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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass


Author: toni

~ 09/26/10

 

Okay. Seriously. I wasn’t going to say anything about this. But really, it has gotten soooo ridiculous. I know you’ve all heard about the controversy of the Katy Perry appearance on Sesame Street. If not  SEE VIDEO BELOW.

Anyway, they pulled it from the show because of her dress, which reveals  a little bit of cleavage. Apparently some Mommies thought it was outrageous, horrific, and the stuff from which sluts are made.  Are you kidding me?

Okay she’s not wearing an Edwardian high neck collar, but seriously, BANNING THE VIDEO? Uh, I think not.

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MAMMAKAZE’S TOP 3 ARGUMENTS WHY BANNING THE KATY PERRY/SESAME STREET APPEARANCE IS RIDICULOUS!

1) I have seen plenty of mommies at after school pick-up wearing more revealing attire on a hot day!

2) You know the audience for this show sees more breast than this everyday at meal time!

3) Uh, Miss Piggy went there first (see picture above). That little tart of a piglet!

 

What do you want to bet these commplaining mommies are the same ones that have no problem with their kids blowing away zombies all day on a video game. Violence is okay, but a women has cleavage and OMG!

To all this I simply have to offer my usual response…. Sigh.

WHAT DO YOU STAND ON THIS DEBATE?

TOO MUCH BREAST or GIVE IT A REST?

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Author: toni

~ 09/22/10

 

As a mom to an 8 1/2 year old girl, I have become recently acquainted with a term that has sent shivers of horror up my spine: breast buds.

In case you aren’t familiar with the them, breast buds are the first little “budlings” that pop up on the chest of girls, signaling the onset of breasts and, shortly therafter, puberty and everything that whole hormonal nightmare entails…. aaaaaaggggghhhhhh!

Now why would a grown woman be afraid of such a natural part of life and a girl’s development? Well, it’s because according to studies and recent rumblings in my hood, it is happening earlier and earlier!  

Now I had heard a few years ago, when Julia was a baby, that girls were getting their periods earlier these days. They attributed it partly to better nutrition, but mostly to the fact that there are more hormones in foods, specifically milk and chicken. Because of this I have been careful to try to give Julia only organic milk and chicken that  have not been injected with hormones. But the truth is, I cannot protect her from these additives. They are everywhere and she doesn’t always eat at home.  

Still, I have felt confident that I have done my part to keep early puberty (and little breastlings) at bay and wasn’t worried…. until recently.

Why, you ask? Because a  fellow MAMMAKAZE told me that in her daughter’s 4th grade class last year there were TWO 9 year-old girls who got their periods!

NINE YEAR OLDS MENSTRUATING! Holy cow! Are you kidding me? My kid can’t even get all the conditioner out of  her hair when she showers and now I’ve got to worry about her having to deal with a period while she’s still playing with Barbies?!   Seriously, I shudder at the thought of her or any of these little children having to deal with the maintenance involved in coping with a period. Or the taunting if some jackass of a 9 year-old boy should find out!

How would he find out, you ask? Well, naturally, when girls start their periods that early, teachers must be told because of the obvious issues that could arise in class.

The next step is that parents of other girls in the classroom need to be told because,  in addition to getting breast buds, little girls talk. And they share things. And mommies need to prepare their daughters for such conversations because, well, I think we mommies all agree we don’t want our kids finding out about stuff like that on the playground. First there’s the shock factor. Then there’s the gross factor. Then there’s the misinformation. And finally there’s the sense of betrayal on the part of the kid whose parent didn’t tell her which resulted in her looking stupid in front of her BFFs. Because in addition to getting breast buds and talking, girls do not want to look like the only one in their cliques who are not in the know.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before on this website, but I was a victim of the “playground sex talk” when I was in 3rd grade and it was indeed a traumatic thing!The source was  Dee Dee Rettigheri who, judging by the fact that she clearly shopped in the women’s C cup bra section, had been visited early by the menstruation fairy. As a result, her mother gave her the total lowdown on the birds and the bees which, Dee Dee in turn felt the need to impart to a handful of her classmates one day during recess. 

Never once mentioning a bird or a bee, she regaled us with the gory details. And lemme tell you, I felt shock (what? this is news to me!), disgust (ew!) and denial (my parents DO NOT do that, no way, uh-uh, absolutely NOT!). And yes even betrayal because my mom neglected to mention a word of this to me and now I looked stupid in front of my peeps – although we didn’t call them that then – I think we used the word girlfriends or pals.

