I’m about to veer pretty far off the usual topics. But here we go:
Football fans, I beg you: Walk away.
I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days. It’s time for football fans to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide if they want to support the NFL and these players any more. I know this is going to sound like heresy in the face of “America’s game,” but I ask you to hear me out: Any time you tune in, show up to a game, or spend your money on anything related to the NFL, you are supporting a culture that says it’s okay to stuff leaves in a four-year-old’s mouth and whip him until you break the skin. You tune into games and award your attention to men who knock out their “then-fiancee” in an elevator and proceed to drag her out by her feet (oh wait, I guess that’s not okay because there’s a video). You support men who are convicted of beating their pregnant girlfriends. It is time to walk away from this game. Please don’t be complicit in condoning violence.
I know people are going to point out all the good people in the league and I know a vast majority of these players are upstanding citizens. But money talks. It is time to stop with your money, and to inhibit sponsor money by turning your time and attention elsewhere. Stop compartmentalizing the “game” (which makes a lot of people rich) from the players. “It’s just a game,” I know, but it makes players and an organization who have turned a blind eye to these and other off the field crimes and shitty behaviors rich. When you watch, you are part of that. If that’s not enough to get you to reconsider, please think about this: When you watch, you are cheering for and paying for a game that quite literally is turning many players’ brains into mush.
This is all very easy for me to say and ask — I don’t care about football. I almost never watch (Hell, last year we did tune into the Super Bowl and Boopsie kept calling it “basketball.”). In fact, I really hope my kids get into sports like cross country, ultimate frisbee and cycling (hippie alert!). It’s simple for me to look at this situation and say “DONE.” But I’m not part of the solution either. I don’t buy jerseys or game tickets, I don’t beer advertised during the games or buy football shaped pretzels. So fans, I implore you: Is this how you want to spend your hard earned money and limited time? Money talks and it’s time to walk.
Refuse to be part of the rewards.
The “changing climate” in the NFL people keep referring to? That is just the money talking. It’s fans saying, “Hell no. I won’t cheer for someone who put leaves in their child’s mouth and beat them no matter how fun he is to watch play. I won’t stand for players not living up to a (likely contractual) standard about their off-the-field behavior. I won’t accept a level of machismo that supports knocking a loved one around.” It’s sponsors not wanting to be associated with organizations who say it’s okay to be an asshole off the field as long as you stay good at scoring points on the field*. PLEASE: Walk away.
* Unless, of course, there’s video.
Just yesterday I was reflecting about Boopsie’s birthday and patting myself on the back for not freaking out. Well folks, welcome to the THIRD ANNUAL birthday freak out. (Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy, or what?)
- She is turning three. Aware. Verbal.
- She attended her first “friends” birthday party this summer. This party was for twins who were turning four and featured a “jumpy” (bounce house), piñata, arts and crafts, and two cakes. The bar is high.
- We are having a “family” party and not a “friend” party, and I don’t think she understands this, so I feel a need to step up my game in the decorating department. And the theme department.
- She has been verbally (see #1) planning and re-planning her party nearly daily. I actually have forbid Daddy-o to mention her birthday because her grasp of when the blessed event will happen isn’t very clear. Last week she was pissed at me when I didn’t buy cake and candles at the grocery store (party was four weeks away). Her plan for the party keeps changing, but some things have been clarified. She wants two cakes (the party for the twins = two cakes). One cake should be Hello Kitty and the other should be Strawberry Shortcake (character not the dessert). There should be a dog there (to visit, not to keep). We should have candles. All manageable, but a bit unstable. (Aside: This has interesting parallels to some executive-level events I’ve been involved with…)
- She’s obsessed about who is coming, and two of the most important guests (cousins) are not able to make it. She does not know this. It has me in a complete panic that she will be disappointed about her party and its lack of little people, etc.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m currently gripped with fear that my three year old will be disappointed by her birthday party.
How do I solve this?
It’s time for a photo dance break:
We got new appliances. The stove box makes an awesome book nook.
We’ve gone to some bike races this summer. Boopsie loves them and excels at cheering.
I “taught” her to run through the sprinkler. Amaze-balls.
Okay, I’m slightly calmer now. Off to round up some kids to attend this party… any other suggestions?
Parenting my kid is the most sublime and fantastic aspect of my life ever… as long as I’m not trying to get her to do something.
Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of “Puff the Magic Dragon”? Holy crap, that song is depressing.
This weekend a dear woman I work with lost her baby in utero. She was born still at (by my rough calculations) about 36 weeks along. Two days earlier she had a normal check-up. And then her baby died. No explanation, no reason, no rhyme. Just horrible.
