Category Archives: Communication

Top Women’s Newspaper Journalists of Past and Present

helenthomas

In honor of Women’s History Month, last week I took on the daunting task of listing some top women television journalists that deserve our support. I would like to continue to honor this month by attempting to list top political newspaper journalists, columnists and editors who deserve the same kind of respect, support and place in history. And for a final tribute next week, I will tackle my list of top twenty liberal women political bloggers.

Women are now expected voices during political dialogue – speaking their minds and taking names, so to speak. But how did we get here? After all, we have only had the right to vote since 1920 (a mere 90 years ago) and finally had our first shot at a woman President only in the past year. Wouldn’t you know it, women have been affecting the political scene long before we were voting and have been fighting for their spot on the soapbox in the male dominated field of journalism ever since. Did you know that the International Federation of Journalists reported that only of 38% of working journalists are women?

So as a woman blogger, political junkie and proud feminist, I would like to tip my laptop to the following women of note:

  • Marguerite Higgins was the first woman to win a Pulitzer prize for international reporting in 1951.
  • Ethel Payne covered the civil rights movement and became the first African American commentator employed by a major news network (CBS) in 1972.
  • Ida M. Tarbell was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her historical investigative reporting about the Standard Oil company at the turn of the century.
  • Margaret Fuller was the first writer for the New York Tribune in the mid 1800s and was also the first female foreign and war correspondent.
  • Nellie Bly is famous for her undercover work as a journalist who faked her insanity so that she could report on the inner workings of a mental institution in the late 1800’s.
  • Katherine Graham was a Pulitzer prize winning author and managing editor of the Washington Post during the explosive early 70s when the Post unearthed the truth about Nixon.
  • Nancy Hicks Maynard was the first African American female reporter for the New York Times and former owner of the Oakland Tribune.
  • Ellen Goodman is a Pulitzer prize winning columnist who has focused her career on bringing attention to the women’s movement while writing a nationally recognized syndicated column.
  • Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist who, in 1990, became the third woman in history to write a regular column for the New York Times Op-Ed page.
  • Helen Thomas was the first female member and president of the While House Correspondents Association and has been in the white house press corps since JFK, sitting front and center of every white house press conference. (See image above.)
  • Arianna Huffington was named as one of Time’s worlds 100 most influential people and  is the co founder of the Huffington Post.
  • Margaret Carlson was the first female columnist at Time magazine and is now a columnist at Bloomberg News.

IN 1937, the National Federation of Press Women was founded. For a list of accomplished women journalists found in their Hall of Fame, please visit their site.

With such amazing journalists and inspiring women preparing the ground for future female writers, it is no surprise that such a fabulous crop of political bloggers have sprung forth today, enlightening, demanding and questioning the political arena at large. So who are my favorites? You’ll have to wait until next week when I will finally reveal my top twenty favorite political bloggers. Until then, happy Women’s History Month!

Cross Posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Bloggers, Communication, Educating myself, Feminist tendancies, Giving respect, Inspiring people, Politics, Raising Awareness, Reccomendations, Women

The Today Show Defines the Digital Mom, Part One.

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So while changing a funky diaper this morning, I happened to have on the Today Show. I usually get about a half hour with Meredith and Matt before I am onto other things in my day. And it was probably going to be switched off right after that diaper change had I not heard the intro to a series about “Digital Moms”.

Wait a second. That’s me!

C’s “Pull Up” got pulled up right quick, I hastily ushered him over to his favorite chalk board and ran back to turn up the volume. And this is what I watched.

Initially I was excited. Yes, here’s focus being given to moms and all that they can do from home and online! So cool!

Um… hold on. Did the Today Show really portray what a “digital mom” is truly all about?

I know its only the first part of the series but so far, I am a little disappointed. Here are my thoughts.

First of all, every woman should in fact follow Laura Fortner’s advice. Yes, use the Internet anyway you need to. If that means finding support groups while you wrestle life as a parent, do it. By all means. Its WAY  cheaper than therapy. I’ve got great online friends who have supported me through good and bad. I get it. Women SHOULD connect this way.

