, I went to marches, rallies, and joined groups of likeminded folk who DO stuff. I found groups and an even louder stronger voice than I had before. I helped do important things for people who need help standing up to hate.

I got my DVR down to 62%. I don't know that I've seen such a low percentage before.

It's the last day of second grade for E tomorrow. He's thrilled. Unfortunately, he doesn't like school. Not because he's having a difficult time academically or socially. His own words are just- "I don't think we're meant for have to sit and do work all day. There isn't enough free time for fun stuff". He's not wrong- it's just going to suck to know he has a long time ahead of doing this. It's also no reflection on his teachers or the school- he just decided this year that he plans on being a rockstar, so he doesn't "need" school. Awesome.We told him that he needs to be really good at then and we'd like a shore house when he makes it big.

He had a good year though, all things considered. A year of new things. He started guitar lessons with a great teacher. He took hip hop class with Spex, which he loved. He was on a new (to him) swim team that was a much better experience than last year. He got dropped by one agent and picked up by a new (to him) manager. He worked background on the tv show The Blacklist: Redemption, which was exciting for us since we watch that. He became a TAD more adventurous with food. Not much- I still have a freezer filled with thirty-three peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and twenty-seven single servings of mama's meatloaf.

We gave him a little more physical freedom. He started walking to friends homes in the neighborhood. That was helpful to me because I was storing a brisket at my friend Alex's house and I was able to send him to go retrieve it for me. He felt very grown up setting out to pick up my meat.

Today he walked to school on his own for the first time. When I asked if he wanted to, he practically jumped to the door like a dog seeing his leash. He wanted to leave forty minutes before the bell rang but I put the kibosh on that. He crossed three streets, made it to school and even remembered to text me that he made it there. I didn't expect he wouldn't, but it's just good practice to remember to check in.

I know giving independence can be difficult for many. I've made light of it, but I know not every kid is the same and they're ready at different points. E is definitely an older eight than some others. Part of my insistence of doing this for him is because I strongly believe it's how they gain street smarts. How they get prepared to be set out into the world. The other part though, is having seen a friend the same age as me pass away, at forty. Our boys are the same age. I feel like we always think there is tomorrow to teach them something else- some way to take care of themselves. I know first hand there isn't always tomorrow, so I have this huge pull to make sure I cram him with every skill I can think of to make sure he is as capable as he can be, while I still am here to do it. Maybe that sounds paranoid? 

I just want to know he will be a fully functioning member of society by the time he's expected to be. We just watched this season's episode of Orange Is The New Black where Frieda's dad took her into the woods and left her there to give her a test- to see if she could make it back and in a certain amount of time. He left her the tools she'd need. She was able to do it- albeit covered in leaches at one point, but I totally got his mindset.

The other big thing that happened was that E was finally diagnosed with Tourette's. We got the diagnosis on December 27, 2016. Don't look at me with sad, sympathy face when I tell you in person either. I've never been happier to get a diagnosis for anything in my life and have it be "something". Why? What do I mean? Imagine going on like seven years of knowing something is "wrong" with your kid, but being shuffled from specialist to specialist, getting prescriptions for medications he didn't need, having scary possible diseases and syndromes casually thrown at you, and having seen twenty-three doctors. Well, that was us. Finally doctor twenty-four, recommended by a trustworthy source in the neurological field, was able to give us a definitive diagnosis. Not only that, showed me paperwork defining E and his issues, which is something no doctor prior had ever given me.

Long story short, E's symptoms are mild and present as allergies. Test after test, no allergies were showing up, but there were all these tics that looked like what someone with an allergy would be doing. Knowing it's Tourette's doesn't change what he's doing or any treatment, but it changes OUR mindset. Instead of wanting to tie his hands behind his back because he's rubbing his face raw, or worrying that he needs glasses because he's making a weird eye movement, we can just relax, know it's tics, that they'll wax an wane, and just breathe. It's never easy to watch your kid tic, but it's a lot less worrisome when you know why he's doing it- that he doesn't have a possible brain tumor or some other horrific thing. We can live with Tourette's.

