Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Shaving Fiasco of 1986

Day two of the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge has us reminiscing on our school days. I was going to write about my kids first day of school, but then I remembered The Shaving Fiasco of 1986, and decided to share that instead.

I will start by saying that this story didn't take place on the first day of school, but it was early on in the school year and it is basically my only memory of the one year I spent there. I was seven-years-old, in second grade, I guess. I was one of those little girls who had a lot of hair on her legs. It was blonde, but it was there and apparently more noticeable than I thought.

I was attending Holy Cross Lutheran School in North Miami. I'm not really sure why, as we weren't Lutheran. We didn't even go to church. I just googled the school and found some pretty interesting statistics: it is a private school serving 300 students, grades K-8 and it is situated in an inner city neighborhood; it has a 7% White student ethnicity rate. I have no idea if the neighborhood was considered "inner city" when I was there. I know my parents didn't have much money at the time. They were divorced and I lived with my mother and younger brother, and spent every other weekend with our dad. These stats have nothing to do with my story, I just found them interesting.

I remember sitting in chapel one morning wearing my new jean skirt. If you remember the 1980's, denim was all the rage, so that was a pretty big deal. Even bigger were banana clips, I was definitely wearing one of those. I heard a couple of kids giggling but wasn't sure why. As we were walking back to class, a little boy, I can't remember his name, starting making fun of me calling me a gorilla because of the hair on my legs. I was mortified! There I was, seven-years-old, thinking I looked like hot shit, and some little ass wipe was making fun of the hair on m legs. I wanted to hide under my desk the rest of the day, or stretch my awesome new skirt down to the floor to cover my monkey legs.

Ahh, the acid wash, denim skirt. 
Every girl HAD to have one!

No wardrobe was complete without 
the mother of all hair accessories;
the banana clip!

That night I was in the bath and I spotted my mother's razor on the edge of the tub. It dawned on me that I could shave my legs! It was perfect, no more monkey legs, no more ass wipe making fun of me. So I did it. I was very carful and went really slowly, dragging the blades up my shin and over my knee. I didn't cut myself, at least not that I can remember. Feeling very proud, I stepped out of the tub and pulled out the drain. As I stood there drying off, I noticed all the hair clinging to the side of the bath. I started rinsing it off, not wanting my mother to know what I had done. Oh my god! My mother was going to be furious!

What was I going to do now? My mother was sure to notice my sleek, smooth legs the moment I stepped out of the bathroom. I looked around and found the biggest towel I could and wrapped it around me. It went down to my ankles. Phew! I walked out of the bathroom and into my bedroom. My mother was sitting on the couch talking on the phone. When I got to my room I realized I didn't have anything long enough to cover my legs. Jeans were out as it was Miami, and hot, not to mention I was supposed to be getting ready for bed.

I went out to the living room and asked if I could borrow a pair of my mother's leggings because, 1980's. She said yes as she eyed me curiously. It was the towel, I knew it. she was growing suspicious. I scurried into her room, almost tripping over the towel, and dug around in her drawer. All of a sudden I heard her say:

"I'll call you back in a few minutes."

Oh no! She's coming! I have to get these leggings on!

As I turned around I saw my mother standing there, watching me.

"I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the truth." She said.
"Um, okay."
I replied.
"Did you shave your legs?"
"What? Shave my legs? Psh...no, why would I do that?"
"Tell me the truth, did you shave your legs?"
"No! I didn't! I don't even know how!"
"I'm only going to ask you one more time, did you shave your legs?"

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my cheeks getting more and more flushed by the second. All I a sudden I burst into tears.

"WAAAAAAA!! YES! I DID!" I managed to choke out between sobs. When I told her why, she was understanding, but I was in big trouble for lying.

I think I was around twelve-years-old before I shaved my legs again. By that time I was at boarding school in England and we lived in Spain with my stepdad and his kids. When my mother found out, I had been doing it for so long, she couldn't really say anything.