For the next few years I carried this knowledge with me, living in mortal fear of the day I would get my period and then my breasts. And vowing that even if it did, I would NEVER engage in this disgusting behavior called “sex”!  We know how THAT turned out. Still, NOT a way for a little girl to approach her puberty.

Meanwhile, I never, not once,  heard a word about any of it from my own mother until I got my  period at age 12 and she informed me that “now I could get pregnant.” And that, as they say in certain circles, was that. Okaaaaay. Short, sweet and totally lacking in any pertinent or helpful information whatsoever. As she left me standing there, ill-prepared for my journey into womanhood, I  wondered if somehow she had discovered that Dee Dee had already given me all the details. Nah, the only possible explanation was that she was as uncomfortable with the whole thing as I was.

So now, as a mom with a daughter of my own, I look back on my own experience and tell myself that I must be strong for my daughter. Yes, this rash of breast budding and early menstruation is terrifying me. But I don’t want my kid to experience what I went through.

So, I will face these breast buds head on, with the courage of a warrior, prepared should an army of hormones strike my daughter prematurely. I will do what I have to to make sure that she is not ill-informed, or afraid or grossed-out. Because I want her to embrace the changes she experiences and accept them as the natural and beautiful part of life that they are. 

Also, I’m really, really counting on the fact that all the years she’s spent trying to get those teeny, tight little tops on those perky-breasted Barbies will  soften the shock of puberty and the onset of breasts, whenever they arrive.

The body image nightmares that arise as a result of the breast-to-hip ratio of Barbies is a whole other issue. I’ll fight that battle when we are attacked by it. Sigh.

 

For more information – and generally scary %$#@ that will keep you up at night  – about the effects of this early maturation, click on this PINK LINK.

 

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Author: toni

~ 08/25/10

 

When I was a kid  my parents were NEVER concerned about who we kids would get for a teacher each year. In fact, I’m pretty sure they never even thought about it. There was no discussion, no debate, nothing that indicated they even had clue one as to who was even teaching at the school let alone if they were qualified or an “appropriate fit” with the personalities of their children. Hey, school was free! Who were they to argue about or even consider who was placed at the helm of their child’s life journey through learning? There were more pressing issues, like the four mouths they had to feed.

Of course, school wasn’t technically free as they paid for it with their tax dollars. But my parents didn’t think about it that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only thought that crossed my mom’s mind was “free babysitter!” or “seven hours without something breaking!” I had loads of brothers.

No siree.  When I was a kid, you were told who your teacher was, you showed up to class and that, as the saying goes, was that.

Sure there was discussion as to whether or not a teacher was mean or nice. But the discussion was purely amongst us kids. And those were the two categories we broke teachers down into- mean and nice. We didn’t really care about whether they were good educators or if we were going to come away better prepared for life. We were just hoping that we didn’t get someone who smacked your hands with a ruler or made you stand in the waste basket in a corner for an hour to make sure you got the point that you were a worthless piece of trash. Yeah. I had that teacher in 2nd grade. A real peach.

But even if we got that teacher, we didn’t bother to complain to our parents. Know why? Because they ALWAYS sided with the teacher. We were the kids so we must be in the wrong. It was us who had problems with authority. It was our responsibility to shape up. Bottom line, we were told to deal with it, suck it up and stop our whining.

Well, it’s a whole different ballgame these days, baby! And as things tend to do, they have swung from one end of the pendulum to the other. Because we have gone from one extreme to the other on this whole “who will teach our kid” thing.

Today, there is soooo much discussion about teachers, their qualifications, their “fit” with the personalities of our children that the last two weeks of a school year and the two weeks prior to the beginning of a new school year, it’s all anyone’s talking about. Mommy cliques are abuzz with “who your child should get for what grade”.  Moms beg hint to their child’s current teacher about where they’d like their child placed the following year, in the hopes that this will filter to the powers that be – whoever they are. Principals are inundated with letters “suggesting” who would be the appropriate fit for their child. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were attempted bribes in the form of  Starbucks gift cards (highly coveted among adults who deal with hordes of children daily) or gift certificates to “Massage Envy”, maybe even a coupon or two for Tylenol or that Mexican place with the GRANDE MAMMACITA MARGARITAS! Ole!

Well, in the end it really comes to naught. Because our educators cannot be bribed… supposedly. And this is never more painfully obvious than the day the “class assignment postings” go up.

