Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Tickle Monster IS Scary.

Let me just preface this with a little tid-bit about me. I HATE BEING TICKLED. Hate it. It enrages me. I don't laugh. Ever. I kick, hit, yell, grit my teeth, whatever, to make it stop. In addition, I have a very personal bubble of space and with the exception of some close friends and family, I don't like for it to be invaded.

My mini-me is the same way, which is why I can relate to her so much in the following circumstance....

A few days back Chloe got off the bus at the tire shop. A tire shop is no easy place for a little girl (or a big one, ha!) It's full of men, and one thing men love to do is give little girls a hard time. She is used to being teased lovingly from time-to-time, and there are certain guys she sees every day who give her a high-five or ask her about school.

But the other day there was a guy in here who chased her a little bit, teasing that he was going to tickle her. We were about to leave, anyway, and she managed to dodge him. But I could tell she was uncomfortable. When we left, she told me that she didn't like that guy "boddering" her. I told her I didn't blame her, and that she NEVER has to let ANYONE "bodder" her if it makes her uncomfortable.

The mama bear was coming out in me. It's not that I think this guy is a bad guy or has bad intentions AT ALL, but the best of intentions doesn't excuse the behavior. If a child feels uncomfortable, you give her space. I don't understand why people think because a person is small it makes it ok to grab them, hug them, or pick them up.

The next day he was at it again, and this time she ran from him, screaming, and hid. And I just stood there, torn. I was NOT going to coax her and tell her it was fine, or tell her not to run away. I think that reaction is good, and she needs that in case she is ever in a situation when I am not there. The guys all looked at me, kinda like I needed to control her, but I just walked away. He assured her that he would NEVER hurt her, not to be scared, but that he LOVES to tickle little kids. He has nieces and nephews he tickles ALL the time. While that would make some feel more at ease, I think it made him even scarier to Chlo.

That night we talked about what was appropriate. Anything that makes her uncomfortable: inappropriate. Any time a grown man (who isn't a close family member) wants to touch or tickle or grab at her, even if she ISN'T uncomfortable: inappropriate.

The next day came, and I figured by this time he would have got the hint. But when she got off the bus, there he was, threatening to catch her and tickle her. This time she ran, screaming, across the parking lot out to my father-in-law's car, where she tried to get in the back seat to no avail.

I called her over, and shielded her as I took her into the office, where she hid under my desk until he left.

And I finally realized this is a problem.

But what do I do?

This isn't the big city. I can't say something like, "No offense, but my daughter feels uncomfortable when you theraten to tickle her, and I'd appreciate it if you could respect her personal space enough to not do that." He's a customer. A good acquaintance of the Mister's family. Nothing I say is going to sound anything short of calling him a child-molester to this small-minded community.

But I also feel compelled to speak up and protect my daughter, even though she's doing a great job on her own. And if it doesn't stop soon, I'll end up snapping, and what comes out may be far worse and more damaging than the PC statement above.

But if I keep failing to SHOW her I will end it, maybe she won't trust me to handle things in the future (God forbid there ever BE a situation). What if she thinks, "Well I handled the Tickle Monster with no help from Mom, so maybe I should just try to handle Mr. Molester myself." It's sickening to even think about, but as the mother of a little girl, it's something I ALWAYS have in the back of my mind.

Being a mom is tough.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Marks of Love

"Mom, why can't I have macaroni and cheese every day?" Chloe asked me the other evening.

"Well, it's not very good for you," I explained. "It's just a lot of fat and fillers. It's ok now and then, but you don't want to eat it a lot," I told her. She pondered what I had said.

"You don't want me to be chubby like Suzie, do ya?" she concluded.

Stop. I had to stop and contemplate what I would say to her. This was a prime time to discuss body image, and I didn't want to give her the wrong idea. How did I tell her that no, I don't WANT her to be "chubby," as she put it, but that if she IS chubby, she should love herself anyway and not be obsessed with skinny. I have a hard time embracing my own body, how can I teach HER to do it?

"I want you to be healthy, but I don't care what you look like as long as you are healthy," I told her.

"Ahhh!" she said, as if having had a EUREKA moment. "I see. So you let me have mac and cheese SOMETIMES even 'doh it has fat, because I need to grow my curves."


