Bad Words

It’s bound to happen.  As many times as you try to say “shoot” not “s***”, or “fudge” not “f***”, you will inevitably use some bad words in front of your children.  Which your children will inevitably use in the worst place possible (school, church, visiting grandma).  I have taken care of a lot of kids and had some pretty fabulous moments listening to kids drop some word bombs! 

While kids will sometimes throw out a word they hear because they are looking for a reaction, the best times are when kids actually use curse words correctly.  Once while taking care of a four-year-old, she very sweetly asked me if she could carry her ice cream into the living room and eat it in front of the TV.  I told her that was fine, but walk very slowly and use both hands.  As she slowly approached the living room, being very careful to take her time and watch her step, she carefully placed her bowl on the table and it slipped off the edge and crashed to the floor.  The four-year-old let out a heavy sigh and said “well, s***”.  I stifled down a laugh as hard as I could and corrected her, “we say shoot”. 

Cursing is pretty easy to correct.  If you don’t make a big deal about the word they used and substitute it with an age-appropriate word, you can clean up your kid’s potty mouth.  Some of my favorite replacements are “shoot”, “fudge”, “oh my gosh”, “hot as hades”, and my personal favorite “cheese and rice” for Jesus Christ.

What is interesting is when kids use normal words that for some reason just rub me the wrong way.  Like “shut-up”.  Not a bad word, but when you hear a little one say it, it feels just as bad as cursing.  One of my little boys went through a “shut-up” phase around age three.  I was concerned because he had started pre-k and I didn’t want him telling friends or teachers to “shut-up”.  I had asked him to replace “shut-up” with “hush” and then went to talk to the teachers.  I walked into the three’s classroom full of boy wrestling and saying “you shut up”, “chair shut up”, “door shut up”.  I asked the two teachers “so when did this shut-up become a thing.”  The poor sleepy-eyed teacher said “I have no idea how this became a thing.  It has taken on a life of its own.”  One group email later, all parents agreed to try help our poor teachers out by recommending “hush” to all our shut-up-saying boys!

Another word that surprisingly rubbed me the wrong way was “whatever”.  For some reason the five-year-old came home and responded “whatever” to everything I asked him to do.  He still did everything he was asked but it was like he had a “whatever” tick now.  Finally at the end of the day I decided to squash the “whatever” use.  I asked him to please not use that word anymore.  He nodded knowingly at me and said “is that a grown-up only word?”  Yes.  Yes it is.

Once you have control over the inappropriate words and the annoying words, then you have to be ready for the potty words.  Good lord help me once kids start potty training.  Then everyone is a “poop-head” or a “pee-pee head”.  Then they start learning the proper terms for their body parts.  Once I picked up the four-year-old from pre-k.  He was in my car, buckled and ready to go.  As we were driving away, he spotted one of his little friends from class.  He asked if he could roll down the window and yell bye.  I said of course, and the four-year old proceeded to roll down the window and shout “HEY CHARLIE!  YOU’RE A PENIS!”  Charlie, unfazed and to the horror of his nanny screamed back, “YOU’RE A VAGINA!”  I quickly rolled up the window and sped away in shame.

We do the best we can!  We unfortunately can’t ask all adults to watch their mouths as we are out and about.   We also can’t expect all the videos they watch will be age appropriate.  You just have to do the best to keep it clean.  If there is any advice I could give about keeping kids from using bad language it would be DO NOT LAUGH! 

Nanny Tales: Potty Training

In my time as a nanny, I have had the pleasure (cough) of potty training four children.  I would never describe myself as an “expert in potty training.”  Mainly because it is a weird thing to brag about.  But I do have some hysterical stories from my attempts to help toddlers through this major milestone. 

Sam

When I started working for Sam’s family, he was about to turn three years old.  He had fully mastered peeing in the potty, but pooping was not going to happen.  Sam’s older brother Adam had been potty trained for several years.  The boys’ parents had used pennies as a way to encourage Adam to use the toilet, and were doing the same with Sam.  A common theme throughout all my potty training experiences is bribery.  More importantly, the right kind of bribery.  Now while Adam had been cool with getting a penny every time he used the potty, Sam didn’t really see the value in money.

I made the strategic decision to switch from pennies to M&Ms.  Sam would get one M&M if he peed in the potty, and two if he pooped.  After one day, Sam stomped into the kitchen and demanded “I WANT MY M&MS!’.  I calmly explained, he would have to go poop on the potty.  Sam turned on his heels, stomped into the bathroom, and let out a deafening trumpet of success.  He came stomping back out of the bathroom and declared “THERE”, and pointed to his masterpiece.  He received 2 M&Ms.

