Friday, December 11, 2009

Now for the Flabbergasted response

I have to give credit to my friend Cabesh. I think I was so utterly stunned that someone would be this uptight about something that they'd send me an email that evening of the activity to complain... that I really was at a complete loss. I wanted to do the right thing... but my lunatic meter was vibrating like mad. When crazy people do crazy things... surprising me a bit... I start to think I am crazy.

So I took Cabesh's email and just added a few details. If it were me, off the cuff... I'd be much less charitable - because I can't stand ridiculous behavior, immature, and insecure women. They drive me crazy, and cause ridiculous amounts of drama, requiring the rest of us to tiptoe around on eggshells.

Dear Parent,

I'm so sorry that your daughter didn't have an enjoyable time at our class activity last night. We were really striving to build sisterhood and friendship amongst the girls while celebrating the birth of our Savior and the spirit of giving. Our Pres/Laurel advisor was sick last night so we went ahead and had the Laurels combine with us. There were only three of them.

I'm not sure which gift your daughter brought or who it ended up with (me, or one of the other leaders, or a laurel). When we have activities, as leaders we try to participate as much as we can to create enthusiasm and to teach by example-- it's amazing how much more willing the girls are to do service and to be involved when they see that we leaders are into it. So, with that as our general philosophy, we did participate in the gift exchange.

When it was my turn to pick a gift, I let my 3yo go pick one out for me. When that gift was "stolen" (we allowed 3 steals per gift) I let my 5yo have a turn to pick my gift. I'm not sure what the standard rules are other than whoever brings a gift gets to participate. It seemed like everyone was having a great time, and girls at this age are so great with little ones. In fact they were encouraging my girls to pick certain gifts when they were picking them in my place. We also had three extra gifts left over so we let one of the leaders who didn't bring a gift pick one out. Then the YW decided they wanted to give the leftover two gifts to my girls. I guess I should have told the girls they were not allowed to give them to my girls. If your daughter's gift is one of the three that ended up in my home I'd be happy to return it to her so she can pass it on to one of the other YW. Please let me know which one it was.

Again, I am sorry that your daughter felt disappointed. I hope that she knows how much we love and appreciate her. She is quite talented at offering ideas when we're planning activities.

Merry Christmas,

ps. I have been waiting for a response... and guess what... not a shocker - there hasn't been one. Bets on if she ever will? Or maybe just sneer and continue the cold-front towards my family. Oh...and I need to mention... her oldest daughter let slip her father is racist against... Asians. Nice huh? He was recently released as our Home Teacher... don't worry he only came once out of obligation. (thank heavens...) Living in Calif...a racist... how ignorant can you get???

pps. I'm being released as Beehive adviser and moved into Laurels this Sunday. Which is kind of a relief. Because now I finally get to work with a woman (my friend/pres of yw) who knows who she is, is confident, and a great example...and knows how to be a leader.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


WE recently had a Beehive activity (for 12-13 yr old girls)... at my home, where I baked chocolate chunk cookies and sugar cookies and provided hot chocolate. We did a white elephant gift exchange where the leaders participated because that's how you foster enthusiasm for activities, etc... As it was at my house... I let my 3 yr old pick out my gift when it was my turn. She picked a box of Andes mints... because she likes chocolate. It was quickly "stolen" from her. So I had my 5 yr old go and pick out a present for me. She was a bit terrified at first because all the girls started coaxing her to take this present and that present. The majority wanted her to pick the giant present. So she did... it was a bag of skittles and a chili pepper pinata.

It never did get stolen from her.

Then at the end of it all... there were three extra gifts left. So we let a leader who hadn't brought anything take a gift. Then the girls decided to give my girls the remaining two gifts - a plastic sword and a big ball of string.

That evening I receive the following email from one of the parents of the girls.

