So right after I blog about what a great sleeper I am and what great sleepers my kids are blah blah blah, a stomach bug invades my house. All three kids are puking. Always at night. The kids are on the bottom floor of our house, all three in one room; my husband and I are on the top floor, so we hear the whole sequence of events on the baby monitor: a cough, then a series of coughs, then a splash.
One crying kid ends up coming to my room to sleep with me. My husband goes down to sleep in her bunk. She is so psyched to get in my bed that even though she’s just been throwing up, she’s smiling ear to ear, her hands clasped in front of her. She burrows in next to me and then she throws up all over my bed, something brown and thick, possibly refried beans. I want to cry. But she’s already crying. So I change her clothing, my husband changes the bedsheets, we get a bowl for her in case she has to puke again. She keeps talking and talking, for at least an hour. She wants to know all about Santa. How can he stay awake all night? Does he really stay awake or does he nap in the sled? When she’s finally quiet and back to sleep, I ‘m awake for another hour.
Maybe I’ll delete my earlier posts and open that Preseco tonight.
This is a story by my six year old daughter. She just started blogging.
Once upon a time, there was a forest. All animals lived in it: jaguars, cheetahs, birds, and all kinds of stuff.
One day a hunter came.
(1) Hunters kill animals.
(2) They kill whales
(3) They love to kill birds.
(4) They’re not nice to people.
(5) Sarah Palin is a hunter. She thinks it is OK to kill animals. Her partner, John McCain, agreed.
The hunters left the forest. All the animals were free. They lived happily ever after.
Cheerladers are bad. There’s no other way to say it. I don’t care if they’re of color or fat or have athletic skill. Being a cheerleader means you’re the sideshow, your role is to make the main event look good; you are not and never will be the star.
Witnessing the archetype blonde haired, blue eyed, super skinny cheerleader transform to allow more diversty in movies like High School Musical only makes me sad; it’s like when Mo’ Nique hosted a reality show on a fat girl beauty contest, or when there was an African-American model on the cover of Vogue and Anna Wintour wrote a self-congratulatory Letter From the Editor about it. Is it progress that women of color get to be anorexic too? Or that fat women are allowed to compete against each other so that a panel of judges can decide who is the prettiest?
The big problem with the cheerleader role is that it serves as a teen training ground for the model of the perfect heterosexual relationship; it’s like wife school. The hot girl cheers on her talented guy, standing by her quarterback, loyally, faithfully, whether he wins or loses; her admiration is constant and her love is true.
Who doesn’t have fantasy about her partner being totally focused on her, sticking around no matter what, celebrating when she does well, cheering her up every time she’s down? We all want that. But men, the guys in power, got to actually create that reality for themselves and reproduce it everywhere.
If you watched any of the superbowl, you likely saw dueling couples: former Playboy bunny Kendra Baskett with her Indianoplois Colt husband, Hank Baskett, versus Playboy model Kim Kardashian, girlfriend of Saint, Reggie Bush. Kim proudly flashed her nails for the cameras, painted with Reggie’s name and his number, 25. Rumor has it that if Bush won, he would propose, making Kardashian a real life trophy wife.
Maybe cheerleaders will be Ok with me when there are all male squads who rally on the pro-women teams at giant sporting events watched all over the world; when those guys are considered a catch, the hyper-sexual mates for the celebrated women athletes. I wonder if Kim can play soccer?
Garfield isn’t the only cartoon hero relentlessly mocked for his weight.
I was shocked at the continual stream of fat jokes while watching the animated hit, Kung Fu Panda. The story is about a panda, Po, who dreams of becoming a martial artist instead of a noodle seller like his father. What holds him back is his weight. The Furious Five, a pack of martial artists he idolizes– who are all male except for a token female voiced by Angelina Jolie– constantly make fun of Po’s weight. When these characters mock Po, surprisingly they retain their hero status; they are not portrayed as cruel bullies. Kids watching this movie see that it is OK and justified to put Po down for his body size. It’s espcially odd to witness teasing behavior shown as acceptable and funny, because making fun of others is a constant theme in kids movies; but it’s always potrayed as bad and wrong, acted out by the villians, not the good guys. Unless, I guess, the teasing is focused on fatness. Then it’s OK, just funny and true. Po’s teacher, Si Fun, constantly beats him up to convince him to quit his training, because he’s too fat to succeed. This prediction seems justified also.
In one scene, Po explains that the brutal training and beatings he suffers are mild compared to the pain
he experiences every day “just being me.” Then he looks down sadly at his big stomach, equating “me” with his body size, obviously feeling a lot of shame.
Po explains that when he’s upset, he eats. The turning point in his training comes when Si Fun realizes that Po can be motivated to perform amazing acrobatic feats by a jar of cookies on a high shelf. They begin to train with food as a reward. Po does pushups over hot coals while trying to slurp noodles from a bowl of soup. Po and Si Fun battle over a bowl of dumplings. It’s good, I guess, that Po doesn’t end up becoming thin in order to be a master. But the way this movie uses fat and food to advance its plot line and character development is truly odd and confusing if you’ve taught your kids– as I have– not to experience food as a reward and not to think fat people are bad, or to be made fun of, or that they are not as good as thin people. After about two hours of fat jokes, my kids came out of the movie with lots of questions about why being big is funny and bad why don’t I think so too?
Another popular animated movie, Wall-E (also named for its star male character) has a central plot line where the fat aliens are mocked. The aliens have evolved into an existence where machines do everything for them. They are fat, lazy, and nasty. Lucy asked me during the movie, “Why do they all look like that?” I guess I was supposed to say, “because they don’t get exercise. They’re lazy.” The message that fat people lie around all day and that if you don’t work out, you will look like a fat, pink alien is not something I want my daughter to learn. She’s six years old. I’d rather her do the monkey bars and play soccer because she loves it and it’s fun. I’d like my girls to learn to use their bodies out of joy and pleasure, not fear, for as long as possible– their whole lives?