Friday, November 21, 2014

Mommy Proof #43: One voice must become many... 

We had a bullying problem  in Pickens, SC. Had. There is a story behind that problem that came to a tragic end. Because of bullying, Brandon's life was cut tragically short on November 14th. We have a bullying problem in Pickens, SC. HAVE. I'm positive  that young Brandon was not the only child bullied at that school. We have a bullying problem in this country. So what happens now? A few days after her son committed suicide, his mother spoke out! She wants their voices to be heard! So I will lend my voice to hers.


We have a bullying problem in Union, SC. I know for a fact that I may become like Brandon's mother. Grieving a childhood that has been cut short, not by my child's own hands, but by my child's voice being ignored. By other children seeing a problem, commenting on an issue and still being ignored. By parents speaking out and seeking help, only to be told that someone's age is too young to prosecute or someone's position gives them the right to be a bully. Everyone knows, but no one speaks loud enough to be heard. Everyone nods and believes it is true, but no one stands up for the victims. If one person speaks out, it can be swept under the rug. If everyone speaks out, a change must occur. Maybe if one person speaks loud enough, it cannot be ignored. WE HAVE A BULLYING PROBLEM IN UNION, SC.


On August 28th, my child was verbally assaulted. You can imagine my surprise when I asked how the kids' day went and was met with a question by my 8 year old. What was the question? "Mommy, what's a dick?" A dick! My third grader asked me what was a d*ck and what did it mean to "suck" it. As a parent, what would you have done? I did what most parents would have done, called the school, spoke to the principal, followed up with a visit to the teacher. I made it clear that this was unacceptable and something had to be done. I was assured that it would be handled. I was also positive that it would be a serious concern for the principal. Surely, the head of a school would be outraged that ANY child would have to deal with such vile sayings from another child!


On September 3rd, her teacher wrote me to say, "{Your child} was upset when she came back from PE today. When I asked her she said she didn't like talking about it. Maybe you can find out and let me know. Thanks." 


The week of Sept 23rd, I went to my daughter's classroom to meet the long term substitute. I also wanted to inform her of the problem with {bully}. She assured me she would keep an eye on it.


The week of Sept 30th, my child is bullied by the same student yet again. I speak to the principal. She promises me to keep him away from my daughter. I ask to switch her class. I'm told that she will handle it and it won't be a problem. That there was no need to switch her class. I believe that is the week the principal sat in the class to "observe."


On October 13th, my child is bullied and the principal states, "She is unsure what he {the bully} has against her." 


On October 16th, I came to the school to have lunch with my third grader. A few students told me that the {bully} was messing with my child. I told him to stay away from her. It isn't nice to say nasty words to her. While I am at the lunch table, the kids begin to tell me how the {bully} bullies them. I also witnessed it at the table. I later went and talked to the principal. She promised that he won't have lunch or recess with the other children. That she will "keep him with her." I was also told that he has "made great strides."That he has admitted that he "doesn't know why he is mean to my daughter." The principal keeps asking him "if he wants friends" and how he can't make friends by calling them names and hitting them. In the meantime, he was cursing my child out and calling her names on a regular basis. 


On October 22nd, my little girl complains about her hair being pulled and the bully calling her names. I go in and talk to the principal. The teacher has seen nothing. My daughter has been called, "Dumbo, stupid, Gay, and an ugly boy. I was also told by  my child that she has asked to go to the guidance counselor repeatedly. She was told that she couldn't go. i speak to the teacher. She is "unaware" that there is an issue. As I walk from the class, another child asks me if I am there  "because {bully} won't leave my child  alone." 


On October 29th, my child said that the bully hurt her arm.


On October 30th, I confronted the principal and told her that the child is getting worse. It is now physical abuse. She tells me that she would handle it. I told her it should have been shut down the moment he sexually harassed her. She told me not to worry. It would be handled. The principal asks if we would like to put my daughter in another class. I ask her why isn't he being moved. HE IS THE PROBLEM! My child begs for us not to send her to school. She doesn't want to be bullied. 


She misses school October 31st because she didn't want to go to school and be bullied once again.


On November 3rd, my husband and I go into talk to the principal. As we wait for the teacher to join us, she begins to share with us personal information about the bully's life. I inform her that he is the "least of my concern. If you want to sing his praises, call his mother. I am here for my child." We are told that they probably like each other. That my daughter is a pretty girl. That she should "give him a chance." My daughter said she doesn't always tell, because a lot of the time nothing is done. My child is told by the Principal, "If you don't tell the teacher, you better not go home and tell your mommy." 



