Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On a soapbox

I don't know why this article:

upset me so much but it hit a nerve. For one thing, I really like the show she is ridiculing. Besides the fact that I think the show itself relies too much on the character's obesity for laughs, I think it is a sweet, romatic comedy and I think Melissa McCarthy is beautiful and so funny.
It also made me think of my girls, and the messages they are going to be getting from everywhere once they are at an age where they are influenced more by magazines and television and the internet. The messages that being overweight makes you less of a person, that it is okay to ridicule or be disgusted by someone because of the way they look.
And I also thought of myself.  How I sometimes think I'm not as attractive or valuable because I weigh more than I did 5 years ago. I try not to pass that along to my children, I am learning to say "Thank You" when they tell my I'm pretty instead of laughing and rolling my eyes as if to say "Oh, I wish!"  But then I read an article like this and think, do people really look at me and think that?  Do they see me kiss Andy, (who still fits into his high school jeans, by the way) and wonder what he is doing with me? It plunges me back into the insecurity that I am working so hard to fight. That is why I took the time to leave this comment. I don't know if it will ever be read and I toned it down a little from my original comment. Then I reconsidered printing it because it seemed a little of an overreaction. But I left it up because I believe what I wrote, no one should be made to feel less than because of the way they look.
Oh, and I won't be buying Marie Claire again (not that that makes a big statement since I can't remember ever buying it before).
Here's my comment:
"I am the mother of 3 young girls. As hard as I work to teach them to respect others, it makes me sad that they can pick up a magazine and learn it is okay to tell people they are disgusting because of the way the look. That they can tell people they shouldn't be seen kissing because it is offensive to others. It's all free speech, right? We have the right to bully people in print because it is our opinion and we should use our right to free speech to tell people how disgusted we are when we have to watch them cross a room. Should we be applauding Maura Kelly for her honesty? Does it really take courage to be honest about how much we hate an entire group of people just because they don't look the way we think they should?
No, I don't think I'll applaud that. I think I will continue to teach my girls compassion, kindness, acceptance, and courage. It is courageous to hold your head up high no matter how you look. If you waddle a little because you are overweight, if you aren't as thin or as rich as the other people in the room, if you walk with canes because you were born different. Everyone has the right to walk through a room without being ridiculed or humiliated and to kiss the people they love without fear and shame. And if someone looks at them and feels disgust and then chooses to write an article to shame and bully that person, SHE is the one who lacks courage. Hate is easy, feeling superior to others is easy, writing some lame apology when you don't get the reaction you expected doesn't take courage, and it certainly doesn't deserve any applause."

Monday, October 25, 2010

My goal to update my blog at least once a week has been derailed by three factors. One, this computer stinks and I have to jiggle the power cord frequently to keep the battery charging so I cut my online time down significantly because I'm lazy. Two, the energy I had in the Summer has been replaced by my Fall mood, in which I lose steam after the sun goes down (sooner and sooner each day).  Also, I'll admit it, there is a lot of good tv on these days which fills up my evenings. In fact, I'm typing this at warp speed so I can tune into Boardwalk Empire in 6 minutes (Steve Buscemi can pull of the steamy sex scenes without totally creeping me out, who'da thunk it?)
Ace had another great week at school, I think (knock on wood) that we have turned a corner and he is adjusting really well to the long days and new rules.
Just as the dust settles from the emotional transition into Kindergarten, I am dealing with the transition from little kid to "tween" that Hayley is going through.
I refuse to accept that she is really in the tween category already but 8 is definitely a year where she is stuck in the middle.  She comes home some days exhausted and moody. Some days she comes home with an attitude I don't even recognize (like the day she got in the car and asked if we could go buy an Ipod and/or a cell phone.) I'm trying to figure out what my role in all this is. It feels as if I was just getting the hang of this parenting dance when someone came along and sped up the music.  I am constantly questioning if my expectations are too high or too low. I wonder if I am giving her enough space, if i am asking the right questions or if I am smothering her with too many questions. She comes to me and tells me about something that she needs to talk out and sometimes I don't listen well, I brush off what is important to her because I am distracted.  Sometimes I jump in and tell her what to do instead of just taking in what she wants me to hear without trying to come up with the right answer to a question she isn't really asking at all. We both get confused and easily frustrated with one another. I try not to lose my temper when she rolls her eyes at me or slams her door. I try to remind myself in those times to  take a deep breath and remember that this is all part of the the mother/daughter dance. We step forward, back, trip over our feet, and sometimes fall down in a grand fashion and have to get up and start all over.

