Friday, March 27, 2015

About this parenting thing...

I'm actually going to do it, you guys.

I'm actually going to write this book.

I spent quite a while outlining it yesterday and started on a few of the chapters.

I've been asked quite a few times to write a book on parenting, and so that's just what I'll do. My goal is to write a practical book with realistic advice for parents based on my years of experience and observation. It will be real and honest and funny, and hopefully, it will be useful.

Here's your chance to tell me what you wish you'd known when you started having your kids!

It's possible that I will start the book with pregnancy and go all the way through the teenage years, but I may opt to begin with birth rather than discussing all the pregnancy and childbirth related topics....unless you think that would be valuable information to include.

I was talking with a friend about this, and it's likely that the book will have a slight slant in the direction of gentle parenting, just since that is the way I lean.

My primary goal, though, is to avoid doing what most of the parenting books out there tend to do - preach. I'm not a preacher. I'm not ever going to tell you that one way is the right way. I'm not ever going to tell you that there is one way to raise a child.

Every parent is different.
Every child is different.
Every family unit is different.
Every situation is different.

I'm planning to share what we've learned over the years, what worked for us and what didn't and what we wish we had known.

Here are some of the topics I have been asked to talk specifically about:

- baby gear you actually need and everything you don't
- navigating public school when your child doesn't fit the mold
- parenting children with mental health concerns and being a parent with issues of my own
- realistic advice for nursing newborns
- adjusting to the second (or fifth...) baby
- sleep strategies
- making baby food
- documenting milestones/photography tips
- babywearing and cloth diapering
- working with reluctant readers
- tips to manage adhd
- talking to teenagers about the "hard stuff"
- fostering independence

Are there any other specific issues you'd like to read about?


This is actually going to happen you guys.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Be The Change - A Guest Post by Kimmie Arnold

Every so often, I ask if there is anyone who would like to submit something here as a guest post. The following piece came from a fan and friend named Kimmie Arnold. She is passionate about this topic and I'm pretty sure that she would shout it from the rooftops if she could. 

In a message she sent me, she said this: My goal, my mission and my hope is to help be the change this world we live in needs.

She has a Facebook Page called Kimmie's Krochet Shop and plans to soon begin selling crocheted friendship bracelets to go along with her goal. Please check her out!

After plenty of observation on social media, news outlets and everyday life...I have come to the following conclusions:

1. There are a lot of really negative people in this world. 

Someone posts a cute or funny picture or video of their child or animal and I can guarantee that there will be numerous people who will in some way shape or form make a negative remark about how said parent/owner is abusing, neglecting or torturing their child/animal. Seriously, some people need to get a sense of humor. I think goodwill sells them...

2. Parenting a child of any age is difficult, trying, emotional and scary.

Babies do not come with owner's manuals and most of us are learning as we go. Offering advice when asked is AWESOME, it really does take a village to raise the future generation, but I've seen so many people be attacked for their parenting techniques it's INSANE. People need to learn to stop jumping to conclusions and judging other parents. People need to quit being so damn harsh.

No one is perfect, we will all make mistakes and not one person or child is living the same story as the next. We all struggle in some way whether it's emotionally, mentally or physically. Each and every person is one of a kind. Rather than judging the parent with the screaming child in the store try to understand them, help them or maybe even pray for them.

Seriously friends, I challenge you all to be the change this world needs. I challenge you to be more supportive and understanding of strangers you see in the store, at the park or any where else. Our society needs a HUGE make over and that can only happen if people are willing to stand up and make a difference! 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Things That Piss Me Off - The Indiana edition

I was going to add this to the list of the other things this week, but decided that it deserved its own post. As I did when Arizona passed similar legislation, I wanted to name names.

Legislate discrimination, I'll call you on it.

Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill in Arizona, but in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence has already said that he will sign it.


If you haven't heard, Indiana SB 101 would make it legal for business owners to refuse service to customers on the basis of religion. Written in the heavily GOP controlled Indiana State Senate, the bill passed the House yesterday.