I don’t know about you, but in my hood, this is a BIG FRIKKIN’ DEAL. The school is adamant about waiting until 5pm the night before school begins to post the teacher assignments. If you guessed that 5pm was after all the office staff was gone for the day and the voicemail was on and administrators had long vacated the premises for the safer sanctuary of their bolted-up, curtains-drawn, lights-out homes – you guessed right. No way those folks want to deal with disgruntled mommies! You know the saying about “a woman scorned”? That doesn’t even come near to the wrath of a mommy who feels her child has been “inappropriately placed”.

In fact, I have known some moms who have broken down in tears over the stress of it all, so desperate were they to have what’s best for their kid. I won’t name names (me). Okay, I know it’s stupid. But let me just say in my defense that 1) it was couple of years ago when I was new to this whole thing and 2) I cry when I see my kid’s size 5 flip-flops and am reminded she’s growing up, so it doesn’t take much to push me over the edge. Anyway, I’m not the only mom. I know PLENTY of others who have admitted to breaking down in tears over the whole thing. And not just because they thought their kid got a bad teacher. No, I have known mom’s to cry in worry that maybe their kids were in over their heads academically with a certain teacher.

But it isn’t just the mommies. Kids have actually gotten swept up in the discussion, too. They actually chat during lunch about who the teachers are to get. And a couple of kids I know, when they didn’t get the teacher they thought they “should” get this year, were actually devastated and reduced to sobs.

I know! It’s madness! Why are kids even discussing this? Why are they getting soooo wrapped up in the drama and debate of it all. Oh right. Because their mommies are! And whether or not mommies think their kids are too absorbed in their Nintendo DS’s or that episode of iCarly to hear the adult conversations going on around them, somehow they do. I mean, my kid can’t “hear” me when I tell her to pick up her socks, but she manages to regurgitate every detail of a private conversation I had with a fellow mommy two rooms away!  Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as selective listening.  

Honestly, I don’t know why we have become a nation of such overly-involved parents. For the record, I didn’t let myself do it this year – worry about who my kid was getting.  I don’t know if it was because I’ve relaxed a little, or I’ve realized that we live in a good school district and there really aren’t any bad teachers, or maybe the words of Randy the perfekt husband have finally sunk in (though I’d never admit it to him):

“So what if she gets a teacher she doesn’t get along with? Nobody gets along with everyone. It’s going to happen eventually. I’d be a good life lesson.  Besides, she’s a smart kid, she’ll figure it out. “

My husband the pragmatist.

In the end, I think the answer – as is usually the case – is somewhere in the middle. It’s important for us as parents to want the best for our kids and to do what is in our power to make that happen. But we also need to stand back,  take a deep breath and have a little faith. Faith in our educators. Faith in our kids. Faith in ourselves as parents. So. Yeah. That’s what I’m gonna do. Have a little faith.

But the minute anyone makes my kid stand in a trash can… POW! TO THE MOON, ALICE!

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Author: toni

~ 08/16/10

 

Let me begin by apologizing for my sporadic posting on MAMMAKAZE of late.

As a freelance blogger who gets paid the grand total of nil, I am at the mercy of other pressing issues that also don’t pay but make Randy the perfekt husband very happy when I deal with them. For example, the leaking dishwasher that damaged the hardwood floor near the fridge, caused mold all over the drywall beneath the center island and required the shopping around for the best deal on a dishwasher that matched our other appliances (Lowe’s NOT Sears by the way – who knew?).  Finding plumbers, drywallers, and painters (that was me) — all major but necessary life time sucks.  

Then there was the back-to-school prep which required marathon shopping to find the ideal lunchbox, first day outfit, and an entire restock of socks and undies. You MAMMAKAZES know the drama involved in that. If you have a girl there’s endless perusing and comparing and deciding. If you have a boy, well, they couldn’t care less about shopping and endlessly complain that they’d rather be home playing their Wii.

Finally, however, and the biggest reason I have been missing from the blogosphere –

I had LASIK  surgery done to both my eyes!

How was it, you ask? Well, there are a lot of fabulous things about it –  like the fact that I can see for the first time since I was 8. Unfortunately, the downside is the fact that I can see for the first time since I was 8.

