Saturday, September 29, 2012

Enough already

Fall is a difficult time behavior-wise for the kid. Has been for the last several years. I think it is heavily related to his allergies and (allergy-induced) asthma, though going from the highly unstructured summer time he has with his Poppa, to school, well, that absolutely makes it harder.

The asthma means he doesn't sleep well. And his behavior when he isn't sleeping well is, well, to be honest it's ridiculously frustrating. He doesn't listen. He's beyond wild and wound up. He's sneaky (though, really, he's not very good at that. Which I suppose is a good thing). He's tormenting his brother for no apparent reason. And that, in particular, is something that both is not at all normal for him and pisses me off in a super huge way.

This has been going on for 2 months.

And I. Have. Had. It.

Lately I have found myself resorting to threats and consequences and even yelling with the kid. Like, a lot. These are things I know don't work (with my kid in particular, and really aren't good parenting strategies in general with any kid). Or, at a minimum, should be used as a last resort. But, they've been my go-to of late, the first (albeit crappy) tricks I pull out of the bag.

Rationally, I know that praise works best on him. But, truthfully, I'm finding it hard to find things to praise. Like, really hard. And even when I can find something, I am so irritated by all the challenging behaviors, that I have a hard time praising him in an honest and sincere manner. (Read: not through gritted teeth.) Which, of course, means that even the praise is minimally effective.

We're stuck in this ugly, teeth-gnashing, loud, whiny cycle. And it's not only not working for me or the kid, it's not working for anyone else in my house. Baby E laughs when I start counting to three with him. As in, gleefully laughing while running away. Not even he wants to listen to me. And, hell, I don't want to listen to me either. Because my voice grates on even my own nerves. Nothing I've been doing lately would make me want to behave either.

So, I need to check myself in a major way and pull out those strategies that do work. I need to reign in my own attitude, because how can I expect my 6yo to do so if I, as an adult, can't manage it. I need to be genuine when I praise him. And I need to be praising him a lot more. We need to experiment with his asthma medication (increase it for the time being) until frost kills the damn ragweed to get his allergies better under control.  I also need to get some sleep myself, because I'm fairly certain that would improve matters as well.

Mostly, I need to take some deep breaths and remember that he is only a little boy. He is only 6. And he, just like everyone else, is entitled to some bad days, especially when he isn't feeling well.

Today's Lesson: Even when you know a lot of the "right" things to do. Even when you have the tools, the resources, the support to make the right choices. Even then, it can be hard to do. Even then, you can screw up big. Because that's part of being human. But, as a parent, it is my job to set the example. It is my job to teach my child that it is okay to admit that I've screwed up. It is my job to
teach my child that it is important to apologize when I've screwed up. Because otherwise, how can I expect them to know how.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

World MilkSharing Week: Lauren's Story

Around May 2008 my husband and I decided to try and start a family.  Like so many others, we encountered problems.  We saw our regular doctor who referred us to a fertility specialist.  We tried month after month with assisted reproductive therapies to get pregnant but with no luck.  I have to say, those 18 months of trying to conceive were the hardest time emotionally and mentally that I (and our marriage) have ever endured.  I’d like to think I came out as a stronger person because of it, and our marriage is stronger too.  

Our October 2009 IVF proved to be successful, and our son, Liam, was born July 2010.  Breastfeeding at first was challenging.  I had to use a nipple shield to help him latch, he was tongue tied and had to have it clipped, and he had a bad case of jaundice which caused him to be lethargic and not want to eat (which is necessary to get rid of the jaundice).  We just thought we had a tan baby who rocked a laid back attitude – we couldn’t have been more naive!

I was instructed to pump around the clock in addition Liam nursing to help bring in my milk.  So I pumped, and I pumped, and I pumped.  Then my milk came in.  Whoa baby, did it come in!  It was like someone opened up the somewhat painful, flood gates!  I felt like a cow – literally!  When Liam wasn’t eating, it seemed that I was always pumping.  His jaundice subsided and we battled through reflux before breastfeeding finally started to go more smoothly.

