...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Talk


This is one of the first blogs that I ever wrote, before I even created SRM. I was asked to write for a local moms community, Trianglemommies, and writing for them helped me realize how much I wanted to start a blog of my own.
   I thought I had brought this one over a long time ago, but I guess not. And I figure since my blog has been delving into sexual education recently, that it was fitting to have my very first sexual education blog here. This occurred when I was pregnant with Soren, over four years ago.  Enjoy.



 
 
The Talk. If you are a parent, no further elaboration is needed when you hear those two words put together. You know exactly what it means. Two simple words, that can bring unease, discomfort, and anxiety to any parent as they wonder not if, but when they will need to deal with this particular part of parenting. How old will their child be when it comes up? How will I deal with it? How much information do I give? What if I'm not ready?

Each of us have our own level of comfort when it comes to discussing sex as an adult. But when dealing with those questions from your precious child, it doesn't matter how comfortable we are in our own sense, explaining the birds and the bees to our kids is always nerve wracking. And after you have run the gauntlet of The Talk itself, you constantly look back and wonder how you did. Did I mess my child up? Give him too much information? Too little? Does he understand? Did I damage him in any way while explaining? And no matter when or where it happens, that memory is burned into your brain forever. You will remember every minute detail of the conversation, from the way they furrow their brow as they try to understand, or the eyes as they get big when they finally get it, and of course, the questions they ask.

Kids start asking questions at a very young age. They always come at random times, usually when you're in the car, completely unready, listening to music or thinking of all the errands you need to get done before dinner time. And that little voice in the backseat pipes up over the radio and says "Mommy, where do babies come from?" Consider yourself lucky if they start asking questions young. You can practice for the big day, by giving them simple answers comprehensible to little ears. When they're young they really want to know just what they ask. They don't need details unless they ask. Answering this question to a 3 yr old is hard when it's your 3 yr old, but easier than later on when they're 8. They have less questions. And you can look back on your approach, analyze it, and start fine tuning for the harder questions that are sure to come later.

Below is my own personal experience of dealing with discussing sex with my kid. I offer my own so others may get an idea of when and where it could happen, and how I dealt with it. My way is neither right or wrong, it just was. And each one of us has our own ideas on how to approach We each have our own idea of what we would like to do when the time comes, but in reality, these things just spring up on you with no notice. I wrote down everything that was said, down to the details so be ready for a few words we as a society tend to keep quiet on =)

It was an ongoing joke in our family that because we have boys, my husband would be responsible for dealing with the big questions. I kept warning him over the years to be ready for those questions because one day they will ask you and you don't want to be caught off guard. My husband would smile and nod and go back to whatever it was he was doing. I didn't realize how little sway we parents have on who will be the one to answer those questions. In the end my husband got off scott free. When it finally came to The Talk it was to me my son came, all alone, with no help from husband whatsoever. I remember very clearly and always will, the night it happened.

I was preparing dinner for the family and my 6 yr old had just finished his homework in the dining room. He wandered into the kitchen, asked if he could help and I agreed. He grabbed a step stool so he could work on the counter easily. I was making breaded pork chops and I handed him 3 eggs and a bowl and asked him to crack the eggs in the bowl for me. As each egg cracked, he stared at it, fascinated by the gooey texture and bright yellow center. Pointing at the center he asked
"Mom is that yellow part what would have been the baby chicken?"
Thinking fast, as I did not want him flipping out thinking we were eating baby chickens I said "Under normal circumstances yes, the yellow part would have been the chicken. But these eggs were never fertilized, so even if we didn't eat them they wouldn't turn into baby chickens."
"Mom, what does fertilized mean?
"Well, in order to make an egg into a chicken a male chicken, creates something called sperm and he has to put it on the egg. When the sperm and egg join together it creates a baby chicken." He thought about this for a moment as we continued getting our pork chops ready. Then he turned to me and said
"Well how do humans fertilize eggs to make babies?"
I looked at him for a moment, then down at my protruding tummy, which cozily nestled our third child to be. He looked too and then up into my eyes, waiting. Sitting down on the kitchen floor, leaning against the cabinets, I got comfortable and without thinking I just went with the flow.
"Well you know how boys have a penis and girls have a vagina?"
"Yes."
"And you know that women are the ones who carry a baby in them until they are ready to be born?"
He looks at my bulging tummy. "Yes"
Well like chickens, women have eggs inside them..."
"Mom, you have chicken eggs in you???"
"Haha no. I have eggs in me but they're different from a chicken egg. They're much smaller and they don't have a hard shell."
"Oh"
"So as I said with chickens and fertilization, male chickens have sperm. Human men have sperm too inside their body. That's why you need a man and a woman to make a baby together, even though the woman carries the baby."
"if you need sperm from a man to help make an egg into a baby, how does it get there?"
"well, when you have a man and a woman who love each other very much, and are husband and wife, and they want to make a baby they do something called sex."
"OK... what's sex?"
I sighed. "Sex is when a man puts his penis into a woman's vagina which allows the sperm from the man to travel up to where the woman's eggs are. Once the sperm and egg meet up they form a baby. Which is why you only ever have sex when you are an adult, love someone and want to have a baby."

My son looked at me for a moment, then down at my tummy, then at me. Realization dawned on him as he put two and two together. And in a clear loud voice he said
"Ewwww! That's disgusting!!!"
I laughed. "Of course it sounds disgusting. You are still a boy and sex is not for boys. But there will come a time in your life when you start growing into a man and a lot of changes will happen to your body. And when that time comes, it might not sound so bad. But remember, even when you get to that point in life, sex equals babies. So you only have sex with your wife and you both feel you are ready to have kids."
"What about buying babies instead. Can I buy a baby?"
"That's adoption. And even babies from adoption are made the same way."
"Well I don't ever want sex. I'm glad I'm a kid."
"You and me both, sweetie. You and me both."

I wonder how I did. I feel like I kept my cool during the conversation itself, but afterwards I went upstairs to my husbands office and started chanting, oh man oh man oh man ohmanohmanohman. And I kept thinking to myself, one boy down, two to go.

I'll never look at breaded pork chops or eggs the same again.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pretty Little Pottymouth


I'm  curser. When I'm out with my adult friends I could make a hardcore sailor blush within three minutes. I minimize my potty mouth around the kids, but I readily admit that sometimes I fuck up. In order to cover my arse, I have taught my children the golden rule to swearing:


Swears are adult words. One earns the right to swear by reaching the wonderful age of 18.




For the most part, my kids get it. Xavier does not swear, but does ask from time to time if certain words are adult words or accessible to him: like crap, suck, etc. I tell him it totally depends upon the context. If you want to say this sucks, I'm ok with that. However, yelling "You suck"! at the computer (or the G-rents) is not acceptable.

