Freebie Friday- Free Shipping at the Uncool Shop (think last-minute Mother’s Day gifts)

Just found out that Spreadshirt is offering free standard shipping on orders of $35 or more until May 4th.  That applies to all the cool stuff in my Uncool Shop, including all the new women’s workout tanks (they are the longer length kind– hooray!) and I’ve also added an apron and an umbrella.  The T-shirts are still there as well as two kinds of tote bags.  Give yourself and your mom a fun Mother’s Day gift and/or get some for your friends.  I’ve set up the shop so that I can offer the items at cost and not make any profit off of them, so the prices are pretty good, especially for the shirts.  The shirts are fun to wear– whenever I wear a shirt, I always get comments– a definite conversation starter!  Just click on the words The Uncool Shop on the right side of the blog.  Spreadshirt delivers pretty fast (within 1-3 days of shipping) so if you order today, packages should arrive by Mother’s Day.  Here are the codes for the free shipping promotion:

Please let me know if there’s a product I don’t have that you would like to see in the shop!

Mom’s Best Friend

                                

Animal therapy is a wondrous thing.  Horse programs that assist kids and adults with physical and learning disabilities.  Cats that help out in nursing homes.  Dogs that are trained to assist with an enormous amount of conditions, from blindness and deafness to Alzheimer’s Disease and peanut allergies—even those that dramatically change the lives of hard-core criminals.  I think another group that can be blessed by animal therapy is moms of pre-teens and teens, at least those who have no more young children at home.  We got our dog 2 ½ years ago and the timing couldn’t have been better.   

 

I mean, think about it.  Most young children shower Mom with unconditional love and acceptance and don’t mind being cuddled relentlessly.  The maternal side of moms is nurtured and rewarded…when my kids were babies, I remember how they’d light up when I came into their room to greet them in the morning.  They’d be sitting in their cribs and would say “Mommy!” and have the hugest smiles on their faces when they’d see me, I felt like a rock star. Fast forward to early elementary school.  When Allison would see me after school, walking up the sidewalk to get her as she waited with her class on the school’s front porch, she’d run to me with open arms and another huge smile, shouting “Mommy!”  Emmie would be so excited when I’d meet her for lunch in the school cafeteria, she’d jump up and down as she waited in the lunch line, and we’d get to sit at the special “Visitor’s Table”.  I still felt like a rock star…but as any experienced parent knows, the admiration of Mom changes.  And while I know it’s normal and healthy and has to do with forming their own identity, distancing themselves from their “youth” and becoming more independent, the maternal part of a mom doesn’t change, and the rejection hurts.  It’s like the late comedian Sam Kinison used to say (er, scream) in one of his routines, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST REACH INTO MY CHEST AND RIP MY HEART OUT RIGHT NOW???!!!”

 

The other day, I was up at the elementary school for a meeting and it finished right at lunchtime.  I thought I’d pop into the school cafeteria (I hadn’t been there for lunch in a long time) to surprise Emmie.  As I made my way across the crowded lunchroom, I didn’t see her sitting with her friends.  They were giggling.  “She’s hiding under the table,” they said.  “She’s embarrassed you’re here.” (Ouch!)  Last week, after Emmie and I ordered special gymnastic team T-shirts to commemorate the state meet, Emmie informed me that we’d better be careful not to wear them on the same day. (Ow!) Monday, as I dropped Allison off at school, I had to run in to pick up something that another parent had left for me at the front desk.  “You’d better not walk in at the same time as me!” she instructed me as we pulled up.  (Rip!) Today, as she watched TV and ate breakfast (a rare occurance on a school day but allowed this morning since she didn’t have to report to school until 1 p.m.), I walked through the living room and started watching, too (after all, it was Tivo’ed American Idol) and as soon as she realized what was happening, she said, “Please leave the room.”(Geez!)  I know, she wanted to watch by herself without me asking a bunch of questions (“Do you know that song?” “How do you pronounce Siobhan?”) but it still hurt.

