Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Third Wild-Haired Child

All three of our children have been born with lots of hair . . . so much that it was ALWAYS what people noticed whenever we took them anywhere as babies.

Although we have finally managed to tame Benjamin's wild do (mainly by keeping it very short),

 


and Janae's locks lie flat now that they're long,

 


we're not quite sure what to do with Alaina's fluffy, 2-inch high baby mohawk.

 


My dad constantly reminds me that mine looked exactly the same when I was a baby.

I sometimes try to put in a clip or a bow, but since these seem to cause Alaina pain, I usually just let her sport the mohawk.

 


You're only a baby once, afterall!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Barbie and I Go Way Back

 


Several weeks ago Jason and I were talking with some other adults about our children, and it somehow came up that Janae loves to watch Barbie movies. A hush fell over the group as people exchanged disapproving looks and murmured comments about the corrupting influence of Barbie (this might have only been my imagination, but it really seemed to happen!). I felt a little embarrassed, remembering that a few years ago I might have reacted the same way. I justified my decision to expose Janae to Barbie, thinking, "The Barbie of today is not the Barbie of the past" (she presents herself as a professional, encourages young girls to live up to their potential, etc., etc.), but even so, I had to admit that Barbie and I actually go way back. . . .

As a young girl, I loved playing with my Barbies (if you don't believe me, we have some excellent home movie footage to prove it!). I remember going to the toy store and staring at the new Barbies, picking out the ones I wanted. I loved dressing them, combing their hair, having them act out scenerios, setting them up for plays and dances, and even posing them for Barbie family pictures. Because my youngest sister was 5 years younger than I was, I got away with playing Barbies for a long time--well into my teenage years, in fact.

A few years passed, and I went away to university, where I majored in English and was instructed in FEMINISM. Little by little I realized that Barbie was responsible for most of the world's woes. She not only caused low self-esteem and eating disorders, she also promoted materialism, capitalism (and all of its associated evils), and male domination. Yes, Barbie was the enemy--how had I not seen it earlier? I sincerely vowed that if I ever had a daughter (which was becoming increasingly unlikely), I would keep her far away from Barbie, as well as any other pink or plastic thing.

Well, a few more years went by, and I had nieces. They played Barbies, and I had to admit, the urge to play with them was strong. I had been away from the academic world for a while (teaching first-year English courses doesn't really count), and I started to forget how bad Barbie really was. I gave in and played--acting out silly scenarios to make my nieces laugh. I had a great time.

Then one day the girls were singing and dancing to the soundtrack for a Barbie movie, The Princess and the Pauper. I was hooked. Although I only had a son at this point, I picked up a copy of Barbie in The Princess and the Pauper from a Superstore Clearance bin and kept it up on my closet shelf, just in case.

Of course, the rest is history.

 


I don't think Janae was much more than a year old when I broke out the video and watched it with her. Next it was Barbie in the Nutcracker, Barbie as Rapunzel, and (our newest favorite) Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses. The other day I even found myself singing along to the Princess and the Pauper soundtrack while I was actually alone in the van.

I have to admit, I am nothing less than a Barbie fanatic.

Not in the air-head/plastic surgery/materialistic sense, of course, but I do enjoy the movies (with their music, dancing, and messages like, "Big or small there is a difference only you can make"), and I honestly don't think a little bit of exposure to Barbie is harmful.

 


So after all these years, Barbie and I have come full circle. But my feminist background has not been completely lost. I am careful to balance Janae's Barbie time with instruction in other areas like alphabet learning and discussion about true beauty coming from within.

Maybe someday she'll even co-author a "defense of Barbie" with me for a feminist academic journal.

When I brought this idea up with Janae, she looked at me very seriously for a few minutes, then said, "Where are my sparkly shoes?"

So, I guess maybe not. . . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We Finally Caught One!

Alaina is such a smiley baby, but we've been having a difficult time catching one of her smiles in a picture.

We tried

 


and tried

 


and finally we caught one . . .

 


and then another one!

 


I love those gummy baby smiles :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alaina's Turn in the Dress

Yesterday was Alaina's blessing day at church, which meant she got to wear a beautiful (but very slippery!) white dress that had been handed down from her mama, three aunties, six of her girl cousins, and (of course) her sister, Janae.

 


After a few family photo attempts, first with dad,

 


then with mom,

 


we were off to church to officially give Alaina Christina a name and a blessing.

 


Jason was really nervous, but he did a great job . . . and Alaina was nice and calm through the whole thing.

It is such a blessing to me to have this sweet little daughter, and to have all of my three children--it's all I've ever wanted :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Our Two Sides of Halloween Part I: The Fun Side

We all know that there are two sides to Halloween, but maybe not these two sides:

Our Fun-Filled Halloween

We started Halloween with a party at our local Hall, where Benjamin carved a pumpkin all by himself for the first time (with a kid-friendly knife, don't worry!) and then got to fight with Darth Vadar.

 


Next we went trick or treating at one of Janae's favorite places, the mall.

 


We had dinner, lit our jack o lanterns, then Jason took the kids to a few houses at our complex before heading off for some serious trick or treating with Benjamin.

 


Ben was pretty happy with his haul and spent the rest of the evening playing with it.

 


But there's another side to the story. . . .

Our Two Sides of Halloween Part II: The Flu Side

Candy isn't the only reason Benjamin looks the happiest in all of our Halloween pictures this year--the rest of us had the flu!

Our Flu-Filled Halloween

Janae had been sick most of the week, and her coughs, sneezes and sniffles continued on through Halloween.

She was pretty miserable at the party, perked up a little for the mall, and then tried to make an effort to trick or treat in the evening.

Does this look like a happy princess?

 


She came home after only a few houses . . .

 


. . . and ate some treats on the couch while watching Beauty and the Beast.

 


When I took her upstairs for bed she was asleep within 10 minutes.

I think she's ready for the next big holiday, though :)