Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Will is Strong with This One

As most of you know, I have three kids - Abby is 14, Sam is 12 and Kady is nine. Abby and Sam are probably two of the most compliant kids you will ever meet. Kady is not.

When Dr. James Dobson wrote The Strong-Willed Child he had Kady in mind, I'm sure of it. No, it does not matter that it was published in 1992 and she was born in 2001 - I do believe her stubbornness and strong-willed attitude was legendary even before she was born.

When I was 28 weeks pregnant with her she decided she wanted to come out RIGHT THEN. I ended up on strict bed rest trying to keep the little bug inside where she needed to be. They gave me steroids to strengthen her little lungs because they were fairly certain that given how dilated I was she was making an early appearance. Thank God she listened to her mother (for once) and stayed put. After I had reached the point where she could come safely I was taken off bedrest and told to go about my business. At that point, dilated to a six - and no I am not kidding - my only business was having that baby. I ate spicy food, we had a lot of sex, we rode bumpy roads....I just wanted her out.

Guess who decided to grab hold of my spleen, dig in her heels and stay put.

I'm telling you, people, the child has been stubborn since forever.

She didn't want to nurse. Probably because she knew how badly I wanted her to nurse; she was my last baby after all. She didn't want to sleep. Probably because she liked seeing me cry.

She was the child who refused to say please to my sister one day after demanding a cracker. Her sweet, precious, utterly indulgent Auntie was not about to be bullied by a toddler and said, "No cracker until you say please."

Guess who fell asleep in her high chair without a cracker.

When Abby was born, my sister insisted on being called Auntie. Abby learned to say Auntie; so did Sam. Then along came Kady who refused to say Auntie. She was just give my sister a blank look of borderline hatred and boredom when Heather would spend half an hour going, "Saaaayyyyyy Auntie! Say Aaaaaaauntieeeeeee." One day, probably after way too much Auntie Emersion Therapy, she looked my sister square in the eye and without emotion said, "Yaya." Heather would say "Auntie", Kady would counter with "Yaya." Over time Abby and Sam started calling her Yaya as well.

Guess who now calls my sister Auntie.

She used to scream thinking she could get her way. When she was a toddler I would take a spray bottle of water and spritz her in the face every time she spewed forth a violent blast of high-volume toddler screeching. She was too young to spank and the water wasn't harmful.

Guess who spent many a toddler afternoon soaking wet, drippy and pouty.

My friend Stacie held my beautiful, teeny tiny infant daughter and with a smile looked up at me and said, "You do know that you will end up having to build a moat full of alligators under this child's bedroom window when she's a teenager, right?" I laughed and said, "Yeah..."


Will you think me silly if I say I've looked into alligator farming and backhoe operation?

Kady is one of the sweetest kids on the planet. Her teachers have all loved her and all speak of her compassion toward other students, the way she never allows anyone to be left out and her willingness to help anyone in need, be it teachers or students. They always give me strange looks when I sit at a miniature desk at parent-teacher conferences and anxiously ask, "So she doesn't refuse to put on her coat? She doesn't stomp and pout and whine when it's time to go somewhere? She doesn't ignore you and consider all requests for compliance to be merely suggestions? Seriously? She doesn't do that to you?" And they all shake their heads no. I even had one ask, "Are you Kady's mother? Kady Hoover? Sweet little Kady Hoover? Why would you think she would do that? She's an angel!"

How on earth did I get two compliant children and one mule?

It's me. I've figured that much out. She doesn't test anyone but me. She'll occasionally test her father, but it's rare - probably because he has a much shorter temper than I do. She never tests her Grammy and Pops. Her Yaya is wayyyyyyyy too stubborn for her to even attempt to lock horns (remember the cracker story above) with her. She doesn't test her teacher or her principal or her basketball coach.

But me? I get it daily.

And would you like to know the corker of it all? The real icing on the ol' cake? The rub, as Shakespeare would say?

