bad parenting


I really appreciate the feedback as it helped to get different perspectives as well as validated my feelings that what is going on is not normal. I couldn’t focus my thoughts enough to write all that went down regarding the mark but I have now even though it seems disappointingly irrelevant at this point.

I saw the mark on Bunny’s bottom, early Saturday evening as he was undressing to take a bath. It was such an unnatural color that at at first I was sure it was paint or marker – that he must have sat in egg dye or something. But when I casually asked him what the mark was, he confusedly looked behind himself and exclaimed he didn’t know, almost as though he hadn’t noticed it before. At that point, I looked closer and realized, it was not, in fact, any sort of paint or marker or dye, it was his skin. Not only was it bright, bright red but it was also warm to the touch, much like a sunburn and it was slightly inflamed, the red part of the skin, rising slightly above the fair part. The difference, though not apparent at first, was actually very distinct, as the mark was precisely rectangular. That’s when I grabbed my camera, under the guise that if he could clearly see the mark, maybe it would help him remember what happened, but even though he gamely agreed, he absolutely could not tell me how he got it.

Understanding that he might be afraid, I told him that I would absolutely not be angry with him no matter what he told me, but that it was important that he share with me how he got hurt so that I could keep it from happening again. Bunny didn’t get upset or angry. On the contrary, he was practically disappointed when he couldn’t remember anything, as though he were letting me down. I tried specifics as well. I asked him if a kid had done it or a grown up; he said neither. I asked him if either his mom or his dad hat hurt him or caused the mark. Again, he said no. I knew he had attended a birthday party earlier in the day and asked him if anyone had hurt him at the party or if he had gone anywhere or done anything that might have caused a mark like that. Again, nothing.

I asked him if it hurt, and he shrugged casually saying it stung a bit. Finally, after spending nearly a half hour gently trying to coerce the information out of him, I gave in. I told him to read a book and that I’d be back to help him into the bath in a few minutes. First I called Dr. D’s hospital, knowing it was a long shot (he’s an ER doc, after all) then I nervously called Winifred. Trying to keep my voice light and airy I asked her if Bunny had gotten hurt at the park during the party. Bewildered she said no, not that she knew of. Why? I explained that I had discovered a mark on his bottom.

“Oh that!” She exclaimed. “Yeah, I saw that. He must have gotten it at the party. It’s weird isn’t it? Almost looks like a burn.” Yep, I agreed. She continued that she’d forgotten to have Dr. D look at it before he left for work that afternoon. Completely unconcerned she thanked me for calling and mentioned that if Bunny wanted, after his bath, I could put some calendula cream on it and that was that.

For the second day in a row, I was shocked by the response from this mother, this social worker and was dismayed that this otherwise very caring and intelligent person could be so completely blasé when confronted with information questioning the very safety of her son.

It freaked me out.

And what do scared 19 year old girls do when they find themselves in crummy, overwhelming situations?
I called my mommy.

Luckily, we live only ten minutes away from Calamitous Casa, so I hurried about, anxiously cleaning the kitchen while Buddha rambled in his highchair, waiting for my mom to come save the day.

Unfortunately, gone are the days when simply her presence could make even the worst of scenarios, bearable, but she did hang out with Bunny and kept him occupied while I dealt with Buddha and the dinner clean up. And after their bath (during which nothing suspicious happened) she read books with him while I put Buddha to bed. She didn’t fix it all, but knowing she was there definitely calmed my nerves. I was having visions of calling CPS and them laughing at me and then getting fired only to be arrested for abuse myself and escaping from jail and having to kidnap the boys and escaping to Mexico. (Which strangely enough, my biggest logistical setback to this fiasco was the fact that neither of their cars easts are in my car.) Once they were both asleep, I thanked her for coming over and asked her to please call the therapist friend to which she gladly agreed.

