Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Skinnier Than Thou

It's Halloween tomorrow!  In the words of Garfield, "Candy, candy, candy, candy, candy!"

But gone is the era of the rare annoying neighbor who would give you an apple and a spool of dental floss.  Now, along with schools that feel compelled to send home fat-kid letters, we have people who have taken it upon themselves to hand out obesity notices to dressed up tots hoping for a Snickers bar.

Yes, pudgy trick-or-treaters who have the misfortune of landing on the doorstep of "Cheryl" in Fargo, North Dakota will receive a little fat shaming to suck down with their tootsie rolls.

"Your child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this season," she writes in a handout for overweight trick-or-treaters.  "My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration this Halloween candy and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits."  

Um, lady, you, in my opinion, are outrageously rude and should not be answering the door for trick-or-treaters this season (or ever).  My hope is that you will step up as a human being and not allow your big fat mouth to continue these damaging speaking habits.  

In other words, "Bite me."

This lady isn't concerned about health.  If she were, she wouldn't be passing out candy to little ghosts and goblins whose BMI does not set off her obesity alarm.  Memo to Cheryl:  If a pillow case full of candy is unhealthy for one child, it's unhealthy for all of them, overweight or not.

But this isn't about health, this is about a woman who likes to think her pant size makes her a superior person.  This is about a woman whose own insecurity reaches so far that she thinks she has to shame children on Halloween so that she can feel better about herself.

So, for Cheryl, and all the little skinnies out there who like the taste of superiority that comes from wearing a size 2, or who enjoy looking down their noses at the size 18 pulling through the McDonald's drive-thru and offering Chicken McNuggets to her toddlers, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Are you ready...?

Okay, here it is.  Psssst:  Overweight people know they are overweight.

I know.  It's shocking.  I mean, why on earth would fat people want to leave their houses?  They must not own any mirrors or they would know they need to eat less and exercise more.  WE NEED TO TELL THEM THEY ARE FAT!  WE ARE DOING THEM A SERVICE!

Look, even children are aware of how their size compares to that of other kids their age.  They are aware, often painfully, of areas where they don't measure up (or, in this case, measure over).  And their parents, who, for the most part, are also aware, don't need a snooty woman to shame their children in front of their friends under the guise of encouraging "healthier" choices.

There's only one person who deserves shaming here, Cheryl, but it's not them.  

It's you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

You Know What They Say...

Work hard:

Play hard:

Sleep hard:

Wait a second...

Yes, that is every single lego we own dumped out on the floor (when it came time for clean-up we used a snow shovel).  And yes, she really is sound asleep.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Clarifications For Future Therapists

For my birthday Michael made me a card out of perler beads.  It says "I LOVE MOM."

Looking at it from the back it says "EVOL I MOM."  Honestly, a better summary of me I could not have written myself.  At least judging by the way my kids keep crying every time I so much as look at them.

We've had so much wailing lately.  And pouting.  And sulking.  Coincidentally, I've been spending a lot of time with my hand in the candy bowl that is stationed high on our closet shelf.  David tied it up in a plastic sack so I wouldn't spend all the days till Halloween eating candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but little does he know that there is a hand-size hole right where the knot is, which means that four or five times a day my fingers find their way in.  (My hands are like "Thing" in the Addams family.  I can be cleaning the kitchen and yet they still find their way into the closet).

But seriously, my children are so sensitive lately.  We're practically drowning in tears around here.

Just last week we were all snuggled on the couch to watch a family movie.  When it ended, David and I sent the kids upstairs to get their jammies on and took advantage of our momentary childlessness to steal a few kisses.  All of a sudden something shifted on the stairs, and we burst out laughing when we discovered that Leah was watching us, wide-eyed, through the stair railing.  As we laughed, she turned and continued up out of our view.  Thirty seconds later she was sitting on the floor just beyond the stairs, crying her eyes out and wailing through sobs, "Don't laugh at me!  It's not nice to laugh at me!"

(Also heard this week?  "You're not being nice to me!" and, my personal favorite, "You don't love me!" -- said after I scolded her for biting her brother.  You're right, Leah...  If I loved you, I would let you bite your brother).

Michael and Matthew have also gotten in on the crying-because-Mom-and-Dad-are-laughing act, with the most notable incident being Michael bawling because David and I started grinning and giggling at each other when Michael began singing little French songs as he set the table for dinner.  No matter what we said, we could not convince him that we were laughing because he was SO.  DANG.  CUTE.

And Matthew... sigh.  Living in the same house as his arch nemesis is not easy.   Yesterday started with  "I don't like Michael!" and ended with "I don't want Michael to talk to me."  When Michael finished his dinner and was excused to play legos, Matthew went about eating his meal silently.  But then Michael called to us from his bedroom and Matthew dropped his fork, assumed an indignant scowl, and refused to keep eating.  "Matthew, what's the matter?" we asked.

