• Elle's World
  • Mommy Wars: Treat Bags of Doom

    We haven’t done Mommy Wars in a couple of years I think.  Here’s a topic that has me in a snit.

    One thing I said I’d never do as a parent was the birthday party treat bag.  As a kid I remember my mom putting on birthday parties where we played pin the tail on the donkey and other childhood party games.  There was always a winner with a little gift.  There were always kids who walked away with only smiles and bellies full of cake and ice cream.  It wasn’t required that every child needed a gift in order to make them all feel special.  It is the birthday girl’s (or boy’s) special day.  Why shouldn’t they feel special on that day?

    When my dad first got sick I remember sitting in the hospital and my aunt was telling me about a birthday party she was putting on for her grandson.  She said something about treat bags.  I asked what treat bags were.  She explained the concept and we both agreed it was stupid.  But as she put it, “it’s what you do at birthday parties now.”  Aw hell no.

    Somewhere I wrote a list of things I would and would not do as a parent.  Treat bags was on the hell no list.  I can say that treat bags is one thing I’ve managed to avoid in the nearly 5 years of parenting.  I’ve also avoided inviting the entire school class and party games.  What I’ve learned, those things are great, but what kids really want is to get together and play.  Parties at our house involve good food, good cake, good friends and no treat bags.  Kids still go home with smiles on their faces and bellies full of cake and ice cream.

    While I’ll always say no to the treat bag I can’t avoid them coming into my house.  In the past 3 weeks Oleg has been to no less than 4 birthday parties.  All of them complete with treat bags.  I was aware that the parties he attended would be having said bags, but all of a sudden we had a glut of small plastic chotchkies in our house.  Every time I came home from work there would be more crap.  Eventually I figured out that the treat bags were coming from school.

    Oleg’s teacher makes sure that all the kids with Summer birthdays have the chance to have a birthday at school.  I like the idea since I have a summer birthday, but I thought that just meant bringing individually wrapped rice krispy treats or other equally unhealthy pre-packaged treat (school won’t let us send home made snacks for the class).  Apparently, this now means sending treat bags for the entire class to school.

    Where does the insanity end?  The treat bags of doom pushed me over the edge when Oleg pulled one out of his backpack and looked inside and said, “there’s only 2 things in here.”  Aw hell no.  No child of mine will have expectations of gifts.

    Weigh in for me.  What do you think about treat bags.  Why do you or don’t you give them out?  What about bags for school?

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: Teach your baby to read

    I was watching TV the other day and I saw an ad for something that made me want to yell at the box. ?It was for a “system” that teaches your baby how to “read.” ?They showed 1-3 year olds reading words off of flash cards clearly. ?So what’s wrong with that?


    As I watched the ad further they explained how it worked. ?Your baby watches the TV! they show a word, say the word and then a picture or action of the word. ?It is memorizing the words.

    Here is my issue with it.

    They are not teaching children the fundamentals of reading. ?No phonics, no context. ?Just rote memorization.

    What happens when that child comes up with a word that wasn’t on the flash cards? ?Or better yet… what happens when that child is asked to explain what they just read?

    Why do parents feel the need to force their children into this? ?What happened to teach them when they are ready? ?Is it for party tricks? ?What gives.

    This may sound rather hypocritical since we’ve been working with the boy on reading for almost a year now. ?The difference is that we are working on phonics and we waited until he showed signs of readiness. ?We didn’t do it just for shits and giggles.

    So what do you think. ?Teach your child to read that early for fun or wait until they are ready? ?And what is the best method for teaching them?

