CTR Condoms: People are upset that people are upset over this?

In the little world of Utah today blew up an incident (as I try not to think about that particular scene from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) regarding some complimentary condoms Planned Parenthood of Utah intended to have available at the upcoming SunStone Symposium.

Since I like KSL, here is the article. And the follow-up. In a nutshell, Planned Parenthood packaged some condoms with the CTR shield with the claim of getting people to talk about various choices of sexual protection. Cue the local Mormons getting offended.

And I happen to be a local Mormon!

To confess, my first reaction upon seeing a photo of the condoms was a hearty laugh. “Choose the right protection”. Yeah, it’s kind of funny. Even now I’m not particularly offended by this.

But I read internet comments, talk with people, and yeah, I totally get the offense.

CTR, Choose the Right, is a phrase taught to young Primary children. Kids under the age of 8. And someone decides to take such a phrase to discuss adult matters like sex. Doesn’t that seem a tad perverse?

The follow-up claim was made that PPH had no intention of offending anyone. Which makes me wonder just who in the organization is coming up with this kiddy-porn stuff. “Hey, let’s take a phrase and symbol the local big religion uses to teach their youngsters and use it to discuss sexual choices!” I’d sure hate to be the parent tricked into teaching her 1st grader about condoms way before the recommended sexual dialogue calendar.

Sure, we Mormons have this awesome Brigham Young quote about not being offended, but does that excuse the dense behavior of accidentally-not-accidentally taking a trademarked symbol primarily focused on primary kids and getting your panties in a wad when, gasp, a neighbor Mormon doesn’t like it?

The other argument I hear, and the one I feel deserves the most attention, is the fact that this little CTR shield is in fact a copyrighted symbol dating all the way back to the 70s. The LDS Church allows people to use it. Planned Parenthood apparently never even asked to be allowed to use it. It’s intellectual property, folks, and it’s not yours.

So here we are, with Planned Parenthood and a bunch of I-hate-Mormons folks all flustered because people were upset with their cutesy condom packaging.

What did they expect? Were they really counting on every Mormon in the state of Utah to just turn the other cheek when a copyrighted image is used without permission to inappropriately meld a child’s phase with a sex talk?

You might say it was done in innocent. You might even find the idea clever. But if you, even for a second, looked at this and thought “Yes! What a way to stick it to those Mormons!” you have made this campaign for intentionally offense. Way to go.

Me, personally, I figure the original action itself isn’t so big a deal. At least they weren’t using truly sacred symbols. But this reaction to people that are offended, that’s a biggie.

Planned Parenthood and everyone upset because some Mormons got upset, it’s childish to poke someone with a sharp stick and then cry when they don’t like it.


Why I Can’t Keep My House Clean

This summer has shown many a minute being spent perusing cleaning articles on the ‘net; namely, how in the world do I keep my house neat and tidy? And while my search has revealed many admittedly great tips I still can’t help but wonder, who are these people?

Like many, I do appreciate a clean house. I really do. A friend of the family growing up was and still is an immaculate housekeeper. I love a tidy area with scrubbed surfaces. There is order and beauty.

Three years ago is when I began to truly care about getting my house in order. Layne was off in Missouri with the Army and I was staying at my parents with a new baby who slept a lot. My parents are not tidy people, so I’m not about to say they inspired me to great desires of cleanliness. But I had little to do but be a mom, and some way or another I found myself reading about minimalism, which of course leads to housekeeping. I’m happy to say I can pinpoint this summer as a changing point in my housekeeping.

But I’m still so far from perfect. I’ve discovered that I can deep clean a house with the best of them. Maintaining that order? Another story entirely.

In my road to becoming a neater person with a neater house, I have decided to take a deep look within and identify my problems:

  1. My parents weren’t the best housekeepers. I hate to blame them, but when I was about six my mom started teaching piano and my dad has always worked. We were far from the messiest house I had ever seen, but we just weren’t all that tidy. Therefore, I didn’t grow up in a neat-as-a-pin home. My expectations are different.
  2. A super-clean house apparently isn’t a priority. A gal I grew up with and recently stopped following on Facebook due to her inane and perfect life had a baby some months ago. Days after giving birth, she posted a picture of her super clean kitchen that apparently was more important than resting. To each their own, but after giving birth to Ruby our apartment was a disaster. Seriously, though, as much as cleaning has grown in importance to me, it’s still not there at the top of the list.
  3. I’m a working mom. Which would be a different story (hopefully) if my kids were in daycare full time, but they’re half-timers. So, kids are home without me. Making messes. Yup.
  4. I haven’t figured out the right schedule. All the little aforementioned tips gleaned from the internet are all about getting cleaning into my daily schedule. Sadly, I just don’t schedule it in daily. Oh, I can take a few hours every so often and power clean like no one’s business, but the little upkeeps throughout the day? I just don’t can’t think of it.
  5. I can’t put cleaning in perspective. I think I may have done to the perfectionist extreme of cleaning, which is just as defeating. I see messy and I see clean. There is no inbetween. It’s clean or it’s not.
  6. I make it my job. We had a chore chart for awhile between Layne and I, but he didn’t care and I did. Now, if I give the man a job or even a list of chores, he will do them just fine. But he doesn’t think of cleaning any more than I do.


Now, what to do with these? #1 has is a sailed ship, though Mom and I can always laugh about our tidiness issues. #2… I like to think I have come far here. Combine it with the perspective of #5 and I may be onto something. The rest are some decent goals: get Layne and Ruby involved and take those internet tips to heart.


So your toddler/preschooler cut her own hair!

I had a tough noon today. I was getting the girls ready for church, planning on sitting Ruby down in order to do her hair, when I get distracted by something else for a few measly minutes. Reality strikes when I hear the faucet in the bathroom running. This is rarely, rarely a good thing with small children in the house. I rush into the bathroom to find Ruby with my brand-new ukulele in the sink, the logical result of her earlier referring to it as Bucky, the ship from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I freak out and run through every statement said about child consequences and gentle discipline… before noticing her hair. See, I had been encouraging crafting and fine motor skills by letting Ruby have scissors. Scissors for months. Ever since I felt comfortable giving her scissors after the first time she cut her hair back in the spring.

A few minutes later had me sitting in the rocking chair trying not to bawl.

Fortunately, I was better prepared this time. I let Layne, who was sick that day, handle everything while I took the baby and went to church. Jade eventually flipped out in sacrament meeting, so I took her to the mother’s room. Eventually in wandered a neighbor, and we chatted and I was feeling better about Ruby’s hair and I was not in the state of disgrace and horror I was the firs time.

Trust me, a small kid cutting his or her hair is survivable. You. Will. Live.

So, a few words of advice and solace:

Your child’s hair cutting is not a declaration of your failing role as a loser parent. Unless you are actively handing your young offspring machetes, there is very little wrong with access to age-appropriate scissors. Also, kids getting into less age-appropriate scissors happens… and I daresay there is nothing wrong with kids getting used to those.

Your child is not the only kid to cut hair. Google this. There is an entire internet world of wonderful stories of other kids cutting their hair. You can and will find support and love and a whole lot of funny stories you can laugh at sooner or later. Like I said above, a kid cutting her hair is not a sign of a bad loser parent. It happens!

Hair grows. I know, this is the hardest thing in the world to take after finally getting lovely hair spouting from that head of former baby baldness, but save for hereditary early baldness and lousy fashion fads, your child will probably not go to college with a terrible haircut. The first time Ruby cut her hair, I bawled, I yelled, I blamed my husband. But you know what? It’s okay. We took her to a hair salon to get it trimmed and shaped. We went with a few specific hair styles. And as time went on the hair blended in.

But still, these don’t solve the problem caused by my kid cutting her hair!

Step 1: Deal with it. The hair has been cut. Duct-taping it back in will make things look worse. With very young kids, this was really just small kids being small kids. I’d avoid big discipline. I grant you, you’re probably going to go through the stages of grieving because that beautiful hair is not looking so beautiful. Be prepared, and take on those stages of grieving. Once again, the hair has been cut.

Step 2: Assess the damage. Find out how bad the hair cut is. Brush it out, comb it out. See what you’re looking at.

Step 3: Plan your next step. This is going to depend on the factors of how bad things are and what extremes or lack thereof you want to go with.

Some options:

  • Leave it alone. The hair isn’t that bad, you can roll with it, letting it be a cautionary tale or a new fad, your choice.
  • Rely on some fancy hair wrangling. This is what I might do with Ruby this second time. After sacrament meeting, I returned home calmer, assessed the damage, experimented to see if I could get it into decent pigtails and discovered I could. Now Ruby can wear pigtails for the next little while, or I can check out some other stuff. This also includes hats, bows, headbands, and whatever else you might stick in hair.
  • Cut it. The first time, I panicked. Looking back, I may have just seen what I could have managed. But I still recall it being kind of bad. So I took Ruby to the hair salon, explained what had happened, and a grandmotherly hairdresser took her back, trimmed up and layered the hair, and everything was a lot better. Today, I actually considered bobbing Ruby’s hair. She had cut at both sides, and having been through this once, I was reasonable. Could I have her hair cut more drastically? Would it be cute? I did make the mistake of vocalizing this. Layne said he could cut her hair, no need to head to the salon. I laughed and said we would not be buzzing her hair. No, he said, he would give her a bob. I almost fainted. If her hair would be bobbed, a professional would do it.

This last part is key. If you decided to go with a cutting it, either drastically or a little clean up, have a professional do it. Unless you’re pretty skilled with hair scissors, don’t make it worse.

Last of all, welcome to the club of parents whose kiddos have cut their hair. You will survive. It will be okay.




The Myth of the Myth of Having Summers Off

Here I am, about halfway through my summer vacation, the upcoming school year finally trying to sneak back into my mind. I’ve perused a few sites, bought a few things, made a few projects, all equaling the value of time that is but a drop in the bucket of my summertime.

Yet according to The Great Interweb, I should be spending my summertime devoted to nothing but the upcoming school year. That is, if I’m a good teacher. Not like one of those lazy teachers who have other priorities in life besides proving to the world what wonderful special martyr teachers they are, wearing their summertime slavery like a gold star sticker.

I know these teachers are out there. I’ve browsed the internet. I’ve clicked on the little articles and Buzzfeed bits on Facebook about teacher summertime. If that article or bit isn’t about how much teachers work during the summer, I guarantee The Comment Section (beloved of all interweb thingies) has teachers bragging about how they get up at 4 A.M. and tell their spouses and offspring how much they hate them before spending the day in the classroom or on the computer or at some mystical summertime PD and how any teacher who does less is pretty much the worse teacher ever and hates small children.

I have come to the conclusion these teachers are but a small and very vocal minority. Those same comment sections have teachers giving much more mortal summertime work schedules… including absolutely no school-related work whatsoever. I give you the thread from at0zteacher stuff, a discussion of teachers sharing what they do over the summer and for many it’s not much.

Yes, there are teachers out there who apparently live the myth of teachers having carefree summers. Which means it’s not a myth.

And if I hadn’t bought over 200$ worth of fabric for $5 from a closing fabric store for my bulletin boards and made those worksheets I would have been one of them!

Why do some teachers insist on doing so much work over the summer? Is it some desire to prove teachers are valuable? To single-handedly prove wrong every mean comment made about teachers? Is it pride they then expect to be shared by every other member of the profession? Are they in a crappy district that doesn’t provide such time the rest of the year? Do they have no lives outside of teaching?

I don’t have any mandatory summer PDs. My principal is having an amazing summer if Instagram has any evidence.

And I’m going to be proud of my lazy, off-contract, no-pay summer.

Why I like limiting my kid’s tv time


When school ended for the summer, I was determined Ruby would have a television-free summer. I had this plan way back in winter, dreaming of the summer when I would be there to totally enforce this dream. We would frolic outside in the yard, create artsy crafts, and not watch tv. At all.

Suffice it to say this has failed. There are yellowjackets in the yard to prevent all-day frolicing, though we do get in a good share. We’re doing the artsy stuff, but tv is still happening. Apparently I’m that imperfect. Yes, for a time each day is this awful “Jake the Neverland Pirates” show (I’m a Princess Sofia person) that Ruby just loves. I’ve failed on my goal and can only take comfort in the fact that the APA says there is nothing wrong with an hour or two of tv a day.

Funnily enough, that hour or two, and I’ll just stick with the hour for now, seems so long! That’s quite a few episodes of horrible pirate children and their inane adventures. I’ll hear the theme song over and over and realize only an hour has gone by.

Fortunately at that point I feel no mom-guilt in turning off the projector (because we watch tv via a computer hooked up to a projector).

Ruby sometimes bawls, throws tantrums, you name it, but she has had her hour or two, day dependent, of television and that’s that.

In some ways I’m happy with television. What no one talks about is that much of tv is so truly awesome these days. Even the kid shows. They provide fodder for Ruby’s imagination, creating personal and friend games of adventures and sword fighting and princess-related stuff that I do indeed love to see.

But of course the balance needs to require that tv limit.

Here’s why I love the limit:

  1. Here it is in its selfish glory: I don’t have to listen to it. I confess to loving Sofia the First and My Little Pony, but even the best is awful to hear over and over throughout the day.
  2. The house feels more peaceful. There’s no electronic-sourced noise. Stuff is happening.
  3. Ruby gets to use her imagination. Those games inspired by even tv? She’s now working it.
  4. Playing happens. I do get paranoid about Ruby’s motor skills despite playground trips have her showing up older kids. I love to see her coloring, playing with blocks, reading books, making a mess outside. It’s wonderful to behold.
  5. Limiting gets easier. Kids adjust. Tantrums and fits the first few days of intentional limits turned into acceptance followed by immediate ideas of what to do next.
  6. I feel I have to do stuff with Ruby. I fully believe that boredom is great for kids and there is no reason for me to entertain her all the time. But with school out and time to kill, it’s nice to go out and play with my kid.

Folks, the limiting is great. As I write this, Ruby is attempting to build a tower out of books. How cool is that?

If no-tv isn’t feasible, limit it. You’ll be happier and you’ll be seeing it. Fast.