TSS – Why Did I Go Into Labor Day?!

Today is one of those days all parents go through:  What the hell was I thinking when I said I wanted kids?  Yesterday was a humdinger with them, as well.  I figured it was because I was twenty pages from the end of Confessions of a Contractor that they wouldn’t let me have a moment of peace.  But today tells me they’re really just switched on in extreme fight mode right now.  Anything and everything to get each other to squeal. 

Gwen’s whining and crying because Maggie’s not happy with anything she does.  She tries to make “that little brat” (her words) happy, but she doesn’t like anything.  In Gwen’s defense, Maggie does have a problem with graciousness.  Try as I might to get her to understand tact and good manners, she prefers brutal honesty and refuses to even show gratitude for the other person’s effort.

HOWEVER… Gwen has a problem poking, teasing, irritating, and in general being an ass to as many people she can at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a very loving and sweet child, but she has an obnoxious streak she likes to tap into, as well.  And, sadly… she comes by it honestly.  My mom loved singing a little nursery rhyme to me:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So why am I complaining that I’m getting paybacks?  We all know what paybacks are…  My mom reminds me of that, too.

Sammi, my oldest… She’s being descent… I guess.  She’s finally cleaning her room –I’ve only been telling her for a week now– and ran over something with the vacuum cleaner –the NEW vacuum cleaner– and now it’s smoking.  Thank God I chose the 3 year warranty.  She doesn’t want to take her meds (she’s possibly schizophrenic and too young to diagnose) , so that’s one battle.  She’s fifteen –I’m convince “teenager” is a mental illness– and very good at it.  If teenage-hood was an Olympic sport, she’d take the Gold for her signature Eye roll, tongue click, sigh, thigh slap, shocked face look with a whining “Oh My GOSH!”

Multiply the girl in the following video by three, then make them all actively irritating the hell out of each other, and you’ll have what my house has been like for the last couple days:

ANYWAY… that’s my venting rant…

I’m horrible at getting back into a habit… I know this and yet I let myself slip out of the habit of reading. I finally managed to finish Confessions of a Contractor, which I had started a couple weeks ago before my grandma died. My mom’s visit was a week without books… and gladly so. I didn’t want to miss a minute with her, and the books will be on the shelves and desk after she went home. But then the next week I drug my feet getting back into it. Contractor was a great book, and perfect for what was going on, it was just me being lazy. I need a personal assistant and planner… and maybe a task master to crack the whip when I get off task.

It doesn’t help that I signed up on Second Life. It’s an absolutely, stupidly, waste of time. And yet I go back. It’s addictive. The out-of-body sensation of exploring in other rooms and other floors is wicked! AND the avatar flies around in a 3-D world… admittedly, I can see how people get caught up in it. BUT I can quit whenever I want 😀

Last night I took the heathens to the movies. I finished and reviewed Contractor, and wanted to get away from the house. The choices are slim here in Loganland: Babylon AD and Step Brothers. I have a 9, 14, and 15 year old, so Step Brother wasn’t even a consideration… after watching Dewey Cox, I don’t think anything John C Reilly does is appropriate for my daughters. So… we trekked off to Babylon.

Here’s a trailer of the movie:

If you haven’t seen the movie, let me give you a quick summary. Toorop (Vin Diesel) is living in a post-nuclear Russia, unable to return to the US because he’s on a terrorist list. He’s hired by a Russian mob-type character named Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) to pick up Aurora (Mélanie Thierry), who is not-quite-right in the head, and deliver her to Gorsky’s contact in New York City. Michelle Yeoh plays Sister Rebecca of the Noelites, who is Aurora’s guardian, joins them in the trip. Along the way, they are shot at, blown up, and Toorop dies… but it doesn’t end there.

To be honest, I wanted to see the movie for one and a half reasons: Vin Diesel is hot, and I like Michelle Yeoh’s acting and martial arts moves. Yes, the action was a BIG incentive, but the movie reminded me of this weeks Booking Through Thursday question: The story is the most important part of any tale, book or movie. Babylon A.D. was sooo weak on story. The first fifty minutes or so was really cool, and I was visually blown away by the action, the future-world concepts, the “What’ll happen next,” and the mystery of what’s up with Aurora. BUT… then it fell to crap. The story was weak and seriously lacking. All of us, except Sammi, walked away from the theater shaking our heads and trying to figure out WTF?! happened in the story.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Wait, she was grown in an artificial uterus with a computer as the momma? and where the hell did the twins come from? and WHY oh WHY? is one white and one black? HUH? If I’d have gotten up in the middle of the movie, I would have been convinced all my questions had been answered during those minutes.

Has anyone read the book, Babylon A. D. ? Can you answer these missing chunks of story? Even Vin Diesel wasn’t worth sitting through this movie. :-p

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Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

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TITLE: Hope’s Boy
AUTHOR: Andrew Bridge
PUBLISHER: Hyperion
PUBLISH DATE: 2008
ISBN: 9781401303228

My mother… wrapped her arms around me tightly, and whispered fircely several times, “You are my boy. Remember, you are my boy.”

-page 164, Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge

 

This is an emotionally difficult book to read. It is the story of a boy who leaves the loving stability of his grandmother’s care in Chicago to fly across country to live with his mother Hope, whom he barely knows. In the two years he lived with her he was beaten by his mother’s boyfriend, was taken on a burglary run by his mom and her best friend, watched Hope be raped and was powerless to stop it, evicted from an apartment and forced to live with strangers who looked at the two of them like something they’d scrape off their shoe, and finally to the motel where he was taken by the county from her. Of all the things she did and didn’t do, she DID give him love and made sure he knew he belonged to her.

Hope’s Boytears back the curtain of the life of a child trapped in a system that does little to help reunite families, explains little to nothing to the child in its care, and abandons him with empty promises of return with a family that is free to go unchecked in their abuse of the intruder in their home. A system that abandons those who age out to the winds, where thirty to fifty percent are homeless within two years. The majority of the nations 500 thousand plus foster children never graduate high school, and possibly as few as 3% graduate college. It is a broken system of hopelessness, in which children are wharehoused instead of cared for. This book is a clarion call to change.

My heart broke for young Andy. He endured helplessly watching his mother’s descent into madness, paranoid schizophrenia the most likely diagnosis. He is ripped from her arms by a social worker as a police officer shoves Hope to the ground and holds her there with his knee in her back. Wharehoused in a huge county orphanage that feels more like a criminal detention facility, he is placed with a family only after he has completely withdrawn into himself. He spends the remaining ten years of his childhood with an abusive, tyrant foster mother, whose rare kindnesses are few and far between.

Throughout it all, he hangs onto the few messages of encouragement like “You are my boy”, “Do not allow the world’s injustices define you”, and “You are my little genius”. Despite all this, and defying all statistics and odds, Andy, now Andrew Bridge, succeeds to become a Harvard Law graduate and Fulbright scholar.

This book is a must-read for anyone working with or within the foster care system. How we treat these children, children who have no control of the events of their lives, is an indicator of our civility as a nation.  Throughout the process, it must be remembered that LOVE is one of the most essential nutrients a child can receive.  Without it he will fail to thrive, slip through the cracks, and become just another statistic.

Love may not be enough to wake a child in the morning, dress him, and get him to school, then to feed him at night, bathe him, and put him to bed.  Still, can any of us imagine a childhood without it?

-page 295, Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge