Saturday, December 17, 2011

Announcing.....

So the year is almost over and I have been rather silent lately here.  Too much to think about and too little to write about....it makes sense to me, buuuuut probably not everyone else.  There is something, though, that I need to say.

This year my goal at my job was to receive General Manager of the Year.  I did not accomplish this goal.  There are those who think that I deserve it over the other guy, but to be fair, he did a great job at the store he is running......but it was still a stinging sensation when I found out.  I kept thinking about all the time, effort, sacrifice and energy that I gave to this company for this year.  It is honestly the hardest I have worked for them ever.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I felt betrayed.  But then I put it in perspective a little.  I did all those things (plus more) that I just said for his company, but there is someone who has sacrificed much more than me or the other guy.  So I am proud to announce that my GM of the Year goes to Parker.

He has come to work with me nearly everyday (except when we tried the Nanny-BIG mistake) since he was the age of 3.  He has learned how to help me in the morning.  There are days that he has complained but for the most part, he has loved being a part of what I do.  He knows that you don't push the wheat bread all the way back in the proofer because it could stick to the side.  He knows where all the utensils go on the line.  He actually could set up the line completely by himself.  He is proud of this knowledge and loves to buzz around in the morning.  When I train new people in the morning, he becomes part of the training process.  If he hears that I forgot to say something about something he knows....he will add it in.  Parker has told me on more than one occasion that he can't wait to work at JJ when he grows up too.  While I want his life aspirations to be a bit higher than that.....you know like winning a Nobel Peace Prize, I know that he could easily grow up to do a better job than me....at JJ or any other restaurant or any other management type job.  I never had the experience that he has as a child....and because it kills me that he has to come with me, I kinda need it to mean that he will pull from this experience to benefit him later in life.

First day he has worn his own JJ shirt....needless to say, he loves that shirt.

Thumbs Up!

Doing the cheesy thumbs up again


Parker has no idea that he is making a sacrifice by coming with me in the morning.  For him, it just adds an extra hour that we see each other each day.  But because he is doing so well with it and always has been....he gets and deserves that title much more than me or the other guy.



Some day he will not be with me every morning and....honestly......that will be a sad day for me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Catch-22

Ah, 22.  Remember 22?  It was a careless age of not caring how late you slept or what exactly happened the night before.  Your entire life was ahead of you that it didn't matter if you were single or coupled, almost college grad or not there yet, jobless or career bound.....it just didn't matter.  Okay, that was not my experience but I can imagine that is how it is for most 22 year olds.  I was pregnant and about to bust, changing majors as a 3rd year student and wondering if the relationship I had committed to was really worth all of the sacrifices I was making.  Not so care-free now that I am thinking back upon it.  But there was a sense of "I can worry about that (insert whatever life issue here) when I am older" because 22 is so young.  Maybe that was how I made it careless.  I would think about my career "later."  I would think about what kind of adult I wanted to be "later."  I would decided what parenting techniques and type of schooling my child would have "later."  That was how I lived out my carelessness.  I would make all of the adult decisions that I couldn't make as a 22 year old "later."  I never thought that "later" would be present.

So now I am 28 on the precipice of 29.  There have been changes in my life since I was 22.  All of the have been very positive changes.  I ended the questionable relationship.  I finished college with outstanding grades.  I started a salary job days after I graduated.  I have raised (solo) a fabulously interesting son who is smart and independent.  Overall I have been very successful and I am proud of that except all of a sudden I feel my biological clock for the first time ever and I am only 28!  It sounds so ridiculous!  I want a career that is not Jimmy John's.  Now that I find my self in a wonderful relationship, I want more than a single life....maybe even a bigger family.  There are so many things that I want that I have not wanted in the past 5 years...some of the things I had not even considered for my future and now they are thoughts that cross my mind every day.  I don't know how to address my wants.  I don't know how to feel about the things that I want now.  Do I need them?  Was I fooling my self before when I thought I would be able to be single forever?  That I would never dream of a life changing career?  Did I think that I would never have a desire to have more children (which honestly I am still on the fence about)?  I never thought that I would change beyond the mentality that I used to survive.  That mentality made me strong and successful so now, do I need to still think the same way?  I never know when to let down my guard and accept the change that has entered my life.  When do I allow myself to depend on others more?  A huge part of me thinks that I should always be able to "pay my own way"...ya know....just in case.  But is that the right way to think in a relationship?  That way of thinking has kept me from depending on others enough to move on to a career or to graduate school.  I can't move on if my only concern in "paying my own way" because of the possibility of not entering a new job at my same salary....and seriously, getting a Masters and working enough to support me and another?!?!?!?  Yea right!  I know there are those who can do that....but I know my limitations...I don't think I could.  I can barely fit in family and friends as of now.  Plus there is no way I would ever be able to settle for anything less than perfect grades.  I mean come on...I'd be paying for it, I would have to get the most for my buck which would be absolute dedication.

I remember watching a Sex in the City episode called the Catch 38.  It was about choosing a relationship over the possibility of ever having a child.  The same biological questions from that made up 38 year old mind and some of the same ones that I am having at 28.  I have never felt so old before in my life and sometimes it seems like it is half over already!  I have so much time in front of me, yet there are so many limitations to that time that I find myself unable to move.  Someone please give me a good shove....I mean it....like a really good-give your neck whiplash shove- so that I move forward with something.  (And I am sure that this is not the first entry where I have mentioned most of the above complaints before)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Lead or To Assist

I am presented with a dilemma that I had once before; should I step up and become the "coach" or leader of the group Parker is involved in, or should I be the best effin assistant ever.  I did this before in soccer and t-ball.  I didn't step up in soccer even though I felt that inner need to, and I did in t-ball, as an assistant although I ended up being present more than the head coach.  So here it is again.  Parker is part of a new Tiger Cub Scout group that has no Den Leader because we are all new.  And here I am.  I know I could do it because I have noticed in my life that I have always either chosen or have been chosen for leadership positions (volleyball captain, field commander, PIC, GM....)  The lucky part of this scenario is that I happen to know another parent of another Tiger Cub.  He was the assistant coach of Parker's first soccer team.  He is having the same dilemma as me.  I would totally co-Den Lead with him, he is cool, his kids are cool, his wife is cool, and they probably have a bigger house than me.  So now I have to talk through it.

Why I want to:
It is something that I have never done before and I like a new challenge.  It is also really fun for me to be that involved in whatever it is Parker is doing.  It is more hands on in his life and I will only get so much of that before he doesn't want me involved.  It would also be good because he doesn't have the "father figure" that Boy Scouts really is designed for, not that I am a complete replacement of that relationship but still, my involvement would be important to him. 

Why I am on the fence:
The commitment.  I work about 55 hours a week, run a household, mother a 6 year old and sustain a very close relationship with mr.  That may only look like 4 things on a list but when you think about the amount of time that I dedicate to each of those 4 things, that is more time than I actually have to commit.  I don't know that I would be able to make every den meeting if something came up at work or with mr.  I know that if something happened with Parker, there would be a reschedule, but life has thrown so many curve balls at me that I expect them most of the time which makes a new commitment a challenge.  Even just hearing about all the things that we will be doing once a month sounds like so much being added to my plate, to have to organize the meetings each month instead of just helping with them kind of makes my head hurt.  Unfortunately I know how I am.  I naturally fit into being the boss and if I am not, I tend to think that I could run/do things better.  If, for some reason, the Den Leader would not be open to outside ideas or suggestions or communication of any kind, then my head could explode in one of the meeting.  And I also wonder if Parker would want me to be that involved.  Maybe he does need his space and although I will be at all of the meetings, maybe it would be better for him that I wasn't in charge of Cub Scouts like I am in charge of the majority of his life.

So there I am.  Every reason why I want to cancels out every reason why I don't want to.  Maybe I should just volunteer to assist and hold meetings here every other month.  But is a part time commitment to this a good idea?  Ugh.

Teeter
Totter
Teeter
Totter

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading with Parker

Oh my gosh.....reading with Parker can be a very frustrating experience.    It is so hard for me to admit that too,  I don't want to get frustrated with him but sometimes I just want to tie him to the chair and make him concentrate on the words in front of him!  That sounds kind of harsh but I know other parents will understand what I mean about knowing their child can do something and do it well but they just simply can not at the same time.  It is a moment where I feel helpless as a parent because I see his frustration and I want to make it easy on him by telling him the words....but that is not helping.