I wish I could say I learned some great lesson about not listening to what other people say, or not lying to my parents, but I didn't. I went to school the next day, even more aware of my legs because I knew that kid was going to notice the hair was gone. He still called me a hairy legged gorilla, but after some time he got bored of that and turned his attention on to someone else.

When my daughter was seven, she was in the shower when I heard a bloodcurdling scream. I ran in to see her holding her thumb. Turns out she was curious about my razor but cut herself before she had a chance to try and shave anything.

My daughter is nine-years-old now and still asks me, from time to time, if "grown up girls have to shave their legs."

To which I reply:

"You don't have to do anything you'r not comfortable with, and don't let anyone try and tell you differently. Ever."

Do you have any embarrassing school stories?

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Favorite Things About Fall

When I came across the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge I thought it would be a perfect way to try and get back into the swing of things after my hiatus. I am desperately searching for my mojo but I'm not having much luck. My muse is silent. However you want to say it, I can't get inspired. Maybe writing a quick, prompted post each day will get me back into it.

Today we have two prompts about fall.

1) What are some of the activities you love to do in the fall? and 2) What are some of the traditions you have for the three months before winter hits?

I'm combining my answers otherwise this would end up being one long, repetitive post!  I love fall, or maybe I should say I love the idea of fall. Living in Florida there isn't much of a seasonal change. We have summer with a couple of cool spells thrown in between November and February.

Every year the family and I go to a local fall festival. It runs for a couple of weeks and is filled with all sorts of food and arts and craft vendors. Hello artery clogging, fried yumminess! There is a circus show, live music, frog tossing contest, maze; you name it, it's probably there. They also combine it with the Annual Buddy Walk for Downs Syndrome. For three years running we were part of a team with two families who we worked with who both have daughters with Downs Syndrome. We all got together and raised money for this great event and walked a mile around the festival grounds. Afterwards we spent a few hours enjoying the festival. Unfortunately both families moved away early last year so we thought we would check out a different festival. It was not good! I'm excited to head back to the original one and eat some corn dogs, or kettle corn or elephant ears, listen to some music and watch the kids bouncing around on the bounce houses!

I love baking during the fall. I won a cupcake baking contest at my old job by making pumpkin spiced cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, decorated with a candy corn pumpkin on top. It was a strategic move. There were other, more fancy cupcakes, but I knew the pumpkin spice would win as it was leading up to Thanksgiving and was the right time of year for it. But then again, I am obsessed with pumpkin everything...lattes and creamer; candles and air fresheners; PIES! I could go on, but I w'll spare you.

Another activity I love during the fall is doing arts and crafts with the kids. One year we made pilgrim masks and wreaths made out of paper leaves with all the things the kids were thankful for. (Luckily I made the list!) Last year we made ghosts in a jar for Halloween decorations. Which reminds me, I need hubs to get up in the attic and bring down the decorations.

"Ghosts in a Jar" decorations the kids and I made last year.

Speaking of decorations, I love decorating the house for fall. I've already been contemplating bringing out the Halloween stuff, but I'm trying to hold out for October 1. September just seems too early for spiders, witches and ghosts. After Halloween comes the Thanksgiving-themed decorations. I have a scarecrow family who lives outside our front door, stuck in hay bales. Last year I got to add another member who is now 19-months. Of course, as soon as the Turkey-Day decorations come down, it is time for the Christmas decorations. That is by far my favorite time of year! The lights, the music, the gift-giving. Love!

My list wouldn't be complete without mentioning FOOTBALL!! I am a huge Florida State Seminoles fan and basically live the whole rest of the year in anticipation of football season. I am also a Miami Dolphins fan along with the hubs, my dad and my father-in-law. There's something about sitting around on Saturday night and Sunday watching the games. Obviously the FSU vs UF game is the highlight of the season and that is always played a couple days after Thanksgiving. Hubs and his immediate family are big Gators fans, so its always fun to talk a little smack and get release our competitive selves.

Last year we dressed the baby in her "House Divided" outfit
for the FSU vs. UF game.

