Standards are for People Without Blogs

The problem with anyone being able to film anything is than anyone will film anything, and everyone will watch anything, and the next thing you know we're all singing Gangham Style because we have been freaking assimilated

YouTube is banned in my house, mostly because of the racists, cat videos, and Johnny Knoxville. I don't want my kids accidentally watching 8-bit dudes snort lines of coke and and I don't want them getting any funny ideas like auditioning for Tosh.0 behind my back, so I just banned it. If you can't beat them, use your 17 years of training in the radical far right Christian patriarchy to completely eliminate them from your scope of consciousness. 

The problem with this line of thinking is, of course, that even if your kid doesn't own a camera or watch YouTube, someone else's kid does. And if you give a kid a dream and a camera? They're going to use it. 

I actually do encourage my kids to film and make movies (my dad and I had a small videography business once upon a time) but when they were little enough to care about something other than boobies, phones didn't have cameras. Cameras were hard to come by, expensive, and cherished. They were only put in the hands of my young children with the intent. My kids had to plan out their movies, gather props, storyboard plots, and then borrow my video camera. Which meant I always knew what was happening. Which meant my kid was never going to end up on Tosh.0. WHICH IS FINE WITH ME. 

Even more than encouraging my kids to make movies, I force encourage them to unplug, go outside, and play. This is honestly more for my mental health than their body fat percentages. Cooped-up kids who spend all day blowing out zombie brains eventually just beat each other to pulps, and then I have to yell, and then everyone cries, and it's just easier if they go outside to ride bikes and burn ants and blow up legos like normal kids.

This is precisely why my kids don't have smartphones yet, but they have decent BMX bikes. 

But if you give a kid a BMX bike, you know what they're going to do? Yep. USE IT. By any means necessary, even if that means is a big pile of dirt right in front of the main street through your neighborhood.

(The following video is short (4 seconds), but will give you The Buttchills. Proceed with caution.)

(I only show this because he's okay.)

You know how your kid moans at you that he's dy-i-i-ing and you know in his voice that he really just has a biology quiz before you even lay an eye on him? Turns out, we have this superpower in reserve. When your kid walks in the door and says "mom?" you, from an entirely different room of the house, can hear "Mom? I did something really, really not okay to the body you slaved nine months of your life away lovingly creating, and once the shock wears off, it's going to hurt like shit".

All he had to say was Mom. I almost threw up in my mouth.

I'm no stranger to injuries. I had to carry my baby sister in one hand and the better part of her kneecap in the other through Veteran's Stadium when I was 12 years old. I've been cleaning up people's blood and puke since I was old enough to fill the mop bucket. I have two sons who have a long-documented history of getting truly ridiculous injuries like broken eyesockets and cracked skulls. My daughter has even thrown in a concussion or two, just to stay competitive. But in all my years of burnt, bloodied, and beaten bodies, I have never once had to deal with a castable break.

Checked that shit right off the ol' life list this week, let me tell you what. 

When I asked him to stay little forever, I didn't actually mean "Please, fracture your wrist, twice, right in the growth plates, so maybe you'll always have a wittle arm for your momma to wuv." But that's what I got. NAME YOUR TERMS CAREFULLY, MOMS AND DADS.  

At first I was PISSED that his friend was being an idiot filming him being an idiot, but then I realized that getting two terrified 12 year olds to tell you WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED TO MY BABY OH MY GOD is a lot like talking to a toilet on crack cocaine, and then I realized that I didn't need them to tell me, oh hai! I could see for myself through the wonder of mobile technology. I knew it was fractured when we watched that video and hear his little bones go thwap against the asphalt. 

Not five minutes later, my son asked me what I had done, because his texts were ringing off the hook. (Shut up, I don't know what you call it when a bunch of texts come in. I'm ancient.) I told him I didn't do anything (except forward it to him, duh, because seriously, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS SHIT.) We looked at my son's friend and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, um, well, maybe I sent it to some people? 

And just like that, my son went viral in the middle of Hades, Arizona. 

And like any good viral video, *someone* turned it into a Demotivators poster. 

Which I can't stop freaking laughing about, because he's okay.

Only because he's okay.

He is okay. He has a cast for a month, which is pink because it's breast cancer awareness month and man, he loves boobies and is pretty sure getting a broken arm over fall break and a pink cast will get him loads of access to some *shudder*. He can hardly play Xbox, can't ride bikes at all, and can't even play catch with his friends anymore, which sucks for him. He also can't do laundry or take out the trash or tie his own shoes or practice the violin, which doesn't really suck for him at all. Force - Balance.

He still can't surf YouTube, though, even if he's totally on there now. Hypocrisy, thy name is Mommy Blogger. 

