Friday, January 28, 2011

Nothing's easy any more.

As much as I know I was an unbearable asshole at that point in my life, sometimes I miss my late teens/early twenties.  You know, that time when, particularly if you grew up in a backwoods area (I did) and you head to college, and you start meeting people who think like you and are introduced to all sorts of new ideas, and you proceed to act like you're the first person who ever thought about things in a certain way and you talk about it incessantly, because YOU NEED TO MAKE PEOPLE SEE.

Never mind that pretty much every person you know has already gone through that phase, come out the other side, realized they don't know shit, and are just humoring you as you get into heated debates about things you really know nothing about, like Vietnam or health care.  Now I realize that there are no easy answers, and for every person whose life is improving, someone else is taking it to the face.  This whole Egypt thing has certainly reminded me of that.  Part of me likes that people had just had enough oppression, and banded together to say "Enough."  And another part of me sees people getting hurt, thinks about stability in an already volatile region, and wonders if the protestors do succeed, if what follows will be even worse.  It's played out that way before.

I'm kind of amazed by the role social media has had in all this.  Debate the causes all you want, but social media is making people more aware of basic human rights.  I like to bitch about texting, facebook, and Twitter, even though I use two of the three, and how they're making kids obnoxious and people unable to interact-but let's face it, the internet and all its various offspring have opened up a whole new world to isolated people in isolated nations.  They're learning things they never could before, and saying things they wouldn't have dared.  I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg or whatever the hell his name is imagined that his site would play a role in the overthrowing of a government when he was sitting in that dorm room at Harvard.

Wonder if he's shitting his pants realizing it now.  I know I would be.

Yeah, I know this isn't a mom topic but like all moms, I do other things, and only ten people read this anyway, some of whom are contractually obligated by marriage or blood to still like me, and others who for some reason think I'm funny, so hopefully I can branch out some and not piss anyone off.  Or lose my ads.  I have one for Mormonism.  I'm not entirely sure how that happened.  Using me to advertise for Mormonism is like using a baseball blog to advertise for Sex in the City 3-Sassy Continence Management for Old Whores.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Food, teeth, and colds. Or an ordinary weekend here.

I have three days off a week, a bonus to my already great job.  I generally use Friday to get things done so I can have the weekend to enjoy with the guy and the boy.  It seems, without fail, the more I get planned out on Friday, the more the universe likes to laugh at me.  I went to the doctor, took Henry for a checkup, bought a ton of healthy food to cook for him and Ben and I over the weekend, and downloaded a training program for the 10k I've signed up to run in April.  I was feeling great and ready to go.

By Friday evening I was leveled with another bug, and Henry was coughing and blowing snot everywhere.  I didn't eat anything but chicken soup all weekend, and am scrambling now to freeze things so the stuff I bought doesn't go to waste.  Missed a day of work, and I feel like my head is full of cotton.  Ben came home and kept getting mad because I wasn't responding to him when he was talking to me-I just couldn't hear him.  That's definitely weird for me, I have crap vision but my other senses seem to have overcompensated-I've got a crazy sense of smell and ears like a bat.

But anyway, we're recovering.  I'm reading a ton about food for babies, we introduced pureed food a while ago.   The books all say "Look for signs that your baby is ready for solids."  Well, I was giving Henry a bottle one morning while trying to multitask and eat a bowl of oatmeal, and before I knew it, he had spit out his bottle, grabbed a handful of my oatmeal, and stuffed it in his mouth.

Ok, can't get more obvious a sign than that.  So far he's just been doing cereals and baby food.  I had great intentions to make his food, but that's just been impossible.  Plus the one time I made him peas, he ate three spoonfuls, each time giving me a look of pure horror, then covered his mouth with this hands and yelled at me through them.  I have managed to do some sweet potato and carrots that he'll eat, but that's been the extent of my culinary attempts for him.

So my friend Melissa has been posting on facebook about her son starting solids, and they basically skipped the whole pureed thing at the advice of a book she read, which I can't remember the name of and am too lazy to look up.  She's got all these adorable pictures and posts of her boy (who is younger than Henry) with plates of food in front of him, looking completely delighted.  "Roast sweet potatoes and broccoli a hit!" and things like that.

