The Boobies Have It

I’m always interested when boobs are on the news.

A little while back, a Houston woman got some flack in Target for breastfeeding her baby.  A couple of the employees told her to go the fitting rooms to feed her baby, and also informed her that she could get a ticket and/or a fine for indecent exposure.  In response, she organized a “nurse-in” in Houston and a few other cities to protest Target and support breastfeeding in public.

I have always had an interest in this subject, because it, like so many of the things that offend people, seems pretty mild in comparison to actual serious issues in our culture (for example, the fact that Nancy Grace is on television.)  But naturally some uber-conservative idiot somewhere has declared that public breastfeeding is indecent.

Now, I generally have a pretty sour attitude towards women who successfully breast feed, but only because I failed so miserably when I tried to breast feed my children.  I sucked at it (rim shot!) But I’m not sure I get this whole “indecent” thing.  I mean, if I have to look at this:

and this:

every time I go out, what’s the big deal about this?


Now, I will also say I don’t see what the big deal is about being a little discreet.  It doesn’t really hurt to flip a blanket over your shoulder or something like that.  However, I draw a line at having to feed your baby in a restroom.  Allow me to say, HELL NO.  Do you want to eat in a restroom?  YUCK.

How can anyone say that feeding a baby is indecent, and then overlook the little fact that half of the population is walking around essentially naked?  Have you shopped for girl’s clothes lately?  I mean, when did it become culturally acceptable to dress our teenage and pre-teen girls like tiny little prostitutes?  I see shorts in the department store that literally end at the crotch–there is no leg on the shorts! The pockets stick out the bottom, for God’s sake! And feeding a baby bothers you?

Sorry–the naked little girl thing really gets me.  It seems like a much bigger issue than a mother doing what a mother is supposed to do–feed her child.  Like I said, I know you can be discreet about it.  I don’t care for anyone who feels like they have to shove their “rights” (so to speak) in your face.  I saw a girl I went to school with once not too long ago, and she was marching right up the center aisle of Wal-Mart with her boob out and a baby on it.  I can assure you, she wasn’t feeding her baby because that was her right–she was trying to get attention.  Trust me.  Also, I once saw a woman breastfeeding while driving her car down a four-lane highway.  I think all of us can agree how foolish that was.  What if she had gotten milk stains on her upholstery?

All in all, no matter how discrete you are, some people will still be offended.  This is the land of the offended after all.


Even though I suffer from a severe case of sour grapes over the whole breastfeeding thing, I can swallow my pride enough to admit that it is the best thing for a baby.  And anyone who has had a newborn knows you can’t really explain to one that he or she can’t eat right now, because you’re in Target.  So go sit somewhere comfortable, and do what comes natural.  Your baby will thank you!

The Boy Blogger

Parenting can be very hard.  Sometimes you feel like just crawling in a hole and waiting for that awkward phase (age 2-33) to pass.

But sometimes, it’s great.

It’s very sad to watch your child grow up right before your eyes, but it’s so rewarding.  There are moments of almost overwhelming happiness.  And even though pride may be a sin, somehow I think it might be okay when that pride is aimed at your kids.

I have watched my son grow from a tiny newborn into the wonderful young man that he is now.  I can’t believe it.  Because I’m with him all the time, sometimes I take for granted what a truly great person he really is.  He is this truly magnificent individual with his own ideas, beliefs, and opinions–lots of opinions.  He leaves me awestruck.  He’s like me in so many ways, but so much better than me.

I was very, very shocked when he told me he wanted to start his own blog.

Usually, he’s not a big fan of writing.  It’s his least favorite subject in his school work, but it’s not because he can’t do it.  He just doesn’t like it.  But he reads a lot of my posts, and I could tell he was brooding about something.  Finally, he asked me.

I had to think about it, because I know you’re supposed to be careful about kids online and such.  I couldn’t tell him no, though, because I was so proud that he wanted to do it.  He was volunteering to write!  And once he started, I was so impressed by his humor and honesty.  I check his grammar and spelling, but it’s all him.

