lent2

Hey, Nurse! That is NOT a Smudge

I grew up attending church almost every Sunday. My mother was raised Lutheran and my father had not gone to church as a child; therefore, the compromise was that my brother and I would attend a church which would have an interesting “speaker” pastor and great music. This way, Mom was happy we were getting churched, and Dad wouldn’t be bored.

Immediately, when we started going on a regular basis, my mother placed me in the choir. I was in third grade. I’m not sure if I could carry a tune at that age, or if my mom just thought it was the right thing to do – but that was to be my thing. Stacey = choir girl.

Choir was the special place where I met all of my friends. Actually, some of them I even sang with all the way through high school. Church choir was where I learned how to sing, that I could sing a LOT louder than most other kids, and was an excellent place to mess around.

So each Sunday, after learning the music – which took me no time – I flipped into class clown mode. Several other friends, who were hilarious, kept each other giggling incessantly every Sunday.

This unfortunately crossed over into Sunday school. I clearly remember Sunday school teachers barking at me to quit messing around and pay attention, but that just made me laugh more. I was a real pain in the butt, and to those who attempted to teach me anything about religion, thank you and I’m terribly sorry I was so rude. But on the other hand, I did polish my comedy skills.

With that said, I learned almost nothing about the bible in 8 years of attending church. I’m not really exaggerating. OK, I did learn every hymn and religious choral arrangement for children and adults – so it wasn’t a total waste of time.

When I became an adult, and moved to a bigger city; I tried to broaden my horizons. However, it wasn’t until after a few pitfalls.

One day when I was working as a pediatric nurse, a child came into the clinic with his mother. Out of habit, I always looked at the child first and addressed them, so as to form a bond and to gain their trust. This time, I didn’t even look up at the parent before my maternal nature took over.

As I leaned into the child, I said, “You have a little smudge on your forehead.” My arm was going to brush back the kid’s hair to show the dirt spot to the mother, when she yelled, “It’s Ash Wednesday!”

All I heard was “Wednesday,” but was so startled that the woman had yelled at me for trying to clean her dirty little kid. Now I’m embarrassed I didn’t know what Ash Wednesday was. Guess I might have listened just a bit in Sunday school, but it was too late for that.

I said, “Yes, Wednesday. He has some dirt on his…”

Then she grabbed her child, to protect him from the heathen nurse with the tissue. She was obviously more frustrated than I was, and I was getting pretty ticked by how ridiculous she was acting over a muddy forehead.

The mother noticed I wasn’t catching on, so she spoke to me as if I were deaf, “YOU KNOW…IT’S LENT.”

I answered calmly and quietly, “No, it’s just a smudge of dirt or something – not lint.”

Well, you can imagine the frustration of this woman. She wiped the back of her hand across her forehead to brush aside her bangs, and that is when I saw the matching smudge. The mother’s, however, was clearly in the shape of a cross.

Ah, Schmidt!!!!

I felt all of the blood in my body surge from the bottom half to my neck and then my face. I was too young to be having a hot flash, but I wasn’t certain I wasn’t dying.

I’m not sure how I managed to escape the room, but I do know that I traded with another nurse to take that patient. I was too mortified to face that family again.

After that episode, I began to learn more about all religions. As a nurse, I wanted to be prepared to understand and respect all people’s beliefs. No more wiping off of blessed ashes.

So for those of you who don’t celebrate Lent; hopefully, you can learn from my mistake. Also, here’s a tip for you: there are going to be a lot of cranky drivers on the roads over the next month – people who have given up chocolate and/or wine for Lent.

So we better be extra kind on the roads…you never know who’s in the car next to you.
God bless us every one!

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baby with tongue dr. seuss

EYE BAGS AND YAWNS – a tribute to Dr. Seuss (in iambic pentameter, kinda)

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday, I’m giving my homage to the creative genius who made me laugh as a child…other than Mr. Rogers and his sweater, shoe fettish.

I love you, Dr. Seuss!! Happy birthday and look, you are still living on in infamy!
Cool beans!

by Nurse Mommy

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue outI am spawn.
I am spawn.
Spawn awake since early dawn.

tired mom 3That spawn-since-dawn!
That spawn-since-dawn!
I don’t get that spawn-since-dawn!

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue outDo you have eye bags and yawns?

tired mom 3I don’t want them,
Spawn-since-dawn.
I don’t like eye bags and yawns.

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue outWould you like them here or there?

tired mom 3I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I don’t like eye bags and yawns,
I do not like them,
Spawn-since-dawn.

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue outCan I wake up the house?
Even wake your snoring spouse?

