Tag Archives: parenting

Get That Gun Away from My Daughter!

10 Apr

So here’s the scene: my 4-year-old daughter is sitting in a chair at the front of Claire’s boutique at the mall.  She’s about to get her ears pierced.  She’s terribly excited – she’s been asking to do this for ages and I’ve finally relented.

marking where the holes will be...

And now here comes the lady with the plastic gun.  It’s loaded with a cute, rainbow-colored daisy earring…

BAM!  The right ear is done.

My daughter starts to cry, either from the pain or the noise or the shock of it all.  I hold in all of my tears and grief and weird feelings and try not to make a scene.  My daughter, however, wants to make a scene.  A really big one.

She’s freaked out, and no amount of coaxing is going to convince her to sit still to have her other ear done.

My husband alternates between bribery and threats to get her to comply.  Dear daughter keeps saying she wants more time to think (in-between heaving sobs).  Every time hubby thinks he’s gotten her calmed down, she loses it all over again as soon as she sits in that chair.

Fifteen minutes go by.  Then thirty.  Then an hour.  By this point, I can hardly even swallow, I’m so stressed.

Soon a crowd of onlookers gathers, all of them women.  A kindly old grandmother advises us to just hold our daughter down and force her to get the other ear pierced.  A pair of tween girls show off their own earrings, and amidst lots of forced oohing and aahing, they tell her how pretty she will be if she can just summon the courage to do her other ear.

Right about this point is when I feel the bile rise in my throat and realize I can’t take it anymore…it all just feels wrong.

Is this well-meaning group of people actually telling my 4-year-old that she should suffer through her fear and pain just for the sake of beauty??!!  This is not a life-saving vaccine we’re talking about – it’s jewelry!

Once I got my stomach unclenched and found my voice again, I spoke up and got us out of there.  We ate lunch and I took my daughter back to Claire’s to have the first earring taken out.  She was a little heartbroken about it, but she got over it.  I told her she could make the decision about getting her ears pierced when she was a little older, which seemed to take a huge weight off her shoulders.  This was just too much for her.

A few weeks ago I saw a fabulous documentary called Miss Representation.  To quote from the website (www.missrepresentation.org), “the film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”  The film was nauseating, and 100% right on the money.  Women are valued for their appearance, and chastised for not living up to certain standards – even when their jobs have nothing to do with their looks and everything to do with their intellectual capability.  (Remember all the media coverage of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin a few years ago – Hillary the ball-busting troll and Sarah the hot mom?)  I highly recommend watching the movie.  It’s eye-opening for anyone who is – or knows – a woman.

I kept thinking about that movie while my daughter was sitting there, wanting to go ahead with the other ear but scared stiff and now knowing what to do.  I shouldn’t have been such a coward; I should have spoken up right away and said:

“Hey, baby girl, you know what?  This is not an important thing in your life, or in the life of any woman.  It’s just decoration – it doesn’t define who you are or what kind of person you will be.  You’re beautiful because you’re kind and loving, not because of anything on your body.”

cute as a button, even without earrings

My 6-year-old son was too upset to stick around and watch his sister go through the piercing drama.  I hardly even knew what to tell him.  What message are we sending to our little girls – and our little boys – about this?  I know it’s “just” ear piercing, but is something OK if it’s painful or scary, as long as it improves your appearance or keeps up with everyone else’s expectations?

I was 4 when I got my own ears pierced, but my daughter may be 14.  Or 44.  Or maybe she’ll never do it, I don’t know.  It’s up to her when she feels that it’s worth it.  In the meantime, I hope she realizes – no, believes – that it really doesn’t matter.

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Loser Gets Mom

30 Mar

The following is an actual conversation that recently took place in my car.  Names have NOT been changed to protect the guilty:

Me to Son:

So if you want, you can take soccer on Saturday mornings while your sister is at dance class.  I can take one of you and Dad can take the other.

Son:

I want Dad to take me!

Daughter:

I want Dad to take me!

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Warrior Mother Alert!

12 Jul

A few weeks ago, I came across this statement by Bob Mayer on the Writer’s Digest website:

“We build our greatest defenses around our greatest weaknesses in all aspects of our lives, and that includes writing.”

Did that ever speak to me!

I think about my life in its entirety: wife, daughter, mom, writer, friend, Christian, homeowner, Texan.  What do I encircle with my strongest personal weaponry—vigilance, time, intentional action, even worry?

My kids!

Are they then my greatest weaknesses?

In matters of the heart, undoubtedly.  They’re the only two people on the planet for whom I’d sacrifice my life.  Like King Asa in the Bible, I pray without ceasing for them, hoping to fortify them on their daily journeys.  As a practical matter, I’m certain I hover.  The expansive love I have for them knows no limits.

So, yes. Paige and Chip are my big weaknesses. On their behalf, I plumb the depths of my psyche to find my greatest strength.

