Not Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader

December 11, 2013 § 17 Comments

This morning on the way to school, my fourth-grader and I had the following conversation.

Him:  Did you know sloths move so slowly that sometimes they mistake their arm for a branch, reach for it, and then fall to their deaths?

Me:  Sloths have arms?

Him:  Yeah!  Of course they do.

Me:  Sloths don’t have arms.

Him:  (disbelievingly) Yes, Mom!  They have REALLY LONG ARMS!

Me:  No, they don’t.

Him:  Yes, they do!

Me:  They do not.

Him:  (patiently) Mom.  I’m talking about SLOTHS.  S-L-O-T-H-S.

Me:  I know what you’re talking about.  Sloths.  Sloths don’t have arms.  Do they?

Him:  (exasperated) YES!  Sloths have arms!!!  S-L-O-T-H-S!

Me:  Stop SPELLING it.  I KNOW what you’re talking about!  Sloths have arms?  I never knew that!

Him:  (disbelievingly) HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW THAT???

Me:  I really think they don’t.  I’ll have to look it up when I get home.  That’s really interesting.

*****

You see, that entire time HE was talking about sloths, he saw this animal in his mind.

images

The entire time I was talking about sloths, and insisting he didn’t need to SPELL it out for me, I was seeing this animal in my mind.

*****

*****

*****

*****

*****

Unknown-1

 

In my defense, they are both very slow-moving animals.

 

My Tattooed Teenager

November 8, 2013 § 16 Comments

529203_10151779112104947_908926477_n

She’d been asking for years.  My firstborn, with the red hair and creamy skin, wanted a tattoo.  For years she’s been asking.

The child who, if she could, would paint her room a different color every other month.  The child who, if her parents could, would ask them to rearrange the furniture in her room every other week.  The child who, as a pre-teen, declared matter-of-factly, “I require constant change.”  The undeniable implication was, “Is that so wrong?  Is that so difficult?  Why is nobody accommodating me???”

« Read the rest of this entry »

Banana Bread

August 26, 2013 § 15 Comments

So, you know how so many people post Facebook status updates the night before the first day of school?  “Lunches are packed!  Kids in bed!  Backpacks ready!  Forms filled out!  Relaxing with a glass of wine and hubby!” And it’s only 8 p.m.?  Some dear friends of mine – and I hope they still are after reading this – but please indulge me in a rare public bitchy moment.

I frikkin’ HATE those status updates.  They shouldn’t, but they make me feel like SUCH a loser mom – I rarely, if ever have my shit together like that.  For one thing, it’s  usually 10:47 p.m. when I read them, and the kids are all still awake and I’m about to go grocery shopping (sometimes at the gas station “convenience” store) for the first time in 10 days so they don’t eat uncooked ramen noodles for lunch on their first day of school.

Not this year.  It’s payback time, beyotches.  This year, I AM THAT MOM.  Last night the youngest was in bed by 10 p.m. (unshowered, but hey – you can’t have everything,) grocery shopping was done (4 days earlier,) and I was in my pjs (unshowered, but hey – you can’t have everything,) – do you hear me???  I made banana bread* batter (the only bakery item I know how to make from scratch,) stuck it in the fridge, and woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get it into the oven.  Let me tell you, by 7 a.m., that sucker was PERFECTION.  I had it buttered and lovingly arranged on a Bounty paper towel for my eldest to have on her way to school.  Right next to her bottled Starbucks frappacino.  Then, after some Marx Brothers-like confusion and car-jockeying because we hadn’t figured out yet which one of us was going to drive her to school, she was off for the first day of school.

wpid-20130826_071348.jpg

Never mind that my eldest is almost 17, and I’ve been on Facebook for five years now, and that I am only NOW boasting about something of this nature.  But I’m BOASTING, BABY!!!!!  SUCK IT, LOSERS!!!!

(Cue thunder and maniacal laughter)

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

*********

*A little bonus story:  I’ve been making this for years – got the recipe from Dave’s mother.  When we were married for less than a year, I did something similar – waking up early to get the banana bread in the oven for him to bring to some office potluck. Then I showered and attempted to wake him up.  He was immovable.  So, I stood next to the bed and said, “Hey, Dave.  There’s a naked woman in front of you and a banana bread in the oven.”  He raised his head up, lifted an eyebrow and said, “Banana bread?”  

