Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nanny Nanny Boo Boo

I think in the span of about seven days I've seen THREE instances where moms have been upset that their kid was treated poorly by other kids. And that's BESIDES what happened in front of me a few weeks ago at the pool with E. I know for a fact that one of these other instances happened with at least one of the parents in earshot or at least in eyesight of their kid being an asshole.

I'm baffled at how parents can let their kids be so mean. I've never been a "not MY kid" kind of mom. Usually I'm blaming my kid before I even know what happened. One thing I can say is that I spend A LOT of time making sure he's a nice kid. I'm never just letting him get away with being the douchebag, hurting other people's feelings.

Summer has officially begun and I spend most of our free time at the town pool. When I'm at the town pool, I'm watching kids at the pool interact. I may look buried in my iPhone, but I have one eye on the phone, one eye on the kids and my ears open like Dumbo. E is an only child. He knows how to entertain himself quite well on his own, but when he's in any social situation, all he wants to do is play with someone. Anyone. They are all kids he doesn't know but has the balls to just ask to play. It's partially my own fault- I know some of these kids, I've seen them be less than nice before, and truth be told- I find their parents to be lacking in the niceness department. And that's putting it mildly. I don't make an effort to chat these people up so E doesn't really know their kids. But he doesn't care- he still wants to play.
I heard one tell him he can't play with him. Then, he just went up to another, smiled, and the kid, looked to be about the same age or a bit older, literally just scrunched his face, stuck his tongue out at him & swam away. I don't advocate violence at all, but I can't say I didn't want to just pop that kid right in his scrunched face. I was literally waiting for him to raise his arms and yell, "O'DOYLE RULES!!"

My child is NOT perfect and there ARE going to be times I'm probably going to have to get on him for something he says that I don't think is the most mannered way to say something. But he IS generally nice. He's just a good-natured, happy kid. BUT. BUT. BUT. I also make SURE he is a nice kid. How? Every single day on the way to school, in that eight minute drive, I talk to him about being friendly, making sure he's inclusive, I ask him how he would feel if someone told him he couldn't play, if they told him he can't be friends with them, etc. We talk about what to do if someone is crying, hurt, getting picked on, etc. We've discussed standing up for people, not being a sheep and not being the ringleader of mean. Yeah, he's four and a half. And it's NEVER too early to make sure your kid isn't a bullying douchebag. Sure, the word bullying is often now being bandied about in all situations, sometimes to the point of overreaction. But then, I see all these little nasty assholes running around with scrunched faces, hearing- "You can't play with us" for no reason except to be mean and then I start thinking that nothing is an overreaction. Well, except for Alexis Bellino on RHOC- she was not bullied. Anyway- I see this stuff, with the parents AROUND, and I'm just astounded. Is In Touch Weekly THAT engrossing that you don't hear it? Are you afraid of your kid? Do you just not care? Or worst yet, do you LIKE that your kid is the Mean Girl type because you think that will keep her Queen Bee of her class?

*I* am not perfect. I've talked plenty of shit. I've judged. It's just a fact of life. People gossip, have opinions...and my opinions tend to be strong. There is a difference though. I don't know if any of what I've said above that I've done could be construed as "right" to do in any way. But anyone that knows me also knows that I am extremely inclusive. If I hear of a cool place to go, I'm sending a mass email. If you're alone on line in a bank, in a store, or anywhere, with me, chances are we are going to be chatting, whether you want to or not. I can't think of a time I've ever purposely excluded someone. I've even had friends over my lifetime that everyone else seemed determined not to like or be nice to but that I felt I understood in a different way and stayed friends. I just don't see the fun in leaving someone out. Especially kids. Why is it a big deal if a kid you don't know wants to play? And why aren't people teaching their kids that it's much better to be inclusive than exclusive??

I'm pretty sure learned this lesson around fifth grade. I watched it happen to others in my "clique". I even vaguely remember being on the phone with another girl who could argue like I could as we discussed why this one picked on girl should be left alone. I was her "lawyer" like in Blubber by Judy Blume. Even then I had the underdog mentality. As I saw people being turned on and excluded from the group that had been part of it since what felt like birth to me, I decided, I didn't like it. I already felt a little on the outside because my mom refused to be "in" with the other moms of that group. My parents weren't part of town stuff, sports, clubs, etc. And they didn't grow up in town. So it was easy for me to sort of slide over to other friends. So I did find other friends. At eleven years old, in sixth grade, I picked a shy, quiet girl to harass into being my friend instead and she's still my friend today.

