Archive | November 2011

Why are our kids so damn fat?

Yesterday a news story came to my attention about a woman who lost her child to child services due to the kid’s obesity. The third grader was given over to foster care because the mother was deemed unfit. Apparently the kid weighed over 200 pounds, 200 POUNDS! and is only 8! I don’t even know how one has time to get that big in that small amount of time. Well anyway, the mother claims that she does care about the welfare of her son, but  was still going against the doctor’s orders.

This story is so strange to me because I cannot believe how large we have been getting as a country. When I drive by my old high school, I typically will see a group of teenagers, one may be of normal weight, with about four others that are far beyond the overweight category. It’s considered very normal, especially in my small town. I will admit that this is a town that my no means is going to be competing in any beauty competitions, but it is still shocking.

When I was a teenager, I was fat. Looking at the girls today, it seems, I wasn’t comparably fat. At my largest I was just under 5’9 and topping out at 195. I felt like a total heffalump. I’m only 26, so this wasn’t all that long ago. Luckily, today I fall between the 135-140 range, which I am completely relieved about. But why has it gotten okay to be so heavy?

I am all for loving your body, and accepting who you are, but there are some people who use that as a crutch in order not to take the time to get healthy. Some people are built to be larger than others, but some are simply relying too much on laziness and a poorly chosen diet. I’m seriously thinking that the fate of the world might truly end up like the movie “Wall-E”, that element of the movie, while amusing, seems terrifyingly true.

Not so far from reality

So I do concern myself with my children’s future. Luckily, I provide very healthy diets, I only occasionally supply the items of the corn dog and pop tart variety. My son, he is the finicky one, he just doesn’t really like to eat. He likes fruits and vegetables a lot, hell, the kid bites into tomatoes like they’re apples. Even when he was an infant, he didn’t want too much to eat. My daughter, at only 10 months old, is competing for world eating competitions. The kid loves to eat, and she will eat your damn hand if you are holding something tasty. She is  chubby girl, still significantly smaller than I was at that age, but that’s why they called me Miss Piggy. Hopefully, her insatiable appetite will calm down, but luckily her constant physical activity makes up for it.

Like with so many things, I have learned from my mother’s mistakes when it comes to feeding children. My mother raised us on junk food. When I was a depressed teenager who just sat in her room watching movies all day, my mother would bring home Hungry Man dinners and Chocodiles, reading that sentence makes me feel queasy. It wasn’t my mother’s fault, she is an enabler, but a loving one. But that is what is wrong with many parents today, that is what is wrong with this woman from Cleveland who allowed her 8 year old to become Dom Deluise. We really need to change these habits, for ourselves and for our children.

When I was a kid, we used to come home from school, do our homework, and then play outside until it was dark. Today, kids come home,watch television, play video games, eat dinner, play video games, maybe do some homework and pass out on the computer. My boss has two teenagers who come to our office after school and watch television and eat for the remaining three hours or so that they have to stay there with their mother. It’s pretty depressing to watch, and these kids have the appearance of thin and healthy kids, but their insides must look like what I imagine the insides of Marlon Brando, circa the 90’s, looked like.

It’s fun to go out and play, it’s actually fun to exercise. Healthy food is actually quite delicious, especially when you get used to it. So come on parents, lets not allow our kids to become a bunch of fatties, and I say that with the utmost sense of political correctness.

 

Advertisements

Things from childhood that I never got over, and fully expect my children to have the same stubborness.

My mother, like I am sure many parents from her generation, has a problem with understanding gift giving. She is the type to buy someone ten things that they don’t need, or want, rather than one thing that may cost as much as those ten things. She really is a fan of the quantity over quality rule. Here are a few things that I desired for years, but was instead given things like a radio shaped like a tiny computer, actually one Christmas I believe I was given three tiny radios shaped like things (I also had a boombox already).

