Wow.

November 15, 2016

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Soooo…it’s been quite a week. Anybody else make the mistake of taking their daughter voting last week? “Nevermind! Turns out the country is a lot more sexist that we thought.” Whew! Glad I’m not the only one who screwed that up.

My 9 year-old cried bewildered tears Wednesday. This was a very black and white issue for her, and she is a sensitive soul. Naturally, I felt like crap for having exposed her to needless sadness. I just really, really thought she would value being able to tell her kids that she was there, for this important day. She pushed the button. Yes, I’m that idealistic. Wednesday morning we explained that, though it seems like people liked the bully more than the smart girl, there are many other things going on, and she was safe. I wish every mom could have been able to say that, Wednesday morning.

Policy, anti-establishment sentiment, those damn emails – these were all cited as justifications to vote for Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the multitudes cared more about those justifications than about saying “NO” to racism, sexism and a whole host of other crap we shouldn’t allow out of basic human decency. The prevalence of that mindset was not something I could previously conceive of in my NPR-listening, blue state-living, white, middle-class, privileged bubble. I didn’t realize that so many people actually thought policy was more important than people. Holy crap, America.

Thinking as a parent, since this is a parenting blog (most of the time), I’m offering the following: No, Clinton was not an ideal candidate with an ideal track record. There are NONE OF THOSE. They don’t exist. Ok, maybe Justin Trudeau. #dreamy The problem is that in this election we have journeyed past politics. We are now disassembling basic morality for our children. Think about what we teach kids: You treat people the way you want to be treated. You take care of people. You welcome new friends. Your body is yours alone, it is a good thing, and it should be respected. How about the one preschool teachers keep on repeat, all day: “Keep your hands to yourself!” Dear Donald, “grabbing” means you are doing it wrong. 

Not to mention the tired old slogan, “Girls can do anything boys can do.” *sigh* Hang on, girls. Change comes slow, but it does come. Look at where we started.

Speaking of girls, as Clinton was on Wednesday: “And — and to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” Forget the sadness that we have to state that at all. “Valuable” is my favorite word, here. I’m still more of a believer in the social commentary and symbolism of this election than in specifically electing Hillary Clinton – remember, I just wanted a girl to win, for once. I just thought this was immensely cool to hear. They knew, she knew, that little girls had serious stock in this election. And she asked them to hang on, too.

You know what else was cool? A friend of a friend of mine made a beautiful design of the above quote, and posted it on Facebook. I shared it, and the designer was kind enough to send me the high resolution version. I grabbed a frame, and this actually cheered my kid up. She moved a My Little Pony art project off the wall to make room for this! This was important stuff!!

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Thank you to Nataliemcguiredesign.com for this lovely print. You do good work, girl!

Moving forward, I’m choosing to be hopeful and expect the best from people, including President-Elect Trump and his future cabinet appointees. I’m going to repeat the closing of my previous post. I’m praying it’s still true, though now it refers to a different “someone”. We’ve done enough of tearing people down. It’s my fervent hope as a mom and teacher that tomorrow our nation will raise up someone who will makes it their job to raise up others.

Also, I’m posting a link to a wonderful article containing the names of non-profits. If you liked this post, chances are you will find one whose ideals you agree with. If you’re feeling powerless in the wake of last week, and looking for something to do to feel more empowered, donating to any of these amazing charities is a great way to feel like you, too, are valuable.

Click here for the list of charities. Thank you.

 

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Alice and Sexy Cheeseburger

October 17, 2016

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This ad just makes me sad. I can’t find it on Youtube, but ispot has it up here.  I’ll break it down for you. (Sorry about the play buttons in the middle up of the photos – I screen-capped the video.) Don’t mind me including my own voice-over.

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“OMG, aren’t we totes adorbs as Sexy Queen of Hearts, Sexy Mad Hatter and Sexy…Jenny, what are you, a Red Riding Hood/Wolf hybrid? Whatevs, we’re cute.”

 

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“OMG WHAT is that Alice chick wearing? She looks… Like she works… At the deli.”
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“OMG u guys we can NOT let her trick or treat with us, she is blowing our whole “Sexy Literary Character” vibe.”
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“OMG she’s transforming! Is that the new Bright Idea Illuminating Stick from NYX Cosmetics?”
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“OMG! That satin bustier = totes adorbs!”

 

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“OMG u guys, we r🔥!”

