Tag Archives: children

Love, Small Screen Style

One of our kids is going to be President. Maybe not my kid or your kid, but one of their friends, or Instagram followers, or someone they met at football camp will become the President of the United States one day. This should scare the crap out of you.

Do you follow your kid on Instagram? What about Snapchat? Don’t worry about Facebook, that’s for old people (like me). Do you follow their friends? I do. And it is eye-opening. My youngest son is a mess and he posts silly things that make me roll my eyes. His friends send me snapchats of themselves with goofy faces and I send them back. I double tap their Instagram photos from time to time. Sometimes I will comment about how pretty they look or that I am proud of them. The other 90% of the time I am mortified.

Studies have shown that so many online relationships result in marriage because 1) the people on dating sites are serious about having a relationship and 2) relationships formed and developed over the internet escalate faster that traditional dating relationships. There is a boldness fostered by the the computer screen. There is a disconnect that makes it easier to share opinions, reach out, flirt, bully, etc. Couple this with the trend of selfie-taking, self-centered young people who are all but attached to their electronic devises and you have a recipe for disaster.

Remember when you couldn’t go on a date until you were old enough to drive? Remember when there had to be a reason to go somewhere, like a school dance? Dating now consists of staking a claim on someone and promoting it on social media. Ten-year-olds are dating. They claim a girlfriend/boyfriend in the classroom, and then have an electronic relationship right under your very nose. Nothing irritates me more than middle school aged children proclaiming their love on social media. (Actually, that’s not true. Reading comments on Instagram where one boy will comment on another boy’s photo, “UR so gay” like that’s an acceptable way to participate in playful trash talk makes my blood boil. Especially when they come from families that have enough sense to teach their children that it isn’t appropriate to use language that demeans any group of people. Change the word from gay to retarded and I will also flip my lid.)

Back to young love. Young girl posts selfie (with or without duck lips) with some overused, cliche hashtag, such as #blessed, and immediately their 14 year old boyfriend will comment something like, “I’m so lucky, bae” [heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji, heart-eyed emoji]. Or young boy posts photo of he and girl together (usually in the school parking lot) and captions, “Can’t believe it’s been two months” [#blessed]. The girl will quickly comment something like #bae #truelove #justthrewupinmymouth. Oh, wait, not that last one. That was me.

Are you as a parent watching this? Are you showing these exchanges to your own child and explaining to them that this is not how life works? These kids don’t even talk to each other. They text each other. All the time. Have you read a text exchange between a tween-aged couple? Do you read your own child’s texts every day? If not, you should. My twelve year old has a cell phone. Or I should say, he has the use of a cell phone. I pay for it. It is mine. The content on said phone is my responsibility. I check his browser history, text messages, Instagram direct messages; you name it, I’m reading it. But I see these conversations happening openly on Instagram all the time. Where are the parents? Do they really think this is productive behavior? [Sadly, I have seen parents actually condone this by commenting heart-eyed kissy-faced emojis on these posts instead of telling their kid that four months of incessant texting at 13 years old isn’t actually what love is.]

If your 11-15 year old is having three week anniversaries, celebrating their love, texting a significant other four hours a day, and is feeling #blessed in general because of another human in the same age group; start cleaning out your basement. Little Johnny is going to be living in that basement about two semesters into college because he is either A) about to enter into the world with completely unrealistic expectations B) about to be involved in a teen pregnancy C) completely unaware of what happens twenty feet beyond himself D) all of the above. I used to wonder what parents were doing while their kids were behaving like this. But the answer is more than likely staring at a screen themselves. Just this morning I was looking at a Snapchat story consisting of a video taken in a common area. You can clearly hear the parent of the child in the background talking to someone else. They are completely unaware that they are being recorded.

This brings me to my next rant: adults who constantly interact with things/people on their cell phone instead of the living, breathing human next to them. But I will save that one for another day…

Advertisements

Fabric Scraps

If it isn’t monogrammed, is it really yours? This is the general sentiment here in the South. I may not understand it, but I am surrounded by this mentality. I own a store that provides embroidery, and I’ve seen some crazy things that people wanted monogrammed. And I’ve seen some crazy things that people wanted embroidered on said bizarre items.