Safe Kids, Unicorns and Other Mythical Creatures

In honor of Safe Kids Week, and in support of the upcoming Safe Kids Facebook webcast on sports injury prevention, I agreed to write a post about preventing injuries in children. Because I am the World's Leading Authority on Sports Related Injury Prevention.

My husband is an athlete and aspires to have little athlete minions running around our home so I do the best that I can to keep our kids active and and athletic even though I am incapable of standing upright for more than five minutes without falling over sideways because I have all the balance of an egg and as much coordination as cooked pasta. But I write a mean line of code. Shut up.

However, in my now thirteen ohmygodkillmenow years of raising children, I have learned that there is one universal, undeniable truth...everything will break your children. Everything. There is nothing safe. All you can do is bubble wrap your kids and hope for the best.

Bubble Wrap

*Bubble wrap the outside, people. OUTSIDE.

Don't believe me? Let's walk through a few different types of sports and see what we find:

Swimming: I started the children in swimming at a young age because my husband was a swimmer, so naturally, he wants his kids to be swimmers but naturally, he doesn't want them to know that he wants it because men are confusing and I give up.

So we gave our kids the gift of water and this what water gave us back.
Yes, my son cracked his head open on water.
Yes, my child cracked his head open on water. It's a gift. We also got a hematoma on the frontal lobe of a skull and a toe with a disconcerting amount of skin that just refuses to ever grow back for our effort. Pool: 3 Us: 0

Gymnastics: They call it Tumbling to lure you into some false sense of security, like it's sweet and polka dotted and made of unicorns and Jujubes when really it is lurking in a dark alley waiting to jump you with a crow bar and rubber cement.

*You're welcome for not showing you the pre-stitches picture with the brain matter hanging out of the side of his head.

And if the gym doesn't succeed at poking holes in their heads, it'll just attempt to rip those cute little heads clean off. Gym: 2 Us: 0

Playgrounds: Get your kids outside! Go to the park! Slide down the slide! Break an EYESOCKET.

And if that doesn't do it for you, you could just walk around the slide, smack your foot against the side of it and break that, instead. The playground gods giveth; the playground gods taketh away.

Broken Foot

Or you could just let gravity take care of everything for you and spend several hours catching vomit after they fall from the 'mom, look how HIGH I climbed' part of the jungle gym. Because that's good family fun for everyone. Playgrounds: 3 Us: 0

Gravity in General: With every step you take you are snubbing your nose at 9.80665 m/s2 of gravitational pressure. That's, like, a lot. And eventually, gravity is going to snub you back. It'll probably be when your neighbor decides to play that 'toss your kid in the air and catch' him game, except he's only really good at one part. Or maybe when you take your kid out to play and he rips half his face off because his Buzz Lightyear costume broke after he jumped off a giant embankment, so even though he pushed the ba-woo button, he no fa-wy. Nature: ∞ Us: 0

Playing with balls:


And that's all I'm going to say about that. Balls: 3 Us: Depends greatly on whom you ask.

So I guess my point is this: If you can't keep them safe, learn to use a camera. If you can't use a camera, learn to keep them safe. If you want to learn to keep them safe, you can visit Safe Kids or join in their sports injury webcast on May 2nd, on Facebook. It'll be hosted by:

  • Dr. Angela Mickalide, CHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide

  • Dr. Douglas Casa, Director of Athletic Training Education, University of Connecticut

  • Dr. Gerard Gioia, Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Medical Center

  • Steve Young, former NFL Star Quarterback and On-air Talent ESPN

They'll be talking about preparation through pre-participation exams, the importance of hydration, concussion awareness (possession-style vomit is your first clue) and acute and overuse injury prevention (which, sadly, I learned about the hard way.)

The Hokey Pokey Is Also An Acceptable Answer.

You guys are awesome enablers. #imblamingyouwhentheyfireme

The only person at my daughter's preschool to acknowledge that I had a giant cartoon mustache on my face when I picked her up asked me simply, "So what's that all about?"

Now, everyone knows that the first rule of Crazy Club is that we don't talk about Crazy Club, but the lesser known second rule of Crazy Club is that what seems absolutely batshit nuts one minute can and will seem perfectly commonplace the next, and this is only important to know if you are going to have to take your son to junior high school orientation a few hours after you've filmed a video and gone out in public with permanent marker mustaches on your face.

There are some things in life I will never be ready for. This is one of them.

Why? Because everyone will forget it's there until you've pulled up in the school lot and you will have a lot of 'splainin to do, indeed. However, the art teacher will love you. Bygones.

That video I filmed was my first Momversation, and the topic was whether or not someone going off the rails (specifically in this conversation, everyone's favorite psychotic drug addict spoiled celebrity douchebag, Charlie Sheen) can still be a good parent. Which, really, is as subjective as whether or not it's insane to pick up your kid from school with a big fat black twirly mustache slapped on your face, but it's an interesting question all the same.