SHE DOESN'T GET HER WAY. I always win! I never let her! Yet, still she tests me and challenges me and tries me. Oh, she always ends up doing what she's told to do, she just likes to take the scenic route to get there.

The other morning she simply stated, very matter-of-factly when I woke her up, "Oh, I'm not going to school today," like she was informing me prefers Froot Loops over Frosted Flakes. I said, "Uhh....yeah, no. You're going. Get up." What ensued was her stomping around for 20 minutes while I told her to get dressed. Then came the tears. Then me speaking through clenched teeth at her continued belief she wasn't going to school. But she went to school, by golly. It doesn't matter if it's clothing, shoes, school, food, breathing - I win. Does she keep doing this on the bizarre off chance that one of these days she will? And God help us all if I ever give in. Her worldwide takeover will be soon after.

Mom has said since she was a baby that the child will end up being a politician. Or a lawyer. I'm leaning toward prison warden, drill sergeant or lunch lady - those people dole it out and don't care what you think. Much like my third child.

I will not give in, even if it means both of us end up in tears. I do not let her win, but man, she makes me work for that victory. There's a lot of yelling and speaking through clenched teeth done by yours truly. I'm not proud, but I'm also not letting her win.

She doesn't test her teachers because she is a complete and total pleaser. She wants to impress them infinitely. They are the givers of praise and adoration and grades.

She doesn't test her Gram and Pops because they are her grandparents and therefore are magical. The givers of ice cream and limitless computer time.

She doesn't test her daddy because he has a fuse about *this* long. (Imagine my fingers about 1/8" apart. Then divide that by two.) He is the giver of spankings. And that look.

But me? Well, I guess I am the giver of chances.


I think they refer to this as "spoiled".

But how did my other two not get spoiled in the process? I don't love any of them more or less than the others! Is it because they are just easier to discipline and, for lack of a better word, control? If she wants to please her teachers so badly, why does she not want to please me as well?

I try so very hard to accentuate the positive. The other day I told her one time to do something AND SHE DID IT, even saying "Yes ma'am" as she put down what she was doing to go do it. I thanked her for doing it so quickly and told her how happy it made me. The praise did not affect her in the least. She didn't light up like her sister and brother do when they get praised. It's like she doesn't want my approval and praise.

I love her with all that is in me. She makes me laugh like no one else can and can curl up in your lap and love on you like no one else can. She's smart, funny, beautiful and was the child we didn't know we needed until we had her. I never dreamed I would be fighting these battles with her.

I know for a fact I was not like this as a child. My mother has even marveled at how unlike me she is in this respect. Now, the crying, oh yeah, she's my mini-me on that, but I was not a stubborn child. Heck, I'm not even all that stubborn of an adult. You know me and my whole "I hate confrontation, it gives me diarrhea" thing I have goin' on - confrontation and conflict just don't thrill me.

So, now that I am standing emotionally naked and vulnerable as a mother, I'm asking you, Constant Reader, do you have a stubborn child? What do you do? Have you found the trick to peace and harmony with your own mule-child?

And by the way, does anyone know where one can get a few alligators? Cheap?

I'm asking for a friend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Ghosts of Sleepovers Past

Since today is my 38th birthday I thought it would be fitting to post some pictures of sleepovers through the years. Starting when I turned 11 I had one every year, although I may not have had one my Senior year, considering I found no photographic evidence of one. Regardless, here are a few year's worth of birthday slumber party goodness.


This was my 11th birthday. In case you hadn't figured it out, I was wearing a flannel nightgown.

A. Flannel. Night. Gown. That was buttoned all the way up to my chin. And I had a mullet.

Good grief.

Also note the taper candle shoved into my cake. This totally looks like something I would do now that I am a mom. I guarantee you Mom had spent so much time cleaning house and running the PTO and being a Girl Scout leader she totally forgot to buy birthday candles. We also ate off Smurf plates left over from my sister's party the previous summer.

