Feminist Crafter

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For those of you who don't know....I make stuff.

Lots of Stuff. Quilts. Braided Rugs. Hooked Rugs. Needlework.

In the past I have canned jellies and ginger pear conserves for Christmas gifts. I have dried fruit and made wreaths out of them. I have made wreaths and garland from cranberries and fresh cut pines (That I cut down myself!) I made my wedding invitations with the help of a friend. I made the wedding table centerpieces too.
Before Emily was born, I even started my own heirloom tomato seeds indoors in February. Over-achiever much?

Now, my Mom was not a crafter really. Sure, she "macraméd" with the other ladies in the late 70's, but I never saw her collecting bolts of fabric, or sewing on the couch.  She never sat me next to her and put a needle in my hand and guided me towards the finer points of needlework. As a child of the 60's, my Mom was not super concerned about her "home making" arts and our house was chaotic and messy and full of kids and animals. She worked full time and her down time was spent in the garden.

It is hard to say when I got the urge to make things. Perhaps it was while I was still in high school and a neighbor introduced me to sewing. I made a few pillows from patterns...and began to expand outwards. I LIKED having something in my hands while I watched television in the evening. There was something oddly satisfying about the feel of fabric in my hands and the measurable progress I could see.

At the University of Vermont, I did no crafting. I did, however, study feminist theory and women's history.  I learned the history of the women of New England for it surrounded us. I learned about the things I had not learned from my History textbooks as a Vermont school girl, specifically the ways women surrounded all the events we had traditionally been taught. Like many college aged women who start to unpeel the onion of the empty spaces in our education, I was shocked. I was amazed. I was outraged.

These events happened in places I KNEW. Places I had BEEN. And I had no idea.

One of the books we were assigned was authored by a newish professor at nearby University of New Hampshire.  She came to speak with us about her research for the book and tell us what she was working on at that point. The book was "Good Wives", the Author, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Her talk was electrifying in a way that I can still remember after 21 years. She was passionate. The stories she told us were rich and nuanced. She was working on the life story of a Maine Midwife  then, something that would become "A Midwife's Tale".  I would read the book when it was published, and later attend the film adaptation when it was shown at the Portsmouth Music Hall.  I would again meet Laurel Thatcher Ulrich at that showing, and some descendants of Martha Ballard who still populated the area. Coincidentally, I had made my first quilt by that time, still reveling in the feel of fabric in my hands.

My growing desire to create coincided with the publication of Ulrich's third book "The Age of Homespun", which I had pre-ordered from a local bookstore. I was a wife by that time, and  "Making Things" helped me define my home. I could make a wreath from pine cones I had collected. If I could do THAT, how hard could it be to Make Garland? We were surrounded by trees, after all.

Living in a fairly small town in New Hampshire, there was a certain expectation that you would Create Things.  I am not sure how else to explain it, but it was assumed that you wanted to make your own quilts...or rugs....or wreaths...or jellies. When you walked into most houses, you would see evidence of handiwork - either through antiques passed down in families or new pieces in use.

My quilting got better and better. When on maternity leave, I decided to take rug braiding lessons from a Quaker woman out in the middle of nowhere. Once a week, I would hand Emily over to her father and drive a half an hour to my lesson to be vaguely berated by the woman we came to call "The Mean Quaker". Mean wasn't the right adjective - excessively perfectionist may be a better descriptor. But I learned how to braid a Rug, damn it.  A rug which still sits next to my bed to this day.

During the worst of my post partum depression, I made quilts for Emily.  It was, I later came to understand, the way I could show my daughter I loved her. Textile arms to wrap her when I could not connect. My quilts still cover her bed today.

My latest obsession? Rug Hooking. It suddenly occurred to me in March that it was something I had yet to learn...and so I pursued it. First finding a kit on the internet. I wanted to make sure I enjoyed the activity before investing in the equipment. I finished the first rug in a week.

I finished the second rug two weeks later. 

Then, I found a teacher here in Montreal who helped me design a simple large rug:

The photo here is deceptive. This rug is very big - and almost finished. The next rug is already sketched out on paper to be transferred to the linen once I complete the circles rug. It will be one in a series of portraits of my Grandparents Homes, distilling all my childhood memories into wool and color.

I don't make most things to give away It is rare that anyone gets a quilt. It has happened, but generally there needs to be a Wedding. Or a Graduation.  I think I given 5 quilts away. The rugs are being made for the house, for me. When I read this article at BlogHer, I thought "Why Yes - This is exactly what I am doing."

