Catching up.

Has it really been two weeks?  I guess it has.  Life happens like that sometimes and life has certainly happened to me.  To us.  Grab a chair and a cocktail and turn on some music.  We’ll get all caught up here in a minute.

Summer is clicking by ever so slowly.  The kids have been out of school for nearly two months and the honeymoon is over. So, so over.  I can tell the Littles are growing up because they scrap and fight all day long.  You know, when they are not each other’s best friend.  Now this is familiar territory.  I remember sibling fighting and friending very clearly.  What I need to remind myself is that my sister and I are now very, very close despite all the childhood smack talking and attention grabbing and the Littles, I am sure, will have the same relationship.

Ella turned seven last Friday.  I know.  I have kept someone in my house alive for seven whole years.  It is a dubious milestone, sadly.  She is still very small for seven years old.  I had her to the pediatrician last week and she’s tenth percentile for height.  Tiny.  Poor thing.  I’ve always wished for two more inches (and who hasn’t, really) but I think she’s going to be lucky to break five feet tall at this point. 

I was going to do another letter to Ella like I did last year but A) I think it’s Amelia’s turn and 2) I wasn’t home.  Not at all that day.

The Littles went to visit Stephen’s mom for the weekend so I could work and so she could spoil and snuggle them without me around to be a giant buzz kill.  I know they have fun there but it’s going to take me at least a week to get them back in line.  (It’s a line…a crooked line.)  And my house exploded with birthday detritus.  Barbies and paint by number and puzzles and tie blankets and matching kick scooters.  Dresses.  Doll accessories.  How fun for them.

Reminds me that I need to schedule a garage sale.  Not for this stuff.  I’m not nearly that mean.  No, for all the outgrown toys of birthdays past.

Ella is auditioning for MIssoula Children’s Theatre tomorrow.  They are bringing The Jungle Book to our town.  I guess last year 200 kids auditioned and they cast 60.  Ella is convinced she’s going to get a lead.  I just hope she’s one of the 60.  She’s been talking about it for months, even to the point of inviting strangers at the grocery store (back in March when it was announced) to get tickets and come see her.  Like I said, months of this.  Makes me think of Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter, “Dear God, lead her away from drama but not as far as finance.” 

Although if they ask her to do jazz hands, she’s all set.  Oh my.  What have I done?

Anyway the Littles went visiting for the weekend so I could work an outdoor BBQ and music festival for three days.  Three jungle humid, Africa hot days.

I am chafed in places we will not discuss.  I have a mosquito bite on the palm of my hand (among other, equally odd places) and I have a very mild sunburn.  I look like hamburger and I’m still mildly dehydrated I’m sure.  But, any day I get to work is a good day.  I can’t complain.  Beggars…choosers…that whole thing.

Remember how I asked for prayers?  Well there must be an unknown plan because I didn’t get what I wanted.  That was part of the anniversary week trauma and the (hopefully not permanent) liver damage that followed the next weekend.  You know, the holiday weekend that lasted an extra day.  That was the damage part.  Two days?  I got this.  Three?  I need detox. 

School starts one month from today and I am faced with another long school year not consistently being a productive member of society.  I am more than a little bugged by this event.  You just never know what’s going to come up but I have been home for seven years (mostly) and I am done.  I am a better mother and a better friend and better mentally when I am working.

Unless it’s working in jungle-like conditions.  And then I am not nice at all.

The ugly cry.

I can’t do it. 

I sit here with the cursor blinking and my special “blogging” itunes playlist and the house is cool and quiet.  Kitty is dozing on the arm of my chair and I’m not the least bit drunk.  Not one bit, I swear.

It usually doesn’t take much for me to tap out a thousand words or so about anything or nothing or whatever it is that’s been knocking around this great big brain of mine.  But tonight, I seem to be unable to form a coherent thought.

Doesn’t help that I have a headache.  And not just any old headache.  No, I have one of those “been crying too long” headaches.  The heaviness that follows a crying jag so extended that I was grateful the littles were playing up the street at a friends and all the windows were closed.

