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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass


Author: toni

~ 03/04/11

Of all people, Randy the perfekt husband shared the link to this video with me. He knows how I feel about that show TODDLERS AND TIARAS which showcases the world of child pageants where these moms dress their preschool daughters up like tarty dolls and parade them on stage in front of people in desperate attempts to get attention for themselves.

Judgemental much, you ask? Yep. When it comes to the exploitation of kids. Yes, I am.

Anyway. Tom Hanks did a spoof of this show when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel. You may have already seen it as, as usual, I am the last to know.

Enjoy. Or be disgusted. It kind of evokes both emotions.

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Author: toni

~ 10/19/10

 

Okay. I know this happened a month ago, so I’m a little behind on posting. But there is no expiration date on bad parenting OR on my ability to make snarky comments about it. So here goes.

Apparently a mom who was upset about her kid’s volleyball team losing, pulled a gun on the opposing players.

Yep. That’s right. Talk about a bad sport, huh? This is from kbtx.com:

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Police say a woman believed to be a suburban San Antonio middle school parent pulled a gun on members of an opposing volleyball team after her school lost a match.

Judson school district spokesman James Keith said school police were reviewing videotape of the Thursday night incident to try to identify the woman. Keith says witnesses reported that she threatened to shoot several girls. He says several witnesses knew the woman.

 Keith tells the San Antonio Express-News that Metzger Middle School had just lost to visiting Kirby when the woman approached the Kirby players while they celebrated in a parking lot.

 

And there you have it. Bad mommy! Baaad!

Not since the Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom tale or whatever the hell that real-life story was that they made into some TV movie with Holly Hunter for which she won an Emmy (either for her convincing portrayal or her spot-on accent) has such an example of bad mommy behavior at a sporting event come up.  

I won’t start by pointing out that both incidents happened in Texas. Okay I just did. BUT that doesn’t mean people in Texas are more apt to pull guns. It just means that more people in Texas HAVE guns so they are more apt to PULL them when provoked.

Although I personally wouldn’t call getting a good old-fashioned ass whoopin’ on the volleyball court “provocation”.  That doesn’t mean that the courts in Texas wouldn’t consider it such. After all, the Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom who solicited someone to murder the mother of her daughter’s main competition for the cheerleading team so that her own daughter would have a better chance of getting on said team, got off with a 6 month jail stint and 1000 hours of community service.

Are you kidding me? There are people who have gotten stiffer sentences for throwing an empty Sprite can out their car window while driving on the highway!

Clearly the lawmakers in Texas take a different view of what is considered criminal than do I. But what do you expect from a place where shotgun racks are considered optional upgrades in new vehicles along with GPS, tinted windows and leather seats? (Okay. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. A joke even. But I feel I can make that joke having lived there for many years and having relatives who still live there.)

I do not know what is going on in these crazy mommies’ minds. But frankly,  I feel fortunate to live in an area where the biggest danger associated with childhood sporting events is the concern that a child might actually know his her or score and thus whether or not they won. See, where I live competition has gone the way of  TB. It has been all but eradicated from childhood. You know, for fear that some poor child might GASP! feel bad about losing! Because where I come from, all kids are supposed to feel good about themselves whether they have abilities or not.   

I’ll never forget the day when I was at a friend’s house and his wife got home with their 5 year-old son from soccer and I dared to ask the boy “Who won?”. Well, the daddy (my friend) quickly SHUSHED ME and explained that they “don’t keep score”. They play for strictly for fun, not to win.

Okaaaaaaay. Not the way things went down when I was a kid. You won. YIPPEE! You lost. BOO-HOO! Suck it up. Practice more. Try harder next time.  ‘Nuf said.

Naturally the danger of all this is that kids grow up with an over-inflated sense of their ablities or lack thereof. And also no sense of competition which, if you ask me, might cause some problems later in life when they have to COMPETE  for things like, I don’t know,  jobs! Or world power status!