I started storing all the milk Liam didn’t eat.  When I returned to work, I continued pumping to keep my supply up so I could nurse him until he weaned on his own.  After a few months, I ran out of freezer space.  I pumped enough to feed Liam fresh milk all the time.  I actually bought an upright deep freezer to accommodate all the frozen breast milk I didn’t know what to do with! 

People kept telling me I should donate it.  But to whom?  So after some research, I found Human Milk for Human Babies via Facebook; a place where people in need of breast milk can connect up with people willing to donate breast milk.  I posted that I had extra milk if anyone wanted it and waited for a response.

Becky sent me a message.  She told me about her blog which allowed me to “get to know” and understand her and her family.  We planned a meeting for her to pick up the milk.  Everything went great.  Looking back, she probably thought I was crazy because I was in a hurry and sort of raced in, dumped the milk, and raced off!  Plus, I already knew everything about her from her blog, right?! J  On some level, I felt good  helping her on her breastfeeding journey.  As time went on, I met Becky a few more times to give her milk.  Each time it felt like seeing an old friend.  It was almost comforting to know that I was personally making a difference in her and her family’s lives. 

Around October 2011, my husband and I decided to try and expand our family.  Liam was still breastfeeding so fertility medications were out of the question. We had overcome so many obstacles (overactive let-down, biting, and several nursing strikes in additional to all the early issues).  To me, weaning Liam would mean ruining this amazing bond we shared.  Not to mention that with fertility treatment, there is never a guarantee of pregnancy.  So I could potentially end up weaning Liam and still be left without a baby!

We forged ahead with an unmedicated IUI cycle, which our fertility specialist informed us would likely be unsuccessful.  I knew I had to at least try it because the only alternative was to wean Liam and proceed with medications.  This plan allowed Liam to wean himself when he was ready. Shock doesn’t describe how we felt on Halloween 2011 to find out we were pregnant! 

Liam and I continued on our breastfeeding journey but it gradually slowed down and eventually stopped around Easter 2012 because my milk dried up due to pregnancy.  I was devastated to end our breastfeeding journey. Liam was, too, and did not give up easily on nursing. He did eventually surrender to a bottle with cow’s milk. 

There’s something unexplainable, almost impossible to put into words, about the amazing bond a mother and baby share through breastfeeding.  I always tell people who ask that breastfeeding is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also been the most rewarding.  
We now have a beautiful 3 month old little girl.  Our breastfeeding journey is just starting.  We haven’t had too many obstacles thus far (fingers crossed that we don’t).  But we have been lucky enough to be blessed with a plentiful supply of milk again which we have already started donating. 

There are a lot of things I do wrong as a parent, but one thing I’m good at is pumping, storing, and donating breast milk!  So I plan to continue.  To me, donating breast milk is sort of the affirmation that I was able to overcome obstacles for the benefit of my child(ren).  I’m elated to have the ability to help other parents overcome their own obstacles, even if only in a very small way.  Because we, as parents, can use all the help we can get!    


Kinley and Liam – 9/14/2012
Today's Lesson: I think Lauren's last line says it all - We, as parents, can use all the help we can get! I so agree with her. And have yet to find the words to adequately explain to her how much we appreciate the thounds and thousands of ounces of help she has given us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday E!!!!

Today is baby E's 2nd birthday. And while I'm not going to do a big long post today, I promise one sometime this week with lots of pics from his birthday. But I just couldn't let today pass without posting something.

This cheesy little creature has turned my life upside down. I was organized, and slept a lot more, and weighed 20lbs less, and watched a lot more TV before he was born. I also didn't know I was capable of so much love. Or how profoundly it would affect me seeing the kid love his little brother so much. Or how much joy this silly boy would bring.

Today I also have been thinking constantly about R and DJ. The choice they made, well, I know I'll never understand how hard it was. I wish they were with us today to celebrate the amazing little bay E is becoming.

