Sunday, May 27, 2007

Who made it OK

Somewhere along the line it has become acceptable by society to expose our young children to more and more violence and sex and suggestive language. Just take a look around you, TV, movies, video games, heck even bill boards! you can't get away from it! I posted a few posts recently in my other blog (here and here) so forgive me if I am repeating myself but I am a so angry with the overwhelming amount of children who are getting cheated out of their childhood.

Let's start with Shrek. When it first came out Princess was too young to watch it, but now that Shrek the Third has hit theaters I knew that she would be hearing her friends at school talk about it and may ask to be taken to the theater to see it. So, I revisited the original Shrek (which I think is hysterical!) and came to the conclusion that this is not a children's movie. I mean come on, Eddie Murphy? You can't get through a scene in this movie without sexual innuendo or the old comic fall back "potty humor". I really don't need my young child hearing stuff she doesn't understand which she will be tempted to repeat. I never saw the 2nd in the Shrek series and I doubt I'll see this most recent one. I know Princess won't be allowed to until she's about 12!

Which brings me to (yes, you all knew it was coming) the latest installment of Pirates. I liked it better than the 2nd one (which dad and I walked out on). Again, this film was rated PG-13 and so easily could have been done in a way that it was PG. Although as far as I can tell the film rating people might as well just retire. Nobody cares what a film is rated any more. At least half the kids in the audience were under 10 (let alone the 13 that the film rating recommends). But somewhere along the way our society has decided that there is nothing that we can't expose our children to.

Do these kids really want to see these movies? Or is it that the parents want to see them and it's just easier to drag the kids along. The latest installment of Pirates was LONG (run time 170 minutes). What is wrong with kids today that one under the age of 7 can even sit still long enough to watch a movie this long? What are we doing to our society?

Personally I think that somewhere along the way we let moral absolutes go out the window and this has given us carte blanche to be lazy and parent by default. Do whatever is easiest and whatever makes you happiest. The kids will survive somehow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Easily Frustrated

I haven't been in a great mood today. School was so boring it was painful. I almost feel asleep in my morning class and after lunch I had a test, (which he gave to us first and then had lecture the 2nd half, why couldn't he have gone the other way around so I could have left early??)

I am also incredibly tired of being a single parent. I don't know how I could have ever married a man who could so easily cast aside his responsibilities and just move on. I don't know how he can think that writing a piddly (and I do mean SMALL) check every month covers his responsibilities in the parenting department. I know this rant is pointless because the logic becomes circular. No, if this is the man he truly is, I don't want things to change. I do not want anything from somebody who is so self absorbed. I wouldn't trade a minute of the last 6 years, despite all the hard work.

It is just not fair that I have to be the grown up. Less than 2 years after our divorce he was remarried ( which was his 3rd "serious relationship" in that amount of time) to somebody he had been dating for less than 6 months. Since then they have moved into their 2nd house (always bigger and better) and bought a new camper, new truck, new motorcycles and now I hear they have a new boat. I am so furious I could just spit. OK, not furious. It just sucks that he gets to be a lousy human being and he gets to rake in the financial rewards.

I know, I could be working full time and leaving the raising of my child to day care. But when the kids were born we decided (well, ok, I guess I thought WE decided - maybe it was just ME decided) that there was nothing more important to me than "being there" and I have chosen to make the sacrifices that I have to ensure that for the most part I am here before school and after school and at all those fun school functions that every grade-schooler needs their parents at.

So there you have it. Today my life just totally feels like it sucks.

And Princess is going camping for the holiday weekend with her idiot father. Because, you know, he has a new boat and he told her she could drive it. Maybe he just knows he has to bribe her to get her to spend time with him.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Grandma is SUCH a bad influence

...and that goes for Grandpa too. They have corrupted my darling daughter! First it was my mother getting her addicted to annoying shows like Deal or No Deal and Identity. (Why? WHY?!!) and now it's my dad! It seems there was a time when Grandpa was left in charge of babysitting and he introduced my daughter to another annoying show.

So, here I sit. Humoring my daughter...because I can't come up with a reason NOT to let her watch it.

Ninja Warrior

Seriously, I can't find anything wrong with it, aside from the fact that I can't figure out WHY we're watching it.

Where did my child develop this strange taste in entertainment?

On an "up" note she picked this week to finally take a liking to some movies that I like. We watched Spiderman, Spiderman 2 and X-men so far - tomorrow morning it's X-men 2 and maybe later this week we'll toss in the Fantastic Four. I never thought we'd find a genre of movies that we both liked!