Ashe never swears. When he is upset, he opts for the simple use of volume, and screams so loudly that it is a wonder we have not yet used our savings to purchase new windows.

Soren, on the other hand, is still learning. And once in awhile, I find myself doing three things at once;

  • slamming my head against the wall for being an idiot and swearing once too many times for Soren to parrot back what I say
  • Informing Soren that, while his use of verbal insults has been used in the proper context, he is still not old enough to use said curse word for another 15 years
  • laughing so hard at his little boy voice pronouncing "fuck" so perfectly, that I begin to cry



 
 



A couple of weeks ago our kitten Bax went missing, as she sometimes does. She refuses to meow when she is stuck somewhere, instead believing that at some point in time, her awesome family will find her. Either that, or she is just thrilled in her little feline way, of finding a good spot where she can hide from the boys antics for a few hours.

When the kids realize that Bax really is missing, everything stops and all three boys go a hunting. Up and down three flights of stairs they yell "BAX! OH BAAAX! WHERE ARE YOU??!" until they open up a closet door and find her hiding behind the Christmas tree, purring away.

This time, I was sitting on the couch with J, reading a book, while the boys were hunting for their feline companion. Up and down the stairs, up and down. I wasn't paying them much mind until I heard this little voice ask in exasperation "Where is that fucking cat?!"
"Soren!" Xavier gasps. "You can't SAY stuff like that!"
"Why not? Mom says it all the time."

I slowly lifted my head up from the kindle and sheepishly peeked over at J. Who was, of course, giving me the look of death.


My fault.



Not too long after, while the older boys were in school, I was sitting on the recliner catching up on the news while Soren played with his plushies quietly on the floor beside me. In each hand he held a Mario and a Luigi doll, and was pretending to make them talk to one another. This is fairly typical in our house so I wasn't paying too much mind to the actual conversation until it was too late.

Mario: Oh Luigi, what shall we do today?
Luigi: I don't know Mario. Hey let's check on Princess Peach
Mario: OK... (silence for a moment)
Luigi: Hey?! Where is Princess Peach?! Was she kidnapped again?
Mario: What the fuck...?


"SOREN!"
Looking up with an Oh shit look: "Yeah mom?"
"What did you just say?!"
"Ummmm... nothing. I wasn't talking."
"I just heard you."
"Oh no, mommy, that wasn't me. That was Mario!"

Ahh yes, that foul mouthed Mario, who just realized that his girlfriend has been kidnapped yet again by that asshole Bowser. Of course it was him and not perfect little Soren.


Yup.


And then there was the most recent incident.

Friday afternoon my mom dropped the boys off at home after a week of fun at her house. One of the first things Soren told me was the Ashe had insisted that he said a bad word, but he promised he didn't.

"Oh yeah" I say?
"Yeah Mommy. Ashe said I said shit, but I didn't."
"Well I'm glad you didn't say that word", I reply, trying very hard to keep a serious face to match his own.
"Nope, I didn't say shit. Ashe is a liar. I was mad that he said I said shit. Cause I can't say shit until I'm 18. Right?"
"Right" I respond, losing the war of the straight face. "And do you remember why you can't say those kid of words until you're 18"?
"Because they are grown up words. And I will be a grown up at 18."
"Correct."
Soren tilts his head to the side, considering his next words carefully. "Mommy?"
"Yes?"
"Can I say shit when I'm 17?"
"No, honey. Not until you're 18."
"Dammit."




I can't wait until these kids have kids of their own.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sex Ed: Talk About It!

This morning I was sipping coffee and surfing through Reddit when I came across a post on the parenting forum. A mom posted that her 8 year old daughter just came and asked her what sex was. She wanted to know if she could "Just shirk her duties and have her daughter ask the bad girls at school"?

I sat there and stared at my computer screen for a moment, entirely disbelieving what I was seeing. And then I saw red. Rage red, where the adrenaline kicks in, and you start shaking, and it's hard to type on the keyboard because of this shaking, but the only way to let it out is to do something about it. So I did. I told this woman to grow up and parent her child and answer her questions and do not dare to shirk responsibility of something so important.


Listen up parental units. I don't normally judge differing parenting styles. I know that we all have our unique ways of teaching our kids about the world around us. I know that we each have our own insecurities, and areas of parenting that freak us out. That is NORMAL! But FFS, I DO judge you if you are a pansy ass who will do your children wrong by refusing to do your duty as a parent. Do not put your children into a position where they feel that they can not come to you with questions, even if it is an uncomfortable subject. Whoever said that parenting was easy? No one! And sexual health is one of those subjects that is awkward, embarrassing, and hard! But you know what? You have to answer those questions!!! IT IS YOUR JOB!

I have blogged many times of my own stories of when my children asked sex questions. I have felt that uncomfortable "Oh crap" moment, when one of my little guys looks up at me with puppy eyes and asks what is sex?  I have squirmed when I discussed the details about penis meets vagina. And I lived through it. And my kids walked away with knowledge: knowledge of the questions they asked, and knowledge that I would answer their questions, no matter how awkward.

I recently wrote about Xavier coming home from sex ed at school, thinking that wet dreams meant dreaming of things that were wet. If I had "shirked" my duties, he would have continued to believe this inaccurate information. What kind of mother could do that to their child, knowing that one day he would wake up wondering what was wrong with him?!

My mother did not teach me sex ed. I learned through books, through horrible sex ed in school, and through girls talking in the school bathroom. It was unfair for me to have to try and learn by myself. It made me awkward, believe incorrect things, and I never felt that I could talk to my mom about anything important.


 I refuse to do that to my children. No parent should do that to their children.


So for me to see, in this day and age, a mother who is asking if it's ok for her to pass her responsibilities to others, including "bad girls at school", it makes me rage. So to answer you: NO! YOU CAN NOT! Do your damn job as a parent. You made the choice to become a parent, and that includes all of the bad icky stuff that makes you squirm. Put your big girl panties on, or find your ball sack, and answer the damn questions! Don't you dare make your child feel awkward or dirty for asking something that makes you feel embarrassed. That is your issue, not theirs. Don't make it theirs because you don't want to deal with it. That is absolutely piss poor parenting, and it breaks my heart to know that there are kids out there whose parents would actually consider refusing to talk to them about something so damn important.


Grow up.





Friday, June 21, 2013

Four years of Soren






To my dearest Soren,
I can not believe that, as of today, it has been four years since you have entered our world. As a mom, time both flies and stands still simultaneously. I see you standing before me, shaking your tiny little butt, doing the butt dance to Gangam style, and at the same time I can instantly pull up the memory of you being placed in my arms for the first time.

You are such an amazing person! You have this gigantic personality that blows people away, fit into your tiny little body. You make me laugh so hard on a daily basis. Yes, I also do yell at you on an almost daily basis too. But sweetie, you have got to stop calling your brothers stupid when they won't allow you to play with their DS. One day you will have a DS of your own. In the meantime, play with the Ipad, and dance your heart out!