Now this therapist lady, friend of my mom’s, is pretty cool and I trust her because ever since my soon to be 8 year old cousin Pepper started seeing her a while back, he’s slowly become an actually tolerable human being. I’m telling you, this woman is a miracle worker. Anyhow, my mom is friends with her through church, so she spoke to Miracle Worker Therapist Lady on Sunday and shared with her what I had observed the last couple of days. MWTL agreed that the penis incident was rather unusual and a bit too specific and she shared in my surprised that Winifred, a social worker herself, wasn’t more alarmed by the behavior. She continued that because Bunny didn’t say who or what caused the mark or how he got it, there’s apparently nothing I or CPS can do about it. Even though isolated they are strange, and combined they are rather suspicious, the two incidents alone (or together) are not enough to warrant calling the authorities as there is no concrete evidence to support any theories of abuse. She did say that I should continue to be vigilant of Bunny’s behavior in case anything else does occur to further implicate an abusive situation.

So I was rather disappointed and a bit peeved that everyone else seemed to be playing down what happened and shrugging it off as though I’m some sort of hypochondriac nanny. After Winifred left today, I did casually ask Dr. D if he figured out what had happened to Bunny’s bottom. He distractedly muttered that his conjecture was that Bunny must have sat upon or scraped it against something while at the park, but that it was healing fine … and with that he returned to the elusive land of lucid-only-to-himself-and-his-genius-thoughts bubble world that he is a frequent resident of.

So there you have it. Unfortunately, I’ve come to the end of the road at the moment with regards of what I can reasonably do. It sucks, really. I’m stuck in this warped limbo, just waiting. On the one hand, I want to be wrong, I so want to be wrong. I want nothing more to happen, no more touching, no more marks – I want to just be overreacting. And on the other hand, I almost wish something else would happen, that Bunny would exhibit the behavior once more, as it would give me a reason to take action. But as it is, I’ve been gridlocked. I’m playing the waiting game.

Whoever said patience was a virtue needs to be shot – or whatever the pacifist alternative to that is.

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I had one of those days today.  The ones where I just want to go home, get a hug from my mom and curl up in bed and be thankful that unlike other (real) parents, I can go home and detox from the crazy little munchkins that rule my life.

Calling Bunny a handful would be like calling the grand canyon a crevice. If there is one word to describe him, it’s volatile. But no, today I’m not going to get into Bunny’s extensive behavioral issues. No, I’ll save that for when I’m really in need of blogging fodder. Today, there was one main issue that really, well, for lack of a better term, freaked me out.

It was almost time for me to go home and after an excruciatingly long day with the two of them (damn you Easter/Passover!) I was looking forward to collapsing in a heap on my bed. Of course, just when I think that Bunny is really shaping up, he reminds me why it is that I am so thankful for the fact that he has school five days a week now. I was giving Bunny and Buddha a bath this evening, which under normal circumstances would have been a somewhat daunting task anyway. But the fact that Buddha had only napped for 40 minutes this morning was not helping matters. Mostly, however, it was Bunny’s ever increasing hysterics that were beginning to unravel me. Though I had calmly given him a twelve minute warning (and then reminded him again at 5 and 2 minutes respectively) that we would have to collect his toys and head inside, he had adamantly refused to cooperate and instead had insisted on yelling and sprinting wildly through the backyard before finally flinging himself in a small pool of mud that he had previously created with the garden hose. We were already a good twenty minutes off schedule by the time I finally had settled him down enough to be able to go inside and start the bath. Anyway, despite my best efforts at redirection and my reminders that he needed to control himself and settle down, he continued to spiral out of control, only becoming semi-calm for moments at a time – just long enough to fool me into believing that it would stick.

In the immediate minutes following, despite my warnings, threats and directions he pulled Buddha’s hair, took away his bath toys, and poured water on his head. In any other moment, I would have taken him out of the tub and secluded him outside so he could be by himself and calm down, however Winifred had planned on taking the boys out to dinner at five and it was already five after five so I did my best to protect Buddha while simultaneously trying to scrub the mud and grime off of the both of them. So when the incident happened in the tub, I was on my eighth hour at work and frazzled.

“What are you doing?” I asked in my most calm voice possible despite the fact that I wanted to rip him out of the tub and send him outside, mud, water, sand and all.