He is so good at spelling.  The past two weeks he has gotten 100% on both tests and last week he even got the bonus words right!  It is easy for him to sound out words and recite the letters.  He can do it both on paper and out loud with the same about of ease.  He is also really amazing at his homework pages where you have to pick out the word that fits or finish the sentence.  The same with the math pages.  Even geography, which they haven't really learned yet, but he loves to look at maps and has traveled so much  It all comes so easy to him until you give him a book and ask him to read it out loud.  At that point his turns into a child who is distracted by the smallest thing, who wants to talk about the picture more that focus on the words, who suddenly forgets all of the letter sounds that he knew while he was spelling 5 minutes prior.  This child he becomes is not the same boy.  He gets mad at himself, at me for trying to help, he guesses the words, skips pages, does anything he can to fly through without really reading it.  I posted something about it on facebook during the first week of school.  A lot of people had suggestions for me and one was really great that I had never heard of....the five finger rule.  If a child can not read five words on a page than that book is not at the same level that the child is ready for.  I love it!  I started counting how many times Parker wouldn't even be able to begin a word.  Although he never made it 5 on one page, I realized that maybe the books were a level or two too high.  So back to the library we went.  My aunt said something about how phonics is no longer taught in school.  I completely forgot about learning phonics and it seems silly to try to learn to read without having the sound combinations down first. He did learn a lot of phonics in Kindergarten but without the practice over the summer, he has lost a lot of what he knew.  Yesterday I noticed that Parker was struggling the most with vowel combinations or vowels with the letter "R".  Solution?  Flashcards!  It is a good thing I am such a nerd and like to make flashcards with letter sound combinations on them for him!  (I get excited about his homework too....some one needs get back in school too huh?!)

So today we started the flashcards and he picked the book instead of me.  It worked.  Yesterday reading time took over an hour and today, including flashcards, it took about a half hour.  Parker was so proud of himself too.  Once he was done he made up a song and dance about how the rest of the night was free choice (a school reference).  Hopefully we are walking down a better path towards reading without frustration and with more ease.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lifetime Ago

Once upon a time.....what seems like a lifetime ago, there were three little girls who were very much a part of my life.  I loved them.  At first there were only two but then the third came along and I was able to be apart of her growth.  I watched her change from a helpless infant to a very independent little girl.  The middle one changed so much while I knew her as well.  She was a rambunctious toddler when I first met her and she grew to be athletic and strong in build and nature.  She was a comedian too.  The oldest, however, was probably my favorite.  She was smart, inquisitive, funny, eager to help and please, nurturing to her younger siblings and years older than her actual age.  I remember teaching her how to spell Mississippi during a school break in first grade, she was so proud to return to school and recite it for her teacher and classmates; as memory serves me, she was one of few that couple spell that state's long name.  They are special girls that I have thought about and wondered how their lives are going now, what kind of personalities they have now, if they are the same or different.  I honestly have never thought that I would hear from or about any of them again.

So why am I thinking and even writing about this?  One of them contacted me through facebook and it has thrown me for a loop.  This may be much to personal for my blog but it is a situation that I have to talk myself through to let it out of my head, so I no longer dwell on it a let it lead my mood.  These girls were my "nieces" or as close to nieces as I have ever had.  At one point I would have told someone that I had 6 nieces.  These three though, I was much closer to than the other three.  I would help babysit, play with, read to, help with homework.  There was a lot of conflict in their young lives and I know that I helped be a solid piece of ground for them to rely on....well until I decided to break away from that family.  At that point in time I no longer thought about them or their well being as much because I was concerned about my and Parker's well being.  I know that I can not be held to a negative regard for doing that and since the break from that family, well, I think it is obvious through my past posts that there has been no communication with the common denominator between be and those girls, Parker's dad.

I was thrown last night when I signed on facebook.  I honestly had never once thought about searching for anyone from his family or thought that they would find me.  I don't like using that word either, find, like I am hiding.  I am not hiding or preventing communication....my number and location has not changed, I can not say that for the other party.  But anyway, I instantly remembered our connection and want very much to catch up....but at the same time there is a wall preventing me from doing that.  I don't think I can open that door.  I don't think that I can communicate with anyone related to him because of the choice that he has made to be completely absent from Parker's life.  But then I realize that she has nothing to do with that.  She has nothing to do with his decisions.  I don't even know if her mom still communicates with the mutual family.  Maybe she needs me in some way again, maybe I can help her like I did before......but should I?  She would then become a window for him to be able to see into the life that I have built for Parker and I without having to involve himself directly....that less fair to Parker than what has happened in his life already.  Which leads me back to the reason why I have not tried to stay connected to any of the people I once considered to be family.  I struggle with this decision often because I am cutting Parker off to cousins that he has but doesn't know.  And when I think of that I think that I am just as unfair as he is being to Parker.  That I am just as responsible. 

As you can see I continually go back and forth and it all comes back to the same question.....have I made the right decision in not trying to make his father have a relationship with his son.  I did try for a while but there was no result and eventually their were no numbers I could call that weren't disconnected.  This will always haunt me.  I will always wonder.  Sometimes I forget about it but then there is a blatant reminder that smacks me in the face like this one.  Can someone from the future please leave me a message telling me that I made a good decision.  That moving on with our life was and has been the best thing for creating a stable life for him?  And also, please tell me what I should do about this recent facebook request..........


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My New Bible

I got my Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Guide in the mail today!  It is great!  It literally has everything I need to know about the products I already have in my fridge or if I am my mom's or dad's, I can look up the product name and see if it is good to eat or not!  I am so excited about this book.  It has names brands, Kroger and Kroger Value brands and Meijer.  This book will seriously never leave my purse.  Between that and my childhood friend Liz sending me all types of yummy gluten free recipes, I feel so much more confident about being successful through this transition.  The book couldn't have arrived on a better day too.  Work was stressful this morning, everything that I had planned went the complete opposite.  Typically when that happens, I have an early sub (and feel like shit the rest of the day) or eat some bread guts or even gnaw on some day old.....not today.  It was hard to because my bread was effin perfect all day.  Then the mail came and I my bread craving went away.  It is great not feeling like crap all the time.  Eating isn't as heavy feeling, unless I eat too much like it did tonight....dinner was good and I could stop my self!

So yeah, that's it.  I am just that excited about my new book that I dedicated this little post to it.  Seriously, I can not express the level of excitement.....seriously :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This week has sucked.  I have been without Gluten for about 2 weeks but really paying super attention to it for about 10 days.  My stomach was jack up the other day, but over all I feel good.  I don't feel as bloated and heavy whenever I eat.  Now I don't know for sure if anything is going to change in terms of my IBS but I physically feel better this week.  However, emotionally, I have been a wreck.  And no, for anyone thinking it, it is not because I am menstuating (not too much info either because I knew you were thinking it), but I honestly think that I am a little depressed about this dramitc diet change.  Even since Parker was born, I have consciously eaten better because he always watches what I eat, but not having things that I love and how closely I have to pay attention to everything is a little stressful. 

Good news on the gluten free front though, Krishna (besides Naan bread) is almost entirely a gluten free menu....hello beautiful Indian food, you are now my best friend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Go Dora Go!

I have a disclaimer to this post....I have no references.  I could spend the time to find the references that I need on my book shelf but honestly it has been a hellish week and I don't what to, so when I do this (), a reference should be there.

Parker and I do not have cable.  We only had it when we lived with my mom from 2 months to 3 years old.  At that point in time we would watch Nickelodeon....and a lot of it.  The classics mostly like The Backyardigans, Dora, Diego, Blue's Clues...there was no Yo Gabba Gabba (which honestly scares me slightly, I feel like I need to be smoking some serious hash when I watch it).  Now our TV is permanently on PBS learn, and every night we watch The Wild Kratts.  I have discussed some of these shows within Women's Studies courses while I was attending UC.  A lot of my opinions though were formed out side of those classes but they all sparked a little more interest in what we were watching.  I am going to talk about most of the individually, kinda like a little analysis.

The Backyardigans.
I love this show.  I still find it extremely entertaining and full of imagination.  It was new on Nick Jr when Parker was about 2 years old.  We stumbled upon it one morning before our walk to library. It caught my attention because the characters were dancing the Hustle to a funky beat.  After a few episodes of watching I realized what it was all about.  There are 5 characters.  Uniqua (a pink tomboyish unknown animal), Pablo (a blue penguin), Tyrone (an orange moose) are all next door neighbors with a shared backyard.  Across the fence in the backyard is Austin (a purple kangaroo) and across the street is Tasha (a yellow hippo).  The start their daily adventure in their common backyard that transforms into where ever in their imaginations they are playing.  They sing and dance custom and catchy songs.  Their personalities are all different like their looks.  Uniqua was mine and Parker's favorite.  She is a very head strong girl who loves adventure and taking on a challenge.  There is one episode when Tasha sent Uniqua out to King Austin's and if she is successful she will become a knight.  She is a neat character because she is very opposite a "girly" little girl, which is the personality of Tasha.  Tasha epitomizes every little girl stereotype.  The boy characters have a different array of personalities.  Tyrone is easy going, Pablo freaks out every episode and they all have to calm him down, and Austin is a little shy and quiet.  I think it is great for small children because it has great music and dancing.  They go on great adventures where they have to work together to accomplish their voyage.  It teaches children team work, to be friends with anyone despite color, personality or looks and to have an imagination and explore the world through that imagination.

