Category Archives: Commentary

Snippy Thoughts: Baby Edition

In chronological order…

Baby Bump - For the EFFINGLOVEOFGOD, it’s not a BUMP. It’s a baby and a belly and just…JUST STOP SAYING IT. Because it bothers me. A lot.

Push Presents – Um, newsflash—the BABY is the reward! But on the off chance that your new baby isn’t enough of a bonus for you, the long-term reward comes in about 25 years or so, when it becomes apparent, I HOPE, that instead of a soulless sociopath, you’ve raised a decent human being!

Boob Juice – If you know me at all, you know I’m a total supporter of breastfeeding and BF rights etc but seriously, calling it boob juice just makes my toes curl. I beg you…please stop impeding my ability to wear shoes.

Huggies Faux Denim Diapers - Okay, I admit they’re kind of cute in their own silly way but they beg the question… were you planning on taking your baby out in just a diaper? No pants or bloomers? No diaper cover? Because that’s the only way anyone is going to see the faux denim diapers and I have a thing about babies going around in their diapers. I mean, do YOU go around in nothing but your underwear? And then poop in them?

Your Baby Can Read! – Okay, first of all, those kids in the commercial are not babies. Second of all, stop being show-offs, people. The rest of us who had to  raise our kids without Your Baby Can Read already feel bad enough that our kids are just, you know, REGULAR smart, as opposed to WEIRD CHILD PRODIGY smart.

Latest Post: BULLETIN: The BP Oil Spill is Your Problem, Too

Besties or Groupsies?

bestfriendsShould Adults Be Tinkering with Kids’ Friendships?

I just read an interesting post today on Blogher about kids and best friends. In a nutshell, some don’t think it’s healthy for kids to have strong friendships with one person or, I suppose, a limited number of people and that adults (teachers, camp counselors etc) should intervene (by separating them) and encourage more group interaction.

On one hand, I understand this. My daughter, who is almost ten, has always had a small coterie of BFF’s (depends on the week which one is THE BESTEST) but these friendships are very important to her and can be rather intense at times, especially as they start to get older.  I always encourage her to make multiple friends in her classes each year because you know, putting all your eggs in one basket can lead to disappointment in a numerous ways, but alas, she doesn’t listen. She’d rather have a lesser amount of really good friends than a stable of “meh” friends. While I totally get this, I still can’t help but occasionally encourage her to be more group-oriented. It just seems more sensible, even though, at heart, I know it’s not her thing.

She and I are are, in many ways, cut from the same cloth. I, too, prefer a few really good friends to a group of “meh” friends. I like knowing that my besties are trustworthy and we are always there for each other, rain or shine. You just can’t say that about a group of people that you haven’t totally bonded with over tears and confidences and private jokes that don’t make sense to anyone else. My dearest friends make me feel secure and loved and we always have each other’s backs. You just can’t get that from a larger group, especially not a group of females (no offense to my gender but seriously, groups of women are just… *shudder* Do I really have to explain?) My nearly lifelong BFF and I have been through all kinds of stuff together, good and bad, and trust me, no group of people could ever trump 32 years of one-on-one friendship.

That said, I’m not so sure that forcing kids, especially girls, away from their closest friends, and into group-oriented situations, is such a good idea. Not everyone is cut out for that and some people just don’t dig groups and the resulting group dynamics *raises hand* And regardless of whether you hire a “friendship coach” (yes, you read correctly) introverts (and/or those who simply prefer quality over quantity) will never become extroverts and nor should they have to—because really, how much would the world suck if we were all exactly the same?

Ultimately, we can advise them, we can guide them and we can try to get kids to have more than one BEST friendship but I think that’s where it needs to stop.

I say let kids choose how they want to roll—a few close friends or a ton of acquaintances—they’re going to gravitate to their comfort zone and we should respect that. I know if I was forced to do the big group thing on a daily basis with a bunch of women (and believe me, I have—groups of men are far preferable) I would ultimately be miserable and I would hate to think that, in the name of “helping” we end up making kids miserable, too.

The Truth MAY Set Me Free. Or It Might Just Make People Hate My Guts.

Can you even imagine being 100% honest ALL THE TIME?