“I’m putting my penis in Buddha’s bottom.” He informed me in a rather pleased tone. And indeed he was attempting to do just that. Sitting directly behind Buddha he had scooted forward and was tugging at his penis directing it straight towards Buddha’s unsuspecting little heiner crack.

“That is not okay.” I replied in an as matter-of-fact tone as I could muster.
“Bunny, stop.” I instructed him, giving him a moment to acquiesce before continuing.
“That is not alright. You need to keep your penis to yourself.” And with that I put my hand on his shoulder and urged him to the other side of the tub.

Maybe if it had ended there, I wouldn’t have worried, however, less than a minute later, as I was reaching for the shampoo behind me, I caught him, yet again, straddling Buddha while touching his penis to his bottom. Perhaps  too harshly, I  again demanded that he stop immediately and reiterated that he keep his penis to himself.

“Why?” He asked me defiantly while laughing.

Refusing to be baited into one of his classic arguments I simply repeated that he needed to control his behavior and keep his body away from Buddha’s. This is the same mantra I use whenever he is physically aggressive towards Buddha (hitting, kicking, pushing etc.) When he refused to back off, I picked up a fussy, sudsy Buddha and placed him on the opposite end of the tub, instructing Bunny to stand up while I finished rinsing him off.

Finally, after a full blown tantrum during which I had to physically drag a kicking and screaming Bunny out of the tub and out of the bathroom itself, and after I consoled, dried and dressed a cranky Buddha and had buckled him into his car seat, I dashed inside to have a quick word with Winifred while Dr. Doormat was helping Bunny into the car.

I’m not sure what I expected from her, but considering she’s an LCSW, her off-handed reaction was certainly not it. With a nonchalant scoff and a roll of her eyes she explained, unperturbed that some of “the kids at school are playing that game” and that she herself had previously witnessed a similar interaction with one of his friends in the showers after swim class. Flabbergasted I shared with her what I had said to Bunny about keeping his body/penis to himself and she nodded, adding that that was practically verbatim what she had told him earlier. And with that, she brushed me off and hurried out the door.

Maybe I’m completely overreacting. Maybe my radar is too sensitive to these things, but something does not sit right with me about this at all.
Last October we found out that one of my other moonbeams, little Abuelito, had been sexually abused by a young male, teenage sitter and the way it came to his parents’ attention was due to his acting out the molestation with another child.

So perhaps, I’m simply overly cautious  from that experience, but I just have a bad feeling about this.

My father has seven brothers, of which at least two were/are excessively friendly with some of us female nieces. One of my very first memories, albeit fuzzy, dark and faded, is of being an underwear clad four year old exclaiming “no” to my uncle MoFo in response to his behind-grabbing invitation to sit in his lap. I learned very quickly to try and avoid him at all costs. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to deem it abuse, especially as I have no definitive memories of him doing anything more than simply touching inappropriately and making lewd comments, it definitely makes me that much more inclined to want to protect Bunny and Buddha at all costs.

I’ve been pouring through my child development textbook and reading all I can online and haven’t been able to find anything definitive regarding this type of sexual play in children. On the one hand, play acting and exploration are a normal part of a child’s burgeoning sexuality, but the incredibly specific nature of this incident doesn’t feel like ‘normal’ playing to me. It’s not as though I don’t have experience with the sexual explorations of young children. I’ve been witness to preschool boys comparing penises and of young siblings touching themselves or each other in the bath, but I have never seen anything to this extent before and it unsettles me. And what’s worse is Winifred’s off-handed reaction to it all. Up to this point, I haven’t really disagreed (and if I have, I’ve kept it to myself) about any of her parenting choices, but it makes me uncomfortable that we have such drastically different points of view about this.

And again, it’s very likely that I’m overreacting, but I talked to my mom about it today when I got home and asked her to please call a child therapist friend of hers so I can get an unbiased, professional opinion about it. I guess I’d just rather be safe than sorry.

