Will The Bully Be Held Accountable?

10170737_10151962442902653_7163878646663327259_nI have a story that it’s time to share. It’s not entirely my story to tell, but hey, are any of the stories I share here. A huge part of my role as parent is to advocate for my children. And as the kids get older the lines get a little blurred when it’s best to step in and when it’s best to let them advocate for themselves. It’s very tough for me to not butt in when I see something bad happening to my children. Here is the story of my 12 year old daughter’s bully.

It all started over a year ago. In December of last year (2013) my 12 year old sent me a text message that a boy on the bus cut her hair with a paper hole punch. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how this came about and trying to get the story from her via text message while she was on the bus wasn’t easy. I called the school to see if they could shed some light on the situation.

I was told they would look into it and call me back. And later that night after my daughter was home and I was able to question her more and find out if there was any visible damage to her hair (there was not) I was able to piece together what happened. The vice principal of her school called me and assured me that he was handling this situation and he spoke to the child’s parents and consequences were given. He couldn’t tell me what those consequences were, but he felt that this was an isolated incident.

The school year went on and from time to time my daughter would come home complaining about this boy (we’ll call him Z) on the bus. Z said rude things and disgusting things on the bus today. Z called me a name. Z stripped naked. Z poured water on me. Every time I told my daughter to tell the Vice Principal. Eventually I called and spoke to him again about the water incident. I was told he was going to talk to him and would check in with my daughter frequently to see how she was doing.

Okay, well I guess they are handling this. Things were better, the school year ended and not much more happened.

A new year just brought new problems.  At the beginning of the school year this same boy ended up threatening my daughter, chasing her, and pushing her into a fence. This scared me because now he really put his hands on her in a violent way. I called the school and didn’t have my fears squashed. I wasn’t able to get in touch with the vice principal. I left messages and he wasn’t calling back. I was becoming angry. I called after days of being ignored and left a message saying that if I didn’t get a call back that I would have no choice but to go to the police about this situation.

Amazingly, threatening the law has a way of getting people to do things. I got a call right back then and discovered that the Vice Principal in all of this time hadn’t really investigated much of anything because he was shocked when I told him what exactly happened. He had been told about the situation, but I guess didn’t think it was as severe as it was. He assured me that consequences would be taken (but that he couldn’t tell me what those consequences were) and that he would continue to check in with my daughter to make sure things are going better.

3rd time’s a charm, right? Well, no not quite. Last week I got a text message from my daughter asking me if she could get breakfast at school. Knowing she had taken food from home I was curious why she would need to use her lunch money to get breakfast on this day. She said Z stole my breakfast and wouldn’t give it back, I had nothing to eat. I asked if she told the Vice Principal, she said she did, I asked what he said, and she said that he would talk to him. So he didn’t offer to get you breakfast? Nope. So I’m frantically calling the school at 7:30 in the morning trying to find out why no one is making sure my child had food when she was given food by me.

I was told they would get her breakfast and I asked to have the VP call me back. They assured me that both would happen. My daughter told me she did get breakfast, but she thinks she had to pay for it. I didn’t hear from the VP until dinner time that night.

Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise because it had given me a chance to get the whole story from my daughter. On this day she wasn’t even sitting near Z. She was several rows in front of him minding her own business. Z got up out of his seat and walked up to her and snatched her breakfast right out of her hand. The bus driver said and did nothing because as my daughter says, he doesn’t bother anymore because Z doesn’t listen.

My daughter got up out of her seat and confronted Z who told her that she could have it back if she gave him all of her RAFT Tickets (school incentive for good behavior). She refused so Z said, okay then give me your DS for the day. She refused that as well and then the bus driver yelled at her to get in her seat. She explained to the driver that he took her breakfast and all he did was tell her to take her seat. So two adults failed her on this day. I was livid.

So the VP talked to me about this situation and gave me a lot of nice words like usual. There will be consequences, we’re dealing with this, your daughter had breakfast. Yeah, only because I called to make someone feed her. I demanded that he be removed from the bus. He told me that that wasn’t going to happen and that he would have to talk to my daughter and this child and then would call me back the next day.

The next day was actually two days later. His plan was to put an aid on the bus and give Z and assigned seat. I said no way, I myself have had to speak with you about 4 incidences, you had to call me to speak to my daughter once because of something else this boy did to another child on the bus, he doesn’t deserve to be riding the bus. This is the only place the two see each other (Z is a grade ahead of my daughter). Seems to me that the safest thing that makes the most sense is he doesn’t ride the bus. And round and round we went.

I requested a meeting with the boy’s parents and the school principal. I got a meeting with just the vice principal. He said we would discuss the bully report that he is now FINALLY going to write. Now, after 4 incidences that I got involved in, but countless others my daughter had brought his attention to and he did nothing about.

