Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I think it's 100% OKAY to be a teensy bit disappointed.

A good friend just found out the gender of her baby-to-be. Guess what? She was surprised to find out it was the opposite gender that she expected it to be, thus she was thrown for an entirely understandable loop.

I had a similar experience when I first found out my child-to-be would be a bouncing baby BOY. A couple of weeks later we came to find out our little XY was actually an XX. Whoopsie.

For my husband, the discovery did not go over so well. He didn't really come to terms with the idea of having a girl until he started to actually enjoy spending time with our child. That happened about five months into her life. I don't think this sort of disappointment is really the kind I find "okay"-- but it happens, and we're still working on what it means for our little one to have crashed the party for two that my dear husband that was THEMOSTAMAZINGESTTHINGEVERINTHEHISTORYOFRELATIONSHIPSAHHHHH.

I digress: I was admittedly also the teensiest bit disappointed because I'd already come to terms with having a bouncing, rough and tumble, BOY. I was ready to be that mom-of-boys that I had formerly been annoyed by (since then I've partially overcome my stereotyping of boy-moms, but not totally, although I am certain my friend will change that for me). Nevertheless, when you find out (or truly believe) that your kid is going to be of a particular gender and then you find out otherwise, there are a number of reasons to be a little upset (unless you live somewhere like China, then  you have WAY more reasons to be upset by the XX).

My biggest reason for disappointment was the lack of girl-drama that would now be my life as a mother of a boy. Now, instead of being annoyed by the (excuse my French) bitchiness of a middle-school-girl combined with my own utterly inevitable bitchiness I would now have to succumb to it and likely would play into it, whether I meant to or not. I also knew that having a boy meant I wouldn't have to hold myself responsible for things like teenage-girl eating disorders, loser boyfriends, and low-(girl)self-esteem. (The boy-brand of low self-esteem is WAY easier for me to stomach, but that's another post entirely.) I also knew that my having a boy meant he wouldn't be whining to wear my shoes (as my daughter literally is at this moment) after the age of five or so. Seeing as how my daughter has unreasonably small feet, it looks like I won't have to worry about sharing mine with her for awhile, but it's likely to last for decades after that.

I found out we were having a delicate baby girl and I set about trying to deal with that while also coming to terms with things like how my mom's relationship with her mom effected the way she parented me and my siblings (and how my relationship with her and her mom, and every other man or woman I've ever met) would effect the relationship I have with my own daughter as well as my parenting style. At first it was overwhelming, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit to finding myself over at my neighbor and friend's house a bit teary-eyed over the possibility of really fucking-up the role of mother to a girl (she's mom to five... girls).

Fast forward to now and I am still the same basket case I always have been, but I am realizing that my personality is the kind where I blame myself for things both out of and within my control so I can partially make myself believe I have control over all of it... and I don't really have control over most of it because that's life.

I have also realized that when life throws you for a loop... or tells you you're going to be a mom of a boy and you end up with an amazingly rambunctious, awesomely smart, all-round rough and tumble, and ridiculously pretty GIRL, it's both out of your control and total human nature, to feel that twinge of disappointment. But, all of the best parents hide that part from their kids (even when it lasts until they're five months old) and eventually realize: the universe gives you what you need to get.

My friends will meet their little boy in mid-2013 and he is going to be an amazing kid-- even more amazing than his parents can ever imagine right now-- because they are amazing people. And, if they decide not to have anymore children, then my daughter will get the pseudo-sibling she doesn't yet have, and they will get a stand-in daughter whenever she comes to visit. (Hopefully, we'll get a stand-in son if we're deemed acceptable for visits too!)

This little boy is going to make them work, because for this particular couple, a baby girl would have been easy peasy, but a boy is going to make them face every personal fear and failure head-on-- I speak from experience with my daughter-- and because of that hard work they will love him, and each other, in ways they cannot expect to fully understand now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bottle Du Jour

We made the switch from bottle to sippy-cup a month or two ago and it was a big moment for me. I thought it meant I would no longer have to struggle with ridiculously sized nipples, use (almost) completely useless bottle brushes, and look at my lovely bottle-specific drying-rack. Ha! Joke's on me.

I don't understand why we "need" all of these stupid options. In my experience, my daughter will use whatever I give her-- as long as I keep on giving it to her and she's relatively developmentally ready for such.

Case in point: my little one is fully capable of drinking out of a regular cup with a regular straw. I choose to give her the super-sporty-sippy-oh-fuck-this-is-my-life cup because it's easier for me to give that to her than it is for me to refill a regular cup every time she: a) spills or (more likely) b) finishes the relatively expensive almond milk that she loves to down every hour or so. 

Nevertheless, my "big" moment of switching to the sippy from the "ba" (although we still call the damned thing a "ba" since that's what our child has deemed appropriate) was put into perspective when my brother so, surprised and concerned, mentioned something after seeing her with the sippy cup. "Um, is she supposed to have that? I thought she wasn't taking a bottle anymore?" There you have it. We, as parents and users of the super-sporty-sippy-oh-fuck-this-is-my-life cup have been duped into making a change that is completely arbitrary to anyone with two seconds of non-parenting time in their normal day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home Sick

No, not homesick. Today the little one and I are at home and she is, very unfortunately, sick.

I've known she had a cold for a couple of days, but this morning when I changed her diaper and she was extremely warm, I knew she was getting a bit sicker. Then, after a shower and some Children's Tylenol to cool her down, I took her "auxiliary temperature" (i.e. the armpit way) --which is a fancy way of saying I'm still too chicken to take her temperature rectally if I have any other option-- and she had a fever of 99.4 degrees (Fahrenheit).

So after her bath and temperature-taking, I only put her in a diaper and she proceeded to throw a legitimate tantrum (on the floor, kicking, screaming, diaper-pulling-off) so I got a little worried that she might be sicker than I thought and I proceeded to do some internet research to see when other people suggest taking a child to the ER and it turns out it's not at 99.4 degrees. Plus, she's proven that she is in no way lethargic, so we're sticking it out for awhile at home and she'll probably be okay to go to Grandma & Grandpa's house today while I go to work... but I'm prepping lesson plans just in case.

In the meantime, my little tantrum-thrower has kicked the dog out of the upstairs dog bed, and she's playing a game with her dirty laundry from yesterday (I guess this is also the point where I have to thank my husband for not remembering to put those dirty clothes in the hamper-- otherwise, I might still have a tantrum on my hands).

The grossness of her little naked booty on the dog bed is being overshadowed by the fact she's  content!

When all is said and done, the good news is, I have photographic evidence of her diaper rash having cleared-up.

Miss Clear Booty

Now, I should probably get off the computer... my child is attempting to open a package of Q-Tips, and she's eyeing the scissors as I type...

Just in case anyone happens across this post while looking for information about child fevers/ temperatures, here is a list of resources I have found helpful in the past.

How to Read a Child's Temp
Fever Management for Low Grade Fevers
Is 99.4 really considered a fever?
American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children Website

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Clearly, My Daughter Hates Me.

My daughter is the sweetest thing anyone would ever want to meet. When she is with her grandparents, her father, her babysitter, or her aunts and uncles. Otherwise, she is a holy terror... when she's with me.

On a near-daily basis I arrive home just in time to see my daughter turn in to a little monster. She refuses to listen, she whines, she cries, she now stiffens her little body out of anger (I'm guessing).

I bring out the worst in her.

Yesterday, while picking her up from Grandma and Grandpa's house I refused to give her my keys. So she started screaming. She had been with them for five hours and this was the very first screaming stint of the day.

Truly, it verges on amazing and surreal.

Today, I arrived home in time to see daddy's little angel melt into a gargoyle fit to scare off the meanest of spirits. She was terrible!

Now, it's become more of a game than anything else... how much can I anger her before I have to put her to bed. One day she bit my shoulder in a fit of rage.

I am SO not looking forward to the teen years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vignette Writing-- An attempt.

“My Name” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
In English my name means hope.  In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.

My Version:
In French my name means short nose. In English it means stuck-up. It means A-type personality, it means anxiety. It is like the number 17. A safe color. It is the do-wop music my mother plays in the car when she is bored, songs like bubblegum. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Slutty Halloween: I'm Over It

I'm so over slutty Halloween, and it's not even because of the slutty costumes. I don't care about that. I've been to plenty of costume parties with plenty of women showing of their goods and my personal opinion about that is: if you've got it and you want to flaunt it, do it!

