When Mama's Happy Everyone's Happy
Saturday, May 31, 2008
I feel bad for admitting this, but before I had kids, I thought that women with children consciously gave up when it came to their looks. I would look at the greasy hair that was long overdue for a color touch up, the ragged nails, the cracked heels, the stained clothes, the stretchy pants, ugly bras and granny panties and think I'd never become that complacent. Then of course one day, a few months after giving birth I looked down at my feet, usually soft and neatly polished, now rough and dry, my pedicure so old the polish had grown almost all the way out. I had at least clipped them from time to time only for the sake of comfort. I was in sore need of a haircut and color and my brows had resorted back to the shape I had in 7th grade before my mom relented and let me tweeze them. I wore what really amounted to pajamas now considered clothes. No wonder I felt like a mental patient, I certainly looked like one. Of course I had figured out that no one consciously gives up, you just get tired and busy doing other things, more important things(because our things don't seem important) until little by little we turn into that woman we promised ourselves would never be us. I looked in the mirror for the 1st time in a long time, I mean really looked and I hardly recognized myself. I marched out to the garage where my husband was tidying up. “ You need to leave, and you need to take the kids with you,” I demanded. “Ok,” he said cautiously, “where do we need to go?” “Anywhere, I don't care but if you ever want to have sex again you need to go somewhere for at least four hours and let me salvage this,” I said, now almost in tears,” this,” I choked out, motioning contemptuously from my head to my feet. “I need to feel like a girl again.” “Ok,” he said stepping back. As soon as the last of them had their shoes on and the door closed behind them I went about it. I'm a beauty professional(la di da) so I can do most of the work myself, I usually entrust my own stylist but today I didn't have time for appointments, I just needed to make this better. I touched up my roots, I soaked, scrapped, sawed, buffed, and polished my feet until they looked like mine instead of extras from the Lord of the Rings. I hopped in the shower, I shaved my legs, deep-conditioned my hair and exfoliated. I got out and got my eyebrows back in order, put on a little makeup and put on the nicest thing I had that actually fit. This whole process took almost the entire four hours. I still didn't feel completely like myself, but I was a lot closer. These days, with three kids, it's still a struggle to carve out time to take care of myself, be it hair appointments or doctor's appointments, and yes, I still feel selfish sometimes. Thankfully, my husband reminds me to see the doc and encourages me to make time for the things that make me feel good about myself, always saying the same thing, when mama's happy, everyone's happy.
Spa Tips From Spa Chic #2 You'll Be Sorry
Friday, May 30, 2008
With a sunny weekend in the cards for many of us, I thought it was time for Spa Tip #2.
I know it's naggy and anyone who has access to the computer is already aware that you should wear sunscreen but I am confronted with a steady stream of clients who STILL aren't doing it, so I know some of you aren't either.
Let me say this, one time, very clearly: If you don't wear sunscreen consistently(that means every day), YOU'LL BE SORRY.
Now you can call me a sunscreen nazi, pout and say wearing sunscreen in the sun is no fun which is akin to men saying they can't feel anything with a condom or motorcyclists refusing to wear helmets. Nevermind the worst case scenario, skin cancer, unprotected sun exposure is the #1 factor in premature skin aging. The sun adversely affects collagen production in the skin, and without collagen, your skin gets all loosy and saggy. It also causes uneven pigment, liver spots, wrinkles, and rebound acne(this is basically when dead, dry skin from sun exposure clogs your pores causing a breakout). There is also the risk of melasma(uneven pigment caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy, the Pill and things like that), not to mention permanent stretching of small blood vessels, giving your skin a mottled, reddish appearance.
And for those of you wondering about tanning beds? Ick, so 1993. Tanning beds are great if you want to look like an old-timey leather suitcase from the movie Out of Africa and I can't wait to sit next to YOU at the 30 year class reunion.
Performance Review for My Wife
1.You had the baby seven months ago, no more risk of Toxoplasmosis. I think it's time you start changing OUR cat's litter box or is this duty permanently mine now?
