NEW TEEN CRAZE Cinnamon Challenge Poses Bodily Harm

This is NOT a joke.

This is NOT a joke.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the teens are doing stupid stuff again. And I am compelled once again to bring it to your attention. I know, I know, when AREN’T adolescents doing moronic things with their BFFs, but that is beside the point. We all did our share – it’s part of our development and our right as citizens of this planet. But information/education can save lives and that is my job as a computerized nurse.

“Cinnamon challenges” have been on the news recently (and all over YouTube) warning parents about the dangers this youthful game can present on their health. You might have laughed it off or thought, “Boy, glad my kid isn’t that stupid!”

But I’m here to tell you, the Governor of Illinois was caught on YouTube choking down cinnamon because he thought this “game” wasn’t that dangerous. People are not aware of the severe lasting effects of this challenge.

This popular challenge is when persons eat a large spoonful of ground cinnamon. The spice itself is not toxic, but the problem arises when the person ingesting the powdered spice starts to laugh, choke or cough and the particles go down their airways instead of their esophagus to their stomach. Cinnamon dust particles in the lungs are dangerous.

According to the New York Times, “A report published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday found that the stunt has led to a growing number of calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms. Some teenagers have suffered collapsed lungs and ended up on ventilators.” Large quantities adhered to the lungs when inhaled, causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs resembling emphysema.

For the full New York Times report by Anahad O’Connor, click here: Consequences of the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’

Even if you think your child wouldn’t do something this ridiculous, just trust me and bring it up casually at dinner. See if they have heard of someone doing this challenge and check if they think it’s funny. NOW you will have your educating moment.

Good luck and let me know how your talk went. I’d love to hear back from you all, to hear how kids are responding to this around the country. ~ Stacey

This one is really extreme and she is choking. Her “friend” the cameraman laughs through the entire thing. Don’t let this be your child. THIS MIGHT BE DISTURBING FOR SOME VIEWERS


Smells that make you go AUWKWARD

Recently, I was driving a group of girls to a practice/event/party/school/something, and from the back of the van I hear, “It smells like a dog fart in the car.” Normally, I would have lifted up my arm a bit and waved it toward my nose to see if I was the offending party; but I knew I had recently showered, for my hair was still damp and I haven’t gotten to the age where those windy affairs waft out unwarranted. Yet. (Spoiler alert: Munchkin#2 took off her shoes)Waft On

Then uncomfortable giggles from the back of the van were heard, then a long silent pause. My hubby and I have (from the beginning) told our girls we strongly dislike the word “fart.” We use “toot” instead. We’s proper that way!! If you know me, you are rolling your eyes because I unfortunately have the mouth of a sailor. This is the outcome of years in the theatre and running around with gypsies. But seriously, I do not like to hear children using harsh language. They are to develop that skill set in high school like the rest of the proper folk.

The next day Munchkin #1 felt it necessary to bring up this story like she needed to confess she had robbed a bank. She was mortified her friend had used THAT word and was afraid if someone in an authority position were to overhear her dear friend repeat the word, she would get sent to prison or worse have her TV privileges revoked.

We discussed how some families may find certain language appropriate, but others don’t. This was perplexing for a first grader. AND her mother. I tried to make it clear for her, but you know when you talk to your child for more than 2 minutes and their eyes start to glaze over and drool forms in the corner of their mouth? I don’t think she quite got the lesson this time.

However, sometimes this happens in reverse. I never thought my young children would be able to stump me so frequently with general life questions. Not like, “How can God watch all of us at the same time?” I knew I wasn’t going to have a snappy answer in that category, but I can always throw it back to, “You’ll have to ask our Pastor. Great question!” I am NOT afraid of delegating parenting/education duties of my children. Takes a village, Pastor. See you on Sunday!!

At least once every week, one of my kids asks me something that I have no clue what the answer is. I’m starting to think God gave us children to show us we don’t know anything. The television show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” was so popular because those producers were being polite to the viewers. Come on, my first grader is kicking my tail already! Would you like a piece of humble pie, Mrs. Hatton?Hyperventilate2

You know how kids are always creating certain sayings that describe something, but the true definition is not used? For example, “that’s so cool” really doesn’t have any thermal change when spoken. Or “phat,” “kickin,’” “rad,” or my new favorite…awkward. Yeah, feel free to go ahead and use it. All the grade schooler’s are saying it! If you aren’t, well…that’ awk-ward.

My eldest daughter is saying “awkward” as her adjective of choice. Really she uses it for any part of speech. Awk-ward! The problem is I don’t know if she is using it correctly, or if she is becoming one of those Saturday Night Live! characters that just doesn’t get it. I know as a parent I need for her to figure it out on her own, but BOOM! She asked for a definition and I didn’t have my Webster’s near my fingertips.

So this is how it went down one morning:

Munchkin #1: This toast is awk-ward.

Me: It is? Why is your toast making you feel that way?

M1: What do you mean?

Me: I thought you said your toast was awkward?

M1: It is so VERY awkward.

Me: I thought awkward was a feeling.

M1: How can it be a feeling?

Me: Like sad, or mad, or embarrassed…you feel like something is awkward. (Now I know I’m in trouble)

M1: I thought awkward meant “weird.”

Me: In the old days it kinda meant that, but I don’t know if the kids are using the word differently now or if you are saying it wrong. Never mind, I’m sure you and your friends will figure it out. (Oh, I’m rapidly aging through this conversation!)

M1: So it doesn’t mean “weird?”

Me: It’s like this (getting in trouble quick)…if you go out in the backyard with your friends and you look down and see you are wearing one red sock and one pink sock – and you are just a little bit embarrassed. Not so embarrassed that you want to cry or throw up or hide in the closet, but just a tiny bit embarrassed, you would say, “That’s awkward.” Does that make sense?

M1: What if I had one red sock and one purple sock?

Student 1: Teacher 0

Early Release

So anybody staying above their kids in math? Oh, Lawd!! This homework thing is going to derail me soon, I can feel it!


Keeping the Normalcy and Holiday Spirit Alive

Baby with Christmas presentsEvery morning I have awakened with a lump in my throat and a surge of anxiety since the devastating massacre in Connecticut. I try to clear my mind with deep cleansing breaths, positive imagery and prayer for those all affected. But the problem is, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t affected by this tragedy. Even the newborn knows his mother is tense and crying more than usual.

So my quest, my personal goal is to continue praying for those in need, helping in whatever way I can and then making sure my children return to normalcy. Now if you have ever met my family, normalcy is so wacky and zany – usually involving interpretive dance and jazz hands every other day – so we have our work cut out for us to get to that point again. But I wish for this holiday to be one of deep love, family time and yes, a puppet show or two.

One thing I have noticed is that Alf, our Elf on the Shelf, who I might have previously mentioned I am not fond of (or is the bane of my existence, since he sometimes decides not to move at night and it upsets my children and makes them feel unworthy of his love. ARGHHHH!) is upset by the Connecticut incident as well. Alf is barely moving to another place each night and my children are noticing his lazy behavior.

Well, Mr. Alf this is your wake-up call: you need to pull it together and get more creative for my kids! They deserve it.

• I promise not to call you names and roll my eyes at you if you “up-your-game” and make this last week fun for my girls.
• I will start taking pics of you again and showing you off to my friends.
• It’s unfortunate it took this type of devastation and horrific incident for me to get my priorities straight,
but Alf, you are part of my family, and I promise to treat you better.
• I will not let other mom-bloggers bring me down and join them in badmouthing our elves at Christmas parties or Facebook.

I know our time together is limited, Alf. I don’t know how long you will be in our life, so I am going to change my Christmas Carol and sing your praises.

I’m starting a new movement:

Alf on Bike

Hug your kids for me too, kay?! Happy holidays, friends.

©2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.


Best Parenting Advice Received Nation Grieves for Loss of our Babies

Father Smiling Holding Young SonIt is challenging to take time to sit at the computer and write my thoughts when all I want to do is schmoosh my children and slather their faces with kisses. But they have informed me it is time to play with their dolls and read some books; because unlike those beautiful babies in Connecticut, my children haven’t been affected by the devastation this country experienced yesterday…not yet.

I have the entire weekend to keep them innocent and untouched. Those parents in CT don’t afford that luxury. How many of you have thought about putting your children in your pocket or a small box and just carry them around with you forever since you heard the news? Did the flash of homeschooling go through your mind? The thought lasted much longer than it ever has before, but then I realized my kids really do need amazing teachers who are qualified to educate and not just some anxiety ridden over-protective nurse.

The fact is that as a parent all I can do is shower my kids with love and let them feel like they are safe – which is a small miracle in its own is. And the only way to make them feel safe is with steadfast demonstrations of love. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but that’s what all the professionals are saying (and I’m NOT one of them).