That meeting happened today. Prior to going I talked to my daughter more. I knew there were some more times she had reported things to the VP, but she was always super vague about what happened. I pressed her about exactly what kind of things Z said to her and some of her friends.

He had asked the girls about their period and if they had it yet. He told them he would stop bugging them if another one of her friends would just go on a date with him. And he also talks frequently about condoms.

The period thing and the extortion of course are the biggest issue here. I also checked out the CT laws on bullying and there is an anti bully law which the school has been violating by not taking action sooner. So I went armed with all of this information today.

The Vice Principal I will say is a very nice man. And I do have to say this school is great. And this is a huge part of why I want the boy off the bus because the only place she has to put up with him is on the school bus.

So, for the meeting, we still went round and round. I am not confident in our plan, but he is writing up something with clear consequences which he will go over with my daughter and Z so they are both aware of what is being put in place. The aid will hopefully start on Thursday. He will be positioned on the bus in such a place that he should be able to intervene with anything. However, he could not guarantee me that Z’s assigned seat would be next to the aide therefore blocking him from leaving his seat to go after my daughter.

It also doesn’t appear this is necessarily a permanent solution. If he behaves, then it sounds like they plan on letting up the reins a little for him. Needless to say I’m not super confident, but there will be a written plan that I will have a copy of and Z’s parents will also have a copy of. If he violates this with any child, not just mine he will be subject to consequences.

I told my daughter that if he does ANYTHING to her she has my permission to defend herself, whatever that means at this point. Because lets be honest, what we have in essence is a piece of paper saying behave. There will be an extra adult on the bus which hopefully deters any bad behavior, but the bus driver gave up on him so I’m not sure what will happen with this aid.

I never want to condone violence, but in this situation I think my daughter has done everything she can. I told the Vice Principal that I do not expect to be called because she gets suspended or expelled for defending herself against a boy who has been bullying her for over a year now. He kind of had this you do what you gotta do attitude about this. I probably will end up having to fight for her to be allowed to remain on the bus if it does come down to her hitting him. But since all she has to protect her now is a piece of paper, I’m thinking that’s not acceptable. I hope she never has to find herself in that position, but if she does I hope it wakes this kid up and he stops messing with girls. Since he thinks it’s okay to get physical with her, then I guess the school shouldn’t mind when she gets physical back, right?

So that’s the story of the boy, Z, who has been bullying my 12 year old. It might not be over yet, but I am hoping it is.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran Thinks Cancer Is Easier Than Graduate School

I kid you not folks. Gina Crosley-Corcoran, aka The Feminist Breeder, has found the final ten weeks of her master degree program to be so hard that she actually thinks and said she is jealous of people who have Cancer. Because apparently constantly throwing up, not eating, having harsh chemicals forced into your body causing all sorts of nasty symptoms, losing your hair, being in danger of going out in public and catching everything you come into contact with because the drugs you take to fight off your Cancer so you can hopefully have some shot of actually living have rendered your immune system incompetent, is just far more desirable than getting an education. When you put it like that I guess what’s there not to be jealous of?

Here were her words on the matter:

Gina Crosley-Corcoran

The Feminist BreederI cannot tell you how many awful times I have been jealous of someone diagnosed with cancer lately.

When Gina got called on her epic insensitivity towards anyone and everyone affected by Cancer her response was what she always does, to ban and delete. But then she took it one step further. Because people just wouldn’t let it go she had to make a statement. Most people would offer up an apology for their terribly insensitive statement. But no, not Gina because Gina of course is the only one whose feelings actually matter. She had this to say:

TFB Cancer

The Feminist Breeder Please ignore all the ableist pieces of shit commenting on this thread. They already caused one person to delete her comment (which took my reply along with it.) I suffer a well known and well documented anxiety and depressive disorder and anyone who lives in that daily hell knows that extra stressors like school can make a person feel like death is a relief. But keep attacking me for my feelings you stupid little trolls. I’ll keep deleting your asshole comments.

Do you got that all of you people who have either had Cancer, have Cancer, or have lost someone to Cancer, you’re ableist pieces of shit. And just a bunch of trolls. Never mind that they once were fans of yours, possibly even paying blog readers. They called you on your nonsense and you called them names.

And how dare you blame your mental illness. You hurt people. You know, like people you claim have hurt you causing you to cry yourself to sleep at night for simple offenses like sharing a picture on Facebook that you yourself posted publicly on Facebook. Are you so gone from reality that you can’t see that being jealous of Cancer patients is the lowest of the low? If that’s the case Gina, then I have a suggestion for you. Shut down your page, take a sabbatical from school, and check yourself inpatient into a psychiatric hospital. If your depression and anxiety have made you lose that much sight on things, then don’t continue to add to your stressors by posting every single detail of your life on the internet. You are hurting yourself, you are hurting your followers, and sadly the ones suffering the most are your children.

