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school uniforms, little girls, body image, private school, self-esteem,

Have you ever thought about how our daughters’ self-esteem and body image could be affected by the school uniforms or dress code policy? Sounds crazy, right? I mean isn’t that the entire purpose of school uniforms in the first place, to level the playing field; to equalize all children and neutralize all social hierarchy? Isn’t a dress code to keep kids comfortable and tidy.

I have daughters, who have to wear school uniforms. There is no option. I thought this was a great idea when we started school but now, I think it’s stifling and worse, I think it’s causing some damage to my tween’s self-esteem and worse, her body image. It’s bad enough that they are not allowed to even look like girls; no ruffles, no frills or even pale pink polish because it might be “distracting” to boys but now we are even making the clothes to fit like a boy. Someone once told me that I should cut my daughters’ hair because they “read somewhere” that long hair is conducive to rape. I said, no why don’t women teach their sons not to be rapists and to respect women and their bodies. Why should my daughter have to look like a boy so your son doesn’t get any ideas? Why do the girls have to be punished?

But how are school uniforms destroying little girls’ body image, you ask?

This year, it has become almost impossible to find anything that fits my child and believe me; I have tried all the stores and all the sizes. I’m frustrated; my poor daughter is beside herself. She had a growth spurt over the summer and suddenly all of her clothes are too short and tight. So, since I don’t want to send my child to school looking all “Hulk Smash” I decided to try to just buy her some bigger clothes. Makes sense, right? WRONG!

You see, I’ve noticed that for the last few years, the girls’ uniform pants that we bought at Children’s Place were made slightly different than boy uniform pants. It was the little details like a little spandex mixed with the cotton so that the pants could bend and mold to a little girl’s body. Also, little girls’ pants were slightly flared for aesthetics and had a cute little ribbon belt. The pants were perfect. My children have been wearing them for years.

But this year, with all the let’s eliminate labels like “boys” and “girls” campaigns being on trend, nothing fits. It’s not my imagination. They have actually stopped making the pants we previously bought and have gone to a more streamlined look, that happen to look exactly like the boys’ pants. Let’s put it this way, my waif like 8 –year-old who almost blows away with a strong gust of wind and typically wears a size 6X/7 had to buy a size 10, in order to fit.

My poor 10-year-old who typically wears a 12 or a 14 depending on the length of the pants, literally, could not find a pair of pants that fit her in the length and waist. Either they swallowed her whole or fit in the waist but were up to her knees or in one particular worst case scenario, we had to try on a size 14 that was tight on her waist and her butt and then we found out it was a mislabeled 10. With tears in her eyes in the dressing room, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I just want to be normal. I just want pants that fit to wear to school!” I’ve only noticed this in uniforms, but of course, that’s all I’ve shopped for recently.

My heart broke into one million pieces because I saw every single woman that has come before her and every single little girl that will come after her if we don’t do something to change this NOW! There is plenty of time for her to feel like shit about herself because the fashion and style industry do not cater to normal sized women and they surely don’t cater to tall women, who are neither anorexic or plus sized. Our options are crying in the dressing room while trying to either starve ourselves into see thru micro mini everything, wearing muumuus or dressing like a man. Why do we have to dress according to them? And who the f*ck are they anyways?

Isn’t it enough that our daughters are bombarded by images on television and in the media of starving women as our standard of beauty, now my 10-year-old and 8-year-old are being told their bodies are wrong by fucking uniform pants. And by the way, if there was ever proof that the patriarchy is in charge, just look at a school uniform policy. It is made to inflict embarrassment and shatter self-image by making every little girl feel as ugly and plain as possible.

This is my plea, manufacturers and designers of little girls’ school uniforms

Please stop making school uniforms cut to give our elementary school aged girls doubt in themselves and their bodies.

My daughters are perfect and healthy and beautiful and in one shopping trip, fashion has planted a seed of doubt. I saw her face. I know that look…

 If only I could lose 5 pounds, I could fit into those pants!

I didn’t ever want to see that look in her eyes; that partial disgust and doubt of her own body.

It had nothing to do with wanting to be fashionable and every thing to do with just wanting to be normal and wear pants that fit. Why are we allowing the fashion industry to destroy the self-esteem and body image that we have worked so hard to instill in our girls? We pay for these clothes, shouldn’t they be made to fit our bodies not the other way around? The fashion industry works for us.

What are your thoughts on vanity sizing and unisex cuts in girls’ school uniforms?

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first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Nothing could have prepared me for my daughter’s first day of high school. I expected there to change. Even expected there to be stress and nervous energy. Definitely, did not expect the first day of high school to be harder than the first day of kindergarten. It was so much worse.

I not the mom who cried in the kindergarten corridor, my girls are stoic. They’re independent and they suck it up. They get that from their daddy. I’m highly emotional. I do suck it up but I always give myself permission to feel my feelings.

READ ALSO: Kindergarten, the beginning of the end

All summer Bella’s joked that she wants to be homeschooled. She’s wanted to be homeschool since about 2nd grade. Due to demanding dance schedules, Bella’s ballet friends are homeschooled. I never put much weight in it because I work from home. I’ve taught and had classroom time. But teaching your own child is something different entirely so my answer has always been a firm no.

