The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

Category Archives: Kids

the face

There’s the face. And then, there’s the face. The face that can convey a thousand words and a range of emotion. As parents, wives and husbands, we learn early on how to make a face for nearly any occasion. One that says exactly what we are thinking. To my husband, I can say That’s bathroom humor and it’s not funny with my face. To my children, I can say You have got to speak up. This is an older person and they can’t hear you if you speak to the ground. Oh, and look at him when you’re talking…There you go. Much better. without speaking a word.

It took some time to perfect, don’t get me wrong. Once we were eating at a Mexican restaurant with friends. Parents in one booth, kids in another booth. I had watched Emma double dip for just about as long as I could, so I zapped her with a look. She thought I meant for her to wipe her mouth. I gave a short shake of the head. Zapped her again. She thought I meant for her to wipe Ben’s mouth. I gave another short shake of the head. Zapped her again. She thought I was asking her if she needed to go to the ladies room. So, I picked up a chip from our basket and held it up for her to see. Darrell grabbed it and said, “Thanks, Babe” and went on with the adult conversation taking place using words and not this crazy facial language I was trying to invent and use – all in one sitting.

But, there’s another kind of face. The face that sneaks up and jumps out.

          

I happened to catch Darrell’s face as Emma showed him her new eye make-up. His voice said, “You aren’t wearing that around any boys, are you?” but his face said My little girl. Wearing make-up. What happened to the time??  

Darrell’s face reminded me of me as I sat through a meeting this week. During the meeting, I found myself astounded as I listened to a person describe all the reasons he didn’t like his job. Suffice it to say he isn’t a big fan of work in general, so the whole 40-hours-a-week thing seems to be just messing him up.  About halfway through, I caught myself wearing a you have got to be kidding me expression.  Where I should have remained neutral, my face was likely giving me away. Not very business etiquette-y of me.

See, our faces give away our emotions and emotion should be rationed out in careful measures at work. Guard your reactions, keep them close and give yourself time to think through the situation before allowing your face to scream My baaaaaby’s wearing make-up!

what this baby thinks of job rejection

This is the perfect Friday video. You gotta watch it at least until the 5th rip to see how this little guy looks up at his dad and laughs even harder. So funny!

I got this from YouTube (of course). The comments say that the dad was ripping up a job rejection letter. Just makes it even better. And I think he’s on to something. Hit a bump in the road? Laugh it off, re-focus and keep moving. Onward and upward!

Have a great weekend and stay civil!

 

per emma & ben

This morning over breakfast, I asked Emma and Ben what I should blog about. They both said I should use this great spring weather and the blooming flowers.

hmmm….

“But, what’s the point?” I asked them. “What do you mean, What’s the point?” Ben asked.

Sigh. Twice, for good measure. Clearly they are only into this blogging business for the pictures. Or, what they can complain about since on Friday, Ben said to me, “I thought I told you not to put me in your blog anymore, Mom. Anybody in the whole world can see it.” First of all, I had to talk to him about how young people talk to adults, because he wasn’t doing it right. Secondly, I had to tell him how I have better judgment than to put something compromising about my own child on the world wide web.  It’s not like I put his mug up with a For Sale sign over his head.

………

Sorry. I’m back. My mind wandered.   

So, I explained to them that with each post, I use an everyday home or work situation and look for something useful in it. A lesson. A nugget of truth.

After a few seconds of putting way more cinnamon roll than is necessary in his mouth, Ben said, “Don’t smell all the flowers.”  Emma looked at me nodding her agreement.

Thanks, kids, I’ll take it from here….

They’re right. Not everything that looks good  – is good. There are bright shining objects that get our attention and draw us in. And, there are smooth-talking people that say everything we want to hear. But, it’s up to us to determine if we should actually walk up and take a sniff. So, we’re back to using good judgment. Using discretion and showing integrity. The flowers in your career that you should smell every chance you get are the opportunities to meet new people, to learn new things and to share your knowledge. Focus on what is productive and right. Not just what appears most appealing at the time.

So, thank you, Emma and Ben for pointing us in the right direction.

(See? I do put nice things on this blog about y’all!)

be sincere, not showy

And, here, I give you…….the power of the handwritten note.

Yes, it’s written on a piece of toilet paper. Yes, it has a grammatical error. There isn’t a comma to speak of. There is no form. But, there is no way this doesn’t make you smile. At least on the inside.

Don’t just think it. Tell somebody. Post-it note. Smoke signal. Pony Express. Don’t stress over making it just exactly right. It’s the sentiment, not the show.

 

don’t panic

This morning as I am standing in front of the bathroom mirror, makeup drawer open, hair wet, about to start the great transformation, Ben walked in. With that oh-my-gosh-what-is-going-on-here look, he said, “Mom. What are you doing? We’ve got to go!” How can it be 7:30 already????….my mind and my pulse went into overdrive.

My reaction wasn’t graceful. It was almost as if I had lost my footing. I started picking up things and putting them down in a panic. After I moved around the hairspray, the toothpaste, my bedroom shoes and pushed Ben back with my forearm as if I were protecting him from impact, I grabbed my watch.

