May 30, 2007

Why is "sunny" such a good thing?

Seriously. I hate the sun. It's hot, it blinds my eyes and it burns my skin. Bah. We've had rain here for the past few days and I am in HEAVEN.

In a similar vein, Surrender Dorothy asked me yesterday how I manage to stay so positive and I about choked when I read that. I don't consider myself a positive person. At all. However, I do have Perspective and maybe she mistook that for being positive. Currently? Things are very, very scary around the Rancid le Manse and sometimes I feel panicky if I think too long or too hard. I am nearly 35 weeks pregnant with a 19 month old toddler who has NO clue as to what is about to hit him. And I have NO way of really preparing him because he is too young. I have a husband who is starting a new business from scratch. We are living on savings. He is traveling a lot (did you see the part about my being "35 weeks pregnant"?). Furthermore, if this Big Idea becomes a Really Fucking Big Idea, then we will most likely have to move - East or West coast (please be East! pleaseohpleaseohplease). Regardless, on either coast we won't get nearly as much for our money in the housing market as we get here which means we'll be living in our cars. That's a lot to hang over my head right now.

I can't say that I am positive about it, but I do have Perspective.

I know that I am incredibly excited about my baby girl who is coming soon and I can't wait to meet her. I know that Arun will be FINE, just FINE after adjusting to all the changes. If the worst thing that ever happens to him is that we had the audacity to subject him to a baby sister, then I'd say he's one pretty lucky kid. So yeah, he'll be all right. And I know that we aren't going to blow through all of our savings haphazardly and that furthermore, the savings were put there for the very purpose of this entrepreneurial lifestyle that we've chosen to lead. I know that X would be stifled and miserable marching to a Corporate Drum. I know that even if I do go into labor while X is out of town, it won't be the worst that could happen - in the end, all that really, TRULY matters is that Anjali arrives safe and sound. And, I know that if we do have to move away from my friends and family, I will be all right, too. I will need to see it as an adventure and an opportunity for making new friends and ultimately, a new life.

So, it's not about being positive, it's about looking past tomorrow, next week or even next year. For many folks, most problems and fears are temporary and will often resolve themselves eventually. And that's how I keep myself sane when I feel like everything is crashing down around me. However, feel free to throw this post back in my face when I freaking out in July.

From this:

To this:

I look at the pictures of Arun when he was so teeny tiny and I remember that incredible sinking of my stomach as I realized with dismay that a little chunk of my heart had been torn from my body. A piece of my heart that I had very little control over. A piece of my heart that would always be out there in the world, walking around, just waiting for someone to stomp on it. A piece of my heart that could utterly crush the rest of my heart. Arun was only 6 days old at the time and I sobbed on X's shoulder with the realization of how scared I was that I could love someone so thoroughly, so unconditionally. And I realized that I had to let that Fear go and instead, have a little Faith that everything would end up okay.

That, my friends, is Perspective.

May 28, 2007

If something "goes without saying," why do people still say it?

The weekend was good. REALLY good. But damn, I'm exhausted..........

Garage Sale
My mom had her garage sale on Saturday. I took a few things and went to help her. I made a little money and left swearing I wouldn't do a garage sale for several more years. Keep in mind, we just had OUR neighborhood garage sale here the end of April, so the whole thing was pretty tiring. As I unloaded some of my stuff, I looked at it and thought "Ah, I should just put this back in the basement and save it for next year's sale. After all, it's already priced!". Then, I found myself pricing even more doo-dads I found laying around the house yesterday. Call me crazy, but I LOVE garage sales. Help me.


My brother graduated from high school this weekend and I can't begin to express how incredibly proud I am of him and all of his accomplishments. Everything has been a struggle for him. I don't talk about it much, because it's his story to tell, not mine. In short, he has a language-based pervasive developmental disorder that tested him really fucking close to the spectrum of autism. Regardless, he pushed forward in school, joined sports (even lettering in track and field!) and continuously entered activities despite his fears of failure. Facing your fears? To me, that is the very first step to success.

Anyway, the graduation was held at in Lawrence the University of Kansas Allen Fieldhouse because of the rain (normally, it would have been held at the stadium). It was hot as HELL, but isn't that a rite of passage for ALL graduation ceremonies? Afterwards, we all went to my dad and step-mom's house for a party, which was quite fun. I don't normally get to see my step-mom's side of the family and they are such cool, laid back folks. It was great to hang out with them for awhile and catch up. Arun had a blast and we hardly saw him - he was too busy running wild in the backyard.

A Thousand Splendid Suns? Splendid. Simply Splendid.
I cried a lot over the weekend. And for this, pregnancy hormones cannot be blamed. Nay, the finger is mostly certainly pointed in the direction of Khalid Hosseini for being the sort of writer who grabs you by page 7 and then you find yourself at page 150 before you know it. And then, you're shaking your head that it's already midnight. That's what A Thousand Splendid Suns did to me - made me sob in a few places, cry in some others and overall, lose some sleep. And it was worth every single page of it.

I've been to some of the places in Pakistan he describes - Peshawar, some of the galis in the NWFP and even Murree. His descriptions took me back - all the way to 1994. One of my good friends in college was a Pashtun, to say he was a friend is putting it mildly - our group was like family back then. I knew all of his siblings, his parents from their stays in the US and then did visit them myself while I was in Pakistan. Furthermore, one of our good friends in grad school was an Afghan refugee. Take it from me, Hosseini does an incredible job telling the stories of a complicated people and their tangled histories. If you have any interest at all in the Afghan experience and the highly diverse ethnic groups attempting to co-exist, I highly recommend reading both of his books. At a minimum, it will help you understand why Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan are ill-defined and underestimated by pretty, pretty lines on a map. Most of us White People don't get it, but maybe authors such as Hosseini will help.

Burn Baby, Burn
Speaking of books, I'm sure many of you have heard, this Kansas City bookseller is burning books to protest people's disinterest in the written word. Sigh. I wonder if it isn't more that people have a disinterest in his bookstore because I smell "promotional scam". Listen, I do frequent Border's and am unapologetic. It's a great place to browse, the prices are reasonable and it's kid-friendly. Sure, I've shopped at Prospero's over the years (both their old location and current location) and frankly, was never super-impressed. Even though they are closer to me, I save all my book trades and used book purchases for the Dusty Bookshelf when I'm in Lawrence - a far, far superior used bookstore. The Dusty Bookshelf is comfortable, cozy and the staff are unfailingly polite (Bonus: They have a store cat who is SO sweet and friendly!) Furthermore, the Dusty Bookshelf has a killer children's section and a hefty percentage of Arun's books have come from there. When hunting for a particular book, I usually try to get it at the Dusty Bookshelf and use Border's as a last resort or for new releases that I can't wait for the tradeback release (such as my recent Khalid Hosseini purchase that I am SO glad I didn't wait for!). Shame on Prospero's for burning perfectly good books. What a waste.

