For The Mother With A Chubby Daughter

My daughter Mary is gorgeous, shiny, brilliant and thrilling. Growing up she was all those things and chubby. She was famous for snacking then leaving candy wrappers stuffed between the couch cushions.

Recently Mary sent me a college paper she wrote comparing the  dancer, Isadora Duncan and Marlyn Monroe. But the first paragraph was about Mary as a little girl. 

She wrote, “I knew  women throughout history had contributed in a variety of ways. I also knew I had never heard of an ugly woman doing great things. Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love, and those suffering from heartbreak would ask her for relief. In Africa, Cleopatra was a great beauty who held the power of her entire country and was a magnificent leader. Marie Antoinette was another woman I was fascinated with, at the time all I understood of her was that her beauty was so extraordinary she started wars and that she really liked cake.

However, my greatest love was not intelligent, fierce and determined like the others. My great love was Marilyn Monroe. She was delicate and feminine. She had the skin of a princess, with beautiful blond hair.

I was a chubby girl, with enormous knots in my hair, stirrups on the bottom of my grubby spandex pants and a surprising amount of hair on my legs for a ten year old.”

She also wrote, “I knew I could have looked like them if I hadn’t spent all my time watching Murder She Wrote and pretending to go to Hogwarts…..”

Now, after all these years, I know what was going through her beautiful brain.

Mary was always gorgeous. And she was so funny as a little girl, I sometimes had to pull the car off the road because I couldn’t stop laughing.

But she was a little chubby. And back then, Mary couldn’t write very well.  Boy, things have changed.

I’d love to hear from you! Comment or write to me a hampoland@gmail.com

 

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Trust Your Gut…Maybe The Mom Is A Crack Head

So,  many parents think I’m way too easy going and liberal. Others, think I’m a Nazi because I insist on kids being respectful.

But parents…when you are sending your child to some body’s house….trust your gut. Listen to your instincts. Be quiet and let that little voice in your heart speak up. Often times that’s the only thing protecting your child from something wicked.

My son, who is eight, has a new friend, Robert. He’s a little guy with pretty eyes. Robert lives with his older brother and sister, his mom and Joe, his mom’s boyfriend and three dogs.

The first time I picked Robert up  I tried to keep an open mind. But thehouse, which is a mile from any other home, was pretty rough.
I made arrangements to pick up Robert with Joe, the mom’s boyfriend. Joe was really young and tatted up, but seemed like a nice guy. He asked the right questions. “When will he be home” and “Will you feed him dinner”. The kid was lucky to have Joe, at least he was interested in the boy.

At some point during the afternoon, I asked little Robert what his mom did for a living and he said, “She mostly sleeps.” (red flag?)

As Robert was leaving, my son asked if he could give his new buddy some toys.
“Why?”
“Because Robert’s only toy is a big Freddy Kruger doll”. (He made a face that said,’pretty gross, right?’)
“Go get some toys and put them in a bag guys.” I was horrified.
The two boys came out of the room ten minutes latter with a bag full of Hot Wheels, a Nerf Gun, a plastic tank and a harmonica.

Robert gave my son a hug then said to me, “At Christmas I get toys and cool stuff from the church.”

“What church do you go to?”

“We don’t go to church, but they give us presents every Christmas. ”

Over the last three weeks Robert has come to our house four or five times. He plays, they have fun. He eats a lot and I’m working on his manners. I still haven’t  talked to or seen his mom. I always make arrangements through Joe, “the mom’s boyfriend.”

Today we picked  Robert  again. Joe “the mom’s boyfriend,” asked if Justin, the older brother could come to our house too.

Sure.

Justin hung out at our house with Robert for a few hours. During the day he told us his mom had lots of boyfriends but only Joe right now.  And neither one of them had jobs. The ultimate red flag slapped me in the face. If folks don’t have jobs, what do they do during the day? How do they make money to pay for tattoos andFreddy Kruger dolls?

I have absolutely no proof that there is anything illegal going on. I have no reason to think they are doing anything  wrong.