I'm over it because I have a theory that it's making younger generations stupid in terms of their projected self image and I'm tired of watching high school students prance around in what amounts to lingerie. If you're still living at your parent's house GO PUT CLOTHES ON. EVEN ON HALLOWEEN.

This Halloween we encountered a trio of high school aged trick-or-treaters. And I thought middle school was the cut off. Anyways...

I like Halloween because it allows people like me to let their sense of humor and creativity shine through. But these ready-made bathing suits they now refer to as "costumes" (they must have some laughs over that) are killing my fun. So, for now, I am totally over slutty Halloween-- unless I get to make my own hilarious costume.

Like that's going to happen.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Operation: Single-Parent Airplane Travel, The Preparation Phase

I love my daughter.

Now, I will be very honest; as much as I do love her to pieces she can be a holy terror. She is spoiled, an only-child who gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants, from (almost) whomever she wants. Our extended family lives nearby and she is the only grandchild on both sides of our family. I think that says most of it.

And now, I have decided to travel via plane to see an out of state friend. Just me and my little ray of sunshine-- a.k.a. the little girl who just threw a screaming fit when her father wouldn't immediately pick her up.

So far, I am packing snacks, arriving early, and taking along a few toys. I am also hoping to get to my brother before we leave so he can hook us up with a few kiddie videos on my trusty little net book.

I guess we will see how this little trip goes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What they didn't tell me...

I like being married to my husband for a myriad of reasons and of course there is plenty I can and do complain about, but this past week I really found myself with a bone to pick about what no one told me when I married a firefighter (at the time he was technically a "fireman" in his department, but since our marriage the department has thankfully done away with at least one piece of sexist language, much to my husband's chagrin). 

The things I like about this firefighter thing range from he stays in shape because he has to/ gets to workout while on duty, he's gone for days at a time so I have plenty of alone time, the money isn't bad, his co-workers are fun in tons of ways, and we get to spend a ton of quality time together because he can trade shifts and be off when I'm on breaks. Those parts are AWESOME, and that's just a little bit of the awesomeness involved with my husband's job. 

And, when we got married almost seven years ago, after dating for six years, lots of people told me lots of things to help prepare me for living with a firefighter. My mother-in-law (also married to a fire fighter) was helpful in pointing out ways to communicate about finances that have worked for she and my father-in-law. 

Significant others at the station (hardly anyone else was married at the time) commiserated about how tired those guys are when they arrive home and how driven they are to take part in extracurricular activities (and for purposes of clarification and relative full-disclosure I'm talking about activities that range from the bedroom, to the desert, to the river, to other countries, etc.) 

Family members also warned me of how firefighters tend to deal with the things they see by forming close relationships with their co-workers and making dark jokes. 

And yet, I was totally unprepared for a few important and specific aspects of being "on the job". 

Nobody told me that over time my husband would form almost familial relationships with people who partake in what I find to be unsavory (to put it lightly) activities... and I would have a choice to either turn a blind eye, or cause major drama for myself and others.

Nobody told me that my husband would be expected to keep certain matters to himself (i.e. not tell me). We've never told each other about every single thing that happens every single day, but I rarely realize how few details I typically hear about my husband's work day until I visit or sit around a campfire listening to all of the guys discuss work stories. 

These two we have been dealing with now for a number of years, so I have come to terms with most of it and we can work with/around the issues that arise with those expectations. 

Most recently, I have been trying to wrap my head around the notion of the gore my husband and his co-workers are subjected to on a sometimes daily basis while on duty. My husband works at a busy station (one of the busiest) and more than once he has ended up on the local news (which I no longer watch unless he's because of that factor). He has seen three people (on two different occasions) dragged under vehicles for multiple city blocks. He has seen a woman wandering the streets aimlessly after delivering her own child (and only the child). He has seen bodies dead for days, bloated, rotting. He has retrieved a body from a bath house hot tub, he has yelled at a teenaged, overdosed, heroin addict for wasting his life, he's been spit on, he's been charged at, he has seen countless humans at their absolute worst --and he has it easier than a lot of other first responders. 

But, nobody told me that stuff was going to happen. The most I heard was sleeping at the station is not like sleeping at home-- guess what, that was wrong too, he rarely has a full night's sleep. 

And now, we have a beautiful little girl that he comes home to on so many days and he's kind and gentle with her, and he's always happy to see us both. But, I keep on asking myself when all of this shit he sees is going to be too much-- I'd ask him, but that's not one of those things we are "supposed to" discuss regularly, so my timing must be calculated. 

The last time we spoke about it, we both questioned the similarity of what he sees versus what a soldier experiences while at war. Thankfully, we found a grim difference: soldiers have the displeasure of also doing some of the killing; but I believe a similar dehumanization of victims/enemies/patients occurs amongst these first responders and soldiers because if one were to empathize with every each individual, wouldn't that ultimately break any person? Or, does a breakage ultimately occur amongst one's closest relationships because everything is so fucked up? 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Introducing S P E A K (the novel)

I am pumped about the novel I am currently teaching.

This year it has been difficult for me to get my bearings because of a number of annoyances and changes, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it after twelve weeks of the semester having slipped by and with it my best attempts at ruining both The Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet for some of the brightest kids I've had chance to work with.

Nevertheless, I am totally pumped about teaching Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because my students are SO into it.

We're focusing on the following essential questions throughout this unit:
Is it possible to speak without spoken words; how is this connected to the concept of finding one’s voice?
What role does the concept of identity play in the novel?
How do imagery, symbolism, and the connotative meanings of language help develop themes within the novel?
Consider how rumors and truth can be connected. Is one more powerful that the other?

And I am even finding myself looking forward to our first close reading of the text because after the Pre-Reading Discussion we had, I think the kids are really going to be able to converse with this text in a way I hadn't expected.

So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to ride this out until, at very least, the end of the semester... but if we can't at least we had that first awesome discussion!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I am not big on giving my kid lots of processed sugar... she does eat a fair amount of processed foods (I know, plenty of people will cringe at that), but I do buy the lowest sodium deli meat I can find and tend to stick with whole wheat processed carbs. We don't keep a ton of sweets in our house because I will undoubtedly eat ALL of them and my husband only likes a few sweets, plus he has more willpower than I, so there's no need to keep anything here consistently. And, as far as our kid goes... she's one, so there's no real need for her to have a bunch of candy. Ever.

Plus, let's be totally honest and admit that I have no clue what really goes on when she's with other family members, and it's all completely over when she goes to preschool and eventually kindergarten. My husband could be intravenously filling her with sugars while I'm at work and I'd probably just think she was in a good mood until she crashed.

Nevertheless, in our household we also hold a relatively strong belief that Halloween is about candy. And costumes. And tricks. But, mostly the treats (until our little sweet baby/toddler girl gets to be a teenager, then it'll be about mostly the mischief, I'm sure). As you can see, this kid wasted no time in getting to the first trick-or-treating location (Granny and Grandpa's house).

So, this Halloween we went against our typical no-candy-for-one-year-olds policy and our little chicken got to have a taste of candy at one grandparent's house, and tried to coax her Granny into giving her cotton candy (I vetoed that). But, you can see the Butterfinger in her grimy little hand, she did  get a taste of that one.

Later, without anyone really even attempting to give her a second piece-- she managed to chew through the wrapper of a Snicker's Bar at our neighbor's house and eat nearly the entire thing in a matter of minutes. I must say, I was and am impressed by the sheer determination at sucking the gooey--but at the same time slippery-- mixture of caramel, nuts, nougat, and chocolate out of the little plastic wrapping before we made our way back home, presumably to put the child to bed since it was just about bedtime.

This kid's face absolutely screams "What? I'm not even eating this candy... it's still in the wrapper... I don't know how that chocolate got on my face."

Then, an hour and a half past bedtime we realized why we typically abide by that no-candy policy, and my husband (thankfully) did the honors of putting our gooey chicken to bed. Whew!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Novel Writing Month Begins November 1st and this year I'm gonna do it!

The goal: 50,000 words in 31 days.

