Dress Codes

In the past week, I’ve read two stories about girls being sent home from school for dress code violations.  Since I can’t remember where to find them to link you to them, you’ll just have to trust me when I say each of these girls was dressed so appropriately, I felt like I was looking at a Where’s Waldo of violation.  One was wearing jeans, a top, and a cardigan.  The other was wearing a mid-thigh length tunic over leggings.

The problem with the first girl?  Her collar bones were showing.  Her COLLAR BONES.  I found the link to her article.  This is a picture of what she was wearing.  I should be so modest!  Look at this child!  She is dressed beautifully.  I found the other link as well (Google is magical).  That child isn’t dressed as nicely, but she is more covered up than some of the kids I see going into my son’s elementary school, and if that’s what sparking the imagination of young boys these days, we need to be more worried about ISIL recruitment tactics.

I do believe in dress codes.  Let me say that right there.  Without dress codes, I would have no reason to bother getting out of my pajamas in the morning, and you should just believe that if I were allowed to show up at work in yoga pants, I would.  Because I would.  I love my yoga pants, and the only reason I don’t wear them more places is because…it is hot in the summer.  I wear them anywhere in the winter.

I also agree that some clothes can be distracting, not sexually, but just because.  If your kid goes to school dressed like Pete Burns, people are going to be more interested in looking at your kid than the teacher because that is a lot of look to take in.  If your kid goes to school dressed like a Baywatch poster, same thing.  And let’s be very honest that many of us get dressed in order TO be looked at.  We are trying to express something with our clothes, and we hope you are looking.  When I spent twenty minutes getting a single braid just right, I bloody well hope you notice!

It’s silly to pretend that we aren’t all looking at each other, so it is silly to pretend that another person isn’t going to notice your Hooters t-shirt, or your booty shorts, and it is irresponsible of adults/parents to fly into outrage that their snowflake is sitting in the office for blatantly disregarding the school dress code.  That out of the way:  Collar bones?  Seriously?

The problem is more often the dress code than the kid, and it is a truth that dress codes much more heavily restrict girls.  Dress codes for boys generally translate to: Don’t be sloppy.  Dress codes for girls translate to:  Don’t be sloppy, or sexy, or alluring, or fashionable, or have breasts and thighs–seriously–hide those things.

I’m going to help schools across America right now.  I’m going to compose a dress code that should help everyone.  Ready?

  1. No exposed butt cheeks, or genitalia.
  2. No exposed nipples.
  3. No strapless, or spaghetti strap shirts.
  4. No exposed undergarments.
  5. No slogans on clothing, other than school spirit wear.

There.  It is gender inclusive, and basically asks all kids not to show their bits.  Beyond that, what do we really need?  Fashion and social herding will take care of the rest.  Because, listen, kids are going to be sexually distracted by one another no matter what they are wearing.  It’s part of being kids.  It’s part of being human.

Rather than focusing on bodies, we need to focus on behaviors.  We need to teach all children, regardless of gender, what is and is not appropriate when it comes to respecting neighbors, and we need to give kids credit.

If boys weren’t able to control themselves around scantily clad girls, you’d never see one in a swimming pool, or waterpark because they would all be running for the toilets every five minutes.  Give the boys some credit for being able to do algebra AND sit next to Cute Suzy at the same time.

And give Cute Suzy some credit for having brains that matter more than her boobs.

Stop telling boys that they can’t control themselves.

Stop telling girls that they are a distraction to boys.

Stop telling boys that if they can see a girl’s thighs, their brains shut off.

Stop telling girls that their bodies are the problem.

Stop telling boys and girls that male nipples are okay, but female nipples are dirty and bad.

Stop telling girls that wanting to look attractive makes them dirty and bad.

Stop telling boys that finding girls attractive is reason to hurt a girl.

Stop telling girls that a boy’s distraction-free education is more important than her own.

