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w October 31, 2005

Hey Little Girl, Want Some Candy?

So this was the first year that Bean was a) not sick over Hallowe'en and b) old enough that it felt "right" to take her trick or treating, as opposed to the somewhat spurious usage of an 18 month old to garner candy for parental consumption. She had had a party and stuff at school and so was totally pooped this afternoon, sleeping right through until I woke her up at about 6 pm, partially because of the whole candy grab, but also because she needed something in her stomach before going down for the whole night. Anyway, we got a minimal amount of dinner into said stomach, pulled on her cat/bunny/mouse costume and off we went.

The costume, by the way, was made by my mom when my sister was three or so, and originally, yes, it was supposed to be that of a white cat. I think the years have wreaked a bit of havoc on the ear portion because I have in fact heard all of the above queried. I ended up telling people, she's a small furry cute animal, and whatever you want her to be. I'm not sure people really give a toss WHAT a kid is up to about age five...a costume on a small child is a costume and it's damn cute.

So anyway, we made it to about five houses before meltdown started threatening, which I thought was pretty good, and actually about what I had guesstimated we could do even on a "good" night. Came home, washed off the whiskers, had a bite or two of candy, which I think started the wheels churning as to the point of this whole venture, and back into bed. It got me thinking though...was I a bad parent for kind of "forcing" my developmentally delayed, blind child to go trick or treating, when it was clear she didn't have much clue what was going on?

After some thought, I decided, no, I wasn't. What I was doing is what Gene and I have to do, particularly for "normal" experiences like holidays or typical kid activities. We have to kind of create the situation and present it to her with a lot of commentary. It's a bit like the old proverb that if Mohammed won't go to the mountain, the mountain needs to come to Mohammed. I didn't keep her out for an hour, I didn't make her wear a super uncomfortable and elaborate costume, and I kept everything pretty underwhelming. My only hope is that some day in the future she'll remember, oh yeah...Mom took me out for trick or treating even when I wasn't really sure what it was, but it was fun, and I appreciate that.

Failing that, we at least have a reasonable amount of candy to enjoy over the next few days.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:13 PM

w October 28, 2005

Unicorns and Fairy Dust

I'm watching this dorkumentary right now entitled "American Virgins". It is a British presentation, but focuses on a group based outside of Pittsburgh, the "Silver Ring Thing". This is run by a not surprisingly extreme conservative pastor who I'm not sure has smiled ONCE during the whole show. To be perfectly honest, he's a real dick. Listening to him coach a silver-ring wearing teenage boy who is helping him lobby congressmen is just appalling. He tells him "it really sounds like you're just spouting your lines...". Right, but those are the lines you have been feeding him and coaching him on for how long? Of course, this group gets gobs of federal dollars...I notice Planned Parenthood doesn't.

Apparently when it was discovered by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy that there isn't a whole lot of correlation between what kids SAY about sex and abstinence and what they DO...President Bush then ordered the Center for Disease Control to only survey and tabulate what kids say...not what they do. Hey, why bother facing a tough problem when you could just stick your head in fantasy land sand?

The part that I really loved was when Pastor Dickhead is asking for a gazillion dollars so that they can "help" stem the spread of AIDS in Africa...he wants to build a silver ring building factory! Because...isn't it great when students can make the rings that they are wearing? Yeah. And it's also great when they can make rings for next to nothing for you to then sell at a premium to affluent white American kids.

And therin lies another issue...I noticed pretty much every face at these rallies or seminars was white white white. The one class at a Pittsburgh high school that Planned Parenthood was shown visiting...every face was black. I don't know a whole lot of the statistics on racial/ethnic composition of teens with STDs and unplanned pregnancies, but I'd be willing to bet there's a reasonable distribution amongst the various groups in the U.S. Why are they only focusing on kids who will pay twelve dollars to come to their seminars and pay five dollars for the ring?

Oh. Right.

I think I might donate a couple of rounds of $17 to Planned Parenthood.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:48 PM

w October 04, 2005

Think On This, Please

I'm shilling. Regardless of what you think of the war in Iraq, there are still thousands upon thousands of lonely kids far away from home, and the holidays are coming up quick. I have a few friends of friends of friends deployed, but stumbled across this great website:


Even though we can't send mail/packages to "Any Soldier" anymore, this organization has been set up to fill that need. Basically what happens is that various military personnel agree to be the "point person" for a certain number of people...maybe their roommates, maybe their squad, maybe a whole platoon, just depends. If you send mail to a specific person, it will get there, and they see the "Attn: Any Soldier" line...and will pass it on to anyone needing a bit of a morale boost. Apparently there are plenty of soldiers who don't get much, if any, mail from home, and it's got to be hard to see others getting stuff when you are just as lonely and homesick.

I hit Target and Safeway and just grabbed whatever was on sale. These kids aren't picky, seriously. I won't go into the hows and whys of the process, the website does a much better job, but please think on even sending a holiday card when the time comes. I remember how excited I was to see a letter or package in my box at university, and I didn't have to face bodily harm.

All I can think is so many of these guys and girls are 18, 19, 20 years old...I could have taught them in 8th grade. How could I not send gummy worms and baby wipes when it's no skin off my nose and means so much to them?

by Heather Hoffman at 5:49 PM

w October 01, 2005

Houston, We Have Pigtails

It has taken *forever* for Bean to gain enough hair to do ANYTHING with beyond trimming bangs and occasionally swiping a brush through. Today is a red letter day: I was able to trick at least the back section into two skinny, twiggy pigtails. We got a picture or two, I think. I recognize this is a small sickness on my part, but come on...what's the fun in having a daughter unless you can torture her like this, at least for a few years?

by Heather Hoffman at 11:10 AM