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I’m a total lactivist: a “breastfeeding nazi” if you will. There are few things I think are more important that breastfeeding education and when I’m an OBGYN I will make it my mission to ensure that my patients are well informed. Whether it’s a socio-economic thing or simply a result of the type of people I surround myself with it just so happens that all two dozen of the children I take care of have been breastfed. (With only one exception and that is a result of a very serious metabolic disorder.) As a result, I guess I took it for granted how lovely breastfed babies smell. Sounds kinda odd, doesn’t it? Well, if you’ve never smelled an exclusively breastfed baby’s breath you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. But for a full seven and a half months (that’s how long Winifred exclusively breastfed Buddha) Buddha had the loveliest breath imaginable. The three musketeer’s mom calls it “applesauce breath” and it really is: it’s soft and sweet and subtle. Even when he was immediately post-sleep or completely congested, Buddha had the most wonderful breath. So his sweet, gooey baby kisses? Well, they were that much sweeter. Now, this isn’t just a Buddha thing because Aramis was also exclusively breastfed for seven months and he too had delicious breath. Even now, both he and Buddha (who are both still nursing) continue to have lovely breath. Though, not quite to the extent that they did when they were exclusively nursing.

Up until now, this lovely aroma of theirs I totally just chalked up to the fact that they were brand new babies and it makes sense that nature would make babies smell good because really, when they’re tiny and scrawny and ugly and all they do is scream and poop and pee, you kinda need something to make you want to take care of them, otherwise the entire species would have gone extinct by now, right? Well, kinda. I don’t actually know why breastfed babies smell yummy, all I know is that formula fed babies do not. In fact, they straight up stink.

And yes, I’m fully aware that as a lactivist, I’m completely biased against formula however, I think there’s something to this. As if anybody needed any more reasons not to formula feed; here’s another one: formula stinks!

I make no secret about my disdain for baby formula and my contempt for formula companies and the uneducated parents who feed their kids that crap. (Before I’m attacked by all the formula feeders, let me just say that I fully understand that formula can be helpful in some situations and that it’s not entirely evil – just mostly so.) In any event, I think it’s a testament to the amazing parents of the children I take care of that in the past four plus years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve never actually had to mix up baby formula before. It sounds a bit bizarre doesn’t it? A nanny that’s never put together a bottle of formula? The thing is, it never actually occurred to me that I would be expected to know how to do it.

Well, I took care of my neighbor’s ten month old twins on Tuesday and guess what I had to do to? Fix them some formula. The last time I babysat for them, the mom had already had the bottles ready so this time it was all up to me. Well, I knew where the bottles were, I read the directions on the back of the can, I then dutifully scooped three ‘unpacked’ scoops of the nasty stuff into each bottle and then filled it with water to the six oz mark before I put my finger on the nipple and shook them. Woot! For me! I did it.

Only a little while later, after downing the entire thing and then rolling around all over the living floor, Thing 1 decided it would be lovely to spit up all over himself. Now, Buddha had some serious reflux issues until he was about a year old. I’m talking goob everywhere! I honestly don’t know how he got so fat, so fast because he spit up so much, I can’t imagine he had all that much to fully digest. So, basically, goob doesn’t phase me – at all. It’s just another of the lovely bodily functions that I’m so frequently privy too. Except that I’ve never been exposed to formula goob before! And formula spit up is way different that breast milk spit up! Seriously. It’s not really something I had ever thought about before, though it makes perfect sense. See, I’m quite accustomed to breast milk spit up. It’s a bit sour and kinda yucky, but it’s completely sterile and easily washable so whatever, I’m used to it. But formula spit up? Is absolutely fucking disgusting. No, seriously. That shit is gross. And quite frankly, I’m not sure it’s all that worse than the straight up formula. They smell pretty much the same because after they had their bottles, those babies stunk! They reeked of formula. I love to cuddle and that’s partly why I love my job so much; I get paid to cuddle. But I honestly didn’t want to get all that close to these kids because they were stinky little dudes. Yes, I did cuddle and read to them – I’m not completely heartless- but I did so holding my breath.

I don’t know how formula feeding parents do it. I mean, first of all, it’s a hassle. Who has time to deal with cans and powder and water and shaking? Yech. But the smell! Oh, that smell. Just rinsing out those bottles was nearly vomit-inducing. Eww.