 But I do.

So, I told my son he must not ask to spend time at their house because I’ll say no, every time. I don’t want him to embarrass the boys.

My gut tells me there is something weird going on in that house. Both the boys always, always ask if they can spend the night. They don’t want to go home. After almost a month, I still haven’t met the mom, only  the mom’s boyfriend. But the boys tell me she is home all the time.

What should I do? 

 I know I have to keep helping the boys so I invite them over and try to teach them what I can. They like going to church with us. They like sitting down for dinner, playing board games and football.  When I give them clothes that don’t fit my kid, they try them on and grin and say thank you.

What should I do? Trust my gut, and start talking to peole. The right people. As a parent the most important thing I have to do is take care of my kids and their friends, and their friends.

 

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A Water Park Christmas!

Dear Husband and Children,

Next Christmas I think I want to take a vacation instead of hanging out at the house. I think I want to go to one of those indoor water parks in Texas.  I don’t really like Texas that much because I’m from Arkansas and they think they are all that, but holy cow, I love water parks!

This summer I was the only middle aged woman in line for the Boogie Board surfing ride. I even brought an extra tee-shirt because I knew the waves can rip your swimming suit off and nobody wants a middle aged flasher at a water park. Yikes.

Ok family, so this place called Greatwolf has a package deal. We can get a room for two adults and two kids and two day passes to the FREAKIN’ AWESOME INDOOR WATERPARK FROM HELL for right around $550. I want to go. I love the toilet bowl rides, and the tubes that can hold all four of us at once.

Alex loves the slow float down a river rides, but I’m not crazy about those. I think kids pee in the water if the ride is slow or the water isn’t frigid. There’s no time to pee on the action rides.

So, that’s my plan for next Christmas…a trip that includes white caps and a hotel room. I’ll see you there.

Love,
Your Momma

 

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Giant Men and Their Huge Pants

I just read a couple of articles about the size of human beings. We are getting so much bigger and at ridiculous rate.

One hundred years ago the average dude was 5’6-5’7 and 155 pounds. Now our men average 5’10 and weigh in at around 175 pounds (obviously they are not including the weight the men in Wal-Marts throughout the South). Petty soon all the guys are going need those big and tall jeans  from big and tell men shops. And then we won’t have any jockeys. 

I remember just twenty years ago finding a store for big men was really hard. Now, they have their own racks of stuff , right next to the normal clothes.

I just think it’s crazy that we are getting so much bigger. What if other animals were increasing in size at the same rate? House cats would be the size of Great Danes and hamsters might be as big as fat bunnies. We wouldn’t be able to keep them in an aquarium with a wheel!

Here’s part 2 of the weirdness.  We are all getting bigger but our eyesight is getting worse. Bad eye site is generally genetic so we keep passing down our squinty eyes to our kids. In the end we’ll just be huge humans, fumbling around looking for our glasses and tripping over our gigantic cats.

 

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A Scathing Eggie Review

I bought the Eggies at Wal-mart. I was so excited and I was such a dooof. “No more peeling hard boiled eggs!” I hate peeling eggs, in fact sometimes I lose my temper while peeling and end up throwing eggs. But love eating them. The Eggie was going to make my life better. The box said so. And I could season eggs before cooking them, how great does that sound!?

Well, you are probably n0t going to be surprised when I tell you the Eggies SUCKS! Seriously, it’s one of the worst “as seen on tv” things I’ve ever fallen for.” (When am I going to stop falling for these things? Yikes. I’m actually pretty smart.)

First of all the Eggie is kind of complicated but an egg in a shell is not. There are four pieces you have to screw together after coating the inside with oil every time you use them.  But I did it, greased up my Eggies, screwed all the piece together then cracked an egg and tried to pour it into the Eggie. I missed and the raw egg spread across the counter.  Humm, Then I pushed the egg into a coffee cup and successfully poured it into the Eggie.  I repeated this process three times. Then I added all kinds of spices to one of the eggs and stirred it gently.