(....still happy to be dancing with you.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A list

Because my computer hates me and keeps freezing up on me mid-sentence, I have condensed everything I wanted to say into this quick and easy list of 6 things I don't want to forget about this particular moment in time:

1. That Julia's favorite toys and constant companions are Iggy (a stuffed lizard) and Naomi (a yarn doll that her cousin gave her). Tonight we made up a story about Iggy and Naomi moving to Paris and opening a bathing suit shop.

2. Lucy's  new bossy attitude. Two nights ago at dinner she told everyone we had to keep our hands down. It is hard to eat a meal with your hands in your lap but if we lifted them, we got a very stern look from Lucy. She would also yell at us. I don't like to admit I was intimidated by my 2 year old but, man, she is not messing around.
3. Ace stayed on green all week and told me every day that he "Definitely did NOT fool in the bathroom" So, for those of you who may have been concerned, it is now safe to shake Ace's hands because he knows not to touch the urinal cakes.

4. Ace announcing on the way back from the grocery store that he "Definitely needs to buy a car" so he can go to cooler places than the grocery store. He enjoys throwing around the word definitely lately.

5. Hayley writing an acrostic poem with her name for school and misusing Edible for the E. She thought it was a synoym for Incredible.

6. Lucy announcing "I here now" loudly and enthusiactically any time she enters a room. She thinks we've just been waiting for her all our lives (she's right, we have.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apple picking

Friday started out on a bad note. Ace has been getting in trouble at school and I will be the first to admit,  I perhaps overreacted to the situation. I may have become a little defensive of my only son. I may have declared Kindergarten a soul-sucking institution that was stealing all the joy out of my poor, innocent child's life. I may have called my sister and neighbor and gone on and on about how Ace was doing the absolute best he could do and why, oh why was that not enough for his teacher? And then I may have found out that my poor, innocent only boy child was juggling urinal cakes and throwing soap on the walls in the bathroom at school and maybe, just maybe, his teacher was perfectly justified in reprimanding him. Lesson learned: it is not always wise to rely solely on your 5 year old's account of why his card has been frequently flipped at school, there may be more to the story than you are told. We have talked to him about it and he knows now that there will be consequences at home if he keeps messing around in the bathroom so I hope this is the last we will hear about urinal cake juggling because, eewwwww.
The rest of the weekend was a big improvement. Saturday we went apple picking at a farm about 45 minutes away. I have never been apple picking before and I loved it. The kids all had a great time too, Julia was on a mission to pick more apples than anyone else and Lucy was on a mission to eat more apples than any 2 year old has consumed in a 2 hour time period.

On the way home we stopped for pizza and I noticed that Ace was looking a little spacey. I thought maybe he was just tired from all the walking but turns out he was coming down with something. By bedtime he was running a fever and had trouble sleeping. As much as I hate to see him sick, at least he felt good enough to enjoy the apple picking and now he has a full day to do nothing but rest and get better. I'll keep him home tomorrow and hope that he feels better by Tuesday. 
Today we are home, prepping for a yard sale next weekend, catching up on laundry, and watching Football. It feels like the ideal Fall weekend. I love that it is just barely warm enough to open the windows and let the smell of wet leaves blow in the window. I love pulling extra blankets out of the closet to put on the end of everyone's bed. I love the smell of the apple muffins I baked (from scratch, go me!) The busy-ness of getting back into the school routine is settling down and I feel like there is more time to savor the change of seasons now.

**Edited to add: I went back and forth on my decision to include the bathroom story in the post. There are things about my kids that I try very hard not to share on the blog and embarrassing stories are one of the things I think are off limits after a certain age. But truly, if Ace reads this at a later date and doesn't get a laugh out of the fact that he was almost pink slipped in Kindergarten for bathroom horseplay, than I will have failed as a mother. One of the important lessons I hope to pass along to them is the importance of not taking yourself to seriously.