I have watched you grow from a curious baby to a curious child. May your curiosity on how the world works continue to grow with you as you age. Along side your curiosity, never lose your awesome sense of imaginative play. Trust me, you are the scariest cutest Zombie when you run around the house with a cone on your head yelling "BRAIIINS"! You have perfected your Mario voice, but please, don't think that I am naïve enough to buy your story that it was Mario who said "what the fuck" and not you. I may be old, but I am not yet deaf of hearing.

You have hit your milestone of ridding yourself of that dreaded car seat, and have moved up into the world of the big boy booster seat. I am so happy to see you jump for joy when I mention an errand I need to run. I know in time you will get bored of the newness, but I understand this is a symbol to you of growing up. Just remember what I taught you: don't ever take your seatbelt off by yourself unless I tell you it's ok.

You are learning so many things and changing so fast from that tiny little boy to a big boy. I know I still have a couple more years of you running up for cuddles and kisses, but I also know the time is drawing close to where that will not be the norm. I'll miss those days when the time comes, so for now, don't mind if I squeeze you a little tighter, or hold you a little bit longer. I'm just trying to get my fill in before the ticking of the clock chimes the end of days gone by.

You and I have one more year together before you join your brothers at school. Don't be too upset in a few weeks when they head back and you're stuck with me. I promise that, like Ashe, by midyear you will be wishing you were back home. So instead of looking far into the future, lets you and I make the most of our last year together. We'll sit down and figure out all of the places we like to go to and get them all in. Parks, museums, jump houses... you name it. And maybe I can get you to agree with coming along for a hike or two. Sound fun?

My sweet sweet Soren. Happiest of birthdays to you. I hope that four is just as much fun as three, and that you live life to the fullest. While you continue to grow and change this coming year, we'll be right behind you cheering you on. Especially if you do more of those shaking butt dances. I just love those.
With all my heart,
Mom

Monday, June 17, 2013

House Full of AD(H)D

Over the last couple of months, J is slowly coming to the realization that he too, may have AD(H)D. Minor, like I have it, but there nonetheless. It has been entertaining to watch him comprehend what a world with AD(H)D is like. I was diagnosed with it as a child, and raising Xavier, I always saw our common ground when it comes to how we correlate with the world surrounding us. However, J, having always been under the impression that it was anxiety issues alone, didn't put two and two together until his new doctor asked him if he might think he has AD(H)D. Since then he has been reading books upon books, trying to determine if AD(H)D was the case all along. And it seems that it might be the case.

I'm actually thrilled with this new turn of events. This means that I can stop blaming myself in the dark corner of my mind, for being the sole parental unit responsible for screwing up Xavier with my genes. It looks like we are equally at fault, yay!

What has been the most entertaining has been watching J read these books about how AD(H)D can show itself, and his realizations on how it affects him. He'll tell me over dinner how, after reading the latest chapter, he learned this awesome new coping skill. It's called a schedule. And you write EVERYTHING down that you need to do, but only choose five things a day to focus on. Otherwise you would get overwhelmed.

Yeah, it's called a calendar. And everyone who knows me knows that if it's not written in my calendar, it doesn't exist. And I call it a busy day if there are three or more things I have to do in one 24 hour period. Even if it's just going to the pharmacy.

Then he mentioned how he learned that AD(H)D people procrastinate, because time doesn't work the same for them as it does for regular people. For example, if you know you have a deadline a week away, the average person will put that time to good use and parcel out time to work on said project a little bit at a time. But if you had AD(H)D, oh no!!!! That is NOT what we do. We physically can't, because that gives us too much time to focus. Instead, we wait until the last moment, panic, and begin what is called hyper focusing. It will be all that we can think of for that short period of time. It causes anxiety, which actually drives us to focus, and complete said project.

I did that all the time in high school, when I would have an eight page essay due. I still do it today with my blog. I lack the focus to sit down in a scheduled fashion and write a blog. Hell, I forget half the crap I want to blog about. Instead, when I have inspiration, I sit down and blog three to ten blogs in one sitting, then schedule them out so you are not inundated.

Another point J read, was that there are only four times we folks with AD(H)D can actually focus:

  • When something is new and catches our attention (like my Pintrest/Twitter spree I do once every few months).
  • something is of personal interest (reading for me. J finds that if I am into a good book, he literally has to stand in front of me, waving his arms like those guys at the airport who wave planes in, and shout my name three times.)
  • something is challenging
  • or you have an important deadline and time is running out

This explains my sporadic blog sprees. My blog is most definitely a personal interest, but like any blogger, sometimes it becomes more like work than fun, trying to find interesting things to post about while smacking my head against the monitor, trying to jump start my sarcasm. So you can thank my AD(H)D for acting like a moron and leaving you all to wait for when inspiration jumps me and smacks me down to the ground.

The latest nugget of information J dropped in my lap was that people who have AD(H)D do not "see" clutter. It doesn't register. He wandered upstairs while I was sitting in my recliner and surfing the web, despite the fact that our kitchen sink resembles a high rise in NYC, our bedroom looks like a tornado blew through it, and our dirty laundry pile resembles the leaning tower of Pisa.




Yup, I'd say that statement of clutter is quite accurate.




I'm actually very excited to know that J deals with AD(H)D. For one thing, he has always thought that he had an anxiety issue, or was suffering depression. But now that he is finding all these puzzle pieces that fit together, he seems to recognize what is actually the culprit. With that, he seems to be more relieved and less stressed because there is a VALID reason for why he feels the way he does. And there are tools that can help him.

Also, now that he is recognizing the symptoms, it's like we're suddenly talking the same language. Well, most of the time. We still suffer the XX/XY chromosome language disconnect. But in terms of why we do what we do, it seems that we aren't so different after all. And that makes it easier to  give one another support when we forget things, or act as we do. And as J learns new tools to help him, we can offer these tools to Xavier when he starts middle school and faces tougher deadlines. Having three of us in the family think the same way will help understand and acknowledge upcoming issues.

Lastly, I am just so happy that I am not the sole parental unit who gave poor Xavier the ADHD gene. J can no longer blame me when Xavier is off his meds and running around like a loon. I now can look over at my husband and smile beatifically, then stick my tongue out at him. Ha!



Sunday, June 16, 2013

To My Children's Dad

Today is Father's Day, and with it will come a slew of home made gifts for dads across the country, or big gifts, like a new grill, seasons tickets to his favorite sports team, etc. And dads will smile, thank their children, and then the following day all will go back to normal.

While J was out of the house yesterday, I asked my boys why they loved their daddy.

Xavier:

  • He gets up with me in the (early) morning and gets me breakfast
  • He helps me when I get hurt
  • He's really funny
  • He lets me stay up late on weekends
  • He helps me set up my games
  • He surprises me with treats
  • He is the best dad in the whole world!


