Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Think I Deserve A Ribbon This Time

Remember those damn ribbons? The ones that caused such an inferiority complex in me? Well, funny story.

Although I wrote that post about how I needed to just let Punkin be who she was, I thought well, maybe she might like to have some ribbon hair bows. You know, if she knew about them. So, I contacted my crafty friend Tara who's made some hair bows of her own and she offered to give me some lessons.

I gathered up my glue gun and bought a bunch of ribbon and other supplies and Punkin and I set off to Tara's for a playdate and a craft lesson. Tara made two bows for me while I watched and then I set about making one of my own. They were fairly large-ish, but totally cute and exactly what I was looking for.

And guess what? With the exception of one Sunday, Punkin won't wear them. Also? They don't really look like her. I mean, they're cute on her, but they just don't look right somehow. But, at the same time, I also made some of these hair bows and they look totally cute on her. And she will wear these. Occasionally.

But the really funny thing happened yesterday morning. Remember my Bible school freak out when all the moms made their daughters's too-large shirts fit just right and look oh-so cute? Well, yesterday Punkin's camp was going on a field trip and they were all supposed to wear their camp shirts and Punkin's, once again, is a mite too big. After she got dressed, she came running out of her room with the excess shirt gathered in her hand behind her back.

"Mommy, you've got to get a hair bow and tie this up like this! That's what the big girls do."

I dutifully obliged. Then,

"And now Mommy, you need to get some ribbon and tie my sleeves up like this! That's how the big girls wear theirs."

You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so surprised. She looked so cute! And it was all her idea. And fortunately, fortunately, this time I was prepared. I was the Mommy with the ribbon on hand. So, I learned two things at Bible school this year -- 1) never underestimate the importance of a little piece of ribbon and 2) quit worrying so much.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Uncovering a Niche Market

Yesterday I went to get my hair cut and as I sat down to wait for the stylist to finish with the person before me, I looked through the stack of magazines they had spread out on a large ottoman. There was Elle, Vogue, a random hair magazine or two, Marie Claire, Cosmo and GQ. I picked up the GQ and not because Jake Gyllenhaal was on the cover (while I find him mildly attractive, he is not on my "list").

I started thinking about my favorite magazine and if pressed, I'd have to say it's Esquire. I like women's magazines to an extent, though there are some I like more than others. In fact, I downright detest Cosmo and never even pick it up. I used to like Glamour until the old Editor retired and Cosmo's Editor took over. Then it was like Cosmo Lite.

It was kind of interesting to me to realize that I prefer men's magazines. I want to read articles about delicious food -- steaks, sandwiches, barbecue. I want to read articles about the coolest new cocktails, which dive bar you MUST visit in each city. I want to read interesting articles about real world issues. If you haven't picked up an Esquire lately, they have some of the best writers in the business, if you ask me. I realized that I'm kind of insulted that women's magazines are all about makeup and fashion and !SEX! and which positions will drive your boyfriend WILD.

Sure, Esquire has some "fluff" pieces, but they're still more interesting than the offerings in most women's magazines I've seen. I like looking at women's fashion, but the prices in most of the magazines are kind of a turn off for me. And sure, I could look for similar, less expensive items to try to copy "the look," but most of the outfits are so out there that they wouldn't really work for my life.

It's true that a lot of men's magazine, Esquire included, will often feature a scantily clad woman in its pages somewhere. But it's usually tastefully done (ahem) and hey, I can admire a beautiful female form as much as the next guy. But that usually only takes up 3 or 4 pages or so and the rest of the magazine is filled with handsome men in varying stages of hotness, depending on your type. Me, I tend to be attracted to the scruffier guys -- you know, the ones with the shirts slightly open, hair slightly mussed, a little five o'clock shadow, but occasionally a man in a suit that fits just so will catch my eye.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Are there any awesome women's magazines out there that I'm missing out on?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quitting the Hard Stuff

I deleted my Twitter account yesterday. I tweeted about my decision, kind of hoping someone might try to talk me out of it, but nobody did.