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Mommy Wars: More White Elephants

    You know me. ?I’m a big children’s welfare advocate. ?So why do I choose now to keep my mouth shut about something that is so near and dear to my heart? ?While the whole of the world is up in arms about the Tory Ann Hansen (links to the google search for her name rather than any one single article)?case I’ve been decidedly quiet. ?Part of the reason is because I have elected to not become involved. ?Most of me is numb over the whole thing. ?I’ve yet to pull my head out of the sand and read or participate in forum discussions about the whole thing. ?My knowledge of the situation is only what I’ve heard on the television news. ?I know, that is bad. ?Truth is, I’m not currently in the process of a Russian adoption so it doesn’t directly effect me. ?My charitable organization is not in the business of Russian adoption so it does not effect that. ?What it does do is make me want to hold my son and not let go.

    I’ve been there.

    I’ve been on the waiting end of someone elses fuck up. ?If you will recall a one Peggy Sue Hilt (also a google link). ?That case broke 2 weeks after we got home from meeting Alexander. ?That case is what snowballed our Russian adoption process into a giant 2 year nightmare. ?It wasn’t the main factor, but right up at the top. ?So for every parent waiting for their child… I’ve been there. ?I know exactly how you feel.

    Here is what I do know or don’t understand. ?I don’t understand how a human being can do that to a child. ?It doesn’t matter if you’ve attached to this child or not. ?You do not send a child on an airplane across the world into the unknown. ?I would have trouble doing that with my high school graduate going off to college let alone a small child. ?I also know that what I see coming from the Russian government is probably not all that it is cracked up to be. ?I watched a segment on GMA yesterday morning where they interviewed a child welfare government official and they claim there is nothing mentally wrong with this child. ?This may be the case, however as a parent to a post institutionalized child… there is something wrong. ?A person can not come out of that environment unscathed. ?I’ve been there. ?I don’t understand why this woman does not man up and either admit that she was wrong or attempt to defend her actions (as horribly wrong as they are).

    There are many unanswered questions about the whole thing. ?My heart breaks for the little boy and the families waiting for their children. ?As for my feelings for Tory Ann Hansen… I have none. ?I hope the outrage from those families waiting is punishment. ?I hope she realizes that she stood in front of a judge and swore to protect that little boy until the world ended and she just threw him away like a piece of trash. ?No child is trash.

    I have much more to say on the matter, but for now I’m going to go hold my son. ?The son that I love so dearly. ?The son that I would walk over fire and die for. ?My son… from Russia.

  • Bitch & Moan
  • Mommy Wars: are you serious?

    It all started a year ago when I was enjoying my breakfast.? Behind me on the TV there was a commercial playing.? I guy on the screen walking around a grocery buck naked talking about the benefits of sugar.? Really?? We are to the point where we are freely advertising something that is making us fat?? Sugar.? Cavity causing, heart disease increasing, obesity making, diabetes inducing sugar.

    A few weeks prior to seeing that we (the trusty husband and I) talked about challenging ourselves to removing all sugar from our diets for 1 month.? It didn’t work because I can’t get the trusty husband to eat Adams Peanut butter or any other peanut butter without sugar.? We let it go.

    Last month my newest issue of Wondertime Magazine arrived in my box.? I love Wondertime day.? Their content has started to slide a little in the past few months, but I always get something interesting from each issue.? In this particular case I happened to get this post out of it.? For hidden in the pages was this:

    Click on it to make it bigger and you’ll see why I’m all in a twitter.

    I’ve been researching stuff for this post for a few days now and had planned on writing it yesterday.? I just ran out of time.? Then, ironically enough, Jen posted something about the same subject today.? If you’ll notice… that ad above, the one I pulled out of my Wondertime Magazine, is for corn syrup.? Not just any ol’ corn syrup I might add.? HIGH FRUCTOSE Corn Syrup.

    It claims that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is nutritionally the same as sugar and honey.? While that may be true in a round about manner it is so far from the same thing it isn’t even funny.? Yes, sugar, honey and HFCS all have 4 calories per gram.? But that is where the similarities lie.

    The website cited in the ad* claim that all 3 (we aren’t counting “artificial” sweeteners) are natural.? I beg to differ.? If you cut down a stalk of sugar cane and chew on it it is sweet.? If you had the balls to stick your hand into a bee hive and pull out a chunk of raw honey… also sweet.? If you pulled an ear of corn off of a stalk that is bound to become HFCS or some other corn by-product, you would spit it out.? I know.? I’ve eaten it.

