Archive | November 2010

A Class Divided

 
          A Class divided is a 1986 PBS documentary that I came across. It shows the outcome of what happens when an elementary class in divided among those with blue eyes and those with brown. The lesson teaches the children what it means to stereotype as well as discriminate against someone because they are aesthetically different from yourself. The violent way in which the boys treat the problem versus the sad and helpless way that the young girls deal with the problem, sheds light on the way that we as a cultural raise our children based on their gender. In starting at a young age, society should also realize that the way that boys and girls are raised can affect the way that they treat others. The film deals with the idea of stereotyping is a mature and interesting fashion. Although there is an interesting sense of understanding for the children towards the end of the experiment, in which they were taught a lesson of discrimination, they also showed different ways of reacting based on their gender. The little boys treated each other in a violent manner, where as the girls thought in completely different context. The girls were simply feeling sad and helpless because they were not able to be with their friends. When boys and girls become old enough to want to play with toys, parents go by tradition and give their children what is expected. Girls are given dolls while boys are given cars, or guns. The girls are supposed to play house and dress up their Barbie’s. Girl’s games are much more passive and nurturing. Boys, who play more aggressive games like cops and robbers, are taught to be tough. The way a girl is brought up teaches them to be more creative and sensitive. A boy who is taught to play with aggressive toys will not be as sensitive as those playing with dolls. Parents treat their children in different manners. A little girl is coddled and is given affection while the little boys are expected to take care of themselves and be independent. The only reason for this is a long running tradition.  Today men are nurses and women are in the army, times have changed drastically. Although women and men can become whatever they desire to be it does not the change the fact that they are raised in patterns that do not relate. It is the socialization that is so vastly different. It is appropriate for girls to be climb trees and play sports but they are considered tomboys, and their mothers try to change that fact. It is not usual however for a little boy to play with a doll and be considered appropriate. Dolls are considered maternal and feminine and so boys are discouraged from using their imagination to play with such toys because onlookers might consider this a weak boy and some might even assume that this meant that in the future he would become a homosexual because of his penchant for a so-called girl’s toy. It has not been proven that boys playing with dolls affect their sexual orientation but it has helped with becoming more sensitive than the plastic gun-toting boys.  Boston-area psychologists, William Pollack believes the truth is that boys can be raised to be sensitive and empathetic, In the 1970s and 1980s a study was conducted where a baby boy was dressed in a pink dress and when adults handled the baby they gave the boy toys such as dolls. But when the baby was supposed to be a boy the adults gave “him” a truck.

      There is a preconceived notion of how a boy and girl are supposed to perform in social situations. When a boy does act in an aggressive manner it is assumed that he will continue to get into trouble even to the extent of becoming a juvenile delinquent. This is not the same for girls. This may be due to the fact that it has been much more common for men to become aggressive and incarcerated in the past and so the cycle continues. Boys are treated with toughness and so they end up with a thicker skin than the girls. Boys are also expected to be independent while girls are assumed to be helpless. Fathers and mothers watch over every move their daughter makes, making sure she is never in danger. Meanwhile, parents assume that their son can take care of himself at a much younger age. This is not true. Boys and girls need the same amount of protection. Often boys feel abandoned because they are given their independence at too young of an age while girls can feel smothered because they are let little room for independence. When the children start to grow up and create their own identity they are encouraged to be independent and strong. However, once they reach adolescence there is a double standard that exists when boys and girls become teenagers. Boys are cheered for their socializing with more than one girl, while girls are frowned upon if they have more than one suitor. The age of when boys and girls are allowed to date also vary. Girls are often given earlier curfews. This once again reinforces the idea that boys are stronger and can take care of themselves and that girls are the weaker sex.

      The way that a human being is raised greatly depends on the parents. Although society has evolved into something quite different from the sexist past, there is still a looming air of gender discrimination. Boys and men will always be considered the stronger sex because of the biology of their bodies and the tradition that will continue. People can bring up their daughter to be strong and their son to be sensitive. Human beings should simply be raised in a manner that makes them the best possible people. The film causes the audience to witness the realities of how important it is to raise children in accepting an environment. It was interesting that there seemed to be no children of color in the classroom. This was interesting because it showed that there was no real diversity in the small town that they were from. When a child is raised in a town where there is no real diversity, it becomes even more problematic to assimilate children with other cultures.for women, where a hundred years ago no one would have ever believed would be possible.With each forward movement made by women, there are still others in which we stay still and others in which we take a few steps back. Although, very dated, the flick is worth checking out if you stumble upon it.

Insurance, why it can be such a hassle

So as a single mother in a terrible economy, I struggle with every penny. I thought that I would do a series on the different kinds of insurance that we have to pay and how sometimes it feels like it is not worth it. Lets be honest, when something terrible happens, insurance is totally worth it and we sigh a giant bit of relief when we have it, but each month when you look at those premium bills, it seems like such a bummer.

