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Which Super Hero Wears What Underwear?

If you  have kids at home who love super heroes, beware. These guys are kinda weird – the super heroes, not the kids. They’re supposed to be above and beyond normal beings. Stronger, better, smarter. You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between that and moms, right? Well, the difference is they have secrets that Moms don’t. Some pretty surprising, if not a little . . . strange.

How do I know all this? It started with a very straight forward quiz that my daughter saw online, “Which Super Hero are you?” It sounded innocent enough so when she begged me to take the quiz, I thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, she was done and announced proudly which of the million unrealistic characters with impeccable hair and flawless skin she was. I was a little surprised to hear that she was akin to Batman, given that she’s a girl. But let’s not be gender-funny and stereotype our daughters into thinking they can’t be Batman if they want to. Whatever.

“Mom, why don’t you take the quiz?” she asked

“Okay. Ask me the questions” And that’s when it started to go all weird. After a few normal questions, like “Are you strong?”, “Do you like fighting?”, came this, “Do you wear thongs?”, followed by “Do you wear push up bras?”

I didn’t think this was too appropriate for kids. But that’s not the weirdest thing about this quiz. No, what’s really comical is that if you answer “Yes” to both questions, you are akin to Wonder-Woman, which is a total joke given that her costume consists of larger than life panties. And – I can’t know for sure, but these boobs don’t look real to me. Or if they are, there really is no need to push them up. Now, here’s the interesting fact: if you answer “Yes” to thong and “No” to push up bras, you end up being like Superman. Superman wears thongs. And it must be true, because it’s on a quiz on the internet.

FYI, Batman isn’t into that S&M stuff. He wears no push up bra, and no thong. Just plain ol’ whiteys. Well, now you know.

Speaking of gender stereotype, why is it that the quiz asks about push up bras and thongs, and not about whether you wear butt enhancing cuts, or package busting pouches? Oh yes, it’s a real thing. Go check out underwear for men websites if you don’t believe me .

Anyway, all this is BS, we all know super heroes aren’t real. Plus, I gotta go. Gotta spin three times in a telephone booth so I can be all dressed and dolled up for the day. And to the nasty voices who are thinking, “I know that Nadege-woman, she never looks as neat and well put as WonderWoman”, I say this: When is the last time you saw a telephone booth, huh? So cut me some slacks!

Who would have thought?

 

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Elsa Ruined My Life

If I ever have to answer the question, “What changed your life in the past few years, I definitely know what to say, “Elsa!” Followed by, “change is the understatement of the year”. Elsa and her gang have turned my life upside down. When I share my frustrated comment with other moms, some go, “Oh, yes, I know. My daughter likes Frozen too”

Likes? LIKES! No, ladies, this has nothing to do with liking, or loving. It has to do with complete, utter obsession.

So if your daughter gets addicted, recognize the signs, and get help before it’s too late, like it is for us. The advanced warnings of a HyperFrozenmadmaniatis (not even dramatic enough)  are:

1.  You’ve seen the movie so many times that you know all the lines by heart.

2. Point 1. in at least one foreign language.

3. You’ve seen Frozen on ice, on fire, under water and in space.

4. Your daughter owns three Elsa dresses, the shoes, the jewelry, the wig, the crown, and just put an offer on a castle.

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5. Your house is full of plastic Elsas of all sizes.

6. You’ve decorated your queen’s bedroom with Elsa’s posters, Elsa’s bed sheets, Elsa’s cushions, and a big, giant Olaf guarding the bedroom. And just so you know, Olaf looks very creepy in the middle of the night with his scary grin, like he’s going to swallow you. If I meet him in a dark alley, I won’t be giving him warm hugs.

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Olaf at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Your dog has been renamed Kristoff – must have to do with the smell.

8. You’ve intentionally scratched the CD, totally by accident! Because if you hear someone telling you to “Let It Go” once more, you’re gonna give them what they’re asking for.

9. You own more Elsa books than you can possibly imagine. Even Disney doesn’t know there are that many.

10. You’ve heard a rumor that there’s a sequel coming out, so you need to remortgage the house to get the new outfits, toys and houses.

Finally, if every single conversation in your house has turned into an excerpt of Frozen, you’re cursed. Like whenever there’s an argument brewing between two people, and your daughter mumbles, “Let the storm rage on”. Or if you ask her to put a jacket on to go to school and she blurts out, “The cold never bothered me anyway”, you’re doomed. The only option is to move to another planet. I’m seriously considering that plan.

