Some Days You're A Butterfly . . .

. . . and some days you're an Adam Lambert wanna-be.

(Alternate title: When Your Mom Tells You She's Not Done Washing Your Face, She Really Does Mean It.)


I Would Rather Buy Her a Pony

It has started.

The invasion.

Every year around this time, our mailbox begins to fill with evil. One after another the catalogs show up. The doll catalogs.

American Doll, My Twinn, all of them. Every day a new one.

I have a procedure for when the catalogs show up. They "accidentally" land in the garbage immediately after I find them in the mailbox. Someone, however, didn't realize just how important it is to follow the Random Rules the Woman of the House Invents.

He gave her the catalog.

When I walked into the kitchen and discovered Alexis studying the American Doll catalog, I knew we were screwed. She held it close to her face, carefully memorizing every pixel. The catalog had become her Bible and she wasn't going to put it down until she was able to recite every line of scripture.

When she finally came up for air, she grabbed my phone and took a picture.

Photo acquired, Alexis ran over to me, excitement dripping from her face. "Momma!" she said, "Can you please email this to Santa? This is what I want him to bring me," she continued.



Anyway, a few days went by and the catalog found its way to where it should have gone in the first place. I began to initiate the Ignore It Until It Goes Away plan, figuring that we're two whole months away from Christmas. There is more than enough time for the kid to pick something less expensive and more reasonable for her "big" present.

So far, my plan is full of fail.

Last night I went to crawl into bed and found that somehow the 42-pound short person was managing to hog the entire thing. Why she wasn't in her own bed, I don't know. Ever since she got her ears pierced, she really has been much better about that whole concept. But, there she was, her go-go-gadget legs blocking half the bed, even as her Gumby arms managed to pin Mr. Husband against the edge of the other side of the bed. Wayne Szalinski was nowhere to be found, so I had to figure out how to shrink the kid back to normal size (I swear short people expand at night--it's the only explanation for how they manage to simultaneously kick you in the shins and shove their elbows down your throat while pulling your hair).

I shoved a leg this way, pushed an arm that way, and rolled the rest of her over there. She started to stir a bit, so I shoved a little faster, figuring that if she woke up, I would have an excuse to escort her to her own room. Then she started to talk in her sleep. It was a one-sided conversation, clearly a dream amplified.

"I really, really want her," she said.

"She has curly hair just like me," she continued.

"I want to name her Emmy," she whispered as she smiled in her sleep.

Damn you, American Dolls. Now you have my kid dreaming about your over-priced hunks of plastic. DAMN YOU.


It's Not The Kids Who Scare Me.

I never really belonged there. They all knew it.

From my reluctance to accept the local accent to the obvious ease at which I maintained straight A's, every single kid in my class knew I wasn't one of them. I wish I could say I was quietly confident and well-equipped to deal with the words they hurled at me when they were in the mood to hurt, but the truth is I spent many days hunched over at my desk silently crying.

I loved school, but dreaded the people I would see there. I buried my nose in books, busied myself with activities, and did my best to find a way to hang out with the boys. The boys weren't as mean. The boys weren't as cruel. The boys generally chose to do their bullying on the soccer field, rather than with words.

A soccer ball to the face hurt far less than the words.

With all the recent media coverage of bullying, the words have been drudged up from the depths of that little black box in the back of my memory. I slap on those 20/20 Hindsight Goggles and analyze those words, fully realizing that they were every bit as bad as they seemed to that gawky little girl with the mouse-brown hair. I don't know if bullying has gotten worse in the past *mumble*grumble* 20-something years, but the effects of bullying are being discussed more. It makes me wonder what the difference is . . . why I came out the other side with very few scars, and yet other kids have taken their own lives.

I don't know the answer.

I wonder what I can do to protect Alexis from battling those same demons. It's pretty obvious she inherited that Smart Gene, that thing that often made school so much more difficult. To be average is a blessing when surrounded by middle schoolers. To be different, in any way, is a sin.

Yet, at the same time, I'm often more worried about her becoming a Popular Girl, one of those girls who doles out punishment to everyone in her path. Alexis has a heart of gold, but I can already see the beginnings of social hierarchies amongst her preschool friends, and Alexis is a leader. That could turn out to be a very good thing, or it could turn out to be a very big challenge.

Figuring out how to teach her to be kind always to everyone makes me question what other parents are doing. I already see the early beginnings of bullies amongst our friends. Little boys who are often too rough when playing are praised for being tough as dad glows with the anticipation of standing on the sidelines at a football game. Little girls who command their peers to do their bidding, often with threats and insults thrown in as motivation, are admired for their leadership skills. But, they are little bullies. Already. And their parents fully support it.

And then my thoughts circle back to fourth grade. Stacy. That was her name. She was the meanest of the Mean Girls, and I was often the butt of her jokes. Her cruelty knew no bounds. She would often follow me around, hurling insults as I desperately tried to escape her venom. Stacy's mom was a nurse and highly involved with the school. She knew everything that went on. She volunteered to escort field trips. She showed up for school parties. She was in the front row at concerts.

She offered to do lice checks for the entire school.

It was fourth grade when she pointed a flashlight at my little head and declared that there might be lice. I don't really know if there was or wasn't . . . I just know that she told me to go home and wash my hair and that she would check it again when it was cleaner.

Despite the fact that I passed the re-check with flying colors, she opened her mouth. She told Stacy. I don't know exactly what was said, I just know that Stacy showed up for school armed with a whole new arsenal. "My mom found lice on her!" "She's so gross!" "Don't stand anywhere near her!" She screamed it all, wrote it on notes, broadcast it to the world.

Stacy was a bully, but her mom was something worse.

You guys, we can't let our kids be bullies. We just can't.