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).