A Fashion Fight

October 10, 2012 § 10 Comments

I kept the girls home from picture day yesterday. The drama that ensued over what to wear became much too much; screaming and crying and clothes tossing and hysterics over matching tights to dresses to shoes.

While all of their friends were having their photos taken, my daughters sat in their room with their lunch boxes while I huffed and puffed; would have blown this place down had I been able to find the lung power.

I’d love to say that it was all them, but it wasn’t. I did my share of screaming and clothes tossing, too. I, their mother, was the ringleader of the madness; the curator of the crazy.

I feel badly about it today.

Did it matter if Soph wore the brown/green/orange polka dot tights with her navy dress? Would it have been so terrible if Grace had worn her red and white Christmas dress with the “they’re comfortable” salt water faded Keen boat shoes?

I am an easy-going mom. I let my kids have an awful lot of choices about what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do.

I’m not a “You WILL wear this!” kind of mom.

But yesterday I wanted pretty pictures of my girls in the Liberty print Petit Bateau dresses I’ve been waiting for them to fit into. I bought those dresses with images of my sweet daughters looking tres French. Lovely sophisticated little girls. The fairy tale image of what I always imagined my daughters would be…

They hate the dresses. They hate the print, despite my lessons on the history of Liberty of London. They hate the weight of the fabric and the style of the sleeves. Grace especially hates the front button placket.

I sent them off to school this morning in outfits of their choosing.

It’s a gorgeous day here, the sun shining bright for the first time in a week, and I chose not to fight the what to wear battle.

Do I need to start picking more battles for control?

Probably a good idea to create more limits.

What’s a mother to do when you realize that your parenting style has created a personality trait in your children (in my case stubborn minded fashion forward not at all French little monsters) that could potentially become a bigger problem? Fix it, right? And fast…

XOM

I have a nostalgia thing for Petit Bateau and Liberty of London, since I wore them myself as a little girl. I know that this is not bright pink and covered in ruffles, but would it have killed them to wear it for one day? Apparently, yes.

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Why Blog?

October 9, 2012 § 11 Comments

If you are not a blogger you might not be aware of some of the fun things that your “publishing platform” can monitor for you.

In my case (on WordPress) I am able to see how many hits my site has had for the day, the month and the year. I also have access to cool information like the top posts for the day, which can be surprising if and old post gets a ton of hits from out of the blue.

One of my favorite sections is the search engine list which lets me in on the searches that have led readers to my site.

Today I have been located through searches for, “Sgetti honey boo boo,” “Emmy tits,” and “Miami 2013.” Yesterday  I gained a reader through the search phrase “make millet chips,” which I’ve never actually made, but all my talk about kale chips and millet and such makes it easy to understand Google’s minor confusion.

There have been endless interesting search phrases that have led readers to Mommyland and for each I am grateful.

Even the person who yesterday typed, “gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts,” is my reader….

Many people have asked why I still blog. My marathon has long ended; the main reason I started it to begin with.

There are a bunch of reasons that I continue.

But today, when the sun never shone and my kids spent way too much time in Crazyland (not to mention my own brain freeze caused by the paperwork pile of divorce affidavits), the smile that crossed my face upon the discovery of a curious reader’s search has proven to be reason enough.

Gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts.

I wonder if that searcher found what they were looking for? I wonder if they’ll be back?

Why do you blog? If you don’t have a blog have you ever thought about starting one? What would it be about?

XOM

Search number 4 on Google!

Parenting an Artist

October 7, 2012 § 3 Comments

While lying in bed between my girls last night I took the opportunity to read three pages of The Style Rookie, a blog created by sixteen year old Tavi Gevinson who has taken the fashion world by storm.

To say that I was blown away by her work is an understatement.

A collection of her thoughts (both typed and beautifully hand written), artistic imagery (collages, others and her own), music (others and her own) and photographs of her sweet bang trimmed self styled in real fashion (as opposed to an overabundance of labels), her voice is crystal clear.

