A blog is born.
Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cruel and Unusual? Discipline decisions that put you in hot water.

At Cam's 15 month check-up, our pediatrician (who I adore) gave me a few tips on disciplining this age group and it basically boiled down to saying "No," "We don't _______" and keeping the child safe.  A 15 month old doesn't comprehend the meaning of a "time-out" yet, but our doc said that at our 18 month appointment we would talk more about discipline ideas, including "time-outs."  This was all helpful information for me because I truly didn't know what was appropriate for this age group.  Turns out I was on the right track already because a combination of "No, no" and distraction was what I was using to keep my son safe.  As time goes on and I have a little boy who needs true discipline, I will have to become more savvy with philosophies and techniques for raising a responsible and well-mannered human being.  Until then I am going to follow my doctor's orders and take it step by step!

Since I just experienced my first "how to discipline your child" lesson, I was acutely interested in the story of Jessica Beagley, an Alaska mom who videotaped disciplining her 7 year old son by forcing him to drink hot sauce and then putting him in a cold shower.  Last week, the mother of six was found guilty of child abuse and was sentenced to 3 years probation.  To complicate the story, this mother was sending this videotape as an "audition" for the Dr. Phil Show on "Angry Moms."  I think the show got more than it expected with this particular tape.  Also, this poor kid was adopted from Russia along with his twin brother.  A whole mess of issues with this story.

When I was growing up I got a few spankings and although I don't believe in hitting my children, I don't feel that I was abused or that my punishment went above normal bounds.  However, my parents never force fed me hot sauce and then made me take a humiliating cold shower.  The fact that this mother thought it was okay to do this, much less videotape it, shows that she is clearly ill-equipped to be a parent to six children.  Was she fame-seeking or just plain out of her mind?  I remember reading stories of the Warren Jeffs polygamist cult and how the parents would repeatedly dunk the children's heads into water if they were crying to teach them to be quiet and it sickened me.  Every family has its own philosophy on discipline, but there are acts that cross the bounds, and force feeding hot sauce is one of them.  I personally am not a fan of spicy foods or hot sauce and have actually choked when I accidentally ingested some...so being forced to have some would probably send my body into shock.  I really feel for this child.

I am sure that there are people out there that would not consider what this woman did to be child abuse and personally I am worried for their children.  To come up with a creative punishment is not to figure out what is going to physically hurt the child most (without leaving a mark) or embarrass them -- it is to come up with a consequence that works for the situation.  For example, a child who mouths off may not get to use the phone for a week (if that means something to them).  I just hate that this lady obviously premeditated the entire situation and videotaped it.  In the article I read on people.com, she and her husband claim that this child (Kristoff) has a "special problem -- Reactive Attachment Disorder" and that they don't know "how to handle him."  Well, I have a suggestion, get some help.  Don't further damage this child (who was adopted and probably has issues stemming from that as well) by brutally punishing him, taping it and sending it to Dr. Phil for all the world to see. 

Parenting is hard and I am sure that I will have days in the future where I lose it a little bit with my kids.  Nobody is perfect and I hope when I have a "moment," that I will be able to step back and take a break before acting irrationally.  I certainly won't be reaching for the Frank's Hot Sauce (b/c that sh*t doesn't belong on everything) and my video camera to go an torment/torture my child.

I think the Alaska judiciary did right by the child and gave this mother something to think about...she will now forever be branded as a child abuser and will think twice before she comes up with a "creative" discipline solution.   


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lizzie McGuire is knocked up.

Just as I was complaining that the pop world was a snooze a few items made the media that I thought were worth a shout out.

1.  Hilary Duff -- is she old enough to be married? -- Is pregnant with her first child with husband Mike Comrie.  I did have to double check her age and she is 23, so I guess we can't consider her the little Disney star that she once was.  I was too old to watch Lizzie McGuire, but that is how I will always think of Ms. Hilary.  Now if Raven Simone would up her game and throw some grown-up gossip on the pile that would be icing on the cake...that's so Raven.

2.  Jessica Alba gave birth to her second daughter, Haven Garner Warren.  Congrats Jessica!  I'm a teensy bit jealous as I will be a mother of two boys come December and I'm not sure if I am biologically capable of making a girl. 

3.  My idol, Tina Fey gave birth to her second daughter, Penelope Athena on August 10th! 
Congratulations to Tina and family!!!

4.  Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy presented the first pic of little Bing and he is a cutie. 

5.  CAUTION: DOWNER ALERT -- Russell, Taylor's husband from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was found dead in Los Angeles of an apparent suicide.  Very sad.  I don't really know what to say except that I feel for their young daughter and for Taylor.  Taylor filed for divorce in July and cited physical and verbal abuse as allegations against Russell.  He was also being sued for $1.5 million dollars in a lawsuit for breach of contract.