Yes, these are (very young) adults and not teenage girls. However, teens are going to see this ad and assume it’s for them. They just are. Just like when we started reading Seventeen magazine at 13. Or was I the only one sneaking peeks at that at the dentist’s office?

Yes, this is a commercial for a costume store. Of course they’re going to show homemade costumes in an unfavorable light. They want you to plunk down $40 for an Alice in Sluttyland outfit, not make it at home!

Yes, Sexy Witch, Sexy Cop, and Sexy Pirate are your results when Googling Women’s costumes. Actually, I Googled “top women’s costumes” and got Sexy Cleopatra, Sexy Oktoberfest Girl, and – no lie – Sexy Freddy Krueger.

But: I do not like this ad, Party City. Besides perpetuating the Sexy Halloween epidemic, it’s just mean. I want to hug poor Alice. She does not deserve ostracization just because of a half-assed outfit. Actually, let me rephrase that: She does not deserve ostracization JUST BECAUSE SHE DOES NOT HAVE HALF HER ASS HANGING OUT. This makes me sad. It also makes me really, really proud that my daughters are going as Hermione Granger and a werewolf.  However, the sexy costumes are here to stay. So, in the spirit of embracing modern Halloween…

Submitted for your approval: My favorite “Sexy Halloween Costumes That Didn’t Need to Be Sexified”.  I will take votes as to which one I should buy and wear while I walk my kids around in suburbia.

deviledeggs
“Sexy Deviled Eggs”

 

cheeseburger
‘Sexy Cheeseburger”

 

dorothy
“Sexy Dorothy Fish from Elmo’s World”

 

yoda
“Sexy Yoda”

 

olaf
“Sexy Olaf”

And, sorry, but you can’t un-see this one…

trump
“Sexy Donald Trump”

I’ll take your votes in the comments.

Also, if your kid is going as something you’re particularly proud of this year, share it here! 

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12 Things I Want My Daughters To Know

October 2, 2016

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  1. Your intelligence should be ever-expanded with quality books, education, and conversation. Don’t stop seeking them out.
  2. I really don’t care if you don’t take a jacket. You’re not going to die of exposure in New Jersey. Just don’t be the girl who doesn’t take a jacket and then whines about the cold. She’s annoying.
  3. Focus on what you want your life to look like, not your body. Your body is a freakin’ beautiful miracle. Go do cool things without worrying how you look.
  4. If you stop laughing about stuff I’m pretty sure you die of boredom. So there’s that.
  5. Four hours into a night out, you probably won’t care what shoes you wore. But, you will care if you can’t walk. Or dance. Choose the shoes carefully.
  6. You’re both smart girls, but kindness is your highest goal. I care much more that you would invite the loner kid to sit with you at lunch than I do about you getting into the “right” college.
  7. There is no “right” anything, while we’re on that subject – not clothes, friends, college, house, career, nadda. There is only what’s right for your situation. But, Mom and Dad get to help you with that situation, so NO, you’re not wearing that skirt.
  8. To quote the internet, “Life is too short for fake butter, cheese, or people”. Steer clear of all three. Actually Cheese Whiz definitely has its place…
  9. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to try it, and think long and hard before you quit. This does not apply to certain controlled substances.
  10. Make-up can be washed off. Haircuts will grow out. Tattoos are forever. Just saying.
  11. If someone does something that hurts you, try to understand them. It doesn’t make them right, but you’ll probably find that their actions aren’t about you in the first place.
  12. Your dad and I always, always love you.
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Op/Ed: Children’s Music

August 31, 2015

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I’m writing this post on my phone, at a 5 & under children’s playplace. Don’t pity me too much. I’m the only parent hanging in the nice little seating area. I have my Dunkin. I have my shoes off. I’m not crawling through tunnels to rescue a screamer who’s too scared to go down the slide (anymore). It’s kind of nice, except for one small issue:

MY EARS ARE BLEEDING.

The ceiling speakers are loudly playing a list that alternates between Laurie Berkner, The Wiggles, and Kidz Bop. I don’t hate Laurie. I will after our two hours here. But the rest of it is pretty much creating a “Kill. Me. Now.” situation over here on the Uninvolved Mommy benches. And that’s just unnecessary. 

Disclaimer: I am an elementary music teacher. I’m not going to pretend that 12 years of this (awesome) job automatically makes me an expert in children’s music. Parenthood will do that for  you just fine, anyway. It does, however, make me opinionated about the subject. There is experience, research, and Master classes talking here. And they’re opinionated too.#sorrynotsorry

Parents, teachers, child-centered businesses, I beseech you: Play actual music for your children. Please.

