Category Archives: kids

Why I Refuse to Read The Rainbow Fish.

Let me get this out of the way first. I hate the children’s book The Rainbow Fish. I really do. Artistically it’s a fun little book, but the story itself, I can’t stand. Maybe it’s because it’s a translation, and loses some of its meaning when translated from German to English, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Let me start off by saying that I understand that the book is supposed to be about sharing. I like sharing. However, what I get out of The Rainbow Fish is that in order to be liked, you must give away intrinsic pieces of yourself. Not just your time and energy, but the actual pieces that make you unique and interesting.

Let’s break this down into small digestible chunks, shall we?

The book opens with all the other fish wanting to play with the rainbow fish because he’s beautiful. He, however, is proud and aloof because of his appearance, and won’t play with them. When a little fish gets up the gumption to ask the Rainbow Fish for a scale, he refuses the little fish. Then all the other fish won’t have anything to do with him.

This set up really frosts me. First, all the other fish want to play with Rainbow Fish because he’s beautiful, not because of any sterling qualities he might have. And they stop asking him to play with them because he won’t give any of them a scale, not because he’s basically, for all intents and purposes, stuck up. Let me make this point right now: scales are not a prized possession. They are an inherent body part, like skin or bones or eyes. Giving away a scale requires the Rainbow Fish to damage himself.

So right away the motivation for the story is suspect in my opinion. Rather than focus on actions (Rainbow Fish’s poor behavior) it focuses on appearance. It defines worth as what you look like rather than what you do.

When the Rainbow Fish starts to miss all the adulation he used to receive, he goes to a wise old octopus to ask him for advice. The octopus tells him to give a scale to all the other fish, and that while he will no longer be beautiful, he will be happy.

So he returns home, and the other fish once again ask him for a scale. This time, trusting in the octopus’ advice, the Rainbow Fish gives everyone a scale, until he only has one scale left. The result? He’s very happy, of course, because that’s how the story is meant to go.

But if you think about it, there are two underlying reasons for his happiness. Besides the joy of giving (which definitely is real) there’s also the joy of being accepted because he no longer is different from everyone else. That’s the take away for me. Give away everything that makes you unique, and conform, and then you’ll be happy.

Yeah. Not what I want my kids to live by.

I do want my kids to be generous and charitable and kind, but not at the sacrifice of themselves. Sharing and generosity does not require you to damage yourself.

Think about it this way. Wouldn’t this story be much more interesting if the Rainbow Fish learned how to help the other fish find the things that made them unique and interesting and useful? That’s my kind of sharing.



Birthday Boy

My oldest, Ethan turned 11 recently. My husband and I decided to get him a kindle for his birthday. After much dithering, we decided on the new paperwhite version that has just been released. I wrapped up a gift card (so he can put books on it) and printed out a picture of it since it wasn’t available until the week of October 22 according to Amazon.

Ethan has been very patiently waiting since I told him it wasn’t due to ship till October 29th. Earlier this week I got an email from Amazon saying they would be able to ship it sooner. I did not tell Ethan, hoping to surprise him when it arrived.

It came today.

I think he liked it.

10 Years

10 years ago today, I was very, very pregnant. As in 5 days late pregnant.

I went shopping with my mother, and everywhere I went, people asked when I was due. I took great pleasure in telling them, “5 days ago.” What is it about the idea of a pregnant woman going into labor that makes everyone so nervous?

The very last thing my mother said to me when dropping me at home was, “Don’t have him tomorrow. Then he’ll have to share his birthday forever.” I think that idea appealed to him, since I woke up in labor that night and finally met him mid-morning.

10_12_01 5.26.02 PM 12 (1)

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I became a mother. Tomorrow is the day I discovered life is nothing like what I expected, but everything I hoped for. Tomorrow marks the day I began an entirely different set of classes, where you were my teacher as much as I was yours.

Tomorrow you turn 10.

