riding atop a muscular steed, looking all awesome

Friday links! A little intense, a little child/social wellbeing oriented. But also, some great world leader beefcake!

Criminally Confident In Our Kids at Free Range Kids. Lenore writes succinctly about a problem that needs remedying – and that far too many parents risk having experience with.

Unschoolers / life learners! You can participate in Dr. Peter Gray’s survey study of unschooling families (which has been vetted by people I trust, so feel free as far as I’m concerned). You can download the survey from http://www.patfarenga.com/.

Laurie Couture uses strong language about school and teachers but she also has the experience and passion to back that up. If you have a long comment/rebuttal please comment at the source: her recent piece: “What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers” – in response to a yucky article on CNN I won’t link to here (but you can find easily enough).

It’s Time To Reclaim The M-Word; so, I think I’m going to be reading the books this woman has written. From the article interview:

“There are books galore on how to “deal” with your children, how to control them, make them fit into a routine. There is even one, which has sold over half a million copies, that tells you how to physically punish your child. But understand them? Comfort them? Dirty words.”

Last Wednesday: the anniversary of John Holt’s death. Some great writings and teachings, there:

“…[John Holt believed that] unschooling and homeschooling are self-selecting and self-correcting activities that do not need central authorities to dictate content and standards… [John Holt’s] goal was not to create an insular education movement for children but rather ‘A life worth living and work worth doing—that is what I want for children (and all people), not just, or not even, something called ‘a better education.’” ~ Pat Farenga, Holt Associates

Make: My Magic Baby Mitts. I did! (pictures soon!)

I’ve had a run of people requesting my crumpets recipe, so here it is again in case you missed it.

A Day In The Life Of An Angry Transsexual at Tranarchism. If you’re unfamiliar witht he concept of Microagressions, here’s a good illustration.

Ladies (and, I guess, gentleman), prepare to get all hot and bothered for VLADIMIR PUTIN, ACTION MAN. Question, does Mr. Putin have a sexy bod, the answer is Yes, he’s sixty and looking great. But I am laughing my ass off at the photos like, he’s kind of just posed doing ALL THIS AWESOME SHIT with only slightly different expressions, adjusted slightly as if by claymation (I wish there was one of him DELIVERING THE HELL OUT OF A BABY!!1!). h/t to Marianne who made the comparison to Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things.

Wanda Wulz, cats / photography at All Things Amazing

Quote of the week: “Forgiveness isn’t something we do for others. We do it so we can get well and move on.”

Video of the week: our favorite MLP, Pinkie Pie, losing it juuuuuust a little:

Question: How do you implement non-punitive parenting [and whole-life unschooling]?

Remember so long ago when I wrote a primer on non-punitive parenting? That got a fair number of shares on Facebook as well as several emails, tweets, and comments that asked for more information or follow up.

But, I had a hard time thinking of how to write another piece for many reasons. One, I wasn’t sure if I should write to parents-to-be (who may be more open-minded to such ideas), or write to those who’d already had bad experiences or results from mainstream parenting strategies (in other words, who could use some help, but already had specific problems developed between themselves, their children, and other adults – the latter class who may or may not be supportive of non-coercive/manipulative/authoritative strategies). And really, that last little bit is crucial. Assisting families out of harmful patterns and (seemingly) complicated impasses is often best done with specifics discussed, and at length. To that end, I am always willing to respond to emails and assist anyone as best I can (kelly AT hogaboom DOT org). I do this writing and work for no other reason than I am passionate and I want to help families live in harmony, freedom, and with intelligence and respect.

Fortunately, a reader and Twitter friend gave me a few direct questions about her specific situation and I was able to write her. After the first bit of our exchange I asked her permission to publish her query and my response, as I thought it might help other readers (please remember anything written to me is considered fair game for publishing, although if you have any specific objections let me know as I am often wont to honor them). So here’s a scenario-specific followup.

***

This is Sandi, @5and1 from twitter. I’ve seen you link some really interesting things about non-punitive parenting and unschooling and I’d really like to learn more. I’ve looked a bit on your website but if you have other resources I’d love to read them.

A bit about my family. I have four year old boy/girl twins. We co-slept for a year and a half, and I nursed them for almost two and a half years so I’m used to being labelled as a hippie by my friends and family. My kids are whip smart but have room to grow socially. They have been in preschool for a year and are really excited to start back again.

