Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bloody waffles, anyone?

I know, “bloody waffles” sounds like something you’d see on a menu for a Halloween feast or in some kind of vampire novel. But that’s actually what Jennifer almost ate for breakfast this morning.

Well, sort of.

As I was getting the kids their breakfast this morning, I clumsily got my finger nicked by a frozen waffle, which I was about to pop into the toaster for Jennifer. I know, how dumb is it that somebody could actually get their finger nicked by a frozen waffle?? Nicked so badly that it would bleed?

But that’s exactly what happened to me. The evil waffle nicked my finger. To my shock, it started bleeding. BAD.

But I had no time to sit around and wait for the bleeding to stop. So as I tried to keep my finger wrapped in a paper towel to slow the oozing blood, I continued with preparing breakfast. This would probably gross somebody out, of course, but I was careful NOT to get any blood on the kids’ food. After all, my finger was wrapped with a paper towel!

I tried to be nonchalant about the injury but of course Jesse spotted my finger all wrapped up and became concerned. He wanted to know what happened. I explained the situation and unwrapped my finger to show him the bloody spot where I got nicked. When Jennifer saw it, she almost freaked. I assured her I was going to stop the bleeding.

Still, she became concerned about why I’d gone ahead and made them breakfast while my finger was bleeding – especially since the kind of waffles I served her were strawberry. With red spots all over them.

She took one look at those waffles and got upset with me. She thought I’d dripped blood all over her food!

After I finished laughing so hard I almost bust a gut, I explained to her they were STRAWBERRY waffles, and all those red dots were the strawberries.

Even as she, too, laughed over the mix-up, she decided she didn’t want the waffles and opted for a bowl of cereal instead. I was too busy trying to stifle extra laughter to be upset over the wasted food.

I guess the thought of eating bloody waffles grossed her out too much to eat something that looked too much like them.

As I drove the kids to school, I started to think about what I would eat for breakfast after I got home. I almost laughed when remembering the “bloody” waffles left in the freezer, but then I “grred” over that darn waffle nicking my finger so bad that it started to bleed.

Eat the bloody waffles myself? No, thanks. Those things are DANGEROUS!

I tossed those evil waffles into the garbage instead.

And from now on, I'll stick to BLUEBERRY!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why is this an issue?

Recently, one of my cousins posted a “post this for 1 hour if you agree” status update on her Facebook page. The message was in support of gay rights. Someone on her Friends list posted judgmental comments and made discriminating remarks against gays and homosexuals. It got so bad that she had to block him. (This was a childhood friend.) While I’m all for gay rights and agree we should not judge them (only God can judge), I have to wonder why a person’s sexual preference is even made an issue. Why is it so important that we all know what everyone does in the bedroom?

The reason why I feel this way is because I just don’t see the logic in judging someone based on their sexual preference. Whatever happened to judging someone based on their character? Their skills? How about judging someone for how they treat others? Is any of this making any sense?

A person’s sexual preference does not interfere with how well they can do a job or how they treat others. Heck, it does not even influence how they treat their co-workers! (And on that note, I’ve heard of some straight employees who treat their co-workers pretty rotten.)

And yet, sadly, we live in a society where a person’s sexual preference is being judged, even harshly. This is just so wrong. If a person is gay, then no matter what they have done in the past, what kind of perfect record they have at their job or how nice they have been to others, they are OUT OF HERE. Apparently, some people are just so insecure, self-righteous, homophobic or judgmental that they simply won’t tolerate being around someone who is homosexual. Once again a person’s sexual preference is being judged, and not their character.

In some way, I guess people are always going to find something to judge another person with. If it’s not their sexual preference, it’s their religion, the color of their skin or what university they graduated from. People these days are so judgmental of others that to NOT have some kind of judgment against people seems almost unreasonable.

We should not judge other people. It’s not for us to get on our high horse and say “I am better than you.” Really, is anybody really so perfect themselves that they can be in a position to judge everybody else? And on the note of judging a homosexual: Can’t people even see past this difference and get to know the PERSON instead? Stop seeing someone as “gay” or “lesbian.” See them as a HUMAN BEING.

Because, bottom line, that’s what they are. That’s what we all are. We’re all in this world together, and if we want to survive in this world together, we need to stop this hatred, stop this discrimination and stop this judgment of each other. Life itself is hard enough. Let's not make this journey any harder.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's not helping, it's cheating

Several years ago, one of my sisters turned in a report on the history of music. The teacher told her “very good” and gave her an “A” on her paper. The only problem was, it wasn’t her paper. She didn’t write it; I did.

