Weekend Open Thread

I did something crazy yesterday: Set my alarm for 4 a.m., woke up my daughter, got us decked out in Disney princess race gear, and drove to an amusement park before dawn so we could run the Disneyland 5K together. The race started at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., and my plan was to have DD at school by her usual 8 a.m. start time.

I did something stupid yesterday: Tucked my car key fob into my sports bra instead of my usual zippered sports belt. Realized after the finish line that my car key was gone… it slipped out somewhere along the 3.12 mile route. Guess where DD’s school clothes, backpack and lunch were? That’s right, locked in my car. Thankfully a close friend, her son and parents were also at the race and let us pile into their car for a ride home. We then got a ride back to Disneyland to collect my car, and I got DD to school 45 minutes late. I then headed BACK to Disneyland again, to fill out an official Lost and Found report. No word on my car key yet.

I did something awesome yesterday: Created a lifelong memory for my girl and me. I hope there will be many more races in our future . . . and every one of them will involve a carefully secured car key.

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Have you done something crazy, stupid or awesome lately? Do tell!

What are you up to this Labor Day weekend? Chat away!


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve read a lot of incredible analysis about the criminalization of poor mothers in the United States. The inconsistencies in outcome for the parents of the 9-year-old who killed her shooting instructor with an uzi and the mom of a 9-year-old who left her daughter in the park to go to work were mind-blowing in this article.

July 28, Associated Press:

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Plenty of working parents can relate to the dilemma Debra Harrell faced when her 9-year-old daughter asked to play unsupervised in a park this summer. How do you find the time and money for child care when school is out?

Harrell’s answer to that question got her arrested. She spent 17 days in jail, temporarily lost custody of her girl, thought she lost her job, and still faces 10 years in prison if convicted of felony child neglect.

The decision of this 46-year-old single mother and McDonald’s shift manager has been picked apart since police were called when Regina was spotted alone in the park.

August 27, Associated Press:

PHOENIX (AP) — “All right, full auto,” the firing-range instructor tells a 9-year-old girl. She braces the Uzi submachine gun and opens fire at a black-silhouette target. But the recoil wrenches the fully automatic weapon upward, and the instructor is shot in the head and killed.

The death has set off a powerful debate over youngsters and guns, with many people wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle an Uzi.

….And while the tragedy in Arizona has indeed “set off a powerful debate” about kids and guns, it hasn’t brought the parents of the girl at the gun range, tourists visiting from New Jersey, anything close to the kind of sociological scrutiny that fell upon Debra Harrell, an African-American single mom trying to make ends meet with her fast-food job.

Wow. If there was any doubt that America hates poor people, read this article. The Nation had even more in-depth analysis on the over-the-top punishments doled out to poor single mothers of color.

Nightmarish stories about about the criminalizing of motherhood have been making headlines of late. There was Shanesha Taylor, arrested on child abuse charges for leaving her kids in a car to go to a job interview; Debra Harrell, locked up for child abuse for letting her 9-year-old play at a nearby park while she worked her shift at McDonald’s; Mallory Loyola, the first woman to be charged under a new Tennessee law that makes it a crime to take drugs while pregnant; and Eileen Dinino, who died serving a jail sentence because she was too poor to pay legal fees from her kids’ truancy cases. Other countries provide social programs and income supports for poor single mothers; in the United States, we arrest them.

I hate to end on that note, but glad that some media outlets are covering this important story. The New York Times once estimated that it costs, on average, $60,000 a year to incarcerate someone in New York, and $168,000 a year for someone in the city. (!) I thought of this story and compared it to how much cheaper it would be for us to simply pay for childcare for these moms or allow them to stay home with their children…and better for the kids, too.

What do you all think?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Thursday Open Thread

Been thinking about our next vacation plans. Heck, who am I kidding, I am ALWAYS planning our next vacation! We’re pondering Hawaii with the kids, or a weekend on the central coast of California to visit some historic missions (they’re part of the 4th grade social studies curriculum). I am even thinking about a weekend escape for DH’s birthday in December.

Know what I’m not considering? Taking my 9-year-old daughter to a firing range so she can shoot an Uzi for funsies.

A 9-year-old girl at a shooting range outside Las Vegas accidentally killedan instructor on Monday morning when she lost control of the Uzi he was showing her how to use.

