Tag Archives: Soapbox

A Particular Post Has Jane’s Unmentionables In A Twist

A while back, a long while back, a particular post of a particular blogger on her particular blog was highlighted on a particular “Hey! Look At This Blogger!” kind of page. (Can you tell I’m trying to be particularly vague here?)

I read her particular post and it’s been gnawing at me ever since.

The post was singled out as being particularly good. And it was. I suppose. But the subject matter still has my protective, Mama Bear gene twisted in knots.

I wanted to comment the day I read the post. But I couldn’t. Emotions were too strong to comment. I was afraid I’d come across too judgemental. (Awww, who am I kidding? Too judgemental? Is there ever an acceptable amount of judgement?)

She was writing of a particular holiday. Her very young son’s class was having a party to celebrate by wearing their costumes. He wanted to be a female character from a certain cartoon. Embracing his love of the character, she helped create the perfect female costume for her son to wear.

(Now you’re going to have to trust me on this because I’m not going to send you a link to the post. Mostly, because I’m a chicken and I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I’m hoping she never sees this post. So, you “Hey! Look At This Blogger!” editors? Go away. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.)

In her struggle to honor her son’s costume choice she went above and beyond to encourage his individuality. And I do mean, above and beyond. To the point when, as the event drew closer and he began showing great reluctance to wearing his costume, she pushed and encouraged him to march to the beat of his own (which began to sound like her own) drum.

The playground can be a horrible place. Real life, outside the comfort of your color-blind-gender-blind-we-all-bleed-poop-put-on-our-pants-one-leg-at-a-time living room, can be a horrible place. Kids can be mean. Kids can be, dare I say, judgemental.

Should a 6-year-old boy go to school dressed as a girl?

Yes. If that’s truly what my child wanted to dress as for a certain holiday, I’d let him. Nay-sayers be damned. I’d stick by my son, too.

But.

But.

If he showed the slightest sign of reluctance, I’d hightail it to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night to find a replacement. I would not, could not push him to continue with his original plan.

One six-year-old is not going to change the dynamics of playground teasing. Teasing that could follow him for the rest of his life. If he was wise enough to recognize this? I’d honor that request in a heartbeat.

She didn’t. She proudly pushed him to show up in his first choice costume. And I’m glad she is so open-minded. I’m glad she’s teaching her child to follow a path with heart.

But at what point do we, as parents, back off and allow our children to push their own agendas, at their own pace? Encouraging our children to “do the right thing” is one thing. Encouraging them to express their individuality at the risk of relentless teasing at the tender age of six is another.

(Climbing off my high horse, now.

Sigh.

And apologizing in advance to all and any I may offend.)

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Filed under children, Soapbox

What NOT To Say To Adoptive Parents

“Now that you’re adopting, you’re sure to get pregnant!”

“Oh, it happens all the time. Once you take the pressure off, you’ll get pregnant!”

I have been through adoption twice. Biological birth, once. Happens all the time? Yes, it happened to us – one time. But the first time? No.

Our world was turned upside down and our adoption threatened when we found out that I was 10 weeks pregnant. #1son was already assigned to us and we were waiting for him to come home.

Please, don’t say “Oh, that happens all the time!” It doesn’t.

It didn’t after #1daughter was adopted. And I know of only one instance where pregnancy happened during adoption – out of all the families I’ve come into contact with through the course of our journey.

While we were waiting for a decision from the agency if we could still adopt our son because of my pregnancy, those comments were of little comfort. We were already in love with our son from Korea. He was already born to us, as far as we were concerned. We had pictures. We had named him. To lose him now would be devastating. The pregnancy was no consolation prize.

I can’t tell you how many times someone said to me, “Oh, now that you’re adopting you’ll get pregnant!” I waited 11 long years for that to finally happen. So, I suppose they were right. Eventually. But I had given up all hope of pregnancy. Those comments, as well-meaning as they are, can be little stabs to your heart if you aren’t physically pregnant and you desperately want to be.  It takes away from the joy that you are pregnant in your heart with your adoptive child on the way.

