Category Archives: Things that Annoy Me

You’re my friend, so you can’t be theirs…

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You’re my friend, so you can’t be theirs…

My daughter came home from school the other day absolutely distraught.  She tossed her bag down and grumbled about something or other.  Now, as the parent of a very emotional 2nd grade girl, I know better than to ask what’s caused her so much distress.  But… I’m kind of a curious person.  I know I know, curiosity killed the cat and all that.  But I can’t seem to help myself.

  • Me: So… what’s wrong?
  • Miss Lulu: Well.  Carley and I broke up.  Again. (crosses her arms and scowls)  We aren’t friends anymore.
  • Me: Oh… I see.  Why?
  • Miss Lulu:  Because I wanted to play with Logan but Logan doesn’t like Carley because she always tells him what he has to be when we play.  So I had to either play with Carley or Logan.  She wasn’t happy when I played with Logan.  We’re not friends anymore.

Alright, I get that this happens all the time.  She and Carley have been on and off friends for the past two years.  Carley often requires 100% attention from her friends.  It happens and Lex will feed into that.  She likes to make everyone happy.  She’ll even schedule one recess with Carley and one with her other friends.  She really tries and it upsets her when Carley “breaks up” with her.  Now, I get that I have to look at this from a few different angles in order to help Lex make her own choices and hopefully learn how to build strong friendships, but that’s not always easy.

You see, I’m kind of socially awkward.  Throw me in a room of strangers and I shrivel up like an orchid left without water in the desert.  I can’t just go up to someone and introduce myself, let alone initiate an actual conversation.  When I know I have an event that requires me to be social, I have panic attacks and nightmares for days prior to the engagement.  It’s awful and I’ve always been that way.  So making friends as a child wasn’t really my strong point.  Sure I managed to make a few but more often than not I felt like an outsider.  I did my best to fit in where I could but just felt like I barely kept my head above water socially.  It was horrible and I remain scarred from the whole thing.  I’ve grown quite a bit and because of my job I can now fake my way through it.  I can force myself to plaster a smile across my face and talk with people… when I have to.  If I can avoid it, I certainly do.  But I am thankful I have gained some skills in the area.  I’ve made some great friends who I treasure every day.

When Lex started kindergarten my worst fear was that she wouldn’t make friends.  That she would feel that horrible petrifying fear when dumped into a room of kids she’d never met.  She did alright.  She made a few friends throughout the year but no really close friends.  Of course, that was kindergarten and I didn’t expect her to meet her lifelong best friend there.  It’s possible sure, but not probable. Once school was out she lost touch with all of her friends over the summer.  When she started 1st grade it was horrible.  She had zero friends and she cried for the first three days of school.  This was one of the many reasons we switched schools.  At the new school she had her cousin and one of her friends from preschool, Logan.  It was amazing to see him greet her that first day.  He jumped out of his seat and gave her a giant hug.  It was a wonderful way to start at a new school.

Throughout that year Lex made many more friends.  She had a decent bunch at her birthday party and was invited to a few parties.  Sure she ran into troubles much like the Carley situation, but they were fewer then.  Over that summer she didn’t see any of her friends.  She was somewhat sad about this, but she made it through fine.  She had Girl Scouts and a million different family events to keep her busy.  This year, she went back to school with a smile on her face and a positive attitude.  She was ecstatic to see her friends, especially Logan.

The year has gone by fairly well, with exception of these Carley incidents.  To be fair, they aren’t all about Carley specifically.  She runs into the problem with a few of the girls in her class.  She’ll come home one day upset because this friend wouldn’t let her play with that friend or they won’t let her play with Logan because he’s a boy.  So how do I handle these issues?  How do I explain to my 8-year-old daughter that she really should choose her own friends?  How do I convince her that she’s strong enough to make a stand against these controlling girls?  And while I want her to make her own choices and stand up against the Carley’s of the world, I don’t want her to lose the friends she does have.  I don’t want her to feel those horrible feelings of being excluded.  I don’t want her to grow up without friends but, I certainly want her to be her own person.  I want her to be confident in who she is and her abilities that she can say no to the Carley’s of the world.

