Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jump Starting Boys- Giveaway!

Hmm, you might be thinking, why is that Accident woman going to write about boys?

Normally if I am going to write about boys, it's to discuss how they are in my way. Boys have the advantage and  I have girls. Boys get more attention in school, they grow up to make more money than female equals. Boys get called -on in class more often and are given more help. Girls are ignored during subjects like math or science to focus on boys. Boys are so disruptive in a classroom that a good bulk of the teachers time goes to just keeping them in line.

While those things used to be true, and are still situationally true, lots has changed in schools for boys. Boys are faltering. A shift took place with the intention of leveling out girls academics, and it may have gone too far.

I've just read a book that makes the most excellent point- my daughters might well grow up to marry boys someday, so it is in my interest to pay attention to some things. Yep, got me there!

I know this. I see little boys who start off energetic and excited. Interested in everything and everyone. They are so much fun! They are sweet and they are nice. Considerate even.  Somewhere in grade school I see them withdraw a bit. They don't show their sweetness. Interests wane. I think they fade, lose their shiny brightness. Some boys channel the changes into different avenues, some grow out of it, and some become sullen. Where the path leads then, could be anywhere.

Jump Starting Boys
By Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill
"Help your reluctant learner find success in school and life"

It is a book about getting boys back on track.  I imagine parents of boys will repeatedly reference it until it shreds- it's that helpful.

What I like best about this book is the immense usefulness. The authors do not expect parents to dramatically change everything over night (and a miracle will occur!), it's more about taking advantage of what is already there, and building on strengths and interests.  They describe tons of ways to prevent off-tracking in the first place. There are lists upon lists of actions you can take right now, many with little upheaval, to alter the path your child might be on.

One story given as an example both make me laugh and think. A boy was having trouble in school. The Dad, a truck driver,  is told the boy might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Surmising that meant the boy needed more attention, Dad started to take him along to work driving. The problems resolved.

SO, since the book was sent to me for review by the publisher, I am going to pass it on to a super lucky winner!  Leave a comment to the effect of "PICK ME" to be entered in the drawing I will have on Sunday, September 29th at noon Wisconsin time. You can also comment just to comment if you want- cuz you know I love comments.

Spread the word with my nifty little facebook gadget thingies or with copy-paste. Free stuff y'all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thanks for being ugly

There is a TV show in America, copied from the UK I believe, called Big Brother. The premise is a group of about 15 people are locked in a house together. The last one standing after 3 months of competitions and voting wins $500,000.

This year, the show has recieved much more attention than usual due to the nasty racist/ homophobic/ mysogynistic comments of several participants. Clips have been shown over and over on public media with evidence. I'm not going to link them, you can search for yourself if you want to. Or you can take my word for it that really nasty stuff was said.

 It's been an eye-opener for me to see that there really are still people in this country who speak and act like that. However, the ugly persists beyond. One contestant was adopted and another contestant has been taunting her with comments such as "at least my mother wanted me".

*#*# SCREECH #*#*

Well there you go. It just got personal.

I watch Big Brother with my daughters, and it occured to me I had a mine full of gold laying under all that horseshit.

It happens so often to kids, especially girls, where just one mean girl can make things horrible for another girl. Two or three mean girls working together can make a strong, self confident child into a shriveled, scarred mess. And so as a society we have these sayings designed to make it better.

Beauty comes from within.
Beauty is only skin deep.
It's more important to be pretty on the inside than the outside.
What's important is how you see yourself.
Beauty doesn't last forever.

As girls become teenagers, their bodies become awkward and betray them with acne and periods. Suddenly appearance is much more important. We share other brilliant sayings.

None of it matters after high school.
The "popular" kids wind up being boring adults.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
It's part of growing up.
She'll be ugly and fat when she's 30.
What comes around goes around.

Most of the sayings really are true, and I am a big believer in karma- what comes around goes around.

But really? Any kid with a handful of working brain cells will perceive the pant load. Even peripheral exposure to the media reinforces what kids already know- pretty is important. Pretty is more desirable.  Pretty girls are models and stars. They are on TV and in magazines. They get all the attention. Girls don't look at the woman with the lawnmower haircut wearing a frumper and strive to imitate her. They want to sparkle and shine!

It so truly does not matter in the moment that the mean girl might go on to have a crappy life in some abstract future. 

Back at the TV show, my girls noticed how one group of women was horribly mean to a few other contestents. 3 people of non-Caucasian ethnicity and a non-heterosexual man were the targets.  The mean group has been made up of attractive, outgoing, (and unfortunately) articulate women. Beautifully done hair and make up, club dresses and party clothes. Confident and self assured. Nastier than a salvage yard snake.

Even in the beginning, when edited airings of the show portrayed false congeniality, my girls picked up on the tension. They rooted for the picked on and underdogs. This is good.

