Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Son of a biscuit-eyed monkey toad!
Have you met him? He's a really nice guy, but man, monkey toads are UGLY!

So, I had this whole post planned out to tell you all about the sleepover TJ and Taryn had last night. Then, I got to thinking about it, and basically, the most interesting part to you would be that five children were invited, all of which came, and that there were 8 small children running rampant in my house from about 6 pm last night till about noon today. I am WORN OUT! One little boy was pretty "aggressive", and he made for some pretty tough moments, but other than that, we had fun.

I had to go throw papers this evening, b/c Trey has to work tomorrow (he's usually off, and I do it then). So I go to pick up my papers, and my boss is still up there b/c apparently the truck came very late today. We get to talking, and he says something that struck me. I have no idea what the conversation at hand was about, but at one point, he said, "My wife is a terrific mother, and a wonderful woman all around." He had already told me they will be celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary in September, and that really got me to thinking. I wonder what Trey would say about me, or I should say, what he does say about me? I didn't hear another word for the rest of the conversation (well, something about her working, and having good lingerie sales at Belk, blah, blah...) b/c all I could think about was whether or not Trey would say something like that about me. I mean, I would hope he would. I definitely try to be a good person, and a good mom as well. I think I do okay. Lord knows there are definitely days that I fail in both categories, but most of them are good. I have that natural tendency to compare myself to other people and parents when I'm out and about, and pass judgement on myself as to whether or not I'm doing things right. I have to say, many times I'm left feeling pretty good! Usually I think I'm at least on par with everyone else I know. My kids are not too rambunctious or anything, and sometimes they use the manners I've tried desperately hard to instill (still gotta work on ma'am and sir). I'm sure I must have seemed neurotic when I sent them to camp, b/c I kept asking their teachers and counselors how they had done. Taryn's teacher got a barrage of questions about her socializing and performances. You know, you gotta keep up with these things!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this so anyone who might read this will write in and say, "Oh, Christi, you're a great mom and person." I just sometimes wonder about how Trey (and everyone else, really) sees me. Honestly, I'm not sure how I see him. I mean, I know I really like his work ethic, and he definitely deserves great things. He loves his children, there's no doubt there, and sometimes I wish he didn't work so hard, so he would have more time and energy to show it to them. I have that tendency to only talk about him to people I know when I'm pissed off, and that's probably not so good. I think I definitely need to point out how great he is more often, when I'm not necessarily happy or mad with him. So, small world of readers, I think Trey is great. I often stop and think about how lucky I am to have found him. I absolutely kissed a LOT of frogs to find this prince. We were joking around the other day about something, and I was telling him I didn't think some couple would last that long (probably some famous couple or something). He asked me if I thought we would last. Without hesitation, I told him, "Absolutely not." He wholeheartedly agreed, adding that it's a wonder we've made it as long as we have together already, and haven't even killed each other. And that, my friends, is why I have no doubt that we one day will be celebrating our 47th wedding anniversary, and I will be telling some young whipper-snapper how fantastic my hubby is.

Oh, and in case I don't get around to it before then, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TREY!!! (he turns 142 on Sunday!)
posted by Christi at 6:46 PM | Permalink | 2 comments
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I was watching the movie Mockingbird Don't Sing tonight, and it made me realize something. It's a movie about a girl who was kept alone in a room from about 18 months old until her mom ran away with her when she was 13. Her father kept her either strapped to a potty chair during the day, or strapped up so she couldn't move in a makeshift crib with a metal top at night. She never learned to speak, and, obviously, had a lot of problems once they were able to try to help her once she was freed from him. The movie doesn't focus so much on the actual abuse, but more on the trials and tribulations they went through to try to teach her language and how to be "civilized", for lack of a better word. It's a very moving movie, and definitely worth the watch. It will make you hug your children that much harder, and vow never to let something so horrible happen to them.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, the mother was talking to one of the researchers that had been working with the girl from the start. She told her that they had used her daughter as nothing more than an instrument to do science experiments on her, or something like that, and that they didn't see her as a human with needs (which is really not true, from what I got from the movie, but...). Basically, she said they treated her like a lab rat. It made me think. It made me think about education. It made me realize that perhaps education is much the same, in that we are all lab rats in a giant experiment.

