Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I agree with the President

It is about time that we had a president in this country that is for same sex marriage.  The anti gay marriage feelings in this country are no different than the anti minority or anti women ones we had to deal with decades ago.  The United States is discriminating against a whole demographic of people and somehow this is suppose to be okay. 

I live in the land of the free.  We are suppose to have freedoms in this county, not oppression.  The government has too much control in our lives already without them telling us who we can and cannot marry.  I don't expect the government to be able to tell me where I can live, so why can they tell me what I can and cannot do with my roommate.  After all that is all marriage is, two people who love each other, most of the time, cohabiting in the same household.

There is no sanctity of marriage that the right wing shouts about.  The ones screaming that the loudest are usually the ones that are on their 4th marriage with the 10th mistress on the side.  The Republican party is horrible about sex scandles, both straight and gay ones.  They are the last ones that should be saying that same sex marriage will ruin marriage for everyone.

We are suppose to have a separation of church and state in this country.  For those of you who are bible thumping scripture quoting bigots, I'll break it down into terms you can understand.  Anything that you think should be a law based on something that is in your book, that you of course follow everything in not just select things, you cannot do that due to freedom of religion.  Our freedom of religion is suppose to protect us not only to be free of persecution for practicing our religion of choice, but also against laws based on beliefs of religions not our own.

Some people in our country need to take a long look at the Bill of Rights for our country.  They could learn a lot by taking a look at the whole bill of rights and not just the pieces that they want to look at.  There is nothing saying it's okay to discriminate against a demographic of people because we don't agree with their lifestyle.  Our politicians would do good to remember that, and to remind the voters of the same.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Modern Parents are Crazy

My kids know the classic fairy tale stories.  They have heard me read them the 3 little pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and countless others.  When they were younger they asked me to read them these stories as often as the modern children books that we own.  They have also watched the Disney version of the classics such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Robin Hood.  I remember these stories and movies from my own childhood and saw nothing wrong with my own children listening to, reading, or watching them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

We shouldn't need "Gaming Laws"

Wii, Playstation3, and Xbox Gaming Systems

South Korea has introduced another "Gaming Law" proposal due to their citizens addiction to video games, internet, and technology.  In this law gaming consoles would turn off after 2 hours of play in a 24 hour period, and the user would have to take a 10 minute break before being able to turn the game back on.  Also you can only turn it back on once in 24 hours.  Another part of this is that game consoles would have a chip in them rendering them expensive paper weights between the hours of midnight and 6am.  The black out hours are geared at the 16 and under crowd, but would be in effect for all citizens.  Some United States lawmakers have wanted to get a similar measure passed to help with Americans' addiction to technology.

Gaming laws shouldn't even need to be a thought in our lawmakers minds.  If a parent wants to let their kid play a video game on their gaming system, computer, or even cell phone then that is their right living in a free country.  I would hope that they have more important things to do, than worry about how much time the Wii in my house is on, or how much time my family spends total on the internet.  Knowing how our current government works, I'm sure that they won't spend time on important things and will eventually introduce a Gaming Law though disguised as a lame attempt at ending childhood obesity.

With childhood obesity rates the highest they have ever been, parents do need to encourage their children to get more active and eat better.  But placing chips in a gaming consoles to make them shut off when the government determines that they should is not going to help the situation any.  Kids will just find another sedentary activity to do instead of playing video games.  Some communities playing outside is dangerous and cannot be done.  Other areas the changes in weather make it impossible for children to be outside for an extended period of time during cold months or when the weather forces kids indoors.  On those days they are going to play more video games.  Also there is a point where you stop wanting to play and start wanting to be an adult, no matter what you do you aren't going to be able to get your children outside to play once they have hit this stage.

Americans do have a technology addiction.  I know that I feel naked without my smart phone, and would be lost if I had to go back to a normal phone.  I'm not alone in this feeling either.  Most websites have a mobile view option so we are not having to wait till we are on a computer to log on to the internet, and you can access them from wifi hotspots located in just about every business you visit.  New apps link your smart phone to your laptop to your Kindle so you can access anything and everything at any time you wish.

There are midnight release parties for new games, where gamers stand in line for hours outside a store waiting for the newest version to finally be released.  These games we have been hearing about for months as they are finished being debugged with previews of them online and on tv driving the hype before they are released even higher.  As soon as a gamer has the game in their hand they are going to want to spend hours playing it till they have it beat, bragging to all of their friends how many hours it took them to beat it.

When our children are still at home we can curb this addiction somewhat, unless you have a husband who is a gamer and then you might be looking at a lost cause.  We can set up time limits on games, make them turn off their phones that we are paying for, even censor what tv channels they have access too.  Should we set up all of these limits though?

We all know that at some point in time our children will leave our house.  They will be on their own, and all we can do is hope that we have taught them the correct things as they grew. As they spread their wings they are no longer subject to our technology limitations and must regulate themselves.  Maybe by allowing them more access when they are younger, while explaining them why technology should be limited, the generation that we are raising hopefully won't be as addicted as the one before them.  The only problem is actually practicing what we preach, and putting away our smart phones, laptops, and instead read a book.  Although that would probably be read on our Kindle so I haven't gotten all of the details on how this is going to work figured out yet.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pregnancy Discrimination

It has been decades since women gained the same rights as men.  As little girls we are told that we can do what ever we want to do when we grow up.  For the most part this is true, there are still certain things that we cannot do such as be on the front lines of a war, but we have gained a lot of ground in the work place.  Even then we still lose out during our child bearing years because of pregnancy discrimination.