Dora and Diego.
I have to talk about these two together.  First there was Dora.  She was a little Hispanic girl who went into the world independently to explore it.  She taught children how to read maps, speak Spanish and how to be independent in finding things on their own.  Dora was a very different cartoon when she hit the lime light.  She was the only Hispanic little girl main character.  There is no question as to way Dora the Explorer is such a success.  She gave a voice to Hispanic children, brought attention to simple Spanish words in a country whose largest minority is the Hispanic population.  Because of her ethnicity and first language, she created acceptance in the white and black communities because all of those children, boys and girls a like, loved Dora and the new language/culture they were learning.  I know that this was across the board between genders because of how much Parker loved Dora a long with all of the boys in Dora shirts that I witnessed about 4 years ago.  She was huge.  Eventually they brought on her cousin Diego.  Then, off of Dora's coat tails, Diego was a success and got his own show.  I don't really have anything against Diego, but at the same time I do.  His show minimized the deeper essence to Dora.  His show has more Spanish and more variety of words.  His rescue pack transforms into whatever he may need to rescue the animals.  And there, right there in the name and what he does in the show.....he rescues and his title is a verb.  Rescuing.  Rescue.  We hear that word and we associate it with the masculine ().  Our entire language is divided between female associated words and male associated words.  Verbs are associated with the male (), Go Diego Go.  Adjective are associated with the female (), Dora the Explorer.  Male is action; female is passive.  Everything that Dora gave to little girls and boys about how they viewed girls as independent "go getters" in the world was taken away by how much more Diego did.  This is why I don't like Diego.  There was really no reason for his own show besides to make more money.  Dora is still important but the light that once shown on her was dimmed by Diego....hmm, imagine that, a male character taking center stage over the female....that doesn't reflect societal views of women at all.....right?

The Wild Kratts.
I am skipping the rest of the Nick Jr. shows to move on to The Wild Kratts.  I honestly don't have much a feminist view on this one.  The Kratt brothers are real brothers who are on the creature trail.  They are zoologist that turn to cartoon characters to help save whatever animal they are highlighting on the episode.  There are female characters in the show, who are both scientist.  So that is a plus.  Parker loves that show because he learns about animals and conservation.  He is proud of the education he gains from that show and it is one that I am very comfortable with him watching because he takes positive information away with him.  He will often talk about being on the creature trail too because of all of the animals that we see at mr's house.  Parker has included mr to be on the creature trail as well.

It is funny to think about the cartoons that I watched when I was little and seriously miss them on TV.  Remember Loony Toons?  Remember how everyone decided that it was too violent for children to be watching?  I mean, I get it, but doesn't a lot of the other side of what children watch come from the rest of the influence in their lives?   I am not a violent person and I can not tell you how many episodes to Wyle E Coyote trying to kill the Road Runner....but my parents taught me to not be violent.  Maybe I am just opening a new can of worms to talk about here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Becoming Gluten Free

First of all....this is effing hard.

This may sound random to some people....well maybe everyone.  I have never had a great stomach or digestive system; my mom has IBS and I was tested for Crohn's and it was negative, my doctor, about 12 years ago, decided that all of my symptoms fall under IBS as well.  At the end of high school and the beginning of college were my darkest times.  I literally could not eat anything without worrying about my stomach errupting and causing a great deal of pain.  The pain is so bad with IBS that my mom told me if I could get through an episode, child labor would be a breeze.....years later while I was in labor with Parker, I remembered her statement and honestly, I remember IBS pain, I could not tell you how bad the pain was in labor....yea it hurt, but it was tolerable.

So my mid to late 20's were really smooth.  The pain that I experienced in high school and early college was not nearly as frequent.  I could go weeks without an episode and I become tolerant to peppers....which I love now.  Looking back at how this syndrome has changed through my life is interesting.  When I felt the least amount of stress, between 18 and 21, it was the worse in terms of pain and frequency.  Then through pregnancy and my break up with Parker's dad, finishing college with a small child (and commuting from Dayton to Cincinnati everyday), starting the job I still have, transfering and moving back to Cincinnati...which all was much more stressful, my system was some what normal.  But since my downtown store closed last June, my system has changed drasitcally.  It is completely different than in my early 20's.  Since the beginning of 2011, it has gotten worse and I am just simply sick of nothing working.  The most common suggestion I have to help me is to take fiber....well, it has shown that fiber actually makes symptoms worse.

I was bumming around on medical websites and was rerearching IBS (I do this every so ofter) and it said that a common trigger for IBS is wheat, barley and rye.  Three of my most favorite things in the world.  I have tried so many things from perscriptions to probiotics to everything I can think of so now it is time to try this.  I have not consulted a doctor yet which may make some people cringe that I am trying something so drastic with out than consultation.  I plan on it, but the sacfrice is worth the idea or possibility of being some what normal.  I feel like crap most of the time...I am always bloated which makes me feel like the size of a house, I just hate those feelings and everything else that goes with it too.

I thought it didn't sound too hard until I went to the grocery store on Saturday.  I buy red beans in chili sauce...they are great in tacos or just with a bit of chicken....well guess what...those effing beans have wheat in them.  Also I bought ice cream without reading the label, and you can guess what was in that too.  I have come to terms with no beer, mostly, I have discovered the hard cider really isn't that bad, vodka and everclear are always options and maybe I will discover a taste for wine.  But overall, this is going to be much more difficult than I thought but it has been a week and although I don't know what normal feels like, I feel a little better than normal for me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When someone hurts your baby Part II

To understand, please read this.

I am not the type to threaten people.  Even at work when someone is really really screwing up, I do not threaten them to correct their bad work behavior because it really doesn't work.  I have threatened to "ground" Parker from his toys as a way to get through to him when he is in the 6 year old tunnel vision of a fit or whatever you want to call his bad attitude driven behavior, but over all, it is not my favorite tactic.  I feel like communication about the issue is better for most circumstances.

When this event first happened, a close friend told me to just drop the "L" (lawyer) word and I would get my money back asap.  At that point, getting a refund for the camp that I had planned on paying for wasn't my first thought.  I wanted people to be held accountable and educated on the need for everyone to use sunscreen, not just my pale ass kid.  But after about a week, and giving my self enough time to step back, I realized (with the help of everyone) that by not asking for them to compensate me in any form, that it would be much more likely for their negligence to affect another family and also that it was still the easy way out for them.  Pay me to not go to the Health Board or to not go to the Ohio Licensing office for Daycare facilities or the media or the Mayor or who ever.  It was still the only thing I could think about even though Parker's shoulders were nearly done peeling.  So I decided that I would email the same guy that offered me the full refund in the first place.  I didn't ask for the full amount back, but for compensation for his doctor's visit and the weeks after the incident happened.  That was about a week and a half ago.  I have gotten no response.  Monday was Parker's first day back to being allowed to swim and play outside.  I told one of the workers that in the morning and wrote a note for her to pass along to his main counselor, but just to ensure that the communication chain wouldn't break down again.....I emailed the head of the Rec Center to let him know (the same guy who offered me the refund, and who I had emailed multiple times before) and within a 2 hours I was emailed back saying that he would absolutely pass along the message to the entire staff.  2 hours!  Of course I started thinking that the email involving the $ amount didn't go through so I checked my sent messages.....it definitely did!  I was telling a friend of mine last night (who works in a daycare facility and used to be Parker's care provider), and she said to email him again just to make sure he received the first one.  Thinking that I would get a response like it did yesterday morning, I re-emailed him about 24 hours ago and nada.  I am pissed.  Probably more pissed than I was the day I walked in and Parker had massive blisters on his shoulders.  So now, do I drop the "L" word?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Missing Toys

Parker has been out of town a lot with his Grandpa this summer.  It is a great way for him to bond with my dad and have quality guy to guy time, which I have a hard time providing.  It is hard on me though because I am internally lonely without him in the same city as me.  It is also hard on my house because I find my self at mr's house the entire time Parker is out of town.  I am not complaining at all, it has been a great summer thus far.  mr and I have grown closer and it feels wonderful to wake up next to him on the weekdays too.  But, it is hard on my house because I am not here to keep it spotless while Parker is gone.  This last trip he took to Michigan, I decided it is was time to tackle his room.  The common areas of the house stay decently clean, and he does a great job of picking up his toys from the living room when it is that time, but I have let him neglect his room.  I know, tsk tsk Mom....but.....well, I was trying to think of a reason why  was letting him do that and I can't....so again, tsk tsk Mom.  It was beyond anything he could manage on his own, so I told him I would do that for him while he was with Grandpa.  Now, to set this straight.....I was very very clear that he would come home to less toys.  He understands donating things and that it means that other kids who don't have as much as him can then have a little more when he donates his stuff.  The last time we tried to clean out his toys together, he got rid of about 5 on his own....which is good considering how hard it is to part with those cheap toys you get at McDonald's *sarcasm.*  I made it explicitly clear that I was getting rid of enough stuff to make enough room for he recently received birthday toys.  He said "ok."  In fact, he even said "Thank you for doing this for me Mommy, thank you."