Part of me really just wanted to tell her that people like Carley aren’t really the greatest friends, but I also realize they are only 8 and just barely developing their own personalities.  This year Carley may be a controlling and jealous friend, but next year… she could be the shy girl in the corner feeling excluded.  My overly protective side wanted to tell her she’d be better off without Carley as a friend, that the whole situation is in fact Carley’s fault.  Of course, my rational side kicked in and reminded me that I was wrong.  Carley could have definitely handled the situation better, but so the same could be said for Lexi.  I reminded myself that while Carley was the one angry with everyone, Lexi could have been the one to listen to her.  Maybe Carley was just worried she’d lose Lexi to a different group of friends.  Maybe she was jealous of the close friendship Lex and Logan share.  Maybe Carley is really the insecure girl in this situation.  There are a million different things that went through my head.  Things are rarely black and white.  People aren’t always who they seem to be on the outside.  So from a parental standpoint, how do I explain to my 8-year-old daughter, the fine balance between being a good friend and being your own person?  I honestly don’t know.  These are the moments I wish kids came with an instruction manual.  It’s been a few weeks and though we’ve actually addressed the situation, I still don’t have the perfect words.

So what did I tell my daughter?  Well, I reminded her that yes, she can be friends with anyone she wants.  That friendship isn’t a non-renewable resource.  Friendship should be nurtured and shared.  I reminded her of her commitment to make the world a better place and by sharing her friendship with others, she is doing that.  I told Lex that Carley may just need reassured that she’s not going to abandon Carley for her other friends.  We talked about how to include Carley with the other kids and how to get everyone to work together.  And ultimately, I reminded Lexi that she is in charge of herself, actions and words.  If she truly feels that Carley is overly demanding, jealous or controlling, then it’s not a healthy relationship and she needs to walk away.

After the “loooongg talk” (as Lexi called it) we hugged and I thanked her for sharing her problems with me.  I told her that no matter what was happening at school or with her friends, I’m here for her.  I wanted her to know that I’m not perfect and I won’t always have the answers, but I am here to listen whenever she needs me.  In the end, as parents, that’s all we can do.  She needs to grow into her own person and in the process she’s going to face so many challenges.  I can’t protect her from everything, but I can certainly do my best to help her along the way.

 

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Zero Tolerance…

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Zero Tolerance…

At the beginning of this school year I made the decision to transfer my daughter to another school.  There were multiple reasons for this but mostly she was just unhappy in her previous school.  The first three days of school this year Lexi came home in tears.  My husband and I decided that no kid should hate 1st grade that much.  A few phone calls later and she was enrolled at one of our rural schools.  I have to say, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  She has flourished both academically and socially.  She has friends and adores her teachers.  She is always very positive when she talks about school.  The entire experience is 100% better than her previous school.

Recently my friend Christina confided in me the problems she is having with Lexi’s previous school district.  Christina’s daughter Anne has been struggling with a bully in her school.   Hearing Christina recount the situation just reinforced my decision to move Lexi. When I signed my daughter up for kindergarten at the previous school, the staff informed me that the school district had a zero tolerance policy on bullying and/or harassment.  This concept made complete sense and quite honestly I felt better about sending my daughter to this specific school.  However, we all know that even the best policies fail if they are not enforced correctly.

Here we are two years later and Christina is battling with the principal over what to do about the boy bullying her daughter.  This boy has been nothing but horrible to Anne any time they have encountered each other.  He has evidently been out of the school for a while and has recently returned.  Last week he threatened to punch her in the face.  Christina’s husband treks over to the school to discuss the situation with the principal where he finds out not only did the kid threaten to punch Anne in the face, but also threatened to or mentioned he wanted to kill her.  The response by the school?  Anne instigated it by telling this bully he was standing in the wrong spot.