The blog: Multiplied by One

The Topic: Lots of "Stuff" (but, I'm really going to try to get something down about a teenager living in LA who is dealing with poverty, gangs, school, drugs, sex, all that stuff... we'll see how it goes). I plan to try my hand at writing a few vignettes (akin to Cisneros' style in The House on Mango Street) and see where those take me.  I'll probably also do plenty of blathering... but, I am interested in getting all the feedback I can on my creative writing, so please, comment-away (good, bad, and otherwise).

Experience Level: Little-to-None (I'm not so hot on Creative Writing.)

Confidence Level: Low-Mid (again, not so experienced with the Creative Writing... but going to try it out).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Patch + Petting Zoo = Another Parenting Fail

Most recent (public) parenting fail: our trip to the pumpkin patch. 

Yes, that is my 15 month old daughter literally kissing a goat's ass. And, nope, I didn't even attempt to stop her. In fact, I encouraged her to also give the "dog" a hug while I snapped more photos.

Then, I turned away for a bit and she decided to put her hand to the "dog's" mouth (because that's what we do with the real dog at home) and the animal thought that meant she wanted him to eat her hand. 

So I stood there and took another picture while she tried to figure out how in Hell she could remove her little fingers from the "dog's" mouth. 

And, finally, after taking one more picture, I removed her precious little fingers from the "dog's" mouth... and she proceeded to put her hands in her own mouth. Parenting. Fail.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Top 5 Reasons for Why this School Year is Different than Others

School is now in full-swing (at least in my particular district) and after an extremely busy few weeks, I am finally feeling (sort of) settled in. I finally have a minute (or five) to take a deep breath, and reflect upon some of the reasons this school year is so incredibly different from past years.

#5. This year is obviously different because it is the first time I have an opportunity to work part time: eighty kids versus one-hundred and eighty. This reduced student load is already providing ample opportunities for me to make personal connections with students. Granted, those personal connections run the gambit from positive to negative, but the opportunity is there at very least. To date, I have only sent two students out for being disruptive. It's a good start.

#4. It is also different because I have a different, more personalized, and thankfully even more relativist approach to my classroom as a new parent. It is very easy for me to re-think my philosophy in regard to why students and parents act the ways they do because I can see myself already doing some of those things. At the same time, this new found ability to identify with my students and their parents also drudges up feelings of annoyance and frustration when I feel like a parent isn't doing what is in the best interest for their child. Those are the times I get to have the conversation with myself about how I don't really know what's going on in their heads- nor do I necessarily know what's best for their kid. These are the feelings that have also made me realize I might not be teaching in the same capacity I currently am when my little one hits high school, lest I actually inform a parent of my opinion regarding their parenting skills.

#3. There is a new principal in town, and he's not a former (or current) English teacher... which means I also have a new evaluator. This is a welcome change, and not because I hate my old principal or anything like that. I respect my former principal, but I like to change it up a bit and I feel like I was running out of ways to attempt to make improvements in my teaching that would merit an improved evaluation in my former principal's opinion. So, with my new evaluator I am looking forward to the ways in which her varied background will inform how she conducts evaluations. Hopefully this will also encourage me to seek innovative classroom strategies that I might not have otherwise attempted. Hopefully it will also magically make those frustrations of the past disappear-- you know, the ones about never feeling validated or like I was doing even close to a good job in light of any positive hard data.

#2. I have no space to call my own. I shared a classroom during my first two years of teaching with "permanent" status and I didn't know any better, so it never bugged me. Many years later, most of them with my own classroom (space) and I am back to sharing a classroom because of my reduced contract. But, I am finding it's not really sharing when it's another person's space... so as I attempt to teach my fourteen month old how to share with playmates, I am relearning how to effectively share a space that has belonged solely to another person for the past four years. I am quickly learning that due to my controlling nature, I do not share well at all. Which, makes both me and my wonderful husband absolutely terrible role-models for our daughter.

#1. The top reason that this year is different happened just this week, I had an epiphany: I realized just how stupid I am... at least when it comes to dealing with a room full of teens. Over the past decade I had definitely forgotten how stupid adults are (in the eyes of their teenage critics) and I was happily reminded of it during a parent meeting this week. There's no getting around it: I have nothing on that room full of thirteen to fifteen year olds. They will always win when it comes to my intelligence (or lack thereof) in their collective perspective. So, now that I don;'t have to try to be smart anymore... let the "real" learning begin!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why it IS so hard to make friends after a certain age. (For certain people.)

Recently, a friend from high school (Kokoa, I hope I can call you that) wrote a blog about her difficulty making friends now that she is at the hmmm... how shall I put it?... "other" end of her twenties, closing in on her thirties. And, in short: I concur. But it made me ponder: Why IS it so difficult for ME (and other women I happen to know) to make (and keep?) friends after a certain age?

Full Disclosure: I am a self-described introvert. I (tend to) dislike "hanging out" with strangers... and generally just people that I haven't known for decades... and even then I just need my space.

So, I'm basically terming myself a closeted misanthrope, it's just that at this particular juncture, I'm beginning to think I'm not so closeted after all.

I noticed my inability to make new friends when I was about twenty-five. The husband and I had been hanging out with a particular group of his co-workers for awhile (solely in a party-capacity) and one of their girlfriends asked me about what I do in my free time. I know that's not quite how the question was crafted, but that was the essence of it. I told her I was close to finishing up a master's degree in English Lit. I kid you not-- she looked at me, so "Oh." and then quite literally shut her mouth and turned the other way... towards no one and nothing... and away from my company. It was disconcerting to say the least.

After that, and many attempts at understanding /decoding that particular interaction: Was I too noticeably dorky? Was I too obnoxiously educated? Was I not dumb enough? I eventually realized I probably scared the bejeezus out of her by coming off as too academic... I admit I love books, but I never thought that sort of degree could scare someone away in that manner-- it's not like I was working on a doctorate at a top rated school-- or even a master's at a top-rated school. Or, even a master's in a well-respected discipline... but any way... I scared her off and I think it was because she thought I was too stuck up (in an academic? way).

Fast forward to current times and I am just as befuddled now by some interactions, as I used to be by that one I had at twenty-five.

Specifically: When did I become the odd-man-out with my close-ish circle of friends?

I am supposing it was somewhere between pregnancies (not only my own, but other's as well), but I can't tell you for sure. I can tell you I got the hint after the hubby and I weren't invited to the annual celebration we had previously been invited to.

Or, maybe it was when I didn't go to work for a year. All of the sudden, I was into what turned out to be very much my own little schedule-- an extension of my own little world.

Could it have even been my lack of patience with certain others, or my willingness to be upfront? I suppose it was probably a tad bit of all of those things. I guess.

It might have been the last time I saw a friendly acquaintance (I say that now, though I would've just said "friend" before) in the store and bitched about my life's ongoings.

I'm beginning to think I'm just not a person who makes friends... but my Facebook page would attest otherwise.

Never the less, I am without a close group of friends nearby, and with my little sister soon leaving, I'll be without the person who has been my best female friend for the last twenty-three years. Ridiculously, I sometimes even mix-up my sister's name with my daughter's name, if that tells you anything about our relationship!

So... now I've got to figure out this ish! I'm going to embrace the few (girl)friends I've got-- those amazing girls I work with, that friend or two from middle/high school I still speak to, post-collegiate girlfriends that are super cool, and a neighbor or two that shares some common interests, and I'm going to find a new activity for myself. (Even if that means dragging some of my current friends through something that might make us refer to one another as Dr. & Dr.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just a Quickie...


To any parent who takes the time to provide ME... your child's English teacher... with an exhaustive amount of information concerning your child's disability.

I know this is a hassle. However, I appreciate it!

I understand that MANY parents do not have the time, nor the means to make this happen. So be it. But if you do... and you choose to provide me with that information. Thank YOU!

It's going to save your child some embarrassment. And hassle. And stress. It's going to save me some homework... but truly, that's beside the point.

Anyhow. To those parents who are willing and able: Thank you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mommy Issues: Body Image

Recently read "I hate my Neck" --Ephron piece... and I can identify. I hate my... extra skin below my belly button, the dark circles under my eyes, and the wrinkle at the corner of my mouth (more so on the left side than the right). To most people I sound awful and shallow and ridiculous, I know this.

