Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Don't Just Worry About Your Girls, Worry About Your Boys Too

   I just finished reading something that infuriated me: something that had a mom stating that she had to worry more about her girls. Apparently, boys don't come home pregnant. Well, that's so, a male can't carry a baby. But a girl can't get herself pregnant. I've posted about this before, but this issue just continues to crop up. People continue to tell me that I need to worry about my daughter in regards to this. It's not that I really disagree, I do worry about my daughter and her future. My issue is that the moms and dads of boys need to be worrying about this just as much as the moms and dads of girls.
   I have a girl. And if that girl comes home sixteen and pregnant, I will know who the father is. If I have to find a way to get paternity tests for the entire stinking neighborhood, I will find the father. And then that father, he is going to man up and take responsibility. He's sixteen, and still in school? Well, I don't give a fuck. My daughter will be getting child support, so get that boy a job. My grandchild will be getting support from dear-old-dad, so it's time for him to grow the hell up.
   Of course, I hope to hell that this never, never happens. My daughter has already expressed the ideal of waiting for marriage, and you can bet your ass that this single mom is doing everything in her power to encourage that. But the point here is that boys are teenage parents too. Boys go out and drink too much and get themselves into stupid situations. Boys can be kidnapped, molested, raped, just as easily as girls can. Why do parents of boys think that they have less to worry about? They don't.
    I don't have a boy. My plan is to not have more children, but I am aware that people's desires and circumstances can change. I can still have kids, still far from being too old for that, so say I do met someone, and we get married (not doing the single mom bit again, thank you), say that happens and we decide to have a kid, and that kid is a boy. Let me ever find out that my boy fathered a child and then walked away from that responsibility. Let me find out. Ya'll will all enjoy seeing me on the evening news, after  I go ape-shit on that boy. And then, that future-imaginary-boy of mine is going to not only pay up, but he will also do what he needs to do to be a part of that child's life.
   And I've been living in the real world long enough to know that the sickos and pervs out there don't only target little girls. We all know that they are just as happy to target boys as well, so a boy has every bit as much a chance of becoming a victim to a sexual predator as a girl. Boys can drink to much at some teenage party, pass out, and be taken advantage of. This isn't a condition that only affects girls. Boys and girls alike can make piss-poor decisions and drink and drive, or text and drive, or drive while high. Neither sex has the corner on that bit of stupidity.
   There are an ass-ton of reasons out there to worry about in regards to your kids, and none of them are gender specific, NONE OF THEM. Parents of boys have every bit as much reason to worry as the parents of girls; stop acting like they don't. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Best Advice I Can Give To New Moms

   I remember the days back when my daughter was a baby very vividly (hasn't been that long, after all). There was a lot of fun to that stage; she was learning to new things left and right. But there was also a lot of stress. If you go to the bookstore and pick out a parenting book, they all seem to have guidelines about what your precious baby should or should not be doing, along with ages. Like at so-and-so months, your child should be rolling over, or sitting, or walking, or talking. I threw those books away early, but what I couldn't throw away was all the people, all with the best intentions, telling me that my daughter wasn't doing what she should be doing.
   My daughter, apparently, was slow to roll over. Who knew? Well, everybody except me, it seems. Then she was slow to sit up on her own without support. I had well-meaning people left and right telling me that I needed to work with her, and I would look over at my daughter, diligently working on putting her foot in her mouth, literally, and somehow I just didn't think that a kid who could bend like that was gonna have a problem  with a weak spine. I just thought that at that particular time, she had other interests. Her foot needed to be in her mouth. I figured that once she realized her toes didn't taste very good, she would work on sitting.
   Then she didn't crawl. My daughter never did learn to crawl. That's not to say that she didn't get around -- she did-- she had just found an alternative method. My daughter rolled EVERYWHERE. If she was by the TV and wanted to get to the coffee table, she would lay down on her back and start rolling towards it, giggling as she went. She was also extremely fast at the butt scoot. People stressed me out with their constant, "Your kid isn't developing as fast as she should." But I would look at her, and to me she seemed fine. She just did things differently.
   She learned to walk 'on time' but there were certain family members that expressed disappointment that she did not walk early. However, within a week of learning to walk, she figured out how to run, and everyone was too busy chasing her and too tired to complain for a while.
   Talking was never a problem. She learned to talk early, and almost from the start, she could string sentences together. She talked like a little adult, which brought on complaints about the fact that she wasn't potty training fast enough. "She's obviously smart. Why can't you get her to use the potty? You have to be firm and consistent." As if I didn't know that. I tried everything. I took away diapers and made her run around in panties and took her to the potty every hour, and none of it worked. I felt like a failure, just because my kid wouldn't use the potty at the suggested age. But eventually, I just stopped worrying about that as well, to the fury of some. But hey, I felt justified. Everything my daughter had been slow at doing, she had started doing almost perfectly once she got around to the task. I decided to wait. My daughter didn't potty train until she was four, but once she did, she never had an accident. She never wet the bed, never peed herself because she couldn't hold it; once she decided she wanted to use the toilet she did so with ease and perfection.
   This has always been how my daughter has worked. She likes to do things when she is good and ready to do them. And if she doesn't want to do them, forcing her is like trying to move a mountain. Good luck with that. Sometimes parenting is stepping back and paying attention to your child's patterns. How does your child do things? What is the norm for your child? Because your child isn't one of those neat and tidy little statistics -- your child is unique and will do things in his/her own way.
   My daughter was slow, according to all of the books, and all of the people who held her up to other kids. Today -- my daughter is twelve. She is wicked smart and has a zany, goofy, fun personality. She still does things in her own way at her own time, and that's fine, because I've learned that there can be a method to her hesitation. She's watching, listening, learning, and she'll do whatever it is when she feels good and ready, and do it with confidence.
   So that would be the advice that I would give to other mothers. All the studies in the world cannot tell you how your child will work. They will not tell you when your child should do something. They will tell you how other children work, and around what ages the majority of other children did those things -- but those children are not your children. I don't really like to give parenting advice because I am far, far from an expert, yet, at the same time, I am a mother. I have been there, stressing because my daughter wasn't doing what everyone said she should do at the age they said she should.
   And I am telling you now, all that crap means nothing. It's just crap. So my advice is not to hold your child up to crap standards that may or may not mean a damn thing. Your child will move and learn at their own pace, and if you are really worried, you can always go talk to your doctor. But don't stress out because some book, or family member, or friend said that your kid isn't learning fast enough. Your child is unique. In all of the world, there has never been another baby like the one you have now, and there never will be another one just like that baby again, so how can you compare that special baby to someone else?