Kidz Bop is only good for elementary school pep rallies when you want to seem cool enough to play music the kids will recognize, but not lose your job from parental complaints. There’s nothing wrong with pop – I love it. But I think it’s better to play the actual artist whenever you can. If you can’t, there’s a good chance the song isn’t a fabulous pick for kids anyway, even edited with words that rhyme with the objectionable stuff and vocals by (what sounds like) freaky castrati.

Laurie Berkner does some nice stuff; a few covers of folk songs and mostly songs about kid stuff. I like her acoustic approach and she’s a decent vocal model for children (they can match her voice and sing along). But it all sounds pretty much the same and I can’t take more than 15 minutes without wanting to go all Pete Townsend on her guitar. 

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And screw the Wiggles. Just screw ’em. I’ve been here for an hour and if one of those mates showed up to give a free concert it would take all my self control not to kick him Down Under. 

Please: Play decent recordings of folks songs. Put on “classical” (instrumental) music. There is a ton out there (See below) that is lively and engaging, the perfect sound track to imaginative play. Mix that up with pop songs that *gasp* YOU like, as long as you think they’re ok for your kids to hear.

Here’s a great CD set for this instrumental music that’s got some oomph:

Music for Creative Movement“, GIA public (click the title to find the CD on sale).

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Play music that was written for the sake of Music, not to give children something kiddie friendly to listen to. There is already so much music out there for them.

That said, I’m sure there’s some newer ones out there, but here are my favorite “children’s” albums with as little ear bleeding as possible:

“Here Come the ABCs” by They Might Be Giants

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Any of Sandra Boynton’s full book albums

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“Snack Time” by the Barenaked Ladies

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I realize this list is pretty dated. My kids are 8 and 5, and their mommy has Spotify. (We don’t buy full kids albums anymore.)

What are some of your favorites? Have you banned any albums from your home or car?

Have you ever fantasized about dropping a certain Australian singing group to the playroom floor?

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A Question for the Kids

August 27, 2015

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I am a teacher and a parent. The reason I don’t hate either of those jobs yet is because, to me, kids are awesome.  I like to ask them random questions. This time, I had my laptop out. I’ll have to make a habit of that. The question today:

“What would you do if all the adults disappeared?”

M: Wait. Everybody? She is dumbfounded.

E: Wait, does that mean my friend _____? She thinks her 10 year old friend is an adult.

Me: No. Besides eating all the candy in the world, after that, what would you guys do?

M: We would eat a lot more candy, and play video games. So would her father.

E: Do everything. (Spins on seat.)

M: Let’s just say I’d do whatever I wanted.

E: We would erase all our stuff on that. (Pointing to chore chart.)

M: I would invite a bunch of friends over and have a party. Lots of food. And go in the pool. All night. So would I.

Me: What would you do about food?

M: We would eat it? (Ba-dum-tsss.) Oh, I mean, we would go to the store.

Me: How would you get to the store, would you walk?

M: We could drive! I know how to drive!! Well no… but I could figure it out. Wait. Who’s gonna be running the store?

Me: I don’t know… who do you think?

M: Teenagers.

Me. Ok….

E: I want to drive the car!

Me: What would you do about your clothing?

E: We would wear it.

Me: You’re hilarious.

M: We would make our own?

Me: You know how to make your own clothes?

M: We would wash them. I know how to do the laundry! Note to self, in that case, she’s gonna start doing her own.

E: I want to be like Rarity. My Little Pony reference. She makes dresses.

M: Wait – so like, ALL the adults in the world disappeared? It would be only kids on the road! And no policemen… we could speed. That would be fun. Another note to self: Maybe time to limit MarioKart tournaments at home?  …nah.

E: What if they weren’t coming back?

Me: That’s what I’m saying. What would you guys do?

M: Miss you. Awwwwww.

E: I would never get to see you!

M: It would pretty cool to get to do whatever you want though.

E: Mommy can we have candy?

So, what would the kids in your life say?

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Happier Family Life, the French Way?

August 20, 2015

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A reflection on Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bébé”

Last summer one of my first posts here admired the seemingly hands-off style of 1970’s parenting. Go back and read if you like. Kitty Foreman’s hair shaking is priceless.

Turns out, what I really needed to do was go a little Parisian.