Actually, I'm Guessing that God Hates Hatred Itself
Around these here parts, we have a guy who calls himself a "man of god". I call him Fred Fucking Phelps (Google Juice THAT, Innernets). For those of you fortunate enough to never have heard of Fred Fucking Phelps, he is a so-called religious dude who thinks it's totally! cool! to protest funerals of gay people. Now, don't get me wrong. I love that America grants us the right to protest that which we find repulsive. But where does the line get crossed into harassment? I think it most certainly gets crossed when these God-enabled "geniuses" holding signs with such declarations as "God Hates Fags" and "Freestate Fags" decide that picketing a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION is acceptable. All because my brother's high school:
1. had the graduation on KU's campus (KU is known to be a friend to the Gay Man) and
2. my brother's high school has the audacity to have a gay and lesbian student group promoting an alliance with the straight students. You know, to try and foster an environment of tolerance and understanding. Imagine THAT.

My 5 year old nephew was bewildered and frankly, my sister was a lot nicer than I would have been. I will freely tell my kids the ignorance of such folks who think two HUMANS loving each other is despicable. Of course, all of this leads me to wonder - is my own intolerance of intolerance hypocritical?

I Fear for His Linguistic Future
As long as folks think that pulling out in front of me while I am on a major highway going the stated speed limit (70 mph) which then forces me to not only slam on my brakes, but also to veer wildly onto the shoulder, then it is probable that the words "fucking" and "asshole" will be a part of my kid's vocabulary. My kid will also learn some sign language that requires the utilization of his middle finger. As it is, my baby girl will probably end up a total adrenaline junkie unless folks in this area learn how to FUCKING DRIVE. Furthermore, let it be known that the Ridiculous Car and all of its lovely, lovely features shall no longer be mocked. I am thoroughly humbled before the Safety Feature known as "Vehicle Stability Assist".

Wet n' Waddle
Nothing makes a pregnant chick's waddle more pronounced than a full bladder. Nothing.

Snappy Snappage
To make amends for my Ranty Pants and liberal use of expletives, I'm throwing out some Simian Snaps.

The Edge of Reason
Arun had a blast throwing rocks in my dad's horsetank. Yes, you read that correctly. HORSETANK. In a suburban BACKYARD where there are no livestock of any kind. As my younger sister put it "Hey, it was a happening place in its day". Yeah, when she was in THIRD grade. And yes, we totally give my dad crap about it.

Just Wait
Actually, he can get the key in the ignition. God help us.

May 23, 2007

What's the difference between a novel and a book?

The Bitch is Back
Innernets, I have an announcement...... Monkey is up and swinging again! She's back in all her Pelted Glory regaling us with tales of her sister and BIL (Bunsen and Beaker) and her escapades as a single lawyerly type living in Southern California. Additionally, a new character has been added to her cast of thousands in the shadowy form of Lt. Hightower, a swarthy, ridiculously tall stranger I can't wait to hear more about. Go give her a big smooch! Meap!

A Novel Novel

I’m still really enjoying the site! I appreciate having a place to keep track of the books I’ve read and the books I’d like to read. I had such a neat, organized list of reads that I was hoping to accomplish before the NewKid arriveth, but per usual, I keep getting sidetracked. Receiving over $100 in Border’s gift certs for my birthday did NOT help. I’m currently reading The Known World and Nurture the Nature (an awesome parenting book that encourages parents to buck all these silly mass parenting trends and just get a feel for your child instead). However, yesterday I read that A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini’s newest book has been released. The cheapskate in me usually hesitates to run out and buy a new book in hardback (I have my exceptions such as Sue Grafton), but Hosseini is worth it. I INHALED The Kite Runner and am reading equally stellar reviews of his newest. I simply can't wait for a library copy or the release in paperback. So, basically my “to-read” list at Goodreads is definitely an organic one at this point.

Comfortably Numb
At my last OB appointment, my doctor asked if I was interested in considering a natural birth this time – no drugs. {insert high-pitched squeal of maniacal laughter} She wasn’t pushy about it, but I did emphatically tell her that I really enjoyed Arun’s birth AFTER the epidural – it was such a cool, amazing, inspirational experience! Furthermore, I only pushed for 1.5 hours with him. Why mess with a good thing? What I didn’t tell her was my firm opinion that much like a tooth extraction or a Pink Floyd concert, some things are just better with drugs.

Birthin' Babies
While I'm on topic, never fear Gentle Reader, I will not subject you to NewKid's Birth Story. For Arun's birth, I provided an Cliff Note's version devoid of the Ick Factor and I solemnly swear to do the same with NewKid's story. Truthfully, if a blogger posts her own birth story, I skip to the end - I don't like to read them and certainly don't want to write them.

The Chosen One
A few months back, I personally invited a family member to attend a playgroup of mine. I told her about it in person and said that I would include her on the email list of events. I know this family member has been having a hard time staying home full-time with her child and I thought it would be nice to reach out to her. I emailed her, but never heard back from her. I mentioned it to my sister and she said that I would probably have to call her. What the fuck?? Telling her in person and via email wasn't enough??? Um no. I’m going to call bullshit on this one.

Obviously, there are folks out there who have real problems and even real depression. But, I am sick and tired of folks who clearly make bad choices crying foul on their lives. I make many references to my 20s as being incredibly unhappy for me - I probably don't point it out, but I am actually mocking myself when I make such references. Truthfully, much, if not most, of that unhappiness was due to a series of bad choices on my part – poor career decisions, inappropriate financial choices, and crappy relationships that I CHOSE to stay in even when the inevitable path leading to heartbreak was clear. Beginning when I was 29, I made some difficult decisions that in the long-term were better for me. I chose to leave a job that I loved, LOVED because I was being severely underpaid and the company was going down the tubes anyway. By leaving early, I had so many more job choices because I wasn't desperate and unemployed. I was able to raise my salary by over 30k and it was a good thing I left since the company ended up decompressing in the big Dot.Bomb fiasco anyway. I then worked at that job which ate my social life and my soul, but allowed me to get myself into a better financial situation. It was worth the short-term sacrifice. Around that time, I also decided to quit whining about my childhood and to just get over myself already and to MOVE ON. By the time I was 31, my life had done an About Face. Furthermore, if I hadn't conducted a total Attitude Adjustment on myself, the relationship with X would have probably gone nowhere. And hands down, he is one of the brightest spots in my life. I can't imagine what my life would be like without him in it.

