Bats! meow…

creating, living, loving – all in a long black skirt

Posts Tagged ‘jordan’

We Have Rules Here

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February 7th, 2013 Posted 5:43 am

Outside of treating other people right and doing your weekly/daily chores, we don’t have many rules in our house. Respect for each other, respect for your self, respect for your home. Those seem to cover most situations.

Bedtimes, meal times, and curfews change almost daily, but one rule we do follow [and this could easily fall under “respect for yourself”] is that the kids must read before they mess with anything electronic. We’re pretty lax as far as TV is concerned, but games, computers, and iPods are pretty strictly enforced.  That’s not always easy with all of it being so portable, but we try.  The biggest challenge is Ravynn’s Nook since it’s a book and games all at the same time. At least she’s my most interested reader, so chances are good.

Currently, Ravynn is reading through the works of Edgar Allen Poe, starting with his poems. After every one, we talk about it – the story of it and if she liked it.  She’s started rolling her eyes, “it’s about some girl he’s in love with.”  I think she feels bad for him.

Whisper is preparing for her first book report. The book she chose is “Edgar and Ellen: Under Ground.”  Quite honestly, I’m surprised her teacher approved it as it’s well below her reading level. That may encourage her as she can read it quickly and not worry about missing anything while finishing by her due date.  They’re also reading another novel in class, so less chance for confusion.

Alek is taking a break from books because his schedule just doesn’t accommodate it.  I know. I said it was a rule, but even with 20+ hours of dance each week, he’s carrying a 4.01 GPA. When he’s off to Houston, I’ll be sure to set him up with several books for his flight and any layovers.

Jordan is between books also, but he’s working through a college prep list, so I suspect he needs me to dive into the boxes in the garage to find one of the books we already have.  Guess mama has a project.

Trying to set a good example, I’m attempting to read more myself. One of the 101 in 1001 Goals is to read the “Modern Library Top 100”.

Now, where to start??

 

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Spiders and bats and ballerinas, oh my!! – Home Tour pt 2

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July 22nd, 2012 Posted 6:28 am

Welcome back to our home. While last week we showed you the initial entry way to our home, this week we will journey down ‘the hall’ to the kids’ rooms. Next week, Eric’s and my bedroom will be featured.

Follow me down the hall to see where the gothlings dwell.

(more…)

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49-55/365

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July 13th, 2012 Posted 6:37 am

Back on track. Scheduled and everything 🙂

WEEK 8, YEAR 1


Hot, but pretty.  June 30, 2012. 

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Sunday, Jordan and I went over to Edgewood Country Club for their Walking Man/Fourth of July celebration. He was very patient while I took his picture. Love the hair!

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Too hot for anything. Really temps nearing 102 with no real rain for days 🙁 Staying inside watching Heroes.

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STILL too hot. Sitting in front of a fan, feet up, sipping iced tea, and working on upcoming blog posts. Not so much beating the heat, but functioning in spite of it.

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Our friend Tim has a sick little girl who is facing some special challenges today. We lit a candle for her.

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Dear Leinenkugel family. I love you.

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The girls are home!!  And are very happy about it. Almost as happy as mama.

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On Being Alone

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July 9th, 2012 Posted 2:01 pm

…empty…

I grew up in an extended family: mother, father, me, two sisters, my father’s father, and my mother’s sister.  Grandpa lived with my parents before I was born and that didn’t change after we girls came along.  My mother’s sister had always lived with their mother and, when my grandmother died, my father invited my aunt to live with us.  It wasn’t a big house and it was full to the brim with people: four adults, three kids. 

As I grew up there weren’t many opportunities for me to be alone.  I shared a room with my two sisters until my dad built a second floor when I was 16 and we each got our own rooms.  My mother didn’t work after I was born, so I expected her to be home.  Most of the time she was.  When I was very young, obviously I couldn’t stay alone.  When I became older and was old enough to be at home without my mother, my Grandfather was sick and it wasn’t advisable for me to be home without her.  My Grandfather passed when I was 13 and in the 8th grade and I was suddenly able to be home ‘alone’, but alone is hard to come by when you’re part of a family of seven. Most likely someone will always be at home with you or will be coming home shortly.

In college I most always had a roommate, but if they were out, I could be found in the lobby watching TV or talking to whoever was around.

When Eric and I got married and there were only two of us to fill our home, it was much easier to be alone and I resisted it.  I’d go to the grocery with him.  We worked together, so we kept the same hours.  After the kids started coming and our two grew to three, then four, then five, and finally six, it was difficult to find time alone. I like it that way.

I like it a lot.

Unfortunately as the kids get older, they have more opportunities to try new things.  Well, the opportunities are good, but the time away from home is difficult.  Alek spent three weeks at the Houston Ballet in a summer intensive program.  That was hard for me and I only stopped fussing when he was only three days shy of coming back.  During that time, Eric’s mom invited the girls to come up and spend a week with her.  Now, I never had the opportunity to “spend a week with Grandma.”  She lived right across the street, so that would have been silly.  All of my family [mostly] was in town, so we didn’t run off visiting.  I just don’t get it.  But the kids enjoy it, so we send them. 

One of my friends at work asked me, while I was experiencing life as the mother of one, how I was feeling about my empty nest.  I disliked it.  My boss overheard and reminded me that in two years, I’d have one heading off to college.  You can imagine the look he got.  But even I had to admit I can see the nervous breakdown coming.  I suggest I start hoarding litter boxes now for when I become the crazy cat lady.

But, other than the boys making a quick trip to Grandma’s and maybe Jordan heading to Pittsburgh for a stint in manual labor/babysitting, we’re all home for the rest of the season.  I think I’ll be okay.

It reminds me though, that Goths are supposed to be morose and sad and resist human interaction.  Not this one.

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My Path Less Traveled

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June 7th, 2012 Posted 7:55 am

don’t ever change
 
That advice is easier to give than it is to receive.
 
Ask any kid – being different is not an awesome experience. 
Ask any enlightented adult – it should be. 
 
It often takes the distance created by age and maturity to honestly appreciate it.  Every person has at least one distinct feature [physical or otherwise] that makes them different and until they learn to embrase these features, they’re often the things that embarass us.
 
As a child, I was a shortie.  Who am I kidding?  I’m still a munchkin, barely reaching 4’11”.  Inside my family, this is not odd; out in the world, it is.  I’ve never been athletic – prefering to sit inside and read than to head out on a bike or even playing in the yard. My mother used to have to force me outside. 🙂  I also didn’t blend with my schoolmates.  I went to a small private school [on scholarship, I will note] and we didn’t have the available extra cash for ski trips or the ‘right’ clothes and shoes.  I didn’t have the newest electronics.
 
Lucky for me, I developed an “I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me;  What I think about me is the important thing” attitude. This did not impress my parents or my teacher or many other adults, really.  If they could see ahead to the current issues with bullying, their tune may have been different.
 
My own kids, despite Eric’s and my strong encouragement to be their own people and not cater to the boundaries imposed by society [you can’t do that, you’re … a boy… a girl… too young … too old… too short… etc.], have all felt the pressure of being different.  Jordan danced until he was 13.  Alek, at 14, is still in classes and intends to make a career of it.  Both boys, though, felt the sting of unkind comments from other boys in school.  At a couple points it required teacher intervention [and we’re thankful for adults who educate about both the art and the athleticism of dance].  They did make it through.  Ravynn has been picked on for being small and short – but she’s a full year younger than many kids in her class, so of course she’s small and short.  Whisper wore glasses.  Jordan wore glasses.  Ravynn had a medical condition and has a scar on her face…  So many opportunities to be “different.”
 
I’m pleased with how the kids deal with being their own person.  We’ve tried to help.  Of course, some issues are more difficult than others and we do shelter through the tears.
 
I encourage you to shelter and guide anyone who resists being different.  Any road is easier to travel with a friend at your side.
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14-20/365

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June 4th, 2012 Posted 9:42 pm

Just about caught up with the 365 pictures 🙂  This should do it, then I’ll be back on track to post every Sunday. 

WEEK 3, YEAR 1


Alek’s final paperwork ready to head off for his summer intensive.  He attended his first real audition in Febrary and was accepted into a relatively high level of class. Unfortunately another dance opportunity kept him from attending the 6-week program. 

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While Whisper attended a birthday party at a local park, Ravynn and I took a short walk around the walking trail.  How lovely that we have a little covered bridge in the middle of the park.

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You’ll see a theme. I just adore the wildflowers [weeds?] that grow in central Indiana.  They don’t compare to the ones I enjoyed as a child, but some of them are moving our way. I’ll do my best to photograph them as I find them. 

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 More weeds.  These tiny little flowers would be welcome all over my property. 

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 Cleaning up the art projects the girls brought home from school.  Some are just too big to realistically keep, so we photograph then and keep the pictures. 

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 Walking Man party!!  Jordan’s girlfriend created this 10.5′ masterpiece as part of the Waking Man Project.  Because it was near dusk, the Anderson Indian didn’t photograph well.  One of the goals we have for the summer is to find them all.  Watch for photographic evidence.

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A Dark Future

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January 19th, 2011 Posted 11:21 am

Several years ago, I read the article “I have seen the future – and it’s goth,” written by Dave Simpson and published in the Guardian, 21 March 2006. With his impressive Googling skills, Alek helped me find it again a couple days ago. I’d mentionned the findings reported in it to a friend on Facebook and thought it might interest out other readers.

When other adults question us allowing our children to be exposed to a goth lifestyle [and they do], we know we don’t share their worries.

That [parents of goths will probably end up boasting about their son/daughter the doctor, lawyer or bank manager] is the surprising finding of Sussex University’s Dunja Brill, whose doctorate in media and cultural studies looked at people with funny hair and eyeliner in London, Brighton and Cologne, and who is herself a former goth.

“Most youth subcultures encourage people to drop out of school and do illegal things,” she says. “Most goths are well educated, however. They hardly ever drop out and are often the best pupils. The subculture encourages interest in classical education, especially the arts. I’d say goths are more likely to make careers in web design, computer programming … even journalism.”

Actually, having been part of the gothic culture for over 15 years [I was exposed to, but not immersed, before that time], I don’t think these findings should be surprising at all.  Most of the younger goths I’ve encountered have been the intellectuals of their time, discussing classic literature and foreign film the way others their age discuss Family Guy or the latest Angelina Jolie movie – not that we never enjoy these things, of course; we’re all individuals with individual likes and dislikes.  Even I enjoy the latest offerings of reality TV while reading Oscar Wilde or Ernest Hemingway

Jordan, a great student; despite his gothic upbringing or because of it?

Speaking with other Goth parents, I’m reassured that our kids aren’t the only good students sprouting from the dark soil of our culture.  I suspect it has almost as much to do with the philosophy of parenting as with the natural abilities of the kids.

Our friend David commented on our Facebook wall:

We expect [our daughter] to do well in school so that someday she can get into college and have a career. But, as I explained to her, that is so she can support herself and we don’t care what that career may be (although she is leaning toward engineering). We show both by words and actions that character, truthfulness, honor and being true to yourself are the most important things. Some people are obcessed with $ and I wonder how many today are training their daughters to marry a doctor or lawyer.

I hope we can agree that the happiness of an individual should define success more than the pricetag on their home or cars.

~sheila 

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Spiders and bats and ballerinas. Oh my!

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January 18th, 2011 Posted 12:20 am

Welcome back to the tour.  We had company yesterday afternoon, plus two kids needing transportation to and from birthday parties.  I was able to photograph the new areas of our home, but didn’t find the time to guide you through.   

 As Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day,” and well, here it is.    

Welcome back to our home. While last week, we showed you the initial entry way to our home, this week we will journey down ‘the hall’ to the kids’ rooms. Next week, Eric’s and my bedroom will be featured.    

Follow me down the hall to see where the gothlings dwell.

(more…)

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Spooky Mamas and Papas

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January 13th, 2011 Posted 8:38 pm

I’ve been a ‘goth mama’ almost as long as I’ve been a mama.  My oldest son was born in April 1996 and my second son in March 1998.  My husband and I embraced the goth culture completely [after each having some flirtation with it throughout high school and college – he more than I] in the Summer of 1999. So for three years I was virtually normal and for 12 years, I’ve been dark and spooky.  I prefer it this way.

Recently, Jordan brought home a paper of anti-Goth paraphernalia he found at school, taped to the bottom of a desk.  “How to Tell if Your Teen is Goth“.  As it turns out, we’re all goth. As are most of our neighbors and friends.  The list cannot be taken seriously, but it does end with the warning:

If five or more of these apply to your child, please intervene immediately. The gothic culture is dangerous and Satan thrives within it. If any of these problems persist, enlist your child into your local mental health center.

A mental health center?  Insane advice, really. I wish it was the first time I’d heard it.

Not long after we openned Bats! meow…, we were contacted by a hate group: God Hates Goths. We initially tried to have civil conversations with the group members and their leader, intending to explain our belief structure and our philosophy on raising children.  As it turns out, they had no similar interests and most conversations resulted in name calling and more hateful lies.  I was redirected back to the site tonight as I did a Google search for the text of the paper Jordan found so I could provide you a link.  RG [as the leader identified himself] upped his advice and has published a new page, “De-Gothing Your Child.”  I caution you from the link as several of the methods suggested are nothing short of torture. 

Way back when, we were hit from every side, it seemed, with advice from strangers on how to be better parents. It seemed to focus on a change in wardrobe, hair, and makeup, as if wearing the ‘costume’ of a normal person would improve our skills.  This past week, searching for information has yielded few results. Either the world has become more accepting of freaks [and I do use the term lovingly] or the fad of reforming us has passed.  Either way, it’s okay by me.

I did find some links that may be of interest to you, though:

.:. An Article On Gothic Parenting, which warns that raising children to look ‘like us’ will create misfits and outcasts.  I understand his concerns, but I cannot agree. I’ve raised little goth children and have well-rounded popular kids.

.:. Gothic Liturgy, tells the story of a Christian Church catering to the dark clad youth in their community.  I wish I lived closer. I’d check it out.

.:. The Goth Mom, another blog run by another Goth Mama.  I’ll be checking in there regularly.

All parents don’t need to be identical, just as all children aren’t. The key is finding the mix that works for you.  We’ve found it.  Yes, it involves skulls and gargoyles, bats and spiders. We also end up with stuffed hippos and pink ballet bags, Black Eyed Peas CDs and Adam Sandler movies.  But that’s okay.  We’re happy and not afraid to tell our kids that we love them.

Hug your monsters. Everyday.  That matters more than the width of your eyeliner 🙂

~sheila

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Embrace

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January 6th, 2011 Posted 12:08 pm

Our family isn’t typical…

My boys dance.  Eric guest performs. Jordan studied for 7 years. Alek still does. Most recently, he appeared as Harlequin in our local production of the Nutcracker.  He’s very talented and we’re very proud of him. They began dancing when they were 4 and have worked hard at one of the best studios in the Midwest.  When Ravynn turned 4, the boys came to me concerned. She wanted to take ballet, too, but they worried that it was only for boys [never mind that their classes had always been full of girls].  They were incredibly pleased when we bought a tiny pair of pink ballet shoes.  It wasn’t until a minor incident in 4th grade when they felt the bullying effects of being different.  A very kind teacher explained what exactly was the problem with the phrase ‘ballerina boy’ and it mostly ended. There are still comments flung around, but Alek who’s 12 and in 7th grade is strong and ignores them. 

Our family is goth.  Locally, we’re semi-famous for it, but you may have noticed from other comments or photos or even the About page associated with this blog.  Eric and I embrace being different, but each of the kids have at points heard rumors or fielded snotty comments based on how we look or dress.  It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about stereotypes and prejudice and about not having to conform to make other people happy.  For the most part they get it, but I understand [having been a 10 year old girl once upon a time] that there is still a sting involved.  I hate that.  At the same time they love when their friends think we’re cool because of the way we dress or the music we listen to.  I kinda like being famous at the elementary school, but not to the detriment of my kids.

When I read news stories about bullied kids or hear about it from fellow moms, my heart aches.  No child should have an unhappy childhood.  I mean there are some situations that cannot be avoided and the pain of them cannot be minimized, but… if the pain is caused by other kids or adults being hateful and unaccepting.  Well, the simple fact is that should be easy to change.

Several weeks ago, a Facebook post brought my attention to the blog, Portrait of an Adoption. Young Katie was being teased for wanting to carry a Star Wars water bottle to school.  Three cheers for social networking.  Geek Girls came out in force to support Katie. As I understand, Geeks, Nerds, and Dorks all came out to support her and give her strength.  I think this is awesome!  It’s what I’ve tried to teach my own kids.  Differences should be Celebrated. Sometimes they are, as with Katie’s situation.

Checking on Portrait of an Adoption, I read the story of author Cheryl Kilodavis and her book My Princess Boy. Her website explains it as:

My Princess Boy is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. It tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink. It is designed to start and continue a dialogue about unconditional friendship and teaches children — and adults — how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look.

The response she is getting isn’t near as positive as Katie’s mother found for her.  Now, it isn’t all negative and maybe I”m experiencing emotional reactions to the negative comments that I do see.  I’ve been in the same place. People have, over the years, explained to me that it’s not ‘normal’ for boys to study dance or to have long hair [Eric does and Alek did until he cut and donated it in the summer of 2009]; I’ve been told that it’s not normal for them to do these things because society believes them to be ‘for girls’.  Somehow along the line it became acceptable for girls to want to do ‘boy things’, yet not for boys to want to do ‘girl things’.  I suggest we let kids do kid things and leave it at that.

I’ve fought the good fight for my kids. Cheryl is fighting for hers.

I encourage you to honor acceptance for everyone and embrace diversity in your own life today.

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