The girl was labeled "Wild Child", as she was feral and lacking in many areas. So, of course, they approached teaching her in a special way. I thought back to when I was a teacher, and how we used to label children. I taught special education, and if ever there was a place where children are labeled, it's there. We would spend our days trying to figure out what label to affix to each child in order to be able to pick and choose what specific learning styles would be appropriate for teaching said child. It's done in regular classrooms, too. You have your nerds, your idiots, your preppy jocks, your dumb jocks, whatever...Each kind of person is expected to learn differently and behave differently. Their interests are all different, and yet, they are expected to learn the same things. Most of the time, although there are similarities, you can't exactly just toss a bunch of people into the same classification and expect them to learn the same things in the same way.

Then I got to thinking about education itself. I remember how, in school, they would stress that one day you would have to use all of these skills we had to learn. If I had bothered to remember them, I could make pages of lists of things that I have never, ever recalled in real life. Sure, some of it is cumulative, and you kinda have to know it to know stuff further down the line. However, sometimes you don't even have to know the stuff further down the line, much less the beginnings of it! In the movie, they were very intent on getting the little girl to learn language, and use it properly. She had a hard time forming grammatically correct sentences, even though she had the vocabulary to do so. Eventually, they taught her sign language, which she did quite well with, and was able to communicate with until she reached a point where no one else around her knew it to "talk" back. I thought about people who are mute, and how they are not able to communicate through speech, and wondered why it was so very important to prove that she could speak clearly and correctly. (the premise of the actual research was to disprove a hypothesis, and thus, her education really was, at its core, all part of an experiment in which she was the lab rat!)

Are we all lab rats, too? I mean, why did I have to learn how to write perfect essays? Do you know how many essays I've written since I left school? Yep, you got it, NONE. Do you know how much trigonometry I've used in real life? None again. I thought about standardized testing, and public education, and how everyone has to fit into this mold of what a student should look like. I just don't like it. Why did the little girl have to learn to talk? Why did I have to learn chemistry? Sure, it's a few more things that I barely understood, but kinda knew more about for a little while in my life. Please, whatever you do, don't ask me to ever recite anything now that I learned in there, though! It was a complete waste of my time. I'm sure someone got something out of it, but it certainly wasn't me. That little girl in the movie, she wasn't interested in learning how to speak. She managed to convey her thoughts without conventional speech, and she got along fine enough.

Which leads me to what all this thought has brought about. It helped me realize that my education of my children is going to have to be different. There is a thing called "unschooling", where children learn what they want to learn, when they want to learn it (in a nutshell). In other words, let's say that I'm unschooling TJ. We wake up, and I ask him if he'd be interested in reading books about the ocean today. He says, "No, but I would really like to learn how to add and subtract." So be it, today we add and subtract. Instead of using typical curriculum-based books with set order and time frames, you follow the child's heart, and let them learn at their own pace, and what they want to learn at the time. So what if TJ is seven and doesn't know the color green (he does, btw). He'll learn it when he's ready. Perhaps he never, ever gets interested in writing. Sure, he'll have to learn the basics to get by, but I won't force him to write extended essays that basically fill time and will get thrown out no sooner than he's forgotten the skills learned in the lesson. Maybe later he will become interested in writing. Then, while he is ready to suck in the learning like a sponge, I can teach it to him. I can only imagine that that would also make the learning process go that much faster and more smoothly. Sure, I would have to expedite the process to an extent, and encourage learning (perhaps pointing them in the right directions), but overall, their educations would be chosen by them.