There's nothing for us to do but watch it. The doctor said it could get worse before it gets better, but he gave us the possible light at the end of the tunnel that it could also go away by the later side of the teen years. It's hope. I'll take it. He doesn't fit criteria to medicate, because it doesn't bother him, or affect him negatively academically or socially. Now, we just let him tic, try to get him to notice he's doing it and try to calm it down, but if he can't, he can't. He has slight OCD to go with it, as that often is the case, but so do I. It is not easy to tell what's Tourette's, eight, Aquarius, genes, or asshole. It's all a learning curve.

I'll add that I still give him the magnesium supplement- I found chewables on or Amazon and I, *I* feel it helps. I'm going to continue giving them to him. It can't hurt. It's not an excessive amount of magnesium anyway, and a lot of parents have said they do magnesium as well. It wasn't totally off-base or some crunchy voodoo nonsense.

That's it really. School is going to be out tomorrow. The pool opens daily on Friday. I'm back at my perch and I now have a "crew". We made really good friends this year. Basically, I made sure to make the effort to really connect with people I like and foster those relationships, instead of just becoming the extroverted introvert that I naturally am. Or is it introverted extrovert? In any event, we have people I really love to hang out with, especially this summer. The best part is that they all like each other, which I think is rare. I don't actually know- I have always had friends just here and there, that didn't interact with each other. Now, I have people who can hang together, which is a lot of fun. I never had a "crew" before, besides B and E. I like it. Two of our crew are getting married in a few weeks, to each other, so we're looking forward to that too. I was even able to score a secondhand Sky brand dress to wear to it, which is fabulous.

E starts camp this coming Monday, and while that's been a whirlwind with the end of school and going right into camp, there's nothing like not having to make or deal with lunch for eight weeks. Not having to drop off or pick up is pretty sweet too. Unlike school, he does love camp (what's not to love?!) so he's excited and I'm excited because that means there's extra me-time built in there. I do take a day off here and there to go to the town pool ALONE. That's my happy place- alone, at the pool, with my new chair.

Happy Summer Solstice, friends!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Glen Rock 4-day Fun Fair

My favorite carnival and week of the year is here! If you make it to any carnival this year, this is the one you want to check out! June 21-June 24, 2017!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Broken Record: Drinking Problems

I can't believe I even have to write this one. I'm so angry I have no choice.

We had our elementary school's pool party at our town pool this past Monday evening. It's my son's favorite night of the school year. It's from 6p-9p, there's a DJ, people bring food, the kids and some of the parents swim, and it's a fun night had by all.

I don't swim. I could be sitting my behind on my couch watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black. I work. I'm f'ing tired. I have stuff to do. I go to this, for my son, because he loves it. I sometimes like to socialize with other parents from school. Some I consider good friends, and we always can make a good time. I don't need to be at this pool party to hang with them though. One of my closest friends in town, whose kids also go to the same elementary school didn't even go. I may see her today, so obviously the pool party isn't our only chance to socialize.

My point is- this isn't a party for us. It's not an adult party. It's a kids party. A party FOR THE KIDS. Yet, apparently, a decent amount of parents decided it was their backyard, not the municipal pool, and that they'd bring and consume alcohol, and do it completely just out in the open. Hello, entitlement. Extreme entitlement.

I mean, really...WHAT THE ACTUAL FCUK?  I knew the drinking was going on. I chose to sit away from the majority of the parents there because I didn't even want to be associated with it. I didn't need a crystal ball to know it would be going on either- this is the norm for a lot of these parents who were involved. I've been to other school functions, on school property, where parents were drinking. Oh, no- This isn't the first time. The kick-off of school picnic night, movie night, now the pool party- drinking. Usual suspects.

It's really sad. It's two or three hours of time that we're there FOR our kids, to have a good time. If you can't manage to get through two or three hours with your kids, at SCHOOL events, where other people are liable- people who are probably people you consider friends, where you have to drive your kids home, where alcohol is always explicitly prohibited- without drinking alcohol, you're a functioning alcoholic. Seriously. Especially when it involves your kids swimming, in a large pool. Some of these kids can't even pass the deep water test. Do you think it's cool to drink when there are kids in a pool who can barely swim? Even if your kid CAN swim, you never know what can happen when they're playing or rowdy or whatever. AND IT'S THREE HOURS. Three hours of socializing with people you know enough to make polite conversation or to catch up with ones you haven't seen in awhile.