My daughter at 3 months. 

My daughter around 9 months. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Graveyard Of The Butterflies

   For Christmas my sister bought my daughter death. She didn't mean to buy my daughter death; she meant to buy my daughter something that was really neat and educational and fun, but little did she know, what she bought was a graveyard. A butterfly graveyard to be specific.
   Let me back up just a little. For Christmas, my sister wanted to get all the kiddos something educational, and she had done a caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly thing in her daycare that had turned out fantastically. So she found this one from Insect Lore called  Butterfly Garden (linked here ). It seemed like a good idea to me. My daughter loves science, and she loves butterflies, so this was a perfect little project to get her.
    She opened the present on Christmas, and was a little baffled at the 'garden' which was a netted tube thing that resembled some of her stuffed animal bins. But my sister ordered all the caterpillars, which took two weeks to arrive, and I think that seems about right. I didn't really count. When the caterpillars arrived, they were in these two clear plastic cups that contained a brown sludge at the bottom which was their food. It seemed okay. They weren't very active yet, but paperwork had said that they would become active shortly after arrival. I thought that my daughter would enjoy watching them crawl around the cups and make cocoons.
   What I never thought about was caterpillar waste product (i.e. caterpillar shit). All that crap has to go somewhere, and due to the laws of gravity, the crap went down -- right into the caterpillar food. Personally, I was horrified. My sister laughed at me, because she said bugs didn't care, but these bugs where eating, sleeping, and crawling around in their own shit. Forget the bugs not caring -- I cared. That's nasty with a capital NUH. Gross.
    And when they cocooned, you had to open that cup of shit and fish the cocoons out. I really frustrated my sister at this time, because I nagged her into coming and doing that part. She traps all the spiders that she finds in her apartment underneath her kids' beach buckets, and then calls me to come kill them, so I figured she owed me. And the contents of those cups reeked to high heaven, so I am glad that I wasn't the one fishing out fallen cocoons from the shit.
    All of this took from Christmas until last week, so this wasn't a project for the impatient, to say the least. But finally the butterflies started to come out of their cocoons. Like instructed, we placed cut oranges and sugar water in the pavilion for them to eat, and we awaited the site of them flying and eating. They didn't fly. They fell to their deaths. Of the ten cocoons, only four of them lived, and their wings are broken from constantly falling. From the start, the butterflies could not fly, and now even the four living are going to die, because they have all managed to crush their wings with all the falling they are doing. This is a sad, sad thing.
   Hence, the graveyard of the butterflies. Rest in peace my pollinating little friends.

((**Note** The writer really hopes that the giver of this gift (the sister of the writer) does not take offense. We really appreciate the sentiments behind the gift but felt the need to possibly warn others against buying their own super-special butterfly graveyard complete with cups of fresh caterpillar shit. We cordially request that the sister please not take offense and continue to search for fun, educational gifts. This one may be a dud, but we live and we learn. Now we know, and we wanted to share that knowledge.))