Right now there are women on Ninja Warrior. If I don't watch her, Princess will want to start training and ask for a trip to Japan for her next birthday!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's THAT time again

Cheerleading - the bane of mothers everywhere. Well, not ALL mothers, but THIS mother in particular. I am scared of all things girlie. But Princess just loves all things pink and sparkly and giggly. So, there it is, I am about to be a cheer mom for the 2nd year in a row.

Sign up for Sideline cheer was tonight. I dropped a pretty penny to sign her up. And of course we had to have new sweats because she outgrew her sweatshirt and sweatpants from last year. And this year they had new gold warm up shorts instead of the black ones, so we HAD to have those. Then, of course, there was the 3 day cheerleading camp with the varsity cheerleaders in June. Princess did that last year and really enjoyed it, so we signed up to do that again.

Thankfully I'm a good actress and Princess has no clue that I loathe cheerleading. Well, maybe she's aware that it's not my favorite choice of activities for her. I may have let it slip that I'd rather she sign up for a hockey team - LOL. But she knows I'm behind her 100%, I even agreed to be an assistant coach if they need one. You have NO idea how painful that was for me!

Practice doesn't start until almost the end of August. It's only rocket football afterall, so we don't have to be perfect. This way I have all summer to warm up to the idea.

I'm almost hoping they will need me to help out as an assistant coach. It would be good experience for my future teaching career; spending time with snotty little girls and their annoying parents and doing it all with a smile on my face. I'm good. I can do it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Breaking Bad Habits

Ah, the joys of motherhood. Although this time I guess I am as much to blame as the princess. We are in the midst of breaking a bad habit. And, of course, I am totally to blame. Just ask her, she'll tell you!

You see Princess has been sleeping in my bed. I didn't think much of this until we got back from our vacation in Florida. I set one of our suitcases on the end of her bed and wouldn't you know it, around came the middle of April and the dang suitcase was still on her bed! Then, somewhere in the back of my head a little alarm went off. I KNEW she was sleeping with me every night, but somehow I didn't KNOW she wasn't sleeping in her own bed. I know, it doesn't make much sense, but there it is.

One of the few perks of single parenting is when your 9 year old crawls into your queen sized bed with you, it's not quite as invasive as if there is another person already in that bed. So I let it go. It would seem I let it go for a really long time.

Down came the suitcase, and still no luck getting her back in her own bed. I guess since it's almost always just the two of us all day long, she figured she should be able to be in my room all night too. It's not even like she NEEDS to be in my room. She's not one of those kids who gets hysterical left alone in her room, she's not afraid of the dark. I don't know what it is.

From the time my kids were young I've always kept my eyes out for these "trappish" kind of things. They were never allowed to have pacifiers out of bed (or carseat when they were little!), I've always had it dark at night, took them in the shower with me, heck I never even cut the crust off their bread. I just figure if they get used to something one way when they are young, it's harder to break those habits when they are older.

I just don't know how I let this sleeping pattern get out of control....ah, but I have found a solution. I say this like it is a major accomplishment, and yet I know that if her wanting to sleep with me is the biggest of my worries, I am really a very lucky mom. But, I decided to force my hand and make her sleep in her own bed. I had her help me do some rearranging in my bedroom this weekend and in the process I set several large things on my bed. And then, darn, we ran out of time so....

Aren't I awful? She has been sleeping in her bed all week and I have been sleeping on the couch. Which is a bad habit for me because now I can fall asleep in front of the TV. Shame on me! My strategy is working though. She has fallen in love with her room all over again and I think on Friday I will move everything off my bed and see how it goes.

I'm looking forward to having that big bed all to myself!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Practically Mother's Day

Yes, it's practically Mother's Day. No, I don't like Mother's Day any better this year than I did last year (or any of the last 7 years since Josh died).

But I do like being a mother.

When I was younger, when I left home to join the Air Force almost twenty years ago, I never imagined I would be a mother. Honestly, I had no desire to have children and had it been my choice I would have never gotten pregnant. But, 1994 rolled around and despite the pill (which, you know, is what - 99% effective - leave it to me to be the odd one out) I found myself pregnant (and shocked!)

So, there you have it. The beginning of motherhood. It does not come that easily to all mothers. I truly believe that there are "mothers" out there that have not been blessed with children. Some of those have been able to create a family by adoption and others are left with empty arms, but they are certainly mothers at heart. What is it about a mother that is so different from any body else in the world?