A sneak peak from E's Brown Bear party Saturday
Today's Lesson: Sometimes what looks like excitement and joy, turns out to be part that, and big part overstimulation. You will learn this when your nearly 2yo takes more than 2hrs to go to sleep after his birthday party because he's twitching and babbling incessantly and incoherently in his bed. It'll be funny for a little while. But then, not so much. Apparently it's his way of processing the whole thing. Next time, give him the melatonin with his cake instead of juice. Some lessons we inevitably learn the hard way.

Monday, September 24, 2012

World Milksharing Week

Last year during World Milksharing Week I had a couple of guest posts from two of our fabulous breastmilk donors - Julie and Rachel, aka Weston's mama.

An update on Julie - she's pregnant with munchkin #2. She  isn't able to pump much these days (pregnancy hormones and all) but continues to nurse little L (who is so freaking cute it hurts). I think she's planning to tandem nurse and I KNOW she'll donate milk again if she's able (and that seems absolutely likely).

And Rachel? Well that beautiful family also has a new addition in their family. And their sweet new guy is also thriving on his mama's breastmilk.

I've got a new guest post lined up for later this week from another of our super donors, Lauren. Lauren and Julie together have provided probably 80% or more of the milk baby E has had. I'm amazed by them. So make sure to come back later this week to read about her experiences with donating.

I know for many milksharing continues to be a controversial topic, something not understood, and thus feared. However, for us, for my family and the amazing women who have donated their milk to us, milksharing is normal. It is healthy. It is why my child thrives. It has allowed me to provide for him something that infertility and my inadequate body made impossible. There will never be enough gratitude for the gift milksharing has given us all.

For now, I'll leave you with a link to a story of one of our donor experiences that I shared on the official World Milksharing website. Here is direct link to our story.

Happy Milksharing Week!

Today's Lesson: Just because you don't understand something, that doesn't make it weird or wrong. It makes you uneducated about it. Educate yourself. If you then decide it's not for you, then that's what it is. It still doesn't necessarily make it weird or wrong for someone else.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grayson!!

If you don't know/read Elizabeth and Grayson at Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tales, well, you should. Elizabeth is a fabulous blogger, and an even more wonderful mama. Grayson, who - lets be honest - is adorable, has been diagnosed with Mitochondrial disease. Mito is, in short, a genetic disease that occurs when "the mitochondria of the cell fails to produce enough energy for cell or organ function" (

A few weeks ago, this family got the horrific news that Grayson has been given the fatal diagnosis of Leigh's Disease (a form of Mito). I don't know how Elizabeth is still standing. Her grace and faith are beautiful and inspiring. And G's smile never fails to bring one to my face as well.

Today we are celebrating baby E's 2nd birthday with a party with family and friends. And yet I know Grayson, his birthday and his family will be frequently on my mind. Please join me in wishing Grayson a Happy 2nd Birthday. And I know Elizabeth would also appreciate your prayers as she and her family figure out how to navigate through their new reality.

Happy Birthday, beautiful boy!!!

Today's Lesson: Sometimes we are touched by people who we have never met, people who we will likely never meet. Sometimes those people are regular, everyday people who are just living their lives. But they're doing it in such a way that they inspire others. They are a gift to us. And we can be a gift to them by letting them know what they have given us. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Cubicle Chronicles: Chapter Three

Read previous chapters of the Cubicle Chronicles here and here.

Naw, girl. I  got my candy stashed in my bible at home. That way I know nobody gonna be botherin' it. It's safe there, no doubt. (Now, that's just funny. Funny ironic, more than funny haha. But funny still. Also? I believe you.)

Yeah, whore. You get yo ass in here. 'Cause you know that's why you gotta have surgery done, 'cause you a whore. I mean, I didn't say that to her, but that's what I was athinkin'. All I did say to her was' quit bein' dirty then you wouldn't have to have this kinda surgery no more". (Holymotheryoudidnot saythattoapatient??!!!!!)

Hey! You all got many dead people over there? Can I come see 'em? I like the dead people. They can't be talkin' back to ya. I like it when things are quiet. (Yeah. Me, too.)