Perhaps unknowingly at times but always surrounded by ghosts of women who went before me. I am one of a long line of women who MADE things with our hands.  From new, from used, from whatever was at hand. Making stuff, putting our prints all over the things that make homes and places comfortable. Things which are made to be used - not framed and saved - but Used. I realized it was what Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was writing about in all of her books - Women, shaping their lives through the lens of what is needed, expressing their creative voice through materials at hand - be that fabric, wool, or canned fruit and vegetables.

When people ask me HOW I can create these rugs and quilts AND write the blogs AND work on my Dissertation AND Be Mom and Wife and Teacher...I don't really know what they want me to say. I do this all because I have to do this. Each role has pleasures and annoyances that balance and counterbalance each other and they all come together to form who I am.

A Feminist Crafter.

Superstar in Training

Monday, June 28, 2010

Emily came home from the last day of school, her face all smooshed up.

"what's wrong?", I inquire cautiously. 

The face she is making is the one she does before launching into her diatribe of who has done her wrong and how. A Pre-teen country song, all in one. Since her grievances may include "Wouldn't sit with me at lunch" and/or "Told me I wasn't funny" right down to "Said my shorts fit weird", I am generally loathe to leap into the pool of angst.
She climbs onto the bed and sighs. Deeply.

"I was walking up to get my award today and I tripped and the whole school laughed. Even the Kindergarteners." She is indignant, but resigned.

"oh, Honey", I say. "Let me tell you what happened to me today..."

"I was out doing errands and hit the lock switch with my elbow, so the doors locked me into the car - which meant I had to climb in and out of the passenger side of the car - Which you know how Much I love doing as a 40 year old woman , crawling in and out of the side of a Hyandai, while trying not to knock over my iced coffee in the cup holder.."

She is starting to smile. 

"So, I had to go to the pharmacy to get something, so I pulled up and parked, and then figure out how I was going to get out of the car. As you can see, I am also wearing this lovely white skirt today, so I had to calculate how to get out of the car - IN the skirt vis a vis the passenger side of the vehicle. While I was thinking about this, I noticed an elderly woman asking for change at the front of the store. She looked hot and tired so I dug around in my purse until I found a toonie to give to her. Then I leaned over, opened the passenger door and slowly crawled out of the car."

"I start walking up to the woman and she asks me for change and I smile at her and lean down to give her the toonie. As I do this and turn to walk in the store, a gust of wind lifts my skirt completely up and shows my whole Ass to this elderly woman ....who says "Watch out for that back draft there"..."

Emily's eyes are wide and she starts to giggle. "She saw your underwear?", she asks.

"No, she saw my ASS, since I was wearing a thong, she got a view of my BIG WHITE ASS CHEEKS!"

There is hysterical laughing. 

"I mean, what could I do? I smiled and said "Whoa that was something - and walked into the store as fast as I could - then when I came back out, I had to walk back in front of her as she watched me climb into the drivers seat via the passengers seat and try to not flash her my ass AGAIN..."

My child is Guffawing.  I decide to continue -

"Did I ever mention the time I fell off the stage at Kindergarten graduation at Child care after I had you and jumped up with my arms up in the arm and said "I'M OK!? Or how about the time I stepped on the front of my prom gown and tore the front of the dress off BEFORE MY DATE GOT THERE - so your grandmother and a neighbor had to tape it up with surgical tape? Or when I fell down the stairs in high school in front of a bunch of people, while wearing vintage pumps and tore the heel off the shoe and didn't have any other shoes, so I had to limp around all day with one shoe with a ripped off stilleto heel and another normal 3 inch  shoe? And you were there when I tried to do the back flip in the lake and only ended up showing my boobs to the neighbor...."

Tears of hysteria are filling her eyes. She is rolling around on the bed.

"Oh, Mom. You always make me feel better...", she gasps.

"Honey - we aren't graceful people - but the best thing to do and just know that it happens to everyone and jump up and yell "SUPERSTAR!"

In Praise of Sexual Empowerment

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There are things I want for my daughter as her Mother. I want her to have good friends who love her. I want her to have healthy food and a healthy body. I want her to have a good education and work ethic. I want her to be able to navigate racism, sexism and other stupidity without these things taking a chunk our of her soul. I want her to know that her father and I will do everything in our power to keep her safe, and that we love her above all else in our lives.