 

So, I just go hug and cuddle my sweet dog.  I hug him a lot.  He licks my hand and wags his tail, and I feel like a rock star. 

 

Hour Showers No More: Helping Kids Break the Habit

Why are teens (and pre-teens) notorious for taking long showers? Is it because when they were younger, they used to spend so much time with “bathtub crayons”, “foam soap” and “waterproof musical instruments”, that they’re simply used to “staying in”?  Just when I thought my kids were the only ones who think water is limitless and free, I’ve discovered there are many more out there just like them.  In honor of Earth Week, I thought I’d do a little Internet searching on “shower timers”—  I remember seeing one once in a “green products” store, a shower head that shuts off after pre-set minutes, and thought it might be time to consider buying one.  

 

A typical “shower scene” around our house: I’m at my desk late at night and Allison has just gone upstairs to take a shower. I hear the water running as I finish up my work, and 10-15 minutes later as I head up to bed, it’s still running. I glance in her room, and there she is, sitting on her bed, fully clothed, listening to her Ipod, “waiting for the water to heat up”.  I walk toward her bathroom, declaring, “I’m turning the water off now.”  She rushes past me, protesting loudly, “No! I was just getting in!”

“Yeah, it looks like it,” I say.  (In my mind, I’m picturing our water meter clicking to the beat of The Black Eyed Peas or whatever it is she’s playing.) She blocks my way.  “Seriously!” she says. “Get out of here or I won’t get in!”

After brushing my teeth, I return to make sure she did get in (and that she remembered to turn on the exhaust fan).  Seeing it’s a yes answer to both, I tell her good-night, wondering how much longer her shower will last, knowing I’ll probably be fast asleep before it’s over.

 

Emmie isn’t a whole lot different.  Whenever she takes her showers in the morning, she often takes so long, she’s late to school.

 

So it was an enlightening ride on the information superhighway. I found lots of discussion board threads where a parent says something like, “I have a teenage boy who stays in the shower every night until we force him to get out.  What can I do?” I even found an online poll (and took it)  that asked the question, “How long is your teenager’s average shower?” Out of 253 responses, 67% (171) fell between 16 and 35 minutes, which is where I cast my vote. (According to ehow.com, that can be over 50 gallons of water! Ouch!)  (I felt real sorry for the 10 people who said their teens showered for “One hour or more”) L

 

The advice on what to do was varied.  Ehow.com gave three ideas from least expensive to most.  The simplest kind, a little hourglass-type “sand timer” encased in waterproof plastic, is often given away as a freebie by city water departments or other businesses (they’re available online for about $4).  Several years ago we got a free one from Home Depot that suctions to the bath/shower wall.  While this type of timer might work for some kids, kids like ours, daydreaming in their steamy water wonderland, will simply turn it over again once they notice it’s run out.  Ehow also mentioned mechanical shower timers (The Shower Manager, www.showermanager.com, can be pre-set to 5, 8 or 11 minutes, and then it shuts off the water for awhile) and there is a digital flow shut-off device available as well.  But both these last two options are pricey—the Shower Manager is currently $111 (on special) and the digital kind, made in Australia, is over $300. Elsewhere online I found people discussing a.) the possibility of putting a coin-operated box on their shower, just like at campgrounds (very pricey and complicated, but funny—“Kids, you must now use your allowance to take a shower!”); b.) garden hose timers (wouldn’t work—a teen could figure out how to re-set it); and c.) a simple solution– turn off the hot water valve on your water heater when your kid’s shower goes past a certain time limit.  While I’d really like to try that Shower Manager, Andy and I are too cheap to shell out the bucks for it even though one online parent said it was “worth the peace of mind”, and I’m sure in water restricted areas, it’s even more worth it.  (Showermanager.com does have a drawing for a free one every month so at least I can try that route!)  I think I might also try the “turn off the hot water valve” approach, at least when I’m awake.   (That seems like a good “natural consequence”-  I can say, “Oh, that’s what our water system does now when the hot water is used up– it takes a long time to heat back up.”)