If you can’t see it yourself and your husband refuses to see it, then perhaps your school would like to step in here. So how about it University of Illinois? You have a student by her own admission here is so stressed out by her course load that she thinks having Cancer is preferable to having to sit through another class. Will you take this cry for help seriously? **Note: before Gina begins accusing me of stalking her and spreading personal information about her, the only reason I know the school she attends is because she herself posted publicly what school she attends.

But have no fear Gina, those words which the original commenter deleted ::cough:: it was you ::cough, cough:: are not lost forever. They are circulating around the internet, just like here with your name attached, to show you for exactly who you are. So maybe places like the Uzazi Village won’t be duped into working with someone who cares so little about anyone, but herself. What a stain you put on the record of the companies and organizations you come into contact with. It’s a real crying shame the suffering you cause.

You think it’s our job to stand up and speak out against hurtful words against women and people of color, right Gina Crosley-Corcoran? Well, I agree, except I think it’s our job to speak out against the hurtful words said towards all people. And since Cancer doesn’t care about race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or socioeconomic background, then I would say your words were the biggest injustice we should speak out against. And then to try to scapegoat the whole thing by using your mental illness? Really Gina, that’s just lower than low.

I have a family member who likes to excuse his hurtful behavior towards me by blaming his mental illness. I won’t let him pull that on me so I damn as sure am not going to let you get away with it. The thing is that even at his lowest point my family member has only ever hurled personal insults that were directed towards me and me alone in the name of mental illness. I don’t even think he would have the audacity to say what you have said about Cancer, and if he did then blame his mental illness for saying it and not once apologize for it.

You’re playing a dangerous game here Gina and I implore you to get help. And if you won’t help yourself, then I implore someone in your life to get it for you. You can start by taking the internet away.

4 Things About My 4 Year Old

birthdaygirlToday, the baby of the family turns 4 years old. Time flies when you have kids. I swear you blink and they are all grown up. In all honesty though this preschool time frame is one of my absolute favorite ages. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my kids right now at whatever age they are, but just in general preschool is such a fun age.

I was supposed to go to my daughter’s class today to spend it with a bunch of 3 and 4 year old’s, but winter birthdays in New England mean chances are you’ll have a snow day. And I distinctly remember her birthday being a snow day for the kids 4 years ago too. Well, more of an ice day. That was fun, getting to the hospital in labor after an ice storm the night before my scheduled induction. This kid, let me tell you, has a mind of her own. And it hasn’t stopped either. She is full of sass. The perfect way to round out our family unit. She fits right in.

Every year for the kids birthdays on this blog I have been listing interesting facts about them. The number of things in the list depends on how old they are. So since my youngest is turning 4 today here are 4 things about her.

4 Things About My 4 Year Old

  1. She is super cuddly, still. She loves hugging and touching and cuddling with just about anyone. A huge change from her brother who is very guarded about these sorts of things. The other night she was loving on her daddy and completely out of no where just said, “I’ll never forget you daddy!” She has a way of making you feel so special.
  2. She loves things with animal prints on it. She is completely drawn to anything with an animal print. Doesn’t matter if it matches something, it has to be animal print.
  3. Her favorite animal is a monkey, although lately she switches between monkey and penguin. When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up though she usually responds by saying, “A mon-hey!” Of course her siblings love to point out that’s not possible, but I like to think maybe she’ll be a zoologist.
  4. She really admires her big brother and sisters. She’s always trying to do things just like them. She is this rough and tumble girly girl with a flare of art because of it. These little parts of her siblings personalities and interests are a part of her and what you end up with is a very unique and interesting personality.

And that’s my baby. My last little girl. The ball of energy in a nutshell. Four years with us and yet I almost can’t imagine a day without her. And actually she can’t either, since in all pictures that do not include her she either assumes someone else in the picture is her or can’t fathom why she wouldn’t have been in that picture to begin with.

Happy Birthday to my sweet and funny 4 year old! I hope it’s a great day!

Why I Stand by Nepal’s Prinsha Shrestha For Miss Earth 2014

10814092_10152420892516078_894204050_nHi all! My friend Lidia Rozdilsky had asked me if she could post about her support of a beauty queen, who she has been working with for the past several months, on my Facebook page. I said sure go for it and hey while you’re at it would you like to write a guest post for my blog about her? She accepted.
But before we get to her post I want to tell you why I agreed to this when there’s so much negativity surrounding beauty pageants. I must admit I’ve never been a huge fan. I don’t think they should be demonized. If a young woman wants to join a beauty pageant, then she should. It’s just not for me. If my daughters expressed interest in beauty pageant I would support them. And honestly, I have learned a lot from Lidia over the last few months about beauty pageants. It’s not about “dumb” girls for lack of a better term who all they have going for them is they look good in a swimsuit. That’s not the case at all. These are very intelligent and philanthropic girls who in most cases get involved in pageantry to create a better life for themselves, but even for those in their community. We might not see that as much here in America, but these girls earn scholarships for college and a platform for which to do fundraising and to raise awareness to important issues which are important to them. And it’s important that we support this if we truly want to support women and feminism.
Shocking, isn’t it? A beauty pageant supports feminism. It does though. These girls are using their platform to activate change. It’s more than just the ceremony. So please take a moment to read about what Lidia has to share about this Miss Earth candidate, Prinsha Shrestha and then tell me this isn’t important.