But this summer, she wouldn’t drop it. I assumed she was getting nervous for the change to high school. After all, she’s been at the same school since 1st grade. But on that first morning, she was overcome with fear and begged me to not make her go.

READ ALSO: The Different Kinds of Moms You Meet on the First Day of School

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? I’m very close to my girls. We’re a small family, just the 4 of us and they really are my best friends ( I know it’s not cool to say that but in our case, it is true). I don’t say no very often to things they really want. Things yes but not asks of me as a mom. This morning, I had to stand strong and push my baby bird out of the nest, for her own good.

As moms, I think most of us would love to just keep our little ones snuggled up near us forever but that’s not what’s best for them. How can I expect her to be a functioning good human being when I let her shy away from everything that scares her?

The entire car ride to school, she was silently holding back tears. I saw it. I didn’t acknowledge it because, just like when they are toddlers and you make a deal about a booboo, that’s the moment the histrionics begin. I was trying to be stoic because, confession, I am totally the mom who kisses all the booboos and makes a big deal. But I needed to be strong for her.

READ ALSO: Slipping through my Fingers

About a block from the school, we were stopped in traffic and she could see the cars lining up to make the street cross at the yield sign. She could see all the other freshman and realized that she knew none of them. I heard the whimpering as she stifled her cries. My heart broke into a zillion pieces. Be strong, Debi. You can do this. Do it for Bella She needs you. This is not about you. Do NOT fall apart woman. Not turning the car went against all of my mommy instincts.

There we were in the car at drop off on her first official morning of high school. This day was just for incoming freshman. I love that. The student ambassadors were standing outside lining the drop off lanes, holding banners welcoming the new students. Cheerleaders were cheering. Teachers were standing at attention with full-faced smiles. Even the school mascot was standing outside giving out free hugs. I felt comfortable dropping her off in this situation.

I turned to the passenger seat and there say my baby, my firstborn, sobbing from fear of the unknown and no amount of reassurance was going to fix this but neither was letting her not face it. It was now. This was her moment. It was also a really hard parenting moment because I confess, all I wanted to do was grab her in my arms, peel outta there and take her home with me and make it all better. Instead, holding back tears behind my giant Gucci sunglasses, I grabbed her hand, told her that I loved her, kissed her cheek and told her to have the best day. ” I’ll see you soon.”

first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Looking back at me with her cheetah spotted face, through blubbering from sheer panic and fear, she said, “I hate you, mom.” I knew she didn’t mean it. I knew that was her way of letting me know how very hard this moment was for her. This was her being scared and clinging to anything that would get me to stop the trajectory of our morning. She wanted off. She wanted out. She was terrified and I was the only thing that stood between her and the comfort of how things were.

I cried all the way home. I felt like the worst mom in the history of the world. I felt like I had abandoned her at the moment she needed me most. But I know that I did the right thing because it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had to walk away when my daughter metaphorically had her hands outstretched to me, begging me to rescue her. Instead, I gently pushed her out of the nest. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive when she goes away to college.

READ ALSO:  Only 9 more Summers

That’s the thing about being a parent, we have to love them so much that we do what’s best for them, even when it breaks our hearts. We have to let them go, even when all we want to do is hold them tight. We have to love them so hard that they see themselves the way we do. We lift them up, give them courage and self-confidence when they are at their most vulnerable. We watch from the sidelines, with no glory or fanfare, being their biggest cheerleaders for all of their lives. We love them enough to convince them to see that they are as wonderful as we’ve always known they were…since that moment they were first placed upon our chest the moment they were born.

What was your child’s first day of school like this year?

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Catholic school girl, nun

Catholic school girl gone Nun~ Is this something that I should be concerned with? I enrolled my little girls in Catholic school because 1) we are Catholic and I loved the spiritual aspect of it 2) I believe faith is instilled not learned 3) the test scores are substantially higher at the Catholic school compared to the public school she would be attending 4) the uniforms are A.dor.able!!!Everyone knows that. But I’ve been noticing that there is a kind of catholic school girl mentality that is seeping in…almost taking over my little girl. Everything is Jesus this and God made me that, which, don’t get me wrong, is sweet but my little catholic school girl seems to be metamorphosing into a little nun. That scares me a little bit.

catholic school girl

This is a Good Catholic School Girl

I am very happy that my little catholic school girl is so spiritual and finds such comfort in religion. The other day, she brought home a picture that she had drawn and it read, “God Created me!”. To which I replied, “Well, I think Daddy and I had something to do with it too. But yes, God did  bless us with you.” Her reply, ” Mommy, it wasn’t you. It was God.” She was resolute in her answer and that was that. I fully suspect that every time she does anything these days, save for beat on her little sister, she first asks herself…What WOULD Jesus do? I find it absolutely fabulous that she is concerned with the moral ramifications of what she does on a daily basis.  I am very proud of her. She is learning her prayers and hymns. Today, she sang in the church choir and presented the wine to the Father. I have never seen her look so proud. Even when she got her part in the Nutcracker last year , she wasn’t this excited. I couldn’t help but puff out my chest a bit and think to myself, Look at my kid. She is amazing. I understood that whole holier than thou saying.