Happy Birthday big kid.


I love you.

Just a quick share…

I am in the process of going through my photos from this past summer and fall, finally. I have an old version of photoshop elements (3!) that I was using, and it has been dying a slow and painful death. But that may be the junk computer I’m using. At any rate, I treated myself to the latest version of photoshop elements yesterday, and have spent today getting it installed, and starting to go thru the past 6 month’s worth of photos. (gotta archive them, before something bad happens to them…) (cos it will. I’ve already lost a total of a year’s worth of photos due to computer issues since I got my first digital camera Christmas 2001.)

As I have been going through my photos, this one leapt out at me. Not because of the wonderful interaction between Simon and Jonathan, but because of the imp filling the bottom of the frame.

Made me laugh out loud when I noticed him. How about you?

First Day

Today my eldest started second grade. I now officially am old. (At least according to my kids.Ed-In my son’s defense, he read this and said, “you’re not old, Mom!”) Here he is in all his almost-7-year-old glory:

Only one more month to go before his birthday. What am I going to do? And how can I stand this cuteness on a daily basis, and not squeeze those cheeks? (I apparently was meant to be an annoying distant relative, only seen on major holidays.)
And yes, he just lost his first tooth. He was very excited about it. The tooth fairy paid him a visit, and left him with a 50 cent piece. I’m dreading the possibility that he will loose his teeth the same way he got them: all at once. He literally went from no teeth to 5 teeth within the space of about a week. At nine months old. Immediately after minor surgery. On a holiday weekend. It was fun.

So the next time you see this guy, ask him how school’s going, and count his teeth. They may not be there very much longer.

Waking Simon (a vignette)

After getting out of the shower, I found Simon had crawled back in bed with Jonathan and had fallen asleep. I had to document the cuteness.

I love my baby.

Introducing Josefine!

Meet my new niece, Josefine. She was born June 26, a whopping 5 pounds, one and a half ounces. She’s cute! And tiny. And the collecting of future blackmail pictures has already begun 😉

Does this make me a bad person?

So today’s been pretty rotten. I’m sick, I’m tired and grumpy, and I didn’t sleep well. (Okay who’s playing the world’s smallest violin? Louder now!)

The point is that I’m not dealing well with being a Mom today, ie telling my 3-year old to stop crying because it’s just a scrape on top of the scrape he got yesterday, and keep walking cos I can’t walk dog, and carry him and keep his big brother going too when I’m sick. It’s just pain! Suck it up and deal.

Anyway, after dinner we go outside and play with chalk on the sidewalk. The dog tries to eat some chalk, and in playing keep away, I notice the chalk leaves nice bright lines on his black coat. So I write DOG on both sides of Connor, and am beset by helpless giggles.

Does that make me a bad person?

Family Vacation in Virginia

I just wanted to share some photos of the family on our recent trip to Virginia Beach. This is the second year we’ve gone, and stayed in a cabin at First Landing State Park. The cabins, and the park itself, are wonderful. I really recommend staying here if you’re ever in the area.

And we had wonderful sunny days while we were there:We made some new friends and worked very hard:

And I really do mean very hard:

And we documented the rise of the beach zombies in broad daylight. Very scary! I thought they were only supposed to come out at night:
All in all, a wonderful little beach vacation. If you like zombies 😉

Easter Baskets

Well, we didn’t do much for Easter, except have baskets for the kids and color eggs. Ethan really got into the spirit of coloring eggs this year. I had fun coming up with something other than a chocolate rabbit for their baskets. Simon has been asking me to read Max’s Chocolate Chicken repeatedly, so I went looking for a chocolate chicken and found a very cute one at Walmart of all places. And, since Ethan has decided he doesn’t really like chocolate, I made him a rice krispy treat. See if you can figure out what it is:

Yes, it’s a rice krispy treat castle! Just what every sword mad 6-year-old needs. Don’t you wish you had one? I’m such a good mom.