There are also things I want for my daughter as a Woman. I want her to be treated fairly in the workplace and earn a living wage. I want her to find a partner who loves and cherishes her. I want the decision to have a baby to be her decision, and while I coo at my imaginary future grand babies, I am also fine if her decision is to remain child-free.

As a woman, there is another thing I want for my daughter. And this is the one that seems to really stir up the emotions of OTHER women.  Are you ready?

I want her to be sexually empowered and satisfied.

It was this post on whether or not I would purchase condoms for my teen on Blogher's Facebook Feed that set me to thinking.

My snap response was "Of course I would." Then I read the first comment:

"My daughters are of the mind that their bodies are sacred and no boy or man is worthy of their gift without the promise and commitment of marriage. We have discussed it at length many times. My girls are never left in a position where they would be compromised and left to need condoms or other birth control."

Oh. Oh my. Oh dear me. Envision me gripping my head and holding it as if in massive Pain. Where to start? With the assumption that every woman is heterosexually oriented?  With the idea that girls are to control boys with their sexuality or promise thereof? With the idea that females are above enjoying the pleasure of sexuality Outside marriage? The whole morally "holier than thou" tone?

You know I had to wade into that, right? And I did. And it got ugly. 

I forget sometimes that the things I see on TV are real. I forget that there are people in the world who would happily deprive women of particular rights because of their gender. I forget that those people may be living right next door to me. 

The heart of this debate goes much further than "Do I think my teen should be sexually active?"

Um. Hell no. The thought of it makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Do I WANT Emily to be sexually active?  Hang on for a few moments while I curl into a fetal ball and weep while sucking my thumb.  I can't think of any parent who looks at their child and thinks "Hope you go out and have some sex today!" - ESPECIALLY parents of young women. 

Terrance and I have a joke that every time he looks at his daughter, he sees every female he ever was unkind to, or had sex with and didn't call afterwards, or any of the billion other things that young, single men experience. 

As a woman, I think of  the possibility of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and heartbreak and the other billion things that a young sexually active woman experiences.

In short, I see a younger Me. 

When I was 16, I went to the local planned parenthood and got myself placed on the Pill. I had a boyfriend, and I was in love with him. We had been dating for about 6 months, and it was clear we were moving into a different "type" of relationship. 

Now, I had "information" about birth control. My mom had not failed to tell me to not get pregnant. I knew what condoms were and what birth control pills were and where to get them. In fact, at 16, I had a two year old sister, so I was pretty clear on the consequences of sexual activity. 

However, at age 16  I was also stretching out. Knowledge my parents had not shared - like how good it felt to be with someone you are attracted to physically, or the pleasure that can be given and gotten from a variety of sexual activities - was kicking down the doors into my brain. It felt good. Really, really good. And I liked it. And I was good at it.  In the transformation of child into adult, it is part of the things we learn to keep from our parents. Unlike grades at school, or cheering for them on the sides of sports or arts events, Sexuality is a somewhat lone path of discovery.  

I was on the pill for over a year before my mother figured it out. She was Furious. Furious! I stood before my parents and told them it was none of their business if I was sexually active. I was being responsible and taking care of myself.  It may have been one of the very first times I drew a line between what they had a right to know, and what was mine. I got grounded. I got lectures about how they did not "condone" my sexual activity. It wasn't surprising, I didn't expect they would cheer and bake me a cake.

Did any of that stop me? No. Of course not. The young man I was dating and I continued to have sex. Alot. And it was really great. When he and I broke up in my sophomore year of college, I found other partners. During that time, I learned the differences in partners. That everyone does not do "it" the same way. That there are some people with whom sex is really, really great ....and others, not so much.  I learned what my body liked.

I also learned that sexually empowered women are looked upon with disdain or high praise. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. You are either "putting it all out there" or "saving it until marriage". What a shitty choice to hand to young women.  This choice fundamentally denies the pleasure in sexuality.  It strips out the Human aspect of the female and makes her an object that represents one way or the other. 

What I want for Emily - more than access to birth control, which I will happily provide - is the knowledge that Her Body, Her Sexuality is a Gift. To be Shared or not Shared with whom she chooses. I want her to know that Her Sexuality  and how she expresses it is fundamentally HER business - be that as a lesbian, or bi-sexual, or celibate, or abstaining , or straight, hetero vanilla sex. 

I want her to know that if she Does choose to be sexually active that it is a two way street. She deserves to receive pleasure as well as give pleasure. I want her to know that she is still a morally good person who has self esteem and self respect, whether or not she chooses to engage in sexual activity.