6.  Gerard Depardieu relieved himself inside of an airplane cabin.  Yes, I know you are saying "who?"  But, seriously, he was the father in My Father the Hero -- an oldie but goodie.  Also, I just like saying his name.  Apparently he was told that he would have to wait until after take off to use the airplane bathroom and instead he just peed in the aisle.  I hope it was first class.

7.  And, last but not least, K-Fed welcomed his FIFTH child. Women are still choosing to breed with this guy.  Inconceivable (ha!), I know.  I'm not sure what he does for a living these days, but I'm sure a lot of his time goes to dealing with baby mama drama...he has three of them now. 

I hope everyone is having a superb week and enjoying the weather now that it is not 100 degrees everyday!  Yipee! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mid-August ALREADY?

I don't have a good excuse for not blogging in a couple weeks, except that I was traveling for work one week and was just generally lazy (pregnant) the other week.  I swear, this pregnancy is zapping my energy much more than the last one.  I'm sure that chasing around a 15 month old (and I truly mean chasing...through parking lots, through the house, away from danger...) has something to do with my lack of get-up-and-go, but I am really exhausted these days.  Plus, just imagining what I will feel like come December when I have a newborn makes me really tired.  Oh, and there wasn't a ton to blog about in the pop culture world either...I felt like I was grasping for things to write about; some ideas included:

1.  Why no one cares that Ricki Lake is getting married again.  This was a cover story on one celeb site I scan...
2.  Kim Kardashian's Wedding (but then I thought I would just wait for it to actually happen and then comment)
3.  The end of the Harry Potter movies -- tear.
4.  The break-up of Jennifer Lopez's third (?) marriage.  I think it was her third...wait, yes, it was definitely her third because she and Ben Affleck never made it down the aisle (thank goodness).

The topic I thought the most about blogging about was the J-Lo / Marc Anthony divorce, but then I didn't have a good take on it because, really, who cares?  He is skeletor-ish and she is still sexy-dancing on American Idol.  Besides having two children together, everything else they have produced together has been an epic fail ( El Cantante anyone?)...what would be different about their marriage?  I also always found it a little distasteful how soon they got hitched after she broke it off with Ben Affleck and he received the final divorce papers from his ex-wife (days, people, days).  My only remaining question for Jennifer -- who's are you going to marry next?  It will be someone non-Latin probably and definitely a big name...she has a comeback to sustain. 

On a parenting note, Cameron and his dad fared very well while I was out of town for work for 4 long days!  Cam was super happy to see me when I came and seemed to have grown-up while I was away...he was jabbering up a storm to me (inevitably telling me how his dad let him eat tons of cookies or something) and pointing to my nose and eyes (he is learning about body parts).  When I travel I always wonder if people can tell from my outward appearance that I am a mom (besides the baby bump that is getting more obtrusive by the day).  I know that is a weird thing to wonder, but I don't know what gives it away.  I can't always tell if someone is a parent.  I don't think that there is any badge that you wear that gives it away (except for the fact that I am long overdue for a haircut and most of my clothes have some kind of mark of graham cracker goo on them that I somehow miss cleaning off).  Any telltale signs of a parent that you notice? 

Being so proud of my son and my family I sometimes wonder if that shows through on my face or the way I carry myself (waddling, these days).  I suppose most people wonder what kind of assumptions others make about them when they are in public and alone.  Although, I think if the average person saw Michelle Duggar in public by herself, they would just KNOW that she is a mother (and could probably guess that she had a litter of children) -- no offense Michelle.

I almost forgot, has anyone seen the Lifetime show Dance Moms?  It is kind of a poor man's Toddlers and Tiaras, but in some ways it is more scary -- if that is possible.  The show follows an elite dance troupe from the Pittsburgh area and the director/choreographer Abby Lee Miller.  First, you would think that this lady is training these girls for the Olympics (uh, hello Bela Karolyi) -- she is demanding, harsh, no-nonsense and just kind of annoying.  Second, the "Dance Moms" are batsh*t insane, particularly one named Cathy.  You just have to watch to see what I am talking about.  As any parent, I am invested in my child and would love to see him succeed at what he loves, but I vow to myself to NEVER BE A DANCE MOM (or a soccer mom, etc.)  This may sound selfish, but I don't want to spend all my weekends and nights at a dance studio or practice for my kid.  These women are at this dance studio and traveling for competitions the equivalent of a full-time job.  I kid you not.  And, the dads never seem to be at any of the practices or competition, so the burden is squarely on the mother.  It also costs a TON of money.  A lot of the girls in this dance troupe seem to love it, but some are over it and even complain that they are only really doing it for their moms now.  Where is the balance people?  Lesson of the day - everything in moderation.

Have a wonderful week!