I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I lost my how-to book on parenting kids who are bullied.

I don't read books on how to parent.  I parent.  I parent based on what feels natural, and also from experiences that seemed to work or sounded like good ideas.  But right now I feel a bit lost.  Bullies will exist until the end of time because there is no perfect solution and schools can't fix everything.  I think kids being bullies is something they learn at home.  They witness how their parents treat people and also can turn to bullying based on how their parents treat them.  Schools don't know what to do and even schools with strict "zero bullying tolerance" don't follow through.  It's hard for teachers to know where to distinguish between tattling and bullying.  Some teachers honestly don't care, cause some teachers are actually assholes themselves.  I'm allowed to say this because I am a teacher and I've witnessed this lack of empathy before.

My experiences being bullied are actually very small, which is surprising if you look back at my school pictures before high school.  I dressed like a cat lady, hated jeans and my mom chose my hair style until I was in 6th grade.  That's when a well-known girl bully stated in front of the entire classroom that my hair looked like a wig.  She was right, but that was not nice.  Wanna know what the teacher did?  Nothing.

Other than that, the only bullying done to me was fat shaming.  I had never thought I was overweight until I was like 19 or 20.  But in 8th grade, two friends and I were walking down the hall and we had our cheerleading uniforms on.  He called us Thunder Thighs.  I didn't even know what that meant until years later.  Another fat shaming incident happened in 8th grade.  We had a student-teacher in science.  She was not one of those people who just let the popular kids get away with being a-holes, and that day one of the popular boys was being annoying (as usual) and she made him sit at the empty spot next to me.  He was mad, so he walked behind me and said, "scoot your fat ass up."  VER BATIM.  I was pretty embarrassed because 1) I didn't know I was fat 2) the whole class heard him and 3) we'd been "friends" since kindergarten!  Well the teacher (kudos to her) didn't let it fly and sent him to the office.  He had to apologize to me at school and as if that wasn't mortifying enough, his dad BROUGHT HIM TO MY HOUSE to apologize- thank God I was at a sporting event and didn't have to suffer through it.  Aside from that, my dad would tell me I shouldn't eat so much, then when I lost weight accuse me of having an eating disorder, then when I gained tons of weight, he said people would respect me more if I lost weight. 

So, fat shaming is the only form of bullying I really have any experience with that I can try to give advice about.  I've had to do that a couple times with my daughter.  A lot of times the bullying talk prefaces with why kids feel the need to bully and how sometimes they say things that aren't even true, but they just want to hurt someone's feelings.

Both my children have encountered some bullying this year that kind of leaves me in a quandary about what to say or do.  Of course, depending on what it is, my first advice is for them to tell their teachers.  That's easier said than done, because kids don't like to narc and oftentimes the teachers don't do anything about it.  I think that although bullying is not a new concept in any way, I think as times change, it gets harder for kids to just be kids.  They are learning about adult concepts earlier and earlier and are wanting to be older at younger ages.  It's a sad state of the world that kids can't be as carefree as they should be able to be and that all this peer pressure is pushing them into caring about things that no child their age should have to.

My son is in second grade and is very sensitive to being made fun of.  One day he wanted to go to school with spiked hair, so he did, got made fun of, and didn't want to do it again.  Then, despite cleaning his ears all the time, a girl made fun of him for having earwax.  He was mortified.

My daughter (fourth grade) just came to me in tears two days ago because of something that happened.  She was ambushed by two girls that she had never had an issue with.  They told her that they were tired of her "hogging their friend" J, who is one of A's best friends.  They said that they had been her friend since before A had moved to Cedar Rapids and she needed to stop monopolizing all of J's time and being her partner in math, etc.  A explained to me that generally these girls don't even play with J at recess and that J is the one who always asks her to be her partner. 

What do I say to my kids about these things?  My son's issues were easier, but with my daughter, I really didn't know what to say.  I suggested that she just continue to do what she was doing and that those girls were probably having an issue that one day for some bizarre reason.  What did she do instead?  She wrote them apology notes.  WHAT?!?!  I told her that they did not deserve apology notes from her as she had nothing to apologize for, but at least she handled it in a nice way.  Some parents suggest standing up to bullies with fists... and that is just Grade A Stupid.  Some parents want to go talk to the kids themselves- I don't think that works either.  So here I am, at a loss.  What should I tell my kids to do about bullying that is usually a one-time thing and not a recurring offense?

PS I do have this story of when I was in 7th grade and waiting for my ride to pick me up after a track meet.  These two girls thought it would be funny to chase me around the school and try to spit on me.  They thought it was funny and we were actually kind of friends, but they were a year older and obviously born in barns.  One has since become super Christian and has been denying that it happened since I brought it up in 11th grade creative writing.  But she's in denial.  It happened.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The iPhone Takeover in My House

Who knew a few months or so ago that a broken iphone would snowball into a house full of iphones and more reasons for my nerves to be shot?

