Thursday, July 28, 2011

A good life ...

A great dog.

Madeline J. Dog
April 15, 1995 - July 27, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Disorderly conduct

nap time

I wish I was a stickler instead of just pretending to be one.

It's easy to seem fussy within the margins of a viewfinder. You shove the mess to one side and focus on the part that seems calm and serene. It's an illusion.

You can't fool yourself into thinking you are organized and disciplined, however, or that you aren't failing at the basics.

You tell yourself it doesn't matter, but you aren't convinced.

You tell yourself tomorrow will be different.

Tomorrow they will brush their teeth after breakfast.

They will eat more protein and fewer sweets.

He will change his socks and she will go to bed on time ...

Even if you have to force them.

Tomorrow you will be more of the mother they need you to be, and less of the one that you are.

Because underneath the Pick-Your-Battles parenting style you've adopted, you know you are picking all the wrong ones.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When someone says 'I'm not a feminist'

but ...

I want to stop them and tell them whatever they planned on saying next is unimportant.

It is of no value to me.

Because that's what women were ostensibly told before our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought for the right to vote, or our mothers secured the ability to decide the size of their families.

But it's their choice to define feminism so narrowly.

Feminism, for some, is just a scourge of a word. But it has serious meaning for men and women who have struggled, and continue to struggle, to instill its tenants as a basic component of a free society.

Because, dear lady, like it or not, if you believe women and men are and should be treated equally under the laws of the society in which we live, you are a feminist.

Feminism has nothing to do with who opens doors for whom, or who stays home with the kids. It's not about forcing women into military service or forcing men to wear aprons. Although I'm sure our comfort with specific gender roles does blind us to the real issues of equality.

Personally speaking, people who boil feminism down to the assigning of household chores border on insulting.

Feminism isn't about obliterating feminine traits or emasculating males. It's not about the choices we make individually or for our own families. But it has everything to do with acknowledging the need for people to be able to make those choices - regardless of gender - for the betterment of society.

Feminism is about equality. Period.

It means we believe men are capable of nurturing. We believe women are capable of leadership. And everyone is uniquely important and deserving of basic rights.

It's about teaching boys they are not masters of the universe and teaching girls they are not victims of it. It's about respect for each other, and respect for our differences.

Feminists are everywhere women are respected. It doesn't matter what they wear, or what they do, or even which pair of chromosomes they posses.


*The top link is broken because BlogHer took down the post to which I was referring.

Monday, July 25, 2011

He was just born ...


Now he's practically a grown up.

Time. She flies.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What I learned yesterday ...

ER  ... 11:51 pm

* Lawn chairs can eat finger tips.

* We have some incredible friends (who will hunt through the weeds to find aforementioned dismemberment).

* "I was" over a cell phone sounds a lot like "Silas."

AND ...

* Emergency room visits aren't that bad when you realize the person in the back of the ambulance was your husband and not your son.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things I learned today ...


* Although domestic cats (many of which are feral) are estimated to kill millions of wild birds each year, more birds meet their untimely demise as a result of building collisions.

* I like to lessen my own culpability in ecosystem damage.

* Bells on collars do not prevent cats from killing wildlife; some studies suggest that the bells may even condition the animals to be more efficient at stalking their prey silently.

* Again with the minimizing of pet-owner responsibility.

* Cats are the Zebra muscle of the domesticated animal world -- an invasive species..

* And that catbird I managed to wrestle from her terrible claws will probably die anyway.


Oh, wait. There is an upside:

* A "University tested" and humane way to protect songbirds AND humiliate their would-be killers: The Cat Bib.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fear of heights

By the standards of my childhood haunts, the playground at the end of our block is as safe as they come. Age-appropriate structures, parents prowling every perimeter, many helping their children down the tall slide by offering their laps as sleds.

The lone, tall monkey bars, have gone. Replaced by lower, multi-tiered play areas.

Safety factors first.

social climber

I remember taking this picture and holding my breath as Ittybit climbed the chain ladder of the play station, for that's what a was -- a collection of slides and hanging bars that defied labels or definition. A tiny jungle gym for a marshmallow landscape.

Eighteen months old, still so baby-like, and there she was climbing to the grated platform, five feet off the ground, on her way to the circular slide.

I'd overheard so many parents telling their kids to get down, that they were too young, that it wasn't safe. So many eyes in my direction wondering where I'd gotten my parenting skills, no doubt from a Five & Dime that had gone bust?

But I had to fight my inner (paranoid) parent to let her.

So it was with interest that I read this about some emerging research on the benefits of risk on development.

Some of the points I found most interesting was that "safer playgrounds" weren't actually safer for play. The logic being the perception of safety actually made risk-taking seem less risky, and, therefore, injury just as likely.

Another point was that while many parents and some researchers expected childhood falls from high places to produce later psychological effects, such as phobias, the reverse was more true: Children who had engaged in the exploration of heights and endured childhood falls had fewer instances of phobias.