And I most certainly use twitter and facebook socially (as well as to promote what I do). In this bloggy world, you have to make personal connections with people if anyone is to take you seriously. That’s the irony about blogging. While it seems rather anti-social to work alone at a computer – it is actually interactive, personal work. But twitter and facebook are certainly not the be all and end all for me. I take no issue if that’s all some moms use the Internet for, just as long as twitter and facebook aren’t what “digital moms” are defined by.

However, the Today Show seemed to portray the digital mom as a social Internet butterfly flitting from one social network to another, hardly offering anything of much value, prioritizing their iphones and laptops over time with their children.

From where I sit in with dirty diaper in hand, the Today Show doesn’t get it yet.  Seriously. They have only just scratched the deeply faceted surface of a very complex system. Women online today are kicking some virtual ass and taking names. While nursing babies on three hours of sleep or running children to little league, they are reaching out in ways that affect important change. They are standing up for what women deserve, interviewing future presidents and representing mothers at the Democratic National Convention. They write, they rally, they fight, they work hard, they make us laugh ( a lot ), they give, they think, they educate, they share, and they even make money doing it. All while being moms. From home. With a laptop in front of them and toys scattered at their feet.

And here’s the funny thing. Businesses and PR companies actually get what digital moms are all about. (Think back to that all expenses paid trip to NYC I just went on.) Why do they get it? Because mothers are the ones spending the money and digital moms are the ones writing about where they spend it. And digital moms are not some untrained variety of advertisers, happy to plug any product for free stuff. These moms tell it how it is, the good, the bad and the ugly. Consumers are drawn to these women’s perspectives because they write well, they write from the heart and lots of people follow what they have to say.

But I do have to say this. The Today Show isn’t the only one scrambling to get it. As my friend Mary pointed out to me today, you have to be in it, to get it. And that is so true. I can’t tell you how many times my friends eyes glaze over when I talk about blogging. And I take no offense at all. Because writing and connecting and working online isn’t everyone’s bag. We all do our own thing, its all good.

But if you are a news source, wouldn’t you try a little harder to get it and not just piece together a cute story about what seems to be a new cyber hobby for bored moms?

So anyway, its only the start of a series. Maybe I have my panties in a bunch way too soon. I could be jumping the gun, this could be really great for all digital moms. Still, I did send a message to @todayshow on Twitter today asking them to consider attending the Blogher conference in Chicago. If they still don’t get it by the end of this series, that conference will set them straight. BlogHer represents the diversity, the smarts and the know how of real digital moms today. And it’s something to be reckoned with.

Well, I’ve had my say. I promise to stay tuned into the series. (Wendy aka @eMom will be on tomorrow. I was lucky enough to meet her at Seaworld. Go Wendy!) I will certainly post later in the week with my perspective once again. “Oh great”, I hear you groan.

Ah well.

I am digital mom, hear me post.

Peace out.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Communication, Mothers, Twitter, Women, Working moms

My Thoughts on the Presidential Address to Congress

The other night after putting my children to bed, I settled onto my couch with my laptop and switched on MSNBC. I was ready to hear from our President. I was looking for hope, for answers, for any sign that there will be a light at the end of this very long and difficult tunnel. Homes in my neighborhood stand empty, friends are losing their jobs, funding for my son’s education is being cut drastically and I’m getting nervous about affording even groceries right now. This speech needed to assure me that eventually everything is going to be alright. And did it? Here is my reaction to the President’s address to congress.

After thunderous opening applause and a quick introduction by Pelosi, President Obama launched enthusiastically into his speech. Right away he recognized just how bad it’s gotten. He explained that he didn’t need to rattle off any more statistics about this recession since we are all experiencing it first hand.

With my arms folded and my heart sadly resigned, I certainly agreed. As much as I support our President whole-heartedly, I know the reality and can’t help but worry the obstacles in front of us are impossible to overcome.