    True, corn is a natural product.? But the stuff they make into corn by-products is so far removed from it’s natural state by the time it gets into that food like substance you can’t call it natural.? It takes many steps to convert corn into HFCS.? It is broken down, treated with enzymes and other chemicals.? Not to mention that the corn itself is genetically modified and two of the enzymes used to create HFCS are also genetically modified.? So tell me how that is natural.

    If you want to learn more just read this interesting article about how HFCS is made.

    The sweetener of choice in our house is honey.? I’ll put that out there.? Why?? Because it is the least processed of the 3.? This isn’t to say that I don’t have a bottle of pure unadulterated HFCS sitting in my cupboard (what do you think those Sweet Hope Truffles are made from).? I also have a tub of refined white sugar, a package of sugar in the raw and a box of Sweet n’ Lo.? But given the opportunity to sweeten my tea or bread I will pick honey.? Not that I drink sweetened tea.? I also don’t salt most food, but that’s a different topic all together.

    I’m just asking you to think about where your food comes from and how it got into the form it is currently in.


    *I won’t link the website advertised.

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: The Birthday Party

    I have nothing of thrilling value to contribute today. No photos (bad mommy) and nothing of particular interest. I could tell you about how I dug up 10 primroses and moved them from one side of my sidewalk to the other. Wow! Isn’t that fast breaking news. I’m boring even myself.Ok, how about… the boy’s birthday is Sunday and we are having his party on Saturday. In true Elle fashion I haven’t even begun to prepare. I sent out invitations (that I made, I know you are jealous) and then ordered the birthday cake from a local bakery. I’m smooth like that.

    The trusty husband and I agreed that we would only invite a select number of people. Not because we are snobby like that, but because our house is so incredibly small a million children and their accompanying adults wouldn’t fit. We tried last year for the boy’s second birthday and it was a little tight. Not to mention the entire time the boy napped (which was a miracle) I spent cleaning up the 3 inch thick layer of scum off of every floor in my house.

    So this birthday un-planning brings me to a point. Children’s birthday parties. As a kid I remember having parties with my bffs and playing pin the tail on the donkey. Mom made my cake and served neopolitain ice cream. We wore stupid pointy party hats and friends brought knock off barbies or coloring books as gifts. These days kids parties are all about extravagance. To a point of being ridiculous.

    A few years ago my dad was in the hospital and my aunt was there visiting. She was talking about how she was hosting her grandson’s birthday party and how much she spent on goodie bags for all the kids. I sat there stunned. Goodie bags for all the kids? What the hell? We got a few pieces of candy from a craptastic pinata if we were lucky. After that encounter I went home and told the trusty husband about it. We both agreed that things would be different when we had kids.

    We were lucky enough to get away with not giving out anything last year because we were celebrating the boy coming home, his birthday and baptism all at the same time. It wasn’t your typical birthday party, but rather an open house.

    This year we are sticking to our plan. A limited number of friends, no goodie bags and we told Oleg’s friends that if they would like to bring a gift please consider a new or gently used book that we can donate to the library. That’s only because we couldn’t tell grandparents not to bring gifts and I am slowly being taken over by the plastic overlords. It comes down to kids (theirs or mine) not needing more crap.

    So let’s hear it. Do you go overboard on birthdays and do you feel a sense of obligation to give out overpriced goodie bags at your kids parties? Or what do you do different to not make your child’s party a lord of the flies-esqe free for all?

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: Rent-a-Uterus

    Since I’m on an intelligence kick I thought I’d give you a little more food for thought. So braincells get ready! Hold hands and form a line, Elle watched Ophra yesterday.