My mom was and still is the coolest.

This is DeLisa. She was 10 1/2. Yes, she is wearing a baby bonnet and has a bottle in her mouth. Apparently, we all were given the "special" birthday cake and got some wacky idea to drink soda pop "suicides" out of baby bottles, wear bonnets and carry around blankets and dolls. To this day I have no idea what prompted it, but it became a hard and fast tradition until we were probably Sophomores. I guess we abandoned it when we had all finally been kissed by boys. Thank God.

This is Stacie and Necia at my 12th birthday party in 1985. Drinking out of baby bottles again. I'm also pretty sure that's the year we decided we needed more bottles and begged my Mom to take us to Walmart so we could buy more. This was also the fated trip that is still brought up by my mother when she decides to lay on the maternal guilt -- I asked her to sit in the car while we went in. I have tried to explain to her that it wasn't an embarrassment issue, it was simply that we were twelve years old and apparently thought going into Walmart alone was some huge rite of passage.

(Hey Mom. I'm still sorry.)

Ahh...1986. As you can see 1986 was obviously The Year of the Mullet, seeing as how three out of four of us in this picture had them. Chloe's (the blonde closest to the camera) was by far the most rockin' of all. However, I had some amazing "feathers" in mine. Perfect, feathery layers. Feathers that went down nearly to my chin on the sides. And when the wind blew they would blow up in layers that stood straight up. It was kickin'.

 (l to r: me, Stace, DeLisa, Chloe)

There's nothing like sitting around the kitchen bar doing bottle shots with your homies.
And note the 10lb bag of sugar in the middle of the bar. Apparently we were going to snort some later.

 This was 1986, but this was not my birthday sleepover. Since we were 8th graders we handed out programs and were errand monkeys for the 9th grade graduation. Afterward everyone came back to the house to .... drink out of baby bottles yet again.

I am wearing a negligee.

Good grief.

This is DeLisa and me at a sleepover at Stace's. This was an epic sleepover because her parents had a travel trailer that we hung out in until the lack of air conditioning ran us to the house. Then, because Stace's mom is a hair stylist, she had wigs and all sorts of fabulous makeup. And mega cool hats and furs. Soooo....De and I dressed up as hookers.


 Who knows why we posed for this picture my keyboard? Who really knows. DeLisa's angsty rocker look and clenched fist, though, is utterly priceless. This wasn't my birthday, but apparently a spontaneous rock band practice. Or something.

This wasn't my birthday party in 1989, but one for the foreign exchange student (far left) we were hosting that year. Notice the lack of baby bottles. Duh. There were upper classmen there. Gah.

This is 1990, my 17th birthday. My mom entered a contest in order to win a "Maalox Moment" t-shirt for me. I used to say "I'm having a Maalox moment!" all the time, so again, coolness points for my mom.

 We just happened to be in the cake decorating chapter in Home Ec, so that year I made my own birthday cake. Note the wideness of my hair: it is almost as wide as my shoulders. Thank Heaven for Aqua Net.

This is the party we broke out the video camera and did an episode of "Wilma's World", our version of Wayne's World. Stace (far left) was a "slutty cheerleader" and her answers to Wilma's questions were HILARIOUS. I was sitting next to her with the hat on my head. I was Mrs. Tukwilla, a hairpiece sculptor. My character was taken off of SNL and a skit where John Malkovich was on a talk show as Len Tukwilla, driftwood sculptor. Sitting next to me was our foreign exchange student who was Miss America. She wore a bathrobe and the Belgium and US flag stuck in her headband. On the far right was Cyndi who played Wilma. She strummed the guitar and interviewed us all, randomly shouting "EXTREME CLOSEUP" and other random phrases through the show.

Later that night Stacie taught us a cheerleading routine then we all stuffed blankets and pillows in our shirts and acted out a workout video. She was the peppy instructor cheering us on to victory, but as soon as she turned her back to us fat girls doing the workout, we grabbed cake and chips and stuffed our faces while she danced and sweated.