It’s been reported that 93% of Americans surveyed admit to lying on a regular basis.

And yes, I lie, too.

I lie about why I’m late picking my kids up from school; or why I haven’t returned phone calls from someone I really don’t want to talk to; or what I think of a friend’s unflattering new haircut; or why I’ve not gotten my cat’s shots updated in two years—I’VE BEEN REALLY SELF-ABSORBED BUSY, DAMMIT!

DON’T JUDGE (you know you do it, too)

Now picture yourself NEVER telling any lies at all—no white lies; no half truths; no sparing someone’s feelings; no little fibs to make yourself look better—or less bad.

This is the premise behind Radical Honesty. No lies. Ever.

Most of the time, we don’t lie to deceive others so much as we do it out of fear that we will lose something…be it love or respect or status or control or any number of other things we simply DON’T want to lose.

Of course, sometimes we DO lie specifically to deceive but it still, oftentimes, comes back to preserving or stopping the loss something important to us.

So. Could you stop lying, say, right now?

Every time I think about pursuing a life of Radical Honesty, I respond like a junkie—it’s going to be hard. And unpleasant. I’ll quit tomorrow.

I know for me, one of the hardest things about Radical Honesty would involve being honest about letting people know how I feel about something they have done or said that has upset me, or offended me or just plain pissed me off.

Women are socialized to be nice, to not rock the boat too much and to generally strive for harmony; being liked by others is most important.

Those things do not mesh well with being radically honest and thus, women tend to not let others know what they’re really thinking or feeling.

Instead we act angry or behave passive-aggressively but when the person with whom we are upset asks us if there is a problem and we often respond with faux innocence and perhaps a little shock.

“What? Nooooo! I’m not mad at you” except they really are and frequently, everyone else knows why EXCEPT  the person they are upset with.

This is a generalization and of course, every situation will vary to a certain degree but this is classic female social behavior. Instead of confronting the source of our ire, we claim everything is fine while we seethe, brew and talk about the situation with everyone BUT that person.

Why? Because we are not raised to be honest. We’re raised to be nice. We’re not comfortable saying “Hey, I resent that” or “I think you’re wrong” or “You hurt my feelings” or any other expression that isn’t “nice” because being “not nice” = being potentially “not liked”.

I know there times, nearly every day of my life, that I’d like to call someone on something that they’ve done or said but I don’t. I don’t want to provoke anyone. I don’t want them to do what I would fully expect them to do which is listen to what I have to say and then go and tell everyone I’m a bitch and organize some kind of ridiculous campaign against me because I’ve broken the cardinal rule of being female and was honest instead of nice. It happened in 7th grade when I was honest about something and insofar as I can tell, things haven’t changed much. We women still act a lot like 7th graders.

But ohhh if we COULD be honest without fear of loss or retribution… Imagine how freeing it would be to say what you feel and mean what you say. Yes, people’s feelings will sometimes be hurt. And sometimes people will be shocked or angry but honestly, I think I’d rather deal with the truth and all that comes with it, then deal with the landmines and bullshit that come with untruths any day. Can someone REALLY fault someone else for being truthful?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say men are more honest than women but I do think men are much more free to be honest with each other and if bad feelings result, it’s usually resolved quickly and they move on.

Does this mean men never lie? No, of course not. *coughtigerwoodscough* *coughgeorgewbushcough* But they’re not socialized to choose harmony over honesty and I do envy that.

So…I’m still pondering Radical Honesty as a way of life—but something tells me I would have to preface EVERY conversation with a reminder that I’m no longer pulling any punches because the idea of hurting someone’s feelings is extremely disturbing to me and I would want them to understand before I say anything that it’s not my intention, but rather a potential side effect of the NEW! ME!

What do you think? Is Radical Honesty something you would every consider?

Anyone up for a Radical Honesty challenge?

This article was the inspiration for this post and I’m considering buying this book. Or at least checking it  out from the library. And in the interest of honesty, that’s an Amazon affiliate link.

NOTE: I will NOT be attending any Radical Honesty seminars or what have you, because, honestly, I hate stuff like that.