So that is what I dedicated my first Friday without him to, cleaning out his room.  Boxing clothes, toys, stuffed animals, all with the mind of what he does and does not play with anymore.  I did a very good job.  His room looks amazing.  We donated about 3 boxes of toys and like 5 of clothes.  There were some questionable items that I got rid of, like the toys that he would play with once every 3 months.  So that was that.  We took all the stuff to Vincent De Paul's, and that is the end of it.  I was so excited for him to see is room, that I called him that day, and again, we discussed that there would be less toys.

Fast forward to yesterday.  He is playing and super excited about how his room looks.  He typically doesn't play in there but he was all about it yesterday.  Until, he came out crying.  I thought he was hurt until he calmed down enough to ask where his McDonald's cash register was......let me tell you, he has not played with that thing since at least Christmas or before!  In fact he would play with it with his kitchen and we gave his kitchen and dishes to Quinn for Christmas so I know it hasn't been since then!  And oh the tears!  Like I donated his most coveted cars or super heroes or star wars guys!  Tears tears tears!  I was thinking to myself....great, he is going to notice every last thing that I got rid of!  He calmed down.  Finally.  But that is just the beginning.  He still, a day later has not opened his closest yet to see that his big trucks, that had dust on them, are gone.  He did just come out looking for his road cones, which I will give him, I should have kept.  I thought I did.  So word to the wise.....I have no advice on how to get rid of the old toys our kids no longer use on a daily basis!  We can't keep these toys forever but we can't get rid of them either!  Next time I think I will try a garage sale and he can keep the money from what he sells, maybe that will end the sorrow over the toys that have left his life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Destroyer

If you don't already know Lauren Moyer, you should.  She is this amazing artist who is not only talented with a brush and canvas but her artisticness (I think I made that word up) goes much further.  Lauren has her own fashion blog....let me tell you, I have been jealous of the different looks that she can pull off for years now.  But she can also sew, crochet and design her own clothes or art.  She has mixed needlepoint with her painting and has made these cute little stuffed owls (I am still waiting on mine, I think they are back ordered).  She has so many talents that go beyond her art to cooking, writing, bike riding for hours and hours, training her dog, listening, giving advice, and making you view the world a little differently.  I have said before that I wish I could see what the world looks like through her eyes with her talent just for a day so that I can better understand her.  We have had our dfferences over the past 25 years but we are in a place of friendship and appriciation for each other now, well, at least that is how I view our relationship and I hope that she agrees.

Lauren is on the precipice of one of the most profound journey's she will ever embark.  She is soon moving from Detriot, her home for the past 7 years, to live in Ohio for a month before moving to San Fransisco.  Lauren is no stranger to moving far away from home; when she was 17 she moved to Brasil to study abroad for 6 months.  It was hard on her at first, but it helped her grow as a person so much that I can't image who she would be if she hadn't gone.  This voyage is different though, she is not leaving for a temporary 6 month stent, but to live, work and to thrive on the west coast.  It is a bittersweet journey as well.  She imagined doing this with her ex-fiance one day......but note the word "ex."  Like many have told her already, and I will not spend much time on this, but it is completely his loss in life because of how amazing Lauren is and because she does have this drive to go beyond what is safe for her in Detroit, he could not see beyond his safety net and was too cowardly to take the step that Lauren in about to take.  Unlike him, Lauren is brave.  She is much braver than she knows which is frustrating but exciting.  I get frustrated because I can see it in her.  I can see her success.  I can see her finding out so much about herself that she doesn't know is there.  But she can't see it yet.  It is exciting because she will and she will call me and tell me all about what she is doing out there and how challenging it is but how she is over coming those challenges.  She will tell about the people she is meeting and how she is finding her niche through old friends who are already there and the new friends that keep her going.  She will change.  She will grow.  She will find a strength inside that she has never had to use.

Maybe that is the part that excites me the most.  We Moyer girls are very independent individuals.  There is no way to argue that point at all.  It is the environment that we grew up in but we have all expressed it differently.  Lauren has shown it through her ability and willingness to travel.  While she and Jen both went to school outside the state, she is the only one who has moved away from Ohio.  That has been her independance.  She had been in a relationship for 5 years and when anyone is in a relationship for an extended amount of time, they grow dependant on the other person, which is natural.  She has been living alone for months now and has been successful.  Living by yourself is difficult, but it is a huge learning process.  You discover when you need to ask for help and when you need to push yourself to figure it out on your own.  She is doing it well in Detroit but will get even better at it when she is in California.

I told her recently that I can't wait to meet her again in a year.  It may sound silly because at her core, she has been the same since she was a little girl, but she will be so different in so many ways in one year that I can't wait to remeet my little sister.  She will have survived the move, the job search, the heartache for home and the Eastern time zone.  She will be beyond the initial "glam" of California and find her self in everyday life out there.  Her life will be there and I will be waiting to hear from her every time she calls.

Writing this about her is the first time that I have really truly thought about her moving across the country.  Yes, she has been in Michigan for years and years now and we don't see each other often as is, but we are in the same time zone.  We really don't talk on the phone much either, but there is something secure about know that your sister is waking up, eating lunch and dinner around the same time as you.  The climate is not terribly different between Ohio and Michigan either.  It is cooler up there, but summer here is summer there and so on and so forth.  I know I will miss her more once she is there.  Our birthdays will be harder this year.  I hated hers being the day before mine for so long but since we have lived away from each other, it doesn't feel like my birthday without celebrating hers at the same time.  I will miss her.  Ohio has missed her for some time but now Michigan will miss her as well.  I can't and won't be sad for too long thought because of how much this will influence her life.  I am too proud of her to be sad for too long.  I am too excited.  I am too envious of her to be sad.  She is doing something that I have always (since the age of 24), dreamed of doing.

Lauren, you are and always will be amazing.  You will have hard times but they will lessen with the amount of time you are there.  It will get easier and you will get stronger.  Everyday you will discover something new within your self.  You will find a job and you will make more beautiful art.  California called on you for your art before and they will call on you for more.  You will fall in love with that side of the world and although Ohio will always be home and the heart of it all, it is too small for you.  You need bigger.  You need more from a State and section of the country.  Never doubt yourself and your ability.  I love you and believe in you.  If you ever need a Lauren Pep Talk, you know who to call.  I am proud of you. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You're Fucking Perfect

Please watch/listen/read the lyrics of this song first.

I remember last fall or early winter when I first heard this song, now I am not much of a pop music fan, and it really isn't my first choice of radio play unless I am at work.  Most of pop music is mindless and upbeat which is what I need first thing in the morning to keep me going through prep at work.  But this song caught my attention.  Out of all the pop female vocals, I can say that I do like the Pink more than others.  Sure I am a bit of a closet Brit fan because she became popular when I was in early high school, but Pink has a badass persona that I appreciate.  She doesn't seem to apologize for anything that she does, and again, I appreciate that.  I didn't know that it was by her the first time I heard it nor did I hear it all the way through, just bits and pieces caught my attention.

One afternoon, I was playing with Parker at mr's house and it came on the station that was playing.  I listened to the lyrics and they hit me.  I seriously started to tear up because of how familiar they felt to me.  I have been through those phases like so many others where it didn't matter how mean anyone else could have ever been to me because inside I was meaner and everything they were saying, I already knew.  I don't know why it hit me so hard that day because I have grown so much since I "disliked" who I was.  But as soon as I heard and paid attention to those lyrics, it brought me back to that girl who was lost and felt like she was making every wrong decision there was.  I hated the song after it revitalized all of those feelings.  I didn't want to remember how it felt to be so unhappy with my self.  But now I am glad that it did.