While it would lovely if I never had to consider my daughter as more than my baby, it simply is not true.  Part of the hardest part of parenting is preparing them to Leave us.

I plan on buying Em a vibrator for her 16th birthday. The very first thing I want her to learn is how to please herself. Even Ralph Waldo Emerson praised "Self Reliance" after all. 

School of Not Rock

Monday, June 21, 2010

While one of my many recent forays into the jungle that is my daughters living quarters, I came across this charming series of cards.

While I was not present during this fraught with emotion encounter, I can pretty clearly see how it all went down.

Exhibit A:
The plea. Emily has been a pest, most likely. Terrance has warned her that if she asks once more for ice cream, she will get nothing.  Using her best Clarence Thomas Logic (ie not very good) she decides to WRITE him a note. Because that gets around the "asking" part of the warning:

(Dad Can I have some desert today Love Emily)

Along with this heart filled missive was the RSVP of young girls notes:

The choice here is clear. He either says Yes, Gaining him a "You ROCK!" status, or the dreaded "You do not rock". Not even a name use there. Not even "Dad, You do not Rock". In one fell swoop she is stripping him of his title and familiarity. He has become the Voldemort of Fathers. He shall not be named.

His choice is a stark one. Does he keep the ring and become all powerful, or return it to Mordor and save the Shire? Oh wait, that is a different story. The consequences, however, are nearly as dire.

What was his choice? How did it all end?

The final Card  in this Haiku of note passing was direct:

With extra emphasis on the "rock', to demonstrate how hard he Does NOT rock. I can only surmise he said "No".

Bees in My Bonnet

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Long time readers of my blog(s) know this about me: I will not tolerate bullshit. 

Especially when that bullshit is so patently in a topic that I know, inside and out. If that situation arises, than I am bound to stick my Nosy McNoserson into the thick of it and SAY something.

Which is why I need to Stay OFF the NPR page in Facebook.

It was innocent enough. First a headline stating Louisiana's new policy requiring women seeking LEGAL abortions  have an ultrasound prior to the procedure.
My comment? "So we should require any man who whips out his penis to view castration videos. You know, just in case."

I got lots of "like" on that comment. Really, I was just trying to point out the one sided nature of this law. All on the woman, yet again. All under the assumptions that women haven't thought through their reproductive choices, and if they KNEW more, they may choose to carry the pregnancy to term.  Cause really, women are silly, hormonal creatures and they need help to know what they want.

I left it alone after that for I could feel my blood starting to get heated, and what good would that do? 

Oh, but today. Today I got into it.

It was this headline:

Sigh. I just HAD to get into it. I just HAD to...

Let me break this down for us all.

The issues of child care, poverty, womens rights and the rights of children are heavily intertwined.  Overlying many of these issues are confounding issues of racism and sexism.  This can make this issue get super heated because with all of this tangled up, the facts get obscured. 

However, strip it all down and the fact remains that the US wants to punish women for having babies. The babies that the US needs to grown it's future citizenry and economic base. Which isn't the point, apparently. Because Women - the silly hormonal creatures who can't make informed decisions about their reproductive health - either shouldn't be having a baby ( but no abortions!) OR should be committed to the idea that they will now be staying at home post childbirth, regardless of their income or mental health.

Apparently, according to many of the NPR commenters, having children is a "Life choice", and if "You can't afford it, you shouldn't have kids".  

Refer back to my point: The US needs babies to grow it's economic base and citizenry. Of course, some would like to control the "type" of people who are reproducing. I suspect these people are also those who want "their "  America back.

The other comments were around "Why should I pay for You to stay home". Parents, as we all know, are Lazy.  Furthermore, the labor of raising children is worthless ( which is why early childhood educators are often paid minimum wage). I think there were some comments about "Breeders" vs the responsible working populace. Of course, we know that Parents spend no money on anything. They sit at home, waiting for someone to pay them for breeding. 

Sigh. Bigger Sigh. I was getting tired. There were no facts being used, only opinions about who should be allowed to have children, who shouldn't and the archaic idea that no one is responsible to anyone else unless you are related by blood. And even then, it's iffy.  Pointing out that the policies were intrinsically misogynistic was inflammatory.  I was another bleeding heart liberal who wanted free stuff for everyone!

Let me tell you some things I do know from a personal and professional viewpoint.

1. Healthy Happy Moms = Healthy Happy Babies. Worrying about money and health care and if you are going to have a job after having a child..or worrying that every time that child gets sick that you are going to get fired? Not healthy.