But the important thing is that they don’t feel bad about losing and therefore about themselves. And if kids don’t feel bad about losing, then parents don’t feel bad about their kids losing. Then parents won’t feel the need to pull guns or hire hit men to take out their kid’s competition because their kids won’t have any!

So I guess the answer in Texas isn’t to have stiffer gun laws, but less competition! Because if everyone wins, nobody dies.

Gosh, I’m glad I cleared up.

Seriously, though. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. But you know what does hurt? Guns. And stupid moms brandishing guns… they hurt the most of all. Because what are you teaching your kids? Or maybe these moms don’t care. Yeah. That’s probably it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Not everyone should be a parent. Sigh.

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Author: toni

~ 09/08/10

 

  Apparently I missed Mr. Blackwell’s latest memo because I had no idea that Underoos were now considered appropriate attire for Disneyland.

Yep. We were standing in line at the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride last weekend and there, right next to us, was a LITTLE BOY wearing nothing but a shirt and his underpants!    

No, he wasn’t a toddler in a diaper (which I also personally think is inappropriate).  This kid was apparently big enough to walk, talk, demand funnel cake and go to the bathroom by himself. And here he was going from attraction to attraction in his underwear!  I don’t care that they were Disney-themed with little Mickey Mouses on them. That doesn’t make it okay! Think about the hygiene implications here! To make matters worse, these underpants were even the kind with the little  door for easy access to his boy parts for peeing and  “what-not”. And as he jumped around and jiggled and jaggled in line as impatient children are wont to do, his boys parts more than once made an appearance. Not only that, there was also some serious “what-not” going on too as he repeatedly stuck his hand in the trap door and then handled the handrail. The only thing missing in this scene was a recliner and Bud Light!  

I mean, it’s bad enough kids pick their noses and touch everything in sight, now I have to see them fondling their wankees and touching the same handrail as me and my kid!

I can only assume that his parents allowed him to dress like this for the sake of convenience. After all, those lines at the bathroom can be sooooo long. This way he could whip it out whenever he liked and easily relieve himself  on the patch of pansies arranged in the shape of Minnie’s head or in Snow White’s wishing well. 

          “One day my prince will come!” 

Sorry Snow White. This kid ain’t gonna be him.

On the other hand, thanks to his mom, he should have no trouble pledging a fraternity when the time comes.

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Author: toni

~ 08/19/10

 

When I was a kid whenever we misbehaved we were treated to the belt or the spoon, depending on if the punisher was our dad or our mom. (My mom’s Italian so a wooden spoon was a natural extension of her arm and therefore a logical – and handy – correctional tool).  Back then, corporal punishment was considered acceptable. And though parents didn’t make it a habit, the occasional smack in public was also deemed OK.

In fact, if you saw a kid get hit in public, your parents would give you the “see, that’s what happens when you misbehave” look and you were suddenly on your best behavior knowing you could easily be next. Fear of pain that is coupled with public humiliation is a strong motivator to be good.

In fact, I knew parents who took corporal punishment so much to heart that they made their kid wear a paddle on a string around his neck. And the paddle said, “If I misbehave, spank me.”  I kid you not. Yeah, okay. That was weird even for back then. Even my parents thought so and forbade us ever to use the paddle on the boy…else they’d spank us.  But did anyone call Child Protective Services? Nope, because everyone believed that discipline was the domain of the parents, however they saw fit to do it.

Nowadays, that kid would be a target of a child welfare visit so fast it would make your head spin.

While I’m sure there are still parents out there who believe the occasional swat on the behind doesn’t hurt (the child’s psyche anyway) most of them would never in a million years do it in public for all to see and judge and get them into enough trouble that they’d have to cash out their 401k’s to retain a criminal defense attorney. Nope, I would go so far as to say that most parents who still believe in corporal punishment, engage in it secretly, behind closed doors.  

Generally, parents who believe in spanking have been driven into the dark recesses of the family room, plantation shutters firmly shut. The spanking backlash brought on by countless studies and articles on child rearing has created a nation of closet swatters. (Well, except for that frazzled mom by the BBQ place at Disneyland two weekends ago. But then, given the frustration-inducing crowds sometimes encountered at “the happiest place on Earth”, I’m surprised I didn’t see more parents laying hands upon their kids.)