I’m so glad to see him expressing himself freely.  He’s stretching out and becoming more and more his own person.  It’s scares the hell out of me sometimes, but it also thrills me in a way I don’t even know how to explain.  I think it’s because I’m seeing glimpses of the man he’s going to become.

So, take a few minutes and head over for a read.  His blog is called Life of a Teenage Boy.

It’s a great blog, because it’s honest, funny, and mostly, because a great kid wrote it.  You know, I think that pride thing might not just be aimed at him–when I see him, I can’t help feeling a little proud of myself, too.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job.


The Tossing of the Christmas Tree

It’s sort of like the running of the bulls, only safer, less cruel, and much more satisfying.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  In an effort to prevent wet-blanketing everyone else’s holiday this year, I tried really hard to express an acceptable amount of spirit.  I did pretty good, if I do say so myself.

But nothing and no one can stop the fierce joy I experience the day after Christmas.  I was as excited this morning as the kids were yesterday.  Here’s how it goes: I pull off the ornaments, wrap them, and pack them up.  I pack up the few decorations that were placed out (not by me, but by The Grandmother, who only pretends to be a Grinch.)  The I carry the tree outside to take the lights off, because at this point even changes in barometric pressure cause needles to cascade down by the millions.  I sweep up the floor, clean the window where the tree was sitting, and then go outside for the ceremony.

I pull off the lights, and my mood gets lighter and lighter–I was singing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” by the time I pulled the last strand free.  Then the stand comes off, and I drag the tree to the top of the hill above where all branches, sticks, and various yard wastes get tossed.  I take a deep breath, hoist the tree up over my head, and then throw it as hard I can down over the hill.

Oh Christmas tree, indeed.

In all seriousness (well, as much as usual, anyway) I’ve done quite a bit of psychoanalysis during this holiday season.  I don’t remember exactly when my view of Christmas turned so sour.  There are some things I do know.  For example, I think a major factor is my (not so) mild OCD.  I thrive on my routine.  I am happiest when things are where I want them to be.  When this time of year rolls around, all of that gets thrown into chaos.  The tree has to be worked into the plan, so to speak–plants and furniture have to be shifted around to make it work.  The window is blocked and can’t be cleaned.  The Grandmother sits cutesy little decorations around on various surfaces.  In short, junk, mess, and clutter.  Then there’s the tree.

I have tried every conceivable method of preserving the tree.  I don’t put it up very early–Dec. 11th this year–but still, by the time Christmas rolls around, needles are dropping off almost constantly.  I can hear them falling, and each little clack is like a death knell in mind.  Over and over and over and over.  When I took it out today, I could literally just snap branches off with my fingers.  Plus it had lost that lovely color–it was a sort of green-ish yellow generally found in battle-field hospital tents.  Even though I take the lights off outside, I still leave an inch-thick trail of needles from the window out the front door.  There are needles all down in the threshold, and don’t even get me started about the window sill.  People are sometimes shocked that I take things down so early, and they always tell me how they leave things up until after the new year, but if I left that thing up until then, it would just be the skeleton of a Christmas tree with a pile of needles under it.

Now that everything is packed away, I feel such a sense of relief.  Everything is reasonably neat and tidy, and things are where they are supposed to be.  As I sit here and write this, I can look over and see out the window with nothing impeding my view.  The floor is clean, the window is clean, the tree is over the hill, and my mind is calm.

Think of it this way–that tree is now providing nutrients to the soil, and a home to some little woodland creatures.  That’s why I do it.  Because I care about nature.



Evangelical Lowe’s

God has been in the news a lot lately.

Well, maybe a more accurate statement would be to say that his representatives here on Earth have been in the news a lot lately.  I watch TV news shows in the morning, and browse different newspaper headlines from time to time, and oddly enough, two different God-related subjects caught my attention yesterday.

First of all, I was wonderfully amused by a newspaper headline which referred to Tim Tebow, the starting QB of the Denver Broncos and former Florida Gator, as God’s quarterback.  I giggled and snickered at random moments over that one all day long.  God’s quarterback?  I doubt if God cares much about football.  God prefers soccer.