Amazing little Catholic School Girl

But then she came home and set up a prayer station and insists that I must use her vial of holy water , that she brought home, to cross myself each night before our prayers. I suppose that it could be worse, she could go all Angelina on me and carry around a vial of blood. Yes. I did just say that my 6 year old carries around a vial of holy water like a drunk carries a flask of whiskey on his person at all times. I think this may be a bit extreme. Or perhaps, my little catholic school girl is planning on battling Vampires while I sleep. Or maybe she’s just trying to prove her theory that I am, in fact, a witch. Will I melt? Will I not melt? Who knows. Either way, how can I argue with my little girl when she devoutly kneels in front of her makeshift prayer station and prays for her Daddy to return safely from his business trip or for or house to sell. My little girl really is amazing. She’s certainly a better person than I am. But I can’t help being a little concerned about the accelerated speed at which she is embracing her faith. I fear that by next year she will be choosing her ordination habit.

Have you ever experienced this? Am I the only one? Am I over analyzing? I mean, honestly, I should be thrilled that she is embracing something positive, right? This is what I wanted. I think. I wanted my children to be spiritual and have a solid foundation in their faith. I guess I just never realized just how young children are when they start becoming who they will be. I don’t know how I feel about that. It’s like ringing a bell. You can’t un-ring it. I guess I just thought I had more time before she chose her path in life but I feel like she’s already forming opinions and beliefs and that is amazing and a little bit scary to me. My little catholic school girl is growing up so fast.

 

Catholic school girl, nun

Extreme Catholic School Girl

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What to do if your child is threatened, school shooting, Run, hide, fight

What to do if your child is threatened at school? We don’t like to think about things like active shooters or bombings, do we? We’d like to believe that we know what we’d do. We’d protect our children, at all costs. But the truth is you have no idea how you would react if your child is threatened. I didn’t. It’s one of those fight or flight circumstances, you either run away and hide or you fight tooth and nail to keep your child safe in the situation. The intention is the same; save the child.

My fourth grader came home last Friday from school and said, “Mommy, I got this creepy note from school.” She threw the note at me from the back seat. I was expecting some weird cryptic message from some fellow student at school but that wasn’t what she got at all. Our school had come under threat from one of the children who attended the school and none of us were told until after the fact.

I was mad and terrified at the same time because how are you supposed to know what to do if your child is threatened? How do you protect your child from unseen or unanticipated dangers?

It was a letter from the school, alerting the parents that there had been a “situation” a “THREAT” at the school. We all know that is code for a Columbine/ Sandy Hook situation in the making. For a moment, I lost it…very quietly in my head because even though I was terrified, I couldn’t scare my children. They have to go to that place every day and they need to feel safe even if I don’t. I told them very little about the note. They just know there was an incident.

My daughters live in a very different world from the one I grew up in. I didn’t have drills to practice in case a “polar bear” got loose in the building and went on a “growling” spree. My mom’s last words to me every morning before school as she kissed me goodbye were not, “Love you! Remember if a “polar bear” gets in the building…bob and weave. Never run in a straight line!” We didn’t have to know active shooter protocol or what the acronym REHF meant. That’s run, escape, hide and fight for those of you who are not preparing for “polar bears” bearing down your hallways with an AK47s by the way.

I mean, what the hell is that? But it’s one of those things I need to say. Just like its compulsory that both of my children take their iPhones to school “in case of emergency” like the emergency that happened to Eddie Justice in the bathroom of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

At school board meetings we have to discuss things like escape windows, bulletproof screens and hurricane doors to keep the danger out. We have security measures in place in case a strange “polar bear” shows up to terrorize our children but what about when there is a “polar bear” in student’s clothing? How do we protect our children from the unseen threats?

I’m not going to lie, the note and the intended threat that prompted it have shaken me as a mom. Every morning that I drop my kids off at school, I don’t want to. What if today is the day that a child makes good on an assumed idol threat? What if it wasn’t “just a threat”? What if it was a promise? What if it was a cry for help that went unnoticed? What if this is the last time I see my child alive?

I’ve had a knot in the pit of my stomach now for a week because we were not given all the facts. How could we be? It concerns a minor. We have to trust that the school is doing all that it can to protect our children from threats and polar bears and crazy people with guns. It’s hard to trust in others to protect your children in today’s world.

Of course, as a parent, the thought of someone putting our babies in danger is cause for pitchforks and rioting. We are all very upset. Why wasn’t school canceled? Why were we not told until the end of the day by way of a “creepy note”. Why would a child tell other children maliciously that they are “on my list”? What do we do? Where do we go from here?

The child was suspended which is what I consider a time-out. Not expelled, not ordered to compulsory psychiatric treatment but given the legally mandated slap on the wrist and called a bad boy.

I don’t know who the kid is and I don’t know what he might be going through. It might all be terrible and maybe he deserves my compassion and understanding but when it’s my child who is being put in danger, that all goes out the window. I am not reasonable when you threaten the most important thing in my world. I am outraged. I am mad. I want to feel secure again but I can’t.

But I pretend that I am for my girls. I teach my kids what to do in case of an emergency. I send them with their phones and tell them to bob and weave. I hug them tight and kiss them goodbye every single morning knowing that this could be the last time I see them while acting like everything is alright; like this is normal. Because this is our new normal.