Thank you for your help with the Beehives, I know it can be a handful! I wanted to let you know of a small concern I had about tonight's activity (and please know that I realize I wasn't there). My daughter & I had worked to come up with a white elephant gift for tonights activity. We were under the impression that the game was for the beehives only. When I picked her up I was disappointed to hear that the items we picked didn't end up with a beehive girl. I felt like if this was a Christmas item exchange for the girls to think of each other and have fun, then it missed the mark when the game didn't follow the standard rules. I appreciate your working with the girls and I hope you can understand that when they have a negative experience it becomes that much harder for me to keep them interested in coming.
Thank you for your hard work and concern,

Should I mention she's our Primary President??? (

I'll post my response after I hear what ya'll have to say.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

has this happened to you?

so my 14-year-old did something stupid and unkind the other day. part of me is angry and disappointed. but part of me knows this has happened, at one time or another, to a lot of people. so i'd like to hear your stories and about how you handled it if it ever happened to you.

despite my repeated pleas she "play nice," she was dissing a friend to a group of other friends (to be fair, they were all dissing that girl. mean, i know. but also very 14). while she was going off the girl walked in and heard what she said.

the girl is, of course, crushed. i wish i had the power to take her hurt away and unbreak her heart, but i don't.

i would, however, like to know how to help my daughter apologize. (not that she listens to me. much. but i'd like to try.) she does feel badly (she has a conscience after all). but she is more prone to avoid the situation than woman up and say she's sorry.

your thoughts?

Monday, October 12, 2009

on braids and body image

this is--after a fashion--my homework.

disclaimer: i do know how to french braid. it's just that having two boys first didn't give me much practice to prepare for a girl who can't sit still long enough for me to get it right. i could do it with practice. really, i could.

14-year-old daughter, looking at her funky not-a-french-braid: too bad someone around here doesn't know how to french braid!


14-year-old daughter: don't you think my hair looks cute like this?

me: yes. but i think you look cute no matter how your hair is.

14-year-old daughter: i know.

i raise my eyebrow...

14-year-old daughter, looking right at me: but aren't you glad i'm not one of those "no i don't. these make me look fat. i'm not pretty..." kind of girls?

me: you got that right!

maybe she would have come out that way anyway. but maybe my making it a point not to disparage myself--my body--out loud helps her a little. i hope so. it would kind of make up for that not being able to french braid thing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Your Child is Invited... a birthday party.

It's for a fifteen year old.

Let's say a boy.

It involves "some fun" at a local Fun Place, followed by a spaghetti dinner at the boy's home.

Please RSVP.

And don't forget to bring $15 to contribute to all the "fun".

Please comment.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the Subject of Outings With Children....

What do we think of this?
The Associated Press: Stranger accused of slapping crying child at store

A lot of the chatter rolling around is of the assumption that people are tired of "bratty kids" and having to listen to crying toddlers or babies in public places.

What I am thinking is, "There are plenty of ADULTS I'd like to slap at Walmart...but you don't see ME hauling off!! Since when are children and babies less important than any other human on this planet?"

...oh wait.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mommy High and Low, All In One Outing

I had the opportunity to run some errands yesterday with only my 5 year old daughter in tow. (Any time spent running errands with less than the usual amount of tag-a-longs is a little manna from heaven, no?) First on the list was to do some schoolbook hunting at a local used book store.

Book store browsing with kid(s) has not gone well in the past. At least not the way I like to book store browse. Typical book store trips with the kid(s) had not involved much browsing. Mostly quick scanning. Lot's of kid chasing. On a good trip, reading 20 million children's books.

This trip was different. It was a first. We leisurely browsed, yes BROWSED, the book store for nearly 2 hours!!! The two of us!!! Did I mention that we BROWSED??? LEISURELY???!!! Took our time. Picked through all the shelves that interested us. Flipped through pages. Read short stories. Sat side by side just doing our thing. She had a little pile going. I had a little pile going. Occasionally, one of us would lift a brow and share a little tidbit from whatever had caught our fascination at the moment. It was heaven!!!!!

It took an observation of a mother who wandered back to our section with her son, probably a year younger than my daughter, for me to truly appreciate my blissed out moment. She tried to sift through the unorganized book shelves while distractedly calling after her son. She tried to search for treasures amid the overstuffed rows, but really, I know she was scanning the same shelf over and over each time she came back from pulling her kid off of the nearby ladder. This poor, exasperated mother sat her son down with a book probably a half dozen times. He wouldn't fall for it unless she promised to stop "browsing" and read to him. It was during this little lad's third trip around the book store, mom close behind, that I glanced down at my precious 5 year old. I couldn't help but throw my arms around her and whisper "I love you" in her ear. We had reached a milestone. One I have been looking forward to for a long time.