I was concerned because the spices and yolks were all floating to the surface.  Still I put the Eggies in my pot of water, watched and waited.  The strange thing was cooking the eggs in the Eggies took a long time, longer than normal eggs.Finally, I removed all four eggs from the water and let them cool. Things weren’t looking good still I pushed on.

After the eggs cooked then cooled, I unscrewed the Eggies and plopped an egg out. It was absolutely flat on top, not shaped like an egg at all. There’s no way I could make devil eggs out of them. And the outside was greasy and slippery.  I opened the rest and they were the same, except for the one with the spices. It looked diseased.  All the black spices were on the flat side. It was pretty gross looking.

I showed the plate of oily eggs to my husband, who is a chef. 

 ”They look like boobs covered in baby oil” he laughed.

He was right.

So, it’s back to peeling eggs the old fashioned way.  Tap tap tap, peel peel peel.

Oh well, I think I can fill each Eggie with tinsel and use them as Christmas ornaments this year. That will be kind of pretty.

 

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Good Manners…A Competitive Sport

If you want to teach little kids anything, you have to be tricky, all the  time. This is especially true if  you want to teach kids, who don’t belong to you, how to act.

I had three little boys in the back seat of my car, squirming like puppies. One kid was mine, one hangs at our house a lot, the other was a new addition. I like this new boy but he doesn’t have bad manners. He’s got NO MANNERS.

“No Manners”, means I can’t get mad at him right away.” No Manners” means nobody in his life ever insisted he act right. Nobody, including his parents, ever looked at him crossed eyed until he said “thank you” or “yes ma’am”. “No Manners” means I have to explain to him how I expect him to act at our house for a couple of weeks before I can get mad at him for being rude.

So, I’ve got three smelly eight year olds in the back seat, rolling and laughing.

“Everybody got their seatbelt on?” I holler.
‘Yes ma’am” I hear from two boys.
“How you doing Joey? You all belted up?” I ask of the third boy, who has “No Manners”.
“Yeah.” he says.
I watch my kid elbow Joey but he doesn’t get it and I realize I have to try a different tact.
“You ready for some food, Jacob?” I ask of the kid that stays at our house all the time.
“Yes ma’am!” he shouts like a tiny blonde Marine.
“Good answer,Jacob!” I shout and stick my hand into the back seat for a high five.
“You guys ready for some food and football?” I yell at them all.
“”Yes ma’am!” my son and Jacob shout, competitively, trying to outdo each other. And then they laugh.
I say, “I’m pretty sure Jacob won that time, Son,”  Jacob does a little hapy dance in the back seat.
Our new boy watched Jacob and my kid, he was figuring out what was going on, It was the Good MANNERS GAME It’s a competitive sport. He wants to figure out how to win. That means he’s interested and that means I can train him.

I know that sounds weird, that I would try to train a rough cut little boy to have better manners, like a dog or a boxer.  But as the great MMA coach Danny Dring says, “You have to work with what you got.”

What have I got, a little boy with terrible manners, but I still like him.  The key is he’s a little boy. That means he’s competitive and likes to be the winner. If having good manners means he’s a winner, he’ll yell “Yes ma’am” in a heart beat.  Little girls like being winners but they really like the praise.  

At the end of the day Joey’s manners were much better, mainly because he wanted to beat the other boys. But even when we were alone, in a C Store and I asked him if his drink was cold he said, “yeah,” then changed it to “yes Ma’am”. I gave him a thumbs up and he grinned. Everybody likes to win.

 

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I Love A Good Fight…or At Least A Good Show

This weekend, Lexie and I went to a big ugly Cagemaster’s Cage Fighting event. There were more than a dozen amateur fights on the card and I couldn’t have been happier. I know that’s odd, actually weird. I’m over the age of 40, I have my masters degree, I write thank you notes, was a debutante and have four children. But I love fights, boxing, martial arts, kickboxing and now cage fighting.

