Monday, September 14, 2009

Celebrity discipline

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Find something to do with the kids this afternoon amidst pouring rain.
Grievance: Boy Love has been having little accidents daily.
Celebration: The diet that I hate is actually producing results.

I am appalled. These past couple days have been eye-opening for me when it comes to America's celebrities. Now, in my book, a celebrity is someone known by almost everyone. Celebrities are household names that con almost always spur some sort of conversation. Two of the Untied States' most well-known celebrities have made some very public and atrocious moves in the last two days that really have me upset. Yes, I understand that the US is forced to lay claim to many celebrity who have done many atrocious things, but these two really get my goat.

Let's start with Serena Williams. Serena is not my favourite tennis player in the world, and neither is her dear sister, but they are American athletes who have a lot of talent. They have come back from difficult times, overcome many obstacles, and are excellent at the game of tennis. I was proud that Serena represented the United States. That is, until her little display at the U.S. Open.

Check out the Yahoo! article here:;_ylt=AkTPVhd5LnGgCKmOWxGFQfQjU6N4?slug=ro-serenafine091309&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Next, lets go to Kanye. Kanye is somewhat known for have they put it..."antics"? He is not the most gracious, gentlemanly of artists, and has often made people angry with his callousness. This is expected from him. However, he is an artist representing the United States. So when he openly disrespects a very talented girl in the middle of her acceptance speech, I think everyone is still pretty shocked.

Yahoo! article here:

I will not play-by-play each event, so please look at the links for yourself.

These two events have me really upset. What are these two role models teaching us? They are teaching us to disrespect each other? They are teaching us that all the world should revolve around our opinions? They are teaching us that any stage is our stage? These are TERRIBLE things to learn from people who are supposed to be representing our country. Who cares if they were right? The line judge, admittedly, made a bad call on Serena. Yes, Beyonce's music video may have been more revolutionary than Taylor Swift's. But in what world are we allowed to show our opinions in this way? Kanye, if you don't agree with something, that is great. Do not rip the microphone from a 19 year old girl who is winning her first VMA and overcoming a lot of odds to do so. You are ripping her of her right to her art. Serena, if you don't like a call there are plenty of ways to challenge it. That is why they set up rules to challenge in the game of tennis. Tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, not for childish threats and arguments about who-has-the-bigger-****.

These two need some sort of discipline. In a facebook status update earlier, I said that I hoped Kanye didn't ever sell another album. That was wrong and hateful, and for that I apologize. That was me acting just like them. It was a bad thing to think. I in no way want to take away Kanye's right to his art. However, he didn't so much as receive a slap on the hand for his little show. In the link I posted, the blogger had the right idea. They should have permanently removed him from the premises, just like any other heckler. He should get no special treatment because he is a celebrity. Serena had all of her earnings from the US Open taken away. That is fair. No one should treat a line judge that way, no matter how bad of a call they made. Even John McEnroe, the most obnoxious tennis player ever, would have never threatened the life of or sworn at a judge. She got a fair punishment. Hopefully she will learn her lesson.

I would like to know what you all think. Please understand that American celebrities embarrass this country every day. I get equally upset when football players abuse dogs, or actors show up drunk to talk shows, or whatever. But I also understand that there are American celebrities that try their very best to do what they think is right and still end up embarrassing us. Every president in the history of this country has done that. Can we leave them out of it, please? They are at least trying. I only want to hear about the right way to approach the disciplining of American role models who are being atrocious just for the sake of being atrocious.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kids do the Darndest Things

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Switch laundry from washer to dryer. Even such a small and meaningless task will require all of my physical effort.
Grievance - I want something sweet. I have not had anything sweet except a banana in over a week.
Celebration - Even while on my period, I am still maintaining my weight.

Yesterday Boy, Baby and I met some friends at the zoo. We were not the only people who had the grand idea of going to the zoo yesterday. It was not only packed, but there was a big special event for firemen and their families, so the place was crawling with humanity. Boy's favourite part of the park is the water fountains in the Children's Zoo. It is one of those fountains that little spurts of water randomly shoot up from the ground. Lots of children are frolicking from geyser to geyser, shrieking uncontrollably and flailing their wee limbs in excitement. There is, however, a very small boy standing next to his mother not ten feet from me. He is a little pudgy asian child, perhaps 11 months old. He is looking at the other children playing and smiling at what he sees, but he is obviously intimidated by all the big kids and running.