About a month after I listened to the words in that song, mr and I broke up.  It was very hard.  A friend of mine, Holly, emailed me a link to that song.  I listened to it and cried.  I cried so hard because she was showing me the different side to that song.  The over coming of your own "demons."  I heard it in a different light.  I still cried but I didn't feel like I was back to that bad decision girl, I realized I wasn't that person anymore, that I have overcome my demons and although I was in a dark time because of my break up with mr, I would overcome that too because I am "fucking perfect."

I am sure this post seems extremely random, and it really is because it is based on feelings that I had about myself 7 years ago, 6 months ago and 4 months ago.  I heard it the other day again, as many pop songs, it's radio play has lessened because of new release songs, and again, it was different for me, which is why I am writing about it now.

I think this song and message is so important and all young girls should listen to it.  There is a phase in young adolescents where all girls feel less about themselves.  For some girls, it is harder.  Or maybe other girls are able to hide their self doubt better than others.  It is a phase where you have no idea what you are doing, you are succumbing to the pressure of your peers and the pressures of the opposite sex.  Everything you are doing feels unnatural because most of those experiences are firsts.  Everything is done with a question mark at the end.  I wish that I could warn every girl about this time in their lives and just tell them to be true to their selves because who they are, who their inner core is, is so important and valuable.  It is naively hopeful that girls who are going through that phase hear and understand what these lyrics are saying.  But that's me.  I naively hope.




"Made a wrong turn
Once or twice
Dug my way out
Blood and fire
Bad decisions
That's alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss "no way it's all good"
It didn't slow me down
Mistaken
Always second guessing
Underestimated
Look, I'm still around...
Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Fuckin' perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You're fuckin' perfect to me
You're so mean
When you talk
About yourself
You are wrong
Change the voices
In your head
Make them like you
Instead
So complicated
Look how big you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred
Such a tired game

It's enough
I've done all i can think of
Chased down all my demons
see you same
Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Fuckin' perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You're fuckin' perfect to me
The world stares while i swallow the fear
The only thing i should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in lying and I tried tried
But we try too hard, it's a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cuz they're everywhere
They don't like my genes, they don't get my hair
Stringe ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
Why do I do that?
Ooh, pretty pretty pretty,
Pretty pretty please don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less then, fuckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing you're fuckin' perfect, to me
You're perfect
You're perfect
Pretty, pretty please don't you ever ever feel like you're less then, fucking perfect
Pretty, pretty please if you ever ever feel like you're nothing you're fucking perfect to me"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Those nights

As a single mom, there are those nights where you wish there was another adult present. When there is no getting through to your child and all communication between you and them just breaks down completely until you are both angry. These kind of nights are so unbelievably frustrating! We got home and within 10 mintues something small (taking the left over stuff from his lunch bag) turned into him having to sit on his bed because he wouldn't stop back talking, whining or crying! Nothing I was saying was helping, he wasn't responding to the time out......I just wanted to scream! Eventually, everything calms down and you have your sweet child back, but during those heated moments, a second adult would be so handy. Those moments make me question my ability as a parent. Those moments make me question, even if I do marry some day, if another adult is all it takes or if I will always be the person who has to handle the extreme moments.

He is sound asleep and has been for over an hour. The house is quiet but I am stil stewing with frustration. What could I have done differently to avoid the outburst? Does he really mean it when he tell me he doesn't like me? Is it another new adjustment of growing? Is he really starting his "I hate my mom" phase at 6? I don't think I could handle that! I know it is coming but I was prepared for it to start around 9 or 10, not now. Could his outburst tonight been because of bullying at camp? So many questions that no one can ever answer for me!

I wonder what it is like to have the built in back up that other co-parenting couples have.....even those who are not together but still co-parent have that going on for them.

Nights likes these make me question my ability of being both mom and dad.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

When someone hurts your baby

(obviously a day late)

Today is Parker's 6th birthday. Last year I remember blogging about my entire labor and birthday experience. Naturally I think about that day every year on his birthday. I remember and reflect on all the development and change that has happened since 2005. I can only talk about his birth because it is all I can think about....at this point in my life, his birth is the most significant. Today it isn't the same and it is making me so sad that I am not sharing my experience with everyone (and I mean everyone, employees don't really want to hear about their boss' most important day, but dammit, I tell 'em anyway!) A quick example of how distracted I am from the day; Parker was born at 8:32 on Wednesday June 29th, 2005......and today is Wednesday June 29th! I didn't make the connection that this year his birthday falls on he day of the week he was born! This is something that I would have normally known if I hadn't been so distracted! I am mad because I didn't, even though I know it is small and trivial.

So why am I distracted? Because I am livid. Why am I livid? Because I don't know what to do. About what you ask? The negligence that I have encounter at the day camp Parker is attending.

I picked Parker up early on Monday because after my meeting in Columbus, I was through for the day. I got there before they got back from swimming. He is the first kid in the room and I gasp be use of how beat red he is. I wish I was exaggerating but honestly, he was redder than you can imagine. I asked the counselor what happened with the sunscreen. Of course he hadn't been with the group all afternoon but was told that Parker claimed to not have and then one application was made. Fucking bullshit!

According to the camp providers he had sunscreen applied once to him....but seriously, you look at this kid in the sun and you need sunglasses because he is so white!  I was mad.  And something you have to understand about me is when I get mad, like really mad, I get quiet.  I don't get outwardly angry until after I have time to collect my thoughts.  I wish I wasn't like that sometimes because I hold my immediate response inside.....but anyway.  I did what I thought would be best at that time.  He has never been badly sun burnt and I have always thought that he would have his father's complexion as in, sunburn is gone in 2 hours.  Well, needless-to-say, he follows my genes.  Like I said though, I didn't know this, so off to get aloe we went.  I covered that boy twice in an hour and a half, gave him Tylenol and sent him to bed.  Enter Tuesday morning and little blisters all over his shoulders.

Now I am worried.  I am sure that I blistered at least once or twice as a child but I can't remember if I did, I didn't know what to do.  The obvious would be no swimming.  But I didn't think that being outside with a shirt on would do any damage.  I took him to camp and told one of the morning counselors about the blisters, that he has 2 kinds of sunscreen in his backpack (and had since day 1), no swimming, shirt on at all times and to make sure she told the other counselors.  The day goes on, I make a shit ton of sandwiches and make plans for his Wednesday birthday.  4:45 my phone rings and it is the camp......the person on the other end tells me that Parker was burnt again and that he has really bad blisters, oh yea, and that he is freaking out a bit.  How the hell do you let this happen twice!?!?!?!  I snapped on the guy because he is the one who supposedly put the sunscreen on Parker the day before.

I get there and he is sitting in the office without a shirt (they had to pour water on it to get it to release from his skin) with people just looking at him and being astonished on what can happen when you get sun burnt.  I "talk" with the other adults in the room.  They all apologize but no one has an answer.  They ask if when they put lotion on, if I mean he has to have it when he is just at the park too and not the pool.  Yes you fucking idiots!!!!!!  Sun is sun not matter where you are!  The lady keeps apologizing, which I believe they are sorry but come on!  Look at him!  He is a sunlight magnet!  She says something about informing her superior and said absolutely, what is their name and phone number.  She calls him to the center.

Of course it is the first that he has heard of the incident.  We talk in his office for over an hour.  Mostly it sounds like bullshit because they are the one that provided the medical release form for sunscreen application.  Someone knew it was important to put it in the packet automatically!  Where were they on Monday?!?!?!  He explains that the staff has had no real training on sunscreen, it's purpose and importance.  Most of the people who work and attend this camp do not or have never used sunscreen.  I get it but it isn't just a group out for the afternoon, they are a licensed day care provider!  Nothing was resolved there.

The next morning, Wednesday, yesterday, after having to sleep in the same position on his back all night, we wake up groggy.  And with another blister.  Today he will go to the doctor.  I cut off sleeves on a t-shirt so that we don't irritate or pop the blisters.  Go to work and then the doctor.  There really is nothing the doctor can do but all the nurses told me that it is better to have the doctor's report in case I pursue and further action.  Then it is time for me to go to work and Parker to go to camp.  I hated dropping him off and was very unfocused during work.  I don't really think I did anything at all while I was there.  He didn't want to go because he was worried the other kids would tease him about his shirt.  The first 5 kids we walked by all asked him what was wrong with him.  He was embarrassed.  His group leader gave me a ten minute apology and assurance that she would be applying sunscreen once an hour at the pool or just outside.  (That was one thing that I demanded to get done from the on out). 

