a world without a gun shaped pop-tart is no world at all

I’m overwhelmed at times by the plethora of boys.

First, there is my stinky husband.  Now, I love him, but good lord, he farts.. he burps… he just… stinks.

Then there is my stinky dog. Now, I love him but good lord, his name is Freuhauser. Enough said? (My stinky husband named him. Don’t blame me.)

Then there is my son. Now, I love him.  No but. (Unless he smears his poop on the wall. Then I might not like him very much.)

Boys are a different animal, aren’t they?  I mean, we (for the most part) are all married to one.  (Were we crazy to CHOOSE that?) They even play differently with our kids.  I notice the way Jon throws my son around, they wrestle, you know… boy stuff.

In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”

With 70% of expulsions from schools being boys, how are our schools not serving their needs?  Play is so important in the emotional and physical growth of boys (and girls.)  By limiting creativity, and their natural tendency to be protectors.  According to one study (cited in this article), play fighting rarely escalates to violence. (The study says  only 1% of the time, in fact.)

Lately, with all the school violence and focus on bullying, many schools have adopted “Zero-Tolerance” Policies for many things.  For the most part, I’m cool with them.  But lately, there has been an increasing movement to ban all play that might include (play) fighting, etc.  They are twisting the “no weapons” policy to include “guns” made of fingers, barkchips.. pencils… you name it.

As I read this article, I found myself torn.  I worked with many students who were survivors of domestic violence and were triggered by violent play.  But should we be expelling a kid who was pretending to fight monsters with a barkchip “gun?”

One paragraph regarding “action narratives” (what outsiders might coin as violent play) struck me quite close to home, as a former preschool student educator:

According to at least one study, such play rarely escalates into real aggression — only about 1% of the time. But when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, surveyed classroom practices of 98 teachers of 4-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week — whereas less than a third reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly.

In the era of decreasing physical activity but the cutting of gym and recess time, are our kids being force to lose their imagination to appease the ever increasing hot button topic of “Zero-Tolerance?”

Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.”

To take it a step further, are all-inclusive games not allowing our children to learn to win and lose? In my former life, I managed before and after school programs and summer camps, and inclusive play was ALL THE RAGE.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a HUGE place for inclusive “no loser” games.  These games provide a sense of teamwork and self worth.  But, I did notice a huge shift in the older kids who were raised on inclusive games… well… exclusively.  They were unable to handle situations where they failed.  They were horrible “losers.”  They couldn’t learn from mistakes, because previously all their mistakes were considered “creative.”  I started hiring staff out of high school who couldn’t be instructed to do something without arguing and just saying “no, I won’t do that, because I don’t WANT to.”

In conclusion, I think there is a fine balance.  I also think that like most things, it comes down to parenting.  Do you talk to your boy (or girl) about pretend play vs. real play?  Do you talk to them about making friends and making sure that they are kind?  Do you explain the difference between a real gun and a pretend one?  Do you teach your child how to win well?  Do you teach them how to lose well?  I think those are the things our boys need most.

That and more recess time.

And baths. (Let’s be honest here.)

Read the complete article HERE.


What is your experience with your child and “banned” play? 

Do you think boys are at a disadvantage in school?


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Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

the monday snapshot – Jessica (jjiraffe)

Jessica of Too Many Fish to Fry is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the The Monday Snapshot – an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections. 

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!


Hi PAIL bloggers!

I’m Jessica, and I blog at Too Many Fish To Fry. Right now I am both mourning and celebrating the fact that my twins started kindergarten. They are no longer my babies, but I am so proud of the children they are becoming. It’s bittersweet. Here they are on the first day of school with my husband who I call Darcy (I am a Jane Austen fan), ready to start their journey as schoolchildren. Sob!! I’ve needed a lot of kleenex this week…



Now, get to know a little more about Jessica with her answers to the Monday Snapshot “5 Questions”:

1) How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I started blogging in 2010 after a miscarriage. My husband works in the blogging industry and he’d been talking about bloggers for a while. I was in bed recovering and typed ʺinfertility blogsʺ into Google using a laptop, and discovered Stirrup Queens. I started my blog a few days later. It was a seminal moment in my life: suddenly, I discovered a whole group of women who understood who I was.

2) Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences):

I have five year old twins, thanks to science. Specifically: three IVF attempts. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have my smart, funny, creative, articulate and beautiful son and daughter in my life. I also have a husband who reminds everyone of Mr. Darcy. He’s deliciously rude, haughty and romantic.

3)What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?