Boy, who has been playing with the other children, notices this little boy on one of his many juice stops and does something amazing. He walks up to the him, introduces himself, and just stands there with him, watching the other kids. While they watch, Boy Love tells the little boy what is happening ("Fountain! Water fall down! Running running!") and points out his new friends. Then, the zoo train chugs along by, and Boy helps the little guy wave hello to the train passengers, who wave back. After standing there for a while, Boy heads back out to the water, looking behind him ever couple steps, and waving the little boy to come with him. "Come on! Come on play-friend!" The child is grinning and laughing at Boy Love. He fumbles his way down the steps to the water, and Boy holds his hand into the middle of the fun.

It is things like this that warm my heart. My son is so caring and loving. He was able to seek out a child alone, befriend him, and take him from wallflower to the dance floor. He is far more of a friend than I ever have been, and someday I hope to be like him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mean Kids

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: There are my to-do list.
Grievance: Must shower yet again after sweaty room-cleaning endeavour.
Celebration: Boy Love is rock star re: potty training.

Boy had a free ice cream from Chick-fil-A, so a couple days ago we go as a treat for his amazing ability to pee in the toilet. The thing that Boy loves most about Chick-fil-A is the indoor play place. It is perfectly sized for his smallishness, yet provides enough challenge for him to find it amusing. Not to mention, Chick-fil-A is usually crawling with wee little friends. This trip was no different.

After ice cream was eaten (as I sat looking at it lustfully, not to cheat on my new diet) we marched onward to the play place. For a while, it was just Boy making his way through the plastic maze, calling lovingly to Phinny and me through every available dirty plastic window. Then four new boys, ages ranging between 4 and 7, came in to do the same. Their mothers, obviously friends, came in, removed their shoes, told them to behave, then retreated to their table where they had a Mom Date. As soon as they left the room, their children turned into little terrors. Boy, who was more than thrilled to have some tiny comrades, was trying to make conversation and join in their games. Ever the socialite, he follows them, goes down the slide after them, and congratulates them when they do something considered amazing. These boys were NOT amused. In return for my son's friendliness, they called him "stupid" and a "baby", refused to let him into whatever bubbly platic orb they had inhabited, pushed him down the stairs with their feet, and one boy kicked him in the head. I was SO appalled. I pulled Boy out of the tubes, told him that he didn't deserve to be treated mean by these boys. As soon as his shoes were on, we left.

Before I ask what I should have done, let me tell you what I wanted to do. I wanted to sit those boys down, get in their faces, and let them know that how they have treated my son is completely unacceptable behaviour. I wanted to stop at the Mom Date table and let them know that their children are being terrible. However, I do not believe that it is ANYONE'S place to parent other kids, or tell a parent how to discipline their children. That was not my place to do so. I DO believe that at the age of almost 3, my child is not old enough to protect himself. That is my job. Until he is old enough to make wise decisions, I am his protector. It is my job to keep him from situations that will cause him harm or teach him behaviours that are unacceptable. So that is what I did.

Any thoughts? If you were me, what would you have done? If you were the parent of the other children, would you have wanted me to say something to you?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nursery Time

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Have Boy Love get through all of church with dry underpants.
Grievance - I did not follow my diet yesterday due to my inexplicable need to vomit.
Celebration - My inexplicable need to vomit made me lose some serious poundage. Awesome.

Our dear children's minister at church is truly a woman of genius. She has devised a cunning plan to get people involved in the nursery during church without even knowing it. Recently, I received a letter in the mail that informed me that I am manning the nursery during services on Aug. 16th. Now, being a woman who is not prone to volunteer for things that I am not good at, I knew right away that this was the work of a higher power. Higher power being our children's minister? Probably. Higher power being the Lord? Most definitely.

As stated, I am not a volunteer-er. Well, when it comes to opportunities that make me uncomfortable/stressed/painfully outside my area of expertise, I choose not to involve myself. Until now, I have been blissfully happy working for causes that I feel I can do the most good. I have been on worship teams abundant, in performance groups, directed many a project for church functions, and been a key component in many events that combine theatre and church. The nursery is not on that list. The nursery (I was hoping) would never make that list. It is not that I don't like children, and it is not that I don't appreciate what the nursery does for my children and me during church. I am, however, cursed with terrible impatience and a short fuse. I have learned to curb this somewhat after having chidren of my own, but I have not wanted to see if that will translate to a room full of children that I have no emotional connection with.

