When Your Child Asks “Is Trump nice?”

Today my four year old asked me if Trump was nice.  She has asked me this many times before.  In the past I have answered this question very carefully.  I have told her that Donald Trump is our president and he lives in Washington DC.  Sometimes that answer is sufficient, but sometimes she continues to dig for a more direct answer.

“So he is nice?!”, she will asks again with a big smile.  She wants him to be nice so badly. I tell her his job is to run our country and protect us.  She thinks that means he is nice.  One day she even drew a picture of him and slept with it.  No joke.

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She drew President Donald Trump and slept with it. I told her to use an orange crayon. I could not help it.

The truth is that I very much dislike our president.  I can’t believe our country voted for such a man, but I can’t tell her that. I can’t tell her that I believe he is ugly on the inside.  I can’t tell her that Donald Trump’s personality is, in fact, a constant reminder of the importance as a mother to teach my children empathy, love and respect. I can’t tell her that he said a Mexican American judge can’t do his job fairly because of his heritage, or that people that come from Mexico are rapist and drug dealers. I can’t.  She knows my parents come from Mexico. She knows her dad’s parents came from Colombia.  She does not know about hate.  She is indifferent to people’s color of skin or ethnicity.  She does not know that the Alt Right is just a modern name for KKK, who believe people like us are beneath them, and we are a threat to their race. She is only four years old.

But today as I watched the President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump defend and excuse the “Alt Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, who marched with torches, chanting “Jews will not replace us”, “You will not replace us” and “blood and soil”, I was disgusted.  I could not believe what I was hearing. I could not believe what I was seeing.  How was this real? I was watching Trump’s speech on my phone, and my daughter asked me again, “Is Donald Trump nice?”  I thought about my answer.  I decided I had lied enough. I can’t have her think I was ok with this man’s words.  I can’t with a clean conscience call this man nice, even for the sake of my child’s innocence.  I need her to know where I stand. I want her to tell my grandchildren that I did not vote for that man, and I did not like that man.  For the first time ever I told her that I did not think President Trump is nice.  I told her that some people hate him, and some people like him. She asked me if her teacher likes him. Ugh, of course she has more questions! She will make a great reporter one day! I just hope someone like Trump is not around calling her fake news. I told her I did not know, but that many people in our town do like him, and so I don’t want her to talk about him with her friends.  I told her that I can’t explain to her why I don’t like him because she is too young.  I told her he will not be the president forever, and that one day she will be able to understand why people feel so strongly about him whether it is positive or negative. She was satisfied at last.

Are you honest with your kids about Trump? What is the right age to be honest about Donald Trump with kids?  How do they handle it with their peers? Please share.

 

 

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Catchy Phrases (Child Hypnotism)

In parenting some things need no translation, like the mom glare.  In English or Spanish (and I imagine any other language), the mom glare instantly tells a child that mom means business, and that they must start behaving or else!  It took awhile for me to master this look.  It was very hard for me to try to look mad and serious when a cute 11 month old was staring back at me smiling, but eventually parenting is more than just cuddles, diaper changes, feedings and raspberry kisses.

Eventually, I found my inner mom glare in addition to other disciplinary tactics.  My parenting strategy is a combination of ideas I picked up from my childhood, parenting books and teachers, but sometimes my ideas have come unexpected places like cartoons.  For example, my favorite, was saying “Swiper no swiping” when my kids would snatch things away from other kids (thank you Dora for the idea).  It was nice to have a specific phrase to repeat whenever my child took things from other kids.  Because it was short, specific and consistent it made sense to my child, but better yet, I was armed with a plan for that scenario.

A few months ago a friend’s child was crying because she wanted a different color cup.  My friend calmly told her daughter, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  It was a cute and catchy phrase, but I expected the child to continue crying like my children often did when they really wanted something, but instead the child instantly stopped crying.  Her mom’s explanation apparently made sense to her. You get what you get and you don’t get upset.  I liked it and I stole it! I tried it out that same evening when it was time give my kids their gummy bear vitamin. Usually, I would try to find their favorite color to avoid whining, but this time I purposely gave them the wrong color.  They cried as expected and I said “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  They stopped crying, paused and then ate their vitamin quietly. Wow!  Since then I use that phrase whenever fighting, crying and whining starts about who has the biggest piece of cake, and why can’t I give them a different color straw.  It works every time no matter the circumstances.