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cartoon Remakes -- Please Stop

   The other day I was babysitting my niece and nephew, and since I happen to have some cable channels that they don't have, and since my daughter was still sleeping because they came over at 7 a.m. in the morning on a day of no school, I thought, "Let them watch some of these cartoons that they can't watch at home unless they are Netflixing." And so we put the TV on Littlest Pet Shop. And my brain cells started dying, due to overwhelming exposure to stupidity.
   Then I found My Little Ponies. I used to love My Little Ponies. In fact, when my daughter was 5, I bought her the complete series of the old-school, made-in-my-childhood cartoon series. I also bought her the movie that has the flutterponies and the smooze in it, so when I saw the cartoon on TV, I thought, "I'll be able to watch this." And I turned the cartoon on -- and proceeded to loose even more brain cells. The My Little Pony remake is dumb.



   So I thought, Bugs Bunny. But have you seen what they have done with Loony Tunes? Daffy Duck was walking around on a cell phone and Bugs Bunny had a laptop and no one was dropping pianos on anyone's head, nor was anyone riding acme rockets into cliff walls. More brain cells were lost.
   And I began to feel like I had been cheated. These cartoons were staples to my Saturday mornings. I used to watch Loony Tunes with my dad -- he wouldn't be caught dead watching this new crap. And while My Little Ponies were never the laugh factory, the characters all had, you know, personalities.
   Then I began to feel that these kids were being cheated. Where were the cheap laughs? Sylvester needs to have an anvil dropped on his head while chasing Tweety Bird. That is why he was imagined up. The new cartoons have taken away his reason for being. He is lost, confused, and needs hundreds of dollars of therapy now.
   I can speculate what happened here. Someone, somewhere, said, "This is violent. If kids watch this, they are going to grow up thinking that pianos dropping on people's heads is funny. They are going to emulate that behavior." I grew up with a whole generation of people who watched pianos falling on cartoon character's heads on Saturday mornings, and none of us grew up to emulate that behavior; we don't do this because we are not dumbasses who don't understand the difference between cartoons and real life, but apparently our children are not expected to have the same level of common sense that we do.
   Personally, I disagree. I think my daughter can watch Loony Tunes (the classic version) and not grow up to be a piano dropping psychopath. And I think that I am unfailingly glad that I got her into anime early, and that I have a habit of buying whole seasons of the classics off of Amazon. Because quite frankly, I lost intelligence while watching those fluffed up, garbage-y remakes of old classics. We (my daughter and I) are going to stick to anime and the classics until the United States realizes that cartoon violence is not the reason for everything that is wrong with the world, and that children have brains and don't want to watch dumbed-down versions of old classics. So in the words of Porky Pig:

"Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-... That's all folks."

Monday, February 17, 2014

An Open Letter To My Daughter About Dating

Dear Daughter,
   You are getting older every year, and I can see you already, rolling your eyes at that statement. I don't mind because I know that you get that quality from me -- you learned from the best -- but I do have a point with that opening statement. My point is this: one day the boys are going to start noticing you, if they aren't already. And even though you are getting older, you are much too young for that, despite what society might say in argument.
   Soon enough, you will be sixteen, and that is a better age for dating. Nothing serious, you know, because sixteen is still very young. In fact, all the boys you will be looking at will also be very young. You are all much better off paying attention to your grades, playing video games, going to the movies with large (I mean huge, so that in no way can it be interpreted as dating) crowds of friends, and building castles for your future. You will grow up fast enough; no need to rush.
   Now that I think about things a little, eighteen might be a little better for the dating game. Legally, at this age you are an adult, even though you can't actually buy alcohol yet. But still, you are an adult, and not legally under my care, so you could date now.... Except you already have huge college plans now. You don't want to do anything to disrupt those plans. You don't want to have to be worrying about long distance relationships or commitment that might hold you back and become a burden. You are still so young at this age and you are going forth to conquer midterms and finals, building your foundation for your future. This is a very exciting time!!! You need to be free to decide whether you want to go to college near home, out-of-state, or even out-of-country. This is not the time to commit to anything romantic, after all, you aren't even old enough to buy alcohol.
   Twenty-one is a much better age. You are truly legal at this age, if being able to buy alcohol counts for anything at all. Which come to think of it, buying alcohol doesn't count for anything. And you don't want to date at this time, because a lot of your peers are going to be going through those alcohol driven, raging hormone, I'm-a-hot-mess phases, and you don't want any part of that. Of course, a lot of them won't, but some of them will, and the drama of figuring out who is and who is not, is drama that you need right now, because if you still want to be a scientist at twenty-one, then this means that you will still be plugging away at books snug in some University somewhere, and you don't want to mess with alcohol-fueled kids who think they are adults just because they can buy a drink. Best to wait until the newness of this has worn off, and everyone has settled down a bit. After a few hangovers, quite a few of those kids will be done with massive liquor-fueled nights forever, or at least moderate their drinking.
    No, after all, waiting is best. Mid-twenties is a much better time to really get into the dating games. The boys will have turned into men, and they will at least have made progress on any life-goals that they have. Except, around this point, you will be finishing school. And as you have wanted to be a scientist for years and years now, I am assuming this will still be your goal. However, this is your life, and I don't really care what you do, so long as you love what you are doing. But my point is, what about your life goals? You have always been a very motivated girl, and I wouldn't want you to put your own goals on hold. So maybe starting relationships right now is not a good idea after all? You want to become established in whatever career you decide to go for.
   So let us give you some time for that. After all, the twenties are still very young. The hobbits don't even consider their young to be out of the 'irresponsible tweens' until they are about thirty-three, if I am remembering right. So lets model your life after a mythical person's, and say that you will finally be able to date after you are thirty-three. You will at least, at this point, have gotten through high school without being eligible for the show Teen Moms; you will have gotten through all your college years without being corrupted by lushes who think with the wrong head, and you will have started your career and made a place for yourself. This is a good time to start dating and finding your soul mate and all that drama. But hey, you can afford a little drama now.
    There is just one thing, at this point, that I need you to do for me. Whoever your soul mate ends up being, I need you to let that person know, that no matter what they have done; whether they have found a cure for AIDS, or built the next wonder of the world, painted the next Monalisa, built a habitable, sustainable city on Mars, or whatever impressive goals they may have achieved, I want them to know that whatever they have done, they are still damn lucky to have you, and when you finally marry (at fifty) I want you to let him know that if you are ever treated like less than gold, that your seventy year old momma is gonna come whoop his ass.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't Come Between A Young Person And The Adult They Are With

