Monday, December 19, 2011

NYPD Officer Peter Figoski

Every since I was aware of what my father did for a living, my heart would sink whenever I heard that a Police Officer was shot in the line of duty. Thankfully, I never received the dreaded phone call that Peter Figoski's 4 girls did last week. Now as an adult, I still stop in my tracks when I hear that a Police Officer has been shot or injured on the job and I immediately call my husband. Last night as my husband was gathering his dress blues to get ready to attend the funeral of a fallen fellow NYPD Officer I couldn't help but realize gravity of what he does every day, he puts his life on the line. He and thousands of other men and women of the NYPD put their lives on the line for this great city. And how are they thanked? Well basically they are not.
The media never puts a positive story about all the good that the men and women of the NYPD do. If there is a scandal or drunk driver or a thief, well we are sure to hear about that, but never the good. There are approximately 40,000 members of the the NYPD but the media chooses to only publicize the less than 1% of the bad ones. Well what about the 99+% of the great ones? What about the officers that live an hour and half away from their jobs because they can not afford to live closer? And make that commute every day, and when they work overtime often they sleep at the precinct, away from their family's, all in the name of the job! What about the officers that sit in the hospital with a rape victim for hours and then accompany them to court just so the victim will be comfortable. What about all the female officers that work the overnight so they can be home for their kids during the day . What about all the holidays that NYPD officers have to work and be away from their families all for this great city. Do we every hear about that? NO The job of an NYPD officer does not stop at the Precinct and an arrest. They work tirelessly with victims, doctors, medical examiners and district attorneys to ensure convictions on cases they build, but we never hear about them until they are killed by thugs who should not even be on the street.
As my husband tried on his unifrom last night, the kids were so excited because they have never seen him in it before. Captain Jack immediately asked me to get his "Police costume" and he dressed up just like Papa. There was loads of excitment in the house and as we took photos and had fun I couldnt help but cry for those 4 girls who are buring their father today.
RIP Officer Figoski, May God hold you in the palm of his hand...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Keeping Secrets

Here we in the mist of another public College sex abuse scandal... I applaud the brave victims in Penn Sate and now Syracuse who have finally come forward and disclosed their abuse. Recently, the head coach of Syracuse's Basketball team, Jim Boehiem, said something incredibly stupid in a recent statement about the allegations against Assistant Coach Bernie Fine. He said, are you ready?..."I am shocked because I have personally never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged" OH REALLY? you were not a witness to the sex abuse? you know why? because sexual abuse is a SECRET! that's why! A horrible awful secret! I can not image a grown man seriously thinking that statement made sense.

These predators groom children, they gain their trust and then they take advantage of them by abusing them and then convince the children that this is "their secret". Children often, not always but often, don't even know that the sexual abuse is wrong because they are so young when it begins they do not know any better. I have talked to countless victims that have told me that they didn't know the abuse was wrong until they became older and then it just became normal? Its sounds outrageous but its true.

So what can we do as parents to prevent this from happening? Well one major thing you can do is communicate with your children. Tell your children that there are NO SECRETS in your family. Is that a 100 % guarantee that nothing will happen to your child? No, but its a little something. There are a few very important rules that I teach my kids: #1 There are no secrets in our house. I tell the kids you do not keep a secret from Mama and Papa and if anyone asks you to keep a secret you do not. No ifs, ands, or buts. Rule #2 You will never get in trouble if you tell the truth. That way they know if they do something wrong but are honest about it, I will not punish them. BUT I will punish them if they lie.. even the smallest lie. At family party a few months back I realized that my rules were understood. I don't allow my children to chew gum; basically any time they have gum, they swallow it. I just don't think a belly full of gum is a good thing, but I could be wrong? Anyway a very close family friend, Barb, offered Fashi a stick of gum and Fashi said, "I'm not allowed to chew gum" and Barb said, "its ok it will be our secret" GASP... Fashi refused the gum and basically according to Barb turned white when she heard the word "secret". Barb doesn't have children... I explained to Barb that, there are no secrets in our house and a light bulb went off. Barb realized she was wrong to suggest Fashi keep a secret from Mama. I used this little gum incident as a learning opportunity and again talked to Fashi about the importance of not keeping secrets. Are these 2 rules going to keep our children safe all of the time? I don't know but its one thing you can do to keep the communication going in your house. Next week we will discuss the importance of talking to your children about their body's.
Comment with questions and follow me on twitter @thesafetygirlz.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving week is always a time to reflect to what we are thankful for. Here are just a few things I'm thankful for in no particular order:  It is 10:28pm on Tuesday night and I just got in my bed ahh my bed... I am thankful for my bed oh how I love my bed it's big with loads of pillows an sometimes there are 5of us sleeping in it and even though I'm hanging off the edge of it during those times Im grateful for my bed! Reality TV,  it gives me an escape and makes me realize; No I am not crazy those people are.  A seat on the subway.  Naps when my kids take them I can get loads of stuff done, like catch up on my reality TV! Living in the NYC it's like no other place in the world.  Red wine. A clean car it's a rarity but so nice.  Baby Mia Rose, my dear friend's miracle baby, I will forever be grateful for her and what she means to my friends. Target, I love me some bargains.  Good genes and good jeans thankfully I have both! and of course there are all the usual thanks for my babys daddy, my 3 kidlets, good health, my family, a job, great friends, a roof over my head, plenty of food and wanting for nothing and big thanks to my mom who came over to take care of BD and I who were too sick to get out of bed and take care of our brood this weekend.
Happy thanksgiving to all. Follow me on twitter @thesafetygirlz.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I don't live in Haterville