I figured I'd start letting Henry mess around with some solids.  Cut up pasta stuck to his hands until he forgot about it and started playing with something else, every now and again pausing to poke curiously at the noodles.  I gave him a piece of string cheese, and he appeared to eat it.  Then he made his raspberry noises (BBBPPPPPTTT  BBBPPPPTTT) which are generally accompanied with a lot of spit, until the cheese flew out of his mouth and across the room, and the dog ate it.

Well, I guess it's going to be a process.  He also has cut a bottom tooth, and I have to say, I'm glad I stopped nursing a while ago.  That went from gums to sharp pretty damned quick.  Ouch.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tiger Mothers, or why you probably shouldn't say your parenting style is superior to all others and not expect backlash.

So this woman writes a book about Chinese mothers, who basically sound like the drill sargeants of parenthood, and whose advice included forcing your child to practice violin or piano three hours a day, not allowing play dates or sleepovers, insisting they get all As, and berating them for pretty much anything, is all over the news defending herself lately.  Surprisingly, being called inferior mothers by a woman who makes beating your child only occasionally seem compassionate upsets some people.

I love how she seems surprised, like she expected people to be grateful to her for pointing out that they were raising their children wrong, and immediately start following her tips and demanding that she appear on Oprah.  Or beg her to come to THEIR homes and emotionally and psychologically torment their children, too.

I haven't read the book, and I really don't plan to.  I have heard this woman on the radio a lot and I can tell from her tone that if she and I were to meet, five minutes into the conversation I'd want to smack her.  And that would be true no matter what the conversation topic was, or whether or not I agreed with her.  She has that very smarmy, I-am-not-wrong-you-are-an-idiot tone that professors have (and I believe she is a professor at Yale).

But from what I can gather she talks about the strict way Chinese parents traditionally raise their children, and how success is so important, and how her daughter played Carnegie Hall at 13 or something and that's why she's better than you.  (I don't know what she's going to say when that same daughter snaps and tries to kill her in her sleep.)  It's brought up some fun  memories from my childhood.  My mom was nowhere near the level of crazy that this woman sounds, but she was very strict, had very high standards for us, and was not into silly things like emotions.  She was raised in a pretty crappy style, though, and I know she did the best she could.  Even so, she was hard on us, particularly my sister and I.  I think that was partially because she wanted us to be able to handle whatever life threw at us, and to be tough.  I like to think we both are, but at some point don't you need to give a kid a break?  It took me til after college to realize that not being great at something was ok, and that if I truly hated something I didn't really have to do it.  I mean, my mom made me play softball.  I have a congenital visual problem.  What was she thinking?  And for the love of God, again I ask that nobody show her this blog or I'll never hear the end of it.

Really, what good does it do if your kid is the smartest and the best piano player but has no idea how to have fun, or how to live life without being constantly corralled?  I ran into that problem, too.  When I got to college and my every moment wasn't monitored and scheduled, I really had no idea what to do with myself.  I couldn't manage my own time or realize how much time I should put into my work, or even what I should study.  I did, however, devote plenty of time to drinking beer and talking to people, two things that I didn't do that much of in my younger years.  I'm just figuring out what I want out of my professional life now, and I'm thirty-one years old.

So maybe Henry won't be the valedictorian or a violin virtuoso.  He'll do well in school, maybe he'll take karate or play a sport he really likes.  He won't sit in front of a TV or play video games all day.  But I like to think he won't be that weird kid that can't talk to other kids, and I like to think that while he may hate me at various points in his life, that at the end of the day he'll realize I did what I thought was best, and know that I loved him every day of his life.  I will never run him down or tell him he's worthless because he didn't meet some impossible expectation  And if he doesn't realize that I was an OK mom, I'll make him read this chick's book and be grateful I'm not like her.

Seriously, what are the odds on those two girls either beating her to death or going to college and turning into huge drunken sluts and never talking to their mother again?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Babies are jerks.

Sorry, a little bitter this morning.  Henry woke for the first time today at around 2:45, then proceeded to never really get settled down.  I'd have forty five minutes of silence, then he'd start talking to his mobile or kicking the bed rails.  We do have crib bumpers, but he stretches his legs and feet up until he's hitting the actual rail, above the bumper.  After a few attempts to feed him and get him back down, I finally gave up and got up around seven.  He had some prunes, then started fussing, so I put him back to bed.  He was sound asleep almost instantly, and will probably sleep til ten.  I, on the other hand, am blearily staring at the computer, coffee in hand, tired, but not tired enough to go back to sleep.

Sometimes you wonder if they do it on purpose.

We got to have a night out last night, though, my baby brother and his girlfriend came over to watch Henry.  Casey is great with him, probably because of the practice he got with my niece.  She was born while he was in high school, and my sister was back home at that point.   We were all used to her brother, who was a pretty calm and happy kid-really, he'd go to anybody, he slept great, he was just an easy baby to deal with.  I think we were all expecting something similar with her.

Then, on July 17....P arrived.  And she was a screamer.  Not her fault, she had colic, but that kid got spoiled very early.  She had grandparents and two uncles around who adored her-my mom even wanted to put her crib in their room.  But the kid did not sleep.  If you were holding her and she wore herself out screaming and did nod off, God help you if you moved or made any noise.  Because if she got up, you were in for a new round of screaming, energized by the five minutes of sleep she'd had.

When my dad commented on how solidly Henry slept, one of my brothers said "You're just used to P, who would wake up if an ant coughed.  Outside."  I remember a trip to the beach with her-on the way home all the girls rode together, my mom, my sister, me, and the baby.  She screamed for six.  hours.  straight.   She finally fell asleep around Richmond.  I had to pee really badly, but when my mom asked if she should stop, I just said "Don't do anything that might wake her up."  I seriously would have wet my pants or gone in a cup before I let my mom stop the car.

So after helping out so much with P (who, I'm happy to say, is a lovely, sweet, smart nine year old now who loves to hear stories about what a banshee she used to be) Casey is pretty patient and fun with Henry.  I feel pretty comfortable leaving them together, and it's hard to find someone who you're ok leaving your kid with.  Plus, he works for beer and cookies.  You can't beat that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science.

I was just telling Ben that a doctor at work today was explaining to me and a coworker that men think with one half of their brain, which is why men are the better scientists, artists, musicians, etc.  But women think with both sides, so they're better PEOPLE.  I can only assume his next lesson will involve the bumps on your head, and how they can tell your future.

I pondered saying a few things, mainly that the success of men in all those fields might be attributed to the differences in education offered to men and women until fairly recently, or I just could have laughed and called him a moron, but I'm trying to build good work relationships, and I'm pretty sure calling someone a dumbass would affect that in a negative way.  It certainly always has in the past.

As I've mentioned, I really like my new job, so I kept my mouth shut.  Anyway, when someone is sixty-ish and still believes that nonsense, they're not going to buy anything a stupid assistant says.  And I think he would be even less inclined to listen to an assistant who has a vagina.  Clearly I am made for typing letters and babymaking.  I'll leave hard thinking and math to the other gender, lest I tax myself and wind up with hysteria.


It's been a while since I've written, mainly because the same issues keep cropping up, and how much can you write about your kid not sleeping?  We're trying to eliminate his 3:30 am wakeup.  He resorts to kicking the crib rails, and running his pacifier along the rails like a prisoner with a tin cup when we're ignoring him.  It's funny at 7pm.  At 3am, it is less amusing.  This morning he fussed for a good forty-five minutes, while Ben dug out earplugs and I decided to go ahead and take my shower so I could have a few minutes' sleep when he actually did crash out.  All I can say is, though we may have been worried about his breathing for a while, all lung capacity issues seem to have solved themselves in a spectacular fashion.  Perhaps our son will follow in his dad's footsteps and become the frontman to a punk band.  He's a screaming prodigy.