Best. Sleepover. Ever.

I'm not celebrating this year's birthday with a sleepover, but instead Paul and I are going to see The Green Hornet and hopefully True Grit. Sans kids. Hopefully there will also be a steak dinner involved.

Happy birthday to me. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's shockin', y'all. Literally.

The day after Abby got bit by The Spider from Hades, as we so affectionately call it, I got sick with a sinus-y, cold type affliction that made me run a fever, which made my skin hurt, which made me whiny, which made my husband banish me to the bedroom. I was in bed by 8:00 that night, shivering under about six blankets, wearing sweats and a sweatshirt. I'd have worn a sock hat, too, had I remembered it before I got in bed, but as it was I wasn't getting out from under those covers unless I had to pee and I was going to have to be at emergency level then.

Abby was still feverish from the bite, had a horrific headache and her joints hurt. Even though I was at Death's door (ha.) I had her sleep with me that night so I could keep an eye on her. She was watching TV while I laid under my mountain of blankets, occasionally whining or moaning just so the world would know I was still alive, when my phone rang. It was my momma. I answered with a pitiful, "*sniff sniff cough* hello?" and was greeted immediately by both parents going, "Awwwwwwwwwwww! Poor baby!" I guess the text I had sent about an hour prior to their call worked in letting them know I needed sympathy.

After I was properly babied Mom then proceded to tell me about a thing she read online where this doctor was tasering spider bites and having amazing results with it. I'll be honest, my initial reaction was that there was no way in hecky darn I was going to have my daughter tasered. I mean, we try to reserve that for bad grades and overages on cell phone minutes. I thanked Mom for the research but in my mind I dismissed it due to the extremeism of the whole ideal. When Abby asked what she wanted I non-chalantly said, "Oh, Gram heard about a doctor who tasers bite victims and thought it might work for you." Her eyes got big as dinner plates and she sat straight up in my bed and said, "You grownups are smoking dope if you think I'm gonna let you TASER ME!" I laughed and assured her there would be no tasering. As long as she kept her grades up.

Fast forward one week to when my daughter then had TWO! BLACK! SPOTS! on her leg at the site of the bite, the red area around it was increasing and it just generally looked bad. I Facebooked that it wasn't healing and sent the same message to Twitter. Within a few minutes a gal from OKC tweeted back and asked for my email address because she wanted to share something with me about a guaranteed (!) remedy. I happily sent it on because I was at the point where I was going to believe in unicorns and husbands who don't leave their short little shaved whiskers all over the bathroom counter providing someone used the word "guaranteed" when they mentioned them to me. She emailed me about the doctor in the practice she works in who is shocking spider bites and having 100% positive reactions to the therapy. Most within 24 hours from what I gathered.

When Paul got home that night I had already prepared a speech for him about why we needed to pull her out of school and make a trip to the City to let a doctor essentially taser our daughter for the sake of healing up the cavernous rotting hole in her leg. He listened and kind of grinned. I only hoped the grinning meant he was on board for a trip to the City for tasering and a visit with my sister and her husband. But no, instead he just spit in his spit cup and said, "You know we've got a shocker thing here at home, right?"

And it hit me - his mom was on a herbal/homeopathic/alternative medicine kick a few years back and after I made him quit chelation therapy because it made him smell like creamed corn, she bought him the shocker thing for here at home. It's supposed to balance the body, remove heavy metals, kill germs, bacteria, viruses, worms, parasites, bring Mars out of retrograde, allow Roscoe P. Coltrane to finally catch those Duke boys for good and rid the world of jeggings once and for all (and I'm pretty sure the informational flyer also said cure cancer, but I wasn't quite believing that claim) (the jeggings we can only hope) all from the comfort and privacy of your own home. But all I could think was THIS THING IS CAPABLE OF SHOCKING! HERE AT HOME! SHOCKING! IN OUR LIVING ROOM! and while I miss my sister desperately, I just kept thinking it was going to save us a lot of money on gas, food and an out-of-pocket doctor visit if it actually worked.