*Is that a fair assessment above? I think so. Not everyone agrees. To me- There is a difference between drinking socially/responsibly and being known as the one who always parties at inappropriate times and places. I guess it comes down to what people think is appropriate. If you went to the pool party and never drink at school events, but had a bad choice moment- no, you don't have a drinking problem, you made really poor choice. If this is your normal behavior, to drink at school events where alcohol is known to be prohibited- I stand by it. It's a problem. If you feel really defensive about your drinking- it's a problem. The first criteria I read for being a functioning alcoholic is three drinks in a day or 7+ in a week.

Someone asked if the parents were drunk. I don't know and I'm not sure why that matters. Drinking problems don't all look alike. Someone doesn't have to be passed out or look or a certain way to be considered an alcoholic. I'm also not against all drinking or all drinking in front of kids. I have certainly had drinks in front of my kid. I haven't done it at a school event, where it's prohibited, and I haven't gotten in a car to drive after having drinks around him. I didn't make the definition of functioning alcoholic up. I put WebMD's definition of a functioning alcoholic at the bottom of the blog.

I'm not a perfect parent. I yell. I don't volunteer for much in the school. I don't go to Field Day. I don't check books out for kids in the school library. I don't play games with my kid. I *do* know enough that it's certainly not modeling appropriate behavior to drink alcohol at a school event or pool party where it's also other people's neck and insurance on the line.

I just got a chastising email from the HSA about the drinking. I'm furious. Rightfully furious. I'm pissed I even have to receive this kind of email because I don't feel I should be lumped in with this kind of moronic behavior. Then I'm pissed because there's such moronic, selfish, behavior to begin with. I'm fairly certain it was known who was actually drinking because they got caught by being totally indiscreet. THAT is who should've received the email. I feel like a scolded child.

We might lose the pool party privilege. That's f'ing embarrassing! I wonder if these parents think it's funny. Haha, we got caught drinking. Haha. If we lose the party are those the parents who are going to start yelling- "We pay exorbitant taxes! We deserve the pool party!" Or, are they going to use the kids in it- "The KIDS deserve their party!" Uh, yeah, THEY do. But it seems like the parents need a time-out! Should they have to check our bags on the way in?? Are we up to that?? It sure seems that way.

As we were walking out of the pool party, E looked down. Sad. I asked what was wrong. He said- "This is my favorite night of the year. It's so much fun and now I have to wait a whole YEAR to do it again!". Well, I hope I don't have to tell him that he's not ever having it again because some parents were really immature and selfish and just couldn't wait to drink their alcohol until there were no kids around. Although, it would probably be a good teaching moment as to what drinking gets you. It's just really unfortunate that it wasn't the kids that deserved the teachable moments this time.

Again- I don't care IF you drink. I don't care if you drink every day, as some of these parents have admitted they do. However- DON'T DRINK AT SCHOOL FUNCTIONS. Don't drink at the SCHOOL pool party. Learn wtf is an appropriate place and time to drink. Don't drink at the school sponsored pool party where kids are swimming. Don't make your need or desire to drink other people's problem or liability. 

MANY parents in town are up in arms, want to know why the teenagers are drinking, or drinking so often and so much? Take a look in the mirror and what you're modeling for the kids. That rules don't matter and you need alcohol to have a good time. It's ridiculous.

*When I posted this blog entry, people started a dialogue on my Facebook page about it. It went off this topic of school sanctioned events & got semi-heated. Walking around drinking on Halloween was brought up. Some think that's messed up to do and some think it's fine. You want to walk around with alcohol on your own time with your own kids- that's a gray area for me. Your kids probably don't know you're drinking. So you're not really modeling anything. It's not *my* definition of "partying".

I did say that if you can't spend one night sober with your kids, it's a problem. The argument back was that the people drinking while trick or treating on Halloween probably spend many nights sober with their kids, so I should be specific and say, if they can't spend a school event sober..." To me, that's just semantics. I don't know what people are doing the other nights. If they ARE drinking daily/nightly- that's considered a problem clinically, not just my opinion. Specifically, if we're talking *my* personal experience, with the people in question in the original scenario- same actions, same people, different day/event. Cumulatively- it's something to look at as more than casual, just making a party of something or to ease social anxiety.