7:09. And, he was gone.

I should have known better than to listen to him. This talk coming from the fella who can’t keep up with time for anything?  Who can’t keep up with his pencil at school, who can’t keep up with his pencil at home and has been known to lose his own bookbag in his own room? Still, when someone pairs the facial expression with the words that you are way off base about something, it’s human nature to react.

I knew it couldn’t have been 7:30 already. Deep down, I knew. But, the morning rush is no time for practical jokes. (I think he understands this now.) And, I was just as much at fault for succumbing. (Not really – he’s completely to blame for the bruise on my shin since I would not have used it to shut the drawer had he not started with me this morning.)

So, today’s mantra:  Don’t panic. Especially when people around you are tempting you to do so. Only you know when it’s time for you to panic, so don’t let someone else fling their stricken state on you. Keep your head about you and know that when others are acting with wild abandon (now there’s an image…wet hair, bathrobe, no makeup and wild abandon), you will end up leading the pack with your calm and rational demeanor.

As the posters say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

don't panic

This morning as I am standing in front of the bathroom mirror, makeup drawer open, hair wet, about to start the great transformation, Ben walked in. With that oh-my-gosh-what-is-going-on-here look, he said, “Mom. What are you doing? We’ve got to go!” How can it be 7:30 already????….my mind and my pulse went into overdrive.

My reaction wasn’t graceful. It was almost as if I had lost my footing. I started picking up things and putting them down in a panic. After I moved around the hairspray, the toothpaste, my bedroom shoes and pushed Ben back with my forearm as if I were protecting him from impact, I grabbed my watch.

7:09. And, he was gone.

I should have known better than to listen to him. This talk coming from the fella who can’t keep up with time for anything?  Who can’t keep up with his pencil at school, who can’t keep up with his pencil at home and has been known to lose his own bookbag in his own room? Still, when someone pairs the facial expression with the words that you are way off base about something, it’s human nature to react.

I knew it couldn’t have been 7:30 already. Deep down, I knew. But, the morning rush is no time for practical jokes. (I think he understands this now.) And, I was just as much at fault for succumbing. (Not really – he’s completely to blame for the bruise on my shin since I would not have used it to shut the drawer had he not started with me this morning.)

So, today’s mantra:  Don’t panic. Especially when people around you are tempting you to do so. Only you know when it’s time for you to panic, so don’t let someone else fling their stricken state on you. Keep your head about you and know that when others are acting with wild abandon (now there’s an image…wet hair, bathrobe, no makeup and wild abandon), you will end up leading the pack with your calm and rational demeanor.

As the posters say, Keep Calm and Carry On.

get a clue

The older I get (and by the end of this week, you can add another year), I find that if I don’t keep doing certain things, I forget how to do them at all.

Do you remember this game?

CLUE!

Emma and Ben pulled this game out the other night and asked if I knew how to play.

Dead silence. Far away stare. Thoughtful pondering. And, finally, admission.

“I used to know how to play.”  Used to? Such an extreme case of past tense. How could I not remember how to play Clue? I was born in the 70’s! Ok, the early 70’s, but that’s not what I’m discussing. Clue, Life, Monopoly…my old stomping grounds!

Alas, that’s just how it goes for most people. Use it or lose it. Keep exercising every day or your pants won’t fit and you’ll be in a bad mood. Keep working those crossword puzzles or your brain will go flat. And (you knew this was coming), keep using your manners or you’ll begin to look ill-prepared, off-putting, uncomfortable. Ugly. 

That’s the whole deal with children and their (often bad) manners, you see. They simply haven’t done it enough. Make your kids practice their manners and you do it right along with them. If not, you’ll end up with nasty children and a bad case of low self-esteem and both can make you appear frumpy. (Abrupt, I know. I’m in a hurry. And this is not backed up by science but you know it’s true.)

Get a Clue, save a Life and practice your manners. (Couldn’t think of a way to use Monopoly in that sentence although I tried for a ridiculously long period of time.)

little boys, big sisters, cookies and manners

In yesterday’s post, I used a picture of those funny little boys staring into my oven. One sly reader (LISA) was quick to pick up on the fact that it was indeed Emma (and not me) who had put something yummy inside. Throughout my day, 2 more people asked about what was cooking, so I thought I would share. I love recipe sharing.

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS 

(in the section called….Impressive Cookies. ahem. recipe below.)

 

There is something you should know about this particular adventure. It was a Friday evening and Ben had 2 friends over. That means that Emma had the audience of and input from 3 very opinionated 9 year old boys. They at least had an opinion about what Emma should cook for them.  They crowded over this Hershey’s cookbook trying to decide what they wanted…the deliberation was intense. After a few minutes, they settled on Peanut Butter Blossoms, so Emma got busy.

The Hubs had to get a little of the action and sometimes you do have to strongarm peanut butter. (Look at how Emma is standing. That’s how I stand when The Hubs gets in my business.)