I just want my daughters to be safe and less vulnerable when they are at school; when they are anywhere. What are my options? Put them in a bubble? Homeschool? Hide them away and make them think the world is a fairytale where everything and everyone is good? To lie to them?

I can’t, no matter how much I may want to because the world is not any of those things and I don’t want them to spend their lives hiding from life. I want them to explore, be carefree and adventurous. I want them to embrace all that life has to offer and you can’t do that from inside the safety of a prison of your mom’s making. So, I send them out into the world every day prepared (unknowingly) for the worst, hoping for the best and (me) praying for survival.

No matter how much we want to believe it, we cannot protect our children when they are outside of our care. We can only teach them to survive and advocate for their safety. I’m not trying to scare you. I know we are all already living with this fear. I just wanted you to know that it’s not just something that happens someplace else to someone else’s child.

Do you know what to do if your child is threatened from someone inside the school?

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florida school shooting, gun control, alan feis, Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

Yesterday, 17 unsuspecting students and adults, including Aaron Feis, were murdered in a South Florida school shooting massacre by 19 -year-old, Nikolas Cruz. Gun control failed us again. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the fire alarm shortly before 3 pm at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As the students and faculty exited the building, he started shooting at them like fish in a barrel. But that wasn’t enough for Nikolas, he followed the people running back inside for cover and targeted those huddled in classrooms hiding. Then, he blended in with the students exiting and evacuated the school. He was arrested later that day in Coral Springs.

They’re calling it the “Florida School Shooting” to differentiate it from the other recent school shootings because they happen so frequently now. This is how we measure life and death now, by geographical location. Quick somebody drop a pin so we know where to send the SWAT team next. I’m not being funny. I am utterly disgusted at how little life means to the people of this country. We’ve done nothing since Sandy Hook. Gun control is still the same shit show it ever was.

You know, the world makes fun of helicopter moms but we’re just being rational in an irrational world. How are we ever supposed to let our children go out into the world without worrying ourselves into an early grave? No wonder so many people homeschool now because at least there you can keep your child safe. Thank God for men like Aaron Feis.

Are you there God? Where were you on Ash Wednesday 2018 when 17 people were murdered by a disgruntled ex-student, Nikolas Cruz in the Florida School shooting? What makes a person hate the world so much that they want to kill anyone and everyone that is not as miserable as they are? Don’t tell me mental illness. It’s meanness. It’s calculated. It’s evil and its people killing people with guns because they can because everywhere you turn guns are readily available. If you can’t buy the gun you want, you can buy a gun and modify it. If they won’t sell you a gun because by some miracle your crazy ass is on a list, you can build it by buying parts on the Internet. Why is this not regulated?

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 cases of premeditated murder. News at 11. It was said on one newscast so matter a factly that you would have thought they were talking about a baby monkey being born at the local zoo. What kind of world are we living in? Where is the outrage? Where are the grief-stricken parents of the living students with pitchforks and torches demanding that our government do something? I mean, of course without a whole lot of people make a whole lot of stink the government is not going to do shit because they got paid a whole lot of money not to.

Former classmates said they were not surprised at the identity of the suspected shooter. Cruz loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.

“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.

Why did no one call the police on this kid? He was clearly exhibiting unstable behaviors.

Cruz had once been expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

 

He purchased the gun legally. He passed the background check. At 18 you can buy an assault-style weapon but you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. Let that sink in for a minute.

I find it interesting that as they were interviewing former classmates of Nikolas Cruz they were saying things like yeah, sure, Nikolas was the guy most likely to shoot up the school. He had lots of guns. The faculty at one point forbid him from carrying a backpack because of the fear that something exactly like this might happen. Yet, here we are. It happened and instead of anyone stopping him, they all just shake their head and go, we knew he’d do something like this. What the f*ck?

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Runcie said.

This is supposed to be our consolation. Humanity is going to be “better” for a few days.Celebrities are going to tweet out their prayers and condolences. Regular people are going to feign outrage without actually ever doing anything about it becoming themselves willing parts of the problem. Yeah, like the days and weeks after Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. There are more school shootings than ever. I mean, what are the statistics for the likelihood of your child getting shot or murdered at school these days?

What’s worse, our government makes sure that these weapons are available because it’s a “constitutional right”. So when it’s your kid, or your wife or your husband or mom or dad who gets shot in the face and murdered just living their life tell me how important the freedom to have guns really is. I dare you to. I wouldn’t stand too close to me when you did it.

I keep seeing images of the teacher with ashes on her head, the hero Aaron Feis and a girl with a mylar balloon. It was probably one of the best days of this teen girl’s high school life and now, it will always be one of the worst days of her life. It’s traumatic and I think it’s the worst kind of monster who attacks people at their most vulnerable. Why do these shooters never open fire where there are trained people ready to protect themselves? Because they are cowards and they are afraid. They want to exact horror by murdering innocent, unsuspecting people because then they have the upper hand. Better yet, be a real man, come pick a fight…hand-to-hand with someone your own size and get your ass kicked the way it deserves to be. But they won’t because they are cowards of the worst kind.