So probably about 8 months ago my iphone 4 died.  It was the free one I got when I had signed up for my phone plan.  Nothing fancy, not a new model, I'm not into that stuff.  Well, anyway, it died.  I needed a short term replacement until my new one would arrive, so I bout a cheap, cracked iphone 4s off a buy/sell/trade Facebook page for $20 and used it for the couple days until my replacement phone arrived.  The question arose of what I should do with the cracked one.

The decision I made will forever haunt me.

My youngest two when we had a small tablet.
I decided to let my kids use it as a tablet.  I deleted every app except YouTube Kids, Nick Jr and Disney Channel.  The phone works with Wifi, but has no ability to call or text.  Well, my oldest started utilizing the phone the most and began to treat it like it was "hers."  This led to fighting and arguing, so I decided to find another used iphone that would serve the same purpose.  I refused to spend more than $30, so I watched and waited on eBay until I got one.   This phone was then mostly used by my two older sons for YouTube Kids.  My 3 year old got in the habit of watching YouTube Kids on his dad's phone until he fell asleep, so this second phone would free up that "necessity."  But then the three year old started labeling it as HIS phone and refused to let my 8 year old use it.  He would have meltdowns and the works.  Shortly after Christmas, my daughter asked me if she could use some of her Christmas money to add the Minecraft app to her phone.  I researched Minecraft for appropriateness and then decided she could.  Then she became addicted.  Then my 8 year old asked me to put Minecraft on the other phone.... and I did.  And then he and my daughter realized they could play together on separate phones.  They both became obsessed... the "need" arose for another iphone so that the 8 and 3 year old wouldn't have to share.  I turned to eBay again and started a quest for an iphone under $30.

Now the oldest 3 all have iphones with the same four apps.  Enter the 2 year old.  He LOVES Paw Patrol and figured out that you can watch random videos involving Paw Patrol on YouTube Kids.  The annoying thing is that he does not want to scroll through the available videos, he wants you to find a video and make sure he wants to watch it.  Needless to say, I try to avoid him ending up with a phone because looking for the EXACT Rocky video he wants to watch is extremely annoying.  And as of now, I am refusing to get another iphone!  And if you're asking yourself why I am using iphones, it's because I have never had luck with tablets of any kind.  They always crap out.  I've had some that were just for me to use and I've bought a couple before that were built for kids... they all die or malfunction in some way.  I'm familiar with the way the iphone works and it is user friendly, so that's why I'm sticking with it.

Here comes the biggest headache: the obsession.  My oldest two are OBSESSED with being on their phones.  Generally it is playing Minecraft, but occasionally it is watching YouTube Kids.  If it were up to them, they would be on their phone from sun up to sun down.  We had to start new house rules just because of the phones... then add to those rules, then amend those rules, and so on.  Currently, they are not allowed to get on them in the morning until they are completely ready for school, they can't have them from 5-7 on school days, 3-7 on no school days, not at all on Wednesdays and not after 5 on Sundays. 

It had gotten to the point where they would CRY if they got the phone taken away.  They wouldn't eat breakfast in the morning because they didn't want to lose time on their phones.  My 8 year old has literally walked into the walls while on his phone.  It is ridiculous.

Call me a pushover, judge me how you will, but I don't think that this is any level of bad parenting.  And I'm sure a lot of you reading this are probably thinking my complaint is pretty mild compared to video game and phone obsession among many many kids today.  I have told my older two that they don't get their own working "real" phones until they are 15.  I plan to stick to that. 

What about your kids- do they have phones, tablets, etc?  How do you feel about the amount of time they spend using this technology?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reasons to Rescue: Keller

I previously posted my first installment of Reasons to Rescue awhile back and of course I intend to include all my current rescues, but I just had to post one about my most recent rescue, Keller.  As some of you know, I am involved with PNC Midwest Rescue.  We are most involved with the rescuing, fostering and adoptions of the Pekingese and Japanese Chin breeds (Tibetan Spaniels when they come around), but also rescue the small fluffy breeds when needed.  Many of the dogs that come into our group come from kill shelters, owner surrenders, hoarding situations and puppy mills. 

