Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Princess Play

Yesterday, I saw this post on KSL.com about how playing princesses can have a negative effect on girls.  This type of article makes me so annoyed because girls have been playing princess and make-believe long before Disney was ever around.  After reading the article, I looked at the posts and really loved what this one person said:

Princesses are not smart, assertive, or strong?? REALLY, Jennifer Berger?

Cinderella, with a little help from her friends, overcame child abuse and basically being a slave to get the man she wanted, a crown, and a castle.

Rapunzel, kidnapped as a baby, escaped her abductor and survived living in isolation without suffering any mental illness and was kind and loving to her people.

Snow White, after fleeing from her would-be murderer, hired by her own step-mother, went out on her own, got a live-in job as a maid, and cheated death AGAIN before returning to her kingdom.

Belle (Beauty and the Beast) selflessly sacrificed her own freedom to save her father, won over her captor, and freed dozens of people from an evil spell.

Ariel (The Little Mermaid) broke free of her father's oppression and took risks to follow her dreams AND obtained her goals.

Need I go on? There is nothing wrong with girls liking princesses and playing with or pretending to be a princess. I have a three year old that LOVES princesses and she loves to dress up. She will also grab her brother's Hot Wheels or Monster Trucks or (GASP!!) Nerf Guns and run off playing with them whilst in her tutu and Cinderella slippers. Vrrrrooom-vrooom-bang!

My fourteen year old, a former princess, (still is!), is smart and strong and assertive. She also has great self-esteem and self-confidence.

There's nothing wrong with being pretty and there's nothing wrong with being nice. But, you know, Peggy Orenstein, if you think we should encourage our girls to play "Greek Myth Heroines", I suppose we can totally play MEDUSA after the tea party. (She was once mortal and very beautiful, until she upset Athena, who turned her hair into snakes and made her so ugly, you'd turn to stone if you looked at her, remember?)

I really thought it was very well-articulated.  I do think that there's nothing wrong with letting a little girl imagine that she's a kind, loving, beautiful princess.  Don't we need more king and loving people in the world? And these Disney princesses are not doormats, like all people opposed to Disney princesses would have you believe.  You can learn some very good lessons from these girls.  I wrote about Cinderella a few years ago even about this very thing.

So I say that I will continue to let my little girl play princess as often as she wants to.  I don't think it will damage her in any way.

My daughter with her favorite princess from last year, Cinderella, at last year's Princess Festival. We will be attending the Princess Festival again this year.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Do you remember the movie "Frequency" that came out in 2000? It stars Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid and is about a father and son who are able to connect to each other over a time period of 30 years due to the northern lights affecting some radio waves.

I was thinking today about all the articles written about children and how they are raised today. Many of them are raised without fathers or mothers. There are articles out there that proclaim that a child will not turn out differently if raised by a single mom than if raised by both parents who are married or raised by a single dad, as long as there is love.

Then the movie "Frequency" popped into my mind. I found it interesting when I first watched that movie how differently they have the young man played by Jim Caviezel turn out depending on which type of parenting situation he came from. When he grew up without his dad because his dad died in a fire when he was six, he was a cop who seemed to have trouble staying in a committed relationship and was sort of unfriendly with some issues. When he grew up without his mom because she'd been murdered when he was six after his dad made it out of the fire alive, he was even more withdrawn and angry and not a pleasant person, one who hadn't even had a relationship with the woman he'd been in one with before. But when he grew up with both his parents because his dad survived the fire and his mom did not get murdered, thanks to the work he and his dad did over the radio waves, he ended up happily married with his own little son.

I think that even though it's a Hollywood movie, and Hollywood rarely gets things right, I think they did in this case. I think that their portrayal of how he turned out differently (not necessarily exactly how they portrayed him turning out, but that there were differences in each scenario) is pretty accurate as far as kids will turn out differently if they are raised with only one parent than if they are raised with both parents who are married to each other and stay married and committed.

Aside from the whole serial killer part, which totally freaked me out at the time I saw the movie (I had just moved to California where I lived by myself as a young teacher and didn't know anyone, so I went to see it at the theater at night by myself), I really have always enjoyed that movie for that reason--the way the son is depicted turning out differently in each scenario.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did not like this book at all.  I gave it three stars only because of how well-written it was--there were a lot of good quotes that came out of it.  But I didn't like the sick feeling I had almost the whole time I was reading it.  I was always told that geishas were not prostitutes, which was why I picked up the book in the first place, but I see very few distinctions between the two groups.  I only kept on reading because I wanted to find out why she ended up leaving Japan, if she ever saw her sister again, how she got through the war, etc.  I do think that once she realized what the life was that lay ahead of her and she made her choice, she did the best she could with what she had.  I was very sorry for the situation she found herself in.  I know it's a book I will never read again.  I'm curious to see the film adaptation, but at the same time, knowing the content, I'm not sure I want to see it. 