Here are the elected House representatives who voted for SB 101.

Lloyd Arnold
Michael Aylesworth
Ron Bacon
Jim Baird
Robert Behning
Bruce Borders
Brian Bosma
Mike Braun
Tom Brown
Woody Burton
Martin Carbaugh
Bob Cherry
Tony Cook
Casey Cox
Wes Culver
Steve Davisson
Thomas Dermody
Dale DeVon
Bill Fine
William Friend
David Frizzell
Randy Frye
Doug Gutwein
Dick Hamm
Tim Harman
Bob Heaton
Christopher Judy
Mike Karickhoff
Eric Koch
Don Lehe
Dan Leonard
Jim Lucas
Kevin Mahan
Peggy Mayfield
Jud McMillin
Wendy McNamara
Doug Miller
Alan Morrison
Robert Morris
Sharon Negele
Curt Nisly
David Ober
Julie Olthoff
John Price
Rhonda Rhoads
Kathy Richardson
Donna Schaibley
Hal Slager
Ben Smaltz
Milo Smith
Edmund Soliday
Mike Speedy
Greg Steuerwald
Holli Sullivan
Jeff Thompson
Jerry Torr
Randy Truitt
Matt Ubelhor
Heath VanNatter
Thomas Washburne
Tim Wesco
Dennis Zent
Cindy Ziemke

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the I skipped a week again edition

Good lord, I have become such a flake. I completely missed writing this post last week, and didn't even realize that I'd skipped it for a few days afterwards.

I blame this energy sucker.

Seriously, though, it's fine. I highly doubt that I'll ever look back on this time in my life and regret that week where I forgot to bitch about first world problems. I would, however, be much more inclined to wish for another lazy morning hanging out with that guy.

It's all good.

Speaking of which, that guy...he's growing up entirely too fast for my taste. As I type this, he's sleeping. In his crib.


At some point, he decided that he adores his crib. I have been putting him in at at night (well, the first part of the night anyhow) for a couple of weeks now since he's too big for the cradle. He doesn't cry or fuss at all, just sighs then rolls over and goes right to sleep. Today is the first time I put him in there for a nap, and he's snoozing.

This kid. Doesn't he realize that he's supposed to stay my snuggly little bean for as long as I want him to?

Apparently not.


I should write about some of the things pissing me off. Some of these are leftovers from last week, some of them are new. Off we go.

The Televised Town Hall Meetings
I just should stop attempting to watch any of the current events shows that run on weekend mornings. I used to live for this shit - get all riled up and yell at the tv. It used to be a fairly decent format to get a feeling for elected representatives and those who were running, to see them in a less structured environment where their real personalities and biases tend to show themselves a bit more. It used to be.

It appears that the 2016 Presidential race is already on, much to my dismay, and rather than have talking heads debating the pluses and minuses of potential candidates, more and more of these shows are utilizing the town hall format. I can't honestly tell you which channel it was, and it was either two weeks ago or three, but the town hall meeting that was on the television got me so pissed off that I got out of bed, shook my head at my husband and left the room.

He giggled, of course.

The topic of this town hall meeting was ISIS, the room filled with the prototypical Americans (or whatever this network deemed to be the average person), and the level of ignorance displayed was just mindblowing. People who have no qualms displaying their racism, their biases, their hatred of entire portions of the world, all playing out on television that, oh yeah by the way, gets televised anywhere. Seriously, people, this is why we have so many enemies out there.

This kind of television, in my opinion, is dangerous. It feeds the ignorance. It's not like they had someone there to sit in as the voice of reason, someone to point out the aggressions steeped in almost every major religion, someone to point out our role in the past, someone to remind people that there is a reason that intelligence is classified, someone to caution those with a microphone about the effect their words might have.

The average person isn't making decisions about international security for a reason.