Ashe:

  • He helps me buy my games
  • He gives me baths
  • I like his clothes
  • He's a boy like me



Soren:

  • I just do



J is an amazing husband and father. I hear all sorts of stories from other moms about how hard it is to get their husbands to help around the house. This is not true in our household. If anything, I would say that J pampers me and the kids. It's so obvious that he loves us, and he shows it in so many ways.

J gets up every morning at the crack of dawn with the boys, because he knows that I have never been, nor ever will be, a morning person. He never complains about this, and feeds the boys breakfast, gets their lunches for school ready, gets them dressed. Each school day I just need to roll out of bed and carpool them. Even then, J carpools twice a week so that I can sleep in for an extra hour.

While I do the cooking, J does the dishes. Every night.

We alternate putting the boys to bed. He brushes the boys teeth, reads Soren a bed time story, chases monsters away, just as much as I do.


He's the Bath Master. He helps each kid clean up, washes the younger boys hair, and drains the tub.

J takes out the trash every week.

Every Saturday, J takes one boy out and does our food shopping.

I bring down the laundry, wash and dry it. Then J brings it up three flights of stairs and sorts it out.

J is always there to help out the family with electronic stuff: games, blogs, shows... anything related to electronics, J is our go to man.


J is an amazing father. You couldn't fantasize better.



Over the past few months I have heard him grumbling under his breath as he is packing lunches for the boys. When I asked him what was wrong, he would pick up the juice box case and point to where it said "Approved by Moms". He was bitter (and rightfully so) that it said moms and not parents. Because he is a DAD, and dads need recognition for choosing healthy food for their children.

We headed out food shopping one day and as we pulled into the parking lot, J grumbled again. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he didn't think it was fair that the reserved spots where tagged for "Moms with Kids." Why couldn't it be "Parents with kids"? Dads do their fair of food shopping with little ones in tow.




And you know what? He is absolutely right.




Take away this one day a year, and what we hear from the media is how hard it is for moms. How much work we moms do to raise our children. How we moms are the ones to help with homework, drag kids to soccer practice, dry away the tears when our kids fall, or have a fight with a friend at school. How we moms are superwomen and can multitask a job, maintaining a household, and raise our kids.


But, aside from this one day, where is the praise for dads? Yes, there are articles being written that this day, dads are more and more stepping up. Dads are spending more time with their kids than ever before. Dads are stepping up and helping around the house more and more. And that is FANTASTIC! But most of the time when I read these articles, it almost seems as if it has been written as a relief article for moms, not a praise for this generation of dads. Now granted, there are a few out there that ae giving dads the praise that they deserve, but there are not enough of them...yet.


So you know what? Today, and every day, I want us to stop for a moment, and praise dads. Praise our husbands, our children's father. The man who checks the closet and under the bed for monsters. The one who packs a nutritious lunch for his kids. The one who will stop what he is doing to fix a boo boo. The one who is always ready for a hug. The one who helps to teach our children what it is to be a good guy, a role model for the future generation.


To all you dads out there, you rock! Seriously, society doesn't give you enough credit. Thank you for all that you do. You deserve so much more recognition than one day a year. You deserve a special parking space in the grocery store parking lot. You deserve equal rights of approval for juice boxes and other food products. You deserve equal recognition in the media.


I appreciate you dads out there.


And J, I appreciate and love you more than I can ever express. I couldn't do this journey without you. Nor could the boys. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for ALL that you do for us, your family. We love you so much.






Friday, June 14, 2013

Saved by the Eldest!

Told to me by my mom:


Soren runs up to G-ma and asks for a back scratch. She complies. A few minutes later:

Soren: Ahhh, that feels good. Now scratch my arms. (She complies).

Soren: Ok, now scratch my legs. (Which she does. As she is scratching his legs, Xavier wanders downstairs).

Soren: That feels sooo good! Now... scratch my penis.
(G-ma has NO clue how to respond to this and stares, flabbergasted, until Xavier, with an annoyed look on his face responds.)

Xavier: Do it yourself!
Soren: Oh.... ok!


G-ma saved from an embarrassing convo!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hey Gamer Guys, We Need To /Chat

Men, I think it's time to pull up some chairs and we have a serious heart to heart. Because the kind of  shit I'm blogging about today has been going on for too damn long.

For those of you who know me, either in the real world, gamer world, or just through my blogs, you guys know that, while I rebel against societies restrictions on "moms", I am not a part of the feminist movement where I remove my bra, burn it, and think all men on the planet suck. In fact, I like guys a lot. Most of my besties are males, and have been since I was a tiny tot. I can relate much more easily to men than I do to women. I've always been this way, and maybe it has been a part of why I have always enjoyed gaming. I get the same sort of euphoria when I rock out a raid with my fellow guildies and we take down that mother fucking boss for the first time. However, I do believe that we guys and gals are equal, and should be portrayed as such. While men and women are different, I'd like to think that evolution created us this way so that we compliment one another. Where one's weakness lay, the other picks up, and vice versa.

That doesn't mean that because we females may not generally be physically as strong as men, doing Strong Man contests and shit, that we are weak. In fact, anyone who has witnessed a female dealing with almost ten months of carrying around a child in her body then forcing a full fledged mini human into the world via her girly bits would laugh outright at such a ludicrous thought.

And yet...

Usually news stories don't bother me enough to post about it. But this one does. And while it is not as important in the real world compared to


this discussion with you is related all the same. And while other women out there are fighting for the causes above, I realized today as both a female *and* a gamer, that this is a platform I do need to fight for.

So here is what I saw today, while catching up on Current Events:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/06/11/e3-inspires-woman-bashing-on-twitter/

Misogynist gamers are at it again, attacking Anita Saarkesian for making a simple observation. Perhaps all the excitement at E3 has made their thumbs twitchy. There’s nothing particularly surprising here. Hopped up on adrenaline and “fiero,” they invoke the patriarchal battle-cry.  Of course, Saarkesian is the easy scapegoat. She has been for some time, the villain in social media’s version of a juvenile battle between the sexes. The tweet:
Thanks #XboxOne #E3 press conference for revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) June 10, 2013Saarkesian, as usual, was met with an onslaught of misogynist attack.
Some of the antagonist responses are so offensive, crude, sexist, and disgusting that I’d rather not post them here. Visit Saarkesian’s Tumblr to see her screen captures of some of the worst.
Apparently, “women don’t belong in video games” and “in general, men are better at battle rolls [sic] and other battle type stuff.”
Worse: “What did you expect? Cooking and cleaning games at console launch reveal?” and “maybe if women were more interesting and capable at life there might be more female led games, like super floral arranger.”