I can't remember a time when my mother wasn't there for me when I needed her. And let's face it, a lot of times when I DON'T need her.....there she is. I know I shouldn't complain. I know there are plenty of people out there who got the short end of the mother stick and would love to have their mother in their business all the time. I know I'm lucky. My mom is great. My house was always the place my friends wanted to hang out on the weekends and after school. It wasn't because we had the nicest house or all the cool new gadgets. Money was always tight when I was little, but my mom always made our house great.

When I had children of my own, I know I fell back quickly on all the things I remember my mom doing for me. She was always there. I knew that if I could do nothing else for my kids, I would just be to kiss boo-boos and praise successes, here to laugh over a bowl of cheerios and even over a grilled cheese sandwich (yup, you guessed it, I'm a gourmet cook!). I drive a 10-year old mini-van so that I have enough room to haul around friends and bikes and whatever the occassion calls for. I'm back in school so that I can carve out a career that allows me to continue to be here when it's time to leave for school, and come home and do homework. When I became a mother my life suddenly went from being about me, to being about everything BUT me. Dads seem to have a magic switch that Moms just don't have as standard equipment. Moms are ON 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Dad can be dad when he's home from work (and if he's a really good dad he helps out with late night feedings and scary dreams) but Dad can tune it out, turn it off, live in his own little world. Moms can't. Children become this all consuming job.

You can read every handbook out there and you are still completely unprepared for what being a mother really means. How can one event change a life so drastically?

Princess is 9. Although it has been "just the two of us" for 6 years now, we still have our special time of the day. Bedtime is mommy-daughter time and each night I wonder how much longer she will let me tuck her in. We talk about our days. I become the secret keeper as she giggles and tells me about the silly things she did with her friends at recess. We lay in the dark on her bed (well, whichever bed she decides she is sleeping in!) and talk until the clock hits bedtime. We pray for friends and family, we pray that God will soften our hearts and work through us to make our lives shine with His light. And I scratch her back. I would spend all day scratching her back if she had a say in the matter. But at bedtime she knows I will not protest when she tells me to just keep scratching for one more minute.

There are days when I wonder what my life would be like had I not had children. Where would I be living? Would I be as close with my parents? What kind of a job would I have? So many variables. One event that changes a life forever.

I am a good mother. I am NOT a good housekeeper. I am NOT organized. I am NOT a great cook (good, but not great). I am NOT perfect. I can already see mistakes I have made in my short years as a mother. But it's OK. I think despite my shortfalls, Princess will be well rounded enough to make a place for herself in this world.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Balancing Blogs

I don't know how other people do it. They seem to have enough interesting things to say and have a blog here, a blog there, and throw a MySpace page in there you've hit the trifecta. I haven't been interesting in a while. I've hit my "other blog" a little bit, but I need to find a direction.

I like this space. I like that I could (COULD if I knew how!) make it my own. Maybe in my sparetime this summer between working and schooling and mommying I'll teach myself how to write code and give this place a few splashes.

It would be a shame to let it go to waste.

I used to have opinions and topics to write about.

What happened?

It is possible that I need inspiration? Or maybe just a big bowl of ice cream. Yeah, that's it, Ice Cream the cure for all things that go wrong. Make it chocolate ice cream. Or maybe Strawberry cheese cake ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream and nuts and a big cherry on top.

Princess doesn't like cherries - but she does love ice cream. With lots of sprinkles.

We made the perfect ice cream sundaes a few weekends ago. We used mint chocolate chip ice cream. That sounds good too, doesn't it? Princess prefers the whipped cream that you have to squeeze out of a can through a nozzle. I don't, but heck it basically all tastes the same so why not humor the kid. She loves to pour it right in her mouth and as she gets closer and closer to turning 10 all I can think is I don't ever want her to be one of those kids that huffs to get high.

But how do you know? How do you know if you child is going to be easily swayed into trying drugs of any kind. I am pretty sure she won't ever smoke. Her dad has pretty much ruined her for that. Which is at least one useful thing he has done for her. About the only one, but I guess I should take what I can get.

She's so desperate to please people. I worry that she will be easily dragged down a slippery slope of sex or drugs or some other vice. On the other hand she is stubborn and bossy and opinionated, so maybe that will serve her well.

I guess all I can do is just keep talking to her and love her and know that whatever happens it is in His hands and not mine.