Seriously, though, could we be taking this just a tad too far?  Tebow is a deeply religious man, raised by apparently deeply religious parents.  He was homeschooled in order to maintain the purity of their belief system, although he and his mother moved to an apartment in a different school district so he could play football for the local pagan high school.  Now Tebow is really shining as the QB of the Broncos, but most of the attention he’s getting is related to his religion.  Other athletes are imitating his prayer posture.  He is very vocal about thanking Jesus for all of his success (Tebow’s, not Jesus’.)

I can’t help but be suspicious, but I’m always suspicious of overtly religious people.  As I have said a thousand times over the years, hard-core Christians make me nervous.  I think if you are a truly good person, your actions will show me that–you don’t have to keep telling me.  I guess I’m too desensitized by other actors, musicians, and of course sports figures who always say, “I’d like to start by thanking God….”  These words are usually uttered by some of the most apparently Godless people who have ever been set down on the skin of the earth.  So when I see this media-induced frenzy about Tebow, naturally I’m skeptical.  I don’t know, maybe he really is that good of a person, but ultimately, what difference does it make?  Do we really believe that God is rooting for the Broncos?  My head hurts.

Speaking of headaches, the other God-related item which got my attention wasn’t nearly as amusing.

There’s a new reality show on TLC called “American Muslim.”  I haven’t watched it because the only reality TV I’m interested in is either paranormal or related to watching people try to sell their junk to pawn shops.  Anyway, Lowe’s ran some commercials during the program, and some Evangelical Christians got bent out of shape and said they were going to boycott Lowe’s if they didn’t pull the ads.  Even a couple of Senators got on the bandwagon.  So Lowe’s told them that this was America, and that they would continue to run the ads.

Yeah right.

What Lowe’s actually did was pull the ads.  I was disappointed.  Now, maybe I misinterpreted that whole “freedom of religion” thing, but I’m pretty sure that being a Muslim in the USA is perfectly okay.

I know everyone associates Muslims with the tragedy of 9/11.  Here’s the thing–those Muslims were extremists, and in fact, they persecute other Muslims who don’t believe as they do just as much as they persecute non-Muslims.  Another little tidbit–terrorists aren’t just Muslims.  Ever heard of a fellow named Timothy McVey?  He was responsible for the explosion that took place in Oklahoma City several years before 9/11.  Incidentally, he was as white as old Jeff Davis.

Shame on Lowe’s for giving in to this kind of closed-minded bullying.  I thought this country was about forty years past this type of prejudice?  Here’s the catch about the first amendment–it applies to everyone, not just people who think and believe like you do.

The best part of this whole thing to me is that most people who carry this type of bigotry in their hearts are the same ones who post all of those sayings like “freedom isn’t free”  on Facebook and Twitter on Veterans day and other such related holidays.  Those things are absolutely true, but all of the battles that have been fought weren’t just for Evangelical Christians.  They were fought, and won, so that this would be a free country.  It was so that people of all races, religions, and opinions could reside here in peace and free from persecution.

If the Evangelical Christians don’t want to watch the show about Muslims, fine.  That’s what the remote control is for.  If they don’t want to shop at Lowe’s, then they shouldn’t.  Lowe’s also has advertisements during evening TV, which is ripe with strong language, sexual innuendo, and homosexuality.  Lots of businesses and corporations do.  Maybe the best bet would be for those hard-core bible thumpers to just turn off the TV altogether, and then there won’t be any chance that they can be corrupted.  Maybe they’re worried if they continue to allow Lowe’s to place ads during a show about Muslims, pretty soon the whole country will convert to Islam.  (Maybe Lowe’s would start carrying a “build your own mosque” kit or something, I don’t know.)

Just as extremist Muslims give that religion a bad name, I think people like the hard-core Evangelical Christians give good, honest, Christians a bad name.  I happen to know several Christian people who are kind-hearted, open-minded, and just generally good people.  And guess what?  They didn’t even have to tell me.