 

 

 

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“Men, Women & Children” by Chad Kultgen

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This story is a take on different relationships, though different characters and generations, with the aded layer of social media thrown in the mix. I like the mirror writing, showing how each party involved perceives a situation. The book is written in such a way that the reader empathizes with most, if not all characters. It has everything: social pressure, the importance of image, the need to perform, the search for who we really are, the pursuit of (a) happiness, the resilience of everyday life. I loved it. This was not a novel to me, this was a snapshot of people’s lives. The characters might have been on the extreme side of the spectrum, but all readers can identify with parts of them.  I felt that this book is a good read for parents with tweens, because it reinforces that our kids are growing up and we cannot avoid it, or remove them from the technology whirlwind around them. It doesn’t give answers about how to handle teenagers, peer pressure, or social media, but it’s just good to be reminded that all these things are here, they’re not going away and we will have to face them. However we choose to do it is up to us.  I don’t know how to put it, there’s something about this book that resonates, and the sometimes crude writing doesn’t take anything away.  This book definitely makes me want to buy Chad Kultgen’s other novels.

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Behave, Or Else!

I’m a mom. And like all moms, I want my kids to be well adjusted, socially aware by understanding and respecting others. From a more practical point of view, I also want them to behave. Because I don’t fancy a trip to the mall with a brat rolling on the floor, or having to negotiate for three hours so we can leave the playground. When I say, “Go!”, that’s what we’ll do. When I say, “No!”, you just have to accept that you’re not gonna get whatever it is that you’re asking for. And if you don’t listen, then I have a back up plan: consequences for challenging mom’s authority include time out, losing TV, playdates and other privileges. That usually nips it in the bud.

I’m not all about punishing and saying, “No” – Just don’t ask my kids to confirm, take my word for it. I also do positive reinforcement and teach the difference between good and bad behaviors by reading books. Because, it’s always better when it comes from somebody else.

But lately, I came across something  a little . . . disturbing. A series of books about behaviors that kids shouldn’t do, like: bullying, lying, etc. Yes, we all agree that it’s bad, and no one should do it. The books show a kid who does all these bad things, and has to face the consequences of his actions. Yeah, I buy that too! I think it’s fair, if you’re going to show bad attitude, you should deal with consequences. But, is there such thing as taking it too far? Like, is it really necessary to make the kid disappear. Forever! And show relieved parents having a party because the bad kid is gone. I mean, hello? For real? What do I tell my five year old when she asks,

“Where did the little boy go, Mom?

He got lost at sea and died of dehydration and hunger, unless he was eaten by a shark first. Good night hun, sweet dreams!”

I don’t think my kid will be bullying anyone or lying after that. Or sleep for that matter . . .

One might say the proof is in the pudding and all that, but I think that’s a little over the top. Oh, excuse me, I need to put my kids to bed.

“Children,  if you don’t brush your teeth in the next two seconds, jump in your PJs and fall asleep right away, cicadas will come to visit you in the night. You have been warned . . . ”

Where was I? Oh yeah, shocking to scare your kids like that, isn’t it?

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The Hidden Genius of Dr Seuss

Everybody knows Dr Seuss is a genius. I never met anyone who disagrees with that. His talents are plenty.

The moral of each story tackles deep topics with such ease. What better way to teach kids not to be afraid of one another’s differences than writing a story about a strange looking animal and a pair of empty pants?

He has invented a wide range of vocabulary that only makes you wonder, “Why are these words not in the dictionary?” I swear, sometimes it really feels like I do have a wocket in my pocket.

He has taken learning to a whole new level: counting by competing, using your feet to teach opposites. What kids doesn’t want to do that?

He has given poetry a kid-friendly face,

“And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance

You’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants”

His illustrations are simple yet amazingly detailed. His characters are weird looking “things” with even weirder names that you can only love. Their only downside is having to put up with a few years of conversations with your kids, to the tune of,

“Mom, why can’t I have a crumple-horn web-footed green-bearded schlottz for a pet?

– Because they don’t exist.

– Yes they do! It’s in the book. Look!”

I could go on and on about how much I love Dr Seuss’s work. Despite the fact that he is spreading the strange idea of pant eating plants in French forests. I never used to go in French forests though, so it might very well be true.

But, I have to say, the one thing I admire and respect this person the most for, is this: he has invented THE device of the future for moms. NO ONE has ever come close to understanding mothers the way he did. NO ONE. If only someone could bother making his genius machine, life would never be the same . . .

For copyright purposes, I cannot show you the illustration I am talking about, so I will have a go at creating my own version of Dr Seuss’s genius (did I say that already?) idea:

dr seuss

All you do is drive the thing while drinking the coffee that IT MADE for you. I told you, it’s out of this world.

 

 

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If you are reading this . . .

