Sunday, March 23, 2008

TMYP: Text Message Your Preschooler

There comes a time in every child's life when they are finally too old for the baby monitor...

That’s when it’s time to move on to cell phone text messaging between you and your preschoolers. Forget those outdated phonetics and learning the ABC's -- today's hip family is moving straight into texting. Everything these days from business alerts to love notes are getting abbreviated in texts. Kids don't need to learn to read "See Spot run." They need to be able to alert their mothers to pending demands for munchies: *S4C = Starving for Cookies. See how it works?

Look at all the positive advantages to staying in touch with your preschoolers by texting...

You can stay in close communication when you are at the stove and they are sitting at the table building a Lego castle. That way you can accede to their demands and tantrums in real time. Today’s busy preschoolers simply don’t have the time for a normal give and take conversation. They live in an on demand world, so when they demand a Juicy Juice texting allows you just in time delivery.

Another advantage is that your preschooler is more apt to respond to your text message than your voice. Let's say your four year old is going on a bike ride with dad. Don’t yell out the door, “Kyle are you wearing your helmet? That is so yesterday. Just text him, K RU Wearing HMIT? He’s sure to answer with something like, HOSBO. (Helmet on and seatbelt on.)

Texting is quicker and allows for more discreet conversation when called for. For instance, say your child is at grandma's and you remember you didn't send along a diaper. Simply text: RYPT (Remember your Potty Training). When he has a discreet moment he can text message back, 2 LATE.

Texting allows preschoolers to strengthen eye-hand coordination, build small

motor skills and increase vocabulary. Where else do four year olds get to practice on an area the size of a small tooth? It's worth noting that while tots as tiny as three are able to grasp the art of texting, adults, on the other hand, are frequently reduced to tears trying to find the comma on their cell keypad. We recommend checking out resources to help you at your local library such as, Pushing Buttons for Dummies and Grownups.

Text messaging can also be used to help build your preschooler’s self-esteem. Simply send random messages as, URGR8 @ PD (You are great at Play Dough), or HMWYA (Hannah Montana Wants Your Autograph). Your child should never wonder at any given moment what you are thinking.

In the wake of the growing popularity of texting for tots, new related businesses are springing up. One enterprising Chicagoland teen has started a business called Textingfortots, where busy parents can have all sorts of things texted to their preschoolers on an established schedule. Birthday greetings, jokes on April Fool's Day, notes from Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. There’s even reminders to make cards for Mother's Day and Father's Day. Through the service,
kids can also download bedtime stories to their Blackberries.

Text messaging takes most of the work out of parenting. In closing, you can spend more time at the spa to have mud wraps by eliminating facetime and letting technology turn you into a virtual parent. To aid you in your journey toward cyber-nurture here's a handy and up-to-date dictionary of common Preschool Texting Messages and Answers:

SGHWYCT = Show Grandma how well you can talk

G3GO3 = Gaa, Gaa, Gaa, Goo, Goo, Goo

TYN = Take Your Nap

IYD = In your dreams

EYB = Eat Your Broccoli
FVC = Favorite Cereal

NMSOCP = Need more sugar on Cocoa Puffs

DC = Diaper Change?

2 Late = No translation necessary.

*VIN4C = Starving for Cookies

OHFFS = Only Healthy Food for Snacks

PMSOHH = Put More Syrup on Ho-Ho’s

IJMYT = I just made you tofu

RUK? = Are you kidding?

SC$SH = Success with Shopping (found Pampers 50% off)

SB? = Seatbelt On?

PT = Potty Training

2 Late

SC = Drink Your Sippy Cup

JC2LCC = Just Chugged 2 Liter Coca-Cola

TMM = Text Message Me Urgent Please

CTHDFC = Can’t Talk, Helping Dad Find Comma

It should be noted that a recent study found that irritated tots were turning off their new technology gadgets at an alarming rate and climbing into their parent’s laps to demand stories and facetime instead.

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Case You Missed Your St. Patty's Day Parade...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"What's a mum to do?"

What's a mum to do when my future son-in-law asks, "What's with the Americans?"

He says, "You need to cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football, you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kelvar body amour.) Don't try Rugby League, the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you like they regularly thrash us."

Monday, March 10, 2008

The "Spin Cycle" is here!

So what is causing laughter in audiences everywhere?

