Monday, September 26, 2011

Stupidity in Black and White

Racism = bad, this we know.  So, naturally, we should go about attacking its existence the most effective way we know how: by dressing witches in pink and avoiding white paper in nursery schools.  Also, by lying to children about our favorite colors and instead telling them we have a particular fondness for black or brown.  In the interest of good race relations, you know.

Oh honestly.  How does someone say things like this while keeping a straight face?  Using white paper promotes racism?  In two-year-olds?  Last time I took stock of the situation, all the two-year-old children I had ever met in my entire life did not give a flying flip about anyone's skin color.  Because they don't notice such things.  They are too busy plotting how to raid the pantry.  A four-year-old might notice, yes, but that is out of mere curiosity, not out of any sense of superiority or racial specialness.  God made people lots of different colors and loves all of them equally.  End of lesson.  Whoopty-do.

But, maybe I am behind the times.  I mean, when "early years consultants" like Anne O'Connor think there is a problem, maybe there is one.  After all, where there's smoke there's an idiot.  That sounds like a problem to me.

Seriously.  Because, according to Ms. Idiot... ahem, O'Connor, we are all supposed to be traumatized if our notebook paper never reflects our own shade of skin (Covergirl Natural Ivory 115, can I get a woot woot?).  And who knows what might happen if we never have to write on green paper, for example?  Aside from shortchanging the Martians, we might read between the lines of our ivory paper that white is the best and the brightest and generally superior to black people.  I mean black paper.  Surely the reasons for using white paper couldn't be anything less convoluted, like the fact that white paper is practical because it allows one to see what is written on it.  Nope.  Too easy and non-political.

But (insert hand wringing here) studies have been done on four-year-olds who chose pictures of those belonging to their own race as having greater friend potential!  Oh, where's my (thankfully) brown paper bag when I need it?!  Because obviously a four-year-old who identifies a face similar to his own as being more trustworthy is a racist-in-the-making.

For heaven's sake, little kids don't express negative and discriminatory views about other races.  Child specialists introduce them to those negative views when they hyperventilate over little Billy selecting white as his favorite color and demand that the Wicked Witch of the West change up her wardrobe to accommodate the new spring line.

Agh!  I have to go bang my head against a wall now.  But I'm a little worried -- do you think I'll get racial-understanding credit for the fact that my bruises will be partially black?  Or does the combination of black and bruising carry too negative a connotation?

I'll see what I can do in the purple and green department.

Girls and Their Moods

From this morning's impromptu photo shoot, in chronological order:

So much for any expectations I may have had of mood stability during her teen years.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Toilet is Snoring

Okay, it's not actually raining. However, there is liquid involved, and two children, one of whom is not in diapers. But I won't go into details. Suffice it to say that, in the future, Michael should hopefully be less hesitant about asking his preschool teacher if he can use the restroom (poor kid). And hopefully his classmates didn't think there was anything odd about his mother showing up mid-day with a new pair of shorts. Heck, Michael himself exclaimed, "What are you doing here, Mom?" as if his flooded pants weren't any sort of clue.

The other "raining" incident involved Leah and Costco, and the exact right (wrong?) angle which allowed her to demonstrate the physics involved in peeing straight out the side of her diaper all over my shirt.

When I said I go to Costco because of the warm feeling it gives me, that's not what I meant.

But, in way of literal interpretation of blog post titles, my toilet actually was snoring. Really. I followed the noise, which I thought was coming from the overzealous nose of one of my sleeping children, and discovered that the toilet was taking authentic human-sounding breaths that were coming out one whistle short of a full snore. Not to be outdone, the next night my bathtub started snoring. I am not making this up.

Well, we simply couldn't live with snoring plumbing, so we moved. What can I say, we believe in going above and beyond.

Now we have two houses that are a complete disaster area and I have enough miscellaneous junk in random places to qualify as my own K-Mart. The things I have managed to unpack have a mysterious way of wandering out to the living room again. And again. And getting dumped out and stepped on, and broken. This whole process would be a lot easier if Matthew and Leah weren't actively trying to dismantle everything I'm trying to mantle.

So, to escape the chaos, and in honor of the fact that I now have a permanent address, I decided to bite the bullet and get my Utah driver's license. Well, that and the fact that my license expires in a couple days. But, really, what could be more fun than sitting at the DMV for a few hours? And what could be more fun than taking a test full of questions relevant to actual driving like "What percentage of Utah children under the age of five regularly ride in a child safety seat?" Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it would be a lot more useful to ask a potential driver if they know what a green light is for.

But, that is why I am a stay-at-home-mom and not a bureaucrat (even if my motto is "Good enough for government work"). But, I did get the car seat question right, which means I am now officially re-qualified to hurtle my vehicle down the freeway at 65 mph. Doesn't that make you feel better? I know I feel warm inside.

Oops, forgot to change my shirt.

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again

The air is getting that little nip that says fall is on its way, which means one thing in our family:

Time to move again.