Stop telling boys that it is okay to marginalize and objectify girls based on how they are dressed.

Stop telling girls that their bodies are more important than their feelings.

Start telling children the truth:  There are going to be times when you want to stare at someone, and feeling that is okay.  Doing it is rude.  Feel what you feel, but don’t always act on the feeling.  Pay attention to your teacher, not the outfit of the person across the room because knowing where to place a comma is going to do you a lot more good in the long run, than fantasizing about where you’d like to place something else.


Ten years ago, tonight, I had taken an Ambien to get my last night’s sleep before having a baby.


I’ve had the best ten years of my life since our boy came into the world.  He’s been worth every sleepless second I’ve had since that Ambien wore off.

If You See Jo Rowling, Please Tell Her I Said Thanks

Dear Jo,

First, I know the odds of you ever seeing this are just as slim as if I had mailed it to your agent, but I’d like to put it out there in the world anyway.  Second, I probably shouldn’t call you Jo.  We haven’t met.  Well, you haven’t met me, but I’ve met your brain, and I am so fond of you that Ms. Rowling seems insincere.

I was late to the Harry Potter train because the books were first published while I was being a religious zealot, who forwent all secular entertainment, and especially avoided anything that seemed remotely witchy.  But I grew up a C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle girl, so eventually the temptation was too strong to resist and I fell down the Hogwarts rabbit hole, and I’ve never even wanted to find my way out of it.  Thank you for that. 

Thank you for extending the best parts of my childhood into my adult world through books, movies, and the unexpected joy of watching Hogwarts open to my son.

My son was reluctant to read the books.  He loves to read, but my enthusiam made him wary.  I am also enthusiastic about peas, carrots, and bedtime, so he had every reason to think I was just trying to put one over on him.  So, I did what every mother does, and after putting the books slightly out of his reach, I told him that I thought they might be too old for him, and I suggested he read Diary of a Wimpy Kid one more time.

Within the week, he had watched every movie, and was knee-deep in The Sorcerer’s Stone. 

Last night, I heard him giggling in his bedroom.  He’s moved on to Chamber of Secrets, and was laughing at some misfortune of Draco Malfoy’s.  Later, I found him face down, his nose in the crease of the book, sound asleep.  It took me back to reading myself to sleep, and how the Pevensies, and Pole, and Scrubb, and all those Murrays had kept me company in the dark, following me into my dreams, and how they buzzed around my head on waking.


This morning, on the way to camp, my son had been very quiet and grumpy.  All of a sudden, he perked up.  “Mom!  Why does Professor Snape like Draco Malfoy so much?  Because Snape is sort of a good guy, but he plays favorites with a bad one–I don’t get it?  And, why does Sirius Black have a House Elf–that’s bad.  And, I don’t understand how Tom Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets if he’s a ghost.  Why?  How?”

My boy turns ten in just a few days, and we are balanced somewhere between how much he loves and wants to cling to me, and just how embarrassing it is to have a mother.  Normally, when he wants to chat, it’s about Minecraft, or World War II heavy machinery.  I don’t know anything about either subject.  So, what a sweet surprise to have him ask me about Harry Potter!  And not just asking any old questions–he’s asking some questions that will have an effect on his character. He’s asking questions that will lead to broader discussion, and as I pretend to levitate him in his bed at night (and he pretends to set my hair on fire,) we’re strengthening bonds that we’ll rely on in his teen years.

My thanks is so small in comparison to what you’ve given us.

My little Hufflepuff and I appreciate you to the moon and back.  And, that’s something else you’ve given us.  Pottermore sorted us into different houses, and he was very upset at first.  It was a pleasure to sit down and show him the good and bad in every house, and talk about why no one was better than the other.  Diversity and all that.  Now, he loves reminding me that his is the only house never to turn out a traitor. 

I also showed him that Honey Badger video on YouTube, which is probably terrible parenting on my part, but it made him laugh, and appreciate his house mascot.

