Disillusioned in Florida

I admit: I was a fan of Jon and Kate.

I was really into this show in the beginning. I am parenting 3 children, ages 5, 3 and 8 months and I am stressed out a lot of the time. I am mostly on edge because my autistic child presents a lot of challenges and is the work of several children. I started watching the show because I was attracted to the idea of watching someone handle a seemingly chaotic situation that appeared to be more chaotic than mine. It is not often that I see real parents with unusual parenting challenges that are more difficult than mine. I do know parents with large families of 4-7 children and one of those families has twins, but I saw the Gosselin's situation as more challenging because it was so many children in such a young age bracket AND so many of one age.

I watched the show to see someone handle a situation I perceived to be more challenging than my own in an effort to be able to feel better about my situation. I also watched the show for ideas. I have used some of her organizational ideas, which I found helpful because my life is unorganized and it puts a strain on my family. I also encouraged my husband to go in on part of an organic cow so we could afford organic beef. However, I wasn't doing organics for attention or to feel superior, we had been encouraged to go organic by one of my son's doctors since pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals in food can worsen autism.

I was really into the first two seasons, but I admit that it has changed dramatically recently. I still watch the show a lot, but I am more in my husband's camp of, "this is a train wreck and I can't help but watch". I find myself viewing the show more and more to get ideas of what not to do instead of helpful hints.

I started going sour at the episode that you call "GumGate". However, I did give her a pass on that one because of her situation of having a huge amount of preschoolers at once. The thought of dealing with a gum accident really freaks me out with one child, which is why we have a really strict rule about not having it at all. I can't imagine 6 kids getting into it. My take on this episode, and I am sorry to the Jodi lovers, but Jodi was wrong to give it to them and Kate massively overreacted. I know, I know, you are all going to tell me that J&K are inconsistent about gum, they didn't have a standing rule, the kids had gum on an airplane before.

My point is she wasn't sure. And we know she wasn't sure because she is on camera asking the kids whether they are allowed to have it. I would give her a pass if she didn't have kids, but she has 4. She knows 3 year olds will not always know what they are and are not allowed to do and even if they did, kids who are three will try to pull one over on an adult who doesn't seem to know the rule. If she was not certain of the rule, and there is clear evidence that she was not certain- she shouldn't have given the gum. I assume J&K had cell phones on them, she could have called and asked. If she was afraid she'd be ripped a new one for interrupting, then don't give the gum. Gum is one of those things that a lot of parents have issue with. Bottom line it was poor judgement on her part. I think she seems to be a great person, but she did make a mistake there.

However Kate was over the top. Way over the top.. Can you be frustrated and mumble under your breath, "WTH was she thinking?" Yeah sure. But to scream all over the place and then call your SIL who has been keeping your kids for free ALL OF THE TIME and then rip her one on TV-ungrateful and wrong. She started to lose my respect there. Then came Collin's luvie. I about died. Look, I am all for natural consequences, which is a discipline technique that the Gosselins don't seem to use very often. It involves allowing the child to make a mistake, and then feel the reprocussions and deal with the fall out. This usually involves crying and howling and then when they calm down you explain to them how their actions produced the result.

Throwing a child's luvie, to which they have a psychological attachment, in the garbage is inappropriate. Luvies are sacred. When it comes time to wean from one, it is to be done carefully. My eyes shot open and pretty much bugged out of my head. My husband shouted, "Are you freaking KIDDING me?" I couldn't believe it. For one thing, the bear wasn't ruined. If she couldn't get the gum out, then she could have just trimmed it out of the bear. I would have been okay with Collin having to endure his bear being trimmed of the gum, but not thrown out.