I watched this sweet petite woman struggle through “all day sickness” for weeks and weeks, heard the excitement and anticipation in her voice as her pregnancy progressed and rooted for her throughout this hot, hot summer. And now she is a childless new mother.
They say that to have a child is to have a large piece of your heart walking around outside of your body, and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with that description. But what about losing a child? A baby you grew and cared for inside you but didn’t get a chance to know? A baby you birthed, but didn’t get to hear cry? A whole lifetime of anticipated memories that were taken before you could make them?
Thankfully there are organizations like Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and Faith’s Lodge and Faces of Loss/Faces of Hope for people facing this type of tragedy. And there’s good information about what to say and what not to say.
I want to tell this woman that this is horrible and unfair and crappy and that in time I hope she feels better again. Whole. Comforted. Safe. For now, I will leave it Mumford and Sons:
And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.
Hang in there, sweet mama. We’re pulling for you.
Oh dear. This week I had an experience that made me realize I’m not just a cliché — I’m a cliché of a cliché.
Let me explain: Before Boopsie was born I was obsessed with our two cats, Milo and Roxy. Ob-sessed. Daddy-o and I got them the same summer we got married and it was love at first sight. They were our fur babies and I immediately transformed into a (crazy) cat lady. I kept up with my personal hygiene (well, as much as I ever did), but I talked about them to everyone. All the time. I showed people photos. I put photos of them on Facebook. I was a nut. Your perfect cliché of a cat lady.
Then Boopsie was born. And it was love at first sight times a million. She is our sweet, sassy, nutty girl. I talk about her obsessively. I force pictures on people all the time. Awesome, right? Well this week, a friend at work asked me if we still had our cats.
Wait. Hold the phone. “Do we still have our cats?”
Of course we still have our cats. But apparently, I’m now so obsessed with my kid that I only talk about her. (Which is true.) Bam. Cliché squared.
So, just to prove that I still love our kitties, and that I still have them, I am posting their photos… enjoy. You should know that Milo is kind of a rat bastard who loves to escape enclosures and eat inappropriate objects (ribbon is a favorite and feathers make him crazy). Roxy is sweet and can be very whiny, and she had double knee surgery when she was 1.5 because of a congential defect. I think she’s got some arthritis now… and she’s not a good jumper.
“It’s hard work being this handsome…when’s dinner?”
This is Roxy. We don’t dare speak for her.
So, there you have it. Our kitties. Cliché squared. (Milo’s trying to sit on the keyboard while I type this…)
First, I made these cupcakes:
Then I made sure Boopsie had a visit from the Easter Bunny, even if it was made from a leftover mushroom container. It contained bubbles, number flash cards (whoops), one egg of Goldfish crackers, one egg of Cheerios and one egg that contained five M&Ms.
Luckily, Grammie also gave her and Easter basket, with some goodies for the grown ups, too.
This is how the Cheerios worked out. She ate the M&Ms, and very intently.
We dressed her up for Easter at Grandma Jan’s and she got really dirty playing. For some reason, that made me really happy.
It was a nice little Easter.
There’s a very interesting feature article in Minnesota Monthly this month about childhood vaccinations and people to refuse them for their children. The Refusers (by Tim Gihring) looks at some of the controversy surrounding vaccines and contains interviews from people who have been harmed by vaccines and those who promote vaccination.
This article has been stuck in my head since I read it a couple of weeks ago, which is pretty amazing given everything else competing for head space these days. I would consider myself as slightly “vaccine hesitant,” even though I know the MMR/autism study from The Lancet has been retracted. Boopsie has gotten her vaccines, but I’ve looked for small ways to space them out and I’ve established a totally arbitrary limit of three “pokes” per doctor’s visit. Still, I worry about vaccines and honestly, most of that worry is about autism. That’s why this anecdote from Ashley Shelby, a pro-vaccine activist, totally stuck in my head:
“It’s the new parents I’m worried about—they don’t know what to believe,” she says. “But I’ve given the hardcore anti-vaxers up for dead. Doctors wouldn’t say this, but I will: would you rather your child be dead than have autism? Think about it—that’s essentially what these people are saying, and how offensive is that?”
It’s true — I don’t know what to believe.I know they’ve never found a vaccine/autism link, but how can SO MANY parents be wrong about their children’s experiences? I can’t discount their observations. It seems that everything with vaccinations is incredibly charged these days (shoot, just read the comments and accusations and anger reflected in the comments section of the article!) and it’s hard to trust what the government says. But for now, I’m comfortable choosing a risk of autism over a risk of measles, polio or other potentially devastating disease. What about you?