Speaking of Presidential Elections...
Am I wrong to sort of want people to go on birther tangents with Ted Cruz too? I mean, I know it won't happen for a few reasons, but c'mon you guys....we could make it happen.

Just kidding.

Disclaimer: I do not support those who seek to try and disqualify people from running for the office of the President with asinine tactics like that, regardless of which party they belong to.

Damn high road.


I read something somewhere that said that if turnout was higher, Democrats would always win. So let's show up this time, you guys...or all the federal money that should be funneled into rebuilding bridges and roads will be used to build border fences and paranoia instead.

The Complicated Issue of Fetal Homicide
The tragic events that took place here last week have reopened this can of worms. In this state, a person cannot be charged with murder for the death of an unborn child, regardless of intent and manner of death. It's all twisted up in legalese because of personhood advocates and the abortion issue. 

Essentially, there is a push here to proclaim a fetus a person, and depending on the version of the movement, some would start that term application at conception. It's not part of some way to ensure that the law can go after people who murder babies like what happened last week, it's a way to try and prohibit abortion, even at the earliest gestations.

Why can't people be reasonable about this stuff? For the love.

A person isn't a person when it can't live independently of the mother. An unborn child killed in the last trimester is at the point where it could certainly have lived independently of the mother.

It's not as though there is a huge wave of women in their last trimester of pregnancy rushing out to get abortions. At that point in a pregnancy, the vast majority of terminations that ever happen are done purely for medical reasons anyway.

Anyway, my point is that it should not be considered all or nothing. A ball of cells in the early weeks is not equivalent to a 34 week fetus intentionally cut from the womb of its mother, but those who try and equate them are the ones making this such a muddy legal issue. They are, of course, turning around and trying to blame the pro-choice community for the issue.

Can we not do this??? Can we, for one second, think rationally about what laws make sense instead of trying to make some broad stroke point that defies logic? Can we stop fighting for a moment and realize that there is a mother mourning the death of her child at the hands of someone else, and that the idea that the only thing standing between her and a murder charge is arguments yelled from atop soapboxes?

If you cut a child out of another human being, it should be murder.

And we shouldn't even be talking about abortion.

The hearing has been pushed to later this week, presumably because they are still trying to decide what she can be charged with, and whether she can be charged with murder.

Hemophilia and Incest
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm going here.

An ABC show last week said that hemophilia is a "nasty byproduct of incest".

No. No it's not. What the hell?

It is an inherited disorder, passed down in the X (male) chromosome and runs in families consequently, but has nothing to do with incest.

Yes, I know that Secrets and Lies is a television show, a fictional one. Yes, I know that television is supposed to be entertaining and it isn't real. Yeah, I know.

But seriously, who approves this shit? Who at the network thought this was a good idea?

Signs that the Proposition process has gone off the rails...
One of the most interesting things about the state of California is the Proposition process written into the state Constitution. Giving ordinary citizens the right to draft laws that elected officials won't write, it has set the state up for many contentious legal issues in the past.

It's an extraordinary way for individuals to have a say in how they are governed, certainly.

What is going on right now, though, perhaps is a sign that there should be some kind of filter slapped on the process. Or something. At least a check for whether someone is trying to legalize murder. SOMETHING.

There is an attorney in California who has written a proposition that would make killing gay people legal.

Nope, you didn't read that wrong.

Due to the way the proposition process works, there is nothing that can be done to stop it, and it will likely be put to a vote if it can garner the necessary number of signatures to be put on the ballot.

Shakes head. Bangs head on keyboard. Throws stuff.

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Ain't There Yet, a guest post from anonymous

One of the most amazing things about doing what I do here is that other people trust me enough to tell their stories.

It's easily one of the most humbling aspects as well.

Today, I will share one of those stories with you all.

This story came to me from someone that I've come to know over the past few years. Someone that I've come to more than know, someone that I've come to love and respect deeply. 

