Thursday, July 25, 2013

On lying to my 3-year-old

So...I lied to my daughter.  About a Disney show.1

screenshot from Disney Jr

We don't have cable, but somehow we heard about the Disney Channel cartoon Doc McStuffins, a show about a little girl who is a doctor to stuffed animals and toys.  It's gentle, it's sweet, and--its greatest quality--it doesn't make me want to pull my hair out.

We can watch it on the Disney website and it's a perfect welcome-back-to-the-land-of-the-living transition after naptime.  Then last week, there was no Doc because of a technical glitch.

Which meant the player automatically turned on Sofia the First.

Disney, how dare you.

Sofia the First is not inherently a bad show: it's about a village girl who learns she's a princess and now yay! life is one big fairy tale.  In the episode we were directed to watch, Sofia is invited to a royal sleepover.  She's excited, invites a pair of girl friends from "the village" and...they don't fit in.  And the princess crowd lets them know this.

Sure, the story eventually resolves and everybody gets to play, but there's a big chunk of the narrative that revolves around "those girls are different, different is bad, and different doesn't get to play with us"...and that's not a narrative my 3-year-old needs from Disney Jr.

It made me think back to this awful class I took in high school called Teen Decisions.

Oh my word, this class.

This class taught me all about drugs, STDs, promiscuity, eating disorders, shoplifting, suicide...any and all traps that teenagers fall into.  We watched a particularly harrowing movie about a girl who developed anorexia because of the anxiety she felt over life changing too fast around her.  In the end she got treatment and was willing to eat a bagel...but you know what?  That's not really what I took away from it.

From that movie I learned how to avoid eating, how to make people think you've eaten, how to make yourself seem like you weigh more than you do, and how to punch through a hospital wall to hide your food2 and make it seem like you ate it.

In other words, the movie to dissuade eating disorders was more of a how-to manual.

Pookie doesn't need a how-to in excluding others, especially not one that comes with a musical number.

(Also...another princess show?  Really, Disney?)

So, Doc's links are fixed now, and I'm running with the lie that Sofia's are broken3.  I can't hide her from the world forever, but today, the world of girl drama can wait; we've got more important things to do.  Like jumping on the bed and singing our lungs out.

1 In other news, she flopped down on my bed backwards and somehow my toenail ended up in her forehead and she's got a lovely cut above her eyebrow. So on the parenting scale I'm batting a thousand.
2 Can I just pause to say "yikes"? YIKES! That little nugget cannot be unseen or forgotten. So thanks, Teen Decisions. Also, the 27 names for cocaine you taught me? Super helpful and totally applicable to real life.
3 But we don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa, so I get two gimme lies, right? Right?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Twitterature :: July 2013

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a link-up each month called Twitterature: a "place to share short, casual reviews of books you’ve been reading." 

Carry on, Warrior :: Glennon Doyle Melton
Funny, poignant, brutally honest tales from the life of a recovered bulimic and alcoholic...definitely lots of passages read aloud to Professor from this one!

The Journal of Best Practices :: David Finch
Memoir of a marriage in shambles...until the husband was diagnosed with Asperger's.  Then began a lot of work, struggle, hilarity, and sweetness as they battled back to save their relationship.  Also a lot of passages read aloud to Professor!

Choosing to See :: Mary Beth Chapman
I felt really dumb when I realized I'd totally missed the premise of this book: I honestly thought that Mary Beth Chapman had gone blind and wrote a book about it.  Instead, this is the heart-wrenching story of losing a daughter.  Sometimes hard to read, sometimes lighthearted, always pointing to Jesus.  Professor got an earful of this one, too.

The UnWired Mom :: Sarah Mae
Loved this little book; it left me wanting more, but isn't that always the way with ebooks?  I'll be writing more about this soon, but one thing is for sure: I am definitely more aware of how I use (and abuse) the internet on a day-to-day basis, and I've started praying about it quite a bit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On the day she turns three

Dear Pookie,

The first time you sat without being propped up, I cried.  I bawled my eyes out and wailed to your father about how prom and graduation were just around the corner.  Maybe it was a little of the hormones still talking, but now that you're three?  And I realize I'll only have five more "threes" (which fly by like nothing) and you really will be graduating and flying the coop and taking on the world?

Carrot cake with frosting and Bambi and candles (and a fork)--just as requested

I'm a puddle all over again.

We're in a tough spot these days, obedience-wise.  You so desperately want independence, so there's a lot of boundary pushing.  Then again, when you first learned to walk, I'd take you to the mall and let you roam the halls, walking just behind you, letting you explore whatever your heart fancied.

I  pushed you toward independence in exploration, and I pushed you toward potty training, feeding yourself, controlling yourself during church.  There were times I know I pushed a little harder than I should have, but all in all, I still love just watching you explore.

You are my nature girl.  Rocks, sticks, anything you can get your hands on.  I let you "trespass" on what you call a "forest" up the road (only on weekdays when I'm sure everyone's gone for the day); you would stay there all day if I let you.  And when we visit Grandma and Grandpa's farm?  You're already clamoring to go to the barn before we hit the brakes.

What do you do while you explore the barn and all that nature?  You talk.  You sing.  You recreate the stories that fill your world--the books we read and the TV you watch, which is only two things: Doc McStuffins (the same episode every day for two weeks since that's what available on the website) and this Scripture sing-along video from the nineties that we found at the thrift store.

Every dreamer needs dress-up clothes!

You live in these stories and make them your own, narrating what happened and what's happening now.  Sometimes after I give you an instruction, you say, "Said her mother."  And after we read Paddington?  It was a week of "said Johnathan, admiringly."  You so make me laugh.

I guess that's a pretty good picture of you at three: happy, talkative, independent, nature-loving, narrative-driven, all arms and legs and lots of kisses.

I love you, Pookie; I know God has big things for you in this life, so that Jesus you're always repeating stories about?  Cling to Him, baby; He'll never leave you or let you down.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

On Independence Day

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. --Sinclair Lewis

We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution.  --John F. Kennedy

Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. --John Quincy Adams

Happy Independence Day, one and all; let the grand experiment continue.
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