Really, Like, Deep Thoughts on Marriage…

I recently wrote this post over at Aiming Low today about the things men do that will cause them to NOT get sex and while I was writing it, it got me thinking about marriage.

I got married in my mid-twenties. We were madly in love and you know..it was all going to be sunshine and rainbows and good times.

Of course, the honeymoon doesn’t last forever and neither did the sunshine and rainbows but overall, it hasn’t been a bad ride. However, I’ve always wondered what exactly it is that makes that initial WOW factor fade, for most couples, shortly after settling into marriage.

If you ask a scientist, they’ll tell you it’s all chemical.

If you ask a sex therapist or marriage counselor, they’ll tell you that the novelty of romance can’t last without a lot of work.

I do agree with both of those but if you ask me, it’s the way WE ALL regard marriage that is the biggest buzzkill of all.

I mean think about it…

A man gets married and he has to have a bachelor party to mourn his impending nuptials and the fact that, theoretically, he won’t be having sex with any other women ever again. Way to support your friend in one of the biggest decisions he will ever make, guys! THANKS.

Then there are the euphemisms… Men stop calling us their girlfriends or anything even remotely cute or fun and start referring to us as “the wife.” It’s a total cliché and I HATE IT.

I am not “the wife.” And Christ on a crutch….I’m sure as hell not “the old ball and chain” If a man thinks that about the woman HE chose to marry then WHY did he marry her?

And then there are the ways that married people make marriage appear really lame and uncool and give endless amounts of fodder to sitcom writers…

The stuff-naming… Holy mother of all things good and decent—please, married people, do NOT give cutesy names to your stuff. This really DOES make marriage look like the stupidest institution ever.

Dude, they got married and suddenly all their stuff has these dumb names. WTH?
<– What your single friends are saying behind your back.

I know people that have named their cars, their boat trailer and probably the husband’s  penis, as well. I’m asking nicely that you not do this. Really. Just don’t.

Another one that I don’t like because is on message boards, blogs and forums, women refer to their husband as their DH. I think it means their Dear Husband. Or Darling Husband. Whatever. It’s goofy and dorky and just adds another layer of stupidness to the way society thinks of married people…like we go around referring to each other as DH’s and DW’s. Ugh. DONOTLIKE.

When my husband refers to me to his friends, he usually says “my girl” i.e. “No, my girl hates sushi…how about Thai or Indian instead?”

And for this? I am eternally grateful.

In return, I refrain from saying things like “My hubby” which always reminds me of Chubby Hubby ice cream and has to be the most horrible husband reference ever invented.

And? Totally NOT conducive to thinking of your man as that hot number you married X years ago. He’s now HUBBY. Yickkkkkkk.

Now, to be clear, I’m no expert on marriage and maybe, BEYOND ALL REASON, you find all that stuff super hot and romantical.

If you do, GREAT!  Please disregard this post and go on with your bad self. I promise not make fun of you for saying “hubby” or naming your stuff…

Oh, who am I  kidding?

I probably will.

Dear Craigslist People

Dear Craigslist People,

I know you turn to Craigslist to find a bargain (unless you’re one of those jackasses that posts nekkid pix of yourself from your Grandma’s bathroom…the crocheted poodle toilet paper cover is a dead giveaway, just in case you were wondering how I knew you were at your Grandma’s house perving it up in her bathroom. Also, FYI, pictures taken in your nasty bedroom with the Whitesnake poster on the wall OR a Spongebob blanky anywhere in sight? NOT HOT )

Anyway, I know you folks want to save a few bucks so you look around on Craigslist but seriously, you need to KNOW a few things…

If I’m selling 60 pieces of name-brand girls clothing, all in excellent condition and I’m only asking $20, which, for the math-impaired, is 33¢ an item, I’m NOT taking pictures of every single item and I’m NOT going to answer stupid questions about every item and I’m NOT going to sell it to you for five freaking dollars—especially when I know your cheap, sorry ass is probably going to turn around and sell it on eBay anyway. Which is fine. I hate eBay so better you than me. But I’d give it to Goodwill before I’d let you have it for that—go buy it from them. I mean really…have you NO shame? I’d be embarrassed to ask people to give me a SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT price break…

The same goes for the Little Tikes Craftsmen Tool Bench. Dude…it’s in mint condition and I’m asking twenty dollars for it. Do NOT send me an email asking if I’ll take five for it.  Is there anything in my listing that says this is “Let’s Make a Really Bad (for me) Deal?” If you seriously can’t afford more than five bucks, maybe you should SELL YOUR COMPUTER (I’ll give you five bucks for it) and get rid of your internet service instead of lowballing people on Craigslist all day long.