I did it for a lot of reasons. One, I never, okay rarely, tweet anything. Occasionally I'll retweet something and I respond to a fair amount of people's tweets. I'm an excellent @-er.

The second reason I did it is that I believe that Twitter is killing my productivity in a lot of ways. At work I'm so tempted just to check in, but then I have to catch up from where I left off, or I find an interesting link and down the rabbit hole I go, lost for 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time.

I also credit (blame?) twitter for the original weakening of my blog. Twitter was so addictive, so fun, so easy. I would often distill a blog post into 140 characters (well, not possible really but you know what I mean) and then feel no need to blog. Plus, I was following all my blog friends on Twitter so I could keep up with what they were doing there. My visits to other blogs dropped dramatically at the same time.

And finally, I felt like I was addicted to Twitter. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was constantly checking in, hitting refresh, refresh, refresh. And feeling antsy when there was nothing new to read. All day long.

And I'm not going to lie, this post by Steam Me Up, Kid really hit a nerve with me. I often feel like I'm on the outside of the Twitter window, looking in. While in some ways Twitter made me feel more connected, in others it made me feel more isolated.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who uses Twitter as part of her job as a Librarian. She seemed kind of horrified by the fact that I had deleted Twitter and I worried that she felt I was judging her for still using it. I'm not judging anyone at all. Twitter is fun, can be used in a variety of different ways, and it has, I believe, changed the world. In some ways for the worse in my opinion, but you can't argue that it has also changed some things for the better.

I was very nervous before I hit the "Are you SURE?" button. I do have a lot of friends on Twitter and I know I'm going to miss your Tweets. You guys are freakin' hilarious. I'm afraid we won't stay in touch the same way we did before.

But I do feel a sense of peace since I deleted my account. And yes, I started jonesing for some Twitter action late yesterday afternoon. I may be back. I'm not ruling it out. But for now, I'm done.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We had a great weekend, though it was quite busy. On Friday night we went to a pool party for the children's ministry at our church. Though I was quite confident to attend a swimming party last summer, this summer I was a little more hesitant. Of course, I've gained back most of the weight I lost last year. As I told my friends, I'd much rather wear my swimsuit in front of strangers than in front of people I actually know. But when neither of your children can swim and your daughter looks at you with pleading eyes and says "please swim with me, mommy," you really have no choice but to get in the pool.

On Saturday, Mr. Daddy and I attended a wedding in my hometown that was held in the very same church we got married in. And in fact, our anniversary was yesterday. It was kind of neat being back there, seeing another young couple heading out into the wilds of marriage. I thought of several pieces of advice that I started to write in their card, but ultimately wrote "wishing you much love" which I think pretty much covers all the bases.

I'm thinking of doing a little housecleaning on this here blog. I'm thinking of doing away with my blogroll. It's not because I don't love you guys, but it's kind of outdated -- some of the blogs are inactive -- but I don't want to just clean it up because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. What are your thoughts? I hardly ever click on anyone else's blogroll. If anything, I'll click through from a funny comment. I don't know, just a thought.

Hope y'all had a good weekend too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes!

And a nap! You wouldn't believe the angel child that greeted me last night. Punkin was pleasant with hardly a tantrum in sight. She was cracking jokes, making silly faces and doing silly voices that had the whole family cracking up. If I didn't know better I would swear she was a different child. Amazing.

BUT, I didn't intend on this blog becoming "all Punkin, all the time" so I'm going to share the love and talk about Bubba just a little.

Bubba is in the throes of the "all girls have cooties/no way would I like I girl/NO, I DO NOT HAVE A GIRLFRIEND" stage that most boys go through. The only girl that is accepted no questions asked is his beloved cousin Birdie. Bubba and Birdie have been inseparable since they were old enough to play together. While other cousins of the same gender as Bubba and Birdie have occasionally parted them, they generally wind up back together doing their "Stupid Country Cousins" routine, which is generally hilarious (and incidentally the only time I allow him to say stupid.)

Bubba did have a little girlfriend once, when he was about four. Her name was Rose and she had lovely, curly red hair. She was smart and feisty and I liked her. But somebody -- not me, I'm smarter than that -- teased Bubba about her and that was it for girlfriends. Or even girl friends -- that he will admit to, anyway.