We don’t spank but we do do time outs. I am realizing that they are not effective so I’m trying what I call time ins. The kids have to sit with me and once they are able to we talk about what has happened. But. Even that is not always effective. I am way more shouty than I care to admit. I never thought I’d be this kind of parent. I know that it could be a lot worse but I see that there is loads of room for me to improve.

So what has worked for you and your family in terms of non-punitive parenting? How have you implemented unschooling?

Thank you for the generous offer to give me more information!

Hello Sandi!

I think it is wonderful that you’re seeing the limitations of punitive, authoritarian, manipulative, and/or coercive parenting. Many if not most adults are quite sure these strategies are necessary, and very fearful that if they were to abandon them for something else the results for parent and child would be horrific or at the very least, highly uncomfortable and inconvenient.

My kids are “well-behaved” (whatever that means! – I only report what many grownups tell me, here), literate and life-skills proficient, social, intelligent, strong, loving, empathetic, self-directed (now there’s a value you won’t see most school environs fostering or supporting in a meaningful way) and this is all despite the many many times I’ve fallen well-short of my ideals and been quite ungentle – and resorted to punitive or authoritarian strategies. I too was for a long time able to report “I never thought I’d be this kind of parent”. This was made confusing by many factors, especially considering that before I had children, I’d never been a violent person or rather, had not considered myself one. It was a very discouraging revelation to find out I was, or had that potential as a parent. But I have resolutely used my experiences to delve deeper into the roots of my story and my inner states of spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as developing and writing with a critical eye towards the narratives society purports – which are often quite harmful. The results are pretty good, in that we’re a happy family as far as I can tell, my kids are thriving without school or authoritarian/authoritative edifices, they tell me I am a wonderful parent, and I am committed to further improvement, god willing.

So as for being a “shouty” parent, or behaving in ways you never thought you would – welcome to the human race. I have not met a parent/carer who would claim perfection in the ideals they wish to live out, although I have met some who seem not to examine their own behaviors very closely, nor evidence corrections. I never want to sit back and justify my bad behavior or poor strategies, and leave it at that. I want to, and do, pick myself up, apologize, strive to do better through mentors and/or spiritual practice or whatever works. Sometimes I think I will never get it “right” but – that’s okay. The days I think, in so many words, I’m doing so awesome at this gig!, and compare myself favorably to other parents (ugh, yes, I do this sometimes), I’m usually overlooking something and I am definitely suffering from major cases of Ego and Denial! Usually these spates are followed by me having a massive and inappropriate blowup at my children.

So, you asked about my family. My kids are 7 and 9. Raising them as we have, they are very adept at handling themselves in many situations I notice schooled kids, parented in mainstream and authoritarian fashion, tend to be less competent with. They also seem very happy, well-rested, well-fed, and physically and “academically” active (the latter: they read, study, teach themselves skills and world science, do math etc. on their own). The factors I’d say contribue to our successes (such as they are):

1. a knowledge and acceptance that to live the way we wanted required financial sacrifice (specifically, of a fulltime income),

2. a partner who is in as complete agreement with these principles as is possible or likely in another human being, and who is as committed as I to our role as parents, and our passion to sort out problems when they arise (I don’t think a partner is necessary to so-called whole-life unschool, but if you have one that is in disagreement with these parenting values and practices, this can add some complexity),

3. freedom and autonomy given the children as much as they request (example: today the kids know they can choose school if they ever want to try it out),

4. complete inclusion of the children as to how the family runs itself and why, and a regarded voice in all decisions.

When it comes to freedom and autonomy for children as well as their vote, my main regard is safety as is age- and child-appropriate on a case by case basis. It seems to me safety concerns take a more active role when a child is very little. But in raising kids the ways we have, it is incredible to me how adroitly they master concepts of personal safety and how quickly they are to take suggestions, directions, and/or advice from a parent who they’ve come to trust via their own experience, and trust at a deep level.

By the way, I have realized that “time ins” can be tricky too, because we may still be forcing our will on our children. If children respond well to “time ins”, use them! But I suppose if pressed to comment I would say it’s better if kids are immediately removed from hurting one another, or humanely separated if need be, in a non-punitive nor angry fashion. Then each child should be loved up or given attention to in whatever way seems best, making sure your OWN needs are as reasonably met as possible before doing so (learning to meet one’s own needs, with regularity, is a challenge but well-worth the effort). Later in the day when things are calm a brief, age- and child-appropriate approach to conversation may be introduced, but watch and see how interested, if at all, the kids are in this. The separation, whereby you keep the kids safe, and respond with calmness as to whatever need they may have (food, attention, a quiet space, a LOUD ROWDY space, whatever it is), and later discussion with your partner or mentor as to the children’s possible deeper needs, is probably the most effective treatment in the long term. Over time kids will trust you to keep them safe while not trying to direct their feelings, actions, thoughts, etc. This in turn gives them room to develop better strategies and participate in family life in a more self-authored and likely more helpful way.