Now I understand that kids will be kids and sometimes they will argue.  Arguing is one thing but wanting to kill another person is completely different.  Yes, it is entirely possible he didn’t mean it in the manner of which Anne took it, but does it matter?  He has been a consistent threat to her ability to feel safe at school for more than just one school year.  Not to mention, I thought this school had a zero tolerance policy.  I wasn’t sure if the policy was still in effect or not because I had pulled my daughter from school.  I looked it up on the schools website.  This is what I found:

Harassment/Bullying/Intimidation/Hazing

  1.  “Harassment, intimidation, or bullying” means any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, that takes place on or immediately adjacent to school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation, or at any official school bus stop, or anywhere conduct may reasonably be considered a threat or an attempted intimidation of a student or staff member or an interference with school purposes or an educational function, and that has the effect of:
    1. Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
    2. Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property;
    3. Creating a hostile educational environment.

Okay, so I would like to point out that Anne has been physically harmed by this same bully in the past.  He has pushed her into lockers along with other things.  She has been feeling a reasonable fear of physical harm since he started threatening her again.  How can all this NOT create a hostile educational environment for her?

Well, we’ve confirmed that she is being bullied, so what are the consequences for this boy?  I have discovered that the school district, or at least this specific branch of the district, no longer has a zero tolerance policy.  Here are the consequences as listed in the handbook:

Students whose behavior is found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to discipline up to and including expulsion.

THE SUBSTANTIATION OF A THREAT OF DEADLY FORCE MAY RESULT IN AN IMMEDIATE REFERRAL TO THE SCHOOL BOARD FOR EXPULSION.

Policy

Giving the benefit of the doubt to the school and this bully, we will say this was his first offense of menacing behavior.  He threatened to punch her, but didn’t.  There is his ‘warning’.  Then come to find out he wishes to kill her.  I would say that in the very least that would be a repeated offense of menacing or harassing behavior.  His parents should be involved.  Forgive me but in my experience, bullying doesn’t start at school.  More often than not I’ve noticed that it comes from a parental figure.  I may be a cynic and who knows, I could be completely wrong, but I honestly do not think calling a parent is going to accomplish much.  It may, but obviously this is not the first, second or even third time he has repeated the exact offense.  What good did it do in the past?

Previously, this same bully has physically pushed Anne into a locker more than once.  He has shoved her in the hall while making his threats to do worse.  I would say that qualifies as assault under the district guidelines – Intentional physical contact with another person which may cause physical injury.  Yet this boy, this bully is still allowed to harass Anne and possibly other students.  He has been terrorizing her for years both verbally and physically, but is still permitted on school property.  How does this even make sense?  My heart breaks for her.  She deserves better.  She should not go to school in fear of what this kid, and at least one other, may do to her.

Could her parents transfer her from this school?  Definitely.  That may happen next year.  When they addressed this possibility with the principal, the reaction they received was not what I would expect.  They were told that this boy was only there for part of the day and very well may not attend next year.  The principal did mention they didn’t understand why they were having such issues with this specific boy.  Really?!  So it’s not just Anne who has to deal with him, but someone else?  This same principal informed Anne she should not let one kid hold power over her.  Excuse me, but when you are 10 years old and have gone through all the proper channels to report the abuse and nothing has come of it, how can you not feel defeated?  Quite honestly if I were in her shoes I would have quit reporting it ages ago.  What’s the point when the principal and administration REFUSE to act?

It’s puzzling to me how a school that has pushed bully awareness and advertised a zero tolerance policy in the past can let this happen. We live in a world post Columbine.  We now have school shooting drills in our schools.  We have police officers on campus even in our small town.  Why are we willing to take these steps but not willing to resolve the issues before they get to that point?  It really makes little sense to me.  Sure the police liaison will be contacting Christina due to the mention of killing Anne.  Again, why did it get this far?  Why is it that this boy has the right to terrorize his classmates?  Why is he allowed to disrupt their lives and threaten their ability to feel safe and secure at school?

So how do we handle it?  How would I have handled it if I were a school official?  I would have pulled the kid out of school before things escalated this far.  Until this is resolved he should not be allowed to continue terrorizing fellow students.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Some of you may argue the other side, and that is perfectly okay.  We are all entitled to our opinions.  My hope is that this spurs a conversation.  There has to be a better way of handling the bully epidemic because I can promise that the way it is being swept under the rug is not working.  For all we know the bully is dealing with some serious home issues.  That is completely possible.  Nevertheless, how can anyone help him if we continue to ignore the behavior?  How can we help Anne if we refuse to admit that this boy is a problem?