I suppose the obvious question for me is this: How do we, as parents, get over our own fears of emergency room visits?

Monday, July 18, 2011

And then my heart exploded

towel dry

If a photograph can be defining, I'd say this one does that about her.

Friday, July 15, 2011

For argument's sake

Scene: Morning Commute.

Cast of Characters: Ittybit, The Champ, A.M. Rider (Ittybit's BFF from way back to Kindergarten) and Yours Truly.

Destination: Various day camps.


ITTYBIT: MOM! Is that creepy crawly inside or outside.

YT: What? Where?

ITTYBIT: There, on the window.

YT: Oh, that's on the outside. Don't worry about it.

ITTYBIT: Don't worry! That green guy is hanging on like a crazy person. What if it gets in here?

YT: It won't get in here. I promise that is on the outside. See how the wind blows it around. ... Wow. That thing really is hanging on. ...

A.M. RIDER: What is that thing?

YT: It's the color of an aphid but it looks like a grasshopper. Maybe it's an adult aphid?

A.M. RIDER: Aren't aphids those tiny things that are really tasty snacks for Ladybugs?

YT: Yes. Yes. I don't know maybe it's just a mighty green grasshopper.

THE CHAMP: I frink its a squid. That's what it is, a squid.

A.M. RIDER: It's not a squid. They live in the water.

THE CHAMP: Not always.

ITTYBIT: Yes always!

THE CHAMP: Nuh, uh.

A.M. RIDER: Yes uh!

YT: What makes you think squid live out of water, bud?

THE CHAMP: Vector's squid launcher. Those squids weren't in water.

ITTYBIT: That's not real! That's a movie!

THE CHAMP: It is, too, real.

A.M. RIDER: Nuh uh!

ITTYBIT: Hey, where did the aphid/grasshopper/squid go?

YT: I let him inside. He wanted to hear this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SpaghettiOs Western

hunting party

Starring The Pajama Kid and his trusty sidekick, Mousealini.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He's an excellent driver

"Dad lets me drive slow on the driveway every Saturday."

Monday, July 11, 2011

First you must float

arm over arm

Pools scare me.

There. I said it.

Despite the fact that my husband worked doggedly in the wind and rain and sun to renovate the pool that he ... well ... broke.

From the moment he got it gurgling to a clear, if not dark-bottomed oasis again - the first time since we moved into the house - I've been counting the days until winter.

When we can close it on up again.

I can't stop thinking about the statistics. About the people we actually know, as well as those we've read about in the news, who have lost children in pools.

I can't stop thinking about how I could have been one of those statics myself, when I was a toddler and slipped into a pool at a party and sunk to the bottom.

But we can't live in fear. We have to be practical. And proactive.

Even if I am mostly NEGATIVE.

* No kids in the pool yard without an adult. Ever.

* No beginning swimmers in the deep end without an adult who is free to swim with them one-on-one.

* Not following the directions of adults is grounds for ouster from pool area for the remainder of the day.

And one positive ... The most important positive of all pool rules:

All children must learn to float on their backs first and foremost.


After they master that, we'll work on the crawl.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Trial by jury

jury pool

I'm one of those moms people keep talking about. Kind of. ...

I'm the kind who can picture themselves dealing with a missing child. Or not dealing with it. Picturing themselves, instead, not coping at all.

But I couldn't bear to watch the media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. I couldn't stand to see all the law-abiding citizens lining up for a chance to gawk, rationalizing their behavior as anything other than morbid fascination and mob mentality.

I couldn't stand the presumption of guilt.

And then she was acquitted, stunning pretty much everyone except, it seems, folks who believe evidence should weigh more heavily than the circumstances surrounding that evidence. More heavily than emotion. Especially when first degree murder is charged.

I can understand the shock. I can understand the anger being raw and natural. But I had to admit I was proud of that jury. Proud that they came to such an impartial judgment based on law for an otherwise unlikeable woman.

Most people it would seem, at least in the immediate aftermath, see the decision as proof of a fatally flawed American justice system. And already states are trying to remedy it with more reactionary laws.

I hope they come to their senses, though. Because what happened in Florida is how the system is supposed to work.

Friday, July 08, 2011



Need to say thank you?

We love to say thank you with drawings on plain paper.

Parents can draw the square borders, ears, neck and chin so the figures are roughly the same size, and kids can add the hairline and faces to make them unique.

Give kids a class picture as a visual aid and you have an easy, inexpensive and personalized way to make thank-you cards, valentines, notes or invitations.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Car chase

car chase

The Champ was bequeathed a battery-powered car by a friend who outgrew it.

Jed is still trying to wrap his head around how it is possible to outgrow such a toy.

He is also confident that one day he will fit in the cockpit.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

We did manage to use the colors Red, White and Blue

dragon dancer

We may have been the only people in North America who celebrated Independence Day by marching in The Peoples' Parade with a Chinese Dragon.

In our defense, however, our dragon was made in America.