Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The World I Want for my Daughters

Country Fried Mama is hosting a blog carnival on the subject of "The World I Want for my Children".
“The world I want for my children” is an effort to support The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Law & Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault mend their minds, bodies and spirits and reclaim their lives.  Today, the foundation is at the forefront of an effort to end a disheartening backlog of tens of thousands of rape kits in labs across the country, a backlog that contributes to a rapist’s 80 percent chance of getting away with his crime.  The backlog and its detrimental effects will be the topic of an SVU episode on September 29th


When I decided to participate in this I considered our immediate world. The part of the world we directly inhabit and what I wish for my daughters as the girls they are and the women they will become. Later I thought about the world surrounding them as well as who and what they will choose to surround themselves with. I want them to be healthy in mind, body and spirit and I want no one to try to take that away from them.

In the world I want for my daughters they will be free to move about without fear.

I want them to feel safe in their own home.  I want them to be safe in their own home.

They will be able to have fun at large scale events without the worry of being attacked by someone feeling invincible by the size of the crowd or consumption of alcohol.

I want them to never be degraded sexually by the words of others when they show strength or courage.

I want them never to use the words "slut" or "whore" to universally describe another female.

I want them to freely be confident without holding back.
I want for them to never stay quiet for fear of confrontation.
I want for them to want to be liked. I want them to never betray their true selves for popularity. I would love for them to live in a world where they do not see others around them doing so.

I want them to know how to defend themselves. I want for them to never hold back in doing so.

I want them to have empathy towards others, and their intentions to generally be good.

I want them to apologize when they should. I want for them to never apologize for or minimize their strengths and abilities.

In the world I want for my daughters, no newscaster will ever refer to the sexual assault of a child as "intercourse with" a child.
No journalist will ever print words indicating a rapist "had sex with" a child.
Any time an adult touches a child in a sexual manner it is an assault. An adult who physically harms a child in a sexual manner is a rapist.

In the world I want for my daughters, rape and sexual assault will never be minimized. Such offenses will be fully and immediately prosecuted and the crime will be recognized as a heinous one with harsh long term penalties.

I have no dream that sexual crime will be ever be eradicated in our world.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Disaster Averted!

Saturday night as I was moving from the lower level of our house to the upper level where the bedrooms are, I heard my husband talking. It is unusual for him to be on the phone at 10:30 at night, but his voice was calm so I knew it could not be an emergency. As I crossed past the doorway I saw him holding up his ipad and realized he must be talking to tech support somewhere and he finally blew out his ipad. The thing has not left his grubby little hands since he got it, he says, from work. I might be concerned that he loves it more than me if it weren't for the little affair I have had going on with my Roomba since Christmas. Anyway, my usual routine on Saturday nights is to read through listserve group postings ( I know, my life rocks, shut up). So I went and fired up my old and boring (but reliable!) laptop and clicked.... and clicked...... and nothing internet would come up.


And so I tuned back in to my husbands side of the conversation and heard him saying " I know it's the weekend so probably nothing can be done until Monday right?". Then he says "well yeah, we pretty much use our internet for everything so we need it". He wasn't talking to tech support for his ipad/girlfriend, he was talking to the company that gets our internet signals to us!

Oh my unholy hell, our internet was out. OUT! Thoughts raced through my head like there were Nascar drivers in there. What will I do? It's only 10:45! If I can't read group postings I can..... ugh, I can't read blog posts either! If I can't do that, well maybe I'll go to bed early. If I start my bedtime routine early I can...... omg, my fish tank! My Tap Fish app, the fish will die if I can't feed them and I have to have an internet connection to feed them! My fish...... oh NO what about my Tap Ranch app? All those crops are going to die and I will lose all that (real on the internet) money and I could even lose the farm!

I was ready to start driving around town looking for a 24 hour Starbucks that might have their wifi going. Or something! I needed a signal people, a signal! To save the fish! And my mind!

What a disaster this has turned out to be! My internet, my beloved internet! What about..... what about..... oh supercrap all my friends live in there! Now I won't have any friends either? Somebody needs to call 911 about this, its unreal! Maybe this is a dream.

