Monthly Archives: October 2015

Being a mom means wearing many hats

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Today is one of those days that I feel the pressure of too much to do and not enough time. On top of that, I feel like I have to shift gears so much I can’t keep anything straight.

I’m still at my office as I write this, taking a mental break for a second. But today, I have been many things:

Clinical Supervisor– I started my day with one of my supervisees. Case reviews.

Therapist– Followed up with therapy with an actual client. Great session.

Internet provider wannabe– then on to trying to solve the problem of the malfunctioning internet in the building next door. No answers.

Manager– fielding questions and calls from clients, therapists, etc, sending emails, answering my phone.

IT person– Still trying to sort out changes due to the ICD-10 in our computer systems. One problem is fixed- 4 more start.

Things still left to do tonight:

  1. Hug and snuggle my kiddo and read her a book before tucking her in.
  2. Eat dinner
  3. Make a Daisy Head Mayzie costume for said kiddo to wear to school tomorrow.
  4. Hot glue tulle on kiddo’s tiny witch hat to make it “fancier” for her costume tomorrow night (Trunk or Treat at school) and Saturday night (Halloween).

Things I probably won’t get to tonight:

  1. Make Star Wars Rebels dress for best friend’s daughter’s birthday. (There is a complete lack of wardrobe options having the girl characters from that cartoon. Shameful).
  2. Research new project at work.
  3. Read for pleasure
  4. Dishes
  5. Laundry
  6. Finally watch Sunday’s Walking Dead episode that has already been moderately spoiled for me just due to social media exposure- but seriously people- I have NO TIME!!!

And while I don’t believe it’s an omen or anything, I think it is hilarious that my Joy Funko Pop figure has been falling down on her head all day- no matter how many times I put her back up. She has never done that before. I’m sure it’s nothing….

joy on her head

Now- back to work….

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Raising a Geek Girl: Curating the Toy “Collection”- Marvel edition

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This post contains affiliate links.

We do our best to allow Newt to express herself and explore what she wants to explore, whether that be in what she wears, what she reads, what she watches or what she chooses to play with. But with 2 geek parents, the kid has more exposure to geek culture than most. She is only 5 years old and has already been to 2 Star Wars Celebrations, been to Megacon twice and to Tampa Comiccon 3 times. Luckily for all of us, Newt loves all things geek. Many geeks have collections- probably because of our obsessive tendencies, but one of the most common geek collections is toys. Geek culture in some ways does tend to be more egalitarian than some other groups of people; however, there are still some “challenges” in raising a geek girl. I have a million different thoughts about raising a geek girl, they just won’t all fit in one post, so my intention is to start a series of posts about this topic, a collection if you will. But today- to kick things off, I am just going to discuss toys, and to narrow the scope even more- specifically toys related to Marvel Comics that have been available to purchase new in the last several years. Over the next several posts, I will look at some other geek toy brands.

The term “geek” means different things to different people, so for my purposes, this infographic does a better job explaining what I mean than I ever could.

Diagram of Geek Culture by Ibrahim Evsan

Diagram of Geek Culture by Ibrahim Evsan

Marvel Comics

There are 2 main comic books companies people are aware of; DC and Marvel. Marvel Comics has done an outstanding job in recent years of making movies to bring super heroes into the mainstream culture and they have some awesome super heroes on their roster: Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Spider-man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Antman, X-men, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Daredevil to name a few. You might notice a few things here, such as I only named one female hero specifically. There are several female X-men and of course Gamora from Guardians, but the point is, slim pickin’s, but the pickin’s get even slimmer when we try to find toys of female Marvel characters. My daughter does have toy versions of most of the male super heroes and plays with them, but she identifies more with the female heroes.

In the the latest Avengers movie, there is an awesome scene in which Black Widow, who does not have any super powers but still manages to keep up with the boys that do, launches out of a jet on a motorcycle. It was such an awesome scene a toy was made depicting it…..but instead of Black Widow, it was Captain America? And beyond that, it is very difficult to find Black Widow toys and near impossible in brick and mortar stores. If you look on Amazon, you get a few options, such as here, but far less than most of her male counterparts. But while I’m discussing Marvel, it is necessary that I point out that Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 and this article discusses how that acquisition may be affecting the toy offerings of Marvel related toys marketed towards girls. Don’t worry- I’m not done with Disney yet- remember they own Star Wars too.

Black Widow Action Figure

Black Widow Action Figure

On to Gamora, the butt-kicking green alien from Guardians of the Galaxy. Like Black Widow, Gamora is largely absent from the toy shelves. Newt and my best friend’s 7 year old daughter have had lengthy discussions about their difficulties in obtaining Gamora action figures…ok- not lengthy, but they have bemoaned this issue. And fans beyond my 5 year old have also noticed her absence. Gamora has an even lighter presence on Amazon than Black Widow, and her figures are also pretty expensive and thus not really accessible to young kids.

Gamora Action Figure

Gamora Action Figure

But what about X-men and all of the cool female characters from that series? Well, the problem with finding X-men toys in general is due to the fact that Marvel does not have rights to the X-men movies and has to split the revenue with Fox for movie-based merchandising, so they don’t put time and effort into this franchise since the payout is a much lower percentage than their other properties. So… cool characters…no toys.

