Entries from August 2007 ↓

Prepped for Kindergarten



By Tracee Sioux

I don’t know who is more excited for the first day of Kindergarten, me or Ainsley. I’ve taken the education/parenting thing seriously and am sending a child who can read, write, do basic math, understands the color wheel, is quite good at logic and negotiation and loves homework.

She’s a genius. Do all mother’s feel that way about their children? I certainly hope so.

She’s most excited about riding the bus. She even begged to be allowed to do it on the first day. She’s been eyeing that bus since she was about 18-months-old, as the golden prize of being a big-kid. She can hold her own. I’m confident of that.

She has an October birthday and I had tried to get her admitted last year. No budging on that Sept. 1 deadline. I’m so glad now. She’s the tallest, brightest, most mature, smartest, most confident one in the class. That kind of head start could take her through college. Well, elementary school at least.

Jeez, I’m so proud of the good early-parenting, Kindergarten-readiness work I’ve done I expect the teacher to send a gold star home to me.

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Friends With Barbies

By Tracee Sioux

My daughter went to her best friend’s house yesterday.

She has Bratz, Princesses and Barbies at her house, my daughter informed my husband and I the other day. My husband looked at me and asked if I had spoken to her parents about our play rules.

We played with Barbies the whole entire time! she blissfully informed me.

No, I haven’t forbidden the playing with Bratz, Barbies and Princesses at friends’ homes. No, I don’t plan to speak to her mother about it. I honestly don’t think my daughter is confused about my objections. I’m secure in the knowledge that my rules forbidding them in our house and the reasons why have seeped irrevocably into her psyche. She adores when I read Growing a Girl: Seven Strategies for Raising a Strong, Spirited Daughter out loud to her. She gets it, to the degree any 5-year-old can.

But, these plastic girl-toys are the foundation of her little girl culture. I’m not crazy enough to believe I have the power to create a self-enclosed box, devoid of negative girl messages.

Besides, the completely forbidden is that much sweeter and a breeding ground for rebellion. This, I can speak to, from first-hand experience. My daughter is too much me, for me to ignore the attraction of rebellion.

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Name = Identity

by Tracee Sioux

Hey Tracee Jones! Tracee Jones! Tracee Jones!<p>I had been married for maybe a year when some guy I knew from high school was trying to get my attention in the hall at my college.

I remember this moment vividly because it’s when I realized my identity was no longer Tracee Sue Jones. It had become Tracee Simons. I had taken my husband’s name and practiced my married name signature like every young girl before me. At first I had trouble answering to Simons, but somehow within a year, my identity had altered itself to someone that no longer answered to Tracee Jones.

I was a child-bride and experienced marriage and divorce by the time I was 19. Still in college, I looked at the vast expanse of the future ahead of me and I was pretty sure I’d remarry. I had the added complication of having a brother-in-law named Tracy Simmons and our credit was getting mixed up. He really wanted to not share a name with me. The feeling was mutual.

As women, I’m sure most of you can see my dilemma. You know, if you’ve done it, that changing your name alters your identity in some way. Perhaps the way it alters is different in different situations, but how you identify who you are is integrally altered.

I decided altering my identity was a bad idea for my internal sense of self. I wanted to develop that internal sense of self and remain true to it, instead of altering it with my relationships.

I couldn’t find a way back to Jones. It’s just not someone I was anymore. I had no desire to go back to it. I hear many divorced women, especially if they have children or have spent a significant amount of time using their married name, say they just couldn’t go back to maiden either.

After about 2 years of thought and experimentation I decided to drop both last names and become Tracee Sioux and stay Tracee Sioux through whatever marital status I was in. I felt changing the spelling would make it more sur-name-ish .

Legally, anyone can change their name to virtually anything (some exceptions apply) with a simple court proceeding.

Changing our names with our marital status is a uniquely female experience and I wish there was a simple solution. There isn’t.

I do think there is a negative effect in our collective conscience as women if we change our names over and over through our lives. The inconsistent identity with self has negative consequences.

However, keeping the maiden name may come with as much baggage as taking a married one. There are some valid reasons to want to break away from your childhood family identity. There are some valid reasons for wanting to keep a married name after a divorce. There are valid reasons to invent your own name.

In the last chapter of Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny,Suze Orman shares that she used to be named “Susie” and, like me, she wanted to take control of her sense of self and identity.

She encourages women to say your name, whether by marriage or birth or divorce, decide who you are and then be proud of it. There is power in saying your name with pride, whatever full name you choose, and the goal of her book is to help us live a more powerful life.

I, for one, got a lot out of it and thoroughly enjoyed her perspective on women’s dysfunctional relationship with money.

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Gender Segregation in Public Schools


Dear Parent,

We will begin the 2007-2008 school year on Tuesday, Sept 4,2007. Class time for Kindergarten classes is from 8:00 to 2:30.

Your Child has been assigned to room 23 with Mrs. Jones.

Students and parents are invited to come to the school and “Meet the Teacher” on Tuesday, August 28th. Kindergarten girls and their parents will meet in their respective rooms at 9 A.M. Kindergarten boys and their parents will meet in their respective rooms at 10:30 A.M. If you arrive early, please wait in the cafeteria.

Thank You for your attention to the important items above. We are looking forward to having your child in our school.

Sincerely,

Lina Moore

Principal

Okay if you’ve been here before you know which sentence made me go, Wait. What?

The question is how many of you would be Mom who comes to the first day of school with a problem? Or would you wait and see if they divide genders for math and reading and then step in and ask what the basis for gender segregation is?

Is it appropriate to divide the class, if it is simply too large, by gender?

Some studies that suggest these divisions are actually academically better for girls. One study of science classes found that 79% of teachers picked boys in a mixed gender class (Growing a Girl: Seven Strategies for Raising a Strong, Spirited Daughter). If classes were girls-only more girls would have the opportunity to be called on. It might be an argument to send a daughter to a girls’ school. (Not that that’s an option in a small town, or for the not-yet wealthy.)

Is gender an appropriate division in public school?

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Sexy News

by Tracee Sioux

Here’s one more reason to turn the TV off during the local news hour. No journalism experience, but plenty of modeling experience, this is the new “anchor” at an East Texas news station. All journalists with a college degree, apparently we wasted our time.

And this photograph is actual marketing for the news station complete with billboards on the side of the freeway. Apparently, the station was having such financial problems they have also signed a “reality show” deal to document this little sexualizing the news experiment. The non-stop details of violence wasn’t sexy enough for you? Now we should have the journalists dumbed down and showing lots of leg and cleavage?

Here’s the reality – you suck Channel 19.

I’m disgusted as a serious journalist, a woman, and the mother of a girl.

To watch me give my opinion on an issue on a competing station click here. Of course, it’s another sexy news topic.

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