Slut (and a few additional thoughts)

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) At the end I will have a few more thoughts of my own.

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

~ end

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Since the day I became a mom I’ve thought of telling my kids about sexual predators. I’ve told them that more often than not sexual predators are people they know. It will be their word against yours. More often than not they already know how to hack the physical, emotional, legal, and social systems so that you won’t win. But always fight back. Never believe their lies. Tell your parents or someone else you trust.

Parents: LISTEN to your kids. Talk to them. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Listen. Help. BELIEVE THEM. Kids and teens don’t lie about these things.

College Kids: RED CUPS. Don’t drink out of a drink anyone else gave you. That sweet punch in the big red cups will SLAM you hard. There will be a blog post about it and a quiz in a day or two.

In light of everything going on in the news this week I have a story. A friend posted something on FaceBook about men and boys behaving badly. She claimed if women flashed their boobs at Mardi Gras and other drunken events like concerts etc., then why did we all have a problem with men flashing their dicks.  I thought I’d quote my 19 year old daughter:

“When a woman flashes her boobs she is being silly and using bad judgement. It is insanely tacky and rude but not threatening anyone. When a man exposes his penis to someone it is a power and control thing. He is doing it as a threat. He is doing it with the purpose to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable. You can’t compare the two.”

That is all for today. Be safe. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Believe them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Transitions

When I started this blog I was working full time for an organization outside of my home. My brain and the rest of my time was filled with Middle School and High School activities. I spent more time with my brothers. The canine love of my life was in her prime.

I couldn’t imagine having grown children.

Now everyone is in college. We discuss school but I’m not that involved, except to be a cheerleader, a therapist when needed, an entertaining distraction, and the one who pays for everything. Jasmine the white sled dog has gone over the rainbow bridge – her ashes sit in a box among old photographs. My cats are still here. A new dog Alice, a large goofy GSD is now in my life. I work alone at home. I rarely see anyone, except ghosts, and my ancient family members who welcome my visits, which need to be more frequent.

The sports and the activities have trickled off to almost nothing. I don’t have to drive anyone anywhere. I am alone here with a house full of books and animals.

Then again new activities call me. There is the art museum. There is my art. There are books in the works. There are walls to be painted. There are funny stories to tell.

And if I muse into melancholy madness Nigel the ghost will show up and kick my ass so I’d better move on.

We all change and evolve. That is part of being on this strange, horrible, and wonderful planet. We are trapped here so we need to be fluid. We need to keep evolving no matter how old or young we are. Growth never ends.

I find myself telling my kids not to judge others for what they do or the choices they make. Not all young people have it as good as they do. They don’t have someone helping them pay for school and everything else. They don’t have someone who is there 24/7 to listen. They don’t have someone who doesn’t judge them or question their every move. They have a safety net. Not everyone has that so their choices can’t be judged. I urge everyone to understand the choices of others.

There is no clear path. Five year plans are wonderful until a tornado hits your house, or someone you love dies, or you get sick, or the economy crashes, or your heart gets broken. So you take another road, or climb out of another window, or up another tree, or make where you are a better place. You add more books to your shelves and make an effort to call your friends, and your mom.

Parenting adults is tricky because they don’t want to listen, they need you to listen more than anything in the world, and they start to parent their own parents.

Yes, they do all of that.

It is scary. More scary that a pack of zombies banging at your back door. You can deal with zombies. You don’t love them. They just make a mess. But dealing with your kids, no matter how easy and wonderful they are, is always a challenge.

Dealing with Zombies: Shot gun. Flame thrower. Pissed off Vampires.

Dealing with Adult Children: Listening. Worrying. Loving. Worrying. Listening. Loving. Laughing. Learning to let them be adults. Learning not to be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

Everything will be alright.

With your kids, and with you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman

 

 

Use Your Filters

89a258254e6f5c8552e98119b5b108c7

No offense to any monkeys out there. But you get my point (I hope.)

When my kids were small there was always that one classmate, or friend, or friend’s child, who had no filters. I’ll be the first to say that all small children say things that totally and completely embarrass us and others. Tiny tots are notorious for being rude. They ask people why they’re too fat or too thin. They comment on hair loss. They ask rude questions and call everything exactly as they see it – especially if it is not how things are at their house, or with their parents.

Yes, parents of overly precocious children, this is for you. Your little darling is not cute or smart. Your child is rude.

That said, we all grow up. By the time a child is seven or eight they should be learning to use their filters. And no, that age is not too young. Get with it parents. Once a child starts school they need to buck it up and learn to be a good citizen. And you have to get on their little butts and remind them not only to be nice, but WHY they need to be nice.