Never mind the inimitable qualities of breast milk; the countless health reasons why it’s so incredibly superior to formula. Forget about how much smarter, healthier and better well adjusted breastfed babies are. Immune systems? So what? IQ? Whatever. If there were ever a reason not to formula feed it would be this: the smell. Seriously. That stuff is rank.

… is the expurgated book. – Walt Whitman

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By the time I was five I could read and write in two languages. Reading was second only to breathing. There was never a limit to what I could find out, so long as I kept reading. Throughout elementary school, I was constantly getting into trouble with teachers and with my parents for reading at inappropriate times and for preferring to read than doing any homework. If allowed, I’d read rather than play with my friends or even eat. I would get so lost in whatever worlds in the pages that everything else ceased to exist.

I developed fascinations with certain subjects and would spend weeks reading only about those topics. I became obsessed with slavery and with the Civil War, then with WWII and with the Holocaust. I was completely fascinated by Ancient Egypt and then Rome. I couldn’t get enough of the Middle Ages and of Royal genealogy. I researched and read volumes about dynasties from the Romanovs to the Plantagenets. Ancient female figures and monarchs became my heroines. I would dream of being Aspasia or Cleopatra or Eleanor of Aquataine and in desiring to be like them I read everything I could about them, which sometimes included very obscure and mature literature.

My teachers both adored and detested my presence in their classes. I was enthusiastic and incredibly inquisitive but also indignantly precocious. Too often I would question the veracity of their information or often times simply inform them that they were wrong. And on many occasions, they were. No matter what subject we learned about in school, I would inevitably go home and read far and beyond what was in the curriculum, if it was of interest to me, and most things were.
My standardized test scores were through the roof. In the third grade, at age seven, I was admitted to a Gifted Children’s program. At ten, my vocabulary and reading comprehension were those of a college student’s.

But not because I was extraordinarily privileged in the quality of my education.
It was simply the result of being given the freedom to educate myself. My parents didn’t own a TV until I was nearly six years old, but we did have a two room library. When we lived in Central America, my mother made sure to speak with and read to us in English and when we moved to the states, she did her best to continue to do so in Spanish.

If I had a question about something, I was encouraged to look it up. And in the days before ubiquitious internet, we would pack up and head to the library. I was frequently irked by the 30 book limit upon my child library card. See, we could only go to the library once every two weeks. How was I to survive that long with only 30 books to read? The library at school was an absolute joke, as far as I was concerned. We traveled very frequently but I survived and actually looked forward to the many international flights and several cross country road trips we took because all I ever wanted to do was dream and read.

There was never a single moment that my parents denied me my right to read. Not on the basis of content, at least. On certain occasions when I really misbehaved I would get punished not by getting grounded from television but by having whatever book I was reading, temporarily taken away. It would get returned only upon completion of whatever chores or homework it was that I had been avoiding due to said book. As far as what I read, however, my parents never placed limits. At ten, when my fascination with the Holocaust reached it’s peak, my mother refused to allow me to rent Schindler’s List and I was livid. But it was a movie. I could read the book, if I wanted, but the movie was off limits.

I remember one particular instance when I was fifteen. At twelve, my younger brother had been turned on to the subject of satanic cults and came home from school filled with questions regarding the matter. My mother very calmly told him that she didn’t know much about the subject however she was sure they could find plenty of information at the library. And they did. It was less than a month before my brother lost interest, much to my mothers relief.

At ten, at the height of the Lewinsky/Clinton scandal, I was a habitual reader of every morning’s newspaper. My mother was not at all pleased to have to explain all about oral sex and the impeachment process to her sixth grader, however I was never forbidden to read about the sordid and horrible things going on in the world. And if I ever needed to discuss or have things clarified, my parents were very willing to help.

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of toys, especially not by American standards. But we always had a steady stream of books coming to our way. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. What I lacked in dolls and videos, I more than made up for with words and dreams. I remember being so sad, when at eight my floor to ceiling bookshelf got so filled that I had to move some of my personal collections to a different shelf in another room of the house. I had no idea how truly fortunate I was to have such a dilemma.