Without further ado…

10748814_10152420892711078_1189727411_nWhat do load shedding, the internet, and a beauty queen, have in common: a winning poll, you might not guess. Looking at the latest unofficial updates from Miss Earth polls I am stunned and amazed: stunned that amidst electricity rationing and internet penetration of only 29% the Nepalis have come in droves to support online their home candidate, and moreover that the candidate is a young 22-year-old young woman with a tiara, a shining smile, and a heart as big as the soaring hills of the Himalayas.

10808314_10152420892051078_1533022114_nI first met Prinsha Shrestha during the coronation dinner for Miss Nepal 2014. I had lined up to help myself to the delicious food when the 6-year-old daughter managed to get away and when I went after her to retrieve her she was holding the hand of one of the winners. “Mama, do you know that this girl never sat down and stood the whole time on high heels. She talked to everyone, mama, and did not get anything to eat. Mama, can she come to our house, pleaaaase” my little Sophie pleaded. In the coming weeks, “that girl,” along with her two sister beauty queens, would come to us many times as I became their mentor and Prinsha became my daughter’s idol.

I have told Prinsha that I would save my praises for when she lands in the Philippines. At times, I would have a feeling that in class I was a hybrid between Cruella Deville and a blue alien from Avatar, introducing concept after concept, format after format, expecting her to perform gracefully and confidently, and then repeat things that she had done well again for further reinforcement.

One of the qualities that still amazes me about Prinsha is her ability to endure criticism, looking for the grain of constructiveness in a barrage of expectations I would hurl her way, and come seemingly unscathed at the other end after I have exhausted all I had to say “to make things better.” I desperately tried to convince her that she needs more “alone” time in order to improve her concentration, failing myself to realize, and now in retrospect, that she gets her vitality from the things she does not only WITH others but FOR others: from supporting a marathon benefitting cancer patients to teaching Nepali women self defense moves.

I have long stopped being impressed with intelligence in its conventional sense because my humble experience as a human being has taught me that it is not smart people that this world is lacking but moral people, engaged in the welfare of others rather than concerned with their own interest. Having known Prinsha for over six months, I, along with many who know her, can attest to the fact that she is one of those people. I am also pleased that she represents Nepal at Miss Earth Pageant 2014, a forum that emphasizes both social engagement and intelligence, where I am sure she shines brightly.

As of today, several major commercial organizations have come in support of the women from their country and therefore have brought them a landslide of votes. Vote for our contestant, they say. Yet all these entities have failed to tell me why, exactly that should be the case? Has their candidate held the hand of a trafficking victim giving her hope, has she excelled in skills and knowledge, and has she served others endlessly. Because Prinsha Shrestha has done all of these things, and I, along with countless others whose only voting power is at the tips of their fingers, are telling you so.

Dear well wishers and supporters of Prinsha (for she calls you that, and not fans). The Beauty for a Cause prize is not Prisha’s opportunity to shine but YOURS. Yours to prove to the rest of the world that just because a talented woman comes from a small, developing country does not mean that she does not stand a chance against places with big sashes, big populations, and mighty supporters. But more importantly that the Nepalis and those outside Nepal who support Prinsha value and celebrate a new type of femininity, one full of grace and finesse, coupled with competence, confidence, and string character. And you can do that by:

Sharing Prinsha’s profile on your page: https://ph.celebrity.yahoo.com/news/miss-earth-2014–miss-nepal-prinsha-shrestha-161224443.html

2. Adding @YahooPH #MissEarth2014 in the title
10811644_10152420892206078_746855560_n
Every vote counts whether you wish to share her profile once or hundreds of times. It means that you support not just a fellow Nepali but one that is capable of impressing anyone on behalf of the beautiful land of the Himalayas. As an Outsider living in Nepal, one day I will leave this beautiful land, and within a few years there would hardly be a memory of me and my family. But there will always be a picture of a girl with a tiara who is growing into becoming a leader, a mentor, an intellectual, and a human resource ready to improve the lives of others in a country that desperately needs such acts. I support not only this particular person but this type of person for the benefit if all. Do you?
Thank you for sharing Lidia. Now doesn’t this sound like a girl with true brains, beauty, and an amazing amount of personal convictions?

