Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life ends but it never stops

Died in a quarter way house of a stroke while asleep, I am studying social work and I never heard of a quarter way house, I guess it is like a holding pen or a realm for a holding pattern, cleaned up enough to get out of the half-way house, no place to put you, hey what's between half way and all the way there, between half and nothing, between half and out of our hair?

My brother that I have not seen in about four years and have not spoken to in about three died 19 days ago and it took two weeks ago for the word of mouth to get from two new friends made some where along the line in the 3/4- 1/2- 1/4 way system, to the street to the guys he got high with to his x-tai chi students, to his daughter on the other side of the continent via his phone which was in the hands of some other person that let her know that her dad died a little while back, to our mother, to a hysterical message on my answering machine as I was getting dressed to leave for my niece's (brother-in-laws daughter) fifth birthday party in the skylands of deep suburban McMansiondom in what passes for mountains in New Jersey. I usually don't answer the phone unless I am getting a call from someone who I am in the process of meeting some where, but there is a hysterically pained tone of a mother whose child has just died that is unmistakable even from an answering machine heard from distance.

So naked I have this conversation and begin melting down the aluminum three step ladder that I was sitting on sobbing from a pit inside myself that is only accessed on especially painful occasions; realizing you are not loved by someone anymore and nothing is going to change that no matter how you try to perfect yourself or how you try to hurt yourself their attention is irredeemable, realizing that some small maneuver on your parents part or being three minutes late or one block over could have irreparably changed your life for the better, being akin to a tragedy and feeling that you were not deserving of the luck that shielded you from it or as in this case having something so awful and yet so foreseeable occur that you reserved a space in this pit because you knew it was going to come to pass and only the foolishness of magical non-logical thinking gave you any hope of another out come but you would allow yourself to think, "Anything is possible, right?" So when he came to mind there could be a trap door that would allow you to slip out before the downward spiral built up the speed of inevitability.

My son's, one of whose name is a combination of my brother's and mine, are confused and distraught at hearing this wailing that they of course wind up in fight and the younger one comes out the other side of it with bruises on his face reminiscent of Franck Ribery's signature scars. So I snap back from being a naked crying infant to being a father.

Now for the sad parts, the parts that I think about when I am alone in the laundry room, or in the car for over 25 minutes, or making an iTunes playlist of music that he turned me on to;
ironically and heart breaking-ly his last "new-friends" of literally hundreds upon hundreds of new friends this man made in 49 years on the planet, their names were the Spanish version of my name and our older and long dead of AIDS from IV drug use brother's name. He was estranged from most of his family but he recreated some sense of it out of the x-cons and state funded rehab residents of the half way house, one telling my mother, "He was like a father to me."
The next is "his stuff" he called from prison after having fits of violence acted out on those closest to him in proximity and to his heart, asking if I could help him pay for his storage space. His soon to be x-wife had moved, his newest baby's mama had fled and no one else was in a position to help any more. I thought, if he gets his life back together as some point in the future it would be a shame if he lost everything from the approximately 10 year period of mostly good living, or mostly overcoming the visions and voices and traumatic memories and torment to earn a nice living, starting a martial arts school, writing for men's health magazines, appearing on TV, owing a Manhattan apartment on the Park by the Cloisters, unbeknowst to him until meeting her family in Japan marrying an wealthy women, having a new (third) daughter, a pretty good life for a schizophrenic with multi-addiction issues suffering from post traumatic stress from being raped as grammar school student by the teenaged son of a neighbor and later sexually assaulted by the 17 year-old daughter of another family friend while babysitting, leading him to ponder, "Why is everyone making me have sex?" Which was not a surprising precursor to many of those new friends I mentioned being of a sexual nature, and I mean many many.
So all his stuff martial arts trophies, swords, an eclectic music selection, Asian art, if I do not help right now, it will be all gone, possibly showing up on some storage space reality TV show. Could I move it to my attic my garage? If this all ends badly at least I would have his stuff. No, I can not get involved, when violence and a loose grip on reality is what we are dealing with I can not have him showing up on my doorstep looking for his swords or asking for more money.
"No I can't help you right now."
"I understand sorry for having to ask."
My last conversation I had with the man that was my idol for many of my childhood years, whose reputation for fighting prevented me from getting my ass kicked by older boys in the neighborhood many times.
So he gone and so is his stuff, I can't cry as I decide should I integrate his CDs into my collection or keep them in separate box, if you know me you know my relationship with CDs. Can we put this trophy on display some where or will my wife shoot down the idea on the grounds that it does not fit the decor? I have nothing to visit with him with.
But ultimately the safety of the family that I have chosen to create was more important than enabling the one fate bestowed, or having the ability to get lost in the melancholia of memorabilia and the sounds of memories.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lamest Trick or Treater Ever

Even though my town tried to cancel Halloween, or actually postpone it until Friday, the kids were out in force dodging downed power lines and hurdling 50 year-old 10 foot tree limbs with aplomb. Anyway adding to my anecdotal evidence for my on going study into the loss of social graces of those under 25 was the worlds lamest trick or treater that I encounter a few days ago.