Her current tilt seems to be toward a fifties and sixties aesthetic, but the photos with her friends are timeless. I love the freedom of expression; her cat lined eyes, her mix of print and pattern and form and silhouette and color.

What is there not to love, and with 50,000 hits a day to the blog (an incredible number not attained by people two, three, four times her age), it appears I am not the only one enamoured.

As I scanned the blog I got to wondering.

Clearly Tavi is an old soul; one of those people who functions outside of age. Watching her Ted presentation (below) you can see how bright she is yet the admittance that she still hasn’t, “figured it all out,” combined with her strong yet sensitive presentation, make her real as opposed to super-hero. What a great model for girls everywhere (teenager and not)!

What became more curious to me were my questions about her parents.

Who are the Gevinsons? Who are the people who created and are raising this bright and creative soul?

I was once a teenage girl who took fashion risks and cut baby bangs and wore my hair in Heidi braids crisscrossed over the top of my head, too. But beginning a fashion empire was just a dream for me. Tavi is doing it for real and her parents are allowing her to flourish and bloom.

In her adorable interview with Jimmy Kimmel she skimmed over his questions about her parents by saying something about them being “nice people,” but I discovered later in her posted Vimeo video that her father is an English teacher and her mother is an artist who weaves tapestries. She goes on to mention that her parents encouraged her (and her sister) to be creative and to read.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing all I can to raise children who will develop into well-adjusted, secure and strong girls. It’s not easy in this world of Barbie and princesses (whom my girls love) or as Tavi describes, “two-dimensional super-women…with one quality that’s played up a lot.”

I think Tavi’s parents are the example of how to do it right (whether or not a child is meant to be a prodigy). Fostering creativity, encouraging reading and allowing freedom of expression is the key.

Now if only she’d interview them. Or maybe I should try. I bet they are equally as interesting as their delightfully dynamic daughter.

Had you ever heard of Tavi’s blog or her magazine for teenage girls, Rookiemag.com? Are you as interested in learning about her parents as I am? Can you believe she’s been blogging for four years? That’s a lifetime in blogland!

XOM

An Injury in Mommyland

October 1, 2012 § 8 Comments

With week one of my marathon training complete I know I should write an update.

But after injuring my right quad the day before week one was to begin, there’s not a whole lot to report. I managed to run fourteen miles even though I took off one of my mid week runs. After yesterday’s eight, whereupon I had to call my husband to come and pick me up (I miscalculated my route and the extra two miles home would have left me completely incapacitated), I’ve decided to take a rest.

My pulled thigh will not heal if I continue to push the plan, so I have committed instead to running zero miles this second week of training.

We will see how week three looks, but my goal right now is to listen to my body and be kind to my whole self.

On the food front, I’ve had my hand in the sugar bowl more than a few times recently, but I’m feeling really fine about my choices. I’ve even added back in some gluten and have not felt any ill effects.

No bingeing, no madness, better decisions are being made all the way around.

XOM

Has your training ever been sidelined?

Yesterday’s lunch. Millet bread, a hard boiled egg, avocado, greens and tomatoes. I’ve added some gluten back into my diet, but I like the milllet bread, so that will stay.

This morning’s breakfast, which Grace said, “looked disgusting,” (what does she know)!. Fage plain Greek yogurt, a peach, and Kind’s Maple and Chia Clusters. Another gluten free choice that I’m keeping in my diet. Thank Goodness for Kind… they make some surprisingly deliciously healthy foods.

Doom Gloom Boom

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Very early this morning I was startled awake by a gigantic boom from the sky. Bass thunder that rattled my core.

After hugging both of my sleeping kids and assessing my (not yet urgent) need to pee, I contemplated the unfortunateness of a falling tree; should a tree fall me.

Such gloom over the doom of a boom.

It was quiet in between the flashes of light and the noise gradually faded. I kept a hand on top of each kid and tried to think of a song to fit the moment.

Lyrics with a boom….

“Boom, boom, boom lets go back to my room?”

No. Too much zex for this side of four a.m.

“We like that boom boom pow?”

No, I wouldn’t like anything about a falling tree on we three.