For as long as I can remember, we all took turns doing each other’s homework. My mom would do homework assignments, as did my older siblings. We thought nothing of it. Sure, it was cheating, but at least everybody got a passing grade. I can still remember how, in high school, another sister called her BFF up every night of the school week to get answers to her math homework. I can still remember how I was asked to do another sister’s assignment, which was to write a letter to her congressman about animal testing, and how I was asked to write a different draft because the one I wrote was too sarcastic. (I have always been something of a smartass.)

After a while, I finally wised up and realized something was wrong here. This system wasn't right. It didn't seem right I was writing everybody's book reports or essays. They should do it themselves. Just because I was the writer in the family, and that I could put sentences together more coherently, it wasn't fair I was being used this way by my siblings. And yes, it IS being used! Eventually, I declined requests to write somebody's paper for them. They had to write it themselves. After a while, they took their "will you please do my homework for me?" requests to other people.

Sadly, many of my siblings are doing their kids' homework, too. Apparently, all that matters is the grade they get on their paper, not that the kid actually learns anything!

But the thing of it is, even as my siblings continue that tradition with their kids, I don’t do that with mine. And I don’t do that for anybody else, either. I won’t help somebody cheat. I won’t do anybody else’s homework anymore. I won’t become some kind of homework mill.

Maybe some parents don’t think it’s a big deal, but I do. I mean, how are kids supposed to learn anything if somebody else is doing their homework for them? It’s not right. And, fortunately, my daughter also understands that this is not right. When I told her about this, and about how I refuse to do that kinda thing anymore, she gasped and said, “Cheating is bad!” I’m glad she feels that way. Maybe I'm on the right track in not doing her homework for her.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And here I was, thinking we were done with diapers

For what has seemed like an eternity, we have been pottytraining Jesse. It has been a struggle to get him completely pottytrained. It’s been a journey of ups and downs, lasting for months on end. Yet we are hopeful, encouraged by the little victories (even if they are funny victories, such as Jesse running out of the bathroom while wearing NOTHING under the waist and announcing, “I went poopie in the potty!”). And in spite of it taking SO FREAKING LONG for him to wear only underpants instead of Pull-Ups, we persevere.

Ah, yes, the Pull-Ups. That savior who is oh-so-forgiving when it comes to the occasional accident. (And it saves us the job of washing the accident away. Some days, he’ll go through his 10-plus pairs of underwear because of accidents! And meanwhile, I’m cleaning up and washing all of those pairs of dirty underwear.)

Only today, there were no Pull-Ups. We had underwear for him, sure, but no Pull-Ups.

I’d told my husband last night that we were out of Pull-Ups, and could he please pick some up on his way home from work? But, silly me, I’d forgotten that he now gets off work at 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m., so of course all the stores were closed after he got off work. He couldn’t get the Pull-Ups.

So what was I to do? I needed to get Jesse to preschool, but I didn’t want him to be wetting his pants. Or worse.

Then I remembered something. Not too long ago, when I was doing some organizing in the garage, I came across Jesse’s diaper bag. I remember cleaning it out and finding diapers in it. Diapers that were actually a size he could fit into.

So I ran into the garage, grabbed one of the diapers from the yard sale pile, and double-checked the size. Yep, perfect. I went back into the house determined to get my son dressed and ready for school, even though that meant putting a diaper on him. My resolve lasted as far as me walking to his room to wake him up. I literally sulked there in the hallway. A diaper. I am putting a DIAPER on my preschooler! Talk about taking a step backwards. We’re trying to be DONE with diapers for good, not have to use them all over again! It was embarrassing. Humiliating. And even though Jesse is only 3 and probably wouldn’t even notice, I thought it was STILL humiliating for him to wear a diaper.

And, actually, he did notice. When I was cleaning him up while getting him ready, I started to put the diaper on him. He freaked. He panicked. It was like the Incredible Hulk.

A diaper? Forget it!

“No diaper!” he cried, moving away from the diaper I held as if it was a biohazard.

Now, even as I agreed with him on the whole DIAPERS ARE EVIL thing and how he is a big boy now, and not a baby anymore (this has been the message we have been trying to get through to him during this whole pottytraining saga), we had no choice. We had to use a diaper. Forget underwear; I just knew he’d end up wetting his pants!

I explained to him that we didn’t have any Pull-Ups and that we HAD to use the diaper. I apologized to him about this and told him I know he didn’t like diapers and I don’t like them either, but it was either that or stay home from school. Eventually, he calmed down and understood the situation. He allowed me to put the diaper on and, surprisingly, he even joked about wearing one after it was on.

As I proceeded to dress him, I started to worry. What if Kim saw him wearing a diaper and flew off the handle about it? My husband reminded me when Jesse started preschool that they won’t let him attend if he’s in diapers. And I didn’t want to send a preschooler to preschool while “still in diapers.” But then I knew we had to do what we had to do (maybe she would understand that) and it’s not like I DO send him to preschool in diapers! He wears Pull-Ups!

