Bully Behind a Keyboard

I could spend hours, perhaps days, extolling the virtues of the internet–starting with this very blog’s existence.  Of course, I’d like to believe that even if I were raising my children pre-World Wide Web that I would still write for them in a similar fashion; but the truth is that the blog format makes it so much easier, and it invites us to share.  And sharing is good, right?

I’ve always adhered to the advice given to a group of my colleagues and me a few years ago in a training regarding sharing information electronically:  If you wouldn’t be comfortable with it landing on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning, don’t write it.  That coupled with mostly good judgment has thankfully kept issues for me to a minimum.   And in terms of this blog, as its owner, I have full say over which comments appear and those that don’t.  All comments go first to my personal email for me to read.  If I choose to publish them, it’s as easy as a single click.  And should I choose not to publish one, it’s even easier–I can ignore it.  I must say, though, that in the two-and-a-half years I have spent at work on this blog, I have never NOT published a comment.

This past year, however, my writing has branched out a bit from the relative safety of this blog–three published articles in Adoptive Families magazine and an interview with Six Seeds magazine.  I am indebted to all those who have encouraged and supported me in these endeavors.  I can’t cook.  I can’t sew.  This is what I can do–it’s the legacy I am leaving for my children.

Here is a link to my most recent article in Adoptive Families magazine:

http://adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=2119

And here is a comment that for a day or two appeared on the article:

What a stupid article, I think you are racist. Looking at your baby I see American,that is it..

Posted by: Lori at 10:43am Nov 27

I understand that by writing about this comment here that I may be giving it more attention than it deserves.  But I think that its existence points to an issue that deserves, actually demands, attention: the anonymity that the internet offers.  Reams have been written on the subject.  But the bottom line is this: “Lori,” which may or may not be her (or his) real name, is allowed to read an article–an article deemed by an editorial board worthy of publication–make a comment that employs language I wouldn’t let my children use, that attacks an individual as opposed to ideas and can do so completely anonymously.

As this blog is a gift to my children, and I hope one day they’ll sit and read it, let me offer this:

Oscar, Edgar, and August,

Whenever you have something to say, have the courage to sign your name.  Your full name.  Own it.  Believe in your ideas and be prepared to defend your stance if need be.   If you’re second-guessing whether or not you should sign your name, then second-guess whether or not what you’re considering saying or writing is worth hearing.  Avoid inflammatory, nonspecific language.  Go after ideas and not individuals.  And always remember the saying, “Speak only if your words can improve upon the silence.”  And wish “Lori” well–because, really, that’s all you can do.

Love, Mom

Sharp-Dressed Man

I have always been a bit of a clotheshorse; however, once my sons came along, any money and attention I devoted to clothing went less to mine and more to their wardrobes.  It was–was–six years of bliss: I could select and dress them in outfits with abandon–dressy button-down shirts, argyle vests, corduroy jackets, snazzy shoes.  My only limitation was an early rejection of turtlenecks–definitely something with which I could live and work.

My friends with children who expressed a decided preference looked on with envy when I would describe dressing my sartorially oblivious boys: arms going up or out to receive the shirt or sweater of the day; a solid plop on our laps as we helped them put on their pants and socks.  Fabric, color, style–nothing mattered . . . until about a month ago.

Now Oscar utters statements such as these:

“Can you wash my gray pants so I can wear them again tomorrow?”

“I won’t wear light-colored jeans anymore–only dark jeans.”

“I don’t want to wear regular shoes and sneakers–only Crocs.”

“You can give Edgar all my button-down shirts.  I only want the the collared shirts with the three little buttons at the top.”

“That shirt has a purple stripe.  I can’t wear that.”

“Undershirts are for babies.”

So, this is where we are . . .

There is no doubt that  many of Oscar’s burgeoning opinions are influenced by his friends’ appearances; but that is to be expected.

Tonight I talked with Oscar about developing his own sense of style–and that while he might want to draw inspiration from others, he should not strive to imitate them.  And his response, as his responses so often do, knocked me over:

“Don’t worry, Mom.  I’m working on being Oscar–no one else.”

Phew.

Top Five Reasons NOT to Bring Home a Guinea Pig

Here is a snippet of a note we received recently from Oscar and Edgar’s wonderful science teacher:

“As the holiday season approaches, I will be looking for families to volunteer to take care of Penny (our classroom Guinea Pig) over the school vacations! Many students have expressed an interest in taking Penny home, so I would like to offer that opportunity to all families.”

Oscar got in the car last Friday, reached into the abyss of his Boba Fett backpack, and whipped out that letter.

What followed went something like this:  “Plllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaasssssssssseeeeeeee can we take Penny home for all the school vacations?”

All of them?

Edgar chimed in: “I want Penny!!!!!!!!”

Of course he does.