So now it is Thursday night.  His blisters all popped yesterday and he is starting to peel.  He is fine and I knew the entire time that he would be fine but I have never felt so out of control of his life and what happens in it.  It was terrifying and it was just a sun burn.  I have never thought about the places that have cared for him either day care, camp or before and after school programs because I have never been completely and utterly let down and questioned the care that was provided.  He is and always has been very well liked by the leaders in the class or group.  He is smart, outgoing and inquisitive.  But now their negligence has me questioning my next step.  I believe that they are sorry and that it was complete ignorance and because I believe that I don't think that getting all of my money for the entire summer back is necessary, but I am a minority in that thought.  I want something to be done and they will be reimbursing me for his doctor's visit, but I don't know what else is appropriate.

It isn't fair either that I was/am more focused on this than I was his birthday.  We still had a great night with mr at Johnny Rockets where they sang to Parker and then we saw Cars 2, which was pretty awesome.  I was so drained of energy and so was Parker that I wish it could have been a better day all around.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seven days ago

Seven days ago Parker left for his longest vacation away from me ever.  It has been seven days and I won't see him again until Monday evening.  It is crazy how I feel like I am only half here.  I am not sad and lonely like I would typically be when he is out of town because I have been with mr for the entire time.  But I haven't seen my him smile or make him laugh or have a conversation with him in seven days.  He is a pain to talk to on the phone most of the time and my dad always puts him on speaker phone so then I hear everyone and they are always talking on top of each other and it is super annoying.  *deep sigh* I miss the little booger.  His 10 day vacation is a week at Grandma's and Grandpa's sandwiched by two different motorcycle races in two different states.  I know that he is having more fun on his vacation than he would be in day camp.  I know he is getting better sleep and a chance to not wake up so early.  I know that it is so important that he spends time like this with my dad because he is learning so much about who he is.....but I'm being selfish right now.  I want him here with me.  I want a hug from my favorite.


His big 6 birthday is coming up in the next 10 days.  I have only heard back from 3 people, I hope more show up than that...I have the cake figured out (kind of) and now it is down to the gifts.  This year's birthday planning has been the hardest I have done.  I typically have most of the details figured out atleast a month before hand.  It completely snuck up on me this year.  There is so much going on in my life that my days and months just blend together.

But anyway.....seven days.  *deep sigh*

(sorry Ms. Melaina that I didn't participate in Feminist Friday again this week.....I couldn't concentrate)

Friday, June 10, 2011

This is what a feminist looks like......

Ever since I found out I was pregnant in Nov 2004, I knew no matter what gender child I had, there would be feminism in their blood. The first time I felt the baby move was in the middle of Feminist Critical Reading.....I took it as a sign that I held a little girl who would some day be passionate about women's history and the movements that have gained our rights as well as the movement that push for more. Most of the people around me said that I would have a boy and he would reject my radical feminism. They were right on the first account.....I have a son.



Although it has never truly worried me, but I have wondered how my feminism will affect him. Will he reject it? Will he accept and embrace it? Or will he ever question it? I hope for the last. I hope that he always questions why others don't think the way he does or question why other parents didn't raise him with the same understanding that I am. I read once that to raise a boy in a feminist home, the mother can not cater to his needs in a way that displays the idea that women cater to men's needs. There has to be an understanding that he is a part of the Mother's life just as much as she is a part if his. We make our children our worlds but eventually our world leaves us and we are only a part of their lives.  What the author was getting at, expecially in son/mother relationships, is that as parents we have to make the distinction that our children are not our lives but part of our lives as much as we are a part of theirs.  If we can do this, in terms of the mother/son relationship, then there isn't a need for a serverence of the bond that was created in the womb.  The author also suggested that society calls for a need of mothers to push their sons aways in their childhood in order to raise a proper man.  If you think about it, that is true.  Young boys that have a strong relationship with their mothers are often coined as "Mama's boys" or something of that nature.  Like it is a negetive to have a close relationship with your mother if you are a boy.....I hate that.  I think that men who are raised and have close relationship with their mothers or other matriarchs in their family are very different from men who are not or have mother that abided by the "code" and severed the relationship with their son.  I plan on Parker always being a part of my life but he will know that I do not and am not here to serve him as well as other women he will meet in his life.  He will see me as a woman who provided for him and cared for him to make his life the best that I could.  He will see strength in women and have a different appriciation for women.
 
I refuse to let him catagorize things as being for girls or boys.  I ask him why he has segregated them and then explain why there is no such thing as something that is strictly for girls or boys.  He is not allowed to say that his peers throw, run, act, sound like a girl.  Ever time he tries to do this, he explains to me why that is not alright.  He understands.  He will make better arguements as too why that is not allowed than I can make, or rather, he makes arguements that he can understand by using people or scenerios from his life to make it make sense.
 
I think that as long as parents are open-minded and do not push their children into the societal box of where they should fit, most children would grow up as feminist or any person who is against any -ism.  When we fall to the social constructs of who and what we are all supposed to be and what we are supposed to have and supposed to know, we fall into a very narrow space.  There isn't much room to move, think and grow in those confines.  Many people will not agree with me or my thoughts but I think what this all really boils down to is how much we want our children to grow and think.  I want Parker to question everything in his world.  Now of course I want him to do this in a respectable fashion, but I never want him to stop questioning society.  I want him to make his own decisions now so that he may practice which ones are good and which are bad while he has me around to help guide him.  A friend of mine said that no children should make any of their own decisions until they are atleast 10....that makes no sense to me.  They are their own person with their own opinions and thoughts and feelings.  We are to guide them to make those all positive.....not wait until they can't learn that within our shelter.  Embracing them for who they are is the most important part.  If Parker never considers himself to be a feminist, I will never be disappointed.  I know that I will have introduced it to him and he will decided through questioning the world whether or not he can consider himself a feminist.  There is no doubt in my mind that he will reject it at some point.  But, like I said earlier, he still will view the world differently because of his experience.  Just like when I was a small girl, I grew up veiwing it differently because of the lack of the double standard in my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

F Word Pride

The F word is one that I do not have a problem using.  I have used it a lot, even to describe my self.  Often people will react with a hushed gasp that a person would use such a word to describe themself.  Feminist.  Such a dirty and negetive word to so many people and it has always been inside of me.  I don't remember the first time I learned the word Feminist and what it meant but because my Aunt has a degree in Women's Studies from Miami of Ohio, I am going to guess that I was young.  Because of my aunt, my mom, my grandmothers, all the strong women I was surrounded by and the lack of boys in my immidiate family, I always knew that girls and boys were the same.  I never had to deal with the double standard at home and my sisters coined me as being the "tom boy" (which having no boy influence on my younger days, I was not a tom boy at all).  The only difference, for me before I understood the public sphere, was anatomy.  I do remember the first time that I consciously reached out towards Feminism.

In 6th grade we had to write an biography resport about someone famous that made a difference in the US.  I can't remember if there was a list or if we were suppored to come up with the person of choice with help from our parents, but I chose Gloria Steinam.  I was so crazy about learning about her.  There was lot of information about her involvment in the 2nd wave to the present time of 1993ish so the Feminist and Feminism was used a lot.  I don't remember how but I knew the very general meaning was that a feminist was pro women's rights, that women and men are equal.  I loved that she fought for equal rights.  I loved that she was a playboy bunny at the beginning of her career and it help drive her passion.  At that point in time I felt a drawing to the abrideged feminist discourse that I had learned.  At that age, I was as big if not bigger than all the boys and I started asserting my self more with them.  I didn't let them bully or put me down.  Not to say that my feelings weren't hurt or that I was mean, but I felt stronger as I understood what it meant to be a woman in the public sphere a little bit better.

I would never shy away from being called a feminist later in junior high school and high school.  I was very much against the mainstream so anything they called me that they didn't approve of was fine with me.  I liked the idea of looking at the world from the margins and I understood how, as a young women, I was pushed to them.  I told the football coach that I was going to quit volleyball and try out for football the fall of my freshman year (even though I had no intention, I just wanted to push his buttons), but he told me to not even bother because he would never let me on the team or play.  That made me so mad that I told the athletic director.  The coach didn't get in trouble and nothing really happened, but that was my first understanding of Title IX.  I started to pay attention to the differences in where the athletic budget was spent after that.