7 Facts About My 7 Year Old

1908088_10152277059787653_9133243616336575304_nToday my son turns 7. I don’t know where in the world the time has gone. It really feels like just yesterday I was in the hospital meeting him for the very first time. But we have had 7 whole years together and they have been wonderful. He is everything and then some I could have ever imagined in a son.

So the last few years I have been sharing with everyone some fun facts about my children on their birthday here on this blog. It’s fun to see how they change and grow throughout the year, or even just see the same. If you want to see the other posts about him, you can find them here and here.

But now, he’s 7 so I have to come up with 7 things about him.

7 Facts About My 7 Year Old

  1. He is a very protective big brother. Watching him with his little sister, I think they have a very special bond. She will do anything to be just like him and he would do anything to protect her. They might bicker fiercely, but when they get along they are so sweet together. Holding hands and hugging. It’s just a very special bond.
  2. He has quite the imagination. I really never know what kind of stories he’s going to come up with. I can be sure it will most likely make me laugh though.
  3. He LOVES pizza. Like if we would let him he would eat pizza every single day of his life. As a matter of fact, when we were on vacation this year he did manage to have pizza every single day.
  4. He’s a Mets fan. This year we got to go to a major league baseball game and he loved every single second of it even though it was a cold and rainy night.
  5. He’s a thrill seeker. He used to be a bit of a cautious one, but lately he has been one who thrives on takings risks and loves it.
  6. He’s very stubborn. This can be a goo thing because it also makes him very determined, but given that I’m very stubborn too it makes things interesting.
  7. He has a very contagious laugh. When he gives a great big belly laugh those around him can’t help but laugh too.

That’s my son. Getting to know him these last 7 years had truly been a blessing and I look forward to watching him continue to grow and be successful. Successful in his own special way.

A Review Of Creative Galaxy From Amazon Prime Instant Video

I was given the opportunity to review Amazon Prime Instant Video Creative Galaxy with my 3 year old daughter. We couldn’t have been more excited to watch this program together. I’d be lying if I didn’t say my kids are a bit of TV junkies. Not really something I’m proud of, but they do enjoy watching TV. So anytime they get to watch something that’s entertaining while also being educational is a plus for me. And Creative Galaxy was exactly that.

Creative Galaxy 2

What’s Creative Galaxy All About

So Arty is the main character and he’s an alien. He flies around the galaxy with his side kick Epiphany solving problems like bland library walls and building a house for a bunny with art. The show teaches many different things including what a museum is, different styles of art that artists use to draw pictures (dot art for example), and also shapes and colors.

It’s an interactive program which asks children to answer questions like where is the red paint or where is the square. My 3 year old daughter got into it really fast pointing to the paint colors and the shapes and saying dot dot dot right along with them while they were creating art.

At the end of each episode it showed some real children (not cartoon) creating art and pretending with the art that they created.

Creative Galaxy

Creative Galaxy

What My Daughter Thought Of It

My daughter was very into it and sat without problem for an entire episode and then still wanted more. She was quiet and content while watching it and interacting with the characters. She truly enjoyed it and keeps asking me if she can watch Arty again. So I think she gives it two thumbs up.

What I Thought Of It

Do parents ever really love kid shows? I’m not saying I’d sit here watching this program with my daughter every time, but I certainly don’t find it as annoying as say Barney. Honestly, I thought it was cute and my daughter interacting with it makes it a little cuter still. I thought it was great that it wasn’t just focusing on shapes and color associated with art, but also different artists and how they create their art was being brought up to. Now I don’t anticipate my 3 year old knowing a Monet painting when she sees it, but still I thought that was a nice added touch to the whole story line.

Also, while I didn’t have my 6 year old son watch it, I think it’s still something he would have liked, if for nothing else than just because it was an alien and he was flying around in a spaceship. So boy or girl I thought it could easily appeal to both which is always good.

All in all I have to say Creative Galaxy from Amazon Prime Instant Video is a great program for preschoolers. Your older children might even enjoy it as well. If you’re looking for a fun interactive program to watch with your preschooler, then this might be the show for you.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

War Against Women, or War Against Men

boysYou have probably seen that campaign out there “Woman Against Feminism”. And it’s shocking, right? Shocking that a woman wouldn’t want equality. But you see that’s not what it’s about, at least not to me. Because you see I am against modern day feminism, but I’m not against feminism. I don’t want anyone telling me that I can’t do something just because I’m a woman and I most certainly don’t want my daughter’s being told that.

I’m 35 years old, going on 36. My mother (who might hate me for telling you all this) was born in the 50′s. And back then it was still mostly believed that girls didn’t belong in the boardroom unless maybe she was a secretary. Her father (my grandfather) felt that she was going to stay home and raise babies, so despite the fact that she was good in school and had the smarts, my grandfather said no when it was recommended that she take college prep courses. And that was the times. So my mom, as wonderful and smart as she is didn’t go to college. She took a few college courses when I was older, but that was it. She even helps my dad in his college courses.