So yeah – I had little sympathy for the family member who has done nothing to better her situation by looking into playgroups, going to the library, getting herself out of the house to even just go to a park. I am not happy staying home just because "I'm happy staying home". I enjoy staying home because I took some very specific actions to make sure that I didn't sit around the house and get depressed. I am a homebody and I KNOW that I have a tendency to hole up in my house. I also knew that would be a recipe for disaster so I forced myself to get involved in some activities. And I'm still working on it. For example, yesterday I didn't really feel like going to the zoo, but I forced myself to go. When I got back home, I felt SO rejuvenated by the exercise (which kicked my waddling ass since I have NO lung capacity right now). Also, Arun had a great day the rest of the day because he got out as well.

I am a firm believer that we have more control over our so-called “destiny” than many folks would like to pretend. “Poor me” was a great line of dialogue as delivered by Livia in the Sopranos, but usually doesn’t bear much truth in Real Life. Enough with the “I’m a victim." lines. Make some choices in a new direction and just be happy! I know I sound high n' mighty and dare I say "cynical"? However, I know very few people who have actual bad situations going on in their lives are permanent. Furthermore, the few people I know that do have actual BAD, heartbreaking situations are some of the most positive, Pay It Forward folks I know (food for thought, eh?) It's my firm belief that Happiness is primarily an Action, not a Situation.

May 21, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys, But Girls Will Be Girls. So what?

Boredom is Luxury
This past weekend was B.O.R.I.N.G. The best kind. I have a saying that "Boredom is a luxury" because you know what? IT IS. If my life is so devoid of stress and worries that when nothing is going on the result is that I am bored then I declare myself to be one Lucky Fuck. Anyway, all we did this weekend was eat good food, hang around outside and grapple with a teething toddler who is fighting a mild cold. Fortunately, the main problem when Arun is sick is that it's harder to get him to sleep, but once he's there, he stays. For the most part, he was in pretty good spirits as long as he was kept entertained.

I watched the Sopranos last night and have to say that this season is blowing me away. It's going at a slow pace, but is well-crafted and everything feels as if it has a "purpose". One note though, it is never, ever, ever cool for a blogger to say "We had dinner last night and then watched the Sopranos. Oh my God! I can't believe Tony {insert shocking event here}!!" The blogger provided no spoiler alert or even an indication that she was going to discuss the Sopranos! I hadn't watched episode yet and so, the episode the week before last was completely and utterly spoiled for me. Not cool. I know the blogger didn't mean to spoil it, but hello! A little caution, please.

I'm a Dirty Girl
I found a harmless house spider on the floor last week and I let Arun poke it around for awhile before I herded it on a piece of paper to let it outside. Then last night, I found a teeny earthworm and let Arun play with that, as well. But I realized something - well, actually two things. 1) X probably won't be doing those sorts of things for our kids - he is the " doesn't get his hands dirty unless he's cooking" kinda guy. I, the MOTHER, will doing those "in the dirt" things and 2) I will totally be doing the same things for my girl. Sure, I've totally sneaked a peak at the American Girl doll site and am relishing digging out my Barbies and her minions, but nature is pretty fucking cool, too.

Naturally Green (With Envy)
I actually have a bit of a Green Thumb - although, it's probably more of a lime or sage hue, rather than a True Green. But I can totally keep plants alive! Really! I swear! The problem is, I love, LOVE digging in the dirt to plant something. LOVE IT. But weeding? Not so much. Trimming? Not so much. Dead-heading? Not so much. Watering? Not so much. By August, I just want all the shit to die, motherfucker, DIE. But, as you are probably aware, it's still May and I am eying my flowerbeds with an Evil Eye while dreaming of marigolds.

Daddy, Oh!
For the most part, Arun has been all Equal Opportunity when it comes to X and I. There was a very, very brief period of time before he 6 months old when he preferred me to X, but I have to dig deep to even remember that time. When he hit separation anxiety, it really referred to both X and I - he's always been equally soothed by either of us and didn't care as long as one of us was around. Lately, the tide has turned and now Arun would prefer his father to do EVERYTHING. He will carry whatever it is that needs to be done away from me and over to X so that his daddy can do it- his syringe of medicine, his food, his drink, his shoes, his book. Only Daddy will suffice, these days. Mostly, I think it's absolutely adorable because what woman in her right mind wouldn't melt to see her child be so utterly crazy about his father? However, there are times when really, I just wish Arun would let me get it done so we can just BE DONE.

May 18, 2007

Mother, may I sleep with Danger?

**Kudos (or not) to the person who can name the starring "actress" (loose term, I know) in the cheesy TV movie that provided today's title. **

The MotherTalk Bonanza for this Friday is about the book The Dangerous Book for Boys, by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden. Several questions were raised by this book - such as:
  • Have we made childhood too safe? Are we too afraid for our children, too scared to let them wander, ride bikes around the block, take risks? What are the real risks, which are imagined, and how do we navigate these, as their moms?
  • What dangerous games did you play as a child? What did you do that you'd never, ever want your kids to try? What risks do you hope they'll take that you didn't?
  • Dangerous Book for Boys is aimed, obviously, at boys; it was written by two brothers trying to bring back the fun from their childhoods. At least one blogger has criticized the boy-focus, and asked where the girls are: What do you think? What would a Dangerous Book for Girls include? What do girls need to know?
  • What makes it okay for boys to be dangerous, but not girls? (or why is it scarier for girls to be dangerous?)
This has been a topic rambling around in my head for some time now and when I received the email inviting me to join the Bonanza, I decided to take the opportunity to "get it out".

First, a little bit about me........ From the age of 4 to 18, I grew up in small Kansas towns that were close enough to Lawrence and Kansas City for us to not be isolated, yet far enough away that I truly got the "small town" experience. In both of these towns, I actually lived IN town for awhile and also in the country - both of which presented very different dangers. Furthermore, besides it being the 1970s, my parents were very, very relaxed when it came to childrearing and furthermore, I was left to my own devices at an early age. My dad worked nights at the hospital and YES, he was home during the day, but he was sleeping - so, from 3rd grade on, I didn't have a babysitter. And yeah, I was pretty much doing whatever I wanted to do. When we lived in town, I lived in the streets - we did EVERYTHING in the street - baseball, kickball, bikes, hopscotch - you name it. When we lived in the country, I lived in the woods and on dirt roads. I never wore a bike helmet as a kid yet have ridden miles on dirt roads AND major county highways. I rarely wore bug spray. I didn't think twice about scrambling onto a trampoline. I didn't wear protective gear while rollerskating and often, the leather straps of my metal rollerskates would come loose from my tennis shoes and I would go flying. And, I've tramped through enough pastures and hay bales that it boggles my mind thinking of how close I must have come to copperheads and rattlesnakes all those years.