"Michael TALKED to me," he said.

We couldn't help it.  We burst out laughing.  Not at him of course.  Because of him.

There's a difference.  We swear.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Trivializing Cancer

It happens every year in October.  Along with the explosion of pink products and inexplicable calls for saving the tatas by going bra-free for a day (how on earth does this raise awareness of anything except for the fact that nipples should not be made available for public viewing?), the Facebook games start.

You've seen them.  Last year it was "I'm eight weeks and craving skittles."  This year it's "I'm going to Rome for 15 months!"

And you know what these women say when their post starts getting flooded with anxious questions ("You're moving??  I need details!!")?  "I'll message you."  Because this is a secret game for women to giggle about behind their keyboards (we can't let the men know what we're up to!).  And because nothing helps raise awareness of breast cancer like NOT SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT BREAST CANCER.

Last year I remember sitting at my computer and shaking my head in disbelief as I read one of those candy-craving posts -- you see, the woman who posted it had been trying to have a baby for years, so you can imagine the shock and surprise her relatives got when she made an "announcement."


Er, no, just trying to "raise awareness" by playing with everyone's emotions.  Sorry.

I don't mean to be harsh, but ladies, where do we get off thinking this kind of thing is okay?  These Facebook games do nothing -- I repeat -- NOTHING to raise awareness of breast cancer.  They just confuse and manipulate and disappoint.  And not only that, they trivialize the seriousness of the disease by turning it into nothing more than a cutesy game.

I'm not sure why it is that, of all cancers, breast cancer is the only one to get this cutesy treatment -- after all, there is no "Save the poopers!" campaign for colon cancer and no calls to "Love your prostate" by being screened for the disease on your birthday -- but pinkifying this awful disease hasn't done us any favors.  Instead it has numbed our sense of its seriousness, thinking that we can play games and joke around and flaunt our boobies, and that somehow this is helping the cause.

Cancer is a terrible disease.  Terrible.  It ravages bodies and steals lives.  And the only treatments for it are hell on earth.  So you want to raise awareness?  Donate money to cancer research.  Support a friend in the fight for her life.  Encourage your sisters to get a mammogram.  Honor cancer survivors in your family and your community. 

But stop with the games.

Because when we trivialize cancer, nobody wins.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Potty Tales

We were at Costco last night to look for a belt and check out the explosion of Christmas toys and decorations (because nothing says October like Santa Claus).  $50 later (we simply can't make it out of Costco without buying more than we intended to get) we were in line to check out and Leah announced that she desperately needed to use the restroom, which, according to the laws of twinhood, caused Matthew to realize that he also desperately needed to use the restroom.

So I headed off to the potties with the three-year-olds while David handled our impulse buys.

Matthew finished up his restroom needs before Leah, so I helped him wash his hands and directed him to the Dyson hand dryer to entertain himself (it's like skydiving for little hands) while I helped Leah take care of the rather dramatic aftermath of her toilet usage.  

Right as I managed to get poop on my hand, Matthew somehow cracked his head on a sink and cut both the back and front of his ear in totally unrelated places (I haven't quite figured out the contortions involved in that one yet...).  I knew it was bad because I heard the crack a full 10 seconds before the scream escaped his lips, and yet I could only perform a one-handed comforting because my other hand had poop on it.

"Errr, son, I'm sorry that you appear to have gravely injured yourself, but can you hold on a second while I wash the poop off my hand...?"

Meanwhile, as Matthew continued to scream like he was being burned at the stake, Leah was in the stall with door open and bum in the air...  I was waiting for Child Protective Services to walk in and go "We'll be taking those children now, ma'am."


It took awhile, but once everyone was washed and calmed and not actively bleeding, we headed to the car.  On the way out of the store Leah looked at the less-than-fit people getting their receipt checked and announced loudly to everyone within a thirty mile radius, "Mommy, those people have BIG tummies!"

Next time it's David's turn to take Matthew and Leah to the potty.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kid Logic

The Scene:

The family is gathered in the kitchen.  Dad is scooping ice cream and passing a bowl to each child.  Once everyone is settled in with their bowl and spoon, Mom decides this would be a good time to sneak off to the bathroom.  After all, everyone is in the kitchen eating ice cream.  Surely no one will have a reason to follow her.

Mom shuts, but doesn't lock the bathroom door because, again, everyone is in the kitchen eating ice cream.  30 seconds tick by, and ten little toes appear beneath the crack of the bathroom door.  The handle turns, and a small face pokes into the bathroom.

MATTHEW:  Mom, I want more ice cream!

ME:  Matthew, for heaven's sake, I'm going to the bathroom.