I practically bounced out of the store with my little one in tow. I was on a mommy HIGH. I was already planning a forecast of new outings with my newfound book store buddy!

Oh yes, we had one more errand to attend to on this outing. A stop at the "Only 99 Cents" store. First this, than that. Just two more items. Ok, let's head to the checkout. And that is when my mommy high dropped to a sinking low. Plummeted, rather.

"Ewww! Why does that man's skin look so weird?" my 5 year old points to the man approaching our line (You know, to make sure we all see exactly who the rude comment is directed at). I thought we were PAST that stage! I answer some plain spoken possibilities ending with an "I don't know, but let's remember to be kind."

No, that answer would not suffice. My daughters questions would not remain innocuous, either. They took an offensive, embarrassing turn for the worse that left me scrambling for distractions and red-facedly rushing to get OUT of the store and IN to the car. The whole way, thinking to myself, "She KNOWS better! Where did she come UP with that stuff?? Have I not taught her correctly?" Finally, "Why didn't I handle that better??"

I always thought I'd apologize in those situations. Thought my child would be "well-mannered, loving and polite" during public outings by this stage. ;-) Well, at least more loving. Or that I'd at least handle an occasional, innocent flub with more decorum and loving politeness than I actually did. (Neck sweating, face blushing, avoiding eye contact and refusing to turn around and face the man, let alone apologize, was not exactly the best response, huh?)

All of this, to remind me that I am just a mom. Not "just a mom" as in, "nothing more" than a mom. (I'm really not sure what THAT means, anyhow. But that is a WHOLE different story.) No, I am just a mom. My role as mom is teacher. Nurturer. Caretaker. I am there to love. It is so simple. As much as I want to take credit for the "highs" and hang my head in shame over the "lows", I cannot. I am no more of a good mommy, than I am a bad mommy. I am simply, "Mommy".

P.S. The car ride home provided a valuable teaching opportunity. *wink*wink*

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rude...or Socially Inept?

So there's this woman that is in our ward/neighborhood.

I can't figure her out, and have pretty much given up, and given her a wide berth so I don't have to interact with her much. I have tried in the past to be reach out to her - but it is clear she's a different kind of cookie.

She's the woman that refuses to teach in primary because she's with her kids all week.
She's the former lawyer who won't stop reminding you that she was a former lawyer.
She's the one that only likes to be up there demonstrating, as a gospel doctrine teacher, how smart she is, or how connected she is to GAs...etc...
She's the one that doesn't talk to you, if you're not important enough when there are other more important people (in her eyes) around.
She's the one that if you're a new move-in she'll only talk to you if you are sporting the labels of material success.
She's the one that if you say hello to her in the hallways of church she ignores you.
She's the one that has announced publicly how dissatisfied she is with her husband.

So - despite all that... I try to be nice when I'm around her...I know... I'm silly.

Turns out her daughter is in my daughter's kindergarten class. Her daughter is adorable - she looks like the little "who" girl from The Grinch that Stole Christmas... the little upturned nose.

I mentioned to her - and my other friend (the one that used to be a lawyer but doesn't keep dwelling on it...) how great my daughter's teacher was - going the extra mile etc... (that I mention in this most recent post).

Her reaction was a bit shocking.

QS: Isn't that amazing? I was so touched by the teacher. She really went the extra-mile.

The Grinch Lady: So she's going to wear her glasses... why? What is that going to do?

QS: I imagine it might make my daughter feel more comfortable - accepted.

The Grinch Lady: Well, that's too bad for the good kids when the teacher spends so much time tending to the problem children.

I didn't know what to say or how to react - this was not the perspective I had. Nor was it a normal reaction I anticipated. I had related the experience with the teacher to a friend of mine who is not LDS... has polar opposite political views...and she nearly started crying along with me.

I returned home and told my hubby about this - and he is of the assumption that she is incredibly awkward... but in this case he just shook his head and mumbled something.

I had no idea that a child who needs a little time, acceptance and kindness was a problem child. I can't tell if she's thoughtless, jealous, disdainful or just plain rude.

