Thursday, May 24, 2007

Classic Diezel

Once a week I dig though the sand, rocks and sticks in Diezel's backpack and extract all the worksheets he has done in kindergarten. I usually do this on Thursday because it is also newsletter day and I don't want to miss out on any upcoming info for the next week (I'm kind of organized like that). I don't hold much stock in the papers that come home because the teacher has a habit of telling the kids what to write/circle so I'm never sure if it is his brain at work. Some of the stuff that I do see is very obviously non-directive and those are the papers I love to look at and sometimes (another bad habit of mine) analyze (the psychologist in me).

Today there was a religion worksheet with a little poem/prayer (is there a difference? and what is it?) on it:

God made everyone.

God made all people good.
God gave people many gifts.
He gave people the world and
all the good things in it.

On the page is a picture of a park with a bench, swing set, slide and sandbox. The instructions are to "Add people to this picture. Show them enjoying God's world." Diezel did an excellent job of coloring in the ground with green grass and colored all the equipment orange including the park bench. His "people" consisted of one stick person just outside the sandbox and nobody else. His person has two eyes, a smile, arms with 3 fingers on each hand and legs but no feet.

Now this is where I get into trouble because I wasn't there to see how the assignment was presented, how much time the kids had to accomplish the task and how they interpreted the directions. I just know what my boy did or didn't do. I adore his picture but I also think it tells a great deal about where in his life he feels happy and good. He loves to dig and he is at his best when he is alone. God may have made everyone but he didn't make everyone to enjoy everyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


For our May book club at C Public Library we read Snow Flower and the secret fan by Lisa See. I had already read the book and recommended that the club read it. When I first read the book I was fascinated by the culture and customs in China, especially those surrounding foot binding and the lives of the women in the story. The second time I read it I was able to pay even closer attention to the "clues" I missed the first time. After rereading the book I realized that initially I identified with the inexperienced and unlearned Lily, but the second time I was reading from the view of Lily's mother. Both times I could not comprehend having my own feet bound, nor binding the feet of my only daughter. Yet, after the discussion tonight I realize that in our own ways, both at home and in society, we are binding young girls everyday, it is just not as blatant as it was in China.

Women in China bound their daughter's feet to make them more marriageable and to give them a better life than they had. Although we do not wrap our daughters feet and make them walk until their bones break (so we can mold them into "Golden Lilies") we do have the expectation that they will have better lives than us, that they will have more choices, that they will make different and better choices than we did, that they will be more beautiful than we were, that their spouses will treat them better and love them more, that they will follow their dreams and secure their passions, that they will be everything that we are not. In China women were judged by the size of their feet and it was estimated that 10% of girls died during foot binding. In America women are judged by the size of their breasts, their physical beauty and their weight. I wonder how many girls today are dying from eating disorders, drug and alcohol related deaths, and suicide?

Unfortunately, the standards today are tough, tougher than they ever were. It is not good enough for a child to just be involved in extracurricular activities, she must excel at what she is doing or choose something else. Mothers are starting their daughters in dance classes as soon as they can walk and demanding perfection and acceleration in their schoolwork (because they WILL be smart and get a good education). Our daughters mistakes are pointed out at all times so they can do better next time, we expect that their clothing and hair is not an embarrassment to us, we put them on diets so their bodies are not revolting in their tight clothing, we push them and pull them, we offer breast augmentation for their sweet 16th and nose reconstruction for graduation, we demand perfection because we are under the illusion that perfection brings happiness and success. Are we are no better than the Chinese women trying to secure their daughter's future by foot binding?

Finally, we are forgetting to teach our young daughters to say no. And not just "no" to someone that is trying to be physically too close, but to those who expect more from them than they WANT to give. We are not teaching them to say no to us. I'm not implying that our daughters should be given free reign, but that we need to be careful about what we expect and why we are expecting it. At times they should be pushed outside their comfort zones but allowed to return GUILT FREE to where they find solace. We need to know when to guide, when to observe and when to offer resources. We need to loosen their bindings so they can run free.

A few little things

Well, I discovered when I was running today that yesterday marked the longest amount of time in months that I have gone in between children without getting pregnant. Three times over I was pregnant by 19 months of the last birth and yesterday marked 20 months and no pregnancy. Applause, applause! After 4 days of vomiting and diarrhea out of the youngest two this little fact is pure relief.


The kindergarten class has a substitute today and I left my lovely Diezel boy feeling a little more than worried but his excitement about having a substitute made me keep my mouth shut. CR, one of my least favorite children in the class (he is in the number 2 spot next to KA), was attempting to climb the door frame when we arrived and as I was leaving the kids were convincing Ms. Kylee (who doesn't look old enough to be out of high school even though I know she is) that they don't do centers in the morning. I hope Diezel is in a talking mood when he gets home, of course he rarely is so my urge for dirt on the class will not be satisfied.


Yesterday I HAD to go to Meijer, the four days of vomit/diarrhea left me almost totally depleted of baby wipes. We started the trip trying to buy bird seed (buy one/get one!) but they were out of the bo/go size and the clueless door greater just didn't know what to do. I guess that explains her door greater position. I grabbed the tag off the shelf to "prove" to the cashier that it was on sale. We made it through the rest of our list, even remembered the baby wipes, without trouble. But, then again, the trouble no matter where you shop seems to start at the cashier lanes. The friendly "I'll help you find a short lane" lady pointed to a lane with a cashier that in the past has been less desirable to me than others. I tried to find another open or short lined lane but there were none to be found and Ollie was already acting tired/sick/moaning so I jumped in her line. First thing I told her was that I needed a rain check for my bird seed. This woman plays by the rules: I had to verify that I could not locate the item, that I asked for assistance, the name of the person that offered the assistance, and I had to locate the item in the ad. All this and I was rewarded with my rain check. I hope the birds are happy.