Even after that though, there were times I was excluded- purposely and publicly. One time it was for months over something so stupid, I can't even believe it happened. But it did. And while I certainly don't need therapy over it, I will never forget how it FELT. And I just knew then, I would never do it to someone else. I can also say now, that it's probably why a big part of my personality is to always be...around...floating in and out of groups but never getting close enough to really be part of one. But I can say with pride and certainty, I always was the one to befriend who others might consider to be the "misfit" and why to this day my husband and his friend say that I always have my own "Wack Pack". I'd much rather be friends with the Janis Ian than be known as a hanger-on of a Regina George.

Unfortunately, it never stops. It starts as kids and just goes on and on and on through adulthood. What matters is what you get out of it and how to cope. Luckily for me, anytime it's ever happened, I learned that I can just make new friends. I don't even hold grudges. I'm just...done. Where I just don't think of the person(s) the same way anymore but I'm not angry or bothered. I've definitely been hurt by feeling like I've been left out as an adult. Especially when there was no discussion or confrontation. I just moped a little, talked some shit, and got over it and found new people to hang with. But I'm going to be thirty-nine. Not nine. Or four, seven or twelve. They DON'T know how to cope, they may live in what seems like too small of a town to just make new friends, and it's just UNNECESSARY to be cruel.

I don't know how many articles and blogs have to be written to get it through people's heads that teaching your kid just the simple art of kindness is a HUGE part of parenting. Although, I'm not sure these kinds of people are reading anything about how behavior affects others. Guess what- if your kid is four, can read, do algebra, and can do a one minute mile, but is not KIND, you FAILED as a parent. Your job isn't simply to keep your kid alive, as Louis CK jokes or to make them into the next Harvard grad. It's to make sure they are a decent human being with regard for others feelings. And no, that doesn't mean contributing to the pussification of our youth. In fact, what IS contributing to that is the child who is entitled and spoiled and never taught proper manners and that the sun doesn't rise and set on their ass. That trophy for everything, school-called-out-because-of-heat (that parents think school should be called off because it's hot irks the living shit out of me) kid is often also the one who is allowed to speak to their parent however they want and if they speak to their parent with disrespect and disregard then of course there is nothing stopping them from treating their peers in a shoddy way.

I can't even properly explain how sad, disappointed, mortified, and angry I would be if I ever got that call that my kid was the bully or the mean kid or the one excluding peers from anything. I'd be nipping that shit in the bud so fast his head would be spinning. You aren't making a doormat of a kid when you make sure he's nice. I think too many people get that confused. They think if they're kid is "too nice" they're going to get walked on. No, no. That's why parenting isn't easy and it isn't for everyone. There is work involved. Not just getting them dressed and fed. But teaching them how to be a good person AND how to recognize & stand up for themselves when someone isn't good to them is paramount. You aren't raising a pussy by teaching them to be nice. And you aren't being a helicopter parent when you hear your kid say something rude, cruel, or nasty to another kid and intervene.

I'm fully aware that my son is going to have to learn how to deal with mean people his whole life. If only there was a way to just eliminate ignorant, mean, asshats from all of our daily existence but we can't. And I know it's part of life to learn how to navigate situations where you're left out and feel bad about it. I can't protect him from everything and I actually don't want to- I want him to have some "street smarts" about him and know how to handle difficult situations. That's why I just sat there, that day at the pool, watching, typing & letting him figure it out. But bet your ass he knows if he ever excludes someone, sticks his tongue out or was just so generally rude for no reason there would be definite consequences.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I know there was a meeting the other night I couldn't attend but I suppose this was what it was about. It's really exciting, even if it doesn't seem to be to anyone else but those of us in Glen Rock using the Jewish Center. We've been involved in the camp/preschool for exactly 2 years now and have seen that part of the center grow immensely in that short amount of time. We've had such a good experience with GRJC- with the staff of the nursery school, the program, and really, the community that we've become a part of there. It's a community feel I never had as a kid or growing up, even in another small Bergen County town. I think the difference was that there was no nursery school in our temple to draw you in for the long haul.

I've never been religious and am fairly certain I never will be. But I just love the sense of community, the coolness (word?) of all the other parents we've met and become friendly with, the nice kids E has become friends with, and that they not just allow, but encourage you, as a preschool family, to do other activities with the temple. So if you don't join, when your child ages out of preschool, I think you actually feel a real sense of loss. They don't need strong-arm tactics or hardcore rules to get you to join. They let you become part of the family, so to speak so that you WANT to continue being a part of that.