And then we had to get Abby on board the whole shocking issue.

Fortunately, she is 14 and all I had to do was explain that a little minor discomfort while being shocked was better than PERMANENT! DISFIGURATION! via the rotting holes in her leg.

She hitched up her pant leg, flopped down across the chair and said, "Let's get this over with. I want to wear shorts again someday."

From what I've read, if you get shocked or tasered in a medical office it's one big whopper of a shock and it's done and within 24 hours you see dramatic results. Since the shocker we have here at home isn't quite that powerful, we've been administering the electricity to the area around the bite for 10-15 minutes at a time and we've been doing it since Friday. The redness is going away and the skin has a generally just better appearance all around. I don't think it's coincidence, considering these bites take so long to heal - it's not like we just happened to start shocking when the bite was already healing. I honestly think there is really something to it.

And on the positive side, Abby can make a grilled cheese sandwich in her bare hands now.


I know y'all are probably a bit disappointed that here I've taken all these months away from the blog only to come back now and every stinkin' one is about this spider bite, but just hang with me. I have the worst case of writer's block right now (and have for awhile) and I'm slowly breaking through. Right now I'm baby-stepping back into it and unfortunately, you get to read about The Great Spider Adventure of 2011.

Hang in there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's spider-rific! NOT

Abby's leg is still trying to rot off. I am so sick of dealing with this stupid spider bite I could scream. I hate spiders, have since I was a teenager and this just fuels my loathing of them even more. Over the past week and a half I've heard just about every comment under the sun:

"It's probably not even a spider bite. Most 'bites' are actually MRSA."  I agree, most "bites" probably are, but dude, we had the spider. I carried it in a Dixie cup in a ziploc bag IN MY PURSE to the doctor's office. It's definitely a brown recluse spider bite.

"Well, when my uncle's brother's cousin's friend who works at the CoOp with a gal he graduated from trade school with got bit the doctor put him on high-powered antibiotics and steroids IMMEDIATELY! Tell your doctor that's what you want." Telling her doctor that's what we want and him actually doing it are two different things, friends and neighbors.

"You need better insurance." Yeah, well, you pay the premium, bucko, and I'll be happy to sign the kids right up. As it is, they pretty much treat us the same as someone coming in with no insurance. We get the bare-bones treatment. Talk about making you feel super special and making you feel like they don't value your child's health one bit. It is a warm, fuzzy feeling, lemme tell ya.

"Try [remedy X]. When I got bit I [soaked my foot in gasoline] [peed on a gerbil] [walked around my house 12 times while playing the kazoo] [sucked the venom out like they show 'em doing to snake bites on old episodes of Gunsmoke] [dug it out with a spoon]." *sigh* Sorry, I'm probably not going to soak my daughter's leg in gasoline no matter how it worked out for you. And we are definitely not bringing a gerbil into this house. It would probably bite someone.

"Pray." Oh, we are doing this. Fervently. I don't think it would be doing as well as it is if we weren't. But God also gave us doctors. And herbs.

And believe me, there are more. I appreciate everyone's honest, good intentions, but you can only hear "When my brother got bit..." so many times before you start to chuckle.

That all being said, we are taking her to some random, total, complete stranger tomorrow afternoon - a random, total, complete stranger who apparently makes a wicked herbal poultice that will heal the bite up in two weeks, she says. How did we hear about this random, total, complete stranger? A lady at church was at the beauty shop and someone there had a family member who this woman helped. Folks, I couldn't make this up if I tried. I believe in herbal remedies, I really do. Otherwise I wouldn't be taking my daughter to a random, total, complete stranger.