So recently I have realized that a lot of people live in Haterville. If you don't know where Haterville is, its a little town near Jealousy and Misery. Its a place where if you are not happy about something (usually yourself) or can never see the good or positive in life you spew your negativity on others. I don't live there and I don't want to.  
In the last few weeks I have had comments made to me that take me back but I always meet with a smile :). I have a sharp tongue and a mouth on me like you wouldn't believe, thankfully after many many years of shooting off said mouth, I have learned when and where to use it.  The playground where your trying to meet new mommy friends isn't a good place to use it. 
So the first incident I was chatting with a mom who is nice (I thought) and I am friendly with when I commented "Oh I can not go to that party because Fashi has French school on Saturday mornings" her response was not "Oh great for her" or 'too bad she would have had fun at the party". It was ... "Oh well excuse me!" and I think she cocked her head and hip? I was like WTF then I did some thing stupid... I smiled because I was in shock but I tried to justify why Fashi was going to French school by saying... "well her Grandmother and Father speak to her in French and and and ...WHY was I justifying to this Hater my business?
and just last week I said to another Mom that I was making a Carrot Souffle for the Thanksgiving Party at School today. This Haters response was not "Yummy" or "Ive never had that" it was "Oh Fancy Smancy" and again with the head cock!  stupidly with a big smile I tried to justify my choices and said "its super easy and taste like a dessert the kids will love it!" ~ as an aside google it and make it, its delicious~
Why does everyone live in Haterville? Why cant we be happy for each other and the choices that other people make that are different from theirs? especially other Mothers?  and why do I try to give an excuse for my choices? So I decided that I am not justifying my actions to anyone any more. I can say what I want without moving to Haterville too.
So at the Dr this weekend~ I had strep throat ouch~ I had my chance, the Dr Hater says "nice bag, a Louis Vuitton, you like labels?" I was like HUH?  So my nice calm response accompanied with a big fat smile was "Yes I work very hard for the things that I have". 
Don't be a Hater and follow me on twitter @thesafetygirlz.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Penn State and Paterno

This Penn State fiasco has got me thinking ... this story is everything wrong with what people feel about sexual abuse and how little people know about it.
Sexual abuse is very very real and happens at staggering statistics (I won't bore you) it is Classless and Raceless and usually happens by trusted adults not strangers. 3% of sexual abuse outcries are false...(Ok ill bore you a little bit) Do you realize how low that is?... Still no one wants to believe a child when they complain of sexual abuse! Why? Because it disgusting that's why! and I can think of nothing more horrific. People don't want to believe that an adult would want to have sex with a child but... have you ever heard of Thailand? Yeah me too.. or sex trafficking? Hellooo my neighbor was sex trafficked! and I live in the NYC, not some 3rd world country.
These crimes against children are very real, are happening everyday and every where, including Penn State. They are happening by Coach Sandusky who everyone loved and trusted. He took advantage of young boys and when he was "caught" his "friends" told their superiors but not the Police? Come on, are you F'ing kidding me? Now even if the Head Coach, Paterno, didn't actually see the acts enough people did, and when Paterno became aware of the allegations he still did nothing. Why not? Why didn't Sandusky's colleagues notify the Police and why did some even lie to the Grand Jury? Did they not believe the allegations or did they not want to get involved or are they just stupid? or all of the above?
If you know that a child is being sexually or physically abused do something to help that kid, you can call child services anonymously you know. But please don't sit ideally by and then years later when the whole world finds out say "oh I wish I did more". Come on.... children need protection period and sometimes they need protection from people that are supposed to be protecting them and if you recognize that then you have a obligation to do something! Why because I said so..if you know something is wrong do something NOW not when it's too late ...
Now I'm sure Paterno is a really nice guy and he won alot football games and all that but he had a responsibility and he failed and NOW has regret... so I ask you what would you rather be known for winning football games or getting a predator off the streets?
I thought so.
Follow me on twitter @thesafetygirlz