TOP TEN WORST THINGS ABOUT LASIK

10.     Seeing how much body hair I have previously overlooked during the shaving process (sorry Randy)

9.      Big ol’ bags under the eyes (not as a result of the Lasik, but formally hidden by glasses).

8.      The ability to  see gray hairs = more frequent visits to the salon = more money

7.      Two vacations we won’t be having

6.      Constant (and pointless) poking at the bridge of my nose with my right index finger!

5.      The fact that I don’t look as good without my glasses as Angelina Jolie (whom my doc also zapped)*

4.      That’s what I look like in a compromising position?!?!  (again, my apologies Randy)

3.      My kid feels self-conscious that she’s the only one in the family wearing glasses (yet another thing mommy can feel guilty about!)

2.      Now I look as smart as Kim Kardashian (whom my doctor did too)

1.       Holy #!%*! Is the shower really that  dirty?

 

Well, there you have it. Hey,  if you can’t find humor in having a thin layer of your cornea slit off and folded back while the remainder of your cornea is ablated, well, then what’s the point of anything?

In a few days I’ll do a post about the whole experience for those of you who may be considering it.  Stayed tuned!

* I re-read the fine print of the pre-op form and nowhere does it guarantee that I will look as good as Angelina Jolie without my glasses.  Therefore, I will not be pursuing the lawsuit.

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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

~ 07/06/10

 

You know, it’s not enough that plenty of perfectly good marriages are being ruined by lack of sleep, the demands of parenthood and juggling jobs and family life – but now vampires , emo chicks and werewolves are at it too?!

Yeah, it’s true. Know how I know? I read it in an article online and that makes it true, right? The article  said that there are thousands of women who were so obsessed with the TWILIGHT movies that they were neglecting their marriages and even their kids! They spend hours online obsessing about the characters, the production of the movies, even the actors and what they’re doing every minute of their lives.

And you thought Twilight was a story aimed at 14 year-old girls who recently acquired their breasts. I thought so too when I read the first book and saw the first movie, which I’ll admit, is as far as I got.  I mean, wow.  Having read the poetry that is Interview With The Vampire this was NOT my cup of blood.  

But I got it. It wasn’t meant to be great literature. It was clear to me that the appeal of these stories was the whole “forbidden sex” thing. The “danger of sex” thing. The first book was a long – and I mean very long – series of, well,  longing scenes, one after another after another. In fact, I kept wondering, “When is something going to happen?!” And then I realized, when you’re a teenage girl on the verge of her sexual awakening, nothing’s SUPPOSED to happen. Not if your parents and school counselors can help it. Sex is a scary thing, a dangerous thing. Especially in this day and age when it can actually kill you. Also, according to your friends, it hurts really, really badly the first time.

And while Stephenie Meyer may not know story structure if it impaled her through the heart, she knows that young girls have eternally been attracted to the bad boy and forbidden love.

Apparently, however, they aren’t the only ones. Because then I heard some of my mommy friends going on about these books. We’re talking women in their 30s and 40s. Women with husbands who, as evidenced by the existence of children, had already lost their virginity.  And lo and behold, they too had gotten wrapped up in the phenom that is Twilight. They talked about Team Edward vs.  Team Jacob. They giggled about Robert Pattinson’s brooding hotness. They marveled at the pecs of an underage Taylor Lautner. And somehow, I think they identified with the disaffected Bella who, if you ask me, seems like a closet cutter.

But at least none of my mommy friends have reached the frenzied point of the TwiHards who are neglecting their marriages and their children. But here’s what one such woman had to say in an L.A. Times article on the subject:

“My husband finally came to me and said, ‘I think you love Twilight more than you love me,'” says Johnson, who had become especially attached to the community she’d found online. “I ended up moving out of the house and fought for my marriage for six weeks. I had to take a step back and detox myself from Twilight. I was really angry that I had allowed it to suck me in.”

 

That’s what vampires do, right? Suck. Especially the ones in these books. But then, that’s my opinion. And clearly I am in the minority here.

Still, I’ve got to wonder if these women weren’t already having problems in their marriage. Maybe they are just  finding something in these stories that is fulfilling some need that isn’t getting met at home. And really, is this obsession any different than, say, the one that sucks in so many men during fantasy football season?

The bottom line is, all our marriages would be better served if we spent more time tending them instead of sitting in front of a computer screen obsessing about the lives of other people.

Uh, on that note…. Signing off to call Randy the perfekt husband who is on his daily long commute to his job so that Julia can grow up in a nice house on a clean street filled with loads of kids in the suburbs. I love you, honey. Yes, more than my computer.

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