Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Glo's and Greg's Visit

Ben's mom, Gloria, and stepdad, Greg, came down to visite-nous after Christmas.  We exchanged belated gifts, which was fun.

We had gotten Glo some pearls at the pearl market in Beijing:
Glo gave Gage some Cars Squinkies:
They gave us some silver coins:
 And me a very cozy and cute shirt:
 Sadie got these thingeys where you make your own bracelet:
 And they gave Dylie a lego set, which he immediately put together (it took him about five seconds):
 Micah and Sadie so seldom play well together that I'm sure Ben wanted to document it:
 And we got Greg a book he'd been wanting:
We love when they come to visite-nous.  In fact, we are going to visite-ils in one month!  Road trip to Chelan!  Ben is going to rendezvous there with us, flying from Beijing to Seattle and then renting a car to drive there.  His sweet, fun aunt, Myrna, and I are going to tackle the 12-hour drive up to Chelan by ourselves.  Yikes. Bikes.  But Chelan in the summer is heaven.  There's a gorgeous lake, surrounded by rolling hills of apple orchards - it's gorgeous.  And really fun.  And the best part of all will be seeing the in-laws and the Benner.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Battle Cry

Kay.  As you've probably noticed, Micah has a bit of an issue.  A wear-his-brother's-jammie-top-on-his-head-and-pretend-it's-hair issue.  Concerning this issue, as Madonna would say, "I got something to say about it.  And it goes something like this..."

From what I can tell, his Green Wig Issue has two parts to it:  1)  It makes him into a girl.  He wants to be a girl.  He thinks girls are amazing.  He likes girl toys.  Girl movies.  Girl clothes.  2)  It's a security thing.  I notice that, when he's feeling deeply embarrassed, he pulls his "hair" down farther over his eyes.  He almost hides behind it.

Obviously, everyone has an opinion about Micah's Issue.  My visiting teacher, who is also Primary President, shrugs and says, "He'll get over it."  And she loves him and hugs him and talks to him just like he's any other kid.

I love her for that.

Some men I know think his phase is sick and wrong and that I need to take away his "hair" and shouldn't allow him to watch girl movies or play with Sadie's toys.  If I force his hair away, it will "cure" him of his Almost Certain Future as a Homosexual, right??

I hate them for that.

I applied a few months ago for Micah to go to Headstart. Part of their form asks if there are some issues our child is dealing with - kind of so that, if Micah had gotten into the preschool, they would know how to help him or whatever.  So on the form, I said that he wants to be a girl and is into girly things, and that he wears this long shirt and pretends that it's his hair. Just wanted to give them a heads-up.  I didn't say anything besides that, like, "I'm so worried that this will ruin his life...." or anything like that.  I just basically said, "Here is what he's doing, just so you know."

Well, I got a phone call from Headstart a couple of weeks later.  This gal on the other end of the line said that he would need to go on a waiting list, blah blah blah.  Which I knew would happen.  And THEN she went on to lecture me about Micah.  It's not what you are probably guessing - she didn't pass judgment on me for being too lenient of a parent, not tough enough, blah blah blah (what I've heard from the majority of people).  Oh  no.  She informed me that Micah is probably a homosexual, and that I need to not judge him.  That I need to be there to support him through his Almost Certain Future as a Homosexual.

I hate her for that.

Here's what I have to say about all of this -

I don't think that a three-year-old who likes girly things is necessarily going to turn into a homosexual.  He may; he may not.  I've had lots of people say stuff like, "My brother is gay, and he loved sports and guy things his whole life."  I've had lots of people say stuff like, "My brother is straight, but he loved girly stuff when he was little, just like Micah."

What he's going through right now isn't indicative of the rest of his life.  He's THREE YEARS OLD.

My husband likes beautiful things.  He loves picking out clothes for me.  He likes decorating the house.  He has a very strong sense of aesthetics.  Is he gay?  No.  He's not.

There are artists, danseurs (male ballerinas), writers, and interior designers who are gay.  There are also artists, danseurs, writers, and interior designers who are straight.

My job as a mom is to love Micah, no matter how things turn out.  I love him.  I'll always love him.  I'll always support him.  If he turns out to be gay, I'm not going to deny that it will be hard.  It's a hard road.   But I'm not going to push him away.  He is MINE.  I love him fiercely and deeply.

But, like I said, he may not turn out to be gay at all.  However he turns out, I am here for him.  Forever.  I love him.  Forever.

The insecurity issue - there are kids Micah's age who bring blankies to church or preschool.  And it's "cute."  Mikey's "blankie" happens to be a green shirt on his head.  But nobody thinks it's "cute."  They think that he's weird.  That I'm weird.  That I'm a bad mother.  That I'm not strict enough.  That, if I take away his hair, it will "cure" him of his insecurity.