Which brings me to my next point. I don't understand the whole stain removal thing and the bib thing. Do they have horrible water quality or something? Because I have kids and they are messy a lot. I have dealt with all sorts of bad stains including blood. Usually all I do is put it in the regular wash with Oxyclean- very occasionally I rerun it. I almost never use any stain removal product, but if she was really worried couldn't she just carry a stain stick with her? If I think a stain might be questionable I remove the garment and dip the area in detergent so the stain doesn't set or I wash it immediately. Seriously, except for bananas (I don't know why but they turn clothes black if not removed immediately), sometimes oil, and non-washable paint and inks, everything comes out. There is no need for the mass freak out. There was nothing in the Crayola factory that wouldn't have washed out, as I am sure they used washable markers. There was nothing in the bakery that wouldn't have come out, and again- you know you are going- spend $10 and get a 6 pack of XXL mens t-shirts and smock them. Really? If Gap is telling you that you can't cover the clothes then tell them that they need to send a second set if they get stained in production. It isn't that hard.

And now I have come full circle to the Cupcake episode. I had missed a couple of episodes before it, and I hadn't seen how bad things had gotten. Wow. I walked from that one never the same. In our home all rules go out the window on your birthday. Not only that but the rules suspend for everyone, not just the birthday child so that there aren't any issues.

I started out pretty disturbed about the shoes. That has happened to me before. We don't wear shoes that don't fit our feet because that is what matches. How ridiculous. Who cares? And if they do care then do you really care what they think? If you really do care what they think then your priorities are messed up. If it was a product placement, too bad it was their error. They need to fix it.

Then came the cupcakes. I started out amused at the fact she was so uptight about it, but quickly became annoyed. I then started to become frustrated that she was keeping them from having any fun. Frustration turned to anger when she wouldn't allow the Sextuplets to eat their cupcakes, but let the twins eat their and it was the Sextuplets's birthday. Are you kidding me? Then make them drive home and then eat to get one and then withold them when they don't eat? IT IS THEIR BIRTHDAY!!! It isn't monday night dinner with some Monkey Munch in the wings. It is their birthday and it is their birthday dessert that they created. Only four things come to mind as possibilities: they are cruel and get pleasure out being like this in some sick twisted way; they are completely clueless; they are trying to overcompensate in showing that they can tow the line and parent well; OR (and I am seriously thinking this might be it) the cupcakes were looking yummy and J&K knew not all 6 would eat their dinner, so they did this to be able to eat the cupcakes for themselves. I think the "no eating kid's cooking this is a sham".

So I have gone from complete fan to watching the show for its trainwreck quality. I am by no means a perfect parent and there are days I am sure I fail miserably, but I am now disillusioned in the way these kids are treated.

Submitted for publication by FloridaMomOf3

36 comments:

minxie said...

IMO Kate's stain fixation is because: 1) She's essentially a neat freak anyway 2) She wants to sells clothes on consignment and likes to get top dollar for them, leading to 3) She uses the bibs for these reasons, but also because keeping the tups appearing younger (bibs, sippy cups, high chairs) as long as possible keeps the gravy train going.

Kate complains about house work but she would rather clean than interact with her kids. When she was looking for a nanny she wanted the nanny to keep the kids amused while she, Kate, cleaned. Personally I would rather have someone do the cleaning while I had fun with my kids.

FIONA said...

FMof3-

I enjoyed reading your post.

As far as weather Jodi was wrong or right in giving the tups gum....they were in her care, free of charge, again. I think she was capable of making a decsion on the gum, and she did.

The amount of gum that got stuck on clothes/things, under the size of a quarter, total damage. So I still maintain Jodi's decsion wasn't wrong. The tups are still learning how to chew gum, but can't have it now until they are 5 now....that is logical, NOT!

It is a shame that Kate lost control and Colin and Mady will always have that in their memory, which I think is fast becoming filled with more terrifying moments than good.

Even though Jon recognizes she will regret it down the line....I strongly disagree. I don't think she is capable of nuture, compassion, or even regret. She is devoid of regular emotions IMO. It is very sad.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said that better..BRAVO!!!

Manda said...