   My daughter's birthday is coming up, and one of the things that she asked for was for concert tickets to the Imagine Dragons' concert that was going to be held at the Key Arena in Seattle. She desperately cried, "I don't care if I get anything else! That can be it!" And she said this in my mother's hearing. My mother, being a huge music supporter and having a love of all things concert, got my daughter a ticket, got herself a ticket, and as an added bonus, got me a ticket as well! My mother is awesome.
   But this is not really a post about the concert (which was freaking awesome.) This is a post about some of the behavior that happened after the concert. And this behavior is certainly not limited to rock concerts, so don't think that I am picking on the rock concert crowd. I am certainly not. This happens every time I find myself and my daughter in a huge crowd trying to leave an area.
    You see, after the concert was over, we all left. The crowd was slow, people were talking, having a good time, going over the concert, and all that good stuff. And usually, we might have waited for the crowd to thin a little before attempting to leave, but we had to catch the monorail, which was going to close. So we couldn't wait and joined the crush.
   I need to be clear; the behavior I am talking about is not the slowness of the crowd. I am not talking about the talking, the cheering, the happiness. I am not talking about when the massive group of people all randomly started chanting, "Sea-hawk! Sea-hawk!" at each other. I am not talking about the close confines, the accidental pushing that naturally happens in a crowd, and I am not talking about having my foot stepped on about a billion times. In a large crowd, these things happen (even the Seahawk thing if you are anywhere in the Seattle area). These things will happen; the space invasions are not purposeful, and the rest of it is good-natured fun; I am not talking about that.
   I am talking about the fact that I had my daughter in a death grip, meaning my hand was clenched to her arm, and she had my coat in a death grip with her other hand; we were connected, very obviously together. I am talking about the middle-aged bitch who tried to separate us with her backpack; tried to make a break in the crowd by placing her backpack between us, forcing me to let go of my daughter and her to let go of me so that she could step between us. I am talking about the dumb-ass bitch who was dumbfounded when I kicked her fucking backpack out of the way (she was holding the backpack, but I kicked the damn thing anyway), grabbed my daughter again, and continued on. An action which earned a heartfelt, "Thank you." from another mother who had been separated from her children by this very woman ( thankfully the father was still with them in this case, but I let her ahead of me so she could try to catch up). I am talking about the same dumb-ass moron, who tried this shit again a little further up, and then when I told her to back the fuck off, she dropped back and finally left us alone.
    I've used more cussing than I think I usually do, but this is bad. This isn't behavior limited to rock concerts either; I've dealt with this dumb-ass shit in the middle of Celebration Park, for crying-out-load, so don't be blaming the rock crowd. This wasn't 'young, tatted up hooligans' either, who often display more manners than most at any rate, in my own experience. This woman was a woman my age, a woman in her 30's, and she wasn't tatted or pierced or any of that, so don't go throwing your preconceived notions around. A lot of people do this shit, and they aren't from a select group. This happens way to often, and this is why I am ranting about this on my blog! We were fucking holding hands and she was clutching the back of my jacket. What made this woman think that breaking between a child and her mother was a good fucking idea? Not only is this rude, but I will fight, and violently, to keep this from happening, because in a crowd the size that we were dealing with, losing sight of my daughter could have been dangerous. She could have been grabbed by a creeper, never to be heard from again.
    And yes, she had every right to be there. She was with two adults, her ticket had been paid for, she was not misbehaving, and she loves the band. So to all of you people who think that she shouldn't have been there because she's twelve, she had every single fucking right to be there. She was with mom and grandma, nor was she the only young person in the crowd - not by a long shot. The fucking asshole woman who tried, literally, to break us apart - that woman had no right to the behavior she was displaying. NO RIGHT what-so-ever. She had already broken between one family, and the whole damned crowd was moving slowly- one slow bogged down crush, so you can't blame us for the slow pace. We would have moved faster if we could have politely done so -- we had the monorail to catch, and it was fixing to close.
We would have even let her through, if she had just managed a polite, "Excuse me." We were all moving as fast as we safely could, but I would have let someone ahead of me if they had just asked and not tried to break between us.
   This isn't a reflection on the concert. The concert was awesome, my daughter was elated because Imagine Dragons sang Radioactive, the crowds were pleasant and respectful, except for the one woman. Her actions were all her own, and this didn't ruin the night. I am ranting and raving about this now, because this type of shit pissing me the fuck off, but at the time, I dealt, and let (temporarily) go because I didn't want to mar my daughter's might -- her birthday present from her grandma, and I wanted to insure that she had a great night! A fantastic one! The show was great and energetic and loud and awesome! But please, just please, if you ever see a child obviously attached to an adult, please, please, please do not push between them. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Sleepovers Please

