Living Columns & Blogs

Ferberizing to pinkeye, Lisa’s seen it

In the spirit of all of those random question quizzes that are abundant on Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites, here’s a survey designed to help you get to know me and my family a little better.

1. How many kids do you have?

Three. Two boys and a girl.

And apparently, three is the new 12 because we’re constantly getting reactions like, “Wow! Three? Are you Catholic, too poor for ‘Plan B’ or just insanely fertile? Do you call your youngest Oops? Hey, do you know the Octomom?”

2. Cloth or disposable?

Are you kidding? Disposable all the way. I can barely keep enough clean towels and washcloths in the house – there’s no way I could be responsible for making sure my children had clean didies, even with the help of a professional diaper service.

It turns out that commercially cleaned diapers probably wouldn’t have worked with our youngest son anyway. He has a severe soap allergy. As a result, we use a special detergent and double-rinse all of our laundry.

3. Did you Ferberize your babies?

No. We tried to let our daughter “cry it out” for a few nights, and it was torture, mainly for us. We’re strong believers in attachment parenting, co-sleeping and quiet evenings.

Besides, she learned to fall asleep on her own, and stay in her own room, several years later.

4. Do you let your kids wear Heelys?

About the 10th time a bratty kid whizzed by me on a pair of those, I vowed to never buy them for my children. Ever.

So far, I’ve kept that promise. Unfortunately, some well-meaning (or perhaps just plain evil) friends gave us a pair of hand-me-down skate-shoes about a month ago.

My daughter loves slipping and sliding in them, probably because she knows I’m not a fan of shoes that could potentially land you in an emergency room. We don’t allow her to wear them to the mall, grocery store or school, though.

Kids wearing Heelys remains on my list of all-time pet peeves, right up there with coffee shops that close before 9 p.m. and people who talk on the cell phone while using the bathroom.

5. Do you make your kids keep their rooms clean, or their beds made, on a daily basis?

Ha. I don’t think I could ever do that because that would make me a hypocrite.

We certainly remind them that they’re always happier in a clean room. And we usually get those rooms super clean whenever our kids say, “I’m bored,” or we’re hosting a family get-together, with relatives who don’t know the true look of our house.

6. Have you started college funds yet?

Yes. We participate in the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program, which allows families to save for college expenses several years in advance. We also belong to Upromise, a nationwide program that gives you college money for purchases at certain restaurants and stores.

7. Have your kids ever been diagnosed with one of “those” issues, such as head lice, scabies or pinkeye?

Ewww. Unfortunately, yes. All of our kids have been in child care, and have brought home pinkeye several times.

As a result, my husband and I have used our share of antibiotic eye drops, too.

8. Have your kids ever cursed?

Yes. Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they?

We have friends who let their kids swear at home – and we’re talking dropping some pretty big bombs. That’s not our style.

We also have friends who have given up swearing altogether to shield their children from being exposed to curse words. That’s not our style, either.

My husband spent too much time in the Navy, and I spent too much time in a newsroom to survive such a major life adjustment.

Besides, our kids will spend their entire lives dealing with double standards, so why not instill some coping skills now?

In our house, it’s OK to use slang words, such as “dang” or “heck.” But there are a handful of “grown-up words” that Daddy uses when he’s driving, and Mama uses when she sees a spider.

If you knowingly use one, and you’re not 18, you’ll get a spoonful of lemon juice in the mouth. And believe me, that remedy clears up sailor talk almost immediately with my kiddos.