There really is no easy answer in this case.  Nor is it in my direct power to do anything.  If it were my daughter?  She would not attend this school going forward.  I would have pulled her even with only two weeks of school remaining.  Until we demand better for our kids nothing will change.  It is our duty as their parents to provide safe environments for them.    Is that really the best solution?  No.  It would protect her from this one bully but does not solve the problem across the board.  Yes, we will all encounter bullies throughout our lives and should be equipped to deal with them.  But no one should be forced to endure like Anne.  The policies set down by a school should be enforced.  All we have shown Anne, and those in her situation, is that rules mean nothing.  They are just put on paper to look good.  Is that really something we want to teach younger generations?

Not Worth Skipping…

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Not Worth Skipping…

As a parent there are certain issues I’ve known I would have to address at some point.  The same topics I’m sure my mom agonized over when I was young.  Those touchy subjects none of us really want to address with our kids.  I knew going into parenthood that I’d have to somehow address things like sex, marriage, death, religion and whatnot.  I wasn’t deluding myself, these questions would arise and I’d have to have an answer.

In society today our children are exposed to so much.  I’m not saying that’s good or bad.  I would say that in some cases it’s great, in others… not so much.  I love that my daughter has had the opportunity to learn about other cultures and I despise that my daughter has picked up the word “ain’t”.  As with anything, today’s media exposure can be both good and bad.

Recently my six-year-old daughter has been falling asleep around six each night.  She’s had a busy schedule and she’s growing, this really isn’t that surprising.  I would love to fall asleep at that hour if I could.  It hasn’t been much of a concern except she tends to miss dinner if we don’t wake her.  A few nights we’ve tried to get her up and she’s basically told us she would rather sleep.  Again, not a huge problem, she’s always been one to tell us if she’s hungry or not.  I have never force-fed my kids.  I have never worried about my daughter and food, until recently.

Yesterday we were driving the two hours home from our mini-vacation.  My six-year-old loves to talk.  She’s a girl and she’s six, of course she loves to talk.  In the midst of her latest story she pauses before saying; “So you know why I sometimes to go bed right after daycare? Without eating dinner?”  Both my husband and I responded with “because you’ve been tired.”  It seemed reasonable.  She just shook her head and informed us; “No, because I want to stay skinny.  I don’t want to get fat.”

My stomach dropped.  As I said before, I knew I’d have to discuss these tough topics with her at some point.  I just didn’t expect to be discussing body image issues with my very healthy six-year-old.  This is the same girl who prefers cucumbers over cookies, who swims at least once per week and spends most of her afternoons running around on a playground.  Weekends are spent at parks or the pool.  It is very rare for her to actually sit still.

To say I was upset would be putting it mildly.  I was truly horrified and heartbroken at the same time.  We asked her why she would think something like that was a good idea.  We discussed what happens to your body when you skip meals.  We talked about healthy food and habits.  She was her usual self and absorbed the information.  I hope she did and will be keeping a close eye on her going forward.  My last question to her was where she got such a notion.  She wouldn’t really give us a straight answer and I understand.  She’s never really been one to tattle, she doesn’t enjoy getting others in trouble.  What worries me is that there is someone of influence in her life who has given her this crazy idea.  Or worse, there is another girl at school who has the same thought.  At least now I can monitor her and help reinforce good eating habits, I worry for others who aren’t nearly as open as my daughter.

Last night after my family had gone to bed, I sat thinking about everything.  Was it my fault? Have I somehow failed her?  What can I do to fix it?  I ran from very positive to extremely negative thoughts on my parenting abilities.  I did what most parents do and blamed myself for not being a better parent.  It was when my thoughts turned worse that my darling daughter woke for a drink and ended up climbing on my lap.  We sat in our dark living room just cuddling for several minutes before she asked me to take her back to bed.  I wrapped her in her favorite blanket and tucked her back in for the night.  When turning to leave she asked me to cuddle her until she fell back asleep.  It was just what I needed to calm my busy mind.  We cuddled and both drifted off to a deep sleep.