It was that ugly.  And ugly noises.  And choking snot and tears that made me gag just a little. 

You know the cry.  I guess I should say, you know the cry if you are a girl.  It’s the cry that happens only when your heart breaks and I’m not just talking about boys.  It’s the cry that comes when you don’t get the part in the play or when your best friend betrays you.  It’s the cry from putting down your beloved pet and yes, from breakups and the promotion you didn’t get. Or when you bury a fucking husband!  Or a child! (sorry about that…I’m trying to work on casual swearing…just not today apparently)

And if you are a guy, you’ve seen it.  At least I hope you’ve seen it.  Even if it was just once, you should experience the ugly cry.

It hit me in the chest today.  I saw the date on the calendar at breakfast and had to take a minute.

June 29.

On June 29, 2002 I married my best friend.  Nine years ago today.

Nine years.  That’s a long time in married years (and I mean that in the best possible way).  Nine.

I don’t know what I was doing last year but I didn’t blog about it.  I did the years before but not last year for some reason.  I don’t remember being particularly torn up or anything.  I do remember being all proud of myself for not making a scene.  So what the shit happened today?  Why now? 

You’d think that I’d be over it by now, I said to a friend this afternoon.

He says,” I don’t.”

You don’t what?

“I wouldn’t think you’d be over it.  I wouldn’t think you’d ever be over it.”

Thank you.  No, seriously, thank you.  That’s all I needed to hear.  Especially when, sometimes, I get the feeling that I’ve dwelled on it (to others) too long.  That my own brand of crazy is a little too much. 

I can hear it.  “Yes, yes I get it.  You’re sad.  You miss him.  You hate being single.  You hate that your kids are fatherless.  So, how about those (fill in favorite team)?”

I just wish I could figure out why this hit me so hard today.  If I knew, maybe I could head it off next time? 

Probably not.  But that’s my right I suppose.

So, no.  No thousand words on a sweet memory and no pretty pictures from happier years.  No boozy observations on life and love and the littles.

(Although I did have a conversation with Amelia about boy babies and girl babies and how the only difference is what hat the doctor puts on the baby after it comes out of the mommy’s tummy.  This is me, trying not to giggle, explaining boy parts and girl parts.  Again.)

I feel like I’ve been hit in the face with a sack of dimes.  And I think I’ve ruined a contact lens somewhere in the mess of the day.  And…there may have been an incident involving cupcakes and homemade buttercream but I’m not coping to that just yet.

Ask me tomorrow.  Tomorrow has to be better.

Right?

What I did for love.

“A part of the great tradition of the theatre is the code of ethics which belong to every worker in the theatre. This code is not a superstition, nor a dogma, nor a ritual which is enforced by tribunals; it is an attitude toward your vocation, your fellow workers, your audiences and yourself. It is a kind of self-discipline which does not rob you of your invaluable individualism”. (Taken from the forward to The 1945 Code of Ethics for Theatre Workers)


 

I’ve been working a show for the last month, “Guys and Dolls”.  I use the term “working” loosely of course.  It was not my show.  I didn’t light it or design it.  I was not the director, technical or otherwise.  I wasn’t even full-time nor was I one of few who skulked around the wings and around back.  I was one of many.

All I did was pull a rope.  Well, lots of ropes.  Lots of ropes at pre-determined times and places, the same thing every night without fail.  Without MY fail anyway.  Say what you want but I can pull a rope. 

It’s not even that special, pulling a rope.  There wasn’t any real magic happening; I assisted getting from one scene to the next.  But it was my assigned job and I did it the best that I could.

And not just that but I was sick.  Really pretty effing sick as it turns out.  But I got there and I did my job.  The rope pulls were heavy, almost too heavy at times.  My hands are torn up and calloused.  That first week, my muscles ached.  I came home sweaty and dirty from every show.

Didn’t matter.

Know why?  Because I love it.  I love it and when I consider what I want to be when I grow up, I can’t get past that love.  I can’t even think about going and doing anything else.