I don’t know if my mother holds any resentment towards her father for that or not. I do know that she never ever let me think that I couldn’t be and do whatever I wanted to. College was more of an expectation for me growing up. So I had some amazing opportunities and while I didn’t finish college and I do stay home and take care of babies, I do know that the fact that I got to go to college was not only because my mother refused to let me believe that all I could ever amount to was a wife and mother, but because some great feminist women paved that road for me. They fought to be treated as equals.

And guess what, it worked! But the pendulum has swung too far. Here in America college classrooms are filled with more girls than boys. We are seeing more and more women in the boardroom running things. In my own work the majority of the people are women. We did it, we have the right to vote and we have the right to work or stay home. It’s very much accepted. And before you go telling me, but Monica there’s still a wage gap, we have to fix that. No, no there isn’t. Because the thing is if you look at what women do and what men do in a field it’s just not the same because at the end of the day we might be equal to men, but we’re not the same as men and our interests don’t lie in the same place as men do. So the work we might be doing in the same field as men is different. I made the choice to stay home. Truth be told I can and actually now do make more money than my husband. I wanted to be a stay at home mom all of these years, therefore making my husband the “bread winner”.

Boys And Girls Are Different

Men and women are different. It’s something that is so plainly obvious when you look at children. I am the mother of 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy. My son is surrounded by girls and yet he’s absolutely nothing like us. He has been playing with Barbies and baby dolls since before he could talk or even walk for that matter. And he just plays with them different than his sisters. And from day one if you gave him the choice of a doll or a block, hands down he would pick the block. Cars and tools and mechanical stuff, that’s where it’s at for him. His sisters like cars, especially his little sister because she wants to be just like her big brother. They even like guns, but when it comes down to it if my girls had a choice between a doll and a matchbox car, they would choose the doll.

Not because I have forced these toys on them. I believe very much in there’s no such thing as “boy” toys and “girl” toys. Every child is going to have his/her preference, but it’s a fact, boys just gravitate more towards the building things and the mechanical things. Girls gravitate more towards the baby dolls and kitchen stuff. Does that mean they can’t or won’t ever play with the other more typical boy or girl toys for lack of a better term? No, of course not.

My youngest comes home with reports about what she did at school everyday. She’s 3 and in preschool. Almost everyday she has played in the kitchen. I ask her if she’ll try something else, one day she told me she’d go to the Lego station and she did. But when asked what she liked best, it was kitchen. She likes Legos. She likes them better with her brother I think.

Boys and girls are different. Men and women are different. This isn’t a bad thing, but we do need to recognize these differences and the place we need to most recognize these difference is in school.

I watched this brilliant video of a talk a woman by the name of Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers gave about the war against boys a few years ago at a law school event. I’ll share the video below so you can watch it too, and I really recommend you do because it was brilliant. Our sons are getting the shaft here people.

With all of these women’s action groups fighting about things we are now taking everything from our boys and giving it all to the girls. And it has become so bad that now we are seeing that more girls than boys are in the maths and science fields. And there’s a very large gap in achievement between boys and girls in reading and writing.

I see it with my own kids. My girls want to please the teacher, but my son he’s already losing interest. He’s 6 and in the 1st grade. And I can’t say that his teachers are failing him, because they most certainly are not. But society as a whole is failing my boy and every boy out there. There are more opportunities for girls. Classrooms are geared towards the girls. My son at 6 years old likes 3 things about school. Lunch, recess, and gym. I kid you not, on Wednesday and Thursday mornings I convince him to get up and get ready for school because it’s a gym day, the two days of the week he looks forward to at school.

I want him to stay interested and I am sure teachers are doing whatever they can within the curriculum to keep those boys interest and attention on task, but when the curriculum is geared towards girls, then there’s only so much one can do. There has to be balance. We can’t allow our boys to fall through the cracks because some feminists today think there’s still some war against women.

Equality

A man can’t put his hands on a woman because he’s stronger than her, but we’re equal. A man shouldn’t open a door for a woman because he’s stronger than her, but we’re equal. A man should provide for his family and pitch in with household chores, but we’re equal. How confusing is this for our sons?

And don’t get me wrong, no man should ever put his hands on a woman in anger, but no woman should put her hands on a man in anger either.

Men should open doors for women, not because women are weak, but out of respect and women should graciously accept this kind gesture and not assume that there is an implication of I’m better than you.

Men should provide for their children and help out, but that might mean women have to let go a little control and allow a man to do things his way without fear of being critiqued because it’s not the way we think it should be done.

Instead of assuming that every slightly negative thing that happens in a woman’s life is simply because she’s a woman, lets give boys and men the benefit of the doubt. They deserve an education just as much as girls do and they deserve to be treated with respect. We don’t need to train them to be like girls, we need to show them how to be gentlemen.

Lets understand that men and women, boys and girls are not the same and that’s okay. There are things women can do that men can’t and there are things men can do that women can’t.

The woman against feminism isn’t against the original premise of feminism, but we’re going to come full circle here at the rate we’re going. And that’s no better for us as a society.

I Want My Son…

…to grow up to be whatever he wants to be.

…to be a gentleman.

…to be loved and respected by a woman who sees value in everything he has to offer.

…to get an education.

…to be happy.

I want all of the same for my daughters. I hope they can get it.

Watch this video, then tell me do you think we are doing right by our boys?

Why Robin Williams, Why?

There is help, just ask!

There is help, just ask!

I am assuming most of my readers know about actor/comedian Robin Williams. Patch Adams, Goodwill Hunting, Jumanji, Mork and Mindy, Mrs. Doubtfire, just to name a few of his amazing works.  I first heard about it in the middle of working Monday night when my 15 year old said to me, “Robin Williams died, their saying suicide.”

I didn’t believe it.  I said, “No, that must be a rumor.”  But as the evening went on and more and more people were talking about it, I realized it’s true.  And now more information is coming out saying that he hung himself.  I’ve been having a very hard time wrapping my head around this.  I mean isn’t this almost like the ultimate in a good actor?  I keep seeing pictures of him and replaying lines I have heard and his infectious smile and laugh most certainly do not portray a man in such a deep depression that the only way out was suicide.  And of course, I only know him through the big screen.  I don’t know him.  Or rather I didn’t know him.

And still I think many people are just wondering, why?  What could anyone have done to save him from himself?  And then I begin to think about death.  I seem to be doing that more and more the older I get.  I am actually very terrified of dying.  Which of course always makes me that much more curious when I hear someone killed themselves.  How much in the pit of despair to do you have to be to end it all in that way?

I get that he was in a very bad place and I’m lucky to have never experienced such despair. But this was a man who you would think had access to all of the help in the world right at his fingertips.  One who spent his life making other people laugh. As a matter of fact I read some words from his children about this and his daughter said he lived to make others happy. He sure did a great job of it too.

So why couldn’t someone so funny and so loved by so many people find even one reason to keep going on? Is the negative stigma of mental illness so great that he couldn’t seek help?  Was he not even aware that he needed help?  Over the weekend I had gotten very sick (physically).  I was in the worst pain of my life (and remember, I have been in labor 5 times so that’s saying a lot).  I said I just wanted to die, but I knew that was the last thing I wanted.  Although, I suppose if no amount of pain medication could have taken that pain away, then I might have really meant it.  When do we cross that line from saying it, but not really meaning it to meaning it and actually acting on it?

Outwardly one would think Robin Williams had numerous reasons to live.  He had fame, he had fortune, and he had family who loved him.  And it wasn’t enough to save him.  He was sick.  He had an illness which couldn’t be pinpointed with a CAT scan and easily solved with medication.  So what hope is there?  I think that’s what gets me with suicide.  People call it selfish and I think they do because so many people are left without any answers and so many people feel like, but I loved you and I needed you in my life when someone takes that way out.  It’s probably a way to alleviate our own guilt in not being able to save someone.

In life Robin Williams was a great many thing to a great many people and in death he is too.  I hope it makes us all a little more aware of those around us, a little less judgmental of those who seek out help for mental illness, and a little more proactive in seeking help for those who make suicidal statements.  Because that’s what our takeaway should be from this tragic death, not what hope is there for the rest of us?

I hope Robin Williams’ family finds peace. And may Robin Williams rest in peace. Forever missed!

Na-Nu Na-Nu.

If you are experiencing severe depression, then use the number on the top of the post. There are people out there to help you and your life is worth living!

Happy International Lefty Day

photo credit: josephbergen via photopin cc

photo credit: josephbergen via photopin cc

I woke up this morning thinking it’s just another day, but I was quickly reminded thanks to Facebook that it’s International Left Handed day.  A whole day devoted to about 10% of the population.  A population which I am a part of.

I grew up as the only lefty in the house.  Neither of my parents are left handed and neither is my brother.  And it came with its challenges growing up.  And now that I’m out on my own and with 4 kids I am still the only lefty in my house.  That has brought upon some new challenges in my life.  You wouldn’t think one’s dominant hand would cause trouble, but it does, and lefties are keenly aware of this issue.  And any righty who lives with a lefty quickly learns some of these things too.  So let me share with my righty counterparts some of the struggles I have experienced as a lefty.  They’re just ways in my life I have had to work a little differently and sometimes a little longer to get something done for one reason or another.