Moderation in modeling healthy drinking behavior is fine. Moderation is having some wine with dinner. Modeling healthy moderation isn't bringing alcohol into a school event. No one can argue that any of the drinking last Monday night was in any way okay or acceptable. A difference in parenting styles is breast or bottle, crib or co-sleeping. Monday night's drinking wasn't a difference in parenting styles - it was the difference in common sense and none.

Back to the pool night, which this originally was about: How about some kind of honor code too - like in Dead Poet's Society. People should've gotten kicked out as soon as anyone was seen with alcohol or someone smelled it on them. As soon as they were seen with alcohol, you get booted. Bye! People have to stop caring what other people think, making friends, or being cool. We're not teenagers. We shouldn't need to be seen as the cool kids.

I think anyone who was drinking that night should come forward, take responsibility, apologize, and sign something that they won't attend the next time- that they'll send their kids with someone else. Or they'll sign something that says they won't be bringing alcohol. Whatever it is they have to do to insure that everyone else doesn't have to suffer for their frat level antics. If you need to bring liquor to the movie night, to the pool, to any school event- you need to start assessing your actions and how they affect other people. When it affects me, and my kid, and the other parents and kids who managed to be sober on Monday, you have become *my* problem. I hope that beer, wine, or "exotic" lemonade was worth it.

Definition of Functioning Alcoholic

Thursday, June 8, 2017

FREE Acting Class!

See if ATNY's Summer Classes are Right for You.


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We Are Family

I wanted to write this last week, but I have pictures I wanted to add to it, and I couldn't find the photo album they were. Of course, I had every other album but this particular one. I finally found it yesterday, so I'm good to go.

Most of you know how I feel about family. That family doesn't necessarily doesn't mean who you are blood related to, but that it's who has your back while you have theirs. It's reciprocal, not obligation. It's relationships that lift you up, not bring you down. It gives you a warm feeling, not a pit in your stomach.

I have no guilt whatsoever saying goodbye to toxic people, whether related or not. I don't look at it as cutting out, I look at it as giving me more time and energy to spend on the people who we consider family. Who we want to see and who want to see us, with no expectations that we'd be set up to fail. 

My mom was my family. Even she though had these weird ideas about obligation and the right thing to do. As a kid I had to call people I didn't want to talk to every Sunday night. I had to send cards to this person or that person for whatever fake Hallmark holiday. I resented it, because I don't believe I should have to do that unless I'm feeling it. If it's not authentic, what's the point? I do plenty, in my own way, that doesn't include fake sentiment on cue. I'm not very schmaltzy. I'm just not a greeting card kind of gal. I don't wax poetic all the time about how I feel. I write a blog entry when I feel compelled to share, and call it a day.

Since Rita passed away in 2009, when E was around seven months old, for the most part, it's been B, E, and me as a "family". Not long after my mom died, E lost all his grandparents. For whatever reasons they had, the rest chose not to be in his life. I didn't feel guilt that he didn't have grandparents, I just felt sad for him that he'd romanticize the idea of grandparents. The ones he was left with wouldn't have been the romantic version, but I was sure he'd always wonder anyway.

Barbara was my mom's best friend and neighbor. She picked up all Rita's slack when I was a kid- feeding us, letting us in when my mom forgot to be around after school or whenever. But she was my mom's friend and I was off doing my own thing. I grew up, went to college, lived by my school, and was just living my life. I had my own issues with my mom at times so her friends weren't really on my radar.

She started coming every week after my mom died to see E. And me. I just felt like she knew my mom would want her to spend time with E, not in her place, but to get to enjoy him like she would have. Eventually her husband, Bob, started coming too. As E grew, he was more and more active, and more fun for them to play with, teach and hang out with.

As they'd come to see us every week, we got closer also. Lucky on both ends. I got the benefit of their love, wisdom, and getting to hear the other sides of stories I only knew Rita's half. They made so many things in my past make more sense. On their end, they were made to get iPhones and learn how to text. That, was life-changing for them. Now they know to text when they're stuck in traffic instead of people thinking they could be dead.

