eight years of classroom cupid

Valentines Musings for My Munchkins

We've survived many a ♥ day,
you and I...
There were years 
I was certain
we'd never survive.
Addressing endless valentines,
fumbled shoebox crafts,
scouring ingredients for peanut allergies
lest we send a classmate
into anaphylactic shock.

"Bee Mine", "You Rock",
"you're the purr-fect friend!"
Huddled around the kitchen table,
enduring the angst of picking
which card goes to whom.
Then there's always the mom
whose kid does those damn
Pinterest valentines
when we all know 
you only want
the sugar
anyway.

Elementary socialism
demands a valentine
for each boy, each girl -
no exceptions.
For years we've 
faithfully followed 
the rule,
candy for everyone,
no child left behind,
until the straw that broke 
the camel's back.
Now one's on strike,
refusing to take Valentines
at all
if it means putting on
a false face.

Middle school's shark tank
throws our kids in
to sink or swim
as they tread the
social waters
of tween hierarchy.
Suddenly a normal Tuesday
is rife with angst -
girls and guys
tiptoeing around each other,
painfully anxious,
parents helpless
through it all.

I do not envy you today,
my loves.

 

Forever Family: beauty’s in the eye of the beholder

It’s been years since I watched Whoopi Goldberg’s “long blond hair” segment in her stand up routine, but it’s something I’ve never forgotten.  Whoopi plays a young black girl who dreams of being white.  She drapes an old white skirt over her head, smoothing it as if stroking her luxurious hair.  The character wistfully hopes to become white with long, blond hair so she can appear on The Love Boat.

The implications are clear: beauty is measured by a white world’s standards, and those standards are what you aspire to if you want the American Dream.

While we talk a good game about diversity in American culture – models of all shapes, sizes, and colors; movie roles for minorities; increased visibility for people of color on television – you can’t expect the tide to recede just like that.  It took a long time to shape our culture, and it won’t change back overnight.

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thank you, Jesus, we have a plan

As far as I’m concerned, this is the 12-step program they ought to offer at middle school open house.  Bless.

“Step 1:  Admit that you are now powerless to control your tween’s emotions and their moods are now unmanageable.  During this step, just repeat as often as necessary, ‘My baby is still in there somewhere.  I just know it.’ “

A 12-Step Program For Parents Entering The Tween Years – Scary Mommy

parenthood, survival, and the clothing conundrum

This too shall pass.

The phrase passed from generation to generation, words meant to soothe souls and convince adults that they will indeed survive parenthood without killing their offspring.

It’s used to dull the pain of countless nerve stripping phases of your brood.  The screaming-through-the-night phase.  The unending-diaper-changing years.  The YOU-CAN’T-MAKE-ME, foot-stomping chapter.

But-everybody-else-has-it…If-you-loved-me…What’s-wrong-with-$120-sneakers?…Who-cares-that-it’s-30-degrees-I’m-fine-in-shorts…

One simple phrase intended to keep us from tearing our hair out or running wild in the streets.  So far, so good.

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anyone else up for social media limits?

I am this mom.  (Well, maybe not with the pink boa and countertop dancing, but I’m solidly on board with minors and social media.)  It’s remarkably hard to be the mom who says no when so many parents around me are saying yes.  To hold my own against request after request, seeing the disappointment in the kids’ eyes each time, knowing they think I’m a shrew.

Parenting.  Sheesh.

“Sorry, Charlie, but I don’t believe any child under 13 has any business on social media.

There.  I said it…

As much as I know I can lock down my kids’ accounts and keep their internet sharing private, here’s the thing: I know what I post on my social media accounts, and I don’t want them seeing what I do in my grown-up space on the internet.  And I don’t want your 11-year-old to see what I post either, thank you very much.”

Why I’m Not Accepting Your Kid’s Social Media Request – Scary Mommy

keep those old people cooties out

Cue the really, really old person flashback.

I was born in the 70s, the age of banana seat bicycles and bell bottoms and Buck Rogers.  Just hanging out with my friends was a good time.  Getting to fix my hair with a curling iron so it feathered away from my face made me feel like a supermodel, and bell bottoms were the bomb.

It didn’t take much to make me feel like I was living the good life.

We work hard to keep our kids grounded, but we’re visiting someplace that has a teens club.  It’s not the concept itself I object to, but this particular teens club rivals any nightclub offered in the city.  Sound booths with gaming consoles, an air hockey table, a lit up dance floor with tv screens for videos and karaoke, plus a bar for sodas and snacks.  Add in neon and motorcycles and generally cool decor and you’ve got a tween/teen’s dream.

I’m sorry, what?!  I mean, you’re already living the high life because your parents let you out from underneath their thumbs…do you really need reverberating bass to feel like you’re partying the night away?  Apparently the answer to that question is yes, because that’s what they’ve designed here.  To be fair, if I was a kid I’d totally want to spend time in there, too.

But I’m, you know, old and stuff.  So I have to pretend to admire it from a distance so I don’t give it the mom cooties from too much gushing.

But dang…talk about a killer lounge area.  Sheesh.

not the same old same old

In lots of ways it’s been a week filled with normal – doctor’s appointments and homework, laundry and life.  But in other ways it’s been pretty earth shattering.

And that’s not always easy to manage with the kids.

T-man and Bear have been extraordinarily aware during this entire election cycle.  It started way back before the primaries, when we explained repeatedly that a candidate wasn’t “winning” the presidency because the polls had him or her ahead for a state’s primary.  We discussed the two party system, the primaries, the Democratic and Republican tickets, the conventions…

Things got real in the fall.

Check out tomorrow’s Forever Family to chime in on kids and politics.  Let us know how the election impacted your own family this year.

Forever Family: long potato zipper soup

I used to love playing the telephone game.  My extremely unscientific poll of friends and family reveals this pastime to be a pivotal part of growing up in the ’70s.  Or maybe it was more of a girl thing, I don’t know.  Either way, there were more than a few occasions when you would have found me and my friends sitting in a circle, sending a message around with whispers.  Having the refined sense of humor of nine-year-old girls we typically found the results downright comical.

“My favorite color is purple” became “I faded color in syrup”.

“John Travolta is so cute” morphed into “Long potato zipper soup”.

“Joanie loves Chachi” ended up as…well, usually as “Joanie loves Chachi”.  That one was hard to mess up.

But now it seems like our grown-up lives have become one long telephone game.

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