I can see FloridaMom's POV on the issue of Jodi giving the gum. I tend to agree though that with her graciousness of keeping all the kids, all of them came out alive and no blood letting occurred, it was a trivial matter. If Kate had such an issue with it, out of this 'supposed' respect they now claim to have for her on their website, the same respect could have been extended that day to handle her frustration with the situation off camera. And certainly not by targeting Collin for those actions by an adult she disagreed with.

Nancy said...

Only four things come to mind as possibilities: they are cruel and get pleasure out being like this in some sick twisted way; they are completely clueless; they are trying to overcompensate in showing that they can tow the line and parent well; OR (and I am seriously thinking this might be it) the cupcakes were looking yummy and J&K knew not all 6 would eat their dinner, so they did this to be able to eat the cupcakes for themselves. I think the "no eating kid's cooking this is a sham".

But, didn't the parents have 5 or 6 boxes of goodies from that nice bakery sitting on their "island" in the kitchen? Not so sure they wanted the cupcakes for themselves. I'd be more inclined to go with your choice #1... being cruel to the boys on purpose. If not, then "clueless" is a good option. Those poor little boys, being made to sit and watch their chubby sister scarf down her birthday cupcake. Mean and cruel.

Maggie said...

I think it is very hard for someone who gets no pleasure in life to see other people happy. I feel like Kate has to sabotage every moment that might result in happiness (Disneywork, the on purpose sunburn in Florida, cupcake decoration, etc.).

When everyone is about to enjoy a moment Debbie Downer Kate has a snide comment, a freakout or finds some way to ruin their pleasure.

It seems like the more that is given to her, the worse she becomes.

It is sad that she does not have enough self-realization to understand this downward spiral and the effect it has and will have on her young family.

The Truth Will Set You Free said...

Kate's reaction to the gum is her typical response to everything. She tries to downplay her actions by deflecting the attention onto someone else. She overreacts and then justifies her behavior by blaming the other person. It's always someone else's fault.

I saw this play out during the cupcake episode. She makes a comment about Jon's weight, he calls her out on it, and then she turns it back on him--making the argument about "seasons" vs years. The real issue was her criticism of Jon on TV. I'm sure there are other examples, but I haven't watched many episodes.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is dangerous to give kids under five gum or popcorm. It is easy to inhale and choke.

Elizabeth said...

Perhaps because I have a sturdy child myself, I have an issue with people calling Hannah "chubby". It's really hard for us to know what her weight-to-height ratio is; my boy looks plumper than his siblings, but he's also the only one of them whose weight and height are proportionate -- the others are all skinny for their height.

I absolutely have an issue with making the boys watch Hannah (in particular) enjoy her cupcake when it looks as though she was spoon-fed in order for her meal to meet her mother's standard, but wish people would lay off criticizing the girl's weight. The poor child is going to have enough issues as she grows up without adding body image to the mix.

Manda said...

Truth: "The real issue was her criticism of Jon on TV."

That she still refused to acknowledge, seemingly DAYS later, on the couch.

Those couch interviews are not done on the same day the actual footage/segments are taped, right?

Kari said...

I have six children myself including triplets. Our "age" for gum has always been 3 years old. I've never heard of waiting until age 5, as a general guideline (although I admit I have not heard of any "official" thing but always age 3 seems to be the benchmark for choking hazards).

Other than that - I see no reason she couldn't take what the kids said at face value. They HAD been given gum before. They were 3 years old.

If I were the one giving the gum I would have apologized for the mess and cleaned it up myself. As the mom I may have been irritated but that's life.

BTW I have never once worried about stains...if things get stained that's also life. I don't pass on stained things but voila, extra painting clothes. *wink*

Serena said...

Perhaps because I have a sturdy child myself, I have an issue with people calling Hannah "chubby".

Agreed. As we discussed in the recent Our Mailbag post, we cannot edit a comment prior to publishing it. Occasionally there will be a comment submitted that is very good overall but has some sticking point in it... sometimes in those cases we will go ahead and publish the comment rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

However from this point on, ANY comments -- no matter how well-written -- that make such references will not be selected for publication.