2. The first 5 years of life are CRUCIAL in brain development. This doesn't mean that a child MUST be with blood relatives, but rather that the care the child receives should be optimal. It is less important Who provides the care. In the first 5 years, the foundations for brain development is well established. Experiences grow the brain. No experience or poor quality ones means No brain growth.  The more we understand the brain, the more we know that it isn't K-6 where the real "stuff" happens. That is just the consequence of the 5 years prior, the brain starting to use all the information it has been acquiring for those 5 years.

3. There remains a pay gap between men and women in the US. Women are generally paid less than men for the Same labor. Women in "traditionally" female jobs, such as Teaching and Nursing? Paid less. A double whammy for being female AND in a traditional "job". Being a woman in Early Childhood Education? Barely worth it. You are doing a job that anyone could do, and you should be grateful we are paying you minimum wage. Plus, because you are a polite nice woman, you are happy to subsidize the lower pay of other women by accepting less than a living wage.

4. A majority of people receiving child care assistance are working very difficult jobs, for very little income. They ARE working full time, and then some. They don't receive benefits such as paid time off, or health insurance. When their child is sick, they don't have sick time to cover it. They get fired from jobs because of having children who need to stay home due to illness or school vacations. I worked as the Improper Payments Specialist for the State of New Hampshire. Very, Very little of the "Fraud" was being committed by  working parents not in their jobs or other wise trying to bill for services they did not receive. It was usually small business owners ( women) trying to make up the crummy wages by billing full time, all the time.  Was it worth it? Not usually. If we caught them, they got banned from utilizing the child care program for many years AND a Fraud conviction. 

5. Hordes of Single Mothers are out there, wanting to raise babies on their own. Because our welfare system is collectively so wonderful, it is worth living in poverty to get these super benefits.

OK, I must stop laughing now. Do you know what the income limits are for your state? 
For New Hampshire, the poverty level for a family of 3 is  $18, 310. Living the good life, they are. For many young families, the income of the second parent puts them over the line for assistance, so it becomes worth it to NOT live together because they will get the assistance they need that way. Our system is actively encouraging young families to not stay together. If they do, they get nothing. No health care. No child care. No housing subsidy.

Nice family values there, right?  Don't stay together because if you do, we penalize you. Either lie to us about your situation ( and be punished if caught) OR don't stay together in order to get the most minimal benefits.

Quite a little Gordian Knot there. 

Oh and did I mention that in order to get benefits you MUST be working? The time limits of TANF ( cash assistance) changed in 1996, when the 5 year life time limits were introduced.  The old trope of the "welfare queens" is passe. There are no "welfare queens". Did I mention that if you have another baby while on TANF that there is a penalty? Cause there is. They take away a percentage of the cash you receive for having another baby. You know, for "choosing life" and all.

So kids, what have we learned?

Women are incapable of making rational decisions.

Choose Life - If you are white and rich and married.

Mothers should be prepared to stay at home with any baby they do have. Because we don't promote quality child care through subsidies for low income families, nor are parents able to afford what it would really cost to provide care to a child. Any mother who chooses to work for personal or professional reasons? Selfish bitches. Should have never had a baby in the first place. 

Poor People should be prepared to be punished. Because they are poor.  Stupid poor people. 

Children born to poor parents get to be doubly punished with bad underfunded schools, cruddy non existent child care, and bad public policy which penalizes their parents for staying together. Stupid poor kids. 

Every (White) man for himself.  If you worked harder, you wouldn't be poor. If you were smarter, you wouldn't be poor and under educated. 

If you are a woman, you can't be trusted to make decisions....AND your labor is not worth as much as a Man. Plus you are a selfish bitch if you like working and want to be a Mother. Mothers should be all sacrificing, you know. The Cult of Motherhood Demands IT! Until we lose our shit and drown our babies in tubs. Then we should be killed for betraying the cult.

If you are a child, we don't care about you. Until you arrive, undereducated and in poor health, at the doorstep of the economic workforce...and then, well, what can you expect? Me to pay for You? 

Challenging anyone on any of these views makes you a "bleeding heart liberal", a communist, a socialist, a dreamer, a hippie, someone who is crying "victim" and asking others to "pay your way"...Cripes, and I didn't even get INTO institutionalized Racism in this discussion.

There are moments when I deeply fear for the seeds that America is sowing. Deeply Fear. 

No Misunderstandings

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There are things I do which I simply can not help.
Discipline other people's children being one of many.