Neither the 70% of children who did not bother to say "trick or treat" nor the 40% who did not say thank you after receiving candy and worse than my 16 year-old cohorts and I who went trick or treating sans costumes and when questioned about it one of the group replied, "We're dressed as professional kick ball players, now give us some candy," not fully realizing how scary a gang of teen aged boys could be to a lone adult, but the lamest trick or treater darkened my door last night, not really wearing a costume, accompanied by three friends, all about 17 years-old, with a pillow case in one hand, his cell phone in the other, in mid conversation, tucked the phone under his chin to continue the conversation so he could free up his other hand to open the pillow case wide enough for my candy, does not acknowledge that I exist, turns away while without saying thank you while continuing to talk on the phone.

Four seconds later as I am giving candy to his friends I began to think that I just missed a "You god damn kids get off my lawn-esque" crabby old guy opportunity, I should called him out on his rudeness and made the kid get off the phone if he wanted my butterfingers and kit kats, the punk assed bitch. Sometimes you are so surprised that the witty comeback or opportunity to stand up for yourself or for decency and decorum slips through your fingers, and to try retrieve it only makes your reveal yourself as being unstable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost Posts from May 2011

My almost nine year old son asked his mother yesterday, “What do you pee out of?”

Mother: I don’t have a penis.

Then he demanded, “Let me see it!”

"Don’t you miss having a penis?"

"You need to shave down there, that’s disscusting."

Mother: Daddy has hair down there and you will too,

Son: He should shave it too.

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3rd grader, "I’ve got lead in my eye, I’ve got a pencil in my eye, I’m going to die!"

He did not have pencil in his eye, pencils are not really made of lead, he did not die.

OCCUPY WALL STREET & Policy blog postings

Protesters Against Wall Street

NY Times Editorial

States Adding Drug Test as Hurdle for Welfare

It is interesting, these are all issues I was blogging about in the Spring for my Policy class. I've posted some my article reviews/comments of below:

Of The 1%, By The 1%, For The 1%

by Joseph F. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair


The issue raised in this article is how “the upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.” 25 years ago those figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. The author points out that “the more unequal a society is, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend on common needs. The rich don’t need government benefits - they can buy these things for themselves.”


This situation can perpetuate itself leading to more and more disparity in the future. We need only need to look to what is happening in Arab world right now to see what can happen when “a fraction of the population controls the lion’s share of the wealth.” With this in mind our nation needs to ask itself if this is the direction it really wants to go in?

The last main point of the article is that Alexis de Tocqueville noticed long ago that Americans had “self-interest properly understood” in that they understood that paying attention to everyone’s self-interest or the common welfare, is beneficial to their own well-being.


Basically when the nation is better and more secure, it is better for the top 1%, more stable markets etc.

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NO ONE REALLY WANTS SMALLER GOVERNMENT, COMMENTS ON PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET


Reading “The Radical Gradulism of Paul Ryan,” http://budget.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=235261 about the budget proposed by the House Budget Chairman just reiterated to me those on the right always seem to stay on message no matter what the current political or economic environment. They will alway have a drive for lower taxes, no regulations on business and smaller governments and see every national success or failure as an example of why we need, you guessed it, lower taxes, a laissez-faire view of the business sector and smaller government. Never mind that the government and deficit both grew under their watch during W. Bush’s two terms.


The truth is that people on both sides of the aisle want the government to come down strongly behind the issues that they feel are most important.


“What the Ryan budget offers instead is a gradual, manageable change of course that might allow us to continue to experience the kind of growth and stability we have seen since the Second World War.” Strange does columnist Yuval Levin mean the growth and stability that were made possible by a large middle class, a strong safety net, strong unions, government regulations of the corporate sector that characterize the post war era?


“A plan that sought to address our fiscal problems by raising taxes far higher than this historical norm—as Ryan’s detractors on the left would have to do, though they are loath to say so—would almost certainly yield weaker growth, and therefore have a harder time restraining the growth of the debt.” As I discussed in my last post from a few weeks ago, statistics show that we currently have a historically low tax rate, so it could be raised and still not be “far higher than this historical norm.”


I may have missed it, but in this article and in what I have heard from the right the military budget is left in tact. Another area that the right never looks into cutting is the cost of enforcing morally driven laws against consensual activities, the cost of police enforcement of prostitution laws, tax revenue lost from the illegality of gambling and the cost of imprisoning non-violent drug users. A closer look at the war on drugs reveals that after 40 years and $1 trillion was deemed as failing to meet any of its goals. Think about how much one trillion dollars is, “If you started a business when Christ was born and lost $1 million a day, it would still take another 700 years before you lost $1 trillion,” REPRESENTATIVE PHIL CRANE.


