Restaurant owners are fed up. Parents have been bringing children to their otherwise decent eating establishments. Children get in the way. They are loud, and they are messy. What to do? What to do? Ban children under age 6. When I first heard about this, I thought surely this move would put them in the red. The more I heard and thought about it, the more it seemed like the restaurant owners could cash in with all those people who don't want to dine with children. I like being able to take Simone and Nadia with us for a bite to eat. Ken and I take the girls to family friendly eating establishments, the ones with kids' menus and Crayons. If we're going out, it's for lunch, where the crowd is smaller and the menu is less expensive. If we dine at night -- and we rarely do -- we go early. Children don't take long waits well, and nothing gets in the way of our nighttime bath routine. When trouble arises, we act fast. We packed up and left a restaurant one day when our girls wouldn't listen to us. Going out is a treat. We also scoop them up and take them outside if they start to wail. The general public doesn't love my kids like I do. While banning children seems extreme, some restaurants know what their customers want. I still wonder what will happen when those young children grow up. Will their parents skip those establishments that weren't friendly to them and take their money elsewhere? We shall see. What do you say? Should restaurants ban young children?
It turns out curlies aren't the only ones who are looking for good shampoo alternatives. Q: Other than to tell you that I enjoy your blog thoroughly, I want to ask you a hair question. I am not a curly in any fashion, like I said, I'm a white girl and I have relatively straight hair, but I've read your curly blogs and I wanted to try to look for a shampoo and conditioner that are sulfate, silicone and paraben free and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I just started looking at all the backs of bottles in my shower, and ALL of the shampoos I have at the moment have sulfates. I was also wondering if I need to look for other key words, if those three things may be hiding behind a different name. Sulfates were easy to identify, but I didn't see silicone or paraben. Thanks so much for your blog, Honeysmoke. A: Thank you so much for visiting Honeysmoke. There are tons of low sulfate or sulfate free shampoos out there. I bet if you go to a local salon or check out the health and beauty aisle, you may find some affordable options. I am afraid a lot of the products aimed at curly hair can be quite expensive, and those are the products I am most familiar with. At any rate, I have tried Jessicurl products and love them. I don't love the shipping costs, which keeps me from buying them all of the time. The line has two mild shampoos. Here is a link to one of them. As for keys words you can search, try: low poo and no poo. That may broaden your search a bit. I hope you find what you're looking for and thanks again for visiting Honeysmoke.
Knock, Knock. Who's there? Banana. Banana who? Knock, Knock. Who's there? Banana. Banana who? Knock, Knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Aren't you glad I didn't say banana again? Simone, developing her sense of humor.
Ken did the honors. He ripped open the envelope and read the letter inside. He read every word aloud about what a good school year it will be, when to pick up school supplies and when the school's open house will be held. What we wanted to know was in the very last paragraph. The name of Simone's first-grade teacher. We had gotten the heads up from a parent that we would learn our child's fate this week. With the teacher's name in hand, we launched a fact-finding mission to learn as much as possible about her. In seconds, we landed on her web page and read all about her education and teaching philosophy. We even know the name of her cat. Ken plans to get the lowdown from a few teachers we know, while I will shake down some parents for information. If all else fails, we will do a full background check on her. Sad, huh? Ken didn't think so. It's a big deal, he said. This teacher will be part a part of our family for the next nine or 10 months. Whether we like it or not, we will send our child to her five days a week. Much of what happens at school will shape our lives. There will be school projects, homework and trips. Simone is ready. We think she's bored with day camp. She comes home and reads or plays with her learning games. When I told her her teacher's name, she ran up to other kids to share the news like she had gotten into college or something. What can I say? The kid loves to learn. Simone is fine just knowing her new teacher's name, while we have so many questions. Will Simone like her? Will we like her? Will she be tough, hard, mean? A softy? The answers will come in the first few weeks of school. This is what our life has come to: anticipating the what ifs of another school year.