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, came up on my “must read” radar a while ago. But the sample text suddenly resonated with me after a stream of needy children continually interrupted adult conversation while having friends over for dinner one night.
“When American families visit our home, the parents usually spend much of the time refereeing their kids’ spat, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build LEGO villages…When French friends visit, however, we grown-ups have coffee and the children play happily by themselves.”

Though we have and know some pretty awesome kids, I identified with those poor American parents, and inpulse-bought the book.

This text is by no means some kind of revolutionary parenting ‘bible’. It’s a narrative of the American author’s marriage, her move to Paris, and her outsider’s view of the stark contrast between French and American parenting strategies. There are many research references to illustrate the preferable outcomes of the former over the latter. In later editions there is an addendum that includes her list of 100 pointers. – Druckerman calls them “keys to french parenting”. I’d call them “mini kid philosophies”.

This book explores a different overall attitude towards children: Boiled down, you can trust that a child can do things. Things like teaching himself to connect sleep his sleep cycles (without the dreaded ‘crying it out’) and genuinely sleeping through the night at 3 months (this is a very standard milestone at 3 months in France.) Or politely greeting all adults – and in doing so, taking on the behavior of a mutually respected person in the social group. Or, imagine this: self-sufficiently playing alone or with other children, without a need for parent intervention or baggies of goldfish crackers. All you tired-eyed parents who are repeatedly interrupted by your child needing stuff while you try to cook or talk to other adults– are you fascinated yet? I was. I spent July trying to get grad class work done, while my children were in pay-attention-t0-me mode during most waking hours. I wish I’d read this little philosophy book before summer. Or, like, 9 years ago.

Intertwined with the concept that a child can fend for him or herself is the ideal of balance. In other words, the mother and father absolutely cannot lose themselves in the care of their children. The sacrifice-for-the-child valor that I’ve seen so many moms tote around like merit badges does not exist in the same way, in French culture. There is no humble-bragging that you survived quitting the job your were educated for so you could stay home, breastfeeding until age two, or functioning on crappy sleep because the co-sleeping child won’t stay out of your bed. These are not accepted truths of parenting in the French model. The happiness and prosperity of the entire family – the marriage of the parents being the core of this – is valued over the needs of the child. It probably sounds ungrateful and selfish to a lot of American mothers…

And I love that! The eating and the independent playing chapters made me want to wind back the clock and do things differently with my kids. However, we’re working on it now. Already this summer we’ve expanded the girls’ vegetable horizons . Hey family: E eats Brussels sprouts now, and there is no crying! Almost every other section had me saying out loud, to nobody, “Yes! What have I been saying!?!” Disclaimer: I’m going to quote Amy Poehler’s peace mantra of “Good for her, not for me”, but, here’s an example: In my family, kids are not welcome in our bed unless it is family hang-out or reading time. That is our bed, our sleeping and couple space, and we like it that way. Grown-ups time is sacred, even if it really is just “Netflix and Chill”.

Major points of “Bringing Up Bebe”’s message:

