The Peppermint Failure

Our dog digs. So, I bought peppermint plants.

I got the idea on the Internet. Then I confirmed that it works with the herb guy at the plant store. “Dogs hate that strong minty smell,” he said. “She definitely won’t dig near it.”

Unless you’re Star, the dog who created a little mulch nest in-between peppermint plants, her nose resting contentedly for hours within an inch of that strong minty smell she is supposed to hate.

Or Star, the dog who I discovered covered in mud, digging madly around one of the sprinklers, which was spraying her directly in the face. The peppermint plant she nestled with all weekend is missing. Not a leaf of evidence that it even existed.

So, onto Plan B. Fill hole. Sprinkle with red hot Cayenne Pepper.

Technology and Kids

I keep reading editorials in the New York Times and other sources of news that bemoan the effect that technology is having on our children. Children are no longer able to converse, don’t look us in the eye, are more violent, cannot relate to each other. I am pretty sure that our parents’ generation read the same types of things about television when we were little.

However, as a parent, I struggle with age appropriateness regarding access to certain technological tools, as well as to the Internet. At what age should they get this? How closely do I monitor that? How do I empower my kids to benefit from the amazing things that technology will do for them without turning them into violent zombies incapable of carrying on a conversation with me, or their future spouse, or teachers or friends.

I put my thoughts down, and they were posted on Yahoo Voices at

Testing Your Parenting Skills after Bedtime

This weekend provided its tests regarding my skills as a parent. And they both happened after 9 o’clock at night.

The first was on Friday night, when my four year old took a black stamp pad, and while I was doing the dishes downstairs, he was smearing black ink all over his face, hands, bedroom walls, furniture and toys. When I opened his bedroom door to see if he had managed to get his pajamas on, he grinned and held out his hand out as if to say, “Look at the wonderful masterpiece I’ve created for you!” Yes, this is the same sweet boy who lit a superball on fire by tossing it into the bathroom sconce only a few weeks ago!

The second took place last night, when I returned home from a wonderful dinner out. I went in to turn off the lights in the boys’ room, but the eight and nine year old boys were still awake. “Mommy, why do people put inappropriate things on Google?” Ugh. Apparently, while creating a Powerpoint presentation on Bey Blades (their current favorite toy), they happened upon a Bey Blade-related site that included nudity. Ugh. These same boys thought I was going to blame them for their little brother’s stamp pad incident the night before (which I obviously did not). Now, they expressed concern that I was mad they had seen something so “inappropriate.” Ugh. Poor guys.

But today, it is Super Bowl Sunday. All attention has shifted quickly, as it seems to with them (thank goodness), to the next big issue in our house. Patriots fans versus Eli Manning fans. Who will win?

Maybe tonight’s bedtime hour will pass without incident.