E looked and looks forward to every visit, not happy when plans have had to change and they couldn't come or we couldn't be there. He got very attached to them and it was totally reciprocal. Out of the blue, a few years ago, he started calling them his grandparents. They happily let him. They have their own grandchildren, but they never made him feel like he wasn't theirs. They have huge hearts and take people under their wings all the time, so why not us too?

It would've been great if my mom hadn't died or the other grandparents had stepped up. However, I wouldn't trade B & B for the world. E (and we) got exactly what we need. People who care, who we reciprocate the feeling, with no obligations and no drama. We couldn't have asked a genie for a better relationship.

Last week, E had off two days from school to make up for the snow days they didn't have. One of the days, B & B decided to take him to Van Saun Park. I had other stuff to do, sent him off with them and was doing my normal Tasmanian Devil errand session. As I was in the supermarket, I got photos from Barbara of E and them on my phone, from the park.

I just got this feeling...I don't know if it was just an overwhelming feeling of luck or what. I've been there with E a million times. Just not in awhile because he's older and we're busy. As I looked at the couple of photos, it just reminded me of how my grandparents used to take me there when I was a kid. He gets to have that experience, with his grandparents, and have the same kind of awesome memories I have. I never thought he'd have that after my mom died. Even if she'd been alive, she was more the grandma to have him watching Gossip Girl than out in the trenches of the outdoors in any way. Maybe laying naked in the pool tanning, telling him he didn't get enough color.

They've enriched his life so and I'll be eternally grateful that he got to have that experience and so many more that they've given him. They take him to museums and places I don't have the time or inclination to go. They read with him and teach him things I'd never think to teach him. They give him love, attention, affection, and every inch of their hearts. They treat him like he's one of their own. They spoil him. They give him tons of chatchkes that he thinks he's passing on to "his son". They are his grandparents.

I just wanted to get that out because there is no way to repay what they've done for us, just because of who they are. They took on a whole little family of three and made us five. I'm never buying a card to say this, that COULD say this, so I put it here, with the pics I found of me and my grandparents, along with the pics of E and his adopted ones.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Not Kool or Cool

I've had things swirling around to write about, so many things I haven't gotten to, but I went down the rabbit hole of trying to use Instagram for business, and I can't even explain how time consuming that's been. I still don't like it, don't really get it, and am annoyed that I'll never reclaim all these hours of my life, but that's another blog entry I'll probably never get to write.

This morning I was on the treadmill and B came downstairs to ask me if I knew anything about an overdose that happened over the weekend in our town. I had no idea what he was talking about. Why? Because I've only been on Instagram. No overdoses showed up there, so I'm clueless. He said it was on our town Facebook page(s) but with no details. He saw it shared by one of our councilmen on his pages.

Our first thought was that it was a kid in town. I still have no idea who it is or any further details. The councilman who wrote about it is a friend, and I read what he wrote. He put something in there about how shaming people doesn't work to stop the epidemic of drug abuse. I wholly agree. I agree with not shaming the ADDICT. 

Like I said, I don't know if this is a kid or what. I don't know if the person actually died or what. Whoever it was, it's devastating. Just for argument's sake, let's say it was a kid. I wouldn't be surprised. There is a culture in this town, and I'm sure in others, of parents trying to hard to be the "cool parents" and just accepting underage drinking and allowing it in their homes and/or just not saying anything when it's done in other homes in town. We thought about whether we could mobilize other parents we know to be part of a group who would be the "anti-cool parents". People might pronounce our last name as "Kool", but we are definitely not cool with underage drinking.

I know there has always been the school of thought of "well, they're going to do it anyway, so I'm just providing a safe space. I feel more comfortable with them experimenting at home". No. What you're doing is illegal, stupid, and just letting your kids know that you're okay with some substance use. You're giving the okay. "Every kid drinks- you're naive to think they won't". No. I didn't drink in high school. I was boy crazy. I felt drinking would impede my ability to dazzle a boy with my scintillating conversation. There are plenty of kids who don't drink. I wasn't the only one not drinking in my class. I also hear- "You wait until your kid is a teenager". Again, no. Guess what? I heard that when he was a baby about being a toddler, then about being elementary school age, and I'll keep hearing it. We still haven't changed our parenting.