I forgot about my early developed feminism for a while.  I think I hid it inside me because of a relationship that I was in for a very long time.  I was told more than once that I was "too independent."  I resented that comment at first but as the years went by, I became complacent.  I picked becoming a Kindergarten teacher for my major in college and was happy thinking that is what I wanted to do forever.  I was going to be a teacher, move to the country, have babies and teach (excuse me while I hurl....seriously, I thought I could live in the country!).  It's no secret that my older sister was a huge influence on a lot of decisions I have made.  She was attending a liberal arts school in Richmond, IN and majoring (partially) in Women's Studies.  I needed some electives one quarter so I signed up for Intro to Women's Studies fall my 2nd year.  I honestly didn't like that class very much.  I learned a lot but more from the other women in the class than the readings we had.  The next quarter I signed up for Feminist Theory which remained to be the hardest class I had ever taken in college.  Which is also where I met Ms. MelainaHer showing up one day with a Playboy visor on and the heated discussion that occured because of that will always be in my memory.

While I enjoyed that class and learned a lot from it, the later classes in my college career are the ones when I realized how important being a Feminist was to me.  In my entire life, I never felt more comfortable with myself, my thoughts and my frustrations with the world and society.  If I didn't have the words, someone else knew exactly what I meant and filled them in.  No one was calling me a feminist like it was a bad thing or just because they weren't one.

It was hard to be a mother and accepted in the Feminist world at UC.  There are many different theories in Feminism and some are so extreme that they reject motherhood.  Being a new mom and entering motherhood made me feel pushed further to the margins.  After reading more about mothering and them real rejection to motherhood as defined under partiarchy, I now know that was the issue, it wasn't me or the fact that I am a mother. (that is an entirely different blog topic)

I carry my Feminism into everything I do because it is inside me.  I think that it always has been but I didn't have the vocabulary until I was older.  I hope that I instill this into Parker and that one day he will proudly understand and vocalize his own feminism.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Those Girls Upstairs

Today was the first time that I watched Quinn and Sadie for an entire afternoon.  Parker was at my dad's last night, so he was not with me during my afternoon with my favorite girls.  I was really intimidated by the idea of being with both the girls totally alone.  So intimidated I tried to bride mr to help me all afternoon.  When Parker was little, he was never content with a small amount of attention.  He never played alone until he about 4...so I thought that it would be like babysitting 2 Parker's at the ages of 3 and 9 months...I wouldn't have been able to handle that with as much ease.  These little girls are so special and happy that I didn't have to do much of anything.  When I came up, Quinn was watching a show about a mouse ballarina.  She was dancing along with the show.  She loved it.  Twirling and doing the hand motions, occasionally looking back at me for approval.  She was very proud of her self.  She was completely pleasant and helpful the whole time until we picked up Parker, then she seemed like she needed some time to herself.  Quinn is such a smart little girl and is at the perfect age where she verbalizes her wants and needs, but also everything else that she is thinking.....like how many cars there were on the highway or that we were almost home or that she was too tired to eat dinner.

I met Quinn when she was rather young, just turning 1, so we have been in her life for long enough that she has always known us.  Although she was young and I have seen so much of her grow and develop, it isn't the same as watching Sadie grow.  I have known Sadie from the very beginning.  Even for living right below them, I don't see them nearly as much as I feel like I should.  But seeing your best friend grow during pregnancy and then to meet the baby who had been in there, watching that baby develop from a new born to an infant to pulling up and wanting to walk is so amazing.  It is like she is mine but not because I don't see her every day, but it is the same feeling.  I guess that is probably what being an Aunt feels like.  She was asleep when I came up and after a bit, started crying when she woke up.  A lot of kids would be concerned when they wake up and their parent is not there, but as soon as I picked her up, the tears stopped and she smiled at me.  Sadie's smile is precious.  She looks like she is laughing when she smiles because it is so big.  Her big bottom teeth are the first things you notice but then you realize that she had to top ones too.  She smiled real big and I saw that there are two more that are cutting through on the top.  Just like Quinn, she is very content and self entertained.  She sat and squished some peas while she ate for a while.  She bounced in her bouncer for a while and then she crawled around going from interesting toy to interesting toy.  At one point she pulled up on the leg of her bouncer.  I didn't know that she was pulling her self up to stand already.  It was so cool to see her do that.

Overall the afternoon and early evening could not have gone better.  We drove to West Chester to get Parker, which was pretty hysterical to have 3 car seats in my back seat.  It was a little nerve racking to have all three of them in the backseat, not because they misbehaved, but because that is a lot of kids in a car.  That is a lot of precious cargo.

I am so lucky to have those little girls in my life.  My and Parker's lives are so enhanced with them being our family.  I don't know how it worked out so well that Nikki and Zach's paths crossed mine but I am so happy everyday that they did.  Having great neighbors is one thing, but having neighbors that turn into family is so much better.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A New Leaf

It feels like too much right now.  Parker is ending Kindergarten in about 2 weeks and I just calculated that it will cost me about $2000 to send him to daycamp for the summer.  That is so much money!  I would almost rather quit my job and stay home that spend that much money. (I know that makes no sense what so ever but $2000 on day camp makes me vom a little).

I have an amazing support system but when it comes to times like these, it is not big enough.  I can't ask my family to help because they are too far away and I can't ask too much of my neighbors because they have a full house hold as is.  I feel like screaming when I have to figure out what to do with him while he isn't in school.  How do parents do it?  I am candidly asking.  I need help.  I need a boost.  I don't know that I can handle this right now.  I think I need to make a drastic change in my life so that figuring out summer break for my son isn't so difficult.....but maybe it doesn't matter what would change, maybe it is hard to figure out for everyone.  Maybe I am just bitching for no reason.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Changes

Children change us...that is something no one can argue.  Remember those commercials that were in black and white and it was always a parent and child doing something with a caption.  Okay, bad description, the one I can remember the best was a dad and his boys looking at a frog they had just caught and it said "boys night out" then at the end of the commercial it said "having a baby changes everything."  It was always slightly confusing as to what it was selling, but they were for Johnson and Johnson.  Anyway, it is true and you think that it is just when they are a baby that your life changes for the most damatic, which is true, but they continue to change you as they grow up.

Parker decided that this year for his birthday, it would be a Star Wars theme.  I know you are probably thinking that it is too early to be thinking about that, but I like to make the fancy cakes for him each year with the special pans, so this is typical.  (the whole baking the fancy cake thing is definitely something that he changed in me).  I am not sure where he gained as much Star Wars knowledge as he has but it isn't from me.....at all.  But now, we are getting ready for watch the first Star Wars ever created together.  I know it isn't the true beginning, but it was the beginning of most people's Star Wars experience.  I also found an R2-D2 discontinued cake pan on eBay....very expensive but now I have to have it.  His interest in Star Wars and the story and the characters has made me look up more about those stories than I ever had cared about knowing before he showed interest in it.  Now, with in two days, I care about it.  He continually changes my interests and what I care about learning so that I may know and understand what he is talking about.

Sometimes I wonder what kinds of things he would care about if he was a she.  If he was a she would I feel like my interests have changed as drastically as I do now?  Like I have said before, I know nothing of what it means to be a boy or anything that goes along with it, so maybe that is to account for the continual change that I feel, or maybe it would be the same if he was a she.......I guess I'll have to have a little girl and find out ....ha. ha...haha..... (uncomfortable sarcastic laughter inserted here) 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weirdos

The other morning Parker was fighting the cold table in a karate type fashion (he take karate once a week and then after watching the new Karate Kid...he has been OBSESSED!).  He typically marches to the beat of his own drummer, or whatever the saying is, but for some reason that struck me as odd enough/funny enough to mention on facebook.  It has and always will be my belief that children who hit about 6 or 7 all become weirdos.  I have never been a fan of kids ages 7-13....they are weird.  When I used to want to be a teacher, it was either up to 5 years or after 14.....never that inbetween.  I don't know why, but I remember I was probably at my weirdest, most socially awkward betweent those ages.  Since becoming a mom though, my mind hasn't changed about that so much as little boys in general.  I never had brothers or close boy relatives growing up so everything boy is quite strange to me.  I shudder even writing that sentence because of my other deep rooted belief that most of what is defined as "boy" and "girl" is a social construct....but that isn't really what I wanted to talk about here.  Back on point, i was fearful for a moment the other day that he was entering the "dark ages" of weirdness early.  He has always been a little bit a head of the crowd in terms of development.  So hence writing on facebook about....is it just my kid or all little boys?  Of course I had responses from other mothers of sons agreeing that it is in fact all boys.  (I know your thinking, you are writing about a facebook status update on your blog....LAME....give me another couple sentences, I'll connect it)

So today Parker was talking about how he thinks Quinn (Happy 3rd Birthday Quinn!) is so weird and he just doesn't understand why she is as weird as she is and so on and so forth.  Having a soft heart for all the weirdos out there....I defended her and asked if it matter to him that she is a little weird.  His response was classic, "No it doesn't matter.  It's fun to be weird."  Besides laughing, two thoughts came to mind....the fighting the cold table and a comment I made when I was about 7 to a bunch of my 1st grade peers.