You are looking for my Tuesday blog and thinking, “Lazy woman, she has not posted one yet!” And you would be wrong! Today’s post is on my bookshelf tab. In order to honor my RRBC friend, I have read reviewed and now blogged about his AMAZING, out-of-this-world-full-of-talent book – if that’s even a sentence. So click on “What’s on my shelf” and read my review of Jazz Baby.

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Kids And Political Correctness – Part Two

The first part of this post talked about messages in kids’ books, and how some of them end up being lost, or even worse, our children take away the opposite of what was intended.

For example, princess stories probably imply that beauty comes from the inside in the form of kindness, but the message received from little girls (at least mine) is that beauty matters. Not too good a concept to hang on to for too long.

Another interesting thing about these stories, is that a girl (princess) only exists through marriage. Before she gets married, she doesn’t have any level of independence. She is a prisoner, in a posh jail, but jail nonetheless. Her so-called friends, step-parents, enemies, are all out to get her and she is defenseless. Until Prince Charming comes and saves the day! And by the way, he is also, always very handsome, because he too is kind. If only you could get that beauty comes from the inside, it would all make sense!

Equally disturbing is the fact that if you are a princess, you get married, and that’s that! There are exceptions, but not many, so by and large, wedlock seems to be the rule.

I am not a feminist, but that’s not a good message for my daughter who now answers to the question, “What do you want to do when you are a grown-up?”

“I want to marry a prince”

I am not trying to raise a gold digger. So I launch into a desperate attempt to set the record straight.

“It’s more important that you think about your college education, you are better alone than with the wrong person, you can stand on your own two feet, have a job, your own life, blahdiblahdiblah”

“Nooooo. I want to marry a prince!”

Ooookay, moving on . . .

Honestly, I don’t even know what should be in these books. Yesterday, I was reading one about a prince who marries a girl he thinks is a princess. But it turns out, she isn’t, she was only pretending. And guess what the prince says when he finds out? “I don’t care that you are not a princess, I love you for who you are” YEAH, RIGHT! Have you not watched any reality TV show lately? Of course, he cares! And he should. Because not for nothing, the fake princess has been lying to him, implying that he was vain and only interested in status. So not exactly the healthiest start of a relationship. Plus, I don’t want my daughter to think that she too, can marry a prince, even though she is no royalty. You can’t, baby, you just can’t. It’s not the way the world works.

Another recurring theme in all these stories is that stepmothers are evil. Well, yeah, that part has some truth. Glad there are some realistic life moments in these otherwise utopic stories. Mind you, they are called fairy tales, so maybe the hint is in the name . . .

Finally, I am wondering, why is there always a parent (or two) who dies in these books? What is it teaching our kids? Coping with loss? Understanding mortality? Cherish your family, they might not be around for as long as you think?

I have a suggestion to make to writers of these fairy-tales: if you are going to be all serious and grown-up, why not drop the doom and gloom about parents and concentrate on sending more realistic messages about self- worth (i.e., don’t need a prince to stand on my own two feet). If you really, really need to kill someone in order to have a good story, how about sending the evil stepmom “swimming with the fishes”. At least, we could then talk about what comes around goes around, karma’s a b#^* and all that.

Thankfully, some children’s authors have decided it was never too early to learn about real life. So recently, I have been reading some very interesting books to my daughter. A lot of it is flying over her head, but the multiple layers of morals do not escape my scrutiny! Some messages are really positive, like being smart will keep you out of trouble, being kind always pays off eventually, world domination is not about physical power but wittiness and understanding your environment – Yes! I read that in a kids’ book! Some messages are more practical, like, you can bulls$@t your way through life as long as you can keep it up, the best form of defense is attack, revenge is a dish best served cold. And the inevitable, an eye for an eye!

I just wished these guys’ next book would be a fairy tale.  No more princess feeling desperate in her ivory tower, hoping for a handsome prince to free her from the evil stepmom. That girl will kick butts, crush the stepmom, send the prince to get himself a real job and simply hold the world in the palm of her hand. Way to go, princess!

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Kids And Political Correctness – Part One

As we are trying to prepare our kids to face the real world, the literature we expose them to is sometimes sending confusing messages. My daughter’s favorite stories always involve a beautiful, nice and kind princess marrying a handsome, cool prince, thus escaping the evil of a stepmom. But what is this teaching her?

Beauty matters. Ouch! Really? Are all princesses beautiful? Erm . . . No, but nobody wants to read a story about an ugly lady, no matter how kind she is.

I know it’s not the message! In fact, I am pretty sure the moral of these stories is quite the opposite: when you are nice and kind, you are beautiful outside, no matter what you really look like. But it’s a second degree thing, a little hard to explain to five year olds.