You know what my favorite position is? Any one where I can take my shoes off. (an interlude where I intentionally tuned out because I thought I was going to gouge my ears and cause permanent hearing loss. Then, I accidentally started listening again much MUCH too soon.) But sometimes, he wants to get in to one where I can't breathe. It's one where his belly rolls up and gets in the way. But he likes to look at me. I mean who don't?! (Me. I do not like to look at you. Or hear you. I am willing to bet, also, that I'm not the only one. And please refrain from talking about yourself being naked at work.)

If you ain't lookin' nappy at least some days, you ain't livin' life right. (I'm not even sure what this means.)

Why the hell is e'rebody here always trying to get in my bid-ness and make comments. (Um, well, I'm gonna hazard a guess that it's because you're talking about your "bid-ness" really damn loud. All.The.Damn.Time. But, like I said, that's just a silly little guess.)

And then he asked me if he needed to shave. I told him he could if he wanted to. He said he didn't want to shave if he didn't have to. And then I realized that he meant down there. I assured him we'd shave him down there if he needed it. He said he didn't want nobody down there with a razor. So I had to remind him that we were going to be down there with a scalpel. That shut him up quick. I don't think he'll shave though. (The conversations people have are sometimes simply unique to a medical setting. At least I hope they are.)

Today's Lesson is brought to you by the (original) author of most of this post: If you're in a relationship where you feel like you're ugly everyday and you just cry all the time, it ain't the right one for you. (So, some of the things that come out of her mouth do make sense/aren't offensive.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

For the Love of Teenage Girls

I'm sure I've told you how much my kid loves (LOVES) teenage girls. It started when he was a little dude, no bigger than baby E is now. We'd be just walking around the neighborhood and a gaggle of girls would wander down the other side of the road. This would cause the kid would literally stop in his tracks. He'd stand completely still, only following the girls with his head. Staring holes in them. Sometimes they'd look back, smile, say "hi". He'd grin his big face splitting smile and wave back. Or sometimes his eyes would just get really big and he'd continue to stare. Then he'd say, "them's my girls".

At one point he had 14 imaginary teenage sisters who all lived in our basement. Sometimes, when it's late and I have to go downstairs, I get creeped out thinking about all those imaginary sisters down there, mulling around. He hasn't mentioned them in quite a while, though, so maybe they've vacated the premises. I can only hope.

He desperately wanted a baby sister. I think part of that was because that meant she'd grow up to be a teenage girl.

He used to talk - all the time - about going on dates with different teenage girls (and women in their early 20's). He had a plan, y'all, about where they were going and what they were going to do. Though he tended to forget about the transportation issue.

We've joked about though he's little and cute right now, as he gets older, the behaviors/words he uses now in reference to teenage girls will move in to the realm of creepy, then even stalker-ish. We've hoped he'll outgrow it and learn more socially appropriate ways to, uh, appreciate the fairer sex. And really, overall, he's stopped talking about teenage girls quite so much in the last several months.

Until last week.

Hubby and the kid were in the car, headed home from running an errands. Something on the radio (probably some crappy country song) prompted hubby to ask the kid what he'd do if he had a million dollars. And the kid, well, just you guess what he said. My sweet, darling boy, he said that he would buy a whole bunch of teenage girls and keep them in his bedroom.

Hubby, when he could process speech again and had stopped laughing hysterically, asked the kid what he'd do with all those girls in there. The kid very quickly responded that it was a secret, something he wouldn't share. But, "make no mistake, the door will stay closed".

Ladies and gentleman, we have officially moved way past cute to creepy. And so very much earlier than I expected. Also, 14 imaginary creepy basement-dwelling sisters sound much better that 14 real adolescent girls held captive in my boy's room.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes there are things our kids do when they're little that seem cute and amusing. You know the things I'm talking about - the funny little tantrums, or the cuss words (oh, am I the only one who giggles when she hears profanity coming out of someone's toddler? My bad...), the teenage girl stalking. A word from the (now) wise, curb it when they're little. Those things are not nearly as cute when junior grows up. Or - apparently - is 6.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Brown Bear Lantern Animals

I've been making progress in getting ready for baby E's Brown Bear Brown Bear 2nd birthday party. The invites are made and sent. I saved one to take a picture and post for you. But, you know, I forgot. Hopefully we'll get a pic of it at his actual party (I really saved it to display at the party and then put in his scrapbook). My lovely friend JE helped me with those. Because she rocks.