 

Otherwise, I’ll just have to sleep easier remembering what I learned once when writing a newspaper story about underwater sports—a noted brain researcher thinks regular immersion in water, for at least 20 minutes at a time, can make a person smarter and more creative.  No wonder my kids are so wacky and talented!! J

One Surprise After Another

Allison, our teenager, a few days ago: “Mom, why are you always complaining about something?”

Me: “It’s not that I’m always complaining, it’s that as a parent, there are problems and issues constantly thrown my way, a lot of stuff I’ve never dealt with before, and I’m constantly having to make decisions and take a side— and you and Emmie don’t always agree with my opinion.”

 

Amazingly, she didn’t try to argue back.  Maybe she realized I was right.  Whether it’s school issues or safety or friends or ethics or money, “it’s always something”, all the time.  Here are just some of the “surprises” I’ve had to deal with in the last 10 days:

 

College and grades:  Somehow, Andy and I “missed the memo” that high school freshman grades affect whether a kid gets into a “good college” like the University of Texas, so we were floored to find that out from several more experienced parents.  We had no idea that a kid brand-new to the rigors of high school has to already be seriously worrying about college.  Just one C and more than a few B’s can hurt.  Naturally, around the same time as we learned that gem of information, we discovered that Allison has been having a rough time this semester with homework organization, study skills and time planning, and her previously good grades are on shaky ground for the first time.  After checking online, it seems like any missed school, whether for theatre, orthodontic appointments, illness, or school field trips, really throws her off, as the make-up work is added to her already full homework load.  I now have serious doubts about her schedule for next year, which includes, once again, the extra-time-heavy electives of drill team, choir and theatre.  And every time I bring up the subject of changing it, she starts crying…

 

Sardine-ing: When Emmie, our 5th grader, came home from gymnastics practice last Monday, she was excited that the entire gym-full of girls got to go to Braum’s for ice cream to celebrate their good scores at their last meet.

“Finally, our group got to go, too,” she said, ” ‘cause the older girls do that all the time.  It was a blast, we sardined into the cars!”

“What do you mean?” I asked. 
Sh
e proudly replied, “We fit nine girls into a car that only holds five!” 

When I frowned, she said, “Aw Mom! We didn’t have to go very far!”

Not a good thing to tell someone who once saw a speeding Camaro leap over the hood of her car, “only a block from home”, and land vertically up a nearby telephone pole.  Not a good thing to tell someone whose car was smashed into, “only a block from the office”, when a wanted drug felon ran a red light.  And not a good thing to tell someone who, only a couple days before, listened to the mom of another gymnast as she recounted how her car rolled last week after being sideswiped by a teenager, at only 30 mph., on a neighborhood street.  Thanks to my concerns as well as those of other uncool parents, the gym supervisor has since asked the head coach to stop the sardine-ing.  Next time, the coach can go get boxes of ice cream treats and bring them back to the gym—a grocery store is only a block away.

 

Braces Times Two:  I spent hours with coffee and tax forms over the last couple of weeks.  The good news is that we get a refund.  The bad news is that most of it has already been spent—Emmie’s pre-braces orthodontia started last Wednesday when she got a “butterfly” spacer installed.  Oh, I knew her mouth was crowded, but I underestimated the scope of work that needs to be done and the expense involved.  Yep, we now have two children with metal in their mouths…

 

The War Over Decency Continues:  A couple weeks ago, I allowed Allison to go see a touring Broadway musical called “Spring Awakening”.  A friend invited her to attend and was willing to pay half her way. We said she could go if she came up with the other half.  She did– an Easter card with money from Grandma arrived on the same day.  I’d read a little about the show and knew it was “racy” (along the lines of “Rent”) but knew she was mature enough for Rent, so how bad could it be? I mean, this is North Texas—  where some towns won’t allow colorful shirts on public school teachers or alcohol sold within city limits.  Surely they would card people at the door if it was that bad.   Once again, I was wrong.  Recently I’ve found out stuff about Spring Awakening that makes Rent look like a Shirley Temple film festival in comparison.  And Allison thinks it’s one of the best musicals she’s ever seen, because “the music is awesome”.  Thanks to a $15 I-tunes gift card that Andy just found “laying around” and gave to her, she now has the entire soundtrack downloaded, including a song called “Totally F***ed”.  And to make matters worse, I found out about the song from Emmie.

