Kudos to Unos!

But not for me, because I have not posted in forever and thus clearly suck.  OR, every time I approach my computer my daughter becomes completely insistent that she neeeeeeeds me RIGHT NOW MOMMY or else just asks me a million questions so I can’t connect two thoughts together.  Many thanks to the Wild Kratts for distracting her right now!

Anyway I took her for lunch at Uno’s Pizzeria recently and was peeking at their kids menu, and check it out!!!!   Kickin’ Kristen next to Pasta Pete!  And on the back, two little tough looking soccer girls!  Can you believe it?  Little girls featured doing *sports*, who are not skinny or wearing pink!

Sorry for the craptastic cell phone pictures, I probably should have brought the menu home and scanned it in so it’d be all pretty and all.  Anyway I am thrilled with Uno’s over this, and they have a “make your own” pizza for kids that is pretty fun, plus a weekday lunch soup bar that is pretty awesome as well.  Go check it out!

Random acts of ugliness

I have a dreadful cold right now, so I’m sharing something that is a no-brainer.  A super ugly scary event that happened to me this week while out grocery shopping.  It’s so horrifying that things can be rolling along just fine, and then one dumbassed bully sizes you up and decides you’ll make a good target and… BAM.

Yesterday we were leaving Whole Foods (the only reason I *have* to go there is because of goat’s milk for Bella… TJ’s has it but sporadically.), and I had put Bella in her seat, went around to my side of the car, opened the door and started to get in and… the car next to me suddenly started to jerk out of its space, scaring me half to death. His mirror clonked into my door but was not hurt or anything like that. I was like WTF! I turned around completely horrified. I had not noticed the guy there, but even if I had, it’s usually common courtesy to wait the literally two seconds it takes someone to get in their car before you pull out. He said something nasty to me, I don’t know what, and I was like, “Well, GO,” as I was holding my door closed and waiting for him to pull out.

So he was like “You know what, NO! I won’t GO!” He parked his car, leaped out, got right in my face and started screaming at me. “This was YOUR FAULT, What the HELL are you doing, it’s YOUR FAULT!”  I was like, ummm, ok, you are crazy and you should really just go. I was not thinking clearly. I have realized that when large men get in my face screaming, my mind kind of shuts off. I shut the door to my car, and I was like dude my daughter is in the car, just GO. He was like NO and you are not going anywhere either. And I was like? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY CAR. Because by that time I was fucking terrified. He was basically like NO, what are you going to DO about it. So I got my phone out and took pictures of him and his license plate number and then I called the police. I did not know what to do. He just would not leave me alone or move out of the way of my car! He did not want insurance information or anything like that or I would have given it to him, though there was literally no damage to his or my car; if anything, dude seriously almost nailed me with his car mirror. I called the police and got in my car (which they told me to do), and as I did this woman came over asking if I needed help. I told her I just wanted him to leave me alone but that he wouldn’t let me leave. She went and intervened with this crazy dude, which, good on her… I would not have done so! (I was safe in my car, so it’s not like I needed her to come intervene to stop violence or something.) She managed to get him to move out from behind my car so I could pull out, and I pulled over to the other side of the parking lot to wait for the police.
I waited like 10 minutes, and no police ever came, so I called and canceled the call. My husband said I should not have done that because it was illegal for this guy to stop me from leaving, but I don’t know; once he moved, I did not care, I just wanted him to leave me alone! I seriously did NOTHING to this person and he was just flat out crazy. He was still there ranting and raving after I left. Oh and funnily enough, he was all “OH YEAH, well I am going to call the cops on YOU?” I mean, for what exactly? Being almost run over by a driver not paying attention and then harassed by a crazy person?????? LMK how that works out for you buddy!

After we left Bella started asking me questions like, Mommy did you think he was going to take me away? What would you do if he had gotten me out and taken me away and hurt me? She broke my heart. I couldn’t even tell her that I would have ripped that guys nuts off if he had touched the car. I have never before just wanted so badly to push hit hurt someone. My mommy bear rage was going crazy when he got near my car.

This whole thing was beyond crazy. Like, seriously, crazy. It’s not like I said “Fuck your mother you fucking asshole!” Or something. I said “Well, GO!” after he almost ran me over. It was a tiny tiny thing and this guy just… crazy!!!!

I hate that my daughter is seeing so much of the rotten side of people lately.  I keep telling her that most people are good, but then she sees something like this and you know it shakes her trust in the world.   I am heartbroken that she thought that man might take her or hurt her and I’m glad she was in the car during this entire thing.

How do you handle talking to your kids about the bad behavior of other adults?

Gender Disparity in Children’s Books

Well this sure doesn’t come as a surprise to any mom of girls who has looked for strong female leads in children’s books, but Science Daily is reporting on a study that shows that from 1900 to 2000 the gender disparity in books (heavily favoring males) did not change.  Except to get worse in the 50’s.  Great.

Why does this matter?

Since children’s books are a “dominant blueprint of shared cultural values, meanings, and expectations,” the authors say the disparity between male and female characters is sending children a message that “women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys.” Books contribute to how children understand what is expected of women and men, and shape the way children will think about their own place in the world

On that note, I just found this really sweet book called Kiki’s Blankie at the local library.  In this book Kiki is a little monkey who loves her blue blankie so much that she rescues it from a very scary situation.   I was reading this to my daughter and some friends at the library and one little girl kept arguing with me that Kiki is a boy monkey.  She is not obviously a girl (ie: long hair, bedecked in pink) so she MUST be a boy, right?

Onslaught

Book Review: My Name is Not Isabella

My Name is not Isabella

Super cute illustrations!