    I’m not the Ophra* watchin’ kinda gal on most days. In fact, outside of a daily addiction to one particular Soap Opera I don’t watch any daytime television who’s cast of characters aren’t animated or puppets. However, I get bored easily and when that happens I will sit down and watch TV. There are far more constructive uses of my time, like turning the dryer on to fluff the clothes for the 40th time today, but stupid programming calls to me. The trusty husband has come home to find me sitting on the couch watching “America’s Next Top Model,” “Project Runway,” or even “The Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County.” Go ahead, think less of me. I know you already do. But this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I’ll watch something highbrow like Ophra. Mainly it’s so I can yell at the TV and tell Dr. Phil that he needs to pull his head out of his giant ass and grow his own damn spine. Gawd how I hate that guy. Oh yeah, I yell at the TV a lot.

    So the guide told me that Ophra’s show was about “Wombs for Rent.” I’m always in for a good show about infertility. (Better yet it was a subject that I later found out the trusty husband knew nothing about.) I found it interesting that this was the subject matter of the program seeing as I’m currently in the middle of that where am I on the baby making spectrum identity crisis. At the very least the show would give me something to write about. I was right.

    Since most of my readers are adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents, infertiles and people with at least two braincells that are also holding hands and forming lines I’m sure you’ve heard of this. Infertile couples travel to foreign countries to participate in a surrogacy program with a woman of said country. In this instance India.

    I don’t want to recount the entire show here. You can read Julie’s accounts of it. She writes a great article about it. Which I’m actually surprised because although I read Julie’s site with regularity I don’t always agree with what she has to say.

    My exception with the whole scenario comes from the perspective of a person not willing to undergo the expensive process of Artificial Reproductive Treatments. I know there are many of you out there who did just that. It was your choice. But for me, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why someone would travel 1/2 way around the world to essentially rent-a-uterus. Granted, in the end the lives of both families are changed for the better. That’s not such a bad thing. But I find it far too extreme.

    When we made the choice to either undergo infertility testing and eventual treatment or adoption we weighed all the pros and cons. Cost being a con on both sides. But the clincher for us was the end result. We wanted a child. The how wasn’t that important. We thought about it. And here are some statistics that helped form our decision. These are (outdated) numbers of children residing in orphanages around the world. 17,000-S. Korea, 20,000-Guatemala, 50,000-China, 100,000-Ukraine, 200,000-Haiti, 800,000-Russia and in the millions in Ethiopia. Millions here people. Those are children in orphanages. Children without parents. Children without anyone to kiss them good night or read them a bedtime story. Children who know no true love. Children like these.

    I’m not out to tell those undergoing fertility treatments what to do.? I’m not that asshat that says, “Oh why don’t you just adopt?”? Rather I’m trying to figure out why people do this.? I can’t imagine spending thousands of dollars on something that may or may not result in a child.? Same reason I can’t justify spending that much on an IUI or IVF.? I wanted to be a mom.? I still want more children. ? I am not like some of the people out there.? I don’t have that deep seeded biological need to procreate.??? If you can explain it to me please do.

    On an end note, I did think the piece was well done and portrayed a positive tone.? I do like the fact that the end result is two changed families, but I still don’t get it.

    And Alexis Stewart.? What the fuck is up with her?? Talk about a woman with the least bit of affect of any person I’ve ever seen.? And $28,000 a month?? A month?? Ho.ly.hell!


    *not a typo. I’m just being nice and not calling her my ususal. Okra.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • Did the feminists make us fat?

    For the record, those are my brother’s sunglasses.? I would never own a pair of sunglasses that horrid.? You can’t see them, but my own sunglasses are on my head.? And no, they aren’t cheapy aviators.

    As only Suzanne can do she sucked me into reading one of the best books since Freakonomics.? The book I refer to is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.? I can just see the “Ha! I told you so!” comments from her now.? Hugs Suz.? Thank you.

    I am sure by this point the trusty husband is so tired of me reading parts of this book to him that he’d rather sleep on the couch.? However, my little bit of newly found food knowledge is slowly warping him too.? Combine that with his “Go Local” kick and we are in business.