I spent a bit of last year babysitting to try and make a little bit of money and watch my own child at the same time. The experience was a scarring one. The family of children I was "blessed" to watch were tiny terrors. I could not control the atmosphere in any capacity, and I was barely able to control my then-pregnant lady emotions. It was all I could do to hold in the tears until I got out to my car. When I think of anything that has to do with watching children in any capacity, I remember those days.

I am convinced that I am not the best person for this position. I am convinced that there are some people that are really blessed with the ability to deal with children. I am also convinced that I would not have been volunteered for such a position if it were not a necessity. There are obviously not an abundance of people in church who have the talent to work with children, so here I am to help. This is the Lord telling me to get out of my pretty little box and expand my horizons. I can only hope that I keep it together. Maybe this will be an excellent experience, and I will not dread having to do it again.

If you are someone who works well with children, my hat is off to you. I truly wish I had your talents, and you are a better person than I. I wish to learn many things from you and your experience. Any chance you want to work in the nursery with me today?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Personal Training

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Go to Y for new simple workout. With boy in underpants (attainable?).
Grievance - Starting today, say goodbye to delicious food
Celebration - Starting today, Big Love and I are on the road to becoming healthy

This week will go down in history as a week of change. Goodbye to diapers, goodbye to jiggling tummies, goodbye to the old us! Welcome, new and improved us! Can we do it? YES! WE! CAN! (copyright Barack Obama. And Bob the Builder.)

Tired are we of buying training diapers. Tired are we of having to clean tiny sheets of urine and feces. Tired are we! It is time for change. So this week began potty training boot camp. Plan of attack? Every waking hour boy will be wearing big boy underpants. Every 20 minutes a timer will sound, indicating "potty time!". Every 5 minutes is a wet underpants check. Every victory rewarded, every accident forgiven, always encouraging improvement with a smile. Can we do it? Yes! We! (probably) Can!

After being completely appalled at our appearances in the pictures taken over our recent vacation, Big Love and I have decided to change our ways...together. We will be each others accountability buddies. We will go to the Y together twice a week (however his schedule allows) and change our terrible eating habits. To get a positive and effective start on this, we had a consultation with a personal trainer at the Y yesterday. We told him our weight goals, our schedule constrictions, and he gave us a diet plan and new workout tactic. Plan of attack? Eat the diet plan he gave us, no matter how gross it is. Example meal: 6 oz chicken (no salt or seasoning except perhaps a squirt of lemon) and 2 cups of green vegetables. That is all. No carbs after 5 pm, protein shake in the morning. This all sounds grotesque, but we are trying to be healthy. Before we went to the Y for this meeting, Big Love and I had decided to reward ourselves for our good deed with a delicious looking ice cream cake that we saw in an ad for Publix. However, after the verbal smackdown that we ended up getting, our guilt got the better of us and we went home without stopping for any treats. Nowhere on our diet does it allow for things like cake. Or brownies. Or popcorn. Or cheese. Sigh...being healthy will be hard. This will take a lot of prayer and encouragement from each other. But can we do it? Yes! We! Can!

First on the list? Purchase a scale. The trainer said that the scale will be our report card. We must stand on it every morning. If the number goes down, we are doing everything right. If the number goes up, we are doing something wrong. We will take 3 weeks at a time and set small goals. This three weeks we will lose 5 pounds. This three weeks we will lose 6 pounds. This three weeks we will lose 4 pounds. All of a sudden (or 9 weeks later), we will have lost 15 pounds! We are on our way!

This week is about training ourselves to be better people. We can only do this with the help of the Lord. We want to be better versions of ourselves! Hooray!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Listening Ears

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Boy Love will be in big boy underpants from the moment he gets up from his nap until the moment he goes to bed tonight.
Grievance - School may be hard for Boy Love.
Celebration - I got three lovely hours to spend with my Baby Love alone. I just let my house sit in shambles while I played.

As I was picking Boy Love up from school today, I was fortunate enough to have his own teacher putting him in the car seat at carpool time. Going in to this year, I have had my concerns about school for him, mostly because he is significantly younger than the other kids in his class. He is at that cut-off age where he will either be 6 months younger or 6 months older than any other kid. We opted to put him in the class of older kids, hoping he would keep up with the Big Dawgs like he does in other social situations.

When his teacher was buckling him in, I looked back at her and asked the all-dreaded question, "How did he do in class?" She hesitated, followed by a forced chuckle and said, "He is younger than the other kids." I told her that I knew this, and the concern was mutual. She followed up with "He was okay if I could get his attention and keep him listening." I know what this means. I have taught enough young kids to know that by this statement, she was saying that he was being very difficult. She also informed me that all the other kids in the class were trying to help him listen and get his attention when the teacher was talking. I am now imagining a table full of perfectly groomed little children in flowered dresses and polo shirts sitting at their assigned seats, hands clasped and saying "Yes Ma'am" in chorus. All except the one kid, my kid, running in full circles around the room shouting "ALL ABOARD!" and choo-chooing at every imaginary train station. Then he jumps up on the table, weeny little arm muscles flexed in triumph screaming, "I'm a GIANT!!" And who knows. Maybe all of this happened today.

As we were about to pull out of the carpool line, she looked at Boy and over-enthusiastically cheered, "Let's remember to bring our listening ears tomorrow!" Ugh. How many times have I used THAT line. Not on my own but on the child under my supervision that I struggle with the most. The child that fights me tooth and nail at every turn. The child that would rather do anything but what I asked. The child that makes me go home and reconsider watching kids. Well, guess what? My child is that child now.

So I spend the whole trip home talking to Boy about listening ears. I have always had a problem with him listening to me or my husband, so I decide to get online and look up some good strategies for developing listening skills. These are the tips I have come across:

Make sure YOU are listening to your child when they are speaking - check

Read stories aloud together - check

Encourage your child to guess the end of a story or sentence - check

Ask open ended questions like "What did you do at school today?" - check

Touch them when you speak to them - check

Get down at their level while speaking to them - check

Listen to music - check

When watching a TV show, watch it together and encourage them to interact - check

Learn new songs - check

"Grandma's Rule", if you do X then we will get to go play at the park - check

Give simple instructions for basic requests - check

Use a calm, but serious vocal tone - check

The list continues on.

I do all of these things when interacting with Boy. However, my struggles with him listening do not only fall under the realm of "selective hearing". He also sometimes struggles to hear the things he would want to hear, like, "Do you want to go to the zoo?". Of course, like most toddlers, he can hear that somewhat better than "Lets go tidy your room!", but he will really only listen to me if a) I call his name 5 different times in 5 different ways, b) I physically move his head/chin/shoulders to face me directly, or c) I already have his attention for something else. So then I naturally ask myself, what else should I be doing? Of course I will continue to do what I have been doing, but what do I need to change to make any of these tactics effective? Do I need to take him to a hearing specialist? Is that just me wanting to believe that him not listening is not his fault or mine?

I need suggestions. Please...if anyone out there has/had a toddler undergoing similar issues, please enlighten me! I don't want him to be a burden on his teacher, his classmates, or me. Help!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Annoyance List

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Go to the dumpster before varmints eat our trash in the middle of the night
Grievance - Had to leave church early due to restless baby
Celebration - Boy Love is re-inventing his potty training, not wanting to get "dismissed" from preschool.

Here is my current list of annoyances:

- The grating sound of fingernails scraping against dry flesh in an attempt to scratch an itch or irritation.

- People who spend 5 minutes doing an 11-point maneuver trying to back into a parking space for the sole purpose of making it faster to get out of. Because in their mind it will take longer than 5 minutes to back out of that same parking spot. Or take more points than 11.

- When people honk during peak traffic hours just because the traffic isn't moving. What is that possibly helping? Who is going to move just because you honked?

- Alton Brown. If I hear one more food pun, I shall grate my fingernails against my own skin just to drown out the sound of lame humour.

- When people use every possible avenue to express their political distaste EXCEPT for their own voices.

- Sports Center sob stories that replay over and over again.

- Baby clothes with an unnecessary number of teeny tiny snaps.

Any others that I did not think of?