I had started to try to calm down and realized I was just going to have to live like Laura Ingalls for the next couple days and then the worst blow of all. I was going to read a book like Laura would, you know, and milk a cow or something and I remembered I had just finished the second book from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy and had not yet downloaded the final book to my nook.

So I had nothing to read either. I mean come on, what was I going to do here now, talk? Out loud? To who? Seriously, The Husband and I have texted each other from the same room to talk about the kids so they can't hear us! Dang, I thought, maybe I can find one of those old timey books-on- paper.

I know people complain about technology taking over lives. The things that were supposed to save us time have turned out to make us work harder and longer. But  you know, I think people have always complained about new-fangled things. When the phone was invented, people complained that you wouldn't see others in person anymore. That communication would be compromised and would start the decline of civilization. I wonder if the ancient Egyptians griped at each other when they invented hieroglyphics. Now the spoken story would be lost, useless. Storytelling as a treasured pastime would become extinct if you could just trot into a cave or pyramid and read the wall yourself.

Anyway, it turned out that the keepers- of -the -tubes would be able to come out the next day to fix our whatever hoosie that was not working right and ruining my life. The Husband decided to waltz his self down to the box of important signals and turned it off. Then he turned it back on and it was fine and has been ever since. I downloaded the last book in the Millenium series (highly, highly recommended). Disaster averted. PHEW!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's gonna' be a long thirteen years

Teena has started kindergarten! She has the same teacher that Genea had, which is great. In our school district the people in charge make an effort to match a family with the same series of teachers. So as Teena goes through elementary school she will have all the same teachers that Genea had.  We know then what to expect and we know the routines. The teacher knows us, and presumably then knows that some of Teena's forms will be late and sometimes (often) Teena will be late. She also knows that Teena's parents are going to be extremely dedicated to her and will take equal responsibility for her education.

Mrs E will send home several optional activities every week based on the subjects they are learning. So they might be learning about the seasons and a letter of the alphabet and we might get a worksheet to practice writing and a suggested activity to collect fallen leaves. Genea rarely worked any of the optional homework in kindergarten. Mostly we were focused on keeping her head attached to her neck while it spun around. In those days, she could make it through an entire school day without incident but dissolved into the Wango Tango every day after school. I didn't mind. I can handle the Wango Tango if she can  maintain and learn in school. Better to have The Crazy visit us at home than anywhere else! Anyway, Teena watched Genea do her first grade homework all last year and has been waiting, dying, to get her own homework, and finally she has.

So Teena got a worksheet to do and sat down at the homework table to write.

She sighed.

She sighed again.

She grunted.

"This stinks", she said. "I HATE homework"!

It was the second week of kindergarten.

She was working on the letter B.

You have a long road ahead of you Teena. (I suspect I do too).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fear of Dogs

Both of my girls express a nervousness at first around dogs. Part of the problem seems to be that people we know don't just have one dog, they often have a pack and the packs bark and jump and freak out with any random excuse. Teena's fear is mostly of the yapping and jumping. Once the beasts settle down, she is fine and will run and play with them. Genea's fear is more pervasive and she will shriek in fear and jump away, trying to crawl up the nearest human leg to get away. Of course many dogs seem to find that to be a challenge- how much louder can we bark, how much higher can we jump, we gotta' get this little girl and make her like us!

Everywhere we go, the kind dog owners make an effort to keep the dogs in another part of the house or outside. But dogs are smart and tricky and above all, determined. They frequently manage to escape whatever barricade was between them and Genea and they go straight for her. This causes a fear reaction in her that I have never seen in any other situation. She shakes, she literally shakes. It is not tremors, it is a full body reaction and she clenches her arms to her chest while shrieking without words.