He then reminded us that we are all responsible for our economy, for our environment, for our children’s futures. After years of excessive spending and with no regard for the consequences of bad loans or oil dependence, we’ve wound up where we are. His words were strong, he spoke plainly and he spoke right to me.

All this time, I’ve been smugly blaming the previous administration and everyone else for this mess. But it was at this moment when I realized that this problem is all of ours. We have all played a part in this mess and we all need to make an effort to fix it.

“Now is the time” he demanded. Ok. You’re right. I’m listening.

He then went on to explain this recovery plan will do the following:

  • Create 3.5 million jobs
  • Give 95% of Americans a tax cut by April 1
  • Give families paying for college tuition a $2,500 tax credit
  • Allow unemployed Americans extended unemployment benefits

Honestly? These promises practically make me giddy with hope. I was ready to leap to my feet during this part of his speech faster than Pelosi herself. But I didn’t. I was still holding myself back. These are promises and certainly look great on paper – but I am still waiting and seeing.

Obviously, this recovery plan means that a lot of money (read: trillions) will be floating around. Considering our reckless past, I appreciated the President explaining that careful tabs will be kept on every dollar spent. Americans can go to recovery.gov to see where our money is going. This is good. Actions and process have to be kept transparent if we want if regain any economic confidence.

The next points he brought up were about banking, credit and loans. The message came across loud and clear that our money in our banks is safe and that we cannot stop loaning to individuals and businesses. This will stop economic growth in its tracks. Clearly, trust needs to be rebuilt again.

He also pointed out that “responsible” families struggling to hold on to their homes will be assisted. He said that:

“…the average family who refinances today can save nearly $2,000 per year on their mortgage.”

For a family like ours who followed the rules, bought a home within our means but are still scraping to pay our mortgage – this was very encouraging to hear.

Further into his speech, I was thrilled to hear the three priorities of the recovery plan:

 “…the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.”

He explained that ignoring these areas will change the future of our country if we do not give them immediate support and attention.

This was where my cautious “we’ll see” grumblings gave way to affirmative exclamations. I was emotionally on board then. All I could think about was my child’s school staying open, my $150 co-pays to treat my son’s flu that never responded to his $25 flu shot, and the empty homes scattered all over my neighborhood. Maybe? Could it be? Well, it seems there actually is hope.

As our president concluded his speech, he mentioned the stories of individuals who have made differences in their communities. He then introduced us to the young high school girl who reminded our congress that “We are not quitters!”

You see, that is exactly it for me. I am scared right now. I am nervous that from the bottom of this economic hole, these promises are just too good to be true. I want to hide my head in the sand and wish it all away. Or maybe just wait for someone else to fix it. But we are not quitters. No matter what side of the tracks you fall on: get up, get out and do something. This is everyone’s problem. Not just Wall Street’s or Congress’s or our President’s.

No doubt about it, our President is a fantastic speaker. But he is also an extremely smart and capable leader. The impossible is ahead of us but instead of moaning about what can’t be done, I will follow his lead and consider all that can be done. He is inspiring me to take responsibility, move forward and do my part. It was an excellent speech and I’m excited and ready to see what our future has in store.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Communication, Economy, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, Obama, parental fear, Parenting, Partisanship, Politics, Raising Awareness, Reality check

Is Obama’s Hope for Bipartisanship Possible?

It’s week one for President Obama and he faces an overwhelming to do list; a tangled rats nest of diplomatic, economic and environmental issues – all of which are deemed an absolute priority. However, our President has made one thing very clear. In order to succeed at untangling any of this mess, our country must unify, shake off bad partisan habits, and move forward as one nation. But after all the anger across party lines over this past year – heck, over this past decade – is national bipartisanship actually possible?

During President Obama’s historical inaugural speech, he turned to the nation and announced:

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Bipartisanship was clearly his priority the night before his inauguration as Obama attended a number of dinners, one honoring John McCain, where he aimed to demonstrate his intentions to unify this country.