Because, I think people are trained to tell you you're being too critical of yourself, or that it's not true. But, in a way it doesn't matter if it isn't true, because I still think it probably is. (And, no, this is NOT me fishing for compliments-- it IS me being truthful about just a couple of insecurities.)

One day I came across a couple of mothers in Starbucks. They wanted to be social, so I obliged. But, I found they had no modesty. At all. I have had ten people in a room looking at my hoo ha and I was still uncomfortable when one of them lifted her shirt to show her stretch marks and sagging belly skin. I wasn't embarrassed because of how it looked-- and I'll admit, I'm actually one of the lucky few who does not look so, shall we say motherly, in the abdominal area (vain thought it sounds), and I still remember bawling the day I saw an imaginary stretch mark. People who own their bodies are awesome, but I was still uncomfortable for everyone else who didn't really feel the need to "own" her body... plus, we were in Starbucks, at the pick-up counter, and the woman just lifted her shirt. It was... different... and uncomfortable.

But, as most of us probably know, moms do seem to lose their modesty to varying degrees. I don't know if that makes it 'right', but it does seem to be true.

Even moms who have their kids at 17 and weigh 100lbs after the birth can be unhappy with their bodies. I guess that means the rest of us are screwed?

Friday, August 10, 2012

You got daddy skills...

This guy cuts the blueberries, the grapes... and changes a dirty diaper with only two wipes. 

Be still my heart!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

*First* Birthday Parties are Messes

First birthday parties are a mess.

My little one is now an official toddler. We have made it through one year together (outside of the womb) and it's been pretty fun.

But, her birthday party was. a. mess.

A hot mess. Literally, hot, because the thermometer reached upwards of ninety-five degrees on the day of her birthday. And it was an outside birthday party, of course, at the hottest time of the day. I have a real knack for planning day time events during the worst weather.

I'm not even a proponent of having huge parties for toddlers, but when I explained the guest list to my husband he told me I really should invite everyone, so our guest list was huge. Thank goodness only a little over one third of our original guest list showed-- we had approximately thirty-five guests, you do the math. And, I even cut out a ton of people that I work with.

Nevertheless, the mess part is my own opinion, of course, but that's only because I know what went on behind the scenes.

For example, I know that my dear, dear husband --who proudly claims to "take care of all of the outside 'stuff'" (and he does take care of most of it) took two friends (whose wives were, incidentally, helping a TON) and went to a local watering hole. At 10:30am. I make it sound worse than it is by not including the disclaimer that I initially suggested it. However, I did not suggest he remain there for two hours while I began my own little meltdown. Next time, I'll need to specify there is a strict time limit on all local watering-hole activities. (The other two really did need to see this place, it's pretty impressively shady for our town.)

Even with said visit, when my in-laws arrived twenty minutes early, the ever-dutiful husband was at work, blowing up balloons with the air compressor since we --as a world-- are currently experiencing a helium shortage. Go figure.

I also know we had two couples spend the night at our house before the party. This means we had our own pre-party a full twenty-four hours earlier. That means I also hosted two parties in a row. And I was really tired, for both of them. But, there was fun to be had at both, so it worked out.

I even know that three nights before my daughter's first birthday party I was standing on my dining room table all super excited about my own craftiness because I was in the middle of taping somewhere around sixty --individually measured and cut by me-- streamers to my ceiling. This is the sort of asinine thing I go ape-shit over. I was SO proud of myself-- even more so when my husband turned on our whole-house fan in the morning and the streamers started blowing all over the place. I just wish my daughter had been so excited. (To be fair, she did look at them for more than two seconds and seemed to emit at least one sound of happiness in their direction.)

These aren't even the streamers I was so excited over.

Thanks to these examples, and a few more that I may mention in the future, I have happily decided first birthday parties are total messes.

Was your child's first birthday party a 'total mess' in your opinion?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Woo Hoo!

I made it. One FULL month of blog posts. I'll admit, many of them aren't pretty. Surely they aren't the well-crafted essays I would LOVE to present; however, there are thirty of them and for at least the month of July, quantity over (some) quality all the way. Now, on to August!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Baby/Logic Dichotomy

After nearly one complete year of parenting, I have come to the realization that babies (and all that concerns babies) defy logic.

Today I was struck by this defiance of reality-based thought when I entered my daughter's room for the fourth time in less than an hour with the mission of "checking" on her-- to make sure she was: safe, still breathing, still sleeping, not in pain, not crying, happy, etc.

Yes, this does sound like normal parenting behavior to a certain extent. However, the irony is that I was worried because she hadn't woken me up at the crack of dawn, after falling asleep just before the crack of dawn.

You see, we had a nice play session from approximately 2:15am to 4:35am because I felt the need to enter her bedroom to open her window around 2:14am. Apparently she's a light sleeper.

So then, when the husband arrived home from work at 8ish and I was still asleep he thought the baby was just sleeping in a teensy bit and I was relieved she wasn't awake at her normal early hour. I got up and out of bed around 9am and made myself breakfast, cleaned up a bit. I was impressively productive.

Then, at approximately 10am the panic set in. I decided the baby had slept for far too long and began to worry. Then, the obsessive "are you still okay?" trips in and out of her nursery began.

When she was still soundly asleep at nearly 11am I decided to wake the husband to share in my panic. He said she was probably still tired and rolled back over.

Fast forward to late afternoon, the baby girl is napping again. She was/is perfectly fine-- just giving herself and her mama some extra rest time, and I am not looking forward to another night of her jacked-up sleeping schedule from our previous week of vacation.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Daddy Loves Baby

My husband has decided he actually REALLY likes our kid. He's known her for eleven months. Twenty if you count cooking time.

I love my husband too, but even I can see that nothing compares to the camaraderie he feels between himself and his little mini-me. It makes me nostalgic for times like that with my own dad... but I digress.

Their relationship has progressed over the past few months, from baby-as-blob to baby-as-partner-crime.

Exhibit #1: Baby-as-Blob. Husband is trying SO hard to make a connection with this little "intruder". SO hard.

Exhibit #2: Progress. On our sixth wedding anniversary these two were obviously growing on each other.

Later, at swim lessons... not super excited, but TOTALLY willing to get into the water.

Exhibit #3: (Close to) Success! Partners in (many some) crime(s).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

1st Birthday Party Pink MADNESS ~ part deux

The party is fast-approaching. Just today I purchased the pinking shears necessary for making the bunting that my one-year-old is SURE to love (yeah, right.) along with the PERFECT fabric to tie-together all of the loose, decorative ends. Here are five of my MOST inspiring Pinterest Pins for PINK PARTY MADNESS 2012.

MOST inspiring Pin #5: A gift for the babe?

From nightstand to play kitchen
I'm hoping the bebe's gift from ma-ma-ma-ma-ma and da is something similar to the above utter CUTENESS.

MOST inspiring Pin #4: Dad deserves some input.

erfect for Darin this dad's day. f my auto correct.

This was initially going to be the inspiration for some Father's Day goodies, but it turned into my reason to consider (and reconsider) all of the husband's input for Birthday #1-- most important, all future birthdays should be "destination birthdays". We'll see, but I TOTALLY get his point.

MOST inspiring Pin #3: Try to do at least most of it... even if you fail?

Ha... I guess this is pretty true...
Between gym time, baby time, husband time, and "miscellaneous get shit done" time, I have very little time for "me" (how trite is that?!) Even so, I, along with WAY smarter women, still worry about not being good enough knitters, crafters, bakers, and athletes. What the fuck?

MOST inspiring Pin #2: CANDY!
I heart this set-up for a little girl's party. So 'sweet'.

Again: CANDY!

MOST inspiring (drum roll please...) Pin #1: This is ALL about baby!

I must have a pic of Catie & us just like this!
I hope to capture a picture this precious, but nevertheless, it espouses one important belief: it's BABY's birthday-- make it about the kiddo, not the ma-ma-ma-ma-ma and da.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Currently...Numero Uno

I saw this sort of "list" blog entry on another NaBloPoMo blog, Life of a Lost Muse. It's a nice idea for taking a snapshot of where you're CURRENTLY at, and what you're CURRENTLY doing. So, I'm stealing borrowing this cool blog post format (I will probably use it as a way to check in with my students next year as well):

Reading: 19 Minutes by Nicholas Sparks. I started it the evening before the incident in Aurora, Co. A little eery.