It's late, and I could go on and on about this, but I'll save it for another time. I just wanted to write this while it was fresh in my mind. I'm kinda excited, and I'm eager to get going on how I'm going to do this. If you happen to have any tips, comments, whatever, feel free to let me know.
posted by Christi at 11:32 PM | Permalink | 12 comments
Friday, July 18, 2008

Okay, so the mom's group I'm in has had this loop going on the message board for a few days about dolls. Namely, creepy dolls. I think I may have started it by mentioning the movie "Dolls" from wayyyyy back when, and how it totally creeped me out. People have been putting links to different kinds of dolls up to check out.

(Actually, I believe the main loop started when someone asked something about where they could find American-made dolls for their daughter or something like that, but...)

I've been going to said links, and I can honestly say that dolls are 100% creepier to me now than they ever were! I can't believe that there are people out there that make some of these things!

Link to article
These "reborn" baby dolls are apparently made to look and feel just like real babies, right down to their chests rising and falling like they're breathing. Supposedly, people collect them, and some grieving parents get them to replace lost babies. That just seems kind of sick to me. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

Here's Blythe. She apparently came around in the early 70's, but her eyes that changed color scared little girls (uhhh, really?), so they dropped them. Then, some chick made them popular again through photos or something, and now you can get them again. Uhhh, no thanks.
Link to Blythe website


Oh, and do check this out. One chick said she actually saw him, Robert the Doll, in Key West, and it was freaky as hell.
posted by Christi at 9:47 PM | Permalink | 4 comments
Friday, July 11, 2008
We are not alone...
The other day I was invited to a "Mom's Night Out" where we moms got together sans kids and watched horror movies. Since this is a mom's group that focuses on nursing, homeschooling, attachment parenting and the like, the crowd was not large. However, it was enough to make it fun.

We started in the dining room of our friend's house with an appetizer of dark chocolate pudding. Apparently, she is on a raw food detox diet that requires her to eat nothing but raw foods. So, when she walked into the room with a bowl of what looked like poop that you might want to call your doctor about, I was not too enthused at the thought of eating said pudding. Some of the other girls got to theirs before I managed to get mine. They began to ask what was in it, and exclaim how good it was. When she replied that there were avocados, honey, dates and cocoa powder all mixed together, well, I knew everyone there was a liar! Still, trying to be the good guest, and wanting to test my poker face to see if I could believably hide my disgust, I got a scoop for myself. My tummy was apprehensive. I would have considered this a mousse before I would have called it a pudding. It was thick, and, again, looked like a diaper that even I wouldn't want to touch! So I made the leap, thinking, "Well, they eat bugs for treats in other countries...at least this stuff is all relatively normal foods," and took a bite...

It was DELICIOUS! It was thick, rich, and sooooo chocolatey! I literally began gobbling it up. I ate just a small amount, and was completely full because it was so rich (which sucked, b/c I had just picked up my dinner, chinese take-out, and had no room for it!). I was in love.

Today, I'm not so sure. I have been on the toilet (with a magazine, if you get my drift) at least three times a day since, and I have a feeling it has something to do with the magical pudding I ate! I'd do it again, though, b/c damnit, that was some good wacko pudding!

So after puddin' time, we went to the tv to watch a movie. We started with The Blair Witch Project. I discovered that that movie is not one single bit scary when you are in a room with a bunch of other women running your mouths about everything but the scary movie on tv! I also learned that some people think that Ewan McGregor is super-hot. I disagreed, adding that I once thought that Josh Hartnett was hot, but now has grown up and is, well, not so hot. I also found out that Helena Bonham Carter nursed her child till it was five years old. Ah, the education of time with others!

The crowd thinned after the first movie screening came to an end. So, it was time to pull out the liquor. I also learned that night that Capt. Morgan's and 7-Up taste JUST LIKE cream soda when mixed, and thus, will be purchasing my own bottle of the Captain very soon. We joked around and talked shit for a while, and it was nice to see the moms I'm so used to watching keep up their p's and q's around their kids come out of their shells. Why, I haven't used the word "fuck" in mixed company so much in a very, very long time! It was liberating! (Oh, wait, does it count if you're talking about your kids and how you've taught them to curse through your own bad behavior?) Later, we began to watch another movie, this time House of 1000 Corpses. I love that movie, and was thrilled to get the gorefest going. There is plenty of gross killing and mind-blowing ummm, creativity, in that movie, so you think I would have been equally as excited about the next conversation. One girl there, whom I've hung out with a few times and seems pretty cool, decided to tell a joke, much like the ones she used to share in college. It went like this: (Oh, excuse me, I have to run to the bathroom now...damn pudding!)