You would think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have protected pregnant women in the work place, but it didn't.  It was another 14 years before there was an amendment to the original bill to protect us.  It seems that a lot of employers have either forgotten about or don't know about the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and even less pregnant women know about it.  Women in low paying jobs are most at risk for being discriminated against, but even executive moms can see the effects their pregnancy takes on their career.  The amount of women filing pregnancy discrimination lawsuits is rising, which is a disturbing trend.

Employers are worried about women not coming back after maternity leave, being too wrapped up in the mom world after baby, amount of time off for appointments and if the baby gets sick, plus everything that goes with being a working mom.  The United States has no law in place making sick days for employees mandatory,  so for some women just getting the time off so they can go to prenatal appointments can be a job risk.  Low paying jobs are not likely to allow pregnant women accommodations so they are able to work their whole pregnancy, and encourage them to either quit or go on maternity leave early.  Some will even go as far as to fire them just because they are pregnant.  If you are pregnant while looking for a job you are certain to find out that the majority of employers will not hire you, just because you are pregnant.

During all three of my pregnancies I encountered Pregnancy Discrimination first hand.  My first pregnancy I was planning on working until I delivered, but when I was 38 1/2 weeks along I was left off of the schedule and told that they couldn't risk me just calling in because I was in labor and it would be easier for them if I just wasn't on the schedule any more.  My second pregnancy I went into preterm labor at 32 weeks and was put on strict bed rest for 8 weeks.  After a total of 14 weeks off, I came back to find that the woman that had been covering my position while I was on extended maternity leave was now in that position full time, leaving me with my hours cut to the point where it was hardly worth me working anymore.  With two small children at home they cut me more and more until I finally quit.  With my third pregnancy I had been with the company for just over 2 years, I had no quality issues, no write ups, and was even re writing their training manuals for them.  My doctor wanted me to have my FMLA paperwork filed out very early on in my pregnancy due to the bedrest from my second pregnancy.  I went to HR to get the paperwork, and was basically told that I would be going on maternity leave early since he felt that I pregnant women couldn't work til they delivered.  The day that my FMLA paperwork was faxed to them, I was fired.  Since I live in a no fault state, they didn't have to have a reason to fire me, but I knew why it was.

When men announce that they are going to be a dad everyone congratulations them.  When women announce they are going to be a mom they are asked when they are going to go on leave, how long of a leave they are going to take, if they are thinking about not coming back to work, how are they going to take off days for doctors visits, if they are sure that they are going to be able to be a working mom, and some where in there they hopefully will be congratulated by their employer.  All women should be worried about members of their fellow sex being discriminated against for something that is a natural part of the circle of life, but most of us do not know that this action is against the law.  We take the discrimination as something that is a normal part of life and turn our backs on the problem.  It will take all of us to stop pregnancy discrimination, not just pregnant women.

Have you ever been discriminated against while pregnant?

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

Pregnancy Discrimination

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spanking Linked to Aggression

Go to any parenting forum on the web and ask a simple question on what to do about an issue you have with your child and you are going to get a ton of different ways to deal with it.  One of the ways you are most likely to hear is spank them.  A new study may want you to not follow that advice though.

A paper publish on Feb 7th in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says that there is a link between aggression in children and adults and them being spanked as a form of discipline.  Anyone with any amount of common sense would be able to come to this conclusion, yet it is still a primary form of discipline used in the United States by a lot of parents.  Their theory on I was spanked and I turned out fine may not be as true as they think it is.

As adults if another were to hit us, we would be able to file assault or battery charges on them.  If an adult hits a child, it is called discipline.  Broken down that is all spanking is.  An adult hitting a child for something they did wrong.  There are times when they are hitting their child because said child hit another.  To a small child who mimics their parents this can be confusing.

We know that children are sponges and often they do what they see us doing.  They see us hit their sibling for doing something that we didn't like, so they do the same thing.  Then we punish our children for doing the same thing that we had just done.  We tell them that they shouldn't hit, then we spank them for hitting.  If that isn't one of the biggest oxymorons in the parentingverse I'm not sure what is.

Studies are proving that children who are spanked are more likely to be aggressive towards others.  They learn this aggression literally at the hand of their parents.  Any type of hitting is an aggressive act.  These children are being taught aggression by the thing that most parents think is helping them solve the aggression problem in their children.  Some kids won't outgrow this aggression and carry it into adulthood, starting the cycle all over again when they become parents.

I wasn't spanked as a child, at least that I remember, and I don't spank my children.  I never understood how I could teach my children it wasn't okay to hit, then hit them for doing something wrong.  To me it just makes no sense.  Hopefully soon it will make more sense to other parents and this cycle of abuse will be stopped. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tweens, Clothing, and Forever Lazy

If you are the parent to a tween or teen girl you have on at least one occasion have not had the exact outfit completely washed that they wanted to wear.  This will result in your daughter throwing a mini tantrum on how you are ruining her life due to the fact that her pink peace sign tee shirt is not clean and she now has to wear her blue one.  Which in wearing the blue one she might actually die from wearing on this particular day.

Hormonal tweens and teens are a wonderful test to any parents last nerve.  Sometimes you will even being to partially understand why some mammals eat their young.  Girls seem to be even more prone to these feeling since they will be on the same hormonal timeline as their mothers, resulting in complete blow up fights.  During these fights your husband will wish that not only did he only had sons, but that his wife didn't have PMS at that particular time.