So then I came across this cute raccoon on Pinterest.

 And then I thought, "I can do that! With all the Brown Bear animals!". Then I realized that *I* couldn't so much do it. I mean, not by myself. So I sent a text message to my dear friend, JE, asking (aka begging) for her to come help me create the animals. She's very kind and such a fabulous helper. Also, I was fairly certain that her creative-crafty side would find it hard to not come participate. I may have manipulated her a bit. But I love her. And seriously, they're so damn cute that it seems worth it. Also, I owe her. Big time. For reals.

So we set to work. I had bought 6 sets of Chinese lanterns (3 sizes of each color). So we could only do the animals of those colors. Because buying ALL those colors seemed like too much. And, after making these, totally would have taken FOR-EVAH!.

Here's the cute little duck. What you can't see is that he has a feather tail. Also, his legs are curly-q pipe cleaners (JE's idea). It's very cute.

I think the goldfish may be JE's favorite. He is adorable.
The frog kinda makes me giggle. He, too, has pipe cleaner feet. But my favorite part is his googly eyes (donated by the kid).
Before we look at this next picture, I am instructing you to 1. ignore the ridiculous mess that is my craft room. It's got all those summer activities stored in there, Christmas presents I've been buying, other crap, and the general sewing/crafting/scrapbooking clutter/chaos. I could lie to you and say it doesn't always look like that, but well, it pretty much always does.
Which leads us to 2. ignore how crazy I look. It had been a long day and I hadn't showered. I seriously looked in the mirror for the 1st time that day after JE left and was like, "holymother! How could no one have warned me??!". I could also lie to you and say I rarely look like that. But, well, that's probably how I look many weekend days, particularly if I'm not planning to leave the house. I do leave the house with piggy tails. Like, all the time. But I had at least brushed my teeth and washed my face. You're welcome, JE.
Pinky swear on no judgement? Okay. Now you may look at the rest of the adorable animals.
Today's Lesson: Look in the mirror before you invite someone over to your house. You can then decide that you either won't be photographed that day or that you just don't care that you look crazy. But at least it's informed crazy. Better to know that you look crazy than to be surprised by it. I think.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This is what we talk about at dinner

Here's the stimulating conversation at dinner at my house last night.

Bep-nin pee.
Yes, Zeplin (our friends' dog) pees.
Bep-nin pee ou-sigh.
Yes, Zeplin pees outside.
Pee staiw-s.
Oh, yes. Yesterday Zeplin peed outside on our stairs.
Nonah pee ou-sigh.
Yes, Jonah (our dog) pees outside.
No, no, no!! Nonah pee ou-sigh.
Ah, I see. Do you mean Jonah pees in the backyard outside?
Uh (yes). Nonah pee baaaaaaack.
Bepnin pee staiw-s.
Fortheloveofallthingsholy, please no more talk about dogs and pee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Poppa pee potty. Momma pee potty. [Kid] pee ou-sigh*. Baby pee bi-per (diaper).
(face plant)

Baby E, did you see my drawings?
They're really awesome, right?
Riiiiiiight, kid.  Kid riiiiight.
That's how it works, baby E. I'm right 'cause I'm the big brother.

How was school today, kiddo?
Tell me something awesome that happened.
Well, I had music. And did you see the drawings I did?
In music?
But what about music?
I'm talking about my drawings.
I'm asking you about music class.
(baby E) Poop!!!!!
(the kid) Hahahahahahaha!!!!
(hubby) Hahahahahaha!
(face plant)

I remember when complete and complex sentences - no, whole paragraphs! - were the norm at our dinner table. Urination and bowel movements were not. Sometimes I dream of meals not involving potty talk, or reminders to sit down. Reminders to use utensils. Reminders that throwing cups is not acceptable. Reminders that spitting is gross (not hilarious) and grounds for leaving the table.