I answered the parent at preschool by pointing to my daughter, beaming from ear to ear at her silly old mother, and said, "That face? That's what it's all about." And if you ask me, doing whatever it takes to makes sure that the laughter they remember outnumbers the tears is maybe what this entire crazy thing called parenting boils down to.

Well, that and getting them to floss.


I've rambled on endlessly in this space about trying to break the circles that surround my family's history...of mental illness, of abuse, of neglect, of just generally being really shitty people. My brother and I both have struggled with this since before we had kids, more-so after. We both have days when we lay in bed at night, taking our searching moral inventories, balancing what we did that day against what was done to us and hoping the plus goes in our columns.

More often than not, however, those moments happen on the hour, on the half-hour, minute-by-minute. When something like what is ingrained in not just our memory but our flesh and our DNA becomes so wrapped into every minute of your life, it's a battle of epic proportions to rise above it. You blink, you forget for just one second what you know you should do, and you're throwing a child across a room because that's what you know to do. That's what you learned. That's the kind of person you were born to be

Except, if you're really really on top of it, it's not the kind of person you are at all. We are really, really on top of it, and more importantly, we're really afraid that we're not. There are no better motivating factors in the world than fear and love.

As so we fight every day to make sure that our kids lives don't even bear a vague resemblance to the lives we had. And you know what? We're doing it. I've had kids for 12 1/2 years, he's had kids for 9, and so far we've managed to raise kids who couldn't comprehend our lives if they tried. They'll never know anything we knew (except Douglas Adams, of course) and they'll never see anything we saw (except Labyrinth).

Well, at least, not by our doing.

The truth of the matter is that somethings are just out of your control, maybe destined to be, maybe just sickeningly predictable because kids are kids.

A few weeks ago my brother called me to tell me that his oldest almost-but-not-quite broke his middle son's arm. I laughed and asked if I should get the jump rope ready. He laughed, too, but only a little, because what he knows and I know but they don't know and that you don't know is that when I was four, he broke my arm with nothing more than a jump rope, a set of bunkbeds, an astonishing-for-six-years-old understanding of basic physics and a strong desire to again be an only child.

Like,' bone sticking out at an angle bones don't stick' broke my arm. Like, 'a night at the ER and a splint and a sling on the arm that I wrote with, right before I started kindergarten' broke my arm.

This is why I can kick your ass at pool today, because I can shoot with both hands. Everything has a silver lining.

But his kids did not succeed in reenacting one of the more traumatic events of our childhood (what happened after isn't exactly fit for discussion in polite society, if you know what I mean) but they did remind us how fragile the line we walk on is, the one between what is in our control and what is not.

And then, of course, last week, the phone rings at way too early for the phone to be ringing and it's my brother, who just says, "So..." and sits there on the line, breathing. I went through the Rolodex of people in our lives with whom I have not yet found closure with, and picked which one I was prepared to tuck into a casket with my unresolved issues before I asked what happened.

He said, "So, 2of4..."

And I said, "Oh no he didn't..."

And he said, "Yup, going into surgery. Best case scenario, 3 pins. Worst case scenario, 3 pins and a metal plate holding the bones in his arm together for life."

And I said, "Bunk beds?"

And he said, "Better. Dog pile."

And I said, "Do I need to get out the jump rope?"

And we had a really good, long, nervous as all fuck laugh because we are learning that, though we can't stop the timeline of history from repeating itself, we can stop the way the story plays out. Now we have the excuse, and quite possibly the responsibility, to share a little bit of our story with our kids, albeit re-written slightly, and that is a really exciting prospect. The idea of being able to look at our kids and say, "Yeah, that happened to us, too, this one time that we were really bored and testing the laws of gravity..." is foreign to us, and so is letting go of all that old shit we lug around with us every day.

But not every circle has to be a scary thing. Not every pattern needs to be broken. Neither do any more arms, children. You've made your point. Now get with wrapping each other in bubble wrap and staying in one piece forever, because you're giving my brother and me nervous disorders.

Not at all unrelated aside: I have a new post up at Polite Fictions, if you're into that sort of thing.

I Am Only A Poor, Humble Cockroach.

One of these days, I might actually post something on this blog again. Maybe. Life, she is distracting me. In the meantime, I've decided to try my hand at writing fiction. Because creative expression is the need of my soul.

*Darn tootin'*

Anyway, my fiction cherry has been popped, and my ass will be, too, if God catches wind of that story. Or worse, my mother. My contribution to the Polite Fiction's Alphabet of Regret is J, which is for {redacted}.