The first form of insurance I am going to discuss is auto insurance. If you are a good driver with a really good record like myself, the rates are not that bad, but it can still be difficult to find a reasonable rate with good coverage. There are a myriad of websites that allow you to check out free auto policy quotes. I recently went on the website, www.automobileinsurance.me and filled out one of those quote survey things and was actually pleasantly surprised with the quotes that I was given because I was having a bit of an issue with my current insurance company. I will not divulge who I am using now, because my experience is not necessarily the same as someone elses.

Six years ago, I had a really scary car accident. My friend and I were driving home from a class in my mothers car, and when I turned left at a green arrow, a car ran the red light and smashed right into us. He was going more than 65 miles an hour, the car spun around three or four times and it felt like slow motion. I remember sitting there with my head down thinking that it reminded me of Punch Drunk Love when Adam Sandler and Emily Watson get hit by the truck. Anyway, the car was completely totalled and I was so upset because I really thought I was going to die but I was more pissed off once the car stopped that I jumped out of the car and attacked the guy who hit us. He claimed he did not realize the red light was for him, but he was going way too fast anyway. Well needless to say, my mother had badass car insurance and they took care of her immediately, giving her a new car. It really seemed like it was within like a week that everything was all taken car of.

So the thing to remember is that if you can find affordable car insurance, you really need to get it for yourself, it is totally worth it. I was able to go online and get myself discount auto insurance and save myself so much. Saving yourself the most you can is really important when you are a single mother. The next in my series of insurance posts will be on health insurance.

Breast milk, the best milk, yeah we got it

In the February 2007 issue of Medical News Today,“Breastfed Babies Become Upwardly Mobile Adults”explored the question about whether or not those who were breastfed and those who were not, grew to be more successful in life or whether there was a difference at all. After doing research in the rural and urban areas of England and Scotland, it was discovered that with the addition of researching each person’s household income,expenditure in food, birth order, number of siblings and social class, it was discovered that the only factor that seemed to really make a difference was whether or not the person was breastfed as a baby. It was discovered that those who were breastfed rather than bottle fed were more easily able to rise from lower class to the higher social class. The consensus is that breastfeeding is much healthier for a baby because they grow up to be healthier and more successful people but there also needs to be a strong bond between the baby and mother in order for that to be the case.

Babies are better able to fight diseases because of breast milk opposed to drinking bottled milk. There is great nutrition gained from breastfeeding and children are less likely to end up obese if they skip the bottle in order to receive the mother’s pure milk. The connection that a mother shares with her baby is also a very important part of all of the advantages that they gain from being breastfed, if a mother is more active in their infant’s life, the child will grow up to be a more successful person. There is also the fact that if a baby is exposed to its mother’s breast milk while the mother is ill, then the baby could greatly suffer much more than if the baby simply drank from a bottle. The article only further illustrates that babies grow into much more successful children in different ways if they are breastfed.

 However, there are so many other factors that relate to breastfeeding. It is easy to shake a finger at someone and tell them that they will be harming their child if they do not breastfeed but what about us mothers who are not able to? When my son was born, I struggled greatly due to my lack of milk. I tried my hardest to get as much nutritional food in my system and avoided alcohol and other foods that make the food less safe for the baby. No matter what I did, there just wasn’t enough milk for my baby. After only three days, I tearfully gave in to my husbands request to allow him to get a can of formula. I felt like a total failure.

A girl who was a former friend, who had a child with a close current friend, informed me that she had plenty of milk but decided to not breastfeed because she wanted to drink and eat whatever she wanted and claimed “It was so annoying to sit there and wait for him to be done.” This infuriated me because I wanted so badly to provide my baby with breast milk.

There are always reasons why we cannot breastfeed, whether it be that our bodies are not able to do it, or that something in our lives makes it difficult. We have all read that breast milk is the best thing for our children, duh, we get it, but how about a little more understanding from these so-called experts?

 

 

 

Where do you come from?

My Culture

 

Who you come from and where you come from make up so much of who you are. Being a mother means that you introduce new values and traditions to your children. Here is a list of things that I come from.

 

 

1. I am from: enchilada, tacos, homemade cookies that are way too big, omelets, and baked potatoes.

2. I am from: stacks of DVD’s and VHS’s where there is no end in sight, computer chords that are terribly hidden, an overweight cat that looks more like a lump of fur that walks than a feline; photos of family in the hallway that are also accompanied by photos of Paul McCartney and John Lennon as if to say that they are more than just members of the Beatles, they are family. There is also the assortment of board game pieces; there is really no good reason why there are little pink people from the game of Life or the letter Q and S from Scrabble in the fireplace and freezer.

