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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unforgettable, Maybe

I have often felt like the center of my children's universe. Recently, I was knocked from center.

Belly just told me of this conversation she had with her younger sister, Jilly, when Fairly Odd Father and I went away for the weekend in July (our first trip away from the kids). The conversation took place after we had been gone for two days.

Jilly, "Do we have parents?"

Belly, "Yeah, and they're coming home."

Jilly, "Are their names George and Macaroni?"

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

The subject of Freecycle has been on a couple of my favorite blogs in recent days. In reading the comments for these posts, I've become aware that not everyone loves Freecycle like I love Freecycle.

I think that to enjoy Freecycle, you must repeat the mantra, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" quite often. You must also ignore the people who ask for a "new car in perfect condition" or "an apartment in Boston for a year".

With patience and a lot of weeding through posts, you may find that you can actually be philanthropic while cleaning out your attic, your kids' playroom, your closet or your garage.

Now, to be clear, Freecycle is NOT a charity organization. You do not 'donate' items to them. It is more of a huge swap meet where you post items you don't want and look for things you may want.

Our first experience with Freecycle went like this: we had a large wooden bedroom set that had belonged to my husband in his 'bachelor days'. It was moved to the basement when we turned the guest room into the girls' room. Fairly Odd Father tried to sell the entire set on Craigslist for a mere $200 but we had only 1-2 inquiries and no takers. By the time I mentioned trying Freecycle, we were sick of having most of our basement taken up by this set. FOF posted a listing at 9pm in our local Freecycle group. By 9:20, he had several inquiries. Two days later, a couple drove up with a U-Haul and loaded up the entire set and drove away.

I was hooked.

Since then, we have given away loads of things: toys, kitchen items, ice skates, bird cages, a lawn spreader, old office equipment, etc.

I've also been on the receiving end of some greatness: the 10-pound bag of beach glass is still one of my favorites. The 100-year old piano is another.

But, how is this philanthropic? It is philanthropic when someone with a real need (versus a want) is able to get what they need from the site. One woman asked for items to help her start an in-home daycare business; her husband had just arrived home disabled from the Iraq War, and she had quickly become the primary breadwinner for her family. We gave her several of our larger infant toys.

There have been requests to help families whose homes have been lost to fire and to help neighbors struggling to make ends meet.

Once, when I posted an offer for some toddler toys, this email response stood out: "I work with some girls who don't have a lot for their kiddos, so I try to help them out when I can." I told her she could have the box of toys that were in great condition, but had been ignored for quite some time by my kids. I later received an email that said this, "Just wanted to let you know that I dropped the toys off yesterday and I got a call this morning that the little girl who got the toys saw a backyardigans character that you included and started crying because she was so excited".

Once again, I was hooked.

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream at Halloween

What makes me scream at Halloween? See this.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keeping His Daughter Off the Pole

Along with bottles of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and condoms, I, Mother Snoopmeister, now need to worry about my daughters having access to a stripper pole.

(from E!'s new show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians)

Seriously, this clip disturbs me on many levels (get about 1 minute into it to see what I mean): first, are people really installing stripper poles in their homes? I don't care about those crazy Hollywood types, but are normal people doing this?

Second, how old is this girl*? I swear, I'd make her wear parachute pants, sweatshirts, sneakers and a bracelet monitor until she is 18.

Finally, did you recognize the father who came in to scoop up the stripper-wannabee? I thought he looked vaguely familiar, but also looked kind of like a woman. He is none other than Bruce Jenner who has gone from this:

To this:

Lesson learned: back away from the stripper pole and the surgeon's knife.

*(edited to add: I just checked E!'s website, and our little dancer, Kylie, is----get this---nine years old).


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Snooping For a Cause

When I first heard about the 14-year old boy who was arrested for possession of multiple firearms and bomb-making materials, I thought, "how the hell did he hide all of this from his parents?"

Well, it turns out, he did not need to hide anything. It appears that his mother purchased most of the items for her "social outcast" son, and the weapons were "plainly visible in the boy's bedroom".

So, while this does not appear to be a case of clueless parents not noticing the arsenal in Junior's bedroom, it has gotten me thinking about the notion of privacy and children. Should the two go together?

When I was a teen, my room was my own. I felt relatively certain that my mother was not combing through my drawers or lifting my mattress looking for contraband. At the same time, I was a pretty safe bet. I didn't date or drink much until my senior year, got good grades and was pretty open about my life. If my door was locked, I was simply listening to classic rock or having one of those inane teenage phone conversations.

But, I did have a secret. It was a large bottle of Peppermint Schnapps that was hidden in a shoe box in my closet. This bottle lasted me a long time, and only came out for special occasions, like the outdoor parties at the old Mill in our town.