I've got a question for you - is there a certain way you like to get settled down to sleep?  I, myself, like to lie on my side and cover up my outer ear.  It just feels secure and right to me.

Or do you know teenagers who wear the same hoodie every single day?  Even if it's a little hot outside?

What kinds of clothes do you like to wear?  I wear clothes that aren't clingey.  I don't like how clingey clothes feel and look.  I feel more secure when I'm wearing something that doesn't show all of my fat rolls.  

We all do things to make us feel more secure.

(He fell asleep in the runner's stretch on the couch.  I thought it was funny.)

Here's the thing - is his wearing of a shirt on his head hurting anyone??  Endangering anyone?  No.  If he wore, like, a bra on his head, that might be different.  Or, like, a hat that looks like a bare butt.  That would be a little disturbing.  But it's a green shirt, for Pete's sake.  For some reason, it brings him peace.  I'm not interested in taking his peace away.

I've prayed. I've read.  I've consulted doctors.  And I've decided to let him wear his "hair."  And I have a right to have made that decision.  Because he is MY SON.  I prayed to have him.  I wanted him desperately.  I vomited for nine months and endured agonizing pain and illness as he grew in my tummy.  I lost nine pounds and gained zero pounds as I worked to bring him here.

I held him and snuggled him and loved him.  I wrung my hands when he was failing to thrive.

I went through three years of two kinds of therapy to help him with the issues that stemmed from his low muscle tone in his facial muscles.  I potty-trained him.  I snuggle him.  I talk to him.  I read to him.  He and I garden together.  He knows the names of all of the flowers in my garden. 

He's sensitive.  He's talkative.  He has a great imagination.  He makes up songs and runs around and sings them.  He runs everywhere - he never walks.  He thinks dandelions are more precious than gold. 
 He could eat goldfish crackers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I would let him.  And pop tarts. He la-hoves strawberries.  He calls them Daw-Bays.

There is so much more to him than his hair thing.

And I'm a better mom than certain people think.  There are battles I do fight with him - things like, "Don't throw things at peoples' heads."  "Don't scream in peoples' faces."  "Don't hit people."  I fight these fights to the death.  I don't just roll over and do nothing if his behavior is causing damage.  I choose not to fight this green hair battle.  And people can judge me if they want.  But they're not in my shoes.  I am accountable to myself and I'm accountable to God.  God knows my heart and knows that I'm doing the very best I can.  I talk to Him nightly about each of my children.  And I listen to His promptings on how to help them.  I do receive personal revelation for my children.  I'm capable of making decisions about my own kids.  My mother's instinct tells me not to make this into an issue.  To love him and let it go.

So, hate on, haters.

This is my battle cry.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Christmas Morning, or, Toys My Kids Haven't Touched in Four Months.

I'm actually glad Micah doesn't play with this - it's REALLY loud:
Sadie doodled on her Doodle Bear for about five minutes, and that was ittttttttt:
Good thing I went to every store in the city looking for it.  Finally, in desperation, I bought one online for $10 more than I would have bought it at a store here.  Good thing.

Dylan's Mind Flex.  Only played with it that day, I believe. Now it sits in his closet.

One of the things Santa got me - an adorable flower ring:
And Santa got this painting specially matted and framed.  Did I ever tell you about this painting?  I feel like maybe I did.  It's a finger painting that Ben bought at the Silk Market in Beijing.  The entire thing is done with the artist's fingers:
A Club Penguin membership, which Dylan has since moved on from:

He is now into Free Realms.  Good thing we got him that membership. Good thing.

I looooove this picture, with Micah's little green mouth, undoubtedly from eating some stocking candy.  ("Undoubtedly" is one of Dylan's spelling words this week, F.Y.I.  It feels like he just learned to read yesterday.  And now he's spelling "undoubtedly"!?!?):
 Ohhhhhh, I am so covetous of these hoodies that Sadie got from her Grandma Brenda:

Every time she puts one on, I look longingly at it.  They are sooo fuzzy.  And soooo cute.  And so warm.  I've gots to find me an adult version of one of those.  Or several.

Ben got me some cute clothes.  He's got such good taste.  This sweater is so dang cute, but my arms are too fat for it:
I still wear it.  I just...kind of stuff my arms into the sleeves.  They look like stuffed sausages.  It's weird - usually, my arms aren't my problem area. 

My folks got Ben some golf balls:
Maybe someday he'll be here during a summer to use 'em. :)

Love this picture:
That is so me - the multitasker.