As a kid going to synagogue wasn't "fun". I remember it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Services were very serious, even the ones where kids were there. I have a short attention span as it is. Not being religious, the idea of sitting for any service makes my foot twitch like mad. But we went to the Saturday night Purim service this year. It was packed with parents and kids. On Saturday night! And while it IS a Conservative temple, it's so not what I remembered "Conservative" being like. As the Rabbi was doing the Purim story with his own words to the tune of "Call Me Maybe", I looked around and I was just so impressed. I was impressed that every person there looked like they really wanted to be there. I don't recall ever having that feeling in religious services. And yes, Purim is more of a "fun" holiday but even still. Most people would rather be doing something else on Saturday evening.

So, I'm not surprised that GRJC is trying to do their best to expand. If you're going to be part of a religious house of worship, I think the word-of-mouth is that it is a very cool synagogue for families. It's a very young congregation, lots of children, and Rabbi Tow & his wife, also a Rabbi (Rabbi Rachel Schwartz) are just very cool, down to earth people. She's come into our store a few times and I just really like her.

Anyway- this is the email I just got so I'm passing it on:

Glen Rock Jewish Center Announcement
                The Future Begins Today!               
To: All in our Glen Rock Jewish Center Family:
The Executive Board of the Glen Rock Jewish Center is happy to report to you that his week we have taken a monumental step in planning for the future of the Glen Rock Jewish Center. We have agreed in principle on the purchase of the property next door to the Synagogue-664 Harristown Road. 
We are immediately forming a committee to begin the process of raising funds, for both the short term goal of defraying acquisition costs and the long term goal of creating additional facilities for our future needs.   Our first meeting will be this Monday, June 24 at 8pm in the Glen Rock Jewish Center Social Hall. All in the GRJC family, including members, nursery school families, and members of our Moving On group are welcome to join this committee.
Shortly after this meeting, we will begin reaching out for the financial support of all in our GRJC family, as well as others who have an interest in strengthening our Jewish community.
This is an exciting time for our synagogue... our membership is increasing; our nursery school is one of the most successful programs in our area,  with attendance at capacity, and a waiting list of additional prospective families. Our religious school is thriving at a time when we have seen neighboring schools face difficulties with enrollment.  With future expansion, we hope to provide the programs and services that will continue to attract more families to our congregation.  We have already heard from a number families who are excited about this expansion and who have pledged their financial support to this venture.  
We hope to see many of you on Monday, and that you will make a financial commitment to help  achieve our goals.
We look forward to working together towards a bright future for our families!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bad Girls Good Deeds

This sounds like an awesome night for an awesome person! I'm excited- I've been to Leito's before. My friend has a yearly silent auction/tricky tray there every year that I've been to and the food is really good.

Everyone and anyone is invited- please consider coming out to support! Make it a "girls night" for you and your friends. It'll be a good time.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Delusional Sizing

I have always hated buying pants. I am not shaped for pants. You're probably thinking, "What? That's insane. Everyone has to be shaped for pants". Well, no. I probably could go to a tailor to MAKE pants fit, like my petite friends, but I don't want to do that. I want pants to just fit.

Before September 2002, I could hardly wear any pants. I don't think I really owned jeans except for a short time when I tried out mostly not eating my last year or so of college. But that was short lived. I like food. I've always yo-yo'd with weight. But before 2002, the first place I'd gain it was in my butt, hips, and thighs. So if I could get pants over those areas, the waist would be GAPING. But pants were slightly higher at the end of college and for a few years after so I could find stuff that could work. I'd mostly have to wear a belt.

Then in September 2002, I had liposuction on those three problem areas. I think I was 159 at my surgery- I'm 5'7. If I remember correctly, they took out 6 or 9 lbs. Not sure. It wasn't so much that I lost a lot of weight, it just sort of redistributed. Yay for pants! Yay for jeans! But even though I wasn't so pear shaped anymore, I still have the problem with gaping in the waist. Not as bad but it still happens. And if they don't but they are too low, I have muffin top and a whale tail (try Urban Dictionary or United States of Tara).

I found that Joe's Jeans work the best for me. Icon style I think. I can live with bottoms dragging. Icon's description is "higher waisted". When I read it I could only picture poor Jessica Simpson getting railed in the press for her high waisted jeans. Or worse yet, "mom jeans". But I was finding that all jeans were getting so low I couldn't even get them halfway up my behind before they were expected to close. I don't know who looks like that beyond the age of twelve, but whatever. I'd tried GAP Long & Lean but they were anything but. The big wide pockets did nothing for me and they'd be baggy as elephant knees in a hot minute. I have tons of 7 For All Mankind and various others and they're so ridiculously low cut that I always have to wear a belt just for decency.

