Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

What? You can’t take undocumented children out of the country? January 31, 2010

Filed under: Anecdotal,educational,parenting,Political,Religious — Addicted to Yarn @ 7:56 pm
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Uh…duh…These people are retarded. I’m not trying to be inflammatory but seriously, how much thought does it take to realize that you are going to be suspected of child traffficking if you take a bus load of undocumented children out of the country? Oh, you were just trying to help? Really? A likely story. And I’ll bet every child trafficker out there says, when stopped by the police, “Oh, you caught me. I was planning on selling these children into prostitution.”

I understand that there are kids who need help in Haiti. Well, really all of Haiti needs help. But it’s kind of like being on a moving job. Let me explain.

My dad ran a moving company for many years. We could empty a house, load two large U-Hauls in a day with my dad, me and one, maybe two, helpers and not break a thing and everything go as planned, or mostly as planned. The other way of doing it is the way this guy we moved did it. He was a popular guy and he had EVERYONE and their dog come over to “help.” We must have had 15 people trying to help us. My dad never left the truck. He just tried to fit things in. The problem is, you can’t just load a truck with random crap. You have to load it carefully so that everything arrives the way it should. Heavy furniture on the bottom, medium stuff in the middle, and light, randomly shaped things on the top and progresing to lighter and lighter loads as you move towards the back of the truck. When he’s being brought random stuff and never has a chance to go back inside and see what should go next, it ends up really sucking.

So the truck is loaded badly.

Then, there is the fact that random people don’t know shit about moving furniture. And they don’t listen when you tell them they are doing it wrong. At the time, I was 19 years old. One of the older men (probably in his late forties) was putting a file cabinet on a box dolly. I said, “Oh, don’t use that. If you put a filing cabinet on a box dolly, the ledge of the dolly will pop the bottom out of the filing cabinet. You have to carry it.”

He ignored me.

He took it down two stairs before the ledge of the dolly pushed through the bottom and the whole thing tumbled down the stairs spilling LOOSE sheet music everywhere. I helped him pick up the mess he’d made, while biting my tongue to keep from going ape-shit on him.

The entire move was like that. One mistake, one bumble, one screwed up thing after another. And it took much longer than it should have because nothing went smoothly. It was chaos and disorganization and frustration.

And that is what needs to NOT happen in Haiti. What is happening in Haiti is terrible. A bunch of yahoo’s running down there and “helping” when they don’t know what they are doing is going to make it more terrible. Imagine that you are a parent who has been searching for your child only to find out that “someone” took them out of the country to “help” them. Is that going to reassure you or freak you out?

In closing, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, STAY OUT!

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Strawberries, Hair Cuts, and Pizza April 14, 2008

I made a fruit salad the other day. While cutting strawberries, I found a weird one…Yup. It’s weird.

the strawberry from the other world!

We took Jael to get her hair cut today. First, I must rant about the stupidity of this place. I don’t just want to take her to Wal-Mart to get her hair cut. We’ve never cut her hair before and I’m a little nervous. We’d wanted to wait until she could make the decision to cut her hair herself but she’s started chewing on it and so the decision got made for her. I open up the phone book, thinking I’ll find a salon in the yellow pages who says something about specializing in children’s hair cuts or maybe that just has an ad I like.

Yeah…I thought wrong. Under ‘barbers’ there were 60 shops listed and three with ads. Under ‘haircutters & stylists’ there were 28 listings and no ads. Under ‘spa’ there were some more listings but not once was there a professional ad or even an ad that seemed like a shop might like business. ARGH! So, faced with picking some shop at random, we decided to go ahead and go to Wal-Mart. At least if they screwed it up, there was some guarantee that they wouldn’t just laugh at us and kick us out of their store.

So, thinking there was a SmartStyle in the Wal-Mart northeast of us, I look them up in the white pages, wanting to call to see what kind of a wait we might have. None of the Wal-Mart’s listed a salon. We were sure there was one there so Israel got online and checked out Wal-Mart’s website to see if he could find one with a salon. None in the area. So I look up SmartStyle in the phone book and there it is: “SmartStyle-inside Wal-Mart…” and gives the address to the Wal-Mart Israel is looking at online that lists everything and it’s dog but not the salon. ARGH!!! (again)

We went and got her hair cut and it looks good. It’s not a magical hair cut that will never fall into her face while remaining feminine but it’s better than it was and is cute. Here are two before pics…

and two after pics…Don't ask me why she loos so freaky.

Oh, and as I looked up the phone book stuff just now, I found all the missing adverts. They are listed under ‘beauty salons.’ Now, I looked under ‘salon,’ ‘cosmotolgy,’ ‘haircutting,’ ‘barbers,’ etc, and not once was there a reference such as “look under beauty salon.” Nothing. ARGH!!!!!!!!

But we got her hair cut and that was cool. Then we went to a park and met a nice lady named Maria and her two and a half year old daughter. There was a large group of kids, from a school or day care or something there. Jael and some other girls had a bit of an altercation over proper bridge etiquette. Jael was bouncing on the bridge when a girl at least two years older tried to cross, slipped on her incredibly slippery shoes and then after slipping and sliding across the bridge and finally gaining the other side, yells at Jael, “You are the one that made me fall!” and then went away. Another little girl came and told Jael that she wasn’t supposed to jump on the bridge to which Jael responded, “Yes, I am.” The girl told Jael, quite forcefully, that she needed to get out of her way. Jael countered by telling the girl, again about two years older, equally forcefully that she needed to go around. Which the girl did. I was so proud of Jael for standing up for herself. I don’t want he to be a playground tyrant but I also don’t ever want to see her bow to someone else just because they are loud, obnoxious and afraid. Then Jael found two like-minded girls to play with and they had a riot.

After the park we went to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza. It was…amazing. There really isn’t any other words for it. We ordered a medium House Special, which, and I quote, “Originated when we first began, this Mellow Mushroom classic features Pepperoni, Sausage, Ground Beef, Onions, Green Peppers, Shrooms, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Bacon, Ham, and Extra Cheese.” It was phenomenal. I could have done with out the bacon but that’s simply because there were so many other toppings that the bacon was almost over kill. We ordered a medium and brought two slices home but I wish we’d ordered a large so we could have had a few more pieces to bring home. Okay, what I really wanted was to be able to eat another piece but still have enough pieces left to bring home to make me feel like I ate responsibly. *sigh*

The restaurant was almost perfect. There was fun music but not too loud. The decor was fun but not over powering. The smells, were of course, amazing. They served Coca-cola products and a huge selection of beers, domestic and imported. They had a number of beers that Israel has not tried. Since we were there for lunch, he didn’t try any today but maybe next time. The only complaint I have is the TV. There was a TV on each end of the restaurant and even though it was golf, I found myself being continually distracted. I hate TV in restaurants but oh, well. It was still worth it and we will definitely be visiting the Mellow Mushroom again.

After eating, we looked at the railroad behind the restaurant where one of the sidings appeared to be quite deserted. It was very light rail, very rusty – so rusty in fact that we had a very hard time finding a production date on it. After much searching and brushing away some dust, we found it. Laid in 1918. The oldest we’ve ever found. A train went by while we were looking and the engineer waved back at Jael. (In case you don’t know, Jael loves trains. Every time she hears a train, while in the apartment, she rushes to the door and asks to go down and watch it. We usually let her. She stands down on the curb, watches the train go by and then runs back upstairs to tell us about it. She’s wonderful.)

We headed home after that, Jael took a great nap, and Israel and I relaxed for about an hour and a half.

All in all, a great day.

Oh, and I’m reading “Jane Eyre” again. What a great book. I love it. It’s one of the few books I can read over and over. “Ender’s Game,” “The Captain of Castile,” and “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” are some of the others. That may actually be a complete list of the books I can read over and over again.

Coming soon: “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life”: a book review.

 

Jael and Naps April 11, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,parenting — Addicted to Yarn @ 6:26 am
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Jael has not been napping lately. I don’t know why. I don’t even care whys sometimes. All I know is that she needs a nap every day. At one o’clock when it’s time to begin “quiet time,” it seems like she would be fine without a nap. She’s awake and alert. She’s happy (usually) and would really, really like to stay up. So for a while, especially if we were out and about and didn’t want to come home, we would let her stay up. She’s four, we thought. Maybe she’s outgrown her afternoon nap.

NOPE!

By five or six o’clock, she is a complete and total basketcase. She is whiny and fussy. She cries over everything…and not just drama queen crap but literally upset and sad about silly little things. So, we’ve reinstituted the “nap” with excellent results. After a fashion. First there were the pleas and the excuses and the reasons. Then the tears and the collapses (very much the drama queen stuff there). There were repeat spankings.

And then suddenly, there was silence. I peeked in on her and this is what I saw…Jael, in 'Rocket,' our laundry basket

But, no, no, no. She’s not tired. Silly little girl.

Here’s another one…Jael, in 'Rocket,' our laundry basket

So what have we learned from this little experience? We, her parents, do in fact still know what’s best for her…at least regarding naps. My days have been going much better with my two hour quietness restored. Live and learn and boy, oh boy, did we ever!