But you know who are the bigger cowards? The politicians who allow the NRA to buy their votes. They value money over human life. Worse still the parents who fight for the right to bear arms and then send their children into the world to be slaughtered by people with guns. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Unless we are going to train and start sending every student to school with a weapon to protect themselves or impose real gun control, then we need to all be sterilized because I’d rather not bring a child into this world than to bring one into this world to be murdered by an NRA enthusiast.

We live in a world where every drop off good bye could be “the goodbye”. I know this. You know this. We choose our words more carefully. We hold tighter. We coddle. We spoil because any minute could be the minute someone sprays the hallways of the elementary school with bullets and paints the walls red with the blood of babies… our babies..my babies and your babies. Anyone’s babies because that is the truly scary part, no one is safe. Not even the child of a parent who is a staunch supporter of the NRA because a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon doesn’t stop to ask.

How do you explain to a parent who’s lost everything that your right to bear arms trumps their child’s right to life?

It feels like I’ve written this piece a few hundred times before because I think I have. Why have I? Why does this keep happening? Why does our government stand by and do nothing but come up with sound bites and excuses? Why do we the people accept this? When is enough too much? When it’s our own child whose tiny body lays limp and lifeless in the quad? When it’s our child who cowers and hides for hours as some person with a gun plays a sick game of hide and seek where if you’re found… you’re dead? When it’s your child, who even if they’re lucky enough to survive they are damaged forever. They are not the same child you sent to school that morning and that child may not have died but they are never coming back.

Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

We live in a world where our children have to think fast enough to put their backpacks full of books on before running for their lives just to try to avoid getting shot in the spine. They have to remember to bob and weave. They have to stay silent and stifle tears and terror while their friend a foot away is shot dead in front of them. They have to play dead and pray the shooter doesn’t issue a kill shot to the head “just to be sure”.

Do something!! Stop waiting for your government to figure it out. Demand that they do something to protect our children. When is enough ever going to be enough? How many children have to be slaughtered in the streets, how much blood has to be on our hands before we have the balls to stand united and demand that there be stricter gun control and regulations on parts being bought? We need to make it impossible for everyone to get guns. It shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege and if you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. If you are not mentally equipped and stable enough to own and trained to operate a weapon, you should not be able to purchase one.

I know gun advocates like to say they need guns to protect themselves from intruders and government. To you I say, 1 you are more likely to be shot with your own gun from an intruder and 2, no gun can protect you from a corrupt government.

But amidst all of this horror, remember the victims like Football coach Aaron Feis who died while using his body to shield three female students. He threw himself in the line of fire to spare them. He suffered a gunshot wound and died after being rushed into surgery. The thing is he shouldn’t have had to die.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio, a student and football team member, said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Don’t let the Florida School shooting and the lives of Aaron Feis and the other 16 people who died yesterday have been in vain. Take action. Demand our government to change our current gun control legislation.

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Thank you to Crocs for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about Crocs’ new Back to School line. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

It seems the least wonderful time of year is upon us, once more. You know the time I mean, back to school. It’s that magical time when the weather is still beautiful, the kids are just getting used to sleeping in and it is all abruptly interrupted so that we can run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find all of the items on the first of the year school supply scavenger hunt list. Next, we get to drag children, who would rather be anywhere else but where we are taking them ( preferably a beach somewhere), school shopping.

I have little girls and they typically love to shop. Though since starting down the path of uniform city, it is not as much fun as it once was for them. But fear not, what we lack in clothing diversification we make up for in adorableness; headbands, barrettes, ostentatious flowers, sassy socks and the most extensive elementary school shoe collection that I’ve ever seen. We love our shoes( like mother like daughters)!

We’ve successfully found the cutest uniform clothing we could find. We’ve completed the school supply scavenger hunt with the exception of the illusive art smock.We’ve bought bought our brand spanking new gym shoes. Next on the list, some funky Mary Janes,the coveted pair of cozy top-siders and ballerina flats. I’m sure we will be getting a pair (or two) of those (perfectly coordinated with our school’s uniforms)

Kelley Crocs!

My girls look forward to shopping for accessories and shoes the most because this is where they can show their personality.I let them go as big and bold as they want to. What is your child’s favorite part of school shopping, aside from spending the day with their Mom? Do they like to buy the funkiest or fanciest? Do they dress preppy or sporty? Or are they part of the uniform kids who have to get inventive and show their personalities through their accessories and shoes? What’s your favorite part of back-to-school shopping? If you are like me, it’s the spending the day with my 2 favorite girls one last time before they head back to school. I linger a little longer than necessary at every stop because I know these moments are not limitless, even if it is a pain in the rump wrestling other mother’s for 20 cent crayons. The smiles of pure joy at a perfect pair of shoes, or the smile I am met with when telling them how pretty a certain uniform top looks on them, or the “Thank’s Mommy” I get from buying them lunch at their favorite place in the mall; all these little things give back-to-school shopping a special place in my heart.

 

Crocs

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school stabbings, Alex Hribal, WTF America, Throat Punch Thursday, Unsafe America

School stabbings. School shootings. School bombings. Children molested by trusted adult. Nanny murders children. Mom drives minivan full of children into ocean. Terrorists bomb  the Boston marathon. Teenagers knock out unsuspecting adults for “fun”. Teens lure an unpopular teen out to some deserted place and kill him because they are bored. Kids cyber bullying kids to the point of suicide. Young girls get gang raped and videotaped while others watch. WTF America? Does anyone else feel like the world has become the unsafest place in the universe? The world used to feel safer; more innocent. Less cynical. It seems that lately no one is safe, anywhere. Unfortunately, as people are no,t as of ye,t living on Mars, this is all we’ve got.