1.Do you remember the 36+ hours you labored with our last child(I'm sorry stupid question), yeah well, I could never have done that.
Performance Review for My Husband
Thursday, May 29, 2008
1.Don't ask, "What's that smell?" when you smell anything that you believe I had anything to do with, be it candles, perfume, dinner or something coming from the bathroom.
1.You are a hero for traversing my moods and whims with nothing more hostile or sarcastic than the occasional confused look.
Legendary comedian Harvey Korman died today. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to him a few years ago. My cousin and Harvey's daughter were friends who attended the same university and at their commencement, we sat with the Kormans. I tried to make witty banter completely overwhelmed by and eager to impress someone I regarded as brilliant. I remember saying something along the lines of, "seeing a girl with a boyfriend is like seeing someone with a perm, it looks good on someone else and then when you get one yourself, you're dissappointed." I said something else but I've blocked it out so it must have been embarrassing. He laughed genuinely and told me I was funny and that I should do stand up. As I've already freely admitted, I'm neurotic and suffer from crippling self-doubt so Harvey's endorsement is something I will never forget. I was so excited, I called my mom that night and told her I had gotten a laugh out of Harvey Korman. I guess I am funny, I told her. Of course she got irritated and said,"sure I've been telling you that you are hilarious since you were six and you've never believed me, but Harvey Korman tells you..." Harvey was 81 so it would be a stretch to call his passing a tragedy but comedy has lost a real heavyweight and a very good man.
Okay so the baby finally went down for her afternoon nap and I was hoping to get a shower in because it's 3pm and I'm still in my pajamas all spit-up and stink. So I started the shower and got undressed when I realized that our front door was open and I didn't want to leave the door open while I showered. I went to go close it and just as I get up there, I see the mailman. OMG, I think my mailman saw me naked. I can't be sure because I dropped to the floor faster than you can say sniper fire. Kind of wishing my bikini wax wasn't so recent, that tile floor was cold. Now I know, you're thinking, why would I go to the front door nekid? I was lulled into a false sense of safety because our mailman always carries a little radio with him and I can hear the jammin reggae well before he reaches our door. No radio today, no sir. This is what I get for trying to fit a shower in and have a few minutes alone.
3. Skimping on outfit changes and showers means less laundry, lower water bills.
4. Crying burns calories.
5. Suddenly, you're getting high fives for getting up in the morning.
6. Apathy and mood swings makes you feel like a teenager again.
7. Doing Nothing is a cheap hobby.
8. Your new expressionless face is eradicating your forehead wrinkles.
9. No one asks you why you are adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet.
10. Once you are really feeling good, you can plan a 'bad day' every now and then just to keep everyone on their toes.
The Fur Trade
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I love what I do, it's like getting paid to have a girl's night out but my real love is writing. The spa gives me time with neat women, great material, a chance to escape my kids and a write-off for all of my beauty addictions. I talk to women all day and my clients tell me things they won't tell anyone else so I have some good stories to tell. They cover the spectrum: juicy, poignant, sad, hysterical and more and yes, stuff about me too-- I can't wait to share them with you.
Putting the Bleep in Blog
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
“we have to remember that our blogs are published in cyberspace, and anyone, of any age, can (and may) read them. That means, a seven year old could be reading your blog…. it could be your own child, or grandchild. Have you ever thought that a seven year old may be reading your blog? “
Wow, I certainly hope we don’t all start writing our blogs with seven year olds in mind. There’s millions if not bazillions of patently offensive, grossly inappropriate content out there. In a sea of all the bizarre fetishist pornography, my seven year old running across the f-word is the least of my worries. He has already heard ‘the big seven’ at school and expressed some curiosity about ways in which he might use them. My husband and I have made sure he knows that these words are inappropriate, offensive to others and therefore should only be used in your treehouse with your boy buddies or around great grandma who can’t hear anything that isn’t Italian anyway. Of course, if he learns Italian profanity we might have to amend that last one.