The Plan B Pill: If It Were MY Daughter…

June 22, 2013 § 4 Comments

Plan B pill

…I’d want Plan B to be available over the counter.

I say this realizing there are great moral complexities involved here.  I’ve thought about it a lot regarding under-age girls seeking abortion.  When it comes to abortion, I ask myself, “Would I want to be notified if it were my daughter?  Would I want the doctor to insist on my consent if it were my daughter?  My husband’s consent?  If my daughter was 15?  What about if my daughter was 13? 12?”  Of course the answer to all of these questions is “Yes.”  While most parents I know would also answer “yes” to these questions, I realize there are girls who aren’t living in healthy families.

I also, however, have done everything I know how – used everything in my parental arsenal – to make it clear to my daughter (and sons) that when they are in trouble of ANY nature, we are their allies.  Not their crutches.  Not their protectors.  Not their enablers.  Not their shields from consequences.  Their allies.  We know more, we’ve lived longer, we have better access to resources, etc., etc., etc.  “We will ALWAYS be prouder of you for calling/telling us you’re (insert a stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situation here) and you need help than we will be mad at you for having found/gotten yourself into (insert stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situation here) to begin with.”

So far, this has served us fairly well.  We’re not delusional – we assume there are still plenty of stupid/dangerous/against-the-rules situations they have not told us about, and will be in the future.  There have been times, however, when we’ve gotten calls from them.  And as strange as it sounds to say, I hope we continue to get those calls.  I’d rather get calls from them than from the police or the hospital.  This is what we have hammered home, and hopefully has set the tone for the basis of trust and confidence they have in us.

I hope this would extend, for my kids, to sex and unwanted pregnancies.  In an ideal world, they’d come to us first.  In a slightly less ideal world, they’d go to a doctor first.  In an even less ideal world, they’d have their friend drive them to a drugstore to buy Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill.  But in a world I’d consider unacceptable, they would have no access to Plan B.  And then, once a pregnancy results, they’d have no access to Planned Parenthood.   Safe abortion would be hard to come by, and god forbid, they’d seek a back alley.

Just because I think I’ve done a good enough job making my own kids comfortable coming to us with their problems and mistakes, doesn’t mean they would.  Just because I wish all kids felt comfortable going to their parents doesn’t mean they do.

What of the kids whose parents aren’t there for them?  What of the girls who’ve been raped and whose parents would throw them out of the house for being a slut in their eyes?  What of the girls whose fathers are womanizers themselves, but would beat their daughters if they got pregnant?  What of the daughter of a prominent family that cares more about outward appearances than helping their kid?  Just because my daughter is not in one of those families doesn’t negate the fact that other daughters are.

Plan B (and even more medically significant, abortion) is something of which I hope my daughter wouldn’t avail herself without my knowledge. If, however, my daughter is in a situation where she is too afraid/embarrassed/shocked/traumatized to come to us first, all the MORE reason I would want safe emergency contraceptive (and safe prenatal care or abortion) available to her.  And if I want it for her, how can I not want it for those daughters who are less fortunate than she?

 

This post originally published at The Broad Side.

Image via The Moderate Voice

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 11, 2013 § 12 Comments

397896_10200989270204686_1787969980_n

Here’s why I love this comic strip very much.

One might read this and think its creators are saying, “Damn teenagers.  They have no vocabulary.  They never talk to us.  They never TELL us anything.”

I see something completely different in this comic strip.

1.  Teenagers are moody.

2.  Teenagers have trouble figuring out what’s bothering them.

3.  Even if they know what’s bothering them, they have trouble articulating it.

4.  Parents should keep their questions simple.  Like, “Trouble?”

5.  Teenagers still need shoulders and hugs, even if their arms hang limp at their sides when their heads are on your shoulder while you’re hugging them.

6.  Teenagers still need their parents to say “Poor Baby,” sometimes.

7.  What parents think is the start of a conversation is often what the teenager thinks is the end of one.

8.  Parents need to do less than they think to be of help to their kids.  I mean, look at this comic.  All the mom says is, “Trouble?”  and  “Poor Baby,” and the teen is smiling and eating an apple again.