Ugh. As excited as I am about the new house, the thought of moving for the FIFTH year in a row makes me want to curl up and hibernate in my closet. But I can't do that because Matthew still naps in there and I'm not about to disturb a sleeping baby.

David is still living at the office. Would it scare you if I said this is the worst busy season he's ever had in eight years of number crunching? Except for our family reunion in San Diego, we have not seen him since June. In fact, we're not actually sure he still lives with us (case in point, Michael crawled into our bed at 3 a.m. a few weeks ago and said, in surprise, "Mom, what is Dad doing here?")

I would say I'm at the end of my rope, but that would imply that 1) I actually know where the rope is, and 2) I still have a hold on it, neither of which is true. I just stress-ate my way through a dozen sugar cookies and an entire bag of caramels in, well, I won't tell you how long. Let's just say it was less than 48 hours... possibly less than 24. By the end of this I'm going to be a card-carrying whale. Or, more likely, I'll just be eating a card-carrying whale. Shamu better swim for cover.

Michael is a complete wreck as well, spending untold amounts of energy trying to sneak into my bed after he has been tucked in his own, and then waking up half a dozen times a night wanting to cuddle. I've been a little lenient about it because I know he is struggling having his dad gone so much, but last night I laid down the law and told him he must sleep in his own bed. Later, when I went to check on him, I found this:

Yes, that is pretty much my entire bed transferred to his floor. Also, the bottom of a pack 'n play and, though you can't see it in the picture, his entire collection of books. Very creative of him, really. You know what they say, if you can't get to the bed, bring the bed to you.

Meanwhile, Matthew and Leah are vying to win the award for "Most Valuable Thing I Can Throw in the Garbage Can". So far, whoever threw an entire roll of stamps in is winning, though that could change at any moment. They also like to play, "Find the Most Random Place to Hide Something", "Turn on the Bathtub or the Knobs on the Stove" and "Put Vaseline, (or worse) in Somebody's Hair."

So far this week, Leah is pulling ahead on the gross things to put in her hair. Though it isn't necessarily her fault. Well, the vaseline was, but I'm sure she didn't mean to throw up in the night and then roll around in it. (Let me tell you, nothing says Good Morning like being hit with the smell of vomit as you walk in a room).

The good news is no more barfs. The bad news is Leah spent the entire morning glued to my lap, crying. So I'm just waiting for the next kid to bite the dust.

And then, I just realized, it's been awfully quiet during Michael's quiet time. Because, quiet time, while quiet in theory, usually involves three or more Mom-can-I-come-out-yets?. I just checked on him and he is sound asleep...

In my bed.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Friends First

It's not often when you see everything that is wrong with today's relationships summed up succinctly in one little headline, but here it is: Why You Should Always Put Your Friends Before Your Husband.

Yes, you read that right.

The author, despairing over the disintegration of a 23-year "partnership" (whether all those years were spent married or unmarried, she doesn't say, though she does admit to a "short-term" affair somewhere in the in-between), encourages women everywhere to "bind your friends to you with hoops of steel, because the threads of marriage really are gossamer thin."

To prove her point, she throws forth the example of fellow divorcee, Karen, who tossed her friendships in the backseat when her possessive, jealous boyfriend needed a little more security. Ten years and two kids after saying "I do," the marriage ended and Karen was left without the friends she so desperately wanted.

How this is supposed to illustrate the need to hang onto one's friends over one's husband is not exactly clear. It seems to me that it is primarily an example of why a woman should not date or marry someone whose irrational and controlling behavior causes her to eliminate longtime friends from her life. So here's a little advice: If a guy is a controlling jerk, don't marry him. There, problem solved.

Now, let's assume the author did not marry a jerk. Why, then, would she treat her husband as something disposable or undesirable? Obviously everyone needs friends and the opportunity to pursue their own interests (and each marriage partner should allow their spouse some space for a basketball game or a girls' night out without complaint), but friendships should never be cultivated at the expense of damaging one's marriage. If the threads of her marriage really were "gossamer thin", she should have brought in reinforcements.

P.S. Girlfriends who are critical of her husband's every thought or (in)action don't qualify.

If friendships take work, why in the world would she expect a marriage to be any different? Here's a little tip -- Treat your husband as loyally and as kindly as you would a best girlfriend (how many bratty women out there treat their husbands like children, or worse, something the dog dragged home?) and you'll find those "steel hoops" are binding you together more strongly than ever. Prioritize. Don't spend twenty years putting your husband on the back burner and then act surprised when he walks out of your life -- If you have time to go see "The Help" with your besties or to organize the community yard sale, but you don't have the time to have a great sex life with your husband or lift him up after a long, hard day at work, there is something wrong with you and your priorities.

Whether you are bound to your husband with gossamer or steel is entirely up to you. But if you choose to use gossamer (yes, it's a choice), you'd better steel yourself for heartbreak.

And put a few friends on speed dial. You might need them.