I have very mixed feelings about these experiences. On the one hand, exploring our woods was such a treasure for me. I had my special spots along the creek where I enjoyed hanging out and I had my special trees that I liked to climb. On the other hand, one of my most precious memories to this day is one of me running around in our fields with an umbrella while I sang songs from the Sound of Music because OMIGOD, I wanted to BE Julie Andrews. However, I did this during a lightening storm. Also, I used to go miles down the road to visit neighbors who my parents didn't know very well. And yes, one of those neighbors was inappropriate with me - nothing serious, but most definitely inappropriate.

What do I want for my own children? (Note: I take issue with the "boy" part and am going to ignore it. No debate necessary - I want the same for my daughter as my son. Period.) Basically, I am striving for a mix that all of us can live with. For sure, my kids will wear bike helmets. But full-body armor? Um, NO. Not unless they are roller-blading would I insist on the extra gear. We don't have gates on our stairs and our 19 month old has full run of our house. My 5 year old nephew tumbles down the stairs at his house. Hell, I still tumble down the stairs myself. Currently, my son is as safe as it's ever going to be. The rule is clear, he has to slide down on his stomach or forget it. If he tries to walk the stairs as normal, the gate goes up. Guess what he chooses? And sure, I locked away the bleach and knives, but I don't see a reason to put a lock on everything. He's torn apart my kitchen more than a few times, but is now tired of the contents leaving me free to a kitchen virtually free of those silly locks. And yep - I let my son run around in the back yard by himself as long I am in the kitchen where I can keep an eye on him. In our front yard, he's also allowed to run around - he's not always within arms' length, but he's always within our view. And the rules are strict - if he gets past the curb on the street, we immediately go inside. No playing around - INSIDE WE GO. He's only tested that theory twice because he HATES going inside. We don't have corner guards on our coffee table and we don't have fancy safety molding for our fireplace. He's knocked his head a few times on the table and guess what? He's more careful around the table. Granted, our table does not have sharp corners, but I've seen folks apply extensive childproofing to far less deadly dangers. I think a normal childhood is full of bumps and bruises.

And finally, I will probably let my kids run freely around the neighborhood when they are a little older. I will not, however, let them run around at the age of 4, as I did (not judging my parents, but OH.MY.GOD, I shudder at that now. I wasn't allowed to cross the street, but I was allowed to run around on our side of the street.) I just don't buy into the myth of Pervasive Stranger Danger that the media likes to force upon us. YES, oh YES, crappy, horrific things happen to children at the hands of strangers, but I don't believe they are the norm or as common as the media would lead us to think. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges agrees and had the following to say:
"Contrary to the common assumption that abduction is a principal reason why children become missing, the NISMART-2 findings indicate that only a small minority of missing children were abducted, and most of these children were abducted by family members (9 percent of all caretaker missing children). Close to 3 percent of caretaker missing children were abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator; among these, an extremely small number (90) were victims of stereotypical kidnapping.”

Frankly, I've tried to have this conversation before and always got an emphatic, indignant "What if"?. Unfortunately, when someone starts off a discussion with a "What if", all reasonable debate is immediately nullified. How can you come with any response to a "What if"? Life is chock FULL of them and if you thought too hard about them, you would NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. I've also received the "one accident is one too many" answer. And yes, that is a hard one to argue. Never would I want to endanger my child, but damn, I don't want the to walk on eggshells their entire life. I don't want to be that mother paranoid of every scrape or bruise. I want my children to know that visceral thrill of doing a backflip on a trampoline - that brief, heart-stopping second where you are totally suspended in the air with your body contorted in ways you never knew possible. And no, I am not hard-hearted. I got teary eyed when my son got his first scraped knee - he totally wiped out on our sidewalk and cried in a dramatic fashion over the whole thing. It was NOT enjoyable and it really scared him. However, we cleaned him up and he wanted to immediately go back outside.

It's my job as a mother to encourage my children to face their fears and take on Life. It's a fine, thin, teeny line between Living and Living in Fear.

May 16, 2007

What's the difference?

First, the Cerebral Venus Online Book Club has a June selection! We will be discussing Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi on June 18th. Again, this is open to anyone and everyone – you do not need to be a regular reader. I like to repeat that because I would be horrified if someone was out Googling around on a Sunday afternoon and surfed by here, but thought it was only a select group that could participate.

Second, this whole teething thing is BLOWING MY MIND. Yesterday, I saw TWO bottom molars coming in. Poor kid - no wonder his sleep is all out of whack. Um, all the Wise Baby Tomes don’t warn you that molars are fucking HUGE. So, apparently what I thought was a top molar a few weeks back was actually one teensy part of the whole damned thing. Sheesh. Anyway, I am relieved this is happening now as opposed to, oh say, 8 weeks from now. Ahem.

Third, I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my coconut lately. None of which are probably very interesting but I may decide to unleash a few of them this week just to set ‘em free in my vain attempt to convince the world I'm not just another yokel from Kansas (although, between you and me, I AM just another yokel from Kansas.) Anyway, this one that has been rambling around for awhile.......

I am so incredibly excited to have a girl. In fact, I was shocked at how relieved I was when we found out that NewKid would be an "Anjali" instead of a "Shalin". Because..... Well...... Um......

A girl is different than a boy.

There. I said it. Oh, don’t me wrong – when I found I was pregnant with Arun, I was all set to totally bend the gender thing. MY boy would not be a meathead playing in the dirt with trucks and cars, no sirree. He would play with cars AND dolls AND books AND animals. Then, I proceeded to have a boy who has been fascinated with All Things Wheeled since his gem-stoned eyeballs aligned correctly in their sockets. Oh sure, Arun loves his dolls and will hug, kiss them and carry them around. For all of 2.2 minutes before they are quickly discarded in lieu of something else – a book, his animals or his one true love, Wheels. Of course, Arun loves knitting. Needles make a great pair of drumsticks. And yeah, Arun loves hairbrushes. Better to chase the kitties with. And it's true that Arun likes nail polish. A teeny, tiny already loaded paintbrush? He's all over THAT.

You’d think I would have learned all my lessons about gender bending with Arun. Ah, but you would be WRONG because I'll get it Right this time with NewKid. I’m all set to deny my little princess her rightful tiara. I won’t be drowning her in PeptoDismal Pink. She’ll like Barbie AND dinosaurs, dammit. She'll read Nancy Drew AND the Hardy Boys. She’ll learn knitting, but will do funky things like skull n’ crossbones intarsia. She'll learn canasta, but I'll also teach her craps and how to be heartless at both. She won’t be dainty, she’ll be a ball breaker. I’ve got it All. Planned. Out.

