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Thematic Thursdays: Miss Me With the 9/11 Nonsense

I glanced at the date the other night to help Hannibal understand when Ramadan ends, and I couldn’t help but notice that 9/11 will be here shortly. I can already hear the bitching and moaning of our narcissistic nation, and feel the energy shift as it alternates between the megalomania of a Bel Air teenager and the gloomy pity party of a thousand lost souls.

It has been ten years since the launch of Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq by way of scapegoating the tragedy of Sept. 11th for his posse’s outstanding gain, and there still hasn’t been a real investigation regarding what the feds knew and how said data would have saved many lives. Such information will only be reserved for conspiracy theorists and Pacifica radio listeners, because overtly digging to deeply would ruin the ‘woe is me’ festivities. Besides, only people who believe in aliens and the Illuminati would challenge the repeated tale of 19 misfits, controlled by a bearded man in a far away cave, hijacking planes with butter knives, right?

The mind-blowing array of questions regarding the planes, the fires, the extra explosions, the cell phone calls and, hell, the dazzling failure of the American air-defense system just makes you go “hmmmmm.” Why did some buildings, namely 7WTC, collapse without being hit by anything at all? Seems like controlled demolition, no?

Maybe my babbling isn’t enough for you. Perhaps you’re the type who needs to see the proof laid right in front of you like a building blown to smithereens. To quote Lavar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it.” For you, I bring in Exhibit A, “9/11 Loose Change,” a documentary that will lay it all out for you. You may also check out “a non-partisan association of faculty, students, and scholars, in fields as diverse as history, science, military affairs, psychology, and philosophy, dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11.”

You could always choose the blue pill, roll your eyes, and look the other way, because it seems in poor taste to believe that the sheer horror that was Sept. 11th trickles down through the FBI, the White House, The Project for the New American Century, and all of the twisted, mangled souls of the tea party …

… that is if numbness, emotional stasis and death are what you seek. At least try to learn. Knowledge is power. Remember that the red pill goes down hard, though. It’s deep and messy, but it’s necessary. We are in a permanent state of warfare. Swallow.

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Don’t You Have Another Kid?

“That’s unfair! Mooch has her own day on your blog, but we never hear about Fuss. What is she up to?”

Well since you asked, she has started home school as well! She’s learning sign language, shapes, colors and she’s groping lots of textures. She hasn’t started eating regular food yet. She is only five months old, so I’m still doing solely breast. Yep, you guessed it. The Tabus are still waking up once or twice at night to feed her, because breast milk is thinner than an Olsen twin.

She visited her grandpa a couple of weeks ago, she spits up regularly, and she has a ponytail now. I think that’s pretty much it. That’s all she’s covered in a month or two, and that’s why she can’t have her own day on my blog. I’d be struggling for crap to write. She’ll make occasional appearances on Thematic Thursdays until she gets a life. Well, you know what I mean.

Here are the pics!

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Tuesdays With Mooch: First Ballet

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Are You Ever Going to Write Again

A new blog post is coming to on May 1st. Yay!!! Until then, you can enjoy all of my old posts and feel free to poke around the site.  Thanks for stopping by! Peace!

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Thematic Thursdays: "Board Games Increase I.Q."

There’s nothing worse than learning something new and realizing you’re raising your kid all wrong. Fortunately, that’s not what happened when I visited Westside Neighborhood School in Playa Vista to listen to Ashley Merryman (author of best-seller Nurture Shock) speak. While I did learn a few things, the presentation helped me see what I was doing right. It was quite a thought-provoking speech on new approaches to child rearing. Merryman spoke about praise, resistance to parental authority, lying, sleep deprivation, board games and “racist babies.”

Even for those parents who read Newsweek and already know that kids should be praised for hard work and not intelligence, the discussion went into useful detail. Merryman spoke about being specific and honest when praising. For instance, don’t tell a four-year-old that their crappy art work is the best thing you’ve ever laid eyes on. Instead, let the child know how you appreciate her use of primary colors and broad strokes. It’s difficult for kids to repeat success if they don’t know what the hell made them successful the first time. If a child writes an essay and you say, “That’s awesome.” The child has a 50/50 chance of repeating the dumb luck. Merryman suggested more specific praise such as, “I really like the way you developed the character in this paragraph. Your use of alliteration here really works well.” This way the next time the child sits to write an essay, he’ll remember specifically what to apply to make it awesome.

In the same vein, rewards are a big no-no! Kids need to do things for the enjoyment of them. This was a major problem for me growing up. I totally had the parents who cheered when I came down the slide at the park at 7 years old. It’s a slide. It’s fun and it’s easy. If you sit at the top, you’ll slide down. No praise is necessary. My parents rewarded me with praise, doughnuts, stickers, money for just about everything. It’s the reason I’m a total comment whore on this blog now. I get pissed if there aren’t comments. I’m learning slowly to just blog for the enjoyment of it. Mooch, however, who never gets stickers outside of gymnastics and tap class, reads for the enjoyment of it. She’s easily flown through 16 books in the last four months, because she wanted to. I have nothing to do with it, and there’s no prize at the end of each book. She loves the stories.

I do have something to do with the fact that she gets 12 hours of sleep every single night — even on the weekends. When Merryman spoke about the effects of sleep deprivation, everyone in the audience cringed. It’s all about melatonin and cortisol — the two hormones associated with sleep (more science on that here). Not only does going to bed later increase risks of obesity and diabetes, because less sleep makes a person’s body think it’s starving, it also decreases I.Q. Merryman went on to state that every 15 minutes counts. None of that staying up late on Fridays for Mooch. Studies show that performance in school on Mondays is even effected by staying up 15 minutes later the Friday before. The texting, television, computing, and gaming that teens do before bed is also very bad for sleep business. Even if they lay down afterwards, they’re not likely to fall asleep for another hour or two — especially if the text was from an angry boyfriend or girlfriend. 😉

The board games section was the most interesting for me, because I had no idea the effect that our family game nights were having on Mooch’s I.Q. A woman named Carol Black did a study in Harlem with at-risk youth, where researchers spent an hour telling the kids that their “brain was a muscle” and the more they exercised it the smarter they would get. The kids began working extra hard in class and at home, and their test scores shot up. They also, as part of the research, participated in hour of playing board games like Perfection, Quirkle and Rush Hour. Their I.Q.s jumped up 20 points. That is usually an annual jump, but it happened for them in a month! From now on every time Mooch asks to play a game, I’m in — unless it’s Go Fish (I’m so sick of that game).

As a person of color, the race section didn’t shock me one bit. In fact, Merryman noted that 90% of people of color talk to their kids about race, both to explain cultural practices and to prepare them for the first instance of discrimination. 90% of white people don’t talk about it at all — “hoping their kids will magically jump on the diversity bandwagon.” She warned that ignoring the subject leaves kids to make up their own ideas (i.e. “Black peoples’ skin is that way, because of dirt.”). She also explained that blanket statements like, “All people are equal” don’t work either. Kids wonder “Equal how?” It’s not specific enough. The fact that babies recognize racial differences between 3 and 6 *months* of age was shocking. Avoiding the topic teaches kids that it’s so toxic, we can’t even deal with it. It perpetuates the very problems parents are worried about.

Lastly, lying was a brief topic. The main points were build trust, don’t set kids up to lie, and if you” beat them for lying, they’ll only become better liars.” Parents can build trust by telling kids that it would make them happy to hear the truth. Kids want to please. When Merryman gave the example of setting a kid up to lie, we
all laughed, because we’d all heard or done it before. She gave the instance of a kid in a room with a broken chair. Asking, “Who broke that chair?” is ridiculous, because there’s one kid in a room with one broken chair. The parent knows what happened, yet they set the child up to tell a tale. A better approach would be, “Are you okay? Let’s get this cleaned up and then you can explain how this happened.”

Overall, I was glad I went and glad that Ella slept through the whole thing. My mind kept applying the sleep deprivation science to myself and my relationship. Maybe Hannibal and I shouldn’t have deep conversations right before bed. It definitely takes my mind a while to shut down afterwards. It’s affecting our metabolisms and I.Q.s. 🙂

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