A little over a week and a half ago, I posted about a bill being proposed in Indiana that would collect winnings won in casinos by parents who are behind in child support payments and handing them over to the kids.
Last Wednesday, the bill moved forward to the state Senate:
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 9-1 Wednesday to advance a bill to withhold gambling winnings from parents who owe back child support and win more than $1,200 on slot machines and different amounts on other winnings.
Of course, the casinos are still complaining about it, citing the same reason: searching and checking the names against a list of those owing child support would cause a two minute delay on the casino floors.
Two minutes. That’s all.
Two minutes the casinos aren’t making money, I guess….
Governor Mitch Daniels supports the bill, saying:
“…. helping single parents collect child support is more important than any minor inconvenience to casinos.”
Original bill proposal article from ABC. (Jan 6, 2010)
Hard to believe when you’re pulling your hair out for the third time in a week or when you’re caught in tantrum-land.
But, according to a study done by Brigham Young University, having kids can actually lower your blood pressure, especially women.
The study involved 198 adults who wore portable blood pressure monitors, mostly concealed by their clothes, for 24 hours.
The monitors took measurements at random intervals throughout the day – even while participants slept. This method provides a better sense of a person’s true day-to-day blood pressure.
The effect was more pronounced among women, with motherhood corresponding to a 12-point difference in systolic blood pressure and a 7-point difference in diastolic blood pressure.
For my birthday this year, my mom bought me the boxed set of the entire season of My So-Called Life. For those who don’t know what it is let me explain:
Best. Show. Ever.
If that isn’t enough description. Run to Wikipedia and read the description. I’ll wait.
When I was in high school, MSCL was, at times, the only beacon of hope in my otherwise tortured high school existence. OK, maybe that was a wee bit dramatic. But seriously, it was the first show I’d ever watched that “got it.”
90210 it wasn’t. The characters didn’t all drive BMWs their parents bought, or rally around Donna Martin graduating. They dealt with falling in love, betrayal, friendship, lost loves, unrequited crushes, annoying parents, supportive parents, etc.
I still remember watching the pilot of that show. In it, the main character, Angela says something about how parents always ask you how your day at school went. But school is like a drive-by shooting; you’re just happy you survived. When I heard that line, I fell in love. Hard.
So, I sat down and watched all of the episodes again. And completely reconnected and understood and felt like I was fifteen again. The second I heard that opening music, I became all giddy and clapped. My husband didn’t quite know what to make of it.
I guess the good news in all of this is if I have a daughter someday and she tells me how I can’t possibly understand her life, I’ll pass along the DVDs and say: “Checkmate. Yes I do. But you still can’t miss curfew.”
Oh and I also discovered I’m still in love with Jordan Catalano. So hot. But so weird-looking now.
“Dear 4th grade parents …” says the latest letter. This has become a theme lately. “Dear 4th Grade Parents there will be a 4th Grade Graduation on …” “Dear 4th Grade Parents … there will be a farewell picnic on …” “Dear 4th Grade Parents there will be a middle school orientation on …” This might seem sweet – even thoughtful – on the outside. Do not be fooled. They send these to me, a “Dear 4th Grade Parent,” because they want to RIP MY HEART OUT AND TEAR IT INTO A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.
You see, despite my repeated attempts to make them listen to reason, our otherwise excellent school district suffers one fatal flaw: they think that ten year olds belong in middle school. In my day, “middle school” (also quaintly known as “junior high”) didn’t begin until 7th grade. By then I was 13 years old and so deeply in the throes of puberty that they could have enrolled me in a Russian prison or Disneyworld interchangeably and I would have been none the wiser. At that age, I rarely noticed anything beyond my own navel-gazing obsession with myself.
By the time I entered the hallowed halls of middle school where PEOPLE OLDER THAN YOU ARE LYING IN WAIT TO BEAT YOU (AND YOUR SELF-ESTEEM) TO A NUB I was armed, at the very least, with a sense of self-preservation and some strawberry lip gloss. I also had a comb in my back-pocket that could easily have doubled as a weapon.