"Girls shouldn't be straight like a boy. Day need ta grow dere curves so dey will be pretty like a lady," she told me. I smiled.

She was right. I find myself struggling so often with weight and body image, and from the mouth of a five year-old comes a nugget of wisdom. Here I was trying to teach HER a lesson, and she was teaching me one.

But the kicker came just a few nights ago.

Every night after we have both taken a bath, we sit together and put on our lotion. She struggles with eczema, so I have to keep her hydrated, and it's no secret she loves getting her back and belly rubbed every night. She, in turn, likes to put my belly balm on my belly, being sure to get IN my belly button so that the baby can have some, too ;)

As she was putting it on the other night, she asked me why I just put it on my belly.

"To keep it from getting too dry," I replied. "When my skin is dry, it gets really tight, and with the baby growing and pulling my skin, it will stretch easier if it's not so dry," I went on to explain.

"Did you use it wif me?" she asked? I told her I did. She put some more on her little finger and rubbed it just below my belly button.

"Here. Let me put some on your stretch marks. I was a big girl, wasn't I? To make dose."

I was quiet. There are one or two things I'm super-sensitive about, and those scars of motherhood are definitely one of them. "I don't want to talk about those," I told her quietly.

"Why? Dere so beautiful," she said with a smile.

I know she picked up on my tone and my mood. I know she knew it bothered me and was just trying to make me feel better.

"I don't think so," I said.

"Day are. Day make your skin look like it's got pretty lace on it. Like your weddin' dress. See my belly? My skin is just (scrunchy face) all plain and boring. You have a lacey belly. I hope when I have a baby I get a lacey belly," She said with a smile.

And while I KNOW they're not pretty and they DON'T look like lace, the fact that she went to such great lenghts to try and CHANGE my perception amazes me. Now every time I see them, instead of ugly scars, I see wedding lace. And I feel love. And now it's more than just the mark of becoming a mother. It's a mark of love.

The biggest thing I learned? Teaching her about body image may not be as important as SHOWING her how to love your body. A lesson that SHE taught ME.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why you might think twice before saying "never..."

It all started in July 2009 I suppose.

My divorce had just become finalized, and I had just started seeing the Mister regularly. (Way to give myself time to emotionally heal, eh? Well. I worked through most of my failed marriage trauma long before the papers were signed. This was just a technicality.)

My mom had just finished cancer treatments a few months prior, and I had booked us a beach vacation over her birthday in August. Just the girls. Me, Mama, and Chloe. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I had an amazing new guy in my life. I'd had a great summer so far, about to end with a memorable family trip. I had a new job about to begin. I had re-arranged the entire house to be rid of all things XWad and had made it homey and nice for a mama and baby girl making it on their own. And I had a garage full of stuff that needed to be dealt with.

Did I mention I had lost about 30 pounds over the preceeding two years? I was wearing skinny BKE jeans and cute Maurices shirts. I was enjoying my new life, and really had no desire for marriage or children (namely PREGNANCY) in my future. Don't get me wrong. I knew my Mister was meant for me. I just didn't foresee us EVER getting married at that time (fast forward to happily married pregnant me and you can see why one should never say never hehe).

So when I started going through the baby stuff, I saw dollar signs rather than practicality for the future. I priced it all. I kept a few of Chloe's special clothes and shoes, but mostly I was looking for vacation cash. And I got it. Bye bye baby furniture. Pack and play that was nearly new? Gone. Most of her clothes and sleepers gone. Baby shoes and toddler shoes? Buh bye.

People keep saying, "Oh at least since its a girl (or "your second") you won't need as much. You can use all Chloe's old stuff." I just smile and nod, and think back to that warm sand and salty air.

Maybe it wasn't the best decision for the future, but it sure was a good decision at the time. And I wouldn't trade this

for all the baby stuff in the world :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's talk about....5 Questions

It's Friday and thank goodness it is! I worked a (almost) full week this week and I haven't done that since before Christmas! Look at me go! But I'm just SO glad to be feeling well again.