Yes, we could have gone to the store this morning to get him Pull-Ups before dropping him off at school, but we were already an hour late (stupid alarm clock!) and I had some work to get done. I got the Pull-Ups AFTER I dropped Jesse off at preschool. We got rid of his diaper after he got home (and it was a very wet diaper – surprise, surprise. Oh, someday I will get my son to use that toilet at his preschool! I hope!!) and got him into a Pull-Up. Next week, however, he’ll be in his underwear for all of Spring Break, and I’m hoping THAT will be the week we’ll finally be done relying on Pull-Ups.

Because we sure are finally done relying on diapers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Should we blame the school?

Because we FINALLY had some nice weather today, and because the kids are finally over their fevers/coughs/sore throats, I took them to the park this afternoon. Before then, they spent some time out in the backyard, working with plants. I was so proud of them; they were pulling weeds, watering plants and checking on flowers, all without my asking! Anyway, after the park, we piled into the car and went to the grocery store. Everything was going fine, we were in the freezer section picking out dinner, when Jesse pointed at someone and said, "Hey! You're stupid!"

Jennifer looked at me in shock. I double-checked with her to see if he had said what I had THOUGHT he said. Yes, she confirmed that he did indeed call a complete stranger "stupid."

I grew up in a family where name-calling ran rampant. I myself called others names, but what hurt me the most was my father often calling me "stupid." This left a wound that has never really healed. But this is why I am so against name-calling. I just won't stand for it. We don't call names at home, so I had to wonder why Jesse was starting to call people a name.

It's possible he heard it on a TV show. But my husband thinks otherwise. He thinks Jesse has been exposed to name-calling at his preschool.

This is not the first time he has blamed Jesse's preschool for something. Sometime after Jesse started preschool, he began hitting and kicking us. We don't allow that kind of behavior at home. We don't hit and kick each other! (Unlike how my own childhood was like.) So after he started doing this, my husband thought Jesse picked up on that behavior at school.

I cannot really tell for certain if this is true. I HAVE quizzed Jennifer a couple of times on what goes on at that school, because she has spent the day there a time or two. She said that hitting, kicking and name-calling NEVER happened at the school. And believe me, I know Kim! She is one of the most gentle and nonviolent people I have ever met. She has enormous patience with those kids.

But, still...we have to wonder. What if a child did call someone a name? What if Jesse did pick up on that from his preschool?

Then again, we must remember: He's 3. He doesn't need to be exposed to these things at preschool for them to happen. He's a boy, he's a toddler, he's working through his emotions the only way he knows how.

And of course, I'm probably just making excuses here....

We have made it clear to Jesse we won't tolerate name-calling. In fact, at dinner, he called Jennifer a name and my husband had to remove him from the table to have a face-to-face talk with him about this name-calling business. I only hope it is enough. I don't want to take Jesse out of preschool just because he is exhibiting this behavior. Hopefully, something will click for him and the next time he sees a child calling someone a name, he will know that that's bad instead of copying it.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

No more "Selfish Saturday"

Some time ago, I posted about “Selfish Saturdays.” I created this because I REALLY needed to find some way to take a break from everything and have some “me time.” So Saturdays became my day to just get out and spend an hour or so enjoying a meal, having a coffee, reading or just exploring Eugene. Hubby and I took turns enjoying this chance to have some time for ourselves; after I got home, he’d go out to the bookstore or…wherever.

However, lately I have realized that I don’t need “Selfish Saturday” anymore. Now that both of the kids are in school (with Jesse in school for 4 days of the week), I can have that time for myself more often than on just one day. In fact, I can enjoy a movie or take a long hot bath on any of those four days. I don’t have to leave the house anymore for that coveted “me time”! Sure, I create some “me time” in the mornings by getting up before the kids, but there are morning rituals there, and only so much time to enjoy that. By enjoying the “me time” while the kids are in school, I can enjoy it for much longer.

Of course, this can’t happen when the kids are sick or there’s no school. But to have at least one day to enjoy that time alone is better than none at all.

Also, I get my Saturdays back, which I am now using to “prepare for the week ahead” like I normally do on Sundays. Like yesterday, I did a ton of laundry, cleaned out my bedroom closet, put a bunch of stuff into storage bins and got things organized. I got the kids’ backpacks ready for Monday and checked on the lunch arrangement, just in case I didn’t have a lunch for Jennifer to take to school. Now we all relax on Sundays before the busy week starts.

I don’t miss “Selfish Saturdays.” I’m glad to be able to enjoy time with the kids on Saturdays again, because we don’t have much of that during the week, and now I get more done on the weekends. Now I look forward to having “me time” again while the kids are in school. Unfortunately, the new writing gig I have has me working like crazy while the kids are in school, but I still make sure I squeeze in some time to relax or watch that movie.