Did my parents ever find this bottle? I don't think so. My mother made my bed every morning and did all my laundry (I know, gag. . .spoiled), but she left most of the straightening up to me. So my bottle was safe from the prying eyes of parents.

Now, a bottle of Schnapps is a helluva lot different from a few automatic weapons and grenades, but it makes me think about how many secrets I want my kids to have while they live under my roof.

Right now, my kids are young: I straighten out their closets and drawers, check under their beds, go through their bins of toys and stuffed animals (all for housekeeping reasons, but you get the idea that their rooms are open books to me). I do not intend to make their beds or do their laundry forever, but that doesn't mean I will never enter their room and look around. I'm very hopeful that the worst thing I will find is a crusty plate of old food under the bed.

I will monitor their computer usage, of course, but what about a journal or personal diary? I'd like to think that these will always be 'off limits' to me, but if I suspect drug use or physical/emotional abuse or some other major issue, all bets are off.

What do you think? Is it ok to snoop on your child? (Always, never or under certain circumstances?) Can you imagine your child hiding something as large as a stash of rifles and grenades in their room? Were your parents "snoopers"?; if so, how do you feel about their actions now? Were they justified?

I'd love to hear how you feel about this subject.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm a New England Mama

Come and visit me here today, 'kay?


Sunday, October 07, 2007

You Have to Pay to Play

I'm playing a new game this week.

One of the nicest bloggers out there, nuttnbunny, got involved in Pay it Forward which is described as such:

". . .a promise to make something handmade, a gift of the heart, for another blogger who is also a crafty person. We’re not talking about knitting a sweater or making a large quilt for someone, something small and meaningful would be fine, and probably provide a big boost when it surprises someone in the mail. . .The first three people that leave a comment and pledge to pay it forward to three others on their blog will receive a handmade gift from me within one year of this posting. I will read your blog and get the essence of who you are to come up with an idea. It may be knitted or quilted or embroidered or……"

I have loved seeing nuttnbunny's creations for a while, so I signed right up. And, she picked me! Yippee! I can't wait to see what she sends.

And, then I realized that I hadn't really thought about the 'small print' in this contest. Sure, I'm happy to pay it forward, but. . .with what? I don't knit, sew, decoupage, make jewelry, do origami, write music. . .my attempts at cake decorating are novice at best (plus, how would I mail a cake???) and I doubt too many people would want to receive baked goods from a relative stranger.

But, by golly, I will pay it forward! What you receive from me will be truly a surprise to both of us (and may take me the entire year to fulfill), but go ahead and leave a comment if you'd like to play. Rather than follow the rules to the letter, I'll put all qualifying comments into a hat and draw three names from that. Remember that you must agree to also 'pay it forward' to three people on your blogs!

Also, thank you from the super-nice Whirlwind for bestowing another "Nice Matters" award to me. I really needed to hear that, so thank you!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

You Might Know of the Original Sin

Next Sunday, I will witness my niece being saved from "original sin". To my kids, this is an interesting, if odd, custom. I expect Belly will stand right up at the vessel of water, peering at the priest with a bit of awe and interest, as she has done at previous christenings.

While Belly will be front and center, I will not. For although my sister values my relationship as aunt to her two children, I cannot be godparent to them. I grew up Catholic, but, much to my mother's chagrin, am no longer part of that religion.

I will feel a bit self-conscious at this christening, as I did when my nephew was christened two years ago. Self-conscious because I imagine this conversation taking place at the church:

Distant Aunt: "Who is that standing up as godparents?"

Less Distant Aunt: "Oh, that is Mr & Mrs Q's good friends, X and Y."

Distant Aunt: "I thought both had a sibling? Why aren't they the godparents?"

Less Distant Aunt: "Well, Mr Q's brother is a godless heathen, and Mrs Q's sister is a (pause) U-Nee-Tary-An".

Distant Aunt: "A what?!?"

Less Distant Aunt: "Oh, you know. . . those churches with the rainbow flags hanging off the front."

Rather then let this imaginary conversation resonate in my head, I've decided to take a more proactive approach. I remember reading this post on Oh, The Joys, and it came to me: I am going to be Fairy Godmother to my niece and nephew.

Every year, on the date of their christening, I will think of something that tells them how important they are in my life and how important they are to this world. I haven't quite come up with exact ideas yet, so any input would be welcome.

So now, during the upcoming christening, I will sit content in my self-anointed position of Fairy Godmother. I'm not yet sure if I will carry a wand.

I will also try to keep D from running up and down the aisles with his cousin, my nephew. And, I will watch as Jilly joins her big sister upfront until she realizes that the center aisle is an excellent place to practice her cartwheels.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm Getting Scared That This Will Be My "Redrum".

From Jilly, a few days ago:

"Look, mommy! An E!!!"

What is she spelling!?!?!?