So, when we were at the beach recently, I couldn't help but notice a little girl playing near us in the water. She kept placing herself in general proximity to Bubba and looking at me and smiling. She and Bubba looked to be about the same age, so I called Bubba over and said "Bubba, I'm pretty sure that little girl wants to play with you. Why don't you play with her?"

"Mommy! She's a GIRL!"

"So?! Just pretend she's Birdie!"

"I don't want to play with her!"

Finally, I took matters into my own hands and when she ran by me I asked her name. Her name was Hailey and she was camping with her grandparents. And I was right, she was seven, too. After that, it didn't take too long before we were all building a sandcastle together and then before too long, she and Bubba took off to ride their body boards together.

From then on Hailey was all I heard about. "Do you think Hailey will be at the beach when we get down there? Can Hailey come see our campsite? Can I ride my bike over to Hailey's campsite? Can Hailey and I ride our bikes around the loop?" Hailey, Hailey, Hailey.

On the last day, Bubba begged to ride his bike to Hailey's campsite to say goodbye. When he got back I couldn't resist and said "See, aren't you glad you played with Hailey after all?"

"Yeah," Bubba admitted. "It's just that I didn't think she would like to do stuff like I like to do, since she's a girl."

My tomboy and feminist feathers slightly ruffled, I replied somewhat indignantly, "Well, maybe from now on you should get to know someone before you start deciding what they might or might not like to do, right?"

"Yeah, I guess so. She was pretty cool."

So maybe, just maybe, girls don't have quite as many cooties as they used to. Hailey, wherever you are, thank you for being a cool girl.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Best Laid Plans....

So, I had this grand plan to write a warm, fuzzy post last night thank you all for your kind words. All of you. Burgh Baby, you made me laugh out loud. Lauren -- I can't believe I had you fooled! Perfect mom -- hah! But thank you. I'm glad I'm projecting that at least part of the time. Teresa -- your encouragement means a lot to me, especially your email that you sent. And Just In Case, you hit the nail on the head -- I often don't enjoy my time with Punkin either and that just breaks my heart. I've been so tired and so busy for the last couple of weeks and I tend to get more frustrated when I feel this way and my thinking often tends to go into a downward spiral when I'm tired, so I chalked my last post up to that.

I was feeling better as I headed home. And then, Punkin didn't take a nap at camp yesterday and was a BEAST the entire night. Everything prompted tears and yelling. She is SO frustrated and seem so angry when she doesn't get her way. I'm actually thinking of just putting her straight to bed the next time she starts acting that way. That's got to be better than the alternative -- two unhappy, frustrated, near-tears females. We'll see.

Wanna know what's getting me through right now? This song. Please take a moment to listen to it. You won't regret it, I promise. And it will stick with you -- in a good way.

While this song doesn't match my situation necessarily, I can't help but think that Crayola doesn't make a color to draw Punkin either. She's made up of so many colors and I just need to let those real colors shine through.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Was A Hard One for Me to Write...

In yesterday's post I mentioned how much I loved Bible school last week, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you the whole truth. It was a tough week. And not just because of the long hours.

Last week was tough on Punkin too. We all stayed up late on vacation, the kids often going to bed around 10:00 or later when they are accustomed to being in the bed by 8:00. Then we jumped back into full lives -- Bubba at the YMCA every day, on the go from 8:00 until 5:00 and Punkin at our church's summer day camp where she is getting to do some really fun activities, but where she is also mostly foregoing her nap.

I'd arrive at the Family Life Center every evening around 5:30 and then we'd all get in line for dinner, followed by an evening full of Bible stories, play time, arts and crafts and lots and lots of singing. We'd usually get home around 8:45 which meant the kids would be in bed by 9:00, which meant that Punkin had been at the Family Life Center for approximately 13 hours.

Punkin did fine on Monday, but Tuesday night there was a meltdown of epic proportions. I should have known better, should have known that a whole day at the church was just too much for her. You'd think I'd know what sets her off by now, but actually I'm just now figuring it out.