3. I am from: My mom who has always been my real true best friend rather than the rotating door of girls my age through my lifetime, my brother who has always been my protector and confidant, my husband who made me change all my ideas of marriage and what I thought being an independent feminist was. Then there are my two grandfathers, who have passed on, but who have died being heroes and legends in my eyes.

4. I am from: pig Latin that my dad and I would speak in just for fun, Spanish was a language that I struggled with the many times I tried to learn it in school, and German, the one language that I was able to get a grip on and learned that it was not an angry language but a beautiful one.

5. I am from: women can do it all, they are the strong ones. My single mother raised my brother and me with such grace, she struggled every day but it looked like it was a breeze. Always a smile on her face and love in her heart. Women were also seen as being just as smart and capable as the men, anything was in my grasp and I could earn it just as easily as my brother. Also, knowing everything about a car was also something that was not gender exclusive, every woman should know how to change their own tire and oil, not to mention change the muffler while talking about your opinion of the body style to the 1978 anniversary edition Chevy Corvette.

6. I am from: “be polite and say please and thank you” “never sink to their level, just give a smile and walk away” “If they started it, your going to finish it” “It’s not their fault, they are not as smart as you” “ tell them all to take a short walk off a long pier, that’ll confuse them and they will go away”

7. I am from: having whatever you want as long as you don’t become greedy because being spoiled is not an option, researching the perfect car that we can afford, cutting coupons but forgetting to actually use them, paying in cash because credit cards will just cause trouble. When nothing sounds good we order Pizza and make root beer floats because that always straightens us out.

8. I am from: college is too important to forget and the longer I can get away with going there, the longer I will. Travel to Europe, Africa, Asia, and heck all the continents, if I can do it, I will. Write for a periodical, have a room in my home just for books and an apple tree in the back yard, teach children and adults how to read, be a teacher of many subjects, have two children and three dogs and spend every second I can with them and my husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/or whoever it is it, and live happily ever after. The End.

Now I just want to know what my children will say in 20 years when I asked them where they come from.

My Grumpy Eater

     Getting your toddler to eat any kind of food can be difficult enough, to try to get them to eat something with some sort of nutritious value is almost impossible. My son has been pretty sick of eating baby food for a while, he is 14 months old and almost strictly big boy food, with the occasional plum and peaches jar of baby food. There is also a very short list of foods that he enjoys no matter what, these include cottage cheese, pears, string cheese and bananas. The kid goes nuts for bananas! There are also a few things that no matter how often I attempt to feed him, he looks at me like I am disgusting, such as chicken nuggets, tater tots and ravioli. These foods must be something children grow to love when they are a little bit older. I am sure there is a vast future of fish sticks, hot dogs and cheez-Its, but for now, I just want my kid to eat. I know there are plenty of mothers out there who have a similar problem and so for them, I give you a few quick recipes that your little one might enjoy. My finicky eater even fell for these ones.

Extra Cheese pizza 

Simple pizza using whole wheat english muffin, or plain bagel. Spread pizza sauce if you don’t have time to whip up your own. I always like to buy tomato paste and tomato sauce and combine with my own seasoning. The sauce freezes well so you don’t have to make it very often. A large slice of a tomato is also a great option. Then top it off with either shredded mozzarella or even grab some string cheese and spread it on top. If your kid is adventurous, slice up an olive or mushroom to top it all off. Bake until cheese melts.

Kiddie Trail-Mix 

As long as your little one has plenty of teeth, take a cup of kix cereal, a cup of raisins, a cup of goldfish crackers, a table-spoon of chopped chocolate chips and mix them all together. It sounds kind of weird, but the combination delights little kids because it is like a surprise with each bite.

Macaroni and veggies

When making boxed macaroni, you need to make sure there is plenty of butter and milk in order to create a much smoother taste. Sometimes toddlers aren’t ready for the intense taste of that powdered cheese. Also add a few American sliced singles of cheese. To top it off add peas and cooked carrots. Frozen vegetables have less sodium than the canned, so keep that in mind. If you want to really be bold, add a bit of brocoli in the mix, my kid loves to eat little trees.

Special Grilled Cheese

basic grilled cheese on wheat bread. Make sure to put a little butter on each slice and drop a small amount of olive oil in the pan. Just use one slice of cheese and add a few slices of apple. Grill normally, and you will get a very yummy healthier alternative to a grilled cheese.

Apple Delight

 Take half a cup of apple sauce, half a cup of cottage cheese. Add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and sprinkle on a few raisins. Mix everything together.

Banana nut bread 

If you have the extra time, and man I know that we never really do, try this simple recipe for banana nut bread. Your toddler will love it. I don’t make mine with nuts like many recipes call for because a lot of young kids have too many allergies to keep track of, so I am not going to be the mother who brings dangerous food to the playgroup.