Lace collars, seersucker shorts, and all things Little Lord Fauntleroy are plastered all over the Southern male from birth until the kid is old enough to figure out he isn’t getting boobies like the other little children who are dressed like girls, and revolts against his mama by kicking and screaming in the aisles of Wal-Mart until she succumbs to her son’s overwhelming desire for a graphic tee.

For the girls, its hair bows large enough to plop atop an automobile being gifted in a Lexus commercial, ruffles on pants, monogrammed everything, and appliqué. The latter has become the status update of the apparel world. For instance, if you think your little daughter is a little princess, you take scraps of fabric and sew it to other fabric in the shape of a princess and embroider the words Little Princess above or below the fabric stuff. If they are turning one, you sew a cupcake or candle or whatever and embroider the word ONE. Maybe you’re going to have another baby. Big Sister would be the way to go. You can have whole parties planned around the theme of your kid’s appliqué. Photo shoots, Christmas cards, birthday parties, school pictures, major and minor holidays…there really isn’t a reason for a day to go by without putting your young daughter in a shirt with an appliqué.

Considering the Southern lady’s love of a monogram, and the unfortunate reality that Southern women over the age of thirty also think it is acceptable to wear clothing with the prominent display of Disney characters, glitter, and/or ruffles at the end of one’s sleeves and pant legs; I think it is time to introduce the adult appliqué. Maybe some fabric scraps sewn into the shape of a beer mug with Sloppy Drunk embroidered above it. Maybe some nice suede sewn into the shape of a prescription pill bottle with Medicated embroidered below. How about a cute patchwork puppy that states Bitch. The possibilities are endless, really. I mean, most of us are already looking at others and judging them for who we think they are. Why not take out some of the guess work?

No Air

There may be a knob, but nothing's coming out of this sucker.

There may be a knob, but nothing’s coming out of this sucker.

Far be it from me to gripe about anything, but as long as we’re talking about how hot it is outside, let me just tell you how hot it really is. My trusty Camry has been in the shop for several days now, and I’m fortunate enough that my parents are letting me borrow the “farm truck.” The farm truck is a navy blue 1990 Isuzu Rodeo that my sister bought when she was in law school many, many moons ago. When she became an adult and got a real car, the Rodeo went to where vehicles go to die; our family farm. Flash forward about twenty years and five billion degrees and here you have me, driving the farm truck around town, with no air conditioning.

Now if you happen to be reading this above the Mason-Dixon Line and think you know what hot is; you don’t. Hot is walking around barefoot on fresh, black asphalt holding a large piece of metal on a highway that runs directly on the invisible line of the equator. Now add six gallons of boiling split-pea soup to account for the humidity. Take all of that, shove it in a pint size Ziploc bag and throw it in the microwave for sixty seconds. Now you have what it feels like in Alabama on any given day in June around 9:30 a.m. Take the bag out of the microwave and immediately open it with your bare hands, and you’ll have what it feels like by 9:45 a.m.

Anyway, when I dropped my Camry off at the mechanic’s shop and picked up the farm truck, I was just happy to have something to drive. The kids were in the back, we had the windows rolled down and I was raising my hands and bouncing up and down, “No air. Don’t care.” Let me tell you, that didn’t last long enough for my boys to finish rolling their eyes.
Imagine a metal box filled with coal.
Now imagine it on wheels.
Now imagine that it is on fire.
Now drive it.
Mother of all things holy, the only thing less ventilated than a 1990 Isuzu Rodeo is a gas chamber.

Ever the optimist, I decided to make driving the rolling convection oven fun. And what screams fun more than a sing-a-long!?! So if you happen to pass me on the road and I’m actually still lucid enough to maintain brain function, I will be singing my own version of the sort-of hit song, No Air, by American Idol winner, Jordan Sparks, and World Welterweight Champion, Chris Brown. If you’d like to sing along with me, you may find the karaoke version of the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ESPjnsWJQY and my personalized lyrics below:

“No Air”

Tell me how I’m supposed to drive with no air

If my car stays in the shop
I’ll get so hot that I may drop
It’s nice to have something to drive around but damn
Oh

My hair looks like it is half wet
Shirt is stained with under-boob sweat
Wish there was a way that I could turn on a fan

But how do you expect me
to drive around stuck to the seat
‘Cause my world revolves around air
It’s so hard for me to breathe