    We all have to make parenting choices, and many of them are wildly different. One of my more unusual parenting choices is the fact that I don't really do sleepovers and I'm not even a huge fan of play dates, especially in the home. Some of that, I suppose, can be chalked up to the fact that I am an antisocial little troll, but I do have other reasons. People can agree or disagree with them as they chose, and I know that I have offended and frustrated a lot of people with my dislike of sleepovers, but like any other parent, I have to do what works for me.
   One of the reasons for my dislike of sleepovers is that this gets in the way of my working schedule. I have to ask for time off. Even if my daughter is sleeping away, I have to make myself unavailable to work in order to pick her up and drop her off. I suppose I could let the parents drop her off at the empty apartment -- wait, no I can't. There are a million reasons why I can't do that, so I have to ask for time off; time off that I really can't afford for a reason that is really not a priority.
    Then there is the issue of how well do I know the parents? How comfortable do I feel with them? In all of her life, my daughter has only been allowed to stay overnight at one person's house, and then only because it was a birthday, and I knew BOTH of the parents. Not just one, both. That is very important to me because growing up, I knew several people who went to a friend's house and were harmed by one of the parents. This never happened to me personally, but this has happened to people close to me. So even though as a child, I slept over all the time, and friends came to my home all the time, this is not something that I am willing to risk my child over. If I know, am comfortable, and trust both of the parents, then fine, occasionally sleepovers may happen, but even then they are not going to be the norm. I like to have my daughter home. I am her mother, and no one can watch over her better than I can. I am not against her socializing and having a good time, but sleeping over at a friend's home is certainly not the only option.
    So why can't her friends come stay over here at my home? This option is not wholly out of the question, but again, I would want to know and feel comfortable with both of the parents. I would want to be able to trust that if there where an issue, and the kid staying over needed to go home, due to extreme bad behavior, illness, accident, or whatever, I would be able to contact said parents and have them come get the kiddo. I would want to feel comfortable having that family in my home. There is also the issue of the family understanding what type of person I am before they let their kiddo come over. I have a dark and twisted sense of humor, and they would need to be comfortable having their kids around that. This is not to say that I would be harmful, because I would cut off my own hand before I would hurt a child, but I say some weird shit. Also, I cuss like a sailor. I edit most of my cussing out of this blog, but you can't really edit the spoken word. If your child comes over to my home, they are going to hear the words fuck, shit, crap, damn,  and ass often and in various combinations. I understand that there are parents who don't want their kids exposed to this, and I respect that, but those kids shouldn't come to my home, because in my home, these things are said. And, I really am an antisocial little troll. I would have to feel really, really comfortable with a family to have their kid over often; I would have to feel that they were close to being my family.
    My daughter is a popular girl, and I try to be sure that she has ways to socialize, but I just don't feel the need to have my home invaded in order for her to do so, nor do I feel the need to have her invade other's homes. In all honesty, there isn't offense intended if my daughter hasn't been over to a friend's home; the real issue is that for the most part, sleepovers are not something that I am comfortable with, so we don't do them. It's just that simple. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Little Things In Life