Writing: A blog post every day for July's NaBloPoMo on Blogher! I haven't written this much since finishing my MA in 2006. Woot woot.

Listening: At the moment-- to the sounds of my computer trying to overheat; musically, just listened to Telepop Musik station on Pandora this evening during a dinner of stuffed bell peppers with the husband. And, looking forward to listening to No Doubt's newest single after reading about it on  Life of a Lost Muse.

Thinking: Of how lucky I am to have a husband willing to provide for his family and a daughter who is happy and healthy... and how excited I am to only go back to work for a couple of hours a day in August. I don't think I could be anymore excited about a schedule that allows me to indulge myself professionally for a bit, while also allowing me about twenty-two hours per day with my little family. Ah-maze-ing! I wish all teaching jobs could be like that. (I guess we'd just have to get paid more to make it livable... oh well, maybe when education is eventually privatized...)

Smelling: Wine and homemade soap-scum-cleaner. How's that for an interesting evening?

Wishing: I was still in the minority of people who didn't have "issues" with their parents. Even up to LESS than one year ago, my husband and I used to comment upon how lucky we were to have our respective in-law situations. It's not so much that way anymore.

Hoping: That it's true: it SHOULD all work out for the best in the end. Right?

Wearing: Pajamas! Specifically, a white shirt I bought to make my Halloween costume last year and some of the comfiest pants EVER that were a gift from my grandmother close to ten years ago. They're too comfy and memory-ridden to remove from my current PJ wardrobe. One day, they'll probably end-up as a square of a quilt (that I probably won't make) or a pillow or something.

Loving: That in a relatively few short hours we (baby, husband, dog, and me) will be in the company of some of the greatest friends in the WORLD!

Wanting: Another trip to Vegas with my husband in the relatively near future! Maybe August? Our trip in July was a lot of good times... maybe we'll make it to a Thursday evening "Ducky Party" so we can grab some rubber duckies for the babe.

Needing: Sleep. I am perpetually tired (and, unfortunately, awake) since having a child. Too much can happen if a mom's off the clock... right?!

Feeling: So, so tired. I'm ready for sleep and ready for our trip to the Lake (Nacimiento) all at the same time.

Clicking: Incessantly upon my Pinterest account. I'm trying to get all of those "likes" pinned. Down to 118 from 546... not too shabby.

And, I'll add one of my own (for good measure):

Missing: I am prematurely missing my sister. She's planning on moving away later this year and, I want her to know, I'll miss her.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Today at Zumba

Today at Zumba there was a crazy woman, probably mid seventies, yelling at gym-goers/ Zumba-"dancers" alongside her.

It was fabulous. It panicked the other gym-goers. Panicked them, I tell you. Twice, people ran out to alert the front desk personnel (all young, white, women) and they came in to "talk" to said crazy-lady. It solved nothing and she yelled at quite a few others as she was, eventually, escorted out of the gym.

So, it made me think about all of the lessons I've learned since I've been working out over the last year and these are my top five gym lessons:

5. Tell the Gym Daycare where you will be-- not just class/ weights/ cardio-- but mention where in the class you plan to stand. The last time somebody tried to find me I was right next to the window, nearest to the door... and they couldn't find me.

4. Don't bother with a class number if you're more than five minutes late. I used to be an avid rule-follower. Even for the most asinine rules. Now, I tend to pick and choose which rules to follow (yes, I'm one of those people) and one of the rules I detest is the one that says you have to reserve your spot in certain gym classes. I'm perpetually late, they should have a "mom" section, but alas, they do not. So, I sneak in about seven minutes after class is set to begin, which means I only miss about two minutes of the actual class and no one is the wiser when I skip the reservation part. (Or, at least they don't let on about it.)

3. Some peeps are SERIOUS about saving their spot in class. One day I walked in to class exactly on time. And, apparently another woman had just walked out before I came in. Nevertheless, I saw an open spot on the dance floor and grabbed it. Two songs in to our workout that other girl walked up and told me I was in her spot. Then she proceeded to talk about it with her buddy who didn't say anything to me to begin with. What the fuck?! I don't care if I end up in the back, especially when I'm not even close to early... but you can't be gone for ten minutes and get all pissed when someone else accidentally takes your spot.

2. Smile at everyone, but if you don't want to high-five the instructor, you don't have to. I struggle to smile at people. I have had to make myself do this since I was a senior in high school. In fact, the biggest reason I do smile at people randomly is because my high school boyfriend (now husband) was so impressed by a girl who smiled and waved -- all normal and friendly-like-- when he passed by her house in high school. So anyways, I use this at the gym too. I don't really want to strike up a convo with anyone, but I do smile. However, I do not high-five. I have abnormally sweaty palms and it's really gross to a lot of people. So I'm happy to smile, say hi, and explain to the instructor why I don't want to touch... but I refuse to high-five.

1. Compliment others. This one is something I didn't learn until I took my first step class in over a decade. I decided to get all crazy and try it out with two steps instead of one. I was super uncoordinated, and thus was hindered by the double steps, but I made it through without too much embarrassment. At the end of the class, another woman came up to me and complimented me on my ability to keep up with everyone else in light of my dub-steppin' (hahaha). It made me feel good for going to that class, and now I look forward to going to another step class, but in the meantime I look for people who do something cool and I TELL them about it. It makes people happy.

What rules have you learned at the gym?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mom Challenge Part 2 - 16 to 30

Recap: I originally saw the 30 Day Mom Challenge on Pinterest, and then at iMom.com; the iMom website offers a section about relationship building, so I figured I'd check it out and I am glad I did. I'm sure the 'challenge' will be of help in the future, but for now it was nice to use it as a checklist for how I am meeting the needs of my little one.

Here's the list:

Here's the second half:

16. My child at 25. Interestingly, I often parent with this in mind. I want her to be thoughtful, but hardheaded.  I also want her to be understanding, but to stick to whatever she decides her principles are (at that time). I think she might already be there.

17. When I laugh with my daughter, my husband wants in on the joke. Thus far, my favorite laughing memory is she and I laughing while I tickled her. It was just after she learned to laugh "for real" on her own, and was actually amused by stuff we do. So much fun.

18. My own "role model" moms: my mom, mom mother-in-law, my grandmother (granny), and my grandmother-in-law. I actually "mother" with each of these women in mind on a daily basis.

My grandmother has passed away, but she left me with the lesson of loving (and at least partially accepting) unconditionally your child's choices-- even if you disagree with them. My dad married a girl he barely knew after a couple of months of dating; my granny accepted that; that girl's my mom.

My mom was oftentimes more of a friend that a mom-- she's  actually lucky in the sense I was more of a mom (in some ways) than a daughter. But, her parenting reminds me that I can't over think EVERYTHING. I have to just "go with it" in some ways, and the rest will follow.

My mother-in-law and I are similar. We're A-type in MANY ways, and (at least with our kids) have somewhat overbearing, but strangely non-confrontational, personalities (in relation to the kids at least-- in other ways I am WAY more confrontational and over-bearing). However, I appreciate the way she still strives to take care of EVERY need for each of her kids. I don't think I'll manage to do that, in fact I know I've already failed in some ways, but it's a cool thing to see.

My grandmother-in-law is a cool lady. When my husband and I were younger and freer she declared us "free, white, and 21"-- and in that, sort of excused any partying and drinking that came forth. She also raised two daughters throughout the fifties to the seventies and they both became successful adults. Sadly, her oldest daughter passed away at a very young age, and her husband passed away not too much later. Nevertheless, she's hung on for decades and managed to become a great-grandma (to my girl) in the process. How can you not have mad-props for such a cool grandma?!

19. One thing I've taught my kid to do on her own: walk. (Sort of.) We're still working on this every day, and my therapist demonstrated some very pertinent ways of helping me (and the kid) along. So, the walking is coming along slowly (she's taking two steps on her own to get to us) and we're hoping this improves.

20. Patience. I practice this every day. Right now we're specifically working on two concepts that require mucho patience: being "gentle" with the dog, and learning to "stop" when directed to do so. Counting helps with my patience. So far.

21. Forgive yourself. You have to, especially after the first fuck-up. (I think) My first (or at least worst-first) fuck-up was dehydrating my kid because breastfeeding was going so poorly. I am just now forgiving myself for that.

22. I hope my daughter remembers always that I have loved her fiercely and dearly from the moment I knew she'd been conceived. I hope she knows I will have tried my best to do good by her, and I hope she knows I love her. I hope she also knows I'll do (almost) anything she wants-- she just needs to tell me what that is. And, I hope she knows I don't ever want the sort of riff between she and I that has erupted between my parents and me and her dad.

23. The twenty-third challenge actually said "replace sarcasm with kindness". So far, I don't use a ton of sarcasm when directly interacting with the kid because she barely understands most of my words. However, this is a teaching challenge for me this year because I just don't want to deal with a lot of the other stuff. It'll probably rub-off into my parenting.

24. No interrupting is so easy when they are just learning to hold an ENTIRELY ridiculously gibberish conversation. But, that's what we do. I hope I have the foresight to continue without interruptions when the nonsense turns into sense.

25. My kid, believe it or not, is incredibly opinionated already. So, I don't even have to ask her opinion to know she hates super-cold, or super-warm food. She LOVES songs, dancing, and talking on the phone. She definitely likes to see her friends (unfortunately all adults right now) at the gym, but nap time is most important. But, tomorrow, I guess I can double check.

26. Encouragement. I encourage her daily: to eat, to talk, to think, to walk, etc. Parenting a (sort of) toddler REQUIRES encouragement. Fo' sho'.

27. Do something that's good for your health. I hope mamas do this EVERY day, it's the best way to make a healthy kid! I do this every day. I typically share oatmeal or yogurt with my girl during breakfast and then we head to the gym-- she plays and I workout. If we don't head to the gym, I focus on some part of my health that I don't typically focus upon-- and she and I get to PLAY more. WAY healthy!

28. A new word: No. I know, I'm sealing my fate with this term, but it has to happen sooner or later. So, "no" it is. I've done this. Usually it just ends up involving lots of cleaning. Not much fun for baby.

29. No phone, computer, or TV. I've done this. It involves a lot of cleaning. Usually.

30. Love. Love has been the theme of the last year... let alone just one day. EVERY day I fondly think about my love for my girl and reflect upon how I can better show it the next day. Again, bliss.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Isn't this an oddly-shaped head? 
It's my kid's, right after she was able to quit wearing her helmet. 
Do you have an oddly-shaped head?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mom Challenge #1-15

I originally saw the 30 Day Mom Challenge on Pinterest, and then at iMom.com; the iMom website offers a section about relationship building, so I figured I'd check it out and I am glad I did. I'm sure the 'challenge' will be of help in the future, but for now it was nice to use it as a checklist for how I am meeting the needs of my little one.

Here's the list:

So, I went through the list. It turns out raising an 11-month-old is all about relationship building. Here's what I discovered about each "challenge":

1. Baby and I find things to do together ALL day long. It's her our favorite thing to do. And, if I forget about it momentarily, she cries until I remember.

2. SO far. I don't yell at my kid. This is SUPER weird for me, because I remember my mom (mostly) and dad yelling at us and at each other a LOT when we were growing up. I'm sure I'll yell at some point, but I'm glad we've gotten off on the right foot thus far.

3. I hug my kid three times before she's out of her crib. Done and done!

4. Every time she lets me, I kiss my girl when she's asleep. Talk about bliss!

5. I treat my girl like she's a 1 year old boy all of the time... this totally works for #9!

6. I bake, make, and buy many foods. My child's favorites are the processed ones she tries on accident with me, or on purposed with other people who shall remained unnamed. So, I guess this one's super-easy too. Although she doesn't get crazily sugar-laden or fried foods EVERY day, she gets them sometimes (even with me).

7. Sweet notes come in the form of blog posts and text messages, of late.

8. There are less than 1000 weekends before the girl graduates. As of the 1st bday, there are approximately 888.

9. At nearly one year old I have no real idea of how I felt, but I can guess that I felt happy when my parents praised me, and otherwise pretty stressed out. But, that's the same at almost EVERY age until very recently.

10. Joy. SO many forms of joy. But today: two things that are joyful are my sleeping child, and the fact that she picked up her phone yesterday (she has two cell phones... longish story) and said "Da" (Dad). So we called her "Da" and while she gurgled (very excited) nonsense he got really excited about being a dad. That was joyful.

11. I usually tell baby I'm glad she's my kid. I don't think she totally gets it, but I do tell her. Fact of the matter: no other girl-kid could SO be the embodiment of her mama and dada. She's US to the maximus.

12. Pray for wisdom. I don't tend to pray. For a LOT of reasons. Not because I don't think of myself as Christian-- I do. But, more so because I tend to ask for help in particular areas. I guess I start asking for help in this arena. Although, I generally do ask for parenting help. (BTW- I don't think "God" just keeps that wisdom to his/herself-- as far as I can tell, it's OKAY to seek out other PEOPLE in this matter.)

13. Don't criticize. I need to work on this. Some days I don't. Other days I do. I'm a critical person, as it turns out. But, I realized the other day, I don't want the girl to be "best" at this or "most" of that. I just want her to be happiest in as many things as possible (and generally well-behaved). I think I'm doing OKAY at being not-so-critical. Hopefully.

14. Motherhood is a gift. This is one of the easiest things to forget. Being a mom is something I wanted more than ANYTHING for quite some time. I am lucky to be a mom, lucky to have a family, and so happy to watch my little person flourish.

15. Firmness, but not harness. It's not really fair to be harsh to a less-than-one year old. So, even if I feel that way, she doesn't get to see so much of it. (Right now) firmness comes in making rules, sticking to rules, enforcing rules, and giving THREE tries to abide by rules before enforcing consequence. Lack of harshness comes in the choosing to not be "mad" at my 11-month-old, explaining to her the reason behind the discipline (i.e. it's not acceptable to run keys over the wood coffee table since they'll make marks, or stop standing in the tub because you'll fall and hurt yourself... followed by lots of kisses. And reminders. Hopefully this works for awhile.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where's Mama's Toes?

My child is a big eater. She is also extremely oral. She LOVES to put just about anything in her mouth. Yep, anything.

I recently read a blog post about the oddest things children put into their mouths. Feces seemed to be the biggest no-no. And, I agree, feces are one of the last things I'd prefer my child to place into her sweet little mouth.

However, I cannot say that feces is truly the oddest thing my child enjoys "tasting", though we did have a bout with dried bird poo the other day. (Don't worry, I took it out of her mouth as soon as I figured out what it was.)

My child has put a number of odd things into her little pie-hole. She picked up some dried hamburger meat at a cousin's house and munched on that. My cousin-in-law was concerned when I finally figured it out, so I attempted to alleviate her concerns by explaining (in complete truth) that I honestly wouldn't have bothered removing it from her mouth if I had known what it was.

My kid also likes to "taste" those snacks and drinks meant for other kids... at a recent play date my friend remarked, as moms we don't really pack lunches for our own kids-- just others kids. How true is that?!

My sweet little baby girl has also been known to eat dog and human hair, though she doesn't prefer it on her tongue after the initial swallow, and she has no problem picking up anything the dog has licked-- or partially eaten-- and chomping on it.

My kid also eats bugs. Just like the one pictured below, among others, but this is one in particular that I decided to document for the baby book (i.e. teenage embarrassment).

Mmm... protein!
Nevertheless, in my opinion, the absolute oddest thing that my kid enjoys is toes. And, we're not just talking about the nice, shiny, and newly pedicured toes that I sport once a month or so. I'm talking about any old toes. But, mostly my own admittedly gross, sweaty, dirty, calloused, non-pedicured (for awhile) toes. Blech!

But, it's the truth. Every now and again, I spy a little girl crawling over toward my feet and before I know it I feel a slimy, gummy, little baby mouth (thankfully? with only two teeth) on my toes. It's absolutely disgusting. 

How about you? Does your kid enjoy sucking on toes?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Perhaps the Greatest Social Service...

The following quote is one I came across while reading a NaBloPoMo blog participant, Enemy of Entropy, I liked it so much that I decided to comment upon it myself.

"Per­haps the great­est social ser­vice that can be ren­dered by any­body to the coun­try and to mankind is to bring up a fam­ily." —George Bernard Shaw

I know... right?! This quote sort of sums up what a LOT of people believe to be the "problem" with today's society, that not enough families are raised by any parents.