A few days ago when I decided I wanted to write about this topic, I truly could not recall more than one time when I saw a female Marvel character toy- not related to Disney Infinity– at Walmart, Target or Toys R Us. But then I saw it- on an end cap at Walmart, a display of Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. There among the Iron Man, Captain America and Spiderman, were figures of Wasp, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Ultimate Spiderwoman, HellcatSpiderwoman and Spider-girl. Sure- they are not the mainstream, well known characters. Yes, they are each listed at $19.99- so a bit pricey, as they are marketed more towards teens and adults as collectibles. But, for now, I will take it and hope that it is a step in the right direction.

wasp captain marvel scarlet witch ultimate spiderwoman

hellcat spiderwoman spider girl

** Updated on 10/23/15 to clarify the licensing relationship between Marvel and Fox for X-men.
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Apologies to my husband

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I threw him under the bus a little bit with my last post and my concerns that should I die- my kid would only eat cereal for dinner every night.

Tonight- I gave her not one- but two bowls of Fruity Pebbles for dinner. You know- the super healthy kind of cereal. I am sure that I will have a hyper child in a bit as well as one with discolored poop tomorrow.

It has just been one of those days. Fruity Pebbles was the best option to preserve my sanity.

Let’s talk about hair.

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I imagine many moms have had thoughts about what things would be like should anything happen to them and their spouse was in charge. My visions of my husband and daughter without me usually involve my daughter with matchy matchy clothes (that don’t necessarily go together), huge, frizzy, poofy hair and them eating cereal for dinner every night while watching cartoons. Not the end of the world, but still….

On the days the hubby takes Newt to school, he is in charge of getting her ready but he usually asks me to take care of her hair before I go to work. I realized why last week when he was on his own to take her to a doctor appointment and then to school. When I got home I noticed Newt’s hair was crazier than usual and I asked them if they did her hair that morning. Matt verified that he briefly ran a brush(!) through the top layer of her curly hair and left the knots underneath. Ack!!

Newt's hair in its natural form.

Newt’s hair in its natural form.

When I decided to write about hair, my mind immediately went to exploring the cultural, psychological and political significance of hair, specifically for women and girls. But I quickly realized I would have to do a great deal more research and interviewing other women and moms for it to be anything other than me just spouting my opinions through my own biased lens. So, this post is just about me and my kid. I would love to have future installments written by other moms to have a broader exploration of these issues.

Newt on the left with hair kind of in a ponytail, and frizz taking over.

Newt on the left with hair kind of in a ponytail, and frizz taking over.

When I was pregnant and imagining what pieces of me and what pieces of Matt my daughter would have, two of my hopes were that she would end up with Matt’s dimples and his naturally curly hair. You see, I have pin straight hair with no texture at all. Sure, there are benefits, like I can let it air dry with no problem, it doesn’t get frizzy in humidity- which is particularly helpful in Florida, and it doesn’t require product. But the downsides are that my hair always looks exactly the same, it doesn’t hold a style because there is no texture, it tangles very easily and I have to wash my hair every day or it looks like an oil slick. And don’t tell me that to have to train my hair so it doesn’t produce so much oil, or just use baby powder or dry shampoo. Been there, done that. The only thing that can allow me to go more than a day without washing my hair is a ponytail and a hat.

The first thing I noticed about my screaming, slimy, beautiful baby when she was born were her glorious dimples. Then I saw her head full of dark, dark hair, but I couldn’t tell if it would be curly or not. This threw me for a loop because Matt and I are both natural blondes and I personally had no hair at all until I was 2. Eventually Newt’s hair lightened and it started to be apparent that she didn’t just have wavy curls, she had CURLY curls.

Curly curls

Curly curls

This made me ecstatic…and a bit intimidated. I think we have already established that even though Newt gets her curly hair from Matt, he doesn’t really know what to do with it, and his solution for himself is to shave his hair clean off. So I had my work cut out for me- learn how to manage curly hair. I took to the Internet and to consulting my siblings who do hair.

Making graffiti art

Making graffiti art

There are a few tips I learned: never, never use a brush. Wide tooth combs are a must. If you do use a brush, it must only be followed by a ponytail or braid, or some kind of spray and then scrunching. If she spends the night elsewhere, I try and remember to pack a ponytail holder, because it is a given that whoever she is with will not know what to do with her hair, will not have products for curly hair and will brush it. My brother who had a hair shop in New York, gave me some awesome products for her, including Davines Curl Building Serum. I am not usually one to spend $20 on a hair product, especially for my 5 year old, but this stuff is awesome and a little bit goes a long way, so it lasts forever. You can get it from Amazon here. My brother also turned me on to Moroccan Oil. I let him test other hair oils products, and he assures me this is the best he has found. It does smell nice, is light and actually works well on the ends of my hair too, without weighing it down. It is great for helping me get a comb through Newt’s hair when it is still damp and reduces some of the fly always. Not to be left out, my brother also found a terrific texturizing spray for my super fine hair, Davines, This is a Sea Salt Spray for Unisex. It smells like cupcakes and the old packaging said it was for wizards, so clearly it was made for me.

Lastly, I have known for a while that Tea Tree shampoo was useful in treating and preventing dandruff and itchy scalp, but recently I started buying Tea Tree Oil by itself and just adding a few drops to my handful of whatever shampoo I am using. Buying it this way allows me to use it in other ways too, like for itchy patches on skin and hot spots on the dogs. Recently I read that it can be helpful in preventing head lice so I’ve started adding a few drops to Newt’s shampoo too. WebMD also notes that initial research shows that it can be beneficial in treating dandruff and preventing lice, so you don’t have to go just by my word for it. And since I’m not a doctor, make sure you aren’t allergic to it before you start using it, and only use it topically. There are tons of options for tea tree oil on Amazon, as you can see here.

Now, if only I could figure out why her hair takes forever to grow……

Rock in' the curls while reading to her pup.

Rockin’ the curls while reading to her pup.

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