A good majority of the rest of the backstage crew (and the people ON stage for that matter) are punks.  These kids are just starting out their lives if they have even started at all.  Some haven’t.  Some are well on their way.  Some are lost.  And some still think this is a sort of club for misfits.  Which, of course, it is but not in the way they think.

I was told once “The day you wake up and want to go and do something else, go and do it.  Get out.”  Something like that sticks with a person.  It’s what I go back to when I re-assess where I want to go. 

Nearly every time I worked, I encountered a teachable moment.  I’ve been in the business for more than fifteen years so I feel qualified, no, compelled to spread out what I’ve learned.  And so many, many times I wanted to say “Get out” and “You know what, this isn’t for you.”  But I didn’t.  All I could do is nurture the love in those punks that get it.  And never had to be told.

Right before the show opened, I came across this: A 1945 Code of Ethics for Theatre Workers.  Until I saw all of this in writing, I had no idea such a thing existed.  There was not a single surprise in the “code” and I don’t remember ever having been directly taught or made to memorize the “code”. 

It’s just how it is.  I have lived it and followed it before I knew it existed.  And if that isn’t love…then what is?

If you have any interest in theatre at all or have ever worked backstage, do me, no…do yourself a favor and read the link.  It’s a small, small business.  In this country, there are roughly 66,000 of us who do this job professionally and we’re better and stronger when we all work together.

Atelphobia

How’s that for a five-dollar word?

Atelphobia.

I found it this afternoon while I was “supervising” the children watching the Cars movie.  Let’s call it that.  What I really was doing was coming down from the oral steroid, inhaled steroid and z-pak cocktail that I took six hours before.  That’s right.  Six hours of nausea, crazy heartbeat and the feeling that my lungs have been dry cleaned.  Which made me grumpy and short with the littles.  Who had been trapped in the house with a deadly combination of rainy day and sick mommy.

So, let’s go ahead a call it supervising.  Just don’t tell anybody that they may or may not have had cheese popcorn and root beer for supper.  I’m supervising and doing what I do best when intense boredom and restlessness sets in, I stumble through the internets. 

There used to be an old joke that if you took all the porn off the internet there would be just one page left called BringBackThePorn.com but that’s no longer true.  In my travels, the internet is full of cupcakes.  I don’t know if that’s true or if the stumble algorithm is finely tuned to my unique brand of porn (that would be food porn) but my internet is full of cupcakes. 

Cupcakes and random quotes and wordy things.  Go figure.  Oh, and booze recipes for fruity drinks.  Pretty photos.  A million things to do with an exacto knife and a pile of scrapbook paper (because what are we going to do with all that scrapbook junk now that 2008 is over?).  And more still more cupcakes.  And big cakes.  And all things peanut butter and chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate….wait?  What were we discussing?  Peanut Butter martinis?  Okay, that’s not nice to talk about in front of the girl on antibiotics.  Not nice at all.

Oh, that’s right.  Atelphobia.

Who looked it up?  Who jumped to the head of the class and had to google it before I said what it was?  Did anybody know?  Seriously.  I want to know who is the overachiever around here.

Atelphobia is the fear of not being good enough.

See also: me.

This is kind of funny given that today is national I don’t give a shit day (fact).  On the one day when we all should give a shit less what anyone thinks, I may have just given a name to what plagues me almost daily.

That I am just not good enough.

Because, logically, if you are not good enough, what you love will be taken away and given to someone who is good enough.  You know, not directly but that’s what it feels like. 

How much has this mentality kept me from doing what I want to do?  And this isn’t lately, this has been one of those “all of my adult life” things. 

I say that I am not a competitor which is true.  I don’t have an aggressive bone in my body.  I don’t race.  I don’t have to be first I just can’t be last.  Sound familiar?  I don’t think I’ll get that job/promotion/position whatever so I’ll aim just a little lower to make it attainable. 

But I remember a time when I competed for roles and spots in elite groups and competed to be a higher seed or the only female whatever in a field of boys.  Something happened.  Something somewhere or a great number of somethings maybe?  And now I walk around wondering if I am good enough.