I was happy to have a new idea to file into my mommy game plan.  I was new to this American mommy parenting thing. I was parented in Spanish and there was little rhyming involved, but there is one Spanish poem I remember and often use with my children when they fall.  My mom would say this to me after a fall, and somehow it made it all better:”sana, sana, colita de rana, si no se sana hoy se sana mañana” (heal, heal, frog booty, if you don’t feel better today, you will feel better tomorrow).  Not only does this poem make the pain go away, but it puts a smile on your little one’s face.

I like to find patterns in life, and it is obvious that we just need phrases that are catchy or rhyme. It seriously, falls short of hypnotism! I am on to something! If there are more rhyming parenting lines I must know them all! Bwahahaha (evil laugh)! Last week I asked local moms to share the catchy or rhyming parenting phrases that they’ve heard or currently use.  I made a list of these phrases, and added a few that I made up. Thank you to the local mom Facebook page for sharing some of these!

Catchy Phrases (Child Hypnotism)

  • “Criss cross applesauce”
  • “Crisscross applesauce with hands on your laps and bubbles in your mouth.” (so they sit still, keeps hands to themselves and don’t interrupt)
  • “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
  • “You get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.”
  • “Get a tissue for your issue.”
  • “It’s time to clean your pits, your sits and lady bits.”
  • “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.”
  • “Take a break before you make a lake.”
  • When your kid is whining ask “what do whiners get?” pause and answer “nothing, whiners get nothing”.  I LOVE this one. My kids understand they need to use a different tone when asking for something.

I made up a couple of my own:

  • “Take a nap or mommy is going to snap” (ok, maybe this is not a nice one)
  • “After eight it is too late” (when they ask for snacks after bedtime).

If you know of more phrases in English or Spanish please share in the comments!  

 

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I caught them red handed, but I took a photo and laughed. Sometimes it is best just to laugh at the moment.

 

 

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We are making it up as we go!
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This happens once a week at least. Sometimes moms and dad don’t know what we are saying, and our kids will gladly point it out.

 

Finally, I will blog!

I have dreamed of this moment since the day I read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Inspired by the book, I started writing in a journal at the age of 15 and wondered if one day my journal would be read by others worldwide. Fast forward to my mid 30s, and now we have the internet where I don’t have to be famous or important to share my experiences and thoughts with the world. The only thing that was holding me back was time. You see, I am a mother of a 4 year old boy and an almost 3 old girl.  There are many blogger moms, we have so much material to work with, and the thought of blogging has been on my mind since I started sharing my funny, warm or frustrating moments on Facebook.  I have wanted to share more and join all the blogger moms but during nap time, also known as “mommy break time” I gave priority to cleaning my house, exercising and watching Dr. Phil. My dreams of becoming a blogger, creating a business plan or starting a recipe book were just dreams.  Well, today my youngest started attending an early childhood center a few days a week and the Dr. Phil new fall season has still not started so here I am finally starting my blog! I would like to thank friends that have put up with my long Facebook posts and the people that have encouraged me to start a blog.

This blog is about me, a first generation Mexican American who grew up in South Chicago and now lives in a suburb of Atlanta. I am mother of two with an awesome husband who grew up in Miami. My husband and I both have humble beginnings in big cities and we are now raising our kids in a different world in which we were raised. It is a new world of beauty, peace, safety, pools, soccer, karate, joggers, play dates, stay at home moms…it is also a world where we are far from family and the cultural experience that was so rich in our childhood is now absent in our children’s childhood. Money can’t buy it and I can’t duplicate. I am only one person, I am not a village.  Join me on my family adventure in the suburbs! Parenting, cooking, suburb life and maybe even some politics will be my subjects of choice.  Much of it is universal, some of it will be my take on trying to fuse my present world with my upbringing, giving my children the best of both worlds.