It’s A Busy Week

It’s Spring Break! That means Kiddo is spending quality time with family (my mother) for the week. I generally manage pretty well until about day three and then I start really wanting him home.  How do people even deal with kids leaving home? OMG.

His birthday party was last weekend and I am so proud of how it all came together! We held it at a local pottery studio. The kids painted a small figurine of their choosing and can put it up this weekend once it is fired. Naturally, the theme was Pokémon! 

See that Pikachu balloon? He was so utterly thrilled at having it tied to his chair. It really is the simple things, y’all.  While I was waiting to get the star balloons filled up at the Dollar Tree, I spotted Pokémon cards in a display – 3 cards in a pack. I picked them up on a whim and the kids went nuts over them. 

We had some minor girl drama. Two of the young women in attendance have crushes on my (not so little) boy.  We’ll call them K and G.  We’ve known K for two years and have attended her birthday parties. She is one grade below Kiddo; he met her at daycare. 

G is in his class and earlier this year he referred to her as his girlfriend. He now maintains that she is just a friend. One of the boys in our Scout Den told him Dad that G is, in fact, Kiddo’s girlfriend. She got him a stuffed Pikachu for Christmas. 

For the cake and presents portion, I watched them position themselves on each side of him.  K made herself the center of attention by announcing the should distribute presents. When she looked too long at the present G brought there was a firm reminder from G that it was Kiddo’s gift. As things were wrapping up later, K went to hug Kiddo goodbye.  I looked up just in time to see G hug him from behind.  My baby was sandwiched between two girls. 

I was not ready.

Kiddo reports that he was happy with the party – he got several Pokémon toys (figurines and cards), a Lego set and some gift cards. We got him the first 6 books of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter.  He painted a truck and has a commemorative plate from the party signed by his guests. 

The next day he left with my Mom. So while he’s visiting museums and learning to fly fish, I’m trying things I pinned on my What’s For Dinner Pinterest board.  The Million Dollar Spaghetti was the big winner for this round of tryouts. Even the leftovers were yummy! The Olive Garden copycat Mushroom ravioli was good as well.  

Tonight I watched the original Beauty and the Beast in preparation to go see the live action version tomorrow. I’m optimistic but aware that the original has a special place it my heart. Belle was the first princess I ever identified with.  The scene where she sees the library is my absolute favorite. 


Long Day Short

So my two hour wait to see my psychiatrist today resulted in news that I am now out of network under my insurance…but I have lost a pound! 

The stress of changing doctors will likely cause me some extra anxiety so I may even lose another pound or two before the next time I get my vitals taken. At least I have 90 days of meds to keep me relatively stable while I get things sorted out.

Last week my hearing aids got washed and have been acting weird. It was like the left one would boot up but wasn’t connecting correctly with the receiver. I’ve been agonizing over it since I wasn’t sure if my warranty was out and hearing aids are crazy expensive. 

Thankfully my audi’s office fixed them today. But I had to make two trips, since they were not in the case the first time I went in.

Facebook reminded me that I wrecked my car 4 years ago today. WordPress informed me today is my 1 year blogiversary. 

I think I’m just overwhelmed. Is today over yet? 

For Real Though….

Sometimes you have a moment where things just connect. I wrote recently about privacy and the internet when it comes to  children. I thought that I’d been pretty succinct but this afternoon it came to my attention that there might be something more to say on the topic.

Within minutes of walking through the door I was presented with a colorful drawing that Kidddo had been working diligently on since coming home from school. He excitedly told me that he wanted to enter it into a contest that the state’s Comission on Environmental Quality is sponsoring.  I asked him to tell me about his drawing and I would look at the entry form.  

The picture is of the electric car dealership that he wants to own. He’s been interested in electric vehicles and alternative sources of energy for years now. The interest grew from his first true love, which was cars. He made the point that the bigger red trucks are actually electric semi-trailer trucks.

As I read through the form, my heart sank.

I agree that the TCEQ and its successors, licensees and assigns there to shall have the non-exclusive and perpetual right, but not the obligation to use my child’s name, photograph, voice, likeness, and similar characteristics of his/her identity for advertising, publicity, promoting, selling, and other related purposes in connection with TCEQ both during and after the contest.

So we had (another) talk about safety. I do my best to be appropriately honest with Kiddo about the why of my reasoning. I told him that his Old Daddy didn’t know where we live because we aren’t safe around him. I reminded him that all correspondence goes through my mother’s house for that exact reason. We talked about the advertising aspect of this contest and my concerns about it. I reassured him that under no circumstances would I ever make a decision that would knowingly put his safety at risk. I told him that I was sorry but I wouldn’t allow him to enter the contest. 

I have to give him credit, he did his best to bring up a counterpoint. This lead to a quick internet search that confirmed that there is, in fact, only one elementary school in the state with his school’s name.

He got upset and took a few minutes to himself in his room. I could hear him – first angrily fussing and then crying through the apartment wall. When things got quiet I wiped my own tears away quickly, knowing that he would come out soon.  We talked about how he was upset that he worked hard on the picture and how he felt that work was for nothing if he could not enter it into the contest.  I told him that I understood why he was upset and disappointed by my decision. I told him it was okay to feel the way that he did.  I asked if he understood why I was making that particular call on this subject and I was rewarded with a heavy sigh of resignation along with a ‘for my safety.’ I told him that I was sorry I had to make the decision that he didn’t want but that was my job as his Mama – and his safety is always the most important thing. 

So yeah, I’m that parent. I know there are people who would disagree with my choice; some would say I am paranoid. My only response is: I acknowledge the absolute right (& responsibility) of a parent to make the decision they feel is best. I don’t need the validation of others to know that I’m a good mother. I extend my respect to other parents by not judging or questioning their decisions publicly.  God knows we’ve all screwed up or been less than graceful under pressure. I’m not going to shame anyone. I support my fellow parents with an empathetic nod, a quiet chuckle, and sometimes even my absolute silence. 