  • Sleep: Babies are just little, rational people and can be helped along and taught. French babies sleep thought the night 7+ hours around 3 months old. Yes, that is what I said. This is because of a parenting instinct common in France, referred to as “The Pause”. It is not Ferber or any of the crying-it-out methods. That‘s viewed as a little distasteful.
  • Breastfeeding: Nursing is encouraged in France. But, formula is viewed as pretty much a same-same alternative. (A couple American moms reading this just gasped. Meanwhile, I’m over here like, “Thank you God.”) If breastfeeding isn’t mechanically working out, or Mom went back to work (she did this earlier because of quality childcare, see below), or it was interfering with the overall happiness of the family – it stops. Studies linking breastfeeding to improved health and intellectual outcomes have been all but discredited and results attributed to other factors. French mommies know this (more than American moms, for sure) and proceed to feed formula and have bright, healthy kids. Imagine.
  • Eating: From about 4 months old, baby food is not in jars, but is rather a ground-up version of whatever (vegetable-heavy) dinner Mom and Dad are having. Dinner is served in three courses, even at home, with veggies served first – when kids are most hungry. (They have one snack a day. Not one at every activity and in baggies in the car on the way there.) Kids are expected to try everything on their plate, but amounts are not designated and rewards for eating are out of the question. They just try it, and are are trusted to eat what will sustain them. Meals are not a power struggle, but an important and social time. Children are (ideally) included as respected members in a balanced conversation – not the center of attention when they finally try that piece of broccoli or they want to sing a song. Gadgets at restaurant tables are unheard of. (Thank you.)
  • Snack: Snacktime is pretty standard, mid-late afternoon, and includes some junk food – possibly that the child helped bake him or herself. Food is not a reward or a distraction. Hunger is not usually offered as an explanation for cranky behavior. Because other meals are healthier (not chicken nuggets, pizza, burger, repeat), chocolate is seen as a wonderful snacktime item. Kids are sometimes given a bar of chocolate on a baguette – hot dam! Also, denying the existence of sugar is just stupid. (That last part is my own bit.)
  • Social Skills: Children should greet everyone in a social setting, to take their place as a member of the group there (where they must act like it – no coloring on the walls or pulling out every tissue at friends’ houses). From Mommy’s friends to clerks at the store, kids greet other kids and adults, period.
  • Learning: The “earlier is better” philosophy that prevails in America, so that kids can get an edge and defeat the competition – to get into the better preschool or score better on the standardized tests – isn’t nearly as present in France. Probably because preschool is a given and testing isn’t as big a deal. Kids are trusted to “get it” in their own time, many children not beginning to learn to read until age six. Likewise, the constant stream of activities and sports, intended to better the child and give them everything the parent didn’t have, isn’t as accepted either. If a mother who is basically a “mom taxi” is looked down upon as someone who has lost the balance in her life. (Hallelujah. If you’re complaining about your kids’ scheduled activities, why haven’t you de-scheduled some of them?) Having multiple kids in multiple activities is recognized as potentially harming the quality of family life, so it isn’t the standard way. (Can I get a ‘Hell YES’?)
  • Go Play: Children are trusted to be able to entertain themselves and enjoy doing so. Family time exists pretty much daily and it is awesome. But Adult Time is not their time. Likewise, they do no need to hear that every drawing is ‘excellent’ and every dance step ‘the best ever’. All kinds of therapy bills come from this practice.
  • Couple Time: *This one is my favorite* The quality of the relationship between Mom and Dad (or whoever) is the foundation of the family. The needs of the children do not trump the needs of the couple. No, really. There is little to no co-sleeping, because that bed is Mommy and Daddy’s space. “Bedtime” means kids stay in their rooms and eventually go to sleep, though generally they are allowed to play or read until they’re ready to sleep. Mommy and Daddy must have time to be themselves, as a couple, without kids interrupting. “Date night”, is not really a thing, because romance and sex are very highly valued in French culture, and the fact that the couple has couple time out & about and alone is a given. Mommy and Daddy probably don’t share parenting and household responsibilities equally, but there is a division of tasks, and appreciation for the other’s contributions is (hopefully) shown privately, and modeled for the kids.
  • Childcare: The “creche” is state funded and almost every child goes. It is not the dreaded day care situation that stay at home moms detest in America. Workers are skilled, enjoy long-term job security, and are paid well. Even moms who do not work often send their toddlers to the creche, for everybody’s benefit. Mommy gets her groove back – getting to work out and see friends, in addition to having a career and contributing to the household – and baby gets social skills.

Can you tell I like this stuff? Now, I’m fully aware that this model is not solely a “French” thing. Some of these philosophies I’ve had for years, and I know friends who have executed them beautifully all along as well, in one department or another. I also know a lot of moms who would look at aspects of this and wonder why French women bother having kids at all, if they’re just going to put a bottle in their mouths and send them off to someone else’s care?

I guess the impressive aspects of this philosophy for me are balance and trust. In this country there seems to exist an unspoken social norm saying that major sacrifice for your children’s comfort and development is proof that you are a “good” parent – because childhood is fleeting and you have your whole life to talk to your friend on the phone uninterrupted for 20 minutes. I think that’s total crap. We are talking about 18+ years, here. Balance is the goal. Trust makes that happen. This is definitely a goal to work for, in my book. American levels of happiness are reported lower from parents than non-parents, and lower with the birth of each child, despite children supposedly being a major source of lifetime happiness. What’s missing? What can we do differently to feel less harried and stressed?

Maybe try a little Francais.

The book, again, is called Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. (Her website is HERE.)

What do you think of this? Old news (probably but not to a lot of my generation)? Selfish? Wonderful?

Do you disagree with any of these basic points? Do you practice them at home with your own kidlets?