And while President Obama’s stimulus plan only needs the majority number of votes to pass, he hopes for more. Obama is aiming for at least 80 votes to demonstrate to the nation that our government acts with one voice working together to solve our economic issues.

Before and since Obama was sworn in as our new leader, he has prioritized efforts to reach across party lines. There are an endless number of examples and Jonathan Martin at Politico lists many of them here. However, many are still skeptical whether these bipartisan efforts will actually work – and for various reasons.

Jake Tapper, an ABC White House correspondent, pointed out examples where Obama critiqued McCain during the election year – and at the time, he was clearly not in a bipartisan frame of mind. Will conservative citizens forget his criticisms and allow this water to pass under the bridge?

And that stimulus plan? Well, even if it is likely to pass, folks on both sides of the fence think such an idealistic goal of 80 votes is unlikely. Jay Newton Small from Time Magazine explains that Obama will either have to reach much further over to the Republican camp, which would disappoint supporters – or push the plan ahead going against his bipartisanship ideologies. Newton-Small writes:

“Obama may quickly find himself forced to choose between betraying his party and betraying his principles.”

Ed Kilgore wrote about Obama’s bipartisanship goals at the Huffington Post – and he too recognizes those that are skeptical his efforts will work. He writes:

“Call it ‘bipartisanship,’ ‘nonpartisanship,’ or ‘post-partisanship,’ this strain of Obama’s thinking is impossible to ignore, and has pleased and inspired some listeners while annoying and alarming others.”

Kilgore explains further about the possibility of Obama’s bipartisan intentions:

“Among self-conscious progressives and conservatives alike, there’s a prevailing belief that Obama’s ‘bipartisan’ talk is largely a tactical device without real meaning — and a lingering fear that he might really mean it. “

So, critics seem to think Obama’s bipartisan efforts are not genuine but some underhanded method to get what he wants? Or worse still, if he does mean it and politicians drop their baggage at the door, where does that leave both parties? Will they have to (gasp) compromise and listen? Have open discussion and actually tolerate differing opinions? That’s just not how Washington works. Right?

FireDogLake.com goes so far as to say that Obama cares more about bipartisanship than a stable economy. RealClearPolitics.com explains that bipartisanship is not such a great idea after all because it requires both sides to work together – and if one side has got it all wrong, the entire effort will be diminished.

And let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh. Like him or not, he has a huge conservative audience that hangs on to his every word. What are his thoughts on Obama’s bipartisanship efforts? Well, go see for yourself. But he certainly doesn’t think conservatives should “drink the Kool-aid”.

So what do everyday people think? Well, I was discouraged looking back at the comments of the Politico article I mentioned above. But not everyone considers Obama’s efforts impossible. Corina Fiore from Down to Earth Mama explained to me:

“Obama’s bipartisanship agenda is possible. As a nation, we know that with hard work, determination, intelligence and common purpose, anything is possible… This task, though, is difficult with so many egos and so many different ideals to consider.”

And then another blogger, Wendy Piersell from Totally Her, relayed to me that:

“I hope/think the Obama administration will change the dynamic between parties forever. But politics will always be partisan.”

I agree with both. Opposing parties and differing opinions are important for this country to check and balance itself. Our country is defined by its diverse perspectives – we don’t all agree and it’s our right that we don’t have to. That being said, President Obama simply wants to keep the door open. No idea or suggestion aimed at fixing our nation’s problems should be ignored based on party affiliation. Let’s keep an open mind and sit down to fix this together. We may all not get exactly what we want but, if our country is better off for the compromises we’ve made in 5 years, it will all be worth it.

And bipartisan efforts should extend even as far as Type A Mom. Please make sure to jump over, welcome and read future articles by our new Conservative Mom Editor, Krista Herling! Welcome Krista!