Keller, Dec. 7, 2016- the day he was sprung!
Keller came to the group when someone alerted us to a Pekingese at an Iowa no-kill shelter that was blind and a senior- neither are a combination that made him likely to get adopted from a shelter.  He was found as a stray wandering the streets in a large town- BLIND.  His owner never came forward and he had been at the shelter for about a month.   I was recruited to pick this guy up and we were supposed to have an immediate foster lined up for him, but she backed out.  After having him for only 24 hours, I offered to foster him (I have a soft spot for seniors and special needs dogs).  He quickly started to grow on me and was not receiving interest from our available dogs lists.  I soon started to realize that I wasn't sure I would be able to part with him when the time came for him to be adopted.  I decided to keep him.  And here's why he's so great:

Despite being blind, Keller is extremely capable of having a great life.  It only took him about two days to feel out the layout of our house and yard.  He can do steps in our house with ease and has figured out to adjust when he senses that something has been moved to a different position.  One of the most impressive things is when he is hanging out in the kitchen and hears the sound of the steam mop and/or smells the cleaner being applied to the floor, he will hop up on a step in order to be out of the way and not step in the cleaner.  None of my other dogs seem to understand how to do this.  They either stand right in my way or walk through the cleaner.

He's soooo intimidating, no?
Another thing that astounds me and makes me love Keller is that he is protective.  Even though he often has no idea what he is barking at, when he's outside and smells someone or something unfamiliar he will run towards it and stand at the fence barking.  Although he a small dog, his bark can sound pretty intimidating.  I've had to let a few delivery people and neighbors know that he is blind and very protective.  They are amazed because you'd think most blind dogs would hide from the unknown.  There have been a couple times when a "stranger" has come to the house and he will stand between me and them and bark.  I pick him up and let him know that I'm safe. 

Lastly (although there are so many things) is that he seems to sense when I am leaving.  He will follow me to the door and try to dart out and run to the gate where I leave.  Of course it breaks my heart to seem him stand there when I leave, so I make sure not to let him go out when I go.  However, when I am going out the door for some other reason, like to go downstairs or just go into the backyard, he doesn't follow me.  He will just lie in his bed or mosey about in his usual Keller fashion.  You might be telling yourself that this is merely a coincidence, but it isn't.  How he knows, I have no idea- maybe he can smell my shoes, maybe he senses my excitement about the possibility of freedom from my children... no clue.

Keller is amazing.  How he ended up in a shelter with no owner to be found, I will never understand. I know it is hard for some people to want to go to a shelter and adopt the "less adoptable" dogs, but Keller is a great example of why people need to consider it.  Older dogs, special needs dogs, deserve to live their lives in a loving and comfortable home.  Imagine if you ever get to the age where you need to be cared for or even enter assisted living- how would you want to live out your remaining years?  Exactly.  And dogs like Keller deserve that too.  But you must go find your own Keller, cause I'm keeping this one!

             Keller, one month ago, sharing a pillow with Buddy, another rescue.  I've had Buddy about two years and have never seen him attempt to share a bed with any other dog!  Keller is truly amazing!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 28 is National Respect Your Cat Day! (Twitter Party!!)

If you have a cat, you know they DEMAND respect daily- otherwise they'd let you know how unappreciated they feel by clawing your favorite shirt or leaving dead mice on your pillow.  As an avid cat lady, I know all about this demand.  With my love for kitties in mine,  I'm paw-tnering with Morris the Cat for the most important day of the year: Respect Your Cat Day!

"Morris is throwing the first #RespectYourCat Twitter Party to celebrate this most impurrtant holiday. Come and join in on the fun and furry festivities -- we'll be sharing informative tips on how to treat your cat like royalty, all the cute Internet cat photos you can handle and fun surprises galore!"

For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter Parties, they are really fun and oftentimes, huge, live chats on Twitter that use specific hashtags to connect participants to the conversation stream. 

 I will be joining Morris and all the cats humans at #RespectYourCat Night on Monday, March 28, from 8-10 pm ET (5-7 pm PT). 

Please RSVP here to join the fun:  http://tweetvite.com/event/respectyourcatnight

Feel free to Tweet me, let me know on Facebook or comment below on the things you do for your cat to show it respect OR the things IT will do when you don't!  My story to share is that my ex-husband didn't respect my cats and when he was especially rude to them, they would occasionally pee on his pillow or his spot of the bed.  I took the hint!

I don't own MOMONTHERANDOM.COM anymore!

If you go to the website directly, you will be in for a surprise!  So as many websites do, they will buy expired websites that previously had a lot of traffic and will buy those domains to get their "product"  out.  So anyway, go there at your own risk, but I'm not affiliated with it anymore!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

You Can't Take It With You

No, I'm not talking about the AMAZING 1938 movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur (although it is definitely worth the watch!!)  I'm talking about THINGS, material things.  If you haven't heard the euphemism "you can't take it with you," it is referring to the things you can't take with you when you die.  Whether you believe in heaven, hell, reincarnation, or no after-life at all, you can't take THINGS with you.  Can you take memories?  Maybe.  I have no idea.  I like to think that heaven is a place where when you die any person or pet that you ever loved will be there waiting for you.  Now, I said that you loved, not that they loved you.  So your crazy stalker Brad wouldn't be there.