[Chorus:]
Tell me how I’m supposed to drive with no air
Can’t smile, can’t live with no air
Can’t wear makeup when there isn’t air
It’s no air, no air
Got me out here in humidity
Tell me how I’m gonna be lookin’ pretty
If there ain’t air, I just can’t be
It’s no air, no air

No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air

I walked, I ran, I jumped, I swam
Tried to forget the heat but damn
The South’s hotter than hell in mid-July

But somehow I’m still holding the wheel
Foot on the gas, burning my heel
Praying for wind, that will keep me alive

So how do you expect me
to drive around in this heat
‘Cause my real car is broken down
I’m stuck driving this big heap

[Chorus]

No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No more
It’s no air, no air

[Chorus]

No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air

Tell me how I’m supposed to drive with no air
Can’t eat, can’t sleep with no air
It’s how I feel whenever there’s no air
It’s no air, no air

Got me out here in the Rodeo
In the shade it’s one hundred and fo’
If there ain’t air, I can’t even go
It’s no air, no air

No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air

It may not be swanky, but it gets the job done. Unless the job is staying cool.

It may not be swanky, but it gets the job done. Unless the job is staying cool.

What If I Went?

My latest television obsession is The Week the Women Went. I stumbled across it while I was flipping channels and the premise intrigued me. Basically, the shows produces found a small town entrenched in stereotypical, traditional roles. Most of the women were stay-at-home mothers and their husbands worked long hours or worked away from the home. The mothers took care of the majority of the housework and child rearing and the fathers worked hard so they could do so. The women who worked were hands-on business owners who were an integral part of both their business and their home.  Then the producers removed all of the women (age 18 or older) from the town for one week; leaving the men and children to fend for themselves.

The producers throw in some usual occurrence oddities, like a little girls beauty pageant, which the fathers have to take care of, thus throwing them even more out of their comfort zone. Two of the guys decide to tag team and live together for the week; which sounds good in theory, but sometimes less is more – especially when it comes to 15 month old children.

One young man (who still lives at home with Mama) proposes to his girlfriend just as the women are leaving. The poor girl says yes and then boards a train with her future mother-in-law (who didn’t know the proposal was going to take place) and leaves for what could prove to be a very interesting period of getting to know her future family.

There is a single mother on the show. She leaves her three kids (two girls age 15 and 12 and a son who is not much younger than that) with her boyfriend of 7 months; a young, handsome, never-been-married Marine. I don’t have a young, hot boyfriend with whom I could leave my kids, so they would have to stay somewhere else.  It will be interesting to see what happens with this particular family. The marine, age 24, doesn’t qualify to date me based on my Chronological Chart of Eligibility. Corey’s Chronological Chart of Eligibility basically states that 1) in order to be dateable, a man must be at least double the age of my oldest child and 2) must not have a single son who also falls into this age group. Nothing is more awkward than dumping a guy for his kid, so I find it best not to put myself in that situation. Anyway, this Marine is not even double the age of his new teenage charge, therefore I’m not sure I would have left her with him, but to each his own. Either he is going to man up and be the marrying type, or he is going to request a transfer to a new base before the week is halfway through.

My first thought when I started watching was that the men would be crying in no time and the children would realize just how amazing their mothers were. But before the first episode was over, I started to wonder if that is what would really pan out. I think the men will gain a new appreciation for the women in their lives, but what about the women? How will they survive this week away? Then the horrible question popped into my head, “What would happen if I went?”

I’m a business owner and single mother of two boys. I get the kids dressed and fed and off to school, open and run my business, pick them up from school, help with homework, grocery shop, pick up from football practice and volunteer at the school – all while training a puppy! I’m Wonder Woman, right? I know two parent families who don’t juggle as much as I do in a week. My world would fall apart if I left for a week…or would it?

I suppose my children would stay with their father, or perhaps my parents. I could write payroll checks and write up daily plans for my store and leave it with my employees. But unlike the women on the show who have the majority of their identity based in being a wife and mother, I am used to being away from my kids. They visit their father every other weekend and for a few weeks over the summer. I enjoy my free time and am not one to pine away and wonder what the little angels are doing without me.