Beside Rand Paul, his dad, and at best one million actual libertarians, no one is actually for less government, they are just for government doing less to help issues they don’t care about, and more for their issues, on the right, moral and law and order issues, strong military that stimulates the economy and helps America have an empire that keeps foreign markets safe for our business interests, or helps open new ones, as opposed to the left wanting the government to focus on trying solve societies ills and inequalities.


------------------------------

I was not able to find one specific issue that moved me but looking at a number of issues I noticed a real disconnect concerning the amount of money our nation spends on its military, the high rate of profits our corporations have continued to earn despite the recession and the lack of money we have to fund our public programs and jobs that are leading to the need for so many cutbacks and lay-offs.


In last Sunday’s Star Ledger I read articles with headlines like, “Next fight: Contracts for state workers. Talks expected to be ‘pretty ugly’” where state employees are afraid to anger Gov. Christie because they don’t want to vilified in the way he did to teachers. Also “Energy Department staff to face cuts ...” “Budget ax poised in Millburn district” schools, and “Laid off Newark cops are moving on.”


Yet one can still find headlines like “Pentagon requests its largest budget: $553 billion” where the Pentagon is asking for its 14th year in a row of spending increases even with the winding down of the Iraq War. We do not have money for teachers and cops and blame welfare queens, pensions and the stimulus package for our national debt but some how the cost of our two wars at over $1,153,594,999,999 at 11:15 AM today and counting (1) is not brought into the conversation? So it seems there is plenty of money for war.


Looking at the corporate world over the last year most aggregate economic indicators are up, the GNP (2) has gone up the last five quarters, the top three stock exchanges NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX all show growth in their trading volumes over the last 52 weeks (3). The financial papers are littered with headlines such as:

“U.S. Corporate Profits Surge” - The Wall Street Journal (4)

“Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter” - The New York Times (5)

“U.S. corporate profits rise most in 25 years “- MarketWatch (6)

Still many want to cut federal and state employees like social workers, teachers and police, stating that this will free up funds to help our economy grow. Like all other areas of human endeavor public jobs contracts are far from perfect and there is much room for improving on abuses like “double dipping” holding two state jobs and getting pensions from both, large buyout clauses in some higher level state administrators and board members, and other areas like pensions and tenure can be looked at with new eyes and made more responsive to success in the work place.

The facts that these conflicting headlines bring to light point not to a lack of finances in America but a lack of interest in helping those in need and a choice to use hard economic times for many Americans as an excuse to push forth an anti-middle and working class political agenda that has been in the works since the 1960’s.

LINKS

(1) Cost of War http://costofwar.com/en/

(2) GNP http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=231&page=3&count=100

(3) NASDAQ, NYSE, AMEX trading volumes over the last 52 weeks http://research.scottrade.com/qnr/Public/Markets/Statistics

(4) “U.S. Corporate Profits Surge” - The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703956604576110612955564394.html

(5) “Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter” - The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/business/economy/24econ.html?_r=1

(6) “U.S. corporate profits rise most in 25 years “- MarketWatch http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-corporate-profits-rise-most-in-25-years-2010-03-26

===========================


Many conservatives and libertarians only value private sector jobs as if they are superior to public sector jobs, as if the morgages and rents, goods and services and college educations they pay for do not help strenghen our ecomony as private sector job It is as if they believe only jobs that increase their profit margins are valid, and those that serve the interest of the middle class and in turn the nation as a whole are without value. During a recession where affluent Americans profits are rising, middle class job killing legislation and budgets cuts do not appear to be the best way help those actually feeling the pains of this recession to lift themselves up to a better future.

Especially jobs that help lay the foundation for a strong middle class, jobs in education and public safety. A strong, financially secure and educated middle class is imperative to having a functioning democracy, and many of these current conservative and libertarian ideas such busting unions and ending free public education (“Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market” ) run completely counter to what has made America the strongest nation in world.

Picture a senario where you already have high unemployment and very few good jobs where you do not need a college education. Then cut police jobs and make our cities less secure, you cut jobs in education which makes it harder to educate our children and in turn harder for them to go to college and get good jobs. Now not only have good middle class jobs that are within the grasp of poor and working class people been eliminated, you add a percentage of those formerly middle class laid-off people the ranks of the needy.

The short term gains from many of these cuts will be drastically over shadowed by the harm they are doing to society’s ability to produce citizens with highly employable skills. Those on the right look to the corporate world where one can raise their profit margins by laying off employees and see no reason not to apply the same logic to essential public jobs all so they can have more money by lowering their taxes.

National debt more than tripled from 900 billion dollars to 2.8 trillion dollars during Reagan's tenure.

There is not less money in America, their is less money available to the middle class.


http://www.lp.org/platform

Eisenhower


"Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."


There is a jelousy on the part of many who work in the private sector, they see their jobs being cut, they see pensions as a thing of the distant past which they came along too late for, and they have not gotten rich in the corporate world and see public workers making as much as they do with more benefits and they have been told that they are lazy union workers who do not deserve to be well compensated.

So rather than unionize fight for the jobs in their own industry, or complaining about paying 1.99 for a bottle of coke when it costs 18 cents to make

(http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_it_cost_to_make_a_bottle_of_coca_cola) and being angry about the exorbitant bonuses that corporate executives are paid with your money, being angry that they make their profits of the back of that usury usurious mark up,

many in the public are so brainwashed that they hate those in the same boat as they are and worship those above them, those who control how society is set up and do infinitely more to keep them in their troubled possition than those next to them, one step ahead or behind them in the pecking order of financial success in this nation.


People would rather have a dream of becoming rich than a reality of being secure.


Veblen pointed out. The poor don't want to fight those above them, they want to be like them. http://www.bolenderinitiatives.com/sociology/thorstein-bunde-veblen-1857-1929/thorstein-bunde-veblen-leisure-class-author/critic-may-ha


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I have started my first official year in a MSW program this week. I have been pissed off about my profs emailing reading assignments that are due at my first class, completely inappropriate, the class starts on a certain day, that's when the work should start, it's like having to check your blackberry every few hours on your vacation, technology has eradicated all boundaries, when you are affiliated with an institution it's like no time is solely yours anymore.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Deep Sleep

>first relax, then clear your mind, don’t think of anything, don’t think about what you did today, think of nothing


930 pm tonight, my six year old teaching my 9 year-old how to fall asleep quickly

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

‘Brain-eating amoeba’ claims second victim this month


Great, any more stuff the world wants to add to the list of things parents have to worry about?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Nagged

My kids are out of summer camp and it has taken three days and bout of asthma reinforced by hysteria to derail the best laid schedule of Daddy Camp!
I have to catch up on some chores, but some how telling my 9 yr old to read to pass the time is like telling him to pull his nails out with pair of pliers. "Why isn't anyone home when we call for a playdate," and after we leave a message, every time the phone rings, "Who's that, who's that?!?"
How old are kids when they become in charge of their own social calendar?
I guess the plus of not being nagged for things to do by your kids is negated by the fact that parents are usually no longer considered when planning their tweenaged agendas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kid Sun Bake Soccer Cup, last team not suffering heat stroke wins!

I am torn, it is 100 degrees out and will be the same tomorrow, and my 9 year-old son has a soccer tournament this weekend, where they play two games a day. My wife is freaked out because some cadet at West Point died in the heat yesterday, and the tournament in Upstate NY. We decided to not have him play. I called out doctor for his opinion, he got back to us after we made up our minds and my wife and kids went to the shore for the next day and a half.
The doctor said it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to make sure the kids stay very hydrated, get frequent breaks and stop playing as soon as they get any symptoms like dizziness or nausea.

My gut feels like things would have been okay, and I do not want to be the kind of parent that gives into fear because something bad happened somewhere once in the world in a similar situation, but when I called the tournament and they said there is no set temperature where they would cancel the games, I was like fuck it, they seem more concerned about not cancelling games and having to refund teams than playing it safe, so hopefully the second day of the tournament will be under 100 degrees.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Had THE TALK!

So my 9 year-old kept asking questions trying to figure out how babies are made, so I just decided to tell him last night.
Previously we had told him that you take a little piece of the daddy and a little piece of the mommy and put it in the mommy and the baby grows from there.
Last night in the least racy way possible I told him that mommys have a tiny room inside them called a womb and the daddy uses his penis to put sperm, which look like tiny tadpoles and have all of the information about the dad, inside the womb. The mommy has an egg in the womb and it has all of the information about the mommy. The sperms race to the egg, and the strongest and fastest sperm connects with the egg, which then makes a hard shell so no more sperms can get in. Then the information from both parents mix to start creating a baby!

He was very mature and fine with this. He did ask, "What if the stuff doesn't come out?" To which I answered, "You just keep pushing it in until it does."
Son, "I do not like that part with putting the penis inside the mommy, is there another way to make a baby with a scientist or doctor?" Me, "Well yes, it costs lots of money, but they can take the sperm and eggs out of the parents combine them and then put them in the mommy, or take the sperm out of the daddy and put it into the mommy, but the regular way works better and it is free. You could adopt a baby too." Him, "No then it would not be a 'insert our sir name'."

My wife walks into the bathroom and I say everything went well, he is just not enthused about the putting the penis in the mommy part. She answered, "Oh honey it is okay you will enjoy doing it." He then opens up the shower curtain and starts to gyrate his naked crotch around in a dance music video informed nine year-old's interpretation of sleazy dancing stating in a deep raspy voice, "Oh yeah it's fun I'm gonna like it!" We kind of went into shock, then he turns back into himself and is about 100 times more grossed out by the idea of having to put his penis inside someone.
I told him not to worry when he grows up and meets his future wife his body will tell him when he is ready to make a baby and he does not have to worry about it for a number of years to come. And then I tease my wife like crazy for making the situation way more icky than it had been.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trying to figure out sex

My 9 year-old has been trying to figure out sex lately.
Last night he asked his mother if I peepee in her butt to make a baby?

A month ago he told her that his friend needed his dad to help him do something, so the dad paused what he was watching on TV or his computer. He said the image on the screen was a man peeing in a woman's mouth.
My wife began to laugh nervously which lead our son to ask, "Are you laughing because you let daddy do that to you?"

I think it will be time for "the talk" to be happening pretty soon.

ps. Despite our numerous explanations he still thinks tampons are for ending pregnancies and calls them, "Baby Killers," as in, "So wait you don't swallow the baby killers, you put them inside your body?"

Friday, July 08, 2011

One of the ancillary annoyances of having depression

One of the ancillary annoyances of having depression issues is the realization that the things bothering you are often not as serious as those giving difficultly to others around you and yet they feel as if they are.

As I was driving to my therapist yesterday I was in a pissy mood and then saw a young blind man being taught how to use his cane as he crossed the busy street I was driving on; a few minutes ago I was thinking about talking about my general malaise with a friend I am having dinner with tomorrow night and quickly remembered that his wife is leaving him but they don't have the money to support two separate households so they are still living together, which makes me say to myself, "What the fuck are you having trouble dealing with? Your kids wanting to play video games everyday and not cleaning up behind themselves, your wife being to tired after work to hang out, really? And your therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist and massage therapy aren't enough to help you deal with the stress of life. Be satisfied with the privileged life you enjoy and somehow convince yourself that it is enough, because it is more than most people on earth have experienced."

I have to stop letting my kids bait me into arguments, my six year-old after being given a stern talking to about all of the things he could be doing to stave off boredom was having a temper tantrum because he did not want to clean up and he wanted me to play with him, I told him that I had cleaning up of my own to do and sometimes we have to do boring things in life, part of my job was to do boring things like clean up the house.
As I climbed the stairs I heard him asking why did I chose that job if it was boring and I did not like it. Normally I would get in his face about being disrespectful, but I just kept walking. Something I am going to try to do more of after making whatever my original point is.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fever

My 6 year-old son has had a fever since Monday, he is missing the kindergarden presentation, and the kids have off from school next week, and I have my final term paper due on my birthday in less than weeks, but have not had any time to work on it this week because I have continuously believed that my son's fever would be gone tomorrow and hence spent my time tending to things around the house because once I start on writing the paper I won't have much free time, three days in a row and they are home next week, wait, I did just sign them up for spring break soccer camp, thank god, that at least gives me about three hours a day, well closer to two and a half because we are always late and I have to leave our house about 15 minutes before the camp ends, so yeah we will have to go to the doctor tomorrow, hopefully this will clear up soon we have a really busy weekend like literally seven events/activities planned, and then Bloomfest on Sunday, what a drag it will be if he stays sick ...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SOY AND DAIRY: HEALTHFUL OR HARMFUL?

The Down-Low on Dairy & Soy: Magic Bean or Tragic Bean? Both have good and bad qualities, moderation is the key. Despite what most grandmothers would have you believe your body does not need dairy products, you can live fine without them. "The FAO/WHO developed the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score, a method of measuring protein values in human nutrition. Eggs, milk, and soy all score a 1.0, the best possible. Beef scores .92 and peanuts score .52." This statistic shoots down the importance of eating beef to getting enough protein.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Friday, April 08, 2011

Lying

Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Lying

By Patty Dow, M.A., Life Coach and Parent Educator

It is a loaded word and carries all kinds of moral judgment about the perpetrator. It leaves parents feeling embarrassed or deceived when they realize that their young children are doing it. Often times, parents notice "lying" in their children for the first time around age three. You ask your child a question about school and some wild tale comes out of his or her mouth. You confront your child about the missing cookie, only to be met by denial. In this month's Parenting Tip, I'd like to put some perspective on the subject of lying in young children.

First, let's look at this phenomenon from a developmental perspective. Most children, by age three, are able to carry on conversations. They have learned that there is a give and take in communication and that when they ask questions or make statements, they get responses from others. However, they have only been conversing for a few months. Someone asks them a question, the rule is, they reply. Sometimes they say the first thing that comes to mind. This is not deliberate and malicious lying, but to them, carrying their weight in the conversation.

The next developmental pieces of this puzzle are cognition and retention level. At ages three and four, children do not have a well developed sense of time and they don't always retain information from things that happened earlier. They may legitimately not remember what happened in school TODAY. You ask? They make it up (following the rules of communication - a question requires a response), or give you a blank stare! Sometimes, the things they make up are things that they have heard others say. Again, not malicious or intentional, but it's what comes to mind and they heard someone else say it, so why not?

Frequently, children blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality. They have fantasies in which they catastrophize, or romanticize, sometimes to meet an emotional need that they have. When my daughter, Courtney, was born, we already had a dog named Timber. He was petrified of her and barely began to come near her when she was old enough to throw a ball. Other than those occasional games, he avoided her like the plague. When she was 3 ½, we sadly had to find a new loving home for him because we had to move to a place where animals weren't allowed. When Courtney was 4, she would tell people about her wonderful relationship with her dog and what fast friends they were. She would dreamily tell people, "Timber would follow me everywhere and come over and put his head in my lap while I was watching TV." Lie? Well, definitely not the truth, but somehow, it was to her! Did it harm anyone? Nope. So what did I do? I let it go. As she got older (she is now 21), I told her anecdotally and she got a kick out of it. If your child is blurring fantasy and reality in a way that doesn’t matter, let it go. If your child is blurring fantasy and reality in a way that matters, you don't have to attack or insist. You can gently insert the facts as they tell stories about their lives.

Next, let's look at the intentional side of lying. From fairly early on, we learn that lying a) gets us what we want and b) can act as a form of protection when we fear the disapproval of others. One of the most important things parents can do is MODEL. How many of us use "white" lies; you know… stretch the truth just a little bit? Sometimes we think our reasons are legitimate - we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or we want to avoid a scene of some type. I am not passing judgment, but it is important to remember that if you value honesty and want to pass that onto your children, they will pick up on it when adults lie to others. Young children are still very concrete in their thinking. They do not distinguish one type of lie from another. They think, "Mommy and Daddy told So-and-So this untrue thing, so it must be okay for me to do the same." Then they try it and get reprimanded for it. It doesn't make much sense in their minds and it hardly seems fair.

The last thought I want to leave you with, is that when your child lies, it isn't directly targeted toward you - it's not PERSONAL. Even if your child is lying intentionally, this is a sign that your child is having difficulty with something, NOT doing it TO YOU! S/he might be having trouble accepting disappointment, or might be very concerned about letting you down. Does this mean that parents don't address it? No, but you will probably have better results in the future if you address it empathically, non-emotionally, and matter-of-factly. Let your child know that you value honesty and that it is okay to make mistakes. Have a discussion and see if you can get to the source of the lie. If you come down too hard on your child, it will probably leave him or her scared. This, in turn, can lead to more lying and a breakdown in communication.

Patty Dow, MA

Life Coach/Parent Educator

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Post from My Social Work Policy Class Blog

Chart shows low tax burden for rich


I was unable to attach the chart to this post so please click on the link below and take a minute to view the chart. “Blue areas represent a historically low tax burden for a specific income level, while red areas represent a historically high burden.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110316/ts_yblog_thelookout/chart-shows-low-tax-burden-for-rich;_ylt=AgzGIvwZ3WbYBe.37rqXmqzCw5R4;_ylu=X3oDMTQ1czQ4ZmMwBGFzc2V0A3libG9nX3RoZWxvb2tvdXQvMjAxMTAzMTYvY2hhcnQtc2hvd3MtbG93LXRheC1idXJkZW4tZm9yLXJpY2gEY2NvZGUDbXBfZWNfOF8xMARjcG9zAzQEcG9zAzQEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNjaGFydHNob3dzbG8-


The chart basically shows that despite the repeated claims from the lower taxes crowd that taxes are extra ordinarily high, and that the country is broke due to the pensions of greedy public workers like fire fighters, police officers and teachers, the tax burden on Americans is actually lower for the vast majority of Americans thank it has been 50 years.


The wealthy are being allowed to keep more of their money compared to any time in the last 100 years except for brief periods around 1930 and 1990. With this in mind it appears that our federal government’s shortage of funds may be due to the lack of funds being brought in by taxes and not solely public workers pensions, or over spending on social programs. The high cost of our military actions, and all other governmental costs have not been counteracted by the trickle down effect historically low tax rates over the last quarter of a century. Lower taxes have not caused the affluent to create new businesses and in turn new jobs at a rate that has any significant affect on our overall economy.

