Ewwww! Cooties!

July 23, 2009

As I was standing around at the playground the other day one mom mentioned how much she had enjoyed the public library’s storytime.  She said that she had been reluctant to go before now- her kid was around a year- because of all of the germs left on the books by other kids.

Now I know I should be generous and give her props for getting over the fear and taking her kid anyway.  And I know I shouldn’t be judgmental of other people’s anxieties and, for the most part, I’m not.   But this one blew my mind.  In part, I think, because she mentioned this fear without any humor or awareness that this might be a little over the top- her fear of germs in this way was, she assumed, completely and utterly normal.

I don’t know, maybe I am the weird one.  Maybe I am being reckless and exposing my kid to germs in all kinds of dangerous ways.  But I really feel that kids not only need to be exposed to germs and dirt and grime, but that they also need to be exposed to the world.  Keeping them sanitized isn’t doing them any favors.  If anything, it just teaches them to be scared of the world around them.  And, honestly, that just makes me kind of sad.



June 12, 2009

I don’t think I have ever been so relieved that it is Friday.  Poor M has been teething like CRAZY this week- fevers, whining, crying, temper tantrums, the works.  On top of that, we are definitely entering a new phase of development which we haven’t figured out yet.  He is desperate to communicate a whole lot more to us but doesn’t yet have the words which leads to amazing amounts of frustration for him.  You can practically hear him yelling, “why don’t you understand me?!?!?!?!?!”  It has felt like living in a vortex of baby angst.

My mom always tells me that just when you think you are about to kill them, they do something amazing that makes it all ok again.  Well, this morning I felt like M was going to need to bust out in complete, Dickensian-style sentences for me to be happy again.

So I am incredibly grateful that it is Friday and that tomorrow I get to leave M with F and go have lunch with wonderful women friends who don’t have kids (read: no kid talk).

I met up with two friends and their kids today for lunch and it was incredibly reassuring to know that I am not the only one who, in the last 24-48 hours, has wanted to leave my kid out on the front porch.  Hearing everyone expressing the same frustrations made me realize how much more susceptible one’s mood is to weather when there are kids involved.

I love rain. Love it.  I love rainy days curled up on the couch reading. I love sleeping in all cosy under the comforter.  I love watching Pride and Prejudice for the sixty-eighth (the BBC 5-hour version, of course).  I even love being caught in the rain and coming home drenched.  But none of that is fun with an almost toddler, especially one who lives for being outside.  

So at least now I know I’m not alone.  And the next time the rain is like this I will just have to come up with some brilliant crafts activity or baking project… or at least I’ll have to have a bottle of wine to crack open at 3pm.

Rules, rules, rules

May 28, 2009

The Institute of Medicine has put out a new set of recommendations for how much weight pregnant women should gain over the course of their pregnancy.  And, if that wasn’t enough, they added to the expectations by recommending that overweight and obese women lose weight before getting pregnant.

Now I understand that this is all with the best of intentions and promotes healthy babies and I am a big fan of healthy babies, but I am also concerned that this contributes to the already overburdened expectations that are put on women of child bearing age. 

I remember completely freaking out when I was first pregnant with M and looked at the food section of What to Expect.  The dietary recommendations were so complicated and hysterical, causing me to worry that I was going to permanently damage my child if I didn’t eat the perfect amount of grains, proteins, legumes, fruits, etc.  I was so worried that I started making an excel spreadsheet to get myself organized.  Luckily the sane part of my brain kicked in quickly and I never opened the spreadsheet again.  But the pressure was real.

Already the list of what you should and shouldn’t do as soon as you find out you are pregnant is incredibly long: no alcohol, no smoking, change your exercise regimen, avoid certain fish, no soft cheeses, etc., etc., etc.  And once you’ve had a kid, if you are breast feeding, you continue to watch your diet carefully.  But now, if you think you might become pregnant and you fall into certain weight categories, you need to jump on the overly conscious eating bandwagon even earlier.

It just seems like this is yet another addition to the list of things that women need to do in order to be “good” mothers and it just doesn’t seem fair.  I mean, if you are going to add something to that list of expectations, at least take something else off. I’ll take a glass of wine here or there, sushi, or stinky cheeses.

To assume…

May 18, 2009

The other day while we were out and about, F, M and I ran into a family friend who hadn’t seen M in a long time.  She told us how cute he was and then immediately asked, “so where is he in school?” There was an awkward pause and then I said, “he’s not. He’s at home.”  F, bless his heart, then jumped in and said, “yeah. He’s home-schooled.”  She replied, “Oh.” And then turned to talk to someone else.

I was stunned and embarrassed.  I felt like there was this huge weight of judgment hanging in the air, that I am depriving my son of important educational experiences by taking care of him myself.  

But then I realized.  She is just another symptom of the Type-A city in which we live.  This woman is in her fifties, does not have young children, and still managed to assume that our one-year-old should be in school, not daycare, school.  There is so much pressure to succeed, not only professionally, but also through your kids.  Your kids have to go to elite colleges and the preparation for that, apparently, starts when they are one.  Otherwise, forget Harvard.

M will, eventually, go to daycare or preschool because I do think that the socialization that happens is important.  But right now, even with all the career angst and struggles to keep my professional life afloat, I am very grateful that I am lucky enough to get to have this time with him.

A failure in balance

May 15, 2009

On Monday I got an email from one of my clients asking if I could turn around a project by Thursday.  On a normal week it would have been rough, but this week I had tons of plans that I couldn’t/didn’t want to cancel so it was going to be extra tough.  But money is money.  So I said yes.  The next day he sent a second, smaller project that had an even shorter turn around time.  So what did that mean? A SUPER busy week.  I tried to look at it as a short-term experiment in work/life balance. The results?  Not so pretty.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • After two nights with very little sleep, still setting my alarm for 5:30am to get work done before anyone else got up
  • Almost no exercise, which equals unhappy me
  • Thinking the stair gate was closed and only finding out it wasn’t when I heard M crawling upstairs!!! (he was just fine and actually very pleased with himself but, man, that was a scary moment)
  • Eating a lot of junk
  • A breakout of small, stress zits

So what does this tell me?  That multi-tasking, work/life balance stuff is still a work in progress.  What else is new, right?  Ah well, at least it is Friday!

Glimmers of hope?

May 5, 2009

Between the rain and the swine flu panic, my life has been seriously homebound.   It has been making me seriously grumpy and I am not alone… Over the past three rainy days M had taken to pointing towards the door and saying “ditty,” which we think means I want.  Heartbreaking.  But the rain did stop this morning.  And we did get outside for a walk.  And I have been able to set up his little jungle gym in the backyard so that we can, hopefully, play there later.  So there are glimmers of hope (and freedom) on the horizon.

I have to say, though, this whole swine flu panic needs to end.  The anxiety and all of the “what ifs” have paralyzed me and my ability to rise above the helicopter parenting pressure.  Of course I don’t want my kid to get sick, of course I want to protect him from the flu, but sometimes I feel like yelling at everyone, “IT IS JUST A FLU!!!”  But then the “what ifs” take hold and I know that I would feel excruciatingly guilty if something were to happen, and so I stay homebound in the baby bubble, betraying my post-modern parenting ethics.

So until the panic dies down I guess I will be trying to hold onto the little things- like a walk after three days of rain…  Is it dinner time yet? I am ready for a drink.