Since all of us parents are ever so worried about where our children fall on the social hierarchy none of us would ever not have the correct outfit washed on the day that they wanted to wear it.  If we didn't we would automatically be thrown into parenting jail where we are forced to learn to make sure every single piece of clothing is clean at every moment in our households.  Until this skill was mastered, you would have to survive on only bread and water while sleeping on a cold hard slab of concrete without a blanket wearing a Forever Lazy.  Even that might not be enough to get you to understand how horrible your actions were by not having the pink peace sign shirt clean.


Kids have feelings too

If you are a parent you are going to hear "I hate you", "You don't love me", "I don't love you" or "You're so mean" at least once from each of your children.  Usually, it will be screamed at you during an argument or after making an decision that was not the one your child wanted.  Don't worry, this is normal behavior from kids towards parents during tween and teen years.

What do you do after your child has screamed either of these things at you though?  The answer from my mother is nothing.  Tell them that you still love them and then leave it at that.  My mother doesn't have a Doctor in child psychology, but she did manage to raise 3 well functiong adults. So I do value her opinion on the matter, even if she does laugh at me when me kids say it to me.

We want our kids to be able to express themselves.  We push them from an early age to talk to us about their feelings on other matters, but once they get mad at us everything changes.  Most of us will punish our kids because their feelings were negative towards us, and they hurt our feelings.  Now our kids are confused, we want them to tell us their feelings, but then we punish them for telling us how they are feeling if it is anger towards us.

There are ways to deal with our kids being mad at us that don't require us to punish them.  The best way, that I've found, is to talk to them.  Once they have calmed down, ask them why they feel you were being unfair and are now mad at you.  You may come to find that you have a different perspective on the situation after you have talked to them.  Sometimes we are so worried about doing everything the way that we think it should be done, we forget that our children are not us and may have a different opinion on the issue at hand.  After talking to them sometimes you will realize that you were being mean even.

There are certain things in life that we just can't let our kids do, and they do have to follow the rules.  But on the little things there usually is a little bit of wiggle room that we have.  It's not a bad thing to use the wiggle room to find a compromise that you and your child can deal with.  Not everything has to be black or white, there are times that the best parenting can come from that gray area.

By using this gray area as our children grow and develop we can grow as parents with them.  Our parenting has to change as they grow.  We all wish we could keep them little forever, unfortunately we can't and we do have to grow as our children do.  We want others to respect our feelings and want things to change when we encounter something that makes us mad, we should give our children the same and not punish them for having an emotion that we also have.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

11 Things

I was tagged by Sheri over at Sheribloggins, and I will figure out how to pay her back for this!


1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Tag them on Twitter, Facebook or their blog
11 Things about me
1.  I am very opinionated
2.  I am a dog person.  The only good cat is an outside barn cat
3.  I am ADD, as in I can't keep on track if my life depended on it.  SQUIRREL!
4.  I LOVE turkey burgers
5.  I am a crunchy mom.  I still eat meat, but I am as green as I can be
6.  I will embarrass myself in order to embarrass my kids to prove a point
7.  Unlike most people think, I'm actually NOT a Democrat! I'm actually registered as an Independent, and voted Green Party last presidential election.
8.  I actually LIKE working 3rd shift.  People find out I work night shift and they are always saying "Oh no, that's horrible.  When will you be transferred off?"  The answer is never, I requested this shift.
9.  I think we need a sarcasm font so those who do not understand sarcasm will know we are not serious
10.  I am a geek.  As in Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars would rather read the book than watch the movie and I'm still waiting on my Hogwarts acceptance letter while watching out the window for Legolas to ride up and carry me away with a Star Wars book on my lap geek.
11.  DO NOT GET BETWEEN ME AND MY COFFEE POT, you will get hurt and I am not responsible for my actions before I have consumed at least one cup

11 Questions (asked by Sheri):

1. What is your favorite article of clothing?  My hoodie
2. If you could receive anything in the world as a gift, what would it be?  300 acres in the middle of no where so I can hide
3. Do you prefer talking on the phone or texting? texting
4. What is your best high school memory? Winning the State Band Competition  (see above about being a geek)
5. Favorite singer/band/group?   Lynyrd Skynyrd
6. If you could sit and visit with any actor or actress who would it be?  Johnny Depp, not so much talking but more physically be there  ;)
7. What item do you own that you'll never get rid of?   My Grandmother's Rocking Chair
8. Favorite character of all time?  Molly Weasley
9. What are you most afraid of?  Something happening to me and not being there for my kids.
10. Most hated chore/task?  Folding Laundry
11. What is the most recent dream you can recall? I was late for work  (ya, I know boring)

My 11 Questions
1.  What super power do you wish you had?
2.  What is your favorite movie?
3.  What book are you reading right now?
4.  If you could go back and change anything in your life, what would it  be?
5.  Where is your favorite place to eat out?
6.  What is your dream job?
7.  If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
8.  What is your favorite candy bar?
9.  What is your favorite holiday?
10,  Are you a country person or city person?
11.  What is your favorite color?
My 11 Peoples

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Letting your kids be themselves

Willow Smith's new shaved look

As parents we sometimes have problems letting our kids express themselves in the way that they want to.  We cringe when they want to dye their hair blue, roll our eyes about their clothing choices, and try to not let them be friends with "those kids".  During the tween years they start to pull back from us and want to be more independent, and we somehow have to find a way to let go so they can.