A partial video of the incident — which does not show the instructor being shot — shows a slender young girl in a ponytail and pink shorts beside a man clad in camouflage pants, a black T-shirt and sunglasses. “Allriiight!” he says, congratulating her after she fires the gun in single-shot mode. “All right, full auto!” he says. Then comes a spray of bullets and a child’s scream before the video cuts off…

…Sprawling across more than 30 acres in the Mojave desert 26 miles from Vegas, Bullets and Burgers advertises itself as an “Outdoor Machine Gun Adventure” with a “Desert Storm atmosphere.” “Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons,” the Web site says. “At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns. … Let ‘em Rip!”

The shooting range’s Web site says the minimum age for the “ground adventure” is 8, and children ages 8 to 17 “must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian at all times.”

I know one of our MotherTalker mantras is not to be Sanctimommy and judge other parents’ choices. Breast vs. bottle? Whatever works. Public school vs. private school vs. homeschool? You do you. But I am judging these parents, and quite frankly all adults involved, BIG TIME for putting this innocent 9-year-old child in such a horrific situation.

Parents have recently been arrested for leaving their kid in a car while running a quick errand, or for letting their kids play at a park while they work. But these parents, who literally put an Uzi in their 9-year-old kid’s hands, will face zero consequences.

So there’s your mind f*ck for today. I got nothing, except white hot rage.

What’s boggling your mind today? You got any cheerful news or anecdotes to share?

Chat away!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Sadly, it’s premature for me to sing “Baby Got Class” as my kids don’t go back to school until the day after Labor Day. Nonetheless, I was all smiles when I saw these parents rapping about their kids going back to school to “Baby Got Back.” Hilarious!

And since I got e.coli over my summer break, I am extra careful when it comes to food-borne illnesses. ICYMI, nSpired Natural Foods Inc. voluntarily recalled peanut and almond butters produced under the Arrowhead Mills and MaraNatha brand names for salmonella contamination, according to NutritionAction.com.


What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

Did you watch the Emmys last night? What did you think of the winners and losers?

Which TV shows are you hooked on lately? DH and I are finishing up season 2 of Orange is the New Black, and really enjoying Masters of Sex.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

The child refugees from Central America are back in the news. This Washington Post story and Think Progress report on missing children — and murdered deported children — from Honduras was intense. It made me shudder, but also so grateful that I was born to the parents and country that I was.

I pray for a day that a child’s well-being isn’t based on where she was born.

If this issue is breaking your heart as much as mine, please consider signing this MomsRising outreach to Congress and the President. We have garnered more than 20,000 signatures and plan to deliver them soon.

Many thanks!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tuesday Open Thread

Today’s the last day of summer vacation around these parts. We will head to the psychologist (DD’s insomnia is not yet resolved, though we have seen significant improvement) and then we will see a movie, just the two of us girls. Later we will get her new uniform ready, and decide on a first day of school hairstyle (I always give her a special ‘do on the first day).

Another first day tradition: a trip to Dairy Queen after school, so she can tell us all about it. It started during her kindergarten year, when I was still working full time and was a hot, crying mess for much of the day. I ended up leaving work early so I could be there to pick her up when the bell rang, and the after school ice cream tradition was born.

Do you have any first day traditions?

It always feels so bittersweet, sending her off for yet another new school year. How can she be a 4th grader already? It’s madness!

How are you feeling about the new school year? Anxious? Elated? Chat away!


Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Quantity versus quality. That’s been on my mind lately as our summer is winding down and we’ve had weekends packed with extended family visits and tearful good-byes. The kids may not regularly see their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, but the time they do spend with them is special. There is no doubt that we love each other. If there is a lesson that I’ve learned this summer, the quality of the time we spend with our loved ones is what counts.

This past weekend, I brought my 17-month-old niece with me to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. While DH, Ari, Eli and our 20-year-old niece from Honduras rode on the roller coasters, Sailis and I rode on the train and carousel.

We had so much fun that the minute I lay her in her stroller, she was out. lol!

When my sister and the baby moved out, I worried about my bonding with the baby. But I’ve made an effort to see them almost every weekend, and seeing our tearful good-byes, there is no doubt in my mind that we are bonded and always will be.

Any last-minute summer plans? How are you?