One thing that pisses me off is dog owners we don't know. Quite often a person might be walking their dog past our house and the girls of course go running up to see it. Genea will stop shy by about 6 feet, but Teena will run right up without fear so long as the dog isn't barking at her. I will be shrieking at her to STOP we DON'T run up to strange DOGS! Big or small, she doesn't care.. Without fail, the owner will insist over and over that their dog is a safe one, loves people, loves kids, super dooper friendly! Well that's just fabulous but the dog has never met MY kids and we seem to be the exception to a lot of rules. Sometimes, the owner will even start to walk their dog up my driveway to show my girls how gentle their pet is. They try to coax Genea out of her shell of fear, encouraging her to inch closer. But it doesn't make a difference, her nerves take over and she keeps her distance all the while visibly shaking. I'm stuck insisting to the dog owner not to let their dog come any closer (ie, get that damn thing off my property!).

I was taught as a kid that no one should ever approach an unfamiliar dog. I think it is a good rule of common sense. The Husband thinks we should be teaching our kids to not fear dogs but I think there is a middle ground where you can keep your distance safely until you know the dog is approachable. And even then, approach with caution and in your mind know that this is above all else an animal and one with big teeth. Oh, and go ahead and try to teach our impulse impaired kids the rationale behind the caution Mr Husband, good luck with that.

So yes, if you are wondering, I have a fear of big dogs. I like little dogs but I have an aversion to things that make a lot of noise and jump on me. When I was a kid my grandmother had this enormous killer dog whose name was Blue. He was kept in the laundry room behind a gate that had to be five feet high otherwise that Cujo-thing would jump it. This was the meanest, nastiest dog and he was loud. I had to pass that laundry room to get into the kitchen and Blue always jumped up to his full height, bashing himself into the metal of that gate so that it clanked into the wall while he roared 2 inches from my ear. They would let him out into the house all the time and say things to me like, don't let him know you are afraid. HUH! Yeah, okay, I'll get right on that once I'm released from the hospital after Blue takes off my face. 

Anyway, we were all at the lovely Sarah's house recently and she of course was considerate about her dogs once she saw Genea shaking in fear. That happened to be a day Corey was here. Poor Sarah was so upset when she saw how terrified Genea was, clutching onto me for dear life and shaking like a leaf. I had to tell her, it's an act. Genea saw someone on TV react to a fear this way and now that's what she does when she is presented with something she thinks she should be afraid of. Genea heard me say that, stopped the shaking and walked away.

Oh, and by the way she is not afraid of dogs either. I used to tell people and they looked at me like I just flipped upside down and turned into a bat. So, I quit telling people. But this day she was busted. Ah glory me. Genea went outside to play in Sarah's yard and outside is where the dogs had been banished. She didn't realize we could see her from inside the house and we all watched my little RAD-lite girl spend 15 minutes playing catch with the dogs, petting the dogs, chasing the dogs etc. For once (and it happened again this weekend which is what reminded me) someone else got a glimpse of The Crazy, and oh my lucky day it was people who are intimately involved with their own special  RAD crazy! (Reactive Attachment Disorder = RAD)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just about 2 years ago.....

Two years ago there were less than 10 people who read my blog. Were you one of them? Don't lie! I posted this and no one seemed to read it and no one for sure commented. But it was always one of my favorite posts so I am showing a rerun.

Here is a conversation between Teena and I.

Teena- I want Uh Bidder-ba Dahs
Me- Huh?
Teena- I want Uh Bidder-ba-Dahs
Me- (what the heck could she be saying?)one more time honey
Me- uh bidder ba dahs?
Teena very happy - YESZ!!!!Yesh, Momma you just said it!!
Me- ooHHHH, The Wizard of Oz!

I do not have any even vague clue how this internet thing works. It was amazing enough when there were just those old apple machines that could draw and spell. But now, sheesh! The idea that pushing the right combination of keys can bring an image into my home, man that is wild. Chat rooms, typing to actual people and they can answer you, then wireless. Now you don't even need a plug hole for all this? Crazy! All this is  flying around in the wind waiting to land somewhere?

So I think of internet people as People of the Air. Not non-people, but not real people either. Not People of the Floor, which is anyone that can reach out and pinch me (if they want a Beat Down that is- does that sound cool and tough?). This picture coming up is something I will only share with People of the Air. If you know me IRL you will have to pretend you didn't see it.