I haven't done a 5QF in a while, so I thought I'd do one today. It distracts me from the BS I'm being forced to listen to right now with two old farts in here blowing hot air ;)
1. What have you done recently that you are proud of?
I think Chloe's room is my proudest accomplishment right now. We moved her to the basement, at HER request (we've had some tsk tsk moments suggesting we stuffed her in a dungeon). I painted it hot pink by myself (with some little helping hands), found a funky purple carpet and bought it, and arranged her room. It's very pre-teen meets toddler and she absolutely LOVES having her own space down there. She's never had much in the way of decor or set-up, so I feel proud that she finally has a room designed just for her.

2. What is your favorite way to work out? Or if you don't workout, what are you wanting to try?
I love to walk outside with my MP3 player. If only the weather would always be sunny, breezy, and 75.

Otherwise I don't mind doing my Wii Fit or Just Dance...or a combination of both. I like to do steps while I watch tv and I love the boxing :)

I wish I had an indoor bike. I always loved that the most when I went to the gym.

3. If you knew you best friend was cheating on spouse would you tell?

Whether she is right or wrong, my loyalty is to my best friend. It's not my place to judge her decisions, and even if I don't approve of what she's doing, I wouldn't betray her. I might talk to her about how I felt about it. I might encourage her to "shit or get off the pot" or to tell him herself, but I would never take that into my own hands.

And I'd be there through it all, because that's what best friends do.

4. If you could afford a live-in maid or nanny, would you have one?
I wouldn't want a stranger living in my home for any reason.

But if I could afford a full-time maid I would definitely take one! With a maid I wouldn't need a nanny, and I wouldn't ever want a nanny. I like mommy-ing too much, and I'm too possessive of my babies to allow someone else to mother them.

But a maid? Bring her on!

5. Do you stress out about birthdays (specifically the age) or do you enjoy them?
It varies from year to year. Twenty six was a melt-down year. Thirty didn't bother me. Thirty one about sent me over the edge again. I'm nice and unpredictable like that :)

And, a bonus question from Scott, that I wasn't brave enough to put in as a regular question...answer at your own risk, or not at all! (Or something...)

Bonus: Lights off or on?

Lights off...but I like a little glow. Candles. Night light. Full-moon. Alarm clock...whatever ;)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

THIS makes me ANGRY.

I saw this on Facebook a few days ago and it REALLY rubbed me the wrong way.

I decided I better investigate the story thoroughly before I splattered my opinion all over the Internet.

I read the information. Listened to the news. Weighed the issues. And I'm not even going to get INTO the actual issue of SGK pulling funding from PP. That's not what I'm angry about. That whole situation is a complicated, political situation. One I can honestly see both sides on, and one I'm not going to debate.

But no matter WHAT one's opinion might be on SGK's decision, "PINK STINKS" is NO way to voice an opinion.

You know as well as I do that people aren't always educated on political and social issues. This generalized attack doesn't make it very clear what your problem is. It looks to many like you're bashing breast-cancer awareness in whole.

Pink doesn't represent SGK and the business decisions they make. PINK represents breast cancer awareness. Survivors. Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, and nieces who fought horrible battles and survived. Or maybe they didn't. Pink represents all PEOPLE who have cared for a cancer patient, lost a family member, lost a friend, or watched one suffer.

Even if you don't approve of SGK's allocation of funds, they still do AMAZING work for cancer research and awareness. They still support MANY women who need support. If you want to help low-income women who need breast exams, donate your money DIRECTLY to PP, that's your business.

What I find SO ironic about this is that it's mostly liberals who are up in arms, slinging insults.

If the conservatives were offended about the fact that SGK donated funds to PP, (and some of them would be), and they were chanting "PINK STINKS!" and pulling their support from SGK, don't you think they'd be criticized? People would be droning on about the bitchy conservatives. The closed-minded bigots who are pro-life.

It's a free country, and I think everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. One can donate her money and support wherever she chooses. BUT. Going so far as pasting up pictures saying "Pink Stinks," in my opinion, is too far. Educate people on what's going on. Help however you feel is right. Change the way you donate your time and money to cancer research.

But ANYTHING that might in ANY way offend a cancer survivor, sufferer, or supporter, is the wrong way to go about it. Plain and simple. There has to be a line, and for me, PINK STINKS crosses that line.