In our society, we talk almost constantly about how difficult parenting is, we argue incessantly about whether it is or should be considered a job, we fight with each other over seemingly every single aspect of it and all it entails.

What we so often don't seem to realize while we're busy screaming at each other through our keyboards is that there are parents like the one who wrote this piece. Parents who can barely hold all the pieces of their lives together, who would give anything for a moment to argue with a stranger over something of small significance. Parents who need help from a system that just isn't designed for them. 

There are pieces of this story not included here that you may deem relevant, the full picture isn't presented here by any means. As for what that leaves you with, I'm not sure. I suppose (assume, in fact) that you will all draw your own conclusions about what you are reading, and that is human nature. Know, though, that this isn't the full picture and it's not your place to judge, nor is it mine...but we all need to realize that there are parents out there in this place. They are parents that you know and I know and they need help, they need support, they need shoulders to cry on and safe places to vent. 

With so much love and respect, her words. 

Nobody sees the mess behind these walls. I don't let them in. Not just a physical mess, that I have cleaned, the emotional mess, the tyranny, the tears. The yelling. Reserve the right to judge leave your butt hurt at the door, this is my life, not yours. You have your opinions that's fine. 

Keep them for just a moment please, we ain't there yet.

There are holes in my walls, knives are missing, I wear all my jewelry. 4 rings 1 necklace. The rest was stolen, sold, given away. There are no video games, anymore. Sorry no way to start a fire either. We were there for a minute, we ain't going back.

I buy my groceries a day at a time, or I'm feeding the neighbors while me and mine go hungry, everything thing I like in life is hidden in my car or my sister's away from me, I can't enjoy them before the disappear. Never carry cash, keep an eye on your purse. 

Watch the cat. He's an asshole

Yes I am quite guarded, unemotional. Unhappy. Sad. I own that, I've been through hell. In my days, I've survived being beaten drugged stabbed hated abandoned. I've dug my own grave. I walked away from all that, and then some. I have a tiara I wear it when I mop, why? Because I can. 

But this isn't about me. This is about him.

4'5" 94lbs and 9 years of full bodied mental illness. He's so sick. And I hate that. He's getting "better".

We ain't there yet.

He set fire to my house and killed his sister all in one week, and went right back to watching Blues Clues. 

He melts down and calms down with out any notice, there are no indicators or blinking lights alarms don't sound, he just goes rageangerviolencecursingcryingsobbingthrowingscreamingkickingpunchingsuicidethreatsattemptsvoicessayingkillkillkill.... 

Then. Calm.

Mommy I love you.

I love you too.

School calls, cops call, home from work,again. 

He told the neighbors I was gone for two weeks and that we had no food,lights running water and his sister made him sleep on the porch... Sigh.

What is wrong with you? Back to the Dr....

Oh the doctors, they say, "He'll grow out of this, it's a phase,he's a bit of a handful huh, try this pill, and this one and this and this and this and this and this and this..." 

We're getting there mom, we ain't there yet.

It's like I'm on my own survivor island, except THANK God we don't have a narrator and cameras following us around, that's reality tv. 

It's hard not to be annoyed, hurt angry and sad. It's even harder to see the good. I remember the good, his smile his giggle.

I remember, before.

I wish I could tell you that story. I wish I could stop being selfish about that time, but for now, just a few minutes longer I need that memory of his giggle to keep my heart from breaking completely. 

Now is nothing like that, we don't have 'good' days, we don't have trips to McDonald's, in fact his little brother has never seen the inside of one. If it can't be delivered or shoved through a window, take out is out of the question.

We stay inside, Windows shut. No-one open the door. Sshhhh he's sleeping. He's asleep. Let him sleep. It is rare. Yes, he sleeps sitting up sideways laying over the chair no he doesn't look comfortable but for now the demons have left the voices are hushed and he looks peaceful and sweet. For now he's done. 