The worst part is that this is from the past week. Not say, a months worth. And ummmm...... those are just mine. If I were to trip over a Polly Pocket or a stray hair clip and fall and bleed, what would come out would be weird little chunks of beige paste. Which is the stuff they coat with a homeless man's used brown paper bag and call McNuggets. What on earth is a presumably only half crazy adult doing with all those happy meals?
Uh, I may be a bit obsessed.

They released these Madame Alexander Wizard of Oz Dolls last year and I gorged myself on chicken nuggets to get them all. And yes, I know I could just buy them but, well, that would be cheating. Don't ask the logic, just work with me here.
They have been re-released now all just slightly different, and with 4 more! And I MUST HAVE THEM ALL.

Anyway, these are just my dolls. The girls have been pestering me for over a year to play with my dolls. I have them where they cannot get to them without committing a series of crimes that they are too noisy to get away with. Now that they have been reissued, all 3 of us have had to eat enough happy meals to acquire 3 sets of 12 dolls. I am highly math impaired but I think that comes to roughly 9000 nugget-pastes wrapped in paper.

Note: of course these are not currently featured in the happy meals, this post is from October of 2008.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Smackdown on the bus

A few days ago Genea got off the bus and right away told me that some girls had been hitting her and had knocked into her with their backpacks. I was confused, alarmed and quite frankly really pissed off. The bus had already gone on its way and so I tried to pry out of Genea what had happened.

There were two of them, it seems, and that made me even more angry. What kind of vicious nasty team of future inmates was assaulting my child? My mentally ill child! Some parts of the story came out as we were walking home and other parts throughout the afternoon. The way Genea's brain is structured, she has a hard time giving information in the moment, especially details. So I have to think through the possibilities and ask the right questions.Then, I have to ask the questions in a way that does not lead Genea to give an answer just because she thinks I want to hear it. Or that gives her ideas of things to say that never even happened. It sounds tricky but over time you learn and it gets easier. But I can't just sit her down and say, "what happened?" because then I'll never find out.

Genea was sitting on the bus seat and Future Inmate #1 was next to her in the window seat. Genea was on the aisle, and across the aisle was Future Inmate #2. #1 and #2 are friends. Future Inmate #2 had some thing she was showing to #1, and Genea was looking at it too. One of them told her to stop looking the item. Details are a little fuzzy here, but then one of the little shits hit her! I asked Genea, what did you do, and Genea tells me "I hit her back".

Huh. Really. Really?
Okay, then what?

So it seems there was a series of hits from both of the other students, who incidentally are older, some kicks and some hits with a backpack. And Genea responded to each with an equal show of force.


*ahem* I mean, we don't hit. Hands are for hugs you know.

Seriously though, it wasn't the best response. If kids are behaving poorly the other children are supposed to tell the driver right away. Hitting back is rarely the best choice and not what I would have told her to do in most cases. Probably. 

If this had been Teena, things would have been different. I would expect a non-violent response from her that followed the rules. But Genea? I would have thought she would cry. Cry and possibly crawl under the seat trying to hide. Wailing maybe. Her reaction would be uncontrolled, if she did hit back it would be in an ineffective flustered sort of way. She might freeze and stare at the Future Inmates, as they antagonized her more and more trying to get a reaction. She might have said something strange sounding. She would react as the perfect victim, the type of response that would have guaranteed this would happen again and again.

Instead, she gave as good as she got. I think, personally, that sometimes you have to stand up to a bully right away. Following protocol and reporting it is all good but things can also get dragged out and blown up that way. The Husband and I discussed it, and of course we could call the bus company and maybe we should have. But I thought Genea seemed to handle it herself just fine. We coached her on what to do if it happened again.

The next day there were no problems on the bus.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day Part 2, The Pain

For some reason when a person is pregnant or adopting, all of society seems to feel  responsible for passing on every horror story ever known. First, they try to excuse themselves by vilifying "those other people" saying something to the effect of "Are other people telling you all kinds of awful scary stories? Isn't that rude? Why do people do that? So anyway, here's the horrid series of excruciating things that happened to my friend.....".