Anyone that really KNOWS me would know that I don't mess around, don't care about being cool or even having friends. I certainly don't care about small town social climbing. I don't care about E's social status. I don't care if he or his friends don't think I'm the "fun, cool, no rules, mom". If me being a vigilant watchdog and strict about drinking and drugs compromises his popularity, it's my responsibility to help him navigate that. He can complain about us to the therapist I'll find for him. My job isn't to help him be cool in the eyes of his peers. It's to be his parent. To enforce rules and boundaries, and to keep him alive.

I can't and won't say that our kid won't experiment, that he won't try alcohol. But when it happens, you can bet he will be pinned up against the wall, getting reamed, then grounded, and whatever else we can think of to make sure he understands what is and isn't acceptable as part of our family. You want to judge the pinning up against the wall? Go ahead. I'd much rather be judged for being "that parent" vs the one who lets their freshman boy have drinking party because he didn't make travel soccer.

That also goes to modeling behavior. You may even think you're one of "us"- the not cool parents who won't accept, promote, or condone underage drinking, but not realize you're bringing your kids up around a culture of drinking that shows them it's just normal behavior to drink daily. I can't count how many times moms have posted anecdotes about their young children mentioning "mommy's wine", thinking it's so cute and funny. Or drinking daily around the kids, taking pics of the baby/toddler/older kid holding a beer or alcohol bottle and posting it on social media with a funny caption. It's really not that funny. You're setting your kids up to think that daily drinking, or that it's wine o'clock somewhere is totally normal. It's not.

I'm not telling you not to drink. Or even not to do drugs. Just don't make your house one that makes drinking seem like something you do all the time with no thought. That the only way to have fun is having people over drinking all the time. Where the kids are seeing all the mommies drinking their special drink that looks so enticing every time people are over. Think a little about what your kids are seeing and the attitudes toward drinking like it's something to look forward to or that you can't hang out without it and still have a good time. That you can't get through a school function without adding alcohol. Don't think that's a leap? I've BEEN at numerous school functions where I know parents are drinking alcohol. They can't get through a two hour event without it. Or just don't want to get through that event without it.

I'm not against drinking. I'm not even against marijuana. I've smoked it and if I didn't have to drive or see my kid for hours, I'd partake in it if it was offered by someone I trusted. I drink at my friend Noreen's party every year. I had sangria at dinner the other night. I certainly can live without it and I don't pull out a glass of wine nightly to pair with my Jenny Craig meal. I don't bring a flask to school functions and I really don't need it to go to a mom's night out at the movies. The whole idea of bringing alcohol to a movie theater doesn't even compute. I'm for there being a time and a place for things, for those who are OF AGE. I also know myself and know *I* can take or leave all of it. The only think I'm addicted to is sugar.

My parents weren't what other people would consider strict. The did have things that I knew, especially as the firstborn, that weren't going to be tolerated. I had my own phone in my room that was my lifeline. My parents giveth and made it clear that it could be taketh away. If I got a progress report (in my day, that was a bad thing), or anything less than a C, that phone would be ripped out of the wall. And it was, literally, ripped out of the wall once. I remember it was also taken for a month. Grades were a thing in my house and a C wasn't even a high expectation. I didn't have a lot of rules but I knew to get passing grades and not to get pregnant. I just knew what was acceptable and what wasn't.

An old friend of mine has an article posted on her page by someone else. I read it yesterday and couldn't agree more. It was all about how there has become a disturbing transfer of authority from parents to kids. It's like parents are afraid to upset their kids. I don't know if they're afraid their kids won't like them, won't want to hang out with them, or what. Maybe it has to do with higher rates of divorce and parents being afraid of not being the favored parent. Whatever the reason, it feels like many parents are afraid to parent because of repercussions from their kids.

KIDS WANT BOUNDARIES. Whether they know it at the time or not, they do. How many times have you thought, said or heard the words, "If I'd done or said that to my parents...Forget it. I would've been backhanded into next week..." or something to that effect. They didn't do it. Or they did and there were real, actual consequences. And they didn't do it again.

