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Category Archives: Parenting

Your kid sucks

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Harsh, right?

Normally I’d agree and be all:

BUT THE CHILDREN!!!!

But really?  You parents who haven’t taught your children to treat others with respect, who haven’t required it, who haven’t gone out of your way to ensure that it’s happening even when you’re not  around? You and your kids suck.

My children aren’t perfect.

I’m not delusional.  But they’re decent human beings. They’re polite, they don’t go out of their way to make y

our child miserable.  Not only would their father and I NOT let them, they wouldn’t let themselves. You know why?

Because

and my children aren’t mean.

This is my daughter.

Really? Fat and ugly? Has the definition changed?

She is sweet and kind and sensitive and smart. She’s good to her family and her friends. She has beautiful eyes, gorgeous hair, a pretty smile, and an infectious laugh. She comes home in tears because of the abuse hurled her way.  She is starting to believe the whispers and incorporate the cruel words of others into her internal script.  “I know I’m not pretty.”

I don’t know why these cruel children would care about someone else’s appearance so much. I don’t know why they’d make a sport out of hurting someone who has done nothing to hurt them.

For the first time in my parenting life I am powerless to protect her and it’s killing me.  I will not lie and say I’m not disappointed that she chooses to hide and avoid rather than face them head on. She says drawing even more attention to herself would make things 10 times worse.  I guess since she lives in this world of jr. high a*holes she would know. Still, I can’t help but think that if she didn’t accept their abuse, if she spoke up and made them look her in the eye and repeat their whispers and own them, that they might see that she’s not someone they need to be messing with. But what if she followed my advice and things did get worse? What then??

So parents of “populars,” check in with your kids.  Listen up as you drive them from party to party and practice to practice.  Take the time to remind them how they’re expected to treat others, remind them how quickly the tide turns and how one day they might find themselves on the receiving end of some pretty emotionally brutal treatment. Repeat after me, “Compassion is Cool.”

Let’s hope this tide turns for my girl, but until it does she and I will be here:

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She be kickin’ that thar ball

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This day we turned a corner in terms ‘o comely wench Thang’s knife throwin’ ability. She actually played th’ game instead ‘o drawin’ in th’ dirt ‘n an’ catchin’ fuzzy thin’s that blow in th’ fall breeze. ‘o course, all ’tis came at th’ cost ‘o her bein’ separated from every lass on her team ‘n fightin’ only wit’ th’ boys. She made it a point a pair or three times to run off th’ field ‘n be tellin’ me how displeased she was wit’ th’ situation, ‘n yet she actually played th’ game instead ‘o holdin’ hands wit’ her best bucko ‘o th’ moment ‘n clotheslinin’ th’ other players.  Unfortunately none ‘o th’ grandparents were thar to witness th’ transformation, ‘n I fear they won’t believe it when we be tellin’ them.

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. It’s exhausting, and Jack is deriving far too much pleasure in calling me ‘wench’ at every turn. Scurvy bastard.

Soccer Stats

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This past weekend saw the first game in my young daughter’s soccer career. There is NOTHING cuter than a bunch of spazzy 4 year olds dressed for soccer. Unless they were holding kittens, or were actually kittens dressed in soccer gear.

I can haz a socker bal plz?

I can haz a socker bal plz?

The game went pretty much as you’d expect.

There was some of this...

There was some of this...

 

... and a little bit of this...

... and a little bit of this...

 

... and a lot of on-field chatter...

... and a lot of on-field chatter...

 

But mostly there was this:

this

this

 

and this:

AandO first soccer practice 8-09 198

 

And this:

AandO first soccer practice 8-09 199

Oh yeah. She needs me.

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Interior: Chez Rosie – Kitchen. Afternoon.

ROSIE and ELDEST CHILD  are  at the kitchen table sharing an after school snack. ELDEST CHILD is nattering on about how cool 7th grade is so far. We join them mid-conversation.

ELDEST CHILD

…and it’s so awesome that I sit right in front of Camille in World Studies because we’re like best friends and I didn’t think I’d know anyone and OHMIGAWD! You have to drive me to school right now!!!

ROSIE

Why?

ELDEST CHILD

Because I totally forgot my homework and it’s due tomorrow and Mrs. S is like totally scary.

Close up of ROSIE banging her head repeatedly on kitchen table.

FADE OUT

 

The first day of school, people. The first day of school and SHE FORGOT HER HOMEWORK. This does not bode well.

 

I think he’s doing it wrong.

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To get to my home you drive by a sheep and goat farm and then a cow farm. I don’t know what else to call it even though it’s not a farm. It’s more like where cows hang out. There’s a barn, the cows stand around in a muddy field looking bored or mildly interested in the goats and sheep across the street.  It’s a treat because all the heifers have calved (like I even know what that means. I think I just made it up.) and there are all these knobby kneed calves standing around looking bored and alternatively envious of the sheep. The sheep and goats have also birthed their… litters? Youngins? Mini-mes? Cute doesn’t even begin to describe.

Did you know that sheep have long tails? I did not until I saw one with a few rubber bands wrapped around it and the sheep guy explained that in a few weeks the tails would just drop off.  He said they got used to how it felt, but I was all how do you know? And we weren’t invited back.

ANYWAY, today my middle kid and I were driving past the fields and all the cows were standing around looking bored – except for two. One of them looked confused and the other one looked… intense. Focused, you might say.

“Mom!” Middle kid gasped. “Did you see that cow?!”

I assured her that I had.

“What was he doing?”

We are not shy in our household or in our van. “I think he was trying to bowm chicca bowm bowooom bow,” I explained.

“I’m like not an expert or anything,” she said, straining her neck to watch the boy cow valiantly humping the girl cow’s head.  “But I think he’s doing it wrong.”