I chose to ignore things that did not sound enjoyable. In fact I didn't want to know anything about the birth process at all. I had educated myself to the nth degree on pregnancy as well as on caring for the actual baby. I figured I would know soon enough about the delivery and since I had never heard of a birth where the child simply floated out of the mom on a cloud of cotton candy, anything else just could not be good and I was not interested. As I began to resemble a UPS truck I had conflicting feelings. On one side I couldn't wait for the delivery because I was so constantly, painfully, uncomfortable. Plus, you know, then I would have a baby. On the other side, at least I knew she was taken care of in there. On the outside with just me? Not so sure. See, she was safe in there and had all of her accessories providing for her every need!

Picking up where I left off, The Husband and I went to my lovely birthing suite at the hospital. It was wonderful. They had recently renovated the entire baby wing and so the rooms were private and beautifully decorated.  It was not hospital-ish at all. But apparently, Teena was not interested and had no intention of showing up for her party that day. I began to get hungry and inquired about dinner.


Here was something horrible about childbirth that no one had told me. You don't get to eat. BAH!!! See, prior to being pregnant I had a full range of bad habits that I enjoyed but quit.  So I transferred all of my bad habits onto cheesecake and ice cream and chocolate and damnit, I wanted to eat!!! Fear must have taken over the nurses station because they let me eat and promised me morphine too. Woo hoo!

Still, Teena was not inspired. Fine with me, I was enjoying the nice hospital. We relaxed, even though I was really nervous, and watched some TV. Talked on the phone a lot. I was not having contractions or any pain at all so everything was great as far as I was concerned. I got to have the bed to myself and make it go up, down and sideways!

The next day however, all those nice nurses had gone home and were replaced by motivated, determined nurses with an agenda. First thing on the agenda- wake me up at 6 AM. Second thing- move that baby on out. I got up to take care of some stuff like putting in my contact lenses so I could see this baby for example, when pain started to hit. Really hit. Hit hard. Eye twitching teeth clenching toe contorting pain. Bad pain. Now mind you, all those "helpful" people who had told me the grizzly details of delivery, had said that labor pain is about as bad as some really strong menstrual cramps. (I don't know, I'm guessing someone probably told me it would be worse and I probably chose to ignore them and continue my denial.) Anyway, that was a BIG FAT LIE because I was about to clench my hands right through the faucet and I was only getting started. I could have bent metal sink fixtures right then and there.

Fast forward to the nice epidural man and I could speak again without gasping frantically.  There I was trying to push out a pick up truck every few minutes with my private lady business flapping in the breeze for all of Green Bay to see for like, 5 hours with no luck. Even with the determined nurses doing all kinds of voodoo down there, still no Teena. I don't understand it actually, seems like I should have pushed out all kinds of things by then.

Along comes my doctor and by now she is waiting to meet Teena too. And she is getting impatient with Teena's lack of urgency so she gave out a few orders to people and suddenly my pretty room is a real hospital room with equipment and metal tables with scary looking stuff. The word "vacuum" is mentioned and although I had been getting tired I was suddenly in SERIOUS pain and more pain is coming and people are yelling at me to PUSH and it freaking HURTS really BAD and the vacuum broke. Broke! So the doctor started over with it and again with the pain that is even worse than before and I didn't think I could handle it before so now its really bad and with the pushing and the vacuum and I am not kidding the damn thing broke again. It kept losing it's suction or something but who cared by then because that kind of pain can kill you or make you wish you were dead. By the fourth time the vacuum was reinserted I was done. I was screaming and surely terrifying other patients. Pain like I have never felt before, not one tenth of that pain. I could have sawed my own arm off with a toenail and had less pain. It was so bad I didn't even realize when she was almost there and I started to sit up and OH WHOA LOOK AT THAT there was half of Teena! Huh. I went back down and pushed some more and there she was!