While I still don't think Punkin has Asperger's, I DO think she has some sensory issues (which I'll address in a future post) and I think that a full day of activity, capped off by loud music and lot of singing was just more than she (and her nervous system) could handle. I made her go home with Mr. Daddy after camp on Wednesday and get to bed at a decent hour, but Thursday and Friday I let her stay at Bible School because she seemed like she was in such a good mood. I hated to make her miss out on all the fun, especially since she didn't go to Bible School at all last year. But the biggest thing I realized last week is that I have to be the parent which means that sometimes I have to make the unpopular decisions. I should have made her go home on Thursday night too so that she would have had a better chance of making it to the pie throwing on Friday, which she ultimately missed. I have to learn to recognize the signals that a meltdown is coming and try to head her off at the pass, so to speak. Lesson learned.

Bible school was hard for me for another reason, though this is one is all me. I mean, what I'm about to say is something that I have dealt with about myself in the past and I thought I was over it, but obviously I'm not. On the last night, all the kids got t-shirts and most were a little too large for the little girls. But just about every mom there reached into their bags and pulled out cute little ribbons and hairbows and what nots and tied up their little girls' shirts in such a way that they all looked so cute. They all had little hairbows in their hair, their faces were clean, their clothes were clean, their hair was neat. And there was Punkin, shirt down past her knees, lips ringed with punch stains, hair tangled, knees filthy. She looked like a little homeless child and for just a moment, I felt like a failure as a mom. And for just a moment I wished that Punkin was like those little girls. But she's not. She's a rough and tumble girl, always going at 100 miles an hour, playing hard, getting dirty. And I'm torn because I love that about her. I want her to be her own person and not feel like she has to be like everyone else. I love the fact that she likes to play and isn't afraid to get dirty. I was a tomboy too and I appreciate that aspect of her personality. I want her to be the kind of girl that wears Converse sneaks to the prom if she wants to.

I love Punkin fiercely. I don't know if it's because she's a girl or what, but I feel a love for her that's different than the love I feel for Bubba. Not more or less. Just different. Sometimes I think it's because she's a challenging child that I love her so much. She frustrates the hell out of me, but I think the greater challenges create a greater love. I can't explain it any better than that.

I think, when you get right down to brass tacks, what I wish is that Punkin were an easier child. But she's not. She is what she is. And I love her. But she often makes me feel like I don't know what in the hell I'm doing and I look at all these moms with these perfect little girls and I just feel less than. I feel pitied when she has a meltdown in front of everybody. I hate pity. I'm afraid it makes people look at Punkin and see "Problem" and I'm afraid they won't be able to see the sweet, smart, funny little girl that I know is in there too. I hate to feel out of control, like I don't know what I'm doing.

But like yesterday's post, I look back at a year ago and see how far we've come. I can only hope that I'll look back on these difficulties a year from now and marvel at how much progress we've made.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This Time Last Year

So, I went to the beach for a week and then when we got back we jumped straight into Bible School at our church.

In planning my vacation, I forgot the importance of a buffer day between one's vacation and returning to real life. On Sunday afternoon we got home around 5:00. I dropped our bags at home, stuffed a load of laundry into the washing machine and ran up to the church to help decorate the Family Life Center for Bible school.

It was a super busy week, one that wore me out completely, but it was a wonderful week, nonetheless. I look back at this time last year, when we had just started attending this church. I wasn't involved in Bible School last year, except to drop Bubba off and pick him up. I got to know a few people on the last night, when we all gathered 'round our minister as she let the boys make an ice cream sundae on her head. That was their reward for bringing in the most school supplies for needy kids. This year the girls won and got to "throw" pies in her face. Our minister, among many other gifts, is a good sport.

But this year was different. This year I was involved, though kind of behind the scenes (as was my request.) And now I have so many friends at my church, so many people I look forward to seeing. So many people that I care about now and that I feel care about me. I'm amazed at what a difference a year can make and I can't help but wonder what amazing transformation I'll be looking back on this time next year.

Anyway, I feel like I've found "my people" here. At last.