Sitting here thinking about it today, I am much less negative.  I realize that no parent is perfect, parenting is an ‘on the job training’ career.  We do what we can and strive for the best, but we are all human and certainly make mistakes.  I am still very worried about whoever gave her this horrible idea.  Could it have come from television? Sure, except we don’t actually watch anything that focuses on that sort of topic.  We don’t have cable and the movies she watches are typically cartoons.  We don’t even have commercials on anything we do watch.  I have run through the majority of the shows she has seen and I can’t think of one that would focus on eating habits or weight.  This leaves me to those she interacts with outside of our home.

Did it come from school? Did it come from a friend of the family?  I’m not entirely sure on either.  It is absolutely possible, but the thought sickens me.  Whoever gave her the idea is obviously facing body image issues and I truly hope they find help.  This entire situation saddens me.  Our society has gotten so focused on body image that it’s causing serious damage to younger generations.  Do I agree that we have serious health issues in our country? Definitely.  But we need to focus less on the negative and more on positive reinforcement.

Our children should be carefree and happy, not paranoid about what they eat or getting fat.  They should be running around playing tag, not skipping meals.  They should be showing each other kindness and respect, not insulting one another.  It’s an epidemic of negativity and it’s causing more damage than many realize.  When I see post after post on Facebook about how fat or ugly people are, it breaks my heart.  I don’t want my daughter skipping meals to be skinny enough.  I want her to be active and make good food choices.  I don’t want my cousin to feel like she needs a breast enhancement to look pretty.  I want her to realize that she is a very beautiful girl without changing a thing.  Not that I have anything against breast enhancements or plastic surgery, I don’t.  My problem lies with young girls who think they have to have it done in order to live up to outside expectations.

It’s a terribly vain society we live in these days.  The negativity is like a disease and infects so many.  It may start with one person but then spreads.  Rather than spreading damaging thoughts, we need to be spreading encouragement.  We could all learn a lesson from Thumper – ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t’ say nothing at all.’

Half Sized Pillows and Under the Bed Candy…

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Half Sized Pillows and Under the Bed Candy…

This past weekend we spent with my in-laws who live roughly two and a half hours away in this very small town.  Now, I live in a small town, but I’m able to drive 15-20 minutes away to a larger town.  My in-laws? Not so much.  Their town has maybe three inhabitable hotels, and I’m using the term inhabitable loosely.  We don’t travel there very often, and probably should, but when we do there is one specific hotel that I feel is acceptable.  Again, I use the term acceptable very loosely.  Basically of the three options, it’s the only one I really allow.  It’s mostly clean and they have a pool that doesn’t freak me out too much.  Of course, wherever we go it’s required to have a pool – my daughter is a swimmer and she is much happier when she can swim.

So a few weeks ago my husband calls and reserves our room.  Our family isn’t huge, it’s my husband and I plus our two kids.  You’d think a normal sized room would be fine right? Wrong.  Typically we rent two room suite type rooms.  We like to have the option to put our son down for his nap and still watch TV or play board games.  Having a two room suite makes this much easier.  Well every time we call this specific hotel they state their suite is not available.  Truthfully? I don’t think they have one.  I mean, how can it be unavailable year round in a town that really has very few overnight visitors?!  Anyway, my husband makes the reservation and we’re good to go.  Our daughter will have her pool and I won’t cringe too much when I go to bed at night.

A few days prior to our trip, my father-in-law informs my husband that the whole hotel is under construction and they’ve taken out the pool.  What?! So not only do I get the joy of dealing with construction sounds, but my daughter won’t have a pool either.  Greeatt… I know I’m sounding like a total spoiled brat, but I like to be comfortable when we travel.  I have enough issues as it stand I don’t want to worry about extra noise and lack of entertainment for my kiddo.  At this point, I’m not looking forward to the whole hotel experience at all.