Tired Mom1You can’t wake up the whole darn house.
Don’t wake up my snoring spouse.
I don’t want them here or there.
I don’t like them anywhere.
I don’t want eye bags and yawns?
I do not like them,
Spawn-since-dawn.

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue outWould you change my diaper then?
Give a bottle – it’s only ten?

Tired Mom1
No diaper then!
No feeds at ten!
No waking house!
No snoring spouse!
I don’t want them here or there.
I don’t want them anywhere.
I don’t want eye bags and yawns,
I do not like them,
Spawn-since-dawn.

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue out
Have some coffee?
Wake your head?

Tired Mom1
No, my spawn, it’s off to BED!!!!!

Happy toddler smiling, sticking his tongue out
Fine!
If you give me one more cracker.
I won’t be a one hour snacker.
A burp and a wipe
And we’re on our way.
Plus…I was getting tired anyway.

Dang kids…

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Danny Manning2

Oh, Danny Boy! What a Sweetheart!!

When I was a Junior in high school, my locker partner was the notoriously famous basketball player, Danny Manning. Many people may know him as the captain of the 1988 National Champs KU basketball team. He then went on to play professional ball, but ended up choosing coaching after an injury.

What most people don’t know is the young man off the hardwoods, whose Levi’s 501 patch came to my eye level, and who jokingly asked me to hand him his books because I was closer to them, was a very sweet person.

In fact, when the “Sweetheart King and Queen” were voted by the student body, Danny was near unanimously deemed the nicest guy in our school. Not bad for a class of over 500 people.

I remember watching him bend over from the waist, like one of those wooden birds that used to bob up and down into a glass of water. This allowed some vertically challenged admirer to place the crown on his head while we all were thinking, “Now there is a really good guy.”

However, at the same time, I also was hearing another voice in my head saying, “There is NO way I will get that crown when I’m a Senior with my mouth!” A pity though, that I never aimed for that goal. Being the nicest person in the school was unfortunately not something I thought of. Perhaps, I was so good at being an adolescent and only focused on the typical, “Me!”

Many teens may fantasize about becoming Homecoming King or Queen; but that accolade used to be saved for the popular students. The cheerleaders, the jocks, etc. However, I can actually say I never thought there would be a hells chance of me bringing home that crown either. I had my eye on a Tony Award. Ah, the sweet, sweet bird of stupidity…

So recently, when my munchkin’s had an elementary school Spirit Week, where all the students were to dress up in various silly clothes each day; I noticed a pattern stabbing me in the chest with these young kids. Friday was to be the day when the kids were to dress up like Twins. They were to wear matching clothing with someone or a group in their class. Sounds fun, right? Yeah, unless you don’t make a plan to match with someone or are being excluded.

I knew Munchkin #1 has a couple of best friends in her classroom. She talks about them every day, they have been close since Kindergarten – so I assumed the three of them were going to figure it out. They are in second grade, and she is becoming more independent and able to take care of more responsibilities.

Alas, when she got home on Thursday, I asked her what she was wearing for Twins Day. When it comes to costumes and being silly, I always am eager to gather the scoop! M1 said that she wasn’t quite sure. Now since M1 is my analytical child, who is often “stuck in head” I thought perhaps she had missed the directions – but according to her:

“We are wearing pigtails and tennis shoes.”

Obviously, this wasn’t going to do! Knowing if she didn’t get the plan figured out the night before, there would be tears and screaming – and that would be just my reaction.

Thankfully, one of the moms, let’s call her Eunice because that would really annoy her, called us up to find out what the master plan was. Do you know HOW hard it is to get three strong-minded, independent thinking girls to decide on anything? No wonder they had only planned as far as athletic footwear and a cute hairstyle.

Eunice let the girls talk on the phone to iron out the details which took approximately 20 minutes. They agreed on their look and Eunie’s girl was going to contact the third friend to inform her of the details.

I was so relieved to not hear them fussing over what to wear, I needed to relax and pamper myself. So I got on Facebook. Nothing like escaping from the world in Zuckerland! Not long after, or it could have been two hours because you know time stands still on the Facebook watch, I see an email pop up from Eunice.

Oh, boy! What did M1 say that upset her kid?

I need to stop assuming the worst when the phone rings or an email shows up in my inbox because this email was one of the most beautiful acts of kindness I have seen in a long time.

Eunice not only contacted the third girl, but also sent out an email to all of the girls in the class. She informed their parents what our girls were wearing for this day (including every detail), and invited them to join in the fun.

I knew that this would irritate my daughter because she wanted to have a special day with her buddies; but she needed to learn this lesson early.

