Language Is A Double-Edged Sword

The Good:


Yesterday I picked up Jamie at daycare and when he caught sight of me he came running over yelling, “Hi Mommy!!!”  Then a gave me a big hug and said “Miss you!” I melted into a puddle.

Jamie can’t really say ‘brother’ – it comes out ‘bobby.’  So, everyday when Liam comes home from school “Hi Bobby!” with a big hug for brother.  He also tells Bobby good-bye every morning and night-night every night at bedtime.  It’s really pretty adorable.

I got to actually have a conversation with Jamie about his birthday cake.  I asked him what kind he wanted and he told me “chocolate.” Then I asked if he wanted a cake or cupcakes and he told me “cupcakes.” So, he’s getting chocolate cupcakes on his birthday.

He’s using full sentences.  Examples include, “I sit right here.” “I watch TV right now, please.” “I want mac and cheese.” “I need help, please.”

The Bad:


Mommy is his favorite word.  One of these days I’m going to count how many times he says it in a day and I’m betting good money it’ll top 150.  He’s been very clingy lately and if I walk away for more than 5 seconds, “Mooom-my” comes floating after me.  By the end of a typical day, I think “Mommy” is the most vile word in the English language.

He thinks that just because he can say something that he should get it.  Sorry kid, but we don’t have dessert after lunch and no matter how many times you ask, the answer will still be no.

He never. shuts. up.  I knew that this would happen when we started him in speech therapy but he is relentless.  He is a champ at interrupting anyone and everyone and I’m slowly trying to pound some conversational manners into him.  Seeing as his 7 year old brother still interrupts us all the time (no matter how much we scold him), I fear this is a long battle.

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Zoo Day!

I’m writing this post mostly because I got to try out my new camera lens today and I’m in love with the zoom on it.  I got such great, crisp pictures and they were all so close up! Love it.  So, beware, a billion pictures headed your way.

Tiger

Lion

Leopard

Springbok

Elephants

Giraffe

Peacock

Black Bear

Black Bear paw

I have no idea but – FISH LIPS.

Seahorse

Polar Bear

Jamie watching the sheep and goats.

On Why Birth Control Matters

I rarely get political on this blog for the simple reason that I have no interest in baiting the looneys. But, the jackasses who are attempting to run Congress right now have taken their kabuki theater one step too far and now I must protest.

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, a House of Representatives committee convened a panel to discuss birth control – both the decision of the Obama administration to compromise on requiring religious organizations to cover it in health plans and just birth control in general.  Five MEN testified to the panel. MEN. No women were allowed.  No Democrats were allowed.  These 5 men felt that they knew the needs of women better than women themselves.

It’s an outrage. There is no other way to phrase it. The fact that I lack a penis does not mean that I lack a brain, free will, or the ability to think critically.

The whole thing boils down to a few simple concepts for these assholes:

1) Abortion is murder.
2) Contraception of any kind is equivalent to abortion and thus also murder.
3) Women are sluts.
4) Because women are sluts everything that has to do with their reproductive health is their fault.
5) If those dirty sluts would keep their legs closed, abortion would be unnecessary.

That’s it.  That’s the whole shebang right there.  They tie it up in pretty words and couch it in other terms but at the bottom of all of that are those 5 points.

On the subject of abortion I am pro-choice.  You know what that means? It means I support a woman’s choice to either have an abortion or not have an abortion.  I support the idea that each woman is going to know what’s best for HER and then pursue that course.  In conjunction with this, I support the idea of a social safety net for women who choose to keep their babies and I support the funding of adoption services for those women who choose to put their children up for adoption.  Notice I use the words ‘choice’ and ‘choose’ a lot in there.  If you believe that abortion is murder, then don’t have one. I support that choice 100%.  What I do NOT support is the idea that anyone has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body and her own uterus.  People who claim to be pro-life are not pro-life – they are anti-choice.

If, as a society, we want the rate of abortion to decrease (and, by the way – that would be great), the very best thing we can do is make contraception reliable, cheap, and readily obtainable.  That means that insurance needs to cover it.  ALL INSURANCE.  It means supporting Planned Parenthood – who does far more to help prevent pregnancy than end it.  Not only will it decrease abortions, it will reduce the cost of health care for everyone.  It’s far cheaper to prevent a pregnancy than it is to have a child or have an abortion.  FAR FAR CHEAPER.

And what of those women who take hormonal birth control for reasons OTHER than the prevention of pregnancy?  There are a host of things that the pill remains the best treatment for – from endometriosis to severe PMS.  Some of those conditions are physically quite painful – causing lost wages, lower work productivity, more doctor’s visits, and thus higher health care costs.

But no.  To these men those women are just dirty sluts who have no respect for the ‘pre-born.’

Let’s talk about those ‘sluts’ for a minute.  What a degrading and useless term that is.  Adult women with free will have every right to enjoy the sexual side of their nature without fear of unwanted pregnancy.  They don’t have to be married.  They don’t have to be in a committed relationship.  They don’t even have to be heterosexual. All they have to be is safe and responsible.  If they are those two things, they are not sluts, they are adults and what they do in their bedroom on their own time is none of anyone’s damn business. Unwanted pregnancy is not some kind of punishment for enjoying sex.  Sex is fun and if you’re not digging it, you’re doing it wrong.  The punishment for doing it wrong is bad sex, not unwanted pregnancy.

Then there is the hoary old argument of “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for someone’s birth control because I’m religious and I don’t believe in that.”  OH NOES.  Guess what? My tax dollars paid for two wars I was vehemently opposed to, they financed the passage of policies I find abhorrent like the Defense of Marriage Act, and they paid for us to break the Geneva Conventions and torture people.  I hate all of that. But that’s how taxes work.  You pay into a big pot and it gets used for lots of different things – some of which you’ll agree with; some of which you won’t.  If you want to pay less for health care over all, you’ll support access to birth control.  If, however, you still don’t personally want to use birth control –  DON’T.  It’s really quite simple.

Women are not chattel.  We’re not animals.  We’re not stupid.  We don’t need a bunch of jackass old men trying to drag us back to the ’50’s.  You know what happened during the 50’s?  Stuff like this.  Go read it.  That happened well after abortion became legal.  And that is the howling barbarism these men would like to drag us back to while demanding we thank them for it because we poor women just don’t have the capacity to make these decisions for ourselves.

Wrong.

Freedom of religion means that you are free to practice your religion as you see fit.  It does not mean that you are free to shove your religious beliefs down my throat and demand that you’re right and I’m wrong.  It does not mean that you get to base a government on it. There’s a reason we have separation between church and state in this country.  Go ahead, practice your beliefs, but don’t throw straw arguments at me about how requiring birth control coverage is infringing on your right to do that.  Because you’re wrong.  It’s NOT.

Scot has begun a petition through the White House asking that Obama issue a signing statement negating any legislation that limits access to birth control.  You can find it here.  If you feel so inclined, please sign it.  Pass the link on. Spread it as far as you’d like.  We should all be outraged that in 2012 this is being discussed on Capitol Hill at a time when we have far more pressing issues to worry about.  I am outraged that these men think so highly of their own anatomy that they believe they can get away with this.

Not on my watch.  Not this time.  Not ever.

Red Belt Earned

Yesterday Liam tested for his red belt.  Being a red belt means new things for Liam in Tae Kwon-Do.  It means that he’ll move out of the class he was in and up into the more advanced class for red belts and black belts.  It also means that from here on out he must break boards at each test (something he’s very much looking forward to). Last, it means that he’s on his last color belt before black.

As always, video of his pattern:

I also got at least one decent sparring photo:

Liam, center right
Now that he’s a red belt he’s on the last major leg of the road to black belt.  He must earn 3 black stripes on his red belt and for each stripe he must perform 3 of the the patterns he’s previously learned (1st stripe, 1st three patterns, and so on).  Once he’s completed that he must be a triple black stripe for 6 months before he will be eligible to test for black.  Our dojang runs black belt testing twice a year in April and October.  Given the timing of things it looks like he’ll be testing for black sometime in April of 2013 as long as everything keeps going well.
We’re very proud of how hard he’s worked and how much dedication he’s had. 

Launching Into Seven

Today Liam turns seven. SEVEN. I say it every year and it is still true: how does time go by so fast?

Of course, I’m sure my own mother is sitting around thinking “how the heck did Cari get to be 35?!”

What can I say about Liam that hasn’t already been said?  He remains the sweet, smart, wonderful, loving and caring kid he’s always been.  He’s also rambunctious, occasionally cantankerous, and can deploy sarcasm with deadly accuracy.  He can teeter between Tough Guy one minute and Caring Sensitivity the next.

I love that he and Jamie are suddenly starting to play together and enjoy it.  That’s not to say that they don’t annoy each other – and with Jamie entering the Terrifically Terrible Threes that happens a lot – but it’s a nice change to hear them giggling together.

Over the last year he’s found new depths of self-control and discipline as he continues his study of Tae Kwon-Do and entered school full time.  First grade has been wonderful for him and he has really been enjoying it.  His teacher makes the classroom a fun and engaging place to be which makes learning that much more exciting for Liam.

I’m so proud of the person he is becoming and I wonder how we managed it. How did all our mistakes get outweighed by whatever it was we did right? And can we continue that?

So here’s to Year Seven – may it bring more happiness and joy.  Happy Birthday, Liam!