January 19, 2009


When you look in the dictionary under "unsolicited advice" there's a picture of my mother there.

Her favorite topics are medical advice, legal advice and parental advice. But she doesn't stop there. Pretty much she will embrace all topics. She's an equal opportunity unsolicited advice giver.

The thing is... she does know a lot and it's nice to get her opinion on some things. It's just important to understand when it's good to ask and when it's not. And to also understand when it's okay to volunteer information and when it's best to hide as much information from her as possible.

The other day Rob was having some problem with a sore place on his ear that wasn't healing up.

"Ask mom. See what she thinks."

Rob says, "No, I don't want to ask her because she's going to tell me it's a tumor."

"Don't be ridiculous. It's not a tumor."

At this point my mom walks in and Rob asks her to look at his ear.

She does and says, "That's exactly what Bill's ear looked like when he got diagnosed with cancer." I forgot that when she doesn't diagnose a tumor it's usually cancer. Her remedy was to go get Vicks Vapo-Rub and rub it liberally on his ear. It's a little known secret that Vicks Vapo-Rub cures cancer.

Her favorite thing to do is tell me how to raise the kids. She's raised three kids and was a tough-love kinda mom. Very loving, but very no-nonsense. Her chief complaint about my family life is that she says the kids run the house. This is what I hear all the time. "This is what I'm telling you... those kids rule the roost."

Tonight was interesting because she finally got to see the madness in action. Our youngest son is quite different from our oldest who is very easy-going and has been a relatively calm child. Our second seems quite high strung by comparison and I've remarked on more than one occasion that he acts sort of like he has an OCD. When he gets home from daycare he has a particular routine he follows and if we don't do that routine every day he completely falls apart. Tonight we get home and the routine is disrupted by two things: 1) the television he usually watches his show on is broken and 2) his blanket was in the dryer because he threw up on it the night before and it absolutely had to be washed.

Immediately when we got home he says, "Pooh Pooh Pooh" (his show) and I try to explain to him about the TV situation (a 2 year old, mind you) and tell him he'll have to watch his show on a different TV. He falls to the floor in the hallway and proceeds to freak out, crying and calling out for "Pooh". My mom immediately says, "Just walk away. He's just manipulating you."

In the meantime, I figure if I turn his show on the living room TV maybe he'll get the idea and be distracted. This works except the next request is always either his juice or his blanket. He moans, "bee bee, bee bee, bee bee" (his blanket) and I then have to explain THAT situation at which point he melts down again. And more intensely. My mom's advice was, "He just needs to get over it. If he were my kid I would have paddled his bottom and given him something to cry about. He's just running your house you know."

After showing him the blanket was in the dryer, I got the juice (again hoping to distract him) which he started drinking and he wandered around the house very forlorn and every 20 seconds walked over to the dryer and pointed at it pitifully saying, "bee bee, bee bee, bee beeeeeeee...."

It only took about two times and she said, "Oh, get him his blanket. It's probably dry enough." BWAHAHAHAHAHA. She broke!

That's about one of the most satisfying things I've experienced today. Being petty is one of those little joys in life that are meant to be savored.

Okay, now is your big chance... is the baby OCD or is he ROR (ruler of the roost)? What's YOUR diagnosis? Just please don't say a tumor or cancer. (I'm out of Vicks Vapo-Rub.)


  1. Awww...routines are so comforting to little ones especially after the chaos of the holidays. Poor baby.

  2. Your Mum talks a good game but when it got hot in the kitchen she folded! You win - and it is not wrong, insensitive or ungracious to perhaps do a fist pump in grandma's direction.

    Tristan sounds like he's in the 'normal' to 'very normal' range of two-year-olds.

  3. Wendy,
    You are funny. My mom is the opposite. If a tumor were to emerge somewhere on my body, she would say it was a calcium deposit and go to her vitamin stash.

    Thanks for a hilarious read.

  4. @Envie: I hope it's just that and not a disorder. (See, I'm just like my mom!)

    @Chris: I ran around the corner where she couldn't see me and shook my bootie ala Steve Martin's "wild and crazy guy" maneuvers.

    @Cheri: Thank you! Aren't you sweet for your kind words. Maybe if we put our two moms in a gene blender and then poured them back out they would be just right!

  5. I am almost afraid to ask my mother for any kind of advice for my kids. I have a son that is JUST like her three boys (my brothers) in one way or another but not at the same time- so advice that worked for one won't work for mine. My daughter... is the TOTAL opposite of me so any advice on what worked for her when raising me is unlikely to work when raising my girl. Doesn't stop her from chiming in.

    She's always right, too. That's really annoying.

    Good for you for "winning".

  6. Oh, I'd say it's a case of a little of both... just like every other two-year-old! They love routine -- it makes them feel safe! They are completely self-centered, so they want what they want when they want it and they are willing to do just about anything to make that happen!

  7. @Loquacious: Mine is frequently right. Argh! It's so unfair. I hope when (if) I'm a grandma I am right all the time! I will exercise my right to give unsolicited advice frequently. MUAHAHAHA!

    @Shannon: Boy, you know about those little headstrong 2-year-olds don't you? At least yours can say more than just "no" though! :)

  8. You say OCD likes it's a bad thing, what wrong with being a little anal? LOL Thanks for the laughs and go easy on your mom, she prolly means well.

  9. @Megryansmom: Anal is only bad if it inconveniences me. And I definitely know my mom means well. That's the problem. LOL. :)

    Seriously, though, she IS a real gem and my world would be a duller, flatter place without her!

  10. Funny thing about mother's advice is that it usually is true... AND it comes to memory at some opportune times. My mom had this saying, "don't ever be afraid to do the obvious," which I blogged about today. I actually found your post when I was Googling for "mother's wisdom"!


  11. Hilarious. I think there's one in every family. In mine, it's MIL. Like your blog!

  12. The baby is a very healthy and normal baby from what I can tell. =)

    My mother and grandmother used to frown at some of the things that I did and tell me that I was asking for trouble because I let the kids to "this or that". It really upset them when I ignored their advice and did things the "wrong" way since it meant that I'd never be able to keep things under control.
    Today I have two wonderful teenagers that has never caused us any trouble. Now my mother and grandmother keep telling me what wonderful kids I have and I reply, "Yeah, I raised them my way".

  13. Oh gosh - ya'll just reminded me why it was important to me to live at least 4 hours away from my grandkids. I never want to be that kind of mum, nanny or mother. I know I slip up once in a while but I try really hard to not be a 'know it all'.

  14. @oahu: Mom's make for great writing material, don't they??

    @mary: thanks and welcome!!

    @kadri: There's hope for me yet, then! I always find the people with the wild and crazy kids and then ask them how they turned out. :)

    @princess: We have one grandma about an hour away. That works out good so it's okay to move three hours closer! :)

  15. Oh boy, sounds like our little boys would be fast friends!


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