After a child starts school embarrassing personal (and rude) questions and comments are no longer cute. 

Unfortunately there are always those kids who never learn about filters.

brat

Remember her? Don’t be a Nellie Olson.

They say things like:

  • My mommy says fill in the blank.
  • At our house we ALWAYS fill in the blank with something the child observes you don’t do.
  • Why do you fill in the blank with something rude and nosey.

As adults these people are insufferable and make horrible friends and co-workers. Most of them, I’d say 98%, don’t even know what they’re doing. The other 2% is just doing it out of spite. I know, I know, I know, we all slip up from time to time, and then feel bad about it afterwords, but those that isn’t what I’m talking about. You know what I’m talking about. Below is a list of examples.

  1. Unsolicited advice or comments about someone’s body. This includes giving friends brochures from diet seminars, groups, or articles about weight loss.
  2. Just one? You need another baby.
  3. Does you husband wish you’d had a boy?
  4. To a pregnant woman: What if your daughter is gay? Does it matter? So what if my child is gay? Do you expect me to love her less? Don’t be homophobic? And what if my child is an artist? What if my child likes chemistry? What if my child gardens? What if my child likes to pretend he is a bear? Just shut the fuck up.
  5. Is he gay? Assuming a young man we know gay because he skated. No but I’ll point out another skater who is. Does it matter? Really? Does it matter. I’ll adore them either way.
  6. Is he good in bed?
  7. Did you do it last night? No it is not ok to be obsessed with your friend’s sex lives and make unsolicited comments.
  8. Beautiful dress. It fits great, but you look better in blue. Yes, we all know about the undermined back-stab compliment.
  9. I like your hair better long.
  10. At a BBQ joint: Don’t they have anything vegan? 
  11. At a Japanese restaurant when somebody else orders sushi: I hate raw fish. OK then don’t order raw fish.
  12. I thought you only dated guys with blonde hair?

I’m sure all of you have examples of blurted out, rude, and sometimes shocking, and usually hurtful comments.

angry-woman

Don’t people like that just make you want to scream????

So parents, you need to make sure your children, especially your young adult children aren’t doing this. On the other hand, if they act like this it is possible that they learned it from you. I hope not.

Giving advice, or asking questions is fine and normal. Blurting out whatever pops into your head is not. Always, always, always, teach your kids to think before they speak.

  • Will it hurt someone?
  • Will it hurt them?
  • Is it rude?
  • Will everyone think you’re rude and you’ll NEVER be invited back.
  • Will you end up eating lunch alone from now on?

This is basic kindergarten stuff but some kids just didn’t listen to their teacher because they were too busy either eating paste or saying mean things to other kids.

I swear, I don’t even know the motivation of some people. Maybe it makes them feel better about them selves if they try to push down others. That is pretty sad if you think about it.

And of course these are ALWAYS the people who have to make the asshole remarks on social media. Tell your kids that if someone says something on social media you disagree with just to move on. Don’t be a troll. Don’t feel like you ALWAYS have to comment. If someone posts a photo of their Chihuahua dog don’t comment I didn’t know you have a shake and hate. Just say the dog is cute or move on and don’t say anything.

When you’re an adult rude comments aren’t funny. Remind your children of that. And guess what, you DO need to remind YOUR kids. Even the best kids need to be reminded so that by the time they’re adults they aren’t branded as assholes.

I’m not taking about normal discussions, or debates. That is ok. We can agree to disagree. Or we can agree not to agree. Or we can give advice in a nice helpful way. But we don’t have to be crass or rude to put someone down or make ourselves feel superior. 

Of course very ancient, very young, and special needs folks will blurt things out because they can’t help it. This is not about them. We love them because we know what is going on. But most people don’t fall into that category. You can help it.

But you know the snotty condescending types I’m talking about. Don’t be like them. If your college kid is one of these folks don’t be shocked when their dorm-mate asks for a transfer to another room.

This goes for all of you Vampires and Werewolves too. Yes, I had to get that in there. You know who you are.

As always talk to your kids. Talk with your kids. Think about what you say. We could all be better. Even I could be better.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The “P” and the “V” Words. Six years of Vampire Maman.

A life with a blog and children is a life of continuous interruptions. Add in a spouse and, well, good luck with any train of thought you might ever have forever.

I just realized, today that the first post on vampiremaman.com went live on April 12, 2012.

In the beginning I didn’t know the “P” word, and the “V” word carried so much emotional weight with readers. OK I’ll admit I knew the “P” word would. That is parenting. That is something I am firmly and completely dedicated to.