9.  As with so many things in life, less is more.

10.  I need to join a chapter of Overanalyzers Anonymous.

11.  Teenagers need their parents.  And so do certain 43-year-olds who live in Baltimore.

Have a beautiful and easy Mother’s Day, from everyone here at The Worthington Pos!t (*cough* okay, it’s just me – I’m the only one here *cough*)

The Original “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.”

April 25, 2013 § 2 Comments

"Castle on the Hill"

“Castle on the Hill”

I’m at The Broad Side again today – this time recalling the real, original “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”.  In my life, anyhow…

Please click over, enjoy and share!  🙂

xoxo,
Aliza

You say “Aphasia,” I say “Tomahto.”

March 16, 2013 § 3 Comments

wpid-PaperArtist_2013-03-16_17-58-06.jpeg

I like to think I’m a hands-on parent.  Somewhere between absent and hovering.  In an attempt to “participate” in my children’s “upbringing,”  I will sometimes look over their shoulder to see what they’re listening to/watching on their various devices.  Shockingly, the 16-year-old and the 14-year-old find this annoying.  The 9-year-old, however, STILL LOVES ME, and willingly participates in conversations with me.

So, it comes to pass that Leo’s at the table, headphones in, eyes glued to iPod screen.  I stealthily (not really) come up behind him to see what’s on the screen.  A wave of relief washes over me as I see that it is an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and not “Drake and Josh.”  (There are few things I hate more than “Drake and Josh.”  Like, we’re talking with the fire and heat of a thousand suns.  Now that he had the iPod he was able to watch it without my having to hold it together through even 45 seconds of that show.  But I digress…)

I watched a minute or so of the DSN episode over his shoulder, without the benefit of sound.  The main characters all looked tired, worn, and annoyed.

I said, loudly enough to be heard over his headphones, “Boy, they sure look tired!”  (I can’t BELIEVE the teenagers don’t find my conversation skills thrilling.)

He said, “No, mom, they’re not tired.”

“Oh,” I said.  “They sure look annoyed, though!”

Sweet boy that he is, he paused the show, took out his headphones, and excitedly explained the plot line to me.

“They all have aphasia, mom!  It’s this problem when you know words and language, but when you try to say them, DIFFERENT words come out.  They’re all gonna die unless they can figure out how to communicate!”

“That’s a really cool plot,” I said.  What I was thinking, though, was “Did my f*cking NINE-year-old just competently explain aphasia to me?”  Then I dug back, with fond memories, to when my parents taught me what aphasia was…waaaaaaay back.  Two WHOLE WEEKS back, when they explained the condition to me because one of their close friends had a stroke and suffers from it now.  I was all of 43 years old.  Isn’t that sweet?

Still, I picked up what remained of my authority on the matter, and he went back to watching.  Then he paused the show again and asked, “What causes aphasia?”  Yay!  Now’s my chance to sound knowledgeable!

“Well, Sweetie, Grandma and Grandpa have a friend with aphasia, and his was caused by a stroke.”  There.

“What else causes it?”

“Uh…um…some other illnesses, I’m sure – or maybe a virus or bacteria…or maybe the brain isn’t…WHY DON’T WE JUST LOOK IT UP???”  I forced a smile and went to the laptop.

“How do you spell it?”

“E-P-H…” I started…but then I had to correct myself, as according to the computer (know-it-all) it was spelled with an “A.”

“A-P-H-A-S-I-A.”  We were directed to this site, Medical News Today, which had an in-depth explanation and examples.  I scrolled down to look for the causes, and he stopped me – “Wait!  I’m still reading!”

“Sorry,” I said.  Sorry I scrolled too fast while you were READING AND UNDERSTANDING the differences between “Global Aphasia,” “Fluent Aphasia” and “Non-fluent Aphasia.”  Sorry.  Good lord.

Then he gave the all clear to scroll down to the causes of aphasia:

That last one wasn’t really listed on the website as a cause.  But, I could make a damn good argument that it should have been.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with parenting at The Worthington Post.

%d bloggers like this: