How to protect your child’s imagination

I’m still thinking about blue milk’s post and those damn bananas. What is fascinating to me, as blue milk posted, is that the act of covering up reality to protect the child’s imagination, is such an important part of parenting. That’s why routine is so great. If your child has safe boundaries, she feels brave enough to take healthy risks. That this episode put that burden on the girl children is remarkable and sad.

Psychologist Stephen Mitchell in his book, Can Love Last: the Fate of Romance Over Time said all of this better than me:

One of the things good parents provide for their children is a partially illusory, elaborately constructed atmosphere of  safety, to allow for the establishment of “secure attachment.” Good-enough parents, to use D. W. Winnicott’s term, do not talk with young children about their own terrors, worries, and doubts. They construct a sense of buffered permanence, in which the child can discover and explore without any impinging vigilance, her own mind, her creativity, her joy in living. The terrible destructiveness of child abuse lies not just in trauma of what happens but also the tragic loss of what is not provided– protected space for psychological growth.

It is crucial that the child does not become aware of how labor intensive that protracted space is, of the enormous amount of parental activity going on behind the scenes.

After all that, Romney’s binders full of women story wasn’t even true

Even I believed it. I did. Because no one would say something like that if it weren’t true, right?

Turns out a bipartisan group of women was trying to address the problem of no women in Mass leadership. They put together the infamous binder and brought it to Romney. Contrary to what he claimed in last night’s debate, Romney never requested any research on women candidates.

From the Atlantic:

the story isn’t true— that women’s groups had been pushing these binders and that they were created by a bipartisan coalition of women’s advocates:

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

Read the whole story here.

Golden retriever, 2 years old, dies on NYC- SF airline flight

I never met Bea in person, but I knew her through her Grandma’s photos on Facebook. I was so sad to find out that this adorable dog died at age 2 on a United airline flight from New York to San Francisco. Bea’s tragic story makes me very nervous about how pets are treated while flying. reports: 

But when Rizer, 34, her husband, Alex Mehran, and their 10-month-old son Zander landed in San Francisco on Sept. 3, they found out one of their family members had been lost along the way: Bea had died.

The golden retriever’s passing was inexplicable. Bea was young and had undergone a requisite physical examination – and was found to be in perfect health – just days before the flight. Golden retrievers don’t usually experience problems during air travel.

“We’re completely devastated,” Rizer tells PEOPLE. “[The airline] didn’t even have an excuse.”

In a passionate blog post on Rizer’s website, Bea Makes Three, she paints a picture of United employees reluctant to admit wrongdoing or share any information about the company’s internal investigation.

According to Rizer, her veterinarian performed a full necropsy and determined the cause of death to be heatstroke, “the absolute worst thing I could have imagined happening to her,” Rizer says. “She died 30 feet below us, alone and scared. Nobody was there to help her because someone made a mistake.”

According to Rizer, her veterinarian performed a full necropsy and determined the cause of death to be heatstroke, “the absolute worst thing I could have imagined happening to her,” Rizer says. “She died 30 feet below us, alone and scared. Nobody was there to help her because someone made a mistake.”

In a statement, United tells PEOPLE that, “We understand that the loss of a beloved pet is difficult and express our condolences to Ms. Rizer and her family for their loss. After careful review, we found there were no mechanical operational issues with Bea’s flight and also determined she was in a temperature-controlled environment for her entire journey. We would like [to] finalize the review but are unable until we receive a copy of the necropsy.”

Rizer considered filing a lawsuit but hopes that speaking out about her experience will help inform people about the risks of traveling with a pet in cargo.

“I don’t think dogs should be treated like bags,” she says. “They’re living, breathing creatures and parts of people’s families.” She adds that she will never fly with her dogs again.

Please read Maggie Rizer’s blog post about her dog, Bea, and share Bea’s story to do what you can to help protect pets and keep them safer in the future.

Why is Dora sunbathing in the freezer aisle?

Look who I saw while searching for fishsticks at Whole Foods:

Remember when Dora used to be cool?

Sadly, Breaded Fishie Dora looks less like her former self and more like sexy Ms. Green getting stalked by Yellow on an M and Ms package:

This pose– one leg out, one leg bent, in a bathing suit and smiling at the camera– is commonly used when toy, food, and game companies are marketing products to girls. Why not show Dora swimming instead of vamping? Does this pose say: “Look what I can do!” or “Look how cute I am?”

Next time you’re shopping, check out packaging featuring boy and girl characters. Boy characters, whether on cereal boxes or toys, will be doing things. Girl characters will be looking “pretty.” What do these stereotypes repeatedly teach our kids about gender? What do they tell our kids that they will get attention for? That they are capable of?

Safeway does the right thing, reinstates worker with back pay

Safeway makes a great move:

From UFCW Local 5:

UFCW Local 5 has reached an agreement with Safeway Stores over the return to work of Ryan Young who was suspended for intervening in a physical altercation between a man and a pregnant woman at the company’s Del Rey Oaks store where he works. The agreement resolves a grievance filed by the Union on Ryan’s behalf and includes reinstatement to his job as a meat clerk along with back pay and benefit coverage.

