January 15, 2007

Why do we say "heads up" when we actually should be ducking?

Updated to add: It would appear that I am against baby signs. Actually, I think baby signs are okay - sure, it's probably another fun thing to do with your kid. What I am really against is someone acting like they are mother of the year because they gave their kid a jumpstart on Life by teaching him how to make the sign for "more" when he is hungry.

Today, I totally had a OMIGOD Moment. When the housecleaners came today, I took off for the gym. These days, Arun loves to follow them around and basically get in their way. Normally, I am scurrying around just ahead of them since I need to the have the entire house picked up first for them to be able to do their job. Last night, I actually planned ahead for this morning and cleaned the house after Arun went to bed (what a concept!) so that allowed us to leave K and R in peace. Anyway, as I hopped into the Ridiculous Car to head for the gym, I had a very weird case of the Tingles - a moment where I realized my life is barrelling towards one big fucking suburban cliche. All that was missing from my day was a gin-soaked luncheon planning my next charity auction, an afternoon appointment to get my nails done and later in the evening, another dirty martini - all while the nanny takes care of Arun. Of course, we don't have a nanny, a charity or for that matter, even any gin so perhaps there is still hope for me.

Oh, and yes - we still have the housecleaners. It was one of the first things X and I came to agreement on during our pre-marital counseling thingie course the Catholic church requires. We talked about how to divvy up household chores and my Indian husband was the one to insist we get housecleaners. When I started staying home full-time, I was all set to cancel the service, but X felt guilty for having to travel so much and insisted we keep them. So, I can't really cancel them because if I complain even ONCE about some sort of household chore, X will remind me that he wasn't the one who wanted to cancel the service. You see how this works, right? The moral of the story is: Ladies, marry yourself an Indian. They might be mama's boys, but their mamas had housecleaners.

I haven't ranted for awhile, so I'm going to let a few rip right now. Don't mind the smell.

Rancid Rants
  • When you see my son and observe he is older than your child, even though your child is much, much bigger.... never, ever is it considered even mildy appropriate to utter the words "Wow!" and "Tiny!". Particularly, in light of the fact that I don't even know who you are and we are just hanging out waiting for our tables at a restaurant. I know you are just being thoughtless, but I still can't help but add another descriptive adjective.
  • When you come from out of town to a company dinner and see several folks eagerly volunteering to take my child, hold him, entertain him and even feed him, it is not appropriate for you to observe that "Gee, it was nice to have others taking care of your child for you". The built-in "nannies" are FRIENDS and were genuinely excited to see him. Besides, it takes a village and apparently, you are its fucking idiot.
  • It's nice that you are all into that baby sign bullshit, but I am not. Therefore, I don't need you pointing out that had I taught my precious progeny baby signs he would be able to tell me when he is sick and hungry. I also don't care that your kid knows baby sign because I saw your other kid become so dependent on it, you had to force him to use spoken words to wean his baby sign addiction because his spoken words were so delayed. When they have baby signs for more useful phrases such as "Quit poking the cat or he'll shred your face to ribbons.", only then will I consider teaching my kid baby signs.


MLE said...

Yeah, I've wondered since the whole "baby sign" thing got so big whether it would verbally delay some kids, since some kids only start speaking because they HAVE to. If those kids have signs, they don't HAVE to speak for even longer.

I wonder what kind of research has been done on the topic. I'd like my kid/s, should I ever have any, to be able to communicate with me, but not at the expense of not speaking until age 2.

Cagey said...

I could write an entire post just on this topic alone. Arun can communicate some now and has been for awhile, meaning - he can give positive/negative confirmations. For example, to figure out what he wants to drink (juice, milk, yogurt, water), I just go through the list and when I hit the one he wants, he points and says "Eh! Eh!" For goodness sake, when he wants more of something it's pretty damned obvious, he lunges with an open mouth - it's not rocket science!

Before Arun was born, I did do some very basic research and read some whitepapers. What I saw basically said it doesn't hurt, but there was no evidence that showed spoken language development was advanced.

I generally try to keep my trap shut regarding it, but dammit, I take offense at the insinuation that I am "denying" my kid something by not teaching him baby signs.

meno said...

Ha ha! Right on you!

I always wonder why people think it's okay to make comments about kids in front of them. Pinheads.

Sign language, flash cards, Mozart in the womb are acts of insecurity.

flybunny said...

I am breaking down and getting a housecleaner this month. I just don't have time to do the deep cleaning and I have started to resent having to spend my weekends dusting etc and with #3 on the way well that just sealed the deal.

As for the signing, I didn't do it either and when Abby was not quite 4, as a part of another series of test, we had her verbal skills tested and she had the skills of a 7 yr old so I am with Meno - no clear advantage!

And people in general just need to learn to keep their yaps shut!

Cagey said...

re: "comments in front of kids" - YES. They are starting to bother me because it's just a matter of time before he starts to understand. Then he will be questioning what's wrong with "lotsa hair" and "big eyes".

I highly recommend housecleaning, for obvious reasons. We have ours come every other week and they only do the floors and the bathrooms. It helps cut down on the cost of it (as opposed to also doing the dusting, clutter pickup, etc). It's not nearly as expensive as you would think.

Cagey said...

Also, Meno,
One of my pregnancy mags actually has an advertistment for educational audio tapes you put up to your baby belly so the baby can learn "in utero" - I KID YOU NOT.