And finally, for all you asswipes that bug the living crap out of me and beg me to not sell my stuff to someone else and then don’t show up… I wish you a scorching case of herpes with a nice sprinkling of genital warts. I mean you clearly have a phone, since you called me 17 times to make sure I hadn’t sold the item(s) you so desperately wanted. How about picking up said phone and letting me know you won’t be coming? I might even be nice and understanding and NOT wish you a lifetime of oozing blisters and weird bumpy things on your nether regions. But if you offer me five dollars? All bets are off.

As ever,
IzzyMom

What Kind of an Idiot Thinks This is Okay?

Ahhh…it’s that time of year again. Time for witches and ghosts and goblins and of course, the trashy, slutty costumes for little girls that make my blood boil. But…I’ve railed about those plenty in the past. Everyone who gets mail probably already knows of a certain national party store chain that carries an assortment of inappropriate costumes for elementary aged girls which, given how I feel about corporate America sexualizing children, kinda makes me want to hurl.

Before I go any further, though, let me ask if you, as a parent, make a habit of letting your 5-7 year olds (or even 8-10 year olds) watch movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Friday the 13th or Saw or Hostel? I’m sincerely hoping the answer is no and I’m just going to assume that the vast majority of you are responsible parents who would never do something so reprehensible  <— A must read!

So, that said, you probably wouldn’t be able to explain to me WHY THE EVER LOVING HELL why the aforementioned national party store chain is selling Freddy Krueger (of Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jason (Friday the 13th) costumes for FIVE to SEVEN year old kids and Leatherface (of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) masks for children?

Can you tell me? Because I sure as hell can’t figure it out. In any case? It’s messed up.

5-7 years old???

5-7 years old??? Even 8-10 yrs old is effed up.

Fits Most Kids???

Fits Most CHILDREN???

Nice.

Nice

And riddle me this…even if you haven’t let your kids see these movies but you DO buy them the costume, out of some kind of twisted nostalgia, I assume, WHAT do you tell them their costume is, exactly? Do you say “Oh, Leatherface is this guy in a movie that dismembers and kills tons of people with a chainsaw. Oh, and his mask? It’s made from the skin of his victims!”?

I mean seriously, I’d LOVE to know.

And yes, it’s very likely that I AM judging you for that. I admit it.

But I’m judging the store that sells this crap for little kids even more more harshly—what the hell are they thinking?

Me vs. The Giant Corporation

I have two kids and in the three years that we’ve had On-Demand movies with our Verizon fiber optic cable, it’s made me incredibly lazy in that I have no need to drive to Blockbuster and rent movies anymore. I just flip to the On-Demand menu and find whatever it is we want to watch. This is great when it’s just adults but not so great when it’s my kids who want to see a movie.

Let me preface this story by saying we have every parental control available set on our TV. I’m a firm believer that kids are exposed to too much too soon in this world and I do everything I can to slow that down. They’re children. They’re just not equipped to process and understand so much of what is freely available on TV and every time ANY child is exposed to violence, sex or other adult-oriented things, I honestly believe it chips away at their innocence and shortens their childhood a bit.

So anyway…my gripe with Verizon’s On-Demand service is that when you go to the On-Demand menu, they immediately start showing trailers for movies that are otherwise blocked by the parental controls I’ve set. The trailers themselves ought to be rated R based on their content.

So here I am, scrolling to get to the kid and family movies and they’re showing trailers for shit like “Last House on the Left” If you’re not familiar with that film (the original OR the remake) it’s a delightful story about rape, torture and revenge. Of course, that’s not the only completely inappropriate trailer that’s come on while my kids are sitting beside me hoping to find “Horton Hears  Who” or “Wall-E” or whatever. It’s just the one that finally made me Lose. My. Shit.

