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Bark Toys, Anyone?

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Discipline Should Not Be This Hard (Kitten or Child)

Eyes ablaze with passion, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, they bound into the house.

“So Mom, we found a bunch of bark in Bobby’s* back yard, and we put it in water and it got really soft, and so then we made some toys out of it. We’re going to sell it, and we wanted to make some posters and flyers to put up and to give people, OK?”

Ummmm… made toys out of wet bark, and now you want to approach and/or flag down strangers to sell them? No. No, you cannot do that. Eyes dim at this less-than-enthusiastic response. I make a pitiful attempt to recognize their creativity, I suggest that they create other items and trade them with each other. But that’s not fun. You know what? I am a big fan of being a mean parent, and being consistent, and not caving in. But sometimes it sucks.

Ugh. I’m sure I’ll find out later today that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both began their careers making things out of stuff (and you know I’m using polite grammar here) in the backyard and selling it, but no, sweet boys, no.

I cannot tell you explicitly why you cannot approach strangers without an adult to sell them wet bark things. I can only hint at how annoyed total strangers might be to be flagged over by children, who are selling….things….made out of wet bark.

How they do not remember this lesson from the time they scrounged broken McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, made a poster and tried to sell them to passersby, yelling and waving at each car? How do they not remember the long conversation we had about how that wasn’t safe? And how by the way, here is supply and demand, and if you don’t want it no one else wants it and you can’t write “Garage Sale” on your sign if you have three tiny broken toys in a bucket?

Luckily, there is not much traffic on our street. But if you happen to be cruising through, just keep going, OK?

*Generic Anonymous Kid Name


On a related note, sort of, I am also having to enforce hard-core kitten parenting today. One of the three kittens we adopted (I KNOW,  I KNOW, WHAT WAS  I THINKING?) is not being very well-behaved when it comes to her litter box, and two separate vets have recommended that we segregate her and limit her to a very small space. The theory being that cats do not want to play and eat where they …. um….mess, so she’ll figure out where to do her business. So since last night, she’s been quarantined in a small bathroom, and she’s miserable.

I keep telling myself that this is for her own good, that we can’t keep a kitten who goes wherever she feels like it, so I have to be tough and help her learn. But she’s freaking out, and I’m going insane with the constant meowing, and I’m thrust back to those early baby days when you just want them to sleep through the night and all of the expert advice conflicts.

How long will this take? How will I know when she knows? Why is this so hard?

I did NOT want to become obsessed with another creature’s bowel movements, and yet here we are. Sigh.

4 responses »

  1. I’d love to see those wet bark creations! They sound interesting. Squelching creativity is so dicey with kids. How to enthuse about their creativity and still keep things safe and appropriate is something that all parents of clever children deal with. Maybe they could start a blog and post pictures of their creations instead of trying to sell them. (Heh, I think I just described my own blog)

    • Good point, Terry. I swear if I told them we’d make a Youtube video of them, they would have been just as happy as making a lot of money. But that leads a parent down a whole OTHER path of danger. Sigh. Luckily their blessed teachers will soon have primary custody of their creativity!

  2. Perhaps they could utilize their skills in marketing efforts for Minnesota’s Wet Bark Recreational Trail!

  3. Tara, you just made my day! Really. Just completed 10 hours of driving–from Tucson up to Vegas. Am undoubtedly the ONLY tourist in this town who unloaded the bare minimum of stuff from her car, headed directly to her room and crashed.

    Since the hotel has free wireless, I’m checking email and there it was–the jewel of blogs for me to read. Maybe the boys would like to earn money giving grammas foot massages???



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