The part that scares me is the curiosity – fear, even – that someone else can not only do what I do, but do it better. What if the kids do better in school? What if they don’t fight as much with each other? What if they drop five pounds or start cleaning their room or worse; what if they figure out that I’m not that good at being a mom? What if sales increase at my store? What if shoppers enjoy it more when I’m not there? What if the atmosphere is better? What if the displays are more creative? What if the only thing keeping my good life from being great is me?

The Week the Women Went airs on Tuesday nights at 9:00 Central on Lifetime, and I’ll be tuning in each week as this social experiment unfolds. I’m a little apprehensive to watch, since most of the reality television I watch makes me feel better about myself – you know, the girls on the Bachelor are cuter than me, but they aren’t usually that bright – but this show has already proved to be a catalyst for some deep thought and self reflection. I hope that by the conclusion, I have learned as much as the actual people in the experiment. Or at least maybe I’ll learn how to get a 24 year old Marine to date me.

Trucks in the Sand

She ran through the woods, breaking through beams of sunlight as her laughter trailed behind her. In the exuberance of her youth she was never winded. Her feet moved from dirt to water to leaves without thought as she chased her dreams down the slope of the ravine. Miles away, he pushed his truck through the sand. The sounds of squeaking swings and children’s voices filled the air around him. His lips vibrated with the noise of a motor and he maneuvered his vehicle across the sandbox, planning his upcoming attack. They had never met. Their eyes had never locked in a glance. He had never heard her sing to her baby doll and she had never watched as he tried to be brave after falling and skinning his knee. Yet years later as she lay in bed, twisting to find the ultimate position of comfort then drifting off to slumber as gently as a summer breeze through an open window; he stood guard in the heat of the desert, eyes alert and mind racing; as trucks rolled by in the sand. He would protect her with his life, this girl he’d never met; now a woman with children of her own. He would not question her devotion, but persevere in his. He was bound by honor, by duty, by destiny; and giving up his freedom to protect hers was as natural as the blood that coursed through his veins. She would never know him. She would never know why he chose to serve her. Some days went by and she didn’t even think of him. But in her heart of hearts she knew he was there and she took comfort in it. She prayed that a gloved hand would never pause above an officer’s brow as his mother clutched a folded flag. And whenever she saw one of his comrades in an airport or a grocery or on the street, she would thank him; even though she knew her words would never reach them all. Miles away, she was the last thing on his mind, yet he continued to fight for her as if she was in his heart.

A Valentine’s Day Poem

This is that special time of year
Lovers embrace their ones so dear
Cupid sends his arrows flying
Heart shaped boxes loved ones are buying
The cost of roses increases tenfold
Unusual amounts of chocolate are sold
Cards with foil and glitter and mush
Are paired with pink teddy bears made out of plush
Frat boys buy wine instead of kegs
Married women actually shave their legs
Men go to chick flicks without even whining
Stay at home moms get to splurge on fine dining
All this fuss about love is made
Even married people get laid
Kids swap “be mine” cards and come home with junk
That melts in their book bag and turns into gunk
Jewelry commercials are at an all time high
People actually buy things that say “cutie pie”
Couples photos are set as new profile pics
Girls get flowers from guys that are usually pricks
Romance and sweet nothings are everywhere you look
Until you take a peek into my little nook
I have no candy hearts, chocolates or flowers
No need to shave my legs, hell I didn’t even shower
I did get a Valentine’s text from my mother
Which is the equivalent of going to prom with your brother
But that’s fine, I’m okay, no need to cry and wail
Tomorrow I’ll go to Kroger and buy candy on sale
I’ll be my own Valentine and to myself be true
I’ll never cheat on me or make myself blue
I won’t even do anything stupid and make myself mad
Oh wait, I just got flowers; a dozen roses from my Dad!
That’s right; I got flowers from a wonderful guy
Who has always loved me for me and will till we die
Now I’m all smiles and rainbows and shouting hooray!
And can say without sarcasm “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

roses from my dad

French

We were on our way to Target. The boys were in the back seat of the Jeep arguing, as usual.

Scout: “Mom, make him stop. He’s being a jerk.”

Me: “Ya’ll please just settle down and be nice to each other.”

Scout: “Mom, I can’t take it. He’s acting all French.”

Me: “He’s not being that bad, Scout.”

Scout: “Fine. He’s being French Canadian.”