Fighting streaming from upstairs.
Piles of laundry everywhere
Dirty dishes in the sink
I want to scream, then stop and think.
Of all the places that I’ve been,
Of all the people met therein,
The three that are a part of me
Are in the chaos, a perfect dream.
Each new challenge met today
Makes me smile in a certain way,
As delightful as a sweet confection
My little piece of imperfection.
I was picking my daughter up from school today, she was doing her daily round-up of the goings-on in Kindergarten: how many blue tickets she earned (good), who was sent to the “buddy room” (a.k.a. what we DON’T call time-out anymore)…the the usual.
We were dodging bikes, excited kids, and trying not to get smacked in the face by swinging backpacks. Then I overheard something that made me shake my head and laugh out loud.
A group of third graders were having a battle of “Yo Mama” jokes. Things were gettin’ real at the elementary school, people! This yo mama battle was intense. Someone’s mama was so fat, another so stupid, and someone else’s mama was something so bad that it could only be shared in a hushed whisper.
All I could think was: “Seriously? Yo mama jokes? Haven’t we come up with something better than that yet?”
According to gizmodo.com the oldest “yo mama” joke is 3500 years old:
Around 1,500 BCE, a student in ancient Babylon inscribed six riddles on a tablet. 3,500 years later, these proto-jokes lose a lot in the translation, but one thing’s for sure: the Babylonians are saying something about your mother.
I like to think that we, as a species, have evolved over time. We’ve had civil rights and women’s rights, we’ve eradicated deadly diseases, we’ve overthrown corrupt governments, but one thing remains . . . the “yo mama” joke.
Why is it always about the mothers?
Respect the Mamas, people!
Mothers lovingly raise you, they wipe your butt, cook your meals, drive you to football practice, dance class, boy scouts, 4-H! And yet, we take this constant playground punishment! Here’s one for you:
I am going to skip the book review for this blog because we are currently on a rotation of 15 early reader Rescue Bots books. And I’m pretty sure, if you have a preschool aged boy or girl (my six-year-old daughter is also obsessed), you can guess what they are all about.
Instead, you can watch this video of the amazingly awesome 80’s inspired theme song!
Our eldest is a hurricane. She started talking at six months, walking at ten months. The first thing people ask upon meeting her is, “Does she always talk that much?” My answer is, “Yes.” She wears every emotion on the outside, for the world to see.
When our little guy was born, it became clear that he was a completely different kind of kid. We quickly dubbed him the “normal one”. He is an observer, a thinker. He does not run on impulse, instead he takes his time. He looks at little bugs on the sidewalk, clouds in the sky . . .
Then he turned three . . .
He is still an observer, and he is still my Pokey Little Puppy, but there was an explosion, a burst of language and coordination, and silly fun. Now instead of the “normal one” we ask, “Remember when he was the quiet one?”
The timing could not be better. As our daughter is getting into the swing of Kindergarten, our little guy is becoming his own person. He’s stepping out from behind the hurricane and finding his own way to be, which is something like a monsoon, intense torrential rain with beautiful calm sunshine after.
It’s hard not to compare kids, it’s one of the key building blocks to education, sorting and categorizing. As parents, especially moms, that’s how we relate to other parents, we compare children, experiences, lifestyles. I don’t think comparing is a bad thing, it’s important to embrace our differences, but it’s also important not to judge.
I received one of the best compliments from a friend. She said, “You let your kids be who they are.” I replied, “I try to,” because sometimes it’s really hard. But by embracing their natural tendencies, and encouraging kindness and empathy, they are turning into little humans that are ready to take on the world!
Lauren Child has a way of creating stories that seem to have stepped out of any child’s life. The New Small Person, is the perfect example of this.
In this book a family of three turns into a family of four, and the biggest adjustments must come from the boy who was once an only child. As his new baby brother grows this big brother finally comes to the realization that maybe this new small person isn’t so bad after all.
My favorite part of this book is when he finally calls his little brother by name.
This is a very typical Lauren Child book, with the familiar characters and illustrations that go with it. It is full of texture and color and approachable dialogue that is fun and engaging to read together with your favorite “small person”.
So maybe, just maybe it’s time for us to stop trying to convince others to follow our point of view by trying to make someone else feel stupid?
Maybe we can actually speak to one another instead of posting mean hurtful things on social media?
Maybe we can be honest with ourselves and call ourselves out for being bullies . . . all of us.