Until I see her sweet little face and hairy little noggin that’s in desperate need of a pink bowed barrette, that is. Damned kids.

May 15, 2007

Why are they called "fairy tales" even when a fairy isn't in them?

I realized something a little horrifying the other day. Our upstairs bathroom has absolutely no mechanism available for unlocking the door on the OUTSIDE of the door. You know, if perchance a toddler should accidentally get locked IN the bathroom and you need to use one of those teeny-tiny dummy keys on the OUTSIDE of the door? Fortunately, no accident has actually happened, but obviously we will need to switch out the door knobs. I'm just grateful I noticed it before a true emergency happened. I'll be damned if some particle-wood door thinks it's going to stand between me and my baby - I own an axe and am not afraid to use it.

Mama Bear
I allow Arun quite a bit of freedom to run around. When we are Border's, he runs around. When we are in the front yard, he runs around. When we are in restaurants, he runs around. Frankly, I am very comfortable with fairly closed environments where I can keep an eye on him. In our front yard, he knows the street is off limits. Period. No exceptions. He went into the street once to follow the cat and another time merely started to go into the street. Both times, we immediately told him No!Going!In!The!Street! and we immediately came inside (we've been hanging out in our front yard since he was a newborn and seriously - only twice has it been a problem. He KNOWS he has to go inside if he disobeys and under NO circumstances does he even WANT to go inside. Talk about Love and Logic.) Okay. There, I've set the picture - our kid gets a lot of freedom. However, parking lots are a completely different story. I grip his hand with an iron grasp - I am terrified of parking lots and would prefer to still carry him, but I'm not physically able to do so as much any longer. So, on Friday as we left Office Depot we were crossing the path to the parking lot. There are stop signs telling drivers to stop. We were barely halfway across when a gal driving a mini-van barreled on past us. I about had a heart attack. If Arun had been able to wrangle out of my grasp, this would be a very different post. The adrenaline gushing through my body quickly turned to White Hot Fury. I noticed which section of the shopping area she went to and had a good idea where she was headed. I loaded us into the car and headed that way. Sure enough, she was at Quizno's. I guess she was really fucking hungry to be zooming around like that, eh? So, I go into Quizno's and she's at the counter placing her order. I walk up to her and ask is she is the person driving the grey mini-van out front. She looks at me in confusion and says yes. Then, I inform her that she had just barreled on past us in front of the Office Depot around the corner, running a stop sign in the process and if my son had gotten away from me, she could have killed him because she was that close to us. The gal was in utter shock, flustered and slightly embarrassed. I walked away and turned around at the door. I could see her shaking her head as if in mock protest towards the Crazy Pregnant Woman and so, for the benefit of the entire restaurant I informed her loudly again that there IS a stop sign outside Office Depot and she DID run it and she should DEFINITELY drive back by there to verify it for herself. Sheesh. No, I am not proud of what I did, I felt no vindication and it was slightly embarrassing for me to the extent it made me nauseous. However, dammit. DAMMIT. If it makes her think hard the next time she encounters a crossway with a fucking STOP SIGN, it was worth it.

Papa Bear
I've been exposed to a spate of Man Bashing in recent weeks at various gatherings or out and about on the Blogosphere. That always leaves me shaking my head. Nah, my man is not perfect and most definitely some days it's like living with my own personal tornado as he leaves a trail of socks, dirty dishes, laptop cords, discarded printouts, belts and spilled food stuff in his wake throughout the house. But Whoa. He is the most excellent father that it still blows me away. And even then, we don't agree on how to do everything. Still, for the most part, I leave him be to do his Daddy Business how he sees fit because I realize that he is providing Arun with a very different perspective on things. And that counts for something, which is why I try not to complain when he does it wrong, er....differently. My #1 Advice to a new mother is to leave the baby with her husband, leave the house and ASK NO QUESTIONS. Your husband will figure it out and they both will be the better for it.

Baby Bear
Arun has been blowing me away with the Adorable lately - he's all Sunshine and Rainbows and Kittens about the little stuff - like the alphabet and numbers, I kid you not (he noticed there were letters on the wall at the grocery store yesterday and it MADE HIS DAY - letters! Whee! Geek.) Anyway, this Unbearable Cuteness of Being is why I didn't feel the need to escape on Sunday because holy crap! I might have missed out on something. So, lately he's been all about "helping" these days - putting things away, wiping up spills, retrieving things for me. For sure, I want to ride this gravy train for as long as it will last (kindergarten, pleaseohplease?)

A Job Well Done

Actually, this WAS helpful because then I didn't have to bend over to empty the silverware tray. I'm still not entirely sold on his inclusion of the sock, though.

Kittypatta Food
For whatever reason, he thought the kaddipatta plant needed some food and that KITTY food would suffice.

Perfect Penmanship
What is crazy about this is that I have never, ever been able to hold a pen the correct way and X, our resident Southpaw Indian anyway, was out of town when he started this. I don't think Arun learned this from us and he seemed to have done this on his own. Which strikes me as just plain WEIRD.

Watching the Master
He was in total awe of the notebook and crayon that I gave him. Now, he can scribble in unison with Steve, his Jukebox Hero.

May 13, 2007

If Evolution really works, why do mothers only have two hands?

This morning, I rolled out of bed and luxuriated in the shower for awhile - even shaving my legs which requires some complicated contortions these days. I meandered downstairs to some coffee that X had already made and watched Arun drink his yogurt while he snuggled in X's lap. We played with Arun for awhile, then later went for a simple lunch (soup and salad at Spin). We came back, played some more, then Arun went down for a nap. X and I relaxed a bit, watched Bill Maher before Arun got up. When he did get up, X gave him his afternoon snack, then took him to the local airport here to watch the planes come in and then they played at a park nearby. X is currently at the gym and is going to cook up a curry when he gets back.

Honestly? This is a pretty typical Sunday, nothing special. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

I wanted to be a mother for a long, long time. I've never questioned it, never pondered it - I just always knew I wanted a child. It was definitely worth the wait for the right guy, the right partner. So, as much as this day was supposed to be "about me", I have to be a little thankful for the very cool guy with whom I get to share this incredible experience. It's nice to have another witness to this amazing, beautiful little boy that the universe decided we, of all people, somehow deserved.

Happy Mother's Day, to all of you! I most definitely enjoyed mine.

Surrounded by His Menagerie

May 9, 2007

Does a Kangaroo have a mother, too?