But, then they make me laugh so hard I nearly spit my milk out. And I realize I wouldn't trade these days for anything. Conversations in the future will naturally become more "appropriate" and (surely!) there will be a day when there will be no rehashing the urination locations of everyone we've ever met. Surely. And if that's not the case, don't tell me. Let me live in my happy world.

*I have NO idea why baby E said the kid pees outside. He doesn't I swear! I mean, he does sometimes when we're camping. But he doesn't at home. I think. I hope. Sweetbabyjesus, please tell me my kid isn't peeing in our very visible suburban backyard.

Today's Lesson: Apparently a newly born grandchild takes precedence over following up with a parent in your child's class. This is seems totally reasonable. You know, while you're out of state with said grandchild. However, after you're back at work and have a couple of days to get caught up, perhaps you should call. Just sayin'. (And I'll be emailing her again tomorrow, since she never has called or emailed or anything. I'm sure she understandably just forgot with all that's been going on.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Mini Man Cave

Things have been a bit deep around here lately. Here's something to lighten it up a bit.
While the brand-spanking new washing machine and I are not particularly pleased with each other (to say the very least), the boys, on the other hand, are quite thrilled with its box. It amazes me how long a 5ft tall rectangle of cardboard can keep 2 boys busy and content.
I love the drawing the kid did in their "man cave". It's like a cross between Superman and a character from S.outh P.ark. I think the goatee is my favorite part. Although the enormous google eyes are quite fantastic. Cracks me up.
Love that boy.
Today's Lesson: Never underestimate the power of artistic expression to make you smile. Or the power of a box to occupy your children (in a non-what-the-hell-are-they-doing kind of way).

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hello Bites

Tonight at dinner I said something quite unexpected. I said, to baby E, "you have to eat something other than just vegetables!!!". And then I realized the oddity of what I'd just said and chuckled. My toddler was refusing to eat pasta or cheese in favor of vegetables. I smiled and let him go at it. He did eventually eat the pasta, too.

I am so grateful to have 2 kids who are awesome eaters. The kid certainly has a sweet tooth, and baby E would eat his weight in crackers some days, but, overall, they'll at least try anything. And generally will pretty much eat anything.

Though I believe that overall the boys' themselves are just built this way (to be great eaters), I do think we've had a small part in this. First, there's only one meal. It's what we're all having. So eat it or don't, but don't expect anything else. We (and by "we" I so mean hubby, because he cooks 90% of our meals) do make sure that every meal has something that everyone likes at least minimally well.

The boys are expected to take a "hello bite" of every food on their plates. If they don't like it, fine, they don't have to eat anymore. Generally, though, one bite leads to several more. Each of the boys certainly has a couple of things he isn't at all fond of. We continue to offer those foods, and they're expected to have one bite, but no more.

Now, if we were ever to stumble upon a food that made one of them vomit (i.e. me and canned beets - I feel nauseous just thinking about them), we wouldn't encourage them to continue to eat it. Also, this isn't a fight. Because it's an expectation that's been there from day one, there is no argument; they boys simply do it, sometimes with a single, gentle reminder.

We have exposed the boys to lots of different foods from an early age. I think this is a big part of why they're such adventurous eaters. Though the kid did have traditional baby food (as you know, we did Baby Led Weaning with E and he never had any store-bought or homemade baby food), we supplemented it with loads of table foods from early on. They've both had lots of tastes and textures from the beginning.

We also don't do the "clean plate club" in our house. But that's a post for another day.

I'm going to eat some pie now. Because it's yummy. And I had hello bites of everything tonight. Also, pleasebabyjesus, don't let my kids prove me wrong on all this tomorrow and refuse to eat anything but crackers and cookies for the rest of their lives.