 

 

Time to Clock Out and Chill Out

Yesterday when she got home from school, Allison said she needed either Andy or I to help her memorize a duet scene she was scheduled to perform in theatre class today. She needed one of us to act out one part while she acted out her part.  I was happy she would even consider me to do this since Andy usually helps out with “homework” after dinner while I work on miscellaneous chores, like going through mail or putting sheets in the dryer– I’m the parent that’s seen as boring and no fun, remember?  So I looked forward to working with her.  But as soon as dinner was over, she asked her dad if he could help. “Why not me?” I asked. 

“I figured you’d be busy with something,” she said, and proceeded to imitate me. (Darn, she was spot on—her dramatic interpretation was worthy of at least a B+.)

Allison (as me): “I’ve got to do a phone interview for an article I’m writing. Sorry, can’t help.  I’m paying the bills right now…I’m working on taxes…I’m on the Internet… I’m planning a Girl Scout trip…”  The spoken words then turned into an original song, and Emmie joined her. 

Okay, okay, I get it…I sulked off to my computer.

 

As I was deleting emails, I came across this, from Flylady.net.  (The Fly Lady, Marla Cilley, is an Internet celebrity and now author and speaker who gained fame through her free Internet coaching on housekeeping, motivating stressed-out people to tackle housecleaning in small chunks of time. She and her staff send out daily emails to remind subscribers to clean a particular room that day, or clean out their car, or clean out their purse, or gather unused stuff for charity, etc., etc.  One of her mantras is “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”) I rarely have time to read her emails anymore, so why did I click on this one? Here’s an excerpt:

 

I have talked before of how children will model after you. If they see that you are always busy, they will have a tendency to think that you are too busy for them. They will either retreat and not ask for your time or they will act out to get your attention. When kids are not getting responses from good and positive behavior they will take whatever they can get, even if it is negative. You do not have to let things get that far, you can take time out for them today! Look at your routines and make sure that you are not over-scheduling yourself in your home to where you can’t make any memories. The testimonial below points out how we truly can do ANYTHING for 15 Minutes – even make a memory for a little child.

Dear FlyLady,

Yesterday one of your phrases helped me in a new way. I was in
the bathroom getting ready and my 5-year-old son came in to chat. He
said, “How come you don’t ever play with me anymore?” I was a little
affronted by that question because I home-school and I feel like I
spend a good amount of time with the kids. I responded, “I do play
with you, we did a puzzle yesterday and we read stories together.” He
said, “But I want you to play guys (action figures) or race cars, can
you play that with me?”

In my mind I’m thinking “That is what Dad is for, I don’t know how to
play “guys” or “race cars,” I don’t want to play that, I have so much
to do today (and it’s Saturday so it’s my day to do stuff since I’m
not homeschooling), whine, whine, whine.”

But then I heard a little voice in my head say, “You can do anything
for 15 minutes.” So, I smiled at my darling son and said, “Well, I
could play race cars with you for 15 minutes, then I need to get some
work done.”

He was SO excited. He eagerly brought me the box of race cars so I
could choose which one I wanted. We played for 15 minutes, maybe a bit
more, and we BOTH had fun. My son was perfectly happy with 15 minutes
and didn’t request anymore.

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get things done that we
don’t give our kids the TIME they so want. Or in my case, we give them
time but it’s time doing what we want. Your 15-minute catch phrase has
been a blessing in SO many ways–THANK YOU!