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stranger Danger

As a special prosecutor, I have seen and heard horrible stories about sexual abuse and violent crimes. I have sat across my desk from victims and garnered all my strength not to cry along with them when they recount their stories to me. This is why I am constantly, some may say incessantly, giving my kids safety tips: don't talk to strangers, know your phone number, if you get lost go to someone in uniform, if someone touches a private part tell me or teacher immediately. I could go on and on.
However, I never know if the kids are retaining any of this information, until now. With Captain Jack I don't think the "Stranger Danger" talk is working. He talks to EVERYONE! I swear he is like the mayor. He always has been and I guess always will be. I live on a busy street with a lot of foot traffic. When we are sitting on the terrace he shouts "Hello" to the passersby, asks a few questions and has even invited a few up to play! Its quite funny! I try to explain to him about strangers but he really doesn't care, he likes to talk. So for now I let him hone his social skills on the terrace.
Fashi is another story and I realized on Halloween that she has been listening to my tips. I took Captain Jack and Fashi Trick or Treating alone, Papa stayed home with #3. The side walks were very crowded and at one point we ran into some kids and their mothers from school and started walking together. I took the front of the group with Captain Jack and Fashi was at the end of the group. I told her to come along but I guess she didn't hear me with all the commotion. I was about 2 doors down and and a mother ran over and said Fashi wont go with "Kelly". Kelly is a mother of a classmate, but Fashi didn't recognize her. I went to the back of our group to get Fashi. Kelly commented that "Fashi didn't know me, I'm a stranger to her and she got nervous". Kelly also complimented me because Fashi knew NOT to go with a "stranger".
I thought, Yeah! all my "talks" worked. I told Fashi who's mom Kelly was and told her how proud I was of her to "go with her gut" and not walk with someone she didn't recognize.
I think it is important to talk to kids about "stranger danger" but at this age I don't think it is necessary to give all the gory details about what can happen if a stranger "gets" them. I just tell my kids if a stranger talks to you or asks you to go with them don't go and run away. I try to repeat these tips when I know we will be at a crowded place and the potential to get lost is a little higher. Fashi passed a huge test on Halloween, one that she didn't even know she was taking. I'm so proud of her !
Follow me on twitter @thesafetygirlz.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rules and Running Amok

Friday night was the annual Halloween Bash at school. There were approximate 120 Children aged 4 to 8 in attendance and only about 10 parents paying attention to their children!  Why when parents attend a school event they do not "supervise" their children or is it that these parents never supervise their children?  I haven't figured it out yet.

There were a variety of rules broken that night most of them general and known to all:  no running, no hitting and be kind to your neighbor.  I think one of the most important rules the school had for the party was no weapons.  But as soon as the doors opened I spot "Officer McNulty" chasing other Ghost and Goblins around the auditorium with his GUN!  There were a variety of other weapons on hand but all night I saw McNulty and his orange gun running amok.  I must have broken up 3 wrestling matches that night and forget the 3rd grade boys running and sliding into the exit doors like it was home plate!!  Since I was "working " at the party I felt the need to maintain some order.  At one point I spotted from across the room our poor blow up skeleton getting beaten on but a group of kids... and where were their parents? How can people let their children get so out of hand? Yes it was a party and we want the children to have fun but there we plenty of games and activities to keep these kids occupied.  Are parents afraid to discipline their kids or afraid of being embarrassed if a full fledged meltdown ensues? I'm not sure, but I would take the latter any day! I try very hard to keep my kids in check. To me it is about respect, respect for themselves, respect for me as a parent and when at school; respect to their school and teachers.

 After I ushered a group of 2nd grade girls off the stage and away from the DJ there was a lonely 2 year old Dinosaur climbing up the stairs to the stage.  I tried to coax the kid down but he wasn't having it! Since I didn't know whose child he was I didn't want to pick him up, so I loudly asked "where is your mother?" I even asked a few people close to the stage "is this your kid?"  No one knew who the Dinosaur belonged to so I made a decision: hes not my kid and its not my problem.  I walked away.  Why do I feel the need to police these kids? and attempt to keep them in control if their own parents cannot?  