Lizzy

Sam’s little sister Lizzy had a different kind of adventure toward potty training.  Suddenly Lizzy would be missing for long stretches of time, and inevitably I’d find her in her mom’s closet pooping in her diaper.  It felt like it was time to start potty training.  We got out all the books, all the potty chairs, and the giant bag of M&Ms.  But as much as we talk about it, and sat on the potty, Lizzy would somehow disappear to go poop in Mom’s closet.  One day I even tried not putting a diaper on her, and watching her like a hawk so she couldn’t escape.  But somehow, she escaped from my site, and YES I had to clean poop off of the closet floor. 

As luck would have it, we were seeing her pediatrician that week.  I asked the doctor what the deal was.  Lizzy showed all the signs of being ready, but wouldn’t do the deed!  The pediatrician simply told me, Lizzy wasn’t ready.  Even though she was exhibiting the signs, Lizzy was still too scared.  I decided to leave all the potty-training things out, but I completely backed off.  We didn’t talk about it.  We didn’t practice it.  We just left everything alone.  Then one day, I was getting Lizzy ready for a bath.  I was focused on getting the water going when Lizzy gasped!  I turned and there she was sitting on her potty.  Her eyes were as big as saucers as we both listened to the pee go in the potty.  I screamed with excitement and showered Lizzy with kisses.  Adam and Sam ran in and we all had a big celebration around a little toilet filled with pee. 

Peter

I started taking care of Peter when he was eight weeks old.  I had learned by then to take my time with potty training.  When he is ready, he is ready.  Peter started showing the signs of being ready to potty train.  I’d come to get him at nap time, and would be greeted by a bare butt and a wet diaper dramatically flung across the room.  I lost Peter in the park for a few minutes and found him hidden behind a bush to pee.  It was obviously getting close to time.  I advised Peter’s mom to just buy a little potty to have for when Peter was ready.  That night when Peter’s mom showed him the potty, she simply explained that when he needs to poop and pee this is where he sits.  Peter shrugged and said “okay”, and proceeded to sit on the potty and pee and poop.  What.  The.  Heck?  It is never that easy.  NEVER!!  His mom and I hypothesized that at Peter’s Mother’s Day Out, there was a little girl in his class potty training.  We think he must have seen her and gotten used to the idea of using a potty before we even brought it up!  Maybe the universe decided to give me a break on the third toddler.  They knew I’d be potty training a lot of kids and thought “Make this one super easy to potty train.  Give her a break.  But then make him wet the bed for like four more years.  Don’t let her get cocky.”

Josie

Peter’s little sister Josie was my most recent potty trainee.  When you get to the fourth one, there just aren’t that many surprises.  Oh, you’re hiding behind the couch to go poop.  Oh, when I put you on the potty you hold it in because you’re afraid for it to come out.  Oh, there is a soaked diaper wedged in the back of your drawer.  The routine becomes the routine, and you just wait until they are ready to take the plunge.  She did ask if she could sit on my lap while she went to the bathroom.  That was a new one.  The one thing we had working for us was Josie’s love of accessories.  The idea of having her own princess underwear was a big selling point for potty training.  Then the understanding that if she peed, she would be peeing on one of her favorite characters!  Heck no, give me that potty chair!

Potty training is a literal dirty job, but I’m happy to do it.  If I could give any advice to parents, I’d say that potty training is like the weight loss secret of the kid world.  No you can’t do it in a weekend.  No there is no quick fix or easy way to do it.  It takes time, it takes patience, and if you keep at it you will reach your goal!

I Forgot About That Part

One of the best things about Halloween is movies! We all have fond memories of watching classic Halloween films. It is natural to want to share these movies with our kids. Surely if we love these movies, they will love them too! Then you sit your kids down to watch a movie, and a scene comes up you forgot about. Maybe a joke you didn’t get as a kid, bad language you’d forgotten about, or a scene filled with nightmare fuel you repressed. Well I am here to help! Below is a short list of classic, family Halloween movies with some questionable humor. Humor that can lead to some interesting questions from your kids you may not be ready for! Now you can prepare yourself for those questions!

“What’s a Virgin?”

We are starting off strong with a Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus! The movie has a few sprinkles of adult humor. We all remember wondering what “yabbos” are, and the joke about the Sanderson sisters wanting to have children with the bus driver. But that main joke that permeates through the entire movie is about a teenager’s virginity. By the time you reach the end of the movie, it would be weird if you’re kids didn’t ask what a virgin is.

“Did Casper die?”

Casper is still a really fun movie to watch as a family. But it does offer a nice kick in the emotional gut when you learn Casper’s back story. Casper was a little boy who died. He then haunted his dad to the point of insanity. The littlest kids may miss this entire premise, buuuuuut it is pretty gut wrenching when you truly deal with the concept of ghosts.

“Are those yabbos?”