What is keeping from being a stagehand full-time?  The feeling of not being good enough.  That somebody will see through my reputation for good, hard work and my bravado to realize that I don’t know what I’m doing.  And I know I’m good at what I do.  And I know my limits and know what I don’t know.  But that’s the irrationality of a fear.  I could be a stagehand full-time but what if full-time still isn’t enough to make up for the scheduling headaches not to mention the single parent thing.  I like being home at bedtime.  I like being able to take my kids to church or to Grammy’s on a Sunday afternoon.  If I don’t do it, who will?

I live with two talented, beautiful and wicked smart children.  Why am I keeping them out of dance and music and soccer?  Because I know how competitive the world is and maybe, just maybe, they aren’t THAT good?  So now my fear is being projected onto them?  How is that fair?

Since when do we have to be the best at something in order to get to do it at all?

This is a roundabout question of course because how do we know if we are the best or get to be the best?  By taking that first step and just doing it.  Right? 

And is it human nature to be the best?  Or are there some of us that are content being the assistants, the one that’s happy just to be there, the volunteers instead of being paid, the one that is proud of finishing and never gets a medal?

I’m going to be lucky to sleep at all tonight and, for the first night in almost three weeks, it won’t be because of the asthmatic sounding cough.  The combination of some serious steroid jitters and deep thought will make for a long night.  Which means an even longer day tomorrow.

Inertia.

For the past two weeks, three nights a week, I have been working at our local community theatre (largest in the nation!) and pulling ropes backstage for “Guys and Dolls”.  It’s a volunteer thing but I really enjoy it so I make it happen.  (There’s a blog post about working in theatre coming soon, I can feel it!)

Last night, I was in my show blacks and getting ready to get in the van to leave.  I briefed the babysitter, left a check for the pizza delivery guy and kissed the littles goodnight.  Ella says, “Mama, wait!  I have to show you something.”

Okay but hurry up.  I have to go.

“Watch this!”  Now, I have found that when a kid says the ubiquitous “Watch this!” it is almost always worth watching even if it’s just a safety check.  I do my best to make time to watch.

“Watch this!”  She takes her scooter up the hill to the bottom of the neighbors driveway.  She stops and turns around, kicks off and comes coasting down the sidewalk toward our house at a pretty quick pace.  The scooter hits the grass edge and Ella flies off the side, deliberately and in very slapstick form.  She tucks and rolls and springs up with her arms out wide, sticking the landing like an Olympic gymnast.

With a great big smile she says “That’s inertia!”

She’s not yet seven years old remember.

I had to laugh.  Inertia.  Do you know what inertia means?

“Yep.  The scooter stopped but I kept going.”

That’s inertia.

That’s Ella.

Not a request.

If you have a moment…if you believe in prayer or if you have a good thought to throw out into the universe…I could use it.

I can’t say what it’s for right now.  I mean, I could.  I’m not under any kind of threat.  Everybody is healthy.  I don’t want to be vague.  I just don’t want to jinx it.

Do you believe in the power of the jinx?  I do. 

I also believe in karma and isn’t it about time something good came our way? 

 That sounds really ungrateful now that I look at it.  We have had a stream of good things in the last few years: a good move, good friends all over the country, our health and (general) happiness.  The littles are thriving and growing and learning and charming everyone they meet.  Please don’t think that I am refusing to acknowledge all that’s right about right now.

It’s just that this thing…this one little event.  Could be…maybe…life-changing for us.

Again, it’s all about perspective.  Is it as changing as some of the other events in our lives?  No.  So maybe I shouldn’t be making such a big deal.

Alright then, don’t worry about it.  I’m sure it will all be fine no matter the outcome.  I’ll quit staring at the ceiling when I should be sleeping and I’ll quit pre-emptively making plans.

Yep.  Okay, we never had this discussion.  Never you mind.   How was your day?  Good?  Good.

 

 

(Are you there, God?  It’s me, Jenn.)

Let’s not call this a race.

I have a confession.

This is going to come either as a total surprise, possibly disappointing, or an affirmation of what you may have already suspected.

And, just so you know, I am not pregnant.  Maybe with a food baby but not actually pregnant.  Which is what I was told recently when I posed the question, “Can you keep a secret?”  Psh.  Have you even been around me for the last month?