Anyway, recently one of these closet swatters stepped boldly out into the open. Or as open as an enclosed plane full of passengers and crew can be.  And she even made the news!

A Georgia woman on a Southwest Airlines flight from Texas apparently slapped her 13 month-old daughter when she wouldn’t stop crying.  This resulted in police being called when the plane landed in Albuquerque. The parents were detained and questioned before finally being released with their child and boarding another flight.

Okay. I know how I feel about smacking a baby in the face. NEVER. And I won’t even start ranting about the logic, or lack thereof, that went into determining this was the best course of action to get a baby to stop crying.  

Also,  I’m a proponent of  “when in doubt, err on the side of caution” especially where a child’s welfare is concerned and I, too, probably would have called authorities on this mother.

Still, I have to wonder…

Have we gone overboard in our radical responses to the occasional public swat? Is it our right as parents, albeit absolute strangers, to call out these swatting parents for what they are doing to their kid, as I have actually seen done MANY TIMES! Is it reasonable to call the authorities about it? Or detain an entire flight? And at what point does that seem a necessary move? Where is the line? Is it one of age of the child? Of degree of spanking? Or the kind of spanking? Or is it never, absolutely under no circumstances, ever okay to spank your kid in public or elsewhere?

What do you think?  OKAY OR NO WAY?

Meanwhile,  if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a scheduled tête-à-tête over juice and crackers with my eight year-old to rationally discuss (all the while avoiding any “you” messages which can be damaging and ineffectual) appropriate and acceptable ways of expressing disdain for mommy’s rules.

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Author: toni

~ 07/27/10

 

Ever heard the saying “looking at life through rose-colored glasses”? Then you know it refers to someone who looks at life with a rosy optimism. I wish I was guilty of that. I’ve always envied people who manage to be endlessly upbeat and full of optimism and hope. You know them, they’re the ones who make lemonade when handed lemons. When I get handed lemons I suck on them and make a sour face.  Anyway, Melanie in “Gone With The Wind” was one of those lemonade-making characters. No matter that the Civil War stripped her of everything, no matter that she was starving, no matter that Scarlet was so mean to her and secretly on the prowl to steal her husband Ashley – although heaven knows why she wanted that man pansy when she had Clark Gable  – that Melanie, she could find the good in everything and everyone. I hated envied her.

But that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I’m guilty at looking at life THRU something all right.  But it isn’t rose-colored glasses.

I’m guilty of looking at life through a Canon digital camera viewfinder. And as I only recently came to realize, there’s nothing rosy about it.

I was at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of weekends back. It was the first trip for my daughter Julia (who is eight) and we took her to the Bugs Bunny show where the L.A. Philharmonic plays along to the cartoons projected on big screens. And as I was videotaping the fireworks finale at one point I turned the camera toward my daughter, you know, to capture her expression. I could see her there, in profile, her wide eyes lit by the flashing fireworks in the sky, her face filled with awe and the joy of the moment. I paused for a moment, sort of taken aback by the utter rapture  she seemed to be experiencing. I mean, what we were doing was cool, but was it truly that amazing? 

At first I attributed it to the fact that she was only 8 and at 8 one is experiencing so many things for the first time. And as we all know, the first time is the most exciting. After all, it had been that way when we took her to Disneyland for the first time. So thrilled was she by the sights, the sounds, the magic of it all that it even rubbed off on jaded old me who had been to Disneyland too many times to count – for whom the magic had completely worn off.

But when I put down the camera that night at the Bowl and I looked at what she was looking at, I mean REALLY looked at it, through my very own eyes, not the viewfinder of my camera – I realized, her feeling of awe had nothing to do with being 8. I looked up at the fireworks in the sky, big and beautiful and sparkly, shattering light over the dome of the Bowl. At the crescent moon that hung in the distance on that crystal clear summer night. At the 18,000 upturned faces all experiencing this moment together. And you know what? To my amazement, it truly WAS amazing!