On November 4th, I write a letter to the superintendent about my concerns on how the principal has handled the bullying problem.


On November 5th, There is a physical altercation between the two of them. After speaking to my daughter and two other kids, it is determined that he hit her first.


On November 6th, I'm called into the office about the fight supposedly. The first thing out of the principal's mouth is that she just found out that my daughter CURSES at school. (I later found out that my daughter and another student repeated some names that ANOTHER child said to them. I informed her that wasn't acceptable.) Nothing about the altercation between my child and her bully. The principal never heard the cursing. It is called a "lover's quarrel." My daughter is a huge part of the problem when before she wasn't sure why the bully wouldn't leave her alone. Even after all of the physical abuse that has been endured by my daughter, she is told that she will be suspended if SHE hits HIM back. Later as we talked she told me some of the things that the principal told her and how she made her cry. She told me that the principal made her tell her story in front of the bully. That is against protocol. You never have them in the same room to share what happened.


I went into share my experiences wit the Superintendent on November 10th. When we get to the school, we speak with the guidance counselor, principal, superintendent, and the teacher.  The other child's mother is in the office. They are moving him to another class. He has been bullied because of his "baby voice and he sucks his thumb." The principal says that she wasn't aware that there was a bullying problem between him and my child. When I stated that several children were aware of this child bullying my child, the principal stated, "Well, they are 8 years old." My response? " Exactly discredit them at the source." If we have adults in charge that are ignoring the pleas for help from students based off of their ages, then who is really in charge. If the bullies go on without the fear of discipline, where is the deterrence for the bad actions? A couple of days after my child was attacked by the bully, then by the adult in charge, the principal punished several students for bullying. But not the child that assaulted my child....so where do we go from here? 


I asked the school district for the notes from that meeting that prompted me to make this video. That was over a week ago and I still haven't received them. Just as my child was ignored, so am I. The difference is, I'm not a child. I have a voice that doesn't have to be ignored. We have parents that have dealt with the same situation that our family has been forced to endure. Silenced. Swept under the rug. The problem rages on. My fear is if we as parents do not stand up for a change, which one of our children is going to be the next Brandon? Or will Union, SC be famous for something other than Susan Smith killing her young boys? A former employee of the Union County School District was quoted as saying, "It's not a matter of IF there will be a school shooting. It is a matter of WHEN." I do not know a parent that wants to countdown to another school shooting.  Your child may not be the child being bullied, but bullets have no name assigned to them. I do not a mother that wants to bury her child as a result of something that could have been prevented.


I have a letter in my possession from the previous guidance counselor at this school. She talks about how the teachers were bullied with the thought of losing their employment if they spoke out and stood up against the principal. We have a huge issue in Union about bullying. It is only a matter of time before one of these students takes their life or the lives of others. Brandon's mother couldn't save her own child, but she is brave enough to speak out and help save others. But one voice only makes so much noise, we need that one voice to become many.  We need to join Brandon's mother in fighting the bullying that occurs in our schools. We need his childhood to be the last one cut short! One voice is hard to hear and take seriously, with one voice nothing will change. If no one stands for bullying in our schools, everything will change! We have a bullying problem in Pickens, SC. We have a bullying problem in Union, SC. We have a bullying problem in South Carolina. We have a bullying problem in the USA. Now, what are we going to do about it? #bullyingstopsatthetop 



Thursday, June 12, 2014

42 REASONS WHY BREASTFEEDING IS A BIGGER DEAL TO OTHERS THAN IT NEEDS TO BE....

Mommy Proof #42: I mind my own nipple.

Recently, a mother's picture was taken while she was nursing her infant daughter. Then, a firestorm erupted. This woman's choice to breastfeed her child during her graduation was deemed inappropriate and people went as far as to call her derogatory names. A few individuals asked me what was my opinion on the photo that has been shared repeatedly on the internet. The truth is that I really do not care where or how this woman chose to feed her child. The baby was hungry. The baby ate. That is all that matters to me.


Congratulations, Karlesha Thurman!


Why? I was the woman nursing a baby during an awards program. I have nursed in front of children playing at the playground. I have nursed while walking through outlet malls with three older children surrounding me. I have nursed while grocery shopping. I have nursed at my aunt's wedding. I have nursed during religious services. I had one child that would absolutely have destroyed a room's sound barrier if he did not get fed when he deemed necessary. So we fed him. At the zoo. In the mall. In a PTA meeting. It happens. Babies get hungry. Someone feeds them.