1. The Easy Bake Oven- When I was a little girl I wanted an Easy Bake Oven so bad! I always loved helping my dad cook in the kitchen and I wanted to be able to make my own sweet treats for the family. At the age of 7, my mother bought me one, on a random shopping excursion. It was on sale, and my mother just can’t walk away from a deal. I was psyched. But I made the unfortunate mistake of not acting like a typical kid, and simply took my time in playing with it. Sure, I wanted it so bad, but because my mother hadn’t thought to purchase the necessary food items that would allow the baking, I didn’t push for it. I figured she would eventually, and I had delved deep into my Nancy Drew mystery, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time on my seven-year old hands. I mean, I have school, girl scouts, socializing at sleepovers, homework, television shows, my series of books I’m working on. There is only so much time for a seven-year old, who has time to bake? Well, my mother sure showed me. About two weeks after receiving the oven, my mother took it upon herself to give it to a woman she knew, that had a daughter that wanted one soooo bad. Apparently, they were “less fortunate” which was bullshit in my mind because they were the ones getting the oven and I was the one who was getting jack. My mother also assumed that I didn’t want it, and that I was too old for it. I was 7! sure, I had already been baking in an actual oven at this point, but I was still not happy.

After reminding my mother of this story for years following, my mother surprised me with an Easy Bake Oven for my dorm room when I was 21. Which was very sweet, and very much like my mother to buy me something completely illogical. I didn’t really care so much about the toy, as much as I liked to complain about it.

So here’s the thing about Easy Bake Ovens, they suck. It takes forever to get those light bulbs hot, and when you actually do try to make something, it’s never quite cooked. The little packets of food that you are supposed to use are just terrible. I did use it to warm up bagel halves a few times. But, it was basically just wasted space in my already far too cluttered dorm room.

Quantity over quality. My mom has this strange idea that my brother and I want a lot of little crappy toys rather than one big awesome toy. I cannot figure out this mind-set, nor am I guessing I ever will.

2. Doctors set- Doesn’t every child want to be a doctor at one point? At least a veterinarian, especially a veterinarian! Ah, but alas, when you get to college and you attempt to take freshman chemistry, you realize that it actually takes a whole lot of dedication to do such things. But when you’re a kid, there is just the lab coat, stethoscope and your favorite stuffed animal as the patient. Your favorite stuffed animal would never dare sue you in a malpractice suit…maybe Teddy Ruxpin, but he was a jerk.

3. Chemistry set- Who doesn’t love science? and experiments, and making a good clean mess? I loved all of those things, but was harshly denied such luxuries. I did read a lot of Beverly Cleary and Hardy boys books where THEY had chemistry sets, sad state of affairs.

4. Dress-up trunk-Taking you back to about 20 years ago, I remember going into Toys R Us and discovering the amazing, fabulous, magnificent! cardboard trunk that held multiple costumes. There were different trunks for different themes. There was the princess trunk, the career trunk, the playing house trunk, it was pretty much perfection. But my mom always felt that it was far too expensive. To this day, I love Halloween, and I love any excuse to dress up. A few months back, I took my kids to Toys R Us, a place I haven’t been in probably 15 years. It was just as glorious as I remember. When I saw those dress-up trunks at the end of the aisle, everything was in slow motion. But I didn’t buy one, because like my mom used to say, they are really expensive. This was something I had to change in my child raising, so after Halloween this year, I went to Walmart and bought about ten costumes that were 75% off. My kids are both so young now, but in the next year, they will be able to play dress up together. The collection is pretty impressive too, princess, cowboy, iron man, a transformer, football player, just to name a few. So I was able to right an injustice that I felt. Oh, middle class white kids and their problems.

Anyone else feel like they missed out when they were kids? Did you buy something for your kids that you always wanted?

Reasons why I hope my daughter is never a fan of Twilight.