When I was a child, we played outside until the streetlights came on. We rode our bikes up and down the block with no supervision. We walked to school with a group of friends. Our parents trusted our friends’ parents and people were kinder to one another. There was a modicum of respect for human life. It wasn’t perfect, we had serial killers and we were cautious. Sure, there were assholes. There always are but for the most part, when you let your kids out of the house to go to school or left them with a babysitter, you weren’t afraid that it was the last time you’d ever see them.

The other day, I saw a video from 1987. It was a group of 18-year-old guys in Orlando at a convenience store with their camera asking strangers questions. Actual strangers interacting with one another, no smart ass comments, no knock out game, no bullying, no bullshit..just simple human communication. There was no real point to this video. It was just a rare snippet into an innocuous moment in history before every moment was documented. It made me nostalgic for those days before whatever this is happened. If you tried that same thing now, you would be ignored or worse, assaulted.

There were no school stabbings. You used your words.

When I was a teenager, back in the 80’s, high school boys would call high school girls that they didn’t even know because they had seen them in the hallways or a friend told a friend about so and so, actual human interaction.  Yes, boys would actually cold call girls on a landline telephone. Start a fucking conversation and try to impress her, maybe even ask for a date. Hell, some guys would even pull up after school and offer you a ride home. If the girl liked him, more often than not, girls would take the ride or at the very least give him her phone number. Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like something that would give me a heart attack if my daughters did that today.  Back then, either there was not so much danger or we just didn’t know about it because there was no social media and Internet. I miss those days. I miss my ignorant bliss in a time when people knew what consequences were.

I am sad that my girls live in a world where they will never fully know trust in another human being. They will never not be exposed and bombarded by social media. I am sad that they might never know the butterflies that you get when a boy who likes you walks over to you and makes adorably awkward conversation because now it’s all text and social media and there is nothing “adorably awkward” about a teen boy’s penis in a sext or finding out your hotness rating on some website. The world has become to in-your-face for my liking. It’s abrasive and feels unsafe to me.

Yesterday morning, Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old at a Pennsylvania High School went on a stabbing and slashing spree for no apparent reason. At 7:15 in the morning, he ran through the hallways slashing and stabbing anyone he could get; 22 people in 5 minutes. His attorney says that he is “confused, scared and depressed”. Yeah, well, guess what? Who gives a shit what he is. His time for fucking counseling is over. The only ones who have a right to be confused, scared and depressed are his vicitms…the American people that this asshole has made feel, once again, unsafe in their own homes.

I am so sick of the Alex Hribal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Adam Lanza and James Holmes of the world. So they were a little weird and misunderstood. So fucking what? We’ve all been an outcast at some point or another. We’ve all felt alone but that doesn’t give you the right to take it out on innocent people. They say he might have a mental illness. Get therapy. Take your meds. Talk to your parents. Change your life but don’t take other people’s children with you because you’re having a fucking bad day! Many of us have mental illness but most of us don’t go batshit crazy and try to kill everyone in sight.

We live in a world where every single morning when I drop my little girls off at school and watch them walk toward the school hand-in-hand, I get a knot in my stomach and pray (literally PRAY) that this is not the last time that I see them. How twisted is that?

Something has got to change. We can’t unring the technology bell that has gotten us to this point. We can’t make people like people but we can raise our children in a world where they are not taught that if everything is not going their way they can just go crazy and kill people. It’s a fucking temper tantrum. It’s a poor pitiful me pity party of epic proportions. We hover and coddle and then we turn our children loose into the teen years with no social skills and an expectation of instant gratification. They don’t know consequences and they feel like the world owes them a pound of flesh because everything’s not going their way and they exact their punishment.  We are raising a generation of narcissistic assholes who are so detached from human emotion that they can walk into a school and stab 22 people, shoot 26 elementary aged children, bomb an entire marathon of unsuspecting onlookers, shoot up a theater with families and not give a shit because all they care about it how they “feel”.

We have to change this. I can’t bear to hear about one more school stabbing or shooting. It starts with us, the parents. We need to teach our children that there are consequences to their actions. We need to teach them that life is not always about getting what you want or how you “feel”. Sometimes life sucks but we make changes, we talk it out, we get help, we fight for ourselves and we move on.

We teach them that these bad days don’t last forever. We quit raising kids who think the world revolves around them; who think that if they fail it’s the end of the world. We teach them to learn to get over rejection and work harder to be better. We teach them to respect human life. We teach them tenacity and self-confidence. We let them know that we are there for them and that we love them unconditionally and we pray that’s enough.

What are your thoughts on the school stabbings?

 

Alex Hribal, school stabbings, WTF America, Throat Punch Thursday

photo Trang Nguyen

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first grade

This morning my oldest daughter started First Grade.*Swoon* & *Sigh* My stomach was nervous all last night for her. I’m no stranger to this phenomenon.It’s been happening to me since MY own first day of kindergarten. I didn’t think I’d be this nervous before my babies started school. I guess it’s better me than them. Ella woke up this morning excited and ready to hit the ground running. I’m so proud of her. This is her third school in three years.