See, my parents believe, as do I, that the only true evil in this world, is ignorance. Reading is the most important means of educating yourself. Without the freedom to read and learn at will, we have nothing except what other people tell us. The only way to form an opinion is to be educated on it. They also knew that denying us information could only bring about conflict.

There are a lot of things I dislike about how my parents raised us, but the way that they shared with us their appreciation and love for books is something I will always be thankful for.

Which is why it cuts me the core and really just pisses me off to read about yet another censorship story.

And for what? Because of the word “scrotum”?
Are you kidding me?

I won’t even go into the ethics and absolute immorality that is book censorship, because that is a whole other can of worms that I’m just too tired to go into.

But scrotum?
Seriously?

For the love of god. It’s a body part. One which 50% of the population is in posession of. I could understand if the word were something like copulation or ejaculation, as those are words much more indicative of something too mature for small children. But scrotum? A noun. A simple little noun. Just a run-of-the-mill body part is creating this uproar? What exactly is so threatening about this word? I don’t get it. A scrotum is just as much a part of the male anatomy as penis or testicles and most boys are well aware of what those two words mean. I just fail to see how a child reading or hearing this word could possibly be upsetting. What is it, exactly, about our sexual organs that make people so jumpy? These are children. They have bodies too. How is knowing the correct term for a body part going to negatively affect them at all, unless they are taught that it is something to be ashamed of or hidden? A scrotum alone is not dangerous or volatile in any way. Hiding the word away isn’t going to hide away it’s existence from the 3 Billion people that possess it. All boys, by the age of two are well aware of their scrotums, even if they don’t know what they’re called. What is denying them a word going to accomplish? What can possibly be accomplished by causing an uproar and trying hide such a basic and integral bodypart?

The problem is that people equate knowledge with immorality. It’s the age old apple in eden complex. Knowing and understanding their bodies isn’t going to instigate a sudden onset of hyper-sexualization in children. If anything, teaching them the scientific terms from an early age, could only improve their future sexual health as they will already be familiar with the concepts once they are old enough to be taught in greater detail. There are many things in this world that children need protecting from, but the knowledge of their own bodies is not one of them.

What kind of ridiculous, puritanical world are we living in where people will go to such astonishing lengths in order to do what? Delay in the inevitable? I mean, really. There are just so many other issues, much more worthy of distress than this word.
Knowledge, in and of itself, is never a dangerous thing. It is only the absence of knowledge that gets us all into trouble.

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My father is very proud of his Maya Lenca heritage. Nevermind that he gets his height, his forehead and his last name from his Basque and Spanish ancestry. As far as he’s concerned, the European in him is irrelevant. So when he asked me to go see Apocalypto with him, I agreed despite the fact that I’d heard very bad things about the movie. I’m not one of those people who harbors deep feelings of resentment towards Mr. Mel, either. When everyone was gasping and shaking their heads at Mel Gibson’s jew scandal hoopla? Yeah, I didn’t really care. If anyone knows anything about stupid drunken behavior it’s moi. Glass houses and whatnot. Besides, I don’t think my dad has ever sat down and watched a movie with his kids. Not once. That and he was paying.
I never saw the Passion of the Christ but I heard that it was incredibly violent, and I heard similar accounts of the intense violence in this movie but I wasn’t really that worried. I’m not squeamish in the least. Hell, I’m one of those freaks who thinks blood and gore is fascinating. In fact, I’ve been known to watch the discovery health channel like it’s going off the air. And I actually look forward to getting my blood drawn so I can watch. Weird, I know. So color me apalled when not once but three times during the movie, I actually had to look away because certain scenes were just that gruesome. I’ve seen my fair share of gory horror flicks but this was beyond twisted. It takes a really disturbed mind to enjoy something like that. This is the kind of movie that serial killers would masturbate to. Mel Gibson has much more serious problems than his racism. It was sick. I’m talking you might as well admit him now because there is no way someone could think up such depravity and perversion and not be a total psychopath. At least with the Passion, he was depicting a real story. But he just fabricated this entire thing soley for the purpose of depicting death. And for what? I don’t buy into the whole it’s an allegory for imperialism bullshit. Nevermind that the movie is full of blatant (and racist) misrepresentations of Mayan culture and is loaded with historic inaccuracies that any ninth grade history student should be able to recognize. Yes, the cinematography was beautiful and the use of Yucatec Mayan language was an interesting touch, but it creates this faux-authenticity that falsely gives the viewer the impression that what they’re watching is real.
Needless to say, I hated the movie. I was disgusted and apalled and when the predictable ending faded out to the credits I grabbed my stuff and demanded to leave as fast as possible.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the wave of even more intense horror that I felt when, as we were exiting the theater, a large latino family filed out, three of whose members were under the age of ten. I audibly gasped as I saw a little girl in a white flowered dress, who couldn’t have been older than five, holding her (presumably) mother’s hand as they walked out of the dark theater and into the lighted hallway.