Here's the article:

You might be thinking that I'm all over the place talking about parenting style, alcohol, drugs, etc and you're not sure what they have to do with each other. That's the first problem. Getting people to realize that they are all connected. You may not think the drinking is that big of a deal and that it doesn't open the door to other things. Permissive parenting does though. You permit the drinking, the door is open. You think your kid is the good kid and wouldn't do alcohol or drugs. What about the good kid who has been "good" all this time and decides that she got into her first choice college, she always does the right thing, so she's going to blow off some steam at a party and drink a little. The drinking lowers her inhibitions so she decides to try something else. She's already buzzed so what the hell, why not? You have no idea, after all the helicoptering and coddling you've done to this point has all but eliminated her ability for critical thinking and making good choices. She'd never failed, never been allowed to make a mistake and have natural consequences, so she naively makes a very wrong one, just that one time....

B and I were talking over the weekend about how we can be proactive with this rising drug epidemic. I don't want to shame the addicts. I don't want to shame the parents of addicts. I don't know how they got to where they are- the kids or the parents. People have extenuating circumstances. Bad luck. Wrong place, wrong time. Genetic or hereditary predilection to addiction.

I made a mistake a few months ago when it was written on a local news site that two teens from my town were arrested for burglarizing downtown businesses. I had and have no idea if it was drug related. My issue was with the ongoing crappy reporting that leaves readers with more questions than answers from every article, because they're more concerned with being first versus being comprehensive. I did a quick search online of the one kid's name because I wasn't even sure the reporter had that correct and came up with another offense committed by the same kids. I posted it under the article to illustrate that all it took was some Googling and there was more to the story.

I got lambasted for putting the info out there. All I did was post a link to another article from months prior to this incident. I didn't/don't know these people. I wasn't even thinking about the people. My intent wasn't to shame anyone but the reporters for lack of pertinent information. The overwhelming response was that I wasn't being "neighborly", and that it was kicking people while they were down. Nevermind that I have a business downtown and I wanted to know whether businesses in my town were being targeted, if it was a prank gone awry, or gang activity. People scoffed at gang activity in our Mayberry town. However, I'd been told by police in another local town that there IS gang activity infiltrating everywhere. That gang members somehow befriend kids in affluent towns to gain access to the homes they can hit at other times.

Then one or two fifteen year old girls in town passed out on elementary school property and I think one was arrested for having drugs on her person. It was immediately written on the town Facebook pages to be mindful of what you say because "these are your neighbors children". That mentality is very telling. It's more important to be neighborly, which really means to sweep it under the rug, than it is to shine a light on the problem. It doesn't have to be by shaming, or speculating, but the fact that it's happening, DOES need to be discussed. We NEED to be talking about how and where the drugs are coming from, where they're using, why they're using, and how we can stop it. It's not enough to look at graphs and statistics, or have drug disposal programs. Those programs are great, and help, but it's not stopping the turning a blind eye by certain parents. It's not the parents turning in their pills that are the problem. Stuff like that is preaching to the choir. It's the "not MY kid" parents and the ones thinking it's fine that their kid was drinking because it was the semi-formal or a winning football game or graduation.

People say that my kid and his friends are too young to hear about drugs, drinking and overdoses. No. They're not. This is when you want to get their attention while you still have it. They are sponges now. They're always going to be our "babies". You're never going to think they're old enough to hear or deal with the atrocities of reality. We want to start teaching and instilling our expectations, BEFORE they get to that point of no return. B and I said we'd love to make a group of the uncool parents who want to take a stand that we're not going to accept or condone this and we want the kids and other parents to know. We want to be such a present force that the ones who care more about being cool than actual parenting feel the pressure not to think that being cool means allowing illegal and dangerous behavior.

I'll tell any other parent right now, come a few grades higher, even if we're friends, if I find out you're allowing drinking and whatever in your house, by the kids, I'm calling the cops on you. If that makes us not friends, I'm good with that. If I sound like a judgemental biotch, I'm totally not caring whatsoever. If writing this gets me uninvited to any town parties, I won't be losing any sleep over it.

Who is with me?

All being the cool parent gets you is dead kids.

BTW, it's really sad that I Googled "mom memes wine" and there were just pages and pages- I just grabbed some of the first I saw...