Raising My Rainbow: The other side of bullying

I always loved the idea of a book club, the idea of getting together with some girlfriends over coffee or wine and desserts. Talking about a book, and generally having some adult conversation that flowed freely. I had a failed attempt at trying to lead the HLB Boston Book Club chapter, to be honest planning events that centered around books that I didn’t get to pick and not having a huge (aka only 1 or 2 people every time) turnout for any of the events I did plan was kind of disappointing, so I stopped doing it.

I read on Cait’s blog about the book club, From Left to Write. From Left to Write is an online book club where the members create a virtual discussion about the book and how it relates to their lives. I love the concept of this for a few reasons. It takes the school concept of a book report out of the equation completely and it gives readers who haven’t read the book a way to relate to the topics portrayed within the book.

This post is not a traditional review, but I am using my personal experiences and using a theme within the book as a writing prompt. One of the books that I was able to read was Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son
by Lori Duron. The book is about a family where one of the boys is gender-creative. It is a story about how her family navigates the challenges and privileges of raising a gender non-conforming son.

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After I read the book I thought about writing about how no matter what happens in his life, I will forever love him for WHO he is no matter who that person turns out to be, but I felt like that is the safe route for me.

I decided to pull from a part of my life that I do not talk about very often, teaching. Prior to the stay-at-home gig I was a teacher, I taught mostly 8th graders, but I fluctuated between 5th and 12th grade during my career. Something that I noticed between when I was in 8th grade and when I taught was how bullying has progressed.

When I was in middle and high school I got bullied a lot. I was short, I was taking growth hormone injections every day, and you know how it goes – when you are different you are a target. Initially, I fought back – literally, but it obviously didn’t stop the bullying. I found solace in developing a relationship with a high school guidance counselor and my vice principal. Their conversations and help saved me from years of torment, but they also helped me find my way as a teenager and proved to be sounding boards when I started making adult decisions about college.

Bullying is a whole new ballgame today with things like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc… As an adult, sometimes getting mean comments on my blog can affect me in ways I didn’t expect and I am almost 30 years old. Hearing about how pre-teens use the internet as a way to bully someone broke my heart, because there was absolutely nothing that we as teachers could do, at least not until the student told us about the bullying. At some of my jobs when a student approached a teacher about something that happened online there were repercussions for the bully.

One line stood out to me in the book: “The school [has] an obligation to take immediate and effective action to eliminate the hostile environment.” While I 100% agree with this statement, there are other components that need to also be in place. Parents need to talk to their children, completely invest in the conversation (that means put away the phone and turn off the tv) and find out what is going on in your kids lives. Opening the lines of communication from day 1 hopefully means that when your kids get older they will talk to you about the tougher stuff.

The second component is a bit harder and something that, unfortunately, is not really in your control, but finding a teacher or staff member that your child can trust and can talk to you is key. Whether it is their 6th grade science teacher or their guidance counselor, it is an important part of trying to help a student who is getting bullied and if there has to be teacher or classroom switches, that person can hopefully help make that transition smooth.

The third component is the actual student, he or she needs to be able to physically tell someone what happened. I had a student print out another students Facebook page, that student had written multiple statuses that were harassing another student. The school did take action and as far as I know that harassment stopped. However, it takes guts for a student to take action with online bullying. My hope is that all students know that someone will help them.

If you want more information, Lori and her husband Matt were on the Today show on Tuesday, and you can watch the interview here!

Bullying is a very heavy topic, so my question for you is not a tale about bullying, but how have you been able to overcome bullying or what is the support system you have?

This post was inspired by the memoir Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron as she shares her journey raising a gender creative son. Join From Left to Write on September 5 as we discuss Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son.
As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Full Disclosure: The links for the book are affiliate links.

Two

I can’t believe a year ago I was writing these posts.

I can’t believe that as you are reading this my baby has turned into a TWO year old. He is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I am grateful I get to spend all this time with him.

As the saying goes, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Just yesterday, I was looking at him from a hospital bed, wondering how on earth I was going to be able to do this mom thing.

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and today I can’t even imagine life without your amazing smile.

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wearing Yia Yia’s glasses, thanks for the pic Uncle Coco!

You are speaking in full sentences, and understand a lot of what we are communicating, and even ignore us when we say no.

You sleep in a regular bed, but we haven’t even tried the potty thing.

You love the outdoors and to go swimming, my little adventure man.

You love to show daddy how to do squats and you yell at mommy if she stops before you tell her.

We even had to leave your first home, and you were none to pleased about it.

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But you adjusted just fine and even started your own blog ;)!
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I love you my darling little boy. You are full of spunk and sass (just like your momma) and you love music and computers (just like your daddy). I can’t wait to see where this next year takes us, but what I do know is that it is going to be an amazing adventure.

The Sickies

I had been feeling sorta out of it the past few weeks, my eating hasn’t been where I’d like, which was a culmination of things, but not an excuse. My gym routine was pretty awesome until we were away and then this Thursday I got sick. I always get caught up in the comparison trap and even when I am sick I feel like I am not doing enough. Even though I knew there was no way my body could workout I felt like poo since I wasn’t eating right. I know this is something I need to nip in the bud.

To backtrack: About a half hour before Nick came home from work on Thursday I started to get a really gross feeling in my stomach, almost like when I eat terrible food and it just sits there. Even though the last thing I ate was a turkey burger plain with a salad.

Nick came home and immediately took care of B, I ended up passing out on the couch for an hour or two and when I woke immediately ran to the bathroom, false alarm. I decided to try and eat, but the only thing that sounded remotely good was watermelon. I had a few bites and I just wasn’t feeling it so I headed to bed. I got nice and comfy and then came the sweats. Instantly I knew I was going to be sick. I ran to the bathroom, and well lets just say watermelon was a bad idea. I woke up multiple times in the night to be sick. Friday I asked Nick to stay home because I was so out of it, also I didn’t want B to get this.