My odyssey into the world of corporate buck-passing started with a phone call to Verizon customer support. I demanded to know how to change my settings so we won’t have to be a captive audience and watch said previews while searching for children’s entertainment. I’m told, “Sorry!  There is no way to do that”.

Not satisfied, I comb Verizon’s web sites searching for some kind of venue in which I can file a complaint. Nothing but a general form that limits you to 700 characters—gah.  I leave a message asking someone to contact me. They do. I tell them my issue. They say they’ll have someone call me.

They do. I tell the person who calls me my issue. They can’t help me. They transfer me to someone else.

They can’t help me. They transfer me to someone else.

That guy says he’s NEVER heard anyone complain about the trailers on On-Demand before. I tell him I find that hard to believe. He tells me there is no venue for a complaint like mine and to basically GIVE UP.

Infuriated, I ask to speak to someone else. I get thrown back into the customer service phone hell that I originally called and I tell my whole story AGAIN and of course,  (everyone say it with me!) THEY CAN’T HELP ME.

I ask to speak to a supervisor.

I’m told by the supervisor that my best bet is to send a letter via snail mail. I tell her that’s not good enough because my letter will end up in a stack of other letters, I will never hear from anyone and that will be it.

She is sympathetic and says she will have HER supervisor call me on Monday. (Shockingly, nobody ever calls me)

That same day, I get on Twitter and start raising a stink about being given the run around by Verizon, about how their customer service is terrible, about how I have a legitimate complaint that involves children and families. I include every official Verizon username on Twitter in my 140 character diatribes. I figure if Dooce can use Twitter to make Maytag jump through hoops of fire and replace her lemon of a dryer, maybe little old me can get someone from Verizon to at least HEAR ME.

Nothing happens. Nobody from Verizon replies.

A week later, someone from Verizon FINALLY replies to one of my tweets.

I ask them point blank how to block the trailers on On-Demand so that they reflect the settings on our parental controls. I expect the same answer I’ve been given over and over  (sorry, that can’t be done!) but I figure it’s worth putting it out there and getting it on SOMEONE’S radar screen so maybe someday they will change that.

Well, lo and behold, he sends me back a link and says “this will tell you how to do it”.

I follow the link and it takes me to a page on the Verizon site and there it says that “And recently some have been e-mailing us here to say that they object to some of the things that are out there” (that’s not what it said when I went there last month—they’ve majorly edited the page and completely changed the wording) and how they are super duper concerned about shielding children from inappropriate content yada yada—and here is how you change it…instructions follow. I try it and it works. But I also note that the option to block promotional material absolutely DID NOT EXIST previously in that menu

Also? It says THIS, which I can assure you is wholly inaccurate (also known as BULLSHIT). They showed whatever they damn well pleased without a second thought to who might be watching for the entire three years that we’ve had their service. THREE YEARS:

First, let me note that Verizon has long had a policy that we will not air questionable content in our on-demand trailers.  We edit out mature content, and try to keep our on-demand trailers family-friendly.  In a few cases where that policy was not followed, we made changes as soon as we were aware of the problem.

So anyway, I go back and look at the date on the post on the Verizon site and it’s exactly ONE WEEK after I spent 2 hours on the phone with a minimum of five Verizon employees being told repeatedly that there was NO WAY to do this and that NOBODY else had ever complained about this issue. ONE WEEK after being told someone would call me on Monday (and never did) and ONE WEEK after I twittered myself silly addressing all available Verizon usernames.

Call me arrogant, call me delusional, call me Donna Quixote if you want but I firmly believe that *I* made Verizon change their system. If there was no way to do it before and NOBODY had ever complained about it before, according to THEM, then it was me. *I* brought this issue to their attention and *I* made them fix it and honestly, I’m way proud of myself for not giving up on this and I’m even prouder to have proven that one little voice CAN make a difference.

But really, I can’t take full credit. Some of it goes to the Verizon rep who told me to GIVE UP…  So THANK YOU, O’ STUPID VERIZON GUY. I owe at least a fraction of my awesomeness to you.