I’d wager most moms could say the same.

Project Mom Conference

15 Apr

Last Saturday, I attended the Project Mom Conference in Fort Worth with several friends.  We had a great time!  It was such a fun “Moms-Only” day. The entire event was meticulously organized, from the moment we walked in the door – where we received goodie bags crammed full of coupons and samples – until the applause following the last speaker.  (Plus, the food was great!)

The motto of the conference was “Be Even Better,” a theme which was clearly conveyed during the course of the day.  Breakout sessions included topics like Making the Most of Mom, Talking about the Birds and Bees, and a Children’s Health Panel.

The sessions I attended were called Feed Your Family (very effective – I’m on track to start meal planning now!) and Growing Confident Kids (taught me a new way to find my children’s strengths).

The speakers were all highly motivating, most with the shared trait of having overcome dire circumstances to become an inspiration to others.

I took copious notes all day, and learned more than a few tidbits that I know will help me in my quest to be a better mom.  I also perused the booths of the various vendors, and bought myself my new favorite ring.  I’m looking forward to next year!

Pinwheels for Prevention – National Prevent Child Abuse Month

6 Apr

April is National Prevent Child Abuse month.  Prevent Child Abuse America has launched a campaign called Pinwheels for Prevention to promote awareness about child abuse prevention.  The pinwheel represents their efforts to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.

You can help by proudly displaying a pinwheel in your yard!  The kids love them!

For more information about the campaign, click here:  www.pinwheelsforprevention.org.

Might Be Losing My Marbles

4 Apr

The other day, my oldest came home from school, and shared a trinket that she had earned with her sister.  She told us she had earned so many coins at school (for good behavior), that she was able to pick out two treasures, and thought of her sister.  My husband and I praised her for her good behavior and the thoughtfulness to think of her sister.

Then, we got to brain storming.  We haven’t had “structured” discipline in our home for a while.  It all started to slip away when I was pregnant with our third baby, and quite frankly, I was exhausted.  By the time he came, the girls were literally walking all over me.  I just did not have the energy to do anything about it.

Now, I do.  In the past, we have done behavior charts.  The kids have good behavior and complete certain simple “chores” or tasks, and they get to put a sticker by the picture of what they’ve done.  If they have so many stickers at the end of the week, they get some type of reward.  (We don’t go to a tremendous amount of trouble or money with the rewards, it’s usually something simple but meaningful, like an extra story of their choice before bedtime.)

The chart worked beautifully with the oldest; not so much at all with our second.  She was not at all impressed by the stickers or motivated in the least to do anything cooperative.  In fact, I pretty much had to threaten time out to get her to do anything!

Once my daughter mentioned the coins, it was like a light bulb went off.  My daughter said she is so good and has so many coins, she does not know what to do with them all!  My husband then scoffed and said, “I sure wish some of that good behavior would carry over to home!”

As a direct result, we have decided to implement a marble jar.  A friend of mine did this before and it worked well with her boys.  I bought small inexpensive jars for each of the girls and let them write their names and decorate them.

Before we even bought the jars, we literally only had to say the word, “marbles” and the girls whipped into shape!

The idea is simple.  Positive behavior is rewarded with a marble.  Negative behavior loses a marble.  Once the marbles reach a “fill line” the girls will have earned a privilege.  If one gets to the fill line before the other, they may get a special outing, separate from the other.  If they both reach it at the same time, we can do something fun as a family (maybe a movie)!  The idea is to get the girls to start thinking about actions and reactions and trying to reinforce good or positive behaviors.

I’ll post in a few weeks and update on how it works!

Loving Guidance

30 Mar

This week, love has been coming up over and over again as a theme for me.  Some mothers and I were discussing Loving Guidance as a form of discipline at a meeting.  I had completely forgotten that I keep this simple guide posted on my fridge.  (Since we moved, we have a fridge that doesn’t allow magnets to stick, so I’ve had to stick everything to the side of it.  Now, I don’t see everything daily.  It’s obviously time to move this to a new location!)

I got this from a friend of mine, several years back, and I want to share it because it’s been so helpful to me, especially while raising toddlers and preschoolers.

What is Loving Guidance?

Look at the child.

Offer choices- small ones for small people

Very quick distractions are helpful

Include your child

Need freedom within limits

Get your home safety-proofed

Get to the cause of temper tantrums or misbehavior

Unconditional love and focused attention

Interesting opportunities for activity to limit TV viewing

Don’t ask- state what you mean

Attempt to child size their life to make it easier to “do myself”

Nursing- your child needs you to receive him with joy and enthusiasm most of the time

Constant safety supervision

Expectations & Environment- Are they realistic?

I really like it, because it’s so simple.  It only takes a few seconds to review it daily, weekly, or even monthly!

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