How Being A Lefty Has Effected Me

  1. Learning to write was a struggle. Everyone who was teaching me was right handed and it took me longer to pick up on writing my letters.
  2. All you righties, do you remember those one or two pairs of green handled scissors in the scissor box at school?  Those were intended for lefties, not for you to brag that you got the different pair of scissors.  I cannot use scissors that are not meant for both hands.  I can’t switch them and use my right hand either, it still doesn’t work for me.  So while everyone else got their hand turkey cut out, I was left with nothing and many times a teacher who didn’t understand that with the right tools I could do it, but because someone else took the green handled scissors I couldn’t complete the task.
  3. Manual can openers are a puzzle.  It takes me 5 minutes to open one can with a traditional manual can opener because I have to talk my brain into how it’s done.
  4. When we write we are left with a permanent mark on the side of our hand from going over the paper.  It’s kind of our mark of solidarity.  Some lefties you might see contort themselves in such a way to try to avoid dragging their hand over the paper.  I tried that, it’s exhausting so I take the pen marks.  It’s also a constant battle of finding just the right pen which will leave the least amount of pen on the side of you hand.
  5. Teaching right handed children to write is even more frustrating than learning how.  I can’t tell you how many times I sat at the table with my right handed children showing them a letter, having them not do anything like I showed them, only to have my husband come along and show them exactly the same thing in the same way and have them do it without problem.
  6. I still have people stealing my scissors.  I have a specific pair of my favorite scissors for in the kitchen and for all other cutting things.  Someone is forever taking and using these scissors and not putting them back.  They are getting better about it because I have made it very clear that if my scissors are not where I can find them when I need them, heads will roll.  You can bring me any other pair of scissors in the house, if it’s not my scissors it does me no good because I still can’t use those other scissors.

I love being a lefty though and I love finding other people who share in this unique advantage.  I am always noticing other lefties and reminding them, that only lefties are in their right mind.  When I was bringing my oldest daughter on some college tours this summer another parent I realized was a lefty because he was pointing out to his daughter the lefty desks.  There were actually about five of those desks in that classroom, 5 desks which I guarantee you a righty would walk into the room and sit at just because it was different, not because he needed it to make his life easier.

I have adapted to this predominately right handed world the best way I can.  When learning computer the mouse was always on the right.  While I know I could move the mouse to the left now, I still use my right hand to operate the mouse.  I actually prefer the right handed desks in classrooms because most didn’t have a lefty desk anyway and I just got used to using the righty desk.

So happy international left handed day to my fellow lefties.  Do you know anyone who is a lefty?

Amazon Studios Brings Annedroids Into Your Home


Annedroids 2When I read about the program from Amazon studios known as Annedroids I knew it was something my six year old son would be interested in.  This sort of sci-fi drama all played out with kids, sounded right up his alley. Here’s a little snippet about the premise of the show:

Annedroids is a science based-action adventure series that follows eleven-old genius and kid-scientist Anne, who has invented and built her own amazing androids, and her friends and kid assistants Nick and Shania. Together the kid trio make amazing scientific discoveries while undertaking the biggest experiment of all: growing up.

So I was very excited to get the opportunity to actually watch this with my son. He seemed hesitant about it, but as soon as I put it on for him I would say he was hooked!

One of the Annedroids

One of the Annedroids

What My Son Thought Of Annedroids

I asked me six year old what he thought of Annedroids and he said, “I liked the robot, they were cool!” My son really enjoyed watching the six episodes we were given.  It kept his interest. He kept asking me if he could watch more Annedroids.  He liked how some of the other Annedroids helped the other Annedroid come alive. I’m pretty sure he wants to live in Anne’s lab now too. He thought all of her little inventions were really cool.

What Did I Think Of Annedroids

In all honesty this program did not hold my interest at all.  Not that it was supposed to hold my interest.  I found the acting to be poor though.  And personally I felt the girl who played Shania was particularly obnoxious.  Nick and Anne were okay characters though.  I did like the little scientific educational teachings they had in there though.  Like learning about what a hypothesis is and how to conduct an experiment and how the voltage from one lighting strike would give enough power to charge up one of the Annedroids when all of the batteries and electricity at their disposal would not. And of course I also liked that my son was enjoying it so much.  After all, that’s what really makes all kid’s programs tolerable, if the kids are enjoying it. I’ve watched more than my fair share of annoying programs over the years because it made the kids happy. Annedroids isn’t the absolute most obnoxious kid’s program I have been subjected to over the years.

All in all I think this is a great program for kids between the ages of 4 and 7 as it’s being advertised for. I’m not sure that older kids would be interested in it, but my 3 year old would have enjoyed it.  Parents will like it for their kids because it’s educational and kids like it because it’s cool, at least according to my son.  You should definitely check out Annedroids from Amazon studios with your kids though. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.