Archive by Author | Musings from a Tangled Mind

A Boy Named Ian

When my daughter was in the 5th grade, I received one of the “dreaded” calls from the office notifying me that she had done something horrific enough to earn a referral to the office. Now normally Sarah’s referrals to the office at this age were “M & M phone calls” which students enjoyed and Sarah normally racked up week after week.   Students would receive these positive referrals for things like going out of their way to help another student or teacher, taking initiative in class, getting caught being polite (holding doors for others, etc.) and the like.

However, on this dark day, she was sitting in the office for a more sinister reason: standing up for herself. I know, right?  How dare she!? Well. You guys know me well. You can imagine my response.  But I’m jumping ahead. Let me tell you what prompted the referral.

In my daughter’s elementary school, the students would leave their main classroom to attend Art (or Music) and then return to the main classroom again. In a state of flux, the class would stand out in the hall in a line for a long period of minutes (who knows why, though I think it was simply to test the students to see just how long they could stand still and whoever thought that was a good idea was a complete idiot).  Well, during this period of flux one day, Sarah and her friend were being harassed by a boy named Ian. Great name. Not so great a boy. He kept knocking their books and folders out of their hands and hitting them each in turn with a pencil. Now I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been cracked on my knuckles and my hands with items and it hurts like hell. Not to mention the annoyance of having to pick up your things one too many times to the amusement of the bully harassing you.

Well, I imagine for my daughter and her friend this little game of Ian’s got old and quick. Now my daughter’s friend, being more soft-spoken than my daughter, didn’t voice her dismay over the treatment. My daughter on the other hand had no qualms about speaking up. And she gave fair warning to Ian to stop or face the consequences. Ian, being brave or stupid, pressed his luck one last time and that was…as they say…all she wrote. My daughter snatched the pencil and stabbed him in the leg with it. Oh, not enough to even break the skin (so poking would be more accurate, but stab is what they put on the referral, so stab it was), but it was enough to startle him and make him cry and therefore embarrass him in front of his friends and the other kids.  And, since this big, strapping boy (much larger than my daughter) was embarrassed, by a girl no less, he told on her.

So. A referral was given, to both of them actually. I was a little surprised to tell you the truth. I figured it would just be Sarah since the boy claimed innocence (which he continued to do in the office) and Sarah readily admitted what she had done. And since our school system makes complete sense, they sent them both together, unsupervised, down the hall to the office which was on the other side of the building. What could go wrong there, right? They made it alive, another surprise.  I was told later, that on the long trek to the office Ian informed my daughter he no longer liked her (lo and behold the real reason for the harassment!), and that she hadn’t hurt him, he only wanted her to get into trouble for it.  To which she informed him, “Yeah, I guess that’s why you were crying then.”  My girl.

My response? Certainly not one the office staff was happy to hear. But it was the same one it has always been and always will be for my children. If someone touches you, you defend yourself. Period.

The ironic thing about it all?  Upon return to the classroom, Sarah was named Student of the Month and received a prize.  My girl.

advice for daughters

What’s in a Name?

Okay, so I just came across yet another parenting article.  No issue in the child-rearing world seems to go untouched…every little thing apparently needs to be hashed out, which really makes me think I should get a gig writing for one these publications, because I could seriously give out some good advice.

But I digress.

The writer of this particular article takes issue with the fact that her kids’ friends call her by her first name.  In fact, her “biggest pet peeve” is any child calling any adult by their first name, which she apparently takes as a sign of grave disrespect.

She gets her point across in a joking manner, but makes her point just the same (which I can truly appreciate). What I found funny though is she doesn’t like the idea of being called Ms. or Mrs. either.  So what exactly is a child supposed to call her?  The author is unsure.  She just knows it shouldn’t be her first name only. A modern quandary indeed.

Personally I never had this problem when my children were very young. I didn’t have a name then, you see. I was simply Jacob’s mom and Sarah’s mom for the longest time.  As in, “Hey Jacob’s Mom, can Jacob come out and play?” Or “Hi Sarah’s Mom, can she go to the park with us today?”

When I eventually earned a name for myself, I requested they call me “Ms. Wendy.”  It was my choice, not theirs. I mean, kids won’t know what to call you unless you tell them, right?  One of my son’s friends (who has been around since forever) still calls me “Jacob’s Mom,” and does so with quite a bit of mutual humor and nostalgia. Would I ever consider him disrespectful?  Heck no!  The boy is a hoot.  Hearing “Hi Jacob’s Mom!” coming from a strapping 24-year-old as he yells across a crowded room without a care in the world is always comical to behold, and interesting to explain.

My view is, if you want to be called Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. insert first or last name here, then simply tell the child that so they know. Don’t leave them to their own devices or their own choices in the matter if you care that much about what you’re called. But don’t expect them to respect you simply because of what you choose to name yourself.  Respect isn’t a “given” based solely on a title.

Beyond the whole name dilemma, which each parent has to figure out for themselves (hopefully before the kids get to college), I did find one thing about the article that was disconcerting, in a sort of a red-faced, wow, okay, that sounds like me, kind of a way.