Friday night we roll up to the hotel.  My husband handles the whole check in process for multiple reasons.  One being he’s from the town and tends to know people.  I’m sure another reason is simply because I can get a bit annoyed when things don’t go well.  Anyway, he checks in and gets us a killer rate because the pool is out of commission.  Of course when he tells me this I’m all ‘well they should have told you that when you made the reservation… ‘  Not that it would have changed our choice in hotel, but I had to complain anyway.  The things my husband puts up with I swear.

I’m sure he knows I’m totally annoyed, I’ve never been one to hide my moods, so he sends me up with our son while he and our daughter load the luggage cart.  I get into the room, situate my son and go about my normal inspection.  I check the shower and bathroom area – all clean.  I check the sink and see no sight of grossness left over from the previous guest.  Then I move to the bed.  What the hell? Each bed has four pillows.  Normal right?  Sure, but these pillows were no bigger than my throw pillows.  Who the hell sleeps on a throw pillow?!  I take a deep breath and think ‘it’s fine, I have my pillow in the car’… Except I didn’t.  I had forgotten my pillow.  Lovely.  Just lovely.

My husband and daughter turn up and we unload our bags.  At this point our son has decided he really needs a nap, so my husband takes our daughter and heads up to visit his dad.  I get our son into his playpen for his nap and think it’s a perfect time for me to lie down and relax.  I pulled out one of those half sized pillows and proceed to get comfortable.  The minute I place my head on the pillow I can smell some awful plastic/rubbery smell.

So am I sounding entirely spoiled?  Yeah, I probably am, but you need to understand a few things.  First, I have cleaned hotel rooms as a job, I know exactly how things should be done and how to tell if they weren’t.  I also know how gross people are when they stay in hotels.  Add that to my strange phobias and you’ve got a nasty imagination taking over.  I imagine just how many skin flakes have fallen from previous guests.  I imagine how many bodily fluids have hit those comforters and just absorbed into the material.  I know how infrequently said comforters are washed and let me tell you, that thought could give a person nightmares.  Second, I am super sensitive to smells.  Perfumed anything can give me one hell of a migraine.  The smell of rubber makes me sick to my stomach and I don’t even use Ziploc bags for my food because they make it smell like plastic.

Now that you know all this, imagine just how excited I am to be staying in a hotel with half sized pillows that smell like plastic and rubber, on a comforter that has likely seen twenty previous guests.  Yeah, panic attack here I come!  I try really hard to rest.  I had just had surgery two days prior and could use the rest.  I needed to rest while my son slept.  By some miracle I was able to fall asleep.

Later that evening, while my husband caught up with local friends and family, I stayed at the hotel with some cranky children.  My son just had to get into everything.  He slammed drawers on his fingers, threw remote controls, he was everywhere.  My daughter was whiny because we didn’t have a pool and she was tired and there was nothing on TV.  Me? Oh I was just peachy 😉

My son decides it’s a good time to crawl halfway under the bed.  Great, I have minimal use of my right leg and my son could get himself stuck under the bed at any time.  Lovely.  Thankfully he backs himself out.  I’m thinking ‘yay!’ until I see why he crawled under the bed in the first place.  There, in his tiny 1-year-old hands is a Werther’s Original candy coated completely in dust and all those under the bed ickies.  (Yes I did just use the word ickies).  Inside I’m freaking out.  I’m calculating just how many germs are on that thing, how many people may have touched it and just how long it had been under the bed.  Not to mention, the fact that it was indeed under the bed, what else have the maids missed??  It’s a horrible moment in my world.  I manage to maintain composure and snatch the horrid thing from my son, toss it in the trash and head for the sink with my kiddo to scrub his hands and face.  Decontamination took only a few moments but I fear I may be scarred for life…

The rest of my weekend was full of some great family time with my in-laws.  We had a blast with Easter Eggs and showing them how to play games on the iPad.  While I may not appreciate the hotels in this small town my husband once called home, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the company.