First grade

The First Day Of First Grade

This morning was slightly reminiscent of last year’s first day. But this year my little girl was more excited and less nervous. I watched her jump out of bed and her eyes were smiling. She woke up her sister and headed to the kitchen for the annual first day of school breakfast; this years was pancakes, bacon, fruit and milk. Gotta feed that little brain. I watched her flit around like a little caterpillar turning into a butterfly before my very eyes. It really is quite hard to actually see the letting go happen.

She was dressed and ready to hit the road in record time this morning. I was glad. I was afraid she was going to be overcome with trepidation being in a new school, in a new city with new kids and no one she knows. But we were sure to take her to the school a couple times over the summer and she met her teacher last week. She knew where her desk, hook and mailbox would be before she ever got to school this morning. I explained the lunch line and pick up. She knew she was going to be the first Star of the Week VIP, we spent the weekend working on her VIP poster board for class. She seemed fine. I was the nervous one.


first grade

The First Cut is the Deepest

Then we drove to school, after taking my usual 100 photos or so of her getting ready for her first day of school. I reminded her that I put lunch money in her pocket, in case there was a mix up with her lunch account. I reminded her that she was having grapes in her lunch today and that she needed to take little bites and not talk while eating ( *Laugh if you will at my helicoptering but this is the same child who I was almost robbed of by a raisin). I reminded her to raise her hand when they took a head count for lunch (this is her first year of all day school). Then we rode in silence.

As we walked into the school, I had to pass the Kindergarten Mom’s. They were all melting into their pools of snot and tears in the hallway. Oh how I remember that moment, it was just last year. It will be me again next year. It hurt my heart a bit. I knew in moments, my own hurt was coming down like a hammer. We walked her into her classroom. As I handed her the backpack and pointed her in the direction of her hook, I could see the trepidation rearing its head again. I know that look. It’s a mix of glazed over and about to cry. But she never does. My girl is a suck it up kind of girl. She is the bravest kid I know (until it comes to shots but that’s an entirely different post). She asked me to walk her to her desk, of course, I obliged. The Big Guy was already busy setting all of her supply list items on her desk and unveiling that Star of the Week poster that tells her story. Abbi was running amuck checking out all the other kids to make sure it was safe to leave her big sister. She doesn’t leave her sister with just anyone.

first grade

I was in my head. She was in hers. Her eyes were glassy. My eyes were glassy. She knew I would ONLY leave her in capable hands. She sucked it up and gave me her nervous smile. I gave her a thousand and one kisses and told her to have a great day. I told her that I was so excited for her and proud of her. The Big Guy gave her a goodbye kiss and exited left. Her little sister hugged her like she was going off to war and kissed her cheek harder than I thought possible. I watched before giving her one last kiss and hug and fleeing before I could begin to cry.I told her I loved her. She told me that she did too.The commotion was growing. I swallowed the lump in my throat and told her goodbye.She smiled her nervous, toothless smile. It took all my will, I walked away. As I exited the room, I looked back and saw that same first day familiar nervous look. It broke my heart. It always breaks my heart. Leaving her, has always and will probably always break my heart into a million tiny pieces. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

First Grade

It’s time to focus on the fact that my  youngest starts preschool in 3 weeks. Oh what a blubbering mess I will be on that day. For now, I will fixate on those damn grapes and count the minutes til pick up time. Once she tells me that she had a wonderful day and I know that she survived the grapes at lunch. I will be exponentially happier. But right now, this very moment, my heart still hurts from….

Leaving my First Born in First Grade

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back to school, first day of school, parenting, girls, letting go

Back to school was not Xanax inducing here. Not this year anyways. Today was the first day of school for my girls. It feels much too early in the summer. It’s the first summer that I wasn’t either ecstatic or sobbing to be left alone. This morning was a peaceful, easy morning.

The girls are at the age where they can do things on their own. They were up and ready before me. They were excited. I was thrilled. Morning drop off went off without a hitch. Completely different from last year’s back to school mental breakdowns.

I walked them in, dropped off supplies and introduced myself to their teachers and left with a kiss goodbye and a hug of appreciation instead of desperation. It was bitter sweet.On one hand, my oldest “baby” is in 6th grade. That’s middle school? How did this happen? I swear I just dropped her off in the kindergarten hallway of death.

I returned home with hot coffee in hand and sat in peaceful quietness in a clean house. Then it happened. I missed my children. As much as we’ve been inseparable this summer, I didn’t think it was even possible.

Back to school is getting easier for them and harder for me.

I missed my tween sleepily walking into the room midmorning only to collapse by my side and snuggle into me as she did all summer. I missed my little one sauntering in with her bedhead and sidling up on the other side of me, kissing me good morning and laying with her feet under my hip as she read a book or watched a show on her iPod. I missed it all. I even missed the tiny voices constantly asking to go to the pool. I just need a few more days; a few more years. 18 years can’t hold all of this love.