 

Was God trying to tell me something yesterday?  I give lots of time to my kids, but seeing time as “kid-directed” vs. “mom-directed” is an eye-opener, a real kick in the pants.  And I think the concept is true even with older kids like mine.  But at this point in their lives, I’m not sure how to begin… a mom’s jobs and “must-do” list is long and I’ve always viewed it as never-ending (thus explains the many nights I’ve stayed up until midnight and later). Hmmm… I’ve thought of the idea of giving each girl a “Saturday afternoon with Mom” every month but have never acted on it.  Maybe I should.  Also, I’ve always wanted to arrange my daily schedule so that I “leave work” at a certain time, just like my husband, relegating most chores and office work to a certain block of time so I, too, would have time to relax, on my own or with my family.  But, like many moms, I’ve laughed at that notion, feeling like “moms don’t have the right “, like my life (and my family’s) would fall apart if I did that every day.  Now that idea doesn’t seem so laughable. 

I don’t want to be a “Hold on a Second” parent any more, always doing something else that’s “more important” that always takes longer than a second, a minute, an hour…  and I don’t want my girls to be that kind of parent someday, either.  I hope there’s still time to redeem myself.

Lipsticks, High Kicks, Not Hicks– The Positive Influence of the Kilgore Rangerettes

                                    
                            (photo of “The K Girl” on the side of the Rangerette Gym, taken by me)

Anyone who’s read this blog since the beginning knows that me, a Midwestern transplant, and Texas “cowboy culture” don’t get along very well.  I cringe at the fascination with bull roping, tobacco spitting and Toby Keith music, and to me, nothing symbolizes it better than the cowboy hat.  Those hats might as well have the words REDNECK and HICK painted right on the brim.  So you can imagine what I thought when I first saw the 70-plus members of the Kilgore College Rangerettes marching toward me one year at the Cotton Bowl parade, each in a white, wide-brimmed western hat.  But I’ve decided there’s a very big difference in meaning between a cowboy hat and a cowgirl hat.  Especially when they’re worn by a drill team.

 

On Wednesday, I and a handful of other moms accompanied Allison’s high school drill team on a 2 ½-hour bus ride to The Birthplace of Drill– Kilgore College in the tiny town of Kilgore, Texas.  It’s the home of the Rangerettes, America’s first and most famous drill team.  For those not familiar with them, they dress western-style in red, white and blue, including white boots and the afore-mentioned white hat, and are known for their jump splits and so-high-they-can-kiss-their-knees kicks.  They’ve been in the Macy’s parades, on TV, at the White House, on magazine covers, etc., etc. since the 40’s (they’re currently celebrating their 70th anniversary) and countless high school drill teams, especially in Texas, copy their style.  We were there to tour the Rangerette Museum, the Rangerette Gym, the Rangerette Residence Hall, and watch their annual show, called Revels.  For many of our girls, it was the first time they’d been in a college dorm, let alone on a college campus, and they were very excited. “Ooooh!” they gushed as they walked through the pretty and comfortable dorm (who thought those two words could ever be associated with such a structure…)  “Look at their cool patio! They have their own BBQ grill!”  Calm down, I thought.  It’s just a two-year college, in a po-dunk town. And cutthroat competitive.  An elderly man in the gift shop told me many of these girls hire personal trainers and nutritionists, just so they can make the team.  That didn’t surprise me.  Even though I was once on a drill team in 9th grade, it was nothing as “big” as what I’ve seen at high schools down here, and I’ve always been a bit skeptical, especially of anyone who pursues it past high school.  When Allison’s drill team director, a former Rangerette captain, got all choked up and teary-eyed at the new parent meeting a couple months ago when talking about what drill team has meant to her life, I thought, “Is she serious?”