What. the. Fuck!?

I can’t even verbalize the intensity of the anger and shame that surged through me.
My brother went with us and at 15 even he is deemed too young to go watch such a movie without a parent. And for good reason! The R for Restricted is not just an arbitrary classification; it’s there so that the public can take into account the content of a movie prior to seeing it or letting their children see it. What would possess anyone to take their small child to go see something like this? But this wasn’t even just the ignorance of one person. The entire family was there. There were at least four other adults in addition to the little gir’s mother and a set of twin boys in matching outfits who looked to be about eight or nine, as well. How can an entire family be so irresponsible as to expose their children to such gratuitious violence? This isn’t some questionable cartoon; it’s graphic torture, rape and murder; images that made me wince in repugnance! And they sat there and not only allowed but encouraged their children to watch. Even if they truly had no idea that the movie was going to be so deliberately and vehemently violent, after the opening sequence where a group of natives graphically slaughter and then slice up a boar, dividing it up and doling out various bloody body parts, I think any sane person would be able to conclude that maybe such a movie isn’t so appropriate for elementary aged children. But they didn’t leave! Not when the first massacre of a little village took place or when the prisoners were tortured and beaten. Or at any time during the entire 2 hour bloodfest. No. They sat there and allowed their three children to sit and watch. I felt and still do feel sick just thinking about it. This crosses the line. It’s beyond irresponsible or even bad parenting; it’s child abuse. These people intentionally exposed their children to images and themes that not only are they too young to be able to grasp but that are intense to the point that they could cause significant psychological trauma.
I’m beyond words. And I’m fucking pissed off. Igorance is no excuse for poor parenting decisions. And classifying this as poor parenting choice is putting it very mildly. Quite possibly the shittiest part of it all is that these people probably don’t even realize that they’re doing anything wrong and I’m sure there are thousands of other parents who are behaving in the same manner and subjecting their children to such awful things.
And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

So, fuck you Mel Gibson. Fuck you.