I saw this book and bought it on impulse, which I am *trying* not to do because we have literally a zillion or so books and I just am flatly unable to ever rehome books.  They are BOOKS.  We’ve been doing a lot at the library lately which is great!  This one grabbed me at the bookstore though, with its subtitle of “Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?”

The one thing that bugged me when I picked it up is that it was shelved with the “boy” equivalent book, except the subtitle of the boy version is “Just how big can a little KID dream.”  Girls are kids too!  (I know, nitpicky, but I’m a nitpicky person dammit.)

The book has a really cute concept where a little girl pretends to be several different female heroines;  Sally Ride, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie are a few of them.  I love that, and I love how at the end of the book there is a quick paragraph about each of these amazing women and what they were famous for.

I don’t love that there is actually no *story* here.  There is no real conflict or problem to be resolved;  just a little girl pretending, so for me it gets a bit repetitive.   Not repetitive in a lovely lyrical way that is fun to read, but repetitive in the… *yawwwwn* way.

To sum up, I’d say get this one from the library.  I’m just bummed because I impulse-bought it.   And paid full price.  Hmph.

Feminist Mama Fail…

This morning Bella said to me, “I am going to be a singer lady, a paleontologist, and a mad scientist. Aren’t I going to be a busy girl? But my daddy (husband) will stay home and take care of my babies.”  So I was all patting myself on the back, right?

This afternoon, Bella says to me… “Why did you say I can’t be a cheerleader?  When I grow up I’m going to be the prettiest cheerleader in the world!”

Gah!  Gag me with a spoon, ffs!

Thanks a whole fucking lot Kim Possible.  Did they have to make her a cheerleader?  I guess so.  The only possible way a girl could be a superhero is if she is also a thin, pretty cheerleader, right?

On that note, don’t miss this post about early sexualization;  the images are really shocking.  I share this authors concern regarding song lyrics.

The Baby Trainers

I suppose for some it’s magic;  for us, it was more like mayhem.  Seriously, my girl was one of the worst sleepers EVER.  She did not sleep through the night until she was 3, when she gave up napping for good.  My husband and I lived in a fog, and we were desperate.

I tried lots of different ways of encouraging her to sleep more.  One mom recommended, if she wakes in the middle of the night, to just pretend to be asleep.  Keep her in a closed, safe room with you, and pretend to be asleep.
I distinctly remember trying this one night, it was probably 2 am or so and she was wide awake.  I don’t remember how old she was, probably about a year old.  I closed the door to our safe bedroom, got back in bed, and pretended to be asleep next to my also-pretending to sleep husband.  I waited for her to get the hint, lay down, and go back to sleep (Please baby!).  This resulted in 3 hours, no joke HOURS of her shrieking at us, bonking us on the head, and repeatedly grabbing and yelling at us.  She just does not give up.  Ever.

When she was a wee bit older, about 15 months old, I was so exhausted and finally the advice of all the CIO proponents got to me.  I decided she was old enough to understand, that I could put her in the bed and say “It’s time to sleep,” and leave the room.  And if she cried a little, that might be ok… as long as she’d go to sleep, please!  But instead of crying a little, my child went from 0 to desperately hysterical screaming in the space of about 4 seconds.  I just don’t believe that that level of hysteria is safe for a baby, or could possibly have no effect on them.  We have a generation of adults with all kinds of insecurities and depression and all kinds of issues.   I think it is flatly impossible to say that leaving a baby alone to cry desperately has no effect on them.

Then I read this article on Moxie’s blog about what she believes are two types of babies.  One type of baby needs to be put down to sleep, and may cry for a few minutes, but quickly goes to sleep that way.  The other type of baby is what my girl is, the kind of child for whom being put down alone leads to instant panic, desperation, hysteria.

I think letting a kid cry who goes to sleep well that way is fine.  I think there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference between crying for a few minutes, and literal hysteria.  I think most parents know the difference.  I think you cannot train one type of baby to be another type of baby, no matter what you do.

The thing I really hate about the sleep trainers is that they tell parents that if their method doesn’t work, it’s not because it doesn’t work for their baby… it’s because the parents are doing it wrong, or not enough, and they just need to let the kid cry more.  Cry until they vomit, no big deal, clean ’em up and continue.  I hate that parents are made to feel like if their kid is a bad sleeper, it’s their fault, and if they were just strong enough to let them CIO properly, they would sleep.  I hate that.

My kid still can’t be left alone to cry to sleep.  That’s just not her.  Sleep trainers give you no leeway for an individual child’s personality or needs.

The thing that saved us was babywearing.  I know I’m evangelical on this topic but wearing my daughter on my back flatly saved my LIFE.  It enabled me to meet her needs while paying attention to my own needs.  It gave us something to do on those awful nights when she was miserable and couldn’t sleep.  I could walk around with her on my back and vacuum (the sound and repetetive movement really help), or play Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks loud.  That was especially good when I was feeling sleepy mama rage, so tired, so angry, so pleasejustgotosleep!!!!!!

Bella is now 4 and we still wear her several nights a week to sleep.  47 lbs, 42″ tall, and still in a carrier.  People who say their kids are too old or too big to be in a carrier make me laugh a little, while they struggle with their babies on their hips.  Having a carrier to distribute the weight more evenly to your shoulders and hips is a thousand times easier than carrying a big preschooler on your hip!
If you need more info or tips or help with babywearing, I highly recommend The Babywearer’s forums and pages upon pages of information.  And this post about keeping newborns safe in carriers is an absolute must-read. Meanwhile, try not to let the babytrainers get to you!  Listening to yourself and your baby is more important, and figuring out what works for both of you.