 

Grandma and Grandpa April 3, 2008

Grandpa and Grandma

I never really knew my grandpa Roger*. He left my grandma Ellen* when my mom was about eight. He lived with another woman Fran*, raising their family. When my mom was about 14, Roger and Ellen were actually divorced. At that time everyone, except Roger kids with Fran, who didn’t know their parents weren’t married, thought he would now marry Fran. Instead he left her for another woman. I don’t remember ever meeting him until he was in the hospital dying of liver failure from alcohol abuse.

Not a great father figure. But, the I learned about his mom, Beatrice*. Whom I’d met once when my sister was graduating high school, when I was about 15. She died a couple of weeks ago, surprising me, since I had forgotten she was alive. I know that sounds horrible, but she had isolated herself from her family completely. She had kicked her daughter, Jane*, out of the house some thirty years ago and hadn’t spoken to her since. Beatrice didn’t even tell her when her brother died. My grandfather, Roger, started sleeping on park benches when he was around 10. So I’m thinking he didn’t have the greatest example of loving parents either.

I was talking to Israel this morning about some of the conversations he has or overhears at work. One of the conversations that he listened to yesterday but refrained from joining was about how tough these guys were because their parents were such bad-asses. One guy bragged that his mom didn’t have to spank them or slap them if they back talked. She would just throw whatever was nearby at their head. Book, full cup of coffee, shoe, whatever. Pitch it at their head.

Another time, when speaking about raising their own children, someone said, “Yeah, you got to beat her ass,” in reference to a daughter. Israel said, “No, we don’t beat our daughter. We spank her. We don’t spank her when we’re angry.” To which this person replied, “You gotta spank her when you’re mad. If you wait until you cool off, you won’t hit her hard enough. You gotta lay into her ass.”

Seriously.

That’s really what was said. “You gotta spank (or beat) when you are angry or you won’t hit hard enough.”

I don’t think people should be allowed to hit their children. I think my husband and I are better than most people (I really do. I’m sorry. We are thinking and they are not. We are learning new things and they are watching Survivor. We are trying to make our world a better place and they are buying new full size SUV’s and complaining about gas prices. Which of us would you rather have around?) and I think we spank correctly. As a punishment and never as a behavior modifier. We don’t spank to make her stop a behavior. We spank her as a consequence to behavior and hope that she will make the right decision to forgo the negative consequence and choose the right behavior. However, I am willing to give that up and find other forms of negative consequences in order to protect every other child out their from their abusive parents.

Because that’s what throwing things at your child’s head is. It’s abuse. I’m not even sorry for saying that. If your parents ever threw something at you in anger, you’ve been abused. If you’ve ever thrown something at your child in anger, you’ve abused. Simple. (I’m not talking a rolled up sock thrown in jest. I’m talking about hard, heavy things that should not be thrown at children. Use some common sense. If it would hurt you if it were thrown at your, it will hurt your child. Duh.)

So, I don’t think Straus’s study as reported in USA Today, is nearly as out of whack as I thought it was when I blogged about it a while back. I now think that since most people who spank are also the kind of people who throw things at their kids, most people who are spanked are going to have weird problems as adults. And the phrase “lay into her ass” has certain sexual overtones that are altogether creepy. So, while I still think USA Today did a shoddy job of reporting and that Straus should not have lumped masochism with risky sexual behavior nor should he have used so small of studies of the high schoolers, I’m not as out right opposed to his findings as I was originally. As I meet more and more people and get to know them and have these conversations with them, I become less and less comfortable with other people being allowed to corporally discipline their children.

Yes, I want special rights for me and my friends. But I am willing to give those up for the well being of ever potentially abused child out there. I’m creative. I can find other ways to discipline and train up my child and any future children we might have. But hundreds of thousands of kids out there won’t get a choice about whether or not they are routinely abused by those who are supposed to be taking care of them and protecting them.

*names have been changed. I’m fine with my name being plastered all over the internet but I don’t know about everyone else.

 

Does Spanking Lead to Sexual Dysfuntion? February 29, 2008

*Five years after writing this (it’s currently April 2013), my husband, our co-parent, and myself no longer spank any of our children. This was, however, genuinely what we thought in 2008 so I leave it as it is.*

A friend pointed this USA Today article out to me and in light of my most recent blog, I’d like to share my thoughts on it.

Israel and I talked at length last night and this morning about spanking and it’s place in our methods of discipline. We read the wikipedia articles on corporal punishment and spanking. We decided that the subject is complicated and worthy of deep thought. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

We do spank our daughter. We spank her for disobedience and lying. We do not spank because we are angry. How we feel about a behavior does not (or should not) affect the punishment she may or may not receive. We punish, not because we are mad at her, but because she has disobeyed and her disobedience is deserving of punishment. Our goal in doing so is to teach her through a non-damaging process that there are consequences for behavior. We reward her when she does good and punish, sometime with a spanking, sometime with loss of privilege (toys or playing), when she does wrong, thus teaching that actions have consequences, for good and bad.

