Weekend Open Thread

So I hate to be a downer, but I can’t stop reading about the abuse allegations against NFL star Adrian Peterson.

Everything about it appalls me. His son is four years old. FOUR. The same age as my son. And I can’t begin to imagine what my son could possibly do that would merit being hit multiple times with a switch. I look at my son’s face and the very thought of leaving welts on his body makes my stomach hurt. Yet Adrian Peterson thinks he did nothing wrong. Just some good old-fashioned discipline. And the sickest thing is that way too many people agree with him, if you go by the comments I’ve been reading on teh Interwebs.

But I agree with this Minnesota Vikings blogger: Peterson needs to be released. Yesterday.

Many times, in situations like this, there’s a healthy ‘he said/she said’ element to what happened. There are two wildly differing versions to the story, and the truth, the ever elusive truth, usually lies somewhere in the middle.

That doesn’t seem to be the case here. There are pictures. Pictures of a four year old that wasn’t disciplined, but was beaten. Beaten by a man that trains to withstand beatings, ironically enough, of 300 pound men moving at car crash speed into him. The father,Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, admits to it. He admits to ‘whooping’ his son. My father ‘whooped’ me when I was kid.

What Adrian Peterson did to his son isn’t a ‘whooping’, it’s child abuse.

Damn straight.

What are you up to this weekend? I will be watching my 4-year-old son play in his very first soccer game. And I will give him extra hugs and kisses, win or lose, because that’s what every 4-year-old child deserves.

What do you think? Chat away!


Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Sportsmanship in youth sports has been on my mind lately. After a one-year hiatus, Eli has joined a recreational soccer team with girls from her class. She prefers to ice skate, but DH and I really want her to develop friendships with other girls her age. Up to now, Miss Eli has been tagging along big brother and his friends.

Big brother, on the other hand, lives and breathes soccer. He is in a competitive soccer league, which requires travel over the weekends and three practices a week. It’s a commitment for our family, but seeing that he likes it and is thriving, it’s been a joy shuttling him to the suburbs for games.

My least favorite aspect of being a soccer mom? Seeing hyper-competitive coaches publicly berate their players when…they. are. kids. This past weekend, I was appalled to hear some of the feedback from the opposing team’s coach. Gems like, “If you want them to score again, keep doing what you are doing!”

Um, the kids are 10. This isn’t FIFA. And if the goal of a coach — or a parent for that matter — is to raise the best soccer player, this isn’t the way to keep a kid interested.

Eli’s soccer league passed out a helpful pamphlet on being a “good sports parent.” Yes, some of the language is a bit touchy-feely — hey, I’m a competitive person, too, I own it — but so much of it spoke to me. There was a part about the importance of filling a child’s “emotional tank”, which the book pointed out is true for adults, too.

When someone is inundated with nothing but criticism, it can be draining and cause low motivation and self-esteem. The book recommended a ratio of 5:1 compliments to criticisms. This has become a running joke in our household, by the way, as DH is highly critical. I started keeping tabs on how often he compliments and criticizes me. “Hey, you have not filled my emotional tank today!” I’ll say. lol!

How do you instill good sportsmanship in your children? What do you do or say when you hear obnoxious coaches or parents?

Chat away!


Tuesday Open Thread

It’s Picture Day around these parts. I will be up early to curl DD9′s hair and make sure she is sufficiently primped. How much longer do you think she will want me doing her hair and helping her pick out what to wear? In any case, I’m enjoying it while I can. :-)

And for the record, I find the optional “retouching” service offensive. Removing blemishes will set you back $6, while $12 will whiten teeth, even skin tone and remove scars and blemishes. WTF? It’s a school photo, not an Instagram. Hmph.

What, if anything, do you do to prepare for Picture Day? What else is on your mind today? Chat away!


Friday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Here is a pic of my latest obsession. (I know what you all are thinking: Elisa obsessed with exercising — whaatt?)

I go to boot camp every Monday, Tuesday and Friday morning at 6 am. It’s over at 7 am, I come home and wake up the kids for school. And I. feel. great.

Boot camp is a good mix of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. We do a lot of burpees, sprinting, pull-ups, box jumps and exercises that involve weights or kettle bells. I have found a newfound strength and energy that keeps me going all day — without coffee. (!)

I’m a fan. Have you tried something new lately? It doesn’t have to be exercise-related — if it piques your fancy, please do share!

ICYMI, comedienne Joan Rivers died yesterday at the age of 81. I had no idea she was 81, not surprising considering how often she had — and joked — about undergoing plastic surgery. RIP, Joan.

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


Thursday Open Thread

Yesterday we saw the pediatric psychologist who has helped us deal with DD’s anxiety and insomnia. Because DD’s sleep issues are 90 percent improved, we decided to wrap up this series of sessions, with an open invitation to come back any time DD wants to visit or chat with the doctor.

As someone who had never sought any sort of counseling before, I will admit that I was apprehensive and even a little reluctant to take DD to a psychologist. I was so determined to figure out the cause of her insomnia and fix it myself, and deep down maybe I was afraid it would mean admitting there was something “wrong” with my kid. And as the daughter of immigrants, I had extra baggage to unpack. Among Latinos, there’s a deep stigma connected to seeking mental health services, and I do believe I carried some of that over without even realizing it. Mental health just isn’t something that was talked about in my immediate and extended family.

In any case, I am so glad I took the leap and did right by my girl. Our sleepless summer is over, and we have learned some tools to hopefully keep it that way.

What are some fears that you have successfully conquered? Are you grappling with any fears right now?

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


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.

photo (36)

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?