I don’t think there’s anything particularly unique about my story or my blog, but my ʺFaces of ALIʺ series seems to have found an audience. ʺFaces of ALIʺ was written in response to some particularly horrible articles in The New York Times portraying infertility as a problem affecting the rich and whimsical only. My series tells the stories of ordinary yet extraordinary people going through infertility and loss with hope and grace. And it will be a book very soon!!

4) One word to describe yourself: 


5) What blog or website (IF or not) would you recommend to others? Why?

I love so many IF blogs. So: here’s some of my other favorites!  – The NieNie Dialogues. Stephanie Nielson was a mother of four who was burned over 80% of her body in a plane crash. What she did next (survive with beauty, grace and resilience) is continuously inspiring to me. Her book is fantastic too.  – Heidi Swanson is my favorite mainstream food blogger, hands down. (Justine Levine’s A Half-Baked Life is my all time fave.) Her food is vegetarian, healthy and delicious.  – Design Sponge: Grace Bonney and co make life more beautiful, one hipster home at a time.  The Sartorialist: the best street fashion.


As always, we want to see your Monday Snapshot as well, so please comment below with a link to your post– and of course, go visit Jessica of Too Many Fish to Fry.

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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monthly theme, august 2013: “feeding your child” post listing

Suggested Prompts: (or people could write whatever they wanted, obviously!)

  • How did you feed your baby? Breastmilk from the breast? Breastmilk from pumping? Formula? A combination of the three?
  • If you exclusively breastfed your child, how long did you do it? Did you have a “goal” for length of time, or did you just wing it?
  • If you breastfed + supplemented with formula, how long did you nurse in any amount?
  • If you formula fed, how did you choose the formula brand? What are your suggestions for finding the best brand for your child?
  • Did you research breastfeeding prior to your child(ren)’s birth?
  • Did your method of feeding your chlid(ren) differ from what you had hoped/planned to do? How did that make you feel?
  • If you worked outside the home during the first year, how did that affect your decision?
  • What would you tell an expectant mom about the realities of breastfeeding & formula feeding? Is there something you wish you’d have been told?
  • If you’re pregnant, how do you hope/plan to feed your child?
  • Do you feel your “preferred” method to feed your child was affected by how those around you feed their babies?
  • How much (in your estimation) did you spend on feeding your child for his/her first year of life? (pumping supplies / formula cost / lactation consultants / etc)

Contributing Bloggers:

  1. Cathy @ ANDMom: “Feed Your Child” – When it comes to feeding children, eating + growing = win.  The rest is details.
  2. Heather @ One Step at a Time: “Breastfeeding Your Child (Pail Monthly Theme)” – Breastfeeding is tough at first, just like having a new baby. But if you stick it out you will reap the rewards.
  3. ElizabethA New Version of Me: “Feeding My Babies” – My perspective on infant feeding after breastfeeding, bottle feeding and tube feeding.
  4. JoseyMy Cheap Version of Therapy: “selfishly feeding my child(ren)” – A selfish take on what breastfeeding meant (and continues to mean) to me – both positive and negative.
  5. MichelleA Well Adjusted Pessimist: “feeding my child” – For me, breastfeeding is so much more than feeding my child.
  6. Kacey @ Recipe for a baby:How do you feed your child…” – Learning to breastfeed, the second time around.
  7. My New NormalFinding My New Normal: “Breastfeeding Woes” – Coming to terms with the fact that breastfeeding wasn’t working and trying not to feel like a total failure.
  8. D @ My Life is About the Journey: The highs and lows of breastfeeding (and what they don’t tell you)” – Breastfeeding hasn’t always been an easy road for me.  In this post I have highlighted some of the bumps and bruises that I’ve received so far during my 4 month journey.
  9. Ms. Future PharmDMom PharmD: “Feeding babies” – The saga of nursing for a total of 19 months plus a bit about how solids have or have not been successful.
  10. MeganMy New Journey with Being a Mom After Infertility and Battling my Weight: “Feeding a Baby-Working Mama Style” – When things once again didn’t go as planned and how I adjusted.
  11. christine @ believing in june: “feeding my kiddos” – How I came to peace with combo feeding my little ones.
  12. missohkay @ the misadventures of missohkay: “It’s just food” – Food. It’s not what’s for dinner.
  13. BMarCloudy with a Chance of Infertility: “Bittersweet” – The end of my breastfeeding journey with a link to my early days on the breastfeeding roller coaster 🙂
  14. DelennSlaying, Blogging, Whatever…:PAIL Bloggers – Monthly Theme – Feeding your child” – My experience of breastfeeding and formula feeding.  What the classes don’t tell you.
  15. ElizabethBébé Suisse: “Breastfeeding as a mixed metaphor: feeding my child” – Mixing metaphors and overcoming a few bumps in creating a beautiful breastfeeding relationship.
  16. Amanda @ Reading Each Page: “Thank Goodness for Formula” – Feeding my son didn’t work out how I had planned, but thanks to science he is a happy and healthy baby.
  17. RelaxedNoMoreRelaxed No More: “To Mush Or Not To Mush” – When my little one was 6 months old, he was more ready for solids than I was. These are my contemplations on starting solids and which way to go with them – the traditional puree road or BLW.
  18. EsperanzaStumbling Gracefully: “Breastfeeding Take Two” – Trying to resolve my ambivalent feelings about breastfeeding as I embark on a second attempt.
  19. LisaLoving Our Life Together: “Monthly Theme: How to Feed a Baby
  20. ozifrogmaybe baby, J-man & the adventures of hub-in-boots: “Feeding the jman” – Ozifrog writes about her “boob man,” breastfeeding, and all the things she wish she knew about feeding jman.
  21. Stephanie @ Blawnde’s Blawg: “PAIL’s Monthly Theme Post – Feeding Your Child” – feeding my children, from one extreme to the other