And I realized, I hadn’t been seeing it. I mean, I was  seeing it on the tiny video display but I wasn’t seeing  it seeing it.

And in that instant, it also occured to me that this has been the case for the last 8 1/2 years of my life! Why 8 1/2 years exactly? Because that’s how long my daughter’s been in the picture – figuratively and literally.

Since she was born and I got my first high quality digital camera, I have chronicled every move, burp, smile, gurgle, and later dance recital, talent show, piano recital, etc.  It’s the reason  Randy the perfekt husband gave me the nickname MAMMARAZI. And while I have recorded all these moments in her life for posterity, I never really experienced them first hand because I was separated from these events  as they were happening – by the camera!  So busy was I  making sure the images were centered, that no one was walking across the frame, that the focus was right, that there was enough head room – that I never truly got to enjoy them. Because I was never, not once,  in the actual moment – watching my little girl sing joyfully at the top of her lungs, tap dance to the perfect rhythm of a song, or even smile shyly as she was handed an award for being an exceptional student.

And suddenly I was very sad. Suddenly, the loss of the last 8 1/2 years hit me like a ton of bricks.

And I realized we have become photo obsessed, we parents these days.  That’s right. It’s not just me. There isn’t a single birthday party or school event I go to that doesn’t feature dozens of parents jockeying for position to get the perfect picture or video of their kid.  It’s such chaos and madness you’d think Brangelina was on the red carpet announcing another adoption! One MAMMAKAZE joked about the fact that whenever her one year old heard the word SMILE, he immediately struck a pose, even if there wasn’t a camera around! This is how conditioned our kids have become to having a camera in their faces.

I mean, my stepdad was a professional photographer and he never took as many pictures of the four of us kids the whole time we were growing up as I have taken of my one, single, only child in the past 8 years!  

I don’t know if it’s the ease and cheapness of taking pictures now – the fact that we can immediately see what we’ve taken and delete what’s bad without having to wait a week and pay a fortune for images that feature closed eyes, a partial thumb over the lens or some wise-acre sticking two fingers up behind someone’s head.

Whatever it is, we’ve created a whole generation of parents that will have a lifetime of memories of taking pictures of their kids , but not of the moments themselves. Very sad.

So I have VOWED that next time Julia gets an award or does a performance or blows out a birthday candle I will sit back, relax and take it in, burning it forever on that brilliant little hard drive known as the cerebral cortex.  Well, I mean, as long as Randy is taking the pictures with the Canon. Oh. And my brother John is doing video on that amazing Nikon he has with the super long lens. That thing captures images like nobody’s business!

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Author: toni

~ 07/15/10

 

In the continuing horror show of bad parenting that is the TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras, here is a video clip featuring a 10 Year-Old Girl who is being forced by her mom to get her eyebrows waxed so that she can be “beautiful” for her pageants.

First of all, the girl is blonde (albeit probably not naturally as the guy who is doing her eyebrows confesses to “doing” her hair for 7 years) . My point is, who is going to see a stray eyebrow hair all the way up on stage? Are the judges examining these girls under a magnified mirror?

Second of all, she’s a kid! A little kid.  I didn’t even start plucking my eyebrows until I was in high school and I’m half Italian and had a unibrow! I still don’t wax them.  Although I should – but I’m such a wimp when it comes to owies.

I mean, I know we females pick and pluck and shave all in the name of some idealized version of beauty, but it shouldn’t start while there are still American Girl dolls carefully arranged on the Laura Ashley bedding draped across a twin-sized  canopy bed in a Limoge pink bedroom. And, yes, I know there are some grown women who actually have bedrooms like this, but they’re a whole other subset of psychological issues best saved for a different post.

As you can see, the girl is  going along, but it’s obvious she doesn’t want to do this.  I really feel for her. But mostly I feel like I would love to wax the hair off her mother’s head and see how she likes it.

SAD. SAD. SAD. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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