I was definitely a kid far from the in crowd.  I don't know why the cards fell they way they did and why I wasn't "in."  When I was a child, I didn't care what anyone thought about me or how I acted, I was defensive of my personality.  Even though, much like everyone else, I wanted to be popular, I never chased it or tried.  This one time at recess, I can't remember who, but a couple people looked at me and said, "you are so weird!"  I remember my response perfectly, "Well, I'd rather be weird than normal!"  Said with straight attitude!

After those two thoughts popping into my head after he made his comment....I realize that his weirdness and the joy he sees in others being little left of center is probably genetic.  I hope he always feels that way and is never clouded by the wanting to be part of the crowd.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Loneliness

Feeling lonely is not fun.  Parker is normally here to keep me company but he is with his Grandparents until Wednesday when we leave for our fist solo vacation to Tennessee.  Even when he is here though, I am starting to feel lonely.  I am back to my routine of staying up too late, watching too many movies and wanting to have someone to call.  I remember last year around this time being content with life and not allowing myself to feel lonely.  I want to get back to that place but I don't know how right now.  I know I am strong and resilient but it seems too far away right now to know that I will get back there.  I don't want to be the kind of parent that depends on my child to not be lonely but right now I wish he was here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another Parent-Teacher Conference

Make way for Proud Mama!  Today was my second Parent-Teacher conference for Parker.  I wasn't as nervous this time as I was last.  Parker's behavior has been eons better than it was in the fall.  Our new morning arrangements have been tiresome but beneficial.  This is really funny, I was a little nervous about talking to his teacher because this morning Parker told me that his red workbook was supposed to be turned in before spring break (which is next week).  Well....little story about the red notebook.....he is no where close to having it finished.  We used to work on it in the fall but it was a little further ahead than what he was learning at school and it would always end in frustration and tears.  Then I lost it.....(i know....bad mommy).  I found it last week and he has been working on it in the mornings while he is at work with me.  It has been a breeze for him now.  So when he told me about completing the workbook by tomorrow I told him that the last 45 pages would be easy but we would just have to crunch down and do them when we get home.....the underlying lesson from mom....how to be a Grade A procrastinator!!!  Another reason I will be receiving Mom of the Year this year.  But anyway, while I was driving to the school I was trying to think of reasons why he didn't have it completed to tell the teacher.  When I got there, Parker was across the hall with the after school program and he invited himself to the conference as well.  I asked about the workbook and the teacher looked at me and kind of shook her head no as I went into the story that Parker had fabricated about being the only student who hadn't turned it in.....she laughed.  It is never due, just a way to get kids used to the idea of homework and to get parents into the habit of helping.  Completely embarrassed but totally relieved.

I am so happy with his progression at that school.  I was so nervous about sending him to a Montessori school, but close to the end of Kindergarten, he has been doing 1st grade work.  His teacher said that when he turns in his writing assignments, it is complete and beautiful...he takes his time and his pride in his work shows on the paper.  Their writing samples that the school used for the state testing a couple weeks ago were hanging up near where we sitting.  His had a picture of Batman and a sentence that he wrote on his own telling why he brought Batman for show and tell.  He also wrote a letter to me on his own with limited spelling help.


I can't even explain how amazed I am at how smart he is and how he has developed.  In the letter that he wrote, that is a picture of the two of us together in Jimmy John's clothes.  What a ham!  My 5 year old who looks like he is 7 is doing the same work as other 7 years old in 1st grade classes.  It is astonishing.  He is smart, kind, a good friend and role model.  
So yea, like I said....make way for Proud Mama!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blank Space Where my Mind Should Be

The 30 day blog challenge was great.....I had something specific to write about everyday.  I couldn't allow my mind to wander and only want to write about a specific person.  But now I sit here siliently because I don't want to go back to only wanting to think and write about him.  I made decisions last week that have yet to be determined if they were good or extremely self destructive.  I know....I know.....you are wondering why.  So am I.

I want to write but I have no thoughts right now.....some one give me something!  Please?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March

When I was little and people would ask when my Mom's birthday was, I would tell them, March 15th....they would say, "The Ides of March."  But as a child, I always heard, "The Eyes of March."

Today is my Mom's birthday.  I will not disclose her age because she will already be mad at me enough for putting these pictures on here.  She hates all pictures of herself, I can understand, I feel the same about pictures of me.  But anyway, today I am obviously writing about her.

We celebrated her birthday over the weekend because Lauren was home from Michigan and I drove up from Cincinnati.  Saturday morning, Lauren and I decided that we would swoop her up once we arrived in Dayton and take her for a pedicure.  I swear there is nothing better than a pedicure after a long work week.  Jen then met up with us after she was done with work.  The picture is from the nail drying station, I was on one side and those three were on the other.  We were laughing and being so loud that I am pretty sure the workers were talking smack about us in Vietnamese.  But that is the joy of being around my mom and my two sisters....no matter what is going on in our personal lives, we can just have fun and laugh until we either choke or cry.  It helps when my Mom makes up strong cocktails too.....(we raided the liquor cabinet later that night).



Pat took us all out to a great early dinner the next day and then we celebrated with cake and more laughter until we all had to go our seperate ways.  I hope that my Mom had a great time....

She is so wonderful that every year I never know what to get her to show how amazing she is to me.  We had a rough patch when I was younger, but we are so close now that I would never change the path of our relationship.  She and I can relate on a unique level compared to my sisters because we are both mothers and because we have both been or are single parents.  Granted my dad was involved, but she gets it when I talk about how hard it is to drop the kid bomb when you meet someone.  She gets it when I just need some time to myself.  She gets the things that I don't say more than anyone else out there.  She also makes me want to be the best at everything I do.....I still get childishly giddy when I know that I have made my Mommy proud.

I hope your birthday is wonderful Mom....thank you for everything.

I love you :)

 (evil eyes...note that Jen's look normal and not evil at all...she is bad at making faces)



Monday, March 14, 2011

Rainy Day

Last rainy Saturday, Parker and I decided to get back to our typical weekends of doing fun free things around Cincinnati.  Luckily the night before I was looking at the Cincinnati Art Museum's website and found out that the first Saturday of every month they have family fun day.  Naturally it fit the next day's rain.

Last summer, Parker and I spent the afternoon hiking around Eden Park and we had walked by the Art Museum.  That day he wanted to go, but it was too wonderful outside to spend the afternoon inside....so we kept hiking.  It was perfect timing last weekend.  There is a new exhibit that just started there too, American Circus Posters.  It was really neat.  I love old propaganda posters from any point in history so it was something that both of us could thoroughly enjoy.  (expect the clown posters....why are they so creepy?)

We started our afternoon there with a scavenger hunt.  There were clues that took us all around the galleries.  Each one had to do with a specific piece of art on the walls.  At first I wasn't sure about the scavenger hunt and whether Parker would enjoy it but it turned out to be a great way for him to connect with the art.  He was excited about finding the right piece before me and writing down the information needed to answer the question.  One of the tasks was to redraw a painting of a clown....it was great to see what Parker drew based on his own interpretation.  We also met an artist who is in charge of a gallery in Northside.  When Parker had to ask him a question, he suddenly became shy...it's funny to witness your very outgoing child suddenly have fear of speaking to a new person.  I wonder why that happens......but anyway.







At the very beginning of the day, they had clown noses that they passed out to all of us because of the theme of the day.  And again, based on that theme, there were performances.  The first one we saw was by the kids at My Nose Turns Red Theatre Company.  It was hysterical!  Parker laughed so hard at the other kids performing.  His eye lit up and I have a feeling he would fit right in at the camp they have over the summer.  They kids did great juggling, hulu hoop, tightrope and balancing tricks.  They were very comical.











The next performance was from Happen, Inc.  They did some magic tricks that we unfortunately missed but the part we saw was great.  Although we really only got to see one group perform, I would have never heard of either of this places without having visited the museum.  I haven't been able to look further into Happen, Inc, but I know that it is a youth service place where Parker and I can go for more fun stuff to do that is really close to home.

It was a great day and I plan on going to this even every first Saturday.  I hope that Parker will continue to have interest in the Art Museum.  The only down side to the activities that they had were that they were more for school age children....which is fine for me, but other parents who have younger children would not have the same experience.