Monday, April 30, 2012

It Looks Like a Stripper Threw Up in Here

I've been threatening to write this post for awhile.  I've decided to just jump in with both feet and share my honest opinion(like you ever had any doubt).

Kids' rooms.  What.the.hell?  I remember the days of Strawberry Shortcake and Carebears and when Barbie was more of a plastic doll and less of a slut. 

Let's start with a very special word with which everyone should familiarize themselves:  appropriate.  In short it means "suitable or proper in the circumstances."  I like "proper" because it makes me think all Sense and Sensibility or Queen Elizabeth or something. 

When I think proper for a baby girl's room or a toddler girl's room I think pretty colors (not necessarily pink or even pastel), educational and stimulating toys, lots of books, and soft things upon which to lie/sit/drool.

This is not the present trend though, as far as I can tell.*Disclaimer:  I am basing all of this on what I see on Facebook and Pinterest...oh, and maybe Housewives of Somewhere-or-another.*

Now that we are all familiar with the word "appropriate" let's lay down some basic rules/review some tips for decorating your children's rooms so that you won't be bailing your daughter out of jail/pulling her down off a stage (eh-hem, the kind with a pole) anytime soon.

1.  Animal prints should be used in moderation.  Okay, so I love a good zebra print or even a giraffe from time to time (synthetic of course, get off my back PETA).  However, you don't want it to look like a full-on African safari in there.  I mean, hey, what's more cuddly than a bunch of skinned animals, but let's save those for birthday parties and t-ball games, k? 

Sidenote:  I have to mention that I have a good friend whose daughter, 9, has one of the loveliest uses of zebra print in her bedroom.  So props to you, AH, for knowing how to not go overboard when decorating and for raising a delightful, classy little girl. 

2.  Feathers are actually kind of icky if you think about it.  Seriously, whenever I see feathers being used on wedding cakes, centerpieces, etc I always get icked out.  That was stuck in a bird, you know.  Would you want me to pull out several handfuls of my hair for you to use as decorations?  No?  It's kind of the same thing except that I wash my hair more frequently than most people wash their birds.  I hope.

How does this apply to baby rooms?  People are constantly covering things in marabou.  Marabou is a stork that apparently has some of the loveliest, fluffiest feathers somewhere on its storky body.  So, I guess it's kind of appropriate if you believe children are delivered via bird.  Otherwise, take that dust-catching, tacky frame off your baby's changing table and hit yourself in the head with it.  Now you have some sense.

3.  Google stripper clothes.  Do the colors that you see on any of these website match the colors or prints in your child's bedroom?  If yes, you have chosen poorly, so go back to Lowe's and pick out something more suitable for a baby girl to look at every time she awakens from her precious baby slumber.  Do not, in the alternative, assume that stripper clothes have gotten classier.  They have not. 

4.  If when you step into the room you can see more than four be-dazzled items you have gone overboard.  Frankly, I think more than one be-dazzled item for a baby's room is too much, but that's just me.  You know that sparkly things look delicious to babies and they come off pretty easily.  Choking hazard!

5.  Does any of the furniture look like it belongs in the lounge of a swanky hotel or seedy gentlemen's club?  Remove said item immediately and get something your kid won't either slide off of or stick to.  Gross.  What is wrong with you?

6.  If you have committed anywhere from 2 to 5 of the previously enumerated errors, just go ahead and buy a pole for your child's bedroom because you may be raising a stripper.

Nothing against strippers, I hear it's good money.  But I don't want my babies rolling around in glitter and wearing clear light-up shoes any time soon. 

Well, the Devil takes many forms, they say.  Mickey Mouse is one of them.  Claire has recently become quite addicted to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  She sings along with the songs and dances.  It's cute, I guess.  At least it's not Caillou.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jealousy Ain't Just a River in Egypt...Wait, That's Not Right

A few weeks ago I had an experience with another mother that, well, rubbed me the wrong way.  I've been considering whether or not to blog about we go...

So, while at a gathering of children and adults Claire was having a great time hanging out with a child that is older than she is; more than twice her age, actually.  Claire loves this little girl, I mean loves her.  She wants to wear the clothes and shoes she wears, play with the toys she plays with, eat the food she get the idea.  If you asked her, she'd probably say she wants to be her when she grows up. 

I'm sure this isn't exactly the best time for the older child, though.  We'll call her Amelia*.  Claire's little.  She sort of understands sharing and taking turns.  She mostly just says, "Amelia's turn."  Then cries until it's her turn again. She'll do it, but she doesn't have to like it.  I'm sure Claire's not that much fun to play with, but Amelia graciously indulges her.  They play house, dolls, hide-n-seek, torture the cats, and all sorts of other fun games.

So, in the midst of Amelia and Claire playing/fighting/running amuck another mother(not Amelia's) says to me, "Wow, Claire's really has a jealousy thing with Amelia, doesn't she."  See how there's no question mark at the end of this?  It's not a question, it's a statement. 

I didn't really know how to respond to this statement.  It seemed all at once condescending, hateful, off-base, and just down-right mean.  The word "jealous" has such negative connotations.  Claire's not jealous of Amelia.  She looks up to her.  She's her hero and her mentor.  Claire wants Amelia to be her bestest friend in the whole wide world forever and ever and ever.  She's not jealous of her though.  Can a 2 year old even be jealous?  This implies a level of cognition that I don't think we gain until young adulthood.