We all might be able to take a page out of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's parenting handbook this week, on how to deal with letting your kids show their expression.  Their daughter, Willow Smith, is now sporting a shaved head and I'm sure she had to talk her parents into it.  Those of you with little girls are gasping at this point wondering how they could let her do such a thing.  I'd like to think it is because they understand that their kids have different personalities than them.

During the tween years kids are starting to want to show their individuality.  They are wanting to pick their own hair styles, clothes, and have developed friendships at school with children that you might not approve of.  Their attitudes are changing, and with girls they are becoming hormonal.  We know that we need to give them more space to be themselves, but most of us have a hard time letting them transition from childhood to teenager.

Letting our tweens be independent of us is one of the first huge steps as parents we face during their school years.  We don't want our kids to follow the crowd, but we don't want them to be the standout freak either.  There is a balance that we have to find between the two, and hope that they get the subtle hints that we are giving them.

Some things we should learn to let go of and let our kids decide what they would like.  If that means letting our daughter shave her head or letting our son paint his nails black, then that is what we should do.  Most of us learned our lessons the hard way after we had already done something and messed it up.  Our kids will learn the same way as we did, as will their kids after them.  Hair will grow back, and your son can always use your nail polish remover once his goth phase is over but the things our kids found out about themselves while doing it will be with them forever.

Would you let your tween shave her head?

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Rape Tag" Oh my,

Students at a Minnesota Elementary school recently had a new twist on the game freeze tag. Once you were froze you had to have someone hump you in order to be unfrozen. Needless to say the administrators of the school put a stop to this variation, the kids were calling rape tag, after it came to their attention it was being played via a concerned parent.

I understand that there are a lot of kids on a play ground, and that there is a great monitor to student ratio, but why it was not stopped by a monitor before parents were talking about it on Facebook and it had to be brought to the attention of the administrators by a parent I don't comprehend. The school does not see the need to add more monitors on the playground at this time. They feel that the situation has been handled.

The mass media world that we live in bring violent crimes such as rape to the front of the news every day. Could it be that by exposing our children to something as simple as the news, gave birth to this disturbing game? I'm sure that my children have heard the term rape coming from our tv either from the news or one of the cop shows my husband watches but I don't think that I've ever actually explained the term to them. This article got me thinking that maybe other parents haven't explained to their children what exactly rape is.

Rape is a very emotional, and hard to talk about subject. It is not a topic that I want to bring up to my elementary school children any time soon. In fact, I want to live in the same bubble that my mother did that they don't even know what sex is at this stage. The reality that we are facing as parents is that they do know the term, and games such as rape tag is proof of it. I'm glad that the administrators were able to put a stop to the game, but if we start explaining what rape is to our children there might not have been a game to put a stop too.

How do you explain rape to a tween that you haven't even had the sex talk with yet though? The age of these children are they, hopefully, have no interest in sex yet so as parents we haven't prepared ourselves to take the plunge into that world. Most of us have thought about how that day is coming soon that we will have to have "The Talk" especially if we have a girl, or two, since she will need to know about her period at this age. There is a huge difference in explaining the basics of sex to your tween, and explaining rape to them though.

Another disturbing trend is the word rape being casually thrown around. I've heard so many different "rape" terms being thrown around, such as birth rape. The slang term, "You were raped" being used for when someone has something bad happen to them. The humor type images that will pop up when you Google rape are endless. All of these things are desensitizing us and our children to actual rape, making them not understand why their game made parents completely freak out.

As parents of elementary school children we are going to have to somehow find a way to explain rape to them. Unfortunately I feel that it's going to need sooner rather than the later we were all actually planning on.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tweens and Makeup

I can remember as a budding teenager waiting to turn 13.  13 was the magic age that my Dad had said I could start wearing make up.  Not full make up mind you, but eye shadow and lip gloss.  My Mom helped me pick it out and showed me how to apply it.   The Big Guy and I have already had the discussion on when our own girls could start wearing makeup, and although he said "Never",  we went with the 13 rule.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the tween makeup scene.  The makeup industry is now making products for girls as young as 7.  It would seem that girls in the tween age group are going and getting their makeup professionally done before going out to dinner, bat mitzvah, or a school dance.  They are talking about the new "hot" lip gloss colors, and according to them you have to have lip gloss on you at all times. 

These girls aren't going for their mothers makeup either.  There are brands specifically targeting these young divas.  PixieGlow Cosmetics is set to be launched in March at Target, the brand will feature Tinker Bell and other Disney CharactersWilla is another brand that targets the 7 - 14 age group and will soon be along side PixieGlow, at Target.  Walmart already is selling GeoGirl.  Madonna's 15 year old daughter started Material Girl Beauty, with help from her mother of course.  And these are just a few of the brands that are targeting this demographic, there are even more out there.

Girls in the tween age group have enough problems without the added pressure if they are wearing the right makeup or not.  They are already in a weird stage between childhood and teenager, their bodies are going through the change, and they are trying to figure out who they are as a person.  I see the ones that hang out at my house playing with their Monster High Dolls,  reading The Dork Diaries, and watching Sponge Bob.  They are having their first crushes, although don't let their father know that or he will lock them away till they are 30, and just starting to giggle about who they heard likes one another. 