********

I took a look at the tweets that was creating this firestorm. I recognize, fellas, that many of these, if not all, are trolls. But that's not the point, and I'll get to that in a bit. For now, I just want to show you some of the tweets that really pissed me off (and frankly, should piss you off as well):



























Now guys, what I want you to do is this this. First, I want you to go back and reread those tweets. Read them very carefully. And while you do, I want you to picture yourself in the shoes of a woman who loves to game just as much as you do. I want you to think of a female friend. A guildie. A wife. Sister. Cousin. Someone you may know who loves the same types of games that you do, but does not have a penis.




I'll let you be for a moment while you do this.








Now if you come back and say "Hey SRM! I don't know any female gamers" I say to you Bullshit. Absolutely, without a doubt, bullshit. Because here's the deal guys. There was a study done that just came out and the numbers say it all.


The Entertainment Software Association released its report, "2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" on the official opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The ESA represents the video games industry, operates the E3 Expo trade show, and owns the ESRB, in case you didn't know.According to the freshly released report, adult women represent a significant percentage of the video game-playing population than boys age 17 or younger. Nearly half of all video game players are women, according to the report. Women make up 31 percent of the video game-playing population, while boys 17 and under represent only 19 percent of game players. Women are 45 percent of the entire game playing population and 46 percent of the time are the most frequent game purchasers.




*******

I really wanted to make sure that last paragraph caught your attention. Because that is extremely important, men. Nearly HALF of the gamers out there are female. 45% of gamers have a vagina. 45%. Vagina. Female. Your wife, sister, mother, daughter, cousin, friend, next door neighbor.... this stat needs to be slammed into all gamers heads again and again until any gamer could type it with their eyes blindfolded.


We femme gamers haven't just all of a sudden popped out of the woodwork screaming "EQUAL RIGHTS, BITCH!" Some of us have been here since the beginning. Our population may have grown over the years to become the 45% population that it is today, but gaming is not a man only universe, nor has it ever been. You guildies of mine know that I have been rocking the MMORPG scene since EverQuest pretty much launched!




We have been around! And our numbers are growing. We are with you guys, learning the moves, the stats, the rotations, cooldowns. We femmes are right along side you males, working as a team, staying up late at night to go over and over and OVER a fight, wiping until it all clicks and we take that boss down. We're right there with you on Ventrillo or TeamSpeak, screaming VICTORY IS OURS, FUCK YA!

We femmes are there, doing that daily rep grind, reading the forums to better ourselves, spending hours at the dummies, fine tuning our spec, our buttons, our parse.


We're right there with you! And yet...


  • How many of you have watched gen chat and seen the phrase "There are no girls in MMO's" bandied about?

  • How many of  you have seen in chat or forums, once a girl gamer speaks up, that others tell her to "get back in the kitchen" or "it must be her time of the month"?

  • How many of you have been reading through gaming forums for info, only to stumble upon a girl bashing thread?

  • How many of you have seen femmes kicked out/ refused entry to guilds/groups/raids because they are female?















How many of you have spoken up on our behalf?










As a female gamer who has almost 15 years experience of gaming ( not including console games... if I added that in we're talking 25 years experience) I could yell and curse, and bitch about this issue. But you know what guys? It won't do much good. Specifically because of the fact that I *am* female. My voice won't matter. It won't change a thing. But, your voice can. As a male gamer, you have the POWER to stand up to asshats like those who tweet the crap like above. You have the POWER to denounce sexist idiots in gen chat. You have the POWER to stand up for your wife/sister/friend and say "this is fucking bullshit, and we men will not tolerate our femme gamers being stomped on".



Because this is one part where you men have more power right now than we femmes do. We will get there, don't think we won't. But right now, RIGHT NOW, we need you: our husbands, our brothers, our friends, our guildies. We femmes, who work side by side with you in the multi-virtual universes... we need some heroes. Because we will continue to game. And we will continue to kick pixelated ass. And we will continue to push back at the sexist prepubescent trolls who think they are a manly man when they put women gamers down.




But we also know, that without real men standing up and letting it be known that this type of behavior is reprehensible, nothing will change. And frankly, I think it's time it did. Don't you?






From one gamer to another, 



Monday, June 10, 2013

J's New Look

Over the past several months, J has not been happy with his hair. As he grows older, it has started to thin. He's not balding, but with his already fine light hair, any thinning causes him concern.

And so J has grown unhappy.

We have been trying out different hair styles over time, trying to find one that makes J happy. We have tried styling it forward. That looked good, but J constantly complained of it getting in his eyes. We tried styling it to the side. We tried combing it back. Growing it long. Short. Buzzed.

And still J wasn't happy. He says that he would be happy with a mullet, but as the stylist in the family I put my foot down. He can have a mullet if he wants one, but he also knows that the couch will be his bed if he does so.

Last weekend he told me that he was going to surprise me by giving himself and all three boys mohawks. When I asked why this didn't occur, he sheepishly replied that only Xavier was on board with the idea.

This weekend I found him browsing through hairstyles for men, but he was growing frustrated because every guy had cuts that, in his mind, sucked. J doesn't want something normal. Nope. J said that he thinks he is going through a mid life crisis and wants something cool. Like a top knot. But every time he googled top knot only women with hair buns came up. He did not want a bun. He did not have enough hair to make a bun.

"I want something cool, like Ragnar."

Ragnar Lothbrook from History Channel "Vikings"


"Ragnar, huh?" I looked over his hair, judging length on top for the rows he'd need. "You will need to grow out the top of your hair a little, but we could start it." And I'm thinking to myself, 'Hell of a better idea than a freaking top knot or mullet.'

So I grab my comb, water bottle, and ask Xavier to grab me my little elastic bands, and get to work. It's been a long time since I've done rows in anyone's hair and it took me awhile to relearn. But I finally got the hang of it and within 30 minutes, I had five rows.

Looking at him from every angle, I decided five was too many. I took two out. Next, J grabbed the buzzer and, without a guard, I shaved everything else off, down to peach fuzz scalp.

I will admit, when we first started with this idea, I wasn't sure if J could pull the look off. Not every man can pull off such a daring style, and when shaved head comes to mind, I always cringe at the possibilities of a lumpy head. But despite my initial misgivings, I had to admit, J really rocked the Viking look:



J's new Viking hair
 
 
 
We did decide that his glasses don't really mesh with his new look. So J will be heading off to the optometrist soon to get new contacts. J is really digging the look and is already talking about getting a Viking woad tattooed on his scalp. We'll see. And of course, will post pics if he does.


So what do you guys think?



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Video Games Live Symphony


***WARNING: This post contains a lot of photos.***


We have a ritual in our family, that after the end of the school year, J & I offer the boys a congratulatory gift. It's our way of saying thanks for doing your best in school, you're done so let's party!!!