While I have nursed, I have heard some of the silliest comments known to man, well, woman. Here are 42 reasons why breastfeeding is a bigger deal to other people than it is to the nursing mother. Most of these statements stem from a lack of knowledge. These statements and the way society views a woman's breasts are the reasons why nursing has become taboo in public.  Contrary to popular belief, some women cannot pump. Some women call their breasts by their proper name. Some women do not view breasts just as sexual objects. Some women choose to bottle feed. Some women choose to formula feed. Some women choose to exclusively nurse. I have formula fed and breastfed.

42 things I have heard while nursing in public:

 1. Ewwww...
 2. Is she....OMAGAHD....she got her titty out. (This is after they leaned over and studied the baby to see why I put a blanket over her head.)
 3. Why didn't you just pump?
 4. Isn't pumping easier?
 5. Aren't your breasts too small to breast feed?
 6. That's nasty.
 7. That is gross.
 8. There is a bathroom with a couch on the other side of the mall. (Because everyone likes to walk a mile with a screaming baby to find a bathroom to feed said child just to eat while smelling fecal matter. That sentence didn't make any sense? Neither did that suggestion.)
 9. Doesn't that feel funny....like...you know.....weird?
10. I could never have a baby sucking on my nipples. That is...sexual.
11. Does he cry like that every time he gets hungry? (Don't all babies cry? That is how they communicate.)
12. I could not have my baby ONLY want ME.
13. You have to get up during the night for every feeding? (Obviously, formula fed babies make their own bottles. Oh, wait, no, they do not.)
14. How does your husband help if the baby is breastfed.
15. I know your husband can't wait until you stop.
16. You don't think it is wrong for the baby not to be fed by daddy, too? What about their bond?
17. I could never just whip out my TITTY for anyone to see. (For the record, I have never "whipped my titty out." I have discreetly latched a baby on to my nipple, though. Go figure.)
18. I mean, how does that taste? (After I answered...) You mean you tasted your own breast milk? (After answering that question and asking them if they have tasted their own child's formula...) That is just nasty. (O.o)
19. Why don't you just give him a bottle? (What exactly would my baby do with an empty bottle?)
20. You ONLY give them breast milk? (The baby was 9 weeks.)
21. You don't give them water? I am surprised your child doesn't have kidney damage.
22. How do you sterilize your nipples?
23. You should ask the doctor if your breast milk is enough...
24. Are you nursing? There are children here! (My response: There is a child here, too. She is trying to eat. O.o)
25. You are nursing again?
26. She is still hungry?
27. How do you know she is getting enough?
28. Why are you switching sides? There is milk in both of them?
29. Do you ever run out of milk?
30. Why would you want to do that?
31. You are going to stop after 6 weeks right?
32. You are going to stop after she gets teeth, right?
33. You are going to stop once he starts biting, right?
34. You are going to stop once they start asking for it, right?
35. I couldn't have someone on my breast after they learn how to talk...
36. What if you leak?
37. Now no one will be able to watch her.
38. You could just give him formula. That would be easier.
39. I didn't nurse, because I wanted my baby to be independent.
40. I would just start formula now or transition to whole milk. (The baby was 9 months, mind you.)
41. That is more of a comfort for you than it is nutritious for them.
42. Poor people breastfeed. I can afford formula. You should get WIC.

So, in other words, I mind my own nipple. Someone else nursing in public is none of my business. I may have done the same thing at some point during my almost ten years of nursing. When my 6 year old son saw the picture of Karlesha nursing her baby, he said, "Cute baby!" That was what he saw in the picture. So, if all you see is her breast when you look at this picture, you may be the one with the problem...not the woman that was handed a hungry baby and happened to smile while feeding her.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is being a SAHM a dying profession?

MOMMY PROOF #41: The hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
-W. R. Wallace

Today, I am trying to find a job. I have been applying and applying with little to no skills to brag about. The resume of what my life has been for the last ten years is nothing that would impress an employer. I have been pregnant for 3 of the last 10 years. I have nursed for almost five of those years. The problem is that Human Incubator and Professional Wet nurse and Caregiver are not recognizable employment.

I was silly enough not to make myself more marketable once I entered the work force. I kept seeing the classes take the focus from my little ones and I put it on the back burner. As a result, I am stuck in a prison that I have created for myself. As I try to fill a resume, I am drawing a blank. In the last almost eleven years, I have been a nurse, chauffeur, scheduler, appointment maker, teacher, laundry operator, housekeeper, cook, facilities manager, daycare provider, and referee. I can get four kids presentable in less than 20 minutes as I make the effort to run out of the door and get them to class on time. I can wash sweat and dirt off of a wiggling, wet body in less than 10 minutes. I am extremely efficient with bath time and washing hair. I can make dinner in less than 30 minutes with all natural ingredients, no cartons or boxes, and no preservatives. What I cannot do? Find a job. A job that allows me to be at home when the kids need me. A job that allows me to be AWAY from home when I need to be.....