My daughter’s take on the whole princess business is more along the lines of: if you are pretty, you are more likeable, regardless of whether you are nice or not. And if you are ugly, well, people can’t seem to see pass that and it really doesn’t matter whether you are nice or not. Disturbing thought. . .

Beauty is subjective, it’s in the eye of the one who looks and all that. But when you are five, this is simply not true: if you have big feet, with bunions (like Cinderella’s sisters), you could be Miss World and still ugly! Conversely, long hair and stunning dresses are the definition of beautiful, no matter what the rest of you looks like – unless you have big feet with bunions, and your dress can’t hide them . . .

I want to believe that the readers for whom these stories are intended (i.e. not forty something mothers with too much time in their hands to write posts about princess stories) know better than I give them credit for, and that they understand, beauty comes from the inside.

In order to make sure, I conducted a little survey and asked my three kids,

“Guys, if you could be a beautiful princess or prince who’s mean, or an ugly princess (prince) who’s super nice, which would you choose?”

The boys: “Mom, this is so lame! Who cares?”

The girl: “I would be beautiful.

–          But the beautiful one is mean.

–          Yeah, but she’s beautiful.

–          Maybe, but isn’t it more important to be nice?

–          Erm… No”

So there you have it. Message not received at all!

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Some things have to change around here

Morning grumpiness must go! That’s not a New Year’s resolution, it’s a complete life change! N.O.  M.O.R.E!

Every morning I get up early – already not a good start for me, but I have accepted that it is part of my job description: I must get three kids ready for school. It doesn’t matter that I want to laze around, I can’t.  I don’t tend to get up in a bad mood. Frankly, I don’t have enough energy to be in any type of mood. But I am telling you, it takes the patience of a saint and the zen of a professional optimist to not be in a bad mood within an hour of being up.

First, I get kid number one up. He is great! he always wakes up with a smile, and a million stories to tell already. This is immediately followed by him falling back to sleep, then him forgetting to get dressed, not having his bag ready, not finding his shoes, stepping out of the house with no coat, and generally nearly missing the bus. So I am wondering whether the smile he wakes up with is just a way to say, “You want me to get up? You wait and see what’s coming next…” By the time he is in the bus, I am on edge, He wouldn’t take much more than a tiny push to tip me over the bad mood side. Which is taken care of by kids two and three.

One always wakes up in a horrendous mood and blames everything on me. School is my fault, the weather is my fault, the day of the week is my fault. So yeah, cheer up, me!! The other one wakes up smiling, only to burst into tears the second after, at the realization that I already had a shower, or I have not had one yet, or there is school, or there is no school.

Inevitably, after all that drama, my mood changes from non existent to foul, to terribly foul. But who can blame me? It wouldn’t be so bad if I liked being in a bad mood But I don’t. I am not saying that on occasions, I don’t enjoy being a total jerk to everybody and when they say, “What’s up with you? Why are you so mean?”, I just go, “I am in a bad mood. So back off!” But that’s not the norm. Generally speaking, I prefer to be nice and mellow.

So things have got to change. The morning routine needs to be turned into a pleasant experience, as opposed to a series of meltdowns and screaming episodes.

In order to lift everybody’s spirit in the morning and start the day on a wonderful, light note, I have decided that from now on, I will make up my kids with a joke. Every single morning. Starting with, this morning,

“What do birds say when they play Hide and Seek?”

“Argh… go away, mom!” was how my kids greeted my new morning ritual. But that did not stop me from serving them my punch line,

“No. They say Tweetaboo!” Now if that does not put everybody in a good mood, then I don’t know what will.

I know you are thinking I won’t be able to keep that up for very long. But you should have more faith in me. I already have tomorrow’s joke lined up, and I know you are DYING to know what it is. Plus, if I ever run out, I have a book of The Best Knock-Knock Jokes Ever so that should keep me going for a year or two.

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Okay, I’ll tell you my joke for tomorrow,

“What do pigs say when they greet one another? ”

“Oink, oink, pigs to meet you!” I  know! So funny, right?!

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Another amazing bunch…

Last week, I was invited to Pingry to talk about my writing. I had a great time, listening to what kids write about and answering their super smart questions. I don’t think I will ever stop being wowed by how children are able to articulate their thoughts so cleverly and logically.

I gave them a writing challenge at the end of the presentation and here is my pick from the  3rd graders drawings. Once again, it is quite fascinating to witness how well they manage to capture their characters with just a few sentences. Really, they should be doing the dialogues on all my illustrations! Because YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

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