Mostly, I missed the fact that those moments are gone for another summer and every summer is one summer closer to no more summers under the same roof. That rips my heart out. I don’t know how to not hate that. I want to consume and digest every moment in tiny bits so that it doesn’t overwhelm me but motherhood is all consuming and, for me, completely overwhelming in the best possible ways.

back to school, first day of school, parenting, girls, letting go

At pick up the car was filled with excited voices telling me how excited they were about the upcoming school year. They were thrilled to connect with old friends and excitedly told me of new ones. Both proclaiming that this is going to be the best school year ever. Both thrilled with their assigned teachers. These moments make my heart happy but I feel the pull away like the slow separation of a Band-Aid from a forgotten wound. It aches beneath the surface like a fresh bruise to my heart.

Our schedule is hectic and crazy and heads into full force next Monday so I plan to wring every single ounce of freedom and togetherness out of our last weekend before the obligatory chaos takes over. I have to believe every second counts and every day is a chance for a new beginning. That has to get me through the letting go.

As we head into this new year of school, I am full of pride. My babies are becoming such phenomenal young ladies. This only makes me want to cleave to them tighter but I loosen my grip because they are not mine at all. They are their own. I am just the blessed woman who got to bring them into the world and gets to spend a little time showing them the way to live in this crazy world. I just hope that I’m doing it right.

How do you deal with the quiet moments of letting go that come with back to school?

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sick children, bad parenting, sick kids, school

Do not send sick kids to school! I repeat, do not do it! I recently read an article in which a parent was asking that schools police children’s health and punish those parents who send their sick children to school. If you wake up and your kid has a 104 degree temperature or is actively vomiting and diarrheaing all over the house, it’s a pretty good bet that you should keep that kid home. But should the school have the right to take punitive action against the parents?

I get that parents have jobs and they can’t always get time off. Not every parent is a stay-at-home or even has the opportunity to work from home. My family is very fortunate in this way. I work from home and, if need be, my husband can work from home some days so I follow all the rules. I fully realize that most parents can’t do that and they work to pay for food, shelter and utilities. Sometimes, you just have to send your kid in and pray he doesn’t infect anyone else because, quite frankly, the electric company doesn’t care if your kid is sick and the grocery store doesn’t take I.O.U.s.

If my girls are running fevers or vomiting, I always keep them home. I take them to the pediatrician because we are lucky enough to have insurance. It’s not always easy, but it’s what has to be done.

Recently, I was really sick with the flu myself. What I thought was a man cold, because I was being a whiny little girl and complaining about everything, turned out to be the real deal, pull on your big girl panties and prepare to hate your life for the next 7-10 days FLU! The one year we don’t get our flu shots and pow… Right in the kisser.

The worst part of this whole situation was that my girls were also sick so I couldn’t just rest and recoup, I had to tend to them first and then rest. It was brutal. To make it extra special, the night I felt my absolute worst from the killer headache that accompanies this death flu, 5 minutes after finally drifting off to sleep, my 8-year-old ran into my room screaming my name as she projectile vomited all over my carpeted bedroom. The last thing I wanted to do in the middle of my dying was clean up vomit but that’s what I did.

For the next four days of my crippling flu journey, the little one feverish and clingy spent every waking and sleeping moment draped over my body, attached to me like some adorable little parasite; killing me softly as I stayed silent; comforting her when all I wanted was solitude and sleep. I didn’t want to be touched or looked at but I had to suck it up.

To make things worse, when she’s sick she’s kind of mean. She was short and irritable. So was I but I’m the mom. So not only did I get to feel absolutely dreadful, I got to be her punching bag (because who can yell at a sick kid) avoid sleep because of worry and go quietly insane.

So at the end of last week, just as the antibiotics started to kick in from the compounding situation of walking pneumonia, the Big Guy got sick. Fevers, coughing and achy soreness for everyone.

By Saturday morning, the oldest had 104-degree temperature. None of us wanted to move and all of us wanted to die. Still, I had not one second to be sick in peace. No moment to curl up under the blankets and wallow to the hum of the humidifier. Not even one lone moment to nurse my scratchy throat in peace.

Essentially, we had almost 3 weeks of children home. 10 of those days, I was extremely sick myself. I kept my girls home because that is what school policy dictates, that’s what their sick little bodies demanded and it had to be done. None of us liked it. We were all just trying to survive it.

Then I got a carefully worded letter in the mail, “warning” me about my daughters’ absences. The ones they had missed due to the flu they caught at school. The same absences, which I had taken them to the pediatrician for and called daily to let the school know. I felt threatened and appalled because if the other parents had kept their kids home when they were running the fevers, maybe my entire family could have avoided 3 weeks worth of missed school, ballet, gymnastics, violin and tumbling. Maybe I could have saved all that money I had to waste on OTC drugs, doctors visits, prescriptions, Kleenex, and takeout because no one felt up to cooking.

Instead, I got the reprimand for doing the right thing and the parents who knowingly send their kids in sick with fevers, stomach flus and lice are left to go on about their merry ways. I call bullshit.

I’m Bitter. I did all the right things and I am the one being policed. How is this fair? We need a better system.

Parents, I know that its not easy and sometimes it might not even be possible but if your child is sick and you knowingly send them in to school, you know better and you should be the one being given the threatening letters, not me.

What do you think about parents knowingly sending sick kids to school?

 

 

 

 

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