 

But after viewing the museum movie, looking at the exhibits, watching the show, reading the program, and spending time on the bus, I have newfound respect for drill teams and the people that work with them.  Because in addition to providing teenage girls with a great workout and dance skills that can last a lifetime, sometimes translating into careers like teacher, coach, dance studio owner, and even Broadway dancer, the teams that mimic the Rangerettes’ style (like my daughter’s) also often mimic their code of respect and discipline. How cool was it to hear our busload of teenage girls say not just “yes” whenever they answered their director, but “Yes, Ma’aam!” Among other similarities, our girls have to keep their grades up in order to perform at games and shows, and they’re required to be on time for all events (they earn demerits if they’re even a minute late) so they’re encouraged to be 10-15 minutes early everywhere they go.

 

I doubt I’ll ever hear Allison say “Yes, Ma’aam!” to me, but if being on a drill team makes her a more respectful, more punctual person, I, too, will get teary-eyed someday when talking about it. Already I’ve seen the upcoming spring show motivate her to bring up her grades.  Makes me want to kick up my heels…

um, on second thought, maybe I better not do that, but I promise I won’t make fun of those cowgirl hats ever again.

 

Building a Better Easter

In true Uncool Mom fashion, of me always trying to re-engineer things and make them better, this year I once again set my sights on Easter.  I’ve always thought that Easter, the foundational holiday of Christianity, should be a much bigger deal than it is, and have always wondered why Christians don’t make as much fuss over it as Christmas.  I mean, at least in my family, people don’t bend over backwards at Easter to try to be together by plane, train or automobile. Each individual family usually just “does their own thing” and that “thing” usually means new spring dresses for the females; Easter baskets hidden for the kids on Easter morning, filled with a few presents and candy; going to church; participating in an egg hunt or two (egg hunts that often are a week before Easter); and maybe “going out to eat”…as kids grow older, the “Easter Bunny” and Easter baskets go away and the excitement over egg hunts diminishes as well, so eventually we’re down to going to church and going out to eat.  Ho-hum. Some would say great, that keeps the focus where it needs to be— church, but I say that Easter is a celebration that should go on all day, not just for an hour at a morning church service…

 

This isn’t the first year I’ve pondered this…when we were just starting our family, I tried thinking of Easter traditions we might start, to commemorate new life.  Why not take the kids to a farm every Easter afternoon? So when Allison was around 2 or 3, we did just that.  The City of Dallas’ Samuell Farm had animals, even Easter hayrides—it was perfect. But then we had a second child and got busier, and by the time we decided to visit the farm again, it had closed. 

 

A couple times, I decided we would host a big Easter dinner at our house, with an egg hunt in the backyard. (One of our wedding gifts was a giant funky salad bowl held up by four silver rabbits doing handstands, so I figured, I was destined to host a meal on Easter …J)  To these dinners, which would have rivaled anything found in Martha Stewart Living J, we invited a bunch from Andy’s side of the family, including all his stepbrothers and their wives…but in subsequent years, people were on vacation, and/or busy with their own new families, or they’d moved away, so that tradition never quite “took hold”…

 

This year, the wheels in my brain got turning again, and Andy and I decided that after the morning church service, we’d take a long family bike ride, i.e. about 17 miles, ending in a park near where several of his family members live, and invite them to join us for a big picnic.  While plans changed a bit (we cut our route down to 13 miles; Allison got sick and stayed home; the relatives opted out of the picnic and chose to host us for supper instead), the bike ride was great, and it was a real eye-opener.  For as Andy, Emmie, and I rode all around Dallas’ White Rock Lake, we got to see how many members of our area Hispanic population celebrate Easter—  in a big way, with lots of family and friends.  Along every mile of White Rock Lake Park, there are at least 20-25 picnic areas, and every single one was taken by a Hispanic family celebrating Easter.  (Think about it—that’s a lot of picnic tables and a lot of celebration.)  Most had brought their own BBQ grill or smoker and the air was fragrant with the smells of roasted meat… their children, no doubt brothers and sisters and cousins and friends, dressed in beautiful Sunday clothes, were hunting for eggs hidden in thick clover.  Music was everywhere–  cumbia tunes boomed out from portable stereos and some families, even small ones, had hired mariachi bands to entertain… at or near every table, people were laughing, talking, eating, smiling, flying kites, throwing Frisbees, playing soccer, dancing… …Anglos on bikes (like us) wearing Spandex (not like us—we were the dorks in jeans and denim shorts) quietly wove in and out of these celebrations… it was so fun to observe but at the same time, it almost made me cry, thinking about how our own celebrations pale in comparison…and that even if our own picnic had materialized, we wouldn’t have been able to find an empty table anywhere in that park…