Anonymous said...

"When everyone is about to enjoy a moment Debbie Downer Kate has a snide comment, a freakout or finds some way to ruin their pleasure."

Wow~ I just realized that too when you said it.

Utah- Kate gets sick
Disney-Kate overreacts to ice cream
Florida-Kate is sick with a sunburn

Attention seeking or subconsciously sabotaging because she's always waiting for the other shoe to drop? (childhood issues?)

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm...

K.C. said...

I also noticed the Durabib brand name mentioned on J&K's website. Maybe thi$ has something to do with the decision to keep 4 year olds in bibs?

Anon1967 said...

I honestly think the people that think we are "haters" and jealous don't seem to realize that this isn't a sitcom, these aren't actors and actresses, these are real, live, living and breathing children, that aren't playing a part. They weren't asked if they wanted to do this, they weren't put on this earth for the publics enjoyment, they don't know any different (the twins do, and that shows with Mady's acting out). There are no laws to protect them, and with more and more reality shows coming out, that really needs to be changed.
I found a website that I wanted to share "A Minor Consideration"
http://www.minorcon.org/
They are no longer living thier lives, they are being turned into what figure 8 and TLC wants them to be, do and act like. If they cared, they wouldn't be dragged all over the place. It seems like they are basically just doing things to get them done with, doesn't matter if the kids are feeling up to it, or want to do it, all that matters is that they get their time on film.
I also think the people that think we are jealous, need to ask themselves, would they allow a camera in their houses, day after day, year after year, to film thier children's every movement and emotion, on the potty, in the shower?
I hope later in life, the kids realize how many people out here, really care about their well being, even if their mother and father don't seem to. I really think that Jon is seeing the things on the shows that air, and hopefully he'll finally be strong enough to stand up to his wife and put an end to it. It's taken way too long, but hopefully he'll see it and do something for the kids sake, and not for Kate's sake. I fully agree with the post that she doesn't have emotions, she just knows how to control, and go through the emotions.
She would absolutely freak out if she saw my youngest son as a child. He was always dirty, but in a good way. If there was a mud puddle, he was in it. I have so many videos of him playing in the puddles, making holes and filling it up with water, then taking his little Fisherprice bike and putting the back tire in there and peddling away so the mud went flying everywhere, he was so happy. We would take off his diaper, and that would be the only white part on his body..lol But they were good times, good memories.
I wish they'd realize, we just want them to experience good times too, and have thier own lives.

Carla said...

I find myself viewing the show more and more to get ideas of what not to do instead of helpful hints.

I agree J&K have made me rethink things I do as a parent. I take a moment and think, "Is this fair to all? How does this look to the other child?", etc. I have a large age gap between my older children and the littlest one and I admit to, in the past, telling the older ones they could engage in a treat of some sort..."just don't let your little sister see".

Now I see how very damaging that is for the older kids. Seeing Mady's smug, cupcake covered face saying, dare I say bragging, about not letting the little ones see was a huge wake up call for me. Now our new policy is that treats are not to be lied about and hidden from siblings. Older children shouldn't be permitted a smug collusion with parents...and no I'm not talking about putting your scissors out of reach or similar safety issues.

From now on, I will get my butt in the kitchen, break out the highchair and bib and we will all make a great big cookie mess.

Thanks J&K. You've made me a better parent.

The Truth Will Set You Free said...

Manda: Those couch interviews are not done on the same day the actual footage/segments are taped, right?

That is correct. They tape the interviews separate from the actual footage. Sometimes it is weeks later.

Anonymous said...

This may be slightly off-track from the discussion, but what I'd like to know is - with Kate being a nurse, one would think that she would know better about a lot of things - just given the profession that she WAS in. For example, the sunburn in the Florida Keys. I've had a sunburn like that and it is horrible - like you have the worst flu of your life. After that, I never allowed that to happen again. Yet, Kate said in that episode, "I always do this." So, I have to agree - this was merely a "I'm taking control of this trip so it is ALL ABOUT ME." And also, how could she really be successful in her role as a nurse when she is such a nasty, mean, uncaring, and most importantly, DISTURBED woman? Strange that she chose that profession because her personality/personality disorder does not mesh with it at all. Just an observation.