I was able to figure it out all on my own.


Mother Lion

Bullying sucks.

Sooner or later, just about every child has to face a bully.  It’s a sad fact of life, and as a parent, it’s a tough situation.  You want to jump in and defend your child, but you also want them to grow and be able to deal with bad people on their own, because you won’t always be there.

But what if…….

What if your child can’t take up for herself, and probably will never be able to?  Imagine your child can’t talk, has poor balance, doesn’t understand things very well, and is just generally pretty weak.  Then imagine someone hurting her.  On purpose.  Then imagine how you would feel about that person, his parent, and the people who were supposed to be monitoring the situation.


But then imagine something else.  Imagine that the bully in question is a lot like your daughter.  He doesn’t understand things very well.  Oh, and he’s in a wheelchair.

That’s how my day went yesterday.

There’s a boy in my daughter’s class who is a repeat offender.  Nearly everyone who has contact with him has suffered scratches (at least) at some point or another.  This is the second time he’s got my daughter–this time right down her left eye and cheek, and when she put her head down in response to the attack, he got her again on the back of the neck.  She cried–the girl who seldom cries.  She was scared, upset, hurt, and confused.

Know what happens when you bother a mother lion’s cubs?  Yeah, she kills you.  Then she feeds you to the cubs.  Then she lays and watches while the jackels and vultures clean up the scraps.  I was there yesterday.  It was as mad as I have been in a while, maybe ever.

I don’t know why it hit me so hard yesterday.  Maybe it was a combination of the weather (gloomy), the time of year (gloomier) and my general bitchiness.  All I know is something broke loose yesterday.  The camel’s back broke–use whatever cliche seems most appriopriate.  Ever since Evelyn started school, I’ve dealt with fear on a daily basis.  It’s been the source of a lot of teasing and little jabs from the people who know me–jokes about Mother Hen and all of that.  But here’s a secret–I don’t trust anyone with my daughter.  I don’t trust my own family, and even to a smaller degree my own husband!  And yet for some reason it’s supposed to be okay for me to ship my daughter off to be kept by strangers for half of the year.  It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do anyone’s ability to take care of her (although I secretly believe no one can care for her like me), it’s more my own fears.  True, but from my perspective, irrelevant.

Then something like this happens and I spend the evening saying things like, “See! This is why I don’t trust people to take care of her!”

But for all of that, a much larger issue spread through my mind like poison all evening (and night, I’m sorry to say).  What do you do when the bully can’t really be punished?  Suspension is pointless.  Behavior modification is a joke.  Then there’s the real problem:  his mother is worthless.

Now, that’s a harsh statement, but those who know me know I don’t care.  I’ve met her.  Remember my post, Trained Idiot?  I mentioned some people I observed that day, but I left one out.  It was her.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Although she would fit pretty well in the martyr category, that’s not completely accurate.  I didn’t mention her, because something went beyond mere annoyance–I didn’t like her.  Her attitude, her comments, everything about her, from her long curly blonde hair to her pointy-toed high-heeled boots, pissed me off.  I couldn’t pinpoint it at the time, but my instincts just said, “Get away from this woman.”

Now that all of this has come to pass, I see my instincts were pretty good, as usual.  Her son has attacked numerous people, and she is on the receiving end more than anyone.  You know what her philosophy is?  He’s punished every day of his life because he’s in that wheelchair, so it’s not fair to punish him for his bad behavior.

I’ve encountered this special-needs parenting philosophy before.  It’s a lot more common than you might think.  I personally think lots of people are guilty of this, not just with special-needs kids, but with any kid who has had a rough time in some way.  You feel guilty for giving them a consequence, because you think, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”  It’s easy to see how a person could feel that way.  Hell, it’s hard not to.