Last but not least is Thanksgiving. It's about more than just the the decorations and football. Thanksgiving is my second favorite meal of the year (a close second to our traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve dinner). Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it all. The most important part, though, is being with family and giving thanks for all the blessings in my life. Hubs and I have finally, after five years, managed to get all our kids on the same schedule. (We each have two from previous marriages.) I'm excited to have them all together with their baby sister so we can share the day together.

For me, the only thing that could make fall better would be if the weather was cool and the palm fronds changed colors.

What are some of your favorite things about fall?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blogity-Blog Tour

When the lovely It's Why You Like Me was looking for volunteers to join in on this little blog tour she was taking, I thought: "why not? I mean, it's not like I have 5 kids, 2 dogs and a husband to take care of. I could use a little more to fill my day."

So, here we are. The idea is to give you a peek into my home, family and projects and then answer four questions about my blog/blogging process. Here goes nothing...

My husband and I each brought two children into the marriage and had one together. We have 10-year-old twin girls, a 9-year-old girl, and 8-year-old boy and a 19-month-old girl. We were both married before, I affectionately refer to them as our "practice marriages". I look at it kind of like writing. There is always a rough draft to every story, our previous marriages were our rough drafts. Hubs and I met at work. His brother was my boss, though I didn't realize that when we met initially, but that a whole other blog post.

What projects do I have going on right now? Well, other than running kids around between school, Tae Kwon Do, Soccer and Girl Scouts, I am doing some work as Project Manager for a friend's website design company. It is only a few hours a week right now but the hope is that that will continue to increase as time goes on.

I am trying to get my Jamberry Nails business off the ground which consists of trying to network and sucker people into get people to host in-home and Facebook parties. (In all seriousness I absolutely love Jamberry wraps. They are totally fun and affordable and I don't have to wait for my nails to dry while trying to wrangle five kids!)

A few of my JAMicures. Bottom right picture 
is of my three daughters' hands.

Hubs and I are also in the process of trying to paint the inside of our house. I tackled the kid/guest bathroom a couple of weeks ago and hubs is painting the kitchen as we speak.

This is the bathroom, obviously from the toilet.
We changed it from a light pee-yellow to Chinese Jade.

This is a corner of the kitchen leading into the dining room. We're
changing it from "light pee-yellow" to SilkyWhite. On the left is
the remnants of some artwork my daughter left for me when she
was about three-years-old. I'm sort of sad it is gone.

I am also planning a baby shower for a friend of mine next month. (This has somewhat fast-tracked the urgency of painting the inside of our house.) It is my first time planning a baby shower and I'm having a lot of fun with it. I'm in the process of making a diaper cake - another first for me.

Obviously I still have quite a way to go with this
but you can see where its headed. Hopefully.

Now on to the blog-specific questions.

1) What am I working on?

I'm glad you asked. Currently I am working on myself and I'm trying to get back into the swing of blogging. I took roughly four months off as I was struggling with some personal issues. Namely anxiety. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown for a while there, and questioned my sanity. More than usual. I disconnected from social media and my blog and tried to focus on me. This included spending time with my therapist (who helped me through the end of my practice marriage) as well as the help from some anti-anxiety meds. I'm happy to report things are better, though not back to "normal". I honestly couldn't have done it without the support of my hubs.

2) How does my work differ from those in my genre?

I have a genre? I guess I'm considered a "mommy blogger" as most of what I write about, or Facebook about, involves my kids, or kids in general. Sometimes I write about more peronal things, like the time I got my first Brazilian bikini wax. I'm not really sure how much my work differs from other mommy bloggers, except that I am no professional writer. I don't write for money, I have no aspirations of becoming the next big thing or writing a best seller. I write to get shit off my chest. I write because I enjoy it. I was not an English major, in fact, I didn't even graduate from college. I think I have a pretty good handle on the basics of grammar and the English language as a whole, but I'm far from perfect. I'm long winded, I use cliches and I put commas and hyphens in all the wrong places. But that's okay. I have never claimed to be a great writer, I'm just someone who writes. A lot of the other bloggers I know have dreams of being published. While that would be amazeballs, it isn't on my bucket list.

3) Why do I write/create what I do?