Anonymous said...

I have had a similar "epiphany" while watching this show this year. A major problem I have with the show - and I see this addressed by this website - is that the Gosselin's home is not a place for them to have down time. Down time is so important for kids of all ages and for adults. Having people other than one's immediate family (I mean parents and brothers and sisters) in your house is disruptive - no matter how long they are there or how used to them you are. While it is important for kids to learn to have their routines and lives disrupted periodically, to have this as a regular part of their home-life is, to me, where the parents have made a huge mistake. I would never allow my family to have our lives disrupted for so long - week after week for years on end. Our house is where we can just be - my kids and my husband and I can relax and be silly and completely be ourselves with our own space and privacy. This is a necessity after going to work, school, practices, activities, visiting family and friends, etc.... I think the bad behavior and sadness we see with these kids is directly related to them not having enough down time with only their parents and brothers and sisters around. I think the bad behavior of the parents is also related to having to be "on" all the time. NO ONE is completely relaxed and themselves when they are being filmed for broadcast to the world. I don't care how much money I could be offered, if I saw my kids having meltdowns and acting out or my relationship with my husband being negatively affected, I would put an end to the disruption from the filming immediately.

Anonymous said...

IMO any parent who sets up their child to be ridiculed as Mady is on You Tube (Bratty Mady) is no parent. Thanks to her own parents, poor Mady is imortalized at age 6 as a whining brat on an international forum. J & K can deny they had anything to do with the segments, but if it weren't for the damn show, no one would even have heard of Mady. If my child was turned into a laughing stock over something I had control over, I'd be mortified. But of course we're talking about J & K. It's showbiz! Self-indulgent morons.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I have had a similar "epiphany" while watching this show this year. A major problem I have with the show - and I see this addressed by this website - is that the Gosselin's home is not a place for them to have down time. Down time is so important for kids of all ages and for adults."

My daughter lives very close to them and has occasion to drive by their place frequently--both in a car. She has told me that she never sees any signs of life. On beautiful days, both vehicles are in exactly the same place in the driveway and there are no humans to be seen. She has begun to wonder if, in fact, they do live there or is the house just a "stage" for the show?

Anonymous said...

I dont think J&K saved the boy's cupcakes for themselves since we all know how gross they think food prepared by the kids is.

minxie said...

Anon 1:01
I've had a sunburn like that and it is horrible - like you have the worst flu of your life.
____________________

I think this is another of Kate's idiotic fixations--she said she doesn't like the "feel" of sunblock; doesn't she know you can buy non-greasy stuff? I've had sun poisoning when I was a teenager on vacation and didn't know any better--as you said, I got awful chills and fever and it ruined my trip. Also, Kate's only, what, 33? She should use sunblock on her face at home or she'll end up looking like an old baseball mitt by the time she's 45--just because she doesn't want to feel "greasy".

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS 2:33 said: My daughter lives very close to them and has occasion to drive by their place frequently--both in a car. She has told me that she never sees any signs of life. On beautiful days, both vehicles are in exactly the same place in the driveway and there are no humans to be seen. She has begun to wonder if, in fact, they do live there or is the house just a "stage" for the show?

That's very odd. Could it be that they are filming inside or on one of their "scripted" outings somewhere? Maybe they did get that mansion, but where around there could it be? I thought Kate wanted to move somewhere warm, and with all that dough rolling in, a lot of us are assuming they will move to North Carolina or Florida. (Don't get sunburned, Kate.)

laurie said...

Minxie,

I completely agree with you on the wanting to have fun with your kids and hire someone to clean, bit.

I work full-time. I hate working full-time. It would be wonderful if all of my work could be done by little elves during the middle of the night. :) But alas, it is ME who has to do my own work. I miss my time with my kids, and during the summer I love doing things with them (movies, pool etc).

We have a gal who comes and cleans our house so that I can work so that on the off days I can play with my family.

Kate has it so easy IMO. She could easily let someone else do the "main" cleaning and if she's freakish say, about toilets being super clean, then she could go back and clean those if they weren't up to HER standards. In the meantime, she could be with the kids.

I have always found it so ODD that she has no "play groups", other moms who she can get together with and let her kids have fun with other kids. We never see this sort of thing...ever. I do not consider Gymboree traveling bus a "play group" either.

It's really a shame. So many parents would be thrilled with the opportunity to be at home with their kids and have all the freedoms they do. It's a shame they can't see it right now.

My husband said a couple days ago, "I give the show until the end of the year TOPS and it will be off the air."

Me too.

Linda said...

Serena,

You wrote:

However from this point on, ANY comments -- no matter how well-written -- that make such references will not be selected for publication.

Finally.

Will you go one step further and delete any previous comments that refer to the kids in a disparaging way?

Serena said...

Will you go one step further and delete any previous comments that refer to the kids in a disparaging way?

There are almost 3,000 comments posted on over 100 blog entries, but if anyone can sift through them and email me the links to the inappropriate ones I will gladly remove them.

dizzy_squishling_and_bean said...

Thanks for that. I always thought the stuff dissing on the kids was entirely inappropriate. Like a kid tahts 4 needs a weight complex..

Nancy said...

I was not aware that the words "chubby" or "skinny" were inappropriate. I apologize for using
forbidden words.

Maggie said...

I personally don't find using the term "chubby" for a cute little toddler offensive. People often say "ah look at those chubby little cheeks" when talking about little ones. I would be considered about a toddler who looked really thin. Maybe I am just old school, "chubby" meant healthy in my day.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my little guy was a chubby fellow. Loved his chubby cheeks, feet and hands. It didn't last long as he had a growth spurt at 5 and became lanky and grew up just fine. I don't think the shape you are as a child really determines the shape you are as an adult.
Though there is a huge surge in childhood obesity and type two diabetes in children is becoming more common, I don't think Hannah is one they need worry about. As much as Kate yaks and bellyaches that Jon is a major fattie I can imagine if she thought any of the children were overweight she'd be all over that and never mind missing a cupcake, those children won't even be allowed to smell a cookie.
Hey for her 4th book maybe she'll do one on how to motivate slacker husbands on being trim and healthy? She's really motivating Jon isn't she? And I'd hate to see what hurtful things she'd say to a child that was less then perfect when it came to size!

elizabeth said...

"I was not aware that the words "chubby" or "skinny" were inappropriate. I apologize for using forbidden words."

It wasn't the word as much as the tone. Talking about the "poor boys" being forced to watch their that you pity Joel as he watches "chubby sister scarf down her birthday cupcake" didn't sound as though you were saying it fondly.

I'm sure no offense was meant, to Hannah or anyone else. That said, I appreciate the position the blog admins have taken regarding the children. They are, all of them, the biggest victims of the situation their parents have created, and I believe they deserves as much kindness as we can muster.

elizabeth said...

I am so sorry ... what you see in my previous post is editing without using the "preview" button!

My first paragraph was intended to read:

It wasn't the word as much as the tone. Talking about the "poor boys" being forced to watch their "chubby sister scarf down her birthday cupcake" didn't sound as though you were saying it fondly.

I apologize for the mess I made of my earlier response.

elizabeth said...

aaaaaaaaaaaand "deserves" should have been "deserve".

going to bed now ...

The Barth Family said...

I could have written this post myself. Thanks FloridaMomOf3.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about the cupcakes. They made them, it was their birthday. It's cruel to take them away at the last minute. I absolutely believe that the kids didn't care the next day. But they cared that day. Let them eat their own darn cupcakes!