The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: laura lee photography

Mama Bears Unite!

You know that feeling you get as a parent when you suspect for a millisecond that your child has been wronged? That “Mama (or Papa) Bear” reflex that rears up in us and makes us feel like we could and would do ANYTHING to protect our kids?

Yeah. That. It’s a frightening and powerful rush, isn’t it? I feel it so often, I’m starting to think I might be a Mama Bear junkie. Granted, I’m a bit of an over-reactor in general . . .

“Kelsey said WHAT to you? Hand Mama the phone please.”

In fact, my husband, aka The Gatekeeper, frequently has to remind me to let the kids solve most of their own social dilemmas. I can’t help it. My hackles just stand on end when I start to sense my babies are hurting.

But sometimes our children can’t solve their own problems, particularly when they’re up against a big institution like a school. When that happens, it is our job to protect them, and pity the fool who gets in our way (said in my best Mr. T impersonation. You’re welcome.)

Once, when Mini-Me was in Kindergarten, she was in a classroom setting that was not a good fit for her particular needs and learning style. More often than not, she came home from school looking like this:

[photo removed at the request of Mini-Me]

You know Mini-Me. She takes after her Mama. (Bless her heart.) Well, she had a couple of behavioral incidents early in the year, and the next thing we knew, she was being treated like she was a “problem child.”

It was heartbreaking. We could actually see her self-esteem plummet during that time. I don’t really talk much about it, but back then I was *this close* to pulling Mini-Me out of public Kindergarten and homeschooling her after a series of very upsetting interactions we had with the teachers and administrators of her school. (And I think we can all agree that I would be a miserable failure as a homeschooling mother given my inability to stick to a routine or come up with appropriate crafts.)

That was around the time I quit blogging. I just couldn’t find a way to balance my burgeoning career (then hobby) and give Mini-Me the time and attention she needed at home.

That’s not the only reason I gave up blogging, but it was a major factor. Sometimes I wonder how much further along I could be in my career right now if I had stayed with blogging and not taken that year off.

But like I said, I was in that Mama Bear mode and I would have done anything to protect my girl. I have no regrets. That was in the winter and spring of 2009. We did everything in our power to support our daughter and make sure she got the education she deserved.

Our efforts paid off in the end. It was no surprise to us, but it turned out she was not a “problem child” at all, but rather a gifted and kinesthetic learner who was just bored silly and needed to be with a teacher who would see her as an asset instead of a liability.

Imagine that.

This is probably why I got all teary-eyed when I watched the preview for the upcoming film Won’t Back Down, by Fox Pictures, scheduled for release September 28th. In it, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play two determined mothers who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children.

Honest to Pete, gives me goosebumps just thinking of it. I’ve been a big fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal for a long time. Ever see Secretary or Sherrybaby? Jayzus. This woman can act, y’all. I can’t wait to see the hurtin’ she puts on this role as a crusading mother.

Now add Viola Davis, Rosie Perez, and Holly Hunter? (All of whom are either Oscar nominees or winners.) Holy Hell. This is gonna be good.

Okay, enough jibber jabber. Visit the Won’t Back Down Facebook page and “like” it for more updates on the film. You can even organize a girls night out and purchase group tickets there while you’re at it.

Also, Fox and BlogHer are teaming up to give you the chance to win one of two $40 Fandango gift cards. All you need to do is answer these questions in the comments below: How can you be an agent for change in your community? What gives you courage?

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“b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the
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c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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Oh brother!

Blogging icon, The Pioneer Woman, posted a photography assignment/contest last week titled: Brothers! And guess what? My BFF Laura submitted a photo!

Isn’t that an awesome shot? The faces just kill me. Such joy! And the colors… and the water action… the whole enchilada, really.

Guess what else. The Pioneer Woman picked this very photo to include in her post, YOUR Brother Photos: Group 3! That alone is pretty darn special, because you know she must have had THOUSANDS of entries.

But wait, there’s more. After handpicking and displaying five groups of brother photos, she posted a set of finalists. And guess what. Laura is one of them!!!

I sure am happy for her! I believe The Pioneer Woman is announcing the winner today (Sunday), so good luck Laura!! I’m pulling for you, girl. (If you like this photo as much as I do, go tell The Pioneer Woman! Maybe we can influence her decision!)

By the way, Laura is the only photographer I will let anywhere NEAR my family or myself. I love her THAT much. And yes, she is the artist behind all the good shots on this here blog. For instance, here’s a picture I took of myself (with the self timer on my camera):

And here is a picture that Laura took of me:

Need I say more?

You can see more of Laura’s work on her blog. Check her out! She’s amazingly talented.

Not only is Laura a great photographer, but she’s a great friend too. Here’s a picture of us at Mini-Me’s 7th birthday party:

It was a “mock slumber party” theme and she arrived at my house carrying two dozen hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts and wearing pink footie pa-jay-jays. That’s one dedicated friend, let me tell you.

She also brought this big empty picture frame and used it as a prop to take pictures of Mini-Me with all of her guests so that we’d have cute pictures for custom thank you notes. Totally her idea. I mean really, how cool is that?

So this whole contest thing got me thinking about my kids and how lucky they are to have each other. Especially how lucky they are to have Nature Boy as their big brother. He’s such a love.

If I were to enter a photo in a brothers contest, this is the photo I would have picked:

I took it yesterday at Mini-Me’s softball game. I like how you can see Nature Boy in the reflection of the sunglasses, smiling at his little brother who was totally hogging the juice.

Or maybe I would have picked this one:

So sweet!

Or maybe this one:

Always entertaining his siblings.

Or this one:

…just melts a mama’s heart.

Or how ’bout this one:

I mean really. Every little girl should have a first dance like this.

Or this one:

awwwww!

 

But probably not this one:

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

(Especially the mother who created this vignette and then photographed it. Nice.)

Anyhoooo. Wishing you lots of brotherly love, today and everyday. And good luck, Laura!

your friend,

-Iris

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