As I mentioned above, I write as an outlet, a way to vent or to share.

4) How does my writing creative process work?

I don't have a process, per se. Something pops into my mind or up on my newsfeed and inspires me to write about it. It could be anything from why I think color coordinated Easter egg hunts are ridiculous  to my family's experience with lice. I take out my iPad mini or sit at the computer and I start to type. Sometimes I can bang something out in less than a day, sometimes I go back to it for weeks. If I try to force something, it doesn't work. My topic has to be either something that inspires me in some way or a prompt, like More than Cheese and Beer's Sunday Confessions. I wish I could tell you I have some highly ritualistic process, but I can't.

So there you have it. Pretty freaking interesting, I know you are all riveted to learn these great details about me. Now let me introduce you to two other lovely ladies who graciously volunteered to keep this blog tour going.

First up is Samantha Rodman, aka Dr. Psych Mom. When she isn't running races or taking care of her three kids under 5, She blogs at Dr. Psych Mom about psychology, parenting, relationships, sex, and sometimes, The Bachelor. She invites you to write in with your questions about relationships or parenting, and also to apply for her Functional Couple Fridays, where she e-interviews regular couples making marriage work (http://www.drpsychmom.com/submit/). Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at @DrPsychMom.

Three interesting facts about Dr. Psych Mom:

1) I was the 7th best speller in the US in 6th grade.

2) I went to the same highschool as Marisa Tomei and the same college as Julia Stiles. (That's pretty cool!)

3) My favorite state is Nebraska and I've visited it twice.

My second victim volunteer is the lovely Karen from One Valium at a Time. Karen blogs about life's highs & lows as they come; one at a time (or 5mg at a time, whatever works). She's also been spotted hanging around at places such as Facebook and Twitter.


Three interesting fact about Karen:

1) I have three grown children and three grandchildren, two of which I'm raising. It's complicated and exhausting, but that's what family's do. We pick up the messes our children leave behind...I mean love and care for one another, right? "Round Two", ding, ding, ding! (Wow, you have your hands full! Your kids are lucky to have you!)

2) I'm a Registered Nurse. I've cared for the elder to newborns and every age in between. My first love is Neonatal Intensive Care, but after many years and several hospitals (aka...can't keep a job); I even did travel nursing for a year, I'm now working for a Home Care Agency caring for chronically ill children.

3) I was in an abusive relationship for 15 years. It ended 20 years ago in divorce. It ended again a year ago in death. His passing threw me into full blown PTSD. That's when I started blogging, to empty my head of all the ugliness I held in for so long.

So there you have it. Make sure you stop by Samantha and Karen's blogs and social media sites to show them some love.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things That Make My 18-Month-Old Cry

Toddlers and babies are funny little creatures. The things that frighten them or frustrate them are almost beyond comprehension to us at times. Last night there was a cockroach in the hallway, lying on its back, legs akimbo, flailing around spastically. That child would not walk past it. Even after the hubs disposed of it, she was hesitant to walk down the hallway.

Something that has always fascinated me is what triggers a baby/toddler to cry. I wish I knew what was going on in their heads sometimes.

1) When I cut her toast in half.
At breakfast one morning I gave her half a piece of toast. She was having difficulty eating it so I cut it in half. Naturally this was cause for a meltdown in the middle of the restaurant - while taking bites of said toast.

2) When I sit down at the computer.
Because, it's a "puter"...

3) When someone knocks on the door.
Actually, this would make me cry too, if I didn't have a front-door-cam that I could check. I hate unannounced visitors. Unless it is you, Publisher's Clearinghouse. You are ALWAYS welcome.

4) When I tell her my coffee is hot.
One Saturday I sat on the couch with my coffee. She came up to me and said "Cobbee" to which I replied: "Yes, this is my coffee." She reached out to touch my mug and when I told her not to because it was hot, she started crying and saying "Cobbee....ha....cobbee...ha!"

5) When she wants to watch "Fia" (Sophia the First).

6) Then changes her mind to "Ha Da" ("Hot Dog" song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).