The bird seed wasn't even my main complaint. I had two bottles of very cheap wine that I was purchasing and by this point there was a preschooler with his head down in the front seat of the cart and a toddler in a backpack on my back making moaning/whining noises-it was obvious that I had a lot going on and that I DON'T LOOK UNDER 21! I may not look almost 34 (well maybe I do, I don't know) but I sure as hell don't look under 21. The b**** after all I had been through asked for my I.D. She even looked at it when I gave it to her and put in my real b-day instead of the fake one they all use to bypass the system. By that time she knew she was pushing her luck and even looked up and told Ollie that she was trying to hurry. We barely made it out of there without me assulting her but I try to be mature now that I am in my mid-30's.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A bean in Diezel's ear

I must consistently remind myself that SPD is fun! Fun for the whole family! I have learned that it is better to be amazed by the behaviors and laugh a little at them than to let them irritate me to the point where one or all of us needs to be on medication. Last night Diezel couldn't resist climbing into the gravity wagon full of last years soy beans. I bet it felt really good swimming around in all those beans, boots off, pockets full, sun shining. Until, a little bean magically popped in his ear and got stuck. To compound his troubles he does not like attention, especially attention derived from actions that were not intended to be shared with anyone. Poor Diezel, he was mad and scared, and especially worried that the doctor would have to cut his ear off to get the bean out!

Being ever so lazy in the evening I decided to fore go a trip to the ER, I mean really, is a bean in the ear really an emergency? According to some websites it is, but there is no way I sitting there all night for this minor inconvenience, and after all his highly selective hearing was still functioning. Our friend, the town vet, offered me a few suggestions but none of them worked. We left her place with a basket ball hoop, a little green ride-on tractor, kid sized wheel barrow and a bean in Diezel's ear.

It didn't fall out during the night so he was "forced" to stay home from school (which he claims that he hates anyway) until I could contact his doctor. My husband, who was too busy farming the night before, all of a sudden became vigilant about finding a way to get that bean out. Diezel was set on staying home from school and traveling to the doctor so he didn't want Vinnie to touch him for fear he would have to go to kindergarten that day. Once I convinced Diezel that he didn't have to go to school that day, no matter what, he was a little more receptive to letting his dad experiment. A few tries with a twisty tie stripped of the plastic coating and the bean rolled on out.

Diezel is a boy that likes the feeling of sand pouring in his ears, has swallowed two pennies because he likes to have non-food objects in his mouth, touches EVERYTHING when we are out in public, the list goes on and on. On the good days I watch and hope that a trip to the ER won't be necessary, on the bad days I forget my sense of humor, but everyday I tell him I'll love him no matter what.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Yeah for toast!

It is a beautiful day and I have no business being inside but I did a long run today and I feel ever so vigorous about life right now. A long run will do that to a person. If the long run is long and I finish feeling as though I could do another 5 miles then nothing can go wrong the rest of the day. The past 2 long runs have been especially motivating and I think it is because I have eaten a piece of buttered toast in addition to my daily banana before running. Of course I am still chewing my Shot Bloks every 30-40 minutes while on the road but that single piece of toast is really doing the trick. Before I added toast to my Sunday routine I would feel shaky by 4 miles and want to eat all my Shot Bloks at once, never a good idea. Yeah for toast!

The toddler is sleeping and yesterday we found some animal bones under a fallen stump so the big kids are excavating to find more. They will be busy for hours! Makes me consider skinning some road kill and burying it every few weeks just to keep the kiddies busy and entertained. Although, I am as hopeful as them that the skull shows up and we get an idea as to what type of animal it is. When I first found a few of the bones there was an old metal file with a wooden handle in the same area and I was already creating our own little mystery about someone who killed someone and buried the murder weapon with the body. Instead it appears that one day when Diezel came home from farming he claimed the filein the field and then hid it under the stump so no one else could have it and he could play with it later. That's my Diezel-part boy, part squirrel. Part lots of other things too but I'll save that for another day!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Note Notation Notion

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity." -Christopher Morley US author & journalist (1890 - 1957)

Nike+ iPod for me

I have discovered that the most difficult thing about blogging is actually sitting down to do it. Everyday my intentions are good then the kids need help getting the peanut butter, the baby deposits a surprise in his diaper big enough to require a bath and while I'm giving him a bath the dog chews up the Kleenex in the office garbage can. It is never ending. And when it seems as though the house is clean, the lawn is mowed, the animals are fed, the chicken coop is clean and I have dinner ready to pop in the oven someone pukes and I'm battling a virus as it makes it way through four kids and my husband. Thankfully, I always seem to be spared from the illness but by the end feel as though I've had it due to lack of sleep and exhaustion.

I've come to the conclusion that what I really need is Nike to make an iPod+ thingy that allows me to dictate my thoughts about myself and the larger world while I run and then when I get home I can plug it into the computer and all my thoughts would be instantly transformed into blog entries. I do my most stunning thinking while I'm on the move and once I sit down to type it kind of all falls away. This little machine would prevent all that! I could even write that novel I've been meaning to get to (because at this rate it won't happen until I'm in a nursing home and can no longer hear the kids yelling at each other over who's turn it is to visit or pay the bill). It would revolutionize my life. Ah, one can always have a dream...