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Communication, Economy, Giving respect, Government, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Partisanship, Politics, Presidency, Reality check

Maintain the Grassroots Momentum and Make Change Happen

On November 4th, we elected Barack Obama to become our 44th President. And on that evening, as a democrat, a woman and an American citizen, I could not have been more proud of my country. In a couple months, we will celebrate his election with an Inauguration, as he’s officially given the title “President of the United States of America”. But afterwards, with confetti still falling to the ground and his pencils freshly sharpened, we will be left to wonder… “Now what?” It’s time for change, right? So how does that happen? One thing is certain: Obama will have to work very hard to right this sputtering, smoking plane that we call our country. But we’re all passengers on that plane, and its up to all of us to fix it.

Over the past year, I think what amazed me most about Obama’s campaign was the unique, unprecedented support he received from individual voters. He made an effort to interact with voters in a way no other has. Yes, his outstanding speeches and a well thought out policy for change certainly resonated with citizens. Those two points were impressive in their own right. But what truly inspired me was how many people took charge and decided to give this election momentum by their individual actions.

Patrick Levine Rose wrote an insightful article about his experience working on the Obama campaign. Once again, it is a testament to how many people went door to door, how many phone calls were made, personal emails sent out, new voters registered, millions of donations (offering as little as $5.00 a piece) were given, large rallies and small get togetherswere organized. There is no doubt in my mind that this election was won because of powerful, individual grassroots efforts. He will be President not because of one brilliant campaign manager and a ton of loot – he will be President because thousands of regular people heard an important message and were called to action. Regular folks, with hardly much political clout other than their right to vote, are the ones who ushered Obama into the White House. What an inspiration.

So now we live in a country that has seen the power of individuals focused on a common goal. We know a grassroots effort can work. Thanks to every individual involved in his campaign, Obama will become President at the start of this upcoming year. And he has one hell of a mess on his plate. Obama Zombies aside, should we retire our Obama pins, put our feet up and breathe a sigh of relief exclaiming that everything will now be taken care of? Um, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. If we ever needed to get organized and do our part, it would be now. In my opinion? We have to keep up this kind of momentum if we want to get our plane running smoothly on all cylinders again.

Here’s the first step. Consider some of these questions and think through ways you might be able to make a difference on a local level:

What do you expect of our country? What do you expect your responsibilities are as an American citizen? What can we do as individuals withbusy lives? What can we do as mothers? How can we come together with Americans who didn’t vote for Obama? (Because guess what, we need their help too.) What can we do on a daily basis to change our environment? Can we stop hate on a local level? What can we do to fix this economy? (I can’t help but wonder if more shopping will stimulate our economy or just get us all in more debt?) What do we teach our children or how do we involve them at their schools? How can our place of business make a difference?

Now I need your feedback. I am going to list some spots where we can go online to get involved and make this exciting new concept of “change” actually start to happen. But these are certainly not the only places we can go to make a difference. Check out my list and then comment back with some of your suggestions. Think about those questions and remember that individuals working on a grassroots level can actually move this country forward. Yes we can because… yes we did.

Change.gov: Obama is offering Americans a platform to “Tell their story”. Take some time to write your perspective, your ideas and how you might want to see change happen.

BarackObama.com : If you volunteered for his campaign or would like to volunteer in the future, log in and take the survey offered.

Momsrising.org : A bipartisan group promoting mother’s rights.

MoveOn.org : A progressive, liberal group bringing individuals into the political process.

Dividedwefail.org: The AARP, SEIU and NFIB have created this group to bring about bipartisan change.

Wecansolveit.org: Founded by Al Gore, a non profit, bipartisan group focused on climate change. There is currently a petition asking you to support the EPA’s regulation of carbon monoxide pollution. If you are interested, click here. You have until Friday, November 28th to sign the petition.

HRC.org : A civil rights organization advocating on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered citizens.

What groups or websites would you add to this list?

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Causes, Communication, Economy, Educating myself, Election, Equal Rights, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, Obama, Partisanship, Politics, Raising Awareness

Navigating Partisan Friendships during this Election.