"What is the worst thing about fucking a dead baby?" Silence, mostly b/c we have no idea where this came from, and it's quite sickening. "Wiping the blood stains off your clown suit!" I see where she got this from, as there is a preponderance of clownage at the beginning of the 1000 Corpse movie. The girl throwing the shindig immediately mentioned John Wayne Gacy, who was pretty well known for dressing as a clown and raping and killing small boys. It was an attempt at changing the subject, somehow. However, before that could happen, another girl there got upset and decided to tell us about how she had been raped as a four year old by her stepdad or something. Talk about an uncomfortable and awkward moment! So, after a few minutes of the joke teller apologizing, and the rest of us staring at the ceiling trying to pretend we were somewhere else, we got back to watching the movie. Apparently, though, the girl was not really that sorry about her joke, b/c she later told us this doozy: "What's the difference b/t a truck full of dead babies and a truck full of bowling balls?" "You can get the dead babies out with a pitchfork." Yeah, still had a hard time laughing...Btw, you can look up "dead baby jokes" and find TONS of them online (thank you, Julia, for sending me in that direction...my life will never be the same again).

I managed to stay up that night talking and watching movies until I had to go to work at 2:30 am. I am proud to say that I managed to rock out my paper route pretty much completely asleep! I don't remember a thing from that day of work, especially the drive home. Well, that's not entirely true...I remember waking up and wondering where the hell I was a few times as I made my way home! I'm pretty sure, though, that God let me live through that and is making me pay for my stupidity by getting the joy of taking care of my three insane monkeys every day! That's another story for another day, though...
posted by Christi at 10:33 PM | Permalink | 4 comments
Friday, July 04, 2008
Happy Fourth!
I hope you all are having a wonderful Fourth of July, out celebrating the spirit of freedom that our ancestors fought for. I think we're going to do something...just not sure what yet!

The other day I was working on laundry...you know, the never-ending pile that grows everytime you blink. I usually make my little piles of each person's stuff all over the living room floor, which really isn't practical, since little people find it entertaining to walk all over the nice, neat little piles and see how much they can mess them up! So I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I came back, I met "Panty Girl". She came out of nowhere, with stealth that could only be compared to that of a wounded horse as it tries to run off of the side of a mountain. She stumbled into me, her face in mine, and announced her title, and that she was there to save me. "Thank goodness," I thought, "I was just looking for someone to save me." Here I was thinking that she was going to take over laundry duty and I could go take a nap or watch tv or something. I mean, she was "Panty" Girl, after all--don't clothes stick together?

As quickly and clumsily as she arrived, she wiggled and stumbled her way out of the room. I wondered what was her purpose in alerting me to her presence and her motive, but, alas, I was not to find out then. Later, I ran into her sidekick, "Underwear Boy", who also shared the same quick and bumbling ways. Perhaps it was the under clothing wrapped around their ankles...perhaps it was just how underwear super heroes are supposed to be. I may never know. I tried in desperation to ask Underwear Boy why they had come. Was it to save me from my laundry when I wasn't looking? Was it to save me from myself? What, what were they here to save me from? I was not graced with an answer to these questions. The only response I got was, "Mommy, can Cole-Cole put diapers all over him?" Yes, perhaps there is a hidden power in covering yourself in your under clothes. (Later, I wrapped myself in my bras and panties and tried to fly...no, no, there is no power in that!)

I often think of these wonderful beings of underwear fortitude. I wonder, "Did they, in fact, save me without my even knowing it? Have they brought me closer to myself, closer to God, closer to unfettered love?" I don't know, but I do know that I will never, ever forget my special visit from those unmasked superheroes.

posted by Christi at 11:36 AM | Permalink | 3 comments