My son, however, knows nothing of the mean streets of middle school. In elementary everything is soft, fuzzy, and sweet. He has been led to expect that people should be kind and thoughtful. He has been taught that bullying and making others feel badly about themselves is not to be tolerated. He believes with his whole heart that to be different is to be celebrated.
In short, he’s been sold a load of goods.
Orientation. Last night we parents all filed into the middle school auditorium to learn how our lives would change. Notice I said “our lives?” Sure, the kids are probably uncertain, unsure, and nervous about this brave new world, but really, isn’t what happens to my kids really all about me? How can I be the parent of a middle-school child? I have friends with children in 5th grade in other districts and they still get to be elementary parents. Why was I not given a vote on this academic super-sizing of my child from “little” to “middle?”
As we toured the middle school (which, curiously, shares a building with the high school) We were repeatedly assured that a variety of double doors and sentry staff would keep those ever-present high-school students at bay. After a time, I became more concerned – not less. I’m not entirely sure what those high school students are up to down the hall, but apparently, they bear carefully watching lest they escape and cause mayhem in the middle school.
I find the security ironic since in my day a high school student wouldn’t have gone within arms length of a middle school kid unless he or she was being paid to do so. And even then - just barely.
My son seems enthralled with the idea of finally having a locker and the ability to walk the halls between classes. Lunchtime (where for the first time ever they get to sit with anyone they wish rather than assigned seating) sounds enticing rather than terrifying. Then again, he’s always been far more confident than I was at his age. Lest you get the wrong idea, I attended a very safe public school system myself. Nonetheless, it was just habit to glance at those long-awaited lockers on the tour and instantly assess whether your average ten year old (or mine) would fit in one.
Tagged. It seems only yesterday my letters read “Dear Kindergarten parent …” and I fastened a plastic nametag to his shirt and sent him off into his future. The nametag was very important and clearly far more for my security than his. It said who he was (and who he belonged to); where he was going (which teacher would meet him); and what he would need to assist in his journey along the way (bus number, lunch number, class number). I don’t know about him, but I certainly felt safer having it there.
Now there is no nametag (because a middle schooler would die of shame). Yet, if he had one it would tell you who he is (my whole world); where he is going (wherever his dreams take him as long as we don’t break him first); and what he will need to assist in his journey (a lot of hope, a dash of dreams, and a boatload of guidance. See also: please don’t break).
“Dear 4th Grade Parents” they write yet again, to which I can only sigh, pray, and reply:
“Dear 5th Grade … I beg of you, please handle with care.“
My son is almost a year old, which means that things have finally gotten a bit easier. He sleeps twelve hours at night, is entertainable in public, diaper blow-outs are few-and-far-between and reaches for me while smiling and babbling, “Ma ma ma ma ma ma.”
I was a little irritated to realize all of the things he’s not “supposed” to do once he turns a year old–use a bottle, play in the jumperoo, drink formula.
Apparently, once a kid turns one, they enter early-Toddlerville and it’s time for Big Boy stuff like walking, finger food and sippy cups. Before we know it, we’ll be blowing the fuck past those milestones and it’ll be time to mark the liquor bottles and set the parental controls on the porn channel.
While I don’t object to any of these things and realize they’re just part of growing up, it’s hard to realize that we’re going to be jerked out of our complacency and back into “I have no idea what the hell to do” mode. Just when I was SO enjoying the feeling of having this Mothering shit down. (Although my son challenged that feeling yesterday when he managed to gnaw paint off our walls while I was in the bathroom. I’d like to thank my family and Jesus for the Mother-of-the-Year Award.)
I guess my parenting lesson learned for the day is: When it comes to parenting, it’s best not to get too comfortable. Treat child-rearing in same manner as snake-charming–always be alert, ready to react and never underestimate your opponent.
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