Update #1: Quick note - a reminder that the Book club is open to EVERYONE. You don't even need to be a regular reader, just drop by for the book. I don't mind - this is a club, NOT clique. The purpose of the book club is to provide an easy and convenient reading outlet for busy, smart, literate (and Hottie Hot Hot) gals like us.

Update #2: Also - awhile back, someone asked that I email them because they wanted advice on baby products - I canNOT find your email address. I swear I was not dissing you and I apologize. Please email me at cagey333(at)gmail(dot)com for questions.

There's a sweet theme going around where mothers are supposed to unabashedly proclaim they are good mothers. Bravo! We need to see more of that around here because this whole "I'm such a bad mother, laugh at my mistakes!" blogging scam is getting a little old. I am not shy to admit that I think I am a good mother. Because I AM. My kid is healthy, happy, learning new things everyday and generally, is very excited about exploring his world. What more could a mother want? So yeah, I'm pretty confident in my sMothering Skillz. Furthermore......Honestly? All the gals in my Blog Life and Real Life are good mothers, too! I don't know a truly bad mother - Not A One. Sure, I don't necessarily agree with everyone's parenting decisions (as they probably don't agree with mine), but in the end, everyone I know wholeheartedly loves their kid(s) and are just trying to do right by them. In my book, that's what makes a GOOD mother.

Adventures in Babysitting
We did test run the New Babysitter last week. Um, judging from the way that Arun followed her to the door as she left, then proceeded to BANG ON THE DOOR and CRY as she walked away to get (er, escape) in her car, I would declare her to be a resounding success. This week, when I came home ALL of the toys were picked up. I wonder if she would be creeped out if I just asked her to move in? The only downside is that like all teenagers, she doesn't want to babysit too much and is only available for 2 hours a week. However, my little eyes spy the Neighbor Girl across the street who is turning 13 next month. The same girl whose mother is going to have her take a babysitting course offered at our hospital. The same enterprising, responsible girl who has begged me two winters in a row to shovel my driveway for cash.

Dear General Public,
If you notice a very pregnant woman furiously waddling after a Runaway 18 Month Old, I kindly ask you look away as you laugh hysterically. While you're at it, avoid eye contact with the food stains on the BACK of my shirt. The aforementioned toddler likes to give me hugs from behind while I am sitting on the floor and he likes to rub his face on my back as we both giggle. And seriously, who the hell would discourage THAT?

The Name Game
Someone asked in the comments how to pronounce the name "Anjali". I've been meaning to post an entire post about my kidz' uneek naymes, but will answer the question quickly here. Anjali is pronounced "ahn-ja-lee". The "j" is a J sound just like in English (like the name James or Jill). It's not a "zh" sound like in French or whatever that is when White People try to make a J fancy-sounding. To my knowledge there is no "zh" sound in Hindi. The name Anjali means "offering with both hands" and has been one of my very favorite girl's names since long before I met a guy named X. It was mere convenience on my part to marry an Indian so I could give my baby girl that name, eh?

Won't Power
Wow - I was very humbled by some of the comments in that last post. I am so NOT a bastion of will power here. My weight gain is a combination of luck and semi-responsible eating. It is fairly easy for me to resist a Krispy Kreme because I don't have a strong sweet tooth. Furthermore, I HAVE to keep my weight gain down to 25 or less because I was ALREADY overweight when I got pregnant. That's nothing to be proud of, quite frankly.

Cerebral Venus Book Club
Here are the selections, vote in the comments! Voting ends Sunday, May 13 at Midnight. Assuming I am not giving birth, we will discuss on June 18th - yes, that is 5 weeks out, but I hate to push it too close to NewKid's due date.
  1. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  2. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
  3. Waiting by Ha Jin

Oh, Snap.
It makes me chuckle when folks are apologetic about posting pics of their kids. I figure, I'm doing my friends a FAVOR. I have emailed very little Kiddie Spam to my friends - maybe a few in the beginning, but overall, I just save it for the blog. If folks don't like seeing snaps of my kid, then look away.....look away. I post snaps at the end of the blog for a reason. Furthermore, If I am taking the time to read your blog, then yes, I would LOVE to see snaps of your kids and pets, too. Don't apologize! I sure the hell am not.

Puddle Jumper
Help me GOD. Puddles are like a tractor beam these days. And there is a world of difference between a mud puddle and a water puddle. WORLD of difference.


Probably trying to plan his next attempt at avoiding a diaper change.

Bye, Bye.
Waving "bye, bye" to all the passing "ghaaars".

Sitting Still, For Now.

Gone in 60 Seconds, for sure.

May 8, 2007

What goes "bump" in the night?

Me and my big old baby belly, that's what. As we meander to the bathroom. For the umpteenth time. Pay us no mind.

My gal pal Monkey has requested a rant from me regarding the difference between a baby "bump" and a baby "belly", but I can't really provide a rant here. The whole thing just makes me sad. Sad that some gals feel pressure to still look Hottie Hot Hot during pregnancy. Sad that we have a culture that seems to expect it. Sad that the media follows celebrities around mere weeks after the celebrity has given birth so that snaps can be taken for close examination as to whether the celebrity has lost the weight yet. Sad that the media will make lascivious comments about a breastfeeding celebrity's newly sprouted bazookas. Sad that young girls want to emulate these celebrities.

Of course, it touches on a much bigger issue of "body image". I've been pretty fortunate, actually. Despite the fact that I had ample access to Barbie and her minions, I had little problem with my body image growing up. For as much as I mock and point at my family here, I will credit them this - no emphasis was given on looks, weight, clothes or anything perceived as superficial while I was growing up. You were given expectations on behaviour and grades, but not your looks. My main points of contention with my looks were my nose, my freckles, my thick eyeglasses and my cowlick, but my family had little to do with that. Fortunately, the freckles faded, I eventually got contacts and I learned how to style my hair around the cowlick. I chalked the nose up to a Lost Cause decades ago and moved on.

Unfortunately, Asshole #1 did a bit of a number on my body image while I was an undergrad - a good 50 pounds ago. However, he was the only guy I ever dated that made comments about my weight and for most part, I've been left unscathed. Oh sure, I care about my looks and try to look at least presentable. And oh sure, I would like to be thinner (hello! Who wouldn't?), but it's not a priority right now and is most definitely NOT a key to my happiness. Actually, the past few years have been the very happiest of my entire life, yet have been the heaviest, weight-wise. Clearly, for me, there is no connection between Inner Peace and my BMI.

Oddly enough, being pregnant is probably one of the most freeing times of my life. No, I don't go crazy with the eating - most of my Meals of Shame at the hands of McDonald's and Taco Bueno are eaten for lunch. Then, I make amends for them with salads or South Indian for dinner (unlike it's Meaty Northern Brethren, South Indian is actually light, healthy fare - not the heavy stuff you find in Indian restaurants specializing in Northern fare). What's been particularly challenging this time is that I've been craving sweets this pregnancy, but have managed to stave the cravings off with fruit, lemonade and an occasional piece of Choxie chocolate. Once in awhile, I treat myself to a pastry (the REAL source of my cravings - fruity pastries) - if I keep my weight to a reasonable level, I am going to treat myself to a Krispy Kreme during week 38 because Oh.My.God. I have wanted one SO BAD this whole time.

So, yes - it makes me sad that women grapple with the emotions of gaining weight during pregnancy - a time of your life when a weight gain is inevitable. Dammit! When a woman is pregnant or nursing, the very last thing she should have to worry about is looking Hottie Hot Hot - her primary focus should be on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking care of herself and her baby. However, I just couldn't muster up a rant about it. Sorry, Monkey.

May 6, 2007

Who the hell is Ryan? And what's so special about his life?

Time for Updates. You know you wanna know, right?

NewKid on the Blog
Official Weight Gain, Week 31: 10 pounds.
Official Stretch Mark Status: None to report for this period.
No lie! I am very happy with the weight gain because it means I am on track for keeping the gain under 25, although truth be known, I'm gunning for 20 (I gained 22 with Arun). Nope, not proud, just RELIEVED. Everything else is looking good, heart rate is good. I could SWEAR she turned during the weekend. She was ALL OVER the place on Saturday and now, I can feel teeny feet on my right side. The same side a HEAD used to be just last week. We still have a ways to go, so yeah - she could turn back, I guess. Also, regarding the stretch marks - I'm still thinking it is the flaxseed because I got stretch marks when I gained weight after quitting the cigs. Why am I not getting stretch marks NOW? That's crazytalk.

Arun Macaroon
I'm sure there are sweeter things than hearing your child say his name for the very first time, but frankly, I'm drawing a blank. I have to get some video of him saying "Ahhh-oooo. Ahhhh-oooo" He's also starting to display the whole Peculiar Toddler Behaviour for which all toddlers are famous. Like, if I get the can of sparkling water out of the fridge BEFORE I dig the straw out of the cupboard, that shit just ain't kosher. My understanding is that his jabbering is probably along the lines of "Good god, woman - straw before the water! STRAW BEFORE THE WATER." Fortunately, once he gets both the water and the straw, all is right with his world again and he lets it go. Thus far, he just doesn't "hold on" to stuff, so we are still Tantrum Free. Although we have had some that approached Category 2 levels come our way - really in the realm of Fits, not Tantrums, though. They usually happen just when he has gotten up in the morning or if he has gotten up in the middle of the night. He cries inconsolably and then hides behind the toilet in our bathroom. Overall, right now, he is just a joy. He is SO much fun these days, loves learning, and is very excited about EVERYTHING. Life is his oyster. The only semi-challenging thing on right now is the schedule that has manifested itself from all the teething activity. In the last few weeks, I have discovered no less than FIVE teeth in various stages of eruption - and those are the teeth that I can SEE. No wonder he was so out of sorts several weeks back - poor kid! His sleep is so out of whack these days that he goes to bed at 10pm and doesn't get up until about 10am. At least he is sleeping for a solid 12 hours, but our schedule is really funky right now because I made my appointments for the doctor, Parents As Teachers, playdates and such based upon the understanding that he would be up at his normal time of 8-8:30am. Jeepers.

9 1/2 Weeks
I feel like utter crap all of the time now. Between nausea, exhaustion and breathlessness, it's not pretty. I can never fully get comfortable now, either. However, I am totally cool with it because this is normal 3rd trimester agony. I am so grateful to not be sick with something, that I'll take Totally Normal Pregnancy for 500, Alex. THANK GOD. I don't even give a crap about all the projects that won't get completed now before NewKid arriveth. They'll still be there waiting. For the next 9 1/2 weeks I've decided to just focus on getting the house organized, reading books, and spending time with Arun. The important stuff. NewKid-wise, I am actually ready. I probably should buy a pack of newborn diapers and dust off the bassinet, but that's it. We will go with co-sleeping so there was no point doing a room because I'd like Arun and NewKid to share a room for awhile until they get older. Preschoolers don't seem to care about their rooms or personal space anyway. When Arun gets to be about 8, we'll do separate rooms then. In the meantime, I will be adding some decorations to Arun's current room to include Anjali - for example, I've purchased the letters to her name so that I can paint them and hang them opposite the wall to Arun's letters (Sidenote: The letters come in handy when you are teaching the alphabet. We've been working on A, B, C so I've taken down the A down a few times for Arun to play with. He has a puzzle alphabet and some magnets, but this adds another texture to the mix - a nice tactile way to learn).

Taco Bueno Es Muy Bueno!
Um, yeah. A Taco Bueno opened up near to us. Apparently, this chain is some Texan transplant and oh my, they are beating the pants off of Taco Bell. I mean, not that we have been eating any Party Burritos from there. NOT US.

Unfortunately, X is putting the kibosh on BlogHer this year. It seems, he is not entirely comfortable with my taking our newborn precious progeny on an airplane (although, a newborn is physically capable of flying). X is the not normally the type to be like this and I have to respect his opinion on this since I guess NewKid is HIS kid, too. I'm still working on it (What, me give up??), so time will tell. However, it's not looking very promising. Sniff.

Book it, babycakes.
I've read before how Baby Books can cause massive amounts of guilt in mothers. I never understood this and thought it was silliness until I went shopping for NewKid's baby book yesterday. I didn't really shop around much for Arun's book - I picked one off of Amazon called A Baby Book for You that the Boston Museum of Fine Arts was selling. That book has served its purpose - it's got all the basics you need, and I hijacked a few pages for other things (i.e. the gift list was used to track his weight so I could do the silly graph for his first year - and YES, the intent was to be goofy - I had planned the graph all along.) Anyway, I looked at some of the baby books at Border's yesterday and HOLY SHIT - apparently you can write an entire NOVEL about your child's first year. Cripes. I love my kids, but I would never be able to keep up with all the pages provided and frankly, I don't need something like that hanging over my head. Therefore, I am getting another copy of the same one I got for Arun. It's simple, easily updated and actually includes pages for up to 5 years for basic memories.

Oh, Snap.
I would LOVE to take photos of my precious progeny to show off. However, said progeny gets excited whenever the camera is presented and immediately comes over to sit on my lap so that he can see the pictures on the camera not quite understanding that a picture first needs to be taken. Also, am I the only fool that likes the house to be clean BEFORE I take snaps? I suspect my adult-aged kids are going to look at their baby pictures thinking "Criminy, why was the house so CLEAN when we were babies? What happened back then? GAWD, it's such a pit now!"

