Friday, February 27, 2015

I am NOT Okay With THIS

My kids LOVE Legos. I mean, love! They have three GIANT tubs full of them and hardly a day goes by that they are not dumped out all over the floor. And they especially love the mini figures. For those of you not up to speed on your Lego terminology, that's the people. They love, love, love to play with the little guys. The line up the pirates to fight the Star Wars guys and the hobbits to invade the knights. I've found minifigs in the van, on the kitchen table, and even in the shower.

Given that my kids love them so much, it should come as no surprise that I thought about getting them some for Christmas. Since I have a Prime membership, was my first stop. I searched "Lego mini figures." Lego Movie guys. Super heroes. Star Wars. The Simpsons. The Simpsons? Really? Hmmm...and then there it was at the bottom of page 1: the "Lego Walter White Cooking Figure - Breaking Bad."

I honestly had to look twice to be sure I was actually seeing what I thought I was. You see, I don't watch Breaking Bad. I haven't seen one single episode. But I'm not a social pariah and I do have a general idea about concept of the show. It's about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes terminally ill and then, along with a former student, decides that making and selling methamphetamines is the way to secure his family's financial future. It's an interesting concept and millions of Americans watched the show. It was on cable and if grown adults wanted to pay money to watch that, I'm okay with it.

What I am NOT okay with is someone creating and marketing drug dealers as toys. The "cooking" figure is in a hazmat suit and holding a blue crystal. He's not baking a cake or grilling burgers. This dude is "cooking" crystal meth. You can also buy the companion figure, Jesse, also in hazmat gear and holding his own blue crystals. In fact, they have what appears to be the entire cast of the show available, right there in the sponsored section on Amazon. It wasn't hard to find, buried deep in pages and pages of other Legos or only when specifically searched. Nope, it was right there, on page one, under "Toys and Games."

Yes, I know, these are probably not created with little kids in mind. The target audience is adult collectors. I get that. I do. But I'm still NOT okay with it. Kids are drawn to Legos. They are toys. If Uncle Billy has one on his desk, a shelf or a keychain, the kids will notice. And they will think it's cool. Meth dealers are NOT cool.

I am NOT okay with this. I have seen what meth can do people. I have seen little girls watch their daddies arrested and taken from them. I've watched the effects of fatherless boys growing up while their dads were in prison. I've seen beautiful women become toothless, wrinkled messes and seen addicts neglect their kids to the point of losing them to foster care. Glorifying drug dealers, even fictional ones like Walt and Jesse, through kids' toys is just sick. It's sick.

As far as I can tell, these figures are not produced by Lego but rather by a company called Henchman's Bricks using real Lego parts. and Henchman's bricks, I am NOT okay with this.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Haircut

There are times in parenting when all you can really do is laugh or cry. This was one of them.

My daughter was three years old and my oldest son had just turned five. The baby was sleeping and the back yard really needed mowed. It was almost 5:00, time for the boy I was babysitting to go home. We had tee ball that night. I was coaching the team and needed to be there by 5:45. But still, there was just enough time for me to get the back yard mowed. Half way through, the mom came to pick up her son. We said, "See you at the ball game in a little while," and I left the kids inside while I finished. Ten minutes later I came back into the house. 

Both kids are standing in the living room, with the light of the evening sun coming in the picture window behind them. I'm hot, sweating and in a hurry to get cleaned up and ready for the game. My son, is his most helpful voice says to me, "I put it all in the trash for you, Mom." What? What did he put in the trash? Then I see them. He's holding my scissors. 

I shift my gaze a foot to the left and I see her. My beautiful, curly haired daughter is standing with a wide grin on her face. I gasp. Half of her hair is gone. Gone. In its place is a mini-bang mullet that not even a mother could love. And bless her, my little darling looks up at me and says, "Don't I look beautiful, Momma?"

Now, I know that the right thing to say there would have been "Yes," but I just couldn't make myself. The words, "No. You look horrible!" came flying out of my mouth. Her little face fell and I quickly recovered and added, "I mean you are beautiful. But your hair looks horrible!" 

Eli immediately knew that his plan had gone south. Without hesitation he leaned his head forward and said, "She cut some of mine, too." When I looked really hard, I could almost make out one patch where he was missing a few strands. Not enough to notice and certainly not the equivalent of what he had done to hers!

At that point, I took the scissors, sent them to their room and called my mom. She laughed. She ALWAYS laughs. It's her number one coping mechanism. And she made me laugh and reminded me that hair will grow back. And she said not to kill anyone and not to scream and that she would be there to get Abby in a few minutes so I could get Eli ready for his ballgame. And she told me to grab my camera because I would want the pictures later. 

And because my mom gives the best advice, I took pictures. These pictures. 

And then I made her brother bring the scissors and get in the pictures, too. (He had had a bike wreck the week before, thus the beat up face. I promise, it was not haircut related.) He almost managed to look guilty in this one.

By the time we took this one, I was able to laugh a little. Obviously, Abby was not traumatized by the event. Shortly after this, her Nana came and picked her up. She brought her to the ballgame rocking the side ponytail. I was mortified but she just enjoyed the attention. 

The next day, I was able to get her in at the local salon. This is where the poor stylist had to start from. 

And this is where she ended up. Abby loved it. 

And by Christmas it had turned into quite the cute little bob. 

None of my kids have ever cut their own or each other's hair again. I think it was the threat of 100 spankings that prevented further escapades. And the constant reminders that you have to have a license to cut other people's hair. And the hearing of this story about a million times in the seven years since it happened. 

That day, Haircut Day, I had only a few seconds to decide if I would laugh or cry. I'm glad I chose laughter that day and I'm glad I took my mom's advice and took pictures. I don't ever want to forget these little stinkers!