She later talked about her son who is being teased because of his math skills. Apparently he knows math the other kids don't. She talked about how he wanted to learn more math skills - and she was having a hard time remembering the more advanced stuff and thought to herself - do you really want to continue along this line'll only be mocked.

I was the listener telling her how great it is to have a son who wants to learn... she was just kind of... bleh about it.


Lord, please grant me patience.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Empty nests are for the birds

My nest isn't completely empty yet, but for the past two weeks I've been down two instead of just one. Birdie number three has been busy doing fireworks stands and concessions (during which she rather skillfully stalked the Jonas Brothers--such stalking included removing Nick's used straw from a watered-down drink left in their hospitality suite and helping a friend successfully impersonate Selena Gomez in order to extract intel from one of the security guards--I'm both mad and impressed) and the husband took birdie number four camping for a couple of days so it's definitely been a bit too quiet around here.

And when the birdies fly their friends fly too, so the loss is, well, exponential.

At first I was all about taking care of business (in fact, I completely bailed on the usual 4th of July festivities until last night--I know this is sick and wrong, but I just wanted to clean my kitchen). However I'm beginning to suspect that my usual rationalization for living in a state of manageable chaos is a rather good one:

The problem with getting things done is eventually they will all get done and if one doesn't have little (or even big) birdies around to undo it all, at some point one will run out of things to do.

And then what?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I would never say that someone else is not a good mommy. Still...

I mean, the kid clearly won't drink so much water that she dies, so there is that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Have you read this already?

Sorry to post an old article. It's almost one year old. (Must be recirculating due to Mother's day?) It hardly seems outdated, though. In fact, I think it is a great intro to the study of the long term effects of "feminism". The very daughter of one of the figureheads of the women's rights movement, Alice Walker, talks about the conflicting and confusing elements of her own life and how they shaped her desires to not only become a mother...but to ENJOY motherhood.

Enlightening? Yes.
Thought provoking? Definitely.
Worthy of a mouse click and a response in the comments? Please, do!

I am dying to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In which I really, really stop swearing

A few weeks ago I took li'l ~j. shopping. It was a Saturday, and we went to a place I had never been before, but had heard about good deals and whatnot. It was the kind of outlet store which included furniture, bedding, trinkets, jewelry, and clothes that would never fit yours truly.

We found a few items for li'l ~j. to try on, and we went into the changing room (she'll be 10 next week -- she still wants me with her in the fitting room). While she was getting dressed, she was talking. Talking, talking, talking. I know that children don't always have the most fascinating things to say when they're that age, but I make the effort to let her know that I'm really listening, that I really hear what she's saying. (This takes much effort on my part.) She was telling me about a conversation she had with a girl at school . . .

"...and she told me, 'ALL' grown-ups swear,' and I told her, 'Not all of them,' and she said, 'I'll bet you a million dollars that they do,' and I said, 'Sure!' and we shook hands and then she said, 'Okay, now give me a million dollars,' and I told her, 'You're wrong, I KNOW that my mom doesn't swear,' and she said, 'I bet she does,' and I said, 'I think I know my mom better than you do, and I promise that she doesn't swear.' Right, Mom?"



Starting now.

I heard her that time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Dare You Feed Me Minced Fish!!?!

Have you seen this commercial?

It makes me SO angry.

Initially, I was cheesed because of the dialogue. I mean, who thinks it cute for a little girl to speak to her mother that way? Not me. If Jooj talked to me like that (being honest--WHEN Jooj talks to me like that) she gets disciplined. Because it is not okay. Because I am the mom and she is not. And if I want to buy her minced fish then, by gum, she will eat it and shut up about it. Because she is four, and minced fish is not any worse than whole fish sticks. Fish sticks are fish sticks. In fact, in order to mince fish the manufacturer has to use BETTER fish to begin with, because lesser-quality fish won't hold up through the mincing process.

About the third time I saw this, though, I realized there was much more to it than the sassy little sasspot bossing her mother around. The thing that makes me the angriest about this commercial is that it is designed to make mothers feel guilty about feeding their children something "inferior." Which is total crap. I know that it is a tried-and-true marketing technique, but there is something about the child blatantly telling her mother that she is terrible for her fish purchase that enrages me. It makes me never want to buy this brand ever again.