 

So what’s a WASP family to do?  I vowed to keep working on it.  Meanwhile, as nine of us joined hands later than evening at my sister-in-law’s to pray before chowing down on Uncle Dan’s gourmet meal, I realized we are on the right track.

Erykah Badu’s Real Crime Isn’t Just Public Nudity

Wow. Entertainment figures blatantly taking advantage of kids aren’t in short supply these days…while I’m not going to go on and on about it, I feel I have to weigh in on the Erykah Badu controversy because a lot of people are missing the point. First, to catch up people who don’t know what I’m talking about: Erykah Badu is a popular R and B singer who was raised in Dallas and still calls our fair Metroplex her home.  On March 13, she shot a video for her latest single, “Window Seat” at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas at the site of the spot where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It was on the web for all to see on YouTube for awhile.  In the video, done in one shot with one camera and without getting permission from the city, she drives up in a Lincoln not unlike the one ridden in by the President, gets out, and proceeds to walk down the sidewalk amidst unsuspecting tourists, toward the assassination spot, shedding her clothes layer by layer until she’s in her underwear, then completely naked. A shot is heard, her head jerks back, and she falls on the street, next to “the spot”.  She claims her “art” was necessary to draw attention to the dangers of “groupthink”. (According to dictionary.com, groupthink is conformity, the practice of approaching problems as matters best dealt with by the consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently; the lack of a sense of personal responsibility.)

 

I think whatever message she was trying to get across has been lost in the controversy over this video and her own “lack of a sense of personal responsibility”.  Most of the discussions I’ve read/heard about it have been the argument of  “What’s wrong with nudity? America needs to quit being so prudish!” vs. “Public nudity– how scandalous!”, without much, if any, mention of why she really ought to be ashamed of herself: the fact that she knowingly took advantage of children.  She claims she sent out telepathic messages to the children in the area in the hopes that they wouldn’t be traumatized—what a cheap “absolution” of responsibility.  First of all, what most news coverage about this video shoot fails to mention is that it was shot on a weekend during Texas’ spring break, when all Texas public schoolchildren were off for the week, and many people were on vacation.  There were many families in Dealey Plaza that day, showing their children a historic, albeit sad, site. She has three children of her own, she has friends with children, some of her crew members probably have children, so I don’t believe for one second that they didn’t know it was a high traffic moment for that site.  I used to work two blocks from there for nine years and I know that if she’d just waited a week or two, there would have been less people, and a lot less kids. But then the video (and song)  probably wouldn’t get as much attention as they’re getting.  One of the main things viewers are looking at in the video, in addition to her cottage cheese thighs, is the reaction of the people around her—viewers are naturally curious to see how the adults and children are reacting to a naked lady in public, and without these tourists in the shot, it wouldn’t be as “intriguing”. 

 

So I don’t think the major beef people should have with this is the public nudity. Yes, she broke the law, and that’s not a good thing, but overarching this whole scene is the fact that she knowingly took advantage of a lot of people, diminished the history lesson for all the children present that day and used them and everyone else seen in the video as unpaid actors, in an enterprise that is no doubt raking in lots of cash for her and her record label.  I would have a problem with anything sensational done to make money at a historic site like that, with children watching and caught on film without any forewarning or given the chance to leave. 

 

I wish one of those parents present that day would come forward and say something…but maybe they are stuck in the confines of…groupthink?
—————————————-

Note: Since this was written, someone did come forward and complain, and Erykah was fined (by the Dallas Police) less than $1,000.