MATTHEW:  But I want more ice cream!

ME:  Matthew, your dad is IN THE KITCHEN with the ICE CREAM.  If you want more, go ask him.

MATTHEW:  Oh.  Okay.

For the life of me, I cannot understand this.  Yes, Matthew has the most active Search and Bother radar of all my children, but still, how does this thought process work?  Let's see, Dad is standing in the kitchen with the ice cream... I think I'll go find Mom in the bathroom and ask her to get me some more...


If nothing else, you'd think that by now he would have figured out that Dad is ten times more likely than Mom is to scoop out second helpings of ice cream...

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Kindness Principle

If browsing news articles on the internet has taught me anything, it's this: the devil knows how to work both sides of the fence.

Rare is the article with a comment section free from personal and venomous attacks against people who may have a different point of view.  If I had a nickel for every nasty word spewed at Mormons (and other Christian faiths) when it comes to the issue of homosexuality I'd be able to pay off the National Debt by now.  Even if I removed all other derogatory words from the equation and stuck solely with "bigot" I'd be flying with my own fleet of private jets by Tuesday.

But, Mormons and their fellow Christians aren't innocent either.  One quick glance at an article on gay marriage is enough to make you want to stuff all the believers in a soundproof room for the rest of eternity. (You know how the scripture goes:  "Love thy neighbor as thyself, unless thy neighbor is gay.  In that case tell him emphatically that God hates him and condemn him to burn in hell.")

It doesn't matter what the issue is -- religion, abortion, homosexuality, infertility, depression, physical fitness -- everyone has opinion.  But here's the thing:  Almost everyone is wrong.

I'm not talking about religions or doctrines or dogmas.  I'm talking about the way we treat each other.

We have no idea what people have been through in their lives.  We have no idea how difficult it is for the recovering alcoholic to go out to dinner with his clients and stay sober.  We have no idea how hard it is for the overweight person to say no to a cookie, or the anorexic person to say yes to a salad.  We have no idea how long the gay teenager wrestled with feelings of worthlessness and unworthiness before he came out of the closet.  We have no idea of the fear and desperation that were involved in deciding to have an abortion.  We have no idea of the wrenching emotional struggle a couple went through before they decided to try IVF.  We have no idea.

So why do we we continually think that we know the hearts and minds of our fellow human beings well enough that we can cloak ourselves in self-righteousness and condemn them for their actions?  And even worse, why do we insist that the God who created them -- the God who is their literal Father just as He is ours -- must not love them as much as He loves us?

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) said:

"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?"
True Christianity isn't words, it's actions.  It's following Christ.  It's doing what He would do and saying what He would say.  It's showing kindness to everyone you meet, whether you agree with their life choices or not, because our actions speak louder than our words.

And when it comes to showing who we truly are and what we truly believe, nothing speaks louder than kindness.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Obligatory "I've Been Busy" Post

I know I've been a bit behind on posting, but my husband finally came home from work ya'll, and he's way more fun than blogging.  I've also been hosting various relatives and revving up for Halloween (I get into holidays) and I have a few other projects going.  Which is weird, because I'm not so much the project sort as the completely-and-totally-lazy sort.

But here it is, Wednesday morning, and I'm blogging.  What do I have to say for myself?

I'm listening to Christmas music.

It's not my fault, okay?  The Piano Guys posted samples of their upcoming Christmas album and I CAN'T HELP CLICKING.  I love me some Piano Guys.

What else do I have to say for myself?  It's 9 a.m. and I'm still wearing my bathrobe.  Which is awesome because the pest control guy just knocked on my door and there is nothing I like more than showing my true sloth colors to total strangers.

At least I've started a load of laundry (er, thought about starting a load of laundry...) and decided what I want to make for dinner.

And lest you think I'm completely ignoring my kids, they are happily chasing each other around the living room with glow-in-the-dark skeletons and yelling, "Zzzoooooommmbieee!"  If I were to get in the middle of their game it would just be mean.

Besides, I just spent the last 5 minutes brushing and braiding the hair of Leah's My Little Ponies.  That is true parental love right there.  (Seriously, have you ever tried to detangle pony hair?  Pulling honey out of a beehive with your bare hands would be easier).

I have 80 posts in my things-to-write-about queue.  80.  Plus a really great story about an irrational librarian and another about a smoke alarm that decided 1:30 in the morning was a good time to gripe about low batteries.  (Things that make David swear: car problems and smoke alarms yelling  "Fire!!  Fire!!" and "Carbon monoxide detected!" right outside the bedrooms of your sleeping children as you try to wrangle with the stupid 9V batteries. Why do these things never run out of batteries at 3 p.m.?)

But, I suppose I should take a shower or something.  That way at least I won't look lazy if someone else knocks on my door.

Gotta keep up appearances...