Whether you’re right or wrong, aggressor or victim, justified or opposed, just because someone was cruel to you does not give you the right to be cruel back or be cruel to someone else. It doesn’t prove a point, it’s just mean.
At first I thought it was the election year with all of its negative rhetoric, but then I realized it goes so much deeper than that. It’s been a year of Black Lives Matter, Police Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. It’s been another year of justifying hate with belligerence on all sides. It’s been a year of selfishness, ego, and narrow-minded narcism . . . from everyone. Whether I agree with you or not, whether the majority agrees with you or not, this isn’t a post about my beliefs. It’s a post about treating people, like people, not profile pictures on the internet that don’t have feelings or families.
There are consequences for actions like these, and we will see them in the next generation. Our children are reflections of ourselves. They are like fun-house mirrors, turning our behaviors into over exaggerated versions of what they see. But if this type of behavior gets any bigger, I worry about what that means for us as a society.
I realize that in posting this, in a way, I’m giving into all of these things, but I’m tired . . .
I am a naturally positive person, so much so that I drive my husband nuts with thinking the best of people. But lately the light in people’s eyes has seemed a little dimmer.
There is hope, though, always hope. I see it in several Facebook feeds that I follow.
There are more, I know, and I plan on surrounding myself with them, and blocking/turning off the negative flood that has surrounded the people of our country. And I will pray for our country, for our leaders (whomever they may be), for the next generation. I will pray that they can all find compassion for someone other than themselves. That they can become selfless, humble, and generous. I will pray that we can all embrace our differences and grow together instead of tearing each other down.
There are thousands of books on bullies, but there is one that is close to my heart, and speaks a lot to the point I’m trying to make. Alexia Versus the Birthday Bear by my husband, Tevin Hansen.
In this book Alexia is a very smart girl who finds herself at the school bully’s birthday party. It is up to her to save her not so nice classmates from a party entertainer that is actually a real bear that wants to eat them all for lunch.
The premise is silly, but the story speaks to the enormous problem of bullying. Almost every character in the book is a little mean at some point. Even Alexia is a bully to an extent because she holds her intelligence over her classmates. There is a section at the end of the book that asks the reader to answer a few questions about the characters in the book and examine why each are, in their own way, a bully.
This book is a great conversation starter. And hopefully with a little thoughtful dialogue we can be honest with each other and honest with our selves, and finally put an end to bullying.
As I lay in bed, snuggling with my little guy, I realized that one day he would be a grown-up man. And I decided that there were a few things I wanted to tell the older version of this little person beside me. There are things from this stage of his life that I want him to take into adulthood. Things to hold on to when the storms of life bombards him.
- Remember looking at the little things. Every rock, every bug, every bird in the sky.
- Keep asking questions and keep finding answers. Never settle for half-truths.
- Remember the simple joy of running and jumping, of singing and dancing to the rhythm of the world inside your imagination.
- Remember that sometimes life is like a giant heavy duty cardboard box (like the one you played with when you were 3 years old). Somedays you need a “boat” to float down the river and explore far away places. Other days you need a “house,” with a roof over your head to keep you safe from the raging storm outside. Just flip it upside down, little man. That box can be whatever you need it to be.
- Be kind.
- Be happy.
- Be brave.
- Be yourself, because that is enough.
In the spirit of the fast-approaching Halloween season, my “review” this week is mostly a throw back classic that we’ve already read at least 50 times since September 1st, The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
This book is full of spooky fun. It’s also a very nice early reader book, that actually keeps your little reader entertained!
My favorite memory of this book happened at the Lincoln Carnegie Library in Lincoln KS. Miss Mary, the children’s librarian, set up a story time featuring this book where the kids actually got to go on an adventure through the library acting out the story. She even had a big brown ottoman so that the kids could climb over “Great sleeping bear”.
This book is a classic and not just a Halloween staple. We read it ALL the time, especially at Halloween! So grab your stick, rope, and light and snuggle in for a great spooky book!
I long to be”Just a Stay at Home Mom”, but I don’t think that hypothetical unicorn exists. I long for her, though.
You see, we homemakers are a tough bunch. We are chauffeurs, short-order chefs, maids, teachers, lawn-care technicians. We are office assistants, schedulers, organizers. we get you where you need to be, fed, clothed, and with the appropriate sporting gear . . . most of the time.