Unfortunately, I then saw the following little ditty on a friend's FB page:

Remember when the Public Education turned out employable students, Planned Parenthood let the same number of people in and out of the building, NPR or PBS had anything useful enough to be able to sell advertising, or when public employees appreciated the hard work and contributions of the self employed? Remember when Liberals considered people who pay their all their bills, take no handouts, go to church, raise useful children, employ others and donate unending amounts, Patriots? Me neither.

Argh! That's my response. Because...

How are you gonna say that in my presence without me getting all "teacherly" on you?! I've come across enough students to know the education system alone is --unfortunately-- not what's keeping MOST people from being "employable". Typically it's socio-economic status. And, as a graduate of a PUBLIC university I'm happy to say that I'm plenty employable-- even in this shitty economy. Also, it should be Public Education System, or drop the "the". Just sayin'. Plus, I feel like you shouldn't say this if you went to a public college.

How are you gonna say that without me getting all "liberal" (-ish) on you?! Yep, I'm middle class and I want to give away a bunch of money. Even my own money. (That's typically where the husband and I TOTALLY and UTTERLY disagree.) I DO enjoy "nice things"; however, I am plenty willing to go without them in the name of liberalism (or just helping out other people) as long as it doesn't jeopardize the general health and welfare of my little family. But, that's WAY easier to say than to do. (In fact, the best example of this that I've ever seen is my own brother. He's NOT a liberal, but he's also NOT a conservative... and he works in semi-retail. Nevertheless, he took a demotion to allow someone else -- with a wife and kids-- to keep their position. That's pretty fucking awesome... and non-political.)

Lastly (because I have to end this, otherwise I will go one FOREVER) patriots are defined (by dictionary.com) as "[people] who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors". 
That means it's not UNpatriotic to accept handouts, but I would like to know how that goes for you when/if you begin to accept more social security than you paid in and medicare. 

And, for the record, yes. I am a total weenie for not just calling this person up and saying all of this to their face.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Favorite Suffix... it's the ISH

Ha. There's some English teacher humor for you.

But seriously, I really do love to add "-ish" to words that don't need it, even a little...-ish.

It just works out so well for so many terms.


We're married-ish.
I'm a parent-ish.
I work-ish.
We have money-ish.
I'm having fun-ish.

What's your favorite suffix?

Friday, July 20, 2012

On Going to that Bachelor Party Last Weekend

I've told myself this weekend you should have this time with friends
and I still believe that's true

But, right now it's 12:16am
and I have a list titled "Honey Do":

-Remember to watch the baby
when I go out next time

-Remember all the songs she loves
when you think she's crossed the line
(by yelling and screaming and making a mess
even though it will EVENTUALLY be just fine)

-Remember all the hours
with our daughter I have spent
when you think that too much time
to my own friends I have lent

And, thanks for your parenting ability
I really do think it's great

You have that certain able-ness
to complete those chores I really hate.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tonight, I Drank the Good Wine.

Earlier, I drove four hours
the baby screamed most of the way

I used up all of my will powers
attempting to keep toddler yelps at bay, SO...

Tonight I drank the good wine
I'm sorry I couldn't wait

The baby went to bed at nine
not at seven or even eight

I wish I could've waited
but I didn't think I should

I know you'd probably hate it
if I didn't sleep real good

But now I know I'll sleep
like a piece of some dead wood!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


hard battle

If we are to be relativist, this is the thought with which we SHOULD begin. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Have Baby, Will Travel.

My kid has been ALL over the place.

Admittedly, not so many places as her second(?) cousins (Thailand, Dubai, Hawaii), but WAY more places than my husband or I had been by the time we were a year old (Pismo Beach, Seattle, Tahoe, NYC, Zion, Red Rock/ Vegas, Arizona, Lake Nacimiento, to name a few).

And yet, I find it's getting more difficult to take her anywhere. Even the grocery store.

Every trip now has to be planned around her schedule. The catch is, she has the least schedule-y of schedules. Without fail, she wakes up somewhere within a two-hour(ish) period of time. Then she takes a bottle, plays and about an hour later snacks. Then she takes a mid-morning nap-- the time of which is entirely dependent upon that morning awakening.

The only thing we have nailed-down is her bedtime, but that's a joke after a couple of days away from home.

Nevertheless, not only do we have multiple (5+ hour) trips planned for the remainder of the summer, one of our lengthy car trips will be just me and the girl baby.

I guess, the only thing I can say is: Wish me luck!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our Secret to Vegas Success Part 2: Flexibility and Forgiveness

I am typically what one might refer to as "rigid" in my every day goings on. I like to stay relatively scheduled and I love it when everything has its own place.

My husband is not all that similar to me in this respect. He puts up with it, but tends get to things on his own time instead of my time.

When we go to Vegas we both try to err on the side of flexibility and forgiveness.

I love to gamble. Usually I set aside money (I will refrain from admitting the amount) and use those funds to feed my entertainment. Then, I usually run out of money because I decided to "go big". Then I take out more money... never does the husband tell me not to, or get angry with me. He's always understanding and sometimes even a little too encouraging.

Likewise, I do my best not to freak out when we have a change of plans. Sometimes, I like to make a little mental schedule of the day/ weekend/ lifetime. And, sometimes when that little schedule doesn't go as planned (by me, in my head) I like to think it ruins the rest of the event. Sometimes somebody's (my) plans change because somebody else (he) wants to nap. When in Vegas, I do my best to forget about the "plan" and just "go with" whatever happens. Usually, I succeed in being flexible, when we're in Vegas. Other times... not so much.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1st Birthday Pink Pre-Party MADNESS

The little girl's first birthday will soon be here and I have to admit, although I was all for a small party, I am pleased we are having a larger-than-expected group of friends and family to help us celebrate the big day... or at least the guest list is larger than expected, we'll have to see who RSVPs!

Since the event is a first birthday party, the birthday girl herself hasn't given me much direction. So, I am choosing to mesh a few little ideas together in a sea of pink to make the overall effect appropriate for our little "Gus". (Gus is the nickname our girl received after her dad and I decided no one that looked so squishy and alien-like could have her given name, so for us it has stuck... much to the chagrin of her grandparents.)

Little Gus also LOVES rubber duckies, so we are now the proud owners of forty-eight miniature, first birthday, pink and purple, birthday hat wearing, rubber duckies. 

We are also in possession of twelve (or so) pink wands, multiple bags of pink and white marshmallows, eight pink water guns, twenty pink leis, twenty-four pink flamingo drink stirrers (I know...), twenty-five feet of pink tulle, seven pink plastic tablecloths, two pink trays, twenty four pink party blowers, forty-eight pink, white, and purple balloons, three over-sized pink bows, two rolls of pink wrapping paper, and a variety of pink napkins, plates, and utensils. And I still feel like there should be more listed. 

Do you have any PINK party ideas?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Secret to Vegas Success Part 1 - Location, Location, Location

We spent four days in Las Vegas without the kid. It was tough (for me)... but it was fun (for all). Since we had such a good time, I'm sharing our first secret to Vegas success-- as a married couple, in our thirties, with plenty of willing and reliable grandparents to babysit their one-and-only grand-baby while her parents hang out for a long weekend.

Secret #1 - Location, Location, Location 

We like to stay at the Palms, we've had some good luck there-- both gambling and otherwise. This trip didn't bode well for the gambling, but we wanted to party and we found plenty of parties at the Palms.

During the summer season, Thursdays kick the weekend off with a Rubber Duckie pool party at Palms Place (we didn't attend, but we wished we had), Fridays are always good for the Ditch Friday celebration, Saturdays are now hosted by a DJ as well, and Sundays are all about relaxing by the Palms pool. There is a scene nearly every day at one of the Palms pools.

The clubs at the Palms tend to be fairly popular. They rank fairly well on tourist (and local) sites and they are usually full on the weekends. The Ghost Bar is open late on Friday and Saturdays, plus there's a GBDC (Ghost Bar Day Club) every Saturday at 1pm. Moon is usually fun with its retractable roof, and top-40-ish music, although we had more luck with the Ghost Bar DJs during our recent stay. Rain seems to be better known for its House/Techno style music, and we skipped it since we didn't love our experience there during our stay for my birthday earlier this year.