But when reading articles such as this, I question our decision to spank and we rethink it a couple of times a year to make certain it still has a place in our disciplinary methods. I’m going to take you through this article the way I read it. My thoughts and comments are in blue.

Study: Spanking may lead to sexual problems later

Children whose parents spank them or otherwise inflict (You’ve gotta love the use of the word “inflict.” Nice work presenting spanking as bad in the first sentence.) physical punishment may (the word “may” here is what’s called a ‘weasel’ word; a word used to avoid making a straightforward statement. Notice the article’s author is not actually saying anything. They may also grow up to be lima beans. He’s not saying anything.) be more likely to have sexual problems later, according to research to be presented Thursday to the American Psychological Association.

The analysis of four studies by Murray Straus, co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire-Durham, suggests (but doesn’t actually prove) that children whose parents spanked, slapped, hit or threw objects at them may have a greater chance of physically or verbally coercing a sexual partner, engaging in risky sexual behavior or engaging in masochistic sex, including sexual arousal by spanking. (Notice how ‘spanked’ is listed with ‘slapped, hit, or threw objects at’? Not every parent who spanks automatically does these other things, which I think most people would agree are abusive and Strauss lumps them all together. Also notice how it is just assumed that erotic spanking is a bad thing. If it’s consensual and enjoyable to both parties, what’s the problem, especially if a safe word is used and respected )

“It increases the chances of sexual problems,” though “it’s not a one-to-one causation,” Straus says. (To what degree does it increase the chance of sexual problems? Are they four times more likely to have sexual problems? Half a percent more likely? Which sexual problems?)

Elizabeth Gershoff, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, who reviewed 80 years of spanking research in 2002 in the APA’s Psychological Bulletin, says Straus’ work appears to be the first to link spanking with sexual problems.

Gershoff says that though many children have been spanked (85% in one 2007 survey), problems may depend on how they process the spanking. (Again with the weasel words…which suggests there is not sufficient research to say for sure what, if any, connection there is.)

“They may internalize that to mean that in loving relationships sometimes there’s pain or physical aggression,” she says. Another possible lesson is that “whoever is stronger and has more power can overpower the other person and use physical aggression to control the other person’s behavior.” (If you are spanking your child simply because you are bigger and therefore have the “right” to control your child, you are probably abusing them. Spanking should not be used to control behavior but as a punishment after the fact. Of course, the hope is that the spanking was painful enough to deter future disobedience but that is a side effect of the punishment.)

But linking sexual problems with spanking is a “big leap,” says human-sexuality researcher John DeLamater of the University of Wisconsin. “It’s probably one of many elements that might contribute to sex problems or risky sex, but it’s a long leap.”

Most children who are spanked escape from long-term harm, says Straus, 81, a sociology professor who says he occasionally spanked his own children but later became a staunch critic of spanking. His work on violence in families is regarded as landmark research. (Notice how, without saying spanking causes violence in families, it is alluded to by mentioning this unrelated work in the context of spanking?)

He is scheduled to present the studies today at the psychological association’s Summit on Violence and Abuse in Relationships in Bethesda, Md. Three are yet unpublished; one has been submitted to a journal. He plans to include two in a book this year. The fourth was included in a 1994 book. (Oooooo…not much peer review. Not a good sign for the legitimacy of his studies)

The two most recent studies examine sexual coercion and risky practices among 14,252 college students between 2001 and 2006. The third study, of 440 (not nearly enough to draw any realistic conclusions) high school students from New Hampshire, examined risky sex, such as premarital sex without a condom. The fourth study, of 207 (again, not nearly enough) students from the Northeast, focused on masochistic sex.

In each case, Straus found that those who had experienced corporal punishment had increased probability of coercing sex, risky sex or masochistic sex. (If he’s referring to abuse, ei. hitting, throwing things at, etc, who’s surprised? But because he’s not studied ‘spanking’ and has only studied all forms of corporal punishment, the abused kids are included in the stats of the un-abused, but spanked, kids. Again, he’s lumped masochistic sex with inherently negative things, coerced sex and risky sex. Enjoying masochistic sex is not necessarily indicative of a sexual problem.)

The literature on effectiveness of spanking to correct behavior is still “very mixed,” says Robert Larzelere of Oklahoma State University, who has studied parents’ disciplinary methods.

“Like any discipline tactic, it depends on how it’s used,” he says.

The End

So, my conclusion is that if you are spanking your child in a manner that is abusive, your child is more likely to be abusive, just like every study on abusive situations has proven time and time again. What this article does not prove is that healthy, responsible spanking, causes sex problems.

I hope you all enjoyed this little trip into Becky’s brain. And I hope no one’s too scared.