A lot of girls this age already have self image issues, and adding if their makeup is on right is just going to add to those.   As their mothers some of us are not helping them see that going without makeup can be just as beautiful, if not more so, than wearing it.  I, personally, have never really been a fan of makeup. I'll wear it when society says that women should have makeup on, but other than those few times a year I don't wear it.  I like that my girls are growing up seeing that Mom doesn't have to put on makeup to leave the house.

With this line of marketing it is easy to see why older generations think that this youngest generation is growing up too fast.  We aren't allowing our kids to be kids any more.  Many of you already know my view on this from my post "The Change From Play to Learning" .  With makeup already being marketed to this young of age group, what is next?  From here the only thing left would be to switch our toddlers and preschoolers from play makeup to real makeup.  With makeup being produced with popular Disney characters on it in play makeup and cosmetic products I might not be that far off.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Komen Foundation pulls funding

The right wing has another victory under the belts, and  women's health has another blow.  The Anti Abortionists have hounded the Susan G. Komen Foundation for years about their funding of Planned Parenthood, and it seems that the breast cancer awareness giant has finally caved. 

Planned Parenthood is a great resource in any community for low income women and those that are uninsured.  They provide prenatal health, pap smears, mammograms, and other women's health services to those in need.  Many women would not be able to get these recommended screenings without this organization, and yet the right wing still hates them to the point of wanting them disbanded.

The fact is that the Komen Foundation pulled it's funding for one service that Planned Parenthood offers in some of their offices.  Abortion.  The right wing has been attempting to get the funding the Komen Foundation donates for breast cancer screening cut off for years due to that one word.  With the recent investigation by the House Energy and Commerce into Planned Parenthood, the Komen Foundation was under even more pressure to pull it's grants. 

It is a sad day for women's health in this country.  I am  not saying that abortion is wrong or it is right, but that we need to look at the bigger picture in this situation.  According to Planned Parenthood only 3 percent of it's budget is used for abortions.  That means 97 percent of it's funding is used for other women's health services.  Yet, the Republicans and Pro Life activists cannot see past the 3 percent to see the vital health services that this organization does bring to communities. 

With the Republicans so against health care for all we need organizations such as Planned Parenthood to fill in the gaps for those women who cannot afford to go to a private office for these services.  The grants the Komen Foundation were providing to Planned Parenthood went to 170,000 breast cancer screenings over the last 5 years.  That's 170,000 women that were screened that would have otherwise not been, all because of the Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen partnership.  A partnership that has now  been dissolved due to one parties political agenda.

I hope that the Komen Foundation reconsiders it's decision to not fill the grants that it had been providing to help these women.  If they don't, then maybe private donations will make up for it.  One thing that I do wish is that we could all see past that small percentage of one service that this organization provides to the bigger picture that is the gap now left in the health care of low income women.

Do you agree with the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling it's funding from Planned Parenthood?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Parenting Books are.......

Parenting Book sales make up 25% of total book sales in the United States.  There is at least one book on every parenting technique imaginable, for every age, and even for each gender.  Most parents will swear that a certain book was a life saver, and the only thing that worked with their child.  Others will then tell you that the book someone else just recommended didn't work, and that this other book is the only one you need because it was a life saver and worked.

Since finding out I was going to be a Mom in 2002 I have read one parenting book.  The only reason that I have read even one parenting book is because I was given a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting by a family member while pregnant with my first.  I read every page of that book, and asked my doctor a ton of question because I was worried about every little thing.  His answer was always a different variation of you are fine, everyone is different.

After having my first I was told about a multitude of different parenting books that I should read by my friends.  I was even given one by my pediatricians office on common childhood aliments.  While sifting through all of the information I was given by my friends about different books I came to a conclusion.  My baby was fine, and that everyone was different.  Sound familiar?

Amazingly enough humans have been parents since before writing was invented, and some how they managed to somehow raise their children.  I figured if they could do it, so could I.  After all I am not building a pyramid while raising my kids, only the occasional patio.  The only foraging for food that I have to do is going to the grocery store when we run out of something.  Plus I'm pretty sure that I won't have to worry about a rival tribe invading my village while I'm dealing with an issue that has came up.

The authors of most parenting books want you to believe that their advice is the only advice that you will ever need on how to parent your child.  Their way will work for almost all children, given that you follow everything exactly how they say to do it.  After you and your child have mastered their book in 5 to 7 business days you will have no more problems until your child turns 18 and is in college being a model citizen.  There is only one problem with that, everyone is different.

All children react differently to different parenting techniques.  Even my own three have a different way of reacting to mine.  Does everything that I do work, no it doesn't.  But I listen to my Momdar to zero in on what didn't work, and change that for next time.  One thing that works with all kids is listening to them and getting to know them.  Understand what kind of personality they have, and adjust your parenting technique to their unique personalities. 

We need to realize that we don't need books to tell us what to do on something that should come naturally to us. Of course when that fails, there's always Google.

What parenting books have you read?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

School Lunches to get an Overhaul

Finally, the US Public School Lunches are getting their first overhaul in 15 years.  The US Department of Agriculture is starting their 3 year phase in plan, of the new regulations, for school lunches this fall.  Included in this plan is a 6 cent a plate increase in school lunch funding to each public school.