7) When she doesn't want to be in the car anymore.
We were about 30 minutes away from home, on our way back from an out-of-town trip. She started crying and asking for things. Every time we asked if that's what she wanted, she shook her head and cried more.

Baby: "Toy!"
Us: "You want your toys?"
Baby: "Nah uh! BA!"
Us: "You want to take a bath?"
Baby: "Nah uh! Dee-no!"
Us: "You want dinner?"
Baby: "Nah uh!"
Us: "OK, then!"

8) When I close my bedroom door. 
This one baffles me. Someone will leave my bedroom door open so I close it. She runs after me, starts crying as I shut the door, and then pounds on the door with both hands.

9) When I take her sippy-cup away.
She likes to bang the spout of her cup against her high-chair tray because she's figured out it splits the spout, meaning she can flood the tray with water and suck it up with her mouth. Of course, I take the cup away and ruin all the fun - and her life - at the same time.

10) When the hairy guy at Publix talks to her.
While in line at Publix, there was a scruffy, older gentleman in front of us. He smiled a kind, yet toothless, grin at the baby. She was already eyeing him but the site of his gummy mouth pushed her over the edge and she burst into tears.

There are so many more instances where the baby has cried for no apparent reason. What are some of the funniest reasons your child has cried?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Is it Okay to Let Little Girls Wear Bikinis?

This morning I was scrolling through my Google+ feed and came across a picture of Beyoncé and her two-year-old bikini-clad daughter on a yacht. The caption posed the question: "What do you think of the bikini?" referencing the two-year-old who was wearing an adorable baby blue two-piece. I commented with: "What's wrong with the bikini?"

No really. I want to know: Why do people make such a big deal out of babies wearing bikinis? I know, I know, there are sickos out there who may look at your baby in a sexually perverse nature. Guess what: If someone is going to look at your child in that way, they are going to do that whether she is wearing a potato sack or a bathing suit.

Women and child in bathing suits in early 1900's. 
Notice how their breasts are still noticeable and 
you can still see the shape of their hips and their 
nipples poking through?

Growing up as a child in the 80's in Miami, most of my childhood pictures are of me wearing the bottom half of my bikini only. Surrounded by boys, girls, grown-ups and children at backyard barbeques, on the beach and swimming in the pool. There are no photos with a pervy old man in the background watching me, no one ogling my bare stomach and mosquito bite nipples.

Yes, there are people out there who prey on children. Yes, it is disgusting and heartbreaking and repulsive. Do I think those people should be strung up by their toes and have their genitals cut off? Yes, I do. What I don't think should happen is for parents who allow their daughters to wear two-piece bathing suits to be persecuted as though they are the disgusting ones.

Here is a picture of three young women 
in full-coverage bathing suits. Due to their 
stances and mischievous looks on their faces, 
some may consider this picture provocative, 
yet no stomachs or breasts are visible.

Sadly, child abuse - sexual and other forms - has been occurring as long as man has been on earth. Clothing and bathing suits seem to get more and more revealing and provocative with each generation, but that doesn't mean pedophiles didn't exist during Victorian times. Yes, there are statistics that show abuse cases are more frequent now, but there are also a lot more people in the world and we tend to hear about them more. Thanks to mainstream media, and the fact that we are constantly connected to the world through social media sites, news of horrifying abuse stories are everywhere.

I don't care if you allow your daughter to wear a one-piece, two-piece or make her wear something circa 1910. No one, parents or otherwise, has the right to judge those of us who do allow bikinis. You have no idea what morals we teach in our homes or how we allow our daughters to dress when not at the beach or by the pool.

Be aware of your surroundings. Know with whom your children are spending time. There are no guarantees in life, no sure-fire ways of keeping our children out of harm’s way. Teach your children about self-respect. Instill morals and ethics in them. Let them wear the bikini and teach them that there is no shame in the human body. They see and hear so much more of what we say and do than we realize. Maybe broadcasting that bikinis on children are "dangerous" or that they are "asking for trouble" is bringing more inappropriate attention to your daughter’s body than just allowing her to wear the stupid bikini in the first place.