Basically the current tax rate is low compared to what it was durning the post WWII economic boom under Eisenhower, and even lower than it was during the Reagan Era. The lower taxes mantra reminds me of the concept of Manifest Destiny, no matter what gains its adherents achieve, the only acceptable next step is more, more tax cuts now, more land then, an insatiable appetitive for more that accepts no compromise.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Youth Soccer

My son's team has NY Red Bull coaches, it's weird, I drove to the game with one of them this weekend, he was at least my age most likely older, most int'l youth coaches I have met are young guys in their 20's. There is this world wide network of coaches that, a high percentage of which are from the UK, and they coach in Ghana one year, move to USA the next, are an assistant coach to a low level pro team in Wales, then become the head coach to kids in NJ, it is very weird transient lifestyle that I was not perviously aware of.
So we roll into our first league game on the road last weekend with a professional coach decked out in Red Bulls gear, and our boys are rocking Adidas kits, we arrive in a nice upper middle class town in North Jersey and they have t-shirts and dads coaching having them do jumping jacks before the game. My son's team had to stop scoring at 7-0 our else the club would have been fined for each additional goal. Not growing up with soccer it is interesting for me at least to see the vast range of how towns develop players.
The day before another team my son plays with sometimes got demolished in a scrimmage by Portuguese and Brazilian kids from Ironbound SC in Newark. So I saw the whole spectrum from kids who just kick the ball around for fun to upper middle class and rich kids with the best training money can buy to those whose families live and breath the game, you can guess which one looks the best so far.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Less Distractions On Campus

So after missing three weeks of class I has a midterm last week. I am not going to try to make up all of the reading I missed, but I have a paper and some blog entries due that I missed, plus keeping up with the current reading and and starting to research my major term paper.

Studying at home is often hard, we have had all of these house issues like possible two dead animals under our back deck that stink to high hell once the temperature sniffs 50 degrees, our heater has cut off twice and we have had to have someone come and service it to get it running again, and we had people come by to give estimates for trimming trees on our property, the guys we picked were suppose to call to give a heads up as to when they were free to come.

Well as I sit trying to figure out what the hell I am going to write my make-up paper on, and where am I going to find the research sources online, and being mad at myself for not getting any of it done earlier in the week, particularly because my kids have a half day to day and a play date at our house, so I will have less opportunity to work on the paper today than any other day this week, the tree trimmers show up. So there a bunch of Latin dudes high up in trees over my house with chainsaws and a giant truck sized wood chipper buzzing away as I type, not exactly an environment conducive to higher level conceptualizing. Also two worries have begun to creep in, one, this service was so much cheaper than the others, are they insured if one of these giant branches falls on my roof? Secondly, are we removing enough or too many branches? Too many may be safer and have less leaves to deal with in the fall, but it may look bad, and make the tree lean and force the roots to start coming up. Too few and we are still in danger of having a large branch fall on our house during a storm.
Oh and there are the squirrels who live in the tree, I am a little worried about their stress level.

video

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Evil Baby Killing Tampons

My 3rd grader notice some of my wife's tampons on a counter, and asked my wife about them. I did not hear all of her explanation but I heard enough to know it was too much information for him to deal with.
I was laying on the floor of his bedroom and he sat on top of me put his face close to mine and asked, "Is there something you can take to kill a baby inside a mommy after you have made one?"

GREAT

Me, "Mom! what exactly did you say to him. Son do not worry about that, though you are definitely not the first person to come up with that idea."

My wife, "He was asking me about what tampons are for."


He knows that his mother takes pills so she does not get pregnant. My wife explained that the tampons have nothing to do with making or killing babies. She then began to explain how the pill works and I had to cut her off realizing that to an eight year old or an extreme right to lifer the process of how they work may be considered "killing a baby," so I just chimed in that the pill keeps the mommy from making a baby.


We have told him that to make a baby you take a little piece of a mommy and little piece of a daddy, put them together inside of a mommy and it grows.

So last night he asks, "Do you make a baby if you cuddle too much and your hair gets tangled and it gets inside of the mommy?"


This morning the tampon box is still out and he says, "I hate tampons they are for killing babies." So my son thinks that tampons are for killing babies, we told him they are not, but he does not believe us. I explain that they are used only when mommies are not making babies, he does not buy it. I have to take a cup and use it as model of an upside down womb, fill it with a little water and describe a period as the water pouring out of the cup and the tampon is a sponge to keep mommies clean. Not fully buying it, I explain there is blood involved and the womb makes a bed for the new baby to grow in and if it is not needed the body throws the bedding out.