With the upcoming release of the newest Twilight movie, Break Dawn Part 1 ( Because the epic story must be told in two parts, four movies would apparently not be enough to sustain the insanely dramatic tale) I decided to vent on the series, the author and why I hope my daughter never reads the Twilight series when she is older, at least not seriously.

About  4 years ago, my husband and I were at a party when we started talking to a man, who worked with my husband, and his wife. I didn’t really know either one of them, in fact I met her for the first time that night. She started telling me about her love for the Twilight series, so my response was something in the way of “oh, I haven’t read it yet, but I really want to” cut to a few months later, when BAM, my husband gives me all four books for Christmas.  He figured I love to read and seemed to have an interest in reading those books, so best present ever? Not so much, I had no interest in this series, since I was not 13. But I have many a tales to tell about the inability for my ex-husband to ever buy me a reasonable present. For another time.

So I began reading these books, it was something to do and I do like to read. The first one read quite quickly. The books are meant for young girls and so they are fairly quick reads and not very complex. Lengthy? yes, but Marcel Proust they are not. After reading the first one, I started on the second, and became far too irritated to finish.  I then watched the first movie, was less than thrilled. I watched the second one, barely remember it.

I just don’t get it. I was a die hard Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, still am. I think it’s all been done before, and so much better. Here are the reasons that I really would prefer my daughter to never become a Twihard.

1. Unrealistic expectations on first loves, and love in general. The amount of drama that stems from the love story of Bella and Edward is clearly because they can’t be together because she is human and he is a vampire, blah blah. So everything is more difficult. They can’t just be together. In real life, there are plenty of problems in relationships that aren’t so black  and white, in fact almost every obstacle in a relationship isn’t black and white.

Prefered story of star crossed lovers: Romeo and Juliet, of course

2. The writing is atrocous. What is up with Stephanie Myers? how on earth did she trick someone into letting her write so many books? The dialogue is so trite and laughable. Here are just a few gems that I found, that I gaurentee aren’t even close to the worst. “Even more, I had never meant to love him. One thing I truly knew – knew it in the pit of my stomach, in the center of my bones, knew it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, knew it deep in my empty chest – was how love gave someone the power to break you.”- I’d been broken beyond repair.” Bella

“You’re not asleep and you’re not dead. I’m here and I love you. I have always loved you and I will always love you. When I told you I didn’t want you, it was the very blackest form of blasphemy. “-Edward Cullen

Nearly impossible to not roll my eyes.

He's still just a kid, should be playing PS3 with your sons, not being part of your middle-aged fantasies.

3. It gives middle-aged women the impression that it is okay to become aroused by teenage boys with no shirts on.  It’s not okay ladies.

4. Bella, her whole life is Edward. Just get a damn life Bella, go to college, maybe some graduate school, get a job, maybe a hobby.

Luckily, my daughter is not even 1 yet, so I am hoping that Twilight is pretty irrelevant at that point. If she does get a hankering for some vampire stories, that’s when I can covertly hand over my boxed set of Buffy.

A tale of being torn between two cities.

In less than 20 weeks, I will have nowhere to live.

Over a month ago, I decided that I was going to move to a lovely city in the south, that would be the ideal place for me and my children. I planned for this. I researched housing, schools, employment, daycare, recreation, and all of the other things that I deemed important to making such a big move. I was really psyched about the whole thing. But once I actually found someone to rent out my house come April, it all started getting very real.

Suddenly all of these other factors started coming into the picture that made me reconsider. A very good friend, one might say best friend, lives in this adorable city in the south, and so living there seemed perfect along with all of the other elements.

Meanwhile, I have another close friend that has wanted me to move to his desert city. After visiting this city, I knew it was not the city for me. I live in the desert now, and have had my fair share of it. I also was set aback by the rudeness of the people. But there are a few good things about this place such as, it is closer to family, it would be significantly cheaper to move, and there are some of the best schools there. That is pretty much where it ends.

