Friday, October 19, 2012

The bus driver saga

I can already see this is going to be a recurring theme this year. I've posted about our issues with the bus driver multiple times on Twitter and Facebook already. And we've had another incident today.

The set-up:

Our neighborhood has no sidewalks. We walk in the street.

The bus arrives. She pulls all the way over to the far side of the street, probably 10 feet away from the driveway where our bus stop is. By the way, the bus stop is actually at the corner, but our neighbors are gracious enough to let us wait on their driveway.

The kids get off. Wil and I stand on the street, with our heels up to the grass. Wil is actually holding my hand, because he likes to do that.

The drivers calls down to move out of the street onto the driveway so she can drive away.



How is this different from any of the last several years when we have often been walking through the neighborhood when the bus came? Walking IN THE STREET.

I was standing there with him. He wasn't on his own. He was NOT near the bus, which she has stopped in the opposing lane.

My reaction? I pulled Wil across the street in front of the bus and walked home. If she wants us off the street, then she can wait until we cross to our side of the street.

I am so tired of her paranoia.

We don't jump onto people's driveways any time a car drives past as we are walking. That isn't the lesson I want to teach my kids. The lessons I want them to learn are abou safely walking, whether it be in the street or on a sidewalk.

What purpose does it serve if they have no idea how to interact with cars?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Releasing the fear

I just finished reading Free-Range Kids. I've been following the blog for a while and finally read the book.

I like the philosophy behind Free Range Kids. I want to raise confident, independent kids. I want to trust them. I want them to be able to trust the world. And the statistics show they should be able to.

The book is divided into 14 "commandments" in the first section. Bearing in mind the ages of my kids, I'm happy to report that we've already reached the "Free-Range Baby Step" highlighted in each chapter. In some cases, we've even ventured beyond that.

I look forward to the boys being old enough to do more on their own (many of the steps are geared toward 'school-age' kids, so they are just on the edge of being ready to try more).

An example, for anyone who thinks Free-Range is too scary:
The first baby step is to cross the street with your school age child without holding their hand. Yep, I've done that with my 4 and 5 year olds. We've even walked in parking lots with them walking right next to me. And I point out the sounds of cars approaching or starting, back-up lights, and other information that will help them navigate streets and parking lots on their own in the future.

Recently I was speaking to another mom about the book and how much I liked the ideas in it. She said she could never go free range because if something did happen to one of her kids, she would never forgive herself.

I know that feeling. I also know that doing everything for my kids isn't helpful. For me, for us, our job is to help the boys until they can do things for themselves. And sometimes the best defense against the unthinkable is for them to know how to protect themselves.

A point that is made over and over is that crime rates are lower now than they were when we were growing up. It is actually safer now, but we hear about more crime because of the 24 hour news cycle and the availability of information from around the world.

What does the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have to say? They've been trying to debunk the myth of stranger danger. There is a big difference between teaching kids to not talk to strangers and teaching kids not to go with strangers.

We've lost that message in the constant fear.

I could keep citing all the information in the book, but there's a whole book that does it better than I could. There's a great blog to read some of the crazy things that are going on in the name of safety (some of which probably make things less safe).

Free Range may not be for everyone. But I recommend reading the book and finding out what it's really all about. Maybe you're a little more Free Range than you thought.

Monday, October 15, 2012

An American theocracy

I'm terrified for the future.

I just read this article. My stomach is now in knots. Enough that I don't know if I'll be able to eat the dinner that is currently in the oven.

The reason? This quote from the interview:

Lane: Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I'd much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them. 
Because women have the right to vote, I am active, because I want to make sure there is some sanity for women in the political world. It is up to the Christian rednecks and patriots to stand up for our country. Everyone has the right to vote now that's 18 or over (who is) a legal citizen, and every person that's 18 and over and a legal citizen should be active in local politics so they can make a change locally, make a change on the state level and make a change in Washington, D.C.

This from the Central Mississippi Tea Party President Janice Lane.

Yep, she doesn't think she should have the right to vote. Because women are irrational.


People are actually saying the thing I most feared this election cycle. The thing I was dreading hearing after more ultra conservatives got elected.

They've done a lot to restrict women's rights already. I'm not just talking about abortion, that big hot button topic. I'm talking about a systematic eroding of the rights our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers fought for.

Let me ask a question:

What's the difference between a Middle-Eastern theocracy and an American theocracy?

Answer: Not much. You can quibble about one being a Christian nation and the others being Muslim, but it's still a theocracy. It's still governing based on religion. And not everyone in this country is Christian. Not all Christians agree on some of the basic tenets of Christianity.

What are we headed to at this rate? A society where women are treated as second class citizens. Where women can't vote, own property, get an education.

Is it really a stretch to think we'll go back to those days? That headlines like this will appear with datelines in our own country?

After seeing statements like the one above, I don't think it is a stretch to think we could find ourselves in that world. And once women lose their rights, where does it end? Non-whites are feeling similar pressures. And let's not forget that non-heterosexual folks are still fighting for equality.

I don't want to see the tide turn so only white, heterosexual, cis-gendered males have rights.

Before you cast your vote this year, think about the people you are voting for. Think about if you might be giving up rights if they hold the office they are running for. Consider carefully. Because I refuse to see a world where statements like the above are accepted. Where anyone really thinks women are too irrational to vote.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those tiny moments of heartbreak

"Mommy, no kisses today."

Sam told me this as we pulled into the parking lot at his preschool today. My heart broke just a little bit.

It's the second time.

A few weeks ago, he waited until I was ready to hug and kiss him as I left him in his classroom. Then he went back to wanting the hugs and kisses.

He's 4. It's only a matter of time until he, like Wil, doesn't want anyone to see him getting hugs and kisses from Mommy.

I'm glad my boys are growing up and becoming more confident. But there's that little part of me that misses the unrestrained displays of affection.

They still happen from time to time, like yesterday when Sam came looking for me just to kiss me, leaving a smear of lip balm on my cheek.

And we have their new bedtime knock knock jokes:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Wil who?
 Will you hug me?

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sam who?
Same for me!

I'm not a baby person. I have always looked forward to them growing up and being real people. My goal is for them to be independent.

I'm glad Sam feels confident enough at school not to need the kissing hand or even a hug from me to get through the day. 

But it still hurts a little. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cats in the laundry chute

Chris and I had the following conversation this evening as we folded laundry.

Chris: I wish our walls were thicker so we could have secret passages and a laundry chute.

Me: Things tend to get stuck in laundry chutes.

Chris: Yeah, especially since the boys would probably shove stuff down it. Like the cats.

Me: They wouldn't need to do that. The cats would jump in there on their own. Especially Siofra.

Chris: And they'd scare themselves and pee the whole way down. Then we'd have to spend a lot of money to clean it out. It's probably good we don't have one.

Me: Yep.

Chris: But secret passages would still be cool.

(Although now that I think about it, secret passages are just another place for spiders to lurk. Cool in theory, though.)