Category Archives: Discipline

Tune in to Crank Time

“M-o-m-m-e-e-e-e-e-, I want it!” shouts one daughter

“No, I want that!” exclaims the other one.

“No, it’s M-I-N-E” asserts the older one again, louder, yanking even harder.

They shout and pull. They fight and argue. I ignore it. I project myself onto a white sand beach where small children are banned and husbands are only allowed if the wife so wills them there.  If I avert my eyes and say nothing, perhaps they’ll forget I’m here to negotiate yet another peace treaty, I think desperately.

No children or husbands in sight...

Meanwhile, back in reality, the young humans are still sparring over some useless fifty cent compass they picked out at the dentist’s office, despite being in a room overflowing with engaging, colorful and age-appropriate toys. Dare I wonder why they must fight over something that they don’t even know how to use, let alone what North, South, East or West even means?

 “Let’s start a show and call it Crank Time,” suggests my good friend on the phone one day, as we blurted out the latest top ten list of egregious kid behaviors executed by our own offspring. We immediately conclude this is a brilliant idea. What better venue could there be for us?  First – we are awesome. Second, we are clearly telegenic, witty and never short on words. With Crank Time, we can stylishly discuss our complaint du jour and invite guests to debate. The truth is, beyond children, anything is fair game: nanny, husband, boss, latest absurd celebrity baby name, the opportunities endless.  Once we’ve exhaled our frustrations, we can move on.  We conclude our show’s mission is cathartic moments for busy moms, a hybrid of commentary and debate.  

“What I really want is a kid-taser,” unabashedly announces this same friend. Topic one for Crank Time, I suggest, because frankly, in some moments, I could go for a Kid Taser. Couldn’t you? Imagine it, kid acting like a maniac, kid spiraling out of control, quick use of the kid-tase and bam, problem temporarily solved. Who has time to read the parenting books anyway, especially when we have a swift and easy-to-use technique on hand.

I think I hear the screeching wheels of child protective services pulling out front of Crank Time’s studios right now. Little do they know I am affiliated with more shadowy figures who suggest other offensive escape route plans for bad kid behavior.

“How about a chloroform wipe, I could really go for one of those on a very rare occasion with my 3-year-old, to just knock her out for a few seconds. The problem is, some jerk out there will abuse it and ruin it for the rest of us,” confessed another friend.

Topic 2 for Crank Time, I suspect, as I’m wrestling with a raging lunatic of a two-year-old who is fighting the injustice of being strapped into the stroller so we can actually make the quarter mile walk home in under 3 hours.  Where can I get one of those, I ask him desperately. I’ll pay anything.  Sometimes the sweet innocence of discovering every mentionable and unmentionable object and thing on a walk is more tedious than sweet, I’m not afraid to admit.

The live debate on Crank Time over the use of Kid-Taser and Chloroform wipes is bound to be a ratings success during sweeps month, I reason, as I wonder if I should really find these two suggestions as amusing and appealing as I do.

Don’t we all have these moments? I know, I know, it’s so shocking to think when you have a sweet 5 month old whose only job is to sit there and giggle when you sneeze and flap their arms and eat whatever you offer them without a fight. I used to lovingly gaze at my baby and remember thinking I couldn’t possibly imagine ever getting angry with her. What in the world could she do that would ever upset me?  My naiveté was almost endearing, right?

The truth is, in those moments of raw-nerve exhaustion when I just don’t think I can take it one second longer, when I actually do wish I had a Kid Taser, my mother’s needlepoint haunts me:

Is it mocking you too?

Cleaning and cobwebs can wait til tomorrow . . .

For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow . . .

So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep . . .

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep

That simple poem she stitched, even through raising four kids, readily mocks my self-imposed ban on mommy guilt.

Some day, I will miss these moments, I tell myself through gritted teeth, as the words to that needlepoint crowd my brain and confuse my emotions. They might be fighting and Machiavellian maniacs unleashing their cruel reign of terror onto me but they are home, and they want to be home, and they love me so much. How could something so small and cute be so awful? How could I love them so much and yet want to taser them?

Isn’t that daily cycle of contradicting emotions in parenthood?

Join us on Crank Time. It’ll make you feel better.

Today is the day

I almost left my 2-year-old screaming on the street strapped into her stroller and walked away.