Today's Lesson: Hello bites are a great tool to encourage all kinds of eaters to experiment with new foods. You never know what you might try and love!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

1 in 3

One out of every three women*. That's what the research and statistics say. Look to the woman to your right, the woman to your left, yourself. One of the three of you will experience, first-hand, gender-based/power-based violence at some point in your life. And that is simply not okay.

It's no secret that I'm a social worker (I refer you to the blog title itself if you're somehow surprised by that news). But I don't think this is a topic I've ever addressed (here). But a well-meaning comment posted on FB has gotten me on a bit of a rant today.

The comment was in response to some statistic similar to the one I posted above. And a friend said something to the effect that we need to teach our daughters to be alert. And my gut twisted and I immediately felt ill at just that simple - and I know well meaning - point.

So, here's my response, for all of you.

While I understand her point and intention in expressing the need for parents to teach their daughters to not accept violence and to be aware of the warning signs/red flags, I felt sick reading it nonetheless. To me, when we make statements such as these, we further blame women and girls. We set the full - or at least the majority - responsibility of not being abused on their shoulders. We inadvertently join the victim-blaming ranks. 

In my opinion, these beliefs also set up an underlying assumption that men should not and/or can not be responsible for their abusive actions. To me, it sounds the same as "if she hadn't done_______, I wouldn't have had to do______ to her". It is not a victim's responsibility not to be abused. It is a perpetrator's responsibility not to be abusive.

Look at it this way. It's not a child's responsibility to not have the crap beaten out of him. It is the parent's responsibility to conduct herself in a safe and loving way so as to make sure the child is safe.

Who would ever say that my nearly 6yo "deserves" to be beaten simply because he continues to tell me "no" and refuses to do what I've asked him, even though he can clearly see it is frustrating me and he continues to do it? If I am getting frustrated, it is my responsibility to deal with my frustrations (be it with deep breathing, a time out for him or me, whatever). It is not his job to "behave himself" simply so I don't lose it. I am responsible for not losing it. I am responsible for my own behavior. Not him.

And yet, we blame women.

And, to be honest, as a mother of boys, I am beyond offended by this belief. For there to be an underlying assumption that my sons, simply because they have penises and Y chromosomes are incapable of controlling their own behaviors, well, that is simply ludicrous. And moreover, it is insulting to all males.

And it's not a belief I'm willing to tolerate.

Let us, instead, teach and show our children to be kind to one another. Let us set THAT expectation. I think in order to really end gender-based violence, we have to reframe the way we view the problem. It is not a women's problem. It is a societal problem. One in which our men - my sons!- need to be as much the solution, as much responsible, as do our women - your daughters.

Stepping off soapbox now.

*Note: Men, of course, are also victims of violence. Statistically, it's much harder to know the actual numbers. But I think it's safe to assume, it's at much lower rates that women. So, for the sake of this post, I will be generally referring to the victim/survivor as "she" and the perpetrator as "he". However, please know that I absolutely do not mean to discount the experiences or importance of men who have also experienced violence.

Today's Lesson: Is the whole big rant up there, in an effort to encourage us all to take a look at the role we play in gender/power-based personal violence. And the role we can and should take in ending it.

Monday, September 3, 2012


So, have you been waiting on bated breath to hear what the teacher has to say about The Family Tree Project? Yeah, well I sure have. Wanna know what she had to say? "I've been out of town. I love your kid. Thanks so much for your email and I'll call you later this week." Sigh. Promise I'll let ya know as soon as I hear something substantial from her.

In the mean time, I wanted to take a moment, or paragraph, and thank you all for such great comments on my last post. Really, on the last several posts. Lately I've been an irregular blogger, reader and - particularly - commenter, so I really do appreciate how thoughtful you've been.

Today's Lesson: 1st grade... it is apparently the age when it is no longer cool to car dance with your momma in the mornings in the school carpool lane.  And, yes... it does hurt a momma's feelings when her kid says, "uh, no, momma. Just stop". Yes, yes it does. But she will continue doing it anyway. Just because she can.

Bonus Lesson (you know, since the post was lame and all): The washing machine dying when you're a cloth diapering family is traumatic. And stinky. Oh, so very stinky.