   Today, I had a really awesome day. The day didn't start so awesome, because when I walked outside today to take my daughter to the bus stop, before the dawn even thought of showing it's ass-crack, I was so cold that I could literally feel the snot trying to freeze inside my nose. Not the best feeling.
    After seeing the kiddo safely on the bus, I came back to my warm, warm apartment and blessed the person who invented heat. This lead to a warm, cozy nap before my mom came over. She doesn't have cable, so I DVR all the shows that we like to watch together and we schedule a day of TV watching about once a week, so long as our work schedules allow. We watch Sleepy Hollow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, Helix, Elementary, and a bunch of others, and usually I cook dinner and she brings dessert. Fun times, but today Mom treated us to Roundtable Pizza. Awesomeness.
   To add to this, after my daughter got home from school, and after she had eaten her yummy pizza dinner and her homemade brownie dessert (she didn't have homework, yay!!!) we went over to my sister's apartment and began planning for our summer 2015 vacation (planned so far in advance so that we all have time to save up money), while the kids wrestled and made a racket.
   Then after we had been at her apartment for well over four hours, my mom and I went back to my apartment and binge-watched S.H.I.E.L.D. This was a great day. And what brought this day together and made this day so great were small things. The enjoyment of a large gourmet veggie pizza. The relish of a good TV show that all the family can enjoy together. The excitement of planning a family vacation. The family time. These are the little things that you think of when life gets to stressful to handle. These are the little lights in the dark tunnel that guide you through. The little things that you do with your family are the things that get you through when things get rough. A stressful day at work can be recovered from just by planning a fun day with the family.
   There isn't a huge point to this post. I am not gonna rail about education, equal rights, customers with bad attitudes, child haters, or the multitudes of things that can completely wreck our day. I am just reminding you that in between those times when you are dealing with the bullshit, there are little things that make everything worthwhile. We lose sight of the little things sometimes. After all, enjoying a TV show with your mom, spending an evening with your sister, eating pizza with your daughter, these are not huge deals. They are such small things; yet these things are the cement that hold us together. We don't need to go to grandiose measures in order to make life worthwhile. The things that make life worthwhile are the small, everyday things that we often take for granted. So be happy, and enjoy the simple things as they come.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Child Haters And The Public