 

You should have heard all the carrying on when those boys saw Emma rolling out the dough. They wanted to get their hands in that bowl so bad. But, having had a brother all of her years except 3, Emma does not believe boy-hands ever get clean. Not after a shower. Not after a using a scrub brush. Not even on Sunday. She doesn’t often put her foot down, but when she does…there’s no negotiation. Let’s just say there was some name-calling coming from the opposing team. Didn’t bother SisterGirl. She didn’t even look up. She just rolled one right after the other and calmly placed them on the pan. But, I could tell by the way she was holding her shoulders and occasionally glancing at them over her glasses that if one grubby boy-finger had attempted to breach her space, well, he was gon regret that.

So, it was aaall this that led to the picture you saw yesterday. Here it is again.

I’ll admit to having some hilarious and action packed pictures of the boys helping Emma “soften” the brown sugar. We tried to tell them to just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, but they preferred karate chops and head butts. As funny as those pictures are, it’s very very impolite to post pictures on the internet of children that don’t belong to you – unless you have permission from their parents.  Note how you can’t clearly see faces in the one above. This goes for Facebook, blogs, Twitter, websites…any portal that exists on the internet.

Of course, by the time Emma got these cookies in the oven, she was ready to post each of these boys on Craigslist. But don’t listen to her. She’s the baker. I’m the Manners Lady – as they (only moderately) affectionately call me.

they know me well

As our children have gotten a little older, I am constantly amazed to discover that they seem to know me, the person, and not just The Mom. As parents, we diligently look for the hints of emerging personalities in our little ones if for no other reason than to attempt to roadblock a tantrum or meltdown. But, it’s interesting to consider that perhaps our children are looking for – or noticing, at least – our likes and dislikes. The more I think about it, ‘interesting’ may not be the most appropriate word. Scary, maybe. Oh great, I didn’t think they’d notice might be the prevailing thought.

 Might be the thought? Probably. Actually, yeah, that’s what I’ve found myself thinking lately.

When your daughter reaches the age of 12, she will notice if you wear the same pair of pants two days in a row. When your son reaches the age of 9, he will notice if you sneak a bite of cake before breakfast. And, they both notice if it’s 5:30 and no one has started cooking supper. So, they know I’m not big on laundry, that I tend to snack when I’m waiting for the coffee to brew and I tend to be glued to my laptop late in the day and procrastinate getting in the kitchen. Oh, and they know I am forgetful…we are out of milk this morning and I have got to get Em’s art supplies before her lesson this afternoon.

And, here’s something else they know…..

George Strait

I LOVE GEORGE STRAIT.

I don’t know things like his birthday, his favorite color or his kid’s names. But I do love his music. Old and new. I love it all.

So, get this…Emma and Ben pooled their money and bought The Hubs and me tickets to go see a George Strait concert next weekend.

Now, get this…When they came in the kitchen to tell us about our gifts, they interrupted The Hubs telling me that he was getting us tickets to the exact same concert.

 I can’t remember ever eeeeever being so shocked. It is such a thoughtful thing to do, yes, but the thought I keep having is Man, they know me well. All 3 of them!

In between stanzas of Ace in the Hole, I’ve been thinking about the ways we “tell” people about ourselves. Certainly, we use words. For example, every time a George Strait song comes on the radio, I turn it up loud and yell, “Sing it to me, George!” The kids used to think that was funny. Not so much now. Especially in the school pick up line. Or, when I’m driving the cross country team to a meet.  I really don’t do that much anymore.

It can be a daunting thought, really. People take in our words and our actions and create this persona in their minds and attach our name to it. They label us. They tag us with words like Nice, Grumpy, Intense, Weird, Cheater, Sweet, etc.

What are the words floating over your head in someone else’s mind? Better yet, what words do you WANT to float over your head in someone else’s mind?

If you are floating through your days without considering the impression you are giving your children, your spouse, your coworkers or your neighbors, George would say You’re Dancin’ This Dance All Wrong.

And he’d be right.

Nesting and etiquette or nesting etiquette

This post is a little different…rather than me writing a post for you, I’m directing you to another post. On another blog. Please try to keep up. Before you click off to this other blog, I need to tell you something.

I’m pregnant.

Not really…just wanted to see how many of my girl cousins will call me because they stop reading at that simple sentence.

Here’s really what I want to tell you: the blog I’m sending you to is called Housewife Bliss. She writes about “the finer points of nesting.”  She is very very skilled at running a household without the household running her.

WHAT does this have to do with business etiquette? Exactly this: If your nesting habits are lacking, there are probably business organization skills that are lacking AND when your house and home are in disarray, it prevents you from being able to fully concentrate and focus on your business. AND, it’s these extraneous stresses and burdens that cause even the nicest of the nice to act unbecomingly. Haven’t you snapped at someone because you were late to a meeting because you couldn’t find your keys or your child’s lunchbox or couldn’t lock the back door of your house because you keep forgetting to call the repairman? Yeah, me either.

So, today’s post on Housewife Bliss is about The Essential Household Management Book. Beware: it’s a spiralbound notebook and it is the bomb. Even if you use only 1 or 2 of the tips she suggests, you’ll be glad.

Happy Nesting toward Success!

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