So we left it with him finally starting to turn the corner but not full convinced that tampons are not for killing babies.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Seems like yesterday

My just turned six year-old, "February is not so fun,"
me, "Why? We have a bunch of fun things, the Super Bowl, Coach Charlie's birthday dinner at Red Robin, your kid birthday party,"
Him, "Mehhheh,"
me, "What that party is costing us around $500, I can call up right now and cancel it!" I pick up the phone,
him, "NO!"
Me, "Alright then, you have to appreciate what we do for you, I am sorry but I can't make everyday all fun all the time, I have a number of things I have to do."
Him, "Dad do you remember when I was the most important thing in your life? Seems like yesterday."
Me, "WHAT? What did you say?"
He repeats what he said
Me, "Where did you get that from?"
Him, "In Toy Story they say 'Do you remember when we were the most important things in Andy's life. Seems like yesterday.'"
Me, "Oh man that was pretty funny."

So my six year-old has figured out how to quote film dialog to bust my balls, great.

Welcome to the Spring 2011 Semester

Sometimes it feels like the only thing I hate more than work is change.

And by work I mean on a project I do not believe in and by change I mean unwanted or unplanned change.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two things

Over winter break I finally had time to build the second of three cheap book shelves I bought months and months ago. It was tall and white and I put it in our boys' room, the last one was black and didn't match the room's color scheme. The boys have been happy to have their books, comics and trading cards back in their room rather than in the attic where they aren't really allowed to go into.
My kindergartner said he wanted to paint the book shelf. Knowing full well that I was not going to let him do this I asked what color he wanted to paint it, he said, "Clear!"
I let him know that you can't make non-clear items clear with paint.

-------

We got back late from a family birthday party last night and missed the first few minutes of the Jets game. My boys wanted to watch the game but I sent them to bed during half-time and told them that if the Jets come back you can watch the DVR of the game, if not they save themselves the grief of watching their team lose.

During the third quarter I got up a few times to go to the kitchen to make food and get drinks. I was pretty much sedentary for the fourth quarter. After they lost I felt a bit bummed and thought, "I am not going to watch the Steelers celebrate," and turned the channel, then to my surprise my 8 year-old popped up from under a TV tray standing the far side of the couch that I was sitting on and yells, "I hate the Steelers!" I asked how long have you been there? "Uh," okay how many Jets touchdowns did you see? "Two." So he snuck down the stairs when I went to the kitchen and hid for at least a half an hour about six feet away from me.


......... kitchen
-
--
---
---- ......... TV
^ stairs
couch-> [_me_______] him

If we were not both so bummed about the outcome of the game he would have gotten in trouble for sneaking out of bed and staying up late.

Jan. 24th, excerpt from "Laughter," by Deng Ming-Dao

"... We are too often in a rush for our children to grow up. It is far better for them to fully live each year of their lives. Let them learn what is appropriate to their time, let them play. And when their childhood is spent at adolescence, help them in a gentle transition. Then their laughter will continue to resonate with cheer and hope for us all."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Holiday Issues

Our hamster died at one year and 11 months, just shy of the normal hamster life span, which was good considering she had cancer since being one month old. She had been slowing down for a month and two weeks ago it did not look like she was going to make it through Xmas. She bounced back the past week to the point we thought that she had gotten better, but it was just that last burst of energy that we often get right before giving birth or dying.

With the giant snow storms that hit our area I had lots of snow to shovel, then the next day I built my kids an igloo with entailed a bunch more shoveling, then since I did not want to go snowboarding I agreed to my wife's B plan of tubing, the next day we spent the whole day shopping so tons of walking and carrying big boxes, this all lead to my back going out at a restaurant. We got home to see our hamster dead which lead to the kids climbing all over us because they were upset, which lead to them sleeping in our bed, neither or which was good for my back.

We also went out to lunch with my parents who we have not seen in more than six months due to a some major family issues, though everything went fine the lead up did add stress to the week.

So like many breaks this one ends with me accomplishing less than half of things I thought I would at its onset.

Me, Petty, No?

I had two conversations over new year's eve where separate friends debated little factoids I brought up as being incorrect. Now neither one is of any ground shaking importance, one is about the history of the town we all live in, the other about a soccer tactic used in a recent match. As a residue of growing up rather shy I usually don't make statements that I am not sure of outside of speaking with my immediate family, therefore I am usually sure of my statements.

So I politely let my doubters know that I stood by my statements and that I could back them up with documentation, which still didn't convince them. So big deal right, well my issue is not with them it is with my desire to send them web links to prove that I was not speaking out of my ass. As I write this I realize my problem is that I hate when people go on about shit they know nothing about, or stand strong on points where they can easily be proved wrong, so for someone to think that about me places me in a zone of discomfort. This has to do with me not allowing myself the freedom to be wrong. I understand that I am frequently wrong across many subjects, but I apparently can not deal with others thinking I am wrong when I am not.

So my desire to email friends links proving that I was not talking out of my ass is petty, no?