So I say, by all means, block my website from your kids–please. I don’t want to limit what I write because someone else is too complacent or ill-informed to help their child navigate the dangers inherent in such an open forum. As a parent, do you really want a bunch of wierd bloggers essentially babysitting your kids? The internet is no different from any other medium. We don’t produce movies, television, music, art, books, or newspapers exclusively for a general audience. Expecting authors, comedians, commentators, and the like to do it is irresponsible as far as free speech goes and just plain lazy parenting.
I think I might have a girl crush on Tina Fey. With a middle name like Stamatina, it’s no surprise she gravitated toward comedy. She has written and acted in some of the funniest sketch comedy that SNL has produced. Remember Mom Jeans(below) or how about the Seasonale parody(above). She also writes, executive-produces and stars as Liz Lemon in NBC’s "30 Rock," While “30 Rock” is not a ratings whore like “Deal or No Deal”, it’s arguably the smartest show on network tv. Its greatest ratings liability is that it may be ‘too smart’ for the average television viewer and we all know that above-average smart people don’t watch nearly enough tv. Beyond these accomplishments, achieved in a field largely dominated by men, Tina Fey is a dish.
She is beautiful, smart, funny and the perfect balance of insecurity and feminist bravado. If she’s right and bitch is indeed the new black, then she will continue to pave the way for those of us who’d be happy to write her Christmas cards if it meant we could collaborate with her.
We Would Be So Much Cooler If We Didn't Have Kids
Monday, May 26, 2008
We envision last-minute jaunts to New York, two weeks in Italy(no one, not even your own parents will babysit that long), weekends spent doing nothing, sex anytime of the day, anywhere in the house, as noisy as we like and more disposable income than we could ever imagine. We wonder what it must be like to make risky career moves without the weight of the responsibility for those little mouths that need feeding. We consider the significantly lower cost of a mortgage in the less kid-friendly, award-winning school neighborhoods we'd be happy to live in were we childless.
The truth is we probably wouldn’t do most of the things we imagine. My husband and I both love to travel but are essentially homebodies. In reality we would probably sleep in more, play video games(him) or download pirated music and write for more than 15 minute blocks without getting someone juice or settling some sibling dispute(me). We'd see more movies in the theater, I’m certain I would read more, as I did before the kids and our vacations would be more spontaneous as would our sex life.
But then my four year old tells me I'm beautiful and says, “Happy birthday mom, I love you” even though it’s not anywhere near my birthday, just something she’s been saying for months. And my son, very unbigboylike plants his 7 year old hieny on my lap, his eyes pleading to be held for a few minutes, and my baby shrieks with delight to see me after only an hour apart. And the moments when all of us are together whether it’s laughing at the dinner table or huddled together watching a movie and I look at my husband and he looks at me and we know, this is how it is supposed to be for us. Not for everyone but for us.
Spa Tips From Spa Chic #1
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I Hate This Part
Saturday, May 24, 2008
It’s 1am and I am a wreck. My husband and I have been up and down with our 7 month old baby who, it would seem, has an ear infection. We have tried Motrin, rocking, walking, a warm shower, which worked for awhile, probably more a distraction from the discomfort than relief. She finally fell asleep in my arms, still taking the gaspy breaths we all do after a hard cry, only to wake up just as miserable when I tried to lay her down in our bed. There is nothing like hearing your child keen and wail in pain. I felt like someone wrenched my heart from my chest, threw it to the ground and did a flamenco dance on it until it was a bloody mess. I am spent, my chest is aching from anxiety. I am scheduled to work tomorrow so my husband has taken her and camped upright on the couch, trooper that he is, because she seems to feel better this way. So I am fairly certain tomorrow morning we’ll be taking child #3 on her inaugural trip to urgent care. Ugh, this part never gets any easier.
Friday, May 23, 2008
My husband and I were watching television recently when a commercial for the Swiffer Wet Jet floor cleaner came on. I watched nonplussed as the gleeful woman traded in her dirty, ineffective mop for a super clean, Swiffer with pre-moistened floor cleaning pads.