Have I ever told you how much I love this little man?
I love how he smells.  Just his natural smell.  Today, while Sadie read to me for her homework, I just sat and snuggled him and smelled his hair.  Stop growing, Gage.  Stay right at this age and size, mmmkay?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quoth Micah:

My mom and I were in the car the other day with Micah and Gagey.  Mike was pissed about something (He's ALWAYS pissed about something), and he yelled, "You two are killing me today."

You can tell he hears that a lot at home. :) 

And sorry about all of these - I just like to write the things my kids say, while I still remember them.  If I wait a day or a week or a month, they'll be gone with the wind.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sweet Similes

The other day, the kids and I were in the car, and I made some self-deprecating remark about my weight.  (I'm self-deprecating.  It's my shtick.)

Dylan said, "Nonono, Mom.  You are not chubby.  You are as skinny as...a breadstick."

Sadie had to one-up him, so she said, "No, you're like a carrot."

Dylan didn't agree.  "Carrots are fatter at the top, Sadie.  So she's not like a carrot."

"No they're not.  They're skinny all the way from the bottom to the top."

"No they're not!  They get a little bit bigger on the top!"

And on and on.  I thanked them for the compliments but asked them not to ruin the compliments by getting into a fight about them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Little Brony

I first heard about Bronies from my friend, Megs's, hubby, Mark.  Bronies, according to are:

13-30 year old male fans of the 2010 reboot of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but may also include females (see fillies).

Brony = Bro + Pony

Mark swore up and down that there were millions of adult, male fans of My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic, or as those in the know call it,  MLP:FiM.  :)  I was skeptical until I was in the mall one day and passed Hot Topic.  There, in the window, was a man's t-shirt with one of the ponies on the front, and it said above the pony, "Brony."

I hadn't ever seen the show - the kids wanted to, but we couldn't ever catch it at the right time.  But then we got Netflix, and it streams directly to our Apple TV thingey that Ben's dad got for us, so we have Seasons 1 and 2 at our fingertips.  And they are now constantly playing in our house.

I don't usually have time to watch TV, but I'll be walking in and out of the living room while it's on, or sometimes I'll fold clothes and watch along with the kids, and I'm telling you, this show is hilarious!  Really funny writing. 

And our manly Dylan, the dude who hates singing with the primary kids on Mother's Day, the kid who is so "cool" that he sports a ridiculous-looking mohawk, is wayyyyyyyy into this show.  I haven't seen such addiction to a show since we watched all of the Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes.  If he needs to use the bathroom or get a snack, he makes Sadie promise to pause the show until he comes back.  When it's bedtime and I'm rounding them all up to go to bed, Dylan begs begs begs to watch "just one more episode..."

I might have to get him a Brony shirt for his birthday. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The other morning, Sadie and Dylan were in the bathroom, brushing their teeth.  I'm not sure what Dylan was doing - probably something obnoxious, because that's how he is in the morning, before his ADHD pills have kicked in - but Sadie said, at one point, "Dylan, that is not necessary."

Can I tell you how much I loved that she used that phrase?  Hahaha!
The other day, Sades informed me that Gage smelled "ugly."  Her way of saying that he has a stinky diaper.  I thought it was funny that she used a sight word for a smell.  I usually have a bloodhound nose and take care of stinky diapers immediately, but I had a bad head cold last week and couldn't smell a dadblamed thing.
Sadie was drinking something, and she started coughing.  I used that one idiom that everyone says - "Did something go down the wrong tube?"

"Yeah," she said.  I think my drink maybe went down the wrong tube into my arm or my leg."  (She was dead serious.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mooning Over Meryl and Margaret

My mom and Megs came over last night, and we watched The Iron Lady, which was fantastic.

I haven't seen a lot of Meryl Streep's movies, but the ones I've seen, I've really liked.  I think she's a fantastic actress.  I heard an interview of her on NPR a few months back, and I decided that I am an official fan.  She's so wise and so strong.  It was one of those NPR interviews where I sat in my driveway long after I had returned home from running errands, because I didn't want to miss even a snippet.

At the conclusion of the interview, this is what Meryl said:

"Sometimes when scrolling through the TV and there's something on, I look at it, and I think oh, my gosh. I thought I was fat? What is my problem?  You know, when I was younger I spent way too much time thinking about that. So stupid."

And that cemented my love for her.  Right there.

If you want to read the transcript of her interview, go here.

And as far as Margaret Thatcher, whom Meryl played in The Iron Lady - what a woman!!!   I am not very political or at all acquainted with her stance on politics - I got the gist from the movie that she is a conservative, so whatever, but what impressed me was, obviously, that she was Prime Minister - a woman!  In the eighties!  The most powerful person in England in the eighties was a woman!!  Just amazing.  And that she was able to stand up to all of those men by whom she was constantly surrounded.  She was tough.  Tough as nails.  And I think that's so great.