I went into LOFT the other day. When I used to think of LOFT it just screamed "teacher" or "business casual"- neither of which- a teacher or business casual, I am. I like boob shirts! Fitted boob shirts. More babydoll or halter style. I used to be all Express and Arden B. Late 90's-Early 2000's had the BEST clothes! Then Express & Arden B went all 80's Kardashian street-walker and our love affair was over. B and I went to a taping of The View and got $100 gift cards to LOFT. I didn't think I'd find anything in there but they do sometimes have some cool things that aren't sweater-sets. Not dissing my teacher friends- they're just not me. This time, my cool LOFT pick was jeans.

I was looking for cropped jeans. Tried the GAP just because I didn't know where else to go. No dice. Didn't like any of them. Then, I found the "Curvy Cropped" in LOFT but they had very few sizes. There was 0, 2, 4, 12 & 14. I wasn't even going to bother because on no planet am I a size 4. Not in dream, not in a fantasy- NOWHERE. Like I said- I'm 5'7 and around 140 lbs. Last time I was a size 4 was the last year I was in college and maybe for a year or two after. And I was around 120 lbs then. So there is just no way. But I threw caution to the wind and took the 4's into the dressing room. They fit PERFECT. Awesome right? No muffin top, no squeezing, I could sit comfortably, and most importantly, no camel toe. So, yeah, I got the pants. I just was annoyed because I felt like the company was trying to play me. Make me feel so good I'd buy everything because it says "4" on it. I'm not stupid. If I went directly from LOFT to H&M, I wouldn't be able to get a calf into a 4, let alone my entire ass.

It just seems so....stupid. I remember hearing or reading that higher end brands did that so wealthy women would want to spend money. But now it's trickled down to the more budget conscious? For what reason? We all KNOW what size we are. Do I now think I'm able to apply to be a Victoria's Secret Angel because I'm wearing a 4? No. All it does is make it more difficult to shop online. Because I have no idea what is vanity sized and what isn't. I have a small idea based on brand but still. It just adds annoyance to my shopping. There is just no reason I can buy a 4 in LOFT, a 6-8 in Express, and a 10 at H&M. Someone explain why this confusion is necessary.

It's not even just the jeans. It's the tops, dresses, etc. I've never bought size S in other brands. But, like the GAP, most of their clothes are on the boxy side which makes them appear much bigger. All the shirts I bought last year from LOFT are size S. But they have XS and XL so I think they just spread their sizing out more or something.

But at any rate, my original thought was to rave about the pants. There is Curvy Cropped and Modern Cropped. Both fit actually and liked the darker rinse on the Modern but the Curvy looked better. If you have a bigger hip/thigh/butt area, I highly recommend. Just know you're going home with a way smaller size than you usually wear.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Raising Awareness

I certainly didn't set out to have a blog about cancer, but then, no one really expects to be diagnosed with cancer either. I don't know if there is just more cancer or if I just know a lot of people. Well, ok, I *do* know a lot of people, but it's just weird or interesting...and sad, that in my 39th year I happen to know way too many.

Cancer always seemed so far off. Like Alzheimer's. Something you get when you're old. I still think of my 20's self, wearing body glitter and dancing at D'Jais. Cancers were the furthest thing from my mind and I certainly didn't know anyone my own age or younger with any form of it. I'd seen kids or young moms with it on tv, read it in magazines and seen it shared on FB. But it feels like it's getting closer and closer. I honestly don't worry about it for me...I'm just not neurotic like that. But I worry about my friends, acquaintances, children of those friends.

So there isn't all that much I can do to actually fight tumors. I'm not a doctor, a healer, or a magician. What I DO have is this blog. So I can get the word out when someone is having a fundraiser or event for any of these way-too-young peers and children who are suffering with different forms of cancer. If it brings in one extra person to an event or a dollar, that's cool. Even if it just raises awareness that it's not just something other people get- it can hit really close to home and those you would never think. It's something.

Alison Bloomfield is a relatively new friend from town. Our sons are a grade apart in preschool and it turns out she lives literally in sight distance from my house. Limor Beck is her sister-in-law & she has ovarian cancer. There is a fundraiser for her coming up in September. I know that seems far out but it comes faster than you can imagine. I saw the flyer on her Facebook page so I wanted to share. I know these things are only as helpful as the amount of people you know so I thought it would a nice bonus to get the word out to my readers as well. 

I don't know about you guys but I LOVE a tricky tray/silent auction type of night. That's MY kind of gambling. And if you think you have something cool to donate as an auction/raffle item, their contact info is on the flyer below. Plus, who doesn't want to go to The Brownstone. Last time I was there, I was running to get E to a bathroom and ran smack into Albert Manzo. It was my brush with Reality TV fame on an otherwise ordinary Saturday.