If I wanted to be squished and kicked and unable to listen to my ipod over the din of a temper tantrum then maybe I would have gone to Philadelphia with Mrs. P and Dr. Doormat. Instead, I chose to attend a family wedding this past week. Big mistake. On SO many levels. Of course, the universe had to remind me that my life revolves around munchkins because my seat was directly in front of a family with two children under the age of six. My seat in particular was directly in front of the boy’s seat. Boy looked about four or five and he didn’t stop kicking and/or jostling my seatback for the entire three hour plane ride. Three hours of getting kicked in the back. Glorious. The litttle girl on the other hand, who looked to be three or four had three tempter tantrums throughout the flight. One hour into the flight and my devotion towards humans under the age of ten completely dissipated. I wanted to strangle the little tykes. As I sat there fuming though, I realized that it wasn’t the kids’ that I should be irriated at but the parents. These children had no concept that their behavior was affecting everybody else on the flight. Not only were they disrupting me, but they were loud enough to be heard by every single person on the plane and yet they seemed fully oblivious to this. And the mother? She would simply sigh and mutter soft words of lord knows what to them. The father on the other hand, said absolutely nothing. I know not all parents are cut out to be “bad cops” but for both parents to just sit there and allow their offspring to disrespect an entire plane full of people apalls me. It’s rude and shameful. These parents clearly could not set boundaries nor could they discipline properly. The kids were wild. I’m not advocating corporal punishment but enough is enough. Bunny, for all his faults would never have had the gall to behave that way. And had he lost control of his emotions, we would have instantly been in a tiny plane bathroom having a timeout together and talking about his behavior and it’s effect on the people around him. I know it’s embarrassing when kids act out in public but that’s no excuse for avoiding discipline. Children need to understand that there is a world outside themselves but continually catering to a child’s inherently self-absorbed moods can’t come to any good. Sometimes children need to be humored but any sort of public arena is not an appropriate time to do that. Mr. T knows that if he disrupts other people or is unable to behave in an appropriate manner, he will be removed from whatever social situation he’s in. Granted that’s not possible on an airplane but at four he is already beginning to understand that other people’s needs are valid as well. Humans are inherantly selfish beings. Empathy is a learned trait and the longer children are allowed to behave as though they alone matter, the development of important social skills are delayed. Being able to function in any society involves having a degree of compassion. I see more and more that children are not taught the value of other people’s feelings and it worries me. I hope for the sake of that mother that she comes to her senses because already those children are far too self-absorbed. I wish parents would realize that there’s more to parenting than making your kids happy. Parenting is about teaching and children need to be taught, now more than ever, the art of compassion.

Bunny’s Mom whom we’ll kindly call Pinochet has very strict rules regarding pretty much every aspect of her sons’ lives. She basically attempts to control how they get dressed (no. really) what, and how they eat, and yes, how long they sleep. This sounds like a nomal concerned parent? Wait and see. I don’t kid when I say that the hardest part about working for Dr. Doormat and Mrs. P is keeping in line with all the freaking rules. One of my least favorite rules is the rule that states. “Bunny must get up from his nap at two regardless of when he went to sleep.” She leaves me notes, continually, reminding me of this fact. I may take one to scan it for disbelievers. Now, this rule doesn’t sound so bad. Especially not considering the fact that his (attempted) bedtime is seven pm. However, the lack of any leniency whatsoever is what distresses me. 2:00 means 2:00. Not 2:05. (though I like to stretch those five minutes out. shhh.) Not 2:15. She went APESHIT on Dr. Doormat one day when he “undermined” her by allowing me to let Bunny sleep an extra fifteen minutes. Now, there are several problems with this rule but my biggest issue with this rule is the whole “regladless of when he went to sleep” part. I HATE that part. Mrs. P insists that we are always on time and on (her) schedule however she has no issues continually changing that schedule without notice so long as SHE’S the one making the changes. So, if she says she’s going to be home with Bunny at noon and wants me to have lunch ready so I can get him down for his nap before one so he can get up by two, then by golly, I will have lunch ready to go a 11:55 sharp. However, Mrs. P is like clockwork in the sense that she is almost always never on time. That of course, doesn’t preclude us from always having to be on time. It just means that we have to be on her time. So, when she gets home at a quarter to one with a cranky, hungry four year old who decides that he no longer wants pizza for lunch but mac and cheese the whole “up by two regarldess …” rule should logically amend itself to her being late, correct? No. Absolutely not. I’m supposed to make up for the lost 45 minutes. And if he doesn’t actually fall asleep until 1:49 can I give him an extra 15 mintues of sleep, so that he can have a total of 26 minutes of naptime? Hell, no! And when she asks why he’s in such a foul mood and I tell her it’s because she only allowed him 11 minutes to sleep and why the hell can’t she loosen the fuck up? She comes to her senses and apologizes for being such an anal control-freak and offers me a raise in repentance … right? Wrong. Instead I just mutter that he’s tired and she nods and says something about an early bed time tonight as I ponder ways that I could grow, steal or buy marijuana to slip into her tea because I fear that that is the only way that she could ever relax.