I am done with babies, by the way.  I have thoroughly enjoyed both of them but they have returned to their mamas full-time.  It was nice while it lasted and I do love me some itty-bitty baby feet but I’m glad to have my days (and arms) relatively free.

Of course, that free time is all relative.  Today was the first day in…3 weeks?  that hasn’t been fully structured down to the minute.  And how do I spend it?  At the pediatrician’s office with my baby.  More than an hour later and a bottle of amoxicillin and we’re on our way.  Of course now I’m the one that feels like hammered ass but I don’t have anyone to blame but myself.  I should know better than to run myself down this way.

Speaking of running…

(Like that segway?  It just came to me.)

So here’s my confession.  For real.

I don’t pray much anymore.

And probably not for the reasons that you may think.  I’m afraid of it, you see.  I’m afraid that if I waste my prayers on something silly like “Dear God, please let me get this job” then I will have over-stayed my welcome when “Dear God, please don’t let my baby die” comes around.  Not that it’s going to.  Not at all.  That’s just an example.  Right or wrong, that’s not up for discussion at the moment. 

The point is that, on Sunday night, I prayed.  And I prayed hard. 

I started by praying for a tornado but then I remember that that’s probably not a very good idea given the condition of certain parts of the country.  I prayed for a flood.  Ditto.  Okay then…lightening.  And thunder.  And wind.  Some wind.  But maybe definitely some uncertain conditions.  And, to be specific, for…8am Monday?  Can we make that happen?  Hello?  Are you there God?  It’s me, Jenn.

My alarm rang Monday morning to…RACE DAY!

Remember back when in April sometime I was all high and mighty and patting myself on the back for registering for a 5 mile run?  Remember that?  Fast forward to Monday.  Yes, lets.

I prayed for rain.  Because I felt my training had been lacking due to schedule (excuse) and babies (two excuses) and end of school year general business (excuse), all I could do was pray.

Do you know what God said?  Do you?

“Get your ass out there and run the effing race.”

Fine.

So…I did.

I ran the race.  And I use the term “run” loosely.

You see, I got the wind I asked for.  I also got humidity and heat (82 degrees at 8am) and hills and 2000 other runners and….

Basically it was my own version of worst case scenario.  Because, like camping, I do prefer much more fair conditions.  In fact, it is a well-known fact that big girls do not like heat.  And, being a woman of a certain…stature?  No.  Girth?  Okay, that’s not nice.  Let’s just say that there are far too many of my parts that have the potential to rub together.  And not in a good way.  Heat makes that worse.

The first real insult comes at the starting line.  Which, because of my natural pace, is about a five-minute walk from where I stood when the starting gun went off.  So many people between me and the start line that I can’t even see it. 

Molly ran the race with me.  Okay, there are so many things wrong with that sentence.  Molly was there with me.  Fact.  Ran?  No.  Raced?  Again, no.  This wasn’t a race for anyone but the first 11 people to elbow themselves to the front of the line.  By the time that first guy finished his “race”, I was at the first water station 1.5 miles in.  By the time I finished?  He was home, showered and watching NASCAR.  Or whatever runner boys watch. 

I feel bad that she had to endure all those miles next to me.  I told her as much.  She did seem to be happy to be there.  I’m sure it was an easy exercise.  For her.

For me?  I got all finished (yes, I did finish…nearly an hour and a half later!) and I was trying to explain what it was like to my sister and then, later, on Facebook.  I equated the experience to natural childbirth.

I was half-way through and all I could think was “This was a really bad idea.”

I was near the end and all I could think was “I will never do this again.”

I crossed the finish line, hugged Molly and thought “Wow!  I did it!  It was really hard but I actually did it!”

A day later I thought, “Ah, that wasn’t so bad.”

And today?  “I’ll totally be faster next year.”

So, there it is.  I did it.  5 miles.  Uphill.  Both ways.  Barefoot.  With my little brother on my back.  Okay, not really. 

But that’s how it felt.

 

Oh so quiet.

Quiet.