“We’re Tigra and Bunny and we like the boom?”

Terrible song technically about a car’s boom, but it would do mostly because my girls would approve of any song that included a bunny.

Do you think of songs to play along with moments in your life; to add to your life’s soundtrack?

XOM

That Honey Boo Boo Show

September 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

The Honey Boo Boo craze has hit the nation. Comedians, newscasters, bloggers and play ground moms everywhere have been talking about The Learning Channel’s show, which follows child pageant princess Alana and her family.

I was never a Toddler’s and Tiaras watching fan, so it didn’t occur to me to even investigate the Honey Boo Boo madness. But as my remote wandered on Wednesday, I stumbled upon the program and ended up recording the remainder of the season marathon as it was time for me to head back to my own life and put my kids to bed.

I watched the recorded episodes last night and am not shy or embarrassed about saying that I love the show as much for what is wrong with it than for what is right.

There are plenty of things to find wrong; obesity, poverty, folks living at the low end of the socio-economic ladder, children who curse as freely as the adults, lack of manners and education, terrible eating habits, questionable hygiene, tobacco use, loudness, abrasive behavior, teenage pregnancy, and least of all the strange phenomenon of child pageants.

If you choose to believe that the success of the show is because of its likeness to a reality train wreck, then your glass is half empty, but I do understand your disdain.

If your glass is half full, though, you might see beyond the obvious. You might find beauty underneath the surface. You might find compassion while falling in love with the crazy band of misfits, lead by a mother who is doing her best.

Consider this. More than thirty five percent of American adults are obese, just like Mama. Genetically engineered foods are everywhere. Cheap and unhealthy fast food is easy and abundant. Corporations don’t teach people to drink water and plant gardens. They advertise soda and junk food and to many people who haven’t been taught a better way, it is the only way they know how to live. If you are doing your best to get by (Mama feeds her family of six on eighty dollars a week) then try to understand the conundrum.

In one scene Mama is making dinner for her family; sketti with ketchup and butter. In the microwave is placed a bowl of Country Crock margarine and a big squeeze of ketchup. It’s melted and mixed and poured over the spaghetti (which I am sure is white flour enriched, not a whole grain within a mile) and Mama mentions that she was “raised on sgetti and ketchup and butter.” It’s no wonder then that her weight (and that of the family) is an issue that they are trying to address and remedy with weekly weigh-ins.

For people who find fault with the language that is used and the often incorrect grammar, verbage and made up mix of vocabulary, consider that one of the biggest social dividers is the difference in education between those with and those without.

I learned to be sensitive to this during my first year of teaching the fourth grade in a poor section of Durham, North Carolina. Most of the time I could barely understand my children and wished they had subtitles like the cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. They were ten-year olds, though, and so I could correct their incorrect grammar, fix their vocabulary mistakes. It was hard, but I learned that underneath the lack of knowledge were regular children with the same loves and likes as the richest and more educated ten-year olds I’d known.

Don’t misunderstand. I do not feel sorry for these people. There have been reports highlighting the serious dysfunction (arrests, multiple baby daddy’s, etc.) and it is worrisome. But I am not blind to where they come from, so I don’t feel contempt the way one might if they choose only to see what’s on the surface.

What is below is far more interesting and beautiful.

For example, Mama knows her weight is a problem. Her struggle to ascend the bouncy tower at Alana’s birthday party was frustrating for her, but her attempt to stay away from the junk food and lose some weight is enviable.

The family talks to each other. Whatever you may think of the cursing or word mash-ups, they talk to each other. No one is fighting over the iPad (though maybe that will change with the success of the show). At present time, no one seems lost in technology land.

One episode focused on Mama’s trouble in keeping her kids busy during the hot southern summer. Without many options, the family sets up their own slip and slide with a tarp, soap bubbles and a hose. They went grocery shopping together, played Bingo together, worked together to get Alana ready for her pageant. Together they acted like a family! A real and functioning family.

And there is love.