Trust me when I say last week was not a good week. It was awful. Like a rain cloud was hanging over my head with its own lightning bolt awful. Seriously, I cried last week -- twice, and I am not a crier. This week didn't start out much better. For starters, there were more tears. I cry one time a year, if that, so I am done, with a capital D, with crying for the next three years. I couldn't take much more rejection or bad news. Then I received a letter in the mail. Writers know what kind of letter I am talking about. It's one of those letters from you and addressed to you, the self-addressed, stamped envelope writers include in query letters so that agents can deliver rejection on our dime. There are two types of these letters. There is the dreaded form letter, which is practically useless, and there is the personal rejection. Thank goodness, this one was the later. Agents are busy people. They don't have time to write personal notes. They have clients to represent, deals to close. So, it's a compliment when one of them takes a moment to reject a writer's project and encourage her at the same time. What in the heck am I talking about? This 12-word sentence: "Your picture book is an original and effective tool for all children." I needed that positive rejection. That sentence let me know I am doing something right. The agent didn't offer representation. She can't take on any more clients during these tough economic times. But I am close to finding the right agent for me and my work. So close.
I was looking for something else when I landed on Mano Alla Mano on Etsy.com. Such colorful, beautiful people. Mamas, papas, children. After a flew clicks, I had to know the story behind the art. Here's what I learned: Hello! Well, that is a big question, but the simple answer is that my then three-year-old daughter wanted a blanket with "Kids that look like me" and I searched the internets, fabric stores, etc with no luck. I am a designer and artist by trade and designed some fabric with kids that she approved of. :) I posted some photos of the finished blanket on my blog and was flooded with email requests for yardage. There is a real need for prints that are reflective of our current culture and so after I started selling the kiddo prints I expanded the line to bi-racial families, two mamas, two papas, single parents. As I said on my site, we are all normal and we all deserve to have ourselves and our families represented. Everyone has a story. If you know of one that should be featured here, send a note to honeysmoke at honeysmoke dot com.
ETA: The mother was spared jail time. She was sentenced to community service and 12 months probation. Thanks to Blanc2 for pointing this out in the comment section. A mother has no car, takes the bus for work and errands, and has three kids. The bus lets her out on a five-lane highway. She and her three kids get safely to the median. One of the kids squirms away and is hit by a drunk driver. Why is the child's mother also going to jail? A sad account spotted on Freerangekids.wordpress.com. Check it out.
When I talk on the phone with relatives, the girls like to say hello. "I'm talking to Daddy," I often tell them. "Are you talking to your Daddy or our Daddy?" the girls ask. Good question. I love seeing how they learn. A few weeks ago, I was driving the Junior Executives home from day camp and preschool. I sparred with afternoon traffic as the girls told me about their day. At a stop light, Nadia asked: "Where is your Mommy?" "She's in heaven." "Up there?" "Way up there." It was at this point that I wished we were not having this conversation in the car. Such conversations require a lot more than I can offer while driving. The afternoon drive home continued, and then Nadia launched another question from the backseat. "What color was her skin?" I was silent for a moment as my mind exploded with questions. Why does she want to know that? Has someone been asking her about the color of her skin? What four-year-old asks about the color of somebody's skin? I should ask her. No, I shouldn't. Just answer the question. I try not to ask too many questions when I am talking to the girls, because I want Simone and Nadia to feel comfortable telling me anything. I figure there will be plenty of time for interrogations when they are teenagers. "Why do you want to know the color of her skin?" "Because I want to know, Silly." Nadia ends a lot of her sentences with the word "silly" these days. One day I will confess to her that I really did feel silly for asking this question. "Well, it was a lot like the color of your skin." With that, the conversation was over. I'd like to say that when we got home I pointed out a picture of their Grandmother and we talked about her for awhile. No, that didn't happen. We arrived home, fell into our nightly routine and no one said another word about Grandma or the color of her skin. A few days later, I pulled out a picture of Mom and showed it to the girls. The moment, though, had passed, and they didn't make the connection to the conversation we had a few days earlier. Maybe next time. There will be a next time, and I will delight in telling Simone and Nadia all about my Mommy.