It's all lent a rare opportunity to see ugliness occur live, and watch consequences appear.  Two of the women have been fired from their real-world jobs because of their televised behavior. I can watch with my daughters and point out- see her? She is a beauty-pageant coordinator, like on Toddlers and Tiara's. She's pretty isn't she? Her body is in great shape and she wears beautiful clothes, right? But none of it matters. She's ugly on the inside. Ugly. She says mean, nasty things to other women and tries to make them feel bad, on purpose.

You know what else? She's been fired from her job. She doesn't even know it yet because she's still in the house game. Her bosses watch the show and see how ugly she is on the inside and now she doesn't have a job.

That other woman- the other mean one? She wants to be a model, or on TV and you know what happened? She is fired too. She hasn't just used ugly words, she has done  hateful things. It doesn't matter how pretty you are on the outside if your heart is ugly. If your spirit is nasty, good things won't happen.


Genea had been invited to a birthday party and was delerious with happiness looking forward to it. A few days ago, the girl told her she couldn't come. We don't know why, but obviously Genea has been devastated. To her credit, she is still being nice to the kid. That blows me away.

Now it's possible that one of the mean girls is going to win the show. And I can take that and use it as well. Sometimes the nasty ones make it to the top- they do, no use denying it. But her ugly spirit has caused her to lose something very very important to her.

What's on the inside really does count.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where's the Beef?

So, I stumble back onto my blog after a lengthy break. I discover just about every site I have on my blog list hasn't updated in years. I got no new blogs to read. Seriously, there are 2 blogs that I regularly participate on. I need more. Who has more?

Now that gaggle reader is gone, I'm having trouble finding a good feed reader. I am using Feedly, which I like, but keep messing it up. I just discovered a list of 93 blog posts that I missed on there. Now how the hell did that happen? Thus, my problem.  I love that so many sites are streamlining their look. However, I can't figure out how to set it up and keep it that way because it's all too vague.

I tried Blog Lovin', despite the title which makes me feel cringe-ie like a 12 year old Justin Bieber fan. I don't care for them because they stick random blog posts in the middle of your feed list. Like, about cooking and shit I don't care for.
Where are people getting their blog lists from?

Some other things I have issues with today:

It's so cool that manufacturers are using re-sealable bags. Like with some cereals. Or shredded cheese. But why won't they make sliding thingies that work? Either I rip the whole thing removing the easy to remove tab, or the bag doesn't seal no matter how well I line up the edges. Seems so pointless to go to the expense for a frustrating lack of payoff. Why.

That reminds me. You know that "open here" spot on the side of a box of mac and cheese?  You are supposed to push your finger into the half-oval shaped perforations and the box will peel right open so you may behold the glory that is dried noodles and cheese- colored powder. Question- has anyone ever successfully done that? I mean using the directions as stated, and ended up with a well opened box with contents not on the floor? I can open the box from the side if I take out a steak knife, violently stab it, then peel, but that's cheating.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Actress

Several years ago I noticed Genea has a nice singing voice.  I didn't do much about it. Her school has a choir, and she participated for the last 2 years. She has done other things, dance, cheerleading, etc.

This past winter though, she and Teena did a version of American Idol with their dolls. Genea had written her own song. She created the lyrics and melody from scratch. And y'all? It was good. Every bit.

All this time, I've thought she might be interested in acting but I didn't do much about that either. Not too many choices until she got to high school. However, I discovered in this bizarre little town exists a performing arts studio. Dancing, acting, singing, performing, back of house, piano, violin, guitar. The kids that go there do local commercials. The instructors occasionally take time off to perform on stage. Perfect!

See, I've always thought a person should use their strengths. Even if your strengths are not always what another person might consider positive. An example is a family member with severe OCD. It can take him hours to leave the house. However he is the equivalent of a rocket scientist and that perseverance has led to a highly successful career. So with that in mind, this is what I thought Genea could use to her benefit-

Screaming= projecting your voice to the back of the house
Constant attention seeking= being watched on stage
Hypervigilance= knowing all the lines and marks
Lying= pretending something is true with all your heart
Histrionic fits/tantrums etc= emoting with conviction

(side note: we asked her to show us some of it at home and she did a whole bunch but none of it was hers. She had the lines of every single other performer memorized. Not one of her own. Hypervigilance. Gold level.)

Last spring she took a class in performing- acting and singing. And at the 3 hour and 45 minute show (where I nearly died of butt rot from sitting all that time) for all the students, she had a 4 minute skit. It was amazing. She got on stage and I couldn't hear a word. I would have tried to lip read but she was facing away from the audience. Slowly, and I swear this is true, I could actually watch her gain confidence. Her voice got louder. She turned a little and faced the side. She stood up straighter. Then she faced the audience! And then she started acting! By the time it was over she was just as good as the kids who had been there for years!

And so now she has this. This thing, that she's good at. No matter what else happens in her life, she has this. 


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