Now, as if that wasn’t enough, we must also be, clever, crafty, funny. We must blog, start our own businesses, and spread the joy of glitter to the world in unique videos showing everyone just how awesome we are.
I’d like to blame social media, or feminism, or men in general, but the fact is that these over-expectations, come from ourselves. Because in our heads being “just a stay at home mom” isn’t enough. But I want to tell you something, “It is.” And you know what else is enough? Being a working mom, being a work-from-home mom, being any kind of mom, it’s enough.
I am right there in the middle of this mix, perpetuating every single over-expectation. I AM a homemaker, I own my own publishing house (www.handersenpublishing.com . . . check it out), obviously I blog, and I make super-cute, crafty videos involving something called Thumb Theatre. But I’m also “just a mom” trying my best to do this amazing job that I’ve been blessed with to the best of my ability.
I am trying to be present for my kids, for my husband, for my family. And it’s enough, I am enough . . . you are enough.
This post is directed at moms, but in reality, it probably resonates to everyone in general. Should you strive to be the best you that you can be? Yes, a million times, YES! Keep exploring and learning and growing. Just don’t let other people tell you what that “best you” looks like.
No book review for this post, it’s enough . . . just as it is.
It looked like the toilet paper that I normally buy. It was the same brand, same packaging . . . I didn’t even read the label. It had been a long day of errands, and this was my last one. With two kids running around the store like maniacs, it was time to go. I just didn’t realize that when we got home and it was time to go, that we would have a problem on our hands.
Growing up, there was one rule in our house: “Don’t buy cheap toilet paper.” And I was grateful for that rule. Now as a mother, I try to live by it as well. Until, that is, Aldis changed their packaging.
My son put the toilet paper away. It’s his one big responsibility and he LOVES stacking the rolls in the bottom cupboard. So I didn’t realize my mistake until it was too late.
“Bogies, mum…” said my 3-year-old, arms at his sides–we’re trying to teach him not to use his shirt, or his arm as a tissue.
“Okay, hold on,” I said.
As I went to grab some TP, I was not greeted with the soft, two-ply, quilted delight that is usually there. This was worse than the toilet paper you find in mall bathrooms. This was one-ply, rough, falls apart, awful.
I went to the trash and checked the packaging. It was the same brand, but it was NOT our normal toilet paper. And now we had a LOT of it because when it’s only one-ply there is a lot more paper on each roll.
I’m pretty frugal, so I thought, “Hey, we can handle this. It’s just TP, right? Nothing to get upset about.” But it’s been over two months with this horrible and never ending cache of toilet paper. Our family will persevere. We will get through this. And from now on, I will take the time to make sure I get the right TP.
In honor of going, my new book review is Even Firefighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax and Naomi Wax with illustrations by Stephen Gilpin.
This book had the kids and I laughing very hard because, let’s face it, what preschooler or toddler isn’t obsessed with bathroom humor? The premise is pretty simple. Adults from different professions are mysteriously missing. As you lift each flap, you see that they are in the potty.
This was a nice sturdy flap book, but it is not for the faint of heart, or the mom who is so tired of hearing the word poop, and jokes about poop, and kids talking about poop nonstop…that she just might scream. This book encourages dialogue about the bathroom, and all that it entails.
My little guy is already potty-trained, so I can’t say for certain that it would help with that. It might make it less scary to think that even people as brave as firefighters, pilots, and astronauts use the potty.
So if you’re ready for lots of giggles, especially about the train engineer’s locomotive themed underwear, then this book is for you.
My favorite parts of the Fourth of July are:
- Homemade Ice cream
- Annual parade through the mecca of Denmark, KS
- Patriotic Music (who doesn’t love a marching band?)
- oohing and ahhing at fireworks – especially the lame ones
There are many reasons to love Independence Day. But my little guy will quickly tell you that the booms are not his favorite–too loud. Last year we spent the evening inside, wearing noise reducing headphones, while looking out a window, shaking with fear (him, not me).
Maybe this year we can at least sit on the front porch?
So be careful, everyone. Have a fun (and safe) Independence Day.
I am boycotting a book review for this blog because we are on a repeat cycle of Barbie books at the moment. We try to let the kids choose their own books for story time, but if I have to read A Paw-some Mystery (Barbie and Her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure) one more time…I’m going to look like this:
Imagined conversations, daily. Stories on Sunday. See the entire collection here.