The "Spin Cycle" CD is here!

Cheryl cranks up the spin cycle on her washing machine and life to help moms cope with too much laundry, raising preschoolers (on 12 hours of sleep per year), surviving teenagers, pleasing relatives, understanding spouses, and the 1,000 other challenges. She uses her over-the-counter humor to make moms laugh until it feels better. You'll see how God is really there for moms in all circumstances.

Cheryl is a sister, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a niece, an aunt, a granddaughter, a friend, a homeschool teacher, a volunteer... well you get the idea. Let’s just say she’s a lot like you and has decided the best way for us all to cope is to laugh (don’t try to inhale at the same time — it only makes matters worse).

Purchase it here!

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Meal or no Meal?"

I have added my own game show to the tradition of "Deal or no Deal?" I"m calling it "Meal or No Meal?"

I think I can compete with "Deal or No Deal?" host Howie Mandel but I refuse to shave my head.

My show works this way.

I have just been on a homeschool field trip to measure the width at the widest spot in the Fox River, the pediatrician, the post office, the oil change place, and pharmacy. But, of course, I am expected at 6:00 Pm to be home and produce a sumptuous, savory, and satisfying meal.

It's my 26 or is it 6 kids who are opening up the briefcases showing clues as to what they want for dinner. My kids claim they really aren't all that picky when it comes to eating but it's not true. One of them wants Kosher and organic, one is eating Atkins, and another one is eating carbs only. Then I have the child who wants no refined sugar or caffeine. Finally I have two who refuse anything unless you have to peel it or crack it to find the natural food inside like bananas or peanuts. Try making a meal out of that!

In the 17 days over Christmas break our college age kids joined us at home and with all of us bellying up to the table three times a day I estimated that before "vacation" was over I would have prepared 408 meals. That's eight people at three meals a day for 17 days. You do the math.

My son Pooka had the nerve to ask me, "Why wasn't I getting out more? Didn't I want some "me" time?"

"You've just got to make the time," he advised.

So the lights come on and here we are in front of the "Meal or No Meal?" studio audience. I open the refrigerator and produce the frozen pheasant my husband shot last fall. It's frosty, somewhat red, and has a tail feather sticking out.

"Meal or no meal?" I ask."

The kids huddle and confer. "No meal!" they yell.

I then walk over to the microwave and open the door so all can see the macaroni and cheese plate that got set on 10 minutes instead of 1 minute. They look like taconite iron pellets painted black. My husband plans to use them to shoot more pheasants. I point at both and say, "Meal or no meal?" (I am thinking I should have made it in the oven instead of the microwave because when I do that it's so much easier to pass off ready made meals as my own.)

They hesitate for a moment and then start jumping up and down, "No meal!" Everyone cheers.

I then casually walk over to the oven and open the door. There are two turkey legs from Thanksgiving that fell off and have been covered by aluminum foil for the last three months. Each one now appears to have the rough skin of a tyrannosaurus Rex. "Meal or no meal?" I ask.

"Maybe we should take it," one desperate kid pleads.

I tell them it's from the new genre of cooking called "minimalistic." It suits an extremely busy mom just fine. Some defeathered turkey legs and eight washed plums in an earthy, homemade basket in the middle of the table puts me on the cutting edge.

"No sirree!" the others respond. "No meal! No meal!"

"Very well," I say. I stroll over to the pantry closet, open it, and show the kids five potatoes that have grown horns like Santa's reindeer. They are soft, pliable, and now a lovely green. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day. "Meal or no meal?" I ask with a smile.

"Don't do it!" our youngest shouts. "I hate green."

The older children relent and say, "No meal!"

I casually close the doors and walk over to the couch in the living room. I warn them we are getting down to their last choice. I then lift up the middle couch cushion and produce the bag of Cheetos that was left there when my oldest son entered first grade.

"They're still orange," I say, "at least when you pull them apart. It fits in with the trendy medieval style of eating where no silverware is used."

The kids start to waiver. Someone lunges for the bell but then pulls back. "No meal!" they announce.

At that I take my coat, purse, and keys and casually answer, "You win! There's No Meal tonight. I'm going to Panera to eat supper with the Banker (your father) . See you tomorrow night, same time, same channel."

Behind me I hear the oven door open and one of the kids ask, "Why are those turkey legs still moving?