If I don't see intensely real, true results from the herbal treatment by about mid-week next week I am making an appointment with a doctor in Oklahoma City who is having amazing, guaranteed results with "zapping" spider bites, mainly brown recluse and black widow bites. He uses a low voltage charge, similar to what a chiropractor uses to stimulate muscle contractions and shocks the bite. It changes the molecular makeup of the venom and the zap stops it from poisoning the tissues. From what I read, healing - visible healing - begins within 24 hours. So why am I waiting on this one? The one that seems the quickest and most sure? Well, mainly because Abby has already missed two days of school this semester, she gets behind very easily (especially in math) and I just would like to not have to drive to the City in the middle of the week, although the thought of seeing my sister does make my heart go pitter patter. I miss her something awful. 

I never dreamed a stinkin' spider bite would get this involved and cause this much turmoil in my brain!!

In a positive development, she isn't checking her bed quite so obsessively anymore. It was at least a heartbreaking 15 minute ordeal involving her pulling back every blanket and me shining a flashlight on every square inch of blanket and sheet, her throwing each and every pillow onto the floor where she would then proceed to stomp the living daylights out of each one, then finally, before actually getting into the bed, she would bounce on it repeatedly to scare any little buggers out, then one more pass with the flashlight and she would finally get in bed. Now we're just down to shining a light down at the foot of the bed, fluffing the pillows and bouncing once or twice.

She's just dadgum disappointed that she can't shoot a web out of her wrist. Peter Parker totally got the best deal around.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Aaaaaand....we're back

Christmas was hectic and fabulous. We managed to get where we needed to go, see who we needed to see and do all the hullaballoo involved.

New Year's Eve Paul and I ran away to Branson for our 18th anniversary. We certainly did not party like it was 1999 or even 2009. As soon as we hit the motel room we were sprawled out on that big ol' King-sized bed watching a show on NatGeo about the fascinating sting ray trade in Singapore. We were asleep by 11:15 and 2011 slipped right past us without so much as disturbing our exhausted snoring.

The next day we spent the day shopping at the craft stores in Branson, acting like two goofy love birds and enjoyed being together. We came through Joplin, MO, on the way back toward home and were going to see True Grit, but the line at the box office was out to the edge of the sidewalk and Mr. Grumpy Anniversary Pants didn't want to stand outside in the cold to wait our turn. I was kind of pouty and asked him to just drive me through Starbucks so I could spend a ridiculous amount of money on a coffee, something I just don't do very often. I told him to order me a "Grande Caramel Brulee' Latte". He gave me a sideways look and said, "Ooooookay." He rolled the window down and when the chipper voice on the speaker asked what he'd like he said, "Uh, yeah....Gimme a grand-ay goo-lay car-mel hoo-lay lot-tay....or something like that....I think." I busted out laughing and said, "No! A grande caramel brulee' latte!" He again started speaking a hillbilly form of Pig Latin into the speaker again and this time my laughing was so loud the chipper gal taking our order started laughing, too. She finally said through her chuckles, "Sooooo....a caramel latte'?" I said, "Close enough!"

About five miles down the road I offered Paul a drink. Without taking his eyes off the road he said, "Nope. I cain't drink somethin' I cain't even pronounce."

And that is just one of the many reasons why I am so thrilled to have been married to him for the past 18 years.


The kids got up last Tuesday morning to go back to school after two weeks off.

And Ab got bit by a brown recluse spider while putting on her jeans.

At 6:15, mere minutes after the bite, I called the Nurse Advice Line through their insurance and she said to keep an eye on it and monitor her for breathing difficulty or severe allergic reactions. I then called my mother who freaked me out by saying, "TAKE HER TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY." So then I called the hospital and had them page her PA. I didn't feel so bad because chances are the dude was probably already up by 6:30am anyway, right? He gave me the same info the advice line nurse did which didn't settle well with me. She was feeling fine and only complaining of the bite itching like a mosquito bite. I drove to the school during her lunch hour and checked it and frankly, could hardly see the bite at all, however by 3:45 when she walked in the door off the bus she was chilling, her joints ached and was complaining of severe abdominal pain. I loaded her up and hauled her - and the dead spider in a Dixie cup - to ExpressCare where the PA looked at the bite and very unsympathetically dismissed us and refused to give her antibiotics, steroids or a pat on the back, much less some compassion. I took my crying teenager home, fuming all the way.

