Friday, November 2, 2007

The Producer

As we waited for our table, last night, my three daughters sat quietly on the floor of a restaurant hallway , absorbing the 9 years that separate them. The eldest read short stories from a book she borrowed from her teacher, while the nine year old sat transfixed by her words and the 19 month old squeezed her cheeks in between them, thrilled just to be included.

My husband and I beamed at the Norman Rockwell painting at our feet; how lovely, how well behaved and quiet. We gave each other invisible hi-fives at our manifesting parental astuteness; even though, secretly, we knew we had little or nothing to do with how wonderful our children were conducting themselves, just as we have little or nothing to do with The Crazy they display at other times, (or so we like to think.)

Eventually, the allure of the cool, older girls faded and The Babe began to toddle around. She flirted with other children and babbled at adults what, I am almost certain is an unknown dialect of Farsi.

My husband and I were staring off into space discussing the news of the day, when over my shoulder, I heard a soft voice with a lovely British accent. “He’s certainly a fit boy.” I turned to see a thin man with brilliant white hair and a kind face with a smile that comfortably fits the definition of jolly, gesturing toward The Babe.

In his defense, The Babe’s dark pink sweater could have passed as red in the dim lighting and the generous hem on her chocolate brown pants almost completely covered the pink lady bugs on her shoes.

I was so enchanted by the gentleman’s beguiling tone and his royal blue track suit, like I was standing before a character on loan from a Charles Dickens novel that I didn’t immediately want to correct him. So, I mumbled something about how nice it was that she wasn’t wandering off.

He gestured urbanely toward the three girls and said to my husband, “All of this is your family? You’re a good Producer.” My husband laughed and thanked him, and the freshly shaven Father Time turned on the spot and disappeared into the crowd.

My husband, The Producer.

The fact that I put my organs on loan for 9 months, 3 separate times; that I grew their bodies within my own, relegating me to guest status within my own skin; that I craved and ate combinations of foods that should never even share space on a plate; that my body parts swelled and morphed into unrecognizable shapes; and that I pushed 6, 7, and 8 pound people from my womb when my skin and hips could stretch no further…clearly, these trivial things earn me no title.

I’m okay with that. The many hats of Mother are plenty. But the whiskerless Father Christmas at The Tavern, last night solved a conundrum for me: What to call my husband on this blog. I am not allowed to discuss him too much. But he is a big important part of my life, and occasionally, he sneaks his way into my anecdotes, and I am certain that he will be playing a larger role in upcoming Counting Mercies.

So, meet my husband

The Producer

(Hi Sweetheart)

Next week's Counting Mercies is Alphabet Soup-26 alphabetical things in your life that you are grateful for...or, if you are very clever, perhaps just a few things that use several words beginning with consecutive letters as adjectives. Bonus points for creativity!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Safe Touching Rules

I know childhood sexual assault is an uncomfortable subject. It is an uncomfortable reality, and we do our children a grave disservice by not preparing them for the battlefield we send them out onto each day. I have said it before, The statistics are these: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. 70% of rapes are commited against children. Only 2-10% of sexual abuse is commited by strangers. Most children do not tell anyone about their abuse. (Blue Sky Bridge, 10/30/2007) So, I am discussing these issues with my daughters in a positive and empowering way so that they will know their rights as individuals and so that they will not be easy targets.

I came across these rules from a Victim's Advocacy Group in my area, last week. These rules are worded in such a way that makes sense to children, so you can say them verbatim to even very young children. Children love rules. They appreciate the way rules keep behaviors predictable, and they especially love to point out when someone is breaking the rules. I think these Touching Rules are a good tool for us parents to have in our repertoire. So, please copy them. Type them up in a fun font. Hang them in your child's room or in their bathroom or just talk about them occasionally.

Touching Rules
  • My body belongs to me.
  • No touching if I don't want it.
  • Private parts are very special, children do not share them.
  • No one is allowed to make me share my private parts.
  • No one is allowed to share their private parts with me.
  • No one is allowed to touch my private parts.

Exceptions to the touching rules are health care, hygiene, and safety.

(These should be discussed with kids so that no one is able to take advantage of the exceptions.)

If someone breaks the touching rules, go to a grown-up for help.

If something gives me the "uh-oh" feeling, go to a grown up for help.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Costumed Requital

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!"- - - Dexter Kozen

The things I absolutely love about this season...

*The creepiness lent to even the most ordinary things.

* Seizing the opportunity to conquer one's fears.

*The way all of God's creatures seem dressed for just such an occasion as this to walk among us in all of their finery.

*The absolute giggle inducing, tingle in your cheek sort of sparkle in the air.

* The way we are inspired to rewrite the classics

* Menus infused with the bounty of the season

* All the Krafting and Kooking that's just for fun...just for memory's sake...without all the pressure of having 97 presents neatly wrapped and adorned and completely overthought.

Be sure to check out Julie's Hump Day Hmmm, this week, as it is also about this divine season.

Next week's Counting Mercies is:

Alphabet Soup- 26 things using consecutive letters of the alphabet that make your day. Get Creative!