For the first time in what seems like forever, it is quiet.  Relatively.  Outside is lit up every eleven seconds or so with the impending storm but the rest of the house is quiet.

Kitty is asleep at my feet, taking up far too much space on my chair’s footrest.  The dryer has stopped as has the dishwasher.  The littles are tucked into bed in their cotton summer jammies.  The house is closed up and the air is on; everything is very oddly still.  So still that my fingers on keys seem to be an intrusion.

Our last month has been filled with babies.  Two of them joined our daytime lives for a small time.  One was my sweet baby niece and the other was the doll-baby girl of an old friend.  The two babies are six weeks apart, nearly twins.  And now I know why I never got the twins I secretly wished for all these years.  Aside from the near-constant feeding and soothing and holding and diaper changing, there is the noise.  Even when they are not fussing or crying there is always noise.  Television noise because something/somebody needed to babysit Amelia while I tended to the wee babes.  Or the soft little snorts and grunts that are unique to an infant.

I will miss the noise but, oh, the quiet.  I do love the quiet.

Ella’s last day of first grade is tomorrow.  She brought home, what appears to be, the contents of her desk/cubby/locker.  I got a chance to go through her portfolio for the year and writing samples and how she has changed through the year.  I love reading her journal because I am always interested in what is meaningful to her.

“On Saterday I will vizit my grama. In canza sity.” (2-16-11)

“I wocht the Kittin haf tim show and a pupy boll yestaday. it was funy. Thar was all tiny kittys at the show.” (Day after the Super Bowl)

And a poem:

Krazy Cat

My cat aet my feet/My cat aet my seet/My cat aet my meet/My cat ate my sheet/She is a weerd cat.

I do like it that her teacher just let them write about whatever and didn’t go back to correct spelling and all the things that make writing not fun when you are six years old.  She wrote almost half of her entries about our cat or a cat on the street or the steps to get your own cat (steps to get a cat: get mony, get a box with holes in it, get a name, get a guyed (a guide), pay wit the mony, take your kitty home).  The other chunk of entries involved family and travel or people who visited us.  Some were random like talking about a birthday party three years ago but it must have been on her mind that day but isn’t that what journaling is all about?

She has come so far this year.  Some days I don’t recognize this child and other days…well there are days when I feel like I’m stuck in the same day over and over.  And days I don’t want to end.

Like tonight.  It is quiet.

And it’s not just the house and the kids and the blasted cat who keeps stretching and extending her claws and reaching out to my bare leg only to be shocked when I twitch at the little pokes. 

It’s my mind that is quiet.  Last week I didn’t sleep.  I thought it was the quarterly whatever that happens to me.  But it wasn’t.  The tears and the memories and the sights and smells of my past, our past, didn’t show up.  My head was buzzing for the future and considering options and writing thousands of words just before drifting off.  Drifting isn’t a good visual.  Crashed would be better.  Going, going, going.  Gone. 

This week has brought quiet.  It’s brought the feeling that something new is just. right. there.  And if I can be quiet.  Nobody move.  Nobody breathes.  Then maybe, maybe it will find me. 

Quietly waiting.

On my soapbox (or why Shapeups are terrible for girls).

I think it was early in the week when this came across my Yahoo News feed:

You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want.  Basically it’s a 30-second commercial spot for Skechers Shape-Ups…for GIRLS.  I had to watch it a couple of times to fully feed my seething tension over 1) a large company marketing to children (specifically: MY children’s age and gender) 2) marketing a product that doesn’t work at best and, at worst, causes injuries and 3) if people didn’t buy this crap, they wouldn’t continue to make it.

Tonight on my Facebook feed (Okay, I realize I might have a social media problem at this point), the local news station posed the question on the same topic: shapeups for girls…good or bad?  I immediately fired off my well-thought and researched but passionate response.  You know, something other than, “Fat girls suck.  Buy these shoes and don’t let your girls be fat.”  I’m totally not kidding.

