Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tooth Fairy - boy or girl?

Just when I thought I dodged the tough questions about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, Faith lost her first tooth. The lower left tooth she yanked out in Spanish class was closely followed by the lower right she snatched out of its socket when she got home. As she was the last first grader in her class to lose a tooth, she started with a double whammy. I suppose the fact that a classmate lost a tooth that morning spurred her to take matters into her own hands and top his conquest. The time for wiggling had ceased. I started to squirm when Faith started firing off questions. One of the first inquiries was: "Is the Tooth Fairy a boy or a girl?" To be honest, as a child I never considered the Tooth Fairy was anything but a girl. In these days of equal opportunity, the question begs to be asked but I'm not sure how it's answered. Faith wanted to leave a note for the fairy asking him/her to check a box stating whether he/she was a boy or girl. But it was late when we went to bed that night, so that question will have to wait. Weeks ago at the Cherry Blossom Gift Shop, we had found little "Tooth Fairy" dolls - a blue boy and a pink girl which probably sparked her curiousity. The little fairy has a bag in which to deposit the tooth and also contains a cardboard registry book to record the tooth and the reward received. I thought it was a great idea as the doll makes it easier for the Tooth Fairy to retrieve those tiny little teethies. Faith got a pink girl fairy in her Easter basket. (When I bought a blue boy fairy for her male cousin, he quickly rejected it and refused to accept the doll.) Well, after tucking Faith in with her doll and teeth, sometime between lights out and morning she decided to take back one of her teeth. She wanted to hold onto it to show her cousins. Needless to say, the Tooth Fairy - who happened to be male that night - couldn't find the second tooth in the pouch. He left the reward for two teeth anyway. When Faith woke, she didn't understand why she got two dollars if there was just one tooth. Well, obviously the Tooth Fairy checks the mouth for verification, I told her, because otherwise kids who swallow or lose their teeth would be cheated. Plus, I had already recorded which teeth were missing on the card so the Tooth Fairy could read for herself/himself. As to the gender dilemma, I told Faith that I figured there must be numerous fairies who cruise the skies and get some sort of page when there is a tooth to recover. Depending on who is on call, it could be a boy or a girl. Of course this whole quest for the truth started when her teeth first became loose. Then came the big question, "Is the tooth fairy real?" I told her I didn't know for sure but that when I was little, I always got money under my pillow when I lost a tooth. My parents told me it was from the "Tooth Fairy" but since they were both dead I couldn't ask them if they were the ones loading coins under my pillow. Looks like I escaped the interrogation by the skin of my teeth and I left myself some wiggle-room for later!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fighting over the oxygen mask

Before the attendant started her spiel on a recent flight, my daughter, Faith, leaned over and asked me a question. "Do you mind, if that thing falls down," she said pointing up to the compartment overhead, "Can I try to put it on myself?" In the many times we have been on the plane to grandpa's, she has always been a serious student of flight safety instruction. As a toddler, she took out the laminated card and looked intently at all the pictures, stopping especially at the giant slide coming out of the open door in the fuselage. She knows it's protocol for "adults traveling with children to put the mask on themselves before helping the children." That always seemed so selfish to me, but I guess they don't want the adult croaking just as she pulls that elastic out to stretch over her head. Faith isn't worried about dying, I don't think. She wants to put it on herself because she wants so much to be independent and she's only seven! I'm still walking the tightrope of wanting to encourage her confidence but not wanting her to fly before her wings are strong enough.
This airplane memory and the parenting lesson behind hit came to mind when I got an e-mail news release from a colleague at Macon State College. I thought you might enjoy this:

"Putting On Your Oxygen Mask First: Contemporary Narratives of Motherhood" will be the topic of a lecture by Dr. Lisa Hammond, associate professor of English at University of South Carolina-Lancaster, at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the Macon State College Theater. This event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Women’s Studies Association and the Office of Student Life.

For more information, contact Dr. Monica Young-Zook (471-5735) or Dr. Heather Braun (471- 5774).