Perhaps it was all the years I have collectively felt responsible for other people's children. Perhaps it is some intrinsic bossy gene which can not be helped. Perhaps I can not take off the teacher persona that has ingrained itself into my consciousness. The bottom line is that if I see a child doing something that I - and they - know they shouldn't be doing, I am going to say something.

Last week, Emily had to go to the clinic for her physical. She was tired and cranky as it was a 4 p.m. appointment and she was already hot and tired from being at school. Fair enough. However, as she wants to go to Horse camp this summer she HAS to have a physical. No other choice.

The clinic we use is on the main street of our section of town. We arrived and sat in the waiting room with our books. The waiting room is glassed in and faces the street. Two of Em's school acquaintances walked by and began tapping on the glass to get Em's attention. Emily waved and returned to reading her book.

The two other girls were not satisfied with that acknowledgement. They knocked Louder.  Emily ignored them under the heavy and hairy eyeball of her mother. When that didn't work, the two girls began to run in and out of the clinic under the auspices of getting Em's attention and "visiting a neighbor who worked there".

The first time, I let it slide. The second and third times I spoke to the girls. Telling them to get out. There was no reason for them to be running in and out of a clinic being insanely loud. At the third speaking, I was quite firm. This was a place of business, I explained, and since they did not have appointments, there was no reason for them to be in there. GO HOME.

I imagined the other patients thanking me in their minds: "Thank you mean mother for taking control of the howling 11 year old girls who are barreling in and out of this doctors office for no reason."

The following day, Em came home with this shared news.  One mother had been outside on the sidewalk while the girls had been running in and out. She had not stopped them. The other girls mother quote "Didn't like the way I had spoken to her daughter."

Oh, really?  REALLY.

For some reason, this irritated me beyond reason. Didn't like the way I had spoken to her daughter? Are you kidding me?

I have now been on the lookout for this child's mother. For I want to speak to her. Clear up any mis-understanding there may be.  As last night was the school picnic, I thought my chance was upon me.

Now, I know most of the kids at Emily's school. Since I volunteer in the library once a week, I imprint their names and rooms. It's  that kind of school. A majority of the kids live within easy walking distance, so parents   become known by sight and vice versa.

When I saw Girl X last night I waved her over.  I was sitting on our blanket, working on my hooked rug.
"Hi", I said.
"Hi", said Girl X.
"Your mom here?", I asked.
"No", said Girl X.
"Oh. I heard she had some concerns with the way I spoke with you the other day at the clinic."

Girl X looks a little like a deer in the headlights. Crap. Emily told her mother what she had said.

"Because I would be happy to give your mom a call or discuss the situation if she has concerns.."
"No", stammered Girl X, "She didn't have concerns...well maybe a little."

"Well, you do know it was a doctors office that you were running in and out of, right?" I waited.
"Yeah but we were trying to visit a neighbor who works there...", Girl X trails off, eyes looking down.

"Maybe the first time you ran in  - but the second and third time? With the yelling?"
I continue to stare at the Girl. "It is a place of business and there were people who weren't feeling well waiting to be seen...."

"Yeah, we were being kind of loud..." Girl X makes this admission somewhat softly, her eyes still downcast.

"Well, if your mom has anything she'd like to discuss, you let her know that I am always happy to chat, OK?"

"Ok - can I sit with you and watch?"

"Sure - no problem. Have a seat."

I don't have a great ending to the story. I don't think it needs anything else. Kids need Adults. Not just for encouragement or empathy - but boundaries too. I worry when adults become afraid to discipline not only their own children, but other children in their community. Parenting is never a single player game, and it should never be seen as such. If I was able to speak to Girl X's mother, I would want to emphasize that I was acting in HER stead.  In tandem WITH her, not in judgement Of her.  We can't be everywhere - especially when our children are in this transitional age of 12 and starting to appropriately move into a more social sphere.

The root of the word "discipline" remains "to teach".


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

When searching your house at 12:30 a.m. in a fit of Pre-menstrual sugar craving, there is one thing of which I can assure you.

The Dried Persimmons don't taste nearly as good as you 'd hoped.

And they sure as hell aren't peanut butter cups.

Not Flash Dancin'

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Note to the young ladies of Montreal - and elsewhere, I am sure:

The shiny black leggings? The ones we tried to wear circa 1982? Not cute then, and certainly not cute now. They have the ability to make even thin girls look just terrible. And pairing it with the puzzling Long camisole/slip  over a t shirt is beyond me.

What next? The return of the stirrup pant? 

I blame you, American Apparel.

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