Thankfully, Kiddo was appeased by giving the picture to my mother. Now, a few hours later, he seems to have moved past the initial hurt. This is something we’ve discussed before and no doubt will again in the future.  I suspect that he forgets about it, which means that I’m doing a good job in providing him with a secure home environment. 

I do my best and some days I get it right. 

On The Internet

As a parent, I struggle with the internet and the safety of my child. I walk a very fine line between paranoia and caution. As a blogger, it’s always there in my mind. 

I write about my life and Kiddo is practically the center of everything.  Most of the noteworthy events in our lives occur on some level because of his very existence. 

Back to privacy: I worry about it while understanding the generational impact of the use of the internet. It’s so totally normal for Kiddo in ways that it wasn’t for me at his age. Honestly, using the internet regularly didn’t happen until I was nearly in my 20s. I didn’t get into social media until maybe 10 years ago.  I’m of the first generation to (gasp!) meet people from the internet in person. 

I talked with my best friend not too long ago about social media since her oldest turned 13 and asked to get Facebook. I like the privacy controls that are in place there – I keep my profile fairly locked down.  No public location, all private photos and the like.  I don’t allow Kiddo’s picture to be posted on his daycare’s social media. 

I’ve realized that I am less censored here.  This is my little space on the web; I don’t reach a big audience. I take for granted that my voice is mostly unnoticed in the greater world of blogs. 

Privacy doesn’t really ‘ping’ my radar until I start writing about Kiddo and go to find a picture.  Then, I pause. Who else is in the picture? Where was it taken? Would the posting of it be an issue for me if I found it on a blog that wasn’t mine?

How much privacy should our children have in our social media?  Does the idea of protecting them still extend out into the internet the way it used to? 

Our First Derby

We competed two weekends ago at the Pinewood Derby.  My mother and grandmother came in for the even which made it all the more special for Kiddo.

Given that this was our first derby, we opted to keep things simple.  We did not add anything to our car other than paint.  I attempted to shape the block of wood into something a bit more aerodynamic by using the basic tools we had at home.  It was slow going and I felt like I was making a mess of the whole thing.  But that’s okay.

We missed the event where the boys went a local high school and used their wood shop to have their cars cut.  Definitely doing that next year; lesson learned!

We ran into one small problem at registration.

When we put the axles and wheels on, part of the undercarriage splintered off.  So we glued it back into place but it didn’t sit evenly. The car would roll on the table but one wheel wouldn’t roll in the measuring box. A minor panic ensued but that’s why we went to the first registration event so that there was time to adjust anything as needed.  We got everything fixed and surrendered our car on Friday evening.

On derby day, Kiddo participated in running a small carnival as part of a badge requirement.  When they planned for games, his suggested to Julie (one of our Den Leaders) was called What’s In The Sock?  He explained to me that they’d done something similar at school.  When I googled it, I could only find something similar listed as a bachelorette party game (but whatever).

Basically you fill a sock with small items and using only their sense of touch, your participants have to figure out what the items are.  We had a few people stop by and take a quick guess and I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about our turn out.  But then we had one little girl who was determined to get all the items and her perseverance drew a bit of a crowd.

We ran in three heats and didn’t do too badly -3rd three times and 4th once.  In talking with other parents after, there are a ton of things I can do different next year.  Apparently YouTube is the place to go.  I know for sure that we’ll be adding some weights.  Other scouts in our den were very helpful in giving Kiddo suggestions modifications.  The winning scout had a plain car, no frills car he named Bear Naked.  It was cute – he also happens to be our Den leader’s son, which earned his dad a fair amount of roasting.

This was the event that convinced Kiddo to join Scouts and I’m glad that he had such a great time participating.

Climate Change

I do not consider myself to be a political person. I follow the news out of Washington as a means to stay informed about what’s going on in my world. I generally avoid discussing politics as all because the intensely personal nature of things like social policy.

I was in California visiting Michael’s family when Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination.  Tears rolled down my face as I explained to Kiddo that this moment was American history. I struggled to find the right words to tell him how huge that felt for me, as a woman. 

He learned about the election process at school. They did a mock vote and we talked about why he chose the candidate that he did.  On Election Day, I voted and remembered my grandfather, as I always have. 

Shortly before Inauguration Day, Kiddo cane home and talked about how there had been a discussion about the legacy of President Obama. 

This election marks is my sons first experience with change in our government figures.  I am struggling to explain to him what is happening right now. Honestly, I’m not certain I understand it completely. It’s been a long time since my last Government class in school. 

I do know that among many of my friends and family I no longer find hope – our political discussions are filled with anxiety, fear and uncertainty. 

Michael and I tend to have any political discussion while Kiddo is either asleep or not around (lunch).  As expected, these discussions can get intense and emotional. 

I was raised in the South and the general mindset was to respect the office even if you don’t respect the person holding it. I also tend to lean far more liberal than most in this part of the country. That makes it kind of common sense for me to hold my politics close to my chest. 

This weekend, we were asked if we had gone out and marched in protest. No, we had not. My sister was in town and we had a Scout event on Sunday.

I was a bit puzzled by the idea. I mean, absolutely protest if that’s what you want. Write letters and make phone calls. But protesting? I don’t know if that’s something I would feel comfortable doing with Kiddo. 

He’s almost 9 years old. I expect him to have opinions but I’m not of the mindset that they have to align with mine. Realistically, I think I know what he’d say on topics he’s aware of.  But the idea of taking him to a protest, sign and all, doesn’t sit right with me.

Maybe I just want to protect him from the world while I still can.