 

**Do yourself a favor and don’t google image “cow sex.”

Technically she called her a bish

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There are moments in our parenting career when Jack and I have been able to step outside the situation and say with conviction, “We are doing something right.” Moments when our children shine, and they shine because of our influence, because of how we choose to raise them.

Yesterday was not one of those moments.

Melinda and I met when she was 9 months pregnant with Marie and I was 4 months pregnant with Helen.  Her oldest Emma was the same age as my oldest Amy.  Jack and her husband Bill clicked. We weren’t best of friends, but we grew into it over the years of camping together, getting together for dinners, hanging out in the summer, always knowing that no matter what, we’d be there to help if we were needed. Emma and Amy parted ways a few years back as their paths diverged, but it wasn’t messy, and Marie and Helen soldiered on referring to each other as sisters. They’d planned to own property together and rescue strays. In fact, their first rescue is now a part of our family. I wonder if he knows his parents don’t love each other any more.

I came home yesterday to Jack standing over Helen as she held a strip of paper. “Read it,” he commanded in a voice he seldom uses.  “You wrote it,” he said. “You were proud enough to show it to her. Now read it out loud to me.”  My daughter  looked miserable, but she did as she was ordered. Her voice was small and it shook as she read, “Marie is a bish [sic]. Oh yes. I hate her. I will hate her until I die. No one should like her. She is an ass.”

I’ve known for a month or so that Marie and Helen weren’t thriving.  Marie had implied one too many times that she was better than Amelia: better with pets, better in school, just… better.  They always played what Marie wanted to play.  She always used that tone and had that attitude  according to my girl. Marie got defensive and upset when Helen chose to play with the third member of their posse instead of her.  “It will pass,” I’d tell Helen.  “Don’t worry about it.”  What Helen didn’t tell us was that when Marie got angry she would say, “I’m writing bad things about you in my journal.”

Which brings us to yesterday.

For whatever reason, perhaps Marie gave her a look or voiced an opposing opinion, or tried to get her way when clearly Helen’s way was better, I won’t know… anyway, yesterday on the bus my daughter decided that it would be a good idea to write that note and then say to Marie, “I wrote something mean about you in this note.” You know, paybacks.

“Let me see it,” Marie said.

“You won’t like it,” Helen warned. Marie insisted, Helen gave it to her.  Marie burst into tears. My daughter’s internal response? I told you you wouldn’t like it.

Cold, right?

Melinda called Jack. Marie is devastated. Helen has been telling people in their class that she hates Marie, and according to Marie, she’s been telling them that they shouldn’t like Marie either.  I don’t want to believe that second part. I don’t want to believe that I’ve raised a mean girl. My girl wouldn’t do that. Would she?  My happy, beautiful, smart, fun-loving girl is so insecure that she needs to build an army of hate? Is this the seed I’ve sewn?  I can’t accept Helen’s argument that Marie is writing bad things about her in her journal.

“Yes,” I said this morning, trying not to cry. “In her journal. That she doesn’t show to anyone.”

“But she told me about it,” Helen cried. And, honey, yes. I know. I know that that hurt you. I know how far your imagination can take you in terms of implication.

“But did she go from table to table in class and tell people how much she hated you?” I asked. Helen looked away and shook her head.

“I didn’t tell people they shouldn’t like her,” she mumbled. But you did, Hel. You did. Even if you didn’t use those words, you totally did.

“Do you see how you’re the one who looks bad here?” I asked.  “To anyone who hears this story, out of nowhere you wrote a nasty and mean note with the intention of showing it to her. With the sole intention of hurting her. You’re the one trying to turn people against her. And the only defense you can give me is that a few weeks ago she said she wrote something negative about you in her private journal.”

And there is the root of my parenting moment because I was poised to say, “If you hadn’t have waited so long, I would be able to build a better defense.”

This calls for some serious soul searching on both our parts.  However, neither Jack nor I believe in letting a wrong go un-wronged so we packed up our family and paid a visit to Marie’s family and stood behind our daughter as she apologized for being… well… a bish.  It was difficult.  It was embarrassing. It was important.

What Helen wanted in return was for Marie to own up to her part of the conflict.  “You can’t control what she does or doesn’t do,” we explained. “You can only control yourself.” And daughter, please, do control yourself. It will save you many many many moments of eating crow in the future.

** updated to add that it’s been a few years since “the incident of aught nine” and I’m happy to report that peace has been restored.  Apologies were issued. The friendship was put in a time out, but with a lot of communication both girls were able to make it work again.  And, most importantly to me, my daughter learned a life lesson about self-control, compassion, seeking forgiveness and giving it in return.

Five years

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babyfoot   

I wanted to write something eloquent to mark the birth of my lost baby. I wanted to write something that might give the women who have suffered or are suffering the utter confusion and darkness a miscarriage brings a glimmer of hope that they wouldn’t spend the rest of their lives in this very dark place.  This pain that you’re feeling? The anger and urge to scream at an unjustness cosmos? It will fade.  The urge to hide will lessen.  You will never forget and the strangest things might bring you to tears at any given moment even years later, but there is a light. There are better days ahead.

I wanted to write something to let my girl know that there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her in some way, that I don’t wonder if she’d have had her daddy’s lips or my eyes, if she would have been musically inclined…. I wanted to write something to let her know that we’re okay.   From time to time I’ll look in my memory box- at the froggy onesie she didn’t get a chance to wear, at the small blanket great-grandma knitted her, at the ultrasound, and at the tiny footprint. I still cry, but most of the time I smile and remember her perfect feet and her perfect hands; I know that if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have Olivia.  From the darkest night was born the brightest joy.