I am writing as a parent who is just trying to get through this. I am a wife, a mother, a sister and friend who is struggling to understand how this could ever happen. Glancing at social media after the children went to sleep last night, I know every adult in this country is grasping for answers and a place to connect with others. They are looking for a place to open up about how to talk to their kids about death and mental illness.

Through my relations with professionals who have expertise in this area, I will relay information regarding the subject and hope all will feel they can ask questions or share their experiences for others to learn from (whether it is successful or not). I need this as well. Takes a village, right?!

As promised, here is some of the best advice I received from an adolescent pediatrician.

He said, “When hugging a child, never let go first.”

I will repeat this. NEVER LET GO FIRST…EVER.

This shows the child you are there for them. You are their support and it is THEIR decision to let go, spread their wings and become independent. All of that is implied in each hug.

It can change your relationship with your children. Immediately.

May prayers, strength and love continue to flourish during this challenging time.

And let the only fighting in our country be to see who lets go of that hug first!

© 2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.


Always Late Makes for A Dickens of a Morning

There are some days when the powers above fight you at every corner to ensure your children ARE late for school. This morning was one of them.

IRVIN0085-vintage-mother-daughtert was the best of times, it was the worst of times… let’s face it, it was a mess or else I wouldn’t be sharing this.

Of course there are children in the world, who are starving, don’t have a roof over their heads, or have lost their parents. God bless them and those who write about them. But those dear children weren’t in my house this morning, trying their best to get me to pop an artery.

Mine, unfortunately were.

God bless us, every one!

The day BEFORE went surprisingly smooth. In fact, at dinner I had mentioned to my hubby how the children should go to bed an hour earlier every night since there were such amazing morning routine results:

Actual cheerfulness, focusing on tasks, follow-through and prompt delivery to school occurred only one day before. Just an extra hour of sleep could transform my morning monkeys into dawning darlings.

Since it worked so beautifully, we decided to give it another whirl. We had solved all of our parenting problems with bumping up our kids’ bedtime. We were so smart as we patted each other on the backs and headed for an early bedtime to see if we could fix all our problems too.

Ever hear of the calm before the storm?


0730 I wake up late. Kids are still asleep.

0745 Hubby has left the building. Solo mission has begun. One child dancing in pajamas to princess music in living room; other child snoring logs.

0750 Breakfast on table and no children to be found.

0755 Phone rings. Hubby’s number on caller-ID. Immediately imagine he’s been in an accident. Adrenaline spikes even higher. He’s fine, but calling to say the road to school has a water main break and to find another route. (Chuck Dickens!!)

0800 Enforce the “no-talking” rule and remind children to “EAT!” 436 times.

0803 Munchkin#2 reports she may be having an asthma attack (or SARS, or the plague or chicken pox)

0805 Actual breathing problems – administer asthma meds.

0810 Children report they are getting dressed and brushing teeth.

0815 Time to get in car. Kids are naked and nary a tooth clean.

***Loss of maternal consciousness (not really) in whirlwind of chaos***

0826 Backing out of garage, hoping children are in van, but not really checking.

0830 Stuck in traffic jam due to…guess what?! WATER MAIN BREAK!! (Double Chuck Dickens!!)

0833 Heading to school (via different route) behind a school bus. Almost there. We’re going to make it on time! Two minutes to go. Then…

Time. Stood. Still.

S-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n took over.

For the aloof school bus driver pressed her foot on her brake, bright red rear lights eased on and blinded me; and instantaneously, I became the same color rage which was emanating from the back of the bus.

Thirty feet from the drop-off lane, that “yellow-‘B’-on-wheels” backed my kids into a tardy slip and me into a mama rage which Starbucks or Krispy Kreme couldn’t fix.

So I gave up. Hands in the air; waving my white hanky.

They. Were. Late!

I had no say in the matter. Squashed between a bus and a hard bumper.

I had done my best.

After all, isn’t that what we try to teach our kids?

“All you can do is try your best – and then I’m proud of you.”

How many times have you said that to your kids, right? Granted, I’m still really pissed off at that bus driver and the fumes from my ears fogged up the windows on the ride home.

I mean, why in the world would that driver decide to block the entire drop-off lane during “drop-off” time?

Isn’t that covered in the school bus driver’s manual or Bus School 101? It seems like a no-brainer to me. Maybe she missed HER mama’s lesson on always doing her best, CAUSE…

(exhale) God bless us, Every one!

How is your school’s drop-off lane? Perfect? I would love to hear…