Although we feel like we've had a great run at The Palms, in the future we would like to try out some of the hotels in City Center, or possibly something else on the Strip. The Palms is a lot of fun, but unless you're staying in the Fantasy Tower, the rooms are a great deal, but only in so-so condition.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Random Vaccination Rebuttal to a Friend...

Background: I feel very strongly that IF your child is healthy enough to be immunized, he/she should be. Still, I don't think you should do it if you find the evidence compelling you to do otherwise. That said, PLEASE make sure the evidence is credible when making your decision.

That said, below are a few of my notes on some information a friend posted from the Natural News Network.

Please take my notes as exactly what they are-- one mom's internet-based research in response to another mom's internet-based research. My research is not meant to be definitive, necessarily advisory, or otherwise. I only mean to point out some of the inconsistencies I keep on seeing in the natural health news sites I've seen thus far.

[For your reference, my framework for evaluating said sites is similar to what you will find HERE.]

Some information about the Natural News Site itself:

The following is included in the Natural News website Terms of Service:
No information on this site is intended as, or shall be construed as, legal, financial, medical or expert advice of any kind. NaturalNews is not responsible for typographical errors, editing errors, or news source errors. THE NaturalNews NETWORK STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT YOU SEEK ADVICE FROM A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL REGARDING ISSUES IN ANY PROFESSIONAL FIELD.

The “Declaration of Journalistic Interdependence” on the Natural News Website which explicitly states, among other things, that the site makes money from the products it endorses. This, according to the Vaccine Report you messages me with is a “conflict of interest”—one so concerning that the Natural News website condemns pro-vaccine doctors for (seemingly lesser) conflicts of interest, but fails to do so for its own organization.

The “Health Ranger” himself posted incendiary (and pretty blatantly WRONG) information about skeptics, such as myself at this link: http://www.naturalnews.com/028012_skeptics_medicine.html This post in and of itself is pretty damning to Mike Adams’ credibility to anyone outside of the anti-vaccine crowd.  

Some information about the “Vaccines: Get the Full Story” PDF

Compositionally and analytically speaking, the way the Vaccines document is written is rhetorically misleading. It uses sweeping generalities and red herring to “prove” vaccines are bad. However, the misinformation does not disprove the effectiveness of vaccination. It only points to common information readily available on the CDC website, and a few pieces of misleading information (sweeping generalities).  
On page 2, the 1986 National Vaccine Act is mentioned because . However the 1986 Act also meant the federal government enacted the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which does allow for recourse in the event of adverse vaccine effects. It is also important to note that these acts enabled the costs of vaccine to remain as low as possible, and a $0.75 excise tax allows for a fund that pays out on Vaccine Injuries as decided by three government agencies (listed on the HRSA site below).

The first link in the “Vaccines: Get the Full Story” PDF doesn’t work, the survey page cannot be found. Source: http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/survey.pdf

On page 3, the following (very propagandistic) language is used: “The only people who benefit from being healthy are you and those you care about.” This is incorrect; especially in light of the current status of “Obamacare” (also deemed “Romneycare” by some admitted leftists) means healthcare companies benefit greatly from not having to subsidize our illnesses.

The document makes a point of stating: “Autism is associated with vaccines.” This is true; it is true BECAUSE of the usage of the word ASSOCIATION. An association is: the “correlation of elements  of perception”. This means that, by definition, the term association refers to the way perception influences correlation—if a particular population (i.e. Natural News) perceives a connection between two ideas (like autism and vaccination) they are then associated.

I found ONE study on incentives and HMOs—it was dated 2001. Source: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp340.pdf

Some information about http://www.fourteenstudies.org/
There IS a (non-US, German) study that was done on vaccinated versus unvaccinated children. And, (according to the site listed below) the results don’t show a whole lot of anything other than more pertussis, measles, mumps in the non-vaccinated group. Not a big surprise. Sources: http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=211 & http://www.aerzteblatt.de/pdf.asp?id=80869

The following site: http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/vaccine-injury-compensation-programs offers reliable (i.e. well-researched with applicable sources) information about the history of vaccinations that you may find interesting.
The International Vaccine Counsel touts a membership of “hundreds” of doctors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were over 691,000 doctors as of 2010, which means an extremely small portion of doctors has subscribed to this set of beliefs.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kids (and students) Just Don't Understand...

Huffington Post featured a blog post by a young man, Sam Koppelman, entitled "Parents Just Don't Understand" in honor(?) of the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff's twenty-four year old (ahhh!) hit. After ten years of teaching, thirteen in education, and giving birth to (and parenting) a girl-child (so-far)... my response:

1. KIDS just don't understand that we know not all teens like Justin Bieber and One Direction.
Kids, in our day there was Boyz II Men, New Kids on the Block, and N'Sync (or Back Street Boys.. depending on your allegiance). There was also: The Descendants, Rancid, Bad Religion, Blink, and Green Day. We KNOW not every teen LOVES Bieber and One Direction... but they ARE super dreamy. 
2. KIDS just don't understand that we know they know we weren't perfect in high school, either.
Kids: we get super mad at you for two reasons: #1 (and the MOST important)- we don't sleep unless you're safe at home; and, #2 - we DID go out in high school, so we know EXACTLY what you're doing. Major ICK factor on all counts. You've seen the hair from the eighties... but have you seen the greasiness of the early nineties or the greasiness combined with hairspray of the late nineties? OMG. We weren't even the generation that invented the "out past curfew boots"... our parents did that.  
3. KIDS just don't understand that we KNOW we don't need to apologize for cursing...
Kids, we know you know curse words. We prefer to think otherwise (most of the time), but if you really think about it... you know that we know. You probably heard us say them before you heard them elsewhere... and (for the most part) we're okay with that. We taught you because we KNEW you needed them... and not just for test scores and annoying classes, but also for: when you learn to drive, breaking up with girl/boy friends, and college acceptance. And you thought we didn't care...
4. KIDS just don't understand that we know they've heard worse than Howard Stern.
Similarly, kids, we know we don't have to change the channel on the radio or the TV whenever Howard Stern comes on the screen. We know that you can stream his radio show or watch America's Got Talent on the computer. We could all enjoy Howard together... if we all enjoyed Howard. Even MY dad was over Howard by the time I was into him... and now that I'm over him, I think my kid should be too. Oh well. 
5. KIDS just don't understand that we know they don't "Twitter," they "Tweet".
Oh jeez. Get over your (thought to be) neologisms... most of the in-the-know peeps are at least in their thirties... yep, their THIRTIES. To twitter means: to give a call consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds. For examples see your TWITTER page. BTW-- Kids: you should never say you're going to "text" someone (it's a noun) or you will "Facebook" someone (it's a proper noun and should be two words)... OR, you should because you're kids and that's what you're not paid to do. 
6. KIDS just don't understand why we wouldn't want to them to make their photos look "old."
Kids: you're entirely correct. We are SO self-conscious about aging. (Or, at least most of us are.) That's totally normal! But seriously, when you make photos look old on Instagram or Hypstamatic, you aren't giving yourselves wrinkles and turning your hair gray: aging photos and aging middle-aged parents are not the same thing,  you make your photos black and white because old photos look cool... unlike old people. And we know that. Too well. 
7. KIDS just don't understand that a movie being rated "R" doesn't mean we don't know you won't go see it.
Seriously, kids, do you really think we don't know you go to see the films we wish you didn't?  As much as YOU like acronyms (LOL, OMG, JK) please realize they are NOT a secret language (I figured this out in 5th grade... possibly a little "L8" for my generation). R-U-2-Q-T2C-U-4-R-A-Q-T?! W8-4-Me! OMG LOL ROTL LMAO!!! Really?
8. KIDS (usually boy-kids, but still) just don't understand that we find it creepy when they start to like the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Kids: we know you don't need any endorsements (ESPECIALLY boy-children) however; we would LOVE to think (especially moms) that you DO want us to give you the go-head. Just PLEASE keep those mags outta my sight when I come to clean your room. Thanks.

9. KIDS just don't understand that we know that they know what going away to "celebrate our anniversary" means.
This is just to bug you, so no further explanation needed. Ew.
10. KIDS just don't understand that we honestly do love them.
No matter how annoying they are or how much they don't understand, we know how much they love us. And we love them back!