 

Lack of Internet…

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My world pretty much revolves around having internet or cell phone access – I don’t deny that in the least bit.  At home we have three Xbox360’s, three desktop computers, my laptop, two PS3’s, a Roku box and two Western Digital Live Streaming players, an iPad and a Kindle all connected to our network for some reason or another.  Whether that be Netflix, Spotify or just internet surfing – they all require an internet connection.  Granted, not all at the same time, but you get the picture.

Monday morning we lost internet connection entirely.  My husband ended up on the phone for a rather long time trying to resolve the issue.  Sadly, no one could pinpoint what was causing the problem.  You know it’s bad when they say ‘well I show you have connection’ and you don’t… At first I wasn’t concerned.  Usually if we have an outage things are back up and running fairly fast.  So the husband and I took off for lunch and some shopping.

When we returned home, I think we were both expecting things to be back in action.  We were wrong.  The husband got back on the phone to check on the progress.  He was informed it’d be about 48 hours before things were fixed.  This was my reaction…

  • Husband: So they said 48 hours.
  • Me:  *blink* *blink* …what the hell?!
  • Husband: Yep, that’s what they said.
  • Me: No that can’t be right…. Nope.. I don’t accept that.

See, without internet I can’t blog, look up cool things on Pinterest, watch Netflix!  I can’t plan my Girl Scout meetings or the next baking project without patterns or recipes.  Hell I can’t even look up new ideas for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse!  The internet is like my ESPN for the sports nut during NFL playoffs.  Is that bad?  Probably… but the fact remains I was none too happy.  I was about five minutes from packing the kids up and heading to my parents’ house since their internet access was perfectly fine.  Instead, what do I do?  The next best thing, grab my iPhone and post about it on Facebook.

My Status Update:

For the first time in years we have NO Internet at home… I’m not sure what to do now… I really hope they fix it tomorrow!!

The comments from my friends:

  1. I picture you guys sitting in a circle staring at each other in silence…
  2. Reminds me of when the power went out in the trailer and mom would bust out the lamp.
  3. OMG this is life just a few short years ago!  You’re cracking me up 🙂
  4. It really is too funny! I can’t imagine you guys without internet. Hahaha!
  5. Lol uh oh

 And the comment from a fellow daycare mom:

Your husband works in IT and you have no internet?  Isn’t that what you have him for?

I love how well my friends know me.  It really does crack me up.  Now, is it the end of the world that I had a major lack of internet?  No, not by any means.  Was it a huge pain in my behind?  Hell yes!  I have a very hard time with anything that doesn’t work, let alone the internet.

On the other hand, the lack of internet did give me a good opportunity to watch regular TV and remind myself why I love Netflix and DVR content.  I really dislike commercials.  Five minutes of a show then 20 minutes of commercials… That really doesn’t fit into my busy life.  It also gave me a chance to start the new book I bought while we were on our family ‘vacation’ this past weekend.  I say vacation loosely but that’s an entirely different posting.

While the lack of internet was a total disappointment, I survived the night and had high hopes it would be back up and running the next day.  While at work the next morning the husband called up our ISP.  According to their records, the ticket had been resolved and closed.  My reaction: WOOHOO!  That is until the husband went home to check on it…

The ticket had been listed as resolved and closed… yet we had no internet.  Gotta love it.  FINALLY he managed to get in touch with a tech in our area.  By Tuesday afternoon we had access once again.  Thank the tech gods.  So far we’ve had no additional issues, but that may be due to the sacrificed goat I offered to the tech gods on Wednesday… Maybe…

Mindful Mentoring…

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Hey everyone.  Sorry for the HUGE wait between posts.  I’ve had so much going on in my life recently, I just haven’t had time to sit down and write.  I hope it doesn’t happen again, but I make no promises.  I do promise to update as frequently as possible 🙂

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So the other day I logged into Facebook to see a post from my 13-year-old niece.

‘I’m so sick of hearing about gays. It’s dumb that stupid people bully them just because they think it’s wrong. Ya well u may think its wrong but Obviously there a lot more wrong with u If u have nothing better to do than bully. Millions of teens commit suicide because of people bullying hem because there gay. Honestly if u can hurt someone bad enough to make them put a riffle to their head your the problem. Not them. Like if u agree’

As I read this I couldn’t help but smile.  I’m so very proud of her.  No, I’m not going to take a stance on the Gay rights issue… at least not in this posting 😉  I’m proud because at 13 she was brave enough to not only stand up for what she believes, but to do so on such a controversial topic.   I don’t know many adults who are willing to do the same.  For that, I can’t help but say ‘Good Job Kiddo’.