But, really, this is not about fish sticks. It is about tapping into the guilt that mommies face every day. It is about advertisers pushing the idea that whatever a mother does, it is never enough. Not only are we expected to bear and raise and teach and nurture our young, but we had better do it with the most expensive, modern products available. For Pete's sake, they are applying the whole Madonna/Whore concept to FISH FINGERS.

And this is why I yell at my television.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sometimes it is Okay to Feel Superior

God love her, I am so glad that this is not me or my child. Bless her heart.
Mummy's Little Lolita

Thursday, March 19, 2009

(hopefully) there are no small things

There are lots of things I don't get right about mothering. Some of it is a reaction to my own childhood (I will never ever force my child to eat). Some of it is because I'm more suited to being a slacker mom than a helicopter mom. I'm not beating myself up about it here, it is what it is.

But every now and then I get something right. And what I love about getting something right is that instant reward you see in your child's eyes.

Today is one of L~'s best friend's birthdays. Her name is Alisa. And I love this girl. There are weeks and weekends in which she practically lives at my house (another story for another day). Not only is she a lot of fun, but when L~ is a real snot, Alisa always says to her "Don't treat your mom like that." She's a year younger than L~, so I have a lot of respect for her standing up for me like that.

This morning L~ came in and woke me up (usually I would have been first up, but I stayed up too late last night reading about my new love--forensic anthropology). She'd had good intentions to get Alisa some balloons for her birthday and take them to school (not allowed, but Shhhh. Don't tell.). I was half asleep and let her work out her own dilemma and go back to her room, disappointed, to get ready.

And then I thought about what a good friend Alisa is and I figured I had just enough time to run L~ to Macey's for balloons and drop her off at school. I knew it would mean a lot to L~ to be able to do something like that and thoughtfulness is something I want to encourage in my kids.

I really wanted to stay in bed, so I almost didn't do it.

But I willed myself to full consciousness and forced myself get up and find L~ to suggest my idea.

And there it was. That brief but rewarding sparkle in her eyes, where just for a moment, she perceived and registered the love behind my offer.

"Thank you," she said.

And she meant it.

I meant it, too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I am so tired of being a Bad Mommy. How do I know I am a Bad Mommy? Because my daughter keeps telling me. She is almost four.

I try my hardest every doggone day. Some days my hardest is pretty pathetic. Some days it is near-heroic.

And every day she cries for her father, her grandparents, her cousins. She tells me "I don't like you." She hits and fights and lies refuses to listen and I am so incredibly sick of it.

I know that there is nothing that can take the place of the mother, but I am at the point where I would be willing to test that statement.

I know that she is only four; I know that she doesn't understand all of what she is saying and doing. I know that she certainly doesn't mean to break my heart every single night. But I also know that other kids don't seem to be doing this. Other kids are talking about Jesus and helping and being like Mommy.

Which means that every night I get on my knees, sometimes in tears, and pray to know what I am doing wrong.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Because it only takes 15 minuts for dinner... uh huh...riiiiiigggght...

Did you know that potty-training takes NO EFFORT?

Did you know that latching a baby also takes NO EFFORT?

Writing a series of novels, with baby on my lap takes NO EFFORT whatsoever? The characters just speak and I am the stenographer....

Well guess what? Yep - FAMILY SCRIPTURE READING TAKES ....wait for it... NO EFFORT!

Here's how:

6p: Dinner (no TV after dinner)

6:15: Tidy house up

6:45: Bath / get ready for bed (mom and dad too)

7pm: Meet in mom & dads room for scripture study

7:30: Family prayer

7:30: Bed


I don't know about you...but dinner takes longer than 15 min for my family... and we have one less than them. Also... really? 5 people - with three kids under the age of 8... only 15 min for baths and teeth brushing...etc...? REALLY? REALLY?!

... this is not a joke - this was an email sent to our Relief Society blast list by a woman in our ward who is... for lack of a better word - delusional. She and her husband would leave their kids at Church on Sunday... so when we had to find them because the kids were acting up ... they were no where to be found. Yep - free babysitting on Sundays baby.

But... don't you all feel better now? NO EFFORT... NONE... YIPEE...