Usually we offer the kids a monetary value so that they can buy something that they've had their eyes on. This is big, because the *only* times we parental units buy the boys something is if it's their birthday, Xmas, they have done something amazing and we want to say thank you, or the end of school. The rest of the time they earn whatever they buy through their allowance.

This year however, as I was in the car listening to my AM news radio, an interview with the NC Symphony was on and I heard about an upcoming concert that I thought Xavier and Ashe would go CRAZY for. It was the first ever in Raleigh, Video Games Live symphony: a symphony of music straight out of video games.

My thought was that this would be the perfect way to introduce the symphony to the boys. What a wonderful cultural experience, catered to their very hobbies!

J & I offered the boys the option for their usual shopping outing, or this unique opportunity for their graduation gift. They did not disappoint me, and by a unanimous vote, we were going to the symphony.

One of the cool side events going on would be a costume contest of your favorite video game character. Ashe was all set. Since he has been wearing the same Link costume on an almost daily basis for two years, it was a no brainer.

Xavier decided that he also wanted to dress up... mere hours before the concert started. Of course it couldn't be simple either. Oh no! It had to be something elaborate. He decided that he wanted to be Altair, from Assassins Creed.


Altair from Assassins Creed


I had no clue where to start. I don't sew well, nor did I have a random white bed sheet lying around the house. Instead, I tossed every article of fabric we owned around my bedroom, trying to figure out how the hell I was going to make even a similar costume for Xavier. Then my eyes landed on a black pillowcase, and I remembered that I had two cloaks I used for Halloween last year that might work. Add in my leather bracers, my calf high boots, a pair of khakis, and a plastic dagger.... and we might have something.

I whipped out the pillowcase, grabbed my scissors, and got to work. 90 minutes and 25 safety pins later, and we were ready for the symphony!


Xavier (Altair) & Ashe (Link) ready to go to their first symphony




Now, I was asked by friends why I didn't join the boys and dress up too? I love dressing up and would have done so except for one factor. Xavier was wearing 2/3 of my go to costume. I think the only two things he didn't use of mine were my leather pants (which I wore that night) and  my corset (which would have looked awkward on my eleven year old son, and I wasn't going down that road!)


Posing with the boys



While I did not get the chance to dress up due to my motherly sacrifice, J actually did! Not that anyone would know it. But I promise you, J dressed up as his avatar....his Xbox avatar. To prove to everyone that J thoughtfully picked out his costume for the symphony, I did a side by side comparison of J's Xbox avatar and J himself outside the symphony:


pretty uncanny how accurate that is, huh?



We get to the concert hall an hour before it starts. Within moments of us pushing open the doors, Xavier and Ashe were bombarded by adults, both in costume and not, exclaiming over how cute they were, or how cool they looked. Both boys ate this up, Ashe swinging his sword around yelling "HYAH!" or playing his plastic ocarina. Xavier would pose, head tilted down, looking up under the shadow of his hood, then pulling out a plastic dagger from his bracer. And the crowd ate it up like crack.

I put the bys names down for the costume contest, something I thought would be a simple affair out in the lobby. But oh no. When the time came for the contest to start, the guy in charge started leading everyone and their parents through a long corridor, down a set of stairs, and finally into a stairwell, where the contestants were prepped to go on stage. Huh. Didn't see that coming.

While J & I stayed backstage, all contestants walked on stage to a thundering applause. I was able to sneak out and grab a few photos and a quick vid of Xavier and Ashe:

Ashe & Xavier onstage with another Link, Princess Peach, and TF2 sniper




video



I wish I had stayed out a little longer to get the crowds reaction when it came time to vote. The crowd voted by screaming. The MC would put his hand over a contestant, and gauge the crowds reaction. When it came time for Ashe and Xavier, the crowd flipped out. I mean, you would have thought that we were at a Bieber concert and the audience was filled with prepubescent girls. It. Was. Crazy!!!!! It became clear that the winner was between the two brothers. The MC had a hard time, going back and forth a few times trying to determine the winner:

MC: Little Link?
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MC: Altair?
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MC: Link?
Crowd WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MC: Altair?
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
MC: Link? Altair?
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

By one decibel, Ashe won, as J says, on cuteness alone. Xavier was extremely gracious about the whole thing, and seemed to be just fine knowing that it was only his height that made him lose. And while Ashe had his photo taken and posted on all sorts of media sites last night, both he and Xavier were treated like rock stars for the rest of the evening. If they went to the bathroom, they had to stop and pose for photos, high fives, and hair ruffles.


Photo of Ashe taken by the NC Symphony after his win.


Finally, we sat down to listen to the symphony. And I have to say, that while the tickets were quite pricey for a family as large as ours, EVERY PENNY spent was WORTH IT! We have not had that much fun in a long time. It wasn't a normal concert, where everyone had to hush hush. We were told to clap, whistle, scream, cheer, holler, any time we felt like it. And we did. Or maybe I should say *I* did. I almost lost my voice for cheering so loud, and I'm pretty sure that if anyone asked, J would have claimed that he had no idea who the crazy woman sitting by him and his children were. Someone should lock her up already! I was screaming and cheering more than I do at the Red Sox game at Fenway (and coming from a native masshole, that's saying something).

Xavier and Ashe, like me, were completely enthralled. While they did not know some of the older games (like Contra, or Castlevania), they cheered when Zelda, Mario, Sonic, and others came on that they knew and loved.

For four hours, minus an intermission, we sat and listened to the amazing journey the symphony took us on. And at the very end, after the symphony had given us one encore and had taken it's final bow, the co-creator of Video Games Live, Tommy Tallarico, and Laura Intravea (flute Link for anyone who watches youtube) came onstage, and started a sing a long with the audience, to one of our families favorite gaming songs, Portals "Still Alive" by Jonathan Coulton (one of our favorite composers/singers. Look him up, you won't regret it): 




After the concert was over, we asked the boys what they thought of their experience. And the one word they kept repeating over and over was that the symphony was EPIC. And now they want to know.... when can we go again?
Mission accomplished!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

I'm Not Dead Yet....

I might have given myself a concussion today. Not sure yet, but if I start hurling, J is on notice to rush me to Urgent Care. And the day started off so well...

With the boys vacationing at the G-rents, I slept in this morning until 10. It was so wonderful to wake up naturally! I had a few errands I needed to run, so I popped in the car to get them over and done with, in order to come home before lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on the couch reading my latest book.

I stopped at the boys school to pick up Ashe's inhaler. While I was there, the school secretary mentioned she loved my ring back tone (Pirates of the Caribbean) so I taught her how to make her own. She had just bought her very first smart phone and was so excited to try out all of the new things her old cell phone couldn't do. We talked about multiple ring tones, ring tone editors, and how she could have a ring back tone for every day of the week if she wanted to. I left her giddy with excitement.

Next on my list was the kids doctors office. I needed to pick up Xavier's medication prescriptions. I figured I'd hit Ulta after that, drop of the meds, then head home.

