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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

The Mommy-Meter

Creativity is intelligence having fun. – Albert Einstein

Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye. – Dorothy Parker

I am the proud product of a very creative mother. Not only did she love music and dancing, she had wonderful approaches to parent. When I started kindergarten, you were expected to know how to say and spell your full name, your address, your parents’ names and your telephone number. My first name is nine letters long – an onerous task for someone 5 years old. She very creatively came up with a song to help me remember how to spell my name:




spells Stephanie.

I can still hear her voice now teaching me the song. These singing lessons stayed with me as a young mother. There is a lot of science available now as a foundation for this but before the internet, these were new and creative methods of teaching. When my sons were memorizing their address and telephone number, I came up with a song for them. The main ingredient to these compositions has to be fun. So you are singing, dancing and they are memorizing it, but your focus is on the fun and not the work.

While all of this learning and singing is fun, you also have to prepare for the stage in your children’s life when they try to get away with stuff. My guys were pretty straight shooters for the most part, but every once in a way, I would get information that made my antenna go up. It sounded somewhat true, but there was a fabrication somewhere in there – so I created the Mommy-Meter.

If you are going to use the Mommy-Meter, you have to start when they are young and you can’t use it too often because then they will know that it is a pretty preposterous notion. But if you can time both of these perfectly, you will earn their respect and have fun with it at the same time.

Its application was pretty simple. If one of the fellas was telling me about their day or I was asking if they had any homework, or had they finished their chores and I got an incomplete answer or let’s just say a wrong answer, I would say “Do I need to put the mommy-meter on you?” The answer was always immediately no, which meant you definitely needed to administer it! I typically gave them one more chance to verify and confirm the facts. It that second attempt still didn’t satisfy my mother wit, it was on.

“Get here little boy, get here” with me pointing at my nose. That was the first step to touch noses. The nose touch was a distraction for me to look directly into their eyes. Now that you are locked in a gaze, you need the sound of the mommy-meter going into action. This is best described by the space sounds from the television shows in the 70’s because all space sounded the same. Imagine a Doppler frequency or an echo format. It only took about three waves before we both ended up laughing. I tried to wait until the child starting laughing before I did. Maintaining the impact of the mommy-meter ensured that it could be used on another occasion.

Once we had the comedic break, it gave the victim the opportunity to remember additional details more accurately.

Let me just warn you, if you want to utilize the mommy-meter (or daddy-meter for that matter) you are limited in its use. (My sons didn’t know that at the time.) With anything as potent as this, you just don’t want to use it willy-nilly. Also, you don’t want to accuse your children of lying regularly. The mommy-meter is the last resort before the “pow-pow” or nuclear option is invoked.

I seemed to remember one of these rascals trying to use the mommy-meter (I guess the son-meter) on me one day. That is when I knew it was time to retire it…but every once in a while the topic comes up and we have a good laugh about it.

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