Of course by posting it she opened one hell of a can of worms.  One of the very first responses was from her great-aunt:

‘Did you learn that in school? …. People get bullied for being fat…so far I have seen no one come on and scream at people that there is nothing wrong wth being fat. People get bullied for being shy…so far I have seen no one come on and scream at people that there is nothing wrong with being shy. Everyone is open to intimidation – we all have something someone does not like — glasses, braces, etc. Why do you narrow your venting at bullies by protecting the gay agenda. If they want to be gay–fine, their choice, but is it yours? A bully is a bully and when you are in school there are a lot of them. You should speak out against bullies not try and make everyone gay. It makes you the bullypulpit of the “gay agenda” and makes these kids their poster child. It is not just gays that commit suicide. Where did you get that millions of gay teens commit suicide? — the demographics of the US show that there are 4.3 million gays, lesbian and bisexual in the total population.’

Initial reaction?  ‘What the hell?! Where does she get off?!’  Among other profanity laced statements.  I was angry… I was irate and likely to go on one heck of a tirade.  Thankfully, I had other things to do that limited my ability to respond.  I think it’s often good to take a step back before lashing out on Facebook.  Had I responded at that very minute, I’d have likely made a complete ass of myself.   I am glad I had a chance to just sit back and actually formulate a response.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion and their beliefs.  That’s not the issue here, at least not for me.  The issue is that this full-grown adult has chastised my 13-year-old niece for voicing her opinion.  As adults, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, role models we need to encourage our children to think for themselves.  We want them to stand up for what they believe in, whether or not we agree.  I understand there are people who don’t support Gay rights.  I know that, but should we as adults really be reprimanding younger generations when they finally do take a stance?  How are they ever going to learn to think and function on their own if we don’t allow them the opportunity?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard adults complain that ‘kids these days just don’t believe in anything…’ or ‘they’re so damned irresponsible…’  We complain about it but the moment one of these ‘kids’ takes a chance to voice their thoughts, they are shut down or adults try to prove them wrong.  It’s a sad situation.  In this case, my niece wasn’t necessarily accurate in her statement of ‘Millions of teens…’ but that wasn’t her point.  She wasn’t logging in and posting absolute hard set facts on Facebook.  No, she simply saw a problem that struck a chord with her.  She was bringing to light something she felt was a problem in the world.  She’s 13 and while I’m somewhat biased, I have to say I’ve never been prouder of her… and I wasn’t the only one.

Following the over critical post, her friends and family rallied behind her.  The majority of the family stepped in to inform this woman that while she may not agree with my niece, she shouldn’t bash her for standing up for what she believes.  It was great to see so many people just as upset as I was over the situation.  As with all things in Facebook, it escalated.  Words were exchanged and emotions were raw.  Parenting was criticized and tempers flared.  Finally when I had a moment to actually respond, I had come to the conclusion there was really nothing left to be said.  My niece was defended by a good portion of her family.  The great-aunt had managed to make herself look bad all on her own.

My response started with nothing but praise and pride for my niece.  I am very proud of her for standing up for something she believes in, right or wrong.  To the great-aunt I simply stated that I truly feel sorry for her.  Her posts were full of hateful words and I cannot fathom being filled with such negative emotions.  I did suggest that next time she felt the need to be so negative she keep her mouth shut.  Her tirade achieved nothing but making herself look bad.

In the end, I remain excessively proud of my niece and look forward to watching her grow as a person.  She’s an amazing girl with a good head on her shoulders.  I hope that going forward she continues to formulate her own opinions, thoughts and beliefs.  I hope that she realizes just how important it is to stand up for what you believe, whether or not everyone around you does.   I hope that she knows just how strong and brilliant she truly is and how much we adore her.