Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My kids don't do your idea of normal

For years, there have been stereotypes as to what little boys and girls do in terms of playing, socializing etc. And for the last 21 years, MY kids have been doing their own version of these things. My eldest asked for a Barbie for his 7th birthday. My 3rd child wanted a toy dumptruck for her birthday. I have provided my boys with toy kitchens alongside their cars, and my daughters with Rip-Stiks alongside their dolls. Honestly, my girls have a tiny doll collection by comparison to some of my friends' daughters. I did too. And I dug in the dirt as a kid. If my dad, who abhors yardwork, had a tree I could've climbed in the yard, I would have. He bought the smallest lot on the block so he wouldn't have to do much mowing or gardening. So my tree climbing skills never blossomed.

I also was prone to hanging out with boys more often than girls, because boys didn't have the same B.S. going on than my female peers. The fact that I now have a TON of female friends is sometimes boggling to me. But, I've also gotten girlier as I've gotten older, and then this crazybaglady gig I do *is* rather girly. And my daughters are a healthy blend of girly and tomboy, and I am not doing anything to squelch it. It does pose some challenges at school because our genetic quirks make us and our children outside the herd. The herd doesn't know how to handle us right away, and the kids struggle with fitting in at school.

My 5 year old tells me with regularity that the girls in her class move away from her, and that it makes her sad because she likes them. It hurts my heart because I know what that means for her. It means that she isn't someone they relate to easily, and she's probably a bit rowdy at school (because she is at home too), so the girls don't want to get involved with a rowdy girl who would probably play better with the boys. My suggestion was to just leave the girls alone and hang with the boys. My daughter said that the girls are better than the boys and she didn't want to play with boys. I told her that sister and I were faced with the same problems as little girls, and we decided that girls were annoying and we hung out with the boys instead because they were just more fun.

It is a bittersweet realization that my daughters are SO much like I am, because I know the difficulty they have been living. My 12 year old was one of 2 girls in 5th grade who opted to go play football with the boys instead of walking around the playground gossiping. Middle school has been tough on all of us, and I truly wish more parents embraced variety and encouraged their daughters to go climb a tree, play football, go fishing, or skateboard. I wish more parents embraced their sons' softer sides a little more and let their sons play with kitchens and dolls. All of these things for each gender serves purpose, and makes them more well-rounded individuals. My oldest sons are awesome caregivers to their siblings, and can care for a home. My daughters will eventually learn the nuances of mowing the yard so my husband won't have to do it as often, and basic hardware use so they can install their own curtain rods, unclog the sink drain, or check the fluid levels in their cars.

Why do I do things this way? I do it because I don't want my sons to be a source of frustration for their partners by never helping around the house. I do it because I don't want my daughters to feel like they must settle for a partner who does this stuff, but neglects her soul or worse yet, abuses her. I want them all to appreciate what their partners do for them, because they understand what it entails. We're too weird to be your idea of normal, but we're too normal to be weird. And speaking only for myself, I am absolutely ok with that because... well, frankly I don't care if you think we're weird. I do, however, care that you teach your kids to not be jerks to mine for being slightly off center from your definition of normal.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weddings and bridesmaid torture

There is a post elsewhere asking for pictures of people in their wedding dresses which spun off to another thread asking for pics of bridesmaids in their attire.
So, here ya go...I've been a bridesmaid twice. And I can safely say that the honor is work regardless of where in the lineup a girl is. I am insanely thankful that neither bride was a horrible witch.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daylight and diapers

Again, with the preference for the instant gratification of being on crackbook and the feedback I get over there.

It's been a crazy few months with taking care of my dad, then him being tired of being here and going to my sister's house. Dealing with him is more exhausting than dealing with a toddler. At least with a toddler, you can redirect and reframe things. With an elderly adult having dementia, Plus he helped install the buttons, she he can find them easier than the kids do. Mad props to anyone who works with elderly, or has a caretaker role of the kind.

The ability to breathe again has made me realize that I was whiny when I didn't want to take the kids to the store with me. I still prefer to go alone, but I don't bemoan schlepping kids as much - except when my 5 year old has been on Spring Break and not having a big enough outlet to expend energy. Taking her with me added about 45 minutes to the journey, and prompted me to get cranky.

And in my cloth diapering adventures, a product I use broke. I contacted the company about replacing it under their warranty, and was asked about using a new product. I'm certainly amenable to beta testing things. If the product can withstand my brute force crew, and our distinct lack of dainty-floweredness, then I will gladly talk about it. I have been tossing around the idea of creating another blog page specifically for product reviews anyway.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of my drying rack full of diapers sunbleaching in the front of my house which faces West and gets more hours of sunlight than my well-shaded back yard. It apparently created an uproar with a neighbor. If you're a reader of my blog, you know I did not give a rip that this person took issue with it. It just means the connection with that individual got relegated to the next concentric circle away from the center of my people. I value experiences and insight from those around me. What I do NOT value is condescending opinion of how I should be doing things in my household, or opinions from others who do not take active part in my day to day living. I value people who are heart-in and hands-on with regards to our friendship. The fact that I have a better friendship with some people online elsewhere who I've never met, than I have with some of the people geographically nearest me is sad. It's not for my lack of trying. I do try to make person-to-person connection with people. The problems start with my shooting from the hip, but to put it nicely, I am authentic. Then it continues with my hybrid traditional/modern approach, because some people can not handle a blend when they want all one way or another. In short, I am too weird to be normal, but too normal to be truly weird.

I am comfortable in my own skin, and have been able to discern people fairly quickly in their motives and what kind of behavior I expect from them. I do my version of me really well, and that is what draws the kind of people to me who appreciate it. The ones who don't usually end up looking foolish in the end anyway by their own actions.