I digress.  In the last couple months, I have been a clutter cleaning machine in my house (thanks, New Meds!)  I have been rearranging cabinets, closets, drawers, boxes and totes in my house.  The amount of time spent could have lasted an entire Law & Order Netflix binge-a-thon- of all three spin-offs!  Often I found myself reiterating the lyric, "let it go" as I stood frozen (pun!) between where I was standing and the trash can/recycling bin.  When it comes to kitchens and closets, it's more of an inner struggle with the thought that I know I don't NEED it and perhaps haven't used/worn it in years (if ever), but what if I DO need it.  Example: grapefruit spoon.  You know how many times in my adult life that I've bought a grapefruit?  ZERO.  You know how many times my husband or children have requested a grapefruit?  ZERO.  Can you eat a grapefruit without a grapefruit spoon?  I don't know, I never have, but I'm like 95% sure you can (may have to check out YouTube to see how it's done.)  I've gotten a lot better about clothes over the past few years.  There's always that idea that maybe some day I will wear that dress or maybe one day I will fit into the jeans ago.  No, you won't.  Get rid of it.  Of course, you can't throw it in the trash, there's homeless people out there!  I either donate or consign clothes in my house that no one wears anymore.

Then we come down to the more difficult things- memorabilia.  I've carried around a tote for about 10 years that contains items from my life that span 34 25 years (literally have the hospital bracelet from the day I was born.)  I have everything from pictures, childhood awards, 6th place medals (ha), report cards, high school writing assignments, and so forth.  I know that there have been a select few people that have suffered through me showing them some of those things.  And you can tell when someone doesn't care what you're saying (I'm married.)  So this past weekend it was time to go through the tote- the MEMORY TOTE.  I went through every folder, binder, envelope, photo album and loose bauble.  And I recycled... A LOT.  I went through every photo and tossed ones that were pointless and meant nothing to anyone.  I took pictures of the pictures that might be fun to share on Facebook.  And I kept a very select few pictures that PERHAPS my children will want to see some day.

So when does a memory become obsolete?  Here's how I see it.  If I am hanging onto something, the only real purpose should be to pass these things onto my children or perhaps at least show them once they are adults.  My mom hung on to some of these things.  I'm sure in her mind all this stuff she collected through the years would be of great significance... sorry, Mom, most of it went in the recycling bin.  Do I need my first quarter report card from 6th grade?  Not so much.  Will my kids wanna see it when they are 40?  Pretty positive they won't.  So that's what I did.  I cleared out almost my ENTIRE tote.  I put anything I wanted to keep into manilla envelopes and categorized them.  Other than that, I had a few pictures in frames and a couple medals that I kept out of the folders.  I was able to clear out the tote so much that I fit two smaller shoe box size totes inside of it!

Life feels so much better without clutter- both metaphorically and literally.  Now I have so much less that I will have to move whenever I leave my current digs.  I've made some sweet coin over the past two months since consigning bags and bags of non-necessities.  And yet I still find more and more every day that I don't understand why it is still lingering in my house.

Do I need two unopened air pumps for when a football deflates?  Nope.

Do you?  

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year, New Blog- sorta

As I said in my last post, mom blogs are dead and are becoming obsolete.  I enjoy maintaining a social media presence and at times need to use my blog for PR posts, so I have decided to revamp my "identity" in keeping with my own life and what interests me.  Plus, I do enjoy being able to occasionally blog as an outlet, although I don't generally have something mind-blowing to say.  I started Mom on the Random in November 2008 with just this blog and a Twitter account.  I now use Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Facebook for my online persona.  I am now changing them all to "A Borderline Mom."  For those of you who may be new to reading my blog, I have been in treatment of various capacities since 1999ish.  I have a primary diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and a secondary diagnosis of bipolar disorder, along with mild PTSD.

I think that in an effort to relate to others like myself and to let other moms know that sometimes the reality of the word "mom" is waaaaaaay different than the fantasy, this change is necessary.  I appreciate those of you who have stuck with me for any number of days, months, or years.

As I said, I will occasionally have PR-related posts, such as reviews, etc. because getting free stuff is almost as awesome as finding a bargain at Goodwill- and I'm a thrifty lady!  Plus, I have four kids and live on a college adjunct's wages and my husband is a correctional officer- so it's not like I'm made of money!

Thanks again for visiting and hopefully you can find something that interests you on one of my social media accounts.  You can find me as @hamsterkitten on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube and as A Borderline Mom on Google+ and Facebook.

Here's to a new year and new beginnings!!