A friendship is a sacred thing. It is made scared by all that you share with and recognize in the other. And it is also made sacred by all that you do not share, as your differences challenge you to listen and grow in ways that you haven’t had to before. I can certainly appreciate this aspect of friendship right now. How come? One of my closest friend’s is a Republican. So, “viva la difference”, correct? We’re trying.

When you have an acquaintance, you know the touchy topics to avoid: religion, finances, family issues, and politics. With surface friendships, this isn’t such a hard thing to do. We would rather focus on the fun stuff like soccer practice or the next moms’ night out together anyway.

But my friend is more than just an acquaintance. She is something far deeper than that. She is someone my family shares holidays with, family trips with, and endless football Sunday afternoons with. We live on the same street. We both have two children. Our husbands happened to attend the same college. Our birthdays are one day apart. We both struggle with our mortgages, with coaxing our children to sleep, with making sure they are happy at school.

And yet, she is a Republican and I am a Democrat. Not only do we belong to opposing parties, we proudly stand by our political values. There’s no budging us and, needless to say, neither of us will be checking the same boxes come November 4th.

So, for the sake of our friendship, I am guessing your advice might be to avoid political discussions at all costs, correct? But here’s the thing. We are close friends. There is no topic left untouched. Nor should there be. Over bottles of wine long after the children are asleep, its inevitable that religion, finances and skeletons in our respectable closests come right on out for consideration. And yup, politics certainly jumps in there too, sure to shake up our wine induced “heart to hearts”, while our families sleep on.

So how do we do it? How do we hold onto our friendship in the midst of a deeply emotional Presidential battle? I would not say it’s easy, and it certainly hasn’t been for others as well.

The blogger Queen of Spain writes about “outing” herself politically to acquaintances, and noting their varied reactions. However, it seems utterly impossible to avoid political chatter right now. Better than a season premier of “Lost”, the Nightly News has most of us wide-eyed and at the edge of our seats every evening. We can’t help it, our politics are bound to slip into even the briefest of conversations.

And how many of us are so fed up with the opposing party that we are potentially willing to lose friends? Should our political values really come before our friendships? Ilina at Dirt and Noise certainly is struggling with this very issue and I could not sympathise more with her.

Shannon McDowell (writing for Ezine) and Laurie Weigler (writing for eHow) both offer us suggestions while navigating the choppy waters of a politically threatened friendship.

  • Respectfully and tactfully discuss your choice using facts – not rhetoric.
  • During the conversation, keep humor in and emotion out (if possible).
  • Don’t attack or try to convert the other.
  • Be sensitive to your friend’s beliefs and respect them.
  • Involve the group in the conversation, make it less about one against the other.
  • Agree to disagree – remember we each have the right to our own opinion.
  • Reconnect after the conversation with a hug, laugh or handshake to establish that “yup, we’re still ok.”

Finally Mom-101 points out that while elections can truly test some friendships, we usually have more in common with one another than what we don’t. And this is the very point I come to at the end of the day with my friend.

Yes, for the next few weeks, there will be an elephant – and a donkey – in the room with my friend and I.  However, when we sit down and discuss our hopes and dreams, we are truly so much more alike than we are different. And as for our politics? She challenges me and I her. Diverse opinions are what makes this world go around. Preaching to our safe choir of friends will not allow us to grow. A partisan friendship such as ours isn’t easy right now, but we are both better for it. And at the end of the day, we still find ourselves on the same street, with the same children, holding on to the same hopes and dreams for our families.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Communication, Friendship, Giving respect, Partisanship, Politics

Using his words.

My poor two year old. He has so much to say but so few people understand what the hell he is saying. It is as if he is living in a country where he understands the language but, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t speak like the natives. We have taught him some sign language, which has helped a lot. But his thoughts are more complicated than the few limited hand gestures he knows. He wants to talk like a big boy. And he is trying his damnedest too. He comes at us with his big open cherub face, blue eyes gleaming “woog ah mee da!” (translation: “Look at me, Dad”) My sweet boy, he’s trying so hard.