Gone are the tater tots and in are the baked sweet potato fries with the new regulations.   Pizza will now have to have a whole wheat crust.  Milk that is more than 1% fat is out too.  Those cookies that everyone gets excited about will be replaced with a piece of fruit.  Which leaves, well I'm not sure what that leaves in the menu that our kids will eat.

I am all for healthier school lunches.  School lunches haven't changed much since I was a kid in the 80s, I think that the chicken and noodles my kids eat at school now might even be left from that decade.  It is time for them to get a face lift and become part of the healthy eating trend.  The question on my mind is, will kids go for it?

My other concern is how much is this going to cost in reality?  It's all good for the government to chip in that whole 6 cents per lunch to help out with the cost of the new foods, but preparing healthy meals costs more than that.  I'm already paying the school more a week for my kids lunches than I think I should be, and I am not alone in feeling this way.  Food costs are rising all over the country, and in states where fresh produce can't be grown during the majority of the year gas prices are pushing those costs even higher.  The new fresh standards for lunches look great on paper, but the actual cost of them are going to hurt the middle class each week if they go too high.

The government is also asking for parents support while they implement these new regulations.  They know that kids are more likely to eat something that they have seen before, and are asking parents to introduce the new foods at home so kids will eat them at school.  For parents this means watching your kids lunch menu for when something they don't normally eat pops up and then either going and buying that item, or packing your kids lunch on that day.

Children are notorious for being picking eaters.  They will eat what they are use to eating and sometimes even that can be a struggle to get them to eat those things.  There are whole cookbooks dedicated to cooking for kids, how to make healthy foods kids will supposedly love, and how to sneak veggies into the meals that they already love.  If parents are having to resort to buying books on sneaking vegetables into their own kids meals are we actually going to believe that those same kids are going to gobble up sweet potato fries over french fries at school?

You can view the new school lunch guidelines on the USDA's website

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The change from play to learning

I'll be the first to admit that I could be classified as a free range parent. When my kids were toddlers I went with their schedule of what they wanted to do. If they brought me a book, I read it. If they brought me crayons, we colored. If they brought me 3 knives out of the kitchen to juggle, we had a talk about why that was not a good idea. I didn't force them to sit and learn their abc's on flash cards, we just sang them on the way to Grandma's house.

There is a movement in America today that isn't allowing kids to be kids. Some how our society has gotten it engraved into our brains that kids need to be learning something every second of every day from the minute that they are born. We have taken their care free days of childhood and replaced them with structure, activities, and a small amount of "free play" that parents schedule in between swim class and piano lessons. Parents have started telling their children when it's okay to be a kid.

In most communities, gone are the days that kids could play outside from sunup to sundown. With main stream media on our televisions 24 hours a day we see the horrors of the world more often. Whole hours are dedicated to the kidnapping of children, we sit captivated by our screens as parents are tried for murder, and get enraged when a jury of our peers doesn't convict them of the charges. We have started keeping our children in a protective bubble not allowing them the freedom that we had as children.

When we as parents are looking for a preschool for our children we aren't looking to see how much free time they get, what their play ground looks like, or what art projects our kids will be doing. We are more concerned with the core curriculum, that in some preschools rivals ivy league colleges. Some parents have even gone as far as to request that their children not be allowed to go outside with the other children during free time, that their children be kept inside doing quiet learning activities.

We have wondered why America has a 17% obesity rate. Why our arts are struggling. Why our children would rather sit in front of a computer screen, tv, or video game as they grow older. Why kids won't just play any more. Our move from letting kids be kids where they grow and learn as they explore and play to structured days of in seat learning has finally started showing poor consequences.

As a society we need to get back to letting our youngest members not be so structured. Without the skills of playing learned at a young age, they grow up unable to use them. While these children do need to learn, we also need to remember that they need to be doing things their way more than they are. Some of us have our children's lives so structured that they feel that we need to entertain them from the time that they wake up to the time that they fall asleep to their noise machines. Maybe if we get back to letting them discover things at a young age, and be more independent without us telling them when, where, and what time to be independent we won't have to entertain them constantly.

Do you think that if we start letting kids be kids again we will solve some of the problems facing parents today?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A 4 Year Old, Markers, and a Sleeping Dad

Yesterday afternoon I woke up, stumbled to my coffee pot to turn it on, and then sat down in my recliner to wait on my coffee.  The Big Guy was trying to talk to me, but of course without my caffeine, he really wasn't making that much sense.  Once my pot of instant Mom was done, and I had a cup down, I could actually focus on him telling me about how his arm was shaking. I noticed that there was a HUGE purple bruise on that arm.  With his Multiple Sclerosis we tend to check out anything that could be an issue.

Me "Um, there's a huge bruise on your arm, maybe that's the cause of it."
Big Guy "Where?"
Me "Right there, just go in the bathroom and look at it."

After closer inspection of the bruise, I realized that it was a purplish marker on his arm and not a bruise.  Since both Bug and Doodle were at school, there was only one little person left that could have drawn on him while he slept.  It's important to point out here that since I work midnights, I go to bed as soon as the girls are on the bus and Little Guy knows that if Mom is already asleep when he gets up that he is to wake the Big Guy up.  So I called the Little Guy into the living room so I could interrogate him.  Since he smiled and giggled the whole time, I was pretty sure that it was him.  I reminded him that he is to wake up Dad as soon as he gets up, and that it's not nice to draw on people while they are asleep.  He said "Ok Mom" and ran off to do what ever it is that 4 year old boys do.