"Putting On Your Oxygen Mask First: Contemporary Narratives of Motherhood"

Isn't it always mom's fault? Mothers are consistently blamed in contemporary media and politics for a wide range of troubles in American culture, at the same time that they are held up as romanticized angels in the house. When contemporary women write their experiences of motherhood, they face many preconceived notions of their roles, both with their readers and with their own lives. Negotiating those varied roles and staying true to their own experiences is almost as challenging as comforting a toddler who's fallen off the swingset or a middle-schooler who asked a girl out and got turned down... maybe more, because first Mom has to find out who she is herself.

Lisa Hammond earned her BA from Francis Marion University and an MA and a PhD from the University of Alabama. Dr. Hammond’s scholarly research focuses on American women writers, composition and technology, and gender issues in culture. Her work on parenting rhetoric has appeared in the National Women’s Studies Association Journal; and her latest article, “Revisioning Gender: Inventing Women in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Nonfiction” appeared in Biography. Dr. Hammond, who is also a poet, won the 2006 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize, for her collection Moving House, which was published by Texas Review Press in 2007. She is currently on sabbatical working on her book, Books, Babies, and Blogs: Contemporary American Women Writing Motherhood.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Financing parenthood

When Daniel was little, his biggest expense was diapers. I think that's the case for a lot of new parents - we all go through a little sticker shock over the cost of diapers and formula. But the phrase "bigger boys have bigger toys" is coming into play now. And what's a mom on a budget to do?

Do we keep up with his frieds and enroll him in some sort of sports program? (Keeping in mind the kid's a klutz - he gets that from me) What about summer camps and programs? He's too old for basic daycare; it's no longer the educational experience it once was. What about music lessons? Pick an instrument - anything but the drums, please.

And then there are the TOY toys. Bikes, scooters, soccer balls. Everyone who knows Daniel knows he loves Thomas the Tank Engine. He's expanded his interests to include anything with wheels - and yes, he can tell HotWheels from the knockoffs. Dad and boy spend hours creating the most amazing things out of Legos - trains, biplanes, big rigs, pirate ships... And let's not forget the movies and cartoons. We're on his second DVD plaver, and it's a little wonky. But hey, we travel a LOT, so I consider that an investment in sanity. Plus, it's a good way for me to watch "Buffy" without exposing Daniel to strange things he won't understand.

But everything is getting more expensive, and between the prices of milk and gas, there's a lot less left over for toys. So at what point do we say "I don't care if all your classmates have a Wii - you're not getting one?"


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nancy Grace as mommy to twins

Last year when I first heard CNN legal anchor Nancy Grace was expecting twins, I penned a "Double Trouble" blog post on June 26th. I surmised the Macon native would have a double dose of attention due to her celebrity status and that her new role as mother would increase her tenacity when dealing with heinous cases involving children. From the 2007 post: "Already, Nancy wears her heart on her sleeve and is fairly loose with her emotions. I can only imagine how motherhood will increase the fire in her belly for child victims and hone her verbal darts toward predators. Hell really hath no fury like a Mother Grace scorned." My suspicions were confirmed during a recent interview for the Mother's Day edition of Belle magazine. Grace says motherhood has indeed changed her. While she says she has developed more patience, she has increased anger for those who prey on children. While covering stories of abuse, abduction and murder she takes it all to heart. Now she envisions her own precious babies in those scenarios and it rips out her heart. She was candid about her biological clock, seemingly perpetual single status and her difficult pregnancy. Be sure you pick up a May edition of Belle magazine due out next month.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hurry for Cherry Blossom deal

Because my daughter is off on spring break, I took her to Central City Park for a couple of hours before I had an assignment there yesterday atfernoon. I was told by festival officials there was no "wrist band day" for one-price unlimited rides but there were deals before 3 p.m. Here's the scoop, but today is the FINAL day for the discount. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., you can buy a $10 ticket for unlimited rides until 3 p.m. After 2 p.m., you will spend $20 for unlimited rides for the rest of the day, which is what we did. Although she only rode until my assignment was over, it was still a better deal. I just wish I had gotten there early enough for the $10 deal then we both could have ridden for the $20! Have fun.