All this just to say thank you, and thank you again.  Thank you for the joy you gave me in the first place.  Thank you for Hermoine Granger, and Minerva McGonagall, and Molly Weasley–women any girl can aspire to be.  Thank you for Dumbledore and Snape.  Thank you for Harry.  Thank you for Hogwarts, and quidditch, and Hippogriffs, and, well, everything.  And thank you for giving my son a reason to chatter, and laugh, and want to talk.

I am eternally grateful,



Cats + Rainbows + The Internet = Perfection…Right?

You can ask anyone who has ever worked with me, and they will tell you how rare it is for me to feel like I’ve done a job that is even close to good enough (*cough*Nicole*cough*).  It happens once in a blue moon.  So, imagine my surprise to complete two publishing projects with two very different beginnings, and actually feel really good about them.

One project was a lark to entertain my son, born out of his imaginative tangents in the car.  The other was a Phoenix, rising up out of the ashes of another much-loved-but-lost project.  I didn’t expect either of them.  I certainly didn’t expect to want to show them to anyone.

And yet…


What If One Day is available now on Amazon & CreateSpace, and My Rainbow World will be available through Robyn Lane Books, all over the place on August 17.

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I think a lot of my pleasure (and pride) comes from the models.  Of course What If One Day is based on my boy.  My Rainbow World’s model was inspired by my boss’ granddaughter.  I love looking at my son, so it only follows I’ll love looking at illustrations of him.  And my boss’ granddaughter is DARLING, eat-her-up-cute.

Thor and I dedicated his book to my father because he always told me the best, crazy stories, and I have kept up that tradition for my [poor, long-suffering] child.  Rainbow is dedicated to Thor, to Robyn’s daughter, to my boss, and her granddaughter–and to grandparents and grandbabies everywhere.  Half of the art in this book got an unexpected second chance, with a whole new set of words and different story, kind of like how grandchildren are happy chances to enjoy our families all over again.

I enjoyed every second of the artwork in these books.  If readers can enjoy them a tenth as much, I’ll feel really good.

Thor reading his own book.

A Twofer Review: Ant Man and Pitch Perfect 2

So, Ant Man is awesome.  Everything about Ant Man is good.  Paul Rudd is perfect.  Michael Douglas is perfect.  Corey Stoll is perfect.  Evangeline Lilly is perfect.  Michael Pena is extra, super perfect.  And, I was happy to see Judy Greer in a role that did not make me want to see her eaten by a dinosaur, so, perfect.

It’s all the best of the goofy Guardians of the Galaxy, with the heart of Captain America, with the gadgetry of Iron Man, with what is quite possibly the best, and the funniest battle finale I’ve ever seen.

Thor, who is my litmus test for how an action movie plays, was yelling and trying to quote lines only seconds after they were delivered.  He was completely engaged, and excited by the whole thing.

I’m not telling you anything else because you have to go see it.  I’ll be going again.

7 out of 5 stars

You know I hated Pitch Perfect.  I enjoyed the singing, and I really enjoyed the sing-offs, but I hated the movie.  I hated how they used Rebel Wilson.  I hated the romantic sub-plots.  I hated Anna Kendrick’s character because she was a twit.  Well, Pitches, I liked this one.

I still had a problem with a lot of the throwaway humor (because I’m a Pinko like that,) but I really enjoyed what they did with Anna’s character this time around, and Rebel’s character was enjoyable–the focus on her size shifted to something less cartoonish, and she had some really good moments.  The music wasn’t as much fun as the first, but it was still zippy, and the premise and the plot carried through in a nice way.  I like to think this was Elizabeth Banks’ hand showing.

This movie even got me smiling over the Green Bay Packers.  You can ask Thor what a forerunner of the apocalypse that is.

I laughed out loud several times, and enjoyed watching the movie.  Actually, if I saw this on TV, I would probably stop and watch it again.

3.5 out of 5 stars