Tomorrow will be different, tomorrow he'll throw desks and pull the white board from the wall at school, tomorrow, when the demons have rested he'll jump from a moving car, or lay down in traffic at rush hour. Tomorrow is a new fight. But tonight, now, I hear his laugh, I hear him sing "skidamerink a dink a dink skidamernk a doo I love you"...

We ain't there anymore.

Wake up, wake up it's time for school. Gotta get dressed, eat, brush, catch the bus. 


Waaaaaffffles....Syrup or jelly? Both. Can I have peanut butter, like a taco?
Yes, clothes. Wear underwear today, that creeps the teacher out when you don't, and 2 socks...But I don't like them to touch me.
Your feet stink, wear socks.
Mom, I'm gonna have a good day. 3,2,1.....
I can't find my bag, my homework, my shoes, find my shoes.
I don't wear them where did you leave them.
I wanna run away, live in an abandoned house like a hobo and eat waffles and beans.
Hobos don't have waffles.
Then I'll eat beans.
I found your shoes and your homework, I got your bag, want another waffle hobo Bill?
No mom, the struggle is real.
Take your pills. 400mg seroquil 5mg abilify, that keeps the voices quiet, but it pisses off the demons. 

He made it to the bus. 12 minute ride to school, cup of coffee 8:04 phone rings, he punched the bus driver for taking his waffle...

The struggle indeed. 

He's currently tearing up the classroom. The other kids have been moved to the gym. 


Walking in I hear screaming, crying begging, and him. I see 6 very large men struggling to hold him down.

He sees me and settles, so quickly the men stumble from the quickness if his retreat and the amount of force they were using to hold him still. They all look at me. Little ol' me and wonder how I do it. 
With the raise of an eyebrow he stops.

Knees to his chest, hands over his face, breathless.
He took my waffle....

And what happened to the classroom? Forgot where you hid the extra waffles?
No, I got mad. I'm so mad.
You're also suspended. 
And I'm not exactly pleased.
The meltdowns at home.
PTSD, ADHD, bipolar, ODD, and RADS, there are too many people in his head, he's frighteningly smart, strong. Manipulative. Mean. Slightly evil. 

Also sweet and funny kind hearted, and loving. 

We've been homeless, hungry and broke, circumstance didn't change his behavior. I've tried redirection, discipline, therapy, ignoring, giving choices taking privileges medication rewarding crying begging pleading nothing worked.

We ain't there yet.

So I sent him away. On Christmas eve. Because the 23 holes in my walls, the being on a first name basis with the police, almost getting fired from another job, possibly another eviction, the stress the panic, the not momming my other children, not sleeping not eating not anything-ing out of fear and anxiety and worry. Because criminal charges, because he'd go to jail, because he can't remember to put the lid on the peanut butter how's he gonna handle jail because he's small and can't fight because he doesn't know better because he does know better but won't do better. Because I can't anymore. Alone. I can't do the voices, they want me dead, I can't do small bathroom fires, I can't do neighbors yelling judging NOT UNDERSTANDING I can't do crazy irrational rantings finding mashed potatoes in the sink, knives in the toybox, hoarded food, rotten food, he's run out of schools that let him attend, people who have the patients to deal with him, medical options, medications, therapies, excuses to not drink.

I'm sober, completely sober, and a little dead inside but I can't cry and I can't drink, both same reason, I'm afraid I won't be able to stop. That's not what he needs, and I'm fairly sure he's gonna be less fun to be around inebriated. 

They told me today they wanna try to transition him home, and I'm scared. I miss him and want him home for selfish reasons, because I'm his mom, and I love him, I'd like to think I can live the life he deserves when he comes home, but we ain't there yet.

I'm not ready for him to come home, I'm not ready to fight,. Fight for him with him fight for sanity.

For now I can rest, actually sleep wear my tiara while I mop. I'm eating triple chocolate ice cream writing this I filled my refrigerator for the first time in years, I can take the kids to the grocery, and McDonald's.

But we ain't there yet.

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