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Advice, Gosh Darn It

April 22, 2015

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Last week at an indoor water park, I lost the giant black mumu very stylish cover-up that I had just purchased. I put the cover-up down on a railing, went to do something with my younger kid, came back, and it was GONE. *horror*. My flip flops were still there. This was not acceptable. I was now essentially walking around naked, as far as the self-conscious chick in my head was concerned. I will find you, and I will kill you, mumu thief.  I can act like I’m all cool and comfortable, but no matter what witty banter (ha) is coming out of my mouth at a pool-related gathering, my brain is going “Don’t look at my thighs. Don’t look at my arms. AHHHHH stop looking at meeeeeee!” *die*

My husband tells me that I have the worst self-esteem he’s ever seen. And not just about body image. The funny part is that most people think I’m pretty confident. (No, friend. No. It’s all in how you fake it.) Wait that sounded wrong…

Crap. Do you still like me?

**********

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I would advise my girls to love and value themselves, no matter what.

Cheeeeeezzzzy. But really: If you’ve got that down, you’ve got a lot. And you wouldn’t have to go out the next day and replace a giant black mumu.

Kids are not born comparing their bodies to perfection and finding them ugly. While I would like my kids to pull up their pants because nobody wants to see their impression of a plumber, I don’t want them thinking their body shouldn’t be seen in the daylight. I want them to enjoy the pool.  I shouldn’t feel that way either. Girls, you’re all kinds of beautiful.

It goes beyond body image, too. If a kid that my daughter approaches at the playground walks away from her, I want her to know that it’s not because there’s something wrong with her; he just didn’t want to play right then. He probably just doesn’t want to play Mario-meets-My Little Pony-meets-Monster High. And neither do I. Girls, you are good to be around and people like you.

If somebody doesn’t text them back or return their call or pick up their Facetime chat (or God knows what technology is being used by the time I consent to buying them a phone) I want them to understand that it probably isn’t because they’re not important enough to that person. That person is probably busy right now, and wrapped up in their own stuff, unrelated to how much they like them. Girls, you’re enough, and you’re valued.

I want to advise them to take a defeat as a challenge to work harder and a rejection as a sign, not that they weren’t worthy, but that there is something better out there. It’s not that you’re ugly, fat, dumb, boring, unimportant, un-valued, or whatever else that negative biotch in your head tells you. Girls, if you wake up every day being able to tell yourself that the world is a better place because you’re in it, then you won’t need anybody’s attention or affirmation, and that is freedom. Girls, I’ll let you know when Mommy gets there. It’s something we’re all working on. 

There is a lot of “BAD” that can happen to a kid, as he or she grows. But a kid who has a healthy amount of self-worth will hopefully duck and weave when those poor choices come at them swinging. Personally I think I did ok, if I say so myself, and I was (am) a secret self-doubter, always.

So if I had to pick one piece of advice to give my children, that would be it.

Yes, this is basically Stuart Smalley. What? That was a very good era for SNL…

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If you could give your kids one piece of advice, what would it be? No really, I’m curious, and I bet it’s pretty cool advice. Some smart people read this blog…

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Under New (Behavior) Management?

November 15, 2014

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So, I let the elder offspring give this letter to her teacher:

teacherletter (2)

Parents, teachers, and friends, I need you to tell me what you think of that move.

Here’s the background:

I have the feeling that my kid has been put in the ‘rough’ class several times now, probably because she can fend for herself academically and assertively.  Talking to parents whose children are in other classes in my daughter’s grade has confirmed it: They’re having a lot more fun. There’s always a ‘rough’ class. How do you know if your kid has landed there this year? Count the rings under her teacher’s eyes. 

But it’s a teacher conflict too. We all have a story about that teacher, who seemed miserable and possibly scared the #$%@ out of us in grade school. Mine had a foot-shaped hole in the tile floor where it was rumored she had screamed and stomped her foot so hard that it Broke. The. Floor. She supposedly left it that way as a grim reminder to future students that things could get UGLY. 

The elder offspring’s 2nd grade teacher has decided that whole-class punishment is her classroom management tactic. Several times now, all the kids have missed recess as punishment for bad behavior. Yes, like when we were in school. Although for me, that was the 80’s and I don’t remember much of this happening. 

Although I (empty) threaten individual students with this consequence sometimes (actually quite effective), I disagree with this policy on several levels:

1. Though occasionally necessary, regularly punishing the whole group is unfair and bad for morale.

2. These are 7 year-olds. They need recess. If you make the mistake of keeping 7 year-olds from running outside and being crazy, you might as well feed Gremlins after midnight, because that’s what you’re gonna get. 

5

Cute before you make a giant mistake. Just like 2nd graders. It will be a loooong afternoon.

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