These are children we are discussing.  I don’t care what YOU thought of them while on your 6 block walk with your poodle.  I really don’t.  I had a hard time believing that people actually think shoes will cure childhood obesity.  Okay, I don’t have a hard time believing…but it’s hard to swallow without saying something.  Anything.  I don’t know that channel 7 would appreciate me hijacking their facebook page with my thoughts so I will put them here.  And maybe feel better once I do.

1)  I don’t like my children being marketed to.  I do, however, realize that they have been marketed to since birth and earlier.  Food, toys, diapers.  Toys, movies, clothes.  Food, shoes, trips to Disney World.  When I was a kid (God, I’m old)…when I was a kid the only commercials I remember were cereal commercials and Barbie commercials.  That was it.  The only other time I paid any attention to any kind of corporate anything was when the JCPenney Christmas catalog would show up in the mail.  Good times. 

Some say that the answer to this is to unplug the tv or outlaw “brands” of all kinds.  I don’t think that’s entirely realistic (for me) but if it works for your family, go for it.  The better answer, I think, is to address it.  And de-bunk it.  My littles don’t seem to care too much about a commercial or pay any attention.  Some of it is because of my channel choices.  I deliberately point them towards commercial free programming but it can’t be helped entirely. 

The fact that this cartoon commercial is geared directly at the 7-13 year old girl is killing me.  Those girls don’t have their own money.  Most of them barely have a fashion concept of their own.  They want what mom has and what older girls have.  But what about the “junk food boys” stumbling over themselves running after the girls?  And why should a 7-year-old care at all about toning and shaping?

2)  It’s not just that they are being marketed to.  It’s also that there is huge potential to injure their growing and changing bodies.  When we, as adults, wear these shoes we are forced onto our toes.  That’s the appeal: it makes you unstable so your muscles have to correct and you feel tighter.  The shoes also claim to burn more calories which, turns out (gasp!) to be total crap.  The research says that calorie burn is no different and while there may be some muscle action, the body compensates and it won’t matter once your body adjusts.  Even more concerning is that there is hip and joint issues cropping up.  Not right away but several months into the wear.  And…and…let’s not forget the rolling of an ankle or a knee problem coming directly from being forced onto your toes for 10,000 steps per day.

So, imagine being a kid.  And then go out for recess.  What do kids do at recess?  They don’t walk in a straight line for 20 minutes!  They jump off the slide.  They change directions quickly.  They hop and skip.  They throw and catch a ball.  It is a fury of crazy, amoeba-like activity that doesn’t stop.  IF your child (because it wouldn’t be MY child, obviously) were wearing these shoes, imagine doing all those things on an unstable surface.  Imagine her trying to skip rope and being forced onto her toes.  Or trying to shoot a basketball into a hoop.  Or the direction her body would go when she jumps off a swing.  Playing tag.

As an adult, you cannot correctly do a body weight squat or lunge.  You will roll to your toes when you need to keep your weight on your heel.  If strength training is not your thing (it should) at least consider safety when walking or jogging.  Or even on the stair climber.  You cannot spend that much time on your toes without causing damage.

So, what can we do about this mess?  I maintain my thought on it which is along the same line as white jeans 3) If people don’t buy it, they won’t make it.  Seriously.  Don’t buy it.  And don’t buy into it.

Also?  They’re ugly.

So there.

Spelling test.

Fridays are the universal day for spelling tests in grade school land.  They have been for generations.  Ella is at the point in the year where every word tested on is a review word and, despite the last 15 or so weeks of constant spelling tests, there are just a few she just can’t get.

I’m standing the bathroom this morning, getting dressed after my 4 minute fire-drill style shower.  (I can’t manage to drag my ass out of bed any earlier to make things less crazy even though I know it will help.  This may actually be a personality flaw.)  Ella is still eating breakfast and has been for at least 20 minutes. 

I crack the bathroom door and shout through: Ella!  Spell “when”.

“W-E-N” she says after a second.

With a mouth full of toothpaste I say Nope…try again!

“What?” she hollers.

That’s not right.  Try again.

“A-G-A-I-N”

She wasn’t sure why I was laughing but I’m pretty sure she thought I was off my rocker.

That was the highlight of my day.  Went all downhill from there.