Instead, after laughing with the doctors secretary over Xavier's recent sex ed debacle, when I went to open the van door, my spatial understanding seemed to have misfired and the van door smacked me upside the head like a bitch in a black market wrestling match. I went down.

Although I saw stars and planets, and maybe a comet or three, it didn't hurt at first. I glanced in the window and noticed that the side of my temple was literally indented. That's when I started to get woozy. I hung on to the car for a few minutes, trying to figure out if I was woozy from seeing my head  pushed in like soft clay, or if it was the injury itself.

After those few minutes passed I decided the best course of action was to not be an idiot and drive just yet. I walked back to the pediatricians office and ever so sweetly asked if they had an ice pack I could borrow. Ann, the awesome front desk manager, rushed over to take a look. I know she's seen some scary stuff so when her jaw dropped upon looking at me and my new mark of idiocy, I knew I was in deep shit.

She hustled me over to a quiet dark room, grabbed the nurse and an ice pack, then hustled back tsk-tsking. The RN, a new nurse to the practice,  asked if I was dizzy. I wasn't but I was seeing spots in my vision once in awhile. She asked if I had had breakfast yet (nope) and handed me two lollipops. It was then that I realized that if I was going to smack myself upside the head, I had done it in the right place. Sucking on a cream soda dum dum, I lay down with the icepack and waited to see if I was going to pass out.

The kids doctor sauntered into the room ten minutes later and she and I both laughed when she saw who was the mom who hit her head. I love the boys doctor. She has such a great sense of humor. She checked me out and said it was a shame I hit the side of my head.
"Why" I asked?
"Because if you hit the middle of your head, you would have looked like the perfect Klingon." We both gave the Vulcan hand sign and snickered.

She asked the normal questions one asks a person with head trauma: how many fingers am I holding up? What day of the week is it? What month is it? I got the first one right no problem. The other two I whined to her that it was not fair she ask me those questions! It's summer vacation and all days look the same. She laughed and asked me to try. Fortunately I knew today was Thursday (it is Thursday, right?) because tomorrow is Friday and we're headed to the symphony tomorrow. I also know it's June because the kids are out of school. So nyah.

After a lot of back and forth between the doctor, nurse, and Ann, it was decided that I would live. I was given another lollipop, gifted the ice pack, and told to head straight to Urgent Care if I pass out or vomit twice. I thanked them for their help, and now I am determined to send them a case of wine for the holidays. I also lament that I can not have them as my own doctors, as my PCP sucks donkey balls.

So here I am at home, alive but now in pain, sitting still and wondering if I am going to rush to the bathroom. I feel woozy once in awhile (not good) but that's the worst of it. Well that and the fact that my forehead is showing off a pretty little goose egg.


J just shook his head and muttered under his breath (although loud enough so that I could hear him) that it's my genes that cause Ashe to have so many Ashe-idents. I'd debate him on that, but I just want to lie down now and whimper.

Ugh





Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Educating Post Sex Ed

The other week, Xavier's class finally had "Health Class" which really means intro to sex ed. A few weeks prior, all parents were given a notice with the option to have their kids opt out. Poor Xavier didn't get that choice. We threw him into the deep water of embarrassing videos about puberty with the understanding that he was to ask questions both at school and at home if he didn't understand anything.

 I personally feel that sex ed is a very important issue, a life lesson that needs to be hammered into a child's brain again and again and again. Growing up, my mom was too embarrassed to discuss sex ed. Her idea was to let me learn in school, offer me the option of birth control pills when I felt I needed them, but then when I asked at age 15 (my monthly time was an awful 7 day hell of major pain and BC pills were supposed to help) she freaked out and screamed that I would turn into a slut and sleep with any boy who looked my way. I learned from the pitiful classes they had in school. I learned from books. I learned both good and horrible information, in the girls bathroom at school. And there was no way I was going to lead my children down the same path. My kids would learn everything they asked about in full detail, even if I had to suck it up and answer those questions that leave you red faced and trembling, wishing for a glass of vodka.

I've blogged before about having "The Talk" with Xavier and Ashe during different times in their lives. And knowing that sex ed was coming up in school, Xavier and I have been conversing about things he might learn, and how this was just a small portion of sex ed. I warned him that it would be embarrassing, but it was so, so important that he had to pay attention. And if he had questions, he needed to ask: ask the teachers, ask his dad, ask me. Anyone, so long as he asked. He promised me that he would, although he felt more comfortable asking me than someone in school. I actually felt pleased that this was so. I feel like I passed some parenting test, to know that my son felt comfortable enough to ask me questions about sexual health.

The day of sex ed came and I picked him up early from school. I asked him how things went. He said it was embarrassing. He learned about how he would get hair all over, including "down there". He wanted to know if he could shave it. I said sure, but it might be easier to wax instead. He blanched. He then said how he learned about how girls get their period, and how he was so happy he wasn't a girl. I agreed.

Then he said he learned how boys would have wet dreams. And I asked him if he knew what a wet dream was. And he said "Yeah, it's when you have a dream about wet things: like fire hydrants, hoses, rain and stuff."





........................



OK I admit it. I busted out laughing my ass off. Seriously though, who wouldn't?!!!


After I calmed down and my guffaws subsided into sporadic giggles, I explained what a wet dream really was. His face morphed into a look of horror as he began to grasp the full implications of what a wet dream meant for him. He asked more questions, I answered. Back and forth we went, covering everything else he had learned in school to make sure that he didn't have any other misconceptions.

And at the end, our deal was that when he started having wet dreams, if he didn't feel comfortable telling me, that was cool. All he needed to do was bring down his bed sheets and I would wash them for him, no questions asked. He was cool with that, and thanked me for being such an awesome mom. As we finished up the convo on sex ed, he said that if he had any other questions he promised to come to me and ask because it was easier to talk to me than ask at school. And I'm cool with that. Because if school is leaving the impression on kids that wet dreams are about water, than I have to make sure this kid gets the real information.




Monday, June 3, 2013

Irony on Survival

Tonight during dinner, I asked J if he would like to hit the trails at Bond Park for a good walk. Since the kids are hanging out at the G-rents all week, we could actually try one of the more difficult trails. And I figured that since I spent my day doing nothing but playing around on Pintrest and demotivational poster websites, that a good hike was in order. J agreed.

So off to the park we went. And we had a jolly good time, weaving through the dense foliage, wandering around the perimeter of the lake. I, of course, kept my eyes out for those pesky copperheads that like to blend in to mother nature, as well as the gigantic tree roots that patterned the trail.