They layed her on me right away for a minute and then took her to clean off all of her accessories. She did not cry and we did not name her right away. Serena had been one of our name choices and I thought she was so calm, maybe Serena should be it. Thankfully we went another direction because that would not have suited her after all. So, there she was. I know all parents say their baby is the prettiest but they are wrong because ours was the prettiest. She really was. Still is!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day (the story of MY labor) (part 1)

It occurred to me that I haven't told the story of MY labor. The one in which I produced a new human being just by lying on a table and screaming. Don't worry, I won't get into any grizzly details. Of course you will have to trust me on that, and let it be known that I am somewhat censor and filter impaired. Also, it was over 5 years ago and large chunks of my brain seem to have been shredded since then and I am not all that reliable anyway. This will be The Story of Teena since I have already told just about every detail in The Story of Genea.

Okay! I had been pregnant for about three years.  In my vast experience as a pregnant person, I decided that every day of pregnancy is the equivalent of 4 days of regular life. However, I was lucky because while I experienced many of the side effects of pregnancy for the most part everything was mild. So I was mildly nauseous for about a month but never had problems with vomiting. ( A side note, my sister has always had the raging pukes and worked in a dive-ish bar for 2 babies worth of pregnancies. There were no employee bathrooms and so she had to go and puke during her shift in the public, dive toilets with the drunks. Uhhhhuhuhuh, I still get shivers just thinking about it).

I had heard about the "nesting instinct" wherein the pregnant person does all sorts of obscure things towards the very end such as wildly scrubbing under the sink before the baby comes out. But see, babies don't look under sinks for a long time. Regardless, I thought that was such a silly idea! I mean come on, humans have come a long way from the days of squatting in a field and shooting out a baby while simultaneously picking  vegetables for dinner in the cave. We have evolved! Okay, so I was on day 7,898 of providing a womb for this person when I realized how hairy my legs were. Yikes. So I decided to wax them. At the sink. As I was ripping hair out of my flesh I thought about that silly nesting thing and giggled. Obviously that was not what had possessed me since anyone could see my legs were a super hairy priority. Because I was the size of a pick up truck and carrying what would probably be a 56 pound baby, I could only manage to get my leg up on the sink briefly before that damn gravity attacked. Unfortunately I discovered that after I had applied the hot wax to my legs. Washing the crap off and going about my day did not cross my mind, after all, my legs were hairy and everyone knows how important that is to me! Especially in the winter! So I moved myself to the top of the stairs and finished my agonizing project. Was I trying to foreshadow pain to myself? I'll never know.

The next day, a Monday, I went to work to finish out my last week. I cleaned my desk. I organized my supplies. I finished all my little projects and left notes for whoever needed a note. Then I sat and wondered to myself, Self? Why did you do all that? It was too early you see. It was still the month of an ugly birthstone that clashed with mine. It could not be time.

The following day I woke up at FIVE in the AM. Normally that would have made me mad. I am a sleep lover. I cherish and adore my sleep. However, my bed was wet. So I went and changed things off of myself and put a towel over the expanse of wetness and went back to sleep. I woke up again around 7 and realized I should probably tell The Husband that my water broke. He was asleep himself but I thought, well, he would probably want to know. Then I told him I wasn't having any labor pain and we might as well just go back to sleep. So, we did. Where did all this passive calm come from? Got no idea. I'm not that calm unloading the dishwasher.

Wow, this is going to be way too long. Click in next time for Part 2, "I Never Knew There Was  Pain Drugs Could Not Touch". But play along! Tell your own Labor Day story and link up! If your Labor Day revolved around meeting up with your Adoption Worker tell the story! If your Labor Day was in another country in a court where you did not speak the language- tell it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless-ish Wednesday

I've never done one of these Wordless Wednesdays before. I understand there is to be no talking. So, I'm not. I'll just make a few points. BUT, I'm not going to talk about the photo that I am wordless about. Just that it is there. Be warned.

I got everything ready for the first day of school on the night before.

Keep in mind my sense of humor is not for everyone.

*snort* hee hee hee

*SIGH* no, not really.


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