There are several amazing stop-motion animation films that are synonymous with Halloween. The Nightmare Before Christmas, Paranorman, Frankenweenie and Coraline all are about the same level of scary. All of these movies are a too scary for your littlest kids, but they are pretty age appropriate for upper elementary. BUT, while reassuring your kids the spooky images in these movies aren’t real, Coraline give you one (really two) more thing to speak to your children about.

“Uuuum, I have a lot of questions”

Beetlejuice is a hilarious movies. Michael Keaton is absolutely hysterical and I find something new to laugh at every time I see it. But to be honest, I don’t even understand how Beetlejuice is always on the list of “family friendly movies”. There are some funny visuals for kids. But between having to explain about suicide, to what a whore house is, leave this one on the shelf for the kids!

“Is she gonna marry that old man?”

Oh Labyrinth. How poorly this movie has aged. Not that the movie isn’t enjoyable. It certainly has great visuals and fun songs. It is a great choice for Halloween with its solid creep factor. But you can’t help but squirm as an adult, when 39 year old David Bowie keeps trying to seduce 16 year old Jennifer Connelly.

There are so many great Halloween movies to watch with kids! It can be tough to hold back on your favorite movies. We watched them when we were a kids, and we all turned out just fine. I mean, we were the people that made Fifty Shades a Grey a bestselling series. But those can’t possibly be related!

Sweet Eats Fruit Farm

I am madly in love with Sweet Eats Farm.  We all know the challenge of keeping kids entertained during Covid 19.  After exhausting every craft on Pinterest, cooking every single kid-friendly recipe, and watching more “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate” than should ever be legally allowed, we needed something to get us out of the house. Sweet Eats Farm swooped down from heaven, and saved us. It gave me a whole morning of hands-off fun, and an afternoon of exhausted children taking long naps.  If you’re looking for a good day trip, I have found your savior!

This large fruit farm was started in 2013, and has grown to an amazing utopia of kid fun.  Picking your own fruit is just one of the many attractions this farm has to offer.  At $15 per person (free for under 2), the price is well worth it.  This post would go on forever if I were to list all the things kids can do while at the farm.  I will simply give you our personal favorites, and you can see for yourself all there is to offer.

Jump Pads:  Two huge inflatable jump pads are located on the farm.  We all know the amazing euphoria of watching kids get all their energy out, while you sit and relax.  I consistently had to keep pulling the kids off the jump pads to go try other things.  The jump pads are by far their favorite activity.

Petting Zoo:  With bunnies, chicks, goats, and more, the petting zoo came in a close second for the kids’ favorite activity.  All the animals are very calm and happy to take some food out of your hand.  Be forewarned, you will be asked if you can take a random farm animal home.  “Why can’t we take the goat?  He would fit in the car.”

Duck Races:  While not the most famous races on the farm (pig races for the win), we spent a solid chunk of time racing rubber ducks down PVC pipes.  Kids love simple, fun repetitive behavior.  And the duck races check all the boxes. 

Tips:

Wear sunscreen:  I visited Sweet Eats in December and still got a little rosy on my cheeks and forehead.  There is a lot of shade, but it’s Texas’ sun, and it’s sneaky.

Pack snacks and maybe lunch:  There is a nice food truck on the farm.  But they only have hamburgers, hot dogs and chips.  Even drinks are a limited.  I can testify that the food is good.  But if you have picky eaters, definitely pack a lunch.

Wear tennis shoes:  When you first get to the farm, there is a small concession stand where you get your wristbands for the day.  Then you walk down a long, gravel path to all the fun activities.  This long walk is when you realize flip-flops were a bad choice. 

So, should you make the trip out the Sweet Eats Farm?

Baby-3 (stop)

Honestly, not the best day trip for the babes.  It is a far drive, no matter what side of Williamson county you’re on.  The only restrooms are port-a-potties.  Diaper changes and picky potty-trainees will be out of luck.  The property is not super stroller friendly.  I saw a well-intentioned family with a wagon, and they could barely wheel it out of the parking lot.  While there are fun animals to see, and a few safe places to crawl, it is too much for this age group.

3-6 (proceed with caution)

My trips to Sweet Eats farm included two four-year-old, a 6 year-old, and a 7 year-old.  One 4 year-old wanted nothing more than to pet and feed all the animals!  The other 4 year-old had to be picked up every time a chicken came by.  (Fun Fact: the chickens are everywhere).  The 6 and 7 year-old loved all the activities, but were still too small for a few of the things they wanted to do.  They had an amazing time, and everyone was exhausted and ready to leave by lunch.  I think for this particular age group, it depends on your child’s personality.  If you have a cautious kiddo, this might not be the place for you.  If you have child who looks at a wall and says “wonder what happens if I run into it head first”, they will be in heaven! 

6-10 (GO NOW)

For the elementary school kids, this place is perfect!  Plenty of space to run and jump.  There is enough stuff to keep them busy for the whole day. A fabulous day outside with no screen time! Get your tickets and go!