And yes, it is only 10am.

I thought about it, I pictured it, I wondered how far I would walk, could I walk far enough to get away from the piercing screaming? Did I dare?

Oh, I dared, because I was thinking it through pretty carefully as she screamed relentlessly in the stroller. Thinking about walking away took me to a happier place. A place of calm.


Keep in mind, we were well past the first 5 minutes of the tantrum, thinking it was going to end any minute. We were in about minute 35. She started screaming about 3 mins into the walk to her older sister’s preschool. DD1 and I just sorta ignored her and carried on our conversation about school, all the while I’m thinking to myself, this horrid 2-year-old phase will end and some day the screamer and I will be having a lovely conversation on our way to school (if her behavior doesn’t kill me first).

Then a few mins later, she composed herself and said “mommy, walk. I walk mommy.”

I fell for it.

SERIOUSLY. Who the f am I? You’d think I’d never lived through the 2s before. Yeah yeah, I know the 3s are worse. So I fell for it. She sounded so reasonable, she seemed so convincing. For a second I knew it was a bad decision but I fell for it, that sweet voice clearly telling me what she wanted to do.

So I said “Ok, but you have to walk, mommy can’t carry you and push the stroller, there is too much traffic.” (my neighborhood is old and lovely but it has no sidewalks, so we really can’t mess around.)

Good thing I explained myself to her, you know, cause 2-year-olds listen and reason and execute what they say they are going to do. They’re definitely known for that.

Again, who the f am I? Apparently on this third day of the new year, I am an idiot. And I let her out of the stroller. We’ve had plenty of lovely walks to and from school, both girls playing games and racing each other.

Not today, friends. Not today. This kid is going to stomp the optimist out of me before she’s through with me.

Within seconds she was climbing up my legs. Just yesterday my mom pointed out that I should just build steps up my body for all the time DD2 spends climbing up my legs in any given day. I tried reason, I tried reminding her that I can’t carry her and push the stroller and navigate both of them through the traffic.

At this point I realize that I sound like Charlie Brown’s mother….”Waaa Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa” is what the 2-year-old hears. It’s like I”m saying it to myself for fun. Sorta like giving instructions to husbands.  Eventually I am trying to get her back into the stroller and I am blocking half the street, DD1 exclaiming “mommy, there are cars coming” and I don’t even look. I’m thinking “I dare those f’ing cars to hit me, let alone honk at me for taking up half the road, I seriously dare them.”

Apparently no one f’s with a woman wrestling a screaming, body straight as a board so you can’t strap her back into the stroller, 2-year-old. Lucky for them. Cause I was ready for a fight with an adult.

I eventually get her back in the stroller and she screams the entire way to school. At school I’m faced with a decision, taking her back out means I have to get her back in, and I don’t have the strength of 5 Olympic body builders, but there is still some optimism left in me, on this third day of the new year. I gamble that she’ll snap out of it on the playground and we’ll have a nice walk home after she plays.


She screams bloody murder as I lift her out and walk her onto the playground. At this point, it’s a good thing DD1 is carrying her own bag and basically signing herself in to school because I’ve all but forgotten about her.

“Just ignore her” I bark at a sympathetic to the screaming kid mother, and I walk away.

DD2 screams and screams and screams. 5-year-olds gather around her, attempt to play with her, she screams. I come back, she screams more.  And then I had to get her back into the stroller. As we’re finally rounding a block from home, I’m wondering how she hasn’t gone horse, I”m wondering if I walked away, what would happen, and I’m wondering why. Why me, why today, why the hell is she so fired up? Why not is probably the answer.

How is it that they can be so sweet and so adorable and then just so awful a second later? It’s a dumb question because we all wonder the same thing but I am certain those moments are taking years off my life. There was an article in some parenting magazine the school passed out to us about discipline. It talked about the importance of remaining calm, of behaving how you want your kids to behave, it suggested you visualize yourself and how you want to be seen acting in those moments before you unleash on a kid.

I couldn’t tell if I liked this article or if I wanted to set it on fire, if the author had ever birthed and then raised a kid. But instead, in my moment today, I instead visualized myself just walking away and having a quiet cup of coffee.

Is abandonment the visualization they had in mind when writing that piece?