The “V” word, that is “Vampires” is something completely different. At first I had readers show disbelief. There were also Vampire “experts” who felt the need to tell me that I was wrong. Excuse me? As a mom there were only two words I wished to express to those yahoos and that was “fuck you.” But like a good mom, and even a better Vampire I refrained. Several folks told me that I was going to go to Hell without so much as a Do Not Pass Go. It makes one sort of think what motivates people to search out others and tell them that? Parenting 101 will tell you to teach your kids NOT to behave like that. Since then those kinds of assholes have ceased their yammering. I know all of you who blog know the type.

But enough of that. I have been so surrounded by love and support and community that it completely warms my cold Vampire heart. Completely!

Six years ago I started the musings of a modern Vampire mom. Six years. Wow.

My blog has grown from what I thought would be a few parenting posts, and maybe a bad poem or two.

My first guest posts in May 2012 were from Marie Williams the Half Pint Historian, and Mandy White, author of The Jealousy Game (a book about relationships that I recommend to everyone.)

In the summer of 2012 I started to blog about the TV show “America’s Got Talent and Cocktails.” The comments from the Vampire peanut gallery, plus cocktail recipes from my husband Teddy proved to be fun and popular with readers. I’ve continued the series every summer since then.

It was then that I also posted “Love Poems and Letting Go”, my first post about love letters and the teenage heart.

September 2012 brought the first appearance of The Ghost. Yes, that would be Nigel. Yes, he is still around, making snarky remarks and flipping me off every single chance he gets.

In October 2012 you were introduced to Tellias and Eleora the ancient Vampires. Like a lot of my readers I was raising children and taking care of elders. It is both frustrating and rewarding to be in the middle like that.

Soon after that came the most popular post on this blog, “How to Write a Response to a Love Letter (which is more fun if it isn’t addressed to you.) On some days over half the traffic on this blog comes from that post. Since then I’ve written quite a few posts about love letters. I’ve become the Queen of Love Letters.

On August 4, 2013 I first posted the story about my brother Andy called, “Dancing on the Beach.” I need to write a book about Andy and his crazy adventures.

Sometime around then I started the regular feature “Short Story Sunday”. Every Sunday you get a new story, or a good rerun.

2014 brought “The Hunter,” and the introduction of the Austin and Elizabeth series. He is a Vampire Hunter. She is a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated.

And in December 2014 I posted the first installment of Vlad’s “Vampire Diary.”

That is just a few of the regular features. I’ve written about taking your kids to rock concerts, school, a lot about bullies, helping your kids get through rough patches, and all of those things our kids go through until they reach adulthood and leave.

Now that my kids have reached adulthood they still need me. And I still need them. You never stop being a parent.

I continue to write about Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and others who are different.

A long running occasional feature is “What we talked about this morning on the way to school.” Today I write about this feature with a heavy heart. Too often we talked about school shootings. Since 2013 there have been over 300 school shootings in the United States. There have been at least 43 in 2018 including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida where 17 were killed, and today in Texas. I cried when I told my kids about the Sandy Hook School shooting. I still cry. It has to stop. It is happening in elementary schools, high school, and colleges. It is happening at concerts, in clubs, and you name it. The insanity needs to stop and you need to talk about it with your kids. You also need to VOTE and tell your 18+ year old kids to VOTE.

My main message here for parents always has been, and always will be TALK WITH YOUR KIDS. Don’t talk at them. Don’t lecture. Share and listen. Listen to your kids. There is a lot you can learn. Don’t shelter them. Don’t judge them. Be honest. Be firm. Be loving. Let them know that they can trust you and come to you with anything. They’re your children. There is NOTHING you need to be uncomfortable about. And even if you don’t agree with them, the least you can do is hear them out. Let them know that their opinions count. Let them also know that your opinions also count. Guide them, love them, hug them, treasure them.

And on a lighter note, this year I started the NEW feature “50 Burning Questions.” For fifty weeks, always on Saturday, I will be asking a BURNING QUESTION. On each post is a simple poll where you can check your answer. Comments and theories are encouraged. Check it out!

With almost 2,000 blog posts here there is a lot to read and something for everyone. I hope that in the next six years I’ll have another 2,000 posts to share.

Thanks for helping me make Vampiremaman.com a success.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

juliette

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Playing the Game – Can’t leave anything to Chance

Some say life is a game. I don’t believe that is a good message for teens but sometimes, on those stupid frustrating adult days when everything seems to go wrong it seems like some stupid horrible game. You know those days when you think “I must have been a really horrible person in a past life.” 

One of the frustrations about being young (in your teens and twenties) is that Chance and Fate are unfair forces that seem bound and determined to keep us down.

Chance isn’t logical or fair. He picks favorites. He excludes those who work hard. He surprises us with delights. He breaks our hearts and smashes our delicate egos. He devastates. He rescues. He is our best friend and our worst enemy. That said, try explaining that to your teen or college aged kid. Try explaining it to anyone?