I better finish that NASM book and certification....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mommy Proof #40: Be comfortable in your own skin...or nah

I am a size 2-4 and I hate my body. I mean hate, hate. I hate my skin. I hate my cellulite. I hate my stretch marks. I hate saggy breasts that have been ravaged of five years of nursing. I hate my stomach that has been stretched and deflated over and over and over and over again. I hate that I underestimated how hard it would be to keep my body toned and fit. I hate that I lost the interest to do something about it. But what I hate most may surprise most of you, I hate the compliments.

It bothers me when fellow women come up to me and comment on the size of my waist. I don't want you to think that it is offensive. It just bothers me when people speak about my body, because they don't see the truth of it. Others do not get to experience the sadness I feel when I disrobe, then look at how pregnancy ravaged my body. They do not realize that while those 40 pounds gained do not seem like a lot to them, it was a huge amount for me. They do not see where I burnt my nine month pregnant baby bump after spilling hot water on it while draining spaghetti. They do not take me seriously.
While you probably roll your eyes at this admission, it is something that most women go through. Most of us look at our bodies and see something we wish we could change. I laid in my husband's arms the other night and wept. For eight years, I covered up instead of wearing what I wanted to wear. I found clothing that would hide my flaws as opposed to working on myself. I have a confession to make: I'm disappointed with myself. I'm ashamed of the jiggling that occurs that no one can see, but I can feel. I'm angry with what I allowed myself to become. Not because of my body, but because I settled. I'm done with settling. I'm going to do what I wanted to do with my life. I'm going to spend the next decade living the life I wanted to live and I'm going to begin today...with myself. So, hold me to it and stay tuned.

Coming up soon: My bikini inspiration that I must fit into by July and the body that says nah...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This is why Mimosas were created....

Mommy Proof #39: Your children can talk all day long and never tire out...

1. "Can I have some cake?" (at 7:55 am)
2. "Can I have some breakfast?" (at 7:55 and 32 seconds am)
3. "Can I have some cake for breakfast?" (at 7:56 am)
4. "Why can't I have cake for breakfast?" (at 7:56 am)
5. "Why did you eat cake for breakfast?" (at 7:56 am)
6. "Can I have waffles?" (7:57 am)
7. NOT DIRECTED AT ME: "Isn't it funny how cake and waffles have the same ingredients in them, yet one is a breakfast food and the other is a dessert?" (8:30 am)
8. "We are going to go play!" (9 am)
9. "Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom!" (9:10 am)
10. "That is not fair." (9:10 am)
11. "NOOOOOOOOOO!" (9:10 am)
12. "Give it back!" (9:10 am)
13. "That is mine!" (9:10 am)
14. "That is MINE!" (9:10 am)
15. "That is MINE!" (9:10 am)
16. "That is MINE!" (9:10 am)
17. "Mooooooooooom! Mom! MAMA! Mommy!" (9:10 am)
18. "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!" (9:10 am)
19. When giving the option to go to their separate rooms: "We are going to go play!" (9:11 am)
20. "I'm hungry!" (9:15 am)
21. Send the baby in to say, "I hungry, Mama!" (9:15 am)
22. "Can we have some cake?" (9:15 am)
23. "I don't want an apple." (9:15 am)
24. "I don't want an orange or a banana or some water." (9:15 am)
25. "Why do we have to get out of the kitchen?" (9:15 am)
26. Someone mumbles, "But we aren't in Africa...." (9:16 am)
27. Someone else mumbles, "But we ARE starving..."(9:16 am)
28. "Can I have an apple?" (9:24 am)
29. "Yay!!! Mom said we can have an apple!" (9:24 am)
30. "Mom, can I have an orange?" (9:24 am)
31. "Yes, she said I can have an orange!" (9:24 am, like those aren't the same snacks I offered them less than 10 minutes before.)
32.  "Let's go play?" (9:30 am)
33. "Let's go play with the train set." (9:30 am)
34. "Let's go play with the train set and make the Hulk attack it." (9:30 am)
35. "MOM! They are making the train set into a Barbie train set and won't let the Hulk attack it!" (9:44 am)
36. "Mama. Dey not stop touching my train set." (9:44 am)
37. "Dat's my train set." (9:44 am)
38. "I not share!" (9:44 am)
39. "I not sit down." (9:44 am)
40. "Can I get outta time out?" (9:48 am)
41. "I sorry. I love you. I be good." (9:48 am and the toddler is giggling and sniffing back tears as he joins his siblings that are calmly playing with the train set.)
42. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" *shrieking* (9:50 am)
43. "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I broked the train set." (9:50 am and yes that is the toddler that said he was sorry.)
44. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! NO TIME OUT!" (9:50 am)
45. "Good. Now, we can play." (9:51 am)
46. "No fairs! No fairs! Noooooooooooooooo fairs!!!!!!!!!!" (9:51 am and toddler is back in time out.)
47. "Stop!" (9:51 am)
48. "That isn't what we are playing!!!!!!" (9:51am)
49. "Why do we have to go to our rooms?????? We weren't all fighting!" (9:52 am)
50. "Mom, can we have lunch?" (10:00 am)
Mommy Proof #38: Snow days are STOOPID!

