Saturday, October 31, 2009

MJ and the Zombie Ballerina

Wow! I really never thought these two would ever start to get along...but I did suspect that the little one would one day be bigger than the big one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cussing Moms and Sticker Charts

Lately I've been taking the time to read at a blog, which may have put me off in the past. Nah...probably not. Well, maybe a little. There has been some discussion there, about her use of cuss words in her blog posts. I'm not writing this post to comment on that, or to agree or disagree with some of her commenters. I'm just writing this post because reading her blog got a few thoughts kicking around in my head, and that's what usually inspires me to write something down. (So thanks Corey, for getting the dendrites moving.)

I am also writing about sticker charts, because I have seldom experienced such a united sentiment of venom and disdain from the adoption community, than when one mentions the words "sticker chart". Someone should definitely warn the mental health community. Apparently I radiate a certain aura which clearly communicates that I am not a woman to be trifled with, and I have never had a sticker chart suggested to me.

Come to think of it, I think the two things might just go hand in hand. First, because the phrase, "Have you thought of trying a sticker chart?" makes most adoptive moms want to let loose a string of profanity, and second, because both the irrational hatred of sticker charts and the desire to cuss, are expressions of the depths of frustration with which we live each day.

First, my thoughts on sticker charts, first thought when I was a small child. Sticker charts are lame. What is so cool about having to do something HARD, and then "getting" to mark this labor with a sticker? Just give me candy or cash, and maybe we can talk. Yet... sticker charts can be mildly satisfying to an overachiever, because one does understand that a sea of stickers on one's chart, does signify superiority over lowly children with only a neat, modest row of stickers. Of course there is my son, who had his own thoughts on sticker charts. To him, each unfilled blank spot represented an absolute necessity to do a chore, or memorize a verse. Call it an obsession. It ate at him into the night, and he would move heaven and earth, and run over the top of you to get the job done, and get the last sticker neatly seated in its little box. And then he would be done and never think of it again.

Sticker charts make my adopted children yawn, as well they should. They made me yawn when I was a child. Rewarding them with stickers for doing things they DO NOT WANT TO DO seems, well, ridiculous. And telling them that if they accumulate a number of stickers, qualifies them for a reward? Yawn. Unless the reward is I NEVER HAVE TO DO WHAT I DON'T WANT TO DO, don't call me...I'll call you.

Here's how it works in my world. I don't need a sticker chart to remember whether my children are behaving themselves. I am a Mom with a memory like a steel trap. When you do good things that please me, it's like all these shiny star stickers are scattered in my mind. And when you do things that tick me off, it's like someone is digging the shiny stars off with their fingernails. When I look at you I generally see a combination of shiny stars and messy spots where you have been ripping the stars off. Your reward is often tied to how I feel about this state of affairs. Sorry, child of mine, if you don't like it, but that's the way it works with human beings. In fact, it has been proven that my ability to form the word y-e-s, is directly related to the shiny stars and scratchy spots. So maybe I do believe in sticker charts after all.

On to the cussing. I don't generally do it. I don't do it when I blog, or when I write, for that matter. First and foremost, I am completely against using words that are offensive to the awesomeness and beauty of God. But most cuss words don't fall in this category. They are in fact, simply vulgarities. The way they are used in a sentence often seems to defy all rules of grammar or even their generally accepted definitions. Really when you think of it, the way most people commonly swear is downright comical if you translate the statements into non-swear words. My personal opinion about these sorts of swear words, are that they are like exclamation marks. I don't generally use them all that much either, when I write. As my children will testify, this homeschool mom does not allow the use of them. Use words to convey strong emotion, not a string of exclamation marks. In our house, the use of vulgarity will likely result in the same sort of chastisement as the excessive use of exclamation marks; that is to say, you will receive a poor grade, which may result in undesirable consequences.

And now I must confess. Sometimes I have a potty mouth. Sometimes the stuff I deal with is the stuff that elicits strong emotion. But I can't use words to express that, because it would tear down a lot of what I am working so hard to build up. It would make people who don't deal with this sort of stuff stare at me aghast, even if I used the most eloquent words and my best punctuation. So sometimes, not on my blog, and generally not in front of my children or in polite company, I use a cuss word to express my extreme frustration. If I were to write it down here, it would probably have a string of exclamation marks after it. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I don't lose sleep over it either.