And what about Chance’s fickle girlfriend Fate. Fate is lovely to behold but can be a real bitch. She likes to make us think she is on top of things, but in reality Fate has very little to do with anything. Fate is a poser. She is full of empty promises. Fate takes credit for things she did not do. Because in my opinion Fate does nothing if she can find someone else to do the work for her (and she is very good at getting Chance and others to do the work).

Then there is their friend Noel Reason. He is a secretive guy who has his hands into everything but doesn’t take credit for anything. In fact he shouldn’t take credit for anything. Sometimes things just happen for Noel Reason. But you never want to tell your teen THAT.

The unpopular kids are Logic and Reason. Nobody wants to listen to them. They are usually polite and never scream. They aren’t popular. But people who do get to know Logic and Reason love them. Their lives get better. The world makes sense. But it is so frustrating having Logic and Reason for friends because so many people hate and fear them (for no reason – chalk up one more for the gossip mill). You can depend on these two.

Ignorance seems to be the most popular guy around these days. He acts tough. He is the “bad boy”. He gets friends by spreading the message of fear and hate. His most famous saying is “We’ve always done things that way. If it was good enough for my dad it’s good enough for me.” Ignorance hates people who think freely and is glad to get his bullies to take care of it for him.

The perfect union

There is a rumor that Art and Science don’t like each other. In reality they are a couple – and a successful couple at that. Take my word on it. Plus they are two that your teens and twenty somethings need to get to know (and know well). As with Logic and Reason you can also depend on these two.

Hope stand by herself never knowing what to do. She has great power. She brings comfort but she also brings disappointment. Keep Hope as a friend but don’t make her your best friend (and she often is caught flirting with Chance which pisses Fate off to no end). Hope can do a lot for you and those you care about but she can’t solve the World’s problems.

Faith is Hope’s twin sister. You have to get to know Faith. She isn’t overly religious as some people believe. But she embodies all that is good and kind. She teaches us that all things are possible and to believe in ourselves and others. She teaches us to believe in what is good. She teaches us trust. But don’t keep her in the dark or cover her eyes or you’ll have blind Faith – and that combined with our pal Ignorance can be a very bad thing indeed.

Most of all teach your children that they should not depend on the friends above for what they  need or want. They need to depend on their own talents, drive and follow their own hearts. They must lead, not follow, not wait.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Parenting Young Adult Vampires – Quick Notes

vampire teens

Even after your kids are grown, or in this case sort-of-grown, you still worry about them.

They graduate from high school, turn eighteen, vote, drive, get jobs, go to college, and they’re adults.

Sort of.

They’re also maybe drinking, having sex, forming strong opinions, dabbling in drugs, staying out late, and exploring the dark side of culture.

They’re exploring all sides of culture. That could be a good thing. A mighty good thing.

And if they’re Vampire kids you have a whole other thing to deal with.

It is one thing if your younger child starts to hunt a little on their own, but it is a whole new game when a young Vampire turns into an adult.

This isn’t something you can push off on the old traditions. Our old timers didn’t make the rules in the 1950’s. They made the rules in the 1750’s, and those rules don’t work anymore. Just like with any other parent you need to keep up with your kids, be open and honest, and teach them the rules of the 21st Century Vampire.

Your young adult children are going to start collecting their own sets of donors. Make sure they choose wisely. Guide them. By guiding I don’t mean vague references like “don’t  pick criminals,” or “watch for people with Hep C.” They need to pick safe donors. Safe means people with calm personalities. That means people who live private lives. It means people who can mentally and physically withstand being a donor.

You also need to continue to talk with your kids and be open with them. Donors are not friends. They are not serious lovers. They are not someone you will fall in love with. Sure you can care. Of course you SHOULD care, but not in a romantic way. Never get involved romantically with a donor. Also do not turn your donors into Vampires. Do not EVER let your donor know you’re a Vampire. These are tough conversations you need to have with your young adult children.

Encourage them to attend seminars about avoiding, and dealing with Vampire Hunters. They have enough going on with trying to find jobs, go to school, and juggle their activities, and start to live on their own, without having to deal with someone trying to put a stake through their heart, or worse. Make sure their only heartbreak is the kind they sing about in pop songs, not literally having their heart ripped from their body.

Vampire Teens Rock

This is just a quick thought for today. Just a reminder. I’ll go into more depth on the subject later.

In the meantime, no matter how old or young they are, talk to your kids. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them. Engage them. Laugh with them. Share with them. Learn from them. Yes, learn from them – you’d be surprised what they can teach you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire mom