 1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
2 beaten eggs
2-3 bananas (ripe)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla    Bake for about an hour on 350

So there are a few suggestions, let me know what you feed your toddler and the creative ways that you have gotten them to eat.

No, I am not fourteen, nor am I a whore!

There are so many people who seem to allow themselves to believe that speaking candidly in every situation is always the best way to handle things. I am someone who respects a person’s honesty and also their fearlessness to discuss what may be on their mind, but I do not understand when strangers assume something about you, and proceed to be convinced that they know the truth even when they are given the truth by the source.

I admit that I do look kind of young, I am 25 years old but could surely return to high school as an undercover reporter for a sequel to Never Been kissed, without anyone being suspicious. There have even been multiple occasions where someone has asked me what junior high I go to. Now, there are so many factors that go against this idea that I am so young, I am married (although going through a divorce, very adult I might add) I have a toddler, a bachelor’s degree, four years of legal drinking under my belt, a car, a mortgage, even an occasional grey hair that I pluck out of my scalp. These factors are all obvious to people who have spoken to me, and since I have always been considered mature for my age, a simple conversation usually wipes away any belief that I am younger.

Now back to the weird strangers. I do have a toddler, and I am seven months pregnant and I have recently come across two women who were disgusted with this fact. Both women were at least 65, and both had nasty scowls that were just evil and obnoxious enough to warrant a beat down. Woman number one, “What are you going to tell your children when they asked who their daddy is? aren’t you going to be embarrassed to tell your children that you were just a child when you had a child?” My response..”What?” when in reality it was a totally WTF moment. At first I thought she knew my ex, and was aware of what a douche he is, but then I realized she meant that I wasn’t even aware of who the father was. The next woman followed up that delightful encounter with, “She isn’t trying to be mean, but the lord does not think it is okay for a child like yourself to have children, you are supposed to be married.” This occurred at our community center, it gave me serious doubts to whether I wanted to continue going to this community center, or in public in general.

This occurence is just the latest of laughably rude people who have thought that I was a young unwed mother, a cheerleader in trouble if you would. I should be happy I look so young but I sure find it irritating dealing with idiots who just assume things.

On a similar topic, I am getting a divorce, and any time I let someone know this fact, they ask me who the father of my unborn child is. Well sorry to disappoint, but I am actually pregnant with my estranged husband’s baby. No, I am not a whore, my ex is just someone I could not and would not mend things with just because he is my baby’s daddy.

So for those of you who are ever in the same boat with people judging you before knowing a single thing about you, just remember; you can assume things about them as well, and perhaps you may assume that they will get eaten by a giant velocaraptor.

This entry was posted on November 21, 2010. 1 Comment

But I don’t want to be a fatty! Weight Gain during pregnancy

 Last time I became pregnant, which was so recent it’s impossible to forget, I gained 70 pounds. It was really upsetting to me because I was a fat girl in high school and was a thin girl in college. I lost 60 pounds at the age of 19 and was totally psyched about the way I looked. I was also able to keep the weight off for the most part, there was actually a time when my roommate told me that I looked too thin for my 5’9 frame. There is nothing better than when someone tells you that you look a bit thin.

When I became pregnant with my son, all signs pointed to a relatively reasonable weight gain, maybe 30 pounds? but once the third trimester approached I was catching up. When I went into labor and they weighed me at the hospital, I was 210 pounds. That was more than I have ever weighed and I was shocked. After giving birth to my son, I thought, “Well I am probably going to lose a lot in the delivery” my son weighed 7lb 9oz and I miraculously was sans a whole 8 pounds the next day. I don’t even know how.

After the first few weeks, I ate very little because I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, and after that I just maintained a reasonable diet. I started exercising as much as I could fit in, mostly through occasional walks and the Wii fit. 6 months later I had lost 55 of those pounds. Then I found out I was pregnant again!

At 155 I had nowhere to go but up. Now at 31 weeks, I am teetering between 178-181 pounds. This is more than I wanted to be, but I have been eating much healthier this pregnancy and exercising everyday. If anything, I am hoping the weight will be easier to lose this time around.

There is a great amount of fear that I have each day that I will gain too much weight. I really would prefer to stay at where I am until delivery but I know that is very unrealistic. I am showing much smaller this time around than with my son, so perhaps a lot of the weight is from the increased muscle mass from my physical activity. I try to stay away from snacking that is beneficial to me. In my first pregnancy, I would eat chips with nacho cheese like it was going out of style, this time around, I snack on baby carrots.

So for those of you who are pregnant, how are you handling the weight gain? are you worried that it might be difficult to lose it, or is that not even a concern? I also wonder how many people are truly indulging on whatever they want to eat because of the prime opportunity.

This entry was posted on November 18, 2010. 2 Comments