I know that I would be much happier in the south, but there are factors that may end up taking a mighty harsh emotional toll on me. It can be very lonely to move to a new place, but a place that is on the other side of the country from most of the people I know? Can’t even imagine that level of lonely.

There is also a huge elephant in the room with moving to the south, an elephant in the form of my more-than-friendly feelings for said friend.  It was something that I was fully prepared to get over, and move on. Being friends was most important anyway, and it really was the best place for me to move. I realize now that it was a hopeful thought but pretty silly and unrealistic.

Both of the places would be perfect for my kids, so I am not worried about that aspect one bit.

So I now have less than 20 weeks to decide on where I am going to live, find a job, find a place to live, find a daycare, finalize my divorce, fix up my house for the new tenants, sell most of my belongings, basically start a new life.  Time has been flying by so that time will be here shortly.

Can I get a little help?

When I was a kid, I used to play house as a single mother. The advantage of pretending to be independent, without the assistance of anyone else, while playing pretend is that I could leave my cabbage patch dolls alone in my room and go to pretend work where I would earn a ridiculous amount of money that would allow me to buy a corvette or whatever car I desired at that given age.

Unfortunately, in real life, I am a single mother who goes to work in her practical ford fusion (something I am very pleased with after a string of old cars) and must depend on others to take care of the children while I am away.

For a while it was my father who was watching the children, he did a good job with it but because he is an alcoholic, he decided to allow that aspect of himself back into the picture, thus making it impossible for me to trust him with the little ones.

After that, I was lucky enough in that my mother had just lost her job and she was eager to watch the kids until she found work.  Ultimately, it was my ex-husband who decided he wanted to spend some time with the kids, so for the last few months, he has taken the baby care duties. There is quite an issue with this situation though, because he is kind of a moron. He lies, so I never know what he actually did with the kids. I have a few ground rules, nutritional lunch and snacks, with the occasional treat. At least one book for story time, outside play time, arts and crafts time, and a good nap. I don’t demand a major schedule and I don’t mind the kids watching movies and such. But I think kids need plenty of stimulation, especially at this young age.

 

But when I come home from work, my son always acts strange. He whines and has fits, something he never does when he spends all day with me or his grandparents. I have no idea what his father is doing while I am at work, perhaps a nanny cam is the answer. The problem is that their father is the kind of guy who would be caught having sex with someone and if you questioned him, he would deny it and say you were crazy thinking that, while he is still actually having sex with the girl. There really is no logical conversation that can come from speaking to this man.

But it’s a constant struggle trying to find legitimate child care. In my town, there are no better options. Frankly, I can’t really afford better options anyway. So for this reason, among so many, I decided that I am going to get the hell out of dodge.

The black hole that is my small town is going to have to loosen up its grip on me, because I am out of here. I have decided on a nice town, on the other side of the country. The people are nicer, the environment is cleaner, and I think the quality of life with improve drastically for me and my kids.

It is a major move. I have never lived outside of California, but I am so ready to leave this place. For a while, I had contemplated moving the kids to Seattle. I always wanted to live in Seattle. But that was my younger self, dreaming of being a writer and living in some tiny apartment that was located on top of a record store. But with kids, I wouldn’t have the same benefits of that city, thus making the entire state not as appealing. My ex husband is also moving to that area with his wife, so I thought it may be a nice to move for his benefit. But as I reflected upon it, I realized that an entire country between us would be the best thing.

But in any case, it is going to be hard to find child care that I find reasonable. I will admit that there are times when I wish that I could be a stay at home mom, mostly because I would be heavily activities oriented. I would not only be a mother but the best pre-school teacher you can imagine. I love to put on puppet shows, love doing different voices for story time, love coloring. The park? fantastic fun. I would basically exhaust the kids with activities all day, and they would be begging me for a nap.

But it’s cool that I am not that stay at home mom because I enjoy being around adults each day, and earning the money. The independence thing rules, but I am definitely always in need of a little help, if only I was willing to ever ask for it.