Is it more important to be popular and have friends, or is it better to treat everyone as you would want to be treated?

This was a golden moment to reteach the Golden Rule. Munchkin #1 needed to know what our expectations as her parents were for how she treats all persons.

Of course, mother’s instincts were correct, for M1 was pouting when informed that perhaps the entire class would be dressed like she and her buddies. But it is never too early to teach kids how to be nice to each other and be respectful of their feelings. Poor, poor M1!

It was at that moment when bending down from the waist to talk to my daughter, that I flashed back to Danny Manning as the Sweetheart King. Even though he was a star and fairly popular in school, he didn’t let it get to his head. He was kind to everyone.

As I wondered if my munchkins’ high school would have a Sweetheart Queen, I thought if Eunice’s daughter learns from her mother’s actions – she is going to get that crown.

Then after reliving my past with my girls, and teaching them what I believe they need to work on, I said to them as they ran upstairs to get ready that Friday morning:

“Just know that your father and I would prefer you try to be the Sweetheart Queen instead of the Homecoming Queen. BEING KIND IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN BEING POPULAR!!!”

Then I thought in my kind motherly way, “And if you don’t put your clothes away, you won’t make it to high school!”

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Hands off Hubby

Hands Off, Hubby! I Just Want to Be Alone

Despite the near “hubby bashing” on KC Live! TV, I try to keep any negativity about my husband to a minimum. I think I’ve done exceptionally well for many years; however, I now need to apologize to him for kinda calling him out on national TV. My bad.

You see I am one of the fortunate who married one of the nicest guys on the planet.

Truly. (Please don’t grab the remote and change the channel, I promise not to get all sappy and be like, “He’s my Schmoopie!” “No, no, no! You’re MY Schmoopie!” Those people are sociopaths and are not to be trusted.You won’t hear that type of smut on this blog.)

PLUS, my sugah Daddy loves all this “wild, crazy” that comes wrapped up inside the package called Funkily Me. I’m thinking that should be my signature perfume design. No? This is usually where my husband would interject and say, “Really? You’re changing careers again?” And then that shoots me back into reality so the earth can keep rotating at its normal clip.

I’m not saying he completes me because that’s just a line for the movies, and no one really means it. OK, maybe some people might say it, but I would no longer be friendly with them and they would surely be taken off my holiday card list.

By now, some of you may be REALLY jealous of my marriage. Well, you would be wrong. Life is not perfect! Even at the Hatton household, tempers can flare…and for some reason, it’s only mine – which is irritating – but that’s for another story, my friends.

So to give you an accurate portrayal of my woes, I wrote me a blues song and it goes a little bit like dis. I calls it…

Lemme Sleep, Fool
My hubs wants to spoon way too much,
Makes me feel guilty and such.
His bedtime lovin’ is to be admired,
But boy, oh, BOY! This mama is tired!!

Thank you!! And don’t forget to tip your waitresses…

One of our problems is my husband doesn’t need as much sleep as I do. It’s how I keep lovely and fresh looking every day.

The other issue is he doesn’t believe me when I say I need to sleep at least one hour more than he does. For someone who is brilliant at math, you would think this equation would be a no-brainer. I guess I learned basic arithmatic differently in my remedial math courses.

Also, my loving husband can fall asleep in the spoonage position; however, I feel like I’m being strangled by a hot octopus, instead of swaddled like my peacefully resting mate. Now I’m not saying I’m made of stone, I enjoy a good cuddle as much as the next gal, but when it’s time to sleep…


I JUST WANT TO BE ALONE!!!

Anyone else with me?!

Oh, and did I mention that my new book is on pre-sale today?

See I’m not getting enough sleep and I forgot to tell you all that the sequel to “I Just Want to Pee Alone” is up and fabulous! It’s called, “I Just Want to Be Alone.”

This story above is not my essay in the book because I said I don’t like to badmouth anyone I love. It is an issue which needs to be resolved, but I suppose I can do that at home. My story in the book is how I deliver a big can of whoop ass for the men I met before the Hubs, when I joined a computer dating service.

Here’s what folks are saying about our book over at Amazon:

The second volume in the best-selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series!

Don’t get us wrong, we love the men in our lives – we do (most of the time). It’s just that sometimes we would like them to go away. Not forever or anything like that. Just for an hour … or a day … or a weekend. We want some time to ourselves to read a good book or take a walk or do anything other than try to make a dent in the never ending mound of dirty clothes that keeps piling up on the floor on his side of the bed. We just want to be alone. All alone. Is that too much to ask?