As we wandered through the woods, waving hello to the stray jogger or two, we had all sorts of fun conversational topics. Like, what we would do if this  MERS-CoV virus morphs into something so contagious that, like the bubonic plague, it would devastate half of the worlds population. I was all for fleeing to the middle of nowhere, building us our own cabin, and living off the land with traps and shit. I told J that we should head back to Harris Teeter right now and stock up on more Deer Park water jugs that were on sale this week for $1 a galleon. J asked how the hell would we build our own cabin or trap animals to live off of. I said we should take the time that we have, research this shit, and print out instructions to take with us when the world starts going crazy. J wanted to know if we should have an emergency kit filled with hammers and other things. He has a good point. We may also need to head over to Lowe’s this weekend.

We continued debating the pros and cons of fleeing civilization if an epic plague descended upon us (please remember that we are a stay at home mom and a software engineer) we both began to notice that it was beginning to get dark. Darker than it should have been for that time of day. Both of us stopped in our tracks and glanced up, beyond the tree line and stared.

“That doesn’t look good” J said, and I nodded silently. Right above us, seemingly out of nowhere, was a giant black cloud that was growing bigger and darker by the moment. J fumbles for his phone to check his weather app while I try to decide if it would be better to continue, or if it would be easier to backtrack. As I glance both ways, trying to figure out the best solution I idly mention “At least it’s not a thunderstorm.”


BOOOM!

“Awww, shit.”
“Yeeeah, radar says we got red coming up on us and fast.”
Realizing we hadn’t quite made it half way we decide to backtrack. We kept pretty dry staying under the foliage of the trees, but watching wide eyed as it poured over the lake beside us, sheets of rain driven by the wind as it picked up swiftly. We hurried along, asking each other which was safer if lightning began to get bad: should we stay under cover of the forest, or try to get out in the open? I know you’re not supposed to be near anything tall during a lightning storm, but I always think of that as the lone tree in the middle of a field I think I would take my chances in a forest instead of out in the open near the lake.

There is one point that we had no choice. For about a half mile, the trail we had followed was out in the open. We stood at the edge of the forest for a moment, gazing at the downpour, psyching ourselves up for the inevitable. There was just no way in hell that we were going to get out of this unscathed. We looked at each other, counted to three…..

And then we ran!

About one hundred yards in, we realized it was fruitless. We were soaked. Completely, utterly, without a doubt drenched. I don’t know how J could even see, what with his glasses streaming with water. And as we slowed down surrendering to the rain I couldn’t stop giggling. It felt good! It felt freeing! I was like a little kid, throwing my hands up into the air, twirling around and laughing. It’s been a long time since I could connect with nature and just enjoy the ride. I had no choice so I might as well enjoy the moment and memory it created.

Before we got back to our car, I pulled out my phone and snapped a couple of shots of us:

 
SRM here, laughing my arse off in the pouring rain




I don't know how the hell J could see for the last half of our hike. I want to get him mini windshield wipers ha!



Oh the irony of it all. To be debating how we would survive out in the wild as we forgot to check the weather before heading out on a hike. The humor was most definitely not lost on us. I’m still sitting here, dried off in my PJ’s giggling about the complete absurdity of the situation.

But it was fun and I don’t regret it. I do hope that we can finish the hike tomorrow without rain, but it won’t be as entertaining as it was tonight.


Note to self: Check radar before going out. Also, learn how to make string traps, and how to make a log cabin for a family of five. Just in case….



Vexed Volunteer

I hate volunteering to do things for my kids at school. I realize how bad of a mom that makes me sound, but it's true. It seems like every time I open my mouth and offer to volunteer, some mom or five get pissed.

Let's take the latest instance for example:


Three weeks ago, an email was sent out to all fifth grade parents, asking for volunteers for this weeks "Promotion Ceremony". Parents could choose from making punch, to setting up, to making a slideshow presentation of the kids. As a mom who sucks at scrapbooking, but loves making virtual videos, I thought the slideshow would be a great way of using my skills to create something touching for the kids and parents So I opened my stupid mouth and said I would do it.

Two weeks ago, a mass email was sent out to all parents and teachers, asking for photos to be sent to me. The deadline was for this past Friday. That would give me one weekend to go through all of the photos, organize them into a timeline of the year, and orchestrate them to music with visual effects.

Ten days ago, I had received over 100 photos..... but only from one class. Fearing that time was passing, I emailed the teacher whose kids had no parents send in photos, asking her if she had any to send over. She sent me about 50, and re-sent an email to her class parents saying that they had to get those photos in by the weekend. A few parents sent me a bunch.

Two days ago, I began working on the tedious task of picking out the best photos while trying to stay as balanced as possible between the two classrooms. By Sunday I had everything together, and worked on this slideshow for hours.

Today is Tuesday, technically four days after the deadline, but I allowed photos up until Sunday. I sent out the video for approval before carpool. Since then, in the past four hours I have received no less than five emails from parents with every excuse under the sun as to why they haven't sent in photos of their children until today. I had to be the mom who was both understanding yet sorrowful, that the deadline was four days ago and that the video has already been completed after many hours of work.

Now, most parents have been really understanding of the situation. I appreciate that more than they could possibly know. Because I have already been sent some nasty emails implying that it's my fault that their precious snowflake won't be in the slideshow. I received a passive aggressive response from a mom who said it was such a shame that it was too late, because her child has never fit in at school, and now she is an awful parent for letting her child down by not getting them in by the deadline.

Look, I get it. I really do! I am a mom who deals with ADD and there are a ton of times where deadlines for something have come and gone and I have totally fucked up. I have been that mom! And it sucks. But whose fault is it when I forget something? Mine, and mine alone. I own up to that, because it is my fault for dropping the ball, and I hope to teach my kids to own up to their own mistakes.

So it really bugs me when I feel like I am being thrown under the bus for volunteering MY Labor Day weekend to build a beautiful montage of the fifth graders, when some parents waited over two weeks to send me photos. Everyone had more than enough time to go through their photos and send them in. And why should I, the one who volunteered in the first place, have to be punished for your mistakes? Where do parents get off thinking that I have more time on my hands to sit down with your late photos, and redo the WHOLE damn show just to get your child front and center in the video? I may be a SAHM, but that doesn't mean I have anther six plus hours up my sleeve to seamlessly merge music and photos together. No, I have a three year old who wants me to take him on walks, and read to him, and play games with him. I have two kids who will be home in a few hours, and will need me to help them with their homework. I have a son who needs to go to middle school orientation tonight. I have errands to run tomorrow, dinners to cook, laundry to sort.... I don't have time to redo a project I volunteered to spend my weekend working on for the fifth grade class because you missed the deadline.

I AM sorry that you missed it. I wish I could help you. But it's not my fault. I did the best I could with the material I was given to work with. I did this because I love my son, and I want him, and his classmates to be able to look at this slideshow and feel like they have accomplished something great. But in order to give them the best that I can offer, like anything else, I had to work with a deadline to complete it in time. And so did you.





(P.S I am sending this out a week later than when it happened. I should be over it by now ;)