Obviously what I describe above, especially for young children, is time-intensive and means being able at any moment to put your work on the back burner. I just want to acknowledge this, because few adults seem to give primary carers respect for this aspect of a difficult job! This time-intensive nature was a fact of parenting my young children, but I will add that so soon the kids grow and need so much less physical constancy – and also that I miss the intimacy of my infant and toddler years, and in no way regret the efforts I put in during those times.

And on that note – your children are young enough they likely can’t be left unsupervised for much time at all. You also mentioned on Twitter that you work out of the home. I don’t know if you have a partner and if he/she is interested in the tenets of whole life unschooling, or life learning, or whatever label we’re calling it. All of these listed factors matter. However, I am convinced no matter what our particular circumstances are we can always move away from harmful practices towards ones that better reflect our ideals. So please do write more, with specifics, if you want to, and I will respond as best I can, keeping in mind that for some situations I do not have first-hand experience (for instance: raising twins).

If I had young children and was unable to have a partner at home, I’d probably seek out care for the kids in a less academically-inclined school – like a Waldorf or an outdoor preschool (however, in my opinion it is likely better to have the kids with kind and loving adults than prescribe to a specific type of educational model, so the type of preschool etc. is less important than the leaders/directors/teachers). Alternatively, I might seek out someone such as myself, a person at-home with other kids, who could care for yours in a way you and the children would be happy with. Finally, I might also consider committing to a life where one partner can be at home, if he/she can do so with a willing spirit (and I can speak to how exciting it is!). I might also consider living on student loans or some other form of assistance for those early years. These are all deeply personal decisions, especially that of working in-home without pay nor status, and I will say there is a phenomenal lack of support for kid-care work should you or partner choose it, or should you seek to have it personalized. Just things to be aware of, because my experience is that in having my children out of mainstream school/daycare structures I am often asked, basically, to explain or justify myself! *grin*

If you have any questions or desire clarifications please let me know. Realize also I am only a person raising my children and (to a lesser extent) other children around me. I have no professional qualifications that make me an expert on much of anything. I am passionate about these ideals and happy with the way we live – but I am human and fallible and have many lessons to learn. I write and share like I do because of how many adults have requested it, and how many have told me it has helped them.

Thank you for your query!

LOL J/K!

Friday links! You thought I’d forgotten? No way.

Patterns By Figgys, Sewing For Boys

From my little world: the book by Figgy’s is out, and I am so pleased! I spent a lot of time pattern-testing, giving feedback, searching for typos, and of course my little kiddos and husband were involved as well (Nels is featured in the pages of this lovely book and he is SO CUTE)! But my family’s involvement and efforts as compared to that of the authors is nothing. Karen and Shelly worked their asses off on this project. I can honestly say if you or someone you know wants some great patterns for kiddos infant to size 6/7, this book (which includes all patterns) is a wonderful investment.

First and best thing coming to mind this week: creative refutions of gay marriage protest signs. SO GOOD!

The Gay Agenda

Next: David Walliams swims the Thames. One more reason to be so in love with him.

I want to own a dress. OK, I own one dress (a light black cotton affair wonderful for the summer, and gifted me by the lovely Karen). This is the second dress I want to own. I recognized the dress and the movie right away – from a viewing many, many years ago. I have almost half the price tag saved up! We’ll see if that doesn’t get derailed by stuff like groceries or tacos.

Art: The Moody Nest. I like it.

Make: a digital camera more rugged. Very cool!

Birth Matters – And So Do Mothers and Kids by Wendy Priesnitz. Both mainstream culture and mainstream feminism exclude many groups – Ms. Priesnitz speaks eloquently to a more mature feminism. I’m ready for it, just wish more feminists were too!

To Those Who Call Me An Unparent at Demand Euphoria. This was cathartic to read! I have no idea if I parent like Vickie or not, as I’ve not read more than three posts on her blog – although you could certainly label us “radical unschoolers”. I do hear, from the rest of the world, ALL SORTS OF PREDICTIONS at how awful kids will be if they’re raised with X, Y, or Z (or without A, B, and C) – and I raise my kids these supposedly-terrible ways, and my kids are turning out awesome. I think what’s most important is people are prepared to engage their minds and hearts and listen long enough to understand where the other party is coming from. This includes parenting “debates”.

So, most y’all know I’m bisexual but I tend to be kinda closet-y about it in the real world. This article speaks to many reasons why (although, unlike the author, I would claim I have a lot of straight privilege even though I’m not straight).

Via Zoie on Twitter, and posted at Dandelion Roars: Permission Granted.

Two good films I recently watched:

Fish Tank (2009). Whaddya know, a film with a 15 year old female protagonist that does it soooooo right. Jarvis & Fassbender were incredible. Some truly harrowing moments but stick with it regardless (available on Netflix Instant).

Handsome Harry (2009). I liked this less than other films exploring similar themes, but Jamey Sheridan was fantastic and so were many moments in the film (also on Netflix Instant, if you haven’t figured out this is our only “television”).

Speaking of movies. Here is a film that is likely going to be a TURDÉ of high order. & yet I know I will still see it anyway. (shameface).

Finally, enjoy the sexy-mc-sexiness mashup, which kind of also makes me feel a little sick.

Sophie! circa April 2003

I’m so used to doing everything with you / planning everything for two

Sophie! circa April 2003

When my daughter was about ten months old her interest in breastfeeding suddenly waned. Of course by then I’d heard of babies so-called “self-weaning” at even earlier ages, but at the time I had misgivings about the whole business. I wasn’t sure if she was ready to quit nursing altogether or if she was just taking a break, and I was damn sure I wasn’t quite ready – and most distressing, I didn’t know my role in all of it. It was a painful experience and, as so many mothering quandaries often are, one that felt – in final estimation – mine to sort out, with the help of my daughter, who was of course very, very little (months younger than the above photo). See I suppose I couldn’t or rather never have relied on the comfort of mainstream “experts” directing my life. While I’m thankful for this character trait, to the extent we resist conformity we may pay the occasional price of Arbitrary Self-Inflicted Agony.

So I sought the advice of some women I trusted, women and medical professionals who knew their shit regarding nursing. Looking back I now know I was privileged to have started my family in such a pro-breastfeeding culture. I remember one lactation consultant, at least, telling me that in light of the fact my daughter was first walking she might be a little distracted. If I wished I could use this opportunity to encourage breastfeeding – you know, just offer a sip now and then – and that my daughter might resume her interest. And I did – and she did, too.

For about a week I felt a panic that perhaps I’d “forced” my will on my infant daughter (although of course I never “forced” a feeding), and perhaps more alarmingly, that I’d lost the opportunity to help her be “independent” (ha!). You know, that I’d done something hippie-Earth-Mama-selfish and facile and my child would suffer for it. Et cetera.

Of course, as it turned out my daughter nursed for over two years more, and this was an incredible experience – I can’t even recount all the many wonderful memories I have and the closenesses we lived (and still, she seems so little to me at weaning, when I look back!). To this day I feel a stunning and overwhelming sense of gratitude for the women who advised me as they did. And I suppose I should be grateful for my own instincts which led me to the counsel that worked best for me.

But today I once again hover in a position of minor parental agony; the children seem in so many ways not to need me, and yet I cannot seem to let go of most a decade of intensive care. I sense they are more independent than ever and that we are providing everything they need as best we can (and conferences with the children themselves support this). I know they can tell me what they need (Nels: “Snuggles and love and food and my Little Mama”) – and yet I am prone to guilt if I spend a few hours without them in mind. At least, on this last count, pervasive Guilt is old behavior and I hardly expect to be rid of it like magic just because I’m now sober.

All demonstrable evidence suggests the children are thriving; yet I keep searching for fault within myself or something I should, or shouldn’t be doing. This is prideful and this is arrogance; when I do this I am willfully blind to the beauty of their daily lives. They are surrounded by people that love them, and they live in a home and town they adore with people and animals they love deeply. They spend most of their time outside and are courageous in their exploits and fierce in their friendships. Their summer is full of everything I loved from (or wished I had during) my own childhood: sleepovers and waterparks and ice cream and books and tree forts and visits to neighborhood shops where everyone knows them, bike rides and gardening with their grandma. They continue to show moral and emotional traits that bring joy to others. They are loving and directly hug and greet all manners of friends, young and old.

They are empathetic and considerate. They are kind. Twice now in the last week I’ve had sleep problems (meaning: onset insomnia, staying up watching shite escapist television on Netflix). Both these mornings the kids rose, dressed themselves, ate, washed their hands and faces, brushed their teeth, cleaned up after themselves breakfast-wise, fed the cats, and checked on the chickens, bringing in eggs. They called their father – but in the next room, whispering so as not to wake me (Ralph told me later).

It’s absolutely amazing at times their consideration and maturity; and yet, to be honest, it makes me want to cry.

In short I am experiencing an insecurity around my Motherhood that I feel neither my children nor my husband can fully understand (although some of my close friends and family seem to relate). It’s as if I’m asking myself if I’m brave enough to self-care a bit more. Or maybe I’m afraid if I were to do so, something Horrid would happen or I’d suddenly miss a need of theirs and I’d screw it all up. Somehow.

It’s funny because as a child the word my family used against me that hurt the most was “selfish”. Somehow I grew into a different kind of Selfish than what I suppose they meant; today my sins seem to be that of self-obsession (Perfectionism) coupled with a lack of self-respect.

I don’t want to model that for my children – anymore.

Jasmine, Peroxide Queen, assists Phoenix

like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies

Tonight: Listening to

So It’s 11 PM and I start up some sticky rice (a family favorite), taken from one of two large crocks on my kitchen counter (the other contains flour, ZOMG “empty” carbophobes, the HOrRoR!!1!). I dice up grilled chicken, partially cooked carrots, zucchini, and grilled garlic cloves – all donated by friends last night, sent home with us after they’d hosted us for a backyard barbecue. I stir fry the dice variously using a wok (J… I need to get that back to you, but I also want one just like it) and my one skillet, a cast iron beauty I put on layaway years before that I tenderly caress daily. I whisk up a sweet-sour-salty dipping sauce and Ralph puts out bowls and cloth napkins and we have a late, late dinner at the coffee table, the four of us.

It’s hot in the house. But it was nice running around today – especially minus many inches of hair. In fact today held a surprising amount of detail-work concerning hair: since Nels got his cut the other day via he and his father’s barber, I had Ralph cut mine off in what was the most pleasant locale I’ve yet experienced una corta de pelo – our own sunlit deck. Watching the chickens and cats get up to their fuckery. Later in the day Jasmine and I did a lot of work on Phoenix’s new hair (pictures tomorrow!) while Ralph made music up in Olympia. When Phoenix and I got home I ran laundry and worked a little on my latest sewing project (a SEKRIT!) and tidied up the many books the kids strew about the house.

I’ve spent time in my life having to do shit I didn’t want to do. A lot of time. Increasingly I find my day filled with things I’m engaged in and enjoying, so many I don’t always get to them all but most nights I fall into bed satisfied. And hell, the things I don’t want to do, or haven’t in the past been able to deal with without dread, are a lot easier. Truth be told I have a whole new support network in my life, I’m sober, and the sun is out – the darkness has passed – and those things make a big difference. Day after day – lately – I experience gratitude. I’m grateful for my kids, our animals, my spouse, and the health and love of all. I’m still grateful to now, after over half a year, have two running cars (seriously! Although the brakes are spongey on the Mercedes and I’m fearing the worst). I’m grateful I’m parenting more gently and helping my children in more constructive ways. I’m grateful for friends; those who support me and those I in turn support.

Life, in short, is pretty good. L-O-V-E

Jasmine, Peroxide Queen, assists Phoenix

Mr. Shit-n-Spray

“Adults do liquor, even toke. *EVERYBODY* does it!”

“Everybody who’s anybody!”*

Friday linkage!

Nigella Love-in-a-Mist by local Mickey Thurman. Love-in-a-mist was one of the first flowers Nels grew, years and years ago.

The Kindness of Strangers by Kate. Nothing earth-shattering. Except – actually, it kind of is. What a lovely piece.

Feminazi Propaganda: “Women’s Work” via Political Remix Video. Trigger warning for intense violence (often eroticized) rendered graphically against women. REGULARLY SEEN ON TELEVISION I might add (although this concerns the show “Supernatural”) – and here’s a longer analysis should you want one. Yeah. So, this kind of stuff is why I’ve had to stop watching shows I otherwise would have enjoyed or at least found consumable (“Law & Order”, thanks for keeping me from my daily D’Onofrio! You fucks.).

In wonderful news: Michelle Alison offers a great course. I want to take this pretty badly. I don’t have the scratch, because of recent purchases. I do promote Alison because she and her mentor Satter seem to know their shit, in a land of lots of weight and diet “experts” who sure don’t.

Reviewing highlights of an actresses celebrated career – and you know, this is uncannily like my experiences with alcohol and drug, back in school:
 

 
That actress playing the “young high school counselor” – where do I know her from? It’s something kind of tampon-ad ish.

“The World Is Full Of Bullies… So Conform! And Quick!” by Laura at Authentic Parenting:

“Children who have not been forced into acting or looking like something they’re not, who have had the freedom to explore their bodies and their minds, within the safety and unconditionality of their homes are not insecure. They may make different choices than the average kid, they may look differently, but they do it because they are true to themselves, not to fit in or fit out, so they are generally able to take the consequences. Yes, they may get negative reactions. But if they are not even safe to express themselves and find themselves at home, where do you suggest they will? In therapy when they are in their thirties?”

On-point.

Consumerism: I need to buy this… and tix to see this. Ralph wants me to buy him this (but seriously? I bought him some big fancy pedal this time last year. I think I’ll take a year off). Apparently Ralph is going to give me our tax return as my own “fun money”, I’ll try not to spend it all on makeup and my usual diversions.

Make: How-To: Plush Alien Facehugger Pillow Set via Instructables for a little girl. Perfect. PERFECT.

Make: hand stitched card at New House Project. I’ve enjoyed using a sewing machine to punch holes or stitch paper for quite some time. It dulls the needle, sure – but what fun!

OK: it’s time to separate us all into two discrete columns. Those who find this picture, as I do, completely disgusting. And those who through some sickness that is probably not their fault, find it mouth-watering. GO!

Tweet of the week. Hey, I can blow my own horn like no-one’s business.

And finally – enjoy our beaches!

Mr. Shit-n-Spray

*Note: please do not take my post tagline as any kind of prescriptive advice on how one should celebrate their weekend. But in the meantime: whoo-hooo it’s Friday!!!

sewing curtains

so who doesn’t have a party to go to?

Well our party spirit is a little dampened. This morning we found out someone got ahold of Ralph’s account/credit info and cleaned us out. I mean CLEANED us out. So that was kind of fun! Ralph had to stop work early and make all these phone calls and stuff and I have no idea if we’ll get our monies back and get food and stuff! Wheee!

But nothing shall stop me from Friday’ing your ass up! Pull up a cup of joe and check the linkage!

***

Androcentrism: It’s Okay to Be a Boy, But Being a Girl… at SocImages makes valid points, plus I didn’t recognize who that was in drag at first. Pretty cool.

While we’re on the above-mentioned quote, please watch this Madonna video. MY FAVORITE PART of the video culminates at 02:49. P.S. So interesting this video got banned after the other violent shit male artists have pulled.

Tracy Morgan: If My Son Was Gay, I’d Stab Him To Death; HA HA HA that Tracy Morgan! So funny! Hm, there’s not an emoticon I can think of to type how I really feel about this. … Anyway, here’s Wanda Sykes response to Chris Rock’s defense of Morgan, via Racialicious. Thank you Ms. Sykes.

Okay, moving on. Look, I totally enjoy FYeahSeamstressTiger on a lot of levels (for instance, as I believe I’ve made my position clear long ago [#7]):

sewing curtains

 
But the aggregate effect of the occasional snooty I-can-sew-so-well-and-you-totally-don’t-get-it leaves me cold.

h/t friend Dawn for this Cute little flash animation about how we’re gonna fuck things up. IS it flash? I don’t know. I just call everything that has that look, flash.

Bullying (30): How to stop parent bullying at ronitbaras.com. The “I need to think about it” technique? Kelly-Goddamned-Hogaboom needs to practice this one.

When Homeschooling is Blamed for Child Abuse by Laurie A. Couture. Sometimes I’ve wanted to write out what’s behind the many distinct eyerolls I experience when I hear child abuse blamed on homeschooling – because it’s just laughable. Ms. Couture’s article stands on it’s own merit, however. And the last bit:

“The vast majority of parents who allow their children to learn at home are passionate about their children, love them deeply and put them, their needs and their interests first. Child abuse is a tragedy that will continue as long as this culture supports power-over, punitive, subordinating ways of treating children. Unschooling and relaxed homeschooling are part of the solution!”

Yeah, that gives me the chills.

The Link between Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders by Kendra Sebelius (also known as @VoiceinRecovery on Twitter). Absolutely bleeding edge on progressive treatment for comorbidities more common than many people realize.

Yes, I put my name on the bone marrow donor registry but I kinda want to pee in fear thinking how awful it would be to donate. I’ve given plasma before so know the whole, suck the blood out and put it back in routine (COLD blood going back into one’s body, ugh!), but the needle in the pelvis bit sounds like the real picnic. ANYWAY, truly, if I can help in this way I hope to!

Make (or at least, read about the deliciousness): red currant jam from David Lebovitz’s blog. I am new to having him in my feed reader and I’m liking what I read. His points on complaining about red currant prices are pretty rad.

This week: I watched Norwegian indie film Troubled Water, and started Canadian television series “Due South” (spoilers in both links, obv). The former is elegantly-rendered grief porn, & I say give it a miss (despite a few merits). The latter is a lot of fun, altho’ it’s so unselfconsciously mid-nineties it actually might bog me down and I might not finish. But I can’t get enough Paul Gross, he’s like Cheez-It’s to me.

Quote of the Day
Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

Tweet of the Week
Kevin Murphy, participating in a Twitter hashtag game that many others were rather vile with. But in this case – MUCH LULZ

eh, i think i want a do-over. but i don’t get one.

I got to follow a three year old around today while his mama was occupied at a child-unfriendly event.* It was a wonderful and terrible thing. Wonderful because I had my head straight as to what a three year old needs (to run around and be followed, to have questions answered and to have my calm attention. To be taken to a nearby pet store. Quite simple, really!) and it was a joy to enjoy this little one and to help his mother who has no family and rarely gets help at these events that I’ve seen.

Terrible? Why so? Well, I gritted my teeth thinking of how poorly I’d done for my own kids when they were little, and how poorly I’ve done since, I still do, because I can’t shake my residual training and my bad habits. But back then, yeah, I just couldn’t figure out, back when I had babies, that it was my environs that were so often fucked up, making little practical room for what children need and extending very little assistance to carers, usually mothers, who were responsible for all this (Arwyn’s written about this a lot better than I can). I just ate myself up trying to make myself and my kids not inconvenient, I gulped conversation with other moms at the park when the kids would play, I was dying for time out of pressure, which is why I lose the compassion and love people often tell me I have when I hear some weekend dad or non-carer or non-parent complain about moms who take kids to the park and don’t play with them or text or whatever. Like, seriously, playing with kids is awesome, but prescribing it when seeing a beleaguered mama population at one of the few places kids are allowed to run around and make noise? Please directly Go Fuck Yourself, and I mean it in the kindest of ways, I’ll wait for you to get back.

Yeah, my husband used to get pissed we’d go to a film with the young kids and he’d end up taking the squirrelly one out to the lobby and miss some of the movie. He still gets this way sometimes. I understand he’s pissed but I mean, shit that’s what I had to deal with my nine-hour shift out in public day after day after day after day (go into the coffee shop and a person with a laptop sitting at a fourtop who gives us an icy glare and others ignore us, outside at a picnic table and a kiddo runs across the grass and not one person laughs and gently herds young child to safety, but people look up angrily for – ME), and that’s been so much, so many years of my life, my child(ren) unwelcome unless he/she/they were silent and near immobile (I hear it’s not like that everywhere) when he/she/they wanted to ask questions, to talk, to run, to climb, the very things they really should be doing and not just when they’re tiny but I think for many many early years.

And yeah there are situations and people and oases that get that kids are part of the population, and those are lovely. But seriously I mean this event today, apparently people expected a three year old to sit quietly, and no there was nothing at all for the kid to do, no room to play in, nothing (a seven hour event). I am not upset about the event or even thinking about it much, truly, I’m upset about my stupidity when I was a younger mom, about how hard I worked to be “good” and to have “good” kids, and about all the twisted stuff this set up within me and how much I sacrificed and how much less I enjoyed my kids, the most lovely people on this earth to me.

It just fucking kills me.

I dunno, sometimes I think since we all spent a lot of time being kids, maybe some of us should consider regularly putting some time in a grimy parking lot keeping a three year old safe (and actually having a good time with him because he was lovely) so Mama can have thirty minutes to breathe, have a cup of coffee, or take care of her other responsibilities. When we see a child run across the street we can slow down and laugh and wave and say, “Careful!” and smile, or take a few minutes and talk to a child, because who are we to be in such a Big Goddamned Important Hurry we can’t acknowledge some of the most vulnerable and impressionable and inexperienced and (usually) disempowered populations of the human race, the very creatures who decide the fate of the planet and who might stand to grow up free and lovely and well-taught and loved-up instead of – pained and anxious and servile and scared and angry?