So, as the day continued, this mom proceeded to scold my child for "crowding" Amelia when Claire wanted to sit next to her and the like.  I had to take a few deep breaths.

I'm not sure why this got under my skin so much, but it did.  I guess the moral of the story is to be careful how you word things when talking to people about their children.  Is this really a lesson that any of us need, though?

Frankly, I would never say to a friend or an enemy that their child was jealous of mine, or anyone else's child for that matter.  A statement like this seems to be more of a projection than an observation.  Keep the kids out of it, please. 

I feel like I often hear other parents criticizing kids when what they really want to do is criticize the other parents and their parenting.  Own it.  If you're going to be that person that criticizes another mom or dad, do it, but don't try to back into by saying something about the kid. 


Wow, Sally is really aggressive.  Translation:  I can't believe you're letting your child push the other kids around in the sandbox.

Has Danny always been so loud?  Translation:  Can't you keep your kid quiet?

Jenny really likes animals doesn't she?  Translation:  Your kid is weird and keeps harassing my pet.

At any rate, I'm not sure what the other mother was implying when she made her comment about Claire, but whatever it was, it was neither correct, nor any of her business.  She is most certainly not jealous of another child unless that child lives with Caillou, himself...then she might be a smidge jealous. 

Thanks blog-o-sphere for letting me get that out of my system.  You're a gem.

Stay tuned for my next post...I'm writing about children's rooms that look like strip clubs...get excited! 

*Name changed to protect the innocent.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Better Late Than Never and Lessons Learned on the Road to Texas

Alright, alright, I know I haven't posted anything in awhile...okay since March.  I've been supremely busy.  I will now enumerate why I have been busy so you will feel like an a-hole for making me feel guilty for not posting.

1.  We moved.  That's pretty much the whole list.  We didn't just move across town though.  We moved to a whole different state.  A whole different country, if you will, e.g. Texas. 

I must say that Texas is lovely this time of year, which I'm told makes up for the fact that it is unbearably hot for the rest of the year. 

So far we have celebrated Easter in style with my sister and her family(niece projectile vomited Easter breakfast onto floor, couch, Claire's new swimming suit, possibly the cat), moved into our new digs(we have a pool, yay!), dined on the local fair(Chick-fil-A and In-n-Out Burger), and visited local landmarks(DFW airport, Super Target, and Love Field).  I'd say we're enjoying it.

The move hasn't been too bad for the wee chubby one, but for the rest of us, it's been a different story.  Claire has really been taking this whole terrible 2s thing seriously.  I think she's spent more time in time-out than she has doing anything else.  It wasn't easy on me either.

First, there was the whole leaving-of-the-old-house.  It was really hard on me.  I cried several times when I thought about the fact that this was the house where I brought home my babies.  This was the house where Claire took her first steps, said her first words, and all manner of other firsts.  It was the first house that Rob and I made our home together.  Sure we lived a couple of places before this, but they seemed like other people's houses.  This house felt like we made it our own.

I'm a sap.  What can I say?  It was rough and it didn't help that the radio station was apparently sent a memo about me leaving and proceeded to play songs that made me all weepy.  It was ridiculous.   

The girls and I left before Rob and before all of our belongings so at least I didn't have to see it empty.

So, we stopped off in Joplin for the weekend/beginning of the next week so that my mother could ride to Texas with us for visiting and assisting/child rangling.  Yes, rangling is a word.

Whilst in JoMo I had the opportunity to assist with and attend a great benefit concert for a wonderful little boy named Chandler who is the son of one of my closest friends from elementary/middle/high school.  Chandler was born with a heart defect and the concert raised money to help with his medical bills. 

After driving 4 hours with my crazy children the day before, this was the best medicine for a haggard mother.  During the concert(which was put on by a local gospel quartet at a huge-mongous church) one parishioner stood up to offer a blessing and said something so simple, but so profound.  He was in his 90s so just being out and about was pretty impressive.  He said that he was often caught up with the sadness that he felt for himself and his family's trials and tribulations, but after hearing Chandler's story he wondered what he had to feel so sorry for himself about. 

At that moment I felt like a big jerk.  Just the day before I had been driving through the heart of Missouri on a gorgeous spring day, sun shining, with my two healthy girls in my newish car, on my way to get my hair done, eat dinner with friends, ultimately move to a new state and a new home, and crying like a fool.  What did I have to be feeling so sad about?  Not a damn (you can't swear and talk about church in the same post) darn thing.  I'm more than lucky. 

Our old house didn't keep all those firsts and memories, I took them with me.  They aren't packed in boxes, wrapped in tissue paper, or even tucked neatly into a suitcase.  They're in my heart, Rob's silly laugh, in my daughters' eyes, and their beautiful smiles.

We'll make more memories in Texas.  I'm sure they'll be huge.  You know what they say: everything is bigger in Texas.

Just as I thought TV was history(because our cable took forever to be installed and because we don't have Sprout in our subscription), it pulled the old switcheroo.  We have Sprout OnDemand.  Are you kidding me?  You mean all I have to do is press a button and I have Caillou 24 hours a day?  Nothing good can come of this.  Luckily, I think the pool and the playground within walking distance will keep us out of the least for awhile.