   While at work the other day, there was a little girl. She was a rather loud and exuberant little girl, but she was a very happy little girl as well. She very cheerfully, and somewhat forcefully, shouted "HI!!!" to every single person who passed her by. As her parents were in one of the checkout lines close to the door, she had access to every single person leaving the store, and she used that access to gleefully (and loudly) greet them all from the confines of the shopping cart, grinning and waving like a princess on parade.
   Most customers cheerfully, if with less volume, greeted her back. But because I tend to attract the crazies, I got the customer who was just pissed beyond belief by the racket. "That stupid kid," the lady complained to me, "Can't you shut her up." Because cashiers are in the business of 'shutting people up'. That's gonna go over well; I think I'll skip the legal charges that shutting a kid up, one who isn't even mine, one who isn't even misbehaving - I think I will pass those charges up. I mean, I can just see the headlines now: Cashier facing time for shutting up a little girl greeting people. I don't think so. Not this cashier.
   Unfortunately, this woman is a regular of mine. I am not sure what bad karma I wracked up, but obviously, I am paying for something, because this woman always, ALWAYS bitches about the kids in the store. They all need to be left home, apparently. And because I am on the clock, I can't tell her to piss off. I'd loose my job, hence the suspicion of some bad karma.
    But, she isn't alone in her child hating. I hear complaints about kids in the store all the time. "Shopping isn't a family experience, people need to leave their kids home." "Can't those people find a babysitter?" "They need to get that kid out of the store." "Can't someone shut that kid up?" "My kids were never allowed to through fits." I can go on. I've heard all this and more, child hating in multitudes. And it's past time for moms everywhere to address this issue.
   For me, I can't understand why people go into a public place and get pissed because said place is filled with... the public. Places like grocery stores, they don't cater to a certain crowd. They are not 21 and up establishments. Grocery stores are places where people go to buy food; often people who go to buy food have families. From this point, people bringing their families to that those families give input and help in the chore of planning the menu is not that big of a leap. Shocking, how that works.
   Furthermore, many moms do not have babysitters at their beck-and-call. They may not have much of a choice about bringing their kids to the store. Quality sitters are hard to find, and are often expensive, so even if they have one, they may not be able to justify the expense of hiring them to go shopping. Or they may feel that due to the fact that they have to work, their kid spends enough time with a sitter, and they want that kid with them for a while, even if they have to go shopping. Leaving kids at home is not always possible, so really, when people assume that moms with kids in tow had this option, and just dragged their kids to the store anyway,  that assumption kinda pisses me off. I never had that option. As a working mom, my daughter was in daycare a lot, but I couldn't leave her there to go to the store. The daycare had a limit of how many hours that a kid could be left there, and between my job and going to college, my daughter was there too often for me to leave her there to go shopping. Both my mom and my sister have full time jobs, so my daughter came with me, even when she was a small child, still learning how to behave in public. So no, parents leaving their kids with someone is not always an option.
   As for kids throwing fits; well that is never pleasant. Least of all for the parent dealing with all the judgey-judgersons. But a parent cannot always drop whatever they are doing and go home, just because the kiddo is having a bad day. Not always feasible. And we have no idea why that kid is having such a bad day. Maybe the kid is a spoiled rotten brat, but more likely, maybe the kid is tired, or feeling poorly, or just had a rotten day. As bad as kids throwing fits can be, I have seen adults behave in a much worse manner, so don't think kids have the corner on bad public behavior. And the kids, they are still learning about things like manners and inside voices; adults don't have that excuse.
    I would also like to point out that every single one of you, whether you have had children or are childless, you have all started out as children yourselves. Every. Single. One. Of. You. And at some point in your childhood, I am positive that you have made an ass of yourself in public. Maybe your mom is keeping your assholeyness quiet, but for the good of all the people who have to deal with you, I am begging her to stop right now, call you up, and tell you - in detail - about the time that you were an ass in public.
    I sure know I was. I can't even think of a specific time; I can remember so many that they are all blending together. A long blur of childhood assery that I inflicted on my parents, and in my household, discipline was not an issue. We got disciplined. So trust me, I don't need my parents to call me, I remember. What I can tell you is about my daughter.
    My daughter is a good girl. My mom gleefully awaited her, joked about getting back twice what  I had done to her, and then was dumbfounded when my daughter emerged as a 'good' kid. I get messages from teachers about how well behaved she is, I get told by family, I get told by her friends' families, so when  I say my daughter is a good kid, I am not just speaking from my own, admittedly biased, point of view. But even the best kids need to be taught how to behave in public, and even the best kids can have meltdowns and misbehave.
    My daughter had a major one when she was about four. She never went through the terrible twos, but she was hit with the fearsome fours with a vengeance. And one time, she had a meltdown right in the middle of Fred Meyers. I can't remember why, exactly, but I think her meltdown had something to do with the fact that she didn't want to walk, but she didn't want to get into the cart either. So she did what made the most sense of all, she threw herself right down on the floor of the store and started screaming her head off. And when I went to pick her up, she screamed as loud as she could, "Stop! You're breaking my arm!" Despite the fact that I wasn't even touching her arm, I got the evil-eye from about fifty different people, and had to deal with people tsking me and shaking their heads in disapproval. Being me, I took the high road (sarcasm here, folks) and snarled at them all, "Call CPS if you want to, but she is getting off of this floor."
   She never did that again, but  she is a perfect example of how a good kid can have a bad moment in public. It can happen to every parent. And parents can't just forgo buying food just because their kid isn't having the best day. So yes, when you go into a public place, such as a grocery store, you are going to deal with the public. The public includes small children. If you aren't in the mood to deal with and be tolerant of the public in general, than I suggest that at this time, you are the person who needs to spend the day at home. Come when you are in a better mood. And wear headphones. So many people wear headphones while shopping, and personally, I think that this is a really great option for people who don't want to hear the masses. But don't expect us cashiers to actually do something to 'shut kids up'. Not gonna happen. I mean honestly, if you are the type of person who would request this, chances are that we like the screaming, squalling kid more than you anyway. Just gonna put that out there. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

