19 June 2008

No dress code

Tonight I covered a continuation school graduation. These tend to be a little different than your typical high schools.

For instance, one of the girls I interviewed was 17 and had 2 kids. Another was 21 and had taken 3 years off to nurse her grandmother and mother as they both died. Good for them for finishing high school after all that!

But the kids are a little quirkier. One girl was wearing a black and purple satin corset - and nothing else - beneath her robe. She wants to be a welder.

I saw another graduate say "Wow, you got all dressed up!" to a young man who was wearing a clean white t-shirt and baggy black jeans. It made me wonder what he normally looks like. That bar must be set pretty dang low.

18 June 2008

Helicopters away

This post by I, Asshole (one of my favorite bloggers and an all-around badass) talks about how she got slammed by the mothering community for her decision to let her kid gasp walk home from school.

As another famous parent once said, Good God, y'all.

I have seen and wondered at that utter waste of humanity: the school pick-up line.

The mothers, fathers and guardians waiting and waiting, burning gas and the hours of their lives until their wunderkind emerges from school to be scooped up into the waiting minivan.

And they have to! Why? Because there is so much traffic around the school that it isn't safe. I have done news stories about this. The logic made me want to smack myself with my notepad.

I have tried to figure out what made children become so Important and I think I have an idea.

When most women finally had a choice about working outside the home or stay-at-home momming it, those who made each choice had a strong investment in it.

Work-outsiders had to prove they could Do It All, that their kids weren't suffering because they chose the way they did.

And conversely, when SAHMing became a choice instead of an imperative, SAHMs felt like they had something to prove - look, I'm not dropping out of the workforce I'm raising superior beings!

Thus, the much-vaunted and overblown Mommy Wars. Not a war as much as insecurity on parade.

Thus every childhood moment becomes a proof of super parenting. Every birthday party is a competition, so we go from cake and a few games to Jolly Jumps and entertainment and gift bags and excursions every single year.

Every soccer game must be attended and followed by snack time and god forbid if someone forgets the water bottles, because those little dudes MUST remain hydrated, even if all they are doing is standing around the backfield picking their underwear out of their butt.

What do I know? I'm just saying that, from the outside, this manufactured, organized, supervised childhood looks mighty strange to me.

17 June 2008

Puberty in reverse - a public service announcement

Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who could get all goofy fired-up enthusiastic spinning with joy but it just doesn't happen.

Conversely, I don't go down in the dumps very much. I'm usually pretty even-tempered, so when I get in a foul mood, it is usually PMS or work-related.

So the other day I was shocked to find myself in an unreasonably bad mood that wouldn't go away. I felt like a 13-year-old again, self-obsessed, doubting, cranky, mean.

I had stuff to do but I ended up sitting on my butt in my Ikea Poang chair, mindlessly clicking around the internet for hours while I thought about what a loser I was.

I knew it wasn't PMS since the timing wasn't right. And as far as work, things have recently become much more fun and exciting than ever before, so it wasn't that, either.

It came to me: hormones. As a Woman of a Certain Age, I am not menopausal, but peri-menopause or pre-menopause (what is the diff? Anyone? Anyone?) is sneaking up on me. For the past few months, I have been using progesterone cream that I get at my health food store.

For three weeks a month, twice a day I just smear some of this citrusy-smelling lotion on and it doesn't seem to do anything. Until I forget to use it, which was the case on Saturday. Then I turn into Carrie from the Stephen King novel.

I had run out of the cream and and just forgot to make a trip to the health food place to pick some up.

Within 90 minutes of using it, I was back to normal. It was such a relief to not feel like breaking things anymore.

So that's today's helpful hint. You may not need it for 10 or 20 years, but when you get that Teenage Feeling, realize that it's just puberty in reverse - and it sucks just as bad - but now you know what to do about it.

15 June 2008

Happy Father's Day

I started the day off by going grocery shopping with my dad, which is an adventure because he is both legally blind and very independent.

He is going to be 90 this year and still insists on manhandling the 40 lb bags of water softener salt. He's a tough one, that dad o'mine.

We continued our adventures by trying to wrestle mom's new queen size memory-foam bed pad into this zippered cover it comes in. Do not try this at home. Do not try this. After we were all sweaty and frustrated, we gave up and went and sat in the recliner chairs.

As I have said before, we know how to party!

I am lucky to not only have a superb dad but I get the pleasure of seeing my nephews be great dads, too. I am so proud of all of them for taking their fatherhood responsibilities so seriously and joyfully. They all really participate in the raising of their kids in a way that previous generations of men did not. I think it is a good deal for everyone involved.
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