She did it to be humorous I’m sure (although probably serious too) but the author wrote out a detailed list of the reasons why she will never ever be friends with her children’s friends and therefore, why they can’t be on a first name basis.

The list consists of things that adults – that is to say, peers – wouldn’t or rather, shouldn’t, do, you see. And, I have to admit that I failed her list by half. That’s right. Half. So. No new friendship on the horizon for me. But that’s okay. I’m sure we’ll both survive.

When you think about it though, following Southern custom (calling on my family heritage here), the author would have to call me Ms. Wendy cause I’m older than her. (Okay, so I’m guessing here at her age, but it’s a good guess –her children must be young given the topic of the article and she knows who the hell The Tings Tings are and I suppose LIKES them since she knows the lyrics to their songs – all of which points to her being way younger than me.) BUT since I failed her test, I’d end up having to call her Ms. So and So or whatever it is she decides she wants to be called…this name game, it’s all so very confusing!

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click for article

Mysteries of the Suburban Jungle

So I found this just outside my house this morning. I’m not sure what I have living underneath my yard, but I don’t think I want to meet it any time soon.  I’m just hoping I don’t end up in the plot of one of those campy Syfy channel horror movies I love so much.  Arachnophobia, with Jeff Daniels, comes to mind.

Or worse, one of those outrageous Weekly World News headlines: Woman found encased in freakish cocoon-like web – mutant alien spiders running amok among us!

So, yeah. Whatever it is, let it stay outside and I’m good.

 

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although you can’t see them well, there were blobs of web positioned around the perimeter of the larger web — like little booby traps

 

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Enraged Walking Dead Spotted in England (No, Really!)

Who says women won’t stand up for each other? I wish they did it more often, but hey, at least it’s happening sometimes.

I saw a great Facebook post a few days ago from someone called Scott Sparrow. He was riding the Central Line between Oxford Circus and Chancery Lane in London and saw the following exchange. It’s made all the better when you realize (looove Google) that fanny in England is apparently slang for vagina. Gotta love “old soon to be dead” ladies who just don’t give a flying fig about what they say in public anymore.

 

post from Scott Sparrow

 

This is an awesome story. I absolutely love it. Mr. Sparrow should seriously do a “man on the street” type of weekly editorial. Hell, I would pay good money to get the newspaper that opted to publish this guy’s observations!

And as for the incident itself. I mean, c’mon. What right does that suit have – or anyone, frankly, to call out someone else on their physical appearance – whether it’s being very skinny or very overweight, or the way they dress? And yet most people think nothing of doing it – as if they were perfect.

That old woman resonated with me because hell, I can see myself being that outspoken and colorful when I’m that old (almost dead is how old I’ll be!). Basically there will be no change from how I am now, except I’d be viewed as “feisty” instead of rude!  I am sooo looking forward to that day.

And really, this entire situation is just one more reason why I need to freakin’ move to England…from the old, almost dead lady down to Mr. Scott Sparrow.  My kinda people over there (not counting the guy in the suit!).

Too Many Spiders

I’m not sure if you’re as big of a comic book geek as I am. If not, you might not have heard the news that Spider-Man is going to officially be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Rejoice! Sony (who own the rights to Spider-Man) and Marvel (who own the rights to the Avengers and everyone on the team) came to an agreement. For a massive hunk of money Sony’s going to stop the string of terrible decisions they’ve made over the past couple of years and let Spider-Man in on the MCU fun. At some point in the future we’ll see good ol’ Webhead flipping around with Captain America, annoying the heck out of the Hulk, and poking fun at the megalomaniac that is Tony Stark.

All good news, right? That’s what I thought. Until I realized the ripple effect this new development has sent through the MCU. There’s a lot already going on and Marvel had previously announced their movie schedule from now all the way until 2019. Plans had been laid. Wheels had started turning. And I was thrilled with upcoming events.

Then this itsy bitsy spider came and messed everything up. Several films have been bumped back just to get the “new” Spider-Man to debut in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie in 2016 which will in turn set him up for a solo movie in 2017.

Among the movies that got bumped were two movies that I believe a lot of people were getting very excited for because of what they represented. One of them, Black Panther, is going to (eventually) be the first Marvel movie headlined by an African-American. Captain Marvel, also getting pushed for more than half a year, is going to (eventually) be the first Marvel movie headlined by a female superhero. Sort of big steps and ones I think we could really use more of in the movies.  And quite frankly (and selfishly), these were two superhero movies I really wanted to see. Not to mention the others that were delayed (Thor: Ragnarok and The Inhumans, among others).

So I’m a little confused. All of these groundbreaking movies that have already been well in the works for quite a while are getting delayed so we can see Peter Parker get bit by a spider. Again. For the third time in 15 years (with 5 movies under its franchise belt). Gee, I wonder what happens.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Spider-Man and I like that he’s going to be a part of the MCU. I’m just getting tired of having the same movie/superhero redone/rebooted ad nauseam while there are all these great original themes to put out there.

Of course I’m hoping Marvel does well and produces a worthwhile Spider-Man solo outing, but as of right now I can’t get enthused knowing that fun, awesome, exciting characters I’ve never seen on-screen are getting de-prioritized for a character that’s a very well-worn road by now.