Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lessons in Diversity - 4-year old style

I may have mentioned this before but if I did I can't find it.  There is a woman who works at my local Whole Foods who is a little person.   

So the point is that Lilly, now that she is not generally in a shopping cart, has noticed this woman, who is only a few inches taller than she.  The first time she really noticed her, the woman had already walked on, but Lilly was still staring.  She asked me why she was so short and I explained that people come in all shapes and sizes, much as I do when she asks why someone is "so big" when she notices a person who is obese.  We have seen the woman a handful of other times in passing.

This past Sunday I was there and the sales associate was standing at the end of the registers, almost like she was supervising.  Meaning, she was not walking away to another part of the store.  Lilly was walking by her and kelt looking back with open curiosity.  It took me a minute to make the decision, but I turned around with Lilly and asked the woman ( Michaela, it turns out) if my daughter could meet her.  I explained that she, Lilly had never met another adult who was only a little taller than she.  Michaela agreed and let Lilly look at her, asked how she was and introduced herself.  Lilly then introduced herself and they talked for a minute or two.  I thanked Michaela and we walked out of the store.

In my Disabilities Studies class at Montclair State University we discussed these very situations.  At the time Lilly was just about a year old so it was not very real to me.  It was more of a hypothetical situation but I was able to really think about what I would do when the time came.  The one thing I had realized was that telling my child not to stare was not going to be my solution.  Children stare.  It is natural for them; so in telling them not to, you are letting them know something is wrong.  I decided that I wanted my child(ren) to grow up knowing about differences while still respecting them.

Did I feel the littlest bit awkward asking this woman, a stranger to me,  if I could introduce my daughter to her?  Yes, but I wanted Lilly to see for REAL that people come in all shapes and sizes.  This was not hypothetical.  This was real life, in my local grocery store.  We will see this woman again, and I am hoping that next time Lilly will only stare so she can catch her eye and say hi.  After all, when we went out to the car Lilly told Vinnie, "Daddy, I met a new friend.  Her name is Michaela."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Terrible Momma Moments

Sometimes I feel like a great Momma, like when Lilly climbs something at the playground for the first time.  And then there are the mornings like this one.  Oh what a terrible morning we had.  It started off okay, with great promise even.  But Lilly decided that she was NOT wearing the outfit which we had picked out last night.  She decided that she had nothing pretty or good to wear, she no longer likes the colors pink and purple (GASP!  Almost everything is purple or has purple on it.)  And nothing I suggested was going to work for her.  She wanted something different but she did not know what.  This child has a dresser full of clothes and nothing to wear.  MAJOR tantrums ensued. On the parts of all parties involved.  There was forcible dressing of a preschooler and then the subsequent undressing by said preschool.  There was yelling; there were threats...Fine, you'll wear PANTS! 

All the while, the clock is ticking and I am getting increasingly agitated by the thought of being late to work. I am crying, she is hysterical and Vinnie is not sure what to do with these two lunatic females screaming about clothes.  Eventually, though a joint effort, we got Lilly dressed and off to school.  Drop-off was a mess with the crying starting all over again.  I called a little while ago and the director said she was still sad and clingy, but not crying.  My poor bunny. 

Was she making me late by refusing to put clothes on?  Yes.  Was she completely out of line in her behavior and words?  Yes.  I told her that I will not buy her new clothes until she learns to wear and appreciate the beautiful clothes she has.  We also talked about the way in which she is allowed to talk to adults.  I will be writing a social story about getting ready for school in the morning.  A child does not have to be on the spectrum to need visual reminders. 

Truthfully, as I have been sitting here processing the whole mess, I know that there are many times that I have a closet full of beautiful clothes and nothing seems to be right.  And that usually there is a different, underlying issue that is really making me upset about having nothing "good" to wear.  I am remembering that she is not even 4 years old, after all, and she is still learning to self-regulate her emotions.  I know that she is actually a great little kid who is generally just amazing at being able to express her emotions. 

I wish I could give her a big hug right this instant.  I long to have those little, still slightly chubby arms wrapped around my neck.

I promise that I will learn from this morning's experience.  I think I already did.

Monday, March 19, 2012

working is, well, work

I generally love my job.  I love it enough that I do not usually wish I was a SAHM instead of a working mom.  (Okay, I sometimes daydream about winning the lottery so that I can be a lady of leisure.  But apparently you have to be in it to win it.)  However, the past several work days have been a little bit more stressful than usual, and it is only going to get better worse. I feel pulled in several, usually opposite, directions and I am trying to get all my work done in a timely manner.

On top of it all, it is only my 2nd year in the position, so there is a learning curve.  I am sure that I will get faster and more efficient in what I need to get done as the years go by but for now, slow and steady seems to be my pace.  I am definitely more confident than I was last year but as new responsibilities have been added, that confidence only takes me so far.

Lest I sound like a whiny bitch...well, maybe I am a little whiny and/or bitchy tonight.  Maybe I just need to get it out of my system so that I can go back tomorrow refreshed and full of energy so I can power through whatever needs to get done.

p.s. Broadway show tunes on Pandora are an awesome way to get through a lot of paperwork!  If only I could banish them from my head now that I am trying to get ready for bed.  "Tonight, tonight..."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March madness! or I adopted a Pit Bull

I seem to get on a blogging roll and then blam!  An entire month goes by until I write again.

So we have had some big news this past month.  We adopted a dog from the local animal shelter.  She is a beautiful and sweet adult dog whose family lost their home.  She was completely depressed at the shelter but she is really coming along with us.  Her tail is wagging and she is even starting to smile sometimes.  She is particularly attached to my husband.

But there is one thing.  A fairly big thing.  We cannot leave her alone in the house.  She has broken down two crates, even when reinforced.  She then proceeded to eat a door.  Twice.  We tried leaving her in the house uncrated and she did her business inside.  Every single time she was obviously upset/ashamed/etc at what she had done.  It turns out she she extreme separation anxiety.  The shelter is having the trainer come to see us this week because our other choice was to return her.  We really do not want to do that, but obviously we have to be able to leave our house! It is lucky for her that my husband has been home.  Here she is on her first day with us.  Isn't she sweet?

I will try to be better about blogging going forward.  Again. :0)