So, here are my Top Five Reasons Not to Bring Home a Guinea Pig:

5.  We live in a 1,500-square foot house–and by “we,” I mean, five people, two dogs, and a cat.  I’m not sure there’s room for even one more book, let alone a guinea pig and her accouterments.

4.  We have a cat and two dogs (see Number 5 above).  One more creature with fur–especially of the rodent variety–might tantalize our four-footed creatures beyond what we could even imagine.

3.  Bringing home a guinea pig for a weekend or a school vacation is only going to make the boys want one of their own.  Oscar played a video game one time at a friend’s house and now has put something called a “DS” at the top of Christmas list.

2.  August has recently discovered what he believes to be the culinary delights of dog food.  I can only imagine how delicious he’d find guinea pig food.

1.  And the number-one reason we shouldn’t bring home a guinea pig I can’t even spell . . . the infamous guinea pig squeal that I know, with my luck, will start up the minute I drift off to sleep.  And, oh how I LOVE sleep . . .

But, of course, you all know how this story will end . . . because the number-one reason to bring Penny home for a week or just a weekend is because Oscar and Edgar want to and will love her and love the experience.

So, I will let their science teacher know Penny the Guinea Pig is welcome here any time–and I’ll worry about sleep some other time!

That Kid Is Awesome

Yesterday afternoon we decided to pay a visit to the Providence Place Mall–one of my favorite places to shop and eat (hello, Indian restaurant in the Food Court).  With two gifts to buy, I had dreams of a blissful two hours tooling around the mall with August while Don took Oscar and Edgar to the movies–selecting cute baby clothes for my cousin’s shower and something gorgeous and dry-clean-only for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

I dropped them off at 2:45 PM, and chirped, “See you in two hours.”  And off I skipped, thinking, “Ah, this is going to be heaven–shopping, hanging out with my sweet baby,” who was so tired I thought for a moment he might actually take a nap.

And then it began . . . We’ll start with the yelling.  Not yelling as though he were angry–just an exuberant volume that is charming only in a sixteen-month-old (and, even then, barely so depending upon where you are):

“Look, August . . . See the elevator?”

“AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!!”

We exited the elevator and proceeded down one of the main corridors of the mall, where passersby said more than once, “He’s missing a shoe”–or a sock, depending upon what he had decided to remove and throw.

Soon we entered a store, where he grabbed and pulled at every article clothing he could reach from his stroller (which was remarkably quite a bit) and pulled off and put into his mouth a tag or two or three for good measure.  I  turned my head for a moment to find the right size of something I wanted to buy when suddenly all the jeans on a nearby display–twenty or so pair–were on the floor.  A befuddled clerk, who looked as though she had to do this all day, whisked in and started to pick them up–but not faster than he was tossing them.

Our next stop was a, shall we say, fastidious store that didn’t offer a lot of stroller room.  At one point August had three boxes of cards in his stroller, to which the pained owner pointed then said to me, “Ma’am, do you plan to buy these?”

Keep in mind, of course, that at all times the yelling continued . . . and by the time two hours was nearly up, August had figured out how to remove the shoulder straps from his stroller and essentially stand up on the foot rest–giving himself a little height and more than a little freedom.  He went through the mall yelling, pointing, and standing–all without shoes and socks, which I ultimately had to remove after the tenth or so time of having to retrieve one or more of them. (And to all the ladies who gave me “the look,” please keep in mind the recycled mall air is kept at a comfortable ten thousand degrees.  He was perfectly fine.)

As we strolled back to the movie theater to pick up Don, Oscar, and Edgar, August was in his full glory.  We entered the elevator with an older teenage boy and his girlfriend.  The young woman looked down at August and remarked on his cuteness, to which August screamed in response, “AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG,” all the while trying to escape from his stroller.  She then of course asked, “Where are his shoes and socks?”  I explained how he had recently discovered the joy of throwing them and watching me find them!  She chuckled lightly, at which August screamed again.  Her boyfriend, looked down at my shoeless, sockless, standing, screaming boy and remarked, “That kid is awesome!”

He hides my telephone and calculator, throws toothbrushes in the toilet and clothes in the garbage can–but you know what . . . he really is.

Here’s the Link

The link to the Six Seeds interview is live and ready for your comments!

http://sixseeds.tv/s/content/adoption/669-my_three_sons

To say we are proud of the journey we made to form our family is an understatement to be sure.  To be able to share it here and raise money for the adoption agency and programs responsible for each of us finding one another is pure joy.

Please click on the link and leave a comment right on the interview.  Every comment the interview generates will raise $2 for our adoption agency–a very generous offer from Six Seeds for which we are grateful.

And, please, if you’re inclined, copy and paste this post or share the link with a friend or two (or three or twenty)–the more comments, the more generous the donation!

Thank you to Deanna DiMarzio for the gorgeous photographs of the boys accompanying the interview!

And thank you all for your time and support of us and this endeavor.  It means more than I can ever possibly express.