But here’s what I’d like to say to Goldilocks and all those who subscribe to that particular bit of sentimental parenting: You are crippling that child in a way that the wheelchair never could.  You are making him a social outcast, and you are guaranteeing yourself and him a miserable life.  Special needs kids need structure and discipline just as much as any kid, and truthfully, more so.  I know it’s hard–believe me, I do.  It’s taken me almost two years to get Evelyn to stop hitting when she’s mad.  A thousand times she had to hit and I had to correct her.  It sucked.  But guess what?  I’m a parent–specifically her parent, and that’s my job.  That’s what I agreed to when I got pregnant.  Here’s the thing about ingnoring bad behavior–it isn’t just your kid’s problem.  The minute he puts his hands on someone else, your crappy parenting is effecting others.  The rest of us don’t have to tolerate it because you’re ruining your son with pity instead of raising him with love.  I have pity for your son, but not because of his condition.  I have pity on him because of the life he’s missing out on because of you.

I had a really tough time yesterday keeping myself in check.  I have this Jeckell/Hyde thing sometimes when it comes to my temper, only I like to think of that “other side” as Redneck Mommy.  She has a bad attitude, a foul mouth, and big, man-like arms from all of the heavy lifting.  She longed to kick somebody’s ass yesterday.  Let me tell you, even though I knew what had happened, when my daughter came down that hall yesterday and I got my first look at her, it was a struggle.  I’ve always heard the saying “I saw red,” but until yesterday, I’m not sure I actually realized that this is literally what happens.  If the bully’s mom had been there…..well, I don’t know what would have happened, but it couldn’t have been anything good.  But I kept it together (well, mostly) and left with my dignity in tact.  I went through the proper channels to get the situation handled and to make sure it never happens again.  I’m actually kind of proud of myself.

But if it does happen again?  Well, let’s put it this way–Goldilocks, Redneck Mommy is kickin’ your ass.


Thank God I’m (married to) a Country Boy

I may have to revise John Denver’s song a little to be more appropriate in my own life.

We were out and about recently, and on the way home we stopped for lunch.  On the way out I was waiting to pay the bill, and I couldn’t help but notice the guy in front of me.

He was probably middle aged, and he was very attractive and put together.  He was, in short, a classic metrosexual.  I don’t know if that term is still even in use, but I’m sorry, there really is no better way to describe him.  I don’t know how to explain it, but you can tell the difference between someone who is dressed in nice clothing for a meeting or for their job and someone who dresses that nice all the time.  This guy was one of the latter.

He was wearing a pea coat.  A pea coat.  Really.

Now don’t get me wrong–it’s a great coat.  Very snazzy.  In fact, everything about this guy was snazzy.  It wasn’t just his clothes–he had carefully product-laden and styled hair.  He had beautifully manicured and cared-for hands.  He was surrounded by a palpable aura of cologne.  He was wearing fantastic shoes.

The sight of this man made me think, as most things usually do.  Yes, this man was very attractive.  He obviously has impeccable style and grooming habits.  Guys like that aren’t all that common where I live, but you do see them sometimes, and I think it’s probably much more prevelant in other parts of the country where there is more hair gel and fewer pick-up trucks.  The metrosexual man is nice to look at.

But I couldn’t be married to him.

If I put a pea coat on my husband’s dead body, he would come back to life just long enough to take it off, throw it on the floor, and ask me what the hell I was thinking.  His hair style is a fade (short in the winter, skin in the summer.)  His idea of wearing dress shoes is cleaning the mud off of his boots (steel-toe.)  He’s 100% jeans and tee-shirt.  He has these big, rough hands and most of the time he needs a shave.  He is the anit-metrosexual.

That’s fine by me.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, it occurred to me that I could never, ever be married to a man who spent more time getting ready than me.  I can’t even imagine having a high maintenance man who actually manicured his fingernails.  Holy crap.  And frankly, my ego couldn’t take the fact that my husband had better fashion sense than me.

Let’s face it, a metrosexual wouldn’t come within ten miles of someone like me anyway, so the point is moot.  One look at my jeans and black Pink Floyd tee would be enough to send him screaming into Macy’s.  But that’s okay, because one look at him, and I’d run off screaming, too.

Into Wal-Mart.

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