    As I read this book (I have not finished) I come up with all kinds of ideas for posts.? Bad news is that I read at bedtime and for me if I actually sleep it acts like a mind sweep and I wake up with no memory of the past 24 hours.? In a sense I wake up dumber every morning.? However, I decided that I’m not going to get distracted and if I come up with something good to write about that I’m just going to do it.? You don’t want to know things like my son has knack for finding the cat puke in the house anyway.

    Ms Kingsolver brings up a great point in her book.? It is a correlation that I would love to see the writers of Freakonomics take and run with.? The theory is that, in a nutshell, feminists made us fat.? This is my site and I get to bash the feminazis all I want.? I am soooo the anti-feminist it isn’t even funny.? So much so that I had quite the heated discussion with our church’s German Seminary intern a few years ago when I said that wherever possible women should be the ones to stay home and raise their children*.

    Getting back to the feminists.? Think about it.? Back in the day women were the ones to stay home and cook.? They actually took time out of their day to cook food for their families.? Enter the feminist movement.? Women up and left the house to pursue careers outside of homemaking.? Sure, they worked, but they still came home and cooked dinner for their families.? I am not saying that working moms didn’t cook.? What I am saying is that women were (are) tired from working all day and lack the energy they once had, thus making large elaborate meals was a thing of the past.

    Food manufacturers saw this opportunity and jumped on it.? Enter the boxed dinner and other pre-packaged food.? Now it was easier to whip up a quick meal.? But with that quick meal we sacrifice one thing.? Taste and health.? I would pull out a boxed dinner and list the unpronounceable ingredients from it if I had one in the house.?? Either way, your boxed dinner is nothing but a bunch of artificial flavors and chemicals handily packaged for a tired mom.

    These unnatural foods are what are making this country fat.? Obesity is an epidemic in the US.? For the first time in history our children’s generation has an expected shorter life span than their parents.? Sad.

    So what do we do?? Sit around and watch our asses grow to be the size of Texas?? Bitch at each other with the working mom saying, “well you try to work all day and then come home to cook dinner and make is good for you while your children are hungry and whining at you.”? Then the SAHM mom says, “well maybe you shouldn’t be working in the first place.”? I’m not setting out to spark that debate.? Moms work, moms stay home.? For whatever reason you have for being one or the other is not my place to argue.? My point is that whether you work or stay at home you have a duty do your family to provide them with good nutritious food.? Stop feeding your family processed crap.

    I too am a busy mom.? I have an active toddler.? I do work (from inside our home).? I keep a fairly clean house.? But I still manage to cook good food.? For those days I don’t have time to make something from scratch I rely on these.? That’s right.? I cheat.? I make 40 or so dinners every few months and I menu plan.? I know that during the school year Tuesdays are my busy nights and it is up to the trusty husband to prepare dinner.? I plan for a crock pot meal and he just fixes the side dishes.? I plan.? Plain and simple.? It takes 10 minutes out of my Monday morning and the end result… my family always has a healthy meal.

    You are probably thinking shut the hell up Elle.? We are tired of you talking all high and mighty about food.? Think that if you will, but fatness is truly and epidemic in this country.? Diabetes is rampant.? Heart disease, everything.? The majority of US health issues are due to obesity.? Wake up.? Don’t bitch about it.? Do something about it.


    *very much a gross generalization.

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: Team Parenting

    We had another screaming fit this morning before breakfast. At least it happened before breakfast and not during. We can usually diffuse the situation and eventually get the boy to eat if he does it before the meal. Today’s fit was sparked by the trusty husband asking the boy if he wanted some Os. The boy’s response was “no thank you.” To which the husband obliged and didn’t give him Os. The boy then proceeded to scream for 30 minutes. He also hucked a stuffed animal at the husband’s head.

    The whole situation got me thinking. During the ordeal I quietly sat and ate my breakfast. I enjoyed my cup of coffee to the sound of the husband reprimanding his son for throwing toys. I did nothing to intervene. On our trip to Alaska D and I had a few conversations about discipline.