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Navigating Through Parenthood

I saw this link on Circle of Moms called "10 Big Issues Moms Face With Tween and Teen Daughters" and when I clicked on it, it went through ten different links to articles on topics ranging from how to buy a bra, how to talk to your daughters about puberty, when to let them date, when to let them wear makeup, how to prevent teen pregnancy, when to let them start on the pill, etc.

As I flipped through the selection of articles, I thought about a couple of things. First of all, I recalled how my parents handled these things. I realized that many of them are things that can be found in "For the Strength of Youth". It gave me comfort to realize that many of these big issues in parenting these days have answers that are straight-forward and right there for the taking. All I have to do is use the resources I have from the teachings of the Church. Dating, chastity, drugs and alcohol, etc. are all issues discussed in that pamphlet. I haven't looked at the pamphlet in about 8 years, but I'm sure a parent can make a link from the section on chastity and the one on dating to talk about sexting.

Obviously not all of these have answers directly from the Church, but many of them can be linked back to something with the Church. Others are clearly up to the parent's discretion, and I'm glad that my parents were so clear on their limits and expectations that I can remember them and will probably have the same (or similar) rules for my daughter. For example, I was allowed to start wearing makeup at the age of 14 and my parents took me to a studio where they taught women how to apply makeup correctly.  We will probably have either the same rule or similar (maybe age 12 or 13) for when our daughter can start wearing makeup and then we will make sure she is properly taught.

I am just hopeful that if I am wise in using these resources in teaching these things to my children, not just my daughter, but the boys too, it won't be a big question of how to do it, it will just come naturally as they grow and mature. At least, that is what I hope.

*This picture is from my senior year of high school when I went to the Senior Dinner Dance with friends

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feeling Understood

When we went to Vegas, we hired someone from my husband's workplace to babysit the kids. She is in her early 20's and is very good with kids and has watched our little ones for us before. We warned her in advance about the no-sleeping baby and she was still willing to do it.

I left her a few instruction pages on how to run things around here. One of the things I brought up was when to squeeze in a shower. In this house, squeezing in a shower can be a tricky thing. There is a small window in which to shower and if that window gets missed, the shower never happens.

I can't shower when the baby is napping because the other kids might wake him up without me right there breathing down their necks to keep them busily engaged in something in another part of the house. Often, if I try to shower while he's sleeping, I end up hearing screams and the pounding of feet on the floor, usually right past his doorway and then his screams a few seconds later all in my 15 minutes of showering right after getting him down for a nap. So I've learned that naptime is not good shower time.

It's hard to shower when he's awake too. I have to bring him in the room with me and shut and LOCK the bedroom door in order to keep the other kids from coming in and leaving the door open. You see, our bedroom is right at the top of the stairs so if the door gets left open, our little crawler can go right to the top of those stairs and since he doesn't quite understand how to go down backwards and doesn't quite understand the law of gravity, he could fall down the stairs during that unsupervised 15 minutes. So I bring him in the bathroom with me with the door locked and he will then pull himself up to standing against the shower door the entire time I'm in the shower and cry because he wants me to get out. Then, because he's standing there, leaning against the door, getting out is also a problem. I have to knock him down while opening the door and sort of push him out of the way just to get out of the shower, which, of course, only makes him cry more.

So really, the only time I can shower is when my husband is home and I have another pair of hands to either keep the kids quiet during the baby's nap or to keep the baby and other kids occupied while I shower. Since the baby-sitter was on her own, I recommended that she try and squeeze in a shower around 7:30 a.m., after the older kids were up and dressed, lunches made and breakfast eaten. Then she could leave the baby under the watchful eyes of the two older kids for 15 minutes (they are very good at keeping him entertained and keeping him off the stairs) while she took a quick shower.

She told me when I got back that she didn't really believe my little paragraph about the showering until Tuesday morning (the morning we flew out) when she quickly discovered that my description was quite accurate and squeezing in a shower was a difficult task.

I finally felt understood!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Good Mom = Messy House?

I saw this little ditty on Totsy, which is a great website for online shopping if you've never heard of it. Go on, check it out, sign up and shop!

No, but seriously, I have seen similar little ditties posted on Facebook and other blogs many times over the past couple of years.

And I'll be honest. I'm really sick of the notion that a messy house is equal to happy kids. I understand that sometimes you don't have time to deep clean something because you have to focus on the kids, believe me, I know that! But whenever I see one of these little ditties, I feel a stab in my stomach that somehow, I'm not a good mom because my house happens to be pretty clean.

In fact, my house is clean because I enlist my kids to help with chores to keep it clean. They work with me to do it, so not only am I spending time with them, teaching them something valuable, but they are developing a work ethic and they get to live in a clean house.

For some reason, I don't see that as a bad thing.

Now I'm not saying my house is spotless, because it's not, but my house isn't the messy that's always described in these little ditties.

So I will NOT be purchasing this little ditty from Totsy. You won't ever see such a thing hanging in my house.


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