I didn't give any more thought to the marker incident for about another 5 hours.  As The Big Guy stood up, his shorts slipped down, and for that split second before he pulled them up, I could see part of his butt.  Evidently his arm wasn't the only thing that the Little Guy decided to use as a canvas for his purplish marker.  I am guessing that while The Big Guy was asleep, his shorts must have slipped down, causing part of his butt to be exposed.  Being the loving, supportive wife that I am, I started laughing hysterically to the point where I couldn't even tell him why I was laughing so hard.  I finally managed to get out "Check out your butt in the mirror" before dissolving into another bout of laughter.  2.3 seconds after he walked into the bathroom I heard the Little Guys name being yelled across the house, and then giggling coming from the toy room.

The Little Guy had turned half of his butt into a purple masterpiece.  I'm not sure how he managed to sleep while this was being done to him, because I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been able too.  The Big Guy confiscated all of the markers in the house, and attempted to discipline the Little Guy about it.  Unfortunately it was a good 30 minutes before I could stop laughing about it, so he had to give up on the discipline routine.  I'm not sure if he was more mad about his butt or me finding it so hilarious, but either way he is still pouting about it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My love/hate relationship with the flu

It is once again flu season.  The season that every mother looks forward to every year, yes sarcasm intended.  With 3 kids, when the flu hits the house it's here for at least a week.

This week it started with my youngest.  The Little Guy came into my bedroom less than 10 minutes after I had fallen asleep, woke me up, said "Mommy, my tummy......" and if you are a parent you can figure out what happened after he said tummy.  After cleaning up him, me, the floor, changing the sheets and comforter on the bed, getting him some Sprite, bringing his blanket and pillow into my bedroom, finding all 3 toys that he wanted to sleep with, and grabbing the mop bucket just in case this was to happen again, I could finally lay back down.

Over the years it has gotten easier on me when they do become sick.  I no longer worry about if a fever is too high.  I know what to keep on hand for when one of them falls sick.  The fact that they can now talk to tell me what is wrong is a huge plus.  I think that my mother also likes the fact that I don't call her for advice at 2am when one of them is sick.

Yesterday the Little Guy laid on the couch for most of the day, wanting me to lay there with him.  He didn't get up and play at all.  Today on the other hand, he is feeling much better.  He has been playing Power Rangers with Cedric, running around like a crazed 4 year old, and eating everything in sight.  All of this energy and noise made me realize that the flu might not be that bad.  No, I don't like it when my kids are sick, but the quiet that it brings isn't so bad.   I have time to read my Kindle without being interrupted, I have an excuse to not do anything all day, and I can cook a simple supper without anyone complaining. 

An easy day in the Momiverous is defined by different things.  Giving my noise blocking skills a break for the day wasn't such a bad thing, but now I'm paying for it because the cleaning fairy didn't show up at all yesterday.  I guess she must have been out with the flu too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering Joe PA

Joe Paterno will go down as one of the best college football coaches ever.  His record of games coached at a single college will never be close to being touched.  He was well loved throughout the football community and Penn State.

In November when the Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal broke all of us thought "Say it ain't so, Joe".  Unfortunately it was so, and we all watched as the case against Jerry Sandusky grew and grew and grew some more.  Horrible details were leaked about sexual abuse against young boys that spread the course of decades.  As a mother my heart reached out not only to the boys, but their mothers as well.  No child should ever have to deal with what these children dealt with.

As all of these details were being exposed, a huge blow to the college football community came in with the firing of Joe Paterno over the investigation.  Many of us were asking why was Joe PA fired, but not Mike McQueary who is the one that actually witnessed the abuse?  McQueary is the one that saw first hand what happened, the one that didn't go to the police with what he saw, the one that waited to tell anyone what he saw.  Yet Joe was at home watching that weeks game and McQueary was standing on the sidelines coaching.

Not seeing what had happened first hand, only hearing a sugar coated story of what happened, Joe told his boss.  For doing this action, he was fired.  He was never charged with any crime.  He never saw any crime or abuse take place.  Yet the Mom Community is letting this tarnish this mans reputation not only in life, but in death also.

Yes, what Jerry Sandusky did is a horrible thing, but we should not let what that man did tarnish another's reputation.  I am going to choose to remember Coach Joe PA just as that, a great coach.  A man that donated millions to his University.  A man that was a living legacy in college football.  A man that fought hard.  A man that thought he was blessed in life.  A man that was respected as not only a football coach, but as a person.  I hope that more than just me can remember this great man as such.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My battle Part 1

We've all heard the stories of people being under insured, un-insured, or not being able to afford to be insured.  Until the Big Guy had a major MS flair up, and was permanently disabled from it, I never had this problem.  In the mad scramble to find a job to support my family until his long term disability benefits kicked in, the job that I accepted only offered supplemental insurance.  I had to accept it so his neurologist would continue to see him since they would not accept self pay patients.  We knew that December 1st, 2011 was the magic day that his medicare would finally kick in, and had a count down going till it.  April 1st, 2012 we were going to be able to drop the supplemental insurance plan my work offered and pay for private insurance for the kids and I.

In August of 2011 I started having some female health issues.  I went to my wonderful doctor on September 12th for a full workup.  Two weeks later I had an ultrasound done, and was too find out the results of my blood work and pap.  During the ultrasound a large polyp was found in my uterus, and I was thinking no big deal it's just one polyp.  After my ultrasound I talked to my doctor and found out that in addition to the polyp I also had an abnormal pap.  He told me not to worry, that it was probably not cancer, but he still wanted to do a hysterectomy to be on the safe side and that he would do the biopsy at that time.  My heart sank to my knees, I know that we were done having kids and that I already had a tubal so we wouldn't have any more.  A hysterectomy is major surgery and with one parent already disabled, my kids can't have another one with health issues.  He told me to go home and talk to the Big Guy to figure out when would be a good time to schedule it, and he'd see me back in a week.

At home we decided that during Christmas break, the week after Christmas would be the best time for me to have it done.  I wouldn't have to worry about him not getting homework done, forgetting to sign something, or sleeping through an alarm clock resulting in the kids missing school.  I called my insurance company to get approved for my surgery, only to find out that they don't pay for any kind of surgery.  I already knew that they wouldn't cover out patient surgery, but I didn't realize that they wouldn't cover inpatient surgery.  I knew that they considered IVs and casts to be "out patient surgeries", but never figured that they wouldn't cover at least a small portion of an actual surgery.

At this point I was already having head aches and back aches that my doctor was assuming was coming from this large polyp.  I went back a week later to tell him that my insurance wouldn't cover the surgery and he suggested I try our state pay insurance (HIPP).  He told me to take Tylenol for the pains, and if they got to be to much then to call him back and he would see if he could get something stronger for me.  He wanted to see me back in January at the latest to make sure that I wasn't developing any more polyps, and to do another pap to see if it was still abnormal.

to be continued.......

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kids cuss, get over it already

The recent uproar of an upcoming episode of 'Modern Family' has me rolling my eyes.  Evidently in this episode a cute little two year old is going to drop the f-bomb.  Oh the horrors that are associated with this since no other toddler in the history of the world has done this!

Lets get real for a minute, toddlers pick up on our speech.  They repeat things that we say, this is how they learn to speak.  Their little brains don't shut off just because Mom dropped something on her toe and said s--- or because Dad's favorite football team just gave up a huge lead and his language just got more colorful.  They hear everything we say and pick up on everything we think that they don't hear.

Maybe it's because I'm a "veteran mom" that I find this topic funny.  All 3 of my kids picked up on a cuss word as a toddler.  All 3 of them now know that they should not say that word because it's an adult word.  It didn't scar them for life from saying this word.  It didn't turn them into out of control children because they said something they shouldn't have. It was just something that they picked up on that we had to teach them not to do, or the most effective way ignoring it.

Parents need to stop worrying about the possibility of their child hear a beep on tv over a controversial word.  If your toddler knows what word should go into that beep, then you might need to look at yourself rather than the tv.  Maybe even look at this as a learning opportunity on why we shouldn't use that kind of language, or just watch a show meant for adults when your kids aren't around.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The ever so perfect mother

Starting in preschool you notice which Moms are the over achievers, the perfect ones, the ones that are always volunteering at the school.  They make the perfect all natural cupcakes from scratch, their hair and makeup are always perfect, and there is never a McDonald's cup falling onto the ground from the backseat of their minivan when their kids get out.  Actually their kids have never had McDonald's because the perfect mom always has supper cooked from scratch and on the table at 5:30pm sharp.

Most of the time you get lucky, the Preschool perfect mom is not in your elementary school too.  When you get to elementary school you have a different perfect mom to deal with, one that hopefully doesn't have a child in the same grade as your kid.  If they are in the same grade, hopefully not in the same class.

The perfect mom in our elementary school has a daughter the same age as Bug, luckily different grades, and the same grade as Doodle.  She shows up to everything, volunteers daily almost, sends in the perfect cookies, makes all of the baskets for the PTO raffle, and happens to be my neighbor.

She doesn't really "get" me at all.  She doesn't understand how I can just let my kids run around outside, well we live with a cornfield in the backyard and a field full of cows on the left other so it's not like we are in a high traffic area.  Doesn't understand how I let my girls play so many sports, ummmmm because they want too.  Couldn't believe that I don't walk them to the bus every morning, since we're rural it stops at the end of our drive I can stay inside where it's warm and see them.  Cringes at the site of my kids leaving something in our yard or drive, again we're rural not a huge crime rate around here.  Suggests that Doodle play over there instead of her perfect child playing over here.  And I can tell that she looooooves our huge 12mo rescue dog that thinks everyone should play with her and if you don't can be very vocal about her feelings.

I'm the Mom that my kids friends will yell Hi too across the ball field, we're the house that everyone wants to come spend the night at because we make pizzas for supper and waffles for breakfast, if clothes get dirty I don't really care because they wash and the same goes for kids.  I'm the fun mom of the school, the one that's a tad out there, that knows all of the other parents by site and will stop and have more than a cordial conversation with them.  I don't look down on any of the other parents because of them living in a trailer or being divorced or not having the time to make 12 dozen individually wrapped cookies for the school carnival.

Back when my kids were in preschool I was scared that I wouldn't be the perfect mom, that the other parents would look down on me if I wasn't.  Now I know that I don't want to be the stuck up, do everything by the book, unapproachable mom.  I like being the artistic, tad nuts, sarcastic, fun mom.  I've found that even though I'm not that perfect mom, the PTO and school still call me as much as they do her to fill time slots for activities.  I always help out if I can, and I get the bonus of making her cringe when I suggest the next time we car pool as I get out of my SUV and a McDonald's cup falls out.