    The boy constantly tells D “no.” It drives him crazy. He doesn’t tell me no nearly as much. Maybe because I am the main disciplinarian in the house. When the boy tells D no I let the two of them work it out. It is their beef not mine. I do this because the boy needs to understand that both parents are just that… parents. We aren’t there to be his best friend. We are there to be his parents. Sure daddy is still the fun one who carries him around the house upside down, but daddy still makes rules.

    The boy has also learned the fine art of “if Mama tells me no, I’ll go ask Daddy.” Not gonna fly around here kid. Usually because he does it with both of us in the room.

    I have seen so many mothers in my time step in to diffuse a situation between child and father. I don’t understand that. Why are mom’s not giving their spouses enough credit? Do moms really think their husbands can’t handle their child?

    So this brings me to my topic of the day*:

    Do you truly team parent or do you do most of the work? When you are out and about without your child do you call home to check to see “how things are going?” Do you step in when your husband is trying to discipline your child or talk them down from a tantrum? Do you feel your husband can’t handle the stresses of parenting?

    *I know this is a topic for the marrieds of the group. I apologize for not keeping the Mommy Wars topics to all moms, but this is a topic that I am really interested in.

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: PI vs. 2

    Post-institutionalized (PI)
    Definition according to some random online dictionary:
    Post – prefix meaning formerly
    institutionalize – to place or confine in an institution, esp. one for the care of mental illness, alcoholism, etc.

    Two Years Old (2)
    Definition according to many mothers worldwide:
    a debilitating illness causing symptoms such as mine, gimme, and no. Symptoms may also include lack of communication skills, public temper tantrums, over active reflexes resulting in limbs randomly flinging objects, an unearthy sense of aim, inability to listen, and fascination with bizarre objects.

    I have notices quite a bit of talk around the internets from mothers wondering if the behaviors their child exhibits are as a result of post-institutionalization. While it is a distinct possibility that this may be true, I find it interesting that many of the mothers asking are mothers to two year olds. As parents to PI kids we become hypersensitive to behaviors that could be signs of greater challenges to come.

    “Did Johnny throw his lunch at me because he has a deep seeded need for my love because he was confined to a crib for the first year of his life and fed by bottle propping or is he just a two year old who said he wanted ‘nabich’ for lunch. Which I thought that meant sandwich, but clearly it meant ‘Mother I would like a grilled cheese sandwich with exactly 1 teaspoon of butter on each slice of bread, a cup of milk and a banana, and don’t even think of trying to pass off that processed American cheez food crap on me.’ Dear lord what does this mean?”

    Distinguishing PI vs. 2 can be a challenge and at some point we just have to sit back and say, “yep, he’s 2.” But when does that happen. I guess it depends on when your child came home. So many bring their children home around 12-18 months. There are a few of us who get their children right at the doorway to the terrible twos. 23 months here.

    Seeing the fine line between PI and 2 is an art. We want to make sure we are tending to our children’s institutionalized behaviors as to cut down on future therapy bills. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are just being two. I tend to err on the side of 2. Call me naive if you will. So many of the behaviors my child exhibits are just being 2. I’ll give you some examples.

    1. Boy throws food.

    2 year old issue. You could look deeper into this as a control issue, but this is also a two year old control issue. It is also a from of testing. I am trying to see if the rules are the same no matter what you feed me, what meal it is or where we are. Two year olds test too.

    2. Boy rocks in his bed.

    PI issue. This behavior occurs in biological children as well as adopted children. I am sure that the behavior originated as a self soothing mechanism and has just turned into his “thing.” Children have all kinds of comfort items/behaviors. Lovies, pacifiers, blankies, a favorite stuffed animal, thumb sucking. All self soothing devices. My child rocks.

