• Bullying*

    I know I’m a little behind the times, but I was finally able to catch up on a bit of news that I’ve seen all over Facebook and Twitter over the past few days.

    (The wee-bean went to bed at 8:30 last night. Tonight it was 8:15. WIN.)

    When I first saw the headlines about Karen Klein, a bus monitor from Greece, NY, I was bleary-eyed while feeding the wee-bean at some ungodly hour. I made a mental note to look into it when I was in a more conscious state, and that time finally came last night.

    If you aren’t yet familiar with the story, Karen Klein is a 68 year old widowed grandmother who earns a living riding a school bus as it’s “monitor”. Her wards are a bunch of intermediate students, and on one particular day these students began to verbally attack Karen as they rode home. I’ve included the video for you if you haven’t seen it, but I warn you, there is a lot of profanity in it, and by about 4 minutes in I was so uncomfortable and sad for this woman that I could barely stand to watch anymore. See for yourself:

    I am horrified, and I teach high school.

    Maybe I’m a little naive, and maybe I come from a small town, but I could never, ever have imagined that type of behaviour and language from a group of 12 year olds. I didn’t even know what some of those words meant until much later in high school.

    Have things really changed that much? What happened to the image of the 12 year old boy (not yet a man) who wants to play baseball or street hockey, and still dreams about following in his father’s footsteps when he grows up?

    This type of unprovoked, mean bullying makes me nauseous and frightened for the world that Ruby is entering.

    And watching the video brought up waves of guilt.

    I need to tell you something. I need to be honest about something.

    I was a pretty fortunate kid. While I was never the most popular girl in school, I was smart, I played sports and I had the “right” group of friends. Growing up as one of the only Mormon kids in my school set me apart a little bit, but generally my friends were pretty understanding that I didn’t drink or smoke and didn’t judge me or mock me for it. And they easily could have.

    I knew people who were ostracized for much less.

    To this day I still think about a girl in my class in grade 7 and 8. Her name was Kimmy. She was tall and thin, and her clothes were always a little worn and never matched or fit quite right. She was a little shy and awkward, but I never heard her say a mean thing about anyone.

    Instead, everyone said mean things about her.

    She was the girl that everyone made fun of for those two years. If someone ended up with Kimmy as their partner in gym, they probably made an obvious disgusted face… that I’m sure Kimmy saw. She was the girl that didn’t have many close friends, the girl always on the fringe of activities because no one wanted to include her.

    She was always nice to everyone, and while I know she tried to stay brave and positive, I saw her cry more than once.

    While I never said anything mean to her face, I’m sure I said plenty behind her back. I was in the crowd when people made fun of her.

    And I did nothing to stop it.

    I could claim ignorance that I simply didn’t know any better, but my mother raised me to be kind to everyone. And I wasn’t. When you’re 12, you don’t think about how what you say and do affects someone. As Kimmy withdrew and became even more quiet, I never realized how our actions affected her.

    As I graduated grade 8 and moved into high school, I forgot about Kimmy. I transferred schools twice and it was well into my post-secondary education before some random memory triggered a thought about her.

    And since that moment I have never been able to forget her. I don’t know what happened to her, or where she is now. I have no idea if how we treated her during those years affected her deeply, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t have.

    Our class made her a social outcast.

    And I feel so bad about it. Even now, fifteen years later, I hate that I was a part of that. I hate that my actions and my inactions hurt someone for a prolonged period of time.

    And I hate that I can’t apologize to her for it.

    I tried once to see if I could find her on Facebook, just to see where she is now… without success. For all I know she wouldn’t remember me.

    But I remember her.

    And she is part of why I will make sure that my kids understand that bullying–in all its forms–is so inappropriate. That bullying hurts people, whether they show it to you or not.

    So, while I’m horrified that these boys behaved like this, I hope it serves as a major wake-up call. I hope their actions in those 10 minutes stays with them for the rest of their lives.

    I hope they take this opportunity to learn from their actions and make steps to correct it.

    Because 15 years later is too late.

    I’m sorry, Kimmy.

  • Baby Rolls*

    Four months. Where on earth did it go?

    Yesterday was my little Ruby’s 4 month birthday, and we celebrated by having naps and going shopping. (I may or may not have purchased a pink jean mini-skirt for her. Don’t judge me.)

    She is growing like crazy and is learning new things all the time… but as she gains her baby rolls, it’s time for me to lose mine. I’ve used this blog as a platform to push myself to lose weight more than once over the course of the (almost) six years that I’ve been writing here. My greatest success was the year Peeah got married, and I came within 5 pounds of my goal weight (135 lbs). I was running 3 – 4 times a week, and I stopped eating chocolate for 14 months.

    I’ve lost most of the weight I gained while I was pregnant with Ruby–I’m down to about 6 or  7 pounds that I can attribute to “baby weight”. But then I was at least 15 – 20 lbs overweight when I got pregnant, so I have a ways to go. Now that the sun is shining and bathing suit weather is upon us, I feel more than ready to let this excess weight go.

    My biggest hurdle has always been my eating habits, and now that I’m a full-time mom to Ruby, finding time to exercise is a challenge.

    BUT, that doesn’t mean that I can’t do it.

    So, here’s my plan: alter my eating habits. I’ll be honest… I eat a lot of crap. Most of the time I’m grabbing something on the fly because she needs me, or if my hands are free I don’t want to “waste” my free time laboring over something in the kitchen.

    No more.

    It’s just lazy, and it’s not good for me or for her.