I saw the Dinosaur a few more times that night once he was rummaging through the arts and crafts box unattended and I said "please don't touch that" this time his father heard me and walked over to get him.  He had a deer and headlights look about him.  The Dinosaur and I met again when he was reaching up to stick his dirty little finger in the chocolate frosting of a cupcake, this time I gave his father the "death stare" while I was smiling and he quickly took the cupcake.  Here, I finally got a look at his Mum she was the one who I saw taking dessert, despite the fact there was a GIANT sign that said PLEASE DO NOT OPEN YET and I realized if the parents can't follow the rules how can I expect their children too? 
 Follow me on twitter@TheSafetyGirlz

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fashi found her voice!

Fashi found her voice... today as a matter of fact. It was in the parking lot of a Shopping Center in the Burbs! imagine that? Right after we left a Birthday party where fun was had by all.
She asked me for the 17th time if she could have the same toy that Captain Jack had and I said no... there is often a balancing act when you have more than one child. Fashi "won" a toy at the party so I used all the video game coupons to "buy" Captain Jack a little teeny tiny toy, and of course Fashi wanted the same thing. She didn't like that I said no, so she did what every reasonable child does when they want something she screamed.
She didnt just scream, she SCREAMED at ME and I think there was some feet stomping too.
I did not hear what she said because I was so dumbfounded... she has never yelled at me before, of course she has yelled, just not AT ME! As I escorted her to the car she continued to yell, this time I heard her, she screamed "GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!" three times, at least. Oh and did I mention there was a group of people with us? good times
We had a long talk in the car, basically it went a little something like this "don't you ever, ever, ever...."
Now that she has found her voice I just hope she can use it when she is being picked on, just maybe leave out the stomping...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How do you give your children a VOICE?

So I have alot to say about everything and decided to start a blog and see how it goes. Ill cover all sorts of topics one of them being safety; as it relates to children and another topic being a Mama... a working Mama and of course everything in between. I am a mother of three and Ill call myself a "special prosecutor" to protect the innocent. I am not a writer but a talker so excuse the typo's, run on sentences and lack of capitalization. I hope theres a spell check on this blog post! This is a work in progress so bear with me...

So today I read a post on an Australian mommy site about a 7 year old girl being the only girl not invited to a classmates birthday party.. and it got me thinking. My Girl (she is a Fashionista and will be referred to as "the Girl" or "Fashi" in this Blog) is in the 1st grade and has been having problems with a new girl in school. Basically the new girl seems to have a mean streak and excludes Fashi.  Fashi waited after a few incidents to tell me and was pretty upset when she did.  I want to be clear I don't think she is an angel but  I was quite surprised by this because last year her teacher constantly told me that she is "kind" (her word not mine) to everyone in the class and she got the "best friend" award at the end of the year.  However, I was heartbroken when she revealed that she was essentially being bullied and of course the guilt set in. How could I not know that something was wrong? and why did she wait so long to tell me?
As much as I wanted to go to the school and discuss the issue with the new girl myself I had restraint!   Although Fashi has a pretty big voice when telling her younger brother ("the Boy" or "Captain Jack") what to do around the house, shes pretty shy in a crowd. One of my biggest fears is that Fashi will be bullied because she is more of a follower in school. I discussed with Fashi that she should stand up for herself and say something like..."your not being nice" and then tell the teacher.  I also told Fashi talk to her teacher about the problem (which she did) and I followed up the next day.  The teacher was aware of some issues with the new girl and all three of them had a talk and everything was great!  until art class this week when  the new girl said to her in art class "you think your pretty but your not!" HELLLOO what is she watching? the Real Housewives of New Jersey?

Again I had a talk with Fashi about kindness; that you cant be best friends with everyone, but should be friendly with all the kids in your class; that you should stand up for yourself not but mean but say whats on your mind and USE YOUR VOICE.. I know she has one! and OF COURSE I asked her what if anything she did to instigate any of the incidents?

Honestly, it has taken all my strength not to call this child's mother or confront the girl myself! but I know I cannot fight my children's battles (always). I just cant stand to see Fashi excluded. She needs to make friends, grow and learn in school and most importantly find her own voice. I also know that she need to do this process on her own but I wish I could protect her more and give her my voice just for a day because its a big one. 

Ok well #3 is up from his nap until next time...