The crowd is full of twentyfive year- olds with tattoos. I don’t match them but I know more and appreciate the fighters. I can’t find a single friend my age who wants to go to a cage fight with me .What’s wrong with me?

I can trace my love of boxing back to my childhood. First I met Ali when I was seven or eight. And while I was growing up my dad and I watched the heavy weight bouts on ABC on Friday nights. Howard Cosell was the announcer and the championship fights were something everybody watched and talked about. That was quality time I spent with my dad, so I took boxing very seriously as a little girl.

Thirteen years ago I took up Taekwondo and that involves a lot of sparring or fighting, especially in our school.  I learned things. Then, along came cage fighting and it has become a part of even the most traditional Martial Arts programs. Though most cage fighters have minimal training compared to martial artists.

I love movies about fighters, I generally hate movies with guns. It’s the art, heart and passion of a fight  I love so. Gun fights are soul-less.

A few of the great moments at the cage fights were note worthy.

Pastor Greg, a cool young minister said the prayer before the fights started.  He said, “And remember Jesus never tapped out.”

Second great moment.  There were a half dozen super skinny  hippsters sitting behind us, complete with fat black geek glasses, funny wool hats, button down plaid shirts and I Phones. They looked like perfect high teck dweebs but they were yelling ,”Kill him, smash his face in.”  They should have been hanging out in an expensive coffee shop, not the cage fights.

A friend of ours who is one of the highest ranked female boxers in the country, Kim Conner Hamby was a judge.  Sometimes Kim comes to our TKD schools and works with us in boxing. I swear, this125 pound woman hits like Joe Frazier in 1972, but faster.  Holding the pads for her wrecks my shoulders for a week. Every time I  see Kim she’s sweaty in baggy shorts and a sports bra,  but at the fights she looked beautiful. Lex and I heard guys talking about how hot she was.  Kim “Hot Girl” Hamby.

And finally, a very young fighter walked in as his theme song blasted, “Eye Of  The Tiger” from Rocky III. It was so cliche. The boy was young and soft looking, with a single tattoo of Snoopy on his shoulder. Seriously, Snoopy? The match up was almost sad and we immediately assumed he didn’t have a chance. Then his opponent came out to Eminem’s I’m Not Afraid.  He had a black hoodie covering his face. When he peeled it off we saw he was covered with scary looking tatts. It wasn’t looking good for Snoopy.  But half way through the first round Snoopy hit Eminem with an uppercut, then a big muay thai kick. The punk went down on his knees and Snoopy managed a rear naked choke.  Eye of the Tiger, Baby, Eye of the Tiger.

I love the combat, the passion and the spectacle. It’s good stuff. Just remember, always keep your hands up and sometimes Snoopy wins.

 

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Jack Goes to Nashville and Crappy Bongs

Jack, who is 24, left for Nashville tonight. He left with his truck, a guitar, two pair of jeans and three white tee-shirts.

Fame and Fortune will meet him at the I-Hop. He is a brilliant, handsome talented guy and he’s headed for Nashville in a truck that just started smelling slightly of burning oil.

Lexie was carrying his guitar and tee shirts. She tripped over a dead piece of carcass Theo, the dog, dragged up.

“It’s a dead rib cage,” Lexie yelled.
“Hey Jack, Theo brought you a carcass. Is it the same one from last week?” Alex yelled.
I hit him in the stomach, “You think she asked for ID? It’s a dead animal,Oh my Lord.” I said.

Jack climbed into his trucks and pushed his hat back.
I yelled, “Please, sing happy songs!” He’s been prone to sad stuff lately.
Jack grinned, “Crappy Bongs?” he teased.
“No I said,  sing happy songs.”
“Nappy Thongs?” he yelled back, still grinning.
Alex pushed me, “He always had a way with words.”
And I slapped him in the belly again.

Jack started his truck and backed out of the driveway. Theo picked up his dead animal and dragged it into the bushes, since Jack didn’t want to take it with him.

Jack is going to Nashville. I love him. I guess this is how stars are born.