In our case, in our second case, I was actually pregnant, with an adoptive son on the way. All of the well-meaning, but mildly thoughtless comments, took away from the joy of our #1son and HIS place in our family – as if he were second best. As if he were the consolation prize.

I am so grateful that I was able to experience the joy of giving birth. Of being physically pregnant as well as mentally pregnant. If it weren’t for my age, I’d go back on the fertility roller coaster all over again.

But forming a family through adoption is no consolation prize. It is an amazing, wonderful and perfectly viable way of creating family. The planning, wishing, hoping and heartache that accompanies the adoption journey makes it that much more beautiful.

Be excited for the once infertile mom if you ever hear of this happening. Be delighted for her that she gets to experience the joy of adoption and the joy of pregnancy.

Most of all, be thrilled that she is creating this amazing family.

Out of biology.

Out of need.

Out of love.

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Filed under children, Motherhood, parenting, Soapbox

Before You Speak Walk A Mile In Their Shoes

It annoys me that I have to get my relatively unbiased news from BBC World News. (No offense to my friends across the pond.)  I live in the United States. I should be able turn on the radio or television here and get the facts. But NPR is very liberal. And Talk Radio is sooooo conservative. Fox News is not “fair and balanced.” It’s loud (all they do is shout!) and conservative. And CNN is continually being criticized for liberal editorializing. Just give me the facts, Ma’am.

About a year ago, I saw a political analyst on television critiquing our presidents over the last 50 years. (I’m sorry. For the life of me I can’t remember his name to give him full credit.) Good president or bad president, he seemed to give both democrats and republicans a fair shake. But he said something that really struck me about George W. Bush. He said that it’s going to be another 50 years before we can accurately evaluate his presidency. That, unfortunately, his entire presidency was colored by 9/11. Just eight months in office and he had to completely switch gears and deal with the most horrific act of terrorism on U.S. soil. From that moment on, every other goal President Bush had in mind was re-organized, re-categorized, re-prioritized. Having to make such a dramatic shift, having to put so much energy into keeping our country safe, surely other important issues suffered. It is difficult to criticize someone if we haven’t walked in their shoes.

And just this morning, I heard on the BBC, President Obama will be making a decision about our troops in Afghanistan. And none, I repeat NONE, of the four options involved taking troops out. ALL four options include bringing more troops in. And closing Guantanamo? Ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Nobody, and I mean nobody in the entire world, wants ’em. So to all of you disillusioned Obama supporters out there – it’s been less than a year. The man has a big job to do. We can’t criticize a man unless we’ve walked in his shoes.

I’m annoyed with how difficult it is to sort through the rhetoric to find undistorted fact. It is so easy to point fingers and blame. But maybe that’s our job to do. Maybe it is supposed to be difficult. In all of my sifting and searching and questioning I’ve come away with a much greater respect for what our world leaders are faced with and how truly difficult their job is to do. Think of the mother that is told that one of her four children is dying of leukemia and how that will instantly change how she parents EACH of her four children. Something so tragic that will color her entire job as mother. Or think of how any of us would react or do things differently if suddenly we were forced to lead in the rebuilding of a school or community that was touched with tragedy. Think Columbine. Each of our parenting and leadership styles are different. But we all have a common goal. And it would be pretty difficult for one of your neighbors to criticize any of your decisions not having walked in your shoes and seen what you’ve seen.

(While writing this post I found a very interesting site that seems pretty fact oriented about the Obama Presidency — PolitiFact.com — http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/)

(P.S. Don’t forget about our get together tomorrow Friday, November 13th. Collect the craziest search terms for your blog and we’ll all share them tomorrow!  You can write them in the comment section or blog about it – but don’t forget to link/comment here so we can all see them! See you tomorrow! I can’t wait!)

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Filed under Soapbox