May 4, 2007

Where in the world?

This week is closing to a good end. The BoobLog is going well and I have a rhythm going with it that I am liking. I was a little worried about posting 5 times a week, but it's working out. Overall, I am glad this week is gone. Lately, my oyster of Life has been chock full of minor irritants, but none worthy of a pearl for my blog posting pleasure. The WORST kind of irritants. I mean, if Life is gonna deal you heaping scoops of poo, you should at least get an entertaining post out of it, right? Bah.

Anyway, here's a cool map of the states I've been to! It's as I suspected, I've not traveled to the south very much. Credit goes to Eliza's mom for the cool link!

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

And then for kicks, I went and did the world one which only served to tell me what I already knew. That I'm an odd bird. What sort of freak only travels to Italy and Pakistan for her big "overseas" travels? Me, that's who. I was going to include my layovers in Oman, Qatar, U.K. and France, but X loftily informed me those don't count. Bah. Whatever, spoilsport. I'd argue that an airport in Muscat is vastly different than an airport in oh, say... St. Louis. For sure, I bet the ratio of "bugs to burqas" would be a shocker.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

May 3, 2007

Why do "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?

Dammit, I'm Proud of My CostcO Face: My sister and I have a running joke where she mocks my purchases at Costco and I still can't resist telling her every time I get a good deal. I can't even begin to describe how often I've gotten Reverse Sticker Shock at that place - this time it was a pair of glasses. Seriously! These glasses were SO cheap, just buying a membership for getting those alone would be worth it. I spent all of $152 for the whole shebang- frames, lens - including the special thin frames and polished edges. Wow. $152. I am SO excited to get these things. This pregnancy has done a number on my eyes and it's becoming increasingly difficult to wear my contacts. My current glasses have a few teeth scratches just over my line of vision - thanks to my kitty, Vanessa.

That Cerebral Venus is One Smart Hottie: I declare the whole online book club thing to be a success - or - at least I had fun. And really, that's what counts around here, right? Anyway - I wish I could have participated more, this week has been out of control since I'm still catching up from last week. SO..... for the next selection, if everyone could throw out some more suggestions in the comments over the next few days - we'll vote on the next selection next Monday which we'll read and discuss June 18th. Sound good?

See Fud is Gud Fud: Last night, I finally, FINALLY made sea scallops that were tasty and not rubbery. I highly recommend this recipe for a scallop curry over at Epicurious. It's definitely a White People Curry, although I did use an Indian grade curry powder. Next time, I'll use less half n' half (a great sub for cream, BTW) and will probably throw in some more chili powder to make it more spunky. I can report that Arun loved it as well. This dish is a great "just got home from work" meal because it took all of 20 minutes to make it.

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! Off to Work I Go.
Depends on the Audience.

When I first started reading reviews of the Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennets, I almost fell victim to the temptation to write a screed, but I resisted. Seriously - that sort of bullshit makes my stomach turn because who the hell is the likes of Bennets to question the choices my husband and I made for our family? I also read the op-ed piece by Linda Hirshman. Sigh. Then, I read a Washington Post article, The Mommy Wars Machine which declares the whole "mommy wars" concept is overinflated by the media machine. Run over and read that piece NOW. Seriously. I'll still be here. Back now?

Okay, I thought that was one of the most reasonable pieces I have read in a long time. Most of the Mommy Wars that I refer to are actually conducted in books, magazines, in the news, on blogs and in the Internet. I rarely see it happening in REAL LIFE - perhaps, because so many women tend to be passive-aggressive or is this mommy war thing really a tool of the media? Oh sure, I get irritating comments about staying home full-time (my favorites? "I could NEVER stay home full-time, I'd miss the intellectual stimulation" or my VERY favorite, "So, what do you do all day? Go shopping?"), but I am not entirely convinced the folks making those sorts of comments are trying to be rude or not. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt. It seems for the most part, my friends and I just don't care if the other "works" or not. And oh sure, I've encountered a few mothers who Compare n' Compete, but they are New Friends and I suspect they were doing that before they even had kids. Anyway, the Post article was nice "fud" for thought. Who knew a SAHM could still be intellectually stimulated? hee!

May 1, 2007

Do you remember who your prom queen was?

Honestly? I can't remember who was the prom queen for my class. So much for posterity via winning a popularity contest, I guess.

Anyway - this month's Cerebral Venus Online Book Club selection was Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry by Susan Shapiro Barash. This is how it will work:
  1. I will throw out some starter questions. They don't necessarily have to all be answered, but rather are a way to jump start the discussion. Feel free to pose more questions in your comments.
  2. Anyone is welcome to join the conversation - regardless if you read the book or not! Seriously. If you didn't get to read the book, just say so then add your 2 cents worth. It's a little more difficult to do this with fiction that has specific plotlines, but since this is a non-fiction selection, I don't think it will be a problem. Regardless if you read the book or not, I suspect ALL of us have dealt with rivalry in some form or fashion - be it with a friend, co-worker, mother, sister, daughter.......
  3. This post will be the only one up for at least Tuesday and Wednesday. I would rather just concentrate on the conversation and will take a blogging vacation in the meantime. I'm 30 weeks pregnant and feeling crappy most of the time - you'd probably welcome a vacation from hearing about it, eh?
  4. No holds barred on the conversation - say what you think!

The Questions
  1. Overall, what was your impression of the book? Was this helpful to you in understanding past relationships? What would you rank this book on a scale of 1-10(with a 10 being highest)?
  2. The author caught some flack for including so many examples from movies, television and novels. What do you think of this? Do you think the media and entertainment over-inflate female rivalry or are they simply depicting what exists anyway?
  3. Did this make YOU feel uncomfortable in any way as you realized that YOU were competitive? I'll admit, I got the chills a few times when I realized I'm not perfect. Who knew?
  4. This book doesn't mention the blogging community. Do you think female rivalry applies to bloggers as well?
  5. This book also received some criticism for lacking in the way of analysis - there was much presentation of the problem per se, but not much given in the way of solutions. Do you think there is a solution? What is it?
  6. How do you think families play a role in this rivalry? Notice, I did NOT say "mothers" but said "families". For example, in my family, emphasis was always laid thick on grades and doing well in anything else you participated in - be it music, sports or other extracurriculars. My family rarely was the type to compliment or make comments on your looks, your weight, or your clothes. In the sections of this book relating to beauty and competition, I was simply lost and rolled my eyes a lot because I could not relate. However, the sections regarding succeeding in school and the workplace struck a much deeper chord with me.
  7. Have you had rivalries with men? How did they differ than your rivalries with women?