Every afternoon, I pack C. into the car and we drive a half hour over to T.’s school to pick him up from kindergarten. They are still “tweaking” the car pick up line (apparently) and the wait tests both of our patience. This afternoon, 15 minutes ahead of school dismissal time, we pulled up to the endless double row of cars, found our spot in line and I turned off the engine. It’s Florida, in August. The sun is hot. The parking lot’s tarmac is just as hot. I rolled our windows down for some breeze and texted my husband. It was then I heard a little peep from the back.

“I wan doy.”

“Um hmmm, one sec.” texttexttexttexttext…

“I wan doy.”

I turn around. “What do you want, hon?”

“I wan doy!”

“Toy? Which toy?” And I scan the crap on the floor of the car from something special that caught his eye.

‘No. DOY!”

“Not toy??? How about a book?”

(Sharp yell of frustration.) “DOOOOY!”

“I don’t understand honey. How about some milk?”

“AHHHHHMMMMAAAAAHHHHHHAAAHHH (high high, VERY high pitched squeal ensues.) DOOOOOYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He’s purple now, mad. Straining against his car seat straps. Pointing at something in the center console.

“Well, honey” (and I can’t believe I said this) “You need to use words. Screaming is not going to get your way.” And with that, I turned back around and dialed the school’s office. T. would be late to school the next day due to a dentist appointment and I wanted to be sure they knew. Better not to give this tantrum any reinforcement, right?

Well. Stand back. A full throttle, kiss my grits and call me Sally, 2 year old, practically epileptic FIT wound into high gear in the backseat of my car. He thrashed, screamed, squealed, “DOOOOY!!!!! DOOOYYYYYYY!!!!! DOOOOAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” He was frothing at the mouth, the car was rocking ever so gently, he was pointing at my console and kicking the utter crap out of the seat in front of him. Meanwhile…

“Yes, This is Caroline, T.’s mother. (“BAAAAAHHHHAAA DDOOOOOOOOOHHHHYYY!!!!!”) I would just like to (WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH) let you all know (WAAAAAAAAAAAAH) that T. will (MAAAAAAAHHHH DDAAAAAHHHH) be late tomorrow due to (EEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHDDDAAAAHHHH) a dentist appointment. (EEEEEEEEEEEEE…. – can’t hear it any longer but I swear dogs are barking in the distance at this point.)

Eventually, I start the car, I am sweating like a mad woman and crank the A/C. We inch up. The tantrum doesn’t slow one teensy bit.

“Oh hon. WHAT?!!!! WHAT! IS! IT!” (EEEEEEEEEEEE) Seriously, I was going to loose my mind. What. The. Hell.

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And as I was moving along the car line, slowly but surely, annoyed mothers all around me, I glanced down at the center console. There sits a dime.

“C. Do you mean a… coin?” And I hold up the dime.

Silence.

“YEEEEEAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And a smile explodes across his face – seriously, its one like you’ve never seen. Utter, pure, joy, relief, even ecstasy. A Doy. A COIN. Cripes.

So, while he chants “DOY! DOY! DOY! DOY!” from the backseat, I hand over the dime. And he could not be happier. Just like that, all was solved. He talks to the coin, he has a full blown conversation with it. Don’t you dare tell me it’s a choke-able either.  (I’ll show you a %$&#@! choke-able…) And grateful, relieved for the peace at last, I pay him off with a variety of coins from that center console. I hear “Dis lillwwwew doy” (translation: “This is a little coin.”) and “Dis BEEEG (gruff voice) doy!” (translation: “This is a BIG coin.”)

Doy. You gotta be kidding me. My poor baby IS using his words, I just need to figure out how to hear them.

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Filed under Children, Communication, Educating myself, Guilt and motherhood, Language, Talking, Teaching kids