I Just Want to Be Alone is a collection of humorous essays from 37 of the most Super Cool Lady Writers you’ll find on the web. Including: People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Moms Who Drink and Swear, Baby Sideburns, A.K. Turner, My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream, and Bad Parenting Moments.

I’ve been looking forward to this day for awhile now. Do you know how hard it is for me to keep a secret? Just kidding, you can trust me and you NEED a copy of this book now.

So if you want to get on the wait-list for the funniest book of 2014, click HERE. This is a direct link to the Amazon pre-sale page. I can’t wait to hear how you like it!

Stacey

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Lillies

Effectively Teaching Children about STRANGER DANGER

After the horrific tragedy occurring in Springfield, MO this week, regarding the abduction and murder of Hailey Owens, I wanted to reprint this article to help parents talk to their children about the dangers and how to protect themselves.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful, but I also wanted to list an additional article in KidsHealth.org on the subject.

When reminding my munchkins about how to react and what to say in abduction scenarios, I pulled out this link and read parts of it to them individually. This way they could ask questions and not be embarrassed to say something in front of their sibling.

My girls, who are prone to getting upset by these discussions, actually felt empowered, strong and equipped to deal with what might come their way from the method mentioned in KidsHealth.

Remember the goal is NOT to scare your child, but to effectively prepare them.

Blessings to the community of Springfield and to all who loved dear Hailey. Rest in peace, sweet angel.

~ Stacey


Previously printed SimplyKC magazine – October 2012

The other day I heard a young grade schooler say to her mother, “I can’t talk to them. They’re a stranger.” Initially, I thought what an excellent job that parent did educating her daughter; but then I quickly realized the mother had instructed her child to ask a store employee a question, who was only 3 feet away, yet the child was paralyzed. If all adults are the enemy, what are children to do when they need help in an emergency or are lost?

WHO SHOULD KIDS TRUST?

The phrase “Stranger Danger” has been pounded into our kids’ heads so much that possibly some parents may have done reverse damage. Children need to be able to talk to adults, and that includes strangers. KidsHealth.org says, “It’s better to teach kids when it’s appropriate to talk to strangers and when it is not.” Let them know when they are with you it is appropriate to talk to people they may not know because you are there to protect them. “But if your child is alone and approached by a stranger, that’s a different story.” The American Academy of Pediatrics offers, “Instead of teaching (your child) that he’s surrounded by danger, teach him that he is strong, capable, and can count on you to keep him safe, as long as he can tell you about it.”

EDUCATING YOUR CHILD

Question: What do molesters and abductors look like?

Answer: Like everybody else walking down the street. These predators don’t look scary, but sometimes appear friendlier to kids – that’s how they are able to draw them into their web. If a stranger comes up to your child while he or she is alone, they need to have the tools to protect them. Tell your kids if they are approached, they don’t have to be polite or say a word. Dr. Laurie Fisher, M.D., Town Plaza Family Practice, Overland Park, KS says, “Children don’t have to say anything. They should run away and tell an adult.” She also stresses that kids have a buddy system. “If they are going to be alone, make sure that they are not out after dark. And if they ever feel threatened, they need to yell loudly (that they don’t know the adult – “this is NOT my Daddy!”) and run away as fast as they can to a safe location.”

If an adult tries to touch their private area or asks them to touch theirs, they also need to know how to react. “I tell my patients it’s okay for parents and the doctor to look at their private area but it is off limits for anybody else,” says Dr. Fisher.

She also shares with her patient’s parents that they need to begin teaching their children their full names and their parent’s names by the age of 3 or 4. “By four or five years of age, children need to know their phone number and address.”


HELP, I’M LOST!

If your child wanders away from you in a public place, they need to know what to do. Go over these instructions with your child often, so she clearly understands the directions. Officer Gary Mason, Public Information Officer with the Overland Park Police Department says, “Have your child go up to either the police, security officer or a store employee and let them know they are separated from their parent. Also, a mom or dad with young kids is usually a safe place for a lost child to get help.”

THE CODE WORD

Creating a family “code word” which is not easily deciphered by a dangerous stranger is helpful to give your child the extra confidence needed to make a good decision. If you need someone to pick up your kids unplanned outside of school, there should be a password that your child knows. When the adult says to come with them, the child should be trained to ask, “What is the code word?” If the adult doesn’t know it, the child needs to run the other direction to get help from a trusted adult.

Having “stranger danger” discussions are never easy for parents; but putting it off for another day is just another day where your children could be underprepared to face a dangerous situation. Build up their self-esteem with these tools, review them often, and hopefully they will grow up confident and not fearing the world around them.

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Stacey

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