“While Safeway has legitimate policies and concerns around workplace violence and the appropriate employee response, once the company heard our presentation of the case including Ryan’s explanation of the incident, management realized that the suspension was not appropriate and immediately worked with us to resolve the grievance and put Ryan back to work,” said Union president Ron Lind.

Mayor of Del Ray Oaks praises suspended Safeway worker

The Mayor of Del Ray Oaks, Jerry B. Edelen, wrote this letter to the Monterey County Herald published today:

The recent incident involving the Safeway employee who intervened to protect a pregnant woman from being struck by her male companion represents a gross miscarriage of justice on the part of Safeway.

Del Rey Oaks Police Chief Ron Langford, a law enforcement officer with over 30 years of experience, has thoroughly investigated the incident, including viewing a videotape of occurrence, and has concluded that the employee was justified in his actions. Chief Langford has written the employee a letter praising him for his actions.

Of course Safeway has the authority and responsibility to conduct its own investigation. Where Safeway has erred is placing the employee on unpaid leave. This action, in effect, is punitive. By theoretically saving an insignificant amount of money by not paying the employee during the investigation, Safeway is losing considerable sales revenue and customer goodwill. Citing “having to follow set administrative procedures” is no excuse. Leadership means that sometimes standard operating procedures should be modified to ensure justice.

I will place this matter on our next City Council agenda and ask that the council support a resolution praising the Safeway employee for his courageous actions.

Jerry B. Edelen
Del Rey Oaks mayor

‘Avengers’ shows female superheroes as tiny minority

This weekend “The Avengers” broke all box office records by grossing $200.3-million in its domestic debut.

By all accounts, I hear this is a great movie, but here is why I’m concerned. The male/ female ratio in this ensemble movie is 6:1.

The problem is that this same gendered ratio shows up in most movies made for kids. Even though The Avengers” is not for kids, the superhero theme is obviously kid friendly. I bet the images of “Avengers” superheroes from the movie will now be replicated in toys, video games, T-shirts, and sippy cups.

Even if these specific stars are not replicated in kidworld, the “successful” Holllywood formula will continue to be. Unless Hollywood actively does something about it, females will continue to be represented as a tiny minority in kids films. That sexism then infiltrates kids toys and then kids imaginary play in a huge viscous circle.

This is Hollywood, people! Fantasy. You can make up anything. Please make half of the characters in movies for kids female.

When you continually have only one female in movies for kids, it’s almost impossible to keep from limiting and stereotyping her. The more females you have, the more story lines you need to come up with, the more creative you must be.

Hollywood, I know “The Avengers” is for adults, but please don’t keep mirroring this male/ female ratio in kids movies. It teaches kids (KIDS!) that boys are more important and get to do more things than girls do. That’s not fair to children and their growing brains.

If females are ‘artsy’, why are there so many more male artists?

I’ve written before about the lack of women artists and what I think about it. What has made me think about it yet again is an excellent post from More Compassion: How to drive me crazy: Write another trite article about how boys are so rambunctious. MoreCompassion debunks the whole stereotype that boys are active and girls are creative. This ridiculous generalization has nothing to do with nature and everything to do with status.

MoreCompassion is annoyed. She writes:

I’m talking about those sayings you hear at every family gathering like “Oh but boys are just so wild, “Lisa just sits so nice and colors her picture,” “My gosh you’d think Randy had been watching wrestling videos since the day he was born,” or “We never tried to impress the princess thing on Kayla; girls just love stuff like that.” Puke, puke, puke.

So happy to see this post!

Parents, what are your expectations for your sons versus your daughters? Do you allow your sons to be wild but expect your daughters to have good manners, sit quietly, read a book, and not bother anyone too much? Are these expectations because girls are “artsy” and “creative” or is it because kids are difficult to manage? That we’re more willing to control girls but we let “boys be boys?”

More compassion posts:

A lifetime of perpetuating stereotypes that tells girls to be docile and boys to be rambunctious has myriad consequences. A new study that made the PR rounds last week discussed how all kids are losing out on outdoor play time, but girls are suffering the most. They are 16 percent less likely to be taken outdoors by a caregiver. Who can argue conclusively that boys have more energy and girls are bookworms? If girls are clearly being denied the many opportunities to run around like hooligans, swing wildly from the monkey bars, and tackle one another … of course they will think that’s unacceptable play and want to conform to the more demure image that seems to please their parents.

When we take our children to Toys R us and they’re confronted with obvious, stark, color-coded disparities in the aisles, they notice. Boys have army figures, super heroes, cars that crash, loud guns, and camping sets. Girls have pink hair brushes, Hello Kitty stickers, and a Disney princess kitchen. We don’t want to send the message that boys are active, doers, thrill-seekers, trouble makers, whereas girls are homemakers, hair stylists, fashion obsessed, and budding Marth Stewart pepto-pink crafters.  We should encourage our children to be anything they want to be. We should work extra hard to subvert the gendered juggernaut of advertising. We should put our young girls in tennis shoes and chase them around the house, let them climb up the trees, and let them take bold, risky jumps from the top of the swings.

Read the rest here.

Update: I changed the title of this post. It used to read: Why are all the artists male? Obviously, all artists are not male. There are many great women artists, though not nearly enough throughout history and today.