I have learned a few things after being cooped up in the house with four children.

 1. Snow days are STOOPID!
 2. Snow is STOOPID!
 3. Falling precipitation in freezing temperatures is STOOPID!
 4. Time can literally stand still.
 5. You may not cherish these moments.
 6. Your kids are not as cute as you may have thought that they were...
 7. Sayings like, "He got that from his father's side..." have never been more true.
 8. You can't run away from home in 7 inches of snow and ice. You have to walk very slowly. That gives kids a chance to catch up to you.
 9. Snowball fights shouldn't be initiated by a mother that has cabin fever. You may maniacally do it as a torturous comeback for everything they did to you that day.
10. Make them hot chocolate and cherish these moments. :-/

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mommy Proof #37: LEARN CPR and FIRST AID!

I can't wait to say farewell to 2013. In many ways, it was filled with funny and fleeting moments that passed too quickly. We felt very scared and helpless when our nine year old needed emergency surgery. We nursed little wounds and big heartbreaks. We triumphed when our children excelled in school and beat the odds.

I cried many nights when I realized that we had a series of "lasts" that I will never experience again. I achieved my goals of nursing to age 2. I mourned the fact that there would never be another crib in our home or swing in our living room. I packed up the last of their newborn clothes and gave them away. We will never have a baby that tiny in our bassinet again. Then, I began to look towards the future again.

Three weeks ago, I sat beside my youngest child and peeled an orange for him. I had just checked on dinner, but he just couldn't wait until it was done. (It is a perfect snack really. They are described on the commercial as easy to peel and eat. We love them!) My oldest son was on the couch watching a movie. My oldest girl was in the den appreciating some quiet time. My youngest girl was napping on the couch. I looked down at my youngest to see if he was ready for another slice of orange. My heart stopped.

My precious boy was silently choking. Not a sound was emitted as he gagged and heaved, tears and drool running from his eyes and mouth. I looked at him and froze. I choked. I couldn't move. I said a quick prayer that he would be able to gag it up, that his father would walk in from work, that I could go back in time and never peel that orange, but we all know that last thing couldn't happen. His face began to turn colors and I shot into action. I used a finger since I could see a portion of orange to sweep his mouth and airway clear. I ended up pushing it farther back.

My breathing stopped and tears came to my eyes. I called for my oldest daughter to get the phone and call 911. I met eyes with my oldest son whose attention had been pulled away from the movie he had been watching. His mouth was moving rhythmically as his eyes and hands showed his quiet panic. When I could decipher his whispers, "Please don't let him die," my heart broke in a million pieces. He let out a strangled, "MOM..." And I sprung back into action. I saw what he saw. An empty bed in his room. A lifeless body. A stupid orange slice. A tiny coffin. A funeral. My baby. His brother....gone. All of the information flooded back into my brain from my CPR and First Aid class. I performed the motions that they described and showed to me. I detached myself and picked the baby up, mimicking the actions like he wasn't my choking child, but that silly doll. I caught eyes with his brother and said, "It's okay" as I did it. I finally took a breath when I heard an audible gag, then,wails as my baby caught his breath and the color returned to his face.

As I focused back into reality, I heard my daughter hysterically asking about whether she should dial 911.  I wiped my baby's face from saliva and tears. I comforted him and his siblings paying close attention to his older brother who was holding onto my waist. Then, we laughed as my youngest daughter woke up and asked what happened. Then we all froze when the baby asked for another orange slice. :-/

So as you enter 2014 with your little ones, whether they are newborns or pre-teens, sign up for a CPR and First Aid class in your area. Pay the fee and give yourself some peace of mind. I took that first class 9 years ago and would never have imagined that I would need it in an emergency, but I did and you just might. So let's make that the first thing on our "To Do" list. Share this post and spread the word. I'll be going back to cuddle my babies. ;-)