If you are still writing your post, or these posts inspire you, link up in the comments. Additional posts will be added through the end of the week, so check back in to see if any new posts pop up, and feel free to leave some general comments on the topic below.


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join in!

Hey everyone! We know it’s been a busy summer, but we would still love to hear your thoughts about feeding your child. It’s such a diverse topic, and we could definitely all learn from each other’s experiences and struggles, our triumphs and tribulations.

Did you write your monthly theme post yet?

Submissions are due tonight!


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guest post: sexual assault and infertility

I’d like to preface this article by saying that some may find it triggering.

Take care of yourselves, Mamas!


Thirteen years ago, I was at my church youth group.  When I left the room to go to the bathroom, I was followed and violently attacked by knife point.  The gift I had hoped to give my husband was stolen from me, and I was left alone by the church with a Pastor who immediately asked “Well, why were you outside the youth room?”

Eight years later, I meet the man of my dreams.  He is normal, calm, a gentleman… and dealt with all my quirks.  He had to be in my line of sight to make sandwiches with knives, he couldn’t walk behind me, and he dealt with debilitating flashbacks and nightmares until a magical combination of medication and counseling finally created the woman I am proud to be today.  This entry is not a woe-is-me post… but rather a story about how sexual assault can complicate infertility treatments and birth.

We tried for so long with Ethan. Sex is (was) triggering, and more of a chore than anything else. So many people telling me to “Just Relax” was triggering.  It was laughable, the journey to becoming the very person I wanted to be (a mama) was made traumatic by my past.  And then came the internal ultrasounds; again, things were taken out of my control and placed into the hands of someone else.  Though I was aware of these ultrasounds, I traveled outside of myself frequently, just wishing to get pregnant so every month I didn’t feel violated again and again.  My RE was understanding, at least to the point someone could go who had not been through what I had.  She was informative and empowering by allowing me to set the pace and telling me everything she was doing.  Though I had that power, it was still the hardest three years I’ve ever gone through.

And then we got pregnant.  We were over the moon, and finally I felt like I could have 9 months of blissful lack of vaginal disruption.  I got passed from my RE to an OB/GYN.  I met with this OB a few weeks later, where she had me undress.  I talked with the nurse, and requested to be informed about everything prior to the OB doing anything.  She made sure to tell me that the message would be passed along.

It wasn’t.  The OB came in, and proceeded to examine me in ways that I didn’t feel I consented to, and it was one of the most shameful and triggering experiences.  When I told her to stop, she told me that it was necessary to examine me to make sure I was in good shape for the pregnancy and continued on.  She left and I cried.

After that visit, I made a complaint to the medical board.  They wrote back and told me that what she did wasn’t out of the scope of her practice and they would not be passing along my complaints.  I was flabbergasted.

This infuriated me, but also was the turning point for my care during my pregnancy.

I found a midwife.  I needed to feel more in control, and to feel like I had an advocate.  I finally felt I had a voice.  I started saying “No.”  I required everything that was being done for me and to me to be authorized BY me.   Suddenly, my birth was empowering instead of frightening and triggering.  I took back my own body in a new way.

I write this post as I am starting my own journey towards my Doula certification and reading a book described as the birth for sexual assault survivors bible.  I hope that I can help empower other women to find their own voice; their own power in birth.

I write this post  to empower you to tell yours.  When there are as many blogs on this blogroll as there are, statistically, there are at least 33% of us who have gone through some sort of sexual abuse.

You are not alone.


Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

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