    3. Boy screams at me if he doesn’t get what he wants at that very second.

    2 year old issue. 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t get it right then because I can’t understand what he is asking for. I try to ask for him to repeat the request and he screams louder.

    4. Boy constantly kissing owies.

    2 year old issue. Children quickly learn what behavior earns attention. If you are constantly trying to pacify your children or giving in to their (loud) demands they learn that this gets then attention. Likewise, if you child is accident prone (like mine) you are forever kissing boo-boos. They will then learn that boo-boo kisses are attention and will fake accidents or make mountains out of mole hills. But this is a reciprocal behavior. You make them feel better by kissing boo-boos so they want to make you feel better by kissing yours. This is a good behavior. It is showing your child is learning empathy.

    We have our fair share of PI issues in this house. I am not trying to say our life is all rose petals. But with every PI issue comes two year old behaviors. What I am getting at is that at some point we have to draw the line and realize that our children are two years old. We have to stop making excuses for their behavior. “Oh I’m sorry Mrs. Jones. Billy picked all of your flowers because he was in an orphanage and never got to see flowers.”

    So my question to you is: at what point do/did you draw the line on PI vs. 2 (or any other age)? Do you still use PI as an excuse for your child’s naughty behavior? How many times a day do you find yourself wondering if “this behavior” means something more?

  • Mommy Wars
  • Mommy Wars: ‘Fraidy Cat

    Thanks for all the compliments on the garden. The front is a mish-mash of plants I’ve collected and never really had a design. The back yard is a totally different story though. But our back yard is small and manageable. I just need a hammock back there and I’d never leave it. Well that and to get rid of all the junk we’ve collected on the side yard. Hey! At least we got rid of the toilet.

    I secretly like you guys emailing me your gardening questions. I haven’t had people do that in quite some time. If you do email with questions try to include a photo of what you are talking about. It helps me as I am a visual person. I’ve told nursery customers to dig up dead plants and bring them to me before. There are some issues you can only tell if you see the roots/bark/leaves. I will admit that I did have to pull out a book or two to answer some questions. Good thing I have a gardening library above my head. Oh, and one more thing, I’m not very good at grass. Turf grass that is. I fertilize mine (organically), water it on occasion and mow it. That is it. We have a significant weed population in our lawn and a patch of moss here and there. I don’t have a golf course by any stretch of the imagination. I hate turf. If I could rip it all out I would.


    I need to ask a question of you guys. This has nothing to do with gardening or (trans-fat free) chocolates. It has to do with my child. My boy is not a social butterfly. I mean seriously. Sure, we don’t get out as much as we should. The weather is getting warmer so more frequent trips to the park are a must, but otherwise many of the “gym” classes are too far away for us to drive to. I only have one friend in town who stays at home with a similar aged child. Kathou lives about 20 minutes north of us and we don’t get together nearly enough. Hey Lady! We need to fix that. So our opportunity for social interaction is a bit limited.

    What gets me is what appears to be my son’s fear of other children. One would assume that since he spent 2 years of his life he would like playing with other children. The social worker and doctor in the orphanage both told us he was a pretty independent player. He didn’t really have a best friend per se. This same trend is true now that he’s here.

    He doesn’t like the nursery at church, but that is suspect is because we try to leave him. That doesn’t go over so well, so we take him out. And at the playground… he won’t interact with the other children. Take for example yesterday. We went to the park (albeit a new park) and there were no other kids in the immediate vicinity. The boy happily played, but the minute another child (his same age) showed up he got off the play structure and stood away from it and watched the little boy. He wouldn’t go near the kid. Now the Zoo is a different story. There is a giant double slide at the zoo and he will hike his little self up the stairs and wait his turn.

    I just find it odd that he is so timid around other children. This is a far cry from the little boy who got pissed when Chickadee would snag a toy from him in Russia and he would bust out an orphanage maneuver on her. “YA” he would yell and steal it back. Chickadee is one of the only kids he really plays with.

    Anyone else’s children afraid of other kids? What did you do to help them become more social?