“Doesn’t that make you angry?” my husband asked. “What?” I asked, intently watching to see how the floor looked before and after. “That,” he said pointing to the tv contemptuously. “You mean all the disposable, wasteful stuff they try to sell us?” I asked “No,” he said,” the fact that it’s always a woman doing the work in cleaning commercials.”
It had never occurred to me but my radar primed, I started noticing all the commercials for cleaning stuff. Sure enough, one after another were filled with impeccably dressed, serene and satisfied looking women happily scrubbing toilets and mopping floors.
There were no men in site. Were the men conspicuously missing in these commercials to trick us into thinking that if we clean really good with their product, absent the men, our houses will stay clean. Oh wait, let me not forget the one man, the only man who does make an appearance in the world of cleaning product commercials, Mr.Clean. Mr. Clean, standing there with his arms crossed like some maniacal taskmaster or hypercritical foreman, watching you clean.
Maybe I’m so conditioned to accept that ensuring the house is clean is my sphere, that I don’t balk that every product is directed at me. I brought this up at lunch with a few other women. “Why do you think they don’t show men cleaning in these commercials?” I asked them. “Because men don’t clean and if a woman saw a man cleaning in the commercial, she would immediately see the hypocrisy and be even more pissed that they were getting credit for doing something they don’t do.”
But my husband does the floors a lot I thought. “Because women buy these products,” another friend offered. It’s true, women account for the majority of cleaning product purchases, but why do I want to see a well dressed, serene woman Swiffering her floors? Even on the Swiffer website, they show a picture of a women cleaning in white pants. White pants? Really? I can tell you, I have never cleaned in white pants, maybe white underpants because it’s a warm day or I’m waiting on the laundry. That is just not what happens in my house on cleaning days. Contrary to the halcyon depiction in tvland, on my commercial, you’d see a harried, unshowered woman in her nightgown getting poopy cat prints and 3 days worth of the children’s breakfast spillage off the floors before her mother-in-law comes over and reports her to child services. And if women are indeed the marketing target, why don’t they appeal to women’s desires? How about a little wish fulfillment here.
I can see it now, the commercial starts and on the screen we see the husband, furiously cleaning the floor, mopping the sweat off his brow as he wipes the prints from the refrigerator. He scuttles about putting toys away and hanging up his wife’s coat and dispensing with a weeks worth of mail. He white gloves the mantel making sure everything is just so. This tv husband knows what you go through and unlike your real husband, he feels the work is anybody’s to do. Why shouldn’t he do it, it needs to get done. Or find some hunky man’s man that appeals to both men and women to endorse a few cleaning products. Get Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs to brandish a Swifter and I’d bet men and women alike would be filling their carts up with Swifters galore.
The Girl Gestapo
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I was reading “O”prah magazine this morning while the baby slept and I came across something that irritated me. I wanted to blog about it, it wasn’t something egregious, just something that bothered me. I started this little diatribe in my head while I finished cleaning the kitchen pondering how I was going to write about it when I realized something very important. I am terrified to blog about Oprah. Now the overly optimistic part of me(the one that also believes I still have a shot at becoming a professional trapeze artist or play cello for the symphony though I have never touched a cello in my life)thinks someday I am going to do something worthy of being on Oprah’s show, like the lady who invented Spanx or Betty Broderick who killed her husband. Saying something bad about her would ruin that aspiration. I imagine her inviting me on pretending she’d never read the snarky thing I’d written and then she’d confront me in front of her studio audience who would gasp in horror and then throw their favorite things at me. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to meet Gayle or Dr. Oz. The other part of me is consumed with a genuine, deep-seated fear. I’m afraid of Oprah. I think Oprah Winfrey could make someone disappear. Look at James Frey, he made her angry and have we heard from him since? Note: I am in no way suggesting that Oprah would actually murder anyone, Oprah did you hear that, seriously don’t pick up the phone to call your ‘people’, I have three children who need a mother. So for the time being, the only thing I’ll be blogging about Oprah, is not blogging about Oprah.