I was watching Meryl play her in Parliament, men yelling at her, she yelling right back and defending herself, and I thought, "Wow.  If that had been me, I would have broken down in tears and cried, 'You're hurting my feelings!!!'"  She was thick-skinned, that woman.  And I admire that.  I'm thicker-skinned than I used to be, but it's going to be a lifelong process, I fear.  I'm a sensitive flower. :)  I could never be a politician.

I also came to the conclusion, after watching this movie, or rather, the re-affirmation of my stance, that getting old sucks.  For reals, yo.  She was so sharp-minded.  So intellectual.  And now she suffers from severe dementia.  That really bites the big one, I think.  Every time I see stuff in movies or on TV about the elderly and dementia or Alzheimers, I think, "Please don't let that be me.  Please let me keep my mental faculties until the second I die."

So I've decided that when I finish reading Cold Sassy Tree (which I am loving), I'm going to the bibliotheque to check out a book about Maggie Thatcher.   I am a non-fiction junkie, after all.   I was watching this movie going, "That happened??  That happened???  Where are the Falklands???"  Hahaha!  Granted, I was very young when she was prime minister, but still.  I need to learn more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jake's Version of Blue Steel

 This is my nephew, Jake's, signature pose:

He cracks me up.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Conversation with Mikey

Mikey:  Mom, I need a Pwee Sun. [Capri Sun]

Me:  Can you say please?

Mikey:  Um, sure.

[Long pause.]

Me:  So...go ahead and say 'Please'...

Mikey:  Oh.  Pwease?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Car Dancing

Awwww.  Look at Dyl, back when he had cute, mowhawk-less hair.  I miss those days.  Sighhhh.  Seriously, he just keeps growing it and growing it and growing it, with no end in sight!

I wonder if he'll let it get as long as Glen Plake's hair was.  All the guys in high school thought he was so cool.  I thought he was an idiot.  I mean, he was a really good skier, but who spends good money on eggs and glue to get his hair to stick up like that every day?  Who takes that much time on their hair every day??

Not me. That's for sure.

Kay, so anyways, the following incident actually happened right after I took the above picture of Dyl.  I had just picked him up from Taekwondo, and it was just the two of us.  Taio Cruz's song, "Dynamite," came on the radio, and I squealed and turned it wayyyyyy up.  Seriously LOVE that song.  And then I proceeded to car dance, of course.  Singing at the top of my voice.  Doing the robot.  Raising the roof.  Doing Tai Bo punching moves.  Making my hands make waves in front of my face.  The usual.  Dylan shook his head and put it in his hands.


"Mom, you are soooooooo embarrassing.  Your dance moves are actually shaking the car.  What if someone sees you?"

"First of all, I would be willing to bet that 99% of people never look at people in other cars.  I never do. And second of all, if I saw someone singing and car dancing, I would love that!  I would say, 'Good for you, dude!'"

"I don't think they would love it if they saw you.  I think they would think you were dumb."

"Oh Dylie.  There are two things you must know about me.  Number one, I am a car dancer.  Number two, I seriously, seriously, seriously don't care what people think about me.  Those are two very basic and major tenets of my personality."

He just squinted, shook his head, and looked straight ahead.

And I turned the radio up a bit louder, shimmied for a few measures, and then rolled my head around and around (to the beat, of course) with my hair in my face.  (We were at a stoplight.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

14 Idiots

Tonight, we didn't have any food in the house, and I was exhausted, so after much begging on Dylan's part, I decided to do McDonalds for the kids for dinner (I had leftover mac and cheese.  I still CANNOT do McDonalds, since we had it every single day for the two months in China.  Again, it's China PTSD rearing its ugly head).  I took Sadie with me.  Gage and Mikey were napping, Dylan was holding down the fort, and my amazing, wonderful dad was trimming my trees.

So we order four happy meals at the drive-through window (No, I didn't get anything for my dad, because I knew Mom was making him homemade coconut shrimp at home right that very minute), and the guy says, "That will be fourteen eighty at the second window."  As I'm pulling forward to the second window, Sades looks over at me and incredulously says, "Fourteen idiots at the second window???"

I laughed and laughed, then said, "No, hon.  Fourteen EIGHTY.  Like, eighty cents."

She giggled and said, "Oh."

As it turns out, there were fourteen idiots at the second window, because we had asked for no pickles, and they still put on pickles, and we asked for three boy toys and one girl toy, and we got four girl toys.  Dylan was so pissed he almost couldn't bear to eat his Happy Meal. :)
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