One of my favorite scenes was when Mama was going on a date with Alana’s dad and wanted to get pretty by putting on some makeup. Mama encouraged her four daughters to make her up and they all laughed and teased and ultimately made their mom look like a “rodeo clown.” After washing off the mess, Alana stroked her mother’s face and said, “I’ll make you pretty, mama,” and the moment of sweetness and love outshone all the nuttiness of the minutes before.

I should mention the lone man who lives amongst the wackiness of Honey Boo Boo’s world. Alana’s father, lovingly called Sugar Bear, is a chewing tobacco spitting in a bottle kind of guy. He’s missing a good bunch of teeth and wore a t-shirt for the professional family photo shoot (he only dresses up for funerals).  Again, if we are only looking at the surface, he is a mess.

Dig below and you see that his eyes get soft when he speaks of the birth of his daughter. When Mama’s seventeen year old daughter comes home from the hospital with her new baby Kaitlyn, Sugar Bear sits in his chair, a thin line of a smile demonstrating his happiness. Not a man of many words. A heart that beats quietly on his sleeve.

But the biggest reason for the success of the show is its namesake, that Honey Boo Boo Child,  the adorable and feisty Alana. Despite (or because of) her environment she is free and secure in herself and happy. She knows that she is loved and when she is sad (like when her teacup piggy had to be returned to the breeder) she cried like any normal six-year-old would. She may not have great table manners, but she says, “Thank you,” when it’s appropriate and she turns on the charm when competing in her pageants. You want to hug her, she’s so real and for the first time I was rooting for a pageant princess instead of rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of the sport.

TLC was smart and just this week renewed Honey Boo Boo child for a second season. I for one will be watching and hope for good things for this family.

XOM

Have you seen the show? What do you think about it? Agree with my take or just find it offensive? 

It’s Your Birthday

September 27, 2012 § 9 Comments

I’ve been feeling very sorry for myself lately.

Poor pitiful me with so many unknowns, so many worries, so many scary pre/post divorce, “Can I do it alone’s?”

The fact that my birthday was coming didn’t even matter. What’s another birthday anyway? I’m not five. It’s not like I need to celebrate like I am so important that a whole day needs to be dedicated to me.

Worth mentioning, my pitifulness was dragging me back down into the depths of my worst habits, too.  I can admit it to you and I will. That last sleeve of Oreos? I brushed them out of my teeth last night and didn’t even care that my month sans sugar and processed junkiness had been for not. My sugar-free, gluten-free lifestyle could suck  a lollipop. Sad Martha eats sugar. Worried Martha doesn’t care.

But when I woke up this morning my daughter jumped out of bed singing, “It’s your birthday!” as if it were hers.  Both girls were eager to dress pretty for school and to share with their teachers the significance of the day. My mother called and said, “This was the happiest day of my life.” My sister Gabby was smooshy mooshy lovey sweet on the phone (she is a wonderful sister) and my facebook friends have blown up my feed with the loveliest birthday wishes.

And just like that my heart is full. My worries put on hold.

Feeling better (happier and lighter on my feet) I swung through Whole Foods on the way home from pre-school drop off.

I stood in the entrance a second longer than necessary breathing in the scent of comforting fall spices.

I bought pretty baby spinaches and the big container of my favorite red raspberry Ultima electrolyte replenisher (cheaper than Starbucks green tea and less zingy than Nuun).

I wandered through the gluten-free aisle and snapped up some Mary’s Gone Crackers that had a hang tag mentioning they were two for less!

Down the aisles, up the aisles, through checkout and back home to write a post out of gratitude for all the things I’d been neglecting to see and feel and experience as the worry monster has been furiously stomping on my good.

So now I wonder. Maybe grown up birthdays aren’t supposed to be like when we were kids; all self absorbed and present hungry. Maybe the day is meant to be a reminder of all the great things that this life has to offer. A calendar marked day when the world points your way and gives you a great big hug (whether you want one or not).

So, “Thank you,” to my community, my family, my friends.

I’m caught completely off guard and having a very happy birthday after all.

XOM

How do you feel about your birthday? 

A card at Whole Foods. Another reminder to just be happy!

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