Isabella Rosselini Likes it Snail Style
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Have you been as anxious as I have been to hear Isabella Rosselini utter the words, “I would die without my penis," or, "If I were a firefly, I would light up my ass at night"? It seems lately that everything is green and eco-friendly, now, sex goes green too. Specifically insect sex. Isabella Rosselini, in her directorial debut, has created a series of shorts for the Sundance Channel. Green Porno, as it’s called, is lewd, rude and surprisingly captivating. This is one of the weirdest ways to learn about nature. Click on the Green Porno link to witness this orgy of Anthropods, this porn for parasites. My favorite is the bee because for the first time, I really understand how all this drone, worker, queen bee stuff works and the snail for it's extreme lechery.
Boys are gross
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
My husband and I frequently employ the use of apology letters when our seven year old veers off track. It’s a semi-lazy way of provoking some personal insight. Plus, they totally entertain me. Below is a recent example of how gross boys are.
I have a stash of these saved for the day he questions our parenting techniques. While I'm writing out the check for his therapy, I can at least show him what we were dealing with.
The Vocabulary of Parenthood
Monday, May 19, 2008
Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you.
Get that out of your mouth.
Eat over your plate.
Put the cat down.
Get your finger out of there.
Leave the poop alone(we said that at least five times yesterday at the park, in all fairness to the kids, there was both cat poop in the sand and dog poop on the grass that they were entertained by).
Get your hands off the walls.
Use your napkin not your shirt.
Use a tissue not your sleeve.
Use the hand towel not your pants.
Did you wipe?
Knock it off.
Go cry in your room.
Go to bed.
I didn’t make the mess, I’m not cleaning it up.
If you cheat, I'm not going to play anymore.
Is that where that goes?
You’re hungry? Hi hungry, nice to meet you, I’m Daddy.
Not until you finish your dinner.
Not until your room’s clean.
If I told you that you could have candy for breakfast, I bet you’d be able to remember that.
Be nice to your brother.
Be nice to your sister.
Go apologize to your father.
Go say you’re sorry to your mother.
Don’t even think about it.
If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.
Do you want to rephrase that?
I can’t understand you when you’re whining.
How do you ask for something?
What did I say?
What did you say?
I said no.
How many times do I have to tell you?
I would advise you to remember who you are speaking to.
I will not tolerate lying.
No one likes a tattler.
We don’t talk like that at the dinner table.
Please just stop talking.
Catch us at our respective jobs or after the kids go to bed and really, we can be interesting people who can carry on real conversation and not just grunt commands and recriminations. Just make sure you don’t sniffle or we’ll tell you to go blow your nose first.
Of course there is the other phrase, the one that all the others stem from, the one we hope they always know, the one they ultimately remember long after they’ve mastered wiping and don’t cheat at Monopoly anymore, I love you.
Grrr, Ugg, Hmmp
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Between weekends at my husband's moms, a visit to two of the great grandmas and then my mom and grandma staying with us for a week, it was a veritable Grandmapalooza.
By the time they came out to visit, my husband and I were both reaching maximum density as far as sleep deprivation was concerned, so it was a huge relief when mom and Grandma took the baby for the whole night. A perfunctory kiss goodnight and we both passed out cold until morning. We were both starting to resemble the living dead and they gave us a much needed, uninterrupted night of rest.
They took the baby a second night and better rested, we were able to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report without interruption. Real adult conversation took the place of the grunts and groans we had used to communicate as we became more and more tired. “Grrr, “ meant, go make me a bottle, if I move or get up, she will no doubt cry. “Ugg,” meant, you must take her now, if I have to listen to her scream for one more minute, though I love her, I cannot guarantee I won’t throw her out window. "Hmmp", meant, go snuggle up with the cats, I’m going to sleep. Dare I say if mom and Grandma had given us one more night alone, there might have been a locked bedroom door with the muted sounds of Barry White escaping out from underneath.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Let me explain. I am one of the world’s most positive, glass totally full, let’s not just make lemonade out of lemons, let’s make a fucking lemonade stand, and franchise it, people you will ever know. However, with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in my grandfather, the only unambiguously loving, solid, stable, constant male in my life with the exception of my husband, the birth of my youngest daughter, the subsequent death of said grandfather, the tenuous balancing of a business, two other delightful children who love and need me and a husband who deserves adoration, frequent sex and a good hot meal every night, I became frighteningly, paralyzingly sad.