Tina said...

I always/only wanted my first son to learn the sings for "More" and "All Done", just so I'd know if he wanted more w/o screaming or throwing food on the floor. Instead, he learned to say it before he every signed it! ;-) Our second son has figured out "more" but still throws food on the floor for all done. Oh well! But for making either one a genius? Um, no. That's what my genes are for!!! :-D

Rozanne said...

This is the first I've heard of baby signs.

It does seems like it could be problematic.

Leah said...

Far too many people are shitheads.

That is all.

dorothy said...

I can only guess who came in from out of town...

Cagey said...


Be glad of your ignorance of baby sign. ;-)

Again, with the "exactly".

Yeah, usually I am a bit of an Anglophile, but in this case, NOT SO MUCH.

Brit said...

Besides, it takes a village and apparently, you are its fucking idiot. Wow so you've met my dad's wife...

"Quit poking the cat or he'll shred your face to ribbons.", only then will I consider teaching my kid baby signs. I have to admit that sign would have been the most helpful in our house. I have all the videos and flashcards and all my friends have signing machines (who are also potty trained..damn them) but my kid just started siginin at 34 months....so you know not super helpful because now he just signs with the movie much like he sings with Mary Poppins.

a spoonful of sugar and all

Shalini said...

We had to fire our housecleaners recently and I am about to drown in a big pile of dog and cat hair. Must....find....new....cleaners!

Yes, we Indians like our hired help.


Diana said...

Oh, you brighten my bitter days. Wish I had done more than look horrified years ago as I grabbed my 15-mo-old son off the lap of a slightly-known neighbor who, without asking us, as we sat as a group having burgers and beers at a cafe, started trying to get my son to drink the beer from his glass.

I'm not anti letting your child have a sip of wine or beer. Not asking the parents, however, no matter what you're giving them, is a huge NO in my book.

Mrs. CPA said...

Oh, Cagey, you can not be the suburban housewife, cocktail lunch, nail done kind of person if you don't jump on the latest bandwagon like signing and insist to everyone, everywhere, that it is the end all be all of communication that will open up a whole new world with your child.

Frankly I'm not sure I WANT to know everything mine is thinking. It's probably a lot of "food", "poop" "milk" with some "oh, holy hell woman there is no way I am wearing that outfit!!" mixed in.

Rayne of Terror said...

I saw just reading a synopsis of a study on grammar and spelling in young people who regularly text message and IM and it turns out their spelling and grammar is actually better than middle aged people. I must have seen it in the Economist or Wired magazine. I wish I remembered what written documents the researchers looked at to figure this out, but there you have it, text messaging and instant messaging do not have a negative impact on writing skills. Tertia on the other hand has thoroughly ruined my spelling :) Unless I'm writing for school I never use through anymore, always thru.

Rayne of Terror

Rayne of Terror said...

oh fuck, i can't stand what the new blogger is doing to comments. that was a comment i left this morning at doctormama and my comment to your post just got eaten.

Rayne of Terror said...

boiled down, we did about a dozen signs, it didn't hurt, it might have helped. i'm not insecure but bandwagon maybe. almost 2 y/o has hundreds of words in his vocab and signs have diminished to one remaining.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I swear to gods, I'm downright surprised I'm not retarded. If my parents knew babies could sign they would have started teaching me multiplication tables 5 minutes out of womb.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Okay, since I'm constantly nervous about upsetting people on other people's blogs, I mean to say that my parents would definitely jumped on the bandwagon whole hogger and started flinging their fingers in my face posthaste.

As to the other comment-I mean to say that I am amazed at all the stuff you guys know about babies and child development and what to do and not to do.

Example: Cagey my parents told me this weekend that they fed me eggs under a year old-and that this was done at my mom's mom's insistence (so my mom went along)-against my dad's very very strong objections. And apparently I had some huge, crazy allergic reaction that lasted for WEEKS and my parents had a huge screaming fight with my dad accusing my grandmom of trying to murder his long-awaited-heir-with-hair and she was banished from the house and apparently this is the source of bad blood between my father and my mom's family.

The things you find out TWENTY-SEVEN years down the line. All I could say was "YOU FED ME EGGS WHEN YOU KNEW I WAS DELICATE AND ALLERGIC TO EVERYTHING?"

scribbit said...

I wish it were more commonly understood that to comment on someone's physical appearance whether they be short, tall, fat, skinny, or whatever (or EVEN a child) is rude. The only acceptable exception is to compliment someone. I get tired of people telling me, "You're tall." D'uh. I've heard it before.

Dee said...

I have wondered myself about how signing might affect speech. I have taught Zach a few signs, but always say the word out loud and encourage him to say it while he signs. He was actually starting to talk a little before he ever picked up the signs anyway.

Also, I am still trying to work a housekeeper into the budget. It would definitely improve my quality of life.

MB said...

When I moved in with my now husband, I told him he had one month to do 50% of the housework or we were calling in the professionals. He didn't, of course, and we've had housecleaners ever since. I figure it's cheaper than weekly counseling or a divorce attorney, right?

Lisa said...

I think the cleaning woman is a great idea. And really that whole having a drink at lunch while organizing a charity event and later on having my nails done? Sounds pretty damn good to me! (Especially since I haven't gone out to lunch in awhile and haven't had my nails done in years...)