    Also, I’ve decided to say goodbye to chocolate once more. I’ve had the idea rolling around in my head for a little while now, and then actually ended up talking about it with some friends at dinner last night. When I eliminate chocolate from my diet, I always find myself reaching for a wider variety of better options for me to eat.

    So, to make it official, I’m going off it for at least 6 months. I’ll reevaluate at Christmas.

    Lastly, being a mom doesn’t mean I get to stop exercising. I am going to start working out at home, taking her out for at least one walk a day, then if this new bedtime routine I’m working on takes, I’d like to start running or biking after she goes to bed.

    So. There it is. To keep myself honest I plan to post my progress with you each month on Ruby’s “birthday”. As she gains weight, I’ll hopefully lose some.

    Right now my dream would be to lose 30 pounds. I’ll keep you posted!

  • Who Needs Sleep?

    It’s official: I have reached a new level of exhaustion.

    I mentioned yesterday that Ruby doesn’t really nap. Well, apparently she doesn’t need to sleep at night either.

    For the past month, my little wee-bean has exhibited some… interesting… sleeping habits. I know babies are often inconsistent, but she’s all over the map. One night she’ll sleep for a 5 hours stretch, one night it’ll be 3, but more often than not she is up every hour and a half to two hours.

    All. Night. Long.

    Let’s examine last night, shall we? I began her little bedtime routine shortly after 8pm, same as every night: warm bath, jammies, stories, then I usually sing/hum to her as she eats and falls asleep. For a while there it was taking me nearly two hours to settle her, but for the past 4 nights this routine has her asleep in 45 minutes. Sounds lovely, no? She seems to enjoy it.

    …so much that she woke up at 11:30, then at 1:45, then at 3:30, then at 5:30, before waking up for the day at 6:15. Each time she woke up I left her in her bed to see if she could settle herself back to sleep, but when she began trying to eat / inhale her blankets I picked her up and just tried rocking her back to sleep.

    Ohhh no. She was ravenous! She ate for 10 – 15 minutes before finally settling down again and falling back to sleep.

    Repeat. Again, and again.

    I don’t know what to do. I have a wonderful circle of friends and family who have offered me a million suggestions, but half of them conflict with one another and I have no idea where to begin. Until now I have strictly breastfed Ruby. The Hubster has all kinds of food allergies and sensitivities that run in his family, and I’ve read that breastfeeding may help Ruby miss out on some of the things her dad struggles with. So, I’ve tried really hard not to supplement her at all… but maybe it’s not working.

    It’s so hard not to feel like I’m doing something wrong… everything changed when she had her nursing strike and her 3 month growth spurt. A while back Ruby went through a two-day period where feeding her was impossible. She would scream and arch her back when I tried, and cry because she was hungry when I stopped. The nurse I spoke with that day told me to stop using a bottle or pacifier for a while, so that she would form a reattachment to me.

    She hasn’t really taken a bottle or soother since. She was never great with it–she often pushed it out of her mouth–but if I rocked her and gently held it in place she could fall asleep. I don’t know if there is another kind of soother that she can hold in place better, but the only pacifier she’ll take lately is me.

    Despite that, she was sleeping fairly well. Until three weeks ago she was only waking up once, maybe twice a night. Then she hit her never-ending 3 month growth spurt and she hasn’t really slept or napped much since.

    The thing is, she doesn’t seem… unhappy. She is often a little fussy after dinner until bedtime, but throughout the day she is the sweetest, happiest baby. More often than not I’m the grump because I haven’t had enough sleep. I do realize that some babies just don’t nap. I get that. But not sleeping at night too?

    *sigh*

    I’m just… tired. Tomorrow’s another day. :)

  • I Understand Now*

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since becoming a parent is the importance of now.

    As you know, I come from a big family. I am the fourth of six children, so life for my mom was very busy. We were all expected to pitch in and help around the house, and my mom was very particular about when she wanted our chores completed. It always felt like she had this sense of urgency; if we didn’t complete our tasks immediately, or within the window of time she allotted us, she sometimes got upset. I never understood that as a kid, and, if I’m being totally honest, it drove me a little nuts. I knew what needed to be done, so what if I did it six hours or six days from now?

    Ha.

    I understand better now.

    I understand that feeling of urgency… that feeling of not knowing if you’ll have another window of opportunity to complete whatever it is you want done.

    Life with Ruby is… busy. She is the happiest, sweetest little girl… who doesn’t nap. She might give me two 45 minute naps during the day, if I’m lucky. That’s an hour and a half of time by myself… in a whole day. That’s an hour and a half to shower, eat / make three meals, clean, catch up on sleep, make phone calls, and try and do something for myself so I don’t go insane.

    My days now revolve around feeding and nap schedules, and the brief windows of opportunity I have when my hands are free. I am constantly trying to “seize the moment” to get things done each day.

    If I don’t do things right now, they don’t get done for hours, or sometimes days. I no longer have the luxury of saying, “I’ll get to it later.” The concept of “later” has completely changed for me, and it’s no longer something I can always control. I used to be a happy procrastinator and not feeling like I am in control of my own time is often overwhelming… but I’m adjusting. The hardest part is trying to decide what I should do when those opportunities present themselves. Dishes? Laundry? Gardening? Read? Sleep? Shower? Write?

    It’s obvious which of these options has fallen by the wayside.

    I know I’ll find some sort of balance eventually, and hopefully Ruby will come to love naps like her momma.

    Speaking of which, I hear a certain little someone waking up, which means this little window of freedom has ended. Sorry dishes, I’ll get to you later… (or not. ha)

     

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