I, who could juggle knives while reciting the Bill of Rights while also painting my toenails, became overwhelmed with simple tasks like taking my kids to the dentist, arranging for summer activities for the days I work, and other important stuff like getting out of bed and not crying for hours at a time. It was crushing and humbling. I have always been sensitive, self-doubting, insecure and marginally paranoid but I have this wonderful internal therapist, this better me who operates on a kinder scale of judgement than I do and she can always talk me off the ledge and put things in perspective. Sometimes I will even visualize this voice as myself, years older and wiser, embracing the current me, reminding myself things will work themselves out. This inner voice, this more reasonable, less ego focused me, she totally checked out. I don’t know if I wore her down or what but I was absolutely stranded in a place that I, even now, just a few short months from, cannot totally remember. I walked around feeling like a shell of my formerly fun(there’s that name), playful, light self.
With the assistance of the gentle, kind words of my OB, the total non-judgemental support of my husband and modern pharmacology, I set about returning to my formerly fun self. I also returned to regular writing, abandoned since the 48 hour+ labour of my third child and the months of sleep deprivation that followed. A frequent vehicle of mental clarification for me in the past, I’ve set about writing weekly, daily, hourly if needed. It seems to be working, the glass is half full again and I’m sure will be brimming in the near future.
Being A Parent is Incredibly Humbling: Mushrooms, Metal & Oreo Cookies
Friday, May 16, 2008
Take for instance a recent example where our children’s dietary choices have been unwittingly compromised by television. My seven year old son remarked the other night that he would like to abandon our vegetarian diet and start eating meat. “I’d like to be a carnivore,” he said, “and I think I’ll start with a turtle, a nice, fat, juicy turtle and throw it right on the fire.” It sounded a little sadistic to me, I wasn’t sure if it was eating the turtle or the idea of a turtle in the fire that excited him. The very next day I caught my three year old daughter collecting mushrooms in our backyard in what looked like preparation for a stew. “Don’t eat those honey,” I said, shaking my head “they’re poisonous.” She replied, “But the man on tv did.” It was then that I remembered two nights previously when out of exhaustion, the husband and I turned on the television for them and retreated on our own for an hour. They watched Survivorman on the Discovery Channel. If you haven’t seen it, a guy gets dropped off in some remote local and has to make his way back to safety and civilization relying on his wits and the surrounding environment. Not at all mindless or consumerist but nevertheless, he cooked a whole turtle and foraged for wild mushrooms and our children were influenced by what they saw.
And when my son recently expressed more interest in music, we put a cd player/radio in his room so that he can listen when he likes. A few days ago, I was in the back yard weeding when I heard Night on Bald Mountain, a dark, looming orchestral piece booming from his bedroom window. I went into the house, to his room and found him drawing at his desk, the music playing in the background. It seemed so intellectual, enjoying classical music while he sketched. The cd was a Halloween-themed one my mom had sent him and the only one he had. My husband and I decided that we would give him a box of some of our cds so that he could widen his musical tastes. We gave him about 50 cds of all different genres. He could have chosen another classical artist, or even the eclectic and folky Bob Dylan or 10,000 Maniacs. I thought maybe he would pick something more techno since he seems to like his music fast and loud. Instead he chose Metallica, specifically the song Enter Sandman, and he played it non-stop for more than a week. If you are not familiar with this song, it is not a quaint lullaby. Lyrics, which I now know almost by heart, include lines like:
“…the sandman he comes, sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight, exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land, hush little baby, dont say a word, and never mind that noise you heard, Its just the beast under your bed, In your closet, in your head…”
Peek in his room while he’s playing it and you will see a seven year old version of headbanging and yes, even air guitar. So I am now the proud mother of a seven year old metal-head.