 

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Beat Your Kid and They Will Love You

I was going to write about Kanye West but the video of the judge and his wife beating their daughter with a belt got to me.

I have four kids, they make As (ok a B now and then) they get scholarships to college, they are respectful and really fun to be around. They say “yes maam” and “no sir” and help do chores around the house. And not one of them has ever had a “beating”. I think I’ve given out two spankings in 23 years of parenting. Here’s the strange thing. I’m a “strict” parent because I demand my children be decent human beings. And I do it without hitting them.

I do remember one spanking. It’s a  famous Hampo story about 3 year old Mary. She pushed Jack off an ocean pier 15 feet above the water into a bunch of barracuda. He was four years old. I went in after him and when Jack and I climbed up the ladder, wet and terrified, Mary was laughing. Yes, she got a spanking.But that’s the last one I remember and it was 20 years ago).

Spankings and beatings are a lazy form of parenting. If you can’t come up with a more effective form of punishment you are an idiot.

We tell children not to hit each other or us, but we are allowed to hit them. Why is it legal for a 200 pound man to hit a 50 pound child? If he hits his wife or mother he goes to jail. But hitting a child is ok. That’s absolute bullshit. It’s also ridiculously and obviously hypocritical.

Here’s another problem with spanking/whooping. As the child gets older you have to escalate the whoopings  year after year. You can “spank” a four year old on the butt and make an impression. But by the time they are teenagers guess what you have to do to make an impression.?You have to beat them, hard, with a belt, to get their attention. That’s just inevitable.

Yes, I got spanked when I was a kid. But I’m a better parent them my parents.

If your child abuses cell phone privileges, take the phone away for a week. If they abuse the computer take it away for a month. If they don’t cut the grass they are grounded, from everything, until they finish your yard and the old ladies’ grass next door.

A smart and creative punishment makes a lot larger and longer lasting impression than a dumb ass whooping.

And the truth is, if you beat your sixteen year old daughter with a belt like Judge William Adams and his wife, she will probably fear and do what you say, but it’s doubtful she will love or respect you.

 

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The Snarky Church

This morning Lexie and I drove  to the corner store, David and David’s and I saw a girl who goes to school with Lex, but is a year older. I said, “She really is pretty.”

“Yeah, she is,” my daughter agreed, “but she doesn’t like me.”

“Why?”

Lex just shrugged, “She goes to ________ Church, you know how it is.”

Lexie explained this situration in such a “low key, no-big deal” way. But I’ve heard this kind of comment about that church over and over and over in our small Arkansas community. Kids and adults talk about two  churches in our area on a regular basis.

If you go to one of these churches you have it easy,  and you get to go to heaven. If you attend a different church, these church goers make you feel as though you’re chances of passing through the pearly gates are minimal. And those congregations are seen as openly hostile and rude. That’s just crazy. No church wants that kind of pr.

This weekend an adult friend of mine compared the pastor of the ______Church to John Lithgow in Foot Loose. “There will be no dancing in my town!” and “You people from the outside, who are dancing, are going to hell.” But he doesn’t even realize half the kids in his own congration are swinging and swaying every chance they get.

Bottom line, some churches are really snarky. They aren’t nice to people who don’t go  their.  And that seems absurd because Christians are supposed to be nice and Christ-like, right?   If I was a pastor or minister (trust me I have too many suitcases of sin to lead anyone) these are not the adjectives I would want associated with my church.

The truth is I know some very nice people who go to these churches.  They are really lovely.  But the rude ones are also the noisey ones, and they are the ones everybody remembers.  Maybe 80 percent of the people in church are kind and loving but the 20  percent ruin the churches reputation.

If I led a church I’d want folks to think of my people as the smiling, l0ving, giving, supportive congregation. Then new people would want to join my church and  they could learn all about God’s love.  

Here’s the truth. You need to be nice to the sinner to get him through the church doors. This includes kids in high school, hobos and soccer moms.

Why would anyone join a church full of  snarky, rude, judgemental people? If they make me feel bad  I don’t want to hang with them.  .

 

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