She missed school Wednesday, fighting a fever and joint aches the entire day. I got her an appointment with her PA when the bite started looking like a bruise, something the ExpressCare PA said would happen if the bite was going to necrose. I don't like the word necrose, much less the actual act of necrosity....uhm necroseness.....necrosing.....oh, you know what I mean. He looked at the bite and said as far as bites go it looked really good and he felt pretty certain it would not necrose. I asked about a thousand questions, most of them worst-case-scenario and he tried his best to lay them to rest. He assured me repeatedly that antibiotics and steroids are not standard protocol for recluse bites these days and time was what it needed.

And now today, five days after the bite happened, there is a divot the diameter of a pencil lead in the center of the bite and it appears it is indeed going to necrose. She is still easily tired out, still achey and has a nearly continual headache. Her body has reacted so violently to this bite I am very frustrated with the medical community. I'd like to bring both PAs into her room every night and spend the 15 minutes it now takes for her to get ready for bed, let them hold the flashlight while she obsessively checks the bed sheets and pillows for spiders, let them sleep with her because she's so achey she's crying (and Ab is not a cry-er), let them reassure her that yes, she will be able to wear shorts again and no, she will not be a freak of nature with a hole in her leg. Yeah, that's what I'd like to do.


Yesterday was Kady's first two basketball games of this season. On the way to the gym I gave her my usual pre-game pep talk. I reminded her to dribble low and close, elbows out, head up, be aggressive and tough. She rolled her eyes at me, but listened politely. Then Paul said, "Alright, are you done with your pep talk?" I nodded that I was. He said, "Good. Daddy's turn. Bug, go out there and kick some butt." I broke back in with, "Oh yeah, and K? Most importantly? Play like a Christian. Okay?" Kady grinned from the back seat and said, "Uhm....I'd rather play like Daddy said."

Game one was ugly. The team she is one is comprised of two 3rd graders (she being one of them) and the rest are 2nd graders. It's a very inexperienced team full of teeny tiny little girls who are just learning the game and frankly, having a blast out there. Their coach is a patient woman trying to teach the girls fundamentals and sportsmanship and discipline. Unfortunately, the two teams they played yesterday have fiercely competitive coaches and the girls are downright mean. Our girls were elbowed, scratched, tripped and generally annihilated. Kady got so upset after one girl shoved her friend in the chest then tripped her she was crying hard enough to go into an asthma attack. The assistant coach ushered her off the court and as she disappeared through the doorway I noticed she had her arms over her head. It hit me she can't breathe! I grabbed her inhaler and ran out the gym doors where she was trying desperately to breathe the cold air. After three hits off the inhaler she finally got her air again and went back in. We never managed to score that game.
Game two was uglier. And the fans were uglier than ugly. When Kady made a basket we all cheered. The other team's fans behind us started making fun of us. I asked Mom if it was Christian-like to punch someone and enjoy it. She just patted my leg and said, "Probably not, dear." We managed that one goal the entire game and the other team never got nicer.

I do not understand why you'd want your children to play that way. Granted, at one point I marched over to the bench where my nine-year-old was sitting and said, "Honey, now it's time to get mean. You have to play ugly. Now." I'm not necessarily proud, but since most of the team was crying at that point I felt it had to be done. I don't want these girls to think this is how good sportsmanship goes. I am appalled that parents and coaches think it is acceptable to make fun of seven-, eight- and nine-year-olds on the basketball court AND their parents who are congratulating their children for the small victory of a basket.

I just don't get it.

And I haven't ruled out the punching either. I guess I need to talk to the pastor. And Jesus.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...