God And Science And My Own Beliefs

   One of the things that I tire of the most is being characterized into these narrow little roles; because I believe in God I must therefore be against gay marriage. Because I believe in God, I must therefore not believe in science. Because I believe in God, I must therefore think that anyone unlike me is wrong and the most vile of sinners. Except none of these things have ever been true of me. Because fanatics, small-minded people who live small lives act this way, I must as well. Forget all that we have learned about the fallacy of stereotyping, I believe in God, so I must also be these things. Take no time to get to know me, just believe that I am the same as the last person you met.
   For myself, I have long supported gay marriage, but I have already written a post about that, so while one day I may revisit the issue, in order to build upon my argument, today is not that day. And if you go through my posts, I hope in general there is a theme of treating people with respect, regardless of what they believe and how they differ. I hope so, for this is how I try to live my life. So today, I am going to address my issues about the 'God versus science' issue, which has long been on my last nerve.
   I know that there are people out there who believe that the two seem to be unable to coexist. There are people who use science as a 'proof' that God does not exist at all. Of course, people do not have to believe in God, or my version of God, but science is no proof against what  I believe. Thought I cannot come up with physical, indisputable proof that God is there, neither can people come up with physical, indisputable proof that God does NOT exist. Such things are neither provable nor unprovable; this is why we call the believing in such things faith.
    This is not my argument to force all to believe my way, but to say instead, stop telling me to supply you with proof. The world all over believes in such things as love, yet there is no tangible, measurable proof of that either. You can't bottle love, you can't find a way to measure love nor find the components that make up this feeling. There are many people who would argue that love does not exist at all, although any mother who loves and cares for her child could tell you differently. Any man who has made vows to a woman and been with her for 50+ years may also argue the fact that love exists. But these people who argue love do not get called delusional and superstitious; while I have been called both, even though there are many things in life that we are not yet capable of proving. Go figure.
   Then we have those who do the opposite, and see God as the disproof of science. I've cringed as I've seen people call evolution 'evilution' and demand that science not be taught in the schools because the Bible doesn't mention dinosaurs. God never let any of His creations go extinct. Except that He has. This has been proven. We can find the bones of long extinct animals all over the world, and many more recent animals as well. Some of them face that danger even today. This is knowledge that we have, and arguing against that knowledge only discredits the rest of us, who accept these things as fact.
   As for evolution, yes, I believe that we evolved, and are evolving still. God is an artist, and when an artist puts a hunk of clay down on the potter's wheel, the clay does not look like a pot until the end. Who knows what our end will be. Possibly there will come a time when the fanatics are yelling, "Humans! We didn't evolve from those primitives!" You never know.
   But again, I will stress this over  and over and over, I do not make these arguments to sway someone to my way of believing things.  I say these things only to explain what I believe. I get tired of being judged by those who are determined to believe that every person who believes in God is a bigoted, judgmental person who believes that everyone unlike them is wrong and must be corrected and brought to the right way of thinking. I have never believed that nor have I ever acted like that, and I never will. Yes, there are those out there who will demand that you change your beliefs, and will argue and treat you like dirt when you disagree, and some of those people are Christian (of which there are so many denominations that none of us think alike anyway), but some of them are also Atheists, and some of them are Wiccan, and some of them believe in science alone, and some of them believe in something spiritual, and some just believe in nothing at all. People like this are in every single walk of life. No belief system is without it's share of fanatics and assholes. I am sorry if you have had to deal with people like this; I have as well and I can truly empathize.
   My point, however, in this long-winded post is this: science is neither proof for or against God. Science is just science; a tool that we use to discover and explain the world, and beyond that, the universe. I believe that God gave us this tool, but you are free to believe otherwise,  especially here in the United States. Long have we been a country that boasted freedom of religion, but that also means that while you are free to not believe in the God of my choice, I am also free to believe in Him, and to teach my child to live in the manner that best follows the way I think He would want us to live, and if that differs from your way, chalk it up to diversity and be happy that we are allowed that freedom. So many people in this world are not.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blue And Green Food

   All day today and yesterday there has been chaos in the store. In the Seattle area, it's a cheerful chaos, because people are all a-tither about the Seahawks and the Superbowl. And the grocery stores are all running out of blue and green food. I'm just sitting here like
    Not that I really hate football. Because I don't; I just don't care. I have never willingly watched any sport in my life. As a kid, I did have a short, short period where I played soccer. I kept getting in trouble for making daisy chains in the field while I was supposed to be doing more soccer-type stuff, like participating in the game. So needless to say, that was short-lived.
   But I don't hate football. And the boost for the economy in this area didn't hurt things. Everybody is having a Superbowl party, it seems, and all themed to the Seahawk colors. That means people are running about buying blue and green food that they never would have bought otherwise. I'm not kidding either. You know those Jelly Bellies from the bulk candy section? The most expensive candy in the bulk food section? I've had people buy a sack of that junk, and the sack has rang up at $50, and I am not kidding. I'm sitting here thinking, "What's in this junk to make it so expensive, crack???" And even more indicative of an addictive element, is that people will still by those dang jelly beans. But even more people will do a double-take of horror and demand that we take that crack-filled candy of their order unless they are made of gold or something.
   But this weekend, people have been buying those insidious little jelly beans without batting an eyelash, because you can just buy them in blue and green. Jelly Belly is making a whole new crowd of addicts. Seriously, you can buy alcohol and cigarettes for less. I don't get Jelly Belly, what's up?
   But back to business, people have also been a little more friendly these days. I have been invited to several Superbowl parties, from people who have not yet realized that I am an antisocial little troll. I don't hang out; I stay home. All my stuff is here, and while ya'll are all screaming at dudes chasing a ball, I am going to be playing Final Fantasy 13-2, because Final Fantasy 13-3 is fixing to come out, and I need to finish the second one before I can start the third. Due to the fact that I rarely find time to play, I often don't finish games. But I have to finish Final Fantasy!!! That's my game, you can keep your football.
    Of course, I do hope that the Seahawks win. I appreciate the extra business that they have brought my store's way. I also have a few friends who have been die-hard Seahawk fans forever, so it would be cool for them, and I like my friends to have things that they want. I just don't want to personally watch. So go Seahawks, but I am going to find something else to do, because to me, watching football is about as fun as watching paint dry. I can't be the only one that feels that way, right???