Eh, besides other mamas in my life – who were also themselves working so hard – very few people helped me in these generous and level ways when the kids were little, or maybe many did but the intolerance and ignorance of others was way more, or at least loudest in my ears. I can’t change that I internalized all this as being Not Good Enough and I Need To Work Myself Harder and Sit Still and Be QUIET! or we’re GOING  HOME! But I can, as long as I’m able, remember to look out for and be loving to little ones and their carers. I guess if there’s one thing I’ve gained it’s that. It’s that I knew to offer this woman time. It wasn’t much but I didn’t see anyone else volunteering.

And the little guy S. was more excited about a fiddler crab at that pet shop than anything. And you know what, now that I spent a minute checking it out, I discovered a fiddler crab is pretty fucking awesome.

relax, don’t do it – it’s friday!

Friday links, and I’m giving you a small portion of nice, soft, digestible pudding-like fare. This week’s prescription: take ‘er easy.

First, from the annals (eh) of unintentional comedy and American overconsumption:

Or, as Lizz Winstead says, “YOU: I like to poop, but would enjoy it more if it was more complicated. ME: No problem.”

Then: Wave At The Bus – 170 days of dadly awesomeness. Truly.

Fascinating: A Worldwide Day’s Worth of Food: “In their new book, What I Eat, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio present thought-provoking portraits of individuals around the globe and the food that fuels them over the course of a single day.” P.S. “calories for this day” – SUCH a victory over typical conversations!

Children have not always dressed, or been dressed, differently than adults. Here’s just one example. Quite relevant to a submission we have for our upcoming Fiber & Textile show.

h/t Flo for posting this on FB:

You know the only thing funnier than this seven-odd minutes is the fact that as I watched I realized: I don’t think I’ve ever used, nor heard someone use, that phrase IRL. But then –

You probably just don’t get it. Do you.*

(What movies did we see here? Check out the curator’s blog post.)

And finally: thanks, Jasmine. This is kick-ass:

* I should note: besides being a great montage, at about 0:56 we’re seeing KARATE KID III which was riffed most excellently by Mike, Bill, & Kevin.

short & sweet: friday links

Quick rant: Stop saying “X is the last acceptable form of bigotry” by Tami Harris. Ye god – Yes. Please. Stop.

Barn tableau at IBTP. Short and to the point.

Class rage in miniature: why I can’t read many food blogs anymore at Class Rage Speaks

On Blogging, Popularity Contests, & Why I QUIT at Postpartum Progress:

“I love blogging. I love bloggers. I love social media people. I love the internet. I love what we are able to do, that our words can stretch across thousands of miles to make someone else feel understood and supported. I love that we are able to use our voices, and that no one can take that away from us. That’s amazing. […] You will no longer see me asking for votes for these various contests. I can’t do it anymore. It tires me. It’s soul sucking. I’m not going to do it. If someone recognizes what we do here for the impact it has on mothers and families, or for innovative ideas, or for the writing, or for positively affecting mental health or reducing stigma, I will share it with you FOR SURE, but as for the rest of it … I quit.”

I believe everyone should have the right to blog differently (*ahem*… those bitching about password-protected posts, and no asking about it, or asking for a password, is not bitching about it), including using ads, contests, giveaways, tweeting all day long, whatever people do. I guess I just liked what this lady had to say.

How To Deal With Parental Mistakes by Laura:

“Making mistakes as a parent is he hardest thing, because it involves this tiny influential human being and you can’t have a do-over. It can be easy to fall into a guilt trip. That’s not a very healthy road to travel. Guilt is one of the most erosive, numbing emotions, and it’s certainly not beneficial to parenting.”

I’m feeling this, big time. Thank you, Laura.

& on that note:

Let’s try that again! Send me your stories on parenting with disability or chronic illness at Raising my Boychick. If you’ve got something? Do it!

Homeschoolers Who Run Businesses: The EpiCoutures Family Store. Both Laurie and Brycen are passionate about their work. Maybe someone reading here can spread word or support it!

Make: custom chenille for a blanket. Lovely!

Also: a cold summer soup collection from Mint Design Blog. Now I’m not much for cold summer soups, although my friend S. once made us a watermelon gazpacho that was truly amazing. So, I try not to be too close-minded!

Quote of the week:
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ~ Malachy McCour

I’m late watching this of course, but I had to share it because I find it COMPLETE & UTTER BULLSHYT and I want to know if anyone else is scoffing as hard as I am?!

(I do like the second top comment though)