And then there was last week when we went out for icecream. We have a Baskin Robbins walking distance from our house that we go to once a week or so during the summer after dinner. My son is relatively adventurous with his ice cream selections, trying new stuff almost every week, searching for that elusive perfect flavour. My husband shifts between a few select favorites, I usually get the same thing, three child-size scoops so I can get my coconut, chocolate and Daquiri Ice fix, clearly, I cannot make up my mind. My daughter is a predictable chocolate or strawberry girl. So it was a surprise to me when upon entering the store, she went almost hysterical requesting cookie icecream. “That one, that one, that one,” she said in a high pitched dolphin-like squeal, jumping up and down and pointing feverishly at the Oreo Cookie ice cream label. Thinking it was a whim that would make her unhappy once she got a scoop of something other than her usual choice, I asked her “are you sure you want that?” I won’t exaggerate and say she went into convulsions on the floor while her eyes rolled back into her head but it was a pretty close approximation. It was so unusual a choice for her and she has never shown that level of excitement over ice cream in general that I mentioned it to my husband as we sat eating our icecream how weird I thought it was. “Honey, look around,” he told me, motioning all around us. It was then that I saw what I had failed to notice before. All around the store, at her eye level, were signs with Oreo cookies and ice cream on them. There must have been more than 25 sign, placards, hanging mobiles and the like. No wonder she went nuts. Damn you Nabisco for seeking to establish my three year olds brand preferences.
Being a parent is incredibly humbling. So many of the decisions we make are called into question. We question ourselves in late night reflections wondering if we handled something right, were we patient enough, kind enough, tuned in enough. We are questioned by our peers and we question them in kind, dabbling in what I call comparative parenting. Why do they do that, don’t they know they shouldn’t do that, maybe we should do that, oh, I’m glad we don’t do that. Whether its grades, sleep routines, video games, tv, athletics, protectiveness, eating habits, discipline, any number of things, we look quietly to those around us for some clues to what works and what doesn’t. Maybe we also look for validation that we aren’t the only ones that lose our temper, give in too easily out of exhaustion or occasionally desperately count the minutes until their bedtime. We are questioned by our families, many of whom were raised and raised us on a different set of conventional wisdoms. Try explaining to someone who never put their infants on their backs to sleep for fear they’d spit up and choke why it’s the only way we do it now or why your 1 ½ year old can’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you’ll invariably hear the “I did it for you and you turned out fine.” So much of our children’s personalitites, coping skills, sensitivities and interests seem preset. Maybe none of it matters as much as we might think.
One reason to blog
Thursday, May 15, 2008
My songwriter friend Darius has created some fine music, but he periodically goes through phases when everything he produces sounds contrived. It's not writer's block he suffers from. During his bouts with bad composing, he's often teeming with ideas. The problem is that he gets caught up in a vortex of too much thinking. He can't stop his mind from tinkering endlessly with every raw impulse that wells up. Recently he joined the Immersion Composition Society, an organization that helps "talented basket cases" and "tortured geniuses" cut through their tendency to over-analyze and thereby reconnect to their pure inspiration. One technique: Musicians agree to take on firm deadlines that compel them to create songs wicked fast. I hope you find the equivalent assistance for your own field of expression, Virgo. The time is ripe for you to dissect less and build more.
Is this right for me?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I thought that was the only thing I was going to have to ask my doctor about(besides the weird new freckle on the bottom of my foot) but the more I paid attention to the commercials, the bigger the list has become. Now I have to ask him about Allegra, Allevert, Advair, and Ambien. Not to mention Claritin, Flonase, Nasonex and Seasonal. We’ll have to consider Celebrex, Miripex, Valtrex, and Flomax. I’ve been up all night worrying about Ambien, Lunesta, Lyrica, and Requip. And I’m very anxious about Paxil, Prozac ,Zoloft, and Zyrtec. My husband told me Flomax is a prostate medication. I don’t have a prostate but you can’t be too careful.