Friday night/Saturday morning B woke up covered in puke. I know plenty of parents whose toddlers have already thrown up before but this was a first for us, and it was scary. He woke up, sat up and threw up and then cried for us. We stripped him down and his bed and he was running around his room, and then he sat down and threw up on the floor. We were a bit nervous so we stayed up with him and he didn’t end up falling asleep until 5 am. Long night, and I wasn’t feeling 100% still.

Luckily, both our moms were visiting this weekend so I was able to rest and Nick was able to get some house work done. We thought we were all better but last night after dinner, B got sick again :(. I am hoping its just the sickness working itself out and not allergies.

I felt like all I ate this weekend was carbs (toast, so much toast) since it was all I could keep down, but since I was feeling about 90% this morning, I got right back into my good habits. Working out and eating clean and lots of water. I felt a little off and my muscles felt a bit weak but I know that’ll work itself out.

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How do you get back on track after getting sick?

Emotions

As this post goes live, Nick and I are trying to hastily pack the last-minute items we NEEDED until the last minute (I mean as long as Sandy passes quickly and without much fanfare) while making sure B doesn’t toss any items, like keys or wallets, into a box that is going into storage for an undetermined amount of time.

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I love(d) our condo, it was our first home as a married couple, the first home we purchased. The first home where I felt we weren’t living like post-college still wish we were in college adults. You know, plastic beer bong tables in the kitchen, etc… (currently that table is in the garage, we are parents that still have fun

Summer Adventures

Somedays I forget to write about the things that B and I do during the day. We have our weekly music class and park dates, but their have been some other great things we have done this summer. Instead of writing an extremely long post, I will share some pictures!

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One of our visits to JP Licks to get frozen yogurt

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Playing with Abby

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Sleeping in the car after a long day out

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A visit to the local zoo. He’d rather people watch then animal watch

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We had a case of the sickies

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A play date at the Children’s Museum.

What do you like to do with your little ones during the summer?

B’s Birthday Party

As you all know B turned one last monday, we waited until this past weekend to have his birthday party so that most of our immediate family could attend.

I am going to write real posts about all the aspects that went into this party, but I wanted to share some photos from our weekend!

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my mother-in-law and B at lunch

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oh hey mom

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Love this photo. 2 sets of great grandparents and 2 sets of grandparents, one very lucky little boy.

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the only family photo..

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B and my dad

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B and Aunt Caty

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B and his godparents

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B and my sister and her boys

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Imitating Uncle Chris.
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B and his first cake

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Birthday cake

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Cupcakes, recipe coming soon!

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While trying to take a family pic B reached over and stuck is hand in the cake

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Opening one of his gifts in his adorable hat from his godparents

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Yay! Maracas

It was a wonderful day spent with our amazing family!

What I Wish I Had Known

I am sure there are a million things that can fit into this list. And maybe someone did tell me these things, but I just don’t remember. Basically mom word-vomit about things that have irked me lately.

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I cannot stop buying baby shoes!

1. The car will become your best friend or your worst enemy.

It is my best friend when I am driving anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours because B will sleep the majority of the trip if I plan it right. But the 5 minutes home from the grocery store every week. It is a sight, loud singing and noise making, windows open. I just need to make it home so I can get him in his crib and get him to take a real nap

2. The comparison game

I have never been one to really give a crap about what other people think of me. Ever since B came along I have been reading other blogs, how much baby weight has she lost. Why is her baby doing X younger than when B did it, The list goes on and on. And for the first time in a long time, I started deleting blogs from my reader, and people that I followed on twitter, frankly it was just too frustrating.

3. Finding mom friends is like dating, but worse.

I am the only one of my close friends with kids, and I knew finding mom friends was going to be something that I would have to do. I thought going to the park or to a class repeatedly would help, so far nothing. I have made one IRL friend but unfortunately our schedules aren’t that close and we don’t live close enough to be like “hey, lets go to the park today at 11″. Mom friending is hard because you have to be completely vulnerable and that person may not care for you one bit, or vice versa

4. What you do in your free time is completely different then what you thought it might be.

For the first 5 months of life B rarely took a nap longer than 30 minutes, and I felt like I was always running to do something. Shower, eat, workout, laundry, cleaning, etc… I had these grand plans in my head about how life was going to be. Now that B is closer to a year those things are more likely to happen, aka working out, showering and eating during one nap, it was a long road, some days I still choose to work out and nap over working out then showering.

5. Your friendships will change

No matter what you do your friendships will change. Those without kids will never fully understand what your life is like and you will never go back to your pre-baby days. This absolutely does not mean you won’t have any friends with no kids. I still have great friends that do not have kids and are very understanding of the fact that I have a child, but those days of going out to the bar on Saturday night for hours, well they take lots of planning, and lots of Advil. I will say though, my circle of friends has gotten significantly smaller, and I am happy with that, I have cut out a lot of the bs friendships. Frankly, if I had to put in 100% of the effort pre-baby, I have put in 0% post-baby. I just don’t have the time pr the patience.

6. Judgmental non-moms

Maybe this is just me, but I have encountered so many people who have implied that because I am a stay at home mom, I have all the free time in the world. Wrong. While being a SAHM is not the same as a desk job, and you will never hear me grumping about how I had to get up at 730 and feed B his breakfast then go play, it also doesn’t mean that I don’t have a schedule that I like to stick too. Also, am not home all the time.

This is all worth it

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What do you wish you knew about motherhood?